The Ibadi Stance on Uthman ibn Affan

“Wherever you are ˹O Prophet˺, turn your face towards the Sacred Mosque. And wherever you ˹believers˺ are, face towards it, so that people will have no argument against you, except the wrongdoers among them. Do not fear them; fear Me, so that I may ˹continue to˺ perfect My favour upon you and so you may be ˹rightly˺ guided.” (Qur’an 2:150)

The Ibadi position on Uthman is that during the first part of his reign he was upon guidance and it was good.  However, gradually Uthman gave way to nepotism and corruption.  Uthman was counseled many times by the believers. The believers that he as commander of the faithful is duty bound to be in service to. So tone-deaf was Uthman to the cries of those who were suffering, those who were calling out inconsistencies in his administration that everything came to a head. What started off as a protest became a full-blown insurrection. Once seen as a commander and servant of the faithful, Uthman now a despot in the eyes of the companions was violently deposed.

“One of the secrets of the history of the people of truth and integrity is that if they appointed an imam after the advice of the people of the solution and the contract, the imam was their servant, and if he erred, they replaced him with another imam, and they never sanctified him and did not put him before the command of Allah.”

This certainly seems to be the attitude of the sahabah, those first generation of Muslims. We are thankful for our teacher, Shaykh Masoud bin Mohammed Al Miqbali (hafidullah) for explaining the truth to the people!

The governor of Egypt: Abdullah bin Abi Al Sarh

Let’s talk about this Abdullah bin Abi Al Sarh for a moment. Uthman in his prudent wisdom, gave control of the governorship to Abdullah bin Abi Al Sarh.

Abdullah bin Abi Al Sarh. This companion embraced Islam than left Islam and claimed that he was actually a Prophet! So not only was this a matter of leaving Islam, the man was clearly involved in the sedition of the highest magnitude for the fledgling community.

Source: (Abd al-Ghani al-Ghanimi al-Maydani, Sharh al-‘Aqida al-Tahawiya. Damascus: Dar al-Fikr, 1988, p. 124)

Narrated Sa’d:

“On the day when Mecca was conquered, the Messenger of Allah (saw) gave protection to the People except for four men and two women, and he named them. Ibn Abi Sarh was one of them. He then narrated the tradition. He said: Ibn Abi Sarh hid himself with Uthman ibn Affan. When the Messenger of Allah (saw) called the people to take the oath of allegiance, he brought him and made him stand before the Messenger of Allah (saw). He said: Messenger of Allah, receive the oath of allegiance from him. He raised his head and looked at him three times, denying him every time. After the third time he received his oath. He then turned to his Companions and said: Is not there any intelligent man among you who would stand to this (man) when he saw me desisting from receiving the oath of allegiance, and kill him? They replied: We do not know, Messenger of Allah, what lies in your heart; did you not give us a hint with your eye? He said: It is not proper for a Prophet to have a treacherous eye.”

Source: (Sunan Abu-Dawud Kitab Al-Jihad 14 hadith 2677)

So out of all the people that Uthman ibn Affan could have appointed governor of Egypt he appointed his own brother (Abdullah bin Abi Al Sarh) (through breast feeding), and one whom the Blessed Messenger (saw) would not have minded at all if he was killed for his treachery.  

Al-Walid ibn Uqba.

He is also the half brother of Uthman ibn Affan.  Al-Walid ibn Uqba converted to Islam only after the Blessed Messenger (saw) conquered Mecca. When it was obvious that Islam was the victor over the polytheist.   

Uthman appointed al-Walid bin Uqba b bi Mua’ayt over Kufa Al-Walid led the people in the morning prayer while drunk, making four prostrations; then he vomited in the mihrab and turned to those praying behind him and said, Shall I give you more?”

“When al-Walid arrived (in Medina) , Uthman said, “Who will flog him?” The people held back due to al-Walid’s kinship-he was Uthman’s half-brother on his mother’s side. ‘Ali then rose up and flogged him. Later Uthman sent al-Walid to be in charge of collecting the alms payments (sadaqat) from the tribes of Kalb and Balqayn.”

