Hazrat Usman Ghani (RA)
“Certainly was Allah pleased with the believers when they pledged allegiance to you, [O Muhammad], under the tree, and He knew what was in their hearts, so He sent down tranquillity upon them and rewarded them with an imminent conquest” (Holy Quran: 48:18)
Life Before acceptance of Islam
Hadrat Usman (RA) was born in 573 A.C. He belonged to a noble family of Quraish in Mecca. His ancestral pedigree joins with that of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) in the fifth generation. He was from the “Umayyah” family of Quraish, which was a well reputed and honourable family of Mecca during the pre-Islamic days.
He was known by the name “Usman (RA) ibn ‘Affan”. Hadrat Usman (RA) was one of the few persons of Mecca who knew reading and writing. When he grew up, he started business in cloth, which made him very rich. He used his money in good ways and always helped the poor. Usman (RA) was a soft natured and kindhearted man. He did not hesitate to spend any amount of money on seeing a man in trouble in order to remove his misery. For his noble qualities the Meccans had great respect for him.
Acceptance of Islam
Hadrat Usman (RA) accepted Islam when Abu Bakr (RA) preached to him. He was one of those Muslims who accepted Islam in its very early days. When he accepted Islam, the Quraish who once loved Usman (RA) became his enemies. Even his relatives like Hakam (one of his uncles) began to rebuke him and chastised him severely.
Usman (RA) “Dhun-nurain”
Every sane father will think a million times before marrying off his daughter to a man. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) never thought twice before marrying two of his beloved daughters, one after the other, to Hazrat Usman!
One of the daughters of the Holy Prophet (PBUH), Hazrat Ruqayyah (R.A.) was married to one of the sons of Abu Lahb (an arch-enemy of Islam). When the Holy Prophet (PBUH) started to preach Islam, Abu Lahb asked his son ‘Utbah to divorce her. Then the Holy Prophet married her to Hadrat Usman (RA).
Hazrat Usman (RA) could not participate in the first battle of Islam against non-believers of Mecca at Badr, because his wife was very ill. She died before the Muslims returned from Badr after the victory.
After the death of Hadrat Ruqayyah (RA), the Holy Prophet (PBUH) married his next daughter, Hazrat Umm Kulsum (RA) with him and he was given the title of “Dhun-Nurain” i.e., the man with two lights.
After Hazrat Umm Kulsum (RA) also died, After her death, the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) is reported to have remarked: “Even if I had forty daughters, I would have given all of them in marriage to Usman RA (one after the other), if each one had died.”!
Emigration to Abyssinia
When life in Mecca became hard for the Muslims, he went to the Holy Prophet (PBUH) and sought permission to take refuge in Abyssinia along with other Muslims. The permission was granted. Hadrat Uthman and his wife crossed the Red Sea with other Muslims and migrated to Abyssinia. At the time of his migration the Holy Prophet (PBUH) remarked: “Uthman is the first man of my Ummah to migrate (for sake of Allah) with his family.” He stayed there for a couple of months and came back to Mecca when he was wrongly informed by somebody that the Quraish had accepted Islam.
Character and Piety
Hadrat Usman (RA) was a very pious Companion and a man of high character. He was the most modest of all the Companions. Once the Holy Prophet (PBUH) was sitting with some of his Companions and the shin of his leg was not covered. In the meantime somebody informed him about the arrival of Hazrat Abu Bakr and then Hazrat Umar (RA) but he kept his shin uncovered. Then he was informed about the arrival of Hazrat Usman (RA). The Holy Prophet (PBUH) immediately covered it and remarked: “Even the angels have regard for the modesty of Uthman”
“Usman (RA) is the most modest of my Companions,” said the Holy Prophet (PBUH)
He used to fear Allah very much. Tears used to roll down his face because of Allah’s fear. Whenever the consequences to be faced in the grave were described before him, he used to weep so much that his beard would get wet with tears. Sometimes he wept and cried seeing a corpse or a grave because of fear of Allah. He used to say, “Grave is the first stage among all the stages of the Hereafter. If a person is successful there, he would be successful on the Day of Judgment too. If a person faces difficulty in the grave, other stages would also be difficult for him.”
He used to do household work although he was one of the wealthiest persons in the whole of Arabia. He would not wake his slave to take any help from him when he got up to perform “Tahajjud” Salat.
Hadrat Usman (RA) was very soft spoken. If any person talked to him in a harsh tone he always replied gently. Once he was delivering “Khutbah” of Jumu’a Salat, a person shouted during the Sermon: “O Uthman, repent for Allah’s sake and keep away from going wrong.” He immediately turned his face towards the Qiblah and exclaimed, “0 Allah, I am the first to repent before Thee and to turn towards Thee.”
