After reciting Tashahhud, Ta‘awwuz and Surah al-Fatihah, His Holiness, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad(aba) said that he would continue highlighting incidents from the life of Hazrat Umar(ra).
His Holiness(aba) said with regards to the martyrdom of Hazrat Umar (ar) that when he was attacked, it was time for the Fajr prayer [prayer offered right before dawn]. According to some narrations, he was taken home right away, and was in a state of unconsciousness. When he awoke, he asked whether everyone had offered their prayer. He then said that one’s faith was not complete if they abandon prayer, and then he proceeded to offer the prayer himself.
His Holiness(aba) said that Hazrat Umar(ra) asked for an investigation into who it was that attacked him. It came to be known that Abu Lu’lu’, the slave of Mughirah bin Sha’bah was the culprit, and he had attacked others as well. When he was apprehended, he used the same blade to take his own life.
His Holiness(aba) said that Hazrat Umar(ra) was not martyred due to any personal quarrel, rather this was done as a result of a plot. Historians have written that there had been a thought-out plot to martyr Hazrat Umar(ra). A renowned Persian soldier, Hormuzan, who had apparently become a Muslim and was living in Madinah was also a proponent of plotting this scheme.
His Holiness(aba) said that in a way, Abu Lu’lu’ was also against Hazrat Umar(ra) because the Muslims had conquered his land. This also aggravated him and led him to carry out this deed. Thus he sharpened his knife and dipped it in poison. He showed his knife to Hormuzan who said that anyone attacked with it would surely die. It is narrated that someone saw that same knife with Hormuzan and Jufaynah, and when they were asked about it, they replied that they used it to cut meat.
His Holiness(aba) quoted historians that based on the disciplinary measures taken against people like Hormuzan and Jufaynah, as well as the fact that the same knife was seen in their possession prior to the martyrdom of Hazrat Umar(ra), it shows that the killer did not act alone, rather this martyrdom was part of a wider plot, and was implemented by Abu Lu’lu’.
His Holiness(aba) said there was a group of people within Madinah who claimed to be Muslims but were secretly against Islam. This group of people thought that by attacking the leader of Muslims, it would impede upon their unity and thereby weaken Islam. However, it so happened that someone came across the knife even before Hazrat Umar(ra) was martyred, and some even say they saw these three people plotting beforehand. Thus, matters became clear later on and the required actions were taken against the perpetrators.
His Holiness(aba) said that it is recorded by Hazrat Umar’s(ra) son that when his father was attacked, he was beside him. The people asked Hazrat Umar(ra) to appoint a Khalifa after him. He replied saying that there was precedent of someone better than him, i.e. Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) who appointed his successor. However, he said there was also the precedent of someone even greater than him, i.e. the Holy Prophet(sa), who did not explicitly appoint his successor. Hazrat Umar’s(ra) son knew after his father used this example, that he would not appoint his successor.
His Holiness(aba) said that when Hazrat Umar(ra) was attacked, the pain was excruciating. Hazrat Umar(ra) was assured that the Holy Prophet(sa) had been pleased with him, as had Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) and the companions of the Holy Prophet(sa). Hazrat Umar(ra) said that this was only by the grace of Allah. He said that he was not fearful for himself, but instead feared only for the sake of Muslims. In fact, he was not afraid of martyrdom as he had prayed for it himself.
His Holiness(aba) quoted the Second Caliph(ra) who explained one aspect of the promise of God in relation to Khilafat, that he will change their state of fear into a state of peace. He explained that Hazrat Umar(ra) himself prayed to be martyred in Madinah and this prayer was accepted. Therefore it cannot be said that his fear was not turned into peace, because he never feared martyrdom in the first place. In fact, this prayer was accepted in a way that Hazrat Umar’s(ra) desire for martyrdom was fulfilled, and it was done so without a foreign army attacking Madinah, thus keeping the Muslims safe. Instead this plot rose from within Madinah, and as such the prayer of Hazrat Umar(ra) was accepted.
His Holiness(aba) further quoted the Second Caliph(ra) who said that prior to the martyrdom, a case was brought before Hazrat Umar(ra) for a very small amount, in which one of the sides was the same person who would go on to become his killer. In this case, Hazrat Umar(ra) made a just decision, and this happened to be against Abu Lu’lu’. This enraged him a great deal, and later he went on to martyr Hazrat Umar(ra). The Second Caliph(ra) explained that even though the decision was regarding a small amount, the simple fact that the decision made was not in his favour enraged him so much that he went on to kill him. Some people are so driven by rage and enmity that they would commit such heinous acts.
His Holiness(aba) continued quoting the Second Caliph(ra) who said in light of this incident and the ensuing disorder that at such times, at the time of prayer, certain people should be appointed for security for the protection of the worshippers.
His Holiness(aba) said that before he passed away, Hazrat Umar(ra) asked his son about the amount which he owed in debt. This debt had not been incurred due to personal needs, rather it was as a result of tending and caring for the poor and spending on them. Hazrat Umar(ra) instructed his son on how to repay this debt, and very soon after his demise, his son repaid his father’s debt.
His Holiness(aba) said that he would continue highlighting incidents from the time of Hazrat Umar(ra) in future sermons.
