THE ILLUSTRIOUS Khalifah of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), Ameerul Mu’mineen Umar Ibn Khattaab (radhiyallahu anhu) was urged by Hadhrat Abu Ubaidah Bin Jarraah (radhiyallahu anhu), the Commander-in-Chief of the Muslim army which had laid siege to the City of Jerusalem, to come personally for taking possession of Baitul Maqdis.
The Christian rulers had stipulated the presence of Hadhrat Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) for handing over the City without battle. The description of Hadhrat Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) was given in detail in the Tauraah. Therefore they wanted to physically ascertain if the Ruler of the Muslims was the person mentioned in the Tauraah.
Ameerul Mu’mineen set out with only a camel and one slave. There was no retinue, no bodyguards, no servants and no noblemen to accompany this great Ruler of the Islamic Empire stretching from the shores of the Atlantic in the west to the walls of China in the east. He set out like a pauper, not like an emperor.
His justice, kindness and Taqwa constrained him to be on equal terms with the slave accompanying him. The slave would lead the camel for a distance (e.g. 5 km) while Hadhrat Umar would be seated on the camel. The next five kilometres would be the turn of the slave to sit on the camel while Ameerul Mu’mineen would lead the camel. In this manner they alternated their walking and riding. When ultimately they reached Baitul Maqdis, the slave was riding on top of the camel, and Umar, The Great was walking holding the leash of the camel.
The army with its four commanders under the Flag of Hadhrat Ubaidah Bin Jarraah (radhiyallahu anhu) had come to a place called Jaabiyah to welcome Ameerul Mu’mineen. All the inhabitants came out of their homes to see and welcome Hadhrat Umar (radhiyallahu anhu). When Ameerul Mu’mineen reached Jaabiyah, he delivered an inspiring khutbah (lecture) to the crowds and the army.
The following are just a few extracts from his Khutbah:
“O People! Most certainly, we (the Arabs) were the most contemptible nation. Then Allah honoured us (gave us respect) with Islam. Whenever we shall search for honour with anything other than the Object by which Allah gave us honour (i.e. Islam), verily, Allah will then disgrace us. …… Reform your souls, then your bodies (actions) will be reformed. Do deeds for your Aakhirah, it will then suffice for your worldly needs. Whoever intends to take the path to Jannat should incumbently follow the Jama’ah (Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jama’ah), for verily, shaitaan is with the solitary man……… Never be alone with a woman, for verily, shaitaan is the third one present. He whose good deeds make him happy, and his sins grieve him, verily he is a Mu’min…”
Having an aversion for publicity and being honoured, Hadhrat Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) ordered the army to disperse. Then he walked ahead alone with utmost humility. When the leadership (the army commanders, etc.) approached him, Ameerul Mu’mineen commanded: “Disperse from me. Where is my Brother, Ubaidah Aamir Bin Jarraah?” From behind, the Commander-in-Chief stepped forward. These two great stalwarts of Islam embraced. There was prolonged sobbing of the two without saying a word. Then Hadhrat Umar said: “O Abu Ubaidah! When Allah Ta’ala will, on the Day of Qiyaamah, ask us what we had done after the departure of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), what answer shall we have?” Hadhrat Abu Ubaidah said: “O Ameerul Mu’mineen! Let us go to one side (away from the crowds) and cry.”
Both went to a distance and sat under a tree, sobbing out their hearts. The army, the people and the Nasaara rulers and noblemen, all looked on with astonishment and awe. They wondered: What type of souls were these? Despite having conquered the world and ruling it, they lived and acted like mendicants – in fact, that was the reality. They were mendicants on the Journey to Aakhirat. These were our Aslaaf – our noble and great Predecessors from whom we have inherited the Sunnah of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam).