Chapter 3: Othman and his followers’ Interpretations
Othman was kind to his relatives 1 (the family of Abul Aas). 2 He loved them very much and preferred them to the all of the umma until he paid attention neither to the blamers nor to the revolters. He violated many Qur’anic verdicts and many holy texts of the sacred Sunna of the Prophet (S) and the traditions that had been followed before him in order to satisfy his relatives.
Ibn Abul Hadeed said: 3 “The prediction of Umar about Othman turned out to be true. Othman made the Umayyads tread on the necks of people. He entrusted them with the emirate of the different countries and gifted them with the wealth of the Muslims. In his days Armenia was conquered. He took all the khums 4 of its booties and gifted it to Marwan.”
Ibn Abul Hadeed added: “Once Abdullah bin Khalid bin Usayd asked Othman for a present. He gave him four hundred thousand dirhams…he permitted al-Hakam bin Abul Aas to return to Medina after the Prophet (S) had exiled him from it and Abu Bakr and Umar had refused to let him return. He gave him one hundred thousand dirhams.
“The Prophet (S) had given the Muslims a place of a market in Medina called Nahrooz as charity but Othman, after being the caliph, gifted it to al-Harith bin al-Hakam, Marwan’s brother and he gave Fadak to Marwan, which Fatima (sa) had asked for after the death of her father as her inheritance one time and as donation the other time but she had been deprived of it…he prevented all the Muslims from grazing their cattle in the pastures around Medina except the Umayyads..
“…he gave Abdullah bin Abu Sarh all the booties the Muslims had got when conquering north Africa, from Tripoli to Tangier, without giving any share to any other Muslim…he gave Abu Sufyan bin Harb two hundred thousand (dirhams) from the public treasury on the same day when he gave Marwan bin al-Hakam one hundred thousand (dirhams) from the treasury when he had married him his daughter Umm Abban.
“On that day Zayd bin Arqam, who was the keeper of the treasury, brought the keys of the treasury and put them before Othman and began crying. Othman said to him: “Do you cry because I help my relatives?” Zayd said: “No, but I think that you have taken these monies instead of the monies you had spent for the sake of Allah at the time of the Messenger of Allah. By Allah, if you give Marwan one hundred dirhams, it will be too much.” Othman said: “O Ibn Arqam, throw the keys! We will find other than you.”
Ibn Abul Hadeed added: “One day Abu Musa brought him (Othman) great wealth from Iraq (as land taxes) and he distributed it all among the Umayyads. He married his daughter Aa’isha to al-Harith bin al-Hakam and he gave him one hundred thousand dirhams from the treasury after deposing Zayd bin Arqam from the treasury…
“…besides these things he committed many other faults that made the Muslims bear grudge against him…such as exiling Abu Dharr to ar-Rabatha (in the desert), beating Abdullah bin Mas’ood until he broke his ribs, appointing doorkeepers (to prevent people from coming to him), deviating from the way of Umar in executing the penalties, judging among people, punishing the transgressors and in being strict to manage the affairs of the citizens.
“And he ended his bad deeds with his letter to Mo’awiya ordering him to kill a group of the Muslims and then many people of Medina with the people who had come from Egypt revolted against him and killed him; yet they had to depose him from the caliphate and not to hasten in killing him…Ameerul Mo'mineen (Imam Ali) was the most innocent of killing him. He had declared that in many of his speeches. He said: “By Allah, I have not killed Othman and I have not agreed with the people on killing him.” He had said the truth. Blessing be upon him…”
In short, all the transgressions of Othman had been narrated by the narrators and mentioned by the historians and the scholars of Hadith. Many of the scholars had considered them as true and fixed events. Refer to the resources to see the clear truth. 5
The speech of Imam ‘Ali (as), called ash-Shaqshaqiyya, suffices in showing the reality of this man he said: “…until the third of people (of the caliphs - Othman) came (become the caliph) struttingly… and his relatives came with him gnawing the wealth of Allah as camels gnawing the grass of spring until his weaving turned over him, his deeds finished him off, his retinue failed him…”
A four rak’a prayer is shortened to two rak’as in travel whether in the case of fear or safety according to the Shari’ah. The legality of “taqseer or qasr” 6 has been proved by the Qur'an, the Sunna and the consensus of the umma. Allah has said:
“And when you journey in the earth, there is no blame on you if you shorten the prayer, if you fear that those who disbelieve will cause you distress” (Qur’an 4:101).
