The Role of Aishah in the History of Islam (volume 1)
Events Which Befell Ibn Mas'ud
I appoint 'Ammar ibn Yasir as your governor; and 'Abd Allah ibn Mas'ud as minister of state for your religious affairs, and remember especially that with the dispatch of 'Abd Allah Mas'ud I have given the people of Kufah preference over myself. 'Umar, in a Lear to the people of Kufah Abu 'Abd ar-Rahman 'Abd Allah ibn Mas'ud al-Hadhali was the son of Mas'ud who was allied with the Banu Zuhrah tribe, and was a Muslim of early Islam. At that time no one dared to recite the Qur'an aloud, but he did so and with an audible voice he carried the divine words to the negligent ears of the infidels. The Quraysh did not leave Ibn Mas'ud's insolence without retaliation, and beat him so severely that he got badly hurt and was covered with blood. The Prophet took care of him, and Ibn Mas'ud willingly accepted to serve him. He was so privileged as to be allowed to hear the Prophet's voice.
Ibn Mas'ud always served the Prophet and never left him. He placed the Prophet's shoes before him and helped him put them on. He walked with the Prophet, sometimes in front of him, to shield him against any probable danger. When the Prophet washed himself, he held up a sheet to screen him from others' eyes. When the Prophet slept, Ibn Mas'ud kept watch, and also awakened him from sleep when necessary.
Ibn Mas'ud emigrated to Abyssinia and Medina and took part in the battle of Badr and also in the subsequent combats. The account of his life after the Prophet's death is as follows:134 'Umar sent him and 'Ammar ibn Yasir to Kufah and dispatched the following letter to the people of that city: "I have appointed and sent 'Ammar ibn Yasir to you as your governor and 'Abd Allah ibn Mas'ud as your adviser and teacher in religious matters. They are two of the select companions of the Prophet and participants in the battle of Badr. Follow and obey them heartily, and remember especially that in sending Ibn Mas'ud I have given you preference over myself."
In Kufah, Ibn Mas'ud taught the Qur'an to people, acquainted them with religious matters and also acted as treasurer of the public fund. In 'Uthman's rule, al-Walid ibn 'Uqbah, his foster brother, was appointed as governor of Kufah When he arrived and assumed control of affairs, he came finally in direct contact with Ibn Mas'ud.
In the past, it had been customary for a governor, during his mission to borrow money for a fixed period from the public fund and repay it in due time. al-Walid, too, applied for such a loan, and Ibn Mas'ud extended it to him. On the due date he asked al-Walid for repayment and insisted upon it. But al- Walid, unable to tolerate this impudence on the part of Ibn Mas'ud, wrote to 'Uthman and asked his aid in this involvement with Ibn Mas'ud. 'Uthman wrote the following note to Ibn Mas'ud: "Your job is to act as our treasurer, but you have no authority to interfere and call al-Walid to account for any sum that he draws on the public fund!" When Ibn Mas'ud received this note and realized that he could no longer accept such an important responsibility, and harmonize himself with 'Uthman's methods, he threw down the keys of the treasury before al-Walid and said: "I had supposed till now that I was a keeper of Muslims' assets. But I have no wish to be your treasurer and I resign from this post." 135 After his resignation as treasurer, he stayed in Kufah for some time.
Concerning the same story the book "al-'Iqd al-farid" says that Ibn Mas'ud addressed the Muslims in the Kufah mosque, in these words: "O people of Kufah! Know that tonight your public fund is reduced by 100,000 and gone, without any instruction being issued by the commander of the Faithful to divest me of the responsibility." al-Walid reported these words to 'Uthman and he dismissed Ibn Mas'ud.136 al-Baladhuri writes in Ansab al-ashraf137: When Ibn 134. Musnad of Ahmad 5/389, al-Mustadrak 3/315 and 320, Hilyat of Abu Nu'aym 1/126 and 127, Kanz 7/55, al-Bukhari and Usd al-ghabah 3/258.
Ansab al-ashraf of al-Baladhuri 5/36.
al-'Iqd al-farid 2/272.
