أبو بكر بن العربي
Death: 543H 1148
DEFENCE AGAINST DISASTER by QADI ABU BAKR IBN AL-`ARABI
Accurately Determining The Position Of The Companions After The Death Of The Prophet, May Allah Bless Him And Grant Him Peace AL-`AWASIM MIN AL-QAWASIM
and Malik b. al-Harith al-Ashtar....
121. From an-Nakh’. That is a Yemani tribe from the tribes of Mad-haj. He was a brave hero and one of the heroes of the Arabs. His first military battle was at Yarmuk. He lost one of his eyes in it. Then he wanted to unsheathe his sword against his brother muslims in the sedition. If he had not been one of those who conspired against the Amir al-Mu’minin `Uthman and if Allah had written that his military battles were for the spread of Islam and to widen the conquest, he would have had another position in history. That which moved him to this course was his excess in the deen, and his love of leadership and rank. I do not know how they were both joined in him. Al-Ashtar was one of those who took Kufa as their place of residence. When al-Walid b. `Uqba was Amir over Kufa, al-Ashtar felt himself worthy of leadership and government. He erred with those who criticised the state and its men right from the highest Khalif in Madina down to his governor over Kufa, al-Walid b. `Uqba. When Abu Zaynab and Abu Mawra’ stole al-Walid’s ring from his house and took it to Madina and then testified that al-Walid had drunk wine as has been already stated, al-Ashtar and others rushed to Madina to enlarge the area of the sedition. When `Uthman dismissed al-Walid for Sa`id b. al-`As, al-Ashtar returned with Sa`d to Kufa (at-Tabari, 5:63). `Uthman had established a system for the transfer of lands. Whoever had some land from the booty in a place which was far from him could change it for land closer to him with the consent of the two who made the transfer. By this means, Talha b. `Ubaydullah renounced his shares in Khaybar and used them to purchase some of the booty of the people of Madina in Iraq. That was land called an-Nashasaj, (at-Tabari, 5:56).
While Sa`id b. al-`As was in the house of the amirate in Kufa with some people a man praised Talha b. `Ubaydullah for his generosity. Sa`d b. al-`As said, "If I had the like of the land of an-Nashasaj, I would let you live a life of plenty for Allah." `Abdu’r-Rahman b. Khumays al-Asadi said to him, "I wish that you had al-Miltat." Al-Miltat was some land on the side of the Euphrates which had belonged to the family of Chosroes. Al-Ashtar and his companions became angry. They said to the Asadi, "You wish that he had some of our good land!" His father said, "He wants the double of it for you." Al-Ashtar and his companions attacked the Asadi and his father and beat them in the assembly of the Amir until they fainted. The Banu Asad heard about that and came and surrounded the castle to defend their men. Sa`id b. al-`As stopped this strife and turned the Banu Asad away from al-Ashtar and his group. The nobles of Kufa and their men of right action wrote to `Uthman to ask him to expel these troublemakers from their land. he sent them to Mu`awiya in Syria (at-Tabari, 5:85-86). Then Mu`awiya expelled them and they came to the peninsula of Ibn `Umar. They were in the custody of `Abdu’r-Rahman b. Khalid b. al-Walid until they showed regret. Then al-Ashtar went to Madina to tell `Uthman of their repentance. `Uthman was pleased with him and allowed him to go wherever he liked. He chose to return to his colleagues who were with `Abdu'r-Rahman b. Khalid b. al-Walid in the peninsula (at-Tabari, 5:87-88). While he was telling `Uthman that he and his colleagues had repented in 34 A.H., the Saba’ites in Egypt were corresponding with their agents in Kufa and Basra. They told them to rebel against their Amirs and to make ready for a certain day. Only the group situated in Kufa did that. Yazid b. Qays al-Arhabi stirred them up (at-Tabari, 5:101).
When al-Ashtar came from Madina to his brothers who were with `Abdu’r-Rahman b. Khalid b. al-Walid, he found that they had received a letter from Yazid b. Qays al-Arhabi. It said, "Come as soon as you put down this letter." They felt uneasy about this summons and preferred to remain where they were. Al-Ashtar opposed them and returned as a rebel after his repentance. He joined the rebels of Kufa who had alighted at al-Jar’a, a place overlooking Qadisiyya. There they met Sa`d b. al-`As, the Amir of Kufa, when he was returning from Madina and turned him back. Al-Ashtar met a client of Sa`d b. as-`As. Al-Ashtar struck his neck. It reached `Uthman that they wanted to dismiss Sa`d for Abu Musa al-Ash`ari and he gave them what they had asked for (at-Tabari, 5:93-94). When the date in 34 A.H. proved unsuccessful and the sedition was confined to what took place in al-Jar’a, the Saba’ites prepared for the year after it (35 A.H.). They arranged things so that they went to Madina with the hajjis as if they were going on Hajj. Al-Ashtar was one of the leaders of the Kufa group. He was in charge of one of their four groups (at-Tabari, 5:104). After they reached Madina, the Amir al-Mu’minin `Uthman debated with them and made his proof clear to them in all that they thought. Most of them were satisfied with his position and forced the leaders of the sedition to be content with `Uthman’s answers. They travelled from Madina and they did not travel with them (at-Tabari, 5:120).
