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The Third Caliph’s Abuse of the Quran’s Greatest Compiler

In this post, I am going to cite certain Muslim authorities concerning the abuse and physical beating that the third caliph Uthman ibn Affan inflicted on Abdullah ibn Masud. The purpose of doing so is to unveil what Sunni Muslims are too embarrassed to mention since it reflects rather poorly on their prophet’s companions and the preservation of the Quran


The greatness of Abdullah ibn Masud is apparent from the fact that the Islamic traditions testify that he was the most knowledgeable companion of Muhammad (along with Ubai ibn Kab) concerning the compilation of the Quran:

Abdullah (bin Masud) reported that (he said to his companions to conceal their copies of the Qur’an) and further said: He who conceals anything shall have to bring that which he had concealed on the Day of Judgment, and they said: After whose mode of recitation do you command me to recite? I in fact recited before Allah’s Messenger more than seventy chapters of the Qur’an and the companions of Allah’s Messenger know that I have better understanding of the Book of Allah (than they do), and if I were to know that someone had better understanding than I, I would have gone to him. Shaqiq said: I sat in the company of the companions of Muhammad but I did not hear anyone having rejected that (that is, his recitation) or finding fault with it. (Sahih Muslim, Book 031, Number 6022

2 Musnad `Umar b. al-Khattab

It was narrated from Qais bin Marwan that he came to ‘Umar and said:

I have come from Koofah, O Ameer al-­Mu’mineen, and I left behind in it a man who dictates the Mushaf FROM MEMORY. ‘Umar got exceedingly angry and said: Who is he, woe to you? He said: ‘Abdullah bin Mas’ood. ‘Umar began to calm down, and went back to normal, then he said: Woe to you, I DO NOT KNOW OF ANYONE WHO IS MORE QUALIFIED THAN HIM, and I will tell you about that. The Messenger of Allah used to stay up at night talking with Abu Bakr discussing some affairs of the Muslims. He stayed up talking with him one night, and I was with him. The Messenger of Allah went out, and we went out with him, and we saw a man standing and praying in the mosque. The Messenger of Allah listened to his recitation, and as soon as we recognised him the Messenger of Allah said: `Whoever would like to recite the Qur’an fresh as it was revealed, let him recite it ACCORDING TO THE RECITATION OF Ibn Umm ‘Abd.` Then the same man sat and offered supplication (du’a’) and the Messenger of Allah started saying to him: `Ask, you will be given; ask, you will be given.” ‘Umar said: By Allah, I shall go to him tomorrow and tell him the glad tidings. I went to him the next morning to tell him the glad tidings, and I found that Abu Bakr had beaten me to it and given him the glad tidings. By Allah, I never competed with him to do good but he beat me to it.

(Grade: Two Sahih isnads) (Darussalam)

Reference: Musnad Ahmad 175

In-book reference: Book 2, Hadith 92 (

His importance can be further seen from the following ahadith where Muhammad lists him first among three others as the foremost authorities on the Quran:

Narrated Masruq: ‘Abdullah bin Masud was mentioned before Abdullah bin ‘Amr who said, “That is a man I still love, as I heard the Prophet saying ‘Learn the recitation of Quran from four from ‘Abdullah bin Mas’ud –he started with him–Salim, the freed slave of Abu Hudaifa, Mu’adh bin Jabal and Ubai bin Ka’b.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 5, Book 58, Number 153

Masruq reported: We were in the company of Abdullah b ‘Amr that we made a mention of a hadith from Abdullah b. Mas’ud; thereupon he said: That is a person whose love ever remains (fresh in my heart) after I heard Allah’s Messenger as saying: Learn Qur’an from four persons: Ibn Umm ‘Abd, i.e. Abdullah b. Mas’ud and he started from his name-then Ubayy b. Ka’b and Mu’adh b Jabal. Zuhri did not make a mention of the words yaquluhu in his narration. (Sahih Muslim, Book 031, Number 6045

Other traditions confirm Ibn Masud’s surpassing the knowledge of the Quran and that Muhammad had even personally taught him the recitation as he had received it from Gabriel for the final time:

