Umar ibn al-Khattab

from The History of the Khalifahs by Jalal ad-Din as-Suyuti

Umar ibn al-Khattab ibn Nufayl ibn ‘Abdu’l-‘Uzza ibn Riyah ibn Qart ibn Razah ibn ‘Adi ibn Ka‘b ibn Lu’ayy, Amir al-Mu’minin, Abu Hafs, al-Qurashi, al-‘Adawi, al-Faruq.

He accepted Islam in the sixth year of prophecy when he was twenty-seven years old, says adh-Dhahabi.

An-Nawawi says: ‘Umar was born thirteen years after the Elephant, he was one of the nobility of Quraysh, and he had the role of ambassador in the Jahiliyyah; Quraysh, whenever war broke out among them or between them and others, would send him as an ambassador, i.e. a messenger, and when someone called them to judgement – often over a matter of standing or lineage – then they sent him as a response to that.

He accepted Islam very early on, after forty other men and eleven women. Some say that it was after thirty-nine men and twenty-three women, and some say, after forty-five men and eleven women. But it was only after he accepted Islam that Islam was shown openly in Makkah and the Muslims rejoiced in him.

He said: He was one of the outstripping first ones, one of the ten for whom it was witnessed that they were for the Garden, one of the khulafa’ who took the right way, one of the in-laws of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, one of the great men of knowledge of the Companions and one of their abstinent people.

There are related from him five hundred and thirty-nine hadith from the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan narrated from him, ‘Ali (ibn Abi Talib), Talhah (ibn ‘Ubaydullah), Sa‘d (ibn Abi Waqqas), ‘Abd ar-Rahman ibn ‘Awf, Ibn Mas‘ud, Abu Dharr, ‘Amr ibn ‘Abasah and his son ‘Abdullah, Ibn ‘Abbas, Ibn az-Zubayr, Anas, Abu Hurayrah, ‘Amr ibn al-‘As, Abu Musa al-Ash‘ari, al-Bara’ ibn ‘Azib, Abu Sa‘id al-Khudri, and a great number of the Companions and others, may Allah be pleased with them.

I say: I attach here some sections in which there are some collections of interest connected to his biography.

The reports on his acceptance of Islam

At-Tirmidhi narrated that Ibn ‘Umar narrated that: The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, ‘O Allah, strengthen Islam with whoever is more beloved to You of these two men: ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab or Abu Jahl ibn Hisham.’ At-Tabarani narrated this from hadith of Ibn Mas‘ud and Anas, may Allah be pleased with them.

Al-Hakim narrated that Ibn ‘Abbas related that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, ‘O Allah, strengthen Islam by ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab especially.’ At-Tabarani narrated this in the Awsat from a hadith of Abu Bakr as-Siddiq and in the Kabir from hadith of Thawban.

Ahmad narrated that ‘Umar said: I went out to confront the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and found that he had preceded me to the mosque (of Makkah). I stood behind him and he began by reciting Suratu’l-Haqqah. I was astonished by the composition of the Qur’an, so I said, ‘By Allah, this is a poet as Quraysh say.’ Then he recited, ‘It is truly the saying of a noble messenger, and it is not the saying of a poet, how little you believe…’ (Qur’an 69: 40) to the end of the ayah, and Islam came about in my heart.

Ibn Abi Jabir narrated that Jabir said: The beginning of ‘Umar’s Islam was that ‘Umar said, ‘My sister’s time to give birth came to her at night so I went out of the house, and entered the precincts of the Ka‘bah. Then the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, came and entered the Hijr (the low-walled, semi-circular area to one end of the Ka‘bah) and on him there were two rough cloths. He prayed to Allah as much as Allah willed, then he turned away and I heard something the like of which I had not heard. He went out and I followed him and he said, “Who is this?” I said, “‘Umar.” He said, “‘Umar, will you not leave me alone, either by night or by day?” I became afraid that he might supplicate against me, so I said, “I witness that there is no god but Allah and that you are the Messenger of Allah.” He said, “‘Umar, keep it secret.” I said, “No, by the One Who sent you with the truth, I will openly declare it just as I openly declared idolatry.”’

Ibn Sa‘d, Abu Ya‘la, al-Hakim, and al-Bayhaqi in ad-Dala’il, narrated that Anas, may Allah be pleased with him, said: ‘Umar went out wearing his sword, and a man from Bani Zuhrah met him and said, ‘Where do you intend going, ‘Umar?’ He said, ‘I want to kill Muhammad.’ He said, ‘How will you be safe from Bani Hashim and Bani Zuhrah if you have killed Muhammad?’ He said, ‘I can only believe that you have converted.’ He said, ‘Shall I show you something astonishing; your brother-in-law and your sister have converted and abandoned your deen.’ ‘Umar walked on and came to the two of them while Khabbab was with them. When he heard the sound of ‘Umar he hid in the house, and then he (‘Umar) entered and said, ‘What is this murmur of lowered voices?’ They had been reciting Taha. They said, ‘Nothing but some conversation which we were holding.’ He said, ‘Perhaps you two have converted?’ His brother-in-law said to him, ‘‘Umar, what if the truth were outside of your deen?’ So ‘Umar leapt upon him and struck him severely. His sister came to push him away from her husband and he struck her a blow with his hand so that her face bled. Then she said, and she was angry, ‘And if the truth were outside of your deen? I witness that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is His slave and His Messenger.’ ‘Umar said, ‘Give me the writing which you have and I will read it,’ – and ‘Umar used to read. His sister said to him, ‘You are dirty, and no-one reads it but the purified (so stand and bathe yourself or perform wudu’).’ He stood and performed wudu’, then he took the writing and read Taha until it came to, ‘Truly I, I am Allah there is no god except Me, so worship Me and establish the prayer for My remembrance.’ (Qur’an 20: 14). ‘Umar said, ‘Show me the way to Muhammad.’ When Khabbab heard the words of ‘Umar he came out and said, ‘Rejoice, ‘Umar! Because I hope that you are the (answer to the) supplication which the Messenger of Allah made for you on the night of Thursday, “O Allah, strengthen Islam with ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab or with ‘Amr ibn Hisham.”’ The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was in the lower part of the house which was at the foot of Safa and ‘Umar went off until he came to the house, at the door of which were Hamzah, Talhah and others. Hamzah said, ‘This is ‘Umar; If Allah wants good for him he will become a Muslim; and if He wishes other than that, then killing him will be a little thing for us.’ He said: And the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was inside receiving revelation. He came out when ‘Umar arrived, took hold of the folds of his clothes and the straps of his sword, and said, ‘You won’t give up, ‘Umar, until Allah visits you with disgrace and punishment like he did al-Walid ibn al-Mughirah.’ ‘Umar said, ‘I witness that there is no god but Allah and that you are the slave of Allah and His Messenger.’

Al-Bazzar, at-Tabarani, Abu Nu‘aym in al-Hilyah, and al-Bayhaqi in ad-Dala’il narrated that Aslam said: ‘Umar said to us, ‘I was the most severe of people against the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. Then one hot day at midday I was in one of the pathways of Makkah, and a man met me and said, “I am amazed at you, Ibn al-Khattab. You claim that you are like this and like this, and this matter has entered your own house.” I said, “What is that?” He said, “Your sister has become a Muslim.” So I went back in a fury and struck the door. Someone said, “Who is it?” I said, “‘Umar.” They hurried and hid from me. They had been reciting a page which they had and they abandoned it and forgot it. My sister got up to open the door, and I said to her, “Enemy of her own self, have you converted?” I struck her upon the head with something that I had in my hand so that the blood flowed and she cried. She said, “Ibn al-Khattab, whatever you are going to do, then do it, for I have converted.” I entered and sat down on the couch. Then I glanced at the page and said, “What is this? Give it to me.” She said, “You are not one of its people, you don’t clean yourself after intercourse, and this is a writing which none touches except for those who have purified themselves.” But I wouldn’t give up until she gave it to me. I opened it and there in it was, “In the name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate.” When I passed by one of the names of Allah, exalted is He, I became afraid of it and I put down the page. Then I came back to myself and picked up the page and there in it was, “There glorifies Allah that which is in the heavens and the earth,” and I became afraid. I read up until, “believe in Allah and His messenger!” (Qur’an 57: 1-7) and so I said, “I witness that there is no god but Allah,” and so they all came out to me hastily, saying, “Allahu Akbar!” and said, “Rejoice! Because the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, supplicated on Monday and said, ‘O Allah strengthen Your deen with whoever is the more beloved of the two men to You, either Abu Jahl ibn Hisham or ‘Umar.’” They directed me to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, in a house at the foot of as-Safa, and I went to it and knocked on the door. They said, “Who is it?” I said, “Ibn al-Khattab.” They knew my severity against the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, so nobody moved to open the door until he said, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, “Open it for him.” They opened it for me, two men grabbed hold of me by the upper arms and brought me to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, who said, “Leave him alone.” Then he grabbed me by my shirt and dragged me forcibly towards him and said, “Accept Islam, Ibn al-Khattab. O Allah guide him,” and I bore witness and the Muslims said, “Allahu Akbar!” so loudly that it was heard in the valleys of Makkah.

‘They had been concealing themselves. I did not wish to see a man striking and being struck but that I experienced it myself and none of that touched me. I went to my uncle Abu Jahl ibn Hisham, who was one of the nobility, and knocked on his door. He said, “Who is it?” I said, “Ibn al-Khattab, and I have converted.” He said, “Don’t do it,” and slammed the door on me. I said, “This isn’t anything,” and went to one of the great ones of Quraysh, called out to him and he came out to me. I said to him the same as I had said to my uncle, he said to me the same as my uncle had said to me, went in and slammed the door on me. I said, “This isn’t anything, the Muslims are being struck and I am not being struck.” A man said to me, “Would you like your acceptance of Islam to be known?” I said, “Yes.” He said, “When people are seated in the Hijr go to so-and-so, a man who cannot possibly conceal a secret, and say to him, just between yourself and him, ‘I have converted,’ for it is very rare that he has ever concealed a secret.” I went and people had already gathered in the Hijr. I said, just between me and him, “I have converted.” He said, “Did you really do that?” I said, “Yes.” He cried at the top of his voice, “Ibn al-Khattab has converted.” They ran up to me; I was hitting them, they were hitting me and people gathered around me. Then my uncle said, “What is this group?” Someone said, “‘Umar has converted.” He stood upon the Hijr and indicated with the palm of his hand, “I have helped the son of my sister.” They dispersed from around me. I did not want to have seen any of the Muslims being struck and striking without seeing it myself, so I said, “This which has happened to me is nothing.” I went to my uncle and said, “Your help is returned to you,” and I continued to hit and be hit until Allah strengthened Islam.’

