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Umar Bin Khattab

Umar Bin Khattab

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Published by Waqas Ahmed
A short essay on the second Caliph Umar-bin-Khattab
A short essay on the second Caliph Umar-bin-Khattab

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Published by: Waqas Ahmed on Aug 14, 2009
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09/23/2010

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Ă
 Umar-bin-Kha
ććĀ
b
ē
 The Second of the Rightly Guided Caliphs.
He headed out alone in the direction of the holy Ka
Ă
bah. Despite the dark heimmediately noticed the man called Muhammad
Ē
offering his prayer next tothe holy sanctuary. He quietly slid behind the cloth covering the Ka
Ă
bah andslowly edged closer to Muhammad
Ē
. Unnoticed, he got close enough to hear what Muhammad
Ē
was reciting. The words were mesmerizing. Muhammad
Ē
 must be a poet, how else could an unlettered man utter such words, he said tohimself, but the very next recitation took him by complete surprise,
Verily this is the word of an honored Messenger. It is not the word of a poet, little is that you believe!
(Q 69:40-1)How could he read my mind,
Ă
Umar said to himself, he must be a magician. What he heard immediately following was enough to shake him to the core,
 Nor is it the word of a soothsayer, little is that you remember! This is the Revelation sent down from the Lord of all that exists
(Q 69: 42-3)That was the first time the message of Islam permeated his heart in thismanner. From that day onwards he was not the same man. The son of Kha
ććĀ
bhad begun his journey to finally become
 Am
 ą 
 r-ul-Mu
ā
 min
 ą 
 n
(the leader of theBelievers).He was born in Makkah to Kha
ććĀ
b-bin-Nufail of Banu-
Ă
 Adi clan of the tribe of Quraysh. His appellation was
 Abu-
 Ą
 afs
and he was given the title of 
 F 
 Ā
 r
 Ĉ
q
bynone other than our beloved Prophet Muhammad
Ē
. His lineage meets that of the Noble Prophet
Ē
some eight generations back.He epitomized the Prophetic
Ē
narration, “The best people in
 j
 Ā
 hil
 ą 
 ya
 (ignorance) will be the best ones in Islam, once they have been granted theright understanding and guidance” (B
Ĉ
kh
Ā
r
ą
). What started as a fierceanimosity to the message of Islam was replaced by an undying faithfulness tothe message of the Qur
āĀ
n and the Sunnah of the Noble Prophet
Ē
.The story of his embracing Islam is deeply entrenched in the minds of allMuslim children because of the dramatic turn of events; here he was, headingto kill the Messenger
Ē
of Islam and shortly thereafter, he walked out of thehouse of the Noble Messenger
Ē
in the back drop of the air of Makkahresounding with
 All
 Ā
 huAkbar, All
 Ā
 huAkbar
(God is the Greatest).
Ă
Umar had
 
become a Companion
ē
of the Messenger of Islam
Ē
in the sixth year of theProphethood. He was thirty two years old then and his courage was unrivaled.He was an excellent horseman, swordsman and a wrestler. After embracingIslam, he went straight to the house of 
Ă
 Amr-bin-Hish
Ā
m (
 Abu-Jahl
) to announcehis conversion. Even when the Muslims were ordered to immigrate to
Yathrib
(Madinah al-Munawarah) in secrecy, he circumbulated the Ka
Ă
bah, prayed histwo
 rak
 ĀĂ
 