Ansab al-ashraf of al-Baladhuri 5/36. Mas'ud threw down the keys of the treasury before al-Walid, he exclaimed angrily: Whoever changes God's command at his own wish, will lose his hereafter, and whoever does so at his own whim, will be faced with God's wrath. I see that 'Uthman has done so. Is it right to remove such a governor as Sa'd ibn Abi Waqqas from Kufah and replace him with al-Walid?' Ibn Mas'ud often used to say: "The best words are those of the Qur'an, the best path is the one shown by the Prophet, and the worst deed is heresy since every heresy is deviation that ends in hell."138
al-Walid also reported these stinging words of Ibn Mas'ud, to 'Uthman and added that he slandered the caliph and abused him. 'Uthman summoned Ibn Mas'ud to Medina. When the people of Kufah learnt of his recall to the capital, they gathered round him asking him not to go but to stay with them to remain immune from any possible injury. Ibn Mas'ud said: 'He has the right of being obeyed, and I have no wish to be the first person to open the door to riot and sedition upon him and disobey him.139
al-Isti'ab gives Ibn Mas'ud's answer to the people of Kufah as follows: "These conditions are bound to produce riot and sedition, and I have no desire to start a riot." The people of Kufah saw him off and he advised them to be chaste and act upon God's injunctions and then asked them to return home before his departure. The people praised him for his goodness, and on his leaving for Medina, they thanked him for his efforts and services, saying: "May God reward you! You familiarized our ignorant ones with religion, and made our wise ones more steadfast in faith. You taught us the Qur'an, informed us of the Islamic faith and made us clear-sighted about religion. You were indeed a good Muslim, a fine friend and a kind brother." Then saying farewell, they returned home.140
When Ibn Mas'ud arrived at Medina, he went straight to the Prophet's mosque where 'Uthman was at that moment giving a sermon while standing on the Prophet's pulpit. When he saw Ibn Mas'ud he changed his words and said: "Just now a mean and worthless quadruped has entered upon you, a fellow who on people's stretching their hands for bread, will vomit what he has eaten and throw it out of his belly."
In answer to this abuse, Ibn Mas'ud said: "No, 'Uthman, I am not such a man! I am one of the Prophet's companions with the honor of being present in the battle of Badr and Pledge of ar-Ridwan (Good pleasure)."141 'A'ishah, too, exclaimed: "O 'Uthman! Are you using such words about Ibn 138. Ansab al-ashraf of al-Baladhuri 5/36.
Ansab al-ashraf of al-Baladhuri 5/36.
al-Isti'ab on Ibn Mas'ud.
Ibn Mas'ud, in his answer, is directly reproaching 'Uthman who was not present on the above two occasions and thus he did not have the honour of participation in those events.
Mas'ud who has been an intimate companion of the Prophet?" In answer to her, 'Uthman shouted: "Be silent", and then ordered to expel Ibn Mas'ud from the mosque. They carried out the caliph's order with Shocking insults to Ibn Mas'ud. 'Abd Allah ibn Zam'ah knocked him down, and it is said that Yahmun, 'Uthman's slave, got between Ibn Mas'ud's legs, lifted him and threw him down so violently that his ribs were broken. At this time, 'Ali who was witnessing this scene, turned to 'Uthman and said: "O 'Uthman! Do you act in this way only on the words and reports of al-Walid ibn 'Uqbah towards a companion of the Prophet?"
'Uthman answered: "No! It is not only because of al-Walid's words! I had also sent Zubayd ibn as-Salt Kindi to Kufah for investigation." Ibn Mas'ud, who was twisting with agony, cried out: " 'Uthman's blood is lawful" and 'Ali said in answer to 'Uthman: "And you have relied on Zubayd's words who is not trustworthy!" Then he rose to aid Ibn Mas'ud and took him home for treatment.
