The Life of Imam Al-hasan Al-mujtaba
Uthman Is Criticized
Of course such a policy moved the displeasure of the good, the righteous, and the religious. Rather it moved the displeasure of the general populace who had doubt about the Islam of the Umayyads. They thought that such giving would expand the Umayyads, strengthen their influence, and spread their authority. Abdurrahman bin Awf, who elected Uthman and appointed him as a ruler over the Muslims, harbored malice against him and said: “Anticipate him before he goes too far in his governing.” He said to Imam Ali: “Take your sword, and I take my sword, for he (Uthman) has broken the promise he gave to me.” When he was about to die, he recommended not to (let him) pray over him.[^3]
Grumbling spread among the Muslims because of this crooked policy. The special associates and the general populace criticized Uthman when he alone possessed the jewels in the Public Treasury. He took some of them to adorn some of his family, and then he went up on the pulpit and said: “We will take our need from this Fay’ in spite of the people.”
[^1] Ibn Abi al-Haddeed, vol. 1, p. 67. [^2] Abu al-Fida’, Tarikh, vol. 1, p. 168. Al-Ma‘arif, p. 84. [^3] Al-Balathiri, al-Ansab.
This speech moved the people’s displeasure. Imam Ali (a.s) opposed him, saying: “You shall be prevented from that, and we will come between you and that.” The Prophet’s great companion, Ammar bin Yasir confirmed the Imam’s statement and expressed his displeasure with Uthman, saying: “I bear witness that I am the first unwilling one.” When Uthman gave a hundred thousand dirham to Sa’eed bin al-Aas, Imam Ali (a.s) and a group of the leading companions of the Prophet blamed and criticized him for that. But he said to them: “He is my relative.” They refused his justification, saying: “Did Abu Bakr and Umar have no relatives?” He answered them: “Abu Bakr and Umar thought of depriving their relatives (of giving), and I think of giving my relatives.”[^1] The Muslims harbored malice against Uthman, and their good ones were displeased with him, for he alone possessed the Fay’, gave the Muslims’ properties to the Umayyads, and did not establish through his policy the social justice that Islam brought.
Uthman apologized to those who criticized his policy for his gifting his relatives and being kind to them, for he thought that he had committed no sin, nor had he broken the Islamic law. It is necessary for us to pause before this apology, that we may come to know its reality and rightness. If we carefully consider it, we will conclude that such a speech is incorrect, does not agree with the Islamic law, and does not serve the community’s interests. The reasons for that are: Firstly, the properties he gave to his family were not his own, that he might have a choice in spending them on his relatives. Rather they belonged to the Muslims; therefore, it was incumbent on him to spend them on them. The ruler had no right to act freely in respect of them. For example, once, Aqeel went to Yathrib. He was poor and was in need of his brother Imam Ali (a.s). He asked him to settle his debts. So the Imam asked him:
How many dinars?
Forty thousand (dinars).
I do not have them. Be patient until I receive my pay, and I will give it to you. [^1] Al-Ansab, vol. 5, p. 28.
-The public treasuries are at your hand, while you delay me to your pay. - Do you order me to give you the Muslims’ wealth, while they have entrusted me with it?[^1] This is the speech of Islam, this is its justice, and this is its equality. It makes no distinction between the near and the far; all people are equal in pay and other than it.
Secondly, the members of his family, to whom he was charitable, were worthy of boycott and deprivation. They opposed Islam and battled against it. They are the cursed tree in the Qur’an. Ibn Abi Hatam has narrated on the authority of Ibn Umar, who said: “The Prophet (a.s) said: ‘As if I see the sons of al-Hakam bin al-‘Aas on the pulpits. They look like apes. So Allah revealed: And we did not make the vision which We showed you but a trial for men and the cursed tree in the Qur’an as well. He has meant al-Hakam and his sons.”[^2] A’isha said to Marwan: “I have heard Allah’s Apostle (a.s) say to your father: ‘Abi al-‘Aas bin Umayya, you are the cursed tree in the Qur’an.”[^3] Allah has prohibited showing love toward His enemies and made it forbidden to be kind to them. He, the Most High, has said: You shall not find a people who believe in Allah and the latter day befriending those who act in opposition to Allah and His Apostle, even though they are their (own) fathers, or their sons, or their brothers, or their kinsfolk.[^4]
Uthman loved the Umayyads very much. He would say: “If the keys of the Garden were at my hands, I would given them to the Umayyads, that they all might enter it.”[^5] This violent love for his family put an end to him, moved the Islamic forces to revolt against him, to overthrow his government, and to kill him.
