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Khalifa Uthman bin Affan - Reflections of His Caliphate

Conspiracy against Islam

We have next to ask the question: if the agitation against Uthman was a conspiracy against Islam why did Uthman not take steps to crush it with force? No hard and fast answer can be given to this question but some probabilities can be attempted. At that stage of the history of Islam, the State was organized to deal with the enemy from without; it lacked the organization to deal with the enemy from within. Within the country the State rested on the moral authority of Islam and even no Police had been organized. The State had armed forces, but the task of the army was to fight the non-Muslims, across the border. Uthman was averse to use the army for the purposes of civil war amongst the Muslims. Uthman did all he could to use the moral force at his disposal. He explained his position at great length. He categorically refuted all the allegations levelled against him. When in spite of that the agitation persisted, Uthman willingly offered his own life rather than summon any force to his aid and thereby involve the people in bloodshed and civil war. This is a unique case in history. No other ruler in history ever refused to use force for self-defense. In refusing the use of force for self-defense, Uthman set up admirable example of self-sacrifice. This trait of the character of Uthman has not been fully brought out in the accounts that have come down to us. It is necessary that this aspect of the character of Uthman should be understood in proper perspective, and Uthman should be honored as one of the greatest heroes of Islam. He sacrificed his life for he did not like to shed the blood of other Muslims merely to protect him. This assures for Uthman a high ranking place among the great Muslims.

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