Virtues and Outstanding Traits of Sayyiduna Umar

If one were to scan through the annals of history, one would find the life stories of many great personalities. Men who influenced the lives of those around them, creating a new way of thinking and in all formed new ideologies. However, most of their lives have been tainted with stories of their greed, lust and hunger for power. As one continues to search through the books of our past, one would come to realise that the most influential people to have lived, were none other than the beloved companions of Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam. Motivated by none other than Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam himself, their lives tell a tale of honesty, trustworthiness and the ultimate in self-sacrifice. Thus, their noble qualities and outstanding character effectively earned them the title of being the greatest group of people to have ever walked upon the face of the earth, after the ambiya’ `alayhimus salam. This is the biography of one such companion, Sayyiduna Umar ibn al-Khattab radiya Llahu `anhu.

 

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Virtues and Outstanding Traits of Sayyiduna `Umar ibn al-Khattab al-Faruq

 

Birth, Name and Lineage

Imam al-Dhahabi and Imam al-Nawawi report that Sayyiduna `Umar ibn al-Khattab radiya Llahu `anhu was born 13 years after the Year of the Elephant. He was from the tribe of the Quraysh and his lineage is as follows:

`Umar ibn al-Khattab ibn Nufayl ibn `Abd al-`Uzza ibn Riyah ibn Qurt ibn Razzah ibn `Adi ibn Ka`b ibn Lu’ayy.

 

He would act as a mediator for the Quraysh during the days of ignorance; whenever one clan would have a dispute with another then they would call him to mediate between the two tribes. He accepted Islam after forty men and eleven women according to some narrations. When he became Muslim, he announced his Islam openly, which pleased all the Muslims.

He was amongst the forerunners to embrace Islam, amongst the ten Sahabah who were given glad tidings of Jannah, one of the al-Khulafa’ al-Rashidin, the close companions to the Rasul of Allah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam, and one of the esteemed scholars of the Sahabah.

 

His Islam

Ibn `Umar radiya Llahu `anhuma narrates that the Rasul of Allah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam said:

 

اللهم أعز الاسلام بأحب هذين الرجلين اليك: بعمر ابن الخطاب أو بأبى جهل بن هشام

O Allah, strengthen Islam with whoever is more beloved to you of these two men; `Umar ibn al-Khattab or Abu Jahal ibn Hisham.[1]

 

In another narration Ibn `Abbas radiya Llahu `anhu narrates that the Rasul of Allah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam said:

 

اللهم أعز الاسلام بعمر ابن الخطاب خاصة

O Allah, strengthen Islam with `Umar ibn al-Khattab.[2]

 

`Umar radiya Llahu `anhu himself narrates:

 

I went out to confront the Rasul of Allah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam one occasion, and I found that he had preceded me to the masjid. I stood behind him, and he began to read Surah al-Haqqah. I began to marvel at the eloquence of the Qur’an, and said (to myself): “By Allah, this is poetry as the Quraysh say.” Then he recited:

  اِنَّه لَقَوْلُ رَسُوْلٍ کَرِیْمٍ ﴿40ۙۚ﴾ وَّ مَا هُوَ بِقَوْلِ شَاعِرٍؕ   قَلِیْلًا مَّا تُؤْمِنُوْنَ

It is truly the saying of a noble messenger, and it is not a saying of a poet, how little you believe.[3]

Islam entered my heart at that time.

 

Anas radiya Llahu `anhu narrates:

 

On one occasion `Umar radiya Llahu `anhu went out wearing his sword around his neck on the road when he met a man from the tribe of Banu Zuhrah. The man said to him:

O `Umar where are you going?

 

`Umar radiya Llahu `anhu replied:

I want to kill Muhammad.

 

The man said to him:

How will you be protected from the Banu Hashim and Banu Zuhrah if you kill Muhammad?

 

`Umar radiya Llahu `anhu replied:

It seems to me that you are (also) one who has left his religion.

 

The man said:

Should I not inform you of something even more amazing than that, verily your sister and her husband have renounced your religion.

 

`Umar radiya Llahu `anhu proceeded and came to the two of them while Khabbab radiya Llahu `anhu was with them. When he heard the sound of `Umar coming as he drew closer, Khabbab radiya Llahu `anhu — who was teaching them — concealed himself in one of the rooms. `Umar radiya Llahu `anhu entered and asked them what they were hiding, to which they presented a few excuses. `Umar radiya Llahu `anhu said:

It seems you two have left your religion.

 

His brother-in-law (Sa`id ibn Zayd radiya Llahu `anhu) said to him:

O `Umar, What if there is truth in the other religion but yours.