Hashim Ibn al-Qasim informed us; (he said): al-Mas’udi informed us on the authority of Qasim, i.e., ‘Abd al-Rahman; he said: Gabriel used to descend before the Apostle of Allah and he recited the Qur’an before him once every year [P. 4] in Ramadan, till the year when the Apostle of Allah, may Allah bless him, died; when Gabriel made him recite the Qur’an twice. ‘Abd Allah said: I recited the Qur’an as I have it from the mouth of the Apostle of Allah that year. If I had known any one more well versed… in the Book of Allah than me and camels had borne me to him, surely I would have gone to him; but by Allah! I DO NOT KNOW ANY SUCH PERSON. (Ibn Sa’d’s Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir, English translation by S. Moinul Haq, M.A., PH.D assisted by H.K. Ghazanfar M.A. [Kitab Bhavan Exporters & Importers, 1784 Kalan Mahal, Daryaganj, New Delhi- 110 002 India], Volume 2, p. 244; bold and capital emphasis mine)

Yahya Ibn Khulayf Ibn ‘Uqbah al-Basri informed us; (second chain) ‘Abd al-Wahhab Ibn ‘Ata informed us; he said: Ibn ‘Awn informed us on the authority of Muhammad ibn Sirin; he said: Gabriel used to recite the Qur’an before our Prophet, may Allah bless him, once every year in Ramadan. In the year in which he breathed his last he recited it twice before him. Muhammad said: I hope our style of reading… conforms to the last recitation by Gabriel. (Ibid., p. 243; bold emphasis mine)

Abu Mu’awiyah al-Darir informed us; (he said): al-A’mash informed us on the authority of Abu Zabyan, he on the authority of Ibn ‘Abbas, he asked: Which of the two readings (of the Qur’an) do you prefer? He (Abu Zabyan) said: We replied: The reading of ‘Abd Allah. Thereupon he said: Verily the Qur’an was recited (by Gabriel) before the Apostle of Allah, may Allah bless him, once in every Ramadan, except the year in which he breathed his last, when it was recited twice. Then ‘Abd Allah Ibn Mas’ud came to him (Prophet) and he learnt what was abrogated or altered.

Yahya Ibn ‘Isa al-Ramli informed us on the authority of Sufyan, he on the authority of al-A’mash, he on the authority of Abu al-Duha, he on the authority of Masruq; he said: ‘Abd Allah said: No surah was revealed but I know about what it was revealed. If I had known any one knowing more of the Book of Allah than me, and if the camels or other riding beasts had carried me there, I must have gone to him…

Wahb Ibn Jarir Ibn Hazm informed us: (he said): Shu’bah informed us on the authority of Ibrahim Ibn Muhajir, he on the authority of Ibrahim, he on the authority of ‘Abd Allah; (second chain) Abu Nua’ym al-Fadl Ibn Dukayn informed us; (he said): Abu al-Ahwas informed us on the authority of Sa’id Ibn Masruq, he on the authority of Abu al-Duha, he on the authority of ‘Abd Allah; he said: The Apostle of Allah said to me: Recite (the Qur’an) before me. Thereupon I said: How can I repeat before you and it has been revealed on you. He said: I like it. Wahb said in his version: I desire to hear it from others. He (‘Abd Allah) said: I recited the surah of al-Nisa before him, till I reached the verse: But how (will it be with them) when We bring of every people and We bring thee (O Muhammad) a witness against them. Abu Nua’ym said in his version: Thereupon he said: It is enough. Both of them said: Then I saw him that the eyes of the Prophet were filled tears, and he said: Whoever seeks pleasure in reciting the Qur’an according to its fresh reading he should recite after the reading of Ibn Umm ‘Abd. (Ibid., pp. 441-442; bold emphasis ours)

Waki ‘Ibn al-al-Jarrah informed us on the authority of Isma’il Ibn Khalid, he on the authority of Abu ‘Amr al-Shaybani; he said: Abu Musa al-Ash’ari said: Do not put questions to me as long as this learned man, that is Ibn Mas’ud, is among you. (Ibid., p. 443; bold emphasis ours)