When the Egyptians reached a place called al-Buwayb, a rider stopped them, playing the part of the bearer of the alleged letter. The story about that will come later. At-Tabari (5:194) mentioned that al-Ashtar was involved in the plot of the Saba’ites which they had hatched before `Ali travelled from Kufa to Basra trying to reach an understanding with Talha, az-Zubayr and `A’isha. The Saba’ites decided in their plot to start the war between the two parties before peace could be made between them. In the Battle of the Camel, `Abdullah b. az-Zubayr and al-Ashtar fought and they exchanged blows. `Abdullah b. az-Zubayr said his famous words, "Kill me and Malik!". Al-Ashtar got away from him. At-Tabari related (5:217) from ash-Sha`bi that people did not know al-Ashtar by the name of Malik. If Ibn az-Zubayr had said, "Kill me and al-Ashtar," and al-Ashtar had had a million men, none of them would have been saved. He continued to give way before Ibn az-Zubayr until he managed to slip away. At-Tabari related (5:194) that when `Ali finished the oath of allegiance after the Battle of the Camel and appointed `Abdullah b. `Abbas over Basra, al-Ashtar heard that `Ali had appointed Ibn `Abbas. He became angry and said, "For what did we kill the old man then?! Yemen is for `Ubaydullah, the Hijaz is for Quthum, Basra is for `Abdullah and Kufa is for `Ali!" Then he called out, "Departure!" and rushed off and caught up with `Ali. He did not tell `Ali what he had heard. He said, "What is this journey? You have gone ahead of us?" Then al-Ashtar participated in the war of Siffin and `Ali appointed him over Egypt after Qays b. Sa`d b. `Ubada left it. When he reached Suez, he had a drink of honey and died. It was said that the honey was poisoned. That was is 38 A.H. ....were in the group of those leaders of theirs, as well as others. They stirred up the sedition, so `Uthman expelled them by his ijtihad. They went in a group to Mu`awiya.
122. They stirred up the sedition on the day when they beat up `Abdu’r-Rahman b. Khunays al-Asadi and his father while they were in the house of the Amir in Kufa. The nobles and men of right action of Kufa wrote to `Uthman asking him to expel them to another land. Then he sent them to Mu`awiya in Syria. Those who were sent to Mu`awiya were: al-Ashtar an-Naka’i, Ibn al-Kiwa al-Yashkari, Sa`sa`a b. Sawhan al-`Abdi, his brother Zayd, Kumayl al-Azdi, Thabit b. Ways b. Munaqqa’, `Urwa b. al-Ja’d al-Bariqi, and `Amr b. al-Humq al-Khuza`i.
He reminded them by Allah and by taqwa against perverting the situation and breaking up the wholeness of the community,
123. The text of what Mu`awiya said is as is found with at-Tabari (5:86), "You are people from the Arabs. You have ears and tongues. You have obtained nobility by Islam. You have conquered the nations and you have taken their positions and their inheritance. It has reached me that you resent the Quraysh. If it were not for the Quraysh, you would have been considered abased as you were before. They are your Imams up until today and your shelter, so do not hinder your shelter. Your Imams are patient with you in injustice and bear the trouble from you. By Allah, you will cease or Allah will try you with one who will be hard on you. Then He will not praise you for patience. Then you will share with them in what you brought upon the populace while you were alive and after your death." until Zayd b. Sawhan said to him (according to what is related.),
124. The killer was his brother Sa`sa`a. "How much you go on at us about authority and the Quraysh! The Arabs still eat from the hilts of their swords while the Quraysh are merchants."
125. He also said to Mu`awiya, "As for what you mentioned of the shelter, when the shelter is pierced, then come to us." i.e. when we kill our governors, we will be the rulers. Mu`awiya said to him, "You have no mother! I remind you by Islam and you mention the jahiliyya to me! May Allah make unacceptable those who came frequently to the Amir al-Mu’minun because of you! You are not among those who are helped or harmed. Leave me !"
126. The answer Mu`awiya gave to the words of Sa`sa`a in the description of Quraysh and its position is lengthy and precious. At-Tabari quoted it (5:86). Ibn al-Kiwa’ informed him about the people of sedition....
127. The speaker might say, "Do not the events which occurred in the tragedy of the martyrdom of the Khalif `Uthman indicate his negligence since he did not know what was happening in the secret conspiracy of the plotters?" In reality, in spite of his occupation with the vast conquests which were completed in his time, this Khalif was not unaware of the plots which were hatched against him in order deceitfully to harm Islam. As far as the events themselves were concerned, he was free of any suspicion of weakness repeated by his opponents. The historian, Muhammad `Izza Daruza said, "Ibn Sawda (i.e. `Abdullah b. Saba’) and his groups worked to spread the call against `Uthman and his Amirs until they enlarged their base, as has come in the transmission of at-Tabari. They wrote secret letters and sent them to the people in the cities. That reached the people of Madina and they went to `Uthman to ask him whether he had heard what had reached them from the cities. He told them, "By Allah, only peace has come to me, so tell me what it is." Then he told them, "You are my partners and the witnesses of the believers. Give me advice." They indicated that he should send certain individuals who were trustworthy to the cities to tell the people that neither his notable men nor the common people objected to anything that `Uthman had done. The Amirs were just to the people (at-Tabari, part 3, p. 379).
