“Every Prophet has an assistant, and my assistant will be Uthman Bin Affan.” (Hadith)
When ‘Umar RA fell under the assassin’s dagger before he died, the people asked him to nominate his successor. ‘Hazrat Umar Farooq appointed a committee consisting of six of the ten companions of the Prophet (peace be on him) about whom the Prophet had said; “They are the people of Heaven.” – Ali, Uthman Bin Affan, Abdul Rahman; Sa’ad, Al-Zubayr, and Talha. – to select the next Caliph from among themselves. He also outlined the procedure to be followed if any differences of opinion should arise. Abdul Rahman withdrew his name. The committee then authorized him to nominate the Caliph.
After two days of discussion among the candidates, the Muslims’ opinions in Medina were ascertained. The choice was finally limited to Uthman Bin Affan and Ali Murtaza. Abdul Rahman came to the mosque together with other Muslims. After a brief speech and questioning, the two men; swore allegiance to Uthman Bin Affan. All those present did the same, and Uthman became the third Caliph of Islam in the month of Muharram, 24 AH.
Uthman bin Affan’s Life:
Uthman bin Affan RA was born seven years after the Holy Prophet (PBUH). He belonged to the Omayyad branch of the Quraish tribe. He learned to read and write at an early age. And as a young man became a successful merchant. Even before Islam, Uthman had been noted for his truthfulness and integrity. He and Abu Bakr radi Allahu anhu were close friends. And it was Abu Bakr who brought him to Islam when he was thirty-four.
Some years later, he married the Prophet’s second daughter, Ruqayya RA. Despite his wealth and position. His relatives subjected him to torture because he had embraced Islam. And he was forced to emigrate to Abyssinia. Sometime later, he returned to Mecca but soon migrated to Medina with the other Muslims. In Medina, his business again began to flourish, and he regained his former prosperity.
Uthman’s generosity had no limits. On various occasions, he spent a great portion of his wealth on the welfare of the Muslims. For charity and for equipping the Muslim armies. That is why he came to be known as ‘Ghani,’ meaning ‘Generous.’
The portrait of Uthman Bin Affan is of a frank, honest, mild, generous, and very kind man. He was noted especially for his modesty and his piety. He often spent part of the night in prayer. Fasted every second or third day; performed Hajj every year. And looking after the needy of the whole community.
Despite his wealth, he lived very simply and slept on bare sand in the courtyard of the Prophet’s mosque. Uthman knew the Qur’an from memory and intimately knew the context and circumstances of each verse.
Uthman’s wife, Ruqayya, was seriously ill just before the Battle of Badr. And he was excused by the Prophet (PBUH) from participating in the battle. The illness Ruqayya proved fatal, leaving Uthman deeply grieved. The Prophet was moved and offered Uthman Bin Affan the hand of another of his daughters, Kulthum RA because he had the high privilege of having two daughters of the Prophet as wives Uthman was known as.
‘The Possessor of the Two Lights. ‘
Uthman Bin Affan participated in the Battles of Uhud and the Trench. After the encounter with the Trench. The Prophet (peace be on him) was determined to perform Hajj and sent Uthman as his emissary to the Quraish in Mecca, who detained him. The episode ended in a treaty with the Meccans, the Treaty of Hudaibiya.
Uthman Bin Affan’s Rule:
During Uthman’s rule, the characteristics of Abu Bakr’s and Umar’s caliphates – impartial justice for all, mild and humane policies, striving in God’s path, and Islam’s expansion – continued. Uthman’s realm extended in the west to Morocco and in the east to Afghanistan. And in the north to Armenia and Azerbaijan. During his caliphate, a navy was organized. Administrative divisions of the state were revised, and many public projects were expanded and completed. Uthman sent prominent Companions of the Prophet (peace be on him) as his deputies to various provinces to scrutinize the conduct of officials and the condition of the people.
Contribution to Religion
Uthman’s most notable contribution to the religion of God-Allah subhanahu wa tala was the compilation of a complete and authoritative text of the Qur’an. A large number of copies of this text were made and distributed all over the Muslim world.
Uthman ruled for twelve years. The first six years were marked by internal peace and tranquility. But during the second half of his caliphate, a rebellion arose. The Jews and the Magians, taking advantage of dissatisfaction among the people, began conspiring against Uthman. And by publicly airing their complaints and grievances, they gained so much sympathy that it became difficult to distinguish friend from foe.
It may seem surprising that a ruler of such vast territories, whose armies were matchless, could not deal with these rebels. If Uthman had wished, the rebellion could have been crushed when it began. But he was reluctant to be the first to shed the blood of Muslims. However rebellious they might be. He preferred to reason with them, to persuade them with kindness and generosity. He well remembered hearing the Prophet (peace be on him) say.
“Once the sword is unsheathed among my followers, it will not be sheathed until the Last Day.”
The Power of Rebels:
The rebels demanded that he surrender, and some of the Companions advised him to do so. He would gladly have followed this course of action. But again, he was bound by a solemn pledge he had given to the Prophet.
“Perhaps God will clothe you with a shirt, Uthman.”
the Prophet had told him once,
“If the people want you to take it off, do not take it off for them.”
Uthman said to a well-wisher on a day when the rebels surrounded his house.
“God’s Messenger made a covenant with me, and I shall show endurance in adhering to it.”
After a long siege, the rebels broke into Uthman’s house and murdered him. When the first assassin’s sword struck Uthman, he recited the verse.
ۖ فَسَيَكْفِيكَهُمُ ٱللَّهُ ۚ وَهُوَ ٱلسَّمِيعُ ٱلْعَلِيمُ
Allāh will be sufficient for you against them. And He is the Hearing, the Knowing. [2:137]
Uthman Bin Affan’s Death
Uthman bin Affan breathed his last on the afternoon of Friday, 17 Dhul Hajj, 35 AH (June. (656 AC). He was eighty-four years old. The power of tHe rebels was so great that Uthman’s body lay unburied until Saturday night when he was buried in his blood-stained clothes. The shroud which befits all martyrs in the cause of God.