The caliphate of 'Uthmaan -V

The caliphate of
  • Publish date:21/08/2006
  • Section:Highlights
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Abu ‘Ayyoob  Al-Ansaari leads the Prayer

In the wake of his inability to come to the mosque, the Caliph appointed Abu ‘Ayyoob Al-Ansaari, may Allah be pleased with him, to do the job. However, after a few days, Al-Ghaafiqi bin Harb, the chief of the rioters, started leading the prayers. Like Muhammad bin Abu Bakr, the governor of Egypt, Muhammad bin Huthayfah was also working against the Caliph. When ‘Abdur-Rahmaan bin 'Udays marched towards Al-Madeenah from Egypt, Muhammad bin Abu Bakr had also accompanied them to Al-Madeenah, but Muhammad bin Huthayfah had stayed back in Egypt.

 When the rioters made a commotion, 'Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, sent both his sons Al-Hasan and Al-Husayn, may Allah be pleased with them, to stand at the door of 'Uthmaan bin 'Affaan, may Allah be pleased with him, with locked arms to stop the entry of the rioters into his house. Talhah and Az-Zubayr, may Allah be pleased with them, also sent their sons and they stopped their movements. The rioters knew well that any harm done to them meant bearing the brunt of Banu Haashim's fury as a whole. However, the rioters were also in a hurry, because the arrival of official forces from the provinces could foil their plan. Thus, they broke into an adjoining house and entered the Caliph's house by scaling its walls

Martyrdom of Uthmaan bin Affaan

When the rioters showed the letter written on his behalf, 'Uthmaan bin 'Affaan, may Allah be pleased with him, declared it a forgery. ‘Abdur-Rahmaan bin ‘Udays, the ringleader of the rioters rejected it saying: "If you are a liar, you are not fit to remain as a Caliph. In case you are true in your claim, then such a weak Caliph should not be left to rule if he is not able to keep control over his administration and lets anybody write anything on his behalf." At last, ‘Abdur-Rahmaan bin 'Udays asked 'Uthmaan bin 'Affaan to quit the Caliphate. However, he said: "I can't put off the garment that Allah has caused me to put on." That is, he refused to give up the post of the Caliph.

When the intensity of the siege increased and even the supply of water was stopped, 'Uthmaan bin 'Affaan went to the roof of his house and reminded them of his sacrifices for Islam and the position he held after embracing Islam. A section of the rioters seemed to forgive him but Maalik bin Al-Ashtar intervened to keep them firm in their plan. Moreover, when the rioters were convinced of the arrival of rescue forces from the provinces, they determined to do away with the Caliph.

During these days, 'Aa’ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, decided to go on Hajj. She sent for Muhammad bin Abu Bakr to accompany her on the journey to Makkah. But he refused to do so, because he was involved with the rioters. Hanthalah, may Allah be pleased with him, the scribe of the Revelations, said to him: "You refuse to accompany the Mother of the Believers and instead follow the fools of Arabia." Muhammad bin Abu Bakr gave no reply. Talhah and Az-Zubayr, may Allah be pleased with them, had closed their doors and would neither go anywhere nor meet anybody. Ibn 'Abbaas, may Allah be pleased with him, faced the rioters at the door of 'Uthmaan bin 'Affaan and stopped them from drawing near. However, the Caliph insisted that he would lead the Hajj caravan, although he said that waging Jihaad against the rioters was to him better than performing the Hajj. Al-Hasan bin 'Ali, 'Abdullaah bin Az-Zubayr, Muhammad bin Talhah and Sa'eed bin Al-'Aas, may Allah be pleased with them, stopped the rioters from opening the door and fought to push them back.

However, 'Uthmaan bin 'Affaan, may Allah be pleased with him, prevented them from doing so on oath and called them in. When the rioters set fire to the doors, they fought and drove them out once again. 'Uthmaan bin 'Affaan was then reciting the Quran. When he reached the verse (which means): "Those to whom people (i.e. hypocrites) said: 'Indeed, the people have gathered against you, so fear them.' But it (merely) increased them in faith, and they said: ' Sufficient for us is Allah, and (He is) the best Disposer of affairs.’" [Quran 3:173]

He, may Allah be pleased with him, said addressing those present: "The Messenger of Allah,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) has taken a pledge from me and I firmly keep it, so hold yourselves back from fighting the rioters." He also asked Al-Hasan bin 'Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, to go back to his father, but he declined the advice and kept at the door.

Al-Mugheerah bin Al-Akhnas, may Allah be pleased with him, could not bear the situation, attacked the rioters along with some of his companions and was martyred. In the same way, Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, launched an assault on the rioters reciting the verse (which means): "And O my people, how is it that I invite you to salvation while you invite me to the Fire?" [Quran 40:41]

When 'Uthmaan, may Allah be pleased with him, came to know of it, he insistently called him back.

Meanwhile, 'Abdullaah bin Salaam, may Allah be pleased with him, came and did all he could to pacify the rioters, but in vain. Among those present with 'Uthmaan bin 'Affaan, some were upstairs watching the movements of the rioters while others were at the gate stopping their entry. 'Uthmaan bin 'Affaan and his wife Naa'ilah, the daughter of Al-Furafisah, may Allah be pleased with them, were inside.

