Any preacher might have many followers who seek to learn the teachings of religion from him. However, few of them truly understand the themes that the preacher was teaching them. A student might have something that interferes with his learning. Another one might not be fully interested in the knowledge given to him and hence loses most of the things he learnt from his teacher.
However, there are followers who dedicate all their time and efforts to gaining as much knowledge as they can. Not only this, but also they follow ever): act and deed of their teacher. They cling to their teacher’s directions under all conditions.
In this concise biography, we are going to have a look at the life of a Companion of the prophet Muhammad) who was a great example of a devout follower. As a result of his keen dedication, he became one of the most prominent jurists of Islam.
Since childhood, the man was brought up amongst the Companions of the Prophet who were the best or people. He belonged to a very good family both in morals and knowledge. His family members were not only well known for their knowledge, but were also people whom Allah had blessed with justice and wisdom. H is father was one of the few people who knew how to read and write in the period before Islam.
This Companion was very keen to keep himself beside the Prophet ~ in all his efforts to spread the new light of Islam. From a young age he was a devout follower of the teachings of Islam. His heart was greatly attached to Allah and the Prophet. He was guided and taught by the Prophet and his father, Umar, who was a prominent and a very close Companion of the Prophet. He was one of those great scholars who strictly followed the Word or Allah (Qur’an) and the sayings of the Prophet. (Sunnah or Hadith).
He held a high position among the Prophet’s Companions and was well known for his deep knowledge of Islam. His knowledge was of great value to the Muslims of his time and those who came after them.
His personality was shaped according to the teachings of the Prophet. Whenever he was asked to give a Fatwa (a legal ruling) on any particular matter, he exercised extreme caution for fear that he might make a mistake in his ruling. He would make sure that his answer would meet the strict conditions he established for himself in the light of the teachings of the Qur’an and the sayings of the Prophet.
He was a true example of piety and pure devotion to his faith. He did his best to use most of his time teaching his fellow Muslims and worshipping Allah for fear of harsh reckoning on the Day of Judgment.
His eyes would swell with tears whenever he heard Ayats (Verses) of the Qur’an mentioning Hell-fire or the punishment of Allah. His heart was so tender and his morals very straightforward.
He took part in the battles fought by his brother Muslims against ignorance and the worship of idols. He had much concern for the well being of his society. He did everything he could to bring the people out of the darkness they were living in. He, moreover, sacrificed everything he had to serve the Message of Allah. He had no love or concern for this world whatsoever. His only concern was how to meet his Creator on the Day of Judgment. He knew that on that Day nothing could help but good deeds and true Faith.
In every test he proved to be true to his Faith. He firmly believed that Islam would, through knowledge and enlightenment, rule the whole world as long as Muslims kept true to the teachings of the Quran and the sayings of the Prophet;
This great man was ‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar “‘.
So let us read on and learn from this great Companion.
Arabs before the rise of Islam
The Arab society in the Arabian Peninsula and surrounding areas mainly consisted of tribes and clans. Some of them lived in towns while most of them followed their flocks everywhere in the desert in search of food and water. These tribes were usually involved in wars amongst each other. Every tribe was invading and invaded by other tribes.
The gloom that loomed over the Arabian Peninsula and the world in general before the rise of Islam killed nearly every virtue in the minds and hearts of human beings at that time. Human rights, for example, were not given any value. Slavery, burying girls alive and injustices were dominating the societies of the city and desert alike.
Youth and old were spending their time in grazing animals or practicing trade during the daytime and seeking trivial pleasures during the night. The guidance brought by previous religions was absent from the life of people. There was no central government; rather, every tribe had its own chief and customs in spite of the fact that some common laws were prevailing in the society.
The people of Arabia were largely idol worshipers A number of Jews and Christians were scattered here and there, but their practice of their religions had greatly diminished. Every Arab tribe had their own deities and their own forms of worship. The Ka’bah in Makkah was itself surrounded with hundreds of idols which were considered by Makkans as gods.
All these vices and atrocities urgently needed a Messenger from Allah to reform the society and spread guidance though out the Arabian Peninsula in particular and the world in general.
Advent of Islam
The child Muhammad grew up in such an environment. When he became a young man, he kept himself away from the evils and vices of the day. Like other youth, he used to graze his uncle’s flocks. He was well behaved and was loved and respected by all those who came in contact with him. He was well known to be sincere and trustworthy to the extent that he was called Al Ameen (trustworthy) by people. He did not like the ways that his peers were following to satisfy their desires. He even could not bear the idea to stand before an)’ idol pleading for help.
He sometimes engaged in trade on behalf of wealthy men. It is well known that he visited Damascus twice before he was commissioned with the message of Islam. On the way there, many signs of his Prophet hood were seen by his companions and even monks living in isolation. When he was twenty-five years old, he married a wealthy woman who preferred him to the chiefs of the Quraish.
