Omar ibn al Khattab radi Allahu anhu was the second khalifah after the rule of Abu Bakr asSadiq radi Allahu anhu. He was the voice of the truth. He only judged by the Book of Allah. He was wise, and through Omar’s forbearance, Allah subhana wa ta’ala strengthened His message and supported His Messenger. He was the answer to the prayers of Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wa sallam. When Omar radi Allahu anhu became Muslim, the believers were uplifted and brought new determination to defend the divine message of Allah.
The voice of the Muslims were no longer clandestine and the evil schemes of the non believers were heavily shaken. Omar radi Allahu anhu shared the hardships and suffering of the believers. Omar radi Allahu anhu had very strong faith and his determination put an end to the schemes of those who went against Allah’s message. He challenged the enemies openly through his trust and reliance on Allah subhana wa ta’ala.
Ibn Abbas asked him “Why were you nicknamed al Farouq?” He answered “Hamza accepted Islam three days before I did, then Allah opened my heart to it, and I exclaimed “Surely there is no God except Allah, the Lord of the magnificent divine Attributes.’ Suddenly no one was more beloved to my heart than Rasulullah. I went to my sister and asked her “Where is Rasulullah?” she replied “He is meeting with the believers at the house of al Arqam bin al Arqam near the hill of safa.” I went there immediately. At the time, Hamza and several other companions were meeting with Rasulullah. As I knocked on the door, the people took guard and Hamza asked “What is the matter?” They replied “Omar is at the door.” Rasulullah then said to them “Stand back!” He then came out to the door and he shooked me and said “O Omar when are you going to stop your act?” I said “I came here to bear witness that there is no god other than Allah, no associate has He, and that Muhammad is His servant and Messenger.” Upon hearing that, the believers exclaimed “ALLAHU AKBAR!” And their loud voices resonated with joy as they were heard by those living in the vicinity of the sacred Ka’ba.”
Upon entering the house of al Arqam Omar asked “Ya Rasulullah if we openly proclaim our faith, would we not be right, regardless whether we live or die?” Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wa sallam answered “Indeed, I swear by Him in Whose hand my soul stands, that your right whether you live or die.” Omar then said “Why hide then? I swear by Him Who sent you with the message of truth that this must be declared openly.” Omar added “We then walked out of the House of al Arqam in two rows and Rasulullah walked steadily between Hamza and myself in the front row until we reached the sacred mosque. The people of Quraish shook and became distressed as they saw us, and on that day, Rasulullah named me al-Farouq.”
Omar radi Allahu anhu was known for his clarity of speech. He accepted what Allah revealed and disagreed with the personal opinions of people. Abu Hurairah radi Allahu anhu narrated that Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wa sallam said “Allah placed truth and justice on the tongue and in the heart of Omar.” Ali bin Abi Talib radi Allahu anhu once said “We used to say that there is an angel that speaks with Omar’s tongue.”
He remained mostly in the company of Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wa sallam and focused on acquiring knowledge and emulating the character of Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wa sallam. He became a model of a true follower. Abi Salma narrated that Omar radi Allahu anhu once wore a new shirt and he called his son Abdullah and said to him “Son take this blade and trim these long sleeves for me. Place your fore fingers across the edge of my knuckles and trim the balance.” Ibn Omar cut the two sleeves with the blade but the cut looked somewhat sloppy and the fabric began unraveling. Ibn Omar then said “father let me adjust the trim with a pair of scissors instead, and then I will hem them for you.” Omar insisted “It is all right son, leave them like that. I saw Rasulullah wear it this way.”
Omar radi Allahu anhu was most grateful for what Allah favored for him. He swerved away from falsehood and he did not mix with their company. Hisham ibn al Hassan said “When Omar read a verse from the Qur’an admonishing people, he would suppress his emotions and gasp for breath, and he often erupted sobbing until he was nearly choked by his own tears, and sometimes he fell unconscious. When Omar recouped he would constrain himself to the confines of his house for some days. People would think that he was ill, and they would visit hmi and inquire about his health.”
