Life of Hazrat Umar ibn al Khattab

Hazrat Umar Ibn al-Khattab

Hazrat Umar life before coming to Islam

Hazrat Umar was born in Mecca to the Banu Adi clan, which was responsible for arbitration

life of hazrat umar ibn al khattab
Sword of Hazrat Umar

among the tribes. His father was Khattab ibn Nufayl and his mother was Hantama bint Hisham, from the tribe of Banu Makhzum. In his youth he used to tend to his father's camels in the plains near Mecca. His merchant father was famed for his intelligence among his tribe. Umar himself said: "My father, Al-Khattab was a ruthless man. He used to make me work hard; if I didn't work he used to beat me and he used to work me to exhaustion.

Despite literacy being uncommon in pre-Islamic Arabia, Hazrat Umar learned to read and write in his youth. Though not a poet himself, he developed a love for poetry and literature. According to the tradition of Quraish, while still in his teenage years, Hazrat Umar learned martial arts, horse riding and wrestling. He was tall, physically powerful and a renowned wrestler. He was also a gifted orator who succeeded his father as an arbitrator among the tribes.

Hazrat Umar became a merchant and made several journeys to Rome and Persia, where he is said to have met various scholars and analyzed Roman and Persian societies. As a merchant he was unsuccessful. Like others around him, Hazrat Umar was fond of drinking in his pre-Islamic days.

Hazrat Umar life during Prophet Mohammad SAW Era

Hazrat Umar Initial hostility to Islam:

In 610 Prophet Muhammad (SAW) started preaching the message of Islam. However, like many others in Mecca, Hazrat Umar opposed Islam and even threatened to kill Muhammad (SAW). He resolved to defend the traditional polytheistic religion of Arabia. He was adamant and cruel in opposing Muhammad SAW, and very prominent in persecuting Muslims. He recommended Muhammad's SAW death. He firmly believed in the unity of the Quraish and saw the new faith of Islam as a cause of division and discord.

Due to persecution, Muhammad SAW ordered some of his followers to migrate to Abyssinia. When a small group of Muslims migrated, Hazrat Umar became worried about the future unity of the Quraish and decided to have Muhammad SAW assassinated.

Hazrat Umar Conversion to Islam:

Omar converted to Islam in 616, one year after the Migration to Abyssinia. The story was recounted in Ibn Ishaq's Sīrah. On his way to murder Muhammad,  Hazrat Umar met his best friend Nua'im bin Abdullah who had secretly converted to Islam but had not told Hazrat Umar. When Hazrat Umar informed him that he had set out to kill Muhammad SAW, Nua'im said, “By God, you have deceived yourself, O Umar! Do you think that Banu Abd Manaf would let you run around alive once you had killed their son Muhammad SAW? Why don't you return to your own house and at least set it straight?"

Nuaimal Hakim told him to inquire about his own house where his sister and her husband had converted to Islam. Upon arriving at her house, Hazrat Umar found his sister and brother-in-law Saeed bin Zaid (Umar's cousin) reciting the verses of the Quran from sura Ta-Ha. He started quarreling with his brother-in-law. When his sister came to rescue her husband, he also started quarreling with her. Yet still they kept on saying "you may kill us but we will not give up Islam". Upon hearing these words, Hazrat Umar slapped his sister so hard that she fell to the ground bleeding from her mouth. When he saw what he did to his sister, he calmed down out of guilt and asked his sister to give him what she was reciting. His sister replied in the negative and said "You are unclean, and no unclean person can touch the Scripture." He insisted, but his sister was not prepared to allow him to touch the pages unless he washed his body. Hazrat Umar at last gave in. He washed his body and then began to read the verses that were: Verily, I am Allah: there is no God but Me; so serve Me (only), and establish regular prayer for My remembrance (Quran 20:14). He wept and declared, "Surely this is the word of Allah. I bear witness that Muhammad SAW is the Messenger of Allah." On hearing this, Khabbab came out from inside and said: "O, Omar! Glad tidings for you. Yesterday Muhammad prayed to Allah, 'O, Allah! Strengthen Islam with either Hazrat Umar or Abu Jahl, whomsoever Thou likest.' It seems that his prayer has been answered in your favour.
Hazrat Umar then went to Muhammad SAW with the same sword he intended to kill him with and accepted Islam in front of him and his companions. Hazrat Umar was 39 years old when he accepted Islam.

