The Life of Imam Al-hasan Al-mujtaba
Uthman Banishes Abu Tharr To Al-rabatha
Abu Tharr overburdened Uthman, and he was unable to stand him. He aroused the people and made them aware, to the extant that they were ready to revolt against Uthman and topple the standing regime, which gave the money of the state to the rich and did not spend it on the public interests. Accordingly, there was no balance in the economic life, and poverty and hanger spread all over the country. Uthman thought that the best way to get rid of this danger threatening him was through banishing Abu Tharr from Yathrib and the rest of the Muslim cities. He decided to banish him to unknown village with few people. He sent for him. When Abu Tharr came, he said to him: “Woe unto you, O Uthman! Have you not seen Allah’s Apostle, Abu Bakr, and Umar? Have you come to know that they behaved in such a manner? Most surely you are going to punish me severely!”
Uthman interrupted and shouted at him:
-Leave our city! [^1] He has referred to Uthman’s act when he gave all the pastures around Medina to the Umayyads. He permitted their sheep to graze in them and prevented the Muslims’ ones from grazing in them. This deed is contrary to the Sunna that regards all the pastures without owners as property for all Muslims, for such pastures are among the original lawful, things. Allah’s Apostle (a.s.) has said: “People are partners in three (things): grass, water, and fire.”
-Are you going to drive me away from the sanctum of Allah’s Apostle (Medina)? -Yes, in spite of you! -Shall I go to Mecca? -No! -To Basrah? -No! -To Kufa? -No! -Where shall I go? -To al-Rabatha until you die there.
He ordered Marwan to exile him immediately from Medina in a humiliating and disrespectful manner. He prevented the Muslims from escorting and seeing him off. However the men of truth disobeyed Uthman. Imam Ali (a.s) along with Aqeel, Abdullah bin Ja‘far, al-Hasan, and al-Husayn hurried to see him off. Marwan said to al-Hasan: “O Hasan, did you not know that Uthman prevented from speaking with this man? If you did not know, then know that!” Accordingly, Imam Ali (a.s) rebuked him and hit his camel on the ears. He shouted at him, saying: “Set aside! May Allah make you head for the fire!” Marwan escaped to Uthman and told him about what had happened.
Imam Ali (a.s) saw Abu Tharr and said some words to him that comforted him in that barren area throughout his lifetime. He said to him: “O Abu Tharr, you showed anger for Allah; therefore, have hope in Him for Whom you became angry. The people were afraid of you for their world, while you feared them for your religion. Then leave to them that for which they were afraid of you and get away from them taking away what you fear them about. How needy are they for what you dissuade them from! And how needless you are toward that from which they have prevented you! You will shortly know who the gainer is tomorrow (on the Day of Resurrection) and who is more enviable. Even if these skies and earth were closed on some individual and he feared Allah, then Allah would open them for him. Only rightfulness will attract you while wrongfulness will detract you. If you had accepted their worldly attractions, they would have loved you; and if you had shared in it, they would have given you asylum.”
In these wonderful words, Imam Ali has specified the great attitude Abu Tharr took toward Uthman. He has indicated that his attitude was not for material, nor was it for the rest of the other considerations whose affair returns to earth. Rather it was for the original doctrines and the ideals Islam has brought, and that requires rulers and the responsible not to possess alone the Muslims’ properties. However Uthman turned away from that and followed a special policy based on preference and favoritism. For this reason Abu Tharr revolted and battled against him. Uthman feared him for government and authority, while Abu Tharr feared him for his religion and faith. Imam Ali had commanded Abu Tharr to leave that which was in their hands and to escape along with his religion, that he might be safe from the people’s wickedness and sins.
In his words the Imam has also indicated Abu Tharr’s direction and tendencies. He has mentioned that nothing attracted him except rightfulness, and nothing detracted him except abominable acts and wrongfulness. If Abu Tharr had changed his direction, made peace with the people, and had been friendly to them, they would have loved him, been loyal to him, spent lavishly on him, and given him enormous wealth.
Imam al-Hasan hurried to Abu Tharr to shake hand with him and see him off. He said to him some words resulted from his heart showing sorrow at this separation. He said to him: “O uncle, the one who sees off should keep silent and say short words though sorrow is long! The people have brought you what you see. Leave the world by remembering its going tobe finished, and its calamities through hoping for that which is after it. Be patient until you meet your Prophet and he is pleased with you.”
Imam al-Hasan (a.s) ordered Abu Tharr to be patient toward the misfortunes the people had poured upon him, that he might meet Allah’s Apostle (a.s) while he was pleased with him.
