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Uthman Timeline

Uthman Timeline


Caliph Uthman ibn Affan Causes Codification of the Qur'an

Between 650 and 656 the third Caliph Uthman ibn Affan caused the text of the Qur'an (Koran) to be codified. He placed Zayd ibn Thabit (Zaid Ibn Thabit), the personal scribe of Prophet Muhammad, in charge of the project. Identifical copies were sent to every Muslim province to be used as the standard text from which all copies of the Qur'an were made.

"During the time of Uthman, by which time Islam had spread far and wide, differences in reading the Quran in different dialects of Arabic language became obvious. A group of companions, headed by Hudhayfah ibn al-Yaman, who was then stationed in Iraq, came to Uthman and urged him to 'save the Muslim ummah before they differ about the Quran' . Uthman obtained the complete manuscript of the Qur'an from Hafsah, one of the wives of the Islamic prophet Muhammad who had been entrusted to keep the manuscript ever since the Qur'an was comprehensively compiled by the first Caliph, Abu Bakr. Uthman then again summoned the leading compiling authority, Zayd ibn Thabit, and some other companions to make copies of the manuscript. Zayd was put in charge of the task. The style of Arabic dialect used was that of the Quraysh tribe to which the Prophet Muhammad belonged. Hence this style was emphasized over all others.

"Zayd and his assistants produced several copies of the manuscript of the Qur'an. One of each was sent to every Muslim province with the order that all other Quranic materials, whether fragmentary or complete copies, be destroyed. As such, when the standard copies were made widely available to the Muslim community everywhere, then all other material was burnt voluntarily by the Muslim community themselves. The annihilation of these extra-Qur'anic documents remained essential in order to eradicate scriptural incongruities, contradictions of consequence or differences in the dialect from the customary text of the Qur'an. The Caliph Uthman kept a copy for himself and returned the original manuscript to Hafsah" (Wikipedia article on Uthman ibn Affan, accessed 01-14-2012).


Reign and Assassination

Given time, Uthman intended to improve the economy of the Arab state, notably by deepening the roots of local enterprises, making stronger links - and eventually financial bonds - with the Byzantines and the Khazars, and concentrating the military on eliminating the Kushans. Unfortunately time was not given Byzantium and Arabia did establish a few trading connections, but reactionaries did not like Uthman's slow approach. He was also unpopular with the sheikhs who had helped him into power as he did not agree with many of their caste policies. It was fairly well known that they sought to control him as a puppet. Uthman crushed further uprisings in 652 and 653, but on a sunny day of June 653 he was found dead in his bed. Assassins were blamed, rooted out and executed by Uthman's son Al Wahdiq. However, Al Wahdiq, though a successful ruler in his own time, failed to follow Uthman's economic policy, which could have made it the foremost state in the world. Instead, the Ummayad state bumped along as a relatively unimportant political entity - lacking the military muscle to do anything important. A man of Uthman's acumen was never again seen on the throne of the Ummayad Caliphs.


Key dates of Java

Banten / West Java

  • 4 th century : Tarumanagara kingdom.
  • 7 th century : probable Sriviajaya expedition (based on the Kota Kapur inscription).
  • 7 th century : the kingdoms of Galuh and Sunda emerges on each bank of the Citarum river.
  • 14th-15th : the interior state of Pajajaran dominates from its capital Pakuan : 2 main ports Banten and Sunda Kelapa.
  • Early 16th : Pajajaran declines, growth of Banten (benefits from the fall of Malacca).
  • 1513 : a portuguese expedition led by Lopes de Alvim calls in Sunda Kelapa and buy pepper.
  • 1523-1524 : an army of Demak takes Banten, either led by Fatahillah or Sunan Gunungjati in later Javanese sources. Sunda Kelapa is renamed Jayakerta (synonymous Javanese names of Sanskrit origin meaning ‘Victorious and Prosperous’). Gunungjati rules Demak as a vassal of Banten.
  • 1552 : Gunungjati moves to Cirebon and establish a royal line that rules independantly.
  • 1552-1570 : second ruler of Banten (Hasanuddin), spreads Banten authority over Lampung (pepper producing region). Solidifies Banten’s prosperity as a pepper port.
  • 1579 : 3rd ruler (Maulana Yusup) conquers Pajajaran, Islamization of the Sundanese elite. The capital of Pajajaran (Pakuan) is entirely destroyed.
  • 1596 : first visit of the Dutch in the Indies (De Houtman, loads pepper in Banten and caused troubles in every ports of call).
  • //1602 : foundation of the VOC//.
  • 1602 : Sir James Lancaster of England built a trading post in Banten. Presence until 1682
  • 1603 : Dutch also opens a permanent trading post in Banten.
  • 1611 : Dutch have a post in Jayakerta (Jakarta) then ruled by a prince vassal of Banten.
  • 1619 : VOC takes full control of Batavia (Jayakerta).
  • 1638 : Abdul Kadir receives from Mecqua the right to use the title of Sultan. Banten becomes a proper sultanate.
  • 1651-1682 : golden age of Banten under Sultan Ageng.
  • 1656 : war against Batavia.
  • 1680 : Sultan Ageng’s declares war against Batavia but his son (a supporter of the VOC) succeeds in a palace coup.
  • 1682 : the crown prince must accept VOC help because he is about to loose control of Banten.
  • 1682 : Banten is submitted by the VOC.

