.:. Umar and the crying Children .:.
Umar and the crying Children
Caliph Umar (radiAllahu anhu) was the second caliph after the demise of the Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam). He ruled for approximately ten years, six months with such justice, equity, mercy and practicality which is un-parallelled in history.
Once honourable Umar (radiAllahu anhu) was going on his usual round towards Harrah (a suburb of Madinah) with his slave Aslam, when he saw a distant fire in the desert.
He said: "There seems to be a camp. Perhaps, it is a caravan that could not enter the town due to night fall. Let's go and look after them and arrange for their protection during the night."
When he reached there, he found a woman and some children. The children were crying. The woman had a pan of water over the fire.
Umar (radiAllahu anhu) greeted her with 'salaam' and, with her permission, went near her. He kept, on chiding himself thus for a very long time.
Umar asked, "Why are these children crying?"
The woman replied sadly, "Because they are hungry."
"What is in the pan?," asked Umar (radiAllahu anhu)
"Only water to soothe the children, so that they may go to sleep in the belief that food is being prepared for them. Ah! Allah will judge between Umar (radiAllahu anhu) and me, on the Day of judgement, for neglecting me in my distress," replied the woman.
Umar began to weep, and said "May Allah have mercy on you! How can Umar know of your distress?"
"When he is our Amir, he must keep himself informed about us," said the woman.
Honourable Umar (radiAllahu anhu) returned to the town and straightway went to Baitul-Mal (treasury) to fill a sack with flour, dates, fat and clothes, and also drew some money. When the sack was ready, he said to Aslam, "Now put this sack on my back, Aslam."
"No please, Amir-ul-Mu'mineen! I shall carry this sack," cried Aslam.
Umar refused to listen to Aslam, even on his persistent requests to allow him to carry the sack, and remarked, "What! Will you carry my load on the Day of judgement? I must carry this bag, for it is I who would be questioned (in the Hereafter) about this woman."
Aslam most reluctantly placed the bag on Umar (radiAllahu anhu)'s back, who carried it with a swift pace right to the woman's tent. Aslam followed at his heels.
Umar (radiAllahu anhu) put a little flour and some dates and fat in the pan and began to stir. He blew (with his mouth) into the fire to kindle it. Aslam says, "I saw the smoke passing through his thick beard."
After some time, the porridge was ready. He himself served it to the family. When they had eaten to their fill, he made over to them the little that was left for their next meal. The children were very happy after their meal and began to play about merrily.
The woman felt very grateful and remarked, "May Allah reward you for your kindness! In fact you deserve to take the place of Khalifah instead of 'Umar." (not knowing that she was actually conversing with Umar (radiAllahu anhu) himself). Umar consoled her and said, "When you come to see the Khalifah, you will find me there."
He sat for a while at a place close by and kept on watching the children. He then returned to Madinah. On his way back, he said to Aslam, "Do you know why I sat there, Aslam? I had seen them weeping in distress; I liked to see them laughing and happy for some time."
It is said that Umnar (radiAllahu anhu) while leading Fajr Salah used to recite Surah 'Kahf', 'Taha' and other such Surahs in his Salat, and would weep so much that his crying could be heard way back to several rows.
Once he was reciting Surah Yusuf in Fajr prayer. When he came to the verse: "I only plead for my distress and anguish unto Allah" [12: 86] he wept so much that he could not recite any further. In Tahajjud (night prayer), he would sometimes fall to the ground and would get indisposed with excessive weeping.
Is there any person in power today who is prepared to show such kindness to the people in his charge and be led by their impeccable examples in action!
back to the beginning