Hazrat Umar bin Khattab (ra)
Period of Khilafat: 634-644 AD
His personal name was ‘Umar, Faruq was his title, and Ibn Al-Khattab, his family name. He was born in 581 AD in Mecca, and belonged to a noble family of the Quraish. He was a renowned businessman and used to lead trade delegations to Syria and Iraq. When the Holy Prophet(saw) announced his claim to Prophethood, Hazrat ‘Umar Bin Khattab(ra) became a fierce opponent of Islam. So much so that one day he took up his sword and left his house with intention to kill the Holy Prophet(saw). On his way, someone told him to first deal with his own sister and brother-in-law, who had already accepted Islam. He went straight to them and knocked at their door, he could hear the Holy Qur’an being recited inside the house. This made him furious and he started beating his brother-in-law, and wounded his sister who tried to protect her husband. His wounded sister said in a resolute voice, ‘Umar! You may beat us as much as you like, but we are not going to give up our faith. This made him calm down and he ask them to recite a portion of the Holy Qur’an for him. He was so moved by the Qur’anic verses that his eyes filled with tears. He went straight to the Holy Prophet(saw) and accepted Islam. As he was a strong, fearless and influential man of Mecca, he proved to be a source of strength for Muslims. This miraculous change in Hazrat ‘Umar(ra) was in fact the result of the Holy Prophet’s prayers.
Hazrat ‘Umar Bin Khattab(ra) was the second successor of the Holy Prophet(saw). During his Khilafat, the Muslim had to fight a number of battles against Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Egypt. As a result of this, vast areas of these countries came under the Muslim rule. When the city of Jerusalem in Palestine was conquered by Muslim in 17 Hijri, Hazrat ‘Umar(ra) himself visited the city on the request of the Romans, and signed a treaty between the Muslims and the People of Jerusalem.
Hazrat ‘Umar(ra) Established a splendid system of administration for the Islamic state. Some of his main achievements in this field are:
- Establishment of Majlis Shura, a consultative body of advisor to Khalifah.
- Division of the whole Islamic state into provinces to facilitate administration.
- Establishment of a finance department and building of schools and mosques in different parts of the state.
- Introduction of Islamic calendar of Hijrah.
Hazrat ‘Umar(ra) was so anxious about the welfare of his people that he used to go around in disguise, in the city of Madina at night, to see himself if anyone was in need of help. Once, during his patrol at night, he observed a woman cooking something in a pot while her children were crying around her. He found out from woman that the children were hungry for two days and the pot was put on fire just to console them. He immediately went to the treasury, and himself brought all the necessary food items to the woman. On his way, one of his servant offered to carry the load but he stopped him saying: On the Day of Judgment you will not carry my load.
The woman, who had not seen Hazrat ‘Umar(ra) before, was so pleased that she prayed aloud for him saying, May Allah make you the Khalifah in place of ‘Umar. On hearing this Hazrat ‘Umar(ra) started crying and without saying a word left the place.
In 644 AD, Hazrat ‘Umar(ra) was stabbed by a Persian slave, while he was offering his Prayers in Mosque. This proved fatal and he passed away at the age of sixty three on 26th of Dhul Hijjah, 23 AH. He was a truly great Khalifah whose period of Khilafat was undoubtedly a golden period in the history of Islam. He was one of ten blessed ones to whom the Holy Prophet had given the glad tidings that they had been rewarded the Paradise.
(The Concise Encyclopedia of Islam, Cyril Glasse, Stacey International, London, 1989, p 408; Ahmadiyya Gazette, April/May 2000, p28-29)
More about Hazrat Umar(ra):
- Gibbon on Hazrat Umar (ra)
- The life history of Hazrat Umar Farooq (ra), Khalifat-ul-Rasool the second (pdf)