Considerate Even in Death

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(Lessons from the Final Moments of ‘Umar [radhiyallahu ‘anhu] – Part Three)

During the final moments after ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) was fatally stabbed, he sent his son ‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhuma) to the home of ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha). ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) instructed him thus, “Say to her that ‘Umar conveys salaam. Do not say that Ameerul Mumineen conveys salaam, as today I am no longer Ameerul Mumineen (as I am about to pass away). Tell her that ‘Umar bin Khattaab requests permission to be buried alongside his companions, (Rasulullah [sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam] and Abu Bakr [radhiyallahu ‘anhu]).”

(The area in which they were buried formed part of the home of ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) and thus belonged to her. Hence, ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) sought her permission to be buried there).

Following the instruction of his father, ‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhuma) proceeded to the home of ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) where he found her sitting and crying (over the loss that the Ummah would suffer through the demise of ‘Umar [radhiyallahu ‘anhu]). He conveyed the salaam of ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) to her and then said, “‘Umar requests permission to be buried with his companions.” Hearing the request, ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) mentioned, “I was hoping to be buried there myself (beside Rasulullah [sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam], and Abu Bakr [radhiyallahu ‘anhu], her father). However, I will today give preference to ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) over myself.”

When ‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhuma) returned, and mentioned that ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) had granted permission for ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) to be buried alongside Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) and Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu ‘anhu), ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) then further instructed his son, ‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhuma) saying, “After I pass away, carry my body (for the burial). Then ask ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) again by saying, ‘‘Umar requests permission to be buried with his companions.’ If she again grants permission, then bury me there. If not, then bury me in the cemetery of the Muslims.” (Saheeh Bukhaari #3700)

Lessons:

1. Who would not desire the good fortune of being buried alongside Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) and Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu ‘anhu)? Despite this being his ardent desire, ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) considered it more important to ensure that ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) was not inconvenienced or oppressed in the process. Hence, he insisted that the request be placed before ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) for a second time, after his demise, in case she had a change of heart or had initially acceded to his request as she found it difficult to refuse due to her respect for him.

2. Although ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) had the full right to decline the request of ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu), especially as she herself wished to be buried in that area, she had such respect and reverence for ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu), as the senior in Deen, that she happily gave up her own right and gave preference to him over herself.

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