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(part 1 of 3): “Strengthen Islam with Umar”

 

When the enemies of Islam heard the name Umar, their knees trembled. If they saw Sultan Umar walking on the street, they took a different route. Even Umar’s friends sometimes found his presence intimidating, and they too feared his anger. However, this man of strength and power wept easily, and his heart was soft and compassionate. Umar was humble without being weak. Umar united two different traits, and this made him unique among the men around the Prophet Muhammad. Umar’s path to truth began with a violent hatred of Muhammad and the religion of Islam, which turned into violent love. Umar ibn Al Khattab strengthened Islam.

Umar belonged to a middle-class family, neither rich nor poor, from the Adi clan, a branch of the Quraish. He had had a tough upbringing, and his father had been known to let his son work to the point of exhaustion and to beat him when he thought it was necessary. However, Umar is believed to have read and write, an unusual skill in pre-Islamic Arabia. He was born about eleven years after the Prophet Muhammad, was a fair-skinned boy who grew up to be a tall, well-built, muscular man known for his fierce nature and fighting skills.

Umar began his working life as a shepherd for his father and aunts, and he received a small wage, often just a handful of dates, for a full day’s work. He supplemented his income by participating in wrestling competitions, but when he grew up, he became a successful trader and respected businessman. Umar was known as a man of strength. His demeanor and demeanor were severe, and his voice was loud and commanding. When Muhammad’s teachings became a problem for the men in Mecca, Umar showed his hatred of Islam openly and took part in the abuse and torture of many of the weaker converts.

The two umars

Although he wasn’t known by his name Umar, there was another strong man who was determined to fight Islam. This was the man who was originally known as Abu Hakim (father of wisdom), but has gone down in history as Abu Jahl (father of ignorance), an inveterate enemy of Islam. The Prophet Muhammad, God’s blessing and peace be upon him, gave him the name Abu Jahl to denote his absolute ignorance of knowing the truth of Islam. Traditions show that the Prophet Muhammad once raised his hands to pray and begged God to strengthen Islam with that of the two Umars whom he loved most. It would have been inconceivable for the enemies of Islam and the companions of Prophet Muhammad for Umar ibn al Khattab to adopt Islam.

Umar’s hatred of Islam was so strong that he intended to kill the Prophet Muhammad. Without hesitation, he strode through the streets of Mecca with the firm intention of drawing his sword and ending the life of the Prophet God. One of the Meccan men, who had secretly become a Muslim, saw the expression on Umar’s face, and he immediately realized that his beloved prophet was in danger. Without fear of himself, he approached Umar and asked him where he was going so quickly. Umar replied that he „went to the man who divided our people, cursed our gods and fooled us“ and said: „I will kill him“.

The young Muslim, named Nu’aim, felt terror in his heart and tried to distract Umar with a conversation, but Umar was keen on his mission and continued walking down the street. Reluctantly, Nu´man spoke the words that eventually brought Umar to Islam. He said, „Why don’t you take care of your own house first?“ Umar paused and asked him what he meant by these words. Umar’s beloved sister and her husband had secretly accepted Islam and Nu’aim revealed their secret to protect the life of Prophet Muhammad.

Umar suddenly turned and headed for his sister’s house with determination. When he got closer, he could hear the recitation of the Quran. Umar knocked on the door. The residents inside tried to hide their copies of the Quran, but Umar entered and wanted to know what „humming“ sound he had heard. Umar’s sister replied that it was nothing, they only talked, but Umar knew the sound of the Quran and asked menacingly, „Have you become a Muslim?“ Umar’s brother-in-law replied affirmatively, whereupon Umar attacked him and knocked him to the ground. Umar’s sister tried to defend her husband, and in the scuffle Umar hit her face, which was bleeding.

The Quran finds its way into his heart

Umar’s sister seemed to have the strength her brother was famous for. She got up, looked at her brother angrily and said: „You enemy of God! You only hit me because I believe in God. Whether you like it or not, I testify that there is no God but Allah and that Muhammad is his servant and Envoy is. Do what you want! “ Umar saw the blood run down his sister’s face, her words echoed in his ears, and he rose. Umar requested that the words of the Qur’an he had heard when he approached the house be recited.

“We did not send the Quran down to you (Muhammad) to make you unhappy, but as a reminder to those who fear (God). (This is) a revelation from Him who created the earth and the high heavens. (He is) the merciful, who rules majestically over His kingdom. His is what is in the heavens and what is on earth and what is between the two and what is under the earth. And if you (Muhammad) utter the word aloud, then truly, He knows the secret and that which is even more hidden. Allah – there is no god but Him. The most beautiful names come to him. ” (Quran 20: 2-8)

Umar’s eyes filled with tears. „Is this what we were against?“ asked he. „The one who spoke these words must be worshiped.“ Umar left his sister’s house and hurried to Muhammad. Those with whom Prophet Muhammad was with were frightened, but let Umar in and held him until he was in the presence of Muhammad. The Prophet Muhammad grabbed him and said, „Why did you come here, son of Khattab?“

Umar looked at the Prophet Muhammad with humility and joy and said: „O Messenger of God, I came for no other reason than to say that I believe in God and in His Messenger.“ The Prophet Muhammad was overjoyed and exclaimed that God is great! A few days later, Umar led a procession of Muslims to God’s house, where they prayed in public. It was on this occasion that Prophet Muhammad gave him the nickname Al-Faruq – the differentiator [1]. It denotes someone who is able to distinguish the truth from the wrong. Islam was strengthened with Umar, his bad hatred melted into a love that knew no borders. His life and death were now dedicated to God and His Messenger.

