The Prophet (صلى الله علیه وسلم) informed Uthmaan (رضي الله عنه) (and us) of two things regarding his future:
- That he would enter Paradise
- That he would be tested with a major calamity.
Narrated Abu Moosaa (رضي الله عنه):
That he was in the company of the Prophet in one of the gardens of Madeenah and in the hand of the Prophet there was a stick, and he was striking (slowly) the water and the mud with it. A man came (at the gate of the garden) and asked permission to enter. The Prophet said, "Open the gate for him and give him the glad tidings of entering Paradise." I went, and behold! It was Abu Bakr (رضي الله عنه). So I opened the gate for him and informed him of the glad tidings of entering Paradise. Then another man came and asked permission to enter. The Prophet said, "Open the gate for him and give him the glad tidings of entering Paradise." Behold! It was 'Umar. So I opened the gate for him and gave him the glad tidings of entering Paradise. Then another man came and asked permission to enter.
The Prophet was sitting in a leaning posture, so he sat up and said, "Open the gate for him and give him the glad tidings of entering Paradise with a calamity which will befall him or which will take place." I went, and behold! It was Uthmaan. So I opened the gate for him and gave him the glad tidings of entering Paradise and also informed him of what the Prophet had said (about a calamity). 'Uthmaan said, "Allaah Alone Whose Help I seek (against that calamity). [Saheeh Al-Bukhaaree - Volume 8, Book 73, Number 235]
His (رضي الله عنه) Modesty
Uthmaan (رضي الله عنه) was a man of great modesty. The Prophet (صلى الله علیه وسلم) said that even the angels are shy in the presence of Uthmaan (رضي الله عنه): Aa'ishah (رضي الله عنها) reports:
The Prophet (صلى الله علیه وسلم) was lying down in his house with his thighs or his calves exposes. Abu Bakr (رضي الله عنه) asked permission to enter and was permitted while the Prophet (صلى الله علیه وسلم) was in that position and he came in and spoke with him (صلى الله علیه وسلم). Then, Umar asked permission to enter. He was granted permission and came in and spoke with him (صلى الله علیه وسلم) while in that position. Then, Uthmaan asked permission and the Prophet (صلى الله علیه وسلم) sat up and straightened his clothing. He was then permitted and came in and spoke with the Prophet (صلى الله علیه وسلم). After he had gone, Aa'ishah said: Abu Bakr (رضي الله عنه) entered and you did not get up for him or worry about him and Umar came in and you did not get up for him nor worry about him but when Uthmaan came in, you straigtened out your clothing! The Prophet (صلى الله علیه وسلم) said: "Should I not be shy of a man around whom the angels are shy?" [Saheeh Muslim]
His (رضي الله عنه) Virtue
Uthmaan (رضي الله عنه) was a man of honest and respectful ways even before he entered Islaam.
Narrated Uthmaan ibn Affan (رضي الله عنه):
Abu Umaamah ibn Sahl (رضي الله عنه) said: We were with Uthmaan when he was besieged in the house. There was an entrance to the house. He who entered it heard the speech of those who were in the Bilat. Uthmaan then entered it. He came out to us, looking pale.
He said: "They are threatening to kill me now." We said: "Allaah will be sufficient for you against them, Commander of the Faithful!" He asked: "Why kill me? I heard the Messenger of Allaah (صلى الله علیه وسلم) say: 'It is not lawful to kill a man who is a Muslim except for one of the three reasons: Kufr (disbelief) after accepting Islaam, fornication after marriage, or wrongfully killing someone, for which he may be killed.'
