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Khalifa Uthman bin Affan - Political Administration

Autonomy for the Governors

It was also alleged that Uthman was weak and he did not exercise check on his Governors. In the accounts that have come down to us, only vague allegations have been made, and no hard and fast facts have been cited to establish what lapses did the Governors of Uthman make anti how Uthman failed to check them. It is made out that these Governors acted according to their own caprices, and did not carry out the orders of Uthman. If the orders of Uthman were not obeyed, Uthman should have been the first person to complain against his Governors. We do not come across in history a single complaint in this connection and it is difficult to subscribe to the view that in the time of Uthman, the administration had become so lax that the Governors did not care for the orders of the Caliph. That appears to be sheer propaganda motivated by partisan considerations. As a matter of fact Uthman was as vigilant as a Caliph could be, and he issued policy guidelines to his Governors from time to time. The true position is that as these Governors enjoyed the confidence of Uthman, he allowed them a good deal of autonomy, and did not interfere in the day to day administration. Umar had imposed some restrictions on his Governors. The Governors had been enjoined not to ride a Turkish horse; not to wear fine clothes; not to eat sifted flour; and not to keep a porter at their door. Uthman did not consider such restrictions necessary and he allowed his Governors greater liberty. This was a step in the right direction and it is unfair to criticize Uthman on this account.

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