At the age of forty, he was blessed by Allah with the Prophet hood. He started preaching the new religion to his close relatives as ordered by Allah. After three years of calling to Islam, he was ordered by Allah to preach Islam in public. He met hard opposition and cruel oppression, especially by his tribesmen.
The Prophet spent thirteen years in Makkah calling the people of Makkah and its surrounding areas to accept Islam. However, he did not realize much success. He visited some nearby towns like Taif to preach Islam and to seek protection against oppression. His attempts did not meet success.
The Prophet changed his way of preaching Islam. He began calling visitors of Makkah to provide him protection to be able to proclaim the Word of Allah. A group of visitors from a town called Yathrib believed in the message or Islam and pledged to provide the needed protection.
The Prophet; and his Companions migrated to Yathrib (Al-Madinah). From there, they could establish their Islamic State and propagate the message to the entire world.
Values and morals called to by the Prophet
The first thing the Prophet ‘called people to adopt was to worship One Allah. He told people that the idols they were worshiping were just stones made by them and that they did not deserve to be worshiped. These stones were not the real creators of this vast universe. They could not bring their worshipers any good or cause them any harm.
The Prophet urged people to stop burying their daughters alive. These little girls were given the right by Allah to live and no one should deprive them of this sacred right. He also urged them to be just to their slaves and not to be hard on them. He invited different tribes to stop invading each other and to unite their efforts under the banner or Islam to become a real nation. He also preached against all vices and evils that were spreading amongst the people.
Followers of Islam
In the beginning of the call, most of those who accepted Islam were weak people and slaves. They found justice and truth in the principles preached by the Prophet. Although some of the early believers held good positions in their society, they also received their share of oppression and torture. These followers were worshiping Allah secretly. They faced the challenge with courage and steadfastness. All means to make them abandon their Faith were of no avail. The torture they received at the hands of the pagans did not succeed in making them even say one word against their Faith. Some of them were even killed under torture.
Attempts of the Quraish to stop the Call
The chief’s of the Quraish were furious to ‘see Islam spread among people. In the beginning, they tried their best to make the followers of Islam recant. When they could not force the believers to give up their Faith, they began accusing the Prophet of things that they themselves knew were untrue. They alleged that Muhammad was a magician or a liar, although they themselves used to call him the trustworthy.
However, all their attempts were of no avail. They followed another direction. They began negotiating with the Prophet and his uncle to reach a compromise. They told the Prophet that they would make hill a king or give him all the money he might ask for. However, the Prophet rejected all of their worldly proposals and continued preaching the message of Islam to all humanity.
A New Life
Makkah and the new Message
Makkah, the major city of the Arabian Peninsula, was on the verge of turmoil. All the people were speaking of a man named Muhammad who had been sent by Allah with a new religion to take them out of the darkness of ignorance to the light of guidance.
Muhammad was a man well known among his tribesmen for his honesty and truthfulness. He belonged to the tribe of the Quraish, which was the most noble and powerful tribe at the time.
Three years had now passed since the Angel Gabriel visited Muhammad for the first time commanding him to proclaim the Oneness of Allah (Monotheism). II was time for the Arabian Peninsula and the whole world to change. There was a great need for a new light to shine over the earth taking human beings out of the darkness that they had been living in.
Makkans were idol worshippers. The rich among them oppressed the poor and the powerful treated the weak with cruelty. The people of Makkah and other Arabs were burying female babies alive for fear that they would bring shame to them. The Kabah was filled with about 360 idols which were worshipped by the people at that time.
The Quraish, being the most powerful tribe, was the custodians of the Ka’bah. They rejected the Prophet’s invitation to Islam and to the worship of the One and only Allah Alone. They did not want to put an end to the evil ways that they were practicing. Although the Quraish knew that the man who brought this message was distinct among them, they refused to accept it. They did not want to give up worshiping their false deities. They did not listen to the frequent calls 0 r the Prophet to accept Islam and stop placing partners with Allah. Only a few people, who were mostly weak, accepted the message.
During this time, ‘Abdullah was born to a good family that was well known for its dignity and honor. His father, ‘Umar was one of the strongest men of the Quraish and belonged to a household known as Makhzoom.
In the beginning and for several years, “Abdullah’s father kept himself away from the light brought by the Prophet. Actually he was a bitter enemy of Islam. He badly treated all his relatives who accepted Islam. He was as even beating his female slave harshly to make abandon her new religion. When he found no way to stop Islam, he thought of killing the Prophet. In order to kill him, he took his sword and went to where the Prophet was teaching his Companions.
