The Life of Imam Al-hasan Al-mujtaba
Chapter Vii : At the Time of Uthman
It has been reported from him that he said: “Al-Sawad (Kufa) is a garden belongs to Quraysh!” Malik al-Ashtar rose for him and said: “Do you regard the positions of our spears and what Allah has given to us as a garden belongs to you and your people? By Allah, if someone desired it, he would be struck violently until he cried!” The Kufan reciters of the Qur’an and jurists joined al-Ashtar and confirmed his statement. However, the commander of the police, became angry with them and rudely treated them. They rose and severely hit him, to the extent that he fainted. They left his gathering, criticized him, mentioned Uthman’s defects, the evil deeds of Quraysh, and the crimes of the Umayyads. Sa’eed wrote a letter to Uthman and told him about the affair of these people, and he responded to him that he had to banish them to Sham (Syria). Meanwhile he wrote a letter to Mu’awiya and commanded him to reform them.
The most important thing is that these people had committed no sin or corruption, nor had they committed a crime, that they might deserve such a punishment and banishment; rather, they criticized their governor because he deviated from the right way, and said something other than the truth. It is worth mentioning that Islam gave the citizens a full freedom, and gave them the right to criticize the rulers if they followed a wrong way and turned away from the straight path. How was it right for Uthman to banish these people from their homelands while they did not disobey him and not separate themselves from the community? Anyway, Sa’eed violently drove them away from their homeland and sent them to al-Sham which was not familiar to them. There Mu’awiya received and made them live in a church and gave them some food. He debated with them and preached to them, but he did not succeed in convincing them.
Which a quality distinguished Quraysh from the rest of the people that al-Sawad (Kufa) might belong to them? Which an achievement issued from them that they might have excellence over the rest of the Arabs and Muslims? When Mu’awiya was disappointed of them, he wrote a letter to Uthman and asked him to exempt him from permitting them to stay in al-Sham lest they should move its people against him. Uthman exempted him from that and commanded him to repatriate them to Kufa. They returned to Kufa while they insisted on criticizing the then government. They released their tongues to mention the defects of Sa’eed, Mu’awiya, and Uthman. Again Sa’eed wrote a letter to Uthman and asked him to banish these men from his city. Uthman responded and commanded him to banish them to Hams and al-Jazira, and he drove them away from their homeland. There, Abdurrahman bin Khalid bin al-Waleed, the governor of Mu’awiya over Hams, treaded them badly.
He tortured them, and said to them obscene and ugly words. When he rode (his horse), he ordered them to walk around him to display their humiliation and abasement and to urge the people to disparage them. When they saw such rudeness, they showed obedience and announced repentance. They asked him to forgive them their sins. He forgave them and wrote a letter to Uthman and asked him to be pleased with and pardon them. Uthman responded to him and commanded to repatriate them to Kufa. Sa’eed went to Yathrib on a task and he found the people there complaining to Uthman of him and asking to depose him (Sa’eed). But Uthman refused to respond to them and command Sa’eed to go back to his work. Accordingly, the people had gone back home before him. They had occupied Kufa and sworn by Allah that Sa’eed would not enter it as long as they carried their swords. Then Malik al-Ashtar headed them and went to al-Jur‘a. There, they waited for Sa’eed. When he came,they prevented him from entering the city. They forced Uthman to remove him from office and to appoint someone other than him. Uthman unwillingly responded to them.[^1]
The important thing is that Uthman severely punished those who criticized Sa’eed bin al-Aas, while they were the reciters of the Qur’an and jurists of the city. He banished them from their homelands and went too far in exhausting them for the sake of a foolish young man who was among his relatives and family. This affair brought about grumbling against him, displeasure, and hatred of the community toward his government.
