Tuesday, 27 March 2007

How Saiyidina Umar Al-Khattab RA Embraced Islam

Saiyidina Umar Al-Khattab RA, of whom all the Muslims are justly proud, and the disbelievers still dread, was most adamant in opposing the Prophet Muhammad SAW and very prominent in persecuting the Muslims before he embraced Islam.

One day, the Quraysh in a meeting called for somebody to volunteer himself for the assassination of the Prophet SAW. Umar RA offered himself for this job, at which everybody exclaimed:

"Surely, you can do it, Umar!"

With sword hanging from his neck, he set out straight away on his sinister errand. On his way he met Sa'ad bin Abi Waqqas of the Zuhrah clan. (In another narration, the Sahabi which Saiyidina Umar RA met was Nu'aim bin Tufayl RA.)

Sa'ad RA inquired: "Whither! Umar?"

Umar RA: "I am after finishing Muhammad"

Sa'ad RA: "But do you not see that Banu Hashim, Banu Zuhrah and Banu Abdu Munaf are likely to kill you in retaliation?"

Umar RA (upset at the warning): "It seems that you also have renounced the religion of your forefathers. Let me settle with you first."

So saying, Umar RA drew out his sword. Sa'ad RA announcing his Islam, also took out his sword. They were about to start a duel when Sa'ad RA said:

"You had better first set your own house in order. Your sister and brother-in-law both have accepted Islam."

Hearing this, Umar RA flew into a towering rage and turned his steps towards his sister's house. The door of the house was bolted from inside and both husband and wife were receiving lessons in the Qur'an from Khabbab RA. Umar RA knocked at the door and shouted for his sister to open it.

Khabbab RA hearing the voice of Umar RA, hid himself in some inner room, forgetting to take the manuscript pages of the Holy Qur'an with him.

When the sister opened the door, Umar RA hit her on the head, saying:

"O, enemy of yourself. You too have renounced your religion."

Her head began to bleed. He then went inside and inquired, "What were you doing? And who was the stranger I heard from outside?"

His brother-in-law replied, "We were talking to each other."

Umar said to him, "Have you also forsaken the creed of your forefathers and gone over to the new religion?"

The brother-in-law replied, "But what if the new religion be the better and the true one?"

Umar RA got beside himself with rage and fell on him, pulling his beard and beating him most savagely. When his sister intervened, he smote her so violently on her face that it bled most profusely. She was, after all, Umar's sister.

She burst out:

"'Umar! We are beaten only because we have become Muslims. Listen! we are determined to die as Muslims. You are free to do whatever you like."

When Umar RA had cooled down and felt a bit ashamed over his sister's bleeding, his eyes fell on the pages of the Qur'an left behind by Khabbab RA.

He said, "Alright show me, what are these?"

"No," said the sister.

"You are unclean and no unclean person can touch the Scripture."

He insisted, but the sister was not prepared to allow him to touch the leaves unless he washed his body.

Umar RA at last gave in. He washed his body and then began to read the leaves. It was Surah Taha. He started from the beginning of the Surah, and he was a changed man altogether when he came to the verse:

"Lo! I, indeed I am Allah. There is none worthy of worship save Me. So serve me and establish Solat for My remembrance" (Surah Taha: Ayat 14)

Umar RA then said: "Alright, take me to Muhammad SAW."

On hearing this, Khabbab RA came out from inside and said:

"O, Umar! Glad tidings for you. Yesterday (on Thursday night) the Prophet (SAW) prayed to Allah - "0, Allah strengthen Islam with either 'Umar or Abu Jahl, whomsoever Thou likest". It seems that his (SAW) prayer has been answered in your favour."

Umar RA then went to the Prophet SAW and embraced Islam on Friday morning. Umar RA's Islam was a terrible blow to the morale of the unbelievers; but still the Muslims were few in number and the whole country was against them. The disbelievers intensified their efforts for the complete annihilation of Muslims and the extinction of Islam. With Umar RA on their side, the Muslims now started saying their Solat in the Haram.

Abdullah bin Mas'ud RA says:

"'Umar's (RA) Islam was a big triumph, his emigration to Madinah a tremendous reinforcement, and his accession to the Caliphate a great blessing for the Muslims."

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