Hadhrat Uthmaan bin Affaan al-Qurashi (Radhiallaahu Anhu) was an illustrious Sahaabi of Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam). He was born in Makkah 47 years before the Hijrah. Of noble lineage, wealthy and extremely handsome, he accepted Islam at the hands of Abu Bakr (Radhiallaahu Anhu) shortly after the Nubuwwah (Prophethood) of Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam). He was thus among those people regarding whom Allah declares: ‘Allah was pleased with them and they with Him.’ He was also honoured with being a scribe of Wahy (revelation) for Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) for some time. He was the third Khalifah of Islam and one of the distinguished Asharah Mubashsharah whom Nabi Muhammad (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) informed would enter Jannah. He was one of the chief counsellors and sincere confidants of the previous two khalifas, Abu Bakr and Umar (Radhiallaahu Anhu).

How intimate was Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) with Uthmaan (Radhiallaahu Anhu) can be gauged from the fact that Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) gave two of his daughters, Ruqayyah and Umm Kulthoom (Radhiyallahu anhumaa) in marriage to him at different times. He was therefore called the possessor of the Two Lights (Zun Nurayn). After both these daughters passed away, Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) said that if he had had any more daughters, he would have given them also in marriage to Uthmaan (Radhiallaahu Anhu). A special virtue of Uthmaan (Radhiallaahu Anhu) is that Nabi (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) gave both his daughters to him in marriage without him making a request.These marriages and this statement are a testimony to the great love and trust that Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) had for Uthmaan (Radhiallaahu Anhu). They also speak volumes of the many distinguishing characteristics of Uthmaan (Radhiallaahu Anhu) due to which Allah Taala chose him to become the son-in-law of His most beloved Nabi (Sallallaahu ?layhi Wasallam). Hadhrat Uthmaan (Radhiallaahu Anhu) had seventeen children; nine sons and eight daughters.

At the height of Muslim persecution by the Quraish, he migrated twice from Makkah to Abysinnia. He participated in all the battles with Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) except Badr, when he had to stay behind to tend to his sick wife Ruqayyah (Radhiallaahu Anhu), the daughter of Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam). After this battle, Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) allotted to him a share from the booty equal to that of the Sahaabah who had participated in the battle. He was also among the illustrious group of Sahaabah (Radhiallaahu Anhu) that participated in the battle of Uhud and whose forgiveness Allah announces in the Qur’an.

Uthmaan (Radhiallaahu Anhu) would remain in Salaat all night long, finishing the whole of the Qur?aan in one rakat. Very often he would fast continuously for days on end. He was fasting even on the day when he was martyred. Whenever Hadhrat Uthmaan (Radhiallaahu Anhu) visited a grave, he would weep so much that his beard would become wet with tears. Someone asked him, “How is it that mention of Jannah and Jahannam does not make you weep so much as you do when you come across a grave?” He replied, “The grave is the first of the many stages of the Aakhirah (Hereafter). For him who is successful or safe during this stage, the later stages will also be easy, while for a person who is not exempted in this stage, the later stages will be even more difficult.” Then he quotes Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) as having said, I have not come across any sight more terrifying than that of the grave.

In his book, ‘Islam and the Earliest Muslims’, Moulana Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi writes: History bears witness to the fact that purity of Imaan (faith) and immense simplicity dominated the life of the third Khalifah, Uthmaan (Radhiallaahu Anhu). He entertained the guests with sumptuous meals, but himself took bread with vinegar. He mostly attended to his necessities himself and never woke up any servant in the night. The night is theirs,’ he used to say if he was asked to get assistance from them. Hasan Basri (RA) once saw Khalifah Uthmaan (Radhiallaahu Anhu) taking rest in the masjid at noon, and when he stood up the marks left by the pebbles were visible on his body.Those present wondered at the austere ways of the Khalifah. So concerned was he about he welfare of the people that he often enquired about the market rates of different commodities even after ascending the pulpit of the Masjid. Malik bin Shaddaad relates that he saw Uthmaan (Radhiallaahu Anhu) on the pulpit one Friday wearing a coarse woollen sheet of Adan, hardly costing four or five dirhams. The generosity of Uthmaan knew no bounds. It is recorded that he had a habit of setting free a slave every Friday. FAIRNESS Hadhrat Uthmaan (Radhiallaahu Anhu) had a slave whom he once pulled by the ear. After he had been elected as Khalifah, he asked the slave to avenge himself and insisted that the slave exact retribution. He even remarked on the occasion, Satisfy yourself, take your vengeance in this world so that nothing remains for the Aakhirah (Hereafter).’