Abu Nu‘aym narrated in ad-Dala’il and Ibn ‘Asakir that Ibn ‘Abbas, may Allah be pleased with both of them, said: I asked ‘Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, ‘For what reason were you called Al-Faruq?’ He said, ‘Hamzah accepted Islam three days before me. I went to the mosque, and Abu Jahl hurried up to abuse the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and Hamzah was told about it. He took his bow and came to the mosque up to the circle of Quraysh in which Abu Jahl was. He leant upon his bow facing Abu Jahl and looked at him, and Abu Jahl recognised the mischief in his face, and said, “What is wrong with you, Abu ‘Umarah?” He raised his bow and with it struck one of the veins in his neck, cutting it so that blood flowed. Quraysh rectified that from fear of mischief and trouble.’ He said, ‘The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was concealed in the house of al-Arqam al-Makhzumi so Hamzah went off and accepted Islam. I went out three days after him and there was so-and-so son of so-and-so al-Makhzumi, and I said to him, “Do you yearn to get out of the deen of your ancestors and follow the deen of Muhammad?” He said, “If I did, then one who has much greater right upon you has also done it.” I said, “Who is he?” He said, “Your sister and your brother in-law.” I went off, found the door locked and heard the murmur of lowered voices. Then the door was opened for me. I entered and said, “What is this I hear with you?” They said, “You didn’t hear anything,” and the conversation continued between us until I took hold of my brother in-law’s head and hit him, making him bleed. My sister stood up to me and took hold of my head and said, “That has happened despite you.” I was ashamed when I saw the blood, so I sat down and said, “Show me this writing.” My sister said, “No-one touches it except for the purified. If you are truthful then get up and bathe yourself.” I got up and bathed myself, then I returned and sat down. They brought me a page in which was, “In the name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate.” I said, “Wholesome and pure names!” “Taha. We have not revealed the Qur’an to you for you to grieve, …” up to His words, “… His are the most beautiful names.” (Qur’an 20: 1-8). It became a great matter in my heart and I said, “From this Quraysh have fled!” I accepted Islam and said, “Where is the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace?” She said, “He is in the house of al-Arqam.” I went to the house and knocked on the door. The people gathered and Hamzah said to them, “What is wrong with you.” They said, “‘Umar.” He said, “And if it is ‘Umar? Open the door for him. If he has accepted, then we will accept that from him, and if he turns his back, we will kill him.” The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, heard that and came out. I pronounced the shahadah and the people of the house said, “Allahu Akbar!” in such a way that the people of Makkah heard it. I said, “Messenger of Allah, are we not upon the truth?” He said, “Of course.” I said, “Why do we conceal it?” We went out in two ranks, in one of which I was and in the other Hamzah, until we entered the mosque, and Quraysh looked at me and at Hamzah. There came upon them gloom and depression the like of which had never before come upon them. The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, named me on that day “al-Faruq” because Islam had been shown openly and a separation made between the truth and falsehood.’

Ibn Sa‘d narrated that Dhakwan said: I said to ‘A’ishah, ‘Who named ‘Umar “al-Faruq”?’ She said, ‘The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace.’

Ibn Majah and al-Hakim narrated that Ibn ‘Abbas, may Allah be pleased with them both, said: When ‘Umar accepted Islam, then Jibril descended and said, ‘Muhammad, the inhabitants of heaven rejoice in ‘Umar’s acceptance of Islam.”

Al-Bazzar and al-Hakim, who declared it sahih, narrated that Ibn ‘Abbas, may Allah be pleased with them both, said: When ‘Umar accepted Islam, the idolaters said, ‘The people have been split in half from us today,’ and Allah revealed, ‘O Prophet, Allah is enough for you; and whoever follows you of the believers.’ (Qur’an 8: 64).

Al-Bukhari narrated that Ibn Mas‘ud, may Allah be pleased with him, said: We continued to become mighty after the acceptance of Islam by ‘Umar.

Ibn Sa‘d and at-Tabarani narrated that Ibn Mas‘ud, may Allah be pleased with him, said: The Islam of ‘Umar was an opening, his emigration was a help and his imamate was a mercy. I saw us unable to pray towards the House until ‘Umar accepted Islam. When ‘Umar accepted Islam, he fought them until they left us alone and we prayed.

Ibn Sa‘d and al-Hakim narrated that Hudhayfah said: When ‘Umar accepted Islam, Islam was like the man advancing towards you, only increasing in nearness. When ‘Umar was killed, Islam was like the man backing away from you, only increasing in distance.

At-Tabarani narrated that Ibn ‘Abbas, may Allah be pleased with them both, said: The first man to be open about Islam was ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab.

Ibn Sa‘d narrated that Suhayb said: When ‘Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, accepted Islam, he was open about it, invited people to it openly; we sat around the House in circles, we made circuits around the House, we took our rights from whoever was tough with us, and we retaliated against him for some of what he brought us.

Ibn Sa‘d narrated that Aslam the freed slave of ‘Umar said: ‘Umar accepted Islam in Dhu’l-Hijjah of the sixth year of prophethood while he was twenty-six years old.

His emigration

Ibn ‘Asakir narrated that ‘Ali said: I don’t know of anyone who didn’t emigrate in secret except for ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab; because when he wanted to emigrate he strapped on his sword, put his bow over his shoulder, carried his arrows in his hand, and came to the Ka‘bah where the nobles of Quraysh were in the courtyard. He performed seven circuits, and then prayed two raka‘at at the Station (of Ibrahim). Then he approached their circle one step at a time and said, “What ugly faces! Whoever wishes to bereave his mother, orphan his children and widow his wife then let him meet me behind this valley.” Not one of them followed him.

He narrated that al-Bara’, may Allah be pleased with him, said: The first of the Muhajirun who came to us was Mus‘ab ibn ‘Umayr, then Ibn Umm Maktum, then ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab mounted among twenty others. We said, ‘What has the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, done?’ He said, ‘He is right behind me.’ Then later, the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, came and Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him, along with him.

An-Nawawi said: ‘Umar attended, along with the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, all of the battles, and he was one of those who stood firm beside him on the Day of Uhud.

The hadith on his merit, other than those

already quoted in the chapter on as-Siddiq

The two Shaykhs narrated that Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, said: The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, ‘While I was asleep I saw myself in the Garden, and there was a woman performing wudu’ beside a palace. I said, “Whose is this palace?” They said, “It belongs to ‘Umar.” Then I remembered your jealousy and turned away.’ ‘Umar wept and said, ‘Could I be jealous of you, Messenger of Allah?’

The two Shaykhs narrated that Ibn ‘Umar narrated that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, ‘While I was asleep I drank – meaning milk – until I saw satiation flowing in my nails, and then I passed it to ‘Umar.’ They said, ‘How did you interpret it, Messenger of Allah?’ He said, ‘Knowledge.’

The two Shaykhs narrated that Abu Sa‘id al-Khudri, may Allah be pleased with him, said: I heard the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, saying, ‘While I was sleeping I saw people being shown to me and they had shirts on. Some of them reached to the breast, and some of them reached lower than that. ‘Umar was shown to me and he had on a shirt which he was dragging along.’ They said, ‘How did you interpret it, Messenger of Allah?’ He said, ‘The deen.’

The two Shaykhs narrated that Sa‘d ibn Abi Waqqas said: The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, ‘Ibn al-Khattab, by Him in Whose hand is my self, the shaytan never met you travelling on a road but that he would travel on a road other than your road.’

Al-Bukhari narrated that Abu Hurayrah said: The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, ‘There were in the nations before you people who were inspired, and if there is one in my ummah it is ‘Umar.’

At-Tirmidhi narrated from Ibn ‘Umar that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, ‘Allah has put the truth upon ‘Umar’s tongue and (in) his heart.’ Ibn ‘Umar said: No affair ever happened among people and they spoke about it and ‘Umar spoke about it but that the Qur’an was revealed confirming what ‘Umar said.

At-Tirmidhi narrated, as did al-Hakim who declared it sahih, that ‘Uqbah ibn ‘Amir said: The Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family and grant them peace, said, ‘If there were to be a prophet after me it would be ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab.’ At-Tabarani narrated it from Abu Sa‘id al-Khudri and ‘Ismah ibn Malik and Ibn ‘Asakir narrated it from Ibn ‘Umar.

At-Tirmidhi narrated that ‘A’ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, said: The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, ‘I am looking at the shaytans of the jinn and men who have fled from ‘Umar.’

Ibn Majah and al-Hakim narrated that Ubayy ibn Ka‘b said: The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, ‘The first one whom the Truth will shake hands with is ‘Umar, the first He will greet (with the greeting of peace), and the first He will take by the hand and enter into the Garden.’

Ibn Majah and al-Hakim narrated that Abu Dharr said: The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, ‘Truly Allah has placed the truth upon the tongue of ‘Umar, it speaks by him (or he speaks by it).’

Ahmad and al-Bazzar narrated that Abu Hurayrah said: The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, ‘Truly Allah has placed the truth on the tongue of ‘Umar and (in) his heart.’ At-Tabarani narrated this hadith from ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab, Bilal, Mu‘awiyah ibn Abi Sufyan and ‘A’ishah, may Allah be pleased with them, and Ibn ‘Asakir narrated it from a hadith of Ibn ‘Umar,

Ibn Mani‘ narrated in his Musnad that ‘Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, said: We, the Companions of Muhammad, used not to doubt that the sakinah (tranquillity or Divine presence) spoke by the tongue of ‘Umar.

Al-Bazzar narrated that Ibn ‘Umar said: The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, ‘‘Umar is the lamp of the people of the Garden.’ This hadith was narrated by Abu Hurayrah and as-Sa‘b ibn Juththamah.

Al-Bazzar narrated from Qudamah ibn Madh‘un that his paternal uncle ‘Uthman ibn Madh‘un said: The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, ‘This one is the lock upon the fitnah (sedition and trials),’ and he indicated ‘Umar with his hand. ‘There will remain a door strongly locked between you and the fitnah as long as this one lives among you.’

At-Tabarani narrated in al-Awsat that Ibn ‘Abbas, may Allah be pleased with both him and his father, said: Jibril came to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and said, ‘Greet ‘Umar with the greeting of peace and inform him that his anger is might and his good pleasure is judgement.’

Ibn ‘Asakir narrated that ‘A’ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, said that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, ‘The shaytan is afraid of ‘Umar.’

Ahmad narrated by way of Buraydah that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, ‘The shaytan is afraid of you, ‘Umar.’

Ibn ‘Asakir narrated that Ibn ‘Abbas, may Allah be pleased with both of them, said: The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, ‘There is no angel in the heaven that does not respect ‘Umar, and no shaytan on the earth but that is afraid of ‘Umar.’

At-Tabarani narrated in al-Awsat that Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, said: The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, ‘Allah glories in the people of ‘Arafah generally and He glories in ‘Umar particularly.’ He narrated the same in al-Kabir in a hadith of Ibn ‘Abbas, may Allah be pleased with them both.

At-Tabarani and ad-Daylami narrated that al-Fadl ibn ‘Abbas said: The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, ‘The truth, after me, is with ‘Umar wherever he is.’

The two Shaykhs narrated that Ibn ‘Umar and Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with both of them, said: The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, ‘While I was asleep I saw myself at a well upon which was a bucket, so I drew from it as long as Allah willed. Then later Abu Bakr took it and drew a full bucket or two, and in his drawing there was some weakness, and Allah will forgive him. Then ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab came and drew water and it became transformed in his hand into a large bucket, and I have not seen a chief of the people do wonderful deeds such as he did, until the people had satisfied their thirst and settled down (there by the water).’

An-Nawawi said in his Tahdhib: The men of knowledge say, ‘This points to the khilafahs of Abu Bakr and ‘Umar, and to the great number of conquests and the victory of Islam in the time of ‘Umar.’

At-Tabarani narrated that Sadisah said: The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, ‘The shaytan has not met ‘Umar since he accepted Islam but that he fell upon his face.’ Ad-Daraqutni narrated this hadith in al-Afrad by way of Sadisah from Hafsah.

At-Tabarani narrated that Ubayy ibn Ka‘b said: The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, ‘Jibril said to me, “Let Islam weep over the death of ‘Umar.”’