After this incident, Ibn Mas'ud stayed in Medina and 'Uthman did not permit him to leave that city. Even when he was cured from his injury, he asked leave to participate in the holy war against the Romans, but 'Uthman refused permission. It is also narrated that before 'Uthman could give a positive or negative answer, Marwan anticipated it and said to 'Uthman: "He has roused Iraq against you and made them suspicious of you. Now it is ash-Sham's turn and he intends to rouse the people there against you!" Thus to the end of his life, Ibn Mas'ud was unable to leave Medina and a watch was kept over him until his death two years before 'Uthman's assassination. On this occasion Ibn Mas'ud's stay in Medina lasted three years. The final conversation between 'Uthman and Ibn Mas'ud is worthy of attention. When Ibn Mas'ud was ill in bed and passing through the last moments of his life, 'Uthman came to visit his sick-bed and said: -What are you suffering from?
-From my sins.
-What would you like?
-God's favor and forgiveness. -Shall I call a doctor for you?
-The doctor himself has made me sick. -Shall I order to pay your salary and pension?142 -You did not pay it when I needed it Do you want to do so today when I have no need for it?
-It will remain for your children. -God will provide for their livelihood. -Beg God to forgive me for what I have done. 142. His pension and salary had not been paid for two years. History of Ibn Kathir 7/163, al-Ya'qubi 2/197, al- Mustadrak 3/13.
-I beg God to seize my right from you. Ibn Mas'ud had willed that 'Ammar ibn Yasir should perform his burial prayer, and that 'Uthman should not attend his burial. His will was carried out and he was buried in al-Baqi' without 'Uthman's knowledge.143 When 'Uthman heard of it, he got very angry and asked why he was buried without his knowledge. 'Ammar said: "He had willed that you should not perform his burial prayer." 'Abd Allah ibn az-Zubayr composed a couplet on this occasion, meaning: "I know that you will lament my death whereas you had cut off my bread and food."
This was an account of Ibn Mas'ud.144 But al-Walid's rule did not result in the story of Ibn Mas'ud alone. During his rule he committed many mischievous and seditious acts such as his ill-treatment of Abu Zubayd, a Christian poet, and of a Jewish magician.
Playing with fire
al-Walid arranged for his Christian companion a monthly share of the Muslims' public fund, including wine and pork. Ansab al-ashraf of al-Baladhuri Protecting a winebibbing companion Abu al-Faraj narrates in the book "al-Aghani", quoting Ibn al-A'rabi as follows: When al-Walid was appointed by his brother, 'Uthman, as governor of Kufah, Abu Zubayd, a Christian poet, joined him. al-Walid provided him with a house belonging to 'Aqil ibn Abi Talib and granted it to him. This offer of the house to a Christian, addicted to wine, prompted the Muslims of Kufah for the first time ever to speak ill of and criticize al-Walid, since this Christian entered the mosque in order to meet al-Walid and accompany him to his house to engage in nightly revelry and drinking, and while tottering and drunken, he passed through the mosque to return home.
al-Walid's conduct clearly showed his carelessness towards religious affairs and his indifference towards the people's feelings and beliefs. At a time when he was expected to abandon wine drinking and check the acts of Abu Zubayd, his companion, which were against religious laws and common usage, he on the contrary granted this Christian the vast lands situated between the red 143. His death occurred in the year 32 after Hijrah. az-Zubayr buried him at night without informing 'Uthman. At death his age was about 60 or a little more.
- From Tabaqat, al-Baladhuri 5/36, al-Isti'ab, Usd al-ghabah, al-Mustadrak 3/13, Kanz 7/54, History of al- Ya'qubi 2/147, History of al-Khamis 2/268, and Ibn Abi al-Hadid 1/236-237. palaces of ash-Sham and Hira and made those lands a pasture for his flock and cattle, forbidding others to use them. In return, for this favour, Abu Zubayd composed a poem in his praise.145
al-Baladhuri writes: al-Walid arranged for his Christian companion a monthly allowance from the Muslims' public fund including wine and pork. His intimate friends reminded him that such an act would antagonize people towards him. Consequently, he stopped the allowance of wine and pork and instead ordered to pay him their price every month in addition to his salary. This governor of Kufah allowed a Christian to enter a Muslims' mosque.146 Another wrong act of al-Walid ibn 'Uqbah resulted in making people cynical about 'Uthman's government and his protégé, since he had allowed his Jewish clown to engage in jugglery in the mosque of Kufah in order to amuse the governor and his cavaliers.
