Umar bin Abdul Azeez, Fifth righteous Caliph


Hazrath Umar bin Abdul Aziz is popularly acknowledged as “Al-Khalifat-us-Saleh” (The pious Caliph) or “Al-Khalifa Al Khamis” (The fifth righteously guided Caliph). He was the son of Abdul Aziz (Governor of Egypt) and Umm-i-Aasim (grand-daughter of the Caliph, Hazrath Umar RA). Born in 63 A.H. (682 A.D.) in Halwan, a village of Egypt and pursued education in Medina under the auspices of his maternal uncle, Abdullah Ibn Umar. Student life in Medina, renowned as the pinnacle of learning in Islamic world at the time, was immensely instrumental in moulding his life on every aspects of Islamic code. Umar bin Abdul Aziz married Fatima, daughter of his uncle, Caliph Abdul Malik.

Appointment as Caliph

In 706 AD, he was appointed as the Governor of Medina by Caliph Waleed. The Umayyad Caliph, Sulaiman Bin Abdul Malik nominated Umar Bin Abdul Aziz as his successor. On his death, the mantle of Caliphate fell upon Umar Bin Abdul Aziz who reluctantly accepted it.  Relinquishing all pomp and pageantry, the pious Caliph returned the royal charger, refused security and deposited the entire Caliphate equipment in the Bait-ul-Maal (Government Exchequer) thereby shunning the entitled luxury. He longed for commoner life and preferred to abode in a small tent. Upon being queried about his downheartedness, the Caliph responded, “Is it not a thing to worry about? I have been entrusted with the welfare of such a vast empire and I would be failing in my duty if I did not rush to the help of a deprived person.” Thereafter, he ascended the pulpit and delivered a masterly sermon mentioning, “Brothers! I have been burdened with the responsibilities of the Caliphate against my will. You are at liberty to elect anyone whom you like.” But the audience unanimously cried out with one voice that he was the paramount personality for the esteemed high office. Thereupon the pious Caliph advised his people to observe steadfastness on the path of piety. He empowered his subjects to withdraw their oath of allegiance to him, if he ever wavered from the path of ALLAH SWT.

Administration

Umar Bin Abdul Aziz was a competent administrator, well versed in his obligation towards this world and the Hereafter. He was extremely hard working and seldom enjoyed rest. His rule was envisioned based on Caliph Umar’s administration model. According to Imam Sufian Thauri, there are five pious Caliphs namely Abu Bakr, Umar Farooq, Uthman, Ali and Umar Bin Abdul Aziz.

Though his rule was brief, it is eminent for reinstallation of   democratic process which was left in the lurch by his predecessors. He replaced corrupt and tyrannical Umayyad administrators with accomplished and just ones. The primary act post assumption of office was restoration of the properties confiscated by the Umayyads to their rightful owners. He was hardly free from the burial ceremonies of Caliph Sulaiman and wished to take a short respite. His son reminded him whether if he would rest before dealing with cases pertaining to confiscated properties. He replied, “Yes, I would deal with these after taking rest.” “Are you sure, that you would live up to that time?” asked the son. The father kissed his dear son and thanked Allah SWT for blessing him with a virtuous son. He immediately dealt with the matter. He surrendered all his movable and immovable properties to the public treasury including a ring presented to him by Caliph Waleed. His faithful slave, Mazahim was deeply moved at this uncommon sight and asked, “Sir, what have you left for your children?” “ALLAH”, was the reply. SUBHANALLAH !!

Public Works Department

The public welfare institutions received greater stimulus. Thousands of public wells and inns were constructed throughout the expanse of vast empire. Charitable dispensaries were established. Government funded travelling expenses for the destitute travelers.

Crisis handling

The house of Umayyads, accustomed to luxuries at the expense of the common man, revolted against the revolutionary decree of the Caliph and bitterly protested against the disposal of their age-long properties.

To diffuse the crisis, the Caliph invited some prominent members of the House of Umayyads for dinner and advised his cook to delay meal preparation. As the guests were groaning with hunger, the Caliph ordered his cook to hurry up. At the same time he asked his men to bring some parched gram which he himself as well as his guests ate to their fill. Minutes later, dinner was served and the guests refused saying that they had satisfied their appetite. Thereupon the pious Caliph spoke out, “Brothers! when you can satisfy your appetite with a simple diet, then why do you play with fire and usurp the properties and rights of other.” These words pierced the conscience of the nobles of the House of Umayyads, rendering them to tears.

Compassion towards the poor

Once his wife witnessed him weeping after his prayers; she inquired reason for his grief; he replied: “O! Fatima ! I have been appointed as the ruler of Muslims and I am concerned about the poor that are starving, the sick that are destitute, the naked that are in distress, the oppressed that are stricken, the strangers  that are in prison, the venerable elders, one with a large family and modest means, and the likes of them in countries of the earth and the distant provinces, and I anticipate that my Lord would hold me accountable for them on the Day of Resurrection, and I fear that no defense would avail me, and I wept.”

 Benevolence

His promising son, Abdul Malik, advised his father to be severe in introducing his beneficial reforms. The wise father responded, “My beloved son, your proposal can be realized only by sword, but there is no good in a reform that necessitates the use of the sword.”

A Guest house for underprivileged was constructed from the funds of Bait-ul-Maal. His servant burned the firewood of this guest house to heat water for his ablution. He forthwith replaced the same quantity of firewood. On another occasion, he refused to use the water heated from the State charcoal. Umar Bin Abdul Aziz never dwelled in the Khansara’s government palatial buildings and instead chose to camp in the open.

Austerity

Umar Bin Abdul Aziz was a loving father but he never pampered his children with luxuries and comforts. Once he sought audience with his favorite daughter, Amina but she could not appear as she was improperly dressed. Her aunt came to know of it and purchased necessary garments for his children.

 He never accepted any presents from anyone. Once, a person presented a basket full of apples. The Caliph appreciated the apples but refused to accept them. The Caliph clarified his stance, “No doubt, those were presents for the Prophet, but for me this will be bribery.”

 End

A slave of the Caliph was bribed to administer the deadly poison. The Caliph having felt the effect of the poison, detained the slave and questioned the rationale for his action. The slave replied that he was given one thousand dinars to accomplish the task. The Caliph deposited the amount in the public Treasury, acquitted the slave and advised him to abscond from the place immediately, lest anyone might kill him. Thus, he breath last in 719 A.D. at a youthful age of 36 at the place called Dair Siman (The convent of Siman) near Hams.

Umar Bin Abdul Aziz was one of the noblest souls that ever subsist in this world. His martyrdom plunged the Islamic world into gloom. It was a day of national mourning: the populace of the small town came out to pay their last homage to the departed leader. He was buried in Dair Siman on a piece of land he had purchased from a Christian. He reportedly left behind only 17 dinars with a will that out of this amount, the rent of the house in which he died and the price of the land in which he was buried would be paid.

Ali bin Abi Talib RA


Ali RA was one of the four sons of Abu Talib, the leader of Banu Hashim. He was the youngest (born 10 years before Muhammad PBUH was raised as a Prophet). Pitying his poverty, Muhammad PBUH took him under his guardianship. He was one of the earliest converts to Islam when the Prophet PBUH started his call to Islam. His young age did not an obstacle for him to stay away from Islam and remained steadfast on it until he met his end.

When the pagans entered the Prophet’s house after knowing about his plans of migration to Madina, they found Ali RA sleeping in the Prophet’s bed. He was instructed by the Prophet PBUH to handover all the things which were left in his trust, to their owners, before he too left Makkah. The Quraish roughed him up, because they wanted to bring harm to the Prophet PBUH. They detained him in the Grand Mosque for sometime but released him later. A few days later, Ali RA trekked his way to Madinah, arriving there with swollen feet. This brought tears to the Prophet’s eyes.

His entire life was sacrifice and courage personified. At Badr, the Prophet PBUH let him loose on the three Quraysh fighters who challenged duals. Ali RA, the least experienced in war, took on Waleed ibn ‘Utbah and beheaded him in no time. It will not be out of place here to mention that at that time, Ali RA was just about 20 years.

After the battle of Badr, Ali RA requested the Prophet PBUH for Fatima’s hand. He agreed and a paltry sum of 400 Dirham was decided as the amount of Mahr. Ali RA and Fatima’s life was an example of detachment from the worldly pleasures. Their hut had no furniture and the pair went hungry quite often. When the hardships turned beyond endurance, they would go to the Prophet’s house seeking a slave or a servant. Fatimah complained that the skin of her hand was torn from running the mill-stone and Ali RA complained that he suffered chest pain from working as a bucket puller irrigating Jewish orchards. Rather than giving them what they had asked for, the Prophet PBUH told them, ‘’Sing the praises of your Lord, a hundred times before you go to bed. This is better than what you have asked for’’.

At Uhud 3 H, the pagan flag was held by Talha bin Uthman. Several times the man challenged someone to meet him in duel. Finally, Ali RA fought him and Talha fell down as Ali RA severed his leg. Ali RA then abandoned him .When the war broke, Ali RA fought so hard that he received sixteen injuries. By now Ali RA seemed to have gotten good war skills. The only Prophetic campaign from which Ali RA abstained was when he was placed in charge of Madina, while the Prophet PBUH marched to Tabuk. By placing Ali RA at Madina, and marching out with a force of 10000, to a destination, thousand kilometres away, leaving behind hundreds of hypocrites, the Prophet PBUH left the message to them that if they misbehaved, they will find the person left in charge no easy man to deal with.

Then came the final assignment. In the 10th year after Hijra, Ali RA was sent to Yemen as a Judge and a caller to Faith. The Prophet PBUH was eager to win the Yemenis to Islam without any military confrontation. Success came up smiling and the Prophet was extremely pleased to receive their delegates arriving at Madina to enter into allegiance and receive religious instructions. It is from Yemen that Ali RA arrived at Makkah to perform Hajj with the Prophet PBUH.

Ali RA remained close by during the Prophet’s final illness. He was the one who stepped into the grave while burying the last Messenger of Allah. Bukhari reports that Ali RA’s son Muhammad ibn Hanaffiyah asked Ali RA about who was the best of men after the Prophet PBUH. He answered, ‘’ Abu Bakr’’. He asked, ‘’who after him?’’. He answered,’’ Umar’’. Muhammad added that if he asked ‘’who thereafter’’, Ali RA would have said, ‘’Uthman’’, and so he desisted.

The relationship of Ali RA with Abu Bakr and Umar was that of mutual love and respect. When Ja’far, Ali RA’s brother died, Abu Bakr RA married his widow. Ali RA used to wear a certain apparel quite often in winters. When someone asked the reason, he said, ‘’ Why not? It was gifted to me by my friend Umar.’’ Ali RA gave his daughter Umm Kulthum to Umar in marriage. Ali RA, who said that none were dearer to the Prophet PBUH than Abu Bakr RA and Umar RA, named one of his sons as Abu Bakr RA and another Umar RA.

Usman’s death left Ali RA shatteringly dismayed and devastatingly traumatised. After the death of Uthman, Ali RA was unanimously chosen as the next Caliph, in the Prophet’s Mosque. Restoring law and order in Madina was his first major task. The rebels in thousands were freely roaming the town. Uthman’s murderers were also among them but his wife could not identify them. Since the rebels were outsiders, identifying the killers among them was not easy. Slowly pressure started building on Ali RA to apprehend the killers of Uthman. But it was not an easy task since there was no police or no standing army as in today’s world. To make matters worse for Ali RA, the rebels started playing dirty tricks and claimed themselves as Ali RA’s supporters. Ali RA loathed them and his disapproval of them was spoken out in every public address that he delivered.

The rebels wrongly but deliberately started claiming that Ali RA was shielding the murderers of Usman RA. Slowly a core group of the Sahaba demanded that the murderers of Usman be brought to book. Chaos and confusion was reigning supreme. This gave rise to new problems every day and so didn’t give enough time to Ali RA to focus on running the state and bringing about peace. Mu’awiyyah was still not pledging his allegiance to Ali RA on the grounds that Ali RA was not doing anything about punishing the murderers of Usman.

Ali RA asked Abdullah ibn Umar to become the Governor of Syria, but he refused and fled to Makkah.

Ali RA could not arrest the killers of Usman because they were not identified and in the ensuing chaos it became extremely difficult for him to focus on arresting the culprits. In the meantime, Mu’awiyyah remained with his hold on Syria which he extended to a province between Northern Iraq and Syria. Even Egypt subsequently came under him.

On the other hand, Aisha, on her way back from Hajj received the news of Usman’s murder. She returned to Makkah. Talha and Zubayr met her there and the three decided to launch a movement demanding punishment of Usman’s killers. The three along with some other companions decided to first go to Basra to seek their help and then move on to Kufa. When they reached Basra a huge number of people joined them. In the face of these developments, Ali RA also decided to leave for Kufa. They were about a hundred people when they started from Madinah but after reaching Kufa, 6000-7000 people joined them. Some Basrans also joined them and their number rose to about 12000.

But in the meantime, efforts were made for reconciliation. Their efforts at reconciliation succeeded as Zubayr, Talha and Aisha agreed to join hands with Ali RA to find out the killers of Uthman. This development did not go down well with the hypocrites, rebels and the Saba’ians who tried to create misunderstanding between them and unfortunately succeeded. The Saba’ians, during a secret meeting decided that they should strike each other in the pre dawn hours to start off a war. They had placed their men near Ali RA, Talha and Zubayr. The Saba’ians falsely told them that the other party had betrayed and had struck. In this way, a fight ensued due to misunderstanding. It continued till afternoon when Ali RA, Talha and Zubayr reAli RAsed that there was something wrong. They tried to stop the fight but were not successful. Zubayr was murdered by a Saba’i, Ibn Jurmooz. Talha too received a blow and he was carried to Basra where he died.

Having heard the news of the battle, Aisha came out of Basra. Aisha was on a camel (Ja’mal in Arabic and hence the Ja’mal battle). The Saba’ians targeted her, but her companions stood before her camel like a wall. Finally Ali RA sent her brother Abd al-Rehman ibn Abi Bakr and another man to gore the camel she was riding and escort Aisha safely to one of the tents. With this smart move, Ali RA was able to stop further bloodshed and bring this fight to an end.

Ali RA arranged for Aisha RA to be taken to Madina. Forty ladies of noble families were chosen to escort her right upto Madina. Ali RA followed the caravan out of the town for some distance. She announced that whatever had happened, there was never any bitterness between the two, even before she came out seeking retribution for Uthman’s murder.

Mu’awiyyah remained seeking justice for Usman. Ali RA had written several times to him to submit but he refused. Ultimately, Ali RA decided to prepare a force and invade Syria. Mu’awiyyah also marched out with a force of around sixty thousand to camp at Siffin. The two armies faced one another for more than two months without any full fledged battle, because both wished to avoid violence. Finally the war started between the two sides. The battle lasted full three days. By the fourth day it had become obvious that the victory will be for Ali RA’s forces. But ultimately both the sides stopped fighting. After this battle a group of people broke away from Ali RA who later came to be known as Khawarij. Their number soon swelled to about ten thousand. They had very strange beliefs. They considered those Muslims as unbelievers who did not agree to their thinking.

Most of the area east of Iraq as well as in its north rebelled against Ali RA’s Governors, refusing to send the Kharaj money to him. This weakened his government. Ultimately Ali RA had to give in and sign a truce with Mu’awiyyah in 40H that said that Syria would remain under Mu’awiyyah while Iraq would be for Ali RA. The Khawarij planned to kill Ali RA, Mu’awiyyah and Amr ibn al-Aas, all at the same time. They agreed on attacking the three on a particular day with poisoned swords. A person named Ibn Muljam attacked Ali RA as he emerged from his house for prayers. His sword did not fail and struck a fatal blow to Ali RA. The other two of assassins assigned to murder Mu’awiyyah and Amr ibn al-Aas failed.

Three days later, on 21st Ramadan, 40H, at the age of 63, Ali RA succumbed to the injuries. His burial place is unknown. Several tombs have been identified but to no certainty.

Usman Al-Ghani RA


Uthman bin Affan RA belonged to a noble family of Quraish in Makkah. His ancestral pedigree joins with that of the Holy Prophet PBUH in the fifth generation. He was from the “Umayyah” family of Quraish, which was a well reputed and honourable family of Makkah during the pre-Islamic days. The descendants of this family are known as “Banu Umayyah” or “Umawwin”.

Usman RA was born in 573 A.C. He was one of the few persons of Makkah who knew reading and writing. He was one of the scribes of the “Wahy” (Revelation) and also used to write other documents (letters and messages etc.) of the Prophet PBUH.

He was a rich cloth merchant. He used his money in good causes and always helped the poor. Usman was a soft natured and kind hearted man. He did not hesitate to spend any amount of money on seeing a man in trouble in order to ameliorate his misery. He was deeply regarded for his righteousness among the Makkans.

Acceptance of Islam

Abu Bakr As-Siddique RA introduced Islam to Usman RA which he readily accepted. He was one of those Muslims who accepted Islam in its very early days. The moment Usman RA stepped in the folds of Islam, calamities befell him. The Quraish, who loved Usman, became his enemies.

"Nothing will do any harm to Usman from this day, whatever he does." Prophet PBUH

Emigration to Abyssinia

When life in Mecca became hard for the Muslims, Usman RA went to the Prophet PBUH to seek permission to migrate to Abyssinia by virtue of protecting his faith along with other Muslims. The permission was granted. Usman RA and his wife, Ruqaiyyah bint Rasoolillah, crossed the Red Sea with other Muslims and migrated to Abyssinia. At the time of his migration, Prophet PBUH said: “Usman is the first man of my Ummah to migrate (for sake of Allah) with his family.” He stayed there for a couple of months and came back to Makkah when he was misinformed by somebody that the Quraish had accepted Islam.

