Abdullah bin Saba
Abdullah was a born Jew of Yemen. He had submitted to Islam during Usman’s reign and migrated Basra. He took advantage of simple-minded Bedouins and started conspiracy against Usman.
He started preaching non-sense. He told them that the Prophet would return. If Isa can why not the Prophet, the greatest of all.
He told everyone that there is a divinity that resides in every Prophet and is then transferred to his kin. Ali was the one who had received the divinity. And maintained that Abu Bakr, Usman, and Umar were usurpers and should be removed from the seat.
He went to cities of Kufa, Basra, and even to Syria, but was expelled from each after a while. But he left behind party of his followers who kept on working on evil designs. It is said that this party was responsible for writing letters to the Caliph of his kinsmen’s misdoings.
Many in Madinah, too, believed the letters.
The Crisis Deepens
At last after the advice of many, he sent emissaries to four provinces to find out about tyranny of the governors. Three emissaries returned and said they found nothing concerning.
The fourth, sent to Fustat, didn’t return and instead joined the rebels. It showed all was not well in the empire.
Thereupon, Usman called governors to meet him in Madinah after annual Hajj.
He also issued the message that anyone who had complaints or grievances could come forward, but no one did. The governors too maintained that all was quiet and usual. Usman asked the governors for further suggestions. They replied that a strict action be taken against conspirators.
He deflected the suggestions and contended that he was an old man and wanted no ‘bloodshed.’ He also denied Muawiyah to send him reinforcement for his own safety in Madinah against the rebels.
The Rebels March: 656
An army of about 1000 men marched from Kufa, Basra, and Fustat on the pretext of performing Umrah. They reached Madinah in March 656.
People from Madinah presented a united front. The ringleaders of rebels reached Ali, Talha, and Zubayr but were rebuked. They returned.
But after few days, all 3 forces came back. Ali went to enquire about their return. They had a letter with Usman’s stamp on it. It was written to the rebels’ governors and ordered them to behead all those rebels that had come to Madinah.
Ali went to ask Usman, but he refused any involvement. Ali then asked rebels why was that three of the armies came back together if one of them found the letter. The armies were adamant this time and entered the city. The people in Madinah were disappointed to over the letter, without knowing the facts. Most of them closed their doors and remained neutral.
Only few defended Usman and stood in his defence when forces besieged his house.
Usman besieged and murdered
The armies now lay outside Usman’s house while people of Madinah locked their doors.
Time came of Hajj, and most left for Makkah leaving behind rebels only. Usman was at the mercy of only few loyalists who guarded his house.
Finally after 40 days, the rebels grew apprehensive of returnees from pilgrimage and decided to go about killing the Caliph.
8 of them crossed the wall and entered Usman’s house. They killed him while he was reciting the Quran. He died in June 656.
Soon after this evil act, they plundered public treasury.