At-Tabarani narrated in al-Awsat that Abu Sa‘id al-Khudri said: The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, ‘Whoever is angry with ‘Umar is angry with me. Whoever loves ‘Umar loves me. Allah glories in the people on the evening of ‘Arafah generally, and He glories in ‘Umar particularly. Allah has not sent a prophet except that he put among his ummah an inspired man and if there is one such in my ummah then it is ‘Umar.’ They said, ‘Prophet of Allah, how inspired?’ He said, ‘The angels speak by his tongue.’ Its isnad is hasan (good).

Sayings of the Companions and first generations on him

Abu Bakr as-Siddiq, may Allah be pleased with him, said: There is not on the face of the earth a man more beloved to me than ‘Umar. Ibn ‘Asakir narrated it.

Someone said to Abu Bakr during his (last) illness, ‘What will you say to your Lord, when you have appointed ‘Umar?’ He said, ‘I will say to Him, “I have appointed over them the best of them.”’ Ibn Sa‘d narrated it.

‘Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, said: When the right-acting are mentioned then begin with ‘Umar. We did not think it unlikely that as-Sakinah (the Divine Presence) spoke with the tongue of ‘Umar. At-Tabarani narrated it in al-Awsat.

Ibn ‘Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, said: I have never seen anyone after the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, from the time he died, more perceptive and more liberally generous than ‘Umar. Ibn Sa‘d narrated it.

Ibn Mas‘ud, may Allah be pleased with him, said: Even if the knowledge of ‘Umar were to be put in one scale of a balance and the knowledge of every living being on the earth were put in the other scale, the knowledge of ‘Umar would outweigh their knowledge. They used to hold the view that he had gone (i.e. died) with nine-tenths of knowledge. At-Tabarani narrated it in al-Kabir, and al-Hakim narrated it.

Hudhayfah, may Allah be pleased with him, said: It is as if the knowledge of mankind was concealed in the understanding of ‘Umar.

Hudhayfah, may Allah be pleased with him, said: By Allah, I do not know a man whom the blame of the one who blames, for the sake of Allah, does not overcome, except for ‘Umar.

‘A’ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, said – and she mentioned ‘Umar – ‘He was, by Allah! skilful in managing affairs, absolutely unique.’

Mu‘awiyah, may Allah be pleased with him, said: As for Abu Bakr, he did not want the world and it did not want him. As for ‘Umar, the world wanted him but he did not want it. As for us, we have rolled over in it (like an animal in the dust). Az-Zubayr ibn Bakkar narrated it in al-Muwaffaqiyat.

Jabir, may Allah be pleased with him, said: ‘Ali entered upon ‘Umar – and he was shrouded – and said, ‘The mercy of Allah upon you! There is no-one I would prefer to meet Allah with that which is in his page (the record of his actions), after the companionship of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, than this shrouded one.’ Al-Hakim narrated it.

Ibn Mas‘ud, may Allah be pleased with him, said: When the right-acting ones are remembered, then begin with ‘Umar. Truly ‘Umar was the most knowledgeable of us of the Book of Allah, and the most understanding (literally: having the most fiqh) of us of the deen of Allah, exalted is He. At-Tabarani and al-Hakim narrated it.

Ibn ‘Abbas was asked about Abu Bakr and he said, ‘He was the good, all of it.’ He was asked about ‘Umar and said, ‘He was like the apprehensive bird which thinks that on every path there is a snare to catch it.’ He was asked about ‘Ali and he said, ‘He was full of resolve, sound judgement, knowledge and valour.’ He narrated it in at-Tuyuriyyat.

At-Tabarani narrated from ‘Umayr ibn Rabi‘ah that ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab said to Ka‘b al-Ahbar, ‘How do you find my description?’ He said, ‘I find your description to be a horn of iron.’ He asked, ‘What is a horn of iron?’ He said, ‘A strong commander who, for the sake of Allah, the censure of the one who blames does not overcome.’ He said, ‘Then what?’ He said, ‘There will be after you a khalifah whom a wrongdoing group will kill.’ He said, ‘Then what?’ He said, ‘Then there will be the trial (affliction).’

Ahmad, al-Bazzar and at-Tabarani narrated that Ibn Mas‘ud, may Allah be pleased with him, said: ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab excelled people in four: the affair of the prisoners on the Day of Badr, he ordered that they should be killed and Allah revealed, ‘If it were not for a decree of Allah which had preceded …’ (Qur’an 8: 68) to the end of the ayah; and in the matter of the hijab, he ordered the women of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, to veil themselves, so Zaynab said to him, ‘And really you are responsible over us Ibn al-Khattab, and the revelation descends upon us in our houses?’ So Allah revealed, ‘Then if you ask them for some item …’ (Qur’an 33: 53) to the end of the ayah; and by the supplication of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, ‘O Allah, help Islam with ‘Umar’; and in his view of Abu Bakr, for he was the first one to pledge allegiance to him.

Ibn ‘Asakir narrated that Mujahid said: We used to say that the shaytans were chained and shackled during the amirate of ‘Umar, then when he was struck they spread abroad.

He narrated that Salim ibn ‘Abdullah said: News of ‘Umar was slow in reaching Abu Musa so he went to a woman who had a shaytan in her, and asked her about him. She said, ‘Wait until my shaytan comes to me.’ Then he came and she asked him about him. He said, ‘I left him dressed with a piece of cloth as a waistwrapper, smearing the camels of the sadaqah (the zakat) with tar (against the mange or scab). And that is a man whom a shaytan does not see but that he falls flat on his nostrils; the angel is between his two eyes and the Ruh al-Quds (Jibril) speaks with his tongue.’


Sufyan ath-Thawri said: Whoever claimed that ‘Ali had more right to authority than Abu Bakr and ‘Umar has made a mistake and has accused Abu Bakr, ‘Umar and all the Muhajirun and the Ansar of making a mistake.

Sharik said: No-one in whom there is any good advances ‘Ali before Abu Bakr and ‘Umar.

Abu Usamah said: Do you grasp who Abu Bakr and ‘Umar were? They were the father and mother of Islam.

Ja‘far as-Sadiq said: I am quit of whoever mentions Abu Bakr and ‘Umar with anything but good.

The agreements of (the views of) cUmar

(with subsequent confirmatory revelations of Qur’an)

Some of them make them amount to more than twenty.

Ibn Mardawayh narrated that Mujahid said: ‘Umar used to hold a view and Qur’an would be revealed with (confirmation of) it.

Ibn ‘Asakir narrated that ‘Ali said: In the Qur’an there are some of the views of ‘Umar.

He narrated from Ibn ‘Umar as a marfu‘ [hadith]: When people said one thing and ‘Umar said another, the Qur’an would be revealed with the like of what ‘Umar said.

The two Shaykhs narrated that ‘Umar said: I agreed with my Lord in three things; I said, ‘Messenger of Allah, if only we were to take the Station of Ibrahim as a place of prayer,’ and there was revealed, ‘… and take the Station of Ibrahim as a place of prayer.’ (Qur’an 2: 125). I said, ‘Messenger of Allah, both good and bad people come to visit your wives; if only you would order them to wear hijabs,’ and the ayah of the hijab was revealed. The wives of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, united in jealousy, and so I said, ‘Perhaps his Lord, if he divorces you, will give him in exchange wives better than you, …’ and it was revealed just like that (with exactly the same words, see Qur’an 66: 5).

Muslim narrated that ‘Umar said, ‘I agreed with my Lord in three things: in the hijab, in the prisoners at Badr, and in the Station of Ibrahim.’ In this hadith is a fourth instance.

In at-Tahdhib of an-Nawawi, ‘The Qur’an was revealed in agreement with him on the prisoners at Badr, on the hijab, on the Station of Ibrahim and on the prohibition of wine.’ He added a fifth instance and its hadith is in the Sunan and the Mustadrak of al-Hakim that he said, ‘O Allah, make clear to us about wine with an explanation which relieves us from all doubt.’ Then Allah revealed its prohibition.

Ibn Abi Hatim narrated in his tafsir that Anas said: ‘Umar said, ‘I was in agreement with my Lord in four things: this ayah was revealed, “And certainly We have created man from an extraction of clay,” (Qur’an 23: 12) and when it was revealed I said, “So blessed be Allah the best of creators,” and then it was revealed, “So blessed be Allah the best of creators.”’ (Qur’an 95: 8). Here he mentioned a sixth instance. The hadith has another chain of transmission from Ibn ‘Abbas which I have narrated in at-Tafsir al-Musnad.

Then I saw in the book Fada’il al-Imamayn of Abu ‘Abdullah ash-Shaybani that he said, ‘‘Umar agreed with his Lord in twenty-one situations,’ and he mentioned these six (aforementioned). He augmented as a seventh the story of ‘Abdullah ibn Ubayy. I say: Its hadith is in the sahih traditions from him (‘Umar). He said, ‘When ‘Abdullah ibn Ubayy died, the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and his family and grant them peace, was invited to perform the funeral prayer over him so he stood up for that. I rose up until I stood up close to his chest and said, “Messenger of Allah, is it over the enemy of Allah, Ibn Ubayy, who said one day such-and-such?” Then, by Allah, it wasn’t very long until it was revealed, “And do not pray over one of them ever …” (Qur’an 9: 84) to the conclusion of the ayah.’

8. ‘They ask you about wine ...’ (Qur’an 2: 219) to the end of the ayah.

9. ‘O you who believe, do not approach the prayer ...’ (Qur’an 4: 43) to the end of the ayah. I say that the two of them, along with the ayah from Al-Ma’idah, are one instance, and the three are in the preceding hadith.

10. When the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, increased in seeking forgiveness for a people, ‘Umar said, ‘It is equal to them.’ Then Allah revealed, ‘It is equal to them whether you seek forgiveness for them …’ (Qur’an 63: 2) to the end of the ayah. I say that this hadith has been narrated by at-Tabarani from Ibn ‘Abbas.

11. When he, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, sought the advice of the Companions about the expedition to Badr, ‘Umar was in favour of the expedition and so it was revealed, ‘Just as your Lord brought you out of your house by the truth …’ (Qur’an 8: 5) to the end of the ayah.

12. When he, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, sought the advice of the Companions with respect to the story of the slander (of ‘A’ishah) ‘Umar said, ‘Who married you to her, Messenger of Allah?’ He said, ‘Allah.’ He said, ‘Do you think that your Lord would conceal a defect of hers from you? Glory be to You, this is huge slander!’ (Qur’an 24: 16). Then the revelation came down just like that.

13. His story in the fast when he made love to his wife after waking from sleep (before the pre-dawn meal) – and that was forbidden in the beginning of Islam – and so it was revealed, ‘It is permitted to you on the night of the fast …’ (Qur’an 2: 187) to the end of the ayah. I say that Ahmad narrated it in his Musnad.

14. His words, Exalted is He, ‘Whoever is an enemy to Jibril …’ (Qur’an 2: 97) to the end of the ayah. I say that Ibn Jarir and others narrated it from many different narrators the best of which is from ‘Abd ar-Rahman ibn Abi Layla that: A Jew met ‘Umar and said, ‘Jibril, whom your companion mentions, is an enemy to us.’ So ‘Umar said, ‘Whoever is an enemy to Allah and His angels and His messengers and Jibril and Mika’il, then truly Allah is an enemy to the disbelievers.’ So it was revealed on the tongue of ‘Umar.