Uthman RA gets the title of “Dhun-nurain”

Usman RA re-migrated to Madinah with other Muslims. Due to his wife’s illness he could not participate in the first battle of Islam against non-believers at Badr. Eventually, she died before the victorious Muslims returned from Badr. The Prophet PBUH gave him glad tidings that he would get the same reward as though he had participated in the battle. After the death of Ruqayyah RA, the Prophet PBUH married his next daughter, “Umm Kulthum” with him and he was given the title of “Dhun-nurain” i.e., the possessor of two lights. Later on when Umm Kulthum RA also passed, the Prophet said that if he had more daughters, he would have wed them to Usman RA.

Treaty of Hudaibiyah

The Prophet PBUH chose Usman RA as a representative from the Muslim camp to negotiate with the pagans of Makkah at the time of the “Treaty of Hudaibiyah”. The rumour had spread that the pagans had executed him. Prophet PBUH immediately gathered his men and sought their pledge to fight Usman’s murderers. This historic event is remembered as “Bai’at al-Ridwan” (the Pledge of Ridwan). Prophet represented his left hand as Usman’s hand for the pledge. But this rumour proved unfounded.

Generosity

When the Muhajirun (Emigrants) migrated to Medina, they encountered great deal of difficulty in fetching drinking water. Usman RA bought a well named “bi’r-i-Rumah” from a Jew for twenty thousand dirham for free use of Muslims. That was the first big charity made in the history of Islam. Prophet PBUH gave him the glad tidings of Paradise for this act.

Usman was always ready to help the cause of Islam in whatever way possible. Islam began to spread and Masjid an Nabawi was too small to accommodate the increasing population of Muslims. Therefore, Prophet expressed the desire to extend the Masjid. Usman was the one who responded to Prophet’s call by buying and donating the land for expansion.

Who can forget the generosity of Usman at the time of Tabuk expedition? He singlehandedly bore the expense of one third of the army. The Prophet PBUH remarked on this saying, “Nothing will do any harm to Usman from this day, whatever he does.”

Usman RA elected as the third Khalifa (Caliph)

Usman RA was one among the six members appointed by Umar RA for the post of next Khalifa of Muslims. The other five were Ali,  Saa’d bin Abi Waqqas, Talha, Zubair and ‘Abdur Rahman bin ‘Auf (Ridwanullah-i-‘Alaihim).

The panel could not arrive at any decision even after long meetings and discussion. Then, Abdur Rahman bin ‘Auf proposed somebody to withdraw his name in order to decide the matter. When he got no response, he withdrew his own name. The remaining members agreed that he could take a decision. He consulted each member individually except Talha RA who was not present at Madina. It so happened that Uthman proposed Ali’s name and Ali proposed Uthman’s name for the post of Khalifa. But Zubair and Sa’d were more in favour of Uthman than Ali. After more consultations with other companions and thinking over the problem during the third night, ‘Abdur Rahman bin ‘Auf RA gave his decision in the morning of the fourth day in favour of Uthman RA to be the third Caliph of Muslims.

Internal Disorder: Introductory Note

Usman’s RA caliphate could be understood in two phases. The first phase which lasted for 8-9 years was very peaceful. During this time the Muslims gained many victories, and the caliphate extended to a vast area of the then known world. But the later part i.e. 2-3 years was marred by a terrible internal strife eventually leading to the murder of the caliph himself. Usman RA was a very gentle and soft-hearted person. The people who wanted to create chaos among the Muslims took advantage of his soft nature and did what they did. Due to his tender nature Usman RA sometimes overlooked the faults of the governors and other officers in various provinces, though he himself devoted a total submission to the ways of the Prophet PBUH and his two successors. His compassionate nature made the provincial governors bold as a result of which unrest in the provincial capitals grew and ultimately it engulfed the whole Islamic State.

It would not be out of place here to mention that a large number of people were coming to the fold of Islam during that time. Their belief was not as strong as the belief of the earlier Muslims. They could be easily swayed by people who wanted to create mischief. The enemies of Islam were in search of a suitable occasion to work against Islam and the Muslims. They got the desired opportunity and succeeded in hatching a plot for this and sent out their men to disturb the peace and to spread false news. Due to the constraint of space and our blog’s policy of keeping to a strict word limit, it would be extremely difficult to write down the whole conspiracy. However, the whole conspiracy was the wickedness of Abdullah Bin Saba, a clever Yemenite Jew who had accepted Islam to destabilize and sow the seeds of discord among the vast Muslim empire.

 Insurgents (Sabaites) enter Madinah

It was the season of Hajj in the year 35 A.H. (656 A.C.), the people of Abdullah bin Saba started to put their plan into action. In the month of Shawwal 35 A.H. they started coming in small groups from various places. In all about three thousand Sabaites came, one thousand from each place viz. Basrah, Kufa and Egypt. These people stayed at three different places at the fringes of Madina. All of them wanted Hadrat Uthman to step down but there was some difference of opinion regarding the next “Khalifa”. These different groups approached Ali, Zubayr and Talha to become the Khalifa, but all of them strongly refused their offers.

When Uthman RA heard about the insurgents, he sent some of the leading Companions including Hadrat ‘Ali to them. Hadrat ‘Ali assured the insurgents that their grievances would be addressed. They put certain demands including the dismissal of the governor of Egypt and appointment of Muhammad bin Abi Bakr as the new governor. Uthman RA acceded to their demand without any question. Then he gave a short address in which he said, “By Allah, for the cause of truth, I am ready to obey even a slave. I promise to fulfil your demands.” Saying these tears rolled down the eyes of Uthman RA, and the audience also wept.

Hadrat ‘Ali RA then again assured the insurgents and they seemed to be satisfied and started to go back. All the Muslims at Medina thought that the trouble had ended.