Abu Tharr looked at the Prophet’s Household with a look full of pain, sorrow, and regret. He said to them some words showing that his heart was melted by that bitter separation: “May Allah have mercy on you, O household of mercy! When I see you, I remember through you Allah’s Apostle (a.s). I have none in Medina other than you. I have overburdened Uthman in al-Hijaz just as I had overburdened Mu’awiya in Sham. Uthman hated to let me neighbor his brother and his cousin in the two districts.[^1] He is afraid that I might move the
[^1] The two cities were Basrah and Egypt. Abdullah bin ‘Amir, Uthman’s cousin, was the governor over Basrah. Abdullah bin Sa‘d bin Abi Sarh, Uthman’s uncle, was the governor over Egypt.
people against them. Accordingly, he wants to banish me to an area where I have neither supporter nor protector except Allah. By Allah, I do not want anyone to be as a friend except Allah, and I fear no loneliness along with Allah.” Abu Tharr went away as an outlawed in the deserts. He was exiled from the sanctum of Allah and of His Apostle. The blind policy sent him far and separated him from the Prophet’s Household for whom he showed sincere love for the sake of his beloved One and his Companion, Allah’s Apostle (a.s). Abu Tharr went to al-Rabatha to die there out of hunger, while Uthman had the gold of the earth. He spent it on the Umayyads and Abu Ma’eet’s family and deprived the like of Jesus the son of Mary in guidance.
Imam Ali (a.s) and his sons saw off Abu Tharr and returned home. They were sad. Some people Imam Ali (a.s) and told him that Uthman was angry with him, for he had disobeyed his commands and went out to see Abu Tharr off. However the Imam said: “(Like) the anger of horses with the bridles!”[^1] Uthman said to the Imam: What made you oppose my messenger!
-As for Marwan, he opposed me and I opposed him. As for your command, I did not disobey it. -Did you not know that I prevented the people from escorting Abu Tharr? -Is the obedience to Allah in all that which you command us (to follow), while the truth is in opposing it? We have followed your command in respect of it. -Did you punish Marwan? -How did I punish him? -You flogged his camel on the ears. -As for my camel, it is over there. If he wanted to flog it as I had flogged his camel, let him do. By Allah, if he cursed me, I would curse you in turn with something of which I was not accused of lying, and I say nothing except the truth. -And why would he not curse you? By Allah, you are not better than him in my viewpoint! Imam Ali became angry with Uthman because he made him equal to Marwan, while he was in the same position with respect to the Prophet as Aaron was to [^1] This statement is given as proverb for him who gets angry for nothing.
Moses. It is worth mentioning that Marwan was a wicked man and was cursed by Allah’s Apostle (a.s) when he was in his father’s back. Imam Ali said to Uthman: -Are you saying these words to me? Are you making him equal to me? By Allah, I am better than you are. My father was better than yours, and my mother was better than yours. Uthman kept silent. As for the Imam, he went away, while he was grieved and sad, for Uthman had not respect his position when he made him equal to Marwan.
3.Ammar Bin Yasir
Ammar was a unique, great, and leading Muslim figure. He was the companion of Allah’s Apostle (a.s). He performed great jihad and showed extreme courage for the sake of Islam. He and his parents suffered too much. The Qurayshi tyrants deemed them as weak. They poured upon them a lot of painful torture. They fogged them, put heavy rocks on their chests, and poured upon them water. When the Prophet (a.s) passed by Ammar and his parents, he saw them suffering from severe torture, so his soul melted out of sorrow and sadness. He said to them: “O Yasir’s family, be patient; you are promised the Garden!”[^1]
Sadness exhausted him, and he said: “O Allah, have mercy on Yasir’s family….”[^2] This family, who sacrificed their lives for Allah, remained under torture and fatigue. They paid no attention to the painful, severe torture. They insisted on their faith, propagated the message of Muhammad (a.s), and disparaged the idols of Quraysh. Accordingly, Abu Jahl burst with anger. He stabbed Sumaya’s heart with his spear, and she immediately died as the first martyr in Islam. Then this sinful person (Abu Jahl) intentionally killed Yasir.
As for Ammar, he remained under torture, to the extent that he became exhausted. As a result, Quraysh asked him to curse the Prophet, and he reluctantly responded to them. They pardoned him, and he went to Allah’s Apostle (a.s) weeping. Allah’s Apostle, rubbed his eyes and said to him: “If they (Quraysh) returned to you (to curse me again), repeat to them what you had said.” Allah, the Most High, has revealed this verse in respect of him: He who disbelieves in Allah after his having believed, not he who is compelled
[^1] Kanz al-‘Ummal, vol. 6, p. 85. Majjma‘ al-Zawa’id, vol. 9, p. 293. [^2] Ahmed, Musnad, vol. 1, p. 62.