Ma’an Ibn ‘Isa informed us; (he said): Mu’awiyah Ibn Salih informed us on the authority of Asad Ibn Wada’ah: Verily ‘Umar mentioned Ibn Mas’ud and said: (He is) a box full of knowledge for which I honoured the people of al-Qadisiyah. (Ibid., p. 444; bold emphasis mine)

When informed that Zaid’s text was to receive official status, Ibn Masud reacted indifferently:

Abdullah Ibn Masud said, “I recited from the Messenger of Allah seventy surahs which I had perfected before Zaid Ibn Thabit had embraced Islam.” (Gilchrist, Chapter 3. The Codices of Ibn Mas’ud and Ubayy Ibn Ka’b, p. 66 – citing Ibn Abi Dawud’s Kitab al-Masahif, p. 17)

“I acquired directly from the Messenger of Allah seventy surahs when Zaid was still a childish youth – must I now forsake what I acquired directly from the Messenger of Allah?” (Ibid., p. 15)

Ibn Masud during a religious sermon (khutba) declared:

“’Affan Ibn Muslim informed us; (he said): ‘Abd al-Wahid Ibn Ziyad informed us; (he said): Sulayman al-A’mash informed us on the authority of Shaqiq Ibn Salamah; he said: ‘Abd Allah Ibn Mas’ud delivered a sermon to us when the order concerning uniform reading of the Qur’an was issued, as it was indeed. He (Shaqiq) said: He mentioned ABOUT DECEIT and said: Who so deceived, will bring his deceit on the Day of Resurrection. The people have been guilty OF DECEIT IN THE READING OF THE Qur’an. I like it to read according to the recitation of him (Prophet) whom I love more than that of Zayd Ibn Thabit. By Him besides whom there is no god! I learnt more than seventy surahs from the lips of the Apostle of Allah, may Allah bless him, while Zayd Ibn Thabit was a youth, having two locks and playing with the youth. Then he said: By Him besides Whom there is no other god! If I know any one to be more conversant with the Book of Allah than me, and if the camels could carry me to him, I shall surely go to him. Then ‘Abd Allah went away. Shaqiq said: Subsequently I sat in the circles of the Companions of the Apostle of Allah and others BUT NONE contradicted his statement.” (Ibn Sa’d’s Kitab al-Tabaqat, Volume 2, p. 444; bold, capital and underline emphasis mine)

Here Ibn Masud accuses Muslims of introducing deceit or deception into the reading of the Quran! Ibn Masud even warned his followers against copying and reciting Zaid’s version of the Quran:

(19). 3104. Az-Zuhri narrated from Anas who said: “Hudhaifah bin Al-Yaman came to ‘Uthman, at the time when the people of Ash-Sham and the people of Al-‘Iraq were waging war to conquer Arminiyah and Adharbijan. Hudhaifah saw their (the people of Ash-Sham and Al-‘Iraq) different forms of recitation of the Qur’an. So he said to ‘Uthman: ‘O Commander of the Believers! Save this nation before they differ about the Book as the Jews and Christians did before them.’ So he (‘Uthman) sent a message to Hafsah (saying): ‘Send us the manuscripts so that we may copy them in the Musahif then we shall return it to you.’ So Hafsah sent the manuscripts to ‘Uthman bin ‘Affan. ‘Uthman then sent order for Zaid bin Thabit, Sa‘eed bin Al-‘As, ‘Abdur-Rahman bin Al-Harith bin Hisham, and ‘Abdullah bin Az-Zubair to copy the manuscripts in the Musahif. ‘Uthman said to the three Quraish men: In case you disagree with Zaid bin Thabit on any point in the (recitation dialect of the) Qur’an, then write it in the dialect of Quraish for it was revealed in their tongue.’ So when they had copied the manuscripts in the Musahif, ‘Uthman sent one Mushaf from those Musahif that they had copied to every province.”

