Hazrat Usman Ghani – the third Khalifa of Islam
Before his death, Hazrat Umar (, may Allah be pleased with him.) appointed a panel of six men to select a Khalifah from amongst themselves and then sought his approval through Bai’at (Pledge of loyalty) by the Muslim public. He also instructed them to make the nomination within three days. The panel included Hazrat Usman, Ali, Sa’d bin Abi Waqqas, Talha, Zubair and Abdur Rahman bin ‘Auf (Ridwanullahi Alaihim) as the members.
The panel could not arrive at any decision even after long meetings. Then, Hazrat Abdur Rahman bin ‘Auf proposed somebody to withdraw his name in order to decide the matter. When he got no response, he withdrew his own name.
The remaining members agreed that he could take a decision. He consulted each member individually except Hazrat Talha (, may Allah be pleased with him.) who was not present in Madinah at this time. It so happened that Hazrat Usman proposed Hazrat Ali’s name and Hazrat Ali proposed Hazrat Usman’s name for the post of Khalifah. But Hazrat Zubair and Sa’d (, may Allah be pleased with him.) were more in favour of Hazrat Usman than Hazrat Ali.
After more consultations with other companions and careful consideration during the third night, Hazrat Abdur Rahman bin ‘Auf (, may Allah be pleased with him.) gave his decision in the morning of the fourth day, in favour of Hazrat Usman (, may Allah be pleased with him.).
First of all, Hazrat Abdur Rahman bin ‘Auf (, may Allah be pleased with him.) took Bai’at at the hands of Hazrat Usman and then all the Muslims present in the Mosque followed suit and took Bai’at (pledge of loyalty) at the hands of Hazrat Usman (, may Allah be pleased with him.). In this way, Hazrat Usman (, may Allah be pleased with him.) was declared to be the third Khalifah.
When Hazrat Talha (, may Allah be pleased with him.) returned to Madinah, Hazrat Usman (, may Allah be pleased with him.) requested him either to accept the post of Khalifah (as he was one of the people proposed by Hazrat Umar for the post) or to acknowledge him as Khalifah by taking Bai’at. Hazrat Talha declined to be the Khalifah and took pledge of loyalty at his hand, saying “How can I object to your being the Khalifah when all the Muslims have agreed upon you.”
The conquests during Hazrat Usman’s caliphate
During the caliphate of Hazrat Usman (, may Allah be pleased with him.), the Muslims conquered a number of new areas.
They took over Antalya and Asia Minor in the west including Cyprus. Afghanistan, Samarkand, Tashkent, Turkmenistan, Khurasan and Tabrastan in the East and North East; and Libya, Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco in North Africa.
In this way Muslims were ruling over a vast part of Asia and Africa viz. Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Persia or Iran, Iraq, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Turkey, Cyprus, Syria, Palestine, Jordan, Egypt, Libya, Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, and of course Arabia and Yemen including the Gulf states.
All these countries and places were under one flag, and the Islamic state was far bigger than any of the past mighty Byzantine or Persian Empires had ever been. Islam as a religion was also prevailing in Abyssinia (now Ethiopia) and in some parts of East and Central Africa though these places were not under the direct control of the Caliphate.
Internal issues of Hazrat Usman’s caliphate
The first half of Hazrat Usman’s caliphate was very peaceful. During this time, the Muslims gained many victories as described above, and the caliphate extended to a vast area of the then known world.
But the later part of Hazrat Usman’s caliphate was marred by a terrible civil war which ultimately led to the murder of the Caliph himself. Hazrat Usman (, may Allah be pleased with him.) was a very gentle and soft-hearted person. The people who wanted to create chaos among the Muslims took advantage of his soft nature. Hazrat Umar’s stern hand had kept away the undemocratic and non-Islamic customs, and the practices that prevailed in the courts of Persian and Byzantine Empires. But Hazrat Usman (, may Allah be pleased with him.) sometimes overlooked the faults of the governors and other officers in various provinces, though he himself totally and completely followed the ways of Rasulallah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, and the first two Caliphs.
His compassionate nature made the provincial governors bold, as a result of which unrest in the provincial capitals grew and ultimately it engulfed the whole Islamic State.
The enemies of Islam were in search of a suitable occasion to work against Islam and the Muslims. They finally found the desired opportunity for this and sent out their men to disturb the peace and to spread false news. Only the main events that happened during that time will be discussed in the following lines.