A Dictionary of Islam/'Usman

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A Dictionary of Islam by Thomas Patrick Hughes
'Usman

'USMAN (oUJic) IBN 'AFFAN.

The third Khalifah, who succeeded 'Umar a.h. 23 (a.d. 043), and was slain by Muhammad, son of Abii Bakr and other conspirators on the 18th of Zu '1-Hijjah, a.h. 35 (Juno 17th, A.D. 656), aged eighty-two, and having reigned twelve years. He is known amongst Muslims as Zu 'n-Xiirain, " The Possessor of the Two Lights," because he married two of the Prophet's daughters, Ruqaiyah and Ummu Kulsum. His chief merit with regard to the cause of Islam was the second and final revision of the sacred book, which he caused to be made, and of which an exhaustive account has been given in our article on the Qur'an.

Although Muljammadan historians distinguish the reigns of the first four Khalifahs as founded on faith (dim), from those of the later ones, as based on the world and its passions and vanities (dmiyaivi), it must be admitted that worldly motives entered already larj^ely into the politics of 'Usman and 'Ali, as contrasted with Abii Bakr and 'Umar. 'Usman, by his weakness and nepotism, 'Ali by holding aloof with culpable indifference, during the protracted death-struggle of his predecessor, by abetting his murderers in the open field, and by his vacillating spirit, where firmness of purpose was needed, gave rise to those tierce dissensions between rival religious and political parties, which led, for the time being, to the establishment of the Umaiyah dynasty, and eventually caused the division of Islam into the two great sects of the Simnis and Shi'ahs.