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Abd Allah b. Umar

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Sahaba
'Abd Allah b. 'Umar
قبر عبدالله بن عمر.jpg
Personal Information
Full Name 'Abd Allah b. 'Umar Khattab
Teknonym 'Abd al-Rahman
Well Known As Ibn 'Umar
Lineage Quraysh
Well-Known Relatives 'Umar b. Khattab, 'Uthman b. Maz'un, Hafsa bt. 'Umar
Birth 3 years after Bi'that/613
Place of Birth Mecca
Muhajir/Ansar Muhajir
Place(s) of Residence Mecca and Medina
Death/Martyrdom 73/692
Burial Place Mecca
Religious Information
Conversion to Islam 13 years after Bi'that/623
Presence at Ghazwas Ghazwa al-Khandaq and Battle of Mu'ta
Migration to Medina
Other Activities Not give allegiance to Imam Ali (a), allegiance with First Three Caliphs, allegiance with Yazid

ʿAbd Allāh b. 'Umar b. al-Khaṭṭāb (Arabic:عبدالله بن عمر بن الخطاب) or Ibn Umar (ابن عمر) (b. 3 years after Bi'that- d. 73/692) was among the companions of the Prophet (s) and the son of the Second Caliph. At the age of ten, he accepted Islam together with his father and immigrated to Medina before his father. Sunni sources introduced him a weak and simple-minded person who did not even consider objection against a corrupt ruler permissible. He gave allegiance to the first three caliphs after the Prophet (s). 'Umar introduced him as the advisor for determining the caliph after himself. 'Uthman offered to him to judge, but he did not accept it. During the rule of Imam Ali (a), although he mentioned many merits of Imam (a), he did not give allegiance to him; however, he later gave allegiance to Yazid b. Mu'awiya. When Imam al-Husayn (a) was going toward Kufa, 'Abd Allah prohibited Imam (a) from fighting with Yazid. Ibn 'Umar died at the age of 84 and was buried in the cemetery of Immigrants in Fakhkh.

Personality

'Abd Allah b. 'Umar b. al-Khattab or Ibn 'Umar was among the companions of the Prophet (s), son of the Second Caliph and brother-in-law of the Prophet (s).[1] His kunya was 'Abd al-Rahman and was born three years after the beginning of the Prophet's (s) mission.[2] His mother was Zaynab, daughter of Maz'un. It is said that he accepted Islam together with his father and immigrated to Medina before his father. Some sources however disagree about the year of his acceptance of Islam.[3]

Ibn 'Umar was very cautious in life and thus was cautious in judgment too.[4] Sunni sources introduced him as having a weak[5] and simple-minded personality[6] who avoided the arguments of people with the government and even did not consider objecting against a corrupt ruler permissible.[7] He said that, "I do not fight in the time of trouble and follow anyone who wins in congregational prayer."[8] They say that in the Arbitration, Abu Musa al-Ash'ari suggested the caliphate of 'Abd Allah b. 'Umar, but 'Amr al-'As said that he was not qualified to rule.[9]

The Time of the Prophet (s)

In the battles of Badr and Uhud, 'Abd Allah b. 'Umar was a child and thus, the Prophet (s) did not allow him to participate in those battles. Khandaq was the first battle when he was given the permission to participate. He was 15 in that battle. He participated in the following battles.[10] Sunni historical sources reported that in the Battle of Muta, when he and some other Muslims felt that the enemy was about to win the battle, escaped from the battlefield and returned to Medina. After escaping, they apologized the Prophet (s) and were forgiven.[11]

The Time of the First Three Caliphs

'Abd Allah is not considered influential in politics and government and there are only few reports about his participation in battles. After the demise of the Prophet (s), during the caliphate of Abu Bakr, 'Abd Allah was in the army of Usama. During his caliphate, 'Umar formed a council and took 'Abd Allah his advisor, but did not allow him to introduce himself as a candidate for caliphate after his father.[12] In that period, he participated in the battles of Nahavand and the conquest of Egypt.[13]

Historical sources mention that he never judged and when 'Uthman offered him this position, 'Abd Allah spoke against judgment and did not accept it.[14] Yazid b. Harun narrated that Ibn 'Umar told people that, "I was with a person who was wiser than me and if I knew that you want judgment from me and would ask questions, I would learn."[15]

After the murder of 'Uthman, some people including Marwan b. al-Hakam offered him the caliphate, 'Abd Allah said that, "even if only a small group of people is against my caliphate, I would not accept it."[16]

During the Caliphate of Imam Ali (a)

When Imam Ali (a) reached caliphate, 'Ammar b. Yasir asked Imam (a) to allow him to speak with 'Abd Allah to give allegiance. 'Abd Allah mentioned many merits about Imam Ali (a), but he did not give allegiance to him.[17] He sought individual acts of worship more and did not consider himself competent in social issues; and thus, Imam Ali (a) told 'Ammar, "leave 'Abd Allah! He is a weak person."[18] Also, in his answer to a person who said that "I shall not interfere in issues just as 'Abd Allah b. 'Umar", Imam Ali (a) said, "'Abd Allah neither assists the truth, nor fights with the falsehood."[19]