 

`Umar radiya Llahu `anhu then struck his brother in-law, Sa`id ibn Zayd radiya Llahu `anhu. His sister attempted to shield her husband, and was struck by `Umar radiya Llahu `anhu as well. Blood began to pour from the wound, and only when he saw it, did he stop his assault. She said to him: “What if the other religion is the truth,” and she read the shahadah. `Umar radiya Llahu `anhu asked them about the book that they were reading, but she refused to give it until he purified himself, so he left to purify himself and then he was given the pages to read. He began to read verses from Surah Taha until he stopped at this verse:

اِنَّنِیْٓ اَنَا اللّٰهُ لَآ اِلٰهَ اِلَّآ اَنَا فَاعْبُدْنِیْۙ   وَ اَقِمِ الصَّلٰوةَ لِذِكْرِیْ

Verily I am Allah there is no Deity except Me, worship me and establish salah for My remembrance.[4]

 

After reading this he said take me to Muhammad, when Khabbab radiya Llahu `anhu heard this, he came out from where he was hiding and said:

Glad tidings to you, O `Umar, I hope you become – the answer – to the du`a of the Rasul of Allah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam that he made on the night of Thursday:

O Allah, strengthen Islam with `Umar ibn al-Khattab or `Amr ibn Hisham.

 

The Rasul of Allah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam was in the house which was at Safa. `Umar radiya Llahu `anhu left and went to meet the Rasul of Allah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam and when he reach there, he found Hamzah and other Sahabah radiya Llahu `anhum at the door, and then Hamzah radiya Llahu `anhu said:

It is `Umar at the door, if Allah intends good for him he will accept Islam, but if Allah intends for him anything but good then it will be easy for us to kill him.

 

The Rasul of Allah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam was inside receiving revelation. The Rasul of Allah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam then came out and took hold of his collar and the strap of his sword, and said to him:

You are not finished, O `Umar, until Allah makes an example of you or disgraces you in the Qur’an like how He did with Walid ibn Mughirah.

 

After hearing this `Umar radiya Llahu `anhu said:

أشهد ان لا اله الا الله و أنك عبد الله و رسوله

I testify that there is no deity except Allah and you are Allah’s servant and Rasul.[5]

 

Dhakwan radiya Llahu `anhu says I asked Umm al-Mu’minin `A’ishah radiya Llahu `anha;

Who gave `Umar the title of al-Faruq?

She replied:

Nabi salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam.

 

Ibn `Abbas radiya Llahu `anhu narrates that when `Umar radiya Llahu `anhu accepted Islam Jibril descended from the heavens and said:

يا محمد لقد استبشر أهل السماء باِسلام عمر

O Muhammad verily the dwellers of the heavens are rejoicing with the Islam of `Umar.[6]

 

In another narration, Ibn `Abbas radiya Llahu `anhu narrates:

لما أسلم عمر قال المشركون: قد انتصف القوم اليوم منا

When `Umar accepted Islam the Mushrikin said: “These people (Muslims) are equal to us today,”[7] and Allah Ta`ala revealed this verse:

یٰاَیُّهَا النَّبِیُّ حَسْبُكَ اللّٰهُ وَمَنِ اتَّبَعَكَ مِنَ الْمُؤْمِنِیْنَ

O Nabi salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam, Allah is sufficient for you and those who follow you from the believers.[8]

 

Ibn Mas`ud radiya Llahu `anhu used to say:

The Islam of `Umar was a victory, his hijrah was a help, and his khilafah a mercy, we were not able to make salah in the Haram until `Umar accepted Islam, he fought them until he they left us to make salah in the Haram.

 

Hudhayfah radiya Llahu `anhu says:

When `Umar accepted Islam, Islam became like a man who was advancing with each step he took. And when `Umar was martyred, Islam was like a man who was turning away, and only increasing in distance.

 

Suhayb radiya Llahu `anhu says:

When `Umar accepted Islam, he declared it openly and even invited towards it openly, we sat around the Ka`bah in circles, we made tawaf around the Ka`bah, we took our rights from whoever was harsh with us, and we retaliated against him for what he used to do to us.[9]

 

Ibn Abbas radiya Llahu `anhu narrates:

`Umar ibn Khattab was the first person to announce his Islam openly.

 

Aslam, the slave of `Umar radiya Llahu `anhu said:

`Umar accepted Islam in Dhu al-Hijjah, sixth year of nubuwwah, and he was 26 years old.[10]

 

His Migration to Madinah

`Ali radiya Llahu `anhu said:

 

I do not know of anyone who migrated openly except `Umar ibn al-Khattab. When he intended to migrate he strapped on his sword, put his bow over his shoulder and held the arrows in his hand. He then went to the Ka`bah whilst the leaders of the Quraysh were sitting in the courtyard of the Ka`bah; he made tawaf around the Ka`bah seven times then performed two raka`at behind the Maqam Ibrahim. After that he went to each crowd that was sitting around the Ka`bah, one by one, and said to them: “May you be disgraced, whoever wishes to leave his mother, orphan his children, or widow his wife let him meet me behind this valley,” but not a single one of them followed him.[11]

 

Al-Bara’ radiya Llahu `anhu says:

The first to migrate to us was Mus`ab ibn `Umayr then Ibn Umm Maktum and then `Umar ibn al-Khattab radiya Llahu `anhu in a group of twenty riders. We asked where the Rasul of Allah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam is and they answered that he was behind them. The Rasul of Allah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam came and with him was Abu Bakr.

