The third Caliph of the Rashidun Caliphate and a close companion of the Holy Prophet ﷺ, indeed a role model for us all who seek to gain enlightenment by following the footsteps of those closer to Allah the Almighty. Only if we keep an open mind and learn about the personality traits of our beloved Prophet ﷺ and Sahaba Karaam (companions of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ), we can help the human race and earn rewards from Allah in return.
Allah’s messenger ﷺ said about Usman رضي الله عنه:
“Every prophet has a companion in paradise. My companion there is Usman.” – Tirmidhi, 3698
Masha Allah! Indeed, Usman رضي الله عنه was very dear to the Holy Prophet ﷺ.
Although he belonged to the well-off Umayya clan of Quraysh tribe of Makkah, he never engaged himself in the luxuries of this world. Always kept distance from haram practices of the people of Makkah, maintaining his modesty, strength of character, gentle mannerism, patient personality, and immense generosity. It was during his caliphate rule that Islam spread far and wide into Fars (Persia) in 650, and some areas of Khorāsān (present-day Afghanistan) in 651, also including the conquest of Armenia in his accomplishments. A great milestone of his reign was the compilation of a standard version of the Holy Qur’an, resultantly due to his great love for the Holy Book, making him standout among the other caliphs. Also, the establishment of the naval force for the facilitation of the Muslim armies across the Byzantine Empire and to Europe and Africa leading to the conquest of Cyprus.
Close Relationship with Prophet ﷺ
Arwa bint Kurayz, mother of Usman رضي الله عنه, was the granddaughter of Abdul Muttalib, and Muhammad ﷺ was the grandson of Abdul Muttalib. This close relation in turn made Usman رضي الله عنه a nephew of Muhammad ﷺ.
Dhu al-Nurayn (the possessor of the two lights)
Immediately after his acceptance of Islam, do note that he was an early convert, Usman رضي الله عنه got married to Rukaiyya رضي الله عنه; Muhammad’s ﷺ daughter. After she passed away, Usman رضي الله عنه got greatly depressed, and remained in deep grief at her demise. One day, the messenger of Allah stopped him at the gate of Masjid E Nabwi, saying Jibreel A.S. is here, and is informing me that your nikah with Umme Kulsoom ﷺ has been arranged. This was a blessing indeed as Usman رضي الله عنه, was once again the son in law of Muhammad ﷺ and husband of one of the most pious muslim women of that time, an honor which no other muslim companion holds. Muhammad ﷺ said, “If I had ten daughters, I would marry them all to Usman.”
Usman was known as Dhu al-Nurayn (“the possessor of the two lights”) because it was believed that no other man had ever been married to two daughters of a prophet.
Some scholars have categorized the title of Dhu-al-Nurayn pointing towards ﷺ Usman رضي الله عنه possessing the qualities of Siddiqueen and Shuhadaa. Meaning, he was given the title of Dhu al Nurayn as he was always pious, truthful, modest and ever-ready to spare from his wealth for the welfare of his people (Siddique), be it before he became Muslim or afterwards and also that he was a shaheed (martyr), as someone killed him during his caliphate.
Further clarity may be sought with an ayah in Surah Al-Hadid verse 19, for defining the meaning of Dhu al-Nurayn, where Allah says:
‘And those who have believed in Allah and His messengers – those are [in the ranks of] the supporters of truth and the martyrs, with their Lord. For them is their reward and their light.1 But those who have disbelieved and denied Our verses – those are the companions of Hellfire.’ (57:19)
Verily, Allah has combined the quality of believers who are amongst the siddiqueen and shuhadaa in a single ayah, raising the status of a Muslim who encompasses both the virtues in himself for being entitled to immense reward and a blessed light.
Modest & Generous
Usman رضي الله عنه was modest by nature, even in the times of jahiliyyah (before Islam) he never divulged himself in drinking alcohol or adultery, while it was a norm for others. He separated himself from such atrocities and used to respond to his refusal for these by saying; ‘I saw that it made the intellect flee in its entirety, and I’ve never known of something to do this and then return in its entirety.’ His heart and mind saw the basic flaw in adopting a lifestyle of ignorance, cruelty, and extravagance, while he had all means to do so as he belonged to a rich family and ran a business of his own.
An educated, well-mannered, elegant human being, stood out amongst his peers and was severely empathetic towards the poor and the needy, sparing all he could to assist them in hardship. After Muhammad ﷺ declared himself Allah’s messenger, in turn facing resistance from every corner, Usman رضي الله عنه made sure to exceed in spending in the path of Allah for the expansion of Islam. On one such instance, at the event of Tabuk for equipping the army for their battle with the Romans, Usman رضي الله عنه gave nine hundred and forty camels along with sixty horses. He had also given ten thousand dinars for the same. The Prophet ﷺ remarked, “Whatever Uthman does from this day onward, he will suffer no harm.” Subhan Allah, such grandness in his level of generosity, going way beyond his financial security for himself, only to please Allah the Almighty and aid in the expansion of Islam.
In Medina when the believers started to increase in number, it was the need of the hour to expand the mosque (Masjid e Nabwi), Usman رضي الله عنه came forward three times at the request of Muhammad ﷺ for the expansion, and securing for himself ‘a house in jannah’ as referenced by Prophet Muhammad ﷺ.
