Umar ibn al-Khattab

Umar (Arabicعمر ابن الخطاب‎, romanized`Umar ibn al-Khattāb, c. 586–590 – 644[5]:685) c. 2 Nov. (Dhu al-Hijjah26, 23 Hijri[6]) was a leading companion and adviser to Muhammad. His daughter Hafsa bint Umar was married to Muhammad thus he became Muhammad’s father-in-law. He became the second Muslim caliph after Muhammad’s death and ruled for 10 years.[7] He succeeded Abu Bakr on 23 August 634 as the second caliph, and played a significant role in Islam. Under Umar the Islamic empire expanded at an unprecedented rate ruling the whole Sassanid Persian Empire and more than two thirds of the Eastern Roman Empire.[8] His legislative abilities, his firm political and administrative control over a rapidly expanding empire and his brilliantly coordinated multi-prong attacks against the Sassanid Persian Empire that resulted in the conquest of the Persian empire in less than two years, marked his reputation as a great political and military leader. Among his conquests are Jerusalem, Damascus, and Egypt.[9] He was killed by a Persian captive.

 

Early life

Umar was born in Mecca to the Banu Adi clan, which was responsible for arbitration among the tribes.[13] His father was Khattab ibn Nufayl and his mother was Hantama bint Hisham, from the tribe of Banu Makhzum. In his youth he used to tend to his father’s camels in the plains near Mecca. His merchant father was famed for his intelligence among his tribe.[14] Umar himself said: “My father, Al-Khattab was a ruthless man. He used to make me work hard; if I didn’t work he used to beat me and he used to work me to exhaustion.”[15]

Despite literacy being uncommon in pre-Islamic Arabia, Umar learned to read and write in his youth. Though not a poet himself, he developed a love for poetry and literature.[16] According to the tradition of Quraish, while still in his teenage years, Umar learned martial arts, horse riding and wrestling. He was tall, physically powerful and a renowned wrestler.[16][17] He was also a gifted orator who succeeded his father as an arbitrator among the tribes.[18]

Umar became a merchant and made several journeys to Rome and Persia, where he is said to have met various scholars and analyzed Roman and Persian societies. As a merchant he was unsuccessful.[16][19] Like others around him, Umar was fond of drinking in his pre-Islamic days.

 

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