Pasisir (Java’s north coast)

  • 6 th – 7 th century : Chinese source and very scarce inscriptions evokes an Hindu kingdom on the north coast of Jepara (Central Java).
  • Early 11 th century : emergence of maritime trading centers in north Java.
  • Late 15 th : foundation of Demak.
  • Early 16 th century : Surabaya is a major trading port.
  • Early 16 th century : several Islamic states are found along the coast : Demak but also Tuban or Gresik.
  • 1523 or 1524 : Sunan Gunungjati with an army of Demak takes Banten. Sunda Kelapa is renamed Jayakerta (synonymous Javanese names of Sanskrit origin meaning ‘Victorious and Prosperous’). Gunungjati rules Demak as a vassal of Banten.
  • 1527 : Demak destroys Majapahit capital
  • 1546 : Demak stopped at Panarukan (Hindu kingdom of East Java).
  • 1591 : Senopati triumphs over Demak.
  • Early 17 th : Surabaya emerges as the leading coastal power.
  • 1625 : Surabaya is taken by Mataram.
  • 1743 : the north coast of Java is fully leased to the VOC that rules it alone

Central Java (interior)

  • First half 8 th century : a Saivite king Sanjaya established himself at Mataram in south central Java (Willis – Merapi – Merbabu valley) [erection of Dieng complex]
  • Mid 8 th -Mid 9 th : Sanjaya’s dynasty is the vassal of the Mahayana Buddhist Sailendra dynasty [Borobudur construction]
  • Mid 9 th : Sailendra expelled from Java in the mid-9th. Sailendras controls only Srivijaya [Prambanan construction]
  • Mid 9 th : Sailendra expelled from Java in the mid-9th. Sailendras controls only Srivijaya.
  • Late 9 th – Early 10 th : Sanjaya builds Prambanan.
  • 10th century : development of Hindu-Buddhist Javanese culture. Translation of Sanskrit texts to Javanese.
  • Mid 10 th -century : royal seat shifted eastwards into the Brantas river plain (modern Kediri > Mojokerto area). State of disorder ensues in Central Java.
  • Mid 11 th -Late 16 th : it’s probable the population of the region region remained quite low until the return of Mataram.
  • 1368-69 : first conclusive evidences of Islam among the Javanese in the form of tombstones (older Islamic tombstones are known in Java but it is believed that they were imported).
  • 16 th century : Islam really starts to circulate.
  • Second half of the 16 th century : Pajang (based in Central Java) takes over Demak.
  • 1588 : Senopati (Mataram) triumphs over Pajang.
  • 1591 : Senopati triumphs over Demak, Madiun and Kediri.
  • 1613 – 1645 : Sultan Agung of Mataram. 1st attempt to reconciliate Javanese royal traditions and Islamic identities.
  • 1625 : Surabaya is taken by Mataram.
  • 1628 and 1629 : failed assault on Batavia from Sultan Agung.
  • 1633 : Agung pilgrimage in Muslim Tembayat, abandon the Saka calendar > symbolic attempt to reconciliate Muslim & Hindu-Javanese culture.
  • 1624 : conquest of Madura.
  • 1640 : conquest of the eastern crescent.
  • 1646 – 1677 : rules of Agung’s son Amangkurat I. Tyranny and murders.
  • 1675-1676 : first phase of the rebellion between the alliance of Amangkurat II (the crown prince) and Trunajaya from Madura. In the end Trunajay becomes the leading figure.
  • 1677 : Trunajaya seize the court of Mataram. Amangkurat I dies, Amangkurat II must ask the VOC for help if he wants his kingdom back.
  • 1678-1681 : VOC forces intervenes on the coast and the interior and install Amangkurat II on the throne.
  • 1704-1708 : First Javanese War of Succession.
  • 1719-1723 : Second War of Succession.
  • 1726-1749 : reign of Pakubuwana II of Mataram. New campaign of reconciliation between Javanese courts and Islam.
  • 1746 : Pakubuwana II moves his new court to Surakarta from Yogyakarta.
  • 1746-1747 : Third War of Succession.
  • 1755 : rebellion of Prince Mangkubumi against Pakubuwama III. He is proclaimed Sultan Hamengkubuwana I and establish a new court in Yogyakarta. The kingdom of Mataram is cut in half.
  • 1757 : prince Mangkunagara I is given an independent territory taken from Surakarta’s domain.
  • 1799 : VOC goes bankrupt. All the territories controlled by the company, came under the direct control of the Dutch colonial government :