Az-Zuhri said: “Kharijah bin Zaid [bin Thabit] narrated to me that Zaid bin Thabit said: ‘I missed an Ayah of Surat Al-Ahzab that I heard the Messenger of Allah reciting: Among the believers are men who have been true to their covenant with Allah, of them, some have fulfilled their obligations, and some of them are still waiting. – so I searched for it and found it with Khuzaimah bin Thabit, or Abu Khuzaimah, so I put it in its Surah.’”

Az-Zuhri said: “They differed then with At-Tabut and At-Tabuh. The Quraish said: At-Tabut while Zaid said: At-Tabuh. Their disagreement was brought to ‘Uthman, so he said: ‘Write it as At-Tabut, for it was revealed in the tongue of the Quraish.’”

Az-Zuhri said: “Ubaidullah bin Abdullah bin Utbah informed me that Abdullah bin Mas’ud disliked Zaid bin Thabit copying the Musahif, and he said: ‘O you Muslim people! Avoid copying the Mushaf and recitation of this man. By Allah! When I accepted Islam he was but in the loins of a disbelieving man’–meaning Zaid bin Thabit–and it was regarding this that Abdullah bin Mas’ud said: ‘O people of Al-Iraq! Keep the Musahif that are with you, and conceal them. For indeed Allah said: And whoever conceals something, he shall come with what he concealed on the Day of Judgement. So meet Allah with the Musahif.’” (Sahih) (English Translation of Jami‘ At-Tirmidhi: Compiled by Imam Hafiz Abu ‘Eisa Mohammad Ibn ‘Eisa At-Tirmidhi, translated by Abu Khaliyl (USA), ahadith edited & referenced by Hafiz Abu Tahir Zubair ‘Ali Za’i, final review by Islamic Research Section Darussalam [Darussalam Publishers & Distributors, First Edition: November 2007], Volume 5, From Hadith No. 2606 to 3290, 44. The Chapters On The Tafsir Of The Qur’an From The Messenger of Allah, Chapter 9., pp. 412-414; underline emphasis mine)

Interestingly, the Muslim community in Iraq refused to receive Uthman’s text, preferring Ibn Masud’s instead. This led to a confrontation between Hudhaifah and Ibn Masud:

`Abdullah, Hudaifa and Abu Musa were on the roof of Abu Musa’s house. `Abdullah said, ‘I hear you say such-and-such.’ Hudaifa said, ‘Yes, I deplore folk talking about this one’s reading and that one’s reading. They are differing like non-Muslims.‘ Hudaifa continued, ‘`Abdullah b. Qais, you were sent to the Basrans as governor and teacher. THEY HAVE ADOPTED YOUR ADAB, YOUR DIALECT AND YOUR TEXT.’

To b. Mas`ud he said, ‘You were sent to the Kufans as their teacher and THEY HAVE ADOPTED YOUR ADAB, YOUR DIALECT AND YOUR READING.’

‘In that case,’ retorted b. Mas`ud, ‘I have not misled them. There is no verse in the Book of God but that I know where and in what connection it was revealed. Did I know of anyone more learned than myself on the subject I should go to him.’ (Burton, p. 147, Abu Bakr `Abdullah b. abi Da’ud, “K. al Masahif”, ed. A. Jeffery, Cairo, 1936/1355, p. 14; bold emphasis mine)

The foregoing makes what Uthman did to Abdullah all the more reprehensible.


According to the Islamic sources, Abdullah was insulted, physically beaten, resulting in two of his ribs being broken, imprisoned in Medina, and had his pension taken from him by Uthman. Uthman did this to Abdullah all because of the latter’s refusing to give up his copy of the Quran to be burned and for not going along with the mishandling of the Muslim funds by Uthman’s brother Walid ibn ‘Uqbah:

