Fatimah bintradhiAllahuanha al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with her) narrated that she heard the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) saying, “My Ummah shall continue to be blessed as long as the love of this world does not prevail among them, and as long as there is no prevalence of corrupt scholars, ignorant reciters of the Qur’aan and tyrants. If all this prevails among them, I fear that Allah may include them all in (his) punishment.”

But who has the reliable narrator of this profound hadeeth of the Prophet (peace be upon him)?

Her brother was 'Umar ibn al-Khattab, the second Caliph of Islaam. One of the meritoriousnesses of Fatimah bint al-Khattab is that her story is always mentioned whenever the story of her brother 'Umar’s Islaam is narrated. Whenever the name of her husband, Sa’eed ibn Zayd (may Allah be pleased with him), a great companion and one of the ten who were given the glad tidings of the paradise is mentioned, her name is also mentioned. Whenever the name of Khabbaab ibn al-Aratt, a great companion, famous reciter and teacher of the Muslim, is mentioned, her name also mentioned. Whenever Surah Ta-Ha is recited, Fatimah bint al-Khattab is remembered. Her mention reminds us of the perfect harmony that existed between the recitation of this Surah and her courageous bravery that mysteriously changed ‘Umar’s satanic anger into the acceptance of Islaam. This is due to the grace of Allah, and the Prophet’s invocation: “O Allah! Strengthen Islaam by the one who is dearer to you from the two ‘Umars: ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab and ‘Amr ibn Hishaam.”

To properly understand her role around the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) we must backtrack a little bit into the annals of history in order to understand the foundations upon which one of the earliest households of Islaam within Makkah was built, the house of Fatimah bint al-Khattaab.

Her Husband's Father

Zayd ibn ‘Amr ibn Nufayl, who was Sa’eeds’s father, was the origin from which the blooming and fruitful branch, namely Fatimah, originated from. During the pre-Islamic era, he was not upon the way of Quraysh, for he set out for himself a straight path that kept him away from all of Quraysh’s reprehensible beliefs and conducts.

‘Asmaa' bint Abi Bakr said that she saw Zayd ibn 'Amr ibn Nawfal reclining his back on the Ka’bah saying,

“O Quraysh! By Him in whose hand is my soul! None from among you is upon the religion of Ibraheem except me.”

Al-Bukhaari, an-Nasaai and al-Baghawi also reported that Zayd would save the new born baby girls from being buried alive and would say to whoever wanted to kill his daughter,

“Do not kill her, I will pay for the expenses for raising her.”

Ibn Ishaaq added: And he would say,

“O Allah if I had known the dearest face to you, I would have worshiped you through it. But I do not know. He would then prostrate upon his palm.”

Moosa ibn U’qbah said in al-Maghazi:

“I heard one of those I am pleased with saying that Zayd ibn Amr used to reproach the Quraysh for slaughtering animals for others beside Allah.”

Al-Bukhaari reported on the authority of Saleem ibn ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar, who narrated from his father, that he said: “Zayd ibn ‘Amr went to Syria asking about the (true) religion. The Jewish and Christian scholars informed him that the true religion is the religion of Ibraheem and (at that time) Zayd was neither a Jew nor a Christian. He held up his hand and said,

“O Allah! I make you my witness that I am upon the religion of Ibraheem.’”

UHe also narrated the hadeeth about his famous meeting with a Jew who told him: “Do not follow our religion lest you have a share of Allah’s wrath”, and his meeting with the Christian who told him, “Do not follow our religion lest you have a share of the curse of Allah”.

Al–Fakihi also reported on the authority of 'Amr ibn Rabee’ah that he said: “I met Zayd ibn ‘Amr while he was outside Makkah heading towards Hira, and he said,

“Amr I have parted ways with my people and followed the religion of Ibraheem and Ismaa’eel. Ibraheem used to pray facing that house (meaning the Ka’bah). And I am expecting a Prophet from the descendants of Ismaa’eel and then from the descendents of ‘Abdul-Muttalib. I do not think that I will remain alive till his emergence so that I can believe in him and testify to his truthfulness and that he really is a Prophet.”

'Amr ibn Rabee’ah added, “When I embraced Islaam, I conveyed his salutation to the Prophet (peace be upon him). He returned the salutation and invoked Allah to bless him. He then said, “I saw him in Paradise dragging his coat tails.”

Al–Baghawi reported on the authority of Ibn ‘Umar who said that Saeed ibn Zayd and ‘Umar asked the Messenger of Allah (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon hi) as to whether it was permissible to invoke Allah’s forgiveness for Zayd ibn 'Amr and he answered in the affirmative.

