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Story 106: Abolition Of The Benefit Of Clergy

The Muslims, who had emigrated from Makkah to Abysina as a result of torture and persecution made by Quraysh, were expecting the new outcome from Makkah and its inhabitants every day.

Although they and their fellow believers, the pioneers of Monotheism and Justice, were in a small minority in comparison with the multitude of opponents, that is to say, the followers of idolatry and the partisans of the current social order, they were, however, sure that their fellow-believers would increase in number, and their opponents would decrease day by day.

Moreover, they were not disappointed that all Qurayshites would soon remove the veil of negligence, and find the way of their mental development and benefits, renounce the idolators like them, and would follow the way of Muslims.

In that region of Abysina where they stayed, there was incidentally a rumour saying that all Qurayshites had changed their conviction as well as their system of life and embraced Islam. Although this news was not officially confirmed, the faith and great hopes of Muslims in the expansion and victory of Islam made a group of them set out for Makkah without waiting for the authenticity of this rumour from the official authorities.

One of them was Uthman Ibn Mazun, the well-known Companion, who was considerably respected by the Holy Prophet (S) and by all the Muslims.

In the vicinity of Makkah, Uthman came to understand that the case was false, and, Qurayshites, on the contrary, have increased the torture and persecution of Muslims. He could neither advance nor retreat; it was not easy for him to return back to Abyssinia as it was too far. On the other side, entering Makkah meant to be submitting to torture.

At last a thought came to his mind that is to make use of the usual and current custom practiced among Arabs, and protect himself under the aegis of one of the influential Qurayshite personage. According to the current habits of Arab Society, if someone demanded some other person to grant him his “protection” that is to say to give him asylum and protect him, the latter would grant him "protection" and protect him at the risk of his life.

It was a Shame for Arab people to refuse the request of “protection” for anyone, even for an enemy, and fail to protect him after offering him his "'protection."

Uthman arrived in Makkah at midnight and went directly towards Walid Ibn Mughayrah Makhzumi's house, one of the rich influential and distinguished personalities of Qurayshites, and demanded him his "protection". Walid accepted and granted him his "'protection".

The next day, when the notable Qurayshites assembled together at the Sacred Mosque "Al-Masjidul Haram", Walid came along with Uthman Ibn Mazun and announced officially that, since then Uthman was under his aegis and whoever disturbed him, was considered as his disturbance.

The Qurayshites who respected the "protection" granted by Walid, did not disturb Uthman anymore, and Uthman also acquired an inviolable protection, moving freely on the street and participating like one of the Qurayshites in their assembly.

In the meantime, they did not neglect a while to persecute and torture all the other Muslims. This situation profoundly harassed Uthman. He could not tolerate, to see his friends in difficulty and himself in tranquility. One day he thought: "It is not fair to enjoy tranquility under the aegis of a polytheist while my fellow believers and brothers in religion are submitted to the torture and persecution."

He came to Walid Ibn Mughayrah and said: "I am grateful to you for having granted me your protection and protected me till date, but from now on, I would like to leave your 'protection' and join my friends and brothers in Islam. Whatever happens to them, let it come down on me too."

"My dear cousin, perhaps you did not enjoy my protection, perhaps it was not a good one."

"No, I am not dissatisfied in this regard, since now onwards I would like to survive under the aegis of the Almighty Allah!"

"Since you have decided so, come to the Sacred Mosque al-Masjidul Haram, like the very first day when I took you over there and announced your guardianship in the public assembly of Qurayshites, and announce your withdrawal from my protection officially in presence of them."

"All right, I have no objection."

Walid and Uthman went together to the Sacred Mosque Masjidul Haram, when all the Qurayshite chiefs were present, Walid declared: "May all of you know that Uthman has come to announce his withdrawal from my protection."

Uthman said: "Whatever he says is correct, for this reason I have come here, in addition to this, during the period when I was under the aegis of Walid, he protected me very well and I have no objection in this regard. The main cause of leaving his patronage is I do not like to consider anyone else as my protector rather than the Almighty Allah."

