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Men of Excellence : Hazrat Umar ibn al-Khaṭṭāb (ra)

Friday Sermon delivered at Masjid Mubarak, Islamabad, Tilford, UK

Rightly Guided Caliphs – Hazrat Umar(ra)

After reciting TashahhudTa‘awwuz and Surah al-Fatihah, His Holiness, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad(aba) said that he would highlight incidents from the life of Hazrat Umar bin al-Khattab(ra).

Family Background of Hazrat Umar(ra)

His Holiness(aba) said that Hazrat Umar’s(ra) father was named Khattab bin Nufail and his mother’s name was Hantama bint Hashim. His Holiness(aba) presented various narrations regarding Hazrat Umar’s(ra) date of birth. Some are of the opinion that he was born either four years before or four years after the Battle of Fijar. There are other narrations which say that he was born in 583 A.D. There is another narration which states that he accepted Islam in 6 A.H. when he was 24 years of age, which would mean he was born in 590 A.D. The fourth opinion regarding his birth is that he was born when the Holy Prophet(sa) was around the age of 21 years.

Hazrat Umar’s(ra) Acceptance of Islam

His Holiness(aba) said that the Holy Prophet(sa) bestowed the title of ‘Farooq’ to Hazrat Umar(ra). Once, Hazrat Umar(ra) was asked how he received the title of Farooq. Hazrat Umar(ra) replied that Hazrat Hamzah(ra) accepted Islam three days before him, and proceeded to narrate the incident of Hazrat Hamzah’s(ra) acceptance. Hazrat Umar(ra) said that three days after this, he received word that his sister and brother-in-law had also accepted Islam. He went to their home and heard the Qur’an being recited inside. He knocked on the door and when it was opened, he began hitting his brother-in-law. According to another narration, when his sister stepped forward in front of her husband one of the blows accidentally landed on her. Upon seeing the blood, his temper subsided. He then asked to see the book which was being recited. His sister told him that he should first go and perform the ablution. Once he had done so, he was given the Qur’an, and he read verses 1-9 of Surah TaHa. 

He then decided to accept Islam and proceeded to where the Holy Prophet(sa) was. When he arrived, Hazrat Hamzah(ra) who was present there said that the door should be opened; if he had come with good intentions they would welcome him, and if he had come with bad intentions then they would kill him. The Holy Prophet(sa) heard this and came outside. Upon this, Hazrat Umar(ra) pronounced the declaration of faith. Thereupon, all the Companions(ra) loudly exclaimed ‘Allah is the Greatest.’ Hazrat Umar(ra) then asked the Holy Prophet(sa), whether Islam is the true religion. The Holy Prophet(sa) replied saying of course it was. Then Hazrat Umar(ra) asked that if this was the case, why were the Muslims still in hiding. Upon this, the Muslims formed two rows and marched out in the open towards the Ka‘bah. When the Quraish saw Hazrat Hamzah(ra) and Hazrat Umar(ra) alongside the Muslims, they were shocked.

Hazrat Umar(ra) said that it was from that day that the Holy Prophet(sa) gave him the title of Farooq for upon his acceptance, Islam was granted strength and truth was distinguished from falsehood.

His Holiness(aba) said that Hazrat Umar(ra) was tall and strongly built. Before his acceptance of Islam, Hazrat Umar(ra) would often win the wrestling matches held at the famous Ukkaz festival. Hazrat Umar(ra) was also among those from the Quraish who learned how to read and write. At the time when the Holy Prophet(sa) was commissioned, there were only about seventeen such people who knew how to read and write.

His Holiness(aba) said that Hazrat Umar(ra), displayed some spiritual faculties even before his acceptance of Islam. When the Muslims migrated to Abysinnia, they prepared to leave before dawn so that they would not be bothered by the Quraish. It was common for the chieftains of Makkah to walk through the streets at night to ensure that no robberies took place. Hence, that night, as Hazrat Umar(ra) was walking through the streets, he saw a house which seemed to have packed everything in preparation for a long journey. He approached the house, and asked one of the Companions(ra) what the matter was? She was straightforward in her answer and replied saying that they were leaving Makkah, because he and his brothers did not allow the Muslims to live and worship freely (Hazrat Umar(ra) had not yet accepted Islam). Hazrat Umar(ra) turned the other way out of pain for what he had heard and said, ‘may God be your Protector’.

