Some stories part 4

Omar ibn al-Khattab Accepts Islam 

  Omar’s acceptance of Islam was a turning point in the history of Islam. The Prophet ( ) once prayed to Allah to make Islam strong with either of the two men, Amr ibn Hisham or Omar ibn Al- Khattab. When Omar accepted Islam, he added power to Islam and to the Muslims. Muslims were not able to pray before the Ka’bah until Omar accepted Islam. His acceptance of Islam was a severe blow to the prestige of the Quraysh.    After the conversion of Hamzah, the biggest victory for the Prophet () was the conversion of Omar. Like Hamzah, Omar was a strong man with great courage. He accepted Islam only a few months after the conversion of Hamzah. The Muslims were delighted and the disbelievers were dismayed. Omar played a great role in the success of Islam. He was called al-Farooq, that is, the one who distinguishes between truth and falsehood.    The Interesting Story of Omar’s Acceptance of Islam    One day Omar came to know that his maidservant had embraced Islam. He was a bitter enemy of Islam at that time. He called his maid and asked her about her new faith and started beating her. After a while, when he asked her whether she would leave Islam, the maid refused. The proud Omar could not stand such daring refusal and started to beat her again, but to no avail. Tired and angry, Omar decided to kill the Prophet ()   As he left his home with a sword, he met a friend who had become a Muslim but had not declared his acceptance of Islam openly. The man asked Omar about his destination. “I want to kill Muhammad,” said Omar. The man replied, “Do you think that Banu Hashim and Banu Zuhrah would leave you in peace if you killed Muhammad?” Omar said, “What! You have also become Muslim and left your forefathers’ religion?”    The man said, “Could I tell you something that will surprise you even more? Your brother-in-law and your sister Fatimah have both become Muslims and have left your religion!” Omar hurried to their house in great agitation and anger. He confronted his sister and her husband. He asked, “What is this humming which I have just heard?” (Omar had actually heard them recite the Qur’an as he approached their house.)    She answered, “Only something that has been talked about between us.” Omar said, “Perhaps you have left the religion of your ancestors.” “What can be done if the Truth is in something other than your religion?” said Fatimah’s husband.    Omar leapt upon him, hitting him and kicking him as hard as he could. Fatimah stepped in between the two men in an attempt to protect her husband. But she was badly hit in the face and bled profusely. She remarked angrily, “I bear witness that there is no god except Allah and that Muhammad () is His Messenger. I have become a Muslim. Do what you like.”    Omar was greatly moved and shaken. His sister’s words moved him to pity and love. He said calmly, “May I look into what you were reciting a little while ago?”    “But you are impure, and the Qur’an should only be touched by the pure ones. So go and wash yourself,” his sister said.    So Omar washed himself. He then took the sheet to see what was in it. The sheet contained the first part of Surat Ta Ha. He read the verses again and again. When he reached the fourteenth verse, Omar was a different man.    He became convinced that a human being could not write these verses. As a learned man, he realized that a man like Muhammad (), who never had any education, could not produce such a beautiful piece of writing. It was something else. It was revelation. Omar’s heart was deeply touched. “I am deeply convinced that Muhammad ( is the Messenger of Allah,” declared Omar. He expressed a wish to go to see the Prophet (). He wanted to declare himself a Muslim. Tears of joy flowed from the eyes of Fatimah and her husband. Omar went directly to the place where the Prophet () stayed. He wanted to admit that there is no god except Allah.    When he knocked at the door of the House of al-Arqam, there was a deep silence inside Omar the enemy of Allah was at the door armed with his sword. But the Prophet () firmly allowed Omar to come in. Omar entered and accepted Islam. Everyone, including the Prophet (), was delighted, and they all exclaimed, ‘Allahu Akbar’. Allah had answered the Prophet’s prayer. Omar had become a Muslim.    The days of preaching Islam quietly were now over, and with Umar’s acceptance of Islam a new phase began in the history of Islam. This event took place in the sixth year of Prophethood.    Omar ( ) said, “That night when I became a Muslim, I went to the house of Abu Jahl, the bitterest enemy of Islam and knocked at his door. When he came out to see me, I told him that I had accepted Islam. He was very unhappy and immediately slammed the door in my face.”    The news that Omar had become Muslim quickly spread among the Makkans who were very annoyed. They were against him, but Omar fought back until the Quraysh decided to leave him alone.    Exercises  
  1. Are these statements true or false? 
  1 . Omar was a courageous man.   
  1. He accepted Islam before Hamzah . 
  1. Omar used to be a bitter enemy of Islam. 
  1. The Quraysh tried not to mess with Omar . 
  1. Omar accepted Islam in the 7th year of Prophethood. 
  1. Name the following: 
  1 . The surah that ‘opened’ Omar’s heart to Islam.   
  1. The place where Omar found the Prophet (). 
  1. Omar’s sister. 
  1. Answer these questions. 
  1 . Why do you think Omar was called ‘al-Farooq’?   
  1. Why did Omar beat his maid? Did beating her make any difference? 
  1. Why did Fatimah ask Omar to wash himself before touching the sheets on which Surat Ta Ha was written? 
  1. Think-up 
