( 21 ) : SECTION IV: The Cunning of Qorayish and the Major Civil War
CHAPTER I: The Violation of the Sacred Months during the Caliphate of Othman

Firstly: Conquered Countries Suffer Worse Conditions during the Caliphate of Othman:

 

 

1- We begin here by indicating the despicable conditions of the conquered nations whose women, children possessions, houses, lands, and money were appropriated by Arab conquerors, showing how conditions worsened during the caliphate of Othman, and suffering aggravated, causing eventually the assassination of Othman later on in 35 A.H. God never cause injustice to any mortal, but people do grave injustices against one another.

 

2- Conquests perpetrated by Arabs went on and expanded during the caliphate of Othman from 24 A.H. to 34 A.H., and Arab troops conquered more lands from the Persian Empire, parts of Middle Asia, Cypress, North Africa, Spain, Armenia, Constantinople, Nubia, Sudan, and Abyssinia. Mediterranean Sea battles with the Byzantines ended always in victory for the Arab fleet. Huge amounts of spoils were looted and thousands of women and children were enslaved. Some witnesses assert that such riches led people to forget God and to focus on material gains and affluence. Othman used to give every soldier and cavalier 100.000 dinars. In 35 A.H., revolt against Othman as a caliph went for a whole year, ending in his assassination. This was another divine retribution and punishment as the crime of conquests went on, and Othman was killed within the four sacred months as well.   

 

3- Looting and collecting ill-gotten money went on before, during, and after battles, and later on heavy taxes and tributes were imposed after settling in conquered villages and cities, as paying such large sums was a proof of 'conversion' to Islam, submission to Arabs, and/or the price for retaining one's original creed! Anyone who would not pay was considered an infidel who must be severely punished or lose his life! This was the Arab faulty logic as narrated by Al-Tabary! Of course the affluent nouveau-rich Arabs quarreled with one another over their shares of the ill-gotten money; grave injustices and sins committed by them formed a curse that would incite internal unrest and full-fledged Arab civil wars soon enough. Such divine punishment began with the assassination of Othman because of injustices done and quarrels over wealth.    

 

4- Hence, we find no great difference between stances of both Othman and Omar in relation to conquered countries, in looting and enslavement and other grave injustices against the Quran. Othman seemed to be a more unjust ruler in comparison to Omar; as Othman condoned and overlooked misconduct of governors of conquered nations as they collected taxes and tributes and looted and confiscated feverishly as much lands, possessions, and wealth as they could using all their might to oppress people by all possible means. Let us give some examples about conditions of Egypt at the time quoted from the history book of Al-Makrizi, the historian known for his hatred toward Egyptian Copts: he narrates that Omar wrote to Amr, governor of Egypt, to collect 40 dirhams from every Egyptian Copt apart from tributes in the form of goods, and to punish those who could not pay by cutting their hair and branding their napes! Other letters by Omar urged Amr to collect heavier taxes, and in one year, Amr gave Omar 12 million dinars from Egypt! At one point, Amr had to stop collecting taxes to allow some reforming projects to agricultural lands and other facilities in Egypt to make up for local losses and scarcity due to heavy taxes! As for Othman, he dismissed Amr from his post as a governor of Egypt, and he appointed instead Abdulla Ibn Saad, who unjustly and oppressively collected heavier taxes and urged his men to loot as much money as possible from all Egyptians! He later on sent to Othman from Egypt 14 million dinars in one year! Othman admired his newly appointed governor and rebuked Amr for not imitating him in milking the Egyptian Cow dry! But Amr urged Othman to stop such a policy so as not to harm and impoverish the Egyptians to the extent of driving them to revolt against Othman, who gave a deaf ear to Amr's piece of advice. Hence, Othman harmed Egypt more than Omar did, and we can easily imagine the cruelty and heartlessness of Ibn Saad as its governor in collecting money and looting all over Egypt. Arabs who settled in Egypt felt the great urge to revolt against the greedy Othman, especially that one of them tried to advise Ibn Saad to be more lenient toward Egypt, but he flogged him in public to death! This provoked the revolt against Othman, among other reasons, by Arabs settled in Egypt and elsewhere. If Ibn Saad killed an Arab man that way, what about how he dealt with poor Egyptians?! We do believe that ill-gotten money and other sins of injustices brought a curse to Othman and Arabs in general later on in Arabia, as such ill-gotten money caused the greed and resentment leading to civil strife, as you will read about in the next paragraphs.      