His Gifts to the Leading Personalities
Uthman gave the Muslims’ money to the dignitaries, the leading personalities, and those who had political influence, for he was afraid of them. He gave two hundred thousand dinars to Talha.[^6] Talha was in debt to Uthman for fifty thousand (dinars). Talha said to Uthman: “Your money is ready that you may receive it.” Uthman gave him the money as a gift and said to him: “It belongs
[^1] Usd al-Ghaba, vol. 3, p. 423. [^2] Al-Tabari, Tafseer, vol. 15, p. 77. Al-Qurtubi, vol. 10, p. 283. [^3] Al-Durr al-Manthur, vol. 4, p. 191. [^4] Qur’an, 58, 22. [^5] Ahmed, Musnad, vol. 1, p. 62. [^6] Ibn Sa ‘d, Tabaqat.
to you, O Abu Muhammad, because of your generosity.”[^1] He gave al-Zubayr six hundred thousand (dinars). When he received them, he asked about the best money to exploit it. He was guided to build houses in the regions and the cities.[^2] Accordingly, he built eleven houses in Medina, two houses in Basra, a house in Kufa, and a house in Egypt.[^3] Uthman gave enormous money to Yazid bin Thabit, to the extent that he was so rich that he left behind him gold and silver which were broken with an ax, and in addition he left behind him properties and estates estimated as a hundred thousand dinars.[^4] He gave other properties to his followers and the supporters of his policy. In his encyclopedia, al-Amini, the head of researchers, has in detail mentioned Uthman’s gifts.[^5]
He alone Possesses properties
Uthman exhausted the public treasuries. He chose of them what he wished for himself and his family. He went too far in lavishness and extravagance. He ordered a house of bricks and lime to be built in Medina. He ordered its doors to be made of teak and juniper. He had properties, gardens, and springs in Medina.[^6] He covered his teeth with gold, and worn king garments. He spent most of the money in the public treasury on cultivating his country estates and building houses.[^7] When he was killed, his treasurer had thirty million, five hundred thousand dirhams, and a hundred thousand dinars. He also left behind him a thousand camels, endowments in Baradis and Khaybar, and Wadi al-Qura. They were estimated at two hundred thousand dinars.[^8]
Uthman followed a special way in his fiscal policy. He did not conform to Allah’s Book and the Sunna of His Prophet. He acted freely in respect of the Public Treasury. He took from it whatever he wished, granted to whomever he liked, and gave to his followers. Imam Ali (a.s) has described this crooked policy, saying: “Till the third man of these people (Uthman) stood up with heaving breasts between his dung and fodder. With him the children of his father (the Umayyads) also stood up swallowing up Allah’s wealth like a camel devouring the foliage of spring.”
[^1] Al-Tabari, Tarikh, vol. 5, p. 139. [^2] Ibn Sa ‘d, Tabaqat. [^3] Al-Bukhari, Saheeh, vol. 5, p. 21. [^4] Al-Mas‘udi, Murujj al-Dhahab, vol. 1, p. 334. [^5] Al-Ghadir, vol. 8. [^6] Al-Mas‘udi, Murujj al-Dhahab, vol. 1, p. 433. [^7] Al-Seerah al-Halabiya, vol. 2, p. 87. [^8] Ibn Sa‘d, Tabaqat, vol. 3, p. 53.
This is the most wonderful speech through which the devious policy is described when it uses authority as means for obtaining wealth, enjoying life pleasures, pays no attention to the community, and takes no care of its interests and objectives. Accordingly, Imam Ali (a.s) issued his decisive decision when he seized the reins of government. He ordered all the properties that Uthman had taken or given to his special associates and relative to be confiscated. This is the text of his decision: “All lands granted by Uthman, all Allah’s wealth he gave should be returned to the Public Treasury. Nothing invalidates the old right. If I found that the women got married through it and scattered in the countries, I would return it as it was. That is because there is ease in justice. Whoever is annoyed with right is more annoyed with tyranny.”[^1]
Imam Ali took this procedure according to Islamic justice, which limited the authorities of the responsible, gave them no free rein to act freely in respect of the community’s properties and possessing them alone. The rulers have no right to choose properties for themselves and their relatives. An example of that is Allah’s Apostle (a.s). His only daughter, other whom he had no child, came to him and asked him to buy her a servant to help her turn the hand mill because her hands ulcerated. However he (a.s) found no way to take some money from the Public Treasury to buy a servant to help his daughter. He refused her request and taught her the tasbeeh (glorification) which has been ascribed to her. Imam Ali (a.s) followed the same policy. His brother Aqeel came to him asking for charity, ease, and welfare. However the Imam heated a piece of iron and wanted to burn him with it. This is the speech of Islam, which has come to make peoples happy, reform them, and save them from misery, poverty, and deprivation.
