Page is loading...

Chapter 16

 
We have briefly thrown light on the excesses of Uthman in the foregoing pages, and have told that by distributing the money of the Muslims only among his kinsmen he had deprived the poor people of their right, and Abu Dharr, by virtue of his religious fervour and in pursuance of the precept of the Holy Prophet had been forced to raise his voice against these evil practices, in consequence of which he was sent to Syria. Then he was called back to Medina from Syria in a horrible manner and was put to great hardship, As Abu Dharr was a man of principle and was very keen on keeping his promise of being truthful, which he had made to the Holy Prophet he continued with his mission without caring for any authority or reproach from any side. He never cared whether he was talking to a king or to a common man. It did not matter to him if the place where he talked was a street, a bazar, a masjid or a court. The burden and the mode of his truthful cry remained the same throughout.
 
We now want to write in detail for your information how Uthman had opened the door of the Public Treasury for his own associates and how enormously wealthy his relatives and special followers had become. We present here a list in this connection from which it will be easy for you to judge how those following in the footsteps of the Prophet such as Ali, Abu Dharr, Salman, Miqdad, Ammar and some other companions of the Prophet, could remain quiet. After all, they, too, had their obligation towards Islam. That is why these people protested against these practices.
 
Now we want to quote a few examples of Uthman's extravagance and nepotism. But, before that, we want to explain how the idea of showing favour to the descendants of Umayyah cropped up his mind and how he exceeded the limit of decency. Ibn Asakir, a historian and commentator of probably the second century hijri writes:
 
“According to the narration of Anas bin Malik one day Abu Sufyan bin Harb, who had become blind, came to Uthman and inquired if there was anybody else present there. His companions said,"No". Then he said, “O Uthman! Make this Islamic State a pre-Islamic state; let the country be like that snatched from somebody, and make it secure and lasting for the descendants of Umayyah"1.
 
Respected readers! He is the same Abu Sufyan who had played such a detestable role against the Holy Prophet before the appearance of Islam, as bears no parallel. Then he became a Muslim willy-nilly. He had no respect for Islam in his heart.
 
Uthman accepted his suggestion and he paid his fullest support to Bani Umayyah, made them rich and taking the State to be a country snatched away from somebody, started treating their original owners cruelly and scornfully. As is obvious the rightful ownership of the Islamic dominion went to Ali and his progeny. Therefore Uthman's treatment with them at the suggestion of Abu Sufyan is unparalleled.
 
It is evident from the historical accounts that on the night of the death of Umm Kulthum, he had sexual intercourse with another woman simply because she was related to the Prophet, and did not care that his wife Umme Kulthum was about to die 2
To explain why people became Uthman's opponents, the historians have written that Uthman gave Fadak to Marwan bin Hakam, which had been snatched away from Fatima during the reign of Abu Bakr, the first Caliph.
 
Fadak remained in the possession of Marwan and his descendants till Umar bin Abdul Aziz took it back from him and gave it to the Ahlul Bayt who were its rightful owners 3. Uthman not only gave away Fadak to Marwan bin Hakam who was his cousin and the husband of his daughter, Umme Aban, but also gave the fifth part of the booty received from Africa i.e. five lac dinars about which Abdul Rahman bin Hambal al-Jama'i al-Kindi addressing the Caliph recited sarcastic verses. In one of its verses he says:
 
"O Caliph! You brought the accursed Marwan near you in opposition to those who have gone before you, and made him your son-in-law, and then gave him the fifth part of the booties of Africa, doing injustice to the poor".4 The historians lbn Kathir and Waqidi narrate that the total value of the African booties given to Marwan was two crore twenty thousand gold coins5. Tabari says that the amount was two crore five lac twenty thousand gold coins.6 Besides this, he was given the fifth part of the booties of Egypt also.7 Ibn Abil Hadid writes, "The Caliph having married his daughter to Marwan also gave him one lac dirhams from the Public Treasury. At this action of his Zayd bin Arqam brought the keys of the treasury and threw them before Uthman and said that Marwan did not deserve even one hundred dirhams out of it"8

All the historians, commentators, traditionists and narrators among whom Ayesha holds a distinguished position, say it clearly that both Marwan and his father Hakam and also their progeny was cursed and detested by the Prophet. Ayesha says that Marwan was born of the sperm cursed by the Prophet. The Prophet did not tolerate their dwelling on earth. Allah had declared them, their forefathers, and their descendants an accursed genealogical tree and the Prophet of Allah had banished Hakam from Medina. Abu Bakr and Umar also did not allow them to come back. But Uthman called them back, gave them gifts and married his daughter Umm Aban to Marwan.
 
