Doubt

Some Muslims accuse the Shias of bearing animosity against the companions of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.). It is their claim that Ameerul Momineen Ali b. Abi Talib (a.s.) had cordial relations with the usurpers of caliphate. Among the proofs cited by them, they allege that Ali b. Abi Talib (a.s.) named his son after Usman b. Affaan. If Ali (a.s.) had any grievance against Usman, why would he (a.s.) name his son after him?

Then there are proponents of Muslim unity any which way possible on the most foolish of grounds. They suggest by naming his son Usman, Ali (a.s.) was in favour of Muslim unity.

Reply

Anyone who even entertains the thought that Ameerul Momineen Ali (a.s.) named his son after Usman b. Affaan has a very poor idea of history, Usman’s character, Ali’s (a.s.) ideals and the hostile interactions of these two extreme opposites.

1. Will Ameerul Momineen Ali (a.s.) name his son after a carrier of sins and misdemeanours, the least of them being a coward?
2. Salutations on Usman Ibn Ali ends the debate
3. Usman Ibn Maz’oon’s towering stature
4. Usman Ibn Ali is the only son referred to in traditions
5. Why Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) never used it as an argument?
6. How the Muslims treated Usman b. Ali?

Back to Top1. Will Ameerul Momineen Ali (a.s.) name his son after a carrier of sins and misdemeanours, the least of them being a coward?

We need not dig deep into books of history and traditions to learn about Usman’s failings and blunders. Only a cursory glance is sufficient for seekers of truth.

Among the accepted failures of Usman is his abandoning the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) in moments of crises and examination like Badr, Ohad and Hunain.

  • Sahih-e-Bukhari Book 64 (Military Expeditions of Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) – Chapter 19 – tradition 111
  • Jaame’ al-Tirmidhi Book 49, tradition 4071
  • Al Bedaayah wa al-Nehaayah vol. 5 p. 373

Any truth-seeking and just historian must ask himself this question – why would Ali b. Abi Talib (a.s.) the brave one who never fled the battle and who risked his life often all by himself – especially in Ohad and Hunain – name his son after a treacherous and disloyal one?

Particularly when you consider that Usman b. Ali who along with his brothers Abbas, Jafar and Abdullah were martyred in Karbala and were known for their chivalry and bravery. The intensity of the Karbala battle was more severe than Ohad and Hunain. Also, Karbala was far more important since Ohad and Hunain were against infidels while Karbala was against the Muslims.

In view of this, is it still likely that Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) would name his son after a coward?

Back to Top2. Salutations on Usman Ibn Ali ends the debate

All doubts on the subject are erased on reciting the ziyarat of Usman b. Ali as instructed by Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s.):

السَّلَامُ‏ عَلَى‏ عُثْمَانَ‏ بْنِ أَمِيرِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ، سَمِيِّ عُثْمَانَ بْنِ مَظْعُونٍ، لَعَنَ اللَّهُ رَامِيَهُ بِالسَّهْمِ خَوْلِيَّ بْنَ يَزِيدَ الْأَصْبَحِيَّ الْإِيَادِيَ‏ الدَّارِمِي‏

 “Peace be on Usman Ibn Ameerul Momineen (a.s.), named after Usman Ibn Maz’oon (Prophet’s s.a.w.a. companion), curse of Allah on the archer (who struck him down) with the arrow, Khawli Ibn Yazid al-Asbahi al-Iyaadi al-Daarimi 

  • Iqbaal al-Aamaal of Sayyed Ibn Taoos (r.a.) vol. 2 p. 574 – Ziyarat of the Martyrs of Karbala

It is clear that Ameerul Momineen a.s. named his son after Usman b. Maz’oon, a very loyal and sincere companion of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and not the weakling pseudo-caliph.

As Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) himself declares:

إِنَّمَا سَمَّيْتُهُ بِاسْمِ‏ أَخِي‏ عُثْمَانَ‏ بْنِ‏ مَظْعُون‏

Surely I have only named him after my brother Usman Ibn Maz’oon.’

  • Behaar al-Anwaar vol. 31, p. 307; vol. 45 p. 38 from Manaaqib-e-Aale Abi Talib (a.s.) of Ibn Shahr-e-Ashoob
  • Riyaaz al-Abraar fi Manaaqib Al-Aimmah al-At’haar (a.s.) vol. 1 p. 226 by Nematullah al-Jazaeri (r.a.)
  • Nafas al-Mahmoom by Shaikh Abbas al-Qummi (r.a.) under the Martyrdom of Usman Ibn Ali (a.s.)

