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It is stated in al-Fiqh al-Akbar:'The most noble person after the Prophets (upon them be blessings and peace) is Abu Bakr, the Most Truthful (as-Siddeeq), (may Allaah be pleased with him), then 'Umar ibn al-Khattab, the Differentiator (al-Farooq), (May Allaah be pleased with him)....'
The Messenger of Allaah (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said, 'Every Prophet has two ministers (wazeeran) from the inhabitants of the Heavens, and two ministers from those of the Earth. As for my two ministers of the Heavens, they are Jibreel (عليه السلام)and Mika'eel (عليه السلام), and for my two ministers from those of the earth, they are Abu Bakr (رضي الله عنه) and Umar (رضي الله عنه).' (Tirmidhi, al-Manaaqib, 3613).
It is related from Ibn Abbaas (رضي الله عنهما) that a hypocrite had a dispute with a Jew. The Jew summoned him to the Messenger of Allaah (صلى الله عليه وسلم), and the hypocrite summoned him to Ka'b ibn al-Ashraf. They [finally] took the case to the Messenger of Allaah (صلى الله عليه وسلم), who passed a ruling in favour of the Jew. The hypocrite was not pleased and insisted that they go to Umar (رضي الله عنه) for a ruling.
The Jew told Umar (رضي الله عنه) that the Messenger of Allaah (صلى الله عليه وسلم) had already ruled in his favour and the hypocrite had not been pleased. He had insisted that they come to 'Umar (رضي الله عنه). 'Umar (رضي الله عنه) asked the hypocrite whether that was true, and he replied that it was. 'Umar (رضي الله عنه) instructed them to remain where they were until he returned. He went inside, picked up his sword, and came out and beheaded the hypocrite. He then said, 'This is my ruling for the person who is not satisfied with the ruling of Allaah and His Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم).'
Jibreel (عليه السلام) states, 'Umar (رضي الله عنه) differentiated between the truth and untruth, so he was named the Differentiator (al-Farooq).' [This is as stated in the Tafseer of Qadi Baydaawi (رحمه الله)]
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His lineage is: 'Umar (RA) son of Khattab, son of Nufayl, son of 'Abdul Uzza, son of Riyaah, son of 'Abdullaah, son of Qurt, son Zarah, son of Adi, son of Ka'b al-Qurashi al-'Adawi.
He was called the Differentiator (al-Farooq) because of his tremendous ability to differentiate between the truth and falsehood, as also mentioned by the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam): 'Verily the truth flows from the tongue of Umar.' (Abu Dawood)
His Appearance Hadrat Ibn Umar (RA) was reported to have described his father saying: 'He was a tall fair-skinned man with a touch of redness in his face, and a few gray streaks of hair. He possessed a dense beard.' (Ibn Sa'd)
Born three years after the year of the Elephant ('Am al-Feel), Ameerul Mu'mineen Hadrat 'Umar ibn al-Khattaab al-Farooq (may Allaah be pleased with him) was among the elite of the tribe of Quraysh. Whenever the flames of a feud flared between Quraysh and some other tribe, Hadrat 'Umar (RA) was always the tribe's ambassador, and speaking in their name and retrieving their rights. Whenever tribes bragged or rivaled Quraysh, he excelled in boasting of their glories. In short, Hadrat 'Umar (RA) was the invaluable gem Quraysh prided itself on.
Before finding his way to haven of Islaam, Hadrat 'Umar (RA) led a life of recklessness, indulging in wine, flirting with women and delighting in overpowering his mates. An incredibly robust man of extaordinary powers, Hadrat Umar (RA) was greatly feared and highly revered by all who knew or even heard of him. Before he became a die-hard believer, Hadrat Umar (RA), driven by his ruthlessness and violent nature, fought the new converts callously during the early days of Islam inflicting the severest torture on them. (Seeratul Khulafaa ar-Rashideen radiallaahu 'anhum)
Hadrat Ameerul Mu'mineen Umar ibn al-Khattab al-Farooq (RA) Embraces Islaam
Hadrat Ibn 'Umar (RA) reports that the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) once supplicated: 'O Allaah, grant Islaam strength through the closer and more beloved to You: Umar Ibn Al-Khattaab or Abu Jahl Ibn Hishaam.' (Reported by at-Tirmidhi)
Hadrat Anas (RA) states: "'Umar (RA) went out, sword in hand, meaning to kill the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam). A man from Banu Zuhrah met him on the way and asked him, 'Where are you going, Umar?' He answered, 'I am off to kill Muhammad.' Amazed and astounded, the man said, 'Do you think the Banu Hishaam and Banu Zuhrah will spare your life should you do that?'
