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    Omar's Marked Individuality

    Another side of `Omar's marked
    individuality has
    to be considered within the overall characteristics of his wonderful
    personality. He was a man of transparent  honesty: honesty in word and deed.
    Whenever he spoke or counselled, all that he said emanated from his honest
    transparent heart. And whatever he did was an interpretation of what was there
    on his honest, transparent mind. No wonder, then, that his profound affection
    and fondness of the Prophet, Allah's Peace and Blessings be upon him, were the
    true signs of gratitude on the part of the disciple towards his master. It was
    Muhammad's Mission that extricated `Omar from the
    jeopardies  of the dark life and beliefs of his
    people; and it was that transparent honesty that made him outspoken  and daring in his remarks and counsels,
    even to the Prophet himself; which thing drew him nearer and nearer to his
    master and guide, Allah's Peace and Blessings be upon him. And it is for this
    quality that the Prophet made him his second counsellor after Abu-Bakr.

     `Omar's perpetual awe of Allah, his profound affection for
    the Prophet and his transparent honesty, all caused him to have unique
    relationships with the Qur'an. He did not recite it as all the other Muslims
    did, nor did he listen to it recited by others, as everybody else did. The Word
    of Allah always found its direct way to the transparent mind and heart of
    `Omar, whose transparent honesty in receiving it, as well as reacting to it,
    moved all his senses and feelings and put them in the service of the Word of
    Allah. That is why, in many cases, `Omar was so much in a state of Grace  that, when any verse  of the Qur'an was recited before him, he
    unintentionally  found his tongue ready to complete the
    verse recited. It did also happen that in some situations, when `Omar talked
    about a certain matter, the Word of Allah was revealed to confirm  what he said. Moreover, in some other
    situations, when he indulged in the hope of something, he was fortunate enough
    to have one or more verses of the Qur'an revealed to fulfil his hope. `Omar's
    glorification of AI-Ka'bah was such that he hoped the name of Ibrahim, Allah's
    Peace and Blessings be upon him, be immortalized  He knew the wonderful task Ibrahim had
    been ordered by Allah to do with the help of his son Ismail, i.e. the erection  of Al-Ka'bah. So one day, `Omar went to
    the Prophet, Allah's Peace and Blessings be upon him, and said to him, "I
    wish you prayed behind Ibrahim's standing." At once, Gabriel came down
    with Allah's revelation, fulfilling `Omar's wish:

    وَاتَّخِذُواْ مِن مَّقَامِ إِبْرَاهِيمَ مُصَلًّى}  البقرة125

    make an oratory (place of prayer) of Ibrahim's standing." (Al

    Since that
    day, billions and billions of Muslims recite the verse of Allah, and emulate  with each other to say their prayers in
    Ibrahim's standing, all in fulfilment of `Omar's wish.

    incident. We have seen how, in his Pre-Islamic days, `Omar was addicted to
    drinking, as almost all the youth of his time. But after his conversion to
    Islam, he gave up drinking entirely, not because there were orders forbidding
    the drinking of wine, as there were no such orders, but because he had been
    responding to the great wisdom conveyed in Allah's revelation:

    تَقْرَبُواْ الصَّلاَةَ وَأَنتُمْ سُكَارَى حَتَّىَ تَعْلَمُواْ مَا تَقُولُونَ}  النساء43

    Do not approach the prayers while you are intoxicated that you may be conscious
    of what you say "( Al Nisaa:4:43)

     Yet `Omar, so filled in heart with Faith
    and inspiration, was not quite at ease concerning that indefinite  prohibition  of wine. So one day, he prayed to Allah
    to show the Muslims an indisputable  evidence concerning wine. And there came
    down the revelation:

    أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ إِنَّمَا الْخَمْرُ وَالْمَيْسِرُ وَالأَنصَابُ
    وَالأَزْلاَمُ رِجْسٌ مِّنْ عَمَلِ الشَّيْطَانِ فَاجْتَنِبُوهُ لَعَلَّكُمْ
    تُفْلِحُونَ}  المائدة90

    you who believe! Wine, indeed, and gambling and the idols and the (divination)
    arrows are filth of Satan's act. So avoid it (all) that you may thrive."
    (Al Maidah:5:90)