 

Imam al-Nawawi rahimahu Llah reports that `Umar radiya Llahu `anhu witnessed all the battles with the Rasul of Allah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam and he was one of those who stood firm with him during the Battle of Uhud.

 

His Virtues That Were not Mentioned in the Biography of Abu Bakr

Abu Hurayrah radiya Llahu `anhu narrates that the Rasul of Allah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam said:

Whilst I was sleeping I saw myself in Jannah and there was a woman who was making wudu’ beside the palace. I asked: “Whose palace is this?” It was said: “`Umar ibn al-Khattab,” at that time I remembered the possessiveness of `Umar so I turned back. `Umar began to cry and asked: “Could I have ghayrah (possessiveness) for you, O Rasul of Allah?”[12]

 

Ibn `Umar radiya Llahu `anhuma narrates that the Rasul of Allah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam said:

Whilst I was sleeping, I saw myself drinking milk until I saw it flowing through my fingernails, and then I passed it to `Umar.

The Sahabah asked:

What is your interpretation, O Rasul of Allah?

He replied:

Knowledge.[13]

 

Abu Sa`id al-Khudri radiya Llahu `anhu narrates that he heard the Rasul of Allah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam saying:

Whilst I was sleeping a group of people were shown to me wearing shirts. Amongst them were those whose shirts reached their chests and some beyond that. `Umar was shown to me and he had a garment which was dragging on the ground.

The Sahabah asked:

What is your interpretation, O Rasul of Allah?

He replied:

His Islam.[14]

 

Sa`d ibn Abi Waqqas radiya Llahu `anhu narrates that the Rasul of Allah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam said:

O son of Khattab, by Him Who controls my life, Shaytan does not meet you travelling on a path but he would travel on a path other than your path.[15]

 

Abu Hurayrah radiya Llahu `anhu narrates that the Rasul of Allah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam said:

There were before you from the previous nations people who were Muhdathun (inspired by Allah). And if there is one from my ummah, it is `Umar.

 

Ibn `Umar radiya Llahu `anhuma narrates that Rasul of Allah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam said:

Verily Allah has embedded truth on the tongue and heart of `Umar.

 

Ibn `Umar radiya Llahu `anhuma used to say:

No matter ever happened, amongst the people; the people would speak and `Umar would speak, except the Qur’an was revealed according to what `Umar said.[16]

 

`Uqbah ibn `Amir radiya Llahu `anhu narrates that Rasul of Allah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam said:

If there was a nabi to come after me, it would have been `Umar.[17]

 

Umm al-Mu’minin `A’ishah radiya Llahu `anha narrates that the Rasul of Allah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam said:

Verily I am looking at the Shayatin from the Jinn and men fleeing from `Umar.[18]

 

Abu Dhar radiya Llahu `anhu narrates that he heard the Rasul of Allah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam say:

Verily Allah has placed the truth on the tongue of `Umar by which he speaks.

 

Ibn `Umar radiya Llahu `anhuma narrates that the Rasul of Allah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam said:

`Umar is a lantern of the people of Jannah.[19]

 

`Uthman ibn Maz`un radiya Llahu `anhu narrates that the Rasul of Allah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam said:

“This is the barrier between fitnah,” gesturing towards `Umar radiya Llahu `anhu, “there will always remain a strong sealed door between you and fitnah as long as he lives.”

 

Ibn `Abbas radiya Llahu `anhuma narrates that the Rasul of Allah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam said:

There is no angel in the heaven except that it venerates `Umar and there is no shaytan in the world except it runs away from `Umar.[20]

 

Abu Hurayrah radiya Llahu `anhu says that the Rasul of Allah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam said:

Verily Allah boasts about the people of `Arafah in general, and about `Umar specifically.[21]

 

Fadl ibn `Abbas radiya Llahu `anhuma narrates that the Rasul of Allah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam said:

The truth, after me, is with `Umar ibn al-Khattab wherever he is.[22]

 

Ibn `Umar and Abu Hurayrah radiya Llahu `anhum narrate that the Rasul of Allah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam said:

 

Whilst I was sleeping I saw myself next to a well, which had a bucket; I extracted from it as much as Allah desired me to extract from it. Then Abu Bakr took it and he extracted one or two buckets, and there was some kind of weakness from his extraction, and Allah will forgive him. And then came `Umar, he extracted, and it transformed in his hand into a large bucket, and I have not seen a chief of people do good deeds such as he did, until the people had satisfied their thirst and settled down.

 

Imam Nawawi rahimahu Llah reports in Tahdhib, that the `ulama’ say:

This was a prophecy of the khilafah of Abu Bakr and `Umar, the many conquests and spread of Islam during the era of `Umar.

