Asalamu alaykum wa rahmatu allahi wa barakatu, Welcome to the fourth lecture of Digging Jewels titled ‘A Man with A Lion’s Heart – Umar ibn Khattab radia allahu anhu’ .
Umar was born into a middle-class family. His father gave him a hard time as he grew up. He made Umar work until he was exhausted and was often beaten. However, Umar had a good education and grew up into a strong, successful businessman known for his strength and his love for wrestling. After his conversion, he was heavily devouted in Islam as opposed to before Islam where he had an intense hatred for it. He was the second of the Rightly Guided Caliphs and lead the Ummah for about 10 years after the death of Abu Bakr radia allahu anhu. He was one of the close companions of our Beloved Prophet Muhammad salla allahu alayhi wa salam. I’ll be talking about some of the gems that can be extracted from his life and how we can adapt it to our lives.
First Gem: His love for Islam.
Prior to his conversion to Islam, he thought that Islam hindered the success of the economic growth in Mecca. Thus, he openly abused many muslims and spoke bad about Islam to the extent he even wanted to kill our Beloved Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him.
But Allah subhanahu wa taala is the Best of Planners and softened the heart of his slave; Umar via the beautiful recitation of the Quran via his sister who she and her husband converted to Islam. He swiftly ran to the Prophet salla allahu alayhi wa salam declaring his love for Islam and converted and even became one of the closest companions to our Beloved Prophet salla allahu alayhi wa salam whom he once upon a time wanted to kill him.
Now how can we implement this in our lives today? We are all in need of guidance. Dawah (call to Islam) starts at home. Never try to put others down just because they are not at the same level of practice as you. Instead be a helping hand, help them, make dua for them and never give up. Remember only Allah guides whom He wills and misguides whom He wills. Tables can turn round easily. So always make dua for Allah subhanahu wa taala for continous guidance and steadfastness so we can reach our ultimate goal; Jannatul Firdous.
Second Gem: He was generous and righteous
Umar was righteous and Prophet salla allahu alayhi wa salam said:
“Follow the example of the two who come after me, Abu Bakr and Umar.” [Al Tirmidhi]
“Among the nations who came before you some were inspired; if anyone from among my Ummah were to be inspired it would be Umar.” [Sahih Al-Bukhari, Sahih Muslim]
Umar ibn Khattab radia allahu anhu used to spend nights worshiping Allah subhanhu wa taala and used to donate money to the needy. At one put, he gave 22,000 dirhams and was always distributing sugars. He was once asked as to why is this the case of distributing sugar. He responded:
‘“Because I love it and Allah subhanahu wa taala said, ‘By no means shall you attain piety, unless you spend (in God’s Cause) of that which you love; and whatever of good you spend, God knows it well.’ (Quran 3:92)”
Third Gem: His love for Allah and Prophet peace be upon him and companion. Umar radia allahu anhu accompanied his friend; Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him at all battles. His character, knowledge, faith and leadership was all based on his solidified relationship with Allah subhanahu wa taala and Prophet Muhammad salla allahu alayhi wa salam.
When Prophet Muhammad salla allahu alayhi wa salam passed away; Umar refused to believe that he was dead. When Abu Bakr radia allahu anhu said:
“Whoever amongst you worshipped Muhammad, know that Muhammad is dead, but whoever worshipped Allah, know that Allah is alive and will never die.” He then recited Quran 3:144 saying, “Muhammad is no more than a Messenger and indeed (many) Messengers have passed away before him. If he dies or is killed, will you then turn back on your heels (as disbelievers)? And he who turns back on his heels, not the least harm will he do to Allah; and Allah will give reward to those who are grateful.”.
Umar fell dizzy to the ground and realised that Prophet Muhammad peace be upon was dead.
What can we learn from this gem? The importance of good company of friends around us to make us a better person and help us focus on our purpose in life. We can also learn that every soul shall taste death; no friend; no family will be at the grave. Just you and your deeds.
Abu Bakr radia allahu anhu chose Umar radia allahu anhu to be second caliph in Islam. Umar aimed to uphold Prophet salla allahu alayhi wa salam’s legacy and said during his first speech as Caliph:
“O people, know that I have been appointed to govern your affairs, so recognise that my toughness is now weakened, but I will continue to be tough and harsh on the people of oppression and transgression…”.
Umar feared Allah subhanahu wa taala and Islamic principles was adapted throughout the Islamic nation that grew into a strong world power that was divided into provinces headed by appointed governors who had clear defined responsibilities. Himself and the governors led simple lives and were easily accessible by the public. Strong military were held into Fustat (known today as Cairo), Kuffa, Basra and Damascus. People who caused corruption were punished accordingly. Poor people and hungry travellers whom Umar cooked for and babies born with the help of Umar ibn Al-Khattab’s wife. He used to wander in the streets, listen to what people were saying and altered the rules accordingly. There was a strong welfare system, where children’s stipened was paid at birth and annual stipends were paid to all members of the Ummah. Police, prisons, postal units were formed. Over 4,000 masjids were built. Education was encouraged to the point where all subjects were taught such as literature, languages and calligraphy. There was a Shura council were he was able to take advice on matters and make important decisions. He built windmills, bridges, roads and utilized many other technology and construction techniques in lands he consquered. To sum up, the Islamic nation was a leading example and was so organised and went from strength to strength.
How can we adapt this gem in our lives? The importance of an Amanah, we may not have the Khilafah now and work is still being made to re-establish it. However, let us focus on roles within the household and outdoors. For instance, the roles of a father, son, husband, wife, sister, mother, friend, daughter, brother, teacher, working for an organisation and many other roles in the community from various disciplines. Even being a Muslim is an Amanah. We have a duty. We have a purpose. We have a goal. We need to fear Allah whilst trying to perform this role. Look at how Umar radia allahu anhu feared Allah so much every step due to his role as a Caliph trying to be a man of justice and generosity for his people. We need to try and learn and practice into our lives before it is too late.
To conclude, there are many gems that can be extracted from the life of Umar radia allahu anhu. May Allah give us the ability to learn and implement in sha Allah. Hope you benefit from this lecture, in sha Allah. Asalamu alaykum.