Umar bin Khattab accepts Islam
Only three days after Hamzah’s conversion to Islam, Umar became Muslim. Umar, a tall and powerful man, had been a staunch enemy of the Muslims. He was known for his fierce temper and his love of poetry and strong drink. The story of how Umar embraced Islam is one of the most interesting episodes in the history of Islam.
Umar had heard the Prophet reciting verses from the Qur’an at the Ka’bah, and some of the verses he overheard moved him. However, his heart remained firmly opposed to Islam and the Prophet . His opposition grew to the point that one day he picked up his sword and decided to kill the Prophet .
Fortunately, Umar did not succeed in carrying out his intention. With his sword gripped in his hand and his mind made up, Umar met Nu’aym bin Abdullah, who asked him, “Where are you going?” “I am going to slay Muhammad,” he replied.
“How will you save yourself from Banu Hashim and Banu Zuhra?” Angered at this question, which seemed like a challenge to him, Ummar replied, “It seems as if you have forsaken our faith.” “Umar! Nu’aym countered. “The amazing thing is that your sister and brother-in-law have also renounced your faith.”
Umar was furious, and his intention was diverted from the Prophet to his own family. In a rage, he headed straight for his sister’s house. At that moment, Khabbab bin Aratt was at Umar’s sister’s house teaching her and her husband Surah Ta Ha. When they heard Umar outside the door, Khabbab hid himself, and Fatimah, Umar’s sister, quickly hid the sheets of paper upon which the Qur’an was written.
“What was that babble I heard?” They could see that Umar was enraged and armed with a sword. “Nothing, we were just talking.”
“Maybe, both of you have renounced your faith.” Umar said. Umar’s brother-in-law said, “Well, tell me, Umar, what if the truth lies far from your religion?” Umar’s response to this question was swift and violent. He pounced upon his brother-inlaw and beat him mercilessly. When his sister tried to disengage the two in defense of her husband, Umar hit her hard on the face. Blood ran down her cheek, but at this point Fatimah was not to be deterred from speaking the truth. Echoing her husband’s question, she challenged the wisdom of Umar’s faith: Umar! What if the truth lies far from your religion?”
Then in front of her brother, she declaired her own faith, using the same words every Muslim utters as solem testimony about the Oneness of Allah and the Prophethood of Muhammad . She said, “I bear witness that none is worthy of worship other than Allah, and I bear witness that Muhammad is the Prophet of Allah.”
When Umar heard his sister’s proud affirmation of her faith, he was overwhelmed with shame. “Show me what you were reading from,” he said. His sister retored, “You are unclean, and only the pure and clean can touch it. Go wash yourself.”
A chastened Umar bathed and then took the pages of Surah Ta Ha in his hand and recited Bismillahir-Rahmani-Raheem (In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, Most Merciful). “These are pure names,” Umar said. He continued reading:
“Verily, I am Allah – there is no god but I, so worship Me and offer prayers in remembrance of Me.” (20: 14).
Umar exclaimed in awe at the sublimity of the verses. “Where can I find Muhammad?” he asked.
When Khabbab heard this, he came out of hiding and said, “O Umar! Rejoyce. I prayed that Allah would bless you. Thursday night before I heard the Prophet praying to Allah, saying “O Allah, strengthen Islam by Umar bin Khattab or Abu Jahl bin Hisham!”
When Umar heard that the Prophet was at Dar Al-Arqam, he rushed there hoping to find him. He knocked at the door, and one of the Prophet’s Companions peeped through a chink to see Umar, sword in hand, looking very agitated. The Companion rushed into the back of the house with the alarming news.
“Whats s the matter?” Hamzah asked. “Umar is at the door,” the Companion reported. “Is that all?” exclaimed Hamzah. “If he comes in peace, fine. If not, we simply kill him with his own sword.”
Muhammad , meanwhile, was in the midst of receiving from Allah, and upon completion of the revelation came to the sitting room. There sat Umar. The Prophet caught him by his clothes and sword belt and said to hm urgently, “Umar! Will you not turnback from your path unless Allah Almighty sends down on you such chastisement as He did on Waleed bin Mugheera? O Allah! This is Umar bin Khattab. O Allah! Bestow power and glory on Islam through this Umar bin Khattab.”
After the Prophet ended his supplication, Umar said, “I bear witness that there is none worthy of worship other than Allah, and that you are the Prophet of Allah.” Those present in the house cried, “Allahu Akbar!” (God is the Greatest!) so loudly that their cry resonated around the Ka’bah