The historian Ya’qubi (died 278 A.H.) writes in his book that Uthman collected the Qur’an and arranged it in such a way that he placed big surahs (chapters) together and the small surahs together separately, and sending for copies from all sides, got them washed with hot water and vinegar and set fire to them. As a result of it no Qur’an was left except the copy belonging to Ibn Mas’ud which was with him in Kufah. When Abdullah Ibn ‘Amir, the Governor of Kufah, asked Ibn Mas’ud for his copy he refused to give it. At this news Uthman wrote to ‘Amir to arrest Ibn Mas’ud and send him to Medina. When Ibn Mas’ud came and entered the masjid, Uthman was busy delivering his speech. Seeing Ibn Mas’ud he said, “An ugly and ill-natured animal has come”. Ibn Mas’ud also strongly retorted in response. Hearing it Uthman ordered people to beat him. So the people beat him and dragged him in such a way that two of his ribs got fractured.

It is written in the Persian translation of Tarikh A’tham Kufi (printed in Bombay vide page 147 line 8) that Uthman tore off the Qur’an and got it burnt. The same is given in the book “Successors of Muhammad” (W. Irving p.160 printed in London, 1850 A.D.). According to “Najatul Mu’minin” by Mulla Mohsin Kashmiri, Uthman got the ribs of Ibn Mas’ud fractured and snatching his Qur’an got it burnt. According to Rauzatul Ahbab vol. 2, p. 229 printed in Lucknow), Uthman ordered, “My Qur’an must be given currency in my domain and the remaining Qur’ans should be burnt. Accordingly all the remaining copies of Qur’an were got burnt. According to Tarikh al-Qur’an by Abdul Qadir Makki, p. 36 printed in Jeddah 1365 A.H. Sahih Bukhari vol. 6, p. 26 printed in Bombay, Mishkit Sharif printed in Dehli, p. 150, and Tafsir Itqan Suyuti, printed Ahmadi, vol. 1, p. 84; Uthman sent word to Hafsah, the wife of the Holy Prophet, to send him the Scriptures so that he might copy them out and then return them to her. Hafsah sent those Scriptures which were with her and Uthman appointed Zayd bin Thabit, Abdullah bin Zubayr, Sa’id bin ‘As, Abdul Rahman bin Harith to collect and copy the Scriptures, and asked all three men of the Quraysh to write the Qur’an in the colloquy of Quraysh in case there arose some difference on some point in it, because the Qur’an had been revealed in their language. They did accordingly till the Scripture was copied out and Uthman returned the Scriptures to Hafsah as promised and sent one newly-prepared copy to her. Now only the copy of the Qur’an prepared by Uthman remained in existence and all the other copies were got burnt. According to Fathul Bari of Ibn Hajar ‘Asqalani vol. 4, p. 226, Uthman sent back the Qur’an of Hafsah but Marwan snatched it forcibly from her and burnt it. According to Tarikh Khamis p. 270, Isti’ab p. 373 and Sawa’iq Muhriqah p. 68.

Uthman got all the copies of the Qur’an burnt except his own and got Abdullah Ibn Mas’ud beaten so much that he developed the disease of hernia. Then he sent him to prison where he died. According to Tuhfah Ithna ‘ Ashariyah of Abdul Aziz, Ubayy bin Ka’b gave his Qur’an to Uthman and he escaped beating. That Qur’an was also burnt.20 (The Suffering of the Ahl ul Bayt and their Followers (Shia) throughout History, compiled by: Sheikh Mateen J. Charbonneau [2nd Chance Books, 2018], pp. 93-94; bold emphasis mine)