 

 

Secondly: Conspiracy of Appointing Othman as Caliph instead of Ali:

 

 

1- All historians of the period agree that the dying Omar, who received fatal stabbing by Abou Louloua the Persian, dictated a list of companions from which Arabs should choose from their next caliph; this list included the following names: Ali, Othman, Al-Zubayr, Talha, Saad, and finally Abdel-Rahman Ibn Awf. Omar appointed his son Abdullah as arbiter, judge, and executer of this will. He suggested that Ibn Awf be appointed as caliph momentarily until consultation among Yathreb dwellers would take place. Views divided between Ali and Othman, as other names received little attention and popularity by people of Yathreb. Ibn Awf consulted all Yathreb dwellers, until at one point, he sent for Ali to check whether he would follow the footsteps and methods of Omar and Abou Bakr or not. Ibn Awf felt doubts concerning the serious-mindedness and resolve lacking in Ali, and he chose Othman finally instead of Ali. Othman received fealty as the new caliph and people swore allegiance and loyalty to him in a hasty manner. This was the scenario before people of Yathreb, as conspiracy against Ali enacted by Ibn Awf and directed by, we tend to think, Mu'aweiya Ibn Abou Sufyan.  

 

2- Ibn Awf was among the culprits who, along with Omar and Othman, participated in the assassination of Abou Bakr by poisoning and in the plot to appoint Omar as caliph, and he had to ensure his own safety by choosing Othman as Omar's successor. We are to remember that the Qorayish influence was focused in the Hashemites, who were represented by Ali, and the Umayyads in general represented by Othman at that time, as the rest of Mecca companions were from tries and factions of minor importance in terms of influence and wealth. At the time, it was feared that if caliphate reached any Hashemite, it would remain within this powerful faction forever, and this would endanger the hopes and ambitions of others, especially Mu'aweiya, and hence, choosing Othman was the safer option, as he could not perpetuate caliphate within the Umayyads at the time.

 

3- Thus, Arabs in Yathreb were bent on appointing a caliph who would be easily manipulated and urged to condone and overlook any misconduct and looting as well as other injustices committed by Arab settlers in conquered nations and their governors; they wanted to enjoy full power and authority as well as wealth within a caliph who was not so strict as Omar had been. They feared at the time that Ali would imitate Omar in his strictness, firmness, and harshness with others. Omar used to prevent most of the so-called companions from settling always in conquered countries, but ordered them to remain with him in Yathreb, and they obeyed him reluctantly. Al-Tabary asserts that shortly before the death of Omar, most men grew weary of him because of that reason in particular. On the contrary, Othman opened the doors wide open for most Arabs to move freely within conquered countries, and he allowed them to grow filthily rich and politically powerful within his caliphate, and thus, they spread in recently conquered countries and participated in conquering many others. Hence, such Arabs amassed undreamed-of huge amounts of wealth, and this made Othman popular among them at first. The most powerful and richest five men during the caliphate of Othman were Othman himself, and then Abdel-Rahman Ibn Awf, Talha, Al-Zubayr, Saad Ibn Abou Waqqas.       

 

