Sunday, October 29, 2006

On over-eating

Umar (ra) would encourage exercise, and was against obesity. He said:

'O people, beware of over-eating. Because it makes you lazy in your salah. And it makes your body weak. And it makes you unhealthy. And Allah dislikes the obese man. And you should be modest in your food. Because it is closer to righteousness, and further from excess; and makes you stronger in worshipping Allah. And you will perish when your desires become more likeable to you than Allah (or religion).'

Note: Obesity here refers to obesity caused by over-eating.

Source: Umar ibn AlKhattab His Life & Times, Imam Anwar Al-Awlaki

Traveller from Yemen

A group of mujahideen from Yemen, on the way back from Shaam to Yemen, they passed through Madinah. Umar (ra) after the early prayer would bring out plates of food for the public to eat- travellers, needy, etc. He would serve it to the people and stand over them, to make sure that they are being served well. He sees a man from this group who comes and eats. Umar bin Al Khattab was following the principle of amr bil ma'roof wa nahi 'anil munkar, and serving- so many good deeds @ once. He told the man, 'Eat with your right hand'. The man ignored him. Umar repeated again, 'Eat with your right hand'. The man replied, 'O Ameer Ul Mumineen, my right hand is busy'. So Umar (ra) left him alone. When he finished his meal, Umar went to him and asked, 'What do you mean your right hand is busy?'
So the man pulled his right arm, and there was no right hand.
Umar bin Khattab said, 'what is this?'
The man responded that he lost his right hand fighting in the battle of Yarmuk. Subhanallah, the man didn't want to show off in front of people that he lost his arm in Jihad, and he only did it when the Khalifah insisted. Look @ the ikhlaas of this man. But then, look @ the questions of Umar.
What would you expect Umar to ask?
He said, 'So how do you make wudhu?' 'How do you prepare for Salah?'
These were his first thoughts.
The man said, 'I make wudhu with my left hand, and Allah is the one who gives help'.
Umar (ra) asked, 'Where are you going?'
'I'm going back to Yemen, to visit my mother, whom I haven't seen in a few years'.
Umar (ra) said, 'and you're also kind to your mother. Come with me'.

And he gives him a servant, and he gives him 5 camels, and tells him that you're now welcome to leave.

Source: Umar ibn AlKhattab His Life & Times, Imam Anwar Al-Awlaki

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Umar's acceptance was an opening

Ibn Mas'ud, may Allah be pleased with him, said: We did not cease to become mighty since the acceptance of Islam by 'Umar.

Ibn Mas'ud, may Allah be pleased with him, said: The Islam of 'Umar was an opening, his emigration was a help and his imamate was a mercy. I saw us unable to pray towards the House until 'Umar accepted Islam. When 'Umar accepted Islam, he fought them until they left us alone and we prayed.

Hudhayfah said: When 'Umar accepted Islam, Islam was like the man advancing towards you, only increasing in nearness. When 'Umar was killed, Islam was like the man backing away from you, only increasing in distance.

Ibn 'Abbas, may Allah be pleased with them both, said: The first man to be open about Islam was 'Umar ibn al-Khattab.

Suhaib said: When 'Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, accepted Islam, he was open about it, invited people to it openly; we sat around the House in circles, we made circuits around the House, we took our rights from whoever was tough with us, and we retaliated against him for some of what he brought us.

Aslam the freed slave of 'Umar said: 'Umar accepted Islam in Dhu'l-Hijjah of the sixth year of prophethood while he was twenty-six years old.

Source: The History of the Khalifahs

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Umar's allowance from the treasury

'Umar (ra) lived by trade before becoming Khalifah. When he was made Khalifah after Abu Bakr (ra), he assembled the people and said to them:
"I earned my living through trade. As you people have engaged me as Khalifah, I cannot attend to my business. Now, what about my living?"

Different amounts of daily allowance from the Bait-ul-Mal were suggested by different people, but Ali (ra) did not speak..

'Umar inquired of him: "Oh Ali what is your suggestion?"

He replied: I suggest that you should take such amount as may be on average be sufficient for your family."

'Umar accepted his suggestion and a moderate amount was fixed as his daily allowance.

Source: Follow Their Way and Join Them

Monday, October 23, 2006

A few days before his death...

Narrated 'Amr bin Maimun:
I saw 'Umar bin Al-Khattab a few days before he was stabbed in Medina. He was standing with Hudhaifa bin Al-Yaman and 'Uthman bin Hunaif to whom he said, "What have you done? Do you think that you have imposed more taxation on the land (of As-Swad i.e. 'Iraq) than it can bear?" They replied, "We have imposed on it what it can bear because of its great yield." 'Umar again said, "Check whether you have imposed on the land what it can not bear." They said, "No, (we haven't)." 'Umar added, "If Allah should keep me alive I will let the widows of Iraq need no men to support them after me." But only four days had elapsed when he was stabbed (to death) ..

Source: Farewell of a nobleman

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Umar- Description & Appearance

Umar was blessed with a strong physique. He could undergo great rigours. He could travel on foot for miles. He was an athlete and a wrestler. He participated in the wrestling matches on the occasion of the annual fair at Ukaz, and he won in most of such matches. From the accounts that have come down to us it appears that Umar had attained perfection in the art of wrestling.

Some first hand descriptions of the physical appearance of Umar have come down to us. Ibn Saad and al-Hakim have recorded a description of Umar as Abu Miriam Zir, a native of Kufa described him. Zir said:

"I went forth with the people of Madina on a festival day, and I saw Umar walking barefoot. He was advanced in years, bald, of a tawny colour-a left handed man, tall, and towering above the people."

Ibn Umar described the physical appearance of Umar as follows:

"He was a man of fair complexion, a ruddy tint prevailing, tall, bald and grey."

Ubayd bin Umayr described Umar as follows:

" Umar used to overtop the people in height."

Salima bin al-Akwa'a said about him:

" Umar was ambidexter; he could use both his hands equally well."

Ibn Asakir records on tile authority of Abu Raja al-U'taridi that:

"Umar was a man tall, stout, very bald, very ruddy with scanty hair on the cheeks, his moustaches large, and the ends thereof reddish."

Umar was a skillful rider. He could successfully manage even the wildest of horses he would literally jump on the back of the horse, and sit with such ease and steadiness that he appeared to be a part and parcel of the horse he rode.

He was very intelligent and shrewd. He was a good public speaker. He was gifted with an uncommon degree ot tact and judgment, and on several occasions he successfully undertook ambassadorial missions on behalf of the Quraish.

By all accounts he was self-respecting, broad-minded and sincere. He was a man of strong convictions, a good friend, and a bad enemy. Like the rugged hills around him, he was harsh and stern, violent in temper, but very good of heart. He was always prepared to stand up against the oppressor and espouse the cause of the weak.
Source: Khalifah Umar bin Al Khattab