Although Ibn 'Umar did not give allegiance to Imam (a), he did not stand in the line of his opponents and did not support them either.[20] Some Sunni sources reported that toward the end of his life, 'Abd Allah was regretful and sad for not assisting Imam Ali (a) and said that, "I am not regretful for any of my actions except that I did not fight together with Ali (a) against trouble makers."[21]

Prohibiting Imam al-Husayn (a) from Fighting

'Abd Allah was silent over the truth and falsehood and said that breaking allegiance and uprising is not allowed even against a corrupt ruler. He told Imam al-Husayn (a) that, "I heard from the Prophet (s) that he (a) said, "al-Husayn (a) will be killed"; and advised Imam (a) not to go toward Kufa and to return to Medina; but, Imam (a) did not accept it and continued his way. In this period, 'Abd Allah gave allegiance to Yazid and considered him a caliph of the Prophet (s).[22]

His Letter to Mu'awiya

In a letter to Mu'awiya, 'Abd Allah said:

"Did you think that I left Ali (a) and the Immigrants and would support you? And that you said that I did not give allegiance to Ali (a), was that I did not receive any advice from the Prophet (s), so I inevitably took no sides and said to myself that if it is the path of guidance, the worst would be that I would not receive any rewards and if it is the path of deviance, I will escape it by taking no sides. So, do not pursue me anymore."[23]

Al-Tabari reported that, Abu Musa al-Ash'ari was asked to choose a person as the guardian for the community. He mentioned 'Abd Allah b. 'Umar, but he did not accept and said that, "I choose Mu'awiya as the guardian for people."[24]

Also, Mu'awiya told his son, Yazid about caliphate that, "I fear some people to become the caliph and one of them is 'Abd Allah b. 'Umar". Then he continues, "'Abd Allah has occupied himself with worship and piety and if all people give allegiance to you, then he would give allegiance to you too."[25]

Giving Allegiance to Yazid

After the death of Mu'awiya, Walid b. 'Utba, the ruler of Medina asked 'Abd Allah to give allegiance to Yazid, but 'Abd Allah said that he did not look for contention and when all people give allegiance, he too would give allegiance; so they left him because he was not likely to make an uprising.[26]

Al-Waqidi said that:

"Walid b. 'Utba could not take the allegiance of Ibn al-Zubayr and al-Husayn (a) and they went to Mecca at night. In the middle of the way, 'Abd Allah b. 'Umar met them and asked them about Medina. They said "the death of Mu'awiya and allegiance to Yazid". Ibn 'Umar told them, "fear God and do not break the unity of Muslims." So, he stayed in Medina for a while and when he heard the news about the allegiance of people from different cities, he went to Walid and gave allegiance to him[27] and said, "If it is good, I am content with it and if it is a trial, we will tolerate it."[28]

After a while, people broke their allegiance with Yazid. 'Abd Allah told his sons that, "allegiance with Yazid was allegiance with God and His Messenger (s) and I heard from the Prophet (s) that the abode of the one who breaks his allegiance with another will be the hell. So, there will be separation between me and anyone who breaks his allegiance with Yazid."[29]

Later, about the allegiance of 'Abd Allah b. 'Umar with al-Hajjaj, they reported that he went to the house of al-Hajjaj at night so that people do not see him and thus, al-Hajjaj took his foot out from under the blanket and told 'Abd Allah to give allegiance by shaking hand with his foot.[30]

Sunni Scholars' Viewpoint

In the Sunni religious and political thoughts, personality of Ibn 'Umar was as important as his father's. In addition to being a companion of the Prophet (s), he was the son of the Second Caliph.[31] Regardless of these two points, Sunnis know him as the transmitter of many hadiths from the Prophet (s), Abu Bakr and 'Umar and has a special attention toward him because he was the son of the Second Caliph.[32] Ibn Athir mentioned some merits for 'Abd Allah and mentioned him among the great Sunni personalities who issued rulings after the Prophet (s).[33]

On the contrary, some believe that Ibn 'Umar transmitted few hadiths from the Prophet (s); as al-Sha'bi said that during the one year he associated with him, he did not hear any hadiths from him.[34] Also, some people such as Jabir b. 'Abd Allah transmitted hadiths from him.[35] Hadiths Sunnis transmit from 'Abd Allah b. 'Umar about the alteration of the Qu'ran are among the arguments Mirza Husayn Nuri mentioned in his discussion about the alteration of the Qur'an.[36] Sunnis also transmitted hadiths from him about the virtues of Imam Ali (a),[37] different recitations of the Qur'an,[38] charity[39] and other issues.

