Hazrat Uthman bin Affan (ra)
Period of Khilafat: 644-656 AD
Hazrat ‘Uthman Ghani(ra) was elected the third Khalifah by the council appointed by Hazrat ‘Umar(ra) shortly before his death. When Hazrat ‘Umar(ra) was on his death bed, he appointed a council to elect the next successor. The Council consisted of:
- Hazrat ‘Abdur Rehman bin ‘Auf(ra)
- Hazrat Talha(ra)
- Hazrat Uthman Ghani(ra)
- Hazrat Sa’d(ra)
- Hazrat Zubair(ra)
Hazrat ‘Abdur Rehman Bin Auf(ra) was not willing to shoulder the great responsibility and opted out of the election in favor of the other five.
He was, therefore, appointed to seek a common census for the next Khalifah. Hazrat ‘Abdur Rahman bin ‘Auf(ra) took the opinions of the Council members and other prominent Muslims and the majority votes were in favor of Hazrat ‘Uthman Ghani(ra). He was, therefore, declared as the elected Khalifah and everyone took the oath of allegiance at his hands.
Hazrat ‘Uthman Ghani(ra) belonged to the well Known family, Banu Umayya of the Quraish. His lineage can be trace back to the Holy Prophet(saw) in the fifth generation before him. His generosity for the poor was so well known that he earned the title Ghani.
Hazrat ‘Uthman(ra) embraced Islam through the preaching of his close friend, Hazrat Abu Bakr. He was the forth person to embrace Islam, but he faced much hardships as his uncle started persecuting him. He migrated twice, first to Abyssinia and then to Medina.
The Holy Prophet(saw) held Hazrat ‘Uthman(ra) in great esteem, and married his daughter, Ruqayyah(ra) to him. On her death, the Holy Prophet(saw) married his second daughter, Ummi Kulthum(ra) to Hazrat ‘Uthman(ra). Thus, Hazrat ‘Uthman was called Dhunnurain, meaning the one with two lights.
During the Khilafat of Hazrat ‘Uthman(ra) the Islamic Empire expanded still further, A rebellion in Iran was crushed. In the north, the Romans were once again defeated by the Muslim forces led by Hazrat Amir Muawiah(ra). Then the Romans came by the sea to invade Egypt, but were once again repelled by the Muslim forces. As a result of these battles, the whole of Iran, Asia Minor and Egypt came under Muslim control. It was during his Khilafat that a navy and an Islamic fleet were established.
During his Khilafat, standard copies of the Holy Qur’an were prepared from the ones compiled by Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) and sent to all the provinces of the state. This was certainly his most important deed.
The Hoy Qur’an, as we see it today, was compiled during his Khilafat and under his direct supervision. The last six years of his Khilafat, however, passed in chaos and conflicts due to the conspiracies of certain groups including that of ‘Abdullah Bin Sabah, a Jew who had become a Muslim with an intention of weakening the Islamic state.
Hazrat ‘Uthman(ra) was then martyred on June 17, 656 AD, at the age of eighty-two, while he was reciting the Holy Qur’an . He certainly sacrificed his life for the integrity of Khilafat in the best interest of Islam. He was one of ten blessed ones to whom the Holy Prophet(saw) had given the glad tidings that they been rewarded the paradise.
(The concise Encyclopedia of Islam, Cyril Glasse, Stacey International, London, 1989, p 412; A book of Religious Knowledge, Waheed Ahmad, p.150)