The Assassination of ‘Umar ibn Al-Khattab

‘Umar ibn Al-Khattab (رضي الله عنه‏) was the second khalifa, and one of the ten companions promised Jannah in their lifetimes.

‘Umar (رضي الله عنه‏) used to be a soldier–one of the best. But when he became the khalifah, the other companions refused to let him fight–he disagreed with them, but in the end, he stayed back in Medinah while the battles waged. Yet he always made one du’a, publicly and privately, throughout his khilafah: “Allahumma ruziqniy shahaadah,” “O Allah, provide me with martyrdom.”

People told him he was crazy–he was the Khalifah, of all people, and in a city full of Muslims! And, being the Khalifa, they didn’t allow him to fight. But Subhanallah, Allah knew his sincerity, and answered his du’a.

While he was in Medina, there was a Majuwsi (fire-worshiper) who was a slave, a man by the name of Abu Lu’ Lu’. Abu Lu’ Lu’ was an expert blacksmith, and a slave, captured during the conquest of Nahawand. He was in Medina, making things for the Muslims. His slave-master, though–a Muslim–would take a lot of his earnings.

So knowing the reputation of ‘Umar ibn Al-Khattab (رضي الله عنه‏) for justice, he went to ‘Umar and told him: “Ask my master to reduce what he’s taking from me.”

And ‘Umar (رضي الله عنه‏) told him: “be patient.”

Now, Abu Lu’ Lu’ got mad–furious! And he went away furious.

Meanwhile, ‘Umar (رضي الله عنه‏) went to Abu Lu’ Lu’s master, and told him to reduce what he was taking from Abu Lu’ Lu’, which he agreed.

Unknown, Abu Lu’ Lu’ stewed in his rage. Being a master blacksmith, he crafted a knife–a special knife, made of two curving blades, made out of stone. He bought poison, and soaked his knife in it. He asked the person he bought the poison from, “if I cut someone with this, is there any chance they will survive?” and the person said “no.”

Now, at that time, ‘Umar (رضي الله عنه‏) would lead salaah in the masjid. And this was well-known. So one day, at Fajr, Abu Lu’ Lu’ snuck into the masjid. After salaah started, while ‘Umar was praying, he jumped out and stabbed him.

One companion narrates, that ‘Umar said: “The dog has eaten ‘Umar.”

Abu Lu’ Lu’ turned to make his escape; but the Muslims prayed so close to each other, he couldn’t escape–so he stabbed his way out. He killed several companions (almost a dozen), until one of them threw a cloth on top of him and tackled him to the floor. He then commited suicide.

Now, imagine: Fajr in the masjid, ,and the Khalifa is lying on the floor in a pool of blood. One narration says that even then, at that time, ‘Umar said “finish the salaah, finish the salaah”–because sunrise was coming. Subhanallah, priorities!

They knew ‘Umar (رضي الله عنه‏) was going to die–he would eat food, and it would come out of his wounds. And when he realized who stabbed him, he said, why did the man stab him? He had gone to ask Abu Lu’ Lu’s slave master to lower his wages.

He sent a messenger to ‘Aishah (رضي الله عنها‏). Abu Bakr (رضي الله عنه‏) and the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) were buried in the Prophet’s house, and there was space for one more grave. So he sent a messenger to ‘Aisha, and told him to ask her if he could have that spot.

‘Aishah (رضي الله عنها‏) narrates: “I was thinking of saving that spot for myself, but …” and she gave it to him. When the messenger returned, ‘Umar (رضي الله عنه‏) told him “go again, and this time, tell her ‘Umar ibn Al-Khattab is asking, not Ameer al-Mu’mineen.” Subhanallah! Even at the time of his death, he was worried that he was using his position to get gains for himself.

So the messenger went back, and ‘Aishah (رضي الله عنها‏) said “yes, give it to him.”

So he died (رضي الله عنه‏), and they buried him with the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) and Abu Bakr (رضي الله عنه‏).

And so, in the most unexpected time and place–the Khalifa praying Fajr in the masjid, surrounded by Muslims–Allah answered ‘Umar’s (رضي الله عنه‏) du’a and made him shaheed.

As for the people who provided Abu Lu’ Lu’ the poison, they resurfaced during the murder of ‘Uthmaan …


Muhammad Alshareef. Lecture. AlMaghrib. Conquest: History of the Khulafa. University of Toronto, Toronto. November 2005.


39 thoughts on “The Assassination of ‘Umar ibn Al-Khattab

  1. Mariam 3.36

    Verily, Allah! With Him (Alone) is the knowledge of the Hour, He sends down the rain, and knows that which is in the wombs. No person knows what he will earn tomorrow, and no person knows in what land he will die. Verily, Allah is All­Knower, All­Aware (of things). Surat-Luqman (Surah 31), ayah 34.