He never took any allowance from the “Bait ul-Mal” for his services as a Khalifah. Hadrat ‘Umar got 5,000 darhams annually as an allowance from the Public Treasury, thus Hadrat Usman (RA) contributed 60,000 Drahms after his 12 years service, towards the Public Fund.
He was the most generous among all the wealthy Companions and never hesitated to spend his money for the cause of Islam and Muslims. His house was one of the biggest in Medina, which he built near the mosque of the Holy Prophet. He established a library in the back of his house for the education of the Muslims.
When the Muhajirin (Emigrants) from Mecca came to Medina, they had great difficulty in getting drinking water. Hadrat Uthman (RA) bought a well named “bi’r-i-Rumah” from a Jew for twenty thousand dirhams for free use of Muslims. That was the first trust ever made in the history of Islam. The Holy Prophet (PBUH) gave him the glad tidings of Paradise for this act.
Picture of “bi’r-i-Rumah”
When the number of Muslims increased, the Prophet’s mosque became too small to accommodate the increasing population, it was Uthman (R.A.) who responded to the Prophet’s call and bought land for its extension. When the Holy Prophet (PBUH) went to the expedition of Tabuk, Hadrat Uthman bore the expenses for one third Islamic army (i.e., about 10,000 men). He also gave one thousand camels, fifty horses and one thousand Dinars (gold coins) to support the rest of the army. The Holy Prophet (PBUH) remarked on this, “Nothing will do any harm to Uthman from this day, whatever he does.”
In summary Hazrat Usman (RA) was the financial backbone of the newly formed Islamic Government in Madinah, helping the Prophet and His government in providing the much needed well-being to the led!
Bait-Rizwan (Pledge of Rizwan)
He was a very prominent Muslim to serve Islam by all means. He participated in almost all the battles with the non-believers in which the Holy Prophet (PBUH) had also taken part, except “Badr”. He could not participate in this first battle of Islam against non-believers of Mecca at Badr, because his wife was very ill. She died before the Muslims returned from Badr after the victory. The Holy Prophet (PBUH) gave him glad tidings that he would get the same reward as though he had participated in the battle.
At the time of the “Treaty of Hudaibiya” he was sent to Mecca to negotiate with the non-believers. Then the Muslims were wrongly informed about his murder by the non-believers of Mecca. It is for this reason that the Holy Prophet (PBUH) sought a pledge by the Muslims to fight with the non-believers in revenge of his murder.
That pledge is known as “Bai’at al-Ridwan” (the Pledge of Rizwan). For Usman’s pledge, the Holy Prophet (PBUH) put his left hand (representing Usman’s hand) on his right hand. This is the basis for the Quranic verse quoted at the start of the article, as Almighty Allah showed his pleasure at each and everyone who took oath on that day under the tree!
Katib Wahy (Writer of the Quranic Revelations)
Hadrat Usman had a beautiful handwriting because of which the Holy Prophet (PBUH) appointed him as one of the scribes of the “Wahy” (Quranic Revelations).
His style of writing was well recognized among the Companions. Arabic knowing persons can recognize the fluency of his writings especially of the letters and the orders he sent to various officers during his Khilafat. Though he was not an orator but his way of lecturing was very effective. His addresses and lectures can be seen in history books.
Hadrat Usman (RA) was a great scholar of the Holy Qur’an and was a “Hafiz”(i.e. the one who commits the whole Holy Book to memory). He was well versed in “Shan-i-Nuzul” i.e. the chronology of revelation of various verses and the chapters of the Holy Qur’an, and was considered an authority in this respect. He was one of the few Companions who excelled in deriving laws from the verses of the Holy Qur’an.
Although he was not a great jurist like ‘Umar and ‘Ali (R.A.) nevertheless he was well qualified in this respect. His verdicts and judgments have been mentioned in books. He was considered an authority on the laws of Hajj. Even ‘Umar (RA.) asked Usman (RA) about that during his time.
Ashra Mubashara (Blessed Ten)
Hazrat Usman is one of the ten companions who were informed by the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H) about the award of Paradise for them during their lifetime. This means these companions were chosen among 124000 companions for this great blessing!
Compiler of the Holy Quran
One of the magnificent services to Islam done by Hadrat Usman (RA) was to safeguard any possible change in the codex of the Holy Qur’an. After the conquests by the Muslims, hundreds of thousands of non-Arabs, whose mother tongue was not Arabic, accepted Islam because of its teachings. Hadrat Hudhaifah (RA) noticed many differences in the manner of recitation (Qira’t) of the Holy Qur’an.