4- We remind readers here of the amounts of wealth of each man mentioned above. Othman: despite his much-talked-of generosity, in the day when he was assassinated, his murderers who revolted against him robbed from his house 30 billion dirhams, 100 thousand dinars, and 500 thousand dirhams, and they confiscated assets whose values reached 200 thousands dinars. Al-Zubayr: he owned between 35 and 52 million dirhams and 200 thousand dinars as well as assets and houses in the Egyptian cities Alexandria and Al-Fostat and in the Iraqi cities Al-Kufa and Basra, and upon his death, he left a vast, lush garden that was sold in return for one million and 600 thousand dirhams. Ibn Awf: he died in 32 A.H. shortly before Othman's death, and he left countless amounts of gold that men grew tired of cutting it. Saad: he left upon his death 250 thousand dirhams as well as a spacious, grand palace in Al-Aqeeq, a southern region of Arabia. Talha: when he died, he had a gold ring with a big red ruby in his finger, and his daily revenues from his lands in Iraq reached 1000 dirhams, or 500 thousand dirhams annually as per another account, and he left in his house two million dirhams plus 200 thousands dirhams as well as 200 thousand dinars, not to mention assets and houses valued by 30 million dirhams. He left as well 100 big jars filled with gold! We have quotes such numbers from two history books: "Al-Tabakat Al-Kobra" by the historian Ibn Saad; see Tome III pages 53, 76, 77, 157, and "Moroj Al-Zahab" by the historian Al-Masoody; see Tome I pages 544: 545.      

 

5- Hence, according to the above, we perceive that appointing Othman as a caliph was a plot hatched cleverly by Abou Sufyan, and Othman was a victim of such a plot, as we conclude from the historical account we quote here from ''Moroj Al-Zahab'' by the historian Al-Masoody, Tome I, page 551, and we personally believe this story: (…When Othman became caliph and received fealty and allegiance of all Arabs, Abou Sufyan, who was blind in his old age, entered his own house, along with kinsmen from the Umayyads, and asked if there were other non-Umayyads present in his house. When he was answered in the negative, he repeated to them several times that his will and testament to them before his near death was that they seize the opportunity and the chance to become monarchs and form a ruling dynasty that he dreamt of…). This ambition of Abou Sufyan was achieved, after his death, by his son Mu'aweiya. 

 

 

Thirdly: The Reasons of Why a Revolt against Omar Was Impossible:

 

 

1- Omar aroused Arabs' lust and scramble for loot by giving the launch signal of the Arab conquests; Arabs achieved undreamt-of-before ambitions when conquered, invaded, occupied, looted, robed, stole, enslaved, raped, and confiscated during the caliphate of Omar, and they were too busy to fight one another. This state of relentless scramble for loot went on for years during the caliphate of Othman as well, save the last year of it. Once looting and conquering came to a halt, Arabs disagreed and fought one another and murdered Othman, entering the period of civil wars, which is still an on-going period until this very moment, in our opinion. This was because of the fact that their aggression and crimes named by historians as (Arab conquests), and named falsely by them at the time ('Islamic' jihad), were NOT for the sake of God as they claimed, but for the sake of power, authority, money, and women. That was why once conquests stopped, the internecine strife began in Arabia, as they disagreed and struggled against each other over wealth and loot.   

 

2- Omar as a caliph combined in his treatment and dealing with Arabs both justice and firmness; he was never accused of nepotism and cronyism and never dealt with his relatives and close associates in a manner that set them above or apart from the rest of Arabs. Omar sought and applied equality among Arabs in general. In a sense, Omar managed to mobilize all Arabs of Arabia into one unified party apart from all the conquered nations' peoples, who were treated as spoils and slaves of Arabs. With justice, equality, and lack of discrimination, Omar gained the loyalty of all Arabs, and with his firmness, they feared to arouse or stir his fury; no one among Qorayish or among any tribes of Arabia dared to face or confront him.  

 

3- Apart from justice combined with firmness, Omar used his cunning and ruse to ensure he gained the loyalty of the two most powerful factions of Qorayish: the Hashemites and the Umayyads. Omar kept his loyalty to Abou Sufyan; he left his son, Mu'aweiya, ruling all the Levant alone, and the Umayyads had close relation with the tribe of Kalb, the most powerful tribe dominating the Levant. Mu'aweiya ensured the loyalty of this tribe to him as a governor/ruler of the Levant by his marrying Maysoon, the daughter of the head of this tribe, and she became the mother of his eldest son, Yazeed, and such marriage and such conditions allowed Mu'aweiya to remain the ruler of the Levant and supportive of Omar, conquering in his name more lands in the Levant, fighting the Byzantines, and storing loot without Omar's ever questioning him or holding him into account. Meanwhile, the cunning Omar ensured the loyalty of Ali, and through him the Hashemites, by appointing him as his consultant and marrying Ali's daughter who begot him children; likewise, we know from history that Prophet Muhammad appealed to some factions when he married Omar's daughter. 

