Sunday, April 20, 2014

A few notes on Abdullah bin Omar

April 20, 2014 -- by S N Smith

On Friday night I attended a  lecture here in Ottawa by Imam Yusuf Badat, the main Imam and 'Director of Religious Affairs' at the Islamic Foundation of Toronto. The topic of discussion was the famous companion Abdullah bin Omar, who was the son of Omar bin al-Khattab, the second Khalif of Islam, and how he sought to replicate the Prophet, pbuh, in every aspect of his life.  

Imam Badat noted that Abdullah was born 3 or 4 years after the Prophet Muhammad, pbuh, was called to prophethood and embraced Islam before he reached the age of 10, even before his own father. He was also very attentive in integrating into his own life what the prophet did, not only in acts of Ibadat (worship), but everyday mundane acts. Imam Badat quoted a hadeeth which says, "Aishah, may God be pleased with her, noticed this devotion of Abdullah to the Prophet and remarked: 'There was no one who followed the footsteps of the Prophet, may God bless him and grant him peace, in the places where he alighted as did Ibn Umar.'" 

Abdullah would observe and scrutinize closely every saying and action of the Prophet, pbuh, in various situations and he would practice what he observed closely and with total devotion. 

Imam Badat did not go into every detail of Abdullah's life, but briefly discussed three main qualities which Abdullah possessed and which believers can implement in their own lives. The three qualities include: 

1) His tremendous knowledge which he translated into action, which was exhibited by the thousands of ahadeeth he retained into his memory and his meticulous adherence to the prophetic sunnah. 

2) His extreme charitableness and kindness towards others,  which was exhibited by his giving away tremendous amounts of wealth and always refusing to eat alone. 

3) His amazing self-discipline, which was exhibited by his refusal to accept a prestigious Qadi position from Khalif Uthman and his staying up at night performing Salat, weeping and seeking God's forgiveness and reading Quran every night of his life until his death. 

Professor Sajid Khakwani writes, "Abdullah bin Umar has an important place ever in Muslims. Even after centuries, his opinions and decisions are still authentic and to be followed as precedent. In all academic fields of research like Quran, Hadeeth, Fiqh or Islamic legislation Abdullah Bin Umar had an ample role."

Abdullah bin Umar died in 72 Hijri, at the age of 84.  He was attacked by Umayyad forces inside the Bazaar of Medina and stabbed repeatedly until he died of his wounds.

Of course, one can not do justice to the illustrious biography of Abdullah bin Umar in this brief article or in a short lecture. It is good to study the life of this famous and pious companion, along with all of the companions of the Prophet, pbuh, because they learned Islam directly from the Prophet, pbuh, himself. They are a source of both inspiration and knowledge of the Islamic faith. 

As the famous Islamic scholar AbdAllah ibn al-Mubarak said: "There are two qualities which are the cause of salvation for whoever has them: truthfulness and love for the Companions of Muhammad."

And Allah says in the Quran of the Prophet's companions, "Rather, the Prophet and those who believe with him fought with their property and their lives for these are all good things, they are the successful ones and Allah has prepared for them gardens beneath which rivers flow to dwell therein forever and that is the great success" [9:88-89]  

And Allah further says, "And the first to embrace Islam of the Muhajirun and Ansar and all those who followed them exactly (in faith). Allah is well pleased with them and they are pleased with Him and Allah has prepared for them gardens beneath which rivers flow to dwell therein forever and that is the great success." [9: 100]

And the Prophet Muhammad, pbuh, said, "The best of my nation is my generation then those who follow them and then those who follow them." [Saheeh Bukharee]

Based upon the above, we will serve ourselves well and be on right guidance if we follow their noble examples, and a good place to start is to examine closely the life of Abdullah bin Umar.

S N Smith writes from Ottawa ON.