What was the personality of Hz. Uthman like? Will you give detailed information?

The Details of the Question

What was the personality of Hz. Uthman like? Will you give detailed information?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,


Uthman b. Affan b. Abil-As b. Umayya b. Abdish-Shams b. Abdi Manaf al-Qurashi al-Amawi; the third one of the Rightly-Guided Caliphs. He belongs to the family of Sons of Umayya; his fifth grandfather Abdi Manaf is also the grandfather of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh). He was born in Makkah six years after the Incident of Elephant. His mother is Arwa bint Kurayz b. Rabia b. Habib b. Abdi Shams. His grandmother is Bayda, the daughter of Abdulmuttalib and the maternal aunt of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh). His nickname was "Abu Abdullah. He was also called "Abu Amr" and "Abu Layla". (Ibnul-Hajar al-Asqalani, al-Isaba fi Tamyizis-Sahaba, Baghdad nd, II / 462; Ibnul Athir, Usdul-Ghaba, III / 584-585; Jalaluddin Suyuti, Tarikhul-Khulafa, Beirut 1986, 165)

When the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) was given the duty of prophethood, Hz. Uthman was thirty-four years old. He was one of the first believers. Hz. Abu Bakr worked very hard and invited the people whom he trusted to Islam. Thanks to his hard work, Abdurrahman b. Awf, Sa'd b. Abi Waqqas, Zubayr b. Awwam, Talha b. Ubaydullah and Uthman b. Affan became believers. Hz. Uthman was a close friend of Hz. Abu Bakr in the Era of Jahiliyya. (Siratu Ibn Ishaq, Istanbul 1981,121; Usdul-Ghaba, ibid; Asqalani, ibid). When Hz. Uthman became a believer, his paternal uncle heard about it; he tied Hz. Uthman tightly and imprisoned him; he said he would not release him until he returned to his previous religion. When Hz. Uthman said he would never return from his religion, his uncle saw his determination and released him. (Suyuti, 168) After that, he married Ruqayya, the daughter of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh). Some historians write that this marriage took place before Hz. Muhammad (pbuh) was given the duty of prophethood. (Suyuti, ibid, 165)

When the pressure and tortures of Makkan polytheists on the believers increased and became unbearable, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) advised his Companions to migrate to Abyssinia. The resources agree unanimously that Hz. Uthman was among the first ones to migrate to Abyssinia. Ibn Hajar states that Hz. Uthman was the first Companion to migrate to Abyssinia with his wife Ruqayya based on the information given by many Companions. (Ibn Hajar, ibid) When a false piece of news that the people of Makkah believed reached Abyssinia, some of the muhajirs returned to Makkah. Hz. Uthman was among those who returned. However, when they found out that the news was false, they set off again to return to Abyssinia. Before setting off again, Hz. Uthman said to the Messenger of Allah (pbuh),

"O Messenger of Allah! We migrated once before. This is our second migration to the Negus. However, you are not with us." The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said to him,

"You are the ones who migrate to Allah and to me. Both of these migrations belong to you." Thereupon, he said,

"O Messenger of Allah! That is enough for us." (Ibn Sa'd, Tabaqatul-Kubra, Beirut nd, I / 207).

After remaining in Abyssinia, where he migrated for the second time, for a while, Hz. Uthman returned to Makkah. When the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) was ordered to migrate to Madinah, Hz. Uthman migrated to Madinah with other Muslims. When he arrived in Madinah, he stayed in the house of Aws bin Thabit, Hassan b. Thabit's brother. Therefore, Hassan loved him very much. (Ibnul Athir, Usdul-Ghaba, 585; Ibn Sa'd, ibid, 55-56)

He bought the Well of Ruma, which belonged to a Jew, for twenty thousand dirhams and allocated it for the use of all Muslims. The following statement of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) shows how important that well was for the Muslims:

"He who opens the Well of Ruma will enter Paradise." (Bukhari, Fadailul-Ashab, 47)

Hz. Uthman did not take part in the Battle of Badr with the permission of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) because Ruqayya, his wife, was very ill. Ruqayya died when the army was in Badr. She was buried when the good news that Muslims had won a victory arrived in Madinah. Although he did not take part in the Battle of Badr, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) regarded him as one of the participants and gave his share from the booty. (Usdul-Ghaba, 3/586; Suyuti, Tarikhul-Khulafa, p. 165; H. I. Hasan, Tarikhul-Islam, 1/256)

Hz. Uthman took part in all of the wars against the polytheists and the enemies of Islam except the Battle of Badr.