 

 

Fourthly: The Inevitability of Revolt against Othman:

 

 

1- The revolt against Othman was inevitable as his period of caliphate, as well as his personal nature, character, and traits differed a great deal from Omar; Arabs in Othman's caliphate grew filthily rich from the scramble for hoarding ill-gotten money and treasures confiscated from conquered countries. Let us remember that they grew weary before of Omar in the last year of his caliphate; what about, then, their reaction toward a corrupt ruler like Othman? Historians give us details about the various conditions and reasons of the revolt against Othman and of his assassination. Chief among such conditions and reasons were the following: A) Othman's nepotism and cronyism for the same of his relatives, the Umayyads in particular, B) Othman allowed Arabs to settle everywhere in conquered countries, and this made them turn into powerful and wealthy centers that coveted more power and money within the unleashed political ambitions, C) looted wealth centered on people of the Qorayish solely, especially the Umayyads, and this created feelings of resentment and fury among non-Qorayish Arabs who fought in the conquests, and lastly D) the  main reason in our opinion was that conquests came to halt at some point, while corruption and stubbornness of Othman paved the way to Qorayish, and the Umayyads in particular under the leadership of Mu'aweiya, to plot against Othman and to escalate revolts resulting in his assassination.

 

2- When Arabs and Bedouins (a.k.a. desert-Arabs) revolted during the caliphate of Abou Bakr, in what became to be known as the renegades' wars, they were defeated, quelled, and crushed by Qorayish. All Qorayish tribesmen realized that such Bedouins would not rest and settle down with no conquests and raids and fighting to which they are used for decades; they were addicted actually to raids and looting. Their energy must be spent and directed toward something similar while warding off their danger away from Yathreb and Mecca. Hence, conquering the neighboring nations (North Africa, the Levant, Iraq and Persia, etc.) was of vital strategic importance for the Umayyads in particular, who planned to establish an Umayyad Empire, and for all the co-called companions in general. The Persian Empire reached at the time a stage of decadence, affluence, and corruption that led to its speedy fall into the hands of Arab conqueror. As for the Byzantines, they resisted fiercely at first with all their might, in their fortresses and Mediterranean Sea fleet, but their capital, Constantinople, remained a head whose body parts were severed by Arabs: its lands in Egypt, the Levant, and North Africa. Hence, when Arab conquests came to a halt during the caliphate of Othman, the Arabs and Bedouins returned to their habits of internal fights and raids and blood-thirsty aggressions against one another in Arabia: like a bon-fire that found nothing to consume and thus consumed itself. That was why the revolt against Othman seemed inevitable at the time; especially that he was the exact opposite of Omar; Othman used to resort to corruption, nepotism, cronyism, stubbornness, and adamant refusal to reform and/or change his mind, his strategies, and his manners and ways, despite the fact that he was certain to get killed eventually when he was sieged in his house for 49 days.   

 

Fifthly: The Plotting of Qorayish against Othman:

 

 

1- What arouses interest indeed is the plotting of Qorayish against Othman, as we read details of it between lines of historical accounts and the turnout of events. Of course, Mu'aweiya was executing the plotting of his father, Abou Sufyan, who died before the revolt against Othman. Mu'aweiya contributed a lot in stirring such a revolt against Othman by his encouraging Othman to be a corrupt absolute ruler, and later on, Mu'aweiya let down Othman and never came to his aid during the revolt that resulted in his assassination. Mu'aweiya deserted Othman and left him alone to face his fate by promising, in public, to send an army from Damascus to Yathreb to aid Othman, and intentionally reneging on this promise, of course. Mu'aweiya made a public announcement to spread news of his coming to aid Othman after the latter remained surrounded, by force of armed men, to imprison him inside his house for more than month, and Othman used to ask for aid from all his allies and supporters in vain. Such announcement led to the speedy assassination of Othman by the rebels! Of course, no armies or troops ever came from Damascus. With Othman dead and his assassins made sure no troops would come, the rebels hastily appointed Ali as caliph and swore fealty and loyalty to him, while controlling Yathreb with a firm grip, feeling safe and enjoying impunity, apparently, as Mu'aweiya never sent any military aid at all. Thus, we can conclude that Mu'aweiya plotted to get rid of his paternal uncle's son: Othman. Of course, Mu'aweiya cared for one thing to get: he went to the widow of Othman to ask her to give him the blood-stained gown to make use of it to become the caliph himself. Mu'aweiya made use of the assassination of Othman as a pretext to ask for revenge for Othman's death: for he could not possibly ask for Othman to be avenged while Othman still alive. Such demand for revenge was driven, of course, by the ardent desire of Mu'aweiya to become the caliph and founder of an Umayyad Dynasty or line of successive rulers. To achieve and realize his ambitions, Mu'aweiya made good use of his army that consisted mainly of soldiers from the tribe of Kalb, his obedient in-laws.