Abdullah Bin Aamir
Uthman removed Abu Musa al-Ash‘ari from the authority over Basrah and appointed his cousin Abdullah bin Aamir bin Kurayz.[^2] He appointed him over it while he was twenty-four or five years old.[^3] Abu Musa al-Ash‘ari heard of that, and he said to the people: “The boy who spends lavishly will come to you. His grandmothers and aunts are highborn. The two cities will be entrusted to him.”[^4]
The important thing is that Uthman appointed him over this great city (Kufa), while he was still a young man. He had to appointed over it a man from among the good, trustworthy companions of the Prophet, that the people might make use of his guidance and righteousness. However he intentionally
[^1] Al-Ansab, vol. 5, pp. 39-43. Al-Tabari, Tarikh, vol. 5, p. 88. Abu al-Fida’, Tarikh, vol. 1, p. 168. [^2] Tahdhib al-Tahdhib, vol. 5, p. 282. In the book it has been mentioned the Uthman’s mother was Arwa, daughter of Kurayz. [^3] Al-Isti‘ab, vol. 2, p. 253. [^4] Al-Kamil, vol. 3, p. 38.
chose this young man, for he was his cousin. During his authority, Abdullah bin Aamir followed a way of luxury and lavishness. He spent lavishly, just as Abu Musa al-Ash‘ari had said. He was the first to wear silk garments in Basrah. He wore a dark jubbah, and the people said: “The Emir has worn a bear’s skin!” So he changed his garments and wore a red jubbah.[^1] Aamir bin Abdullah al-Tamimi, an ascetic worshipper, criticized him for that and for his policy. He also blamed Uthman for that. Al-Tabari has narrated: “Some Muslims held a meeting and discussed Uthman’s deeds and what he had done. Then they decided to send a man to him to talk with him and tell him about his deeds. They sent to him Aamir bin Abdullah. When he met with him, he said to him: ‘Some Muslims held a meeting and carefully considered your deeds. They have come to know that you have committed serious actions. Therefore, fear Allah, the Great and Almighty, turn to him in repentance and give up.’ However Uthman disrespected him, for his words hurt him. He said to those around him: ‘Look at this person! The people claim that he is a reciter of the Qur’an. Then he has come to talk with me about the disrespectful. By Allah, he does not know where Allah is!’ So Aamir said to him: ‘I do not know where Allah is?’ ‘Yes,’ replied Uthman. ‘Most surely I know that Allah is watching,’ said Aamir. Uthman sent for his advisers and his governors. He discussed the affair with them. Abdullah bin Aamir advised and said to him: ‘My pinion, O Commander of the faithful, is that you must make them busy through waging jihad, that they may yield to you, and have no concern except theirs!’
“Other people advised him to follow something other than that. However he responded to Abdullah’s viewpoint. He returned his governors and commanded them to confine the people under their authorities, and to send them to wage jihad. Moreover, he decided to deprive them of their salaries, that they might obey and be in need of him.”[^2]
When Abdullah bin Aamir arrived in Basrah, he intended to punish Aamir bin Abdullah. He commanded his hirelings and followers to bear witness with him that Aamir had opposed the Muslims in respect of the affairs that Allah had made lawful, that he did not eat meat, did not marry, and did not attend the Friday prayer.[^3] He sent a letter to Uthman in this respect, who ordered him to banish the man to al-Sham on a camel’s back. Aamir was carried to Sham. Mu’awiya made him live at al-Khadra’ and sent a slave girl to spy on him.
[^1] Usd al-Ghaba, vol. 3, p. 192. [^2] Al-Tabari, Tarikh, vol. 5, p. 94. Ibn Khaldun, Tarikh, vol. 2, p. 39. [^3] Al-Fitnatu al-Kubra, vol. 1, p. 116.
The slave girl came to know that Aamir performed prayers during the night, went out in the early morning and came back in the evening, did not eat anything of the food sent by Mu’awiya, put a piece of bread into water, and drank some of that water. She told Mu’awiya of that, and he wrote a letter in respect of Aamir’s affair. Uthman ordered Mu’awiya to gift him.[^1]
The Muslims harbored malice against Uthman, for he had banished a righteous Muslim[^2] from his homeland and family, just because he had criticized his governors. It is worth mentioning that the ruler has no authority to carry out such banishment, for it has been legislated for those who war against Allah and his Apostle and cause mischief in the land.