  1 . From the lesson, in what different ways did Omar’s acceptance of Islam affect Islam and the Muslims? (You may list them).   
  1. Why do you think Omar told Abu Jahl of his becoming Muslim? 
  Islam began to spread among the tribes. The Quraysh saw that the companions of the Prophet () had landed in a country where they found security and stability. The Negus had protected those who took refuge in his country. Omar and Hamzah added strength to Islam. The Quraysh saw that Islam continued to spread among the tribes of Arabia.    When the Quraysh realized that Banu Hashim and Banu al-Muttalib were determined to protect the Prophet () and defend him, they met to discuss the situation and reached an unjust decision. They decided not to intermarry with them, trade with them, sit with them, mix with them, enter their houses, speak to them or show them any kindness until they handed the Messenger of Allah over to them so that they could kill him. They wrote this in a document and swore to stick to its terms. Then they hung it inside the Ka’bah in order to give it authenticity.    When the Quraysh did that, Banu Hashim and Banu al-Muttalib gathered round him in his quarters in a narrow valley of Makkah. Both the Muslims and the disbelievers agreed to support their leader, Abu Talib, except Abu Talib’s own brother, Abu Lahab who was hostile to Islam from the beginning. He broke off relations with his own clan and joined the boycott. The Quraysh were very happy with his decision to join them. The aim of the Quraysh was to force Abu Talib to hand over his nephew to them. The Quraysh had planned to kill the Prophet ().    So the boycott was fully enforced against the Prophet (), his followers and their protectors from Banu Hashim and Banu al-Muttalib. The Shi’b of Abu Talib was a rough valley, full of rocks and enclosed by hills on all sides. It could only be entered from Makkah through a narrow opening. In this barren valley, Allah’s Messenger (), his companions and the entire clans of Banu Hashim and Banu al-Muttalib were forced to retire with limited supplies of food and necessities.    The boycott was strictly applied and food was so rare that they often had to eat tree leaves. If they found a dry hide, they would roast it and eat it. Their hungry children’s cries could be heard all over the valley. The Quraysh told the merchants not to sell them any goods. Prices were increased to prevent them from buying even the essential things.    Allah’s Messenger () was in the same condition, but he continued to call his people to Allah night and day, privately and openly. Banu Hashim and Banu al-Muttalib bore this hardship patiently.    Some fair-minded people of the Quraysh did not like this boycott. Among them was Hisham ibn Amr ibn Rabee’ah. He hated this unfair boycott. He contacted some men of the Quraysh whom he knew to be kind-hearted. He told them that it was shameful to allow such cruelty to continue. He asked them to abandon the unjust boycott. As a result, a number of people rose in favour of ending the boycott.    In the meantime, the Prophet () told Abu Talib that he was informed by Allah that the document bearing the agreement had been eaten away by white ants except the part bearing the name of Allah.    Their banishment from Makkah took place in the beginning of the seventh year of the Prophet’s mission.    Soon the supplies of food and basic necessities began to run short. The dwellers of the Shi’b had to wait for foreign traders who came to Makkah only occasionally to buy fresh supplies.    As the days and the months of their confinement dragged along, the wailing of hungry children and women in the Shi’b could be heard in Makkah. Some of the Quraysh known for their hard-heartedness and cruelty were well satisfied with the effect of the boycott, which they had imposed on the Muslims. Many were moved by pity and sympathy. Many others were impressed by the devotion and courage of the Muslims in the cause of Islam.    The boycott lasted for three years. The Prophet () and those with him could only venture outside their place of confinement during the season of pilgrimage. At those times, which were scarce, they could go out and mingle freely with their oppressors. They would perhaps get some supplies, either as gifts, which some kind people in Makkah gave them in secret, or by buying them from foreign merchants.    The Muslims were now allowed to return to their homes. When the Quraysh went to the Ka’bah to take down the boycott agreement, they found it had been completely eaten away by white ants, except for the portion where the name of Allah was written. The Quraysh’ determination to enforce the boycott was at last broken.    The end of the boycott marked the tenth year of the Prophet’s mission. Allah’s Messenger () returned to face new trials and difficulties.    Exercises  
  1. Fill in the blanks with suitable words. 
  1 . The document was eaten away by   
  1. Banu Hashim and Banu al-Muttalib were determined to the Prophet () 
  1. The Quraysh met to discuss the situation and reached an decision. 
  1. Name the following: 
  1 . The two tribes that were boycotted.   
  1. The place where the disbelievers hung the document. 
  1. The Prophet’s uncle who supported the boycott. 
  1. The place where the Prophet () and his companions took refuge during the boycott. 
  1. Answer these questions. 
  1 . What was decided in the Quraysh’s meeting?   
  1. Write down three decisions the Quraysh wrote down in the document. 
  1. What difficulties did Muslims go through during the boycott? 
  1. Describe the Shi’b of Abu Talib. 
  5.How did some kind-hearted Qurayshites help the Muslims?

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