After the death of Ruqayya, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) married his other daughter Umm Kulthum off to Hz. Uthman. When Umm Kulthum died in the ninth year of the Migration, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said, 

"If I had forty daughters, I would marry them off to Uthman one by one until none of them left."

He also said to Hz. Uthman, “If I had another daughter, I would definitely marry her off to you.” (Usdul-Ghaba, ibid)

Hz. Uthman was given the nickname, “Dhun-Nurayn” meaning “the owner of two lights” because he married two daughters of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh). The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) appointed him as his deputy in Madinah during the Expeditions of Dhatur-Riqa and Ghatafan. (Suyuti, ibid, 165)

Hz. Uthman's son, Abdullah, who was born of Ruqayya, died after becoming ill when a rooster scratched his face in the fourth year of the Migration. Abdullah was six years old when he died. (Ibn Sa'd, ibid, III / 53, 54)

When the Muslims set off to go to Makkah for umrah in the sixth year of the Migration, Hz. Uthman was also among them. However, the idolatrous administration of Makkah decided not to allow the Muslims to enter Makkah. Thereupon, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh), who encamped in Hudaybiyya, wanted to establish a dialogue with the polytheists and tell them that their aim was only to perform umrah. The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) wanted to appoint Hz. Umar for this duty but Hz. Umar expressed his valid excuse and said Hz. Uthman would be more appropriate for the duty. Thereupon, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) appointed Hz. Uthman as his envoy. Makkan polytheists had wanted to kill Hirash b. Umayya al-Ka'bi, who was sent as an envoy before. (Ibn Sa'd, ibid, II, 96) The ferocious acts of the polytheists made the duty of the envoy dangerous. The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said to Uthman,

"Go to the Qurayshis. Tell them we have not come here to fight anyone; we have come here to visit the Kaaba and to show respect to it. We will sacrifice these camels and return."

Hz. Uthman went to Makkah and told the polytheists about those issues. However, the said, 'This is impossible. You cannot enter Makkah.' Their negative answer reached the encampment of Islam as Hz. Uthman was killed. The delay of his return supported this news. Thereupon, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) called all Muslims to pay allegiance to him to fight the polytheists at the cost of their lives. In this pledge, which is known as “the Pledge of Ridwan” in history, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) put his left hand on his right hand and said, 'Uthman went there for Allah and His Messenger.' Then, he paid allegiance on behalf of Hz. Uthman. The polytheists feared after this allegiance and preferred to make a deal. (Ibn Sa'd, II, 96, 97)

Meanwhile, Hz. Uthman talked to the weak Muslims in Makkah and consoled them giving them the glad tidings that Makkah would be conquered soon. (Asım Köksal, İslam Tarihi, VI, 177)

The polytheists told Hz. Uthman that he could circumambulate the Kaaba if he wished but he said that he would not circumambulate the Kaaba before the Messenger of Allah circumambulated it. The Companions who were in Hudaybiyya said to the Messenger of Allah,  

'Uthman rejoined the Kaaba and circumambulated it. How happy he is.' The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said,

'Uthman will not circumambulate the Kaaba unless we circumambulate it.' (reporting from Waqidi, A. Köksal, ibid, 178-179)

Hz. Uthman tried to be near the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) all the time in Madinah. That he was one of the richest people among the Companions enabled him to help Islam and the Muslims more than everybody else did. It is seen that he acted very generously in supplying war equipment for the armies that went on expeditions against the unbelievers. Historians mention him with praise because of his contribution to the army called Jaysh al-Usra when it was preparing to go on the Expedition of Tabuk. He equipped about one-third of the army on his own. When it is considered that the number of the soldiers was thirty thousand, the size of the amount he contributed can be understood easily. His contribution to this army was as follows:

-Nine hundred and fifty camels and one hundred horses with their necessary saddlery, the equipment of their riders and ten thousand dinars. (A. Köksal, IX,162) The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) became very pleased in the face of his act and prayed as follows:

"O Allah! I am pleased with Uthman; You be pleased with him too." (Ibn Hisham, Sirah, IV /161)

Then, he said,

"There is no responsibility for Uthman for what he will do from now on." (Suyuti, ibid,169)

Hz. Uthman was together with the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) during Farewell Hajj. The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) asked Uthman’s help related to several issues about the Muslims. (H. I. Hasan, ibid, I, 256)

