History of the Caliphs

By: Rasūl Ja’farīan

Translation by: Ali Ebrahimi

p. 142-151
As long as ‘Uthmān found himself in high position, he did not surrender to dissenters’ criticisms by no means whatsoever. Yet, he treated harshly to them and tried to render them obedient and calm through trashing and exile. The Umayya was all ‘Uthmān’s concern. Indeed, ‘Uthmān was yielded and, in a sense, feeble towards the members of this family; however, he treated the great companions of the Prophet (s) having a longer precedence bitterly and with asperity. This was highly influential in inciting the people once more. Contact with Abūdhar who had a morally and spiritually special position in community can be mentioned typically. Abūdhar strived to keep ‘Uthmān away from extravagance. It was indeed all Abūdhar’s concern. Yet, ‘Uthmān brought a charge of sedition against him saying, “You are a man fond of sedition.”[1]

Then, Abūdhar being forbidden from indulging said to ‘Uthmān, “Even if I am put to the sword, I won’t refrain from narrating what the Prophet (s) has said.”

Abūdhar supported Imām ‘Alī explicitly. He used to quote the Prophet (s) as saying, “There will be a sedition thereafter, if you were entrapped by it, so adhere to Allāh’s Book and ‘Alī.”

He further quotes the Prophet (s) as saying, “The first who shakes hands with me in the Day of Judgment.”[2] ‘Uthmān consulted with Ka‘b al-Ahbār whether it is permissible for Imām to withdraw whatever he wants of the public treasury and return it whenever he wishes.

Ka‘b replied him, “Yes.”

Then, he was objected by Abūdhar, “O you the son of Jew! Are you teaching us our religion?”[3] After viewing such a situation, ‘Uthmān sent Abūdhar to Syria on exile. There, Abūdhar did not desist from objecting and criticizing. Thus, through a letter, Mu‘āwiya deemed his presence dangerous for Syria and even for Iraq and asked ‘Uthmān to let him return to Medina and so did ‘Uthmān. Then, Abūdhar was exiled to Medina on a hard horseback,[4] while his thigh run out of flesh. Afterwards, his objection to ‘Uthmān resulted in his exile to Rabada where he died in isolation.

Abūdhar, about whom the Prophet (s) had told, “Abūdhar is the most truthful under shadow of sky, was accused by ‘Uthmān of being a liar.”[5]

Accordingly, Imām ‘Alī was inclined to back Abūdhar inexorably. At the time of exiling Abūdhar, ‘Uthmān ordered people not to see Abūdhar off, however. Imām ‘Alī together with his descendants did so. Although, he objected Imām ‘Alī,

Imām said to Abūdhar, “O Abūdhar! You become angry with them for the sake of Allāh and they were afraid of themselves for the fear of their worldly life.” At the time when Abūdhar was seen off by ‘Alī (a) and his descendants, he cast a look at Imām and said, “Seeing you and your descendants reminds me of the Prophet (s)’s remark about you and makes me burst into tears.”[6] He passed away in Rabada, while according to his will, nobody including commander, leader and mail had the right to shroud and bury him.[7]

‘Uthmān’s contact with Abūdhar was so bitter and provocative that afterwards Djāhi¨ wrote, “People killed ‘Uthmān, for he had exiled Abūdhar.”[8] It is a ridiculous point to write that, afterwards, Abūdhar went to Rabada through his own will, not on exile.

Not only Abūdhar, but also most of the Kūfiyāns who objected to Sa‘īd Ibn ‘Ās were sent to Syria on exile by order of caliph. In caliph’s opinion, Syria was too a secure place. It should be said principally that ‘Uthmān did the chief part of Mu‘āwiya.

