Story of Hazrat Umar’s Conversion to Islam
Hazrat Umar’s Conversion to Islam is a topic of the day. Hazrat Umar Bin-Al-Khattab (رضی اللہ تعالیٰ عنہ) belonged to the Adi family of Quraish tribe in Makkah. He was born in 583 A.C. Before his conversion to Islam, he was the worst enemy of Hazrat Muhammad (ﷺ) and Islam. Umar was much cruel towards Muslims and used to tease them. As he was an influential person, companions of Hazrat Muhammad (ﷺ) were much afraid of him. His conversion to Islam strengthens the roots of Islam and empowered the Muslims. Here I’d like to describe the incident of his conversion.
Just after three days of Hazrat Hamza’s (رضی اللہ تعالیٰ عنہ) conversion to Islam in Dhul Hijjah, the 6th year of prophethood; Umar Bin Al-Khattab (رضی اللہ تعالیٰ عنہ) embraced Islam and strengthen its roots. He was courageous and respected in Makkah.
Ibn-e-Umar (رضی اللہ تعالیٰ عنہ)narrated that the Prophet (ﷺ) once raised his hands in prayer and supplicated:
A thorough probe into Hazrat Umar’s (رضی اللہ تعالیٰ عنہ) life and his conversion to Islam reveals that he was a man of contradictory feelings and sentiments. On the one hand, he used to highly regard the traditions of his people, forefathers and he was accustomed of wine orgies; on the other hand, he was inspired by the patience of the Muslim and their constant loyalty to their faith in Allah. These two extreme views created a sort of uncertainty in his mind. Eventually, he believed that Islam is a true religion having the highest characteristics for human being. Now I’d like to brief about the Conversion of Hazrat Umar (رضی اللہ تعالیٰ عنہ) to Islam.
One day, ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab (رضی اللہ تعالیٰ عنہ) had to spend a night out of his house and he went under the cover Holy Kaaba. He saw the Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (ﷺ) offering prayer and reciting the Sûrah Al-Hâqqah (Chapter 69-The Reality). The recitation of the Holy Quran touched his heart. He narrated that he self-talked, by God as he heard from his people; this is a man-composed poetry. In the meantime, the Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (ﷺ) went on to recite:
He further narrated that he was of the view that these are words of a soothsayer, who attached these to the Holy Quran. At the very moment, the Holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (ﷺ) went on to recite:
Hazrat Umar (رضی اللہ تعالیٰ عنہ) narrated that at that very moment, Islam touched his heart. However, the dark layer of ignorance, the traditional bigotry as well as the blind pride in his forefathers overshadowed the great truth that began to prevail reluctantly into his heart. He, therefore, remained violent against Islam and its followers.
As he was a bitter enemy of the Holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (ﷺ), so one day he took his sword in an aggressive mood and went to the Holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (ﷺ) with the intention to kill him.
On the way, his friend Nu’aim bin Abdullah (رضی اللہ تعالیٰ عنہ) met him. He asked him what he was going to do in fury and anger.
Umar replied: “To kill Muhammad (ﷺ).”
Nua’im Bin Abdullah said: “Do you think that Banu ‘Abd Munaf would let you alive, if you did so”?
Umar said: “It seems that you have accepted his religion.”
Nua’im: “It is very strange that your own family had converted to Islam but you are not aware of it.”
Umar: “Who had accepted Islam?”
Nua’im bin Abdullah: “Your sister and your brother-in-law have abandoned your religion and embraced Islam.”
Then Umar turned to his sister’s house. As he went near her house, he heard the voice of Hazrat Khabbab bin Aratt, who was reciting and teaching Surah Taha to both of them. When Hazrat Khabbab heard the noise of his footsteps, he hid there. Hazrat Fatimah (R.A), ‘Hazrat Umar’s sister, took scriptures (pages of verses) and hid them. But Umar had already heard recitation. What sound was that I have heard just now? he shouted angrily. His sister and her husband replied, “Nothing, we were talking to each other.” He said fiercely, “I have heard that you had abandoned your religion”. His brother-in-law said: O Umar, “Tell me, if truthfulness is in any other religion rather than of yours’, then what?”
On hearing these words, Hazrat Umar rushed towards his brother-in-law and started beating him severely. Hazrat Fatimah intervened to save her husband. Thereupon, Umar struck upon her head. Then the couple could not contain themselves and cried aloud: “Yes, we are Muslims, we believe in Allâh and His Messenger Muhammad (ﷺ), so do what you will.” She recited Kalma Shahadah
When Umar heard these words he became desperate. As he saw blood on his sister’s face, he was softened and said: “Let me see what you were reading, so that I may see what Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) has brought.” Hazrat Fatimah R.A said: “O brother, you are unclean due to the worship of idols, only pure can touch it. So you have to take cleanse bath and perform ablution first.” He did so, and took the scripture and read the opening verses of the Chapter Ta Ha until he reached:
Umar read these verses and said. “How excellent and graceful it is!, Please tell me where is Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ). Then Hazrat Khabbab R.A came out hid and said, “O ‘Umar, I hope that Allâh has accepted the supplication of the Prophet (ﷺ), for I heard him say: ‘O Allâh! Strengthen Islam through either ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab or Abu Jahl bin Hisham.'”
