Men of Excellence
After reciting the Tashahhud, Ta’awwuz, and Surah Al-Fatihah, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih V (aba) stated:
The name of the badri companion that I will mention today is Hazrat Usman bin Maz’oon (ra). His title was Abu Saaib. Hazrat Usman’s mother’s name was Sukhailah bint Ambas. The incident of how Hazrat Usman bin Maz’oon (ra) accepted Islam is as follows:
Hazrat Ibn Abbas (ra) narrates that once while the Messenger of Allah (sa) was sitting in the courtyard of his house in Mecca, Hazrat Usman bin Maz’oon (ra) passed by. He smiled as he saw the Holy Prophet (sa). The Messenger of Allah (sa) said to him, “Would you not like to take a seat?” Hazrat Usman replied, “Indeed, why not!”. Thus, he came and sat down in front of him. Whilst in conversation, the Holy Prophet (sa) suddenly looked up. He looked at the sky for a moment and then began lowering his gaze slowly, until he was looking continuously towards his right.”
He turned his face away from Usman, who was sitting before him and started looking towards the other direction. Then he lowered his head. During this incident, the Holy Prophet (sa) was nodding his head so as to indicate as if he was trying to understand something. Usman Bin Maz’oon, who was sitting next to him, observed all of this. After a short while, when the Messenger of Allah (sa) finished this pause or whatever state he was in at that time and whatever was being said to him came to an end – something was apparently being said to the Holy Prophet (sa), although Hazrat Usman was unaware of what was being said. Once the Holy Prophet (sa) had understood what had been said to him, his eyes rose towards the sky once again as it did before. His gaze was following something until that object disappeared from the sky. After this, the Holy Prophet (sa) turned to Hazrat Usman Bin Maz’oon like before. Hazrat Usman said, “I have never seen you doing what you were doing today.” He put this question to the Holy Prophet (sa). Upon this, the Holy Prophet (sa) said, “What did you see me do”. Usman Bin Maz’oon replied, “I saw your eyes rising towards the sky. Then you looked towards your right and fixed your gaze in that direction, taking no notice of me. You then began nodding your head, as if you were trying to understand what was being said to you.” The Holy Prophet (sa) asked, “Did you really observe this?” Usman bin Maz’oon replied in the affirmative. Upon this, the Holy Prophet (sa) said, “While you were sitting next to me, a messenger from Allah came to me and brought me a message.” Usman bin Maz’oon asked: “A messenger from Allah?” The Holy Prophet (sa) answered, “Yes.” Usman asked: “What did he say?”. The Holy Prophet (sa) replied, “He said [Arabic] i.e. Verily, Allah enjoins justice, and the doing of good to others; and giving like kindred; and forbids indecency, and manifest evil, and wrongful transgression. He admonishes you that you may take heed.” Usman Bin Maz’oon says, “This was the time when faith was truly embedded in my heart and I began to love Muhammad (sa).”
We find mention of Hazrat Usman bin Maz’oon’s migration to Abyssinia as well as his return to Mecca. As it has already been mentioned, Hazrat Usman bin Maz’oon was amongst the first converts to Islam. According to Ibn Ishaq, he accepted Islam after thirteen individuals. He and his son, Sa’ib, participated in the first migration to Abyssinia along with a group of Muslims. During his stay in Abyssinia, when he heard the news that the Quraish had accepted Islam, he returned to Mecca. There were others with these migrants, and the reason for their return was that they thought that all the disbelievers of Mecca had accepted the Holy Prophet (sa). When they reached near Mecca, they learned the truth of the matter. At that moment, travelling back to Abyssinia appeared too difficult a task for them. Anyway, some people did in fact go back to Abyssinia, fearing entry into Mecca without coming under someone’s tribal protection. Nonetheless, others took the tribal protection of a local person before entering Mecca – they waited until someone from Mecca gave them refuge and safe entry to come back. Hazrat Usman bin Maz’oon (ra) came under the protection of Waleed bin Mugheerah. Ibn Ishaq relates: “Hazrat Usman saw that the Holy Prophet (sa) and his companions were enduring great troubles – that people were being beaten and great cruelties inflicted upon them, all the while he [i.e.Hazrat Usman] spent day and night in peace under the tribal protection of Waleed bin Mugheerah, (he was a non-Muslim chief among the chiefs of Mecca, and Usman had come under his protection).