When Hz. Abu Bakr was chosen as the Caliph, Hz. Uthman paid allegiance to him. Hz. Abu Bakr consulted him throughout his caliphate related to the affairs of the ummah. Hz. Uthman wrote the document that Hz. Abu Bakr dictated before his death about appointing Hz. Umar as the Caliph. Hz. Abu Bakr made Uthman read what he wrote and had it sealed. Hz. Uthman went out of the house with Umar and Usayd Ibn Said al-Kurazi and addressed the people waiting there as follows: 'Do you pay allegiance to the person whose name is written on this paper?' They said 'yes' and accepted it. (Ibn Sad ibid, III, 200)

His Caliphate

When Hz. Umar was wounded, a consultation committee of six people was formed in order to appoint the person to be the caliph. The committee consisted of Hz. Ali, Uthman, Sa'd Ibn Abi Waqqas, Abdurrahman b. Awf, Zubayr Ibn Awwam and Talha Ibn Ubaydullah (May Allah be pleased with them). As a result of the negotiations, four of the members of the committee waived their rights; the negotiations continued on the names of Hz. Uthman and Hz. Ali. After conducting an opinion research, Abdurrahman Ibn Awf, the leader of the committee, saw that the Muslims agreed on one of these two people as the caliph. He called Hz. Ali and asked him whether he would follow the book of Allah, the sunnah of the Prophet, and the practices of Abu Bakr and Umar and act accordingly. Hz. Ali said he would follow the book of Allah, the sunnah of the Prophet fully but that he would act based on his own ijtihad apart from them. When he asked Hz. Uthman the same question, he accepted it. Thereupon, Abdurrahman Ibn Awf declared that he appointed Hz. Uthman as the caliph and paid allegiance to him. (Suyuti, ibid, 171, 172; Ibn Hajar, ibid, 463; H. I. Hasan, ibid, I, 258, 261) After Hz. Abdurrahman, Hz. Ali became the second person to pay allegiance to Hz. Uthman. Then, the other Muslims paid allegiance to him. Thus, Hz. Uthman was chosen as the Caliph at the end of the month of Dhul-Hijjah in 23 H.  

When Hz. Uthman undertook the administration of the state, Islamic conquests were going on rapidly. During the time of Hz. Umar, Syria, Palestine, Egypt and Iran were included in the Islamic land. The strong administration of Hz. Umar enabled the authority and system to settle firmly in the regions that were conquered.

Hz. Uthman tried to continue the process of conveying the message of Islam and spreading it at the same speed. He conquered Armenia, North Africa and Cyprus. He suppressed the revolts in Iran and established the authority of the central administration again.    

When Hz. Uthman undertook the caliphate, he started to do some changes in the administrators. However, acting upon the request of Hz. Umar, he did not change the governors appointed by him for a year. First, he unseated Mughira b. Shu’ba, the governor of Kufa, and appointed Sa'd b. Abi Waqqas. Sa'd was the first governor appointed by Hz. Uthman (Ibnul-Athir al-Kamil fit-Tarikh, Beirut 1979, III, 79)

When Amr b. al-As, who was loved by Egyptians, was removed from the duty of the governorship of Egypt and Abdullah b. Sa'd b. Abi Sarh was appointed to replace him, some unrest occurred there. The people of Alexandria wrote a letter to the Byzantine Emperor, Heraclius, and asked him to save them from the Muslims. They also informed him that the Muslims did not have enough soldiers to resist. Thereupon, the Byzantine Emperor sent a big army under the command of Manuel to Alexandria and invaded this city. When the Copts who were afraid of the Byzantines wanted Hz. Uthman to intervene, he sent Amr b. al-As to Egypt again. Amr killed Manuel in the war and defeated the enemy. He also demolished the wall surrounding the city of Alexandria. (25 H.) (Ibnul-Athir, ibid, III, 81; H. I. Hasan, ibid; I, 264). Sa'd b. Abi Waqqas organized an expedition on Ray when its inhabitants violated the agreement; he also organized an expedition on Daylam.

When Abi Waqqas had difficulty in repaying the money he borrowed from the Treasury, Hz. Uthman removed him from the governorship and appointed his maternal half-brother Walid b. Uqba as the governor Kufa. (Ibnul-Athir ibid, III, 82) Walid acted as the governor of Kufa for five years. Once, Walid led the morning prayer as four rak’ahs because he was drunk. When he was reminded about it, he said, 'I have increased it for you.' When Hz. Uthman heard about it, he decreed tazir penalty for him and asked Hz. Ali to fulfill it. Hz. Ali had Abdullah b. Jafar whip him. Upon this incident, Hz. Uthman unseated him and appointed Said b. al-As b. Umayya (Ibnul-Athir, ibid, III, 107) Suyuti states that Hz. Uthman was condemned for the first time when he appointed Walid to replace Sa'd as the governor. (Suyuti, 172)