East Java

  • 1020-1046 : Airlangga (one of the great king of early Java) has its capital near Kediri. Close an alliance with Srivijaya, emergence of maritime trading centers in north Java. Golden age of Javanese literature.
  • 11 th -12 th -1310s : very few evidence. Kingdom of Airlangga is divided between his two sons (Janggala > East of Kediri / and Panjalu > Madiun + Kediri).
  • Late 12th : Panjalu becomes Kediri and absorbs Janggala. Writings of the Mahabharata.
  • 1222 : Kediri is overthrown by Singhasari (posing as the champion of Janggala).
  • 1227 : founder of Singhasari dies. Cultural basis of the future Majapahit era is achieved.
  • 1268-1292 : rule of Kertanagara (still Singhasari) that endeavour to assert Javanese supremacy over a decline Srivijaya. Get control of Java + Bali + Madura ?
  • 1292 : Kertanagara is murdered and supplanted by a vassal.
  • 1293 : Kertarajasa (Kertanagara’s son) uses a Mongol expeditionary force to depose the vassal, they drives back the Mongol in the sea and establishes its capital at Majapahit.
  • 1294 : start of the reign of the first Majaphit ruler
  • 1293 – 1309 : Kertarajasa
  • 1309 – 1328 : his son Jayanagara. By then fight to control eastern Java.
  • 1328 – 1350 : daughter of Kertanagara / wife Kertarajasa = Queen Tribhuwana Wijayottunga Dewi, his daughter is regent.
  • 1330s-1364 : leadership of prime minister Gaja Mada
  • 1343 : conquest of Bali
  • 1350 – 1389 : Hayam Wuruk / Rajasanagara
  • 1365 : writing of Nagarakretagama
  • Late 13 th – early 16 th : Majapahit : dominates eastern Java, Bali, Madura / exercise a punitive influence over western Java, portion of southern Borneo, Celebes and Sumbawa / For a time over the Straits of Malacca.
  • From 1389 : rapid decline > internal warfare and challenged by Malacca for control of regional entrepôt trade.
  • Between 1486-1515 : the remains of Majaphit capital is moved to Kediri. Advance state of collapse.
  • 1527 : Demak destroys Majapahit capital
  • 1546 : Demak stopped at Panarukan (Hindu kingdom of East Java).
  • Second half of the 16th century : Pajang (based in Central Java) takes over Demak.
  • Late 16 th -1625 : unresolved conflict between Surabaya and Mataram for the hegemony in East and Central Java.

Java (colonial era)

  • 1811 – 1816 : British Interim period on Java.
  • 1812 : principality of Pakualam is hived off Yogyakarta’s domain.
  • 1816 : after the end of the Napoleonic Wars, Java is returned to the Dutch under the terms included in the Convention of London in 1816.
  • 1825-1830 : Javanese revolt of Diponegoro.
  • 1830 – 1860 : Culture System.
  • 1908 : establishment of first non-traditional Javanese organization : Budi Utomo.
  • 1928 : Indonesian Youth vowed to adopt Bahasa Indonesia as the national language.
  • 1911 : foundation of the Sarekat Islam.
  • 1912 : foundation of Muhammadiyah in Yogyakarta.
  • 1926 : foundation of Nahdlatul Ulama at Surabaya.

