Uthman Ibn Affan

Uthman Ibn Affan
Uthman Ibn Affan before the Death of the Prophet Muhammad
His name

His full name is Uthman ibn Affan ibn Abil-As ibn Umayyah ibn Abd Shams ibn Abd Manaf ibn Qusay ibn Kilab. His lineage meets that of the Prophet Muhammad at Abd Manaf.

His Kunyah

Before Islam, he was known as Abu ‘Amr. When Ruqayyah, daughter of Allah’s Messenger, bore him a son, ‘Uthman named him ‘Abdullah. Thus he became known as Abu Abdullah and has also been known as such by the Muslims.

His title

Uthman’s title was Dhun-Noorayn (The possessor of Two lights). He married two daughters of the Prophet Muhammad.

His Birth

He was born in Makkah, six years after the ‘Year of the Elephant’ (576 CE). He was roughly five older than the Prophet Muhammad.

His physical feature

He was not short nor tall, he had fine skin and a large, thick beard. He had large joints, wide shoulders, and lots of hair on his had, and he would dye his beard with saffron.

His family

During his life, ‘Uthman had eight wives and he had nine sons. He married all of them after embracing Islam. He was one of the ten given the tiding of Paradise and one of the Companions who compiled the Qur’an.

His life during the period of ignorance

Uthman was among the best of his people. He was wealthy and well known amongst his people. He was a man of modesty and fine speech. His people loved and revered him greatly. Though he was not a Muslim, he never prostrated to an Idol or engaged in vile deeds, He did not drink alcohol, even before Islam. He was not attracted to the singing of the youth or gatherings of idle pray, he also abstained from viewing nakedness.

He was very educated in the sciences of the Arabs in the pre-Islamic period, in such subjects as genealogy, paramiology (the study of proverbs) and history. He became wealthy through the business his father left him, moreover he was considered as one of the most important figures of Banu Umayyah and held a high position among the Quraysh.


His acceptance of Islam

At the age of 34 Uthamn was invited to Islam by Abu Bakr. He accepted the invitation without hesitation and hence he is from the forerunners in the faith.

Abu Ishaq says:

“The first to embrace Islam after Abu bakr, Ali and Zayd ibn al-Harithah was Uthman. This made him the  fourth man to embrace Islam.


The Migration to Abyssinia

The early Muslims faced intensifying persecution, some lost their lives and wealth all in the path of Allah. Amongst those who suffered was Uthamn who was tormented by al-Hakam ibn Abul-As ibn Umayyah. This led to the first migration of Muslims from Makkah to Abyssinia.

And those who emigrated for (the cause of) Allah after they had been wronged – we will surely settle them in this world in a good place, but the rewards of the hereafter is greater, if only they could know.”[1]

Rumours spread that the people of Mecca had accepted Islam and there was peace there, these migrants came back but to their surprise thy found it all to be lies. Uthman decided to stay in Mecca and the next time he left was his migration to Madina.

Uthman and his love for the Qur’an

He had a strong connection with the Qu’an, he would read it often and was deeply connected to it. Abu Abdur-Rahman as-Sulami tells us how he learned the Qur’an from the Prophet Muhammad, mentioning some sayings of his which indicate his great love for the Qur’an.

We were told by those who used to teach us Qur’an, for instance Uthman ibn Affan and Abduallah ibn Masood, that each time they learned ten verses from the Prophet, they would not venture beyond them until they learned the knowledge and deeds referred to therein.”

Uthman ibn Affan would say:

Three things of this world have been made beloved to me, satiating the hungry, clothing the naked and reciting the Qur’an.”

Uthman Ibn Affan had memorised the Qur’an from cover to cover, and he would recite often. H read it completely to the Prophet Muhammad before he died.


The migration of Uthman from Mecca to Madina

Uthman made this difficult journey to Madina with his wife Ruqayya, they stayed in the house of Abu Talha ibn Thabit before moving to his own house. Uthman was fundamental in the establishment of Madina as a state. He gave his time, effort and wealth in building this community, he also took part in all the battles except the battle of Badr.


The Battle of Badr

As the Muslims were leaving to make their way for the Badr, Uthman’s wife Ruqayyah was suffering from measles, she was bedbound when the Prophet Muhammad gathered the troops that would confront the Quriahy caravan. Uthman was double minded to join the battle but was ordered by the Prophet to stay with Ruqayyah and tend to her. He complied and stood by his wife her condition got worse and eventually she passed away.

You (Uthman) will receive the same reward and share (of the booty) as anyone of those who participated in the battle of Badr (if you stay with her).”[2]


The battle of Uhud

This battle is divided into two parts.  The early part of the battle the Muslims won decisively, and as the Quraish left the battle field defeated and humiliated, led by Khalid Bin Waleed. But before their complete departure, a group of archers whom the Prophet Muhammad had placed on a mountain with strict instructions not to come down no matter what the situation, some of them ran down the mountain in a rush to gather the spoils of war. This left the Muslims exposed, Khalid bin Waleed saw the opportunity so he returned, coming from this new opening on the battle field and there was huge loses on the Muslim side. Some Muslims ran out of fear, the Prophet Muhammad surrounded by a hand full of companions ran up the mountain and narrowly escaped death. The news had spread that the Prophet Muhammad had been killed, which demotivated many fighters, and some fled. From amongst those who in a panic fled to the outskirts of Madina was Uthamn Ibn Affan. There are some today who very boldly critic Uthamn, but we give to attention to such false accusations as Allah himself said about Uthman on this matter:

Indeed, those of you turned your back on the day the two armies met, it was Satan who caused them to slip because of some (blame) they had earned. But Allah has already forgiven them. Indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Forbearing.”[3]

His marriage to Umm kulthoom and her Death

Uthman , Gabriel has informed me that Allah has married you to Umm Kulthoom…”[4]

Umm Kulthoom remained his wife until the 9 AH, when she fell ill and passed away in the month of sha’ban. The Prophet Muhammad prayed for her and sat on her grave.


Some of the contributions of Uthman to the building of the Muslim state
  1. The well of Roomah

After the Muslims arrived at the Madina there was a shortage of water supply. The only place they could get more water was from a well called Roomah. The well was owned by someone self, who would sell the water to its consumers. So Uthman very handsomely paid a high price of 35,000 dirhams (Silver coins) and donated the well to the Muslims.

  1. Expanding the Prophet’s Mosque

Soon after the Masjid of the Prophet Muhammad in Madina was build, it offered the five daily prayers, congregations, decision on military expeditions and much, the masjid became too small. So, Uthman came forward and bought the neighbouring land with his own money 25,000 or 20,000 dirhams, thus expanding the masjid.

  1. Funding the complete army for the battle of Tabouk

Uthman very generously funded the entire army that was to fight the Byzantine Empire at the battle of Tabouk.


Please continue onto Part 2

Uthman ibn Affan after the Death of the Prophet Muhammad

[1] An Nahl 16:41

[2] Bukhari 3699

[3] Ali Imran 3:155

[4] Ibn Majah

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