Then he wrote a general letter to the people of the cities in which he mentioned what he had heard about the rumours and the attacks on the Amirs. He said, "The Amir al-Mu’minun is appointed to undertake to command the correct and forbid the objectionable. He appoints his governors to do that. He is prepared to listen to every complaint about himself and about his governors and to give justice to the one with the complaint and give everyone with a due his due." He summoned anyone with a complaint to come to him in the Festival (pp. 380-381).
At-Tabari quoted that from ‘The History of the Arab Race’ (7:231). Then he summoned the governors of the cities and asked them for news about the affair. He said, "I fear that it will be proven against you." They assured him that they were following the oath of the truth and correct behaviour, and that what he had heard was nothing but intrigue and whisperings spread by stealth. One of them proposed that the propaganda agents be punished and executed. He commanded his governors to be prudent, compassionate and indulgent as long as that did not entail the loss of the rights of the community. One of the governors was Mu`awiya b. Abi Sufyan (from ‘The Arab Race’, 7:232. He quoted at-Tabari.) The historians mentioned that `Uthman gathered some of his elite and consulted them about the business of this people. He listened to them and then he said to them, "I have heard all that you have pointed out to me. Every business has a door. This business which is feared for this community is still hidden and its closed door can be opened. We will hold it back by leniency and by being obliging, except in the hudud of Allah. If the door opens, no one will have proof against me. Allah knows that I have treated the people well. If the millstone of sedition turns around, then `Uthman will have bliss if he dies without being the one to move it." The people were silent when he gave them their rights. When the rights of Allah are damaged, are they to be lax? (’The Khalif Lied Against’, p. 64, by Muhammad Sadiq ‘Urjun.) One of the clearest proofs of the strength of `Uthman and his self-composure was his position when the rebels and people of the sedition were intense in their attack on him. They attacked him in his house to kill him while the great valiant Companions and their sons wanted to defend him as we stated elsewhere. He ordered everyone who thought that `Uthman was owed obedience to restrain their hands and throw away their weapons. This was due to his solicitude for the blood of the muslims, even if that involved offering his life to death and to murder.
Would that I knew what personal courage and what patience people could seek beyond this! If courage is self-control in calamities without any apprehension, steadfastness in adversities without anxiety, and firmness in great misfortunes without being shaken, the sources could not avoid someone like `Uthman in his courage, self-composure, the strength of his certainty, and firmness in his opinion. No one in a situation similar to that which `Uthman was in would endure the like of what `Uthman endured, not even part of it. No one could endure the affliction and trial as `Uthman endured it. How could someone endure something which would lead him to being murdered with full knowledge and insight? If he had been fearful and had wanted to do anything other than endure that, with both certainty and contentment, he had means by which he could have escaped and lived in comfort. However, `Uthman, may Allah be pleased with him, was neither weak nor abject, as is claimed by those who are incapable and negligent. He was strong in iman, great in certainty, high-minded, with great courage, noble in patience, and piercing in insight. He ransomed the community and established its greatest supports of order in social formation. (’The Khalif Lied Against’ by M.S. ‘Urjun, p.65).
....in every land and their conspiracies.
128. Ibn al-Kiwa said in what Ibn `Asakir quoted in his biography of the History of Damascus (7:299) and Abu Ja`far at-Tabari quoted in his History (5:92), in describing the people of misdeeds: the people of Madina are the most free from evil in the community and the most incapable of it. As for the people of misdeeds from the people of Kufa, they are the ones who most frequently dwell on small wrong actions although they commit the greatest wrong actions. As for the people of misdeeds from the people of Basra, they rejected everyone and went out in separate groups. As for the people of misdeeds from the people of Egypt, they are both the people with the fullest portion of evil and the quickest to repent. As for the people of misdeeds from the people of Syria, they were the people who were the quickest to obey their guide and rebel against the one who would misguide them. He wrote to `Uthman to inform him about that. He sent their individuals to them. Mu`awiya expelled them,
129. He wrote about them to `Uthman, "Some people have come to me who have neither intellect nor deen. Islam burdens them and justice vexes them. They do not aim for Allah in anything nor do they speak by any proof. They are concerned with sedition and taking the property of the people of the Dhimma. Allah is the One who will test and try them. They are those who injure people. Restrain Sa`id and those with him. They do not have the most strife or repugnant behaviour." (at-Tabari, 5:87)
and then they went to `Abdu’r-Rahman b. Khalid b. al-Walid
130. The was appointed over Hums for Mu`awiya and the area of the peninsula, Harran and ar-Ruqqa. and he imprisoned them and rebuked them. He told them, "Remember what you mentioned to Mu`awiya."
