Seerah episode 45: Umar ibn Al-Khattab Accepts Islam

— After the 2nd migration to Abyssinia (the mass migration), Hamza ibn Abi Talib accepted Islam. 3 days later, Umar ibn al-Khattab accepted Islam

— While Umar ibn al-Khattab was at the Haram, he overheard some people talking about their issues with the Prophet. They were trying to figure out more ways to keep the Prophet from preaching his Message

  • Umar said, “I’ll take care of this” & he set out with his sword unsheathed
    • It was not uncommon at the time for some people (read: free men) to walk around with swords. Normally, they would have their sword tied to their side
    • If someone set out with a sword in his hand, then it meant that the person had the intent to take action, like a cop who takes his gun out of his holster

— Along the way Umar ran into another Sahabi, Nu’aim ibn Abdullah (ra), who asked Umar, “What do you intend to do?”

  • Umar replied “I’m going to look for Muhammad. I’m going to find this man who has abandoned his religion. He is a heretic. He has divided all the energies of the Quraysh. He has made fools of some of our most intelligent people. He has tainted our religion and cursed our gods and deities. I’m going to kill Muhammad. I’m going to finish him off.”
  • Nu’aim became worried. He’s not the type to cause trouble, but at the same time, he’s dealing with Umar, who has a certain reputation for being belligerent & right now Umar has his sword in his hand & seems hell-bent on killing the Prophet
    • Nu’aim said, “Wallahi, you are extremely deluded, O Umar. Do you really think Banu Abd Munaf (the family of the Prophet) will let you walk around freely after you murder the grandson of Abdul Mutallib?”
    • Umar wasn’t even fazed this idea. He didn’t seem to care
  • Nu’aim realized that he has to now up his game. He’s desperate to save the Prophet’s life, so he said, “Why don’t you go fix your problems at home? You’re out to fix other people who are out of line, but fix your family & get them in line first.”
    • This was news to Umar. He asked, “What do you mean I gotta get my family in line?”
  • Nu’aim replied, “Your brother-in-law (who’s also your cousin) Sa’eed bin Zaid & his wife, who is your sister Fatima bint al-Khattab have both accepted Islam. Both of them follow Muhammad. So you want to deal with someone, deal with with your own family.”

— Umar then immediately went to his sister’s house. From outside the door, he heard 3 voices reciting Qu’ran. His sister  Fatima & her husband Sa’eed are having a Qur’an class with Khabbab ibn al-Aratt (ra). Note: this teaches us that there should be studies of Quran at home.

  • Umar knocked on the door
  • Khabbab heard Umar outside & hides because Umar sounds very angry. Umar bursts in & demands to know who the third person is
    • Sa’eed & Fatima both respond that it was just the two of them, & that there was no one else
  • Umar yelled, “Have you really left our forefathers’ religion?” In a serious rage, Umar pounced on Sa’eed & started to beat his brother-in-law. Fatima tried to break up the fight & Umar struck her, making her bleed

— Fatima said, “You want the answer Umar? Yes, we have believed in Muhammad. We have rejected these idols. We have accepted Islam and Muhammad’s message. What are you going to do about it? You want to kill us? Go ahead. Do your worst.”

  • At that time, Umar sees his sister bleeding & calms down a bit. He regained his composure. Then he sees the pages of the Qur’an lying on the floor.  He asked, “What’s that?” & moves toward the pages
  • Fatima gets there first, grabs the pages & holds them to herself, and said, “No, you can’t touch this. I will not let you put your hands on this.”
  • Umar said, “My intention is not to rip them or disrespect.  I want to read them. My own sister is caught up in this nonsense, so I might as well read them.”
  • His sister replied, “No, you’re not clean. You’re not pure.”
    • Umar was a drunk most of the time. He probably had alcohol & what else at the time. Fatima made him clean up

— Umar begins to read from the beginning of Surah 20 (Surat Ta’ha)

  • Ta, Ha. We have not sent down the Qur’an to you to ruin your life. But only as a reminder for those who fear Allah. A revelation from He who created the earth and highest heavens, the Most Merciful who is above the Throne established.
  • To Him belongs what is in the heavens and what is on the earth and what is between them and what is under the soil
  • And if you speak aloud – then indeed, He knows the secret and what is even more hidden. Allah – there is no deity except Him. To Him belong the best names.
  • And has the story of Moses reached you?
    • Some narrations say that Umar ibn al-Khattab read up to this ayah, others say that he read more
  • When he saw a fire and said to his family, “Stay here, indeed, I have perceived a fire; perhaps I can bring you a torch or find at the fire some guidance.” And when he came to it, he was called, “O Moses, Indeed, I am your Lord, so remove your sandals. Indeed you are in the sacred valley of Tuwa. And I have chosen you, so listen to what is revealed to you.”

