‘Uthman Ibn Madhun RA – Worldly Pleasure Never Entice him.
A ‘Monk’ Whose Hermitage was Life
Uthman bin Madhun RA (Arabic: عثمان بن مظعون) (may also be spelled as Uthman bin Madh’un) was one of the companions of Muhammad. Uthman bin Madhun RA was from Banu (Family of) Jamh branch of Quraish tribe.
His grandfather of Jamh was khusays bin Ka’b. Ka’b bin Luai the ancestor of Uthman bin Madhun RA was also an ancestor of Rasulullah SAW.
Uthman bin Madhun RA and all three of his brothers were among the As-Sabiqun al-Awwalun (Early Muslims).
Uthman bin Madhun RA had the following three brothers:
- Qadamah bin Madhun RA
- Sa’ib bin Madhun RA
- Abdullah bin Madhun RA
All of them migrated to Habash (Ethiopia) with many other Muslims, to save themselves from the torture of Quraish. They had a sister named Zainab bint Madhun RA. She was married to Saidina Umar bin Al-Khattab RA the second Caliph of Muslim in the Caliph Rashidin era. Zainab bint Madhun RA had two children: Hafsah bint Umar ibn Al Khattab RA and Abdullah bin Umar Ibn Al Khattab RA.Hafsah bint Umar Ibn Al Khattab RA later became one of the Ummul Muminin (Mother of the faithful), a title given to the holy wives of Rasulullah SAW.
Their father was Madhun bin Habib. Uthman bin Madhun RA was one of the very few Quraish who did not drink wine before Islam. Uthman bin Madhun RA was among the first fifteen people to accept Islam. The early converts to Islam were tortured by the Quraish for leaving their age-old religion. In the year 9BH (Before Hijrah) (613 AD), the Messenger of Allah, Muhammad SAW allowed these early Muslims to migrate out of Makkah.
More than one hundred (100) Muslims migrated to Habash (Ethiopia), at different times in small groups, to save themselves from the torture of Quraish. The Christian King Najashi (Negus) of Habash (Ethiopia) welcomed the migrants Muslims. Uthman bin Madhun RA had migrated to Habash (Ethiopia) twice. Most migrant Muslims returned to Makkah from Habash (Ethiopia), after hearing a rumor that all Quraish had accepted Islam. They were tortured more on their return. Most of them went back to Habash (Ethiopia). ‘Uthman bin Madhun RA was among those who migrated to Habash (Ethiopia) once again.
‘Uthman bin Madhun RA was a very religious person. He spent a lot of time in prayers. Once he did not come out of his house for several days. He spent all his time praying, while he was in his house. Rasulullah SAW told ‘Uthman bin Madhun RA that Islam does not have only one single dimension. In Islam, the word prayer has much wider meanings. Everything done by us for any good cause is ‘Ibadah (Prayers). Islam is a complete way of life. One does not have to leave this world to become a good Muslim. Uthman bin Madhun RA participated in the battle of Badr. It was the first major battle between the Muslims and the Quraish. Poorly equipped and fewer Muslims defeated the large well-armed army of Quraish.
If you attempt to arrange Rasulullah’s Companions in the order of their embracing Islam, Uthman Ibn Madhun RA will be number fourteen. Not only was he the first Muhajir to die in Al-Madinah, but also the first Muslim to be buried in Al-Baqi. This glorious Companion whose lives story you are about to hear was a great “monk”. By ‘monk’ here I mean a worshiper throughout life, not a monk sequestered in his hermitage, for life with all its commotion, turmoil, burdens, and virtues was his “hermitage”. Life to Uthman Ibn Madhun RA meant perseverance in the way of in the way of truth and unremitting self-denial good and righteousness.
Uthman bin Madhun RA was married to Khawlah bint Hakim, both being two of the earliest converts to Islam. According to Ibn Ishaq, he led a group of Muslims to Abyssinia in the first migration which some of the early Muslims undertook to escape persecution in Makkah.
There is a narration that, out of religious devotion, Uthman bin Madhun RA decided to dedicate his life for prayer and take a vow of chastity from his wife. His wife spoke to Rasulullah SAW about this, and Rasulullah SAW gently reminded Uthman bin Madhun RA that he himself, as the Prophet, also had a family life and that Uthman bin Madhun RA had a responsibility to his family and should not adopt monasticism as a form of religious practice.
