Biography of Omar Ibn Al-Khattab (As) the companion of the prophet sws and 2nd caliph of Islam

His name and genealogy

His name is Abu Hafs ‘Omar Ibn l-Khattab Ibni Nafil. His family tree joins that of the noble Prophet in Ka’b Ibn Lou’ayy. His mother is Houthmah Bintou Hachim.

His birth

He was born, may Allâh be pleased with him, thirteen years after the year of the elephant.

His conversion (-10 H; 27 years old)

He embraced Islam three years after the revelation, he was then twenty-seven years old.

The Battle of Badr (2H)

Anas said: “The Messenger of Allah consulted the people about the captives at Badr and said: “Allah the Mighty, the Majestic has made you triumph over them…”
‘Umar Ibn al-Khattab stood up and said, “O Messenger of Allah, cut off their heads!”
The Messenger of Allah turned away from him. Then he said, “O people, Allah the Mighty, the Majestic has made you triumph over them. Yet only yesterday they were your brothers.
‘Umar Ibn al-Khattab stood up and said, “O Messenger of Allah, cut them off!”
The Messenger of Allah turned away from him again and repeated the same words to his companions.
Abu Bakr then stood up and said, “O Messenger of Allâh, if you think you should forgive them and accept a ransom….”
The Prophet’s screwing was cleared of the expression of concern that had marked him, and he forgave them and accepted a ransom.
Then Allah, the Mighty, the Majestic revealed: {If not for a previous prescription from Allah, a great punishment would have befallen you for what you took (of the ransom)} (8/67).” (Ahmad no. 13143)

His wish to kill the companion who wanted to warn the Meccans of the arrival of the Muslim army (8 H; 45 years)

Ali says: “The Prophet summoned Al Miqdad, Az Zoubayr and me and said: “Go to Radwat Khakh where you will meet a woman carrying a letter, take this letter from her!
We galloped off and at the appointed place we met a woman and asked her to give us the letter she was carrying. She replied that she was not carrying a letter. We threatened to search her if she did not show us the letter. She took it out of her hair and hid it there. We returned to Madinah and gave the letter to the Messenger of Allah. The Prophet read the letter which contained information about the plans of the expedition. The Prophet sent for Hateb and said, “What have you done?
Hateb replied, “I did not do this in order to betray you or to deny Islam but only so that my family in Makkah would get protection from the Quraishites.

Omar intervened and said, “Let me get rid of this hypocrite!
The Prophet said, “This man is sincere, and he fought in Badr. Who knows, Allah may have forgiven all those who fought in Badr for their mistakes.

His shock at the death of the Prophet before coming to his senses (11 H; 48 years)

‘Umar was in the Prophet’s Mosque and said, “There are hypocrites who claim that the Messenger of Allah is dead. Certainly the Messenger of Allah is not dead, but he went to his Lord, as Moses, son of Imran, went to his Lord (to receive the heavenly commands). By Allâh, Muhammad will return as Moses returned, and he will cut off the hands and legs of those who claimed that the Messenger of Allâh is dead. (Ibn Hisham, 2/655)

‘Orwa Ibn Zubayr, may Allah be pleased with them, reported: Then (Abu Bakr) went out quickly to the mosque. He passed over the shoulders of the people and came to the minbar. When he saw him coming, ‘Umar sat down. Abu Bakr stood up beside the minbar and called the Muslims. They sat down and listened.
Abu Bakr made the attestation of faith and gave a very touching introduction. Then he said, “Allâh mighty and glorious announced to his Prophet his death while he was alive and among you, just as he announced to you your death. Death is a truth and there will be no one left among you except Allâh mighty and glorious. Allâh has said: {Muhammad is only a messenger – messengers before him have passed away. If he died or was killed, will you turn back? Whoever turns back will not harm Allah in any way, and Allah will soon reward the grateful.
-This verse is in the Qur’an! exclaimed ‘Umar. By Allah! I did not know before that day that this verse was revealed (I was unaware of its meaning)!