Summary prepared by The Review of Religions
After reciting the tashahud, ta‘awuz and Surah al-Fatihah, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih V(aa) stated:
The incident of the martyrdom of Hazrat Umar(ra) was mentioned in the previous sermon and some more details remain to be mentioned in this regard.
From the narration that I presented from Sahih Bukhari, it appears that at the time Hazrat Umar(ra) was attacked, he was present in the mosque for the Fajr prayer. However, in another narration we find that Hazrat Umar(ra) was immediately rushed home and that the prayer was offered later. In this regard, commentator of Sahih Bukhari, Allama Ibn Hajar has added another narration under this hadith and has written that Hazrat Ibn Abbas(ra) stated:
“When Hazrat Umar(ra) started to bleed profusely and he became unconscious, I carried him with the help of other individuals and took him home. He remained unconscious until daylight was visible. When he regained consciousness, he looked in our direction and asked, ‘Have people offered their prayer?’ I replied, ‘Yes, they have.’ Upon this, he said that the person who disregarded their prayer was not a [true] follower of Islam.’ Hazrat Umar(ra) then performed ablution and offered his prayers.” (Fath al-Bari, Vol. 7, p. 64, Sharh Hadith 3700, Dar al-Ma‘rifah, Beirut) (Ibn Saad, Al-Tabaqat al-Kubra, Vol. 3 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 1990], p. 263)
A similar mention is found in Al-Tabaqat al-Kubra that Hazrat Umar(ra)was carried to his home and that Hazrat Abdur Rahman(ra) bin Auf led the prayers. It is also mentioned that Hazrat Abdur Rahman(ra) recited the two shortest surahs [chapters] of the Holy Quran – Surah al-Asr and Surah al-Kauthar. At another place, it is stated that Surah al-Asr and Surah al-Kafirun were recited. (Ibn Saad, Al-Tabaqat al-Kubra, Vol. 3 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 1990], p. 266)
Mentioning the assassin of Hazrat Umar(ra), it is written in Al-Tabaqat al-Kubra that when Hazrat Umar(ra) was attacked, he said to Hazrat Abdullah bin Abbas(ra), “Go and search for the one who has tried to kill me.” Hazrat Abdullah bin Abbas(ra) says, “I left and when I opened the door of the house, I saw a crowd of people who were unaware of Hazrat Umar’s(ra) condition. I asked who attacked Hazrat Amirul-Mo‘mineen with a dagger. They replied that the enemy of Allah and the slave of Mughirah bin Shu‘bah, Abu Lu‘lu‘, stabbed him. He had wounded others as well, but when he was caught, he used the same dagger to take his own life.” (Ibn Saad, Al-Tabaqat al-Kubra, Vol. 3 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 1990], p. 263)
In regard to whether the martyrdom of Hazrat Umar(ra) was the result of a conspiracy or due to the personal enmity harboured by this individual, some of the later historians have written that the martyrdom of Hazrat Umar(ra) was not merely due to an individual’s personal enmity towards him; rather, it was a conspiracy. In any case, we will read their opinions on this as well.
In relation to how a brave Khalifa such as Hazrat Umar(ra) was martyred, we usually find that historians and biographers remain silent after detailing the incidents of martyrdom and the impression is left that Abu Lu‘lu‘ Firuz assassinated him due to a momentary rage and anger. However, some contemporary historians and biographers have analysed this with great detail and they say that this could not have been an act of vengeance, resulting from the rage of a single individual; rather, it was a conspiracy and Hazrat Umar(ra) was assassinated through a pre-planned scheme. The renowned Persian commander, Hormuzan, who was living in Medina and appeared to be a Muslim, was also part of this conspiracy.
Modern-day writers have questioned early historians and biographers as to why they have not discussed this killing in detail as being a conspiracy. However, there is one important book of history called Al-Bidayah wa al-Nihayah in which it is only mentioned that Hormuzan and Jufainah were suspected to be involved in the killing of Hazrat Umar(ra). (Ibn Kathir, Al-Bidayah wa al-Nihayah, Vol. 4 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 2001] p. 144)
Hence, it is due to this uncertainty that biographers of Hazrat Umar(ra)have considered it to have been as a result of a conspiracy. One of these writers is Muhammad Raza Sahib. He writes in his book, Sirat Umar Farooq:
“Hazrat Umar(ra) never permitted adult prisoners to enter Medina, until Hazrat Mughirah(ra) bin Shu‘bah, who was the governor of Kufa wrote a letter to him stating that he had a very skilled slave, and sought permission for him to come to Medina. Hazrat Mughirah(ra) bin Shu‘bah said that he was experienced in many fields of work and was therefore of benefit to the people – he was a blacksmith, craftsman and a carpenter. Hazrat Umar(ra) wrote to Hazrat Mughirah(ra), permitting him to send him to Medina. Hazrat Mughirah(ra) placed a monthly tax of 100 dirhams upon him.
“This slave went to Hazrat Umar(ra) and complained about the tax being too high. Hazrat Umar(ra) asked what work he could proficiently do. In response, he informed Hazrat Umar(ra) which tasks he was skilled in. Hazrat Umar(ra) stated that the tax placed upon him was not higher than the works he was skilled in. He therefore departed whilst angry at Hazrat Umar(ra). Hazrat Umar(ra) waited a few days and one day the same slave passed by him, and so he called him and said, ‘I have heard that you make a really good wind-powered millstone.’ This slave turned his attention to Hazrat Umar(ra) in a state of anger and displeasure and said, ‘I shall make such a millstone for you that people will continue to talk about it.’