Uthmaan (Radhiallaahu Anhu) was an extremely modest man. Once Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) was resting on the ground in the house of Aaisha (Radiyallahu anha) when his shin became exposed. Abu Bakr (Radhiallaahu Anhu) asked for permission and entered the house. Then Umar (Radhiallaahu Anhu) asked for permission and entered the house. Thereafter Uthmaan (Radhiallaahu Anhu) sought permission to enter. Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) permitted him to enter and covered his shin (properly). After they had all gone, Aaisha (Radiyallahu anha) asked Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) the reason for covering his shin. He replied, “Why should I not be shy of the person of whom the Malaaikah (Angels) are shy?” (Mishkaat p.560) PERPETUAL REWARD Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) has said, He who introduces a good sunnah (custom) in Islam earns the reward of it and of all who perform it after him, without diminishing their own rewards in the slightest…. (Sahih Muslim) In the context of the above Hadith, it is not difficult to imagine the great rank of Hadhrat Uthmaan (Radhiallaahu Anhu) who completed the gathering of the Qur’an begun by Hadhrat Abu Bakr (Radhiallaahu Anhu),by checking, collating and ordering it to be gathered into a single volume and sending it to all parts of the Muslim world. When innumerable Muslims have recited, studied and practised upon this single volume for the last fourteen hundred years, and the share of Uthmaan (Radhiallaahu Anhu) is being renewed each time a Qur’an is being opened, Allah alone knows the magnitude of the reward stored for Uthmaan (Radhiallaahu Anhu) stored for him in the Hereafter. He also related 146 Ahadith from Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam).

At Hudaybiyah, Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) appointed him as his representative/ambassador to the Quraish. When the rumour went round that Uthmaan (Radhiallaahu Anhu) had been killed by the the Quraish, Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) took the pledge (Bayatur Ridwaan) of the Sahaabah that they would fight till the end. On this occasion, Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) lifted his own right hand and said, ‘This is the hand of Uthmaan, and then placed it into his left hand saying that he was making the pledge on behalf of Uthmaan (Radhiallaahu Anhu). Imagine! When Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) regards his blessed hand to be the hand of Uthmaan (Radhiallaahu Anhu), and then takes the pledge on his behalf, it is proof from Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) himself of the great level of Imaan of Uthmaan (Radhiallaahu Anhu) and his special status/rank. Regarding the Sahaabah that pledged allegiance at Hudaybiyah, Allah Taala Himself declares, ‘Certainly Allah was pleased with the believers when the pledged allegiance to you (O Muhammad) under the Tree.’

In Sahih Bukhaari and Sahih Muslim, it is mentioned that Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) addressing the Sahaabah (Radhiallaahu Anhu) at Hudaybiyah said, You are the best people on earth.’ It is also related by Umm Bishr (Radhiallaahu Anhu) that Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) said, ‘Not one of the people that swore allegiance under the Tree (at Hudaybiyah) will ever enter the Fire (of Jahannam).’ (Sahih Muslim). These glad tidings of Allah and His Rasul (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) are testimony to the fact that every one of these Sahaabah were to die with Imaan and upon practised such pious deeds which were pleasing to Allah, the pleasure of Allah would obviously include this.

BIRR RUMA (The well of Rumah)
The well of Ruma was a well which belonged to a Jew in Madinah. He used to sell its water to the Muslims. Once Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) said, ‘Who will buy the well of Rumah and grant it to the Muslims in lieu of a fountain in Jannah?’ Hadhrat Uthmaan (Radhiallaahu Anhu) purchased it for twenty thousand Dirham and donated it for the use of all Muslims. Such was his sincerity, that he made his right to it like that of every other Muslim.

