Umar Ibn Al-Khattab – Part 2
Umar during the caliphate of Abu Bar
Upon the death of the Prophet Muhammad, there were many matters that needed taking care of. At the top of all the matters was Muslim unity. The Ansar upon hearing about the death of the prophet gathered in the courtyard of Banu Saa’idah and the purpose of their meeting was to select someone among themselves to be the first Caliph of the Muslim nation. Before they could select an individual Abu Bakr, Umar and Abu Ubaidah Ibn Al-Jarrah arrived to discuss this matter, they informed them that leader must be in the hands of the Quraish and the Ansar are to be the helpers. Abu Bakr very quickly nominated Umar or Abu Ubaydah, but Umar realising the severity of the situation, took the hand of Abu Bakr and pledged his allegiance and everybody else followed.
Soon after the death of the Prophet Muhammad, certain Arab tribes apostated and refused to give the annual zakat, so Abu Bakr made a vow to fight these people, but Umar advised against that. Eventually, Abu Bakr took a firm stance and rejected Umars opinion and vowed to fight even if he does it alone.
Abu Bakr selects Umar as the leader of the believers
After two years of governance Abu Bakr fell ill, which eventually led to his death. Prior to that Abu Bakr wanted to select the next leader of the Muslims in order to avoid conflict, he spoke with his close companions and they were unable to come to a decision, until finally he chose Umar, and the people agreed behind him.
Umar’s driving forces in life were his faith in Allah, his fear of Allah, and his obsessive desire to be prepared for the Day of Judgement. Umar would say
“Remember the Hellfire frequently, for indeed its heat is extreme and its bottom is far and deep”.
Umar was a proactive leader, he didn’t wait for people to come to him and express their problems. Instead he went out walking and inquiring about peoples lives. Umar would say:
“Hold yourself accountable before you are held accountable.”
The Martyrdom of Umar Ibn Al-Khattab
Umar was a great leader, he was just, faithful, a soldier of Allah, pure, God fearing, strong, trustworthy and an impregnable fortress for the Islamic nation and its creed. He fortified the nation’s fort with his leadership and its buttresses consolidated during his reign. It was his leadership, which led to the great conquest great victories against the Persians in the battle of Qadisiyah, Al-Madain and Nahavand. He also conquered the entire Levant and Egypt from the Byzantine Romans. Islam entered in most of the lands surrounding the Arabian Peninsula.
Umar would supplicate and ask Allah:
“O Allah! I have grown old, my streght has waned and my subjects have become scattered. So take my soul (let me die) such that I am neither wasteful nor unrestrained.”
Umar would often supplicate for:
“O Allah, grant me martyrdom in your way and let dearth occur in the city of your Prophet.”
Once, Umar had completed his rights for Hajj, he prayed and asked Allah to take him to himself and grant him martyrdom in the land of the Prophet.
“O Allah! I ask you for martyrdom in your cause and death in the land of your Messenger”.
Umar was stabbed
While Umar was leading the Fajr prayer , a man by the name of Abu Lulu Al-Fayruz, a Persian, fire worshipper stabbed Umar several times and upon his escape he stabbed a further thirteen people out of whom seven died. When one of the Muslims saw that, he threw a cloak over him and once captured he stabbed himself. Umar held the hand of Abdul Rahman ibn Auf and let him lead the prayer.
Umar was carried to his house, and people came to realise the big calamity they were in. people brought dates and milk to Umar which he drank, and milk was seen pouring out, people realised Umar was dying. Umar upon knowing he was dying requested from his son to visit Ayesha and request a favour, that he be buried alongside the Prophet Muhammad. This was a massive ask, but the mother of the believers conceded and allowed for Umar to be buried alongside the Prophet Muhammad.
Prior to his death he innovated a new method to select the caliph. Umar was very concerned about the governance of the Ummah , he left behind a council of six men that must select from amongst themselves a leader. He also left behind a council of men to monitor the process. The men left behind were:-
1. Ali Ibn Abi Talib
2. Uthman bin Affan
3. Adbur Rahman bin Awf
4. Sa’d bin Abi Waqqas
5. Az-Zubair bin Al-Awwam
6. Talhah bin Ubaidullah
His final Moments
In his last breaths it reported that Umar said:
“I swear by Allah by Allah, besides whom there is no deity worthy of worship, had I possessed all the yellow and white (gold and silver) in the earth, I would give it as ransom to free myself from the horror of what will happen after death.”
He died at 63 years of age, in the blessed month of Dhul Hijjah 23 AH.
The impact of the death of Umar on the Muslims
It was a terrible disaster for the Muslims. He did not die due to an illness and what made it more terrible was that it took place in the masjid while he was leading the prayer. Ibn Abbas tells us that he did not pass by any group of people, except that he found them weeping as if they had lost their first born children.
For more details on the life of Umar ibn Al Khattab please visit Islamic Courses Online and take the module ‘Rightly guided caliphs’
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