— Umar read up to Ayah 14. “Most definitely, me, I am Allah.”

  • Allah refers to Himself 3 times in this single ayah
  • “Innanee ana Allah.”
    • Nee is attached pronoun
    • Ana is independent pronoun, which is more powerful in its emphasis than an attached pronoun
    • Allah is the name, which is more powerful than an independent pronoun
  • This shows the progression of Musa’s Imaan
  • Ayah 14 continued: “There is no deity except Me, so worship Me and establish prayer for My remembrance.”

— This ayah really got to Umar. Umar put the pages down, looked at his sister, & said, “I need you to take me to Muhammad immediately.”

  • Fatima was still wary of Umar. A few minutes ago, her brother burst in her house & beat her husband. She asked him, “What do you intend to do?”
  • Umar said, “Wallahi, I mean him no harm. I just want to accept Islam.”
  • Khabbab comes out from his hiding place at this point. He said, “Congratulations, Umar. Only last night, I was sitting with Prophet, & the Prophet made du’a that Allah aid the progression of Islam through the conversion of either Abu Jahl or Umar ibn al-Khattab. It seems that the Prophet’s dua was accepted for you, ya Umar.”

— Umar now sheathed his sword, but it’s still disconcerting that he had a weapon on him. They all set out & reach Darul Arqam

  • Umar knocked on the door. There was quite a few Sahaba inside at the time, so it was probably for halaqah or prayer
  • One of the Sahaba peeked through the door & saw that it was Umar standing outside, which was trouble enough. Then the Sahabi saw that Umar had his sword tied to his side, which is even more troubling
    • He informed the Prophet, and the Sahaba all became very nervous
  • Hamza had just accepted Islam a few days ago. It had been 3 days since his journey & reflective process
    • During those first 3 days, he didn’t leave the house of Arqaam; he just camped out there, morning & evening, doing itikaaf with the Prophet for 3 days. By this time, Hamza is fully empowered in his Imaan
    • Hamza stood up and said, “O Rasulallah, let him in. If Umar comes with khair (goodness), then we will receive him with khair. But if he comes with intentions of harm, then let him come, & I will kill him with his own sword.”

— The Prophet opened the door

  • Umar walked in calmly through the door
  • The Prophet was very welcoming, but at same time, he was also a man of confidence
    • The best quality of the Prophet, which is something that he advised us to do, was to deal with people according to their level. Understand different people & deal with them differently. Not one size fits well
  • The Prophet understood the type of person Umar was – Umar was a fighter & can be riled up easily. The Prophet rushed up to Umar & got in Umar’s face. The Prophet grabbed Umar & said, “What do you want Umar? What are you here for? Umar, you will not stop making trouble until the punishment of Allah finally comes down on you.”
    • The Prophet was not picking on some poor guy for no reason. Umar was indeed a torturer of many of the early Muslims. Umar is the nephew of Abu Jahl, & he was mentored by Abu Jahl. The two often tortured together. The Prophet is dealing with Umar appropriately
  • Umar, very softly & gently, said, “I come with no intention to harm. I have come here to accept Islam.”
    • The Prophet yelled out Takbeer. The rest of the Sahaba join in with the Prophet
    • The Prophet then sat Umar down & gives him the Shahadah

— Umar then goes to Abu Jahl’s home & knocks on the door

  • Abu Jahl had mentored Umar. He hoped that Umar would be his successor, his second-in-command, his protégé. Abu Jahl welcomes his nephew inside, “Come on in.”
  • Umar, knowing better, said, “I came here to tell you, I’ve accepted Islam. I follow Muhammad.”
  • Abu Jahl is disgusted. He said, “Get out! Do you understand what you have done? You foolish boy! You’re disgraced yourself. You foolish boy.”
    • Umar was no older than 28. He was probably 26 or 27 years old

— Umar later ran into Jamil ibn Ma’mar, a man of Quraysh

  • Umar tells Jamil of his conversion. When Jamil heard that, he went around telling everyone that Umar has joined Muhammad, “Have you heard? Umar has accepted Islam. He’s Muslim now.”

— Abdullah ibn Umar, Umar’s young son (8-10 years old), narrated this story:

  • Both father & son went to the Haram the next day, where people were whispering to one another, “Oh, look, it’s Umar. He has accepted Muhammad’s religion.”
  • As soon as Umar walked in, everyone turned around & looked at him. When Jamil ibn Ma’mar saw Umar, he yelled, “Hey everyone! Look this is the guy I was telling you about. He’s the one who left our religion. He’s a heretic.”
  • Umar, having the fighter personality that he had, said, “No, this man lies. I am not a heretic. Rather, I’ve become a Muslim.”
    • Umar then recites the Shahadah. It’s his version of “Come at me, bro.”
  • Everyone then started rushing up to Umar – over a dozen people (some narrations mentioned 2-3 dozen people) rush to Umar
    • Umar started fighting them single-handedly. It was a scene out of the Matrix
    • A narration mentions Umar fought these men for an hour. They kept coming at him & he kept defending himself for an hour against 2 dozen people

— Abdullah, Umar’s son, who was watching all of this, recalled, “After a while, my father finally stepped back.”