In this manner, the patronage given to Uthman came to an end and the protection granted to him till that day was abolished. But Uthman took part in the assembly of Quraysh just as the previous days as if nothing had happened in his life.

It so happened, the same day, Labid Ibn Rabi'ah, the famous and well-known poet among Arabs, came to Makkah to recite his newly versified ode, which was counted one of the masterpiece of poetry in the pre-lslamic era of Arabs.

His Ode Begins With This Verse: “كُلُّ شيءٍ ما خلا اللَّهَ باطلُ” means "everything is vain and null, except the Almighty Allah, the absolute truth is the Holy essence of the Oneness."

The Holy Prophet (S) said about this verse: "This is the rightest poem which an Arab has composed."

Labid entered the assembly of Qurayshites, and it was agreed that he would recite his poem. The audience were all attentive to listen the new masterpiece composed poem. Labid started to recite the poem in a manner full of vanity and pride.

As soon as he recited: “ألا كُلُّ شيءٍ ما خلا اللَّهَ باطلُ” Uthman Ibn Mazun who was sitting near by, did not allow him to recite the second verse and said as a token of approval, "Well done! You said the truth, such is the truth. Everything is vain and null, except the Almighty Allah."

Labid recited the second verse: " ؤ كُلّ نَعيم لامَحالة زائل" means: "every blessing is inevitably mortal and perishable."

Uthman shouted: "But here you told a lie! All the Divine blessings are not mortal; it only applies to the worldly blessings; the Divine blessings of the hereafter are all durable and perpetual."

All audience of the assembly stared at Uthman Ibn Mazun, this bold and impudent man. Nobody expected a man like Uthman Ibn Mazun, who was under the aegis of someone else till an hour before and had no material security nor vital immunity as well as his fellow believers live under the torture, so boldly express his opinion in an assembly held by the Qurayshite heads and notables and a poet with such a great personality as Labid Ibn Rabi'ah had assisted from afar to present his literatural masterpiece.

The audience said to Labid: "Repeat your poem!"

Labid recited again: “ألا كُلُّ شيءٍ ما خلا اللَّهَ باطلُ”.

Uthman said: "That is right; that is all right!"

As Labid recited: “وَكُلُّ نَعيمٍ لا مَحالَةَ زائِلُ”

Uthman shouted: "That is a lie; it is not such; the blessings of the hereafter are not imperishable."

This time, Labid, became annoyed more than anyone else and shouted: "O people of Qurayshite! By God, previously it was not like this in your assembly! Such type of people, bold and impolite are in between you! What happened that such persons are found among you?"

In order to calm down Labid and make him continue to recite his poem, one of the audience said: "Do not get annoyed with this man's words; he is a crazy man; he is not alone. There are a certain number of them, a crazy group in this city who are of the same belief. They abjured our religion and embraced another faith for themselves."

Uthman replied the person who made this complaint, in such a sharp tone, that he could not tolerate Uthman reply, stood up and slapped Uthman in his face so hardly that one of his eyes became bruised.

One of the members of assembly said: "O Uthman! You were not grateful; you were under the aegis of an honourable man. If you had stayed under the shelter of Walid Ibn Muqhayrah, your eye would not have been in such a condition at present."

Uthman replied: “The shelter of the Almighty Allah is more reliable and honourable than the shelter of any other. Regarding my eye, please come to know that my other eye is also desirous to attain this honour which this eye of mine has already attained."

This time Walid Ibn Muqhayrah came forward personally and said: "O Uthman! I am still ready to renew my patronage."

Uthman replied: "But I have decided not to be under the patronage of anybody accept the Almighty Allah."1

  • 1. Usd al-Ghabah fi Ma’rifat al-Sahabah, v. 3, p. 385, 386. Sirah Ibn Hisham, v. 1, p. 364, 370.