Source: (The works of Ibn Wadih Al-Yaqubi An English Translation  volume 3 pg. 800-801)


What is interesting is the report from Al-Yaqubi a Shi’i historian and the hadith in Bukhari (a Sunni hadith collection).  Now of course a big difference is the chains of transmission.  Woefully absent from Yaqubi’s telling. In Yaqubi’s telling Ali is decisive and doesn’t hesitate to whip Uthman’s brother.  Where as in the hadith Ali refuses a direct order from the commander of the faithful. Ali passes the order to his eldest son Hasan who refuses the order of his father (this annoys Ali), until finally Ali instructs Abd Allah ibn Ja’far (Ali’s nephew) to flog him.

In Yaqubi’s telling Al-Walid ibn Uqba increases the rakats to 4 where as in the hadith transmission the number is not disclosed, if any.  Also the way Al Walid presents himself it’s as if he is mocking the well known occasion where the Blessed Messenger (saw) accidently performed an extra rakat in prayer.  If such a polemic was in circulation, the Shi’i would not make use of it as it would undermine infallibility of Imams.

The case of Al Hurmazan and Ubayd Allah ibn Umar

“The people talked much about the blood of al-Hurmuzan and Uthman’s withholding of Ubaydallah b Umar. Uthman therefore ascended the pulpit and addressed the people. He said:
I am indeed the guardian (wali) of al-Hurmuzan’s blood: I have granted it to Allah and to ‘Umar, and have relinquished it for ‘Umar’s blood.”

Al-Miqdad Bin Amr rose up and said: “Al-Hurmuzan was a client (mawla) of Allah and His Messenger. it is not up to you to grant that which belongs to Allah and His Messenger.” Uthman said, “We see things our way and you see things your way.” Uthman then sent Ubayd Allah ibn Umar out of Medina to Kufa and settled him in a residence; the place came to be called: “Kuwayfat Ibn Umar” after him.

This became a huge grievance against Uthman Ibn Affan. Al-Hurmuzan, was killed without judicial process and he was a Muslim!

By withholding of Ubayd Allah ibn Umar from punishment for having killed al-Hurmuzan, the Persian general who been granted protection as a Muslim. Ubayd Allah ibn Umar killed al-Hurmuzan because he suspected him of involvement with his father’s assassin. Because al-Hurmuzan’s involvement was not proved, and because he had no heirs to take vengeance on his behalf, the onus fell on Uthman as head of the community. Uthman’s decision not to exact blood vengeance by killing Umar’s soon, and to accept
blood money (which he paid himself) caused controversy.

It is also little wonder that Ubayd Allah ibn Umar fought on the side of Muaviyah at Siffin, against Ali.  Rather or not that was loyalty/treachery for Uthman sparing him depends on who’s side you were on and how you look at it.

Sources: (al-Tabari, Tarikh,1:2795-2797 & Al-Baladhuri Ansab, IV/1, 510 (where Ali is mentioned as explicitly demanding the death of Ubayd Allah ibn Umar via qisas.).

Apparently it’s O.K. for Al Miqdad Bin Amr to say to Caliph Uthman: “”Al-Hurmuzan was a client (mawla) of Allah and His Messenger. it is not up to you to grant that which belongs to Allah and His Messenger.

However, for some reason its not O.K. for the Sahabah to say to Caliph Ali: “It is not up to you to grant which belongs to Allah.” at the battle of Siffin.  Double standards much?

Al-Miqdad bin Amr also had a famous Qira’at of the Qur’an that is attributed to him. The Qira’at of Miqdad!  He married Duba’ah Bint Al-Zubayr, the relative of the Blessed Messenger (saw), the daughter of his (saw) paternal uncle.

Al-Miqdad Bin Amr is the companion that Ali used to speak about concerning a condition called: Urethritis.

Urethritis is a bacterial infection that is sexually transmitted and causes frequent urination and/or discharge. In fact there are so many reports from Al-Miqdad in regards to Ali’s frequent release of madhi that you begin to think that Ali really had no control over himself at all. Another spin on this could be that he had a high testosterone account.  

Abdullah Ibn Mas’ud

Of the tribe of Hudhayl.  This is the companion whom the Blessed Messenger (saw) spoke about when he said:

Narrated Masriq:

`Abdullah bin `Amr mentioned `Abdullah bin Masud and said, “I shall ever love that man, for I heard the Prophet (saw) saying, ‘Take (learn) the Qur’an from four: `Abdullah bin Mas’ud, Salim, Mu`adh and Ubai bin Ka`b.’ “

Source: (Sahih al-Bukhari 4999)

“Abdullah Ibn Mas’ud entered the mosque while Uthman was giving the sermon. Uthman said, “Truly an evil beast has come to you!” When Ibn Mas’ud spoke harshly To Uthman, Uthman gave orders and he was dragged away by his foot, so that two of his ribs were broken. When A’isha spoke up and said many things, Uthman sent her to the Ansar.”

