The third Caliph who reigned from AD 644-656 and is supposedly the one who standardized the text of the Quran during his reign. During his caliphate, his territory extended on the west to Morocco, Afghanistan in the East, Armenia and Azerbaijan in the north.

In the second half of his reign, a rebellion arose. After a long seige, his home was broken in and he was murdered by Muhammad, son of Abu Bakr, and other conspirators on 18th Zul al-Hijjah, A.H. 35 (June 17th, AD 656).

After his death, Ali became the Caliph.

``Hudhaifa bin Al-Yaman came to Uthman at the time when the people of Sham and Iraq were waging war to conquer the Armenia and Azerbaidjan. Hudhaifa was afraid of their (people of Sham and Iraq) differences in the recitation of the Qur'an. So he said to Uthman: "O Chief of the Believers! Save this nation before they differ about the Book (Qur'an), as Jews and Christians did before." So Uthman sent a message to Hafsa saying: "Send us the manuscripts of the Qur'an so that we may compile the Qur'anic materials in perfect copies and return the manuscripts to you." Hafsa sent it to Uthman. Uthman then ordered Zaid bin Thabit, Abdullah bin Az-Zubair, Said bin Al-As, and Abdurrahman bin Harith bin Hisham to rewrite the manuscripts in perfect copies. Uthman said to the three Quraishi men: "In case you disagree with Zaid bin Thabit on any point in the Qur'an then write it in the dialect of Quraish as the Qur'an was revealed in their tongue." They did so, and when they had written many copies, Uthman returned the original manuscripts to Hafsa. Uthman sent to every Muslim province one copy of what they had copied, and ordered that all the Qur'anic materials whether written in fragmentary manuscripts or whole copies, be burnt. (Sahih Bukhari 6.510)
After these copies were sent out, Zaid b. Thabit recalled a verse which was missing from it:
"A verse from Surat Ahzab was missed by me when we copied the Qur'an and I used to hear Allah's Apostle reciting it. So we searched for it and found it with Khuzaima-bin-Thabit al Ansari." (Sahih Bukhari 6.510).
That verse is the famous Sura al-Ahzab 33:23.

The event may mean

  1. that verse was not in the collection of Hafsa, contradicting Muslim claims that the Uthmanic recension merely made public the Qur'an written down during Abu Bakr's time, or
  2. that Zaid overlooked the verse while copying.
Supposedly Zaid would be making the many copies from the original collection of Hafsa as this was supposed to be the word of God. Strangely, however, every copy seem not to have that missing verse, for otherwise, there is no need to search for it again since some of the copies would have them, or Zaid and company could have asked for Hafsa's collection to countercheck. Yet, this was not done, but a new search was made to see if anyone held them. Thus, the probability that it was not in Hafsa's collection cannot be discounted. If this is the case, then the Muslim claim that Uthman merely made public the Qur'an written down during Abu Bakr's time is suspect.

Morever, this omission was not detected by those present who knew the Qur'an well when the completed Qur'an was supposed to be recited before them. Thus, either (a) there was no one at the time of Uthman who memorize the whole Qur'an or (b) by human error, all of them overlooked that verse.

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