20 The great companion of the Prophet Abu Dharr chapter 18 (Ibid., p. 94)

Provincial affairs gave Aishah her opportunity to play her hand against ‘Uthman. The latter, early in his reign, had been forced by public pressure to recall his governor of Kufah, Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas, for his refusal to repay into the Kufan treasury a sum of money advanced him by the low-born but strict treasurer, ‘Abd Allah ibn Mas’ud. ’Uthman replaced Sa’d in that turbulent city’s governorship by his (‘Uthman’s) uterine brother Walid ibn ‘Uqbah (25-30/644-650/51), who, though he retained Ibn Mas’ud as treasurer, tried, nevertheless, to misuse the treasury. Ibn Mas’ud would not oblige. Walid complained to ‘Uthman, who reminded Ibn Mas’ud that he was their treasury and that he was, therefore, not to oppose Walid. The indignant Ibn Mas’ud threw down the keys of the treasury with the retort, “I thought I was a treasurer for the Moslems; but If I am a treasurer for you, then I have no need of that (office).” He remained, however, in Kufah but definitely in the ranks of the opposition and a thorn, therefore, in the side of Walid. When ‘Uthman, in his effort to issue a standard text of the Qur’an, ordered other texts destroyed, Ibn Mas’ud refused to yield his. This, together with Walid’s persistent complaints of his disturbing influence in Kufah, led ‘Uthman to order Ibn Mas’ud to Medina. Arrived in the city, he went to the mosque where the caliph was making a speech. Soon the two came to sharp words, with Aishah taking ‘Uthman to task for his rough speech to a Companion of the Messenger of Allah. This probably enraged ‘Uthman all the more. At any rate, he ordered Ibn Mas’ud thrown out of the mosque. His order was carried out with such violence that among the physical injuries suffered by Ibn Mas’ud were two broken ribs. It was then that Aishah let go of herself and spoke out her mind freely, or as the historian reports with tantalizing brevity, “And then Aisha spoke and she said plenty.”81 Ibn Mas’ud was thereafter forbidden to leave Medina lest he causes trouble wherever he went. He was, besides, subjected to financial deprivations. Just before his death (A.H. 32 or 33) ‘Uthman attempted a reconciliation; but Ibn Mas’ud said he had no need now of the caliph’s favors. Like ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn ‘Awf, he too left word that ‘Uthman was not to pray over his body-a service which was performed, some say, by ‘Ammar ibn Yasir.82 (Nabia Abbott, Aisha: The Beloved of Mohammed [The University of Chicago Press, 1942] pp. 109-110; bold emphasis mine)

81 Ya’qubi, II, 196 f.; Baladhuri, Ansab, V, 36 f.

82 Ya’qubi, II, 197 f.; Baladhuri, Ansab, V, 37 f.; but cf. Ibn Sa’d, III, 113; Tabari, I, 2894; Nawawi, pp. 371 f. (Ibid., p. 110)

Tradition n.4

Sayyid Hamid Husayn then goes on to deal with some other narrations ascribed to the Prophet and cited by Shah ‘Abd al-Aziz, which are…

Hold on to the covenant of Ibn Umm ‘Abd (i.e. ‘Abd Allah ibn Mas’ud)…

That which Ibn Umm ‘Abd approves of is approved for you by me.

Both of these are weak (da’if) and isolated (ahad) traditions, while Hadith al-Thaqalayn is a mutawatir one. That both Muslim and al-Bukhari did not record them in their works indicates that they considered their isnad to be weak. Moreover, even if assumed to be authentic they do not contradict Hadith al-Thaqalayn, for while they only show the merit of Ibn Mas’ud, Hadith al-Thaqalayn signifies the preeminence and leadership of the Ahlul Bayt.

Furthermore, it is inconsistent of Shah ‘Abd al-Aziz to advance those traditions, for ‘Umar, instead of approving Ibn Mas’ud’s acts, forbade him to give fatwa and narrate the Prophet’s hadith and forbade him from leaving Madinah, which Ibn Mas’ud could not leave until the former’s death. ‘Uthman went a step further and had Ibn Mas’ud beaten so mercilessly that his ribs were broken. (, “Some Traditions that Appear to Conflict with Hadith al-Thaqalayn”

Ibn Masood arrived in Medina, and went into the Mosque. When he entered the Mosque, Uthman was reading the sermon. When Uthman saw him entering the Mosque, he said: “A foul and despicable beast is coming toward you.” Ibn Masood said: “That is not so. I am the companion and friend of the Apostle of God. I fought at Badr, and I am a Companion of the Tree.” Ayesha also heard in her chamber what Uthman had said, and she cried out: “Is this the kind of language you use for a companion of the Apostle of God?”

