Uthman Ibn ‘Affan (RA) (Third Caliph)
Uthman (RA) was born some six years after the birth of the Prophet (SAW). His father’s name was Affan. Arwa was the name of his mother. His grandmother, Baiza, was a daughter of Abdul Muttalib and therefore an aunt of the Prophet (SAW). Uthman (RA) belonged to the Omayya branch of the Quraish. Banu Omayya were thought to be the equals of Banu Hashim. The national flag of the Quraish was in their keeping. When Uthman (RA) grew up, he became a cloth merchant. His business grew rapidly and he came to be looked upon as a top business man of the city. He often visited Syria in connection with his business. Flourishing business brought him both wealth and position. However, Uthman (RA) was an extremely kindhearted man. He looked upon wealth as a means of helping others.
It was Abu Bakr (RA) who won Uthman (RA) for Islam. Abu Bakr (RA) and Uthman (RA) were great friends. The Prophet (SAW) belonged to Banu Hashim and Uthman (RA) belonged to Banu Omayya. There was old rivalry between the two tribes. This did not keep back Uthman (RA) from accepting the truth. As soon as he heard the message of Islam, he accepted it. He was one of the first Muslims. The Prophet (SAW) gave to him his daughter, Ruqayyah (RA) in marriage.
By becoming a Muslim, Uthman (RA) drew upon himself the anger of his relatives. His uncle, Hakam, tied his hand and foot. He then shut him up in a dark room. Uthman (RA) gladly underwent all kinds of torture, but refused to give up Islam.
The Quraish who once loved Uthman (RA) now became his enemies. His own relatives would have nothing to do with him. This made Uthman (RA) feel miserable. He went to the Prophet (SAW) and asked permission to go to Abyssinia. The permission was given. Othman was the first Muslim to leave for Abyssinia. He and his wife crossed the Red Sea and sought refuge in Abyssinia. They were the first to give up their home and all they had for the cause of Allah.
When migration from Mecca began, Uthman (RA) and his wife Ruqayyah (RA) also went to Medina and settled there. Uthman (RA) was among those who were very close to the Prophet (SAW). He fought by the side of the Prophet (SAW) in all battles except Badr. He could not go to Badr because his wife, Ruqayyah (RA) , was very ill. The Prophet (SAW) himself told Uthman (RA) to stay back at Medina and attend to his ailing wife. Ruqayyah (RA) died of this illness. Uthman (RA) took the death of Ruqayyah (RA) very much to heart. He was all the more sad because he no longer enjoyed the honor of being the son-in-law of the Prophet (SAW). The Prophet (SAW) saw this. So he married to Uthman (RA) his second daughter, Umm Kulthum (RA). This was a rare honor. It earned for Uthman (RA) the title of “Zun-Noorain,” or “the possessor of two lights.”
In the sixth year of Hijrah was signed the treaty of Hudaibiya. Uthman (RA) played an important part in the peace talks. It was he who was sent by the Prophet (SAW) to contact the Quraish. The Quraish said they had no objection if Uthman (RA) alone visited the Kaaba, but they were unwilling to let the Messenger of Allah (SAW) enter Mecca. To this Uthman (RA) replied: “It is unthinkable that I take preference over the Prophet (SAW). If he can’t visit the House of Allah, I too, will not visit it.” Uthman’s (RA) firm stand at last forced the Quraish to yield ground.
In the meantime, a rumor got afoot. It was given out that Uthman (RA) had been killed by the Quraish. The report shocked the Prophet (SAW). He determined to avenge the death of Uthman (RA). He stood under a tree and took a pledge from his followers. He struck his hand on each man’s hand and the man said, “I will fight unto death for the sake of Uthman.” Such was the regard in which Uthman (RA) was held by the Prophet (SAW)! However, the rumor proved to be untrue. Uthman (RA) came back safe and sound.
In the ninth year of Hijrah, reports reached the Prophet (SAW) that the Emperor of Byzantium was preparing a march on Medina. These reports disturbed the Muslims. The Prophet (SAW) began to counter preparations. He appealed to people to give whatever they could. Uthman (RA) gave one thousand camels, fifty horses and one thousand pieces of gold. The Prophet (SAW) looked at the heap of gold and declared, “Whatever Uthman (RA) does, from this day on, will do him no harm.”
Uthman (RA) was one of the scribes of the Prophet (SAW). He was one of the men who wrote portions of the Qur’an as they were revealed. He was also one of the ten Companions whom the Prophet (SAW) gave the good news of the kingdom of Heaven.
Closeness to the Prophet (SAW) won Uthman (RA) a high place among the Companions. He was one of the advisors of Abu Bakr (RA) and Umar (RA) during their Caliphate.