Anyway Abdullah bin Aamir remained as a governor over Basrah until Uthman was killed. When he heard of Uthman’s murder, he took the money in the public treasury and went to Mecca. He gave it to Talha, al-Zubayr, and A’isha. He joined them and supplied the rebels with money. The rebels had decided to go to al-Sham, but Abdullah turned them away from that and advised them to go to Basrah.[^3]
Mu’awiya Bin Abi Sufyan
Mu’awiya bin Abi Sufyan was the greatest of Uthman’s governors in luck, influence, and precedence in authority. Besides, his people were the most people in obedience and loyalty to him. They loved him, and he loved them. Umar had endowed him with authority and supported him with all kinds of support. He raised his importance and exalted his position. He reckoned his governors every year and shared them their properties even if they had earned them through trading or legal ways. But he excluded Mu’awiya from that. He did not reckoned him, nor did he share him (his properties), nor did he ask him about his affairs. Rather he praised and lauded him. He went too far in guiding and apologizing to him. People said to Umar: “Mu’awiya wears silk garments while they are forbidden in Islam. He spends lavishly while such a deed is contrary to the administrative regulations Islam has brought, for they require governors to be moderate and not spend lavishly from the Muslims’ properties.”
The people told Umar about such deeds, but he justified them on behalf of Mu’awiya, saying: “He is the Khosrau of the Arabs!” Suppose he was such, then was it lawful for him to wear unlawful garments and spend lavishly from
[^1] Al-Isaba, vol. 3, p. 85. [^2] Al-Iqd al-Farid, vol. 2, p. 261. [^3] Usd al-Ghaba, vol. 3, p. 192.
the Muslims’ money? Umar was not satisfied with this laudation and support only, but he blew into him the spirit of ambition and opened for him the door to the hope for the caliphate. He said to the members of the Consultative Committee: “If you envy each other, neglect one another, are hostile to each other, and hate one another, then Mu’awiya bin Abi Sufyan will overcome you for this (caliphate).” Mu’awiya was then a governor over al-Sham.[^1] That urged him to think of the caliphate and to use all means to win it. Accordingly, he mutinied against the government of Imam Ali (a.s) and battled against him. We will mention that in details in the book.
Anyway, Mu’awiya was a governor over al-Sham throughout the caliphate of Umar. He behaved whatever he wished. He alone possessed the properties, bought the consciences and surrounded himself with followers. There was no supervisor over him, and none blamed him for his deeds. Rather Umar guided and lauded him and was pleased with his acts. After Umar’s death, Uthman appointed him as governor and increased his authority. He added to him Palestine after the death of its governor Abdurrahman bin Alqama al-Kinani. He also added to him Hams when its governor Umar bin Sa’d al-Ansari asked him to accept his resignation. Through that, Mu’awiya controlled all the land of al-Sham, and became the greatest of all governors in power and influence. His country became the most important of all the Islamic countries, the strongest, and the greatest in calmness and stability.
Without doubt Uthman had increased Mu’awiya’s influence, expanded the region of his power, and paved the way for him to move the caliphate to Abu Sufyan’s family. Dr Taha Husayn has mentioned that, saying: “Without doubt it was Uthman who paved the way for Mu’awiya to move the caliphate someday to Abu Sufyan’s family and fix it among the Umayyads. So it was Uthman who expanded Mu’awiya’s authority. He added Palestine and Hams to his authority. He established for him a Syrian unity with distant borders and made the four countries yield to him. Therefore his armies were the strongest of all the Islamic armies. Then he extended his authority throughout his caliphate just as Umar had done. He released his hand in all the affairs of al-Sham more than Umar had released it. When the discord happened, Mu’awiya looked and suddenly found that he was the oldest of the governors in authority, the strongest of them in soldiers, and the greatest of them in possessing the subjects’ hearts.”[^2] Most surely, Uthman had paved the way for him and gave him an opportunity to battle against Imam Ali (a.s) to commit
[^1] Ibn Abi al-Haddeed, Nahj al-Balagha, vol. 1, p. 187. [^2] Al-Fitnatu al-Kubra, vol. 1, p. 120.
horrible, abominable things and serious offences. He paved the way for him to kill the righteous, trustworthy Muslims such as Hajr bin Adi and his believing brethren, and to commit more sins and crimes.
