Islamic History Podcast 2-16: Lost Rings And Lost Opportunities

Islamic History Podcast 2-16: Lost Rings And Lost Opportunities


In the last chapter of our story, we concluded the first six years of Uthman’s administration.

We discussed the pent-up feelings of angst and frustration among many inhabitants of the empire. These feelings were due to the political and economic malaise of the times, as well as some of Uthman’s decisions.

Some things were out of Uthman’s control. His administration was saddled with the expensive stipend policy that his predecessor Umar had initiated. On top of that, he also had to deal with the complications of managing a vast empire.

However, some of Uthman’s decisions were very unpopular.

The Problem With Uthman’s Popularity

On top of the list was the perception that he often gave members of his family high positions within the government.

And while it would prove immensely beneficial to the Muslim world, his decision to burn all non-standard Qurans had angered many people.

Still, the first six years of Uthman’s reign were marked by peace, stability, and overall prosperity.

But all of that changed the day he lost the Prophet’s ring.

The Prophet’s Ring

During his lifetime, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), had a ring engraved with the words “Muhammad Rasullullah”: Muhammad, The Messenger of Allah.

When sending official correspondence, the Prophet would dip this ring in wax and affix his seal to the document.

When he died, the ring passed on to Abu Bakr, and from him to Umar. After he was stabbed, Umar gave the ring to his daughter, Hafsah, with orders to give to the next Caliph. And when Uthman was elected, he inherited the ring.

However, the ring slipped off his finger while he was drawing water from a well. Despite all of his efforts, the ring could not be found. Instead, he had another ring made, with the exact same inscription, and would use that as his official seal.

No one could have predicted the problems this would cause in the future.

Managing The Largest Empire In The World

But for now, Uthman had his hands full managing the largest empire in the world. And as the Caliph, or successor, of the Prophet, he was both the political and religious leader of the Muslims.

Show Notes

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Here are some links related to this episode

Podcast: Abu Bakr and the Caliphate

Podcast: Khalid and Persia

Umar and Syria

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