One of his shows in a dark night was to exhibit a big elephant sitting on horseback. Another item was that the juggler turned himself into a camel walking on a rope. Next time he showed a donkey through whose mouth he entered and emerged through arsehole. In conclusion, he summoned a spectator and fearlessly cut off his head with a sword, and to the people's amazement he once more drew the sword across him with the man rising again safe and sound.
Jundab, son of Ka'b, was present among the spectators in the mosque watching these scenes and acts of the Jewish juggler. He constantly prayed for God's protection from Satan and perversion and such acts which make a human being forget Allah. He knew that all this amounted to dexterity and sleight of hand which are strongly forbidden in Islam. So he could bear it no longer and drawing his sword cut off the Jew's head with one blow and shouted: "Right has prevailed over wrong; for, wrong is undoubtedly destructible!" It is also said that all this happened in day time, and Jundab who had no sword with him, went to a shop and got a sword from a sword-maker to return and kill the juggler, saying: "Now, if you are truthful, bring yourself back to life!" Anyhow it was al-Walid who turned the chaste and holy site of the Kufah mosque, which was a place of worship and benediction, into a scene of juggling by a Jew, and it was Jundab who by killing the same juggler ruined the means amusement of the debauchee governor, the protege' of 'Uthman.
al-Walid who was extremely enraged by Jundab's action, ordered to kill him in revenge for the death of Zurarah, the Jew. But his family, from al-Azd tribe, rose in support of him to prevent his death. But al-Walid in slyness condoned the death order into imprisonment, hoping to kill him secretly. Jundab was sent to prison and Dinar was placed as warden over him. When Dinar learnt of the reason for his imprisonment and noticed his religious devotion and faith, and 145. al-Aghani 4/182 and 183.
- Ansab al-ashraf of al-Baladhuri 5/29 and 30.
that he was engaged in prayer all night, he had no wish to shed his blood, so he said to him: -I will open the door and you can save your skin by escaping. -If I do so, al-Walid will kill you instead. -My blood is no worth if it is shed in the way of God and in' saving one of the devotees. At last on the insistence of the warden, Jundab left the prison and took to flight.
In the morning when al-Walid found himself free from the meddlesome tribe of al-Azd and others, he prepared himself for killing Jundab and summoned him. His servants came back to report his escape. Dinar, too confirmed this report. al-Walid who was greatly enraged at Jundab's flight and laxity of the warden, ordered to behead him147 and hang his body at the sewer of Kufah.148 After his escape from prison, Jundab secretly left Kufah and reached Medina where he settled down until 'Ali ibn Abi Talib mediated for him with 'Uthman. 'Uthman accepted his intercession and wrote to al-Walid telling him not to harass Jundab. Thus Jundab was once more able to return to Kufah.149
The first sparks of revolution
As al-Walid's wicked and unlawful deeds as governor of Kufah reached their peak, 'Uthman's wrong conduct and reactions, which had caused discontent among the people, were mentioned and reported by everyone. 'Amr ibn Zurarah, son of Qays an-Nakha'i and Kumayl ibn Ziyad an-Nakha'i who were two of the well-known men of Kufah, were among the first of those who brought up the subject of overthrow of 'Uthman and election of 'Ali ibn Abi Talib as caliph. 'Amr gathered the people and said to them: "O people! Though 'Uthman knows well the difference between right and wrong, he has deliberately ignored this matter, and placed low and unworthy individuals as guardian over the life and property of your good people and given them power and authority."