Uthman bin Madhun RA died in the 3rd year after the hijrah and was either the first companion or the first Muhajir (immigrant to Madinah) to be buried in the cemetery of Baqi’ (Jannat al-Baqi) in Madinah. ‘Uthman bin Madhun RA was the first Muhajir (Migrant) from Makkah to die in Madinah. He was the first Muhajir to be buried in Baqi’ al Gharqad (A famous graveyard in Madinah)
When we go back in time, when the fresh early rays of Islam were emanating from Rasulullah’s SAW heart and from his words said in secret and seclusion, Uthman Ibn Madhun RA was there. Uthman Ibn Madhun RA was one of the few who rushed to the way of Allah and supported Rasulullah SAW. When Rasulullah SAW ordered the few oppressed believers to immigrate to Abyssinia, he wanted to save them from the Quraish’s oppression, while he chose to be left behind to face it alone. Uthman Ibn Madhun RA, who was at the head of the first group of exiles, was accompanied by his son, As-Saa’ib. They set their faces towards the far-away land fleeing the plots of Abu Jahl, Allah’s enemy, and the Quraish’s atrocities.
The emigration of Uthman Ibn Madhun RA and likewise for the rest of the emigrants to Abyssinia in the first and second emigrations – only made him hold more firmly to his Islam. Definitely, the two emigrations to Abyssinia represented a unique and glorious phenomenon in the cause of Islam, for those who believed in Rasulullah SAW and followed the light that had been sent down to him had had enough of paganism, error, and ignorance. Their common sense shunned the idolatry of statues made of rocks and clay. When this group of early believers emigrated to Abyssinia, they found an already prevalent and highly disciplined religion with an established clerical hierarchy of bishops and priests. Notwithstanding their attitude towards this religion, it was definitely remote from both the familiar paganism practiced back home and the usual idolatrous rites they had left behind. Undoubtedly, the clergy in Abyssinia exerted much effort to lure those emigrants to apostatize and embrace Christianity.
In spite of all this, those emigrants stood steadfast in their profound loyalty to Islam and to Rasulullah SAW. They anxiously yearned for the day when they would return to their beloved country so as to worship Allah and support the righteous Rasulullah SAW in the mosque in peacetime and in the battlefield when the power of disbelief forced them to take up arms. Thus, those emigrants who lived in Abyssinia felt secure and peaceful. Uthman Ibn Madhun RA was one of them, yet his expatriation did not make him forget his cousin Umaiyah Ibn Khalaf plots and the abuse he dealt him and other Muslims. Hence, Uthman bin Madhun RA used to amuse himself by rehearsing threats to him, saying,” I hope that all the arrows you aim will miss their target and strike back at you. You fought against generous and noble people and tortured them to death. You will soon be punished, and the common people you used to despise will get back at you.”
While the emigrants despite their exile, wrapped up in their worship of Allah and the study of the Qur’an. News spread that the Quraish had submitted to Islam and prostrated themselves to Allah, the One, and the Irresistible.
Hurriedly, driven by their nostalgic feelings, the emigrants packed up their belongings and hastened to Makkah. However, no sooner had they reached Makkah’s outskirts than they realized that the news about the Quraish’s submission to Islam was only the bait to lure them to return. Suddenly, they realized that their excessive credulity had led them right into this trap, yet there was nothing they could do, for Makkah was in sight and there was no escape whatsoever. Makkah’s unbelievers were overjoyed to hear that their long-awaited prey was caught in the trap they had laid.
At that time, the right of protection – to be under the assistance, support, refuge, and protection of his patron – was a sacred and honored Arab tradition. Consequently, if a weak man had a claim on a man of high standing, he would instantly enjoy the privileges of the right of protection and would be under an invincible protection and safety. Naturally, not all of those who returned to Makkah had claims on a high-ranking man. Therefore, few enjoyed the protection and safety guaranteed by this right. Among those who did was Uthman bin Madhun RA who had a claim on Al Walid Ibn Al-Mughirah. Hence, Uthman bin Madhun RA entered Makkah safely and peacefully and attended its councils without being humiliated or harmed.
Yet, every time Uthman bin Madhun RA, the man who had been refined by the Qur’an and whom Rasulullah SAW had taught and disciplined – looked around, he saw his weak, poor Muslim brothers who had no claim on the right of protection being atrociously abused and unjustly haunted, while he sat safe and sound in his sanctuary away from the least provocation. Uthman bin Madhun RA free spirit rebelled and his noble compassion got the better of him. Hence, Uthman bin Madhun RA decided to throw aside Al-Walid’s patronage and take off his shoulders this burdensome sanctuary that deprived him of the bliss of enduring abuse in the way of Allah and of following his Muslim brothers who were the believing vanguard and the glad tidings of the world that would afterwards overflow with faith, monotheism, and light. Let us now call an eyewitness to narrate what occurred.