15. His words, Exalted is He, ‘Then no! By your Lord, they do not believe …’ (Qur’an 4: 65) to the end of the ayah. I say that its story has been narrated by Ibn Abi Hatim and Ibn Mardawayh from Abu’l-Aswad. He said: Two men brought a dispute to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family and grant them peace, and he gave judgement between them. The one who had judgement given against him said, ‘Let us go to ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab,’ and so the two of them went to him. The man said, ‘The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, gave judgement in my favour against this man and he said, “Let us go to ‘Umar.”’ ‘Umar said, ‘Is it like that?’ He said, ‘Yes.’ So ‘Umar said, ‘Stay where you are until I come out to you.’ Then he came out to them wrapping his sword in his garment and struck the one who had said, ‘Let us go to ‘Umar,’ and killed him. The other returned and said, ‘Messenger of Allah, ‘Umar killed – by Allah! – my companion.’ So he said, ‘I wouldn’t have thought that ‘Umar would have ventured to kill a believer.’ Then Allah revealed, ‘Then no! By your Lord they do not believe …’ to the end of the ayah. He declared, there was to be no retaliation or compensation for the blood of the man and declared ‘Umar free from any wrong in his killing. There is another connected text that supports this story which I have related in at-Tafsir al-Musnad.

16. Seeking permission to enter. That was because his servant entered his room when he was sleeping and he said, ‘O Allah, forbid entrance.’ Then the ayah of seeking permission to enter was revealed.

17. His saying about the Jews, ‘They are a confounded people.’

18. His words, exalted is He, ‘Many of the first ones and many of the latter ones.’ (Qur’an 56: 39-40). I say that Ibn ‘Asakir narrated it in his Tarikh from Jabir ibn ‘Abdullah and that it is in the Asbab an-Nuzul.

19. The lifting (abrogation) of the recitation of, ‘The older man and the older woman when they commit adultery …’ to the end of the ayah.1

20. His words on the Day of Uhud when Abu Sufyan said, ‘Is so-and-so among the people?” (‘Umar said) “We will not answer him,’ and the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, agreed with him. I say that Ahmad narrated its story in his Musnad.

He said: And one joins to this what ‘Uthman ibn Sa‘id ad-Darimi narrated in his book ar-Radd ‘ala’l-Jahmiyah by way of Ibn Shihab from Salim ibn ‘Abdullah that Ka‘b al-Ahbar said, ‘Woe to the king of the earth from the King of heaven.’ Then ‘Umar said, ‘Except for whoever takes himself to account.’ Ka‘b said, ‘By the One in Whose hand is my soul it is in the Tawrah. You have carried it on (the words of the verse) consecutively.’ Then ‘Umar fell prostrate.

Then I have seen in al-Kamil of Ibn ‘Adi by the route of ‘Abdullah ibn Nafi‘ – and he is weak – from his father from ‘Umar that Bilal used to say, when he called the adhan, ‘I witness that there is no god but Allah. Come to prayer.’ Then ‘Umar said to him, ‘Say after it, “I witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.”’ The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, ‘Say as ‘Umar said.’

His miracles

Al-Bayhaqi and Abu Nu‘aym narrated, both of them in [books that they each called] Dala’il an-Nubuwwah, and al-Lalka’i in Sharh as-Sunnah, ad-Dayr‘aquli in his Fawa’id, Ibn al-A‘rabi in his Karamat al-Awliya and al-Khateeb in Ruwat Malik ‘an Nafi‘ ‘an Ibn ‘Umar that Ibn ‘Umar said: ‘Umar sent an army and he put at the head of them a man called Sariyah. While ‘Umar was delivering the khutbah he began to cry out, ‘Sariyah, the mountain!’ three times. Then later the messenger of the army came and he told ‘Umar, ‘Amir al-Mu’minin, we were being defeated and in that situation we heard a voice crying out, “Sariyah, the mountain!” three times. We put the mountain to our rear, and then Allah defeated them.’ Someone said to ‘Umar, ‘You cried out with those words.’ That mountain, where Sariyah was, is close to Nahawand in the land of the non-Arabs (Persian Iraq). Ibn Hajar said in al-Isabah: Its isnad is good.

Ibn Mardawayh narrated by way of Maymun ibn Mihran that Ibn ‘Umar said: ‘Umar was delivering the khutbah on the day of Jumu‘ah and then he turned aside during his khutbah and said, ‘Sariyah, the mountain! He who asks the wolf to be a shepherd will be wronged.’ People looked about, one to another. Then ‘Ali said to them, ‘Let him explain what he meant.’ When he had finished they asked him and he said, ‘It occurred to me in my mind that the idolaters were defeating our brothers who were passing by a mountain, and that if they were to turn towards it, they would fight on one front only, but if they passed by it they would be destroyed. So there came out of me that which you claim you heard.’ He said: The messenger came a month later and mentioned that they had heard the voice of ‘Umar on that day, and he said, ‘We turned towards the mountain, and Allah gave us victory.’

Abu Nu‘aym said in ad-Dala’il that ‘Amr ibn al-Harith said: While ‘Umar (ibn al-Khattab) was upon the minbar delivering the khutbah on the day of Jumu‘ah suddenly he left off the khutbah and said, ‘Sariyah, the mountain!’ two or three times. Some of those present said, ‘He has gone mad, he is insane.’ ‘Abd ar-Rahman ibn ‘Awf went in to see him – and he had confidence in him – and he said, ‘You give them room to talk against you. While you were giving the khutbah, suddenly you cried out, “Sariyah, the mountain!” What sort of thing is this?’ He said, ‘By Allah, I could not control it. I saw them fighting near a mountain and they were being attacked from in front of them and from behind them. I could not stop myself from saying, “Sariyah, the mountain!” so that they would reach the mountain.’ Then they waited some time until Sariyah’s messenger came with his letter, ‘The people met us (in battle) on the day of Jumu‘ah, and we fought them until, when it was time for Jumu‘ah, we heard someone cry out, “Sariyah, the mountain!” twice, so we reached the mountain. We continued victorious over our enemy until Allah defeated them and killed them.’ Then those people who had accused him said, ‘Leave this man alone, because he is in collusion with him.’

Abu’l-Qasim ibn Bishran narrated in his Fawa’id by way of Musa ibn ‘Uqbah from Nafi‘ that Ibn ‘Umar said: ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab said to a man, ‘What is your name?’ He said, ‘Jamrah (a live coal).’ He asked, ‘Whose son?’ He said, ‘The son of Shihab (flame).’ He asked, ‘From what tribe?’ He said, ‘From al-Hurqah (a state of burning).’ He asked, ‘Where is your dwelling?’ He said, ‘At al-Harrah (“the volcanic tract” from al-harr – the heat).’ He asked, ‘In which of them?’ He said, ‘Dhat Ladha (the blazing one).’ ‘Umar said, ‘Go to your family for they have been burnt.’ The man returned to his family and found that they had been burnt. Malik narrated the like of it in the Muwatta from Yahya ibn Sa‘id, Ibn Durayd in al-Akhbar al-Manthurah, Ibn al-Kalbi in al-Jami‘ and others narrated it.

Abu’sh-Shaykh narrated in Kitab al-‘Adhamah: Abu’t-Tib narrated to us: ‘Ali ibn Dawud narrated to us: ‘Abd al-Fattah ibn Salih narrated to us: ‘Abdullah ibn Salih narrated to us: Ibn Lahi‘ah narrated to us from Qais ibn al-Hajjaj, from someone he related from, said: When Egypt was conquered, its people came to ‘Amr ibn al-‘As, when the first day of one of their months arrived, and they said to him, ‘Amir, this Nile of ours has a custom (sunnah) without which it does not flow.’ He asked, ‘And what is that?’ They said, ‘When eleven nights have elapsed of this month we seek a young virgin from her parents, we obtain the consent of the parents, then we dress her in the best possible clothing and ornaments, and then we throw her in this Nile.’ So ‘Amr said to them, ‘This will never be in Islam. Islam demolishes what precedes it.’ They left, and neither did the Nile flow a little nor a lot, so much so that they intended to emigrate. When ‘Amr saw that, he wrote to ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab about it. He wrote back to him, ‘You were right in what you said. Truly, Islam demolishes what precedes it.’ He sent a slip of paper inside his letter and wrote to ‘Amr, ‘I have sent you a slip of paper inside my letter, so throw it in the Nile.’ When ‘Umar’s letter reached ‘Amr ibn al-‘As, he took the slip and opened it, and there was in it, ‘From the slave of Allah ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab Amir al-Mu’minin to the Nile of Egypt. Now, if you used to flow before, then don’t flow! If it was Allah who made you flow, then I ask the Overwhelming One to make you flow.’ He threw the slip into the Nile a day before (the Festival of) the Cross. They woke up in the morning, and Allah, Exalted is He, had made it flow (and it rose) sixteen cubits in one night. Allah cut off this sunnah (custom) of the people of Egypt right up to this day.

Ibn ‘Asakir narrated that Tariq ibn Shihab said: A man was in conversation with ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab and told him a lie, and he would say, ‘Withhold this.’ Then later he told him something else and he said, ‘Withhold this.’ He said to him, ‘Everything I told you was true except for what you told me to withhold.’

He narrated that al-Hasan said: If there was anyone who recognised a lie when he was told it, it was ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab.

Al-Bayhaqi narrated in ad-Dala’il that Abu Hudbah al-Himsi said: ‘Umar was told that the people of Iraq had pelted their amir with pebbles and he went out angry. He performed the prayer but was forgetful in his prayer. When he had completed the prayer, he said, ‘O Allah, they have made me confused, so make them confused, and hasten with the youth of (the tribe of) Thaqif who will pass judgement among them with the judgement of Jahiliyyah, who will not accept from their good-doers and he will not pass over their wrongdoers with pardon.’ I say that this indicates al-Hajjaj. Ibn Lahi‘ah said, ‘Al-Hajjaj was not yet born at that time.’

Some particulars of his biography

Ibn Sa‘d narrated that al-Ahnaf ibn Qays said: We were sitting at ‘Umar’s door and a slave girl passed by, and they said, ‘The concubine of the Amir al-Mu’minin.’ He said, ‘She is not the concubine of the Amir al-Mu’minin, and she is not permitted to him. She is of the property of Allah.’ So we said, ‘Then what is permitted to him of the property of Allah, exalted is He?’ He said, ‘There is only permitted to ‘Umar of the property of Allah two garments, a garment for the winter and a garment for the summer, that with which I can perform the Hajj and the ‘Umrah (i.e. an ihram), my sustenance and the sustenance of my family, as a man of Quraysh who is not the wealthiest of them nor the poorest, then I am, after that, a man among the Muslims.’

Khuzaymah ibn Thabit said, ‘Whenever ‘Umar appointed a governor, he wrote to him and made a condition on him that he should not ride a birdhaun (a large heavy non-Arabian horse from Asia Minor or Greece), nor eat delicacies, nor dress in finery, nor lock his door against the needy. If he did that, it would be permitted to punish him.’

‘Ikrimah ibn Khalid and others said: Hafsah, ‘Abdullah and others spoke to ‘Umar and said, ‘If only you were to eat wholesome food it would strengthen you upon the truth.’ He asked, ‘Are you all of this view?’ They said, ‘Yes.’ He said, ‘I have learnt what your sincere advice is. However, I have left my two companions on a highway, and if I abandon their highway I will not reach them in the house.’ He (‘Ikrimah) said: An affliction befell the people one year, and that year he did not eat clarified butter nor fat.

Ibn Mulaykah said: ‘Utbah ibn Farqad spoke to ‘Umar about his food and he said, ‘Mercy on you! Should I eat up my wholesome sweet things in my worldly life and seek to enjoy myself with them?’

