Examining The Strange Narration on Omar's Migration - Our Prophet 5 - Road To Medina
We know that Abu Bakr was with the Prophet, salla Allahu 'alayhi wa alihi, when he left the cave of Thawr and he joined him till they reached the city of Quba or Madinah. What about 'Umar Ibn al-Khattab? Was he was the Prophet, salla Allahu alayhi wa alihi, when the Prophet migrated.
How did he migrate? There are two reports, two versions concerning the migration of 'Umar Ibn al-Khattab from Makkah to Madinah. One version is mentioned in the book Tarikh Dimishq by Ibn Asakir. Also, Sirah Halabiyyah mentions this.
Now, interestingly, this report is attributed to Imam 'Ali, 'alayhi as-salam. Supposedly, Imam Amir ul-Mu'minin stated how 'Umar Ibn al-Khattab made the migration from Makkah to Madinah. So, according to this report, Imam 'Ali Ibni Abi Talib, 'alayhi as-salam, states; he says, 'I do not know any of the Muhajireen, those migrants, who migrated publicly in the presence of the pagans, except for one.' Meaning all those who migrated, migrated secretly, even the Prophet, salla Allahu 'alayhi wa alihi, secretly, he left his house at night when they had gathered to assassinate him. And all other migrants, they secretly left Makkah. Because, Makkans banned them from migrating. They did not want them to migrate to Madinah.
So Imam 'Ali, 'alayhi as-salam, in this hadith supposedly said, every Muhajir migrated secretly except one, and that is 'Umar Ibn al-Khattab. And then the account goes to give us a vivid picture of what happened. So, 'Umar, he grabs his sword, according to this report, and his arrows and his other weapons, and he goes to Masjid ul-Haram, he does Tawaf [circumambulation] and the Salah of the Tawaf. Then he threatens the pagans. He tells them, if you want your mothers to grieve over you, then come and stop me from the migration. Of course, being so courageous, they feared him and he just left. In visible daylight, he left and he started his migration. So, this is one account that we have.
Do we accept this account? Aside from the issues that we find in the chain of narration, let us put that on the side. We find this problematic for a number of reasons. Number one, we do not see a precedent from 'Umar Ibn al-Khattab in which he displayed such courage in Makkah. In fact, you remember when we talked about how he became Muslim. What did Bukhari state? This is to refresh our memory from last year. Those who attended this class last year, Bukhari told us that when 'Umar Ibn al-Khattab became Muslim and the pagans found out and they wanted to threaten him, what did he do? Bukhari states this right? Not Kafi, Bukhari! What did he do after he became Muslim and they found out?
He got scared and exactly, he went into hiding. He went into his own house, hiding until Al 'as Ibni Wa'in, he came and took him in his protection. Then he came out. Bukhari says this. So, when we look at those few years in Makkah, we do not see any incident of 'Umar Ibn al-Khattab going publicly and threatening them like that. That in itself makes us doubt such reports. That is number one.
Number two, look at his track record in the battles. If you want to know about his courage. Show me one person he killed in the battlefield. In fact, he would flee from the battlefield. In Uhud, and in other battles, he fled the battlefield. So, this makes it very difficult for us to believe such a report about his migration. That is number two.
Number three, as we shall see, in the event of Hudaybiyyah, when the Prophet, salla Allahu 'alayhi wa alihi, wanted to make that treaty with the pagans. Who stood in his face from the Muslims and tried to stop him? 'Umar Ibn al-Khattab, he tried to stop the Prophet. Then, this is what we see. The Prophet gives him the letter to take to Makkah so they could start on this treaty. The Prophet actually wanted to send 'Umar Ibn al-Khattab to Makkah to deliver the letter. Did he accept?
He did not accept. What was his excuse? Exactly. He says Ya Rasul Allah, even my Ahl [family], you know, from Bani Adi, They are not going to support me, I do not have support there so I would rather not take the letter. Where is that courage? Rasul Allah is giving you a task, take the letter to Makkah. Why do you not take it? So, when you look at all these other incidents in his life, it makes such reports very dubious.
Number four. Bukhari narrates. And this is something that all Muslims agree that the most courageous person was the Prophet, salla Allahu 'alayhi wa alihi. Why does the Prophet have to secretly leave Makkah and start his migration, whereas 'Umar Ibn al-Khattab does so publicly? Is he now more courageous than the Prophet?
What is going on over here? He is courageous than the Prophet himself. The Prophet leaves discreetly, secretly, but 'Umar has to leave publicly. So, due to these points, we find these reports problematic.
[Sayyid points to an audience member for a question]- Yes. [ Did Imam Ali (as) leave Makkah in broad daylight?] Yes. The Imam, 'alayhi as-salam, his migration was not fully public and it was not fully private. They knew the Imam was now going to join the Prophet. So, the Imam,'alayhi as-salam, the moment that he left, he left at night when people were not watching.
But then along the way, we see them chasing Imam 'Ali, 'alayhi as-salam, and they wanted to fight him. And that is where we find the courage of Imam Ali. In fact, these words attributed to 'Umar are the words of Amir ul-Mu'minin. He told them, if you want your mothers to grieve, then come near me and the Fawatim [The ladies of the Household who were called Fatimah], you will see what I am going to do to you. So, the Imam, 'alayhi as-salam, did not fully leave publicly? Yes. They knew that he was staying for a number of days and he was leaving. But the moment of his departure was private.
So, that happens with a lot of the virtues of Imam Ali, 'alayhi as-salam, they just switch the names exactly. Those lines attributed to him ['Umar] were said by Amir ul-Mu'minin 'alayhi as-salam, on his way when he was migrating, when they chased them, those eight men, when they chased them, that is what he said to them. Very unfortunate.
So, this is one version. The correct version is one that states that 'Umar Ibn al-Khattab, he made an agreement with Ayyash Ibnu Abi Rabi' al-Makhzumi and he told him, let us meet at a certain point, he tells him exactly where. It was a neighbourhood in Makkah. He tells him, let us meet there early morning when no one is watching and let us leave.
So, 'Umar Ibn al-Khattab left just like the other Muhajireen. He left privately, discreetly, at night, towards early dawn. That is when they left. So, Umar migrated after the Prophet had already migrated. The Prophet had reached Quba. So, 'Umar Ibn al-Khattab joins the Prophet later in his migration.