- Muruj adh-dhahab of al-Mas'udi 1/437 and al-Aghani 4/186. 148. The author has used various sources for the story of Jundab and the juggler. But as the subject is the same, I have confirmed myself to the translation of one of them only. (Sardar-Niya) 149. Jundab was one of the Prophet's companions. Four men of the al-Azd tribe were called Jundab, namely Jundab al-Khayr ibn 'Abd Allah, Jundab ibn Zuhayr, Jundab ibn Ka'b and Jundab ibn 'Afif. But the story of the Jew's death is mostly attributed to Jundab ibn Ka'b. Ibn al-Athir writes: With one blow of the knife he killed the Jew and said: "Now bring yourself back to life", and after reciting a relevant verse of the Qur'an, he gazed straight at al-Walid, and said: "A magician's punishment is a blow of the sword", and al-Walid imprisoned him. His nephew composed a poem, meaning: "For the death of a Jewish magician they imprison on Jundab and kill the companion of the first Prophet of God." At the end of his life, Jundab went to ash-Sham and fought the infidels, and at last died in the 10th year of Mu'awiyah's rule. Refer to Usd al-ghabah 1/303 to 360. Also to al- Aghani 4/185 and 186 and Ansab al-ashraf 5/29 and 31.
Khalid ibn 'Arfatah, who was present among the audience, hurriedly went to al-Walid and reported the gathering of people and 'Amr's inciting words. al- Walid was enraged and rode to face the people and disperse them. But this companions stopped him and pointed out that the matter was more serious than he supposed; for, the people were angry and ready to riot and rise, warning him not to fan up the flame of sedition. Meanwhile, Malik, son of al-Harith, suggested that with al-Walid's approval he would make the people quiet. al- Walid agreed and Malik went to the crowd, warned them of riot and rebellion and dispersed them peacefully. al-Walid immediately wrote a letter to 'Uthman about Amr ibn Zurarah's action and words and asked for instructions to get rid of him. 'Uthman wrote in answer:
"This Ibn Zurarah is a mischievous Bedouin and you must exile him to ash-Sham." al-Walid carried out the order and exiled 'Amr to ash-Sham.150 On Amr's forced departure from Kufah on the charge of seeking justice and truth, he was seen off by Malik al-Ashtar, al-Aswad ibn Yazid, 'Alqamah ibn Qays and Qays ibn Fahdan, Qays composed this poem to show his sympathy towards 'Amr: "I swear to God, to the God of Ka'bah that in all my deeds whether secret or open I seek God's consent. We will indeed overthrow al-Walid and his master, 'Uthman, who is a shelter for deviation, from their positions as governor and caliph."
'Uthman's inspector in Kufah
When 'Uthman received numerous complaints from various sections of Kufans about al-Walid's conduct, he was forced, at least in appearance, to show some reaction to these protests. So he sent Hamran, his freed slave, as inspector to Kufah to survey the situation there and report on al-Walid's treatment of people. But al-Walid bought this top official of the government with money, and by offering him bribes sent him back to Medina empty-handed. Hamran returned, and in harmony with the real wish of 'Uthman, prepared a report in praise of al-Walid's conduct. So 'Uthman was relieved and felt no more anxiety.
After some time Marwan151 met Hamran and asked him the truth about al- Walid. Hamran answered: "The situation is very critical." Marwan reported the facts to 'Uthman, who exiled Hamran to Basra for his false report and treason, 150. For an account of 'Amr ibn Zurarah's life refer to Usd al-ghabah 2/201-202 and 4/104. 151. The reader will become familiar with Marwan in due course and learn about his character and basic beliefs. But here we must mention that since Marwan expected a big share in the plunder of public fund for himself and his children, and knew that the stability of the Umayyad rule which was founded prior to 'Uthman in Islam, depended wholly on stable conditions, a tranquil environment and general ignorance. He was also more or less aware of the approaching riot and rebellion owing to the conditions created by the irregular acts and offences of al-Walid, 'Uthman's favorite, and his support for him and his other agents. So, in order to uproot the revolution, and nip public incitements and intrigues in the bud, he decided to inform the caliph of facts and seriousness of the situation. Otherwise it was not his sympathy for Islam or for the endeavors of the Prophet, nor was he motivated by humanitarian feelings or Islamic brother-hood in informing 'Uthman of the chaotic conditions of Kufah and its people. (Sardar-Niya).
and gave him a house to live in there.152 The winebibber ruler of Muslims al-Walid spent the whole night drinking wine with his companions, minstrels and musicians.