Al-Hasan said: ‘Umar entered in upon his son ‘Asim when he was eating meat and he said, ‘What is this?’ He said, ‘We had a craving for it.’ He said, ‘Every time you crave something, do you eat it? It is sufficient wasteful extravagance for a man that he eats everything for which he has an appetite.’

Aslam said: ‘Umar said, ‘There occurred to my heart a desire for fresh fish.’ He (Aslam) said: Yarfa’ mounted his camel and rode four miles there, four miles back, buying a basketful and bringing it back. Then he went to his camel, washed it, and went to ‘Umar. He said, ‘Let us go and I will look at the camel.’ He said, ‘Did you forget to wash this sweat beneath its ears? Have you tormented an animal for the appetite of ‘Umar? No! by Allah! ‘Umar will not taste of your basket.’

Qatadah said: ‘Umar used to dress, while he was khalifah, with a garment of wool patched in parts with leather, and he would go around in the markets with a whip over his shoulder with which he would correct people. He would pass bits of rags and pieces of date-stones, which he would stumble on unexpectedly, and he would throw them into people’s houses for them to use.

Anas said: I saw between ‘Umar’s shoulder-blades, four patches in his shirt. Abu ‘Uthman an-Nahdi said: I saw ‘Umar wearing a waistwrapper patched with leather. ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amir ibn Rabi‘ah said: I performed the Hajj with ‘Umar and he did not pitch a tent of goat’s hair nor of wool. He used to throw the upper part of his ihram and his leather mat over a bush and seek shelter underneath it. ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Isa said: There were two dark furrows in ‘Umar’s face from his weeping. Al-Hasan said: ‘Umar used to pass by an ayah in his wird (daily portion set aside to recite) and he would fall down (in a faint) until he revived after some days. Anas said: I entered a walled garden and heard ‘Umar saying, while there was a wall between us, ‘‘Umar ibn al-Khattab, Amir al-Mu’minin. Well done! Well done! By Allah, you will fear Allah, Ibn al-Khattab or Allah will punish you.’ ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amir ibn Rabi‘ah said: I saw ‘Umar take up a straw from the ground and say, ‘I wish I was this straw. I wish I was nothing. I wish that my mother had not given birth to me.’ ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar ibn Hafs said: ‘Umar carried a skin full of water upon his neck. Someone spoke to him about that and he said, ‘My self was filling me with conceit and I wished to humble it.’ Muhammad ibn Sirin said: An in-law of ‘Umar’s came to see him and asked him to give him something from the bait al-mal and ‘Umar refused him and said, ‘Do you want me to meet Allah as a treacherous King?’ Then he gave him from his own property ten thousand dirhams. An-Nakha‘i said: ‘Umar used to trade while he was khalifah. Anas said: ‘Umar’s stomach rumbled from eating olive oil the year of the drought – he had forbidden himself clarified butter – and he tapped on his stomach with his finger and said, ‘There is nothing else for us, until the people have the means of living.’ Sufyan ibn ‘Uyaynah said: ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab said, ‘The person I like most is the one who points out to me my defects.’ Aslam said: I saw ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab taking hold of the ear of the horse, taking hold of his own ear with the other hand, and leaping up on the back of the horse. Ibn ‘Umar said: I never saw ‘Umar become angry, and then Allah was mentioned in his presence or he was made to fear, or a person would recite an ayah from the Qur’an in his presence, but that he stopped short of what he meant to do. Bilal said to Aslam, ‘How do you find ‘Umar?’ He said, ‘The best of people, except that when he becomes angry it is a mighty matter.’ Bilal said, ‘If I was with him when he became angry, I would recite Qur’an to him until his anger went.’ Al-Ahwas ibn Hakim said, narrating from his father: ‘Umar was brought meat dressed with clarified butter and he refused to eat the two of them. He said, ‘Both of them are seasonings.’ All of the foregoing traditions are from Ibn Sa‘d.

Ibn Sa‘d narrated that al-Hasan said: ‘Umar said, ‘It is an easy thing by which I put right a people, that I exchange them an amir in place of an amir.”

His description

Ibn Sa‘d and al-Hakim narrated that Zirr said: I went out with the people of Madinah on the day of ‘Eid and I saw ‘Umar walking barefoot, an old man, balding, of a tawny colour, left-handed, tall, towering over people as if he were on a riding beast. Al-Waqidi said: It is not known among us that ‘Umar was tawny, unless he saw him in the year of the drought, because his colour changed when he ate olive oil.

Ibn Sa‘d narrated that Ibn ‘Umar described ‘Umar and said: A man of fair complexion, with a ruddy tint prevailing, tall, balding and grey-haired.

He narrated that ‘Ubaydah ibn ‘Umayr said: ‘Umar used to overtop people in height.

He narrated that Salamah ibn al-Akwa‘ said: ‘Umar was left and right-handed, meaning that he used both hands together.

Ibn ‘Asakir narrated that Abu Raja’ al-‘Utaridi said: ‘Umar was a tall stout man, extremely bald, fair but extremely ruddy, in the two sides of his beard a lightness, his moustache was large and at its extremities there was a redness at the roots of which there was black.

In the Tarikh of Ibn ‘Asakir by various routes there is that the mother of ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab was Hantamah the daughter of Hisham ibn al-Mughirah and she was the sister of Abu Jahl ibn Hisham, so that Abu Jahl was his maternal uncle.

His khilafah

He took on the khilafah through the covenant of Abu Bakr in Jumada al-Akhirah in the year 13 AH.

Az-Zuhri said, ‘‘Umar was appointed khalifah on the day that Abu Bakr died which was Tuesday eight days before the end of Jumada al-Akhirah.’ Al-Hakim narrated it. He undertook the command most fully, and there were very many openings in his days.

In the year 14 AH, Damascus was opened [to Islam] partly both by treaty and force, and Homs (ancient Emessa) and Baalbek by treaty, and Basra and Ubullah by force.

‘In that year ‘Umar united people in one jama‘ah in salat at-tarawih (the optional prayers said at night in Ramadan),’ said al-‘Askari in Al-Awa’il (Firsts).

In the year 15 AH, all of Jordan was opened [to Islam] by force except for Tiberias which was by treaty. In this year there were the battles of Yarmuk and Qadisiyyah.

Ibn Jarir said: In it Sa‘d founded Kufa, and ‘Umar instituted regular wages (for the fighting men), registers, and gave allowances according to priority.

In the year 16 AH, Ahwaz and Mada’in were opened, and in the latter Sa‘d established the Jumu‘ah in the great hall of Khosrau, and this was the first Jumu‘ah to be held in Iraq. That was in the month of Safar. In it, was the battle of Jalula in which Yezdajird the son of Khosrau was defeated and he retreated back to Rayy. In it, Takrit was opened, ‘Umar travelled and took al-Bait al-Maqdis (Jerusalem) and gave his famous khutbah in al-Jabiyyah. Kinnasrin, Aleppo, and Antioch were opened by force, Manbij by treaty, and Saruj by force. In that year, Qirqisiya’ was opened by treaty. In Rabi‘ al-Awwal, dating was begun from the Hijrah on the advice of ‘Ali.

In the year 17 AH, ‘Umar increased the size of the Prophet’s Mosque. In it there was drought and famine in the Hijaz and it was called the Year of Destruction, and ‘Umar prayed for rain for people by means of al-‘Abbas.

Ibn Sa‘d narrated from Niyar al-Aslami that ‘Umar, when he came out to pray for rain, came out with the cloak of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, upon him.

He narrated that Ibn ‘Awn said: ‘Umar took hold of the hand of al-‘Abbas and raised it up, saying, ‘O Allah, we approach You by means of the uncle of Your Prophet (asking) that You drive away from us the drought, and that You give us to drink from the rain,’ and they didn’t leave before they were given to drink. The sky poured down upon them for days. In that year Ahwaz was taken by treaty.

In the year 18 AH, Jundaysabur was opened [to Islam] by treaty, and Hulwan by force. In it, was the plague of Emaus; Urfa (Edessa) and Sumaysat were opened by force; Harran, Nasibin and a part of Mesopotamia by force, and it has been said, by treaty; and Mosul and its environs by force.

In the year 19 AH, Cæsarea was opened by force.

In the year 20 AH, Egypt was opened by force. It is also said that all of Egypt was opened by treaty except for Alexandria which was opened by force. ‘Ali ibn Rabah said, ‘The whole of the Maghrib (northwestern Africa) was opened by force.’ In that year Tustar was opened, Caesar (Heraclius), the great man of the Byzantines, died. In it also, ‘Umar expelled the Jews from Khaybar and Najran, and he apportioned Khaybar and Wadi’l-Qurra’ (between those who had been present there at the original battles of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace).

In the year 21 AH, Alexandria was opened by force, and Nahawand, after which the Persians could not muster an army, and Barqah and other places.

In the year 22 AH, Azerbaijan was opened by force, and it has been said, by treaty, and Dinawr by force, Masabdhan and Hamadan by force, and Tripoli of North Africa, Rai, ‘Askar and Qumas.

In the year 23 AH, there were the openings [to Islam] of Kirman, Sijistan, Makran in the mountainous lands, and also Isfahan and its environs.

In the end of this year there was the death of Sayyiduna ‘Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, after his return from the Hajj; he was killed as a martyr.

Sa‘id ibn al-Musayyab said: When ‘Umar returned from Mina (to Makkah), he made his camel kneel down in the watercourse, then he threw himself down, raised his hands to the sky and said, ‘O Allah! I am advanced in years, my strength has weakened, and my subjects have increased, so take me to You without (my) being wasteful or falling short.’ Dhu’l-Hijjah had not gone before he was killed. Al-Hakim narrated it.

Abu Salih as-Saman said: Ka‘b al-Ahbar said to ‘Umar, ‘I find you in the Tawrah killed as a martyr.’ He said, ‘How can I be a martyr when I am in the peninsula of the Arabs?’

Aslam said: ‘Umar said, ‘O Allah provide me with martyrdom in Your way, and make my death to be in the city of Your Messenger.’ Al-Bukhari narrated it.

Ma‘dan ibn Abi Talhah: ‘Umar gave a khutbah and said, ‘I saw (in a dream) as if a cock pecked at me once or twice, and I can only believe that it means that my term has come. There are people who tell me to appoint a successor, and Allah will not cause His deen to go to waste nor His khilafah. If the matter is hastened for me, then the khilafah is a matter of consultation between these six whom the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was pleased with when he died.’ Al-Hakim narrated it.

Az-Zuhri said: ‘Umar would not permit a captive who had reached the age of puberty to enter Madinah until al-Mughirah ibn Shu‘bah wrote to him – and he was the governor of Kufa – mentioning to him a slave who had a number of crafts and asking permission that he enter Madinah, saying, ‘He has many trades which are useful to people. He is a blacksmith, engraver and carpenter.’ He gave permission to him to send him to Madinah. Al-Mughirah put a demand for revenue on him (the slave) of one hundred dirhams per month, so the slave came to ‘Umar to complain of the severity of that imposition. He [‘Umar] said, ‘Your demand for revenue is not that much,’ and he [the slave] turned away in anger and threateningly. ‘Umar waited some days and then called him and said, ‘Have I not been informed that you say, “If I wished, I could make a mill which will grind by means of the wind.”’ Then he turned his face to ‘Umar with a frown and said, ‘I will make for you a mill which people will talk about.’ When he turned away, ‘Umar said to his companions, ‘The slave threatened me just now.’ After a while Abu Lu’lu’ah wrapped his garments around a dagger with two heads (to the blade) whose handle was in the middle of it, hid in one of the corners of the mosque in the darkness of the last part of the night, and there he waited until ‘Umar came out waking people up for the prayer. When he drew near to him, he stabbed him three times. Ibn Sa‘d narrated it.

