Thursday, May 30, 2024 AD / Dhul-Qa’dah 22, 1445 AH
Mansoor Hashemi Khorasani
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Question & Answer

Why did his Excellency Ali not try Uthman’s killers?

Uthman’s killers were not known in detail to Ali to punish them, and also in short, most of the emigrants and helpers from the companions of the Messenger of God, peace and blessings of God be upon him and his family, were accused of direct or indirect participation in his killing; to the extent that it has been quoted from Abu Saeed al-Khudri that he considered eight hundred of them present in his murder[1] and it has been quoted from Hashim ibn Utbah bin Abi Waqqas that he, in introducing his killers, said: «إِنَّمَا قَتَلَهُ أَصْحَابُ مُحَمَّدٍ وَأَبْنَاءُ أَصْحَابِهِ وَقُرَّاءُ النَّاسِ حِينَ أَحْدَثَ الْأَحْدَاثَ وَخَالَفَ حُكْمَ الْكِتَابِ»[2]; “Indeed, the companions of Muhammad and the sons of his companions and the reciters from people killed him when he made invented heresies and opposed the ruling of Quran”. In addition, hundreds of angry Muslims who came to Medina from different cities, especially Kufa and Egypt, at the invitation of some companions and followers took part in his killing[3] and it is clear that the trial of all this large number of people was not possible for Ali and would lead to sedition, whereas God has said: ﴿لَا يُكَلِّفُ اللَّهُ نَفْسًا إِلَّا وُسْعَهَا﴾[4]; “God does not task anyone but to the extent of his capability” and has said: ﴿وَالْفِتْنَةُ أَشَدُّ مِنَ الْقَتْلِ﴾[5]; “And the sedition is worse than killing”.

To comprehend the difficulty of this work for Ali, it is enough to know that Aisha the wife of the Messenger of God, peace and blessings be upon him and his household, and the mother of the believers, was one of the main accused in killing Uthman, who incited the people against him in Mecca and explicitly issued Fatwa of killing him and said: «أُقْتُلُوا نَعْثَلًا فَقَدْ کَفَرَ»; “Kill Na’thal; because he has become disbeliever”[6] and the other accused was Talhah who was considered the most hostile companion toward Uthman, to the extent that he closed the water on him after the siege[7]. For this very reason, Marwan ibn al-Hakam, the secretary of Uthman, killed him with an arrow in the battle of Camel and claimed that he had taken revenge on Uthman[8]. With this description, it can be said that Ali actually fought the killers of Uthman in the Battle of Camel and punished many of them for their action, although many escaped from him and were scattered in the cities.

It is hereby understood that Ali did not make any mistake in establishing the limits of God, and if he did not establish a limit, it was because of his incapability of establishing it due to lack of sufficient helpers, fear of sedition and prevention of the oppressors, and this is a fact about which there is no dispute.

↑[1] . The history of Medina by ibn Shabbah, Vol. 4, p. 1175
↑[2] . The battle of Siffin by ibn Muzahim, p. 354; the history of al-Tabari, Vol. 4, p. 30
↑[3] . See: al-Imāmah wal-Siyāsah by ibn Qutaybah, Vol. 1, p. 40.
↑[4] . Al-Baqarah/ 286
↑[5] . Al-Baqarah/ 191
↑[6] . See: Al-Futuh by ibn A’tham, Vol. 2, p. 437; the history of al-Tabari, Vol. 3, p. 477; Tajarib al-Umam by ibn Miskawayh, Vol. 1, p. 469; the complete history by ibn al-Athir, Vol. 3, p. 206; al-Imāmah wal-Siyāsas by ibn Qutaybah, Vol. 1, p. 51.
↑[7] . al-Ma’ārif by ibn Qutaybah, p. 228; the history of Median by ibn Shabbah, Vol. 4, p. 1169
↑[8] . Al-Mustadrak ala aṣ-Ṣaḥiḥain by ibn Hākim, Vol. 3, p. 370; al-Isti’ab Fi Ma’rifat Al-Ashab by ibn Abd al-Barr, Vol. 2, p. 766; Usd al-ghabah by ibn al-Athir, Vol. 3, p. 60; the history of al-Ya’qubi, Vol. 2, p. 182; al-Wafi bil-Wafayat by al-Safadi, Vol. 16, p. 272
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