On the way there, he met one of his relatives who had already accepted Islam and kept it secret. The man knew or his evil intentions and wanted to divert his way. He told him that his sister Fatimah and her husband Saeed had accepted Islam and that it was better for him to control his family before killing the Prophet. He rushed to his sister’s house where he heard some Verses of the Qur’ an. At that point he realized that the Qur’an was the true Word of Allah and that it was time for him to accept Islam as a way of life.
Abdullah saw this change in the life of his father when he was only seven years old. After his father had accepted Islam, he accompanied his father to meet the Prophet and declare that he also had become a Muslim.
Although Abdullah was very young, he could see how much the followers of Islam were suffering at the hands of the Quraish. He could not understand why the Quraish were so cruel and harsh to the followers of the new religion when they were calling people to mercy and love of one another.
As a result of this cruelty of the Quraish, ‘Abdullah and his family had to leave their hometown Makkah and start a new life hundreds of kilometers away in a city known as Yathrib, but later known as Al-Madinah.
Abdullah witnessed the Prophet and his Companions struggling to convince the people of Makkah that Islam was the true religion of Allah and that idols were just stones that could neither bring harm nor do good to them. On several occasions he accompanied his father to the Kabah where his father challenged the chiefs of the Quraish and showed them how strong he was. He even tried to worship Allah in front of them.
The Prophet seeks protection outside Makkah
The Prophet and the Muslims were desperate to convince the people of Makkah to accept Islam because idolatry was deeply rooted in their hearts. The chiefs of the city felt the danger of the principles that Muhammad was calling people to adopt in their lives. They did not want to lose their power and distinction over others.
On the other hand, the Prophet tried his best to call people from outside of Makkah to accept Islam. He would go to the marketplace to meet visitors of Makkah and ask them to provide him with protection so that he could preach the Message of Allah. His efforts did not meet success at the beginning.
The people of Quraish would follow him wherever he went to defame his personality and his message. They would tell people that Muhammad was a magician, a lunatic or a liar. They even ordered boys and slaves to stone him while he was calling others to Islam. His uncle, Abu Lahab, and his wife would throw filth onto his house and tease him. Abu Jahl, another bitter enemy of Islam, would mock him and his religion before all the people.
Agreement with the people of Al-Madinah
The people of Al-Madinah visited Makkah every year to exchange goods and visit the Ka’bah. The Prophet (pbuh) called them to believe in Islam and provide him with protection and SUppOlt in their town.
The inhabitants of Al-Madinah already knew from the Jews living in the suburbs of Al-Madinah that a Prophet was going to appear in the Arabian Peninsula. The Jews were always telling them that they would follow the new Prophet, and wage war against them. The delegation from Al-Madinah discussed how they should react to the call of the Prophet (pbuh). They all agreed that the man was a true Prophet and that Islam was the true Message from Allah. They all accepted Islam secretly lest the Quraish cause them any harm. They also promised the Prophet (pbuh) to come back the next year to conclude a pledge of mutual support.
The next year, seventy-three men and women from Al-Madinah visited Makkah to offer a pledge of loyalty to the Prophet. They secretly met the Prophet outside of Makkah. They promised the Prophet to provide all means possible to protect the Prophet and his Companions in their hometown.
The Prophet was so happy to finally have a shelter where he could propagate Islam as ordered by Allah. He was sure that the people of AI Madinah would support him in his call to Islam.
Migration to Al-Madinah
The Prophet immediately instructed his Companions to migrate to Al-Madinah to escape the torture they were receiving at the hands of the Quraish. He told them that they would find a safe shelter in Al-Madinah where they could worship Allah in peace.
‘Abdullah’s father, like other Muslims, had to leave Makkah to Al-Madinah. Although ‘Abdullah was saddened at the thought of leaving his hometown, he knew that it was impossible for Muslims to keep to their Faith under the tortures and hardships that they were made to suffer at the hands of the Quraish.
Migration without Fear
Fearing the evil plots of the Quraish, many Muslims had to leave the city under the cover of darkness. However, ‘Umar and his family members decided to leave the city in daylight. Umar was not afraid of anyone for he was strong enough to challenge the chiefs of the Quraish.
Little’ Abdullah was put on the back of a camel to leave Makkah with his family. The Quraish stood staring at the family of ‘Umar leaving the city. ‘Umar wanted to arouse their anger and make them feel he was strong enough to leave to his destination during daylight.
A hard journey to a new land
Under the blazing sun, Abdullah, held on to the back of the camel for fear of falling down. His head was about to boil. His father put a shade over his head to protect him against the burning rays of the desert sun. It was a long, bumpy journey on rocky, blazing roads, up and down hills and valleys.
After a journey of ten days, Abdullah’s family finally arrived in Al-Madinah where they received a warm welcome by the people of Al Madinah. These people were known in the history of Islam as Ansar (Supporters), They gave a lot of help and support to the Prophet and the people who migrated from Makkah, known as the Muhajirun (Migrants).
