Saturday, 31 December 2016

'Utsman ibn 'Affan (r.a.) & the Ahl al-Bayt

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

It is not the understanding of Sunni Islam that ‘Utsman ibn ‘Affan (r.a.), the third caliph, was hostile towards the Ahl al-Bayt.  The following are some examples to prove the contrary from both Sunni and Shi’ah sources.  This so-called hostility between the Ahl al-Bayt and the Khulafah ar-Rashidin was manufactured after the fact.

Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (r.a.) recorded a narration with its isnad from Muhammad ibn Hathib (r.a.) that he said, “I heard ‘Ali reciting:


Those for whom the Good (Record) from Us has gone before, will be removed far therefrom. (Surah al-Anbiya’:101)

And he said that from amongst them is ‘Utsman.”

This is found in Fadha’il asw Swahabah and is swahih.  Imam ibn Abi ‘Aaswim (r.a.) in his as-Sunnah, Imam ibn Jarir ath-Thabari (r.a.) in his Tafsir and Imam az-Zamakhshari (r.a.) in his Mukhtaswar Kitab al-Muwafaqah, all recorded it as well.  In addition, in Imam ath-Thabari’s (r.a.) Tafsir, a similar atsar is recorded through a different chain of transmission.

It is also recorded by Imam Ahmad (r.a.), in his Fadha’il asw-Swahabah, that ‘Ali (k.w.) said, “I hope that I, ‘Utsman, Thalhah and Zubayr are from people regarding whom Allah Said:


And We shall remove from their hearts any lurking sense of injury: (they will be) brothers (joyfully) facing each other on thrones (of dignity). (Surah al-Hijr:47)

This is also recorded by Imam al-Bayhaqi (r.a.) in his al-I’tiqad.  This was said in response to ‘Utsman’s (r.a.) murder.

ibn Mas’ud (r.a.) said ‘Ali (k.w.) described, him after his passing as, “‘Utsman was the closest of us to his kin and he was among those who believe, then are fearfully aware and do good.  Allah Loves those who do good.”  This is found in al-‘Awaswim min al-Qawaswim.

ibn ‘Abbas (r.a.) himself said, “If all the people had gathered to kill ‘Utsman, they would have been stoned the way the people of Luth were stoned.”  And this is found again in Fadha’il asw-Swahabah.

It is recorded, in Nasikh at-Tawarikh, by Imam Muhammad Taqi Lisan al-Mulk (r.a.), the Shi’ah scholar of sirah and ahadits, that ibn ‘Abbas (r.a.) said, “May Allah have Mercy on Abu ‘Amr,” the kunya of ‘Utsman (r.a.).  “By Allah, he was the noblest and most righteous of men.  He prayed a great deal at the time before dawn, shed many tears when he remembered the Fire, the first to do righteous deeds and to offer help at the time of calamity, beloved, confident and loyal, the one who equipped the army of Tabuk, the son-in-law of Rasulullah.”

It is recorded, in al-Bidayah wa an-Nihayah, that after the death of ‘Umar (r.a.), the shura’ made Abd ar-Rahman ibn ‘Awf (r.a.) responsible for collating their opinions on the best candidate for the next caliph.  Most of them chose ‘Utsman (r.a.).  Abd ar-Rahman ibn ‘Awf (r.a.) asked ‘Ali (k.w.), “If not you, who do you suggest for me?”

‘Ali (k.w.) said “‘Utsman”.

And when Abd ar-Rahman ibn ‘Awf (r.a.) asked ‘Utsman (r.a.) the same question, he replied, “‘Ali.”

In the 6th Letter of Nahj al-Balaghah, it is recorded that ‘Ali (k.w.) said, “Verily, the people who pledged allegiance to Abu Bakr, ‘Umar and ‘Utsman, have pledged allegiance to me based on the same principles as the allegiance to them.  So, anyone who was present has no right to go against his pledge of allegiance, and anyone who was absent has no right to oppose it.  And verily shura’ is only the right of the Muhajirun and the Answar.  So, if they decide upon a man and declare him their imam, then it is with the Pleasure of Allah.  If anyone goes against this decision, then he must be persuaded to follow the rest of the people.  If he persists, then fight with him for leaving that which has been accepted by the believers.  And Allah shall Let him wander misguided and not guide him.”

In another famous narration, a man from the Khwarij came to ‘Ali (k.w.) when he was the caliph, and said to him, “What is wrong with you, that the people disagreed on ‘Utsman and you, while they agreed on Abu Bakr and ‘Umar?”

‘Ali (k.w.) answered, “The people agreed on Abu Bakr and ‘Umar when the people were people like ‘Utsman and I, and they disagreed on ‘Utsman and I when they were people like you and your kind.”

It is recorded in Muswannaf ibn Abi Shaybah that ‘Ali (k.w.) said, “If ‘Utsman ordered me, I would listen and obey.”