Ya’la bin Umayya narrated that he had asked Umar: “Why do we shorten prayers though we have felt safe?” Umar said: “I have wondered at what you have wondered at and once I asked the Messenger of Allah about it. He said: “It is a charity that Allah has endowed you with. Accept His charity!” 7
Ibn Umar said: 8 “I often accompanied the Messenger of Allah (S) in travel. He did not offer more than two rak’as (in travel) until he left to the better world. I accompanied Umar (in travel). He did not offer more than two rak’as until he died. I accompanied Othman. He did not offer more than two rak’as.” 9
Allah has said:
“Certainly you have in the Messenger of Allah an excellent exemplar” (Qur’an 33:21).
Ibn Shayba narrated that the Prophet (S) had said: “The best believers of my umma are they who witness that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah and who when doing good they become pleased, when doing wrong they ask Allah to forgive them and when traveling they shorten their prayers.”
Anas bin Malik said: “Once we traveled with the Prophet (S) from Medina to Mecca. He offered two rak’as two rak’as until we returned.” 10
Ibn Abbas said: “The Prophet (S) stayed at Mecca for nineteen days shortening the prayers…” 11 The Prophet (S) shortened the prayers during the nineteen days because he had had no intention of residence.
It has been proved that the Prophet (S), when leading the people of Mecca in offering the prayers after the hijra, had recited tasleem 12 after two rak’as in the four rak’as prayers. He had told the people (of Mecca) before beginning the prayers to complete their four rak’as prayers apologizing to them that he and his companions were travelers.
Anas said: “Once I offered Dhuhr prayer with the Prophet (S) in Medina in four rak’as and offered Asr prayer with him in Thil Hulayfa in two rak’as. 13
The Qur’anic verse has confirmed the legality of shortening prayers by a traveler in the state of fear. The true traditions after that have confirmed the legality of shortening the prayers by a traveler at all and on this has been the consensus of the umma with no disagreement except from Aa’isha and Othman. It has been mentioned that both of them offered full prayers during travel. This was the first thing that the people began criticizing Othman for as the historians had recorded it from among the events of the year twenty-three of hijra.14
Al-Bukhari and Muslim mentioned in their Sahihs a tradition narrated by Nafi’ that Ibn Umar had said: “The Messenger of Allah (S) always offered two rak’as (instead of four) in Mina. So did Abu Bakr after him. Umar did the same after Abu Bakr. Othman offered two rak’as during the first period of his caliphate but then he offered four rak’as (in Mina)…”
They (al-Bukhari and Muslim) also mentioned that Abdurrahman bin Yazeed had said: “Othman bin Affan led us in offering the prayer in Mina and he offered four rak’as. It was said to Abdullah bin Mas’ood about that. He sighed and then said: “I offered two rak’as with the Prophet (S) in Mina, two rak’as with Abu Bakr and two rak’as with Umar. I hope that two of these four rak’as will be accepted!”
They mentioned too that Haritha bin Wahab al-Khuza’iy had said: “Once the Prophet (S) led us in offering the prayer where the people were so many. His prayer was two rak’as.” 15
Muslim mentioned in his Sahih a tradition narrated by az-Zuhri from Urwa that Aa’isha had said: “First the prayer has been legislated as two rak’as and then the prayer in travel has been fixed (as two rak’as) whereas the prayer in residence has become full (four rak’as).” Az-Zuhri said: “I asked Urwa: “Then why does Aa’isha offer full prayers in travel?” He said: “She has interpreted (the verdict according to her own opinion) as Othman has done.” 16
Al-Fadhil an-Nawawi said when explaining this tradition of Muslim: “The ulama disagreed on their (Othman and Aa’isha’s) interpretations; it was said: Othman was Ameerul Mo'mineen (the commander of the believers) and Aa’isha was Ummul Mo’mineen (the mother of the believers) so as if they were always at home (in residence and not in travel). He added: “The scholars have denied this justification saying that the Prophet (S) would be worthier of this than Othman and Aa’isha and the same would be with Abu Bakr and Umar.
“It was also said that Othman had got married in Mecca. The scholars have denied this too saying that the Prophet (S) had traveled with his wives but he had shortened his prayers. It was also said that Othman and Aa’isha had done so for the sake of the nomads, who had been with them, so that they would not think that prayers were two rak’as whether in residence or in travel. The scholars have refuted this too by saying that this meaning was existing at the time of the Prophet (S).
