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The Story of the Kabah Key Holder and the Prophet

Who is He?

In the year when they achieved victory of Makkah, the Prophet and the companions entered Makkah.

As they entered Makkah, the Prophet (peace be upon him) went to the Ka’bah but found it locked. The key used to be kept by a man known as Uthman ibn Talhah. Uthman ibn Talhah was not Muslim at the time. So he locked the doors of the Ka’bah and he ran right up to the roof and hid there.

So when the Prophet (peace be upon him) entered Makkah, most of the people of Makkah were accepting Islam as he was entering, he asked for the key of the Ka’bah. The people told him that it is with Uthman ibn Talhah, and they found him on the top of the roof of the Ka’bah.

So Ali told him:

“O Uthman, give us the key. Here is Muhammad (peace be upon him) asking for the key.”

He said:

“O Muhammad, if I had believed that you were a Prophet, I would have opened the doors a long time ago.”

What this means is, “I don’t believe that you are a Prophet, so I’m not going to open the door.”

Ali happened to snatch the key from Uthman ibn Talhah and he opened the door of the Ka’bah, and the Prophet entered the Ka’bah and prayed two raka’hs inside it.

Al-Abbas ibn abd al Muttalib, the uncle of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was there and he told the Prophet:

“You know that our family is in charge of pouring water for the pilgrims who come for hajj, so if you hand the key over to us, we will have two points of honor: one is to pour the water and the other is to open and lock the door of the Ka’bah as and when it is necessary.”

A Verse was Revealed

So angel Gabriel came down with a verse inside the Ka’bah, Subhan Allah:

Allah is commanding you to return the trusts to those whom they belong to. (Quran 4:58)

Which means: “O messenger of God, give the key back to Uthman ibn Talhah.”

So, immediately the Prophet got up and gave the key to Ali and told him:

“Go to Uthman ibn Talhah, return the key and excuse yourself for the manner in which you had snatched the key.”

So Ali went back to Uthman ibn Talhah and told him:

“O Uthman, this is the key, and we are presenting an excuse because we were wrong the way we snatched the key from you.”

Uthman ibn Talhah was surprised:

“Oh Ali! You a few minutes ago were harming me, you came to me very harshly, and now you are being so humble! What is it?”

He said:

“By Allah, o Uthman, Allah has revealed regarding you a verse of the Quran. Allah has instructed Muhammad to return this trust to whom it belongs to. For that reason this key has been given back to you here.”

Immediately Uthman ibn Talhah said:

“I bear witness that indeed Allah is one and Muhammad (peace be upon him) is none other than the messenger of Allah.”

The Key Remains with Talhah’s Family

Do you know what happened? Angel Gabriel came down with more revelation. This time not in the form of Quran but in the form of an instruction to Muhammad (peace be upon him):

“O Muhammad, get up and inform Uthman ibn Talhah that the key of the Ka’bah will remain with his progeny and family until the day of resurrection.”

To this minute, the key is with the members of the family of Uthman ibn Talhah.

Uthman ibn Talhah became known as one of the greatest companions.

If you are to go to Saudi Arabia today, you will find the family of this man is protected by the police, and they are protected by the government of the kingdom.

This was the power of the revelation of the Quran. This is what happened to Uthman ibn Talhah. This was the justice of Islam, can we compete with this?

Imagine Al Abbas, the uncle of the Prophet, was asking for the key and Allah says: “No. Return the key to Uthman ibn Talhah.”


About Dr. Mufti Menk

Dr. Mufti Ismail Menk is a leading global Islamic scholar born and raised in Zimbabwe. He studied Shariah in Madinah and holds a Doctorate of Social Guidance from Aldersgate University. Mufti Menk’s work has gained worldwide recognition and he has been named one of “The Top 500 Most Influential Muslims in the World” since 2010.

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