131. That was after he said to them, "Tools of Shaytan! You have no welcome! Shaytan has returned in sorrow and yet you are still active! May Allah disappoint `Abdu’r-Rahman if he does not discipline you until he makes you feel regret! Oh company of a people whom I do not know to be arab or non-arab, you will not say to me what I heard that you said to Mu`awiya. I am the son of Khalid b. al-Walid. I am the son of one who was tested by the teeth. I am the son of the one who knocked out the Ridda. By Allah, Sa`sa`a, if I were to hear that any of those with me had broken your nose and then given something to you, I would have made you fly down an abyss (at-Tabari, 5:87). He held them and kept them abased until they repented after a year had passed.
132. Whenever he rode, he made them walk. When he passed by Sa`sa`a, he said, "Son of a mean woman, don’t you know that the one who is not put right by good is put right by bad? Why do you not tell me what I heard that you said to Sa`id and Mu`awiya?" They said, "We repent to Allah. Release us, may Allah release you!" (at-Tabari 5:87-88) He wrote about them to `Uthman and `Uthman told him to send them to him. When they stood in front of him, they reiterated their repentance and they took an oath that they were telling the truth and said that they were innocent of what they were accused of.
133. The one who went to the Amir al-Mu’minun `Uthman in Madina was al-Ashtar an-Nakh`i alone. He is the one who represented the sons of Sawhan, Ibn al-Kiwa and others, in restating their earlier repentance with `Abdu’r-Rahman b. Khalid b. al-Walid. However, the sedition was not confined to these men. It originated with Ibn Saba’ who chose to reside in Fustat. It had a branch in Basra. Al-Ashtar and his brothers left some men in Kufa. While al-Ashtar was in Madina restating his repentance and the repentance of his brothers, the agents of Ibn Saba’ were writing to Basra and Kufa to set the time to attack their brothers in Kufa calling them to participate in the plot. Only al-Ashtar, who had not yet even forgotten his repentance, was happy about that summons to sedition and evil. He sped to Kufa and joined the sedition which history calls "The Day of al-Jar’a." That was in 34 A.H. He let them choose about where they wanted to go. Each of them chose a city: Kufa, Basra or Egypt. He sent them out and wherever they went, they rebelled and agitated until other groups joined them.
134. When the Saba’ites were unsuccessful in their attack on their governors in 34 A.H. on the sedition of the Day of Jar’a, they plotted another sedition with a wider area. They set it for the following year (35 A.H.) when the hajjis were preparing to go from Egypt, Basra, and Kufa to Madina and Makka. The hajjis went on Hajj to obey Allah, but the propagandists of the sedition went to declare rebellion against Allah. They had organised themselves into twelve groups: four groups from Egypt, four from Basra, and four from Kufa. There were about 150 deluded people in each group, i.e. about 600 men from ever city.
Those who went to `Uthman....
135. i.e. To the Amir al-Mu’minun `Uthman in the city of the Messenger, may Allah bless him and grant him peace.
....were: Abdu’r-Rahman b. `Udays al-Balawi, in charge of the people of Egypt,
136. The warrior poet. He stayed (in Egypt), with the conquering army. It is not known that he was distinguished by anything other than his participation in this sedition, even though he claimed that he was one of those who took the Pledge of the Tree. I do not think that he was one of the leaders who organised the sedition. However, their organisers took advantage of his desire for leadership. They made use of his age and rank among the warriors of the Arab tribes of Egypt. They appointed him to lead one of the four groups which left Egypt for Madina. The leaders of the other three groups were: Kinana b. Bishr at-Tujibi, Sawdan b. Hamran as-Sukuni, and Qutayra as-Sukuni. Their supreme leader was al-Ghafiqi b. Harb al-`Ukki. During the siege, `Abdu’r-Rahman b. `Udays was very cruel towards the Amir al-Mu’minun `Uthman and the people of his house. He ended by being killed at Hebron, close to Hums. A bedouin met him. When he admitted that he was one of `Uthman’s murderers, the bedouin leapt up and killed him. (’The Collection of the Land’ by Yaqut: Hebron) Whoever said that Ibn `Udays was related to Tujib made a mistake. He was a Balawi from Quda’a. As for Tujib bint Thawban al-Madh-hajiyya, only the sons of her sons are ascribed to her and `Adi, the sons of Ashras b. Shubayb b. as-Sukun from Kinda. Where is Kinda in relationship to Quda’a?
Hukaym b. Jabala, in charge of the people of Basra,
137. The information was already given earlier. He was the Amir of one of the four groups from Basra (the three others were Dhurayh b. `Abbad al-`Abdi, Bishr b. Shurayh "al-Hatm" and Ibn al-Mahrash al-Hanafi. Their supreme leader was Harqus b. Zuhayr as-Sa`di). and al-Ashtar Malik b. al-Harith an-Nakh`i, in charge of the people of Kufa.