The Syrians recited in a way different from that of Kufis while the Kufis differed from Basris and so on. As a matter of fact these differences were due to the differences in the way of writing Arabic. Seeing this condition Hadrat Hudhaifah reported the matter to the Khalifah and suggested that the Medinese codex should be regarded as authentic, i.e. the Holy Qur’an, which was written and compiled in Book form during the time of Hadrat Abu Bakr (RA) and was kept with Ummul-muminin Hadrat Hafsah (RA).
Hadrat Usman (RA) took that Book from Hadrat Hafsah (RA) and authorized the Medinese codex. He asked Hadrat Zaid bin Thabit (RA), the person who wrote it during the time of Hadrat Abu Bakr, to make copies of the same with the help of some other Companions like Abdullah bin Zubair and Sa’d bin ‘As etc. Then he ordered all other copies, beside the Medinese codex, to be burnt and destroyed throughout the State. For this great service Hadrat Usman (RA) is famously known as the “Jami’ul-Qur’an” (The compiler of the Qur’an).
Victories During Khilafat
Hadrat Uthman’s reign constituted a glorious period in the history of Islam. The territories of Islamic state (caliphate) were immensely extended. Though the conquests during his time were not so much in number as during the time of ‘Umar, nevertheless they were not few. He ruled over a vast part of the then known world, right from Kabul (Afghanistan) to Morocco. He put down the rebellions with an iron hand.
During Hadrat Uthman’s period the first Muslim naval force was developed and Muslims started naval victories. The victory over the huge naval force of Byzantine Empire comprising 500 ships has been termed as the Grand Victory. After the capture of North African territories by Muslims and gaining full control over Mediterranean, the mighty power of Byzantine and Roman Empire had collapsed. Actually Islam was at the zenith of its glory during the period of Hadrat Uthman.
No use of Force against Civilians
Hadrat Usman (RA) showed an exemplary tolerance against the insurgents. He gave before the public, full explanation of all the allegations brought against him, and the public was fully satisfied with his explanation. He acceded to the demands of the insurgents by appointing Muhammad bin Abi Bakr as the Governor of Egypt. But he did not resign because the majority of the Muslims were in his favour and only a few were the mischief-mongers. His words: “I do not want to spill Muslim blood to save my own neck” will be remembered forever.
Martyrdom of Hadrat Uthman (R.A.)
The only weapon with Hadrat Uthman was his kindness and soft nature. He addressed several times the insurgents from the roof of his house and reminded them about his family relations with the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam), and the services he had rendered to Islam but they never listened to him.
The insurgents were afraid that the Hajj was coming to an end and after the Hajj a number of supporters of the “Khalifah” would come to Medina. They decided therefore to assassinate him without delay. So the insurgents climbed the back walls of the house and entered the room where Hadrat Uthman (R.A.) was reciting the Holy Qur’an.
On seeing Hadrat Uthman, one of the insurgents hit his head with an axe while the next struck him with a sword. His wife, Nailah tried to shield her husband but she also got several wounds and her fingers were chopped off. Chronicles record that Muhammad bin Abu Bakr was the leader of the assassins.
He got hold of Hadrat Uthman’s beard and pulled it. On this Hadrat Uthman remarked, “Oh my dear nephew if your father (Abu Bakr) were alive you would not have done this.” The remarks of Hadrat Uthman cut him to the quick and he turned back and did not take part in the assassination. Hadrat Uthman (RA) was assassinated on Friday, the 18th Dhul-Hijjah, 35 A.H. (17th July 656 A.D.).
Hadrat Uthman was a great martyr as prophesied in the following Hadith quoted by Bukhari and others:
Hadrat Anas (RA) narrated that the Holy Prophet (PBUH), Abu Bakr,’Umar, and Uthman went up Uhud (the mountain near Medina) and when it quivered because of them the Holy Prophet kicked it with his foot and said, “Keep steady, 0 Uhud, for there are a prophet, a Siddiq and two martyrs on you.”
In the above Hadith, Hadrat Abu Bakr has been said as the Siddiq (friend) while ‘Umar and Uthman (RA) had been prophesied as the martyrs!
Hazrat Usman was reciting the following verse when he was martyred:
“So if they believe as ye believe, they are indeed on the right path; but if they turn back, it is they who are in schism; but Allah will suffice thee as against them, and He is the All-Hearing, the All-Knowing”. (2 ; 137)
The following verse is also reported:
“(We take our) color from Almighty Allah, and who is better than Allah at coloring.” (Holy Quran 2:138)
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