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Murder of Uthman

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The murder of Uthman, the third Muslim caliph, by the people who revolted against him marked the beginning of civil wars among Muslims and reignited the conflicts between the Umayyads and the Hashimites.

Toward the end of his caliphate, Uthman appointed his relatives to various administrational positions and would bestow upon them great amounts from public treasuries such that, it is said, he sought to establish an Umayyad empire.

When Uthman changed the governor of Egypt, a group of Egyptians came to Medina to object to this decision. Uthman requested that Imam Ali (a) meet with the Egyptians to mediate between them and Uthman. As a result of the mediation, Uthman promised that the new governor will distribute public treasuries justly and appoint qualified people to administrational posts, and thus the Egyptians returned to Egypt.

On the way back, Egyptians found a letter from Uthman to the governor, in which Uthman had ordered their execution and imprisonment. Thus, they returned to Medina and called the dissidents from other cities to join them, aiming at overthrowing the caliph. Uthman denied that he had written that letter, but the insurgents were not convinced and stated that they would accept nothing but the resignation of Uthman. Finally, after besieging Uthman's house for forty days, some of the rebels invaded his house and murdered him in Dhu l-Hijja 35 AH/May 656. Although Imam Ali (a) agreed that Uthman had made mistakes, he was against murdering Uthman.

Some Sunni scholars have called this incident the "incident of the day of home" (waqi'at yawm al-dar).