When Uthman bin Madhun RA saw the affliction that had befallen Rasulullah’s Companions while he was free and safe under Al-Walid Ibn Al-Mughirah protection, he said to himself, “By Allah, I realize now that I have a fatal flaw in my character, for here I am sound under the protection of a disbeliever while my brothers and companions are being abused and tortured by disbelievers.” Instantly, he hastened to Al-Walid Ibn Al- Mughirah and spoke. Abi Abd Shams, you have been a dutiful friend, you did your utmost to honor the ties of kinship. But now I must forsake my claim on you.” Al-Walid asked him, “Why, nephew? Did any of my people lay a finger on you?” Uthman bin Madhun RA answered, “No, but I’m fully satisfied with Allah’s protection and sanctuary and I do not want to resort to anyone but Him. So please come with me to the mosque and withdraw your protection and support in public.” They both hastened to the mosque. Then Al-Walid cried out, ‘” Uthman bin Madhun has asked me to withdraw my protection and support from him.” ‘Uthman bin Madhun RA said, “He was indeed a loyal, dutiful, and generous patron, but I do not like to resort to the protection and help of anyone but Allah.”
Nearby was Al-Walid Ibn Al-Mughirah, who saw what had happened and said, ” By Allah, nephew, you could have spared yourself the pain if you had stayed under my invulnerable protection.” ‘Uthman bin Madhun RA answered, “On the contrary, my healthy eye yearns for the pain of my abused eye. I am under the protection of Allah, Who is far better and more capable than you, Abu ‘Abd Shams.” Al-Walid urged him saying, “Come on nephew, be sensible and return to my sanctuary and protection.” Uthman bin Madhun RA said firmly, “No.” After he left, the pain in his eye was severe yet his spirit was revived, strengthened, and reassured. On his way home Uthman bin Madhun RA he recited, “I don’t care if a deluded disbeliever hurt my eye, for it was in the way of Allah. For the Most Merciful will reward me on the Day of Reckoning in compensation for it. My people, if Allah attempts to please someone, then he will be undoubtedly a happy man. Even if you say that I’m a misguided fool, my life will always be consecrated to Rasulullah’s SAW religion. Uthman Ibn Madhun RA will always do my utmost to please Allah SWT, for our religion is the only truth despite abuse and oppression.As ” Uthman bin Madhun RA was leaving, Lubaid Ibn Rabifah was sitting in one of the Quraish’s meetings reciting poetry, so he decided to join them and sat down and heard Lubaid recite, “Everything but Allah is falsehood.” ‘Uthman bin Madhun RA nodded and said, “You spoke the truth.” Lubaid continued, “Every blessing is transient.” “Uthman bin Madhun RA objected saying, “You are a liar, for the blessings of Paradise are eternal.” Lubaid said, “0 you Quraish, by Allah, I have not heard before that anyone dared to call a man who was attending your meeting names.” A man of Quraish explained, “Do not pay attention to what he says, for he is a fool who has turned apostate.” “Uthman bin Madhun RA objected to the man’s insult and both quarreled until the man lost his temper and punched ‘Uthman’s eye ruthlessly.
Thus Uthman bin Madhun RA set an example that was highly becoming of him. In fact, life witnessed the remarkable scene of an excellent man who’s graceful, immortal words will resound: “By Allah, my healthy eye yearns to be hurt in the way of Allah. I am under the protection and care of Someone far better and more capable than you.” Obviously the scenario of “Uthman’s abuse at the hands of the Quraish after he had renounced Al-Walid’s protection was premeditated on his part. Uthman bin Madhun RA provoked it and was overjoyed by it, for this abuse was to him like the fire that matures, purifies, and ennobles his faith. At last, he followed the footsteps of his believing brothers who did not accept intimidation.
Afterwards, “Uthman bin Madhun RA decided to emigrate to Al-Madinah where he would not be haunted or harassed by Abu Jahl, Abu Lahab, Umaiyah, ‘Utbah, or any of the other ruthless disbelievers who abused and tormented the Muslims. Uthman bin Madhun RA traveled to Al-Madinah with those great Companions who survived the hardships, terror, and horror of the trials with admirable steadfastness and stoutness. They did not emigrate to Al-Madinah to rest. On the contrary, Al-Madinah was the springboard that enabled Muslims to strive in the way of Allah all over the world, clinging to Allah’s flag and spreading His words, signs, and guidance.
When Uthman bin Madhun RA had settled in the illuminated Madinah, his remarkable, great qualities were unveiled. Uthman bin Madhun RA ultimately emerged as an ascetic, devout, and repentant worshiper. To sum up, he was the glorious and intelligent “monk” who was not sequestered in his hermitage but rather in life. He spent his life striving in the way of Allah. Indeed, he was the worshiper by night and the fighter by day. In fact, he was the worshipper and the fighter of both night and day.
Although all Rasulullah’s Companions at that time were inclined to asceticism and devoutness, yet Uthman bin Madhun RA had a certain strategy in that respect, for he was so remarkably absorbed in his asceticism and devoutness that he turned his life, day and night, into a perpetual blessed prayer and a sweet long glorification. No sooner had he sipped the sweetness of the engrossment in worship than he hastened to abandon all the enticing luxury and splendor of life. Therefore, he wore nothing but coarse clothes and ate nothing but coarse food.
