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Stories of the Sahabah

Khalifa Umar Ibn Khuttab

Khalifa Omar Bin Abdul Aziz


Khalifa Umar Ibn Khuttab

Old Containers One particularly interesting story occurred during the reign of Khalifa Umar Ibn Khuttab. Unlike other leaders, Khalifa Umar would walk around the city at night to see if everything and everyone was fine. He would try to solve problems if made aware of anything not right. One night, he went in disguise as not to be recognized by the citizens. He was accompanied by his good friend, Ibn Abbas. As they made their way to all parts of the city, they finally reached a neighborhood where very poor people lived. When he was walking by a very small house, he heard a mother telling her daughter to add water to the milk that they were going to sell so that they would have a greater quantity of milk. The daughter told her mother that although they did that prior to becoming Muslims, now that they were Muslim, they could no longer practice deceitful business dealings. The mother again insisted that her daughter add water to the milk. The daughter replied, "No. The Khalifa said that we should not practice deceitful acts."

The mother said, "We are too poor. It is the only way we can earn enough money to provide for us. The Khalifa has forgotten us, and he won't know what we did."

The daughter said, "Such an income would not be lawful; as a Muslim I would not do anything whereby other Muslims are deceived."

The mother said, "But there is neither the Khalifa nor any of his officers here to see what we do.

Daughter, go to bed now and tomorrow I will myself mix the milk with water for you."

The daughter refused to take part in the plan of her mother. She said, "The Khalifa may or may not be here, but his order must be obeyed. You may escape the notice of the Khalifa and his officers, but how can we escape the notice of Allah and our own conscience?" She also said, "Omar cannot see us but the God of Umar can see us." The daughter refused to take part in the plan of her mother.

Thereupon the mother remained quiet. The lamp was extinguished and the mother and the daughter went to sleep.

Having heard all of this, Khalifa Umar knew of the mother's plan. The next day, Khalifa Umar sent a man to buy milk from the woman. To his surprise, the milk didn't have any water added to it. The daughter knew right from wrong and was strong enough to hold her ground with her mother.

Khalifa Umar said to his friend, "The daughter stayed strong even when her mother wanted her to do something wrong. She deserves a reward. What reward should I give her?"

"She should be rewarded with some money," said lbn Abbas.

Khalifa Umar said, "A daughter like her would be a great wife for my son. Someday she would make a good mother–strong, honest, and a great role-model. Because she is so good, she should be given the greatest gift in the nation, because everyone in the nation should learn how to be good like her."

The Khalifa sent for the young woman and her mother to come to his court. The mother shivered because she was afraid when she stood before the mighty ruler, but the young woman stood boldly and without fear.

Then, in front of everyone, Khalifa Umar told how he had overheard the mother and daughter talking about adding water to the milk, and how the daughter had done what was right, even when her mother told her not to.

Someone said that the mother should be punished, but the Khalifa said that usually he would, but he had forgiven her because her daughter was so good. Then he turned to the daughter and said, "Islam needs daughters like you and as a Khalifa of Islam, it is my job to reward you. I would like to reward you by having you as my daughter."

Then the Khalifa called his sons and said to them, "Here is a wonderful young woman who would make a great wife and mother. I don't know a better bride than this girl who is so good." Abdullah and Abdur Rahman, the oldest sons of the Khalifa, were already married. Asim, the third son wasn't married yet, and he offered to marry the young woman. When the young woman and her mother agreed, Asim married her and the milkmaid became the daughter-in-law of the Khalifa. From this union was born a daughter, Layla, who became in due course the mother of Omar bin Abdul Aziz, who became one of the most great and unique Khalifas.

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Khalifa Omar Bin Abdul Aziz

treeOmar Bin Abdul Aziz was born in 682 A.C., in Medina, Saudi Arabia. During his childhood, he memorized the entire Quran. Omar was a direct dissident, on his mother's side, of the famous Amir ul-Momineen, Umar ibn Khattab (RA). He inherited many good traits and manners from his great grandfather that also made him into one of the great Khalifas. When Omar Bin Abdul- Aziz first became Khalifa, he made the following changes that strengthened the administration:

All taxes were abolished. People commented that there was nothing in the treasury and most of the savings were used to help the poor and needy. He replied by saying, "…the state treasury was not meant for the walls but the people, so why should they not be given?"

Khalifa Omar's fruitful achievements led to the well-being of his society. When the time for the annual obligatory charity came, no one accepted it. Instead, it was sent to neighboring towns to raise other's standards of living. Everybody was able to assist his family without begging. This brought about jubilance among the people and loyalty towards their leader.