while his heart is at rest on account of faith.[^1]
Ammar’s soul was full of faith in Allah; the religion was a piece of his nature and an element to straighten his mood. Allah has revealed other verses in the Qur’an in respect of him. All the verses have praised, lauded, and glorified Ammar. Allah, the Exalted, has meant him in His words: What! He who is obedient during hours of the night, prostrating himself and standing, takes care of the hereafter.[^2] The Holy Verse has been revealed in respect of him: Is he who was dead then We raised him to life and made for him a light by which he walks among the people.[^3] Concerning praising him and dispraising al-Waleed, this Verse has been revealed: Is he to whom We have promised a goodly promise which he shall meet with like him whom We have provided with the provisions of this world’s life, then on the day of resurrection he shall be of those who are brought up?[^4]
The Prophet (a.s) took great care of Ammar. He raised his importance, lauded him, and preferred him to others. He came to know that Khalid spoke rudely to him, so he burnt with grief and said to him: “Whoever is hostile to Ammar is hostile to Allah, and whoever detests Ammar detests Allah.”[^5] A heated argument took place between a person and Ammar. The person said to Ammar: “I will hit you with this stick on your nose!” When Allah’s Apostle (a.s) heard of that, he became angry and said: “There is a great difference between them and Ammar. Ammar summons them to the Garden, and they summon him to the fire….”[^6] He has also said in respect of him: “When Ammar is made to choose between two affairs, he chooses the wiser one.”[^7]
The Prophet went on taking care of Ammar and respecting him, for he knew that Ammar was loyal, and had renounced the world, and loved the truth.
[^1] Qur’an, 16, 106. The reason for revealing this verse in respect of ‘Ammar has been mentioned by Ibn Sa‘d in his Tabaqat, vol. 3, p. 178, al-Wahidi in his Asbab al-Nuzool, p. 212, al-Tabari in his Tafseer, vol. 14, p. 122, and the like.
[^2] Qur’an, 39, 9. The reason for revealing this verse in respect of ‘Ammar has been mentioned by al-Qurtubi in his Tafseer, vol. 1, p. 239, and Ibn Sa‘d in his Tabaqat, vol. 3, p. 178.
[^3] Qur’an, 6, 122. The reason for revealing this verse in respect of ‘Ammar has been mentioned by al-Sayuti in his Tafseer, vol. 3, p. 43, and Ibn Kuthayr in his Tafseer, vol. 2, p. 172.
[^4] Qur’an, 28, 61. The reason for revealing this verse in respect of ‘Ammar and al-Waleed has been mentioned by al-Zamakhshari in his Tafseer, vol. 2, p. 386, and al-Wahidi, Asbab al-Nizool, p. 255.
[^5] Ahmed, Musnad, vol. 4, p. 89.
[^6] Ibn Hisham, vol. 2, p. 114.
[^7] Ibn Maja, Sunan, vol. 1, p.66. Masabih al-Sunna, vol. 2, p. 288.
Ammar fought along with the Prophet at all the Battles such as Badr and Uhud. He took part in building the Prophetic Mosque. Each Muslim carried a brick, while he carried two and said: “We, the Muslims, build mosques. The Prophet repeated some of his words, saying: “Al-Masajid (the mosques)!” He also took part in digging the trench, and the Prophet rubbed the dust from him. In such a manner was Ammar on top of the companions of the Prophet (a.s) in his faith, loyalty, extreme courage, and effort for the sake of Islam. When the Prophet passed away, Ammar followed Imam Ali. He was sincere in showing love for him. He thought that none was worthier of the caliphate than him. For this reason he did not pledge Allegiance to Abu Bakr and he protested against him. We have previously mentioned that. When Uthman became a caliph and deviated from the right path, Ammar was displeased with him, severely opposed him, and criticized him. Accordingly, Uthman severely punished him, transgressed against him, and said to him obscene words. That was in various situations of which are the following:
When Uthman alone possessed the ornaments in the public treasury and adorned with them some of his womenfolk, Imam Ali (a.s) criticized him for that. As for Ammar, he supported his opposition to him, as we have already mentioned. Uthman said to him: “How dare you say such a thing, O son of al-Matkaa’?”[^1] Then he commanded his policemen to take him, and they took him and made him came in to him. Uthman hit Ammar bin Yasir, to the extent that he fainted, while he was a weak, old man. Ammar was carried to the house of Umm Salama, the Prophet’s wife. He did not recover consciousness due to the intense hitting, to the extent that he could not perform the noon and afternoon prayers. When he recovered consciousness, he performed the ritual ablution and performed the evening prayer and said: “Praise belongs to Allah! This is not the first day when we are harmed for the sake of Allah!” For this reason A’isha became angry. She took out some hair of Allah’s Apostle, a garment of his, and a sandal, and then she said: “How quickly you have abandoned the Sunna of your Prophet! These are his hair, garment, and sandal! They have not worn out yet!” Accordingly, Uthman became angry, to the extent that he did not know what to say and how to apologize for his action.[^2]
The prominent companions of the Prophet wrote a letter to Uthman. In the letter they told him about his bad actions, his policy contrary to that of the Sunna, that they would battle against him if he did not repent and change his plan. It was Ammar who handed him the letter. Uthman took the letter. When
[^1] al-Mattkaa’ is a big-bellied women who cannot control her urine. [^2] Al-Ansab, vol. 5, p. 48.
he read the first lines, he burst with anger and said:
-Have you come to me on their behalf? -Most surely I am the most loyal to you of them. -You have told a lie, O son of Sumayya! -By Allah, I am the son of Sumayya and Yasir!
