Investigation into the state of affairs in the provinces
In spite of the good intentions on the part of Uthman and his Governors there was no diminution in the vilification campaign. The seditionist worked underground. They did not bring forward any specific grievance which the administration could redress; they merely tried to poison the atmosphere by spreading false rumors. The Holy Prophet had an official ring which was used for the authentication of official documents. After the Holy Prophet this seal was held by Abu Bakr, and then by Umar. When Uthman became the Caliph he inherited the ring. In order to augment water supply for the citizens of Madina, Uthman had a well dug, Arees by name. One day as Uthman was supervising the digging operations the official ring fell from his finger, and was dropped in the well. Every effort was made to salvage the ring from the well, but all such efforts proved abortive. This loss of the ring was made the subject-matter of propaganda against Uthman. It was made out that the Holy Prophet had withdrawn his favor from Uthman, and a person who no longer enjoyed the favor of the Holy Prophet had no right to be the Caliph. Currency was given to many other fictitious stories of the so-called waywardness of Uthman and his government. No body could tell from where such stories emanated, but nevertheless they became the common talk of the people, and in the absence of any refutation, the people generally came to believe in the veracity of such rumors. The position became embarrassing and some of the companions suggested to Uthman that reliable agents should be deputed to various provinces to investigate the matter and report about the truth of such rumors.