Madura

  • 1528 : according to the local tradition, Islamization of Madura under the expansion of Demak.
  • Before 1624 : various local princes.
  • 1624 : Sultan Agung of Mataram conquers Madura and unifies the the Madurese princely line.

Eastern crescent

  • 1292 : First ruler of Blambangan is Wiraraja, that had helped Raden Wijaya to found Majapahit in 1292 and in return was granted Blambangan in the esternmost part of Java.
  • Mid 16 th -1767 : Balinese kingdoms of Gelgel, Buleleng and Mengwai acted in turn as Blambangan’s protector, sometimes its overlord.
  • 1633-1640 : Sultan Agung of Mataram raids the region and eventually conquers it.
  • 1647 : seems that Mataram no more attempted to control the region.
  • 1655-1691 : independent reign of Tawan Alung (1655-1691) that is considered kind of a golden age.
  • 1767 Dutch establish control over Blambangan, because it is regarded as a haven for enemies (Surapati) and also they fear that Brits establish an entrepot there.
  • 1767 : foundation of Banyuwangi by the Dutch.

Reign as a Caliph (644–656)

Economical and social administration

Economic reforms

Uthman was a shrewd businessman and a successful trader from his youth, which contributed greatly to the Rashidun Empire. Umar had fixed the allowance of the people and on assuming office, Uthman increased it by about 25%. Umar had placed a ban on the sale of lands and the purchase of agricultural lands in conquered territories. [17] Uthman withdrew these restrictions, in view of the fact that the trade could not flourish. Uthman also permitted people to draw loans from the public treasury. Under Umar it had been laid down as a policy that the lands in conquered territories were not to be distributed among the combatants, but were to remain the property of the previous owners. The army felt dissatisfied at this decision, but Umar suppressed the opposition with a strong hand. Uthman followed the policy devised by Umar and there were more conquests, and the revenues from land increased considerably. [16]

Umar, the predecessor of Uthman was very strict in the use of money from the public treasury. Apart from the meagre allowance that had been sanctioned in his favour, Umar took no money from the treasury. He did not receive any gifts, nor did he allow any of his family members to accept any gift from any quarter. During the time of Uthman there was some relaxation in such strictness. Uthman did not draw any allowance from the treasury for his personal use, nor did he receive a salary, he was a wealthy man with sufficient resources of his own, but unlike Umar, Uthman accepted gifts and allowed his family members to accept gifts from certain quarters. [4] Uthman honestly expressed that he had the right to utilize the public funds according to his best judgment, and no one criticized him for that. The economic reforms introduced by Uthman had far reaching effects Muslims as well as non-Muslims of the Rashidun Empire enjoyed an economically prosperous life during his reign. [18]

Military expansion

Arab–Byzantine border warfare

Naval warfare and raids

During his rule Uthman's Military style was more autonomical in nature as he delegated so much military authority to his trusted kinsmen like Abdullah ibn Aamir, Muawiyah I, and Abdullāh ibn Sa‘ad ibn Abī as-Sarâḥ unlike the tenure of Umar where the military expansion was generally centralized in Umar's authority. consequently this more independent expansion enabled more overarching expansion until Sindh, Pakistan which was not touched during the tenure of Umar [19]

Muawiyah I was appointed the Governor of Syria by Umar earlier In 639 after his elder brother Yazid ibn Abi Sufyan (Governor of Syria) died in a plague, along with Abu Ubaidah ibn al-Jarrah the governor before him and 25,000 other people. To stop the Byzantine harassment from the sea during the Arab-Byzantine Wars. Now under Uthman's rule in 649 Muawiyah was allowed set up a navy manned by Monophysitise Christians, Copts and Jacobite Syrian Christians sailors and Muslim troops. This resulted in the defeat of the Byzantine navy at the Battle of the Masts in 655, opening up the Mediterranean. [20] [21] [22] [23] [24]

