Hazrat Uthman (ra), one of the handful of people who first embraced Islam, had been one of the closest people to our Prophet (saas) throughout his life. He was the son-in-law of our Prophet (saas) and the third Caliph. Because he was twice honored with being the son-in-law of our Prophet (saas), he was called “Thun-Nurayn” (Zunnorain), meaning “the possessor of two lights.” He participated in all the struggles of our Prophet (saas) except for the Battle of Badr. When Hazrat Uthman (ra) embraced Islam, he was subjected to torture by the idolaters. When migration to Ethiopia was allowed, he became one of the first immigrants to Ethiopia together with his wife Mrs. Ruquayyah, our Prophet’s (saas) daughter.
Hazrat Abu Bakr’s (ra) communication of Islam became instrumental in Hazrat Uthman’s (ra) embracing Islam. He was one of the precious companions of our Prophet (saas) who was exemplary to all Muslims with his superior moral qualities and beautiful speech.
Apart from his refined and influential manner of speaking , he had an extraordinarily retentive memory and he committed the Holy Qur’an to memory. Having a very profound knowledge of hadith, he also made great services to Islam by writing and recording the revelations.
Hazrat Uthman’s (ra) spending in the way of Allah
Hazrat Uthman (ra), who was engaged in commerce before converting to Islam, was a wealthy and greatly respected merchant of his tribe. When he was honored with Islam, he spent his entire wealth which Allah had granted him for the spread of Islam and the welfare of Muslims.
In a time when there was a water shortage in Medina, he paid twenty thousand dirhems, which was quite a sum of money for that time, to buy the Well of Ruma and donated it to the service of Muslims who were paying for the water taken from this well. He was also the person who met all the needs of the army, consisting of ten thousand Muslims, who would participate in the expedition to Tabuk. This aside, in a time when there was famine in Medina, Hazrat Uthman (ra) purchased a hundred loads of wheat that arrived from Damascus by camel and distributed them to the needy and the companions of our Prophet (saas) in Medina.
Hazrat Uthman’s (ra) Superior Services as a Caliphate
Following the martyrdom of Hazrat Umar (ra), Hazrat Uthman (ra) was chosen as Caliph by a committee. Because he was considered deserving of this duty by the Islamic community, nobody objected to this decision and everyone offered allegiance to him. Hazrat Uthman (ra) no doubt rendered one of his most important services in spreading the morality of Islam during his Caliphate by ordering the production of multiple copies of the text of the Qur’an as it exists today, and sending them to all the Muslim provinces. During the time of Hazrat Uthman (ra), the copies of the Qur’an were produced, a copy was left in Medina and others were sent to Mecca, Damascus, Kufa, Basra, Egypt and other provinces. Due to this honorable and great service of Hazrat Uthman (ra), he was given the name “Nashri al-Qur’an”, meaning “the one who spreads the Qur’an.”
During his Caliphate, Hazrat Uthman (ra) achieved many other great accomplishments, one of which was the establishment of the first Muslim navy on the coasts of Syria that made its first expedition to Cyprus. Following this first naval triumph, other expeditions were made to other islands in the Mediterranean in the following years, with great victories following these expeditions.
During his military expeditions both on land and sea, and as a requisite of the morality of Islam, Hazrat Uthman (ra) always assumed a just and compassionate attitude. He observed the rights of the People of the Book and treated them with compassion and justice.
During the conquest of Dabil (Dvin), which was an Armenian city during the Caliphate of Hazrat Uthman (ra), he granted indemnity to the Christians, Jews and zoroastrians living in the city and guaranteed the protection of their sanctuaries.
The following letter which Hazrat Uthman (ra) wrote to the financial and administrative authorities when he became the Caliph reveals his understanding, which was in full conformity with the morality of the Qur’an:
"Almighty Allah had created nothing for a vain purpose. He created everything as right. Therefore He accepts nothing but the right. Take whatever you take as right; and give those things you give away to the needy. Be especially attentive to honesty. Conduct yourself honestly and don’t be the one violating it, for those violating it also undertakes the sins of those coming later. Be attentive to be loyal; do not violate the rights of the orphan and comply with the conventions. Be aware that Allah is hostile to those who oppress the orphan.”
This aside, he always allowed the repair of demolished churches and the construction of new ministries and synagogues.
During the Caliphate of Hazrat Uthman (ra), the Muslim army had great victories against the Byzantine Empire, and Armenia, Caucasia, Khorasan, Marrakesh, Karman, Africa and many others were included in the territories of the Islamic state.
The first Sermon of Hazrat Uthman (ra)
When Hazrat Uthman (ra) came to the pulpit to preach his first sermon, he told the following after giving thanks to Allah:
“Muslims! You are indeed living in the blessings of peace and security in Islam. You have come to the end of your lives with this blessing. May your life end with goodness. Day and night, you have struggled with all your might and main. But be well aware that the yeast of this world is decisive. May the life of this world not deceive you. Do not be proud towards Allah and take lessons from those who preceeded you. Do not be idle and insensitive; be alert. Allah is not heedless. Now where are those men of means who preceeded us and loved this world, felt attached to it and had palaces everywhere? Has this world ever remained faithful to them? Take at least lessons from it, and do not overestimate this world which Allah despises. Get prepared for the Hereafter, which is your eternal abode.”
Hazrat Uthman (ra) concluded his sermon saying, "There is a good example in the following verse” and read:
I seek refuge in Allah from the accursed satan:
Make a metaphor for them of the life of the world. It is like water which We send down from the sky and the plants of the earth combine with it but then become dry chaff scattered by the winds. Allah has absolute power over everything. (Surat al-Kahf, 45)
Wise words of Hazrat Uthman (ra)
“Take heed from the past and work for the good.”
"Almighty Allah granted this world to you so that you can seek the life of the Hereafter. He did not grant it to you so that you feel inclined to it!"
“Hurry for the good deeds you can do before death catches up with you.”
"O people! Avoid opposing the commandments of Allah, for avoidance from opposing Allah’s commandments is a loot… A servant of Allah should fear from being resurrected blind although he was the one able to see. A single word is sufficient for the one who understands wisdom. Those who are deaf in soul already do not hear the right. Be aware that that person fears nothing if Allah is with him.”
The news of Hazrat Uthman’s (ra) martyrdom was given by our Prophet (saas)
Our Prophet (saas) sent a messenger to Hazrat Uthman (ra) to call him and when he came he told him:
“You will be murdered and die a martyr! Be patient. May Allah give you patience.”
“Never take off the shirt of Caliphate that Allah will put on you for ten years and six months.” While Hazrat Uthman (ra) was leaving, our Prophet (saas) told him: “May Allah grant you patience. You will be martyred while you will be fasting and you will break your fast with me!” (Imam Suyuti, our Prophet (saas) with his Extraordinary Features, Iz Publishing, Istanbul, 2003, p.729)
Hazrat Uthman (ra) was martyred on 35 Hijr (the year 657 according to the Gregorian Calendar) by some rebels in his home.
Our Prophet’s (saas) words about Hazrat Uthman (ra)
"Uthman is the one with the most sense of shame in the ummah and the most graceful.”
"Every prophet has a companion in the Garden. My companion there is Uthman."
“My Lord! Remove Uthman’s grief and sorrow on the Day of Judgment, for he removed much of our grief.”
“Uthman is from me, and I am from Uthman.”