When Walid became the governor of Kufa, he unseated Utba b. Farhad, who was the commander of Azerbaijan. Thereupon, the people of Azerbaijan rebelled. Walid arranged an expedition on Azerbaijan and made them obey him. Then, he proceeded to the region of Armenia (Tbilisi), made some deals there and returned with booty. (25 H)

In the meantime, the struggle against the Byzantine continued. Muawiya organized attacks on Antalya and Tarsus. On the other hand, Hz. Uthman sent orders to Amr b. al-As to conquer North Africa and ordered Abdullah b. Amr, the governor of Sijistan, to proceed to Kabul. (Ibnul-Athir, ibid, III, 87). Masjid al-Haram was expanded in 26 H. A large area was obtained when the plots of land around Masjid al-Haram were bought. 

Hz. Uthman unseated Amr b. al-As, the governor of Egypt, in 27 H and appointed Abdullah Ibn Sa'd b. Abi Sarh. He was thinking of completing the conquest of North Africa. After consulting the notables of the Companions, Hz. Uthman allowed him to go there and sent an army that included many Companions to strengthen him (H. I. Hasan, ibid, I, 265). The armies under the command of Abdullah b. Nafi b. Abdulqays and Abdullah b. Nafi b. Husayn united with Ibn Abi Sarh and moved from Egypt to the east. When the governor of the Byzantine, who was dominant over the region from Tripoli to Tanja, heard that the Islamic army was proceeding toward his land, he took measures by preparing an army of one hundred thousand people, which included twenty thousand cavalrymen. The two armies confronted in a place about twenty-four hours away from Subaytala, the center of the kingdom. When they refused Ibn Abi Sarh's offer asking them to be Muslims or to pay jizyah, fighting started. Meanwhile, the communication between the army and Madinah was cut off. Hz. Uthman sent Abdullah Ibn Zubayr with a military unit to Africa in order to establish communication. The war that lasted for days ended with victory for the Muslims thanks to a tactic proposed by Abdullah Ibn Zubayr. The booty obtained by the Muslims was very big. Each cavalryman received three thousand dinars as their shares and each infantryman received one thousand dinars. (Ibnul-Athir, ibid, III, 88-90; H. I. Hasan, ibid, I, 265-266)

After this obstacle in front of the Islamic armies was removed, Hz. Uthman ordered Abdullah b. Nafi b. Husayn and Abdullah b. Nafi b. Abdulqays to go to Andalusia by passing Gibraltar. The reason why Hz. Uthman wanted the army to go to Andalusia was to facilitate the conquest of Istanbul by squeezing it from the west. He addressed his commanders as follows: 

"Istanbul can be conquered only from the direction of Andalusia. If you conquer Andalusia, you will receive your share from the reward of those who will conquer Istanbul." [Ibnul-Athir, ibid, III, 93; see also Muhammad Hamidullah, Fathul-Andalus (Spain) fi Khilafeti Sayyidina Uthman sanah 27 lil-Hijra, İ.Ü. Ed. Fak. İslam Tetkikleri Enstitüsü Dergisi, Istanbul 1978, VII, 221-225)]

Thus, the conquests in North Africa were completed during the caliphate of Hz. Uthman; the plans to squeeze the Byzantine, which was the biggest power against Islam at that time, were put in practice.  

On the other hand, Muawiya b. Abi Sufyan got permission from Hz. Uthman and sailed to the Mediterranean with the armada he established on the coast of Syria. Thus, they started to resist the Byzantine in the sea. Muawiya had asked Hz. Umar to do it before but Hz. Umar did not give him the permission because the conditions at that time were not suitable for it. Hz. Uthman was convinced of the necessity of an armada. Muawiya landed on the island of Cyprus with his armada. Abdullah b. Sa'd came to help him from Egypt. Cyprus had to accept the domination of Islam by paying a jizyah of seven thousand dinars every year. (28 H) This amount was equal to the money they paid to the Byzantine Emperor.  (Ibnul-Athir, ibid, III, 96)

Hz. Uthman unseated Abu Musa al-Ash'ari, the governor of Kufa and appointed Abdullah b. Amir al-Kurayz to replace him (29 H). Abdullah was Uthman’s cousin. The reason why he unseated Abu Musa was that the people of Kufa complained to Hz. Uthman about him. (Ibnul-Athir, ibid, III, 99-100)

Hz. Uthman saw the need for the expansion of Masjid Nabawi and built it again with embellished stones. He erected stone columns and covered the ceiling with East Indian oak. He made its length one hundred and sixty zira’s and its width one hundred and fity zira’s. (Suyuti, 173)

It is seen that Sa'id b. al-As attacked Tabaristan in 30 H. Sa'id, who had many wars in this region, conquered many cities. Khorasan, Tus, Sarakhs, Marw and Bayhaq are some of them.  