Following his conversion, Hazrat Umar went to inform the chief of Quraish, Amr ibn Hishām, about his acceptance of Islam.[citation needed] According to one account, Hazrat Umar thereafter openly prayed at the Kaaba as the Quraish chiefs, Amr ibn Hishām and Abu Sufyan ibn Harb, reportedly watched in anger. This further helped the Muslims to gain confidence in practicing Islam openly. At this stage Hazrat Umar even challenged anyone who dared to stop the Muslims from praying, although no one dared to interfere with Hazrat Umar when he was openly praying.

Hazrat Umar's conversion to Islam granted power to the Muslims and to the Islamic faith in Mecca. It was after this event that Muslims offered prayers openly in Masjid al-Haram for the first time. Abdullah bin Masoud said, 

Hazrat Umar's embracing Islam was our victory, his migration to Medina was our success, and his reign a blessing from Allah. We didn't offer prayers in Al-Haram Mosque until  Hazrat Umar had accepted Islam. When he accepted Islam, the Quraysh were compelled to let us pray in the Mosque.

Read this : How Hazrat Umar RA Came to Islam here

Hazrat Umar Migration to Medina:

In 622 CE, due to the safety offered by Yathrib (later renamed Medīnat an-Nabī, or simply Medina), Muhammad SAW ordered his followers to migrate to Medina. Most Muslims migrated at night fearing Quraish resistance, but Omar is reported to have left openly during the day saying: "Any one who wants to make his wife a widow and his children orphans should come and meet me there behind that cliff." Hazrat Umar migrated to Medina accompanied by his cousin and brother-in-law Saeed ibn Zaid.

Hazrat Umar Life in Medina: 

When Muhammad SAW arrived in Medina, he paired each immigrant (Muhajir) with one of the residents of the city (Ansari), joining Muhammad ibn Maslamah with Hazrat Umar, making them brothers in faith. Later in Hazrat Umar's reign as caliph, Muhammad ibn Muslamah would be assigned the office of Chief Inspector of Accountability. Muslims remained in peace in Medina for approximately a year before the Quraish raised an army to attack them. In 624 Hazrat Umar participated in the first battle between Muslims and Quraish of Mecca i.e., the Battle of Badr. In 625 he took part in the Battle of Uhud. In the second phase of the battle, when Khalid ibn Walid's cavalry attacked the Muslim rear, turning the tide of battle, rumours of Muhammad's SAW death were spread and many Muslim warriors were routed from the battlefield, Hazrat Umar among them. However, hearing that Muhammad SAW was still alive, he went to Muhammad SAW at the mountain of Uhud and prepared for the defence of the hill. Later in the year Hazrat Umar was a part of a campaign against the Jewish tribe of Banu Nadir. In 625 Hazrat Umar's daughter Hafsah was married to Muhammad SAW. Later in 627 he participated in the Battle of the Trench and also in the Battle of Banu Qurayza. In 628 Hazrat Umar witnessed the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah. In 628 he fought in the Battle of Khaybar. In 629 Muhammad SAW sent Amr ibn al-A’as to Zaat-ul-Sallasal, after which, Muhammad SAW sent Abu Ubaidah ibn al-Jarrah with reinforcements, including Abu Bakr and Hazrat Umar, whereupon they attacked and defeated the enemy. In 630, when Muslim armies rushed for the conquest of Mecca, he was part of that army. Later in 630, he fought in the Battle of Hunayn and the Siege of Ta'if. He was part of the Muslim army that contested the Battle of Tabouk under Muhammad's  SAW command and he was reported to have given half of his wealth for the preparation of this expedition. He also participated in the farewell Hajj of Muhammad SAW in 632.

Death of Muhammad SAW:

When Muhammad SAW died, Hazrat Umar initially disbelieved that he was dead. It is said that Hazrat Umar promised to strike the head of any man who would say that Muhammad SAW died. Hazrat Umar 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 has returned to them. By Allah, the messenger of Allah 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." Abu Bakr then publicly spoke to the community in the mosque, saying:

"Whoever worshiped Muhammad SAW, let them know that Muhammad SAW has died, and whoever worshiped Allah, let them know that Allah is alive and never dies."

