Table of Contents
Umar had imposed restrictions upon the Arab settlers in the Provinces against acquiring land and agricultural property. He had also banned migration of Quraishi aristocrats to the newly conquered Provinces in order to ensure that the status quo there wouldn’t be disrupted and the Bayt al-Mal were not affected.
Usman gradually but increasingly abolished all these salutary restrictions. He allowed Arabs to acquire landed properties and lifted the ban on migration of Quraishi aristocrats.
He allotted lands and estates, called Qatai, to too many people. This led to new aristocracy called Qatai Feudalism.
The Qatai lands constituted direct loss to Bayt al-mal since they wouldn’t now pay Kharaj.
This gave concerns to the already-settled there people. They feared that aristocrats would run the provinces like they had in pre-Islamic times. They had gained the lands with their swords and lives.
The Bedouins versus the Quraish
There existed antagonism between Bedouins and the Quraishites before Islam, but now it was renewed. The people that conquered the lands resented the new elite class that had entered their cities.
But more so they resented the Caliph who had lifted the ban in the first place. They believed they were no longer unruly but equally capable. They felt it was all due to nepotistic tendencies of Usman.
The discontent was highest in Basra, Kufa, and Fustat, which were ruled by Usman’s clan and kin. These cities were the one that spearheaded the rebellion.
Internal Quarrels of the Quraish
Usman failed to win the support of the Quraish because of favoritism and nepotism towards his Umayyad clan. It aroused jealousy of the rival faction of Banu Hashim.
The Quraish tribe was now split into three factions: Umayyads led by Usman, Alides by Ali, and the Orthodox consisting of the surviving companions and their descendants.
Umayyads though very able and brave leaders appeared in the eyes of others as forced converts since they were the last ones to submit in Makkah conquest.
All the significant positions were filled with Umayyad men and the Caliph gave color to these charges by first refusing to replace them. But the he did so later when the rebellions turned violent.
Although Usman was ready to hear people’s grievances and was prompt at acting. But he largely replaced last governors with new governors that were his kinsmen.
Standardization of Quran: 651
Abu Bakr had Quran given to Umar who then gave it to his daughter Hafsa. This was the Quran that the Prophet had recited. Since the new Provinces were at distance and the population there had its own dialects. They started reciting the revelations according to their interpretations. As soon as the news reached Usman. He ordered that all the copies that were present in different provinces be burnt and the copy of Hafsa was sent to every area and standardized. This infuriated governors of few Provinces. Although through this act, he did a great favor to Islam and saved it from degenerating into small factions.
Enlargement of Court of Kaaba: 647
Hazrat Umar had commenced enlargement of Kaaba. Usman carried it further to complete the remaining portion. The persons that were to be displaced due to the act raised hue and cry and complained the compensation was too small. Usman argued they had to Umar about it, so why were they crying afoul now. But they wouldn’t have it, and the news spread quickly around Arabia that Usman was displacing people without their consent.
Treatment of Abu Dharr: 651
Further conquest brought immense riches to Madinah and the new provinces. Abu Dharr, one of the oldest companions, lived an ascetic and a simple life. He took simplicity too seriously and was convinced it was the only way. When he went to Damascus, he was astonished to see Muslims live in such palaces, wearing highly-priced jewellery, and spend so much on clothes. He started preaching about that in Damascus mosques. He aroused lower-class of that areas. They were already disappointed by Quraishite aristocracy. This gave fuel to the fire. They demanded that money be redistributed. Usman called him back and argued with him that he didn’t have right to redistribute the money when anyone who has paid Zakat. Abu Dharr then refused to live in such place and asked Usman to be allowed to leave. He went on and settled at a place 20 miles away from Madinah. There he lived life in penury and died in 653. When few people of Madinah were returning, they saw his body and complained that Usman was to blame.