A Brief History Of Islam – Part 5: The Caliphate of Uthman Ibn Affan
Umar ibn Al-Khattab was stabbed with a Persian slave Abu Lu’lu’ah while Directing the Fajr Prayer. Since Umar lay on his death bed, the folks around him asked him to create a successor. Umar appointed a committee of six individuals to pick the caliph from one of themselves.
This committee included Ali ibn Abi Talib, Uthman Ibn Affan, Abdur-Rahman Ibn Awf, Sad ibn Abi Waqqas, Az-Zubayr Ibn Al-Awam, and Talhah Ibn Ubayd Allah, that had been one of the most distinguished Companions of the Prophet, may God deliver His urge upon him, and that had obtained in their life the tidings of Paradise.
Umar’s instructions were that the successor should be chosen by the Election Committee and he must assume office. As two days the participants felt stressed that the time ran out and no way to solve the difficulty appeared to be in sight. While other people agreed to abide by his choice, Abdur-Rahman Ibn Awf provided to forgo his claim. All consented to allow the caliph is chosen by Abdur-Rahman. He went asking the people and interviewed each nominee. Since he was chosen by the vast majority of the people, Uthman was selected by him as the caliph.
His Life for a Caliph
Uthman led a life that was simple after becoming the leader of the state. He never targeted at leading such in this world, although it would have been easy for a businessman such as him to lead a life. His aim was to taste the pleasure of the Hereafter, as he knew that this world is temporary and a test. After he had become Caliph Uthman’s generosity continued.
The caliphs were paid for their services, but no salary was taken by Uthman for his service. Additionally, he developed a custom look after orphans and widows, to free slaves every Friday, and give charity that was unlimited. Endurance and his patience were among the characteristics that made him a leader.
Much was achieved by Uthman. He subjugated most of Armenia, continued to defend the state against the Byzantines, added what is now Libya to the empire, and pushed forward with the pacification of Persia. Uthman through his cousin the governor of Syria, Mu’awiyah Ibn Abi Sufyan, established a navy which fought with a collection of engagements.
As revealed to the Prophet of importance to Islam was Uthman’s compilation of the text of the Quran. Realizing that variants might inadvertently distort the message from God, he appointed a committee to destroy the recensions and to collect the verses that were canonical. The result was the text that’s accepted to this day throughout the world.
Opposition and the End
Uthman faced from nominal Muslims in Islamic lands, who started to accuse him of not following the caliphs and the example Prophet in matters concerning governance. However, he was defended by the Companions of the Prophet. He never changed. He remained persistent to be a governor. Even when he was attacked by his foes, he did not use the treasury funds to shield himself or his home. As envisaged by Prophet Muhammad, the enemies of Uthman made his governing difficult by accusing and opposing him. His opponents encouraged people to kill him, surrounded his property, and plotted against him.
Many of his advisors asked him to halt the assault, but until he was killed while reciting the Quran exactly had predicted, he did not. Uthman died as a martyr.
The following was narrated by Anas ibn Malik:
“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, an early truthful supporter of mine, and two martyrs.’” (Saheeh al-Bukhari)