Source: (al-Baladhuri, Ansab, IV/1, 524-526, and The Works of Ibn Wadih Al Ya’qubi volume 3, pages 810-811)

Uthman Ibn Affan withheld the pension and salary of Abdullah Ibn Mas’ud for two years.

Source: (History of Ibn Kathir 7/163 and  al- Mustadrak 3/13)

Until this very day no one from that faction of the Muslims who support Uthman’s decision can tell us how burning physical copies of text prevents disputes over recitation of a revelation that is primarily transmitted orally!

Nor can the satisfactorily explain how the various qiraʼat and ahruf have survived until this very day. Has the ummah been responsible for being negligent of the wishes of Caliph Uthman?

Abi Thar/Abu Dharr

From the tribe of Ghifar

Narrated ‘Abdullah bin ‘Amr:

that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said: “There is no one more truthful, that the sky has shaded and the earth has carried, than Abu Dharr.”

Source: (Jami` at-Tirmidhi 3801 Grade: Hasan)

Abu Dharr had begun his agitation in Medina after Uthman had given 500,000 dirhams to Marwan I, 300,000 to al-Harith ibn al-Hakam, and 100,000 to the Medinan Zayd ibn Thabit from the khums of the booty seized in Ifriqiya in 27/647. He then quoted relevant Qur’anic passages threatening the hoarders of riches with hell-fire. Marwan complained to Uthman, who sent his servant Natil to warn Abu Dharr, but to no avail. Uthman displayed patience for some time until, in the presence of the caliph, Abu Dharr launched an angry verbal attack on Ka’ab al-Ahbar, who had backed Uthman’s free use of public money. Uthman now chided Abu Dharr and sent him to Damascus.  

Historians have recorded Uthman’s letter to Mu’awiya. When Mu’awiya sent a malicious report against Abu Dharr from Syria, Uthman wrote to him, “Send Jundub (Abu Dharr) to me on an unsaddled camel, alone, with a harsh man driving it day and night.” When he reached Medina, Abu Dharr’s legs were bruised and bleeding.

Sources: (Ibn Sa’d, in his Tabaqat, Volume IV, page 168 & Ibn Athir’s al-Nihayah fi Garib al-Hadith wa al-Athar)

“Words were exchanged between Ali and Uthman on account of this, so much so that Uthman said,
As far as I am concerned, you are no better than he!” -and they spoke coarse words to each other.
People criticized what Uthman had said and intervened between the two until they made peace.”
Source: (Al-Baladhuri, Ansab, IV/1, 544)

“When Uthman learned of Abu Dharr’s death, he said: “May Allah have mercy on Abu Dharr.”
Ammar b Yasir replied: “Yes, may Allah have mercy on Abu Dharr more than us!” This annoyed Uthman.
Source: (Al-Baladhuri Ansab, IV/1,545)

Abu Dharr subtly accused of being a deviant by Mu’awiya.

Notice the craft of Mu’awiya and Abu Dharr ingenious way he deals with it. So Mu’awiya ask Abu Dharr to list down the deviants in Damascus. Abu Dharr knows that the only people who know them are those who associate with them. Hence his reply: “What do I have to with the deviants of Damascus and how would I know them?”

Hadith reports where Abu Dharr chided Uthman and those who hoard wealth.

Narrated Zaid bin Wahab:

I passed by a place called Ar-Rabadha and by chance I met Abu Dharr and asked him, “What has brought you to this place?” He said, “I was in Sham and differed with Mu’awiya on the meaning of (the following verses of the Qur’an): ‘They who hoard up gold and silver and spend them not in the way of Allah.’ (9.34). Mu’awiya said, ‘This verse is revealed regarding the people of the scriptures.” I said, It was revealed regarding us and also the people of the scriptures.” So we had a quarrel and Mu’awiya sent a complaint against me to `Uthman. `Uthman wrote to me to come to Medina, and I came to Medina. Many people came to me as if they had not seen me before. So I told this to `Uthman who said to me, “You may depart and live nearby if you wish.” That was the reason for my being here because even if an Ethiopian had been nominated as my ruler, I would have obeyed him.