In his life, he eliminated anything that could distract his focus towards the truth. His ikhlas made him free from shirk or arrogance. He was known for the purity of his intention, his kindness and interest in other’s welfare. Al Awza’i narrated that Omar radi Allahu anhu used to walk out of his house secretly at night.. One night Talha saw that and he followed him. Talha saw Omar going to one house, and in awhile he came out and proceeded to another house before he returned to his own house. In the morning, Talha went to the house he saw Omar entering at night. He knocked on the door to find a blind old woman who was handicapped and debilitated. He asked her “Who is the man that visited you last night?” She replied “He has been taking care of me for such a long time now. He brings me whatever I need, and then he removes the adverse.” Talha excused himself and left. Talha admonished himself: “I damned myself and I said to myself, “May your mother mourn you and be bereaved of you O Talha are you spying on Omar and questioning and his deeds?”
Taria bin Shahab narrated that on his way to Syria, a miry track crossed Omar’s path, so he came down from his camel, took off his shoes and walked through the track. Abu Ubaidah who traveled with him said “Today you have done something that is most outrageous in the eyes of the people of the world!” Omar shook inside and said “Oh! I wish someone else had said that O Abu Ubaidah! You were the most undignified people on earth and Allah has honored you with Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wa sallam. From now on, whenever you seek honor in anything else, Allah will humiliate you.”
Al Hassan narrated that Omar was once walking along with some of his companions when they passed by a trash dump. Omar stopped for a moment thinking, and his act disturbed his companions. When he noticed that they were offended by the stench, he commented: “This is the work you care so much to hoard, and this is the outcome of your trust mostly that rely upon for your needs!”
Omar radi Allahu anhu, even during his rule as the commander of the believers, time and again opted for hardships over comfort seeking the everlasting solace of the hereafter. Ibn Utba quoted Omar radi Allahu anhu as saying “Mix with those how have patience, for their hearts are the softest.”
Sa’ad bin Abi Waqqas narrated that at the time of Omar’s [radi Allahu anhu] caliphate, his daughter Hafsa once said “O Commander of the believers! I wish you would wear a garment less coarse than what you have, and accept to eat food less plain that what you eat, for Allah has increased our revenues, and His favors are plenty now!” Omar said “I will let your own reasoning counter your own idea. Now tell me, do you not remember how Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wa sallam and his companions lived, and how scarce was their personal comfort?” Hafsa burst into tears. Omar added “By Allah, I said to myself, if I can share with them some of their hardships in the world, perhaps I could share with them some of their comfort in the hereafter.”
Al Hassan narrated that Omar radi Allahu anhu said “Surely I do have the means to wear the finest of clothing, to eat the best food, and to live a most comfortable life. I swear by Allah that if this was the idea of comfort then I have the means to do so. I am not ignorant of how to dress a camel’s hump to make it more comfortable or how to build myself a rich reception hall, acquire impressive commodities, or to make competitive choices in this world, but I have heard that Allah reprimands people for doing so, and quoting the Qur’an Omar said “You have wallowed in your satisfaction during your life in the world and sought comfort therein.” (46:20)
Sa’id bin Abi Burda narrated that Omar once wrote a letter to his deputy in the North, Abu Musa al-Ash’ari radi Allahu anhu. In closing Omar said “…..Therefore the happiest of governors on the day of judgment is one whose subjects were happy with him in this world, and on that day, the most wretched of governors is one whose subjects have suffered under him in this world. Beware never to procrastinate or fail to serve the people. Otherwise, your deeds will wither away and you will be like a cow, once it sees its pasture it rushes to eat on it to grow fatter, not realizing once it becomes fat, it will be fit for slaughter.”
Muhammad bin Shahab narrated that Omar radi Allahu anhu said “Don’t censure something which has not immediate link to your interest. Forsake your enemies, and beware of your close companions, except for the trustworthy ones, for nothing equals the worth of a trustworthy companion. Do not mix with an insolent person lest he influences you with his deeds. Never trust such a person with your secret, and solicit advice only from people with taqwa.”
