Farooq-e-A’zam (Sayyiduna Umar) and the Love of Salah

Once, the Holy Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم asked Sayyiduna Abu Bakr Siddeeq رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ: ‘When do you offer the Witr prayer?’ He replied ‘In the early part of the night’. Then, the Holy Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم asked Sayyiduna Umar Farooq رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ: ‘When do you offer the Witr prayer?’ He رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ replied: ‘In the last part of the night’. The Holy Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم said regarding Sayyiduna Abu Bakr رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ: ‘He has taken the position of caution’, then he صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم said regarding Sayyiduna Umar Farooq رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ: ‘He has taken the position of strength.’ (Abu-Dawood, vol. 2, p. 94, Hadees 1434)

O devotees of Salah! Just as Sayyiduna Umar Farooq رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ used to perform individual acts of worship whilst being harsh on his Nafs, at the same time, he رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ would also encourage collective worship. Moreover, he would be seen rectifying and correcting the shortcomings of the people in the matter of worship.  Let us read some incidents.

The bedside pot of water

Sayyiduna Umar رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ used to make great preparations to perform the night prayer (Salat-ul-Layl). When he رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ used to offer Isha Salah, he would order his family to put a pot full of water at his bedside. Then he would rest and get up at night and wash his hands and face with water and engage in the remembrance (zikr) of Allah Almighty. Then, he رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ would fall asleep until the time came when he would wake up and offer Salah. (Al-Zuhd lil-Imam Ahmad, p. 147)

The middle part of the night

According to some narrations, Sayyiduna Umar رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ preferred to offer Salah in the middle of the night. (Tabqat Ibn Sa'd, vol. 3, p. 217)

Du’a before the Salah

When Sayyiduna Umar Farooq-e-A’zam رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ would stand up in Salah during the night, he رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ would make du’a like this: ‘O Allah! You see my situation and know my need, return me having fulfilled my needs so that I may be successful and saved, and that my supplications are accepted and that You may forgive me and have mercy on me.’ After this,  he رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ would begin the Salah. (Kanz-ul-Ummal, juz. 2, vol. 1, p. 285, Hadees 5036, summarised)

He would wake his family up

Throughout the night, as much as Allah Almighty wanted, Sayyiduna Umar رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ would keep on praying until the last part of the night when he would wake his family up to offer Salah and say to them: Salah! Then he رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ would recite this verse:

وَ اْمُرْ اَهْلَكَ بِالصَّلٰوةِ وَ اصْطَبِرْ عَلَیْهَاؕ-لَا نَسْــٴَـلُكَ رِزْقًاؕ-نَحْنُ نَرْزُقُكَؕ-وَ الْعَاقِبَةُ لِلتَّقْوٰى(۱۳۲)

And command your family to establish Salah, and be steadfast in it yourself. We do not ask for any sustenance from you at all; (rather) We will provide you sustenance. And the excellent result is for (the people of) piety.

[Kanz-ul-Iman (Translation of Quran)] (Part. 16, Surah Al-Ta-Ha, Verse 132)

(Muwatta Imam  Malik, vol. 1, p. 123, Hadees 265)

Statement of the Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم

‘Whoever does Wudu (i.e. ablution) and washes every limb properly, then comes to the Masjid Quba and offers Salah, he will have the reward of Umrah.’ Sayyiduna Umar Farooq رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ used to come to Masjid Quba every Monday and Thursday and offer Salah there. And  he would say that even if this Masjid was on a distant edge, we would still ride our camels and go to it. (Tabqat Ibn Sa'd, vol. 1, p. 188, summarised)

Way of the Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم

Sayyiduna Umar Farooq-e-A’zam رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ was offering two Rak’ats at Zul Hulayfah. When someone asked him the reason, he رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ replied: ‘I am doing what I saw the Messenger of Allah صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم doing. (Nasa’ee, p. 247, Hadees 1434)

Empty space in the row

When he رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ passed between two rows, he would stop. If he saw any space between them, he would say: ‘Fill the space.’ If he did not see any empty space, he would go ahead and say Takbeer. Then in the first Rak’at, he would recite Surah Yusuf, or sometimes Surah An-Nahl or a similar long Surah until people would join the congregation. (Ihya-ul-Uloom, vol. 5, p. 226)

The sound of weeping

Sayyiduna Abdullah Bin Umar رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُما says: ‘I once offered Salah behind Farooq-e-A’zam رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ and heard the sound of his weeping from three rows behind. (Hilya-tul-Awliya, vol. 1, p. 88)

Being aware of the worshippers

Once, Sayyiduna Umar Farooq رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ did not find Sayyiduna Sulayman Ibn Abi Hasmah رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ in the morning Salah, so he رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ went to the marketplace where his house was situated on the way. He رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ asked his mother: ‘I didn’t see Sulayman at Fajr?’ She said: ‘He offered Salah all night long and then fell asleep.’ Farooq-e-A’zam رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ said: ‘Attending the Fajr congregation is dearer to me than standing in Salah all night.’ (Muwatta Imam Malik, vol. 1, p. 134, Hadees 300, summarised)

Highlighting the importance of Salah

Sayyiduna Umar Farooq رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ sent a decree to the governors of his provinces: ‘The most important of all your deeds to me is Salah. Whoever performs Salah correctly and in punctual fashion, he has safeguarded his religion; and whoever neglects it will neglect other (worships) to a greater extent. Whoever sleeps before Isha, May Allah not allow his eyes to sleep; whoever sleeps, may his eyes not sleep; whoever sleeps, may his eyes not sleep.’ (Muwatta Imam Malik, vol. 1, p. 35, Hadees 6, selected)

The flourishing of Taraweeh – a legacy of Farooq-e-A’zam

One night in Ramadan, Sayyiduna Umar Farooq رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ went to the Masjid and saw that some people were offering the Taraweeh Salah alone and some were offering it with congregation. He رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ said: ‘It would have been better if I had gathered all the worshippers under one reciter’. Then, he رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ appointed Sayyiduna Ubayy Ibn Ka’b رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ to lead the Salah. The next night, when he رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ saw that the people were praying together, he رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ said: ‘This is truly a good innovation.’ (Bukhari, vol. 1, p. 658, Hadees 2010, summarised)

Salah at the time of martyrdom

On 26 Zul Hijjah 23 AH, during the Fajr Salah on Wednesday, Sayyiduna Umar Farooq رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ was attacked and was severely injured. Because of the constant loss of blood, he رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ lost consciousness. When he رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ regained consciousness, Sayyiduna Abdullah bin Umar رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُما said: ‘I held the hand of Farooq-e-A’zam رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ, then he رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ took my hand and sat me behind him. He رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ performed Wudu and offered the Fajr Salah.’ It is narrated that when he رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ regained consciousness, he رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ asked: ‘Have people performed the Fajr Salah?’ He رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ was told that everyone has offered it. He رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ said: ‘A person who does not offer Salah cannot be a true Muslim.’ Then, he رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ performed Wudu and offered the Fajr Salah. He رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ was laid to rest on Sunday, 1st Muharram 24 AH. (Tabqat Ibn-e-Sa‘d, vol. 3, pp. 268, Faizan-e-Farooq-e-A’zam, vol. 1, p. 761, summarised)

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