In 31 Hijri year or around 651 AD Year Caliph Uthman was sent Abdullah ibn Zubayr and Abdullah ibn Saad to lead reconquest expedition towards Maghreb where he met the army of Gregory the Patrician, Exarch of Africa and relative of Heraclius which number was recorded as 120.000 to 200.000 soldiers [25] although another estimation was record Gregor's army was put in 20.000. [26] [27] the opposing forces were clashed in the place which called Sabuthilag or alternately called Sufetula, which became the name of this battle. Records from al-Bidayah wal Nihayah desrcribed as following that Abdullah's troop were completely surrounded by Gregor's army in circular fashion and the situation was very dire for Muslim army as they were threatened with annihilation. However, in one time Abdullah ibn Zubayr has spotted Gregor in his chariot and soon he asking request to Abdullah ibn Sa'd to lead a small detachment to intercept Gregor. the interception was successful as Gregor was slain in by Zubayr's ambush party. Consequently, the morale of Byzantine army was started crumbling and soon they were routed [25] although another estimation was record Gregor's army was put in 20.000. [26]

Later after the conquest of Northern Africa was completed According to Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari, [28] Abdullah ibn Sa'd continued the conquest to Spain. Spain was first invaded some sixty years earlier during the caliphate of Uthman. Other prominent Muslim historians like, Ibn Kathir, [29] have also quoted the same narration. the description of this campaign were When North Africa had been duly conquered by Abdullah ibn Saad, two of his generals, Abdullah ibn Nafiah ibn Husain, and Abdullah ibn Nafi' ibn Abdul Qais, were commissioned to invade the coastal areas of Spain by sea aided by a Berber force landed in Spain, and succeeded in conquering the coastal areas of Al-Andalus. It is not known where the Muslim force landed, what resistance they met, and what parts of Spain they actually conquered. In any case, it is clear that the Muslims did conquer some portion of Spain during the caliphate of Uthman, presumably establishing colonies on its coast. On this occasion Uthman is reported to have addressed a letter to the invading force:

Constantinople will be conquered from the side of Al-Andalus. Thus if you conquer it you will have the honour of taking the first step towards the conquest of Constantinople. You will have your reward in this behalf both in this world and the next.

Abdullah ibn Saad also continued his success in the very first Caliphate Naval battle against the Byzantine Empire in the Battle of the Masts which is described as the first decisive conflict of Islam on the deep of Byzantine offshore. [30]

On the east Ahnaf ibn Qais, chief of Banu Tamim and a veteran commander who conquer Shustar earlier. Now in Uthman's regime Ahnaf launched a series of successful further military expansions by further mauling Yazdegerd III near Oxus River in Turkmenistan [31] [32] and later crushing the military coalition of Sassanid empire loyalists and Hephthalite Empire in the Siege of Herat. [31] Later the governor of Basra, Abdullah ibn Aamir also lead successful various campaign which ranged from punitive Re-conquest of the revolting population of Fars, Kerman, Sistan, Khorasan to the opening of new conquest fronts in Transoxiana and Afghanistan. [33]

In the next year of 652 AD, the translation of records from Futh Al- Buldan of Baladhuri write that Balochistan was re-conquered during the campaign against the revolt in Kermān, under the command of Majasha ibn Mas'ud. It was the first time that western Balochistan had come directly under the Laws of Caliphate and it paid an agricultural tribute. [34] [35]

The military campaigns under Uthman's rule was generally successful except a few campaign to the kingdom of Nubia in the lower Nile

Uthman's emissaries to the provinces

The situation was becoming tense and so the Uthman administration had to investigate the origins and extent of anti-government propaganda and its aims. Some time around 654, Uthman called all the governors of his 12 provinces to Medina to discuss the problem. In this Council of Governors, Uthman directed the governors that they should adopt all the expedients they had suggested, according to local circumstances. Later, in the Majlis al Shurah (council of ministry), it was suggested to Uthman that reliable agents should be sent to various provinces to investigate the matter and report about the sources of such rumours. Uthman accordingly sent his agents to the main provinces, Muhammad ibn Maslamah was sent to Kufa Usama ibn Zayd was sent to Basra Ammar ibn Yasir was sent to Egypt, while `Abd Allah ibn Umar was sent to Syria. The emissaries who had been sent to Kufa, Basra, and Syria submitted their reports to Uthman, that all was well in Kufa, Basra and Syria. The people were satisfied with the administration, and they had no legitimate grievance against it. Some individuals in various locations had some personal grievances of minor character, with which the people at large were not concerned. Ammar ibn Yasir, the emissary to Egypt, however, did not return to Medina. The rebels had carried on with their propaganda in favour of the Caliphate of Ali. Ammar ibn Yasir had been affiliated with Ali he left Uthman, and instead joined the opposition in Egypt. Abdullah ibn Saad, the governor of Egypt, reported about the activities of the opposition in Egypt. He wanted to take action against Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr (foster son of Ali), Muhammad bin Abi Hudhaifa (adopted son of Uthman) and Ammar ibn Yasir. [36]