In 35 AH, ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas (r.a.) was appointed ‘amir for hajj under the caliphate of ‘Utsman (r.a.).  This is found in both Sunni and Shi’ah sources.  There were also other members of the Ahl al-Bayt appointed to important positions, including Hasan (r.a.) and Husayn (r.a.).  ‘Ali (k.w.) was a personal advisor for the caliph and functioned as the chief qadhi in addition to other responsibilities.  Even Qurb al-Asnad, a major Shi’ah text, acknowledges the fact that in the preceding caliphates, almost all hudud cases were handled by ‘Ali (k.w.).

Another of the Banu Hashim, Shaykh Mughirah ibn Nawfal (r.a.), married a widow of ‘Ali (k.w.) after his death.  He was the grandson of ‘Ali’s (k.w.) uncle, Harits ibn ‘Abd al-Muththalib (r.a.), and acted as governor during the caliphate of ‘Utsman (r.a.).

It is recorded, in Fath al-Bari of Imam ibn Hajr al-‘Asqalani (r.a.), that during the caliphate of ‘Ali (k.w.), some agitators were still upset about ‘Utsman (r.a.) for forcing one reading of the Qur’an and burning all the others.  ‘Ali (k.w.) said, “O people, do not accuse ‘Utsman of extremism, and only say what is good about him.  By Allah, he did what he did openly in front of all of us.  by Allah, if I were given authority, I would do the same as he did.”

Imam ibn ‘Asakir (r.a.) recorded in his Arba’in fi Manaqib Ummat al-Mu’minin, a swahih hadits on the authority of ‘Ali (k.w.) that the Prophet (s.a.w.) said, “May Allah have Mercy on Abu Bakr.  He married to me his daughter, took me to the Abode of Hijrah, and freed Bilal with his own property.  May Allah have Mercy on ‘Umar.  He spoke the truth even if he were to suffer on account of it, and he observed the truth which made people hate him and caused his loss of friends.  May Allah have Mercy on ‘Utsman.  The angels are shy before him.  May Allah have Mercy on ‘Ali.  O Allah, Make him observe the truth wherever he goes.”

It is also recorded in Imam Ahmad’s (r.a.) Fadha’il asw-Swahabah that when Shaykh Muhammad ibn Khaththab (r.a.) asked ‘Ali (k.w.) about ‘Utsman (r.a.), he quoted Surah al-Ma’idah:93: “… when they guard themselves from evil, and believe, and do deeds of righteousness ― (or) again, guard themselves from evil and do good …”  And he did not finish the verse.


On those who believe and do deeds of righteousness there is no blame for what they ate (in the past) when they guard themselves from evil, and believe, and do deeds of righteousness ― (or) again, guard themselves from evil and do good.  For Allah Loveth those who do good. (Surah al-Ma’idah:93)

In Tafsir ibn Katsir, ibn ‘Abbas (r.a.) commented on this verse:


Allah Sets Forth (another) parable of two men: one of them dumb, with no power of any sort; a wearisome burden is he to his master; whichever way he directs him, he brings no good: is such a man equal with one who commands justice, and is on a straight way? (Surah an-Nahl:76)

On the part of the verse, “is such a man equal with one who commands justice, and is on a straight way?” he said, “Such a man was ‘Utsman.”

‘Ali (k.w.) also said about ‘Utsman (r.a.) after his passing, “He is the person who is remembered as ‘Dzu an-Nurayn’ in the gathering of angels, for the Prophet (s.a.w.) married two of his two daughters to him.”  “Dzu an-Nurayn” means “the possessor of two lights”.  This is found in the Shi’ah book, Iswabah ma Iswtiyyab, and in the Sunni Tarikh al-Khulafah and Kanz al-Ummal.

Shi’ah traditions admit that the swalah al-janazah of ‘Abbas ibn ‘Abd al-Muththalib (r.a.) was also lead by ‘Utsman (r.a.), and he was buried in Jannat al-Baqi.  This would not have been possible if there were tensions between him and the Ahl al-Bayt.

‘Utsman (r.a.) was also instrumental in the marriage of ‘Ali (k.w.) to Fathimah (r.a.).  Imam Abu al-Fath al-Arbali (r.a.), a Shi’ah scholar, mentioned this in his Kashf al-Ghummah.  He recorded that ‘Ali (k.w.) said, “Then the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) told me,’ Go now and sell your armour and come back with its value so I may prepare what is good for you and Fathimah.’  So, I went and sold my armour to ‘Utsman ibn ‘Affan for 400 darahim.