“When the slave turned away, Hazrat Umar(ra) turned to his companions and said that this slave had just threatened him.
“A few days passed and Abu Lu‘lu‘ hid a double-edged dagger in his cloth, the handle of which was in the middle, and attacked Hazrat Umar(ra)” as has been mentioned in the incident regarding the martyrdom of Hazrat Umar(ra).
“One strike landed below his navel. In one sense, Abu Lu‘lu‘ held malice and spite for Hazrat Umar(ra) as the Arabs had conquered their land, enslaved him and caused his king to flee the country humiliated. Whenever he would see young slaves, he would go to them, stroke their heads and emotionally say that the Arabs had destroyed their future generation.
“When Abu Lu‘lu‘ made the resolve to kill Hazrat Umar(ra), he very diligently crafted the double-edged dagger, sharpened it and then covered it in poison. He then took it to Hormuzan and asked what he thought about the dagger. He answered, ‘I believe it will kill whoever you strike it with.’
“Hormuzan was among the commanders of the Persians. He was captured by the Muslims in Tustur and sent to Medina. When he saw Hazrat Umar(ra), he enquired about the whereabouts of his guards and gatekeepers, as has been mentioned before. The Companions(ra)answered that he had no guard, gatekeeper, secretary or a treasurer, upon which he stated that he ought to be a prophet. Nevertheless, he later became a Muslim. Hazrat Umar(ra) appointed 2,000 [dirhams] for him and gave him a place to reside in Medina.”
In Al-Tabaqat ibn Saad, there is a narration on the authority of Nafi‘ which states that Hazrat Abdur Rahman(ra) had seen the knife used to martyr Hazrat Umar(ra). He stated that he saw the knife in the possession of Hormuzan and Jufainah and asked them what they used it for. They replied that they used it to cut meat because they did not touch the meat with their hands. Hazrat Ubaidullah bin Umar(ra) asked Hazrat Abdur Rahman(ra) if he had in fact seen the knife in the possession of those two. He replied in the affirmative. Upon this, Hazrat Ubaidullah bin Umar(ra)took up his sword and killed both of them.
Hazrat Uthman(ra) called for Hazrat Ubaidullah bin Umar(ra). When he arrived, Hazrat Uthman(ra) asked him what had incited him to kill the two individuals while they were living under the oath of their protection. Upon hearing this, Hazrat Ubaidullah(ra) threw Hazrat Uthman(ra) to the ground, at which point others arrived to protect Hazrat Uthman(ra) from Hazrat Ubaidullah(ra). When Hazrat Uthman(ra) had called for him, Hazrat Ubaidullah(ra) had placed his sword in its sheath; however, Hazrat Abdur Rahman(ra) strictly demanded him to remove his sword altogether which he did so.
This is one narration that I have just mentioned in reference to Hazrat Uthman(ra), and Allah knows better to what extent it is true and authentic. Nonetheless, the mention of this killing has been recorded in other narrations as well. Saeed bin Musayyab narrates that when Hazrat Umar(ra) was martyred, Hazrat Abdur Rahman bin Abi Bakr(ra) said that he passed by the killer of Hazrat Umar(ra), i.e. Abu Lu‘lu‘, and he was whispering in the company of Jufainah and Hormuzan. When he suddenly went to them, they ran away, dropping a dagger in their haste. It was a double-edged dagger with the handle in between. He then told them to examine the dagger with which Hazrat Umar(ra) was martyred. Upon observing it, the dagger was identical to what was described by Hazrat Abdur Rahman bin Abi Bakr(ra).
When Hazrat Ubaidullah bin Umar(ra) heard this from Hazrat Abdur Rehman bin Abi Bakr(ra), he set out with his sword and called out for Hormuzan. When Hormuzan came out, Hazrat Ubaidullah took him to see their horses and meanwhile he moved behind him. When Hormuzan was walking in front of him, he attacked him with his sword. Hazrat Ubaidullah bin Umar(ra) stated that as soon as Hormuzan felt the force of his blade, he proclaimed, “There is no one worthy of worship except Allah.” Hazrat Ubaidullah(ra) also stated that he called upon Jufainah, who was a Christian from Hira and was sent to Medina as a helper of Hazrat Saad(ra) bin Abi Waqas to establish reconciliation between them. He used to teach the art of scribing in Medina. When Hazrat Ubaidullah(ra) attacked him with his sword, he drew the symbol of a cross before his eyes. Then, Hazrat Ubaidullah(ra) went on to kill the daughter of Abu Lu‘lu‘, who claimed to be a Muslim.
That day, it was Hazrat Ubaidullah’s(ra) intention to kill all the prisoners in Medina. The Muhajireen stood against him and tried to stop him and rebuked him, but he swore by Allah that he would kill all the prisoners and ignored the Muhajireen to the point where Hazrat Amr(ra) bin al-Aas continued to reason with him until he finally surrendered his sword to Hazrat Amr(ra) bin al-Aas. Then, when Hazrat Saad(ra) bin Abi Waqas came, they both took hold of each other from their forelocks. But in any case, Hormuzan, Jufainah and the daughter of Abu Lu‘lu‘ were killed.