    SubhaanAllah. Jazaakum Allahu khayran.

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  3. sameena

    may allah subhanatala bless you do to more of the islamic works to spread the knowledge…….
    spread islam with the pen in this century as people has misconception islam spread on swords….
    appreciate the work

  4. rasgeed mubarak

    Subahanallah, I am always inspired reading about the life Of Khalifa Ummar bin kathab, thanks for englightening me more about his life. may allah bless you.

  5. Shirin

    Hazrat Umar was a great commander in chief. But he was not a skilled soldier. Of the 4 calips, only and only Ali ibn Abi Talib was a skilled warrior. Hazrat Umar, reportedly, fled during the battle of Uhad, leaving the prophet alone, who beckoned him to come back. Per Sahih Bukhari, he is quoted as saying that he was trembling like a baby goat. In battle of Khyber, before the prophet gave the flag to Haz. Ali, he had given it to Haz. Abu Bakr, and Haz. Umar, and both refused to go against the warrior of Khyber. Really, there is not one single battle during the prophet’s time, where Hazrat Umar led the soldiers or commited acts of bravery that is recorded in any credible sunni history book. So please do not attribute skills to him that he himself never claimed he had.

    But yes, he was an excellent commander who conquered much of today’s Arab world, and what is conveniently forgotten, liberated the Jews, and opened the door for them to enter Jerusalem, from where the Romans, and then the Christians had banned their entry.

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  7. Umar abdulrahman

    Muhammadurrasulullah,wallathina ma,ahu ashidda’u alal kuffari ruhamaaa’u baynahum,tarahum rukka’an sujjadayyabtaguna fadlan minallahi wa ridwana,simahum fi wujuhihim min atharissujud,zhalika mathaluhum fittaurah,wa mathaluhum fil injili ka zar’in akhraja shada’u fa’aazarahu fastagladha fastawa ala sukihi yu,ujibuzzurra,a liyagidha bihimul kuffar,wa,adallahullathina amanu wa amilussalihati minhum magfiratawwa ajran adhwima.

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  9. Yuusuf

    Do you know that Umar r.a was gigantic?

    MashaAllah, Allah gave him strenght.
    He was very strong and use to out-power people in fights.

  10. Natasha

    Shirin you need to get yourself appropriately educated before passing such judgement on a courageous warrior/khalifa of Islam. He ra obviously conquered the Arab land with courage integrity, intelligence but to name a few..

  11. khan

    What happen after Umar(r.a) death
    While he is dying, by his own initiative or by request from the Muslims, the Khaleefah recommends some people, who are qualified for the position of Khilafah, to select after his death, one from amongst themselves by consultation, to be Khaleefah over the Muslims after him, within an assigned period of time that does not exceed three days. After this, the group selects one man from amongst themselves to be Khaleefah, by the style they agree upon. The name of the Khaleefah then is declared to the Muslims, and the Bay’ah is taken for him from them, this person becomes Khaleefah of the Muslims by this Bay’ah, and not by the selection of that small group, which was recommended by the previous Khaleefah.
    This is similar to what happened with ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab when he was stabbed, and later died from that wound.
    The Muslims came to him and requested him to assign a Khaleefah after him. He said: “Whom should I make Khaleefah? If Abu ‘Ubaydah ibn Al-Jarrah were alive I would have recommended him to be Khaleefah. If my Lord asked me why, I would say: I heard your prophet say:
    ‘He (Abu ‘Ubaydah) is the secretary of this Ummah.’ If Salim, servant of Abu Huzayfah was alive, I would have recommended him. If my Lord asked me why, I would say: I heard Your prophet say:
    “Salim’s love for Allah is great.” One of the Muslims said to him: “Recommend your son ‘Abdullah.” He said: “May Allah fight you, by Allah you did not seek Allah’s pleasure by this opinion. Woe to you! How can I recommend a man who was unable to divorce his wife? There is no desire for us (Aal Al-Khattab) in your affairs. I did not praise it (Khilafah) so as to like it to be for anyone from my family. If this matter (of Khilafah) was good then we have got our share. If it was bad then it is enough for Aal ‘Umar that one person from them be accounted and be asked about the affairs of the Ummah of Muhammad. Really, I exerted myself and I deprived my family. If I managed to save myself sufficiently without sin and without reward, then I am happy.” The Muslims went out from his room and left him to think. Then they referred to him again and asked him to recommend somebody, out of concern for the interest of the Muslims.