When the money was in my hand and the armour was in his hands, ‘Utsman said to me, ‘Abu al-Hasan!  Do you not need the armour more than I do and do you not need the money more than I do?’  I answered with a yes.  So he said, ‘Then take back the armour.  It is a gift from me to you.’  So, I took back the armour and the money and went to the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.).  I handed the armour and the money over to the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) and I told him what happened between ‘Utsman and I.  The Prophet (s.a.w.) then asked Allah for Goodness for ‘Utsman.”

It is also recorded in Kashf al-Ghummah that some people from Iraq entered upon Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin (q.s.) and said impolite things about Abu Bakr (r.a.), ‘Umar (r.a.), and ‘Utsman (r.a.).  When they had completed saying what they wished to, he said, “Tell me, are you from amongst the first Muhajirin, concerning whom Allah (s.w.t.) Says:


… those who were expelled from their homes and their property while seeking Grace from Allah and (His) Good pleasure, and aiding Allah and His Messenger: such are indeed the sincere ones ― (Surah al-Hashr:8)”

They replied in the negative.  Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin (q.s.) then asked if they were from amongst the Answar, concerning whom Allah (s.w.t.) Says:


And those who before them, had homes (in Medina) and had adopted the faith ― show their affection to such as came to them for refuge, and entertain no desire in their hearts for things given to the (latter), but give them preference over themselves even though poverty was their (own lot) ... (Surah al-Hashr:9)

Again, they answered in the negative.  He then said, “I swear, that you are not even worthy of this verse of the Qur’an, wherein Allah (s.w.t.) Says:


And those who came after them say, “Our Lord!  Forgive us, and our brethren who came before us into the faith and leave not in our hearts, rancour (or sense of injury) against those who have believed, Our Lord!  Thou art indeed Full of Kindness, Most Merciful." (Surah al-Hashr:10)”

After saying this, he asked them to leave his presence.

Even the Shi’ah books state that not only did ‘Ali (k.w.) expend much effort in dispersing the siege of ‘Utsman’s (r.a.) house, he also sent Hasan (r.a.) and Husayn (r.a.) to guard the gates, and sent water and provisions.

We know from Hafizh ibn Katsir’s (r.a.) al-Bidayah wa an-Nihayah that the siege continued from the end of Dzu al-Qa’idah until Friday, the 18th of Dzu al-Hijjah.  The day before, ‘Utsman (r.a.) spoke to the Muhajirun and the Answar who were with him in the house.  They were about seven hundred and included ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar (r.a.), ‘Abdullah ibn az-Zubayr (r.a.), Hasan (r.a.) and Husayn (r.a.), and Abu Hurayrah (r.a.) and a group of his clients.  Even Marwan ibn al-Hakam was there.  If he had let them, they would have defended him.  However, he said, “I beg whoever owes me obedience to restrain his hands and to go home.” He said to his slaves, “Whoever sheathes his sword is free.”

When ‘Utsman (r.a.) was martyred, ‘Ali (k.w.) went to him, and fell on him weeping.  He was so still with grief, some said that it seemed as he has joined ‘Utsman (r.a.) in death.  This account is also written in Shi’ah works such as Muruj adz-Dzahab wa Ma’adin al-Jawhar.

It is in both Sunni and Shi’ah works that ‘Ali (k.w.) and his sons cursed the murderers of ‘Utsman (r.a.).  And the Ahl al-Bayt also prayed the swalah al-janazah over him.

We know, for a fact, that ‘Ali (k.w.) named his son “‘Utsman” after ‘Utsman ibn ‘Affan (r.a.).  It was reported from Abu Sa’id al-Khudri (r.a.), that he once saw a beautiful boy near ‘Ali (k.w.), and asked after him.  ‘Ali (k.w.) answered, “This is ‘Utsman ibn ‘Ali.  I named him after ‘Utsman ibn ‘Affan …”

In continuing that tradition, Husayn (r.a.) also named one of his sons “‘Utsman”.  And Sayyid ‘Utsman ibn ‘Aqil ibn Abi Thalib (r.a.) has a son named “‘Utsman’ as well.

Husayn’s (r.a.) daughter, Sayyidah Sakinah (r.a.) was married to Shaykh Zayd ibn ‘Umru ibn ‘Utsman (r.a.), the grandson of ‘Utsman ibn ‘Affan (r.a.).

Hasan’s (r.a.) granddaughter, Sayyidah Umm Qasim bint Hasan ibn Hasan (r.a.), was married to Shaykh Marwan ibn Aban ibn ‘Utsman (r.a.), another grandson of ‘Utsman (r.a.).

Ja’far ibn ‘bi Thalib’s (r.a.), granddaughter, Shaykha Umm Kultsum (r.a.) was married to Aban ibn ‘Utsman (r.a.).

Abbas’ (r.a.) granddaughter, Shaykha Lubabah bint ‘Ubaydullah (r.a.) was married to Shaykh Walid ibn ‘Utbah, the grandson of Abu Sufyan (r.a.).  ‘Abbas (r.a.) and Abu Sufyan (r.a.) were friends from the beginning, before they converted to Islam.  When we dig further, we find that they were close and inter-related, as were most of the close companions of the Prophet (s.a.w.).