The Prophet arrived in Al-Madinah some months later with his Companion and close friend Abu Bakr. On the day of his arrival, ‘Abdullah along with many other young boys stood over rocks waiting for the Prophet of Allah and Abu Bakr at the outskirts of Al-Madinah. They welcomed the Prophet and his Companion Abu Bakr with cheers and great happiness.
In Al-Madinah, Abdullah stayed close by the Prophet and tried to be with him at all times.
Abdullah in Al-Madinah
As soon as the Prophet (pbuh) arrived in AI-Madinah, he and his Companions, men and women, young and old, began building their new Islamic State. ‘Abdullah was a witness to the quick spread of Islam in the houses of AI-Madinah. However, ‘Abdullah knew very well that the pagans of the Arabian Peninsula would not allow Islam to spread because the pagans felt that Islam was a threat to their power. Islam was freeing people from their slavery, oppression and selfishness.
Young Abdullah and the battle
Abdullah was only thirteen years old when he witnessed the Muslims in Al-Madinah trying their utmost to save their religion and city from the harm of the idolaters.
The Quraish had gathered an army of one thousand soldiers to attack the Muslims. Abdullah was hoping to take part in this battle, known as the Battle of Badr, He believed in Islam and knew that the Faith of Islam should be protected against enemies. Hence, he felt it was his duty to fight the idolaters as a true Muslim. However, the Prophet felt Abdullah was too young to take pain in the battle.
Therefore, he did not allow him to join the army heading to Badr. Abdullah felt very sad to be deprived of the honor of sharing with his fellow Muslims in their first battle against paganism, especially since he saw other young Muslims of similar age joining the army. He left the mosque where the army was being mobilized for combat. He asked his father to talk to the Prophet in the hope that he might be permitted to march with the army.
However, his father told him that he was too young and that it was better for him to stay with his family in Al-Madinah and take care for them in the absence of his father.
Abdullah was very disappointed for not being able to take part in the battle. He stayed in AI-Madinah waiting for the news about the result of the battle. He knew very well that the Muslims were still weak but he knew that Allah would not leave them alone in the face of their enemy. Days were passing very heavy on his heart. For many nights he kept awake thinking of the Muslims and praying to Allah to help them.
Allah’s help in support of the Believers
However, it was not long before his sadness turned into happiness and joy. The Muslims won the Battle of Badr. He saw the pagan prisoners of war passing before him with their hands chained to their necks. He saw how much the oppressor’s of the Muslims were humiliated. Now he was well aware of the difference between being a Muslim relying on Allah’s help and an idolater relying on stone idols. Though the Muslim army was third the number of the pagan army, through the help of Allah and their true determination and belief, they defeated the big pagan army.
More challenges to Islam
The chief’s of the Quraish were angry to receive such a big blow and were intent on revenge. They all agreed that the revenues they got from the trade caravan that escaped the Muslims’ catch should be used for mobilizing another army to finally undermine Islam and the Muslims.
They mobilized an army of three thousand soldiers and marched with all arrogance and pride to Al-Madinah. They made an oath before their idols that they would put an end to Islam.
They camped at a place near to Mount Uhud
They held feasts, drank wine and enjoyed their time with worldly pleasures. They were sure that this time they would bring Muhammad it and his Companions in chains back to Makkah to kill them as sacrifices to their false gods. Their women even shared in the march to help encourage them to fight the Muslims They dreamt that they would take the Muslims as slaves to serve them in Makkah.
Muslims, on the other hand, felt that the danger was so great that they would not be able to deter the aggressors, The Prophet discussed with his Companions a way to stop the aggression. Some Companions preferred to keep inside of AI Madinah and fight a defensive war against the intruders.
However, the young Companions urged the Prophet to march to face the enemy and fight an open battle. They were so zealous that no one could resist their wish. They told the Prophet that they should not show their enemy that they feared to meet them in an open battle. The Prophet finally agreed to the young Companions’ point of view and ordered them to prepare for the battle.
These young Companions were blamed by the elders for insisting on the Prophet to take their side. They wanted to apologize for their zeal and told the Prophet that they would not insist on meeting their enemy outside of Al-Madinah. However, the Prophet had already gotten dressed for combat. He told them that a Prophet dressed in combat uniform should not retreat.
Abdullah hopes to join the army Again
The Muslims prepared themselves to fight the aggressors. Abdullah was so eager to share in this battle that he got a sword and a shield in preparation for the battle. As the Prophet was checking the rows of fighters, Abdullah stood on his toes to show that he had become a man able to fight. Even this time the Prophet did not allow him to take part in the battle because of his young age.