Omar also gave away all of his wealth for the betterment of society. In his possession, Omar owned only one thobe. His people realized this, when they noticed that he was always late for Friday prayers as a result of waiting for his one thobe to dry after washing it. Another example of this remarkable leader was shown in how careful he was in using state-owned supplies. In Omar's office he had two candles. If he wanted to write state affairs, he would the candle that belonged to the state. However, if he wanted to write his own personal letters, he would use the candle which had been bought from his own money.

Following the example of the Prophet (S), Omar bin Abdul-Aziz sent out emissaries to China and Tibet, inviting their rulers to accept Islam. It was during the time of Omar bin Abdul Aziz that Islam took roots and was accepted by a large segment of the population of Persia and Egypt.

Omar bin Abdul-Aziz was the first Khalifa to commission a translation of the Qur'an from Arabic into another language. Upon the request of the Raja (king) of Sindh (which the country is now called Pakistan), He had the Qur'an translated into the ancient Sindhi language and had it sent to the Raja (718 CE).

Quran VerseDuring Omar's leadership, faith flourished, as it had during the period of Umar ibn al Khattab (R). It is for these reasons that historians sometimes refer to Omar bin Abdul Aziz as Omar II. Omar bin Abdul Aziz was also the first Khalifa to attempt a serious reconciliation of political and religious differences among Muslims. Omar started in the Jumha Khutabs (Friday sermons) the following passage from the Quran to be read instead: "God commands you to practice justice, enjoins you to help and assist your kin and He forbids obscenity, evil or oppression, so that you may remember Him." (Quran 16:90)

Khalifa Omar Bin Abdul Aziz delivered his last khutbah (sermon):

"O people. You were not created in vain, nor will you be left to yourselves. Rather, you will return to a place in which Allah, Subhannah wa Ta'ala, will descend in order to judge among you and distinguish between you.

Destitute and lost are those who forsake the allencompassing mercy of Allah Ta'ala, and they will be excluded from Jannah, the borders of which are as wide as the heavens and the earth.

Don't you know that protection, tomorrow, will be limited to those who feared Allah (today), and to those who sold something ephemeral for something permanent, something small for something great, and fear for protection?

Don't you realize that you are the descendants of those who have perished, that those who remain will take their place after you, and that this will continue until you are all returned to Allah Ta'ala?

Every day you dispatch to Allah Ta'ala, at all times of the day, someone who has died, his term having come to an end; you bury him in a crack in the earth and then leave him without a pillow or a bed.

He has parted from his loved ones, severed his connections with the living, and taken up residence in the earth, whereupon he comes face to face with the accounting. His is mortgaged to his deeds. He needs his accomplishments, but not the material things he left on earth.

Therefore, fear Allah before death descends and its appointed times expire. I swear by Allah that I say those words to you knowing that I myself have committed more sins than any of you; I therefore ask Allah Subhannah wa Ta'ala for forgiveness and I repent.

Whenever we learn that one of you needs something, I try to satisfy his need to the extent that I am able. Whenever I can provide satisfaction to one of you out of my possessions, I seek to treat him as my equal and my relative, so that my life and his life are of equal value.

I swear by Allah that I had wanted something else, namely, affluence, then it would have been easy for me to utter the word, aware as I am of the means for obtaining this.

But Allah Ta'aala has issued in an eloquent Book and a just example (The Sunnah) by means of which He guides us to obedience."

He (Omar Ibn Abdul Aziz) lifted up the edge of his robe and began to sob, causing the people around him to break into tears. Then he stepped down and never stepped again on the stand till he passed away. Omar's leadership cannot be compared to any other person's - it was so unique. Different leaders reigned before and after him but none could break his record of the magnificent changed he made. He died in the year 719 CE, after ruling for only two years and five months. His subjects mourned in great pain, saying that they would never have a leader like Omar bin Abdul-Aziz.

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The Islamic Bulletin
P.O. Box 410186, San Francisco, CA 94141-0186

Vol. XX, No. 26
Note from the Editor
Letters to the Editor
Everyday Dua'a
Giving Up Sins
Thomas Jefferson's
Quran
Finding Islam
in America
The Wisdom in Islam
Women in Islam
How I Embraced Islam
Mecca Metro Station
Hajj / Umrah Guide
99 Names of Allah
Supplications After
Prayer
Remembering Allah
Stories of the
Sahabah
Quran & Science
Cook's Corner
Excellence of Reading
the Quran
The Arabic Alphabet
Tajweed Chart
Islamic Dietary Laws
Kid's Corner