The mention of this emigration to Abyssinia has been stated previously as well in reference to other companions. I shall present in summary what Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad Sahib has written, referring to various historical sources: “When the suffering of the Muslims had reached its limit and the Quraish continued to aggravate the affliction of the Muslims, the Holy Prophet (sa) instructed Muslims to migrate to Abyssinia, and said, ‘The king of Abyssinia is just and equitable. None are subjected to oppression under his rule.’ The country of ‘Ḥabshah’, which is known as Ethiopia or Abyssinia in the English language, is situated to the north-east in the continent of Africa. During that era a strong Christian sovereignty was established in Abyssinia and the king was referred to as the Negus. During that time, the personal name of the Negus was Aṣḥamah, who was a just, intelligent and powerful king. In any case, when the pains of the Muslims reached their limits, the Holy Prophet (sa) instructed that those who could afford should migrate to Abyssinia. Therefore, upon the instruction of the Holy Prophet (sa), in the month of Rajab 5 Nabawī, eleven men and four women migrated to Abyssinia. A number of men, women and children migrated to Abyssinia in accordance with this instruction, but it was not an ordinary matter for them to leave Mecca. It had a deep emotional aspect to it as the Meccans considered themselves the custodians of the Ka’bah, and therefore, it was unbearable for them to leave Mecca. Only such a man could say that he will leave Mecca, who has no resting place left in the world. Hence, it was an extremely painful episode for these people to migrate and on top of that they had to leave in secrecy. They migrated quietly because they knew that if the Meccans came to know of it, they would not allow them to migrate. So for this reason, they were not able to even say their final farewells to their dear ones.
In any case, when the Meccans were made aware of their migration, they pursued them and continued to chase them right up to the sea. However, prior to their arrival at the sea the Muslims had already departed for Abyssinia. The Meccans heard news of this and decided to send a delegation to the King of Abyssinia in an attempt to turn him against the Muslims and to also persuade him to hand them over to the Meccans. Hence, this delegation went to Abyssinia and met the king, having instigated the nobles of the courtyard. However, God Almighty had strengthened the heart of the King and despite all the insistence of the courtiers, who had been influenced by the Meccans, and despite them telling him to hand the Muslims over to the Meccans, even the courtiers were colluding to hand over the Muslims, he refused to hand the Muslims over to the disbelievers. When this delegation was unsuccessful and returned to Mecca, the Meccans contrived a plan to call Muslims back. They spread rumours among some of the caravans travelling to Ethiopia that everyone in Mecca had embraced Islam. Majority of Muslims returned to Mecca upon hearing this news; however, after their arrival, they came to know that this news was disseminated mischievously and was utterly false. When the Muslims came to know of this, as it has been mentioned before some returned to Ethiopia and others stayed in Mecca.
Hazrat Musleh Mau’ud (ra) writes: “Hazrat Usman bin Maz’oon (ra) was among those who remained behind in Mecca. He was the son of a very wealthy person. This time around Waleed bin Mugheerah, a friend of his father, granted refuge to Hazrat Usman (ra) and he started to live in Mecca safely. However, during this time, Hazrat Usman (ra) observed that some other Muslims were facing severe persecution. Since he was an honourable young man, he met Waleed and stated: ‘I no longer require your protection because I cannot bear the fact that other Muslims endure such hardships and I live comfortably.’ Therefore, Waleed announced: “Usman is no longer under my protection.” After this, Labeed, a famous poet of Mecca, was once presenting his poetry to the wealthy Meccans. He recited the following couplet: [Arabic] meaning ‘every favour will indeed come to an end’ Hazrat Usman (ra) responded: “This is false, the favours of paradise are everlasting.” Labeed, who was an influential person, became infuriated after hearing this response. He said: “O People of the Quraish! Your guests were never humiliated in such a manner previously. Since when has this new custom started?” Someone responded: “This person is foolish. Do not mind what he says.” Hazrat Usman (ra) insisted on his stance and stated: “There is nothing imprudent about what I said. It is the truth.” Upon hearing this, a person stood up and punched Hazrat Usman (ra) on his face due to which he either lost his eye, or it swelled up. Waleed, who had granted protection to Hazrat Usman (ra) before, was sitting in this gathering. He was a close friend of Hazrat Usman’s (ra) father who had passed away. Waleed could not endure the present condition of the offspring of his deceased friend. However, according to the Meccan traditions, he could not support Hazrat Usman (ra) at all because he was no longer under his protection. He was not able to do anything; however, he addressed Hazrat Usman (ra) and said with immense pain: “O son of my brother! By God, your eye could have been saved from such suffering. You were under superior protection” meaning Waleed’s guardianship “but you renounced it and saw this day.” Usman replied, “Whatever has happened with me, I wanted it to happen. You are grieving over my injured eye, while my healthy eye also trembles, anxious that whatever has happened to my companion, should happen to it as well.” He goes on to write: “While addressing Waleed, Hazrat Usman said ‘The example of Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah (sa), is sufficient and complete for me. If he is enduring hardship, then why should I not suffer as well? The support of God is sufficient for me.”