Further measures

In 655, Uthman directed the people who had any grievance against the administration to assemble at Mecca for the Hajj. He promised them that all their legitimate grievances would be redressed. He directed the governors and the "Amils" throughout the empire to come to Mecca on the occasion of the Hajj. In response to the call of Uthman, the opposition came in large delegations from various cities to present their grievances before the gathering. [37]

The rebels realized that the people in Mecca supported the defence offered by Uthman and were not in the mood to listen to them. [7] That was a great psychological victory for Uthman. It is said, according to Sunni Muslim accounts, that before returning to Syria, the governor Muawiyah, Uthman’s cousin, suggested Uthman should come with him to Syria as the atmosphere there was peaceful. Uthman rejected his offer, saying that he didn't want to leave the city of Muhammad (referring to Medina). Muawiyah then suggested that he be allowed to send a strong force from Syria to Medina to guard Uthman against any possible attempt by rebels to harm him. Uthman rejected it too, saying that the Syrian forces in Medina would be an incitement to civil war, and he could not be party to such a move. [36]


The 'Uthman Quran (Othmanic Recension)

The Othmanic Recension is the standardised version of the Qur'an, believed by the vast majority of scholars & historians to be identical with the collected set of revelations that the Prophet Muhammad claimed to have received from God (Allah, i.e. "The Supreme Being"), through the Angel Gabriel (Jibril), from about the age of 40 to his death (i.e. during the period 610-632 CE).

As such, the Othmanic Recension has been, & continues to be, an abiding, primary source of inspiration, morality & guidance for billions of Muslims worldwide for almost 1,400 years (& seems set to remain so for the foreseeable future).

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Umar [ edit | edit source ]

Prior to his conversion, Umar had been a strong opponent of Islam. According to one story, he took it into his mind that Muhammad had to die. On his way to kill Muhammad, he found out that his sister and brother-in-law had converted to Islam. So he went to their home instead. In an effort to convince them to renounce Islam, he beat them mercilessly. It was only when that effort failed, that he decided to examine the verses of the Quran. On that day he converted to Islam with Muhammad as witness.

From that time on, he was never very far away from Muhammad and served him throughout the wars of conquest. And when Abu Bakr became the first Caliph, he served Abu Bakr as well. Then in 634, he became the second Caliph. It was during Umar's time as Caliph that conquest beyond the borders of the Arabian peninsula began in earnest. Even as the influence of Islam grew in territory and number, Umar continued to live a life that was simple and at times austere. He had little use for luxury and felt that the same should apply to his governors as well. Those that he felt were in violation of that standard he would remove from office.

His leadership brought about the implementation of a number of developments. One was the institution of an Islamic Calendar which begins with the Hegirah. The minting of coins was also initiated.

In 644, Umar's reign as Caliph came to an abrupt end, when a Persian slave stabbed him six times with a dagger.


The Third Caliph, Uthman (644-656 A.C.)

" Every Prophet has an assistant, and my assistant will be Uthman. " (Hadith)

Uthman's Election

When 'Umar fell under the assassin's dagger, before he died the people asked him to nominate his successor. 'Umar appointed a committee consisting of six of the ten companions of the Prophet about whom the Prophet had said, "They are the people of Heaven" - Ali, Uthman, Abdul Rahman, Sa'ad, Al-Zubayr and Talha - to select the next Caliph from among themselves. He also outlined the procedure to be followed if any differences of opinion should arise. Abdul Rahman withdrew his name. He was then authorized by the committee to nominate the Caliph. After two days of discussion among the candidates and after the opinions of the Muslims in Medina had been ascertained, the choice was finally limited to Uthman and Ali. Abdul Rahman came to the mosque together with other Muslims, and after a brief speech and questioning of the two men, swore allegiance to Uthman. All those present did the same, and Uthman became the third Caliph of Islam in the month of Muharram, 24 A.H.

