Saturday, October 27, 2007

Sayyidina 'Uthman ibn Affan (Dhun Nur'Ain)

According to account, he was married to two of Prophet's daughters at separate times, earning him the name Dhun Nur'Ain or the "Possessor of Two Lights.".

In the sixth year after the emigration to Madinah, the Prophet decided to perform the `Umrah, so he set out with 1,400 Muslims in pilgrim’s dress, heading towards Makkah, but the Quraish did not allow them to enter the city. The Muslims halted at a place called Hudaibiyah. From there, the Prophet (saw) sent a messenger to the Makkans to tell them that the Muslims were there only to perform `Umrah and had not the slightest intention to fight. But the Makkans humiliated the messenger, and he returned without success.

The Prophet then wanted to send someone highly respected by the Quraish, so he chose `Uthman, who was from one of the most powerful families in Makkah, the Umayyah family. The Makkans detained him for three days and a rumor reached the Muslim camp that `Uthman was killed. This outraged the Muslims and, without exception, all of the 1,400 Muslims present took the famous pledge of Hudaibiyah. After everybody had taken the pledge, the Prophet placed his own right hand on his left hand and took the said pledge on behalf of `Uthman. `Uthman thus secured the unique honor that the Prophet himself took the pledge on his behalf. The Muslims’ pledge pleased Allah and it was revealed in the Qur’an:

"Surely, Allah was pleased with the believers when they took the pledge under the tree. Allah knew what was in their hearts. He sent down tranquility upon them, and rewarded them with near victory" ... al-Fath 48:18

Soon they learned that the rumor of `Uthman’s death was false. `Uthman returned from Makkah in the company of an emissary from the Quraish. When `Uthman came to know about the pledge the Muslims in the camp had taken in his absence, and that the Prophet had taken the pledge on his behalf, he immediately took the pledge in person.

The Treaty of Hudaibiyah
After considerable discussion, an agreement was arrived at, which came to be known as the Treaty of Hudaibiyah. According to the pact there was to be a truce between the Quraish and the Muslims for a period of 10 years. Each party was free to make its own alliances, but they were not to resort to war. Any person who deserted the Muslims and sought refuge with the Quraish was not to be returned, but any person who escaped from the Quraish to the Muslims was to be returned to the Quraish. It was stipulated that the Muslims were to return to Madinah that year without performing the `Umrah, but they could come to Makkah for three days the following year to perform it, during which time the Quraish would vacate the city for them.

After the pact had been signed, the Muslims sacrificed the animals they had brought with them, broke camp, and started on the return journey to Madinah.

On the face of it, the Treaty of Hudaibiyah appeared to be loaded in favor of the Quraish. Some of the Muslims, particularly `Umar, felt dissatisfied with the terms of the pact and expressed their dissatisfaction. `Uthman, however, felt satisfied with the terms of the agreement. He was confident that the pact, though apparently in favor of the Quraish, would ultimately turn out to be against them. He said that the Quraish were fast losing their will to resist Islam, and in pursuance of the pact the Muslims and the Quraish would come into contact, and most of the Quraish were likely to accept Islam. While on the way to Madinah, Allah revealed to the Prophet that the Hudaibiyah pact was indeed a victory for the Muslims, as it would work to their advantage and the disadvantage of the Quraish. When the Prophet told of these tidings to `Umar and his other Companions, all of them felt happy.

The assessment of `Uthman also proved correct, for in the period following the Hudaibiyah pact, many Quraish including such stalwarts as Khalid ibn Al-Walid and `Amr ibn Al-`Aas accepted Islam.

Compiler of the Qur'an
Uthman is perhaps best known for forming the committee which compiled the text of the Qur’an as it exists today. The reason was that various Muslim centres, like Kufa and Damascus, had begun to develop their own traditions for reciting and writing down the Qur'an.

Uthman feared that the nascent Rashidun Empire would fall apart in religious controversy if everyone did not have access to the original text of Qur'an. Towards the end of his reign, the committee finished compiling the text, and Uthman had it copied and sent to each of the Muslim cities and garrison towns, commanding that variant versions of the Qur'an be destroyed, and only the one version used. Zaid ibn Thabit was put in charge of this operation.

`Uthman’s Generosity
`Uthman’s generosity was boundless. Even before he became caliph, he was always ready to spend in the cause of Islam and to help the needy with his wealth. On two special occasions he proved to be one of the most generous men of his time.

In AH 9 the Prophet (saw) got the news that the Romans were plotting to destroy the newly emerging Islamic state, so he wanted the Muslims to equip themselves and prepare for the attack. That seemed impossible because in that year the Muslims suffered from reduced crops and limited resources, as they had faced an extremely hot summer. They did not have enough resources to meet such a powerful army, and most of the Muslims were poor. This situation did not stop the Prophet (saw). He urged his Companions to prepare for the battle. Every Companion tried his or her best to strengthen the army. The women sold the few jewels they had to help the men prepare for the battle.

Though hundreds of Companions were ready to enter the battlefield, they were short of many things that were required for the battle, such as horses, camels, even swords and spears. The Prophet told them that this was a matter of life or death for the new Islamic state. The Prophet made a loud and clear announcement: “Anyone who provides outfits for the soldiers will have all his sins forgiven by Allah.”

The moment `Uthman heard this, he outfitted two hundred saddled camels that were to travel to Ash-Sham, and presented them all with 200 ounces of gold as charity. He also fetched 1,000 dinars and cast them into the lap of the Prophet (saw). Again and again `Uthman gave till his charity topped 900 camels and 100 horses, besides the money he paid. Seeing `Uthman’s generosity, the Prophet made the following statement: “From this day on, nothing will harm `Uthman regardless of what he does.”

Opposition Till The End
During his caliphate, `Uthman faced a lot of hostility. His rivals started accusing him of not following the Prophet and the preceding caliphs. However, the Companions who were true defended him. These accusations never changed him. He remained persistent to be a merciful governor. Even during the time when his foes attacked him, he did not use the treasury funds to shield his house or himself. As envisaged by Prophet Muhammad, `Uthman’s enemies relentlessly made his governing difficult by constantly opposing and accusing him. His opponents finally plotted against him, surrounded his house, and encouraged people to kill him.

Many of his advisors asked him to stop the assault but he did not, until he was killed while reciting the Qur’an exactly as the Prophet had predicted. `Uthman died as a martyr.

Anas ibn Malik narrated the following hadith:
The Prophet once climbed the mountain of Uhud with Abu Bakr, `Umar, and `Uthman. The mountain shook with them. The Prophet said (to the mountain), “Be firm, O Uhud! For on you there is a Prophet, a Siddiq, and two martyrs.” (Bukhari)

... ar-Raheeq Al-Makhtum (The Sealed Nectar), al-Mubaraakpuri Saif-ur-Rahman

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