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Khalifa Umar bin al-Khattab - Death of Umar

Shadows Of Death

Once the Holy Prophet saw in a dream that he was drawing water from a well. Then he stepped aside and asked Abu Bakr to draw water. Abu Bakr was able to draw two buckets only. While drawing the third bucket, he felt exhausted and stepped aside. Then Umar took the job, and he completed ten rounds. The Holy Prophet interpreted the dream to signify that after his death, Khilafat would vest in Abu Bakr, who would hold the office for two years and a few months. Thereafter Umar would succeed him, and his term of office would be ten years. When Umar assumed office as Caliph, he had the conviction that he would die after ten years.

In the time of Abu Bakr, Auf bin Malik Al-Shajjai a prominent companion had a dream in which it was indicated to him by an unknown power that Umar was to be conspicuous for three things: firstly, that he would be a pillar of strength for Islam; secondly, that he would be the Caliph; and thirdly, that he would die the death of a martyr. When the dream was narrated to Umar in the time of Abu Bakr, Umar silenced Auf bin Malik saying "May Abu Bakr live long; do not talk of the caliphate of any one else. "When Abu Bakr died and Umar became the Caliph, he asked Auf bin Malik to narrate his dream. After hearing the dream, Umar said, "How can I get martyrdom when I stay in Madina, and do not go to the field to take part in the battles against infidels. But then Umar recalled that the Holy Prophet himself on more than one occasion had referred to him as 'Shahid'. He, therefore, felt that he might be blessed with martyrdom even in Madina.

In the battle of Nihawand, the Muslim forces by way of war strategy spread the news that the Caliph had died. That brought the enemy in the open and in the ensuing fight they were defeated, and the Muslims were victorious. When Umar came to know of this, he said 'If with the death of Umar, Islam can be victorious, let Umar die a hundred times."

When the year 644 A.D. dawned, that being the tenth year of his rule, Umar had the premonition that before the year ended, he would die.

That year the Hajj fell in the month of October. Umar performed the Hajj in the company of all his wives and all the surviving wives of the Holy Prophet. Umar had the feeling that that was his last Hajj. It is related that when Umar stood at the mount of Arafat he heard a voice saying, "O Caliph, never again will you stand on the Mount of Arafat". When during the Hajj ceremony, Umar threw pebbles at the devil, he once again heard a voice that that was to be his last Hajj".

Ayesha who was present on the occasion of the pilgrimage has left on record that as the party treaded the path between Mina and Mecca, some unseen person addressing Umar said:

"Upon such an Irnam as thou be peace and blessings,

With your deeds you have prepared for the journey to the Heaven,

In this journey no one can outstrip you.

You brought glory to Islam,

After you there will be distress,

But so is the will of God.

From God you came, and now to God return."

It is narrated by Said b. Al-Museeb that while at Mina, Umar raised his hands and prayed:

"O Allah, I have now become old. I am feeling weakness in my limbs.

O Allah I have done the mission entrusted to me to the best of my capacity. Now call me to Yourself before I feel imbecile to work in your cause. O Allah bless me with the death of a martyr, and may that be in Madina the city of your beloved."

Jabir bin Mutaam states that he was present at the time of the Hajj with Umar. He relates:

"We saw a man standing at the top of the hill and crying 'Verily that is the last Hajj of Umar. He will never come here again."

Ahu Musa Ashaari states that at that time he had a dream. In the dream he saw the Holy Prophet and Abu Bakr standing on a mountain. Umar stood at the base. Abu Bakr and the Holy Prophet asked him to come up and he climbed the mountain. The dream was interpreted to imply that the death of Umar was imminent.

On the last Friday in October 644, while presiding at the Friday Prayers Umar said that in a dream he had seen a bird peck at him and this implied that he was going to die. He said, "May be this is the last Friday prayer for me to preside, and thus ye faithful, farewell."

Kaab Ahbar, a soothsayer came to Umar and said "O Caliph you are going to die within three days. You may nominate your successor if you like". Umar enquired how he knew that he was to die within three days. He said that he knew that fron1 the holy book Torah. Ha~ rat Umar enquired w' ether there was an>' reference to him in the Torah. Kaab said that Umar was not mentioned as such in the Torah, but the Torah zuentioned a king who was just like Umar, Kaab said that when he read of that king, he always recalled Uznar.

About that king it was written in the Torah:

"And he had with him a prophet who was inspired, and the Lord inspired the prophet to say to him make thou the covenant, and write thy testament, for verily thou art a dead man within three days. The prophet therefore told him this, and when it was the third day, he fell down between the wail and the bed".

And as foretold by Kaab the soothsayer, Umar was stabbed to death within three days.

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