In the end, out of frustration, the scheme devised by the rebels was that they would stone the house of Hazrat ‘Uthman(ra) at night fall when everyone would fall asleep. In this manner, they would provoke the members of the household so that they too would throw stones in retaliation; so the rebels could say that they [the household of Hazrat ‘Uthman(ra)] initiated the attack and they were compelled to respond. However, Hazrat ‘Uthman(ra) had prohibited all the members of his household from retaliating. One day, upon finding an opportunity, he approached the wall and said:
‘O people! In your view I am a sinner, but what wrong have the others committed? When you throw stones there is also a risk of others being injured.’
The rebels plainly denied and said that they had not thrown any stones. Hazrat ‘Uthman(ra) said, “If you do not throw them, then who does?” The rebels replied, “God the Exalted probably throws them.”
To this, Hazrat ‘Uthman(ra) responded:
‘You speak lies! If God the Exalted had thrown stones at us, then not one of His stones would have missed; but the stones thrown by you fall off target as well.’ 2
After saying this, Hazrat ‘Uthman(ra) left them to their work.
1 We seek refuge with Allah from such a thing. [Publishers]
2 Tarikhut-Tabari, vol. 5, p. 177, Dhikrul-Khabari ‘An Qatlihi Wa Kaifa Qutila, Published by Darul-Fikr, Beirut, 2002 edition [Publishers]