Ibn al-Musayyib reported that ‘Umar said, “By Allah, as soon as I heard the word of Abu Bakr, I fell to the ground. I felt as if my legs could not carry me, so I collapsed when I heard him say it. Only then did I realize that Muhammad was really dead. (Al-Bukhari no. 641)

Speech of ‘Umar and the collective oath for Abu Bakr (11 H; 48 years old)

Anas says: I heard the second speech of ‘Umar the day after the death of the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him. Abu Bakr was silent and did not say a word. ‘Umar said, “I hoped that the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) would live until he was the last of us to die. But if Muhammad died, Allâh put a light among us to be guided. Allâh has guided Muhammad and Abu Bakr is the companion of the Messenger of Allâh and the {Second of two} (9/40). He is the most worthy Muslim to be your leader. So stand up and take an oath (bayâa) from him.
A group of people had already sworn to him in the courtyard of Banu Sa’ida, and the public oath was then taken on the minbar. I heard ‘Umar say to Abu Bakr at that time, “Get on the minbar. ‘Umar kept pressing him until he went up and the Muslims swore at him.

Anas reported: Abu Bakr was sworn in the courtyard, and the next day he sat on the minbar. ‘Umar stood up and spoke before him. He praised Allâh and congratulated him as he deserved and said: “Muslims! Yesterday, I told you a false word: I did not take it from the book of Allâh and the Messenger of Allâh had not entrusted it to me, but I had believed that the Messenger of Allâh would leave after us all. Allâh has left among you his Book by which he guided the Messenger of Allah; if you hold on to it Allâh will guide you to that which he guided his Prophet. Allah has also united you with the best of you: the companion of Allah’s Messenger and the {Second of two when they were in the cave} (9/40). Stand up and take an oath to him.
Then Abu Bakr spoke. He praised Allah and congratulated him as he deserved and said, “Muslims! I have been placed as your leader and I am not the best among you. If I do right, help me, and if I do wrong, make me right. To tell the truth is a responsibility to be fulfilled, and to lie is treason. The weak among you is strong in my sight until I give him his right by the will of Allah. The strong among you is weak in my eyes until I take what he owes by the will of Allah. All those who leave the jihad for the sake of Allah, Allâh will punish them with humiliation. All those among whom turpitude spreads, Allâh will inflict on them a calamity that will hit them all. Obey me as long as I obey Allâh and His Messenger. If I disobey Allâh and His Messenger, you must not obey me. Get up for prayer, may Allah have mercy on you.

Discussion about the caliphate in the court

Ibn ‘Abbâs, may Allah be pleased with them, reported: ‘Umar said: This is what happened when the Messenger of Allah died. We were told that the Anzars had gathered in the courtyard of Banu Sa’ida to swear an oath to Saad Ibn ‘Ubeda, may Allah be pleased with him. I got up in a hurry along with Abu Bakr and Abu ‘Ubaydah Ibn Al-jarrah, may Allah be pleased with them. We feared that they would cause harm to Islam and we went to join them. We met two truthful men from the anzars: ‘Uwaym Ibn Sa’ida and Maâan Ibn آadiy, may Allâh be pleased with them. They asked, “Where are you going?”
We replied, “To join your tribe, because of what they are preparing.”
They said, “Go back, for they will not disobey you or do anything that you dislike.
But we insisted on leaving. I began to arrange some words that I wanted to say until we arrived. They were around Saad Ibn ‘Ubedah who was sick and lying on a bed. When we entered, they spoke and said, “O Muhajirin! An amir of ours and one of yours!”
Houbèb Ibn Almondhir said, “I am the outstanding strategist and politician! By Allah! If you want, we will rekindle the war!”
Abu Bakr said, “Take it easy.”
I wanted to speak but he said, “Listen, ‘Umar!”
He praised Allah and congratulated him and said, “O Anzars! By Allah! We do not deny your virtues, nor your value in Islam, nor our duties towards you. But you know that this tribe, Quraysh, has a place among the Arabs that no other tribe has, and that the Arabs will only submit to one man from among them. So we will be the rulers and you the ministers. Be pious to Allah! Do not undermine Islam and do not be the first to cause harm to Islam. I propose to you one of these two men (me and Abu ‘Oubeyda), which one will you choose, you can trust him.
By Allah! He had said everything I wanted to say, except this last word. By Allah! I would rather be killed and resurrected and then killed again and resurrected, without having committed any sin, than to be the leader of a group containing Abu Bakr.
Then I said, “O Anzars! O Muslims! The most deserving person after the Messenger of Allah is the {Second of two when they were in the cave} (9/40) : Abu Bakr who far surpassed all the others.” Then I took his hand and a man of the anzars preceded me and tapped his hand before me. Then the people followed each other and we left Saad Ibn ‘Ubeda.