 The siege of Khalifa’s house

A few days later the Medinites were surprised to hear shouts of “Revenge”, “Revenge” in the streets of Medina. Hearing the shouts Ali RA came out to enquire about the matter. The insurgents who were shouting showed a letter to him under the seal of “Khalifa” and purportedly signed by Marwan bin Hakm, the chief secretary of Uthman RA. The letter allegedly carried instructions to kill Muhammad bin Abu Bakr. Historians believe that this was a forged letter to create confusion, chaos and ‘fitna’ in the Islamic State. Having known the life history of Uthman and the high esteem in which the Prophet PBUH held him, it is not even possible for a right thinking Muslim to attach such malafide intentions to him.

Ali RA tried to pacify them but they did not listen to him and went straight to Ali, saying: “We do not want Uthman RA to be the Khalifa. Allah has made his blood lawful for us. You should also help us.” ‘Ali’s responded, “By Allah, I have nothing to do with you. It seems that you have hatched a plot and are trying to carry it out.”

The insurgents were hell bent on killing Usman RA even after he took a solemn oath that he knew nothing about the letter. But they did not believe him and said, “Whether you wrote it or not, you are unfit to be the Khalifa and you must abdicate.” They threatened to kill him on which Usman RA replied, “I do not fear death, but I do not want to shed Muslim blood.”

When Ali saw that the insurgents were not in control and Uthman did not want to use force against them, he left for Ahjar, a place few miles away from Medina, because his position was becoming difficult as the insurgents wanted to drag him in the dispute.

Afterwards the insurgents demanded Usman RA to give up the “Khilafat”. He rejected their demand and said, “I can’t take off the robe of honour with my own hands that Allah has bestowed upon me.” Consequently the insurgents laid a siege to his house and did not allow him to come out except for offering Salah in the Masjid. But later on they did not allow him to come out even for the Salah. The siege went on for forty days. During the last few days they also stopped supply of water. Some brave Muslim youths like Hadrat Hasan, Husain, Muhammad bin Talha and ‘Abdullah bin Zubayr RA were guarding the house so that nobody among the insurgents could enter the house. Beside Hadrat Uthman and his wife, Nailah, Marwan bin Hakam was also in the house. Uthman did not allow any person to fight with the insurgents although a fight took place between Hadrat Hasan, Husain and Marwan and the insurgents when they did not allow Umm-ul-mu’minin Hadrat Habibah RA to supply meals to Uthman RA. Hadrat Hasan received minor injuries but Marwan was seriously hurt. However, the insurgents did not fight with Hadrat Hasan and Husain because of the fear of Hashmites. During the siege Hadrat Uthman sent Abdullah bin ’Abbas to Mecca to lead the Hajj and also to inform people about the insurgents. He also sent messengers to provincial governors.

When hardship grew, some eminent Companions like Mughirah bin Shu’bah requested the “Khalifa” to take action against the insurgents and said that all the people of Medina were ready to fight for him but he did not agree to bloodshed of Muslims and that too in Madina. Then they proposed that he should leave the house through the back door and either go to Makkah or to Damascus where he would be safer but he accepted neither of the proposals. The things got worse day by day, and at last the crisis aggravated.

Martyrdom

The only weapon with Uthman RA was his kindness and soft nature. He addressed the insurgents several times from the roof of his house and reminded them about his family relations with the Prophet PBUH, and the services he had rendered to Islam but they never listened to him. The insurgents were afraid that the Hajj was coming to an end and after the Hajj a number of supporters of the “Khalifa” would come to Medina. They decided therefore to assassinate him without delay. So the insurgents climbed the back walls of the house and entered the room where Usman RA was reciting the Holy Qur’an.

On seeing Hadrat Uthman, one of the insurgents hit his head with an axe while the next struck him with a sword. His wife, Nailah tried to shield her husband but she also got several wounds and her fingers were chopped off. He got hold of Hadrat Uthman’s beard and pulled it. On this Hadrat Uthman remarked, “O my dear nephew if your father (Abu Bakr) were alive you would not have done this.” The remarks of Uthman cut him to the quick and he turned back and did not take part in the assassination.

After giving severe injuries to Hadrat Uthman, one of insurgents, an Egyptian named ‘Amr bin Hamq cut off Khalifa’s head.

Uthman RA was assassinated on Friday, the 17th Dhul-Hijjah, 35 A.H. (the 17th July, 656 C.E).

Umar Al-Farooq RA


Islam was just in its’ nascent stage. Prophet Muhammad PBUH was spreading his message and finding resistance from the pagans of Makkah at every stage. A little group of dedicated people had already joined him in spreading this message of monotheism. In this state of absolute tyranny and oppression, Prophet Muhammad PBUH, sitting in Kaaba, raised his hands in prayer to Allah.  “Lord!” he prayed, “make Islam strong with either of the two men, Amr bin Hisham or Umar bin Khattab.” Allah answered his servant’s prayer. Umar RA went on to embrace Islam and become one of its leading lights. Amr bin Hisham was to die as one of the biggest enemies of Islam with a title Abu Jahl (Father of Ignorance).

Acceptance of Islam

Umar’s entry to the folds of Eeman, made a huge difference to Islam. Till then, the Muslims had lived in constant fear of the non-believers. Some of them had not even made their faith known to the people. They could not say their prayers publicly. All this changed when Umar RA became a Muslim. Umar RA led a party of Muslims to Kaaba. A second party was led by Hamza. When all had gathered there, they prayed in congregation. The Prophet PBUH led the prayer. This was the first prayer of its kind said in the Kaaba.

The Prophet PBUH conferred him the title ‘Al-Farooq’ which means ‘’the one who distinguishes between right and wrong’’.

Umar always professed his belief publically. When the Muslims started migrating to Madina, most of them did it discreetly. But Umar and twenty people from his clan migrated to Madina during daytime. He challenged the chiefs of Makkah to stop him but none of them dared stand in his way.

Battles

During the battle of Badr, Umar came face to face with his uncle. He did not hesitate to kill his uncle because the latter had come to fight Muslims and destroy Islam. Muslims defeated the disbelievers in this battle and killed about seventy of their soldiers and took another seventy as prisoners. This victory was decisive and boosted the morale of Muslims.

