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.).


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