Uthman's Life

Uthman bin Affan was born seven years after the Holy Prophet . He belonged to the Omayyad branch of the Quraish tribe. He learned to read and write at an early age, and as a young man became a successful merchant. Even before Islam Uthman had been noted for his truthfulness and integrity. He and Abu Bakr were close friends, and it was Abu Bakr who brought him to Islam when he was thirty-four years of age. Some years later he married the Prophet's second daughter, Ruqayya. In spite of his wealth and position, his relatives subjected him to torture because he had embraced Islam, and he was forced to emigrate to Abyssinia. Some time later he returned to Mecca but soon migrated to Medina with the other Muslims. In Medina his business again began to flourish and he regained his former prosperity. Uthman's generosity had no limits. On various occasions he spent a great portion of his wealth for the welfare of the Muslims, for charity and for equipping the Muslim armies. That is why he came to be known as 'Ghani' meaning 'Generous.'

Uthman's wife, Ruqayya was seriously ill just before the Battle of Badr and he was excused by the Prophet from participating in the battle. The illness Ruqayya proved fatal, leaving Uthman deeply grieved. The Prophet was moved and offered Uthman the hand of another of his daughters, Kulthum. Because he had the high privilege of having two daughters of the Prophet as wives Uthman was known as ' The Possessor of the Two Lights. '

Uthman participated in the Battles of Uhud and the Trench. After the encounter of the Trench, the Prophet determined to perform Hajj and sent Uthman as his emissary to the Quraish in Mecca, who detained him. The episode ended in a treaty with the Meccans known as the Treaty of Hudaibiya.

The portrait we have of Uthman is of an unassuming, honest, mild, generous and very kindly man, noted especially for his modesty and his piety. He often spent part of the night in prayer, fasted every second or third day, performed hajj every year, and looked after the needy of the whole community. In spite of his wealth, he lived very simply and slept on bare sand in the courtyard of the Prophet's mosque. Uthman knew the Qur'an from memory and had an intimate knowledge of the context and circumstances relating to each verse.

Uthman's Caliphate

During Uthman's rule the characteristics of Abu Bakr's and Umar's caliphates - impartial justice for all, mild and humane policies, striving in the path of God, and the expansion of Islam - continued. Uthman's realm extended in the west to Morocco, in the east to Afghanistan, and in the north to Armenia and Azerbaijan. During his caliphate a navy was organized, administrative divisions of the state were revised, and many public projects were expanded and completed. Uthman sent prominent Companions of the Prophet as his personal deputies to various provinces to scrutinize the conduct of officials and the condition of the people.

Uthman's most notable contribution to the religion of God was the compilation of a complete and authoritative text of the Qur'an. A large number of copies of this text were made and distributed all over the Muslim world.

Uthman ruled for twelve years. The first six years were marked by internal peace and tranquility, but during the second half of his caliphate a rebellion arose. The Jews and the Magians, taking advantage of dissatisfaction among the people, began conspiring against Uthman, and by publicly airing their complaints and grievances, gained so much sympathy that it became difficult to distinguish friend from foe.

It may seem surprising that a ruler of such vast territories, whose armies were matchless, was unable to deal with these rebels. If Uthman had wished, the rebellion could have been crushed at the very moment it began. But he was reluctant to be the first to shed the blood of Muslims (especially Sahaba), however rebellious they might be. No one would ever expected what happend later. He preferred to reason with them, to persuade them with kindness and generosity. He well remembered hearing the Prophet say, " Once the sword is unsheathed among my followers, it will not be sheathed until the Last Day. "

The rebels demanded that he abdicate and some of the Companions advised him to do so. He would gladly have followed this course of action, but again he was bound by a solemn pledge he had given to the Prophet. " Perhaps God will clothe you with a shirt, Uthman " the Prophet had told him once, " and if the people want you to take it off, do not take it off for them. " Uthman said to a well-wisher on a day when his house was surrounded by the rebels, " God's Messenger made a covenant with me and I shall show endurance in adhering to it. "

After a long siege, the rebels broke into Uthman's house and murdered him. When the first assassin's sword struck Uthman, he was reciting the verse,

" Verily, God sufficeth thee He is the All-Hearing, the All-Knowing " [2:137]

Uthman breathed his last on the afternoon of Friday, 17 Dhul Hijja, 35 A.H. (June. (656 A.C.). He was eighty-four years old. The power of tHe rebels was so great that Uthman's body lay unburied until Saturday night when he was buried in his blood-stained clothes, the shroud which befits all martyrs in the cause of God.