Sad for Muslims to lose the Battle
All sincere Muslims were filled with zeal to show the Quraish that they were not an easy prey. The Prophet selected forty archers and positioned them on a small hill to protect the back of the Muslim army. The Muslims fought a fierce battle and victory over the powers of evil was very close.
However, the archers whom the Prophet assigned to protect the back of the Muslims and instructed them to stick to their positions whatever the result of the battle was, made a big mistake. They left their positions to share in collecting the booty when they saw the army of the Quraish fleeing the battlefield. The Quraish horsemen found it a good chance to attack from behind. They penetrated the rows of the Muslim fighters and the battle ended in a near defeat to the Muslims. Many Muslims were killed and many others were wounded. Thus, the Muslims lost the Battle of Uhud.
Abdullah was deeply saddened by the loss, but he remained strong in his belief in Allah. He knew that the Muslims would never abandon their Faith for losing one battle.
Abdullah’s efforts in the Trench Battle
The chiefs of the Quraish were happy to defeat the Muslims in the Battle of Uhud. They decided to continue their vicious efforts to fight the last battle against Islam. They thought that the Muslims would not be able to withstand another battle. They gathered ten thousand men from all tribes of Arabia and marched toward Al-Madinah seeking to give a lethal blow to the Muslims. Even the Jews, who previously held covenants with the Muslims to support them against their enemies, broke their promises and agreed with the disbelievers to help them against the Muslims.
The Muslims were not sure what to do in the face of this huge army. The Prophet and his Companions discussed several options but could not reach a final decision. Salman Al-Farisi a Muslim from Persia finally convinced the Muslims to dig a trench around Al-Madinah to defend themselves against the huge army of the Quraish.
Abdullah now fifteen years old was given the chance to share with the other Muslims in the coming battle. He joined his fellow Muslims in digging the trench and did all he could to prove that he was able to defend his religion and people.
The idolaters tried to attack the Muslims and break into Al Madinah. They were surprised to see a wide trench separating them from achieving their goal. The trench was a military trick unknown to the Arabs. No real combat took place; there was only minor fighting. After a siege on Al Madinah for about a month, the Quraish realized that they were not able to get to the Muslim army, so they left back to their homes in despair and humiliation.
Abdullah joins the Prophet and other Muslims to perform Pilgrimage
Years passed by like a dream. Abdullah was day after day getting more steadfast in Islam, until he occupied a strong position among the Muslims. He joined the Prophet on his trip to Makkah, hoping to perform pilgrimage. However, he became sad because the pagans prevented the Prophet and his Companions from visiting the Kabah and performing pilgrimage.
Yet, he was sure that the agreement concluded with the Quraish was a step toward achieving his hopes of a day when all Muslims would freely and peacefully visit Makkah and perform pilgrimage the way they liked. Both parties concluded a treaty to stop fighting for ten years.
On the way back to Al-Madinah, Abdullah heard the Prophet bringing good news to Abdullah’s father that very soon they would conquer Makkah and purify the land from idolatry.
The Quraish could not keep their word. They broke the agreement they had with the Prophet to stop fighting for ten years. Their allies, Banu Bakr, assaulted the allies of the Muslims, Khuzaah, and killed some of the tribesmen.
Conquest of Makkah
The Prophet was now free to act against the Quraish. He had already been promised by Allah that the Muslims would conquer Makkah and enter it peacefully and safely.
Abdullah felt very happy to see the Prophet and the other Muslims preparing themselves to march to Makkah. He, himself, was ready to march with them. He recalled the days he spent in Makkah while a young boy. He wished to see his old house where he spent many days playing with his peers.
Abdullah entered Makkah with the Prophets and the other ten thousand Muslims peacefully. He shared in destroying the idols that were surrounding the shrine of the Ka’bah. He was waiting for the Prophet to take action against the chiefs of the Quraish who caused him and his Companions much harm.
However, he knew very well that the Prophet was a merciful man. He listened to the Prophet telling the inhabitants of Makkah: “Go! You are free.” As a result, all the people of Makkah accepted Islam. They were afraid that Muhammad might kill them or take them as slaves but the Prophet was not a man who would revenge himself on others. He was a Messenger from Allah with a mission to spread guidance and peace amongst all people.
Abdullah visited his family’s old house. It had become ruins. However, he was so happy because he built another house that would gather all people together under the banner of Islam.
The farewell pilgrimage
Abdullah returned to Al-Madinah to prepare for another trip. The next year he was going to accompany the Prophet to Makkah again but this time to perform pilgrimage according to the true rites of Islam. He with about one hundred thousand Muslims under the leadership of the Prophet left to Makkah.
On the Mount of’ Arafat, Abdullah dress ihram and listened carefully to the teachings or the Prophet. He stood by his father while the Prophet was telling them that Islam had now been complete and perfect. He and his father felt that the Prophet was about to leave them forever.