With Dr. Taha Husayn
Dr. Taha Husayn’s statements have clearly contradicted each other in respect of Uthman’s fiscal policy. He sometimes claims that Uthman kept Umar’s fiscal policy, and that he did not oppose him in that, nor did he deviate from him in all his administrative and war actions, all that which all the Muslims followed such as enjoying good, forbidding evil, clinging to the inherited Sunna, refraining from affection and innovation.[^2] And he sometimes becomes straight in his statements. He believes that Uthman deviated from Umar’s fiscal policy in maintaining the Public Treasury, spending nothing of it except
[^1] Nahj al-Balagha, vol. 1, p. 46. [^2] Al-Fitnatu al-Kubra, vol. 1, p. 72.
the amount of need of spending, criticizing Umar’s strictness, believing that there was enough (money) in the Public Treasury for people than that was during the days of Umar. This is an indirect criticism to Umar’s policy in respect of managing the Public treasury.[^1] This means that Uthman did not conform to Umar’s way, nor did he put into practice his policy. This contradicts what he has mentioned at first, which is that Uthman followed the goals Umar had followed.
Anyway, at last Dr. Taha Husayn inclined to correct Uthman’s fiscal policy. That is when he said that Uthman’s fiscal policy did not oppose the inherited Sunna, was not void of good, and conforming to the public interests. We will mention the text of his speech as follows: “The certain thing is that Uthman did not flatter in respect of his religion, and the certain thing as well is that Uthman did not see in that policy of his dangerous or not dangerous disagreement with the behavior of the two Sheikhs (Abu Bakr and Umar), for he did not depend on oppression and favoritism; rather, he generously gave to the people some of their properties. He saw riches in the Public Treasury, so he preferred the people through it and he did not go too far in saving up. Which prohibition is in gifting the Prophet’s companions with some or much of this wealth, for they were the Imams of Islam, the ones who built the state, showed extreme courage during the days of the Prophet, faced many hardships and much deprivation? Allah was truthful in His promise and He increased good. Therefore, which of the people was the worthiest of the Muhajireen in enjoying some of this good?”[^2]
The Places of Reflection on his Speech are as follows:
- Dr. Taha Husayn believes that Uthman did not cajole in respect of his religion, that he did not see in his policy any dangerous or not dangerous disagreement with the behavior of the two Sheikhs (Abu Bakr and Umar), and that he did not depend on oppression and favoritism. As for that Uthman did not flatter in his religion, it is falsified by his announcing repentance of turning away from justice and deviating from the straight path. This is the text of his repentance: “O people, by Allah I do not ignore any of the things for which you have criticized me. I have come to know them, but my soul have made me desire and it deceived me, and my reason has gone astray. I have heard Allah’s Apostle (a.s) say: ‘Whoever slips should turn to Allah in
[^1] Al-Fitnatu al-Kubra, vol. 1, p. 77. [^2] Al-Fitnatu al-Kubra, vol. 1, p. 77.
repentance, and whoever makes a mistake should turn to Allah in repentance and should not go too far in destruction. Most surely whoever goes too far in oppression is farther away from the way; therefore, I am the first to learn a lesson. I ask Allah’s forgiveness and turn to him in repentance.”[^1]
This statement is clear in that Uthman followed a way other than the straight path, that he deviated from the inherited Sunna, that he came to know of that and did not ignore it, and that the knowledge of it was not absent from him. Uthman responded to his desires and sentiments when he did what he did. He opposed the Sunna such as his gifts to the Umayyads, his gifts to Abu Ma’eet’s family, his punishing the prominent companions (of the Prophet) because they criticized his policy, and other than that from among the heavy events. His soul made him desire, to the extent that his reason went astray, and he lost his mind, as he said. He admitted that and recorded against himself that he deviated from the straight path, then how is it said that he did not flatter in his religion and not intend tyranny and favoritism?
