Note: the English version of this account is based on Dr. Muhammad Muhsin Khan’s translation of Sahîh Al-Bukhârî, with slight modifications. The notes have been compiled from classic hadîth commentaries including Fath Al-Bârî of Ibn Hajr, as well as points from the lectures and classes of contemporary scholars.

Narrated ‘Amr b. Maimûn:

I saw ‘Umar b. Al-Khattâb a few days before he was stabbed in Al-Madînah. He was standing with Hudhayfah b. Al-Yamân and ‘Uthmân b. 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 cannot bear.” They said, “No, (we haven’t).” ‘Umar added, “If Allâh should keep me alive I will let the widows of ‘Irâq need no men to support them after me.” But only four days had elapsed when he was stabbed. The day he was stabbed, I was standing and there was nobody between me and him except Abdullah b. ‘Abbas. Whenever Umar passed between rows, he would say, “Stand in straight lines.” When he saw no defect (in the rows), he would go forward and start the prayer with Takbîr. He would recite Sûrah Yusuf or An-Nahl or the like in the first rak’ah so that people would have time to join the prayer.

Background

The assassination of ‘Umar took place in 23H, following ‘Umar’s return from Hajj. He was assassinated by a Persian Majûsî (Fire Worshipper) called Abû Lu`-lu` Fayrauz, who was in the employment of Hudhayfah – Allâh be pleased with him. ‘Umar didn’t used to allow war captives to enter Al-Madînah, but Hudhayfah wrote to him requesting him to allow this worker to be hired for his skills in carpentry and metalwork. Hudhayfah believed people in Al-Medînah could benefit from his skills. Hudhayfah taxed this worker in the conventional manner, but he complained to ‘Umar about the amount. ‘Umar told him that he was not being taxed unfairly for what he was doing. This angered the Majûsî. One day, ‘Umar passed by the worker and enquired, “I have been told that you claim you can build a mill powered by wind (a windmill).” The Fire worshipper replied with a frown, “I will build you a mill that all the people will talk about.” ‘Umar turned to those who were with him and said, “The slave has given me an appointment [warning].”

Points to note

  • ‘Umar’s great concern for justice and fairness.
  • His concern that Muslim society should not be adversely influenced by unbelievers.
  • His concern and care for the wellbeing of the Muslims, especially the poor and the weak.
  • The attention given by him to the correct performance of al-salâh (prayer), and his implementation of the Sunnah of the imâm making sure the rows are straight and no gaps are left between the worshippers.
  • His assisting worshippers in getting the most out of their prayer.
  • His intelligence and insight, whereby he understood the disguised threat made to him.

Continued inshâ Allâh