Ascesis and Worship

According to Sunni sources, 'Abd Allah tried to perform all acts of worship he had seen and heard from the Prophet (s); so that he even traveled to places the Prophet (s) had rested and prayed to pray there.[40] About his ascesis, they say that he never asked anyone for money; but, he did not reject the gifts from any ruler and accepted all the gifts.[41] He was not interested in the worldly things and frequently went to hajj and gave out to charity.[42]

Death

Salim heard from his father, 'Abd Allah b. 'Umar that the head of the spear of one of the companions of al-Hajjaj hit his father's foot and that wound made 'Abd Allah ill. One day al-Hajjaj went to meet him. 'Abd Allah told him that, "you killed me and ordered that some people bring weapon with themselves in the sanctuary of God." He finally died in 73/692, at the age of 84.[43] Ibn 'Umar made a will upon his death, to bury him out of the sacred area, but it did not happen. Al-Hajjaj prayed over his body and they buried him in Fakhkh, near the graves of the Immigrants.[44]

Notes

  1. Ibn Athīr, Usd al-ghāba, vol. 3, p. 236.
  2. Ibn Ḥajar, al-Iṣāba, vol. 4, p. 156.
  3. Ibn ʿAbd al-Barr, al-Istīʿāb, vol. 3, p. 950.
  4. Ibn ʿAbd al-Barr, al-Istīʿāb, vol. 3, p. 951.
  5. Ibn Qutayba al-Dīnawarī, al-Imāma wa l-sīyāsa, vol. 1, p. 73.
  6. Ibn Athīr, al-Kāmil fī l-tārīkh, vol. 4, p. 6.
  7. Ibn Saʿd, al-Ṭabaqāt al-kubrā, vol. 4, p. 164.
  8. Ibn Saʿd, al-Ṭabaqāt al-kubrā, vol. 4, p. 133.
  9. Naṣr b. Muzāhim, Waqʿat ṣiffīn, p. 452.
  10. Ibn Athīr, Usd al-ghāba, vol. 3, p. 236.
  11. Ibn Kathīr, al-Bidāya wa l-nihāya, vol. 4, p. 248.
  12. Ṭabarī, Tārīkh al-umam wa l-mulūk, vol. 4, p. 229.
  13. Ibn Athīr, Usd al-ghāba, vol. 3, p. 236.
  14. Ibn Saʿd, al-Ṭabaqāt al-kubrā, vol. 4, p. 109.
  15. Ibn Saʿd, al-Ṭabaqāt al-kubrā, vol. 4, p. 108.
  16. Ibn ʿAbd al-Barr, al-Istīʿāb, vol. 3, p. 953.
  17. Ibn Qutayba al-Dīnawarī, al-Imāma wa l-sīyāsa, vol. 1, p. 73.
  18. Ibn Qutayba al-Dīnawarī, al-Imāma wa l-sīyāsa, vol. 1, p. 73.
  19. Nahj al-balāgha, p. 521.
  20. Ibn Aʿtham, al-Futūḥ, vol. 2, p. 529.
  21. Ibn Athīr, Usd al-ghāba, vol. 3, p. 238.
  22. Ṣadūq, al-Amālī, p. 153.
  23. Ibn Aʿtham, al-Futūḥ, vol. 2, p. 529.
  24. Ṭabarī, Tārīkh al-umam wa l-mulūk, vol. 5, p. 58.
  25. Ibn Athīr, al-Kāmil fī l-tārīkh, vol. 4, p. 6.
  26. Ṭabarī, Tārīkh al-umam wa l-mulūk, vol. 5, p. 342.
  27. Ṭabarī, Tārīkh al-umam wa l-mulūk, vol. 5, p. 343.
  28. Ibn Saʿd, al-Ṭabaqāt al-kubrā, vol. 4, p. 164.
  29. Ibn Saʿd, al-Ṭabaqāt al-kubrā, vol. 4, p. 164.
  30. Balādhurī, Ansāb al-ashrāf, vol. 10, p. 447.
  31. Jaʿfarīyān, "Taʾthīr-i mawḍiʿgirīhā-yi shakhṣī dar fiqh-i sīyāsī-yi ahl sunnat", p. 54.
  32. Ibn Ḥajar, al-Iṣāba, vol. 4, p. 156.
  33. Ibn Athīr, Usd al-ghāba, vol. 3, p. 238.
  34. Ibn Saʿd, al-Ṭabaqāt al-kubrā, vol. 4, p. 108.
  35. Ibn Athīr, Usd al-ghāba, vol. 3, p. 239.
  36. Jaʿfarīyān, Afsāna-yi taḥrīf-i Qurʾān, p. 128.
  37. Tihrānī, Imām shināsī, vol. 2, p. 183.
  38. Jaʿfarīyān, Afsāna-yi taḥrīf-i Qurʾān, p. 131.
  39. Ṭabāṭabāyī, al-Mīzān, vol. 2, p. 653.
  40. Ibn Athīr, Usd al-ghāba, vol. 3, p. 237.
  41. Ibn Saʿd, al-Ṭabaqāt al-kubrā, vol. 4, p. 112.
  42. Ibn Athīr, Usd al-ghāba, vol. 3, p. 238.
  43. Ibn Saʿd, al-Ṭabaqāt al-kubrā, vol. 4, p. 168.
  44. Ibn Saʿd, al-Ṭabaqāt al-kubrā, vol. 4, p. 169.

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