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Journey to Islam

Author: Hazrat Omar Ibn al-Khattab (Radhiy Allahu Anhu)

Life before Islam

Hazrat Omar (Radhiy Allahu Anhu) belonged to “Adi” family of Quraish tribe. In the 8th generation, his lineage joins with the Holy Prophet (Sall Allahu Alayhi Wasallam). Abu Hafs was his patronymic name and “al-Farooq” is his title given by the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Sall Allahu Alayhi Wasallam). He was born in 583 A.C., about forty years before the great Hijrah. The early life of Hazrat Omar (Radhiy Allahu Anhu) is not known in details. In his youth he was a famous wrestler and orator and a spirited person. He was one among the few people in Makkah who knew reading and writing before Islam. His main occupation was business.


When the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Sall Allahu Alayhi Wasallam) got revelation and invited people to Islam. Hazrat Omar (Radhiy Allahu Anhu) became the sworn enemy of Islam and the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Sall Allahu Alayhi Wasallam). Furthermore, he did not hesitate to harm the Muslims and Islam at every opportunity.


Hazrat Omar’s (Radhiy Allahu Anhu) acceptance of Islam

Hazrat Omar (Radhiy Allahu Anhu) was twenty seven when the Holy Prophet (Sall Allahu Alayhi Wasallam) began his mission. Young Hazrat Omar (Radhiy Allahu Anhu) was one of those who did not care to listen to the message of Islam. He was for the old way of life. As years went by, Islam made a slow headway.


This made Hazrat Omar (Radhiy Allahu Anhu) angry. Do what the people of Makkah chiefs might, people who once went over to Islam never went back to their old faith. One of Hazrat Omar (Radhiy Allahu Anhu)'s own maid-servants became a Muslim. He beat her as much as he could, but she would not give up the new faith.


At last in the sixth year of the Mission, a number of Muslims left for Abyssinia. This made Hazrat Omar (Radhiy Allahu Anhu) boil with rage. "Here is a man," he thought to himself "who has split the people. People lived smoothly enough. He appeared on the scene He has torn son from father and brother from brother. Now his followers are running away to another land. Surely Muhammad (Sall Allahu Alayhi Wasallam) is the cause of all trouble. I must slay him and put an end to the trouble."


With this resolve Hazrat Omar (Radhiy Allahu Anhu) drew his sword and set out to kill the Holy Prophet (Sall Allahu Alayhi Wasallam). On the way he met a friend who asked him why he looked so upset. Hazrat Omar (Radhiy Allahu Anhu) told him what he was going to do. "You better take care of your own kin first," said the friend, "Your sister and her husband have gone over to Islam."


These words changed the direction of Hazrat Omar (Radhiy Allahu Anhu)'s anger. He went straight to the house of his sister, Fatima (Radhiy Allahu Anha). He knocked at the door.


Someone was reciting the Quran inside. Fatima was terrified when she heard Hazrat Omar (Radhiy Allahu Anhu)'s voice. She hid the portion of the Quran she was reading and opened the door.


"What was it that you were reciting just now?" Hazrat Omar (Radhiy Allahu Anhu) demanded.

"Oh nothing," said the sister.

"Why nothing?" he shouted in rage.


"I have heard it alright. I know you both have accepted Muhammad's faith."


Saying this, he began to beat his brother-in-law, Saeed. Fatima ran to his help and got a blow to the head. The head began to bleed. This made the couple bold. "Yes, we have become Muslims," they shouted at Hazrat Omar (Radhiy Allahu Anhu). "Do what you will."


The sight of the bleeding sister deeply moved Hazrat Omar (Radhiy Allahu Anhu). Fatima was such a loving sister! Surely there must be some great truth in the Quran which had won her innocent heart. "Would you let me have a look at the Quran?" said Hazrat Omar (Radhiy Allahu Anhu).


Fatima handed him the few pages of the book she had.


Hazrat Omar (Radhiy Allahu Anhu) sat down to study the pages. Soon his face changed. His anger cooled down. The fear of Allah gripped his heart. He wept and declared, "Surely this is the word of Allah. I bear witness that Muhammad (peace be upon him) is the Messenger of Allah."