History of al-Mas'udi
al-Walid's rule in Kufah lasted five years during which he fought the pagans in the region of Azerbaijan. But as he was not a true believer, in that critical situation he committed an act, which deserved religious punishment. The leaders came together to see to the execution of punishment in his case, but Hudhayfah opposed this, saying that as a commander of the Islamic army this would not be right, and so they desisted from such an action.153 I do not know why al-Walid deserved the punishment, whether it was because of drinking wine or any other offense. But it is certain that he constantly drank wine, and went so far in it that according to all the historians, the related punishment was eventually carried out in his case.
Abu al-Faraj writes in al-Aghani: "al-Walid ibn 'Uqbah was a winebibbing adulterer. One morning he came drunken to the mosque to offer prayer along with the people and instead of offering two units, he performed four. During the prayer he sang out this phrase: "The heart is mortgaged to the ringlets of Rubab, while no trace remains of the youthfulness of either of them." When the prayer was over, he turned to the congregation and said: "Do you wish me to add some more units to the morning prayer?" And at the same time he vomited what he had eaten.154
al-Mas'udi writes in the same connection: al-Walid spent the whole night drinking wine with his companions, minstrels and musicians.
One day when the muezzin called for prayer, al-Walid, dressed in his underwear and drunken, came to the mosque and stood at the altar to pray with the people. He offered four units of prayer instead of the usual two and prolonged the act of prostration, during which, instead of praising God, he kept on saying: "Drink and give me a drink!" When he supposed the prayer to be over, he returned to the people and said: "Do you wish to offer more than four units of prayer?" 'Attab ath-Thaqafi, who was sitting in the first row behind al- Walid, shouted at him, saying: "May God favour you! What has happened to you? I swear to God that I am amazed at none but the caliph of the Muslims who has made a person like you governor over us!" The people, too, threw 152. Ansab al-ashraf of al-Baladhuri 5/31.
pebbles at him. When this brother of caliph 'Uthman saw himself in such an awkward position, he staggeringly betook himself to the palace while murmur- ing a song meaning: "I never turn away from wine and a pretty slave-girl, and do not deprive myself of their blessing and pleasure. I keep on drinking so much wine as to quench my brain, and then pass staggering through the crowd!"
The event about witnesses
At last the people of Kufah got wearied of the unlawful and obscene acts of al- Walid, and when they saw that their protests and complaints to 'Uthman were of no avail, they decided to secure decisive evidence about al-Walid's laxity and addiction, go to the caliph and inform him of the problem and confusion faced by their worldly and religious affairs, so as to convince him of these matters and compel him to turn his attention to their complaints and meet their requests. To carry out this plan, the leaders of the people thought of removing, from al-Walid's finger in his state of drunkenness, the signet ring with which he sealed official documents and which 'Uthman knew well, and show it to the caliph as a definite evidence.
al-Baladhuri writes in this connection155: On the day al-Walid performed in drunkenness the prayer along with the people, Abu Zaynab; Zuhayr ibn 'Awf al-Azdi asked for the help of al-Muwarra' of the Banu Asad tribe in this plan. The latter agreed and declared his readiness.
On that day they were watching to find al-Walid drunk, but as it happened, he did not leave his residence even for the afternoon prayer. So they went to the door of his house, but the porter did not allow them to enter. Abu Zaynab placed a dinar in the porter's hand, which on seeing the gold coin stood aside and opened the way for them. Both Abu Zaynab and al-Muwarra' entered and came across a strange and despicable scene. They saw al-Walid fallen in a corner in total drunkenness. They laid him on his bed, but at that moment al- Walid vomited. Abu Zaynab without hesitation removed the signet ring from al-Walid's finger, and both of them left the house.
