He learned to read and write at an early age, and then became a successful well-known merchant.
Uthman had been famous for his honesty and frankness even before embracing Islam. He and Abu Bakr (another companion of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) were close friends, and it was through Abu Bakr’s help that Uthman embraced Islam at the age of fourteen. Uthman was the fourth person to enter into Islam.
Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) said about Uthman:
“Every Prophet has an assistant, and my assistant will be Othman.”
Some years later Uthman married Prophet Mohammad’s daughter, Al Sayeda Ruqayya may Allah be pleased with her. In spite of his wealth and position, never stopped plotting against him as a result of embracing Islam and he was forced to immigrate to Ethiopia. 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 was also well-known for his limitless generosity. On various occasions he spent a great portion of his wealth for the welfare of the Muslims, for charity and for providing the Muslim armies with needed equipments. That is why he came to be known as ‘Ghani’ meaning ‘Generous.’
Just before the Battle of Badr Uthman’s wife, Ruqayya, got seriously ill, and he was excused by the Prophet (PBUH) from participating in the battle. The illness of Ruqayya proved fatal and she died, Othman married Al Sayeda Um Kulthoom (May Allah be pleased with her), another daughter of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH). Because he had the high privilege of having two daughters of the Prophet as wives Othman was known as ‘The One with the Two Lights.’ When Um Kulthoom died Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) said:
“If I had third daughter I would wed you to her (also).”
Uthman Ibn Affan was an honest, mild, generous and very kindly man, well-known 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 supported and cared for the needy of the whole Islamic community. In spite of his wealth, he lived a very simple life and slept on bare sand in the courtyard of Prophet Mohammad’s mosque. He was one of the ten companions that were given the good tidings of paradise during their lifetimes.
The Virtues of Othman:
The Companion Abu Musa Al-Ash’aree narrated:
“I performed ablution in my house and then went out and said: ‘Today I shall stick to the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) all this day of mine (in his service).’ I went to the Mosque and asked about the Prophet (PBUH). They said: ‘He has gone in this direction.’ So I followed his way, asking about him till he entered a place called The Well of Aris. I sat at its gate made of date-palm leaves till the Prophet (PBUH) performed ablution. Then I went up to him and saw him sitting at the well of Aris at the middle of its edge with his legs uncovered, hanging in the well. I greeted him, went back, and sat at the gate. I said: ‘Today I will be the gatekeeper of the Prophet (PBUH).�
Abu Bakr came and pushed the gate. I asked: ‘Who is it?’ He said: ‘Abu Bakr.’ I told him to wait, and then I went in and said: ‘O Messenger of Allah! Abu Bakr asks permission to enter.’ He said: ‘Admit him and give him the glad tidings that he will be in Paradise.’ So I went out and said to Abu Bakr: ‘Come in, and the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) gives you the glad tidings that you will be in Paradise.’ Abu Bakr entered and sat on the right side of the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) on the built edge of the well as the Prophet (PBUH) did and uncovered his legs and he praised Allah.
I returned and sat (at the gate). I had left my brother performing ablution and he intended to follow me. So I said to myself: ‘If Allah wants good for (my brother) He will bring him here.’
Suddenly somebody moved the door. I asked: ‘Who is it?’ He said: ‘ Umar ibn Al-Khattab.’ The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said: ‘Admit him and give him the glad tidings that he will be in Paradise.’ So I did, and he (Umar) entered and sat beside the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) on the built edge of the well on the left side and hung his legs in the well.
I returned (to the gate) and said (to myself): ‘If Allah wants good for (my brother), He will bring him here.’ Somebody came and moved the door. I asked: ‘Who is it?’ He replied: ‘ Uthman Ibn Affan.’ I asked him to wait and informed the Prophet (PBUH). He said: ‘Admit him and give him the glad tidings of entering Paradise after a calamity that will befall him.’ So I went to him and said: ‘Come in. The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) gives you the glad tidings of entering Paradise after a calamity that will befall you.’ Uthman then came in and found that the built edge of the well was occupied, so he sat opposite to the Prophet (PBUH) on the other side.”
The Companion Anas ibn Malik (May Allah be pleased with him) said:
The Prophet (PBUH) Once climbed mount Uhud with Abu Bakr, Omar and Othman. The mountain shook with them. The Prophet (PBUH) said (to the mountain):
“Be firm O Uhud! For on you there are no more than a Prophet and a Siddeeq and two martyrs.”
Uthman (May Allah be pleased with him) provided two hundred camels for the impoverished army of the Muslims complete with saddle blankets and reins. Moreover he distributed thousands of dinars (currency at that time) for the welfare of Islam.
Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) said:
“O Uthman! Allah has forgiven you your previous sins as well as your future sins, what you have hidden, as well as what you have made public and whatever is until the Day of Judgment.”
Uthman bought the land adjacent to Prophet Mohammad’s mosque in order to expand the mosque of the Messenger of Allah (PBUH).
The son of Omar (May Allah be pleased with him) said:
“The mosque during the lifetime of the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) was built of adobes, its roof of the leaves of date-palms and its pillars of the stems of date-palms. Abu Bakr did not alter it. Umar expanded it on the same pattern as it was in the lifetime of the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) by using adobes leaves of date-palms, and changing the pillars into wooden ones. Uthman changed it by expanding it to a great extent and built its walls with engraved stones and lime and made its pillars of engraved stones and its roof of teak wood.”
Aicha (May Allah be pleased with her) said:
“The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) was reclining in his house with his legs uncovered. Abu Bakr asked permission to enter and he permitted him to enter while he was in that state and they began talking. Then Omar asked permission to enter and he permitted him to enter while he was in the same state and they began talking. Then Uthman asked permission to enter and the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) sat up and adjusted his clothes and then he (Uthman) entered and they began talking. When they departed, I (Aicha) said: “(When) Abu Bakr and Umar entered you did not become enlivened and you did not (change your) state, (but) when Uthman entered, you sat up and adjusted your clothing.” The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) replied: “Should I not be bashful in front of one who the angels are bashful in front of?”
During Uthman’s rule the characteristics of Abu Bakr’s and Omar’s caliphates – impartial justice for all, mild and humane policies, striving in the path of God, and the expansion of Islam – continued. During Uthman’s rule the Muslim kingdom 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 ruled for twelve years. The first six years Muslims enjoyed 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 plotting against Uthman.
It may seem surprising that a ruler of such vast territories, whose armies were matchless, was unable to deal with these rebels. If Othman 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, however rebellious they might be. He preferred to solve it in a peaceful way and tried to persuade them with kindness and generosity. He well remembered hearing the Prophet (peace be on him) say:
“Once the sword is unsheathed among my followers, it will not be sheathed until the Last Day.”
The rebels demanded that he resign 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 the promise he had given to Prophet Mohammad (PBUH). “Perhaps God will clothe you with a shirt, Uthman” the Prophet (PBUH) 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 Othman, he was reciting the verse,
“So if they believe in what you believe, then they would be guided, but if they turn away the are averse to the Truth, and God is sufficient to deal with them, He is the All-Hearing, the All-Knowing” Qur’an (2:137)
Uthman died on the afternoon of Friday, 17 Zul Hijja, 35 A.H. � June 656 A.C. He was eighty-four years old.
Source: Muslim Students Association