‘Amr ibn Maymun al-Ansari said: Abu Lu’lu’ah, the slave of al-Mughirah, stabbed ‘Umar with a dagger which had two heads, and he stabbed, along with him, twelve other men of whom six died, then a man from Iraq threw a robe over him. When he became tangled up in it, he killed himself.

Abu Rafi‘ said: Abu Lu’lu’ah, the slave of al-Mughirah, used to make mills. Al-Mughirah used to demand as revenue from him four dirhams a day. He met ‘Umar and said, ‘Amir al-Mu’minin, al-Mughirah is being very heavy on me, so speak to him.’ He said, ‘Behave well towards your master,’ – and ‘Umar’s intention was to speak to al-Mughirah about it – so he (the slave) became angry and said, ‘His justice encompasses all of the people except for me,’ and he secretly decided to kill him. He took a dagger, sharpened it and poisoned it. ‘Umar used to say, ‘Straighten your ranks,’ before he pronounced the takbir. He came and stood opposite him in the rank, stabbed him in his shoulder and side, and ‘Umar fell. Then he stabbed thirteen other men with him, of whom six died. ‘Umar was carried to his family. The sun was about to rise so ‘Abd ar-Rahman ibn ‘Awf led the people in prayer with the two shortest surahs. ‘Umar was brought some nabidh (a drink made from dates left to soak in water) and he drank it and it came out of his wound, but it wasn’t yet distinct (from the blood). So they gave him some milk to drink, and it came out of his wound and they said, ‘There’s no great harm with you.’ He said, ‘If there is any harm in killing, then I have been killed.’ People began to praise him, saying, ‘You were such and such and you were such and such.’ He said, ‘By Allah, I wish that I had gone out of it, independent of others, with nothing against me and nothing for me, and that the companionship of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and his family and grant them peace, was secure for me.’ Ibn ‘Abbas praised him, so he said, ‘Even if I had that gold which would fill the earth, I would ransom myself by it from the terror of the rising. I have made it (the khilafah) a matter of consultation between ‘Uthman, ‘Ali, Talhah, az-Zubayr, ‘Abd ar-Rahman ibn ‘Awf and Sa‘d.’ He ordered Suhayb to lead people in prayer, and gave the six a period of three (days in which to decide). Al-Hakim narrated it.

Ibn ‘Abbas said: Abu Lu’lu’ah was a Magian.

‘Amr ibn Maymun said: ‘Umar said, ‘Praise be to Allah Who did not make my decree of death to be at the hands of a man who claimed Islam.’ Then he said to his son, ‘‘Abdullah, look and see what debts I have.’ They calculated it and found it to be eighty-six thousand or thereabouts. He said, ‘If the wealth of the family of ‘Umar is enough, then pay it. If it is not, then ask among Bani ‘Adi, and if their wealth is not enough, then ask among Quraysh. Go to the Mother of the Believers, ‘A’ishah, and say, “‘Umar asks permission to be buried with his two companions.”’ He went to her and she said, ‘I wanted it’ – meaning the burial plot – ‘for myself, but I will definitely prefer him over myself, today.’ ‘Abdullah came and said, ‘She has given permission,’ so he praised Allah. Someone said to him, ‘Make bequest, Amir al-Mu’minin, and appoint a successor.’ He said, ‘I see no-one with more right to this command than these six with whom the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was pleased when he died,’ and he named the six, and said, ‘‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar will be present with them but he has no part in the command. If the office should fall to Sa‘d, then he it is, and if not, then let whoever of you is appointed seek help from him, for I did not remove him (from his office as amir of Kufa) because of any incapacity or treachery.’ Then he said, ‘I counsel the khalifah after me to have fearful obedience of Allah; I counsel him to pay particular care to the Muhajirun and the Ansar, and I counsel him to treat the people of the provinces well,’ and other similar counsels. When he died, we went walking with him, ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar called out the greeting and said, ‘‘Umar seeks permission to enter.’ ‘A’ishah said, ‘Bring him in.’ He was brought in and placed there with his two companions.

When they finished burying him and had returned, that group gathered and ‘Abd ar-Rahman ibn ‘Awf said, ‘Delegate your authority to three among you.’ Az-Zubayr said, ‘I delegate my authority to ‘Ali.’ Sa‘d said, ‘I delegate my authority to ‘Abd ar-Rahman.’ Talhah said, ‘I delegate my authority to ‘Uthman.’ He continued: so there remained these three. ‘Abd ar-Rahman said, ‘I don’t want it. Which of you two will be quit of this matter and we will entrust it to him (the remaining one)? And Allah is his witness and Islam, let him consider in himself who is the best of them and let him be eager for the benefit of the ummah.’ The two Shaykhs, ‘Ali and ‘Uthman were silent. ‘Abd ar-Rahman said, ‘Delegate me and, Allah is my witness, I will not fail you in choosing the best of you.’ They said, ‘Yes.’ Then he went apart with ‘Ali and said, ‘You have that precedence in Islam and kinship with the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, which you know. Allah is your witness; if I give you authority, will you be just, and if I give authority (to ‘Uthman) over you, will you hear and obey?’ He said, ‘Yes.’ Then he went apart with the other and said to him the same thing. When he had their agreement, he pledged allegiance to ‘Uthman and ‘Ali pledged allegiance to him.

There is in the Musnad of Ahmad that ‘Umar said: If my term overtakes me, and Abu ‘Ubaydah al-Jarrah is still alive, then I would appoint him as khalifah. If my Lord asked me, I would say, ‘I heard the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, saying, “Every Prophet has a trustworthy (companion), and my trustworthy (companion) is Abu ‘Ubaydah ibn al-Jarrah.”’ If my term overtakes me, and Abu ‘Ubaydah al-Jarrah has died, I would appoint Mu‘adh ibn Jabal as khalifah. If my Lord asked me, ‘Why did you appoint him as khalifah?’ I would say, ‘I heard the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, saying, “He will be raised up on the Day of Resurrection a distance in front of the men of knowledge.”’ They had both died during his khilafah.

Also in the Musnad there is from Abu Rafi‘ that someone spoke to ‘Umar at his death about the appointment of a khalifah, so he said, ‘I have seen among my companions an unfortunate eagerness. If one of two men had reached me, and then I had entrusted this command to him, I would have been sure of him: Salim the freed slave of Abu Hudhayfah and Abu ‘Ubaydah ibn al-Jarrah.’

‘Umar was struck on the Wednesday, four days before the end of Dhu’l-Hijjah, and he was buried on Sunday, the day of the new moon of al-Muharram, the Sacred (month). He was sixty-three years old. It has also been said that he was sixty-six, sixty-one, sixty (which al-Waqidi considered the weightiest). It has been said that he was fifty-nine, fifty-five and fifty-four. Suhayb performed the (funeral) prayer over him in the mosque.

In the Tahdhib of al-Mazini, there is that the engraving on the seal-ring of ‘Umar was, ‘Death is enough of an admonisher, ‘Umar.’

At-Tabarani narrated that Tariq ibn Shihab said: Umm Ayman said, on the day ‘Umar was killed, ‘Today Islam has been rent.’

‘Abd ar-Rahman ibn Yasar narrated. He said, ‘I witnessed the death of ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab and the sun was eclipsed on that day.’ The men who transmitted (this hadith) were trustworthy.

The things in which he was first

Al-‘Askari said: He was the first to be called ‘Amir al-Mu’minin’, the first to date events from the Hijrah, the first to take a bait al-mal (see the chapter on Abu Bakr), the first to establish as a sunnah the standing (for prayer) in the month of Ramadan, the first who patrolled at night, the first who punished satire, the first who punished wine-drinking with eighty (lashes), the first who declared al-mut‘ah (temporary marriage) haram (rather the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, forbade it on the Day of Khaybar – see the Muwatta’ of Imam Malik), the first to forbid the sale of female slaves who had borne children to their masters, the first to assemble for prayers over the dead with four takbirs, the first to have a register, the first to make conquests, the first to survey the Sawad (the cultivated land of Iraq), the first to convey food from Egypt upon the Aylah Sea (Gulf of ‘Aqabah) to Madinah, the first who dedicated sadaqah (purely for the sake of Allah) in Islam, and the first who adjusted the division of inheritances (in cases where the calculated portions add up to more than the total inheritance), the first to take the zakat of horses, the first to say, ‘May Allah lengthen your life,’ (he said it to ‘Ali) and the first to say, ‘May Allah help you,’ (he said it to ‘Ali). This is the end of what al-‘Askari mentioned.

An-Nawawi said in his Tahdhib that he was the first to adopt the whip. Ibn Sa‘d mentions it in the Tabaqat, and he said: It used to be said, after him, ‘The whip of ‘Umar is more terrible than your sword.’ He (an-Nawawi) continued: He was the first to appoint qadis in the provinces, the first who established the provinces of (the cities of) Kufa, Basra, and of Mesopotamia, Syria, Cairo (Egypt), and Mosul.

Ibn ‘Asakir narrated that Isma‘il ibn Ziyad said: ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib passed by the mosques in Ramadan and in them there were lamps, so he said, ‘May Allah illuminate ‘Umar in his grave, as he has illuminated our mosques for us.’

Section: Ibn Sa‘d said: ‘Umar appointed a meal (flour) house and put flour in it, parched barley meal, dates, raisins and necessities, in order to help the traveller whose journey was interrupted (through need or other causes), and he established between Makkah and Madinah on the road that which would be useful to travellers whose journeys were interrupted. He demolished the Mosque of the Prophet, added to it, expanded it and floored it with pebbles. He was the one who evicted the Jews from the Hijaz (and sent them) to Syria, and evicted the people of Najran (and sent them) to Kufa. He was the one who moved the Station of Ibrahim back (from the Ka‘bah) to where it is today, and it used to be adjoining the House.

Some accounts of him and of his judgements

Al-‘Askari narrated in al-Awa’il, at-Tabarani in al-Kabir, and al-Hakim by way of Ibn Shihab that ‘Umar ibn ‘Abd al-‘Aziz asked Abu Bakr ibn Sulayman ibn Abi Hathamah what was the reason that it used to be written, ‘From the Khalifah of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace,’ in the time of Abu Bakr, then later ‘Umar used to write at first, ‘From the Khalifah of Abu Bakr’? Then who was the first to write, ‘From the Amir al-Mu’minin (the Commander of the Believers)’? He said, ‘Ash-Shifa, who was one of the women of the Muhajirun, told me that Abu Bakr used to write, “From the Khalifah of the Messenger of Allah,” and ‘Umar used to write, “From the Khalifah of the Khalifah of the Messenger of Allah,” until one day ‘Umar wrote to the governor of Iraq, to send him two strong men whom he could ask about Iraq and its inhabitants. He sent to him Labid ibn Rabi‘ah and ‘Adi ibn Hatim, and they came to Madinah and entered the mosque where they found ‘Amr ibn al-‘As. They said, ‘Get permission for us (to visit) the Amir al-Mu’minin.’ ‘Amr said, ‘You two, by Allah, have hit upon his name!’ Then ‘Amr went in to him and said, ‘Peace be upon you, Amir al-Mu’minin.’ He said, ‘What occurred to you about this name? You must explain what you have said.’ He told him and said, ‘You are the amir (commander) and we are the mu’minun (the believers).’ Thus letters have continued to be written with that from that day.