138. He was already mentioned earlier. He was the Amir of one of the four groups of Kufa. The three others were: Zayd b. Sawhan al-`Abdi, Zihad b. an-Nadr al-Harithi and `Abdullah b. al-Asamm. Their supreme leader was `Amr b. al-Asamm. They came to Madina at the beginning of Dhu’l-Qa’da, 35 A.H. 139. They lighted three stages outside of Madina. Then the rebels of Basra advanced and camped at Dhu Khashab. The rebels of Kufa camped at al-A’was. Most of them camped at Dhu’l-Marwa.
`Uthman received them. They said, "Call for a copy of the Qur’an." He called for it. They
said, "Open to the ninth,"
140. It is like that in the Algerian edition (2:117). Perhaps he erred and the correct version is the "seventh" as in ‘The History’ of at-Tabari (5:107). It is said that that was the position of the Sura Yunus in the Qur’an of Ibn Mas`ud, according to what is in ‘The Fihrist’ of Ibn an-Nadim (p. 39, published in Egypt). meaning Sura Yunus. They said, "Read." He read until he reached Allah’s words, "Has Allah given permission, or do you forge lies against Allah?" They told him, "Stop." they said to him, "Do you think that Allah has given you permission for the hima which you have made or have you forged lies on Allah?" He said, "Finish the ayat. It was revealed about such-andsuch. `Umar made the hima and when there were more camels, he enlarged the hima."
141. The discussion on the hima has already been given. They began to interrogate him in that way but he defeated them. Finally he said to them, "What do you want?"
They made an agreement with him and wrote down five or six stipulations on it:
142. i.e. They made five or six stipulations with the following meanings. That the exile be returned, that the Amir give to the one who was deprived, that the booty be given in full, that he be just in the division and that he appoint those who had trust and strength. They wrote all of that in a document. He enjoined them not to break from the community nor leave the community. Then they went back well contented.
143. Those who came from their cities against the city of the Messenger, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, consisted of two groups: the deceitful leaders and their deluded followers. They were many. Biased propaganda had spread among them until they believed that there actually were exiles who had been wronged, deprived individuals who had been stripped of their rights, etc. You have already seen the testimony of the two most truthful witnesses in Iraq at that time: al-Hasan al-Basri and his brother Ibn Sirin. They testified to the abundance of gifts, provisions and various blessings in `Uthman’s time when people were summoned to accept them. He did not refuse anyone. You already saw the testimony of Imam ash-Sha`bi regarding general provision and bounty, even for slaves. When the rebels heard `Uthman’s answers and recognised the truth, they were satisfied and retreated. They went home by different routes since their cities lay in opposite directions. The Egyptians headed for the northwest so as to travel along the coast of the Red Sea to Suez and Egypt. The Iraqis, both the Basrans and Kufans, headed northeast in order to go by the Najd highlands to Basra and Kufa in Iraq. It was said that he sent `Ali to them and they agreed on the above-mentioned five stipulations and went back well contented. While they were on their way,
144. i.e. While the Iraqis from Basra and Kufa were on their way to the northeast and the
Egyptians were on their way towards the northwest, and while there were many stages between the two groups because they had already been travelling for some time and were
very far from each other, a rider stopped before them.
146. He only stopped them so that they would look at him. He deliberately made them suspicious of him. This is what those who had employed this man wanted. He was meant to play this role. The organisers of this plot wanted to rekindle the sedition after Allah had quelled it and relieved the Muslims of their evil. It would not be reasonable to assume that this drama could originate with `Uthman, Marwan or any man connected with them because they would not profit by rekindling the sedition after Allah had averted it. Those who stood to benefit by that were the first propagandists who wanted to provoke this strife. They included al-Ashtar and Hukaym b. Jabala who did not travel with their people. They had remained behind in Madina (at-Tabari 5:120). The only reason for them to remain in Madina would be to conspire and take these measures. It was their sole desire.
Therefore they examined the letter. They found a letter which was ascribed to `Uthman, and bore his seal, addressed to the governor of Egypt. It ordered him to crucify them and cut off their hands and feet.
148. The reports which have come on it state that the rider was `Uthman’s slave, and that the camel was one of the zakat camels, and that `Uthman admitted that. These are all mursal reports whose speaker is unknown, or else they are lies spread by those whose truthfulness and trustworthiness are doubted. The riwayats are confused regarding the contents of the letter. One of the riwayats had, "When `Abdu’r-Rahman b. `Udays comes to you, flog him 100 times, shave his head and beard, and imprison him for a long time until my command comes to you. Do the same to `Amr b. al-Humq, Sawdan b. Hamran, and `Urwa b. an-Nabba’ al-Laythi." One version has, "When Muhammad b. Abi Bakr as-Siddiq and so-and-so and soand-so comes to you, kill them and consider their document invalid. Remain in your post until my opinion comes to you." A third version says that the contents of the letter commanded his governor to kill them, cut off their hands, and crucify them as rebels. This disagreement about the contents of the letter increases its doubtfulness.