The Prophet passes away
As Abdullah completed the rites of pilgrimage, he returned to Al-Madinah with the Prophet and the other Muslims. He came back from his trip more knowledgeable and more experienced. Senior Companions of the Prophet consulted him on matters related to Islamic law and other rulings which he acquired knowledge or as a result of keeping close to the Prophet.
Upon leaving to Al-Madinah the Prophet fell ill. Abdullah kept close to the Prophet especially when visiting his sister Hafsah (the Prophet’s wife). Every time he saw the Prophet suffering high fever, he shed tears, for he was almost sure that this would be the last time he would see the Prophet.
He was very shocked to learn that the Prophet had passed away. He listened to his father warning anyone who might say that the Prophet: had died. He was filled with sorrow’ but he submitted to the Will of Allah
Always Devoted … Always Sincere
As Muslims finished burying the body of the Prophet, they gathered in the mosque to offer allegiance to Abu Bakr who was selected by the Muslims to be the Caliph (ruler).
Abdullah stood by the side of the Caliph in the most difficult situations that the Muslims had to face. Most Arab tribes rebelled against the central government. Some of them even abandoned Islam. Islam was not deeply rooted in their hearts.
Abdullah pledged to sacrifice himself for the Cause of Allah. He joined the armies commissioned by the Caliph to fight the apostates throughout Arabia; especially the rebellion led by Musailamah the Liar.
As order was restored to the Arabian Peninsula, Abdullah had another mission. He joined the Muslim army to the northern borders of Arabia to fight the Romans who were threatening to destroy the Islamic state.
After a very short time, the Muslims conquered the two super powers of those days. The Romans in the north and the Persians in the east were defeated and most part of their lands was conquered by the Muslims.
Abu Bakr, passed away after two years of achievements. Before dying, he consulted the Muslims about the best man to succeed him. They all agreed that ‘Umar ‘Abdullah’s father, was the one most entitled to be the Caliph.
Umar took over and continued the previous Caliph’s efforts to propagate Islam everywhere. Many Companions of the Prophet urged Umar to give Abdullah a position under his reign. They knew that Abdullah was very knowledgeable and wanted the ruler to use his diverse skills.
However Umar refused to give Abdullah, any position. He preferred that Abdullah keep away from heavy responsibilities of rule. Meanwhile, he would consult him on various matters that concerned the Islamic State. Umar always felt happy to see his son sitting with senior Companions of the Prophet to discuss matters related to Islamic law.
Near the end of his life, Umar selected six Companions of the Prophet to choose one among them to be his successor. Again people urged him to include Abdullah in the elected group and again he refused to do so. He told them that it was enough for the household of Umar that one of them is held accountable on Doomsday for such an assignment. His friends told him that Abdullah was a pious man and it would be an advantage for Muslims to have Abdullah, as a Caliph. Umar told them that all Muslims were pious. ‘
He added: “Any ruler who gives posts to his relatives on no grounds except that they are his relatives, he would be a traitor against Allah and the Prophet.”
On another occasion, Umar said that the people of Kufah always complained against their governors. He added that he wished to have a trustworthy man to hold the post of governor of Kufah. A man told him that Abdullah, was the man, Umar told the man that his advice was not proper.
Abdullah was shocked again to lose his father. He could not imagine his father being killed by any Muslim. When he found out that the killer was a disbeliever, he realized how much danger the Muslims were facing as a result of having disbelievers within the borders of Islamic State.
Umar did not want to leave the nation without a ruler. He, therefore, selected six prominent Companions of the Prophet to choose one among them to be the caliph.
The six selected persons chose Uthman to be the Caliph. Abdullah was among the people who pledged loyalty to the new Caliph. He held a great position in the eyes of Uthman. Hence, Uthman wanted to appoint him as a judge drawing on his knowledge of Islamic law. However, Abdullab e- rejected the post. He wanted to keep away from worldly posts because he dedicated himself to things higher than worldly powers. He continued his mission as an adviser to the Caliph.
Unfortunately, some rebels with bad intentions for the Islamic State revolted against Uthman, Abdullah advised Uthman to take action against them or they would disrupt the nation. Uthman was very lenient. He did not like to shed blood. He did not accept any advice to stop the rebels. Finally, the rebels attacked his house and killed him while he was reciting the Qur ‘an.
Ali was selected as the Caliph. Many Muslims requested the new Caliph to punish the rebels who killed Uthman. Difference between ‘Ali and Mu’awiyah bin Abi Sufyan, the Governor of Damascus, heightened to the extent that both factions fought against each other.
Keeping away from disputes among the Muslims
He knew from the beginning that the enemies of Islam would not stop their plots to destroy the Islamic State. He did his best to bring both factions to terms, but all of his efforts were in ‘lain. Therefore, he kept himself away from any dispute among the Muslims. He, along with some other prominent Companions of the prophet, did not take the side of either party.