As for what he mentioned that Uthman gave generously to the people some of their properties because he saw wealth in the Public Treasury, so he preferred the people through it and did not go too far in saving up,’ it is unacceptable at all. Uthman did not give generously to the people and not make easy their livelihood. If he did all these things, why did the people revolt against and kill him? Rather he spent generously on himself, his special associates, the Umayyads, and the followers of his policy. He preferred them to others through al-Fay’ and singled them out with the properties of the state. This matter brought about grumbling, and the Muslims’ displeasure throughout their countries and regions, to the extent that they overthrew his government and killed him. They did not bury him, to the extent that the good Muslims regretted that they did not burn his corpse.[^2]
As for what he has mentioned: “There was no prohibition and sin against Uthman when he gifted the companions of the Prophet (a.s) with the properties, for they were the Imams of the Muslims and showed extreme courage; therefore, which of the people was worthiest of them in enjoying a thing of this good?” Most surely it is apparently false because the Public Treasury, as we have mentioned more than one time, belonged to all the Muslims, and no people had the right to alone possess it. It had to be spent on their interests and the reforming of their affairs. No tribe, whatever
[^1] Al-Tabari, Tarikh. [^2] This was said by ‘Ammar bin Yasir, a great companion of the Prophet. See al-Ghadir, vol. 9, p. 216.
importance it had, had to be singled out with it, and the overwhelming majority had not to be deprived of it. Moreover Islam at that time was in need of spreading the social justice among the peoples who were thirsty for its just equality, which did not prefer a people to another. However, Uthman preferred the Umayyads in all things. He preferred them in properties and offices, and empowered them over the people. This affair destroyed the equality Islam had brought.
As for that the Muhajireen from among the companions of the Prophet (a.s) preceded others to believe in Islam, to defend its beliefs, and to bear hardships and tribulations for it, it is certain, and there is no room to doubt it. They are thanked for that, and it is Allah who will reward them for that. However granting them properties and heaping bounties upon them is not a permissible affair, for it gave life to the casteism against which Islam had fought and condemned all its aspects.
Dr. Taha Husayn continues justifying Uthman’s policy and the legality of his gifts he had given to the Prophet’s companions. He says that Uthman did not oppose the inherited Sunna; rather he followed his generous nature. However he has not mentioned Uthman’s great gifts to the Umayyads and Abu Ma’eet’s family. His Excellency, the doctor, has turned away from that and not mentioned it at all. I think that such gifts made the people criticize Uthman. However Dr. Taha Husayn has neglected this side because either he has found no room to apologize for it or he has seen that no harm resulted from that; likewise, he has seen that there is no harm on giving such gifts to the Prophet’s companions. Unfortunately, he has overlooked that and justified what has opposed the Sunna.
Uthman’s Governors over the Cities
Islam makes it incumbent on the caliph of Muslims and their guardian to do his best to choose men of abilities and talents from among those who have the necessary qualities such as justice, fear of Allah, honesty, and loyalty. The caliph should appoint over cities and regions those who honestly and sincerely take care of their interests and affairs. It is not permissible for him to appoint anyone, whatever he is close to him, out of favoritism, and preference, for that is treason to Allah, His Apostle, and Muslims. That is because governors undertake the responsibility for government, giving legal decisions to people, managing their affairs, making peace among them, protecting their blood and their properties. Therefore, they should be the best of people, the most religious, the greatest in reflecting on suspicions, the farthest in refraining from greed and stinginess, and the most patient in understanding affairs. This is the viewpoint of Islam, and this is its plan that its immortal regulation has. However, Uthman went far from that. He intentionally appointed the members of his family and his relatives who battled against Allah’s Apostle (a.s) and caused mischief in the earth. He appointed them over the Muslims and entrusted to them the most important offices. He appointed them as governors over the cities and the regions. We will mention some of them along with explaining their biographies. They are as follows:
Al-Waleed Bin Aqaba
Sa’d bin Abi Waqqas was a governor over Kufa, but Uthman removed him from it and appointed over it al-Waleed bin Aqaba bin Abu Ma’eet. He did not entrust it to the men of qualifications and abilities from among the Muhajireen and the Ansar, who showed extreme courage in Islam, that they might undertake the affairs of this city, which was the greatest of the Muslim cities in importance and boundaries.