 

Sadisah radiya Llahu `anha narrates that the Rasul of Allah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam said:

Verily Shaytan does not meet `Umar since he accepted Islam except that he falls on his face.[23]

 

Ubay ibn Ka`b radiya Llahu `anhu narrates that the Rasul of Allah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam said:

Jibril said to me: “Islam will grieve upon the death of `Umar.”[24]

 

Abu Sa`id al-Khudri radiya Llahu `anhu narrates that the Rasul of Allah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam said:

Whoever despises `Umar for verily he despises me and whoever loves `Umar loves me. Allah boasts about the people in general on the night of `Arafah and boasts specifically about `Umar. Verily Allah Ta`ala does not send a nabi except that there is a Muhaddath in his ummah, and if there is a Muhaddath in my ummah then it is `Umar.

Sahabah asked:

What is a Muhaddath?

He replied:

It is that person upon whose tongue angels speak.[25]

 

The Testimony of the Sahabah and Pious Predecessors with regards to `Umar ibn al-Khattab

Abu Bakr radiya Llahu `anhu used to say:

There is no man on the face of this earth more beloved to me than `Umar ibn al-Khattab.[26] (This was said after the demise of the Rasul of Allah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam).

 

It was said to Abu Bakr radiya Llahu `anhu on his death bed:

What will you say to Allah with regard to you appointing `Umar as the khalifah?

He replied:

I will say that I appointed among them the best of them.[27]

 

`Ali radiya Llahu `anhu said:

If you discuss the pious then begin with `Umar, we — the Sahabah of the Rasul salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam — never had doubt that he was the voice of wisdom.[28]

 

Ibn `Umar radiya Llahu `anhuma said:

I have never seen anyone after the Rasul of Allah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam, from the time of his demise, more generous than `Umar.[29]

 

Ibn Mas`ud radiya Llahu `anhu said:

If the knowledge of `Umar had to be put on one pan of a scale and the knowledge of the entire creation be put on the other pan, the knowledge of `Umar will outweigh the knowledge of the entire creation. And they used to think that he had gone with nine tenths of knowledge.

 

Hudhayfah radiya Llahu `anhu used to say:

It was as if knowledge of the people was placed in the lap of `Umar.

By Allah I do not know of anyone who will not be taken to task on account of people’s criticism of him except `Umar.

 

Umm al-Mu’minin `A’ishah radiya Llahu `anha said while mentioning `Umar:

By Allah, he was a good leader and unique in his nature.

 

Mu`awiyah radiya Llahu `anhu said:

As for Abu Bakr he did not want this world and the world did not want him, as for `Umar this world wanted him but he did not want it. And as for us we soiled our backs in it.[30]

 

Jabir radiya Llahu `anhu said:

On one occasion `Ali radiya Llahu `anhu entered upon `Umar — whilst he was shrouded — and said: “May Allah have mercy on you O `Umar! There is no one with whose book of deeds I would prefer to meet Allah with than the one who is shrouded (`Umar).[31]

 

On one occasion Ibn `Abbas radiya Llahu `anhuma was asked about Abu Bakr radiya Llahu `anhu and he said:

He was good in every aspect.

He was asked about `Umar radiya Llahu `anhu and he said:

He was like a cautious bird which thinks that there is a trap in every path to catch it.

He was asked about `Ali radiya Llahu `anhu and he said:

He was full of energy, sound judgement and bravery.

 

`Umayr ibn Rabi`ah radiya Llahu `anhu narrates that `Umar ibn al-Khattab radiya Llahu `anhu said to Ka`b al-Ahbar:

How do you find my description?

He said:

I find your description to be a horn of iron.

`Umar radiya Llahu `anhu asked:

What is the horn of iron?

He said:

A strong commander who does not let the blame of those who blame get him down, for the pleasure of Allah.

He asked:

What else?

He said:

There will be after you a khalifah who will be killed by an oppressive group.

He asked:

What else?

He said:

There will be trials.

 

Ibn Mas`ud radiya Llahu `anhu said:

 

`Umar surpassed the people in four things: The first when he gave his opinion that the captives of Badr should be killed, and Allah Ta`ala revealed this verse:

لَوْلَا کِتٰبٌ مِّنَ اللهِ سَبَقَ لَمَسَّكُمْ فِیْمَآ اَخَذْتُمْ عَذَابٌ عَظِیْمٌ

If not for a decree from Allah that preceded, you would have been touched for what you took, a great punishment.[32]

 

Secondly when he suggested that the wives of the Rasul of Allah should wear hijab, and Umm, al-Mu’minin Zaynab said to him: “You are not responsible for us O son of Khattab, while revelation is revealed in our homes.” Allah Ta`ala then revealed this verse:

 

وَ اِذَا سَاَلْتُمُوْهُنَّ مَتَاعًا فَسْـَٔلُوْهُنَّ مِنْ وَّرَآءِ حِجَابٍ

And when you ask (his wives) for something, ask them from behind a partition.[33]

 

Thirdly, the supplication of the Rasul of Allah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam for `Umar:

 

اللهم أيد الاسلام بعمر

O Allah, strengthen Islam with `Umar.