This whole matter is presented to argue the fact that Abu Lu‘lu‘ was incited to kill Hazrat Umar(ra), and that all the narrations prove that the killing of Hazrat Umar(ra) was indeed planned. This is what is recorded by those who believe that this was as a result of a conspiracy. Hormuzan planned to exploit the enmity Abu Lu‘lu‘ harboured for Hazrat Umar(ra)and further fuel the fire. They were both non-Arabs. On top of that, when Hormuzan was imprisoned and sent to Medina, he accepted Islam in fear that the Khalifa would have him killed.
In the narration of Nafi‘ which is recorded in Al-Tabaqat ibn Saad, it is stated that Hazrat Abdur Rahman(ra) bin Auf had seen the blade with which Hazrat Umar(ra) was martyred. In the narration of Saeed bin Musayyab, which is recorded in Al-Tabari, it is stated that Hazrat Abdur Rahman bin Abi Bakr(ra) had seen the dagger and when he suddenly approached Abu Lu‘lu‘, Jufainah and Hormuzan, they run away and the dagger dropped from them.
When Hazrat Ubaidullah bin Umar(ra) was informed of this by Hazrat Abdur Rahman bin Abi Bakr(ra), he immediately went and killed both of them and he became so consumed by vengeance that he also killed the daughter of Abu Lu‘lu‘. The dagger described by Hazrat Abdur Rahman bin Abi Bakr(ra) was the exact same dagger used to martyr Hazrat Umar(ra). If Hazrat Ubaidullah bin Umar(ra) had not acted in haste, there may have been a chance that the culprits would be brought forth for questioning and through this investigation, their plot would come to light. If all these factors are considered, the fact that this was a pre-meditated plan is as clear as day. And the one to carry out this plot to its completion and murder Hazrat Umar(ra) was Abu Lu‘lu‘. All of this is claimed by those who believe that this was a conspiracy [to kill Hazrat Umar(ra)]. (Muhammad Raza, Sirat Umar Faruq(ra) – translated by Muhammad Suroor Gohar Sahib, pp. 334-340)
Similarly, Dr Muhammad Hussain Haikal, who is another historian, writes in his book:
“Ever since the Muslims were able to overcome the Iranians and Christians, and took the reins of governing their nations, and forced the Persian emperor to flee after defeating him, the Iranians, Jews and Christians were harbouring sentiments of malice and rancour in their hearts for the Arabs in general, but especially for Hazrat Umar(ra). Even at that time, people had mentioned this malice and rancour and when they found out that the Abu Lu‘lu‘, who had attacked Hazrat Umar(ra), was Iranian, they recounted the time when Hazrat Umar(ra) said, ‘I had stopped you from dragging any faithless person into our home, yet you did not heed my words.’
“The population of these non-Arabs and faithless people in Medina was very small, yet there remained a small following of people whose hearts were brimming with anger and vengeance and whose bosoms were raging with the fire of malice and rancour. Who knows; perhaps these people conspired together and Abu Lu‘lu‘ acted in accordance with the plan hatched by these enemies of Islam to satiate their thirst for expressing their malice and enmity. They thought that by doing so, they could shatter the unity of the Arabs into pieces, thereby weakening the strength of the Muslims. The sons of Hazrat Umar(ra) were very restless to uncover the truth. They could have got to the bottom of the matter and uncovered this secret if Abu Lu‘lu‘ Feroz hadn’t committed suicide. However, by committing suicide, he took this secret to his grave; but did this end the matter once and for all, leaving no other way of uncovering it?”
This historian, who believed that this was all a scheme, further writes:
“On the contrary, destiny so decreed that an Arab leader would learn of this scheme and bring it to light. When Hazrat Abdur Rahman bin Auf(ra)saw the blade with which Hazrat Umar(ra) was martyred, he said that he had seen that very blade the day before in the possession of Hormuzan and Jufainah. He asked them what they would use the blade for. They replied that they would use it to cut meat because they did not touch meat with their hands. Then, Hazrat Abdur Rahman bin Abi Bakr(ra) said that when he passed by the killer of Hazrat Umar(ra), Abu Lu‘lu‘, he saw that Jufainah and Hormuzan were secretly conversing to him.
“When he suddenly approached them, they fled, at which time a dagger fell between them. It had two blades with a handle in the middle. Upon this, he stated that they should examine the dagger used to martyr Hazrat Umar(ra). When people saw the dagger, they realised that it was the very same dagger described by Hazrat Abdur Rahman bin Abi Bakr(ra).”
The historian further writes:
“As a result, there remained no doubt that both testimonies proved to be true, and were in fact the most reliable from among the Muslims. They testified that the knife used to martyr Hazrat Umar(ra) was in the possession of Hormuzan and Jufainah. One of the witnesses stated that before Abu Lu‘lu‘ committed the murder, he saw him plotting with the other two and according to both witnesses, this all happened on the night before Hazrat Umar(ra) was attacked in the morning. In light of this, is there any doubt that the Leader of the Faithful was the victim of a conspiracy that was spearheaded by these three people? It is also possible that there were other Iranians or people from other nations that were conquered by Muslims, who were also part of this conspiracy.