Abdullah Bin Sa’d
Uthman endowed his foster brother Abdullah bin Sa’d with the authority over Egypt and gave him the power over this great country. He entrusted to him the affair of its links and its land tax.[^1] Before that he had given him enormous properties and granted him the one-fifth of the booties of Africa, while he was not worthy of them, for he had a black history full of sins and offenses. That was when he became an apostate and a polytheist after he had become Muslim. He went to Quraysh in Mecca and began disparaging the Prophet and said to them: “I can make him go wherever I wish!” The Prophet outlawed him on the Day of Conquering Mecca even if he was found clinging to the curtains of the Kaaba. So he went to Uthman and sought protection with him, and he hid him.
When the people of Mecca became tranquil, Uthman brought him to the Prophet (a.s). The Prophet kept silent for a long time, and then he gave him security and pardoned him. When Uthman went away, the Prophet (a.s) said: “I kept silent for nothing except for that one of you would rise and behead him.” So a man from the Ansar said to him: “Why did you, O Allah’s Apostle, not beckon to me?” And he replied: “Most surely, the Prophet must not have stealthy looks.”[^2] A verse of the Holy Qur’an was revealed in respect of his disbelief and dispraising him. The verse is: And who is more unjust than he who forges a lie against Allah, or says: It has been revealed to me; while nothing has been revealed to him, and he who says: I can reveal the like of what Allah has revealed?[^3] The interpreters of the Qur’an have unanimously agreed on that the verse meant him. The reason for that is that when the verse and certainly We created man of an extract of clay, the Prophet summoned him and recited it to him. When he reached these words of Him then We caused it to grow into another creation, Abdullah became astonished at the details about the creation of man. He said: “So blessed be Allah, the best of the creators.” The Prophet said: “In this manner it was revealed to me.” However Abdullah had doubt and said: “If Muhammad was truthful, then it was revealed to me as it was revealed to him. If he was untruthful, then I said just as he said.” Accordingly, he withdrew from Islam and joined the polytheists.[^4]
[^1] Al-Wilat wa al-Qudat, p. 11. [^2] Al-Qurtubi, Tafseer, vol. 7, p. 134. Al-Shawkani, Tafseer, vol. 2, p. 134. Abi Dauwd, vol. 2, p. 220. [^3] Qur’an, 6, 93. [^4] Al-Razi, Tafseer, 4: 96. Al-Khazin, Tafseer, vol. 2, p. 37. Al-Kashif, vol. 1, p. 461.
Why was such an apostate, who disparaged the Prophet, appointed a governor over the Muslims? Why was the leadership over Muslims entrusted to him? And why was he entrusted with their security and properties? By Allah, most surely this is the breaking misfortune, which melts hearts and souls with sorrow and regret! Why was the authority over the Muslims given to the enemies and opponents of Islam who spared no effort to aggress and scheme against Islam? However, to Allah we belong and to Him is our return!
Anyway Abdullah bin Sa’d remained as a governor over Egypt for some years. He forced the Egyptians to do what they could not do. He ruled them with a policy of violence and tyranny. He showed pride and arrogance, so the people were tired of him and of his government. They went to Uthman and complained to him of Abdullah. He sent to him a letter and threatened him with removing him from the office of government unless he would return to reason. However he refused to refrain from what Uthman prohibited him. He severely punished those who complained to Uthman of him, to the extent that he killed them. Accordingly, seven hundred Egyptians went to Yathrib and entered the mosque. They complained to the companions of the Prophet of what Ibn Abi Sarh had done to them. Talha went to Uthman and severely talked with him. A’isha sent someone to him and asked him to treat the people with justice in respect of their governor. Imam Ali (a.s) visited Uthman and said to him: “The people have asked you to replace the man with another one. They have claimed that he killed a person. Therefore, depose. If a right is due on him, then treat people with justice in respect of him.”