For details see Mustadrak Hakim, vol, 4, p. 481, Tafsir Qurtabi, vol. 16, p. 197, Tafsir Kashashaf vol. 3, p. 99, printed in Egypt) Tafsir al-Fai'q Zamakhshari, vol. 2, p. 352, Tafsir Ibn Kathir, vol. 4, p. 159, Tafsir Kabir, vol. 7, p. 491, Usudul Ghabah, Ibn Athir, vol. 2, p. 34, Nihaya Ibn Athir, vol. 3, p. 23, printed in Egypt, Sharah Ibn Abil Hadid, vol. 2, p. 55, Tafsir Naishapuri on the marginal-note of Tabari, vol. 26, p. 13, Sawaiq Muhriqah p. 108)
 
When Marwan bin Hakam came back at the call of Uthman he was dressed in tatters and when he came out of his court he was wearing silken clothes with a mantle. The Caliph gave him three lac dirhams out of the charities of Yemen.9 He was the man who had been banished by the Prophet of Allah and Abu Bakr and Umar also did not allow him to enter Medina. But Uthman called him back and gave him a gift of one lac dinars.10
 
Harith bin Hakam was the brother of Marwan and the husband of Ayesha, the daughter of Uthman. Uthman gave him three lac dirhams from the property of the Muslims. He also gave him many camels which had been received as charity.11 Uthman also gave him a market "Mahzun", which was established by the Prophet in Medina.12 Apart from this the tenth part of the income received from the markets of Medina was also fixed for Harith.13 

Uthman gave one lac dirhams to Sa'id bin' Aas bin Umayyah. (Abu Makhnaf and Waqidi) Sa'idi's father, Aas was the person who used to torment the Prophet very much. Ali had killed him in the Battle of Badr. (Tabaqat Commentators and historians are of the view that Uqbah is the accursed person who had become apostate after embracing Islam. It was about him that this verse was revealed: "On that day the tyrant will bite his hands".14 In this verse the tyrant means this very accursed Uqbah 15.
 
In short, there is such a large material in the books on history and traditions about the bad character of Walid and his father that a separate and independent book can be written on them. It can be said briefly that Walid was lewd, adulterer, debauchee, and drunkard, who desecrated faith. We give here some significant incidents which throw light on his character.
(1) In the Masjid of Kufah Walid offered four rakats in the morning prayers instead of two as he was intoxicated.
(2) At the command of Imam Ali, Abdullah ibn Ja'far punished him for drinking wine inflicting eighty lashes on him.
(3) When Walid bin' Aas succeeded him to the Governorship of Kufah he got the pulpit washed thoroughly and said, "Remove the filth of Walid from it". And so on and so forth.16 
Caliph Uthman gave 3 lac dirhams to Abdullah bin Khalid bin Usayd bin Abil ' Aas bin Umayyah and one thousand dirhams to each one of his whole tribe.17 Ibn Abil Hadid has written the figure of four lac18.
 
Ya'qubi writes that Uthman married his daughter to Abdullah bin Khalid bin Usayd and ordered him to be paid six lac dirhams and in this connection wrote to Abdullah bin Aamir that the amount should be paid from the Public Treasure of Basrah19
 
Everybody knows the character of Abu Sufyan bin Harb. Uthman gave him also two lac dirhams from the Public Treasury. This money was given on the same day when he had given one lac dinars to Marwan bin Hakam.20
 
Caliph Uthman gave one-fifth of the booties of Africa to his foster brother Abdullah bin Sa'd bin Abi Sarah. According to Abul Fida its value was one lac dinars21 Ibn Abil Hadid writes that he gave to Abdullah ibn Sa'd the whole booty received from West Africa without giving anything out of it to any other Muslim.22
 
Sa'd bin Abi Sarah is the man who had embraced Islam before the conquest of Mecca. Then he migrated to Medina and became an apostate. After his apostasy the Prophet of Allah announced that Sa'd bin Abi Sarah should be killed wherever he was found even if he was under the covering of the Holy Ka'bah. Viewing these things Uthman had hidden him and got him forgiven. (Sunan Abu Daud and Mustadrak Hakim).
 
