Islam is a religion that preaches and advocates humanity. It envisions us to dwell in a peaceful milieu with an abundance of love and unity. It instructs us to be harmonious and maintain best relationship with our neighbours. ALLAH SWT directs the command in holy Quran, “Worship ALLAH and associate nothing with HIM, and to parents do good, and to relatives, orphans, the needy, the near neighbour, the neighbour farther away, the companion at your side, the traveller, and those whom your right hand possess. Indeed, ALLAH does not like those who are self-deluding and boastful “ [An-Nisa 4: 36]. Narrated by ‘Aisha RA, that the Prophet PBUH said, “Gabriel continued to recommend me about treating the neighbours kindly and politely so much so that I thought he would order me to make them as my heirs”. (Bukhari)
Our rights towards a related neighbour are amplified, since besides being a neighbour, he is also a relative. In this respect, the closest neighbour is more rightful than a relatively far neighbour. Narrated by ‘Aisha RA: I queried, “O ALLAH’s Apostle! I have two neighbours. To whom shall I send my gifts?” He said, “To the one whose gate is nearer to you.” (Bukhari)
Our beloved Prophet PBUH mentioned, “Anybody who believes in ALLAH and the Last Day should not harm his neighbour.” (Bukhari). The harm stated in this hadith can be implied as physical, mental or even emotional. Narrated by Abu Hurairah, The Prophet used to say, “O Muslim ladies! A neighbour should not look down upon the present of her neighbour even it were the hooves of a sheep”. Looking down might hurt the neighbour emotionally. (Bukhari).
In another hadith, he said, “He cannot enter paradise whose neighbour is not safe from his evils” (Bukhari, Muslim). The evil constitutes major and minor vices. The greatest possible harm to a neighbour is the harm inflicted to his house members. Narrated by Ibn Masud: I said ‘O ALLAH’s Apostle! Which sin is the greatest?” He said, “To set up a rival unto ALLAH, though HE alone created you.” I said, “What next?” He said, “To kill your son lest he should share your food with you.” I further asked, “What next?” He said, “To commit illegal sexual intercourse with the wife of your neighbour.” (Bukhari)
The Prophet said, “The neighbour has more right to be taken care of by his neighbour (than anyone else).”(Bukhari). Abu Hurairah RA said that the Prophet PBUH mentioned, “No one should prevent his neighbour from fixing a wooden peg in his wall.” (Bukhari). However, if this wooden peg is bound to affect the wall of the owner, then it is not permitted.
Those who disregard Islam as a religion opposed to peace and humanity, are in fact prejudiced to demean such a beautiful and absolute way of life, i.e. Islam. This wonderful faith, while emphasizing on developing best terms with the neighbour, does not differ if the neighbour is a non-muslim or a foe. In fact, these humane manners may leave a good and lasting impact in attracting non-muslim towards Islam and may appeal the enemy to lend a hand of friendship. Imam Bukhari has mentioned in his book, ‘Al Adabul Mufrad’ that once a sheep was slaughtered for Abdullah bin Amr RA so he began asking his servant repeatedly, “Did you present (some of it) to our jew neighbour?” On similar lines, Prophet PBUH said, “A person who has eaten to his fill while his neighbour is starving of hunger cannot be a muslim”. Even during adverse condition, the Prophet PBUH has advised us to take care of our neighbour. The Prophet PBUH said, “O Abu Zar! If you happen to cook broth, then add some water in it so that you share it with your neighbour”. Glory be to ALLAH! Do they not yet feel ashamed to malign such a religion of high esteem?
In conclusion, upholding good relationship, and treating your neighbour appropriately is an aspect of faith in Islam. Only if we could translate the wise and blessed teachings illustrated in Quran and hadith into action, this world will certainly be a better place to live with peace and brotherhood dominating our daily lives.
We live in difficult times, in a stricken world, wherein human beings continually lose their sense of being.
Today, life is about instant gratification, with patience thrown to the winds. Few are willing to go through the wise and time-tested routine of observation, reflection, planning and action to achieve noble ends. In such a world, absolute values erode into oblivion while relative values come and go. Nothing matters as long as ends are achieved, with few being bothered about the means.
To be sure, patience, as a prime virtue, appears in the Qur’an, no less than 90 times. In Islam, therefore, faith without patience is a contradiction of sorts. Says the Qur’an: “And seek assistance with patience and prayer, and assuredly it is a hard thing except for the humble,” [Al Baqarah 2: 45].
Abu Yahya Suhaib bin Sinan RA reported that: The Messenger of Allah PBUH said, “How wonderful is the case of a believer; there is good for him in everything and this applies only to a believer. If prosperity attends him, he expresses gratitude to Allah and that is good for him; and if adversity befalls him, he endures it patiently and that is better for him,” [Muslim].
Abu Sa’id Al-Khudri RA reports that Certain people of the Ansar asked the Messenger of Allah PBUH and he gave them; then they again asked him and he gave them until he exhausted whatever he had. Then the Prophet PBUH said, “Whatever wealth I have, I will not withhold from you. Whosoever would be chaste and modest; Allah will keep him chaste and modest and whosoever would seek self-sufficiency, Allah will make him self-sufficient; and whosoever would be patient, Allah will give him patience, and no one is granted a gift better and more comprehensive than patience,” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
Patience can be of several types: one that is exercised when avoiding sins and another when committing oneself to acts of worship and obedience. There is also a third type often required in the face of affliction which, like repentance, forms a regular part of the believer’s religious experience in Islam.