An-Nawawi said in his Tahdhib: ‘Adi ibn Hatim and Labid ibn Rabi‘ah named him thus when they came as a deputation from Iraq. It has been said that al-Mughirah ibn Shu‘bah named him with this name. It has also been said that ‘Umar said to people, ‘You are the believers and I am your amir,’ and so he was called Amir al-Mu’minin, and before that he was known as the Khalifah of the Khalifah of the Messenger of Allah, but they changed from that expression because of its length.

Ibn ‘Asakir narrated that Mu‘awiyah ibn Qurrah said: It used to be written ‘From Abu Bakr the Khalifah of the Messenger of Allah,’ and then when it was ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab they wanted to say, ‘The Khalifah of the Khalifah of the Messenger of Allah.’ ‘Umar said, ‘This is lengthy.’ They said, ‘No. But we have appointed you as amir over us, so you are our amir.’ He said, ‘Yes, and you are the believers, and I am your amir.’ Then it became written Amir al-Mu’minin.

Al-Bukhari narrated in his Tarikh that Ibn al-Musayyab said: The first to write the date was ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab two and a half years into his khilafah, and it was written down as the sixteenth year of the Hijrah, through the advice of ‘Ali.

As-Salafi narrated in at-Tuyuriyyat with a sahih isnad from Ibn ‘Umar from ‘Umar that he wished to record the sunan (customary practices of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and of his companions), so he sought Allah’s choice in the matter (through the supplication known as the istikharah) for a month. Then he arose one morning with a clear resolve and said, ‘I remembered a people who were before you who wrote a book, and then they turned to it and abandoned the Book of Allah.’

Ibn Sa‘d narrated that Shaddad said: The first words that ‘Umar would say when he ascended the minbar were, ‘O Allah, I am severe, so make me gentle, I am weak, so strengthen me, and I am miserly, so make me generous.”

Ibn Sa‘d and Sa‘id ibn Mansur and others narrated by different routes thatt ‘Umar said, ‘I have placed myself in respect to Allah’s property in the same relation as the guardian of the orphan to his (the orphan’s) wealth. If I am in good circumstances, I will refrain from it, and if I am in need I will eat of it in moderation, and if (again later) I am in good circumstances, I will repay.”

Ibn Sa‘d narrated that Ibn ‘Umar said that when ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab was in need, he used to go to the man in charge of the bait al-mal and seek a loan from him. Often he might be in difficulty and the man in charge of the public treasury would come to him, seek repayment of the debt and would oblige him to pay it, and ‘Umar would be evasive to him. Then, often ‘Umar would receive his stipend and so pay his debt.

Ibn Sa‘d narrated that al-Bara’ ibn Ma‘rur said that ‘Umar went out one day until he came to the minbar and he had been suffering from a complaint. The good qualities of honey were mentioned to him, and there was a receptacle (made of kidskin) of it in the bait al-mal. He said, ‘If you give me permission I will take it, but if not then it is haram for me.’ They gave him permission.

He narrated that Salim ibn ‘Abdullah said that ‘Umar used to insert his hand into the saddle sore of his camel and say, ‘I fear that I will be asked about what is (wrong) with you.’

He narrated that Ibn ‘Umar said: When ‘Umar meant to forbid people from some wrong action, he would come to his family and say, ‘If I come to know of anyone who becomes involved in something I have forbidden, I will double the punishment for him.’

We have narrated in more than one way that ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab went out one night to patrol Madinah – and he used to do that a lot – when he came upon one of the women of the Arabs whose door was bolted against her (locking her in) and she was saying:

‘This night, whose stars creep slowly, is wearisome and makes me sleepless,

Because I have no bedfellow with whom to sport,

For, by Allah, if Allah’s punishments were not feared,

His rights would have been removed from this couch.

However, I fear a Watchful One Who is in charge of our selves

And Whose recorder is not negligent for an instant.

Fear of my Lord and modesty prevent me, and I honour my husband (too much),

That his noble station should be conferred (on another).’

So he (‘Umar) wrote to his governors about military expeditions that no-one should be absent for more than four months.

Ibn Sa‘d narrated from Zadan that Salman said that ‘Umar said to him, ‘Am I a king or a khalifah?’ Salman said to him, ‘If you collect a dirham from the land of the Muslims, or less or more, then you put it to an improper use, you are a king, not a khalifah.’ ‘Umar took warning from it.

He narrated that Sufyan ibn Abi’l-‘Arja’ said: ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab said, ‘By Allah, I do not know whether I am a khalifah or a king, for if I am a king then this is a tremendous matter.’ Someone said, ‘Amir al-Mu’minin, there is a distinction between the two of them.’ He said, ‘What is it?’ He said, ‘A khalifah does not take except what is due and he does not use it except in the right way, and you, praise be to Allah, are like that. The king treats people unjustly, and takes from this one and gives to that one.’ ‘Umar was silent.

He narrated that Ibn Mas‘ud, may Allah be pleased with him, said: ‘Umar mounted a horse and his robe disclosed his thigh. The people of Najran saw on his thigh a black mole and said, ‘This is the one whom we find in our Book will exile us from our land.’

He narrated from Sa‘d al-Hari that Ka‘b al-Ahbar said to ‘Umar, ‘We find you in the Book of Allah at one of the gates of Jahannam preventing people from falling into it. When you die, they will carry on plunging into it until the Day of Resurrection.’

He narrated that Abu Mash‘ar said: Our shaykhs told us that ‘Umar said, ‘This matter will not be correct but with the severity that has no haughtiness in it, and with the gentleness that has no weakness in it.’

Ibn Abi Shaybah narrated in his Musannaf that Hakim ibn ‘Umayr said: ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab said, ‘Let not the amir of an army or a raiding party whip anyone for a hadd punishment until he arrives at Darb (Derbe near the Cilician Gates, a mountain pass through which the Muslims passed returning from raids into Byzantine territory) so that the rage of the shaytan does not carry him to the point that he joins with the kuffar.’

Ibn Abi Hatim narrated in his tafsir that ash-Sha‘bi said: The Byzantine Emperor wrote to ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab, ‘My messengers have come to me from you claiming that among you there is a tree which is not like anything else among trees: it produces something like the ears of the ass, it opens out (to reveal) something like a pearl, it becomes green so that it is like the green emerald, it reddens until it is like the red ruby, then later it ripens and matures so that it becomes like the sweetest honey-cake ever eaten, then later it dries until it becomes a defence (against want) for the house-dweller and a provision for the traveller. If my messengers have told me the truth, I can only imagine that this is one of the trees of the Garden.’ ‘Umar wrote to him, ‘From the slave of Allah, ‘Umar, the Amir al-Mu’minin, to Caesar, the king of the Byzantines. Truly your messengers have told you the truth. This tree, which is with us, is the tree which Allah made to grow over Maryam when she gave birth to ‘Isa her son. So fear Allah and do not take ‘Isa as a god apart from Allah, for truly, “The likeness of ‘Isa with Allah is as the likeness of Adam, He created him from dust, …”’ (Qur’an 3: 59) to the end of the ayah.

Ibn Sa‘d narrated from Ibn ‘Umar that ‘Umar ordered his governors, so they recorded their properties, and among them was Sa‘d bin Abi Waqqas. Then ‘Umar shared with them in their properties and took a half and gave them a half.

He narrated that ash-Sha‘bi said that when ‘Umar used to appoint a governor he would record his property.

He narrated that Abu Imamah ibn Sahl ibn Hunayf said: ‘Umar remained some time not eating anything at all from the property of the bait al-mal, until poverty and constriction came upon him in that. He sent for the Companions of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, to seek their advice. He said, ‘I have occupied myself with this command, so what is fitting for me from it?’ ‘Ali said, ‘The midday and evening meals.’ ‘Umar took that.

He narrated from Ibn ‘Umar that ‘Umar performed the Hajj in the year twenty-three (AH) and spent sixteen dinars upon his Hajj. He said, ‘‘Abdullah we have been extravagant with this property.’

‘Abd ar-Razzaq narrated in the Musannaf that Qatadah and ash-Sha‘bi said: A woman came to ‘Umar and said, ‘My husband stands at night (in prayer) and fasts during the day.’ ‘Umar said, ‘You have praised your husband excellently well.’ Ka‘b ibn Sawwar said, ‘She was complaining.’ ‘Umar said, ‘How?’ He said, ‘She claims that she has no share in her husband (in his time).’ He said, ‘If you understood that much, then you decide between them.’ He said, ‘Amir al-Mu’minin, Allah has permitted him four (wives). So she has one day of every four days, and one night of every four nights.’

He narrated that Ibn Jarir said: One I trust informed me that ‘Umar, while he was patrolling, heard a woman saying:

‘This night stretches out and is grievous,

and that I have no intimate to sport with makes me sleepless,

For, if it were not for fear of Allah Whom nothing is like,

his rights would have been removed from this couch.’

‘Umar said, ‘What is wrong with you?’ She said, ‘You sent my husband on an expedition some months ago, and I long for him.’ He said, ‘Do you mean to do wrong?’ She said, ‘(I seek) the refuge of Allah!’ He said, ‘So restrain yourself; it is only (a matter of) the post to him.’ He sent a message to him. Then he went to Hafsah and said, ‘I want to ask you about a matter which concerns me, so dispel it for me. How long does a woman long for her husband?’ She lowered her head and was shy. He said, ‘Truly Allah is not shy of the truth.’ She gestured with her hand, indicating three months, and if that is not possible, then four months. ‘Umar wrote that armies must not be kept on service for more than four months.

He narrated from Jabir ibn ‘Abdullah that he came to ‘Umar to complain to him of the treatment he received from his womenfolk. ‘Umar said to him, ‘We also find that, so much so that when I intend (going out for) some necessity, she says to me, “You are only going to the girls of Bani so-and-so to look at them.”’ ‘Abdullah ibn Mas‘ud said to him, ‘Has it not reached you that Ibrahim, peace be upon him, complained to Allah about Sarah’s character and it was said to him, “She has been created from a rib so have the enjoyment of her company as long as you don’t see in her any unsoundness in her deen.”’

He narrated that ‘Ikrimah ibn Khalid said: One of ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab’s sons went in to see him. He had combed and oiled his hair and dressed up in the very best clothing. ‘Umar struck him with a whip until he made him weep. Hafsah asked him, ‘Why did you strike him?’ He said, ‘I saw that his self had made him conceited, and I wanted to make it (his self) small for him.’

He narrated from Ma‘mar from Layth ibn Abi Salim that ‘Umar said, ‘Do not name yourselves with the name al-Hakam (the ruler and judge) nor Abu’l-Hakam (possessor of judgement) for truly Allah, He is al-Hakam (the ruler) and don’t call a road a sikkah.’2

Al-Bayhaqi narrated in Shu‘ab al-Iman that ad-Dahhak said: Abu Bakr said, ‘By Allah, I wish that I were a tree by the side of the road by which a camel passed, and it took me into its mouth, chewed me, swallowed me, passed me out as dung, and that I were not a man.’ ‘Umar said, ‘Would that I were my family’s ram, which they were fattening as much as seemed right to them, until when I became as fat as could be, some people whom they love visit them, and they sacrifice me for them, make some of me into roasted meat, some of me into sun-dried meat, then eat me, and that I were not a human being.’