The Death of Omar radi Allahu anhu
Narrated ‘Amr bin Maimun: I saw Omar bin Al-Khattab a few days before he was stabbedin Medina. He was standing with Hudhaifa bin Al-Yaman and Uthman bin Hunaif to whom he said, “What have you done? Doyou think that you have imposed more taxation on the land (of As-Swad i.e. ‘Iraq) than it can bear?” They replied, “We have imposed on it what it can bear because of its great yield.” Omar again said, “Check whether you have imposed on the land what it can not bear.”They said, “No, (we haven’t).” Omar added, “If Allah should keep me alive I will let the widows of Iraq need no men to support them after me.” But only four days had elapsed when he was stabbed (to death ).
The day he was stabbed, I was standing and there was nobody between me and him (i.e. Omar) except Abdullah bin ‘Abbas. Whenever Omar passed between the two rows, he would say, “Stand in straight lines.” When he saw no defect (in the rows), he would go forward and start the prayer with Takbir. He would recite SuratYusuf or An-Nahl or the like in the first Rak’a so that the people may have the time to Join the prayer.
As soon as he said Takbir, I heard him saying, “The dog has killed or eaten me,” at the time he (i.e. the murderer) stabbed him. A non-Arab infidel proceeded on carrying a double-edged knife and stabbing all the persons he passed by on the right and left (till) he stabbed thirteen persons out of whom seven died.
When one of the Muslims saw that, he threw a cloak on him. Realizing that he had been captured, the non-Arab infidel killed himself, Omar held the hand of ‘Abdur-Rahman bin Auf and let him lead the prayer. Those who were standing by the side of Omar saw what I saw, but the people who were in the other parts of the Mosque did not see anything, but they lost the voice of Omar and they were saying, “Subhan Allah! Subhan Allah!(i.e. Glorified be Allah).” Abdur-Rahman bin Auf led thepeople a short prayer.
When they finished the prayer, Omar said, “O Ibn ‘Abbas! Find out who attacked me.” Ibn ‘Abbas kept on looking here and there for a short time and came to say. “The slave of Al Mughira.” On that Omar said, “The craftsman?” Ibn ‘Abbas said, “Yes.” Omar said, “May Allah curse him. I did not treat him unjustly. All the Praises are for Allah Who has not caused me to die at the hand of a man who claims himself to be a Muslim. No doubt, you and your father (Abbas) used to love to have more non-Arab infidels in Medina.” Al-Abbas had the greatest number of slaves. Ibn ‘Abbas said to Omar. “If you wish, we will do.” He meant, “If you wish we will kill them.” Omar said, “You are mistaken (for you can’t kill them) after they have spoken your language, prayed towards your Qibla,and performed Hajj like yours.”
Then Omar was carried to his house, and we went along with him, and the people were as if they had never suffered a calamity before. Some said, “Do not worry (he will be alright soon).” Some said, “We are afraid (that he will die).” Then an infusion of dates was brought to him and he drank it but it came out (of the wound) of his belly. Then milk was brought to him and he drank it, and it also came out of his belly. The people realized that he would die. We went to him, and the people came, praising him.
A young man came saying, “Ochief of the believers! Receive the glad tidings from Allah to you due to your company with Allah’s Apostle and your superiority in Islam which you know. Then you became the ruler (i.e. Caliph) and you ruled with justice and finally you have been martyred.” Omar said, “I wish that all these privileges will counterbalance (my shortcomings) so that I will neither lose nor gain anything.” When the young man turned back to leave, his clothes seemed to be touching the ground. Omar said, “Call the young man back to me.” (When he came back) Omar said, “O son of my brother! Lift your clothes, for this will keep your clothes clean and save you from the Punishment of your Lord.” Omar further said, “O ‘Abdullah bin Omar! See how much I am indebt to others.” When the debt was checked, it amounted to approximately eighty-six thousand. Omar said, “If the property of Omar’s family covers the debt, then pay the debt thereof; otherwise request it from Bani ‘Adi bin Ka’b,and if that too is not sufficient, ask for it from Quraish tribe, and do not ask for it from any one else, and pay this debt on my behalf.”
