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Twenty - first century Pakistan

Hazrat Umer

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The second Muslim Caliph



Umar (R.A.) belonged to "'Adi" family of Quraish tribe. In the 8th generation, his lineage joins with the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam). Abu Hafs was his patronymic name and "al-Faruq" his title given by the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam). He was born in 583 A.C., about forty years before the great Hijrah. The early life of Hadrat Umar is not known in detail. In his youth he was a famous wrestler and orator, and a spirited person. He was one among the few people in Mecca who knew reading and writing before Islam. His main occupation was business.

When the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam) got revelation and invited people to Islam, Umar became the sworn enemy of Islam and the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam) and did not hesitate to harm the Muslims and Islam at every opportunity.
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Umar's* acceptance of Islam

It was the sixth year of Holy Prophet's mission when Quraish leaders called a meeting and asked a volunteer for the assassination of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam) Umar offered himself for this job and everybody in the meeting exclaimed that he was the right person for it. While he was on his way with a sword in his hand he met Sa'd bin Abi Waqqas who enquired of him about his destination. Umar told him that he was going to murder the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam). After some discussion Sa'd said, "You had better take care of your own family first. Your sister and brother-in-law both have accepted Islam". Hearing this Umar changed his direction and went straight to his sister's house. When Hadrat Umar knocked at the door, they were studying the Holy Qur'an from Hadrat Khabbab (R.A.). His sister Fatimah was frightened on hearing Umar’s voice and tried to hide the portion of the Holy Qur'an she was reciting. When Umar entered the house he enquired about their Islam and on finding that they had accepted Islam, he first fell upon his brother-in-law and beat him severely. When his sister intervened he smote her so violently on her face that it bled profusely. On this his sister burst out: "Do whatever you like, we are determined to die as Muslims". When Umar saw his sister bleeding, he cooled down and felt ashamed. He loved Fatimah very much but could not tolerate her conversion to Islam. However, deeply moved, Umar asked her to show the pages on which the Holy Qur'an was written. But she was, after all, Umar’s sister and told him straight, "You can not touch it unless you take a bath and make yourself clean" He washed his body and then read the leaves. That was the beginning of Surah Ta Ha (Chapter 20 of the Holy Qur'an). When he came to the verse:

"Lo! I even I, am Allah, there is no god save Me. So serve Me and establish Salat for My remembrance". (20:14)

Umar exclaimed, "Surely this is the Word of Allah. Take me to Muhammad (Sallallahu ’alaihi wa Sallam)".

On hearing this Hadrat Khabbab (R.A.), who had hidden himself in the house, came out from inside and said, "0 "Umar! Glad tidings for you. It seems that the prayer of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam) which he said last night has been answered in your favour. He had prayer to Allah: "O Allah, strengthen Islam with either Umar b. Khattab or Umar b. Hisham whomsoever Thou pleaseth".

Umar then went to the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ’alaihi wa Sallam). On seeing him, the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam) asked him, "Umar! what brings you here”? He said, "I am here to accept Islam". Hearing this the Muslims shouted with joy, "Allahu Akbar"(Allah is the Greatest) and the sound rent the air of Mecca. As a matter of fact, Umar’s conversion to Islam was a terrible blow to the morale of the disbelieves. 'Abdullah bin Mas'ud, a great Companion, says, "Umar's conversion to Islam was a great triumph, his emigration to Medina a tremendous reinforcement and his accession to Caliphate a great blessing for the Muslims". In some history books there are more details in this connection. I have followed the version of Shaikh Muhammad Zakariya (Damat Barakatuhu) given in his book " Hikayat-i-Sahabah".
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Umar* gets the title of "Al-Faruq"