Uthman ordered Abdullah ibn Masood to get out of the Mosque of the Prophet. Uthman’s slaves threw him out of the Mosque, and down on the ground breaking his ribs.

Ali rose to upbraid Uthman, and said: “You have hurt a friend of the Apostle merely at a report from Walid. You know that Walid is a liar.” He then carried Ibn Masood to his home.

But Uthman was not satisfied with what he had done. After breaking the ribs of Abdullah ibn Masood, he stopped payment of his pension, and forbade him to leave Medina. Ibn Masood wished to go to Syria and to take part in the campaigns but Uthman repeated what he had heard Marwan saying: “He has created enough trouble in Kufa; do not let him do the same in Syria.” (p. 160) (al- Fitna-tul-Kubra {The Great Upheaval}, published in Cairo in 1959)

As noted before, Abdullah ibn Masood had made his own collection of the verses of Qur’an, and he had arranged them in chronological order. But Uthman had appointed his favorite, Zayd bin Thabit, to collect and to arrange the verses of Qur’an. He did not “recognize” the collection of Ibn Masood, and ordered him to surrender his copy. Abdullah ibn Masood refused to do so whereupon the slaves of Uthman broke into his house, and forcibly seized the copy of Qur’an from him. This copy was burned at Uthman’s orders. (Al-Islam.orgA Restatement of the History of Islam and Muslims, by Sayyid Ali Asghar Razwy, “Uthman, the Third Khalifa of the Muslims”; bold emphasis mine)

al-Walid also reported these stinging words of Ibn Mas’ud, to ‘Uthman and added that he slandered the caliph and abused him. ‘Uthman summoned Ibn Mas’ud to Medina. When the people of Kufah learnt of his recall to the capital, they gathered round him asking him not to go but to stay with them to remain immune from any possible injury. Ibn Mas’ud said: “He has the right of being obeyed, and I have no wish to be the first person to open the door to riot and sedition upon him and disobey him.”139

al-Isti’ab gives Ibn Mas’ud’s answer to the people of Kufah as follows: “These conditions are bound to produce riot and sedition, and I have no desire to start a riot.” The people of Kufah saw him off and he advised them to be chaste and act upon God’s injunctions and then asked them to return home before his departure. The people praised him for his goodness, and on his leaving for Medina, they thanked him for his efforts and services, saying: “May God reward you! You familiarized our ignorant ones with religion, and made our wise ones more steadfast in faith. You taught us the Qur’an, informed us of the Islamic faith and made us clear-sighted about religion. You were indeed a good Muslim, a fine friend and a kind brother.” Then saying farewell, they returned home.140

When Ibn Mas’ud arrived at Medina, he went straight to the Prophet’s mosque where ‘Uthman was at that moment giving a sermon while standing on the Prophet’s pulpit. When he saw Ibn Mas’ud he changed his words and said: “Just now a mean and worthless quadruped has entered upon you, a fellow who on people’s stretching their hands for bread, will vomit what he has eaten and throw it out of his belly.”

In answer to this abuse, Ibn Mas’ud said: “No, ‘Uthman, I am not such a man! I am one of the Prophet’s companions with the honor of being present in the battle of Badr and Pledge of ar-Ridwan (Good pleasure).”141 ‘A’ishah, too, exclaimed: “O ‘Uthman! Are you using such words about Ibn Mas’ud who has been an intimate companion of the Prophet?” In answer to her, ‘Uthman shouted: “Be silent”, and then ordered to expel Ibn Mas’ud from the mosque. They carried out the caliph’s order with Shocking insults to Ibn Mas’ud. ‘Abd Allah ibn Zam’ah knocked him down, and it is said that Yahmun, ‘Uthman’s slave, got between Ibn Mas’ud’s legs, lifted him and threw him down so violently that his ribs were broken. At this time, ‘Ali who was witnessing this scene, turned to ‘Uthman and said: “O ‘Uthman! Do you act in this way only on the words and reports of al-Walid ibn ‘Uqbah towards a companion of the Prophet?”