The on-exile persons, well-known as Kūfa’s “readers” are as follows, Mālik Ashtar, Zayd, Sa‘sa‘a (Sūhān’s children), Shurayh Ibn ‘Awfī, Hurqūs Ibn Zuhayr, Djundab Ibn Zuhayr, Ka‘b Ibn ‘Abada, ‘Adī Ibn Hātim, Kidām Ibn Hadhrī, Mālik Ibn Habīb, Qays Ibn ‘Utārud, Ziyād Ibn Hafsa, Yazīd Ibn Qays and some others.[9] They all opposed Sa‘īd Ibn ‘Ās’s remarks, inasmuch as he considered Iraq’s lands as belonging to Quraysh. However, after their return to Kūfa, they were led by Mālik, whereupon Mālik hindered Sa‘īd from entering Kūfa, Moreover, he himself called Friday prayer. ‘Uthmān regarded all these people and their actions as being prompted by ‘Alī.[10] ‘Āmir Ibn ‘Abd Qays who went to ‘Uthmān in order to criticize was also sent on exile.[11]

The companions and followers of Kūfa had a key role in the developments of this period. ‘Amr Ibn Zurāra Ibn Qays Nakha‘ī along with Kumayl Ibn Ziyād and a man from Banū Sahbān were reportedly the first who spoke of dethroning ‘Uthmān and enthroning the Imām.[12]

Another figure who come to grips with ‘Uthmān was ‘Ammār Ibn Yāsir. According to Ibn Qutayba and others, a number of companions convened and decided to inform ‘Uthmān of his faults through a letter. After the letter was written, ‘Ammār was supposed to hand it over to ‘Uthmān. But ‘Uthmān averted taking the letter.

Thereafter, ‘Ammār told him, “This letter is written by number of the companions as an advice to you.”

‘Uthmān answered, “O the son of Sumayya! You are lying.” Whereupon, ‘Uthmān ordered him to be sent out of the house through thrashing, with some of his chest ribs broken. After being knocked unconscious, he was dragged out of the house.

Then, Marwān Ibn Hakam being the major element behind all stimulations said to ‘Uthmān, “If you kill ‘Uthmān, you will get rid of others.”[13]

One of the impacts of ‘Uthmān’s thrashing ‘Ammār was that ‘Ammār was unable to control his urine up to the end of his life.[14] It appears that ‘Ammār had been thrashed before Abūdhar has reportedly recalled such a thing in his criticisms.[15]

‘Abd Allāh Ibn Mas‘ūd was the other opponent. He got the grips with Walīd Ibn ‘Uqba, the sinful, in Kūfa. Then, through a letter Walīd instigated ‘Uthmān against him. In answer to his letter, ‘Uthmān called for sending him on exile from Kūfa to Medina. When being in Kūfa, he was deprived of getting his due from the public treasury for a period of three years.[16] Based on the will Ibn Mas‘ūd made at the time of death, ‘Ammār rather than ‘Uthmān was requested to say prayer over his corpse.[17]

To solve the matter with these objections, ‘Uthmān assembled the members of his own family and consulted with them. Some of them proposed him to send the companions and other protesters to the outlying battlefields so long as he become free of their criticisms. Some others recommended him to be more benevolent towards people intending to calm them. He along with his family took it for granted that every thing is possible save surrounding to opponents. Mu‘āwiya urged ‘Uthmān to set same former agent to work without paying any attention to the opponents.[18] Once ‘Uthmān tried to send a commodity to Abūdhar, yet Abūdhar sent it back.[19] Mu‘āwiya also sent some money to Abūdhar in order to deceive him.[20] Furthermore, ‘Uthmān sent 30000 drachmae enclosed with some garments to Ibn Abī Hudhayfa who was one of the bitter critics of Caliph. Then, ‘Alī Hudhayfa put the sum of money and the garment in the middle of the mosque saying, O, Muslims! Do you see that ‘Uthmān is intending to deceive me in the case of my religion?[21]

‘Abd Allāh Ibn ‘Āmir also recommended ‘Uthmān to satisfy opposers through granting money.[22] Kūfa’s ruler, Sa‘īd Ibn ‘Ās, also bade his emissary to send Imām ‘Alī (a) a gift and tell him that he is given preference over others in this regard whereupon, Imām got the emissary away through a bitter reaction.[23] ‘Uthmān assumed that he should ravish like ‘Umar. Thus, he’d rather behave harshly. Unaware of the fact that ‘Umar did not lead such a tranquil life like him. So it was this very fact which got in the way of his opponents. ‘Uthmān unrightfully believed that ‘Umar was not objected by anyone, despite of doing what he did, yet I am objected due to my flexibility.[24] Of course, ‘Umar had also some religious innovations, yet, as stated previously he obstructed opponents financially and even behaved very strictly towards all of his agents. Moreover, he did not set his kindreds to work. By all accounts, ‘Uthmān was not soft-natured by no means whatsoever, and he had Prophet as well. Once Imām ‘Alī (a) objected to ‘Uthmān concerning Abūdhar’s exiling, caliph said to him, “You yourself are more deserving of exile!”