“When Hazrat Ubaidullah bin Umar(ra) heard the testimonies of Hazrat Abdur Rahman bin Auf(ra) and Abdur Rahman bin Abi Bakr(ra), he perceived the entire world to be covered in blood. In his heart, he was convinced that every resident of Medina who had come from a foreign land was a part of this conspiracy and that they all had blood on their hands. He immediately took his sword and first killed Hormuzan and Jufainah. It is narrated that he called out to Hormuzan and when he came outside, he asked him to take a look at his horse, and then moved aside. As Hormuzan passed by him, he struck him with his sword.
“When the Iranian realised that there was an attack, he proclaimed, ‘There is no god but Allah’ and fell to the ground. It is narrated that Hazrat Ubaidullah bin Umar(ra), who was the son of Hazrat Umar(ra), said, ‘Then I called upon Jufainah who was a Christian from Hira and the foster brother of Saad(ra) bin Abi Waqas [they had been suckled by the same wet-nurse]. It was due to this relation that Saad(ra) brought him to Medina, where he would teach others how to read and write. When I struck him with my sword, he made a mark of the cross in front of his eyes.’
“Hazrat Abdullah’s(ra) other brother was no less enraged by the martyrdom of his father, and no one was more furious than the Mother of the Believers, Hazrat Hafsah(ra).
“In any case, what he did was not permitted by the law; no person has the authority to personally seek retribution and to take back their rights; rather, the ultimate decision was left to the Holy Prophet(sa) and his successors after him. They would arbitrate justly among people and would order for the criminals to be punished. Thus, when Hazrat Ubaidullah(ra) learned about this plot which ultimately resulted in the loss of his father’s life, he should have sought a decision from the Leader of the Faithful. If this plot was proven to be true, then he would have ordered for them to be punished, and if this plot did not prove to be true, or if the Leader of the Faithful, (i.e. the new Khalifah), had any doubt about it, then he would have issued a lighter punishment or he would have decided that Abu Lu’lu’ alone was to be held responsible.”(Muhammad Husain Haikal, Al-Faruq Umar – translated by Habib Ash‘ar [Lahore, Pakistan: Islami Kutub Khana], pp. 869-872)
In any case, what he did was not his lawful right. In short, it was not outside the realm of possibility for this to have been a premeditated plot, but owing to circumstances of that time, it may not have been possible for Hazrat Uthman(ra) to conduct an investigation immediately. But regardless of the circumstances, the early historians are silent about this matter. There is a debate amongst the historians of today regarding this, based on the circumstances of that time, and there seems to be some validity to their arguments, because the plot did not just end here; rather, Hazrat Uthman(ra) was also martyred as the result of a similar plot. This in fact further solidifies the point that in an attempt to halt the growing strength and victories of Islam, and in order to fulfil their burning desire for retribution, there were external forces who hatched a plot and martyred Hazrat Umar(ra). Allah knows best.
It is recorded in Sahih Muslim that that Hazrat Ibn Umar(ra) narrates, “I was with my father when he was attacked. People praised him and said:
جَزَاكَ اللهُ خَيْرًا
“‘May Allah the Almighty grant you the best reward.’ Upon this, Hazrat Umar(ra) replied, ‘I am hopeful, but also afraid’. The people asked him to appoint the next Khalifa. He said, ‘Shall I bear your burden in this life and when I have passed away as well? I desire for my contributions to be equal in both, meaning neither should I be held responsible, nor should I receive any reward. If I were to appoint a successor, then this would be similar to he who was better than me i.e. Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) for he did appoint a successor (even if he did then there would be no harm). If I were to leave you without appointing a successor, then you were also left without being appointed a successor by he who was better than me i.e. the Holy Prophet(sa)’.”
The second example he gave was of the Holy Prophet(sa), who did not appoint his successor. Hazrat Abdullah says, “When he mentioned the Holy Prophet(sa), I knew that he would not appoint a successor.” (Sahih Muslim, Kitab al-Imarah, Bab al-Istikhlaf wa Tarkih, Hadith 4713)
In another narration recorded in Sahih Muslim, Hazrat Ibn Umar(ra) says that he went to Hazrat Hafsah(ra) and she said, “Are you aware that your father will not appoint a successor?” He replied, “He will not do such a thing.” Hazrat Hafsah(ra) said, “He will do so.” Hazrat Ibn Umar(ra) stated, “I vowed that I would speak to Hazrat Umar(ra) again.”
He continues, “I remained silent until the next morning and did not say anything to him.” He further says, “I felt as if I was bearing the weight of a mountain because of this vow I had made. I returned and went to Hazrat Umar(ra), who asked about the state of the people. I told him the various things people were saying. Then I said, ‘I have heard something in particular that the people are saying, and I vowed to tell you. They think that you will not appoint a successor. If someone grazes your camels or shepherds your sheep, then he comes to you and simply leaves them, then you would think that he has abandoned them. Similarly, protecting people is even more important.’”
He says, “Hazrat Umar(ra) agreed with what I said and looked down for a short while. Then he looked up, turning towards me, and said, ‘Allah the Most High will protect His faith. If I do not appoint a successor, then it would be similar to the Holy Prophet(sa) who did not appoint a successor. If I do appoint a successor, it would be similar to Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) who did appoint a successor.’”