Abdullah was convinced that his duty was to fight against disbelievers. He did not find any justification to share in a war between the Muslims. He said to those who insisted on him to take either side:
“I have pledged before. Allah not to fight anyone who bears witness that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.”
Abdullah –He fused to join Ali’s men
Mu’awiyah thought that Abdullah’s refusal was an objection to Ali efforts against the rebellion. He asked Abdullah to be on his side. Abdullah sent a letter to Mu’awiyah saying:
“I am not the one to join your side. You thought that my refusal to join’ Ali was due to something bad about Ali. Surely you are wrong. I am not equal to ‘Ali in belief or in relation to the prophet. The matter is that I do not like to involve myself in something that I have no guidance about from the Prophet.”
Abdullah isolated himself in his house. A man urged him to take part in the events, but he replied with anger:
“If anyone calls me to prayer I would surely respond to his call. If anyone calls me to piety I would surely respond to his call. But if any one calls me to fight a Muslim I would surely reject his call.”
The Example of a True Muslim the Devout follower
Abdullah loved the Prophet very dearly.
He always wanted to be with the Prophet so that he could learn more about Islam from him. He was always acquiring more knowledge about Islamic law. He was well known for closely following every action and saying of the Prophet and putting all of Prophet’s acts into careful practice, exactly as he had seen the Prophet doing them.
For example, if he saw the Prophet offering Salah (prayer) in a particular place, then he too would pray in the same place. Abdullah was also very keen to memorize every word of the Qur’an and the Prophet’s sayings. If he ever missed bearing the Prophet to teach for some reason, he would ask others about what he had missed. Thus, he never missed any opportunity to learn more and more about Islam.
Exact practice of Islam
Amongst all the Companions of the Prophet, Abdullah was the most prominent for his intelligence and love for learning. He was a true follower of the Prophet’s teachings. He followed Islam exactly as the Prophet taught it. His lifestyle and character were an example of a true Muslim.
Once, he told his sister Hafsah the Prophet’s wife, that he dreamt that I was holding a piece of silk and flying everywhere in Paradise. Two men caught me and were about to throw me in the Hellfire, but an angel asked them to leave him alone. Hafsah told the Prophet about the dream. He said that Abdullah was a good man, but he should pray more during the night.
From that day, Abdullah always prayed in the night hoping to save himself from the Hellfire. He was always repeating Verses of the Qur’an that reminded him of the Day of Judgment, when all human beings would stand before Allah for reckoning.
Like Father Like Son
Abdullah’s father, Umar was a second example for him to follow. Once Abdullah bought some camels that he wanted to graze and sell after some time. Umar saw the camels and told’ Abdullah to sell them immediately, take his money and add the profit to the state treasury. Abdullah did as his father ordered him. He knew that his father did not like him to be occupied with worldly things.
Abdullah was a very good trader, but he never kept any money for himself. Anything he earned, he would spend on orphans and widows. Once, he ate a piece of meat and felt very bad afterwards for enjoying himself while there were many Muslims suffering poverty. His father taught him to feel the pain and sufferings of other Muslims and try to live like they lived.
The pious and humble Muslim
Even after his father became the Caliph (ruler), Abdullah (ra) did not take advantage of his father’s powers. He did not like to be treated any better than other Muslims.
Although Abdullah was a man of great wisdom and intelligence, he was very humble and modest. He never wanted to take on any official position in the government. He always felt that there were Muslims much better than he was for such official positions.
Usman (ra), the third Caliph of Islam, appreciated Abdullah’s profound knowledge of Islamic law. He asked him to hold the position of a judge. Even though he was very capable of being a judge, Abdullah, rejected the position. The position of a judge was of great importance and honor, but Abdullah feared making mistakes and errors in matters dealing with Islam and justice.
In spite of the fact that’ Abdullah was highly knowledgeable, he did not feel that his knowledge gave him an advantage over other Muslims.
Instead, he always considered himself to be equal to the poorest people.
Once, his father Umar, the Caliph, wanted to give a speech to the Muslims. He got onto the pulpit and began his speech saying:
“Listen to me and obey me!”
A man from the congregation reacted:
“We will not listen nor obey.”
‘Umar exclaimed: “Why!” The man explained:
“You gave every one of us one piece of cloth to make one’s dress and you took two pieces for yourself. You favored yourself over us.”
Umar immediately asked his son Abdullah to stand up and tell the man the fact. Abdullah explained the man that his father was a tall man. So, he had taken Abdullah’s share of the cloth and joined with his own share to make a dress for himself. The man’s heart softened. He at once uttered full obedience to Umar who deserved to be obeyed and listened to.