    He said to them: “You have this group whom, when the Messenger of Allah (sas) died, he was pleased with them, and he said about them: They are the people of paradise: ‘Ali ibn Talib, ‘Uthman ibn Affan, Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas, Abdur Rahman ibn Awf, Az- Zubayr ibn Al Awwam, and Talha ibn Ubaydullah. Let ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar be with them, but let him have only an opinion without having any consideration in the matter of Khilafah.”
    ‘Umar advised these six people to select a Khaleefah, and appointed to them a three-day time limit. After a long talk with them he said: “When I die, consult for three days, and let Suhaib (in these days) lead the Muslims in prayer.
    Do not let the fourth day come without having an Ameer upon you.” He also appointed Abu Talha Al-Ansari to protect the gathering and to encourage them in their task, and he said to him: “O Abu Talha, Allah (swt) has helped Islam by you (i.e. the Ansar) so select fifty men from the Ansar, and urge these (six) people to select one from amongst them.”
    He asked Al-Muqdad ibn Al-Aswad to select the place of the meeting and said to him: “After you put me in my grave, gather these (six) people in a house till they select one man from themselves.”
    Then he asked Suhaib to monitor the meeting and said to him: “Lead the people in prayer three days, and let ‘Ali, ‘Uthman, Az-Zubayr, Sa’d, ‘Abdul Rahman ibn Awf, and Talha, if he came back (from his travel) and bring in ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar, without allowing him any personal interest in the matter, and stand at their heads (i.e. supervise them). If five agreed and accepted one man, while one man rejected, then hit his head with the sword (kill him). If four consented and agreed on one man, and two disagreed, then kill the dissenters with the sword. If three agreed on one man and three disagreed then let ‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar arbitrate.
    The group that ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar judged for, let them select one from them. If they did not accept the judgement of ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar, then be (all of you) with the group in which is ‘Abdul Rahman ibn Awf, and kill the rest if they declined to accept what the people agreed upon.” Then he asked them to leave the discussion about the Khilafah until he died.
    After ‘Umar’s death and his burial, the group that ‘Umar had nominated gathered except for Talha who was in travel. It is reported that their meeting took place in ‘Umar’s house, and ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar was with them. They asked Abu Talha Al Ansari to shield them. Once they settled, ‘Abdul-Rahman ibn Awf said: “Who would take himself out of it (the Khilafah) and preside over the meeting on condition that he gives it to the best among you?” That is, who would renounce his right to the Khilafah, on condition that everyone makes him judge (arbitrator), to choose by himself a Khaleefah from amongst them as he deemed fit.” Having said this, ‘Abdul-Rahman ibn Awf waited for an answer but no one answered him, so he went on saying: I myself renounce my right to the Khilafah. Upon this ‘Uthman said: “I am the first to accept, for I heard the Messenger of Allah (swt) say:
    “A trustee on earth is a trustee in the heavens,” Al-Zubayr and Sa’d also said: “We agree”.
    ‘Ali kept silent; so ‘Abdul-Rahman asked him: “What do you say O Abul Hassan!” ‘Ali replied: “Give me an Oath that you would prefer the truth and not to follow the whims and not to favour any member of your family and not neglect the interest of the Ummah”.

    ‘Abdul-Rahman replied: “Give me (all of you) your Oaths that you would stand with me against whoever changes, and that you would accept whoever I choose for you (on your behalf) and I give you my Oath that By Allah, I shall not favour a relative nor shall I neglect the interest of the Ummah.” He took an Oath from them and gave them an Oath himself. Then he started to consult each one of them individually saying: “Apart from yourself, who do you think is worthy of this authority from among this group?” or words to that effect. ‘Ali said: “Uthman.” ‘Uthman said: “‘Ali.” Sa’d said: “Uthman,” so did Al-Zubayr. Then ‘Abdul-Rahman sought the opinion of the prominent figures in Madina, and asked all the Muslims in Madina one by one, men and women.
    He left no one without asking him about whom, he or she, would like to be the Khaleefah from amongst that group. A group of them chose ‘Uthman and another group chose ‘Ali. ‘Abdul-Rahman found that opinion was split between ‘Uthman and ‘Ali, and that the Qurayshis sided with ‘Uthman.
    Once ‘Abdul-Rahman completed his fact finding mission and consulted all the people, men and women, he summoned the Muslims to the Masjid and stood upon the Minbar (podium) with his sword on donning the “Amama” (head-dress) which the Messenger of Allah  gave to him: He stood for a long while then spoke: “O people! I have asked you openly and secretly about your Imam, and I found that you cannot place anyone on the same level as these two men: ‘Ali and ‘Uthman.” Then he turned to ‘Ali and said to him.

