Umar رضي الله عنه
The second caliph of the Rashidun Caliphate, Umar Ibn Al Khattab رضي الله عنه, was a strong, courageous, noble and wise man. His way of speaking, persuasion, wisdom, and knowledge of affairs of his people qualified him to be an ambassador and representative of Quraysh when needed. He also enjoyed poetry and excelled in many kinds of sports, such as wrestling, riding and horsemanship. He worked hard from a very early age and tended to his father’s camels, then a stranger to wealth or luxury. He learned to trade, succeeded, and travelled to Syria and Yemen on business trips, further enhancing his social ties, and financial strength. Thus, by then he had earned a very prominent position for himself before accepting Islam. His simple demeanor, humble nature, strong faith, and his thirst for knowledge made him resemble with the personalities of Prophet ﷺ and Abu Bakr رضي الله عنه.
Prophet’s ﷺ Sayings About Umar رضي الله عنه
Prophet Muhammad ﷺ wished for Hazrat Umar Farooq رضي الله عنه to accept Islam and become a strength for the weak early converts of that time.
Allah’s messenger ﷺ prayed: “O Allah honor Islam through Abu Jahl bin Hisham or through Umar bin Al-Khattab رضي الله عنه.” Umar رضي الله عنه came the next day to the Messenger of Allah ﷺ and accepted Islam. (Tirmidhi: 3683)
There is another hadith about Umar رضي الله عنه being an epitome of knowledge and wisdom, further raising his status in the eyes of the believers:
‘Narrated Hamza’s father: Allah’s Apostle said, While I was sleeping, I saw myself drinking (i.e., milk), and I was so contented that I saw the milk flowing through my nails. Then I gave (the milk) to `Umar رضي الله عنه. They (i.e., the companions of the Prophet) asked, What do you interpret it? He said, Knowledge.’ (Sahih Bukhari Hadith No. 3681)
In another hadith, Sayyiduna Uqbah bin Amir رضي الله عنه narrates that the Holy Prophet ﷺ said:
‘If there were to be a prophet after me, indeed he would be Umar رضي الله عنه, son of Khattab.’ [Sunan Tirmidhi, Hadith 3686]
Umar رضي الله عنه became the son in law of Muhammad ﷺ through Hazrat Hafsa, elevating his status and role as a believer further. Allah’s messenger gave him the title of Al-Farooq (the Criterion) as he openly and fearlessly practiced Islam in Makkah, separating belief from falsehood, when others felt fear from the non-Muslims for the same.
Angel Jibraeel (A.S.) Rejoiced on Umar رضي الله عنه’s Embracing Islam
Sayyiduna Abdullah bin Abbas (رضي الله عنه with both the father and the son) narrates when Sayyiduna Umar رضي الله عنه accepted Islam, Jibraeel (A.S.) descent and said:
“O Muhammad – may Allah send greetings and salutations on him – indeed, the residents of the heavens are rejoicing in Umar رضي الله عنه`s embracing Islam.” [Sunan Ibn Majah, Hadith 103]
One of The Early Converts
Umar Farooq رضي الله عنه was included in the early converts’ list who accepted Islam despite the harsh circumstances and opposition of the non-Muslims in Makkah. He was at first not so pleased with Muhammad ﷺ declaring himself as Allah’s messenger, and also wasn’t in the favor of Muhammad ﷺ giving dawah and inviting Arabs to Islam. Numerous times he set out to kill Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, ignoring the consequences altogether. But the seed of the existence of a supreme power, someone who controls it all (didn’t believe in the idols) was already in his heart. Few times he hid and listened to what Muhammad ﷺ was reciting from the Qur’an and teaching the early converts. The tone and wordings of the Holy Book started leaving their mark on Umar رضي الله عنه’s heart whenever he heard them. One time he set out with a naked sword in his hand and openly announced his plan to kill Muhammad ﷺ but got the news of his sister, Fatimah bint al-Khattab, and cousin brother-in-law, Sa’id ibn Zayd, embracing Islam. This enraged him and he set to finish them off, but after they showed resistance to rather die than to leave Islam, he was intrigued and asked his sister to recite the verses of the Qur’an they were reciting. This turned out to be the day when Umar رضي الله عنه embraced Islam and strengthened the circle of Muslims who started to openly pray in Kaaba, knowing that now Umar رضي الله عنه was there as a brother in faith.