Morals of a great man
Abdullah was well known for his piety, simplicity, humility, generosity and truthfulness. Once his servant made a mistake for which he deserved to be punished. He was brought before Abdullah to be questioned. Abdullah asked the man why he made such a mistake. The man asked Abdullah
“Have you never sinned’?” Abdullah replied: “Yes, I have many times.” The man said “And Allah forgave you. So be kind to me as Allah has been kind to you.”
Abdullah immediately forgave the man.
On another occasion, his friend brought him a fine dress and asked him to put it on instead of his rough clothes. He touched the dress and inquired: “Is it silk?” His friend replied: “No, it is made of cotton.”
Abdullah refused the gift and said: “I am afraid that it might make me proud and arrogant. Allah does not like a Muslim to be proud arrogant.”
Another man offered him a bottle of liquid. He said it was good for indigestion. Abdullah said: “I do not need it. I have not had a full stomach for forty years.”
Abdullah always recalled the prophet’s advice to him: “O son of Umar! Always consider yourself a stranger or a traveler in this world, and always prepare for the Hereafter.”
His friend Maymun bin Mahran is reported to have said: “I counted the things in ‘Abdullah’s house and found them equal to one hundred dirhams in all.”
‘Abdullah always spent his earnings on the poor and needy and never left himself any wealth to satisfy his own needs. He loved to cat with the poor and needy. He always warned people of getting too involved with the pleasures or life. He reminded them not to forget that one day they would leave everything behind and be asked on the Day of Reckoning about the things they did in this life.
He always told his students:
“Always follow the example of Muhammad and his Companions, for they were the best on earth, the most pious, the highest in knowledge and the least arrogant.”
The Great Teacher
As much as Abdullah liked to learn, he also was keen to teach what he had learned. He felt that depriving other people a chance to learn was something that Allah would punish one for. Therefore, he spent most of his time teaching his students about Islam. Many scholars of Shari’ah (Islamic law) in the following centuries learned a lot from the works of Abdullah. He was well respected for his strict way of applying the teachings of the Prophet. Anyone who studies Islamic law will definitely come across the name of’ Abdullah bin Umar for he was a great teacher and scholar.
Abdullah narrated many Ahadith (sayings of the Prophet). He took great care to memorize such sayings as he heard them from the prophet. His knowledge was, and is still to this day, passed down to students of knowledge and scholars alike. No scholar of Islam could do without the teachings of’ Abdullah, because they were strictly founded on the Qur’an and Sunnah.
A man once addressed him saying: “You are the best man from the best origin.” Abdullah s- replied: “I am not the best man from the best origin. I am only a servant of Allah. I always fear to be punished by Him.”
Abdullah was asked whether the Prophet’s Companions used to laugh. He replied that they did but they never went astray and never gave in to the pleasures of life.
It is narrated that Abdullah passed by a grave. His companion inquired what could be the end of the one buried in that grave. Abdullah affirmed that bodies vanish, but good deeds always remain valid for salvation on Doomsday.
After the Prophet had passed away, Abdullah kept very strong in his belief. He was interested in was to keep the Muslim society safe and intact against the plots of bad rulers and people who wanted to harm the Muslims and their religion.
During the period of the Ummayad rule, he received much oppression for his views. He did not like the way the rulers and the people were using the new wealth that they gained by conquering other nations. He spent the last days of his life teaching both rulers and other members of the society how to stick to the true and pure Islam and how to avoid indulging themselves in pleasures. He wanted them to feel the pains of the poor and the needy. Bad rulers felt that he was endangering their privileges. They did not like his way of preaching to the people and rulers.
However, Abdullah was never concerned about being harassed or oppressed because of his views and no one among the rulers could stop him from teaching the true and pure Islam.
It was reported that Abdullah was poisoned by AI-Hajjaj bin Yusuf Ath-Thaqafl, a tyrant who did not like Abdullah because he spoke against his way of ruling.
Seventy-three years after migration to Al Madinah, Abdullah bin Umar surrendered his blessed soul to Allah and died like a hero. He left the Muslim world an ocean of knowledge and an excellent example to follow. All the scholars at Islam relied heavily on his points of view related to Islamic law.
His eternal advice to all Muslims was: “Son of Adam! Be a companion to the worldly life with your body, but keep your heart away from it. You will be held accountable in the Hereafter for all the things you do in this life.”
We are greatly indebted to Abdullah bin Umar for the treasure he left us. He was one or those who established a school of thought that you should study in detail as you get older.
Always remember Abdullah for he was a good and sincere disciple. You all should follow his example and learn a lesson from his life that will help you keep steadfast to true Faith. He was young like you when he accepted Islam. He never felt hesitant before hardships and never surrendered to evil.
May Allah bestow his mercy on Abdullah bin Umar for the great services be rendered to Islam and the Muslims.
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