Any way, was al-Waleed entitled to it, that Uthman might entrusted to him this important office taking care of giving legal decisions to people, leading them in prayer, protecting the Public Treasury, and other affairs depending on justice, fear of Allah, and clinging to religion? We will mention an outline on his affairs, that his condition may be clear. They are as follows:
Al-Waleed grew up and was brought up during the pre-Islamic period. No ray of the light of Islam entered his heart. His father was the enemy of Allah’s Apostle (a.s). A’isha narrated on the authority of Allah’s Apostle (a.s) who said: “I was between the wickedest two neighbors; between Abu Lahab and Aqaba bin Abi Ma’eet. They brought waste materials and spread them at my door….”[^1] This cursed guy (Aqaba bin Abi Ma’eet) spat in the face of Allah’s Apostle (a.s) and cursed him. So the Prophet (a.s) said to him: “If I found you coming out of the mountains of Mecca, I would strike off your head.” When the Battle of Badr was about to take place and his (Aqaba) companions to go out, he refrained from going out. His companions said to him: “Go out with us!” “This man (the Prophet),” he retorted, “had threatened me that if he found me going out of the mountains of Mecca, he would behead me.” “You have a quick red camel,” they said to him, “if there was a defeat, you quickly escape with it.” He went out with them. When Allah defeated the polytheists, his (Aqaba) camel carried him to badlands. Allah’s Apostle (a.s) took him as [^1] Ibn Sa‘d, Tabaqat, vol. 1, p. 186 (Egyptian Edition).
a prisoner of war along with seventy Qurayshi people. Aqaba asked the Prophet (a.s): “Will you kill me along with these people?” “Yes,” he replied, “because you had spat in my face.” Then he ordered Ali to behead him, and he did.[^1] Accordingly, al-Waleed’s soul was full of spite and hatred against the Prophet (a.s) for he had ordered his father to be killed. When al-Waleed found no escape from embracing Islam, he became Muslim, while his heart was full of disbelief and hypocrisy.
The Holy Qur’an has mentioned his transgression and disbelief twice. The first is that a heated argument took place between him and Imam Ali. Al-Waleed said to the Imam: “Keep silent, for you are a boy, and I am an old man. By Allah, I am more eloquent than you in tongue, sharper than you in spearhead, braver than you in heart, and greater than you in loading.” “Be silent, for you are a sinner!” (Imam) Ali said to him. Accordingly, Allah, the Exalted, revealed in respect of him His words: “Is he then who is a believer like him who is a transgressor? They are not equal.[^2]”[^3] Hassaan bin Thabit has written a poem on that, saying:
In the Holy Book Allah has revealed a verse in respect of Ali and al-Waleed. Al-Waleed has occupied transgression of that, and Ali has occupied faith. He who is a believer and has come to know of Allah is not like him who is a transgressor and traitor. So Ali will find with Allah exaltedness, and al-Waleed will find abasement there. Al-Waleed will be rewarded disgrace and a fire, and Ali will, without doubt, be rewarded Gardens.[^4]
The second is that he cheated the Prophet and told lies to him. That was when the Prophet sent him to the Banu al-Mustalaq. However, he returned to the Prophet and claimed that they refused to give alms. Accordingly, the Prophet (a.s) went out to battle against them, but he came to know that al-Waleed had told lies to him. This Verse was revealed to him in respect of al-Waleed’s transgression: “O you who believe, if an evil-doer comes to you with a report, look carefully into it, lest you harm a people in ignorance, then be sorry for what you have done.”[^5]
[^1] Al-Ghadir, vol. 8, p. 273. [^2] Qur’an, 32, 18. [^3] Al-Tabari, Tafseer, vol. 21, p. 62. [^4] Tadhkirat al-Khawas, p. 115. [^5] Qur’an, 26, 6. In his book al-Isti‘ab, Ibn ‘Abd al-Bir has said: “As far as I know the
The Qur’an has announced al-Waleed’s transgression and sin. Therefore, how was it permissible for Uthman to appoint him as a governor over the Muslims, and an imam to lead them in prayer, to take care of their properties, and to spare their blood?
His Authority over Kufa
Uthman appointed him as a governor over Kufa after deposing Sa’d. Al-Waleed ruled Kufa in a manner of playing and dissoluteness. He did not respect the religion and caused mischief in the land, to the extent that Kufa was noisy due to his dissoluteness and recklessness, and the good, righteous people grumbled because of his bad behavior.