A noteworthy point in these incidents is that it was not only allowable but also necessary for the companions to protest against the anti-government measures. They resisted the government hardly as long as they and their caliph could survive. This issue labeled as ‘Revolt Against Ruler,’ later on became a highly momentous issue and drew the attention of all political and religious sects in the world of Islam. It’s suitable here to center upon the aforesaid issue.

A question of a great significance was, in what case the people can come to oppose their ruler? Or principally, whether or not they have the right to do so. In this respect, much has been mentioned in political opinions of Islamic sects. Besides, the opinions of groups such as Shi‘ites Khāridjites and large groups of Mu‘tazilites are totally different from the ruling Sunnites. On the whole, what has been reported in this regard, like other issues, derives largely from the objectives realities and political events of the advent of Islam. In this regard, there are two various and, in a sense, contradictory issue which ought to be solved. The first issue is that, if an emir orders against Allāh’s Judgment, whether or not people ought to obey him? Based on the known religious principles, if obedience to ruler’s order leads to disobedience to Allāh, it will be inadmissible. A narration supports this, The Messenger of Allāh (s) sent ‘Abd Allāh Ibn Hudhāfa, a humorist, to a tribe under the command of a group. After traversing a short distance, they stopped to rest and kindled a fire.

Then ‘Abd Allāh said to them, “Am I not rightful to be obeyed by you?”

They answered, “Yes!”

He further added, “If it is so, you ought to obey whatever I order.”

They accepted. Then, he ordered them, “According to my right. I order you to throw yourself into fire.” Yet, thereafter he imparted that he was just pulling their leg.

Once the Messenger of Allāh(s) was informed of ‘Abd Allāh’s attitude, he said, “Don’t obey someone who orders you to disobey Allāh.”[25]

This was the Messenger of Allāh’s conduct which is condensed into the short statement, لا طاعة لمخلوق في معصية الخالق “Where a sin is committed, never ever should a creature be obeyed.”

Thereafter, Abū Bakr notified in his first speech that the Messenger was kept infallible through inspiration and he was given care by an angel, yet, to me he seems as a devil who has subdued me occasionally, when I get angry, get away from me … As long as I obey Allāh and his Messenger, obey me; however, at the time of disobedience to Allāh and his Messenger I am not rightful to be obeyed by you.[26] ‘Umar had a harshly daring treatment to the extent that few people had power or courage to oppose him. Anyhow, some people have been reported to oppose him, and in some cases he responded them positively.

Another point lay behind the principle, لا طاعة لمخلوق في معصية الخالق Which was contrary to it.

According to this point, a person’s opposition to an emir will pave the way for the disunity of the community or the so-called Congregation. While “the order to maintain congregation” being the most vital principle for solidifying the community is quite contrary to the expression of opposition. Naturally, in non-critical situations, this issue can somewhat be solved through toleration on the part of two parties. However, in case of an unusual circumstance or if the objection gives rise to a critical condition, this issue will be more intricate. In books of Hadith a full section has been devoted to the maintenance of congregation, which is mainly based on obedience to ruler.[27] Of course, it is clear that ruler’s benefits lie more in observing the principle of “Congregation” than that of “lack of obedience at the time of disobedience”.

‘Abd al-Razzāq San‘ānī, in his book entitled as “Musannaf” has mentioned some narrations labeled as “the section on the necessity of the community” some of which are to be expounded.