Hazrat Ibn Umar(ra), the son of Hazrat Umar(ra) said, “By God, when Hazrat Umar(ra) mentioned the Holy Prophet(sa) and Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra), I knew that he would not hold anyone in the same esteem as the Holy Prophet(sa) and thus, he would not appoint a successor.” (Sahih Muslim, Kitab al-Imarah, Bab al-Istikhlaf wa Tarkih, Hadith 4714)
Hazrat Miswar bin Makhrama relates that when Hazrat Umar(ra) was injured, he was experiencing extreme pain. And in order to try and reassure him, Hazrat Ibn Abbas(ra) stated, “O Leader of the Faithful! If the situation has come to this, then you have stayed in the company of the Holy Prophet(sa) and were an excellent companion. The Holy Prophet(sa)departed in a state whereby he was happy with you. Thereafter, you stayed in the company of Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) and were an excellent companion to him and he departed in a state whereby he was happy with you. Then, you remained in the company of the companions and were an excellent support for them and if you depart from them, then indeed you will depart them in a state whereby they will be happy with you.”
Upon this, Hazrat Umar(ra) replied, “You mentioned regarding the companionship with the Holy Prophet(sa) and him being pleased with me is purely owing to the grace of Allah the Almighty upon me. Then, you mentioned regarding my companionship with Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) and him being pleased with me and this was also owing to the grace of Allah the Almighty upon me. As for my state of concern which you can see at present is for you and your companions. I am not worried about myself, but I am concerned for you and your companions. By Allah, even if I had an entire land worth of gold, I would give it as fidya in order to save myself from Allah the Almighty’s wrath.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab Fada‘il Ashab al-Nabi(sa), bab Manaqib Umar bin al-Khattab(ra), Hadith 3692)
Expounding upon the verse:
وَلَيُبَدِّلَنَّهُم مِّنۢ بَعۡدِ خَوۡفِهِمۡ أَمۡنٗاۚ
“[…] and that He will, surely, give them in exchange security and peace after their fear”, Hazrat Musleh-e-Maud(ra) states:
“The Khulafa never had to face any such trial owing to which they had to experience fear. And if they did, then this was transformed into a state of peace by God Almighty. Undoubtedly, Hazrat Umar(ra) was martyred, but when one ponders over the historical facts, it becomes evident that Hazrat Umar(ra) did not have any fear of him being martyred. In fact, he would repeatedly pray, ‘O Allah! Grant me the station of martyrdom, and that too, in the city of Medina.’
Thus, how could anyone possibly claim that a person who spent his entire life praying to be granted the station of martyrdom in Medina was made to experience fear at the time of his martyrdom and the state of his fear was not transformed into a state of peace? If Hazrat Umar(ra) was fearful of being martyred and was subsequently martyred, then it could have been said that God did not transform the state of fear into peace. However, Hazrat Umar(ra) would pray, ‘O Allah! Grant me the station of martyrdom in Medina.’
“Thus, in light of the incident of his martyrdom, how could anyone claim that he feared being martyred? In fact, since he did not fear being martyred and would pray for it, and God Almighty accepted his prayer, it is therefore evident that according to this verse, he never experienced any kind of fear. And, just as I have mentioned earlier, this verse states that anything which the Khulafa have fear of can never occur. Moreover, it is the promise of Allah the Almighty that He shall give them in exchange security and peace after their fear. However, if one does not even fear something, rather considers it to be a means of his honour and elevating his rank, then it is futile to claim that he experienced fear and to question why was it not transformed into a state of peace.”
This is a point which ought to be understood. Hazrat Musleh Maud(ra)further states:
“When I read this prayer of Hazrat Umar(ra), I thought to myself that this means, in other words, that the enemy would have to attack Medina and the attack would be so intense that all the Muslims would be destroyed. Thereafter, the enemy would reach the Khalifa of the time and martyr him as well. However, Allah the Almighty accepted the prayer of Hazrat Umar(ra) but at the same time also created such means whereby the honour of Islam was safeguarded. Thus, instead of an external attack being launched on Medina, a wretched individual from within the city martyred him with a dagger.” (Tafsir-e-Kabir, Vol. 6, 378)
Whilst mentioning the Islamic teachings regarding the freeing of slaves, Hazrat Musleh-e-Maud(ra) has also mentioned the martyrdom of Hazrat Umar(ra) and the factors which lead to it. Hazrat Musleh-e-Maud(ra) states:
“The first injunction is that one ought to free the slaves without seeking anything in return from them and simply do it as an act of kindness. If one is unable to do this, then they should grant them freedom by taking something in recompense. Even if then there is a slave who neither has the means to acquire his freedom, nor does the government to whom he belongs show any interest and his family members also show no concern, then he can give a notice [to his owner] and can acquire his freedom by fulfilling his payment through instalments.” The prisoner who has been taken as a slave can fix his own instalments of payment.
“In such a scenario, apart from the amount for the instalments, the rest of his earnings will belong to him and he will be considered as a free man.” In other words, he will pay his instalments from whatever he earns which has been fixed to acquire his freedom and the rest of his earnings will remain his own and this would be a form of freedom for him.