Abu Bakr and ‘Umar rejected the caliphate in the court

Ibn Sirin said: On that day, Abu Bakr and ‘Umar, may Allah be pleased with them, joined the anzars.
Abu Bakr said: “O Anzars! We do not deny your virtues, and no believer denies your virtues. By Allah! Whatever good we have achieved, you have participated in it. But the Arabs will only accept one man from Quraysh and will not remain under the authority of another. The Qurayshites are the best speakers, they have the noblest origins and the noblest land, they are also the most generous among the Arabs. So swear an oath to ‘Umar!

  • No, they said.
  • Why not?” asked ‘Umar.
  • We are afraid of being disadvantaged.
  • As long as I live,” he said, “it will not happen. So take an oath to Abu Bakr.
  • You are stronger than I am,” Abu Bakr said to ‘Umar.
  • You are better than me,” replied ‘Umar.
  • You are stronger than me,” Abu Bakr repeated.
    ‘Umar gave the same answer. Abu Bakr repeated a third time and ‘Umar said, “My strength is at your service in addition to your superiority.
    They then swore to Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him. When Abu Bakr was sworn in, some people went to Abu ‘Ubaydah Ibn Aljarrah. He said, “You have come to me while the {Second of two} (9/40) is among you!”

Abu Bakr said to ‘Umar, “You are the one who has made me bear this responsibility.”

Ibn Rahawayh reported: when he was appointed caliph, Abu Bakr sat sadly in his house. ‘Umar entered his house and Abu Bakr began to reproach him.
He said to him, “You have put me in this position of responsibility,” and he complained that he had to judge between people.
‘Umar said to him, “But you know that the Messenger of Allah said, ‘If the governor strives and reaches the truth, he has two rewards. And if he strives and errs, he has one reward. Abu Bakr was then a little relieved.

His position as Caliph after Abu Bakr’s death

He took the caliphate by appointment from Abu Bakr As-Siddiq, may Allah be pleased with them both. He was sworn in during his lifetime, and then ran the affairs of the caliphate with loyalty, justice and excellent management and strategy.

The conquest of Damascus (14 H.)

When the matter of Yarmouk was settled, the Muslims moved towards Damascus and besieged it for seventy nights on all four sides. One night, by surprise, Khalid Ibn l-Walid climbed the wall with those who were with him, killed the sentries guarding the gate and stormed the city with the soldiers, then he said, “Allahu ‘Akbar” and they said, “Allahu ‘Akbar”. The people of the city took refuge with their leaders who called for a peace pact. So the Muslims entered the city from different sides of the city through this pact and found themselves with Khalid Ibn l-Walid in the center of the city. The part of the city that Khalid entered was also taken by a peace pact. This took place in the fourteenth year of the Hegira. Then the soldiers continued their conquests, they conquered Tabariyah and Baysan through a peace pact, without bloodshed, as well as Qayçariyyah, Ghazzah, Sibastiyyah. They also conquered NAbouls, Ar-Ramlah, Loudd, ‘Amwas, Bayt Habroun, Yafa and the whole region up to Gaza.

The conquest of Jerusalem

Then Abu ‘Ubayda marched to Jordan, gathered the armies and headed for Jerusalem. He wrote them a letter and then waited for them. But they refused to surrender. So he went to meet them, set up camp near them and laid siege to them. When the siege became too much for them, they asked for peace, which he accepted. They said, “Send one to your governor so that he may give us the pact of peace.

When Abu ‘Ubaydah wrote to the Amir of the Believers to inform him of this, ‘Umar gathered the great companions and asked their opinion whether he should go or not. They all suggested that he should go. So he gathered a troop and went after appointing ‘Ali Ibn Abi Talib, may Allah be pleased with him, to be the commander of Medina the Illuminated.

The Amir of the Believers entered Jerusalem and it was then that the peace agreement between the believers and the chiefs of the people of Jerusalem was made, subject to the payment of the jizyah and other specific conditions. He had all the points on which the agreement was made written down.

When the Amir of the Faithful, ‘Umar Ibn l-Khattab, may Allah be pleased with him, entered Jerusalem with the extraordinary army of the Muslims, he cleared the Rock and ordered that a mosque be built there. Passing by the Mihrab of Dawud, the alcove at the city gate in the fortification, he performed a prayer there, recited Surat Sad and prostrated himself. Then he changed the orientation of the mosque towards the Ka’bah. At that time, all the regions of the Sham lands were conquered.