One day, he walked into the mosque in which Rasulullah SAW and his Companions were sitting, and he had on a faded, worn-out garment that was patched with a piece of fur. As soon as Rasulullah SAW saw him, he sympathized with him, and the Companions’ eyes were filled with tears, yet Rasulullah SAW said, “Would you like it if you were rich enough to have as many garments as you like and as much food as you like? Would you like your upholstery to be as expensive as the clothes used in covering the Kaabah?” The Companions answered, “We would indeed! We would like to live in luxury surrounded by the splendors of life.” Rasulullah SAW commented, “You will be wealthy, but you are today far better in your piety and devoutness than you will when you are wealthy.” Naturally, when Uthman bin Madhun RA heard Rasulullah’s words, he clung more and more to his austere and coarse life.
Uthman bin Madhun RA went so far as to renounce sexual intercourse with his wife, yet when Rasulullah SAW heard about this exaggerated attitude, There is a narration that, out of religious devotion, Uthman bin Madhun RA decided to dedicate himself from prayer and take a vow of chastity from his wife. His wife spoke to Rasulullah SAW about this, and Rasulullah SAW gently reminded Uthman bin Madhun RA that he himself, as a Rasul, also had a family life and that Uthman had a responsibility to his family and should not adopt monasticism as a form of religious practice. Rasulullah SAW summoned Uthman bin Madhun RA and said, “Your wife has the right to have sexual intercourse with you.”
Rasulullah SAW loved him dearly. When his pure spirit was embarking on its journey towards Heaven, Rasulullah SAW was next to him, paying his last farewell to the first Muhajir to die in Al-Madinah and the first to be raised to Paradise. He leaned to kiss his forehead and his amiable eyes flowed with tears that wet ‘Uthman’s face, which looked remarkably graceful. Rasulullah SAW paid his last farewell to his beloved Companion by saying, “Allah bestows His mercy on you, Abu As-Saa’ib. You are now leaving life that was not able to seduce or mislead you.”
The revered Rasulullah SAW did not forget his Companion after his death; on the contrary, he often mentioned and praised him. For instance, his very last words to his daughter Ruqayyah on her deathbed were, “Go on, and follow in the pious and devout Uthman bin Madhun RA’s footsteps up to Paradise.
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Selected Hadiths Narrated and Attributed to Uthman Ibn Madhun RA
Found In: Sahih Bukhari Chapter No: 50, Witnesses
Hadith no: 865
Narrated: Um Al-Ala
That when the Ansar drew lots as to which of the emigrants should dwell with which of the Ansar, the name of uthman bin mazun came out (to be in their lot). Um Al-Ala further said, “uthman stayed with us, and we nursed him when he got sick, but he died. We shrouded him in his clothes, and Allah’s Apostle (SAW) came to our house and I said, (addressing the dead uthman), ‘O Abu As-Saib! May Allah be merciful to you. I testify that Allah has blessed you.’ The Prophet (SAW) said to me, “How do you know that Allah has blessed him?” I replied, ‘I do not know O Allah’s Apostle (SAW)! May my parents be sacrificed for you.’ Allah’s Apostle (SAW) said, ‘As regards uthman, by Allah he has died and I really wish him every good, yet, by Allah, although I am Allah’s Apostle (SAW), I do not know what will be done to him.’ Um Al-Ala added, ‘By Allah I shall never attest the piety of anybody after him. And what Allah’s Apostle (SAW)s said made me sad.” Um Al-Ala further said, “Once I slept and saw in a dream, a flowing stream for uthman. So I went to Allah’s Apostle (SAW) and told him about it, he said, ‘That is (the symbol of) his deeds.’ “
Found In: Sunan Ibn Majah Chapter No: 11, The Chapters on Marriage
Hadith no: 1848
“The Messenger of Allah (saw) disapproved of uthman bin mazun’s desire to remain celibate; if he had given him permission, we would have gotten ourselves castrated.”
Found In: Sunan Ibn Majah Chapter No: 8, Chapters Regarding Funerals
Hadith no: 1456
“The Messenger of Allah (saw) kissed ‘uthman bin mazun when he had died, and it is as if I can see him with his tears flowing down his cheeks.” Sahih
Found In: Sunan Ibn Majah Chapter No: 11, The Chapters on Marriage
Hadith no: 1878
Narrated: Ibn Umar
when uthman bin mazun dies, he left behind a daughter. ibn Umar said: “My maternal uncle Qudamah, who was her paternal uncle, married me to her, but he did not consult her. That was after her father had died. She did not like this marriage, and the girl wanted to marry Mughirah bin Shubah, so she married him.”