At–Tayalisi reported in his Musnad that Sa’eed ibn Zayd asked the Prophet (peace be upon him): “My father is as you have already seen and been informed. Can I ask Allah to forgive him?” The Prophet (peace be upon him) said “Yes, and he will be resurrected on the day of judgement as a nation in himself.”

Asmaa' and Sa'eed

It was from this pleasant and noble origin that Sa’eed emerged as a pure jewel.

He was one of the forefront men who were sincere to Allah and sacrificed their wealth and souls in the way of Allah seeking his pleasure.

Fatimah bint Al–Khattab had a pure heart that was free from the filth and deviations of the age of ignorance. Her purity met with Saeed’s and then the two noble elements were joined together in marriage that gave birth to a pure Islamic home with untainted seeds of Eeman that in turn produced ripe fruits.

It is enough of an honour and glory for her and her husband that Allah made them the cause of 'Umar’s acceptance of Islam. Truly, Allah guides whomever he wills to the straight path.

We are not going to go through the whole story but we will pay attention to some points therein. This is because Umar’s acceptance of Islaam was not an ordinary event.

'Umar's Acceptance of Islaam

He accepted Islaam a few days after Hamzah (the Prophet’s uncle) did so. Some historians strongly believe that it was three days after Hamzah’s Islaam and others opined that it was slightly more than three days.

When someone has a cardiac ailment that stops the heart from functioning or pulsating, he is given high frequencies of electrifying jolts to bring back the heart beat and blood circulation around his body. Sometimes the attempt succeeds and sometimes it fails, which leads to the patient’s death. This is because in the latter case, the situation reached a hopeless state.

In our view, Umar and Hamzah’s embrace of Islaam had shaken the Quraysh. But the satanic jolt that had taken root in the deepness of their hearts made them increase in disbelief, aversion, misguidance and evil.

kabahgraphic‘Umar was sitting down in the company of some Qurayshi chiefs in deep discussion within the courtyard of Ka’bah. They were troubled by the spread of Muhammad’s call, the increase of his followers and their steadfastness. They hated them for not believing in their idols, such as al-Laat, al-‘Uzza, al-Manaat and others. ‘Umar, then a non-Muslim, became extremely enraged. He stood up from the gathering and decided there and then to kill Muhammad and spare the Quraysh from the embarrassment that his religion had caused them.

On his way to the Prophet a man from Banoo Makhzoom met him and saw the rage in his face. He asked ‘Umar where he was going. ‘Umar answered, “To Muhammad ibn 'Abdillah! I want to kill him and free the Arabs from his trial!”

The man then told him,

“Do think that the clan of ‘Abd al-Manaaf would leave you if you kill him?!... Put your own house in order first!”

‘Umar asked in utter amazement and extreme rage, “What do you mean and whom do you mean?”

The man answered,

“Your sister Fatimah and your brother-in-law Sa’eed ibn Zayd. They have followed Muhammad.”

‘Umar then said, “Woe onto them from me!”

He then changed his direction and headed for the house of his sister Fatimah, holding his sword and raging like a furious bull and roaring like a lion.

Until that moment the call to Islaam was done secretly, except for a few companions who used to pronounce their Islaam openly, such as Abu Bakr, the young ‘Ali, Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas, and as-Zubayr ibn al-Awwaam, may Allah be pleased with all of them. The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) allowed this secrecy in order to protect the faith, safeguard the lives of the new Muslims and prevent anything that may impede the progress of Da’wah. This was because it was necessary for the success of the movement.

qurangreyOne of these conveyers of the teachings of the Prophet (peace be upon him) was Khabbaab ibn Al-Aratt. He was in charge of contacting Sa’eed and Fatimah. He would gather knowledge from the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) and would teach them from whatever he had learnt.

When ‘Umar arrived at the house of his sister and brother-in–law, at the entrance he heard some murmuring but could not understand its wordings properly. He violently knocked on the door and shouted.

Khabbaab quickly ran towards a corner of the house and hid. Faatimah hid the script of the Qur’aan that they were reading and her husband rushed to open the door for ‘Umar. They had realised that it was 'Umar by his violent knocking and they recognised in his voice signs of imminent danger and confrontation.

He asked, “What was this murmuring I heard?”

They denied that there was any murmuring.

He then addressed them harshly and threatened them of terrible consequences if he found out that they were really following the religion of Muhammad (peace be upon him).