Hazrat Omar (Radhiy Allahu Anhu) was again on his way to the place of the Holy Prophet (Sall Allahu Alayhi Wasallam). But he was a changed man. He was not going to slay him but to embrace his faith.


The Holy Prophet was sitting in the company of some men. He saw Hazrat Omar (Radhiy Allahu Anhu) coming and asked, "Hazrat Omar (Radhiy Allahu Anhu), what brings you here?"


"O Prophet of Allah!" replied Hazrat Omar (Radhiy Allahu Anhu), "I have come to embrace Islam."


Great was the joy of the Holy Prophet (Sall Allahu Alayhi Wasallam) and his followers. Loud shouts of "Allah is Great" rented the air of Mecca. Soon everyone knew that Hazrat Omar (Radhiy Allahu Anhu) was no longer an enemy of Islam. It was a great day for Islam because one of its bitterest enemies had become its staunch follower.


Umar (Radhiy Allahu Anhu)'s Death


Hazrat Omar (Radhiy Allahu Anhu) was the Second Caliph of Islam after Abu Bark Siddique (Radhiy Allahu Anhu). His Khilafat was from 634 to 644C.


There lived in Madinah a Persian slave, Abu Lolo Firoz by name. One day, he came to the Caliph and said, "My master squeezes too heavy a tax out of me. Please get it reduced."


"How much is the tax?" asked Umar (Radhiy Allahu Anhu). "Two dirhams a day," replied the slave.


"And what skills do you posses?" was the next question of the Caliph. "I am a carpenter, a painter, and a black-smith," Firoz said.


"Then the tax is by no means too heavy," the Caliph remarked. "A person with your skills can easily pay this tax and shall live comfortably."


"All right, I will settle with you," grunted the slave as he went away. Umar (Radhiy Allahu Anhu) took no notice of the words.


"I have been rebuked by a slave." he remarked with a smile.


Early next morning Umar (Radhiy Allahu Anhu) went to the mosque as usual to lead the prayer. Abu Lolo was already hiding in the corner, with a dagger in hand. As soon as Umar (Radhiy Allahu Anhu) began the prayer, the slave jumped on him. He gave six cuts with the dagger on the Caliph's body. The horrified worshippers over powered the assassin. There upon the wretch slew himself with the same dagger.


Umar (Radhiy Allahu Anhu) kept lying in a pool of blood until the prayer was over. Then he was carried home.


"Who is my assassin?" he asked. "Abu Lolo," said the people.


"Allah be thanked!" said Umar (Radhiy Allahu Anhu). "It is not a Muslim who has shed my blood."


A physician was called in to dress and treat the wounds of the Caliph. He said they were too deep to be healed. At this many people who stood around began to weep.


"Please do not weep," implored Umar (Radhiy Allahu Anhu). "Have you not heard the Messenger of Allah (Sall Allahu Alayhi Wasallam) saying that the weeping of relatives adds to the torture of the dead person?"


Finding his end in sight, Umar (Radhiy Allahu Anhu) called his son, Abdullah.


"My son," he said, "Go to Ayesha (Radhiy Allahu Anha). Give her Umar (Radhiy Allahu Anhu)'s greetings. Do not refer to me as the Commander of the Faithful; for I am no longer one. Place before her my wish to be buried in her room, by the side of the Prophet Muhammad (Sall Allahu Alayhi Wasallam) and my illustrious predecessor."


Abdullah found Ayesha (Radhiy Allahu Anha) weeping. He delivered his father's message to her.


"I wanted to reserve this spot for my own grave, but I prefer Umar (Radhiy Allahu Anhu) to  myself," said Ayesha (Radhiy AllahuAnha).


Abdullah conveyed Ayesha (Radhiy Allahu Anha)'s consent to his dying father.


"Allah be thanked!" said Umar (Radhiy Allahu Anhu). "This was the greatest wish of my life. But look son, when you take my dead body to Ayesha (Radhiy Allahu Anha)'s room, again give her my greetings and ask her permission. If she allows, bury me there, otherwise bury me in the graveyard of Madinah."


The Holy and Beloved Prophet (Sall Allahu Alayhi Wasallam) said:


“If there were to be a Prophet after me, he would have been Omar Ibn Al-Khattab.” (Tirmidhi)


“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 Omar.” (Bukhari and Muslim)