A few days after Hamzah ibn Abdul-Muttalib, the lion of Allah, embraced the new religion and Allah (Glorified is He) had strengthened Islam with him, another man believed in the new faith, one whose belief gave strength to Islam and the Muslims, and made truth clear from falsehood. He was Umar ibn Al-Khattab, the one who distinguishes truth from falsehood.
The story of how Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) entered Islam is unusual. After Hamzah ibn Abdul-Muttalib, the Messenger of Allah’s uncle, humiliated Abu Jahl in Mecca, Umar ibn Al-Khattab wanted to take revenge for Abu Jahl, as he was Umar’s uncle on his mother’s side. This is because the Arabs usually resorted to fighting with swords in such a situation. Therefore, Umar sharpened his sword and left his house with the intention of going to the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him).
On the way, he met Na’im ibn Abdullah Al-Adawai Al-Qurayshi, who hid the fact that he had embraced Islam. He asked Umar where he was going, and he learnt from him that he was going to kill the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him).
Therefore, Na’im said to him, “By Allah, you have been overcome with anger to the extent that you cannot think properly, Oh Umar! Do you think Banu Abd-Manaf will let you remain on this earth if you kill Muhammed?! Why do you not return to your family and arrange their affairs instead?”
Umar asked, “What is the matter with my family?”
Na’im said, “Your sister’s husband, i.e. your brother-in-law, the son of your uncle Said ibn Zayd, and your sister Fatima, by Allah, they have embraced Islam and they follow Muhammed and his religion. Therefore, you should correct them instead.”
Therefore, Umar turned back to go to his sister. Khabbab ibn Al-Aratt was at her house, and he had a parchment on which Surah TaHa was written. He was reciting it to her. When they heard Umar coming, Khabab hid in her house, and Fatima bint Al-Khattab took the parchment and hid them under her theighs, sitting on them. When Umar came near the door, he heard Khabbab reading Quran to Fatima.
Consequently, when he entered, he said, “What is that which I heard you reciting?”
They told him, “You did not hear anything.”
He said, “No, by Allah, I heard something. I have been told that you both follow Muhammed and his religion.” He then hit his sister’s husband, Said ibn Zayd, strongly, so his sister, Fatima bint Al-Khattab, confronted Umar to protect her husband. As a result, Umar hit her and wounded her.
When he did that, his sister and his brother-in-law said, “Yes, have entered Islam and we believe in Allah and His Messenger. So do whatever you want with us.”
When Umar saw the blood falling from his sister, he regretted what he had done. Consequently, he calmed down, and said to his sister, “Give me the parchment which you were reciting to see what Muhammed came with.” Umar knew how to read.
When he said that, his sister replied, “We are scared you will ruin them.”
Umar said, “Do not be scared,” and he swore by his gods that he would give them back to them after reading them.
When he said that, she hoped he would embrace Islam. Therefore, she said, “Brother, you are impure because of your idolatry, and only the pure can touch it (the parchment upon which the Quran was written).” Consequently, Umar stood up and had a bath. Then his sister gave him the parchment on which Surah TaHa was written. When he read the beginning of the Surah, he said, “How beautiful and honourable these words are!”
When Khabbab ibn Al-Aratt heard that, he came out of hiding and went towards him, saying, “By Allah, Umar, I hope Allah (Glorified is He) has chosen you in answering the Messenger of Allah’s supplication; yesterday, I heard the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) say, ‘Oh Allah, support Islam with Abu Al-Hakim or Umar ibn Al-Khattab.’”
Umar then asked him to show him where the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) was for him to go to the Messenger of Allah to embrace Islam. Khabbab told him where the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) was; he was on Mount Safa with a group of his Companions at the time.
When Umar reached the house where the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) was, and knocked on the door, the Companions realized that it was Umar, and so became alarmed.
Hamzah (may Allah be pleased with him) said, “Let him enter. If he intends good, we will welcome him. But if he intends evil, we will kill him with his sword.”
The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, <‘Let him in.’ So one of the men let him in the house, and the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) rose and brought him into the room. The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) took the edges of his robe and pulled them strongly around himself. Then the Messenger of Allah said, ‘Why have you come, Oh Ibn Al-Khattab? By Allah, I see that Allah will send a punishment on you before you leave.’ Umar said, ‘Oh Mesenger of Allah, I came to you to pronounce my belief in Allah and His Messenger, and what he brought from Allah.’ The narrator said, ‘Therefore the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) exclaimed, “Allah is the greatest!” And consequently the others in the house realized that Umar had embraced Islam. The Messenger of Allah’s Companions left their hiding place; they felt stronger as Umar entered Islam just after Hamzah, knowing that they would protect the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) and would help them against their enemies.’>
Ibn Is-haq said, “The people of Medinah reported this hadith about how Umar entered Islam” [The Prophet’s Biography by Ibn Katheer].
Ibn Masoud said about Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) embracing Islam, “We remained strong after Umar embraced Islam” [related by Al-Bukhari]. He also said, “We were not able to pray at the Kaaba until Umar entered Islam. When Umar entered Islam, he fought Quraysh until he could pray at the Kaaba, and we prayed with him” [related by Al-Bukhari].