And fourthly, his view on Abu Bakr being the khalifah; he was the first to pledge allegiance on his hand.[34]

 

Mujahid rahimahu Llah said:

We used to say that the shayatin were chained during the khilafah of `Umar, when he was martyred they began spreading all over.

 

Sufyan al-Thowri rahimahu Llah said:

Whoever claims that `Ali radiya Llahu `anhu was more worthy of the khilafah than Abu Bakr and `Umar radiya Llahu `anhuma, he is in grave error; and he has wronged Abu Bakr, the Muhajirin and the Ansar.

 

Abu Sharik rahimahu Llah said:

No person who has any good in him gives preference to `Ali radiya Llahu `anhu over Abu Bakr and `Umar radiya Llahu `anhuma.

 

Abu Usamah rahimahu Llah said:

Do you know who Abu Bakr and `Umar radiya Llahu `anhuma were? They were the father and mother of Islam.

 

Imam Ja`far al-Sadiq rahimahu Llah said:

I am free from that person who speaks ill of Abu Bakr and `Umar.[35]

 

His Conformity with the Qur’an

Ibn Mardawayh rahimahu Llah narrates that Mujahid rahimahu Llah said:

`Umar used to hold a view, and revelation descended in conformity with his view.

 

Ibn `Umar radiya Llahu `anhuma narrates that people would give their opinions and `Umar radiya Llahu `anhu would give his, and when the Qur’an would be revealed; it would be in conformity with what `Umar radiya Llahu `anhu had suggested.[36]

 

Imam Nawawi rahimahu Llah narrates in al-Tahdhib:

 

`Umar radiya Llahu `anhu said: “I was in conformity with my Allah in three things:

1. I suggested to the Rasul of Allah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam that we should read two raka`ah (after Tawaf) behind the Maqam Ibrahim, and Allah Ta`ala revealed this verse:

وَ اتَّخِذُوْا مِنْ مَّقَامِ اِبْرٰهٖمَ مُصَلًّی

And take, (O believers), from the standing place of Ibrahim a place of prayer.[37]

2. I said to the Rasul of Allah that the pious and open sinners enter your house why do you not command your wives to wear hijab? And the verse of Hijab was revealed.

3. When some of the wives of the Rasul of Allah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam gathered in the incident of Maghafir, I said verily if you divorce them Allah Ta`ala will replace them with those who are better than them; it was revealed exactly like that.[38]

 

4. `Umar radiya Llahu `anhu said:

O Allah make clear to us with regard to wine such clarity that will leave no doubt.

Allah then revealed its prohibition.[39]

 

5. `Umar radiya Llahu `anhu said:

I was in conformity with my Rabb in four things. When this verse was revealed:

وَلَقَدْ خَلَقْنَا الْاِنْسَانَ مِنْ سُلٰلَةٍ مِّنْ طِیْنٍ

And certainly did We create man from an extract of clay.[40]

I said:

فَتَبٰرَكَ اللهُ اَحْسَنُ الْخٰلِقِیْنَ

Blessed is Allah, the best of creators.

And this verse was revealed:

فَتَبٰرَكَ اللّٰهُ اَحْسَنُ الْخٰلِقِیْنَ

So blessed is Allah, the best of creators.[41]

 

6. `Umar radiya Llahu `anhu said:

When `Abd Allah ibn Ubay ibn Salul died, the Rasul of Allah was called to make Salat al-Janazah for him, he stood up for it. I stood up and stood close to his chest and said: “O Rasul of Allah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam, are going to stand in front of the enemy of Allah, who one day said so and so?” By Allah it was not long until this verse was revealed:

 

وَلَا تُصَلِّ عَلٰٓی اَحَدٍ مِّنْهُمْ مَّاتَ اَبَدًا

And do pray (Salat al-Janazah) over any of them who has died ever.[42]

 

7.                                                                                                              یَسْـَٔلُوْنَكَ عَنِ الْخَمْرِ وَالْمَیْسِرِ.

They ask you about wine and gambling.[43]

 

8.                                                                                                            یٰاَیُّهَا الَّذِیْنَ اٰمَنُوْا لَا تَقْرَبُوا الصَّلٰوةَ.

O you who have believed, do not approach salah.[44]

 

9. When the Rasul of Allah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam was supplicating for forgiveness on behalf of certain people (hypocrites). `Umar said: “It is of no benefit for them.”[45] Allah revealed:

 

سَوَآءٌ عَلَیْهِمْ اَسْتَغْفَرْتَ لَهُمْ اَمْ لَمْ تَسْتَغْفِرْ لَهُمْ.

It is all the same for them whether you ask forgiveness for them or do not ask forgiveness for them; never will Allah forgive them.[46]

 

10. When the Rasul of Allah consulted the Sahabah with regard to going out to Badr, `Umar suggested that they should go out. This verse was revealed:

 

کَمَآ اَخْرَجَكَ رَبُّكَ مِنْۢ بَیْتِكَ بِالْحَقِّ.