They advanced on Madina.
149. The most extraordinary thing is that the caravans of the rebels which were far from each other in the east and west returned together to Madina at the same time, i.e. the caravans of the Iraqis which had been many stages away from the caravans of the Egyptians, learned through this staged transmission at the very same moment in which the drama was being played out in al-Buwayb. They returned to Madina at the very moment that the Egyptians returned. They reached Madina together as if it had been arranged. This means that those who hired the rider to pay the role of the bearer of the letter for the caravans of the Egyptians, also hired another rider to leave Madina with him to go to the caravans of the Iraqis to inform them that the Egyptians had discovered a letter which `Uthman had sent to `Abdullah b. Sa`d in Egypt, ordering him to kill Muhammad b. Abi Bakr. At-Tabari said (5:104), "`Ali said to them, ‘How did you learn, people of Kufa and people of Basra, what the people in Egypt had found when you had travelled several stages? Now you come back to us? By Allah, this is a matter which was fabricated in Madina!" He, may Allah ennoble his face, indicated that al-Ashtar and Hukaym had remained in Madina, and they were responsible for this drama. The Iraqi rebels said, "Take it however you like. We do not need this man. Let him leave us."
They admitted that the letter was forged and that their first and last desire was to depose the Amir al-Mu’minun `Uthman and to shed his blood, although Allah had protected him by the Shari`a of His Messenger, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. They went to `Ali and said to him, "Don’t you see that the enemy of Allah has written suchand-
such about us? Allah had made his blood lawful" They said to him, "Join us." He said,
"By Allah, I will not join you." They said, "Then why did you write to us?" He said, "By
Allah, I did not write to you." They looked at each other.
150. At-Tabari (5:108). All the riwayats agree about this conversation between `Ali and the rebels. It is a definite strong text showing that the hand which forged the letter against
`Uthman and informed the Iraqis about it and asked them to return to Madina was the same hand which forged the letter ascribed to `Ali and sent it to the Iraqi rebels, asking them to return. We already said (no. 143) that the rebels were in two groups: deceiving and deceived. Those who were deluded looked at each other when `Ali swore that he had not written to them. They wondered how it could be that `Ali had not written to them when his letter had reached them. Who had written the letter ascribed to him if he had not written it? You will learn that Masruq b. al-Ajda` al-Hamdani (who was one of the notable Imams of guidance) censured the Umm al-Mu’minun `A’isha for writing to people to command them to come out against `Uthman. She swore to him by Allah, in whom the believers believe and whom the rejectors reject, that she had not written anything to them. Sulayman b. Mahran al-A`mash, one of the great Imams said, "They thought that it was written and then ascribed to her."
Oh Muslims of this age, the criminal hands who forged the false letters ascribed to `A’isha or `Ali and Talha and az-Zubayr are the same hands which organised all of this iniquity. They are the ones who cooked up the sedition from the beginning to the end. They are the ones who forged the so-called letter ascribed to the Amir al-Mu’minun `Uthman, addressed to his Governor in Egypt at the moment when he knew that he did not have a Governor in Egypt. They forged the letter which was ascribed to `Uthman with the same pen they used to forge the other letter ascribed to `Ali. All of that was done in order to make the rebels return to Madina after they had been content with the soundness of the position of their khalif and satisfied that what had been spread about him was all lies and they were assured that he acted in every matter according to what he thought to be true and good. The in-law of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, (who had given him the good news of martyrdom and the Garden) was not the only one harmed by this foul Saba’-ite conspiracy. Islam itself was injured. The pure history which generations of muslims learned was distorted and twisted. Those generations were among those injured by that foul jew and those who surrendered to him in their passions and appetites.
Then `Ali left Madina. They went to `Uthman and said to him, "You wrote such-and-such about us." He told them to bring two of the muslims as witnesses or he would take an oath as we already mentioned. They did not accept this.
151. Because they did not come to accept the truth or to refer to the Shari`a. They came either to depose him or to shed his blood. They broke the treaty
152. That which was already stated is that they had bound themselves not to leave the community nor part from the community. and laid siege to him. It is related that al-Ashtar was brought to `Uthman. Al-Ashtar said to him, "People want you either to abdicate or to offer yourself for retaliation. If not, they will kill you." He said, "As for my abdicating, I will not leave the community of Muhammad while they are set against each other. As for retaliation, my two companions (Abu Bakr and `Umar) before me did not offer themselves for retaliation. My body will not bear that."
153. This report is in ‘The History’ of at-Tabari (5:117-118) and in ‘The Beginning and the End’ (7:184) and in ‘The Lineages of the Nobles’ by al-Baladhari (5:92). It is related that a man said to him, "I have vowed to take your blood." He said, "Take my shirt." He made a slit in it with his sword and his blood flowed through it. Then the man left, mounted his camel and departed immediately.