Uthman responded to that and said to the people: “Choose a man to appoint him as a governor over you.” The people advised him to appoint Muhammad bin Abi Bakr, and he wrote his appointment over Egypt. He sent with him some people from among the Muhajireen and the Ansar to discuss what had happened between the people and Ibn Abi Sarh (Abdullah bin Sa’d).[^1] They left Yathrib. When they arrived at the placed called Hams, they saw a man coming from Medina. They carefully considered the man and came to know that he was Warsh, Uthman’s servant. When they checked him, they found that he was carrying a letter from Uthman to Ibn Abi Sarh. In the letter Uthman had commanded him to punish the people severely. They carefully read the letter, and they came to know that it was written by Marwan. As a result they returned to Yathrib and decided to remove Uthman or kill him.
Most surely Uthman had planned his death by himself, drawn the tribulation against himself, subjected the community to misfortunes and disasters for the [^1] Al-Ansab, vol. 5, 26.
sake of his family and strengthening their entity. If he had responded to Imam Ali’s viewpoint and of those who advised him, and if he had removed the Umayyads from the offices of government, he would have been safe from that revolt that brought about his death, opened the doors to discords among the Muslims, divided their unity, and made them into parties. Each party was delighted with that which with them. With this topic we will end our speech about Uthman’s governors and rulers whom he had appointed for nothing except out of preference and favoritism.
His Punishing the Prophet’s Companions
Uthman severely punished the good, righteous Muslims who showed extreme courage for Islam and took part in building it. That was because they had criticized him for his policy and asked him to follow the right way and the Prophet’s Sunna. However he did not respond to their teachings and their advice, so they severely opposed him. As a result he wreaked his wrath upon them, went too far in oppressing and exhausting them. They are as follows:
- Abdullah Bin Mas‘ud
Abdullah bin Mas‘ud was the most similar of all the people to Allah’s Apostle (a.s) in guidance and behavior.[^1] In respect of him Allah’s Apostle (a.s) has said: “Whoever wants to be pleased in reciting the Qur’an as fresh as it had been revealed, then let him recite it according to the recitation of Ibn Umm Abd.”[^2] Some people praised Abdullah bin Mas‘ud in the presence of Imam Ali. So he (a.s) said: “I say as to him just as they have said: ‘He is the best of those who recite the Qur’an, follow the lawful things in it, and refrain from the unlawful things in it. He is a jurist in religion and knowledgeable in the Sunna.[^3] He was among those concerning whom this verse was revealed[^4]: (As for) those who responded (at Uhud) to the Call of Allah and the Apostle after the wound had befallen them, those among them who do good (to others) and guard (against evil) shall have a great reward.[^5] He is also among those concerning whom this verse was revealed[^6]: And do not drive away those who call upon their Lord in the morning and the evening. They desire only His favor; neither are you answerable for any reckoning of theirs, nor are they [^1] Ahmed, Musnad, vol. 5, p. 389. Hulyat al-Awliya, vol. 1, p. 126. Kanz al-‘Ummal, vol. 7, p. 55.
[^2] Safwat al-Safwa, vol. 1, p. 156. Ibn Maja, Sunan, vol. 1, p. 63. [^3] Al-Hakim, Mustadrak, vol. 3, p. 315. [^4] Ibn Sa‘d, Tabaqat, vol. 3, p. 108. [^5] Qur’an, 3, 172. [^6] Al-Tabari, Tafseer, vol. 7, p. 128. Al-Durr al-Manthur, vol. 3, p. 13.