Our beloved Prophet Muhammad ﷺ gave glad tidings of Jannah to ten of his close companions in his lifetime; therefore, termed them as al-`Asharaa al-Mubasharûn bi-l-Janna. This hadith in the Jamiʿ at-Tirmidhi goes as follows:
Narrated ʿAbdur-Rahman bin ʿAwf that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said:
‘Abu Bakr is in Paradise, ʿUmar is in Paradise, ʿUthman is in Paradise, ʿAli is in Paradise, Talhah is in Paradise, Az-Zubair is in Paradise, ʿAbdur-Rahman bin ʿAwf is in Paradise, Saʿd bin Abi Waqqas is in Paradise, Saʿeed is in Paradise, Abu ʿUbaidah bin Al-Jarrah is in Paradise.’ (Jamiʿ at-Tirmidhi, book 49 (The Chapters on Virtues), hadith 4112)
Migration to Madinah
As the situation got critical in Makkah for the believers, Muhammad ﷺ ordered them to migrate to Madinah. They fled to Madinah, preferably at night, fearing for their lives, but Umar رضي الله عنه was an exception. He openly challenged everyone who opposed Islam or the Muslims, saying:
“Anyone who wants to make his wife a widow and his children orphans should come and meet me there behind that cliff.” Umar رضي الله عنه migrated to Madinah accompanied by his cousin and brother-in-law Saeed ibn Zaid.
Allah o Akbar! He proved himself to be the pillar of strength that Muhammad ﷺ had wished for, that may Umar رضي الله عنه accept Islam and offer his protection for safeguarding the lives of the believers.
The series of victories supporting the spread of Islam were initiated under Caliph Abu Bakr رضي الله عنه and boomed under the caliphate of Umar Farooq رضي الله عنه. The second caliph of the Islamic state conquered areas of Syria and Iran further extending the boundaries of Islam. He faced challenges that dealt with revolts arising from outside the Arab state.
Allah Honored Umar رضي الله عنه’s Wish
Narrated Anas that Umar bin Al-Khattab رضي الله عنه said: “I said: ‘O Messenger of Allah (ﷺ)! I wish that you could perform Salat behind the Maqam of Ibrahim. ‘So, the following was revealed: And take you the Maqam of Ibrahim as a place of Salat.” Grade: Sahih (Darussalam) Reference: Jamiah` at-Tirmidhi 2960
Love for Prophet Muhammad ﷺ
The love of Muhammad ﷺ resided in the heart and soul of all believers and existed even more so in the companions of Allah’s messenger, who were ever ready to sacrifice their lives for him and for the sake of the Almighty. Umar Farooq رضي الله عنه loved the Prophet ﷺ dearly, and after hearing the news of his passing away, he furiously warned the people of striking the head of anyone who mentioned this sad news.
He said: “He has not died but rather he has gone to his lord just as Moses went, remaining absent from his people for forty nights after which he had returned to them. By Allah, the messenger of Allah ﷺ will indeed return just as Moses returned (to his people) and he will cut off the hands and legs of those men who claimed he has died.” After hearing this, Abu Bakr رضي الله عنه then addressed the people:
“Whoever worshiped Muhammad, let them know that Muhammad has died, and whoever worshiped Allah, let them know that Allah is alive and never dies.”
Abū Bakr رضي الله عنه then recited these verses from the Qur’an, Surah Ale Imran, Verse 144:
Muḥammad is not but a messenger. [Other] messengers have passed on before him. So if he was to die or be killed, would you turn back on your heels [to unbelief]? And he who turns back on his heels will never harm Allah at all; but Allah will reward the grateful. (3:144)
These words made Umar رضي الله عنه accept the reality, as he fell down on his knees, wrapped in sorrow and grief.