The rioters scaled the walls, entered the house of 'Uthmaan bin 'Affaan, and made an assault on him. First of all Muhammad bin Abu Bakr came near 'Uthmaan bin 'Affaan, may Allah be pleased with him, and said catching hold of his beard: "O long-bearded one, may Allah put you to disgrace." 'Uthmaan, may Allah be pleased with him, replied: "I am not a long-bearded man, but 'Uthmaan, the Chief of the Believers." Thereupon Muhammad bin Abu Bakr angrily said: "You covet the Caliphate even in your old age." 'Uthmaan, may Allah be pleased with him, said: "Had your father been alive, he would have valued my old age." At this Muhammad bin Abu Bakr got ashamed and left. Followed by his retreat a group of criminals came down scaling the wall. The group included ‘Abdur-Rahmaan bin 'Udays, 'Amr bin Hamiq, 'Umayr bin Jannabi, Sudan bin Humraan, Al-Ghaafiqi and Kinaanah bin Bishr, who first struck 'Uthmaan, may Allah be pleased with him, with a sword. His wife Naa'ilah came forward and stretched her hand to stop the stroke, with the result that her fingers were cut off and thrown away. However, he struck 'Uthmaan, may Allah be pleased with him, a second time, which led to his martyrdom. It so happened when 'Uthmaan, may Allah be pleased with him, was reciting the Quran, his blood dropped on the verse (which means): "…. and Allah  will be sufficient for you against them. And He is the Hearing, the Knowing." [Quran 2:137]

'Amr bin Hamiq gave him nine wounds with his spear. 'Umayr bin Jannabi moved forward and kicked him violently more than once, so that his ribs were broken. At every kick he would say: "It was you who had imprisoned my father and the poor man died in captivity." Naa'ilah called out to those upstairs who were unaware of what was happening in the house. The rioters had completed their evil act before those upstairs arrived. The criminals fled and the slaves of 'Uthmaan killed a few of them.

Nobody was needed now to guard the door. The rioters then made a forced entry into the house and plundered all the articles that they found. The news of this tragedy spread like lightning. This soul-shattering incident came to pass on Friday, Thul-Hijjah 18, 35 AH. The dead body of 'Uthmaan laid unshrouded and unburied for three days. At last Haakim bin Hizaam and Jubayr bin Mut'im, may Allah be pleased with them, went to 'Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, and he gave permission for him to be buried. The body was buried between Maghrib and Isha' prayers. Az-Zubayr, Hasan, Abu Jahm bin Huthayfah, and Marwaan, may Allah be pleased with them, accompanied the bier. The rioters tried to obstruct the burial service but held back on the intervention of 'Ali. Jubayr bin Mut'im led the funeral prayers. He was then buried without bath and coffin.

'Uthmaan bin 'Affaan, may Allah be pleased with him, died at the age of 82 after passing 12 years as a Caliph. He was buried in Jannat-ul-Baqi' leaving behind eleven sons and six daughters.

Rioter's Rule in Al-Madeenah

From the day the rioters put a ban on the exit of 'Uthmaan bin 'Affaan, may Allah be pleased with him, from his house and his attendance at the mosque, Al-Madeenah had virtually come under their rule. After 'Uthmaan's martyrdom, Al-Ghaafiqi bin Harb, the chief of the rioters, held the powers of the Caliphate for about a week and set about issuing all orders, including the appointment of someone to lead the prayers.

However, the wiser section of them wanted to put a respectable man as Caliph. They argued that in the absence of a reputable man as Caliph, their successful efforts would be taken as a mere uprising and rioting. Thus they decided not to leave Al-Madeenah without electing a Caliph.

'Abdullaah bin Saba rushed to Al-Madeenah in disguise and joined his party. He also favored the election of a Caliph. Thus they met 'Ali, Talhah and Az-Zubayr, may Allah be pleased with them, separately and requested each of them to accept the responsibility of the Caliphate. However, each of them refused the offer point-blank and they had to return empty-handed and frustrated.

At last, 'Abdullaah bin Saba instilled in their mind a workable plan according to which it was announced throughout Al-Madeenah: "It is the people of Al-Madeenah who have always played the pivotal role of electing a Caliph, and the Muslim Ummah accepted it wholeheartedly. Now we give them just two days to elect a Caliph, if they fail to elect a Caliph, we will kill 'Ali, Talhah and Az-Zubayr."

This announcement sent terror into the hearts of the people of Al-Madeenah who came out of their houses and hurried to 'Ali and the other two, may Allah be pleased with them. While Talhah and Az-Zubayr, may Allah be pleased with them, flatly refused to shoulder the burden of the Caliphate, 'Ali agreed to it after initially refusing. Following his consent, the people came in large numbers to take Bay'ah (oath of allegiance) at his hand.

 Summarized from: The History of Islam, by: Akbar Shah Najeebadi


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