ومن كلام له (عليه السلام) لما اجتمع الناس اليه وشكوا ما نقموه على عثمان وسألوه مخاطبته واستعتابه لهم، فدخل (عليه السلام) على عثمان فقال:
When people went to Amīr al-mu’minīn in a deputation and complained to him through what they had to say against ‘Uthmān, and requested him to speak to him on their behalf and to admonish him for their sake, he went to see him and said: 
The people are behind me and they have made me an ambassador between you and themselves; but by Allāh, I do not know what to say to you. I know nothing (in this matter) which you do not know, nor can I lead you to any matter of which you are not aware. You certainly know what we know, we have not come to know anything before you which we could tell you; nor did we learn anything in secret which we should convey to you. You have seen as we have seen and you have heard as we have heard. You sat in the company of the Prophet of Allāh as we did. (Abū Bakr) Ibn Abī Quḥāfah and (‘Umar) Ibn al-Khaṭṭāb were no more responsible for acting righteously than you, since you are nearer than both of them to the Prophet of Allāh through kinship, and you also hold relationship to him by marriage which they do not hold.
Then (fear) Allāh, in your own self; for, by Allāh, you are not being shown anything as if you are blind or being apprised of anything as if you are ignorant. The ways are clear while the banners of faith are fixed. You should know that among the creatures of Allāh, the most distinguished person before Allāh is the just Imām who has been guided (by Allāh) and guides others. So, he stands by the recognized ways of the Prophet’s behaviour and destroys unrecognized innovations. The (Prophet’s) ways are clear and they have signs, while innovations are also clear and they too have signs.
Certainly, the worst man before Allāh is the oppressive Imām who has gone astray and through whom others go astray. He destroys the accepted sunnah and revives abandoned innovations. I heard the Messenger of Allāh saying: “On the Day of Judgement the oppressive Imām will be brought without anyone to support him or anyone to advance excuses on his behalf, and then he will be thrown into Hell where he will rotate as the hand-mill rotates, then (eventually) he will be confined to its hollow.”
I swear to you by Allāh that you should not be that Imām of the people who will be killed because it has been said that, “An Imām of this people will be killed after which killing and fighting will be made open for them till the Day of Judgement, and he will confuse their matters and spread troubles over them. As a result, they will not discern truth from wrong. They will oscillate like waves and would be utterly misled.” You should not behave as the carrying beast for Marwān so that he may drag you wherever he likes, despite (your) seniority of age and length of life.
Then ‘Uthmān said to Amīr al-mu’minīn: Speak to the people to give me time until I redress their grievances. Amīr al-mu’minīn then said : So far as Medina is concerned there is no question of time. As for remoter areas you can have the time needed for your order to reach there.
 During the Caliphate of ‘Uthmān when the Muslims were weary of the oppression of the Government and its officials collected in Medina to complain to the senior companions of the Prophet, they came to Amīr al-mu’minīn in a peaceful manner and requested him to see ‘Uthmān and advise him not to trample on the Muslims’ rights and to put an end to the troubles which were proving the cause of the people’s ruin, whereupon Amīr al-mu’minīn went to him and uttered these words.
In order to make the bitterness of the admonition palatable Amīr al-mu’minīn adopted that way of speech in the beginning which would create a sense of responsibility in the addressee and direct him towards his obligations. Thus, by mentioning his companionship of the Prophet, his personal position, and his kinship to the Prophet as against the two previous Caliphs, his intention was to make him realize his duties; in any case, this was obviously not an occasion for eulogizing him, so that its later portion can be disregarded and the whole speech be regarded as an eulogy of his attainments, because from its very beginning it is evident that whatever ‘Uthmān did, he did it wilfully, that nothing was done without his knowledge or his being informed, and that he could not be held unaccountable for it because of his being unaware of it. If the adoption of a line of action which made the whole Islamic world raise hue and cry in spite of his having being a companion of the Prophet, having heard his instructions, having seen his behaviour and having been acquainted with the commandments of Islam can be regarded as a distinction, then this taunt may also be regarded as praise. If that is not a distinction then this too cannot be called an eulogy. In fact, the words about which it is argued that they are in praise are enough to prove the seriousness of his crime, because a crime in ignorance and unawareness is not so serious as the weight given to the seriousness of the commission of a crime despite knowledge and awareness. Consequently a person who is unaware of the rise and fall of a road and stumbles in the dark night is excusable but a person who is aware of the rise and fall of the road and stumbles in broad day light is liable to be blamed. If on this occasion he is told that he has eyes and is also aware of the rise and fall of the way, it would not mean that his vastness of knowledge or the brightness of his eye-sight is being praised, but the intention would be that he did not notice the pitfalls despite his eyes, and did not walk properly, and that therefore for him, having or not having eyes is the same, and knowing or not knowing is equal.
