ʿUmar b. Al-Khaṭṭāb

Wear­ing Per­fume for Your Hus­band

It is reported that ‘Umar b. Al-Khattāb came out one Eid. Passing by a group of women, he could smell the scent of perfume from one of them. He asked, “Who is the one wearing this scent? By Allāh, if I knew who she was, I would do such-and-such (punish her). A woman is only to wear perfume for her husband, and if she goes out, she wears her older (scruffier) clothes or the older clothes of her servant.” And so it was rumoured amongst the women that the woman [who was wearing perfume in public] got up from that gathering having soiled herself (out of fear).

Ibn Abī Shaybah, Al-Muṣannaf article 6387.

Taking Turns and Sharing Knowledge

‘Abdullāh b, ‘Abbās reports that ‘Umar b. Al-Khattāb – Allāh be pleased with them – said:

I used to have a neighbor from the Anṣār who lived in the area of Banī Umayyah b. Zayd, which is in the ‘Awālī of Medinah, and we used to take turns attending [the gatherings] of Allāh’s Messenger – Allāh’s praise and peace be upon him. My neighbor would attend one day and I the other; so when I attended I would convey to him the reports about the revelation that had come, and other such news, and when he attended he would do the same.

My Anṣārī companion went on one of his days, and [upon returning] came to my door and knocked hard saying, ‘Is he there?’ I was alarmed and came out to him, and he said, ‘Something serious has happened (some people thought the Prophet had divorced his wives).’ I entered upon Ḥafṣah and found her weeping. I said, ‘Has Allāh’s Messenger – Allāh’s praise and peace be upon him – divorced you [all]?’ She replied, ‘I don’t know.’ Then, I came to the Prophet – Allāh’s praise and peace be upon him – and asked him, still standing, ‘Have you divorced your women?’ He said, ‘No’, so I said, ‘ Allāhu Akbar (Allāh is Greatest).’

Al-Bukhārī, Al-aī, Chapter on Taking Turns in Seeking Knowledge.


The narration translated above is a shorter report of the full incident, recorded elsewhere in aī Al-Bukhārī.

In his commentary on aī Al-Bukhārī, Ibn Ḥajr lists some of the lessons and points that can be taken from this narration, including the following:

1. This hadith shows us that the khabar (news, report) of a single (reliable) person is dependable.

2. The student of knowledge should not neglect taking care of his living needs, in order to help him continue seeking knowledge and other pursuits (at that time, ‘Umar was involved in trade, as is mentioned in other reports).

3. At the same time, the student of knowledge should be diligent and resolute in asking about the knowledge he has missed in his absence.

Graffiti of the Salaf

Here is a picture of what is considered (to date) the oldest dated Islamic inscription, from 24H, when the Rightly Guided Caliph ‘Umar b. Al-Khattāb – Allāh be pleased with him – was assassinated. It is located at Al-‘Ulā in present day Saudi Arabia. It is one of a number of ‘graffiti’ inscriptions made by travelers and pilgrims from the first few centuries of Islām.

The Zuhayr Inscription - Earliest known Islamic inscription from 24H

UNESCO included this amazing archaeological find in its Memory of the World Register of Documentary Collections. An update entry states:

Saudi Arabia – Earliest Islamic (Kufic) Inscription. This very well preserved inscription is located on a red sandstone block of rock south of Qa’a al Muatadil, north of Sharma in al-Ula, northwest of Saudi Arabia on the ancient trade and pilgrimage route connecting the early Islamic city of al-Mabiyat with Madain Saleh. It is the oldest Islamic inscription found so far. It mentions the date of the death of the second Caliph of Islam, Omar bin al-Khattab and reads as follows: “In the name of God, I Zuhair wrote the date of the death of Omar the year four and twenty (Hegrah)”. Caliph Omar bin al-Khattab died on the last night of the month of Dul-Hajj of the year 23 Hegrah, and was buried next day on the first day of Muharram of the new year 24 Hegrah (corresponding to 644 AD).

Note: The discoverers and local experts say the script is Hijāzī, not Kufic.

Here’s a trace of the text:

Outline trace of the Zuhayr Inscription

What it says

The inscription can be translated as follows:

In the Name of Allah

I, Zuhayr, wrote [this] at the time ‘Umar died, in the year four

and twenty [24H]

Next to this inscription, it reads:

I am Zuhayr, Mawlā of the Bani Salamah [tribe]

Opinionated Enemies of the Sunnah

‘Umar b. Al-Khattāb – Allāh be pleased with him – said:

Verily, the followers of opinion are the enemies of the Sunan (the teachings of Allāh’s Messenger as passed down in hadith): they were unable to preserve them and their meanings escaped them, and when asked [questions] they were too embarrassed to say ‘We don’t know,’ so they opposed the Sunan with their opinions.

Ibn Abī Zamanīn, Uūl Al-Sunnah article 8; Al-Lālakā`ī, Shar Uūl I’tiqād Ahl Al-Sunnah article 201 et al.

Abandoning Hajj

It is reported that ‘Umar b. Al-Khattāb – Allāh be pleased with him – said:

I have considered sending out men to the different regions to check on all those who are well off enough but have not made Hajj, and impose the jizyah (tax imposed on Ahl Al-Kitāb  in the Muslim state) on them; they are not Muslims, they are not Muslims.

It is also reported that he said:

If the people abandoned Hajj, we would fight them for it as we fight them for the prayer and zakāh.

It is also reported that he said:

Whoever dies, being well off enough but having never done Hajj, let him die as a Jew if he wishes or as a Christian.

It is reported that Al-Aswad b. Hilāl – Allāh have mercy on him – said to a freedman of his called Miqlāṣ:

If you died and had never made Hajj, I would not pray over you.

It is reported that Sa’īd b. Jubayr – Allāh have mercy on him – said:

If a neighbor of mine died without ever making Hajj, while being well off enough to do so, I would not pray over him.

It is reported that Mujāhid b. Rūmī said:

I asked Sa’īd b. Jubayr, ‘Abd Al-Raḥmān b. Abī Laylā and Ibn Ma’qal (‘Abdullah Al-Muzanī) about a man who died, being well off enough, but never having made Hajj. Ibn Abī Laylā said, “I hope that if his next of kin does Hajj on his behalf…” Sa’īd b. Jubayr said, “The Fire, the Fire.” ‘Abdullah b. Ma’qal said, “He died in a state of disobedience to Allāh.”

Al-Khallāl, Al-Sunnah 5:43-47, articles 1572-1576.