In the same year, Hz. Uthman started some studies in order to eliminate the disagreements that occurred about reading (pronouncing) the verses of the Quran.  The Quran was first compiled as a book during the caliphate of Hz. Abu Bakr. The Quran was brought together in the form of a book in this study. This first book (mushaf) was transferred to Hz. Umar from Hz. Abu Bakr. After the martyrdom of Hz. Umar, it was given to Hz. Hafsa.

When a disagreement occurred in the army during an expedition to Azerbaijan, Hudhayfa b. Yaman, the commander of the army, became worried. He asked the Caliph to duplicate a mushaf that Muslims could read safely.  The mushaf that Hafsa had was duplicated and distributed to all big states. The other copies were collected and eliminated. When it was completed, the Companions that were alive were relieved. (Ibnul-Athir ibid, III, 111-112; H. I. Hasan, ibid, I, 510-513)

Hz. Uthman dropped the seal that belonged to the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) and that was transferred to him after Hz. Abu Bakr and Hz. Umar in the Well of Aris in Madinah by mistake. He promised to give a lot of money to the person to find it but it could not be found despite all searches. Thereupon, Hz. Uthman felt very sorry. When he lost his hope of finding it, he had a new seal made. This seal, which was on the ring around his finger until he was martyred, could not be found after his martyrdom. (Ibnul-Athir, III, 133). This incident took place in the sixth year of his caliphate.

The level of welfare increased a lot because of the continuous conquests and people’s getting rich with the booties that were obtained. This naturally caused some attitudes that were not in compliance with Islam to occur. The Companions who were educated by the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) and who observed those developments with anxiety expressed their concern from time to time. One of them was Abu Dharr al-Ghifari, who was known with his asceticism and piety; he thought needy people were not given enough money from the Treasury. He was called to Madinah because he opposed the practices of Muawiya in Damascus and expressed his thoughts insistently. When Abu Dharr came to Madinah, he told his views to Hz. Uthman too. Then, he asked permission from Hz. Uthman, the Caliph, and settled in Rabaza, which was a place near Madinah. (ibid, III, 115; see Abu Dharr al-Ghifari item)

One of the brightest and most decisive victories against the Byzantine was the sea war of Dhatus-Sawari. The Islamic armada under the command of Abdullah b. Sa'd confronted the big armada under the command of Konstantin, the Byzantine Empire off the shore of Alexandria. The number of the Byzantine ships was between five hundred and eight hundred. The number of the ships the Islamic armada had was two hundred. The Byzantines were defeated heavily in the war. Konstantin had to take refuge in Sicily. (Ibnul-Athir, ibid, III,117-118; H. I. Hasan, I, 266-267) After this victory, The Byzantine lost its superiority to Muslims in the sea; there was no power left to prevent the Islamic armada from reaching Istanbul.

The Emergence of Mischief and Hz. Uthman’s Martyrdom:

Hz. Uthman was the caliph for twelve years. The first six years passed in peace and safety and nobody complained about the practices of the administration. Qurayshis loved him more than Hz. Umar because Hz. Umar was intolerant and harsh in applying the shari’ah. The lenience and tolerance in the nature of Hz. Uthman allowed people to act freely. Some governors who benefitted from his nature started to act irresponsibly. When he could not act fast and decisively in the face of the complaints, an environment of mischief and chaos started to form gradually.

In the Islamic state, which covered a very wide area from Andalusia to the borders of India, there were communities in the status of dhimmi belonging to various religions and races. They revolted against the Islamic state, by which they had been defeated, on any occasion. As for the Jews, they targeted at the basic principles of Islam in order to break up and destroy the Islamic ummah. Some Jewish people who claimed to be Muslims were trying to add fuel to the fire by exacerbating the disorders and trying to spread the mischief everywhere. One of them was Abdullah Ibn Saba, who was a man of resistance and who caused the emergence of effective mischievous movements. Ibn Saba was a Yemeni Jew. He provoked people against Hz. Uthman by using the rightful complaints of the sincere people. On the one hand, he tried to spread the idea of "rij'atu Muhammad" (Muhammad's return); on the other hand, he said that the caliphate was the right of Hz. Ali after the Prophet and that this was determined by Allah, laying the foundations of the Shiite creed. According to his ideas, Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthman seized the right of Hz. Ali. When he agitated people in Kufa, Basra and Damascus, he also tried to benefit from the just opposition of Abu Dharr. (Ibnul Athir, Tarikh, III,154; H. I. Hasan, ibid, I, 368-370)