    A third
    incident which shows the inspiring power in `Omar. His sense of honour always
    made him solicitous and considerate for all that
    protected the honour of any Muslim woman. What if this concerned the Mothers of
    the Faithful, the Prophet's wives? `Omar's frequent attendance to the Prophet,
    Allah's Peace and Blessings be upon him, made him discern that the Prophet's
    wives received various men of diverse characters and
    attitudes  With this `Omar was greatly annoyed and
    dissatisfied. So one day, taking a watchful care of all that touched the
    Prophet's wives, he said to the Prophet, Allah's Peace and Blessings be upon
    him, "O Messenger of Allah! Your wives receive the righteous and the
    libertine. I wish you ordered them to be veiled." He kept on requesting
    the Prophet to do that until Zainab bint Jahsh, a wife of the Prophet's, became
    furious one day and said to `Omar: "O ibnul-Khattab! Would you force us to
    obey your order when Allah's revelation comes down in our homes?" And very
    soon Gabriel came down with Allah's revelation:

    { وَإِذَا
    سَأَلْتُمُوهُنَّ مَتَاعاً فَاسْأَلُوهُنَّ مِن وَرَاء حِجَابٍ} الأحزاب53

     "And if you request of them (the Prophet's wives) any object,
    then request of them from behind a screen." (Al Ahzab:33:53)

    A fourth
    incident which shows how `Omar's wishes and aspirations were frequently
    supported and confirmed by the Qur'an. This is an account related by
    Ibn-'Abbas, Allah be pleased with him. He says: "The Prophet, Allah's
    Peace and Blessings be upon him, sent a boy from Al-Ansar to summon 'Omar to go
    to the Prophet. When the boy went to `Omar's house, he found the door half
    open, and `Omar lying on his back. The boy pushed the door open, went in and
    greeted `Omar who, being fast asleep, did not answer. So the boy went out
    before `Omar woke up. But when he heard that the boy had come to him, and seen
    naked parts of his body, he said to himself: "I wish Allah forbade our
    sons, women, and servants to enter upon us at such a time without
    permission." then he hastened  to the Prophet, Allah's Peace and
    Blessings be upon him, and found him sitting after Gabriel had come down with
    Allah's revelation in this verse:

     {يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لِيَسْتَأْذِنكُمُ
    الَّذِينَ مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَانُكُمْ وَالَّذِينَ لَمْ يَبْلُغُوا الْحُلُمَ مِنكُمْ
    ثَلَاثَ مَرَّاتٍ مِن قَبْلِ صَلَاةِ الْفَجْرِ وَحِينَ تَضَعُونَ ثِيَابَكُم
    مِّنَ الظَّهِيرَةِ وَمِن بَعْدِ صَلَاةِ الْعِشَاء}  النور58

    you who believe! They should certainly take your permission three times those
    whom you possess as slaves, and those of you who have not attained puberty,
    before the dawn prayers, and when you take off your clothes in the afternoon
    and after the night prayers." (Al Noor:24:58)

     So `Omar prostrated himself in
    submission  and gratitude to Allah.

     A fifth incident. `Abdulla ibn-'Ubaiy
    ibn-Saloul was the head of the hypocrites  in Madinah. `Omar hated and despised all
    hypocrites, for the simple reason that they were stripped  of every human feeling. When ibn-Saloul
    died, the Prophet, Allah's Peace and Blessings be upon him, rose up to lead the
    prayers at his funeral.  `Omar was greatly dissatisfied, and very
    daringly said to the Prophet: "Are you going
    to pray for him, when Allah has forbidden you to do that"? But the Prophet
    said: "Allah has given me the choice, to ask or not to ask forgiveness for
    the hypocrites." Then `Omar said again: "But he is a hypocrite!"

    Notwithstanding, the Prophet prayed for ibn-Saloul, and `Omar, with all the
    hope and daring persistence in trying to beg the Prophet not to do that, pulled
    the Prophet's garb in an attempt to stop the prayer; but in vain. Allah, then,
    to make the matter indisputably clear and decisive for future similar cases,
    sent down His revelation:

    تُصَلِّ عَلَى أَحَدٍ مِّنْهُم مَّاتَ أَبَداً وَلاَ تَقُمْ عَلَىَ قَبْرِهِ}  التوبة84

    do not ever pray on the corpse of any of them (the hypocrites) who is deceased,
    and do not stand on his grave." (Al Tawbah:9:84)