Uthman ibn Affan

Uthman ibn Affan was the third of the "rightly guided" caliphs. He married successively two of Muhammad's daughters and reigned as caliph from 644 until 656.

Uthman was born into the wealthy Umayyad clan of the Quraish tribe in Mecca, a few years after Muhammad. Unlike most of his kinsmen though, he was an early convert to Islam, and was also part of the first Muslim emigration to Abyssinia, and the later emigration from Mecca to Medina. Uthman was also one of the first men to memorize the Qur'an and he was instrumental in the compilation of the book after the death of Muhammad.

Uthman became caliph after the assassination of Omar in 644. He reigned for 12 years, and during his rule, all of Iran, most of North Africa, the Caucuses and Cyprus were added to the Islamic empire. In order to strengthen his control over the empire, Uthman appointed many of his kinsmen to governor positions. This move caused many problems, as many people were angered by Uthmans preferential treatment of his own kinsmen.

Perhaps the action which caused the most controversy for Uthman during his reign, however, was his attempt to develop a definitive text of the Qur'an at the expense of all others. His aim was simply to establish one true text of the revelation, in order for all Muslims to know of what the Qur'an consisted, what order it should be in, and how it should be written. Despite the controversy, Uthman was able to complete this task, which has since been recognised as a significant achievement in Islamic history. He reduced the number and frequency of disagreements over dogma, but many devout believers at the time accused Uthman of tampering with the sacred book. In 656, crowds protested his compilation of the new Qu'ran outside his home. Uthman refused help from his old friends, and the siege ended when protesters broke into his house, and assassinated Uthman. He was eventually buried in Medina.

Sources: Saudi Aramco World, January-February 2002 Wikipedia Encyclopedia

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Uthman ibn Affan

Uthman was born into the wealthy Umayyad clan of the Quraish tribe in Mecca, a few years after Muhammad. Unlike most of his kinsmen though, he was an early convert to Islam, and was well known for using his wealth to benefit charities. He was also married to two of Muhammad's daughters at separate times, earning him the nickname Dhun Nurayn or the "Posessor of Two Lights". During the life of Muhammad, he was also part of the first Muslim emigration to the city of Axum in Ethiopia, and the later emigration from Mecca to Medina.

According to Islamic tradition, Uthman was one of the ten people for whom it was witnessed that they were destined for Paradise one of the six with whom Muhammad was pleased when he died. Uthman was also one of the first men to memorize the Qur'an and he would be instrumental to its compilation after the death of Muhammad.

Uthman became caliph after the assassination of Umar ibn al-Khattab (Caliph Omar) in 644. Prior to his death, Omar appointed a group of six men to choose his successor from among themselves. Included in this group were Uthman and Ali. The committee chose Uthman.

He reigned for 12 years, and during his rule, all of Iran, most of North Africa, the Caucuses and Cyprus were added to the Islamic empire. In order to strengthen his control over the empire, Uthman appointed many of his kinsmen to governor positions, including Muawiyah I. This, however, caused many problems, and many people were angered by Uthman's preferential treatment of his own kinsmen. This matter was not helped by some of the misrule by some of the governors he appointed, and was worsened by the involvement of some Umayyads in a plot to kill the son of Abu Bakr.

Perhaps the one action which caused the most controversy for Uthman during his reign was his attempt to develop a definitive text of the Qur'an at the expense of all others. His aim was simply to establish one true text of the revelation, in order for all Muslims to know what the Qur'an consisted of, what order it should be in, and how it should be written. Despite the controversy, Uthman was able to complete this task, which has since been recognised as a significant achievement in Islamic history. It reduced the number and frequency of disagreements over dogma, but many devout believers at the time accused Uthman of tampering with the sacred book.

These disagreements grew so large that parties from Egypt and Iraq would convene in Medina to address their grievances to Uthman directly. Eventually, the parties grew impatient with Uthman and laid siege to his house for more than 20 days in 656. Despite the crowds outside his home, Uthman refused help from his old friends, and the siege ended when some members broke into the house, and assassinated Uthman, while reading the Qur'an. He was eventually buried in Medina.


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