Abdullah bin Umar

(Dr Sajid Khakwani, Islamabad)

 (11 Jamadi-Ul-Sani: Death anniversary)

Abdullah bin Umar, famous reporter of the sayings of the holy prophet(Peace Upon Him) and early jurist of Islam born in 614, it was 4th year of prophet hood. Prior to his conversion to Islam, Umar Bin Khitab had three wives, however, after he became Muslim only Zainab joined her husband in accepting the new faith. Abdullah also accepted Islam at a young age, From the time of his migration till the time of his death more than seventy years later, Abdullah ibn Umar distinguished himself in the service of Islam and was regarded among Muslims as "the Good One, son of the Good One". From an early age, Abdullah ibn Umar thus demonstrated his keenness to be associated with the Prophet in all his undertakings. He had accepted Islam before he was ten years old and migrated to Medina with his father and his sister, Hafsah, who was later to become a wife of the Prophet. Before Gazwa-I-Uhud he was also turned away from the Battle of Badr and it was not until the Battle of the Ahzab the he and Usamah, both now fifteen years old and others of their age were allowed to join the ranks of the men not only for the digging of the trench but for the battle when it came.

In fact, all of the holy Companions of the Holy Prophet were consummate followers of the Sunnah; they used to imitate each and every prophetic action. But some Companions, in this too, commanded a distinguished position, for they used to be extremely careful about it. One such Companion was Hazrat Abdullah ibn Umar. Not only while residing in the holy city Medina did he retain in his mind each and every pause and movement of the Holy Prophet's as to what he used to do at a particular time, but during a journey too he used to be very much concerned about it, so much so that when the Holy Prophet went for the Hajj-journey, Abdullah ibn Umar committed to memory every action of his and every place as to where he dismounted from the camel where he performed the instinja (ritual purification) where he did ablution and where he said the prayer. He remembered every action, and its time and place. So whenever he went for Hajj or happened to pass along the road, he would get down at the place where the Holy Prophet had stopped for convenience, even though he really did not need to, and would perform ablution where his noble master had performed it. It is because of this care that indications of the Holy Prophet's auspicious route for Hajj and its Sunnahs and stages are found mostly in Abdullah Ibn Umar's traditions.

When oppression and tyranny were at their peak during Hajjaj bin Yusuf's time, Abdullah ibn Umar intended to go for Hajj .The attendants tried to dissuade him as the routes were not safe. Perhaps he might not reach Mecca and hence it was not opportune to embark on a journey. But he did not agree and remained firm in his intention and said: "When the Holy Prophet had begun the journey with the intention of performing the umrah, there was no peace at that time also. Danger was everywhere. That is, postponement of this journey on account of danger would be contrary to the Sunnah. "And if I am stopped from reaching the House of Allah (K'abah), even then the Holy Prophet's Sunnah will be discharged, for he too had been stopped and he, having slaughtered the sacrificial animal and getting tonsured, had put out the Ihram. I am also taking the sacrificial animal with me. If I am stopped, I too will do the same thing which the Prophet had done on this occasion.”

From his great and illustrious father, Umar, he learnt a great deal and both he and his father had the benefit of learning from the greatest teacher of all, Muhammad the Messenger of God. Abdullah would observe and scrutinize closely every saying and action of the Prophet in various situations and he would practice what he observed closely and with devotion. For example, if Abdullah saw the Prophet performing Salat in a particular place, he would later pray in the same place. If he saw the Prophet making a supplication while standing, he would also make a dua while standing. If he saw him making a dua while sitting, he would do the same. In spite of his close observance of the Prophet's actions, Abdullah was extremely cautious, even afraid, of reporting the sayings of the Prophet. He would only relate a hadith if he was completely sure that he remembered every word of it.

Similarly he was extremely cautious and reluctant to make legal judgments (fatwas).' Once someone came to him asking for a judgment on a particular matter and Abdullah ibn Umar replied: "I have no knowledge of what you ask." The man went on his way and Abdullah clapped his hands in glee and said to himself: "The son of Umar was asked about what he does not know and he said: I do not know." Because of this attitude he was reluctant to be a qadi even though he was well qualified to be one. The position of qadi was one of the most important and esteemed offices in the Muslim society and state bringing with it honor, glory and even riches but he declined this position when it was offered him by the Khalifah Uthman. His reason for so doing was not that he underestimated the importance of the position of qadi but because of his fear of committing errors of judgment in matters pertaining to Islam. Uthman made him agree not to disclose his decision lest it might influence the many other companions of the Prophet who actually performed the duties of judges and juries consults.