154. This report is in ‘The Book of the Introduction’ by Imam Abu Bakr al-Baqillani (p.216). More extraordinary than that was what at-Tabari related (5:137-138). ‘Umayr b. Dabi al-Barjimi and Kumayl b. Ziyad an-Nakh`i came to Madina to assassinate `Uthman. They had planned that in Kufa with the rest of their gang. When they reached Madina, ‘Umayr held back while Kumayl lay in ambush for the Khalif until he passed by him. When they met, `Uthman was suspicious about him. He hit out at his face and ‘Umayr fell on the ground. He said to `Uthman, "You have hurt me, Amir al-Mu’minun!" `Uthman said, "Are you not an assassin?" He said, "No, by Allah. There is no god but Him!" People gathered and said, "We will investigate him, Amir al-Mu’minun." He said, "No, Allah has given me well-being. I do not want to know anymore about him than what he said." Then he said to Kumayl, "If you are speaking the truth, then settle with me." (and he knelt). "By Allah, I only thought that you were aiming for me." He said, "If you are speaking the truth, then may Allah repay you. If you lie, Allah is the Abaser." He sat on his heels for Kumayl and said, "Here you are." Kumayl said, "I leave it." This position is not the position of a Khalif, let alone one less than him. It is more like the position of those who have the character of the Prophets since Allah grants respite and does not overlook. Al-Hajjaj came forty years later and Dabi and Kumayl were killed since they had intended to assassinate a man whose heart was filled with the mercy of Allah. "Allah will let the unjust man enjoy himself until what he cannot escape seizes him." (Related in al-Bukhari and Muslim.)
Ibn `Umar came to him and `Uthman said to him, "See what these men say! They say: ‘Abdicate or we will kill you.’" Ibn `Umar said to him, "Will you be immortal in the earth?" He said, "No." He said, "Can they do more than kill you?" He said, "No." He said, "Do they possess a garden or a fire for you?" He said, "No." He said, "Do not remove the shirt of Allah from yourself lest that become a sunna. Whenever a people dislike their Khalif, they will depose or kill him."
155. Al-Baladhari quoted this report in ‘The Lineage of the Nobles’ (76:5) from the hadith of Nafi` b. `Umar. Before Ibn `Umar gave the Khalif that opinion and called him with this noble good counsel, `Uthman had a clear sign of that and a light from Allah. Ibn Majah related in the preface of his ‘Sunan’ (chap. 11, pt. 1, p. 27) from the hadith of an-Nu`man b. Bashir from the Umm al-Mu’minun `A’isha that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said to `Uthman, "`Uthman, if Allah appoints you to this matter one day, the hypocrites will want to remove your shirt which Allah has put on you. Do not remove it." He said that three times. In the ‘Musnad’ of Imam Ahmad (pt. 6, first edition, p. 75, 86, 114 &149) there is the hadith of `A’isha with different words which ‘Urwa b. az-Zubayr b. an- Nu`man b. Bishr and others related from her.
`Uthman looked down at them from the wall and offered his proof against them in the sound hadith regarding the foundation of the mosque, digging the well of Ruma and the words of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, when Uhud shook with them. They conceded the things which he mentioned to them.
156. Look in the ‘Musnad’ of Imam Ahmad (1:59, first edition, no. 420, second edition) at the hadith of Abu Salama b. `Abdu’r-Rahman. Also look at ‘The Sunan’ of an-Nas’i (2:124-125), the Collection of at-Tirmidhi (4:319-320) and the ‘Musnad’ of Ahmad (1:70, first edition, no. 511, 2nd edition) from the hadith of al-Ahnaf b. Qays at-Tamimi. ‘The Sunan’ of an-Nasa’i (full and condensed, 2:65-66, 123-124) and ‘The History’ of at-Tabari (5:125) has the hadith of Abu Sa`id, the client of Abu Asyad al-Ansari. It is confirmed that `Uthman looked down at them and said, "Are the sons of Mahdaj among you? I ask you by Allah, do you not know that `Umar said, ‘Rabi`a is corrupt or perfidious?’ By Allah, I will not give them shares, nor will you give shares to a people who have come after a month’s travel.’ Their clever one has their mahr, (bride-money). I gave them five hundred in one raid until I joined them together." They said, "Yes."
He said, "May Allah remind you! Do you not know that you came to me and said, ‘Kinda is a bite of the head and Rabi`a is the head. Al-Ash’ath b. Qays has eaten them.’ So I removed him and appointed you." They said, "Yes." He said, "Oh Allah, they have rejected my equity and they have bartered my favour. Do not give them pleasure from their Imam and do not be pleased with an Imam from them." `Abdullah b. `Amr b. Rabi`a said, "I was with `Uthman in his house. He said, ‘I ask those who believe that they owe me obedience to hold back their hands and their weapons.’