 

2- There is an aspect rarely tackled by researchers and historians concerning the civil war of Mu'aweiya vs. Ali; namely, the role of Abou Bakr's party of friends, relatives, and progeny in the assassination of Othman. We mean by this party the following names: Aisha the daughter of Abou Bakr, wife of Prophet Muhammad, her younger brother Muhammad Ibn Abou Bakr, Al-Zubayr, the husband of Asmaa, one of Abou Bakr's daughters, and finally, Talha, the son of the paternal uncle of Abou Bakr. Al-Zubayr was partial to Ali because his mother was the paternal aunt of both Ali and Prophet Muhammad. Yet, wealth and filth riches consisting of ill-gotten money caused sudden changes in stances and loyalties; Al-Zubayr had political ambitions that drove him to consider Ali as an obstacle on his way to become caliph himself, and that was why he deserted Ali and joined forces with the Abou Bakr party: to his wife Asmaa and her sister Aisha, their brother Muhammad Ibn Abou Bakr, and Talha.  What these party members share in common was that they were not from the powerful factions of Qorayish: the Hashemites and the Umayyads who descended from Abd-Shams and Bani Abd-Manaf. 

 

3- Aisha. Of course, never forgot the scene of assassinating her father with poison by Omar and Othman, but she and the rest of the party could not dare to face the harsh, cruel Omar, who threatened to burn down the house of Ali, along with his wife and children inside, in a fit of fury, and who threatened to kill Saad Ibn Eibada and later on murdered him anyway once he became caliph. Omar's absolutism and cruelty increased during his caliphate; it was natural that the Abou Bakr party would hide their true feelings. Hence, such venomous hatred inside Aisha and the rest of her party was unleashed during the caliphate of Othman; they wanted to avenge Abou Bakr's death from Othman, the chief ally of Omar and his fellow conspirator who participated in killing Abou Bakr, and M. Ibn Abou Bakr felt more hatred toward Omar and Othman, as he was merely a child when his father was assassinated, leaving him to be raised by his step-father Ali. It was natural that M. Ibn Abou Bakr was among those who revolted against Othman, the first one to break open the house of Othman, and the first one to strike him with the sword before the other rebels who broke in with him. Yet, other accounts assert that he was about to kill Othman but Othman stopped him by saying so and so. We will detail this part later on when we tackle the assassination of Othman in a coming part below.    

 

4- As for Aisha, she slandered and verbally abused Othman, apparently for no good reason at all as seen by others, and she incited and urged his murder. She used to shout the slogan: "Kill Naathal, for he is an infidel!" The proper name Naathal was Othman's surname before the advent of Islam; people wondered at her stance as Othman was generous with her and with Talha, the son of her paternal uncle.  When her slogan resulted in rebels surrounding Othman's house for 49 days, Aisha left Yathreb and headed to Mecca, to flee using performing pilgrimage as a pretext to cover her flight, as Al-Tabary mentions in his history. Aisha feared for the life of her brother and asked him to accompany her to Mecca, but he refused because he was one of the leaders of revolt against Othman, and people rebuked him for not following her advice, as if Othman, the Umayyad, got killed, caliphate would go to Ali the Hashemite from Bani Abd-Manaf anyway, and not to anyone from the tribe, faction, or progeny of Abou Bakr.   