Abū Bakr then recited these verses from the Qur'an:

"Muhammad SAW is but a messenger; messengers (the like of whom) have passed away before him. If, then, he dies or is killed, will you turn back on your heel?"

Hearing this, Hazrat Umar fell on his knees in sorrow and acceptance. Sunni Muslims say that this denial of Muhammad's  SAW death was occasioned by his deep love for him.

Hazrat Umar, Foundation of the caliphate

Hazrat Umar's political capacity first manifested as the architect of the caliphate after Muhammad SAW died. While the funeral of Muhammad SAW was being arranged a group of Muhammad's SAW followers who were natives of Medina, the Ansar (helpers), organised a meeting on the outskirts of the city, effectively locking out those companions known as Muhajirs (The Emigrants) including Hazrat Umar. Harat Umar found out about this meeting at Saqifah Bani Saadah, and, taking with him two other Muhajirs, Abu Bakr and Abu Ubaidah ibn al-Jarrah, proceeded to the meeting, presumably to head off the Ansars' plans for political separation. Arriving at the meeting, Hazrat Umar was faced with a unified community of tribes from the Ansar who refused to accept the leadership of the Muhajirs. However, Hazrat Umar was undeterred in his belief the caliphate should be under the control of the Muhajirs. Though the Khazraj were in disagreement, Hazrat Umar, after strained negotiations lasting one or two days, brilliantly divided the Ansar into their old warring factions of Aws and Khazraj tribes. Hazrat Umar resolved the divisions by placing his hand on that of Abu Bakr as a unity candidate for those gathered in the Saqifah. Others at the Saqifah followed suit, with the exception of the Khazraj tribe and their leader, Sa'd ibn 'Ubada, who were ostracized as a result. The Khazraj tribe is said to have posed no significant threat as there were sufficient men of war from the Medinan tribes such as the Banu Aws to immediately organize them into a military bodyguard for Abu Bakr.

Hazrat Umar Assassination

In 644, Hazrat Umar was assassinated by a Persian slave named Abu Lulu by later accounts. His motivation for the assassination is not clear. One possible explanation was that it was done in response to the Muslim conquest of Persia. The assassination was planned several months earlier. In October 644, Hazrat Umar undertook a Hajj to Mecca, during which the assassins pronounced Hazrat Umar's imminent death that year, and the massive crowd of the congregation was used by the conspirators as a veil to hide themselves.[citation needed]

During one of rituals of Hajj, the Ramy al-Jamarat (stoning of the Devil), someone threw a stone at Hazrat Umar that wounded his head; a voice was heard that Hazrat Umar will not attend the Hajj ever again.[citation needed]

The Persian slave Piruz Nahavandi (also known as Abu Lulu) brought a complaint to Hazrat Umar about the high tax charged by his master Mughirah. Hazrat Umar wrote to Mughirah and inquired about the tax; Mughirah's reply was satisfactory, but Hazrat Umar held that the tax charged to Abu Lulu was reasonable, owing to his daily income. Hazrat Umar then is reported to have asked Abu Lulu: "I heard that you make windmills; make one for me as well." In a sullen mood, Piruz said, "Verily I will make such a mill for you, that the whole world would remember it".

It was Piruz who was assigned the mission of assassinating of Hazrat Umar. According to the plan, before the Fajr prayers (the morning prayers before the dawn) Piruz would enter Al-Masjid al-Nabawi, the main mosque of Medina where Hazrat Umar led the prayers and would attack Hazrat Umar during the prayers, and then flee or mix with the congregation at the mosque.

On 31 October 644, Piruz attacked Hazrat Umar while he was leading the morning prayers, stabbing him six times in the belly and finally in the navel, that proved fatal. Hazrat Umar was left profusely bleeding while Piruz tried to flee, but people from all sides rushed to capture him; in his efforts to escape he is reported to have wounded twelve other people, six or nine of whom later died, before slashing himself with his own blade to commit suicide.

Hazrat Umar died of the wounds three days later on Wednesday 3 November 644 (26 Dhu al-Hijjah 23 AH).

As per Hazrat Umar's will, he was buried next to Al-Masjid al-Nabawi alongside Muhammad SAW and caliph Abu Bakr by the permission of Hazrat Aisha.

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