Umar then left for a house in Safa where Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) had been holding secret meetings with his Companions. Hazrat Umar (رضی اللہ تعالیٰ عنہ) reached there with his sword was swinging by his arm. He knocked at the door. One of the Companions of the Prophet (ﷺ) turned to see who was at the door. He peeped through a hole in the door and returned back exclaiming: “It is ‘Umar with his sword.”
Hazrat Hamzah (رضی اللہ تعالیٰ عنہ) said: “Let him in. If he is with bad intention, he would cut off his head with his own sword.” The Prophet (ﷺ) asked his Companions to open the door and let him in. The Prophet (ﷺ) went to him, caught him by his garment and scabbard, and said to him, “O Umar, Will you do not turn to Allah till He sent down to you disgraceful torment and a chastisement as that was sent down to Waleed Bin Muhera?” Then Hazrat Muhammad (ﷺ) raised his hands and said, “O Allah, This is Umar, O Allah strengthen Islam through Umar”. Hazrat Umar (رضی اللہ تعالیٰ عنہ) said: “O Messenger of Allâh (ﷺ), I come to you with eh intention to believe in Allâh and His Messenger and that which he has brought from his Lord.”
When Hazrat Umar (رضی اللہ تعالیٰ عنہ) embraced Islam, the Companions of Prophet (ﷺ) cried aloud joyfully: ‘Allahu Akbar (Allah is Great) which was heard in Holy Kaaba’.
Hazrat Umar’s Conversion to Islam was a great success for the Muslims. After his conversion, the situation changed and the believers who had been used to worship Allah secretly now gathered and performed their rites of worship openly in the Holy Kaaba.
Ibn Ishaq narrated on the authority of Hazrat Umar (رضی اللہ تعالیٰ عنہ), “When I embraced Islam, I remembered the worst enemy of Muhammad (ﷺ), i.e. Abu Jahl. I went to him and knocked at his door. When he came out to see me, I told him directly that I had embraced Islam. He immediately slammed the door repulsively denouncing my move as infamous and my face as ugly.”
After Hazrat Umar’s conversion to Islam, some people of Makkah denounced him as an apostate. The polytheists of Quraish rushed towards his house to kill him. Abdullah bin Umar (رضی اللہ تعالیٰ عنہ), narrated: While ‘Umar (رضی اللہ تعالیٰ عنہ), was at home in a state of fear, there came Abu Amar Al-As bin Wail As-Sahmy, wearing an embroidered cloak and a shirt having silk hems. He was from the tribe of Bani Sahm who were our allies during the pre-Islamic period of ignorance.
Al-‘As said to ‘Umar (رضی اللہ تعالیٰ عنہ): What’s wrong with you? He said: Your people claim that they will kill me if I embraced Islam. Al-As said: Nobody will harm you after I have given protection to you. So Al-As went out and met the people streaming in the whole valley. He said: Where are you going? They replied: We want the son of Al-Khattab who has embraced Islam. Al- ‘As said: There is no way for anybody to touch him. So the people retreated.
Hazrat Umar’s conversion to Islam changed the atmosphere of Makkah. Mujahid, on the authority of Ibn Al-‘Abbas (رضی اللہ تعالیٰ عنہ), narrated that he had asked ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab, why he had been given the epithet of Al-Farouque (he who distinguishes truth from falsehood). He replied, after I had embraced Islam, I asked the Prophet (ﷺ): ‘Aren’t we on the right path here and Hereafter?’ The Prophet (ﷺ) answered: ‘Of course you are! I swear by Allah in Whose Hand my soul is, that you are right in this world and in the hereafter.’ I, therefore, asked the Prophet (ﷺ) ‘Why we then had to conduct clandestine activism. I swear by Allâh Who has sent you with the Truth, that we will leave our concealment and proclaim our noble cause publicly.’ We then went out in two groups, Hamzah leading one and I the other. We headed for the Mosque in broad daylight when the polytheists of Quraish saw us, their faces went pale and got incredibly depressed and resentful. On that very occasion, the Prophet (Peace be upon him) attached to me the epithet of Al-Farouque or Farooq.
Ibn Masud (رضی اللہ تعالیٰ عنہ), related that they (the Muslims) had never been able to observe their religious rites inside the Holy Sanctuary except when ‘Umar embraced Islam.
Suhaib bin Sinan (رضی اللہ تعالیٰ عنہ),, in the same context, said that it was only after ‘Umar’s conversion, that we started to proclaim our Call, assemble around and circumambulate the Sacred House freely. We even dared retaliate against some of the injustices done to harm us.
In the same context, Ibn Mas’ud (رضی اللہ تعالیٰ عنہ), said: We have been strengthened a lot since ‘Umar (رضی اللہ تعالیٰ عنہ), embraced Islam.