Quoting from the Messenger of Allāh(s), Abū Hurayra said, “The one who dies while he has become separately apart from congregation, and does not obey, indeed he has died in ignorance. The one who has revolted against my people with the sword and strikes good and bad … he’s not among my people. According to Ibn ‘Abbās, the one who goes out of obedience by an inch, he has died in ignorance.”

It’s been quoted that the Messenger of Allāh(s) has ordered five things, compliance, obedience, congregation, immigration and Djihād in the way of Allāh; The one who distances himself from congregation by an inch, he will be no longer a Muslim.

‘Umar has also quoted the Prophet(s) as saying, “The one who longs for paradise, maybe maintains the congregation.”

Furthermore, he’s been quoted as saying, “The one who rebels against any people while they are united intending to divide them, kill him in any possible case.”

Hudhayfa has reportedly said that the people who tried to downgrade “Allāh’s Sultan on earth”, should be humiliated by Allāh. Moreover, the Messenger of Allāh(s) has said about the Emirate of the insane people that some emirs will come after me who are not guided by me and do not comply with my Sunna; the one who affirms their lie is helping them with their oppression, so we are not from each other and he won’t come on me in the Pond of Abundance (Kawthar).

In another hadith he said, “Nothing is better than speaking in justice before a tyrant Sultan. Avoiding people should not hinder you from speaking in truth.”

The narrator of this hadith, Abū Sa‘īd Khudrī, after narrating it, burst into tears and said, “By God! We refrained from so doing.”

One day Abūdhar came to ‘Uthmān and found fault with him. Thereafter, while reclining on stick ‘Alī (a) joined them.

‘Uthmān asked, “What should I do with him?”

‘Alī (a) answered, “Allāh has said about him that, if he be a liar, on him will be his lie, and if he be truthful, there will befall you some of that which he threatens you with (The Believer, (Ghāfir) 28).”

Then ‘Uthmān said to ‘Alī (a), “Keep quiet, woe back onto you! You asked me something and I answered you.”[28]

‘Abd Allāh Ibn Mas‘ūd has also quoted the Messenger of Allāh(s) as saying to him, “What do you do while seeing emirs who do not comply with my Sunna and never say prayer on time.”

Ibn Mas‘ūd answered, “I asked what to do?”

Then, the Messenger of Allāh(s) said, “You are asking me what to do!”
[لا طاعة لمخلوق في معصية الله[29

In continuation of this narration and before that numerous narrations have been mentioned concerning these emirs who never say prayer on time. Once seeing that Walīd Ibn ‘Uqba has refrained from timely prayer, Ibn Mas‘ūd requested Mu’adhdhin to recite Adhān.

Then, he himself began to say prayer. Thereafter, answering to Walīd’s objection, he said, “Allāh and His Messenger do not accept us to wait for you while you are going about your business.”[30]

Some Scholar as Hasan Basrī, Zuhrī and Qatāda has reportedly said prayer alongside emirs, even if these emirs did not do it on its due time.[31] Concerning ‘Uthmān, it’s been stated that Hasan Basrī was questioned in this way, who did say prayer after sermon (in feast of prayer)?

He answered, “‘Uthmān always says prayer at the outset and then he makes a sermon.” However, seeing that many people do not stay for sermon, he decided to make sermon at first and say prayer thereafter.[32]

These were samples of narrations quoted by ‘Abd al-Razzāq San‘ānī in this regard. It should be said, however, that opposition to bid for disobedience was once considered as prescription of criticism and the other time as revolt. The second not the first is more momentous concerning separation of community. Many issues are available as regards ‘Uthmān as well as historical experience of his caliphate, e.g. for him, opposition and criticism were beyond endurance. Once in 26 A.H, ‘Uthmān merged some neighboring houses together to develop the sacred Mosque and tried to sponsor for it by public treasury, some people burst into objection.

Hence, ordering to imprison them, ‘Uthmān said, “What dared you stand against me is your forbearance; otherwise, ‘Umar himself did so.”

Eventually, prisoners were all released under the mediation of ‘Abd Allāh Ibn Khālid Ibn Usayd.[33] However, having remembered the prior conduct in which any criticism was permissible, the comparisons and the followers criticized ‘Uthmān whenever the ground was prepared. He resisted these objections and never surrendered to them, in cases of a sever pressure-due to the siege of his house-he admitted objections temporarily, yet, as soon as the pressure was removed he acted cruelly.