“Hazrat Umar(ra) was martyred by a similar kind of slave, who had entered into an agreement [to acquire his freedom]. This slave had entered into an agreement with the Muslim man in whose possession he was and asked him to fix a payment in monthly instalments according to his means, which he would gradually fulfil and thus acquire his freedom. Subsequently, he fixed a small sum of money which he began to pay.
“One day, he complained to Hazrat Umar(ra) that his owner had fixed a very large amount of payment and asked for it to be reduced. Hazrat Umar(ra) assessed his income and found that his actual income was far higher than the amount of income which the instalments were based against. Upon this, Hazrat Umar(ra) stated that based on his actual income, this instalment was very little and could not be reduced.
“This slave was extremely angered at this decision and felt that since he belonged to Iran therefore the decision was issued against him and the decision had been made in favour of his owner who was an Arab. And so, out of anger, he attacked Hazrat Umar(ra) the very next day with a dagger causing such injuries which lead to his martyrdom.” (Islam ka Iqtisadi Nizam, Anwar al-Ulum, Vol. 18, pp. 28-29)
Hazrat Musleh Maud(ra) further states:
“There are two things which lead one astray from right path; either it is extreme malice or extreme love. At times, one harbours extreme malice over a very minor issue. Look at the time of Hazrat Umar(ra) in that such a small incident led to such a degree of malice that it ultimately caused great harm to Islam and I feel that the repercussions of this incident are still felt to this day.
“Once, a case was brought before Hazrat Umar(ra) whereby someone’s slave was earning far more than what he was paying to his owner [to acquire his freedom]. Hazrat Umar(ra) called this slave and said to him that he should pay his owner more. At that time, there were very few people who possessed a specialised skill, hence the blacksmiths and carpenters were greatly valued. This slave would build flourmills to grind wheat and would earn a good amount. Hazrat Umar(ra) fixed 3.5 annas [a unit of currency formerly used in the Indian subcontinent] which he had to pay his owner. This is a very small amount; however, he felt that Hazrat Umar(ra) had made a wrong decision and began to harbour malice in his heart against Hazrat Umar(ra).
“Once, Hazrat Umar(ra) asked him to make a millstone for him as well and upon this he replied, ‘I will build a millstone which will function very effectively.’ Hearing this response, someone said to Hazrat Umar(ra) that he was threatening him.” This seems to be similar to the incident that was narrated earlier or the same one, but nevertheless it is referring to the same slave.
“Hazrat Umar(ra) stated that his words did not reflect [that he was issuing a threat].” In the earlier narration, Hazrat Umar(ra) himself stated that he had made a threat. “The companion stated that his tone was such that he was making a threat. Following this, one day Hazrat Umar(ra) was offering his prayers that this slave attacked him with a dagger and martyred him.”
Hazrat Musleh-e-Maud(ra) further writes:
“That Umar(ra), who was the king of millions and ruler of a vast empire and among the best guides of the Muslims, was killed for a mere 3.5 annas. The fact of the matter is that whoever harbours enmity and rancour will not worry whether it is 3.5 annas or two anna. They only wish to quench their thirst [for retribution]. Their disposition becomes aligned in a way that they fuel their hatred. In such a condition they do not see how their actions will affect themselves nor others. When Hazrat Umar’s(ra) killer was asked why he committed such a heinous act, he replied that a verdict was passed against him and so he took revenge.”
This particular detail has not been mentioned previously. Perhaps they had a short moment whilst they were capturing him wherein he stated why he had killed Hazrat Umar(ra) and after this he killed himself.
Hazrat Musleh-e-Maud(ra) further states:
“Having mentioned this painful incident, I have stated before that this incident has had an effect on Islam even until today. Although death is always attached to man, one usually does not expect death to overcome them when one is strong and healthy. When one becomes weaker and their health declines, people [around them] naturally become alert and begin to plan about the future. They do not speak about this matter between themselves, but a driving force is created that stimulates people to prepare for the future. For this reason, when a leader passes away, the people are vigilant and prepared.
“Since Hazrat Umar(ra) was strong and healthy, despite being 63 years old, the companions could not fathom that Hazrat Umar(ra) was soon to depart from among them. For this reason, they were completely unaware of how to prepare for the future when all of a sudden, the trial of Hazrat Umar’s(ra) demise befell them.
“At that time, the community was not prepared to accept a new leader. Owing to this lack of preparation, the people did not develop that relationship with Hazrat Uthman(ra) as they should have. For this reason, Islam was in a fragile state and by Hazrat Ali’s(ra) time, this condition became ever more precarious.” (Khutbat-e-Mahmud, Vol. 11, pp. 240-141)
According to Hazrat Musleh-e-Maud(ra), this could also have been a reason for the dissention and discord which arose later on.
During times of discord and conflict, it is necessary for a few people to stand guard. This is also mentioned by Hazrat Musleh-e-Maud(ra) in relation to the martyrdom of Hazrat Umar(ra). Hazrat Musleh-e-Maud(ra)states:
“There is a clear command of the Holy Quran that for the safety of the Muslims, half the people ought to remain on guard. Although this has been mentioned in relation to war when a group of people need to be safeguarded; however, from this one can infer that in order to protect against a smaller trial, if a few people stand guard during prayers, then this is not objectionable; rather, this will be a necessary procedure.”
