Disappointed by the rebels, Hazrat ‘Abdullah bin Salam(ra) left. Upon noticing that it was difficult to murder Hazrat ‘Uthman(ra) by entering through the door, because the few people who were present on guard there were bent upon killing or dying; so they decided to assassinate Hazrat ‘Uthman(ra) by jumping over the wall of a neighbouring house. As such, with this intention, a few rebels jumped over the wall of a neighbouring house and sneaked into the room of Hazrat ‘Uthman(ra). When these people entered, Hazrat ‘Uthman(ra) was reciting the Holy Quran. After the siege had been laid, day and night, the only occupation of Hazrat ‘Uthman(ra) was to offer prayer or recite the Holy Quran, and he would not pay attention to any other work. In those days, the only other task that he performed before the rebels penetrated the house was to appoint two men in order to guard the treasury, because on that night, the Holy Prophet(sa) appeared to him in a vision and said, “O ‘Uthman(ra)! Break your fast with us this evening.” After this vision, Hazrat ‘Uthman(ra) was convinced that he would be martyred that day. Hence, taking his responsibility into account, Hazrat ‘Uthman(ra) ordered two men to stand guard by the gate of the treasury, so that no one would attempt to loot the treasury during the chaos and mischief.
Events Leading Up to the Martyrdom of Hazrat Uthman
When the rebels reached inside they found Hazrat ‘Uthman(ra) reciting the Holy Quran. Muhammad bin Abi Bakr was also among the attackers and due to the power he commanded over the rebels, he considered it his duty to be at the forefront of everything. He advanced and took hold of Hazrat ‘Uthman(ra) by his beard and gave it a violent tug. In response to this action of his, Hazrat ‘Uthman(ra) only said this much:
“O my brother’s son! If your father (Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra)) had been here now, he would never have done such a thing. What has happened to you? Are you displeased with me for the sake of God? Are you angry at me for anything other than the fact that I have made you fulfil the rights of God?”
Upon this, Muhammad bin Abi Bakr turned back in shame. However, the rest of the rebels remained there. Since definite news had been received that the army of Basrah would reach Madinah that night and this was their last opportunity, the rebels had decided that they would not return without completing their mission. One of them advanced and struck the head of Hazrat ‘Uthman(ra) with an iron rod. Then he kicked the Quran which was placed opposite Hazrat ‘Uthman(ra). The Holy Quran went tumbling towards Hazrat ‘Uthman(ra) and drops of blood fell upon it from his head. What to talk of dishonouring the Holy Quran – the virtue and honesty of these people became fully exposed by this event.
The verse upon which the blood of Hazrat ‘Uthman(ra) fell was a magnificent prophecy that was fulfilled in its own time with such grandeur that a person who possessed even the hardest of hearts closed his eyes, out of fear, after beholding a glimpse of its blood stained words. The verse was:
“Allah will surely avenge thee against them, for He is All-Hearing, All-Knowing.”1
After this a person by the name of Saudan advanced and desired to attack him with a sword. When he made his first strike, Hazrat ‘Uthman(ra) shielded himself with his hand and his hand was wounded. Upon this, he said, “By God the Exalted, this was the first hand to write the Holy Quran.” After this, Saudan made a second attack in an attempt to assassinate Hazrat ‘Uthman(ra) but his wife Na’ilah moved forward and stepped in between. This evil person, however, did not even hesitate to strike a lady; he attacked and her fingers were severed. Consequently, she got out of the way. After this, he made another attack upon Hazrat ‘Uthman(ra) and severely wounded him. Then, in the thought that perhaps he had not yet died and may survive, when Hazrat ‘Uthman(ra) was writhing in agony and fell unconscious due to the pain of his wounds, this wretched person immediately took to his neck and began to strangle him. This man did not release the neck of Hazrat ‘Uthman(ra) until his soul departed his physical body and flew to the heavenly world, eagerly accepting the invitation of the Holy Prophet(sa).2
[meaning, surely, to Allah we belong and to Him shall we return].3
At first, overwhelmed by the horror of this scene, the wife of Hazrat ‘Uthman(ra) was unable to speak. She finally called out for help and the people sitting at the door rushed inside. However, any help was now useless; what was to happen had already taken place. When the freed-slave of Hazrat ‘Uthman(ra) saw the blood-stained sword, which had been used to martyr Hazrat ‘Uthman(ra), in the hands of Saudan, he was unable to restrain himself. He advanced and severed the head of Saudan with his sword. In turn, one of his [Saudan’s] associates killed him. Now the throne of the Islamic Empire was empty of a Khalifah. The people of Madinah deemed further efforts to be futile and all of them returned to their respective homes. After martyring Hazrat ‘Uthman(ra) the rebels began to terrorize the members of his household. The wife of Hazrat ‘Uthman(ra) desired to move away and when she left, a wretched person from among them remarked to his associates, “Look at the size of her buttocks.”
Undoubtedly, for a respectable man, no matter what religion he belongs to, it is difficult to even fathom that the rebels would express such foul views at a time when they had just martyred the foremost (pioneer) Companion(ra) of the Holy Prophet(sa); his son-in-law, the King of the Muslim Empire and then, the Khalifah of the time. However, their indecency was so immense that no evil deed was beyond them. These rebels were neither in pursuit of any good objective, nor did their party consist of righteous people. Some of them were admirers of the deceptive, anti-Islam, strange and peculiar teachings of ‘Abdullah bin Saba, the Jew. Others were fascinated by [the concept of ] excessive socialism, rather, Bolshevism. Some were criminals who had served sentences and were looking to spill out their animosity, while others were robbers and bandits, who saw this conflict as a means of fulfilling their ends. In short, their indecency is not surprising. As a matter of fact, it would have been surprising if these people had not behaved in such a manner.
While the rebels were pillaging and plundering, another freed-slave could not restrain himself when he heard the screams and cries of the household of Hazrat ‘Uthman(ra). The slave attacked and killed the person who had killed the first slave. At this, they killed him as well. The rebels even took off the jewellery worn by the women and left the house laughing and mocking.
The Rebels Loot Baitul-Mal
Following this, the rebels made an open announcement to their people that they should head for baitul-mal and loot whatever they could lay their hands upon. The guards decided amongst themselves that the rebels should be left to do as they please, since there was nothing but two sacks of money in baitul- mal, the Khalifah of the time had been martyred and there was no use in fighting the rebels. The guards threw the keys of baitul-mal and left. As such, the rebels went to baitul-mal, opened it and looted whatever was stored inside. In this manner, the rebels placed a stamp of attestation upon the fact that they were bandits and robbers, and had no relation with Islam and the Muslims. Is it not surprising that those people who used to raise the objection against Hazrat ‘Uthman(ra) that he would give funds to those who were undeserving, the first thing they did after his martyrdom was to loot his house and then baitul-mal. However, God the Exalted did not allow their desires to be fulfilled in this respect either, because there was nothing more than a small amount of money in baitul-mal at the time, which was insufficient to satisfy their greed.