Today’s reminder is a glimpse about Uthman Ibn Affan (R.A) our 3rd Imam of this ummah after Prophet Muhammad sallallahu alaihi wasallam.
BismilLaahir Rahmaanir Raheem.
This is only a summary of the life of Uthman ibn Affan R.A and does not cover all the points of his life story.
One of his famous sayings is as I quote: “I have found the sweetness of worship in four things. The first is in performing the obligatory acts of worship enjoined by Allah; the second is in avoiding the things forbidden by Allah; the third is enjoining that which is good, seeking the reward of Allah; and the fourth is forbidding that which is evil, fearing the wrath of Allah.” Allahu Akbar.
The first two Rightly Guided Imams Abubakar Siddique and Umar ibn Al-Khattab may Allah be pleased with them left large shoes to fill, and historical accounts of them tend to overshadow the achievements of their successors. Yet, the exemplary life of Uthman ibn Affan is one to be emulated, for he is one of the ten Companions who have been promised Paradise.
Uthman bin Affan was born in Taif, near Mecca approximately six years after the Year of the Elephant. Uthman’s birthright was the wealthy Umayyad Clan (Banu Ummaya) of the Quraish tribe in Mecca.
He was said to be a very truthful and bashful person who also possessed a powerful personality. A modest, honest, mild, generous and very kindly man, Uthman was also noted for his piety. As a true and generous believer, he was known of the desire to please Allah and sacrifice all his trade and property for the support of Islam. He has also been known to spend nights in prayer, observed fasts most of the days and performed hajj every year. Uthman knew the Qur’an from memory and has been known to have had an intimate knowledge of the context and circumstances in which each verse had been related to.
Despite his privileged upbringing, Uthman maintained a lifestyle devoid of luxury and the pursuit of worldly possessions. Such was his humility that he has been known to live simply despite his wealth and was known to have often slept on bare sand in the courtyard of the Prophet’s mosque.
It has been said that Uthman’s generosity could not be surpassed by anyone, with the exception of Abu Bakr R.A. Other than significant contributions made during the conquest of the Islamic State, Uthman took it upon himself to give alms and look after widows and orphans. It was also customary for him to free a slave every Friday.
Uthman possessed patience that was unparalleled for he had maintained his elegance, poise and tranquillity while faced with challenges in life. This was an invaluable trait that had kept him above board and on an even keel when he led the Islamic state after the passing of the second Imam, Umar ibn Al-Khattab R.A.
Uthman was a renowned and successful trader who reaped his profits by giving to the needy. After his father’s passing at an early age, Uthman continued to run the family business at a marked profit thereby affording an increase in his charitable works.
Uthman was not one who sought entertainment and songs and other material pleasures. He was a man of high principles and morals and possessed pure thoughts and actions. He said: “Concern of this world is darkness in the heart, but concern with the hereafter is light in the heart.”
EVENTS LEADING UP TO AND INCLUDING THE CONVERSION
By virtue of his travels, primarily to either Yemen or Syria, Uthman had gained exposure to various people and their beliefs, developing the knowledge of their customs and culture. This experience enhanced his understanding of the people around him whilst influencing his own ideas and thoughts he had of the Arab life and idol worship. One night, on his return journey from Syria, Uthman was about to fall asleep when he heard a voice calling: “O sleepers, get up, for Ahmad has emerged in Mecca.”
An extended trip away from Mecca had resulted in a return to unsettling issues in the city. Among these was the emergence of a man called Muhammad bin Abdullah who had made himself known as the Prophet of Islam. While other Meccans had found it difficult to accept new ideas and concepts in their lives, Uthman recalled the incident in Syria. It was indeed a calling to Islam, a sign that required a positive response, for Uthman himself could not explain how anyone could have heard of the Prophet S.A.W before reaching the city in which he lived. It seemed inconceivable to have ignored the sign and the truth of the need for a saviour to the life of the Arabs during a gloomy period, where among other things, idol worship and violence had become a way of life.
When he learnt of the new religion and the Prophet S.A.W, Uthman made his way to Abu Bakr whom he knew to be a close friend of Muhammad’s S.A.W and who had already converted to Islam. Responding to Abu Bakr’s urging to reject the false worship of idols and to accept the belief in Allah as the One God, Uthman went to Muhammad S.A.W. The Prophet S.A.W welcomed Uthman and told him of his experience in Mount Hira, when he received the first revelation. Uthman was thrilled to hear this and recounted the incident in Syria telling him of the advent of a Prophet in Mecca. The Prophet S.A.W stretched his hand, which Uthman grasped in reverence, and declared “There is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is His Prophet.” Uthman was thirty four years old and was one of the earliest Muslims.
Uthman’s conversion to Islam led to a violent reaction and he was not exempted despite his family’s standing in society. He had to suffer the wrath of his own uncle, Al Hakam bin Abi Al-Aas who tied him up and told him that he will not be freed until he returned to the old religion of his forefathers. Uthman said: “By Allah, I will never give it up or leave it.” Uthman was eventually set free when he remained steadfast in his belief and continued to uphold the religion. Allahu Akbar. To be continued. May Allah keep guiding us and protect us from deviation. Aameen.