It was then that Fatimah confronted him boldly and said in a loud and clear voice without fear that she and her husband had accepted Islaam and testified that there is no deity worthy of being worshipped but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.

All of a sudden ‘Umar began beating Sa’eed and threw him onto the floor. When Fatimah ran to defend her husband,’ Umar gave her a brutal slap on her face and she began bleeding.

It was the sight of his sister’s blood that brought about a illuminated ray of light into Umar’s heart and removed the veil of disbelief from his heart.

quran1000He went to Sa’eed and lifted him off of the floor and then moved towards his sister and wiped the blood off her face.

He then began speaking to Sa’eed and his sister in a friendly way until she brought out the script which contained the beginning of Surah Ta Ha, Chapter 67.

When ‘Umar wanted to hold this script, she prevented him and asked him to cleanse himself first. He quickly did as she requested.

Fatimah’s brave and courageous stand, the purity of her soul and conscience revealed to us her strong personality, especially in the way she faced ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab.

‘Umar then asked, “Where is Muhammad?”

Fatimah and Sa’eed felt some fear within themselves, as even the possibility that ‘Umar may still be insistent on harming the Prophet was too much of a chance to take. But ‘Umar allayed their fear and convincingly explained to them that he only wanted to embrace Islaam in the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) presence. Fatimah and Sa’eed then told him that the Prophet (peace be upon him) was in the House of Arqam at Safa.

It was then that the Khabbaab came out of hiding and told Umar,

“Rejoice, O 'Umar! You have been blessed with the Prophet’s invocation. I heard him invoking Allah to strengthen Islaam by you.”

This increased Umar’s faith, confidence and love for the Prophet (peace be upon him). His sister, who had been for a long time wishing for his guidance and support for Islaam, was also extremely happy.

desert1_optOne point that I would like to clarify here is that many people think that Khabbaab (may Allah be pleased with him) ran into hiding because he was scared. Yet, nothing is further from the truth. Rather, it was to avoid revealing the teaching and propagation of Islaam, which was then a fundamental factor in the Da’wah movement. I urge all of you to read the life of this great man, Allah willing you will come to see what a daring and patient man he was. For example, al-Baroodi reported that Khabbaab (may Allah be pleased with him) was the 6th person to embrace Islaam and the first person to proclaim his Islaam in public, for which he was severely tortured. He was neither a coward nor feeble; he was the great Companion of Muhammad (peace be upon him).

‘Umar then left for the house of Arqam. His destiny was going to take a huge turn, from being the enemy of Islaam to the 2nd Caliph of Islaam! ‘Umar reached the House of Arqam and knocked on the door. One of the Companions looked through a crack in the door and became terrified and worried. In utter confusion and worry he said, “Messenger of Allah, it is the son of al-Khattaab!”

The Messenger of Allah perceived the truth of the situation by the light of Prophethood, as he had just recently made a sincere invocation in favour of one of the two ‘Umars. Allah Almighty says:

{And when my slaves ask you (O Muhammad) concerning Me, then (answer them), I am indeed near (to them by My Knowledge). I respond to the invocations of the supplicant when he calls on Me (without any mediator or intercessor). So let them obey Me and believe in Me, so that they may be led aright.} (Qur’aan, 2:186)

The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) then commanded that the door be opened for ‘Umar. When the door was opened by the courageous Ibn ‘Abbaas, the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) walked towards ‘Umar, while all those who were present moved back. He grabbed ‘Umar by the collars of his garment, pulled at it strongly and said, “O, son of al-Khattaab! What are you waiting for? It is time you embraced Islaam!”

‘Umar, with humility and submission attested,”I testify that there is no deity worthy of being worshipped except Allah and that you, Muhammad, are the Messenger of Allah.”

The Muslims who were present there were so happy that they raised their voices in Takbeer which resonated throughout the house and the echo of which reached even those who were near the Ka’bah at that time.

Umar’s Islam was a victory for the Muslims. Allah strengthened him with Islaam, and Islaam by him. With Umar’s acceptance of Islaam the call of Islaam came out from secrecy into public and Allah made a clear distinction between truth and falsehood. The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) then titled 'Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) with the title of "al-Faarooq" (The Distinguisher) and gave him the nick name Abu Hafs.

May Allah be pleased with Fatimah bint al-Khattab and please her. For indeed, Allah chose her to be the means by which her brother accepted Islaam. Her home became the starting point for this great man’s change of heart.

Let’s say, as did the Muslims at that time, Allahu Akbar!