    The sixth
    incident deals with the disbelieving captives  of Badr. `Omar gave his counsel that all
    those captives must be beheaded, irrespective of
    any blood relationships between them and some Muslims. Abu Bakr and some other
    companions of the Prophet had had a different opinion. They had given their
    counsel that those captives should be held to ransom; and the Prophet, Allah's
    Peace and Blessings be upon him, approved of Abu-Bakr's opinion. That was
    something naturel, as the Prophet always sided with lenience  sympathy and mercy! He took the ransom
    from the enemy and set them free. The next day, `Omar went to the Prophet and
    found him sitting with Abu-Bakr. Both were crying. Upon asking why the Prophet
    and his companion were crying, the Prophet, Allah's Peace and Blessings be upon
    him, said:
    "This is because my companions who have taken the ransom
    of the disbelievers were about to undergo a heavy torment for that,"
    and added that noble
    verses had been revealed in approval of what `Omar had seen concerning the
    captives, and in condemnation  of ransom taking. The verses say:

    كَانَ لِنَبِيٍّ أَن يَكُونَ لَهُ أَسْرَى حَتَّى يُثْخِنَ فِي الأَرْضِ
    تُرِيدُونَ عَرَضَ الدُّنْيَا وَاللّهُ يُرِيدُ الآخِرَةَ وَاللّهُ عَزِيزٌ
    حَكِيمٌ } {لَّوْلاَ كِتَابٌ مِّنَ اللّهِ سَبَقَ لَمَسَّكُمْ فِيمَا أَخَذْتُمْ
    عَذَابٌ عَظِيمٌ }  الأنفال68-67

     "It is
    not fitting for a Prophet to have prisoners of war until he has thoroughly
    subdued the land. You desire the temporal goods of this world; but Allah
    desires (for you) the Hereafter, and Allah is Mighty, Wise. Had it not been for
    a previous ordainment from Allah, a severe torment would have reached you for
    (the ransom) you have taken." (Al Anfal:8:67)

    What `Omar had
    inspiredly counselled the Prophet with, was a prediction to some verses that
    had not been revealed then. It so happened that after Badr, Gabriel came down
    with the revelation of Allah:

    {قُلْ إِن
    كَانَ آبَاؤُكُمْ وَأَبْنَآؤُكُمْ وَإِخْوَانُكُمْ وَأَزْوَاجُكُمْ
    وَعَشِيرَتُكُمْ وَأَمْوَالٌ اقْتَرَفْتُمُوهَا وَتِجَارَةٌ تَخْشَوْنَ كَسَادَهَا
    وَمَسَاكِنُ تَرْضَوْنَهَا أَحَبَّ إِلَيْكُم مِّنَ اللّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ وَجِهَادٍ
    فِي سَبِيلِهِ فَتَرَبَّصُواْ حَتَّى يَأْتِيَ اللّهُ بِأَمْرِهِ وَاللّهُ لاَ
    يَهْدِي الْقَوْمَ الْفَاسِقِينَ}  التوبة24

    If it be that your fathers, your sons, your brothers, your mates or your
    kindred; the wealth that you have gained; the commerce in which you fear a
    decline; and the dwellings in which you delight - are dearer to you than Allah,
    and his Messenger, and the striving in His cause -; then wait until Allah
    brings about His decision; and Allah does not guide the sinful people."
    (Al Tawbah:9:34)

    That was
    `Omar's marked individuality, and those were his transparent soul and his great
    power of inspiration. Allah's response to His Messenger's request and prayer to
    strengthen Islam by either Abu-Jahl or Omar ibnul-Khattab, and His choice of
    `Omar as the nearer and more beloved to Him are very significant. What we have
    seen in the personality of `Omar is a very clear evidence of that. His
    conversion to Islam was really a successful conquest, not only of his own
    heart, mind and soul, but also of the hearts, minds and souls of hundreds of
    the people who, being protected and patronized  by him, abandoned their fathers'
    religions and adopted Islam. And `Omar's conversion to Islam stabbed  the dignity of the leaders of Quraish in
    the heart, and put their active persecution of the poor and weak Muslims to a
    standstill.  And `Omar's emigration to Madinah was a
    great victory to Islam. It added a great deal to the new power gained by the
    Muslims through the fusion  of Al-Ansar and Al Muhajireen in a
    wonderful rally  under the banner of The new Muslim State
    that had been established there. And `Omar, the wise counsellor of the Prophet,
    was a man of opinion, whose very words either completed the verses of the
    Qur'an, or, as we have seen, were supported and confirmed by it, or wished for
    some thing that the Qur'an came down to fulfil. No wonder, then, that the
    Prophet, Allah's Peace and Blessings be upon him, said: "If there be a Prophet after me, that would be `Omar




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