In fact, later Labeed also accepted Islam. Hazrat Musleh Maud (ra) further states: “Upon accepting Islam, Labeed also adopted the same practice. For instance, once Hazrat Umar (ra) sent a message to one of his governors and asked him to send any newly composed works of poetry from some of the reputable and well-known poets. Labeed, who had become a Muslim by then, was also requested to present his work and subsequently he wrote a few verses from the Holy Quran and sent them.”
The deep love and bond Hazrat Usman bin Maz’oon (ra) had with the Holy Prophet (sa) can be also be gauged from the following account. In one of the narrations it states that upon his demise, the Holy Prophet (sa) kissed him and whilst doing so tears were flowing from his eyes. When the Holy Prophet’s son, Ibrahim passed away, the Holy Prophet (sa) stood next to his body and said: “May you be in the company of our righteous and dear friend, Usman bin Maz’oon (ra).’”
Hazrat Usman bin Maz’oon (ra) migrated to Medina and The Holy Prophet (sa) established a bond of brotherhood between Hazrat Usman bin Maz’oon (ra) and Hazrat Abu Haitham bin Taihan (ra). He also participated in the Battle of Badr. Out of all the people, Hazrat Usman bin Maz’oon (ra) prayed with the most passion, he would observe the fast in the day and would worship in the late hours of the night. He would safeguard himself from carnal desires and would always keep away from women. Hazrat Usman bin Maz’oon (ra) sought permission from the Holy Prophet (sa) to lead a life in complete seclusion from the world and become celibate, however the Holy Prophet (sa) prohibited him from doing this.
In one of the narrations, it states that once Hazrat Usman bin Maz’oon’s wife went to meet the noble wives of the Holy Prophet (sa). Upon seeing her in a dishevelled state with her clothes unclean and hair unkempt, they enquired why she was in such a state. They advised her to be more presentable because amongst the people of Quraish, there was no one wealthier than her husband. Hazrat Usman bin Maz’oon’s wife responded to the noble wives of the Holy Prophet (sa), who were all sat together, that Hazrat Usman bin Maz’oon (ra) did not possess anything; he neither had any wealth and nor did he have any desire for her. She said, “He prays to God Almighty all night and gives me no attention and he fasts during the day.” When the Holy Prophet (sa) entered inside, his wives informed him of her situation. Upon hearing what Hazrat Usman bin Maz’oon’s wife had said, the Holy Prophet (sa) went to see him and said, “Am I not a model for you to follow?” Hazrat Usman bin Maz’oon (ra) replied, “What has happened? I strive my utmost to emulate your example.” The Holy Prophet (sa) replied, “Do you fast during the day and worship all night?” Hazrat Usman bin Maz’oon (ra) replied in the affirmative. Upon this, the Holy Prophet (sa) instructed him not do so and said, “Your eyes have a right over you; your body has a right over you; your family has a right over and your wife and children have a right over you. Therefore, you may pray indeed, but it is also important to sleep.” One should awaken in the night to offer their voluntary prayers, but it is also important to sleep. “If you keep voluntary fasts then you should not keep them consecutively and take breaks in between them.” When the Holy Prophet (sa) said this to Hazrat Usman bin Maz’oon (ra), after some time his wife went again to the meet the noble wives of the Holy Prophet (sa) and was wearing perfume as if she had prepared herself to be a bride. They enquired as to why she had made such an effort to adorn herself, to which she replied that she had also been granted what other women had i.e. the attention of her husband. Hazrat Usman bin Maz’oon sought permission for Tabattul [asceticism], however the Holy Prophet (sa) refused to grant him permission.
Hazrat Qudama bin Maz’oon narrates that on one occasion Hazrat Umar (ra) walked past us whilst we were sitting in the company of the Holy Prophet (sa). The Holy Prophet (sa) said: ‘this individual is Ghalaqal Fitna’ i.e. he is a barrier against Dissention. The Holy Prophet (sa) then indicated that he is a door between us, and the dissention and this door will remain sealed shut until he remains among us.” This meant that whilst Hazrat Umar (ra) was alive there would not be any discord or dissent within Islam. This is corroborated by the events of history as the main disturbances began after this. Hazrat Umar (ra) knew that after him the dissention and discord would begin.
Hazrat Usman bin Maz’oon (ra) was the first among the Muhajireen to pass away in Medina in 2 AH. According to some narrations he passed away 22 months after the Battle of Badr, and he was the first person to be buried in Janatul Baqi. Nonetheless, there are other incidents about him which I will narrate in the future, God Willing.