Uthman gave two lac dinar (gold coins) to Talha bin Abdul1ah23, and gave him several bags of gold and silver.
 
The examples quoted above have brought to light Uthman's nepotism and his making Bani Umayyah roll in the wealth belonging to the Muslims. Now we want to explain how the people, other than some special companions, had become the seekers of the world after the demise of the Prophet, and how the world had over-powered them. But, before that, we want to point out that the boost given to Bani Umayyah by Uthman was contrary to the Will of Allah and His Prophet. Allah has called them the damned "tree". The Prophet of Allah has called them the accursed people of the ummah. Scholars are unanimous that Bani Umayyah had great spite against the Prophet. Ali says that every ummah had some trouble or the other. The calamity for this ummah is Bani Umayyah.24
 
According to the confirmed view of the Prophet and his progeny Bani Umayyah were a calamity for the ummah but Uthman's attitude towards them was that he took pride in opening the Public Treasure for them. Caliph Uthman used to say "The Public Treasury is ours. We will spend it as we like and will not accept anybody's advice".25
 
Now we throw light on the patrimonies of the companions. It will be ascertained from them how much wealth of the Muslims Uthman had squandered and how he had made his kinsmen wealthy.
 
Zubayr bin 'Awam was the son-in-law of the first Caliph. What he left behind after his death consisted of:
(1) Eleven houses in Medina (2) Two houses in Basrah (3) One house in Kufah (4) One house in Egypt (5) He had four wives
 
After deducting one-third of his wealth every wife got one-fourth, the value of the whole property came to fifty nine crore and eight lacs.26
 
Muhammad bin Sa'd al-Zahri al-Basri, Kitib al-Abbasi al-Waqidi (died 230 A.H.) writes that he had lands in Alexandria, Egypt, and Kufah and several houses in Basrah. He received countless bags of grain from Medina.27 Abul Hasan Ali bin Husayn bin Ali Mas'udi (died 346 A.H.) writes that besides these things he had left behind one thousand horses, one thousand slaves, one thousand maids and many tracts of land.28
 
Talha bin Ubaydullah Tamimi was also the son-in-law of the first Caliph. He had a house in Kufah known by the name of Kanaas. His daily income from the grains was one thousand dinars. He had several inns between Tahama and Tai'f. He had lofty palace in Medina. He had a property in Iraq yielding a monthly income of 10,000 dinars. Musa bin Talha states that he had left two crore two lac dirhams and two lac dinars in cash. He had also left agricultural lands. Besides, he had left three hundred bags of bullock skin full of gold and silver. Ibn Jauzi says that they were bags of camel-skin and were very large29
 
Abdur Rahman bin Auf was the brother-in-law of Uthman and it was he who at the instance of Umar made Uthman Caliph instead of Ali as has already been narrated. He left behind one thousand camels, thirty thousand goats and one hundred horses, and left so much gold that it was cut by an axe and then divided. He had four wives. Every one of them got eighty three thousand dinars. He had divorced one of them during his illness and had even him 83 thousand dinars. Besides this he left ten thousand sheep valued at eighty four thousand dinars.30. Now it becomes evident from his patrimony why he had made Uthman Caliph in place of Ali ibn Abi Talib.
 
Sa'd bin Abi Waqqas left behind two lac fifty thousand dirhams and a house which he had got constructed at Aqiq. That was very magnificent, sky-high and very spacious palace with beautiful turrets constructed on its upper stories.31 It is written on page 120 of the translation of the book of Abdul Hamid Jaudatus Sahar that Sa'd bin Abi Waqqas had got agates inset in his palace.
 
Ya'la bin Umayyah who was the Governor of Yemen left behind him, five lac dinars, many loans with the people and a vast land. Besides, he left a property worth one lac dinars.32
 
Zayd bin Thabit was the man who helped Uthman in every way and was submissive to him. He left behind gold and silver in such form that it was cut with axe and hatchet and then divided. In addition to it, he left other assets also which valued about one lac dinars. (Murujuz Zahab, Mas'udi)
 
This was the generosity, nepotism and favouritism of Uthman, the third Caliph towards his well-wishers. No follower of the Prophet could tolerate the way in which he distributed the wealth of the Muslims among his own people. That is why Ali, Salman, Abu Dharr, Miqdad and Ammar kept on protesting against his behaviour.
 