Another such example of his extreme generosity is seen at the time when the people who had migrated to Medina were in a difficult situation regarding buying water at a high price from a Jewish trader. These muslims had left much of their wealth and possessions in Makkah and now were sharing facilities and essentials with the residents of Medina (Ansaar). The jew misused this opportunity and created a big hurdle for the people of Medina by placing his hold on this well. The Holy Prophet ﷺ mentioned his desire in front of his companions of buying this well from the Jew. Usman رضي الله عنه immediately decided to fulfill the desire of his beloved companion ﷺ, and eventually letting the people of Medina take the water from the well for free. It was accounts like these which secured him the title of ‘Al-Ghani’ meaning ‘The Generous.’
Indeed, this caliph was the most generous, modest, patient, enduring, soft-spoken, and kind-hearted amongst the Prophet’s most loved companions. His desire to let go of all of his possessions for the sake of gaining the pleasure of Allah, is praise worthy for all mankind. This quality of his made him one of Messenger’s beloveds, and also entitled him for special rewards from Allah indeed. The Holy Prophet ﷺ was at times deeply overjoyed with Usman’s رضي الله عنه generosity, and he expressed his love for Usman رضي الله عنه by mentioning him as his companion in Jannah, Masha Allah. It sounds right if we dare to say that Usman رضي الله عنه was a reflection of Abu Bakr رضي الله عنه, and Abu Bakr رضي الله عنه was a reflection of the Holy Prophet ﷺ.
Angels Showed Modesty to Usman رضي الله عنه
Ayesha رضي الله عنه reported: Allah’s Messenger ﷺ was lying in the bed in my apartment with his thigh or his shank uncovered that Abu Bakr sought permission to get in. It was given to him and he conversed in the same very state (the Prophet’s thigh or shank uncovered). Then ‘Umar sought permission for getting in and it was given to him and he conversed in that very state. Then ‘Uthman sought permission for getting in; Allah’s Messenger ﷺ sat down and he set right his clothes. Muhammad (one of the narrators) said: I do not say that it happened on the same day. He (Uthman) then entered and conversed and as he went out, A’isha said: Abu Bakr entered and you did not stir and did not observe much care (in arranging your clothes), then ‘Umar entered and you did not stir and did not arrange your clothes, then ‘Uthman entered and you got up and set your clothes right, thereupon he said: Should I not show modesty to one whom even the Angels show modesty.’ (Sahih Muslim, Book 31, Number 5906)
Modesty at its peak, Subhan Allah, even the Holy Prophet ﷺ praised Usman رضي الله عنه for his bashful and modest nature, and as foretold in many ahadith, modesty is a part of faith, deeming it as a seal of completion for a believer’s religion.
Glad Tidings of Paradise After Facing a Trial
Abu Musa al-Ash’ari reported that while Allah’s Messenger ﷺ was in one of the gardens of Medina, reclining against a pillow and fixing a stick in a mud, that a person came asking for the gate to be opened, whereupon he said: Open it for him and give him glad tidings of Paradise and, lo, it was Abu Bakr. I opened (the gate) for him and gave him the glad tidings of Paradise. Then another person asked for the door to be opened, whereupon he said: Open it and give him the glad tidings of Paradise. He said: I went away and, lo, it was ‘Umar. I opened it for him and gave him the glad tidings of Paradise. Then still another man asked for the door to be opened, and thereupon Allah’s Apostle ﷺ said: Open it and give him the glad tidings of Paradise after a trial would afflict him. I went and, lo, it was ‘Uthman bin Affan’. I opened the door and gave him the glad tidings of Paradise and informed him (what the Holy Prophet ﷺ had said). Thereupon he said: O Allah, grant me steadfastness. Allah is one Whose help is to be sought. (Sahih Muslim, Book 31, Number 5909)
Alas! A strong hearted, courageous, and brave servant of Allah, who remained steadfast in the time of hardship when the rebellions had besieged his house, and riots had spread far and wide in Makkah. His food and water were held by those who were spreading conspiracy against him and wanted him to step down. But the faithful believer of Allah didn’t want any bloodshed in his reign, and neither did he intend to remove the cloth that Allah had intended him to wear and not remove at any cost. He رضي الله عنه didn’t allow any guards to be appointed for his safety, nor did he wish to flee from the neighborhood of his beloved Muhammad ﷺ, and kept reasoning with the trouble-makers, to refrain from spilling bloodshed and giving way to anarchy in the holy land in case he was martyred. A golden example of patience, endurance, piety and bravery, where no resistance was shown by the caliph of an Islamic state to save him from any accusation of bloodshed for saving his life.
The Ten with Glad Tidings of Paradise
Also remembered as al-`Asharaa al-Mubasharûn bi-l-Janna, meaning Usman رضي الله عنه was mentioned in a hadith as those (along with other 9 companions) whom the Prophet ﷺ gave the fortunate news of being in Paradise in the hereafter.
Narrated ʿAbdur-Rahman bin ʿAwf that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: Abu Bakr is in Paradise, ʿUmar is in Paradise, ʿUthman is in Paradise, ʿAli is in Paradise, Talhah is in Paradise, Az-Zubair is in Paradise, ʿAbdur-Rahman bin ʿAwf is in Paradise, Saʿd bin Abi Waqqas is in Paradise, Saʿeed is in Paradise, Abu ʿUbaidah bin Al-Jarrah is in Paradise.
Muhammad ﷺ loved Usman رضي الله عنه deeply, and expressed his affection for him at multiple times. A true believer and humanitarian with a heart of gold, who is a beacon of light and a guiding spirit for all humanity. His modesty, piousness, generosity, love for the Prophet ﷺ, and fear of Allah, entitled him worthy of a place in jannah, a fortunate news that was given to him by the Holy Prophet ﷺ himself. A role model for all the coming generations, reaffirming our faith in humanity, and inclining us towards leading our lives on the footsteps of Allah’s beloved.