“In fact the matter of prayer has become more famous at the time of Othman and Aa’isha than before. It was also said that Othman and Aa’isha had intended to reside in Mecca after offering the hajj. This has also been refuted by saying that residing in Mecca for more than three days was impermissible for the Muhajireen. It was said too that Othman had had a piece of land in Mina. The scholars have refuted this by saying that this did not require offering full prayers or residing. They (Othman and Aa’isha) might think that offering qasr prayer was permissible and offering full prayer was also permissible and so they followed one of the two.
In fact, their objection to the legal texts was not limited to this act, which had not led to profaning sanctities, shedding bloods, violating honors or extorting properties as their other interpretations. This was simple in comparison with their other interpretations against the legal verdicts.
- 1. Othman had violated the legal texts in many occasions for the sake of his relatives. We cannot cover them all in this book. They may not be less than the violations of the two previous caliphs together.
- 2. The Prophet (S) has said: “When the family of al-Aas becomes thirty men, they will distribute the wealth of the Muslims among themselves, make people slaves for them and distort the religion of Allah according to their interests.” It has been mentioned by al-Hakim in his Mustadrak, vol.4 p.480, from Imam ‘Ali (as), Abu Dharr, and Abu Sa’eed al-Khidri and mentioned by ath-Thahabi in Talkhees al-Mustadrak. The prophetic traditions dispraising the family of al-Aas are true and recurrent. The Prophet (S) has declared the reality of those hypocrite people and he has cursed them “..that he who would perish might perish by clear proof, and he who would live might live by clear proof” (8:42). Al-Hakim mentioned in his Mustadrak many other traditions which sufficed in this concern. Refer to our book Abu Hurayra, p.118-128.
- 3. Sharh Nahjul Balagha, vol. 1 p.66.
- 4. Fifth.
- 5. Among those, who have considered the transgressions of Othman as true and real with no doubt, was ash-Shahristani in his book al-Milal wen-Nihal. Othman had committed many other violations such as burning the copies of the holy Qur'an in order to gather the Muslims on one reciting of the Qur'an, gifting the warriors from the monies of charity whereas they were not from among the eight classes that Allah had limited charity to by saying:
“Alms are only for the poor and the needy, and the officials (appointed) over them, and those whose hearts are made to incline (to truth) and the (ransoming of) captives and those in debts and in the way of Allah and the wayfarer” (9:60), beating Ammar bin Yasir severely, not punishing Ubaydillah bin Umar with the legal penalty when he had killed al-Hurmuzan, his letter to the people of Egypt to kill Muhammad bin Abu Bakr and a group of the believers with him and many other transgressions!
- 6. Shortening the prayers during travels.
- 7. Sahih of Muslim, vol.1, p.258.
- 8. As in Sahih of Muslim, vol.1, p.295.
- 9. So did Othman during the first six or nine years of his caliphate but after that he offered full (four rak’as) prayers in travel until he died. We will mention this soon inshallah.
- 10. Sahihs of al-Bukhari and Muslim.
- 11. Sahih of al-Bukhari, vol.1 p.131.
- 12. Saying “peace, mercy of Allah and blessing be upon you” to finish prayers.
- 13. Sahih of Muslim, vol.1.
- 14. Al-Kamil by Ibn al-Atheer, vol.3 p.49, Tareekh of at-Tabari, vol.3, p.322.
- 15. Ahmad bin Hanbal mentioned in his Musnad, vol.4 p.94 a tradition narrated by Abbad bin Abdullah bin az-Zubayr that his father had said: “Once when Mo’awiya has come (to Mecca) to offer the hajj, we came with him from Mecca. He led us in offering Dhuhr prayer. He offered two rak’as. But when Othman came to Mecca as traveler, he offered Dhuhr, Asr and Isha’ prayer four rak’as and when he came to Mina he also offered full prayers (in Mina and in Arafat). When Mo’awiya offered Dhuhr prayer as two rak’as, Marwan bin al-Hakam and Amr bin Othman said to him: “No one has faulted your cousin (Othman) with worse than you have done!” He said to them: “How is that?” They said to him: “Have you not known that he (Othman) has offered full prayer in his travel? Mo’awiya said: “Has it been other than what I did? I have offered it (the prayer) with the Messenger of Allah (S), with Abu Bakr and with Umar as qasr (shortened form).” They said to him: “But your cousin has offered it in full and your doing so would fault him.” Then Mo’awiya offered Asr prayer four rak’as after he had offered Dhuhr prayer two rak’as.”
- 16. Sahih of Muslim, vol.1 p.258.