  • Umar sat down, tired, but he still didn’t give up. As he sat down, Umar said to the men, “Do what you gotta do. I’m done trying to fight you off.” It’s 1 against 30 men
  • Some of the people there, who remembered this fight, mentioned, “Wallahi, if there were 300 of us, he would have kept fighting each & every single one of us.”
    • Umar already had a reputation of being a fighter, but that day, he seemed as though he had no quit in him.  He could not be defeated that day. His heart was surging with imaan that day.

— A very old wise man stood up. He asked, “What are you guys doing?”

  • Someone said, “This man Umar has left his religion. So we’re trying to teach him a lesson.”
  • Old man replied, “Leave him. He is a man who’s chosen a path for himself. How does this concern you? Do you really think his family, Banu Adi, is going to hand over one of their youngest & brightest over to you like this? Leave him alone.”
    • This was actually an intelligent move on the old man’s part, because Umar told his own uncle, Abu Jahl (who was despicable, violent, & cruel against Muslims) that he accepted Islam, but Abu Jahl only cursed at Umar in disgust. Abu Jahl didn’t kidnap his nephew, tie him up, torture him, or try to kill his nephew, because he’s family

— Abdullah ibn Umar narrates years later says, “Everyone just retreated immediately.”

  • Abdullah asked his father quite a few years later after the Hijra to Medina, “Who is the man who reprimanded the people & made them leave you alone when they were trying to kill you?”
  • Umar replied, “Oh my son, that was A’as bin Wai’l

— Soon, Umar went to the Prophet & said “We need a public demonstration. We have 2 guys to make a public impression. We can’t hide anymore”

  • The Prophet looked around at the other sahabah and he sees that it is time already to do that, so he agreed, “Let’s do it.”
  • Hamza & Umar ibn al-Khattab marched together from the Darul Arqam into the Baytullah. Umar walked in first & made his intentions known, “Everyone, I’m going to pray here right now.”
  • Then other Muslims lined up in between Umar & Hamza. The Prophet  stood in front & led them in prayer
    • This was the first time Muslims were able to congregate in prayer in public at the Haram
  • Abdullah ibn Ma’sood narrated, “We were not able to pray near the Ka’bah until Umar accepted Islam. When he did, he literally fought off the Quraysh at the Ka’bah, then he prayed at the Ka’bah & we were able to pray with him.”

— The conversion of Umar was a victory of Islam. He was also one of the few people who openly & publically migrated to Medina during Hijra. Everyone else slipped away during the night

  • He packed his bags, prayed at the Ka’bah, showed everyone his bags & said, “I’m leaving Makkah. If anyone has a problem with that, meet me outside, but your wife will be a widow.”
  • His rulership over the Muslims, during his khilafa, was a mercy

— Ummu Abdullah bint Abu Hafna, who was the mother of Abdullah ibn Amir ibn Rabi’ah. She was an early convert to Islam

  • She & her son were among those who migrated from Makkah to Habesha. She mentions a story, which tells you two things
    • Umar ibn al-Khattab, even before his wild pre-Islamic days, had some good in him
    • People’s social perception of Umar was irrelevant. Only how Allah perceived him was important
  • Ummu Abdullah & her husband Amir were packing up to go to Habesha. Her husband Amir had gone to take care of a few things
    • Umar saw Ummu Abdullah standing outside the home with bags. He was not a Muslim then. He was trouble for Muslims because he used to torture & harm Muslims
  • Umar asked, “Are you planning to go somewhere?”
  • Ummu Abdullah replied, “Wallahi, we are going to go out to the earth of God. You people have harmed us. You oppress us. So yes, I’m going the land of Allah. We will stay there until Allah will make a way for us.”
  • Umar then looked at Umm Abdullah & said, “May God be with you.”
    • Ummu Abdullah narrated, “I saw some softness in Umar that I had never seen before. He turned around & walked away. He seemed sad & contemplative, that he made lives so terrible for the Muslims that they were running away from their homes.”
  • Her husband Amir came back & Ummu Abdullah told him the whole story. Ummu Abdullah said, “You missed it!”
    • Amir asked Ummu Abdullah, “Were you hopeful that Umar will accept Islam?”
    • Ummu Abdullah replied, “Yes, I am.”
    • Her husband said, “I know Umar, I know he’s not going to accept Islam. The donkey of Khattab will accept Islam before the son of Khattab will accept Islam.”


Link to the next episode

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s