At the time when Imām ‘Alī (a) was accompanying Abūdhar, ‘Uthmān said, “Didn’t you hear that I ordered not to accompany Abūdhar?”

Then, Imām answered, “Must we obey your orders, while we find them contrary to Allāh’s Judgment? By Allāh, we don’t do so.”

‘Uthmān became angry with Imām ‘Alī (a) and told him that Marwān has been given superiority over him. The next day, ‘Uthmān went to Muhādjirūn and Ansār so as to grumble about Imām ‘Alī (a). He noted that ‘Alī finds faults with him and supports those raising difficulty, that is, ‘Ammār, Abūdhar and others. Thereafter, people brought about a compromise between ‘Alī (a) and ‘Uthmān, and ‘Alī (a) stated that his accompanying of Abūdhar had been merely for the sake of Allāh.[34]

Marwān Ibn Hakam says, “In midway of Mecca and Medina, I witnessed the contact between ‘Alī and ‘Uthmān, in which ‘Uthmān banned performing lesser pilgrimage in Hadjdj months (or both lesser and greater pilgrimage).”

Seeing such a thing, ‘Alī (a) said, “I become clothed in a pilgrimage state, then he said Labbayk for both of them.”

‘Uthmān objected to him asking, “Are you doing what I forbid?”

Imām answered, “I do not give up the Sunna of the Messenger(s) on behalf of anybody.”[35]

Ibn Mas‘ūd was also one of the tenacious dissenters of ‘Uthmān. He was some time among those who said, “If ‘Uthmān says a four rak‘at-prayer rather than a two rak‘at one in Minā, he is to be obeyed, since opposition is considered as an evil.[36]

Elsewhere he has said, “‘Uthmān is Imām, so I do not oppose him, for opposition is considered as an evil.”[37] Though, later on he acted so intensely against ‘Uthmān.[38]

A large number of companions were unanimous in opposition to ‘Uthmān. Later, the Sunnis disbelieved the companions under the auspices of disagreeing with the ruler as legitimate political conduct and mainly pretended that a bunch of rascals rose in revolt against ‘Uthmān. ‘Uthmān was objected by Imām ‘Alī (a) when he said a four rak‘at-prayer in 29 A.H. in Minā, because it was contrary to the Messenger(s) and former caliphs’ conducts.

In answer to Imām presenting the Messenger(s)’s conduct, ‘Uthmān said,”This is what I believed in.”[39]

‘Uthmān’s despotism established a modern process in the course of despotism in caliphate organizations. Anyway, due to the relative strength of Islamic values in the community, ‘Uthmān with all his importunity could not suppress the oppositions; on the contrary, he was removed by increasingly growing opposition. This was a new experience for the history of Islamic caliphate which became later on an essential theoretical issue in Islamic political jurisprudence.