In 'Uthman's presence
Abu Zaynab, accompanied by three other dignitaries of Kufah departed via Basra for Medina, in order to meet the caliph and present to him their complaint about al-Walid. On coming to his presence they began by saying to the caliph: "Though we have no hope of winning your attention to our suffering, we consider it our duty to inform you of certain matters." 'Uthman asked what it was. They explained their complaints about al-Walid and 155. Ansab al-ashraf of al-Baladhuri 5/33, al-Aghani 4/180 and Muruj adh-dhahab 1/435.
described the details of the incidents and events from which the complaint arose, as well as the confusion and disorders which existed in Kufah. 'Abd ar-Rahman ibn 'Awf who was present in this meeting, enquired about complainants: "What does this mean? What do you think has happened to al- Walid? Has he gone mad?" They said: "No He gets drunk and loses all control due to excessive drinking." 'Uthman turned to Jundab and asked: "Have you yourself observed my brother's drinking spree?" Jundab said: "No. Never!" , But Abu Zaynab said: "I testify that I have seen him drunk, vomiting wine and polluting Himself. I myself removed ring from his finger while he was wholly intoxicated." 'Uthman asked: "How did you know he had taken wine?" They answered: "How could we not know? He drank the kind of wine we used in pagan times ourselves." Then they showed al-Walid's ring to the caliph and offered it as evidence. 'Uthman who had become very angry by this time threatened the complainants and witnesses, and promised punishment, and then placing his hand on their chests, dismissed them.
The caliph's reward to the witnesses
Abu Zaynab and his companions had with great hopes reached Medina, went to the caliph, informed him of the true situation and presented their evidence. But 'Uthman not only ignored their report and testimony about al-Walid's addiction to wine and his obscene acts during prayer, but also abused them and ordered to beat some of them. Those of the witnesses who had been maltreated went to 'Ali and begged for a solution. 'Ali went to 'Uthman, spoke in their favour and protested saying: "You are neglecting divine limits and insulting and maltreating the witnesses who have testified against your brother, and you are thus altering God's law!"156
'A'ishah, too, whose help had been sought by the witnesses, shouted at 'Uthman, saying: "You have failed to carry out religious laws and insulted the witnesses."157 The complainants had stated before 'Uthman that al-Walid drank wine of the kind used in pagan times.158
Their testimony was that al-Walid in his intoxication, had performed four units of morning prayers instead of the usual two, and then he had turned to the people offering to perform more units, and had then vomited. They said also that during the prayer, instead of reciting Quranic verse, he had sung a song about wine and women. They also exhibited the signet ring which they had removed from his finger while he was drunk, and handed it over to 'Uthman as final evidence.
Nevertheless, they saw no sign of attention to their complaint and testimony, 156. Muruj adh-dhahab of al-Mas'udi 2/336 published by Dar al-Andulus.
Muruj adh-dhahab 2/336.
but were insulted beaten and whipped instead, and also threatened with death. 'A'ishah opposing 'Uthman Abu al-Faraj writes in al-Aghani: 'Uthman said in answer to their objections: "Is it not so that in taking umbrage to one's emir and ruler, one should level accusation against him? Now that this is the case I will order to punish you in the morning!"159 This group, fearing punishment by 'Uthman, took refuge in 'A'ishah's house, and when in the morning 'Uthman was sharply rebuked by 'A'ishah, he shouted: "Do Iraqi rebels and debauchees find no asylum but 'A'ishah's house?!"
When 'A'ishah heard these insulting and unforgivable words of 'Uthman, she picked up a shoe of the Prophet and raising it high cried out loudly: "How soon you have abandoned the way and tradition of God's prophet, the owner of this shoe!" These words of 'A'ishah were soon reported to all the people of Medina, and they rushed to the mosque. The crowd became so dense that no room was left for newcomers. The words of 'Uthman and 'A'ishah were commented upon so excitedly that these produced a difference and division among the crowd. A number began to praise 'A'ishah for her reaction, and others frowned and said in reproach: "Why should women meddle with such matters?" The demonstrations of the two opposite groups reached a point where they fell upon one another, using stones and shoes in these attacks within the mosque.
al-Baladhuri adds and says: 'Uthman did not remain silent against 'A'ishah's protest, and shouted angrily: "What right have you to interfere in the affairs? You have been ordered to keep quiet in your house!" The people were divided in their opinion about this protest and reproach. Some supported 'Uthman's attitude while others backed 'A'ishah and exclaimed: "Who deserves more than 'A'ishah to interfere in the affairs?" Arguments soared high to the point where the two groups fell upon one another with shoes. This was the first quarrel to occur among the Muslims after the departure of the Prophet.