His Drinking Wine
Al-Waleed committed the most excessive crime and the most horrible sin. That was when he drank wine and performed four ruk’as in the morning prayer and said during his ruku‘ and sujud: “Drink and give me wine to drink!” Then he vomited in the mihrab (prayer niche), said the taslim, and said: “Shall I do more for you?” Ibn Mas‘ud said to him: “May Allah not increase you and the one who has sent you in good!” He took a sandal and hit al-Waleed on the face. The people hit al-Waleed with small stones until he entered the palace. He was staggering.[^1]
Al-Hutay’a, the poet, satirized al-Waleed for this sin in some of his poems.
This action shows that al-Waleed was dissolute and he went too far in committing sins. He did not respect prayer, which was the most important of all the religious rites and the greatness of them in sacredness with Allah.
Dr Taha Husayn’s Viewpoint
Taha Husayn believes that the story of that al-Waleed led the people in prayer and increased it while he was drunk was fabricated, had no portion of correctness, and was made up by al-Waleed’s opponents and ascribed him. He indicates that if al-Waleed had increased the prayer, the Muslim group from Kufa would not have followed him. There were some of the Prophet’s companions, the reciters of the Qur’an, and the righteous, and the Muslims would not have be satisfied with Uthman unless he should administer the prescribed punishment on him because of his drinking wine. Increasing the prayer and playing with it is more dangerous with Allah than drinking wine.
men of knowledge have not differed over that the verse was revealed in respect of al-Waleed.” [^1] Al-Sirah al-Halabiya, vol. 2, p. 314.
He also believes that al-Hutay’a did not satirize al-Waleed through his poetry; rather he praised him in his poetry to show love for him and to obtain his good pleasure. He has mentioned some of al-Hutay’a’s poetry lines praising and lauding al-Waleed.[^1] The things Dr. Taha Husayn has mentioned could not be accepted for the following reasons: Firstly, there are numerous authentic texts in respect of that. Many writers from among those who have written al-Waleed’s biography or dealt with the events of Uthman have mentioned them. An example of them is Abu Umar. He has said in his book al-Isti‘ab: “His (al-Waleed) leading them in prayer while he was drunk and his statement: ‘Shall I increase you (in prayer) after he had performed four (ruk‘as) in the Morning Prayer is famous with the reliable traditionists and the historians.” In his book al-Isaba, Ibn Hajar has said: “The story of his leading the people in the Morning Prayer while he was drunk is famous.” In his al-Aghani, vol. 14, p. 178, Abu al-Faraj al-Asfahani has narrated on the authority of Abu ‘Ubayd and al-Asma‘i, who have said: “Most surely, al-Waleed bin Aqaba was a fornicator and he drank wine very much. He drank wine in Kufa and rose to lead the people in the Morning Prayer in al-Mesjid al-Jami‘. He led them in four ruk‘as and then he turned to them and said: ‘Shall I do more?’ He vomited in al-Mihrab, and then he recited to them during the prayer: ‘The heart had clung to al-Rababa after she and it became old!’”
Most surely if someone has doubts about this event and he believes that it is among the fabricated things, he denies the necessary and has doubts about the axioms. In the footnote there are some books that has mentioned this story authentically and without doubt.[^2] Secondly, most surely, Allah, the Most High, knows His servants’ secrets and intentions. He has announced al-Waleed’s dissoluteness in two verses of His Holy Book. Therefore, it is possible for al-Waleed to commit these serious offences and great sins. Thirdly, the good, righteous Muslims criticized al-Waleed for his drinking wine, took vengeance on him, and shouted at him. An example of them is Abdullah bin Mas‘ud, who hit him with his sandals. The people hit him with small stones, as we have already mentioned. Some Kufans sought the help of the leading companions, that they might save them from al-Waleed’s authority and dissoluteness; we will mention that. Dr. Taha Husayn has
[^1] Al-Fitnatu al-Kubra, vol. 1, p. 96-97. [^2] Ahmed, Musnad, vol. 1, 144. Al-Bayqahi, Sunan, vol. 8, p. 318. Usd al-Ghaba, vol. 5, pp. 91-92. Al-Mas‘udi, Murujj al-Dhahab, vol. 2, p. 224. Ibn al-Atheer, al-Kamil, vol. 3, p. 42. Abu al-Fida’, Tarikh, vol. 2, p. 176. Al-Sayuti, Tarikh al-Khulafa’, p. 104. Al-Ya‘qubi, Tarikh, vol. 2, p. 142. Al-Isaba, vol. 3, p. 638. These are some of the sources that have mentioned the story. On which source has Dr. Taha Husayn depended when he said that it was made up and incorrect?
mentioned that some Muslim Kufans followed him while some of them were from among the Prophet’s companions and righteous. Through this statement of his, he has contradicted the historical realities proving what we have mentioned. Fourthly, although al-Hutay’a praised al-Waleed and was sincere to him, he harbored malice against him and satirized him for his committing this abominable crime through which he has blackened the face of the Islamic and Arabic history!