“If in times of war, 500 people out of 1,000 can stand guard, then at times when there is little danger, can five or ten people out of 1,000 not stand guard? To say that there is no active danger is a futile argument.
“What happened with Hazrat Umar(ra)? He was leading the prayers and whilst the other Muslims were also occupied in prayer, a wretched individual thought this to be a perfect opportunity to attack. He stepped forward and struck with his dagger.
“If after this incident, someone says that standing guard during the prayers is contrary to the principles and sanctity of prayer, then such an individual only exposes his own ignorance. The example of such a person is like that of a foolish person who enters a battlefield and when an arrow hits that person, blood begins to pour out, as a result of which he runs away wiping away the blood and saying, ‘O Allah! Please let this be a dream and not really an arrow that has struck me.’ […]
“In history, we find an incident in which the companions did not take the necessary safety precautions, as a result of which they suffered greatly. When Hazrat Amr(ra) bin al-Aas went for the conquest of Egypt and he had conquered the area, when he would lead the prayers, there would be no one on guard. When the enemy saw that during this time [at prayer times], the Muslims are completely oblivious, they organised a day in which they sent a few hundred men fully armed precisely at a time when the Muslims were in prostration [sajdah]. As soon as they arrived, they began severing the heads of the Muslims. Historical accounts show that on this day, hundreds of companions were either killed or injured. One after another they would fall to the ground and this continued on. The people around them could not comprehend what was going on until the Muslims had suffered greatly.
“When Hazrat Umar(ra) learnt of this incident, he admonished them, saying, ‘Were you not aware that you ought to have ensured for guards on patrol?’ But little did Hazrat Umar(ra) know that the same incident would take place with him whilst he would be in Medina. After this incident, the companions ensured that during the prayers, there would always be people on guard.” (Khutbat-e-Mahmud, Vol. 16, pp. 68-69)
With regard to Hazrat Umar’s(ra) debt, I have mentioned about it previously as well. But further details regarding this are that Hazrat Umar(ra) enquired about his debt from his son and stated, “Abdullah bin Umar, go and see how much debt I owe.” When he checked, the total amounted to 86,000 dirhams. Hazrat Umar(ra) said, “O Abdullah! If the wealth of Umar’s family is enough to pay for this, then pay my debt from there. If this is insufficient, then ask from the Banu Adi bin Kaab. If they are also not able to pay it off, then ask from the Quraish, but do not ask anyone else.” (Ibn Saad, Al-Tabaqat al-Kubra, Vol. 3 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 1990], p. 257)
The companions knew that their leader, who lived a modest and simple life, never accumulated this enormous debt owing to spending on himself. They knew full well that this money was spent on the poor and needy and that was why he ended up in debt. For this reason, Abdur Rahman(ra) bin Auf said to Hazrat Umar(ra), “Why do you not take this amount from the treasury and pay off your debt?” Hazrat Umar(ra) replied, “Heaven forbid! Do you wish that after I am gone, you and your companions say that you left your own portion for the sake of Umar? You will be able to console me now, but after me, there will be such a situation that I will not be able to escape from.”
Hazrat Umar(ra) then said to his son, Abdullah bin Umar(ra), “Take on the responsibility of paying my debt.” Thus, he accepted this responsibility. Hazrat Umar(ra) had not yet been buried when his son called some members of the shura [consultative body] and a few Christians as witnesses regarding his responsibility for paying the debt. After the burial of Hazrat Umar(ra), Friday had not passed when Abdullah bin Umar(ra) took the amount owed and went to Hazrat Uthman(ra). He fulfilled this responsibility in the presence of a few witnesses. (Ibn Saad, Al-Tabaqat al-Kubra, Vol. 3 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 1990], p. 273)
With regard to repaying of Hazrat Umar’s(ra) debt, there is another narration mentioned in Wafa al-Wafa. Hazrat Ibn Umar(ra) narrates that when Hazrat Umar’s(ra) demise was imminent, he owed some debt. Hazrat Umar(ra) called Hazrat Abdullah and Hazrat Hafsah and said, “I owe some money from the wealth given to me by Allah, and I wish to meet Allah the Almighty in a state whereby I will be free from debt. Thus, in order to pay off this debt, sell this house”, i.e. the house in which he resided. “If there is still something left to pay, then ask Banu Adi. Even then if there is an outstanding amount, ask the Quraish, but do not ask anyone else.”
After the demise of Hazrat Umar(ra), Hazrat Abdullah(ra) went to Hazrat Mu‘awiyah(ra), who purchased the house, which was known as Dar al-Qada. Hazrat Abdullah(ra) sold the house and paid off Hazrat Umar’s(ra)debt. For this reason, this house became known as:
دَارُ قَضَاءِ دِيْنُ عُمَر
“The house with which Hazrat Umar’s(ra) debt was paid off.” (Allamah Nuruddin, Wafa al-Wafa bi Akhbar Dar al-Mustafa, Vol. 1, Ch. 2 [Peshawar, Pakistan: Maktabah al-Haqqaniyyah, Mahallah Jangi], p. 222)
There are accounts remaining and, insha-Allah, I will continue to narrate them in the future.
Original Urdu transcript published in Al Fazl International, 5 November 2021, pp. 5-10. Translated by The Review of Religions.