?Uthman Ibn ?Affan (R. 644–656)

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˓Uthman b. ˓Affan, a wealthy merchant of the Qurayshi tribe who was noted for his elegant dress, supported Muhammad when he first began preaching in Mecca. He converted to Islam and married Muhammad's daughter Ruqayya, with whom he emigrated to Abyssinia. Soon after they rejoined the Muslims in Medina, Ruqayya died during the Battle of Badr and Muhammad gave him Umm Kulthum, another of his daughters, in marriage.

On the death of ˓Umar b. al-Khattab, ˓Uthman was elected the third caliph by a council of six, including ˓Uthman, ˓Ali, and ˓Abd al-Rahman b. ˓Awf. Noticeably, the Ansar (the Medinan companions of the Prophet), had no representation in the council, a detail which helped ˓Uthman defeat ˓Ali.

˓Uthman is credited with establishing the canonical version of the Qur˒an during his caliphate. He handed the pages of Qur˒an, left by ˓Umar in the care of his daughter Hafsa (a widow of the Prophet), to Zayd b. Thabit (one of the scribes of the Prophet), and ordered him to compile it in the dialect of the Quraysh. Three other Quraysh were selected to help Zayd in this effort. Finally, a copy was deposited in all the administrative centers of the caliphate, and the destruction of all other Qur˒ans ordered.

˓Uthman was resented for appointing his irresponsible relatives as governors of Kufa, Basra, and Egypt. Dissension came to a head when the rebels, having been promised reforms, intercepted a message, supposedly from ˓Uthman to the governor of Egypt, ordering their execution. They promptly returned to ˓Uthman's home and despite ˓Uthman's denial, killed him. This event is known as Yawm al-Dar.

See alsoCaliphate ; Fitna ; Khutba ; Religious Institutions ; Shi˓a: Early ; Succession .


Hinds, Martin, "The Murder of the Caliph ˓Uthman." Journal of Middle East Studies 3 (1972): 450–469.

Madelung, Wilfred. The Succession of Muhammad. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1997.

Motzki, Harald. "The Collection of the Qur˒an." Der Islam, 78 (2001): 1–34.

Rizwi Faizer