Most surely al-Hutay’a is famous for satire and praising. He praised someone because he hoped for charity and good from him. If such a person had not given him what he wanted, he would have satirized and dispraised him. An example of that is that he went to the Banu Dhahl to seek their help and to ask them for giving. He has praised them, saying:
Most surely, the best people of al-Yamama are the villagers from among the Banu Dhahl. If the people mention their own lineage, then their branch is mine and their origin is mine.
However, the people gave him nothing, so he satirized them, saying:
The wickedest people of al-Yamama are the villagers from among the Banu Dhahl. When he was angry with the Banu Abs, he satirized them and said that he belonged to the Banu Dhahl. When he was angry with the Banu Dhahl, he satirized them and said that he belonged to the Banu Abs. He was angry with his mother, so he satirized her, saying:
Step aside and sit down far away from me. May Allah save the people from you. Are you a sieve when you are entrusted with a secret and a brazier toward people? As far as I know your lifetime is evil, and your death may gladden the righteous.
One day he sought a person to satirize him. When he found no person, he composed, saying:
Today my two lips have refused except saying something evil. I do not know to whom I will say it! He repeated this verse several times. However he saw nobody. When he reached a well, he looked at it and saw his face. So he said: I see that I have a face that Allah has deformed; how ugly the face is, and how ugly its owner is![^1]
[^1] Al-Aghani, vol. 1, Part One, pp. 76-84 (Daar al-Fikr).
This is al-Hutay’a. Is his condition unknown to Dr. Taha Husayn, that he may regard as unlikely for him to praise and satirize al-Waleed? Anyway Dr. Taha Husayn tried to justify al-Waleed’s actions and regard him as far above serious offences and sins. In the meantime he tried to regard him as among the righteous who did not turn away from justice during their government. In respect of him, he has said: “During his authority over Kufa, al-Waleed followed a behavior in which there was too much riches and good doings. He did not fall short of closing the fortified borderline cities and going too far in conquering countries. Rather, he reached a goal of that for which he has become famous and about which the people talked during his lifetime and after his death. He ruled Kufa with a policy of determination, resolution, and strictness. Accordingly, he established security, and punished the mischief-makers from among the new Muslims, who did not respect regulations and religion.”[^1]
Can Dr. Taha Husayn prove that to us and guide us to the qualities of that wise policy that al-Waleed followed and about which the people talked during his lifetime and after his death? If the affair is as he has mentioned, Sa’eed bin al-Aas, whom Uthman appointed as a ruler over Kufa after he had deposed, would have not risen to wash the pulpit to cleanse it of al-Waleed’s serious offences and sins. Yes the people have talked about the farces of the Umayyad government, which was built on favoritism, selfishness, abasing the Muslims, betraying, forcing, and subjecting the community through appointing al-Waleed and the like of him from among the dissolute and the reckless as rulers and governors. Unfortunately, Dr. Taha Husayn has defended such traitors, who were pages of shame and disgrace in respect of the Arab and Islamic community.
Al-Waleed is punished
Some reformative Kufans hurried to Yathrib to tell Uthman about al-Waleed’s crime and his violating the sacredness of Islam. They took with them his ring, which they took from him while he was drunk. When they arrived in Yathrib, they met Uthman and bore witness before him that al-Waleed had drunk wine, but he rebuked them and said:
“What has made you know that he had drunk wine?” “It was the wine we drank during the pre-Islamic period,” they replied. Then they showed him al-Waleed’s ring. However, Uthman became excited, [^1] Al-Fitnatu al-Kubra, vol. 1, pp. 94-95.
put his hand on their chests and pushed them backwards, and said to them the bitterest words. Accordingly, they went to Imam Ali (a.s)[^1] and told him about the affair. The Imam went to Uthman and said to him: “You have refuted the witnesses and cancelled the prescribed punishments.” “What do you think?” asked Uthman.
