RANDOM THOUGHTS: Hazrat Umar - BY: Dr. A.Q. Khan

Hazrat Umar
Dr. A.Q. Khan


Here I would like to tell you about two exemplary events that occurred during the rule of Hazrat Umar (RA) as a Caliph, as Aminul Momineen. Hazrat Umar (RA) summoned his Governor of Homs in Syria, Umair. When the Governor reached Madinah and went to see Hazrat Umar (RA), the latter could not control his tears. After some time he apologized to Umair and said he was unable to control his feeling on seeing him in that condition. Homs, he said, was a very fertile and rich area and he had expected Umair to reflect that. Hazrat Umar (RA) had an awe-inspiring personality, was very strict and would not stand for any nonsense. When Umair had received the letter from Hazrat Umar (RA) he went straight to Masjide Nabve in Madinah where he knew Hazrat Umar (RA) would sit and carry out his duties. On reaching, Hazrat Umar (RA) saw a man dressed in very ordinary, cheap clothes all covered in sand and dust and without shoes. He was holding a strong stick and had some pots hanging on a rope over his shoulder. He greeted and hugged him and asked him to sit down next to him. He asked, in an inquisitive tone, whether Umair had received his letter or whether he had come on his own. Umair replied that he had received the letter, picked up his belongings and came immediately. “What belongings”, came the reply. “It looks like you just left immediately”. Umair then showed his belongings: the stick, he said, was for his safety and for leaning on when he got tired and the bowl was from which he drank water, etc. Hazrat Umar (RA) once again got tears in his eyes and, turning towards the graves of our Holy Prophet (PBUH) and Hazrat Abu Bakar (RA), the first Caliph, said: “O Almighty, before I am tempted into luxury, please take my life and allow me to be with these two honourable colleagues. O Almighty, please do not embarrass me in front of these two worthy colleagues.” After calming down he asked Umair how everything was in Homs. Did you bring something from there or did you come empty handed, he asked. Came the reply: “O Amir, whatever I earned, I distributed immediately. I don’t have a single Dirham. If I had saved anything, I would have brought and showed it to you”. Hazrat Umar (RA) once again became emotional and he told Umair to return to Homs. Umair then asked if he could stay and spend a few days with his family, for which permission was granted. Hazrat Umar (RA), still in shock that a Governor of such a rich province could be penniless, then called another of his companions named Habib. He gave Habib a bag with some Dirhams and told him to go and stay with Umair for a few days. While there, Habib had eaten the same food as Umair – barley bread with a bit of olive oil – which they had eaten with great satisfaction and gratitude to the Almighty. When he was leaving, he gave the bag to Umair, saying it was from the Caliph. Umair immediately started distributing the money and in a few minutes there was nothing left. A few days later Umair, the Governor, returned to Homs just as he had come – cheap clothes, no shoes and some pots hanging over his shoulder. What a difference to our rulers!

The second story shows what a humble and God-fearing life the ruler of such a vast kingdom led. Hazrat Umar (RA) had made a habit of going out at night to inspect the city and look after the well-being of the people. One day, while passing a tent, he heard groaning as if someone was in pain. He called out and a man appeared. Hazrat Umar (RA) asked him who was groaning and was told that the man was a poor villager, that he had no means of livelihood and that the groaning had come from his wife, who was about to deliver a baby. Asked if there was someone in the tent to help his wife, the man replied that there was nobody. Hazrat Umar (RA) then told the man that he would fetch help. He went home and told his wife, Umme Kulsoom, whom he called Bint al Akrameen (daughter of the respected one, i.e. daughter of Hazrat Ali [KW]), to come as the Almighty had provided a chance for gaining His blessings. On being told the circumstances she immediately replied that if he so willed, she would immediately go and help. While his wife collected whatever she needed, Hazrat Umar (RA) collected foodstuff like flour, butter, etc. While the husband and Hazrat Umar (RA) sat outside and prepared food, Umme Kulsoom was assisting in the tent. Soon she called out: “O Amirul Momineen, please inform the husband that God has blessed his wife with a son and both mother and child are fine.” When the man heard her say “Amirul Momineen”, he became afraid but Hazrat Umar (RA) smiled, told him to come near and said: “Yes, I am Umar, son of Khattab, and my wife, who helped your wife, is the daughter of Hazrat Ali (KW)”. The man prostrated himself to thank Allah that such a noble personalities had helped him and his wife and even prepared food for them. The man was then told to take the food to his wife and that for as long as they were there, they would be the guests of Hazrat Umar (RA) and he would provide them with food.

These stories demonstrate the ethics which the companions had learnt from the Holy Prophet (PBUH). Hazrat Umar’s stature was not only due to his position, prayers, fasting and his conquests. It was because he set up a real Islamic Welfare State and set an example of honesty and simplicity, always very aware that he would be answerable to the Almighty on the Day of Resurrection. Our rulers should sit down and ponder their actions and deeds. They should remember that Allah’s punishment is indeed very severe.

Posted on Sep 18, 17 | 2:53 am