You will find him amongst the Huffaadh, for he memorised the entire Qur’aan and recited it daily.
You will find him amongst the Mujahideen , for he participated eagerly in each battle, only missing Badr due to his wife’s illness.
You will find him amongst the leaders, for his twelve years of khilafah placed him far beyond many.
You will find him amongst the Aabideen, for he spent his nights in the worship of Allah.
And you will find him amongst the Martyrs, for his blood bore testimony to his honourable death…
He is Uthmaan bin Affaan (radhiyallaahu anhu) , of noble descent, an Arab warrior with a wide variety of skills. He had a pleasant countenance and spoke only when necessary, yet in those moments of speech, produced words of such profound wisdom that those present would seldom forget it.
Even before the advent of Islam, the Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) had noticed his praiseworthy qualities and thus, when the time came for his daughter, Ruqayya, to get married, the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) happily gave her in marriage to Uthmaan (radhiyallaahu anhu). Theirs was a love that surpassed that of Romeo and Juliet or Majnoon and Layla for their love for each other was based on their mutual love for Allah and Islam.
He was one of the first few people to accept Islam, recognising the trustworthiness of the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) and the authenticity of his divine message. Thus, he experienced the difficulties which the first Muslims experienced and shared in their torture and hardships. He and his beloved wife was the first couple from this ummah to migrate for the sake of Allah, leaving their home and belongings to practice Islam in Abyssinia.
Uthmaan (radhiyallaahu anhu) eventually returned to Makkah after having been falsely informed that the kuffaar had eased up on the Muslims. He spent a few years there and later migrated a second time with his wife to Madinah, where he spent liberally in the cause of Allah. Despite being extremely wealthy, he never allowed the world to enter his heart, giving generously to anyone in need.
Uthmaan (radhiyallaahu anhu) was a very pious man with an exceptionally high character. He was the most modest of all the sahaabah (radhiyallaahu anhum). Once the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) was sitting with some of his companions and the shin of his leg was not covered. In the meantime somebody informed him about the arrival of Abu Bakr (radhiyallaahu anhu) and then Hadhrat Umar (radhiyallaahu anhu) but he kept his shin uncovered. Then he was informed about the arrival of Uthmaan (radhiyallaahu anhu). Nabi (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) immediately covered it and remarked: “Even the angels have regard for the modesty of Uthmaan.”
His piety was on a different level. When reciting the Qur’aan, tears would flow down his cheeks and he would be inconsolable. When passing by a grave, he would weep severely and when asked the reason, he responded: ‘the grave is the first stage of the hereafter. If one is successful there, one will be successful in the hereafter as well and if one is faced will difficulty there, the stages following it will be even more difficult.’
Despite his high status and wealth, he remained humble and soft-spoken, never responding harshly even to those who offended him. Once, while delivering a khutbah before jumu’ah, a person shouted at him: ‘O Uthmaan! Repent for Allah’s sake and keep away from wrong!’ He turned his face to the qiblah and exclaimed: ‘O Allah, I am the first to repent and turn towards You!’
When the Muhaajireen had migrated to Madinah, the Muslims had great difficulty finding drinking water. The only available drinking water was the well of a jew who demanded exorbitant prices in return for a little water. Nabi (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) asked: ‘who will purchase a well of water for the Muslims and in return I guarantee Jannah for him.’ It was Uthmaan (radhiyallaahu anhu) who stood up to this challenge, paying an extreme amount to the Jew and giving the well as waqf for the Muslims to drink from freely.
When the amount of Muslims increased and Masjidun Nabawi became too small to hold everyone, some new land was required to build the masjid further. Uthmaan (radhiyallaahu anhu) once again responded to the need of Islam and bought the adjacent land, then presented it for the building of the extensions.
Before the battle of Tabook, when funds were in short supply, Uthmaan (radhiyallaahu anhu) once again generously provided for the army. Not content with providing for a full third of the army- about 10 000 men- he also supplied a thousand camels, fifty horses and one thousand dinaars for the rest of the army. Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) joyously exclaimed: “Nothing that Uthmaan does after this day, will harm him!”
Although Uthmaan (radhiyallaahu anhu) had to miss the Battle of Badr due to his wife’s fatal illness and subsequent death, he is counted amongst its participants. His name is recorded in the books of hadeeth amongst the Badriyyin and Nabi (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) even awarded him a share of the booty.
After his beloved wife, Ruqayyah’s (radhiyallaahu anhaa) death, Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) gave another daughter, Umme Kulthoom, in marriage to him. He was therefore called ‘Dhun Nurayn’- the possessor of two lights- being the only human being privileged with marrying two daughters of a prophet!
When the treaty of Hudaybiah took place, Uthmaan (radhiyallaahu anhu) had been sent to the haram to talk to the Quraysh. During his absence, a rumour spread that he had been killed. At that, the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) and those with him took a pledge that they would fight until death in vengeance of Uthmaan (radhiyallaahu anhu). After everyone had placed their hands in honour of the pledge, Nabi (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) placed his own hand saying: ‘and this pledge is on behalf of Uthmaan.’
Towards the end of Uthmaan’s (radhiyallaahu anhu) khilaafat, some rebels caused great difficulty for him. He bore it all humbly and patiently, but these unfortunate people disregarded all his efforts and went so far as to barricade him in his house, cutting him off from the very water he himself had supplied to the rest of the Muslims. Eventually, they forced themselves over the wall of his house and entered, taking the soul of this blessed sahaabi (radhiyallaahu anhu) while he was fasting. He left this worldly abode, eager to meet Allah, while reciting the blessed words of his Rabb.
His death was a verification of a prophecy made years before, when Nabi (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) ascended Uhud and it started to shake. Rasulullah (sallallaahu wa sallam) instructed: ‘Be firm, o Uhud, for there is a prophet, a Siddeeq (Abu Bakr radhiyallahu anhu) and two martyrs (Umar and Uthmaan radhiyallahu anhumaa) on you.’