“I think that you must send for your friend,” said the Imam, “if they bear witness before him, and he gives no proof, then you must punish him.” Uthman found no escape from yielding and responding to the Imam’s words, so he wrote a letter to al-Waleed and commanded him to come to him. When Uthman’s letter reached al-Waleed, he left Kufa for Yathrib. Uthman summoned the witnesses, and they bore witness against al-Waleed. In the meantime al-Waleed gave no proof to defend himself. Those who attended the meeting refrained from punishing him due to his kinship to Uthman. Accordingly, Imam Ali (a.s) took the whip and approached al-Waleed. Al-Waleed abused the Imam, saying: “You are defective and oppressive!” Aqeel bin Abu Talib hurried to answer al-Waleed, saying to him: “O Bin Abu Ma’eet (al-Waleed), you are speaking as if that you do not know who you are! You are an infidel from Saforiya!”[^2]
Al-Waleed dodged the Imam. However, the Imam took him, knocked him down, and flogged him. Uthman became excited and angry, and said to the Imam: “You have no right to do that!”
“Yes,” retorted the Imam, “and worse than this if he acts sinfully and prevents Allah’s right to be taken from him.” Imam Ali punished al-Waleed. Therefore, Uthman had to send al-Waleed far and not to bring him near, that al-Waleed and those other than him might refrain from committing abominable deeds, and corruption. But shortly after
[^1] In his book al-Aghani, vol. 4, p. 179, Abu al-Faraj has mentioned: “Most surely the people went to Aa’isha and sought protection with her. When Uthman woke up, he heard from her room rough voice and words. He said: ‘Have the Iraqi renegades and sinners not found a refugee except that of ‘Aa’isha?’ When she heard that, she raised the sandals of Allah’s Apostle (a.s.) and said: ‘The Sunna (practices) of Allah’s Apostle, the owner of these sandals (a.s.) has been neglected. The people heard from each other and they came, to the extent that the mosque was filled with them. Some of them said: ‘Well-done!’ And some of them said: ‘The women have no right to do that!’ They hit each other with sandals and small stones. Accordingly, a group of the companions of Allah’s Apostle (a.s.) visited Uthman and said to him: ‘Fear Allah! Do not cancel the prescribed punishments! And remove your brother!’”
[^2] Saforiya was a village between Akka and al-Lajoon. It was in Jordan and belonged to Tabariya. Al-Waleed’s father, Dhakkwan, was a Jew from there.
that he had mercy on him and appointed him over the endowments of Kalb and Bulqayn.[^1] How was this dissolute, sinful guy entrusted with the Muslims’ endowments and properties?
The new and old Muslim cities were inhabited by both Arabs and no-Arabs who emigrated from their own countries to seek livelihood, and the prisoners of war who resided with the conquerors. All those people were new Muslims. They expected that the Caliph and Ruler of the Muslims would appoint over them some people who had piety, righteousness, and other good qualities, that they might be models and guides for them. However, Uthman preferred the Umayyads and Abu Ma’eet’s family to others in respect of the government, while they represented nothing except luxury, prostitution, unemployment, leisure time, rushing upon pleasure and dissoluteness.
Sa’eed Bin al-Aas
When al-Waleed committed that abominable crime, Uthman reluctantly removed him from the authority over Kufa. It was expercted that he would entrust the government to one of the leading companions (of the Prophet), who showed extreme courage in Islam. But he intentionally appointed Sa’eed bin al-Aas as governor over this great city. The Kufans received him with hatred and dissatisfaction, for he was luxurious young man who did not refrain from committing sins and telling lies.[^2] In respect of breaking the fast at the end of the Month of Ramadan, Ibn Sa’d has narrated that Sa’eed bin al-Aas had said after he was appointed as governor over Kufa: “Who has seen the crescent?”
Hashim bin Utba, a great companion, rose for him and said: “I have seen it.”
However Sa’eed bin al-Aas said to him bitter and severe words: “Have you seen it with this blind eye of yours?” Hashim became sad and said to him: “Do you revile me because of my eye, which was gouged out for Allah’s sake?” It is worth mentioning that his eye was gouged out during the Battle of al-Yarmuk.
As for Hashim, he broke the fast according to the deed of Allah’s Apostle (a.s) who said: “Fast when you see it (the moon), and break the fast when you see it.” The people broke the fast due to his breaking the fast. Sa’eed bin al-Aas heard of that, and he sent for him, hit him, and burnt his house. Through this flagrant aggression against a leading Muslim, he made the people angry with him.
[^1] Al-Ya‘qubi, Tarikh, vol. 2, p. 142. [^2] Ibn Sa‘d, Tabaqat, vol. 5, p. 21. Ibn ‘Asakir, Tarikh, vol. 6, p. 135.