Maybe some people might say that whatever Uthman did was for his poor kinsmen as he himself said that he considered them deserving of help, and he did not do anything for his own well-being. It may be said in response to it that he who does not have regard for the religious law in matters pertaining to his relatives, will certainly not be careful about himself either. Uthman had a set of teeth made of gold. He used to wear silken fur mantle which cost one hundred dinars. The covering of his wife, Nailah, also cost one hundred dinars.33 There was safe in the Public Treasury at Medina, which was full of gold and silver. He got the ornaments for his family made out of it. The people protested very much against this, and he had an altercation with Ali also, but he did not care for anybody.34 He got a palace constructed in Medina; it was strengthened by stone and pinnacle and its doors were made of teak and plane. He had hoarded immense wealth. He owned several springs in Medina. The historians write that he left behind, after his assassination, thirty crore five lac dirhams and fifty lac dinars. Out of his assets and other belongings which he left only those which were in the valley of Qura and Hunayn, cost one lac dinars. Besides, he left many horses and camels. According to Ibn Sa'd the value of his patrimony in the valley of Qura and Khaybar was two lac dinars35, And according to Jorji Zaydan it was ten lac dinars.36 Moreover, he left one thousand slaves,37 and at Rabazah he left one thousand camels.38
 
Umar the second Caliph also could not avoid the taste of capitalism. He had a garden in Hijaz with an annual income of forty thousand dirhams which he spent to satisfy the needs of himself and his family Bani 'Adi39. According to a tradition in Sahih Bukhari Umar asked at the time of his death about the loan which he had to pay back to Public Treasury. People calculated it, and told him that it was eighty six thousand dirhams. He asked them to pay it from the money of Ale Umar. Ibn Hajar Asqalani says that by the word "Ale Umar" he meant his own relatives. That is, he asked them to pay it up from his own assets40. Naafe' the slave of Ibn Umar, has denied that Umar was under debt and has said how Umar could have been under debt when one of his heirs sold his share of the property for one lac dirhams. (Kitab Medina Umar bin Shaybah).
 
Commenting on the statement of Naafe' lbn Hajar said that sometimes it so happens that a man is in debt in spite of his being wealthy.41 A relative asked Umar for some money. At first he scolded him, but later sent him ten thousand dinars.42 With these conditions in view when we look at the progeny of the Prophet and how they suffered, we feel sorry and are very much shocked to learn that these people had deprived the Ahlul Bayt even of their right of "Khums"43 and snatched Fadak also from them.