‘Uthman answered: “No! It is not only because of al-Walid’s words! I had also sent Zubayd ibn as-Salt Kindi to Kufah for investigation.” Ibn Mas’ud, who was twisting with agony, cried out: ” ‘Uthman’s blood is lawful” and ‘Ali said in answer to ‘Uthman: “And you have relied on Zubayd’s words who is not trustworthy!” Then he rose to aid Ibn Mas’ud and took him home for treatment.

After this incident, Ibn Mas’ud stayed in Medina and ‘Uthman did not permit him to leave that city. Even when he was cured from his injury, he asked leave to participate in the holy war against the Romans, but ‘Uthman refused permission. It is also narrated that before ‘Uthman could give a positive or negative answer, Marwan anticipated it and said to ‘Uthman: “He has roused Iraq against you and made them suspicious of you. Now it is ash-Sham’s turn and he intends to rouse the people there against you!” Thus to the end of his life, Ibn Mas’ud was unable to leave Medina and a watch was kept over him until his death two years before ‘Uthman’s assassination. On this occasion Ibn Mas’ud’s stay in Medina lasted three years. The final conversation between ‘Uthman and Ibn Mas’ud is worthy of attention. When Ibn Mas’ud was ill in bed and passing through the last moments of his life, ‘Uthman came to visit his sick-bed and said:

-What are you suffering from?

-From my sins.

-What would you like?

-God’s favor and forgiveness.

-Shall I call a doctor for you?

-The doctor himself has made me sick.

-Shall I order to pay your salary and pension?142

-You did not pay it when I needed it Do you want to do so today when I have no need for it?

-It will remain for your children.

-God will provide for their livelihood.

-Beg God to forgive me for what I have done.

-I beg God to seize my right from you.

Ibn Mas’ud had willed that ‘Ammar ibn Yasir should perform his burial prayer, and that ‘Uthman should not attend his burial. His will was carried out and he was buried in al-Baqi’ without ‘Uthman’s knowledge.143 When ‘Uthman heard of it, he got very angry and asked why he was buried without his knowledge. ‘Ammar said: “He had willed that you should not perform his burial prayer.” ‘Abd Allah ibn az-Zubayr composed a couplet on this occasion, meaning: “I know that you will lament my death whereas you had cut off my bread and food.”

This was an account of Ibn Mas’ud.144 But al-Walid’s rule did not result in the story of Ibn Mas’ud alone. During his rule he committed many mischievous and seditious acts such as his ill-treatment of Abu Zubayd, a Christian poet, and of a Jewish magician.

  1. Ansab al-ashraf of al-Baladhuri 5/36.
  2. Ansab al-ashraf of al-Baladhuri 5/36.
  3. al-Isti’ab on Ibn Mas’ud.
  4. Ibn Mas’ud, in his answer, is directly reproaching ‘Uthman who was not present on the above two occasions and thus he did not have the honour of participation in those events.
  5. His pension and salary had not been paid for two years. History of Ibn Kathir 7/163, al-Ya’qubi 2/197, al- Mustadrak 3/13.
  6. His death occurred in the year 32 after Hijrah. az-Zubayr buried him at night without informing ‘Uthman. At death his age was about 60 or a little more.
  7. From Tabaqat, al-Baladhuri 5/36, al-Isti’ab, Usd al-ghabah, al-Mustadrak 3/13, Kanz 7/54, History of al- Ya’qubi 2/147, History of al-Khamis 2/268, and Ibn Abi al-Hadid 1/236-237. (Sayyid Murtada Askari, The Role of Aishah in the History of Islam, Volume 1, Events which befell Ibn Mas’ud; bold emphasis mine)

There you have it folks, the spirit of Islam and the fruit of Muhammad’s teachings! Imagine what Muslims would do if the Apostles of the risen Christ verbally and physically abused each other, threw one another in prison, burned NT writings in order to standardize the one they felt were the most accurate or authoritative, and/or misused the funds of the people of God for personal gain?

Time for Muslims to leave this prophet and antichrist named Muhammad, and turn to the risen and living Savior, Jesus Christ, their only hope of salvation.

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