Anyway, Uthman commanded his boys to knock Ammar down, and he kicked him on the testicles and caused to him a hernia. As Ammar was weak, he fainted.[^1]
- When Uthman exiled Abu Tharr, the companion of Allah’s Apostle (a.s), to al-Rabatha, and he died their a stranger, and the news of his death reached Yathrib, Uthman said before some companions of the Prophet: “May Allah have mercy on him!”
Ammar hurried to say: “Yes, may Allah have mercy on him from all our souls!” Accordingly, Uthman became angry and said obscene words to Ammar: “Do you think that I have repented of banishing him?” Then he commanded his boys to push Ammar and to fatigue him. He also ordered him to be banished to al-Rabatha. When Ammar was ready to set out, the Banu (tribe 0f) Makhzum went to Imam Ali (a.s) and asked him to go to Uthman to speak to him in respect of Ammar’s affairs. The Imam went and said to Uthman: “Fear Allah! You have already banished a righteous Muslim (Abu Tharr) and he died due to your banishing him. Now you are intending to exile his equal.”
Uthman became angry and said to the Imam: “You are worthier of being banished than he is!” “Do that if you wish!” retorted the Imam. The Muhajireen met with Uthman. They criticized and blamed him for that. He responded to them and pardoned Ammar.[^2] Uthman went too far in persecuting and exhausting Ammar. He severely hit him and rudely spoke to him. He paid no attention to his extreme courage for Islam and his supporting the Prophet in all the battles and situations. He paid no attention to that the Prophet took care of his affairs and preferred him to
[^1] Al-Ansab, vol. 5, p. 49. Al-Iqd al-Farid, vol. 2, p. 272. [^2] Al-Ansab, vol. 5, p. 54. Al-Ya‘qubi, Tarikh, vol. 2, p. 150.
others. He was hostile to Ammar and harbored malice against him, for he (Ammar) asked him to follow justice, the clear truth, and to be moderate in his policy.
With this matter we will end our speech about Uthman’s severe punishments against the leading companions of the Prophet. It is worth mentioning that the Prophet’s companions were among those who were early to believe in Islam and they greatly struggled for it. Without doubt they had no desire for the government over some Muslim cities and regions or for obtaining some money. All these things did not move them to blame Uthman. Rather they came to know that Uthman performed some deeds not available in Allah’s book nor in the Sunna of His Prophet. They came to know that the truth was extinguished, falsehood was given life, truthfulness was refuted, preference was given to others without fear of Allah, as Abu Tharr said. For these things they openly criticized and blamed him, asked him to follow the clear, straight path and the Prophet’s Sunna.
Fabricated Lies against Imam al-Hasan
Some historians have spoke evil of Imam al-Hasan. They have claimed that he was Uthmani in inclination, that he harbored deep love, friendship, and loyalty to Uthman, and that he showed great sorrow at his death. Among them is Dr. Taha Husayn, who has said: “Al-Hasan did not separate himself from his sorrow at Uthman. He was Uthmani in the exact meaning of this word. However he did not draw a sword to avenge his blood, for he thought that he had no right to do that. Perhaps he went too far in following Uthman, to the extent that he someday said some words that his father did not like. Narrators have reported: ‘Ali passed by his son while he was performing the ritual ablution and said to him: ‘Perform the ritual ablution properly!’ So al-Hasan answered him with this bitter statement: ‘Yesterday you killed the man who properly performed the ritual ablution.’ Ali increased nothing more than saying: ‘May Allah prolong your sadness over Uthman.’”[^1]
Most surely the policy that Uthman followed and the dangerous deeds issued from him made him without a bosom friend in the country. All the Muslims were displeased with him. They were afraid of him for their religion. A’isha took out the garments of Allah’s Apostle (a.s) and said to those who visited her: “This is the garment of Allah’s Apostle. It has not worn out yet, while Uthman has worn out his (the Prophet) Sunna!” Talha, al-Zubayr, Abdurrahman bin Awf, and other than them, from among those, upon whom Uthman lavishly spent, harbored malice against him. Uthman had no friend
[^1] Al-Fitnatu al-Kubra, vol. 2, pp. 193-194.
