I now return to the series of events, once again. On the basis of this forged letter and due to their pride of having taken control of Madinah, the rebels began to openly perpetrate cruelties. On the one hand, Hazrat ‘Uthman(ra) was being pressed to step down from Khilafat and on the other hand, the people of Madinah were being harassed so that they would refrain from attempting to help him. The people of Madinah were completely helpless as 2,000 to 3,000 armed soldiers were blockading the streets, junctions and gates of the city. As it was, to fight such an army was not easy, but it was a far-fetched idea to even consider confronting the rebel army in conditions where they would not even allow a few people to gather and it was impossible to collect in groups larger than two or four. Even if a few daring men opted to fight the rebels, this would have resulted in nothing but massacre. The mosque was a place where people could gather. However, the rebels had very cunningly taken measures to prevent this as well. They would spread out in the mosque before prayer and keep the people of Madinah at a distance from one another so that they could not do anything.
Despite this commotion and conflict Hazrat ‘Uthman(ra) would regularly come to the mosque to lead the prayers. The rebels would not hinder him in this regard and stop him from leading the prayers, until the first Friday approached after their occupation of Madinah. After leading the Friday prayer Hazrat ‘Uthman(ra) admonished them and said:
“O enemies of Islam! Fear God the Exalted. All the people of Madinah know that the Holy Prophet(sa) has cursed you. So repent and erase your sins through deeds of virtue because Allah the Exalted does not erase sins with anything other than good deeds.”
In response Muhammad bin Maslamah Ansari(ra) stood up and said, “I testify to this fact.” The rebels realised that although their associates thought ill of Hazrat ‘Uthman(ra), if the companions began to testify in his support and their party learnt that the Holy Prophet(sa) had explicitly made a prophecy about them, then the public may leave them. For this reason they began to stop this practice. The robber Hakim bin Jabalah, who I have mentioned earlier, took hold of Muhammad bin Maslamah(ra), an intimate Companion of the Holy Prophet(sa) who had stood up in support of Khilafat; not to create any kind of disorder, and forcibly sat him down. Then, Zaid bin Thabit(ra), who had been endowed the magnificent duty of gathering the Holy Quran, stood up in order to testify, but he too was made to sit down by another rebel.1
After this, a member of this party, which professed love for Islam, snatched from Hazrat ‘Uthman(ra) the staff with which the Holy Prophet(sa) use to take support while delivering the sermon and after him Hazrat Abū Bakr(ra) and Hazrat ‘Umar(ra) had done the same. He did not stop at this, in fact, he placed this memorabilia of the Holy Prophet(sa), which was a source of thousands of blessings for the Muslim nation, on his knees and broke it. They may have held enmity towards Hazrat ‘Uthman(ra), they may have harboured hatred for Khilafat but as for the Holy Prophet(sa), they professed love for him! How then did they have the courage to break this memorabilia of the Holy Prophet(sa) with such contempt? Today, Europe has reached the furthest extremity of atheism, but even they still possess a sense that the memorable items left by their elders are to be valued. However, these people, despite claiming to be the followers of Islam, broke the blessed staff of the Holy Prophet(sa) and tossed it away.2 This demonstrates that their passion to serve Islam was nothing but mere show; for the leaders of this party were as distant from Islam as the biggest enemies of Islam today.
Even after breaking the staff of the Holy Prophet(sa) the hearts of these rebels were not satisfied. They began to shower stones upon that mosque the foundation of which had been laid by Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah, may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, and which had been erected by extremely holy hands. They continued to pelt the companions and the people of Madinah, and drove them out of Masjid-e-Nabawi. They struck Hazrat ‘Uthman(ra) with so many stones that he fell off the pulpit in a state of unconsciousness and a few men carried him home.3
This was the example of the love that these rebels held for Islam and for the bearers of the Islamic shariah. These were the ‘high morals’ which they desired to establish in the Muslim world by removing Hazrat ‘Uthman(ra) from Khilafat. After this incident who can say that the party which stood up in opposition to Hazrat ‘Uthman(ra) had any connection with the companions, or that in reality, they had been compelled to cause a revolt due to certain measures taken by Hazrat ‘Uthman(ra), or that their indignation for Islam was the cause of their rage and fury. Their crimes are sufficient to prove that neither did they have any connection with Islam, nor did they hold any love for religion, nor any affection for the companions. They were bent upon ruining the peace and security of the country in order to fulfil their hidden motives and were trying to penetrate the fortress of Islam.
1 Tarikhut-Tabari, vol. 5, p. 155, Dhikru Masiri Mann Sara Ila Dhi Khashabin Min Ahli Misra….., Published by Darul-Fikr, Beirut, 2002 edition [Publishers]
2 Tarikhut-Tabari, vol. 5, p. 164, Dhikrul-Khabari ‘An Qatlihi Wa Kaifa Qutila, Published by Darul-Fikr, Beirut, 2002 edition [Publishers]
3 Tarikhut-Tabari, vol. 5, p. 155, Dhikru Masiri Mann Sara Ila Dhi Khashabin Min Ahli Misra….., Published by Darul-Fikr, Beirut, 2002 edition [Publishers]