‘Utsman (r.a.) Facilitated 'Ali's (k.w.) Marriage to Fathimah (r.a.)

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

‘Utsman (r.a.) was also instrumental in the marriage of ‘Ali (k.w.) to Fathimah (r.a.).  Imam Abu al-Fath al-Arbali (r.a.), a Shi’ah scholar, mentioned this in his Kashf al-Ghummah.  He recorded that ‘Ali (k.w.) said, “Then the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) told me,’ Go now and sell your armour and come back with its value so I may prepare what is good for you and Fathimah.’  So, I went and sold my armour to ‘Utsman ibn ‘Affan for 400 darahim.

When the money was in my hand and the armour was in his hands, ‘Utsman said to me, ‘Abu al-Hasan!  Do you not need the armour more than I do and do you not need the money more than I do?’  I answered with a yes.  So, he said, ‘Then take back the armour.  It is a gift from me to you.’  So, I took back the armour and the money and went to the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.).  I handed the armour and the money over to the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) and I told him what happened between ‘Utsman and I.  The Prophet (s.a.w.) then asked Allah for Goodness for ‘Utsman.”


'Ali ibn Abi Thalib (k.w.): ‘Utsman (r.a.) was Dzu an-Nurayn

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

‘Ali (k.w.) said about ‘Utsman (r.a.), after his passing, “He is the person who is remembered as ‘Dzu an-Nurayn’ in the gathering of angels, for the Prophet (s.a.w.) married two of his two daughters to him.”  “Dzu an-Nurayn” means “the possessor of two lights”.  This is found in the Shi’ah book, Iswabah ma Iswtiyyab, and in the Sunni Tarikh al-Khulafah and Kanz al-Ummal.


'Ali ibn Abi Thalib (k.w.) Defended 'Utsman's (r.a.) Decision to Standardise the Readings of the Qur'an

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

It is recorded, in Fath al-Bari of Imam ibn Hajr al-‘Asqalani (r.a.), that during the caliphate of ‘Ali (k.w.), some agitators were still upset about ‘Utsman (r.a.) for forcing one reading of the Qur’an and burning all the others.  ‘Ali (k.w.) said, “O people, do not accuse ‘Utsman of extremism, and only say what is good about him.  By Allah, he did what he did openly in front of all of us.  by Allah, if I were given authority, I would do the same as he did.”


The Family of 'Utsman ibn 'Affan (r.a.) & the Ahl al-Bayt had Close Ties

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

In 35 AH, ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas (r.a.) was appointed ‘amir for hajj under the caliphate of ‘Utsman (r.a.).  This is found in both Sunni and Shi’ah sources.  There were also other members of the Ahl al-Bayt appointed to important positions, including Hasan (r.a.) and Husayn (r.a.).  ‘Ali (k.w.) was a personal advisor for the caliph and functioned as the chief qadhi in addition to other responsibilities.  Even Qurb al-Asnad, a major Shi’ah text, acknowledges the fact that in the preceding caliphates, almost all hudud cases were handled by ‘Ali (k.w.).

Another of the Banu Hashim, Shaykh Mughirah ibn Nawfal (r.a.), married a widow of ‘Ali (k.w.) after his death.  He was the grandson of ‘Ali’s (k.w.) uncle, Harits ibn ‘Abd al-Muththalib (r.a.), and acted as governor during the caliphate of ‘Utsman (r.a.).

Shi’ah traditions admit that the swalah al-janazah of ‘Abbas ibn ‘Abd al-Muththalib (r.a.) was also lead by ‘Utsman (r.a.), and he was buried in Jannat al-Baqi.  This would not have been possible if there were tensions between him and the Ahl al-Bayt.

We know, for a fact, that ‘Ali (k.w.) named his son “‘Utsman” after ‘Utsman ibn ‘Affan (r.a.).  It was reported from Abu Sa’id al-Khudri (r.a.), that he once saw a beautiful boy near ‘Ali (k.w.), and asked after him.  ‘Ali (k.w.) answered, “This is ‘Utsman ibn ‘Ali.  I named him after ‘Utsman ibn ‘Affan …”

In continuing that tradition, Husayn (r.a.) also named one of his sons “‘Utsman”.  And Sayyid ‘Utsman ibn ‘Aqil ibn Abi Thalib (r.a.) has a son named “‘Utsman’ as well.

Husayn’s (r.a.) daughter, Sayyidah Sakinah (r.a.) was married to Shaykh Zayd ibn ‘Umru ibn ‘Utsman (r.a.), the grandson of ‘Utsman ibn ‘Affan (r.a.).