Umar رضي الله عنه as a Caliph
Caliph Umar رضي الله عنه was roaming around in Madinah to check up on his people. He heard hungry cries of children coming from one house, the mother was telling them to wait a bit more and the food will be ready. Umar رضي الله عنه saw a pot on the stove, but even after waiting a while, the food wasn’t ready, impatiently he knocked and asked the lady why it was taking so long and she didn’t prepare the food early? The lady replied, that she’s just fooling the children as the stone in the pot is never going to be cooked. This shocked Umar رضي الله عنه, He asked the lady about the father and found out that he laid his life in the war, and the caliph didn’t do anything to help her or her kids. And that she will claim her rights on the judgement day.
Umar رضي الله عنه was worried, as he wasn’t able to care for the widow, and didn’t fulfill his role as a caliph. He left for Bayt Al Mal, grabbed some food for the widow and her kids, and asked Ibn Abbas to load it on his back. Ibn Abbas requested to help but he refused saying:
‘No. you are helping me here in this world, but how are you going to help me in the Judgment Day. So, for that, let me do. Because the burden, it is on my neck.’
Umar رضي الله عنه cooked their food, invited them to visit the caliph the next day to inform him of their problems, while not revealing his identity. The lady was surprised the next day to find Umar رضي الله عنه on the caliph’s seat. Umar رضي الله عنه apologized for being unaware of her situation all this while. He assured her that a weekly ration will be given to her, also, from now on, record will be kept of all the people who get wounded or die in the war, so their families can be taken care of.
Bravo! What a great example set by the caliph of that time, roaming around in the nights looking after their people, and fearing the Almighty’s wrath on the Day of Judgement for not fulfilling their duties honorably. If only our leaders could take some inspiration from the Prophet ﷺ and his companions, our societies would be a reflection of welfare societies.
A Roman Ambassador & Caliph Umar رضي الله عنه
Once a Roman ambassador visited Madinah, he roamed around the city but was unable to discover any palace for their King (as they were ruled by Kings), he asked where does your King live? He was told: We don’t have any King; we have an Emir. He asked further, where is he? They replied: Some camels were missing from our bayt al Mal (treasury) so our Emir has gone to look for them. The man left the gifts unattended that he had gotten for Umar رضي الله عنه, and set to look for Umar رضي الله عنه. As it was hot and Umar رضي الله عنه had gotten tired so he was resting under a date tree on a mat. The ambassador was overwhelmed with shock and fear of Allah Almighty, impressed with the simplicity and kindness of the caliph, and absence of guards, crowns, or palaces, the whole convoy accepted Islam.
Jerusalem & Umar رضي الله عنه
The religious importance of Jerusalem for Jews, Christians and Muslims can be found out from history. In the quest for capturing Syria, Jordan, Palestine, Iran etc., Muslim armies were sent in a planned order. The commander Amr b Al Aas asked Abu Ubaida (stationed for capturing N. Syria) for help as their siege was not turning out so effective in capturing Jerusalem. As the Patriarch found out he gauged the situation and sued for peace. But his condition; that Palestine would be conquered by a Muslim considered the best among them, in other words, Umar رضي الله عنه to come from Madinah so a treaty be written and Palestine to be handed over to him.
After consultations, he took advice of Ali رضي الله عنه and headed to Jerusalem with a servant, on a camel. It was a 700mile long journey, so they were carrying necessities on the camel, leaving room for only one person to ride the camel at a time. Subhan Allah, the caliph with a heart of gold and manners of a fair and just ruler, took turns with his assistant for riding the camel. As they neared Jabia, on the last stop, it was the servant’s turn to ride the camel, he requested Umar رضي الله عنه to have mercy on him and let him get off the camel in order to let Umar رضي الله عنه enter the city on the camel. But it was of no use, the pillar of strength, the fair and just caliph, entered holding the camel’s rope, with slippers in his hands because of muddy pathway, while the slave was on the camel.
Umar’s رضي الله عنه Accomplishments
A man of steel, a brave soul, the only Muslim who openly migrated to Madinah, inviting the non-Muslims to fight him if they wished. Its only during his caliphate that Islam spread far and wide, adding more and more geographical space under his belt. He was a just man, well- disciplined, cared for his ummah, gathered Muslims on
What a great leader, leading by example, and ultimately proving the stories written in the Christian predictions of a simple saint conquering Palestine, and after looking at Umar رضي الله عنه, his plain, simple clothes, his needlessness of grandeur, they knew that it could only be him who fit the description. Indeed, a role model for all of our current Muslim leaders.