answerable for any reckoning of yours, so that you should drive them away and thus be of the unjust.” [^1] Most surely Abdullah bin Mas‘ud was among the leading Muslims in his guidance, righteousness, piety, and clinging to the religion. Umar sent him along with Ammar bin Yasir to Kufa. In respect of him he wrote a letter to the Kufans. He has mentioned in the letter: “I have sent Ammar bin Yasir as an Emir and Abdullah bin Mas‘ud as a teacher and helper. They are from among the highborn, from among the companions of Allah’s Apostle, from among the men of (the Battle of) Badr. Therefore, follow, obey, and listen to them. I have preferred you to myself in respect of Abdullah.”[^2]
Abdullah bin Mas‘ud stayed in Kufa throughout the Caliphate of Umar. He explained to the Muslims their religion, taught them the Book of Allah, gave them knowledge of Islam, and guided them to the right path. Meanwhile he was a treasurer. When Uthman became caliph and sent al-Waleed as a governor over Kufa, a warm argument took place between him and Abdullah bin Mas‘ud. We have mentioned the argument when we talked about al-Waleed’s authority over Kufa. The heated argument required Abdullah bin Mas‘ud to resign his office. He stayed in Kufa for a time, and then he left it. They Kufans escorted him and showed sorrow at his departure. When they saw him off, they said to him: “My Allah reward you good! You have taught our ignorant ones, fixed our learned ones, made us recite the Qur’an, and made us understand the religion. Therefore, you are the best brother in Islam and the best bosom friend!”
Then they saw him off and went away. As for Abdullah bin Mas‘ud, he continued traveling to Yathrib. When he arrived there, Uthman was sitting on the pulpit of Allah’s Apostle (a.s) and delivering a sermon. When Uthman saw him, he indicated with his hand to him and said to the Muslims: “An evil small reptile has come to you…!”
Why were such bitter words said to the companion of Allah’s Apostle (a.s)? Why did Uthman receive him with such estrangement for the sake of al-Waleed, who betrayed Allah and His Apostle, and plundered the Muslims’ properties?
Abdullah bin Mas‘ud answered him, saying: “I am not such, but I am the companion of Allah’s Apostle (a.s) on the Day of Badr and of the Homage of the good Pleasure (Bay‘at al-Ridwan).
[^1] Qur’an, 6, 52. [^2] Usd al-Ghaba, vol. 3, p. 258.
Uthman’s words made the people angry, so A’isha hurried to say: “O Uthman, why do you say this to the companion of Allah’s Apostle?” However, Uthman commanded his policemen to take the great Companion out of the mosque violently. Abdullah bin Zam‘a rose and knocked him down. It was said that Yahmum, Uthman’s servant, knocked him down and broke his rib. As a result, Imam Ali (a.s) became excited. He opposed Uthman and said to him: “O Uthman, why have you done this to the companion of Allah’s Apostle (a.s) according to the speech of al-Waleed bin Aqaba?”
“I have done this not according to al-Waleed’s words,” replied Uthman, “but I had sent Zubayd bin al-Salt al-Kindi to Kufa, and (Abdullah) bin Mas‘ud said to him: ‘Most surely it is lawful to shed Uthman’s blood.’” “You have depended on Zubayd with no certainty,” retorted the Imam.[^1] Imam Ali (a.s) carried Abdullah bin Mas‘ud to his house and looked after him until he got well. As for Uthman, he turned away from and abandoned him. He did not permit him to leave Yathrib. He also stopped his pay. Abdullah bin Mas‘ud became ill and was about to die, so Uthman visited and asked him:
-Of what you are complaining? -My sins. -What do you want? -My Lord’s mercy. -Shall I call a doctor for you? -The doctor has made me ill. -Shall I order a pay to be given to you? -You deprived me of it when I was in need of it, and you want to give it to me,while I am in no need of it! -It will be given to your children. -Allah undertakes their livelihood. -Ask Allah to forgive me, O Abu Abdurrahman. -I ask Allah to take my right from you.