and none to defend him except the Umayyads and Abu Ma’eet’s family. All the Muslims harbored malice against Uthman, so how was al-Hasan, who followed the guidance of his grandfather, the Apostle, Uthmani in the exact meaning of this word, as Dr. Taha Husayn says? Most surely al-Hasan was among those who harbored malice against Uthman and one of those who criticized him, for he saw what the companions of his father such as Abu Tharr, Ammar, and Abdullah bin Mas‘ud met from Uthman. He saw what his father himself met from him such as making light of his right and the aggression against him when he went out to see Abu Tharr off. After these things, how was al-Hasan Uthmani or excessive in showing love for Uthman? Which expression of depression and sadness appeared on al-Hasan’s face after Uthman’s murder? Was it during his heroic role in moving the people and sending them to the Battle of al-Jamal? It is worth mentioning that the Battle of al-Jamal was moved to avenge the blood of Uthman. Ammar bin Yasir supported him in all those attitudes. He blamed Uthman and accused him of his religion and said in respect of him: “We killed Uthman because he was an unbeliever.”[^1] Al-Hasan supported him and confirmed his words. Did sadness for Uthman appear on al-Hasan’s face at the Battle of Siffin which was created by Mu’awiya to avenge the blood of Uthman? Therefore, in which attitude Imam al-Hasan showed his sadness and sorrow at Uthman? As for the narration on which Dr. Taha Husayn depended to confirm his speech, it was reported by al-Balathiri on the authority of al-Mada’ini[^2], who was famous for showing enmity toward Ahlul Bayt and fabricating narrations in respect of the Umayyads.[^3] The reason for fabricating this narration is that he wanted to give a garment of sacredness to Uthman and to make him a balance of love in the souls of the good Muslims. The narration is weak, besides it faces the following criticisms:
Most surely Imam Ali (a.s) was kind to his son al-Hasan when he addressed him, explained to him the religious precept, and did not face him with bitter words. Therefore what made al-Hasan face him with those bitter words, while he was the inheritor of the Prophet (a.s) and similar to him in his noble moral traits, and noble natures?
Most surely Imam al-Hasan was among those who defended Uthman, as he said, and that was according to an order from his father; therefore, how did he accuse him of killing Uthman?
[^1] Al-Baqillani, al-Tamhid, p. 220. [^2] Al-Ansab, vol. 5, p. 81. [^3] Al-Tabari, Tarikh, vol. 4, p. 240.
- Most surely there was no relationship between Imam Ali and the murder of Uthman and the plot against him. Rather, Uthman’s deeds killed him, and the events that he did finished him off; therefore how did al-Hasan accuse his father of killing Uthman?
As we have understood what we have mentioned, the narration has no value in respect of its chain of authorities and in its meaning. It is strange that Dr. Taha Husayn depended on it without considering it carefully nor did he carefully consider the other narrations which were intentionally fabricated by those who inclined to the Umayyads and the hirelings of the authority.
In their gatherings the Muslims talked about Uthman’s evil deeds, his events, dictatorship in respect of their affairs, wasting their wealth, punishing the good, prominent companions of the Prophet, the play of Marwan and the Umayyads with the affairs of the state, and other heavy events. Displeasure and grumbling spread all over the country. Accordingly, the influential people and the early Muslims held a meeting. They wrote letters to the cities and asked them for help and to send some armed forces, that they might overthrow the then government. The text of their note to the Egyptians is the following:
“From the early Muhajireen and the remainder of the Consultative Committee. To those from among the companions (of the Prophet) and the successors in Egypt. Well, come to us and set right the succession after Allah’s Apostle before its men are deprived of it. The Book of Allah has been altered, the Sunna of His Apostle has been changed, and the regulations of the two caliphs have been altered. Therefore, we adjure before Allah the remainder of the companions of Allah’s Apostle and their good successors who read our letter. Come to us, take the right for us, and give it to us. Come to us if you believe in Allah and the Last Day. Establish the truth according to the clear method of your Prophet and of the caliphs. Our right has been overcome, our Fay’ has been controlled, and we have been prevented from our (right of) authority. The caliphate after our Prophet was the caliphate of prophethood and mercy, while today it belongs to a tyrannical monarchy; whoever overcomes a thing, he (the king) takes the thing….”[^1]
This letter has mentioned the dangerous events with which the Islamic world was afflicted because of the then government. They are as follows:
[^1] Al-Imama wa al-Siyasa, vol. 1, p. 35.
- The Book of Allah was altered and its just laws were cancelled.
- The Sunna of the Prophet (a.s) was changed and what was reported from him in the world of government and policy was neglected.
- Uthman turned away from the behavior of the two Sheikhs (Abu Bakr and Umar).