Umar was a part of all the battles that the Prophet PBUH fought and he always showed his dedication and courage in these battles.

In the sixth year of Hijra, the Prophet PBUH and his companions wanted to visit Makkah to perform ‘Umrah. The pagans prevented them from entering Makkah and subsequently a peace agreement was negotiated between the two parties at Hudaibiyah. The pagans later on failed to respect this agreement and killed some of the Muslims’ allies. Umar joined the army of about ten thousand Muslims that conquered Makkah. Umar wanted to revenge himself against the pagans who oppressed the Muslims. However the Prophet PBUH taught him that a triumphant believer should always be forgiving.

Umar as second Calip of Muslims

Umar RA was the second Caliph of Muslims after the death of Abu Bakr As-Siddique RA. Before passing away, Abu Bakr RA consulted the senior companions of the Prophet PBUH about the best man to succeed him. They all agreed upon Umar RA as the best man to lead the Muslims.

Umar proved to be a very able and efficient administrator and a very just ruler. The Islamic state had spread far and wide over Iraq, Syria and Egypt. He sent letters to all his governors concerning the rules of governance. He also visited many places in the Muslim Empire to see whether the Governors he had appointed were treating the people fairly and with justice. He also established the public treasury during his Khilafat. Records of soldiers were maintained so as to pay them wages wherever they were. The army was maintained in a way similar to the modern armies.

Public works

Public facilities and construction of cities were also part of his interests. Rivers and canals were dug to provide water to populated areas all over the Islamic State. He sent teachers to all parts of the State to teach people how to recite Quran.

Umar paid great attention to the construction of mosques. Both the mosques in Makkah and Madina were expanded during his Khilafat. It is reported that the number of mosques during his rule was more than three thousand. The Islamic calendar was also created during his rule with the year of the Hijrah being its’ first year.

His advice to Saa’d bin Abi Waqqas

Umar selected Saa’d bin Abi Waqqas to lead the Muslim army to conquer Persia. Before leaving Madinah, Umar advised Saa’d saying: ‘’ Saa’d, I order you to fight the Persians. Listen to me and hold fast to my words. You are going to face a very hard obstacle that you cannot overcome unless you observe truth and goodness. You should know that every battle should be prepared for by having good equipment. Let your equipment be patience. Do not be deceived by saying to yourself ‘I am the Prophet’s uncle’ for there is no kinship dearer to Allah than obedience to His teachings.’’

Saa’d sent a delegation asking the King to accept Islam. But he rejected and showed utter disrespect towards the delegation. The Persians prepared about one hundred thousand fully armed soldiers supported by elephants. They were lead by Rustam. The Muslims gathered their humble arms to fight against this huge army. The Muslims won this battle on the fourth day. They sacrificed themselves to raise the banner of Islam. Rustam tried to escape but he was finally killed. The Muslim army marched to Mada’in, the Persian capital and faced no resistance on the way.

The battle against the Romans was started during Abu Bakr’s time and the Muslim army Under Khalid bin Waleed fought the Roman army near Al-Yarmouk. During the course of this battle, Abu Bakr RA passed away, but the battle still continued and the Muslim army came over the huge Roman Army. The Muslims conquered Damascus under Abu Ubaidah RA and its’ surrounding areas. Following this victory, the Muslim army went to Jerusalem. The chiefs of the city surrendered peacefully and asked for an agreement to be signed by Umar RA himself.

After these conquests, Egypt was conquered from the Romans under the leadership of Amr bin Al-‘Aas RA.

Generosity

Umar RA was an extremely humble and a just leader. He used to help the orphans and widows to manage their lives. He ordered his governors all over the Islamic State to be kind even to animals for fear that he might be responsible for any injustice they might cause to people.

The Prophet PBUH said regarding Umar RA: ‘’ If there were divinely inspired men in my nation, it would be Umar.’’

Death

While Umar RA was leading the Fajr prayer, a Persian named Fairuz stepped forward and stabbed him many times in his side with a dagger. He killed some other Muslims also. As other people tried to catch this person, he killed himself.

Before dying, Umar RA selected six men and ordered that one among them be selected as the Caliph. Umar also requested Aishah RA that he be buried beside the Prophet PBUH. She agreed although she wanted to keep this place for herself. Umar RA passed away three days later.

May Allah bestow His mercy on Umar RA. He was a great example of justice, piety and commitment to the cause of Islam.

Abu Bakr As-Siddique RA


His real name was Abdullah ibn Abi Quhafa. He was born three years after the birth of Prophet PBUH and died three years after Prophet’s death.

Abu Bakr was always a very close Companion of the Holy Prophet, he knew him better than any other man. He was considered as the second of the two. Such was his belief and conviction in Muhammad PBUH, that he became the first adult male to accept his message as soon as it was delivered to him, without questioning it.

 Abu Bakr’s submission to Islam was impeccable, the Prophet once remarked, “I called people to Islam, everybody thought over it, at least for a while, but this was not the case with Abu Bakr, the moment I put Islam before him, he accepted it without any hesitation”. He was titled As-Siddiq by the Prophet PBUH for his firmness in faith.

Generosity

Even in the pre Islamic period, Abu Bakr was known for his generosity. This quality excelled to an unimaginable level after Islam. He freed a number of slaves who went through gruesome torture on their acceptance of Islam, prominent among them being Bilal, Aamir ibn Fuhayrah, Umm Umays and many others. Abu Bakr, a man who possessed 40000 Dirham was left with a meager 5000 Dirham at the time of his migration.

Migration to Madinah

As Islam was growing rapidly in Makkah, the enemies of Islam desperately wanted to stop this message from spreading. To bring this idea to fruition, these enemies hatched a plan to murder the Prophet. Allah SWT revealed to his Prophet the ill intentions of the non-believers and ordered him to migrate to Madinah. So the Prophet sought Abu Bakr’s companionship in this remarkable journey which became a landmark event in the history of Islam. By this time majority of fellow Muslims had already migrated to Madinah.