Uthman went away and did not obtain his good pleasure. When Abdullah bin Mas‘ud became critically ill, he ordered the people to prevent Uthman from praying over him and to ask his companion Ammar bin Yasir to perform the prayer over him. When he passed away, some good companions of his buried
[^1] Al-Ansab, vol. 5, p. 36.
him in the cemetery of al-Baqee‘ and did not tell Uthman. When he knew of that, he became angry and said: “You preceded me!” Ammar bin Yasir answered him, saying: “He had recommended that you would not pray over him!” Ibn al-Zubayr said to him: I know that you will mourn for me after death, while you have not supplied me with my food during my lifetime!
Uthman wreaked his wrath upon Abdullah bin Mas‘ud. He abused, abased, abandoned and him, and stopped his pay, commanded his policemen to hit him, imposed on him a house arrest in Yathrib, and did not pay attention to his similarity to the Prophet in his guidance and behavior, his great jihad and extreme courage for Islam. He harbored malice against him because he had criticized him for his giving the Muslims’ properties to al-Waleed, while he was entrusted with them. And he (Abdullah) found no justification for this playing with the public treasury, so he, according to his religion and faith, criticized and condemned Uthman for his behavior.
2. Abu Tharr
Abu Dharr is the greatest personality the Islamic History has ever known. All the abilities, elements, and fundamentals of Islam were embodied in him. He was fully aware of the essence and reality of Islam. He was from the first ones to embrace and believe in Islam.[^1] He openly announced the shahada[^2] before Quraysh. The tyrannical men from Quraysh severely flogged him, to the extent that he was about to die.[^3] However such a punishment did not turn him away from his faith; rather he bravely summoned his people to believe in Islam and to abandon idols. He was the most prominent of the Prophet’s companions in knowledge, piety, and clinging to the religion. It has been narrated from Allah’s Apostle (a.s) that he has said in respect of Abu Tharr: “None under the sky and on earth is more truthful than Abu Tharr. Whoever wants to be pleased at looking at the asceticism of Isa bin Maryam has to look at Abu Tharr.”[^4]
Abu Tharr was the best of people in renouncing the worldly pleasures, the least of them in taking care of the profits wherein, and the greatest of them in
[^1] Ibn Sa‘d, Tabaqat, vol. 4, p. 161. It has been mentioned in the book on the authority of Abu Dharr: “I was the fifth to believe in Islam.”
[^2] Shahada is saying: I bear witness that there is no god but Allah, Who is unique and without partners, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and His messenger.
[^3] Ahmed, Musnad, vol. 5, p. 174. Majjma‘ al-Zawa’id, vol. 9, p. 329.
[^4] Ibn Maja, Sunan, vol. 1, p. 68.
fear of Allah and turning away from the false things in life. Allah’s Apostle (a.s) trusted him when he trusted none and confided secrets to him when he confided no secret to anyone.[^1] Abu Tharr was among the three persons whom Allah loved and ordered His Prophet to love.[^2] He is also one of the three persons for whom the Garden yearns.[^3]
When the discords took place and Uthman and the Umayyads alone possessed the Muslims’ properties, heaped them for themselves, bought many country estates, and built many palaces, Abu Tharr, the hero of the Muslim community, criticized and threatened Uthman. He summoned the Muslims to revolt against Uthman, to topple the government, and return the Islamic regime full of all the elements of advancement and progressive, and apply its constructive policy to the real life.