After a while, Muhammad b. Abi Bakr and Muhammad b. Abi Hudhayfa also started to criticize Hz. Uthman due to his appointing some people. (Ibnul-Athir. ibid, III, 118)

The most important accusation against Hz. Uthman was that he appointed his relatives as governors, granted them a lot of things and that he could not inspect corruption charges. (Suyuti, 174). When Hz. Ali told him about his complaints, he said to Hz. Ali,

'Do you not know that Umar appointed Mughira b. Shu'ba as the governor?'

Hz. Ali said,

'Yes, I do.' He said,

'Then, why do you criticize me that I appointed him as the governor because of his kinship?'

Hz. Ali answered him as follows:

'Umar inspected the governors he appointed closely. When he saw a very small mistake, he would question them and punish them severely.' (Ibnul-Athir, ibid, III, 152)

Thereupon, Hz. Uthman appointed inspectors in order to inspect the gossips about the administrators on the spot and the reasons for those gossips. He sent Muhammad b. Maslama to Kufa, Usama b. Zayd to Basra, Abdullah b. Umar to Damascus and Ammar b. Yasir to Egypt. All of them except Ammar b. Yasir fulfilled their duties and returned. Hz. Uthman made great efforts in order to eliminate unjust practices and to soothe the mischief that had just started and that would cause great problems for the ummah.  

He inspected the complaints very carefully and consulted the notables of the Companions, especially Hz. Ali. However, when a group of people that came to Madinah from Egypt in order to complain about the illegitimate practices of Abdullah b. Sa'd b. Abi Sarh, they were followed by Ibn Abi Sarh's men while they were returning and some of them were killed. This caused the incidents to increase. Thereupon, a group of six hundred people came to Madinah from Egypt and complained to the Companions at the times of prayer about what Abi Sarh did. Talha Ibn Ubaydullah, Hz. Aisha and Hz. Ali went to Hz. Uthman and told him to fulfill the just requests of those people and to unseat Abdullah b. Sa'd b. Abi Sarh and then to judge him. Thereupon, Hz. Uthman asked the Egyptians whom they wanted to be their governor. They said they wanted Muhammad b. Abi Bakr. Hz. Uthman appointed Muhammad b. Abi Bakr as the governor. Muhammad b. Abi Bakr set off from Madinah with those coming from Egypt and a group of Companions. When they were away from Madinah for three days, they saw a man trying to ride his camel as if he was being followed. When they caught the man and questioned him, they found out that he was taking a message to Ibn Abi Sarh. When he was asked who he was, he sometimes said he was Hz. Uthman’s slave and sometimes said he was Marwvan b. Hakam's slave. When they opened the letter they found on him, they saw the statement, 'When Muhammad b. Abi Bakr and such and such people come to you, kill them.' They saw that it was sealed with Hz. Uthman's seal. They returned to Madinah at once and surrounded Hz. Uthman's house. Hz. Ali went to Hz. Uthman’s house with Muhammad Ibn Maslama. Hz. Ali asked him who wrote the letter that had his seal on it. Hz. Uthman said he did not write such a letter and that he did not know that it had been written. Muhammad confirmed Hz. Uthman and said that the person who arranged it was Marwan. When they examined the handwriting, they understood that it belonged to Marwan b. Hakam. They wanted Marwan, who was in Hz. Uthman’s house then, to be delivered to them. Hz. Uthman did not accept it because he feared that they would kill him.

The rebels that surrounded his house did not answer the calls for dialogue and cut off the water supply to his house. Hz. Uthman's advice to soothe the mischief and to eliminate the injustice did not have any effect on them. They said to Hz. Uthman,

"We will not give up until we unseat you from caliphate or kill you or be killed. If those who support you try to prevent us, we will fight them too."

Hz. Uthman told them that he would not give up the duty of caliphate, which Allah placed on him, that death would be more lovable for him than what they wanted and that he did not order anybody to defend him. (Ibnul-Athir, ibid, III, 169-170) He rejected the offers of the Companions to expel the rebels from the city and asked the Companions to promise him not to use weapons.