I swear by Allaah, I have not committed fornication before or after the coming of Islaam, nor did I ever want another religion for me instead of my religion since Allaah gave guidance to me, nor have I killed anyone. So for what reason do you want to kill me?" [Saheeh Al-Bukhaaree - Book 39, Number 4487]
The Agreement to Give Him Bai'ah after Umar (رضي الله عنه)
Umar (رضي الله عنه) did not appoint a successor though he was alive for some time after being stabbed knowing that he was dying. Rather, he appointed a committee of six individuals who he ordered to pick a Khalifa from among themselves - with the exception of his son Abdullaah ibn Umar (radi-Allaahu 'anhumaa) who was on the committee to participate in the process, but Umar (رضي الله عنه) did not allow that he could be the one chosen. Umar (رضي الله عنه) chose these six people based on his knowledge that the Prophet (صلى الله علیه وسلم) had left this world pleased with every single one of them. This was the best way for the successor to be chosen. For Umar (رضي الله عنه) to merely appoint a successor as was requested of him would have established a wrong tradition and could have let to dissent and controversy. To leave it to the common people ("democratic election") would be tantamount to leaving it to chance. Rather, Umar (رضي الله عنه) put the issue into the most capable and knowledgeable Companions of the Prophet (صلى الله علیه وسلم) and left it for them to choose one among themselves. Since these six all knew from the Prophet's (صلى الله علیه وسلم) teachings the requirement to consult the Muslims in their affairs, they did this, but ultimately, it was within this committee of six that the decision was made as you can see in the following Saheeh hadeeth:
Narrated 'Amr bin Maimun (رضي الله عنه):
I saw 'Umar bin Al-Khattab a few days before he was stabbed in Madeenah. He was standing with Hudhaifa bin Al-Yaman and 'Uthmaan bin Hunaif to whom he said, "What have you done? Do you think that you have imposed more taxation on the land (of As-Swad i.e. 'Iraq) than it can bear?" They replied, "We have imposed on it what it can bear because of its great yield." 'Umar again said, "Check whether you have imposed on the land what it can not bear." They said, "No, (we haven't)." 'Umar added, "If Allaah should keep me alive I will let the widows of Iraq need no men to support them after me." But only four days had elapsed when he was stabbed (to death). The day he was stabbed, I was standing and there was nobody between me and him (i.e. Umar) except Abdullaah bin 'Abbas. Whenever Umar passed between the two rows, he would say, "Stand in straight lines."
When he saw no defect (in the rows), he would go forward and start the prayer with Takbeer. He would recite Soorah Yoosuf or An-Nahl or the like in the first Rak'ah so that the people may have the time to Join the prayer. As soon as he said Takbeer, I heard him saying, "The dog has killed or eaten me," at the time he (i.e. the murderer) stabbed him. A non-Arab infidel proceeded on carrying a double-edged knife and stabbing all the persons he passed by on the right and left (till) he stabbed thirteen persons out of whom seven died. When one of the Muslims saw that, he threw a cloak on him. Realizing that he had been captured, the non-Arab infidel killed himself, 'Umar held the hand of 'Abdur-Rahmaan bin Auf and let him lead the prayer.
Those who were standing by the side of 'Umar saw what I saw, but the people who were in the other parts of the Mosque did not see anything, but they lost the voice of 'Umar and they were saying, "SubhaanAllaah! SubhaanAllaah! (i.e. Glorified be Allaah)." Abdur-Rahmaan bin Auf led the people a short prayer. When they finished the prayer, 'Umar said, "O Ibn 'Abbas! Find out who attacked me." Ibn 'Abbas kept on looking here and there for a short time and came to say. "The slave of Al Mugheerah." On that 'Umar said, "The craftsman?" Ibn 'Abbas said, "Yes." 'Umar said, "May Allaah curse him. I did not treat him unjustly. All the Praises are for Allaah Who has not caused me to die at the hand of a man who claims himself to be a Muslim. No doubt, you and your father (Abbas) used to love to have more non-Arab infidels in Madeenah." Al-Abbas had the greatest number of slaves. Ibn 'Abbas said to 'Umar. "If you wish, we will do." He meant, "If you wish we will kill them." 'Umar said, "You are mistaken (for you can't kill them) after they have spoken your language, prayed towards your Qibla, and performed Hajj like yours."
Then Umar was carried to his house, and we went along with him, and the people were as if they had never suffered a calamity before. Some said, "Do not worry (he will be Alright soon)." Some said, "We are afraid (that he will die)." Then an infusion of dates was brought to him and he drank it but it came out (of the wound) of his belly. Then milk was brought to him and he drank it, and it also came out of his belly. The people realized that he would die. We went to him, and the people came, praising him. A young man came saying, "O chief of the believers! Receive the glad tidings from Allaah to you due to your company with Allaah's Messenger and your superiority in Islaam which you know. Then you became the ruler (i.e. Caliph) and you ruled with justice and finally you have been martyred." 'Umar said, "I wish that all these privileges will counterbalance (my shortcomings) so that I will neither lose nor gain anything."