157. The collection of reports about the position of `Uthman in respect of defending himself or submitting to fate indicates that he disliked sedition and feared Allah regarding the blood of the muslims. However, at the end of the business, he did wish that he had had a dominant force with him to frighten the attackers and one which would prevent them from attacking without there being any need for using arms to obtain this result. Before matters came to a head, Mu`awiya offered to send him a force from the army of Syria which would be subject to his directions. He refused to oppress the people of the Abode of the Hijra with an army that would have to be billeted with them (at-Tabari 5:101). He did not think that the audacity of those men would lead a group of his brother muslims to assail the blood of the first man to do hijra for Allah in the way of His deen. When the attackers were fierce against him and he believed that defending himself would cause blood to be shed, he begged all of those who obeyed him to keep their hands and weapons from the perils of force. There are many reports about that in sources both from his friends and his enemies. However, if an ordered military force had appeared in the arena to face the rebels and to put a limit on their insolence and their rashness, `Uthman would have been spared that and would have rejoiced in it, even though he was content that he should die as a martyr. Then he said, ‘Get up, Ibn `Umar.’ Ibn `Umar was wearing a sword. `Uthman said, ‘Inform the people.’
158. In ‘The Beginning and the End’ (7:172) about the raids of Ibn `Uqba, it says that Ibn `Umar did not wear any weapons except on the Day of the House during the Khalifate of `Uthman and on the day when he went to Najda’l-Haruri to enter Madina with those who rebelled in the days of `Abdullah b. az-Zubayr. Ibn `Umar and al-Hasan b. `Ali left. Then the men came in and murdered him." 159. In ‘The History’ of at-Tabari (5:129) it says that the last to leave was `Abdullah b. az-Zubayr. `Uthman told him to take his will, which he had written in preparation for death, to az-Zubayr. He told him to go to the people in the House (i.e. those who were defending him in the courtyard of the castle) and tell them to go home. `Abdullah b. az-Zubayr was the last of them to leave. He continued to call people and speak to people about `Uthman until he died. `Uthman appointed az-Zubayr because az-Zubayr was his confidant among the great Companions. Ibn `Asakir (5:362) related that six of the Companions made him a trustee:
`Uthman, `Abdu’r-Rahman b. `Awf, Ibn Mas`ud, al-Miqdad, Muti` b. al-Aswad and Abu’l-`As b. ar-Rabi’. He used to give some of his property to their orphans and guard their property for them.
Zayd b. Thabit came and said to him, "Those Ansar at the door are saying, ‘If you wish, we are the Ansar of Allah’, twice." `Uthman said, "I have no need of any defence."
160. Al-Baladhari quotes it in the Lineage of the Nobles (5:73) from the hadith of Ibn Sirin. Ibn `Asakir transmitted from the historian of the first generation, Musa b. `Uqba al-Asadi, - (about whom Imam Malik said, "You must have the raids of Ibn `Uqba. He is reliable. They are the soundest raids.") - that Abu Hubayba at-Ta’i (who is one of those from whom Abu Da’ud, an-Nasa’i and at-Tirmidhi related), said, "When `Uthman was besieged, the Banu `Amr b. `Awf came to az-Zubayr. They said, Abu `Abdullah, we have come to you and we will do what you command us to do (i.e. to defend the Amir al-Mu’minun).’" Abu Hubayba said, "az-Zubayr sent me to `Uthman. He told me to give him my greetings and tell him, ‘Your brother tells you that the Banu `Amr b. `Awf have come to me and they have promised me that they will come to me and do what I command. If you wish, I will come to you and be one of the people of the House and I will endure whatever happens to them. I am willing to do that. If you wish, I will wait for the meeting with the Banu `Amr and I will defend you with them. I can do that.’" Abu Hubayba said, "I came to `Uthman and I found him on a chair with a back. I found some thin clothes thrown down and some boiling tubs. I found al-Hasan b. `Ali, Ibn `Umar, Abu Hurayra, Sa`id b. al-`As, Marwan b. al-Hakam and `Abdullah b. az-Zubayr in the house. I conveyed the letter of az-Zubayr to `Uthman. He said, ‘Allah is greater! Praise be to Allah who has protected my brother. Tell him that if he comes to the house, he will be one of the men of the Muhajirun. His honour will be the honour of a man, and his wealth will be the wealth of a man. Rather he should wait for the meeting with the Banu `Amr b. `Awr. Perhaps Allah will defend me by him.’" he said, "Abu Hurayra got up and said, ‘Oh people, my ears have heard the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, say, ‘There will be seditions and calamities after me.’ I said, ‘Where will a person be saved from them, Messenger of Allah?’ He said, ‘With the Amir and his party.’"
Then he indicated `Uthman. The people said, ‘Give us permission and we will fight, our insight has enabled us to do so.’ `Uthman said, ‘No, I beg you! No one who obeys me should fight.’ He said, ‘Those who murdered `Uthman did it before the meeting with the Banu `Amr b. `Awf. They killed him.’" (Look at the summary of this in ‘The Lineage of Quraysh’ by az-Zubayri, p. 103) The Banu `Amr b. `Awf were a large tribe from al-Khazraj, one of the branches of the Ansar. When the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, reached Madina on his hijra from Makka, he stayed as their guest for three days. Then he moved to the Banu’n-Najjar. Abu Hurayra said to him, "Today, it is good to fight for you." He said, "I beg you to leave."