Conversion of Hadrat Umar (R.A.) strengthened Islam. Hitherto, Muslims had lived in constant fear of disbelievers, and most of them were concealing their faith. The Muslims were now able to offer their Salat publicly. When Hadrat Umar (R.A.) became a Muslim he declared his faith openly before the Quraish Chiefs. Though they stared at him but could not do any harm to him. Then he requested the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam) to offer Salat in the Ka'bah. On getting the consent of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam), Hadrat Umar led a party of the Muslims to that place. Hadrat Hamzah, who had accepted Islam a few days before Umar (R.A.) carried another party of the Muslims to Ka'bah. When all the Muslims gathered in the Ka'bah they offered their Salat in congregation. The Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam) led this first public Salat in the history of Islam. For this courageous and bold action of Hadrat Umar (R.A) the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam) gave him the title of "al-Faruq" i.e., the one who makes a distinction between the "Right" (Haqq) and the "Wrong" (Batil).
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Hadrat Umar* the Second Caliph of Islam

As described in connection with the life of Hadrat Abu-Bakr, during his illness he consulted the "Shura" about the next "Khalifah" and then gave his decision in favour of Hadrat Umar (R.A.) who took the charge of Caliphate after the death of Hadrat Abu Bakr (R.A.) on 22nd of Jamadi-uth-Thani 13 A.H. (23rd Aug. 634 A.C.).Umar (R.A.) followed fully the ways of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam) and the policy of his predecessor with his characteristic zeal and vigour. It was his strict adherence to the "Sunnah" of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam) which helped him to subdue the mighty empires of Persia and Byzantine. His caliphate marked the "Golden Age" of Islam. I would like to discuss only main events which took place during the Caliphate of Hadrat Umar (R.A.)* in brief.
*
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Umar's*Mosque at Jerusalem

Hadrat Umar (R.A.) laid the foundation of a mosque at a place known as "Sakhra" proposed by the Bishop, where Allah sent revelation to Prophet Yaqub (Jacob or Israel, 'Alaihis-Salam) and where the great temple of Solomon was built. He himself worked like a labourer for building the mosque. That mosque is known as the "Umar's Mosque"
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Martyrdom of Hadrat Umar

The glorious rule of Hadrat Umar (R.A.) came to an end with his death on Wednesday the 27th of Dhil Hijjah, the year 23 A.H. (643 A.C.) when he was 61 years old. There was a Persian slave of Hadrat Mughirah bin Shu'bah, named Abu Lu' Lu' Firoze. One day he complained about the burden his master had imposed upon him. The complaint was not genuine, hence Hadrat Umar (R.A.) ignored it. Next day, early in the morning when Hadrat Umar (R.A.) went to Masjid to perform Fajr Salat, the slave who was hiding in a corner, attacked him with a dagger and stabbed him six times. People overpowered the assassin but he slew himself with the same dagger.

The injuries were so serious that the Caliph died the next morning.

Before his death the Muslims asked him about his successor, he appointed a panel of six persons, Hadrat 'Uthma Zubair, Talha, Sa'd bin Waqqas and 'Abdur Rahman bin 'Auf (R.A.) to select a "Khalifah" from amongst them within three days after him.

He requested Hadrat Aisha (R.A.) for permission for his burial by the side of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam). Though she had reserved that place for herself but on Umar's request she gave it to him where he was buried.
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Overview of Hadrat Umar's*service to Islam

The period of Hadrat Umar's caliphate undoubtedly is the "Golden Age" of Islam in every respect. He was a man of extraordinary genius who not only moulded the destiny of the nation but made history of his own. He followed the footsteps of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam) to the fullest extent. It was Umar under whose rule Islam became a world power and the mighty empires of Persia and Byzantine (Eastern Roman) crumbled before the arm of Islam. Within ten years of his glorious rule, the whole of the Persian Empire, Syria, Palestine, Egypt and a part of Turkey came under the banner of Islam and the nations entered the fold of Islam. He was not only a conqueror but also an exemplary administrator who originated an efficient system of administration, and thus he was the real founder of political system of Islam (to be discussed in brief in the next chapter). He enforced Divine Law (Shari'ah) as the code of a newly formed International Islamic State; he safeguarded the internal safety by introducing the police force: he gave stipends to the poor; he constructed cantonments and forts for the safety of Islamic armies; he founded new cities for the growth of Islamic culture and civilisation; he improved agriculture and economics of the Islamic State; he founded the educational system in an Islamic State; in brief he was the founder of a great Islamic State. We would discuss his achievements more elaborately in the next section.
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Character

