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‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan, may Allah be pleased

with him
‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan
Any critical comments in the following about shi‘ism are certainly not intended as license for the
increasingly barbaric atrocities committed against ordinary shi‘as across the so-called Muslim
world by sectarians whose claim to ‘sunnism’ is tenuous at best. That insurgent ‘sunnism’ should
justify its existence by attacks on people whose only sin is by an accident of birth when their
own sunnism is also by an accident of birth, rather than engaging in reasoned, courteous and
convivial conversation with them, is a tacit admission of intellectual, spiritual and human
bankruptcy. It goes without saying that the same applies to shi‘a sectarians guilty of similar
crimes. Whereas we have no hostility for ‘shi‘as’ or ‘sunnis’ per se, we reserve a special distaste
for scholars who mislead people, of whatever confessional persuasion they may be.
* * *
How extraordinary and how paradoxical it is when opposites meet. It is well said in the Arabic
proverb “whatever increases beyond the limit is transformed into its opposite”. Thus, in the
modern age we have witnessed the rise of excessive and ostentatious erudition in texts, which we
most often associate with sectarian wahhabis/salafis erroneously called ‘sunnis’ by the world’s
media and a sizeable contingent of academics. Yet this superficially learned but dismally
ignorant cult of texts – oblivious to the dictum of the Imam of the people of hadith and the
Sunnah, Malik ibn Anas, that “knowledge is a light; it is not a great deal of narration” – and
which has itself been rendered obsolete by databases and search engines, has learned to play both
ends of the sunni-shi’a spectrum and also produced ‘sunni’ votaries of the family of the Prophet,
peace be upon him, who are in reality engaged in the covert introduction of shi’ism itself into
Islam, a story with long antecedents in history.
This covert shi’ism has long had as its apparently most sensible claim that ‘the Umayyads’ were
the worst thing to happen to the Muslims. Many naïve Muslims – and the believer is by
definition naïve and trusting, although he is not bitten from the same snake-hole twice – have
found themselves lured into the seemingly quite reasonable thesis that the Umayyads were
absolutely responsible for everything that went wrong with Islam. We note here, almost in
parentheses, the telling note of dualism, pitting an ultimate good against an ultimate evil, a
Zoroastrianism. Let me spell that out: historical people had historical reasons for their behaviour,
and history is not the place for the working out of false metaphysics, and certainly not a
metaphysics based on two gods. The only metaphysics whose traces we do expect to discover in
history is the action of the All-Merciful One from Whose decree both good and bad come. Thus
we find extremely troubling this recidivist re-emergence within Islam of an ancient cult, whose
appearance and re-appearance can, nevertheless, be detected throughout history.
The main problem with the ‘corrupt Umayyads’ thesis is, of course, the considerable number of
Companions, later caliphs of the Muslims and outstanding men of right action there were among

them. peace be upon him. to a man. since the wealth of capability that the Umayyads represented was not something to sneer at. who. may Allah bless him and grant him peace. who seem utterly unaware that feeling secure (amn) from Allah is one of the major wrong actions along with murder. may Allah bless him and grant him peace. But then who. drunkenness. though certainly not endorsed. except of course that it was the Messenger of Allah. may Allah be pleased with him. . by the agreement of the people of the Sunnah. But these superficial scholars have rarely got the nerve to attack ‘Uthman directly since. in appointment upon appointment after the Fath (the Opening of Makka to Islam). followed him. it is timely that the major text on this issue by Qadi Abu Bakr ibn al-‘Arabi. Inflated with their own apparent erudition and self-assumed piety. adultery and usury. with its author’s unerring discrimination (fiqh). they will be contending with the sizeable and irrefutable evidence from their own hadith literature of his outstanding merit and will thus find themselves in direct opposition to their Prophet. This is a work which. may Allah be pleased with both of them. he brings clarity to an area of history that is understandably hard to comprehend for many people. not least the splendid dynasty of Western Andalusian Islam. having embraced his erstwhile enemies with a forgiveness that simply broke their hearts and left them penitent for their wrongdoing and opposition and filled with love for him. they feel able to slander those who can no longer defend themselves. in that. But then self-righteous scholars have none of that most essential trait of people of knowledge: humility. one claiming to reject all traditional and dynastic authority. the other asserting the most singular and unique dynastic claim. there is a surprising convergence of apparent opposites: kharijism and shi‘ism. Historical figure after figure is thus expelled from the ranks of the believers by these paragons of self-righteousness. And one is not glossing over the crimes and excesses of certain individuals in later times. The Rightly Guided Caliphs. Although Mu‘awiya is usually blamed for it. Somehow the former has bequeathed to the latter its cardinal sin: its designation of those who do major wrong actions as disbelievers rather than believers who have erred. set Umayyads in positions of power and authority. if they do that. guides us through the pitfalls of the superabundance of texts. it would be tempting to say that ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan. but saying that they can only be understood as historical matters. also followed that sunnah and relied increasingly on his relatives was not nepotism but rather the inevitable result of the steady attrition of Companions. a thesis our covert shi‘a would readily endorse. aside from the prophets and messengers. The venom directed at Mu‘awiyah. founded Umayyad power and dynasty. is close to publication in its second edition. The number of capable people who had known the Prophet. Just as surely. whether in battle or in death through old age. life and death. Thus. may Allah be pleased with both of them. is free of error and wrongdoing? Yet here again. marriage and divorce. peace be upon him. Defence Against Disaster. is intended really for ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan. That ‘Uthman. was reduced considerably and ‘Uthman was forced to draw on his own clan. a wellspring of political savvy that was to benefit Islam and the Muslims greatly. It is no accident that the author was himself not only a discerning scholar of those very texts but a judge (qadi) of great integrity accustomed to sorting through conflicting and contradictory evidence in matters of property.

There is no better place to hide something than out in the open. The real hope for the world today is that the Muslims are yet to speak and the Sunnah is yet to be discovered and it is to be hoped that when that moment comes. and in this sense the Sunnah and Islam itself are perhaps the most hidden of all matters in the world today even though they daily occupy the attention of millions of people in the east and the west. . who are now responsible for reducing much of the Muslim world to rubble even if merely by providing those with greater firepower the excuse to invade and destroy. the civilisation will be produced that they always do produce and for which it is revealed. Indeed. they are perhaps even more hidden when taught by celebrity masters of database information with secret agendas or when fought over by self-proclaimed jihadists.