When the young man turned back to leave, his clothes seemed to be touching the ground. 'Umar said, "Call the young man back to me." (When he came back) 'Umar said, "O son of my brother! Lift your clothes, for this will keep your clothes clean and save you from the Punishment of your Lord." 'Umar further said, "O 'Abdullaah bin 'Umar! See how much I am in debt to others." When the debt was checked, it amounted to approximately eighty-six thousand. 'Umar said, "If the property of 'Umar's family covers the debt, then pay the debt thereof; otherwise request it from Bani 'Adi bin Ka'b, and if that too is not sufficient, ask for it from Quraish tribe, and do not ask for it from any one else, and pay this debt on my behalf."
'Umar then said (to 'Abdullaah), "Go to 'Aa'ishah (the Mother of the Believers) and say: "Umar is paying his salutation to you. But don't say: 'The Chief of the Believers,' because today I am not the chief of the believers. And say: "Umar bin Al-Khattab asks the permission to be buried with his two companions (i.e. the Prophet, and Abu Bakr (رضي الله عنه))." Abdullaah greeted 'Aa'ishah and asked for the permission for entering, and then entered to her and found her sitting and weeping. He said to her, "'Umar bin Al-Khattab is paying his salutations to you, and asks the permission to be buried with his two companions." She said, "I had the idea of having this place for myself, but today I prefer Umar to myself." When he returned it was said (to 'Umar), "'Abdullaah bin 'Umar has come." 'Umar said, "Make me sit up." Somebody supported him against his body and 'Umar asked ('Abdullaah), "What news do you have?" He said, "O chief of the believers! It is as you wish. She has given the permission." 'Umar said, "Praise be to Allaah, there was nothing more important to me than this. So when I die, take me, and greet 'Aa'ishah and say: "Umar bin Al-Khattab asks the permission (to be buried with the Prophet), and if she gives the permission, bury me there, and if she refuses, then take me to the grave-yard of the Muslims."
Then Hafsah (the Mother of the Believers) came with many other women walking with her. When we saw her, we went away. She went in (to 'Umar) and wept there for sometime. When the men asked for permission to enter, she went into another place, and we heard her weeping inside. The people said (to 'Umar), "O Chief of the Believers! Appoint a successor." Umar said, "I do not find anyone more suitable for the job than the following persons or group whom Allaah's Messenger had been pleased with before he died." Then 'Umar mentioned 'Alee, 'Uthmaan, Az-Zubair, Talhah, Sad and 'Abdur-Rahmaan (bin Auf) and said, "Abdullaah bin 'Umar will be a witness to you, but he will have no share in the rule. His being a witness will compensate him for not sharing the right of ruling. If Sad becomes the ruler, it will be alright: otherwise, whoever becomes the ruler should seek his help, as I have not dismissed him because of disability or dishonesty." 'Umar added, "I recommend that my successor takes care of the early emigrants; to know their rights and protect their honor and sacred things.
I also recommend that he be kind to the Ansar who had lived in Madeenah before the emigrants and Belief had entered their hearts before them. I recommend that the (ruler) should accept the good of the righteous among them and excuse their wrong-doers, and I recommend that he should do good to all the people of the towns (Al-Ansar), as they are the protectors of Islaam and the source of wealth and the source of annoyance to the enemy. I also recommend that nothing be taken from them except from their surplus with their consent. I also recommend that he do good to the 'Arab bedouin, as they are the origin of the 'Arabs and the material of Islaam. He should take from what is inferior, amongst their properties and distribute that to the poor amongst them. I also recommend him concerning Allaah's and His Messenger's protectees (i.e. Dhimmis) to fulfill their contracts and to fight for them and not to overburden them with what is beyond their ability." So when 'Umar expired, we carried him out and set out walking. 'Abdullaah bin 'Umar greeted ('Aa'ishah) and said, "'Umar bin Al-Khattab asks for the permission." 'Aa'ishah said, "Bring him in." He was brought in and buried beside his two companions.