'It seems to me that you have abadoned your religion,' burst Umar (RA). The man retorted, 'Shall I tell you what is even more surprising? Your brother-in-law and your sister have both deserted your religion.' Umar (RA) walked away heading for their house. Khabbaab (RA), who was then with them, quickly hid. 'Umar (RA) walked in and angrily asked, 'What was that murmur I heard?' They were reading Surah Taha. They replied, 'We were only talking.'
'It seems to me that you have abandoned your faith,' Umar (RA) roared. His brother-in-law pleaded, 'O Umar, what if the truth lies in some other faith, not yours?' At this point, 'Umar (RA) sprang upon him and dealth him a heavy blow. His sister rushed to her husband's rescue only to be severely hit causing her face to bleed. Enraged, she said, 'The truth does lie in another faith than yours. I testify that there is no god but Allah, and Muhammad (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) is Messenger and Prophet.'
'Umar (RA) rejoined, 'Hand me this leaf so I can read it.' Umar (RA) was literate. His sister refused saying, 'You are unclean (on account of your idolatry) and it is a book Which 'none shall touch except the purified.' (56:79) Go take a purificatory bath (Ghusl) or perform ablution.'
'Umar (RA) did the latter. Then, picking up the leaf, he started reading, till he came to the verse: 'Indeed, I am Allah . There is no deity except Me, so worship Me and establish prayer for My remembrance.' (20:14). 'Umar (RA) asked, 'Where do I find Muhammad?' Having heard this, Khabbaab (RA) came out of hiding and said, 'O Umar, I hope Allah has answered the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam)'s prayer that he said on Thursday, for he supplicated, 'O Allah, grant Islam strength through the closer and more beloved to You: 'Umar ibn al-Khattab or Abu Jahl Ibn Hisham.'
The Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) was in Safa, so 'Umar (RA) set out to see him. At the door of the house where the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) was staying, 'Umar (RA) met Hamzah, Talha, and others (RA). Hamzah (RA) said, 'It is Umar. If Allah has destined him to the right path, he will embrace Islam. Otherwise, we will not hesitate to kill him.' The Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) gave 'Umar (RA) permission to come in, and he entered.
The Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) caught hold of his garb and sword-belt and said, 'O Umar, you will not refrain (from persecuting us) until Allaah inflicts on you torture and humiliation the way He did with al-Waleed ibn al-Mugheerah.' 'Umar (RA) replied, 'I testify that there is no god but Allah, and that you are Allah's Messenger and Prophet.' (Reported by Ibn Sa'd, Abu Ya'la, Al-Haakim and Al-Bayhaqi)
It is narrated that Hadrat Ibn Abbaas رضي الله عنه said: 'When Umar رضي الله عنه embraced Islam, Jibra'eel (as) descended on the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) and told him, 'O Muhammad, all the dwellers of Jannah were delighted at Umar's embracing Islam.'' (Ibn Majah, and Hakim)
Ibn 'Abbaas (radiallaahu 'anhumaa) is reported to have said, 'When 'Umar (RA) embraced Islaam, the kuffaar (disbelievers) said, 'Only today have people (i.e. Muslims) taken vengeance on us.'' (Reported by al-Bazzaar and al-Haakim)
Allaah ('azza wa jal) also revealed His words:
"O Prophet (Muhammad SAW)! Allah is Sufficient for you and for the believers who follow you." (8:64)
On the authority of Ibn Sa'd رضي الله عنه and At-Tabarani رضي الله عنه who reported that Hadrat Ibn Mas'ood رضي الله عنه said, 'Umar's conversion to Islam was a conquest, his migration victory, and his caliphate a mercy. We never dared pray at the Ka'bah before 'Umar (RA) embraced Islaam. After that, 'Umar thought them till they were forced to let us pray there.' (Reported by Al-Bukhari)
Suhayb رضي الله عنه is reported to have said, 'When 'Umar (RA) embraced Islaam, he brought this religion into the light and publicly called on people to embrace it. Since then, we have been able to sit in rings around the Ka'bah and circumambulate it. Since then, we have managed to take vengeance on whoever was callous to us and hit back whenever the kuffaar sought to strike us.' (Reported by Ibn Sa'd)
Hadrat 'Umar (RA) Migrates Despite the Disbelievers Sayyiduna Ali (RA) reports: 'Never have I known anyone to have emigrated but in secret with the exception of 'Umar (RA). When he resolved to emigrate, he took his sword. picked up his bow, grabbed some arrows and headed for the Ka'bah where the elite Quraysh were. He performed the tawaaf, then two rak'ah at the Station of Ibraheem (AS), then stopped at each of their rings and said, 'Misshapened are the faces; let anyone who wants his mother to lose him, his son to be made an orphan and his wife to be widowed, meet me beyond that valley.' However, nobody dared take one step after him.' (Reported by Ibn 'Asaakir)