One day, he appeared before the rebels and asked them, 'Is Ali here? Is Sa'd here?' When they said they were not there, he kept silent for a while and said, 'Is there not anybody here to tell Ali to bring me some water?' When Hz. Ali was informed about it, he sent Hz. Uthman three water bags full of water. When Ali found out that the rebels wanted to kill Hz. Uthman, he told his sons, Hasan and Husayn, to take their swords and wait at Hz. Uthman's door to prevent it. Abdullah Ibn Zubayr also joined them. Some other Companions sent their children there too. The situation was very delicate. Hz. Uthman accepted neither the unjust demands of the rebels nor the offer to expel the rebels that came from Egypt and other regions out of Madinah by fighting them. He acted like that because he did not want to be the first person that shed blood and started mischief in Madinah, the city of the Prophet. It is reported from Hz. Aisha that the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) addressed Hz. Uthman as follows:

"O Uthman! One day, Allah will put a shirt on you. The hypocrites will force you to take it off; do not take it off until you rejoin me."

Hz. Uthman tried to act in accordance with what the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) had told him about those days. He said,

"I am showing patience to do what the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) told me and what I agreed." (Usdul-Ghaba, II, 589; Suyuti, 170; Ibnul-Athir, III, 175)

When he understood that the rebels were determined to kill him, he did not want them to do something like that and be murderers; therefore, he reminded them all the time that a Muslim could be killed only when he committed fornication, killed somebody deliberately and exited the religion of Islam and that he could not be accused of any of them.

(Reference: Samil Islam Ansiklopedisi)



4399-1) Hz. Aisha narrates:

"Hz. Abu Bakr sought permission to enter into the presence of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh). Meanwhile, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) was lying in bed. My cloak was on him. The Messenger of Allah allowed him to come in though he was in bed; they talked and settled an issue. Hz. Abu Bakr left. After a while, Hz. Umar sought permission to enter and he gave Umar permission without changing his position. He settled Umar’s issue and he left.

After a while, Hz. Uthman sought permission to enter. This time, the Messenger of Allah sat up and set right his clothes. He told me, "Straighten your dress." Then, he allowed Hz. Uthman to enter. He settled Uthman’s issue and he left.

When he left, I could not help saying, "O Messenger of Allah! When Abu Bakr and Umar came, you did not stir and did not observe much care. However, when Uthman entered and you got up and set your clothes right. What is the reason for it?" He said,

"Uthman is a very modest person. I feared that he would not tell me about why he came if I did not set my clothes right."

"In another narration, he said, "Should I not show modesty to one whom even the angels show modesty?" [Muslim, Fadailus-Sahaba 36, (4201).][128]

4400-2.) Uthman Ibn Abdillah Ibn Mawhib narrates:

"An Egyptian came to perform hajj. He saw some people sitting. He asked,

"Who are these people?" Somebody said,

"They are the tribe of Quraysh." He said,

"Who is the old man sitting amongst them?" They replied,

"Abdullah Ibn Umar." He approached and said,

"I want to ask you about something; please tell me about it. Do you know that `Uthman fled away on the day of the battle of Uhud?" He said,

"Yes, I do." The man said,

"Do you know that Uthman was absent on the day of the battle of Badr and did not join it?" He said,

"Yes, I do." Upon this reply, the man said,

"Allahu akbar!" and returned. Abdullah Ibn Umar said to him,

"Come here! I will explain." He spoke as follows:

"As for his flight on the day of Uhud, I testify that Allah excused him and forgave him. As a matter of fact, Allah sent the following verse about them:

"Those of you who turned back on the day the two hosts Met,-it was Satan who caused them to fail, because of some (evil) they had done. But Allah Has blotted out (their fault)..." (Aal-i Imran, 3/155).

As for his absence from the battle of Badr,

Ruqayya, the daughter of Allah's Messenger (pbuh) was his wife and she was sick then. The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said to him,

"Stay with Ruqayya. You will receive the same reward and share of the booty as anyone of those who participated in the battle of Badr.  (Thereupon, he stayed in Madinah.)

As for his absence from the Pledge of Ridwan,

Had there been any person in Makkah more respectable than Uthman, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) would have sent him instead of him. The Prophet (pbuh) sent him to Makkah. The Pledge of Ridwan took place after Uthman had gone to Makkah. During the Pledge of Ridwan, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) put his left hand on his right hand and said 'This is for Uthman.' The left hand of the Messenger of Allah for Uthman was better than the right hand of the others.

