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Uthman b. Madhʿun – The Righteous Predecessor

This article has been reposted from this blog, full credits go to the author you can check out his full blog here: A Marginalia to Mu’jam

السلام على عثمان بن أمير المؤمنين، سمِي عثمان بن مظعون

Peace be upon Uthman the son of the Commander of the faithful, the namesake of Uthman b. Madh`un [The Final Imam in Ziyarat al-Nahiya]

 ياسر وأصحاب لهم الَّذِينَ يَظُنُّونَ أَنَّهُمْ مُلَاقُو رَبِّهِمْ وَأَنَّهُمْ إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعُونَ نزلت في علي عليه السلام وعثمان بن مظعون وعمار بن

“Those who are assured that they are going to meet their Lord and that they are to be returned to Him” (2:46) was revealed about Ali عليه السلام, Uthman b. Madh`un, Ammar b. Yasir and their fellows [Ibn Abbas in Tafsir al-Hibari]

Lineage and Family

عثمان بن مظعون بن حبيب بن وهب بن حذافة بن جمح بن عمرو بن هصيص بن كعب بن لؤي بن غالب، الجُمحي القرشي. يكنّى أبا السائب

He was Uthman b. Madh`un b. Habib b. Wahb b. Hudhafa b. Jumah b. `Amr b. Hasis b. Ka`b b. Luayy b. Ghalib, al-Jumahi al-Qarashi. His Kuniyya was Aba al-Sa`ib.

He had two brothers – Qudama and Abdallah. His sister Zaynab bt. Madh`un was the wife of Umar b. al-Khattab and bore for him Abdallah b. Umar, Hafsa bt. Umar and the two Abd al-Rahman’s.

He married Khawla bt. Hakim and had with her Sa`ib and Abd al-Rahman [Siyar A`lam al-Nubala]

Physical Description

كان شديد الاَدمة، ليس بالقصير ولا بالطويل، كبير اللحية عريضها

He was very dark, neither tall nor short [medium-sized], having a beard wide in breadth [Usd al-Ghaba]

In Jahiliyya

He was considered one of the wise ones even in the period before Islam. Those who were not led astray by their desires but let their pure intellects guide them. It is because of this that he never touched intoxicants and said about them:

لا أشرب شراباً يذهب عقلي، ويضحك بي مَن هو أدنى منّي، ويحملني على أن أنكح كريمتي

I do not drink a liquid that makes my intellect disappear, causes someone who is inferior to me to laugh at me and can even lead me to perform intercourse with my own daughter! [al-Istiab fi Ma`rifat al-Ashab]

Conversion to Islam

It is said that Uthman b. Madh`un was the fourteenth man to accept Islam.

He relates:

كنتُ أسلمت استحياءً من رسول الله صلّى الله عليه وآله لكثرة ما كان يعرض عليّ الإسلام، ولم يقرّ الإسلام في قلبي، فكنتُ ذات يوم عنده حال تأمله، فشخص بصره نحو السماء كأنه يستفهم شيئاً، فلما سُري عنه سألته عن حاله، فقال صلّى الله عليه وآله: نعم، بينا أنا أُحدّثك إذ رأيت جبرئيلَ في الهواء، فأتاني بهذه الآية: إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَأْمُرُ بِالْعَدْلِ وَالْإِحْسَانِ … وقرأها عليّ إلى آخرها، فقرَ الإسلام في قلبي، وأتيتُ عمّه أبا طالب فأخبرته، فقال: يا آلَ قريش اتبعُوا محمداً ترشُدوا، فإنه لا يأمركم إلاّ بمكارم الأخلاق

I only accepted Islam because of the embarrassment I felt in front of the messenger of Allah صلّى الله عليه وآله for he used to invite me to Islam constantly [and I could not turn him down], however Islam had not yet settled in my heart. I was with him one day when he turned his eyes to the sky, as though he were listening to something, when he returned to a normal state I asked him about what had happened to him – he صلّى الله عليه وآله said: yes, while I was speaking with you I saw Jibril in the air, he came to me with this verse: “Allah orders you towards justice and doing good …” (16:90) and he recited the verse to its end. This is when Islam settled in my heart [I became fully convinced of it]. I went to see his uncle Abu Talib and informed him of this, he said: O people of Quraysh, follow Muhammad and you will be guided, for he does not invite you except to the most exemplary morals [Majma al-Bayan]

The two Hijras

When Uthman accepted Islam and announced it, the Quraysh began to persecute him as they did others who had done the same. Banu Jumah used to trouble and beat him despite his honourable station within their clan. When the trials intensified, Allah the Exalted permitted some early Muslims to migrate and make the first Hijra to Abyssinia. They came out secretly and found two merchant ships at the coast which carried them away leaving behind some of the Quraysh who were on their tracks.

وآل مظعون ممّن أوعَب في الخروج إلى الهجرة، رجالُهم ونساؤهم، ولم يَبقَ منهم بمكّة أحد، حتّى أُغلِقَت دورهم

The Family of Madh`un were among those who left no one behind when they came out to emigrate, neither men nor women, no one among them remained in Makka, even their houses in Makka were locked [Tabaqat of Ibn Sa`d]

They took such a drastic step because they trusted the words of the prophet about their being a just king who would give them refuge i.e. Najashi. This attests to their great faith in Islam.

Uthman subsequently returned to Makka when the false news spread that the Quraysh had embraced Islam only to find that they were unchanged in their ways and even harsher in their treatment of Muslims.

The only thing which helped him at this juncture was the relation of Jiwar [lit. neighbour] which he entered into with al-Walid b. al-Mughira. The Jahili Arabs were very scrupulous in maintaining this institution. It was considered the height of dishonour to let any harm befall someone whom you have accepted as a Jar.