  • 1. Tarikh Ibn Kathir, vol. 6, p. 407
  • 2. Tajul Urus, vol. 6, p. 220, Tabaqat Ibn Sa'd, vol. 8, p. 31, Musnad Ahmad, vol. 3, p. 126 Mustadrak, vol. 4, p. 47, Sunan al-Kubra Bayhaqi, vol. 4, p. 53, Nihaya Ibn Athir, vol. 3, p. 286 printed in Egypt, Lisanul Arab vol. 11, p. 889, Isabah, vol. 4, p.489
  • 3. Ma'arif of ibn Qutayba, p. 84, Tarikh Abul Fida, vol. 1, p. 168, Sunan al-Kubra Bayhaqi, vol. 6, p. 301, Iqdul Farid, vol. 2, p. 261
  • 4. Ma'arif p. 84, Abul Fida, vol.1, p.160
  • 5. Tarikh lbn Kathir, vol. 7, p. 152
  • 6. Tarikh Tabari, vol. 5, p.50
  • 7. Ansab al-Ashraf Balazari, vol. 5, p. 25, and Tabaqat Ibn Sa'd, vol. 3, p. 44, printed in London
  • 8. Sharah lbn Abil Hadid, vol. 1, p. 67
  • 9. Tarikh Ya'qubi, vol. 2, p. 41
  • 10. Ma'arif lbn Qutaibah, p. 83, Iqdul Farid, vol. 2, p. 261, Mahazirat Raghib Isfahani vol. 2, p. 212, and Mira't al-Jinan Yafe'i vol. 1, p. 85
  • 11. Ansabul Ashraf, Balazari, vol. 5, p. 52
  • 12. Ma'arif, p. 84, Iqdul Farid, vol. 2, p. 261, Sharah Ibn Abil Hadid, vol. 1, p. 67, Mahazarat Raghib Isfahani vol. 2, p, 212
  • 13. Sirat Halabiah, vol. 2
  • 14. Surah al-Furqan, 25:27
  • 15. Tafsir Tabari, vol. 9, p. 6, Tafsir Baizawi, vol. 2, p. 161, Tafsir Qurtabi, vol. 13, p. 25, Tafsir Zamakhshari, vol. 2, p. 326, Tafsir Ibn Kathir, vol. 3, p. 317, Tafsir Naishapuri in the marginal- note of Tabari, vol. 19, p. 10, Tafsir Kabir Razi, vol. 6, p. 369, etc.)
  • 16. Al-Ghadir by Allamah Amini, vol. 1, p. 274
  • 17. Iqdul Farid, vol. 2 p. 261, and Ma'arif of ibn Qutayba, p. 84
  • 18. Sharah Nahjul Balaghah vol. 1, p. 66
  • 19. Tarikh Ibn Wazih Ya'qubi, vol. 2, p. 45
  • 20. Sharah Nahjul Balaghah, vol. 1, p. 67
  • 21. Usudul Ghaba, vol 3, p. 173 and Tarikh Ibn Kathir, vol. 7, p. 152
  • 22. Sharah Nahjul Balaghah, vol.l, p. 67
  • 23. Balazari, vol. 5, p. 7
  • 24. Tathir al-Jinan in the marginal note Sawaiq Muhriqah, p, 143 and Kanzul Ummal, vol. 6, p. 91
  • 25. Sahih Bukhari, vol. 5, p. 17/15 and Tarhut Tashrib, vol. 7
  • 26. Sahih Bukhari, Kitabul Jihad Baab Barakat al-Ghifari Fi-Malihi, vol. 5, p. 17 & 21 Irshad al-Sare Umdat al-Qari Shazarat al-Zahab vol. 1, p. 43, Tarikh Ibn Kathir vol. 7, p. 249 and Tarikh Khamis vol. 2, p. 311
  • 27. Tabaqat Ibn Sa'd Waqidi vol. 3, p. 77 printed in London
  • 28. Murujuz Zahab p. 434
  • 29. Tabaqat Ibn Sa'd, vol. 3, p. 158; Ansabul Ashraf Balazari; vol. 5, p. 7 Murujuz Zahab, vol. 1, p. 434 Iqdul Farid, vol. 2, p. 279, Riazun Nazrah, vol. 2, p. 258, Duwalul Islam Zahabi, vol 1, p.18 and Al-khulasah Khazraji, p. 152
  • 30. Tabaqat Ibn Sa'd, vol. 3, p. 96, Murujuz Zahab, vol. 1, p. 434 Tarikh Ya'qubi, vol. 2, p. 146, Safwatus Safwah Ibn Jauzi, vol. 1 p. 138, Riazun Nazrah, vol. 2, p. 291, Isti'ab Abdul Barr Makki, vol. 2, p. 404 and Tuhfah Ithna Ashariyah by Muhaddith Dehlavi
  • 31. Tabaqat Ibn Sa'd, vol. 3, p. 105 and Murujuz Zahab, vol.1, p. 434
  • 32. Murujuz Zahab, vol. 1, p. 432
  • 33. Tabaqat Ibn Sa'd, vol. 3, p. 40, Ansab, Balazari vol. 3, p. 4 and Isti'ab, vol. 4, p. 476
  • 34. Ansab, Balazari vol. 3, p. 4
  • 35. Tabaqat ibn Sa'd, vol. 3, p. 53 and Mas'udi, vol. 1, p. 433
  • 36. Tamaddune Islam, vol. 1, p. 22, printed in Egypt
  • 37. Duwalul Islam, Zahabi, vol. 1 p. 12
  • 38. Ibn Sa'd, vol. 3, p. 53
  • 39. Tarikh Tabari, vol. 2, p. 82, printed in Egypt
  • 40. Tarikh Tabari, vol. 2, p.382
  • 41. Tarikh Tabari, vol. 3, p. 383
  • 42. Tarikh Tabari, vol, 5, p.19
  • 43. Izilatul Khifi, vol. 2, p. 256

Share this page