- The authority alone possessed al-Fay’ and spent it on its private interests.
- The Islamic caliphate was turned away from its constructive precepts, and its rich abilities. It was undertaken by a monarch who did not take care of the objectives and interests of the community.
Of course, these events shook the Islamic entity and threatened the Islamic life with destruction. So those who harbored malice against Uthman went on waging their struggle against him. They sent another letter to those stationed in the fortified borderline cities from among the companions of the Prophet. They asked them to go to Yathrib to set right the caliphate. The following is the text of their letter: “Most surely you have gone out to wage holy jihad for the sake of Allah, the Great and Almighty. You have sought the religion of Muhammad (a.s). However, the religion of Muhammad has been spoiled by your caliph; therefore, set it right!” The Muslims in the Islamic cities responded to this letter. They sent delegations to Yathrib to understand the situation and to study the attitude and the treatment it needed. The delegations who went to Medina were:
A. the Egyptian delegation
The Muslims in Egypt sent a delegation of four hundred people, and it was said that the number was more than that. The delegation was headed by Muhammad bin Abi Bakr and Abdurrahman bin Udays al-Balawi.
B. the Kufan delegation
The Muslims in Kufa sent a delegation. The delegation was headed by Malik al-Ashtar, Zayd bin Sohan al-Abdi, Ziyad bin al-Nadhr al-Harithi, and Abdullah bin al-Assam al-Aamiri. They all were headed by Amr bin al-Ahtham.
C. The Delegation of Basrah
The Muslims in Basra sent a delegation of a hundred men. Hakeem bin Jabalah headed the delegation. Then fifty men followed them. Among them were Dhurayh bin Abbad al-Abdi, Bishr bin Shurayh al-Qaysi, Ibn al-Muhrish, and the like of them from among the prominent figures.
The companions (of the Prophet) welcomed the delegations. They received them with delight and they thanked them. They mentioned to them Uthman’s actions, which apparently and really did not agree with the Islamic religion. They urged them to attack and finish him off, that the community might get rid of his government quickly. However the Egyptian delegation thought that they had to submit a note to Uthman to ask him to turn to Allah in repentance and to follow a straight policy. They wrote the note as follows: “Well, know that surely Allah does not change the condition of a people until they change their own condition. Therefore (fear) Allah! Then (fear) Allah! That is because you are in world; therefore, complete with it the hereafter. Do not forget your share in the hereafter. Do not admire the world. Know that we have become angry for Allah and are pleased for Him. We will not remove our swords from our shoulders until you sincerely turn to Allah in repentance. This is our statement and affair to you. May Allah excuse us in respect of you. With greetings.”[^1]
Uthman became disordered. He carefully read the letter. The revolutionists surrounded him. Al-Mughira hurried to him. He asked him to permit him to speak to them. He permitted him, and he went to them. When they saw him, they shouted at him: “O one-eyed, go back! O dissolute, go back! O sinner, go back!”
He unsuccessfully went back. Then Uthman summoned Amr bin al-Aas and asked him to speak with the people. He went to and greeted them. They did not reply to his greetings and said to him: “O enemy of Allah, go back! O son of al-Nabigha (whore), go back! We do not trust you!” Accordingly, Uthman came to know that he had none to resort to except Imam Ali. He sought help from him and asked him to ask the people to cling to Allah’s Book and the Sunna of His Apostle. The Imam responded to him, but he stipulated that he had to give to him Allah’s promise and covenant, that he might fulfill what he had said. Uthman gave that to the Imam. So the Imam went to the people. When they saw him, they said to him:
-Go back! -No, but forward! You keep to Allah’s Book and blame him (Uthman) for that with which you are displeased. He told them about what Uthman had said. -Do you guarantee that on his behalf? -Yes. -We are satisfied. [^1] Al-Ansab, vol. 5, p. 64-65. Al-Tabari, Tarikh, vol. 5, pp. 111-112.
The leading personalities of the people went with Imam Ali. They came in to Uthman. They blamed him for his deeds, and he apologized to them for them. They asked him to write them a document to oblige himself to follow Allah’s Book and the Sunna of His Prophet and to secure al-Fay’ to the Muslims. He responded to them and wrote them the following document: “This is a letter from the servant of Allah, Uthman, the commander of the faithful, to the believers and the Muslims who have become displeased with him. I stipulate to you that I should act among you according to Allah’s Book and the Sunna of His Prophet. I should give (money) to the deprived, give security to the fearful, repatriate the exiled, not send armies, and secure al-Fay’. Ali bin Abi Talib will guarantee me toward the believers and the Muslims. Uthman should fulfill what is in this letter.”
