Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr says, “One day during the caliphate of ‘Uthman, Abu Sufiyan came to see him. He addressed ‘Uthman as follows: ‘After a lot of fighting and tribulation, the caliphate has finally come to you, one of our own kinsmen.
You should therefore nail its foundations strongly in our family. You must strengthen its roots in the family of Bani Umayyah. Beyond any shadow of a doubt, this is the very same sultanate that was previously in our hands. And I believe in neither heaven nor hell.’ ‘Uthman shouted at him and said, ‘Leave me! May Allah chastise and punish you!’”14
It has been narrated in the book “Tarikh Tabari” that Abu Sufiyan said to ‘Uthman, “O Bani Umayyah! You should pass the caliphate to one another from among yourselves only, in the same way that team-mates pass a ball to each other in a game, because neither heaven nor hell exist.”15
Mas‘udi recounts the story this way: “Abu Sufiyan said, ‘O Bani Umayyah! You should preserve the caliphate for yourselves, just like teammates preserve control over the ball by passing it among themselves. I swear upon the one whom Abu Sufiyan swears upon, I always wished this for you. You must preserve it for the inheritance of your children’.”16
Abu Sufiyan said this on a day when ‘Uthman gave him two thousand dinars from the Islamic public treasury. On the same day, ‘Uthman also gave Marwan ibn al-Hakam (one of his cousins) a thousand dinars from the Islamic public treasury.17
Ibn ‘Asakir quotes Anas saying that after Abu Sufiyan became blind, he came to ‘Uthman and said, “Are there any strangers with you here?” ‘Uthman said, “No.” Then Abu Sufiyan said, “(I swear) Upon Allah! You must reverse the circumstances to what they were during the Age of Ignorance.”18
14. Al-Isti‘ab, no. 3005.
15. Tarikh Tabari, vol. 10, p. 58, events that occurred in the eleventh year after the Holy Prophet’s (s) migration to Medina.
16. Muruj al-Dhahab, vol. 2, p. 360.
17. Ibn Abi al-Hadid, Sharh Nahj al-Balaghah, vol. 1, p. 199, sermon [khutbah] 3.
18. Tarikh al-Madinah al-Damishq, vol. 23, p. 471, no. 2849.