 

5- Before the departure of Aisha from Yathreb, she was overtaken by Marawan Ibn Al-Hakam and others who beseeched her to remain in Yathreb to aid and support Othman in his calamity, as she retained some authority as Prophet Muhammad's widow. Yet, Aisha refused and was bent on performing pilgrimage in Mecca, and when Marawan Ibn Al-Hakam recited poetic verses about this situation, blaming her for refusal to aid someone in distress, she said to him and his men that she wished him and Othman tied with ropes to huge rocks to be thrown at the sea bottom. She hates Othman and the Umayyads in general so much indeed. On her way to Mecca, she met with Ibn Abbas, whom Othman sent to Mecca to lead the pilgrimage rites as an imam, and she seized the chance to urge Ibn Abbas to preach others in Mecca to participate in dethroning Othman and to appoint Talha who would imitate his paternal uncle, Abou Bakr, her father, in just and fair rule. Yet, Ibn Abbas told her that if Othman was to leave his post as a caliph, people would naturally choose Ali after him, and she left him saying she was not the one to argue with him! Thus, she planned to make men appoint Talha as caliph, from her tribe Bani Tamim, to lead Arabs instead of the Hashemites and the Umayyads she loathed. This explains why Talha and Al-Zubayr swore loyalty and fealty to Ali as a caliph at first and then revolted against him and this was the reason behind the Battle of the Camel, incited and led by Aisha herself.  

 

6- We give further detail here about the plotting of Talha against Othman, as the latter was so generous with the former, who became among the richest companions during the caliphate of the latter; yet, Talha used to borrow money from Othman more often than not, making use of Othman's generosity. Talha used to praise Othman in public in mosques to urge Othman to lend him money or to overlook a loan due to be paid. Yet, during Othman's forced imprisonment inside his house, rebels stopped victuals and water from being entered into the house, and when Ali beseeched Talha to help him liberate and protect Othman, Talha adamantly refused, saying he hated the tyrannical rule of the Umayyads who were represented by Othman! Such venomous hatred was equal to the one Aisha bore against the Umayyads!  

 

7- There is an account asserting that Talha conspired along the rebels and took their side readily, giving them orders as well while they surrounded the house of Othman, and his orders were never to let anybody in or out of the house. Othman is rumored to have cursed Talha for inciting people against him and implored God to make someone murder Talha one day.

 

8- Al-Zubayr participated actively in the conspiracy against Othman, even if he kept a low profile and pretended otherwise. Al-Zubayr ordered his son Abdullah to defend Othman along with Al-Hassan and Al-Hussein, sons of Ali who tried to defend Othman most of the time, but Othman urged both brothers to stop defending him so as not to infuriate more and more the rebels. Al-Zubayr, however, fled out of Yathreb suddenly as he heard news of the rebels' intention to break into the house of Othman to assassinate him, as he intended not to witness such an act. After the assassination of Othman, Al-Zubayr and others pretended to feel the utmost sorrow and grief for his death, in order to manipulate his assassination for political purposes. The same pretense of grief was repeated when they revolted against Ali as he became the next caliph. Even Talha pretended to feel keenly the loss of Othman and said that his assassins regretted their deed, ending his words with recitation of some Quranic verses! What an inveterate liar and hypocrite! 

 

9- In the next chapter, we will write about the divine punishment for Othman, the details of the revolt against him, his assassination, the looting of his possessions and wealth, violation of his wife, and how his corpse was denied a proper burial in Muslims' cemetery.

 

The Unspoken-of History of the Pre-Umayyad 'Righteous' Caliphs
The Unspoken-of History of the Pre-Umayyad 'Righteous' Caliphs

Written in Arabic by Ahmed Subhy Mansour

Translate d by Ahmed Fathy

ABOUT THIS BOOK:

Any Muslim readers who read this book will never forget it; they might either curse the author of this book, or praise him, but they will never feel the same after the perusal of this book that exposes the so-called 'righteous' caliphs using what is written about them in authoritative historical accounts that are honored and revered by the Sunnites themselves.


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Dr. Ahmed Subhy Mansour
February, 2014
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