    “Come to me O ‘Ali!” ‘Ali stood and walked to the Minbar until he came underneath it. ‘Abdul-Rahman took his hand and said: “Would you give me your Bay’ah according to the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of His Messenger and the (actions) of Abu Bakr and ‘Umar?” ‘Ali replied: “By Allah no, but on my own exertion of that and my knowledge”
    – i.e. I would give you my Bay’ah according to the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of His Messenger according to my own exertion of that and my knowledge of them. As for the actions of Abu Bakr and ‘Umar, I do not adhere myself to them but exert my own opinion.”
    ‘Abdul-Rahman then released his hand and called: “Come to me O ‘Uthman!” He took his hand as he stood on the spot where ‘Ali stood earlier and said to him: “Would you give me your according to the Book of Allah and the of His Messenger as well as the actions of Abu Bakr and ‘Umar?” ‘Uthman replied, “By Allah yes.” Upon this ‘Abdul-Rahman looked up to the roof of the Masjid with his hand clutching that of ‘Uthman and said: “O Allah! Hear and witness; O Allah, I have put what was in my neck of that (matter) in the neck of ‘Uthman.” Then people rushed to give their Bay’ah to ‘Uthman until they overwhelmed him. Then ‘Ali came pushing his way through to reach ‘Uthman and gave him his Bay’ah. Thus Bay’ah was concluded to ‘Uthman.

  12. anonymous

    Asalamu alaikum warahmatullah. Jazakallahu khairan for the beautiful article. The above comment by shirin is quite unnecessary! As Muslims, we are supposed to love, honor and respect all the prophets and messengers of ALLAH and their righteous families, friends and companions! We don’t expose them, especially after death! They sacrificed everything for Allah and for us. Besides, I don’t believe her story to be true! They were all our heroes and I know Allah s very pleased with thm all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The woman, shirin should stop bad mouthing the noble companions and ask Allah for forgiveness! !! May Allah bless us to be their neighbors, ameen! Peace!

  13. anony

    Asalamu’alaykum excellent article.
    People like shirin only spread the filth she came up with because she’s most probably from amongst those who curse aisha,Abu bakr, umar and uthman .. who also believe that the caliphate should have been given to blood relations ie: Ali!
    Wake up darling and smell the coffee….Ali married his daughter to umar ..if u really love Ali then you would love all the caliphs. No one ever hands their daughter to an enemy!

    And all the rubbish you mentioned regarding umar has no basis…it’s only from your whims and desires that allowed you to bad mouth him like that. The world has never seen a man like umar. May Allah revive this deen. Ameen

  14. Shumaila Siddiqui

    SubhanAllah.. Allah bless such great personalities n the savors of Islam and give us the strength to atleast try to mend our ways rather than criticising our own brotheren, amen

  15. waleed

    JazakAllah for the article.

    and for shirin…. why cant ppl like you can keep your mouth shut, how ill logical is ur crappy story.

    Muhammad pbuh made dua to Allah to give hidayh to anyone of the Umar/Amar, and Umar r.a accepted Islam,
    why Muhammad pbuh did so? If what you say is true.

    Why upon him accepting Islam muslim rejoiced, and openly offered Salah thereafter?

    Shirin you must be ignorant shia who only spread hate.
    May Allah gives you hidayh if you are just an ignorant and burn you in hell fire if you are intentionally spreading corruption in land

  16. hasan khan

    “Do not ascribe purity to yourselves. Allah knows best who is righteous.” (53:32)

    I wonder who this line is for?

  17. Hashim

    Excellent!!! its always good to listen to all sides of the story. Shirin has said the truth i give her an applause to stick up to it. nobody should be offended by it she only mentioned Umar(RA) was not a skilled soldier but a smart commander in chief (president) who was know for it through out the history.

  18. Rafiqul Haque

    After demise of our holy prophet(PBUH) we are still fighting each other who were caliphs and who was deprived to be a caliph! Though this was settled chronologically.The old story of long fifteen hundred years is still dividing Muslim umma,someone claims Sunni and someone shiate.The scenario could have been more pleasant if we could follow a single path as the faithful follower of our prophet. WE COULD BE A UNITY,most effective and most honorable in present and future world.

  19. YASSIN

    Qederellahu wemashaa fealle. But, umar was not assassinated & had more time as a khelifah, there wouldn’t be a period called fitnah. Umar’s death not only harm the Muslims at that time but also the consequence of his death is visible to the present time. Allah knows best!

  20. Abdulsamad Kabir Islam

    Jazakallahu khairan.

    such a lovely story.

    May Allah’s pleased be with all the sahabas.

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