 لمّا رأى عثمان بن مظعون ما عليه أصحاب رسول الله صلّى الله عليه وآله من البلاء وهو يغدو ويروح في أمان الوليد بن المغيرة، قال: واللهِ إنّ غُدُوّي ورَواحي آمناً بجوار رجلٍ من أهل الشرك، وأصحابي وأهل ديني يَلقَون مِن البلاء والأذى في الله ما لا يصيبني، لنَقصٌ كبير في نفسي! فمشى إلى الوليد فقال له: يا أبا عبدشمس، وَفَت ذمّتُك، قد رَدَدتُ إليك جوارك. قال: لِمَ يا ابنَ أخي؟! لعلّه آذاك أحدٌ مِن قومي، قال: لا، ولكني راضٍ بجوار الله ولا أريد أن أستجير بغيره، قال الوليد: فانطِلقْ إلى المسجد فاردُدْ علَيّ جواري علانيةً كما أجَرتُك علانية. فانطلقا فخرجا حتى أتيا المسجد …

When Uthman b. Madh`un saw what the companions of the messenger of Allah صلّى الله عليه وآله were facing in terms of persecution while he was waking and going to sleep in safety because of the protection of al-Walid b. al-Mughira – he said: by Allah, my waking and sleeping in safety in the Jiwar of one of the men of Shirk – while my companions are facing persecution and mistreatment in the way of Allah which does not extend to me – is a great deficiency in my person! So he walked to al-Walid and said to him: O Aba Abd al-Shams, you have discharged your obligation, I have returned to you the protection you extended to me. He said: Why do you do this O the son of my brother? Has one of my kinsmen mistreated you? he said: no, but I am pleased with the protection of Allah, I do not want to seek protection from other than Him, al-Walid said: then go to the sanctuary [Ka`ba] and announce your repudiation of my protection to all, the way I had announced my protection of you in front of everyone. So they came out together until they reached the sanctuary … [Seera of Ibn Hisham]

Uthman began to taste again the difficulties faced by other Muslims as a result of this decision. Later, he and the other Muslims migrated to Yathrib upon the instruction of the prophet. Thus, he is counted among those who made two Hijras.

Injury in the way of Allah

ومرّ عثمان بن مظعون بمجلسٍ من قريش، ولبيد بن ربيعة بن مالك بن كلاب القيسي ينشدهم:

It is said that Uthman b. Madh`un passed by a gathering of the Quraysh in which Labid b. Rabi`a b. Malik b. Kilab al-Qaysi was reciting poetry to them:

ألا كلّ شيءٍ ما خلا الله باطل

Know that everything apart from Allah is a falsehood

فقال عثمان: صدقت

Uthman said: you have spoken the truth!

فقال لبيد:

Labid continued:

 وكلُّ نعيم لا محالة زائلُ

And every delightful thing must without a doubt come to an end

فقال عثمان: كذبت، نعيم أهل الجنة لا يزول. قال لبيد بن ربيعة: يا معشر قريش، والله ما كان يؤذى جليسكم، فمتى حدث فيكم هذا؟ فقال رجل من القوم: إن هذا سفيه في سفهاء معه قد فارقوا ديننا، فلا تجدن في نفسك من قوله، فرد عليه عثمان حتى سرى – أي: عظم – أمرهما، فقام إليه ذلك الرجل، فلطم عينه فخضرها، والوليد بن المغيرة قريب يرى ما بلغ من عثمان، فقال: أما والله يا ابن أخي إن كانت عينك عما أصابها لغنية، فقد كنت في ذمة منيعة. فقال عثمان: بلى، والله إن عيني الصحيحة لفقيرة إلى ما أصاب أختها في الله، وإني لفي جوار من هو أعز منك وأقدر يا أبا عبد شمس

Uthman interjected: you have lied! the delights of paradise will never cease!

Labid said: O assembly of Quraysh, by Allah the one who sits for you [to recite poetry] was never disturbed in the past, when did this change come to pass among you?

A man in the group said: this one [i.e. Uthman] is a fool among other fools who have abandoned our religion, so do not give mind to what he says.

Uthman defended himself verbally until the argument became intense, then the man stood up, came to him and hit him in his eye such that it blackened.

al-Walid b. al-Mughira who was nearby and seeing what happened to Uthman said to him: by Allah O son of my brother, your eye was more worthy than what has been done to it for you were in a secure pact [of protection].

Uthman said: rather by Allah, my healthy eye is less worthy when compared to what has befallen its counterpart in the way of Allah. I am in the protection of One who is mightier than you and more powerful O Aba Abd Shams!

فقال عثمان بن مظعون فيما أصيب من عينه:

فإن تك عيني في رضا الرب نالها     يدا ملحد في الدين ليس بمهتد

فقد عوض الرحمن منها ثوابه     ومن يرضه الرحمن يا قوم يسعد

فإني وإن قلتم غوي مضلل     سفيه على دين الرسول محمد

أريد بذاك الله والحق ديننا     على رغم من يبغي علينا ويعتدي

Uthman said about his eye which was injured:

So if my eye has been struck in seeking the pleasure of my Lord  …  by an unbelieving hand unguided in the religion

Then the All-Merciful has surely compensated in return for it its reward … and whomever the All-Merciful is pleased with than O people he is sure to be gladdened

And I, even though you have described me as misguided, astray  … and foolish, am upon the religion of the messenger Muhammad 

I only desire by that Allah, and our religion is the truth … despite the one who hates on us and becomes an enemy [Hilyat al-Awliya of Abu Nuaym]

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