(It is) Just as when your Rabb brought you out of your home (for the Battle of Badr) in truth.”[47]

 

11. When the Rasul of Allah consulted the Sahabah about the incident of Ifq (slander on `A’ishah radiya Llahu `anha), `Umar radiya Llahu `anhu said: “Who married her to you?” The Rasul of Allah replied: “Allah.” `Umar said: “Do you think Allah will conceal it from you? Exalted are You (O Allah); this is great slander,” and it was revealed like this.[48]

 

12. The incident when he was fasting and he shared a bed with his wife after he awoke from his sleep, which was prohibited in the early stages of Islam. This verse was revealed:

 

اُحِلَّ لَكُمْ لَیْلَةَ الصِّیَامِ.

It has been made permissible for you the night preceding fasting to go to your wives.[49]

 

13. When a Jew met `Umar radiya Llahu `anhu and said to him:

Verily the Jibril that your Rasul mentions is an enemy of ours.” `Umar said to him:

 

من كان عدوا لله و ملائكته و رسله و جبريل و ميكال فأن الله عدو للكافرين

Whoever is an enemy to Allah and His angels and Jibril and Mika’il — then indeed, Allah is an enemy to the disbelievers.[50]

And it was revealed like this.

 

14. Abu al-Aswad rahimahu Llah narrates:

 

Two men took their dispute to the Rasul of Allah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam, and he gave his judgment between them. The one to whom the judgement was against said: “Let us take our matter to `Umar.” They went to him. One of them said: “The Rasul of Allah gave judgement in my favour against this man and he said, ‘Let us go to `Umar.’” `Umar asked: “Is it like that?” He said: “Yes.” So `Umar said: “Stay where you are until I come out to you.” He came out with his sword wrapped in his clothes, and he struck the one who said “let us go to `Umar”, and killed him. The other ran away, and said: “O Rasulullah, `Umar has, by Allah, killed my friend.” The Rasul of Allah said: “I do not think that `Umar will go out to kill a believer.”

Allah revealed this verse:

But no, by your Rabb, they will not (truly) believe until they make you (O Muhammad) judge concerning that over which they dispute.”[51]

There was no compensation for the blood of the man and `Umar was freed from any wrong doing of his killing.[52]

 

15. Permission for entering the room. This happened when his slave boy came in his room while he was sleeping. He said: “O Allah prohibit it (i.e. entering one’s room with no permission). The verse of Permission was then revealed.

 

Miraculous Feats

Ibn `Umar radiya Llahu `anhuma narrates:

 

On one occasion `Umar prepared an army for an expedition and appointed over them a person by the name Sariyah. (On another occasion on the day of Jumu`ah) Amir al-Mu’minin `Umar ibn al-Khattab was giving a sermon, suddenly he began to call out: “O Sariyah! The mountain!” And he said this three times. (After a month) A messenger of the army came and said: “O Amir al-Mu’minin whilst we were under attack (from the front and back) we heard a voice calling out, “O Sariyah! The mountain!” three times, thus we faced our back to the mountain, then Allah defeated them. Ibn `Umar say that it was said to `Umar: “Were you the one who called out with these words.” The mountain that the army was at is in Nahawand a land of the non-Arabs.[53]

 

Ibn `Umar radiya Llahu `anhuma narrates that once `Umar radiya Llahu `anhu said to man:

What is your name?

The man said:

Jamrah (burning coal).

`Umar radiya Llahu `anhu asked:

The son of whom?

He said:

The son of Shihab (flame).

He asked:

From where are you?

The man said:

From al-Hurqah (a place of burning).

He asked:

Where is your home?

The man said:

In Harrah (lava field).

He asked:

On which side?

The man said:

In Dhat al-Ladha (a place of blazing fire).

`Umar radiya Llahu `anhu said:

You had better return to your family, for verily they have been burnt.

The man returned home and found that his family had burnt to death.[54]

 

Qays ibn Hajjaj narrates that when Egypt was conquered the people of Egypt came to `Amr ibn al-`As radiya Llahu `anhu (who was the governor) on the first day of their auspicious month of their calendar and said: “O Amir, verily the Nile River has a need which causes it to flow. He asked: “What is it?” They said: “When eleven days of this month pass we approach a young virgin girl from her parents and we ask her from her parents by compensating them, we adorn her with beautiful clothes and jewellery that we can find, and then throw her into the Nile River.”

`Amr radiya Llahu `anhu said to them verily this will not happen again in Islam, because Islam wipes or destroys whatever was before it. They stayed for a while, and the Nile was flowing at a moderate pace, until they intended to evacuate. When `Amr radiya Llahu `anhu saw that, he wrote to `Umar radiya Llahu `anhu with regard to the matter. `Umar radiya Llahu `anhu wrote back to him to inform him that you are right in what you said, and verily Islam eradicates what was before it. He sent a slip of paper inside his letter, and wrote to `Amr radiya Llahu `anhu:

Verily I have sent to you a slip inside my letter, thus throw it inside the Nile.