Hasan’s (r.a.) granddaughter, Sayyidah Umm Qasim bint Hasan ibn Hasan (r.a.), was married to Shaykh Marwan ibn Aban ibn ‘Utsman (r.a.), another grandson of ‘Utsman (r.a.).

Ja’far ibn ‘bi Thalib’s (r.a.), granddaughter, Shaykha Umm Kultsum (r.a.) was married to Aban ibn ‘Utsman (r.a.).

Abbas’ (r.a.) granddaughter, Shaykha Lubabah bint ‘Ubaydullah (r.a.) was married to Shaykh Walid ibn ‘Utbah, the grandson of Abu Sufyan (r.a.).  ‘Abbas (r.a.) and Abu Sufyan (r.a.) were friends from the beginning, before they converted to Islam.  When we dig further, we find that they were close and inter-related, as were most of the close companions of the Prophet (s.a.w.).


'Ali ibn Abi Thalib (k.w.) on the State of the Ummah during the Khulafah ar-Rashidin

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

In another famous narration, a man from the Khwarij came to ‘Ali (k.w.) when he was the caliph, and said to him, “What is wrong with you, that the people disagreed on ‘Utsman and you, while they agreed on Abu Bakr and ‘Umar?”

‘Ali (k.w.) answered, “The people agreed on Abu Bakr and ‘Umar when the people were people like ‘Utsman and I, and they disagreed on ‘Utsman and I when they were people like you and your kind.”


'Ali ibn Abi Thalib (k.w.) on the Principle of the Bay'ah

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

In the 6th Letter of Nahj al-Balaghah, it is recorded that ‘Ali (k.w.) said, “Verily, the people who pledged allegiance to Abu Bakr, ‘Umar and ‘Utsman, have pledged allegiance to me based on the same principles as the allegiance to them.  So, anyone who was present has no right to go against his pledge of allegiance, and anyone who was absent has no right to oppose it.  And verily shura’ is only the right of the Muhajirun and the Answar.  So, if they decide upon a man and declare him their imam, then it is with the Pleasure of Allah.  If anyone goes against this decision, then he must be persuaded to follow the rest of the people.  If he persists, then fight with him for leaving that which has been accepted by the believers.  And Allah shall Let him wander misguided and not guide him.”


'Ali ibn Abi Thalib (k.w.) & 'Utsman ibn 'Affan (r.a.) Preferred the Other to be Caliph

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

It is recorded, in al-Bidayah wa an-Nihayah, that after the death of ‘Umar (r.a.), the shura’ made Abd ar-Rahman ibn ‘Awf (r.a.) responsible for collating their opinions on the best candidate for the next caliph.  Most of them chose ‘Utsman (r.a.).  Abd ar-Rahman ibn ‘Awf (r.a.) asked ‘Ali (k.w.), “If not you, who do you suggest for me?”

‘Ali (k.w.) said “‘Utsman”.

And when Abd ar-Rahman ibn ‘Awf (r.a.) asked ‘Utsman (r.a.) the same question, he replied, “‘Ali.”


Imam Muhammad Taqi Lisan al-Mulk (r.a.) on 'Utsman ibn 'Affan (r.a.)

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

It is recorded, in Nasikh at-Tawarikh, by Imam Muhammad Taqi Lisan al-Mulk (r.a.), the Shi’ah scholar of sirah and ahadits, that ibn ‘Abbas (r.a.) said, “May Allah have Mercy on Abu ‘Amr,” the kunya of ‘Utsman (r.a.).  “By Allah, he was the noblest and most righteous of men.  He prayed a great deal at the time before dawn, shed many tears when he remembered the Fire, the first to do righteous deeds and to offer help at the time of calamity, beloved, confident and loyal, the one who equipped the army of Tabuk, the son-in-law of Rasulullah.”


'Ali ibn Abi Thalib (k.w.) on 'Utsman ibn 'Affan's (r.a.) Murder

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

It is recorded by Imam Ahmad (r.a.), in his Fadha’il asw-Swahabah, that ‘Ali (k.w.) said, “I hope that I, ‘Utsman, Thalhah and Zubayr are from people regarding whom Allah Said:


And We shall remove from their hearts any lurking sense of injury: (they will be) brothers (joyfully) facing each other on thrones (of dignity). (Surah al-Hijr:47)

This is also recorded by Imam al-Bayhaqi (r.a.) in his al-I’tiqad.  This was said in response to ‘Utsman’s (r.a.) murder.

ibn Mas’ud (r.a.) said ‘Ali (k.w.) described, him after his passing as, “‘Utsman was the closest of us to his kin and he was among those who believe, then are fearfully aware and do good.  Allah Loves those who do good.”  This is found in al-‘Awaswim min al-Qawaswim.

ibn ‘Abbas (r.a.) himself said, “If all the people had gathered to kill ‘Utsman, they would have been stoned the way the people of Luth were stoned.”  And this is found again in Fadha’il asw-Swahabah.