Footnotes:
[1] Taken from the historical work of At Tabari, & The Life and times of Omar Ibn Al Khattab by Shaykh Ali Muhammad Salladi.

 

(part 2 of 3): A Man Like a People

Umar ibn Al Khattab was a strong and confident man whose heart was filled with a burning hatred for Islam. The prayers of the Prophet Muhammad, God’s blessings and peace be with him, and the sublime beauty of the Quran changed his mind, heart and life. When Umar adopted Islam, he became a man who was devoted to the Ummah of Muhammad; as a Muslim he was satisfied when the ummah was satisfied and dissatisfied when the ummah was dissatisfied.

Ummah is an Arabic word that roughly translates to nation, but as is the case with many Arabic words, it is difficult to translate. The root of Ummah is amma, which means go or go and see. The word imama means to show the way, for example, the one who leads the prayer is an imam. The word Umm, which means mother, source or origin, is also derived from this root.

In English-speaking and western countries, the word nation usually means a state whose members live between certain defined boundaries, which are often determined by differences in religion, race or ethnicity. This is not the definition of ummah. Ummah means the community of believers that binds one purpose – to serve God. Together they are strong, individually they are weak. Each member is connected to everyone else in a spiritual way, which can also have physical manifestations. When part of the ummah is in pain, the whole ummah is suffering. [1]

“And this your community is a unified community and I am your Lord. So fear me (and no one else). ” (Quran 23:52)

To illustrate this, we can look at the pictures that you have probably seen on TV, where Muslims mourn the abuse and abuse of their brothers in distant countries. When one member suffers in the ummah of Muhammad, the pain in the hearts of the other members is real. Muslims stand up for what is morally correct, and inhumanity has no place in the Islamic religion. Umar ibn Al Khattab immediately recognized this unique quality and declared himself a man of the Ummah.

When Umar ibn al Khattab adopted Islam, he wanted to become part of his community and he wanted to declare his membership in this unique nation. Umar wanted to belong to this Ummah, in her joy and pain. At the time of his conversion, the weaker members of the Ummah suffered from systematic abuse and oppression, often by Umar himself, but now his heart felt their pain and he wanted to be part of it. Umar did not want his Islam to go unnoticed; he immediately informed the enemies of Islam that he was a Muslim.

At first, the Meccan men who had not accepted Islam were shocked and did not respond to Umar’s conversion, but as the news spread, they gathered at the house of God and attacked Umar. Finally Umar, the strong, muscular wrestler, sat in the midst of his attackers and they beat him. Umar soon recovered from his beatings and made Islam strong. Umar’s heart was full of love for his brothers and sisters in Islam. Prophet Muhammad said: „If there had been a prophet after me, it would have been Umar ibn al Khattab.“

More than strength

Abu Bakr As Siddiq and Umar were the two companions closest to the Prophet Muhammad. Ali Ibn Abu Talib is reported to have said that Prophet Muhammad went out with Abu Bakr and Umar in the morning and returned with Abu Bakr and Umar in the evening. The Prophet himself referred to Abu Bakr and Umar as his eyes and ears, and said that they were his advisors to the people of the earth. [2] Umar assisted the Prophet in all of these trials and temptations that happened to the Muslim Ummah.

When the Muslims emigrated from Mecca to the city of Medina, they all left the city in a well-planned, secret emigration; but not Umar. He was the only Muslim to publicly announce his emigration, declaring that he was emigrating, and invited anyone who felt strong enough to challenge him. Umar swung his sword over his head and walked his head high through the streets of Mecca and his heart, which was no longer filled with hate, was now burning with a hot love for God, His Prophet Muhammad and his fellow believers. When the Prophet Muhammad founded his Ummah, Umar stood by his side.

Even if you remember more about his strength, Umar was also known for being a pious and generous man. He spent the nights in prayer, often waking his family in the last third of the night to join him in his prayers. He was a staunch believer, confidently trusted in God’s promised paradise, and willingly donated his wealth to the cause of God and for the benefit of believers. One of the companions of the Prophet Muhammad reported [3] that Umar had once distributed 22,000 dirhams to the needy and that he had a habit of giving away bags of sugar. When Umar was asked why he was distributing sugar, he replied: „Because I love him and God says in the Quran:

“You will not attain benevolence until you donate what you love; and whatever you donate, see, God knows. ” (Quran 3:92)
Umar was one of the ten men to whom the Prophet Muhammad gave the good news that he would come to paradise. [4] This did not prevent him from working tirelessly all his life to please God. He was a man of knowledge, a man known for his generosity and restless devotion to the worship of God, and perhaps more than that, he was devoted to the Ummah of Muhammad. Prophet Muhammad advised us all when he said: „A man is not a true believer until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.“ [5] Umar wanted paradise, but he wanted it for every man , any woman or child who has ever believed that there is no God but God and that Muhammad is His Messenger. So was Umar who differentiated the truth from the false; he was a man of the Ummah.