The Prophet had to take the alternate route to escape from the eyes of Pagans. The pagans almost reached the mouth of the cave where the Prophet and Abu Bakr had taken refuge. Abu Bakr grew pale with fright, he feared not for himself, but for the life of the Holy Prophet. However, the Prophet PBUH remained calm and said to Abu Bakr “Do not fear, certainly Allah is with us,” [At-Tauba 9:40]. These Quranic words quickly calmed down Abu Bakr and brought back tranquility to his heart.

Participation in Battles

Abu Bakr, being the closest of Companions of Prophet PBUH, took part in all the battles that Prophet Muhammad had fought. At Uhud and Hunain, some members of the Muslim camp showed signs of weakness. However, Abu Bakr, with his unwavering faith, always stood like a rock by the side of the Prophet PBUH. One example of his firm faith could be understood by his eagerness to kill Mohammed, his own son who had not yet embraced Islam and was with the enemy camp in the battle of Badr.

The Successor of the Prophet

Hajj became an obligation only in the ninth year of Hijra. The Prophet PBUH was too busy at Madinah, to lead the Hajj, so he sent Abu Bakr as his representative to lead the Muslim pilgrims to perform Hajj. The Prophet himself performed Hajj in the following year.

The Prophet PBUH led the prayers himself ever since he arrived in Madinah. During his last illness, the Prophet could no longer lead the prayers and therefore he had to choose someone to lead Muslims in prayer. He bestowed this great responsibility on none other than Abu Bakr. One day Abu Bakr was away and Omar was appointed by the Companions to lead the prayers in his absence. Realizing the change of voice, the Prophet said: “This is not Abu Bakr’s voice, no one but he should lead prayers, he is the fittest person for this position”.

These two incidences provide enough indications that Prophet himself wanted only Abu Bakr to succeed him.

Prophet’s death

When the news of the Prophet’s death came out, many Muslims were confused and stunned. Omar RA himself was so overcome with emotions that he drew his sword and declared “If anyone says that the Messenger of Allah is dead, I will cut off his head”.

Muslims stayed in such state until Abu Bakr arrived and gave his famous address: “O People! If anyone among you worshipped Muhammad, let him know that Muhammad is dead. But those who worshipped Allah let them know that Allah is alive and will never die.” Let all of us recall the words of the Qur’an. It says: “Muhammad is only a Messenger of Allah, there have been Messengers before him. What then, will you turn back from Islam if he dies or is killed?” [Al-Imram 3:144]

Suddenly Abu Bakr’s words started to sink in, and in no time confusion vanished and Umar instantly collapsed. Having shrugged off the shocking news of the Prophet’s death, Muslims realized that they need someone to fill the position of leadership amongst them.

Abu Bakr as the first Caliph

Soon after the death of Prophet PBUH, the voices of dissent emerged from some corners of the Islamic state. One was the group which refused to pay Zakat arguing that the Prophet PBUH is no more hence the system of Zakat also departed with the Prophet. The other was a bunch of people proclaiming themselves to be the Prophet. These two issues were so severe that they would tear the tiny state of Islam apart had the new Khalifah, Abu Bakr not taken stern steps to diffuse the voices of traitors. Abu Bakr straight away decided to wage war against these conspirators. When Umar asked him to retreat from war, Abu Bakr said, “Should Islam extinguish while Abu Bakr is alive,” He further added “I shall wage war against those Muslims who differentiate between Salah and Zakat.”

Abu Bakr’s Death

After a fortnight’s illness, As-Siddiq al-Akbar passed away on 22nd Jamadal-Akhira, 13 A.H. (23rd August 634 A.D.). Before his death he said to his noble daughter Hazrath Aaisha RA, “Do not use new cloth for my shroud. Wash the sheet in my use and wrap my corpse in it”. His wish was acted upon. His next wish was to pay all the money he got as salary for being the Caliph from “Baitul Mal” (The Public Treasury) after selling his garden. He said, I did not like to take anything from the “Baitul Mal” but Umar pressed me to accept some allowance so that I would be relieved of my occupation and devote my full time to the duties of the Khilafat. I was left no choice but to accept the offer”. After his death, Aaisha asked Hazrath Umar RA to take over that garden as desired by her father. Umar remarked: “May Allah bless him. He left no chance for anybody to open his lips against him”.

As-Siddiq al-Akbar left behind a noble example of selfless service. He lived and worked for the sake of Islam to his last breath, but sought no worldly rewards. Subhanallah!!!

Wit of Hazrath Ali (RA)


During the times of Hazrat Ali’s caliphate, two Arabs were travelling together through the Hijaz desert. At meals, they sat together on a convenient spot and opened their food packages. One of them had five loaves of bread and the other three. As they were about to begin their meal, a stranger queried whether he might share their meal. “You are welcome, brother,” they said in unison, and all three had a pleasant time together.

At the time of farewell, the stranger presented them eight dirhams and asked them to divide it amongst themselves. Although, to accept money in lieu for hospitality is considered inappropriate by the Muslims, but the gift was presented in a spirit and manner such that to refuse it would have deemed rude. Therefore they accepted it.

There arouse a disagreement on the matter of distribution of dirhams. The man who had possessed greater share of bread sought five of the eight dirhams. On the other hand, the one with lesser portion demanded an equal half of the amount. It was a question of principle and none would forego his right. Since there was no amicable solution, both agreed to approach the Caliph for a just and reasonable settlement.

Hazrat Ali attentively listened to their account, pondered over it for a while and then addressed the man who had three breads: “Brother! Accept the three dirhams which your companion offers you, for, in reality, you don’t have a right to even those three dirhams.”

“O Caliph!” said the Arab. “It is not the money I’m arguing for; it is my right that I seek. If it is proven reasonably that I deserve not a single dirham, by ALLAH, I shall have no complaint!”

“Then listen,” said Hazrat Ali. “You had three breads and your companion had five, which makes a total of eight loaves and there were three of you to share them. Do you agree?”