In this connection great stress is laid on his being a son-in-law, namely that the Prophet married his two daughters Ruqayyah and Umm Kulthūm to him one after the other. Before taking this to be a distinction, the real nature of ‘Uthmān’s son-in-lawship should be seen. History shows that in this matter ‘Uthmān did not enjoy the distinction of being the first, but before him Ruqayyah and Umm Kulthūm had been married to two sons of Abū Lahab namely ‘Utbah and ‘Utaybah, but, despite their being sons-in-law, they have not been included among people of position of preprophethood period. How then can this be regarded as a source of position without any personal merit, when there is no authority about the importance of this relationship, nor was any importance attached to this matter in such a way that there might have been some competition between ‘Uthmān and some other important personality in this regard and that his selection for it might have given him prominence, or that these two girls might have been shown to possess an important position in history, tradition or biography as a result of which this relationship could be given special importance and regarded as a distinction for him? If the marriage of these two daughters with ‘Utbah and ‘Utaybah in the pre-prophethood period is held as lawful on the ground that marriage with unbelievers had not till then been made unlawful, then in ‘Uthmān’s case also the condition for lawfulness was his acceptance of Islam, there is no doubt that he had pronounced the kalimah ash-shahādatayn (there is no god but Allāh and Muḥammad is His Messenger) and had accepted Islam outwardly. As such this marriage can be held a proof of his outward Islam, but no other honour can be proved through it. Again, it is also not agreed that these two were the real daughters of the Messenger of Allāh, because there is one group which denies them to be his real daughters, and regards them as being the daughters of Khadījah’s sister Hālah, or the daughters of her own previous husband. Thus, Abu’l-Qāsim al-Kūfī (d. 352 A.H.) writes:
When the Messenger of Allāh married Khadījah, then some time there after Hālah died leaving two daughters, one named Zaynab and the other named Ruqayyah and both of them were brought up by the Prophet and Khadījah and they maintained them, and it was the custom before Islam that a child was assigned to whoever brought him up. (al-Istighāthah, p. 69)
Ibn Hishām has written about the issues of Hadrat Khadījah as follows:
Before marriage with the Prophet she was married to Abī Hālah ibn Mālik. She delivered for him Hind ibn Abī Hālah and Zaynab bint Abī Hālah. Before marriage with Abī Hālah she was married to ‘Utayyiq ibn ‘Ābid ibn ‘Abdillāh ibn ‘Amr ibn Makhzūm and she delivered for him ‘Abdullāh and a daughter. (as-Sīrah an-nabawiyyah, vol. 4, p. 293)
This shows that Ḥaḍrat Khadījah had two daughters before being married to the Prophet and according to all appearance they would be called his daughters and those to whom they were married would be called his sons-in-law, but the position of this relationship would be the same as if those girls were his daughters. Therefore, before putting it forth as a matter for pride the real status of the daughters should be noted and a glance should be cast at ‘Uthmān’s conduct. In this connection, al-Bukhārī and other narrators (of traditions) and historians record this tradition as follows:
Anas ibn Malik relates that: “We were present on the occasion of the burial of the Prophet’s daughter Umm Kulthūm, while the Prophet was sitting beside her grave. I saw his eyes shedding tears. Then he said, ‘Is there any one among you who has not committed a sin last night?’ Abū Ṭalḥah (Zayd ibn Sahl al-Anṣārī) said, ‘I’, then the Prophet said, ‘Then you get into the grave,’ consequently he got down into the grave.’’
The commentators said about ‘committed sin’ that the Holy Prophet meant to say ‘one who had not had sexual intercourse.’ On this occasion the Holy Prophet unveiled the private life of ‘Uthmān and prevented him from getting down into the grave, although it was a prominent merit of the Prophet’s character that he did not disgrace or belittle any one by making public his private life, and despite of knowledge of others’ shortcomings, ignored them; but in this case the filth was such that it was deemed necessary to disgrace him before the whole crowd.
Since ‘Uthmān did not show any regard for the demise of his wife (Umm Kulthūm) nor was he moved or felt sorry (for this event), and paid no heed to the cutting off his relationship with the Holy Prophet (for being his son-in-law), he (‘Uthmān) had sexual intercourse on the same night, therefore the Holy Prophet deprived him of this right and honour. (al-Bukhārī, aṣ-Ṣaḥīḥ, vol. 2, pp. 100—101, 114; Aḥmad ibn Ḥanbal, al-Musnad, vol. 3, pp. 126, 228, 229, 270; al-Ḥākim, al-Mustadrak, vol. 4, p. 47; al-Bayhaqī, as-Sunan al-kubrā, vol. 4, p. 53; Ibn Sa‘d, aṭ-Ṭabaqāt al-kabīr, vol. 8, p. 26; as-Suhaylī, ar-Rawḍ al-unuf, vol. 2, p. 107; Ibn Ḥajar, al-Iṣābah, vol. 4, p. 489; Fatḥ al-bārī, vol. 3, p. 122; al-‘Aynī, ‘Umdah al-qārī, vol. 4, p. 85; Ibn al-Athir, an-Nihāyah, vol. 3, p. 276; Ibn Manẓūr, Lisān al-‘Arab, vol. 9, pp. 280—281; az-Zabīdī, Tāj al-‘arūs, vol. 6, p. 220)