Sayyiduna Uthman Al-Ghani رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ
Bilal Husayn Attari
The third caliph of Islam and the commander of the faithful, our master Uthman Al-Ghani رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ was a wealthy trader and respected figure in the Hijaz, even before the advent of Islam. When the Arabian Peninsula was overcast with immorality and dishonesty during the Age of Ignorance, Sayyiduna Uthman Al-Ghani رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ practiced his craft with the utmost integrity. From investing in partnerships to trading wheat and dates and conducting business as far away as Egypt, he was a successful entrepreneur with a diverse portfolio. With the coming of Islam, he diverted his business acumen and assets to supporting Islam and its people, (Husn Al-Muhadrah, vol. 1, p. 176; Mirat-ul-Manajih, vol. 5, p. 387).
Purchaser of paradise
The altruism of Sayyiduna Uthman Al-Ghani رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ is unmatched in the annals of history, for never was a soul, through sheer generosity, able to purchase Paradise, let alone three times over:
1. In exchange for purchasing the well of Ruma for the Muslims after the Hijra to Madinah.
2. In exchange for purchasing the land next to Masjid Al-Nabawi for its expansion.
3. In exchange for providing supplies to the under-equipped Muslim army Expedition of Tabuk. He bolstered their resources with 950 camels, 50 horses, and 11,000 gold coins, (Kanz Al-Ummal, juzz 13, vol. 7, p. 44, Hadith 36,332; Mirat Al-Manajih, vol. 8, p. 395).
Among colleagues and customers, Sayyiduna Uthman رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ was reputed for his integrity and ethical business practices. Traders and the public alike had complete trust in his words, such that he رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ himself remarked: ‘I would purchase dates from the marketplace of Bani Qaynuqa’ and sell them in Madinah. Without checking themselves, people would readily trust me when I would tell them the weight of the dates. However, when the Beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم came to know of this, he صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم discouraged it and said that weighing and measuring should take place at the time of buying and selling,’ (Futuh Misr wa Al-Maghrib, p. 263).
The first silent partner in Islam
He رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ would invest in people and their skills through silent partnerships (Mudarabah). For example, he رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ invested in the business of Sayyiduna Ya’qub Al-Juhani رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه in return for 50% equity. According to some historians, this was the first case of a silent partnership in Islam, (Tabaqat Ibn-e-Sa’d, vol. 3, p. 44; Sharh Al-Zurqaani Al-Muwatta, vol. 3, p. 473, under number 1,433).
Regular partnerships were also an area that he explored. For example, he entered a partnership with Sayyiduna Raabi’ah b. Harith رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ, the paternal cousin of the Beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم, (Usd Al-Ghaabah, vol. 2, p. 249).
Uthman Al-Ghani رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ belongs to Allah Almighty
Once, during the reign of Sayyiduna Abu Bakr Al-Siddiq رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ, Madinah faced a drought. Sayyiduna Uthman’s trade caravan consisting of 1,000 camels arrived in the city, loaded with supplies of food and water. Given the dire situation they were in, the traders of Madinah were prepared to offer a handsome sum for the goods but instead of profiting from them, he رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ donated the goods to the citizens of Madinah in exchange for Allah Almighty’s pleasure and the rewards of the Hereafter, (Al-Riyad Al-Nadarah, vol. 2, p. 43, summarised).
After sincerely serving the Ummah as caliph and commander, Sayyiduna Uthman Al-Ghani رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ was martyred after Asr salah on Friday, 18 Dhul Hijjah, 35 AH, whilst he was fasting. He was laid to rest in the prestigious Al-Baqi’ Cemetery in Madinah, (Ma’rifah Al-Sahabah, vol. 1, pp. 264-271; Mu’jam Kabeer, vol. 1, p. 77; Al-Isabah, vol. 4, p. 379).