Then he appointed ‘Alqama Ibn Hakim as the ruler of half of Palestine and made Ar-Ramlah his capital; on the other hand he appointed ‘Alqamah Ibn Mahriz as the ruler of the other half and installed him in Jerusalem (Baytu l-Maqdis).

The appointment of ‘Uthman as his successor

‘Umar had appointed a college of six illustrious companions who should choose among themselves who would succeed him and become the third caliph.

This college met and three of its six members agreed that one of the others should be the caliph. In fact, these three members gave their possibility of being appointed caliph to the other three, leaving Ibn Awf, ‘Uthman and ‘Alî. Ibn Awf also withdrew from the function of caliph and proposed to ‘Uthman and ‘Alî to choose the caliph among them. They accept. He began to consult the companions in Medina for three days. On the third night, he woke up al-Miswar ibn Makhrama, sent him to call az-Zubayr and Sa’d, with whom he had a conversation. Then he sent al-Miswar to fetch ‘Alî, with whom he had a long conversation, and ‘Uthman, with whom he also had a long conversation (Al-Bukhârî n°7207).

He said to each of these two people: “Take an oath by Allâh that if you are appointed ruler you will be just and if the other is appointed you will obey”. (Al-Bukhari n°3700)

His death

He died in the month of Dhou Al Hijjah of the year 23H, at the age of 63.

His physical description

He was tall, white skinned with a lot of redness, a full beard but light on the sideburns, very full on the whiskers, the iris of his eyes very red.

His merits

According to Abu Hurairah, the Messenger of Allah said: “There were men inspired by Allah in the communities before you. If there is such a man in my nation, it is ‘Umar. (Al Bukhari n°3282 and Muslim n°2389)

It is reported about Abu Musa Al-Ash’ari that he said: “Now someone was moving the door. I said, “Who goes there?”
He said, “‘Umar Ibn Al-Khattab.
I said, “Wait a minute! I came to the Messenger of Allah, greeted him and said, “Omar asks for permission to enter.
He said: “Let him enter and tell him about the Paradise.
I returned to ‘Umar and said to him, “You may enter and the Messenger of Allah will tell you about the Paradise.
So he entered and sat on the curbstone to the left of the Messenger of Allah. He dipped his feet into the well like him. (Al-Bukhari, Muslim)

Hudhayfa reported that the Prophet said: “Take example from those who will come after me: Abu Bakr and ‘Umar! (Tirmidhi and Al-Hakim)

He further said, “If there should be a Prophet after me, it would have been ‘Umar”. (At-Tirmidhi and Ahmad)

The Prophet said: “Allah has placed the truth on the tongue and in the heart of Omar”. (Abu Dawuid, Tirmidhi, Ibn Mâja, Ahmad and Ibn Sa’d)

The Messenger of Allah also said to ‘Umar: “As soon as the devil sees you taking one path, he immediately takes another.

Ibn ‘Abbas says: “‘Uyayna Ibn Hisn once came to Medina to his nephew Al Hourr Ibn Qays who was among the few people that ‘Umar brought close to him. The readers of the Qur’an were indeed ‘Umar’s entourage and were his advisors, whether they were middle-aged or teenagers. Uyayna said to his nephew: “My nephew! You have been introduced to ‘Umar; ask him to grant me an audience.
When he entered ‘Umar’s house, he said to him: “Beware, O Ibn Al Khattab! By Allah you do not give us abundantly and you do not judge fairly between us.
‘Umar became so angry that he was about to strike him with his anger.
Al Hourr said to him: “O Prince of the Believers! Allah the Most High said to His Prophet: {Accept what is reasonable offered to you, command what is proper and keep away from the ignorant} (7/199) and this man is one of the fools.
By Allah! Omar, when he heard this verse, did not transgress it one bit. Indeed, he followed the instructions of the Book of Allâh exalted”. (Al-Bukhari)

Al-Abbas Ibn Abd l-Muttalib said: “I was a neighbor of ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab. I have never seen a better man in my life than him. He kept his nights in prayer, his days in fasting and he attended to the needs of the people. When he died, I asked Allâh to make me see him in a dream. Indeed, on a certain night I saw him coming from the market of Medina, I greeted him and he returned my greeting, then I said to him, “How are you?”
“Fine,” he replied. Asking him about what he found, in the next world, he said to me, “I have now accounted for all my works. If I had not found a merciful Lord, I would have been among the losers. (Abu Na’im)

Ibn ‘Umar said, “I never heard ‘Umar say about something, ‘I believe it is so’, unless it was exactly so.