His Holiness(aba) said that the Holy Prophet(sa) also prayed for Hazrat Umar(ra) to accept Islam. The Holy Prophet(sa) prayed that may God help Islam with whomever was dearer to him; either Umar bin al-Khattab or Amr bin Hisham. When Hazrat Umar(ra) accepted Islam, the angel Gabriel came to the Holy Prophet(sa) and said that the heavens were pleased upon Hazrat Umar’s(ra) acceptance of Islam.

His Holiness(aba) related another incident which is narrated regarding Hazrat Umar’s(ra) acceptance of Islam. Once the Holy Prophet(sa) was offering prayers at the Ka‘bah. Hazrat Umar(ra) wished to hear what the Holy Prophet(sa) was saying. When he drew nearer, he heard the Holy Prophet(sa) reciting Surah ar-Rahman. This recitation of the Holy Qur’an melted Hazrat Umar’s(ra) heart. As the Holy Prophet(sa) left, Hazrat Umar(ra) followed him. When the Holy Prophet(sa) realised that Hazrat Umar(ra) was following him, and turned around, thinking that he had some bad intentions. Instead, Hazrat Umar(ra) declared his belief in One God and that Muhammad(sa) was His Messenger.

His Holiness(aba) said that there are various narrations regarding Hazrat Umar’s(ra) acceptance of Islam. The most prominent and oft-repeated is the incident of when Hazrat Umar(ra), set out with his sword to kill the Holy Prophet(sa), but along the way was informed that his sister had accepted Islam. He then visited her, where he heard the recitation of the Holy Qur’an, which melted his heart, and he then went to the Holy Prophet(sa) and accepted Islam. His Holiness(aba) said that we accept this incident to be the most accurate.

His Holiness(aba) said that he would continue highlighting incidents from the life of Hazrat Umar(ra) in the future.

Funeral Prayers 

His Holiness(aba) said that he would lead the funeral prayers in-absentia of the following deceased members:

Ahmad Muhammad Usman Shabooti Sahib who passed away in Egypt on April 9. He accepted Islam at the age of fourteen when he was living in Yemen. He was subsequently able to serve the Community in various capacities. He served as the President of the Community in Adan, Yemen. He had studied and served in the medical field for many years. He is survived by his wife, a son, and three daughters. He possessed many virtuous qualities. He was also honoured to perform Hajj (the pilgrimage). He would spend a great deal to help the poor and needy.

Qureshi Zakaullah Sahib who passed away on April 9. He was serving as an accountant in the office of Jalsa Salana (Annual Convention). He is survived by five daughters and a son. He served the Community for many years, and also had the opportunity of serving under Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad Sahib(ra). He was regular in his prayers and would offer voluntary prayers regularly as well. He loved Khilafat a great deal.

Malik Khalid Daad Sahib of Canada. He served as a local president in Karachi for many years. He was serving in the Finance office in Canada. He possessed many virtuous qualities and loved Khilafat a great deal. His Holiness(aba) commented that he himself has seen how he expressed his profound love for Khilafat. He is survived by his wife, four sons and three daughters.

Muhammad Saleem Sabir Sahib who passed away on March 27. He served the Community in various capacities and served for many years. He was regular in offering prayers and prayed very fervently. He was dedicated to his work and possessed many great qualities.

Naeema Latif Sahiba of the USA who was the wife of Sahibzada Mahdi Latif Sahib. She passed away on March 10. Her husband is the grandson of Sahibzada Abdul Latif Shaheed(ra). She studied and worked in the field of Botany. She served the Community in various capacities, including as the National Vice-President of the Women’s Auxiliary Organisation in the USA.

Safiyya Begum Sahiba of Canada who passed away on March 11. She served the Community in various capacities. She was regular in offering prayers and fasting, and possessed many virtuous qualities. She is survived by four daughters and a son.

His Holiness(aba) prayed that may Allah treat all the deceased with forgiveness and mercy and elevate their station in Paradise.

Summary prepared by The Review of Religions.