Abdullah ibn Umar would stay up at night performing Salat, weeping and seeking God's forgiveness and reading Quran. In the stillness of the nights, he would remember God much, perform Salat and read the Quran and weep. Piety, simplicity and generosity combined in Abdullah. He gave generously and did not mind parting with wealth even if he himself would fall in want as a result. He was a successful and trustworthy trader throughout his life. In addition to this he had a generous stipend from the Bayt al-Mal which he would often spend on the poor and those in need. Abdullah ibn Umar encouraged the feeding and the helping of the poor and the needy. Often when he ate, there were orphans and poor people eating with him. He rebuked his children for treating the rich and ignoring the poor. Maimuun Ibn Muhraan once said, "I entered Ibn Umar's house and tried to evaluate all that was inside such as the bed, the blanket, the mat and so on. Indeed, everything. I didn't find it worth even 100 dirhams." That was not due to selfishness; he was very generous. But it was due to his asceticism, his disdain of luxury, and his adherence to his attitude of sincerity and piety.

Ibn 'Umar lived long enough to witness the Umayyid period, when money became abundant, and land and estates spread, and a luxurious life was to be found in most dwellings, let alone most castles. Despite all that, he stayed like a firm-rooted mountain, persistent and great, not slipping away from his paths and not abandoning his piety and asceticism. If life with its pleasure and prosperity - which he always escaped from - was mentioned, he said, "I've agreed with my companions upon a matter. I'm afraid if I change my stance I won't meet them again." Then he let the others know that he did not turn his back to the worldly life owing to inability, so he lifted his hands to the sky saying, "O Allah, You know that if it weren't for fear of You, we would have emulated our clan in the Quraish in this life."

One day Al-Hajaaj stood preaching and said, "Ibn Az-Zubair has distorted the Book of Allah!" Hereupon Ibn "Umar shouted in his face, "You are lying! You are lying! You are lying!" Al-Hajaaj was at a loss, struck by surprise. Everything and everyone was terrified even by the mention of his name. He promised Ibn "Umar the worst punishment, but Ibn "Umar waved his hand in Al-Hajaaj's face and replied, while people were dazzled, "If you do what you just promised, there is no wonder about it, for you are a foolish imposed ruler." In the year A.H. 73, the sun sank and the ship of eternity hoisted its sail towards the next life carrying the body of the last representative of the first days of the Revelation in Makkah and Al-Madiinah: 'Abdallah Ibn 'Umar Ibn Al-Khattaab. He had a number of sons, including Abd-al-Rahman ibn Abd-Allah and Salim ibn Abd-Allah. It is also worth noting that Abdullah's sister, Hafsa bint Umar, was a wife of Muhammad.

It has been transmitted from Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim that Ibn Umar reported that he heard Muhammad say, "A Muslim will be brought close to Allah on the Day of Resurrection and enveloping him in His Mercy, He will make him confess his sins by Saying, 'Do you remember (doing) this sin and this sin?' He will reply, 'My Lord, I remember.' Then He will Say, 'I covered it up for you in the life of the world, and I forgive it for you today.' Then the record of his good deeds will be handed to him."

Abdullah ibn Umar reported that (after Migration, on coming to Medina) Muhammad(Peace be Upon him) created the brotherhood among his Companions. Ali came to him (sad and grief-stricken), tears rolling down his eyes. He said, "You have created brotherhood between every two of the Companions but you have not created such a one between me and another." Muhammad(Peace be Upon him) said, "You are my brother in this world and the next."

Abdullah Bin Umar has an important place ever in Muslims. Even after centuries, his opinions and decisions are still authentic and to be followed as precedent. In all academic fields of research like Quran , Hadees, Fiq or Islamic legislation Abdullah Bin Umar had an ample role. This is the honor and respect in this world, as far as the world after death is concerned Abdullah Bin Umar is milestone at the road to the paradise. May Allah please him and the personalities like him may the ever present among Muslimsm Ameen.

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