The people who bore witness as to the letter were al-Zubayr bin al-Awwam, Talha bin Abdullah, Sa’d bin Abi Waqqas, Abdullah bin Umar, Zayd bin Thabit, Sahl bin Hunayf, and Abu Ayyub Khalid bin Zayd. The document was written in Thill-Qi‘da, in the year thirty-five A. H. The people took the document and went away.[^1] Imam Ali (a.s) asked Uthman to go out to the people and announce to them that he had responded to the people and accomplished their requests. Uthman did that and promised the people that he would behave among them according to Allah’s Book and the Sunna of His Prophet, secure to them al-Fay’, and not prefer any of his kin. The Egyptians went back home. Then Marwan came in to Uthman and said to him: “Talk and make the people know that the Egyptians have come back, and that what they have heard in respect of their Imam was false. That is because your sermon will spread throughout the country before the people come to you from their cities; therefore, he whom you cannot repel will come to you.”
Marwan asked Uthman to announce something untruthful and say something other than the truth. In the first place Uthman refrained from responding to him but he finally yielded to his speech. He went out and went up on the pulpit and said: “Well, surely those people from among the inhabitants of Egypt had heard an affair about their Imam. When they came to know that the affair was false, they went home.”
However the Muslims blamed him for that. Umar bin al-Aas said to him: “Fear Allah, O Uthman! You and we have followed destructive things. Therefore, turn to Allah in repentance, and so shall we.”
However Uthman rebuked him and shouted at him: “Are you there, son of al- [^1] Al-Ansab.
Nabigha? Your jubbah has become lice-infested since I removed you from the work!” From all the sides of the Mosque, the Muslims shouted in one voice: “Fear Allah, O Uthman!” Accordingly, his abilities collapsed, and he found no escape from turning to Allah in repentance for such a lie. He went down the pulpit and went to his house.[^1]
This attitude indicates that Uthman was weak and had a weak will, that Marwan played with his policy and controlled all his affairs, that he (Uthman) had no ability to disobey and to overcome him.
His Seeking Help from the Cities
When the revolutionists became active and besieged him in his house, he sought help from Mu’awiya and called him for help. He wrote him this letter: “Surely the people of Medina have disbelieved, violated the obedience (to me), and broken the pledge of allegiance. Therefore, send me Syrian fighters on every camel.”[^2]
When Mu’awiya read the letter, he waited. He did not hurry to help or respond to him. He forgot the favors that Uthman had rendered to him and his family.
As Mu’awiya was late in responding to Uthman and he did not take a measure to help him, Uthman sent a letter to Yazid bin Asad bin Karz and the people of Sham. He asked and urged them to go out for helping him. When the letter reached them, they hurried to go out to help him under the leadership of Yazid al-Qasri. However Mu’awiya commanded him to camp at Thi Khashab and not to exceed it. The Army stayed their until Uthman was killed. Mu’awiya wanted to use the murder of Uthman as means that the Umayyads might take the reins of the caliphate. Most surely Mu’awiya was among those who schemed against Uthman. Abu Ayyub al-Ansari has referred to that during his speech with Mu’awiya: “Most surely, it was you who waited for (the murder of) Uthman and discouraged Yazid bin Asad from helping him.”
Anyway, Uthman wrote many letters to the cities and to those who attended the season of the hajj in Mecca. He asked them to help him.
[^1] Al-Tabari, Tarikh, vol. 5, p. 110. Al-Ansab, vol. 5, p. 74. [^2] Al-Ya‘qubi, Tarikh, vol. 2, p. 152. Ibn al-Athir, al-Kamil, vol. 5, p. 67.
The Day of the House
The Egyptian delegation returned home. But when they came to know of the plot planned against them, they came back. They besieged Uthman’s house, demanded overthrowing and removing him from the rule. However Marwan came out to them. He cursed and defamed them. He said to them: “What is the matter with you? It is as if that you have come to plunder. May your faces be disfigured! Do you want to take our authority from our hands? Go away!”
These words inflamed the fire of the revolt in their souls. They surrounded Uthman and wanted to kill him. Uthman sought help from Imam Ali, and he went to him. Imam Ali had heard of Marwan’s words so he said: “You are not satisfied with Marwan, nor is he satisfied with you except through deviating you from your religion and your reason. He is like the camel of travel which is led wherever it is driven. By Allah, Marwan has no opinion of his religion and of his own soul. By Allah, I can see that he will lead you but not release you. I will not return after this coming of mine to blame you. Your honor has been taken away, and your affair has been overcome.”
Most surely it was Marwan and the Umayyads who killed Uthman. This has been mentioned by Na‘ila, Uthman’s wife, when she said to the Umayyads: “By Allah, you have killed him and orphaned his children.” She advised her husband not to obey Marwan, saying: “If you obey Marwan, he will kill you!”