“I do,” replied the Arab.

“Now, eight breads could not be divided equally in three shares without dividing them.”

“Evidently impossible…”

“There you are,” said Hazrat Ali, appreciating the remark by the Arab. “But the breads had to be divided in three equal shares and you did it in practice though not apprehensively. The simplest practical solution to this riddle is, let us suppose, each bread was cut into three equal pieces; therefore your three breads made nine pieces and your companion’s five breads made fifteen. Thus making a total of 24 pieces and all of you ate 8 pieces each.

“Excellent!” exclaimed the Arab with joy.

“Patience, brother,” said the Caliph, while an amusing smile appeared on his lips. “Now, let us understand that you ate 8 pieces out of your nine and spared only one for the stranger. Your companion also ate 8 pieces out of his 15 and spared 7 pieces for the traveller. It is therefore just that he takes seven dirhams for his seven pieces that the stranger ate and that you take one dirham for your single piece.”

“By ALLAH! Wa-ALLAH! You are the wisest of the men on earth,” proclaimed the Arab and accepted his share of single dirham from the gift and left the court being content with the verdict.

There are many such wisdom crammed events of this virtuous Caliph who happened to be a first cousin of our beloved Prophet PBUH. InshALLAH in future we seek to enlight our audience on Hazrath Ali’s wit.

On the lines of the wonderful advice Luqman AS gave to his son, Hazrat Ali likewise extended wisdom to his son, Hazrat Hassan that we all can pass down our generation:

“My son, remember four things from me, and four more; you will come to no harm as long as you act in accordance with them:

The richest of riches is intelligence, and the greatest poverty is stupidity.
The loneliest isolation is conceit, and the noblest value is goodness of character.

My son,

  • Do not befriend a fool, for he hurts you when he wants to help you
  • Do not befriend a stingy man, for he will distance himself from you when he is most needed
  • Do not befriend a profligate, as he will sell you for a trifle
  • And do not befriend a liar, for he is like a mirage, making the distant seem near to you and the near seem distant.”

 

“Verily, Death is full of agonies”


Madina was totally engulfed in confusion and anxiety. The Companions of the Prophet PBUH had assembled around his house with tearful eyes and grieving hearts. The reports pouring out from the house revealed that his condition was extremely precarious and there was very little optimism in his recovery. It culminated that only a few moments of his precious life remained.

The Companions of the Prophet were yearning of have a glimpse of their beloved Prophet PBUH from close, but situation demanded that none except the members of the family visit him. The Prophet PBUH kissed his grandsons, Al-Hasan and Al-Husain and recommended that they be taken care of. He advised his wives to remain steadfast in their remembrance of ALLAH. As the relentless pain kept torturing, He turned to wife Aisha and said: “I feel as if death is approaching.” He ordered the people to perform the prayers and be good to slaves. He repeated it several times. The misery of our times is that we are callous with this advice.

The honoured daughter Hazrath Fatimah RA was sitting beside her father’s bed. She kept gazing at his illuminated face and witnessed that the perspiration of death was flowing down his face and forehead. With a heavy heart, tearful eyes, and choked throat, she was reciting the following verse which Abu Talib had recited in praise of the Prophet: “The luminous face in whose honour rains are sought from the clouds. The person who is the asylum for the orphans and the guardian of the widows”.

At this moment the Prophet PBUH, opened his eyes and said to his daughter in a low voice: “This is a verse which Abu Talib recited about me. It will, however, be better if, instead of the same, you recite this verse of the Holy Qur’an: “Muhammad is but a messenger. The messengers have already passed away before him. Will it be that, when he dies or is slain, you will turn back on your heels? He who turns back does no hurt to ALLAH, and ALLAH will reward the thankful.” [Al Imran 3:144]

The Prophet’s love for his only surviving child was one of the most sublime manifestation of human sentiments, so much so that he never proceeded on a journey without bidding farewell to his daughter and upon his return he first sought her audience. He accorded her great respect as compared with his wives and used to tell his Companions: “Fatimah is a part of my body. Her pleasure is my pleasure and her anger is my anger.” (Bukhari)

Throughout the Prophet’s illness Fatimah remained beside him. The Prophet PBUH signalled her to speak to him. She brought her head close to her father’s head and conversed with him in low tones. The people around were unaware of what transpired between them. When the Prophet PBUH ceased talking, Hazrath Fatimah RA wept bitterly. However, soon after this the Prophet made a sign to her again and spoke to her in low tones. This time she raised her head in a pleasant mood with smiling lips. Those present were amazed to observe these two antithetical conditions, and requested Fatimah RA to enlighten them. She replied: “I am not going to divulge the secret of the Prophet of ALLAH”.

After the passing away of the Prophet PBUH, on the insistence of Hazrath Aisha RA, Hazrath Fatimah RA broke her silence and said “In the first instance my father informed me about his death and stated that he was not likely to recover from his illness. Hence, I began weeping profusely. However, when he talked to me for the second time he told me that I would be the first person from amongst his Ahl-al-Bayt who would join him. This made me happy and I understood that I would be joining my dear father very soon”. [Tabaqat Ibn Saad].             

When the pang of death initiated, Aisha RA leant Prophet PBUH against her. She mentioned: It was a great Divine favour on me that the Prophet PBUH breathe his last in my room, while I am still alive. He departed between my chest and neck whilst leaning against me. ALLAH SWT enjoined his saliva with mine at his demise. ‘Abdur-Rahman Ibn Abu Bakr came in with a Siwak (tooth stick) in his hand, while the Prophet’s head was in my lap. I noticed that he was looking at the Siwak. So I asked him: “Would you like me to have it?” He nodded in the affirmative. I took it and gave it to him. As it was too hard for him, I asked him again: “Shall I soften it for you?” Again, he nodded in the affirmative. So I softened it with my saliva and he passed it (on his teeth). There was a water container available at his hand with some water in. He put his hand in it and wiped his face with it and said: “There is no God but ALLAH. Verily, death is full of agonies.” (Bukhari)