Even the Shi’ah books state that not only did ‘Ali (k.w.) expend much effort in dispersing the siege of ‘Utsman’s (r.a.) house, he also sent Hasan (r.a.) and Husayn (r.a.) to guard the gates, and sent water and provisions.

We know from Hafizh ibn Katsir’s (r.a.) al-Bidayah wa an-Nihayah that the siege continued from the end of Dzu al-Qa’idah until Friday, the 18th of Dzu al-Hijjah.  The day before, ‘Utsman (r.a.) spoke to the Muhajirun and the Answar who were with him in the house.  They were about seven hundred and included ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar (r.a.), ‘Abdullah ibn az-Zubayr (r.a.), Hasan (r.a.) and Husayn (r.a.), and Abu Hurayrah (r.a.) and a group of his clients.  Even Marwan ibn al-Hakam was there.  If he had let them, they would have defended him.  However, he said, “I beg whoever owes me obedience to restrain his hands and to go home.” He said to his slaves, “Whoever sheathes his sword is free.”

When ‘Utsman (r.a.) was martyred, ‘Ali (k.w.) went to him, and fell on him weeping.  He was so still with grief, some said that it seemed as he has joined ‘Utsman (r.a.) in death.  This account is also written in Shi’ah works such as Muruj adz-Dzahab wa Ma’adin al-Jawhar.

It is in both Sunni and Shi’ah works that ‘Ali (k.w.) and his sons cursed the murderers of ‘Utsman (r.a.).  And the Ahl al-Bayt also prayed the swalah al-janazah over him.


'Ali ibn Abi Thalib (k.w.) Said 'Utsman (r.a.) was from the People of Paradise

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (r.a.) recorded a narration with its isnad from Muhammad ibn Hathib (r.a.) that he said, “I heard ‘Ali reciting:


Those for whom the Good (Record) from Us has gone before, will be removed far therefrom. (Surah al-Anbiya’:101)

And he said that from amongst them is ‘Utsman.”

This is found in Fadha’il asw Swahabah and is swahih.  Imam ibn Abi ‘Aaswim (r.a.) in his as-Sunnah, Imam ibn Jarir ath-Thabari (r.a.) in his Tafsir and Imam az-Zamakhshari (r.a.) in his Mukhtaswar Kitab al-Muwafaqah, all recorded it as well.  In addition, in Imam ath-Thabari’s (r.a.) Tafsir, a similar atsar is recorded through a different chain of transmission.


Khwaja ‘Ubaydullah al-Ahrar (q.s.): There is No Progress in the Path without Shari'ah

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

Khwaja ‘Ubaydullah al-Ahrar (q.s.) stated, “The belief held by the disciples making progress in this path is the belief of Ahl as-Sunnah wa al-Jama’ah.  Their riyadhat is to obey the shari’ah.  People who do not perform ‘ibadah will not receive any faydh nor will they make any progress.  The end of this path is to forget about creatures and to attain permanently to the Divine Presence.  This happiness cannot be attained without excessive affection and jadzbah, attraction.  The most powerful vehicle that will make one attain this blessing is the murshid's swuhbah.”


The Need for People to Be There

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

Islam is not an easy religion to convert into.  It is ironic that although Islam as a faith is an easy religion, the circumstances of the current socio-political climate and especially the Muslims themselves do not make it easy.  We have a lot of self-styled da’wah gurus with their pictures of the latest trophy convert.  But there is not a lot of follow-up.  Muslims are not calling people to Islam; they are calling people to whatever mistaken ideology they subscribe to.

There is a need for people to be there.  And there should be an organised “Be There” Programme to have a support network that will be there when these challenges inevitably manifest themselves.  And this will happen after conversion.  This should be an independent initiative to follow-up with the people who attend the classes, the new Muslims, the non-Muslims and also the lapsed Muslims.  Although not every non-Muslim who attends a class will convert, the fact that they are attending the class in the first place means that they are probably considering it.  It is only proper.

The main purpose of such a programme is to provide a supplementary social network for the mu’allaf.  They must feel that they are not alone.  They must have the confidence that the volunteers have the experience and the empathy; that they have literally been there, done that.  Confidence is infectious.  In short, we are engaged in rudimentary social-engineering.

One of the issues that we need to address is fixing the social support network, repairing the relationship with the family.  Many Muslim organisations around the world make the hardline mistake of encouraging the convert to break away from their ‘kuffar’ family and friends.  This is how cults operate.  This is not the sunnah of the Prophet (s.a.w.).  He spent a lot of time trying to repair that relationship by the best of manners, and in doing so, call them to Islam.