According to Marshall Mcluhan, the modern world has rendered into a global village via cable TV, internet, social networking sites etc. The benefits aside, the connectivity these offer comes not without serious pitfalls. The value systems of the people, for instance, stand negatively transformed.
The absolute standard of values provided by pure religion – which, until recently, guided people in locating moral benchmarks in life – are in sharp contrast to the trends generated by New Media. The guidance of the Qur’an, quite in harmony with human nature, is a case in point.
It aids the believer in building his willpower, his perseverance. Instead of struggling merely for self-gratification, it re-routes the believer’s energies into a quest for perfection in the cause of Allah SWT, but that too a quest in which assistance is sought from on high. The believer is thus shown his way to patience, forbearance and gratitude.
Few can escape the need to exercise patience: some do it willingly, others unwillingly. The true believer does so willingly, out of his faith in Allah SWT and the knowledge that he will be rewarded for such forbearance.
Doubtless, real hope thrives only in invoking Allah SWT in the alleviation of our pain, our suffering. Impatience and panic helps little in overcoming hurdles. Thus, the truly wise, as soon as an adversity appears, does what the unenlightened attempts after a month or more: resort to Patience.
This article was published in Deccan Herald, a daily of Karnataka and the author of the script is Tariq Jameel.
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
The concert hall at the Syndey Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 24,000 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 9 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.
To love the Prophet PBUH is a supreme act of iman. It is indeed he, who bestowed us the true religion (of Islam), inculcated manners in us, guided us through every stride of our lives, and endowed us through his Sunnah, a recipe for successful life here and hereafter. Many at times the proclamation of love for our adored Prophet PBUH renders null and void by mere utteration. We either don’t accomplish the requirements of his love or else confine his love to make-believe boundaries suited to our liking. A true lover of Muhammad PBUH is the one who devotes self to the teachings of Allah SWT and the Prophet PBUH. Allah SWT mentions, “Say (O Muhammad), if you should love Allah, then follow me, (so) Allah will love you and forgive you your sins.” [Al-Imran 3:31]
Beloved becomes dearer as the love blossoms and bonds them together. Mostly love, the most special feeling within our hearts, will cease to exist if it is pre-occupied by other emotion. The only fear a lover constantly bears is the pain of separation. Alhamdulillah, he who faithfully loves the Prophet PBUH is guaranteed that he be won’t apart from the beloved Prophet PBUH even in hereafter. Narrated by Anas RA, a Bedouin came to the Prophet and said, “O Allah’s Apostle! When will The Hour be established?” The Prophet responded, “Woe to you, what have you prepared for it?” The Bedouin replied, “I have not prepared anything for it, except that I love Allah SWT and His Apostle.” The Prophet said, “You will be with those whom you love.” We (the companions of the Prophet) said, “And will we too be so? The Prophet affirmed, “Yes” So we became very glad on that day,” [Bukhari]. Allah SWT says, “And whoever obeys Allah and the Messenger, those will be with the ones upon whom Allah has bestowed favor of the prophets, the steadfast affirmers of the truth, the martyrs and the righteous. And excellent are those as companions,” [An-Nisa 4:69].
A Muslim is he who adores the Prophet PBUH more than his parents, his children, his belongings and even more than himself. Reported by Abu Hurairah RA that the Prophet PBUH said, “By Him in Whose Hands my life is, none of you will have faith till he loves me more than his father and his children,” [Bukhari]. In another narration by Anas RA, it is stated “none of you will have faith till he loves me more than his father and his children and all mankind,” [Bukhari]. It is important to note that in both these hadiths, the Prophet PBUH has sworn upon ALLAH SWT which depicts the graveness of the subject matter. A person’s faith is incomplete until his love for the Prophet PBUH is complete and absolute. Abdullah-bin-Hisham RA narrated: We were with the Prophet and he was holding the hand of Umar bin Al-Khattab. Umar said to Him, “O Allah’s Apostle! You are dearer to me than everything except my own self.” The Prophet said, “No, by Him in Whose Hand my soul is, (you will not have complete faith) till I am dearer to you than your own self.” Then Umar said to him, “However, now, by ALLAH, you are dearer to me than my own self.” The Prophet said, “Now, O Umar, (now you are a believer),” [Bukhari]
A believer can experience the bliss and sweetness of Islam when he possesses the love of Allah SWT and His Messenger PBUH. Anas RA narrated that the Prophet PBUH said, “Whoever possesses the following three qualities will taste the sweetness of faith:
The one to whom ALLAH and His Apostle become dearer than anything else.
Who loves a person and he loves him only for Allah’s sake.
Who hates to revert to disbelief (atheism) after Allah has brought (saved) him out from it, as he hates to be thrown in fire.” [Bukhari and Muslim].
ALLAH SWT has stringently warned his slaves to beware if the desire for any worldly possessions, or materialistic life, or its temporary pleasures, etc exceeds the love for Allah SWT and HIS Prophet PBUH. Allah SWT declares, “Say (O Muhammad), if your fathers, your sons, your brothers, your wives, your relatives, wealth which you have obtained, commerce wherein you fear decline, and dwellings with which you are pleased are more beloved to you than Allah and His messenger and jihad in His cause, then wait until Allah executes His command. And Allah does not guide the defiantly disobedient people.” [Al-Taubah 9:24]. This is a cautionary advice to wait for what will befall of Allah SWT’s punishment and torment. May Allah SWT engross HIS love in our hearts and protect us from this obscured retribution. Aameen
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 nextCaliph, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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 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.
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.’’
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.