Sayyiduna Uthmaan (Radhiallaahu Anhu) spent a great deal of his wealth and time in the service of Islam. As a result of this, he received the blessed Duas of Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) on many occasions. On the occasion of Tabuk, when the Muslims were undergoing severe hardship, Uthmaan (Radhiallaahu Anhu) outfitted the Jayshul Usrah (Army of Hardship) by donating three hundred camels (with their equipment) and one thousand gold dinars. Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) said, ‘Nothing Uthmaan does after today will harm him.’ (Mishkat pg. 561). Once during the Khilafah of Abu Bakr (Radhiallaahu ?nhu), there was a severe drought. Uthmaan (Radhiallaahu Anhu) presented one thousand camels laden with grains and distributed it to the poor. AS KHALIFAH After the martyrdom of Umar (Radhiallaahu Anhu) in 23 A.H. he was elected the khalifah and remained in office for 12 years. During his tenure, many lands like Armenia, Caucasia, Khurasan, Kirman, Sijistan, Cyprus, Constantinople and much of North Africa were added to the dominions of Islam. As soon as these countries conquered, effective measures were set in place for the development of their material resources. Water-courses were dug, roads made, fruit trees planted, and security given to trade by the establishment of a regular police organisation. In 26 A.H. he had the grand square of the Ka’bah Shareef enlarged and in 29 A.H.the Musjid of Nabi (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) in Madinah Shareef was also enlarged and beautified at his own expense. He also issued orders to build new masjids in the conquered lands and extend the existing ones.

Moulana Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi writes: Nothing can illustrate the sincerity and austerity of Uthmaan (Radhiallaahu Anhu) more than the events leading to his martyrdom. While the insurgents had beseiged him in Madinah, he calmly bade the people of Madinah to go back to their homes since he did not want to fight or allow the blood of any Muslim to be shed for him. He died reciting the Qur’an at the hands of the rebels but did not succumb to their demand of retiring from the khilaafah, a trust committed to his care by the Muslims. He stood fast to his post till his last breath for he deemed it a sacred office entrusted to him in accordance with the prediction of Nabi (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam). When Hadhrat Uthmaan (Radhiallaahu Anhu) was martyred, he was 82 years old. This great son-in-law of Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) and an illustrious star from the galaxy of the Sahaabah (Radhiallaahu Anhu) lies buried in Jannatul Baqee in Madinah. Hadhrat Aaisha (Radhiallaahu Anhu) relates that Rasululah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) said, ‘O Uthmaan! Allah will make you don a mantle (of khilaafah).

When they ask you to remove it, do not do so (for them).’ (Mishkaat p.562) Once Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) said, ‘Give glad tidings of Jannah to him i.e. Uthmaan. And then he will undergo a great trial.’ (Bukhari vol. 2 pg. 1052). From all those Ahaadith, it is clear that Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) knew beforehand of the impending Fitna and that while being the Khalifah, Hadhrat Uthmaan (Radhiallaahu Anhu) would be martyred on the right path. Yet, Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) advised him to remain steadfast and exercise patience against his enemies.


Many virtues have been narrated from the Ahaadith. Hadhrat Talhah bin Ubaidullah (Radhiallaahu Anhu) narrates that Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) said, “Every Prophet shall have a close companion in Jannah and my close friend in Jannah shall be Uthmaan.” (Mishkaat p.561) One day Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) accompanied by Hadhrat Abu Bakr, Hadhrat Umar and Hadhrat Uthmaan (Radiyallaahu anhum) were on Mount Uhud when it began to tremble. ‘Be still, Uhud!’ he ordered, ‘for standing upon you is none besides a Nabi, a Siddeeq and two Shuhadaa’ (martyrs).(Sahih Bukhaari p.533) Hadhrat Murrah bin Ka’b (Radhiallaahu Anhu) narrates that he heard Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) speak about (the era of) mischief as though it were going to occur shortly (after his departure from the world). Just then Uthmaan (Radhiallaahu Anhu) who was wrapped in a sheet, passed them by. Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) said, ‘On that day, this man will be on the correct path.’ (Mishkaat p.562)

Hadhrat Jaabir (Radhiallaahu Anhu) says the body of dead man was brought before Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) for him to perform the Janaazah salaah. Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) did not lead the salaah over him. When he was asked the reason thereof, he replied, ‘This person used to dislike Uthmaan, so Allah disliked him.’ (Tirmizi vol.2 p.212) Hadhrat Abdullah bin Umar (Radhiallaahu Anhu) relates that Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) said, ‘Fitnah (Mischief) will occur amongst you and this person (i.e. Uthmaan) will be killed unjustly.’ (Tirmizi p.212 vol.2) May Allah Ta’ala grant the greatest reward to all the Sahaba (Radhiallaahu Anhum) on behalf of every Muslim and may He fill our hearts with the love we are required to have for them.

© Jamiatul Ulama, KZN, South Africa.


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