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UTHMAN

Encyclopaedia of Ismailism by Mumtaz Ali Tajddin

"Uthman, the son of Affan was born in Mecca in the 6th year of the Elephants. He belonged to the Umayyad tribe. His father was a richest merchant. He was first among the Ummayad to become a Muslim. He also participated in the migration of Abyssinia. He took leading part in serving the cause of Islam and earned the title of Ghani for spending his wealth.

During the apostasy wars, Uthman remained at Medina to act as Abu Bakr's adviser. During the rule of Umar, a severe famine broke out and there was shortage of food supply. At that time, a caravan of Uthman carrying large supplies of food arrived in Medina for sale. Uthman distributed the entire stock of food grains among the poor.

Before his death, Umar nominated a committee of six persons, viz. Uthman, Abdur Rahman bin Awf, Sa'd bin Abi Waqas, Zubayr bin Awwam, Ali and Talha. The committee selected Uthman as the third caliph when he was about 70 years old.

During his rule, the Muslim dominions had expanded considerably in the east and the west as far as Morocco to Kabul. The last four years of his caliphate were full of intrigues, conspiracies and revolts. He expelled some conspirators from Kufa and Basra. It did not improve the matters, but worsened the situation because the conspirators spread the sphere of their activities to other areas, especially Egypt. The simple and kind character of Uthman was also responsible for the many problems. His leniency encouraged his enemies and conspirators to carry out their plans. The rebels insisted that Uthman should abdicate or he should be deposed, but Uthman refused to abdicate. The rebels besieged Uthman in his house, and did not allow food and water to reach him. Ali bin Abu Talib deputed his sons, Hasan and Hussain to protect Uthman. The siege lasted for fifty days when some of the rebels jumped into Uthman's house and killed him. This tragic event took place in 35/656 after ruling for 11 years, 11 months and 14 days. Wardi writes in Wu'az al-Salatin (p. 217) that, "It was the Umayyad who engineered the murder of Uthman, with Muawiya instigating the murder and Marwan working out the death."


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