Scholars of Arabic are aware that Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) by using إِنَّمَا wishes to emphasis that it is Usman b. Maz’oon and not anyone else. With his knowledge of the unseen, Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) knew that Muslims would engage in endless and pointless debates on the matter and attribute the name to another Usman.

Back to Top3. Usman Ibn Maz’oon’s towering stature

While on the subject, it is worthwhile discussing the merits of Usman b. Maz’oon (r.a.) a reliable, sincere and loyal companion by all accounts.

This is what Mirza Husain Noori (r.a.) – among the most authoritative of Shia scholars – has documented about Usman b. Maz’oon (r.a.):

‘(He is) from the companions of Allah’s Prophet (s.a.w.a.), had a lofty and majestic personality. The Prophet (s.a.w.a.) kissed him after his death.’ (Man la Yahzorohu al-Faqih vol. 1 p. 98 tradition 453)

And it is sufficient for his towering status what Imam (a.s.) has recited in the ziyarat of the martyrs (of Karbala): ‘Peace be on Usman Ibn Ameerul Momineen (a.s.), named after Usman Ibn Maz’oon’.

  • Mustadrak al-Wasaail wa Mustanbat al-Masaail of Mirza Husain Noori (r.a.) vol. 8 p. 198

Also this tradition is a proof against those who claim that kissing the dead or their shrines is prohibited or in the least a waste of time. When the Great Prophet (s.a.w.a.) deemed it fitting for a companion, then it is even more befitting for the holy and infallible Ahle Bait (a.s.).

Back to Top4. Usman Ibn Ali is the only son referred to in traditions

Muslims who claim that Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) named his sons after the pseudo-caliphs (Abu Bakr and Umar) must bring evidence for their claims. On researching books of traditions and history, there is no evidence to suggest that Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) named his sons after the usurpers. The only son whose name features explicitly is Usman b. Ali and he was named after Usman b. Maz’oon. When Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) has not named his son after Usman b. Affaan, what leads these Muslims to conclude he has named his other sons after the other two ‘pseudo-caliphs’? When one has been rejected, where is the question of Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) acknowledging others? Concluding thus without proof amounts to deception and is even a grave sin for accusing Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) about an action that he has not done.

Back to Top5. Why Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) never used it as an argument?

The Muslims who claim that Usman b. Ali was named after Usman b. Affaan ignore an important point – two battles were fought against Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) to avenge the killing of Usman b, Affaan. They held Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) responsible for killing Usman or in the least shielding his murderers.

Why did Talha, Zubair and Ayesha in Jamal and Muawiyah and Amr Aas in Siffeen attack Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) for Usman b. Affaan’s killing?

After all, as these Muslims claim Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) had named his son after Usman, then how could he have been responsible for his killing? Didn’t the companions and the wives know this?

If he did indeed name his son after Usman b. Affan because of the so-called ‘affection’ he had for the latter, then he was wrongly accused of murdering Usman. This means he was forced in battle by the companions and wives for a crime he could not have committed. The deaths of tens of thousands of companions and taabe’een is the responsibility of Talha, Zubair, Ayesha, Muawiyah and Amre Aas.

The other side of the argument – which supports the Shiite view – is that Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) did not name his son after Usman Ibn Affan and had no particular affection for him other than he had for humans in general.

The companions and wives and the tens of thousands of Muslims who waged two battles with Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) were also not aware of any son of Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) named after Usman b. Affan. Else they would not have waged the battles against him (a.s.).

These Muslims who claim otherwise must decide whether they are right which means the companions, wives and tens of thousands of Muslims were wrong.

Or whether they are wrong and the companions, wives and Muslims were right?

Under both conditions the Muslims look stupid for advancing the ridiculous argument that Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) named his son after Usman b. Affaan.

Back to Top6. How the Muslims treated Usman b. Ali?

These Muslims who go all out to prove a connection between Ameerul Momineen’s (a.s.) son and Usman b. Affaan must reflect for a moment on how they have treated Usman b. Ali. Assume for a moment that indeed Usman b. Ali was named after Usman b. Affaan. Has this fact changed anything for these Muslims? Will they now condemn Yazid for killing Usman b. Ali especially since in their view he was named after Usman b. Affaan? How will these Muslims face Allah’s Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and  Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) for treating Usman b. Ali this way and for elevating the status of his killers?

Leave alone the discussions over his name, it is even debatable whether these Muslims actually consider Usman b. Ali as the son of Ali b, Abi Talib (a.s.). If they do and still support his killing, then this much is sufficient to make lovers of Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) weep in grief.