Most surely Abu Tharr’s outcry was an outcry of an aware man who understood Islam, knew its objectives, and encompassed its reality. It is not an act of Islam that the Muslims’ properties are selfishly used, given to the prominent persons to enjoy and to spend them lavishly, while poverty prevailed the Muslims, hunger, neediness, and unemployment dominated their countries. As a result, Abu Tharr opposed such acts and rushed, according to his faith, to announce his outcry that stunned Uthman and which his exploitative followers denied. Professor Sayyid Qutub has said: “Most surely Abu Tharr’s outcry was a gush of the Islamic essence which those, whose hearts were corrupt, denied. The like of them from among the mounts of exploitation are still denying it during these days. This outcry was the awareness of a conscience which the ambitions did not deceive before an excessive inflation in wealth that divided the Muslim groups into classes and destroyed the foundations which this religion has established.”[^4]
Abu Tharr went out to continue his criticizing and opposing the standing government paying no attention to it and to its severe terrorism and rudeness. He stood in front of those whom Uthman endowed with his gifts and recited this Qur'anic verse: And (as for) those who hoard up gold and silver and do not spend it in Allah’s way, announce to them a painful punishment.[^5] Marwan bin al-Hakam told Uthman about this act of Abu Tharr’s. Uthman sent someone to Abu Tharr to prohibit him from saying this verse, but he said:
[^1] Kanz al-‘Ummal, vol. 8, p. 15. [^2] Majjma‘ al-Zawa’id, vol. 9, p. 330. [^3] Ibid. [^4] Al-‘Adala al-Ijtima‘iya, p. 211. [^5] Qur’an, 9, 34.
“Does Uthman prevent me from reciting Allah’s Book? By Allah, if I please Allah through displeasing Uthman is more lovable and better to me than displeasing Allah through pleasing him!”
Uthman became angry with him, but he restrained his rage. Abu Tharr’s affair fatigued Uthman who was unable to stand it.
Uthman banishes Abu Tharr to al-Sham
The companion of Allah’s Apostle went on propagating his message. He did not flatter nor did he show favoritism; rather he wanted the truth and sought Allah’s favor and good pleasure. However Uthman became angry with him and ordered him to be banished to Sham. Narrators have said: “Most surely the reason for that is that Uthman asked those who attended his gathering: ‘Is it permissible for one to take (money) from the public treasury and return it when he becomes rich?’”
Ka‘b al-Ahbar answered: “I think that there is no harm in that.”
When Abu Tharr came to know that Ka‘b al-Ahbar intervened in the affairs of the religion, while he was Jewish in tendency, and had doubt of his faith in Islam, he became angry with him and said to him: “O son of the Jewish parents, do you teach us our religion?” Accordingly, Uthman became excited and said to him: “How great your harm is! How fond of (troubling) my companions you are! I will write a letter concerning banishing you to Sham!”
Abu Tharr went to Sham. When he reached it and came to know of Mu’awiya’s abominable acts and innovations, he criticized him, censured the Umayyad policy, and spread Uthman’s evil deeds and behavior which was far from that of the Prophet and his Sunna. He was angry with Mu’awiya when he said: “The wealth is Allah’s.” So he said to him: “The wealth belongs to the Muslims.” He criticized him for his building his palace al-Khadra’, saying to him: “O Mu’awiya, if this house was built through from Allah’s wealth, then it is a treason, and if it was from your money, then this is extravagance.”
Abu Tharr wakened the people and urged them to revolt against Mu’awiya. He said to the Syrians: “By Allah, some things happened that I have never known. By Allah, the acts are not available in Allah’s Book and the Sunna of His Apostle. By Allah, I can see that the truth is extinguished, falsehood is given life, truthfulness is refuted, and preference without fear of Allah, and other things are preferred to righteousness.”[^1]
[^1] Al-Ansab, vol. 5, p. 52.
People listened to Abu Tharr’s speech and believed his talk. Mu’awiya was afraid of that, and he wrote a letter to Uthman and told him about this danger in Sham. Accordingly Uthman commanded him to send Abu Tharr on rough, rude camel. Mu’awiya sent Abu Tharr with some people who did not know his position, nor did they respect his rank. They brought him by night, to the extent that his thighs sloughed, and he was about to die. When Abu Tharr arrived in Medina, he continued propagating his message. He severely condemned Uthman, saying to him: “You have appointed boys as governors, protected your relatives, and showed favor to the children of the released ones.”[^1]
He explained to the Muslims what he had heard from Allah’s Apostle: “When the Umayyads become thirty men, they will seize Allah’s land, enslave Allah’s servants, and spoil Allah’s religion.” Uthman prohibited the people from sitting, speaking, and associating with Abu Tharr.