Ibn ‘Asakir narrated that Abu’l-Bakhtari said: ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab used to give the khutbah on the minbar. Al-Hussein ibn ‘Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, stood up before him and said, ‘Come down from my father’s minbar.’ ‘Umar said, ‘It is the minbar of your father and not the minbar of my father. Who told you to do this?’ ‘Ali stood and said, ‘By Allah, no-one told him to do this. I will certainly cause you (al-Hussein) some pain, traitor.’ He (‘Umar) said, ‘Don’t hurt the son of my brother, for he has told the truth, it is the minbar of his father.’

Al-Khateeb narrated in Adab ar-Rawi from Malik by his route from Ibn Shihab that Abu Salamah ibn ‘Abd ar-Rahman and Sa‘id ibn al-Musayyab narrated that ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab and ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan were arguing over a certain question until an onlooker said, ‘They will never reach an agreement.’ Yet they only separated on the best and most beautiful terms.

Ibn Sa‘d narrated that al-Hasan said: The first khutbah which ‘Umar delivered, he praised Allah and then said, ‘Right. I have been tested by you and you have been tested by me, and I have succeeded to the khilafah, amongst you, after my two companions. Whoever is here present, we will manage their affairs in person, and whoever is not here with us, we will appoint over him strong and trustworthy people. Whoever acts excellently well, we will increase him in excellent treatment, and whoever acts wrongly we will punish, and may Allah forgive us and you.’

He narrated from Jubayr ibn al-Huwayrith that ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab, may Allah be pleased with him, sought the advice of the Muslims on the recording of a register. ‘Ali said to him, ‘Divide up every year what is collected for you of property, and don’t keep any of it.’ ‘Uthman said, ‘I see much wealth, which is sufficient for the people and if it is not counted so that whoever takes is distinguished from whoever does not take, I am afraid that the matter will become confused.’ Al-Walid ibn Hisham ibn al-Mughirah said, ‘Amir al-Mu’minin, I went to Syria and I saw that its kings had recorded registers and organised the troops, so record registers and organise the troops.’ He took his advice, and he called ‘Aqil ibn Abi Talib, Makhramah ibn Nawfal and Jubayr ibn Mut‘im, who were genealogists of Quraysh, and said, ‘Record people according to their ranks.’ They recorded them beginning with Banu Hashim, then they followed with Abu Bakr and his people, then ‘Umar and his people, according to the order of their khilafahs. When ‘Umar saw it, he said, ‘Begin with the close relatives of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, the closest, then the next closest until you place ‘Umar where Allah placed him.’

He narrated that Sa‘id ibn al-Musayyab said: ‘Umar recorded the register in al-Muharram of the year 20 AH.

He narrated that al-Hasan said: ‘Umar wrote to Hudhayfah, ‘Give the people their stipends and their provisions.’ He wrote back to him, ‘We have done that and a great deal remains.’ ‘Umar wrote to him, ‘It is their spoils which Allah has given them. It is not ‘Umar’s nor ‘Umar’s family’s. Divide it up among them.’

Ibn Sa‘d narrated that Jubayr ibn Mut‘im said: While ‘Umar was standing on the mountain of ‘Arafah he heard a man calling out, saying, ‘Khalifah of Allah!’ Another man heard him, and they were taking provisions for the way, so he said, ‘What is wrong with you, may Allah split your uvulas?’ I went towards the man and shouted at him. Jubayr continued: Then the next morning, I was standing with ‘Umar at al-‘Aqabah (the major pillar of stones in Mina) and he was stoning it, when there came a stray pebble and split (the skin on) ‘Umar’s head. I turned that way and heard a man from the mountain saying, ‘I make it known, by the Lord of the Ka‘bah, that ‘Umar will not stand in this place after this year,’ and it was the one who had called out among us the day before, and that disturbed me greatly.

He narrated that ‘A’ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, said: At the time of the last Hajj which ‘Umar performed with the Mothers of the Believers (the wives of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace), when we returned from ‘Arafah, I passed by al-Muhassab and I heard a man upon his camel saying, ‘Where was ‘Umar, the Amir al-Mu’minin?’ I heard another man saying, ‘Here was the Amir al-Mu’minin.’ He made the camel kneel down upon its breast, then he raised his voice in a wail saying:

‘Upon you peace from an imam and may the hand of Allah bless that much-rent skin,

Whoever hurries on or mounts the two wings of the ostrich, in order to overtake what you sent ahead the day before, will be outstripped.

You decided matters, then after them you left behind trials and misfortunes in their sleeves, not yet unloosed.’

That rider did not move and it was not known who he was, and we used to say that he was one of the Jinn, for ‘Umar came back from that Hajj, was stabbed by the dagger and died.

He narrated that ‘Abd ar-Rahman ibn Abza said that ‘Umar said, ‘This authority is among the people of Badr as long as one of them remains, then it is among the people of Uhud as long as one of them remains, and among such and such, and such and such, and there is no part in it for a freed captive, nor the son of a freed captive, nor those who became Muslims at the Opening (of Makkah to Islam).’

He narrated from an-Nakha‘i that a man said to ‘Umar, ‘Will you not appoint ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar as khalifah?’ He said, ‘May Allah fight you! By Allah, I never wanted this of Allah. Shall I appoint as khalifah a man who did not know how to divorce his wife properly?’

He narrated from Shaddad ibn Aws that Ka‘b said: There was among the Tribe of Isra’il a king whom, when we remember him we are reminded of ‘Umar, and when we remember ‘Umar we are reminded of him. He had by his side a prophet who received revelation. Allah revealed to the prophet, peace be upon him, to say to him, ‘Make your covenant and write your testament to me, for you are dead after three days.’ The prophet informed him of that. When it was the third day, he fell down (dead) between the wall and the couch. He came to his Lord and said, ‘O Allah, if You knew that I was just in my rule; that when matters differed, I followed Your guidance; and I was such and such, and such and such, then increase my life-span until my infant son grows up and my nation increases.’ Allah revealed to the prophet that, ‘He has said such and such – and it is true – and I have added fifteen years to his life-span. That is enough for his infant son to grow up and his nation to increase.’ When ‘Umar was stabbed, Ka‘b said, ‘If ‘Umar were to ask his Lord, Allah would definitely let him stay.’ ‘Umar was told about that. He said, ‘O Allah take me back to You without (my) being powerless and incapable or blameworthy.’

He narrated from Sulayman ibn Yasar that the Jinn wailed in mourning for ‘Umar.

Al-Hakim narrated that Malik ibn Dinar said: A voice was heard on the mountain of Tabalah when ‘Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, was killed:

‘Let whoever would weep, weep for Islam,

For they are on the point of being thrown to the ground and (their) appointed time has not been exceeded,

And the world has declined and the best of it has gone, turning its back,

Whoever is sure of the promise has become weary of it.’

Ibn Abi’d-Dunya narrated that Yahya ibn Abi Rashid al-Basri said: ‘Umar said to his son, ‘Be economical with my shroud, for if there is good for me with Allah, He will exchange it for me for that which is better than it. If I have been otherwise, He will strip me and be very fast in stripping me. Be economical in the grave you dig for me, for if there is good for me with Allah, He will expand it for me as far as my sight can reach. If I have been otherwise, He will tighten it upon me until my ribs interlace. Let not a woman go out with me (to the grave), and do not attribute to me a purity that I do not have, for Allah has more knowledge of me. When you go out (with me to the grave) then hasten your pace, for if there is good for me with Allah, you will send me on to what is better for me. If I am otherwise, you will throw an evil you have been carrying down from your necks.’


Ibn ‘Asakir narrated from Ibn ‘Abbas that al-‘Abbas said: I asked Allah, one year after ‘Umar had died, to show me him in a dream. I saw him after a year and he was wiping the sweat from his brow, so I said, ‘May my father and my mother be your ransom, Amir al-Mu’minin! How is it with you?’ He said, ‘This is the time I have just finished. The house of ‘Umar had almost been violently demolished if it had not been that I met a pitying, compassionate one (Ra’uf Rahim. Note that these are two names that Allah gave to His Messenger, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, in the penultimate ayah of Surat at-Tawbah. Ar-Ra’uf ar-Rahim are names of Allah).’

He also narrated from Zayd ibn Aslam that ‘Amr ibn al-‘As saw ‘Umar in his sleep and asked, ‘How have you done?’ He asked, ‘When did I leave you?’ He answered, ‘Twelve years ago.’ He said, ‘I have only finished my accounting now.’

Ibn Sa‘d narrated that Salim ibn ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar said: I heard a man of the Ansar saying, ‘I asked Allah to show me ‘Umar in my sleep, then I saw him after ten years, and he was wiping sweat from his brow. I said, ‘Amir al-Mu’minin, what have you done?’ He said, ‘Right now I have finished, and if it were not for the mercy of my Lord I would have been destroyed.’

Al-Hakim narrated that ash-Sha‘bi said: ‘Atikah bint Zayd ibn ‘Amr ibn Nufayl eulogised ‘Umar, saying:

‘Eye! let your tears and weeping be abundant,

and do not weary over the noble imam.

The fate of the inspired horseman distressed me

on the day of combat and harsh reproach;

The protection of the deen, the helper against fate,

succour of the troubled and the distressed.

Say to the people of hardship and misfortune,

“Die! since fate has given us to drink the cup of division and disunion.”’

Those of the Companions who died during his days

During the khilafah of ‘Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, those of the notable companions who died were: ‘Utbah ibn Ghazwan, al-‘Ala’ ibn al-Hadrami, Qais ibn as-Sakan, Abu Quhafah the father of as-Siddiq, may Allah be pleased with him, Sa‘d ibn ‘Ubadah, Suhayl ibn ‘Amr, Ibn Umm Maktum the mu’adhdhin, ‘Ayyash ibn Abi Rabi‘ah, ‘Abd ar-Rahman the brother of az-Zubayr ibn al-‘Awwam, Qais ibn Abi Sa‘sa‘ah one of those who memorised all of the Qur’an, Nawfal ibn al-Harith ibn ‘Abd al-Muttalib, his brother Abu Sufyan, Mariyah the mother of the Sayyid Ibrahim (the son of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, who died in infancy), Abu ‘Ubaydah ibn al-Jarrah, Mu‘adh ibn Jabal, Yazid ibn Abi Sufyan, Shurahbil ibn Hasanah, al-Fadl ibn al-‘Abbas, Abu Jandal ibn Suhayl, Abu Malik al-Ash‘ari, Safwan ibn al-Mu‘attal, Ubayy ibn Ka‘b, Bilal the mu’adhdhin, Usayd ibn al-Hudhayr, al-Bara’ ibn Malik the brother of Anas, Zaynab bint Jahsh, ‘Iyad ibn Ghanam, Abu’l-Haytham ibn at-Tayyihan, Khalid ibn al-Walid, al-Jarud the chief of Bani ‘Abd al-Qais, an-Nu‘man ibn Muqarran, Qatadah ibn an-Nu‘man, al-Aqra‘ ibn Habis, Sawdah bint Zam‘ah, ‘Uwaym ibn Sa‘idah, Ghilan ath-Thaqafi, Abu Mihjan ath-Thaqafi, and other Companions, may Allah be pleased with all of them.


1 An ayah whose judgement remains valid although it is not in the mushaf and is not recited.

2 Sikkah is literally both a ‘row’ and a ‘plough’ and it is possible there is a reference to the tradition that ‘The sikkah (plough) has not entered the abode of a people but that it humiliated them.’