This story is mentioned by al-Ya'qubi in his history, and by 'Abd al-Barr in al-Isti'ab in a similar way, showing clearly the effect of 'A'ishah's action and interference. After this incident, Talhah and az-Zubayr went to 'Uthman and said in reproach: "We told you at the beginning not to let al-Walid take charge of any Muslims' affairs. But you paid no attention to our words, and rejected 159. al-Aghani 4/181.
them. It is not late yet. Now that a group has testified to his addiction to wine and his intoxication, it would be advisable to remove him." 'Ali, too, said: "Remove al-Walid from his post, and if the witnesses give testimony in front of him, then you could sentence him to the religious punishment."
al-Walid's dismissal and purification of the pulpit at the Kufah Mosque
'Uthman was compelled to dismiss al-Walid ibn 'Uqbah from the governorship of Kufah recall him to Medina, and appoint a new governor for Kufah. So he chose Sa'id ibn al-'As160 as a governor of Kufah, ordering him to send al-Walid back to Medina.161 When Sa'id arrived in Kufah, he sent a message to al-Walid that he had been summoned to Medina by the caliph. But al-Walid postponed the order for a few days and ignored it. So Sa'id said to him: "Hasten to your brother, for, he has instructed me to send you to him." Then he ordered him to vacate and surrender the governor's house.
al-Walid was forced to obey, surrendered the governor's house and moved to the house of 'Amrah ibn 'Uqbah. Then Sa'id ordered to purify the pulpit of the Kufah mosque, and he did not ascend it until it was done. Some of the Umayyad chiefs who had accompanied Sa'id to Kufah, requested him to desist from such a purification, and reminded him that if anyone else resorted to this act, it was his duty to check him, since such an act would disgrace al-Walid for ever (for, both of them belonged to the Umayyads and the same tribe). But Sa'id refused and the pulpit and the governor's house were eventually washed and purified.162
al-Aghani says: 'Uthman ordered al-Walid to go back to Medina. When he was about to leave Kufah for Medina, a group of people including 'Adi ibn Hatam accompanied him in order to offer excuses for al-Walid's actions to the caliph. During the journey one day al-Walid, according to the Arab custom, sang a song for the camels163 and164. 'Adi exclaimed: "Let me see, where are 160. Sa'id ibn al-'As was the son of al-'As ibn Umayyah. His mother was Umm Kulthum daughter of 'Amr 'Amiri. He was born in the first year of the Hijrah or one year later. His father al-'As was killed by 'Ali in the battle of Badr. 'Umar narrates: "I myself saw al-'As roaring like a lion in the battle of Badr, but 'Ali killed him with one blow." Sa'id was a chivalrous aristocrat and a famous orator of the Quraysh and one of those ordered by 'Uthman to write down the Qur'an. After al-Walid, 'Uthman appointed him governor of Kufah, and during this time he conquered Tabaristan and other parts of Iran. After 'Uthman's death, he retired to his house and took no part in the battles of al-Jamal and Siffin. When Mu'awiyah became caliph, he summoned Sa'id and asked why he had not participated in the battle and reproached him for not helping him against 'Ali. Sa'id offered some excuses. Then Mu'awiyah sent him to Medina as governor and whenever he dismissed him from that post, he put Marwan in his place, and when he dismissed Marwan, he replaced him by Sa'id. Sa'id died in 59 after the Hijrah. Refer to Usd al-ghabah 2/310, al-Isti'ab and al-Isabah.
It had long been a customary among the Arabs that while on a journey, especially a long one, to sing rhythmical songs for the camels to make them joyful and not feel the fatigue of the journey, and thus to muse
you taking us like this?" When al-Walid came to 'Uthman's presence in Medina and the witnesses testified to his face about his addiction to wine, 'Uthman was compelled to administer on him the legal punishment with the lash. But he let him wear a thick cloak so that he would not feel the strokes of the lash and sent him into the room where the punishment was to be carried out.