Then Ibn `Umar said to the man,

'Take what I have told you with you.'" [Bukhari, Fadailul-Ashab 7, Khumus 14, Maghazi 19; Tirmidhi, Manaqib, (3709).] [129]


This narration shows that Hz. Uthman is condemned due to three reasons. However, Abdullah Ibn Umar states that those who condemn him are wrong and explains the reasons as follows:

1. As for his absence in Uhud, his forgiveness about it is definite based on divine revelation; nobody has any right to say anything about. 

2. He did not take part in the Battle of Badr due to the order of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh); it was not his own choice. This order was due to the illness of his wife. The daughter of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) was ill and she needed care. According to a narration of Hakim, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) left Hz. Uthman and Usama Ibn Zayd in Madinah so that they would look after her. When Zayd Ibn Haritha brought the good news about the victory, Ruqayya had died at the age of twenty.  

3. He did not take part in the Pledge of Ridwan due to a legitimate reason. The Messenger of Allah had sent him to Makkah. He went on an official duty. His duty was to tell Makkans that they had come for umrah, not for war. Hz. Uthman was detained and he could not return on time. Meanwhile, the false news that Hz. Uthman was killed and the polytheists would start a war was heard in the encampment of the Muslims. Upon this news, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) started preparations for war and received the famous allegiance from the Muslims that they would not return and escape until they died. It is natural that Hz. Uthman was not present in a pledge that was done due the news that he was killed.  

According to what we learn from a narration recorded by Bazzar, Abdurrahman Ibn Awf once wanted to reprimand Hz. Uthman by mentioning those three issues. Hz. Uthman answered him by making explanations like the ones above. He even said the following related to the Pledge of Ridwan: "The left hand of the Messenger of Allah is better than my right hand." [130]

4401-3.) Abdurrahman Ibn Samura narrates:

"Hz. Uthman brought the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) one thousand dinars while he was equipping Jaysh al-Usra (the army to go to Tabuk) and poured the money in his lap. The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) turned them over in his lap, saying,

'Whatever Uthman does after today will not harm him.' He repeated this sentence twice." [Tirmidhi, Manaqib, (3702).][131]


The phrase "whatever Uthman does will not harm him" mentioned at the end of the hadith means "whatever sins he commits will not harm him." The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) sometimes uttered statements like that to indicate that some deeds done at certain times will be very valuable though little and that it would enable that person to attain Allah’s consent. He stated the following for Anas Ibn Abi Marsad al-Ghanawi, who kept guard at night during the Expedition of Hunayn: "After this service, Paradise has become wajib for you even if you do not do any good deeds from now on." (It was mentioned in hadith numbered 4289.) Similarly, he said to Hatib Ibn Abi Baltaa, "Maybe Allah saw the state of Badr warriors: ‘Do as you wish; I have forgiven you’" because he was a Badr warrior despite Hatib’s act that was regarded as treason by Hz. Umar."

Besides, Hz. Uthman is one of Ashara al-Mubashshara. That is, he was given the glad tiding of Paradise when he was alive. [132]

4402-4.) Abdurrahman Ibn Habbab narrates:

"I witnessed it when the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) was exhorting support for 'Jaysh al-Usra'. Hz. Uthman bin 'Affan stood up and said,

'O Messenger of Allah! I will take the responsibility of one hundred camels, including their saddles and water-skins in the way of Allah.'

Then, the Messenger of Allah urged support for the army again. Hz. Uthman stood up again and said,

'O Messenger of Allah! I will take the responsibility of two hundred camels, including their saddles and water-skins in the way of Allah.'

Then, the Messenger of Allah urged support for the army again. Hz. Uthman stood up again and said,

'O Messenger of Allah! I will take the responsibility of three hundred camels, including their saddles and water-skins in the way of Allah.'

I saw the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) descend from the pulpit saying,

‘It does not matter what 'Uthman does after this (any bad deed he does will not harm him).’" [Tirmidhi, Manaqib, (3701).][133]


This narration shows how generous Hz. Uthman was in donating in the way of Allah; it also shows that donations like that are so acceptable and become a means of forgiveness. The donation sometimes enables the sins committed in the past to be forgiven; it can sometimes be enough for the forgiveness of the sins to be committed in the future. Some scholars interpreted the hadith as follows: "He does not have to do any supererogatory (nafilah) deeds apart from fards after this donation because this deed can replace all nafilah deeds." The glad tiding that Hz. Uthman will die as a believer is seen in the hadith. [134]

[128] İbrahim Canan, Kütüb-i Sitte Tercüme ve Şerhi, Akçağ Publications: 12/459-460.

[129] ibid 12/461.
[130] ibid 12/462.
[131] ibid 12/463.
[132] ibid 12/463.
[133] ibid 12/464.
[134] ibid 12/464.

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