Source: (Sahih al-Bukhari 1406)

Narrated Al-Ahnaf bin Qais:

While I was sitting with some people from Quraish, a man with very rough hair, clothes, and appearance came and stood in front of us, greeted us and said, “Inform those who hoard wealth, that a stone will be heated in the Hell-fire and will be put on the nipples of their breasts till it comes out from the bones of their shoulders and then put on the bones of their shoulders till it comes through the nipples of their breasts the stone will be moving and hitting.” After saying that, the person retreated and sat by the side of the pillar, I followed him and sat beside him, and I did not know who he was. I said to him, “I think the people disliked what you had said.” He said, “These people do not understand anything, although my friend told me.” I asked, “Who is your friend?” He said, “The Prophet (saw) said (to me), ‘O Abu Dharr! Do you see the mountain of Uhud?’ And on that I (Abu Dharr) started looking towards the sun to judge how much remained of the day as I thought that Allah’s Messenger (saw) wanted to send me to do something for him and I said, ‘Yes!’ He said, ‘I do not love to have gold equal to the mountain of Uhud unless I spend it all (in Allah’s cause) except three Dinars (pounds). These people do not understand and collect worldly wealth. No, by Allah, Neither I ask them for worldly benefits nor am I in need of their religious advice till I meet Allah, The Honorable, The Majestic.”

Source: (Sahih al-Bukhari 1407, 1408)

Abu Dharr said that he came with his stick in his hand and asked ‘Uthman for permission to enter and this was granted. ‘Uthman then told Ka‘b that ‘Abd ar-Rahman had died leaving some property and asked what he thought about it. When he replied that if he had given what was due to God on it there was no harm in it, Abu Dharr raised his stick and struck Ka’b and said he had heard God’s messenger say, “If I had a quantity of gold equivalent to this mountain which I could spend and have accepted from me, I would not like to leave six uqiyas behind me.” He then adjured ‘Uthman three times to tell him if he had not heard him, and he replied that he had. Ahmad transmitted it.

Source: (Musnad Ahmad 453 & Mishkat al-Masabih 1882)

Al Hakam (Uthman’s paternal uncle)

“Uthman wrote to al-Hakam b [Abi]l-As that he should come to him. Al-Hakam had been a man expelled by Allah’s messenger. When Abu Bakr came to power, Uthman and a group of the Banu Umayya
came to Abu Bakr and petitioned him concerned al-Hakam, but Abu Bakr would not grant permission for him to return. When Umar came to power, they did the same thing, but Umar would not grant him permission. Therefore the people disapproved of Uthman’s permission to al-Hakam. One of them said: I saw al-Hakam b. Abi -‘As the day he arrived in Medina; he was wearing a tattered old garment and driving a Billy goat. He entered Uthman’s residence while people gazed at his evil state and that of his companions; he came out wearing a silk tunic (jubba) and a shawl (taylasan)

The reason for the  Blessed Messenger (saw) had expelled al-Hakam to al-Ta’if is given variously as his eavesdropping on the the Blessed Messenger (saw). and relaying to his Qurayshi opponents his sayings about them or his mocking imitation of Prophet’s gait. He would mock the way the Blessed Messenger (saw) would walk. Al Hakam had accepted Islam after the conquest of Mecca on 8/30. He was Uthman’s paternal uncle.

Sources: (Al Baladhuri, Ansab, 5:27; Ibn al-Athir, al-Usd al-ghābah fi ma‘rifat al-sahabah, 2:35)

Ammar bin Yasir.

He was of the the tribe of Makhzum.

As for Ammar’s case, Al-Khatib al-Baghdadi mentions a report related by Al-Tabari which suggests that there was some friction between Ammar and Abbas ibn Utbah. Uthman felt that the two needed to be disciplined by physical punishment. Al-Khatib al-Baghdadi states that this is within the right and jurisdiction of the Caliph. Umar used to do that with many people, several of whom were of a higher standing than Ammar.

Sources: ( Al-Khatib in Tarikh Baghdad)

When Miqdad b ‘Amr died he appointed Ammar as his executor and Ammar prayed over hm without notifying Uthman. Uthman became furious at Ammar and said: “Woe to me from that son of a black woman! Yes, I know of his hidden antagonism towards me.”