He was a very pious Muslim. His success lay in two things-fear of Allah and his love for the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam). He never used even oil from the Bait-ul-Mal (Public Treasury) to burn a lamp at night for his personal needs. Whenever he finished the official work he put off the lamp. He used to patrol in the city at night to find out the needs and requirements, and conditions of the people. He did not hesitate to take his wife to work as a midwife for a poor woman. The salary he got from the Bait-ul-Mal was so low that it was hardly enough for him and his family's needs. When some of the eminent Muslims requested him to increase the amount he, said, "The Holy Prophet (Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam) has left a standard by his personal example. I must follow him".

Hadrat Umar was the most just ruler in the Islamic History. All the citizens, including the Caliph himself, were equal before law. Once he appeared before a court at Medina to clarify his position against a complaint. The Qadi (Judge) wanted to stand in his honour, but he did not allow him to do so, so that there would be no distinction between him and an ordinary person before Law. He was really the founder of modern democratic system.

In short he was the best example of an ideal character, and was the greatest "Khalifah" of Islam after Abu Bakr (R.A.). He selflessly devoted his whole energy for the cause of Islam. Muslims will always be indebted to him for his great achievements. As a matter of fact a separate book is required to describe his character and his services to Islam.
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Piety

His dress, meals and general behaviour were similar to those of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam). There were usually a number of patches on his dress. He always took very ordinary meals. Once Yazid bin Abi Sufyan invited him to a feast and when special dishes were brought before him, he stopped eating and said, "I swear Allah, in Whose hand is the life of Umar, if you would not follow the ways of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam), Allah would cause you to be away from the "Siratul-Mustaqim"(the Straight Path)". He did not leave his characteristic simplicity even though he was ruling over a vast empire from Iran to Tripoli. He used to sit on a mat made of grass leaves.

Hadrat Umar feared Allah and was wholly devoted to Him. It was his usual practice to cry and weep during Salat. Sometimes he passed whole of the night performing Salat and crying before Allah; and because of tears his beard used to get wet. It was his usual practice to weep during the Fajr Salat. On hearing or reading the verses of the Holy Qur'an containing description of the Day of Judgement and the Hell he used to weep so much so that his whole beard would get wet. Once he was leading Fajr Salat when he recited a verse from Surah Yusuf: "I expose my distress and anguish only to Allah"(ll : 16), he started to weep and his voice was heard in the back row of the congregation. Because of excessive weeping due to fear of Allah, his eyes were swollen.

He was fearful of the account to be taken on the Day of Judgement. Once he took hold of a straw and said, "I wish I was a straw (to be saved from the account on the Day of Judgement)."

Hadrat Umar (R.A.) sacrificed almost all of his wealth for the sake of Allah and for His Holy Prophet (Sallallahu'alaihi wa Sallam). Once he said, "I love the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam) more than anything besides my life". Hearing this the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam) remarked, "Nobody is (a true) Muslim unless he loves me more than everything of the world including his own life". On this Hadrat Umar (R.A.)said, "Now I love you, 0 Prophet of Allah, more than my life."

His belief in the Unity of God was unshakable. Once he went to Hajj during his "Khilafat” and while kissing the Black Stone (an act included in the rites of Hajj) he remarked, "I know that you are a stone. Neither can you harm anybody nor can do good to anybody. If I had not seen the Prophet of Allah kiss you I would have never kissed ". He was a strict follower of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam).
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Preaching of Islam

As the viceroy of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam) his foremost duty was to spread and preach Islam. As mentioned above, the aim of various battles and wars was to clear the way for the Muslims for preaching Islam. Whenever any army had to attack a place it had to call the inhabitants of the place to Islam. Hadrat Umar was very strict in this respect and he had given standing orders to the commanders not to start war unless they had first invited the people to Islam. If they accepted it, there was no question of war and if they did not, then the war was fought only with those who were not giving a free hand to Muslims to preach the Right Path. No Person was ever forced to forsake his own faith and accept Islam.