[1] al-Futūh, vol. II, p.158
[2] Ansāb al-ashrāf, vol.II, p.118
[3] Ansāb al-ashrāf, vol.V, p.52
[4] al-Ma‘ārif, p.195; al-Istī‘āb, vol.I, p.214; al-Futūh, vol.II, pp.1580-189; Tārīkh al-madīnat al-munawwara, vol.III, p.1038. According to Ibn A‘tham, ‘Uthmān said to Abūdhar, “Go out of Medina.” Abūdhar answered, “I want to go to Syria.” ‘Uthmān did not accept. Abūdhar proposed Iraq, but then again ‘Uthmān rejected it, and said to him, “ I said you to the worst city, that is, Rabada. So go over there and never return here.”
[5] al-Futūh, vol.II, p.157
[6] Tārīkh al-ya‘qūbī, vol.II, p.173; see al-Futūh, vol.II, pp.159-160;Ansāb al-ashrāf, vol.V, p.54
[7] Nath al-durr, vol.II, p.78
[8] al-Hayawān, vol.IV, p.277
[9] Ansāb al-ashrāf, vol.IV, pp.39 -43
[10] Ansāb al-ashrāf, vol.V, pp.45-46; Murūdj al-dhahab, vol.II, p.337
[11] al-Isāba, vol.III, p.85
[12] Ansāb al-ashrāf, vol.V, p.30
[13] See al-Imāma wa l-siyāsa, vol.I, pp.50-51; al-Futūh, vol.II, pp.153-155; Ansāb al-ashrāf, vol.V, p. 49
[14] Tārīkh al-madīnat al-munawwara, vol.III, pp.1099-1100; ‘Ammār may have been thrashed once again. See Ansāb al-ashrāf, vol.V, p.48
[15] al-Futūh, vol.II, p.155
[16] Tārīkh al-madīnat al-munawwara, vol. III, p.1049
[17] Ansāb al-ashrāf, vol.V, pp.31,36,37; Tārīkh al-ya‘qūbī, vol. II, p. 171; Ibn Abi l-Hadīd, Sharh nahdj al-balāgha, vol.III, pp.42-43. There, ‘Abd Allāh’s thrashing and his objections of ‘Uthmān have been explained in detail.
[18] See al-Futūh, vol.II, pp.178-179; Murūdj al-dhahab, vol.II, pp.237-238; Ibn Abi l-Hadīd, Sharh nahdj al-balāgha, vol.II, p.135; al-Bidāya wa l-nihāya vol.VII, p.167; Ansāb al-ashrāf, vol.V, p.44
[19] Lubāb al-adab, p.305
[20] Ansāb al-ashrāf, vol.V, p.53
[21] Ibid, vol.V, p.51; vol.II, p.388
[22] Tārīkh al-madīnat al-munawwara, vol.III, p.1095
[23] Sharh mā yaqa‘ fih l-Tashīf wa l-Tahrīf, p.107
[24] Tabaqāt al-kubrā, vol.VIII, p.113; al-Bayān wa l-tabyīn, vol.I, p.377
[25] Ibn Hishām, al-Sīrat al-nabawiyya, vol.IV, p.640; ‘Abd al-Razzāq, al-Musannaf, vol.XI, p.335; Sahīh al-bukhārī, Kitāb al-Ahkām Hadīth, vol.IV; Musnad Ahmad, vol.III, p.67; Mukhtasar Tārīkh Dimashq, vol.V p.171; vol.XII, p.104
[26] ‘Abd al-Razzāq, al-Musannaf, vol.XI, p.336
[27] See al-Mu‘djam al-mufahras Lialfā¨ al-hadīth al-nabawī, vol.IV, below the word “Taw‘”, obedience
[28] ‘Abd al-Razzāq, al-Musannaf, vol.XI, pp.339-349
[29] Ibid, vol.II, p.384
[30] ‘Abd al-Razzāq, al-Musannaf, vol.II, p.384
[31] Ibid, vol.II, p.385; Tabaqāt al-kubrā, vol.VII, p.402
[32] Tārīkh al-madīnat al-munawwara, vol.II, p.385; Musnad Abī Dāwūd, vol.I, p.297
[33] Tārīkh al-tabarī, vol.IV, p.259
[34] Murūdj al-dhahab, vol.II, pp.341-342; Tārīkh al-ya‘qūbī, vol.II, p.173
[35] Tārīkh al-madīnat al-munawwara, vol.II, pp.1043-1044
[36] Tārīkh al-tabarī, vol.IV, p.268; al-Ghadīr, vol.VIII, p.99, quoted from, Sunan Abī Dāwūd, vol.I, p.308; Qādī Abū Yūsuf, al-Āthār, p.30; Shāfi‘ī, Kitāb al-Umm, vol.I, p.159; vol.VII, p.175; Biyhaqī, Sunnan al-kubrā, vol.III, p.144
[37] Ibn Abi l-Hadīd, Sharh nahdj al-balāgha, vol.III, p.42
[38] Ansāb al-ashrāf, vol.IV, pp.524 -527; Tārīkh al-madīnat al-munawwara, vol.II, pp.1049-1054
[39] Tārīkh al-tabarī, vol.IV, p.267
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