When he was buried, the group (recommended by 'Umar) held a meeting. Then 'Abdur-Rahmaan said, "Reduce the candidates for rulership to three of you." Az-Zubair said, "I give up my right to Alee." Talhah said, "I give up my right to 'Uthmaan," Sad, "I give up my right to 'Abdur-Rahmaan bin 'Auf." 'Abdur-Rahmaan then said (to 'Uthmaan and 'Alee), "Now which of you is willing to give up his right of candidacy so that he may choose the better of the (remaining) two, bearing in mind that Allaah and Islaam will be his witnesses." So both the shaykhs (i.e. 'Uthmaan and 'Alee) kept silent. 'Abdur-Rahmaan said, "Will you both leave this matter to me, and I take Allaah as my Witness that I will not choose but the better of you?" They said, "Yes." So 'Abdur-Rahmaan took the hand of one of them (i.e. 'Alee) and said, "You are related to Allaah's Messenger and one of the earliest Muslims as you know well. So I ask you by Allaah to promise that if I select you as a ruler you will do justice, and if I select 'Uthmaan as a ruler you will listen to him and obey him." Then he took the other (i.e. 'Uthmaan) aside and said the same to him. When 'Abdur-Rahmaan secured (their agreement to) this covenant, he said, "O 'Uthmaan! Raise your hand." So he (i.e. 'Abdur-Rahmaan) gave him (i.e. 'Uthmaan) the solemn pledge, and then 'Alee gave him the pledge of allegiance and then all the (Madeenah) people gave him the pledge of allegiance. [Saheeh Al-Bukhaaree - Volume 5, Book 57, Number 50]
Refutation of Some of the Lies Perpetrated Against Him (رضي الله عنه)
Then, as now, the lesser people among the Muslims had a habit of spreading and digging into anything negative about the greater among the Muslims. In the following hadeeth, we see examples of some of the negative rumors circulating among the ignorant regarding Uthmaan and how they were cleared up by one of the greater Muslims - Abdullaah ibn Umar (radi-Allaahu 'anhumaa).
Narrated 'Uthmaan (رضي الله عنه):
(the son of Muhib) An Egyptian who came and performed the Hajj to the Ka'bah saw some people sitting. He enquired, "Who are these people?" Somebody said, "They are the tribe of Quraysh." He said, "Who is the Shaykh among them?" The people replied, "He is 'Abdullaah Bin 'Umar." He said, "O Ibn Umar! I want to ask you about something; please tell me about it. Do you know that 'Uthmaan fled away on the day (of the battle) of Uhud?" Ibn 'Umar said, "Yes." The (Egyptian) man said, "Do you know that 'Uthmaan was absent on the day (of the battle) of Badr and did not join it?" Ibn 'Umar said, "Yes." The man said, "Do you know that he failed to attend the Ar-Ridhwaan pledge and did not witness it (i.e. Hudaibiya pledge of allegiance)?" Ibn 'Umar said, "Yes." The man said, "Allaahu Akbar!" Ibn 'Umar said, "Come, let me explain to you. As for his flight on the day of Uhud, I testify that Allaah has excused him and forgiven him; and as for his absence from the battle of Badr, it was due to the fact that the daughter of Allaah's Messenger was his wife and she was sick then. Allaah's Messenger said to him, 'You will receive the same reward and share (of the booty) as anyone of those who participated in the battle of Badr.' As for his absence from the Ar-Ridhwaan pledge of allegiance, had there been any person in Mecca more respectable than 'Uthmaan (to be sent as a representative) Allaah's Messenger would have sent him instead of him. No doubt, Allaah's Messenger had sent him, and the incident of the Ar-Ridhwaan pledge of Allegiance happened after 'Uthmaan had gone to Makkah. Allaah's Messenger held out his right hand saying, 'This is 'Uthmaan's hand.' He struck his (other) hand with it saying, 'This (pledge of allegiance) is on the behalf of 'Uthmaan.' Then Ibn 'Umar said to the man, 'Go now with this with you.' [Saheeh Al-Bukhaaree - Volume 5, Book 57, Number 48]