Sources: (Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr, al-Isti’ab, 4:1863; a& Khalil ibn Aybak al-Safadi, Kitab al-Wafi bi’l-Wafayat, 15:457)


“Moreover, before this there was manifest evil from Uthman towards Abdullah bin Masoud, Abi Thar, and Ammar bin Yasir.” “The people of Uthail and the people of Zuhra had in their hearts grieved concerning the condition of Ibn Masoud.” “And the tribe of Ghifar and it’s allies and all of them had rage in their hearts for what happened to Abu Thar.” “And the tribe of Makhzum were enraged against Uthman for the condition of Ammar bin Yasir.”

It says, “Uthman remained for three days not buried and then Hakim ibn Hizam Al Qurashi and Jubayr ibn Muṭʽim talked to Ali to allow his burial and he allowed it.” So the final decision was with Ali. And Hakim ibn Hizam and Jubayr ibn Mut’im talked to Ali to allow his burial. “And Hakim ibn Huzam and Jubayr ibn Mu’tim went and talked to allow, “allow”, his burial. What does this phrase mean? “Allow.”

What do you understand from their act of talking to Ali to allow his burial so he allowed? What do you understand from that?

When those seeking him (Uthman) heard that, they stood along the way with rocks [to throw at his janaza] and few family members of Uthman accompanied his body. The people of Medina didn’t leave for his janaza, the people of Medina, the armies of which flattened the Persians and the Romans in the life of the Prophet (saw) and the life of the two Caliphs before, they were completely unconcerned with the burial of Uthman!”
This is what your books say Oh Dr., this is not an Ibadi book. This is a book from the books which you trust and depend on.

“And from those who did not bother with the burial is Al Zubayr, and Al Hassan and Abu Jahm and Hudaifa and Marwan, between Maghrib and Isha, and they brought him to a wall from the walls of Madina called, ‘Hash Kawkab’ and it’s outside of Baqee’ and Jubayr bin Mut’im prayed over him.”

Ali bin Abi Talib didn’t pray over him, Ali didn’t pray the janaza over Uthman, even though he exists.
“And it was said Hakim ibn Hizam and it was said that Marwan, and the people from the Ansar, Al Andar which the Prophet (saw) advised us concerning: “And people from the Ansar approached to stop them from praying the janaza, then they let them be for fear of fitnah.”

There were people from the Ansar who wanted to stop them from praying on him.
And Ali went to those sitting on the way wanting to throw stones at Uthman’s body and he stopped them. “And he was buried in Hash Kawkab’ “Meaning that he wasn’t buried in Al Baqee’. They were stopped from burying him in Al Baqee’.” “And when Muawiyah bin Abi Sufyan was in charge he ordered that the wall be crushed and so it was. And he was entered into Al Baqee.” “And he ordered the people, so they buried the dead near his grave till the grave eventually connected to the graves of Muslims.”

“And it was said that he was buried in Al Baqee’ near Hash Kawkab and it was said that his Janaza was attended by Ali and Talha and Zaid bin Thaib and Ka’b bin Malik, the general population
and then from his companions. “And it was said that they didn’t perform ghusl on him and he as shrouded in his clothes.” “These are your books which testify to and speak about that.”

These are the stances of the sahaba.  And in the book: “Tarikh Al-Khulafa” for Al Sayuti: “and narrated from Abi Al Tufayl Amr bin Wa’ila the companion that he entered on Muawiya, so Muawiya asked him: “Are you not from the killers of Uthman? He said: No, but I’m from those who were present but didn’t support him.”
he said: “And what stopped you from helping him? He said: “The Muhajiroon and the Ansar didn’t support him.”

“So the list is long. “If I wanted to narrate to you all those who stopped on Uthman. From them is Ammar bin Yasir. Ammar bin Yasir, the one who’s stomach was stomped on by Uthman’s leg, causing him severe pain. And a whole bunch of sahabah, I can narrate you a list with those that your books mention. For example: al-Isaba from Ibn Hajar and al-Usd al-ghābah from Ibn al-Athir, and at-Tabaqat from Ibn Sa’d and many other books which you trust and depend upon. They mentioned who did Khuruj on Uthman and who faced him and declared his deviance and so on.”

‘The list of grievances that the sahabah had against Uthman ibn Affan’.

And of course for our Arabic readers: This is prepared by the noble and respected, Shaykh Abu Tayyib Khalfan ALtywani. May Allah (swt) bless him for this enlightening work!

May Allah (swt) guide this Ummah to a course that is just!


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