Mar 27, 2012

Learn about Uthman Ibn Affan (rA)

By Umm Amin 


The third caliph to lead the Muslim ummah was Uthman ibn Affan (may Allah be pleased with him). Uthman was the fourth Muslim to accept Islam, and he hastened to follow the Prophet Mohammad sallalahu alayhi wa salaam during times of struggle as well as affluence. Uthman ibn Affan sought the rewards of the Hereafter throughout his life.

Uthman, Companion of the Prophet Mohammad sallalahu alayhi wa salaam 
Although Uthman came from a wealthy, prestigious family, his submission to Islam came with oppression and challenges. Uthman’s father was a wealthy merchant, and he taught his son to be a shrewd trader. Uthman learned to manage business and increase his profits. Although Uthman grew up with an easy life, he disliked seeing poverty and suffering. As a result, much of his wealth was spent on feeding the poor and allaying the difficulties of the needy.

After becoming Muslim Uthman’s uncle censured him for abandoning worship of his family’s idols. Despite beatings, oppression, and torture, Uthman stood firm upon his faith and rejected turning back to the polytheistic faith of the Quraish. Uthman was part of the delegation that emigrated to Abyssinia, and later to Al-Madina. Despite these difficulties, Uthman invested in the wealth of the Qur’aan – he was one of the Muslims to learn the entire Qur’aan by memory, and recite it back to the Prophet Mohammad sallalahu alayhi wa salaam during his Prophethood. (As-sallabi, 2007; Ahmad, 2004).

Two Lights: Dhun Noorayn
Uthman was very blessed by that he earned a special title – Dhun Noorayn. His love for the Prophet Mohammad sallalahu alayhi wa salaam was reciprocal. The Prophet Mohammad’s daughters had been given in marriage to the family of Abu Lahab. When Surat al Masad was revealed, the Prophet Mohammad sallalahu alayhi wa salaam’s daughters Ruqayah and Umm Kulthoom were divorced from their polytheistic husbands. Immediately, Uthman was overjoyed to marry Ruqayah, and they built a happy life together. They went on to have a child named Abdullah. Nonetheless, Uthman was tested with loss and grief when his wife succumbed to illness during the Battle of Badr. His son also passed away at 6 years of life. When Uthman remarried, he was blessed with Umm Kulthoom. Later when Umm Kulthoom died of illness, the Prophet Mohammad sallalahu alayhi wa salaam pledged that if he had another daughter available for marriage he would have offered her to Uthman. On account of Uthman’s marriage to two distinct daughters of the Prophet Mohammad (sallalahu alayhi wa salaam), Uthman was given the nickname Dhun Noorayn, the Man with Two Lights. (As-Sallabi, 2007; Ahmad, 2004).

Sowing a Rich Return
Although Uthman ibn Affan was known for his wealth and knowledge, he wisely invested in the Hereafter. When the Muslim community was poor, weak, and struggling, the Muslims of Al-Madinah had to pay exorbitant prices for water from a well. The owner was only willing to sell half of the well, so Uthman made the purchase so the Muslims could have free use of the well’s water every other day. Similarly, when the Prophet Muhammad sallalahu alayhi wa salaam came to Al-Madinah and built a mosque, Uthman purchased a house nearby so the mosque could be expanded to accommodate the growing Muslim community. As the Romans were led by Hercules, Uthman raced to prepare the Muslim army for Tabuk by providing 940 camels, 60 horses, and 10,000 dinars to help finance the excursion! Another time, Uthman obtained a caravan of items and many merchants came to offer him competitive prices so they could in turn resell the goods. Despite the top quotes they provided, Uthman refused them all stating that nobody could match Allah’s price. In turn, he offered the merchandise to the poor and needy Muslims free from charge. (As-Sallabi, 2007; Ahmad, 2004). Clearly, Uthman was focused on reaping rewards attainable only in the Hereafter.

Khalifah of the Muslims
When Uthman ibn Affan (may Allah be pleased with him) took over the caliphate of the Muslim ummah, the Muslims were enjoying an era of prosperity. The Muslims were successful in conquests to Iran, Iran, Azerbaijan, Egypt, North Africa, and Syria, overcoming the Romans and Byzantines as well as establishing a naval fleet. Muslim judicial and financial systems were established. Although Uthman’s father died in the times of Jahiliya, his mother became Muslimah during his caliphate, and when she died he carried her to her grave. (As-Sallabi, 2007).

Despite the flourishing state of affairs, opponents and hypocrites spread out rumors to weaken the thriving Muslim community. These rumors included accusations that Uthman’s leadership was spoiled with nepotism in which appointed family members unjustly abused Muslims. These false allegations claimed Uthman was stealing from the Muslim treasury for his wealthy family! The exaggerations surmounted until an angry mob accused Uthman of not following the way of the Prophet Mohammad (may the please and blessings of Allah be upon him). Subhan Allah wa ta alaa, after the group broke into his house, they killed Uthman while he recited Qur’aan. The irrational crowd rushed to his cabinet to recover the funds. Inside his locked box, they only found Uthman’s handwritten note,

“This is Uthman’s testimony before Allah: In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. Uthman ibn Affan (may Allah be pleased with him) bears witness that there is no true deity but Allah and that Muhammad is Allah’s Messenger. Paradise is true and Hell is true, and Allah will resurrect everyone on the Day of Judgment, for Allah will never break His promise. He lives by that, dies with that and resurrects believing in that.” (Ahmad, 2004)

Although Uthman was falsely accused, he remained firm on Islam to the end of his life and refrained from harming others. When a person is firm upon the truth, they uphold it in all that they do even when those around them have forgotten or missed the basic elements of Islam. Doubts, misinformation, angry gangs, and transgression may have taken his life, but they did not tarnish Uthman’s faith in Islam. Dismally, with Uthman’s murder the Muslim era of prosperity transitioned toward turmoil and an internal community fitna fomented.

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Ahmad, A. (2004). Uthman bin Affan: the Third Caliph of Islam. Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: Maktaba Dar-us-salam.
As-sallabi, A. (2007). Biography of Uthman ‘Ibn Affan. Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: Maktaba Dar-us-salam.


Jazakallah super article.

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