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The Islamic World
The Islamic World

Khalifa Uthman bin Affan - Abdur Rahman bin Auf

Early life
Abdur Rahman bin Auf was born around 580 C.E., and was younger than the Holy Prophet by ten years. He was one of the early converts to Islam. He was related to Uthman and was married to a step sister of Uthman. In the battle of Uhud he received twenty-one wounds while defending the Holy Prophet. On this occasion he also lost some of his teeth. He was a trader and a shrewd businessman. It is related that when he came to Madinah his Ansar brother Sa 'ad proposed to give half of his property to him. Sa'ad had two wives, and he proposed to divorce one of them so that Abdur Rahman could marry her. Abdur Rahman thanked his brother and said that he did not need his property or any of his wives. He merely wanted him to show him the way to the market, and he would make his own fortune. Soon Abdur Rahman was able to build a great fortune. He amassed considerable wealth and came to be regarded as one of the richest men in Madina.

Abdur Rahman and Uthman
Abdur Rahman b Auf was one of the six persons who had been nominated by Umar to choose the Caliph from among themselves. Abdur Rahman withdrew his candidature, and played the part of a truthful arbitrator in resolving the dispute. Abdur Rahman gave his verdict in favor of Uthman, and Uthman was according1y elected as the Caliph.

Some of the accounts that have come down to us tend to give the impression that in the later part of the caliphate of Uthman some differences developed between Uthman and Abdur Rahman b Auf, and Abdur Rahman even regretted his choice of Uthman as the Caliph. It is related that some camels were assigned to the Baitul Mal as Zakat, and Uthman distributed these camels among his relatives. It is alleged that when Abdur Rahman came to know of such distribution, he made the persons to whom these camels had been given to return them to the Baitul Mall.

When the account about the camels which has come down to us is examined objectively it appears to be fictitious. It appears that the story was invented by interested quarters to create the impression that even the person who played the dominant role in securing the caliphate for Uthman came to regret his choice because of the wayward conduct of Uthman. Even if the allegation about the distribution of camels was correct it is inconceivable that Abdur Rahman should have taken the law in his hand, and asked for the return of the camel over and above the head of Uthman. If there were any truth in the story, Abdur Rahman should have lodged the complaint with Uthman and Uthman should have directed the return of the camels. It is again inconceivable that the recipients of the gifts would have returned the gift merely at the behest of Abdur Rahman.

Abdur Rahman died in 652 C.E., four years before the assassination of Uthman. The agitation against Uthman grew in 654 C.E. only, and as such there was nothing to complain during the lifetime of Abdur Rahman b Auf. We can thus safely hold that there is no truth in the allegation that differences developed between Uthman and Abdur Rahman b Auf, and the latter regretted his choice of Uthman at any stage.


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