The method adopted to preach Islam was demonstration by actual practice. For this purpose he ordered Muslims to establish their own quarters and present the practical shape of Islam before the population. Seeing the truthful way, the inhabitants of the glace were attracted towards Islam. No soldier was allowed to take any property or anything by force from the conquered people.

Because of fair treatment by the Muslims sometimes the whole army of the enemy accepted Islam. After the battle of Qadisiya a battalion of four thousand Persians accepted it. After the victory of Jalula, the chiefs of the place entered the folds of Islam along with the inhabitants. A commander of the army of Yadzgird, named Siyah accepted Islam with his battalion during a battle in Persia. All the inhabitants of the town of Bulhat in Egypt accepted Islam at one time without the use of any force only by seeing the piety of Muslims. A rich merchant and the chief of a place in Egypt, named Shata, accepted Islam with all the inhabitants of the place only after hearing about the character and piety of Muslims at the time when Muslims had not even reached that place. These are orally a few examples to show that Islam spread because of the character of Muslims at that time.

Umar (R.A.) was very strict in ensuring that no Muslims forced any non-Muslim to accept Islam. Through his advice, letters and addresses he made it clear to all the Muslims that they had to adhere to the ways of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam) which was the only method to preach Islam.
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Wives and Children

Hadrat Umar (R.A.), married the following women during his lifetime

1. Zainab (R.A.), she accepted Islam but died in** Mecca. She was sister of 'Uthman bin Maz'un. 'Abdullah Abdur Rahman (Ist) and lady Hafsah (wife of the Holy Prophet) were the children she bore to Hadrat Umar.

2. Malkiah bint Jarwal, she did not accept Islam and was divorced in 6 A.H. according to Islamic law. She gave birth to'Ubaidullah.

3. Quraibah bint Abi Ummiyah, she also did not accept Islam and was divorced in 6 A.H.

The above three marriages had taken place before Umar (R.A.) accepted Islam. After accepting Islam he contracted marriages with the following
4. Ummi Hakim bint-ul-Harith, she gave birth to a girl named Fatimah.
5. Jamilah bint Asim, she gave birth to a son who was named Asim. Though she was a Muslim she was di-vorced because of some other reason.
6. Umm Kulthum bint Hadrat'Ali (R.A.), she was married in the year 17 A.H. She gave birth to Ruqayyah and Zaid.
7. 'Atikah (R.A.)

Children

1. Umm-ul-Mu'minin Hadrat Hafsah (R.A.) the chaste wife of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam) .
2. Ruqayyah, she was the youngest daughter of Hadrat Umar.
3. 'Abdullah........son
4. 'Ubaidullah...........son
5. 'Asim...........son
6. Abu Shahmah.......son
7. 'Abd-ur-Rahman.......son
8. Zaid........son
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Umar's*Period was the GOLDEN AGE of ISLAMIC History

Thus we see that Hadrat Umar’s period was the Golden Age of the Islamic history when Islam was practised in its true form. Hadrat Umar (R.A.) Initiated 41 good practices during his period, which were based upon the Holy Qur'an and the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu'alaihi wa Sallam). These are known as "Awliat-i-Umar (the Initiations Of Umar). The details can be seen in the books of Islamic History like Tabari, Ibn-i-Athir, and Tarikh-i-Khulafa etc. Most of these initiations have been mentioned in the preceding pages in brief. Actually Hadrat Umar (R.A.) was the founder of ISLAMIC DEMOCRACY based upon the Holy Qur'an and the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam). The words of the Holy Prophet are very true

"IF THERE WERE TO BE A PROPHET AFTER ME HE WOULD HAVE BEEN UMAR IBN AL-KHATTAB." (Tirmidhi)

AND

"AMONG THE NATIONS BEFORE YOUR TIME THERE HAVE BEEN INSPIRED* PEOPLE (WHO WERE NOT PROPHETS), AND IF THERE IS ONE AMONG MY* PEOPLE HE IS UMAR". (Bukhari and Muslim)

Islam - Submission to the will of Allah