Normally, the dialogue regarding those who embrace Islam is focused on why they converted.  This is very much a feel-good exercise for the community at large.  When someone converts to Islam, the immediate response from the Muslim community is overwhelmingly welcoming.  And then, they are forgotten.  We need to move away from that shallow dialogue to a deeper understanding.  Much more is learnt on why people stay Muslim.

The shahadah is just two lines.  It is the declaration of the Unity of Divinity and the acknowledgement that Muhammad (s.a.w.) is the final Prophet and Messenger of God.  But it elicits an entire change of worldview and all its ramifications.  Whatever the reason, the conversion is not an event.  It is a process and it may be a long, lonely one wracked with doubt, challenges and alienation from the things that once brought comfort.

The main reason why converts leave Islam is a failure of the social network.  When someone converts to Islam, they face a distancing of their relationship with their parents, their family and their friends.  Added to that is pressure from the Muslim side to ‘conform’ to their idea of what Islam is.  People have lost their jobs, had custody issues with regards their children, and been subject to emotional blackmail and abuse.  To the non-Muslim family, this looks like a painful rejection of family and cultural values for the other.

There are many Muslim converts who leave Islam on a daily basis for various reasons.  For some, they declare their apostasy and they become a counselling case and later a statistic.  But there is a larger number that have simply stopped practicing or were never practicing.  Perhaps faith did not take root or perhaps they simply stopped believing.  It may be the lack of education and that is an affliction of the Muslims in general.  It may be nostalgia for their pre-Islamic lifestyle and friends and a desire to restore that relationship with the family.  But there are legitimate doubts regarding the religion itself, oft times due to the examples of Muslims around them.  It is easy to say that there is a difference between Islam and the Muslims but it is difficult to reconcile.  There is much to criticise about the Muslim community and institutions.

People come to Islam thinking that the crisis of faith will finally be resolved and they will finally have all the answers.  Truth be told, the Muslims themselves do not have that.  What they have been given is actually the correct questions.  The answers themselves come eventually through trial and tribulation.  Why it was so difficult to be a Muslim?  How else could we begin to understand the tremendous Gift we have Received from God?

Muslims wittingly or unwittingly pressure those who have embraced Islam to leave all that was of their cultural and social identity and conform to the expectations of the ethnic majority be it Arab, Indian, Malay or others.  But Islam was never about that.  This only deepens the sense of alienation and loss.  And it becomes a barrier for those who might otherwise consider the Truth of Islam.  As a result, many converts suffer from an identity crisis in one sense or another.

Converts tend to have similar stories in their personal journey to Islam.  No matter the different backgrounds and events may differ, the personal struggles and questions about faith and God and existence are the same.  They are universal questions central to all of us.  In that, it is important that the people that brought them to Islam, that are the witnesses to their conversion and are there understand this and work together to help those who have come along and in the process, enhance their faith.

There are many challenges facing the Muslims but the convert is assailed with the requirements of “shari’ah”; not the shari’ah of Islam, but the shari’ah of the imagination of small-minded people.  Music is suddenly problematic.  Facial hair is a serious issue.  The type of clothes, whether it is permissible to greet the family during festive events, attendance of family functions, photographs, clothes, meeting people of the opposite gender, circumcision, myriad political events in other parts of the world are all suddenly thrust upon the convert.

The Prophet (s.a.w.) did not call people to Islam by talking about the Law.  He appealed to the soul.  It was spirituality that brought most people to Islam.  It was love of God, love of the Prophet (s.a.w.) and love of his ummah that allowed that faith to take root and flourish.  The average convert is inundated with information by Muslims and not facts.  That information is tainted with prejudice, ignorance and arrogance.  He is bombarded with labels: Sunni, Shi’a, Sufi, Salafi, Hanafi, Shafi’i, Asha’ari, Qadiani…  All that matters is Islam.  Nobody embraced Islam to take sides.


The Lie that Yazid ibn Mu'awiyah is Guaranteed Jannah

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

One of the great lies the Wahhabis spread is that Yazid ibn Mu’awiyah was guaranteed Forgiveness because he led the first Muslim invasion of Constantinople.  They cite the hadits recorded, in Swahih al-Bukhari, and on the authority of Khalid ibn Madan (r.a.).



‘Umayr ibn al-Aswad al-Ansi (r.a.) told Khalid ibn Madan (r.a.) that he went to ‘Ubadah ibn asw-Swamit (r.a.) while he was staying in his house, at the sea-shore of Hims, with his wife, Umm Haram (r.a.).  ‘Umayr (r.a.) said. “Umm Haram informed us that she heard the Prophet (s.a.w.) saying, ‘Paradise is Granted to the first batch of my followers who will undertake a naval expedition.’”

Umm Haram (r.a.) added, “I said, ‘O Allah’s Messenger (s.a.w.), will I be amongst them?’