 

Footnotes:
[1] Sahieh Al-Bukhari, Sahieh Muslim.
[2] At Tirmidhi.
[3] From the ‚Stories of the Rightly guided Caliphs‘ by Imam Ibn Kathir
[4] At Tirmidhi
[5] Sahieh Al-Bukhari, Sahieh Muslim, & others.

 

(part 3 of 3): The Leader of the Believers

Umar Ibn Al Khattab was the second Khalif of the Muslim Ummah (nation), and the first Muslim leader to be called the leader of the faithful. After the Prophet Muhammad’s death, his closest friend, Abu Bakr, became his successor and led the Muslims for about two years. When Abu Bakr felt close to his own death, he gathered his closest friends and advisors around and announced that their loyalty to him had ended. Abu Bakr hoped that these men would choose his successor. After much discussion, however, his companions came back to him and asked him to vote because they no doubt trusted his decision. Abu Bakr chose Umar.

Some of the men around Abu Bakr were concerned that Umar, known as a very tough and rough man, was too hard on people. Abu Bakr replied by saying that he thought Umar was the best of them. Despite these initial reservations by some of the men from Medina, Umar was appointed the second Khalif of the Muslims. He started his reign by turning to people and immediately explaining his expectations. Umar knew that people feared him because of his harsh reputation, and he addressed this issue.
He said: “O people, you know that I have been appointed to handle your affairs, realize that my roughness is now weakened, but I will continue to be harsh to the oppressors and violators, and I will cheek your cheeks throw the dirt [1]. You should know that I will also throw my own cheek in the dirt to defend the people of piety. ”

Umar went on to explain to people that he would take nothing of what their countries produced and nothing of the spoils of war other than what God prescribed, and that he would only use the money in a way that God did satisfy. Umar was fully aware of the importance of financial justice and that he would be held responsible for any penny or dirham that belonged to the Muslim Ummah. Umar also told people that he would increase their salaries and commissions and protect the borders.

The young Muslim nation, for the emergence of which the Prophet Muhammad, God’s blessings and peace, and his companions had worked so hard, was an Ummah who knew no one else. Remuneration from the Muslim treasury was paid to each member of the Ummah; there was no need to be an official; the wealth of the ever-growing nation was shared fairly. Umar did not implement this, he just followed the path of his predecessors, but he promised to increase payments.

Umar also promised not to send Muslim armies to „annihilation“ unless the risks were weighed and considered acceptable. He promised not to keep the soldiers away from their families for long periods of time, and he assured the men that while they were fighting for the Muslim Ummah, and if they did not return, he, the Khalif, would be the father of their children and the provider of their wives will. Umar believed that the role of the leader was to protect the people.

This concept seems pretty unusual to us nowadays when we see presidents and prime ministers surrounded by bodyguards and ready to trample everyone to protect themselves and their power. Umar Ibn al Khattab, although he was the leader of an empire, had never felt he needed a bodyguard. He walked through Medina’s streets like a normal citizen, even at night. In fact, he was walking the streets at night just to see who was under his protection and to hand out alms undetected.

One of Umar’s government years was known as the Year of Ashes. This year was a big test for the Muslim ummah. It was a period of drought and famine when the wind was so hot that it burned the skin like it contained hot ashes. Meat, butter and milk were unavailable and people existed of little more than dry bread, which was sometimes dipped in oil. Umar swore an oath that he would not eat or drink anything that was inaccessible to his people. Even when groceries were available in the markets again, Umar refused to buy them at inflated prices. It was heard that he said, „How can I be concerned about my subjects and understand them if I don’t go through the same suffering they go through?“

More than fourteen centuries after his reign, Umar is still remembered as a man of justice. Based on the basic principles of justice, grace and compassion of Islam, Umar treated everyone under his care the same, whether rich or poor, black or white, powerful or weak. He always feared that God would ask him about his actions. He was worried that there might be sick or poor people among the believers for whom he had not taken sufficient care. Umar ibn Al Khattab has never appointed judges or governors who have asked for such a position, but he carefully selected the most pious members of the Ummah.

Umar considered himself a simple Muslim, but history reveals that he was anything but simple. Umar was strong, physically and mentally, he was generous, noble and lived a life of humility. Umar followed in the footsteps of his beloved Prophet Muhammad, God’s blessings and peace be upon him, he followed his example and maintained his traditions. Umar’s whole being was focused on achieving God’s pleasure; he feared God’s punishment, but he had hope of paradise. Umar was able to differentiate between truth and falsehood, he felt pain when the Ummah or one of its members suffered, and he was happy when those under his care worshiped their Lord contentedly and happily. Umar was one of the four right-wing Khalifas.

Footnotes:
[1] This was an expression that the Arabs of the time used to emphasize a harsh response that left no doubt that oppression and violation of their rights would not be tolerated.

 


Source: https://www.islamland.com/deu/articles/umar-das-differenzierer