 

When the letter of `Umar radiya Llahu `anhu reached `Amr radiya Llahu `anhu, he took the slip and opened it, and it was written in it:

From the servant of Allah, Amir al-Mu’minin `Umar ibn al-Khattab, to the Nile of Egypt, if you flow from your own accord then do not flow, but if Allah is causing you to flow then I ask Allah the Almighty to cause you to flow.

 

He threw the letter into the Nile a day before the festival of the cross. They woke up in such a condition that Allah had caused the Nile to bring about sixteen cubits of water in one night (it brought more water than usual). And Allah ended the (wicked) practice of the people of Egypt till the present day.[55]

 

Hasan radiya Llahu `anhu narrates that one person who knew when he was being lied to was `Umar ibn al-Khattab radiya Llahu `anhu.[56]

 

Synopsis of His Life

Ahnaf ibn Qays said:

We were sitting by the door of `Umar, a slave girl passed by, and they said the concubine of Amir al-Mu’minin, He said: “She is not the concubine of Amir al-Mu’minin, and she is not permissible for him, she is the property of Allah.” We asked: “Then what is permissible for him from the property of Allah?” He said: “It is only permissible for `Umar to have two garments from the property of Allah, one garment for winter and one garment for summer, that which I can perform my Hajj and `Umrah with (Ihram), my sustenance and the sustenance of my family like a man from the Quraysh who is neither the richest of them nor poorest, then, after that I am just an ordinary man amongst the Muslims.”[57]

 

Khuzaymah ibn Thabit radiya Llahu `anhu narrates:

Whenever `Umar appointed a governor, he would write to him and stipulate conditions for him, that he will not ride a Turkish horse (which was seen as an expensive horse), nor will he eat delicacies, nor wear soft clothes, nor lock his door against the needy, if he does it, then punishment will suitable for him.

 

`Ikramah ibn Khalid and others narrate:

Ibn `Umar, Hafsah radiya Llahu `anhuma and their other siblings spoke to their father (`Umar radiya Llahu `anhu), and said to him: “If only you ate good food which is better for you and it will strengthen you upon the truth.” He said: “Are you all of this view?” They said: “Yes,” he said: “Definitely I acknowledge your advice, but I have left my companions on a certain path and if I leave their path I will never be able to reach them.”

 

Ibn Mulaykah radiya Llahu `anhu said:

On one occasion `Utbah ibn Farqad spoke to `Umar about his food. `Umar said: “May you be distanced from me! Should I eat good food in my worldly life so that I can enjoy myself?”

 

Hasan radiya Llahu `anhu said:

`Umar entered upon his son `Asim, whilst he was eating meat, and asked him: “What is this?” He said: “We were craving for it.” He said: “So every time you crave for something you eat it? It is sufficient for a person to be wasteful if he eats whatever his heart desires.”

 

Aslam rahimahu Llah says that `Umar radiya Llahu `anhu said:

The craving of fresh fish occurred to me. Yarfa’ mounted his house and travelled for four miles going and four miles coming to purchase it for me. He then went to his camel and washed it, and went to `Umar. He said: “Come with me so I can go see the camel.”

He looked at it and said: “Did you forget to wash the sweat underneath its ear? You punished this animal for the desire of `Umar? By Allah, `Umar will not partake from your meal.”

 

Qatadah radiya Llahu `anhu narrates that `Umar used to wear — while he was khalifah — a garment made of wool and in some places patched with leather. And he would walk around in the market place carrying a whip on his shoulder which he used to discipline people with. He would pass by broken things and date pits and he would pick it up and throw it on people’s yards so they could make use of it.

 

Anas radiya Llahu `anhu said:

I saw four patches on the top garment of `Umar which was between his two shoulder blades. And Abu `Uthman al-Nahdi say that I saw the lower garment of `Umar patched with leather.

 

`Abd Allah ibn `Amir ibn Rabi`ah radiya Llahu `anhu said:

I performed hajj with `Umar and he did not pitch a tent made of goat fur nor of wool. He used to throw his upper garment on a tree and would take shade under it.

 

`Abd Allah ibn `Isa radiya Llahu `anhu use to say that there were two black lines on the face of `Umar because of excessive crying.

 

Hasan radiya Llahu `anhu said:

`Umar would pass a verse of the Qur’an from his wird (a specified amount of reading the Qur’an daily) and would fall unconscious, he would only return to that same verse after a few days.

 

Anas radiya Llahu `anhu said:

I entered a garden and I heard `Umar saying – while there was a wall between us: “`Umar ibn al-Khattab Amir al-Mu’minin, Well done! Well done! (Belittling himself) By Allah, You will fear Allah, O son of al-Khattab or he will punish you.”