He replied, ‘You will be amongst them.’  The Prophet (s.a.w.) then said, ‘The first army amongst my followers who will invade Caesar’s City will be Forgiven their sins.’

I asked, 'Will I be one of them, O Allah’s Messenger (s.a.w.)?’  He replied in the negative.”

Here are some contentions about this hadits, and we will consider them methodically.

Firstly, the words used in the hadits were not “Constantinople,” as popularly thought, but “Caesar’s City.”  It is thought that Shaykh ibn-Taymiyyah (r.a.) was one of the first to misquote this hadits and conflate that term with the city of Constantinople, seat of the Byzantine Empire.  One argument, from Imam ibn-Hajr al-‘Asqalani’s (r.a.Fath al-Bari, is that “Caesar’s City” actually referred to the city of Homs, ancient Emesa, in Syria, since Emperor Heraclius II was there when the Prophet (s.a.w.) made this statement.  But this is weak.  Emesa was a military camp for the Heraclius II, a forward staging base for his campaigns in Anatolia and the east.  It was certainly never intended to be the seat of the Eastern Roman Empire.  Regardless, Yazid never undertook a military expedition to Emesa, and the city was taken peacefully by Abu ‘Ubaydah ibn al-Jarrah (r.a.).

Regarding Constantinople itself, the first Muslim army to directly invade it was led by ‘Abd ar-Rahman ibn Khalid ibn al-Walid (r.a.), during the Era of Mu’awiyah (r.a.).  This was recorded by Imam at-Tirmidzi (r.a.) and Imam Abu Dawud (r.a.).  This occurred in 44 AH, which is long before Yazid’s expedition.

Yazid only led the expedition to Constantinople in 55 AH, eleven years later.  He was forced to do this by his father, Mu’awiyah (r.a.).  When Yazid was commanded to lead this army, he recited couplets, saying:

“I do not want to bother with the fever and difficulties the army will face at Dayr Marwan!
Indeed, I am sitting on a high mattress and Umm Kultsum is with me!”

When Mu’awiyah (r.a.) came to know of this, he was furious and made Yazid commandeer the very next expedition.  By then, there had already been seven expeditions, as recorded in al-Bidayah wa an-Nihayah, and elsewhere.

Another contention is that it is the opinion of some ‘ulama that the hadits actually meant the first army to conquer Constantinople, and not merely attack it.  If that is so, this would then refer to the Ottoman army of Sultan Muhammad al-Fatih (r.a.), who conquered Constantinople in 857 AH.  And this would be the likelier intent.

Another point to consider, regarding the matn of this hadits, is that the Prophet (s.a.w.) only spoke of sins committed prior to the expedition.  There is nothing here about future sins.  Yazid’s rule and its subsequent horrors occurred long after the expedition.

All that aside, examining the sanad, we find that there is only one chain of transmission, and every narrator is Syrian, and a partisan of Banu Umayyah.  This was a period where Sham was a place of fabricated ahadits.

Another contention is that the sanad includes, in its chain of narrators, Abu Khalid Tsawr ibn Yazid ibn Ziyad al-Kula’i.  This is the same Tsawr ibn Yazid who was in conflict with Imam Malik (r.a.) and had been accused of belonging to the Qadariyyah sect.  He had to leave Hijaz because of this, and Imam Malik (r.a.) refused to narrate ahadits from him.  He eventually moved to Homs, but was later thrown out of Homs because of his incendiary opinions on several matters, particularly that of the Ahl al-Bayt.  He then moved to Jerusalem.

Imam ibn Sa’d (r.a.) wrote, in his Thabaqat al-Kubra’, “The ancestors of Tsawr ibn Yazid were, along with Mu’awiyyah, at the Battle of Siffin and they were killed by the forces of ‘Ali ibn Abi Thalib.  Whenever this Tsawr ibn Yazid heard mention of ‘Ali, he used to say, ‘I do not like to hear the name of the one who killed my ancestors.’”

Imam Yahya ibn Ma’in (r.a.), the companion of Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (r.a.), and one of the great authorities of Rijal, wrote, “This Tsawr ibn Yazid was included in that party which used to curse ‘Ali ibn Abi Thalib.”

Imam ibn Hajr al-‘Asqalani (r.a.) wrote, in his Tahdzib at-Tahdzib, “Tsawr ibn Yazid ibn Ziyad was of the Qadariyyah.  His grandfather sided with Mu’awiyah in Siffin, and he was killed in this battle.  When he referred to ‘Ali, he would say ‘I do not deem a person that killed my grandfather to be my friend.’”

This alone is enough to throw out this hadits and discount it.  Why is Imam al-Bukhari (r.a.) recording a hadits that has an ahad chain that includes a man who hated the family of the Prophet (s.a.w.), when Imam Malik (r.a.), the contemporary of this person, accused him of kufr and refused to narrate ahadits from him?