Uthman took a great part in killing himself. He knew that he was weak-willed, had no ability to overcome the events, the Umayyads had controlled his affairs, and the Muslims hated him. Therefore, it was incumbent on him to leave the authority to someone other than him, to resign his office, and not to distress the community through his murder. The revolutionists were sure that there was no room to reform him. If he decided something, Marwan would cancel it. Accordingly, they insisted that he had to remove himself from the caliphate, but he refused and said: “The caliphate is a garment that Allah has clothed me with!” Really it was a garment which Umar and Abdurrahman bin Awf had clothed him with.
Anyway the fires of the revolt broke out and their heat reached the head. That was when the revolutionists decided to kill him after he had refused to remove himself from the caliphate. As a result, Talha withdrew the water from him and controlled the public treasuries. The revolutionaries surrounded his palace. Some of them climbed the walls, throw stones at him, and went too far in cursing him.
Imam al-Hasan’s Attitude
Some historians have claimed that Imam al-Hasan defended Uthman on the Day of the House (youm al-daar) according to his father’s order, and that he showed extreme courage in this respect, to the extent that he was stained with his blood. Without doubt this is among the things fabricated by the Umayyads. That is because Imam al-Hasan (a.s) and the rest of the righteous Muhajireen and of the Ansar isolated themselves from Uthman; rather they were among those who harbored malice against him. None was present to defend him except the Umayyads and some opportunists. If Uthman had had any popular base in the society, the revolutionists would not have been able to kill him.
All the companions of the Prophet deserted him. None of them hurried to help and support him; rather they glorified the revolt against him and urged the revolutionists. According to these attitudes, how was it possible for Imam al-Hasan to violate the unanimous resolution and go to defend Uthman? Anyway al-Amini, a researcher, has falsified such a report and regarded it as among the fabricated ones.[^1]
Uthman is finished off
The revolutionists finished Uthman off. He was killed by some revolutionists on whose head was Muhammad bin Abi Bakr, who was the greatest of them in showing malice against Uthman. He drew the sword before him and said to him:
-Which religion have you followed, O Na‘thal?
-The Islamic religion! I am not Na’thal. I am the Commander of the faithful! -You have changed Allah’s Book! -Allah’s Book is between you and me!
He took him by his beard. He drew him towards the ground and said to him: “On the Day of Resurrection it will not be accepted from us that we say: O our Lord, surely we obeyed our leaders and our great men, so they led us astray from the path.” Then the people attacked Uthman. They killed him, and he weltered in his blood. They left him as a motionless body.[^2] They did not bury him nor did they allow anybody to bury him. Some of his special associates talked with
[^1] Al-Ghadir, vol. 9, pp. 218-247. [^2] Uthman was killed on Friday, Thil Hijja 18th, in the year 36 A. H. His caliphate lasted for twelve years but twelve days. He was eighty- two years old.
Imam Ali (a.s) about burying him. The Imam interceded for them with the revolutionists, and they permitted them to do that. However they did not allow them to bury him in al-Baqee‘ cemetery, so they buried him in Hash Kawkab.[^1]
The Muslims were severely tried in respect of Uthman’s affair. His murder caused them heavy sufferings. During the days of his government and after his murder opportunist parties were formed. The parties paid attention to no thing except reaching the government, that they might use it as means for obtaining wealth. They caused mischief in the land. They plotted against the Muslims’ interests. They destroyed their unity, and created in the society difficulties and problems to the extent that it was difficult for Imam Ali (a.s) during his government to set right the then situations, and return the Prophet’s Sunna and behavior among the people. Those problems became more difficult during the time of Imam al-Hasan. He believed that he had no plan better than making peace with Mu’awiya. We will mention that in detail in the following chapters.
With this matter we will end our speech about the time of Uthman. We have elaborated on his affairs and spoken at great length about his policy. It is worth mentioning that his policy kindled the fire of the most dangerous discord, and opened the door to the disagreements and disputes among the Muslims. It paved the way for the Umayyads to intervene in the Muslims’ affairs, usurp the authority, go too far in killing the righteous and pursuing the reformers, and destroy all the rules the religion had brought.
We have also mentioned some criticisms on Dr. Taha Husayn’s researches on Uthman and justifying his policy. We, Allah knows, have mentioned that not because of fanaticism and harboring malice against Uthman. Rather our pioneer is loyalty to the truth only and to serve the Islamic case. That is because many modern writers have tried to justify those events with some far explanations not confirmed by proof and evidence. We are in urgent need of studying the Islamic history as it is and pondering on the events happened during the early Islamic times, that we may understand the good people who served Islam and hoisted its flag. And that we may distinguish those whom the authority and wealth deceived, and they turned away from their religion and community for the sake of their own interests. We hope that these researches, which we have exactly and honestly planned, have explained to us the events that took place during those times.
[^1] Hish Kawkab was a name of a garden where the Jews buried their dead.