Omar then said (to ‘Abdullah), “Go to ‘Aisha (the mother of the believers) and say: “Omar is paying his salutation to you. But don’t say: ‘The chief of the believers,’ because today I am not the chief of the believers. And say: “Omar bin Al-Khattab asks the permission to be buried with his two companions (i.e. the Prophet, and Abu Bakr).”
Abdullah greeted ‘Aisha and asked for the permission for entering, and then entered to her and found her sitting and weeping. He said to her, “Omar bin Al-Khattab is paying his salutations to you, and asks the permission to be buried with his two companions.” She said, “I had the idea of having this place for myself, but today I prefer Omar to myself.” When he returned it was said (to Omar), “‘Abdullah bin Omar has come.” Omar said, “Make me situp.” Somebody supported him against his body and Omar asked (‘Abdullah), “What news do you have?” He said, “O chief of the believers! It is as you wish. She has given the permission.” Omar said, “Praise be to Allah, there was nothing more important to me than this. So when I die, take me, and greet ‘Aisha and say: “Omar bin Al-Khattab asks the permission (to be buried with the Prophet ), and if she gives the permission, bury me there, and if she refuses, then take me to the grave-yard of the Muslims.”
Then Hafsa (the mother of the believers) came with many other women walking with her. When we saw her, we went away. She went in (to Omar) and wept there for sometime.When the men asked for permission to enter, she went into another place, and we heard her weeping inside.
The people said (to Omar), “O chief of the believers! Appoint a successor.” Omar said, “I do not find anyone more suitable for the job than the following persons or group whom Allah’s Apostle had been pleased with before he died.” Then Omar mentioned ‘Ali, ‘Uthman, AzZubair, Talha, Sa’ad and ‘Abdur-Rahman (bin Auf) and said,”Abdullah bin Omar will be a witness to you, but he will have no share in the rule. His being awitness will compensate him for not sharing the right of ruling. If Sa’ad becomes the ruler, it will be alright: otherwise, whoever becomes the ruler should seek his help, as I have not dismissed him because of disability or dishonesty.”
Omar added, “I recommend that my successor takes care of the early emigrants; to know their rights and protect their honor and sacred things. I also recommend that he be kind to the Ansar who had lived in Medina before the emigrants and Belief had entered their hearts before them. I recommend that the (ruler) shouldaccept the good of the righteous among them and excuse their wrong-doers, and I recommend that heshould do good to all the people of the towns (Al-Ansar),as they are the protectors of Islam and the source of wealth and the source of annoyance to the enemy. I also recommend that nothing be taken from them except from their surplus with their consent. I also recommend that he do good to the ‘Arab bedouin, as they are the origin of the’Arabs and the material of Islam. He should take from what is inferior, amongst their properties and distribute that to the poor amongst them. I also recommend him concerning Allah’s and His Apostle’s protectees (i.e. Dhimmis) to fulfill their contracts and to fight for them and not to overburden them with what is beyond their ability.”
So when Omar died, we carried him out and set out walking. ‘Abdullah bin Omar greeted (‘Aisha) and said, “Omar bin Al-Khattab asks for the permission.” ‘Aisha said, “Bring him in.” He was brought in and buried beside his two companions. (Sahih Bukhari: Volume 5, Book 57, Number 50)
Asim bin Ubaidullah narrated that in his last breath, Omar’s head was laying on his son’s lap. Omar said to him “Son put my heat down on the floor!” ibn Omar answered grievingly “And what difference does it make whether it is on my lap or on the floor?” Omar insisted and when his son followed his fathers commands, Omar burst into tears, as he prayed with tears in his eyes “Woe to me and to my mother should my lord not show His mercy to me today!”