and then walked straight to the leaders of Quraysh with a naked swordin his hand and challenged them to stop him if they dared. None did.In the early days of the advent of Islam there were only seventeen literatepeople among Quraysh and
Ă
Umar was one of them. The Prophet
Ē
once saidthat he had a dream, in which people were brought before him wearing shirts which reached to the chests of some and longer for others, but
Ă
Umar’s shirt was dragging and when asked about its meaning, he
Ē
said, “Religion.”It was the recognition of his extraordinary attributes that the Noble Prophet
Ē
 said about
Ă
Umar,“Allah has established
 Č 
 aqq
(Truth) on the tongue and in the heart of 
Ă
Umar.”(Tirmidh
ą
)“In the previous nations there have been men who were Mu
Ą
adath and if thereis a Mu
Ą
adath in my Ummah, it is
Ă
Umar” (Mu
Ą
adath is one who is inspired by Allah without being a Prophet). (Bukh
Ā
r
ą
)“If there was going to be a Prophet after me, it would have been
Ă
Umar.”(Tirmidh
ą
)His glory saw no bounds after he embraced Islam. He was the first one to usethe term of 
 Am
 ą 
 r-ul-Mu
ā
 min
 ą 
 n
(the leader of the Believers), a term which stillinspires awe. He was one of “The Four” who would forever be remembered as
 Khul
 Ā
 fa-e-R
 Ā
 shid
 ą 
 n
(the rightly guided caliphs) and finally, he was the fourth inthe most venerable list of “The Ten”;
Ă
 Ashara-Mubasharah
(the ten who weregiven the glad tidings of Heaven in this world).Ibn-Mas
ĂĈ
d
ē
is reported to have said that
Ă
Umar’s
ē
excellence is establishedby four things:1. He counseled the killing of the captives of the battle of Badr which wasaffirmed by the verse of Qur
āĀ
n (8:68).2. He wished for the mothers of the believers to observe the hij
Ā
b and later onthe verses of hij
Ā
b were revealed and the Prophet
Ē
said, “Revelation is causedin my house and you were already inspired.”
 
3. The Prophet
Ē
prayed to All
Ā
h
Ī
to strengthen Islam with the conversion of 
Ă
Umar to Islam4. He pledged allegiance to Abu-Bakr (after the demise of the Prophet
Ē
)before anyone did.Muj
Ā
hid
ē
has also been reported to have said, “We would often mention thatthe devil remained in confinement during the caliphate of 
Ă
Umar and wasreleased after his death.”The historians are unanimous in declaring the epoch of the Muslim Empire tobe during the caliphate of 
Ă
Umar. Damascus was conquered by Kh
Ā
lid-bin- Wal
ą
d
ē
and Abu-Ubaidah-bin-al-Jarr
Ā
h
ē
. The victory crippled the RomanEmpire. Under the command of Sa
Ă
d-bin-Abi-Waqas
ē
, the battle of Q
Ā
dis
ą
 yasaw the fall of the mighty Persian Empire. Egypt was overtaken by the armylead by Amr-bin-al-
ĂĊ 
s
ē
. The fall of Jerusalem without spilling blood reflectedthe true spirit of Islamic equality as it saw the leader of a magnificent empireholding the halter of his camel on foot while his slave rode as they approachedthe gates of Jerusalem. That was enough for the Jewish elders to hand over thekeys of the city to the Muslim army.Some of his prodigious services for the Muslim state and its inhabitantsincluded the establishment of a public treasury (
bait-al-m
 Ā
l
), the introduction of the Hijri calendar, the measurement and record keeping of public land and acensus system, establishment of police and prisons department, fixing of financial allowances for the poor amongst the Christians and the Jews, aspecialized system for mail delivery across the Muslim land and so many moreto recount here.It is said that once
Ă
Umar
ē
was returning from an expedition and came uponthe shack of a poor old woman. He asked her what she thought about thecaliph
Ă
Umar and she complained that she was in abject poverty and the caliph was unaware of her afflictions.“But how can
Ă
Umar know about your state here in the desert while he sits inMedinah?” he asked her.“Then why does he call himself the caliph?” she replied, upon hearing which
Ă
Umar
ē
cried and asked her how much she would take in gold dinars toforgive him and with her consent, he set a monthly stipend for her from the
bait-al-m
 Ā
l
.He lived an exemplary simple and austere life. His clothes were usuallypatched. Once people had to wait for long time for him to come out of his

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