 

`Abd Allah ibn `Amir ibn Rabi`ah radiya Llahu `anhu said:

I saw `Umar taking a handful of sand and saying: “How I wish I was this sand, how I wish I was nothing, and how I wish my mother never gave birth to me.”

 

`Ubayd Allah ibn `Umar ibn Hafs narrates:

On one occasion `Umar carried a water skin on his shoulder, he was asked about it and he replied: “My nafs (inner self) became proud and I wanted to teach it a lesson.”

 

Ibn `Umar radiya Llahu `anhuma narrates:

I have seen that whenever `Umar became angry and someone took the name of Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam or told him to fear Allah or recited from the Qur’an, then he would control his anger and abstain from (the punishment) what he had intended.

Subsequently, Bilal radiya Llahu `anhu asked Aslam: “How do you find `Umar?” He replied: “He is the best of people except that when he gets angry it becomes a very big matter” Bilal said: “If it happens that he gets angry while you are around just read the Qur’an until his anger suppresses.[58]

 

NEXT⇒ The Incident of Qirtas and the Background


 

[1]Tirmidhi fi al-Manaqib, Hadith no: 3681, al-Tabarani fi al-Kabir, Hadith no: 10314

[2]Tabarani, Hadith: 1428, Mustadrak al-Hakim 3/83

[3]  Surah al-Haqqah: 40-41

[4]  Surah Taha: 14

[5]Al-Hakim, Bayhaqi fi al-Dala’il

[6]Ibn Majah fi al-Muqaddimah, p. 103, al-Hakim, p. 84 v. 3

[7]Al-Hakim, p. 85 v. 3, al-Dhahabi

[8]  Surah al-Anfal: 64

[9]Ibn Sa`d

[10]Ibn Sa`d

[11]Ibn `Asakir

[12]Bukhari fi Fada’il Ashab al-Nabi, Hadith no: 3680, Muslim, Hadith no: 2395/21

[13]Bukhari fi Fada’il Ashab al-Nabi, Hadith no: 3681, Muslim, Hadith no: 2391/16

[14]Bukhari fi Fada’il Ashab al-Nabi, Hadith no: 3691, Muslim, Hadith no: 2390/15

[15]Bukhari, hadith no: 3683, Muslim, Hadith no: 2396.

[16]Tirmidhi fi al-Manaqib, Hadith no: 3682

[17]Tirmidhi fi al-Manaqib, Hadith no: 3686, al-Tabarani fi al-Kabir,

[18]Tirmidhi fi al-Manaqib, Hadith: 3691.

[19]Ibn `Asakir

[20]Ibn `Asakir

[21]Al-Tabarani

[22]  ibid

[23]  ibid

[24]Al-Tabarani

[25]Al-Tabarani fi al-Awsat

[26]Ibn `Asakir

[27]Ibn Sa`d

[28]Al-Tabarani fi al-Awsat

[29]Ibn Sa`d

[30]  Zubayr ibn Bakkar fi al-Muwaffiqiyat

[31]Al-Hakim, v. 4 p. 93,94

[32]  Surah al-Anfal: 68

[33]  Surah al-Ahzab: 53

[34]Ahmad, Hadith no: 456 vol. 1 al-Tabarani fi al-Kabir, Hadith no: 8828, al-Bazzar, Hadith no: 275 vol. 1

[35]Tarikh al-Khulafa’ of al-Suyuti

[36]Ibn `Asakir

[37]  Surah al-Baqarah: 125

[38]Bukhari fi Tafsir al-Qur’an, Hadith no: 4483

[39]Al-Hakim, Hadith no: 123, vol. 4. Sahhahahu wa Wafaqahu al-Dhahabi

[40]  Surah al-Mu’minun: 12

[41]  Surah al-Mu’minun: 14

[42]  Surah al-Towbah: 84

[43]  Surah al-Baqarah: 219

[44]  Surah al-Nisa’: 43

[45]Al-Tabarani

[46]  Surah al-Munafiqun: 6

[47]  Surah al-Anfal: 5.

[48]  It is verse 16 from Surah al-Nur. Allah says:

وَلَوْلَآ اِذْ سَمِعْتُمُوْهُ قُلْتُمْ مَّا یَكُوْنُ لَنَآ اَنْ نَّتَکَلَّمَ بِهٰذَا ۖ   سُبْحٰنَكَ هٰذَا بُهْتَانٌ عَظِیْمٌ

And why, when you heard it, did you not say: “It is not for us to speak of this. Exalted are You (O Allah); this is great slander.

[49]  Surah al-Baqarah: 187

[50]  Surah al-Baqarah: 98

[51]  Surah al-Nisa’: 65.

[52] Ibn Abi Hatim

[53]Bayhaqi fi Dala’il al-Nubuwwah

[54]Muwatta’ Imam Malik

[55]Abu al-Shaykh fi al-`Azmah, Hadith no: 940 vol. 3.

[56]Ibn Asakir

[57] Ibn Sa`d

[58]  All the above mentioned narrations are reported by Ibn Sa`d.