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Is Umar Among the Prophets?

How Muhammad’s Companion Helped to Shape the Quran

Muhammad likened Umar ibn al-Khattab to a prophet, to a person who speaks with inspiration:

Narrated Abu Huraira:
The Prophet said, “Amongst the people preceding you there used to be ‘Muhaddithun’ (i.e. persons who can guess things that come true later on, as if those persons have been inspired by a divine power), and if there are any such persons amongst my followers, it is ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 56, Number 675


‘Ali: So what is stopping you from asking ‘Umar to make du’a for you? Do you know, Ibn Qurt, that his du’a is never rejected and always reaches Allah and that Rasulullah said in his regard: “Were there to be another prophet after me it would have been ‘Umar.” Is he not that man whose decisions corresponded to that of the Quran until Rasulullah said, “Were punishment to fall from the sky to Earth, none would escape it except ‘Umar bin al-Khattab.”

Do you not know that Allah revealed clear verses about him? Is he not ascetic, pious and always engaged in worship? Does he not greatly resemble the prophet Nuh? Should he offer du’a on your behalf it would be answered. (Al-Imam al-Waqidi, The Islamic Conquest of Syria, A Translation of Futuhusham: The Inspiring History of the Sahabah’s Conquest of Syria, translated by Mawlana Sulayman al-Kindi [Ta-Ha Publishers Ltd., London 2005], Part 3: Al-Yarmuk, pp. 287-288; bold and italic emphasis ours)

This explains why we find so many of Umar’s suggestions and very own words become part and parcel of the Quran itself. In fact, Umar even inspired Allah to inspire Muhammad!

Narrated Anas:

Umar said, “I agreed with Allah in three things,” or said, “My Lord agreed with me in three things. I said, ‘O Allah’s Apostle! Would that you took the station of Abraham as a place of prayer.’ I also said, ‘O Allah’s Apostle! Good and bad persons visit you! Would that you ordered the Mothers of the believers to cover themselves with veils.’ So the Divine Verses of Al-Hijab (i.e. veiling of the women) were revealed. I came to know that the Prophet had blamed some of his wives so I entered upon them and said, ‘You should either stop (troubling the Prophet) or else Allah will give His Apostle better wives than you.’ When I came to one of his wives, she said to me, ‘O ‘Umar! Does Allah’s Apostle haven’t[sic] what he could advise his wives with, that you try to advise them?’” Thereupon Allah revealed:–

“It may be, if he divorced you (all) his Lord will give him instead of you, wives better than you Muslims (who submit to Allah)…” (66.5) (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 6, Book 60, Number 10

The following source lists all the verses that were influenced by Umar’s suggestions or incorporate his verbatim statements and expressions:

The agreements (of the views of) ‘Umar (with subsequent confirmatory revelations of Qur’an)

Some of them make them amount to more than twenty.

Ibn Mardawayh narrated that Mujahid said: ‘Umar used to hold a view and the Qur’an would be revealed with (confirmation of) it.

Ibn ‘Asakir narrated that ‘Ali said: In the Qur’an THERE ARE SOME OF THE VIEWS OF ‘UMAR.

He narrated from Ibn ‘Umar as a marfu’ [hadith]: When people said one thing and ‘Umar said another, the Qur’an would be revealed with the like of what ‘Umar said.

The two Shaykhs narrated that ‘Umar said: I agreed with my Lord in three things; I said, ‘Messenger of Allah, if only we were to take the Station of Ibrahim as a place of prayer,’ and there was revealed ‘… and take the Station of Ibrahim as a place of prayer.’ (Qur’a 2:125). I said, ‘Messenger of Allah, both good and bad people come to visit your wives; if only you would order them to wear hijabs,’ and the ayah of the hijab was revealed. The wives of the Prophet, united in jealousy, and so I said, ‘Perhaps his Lord, if he divorces you, will give him in exchange wives better than you, …’ and it was revealed just like that (WITH EXACTLY THE SAME WORDS, see Qur’an 66:5).

Muslims narrated that ‘Umar said, ‘I agreed with my Lord in three things: in the hijab, in the prisoners at Badr, and in the Station of Ibrahim.’ In this hadith is a fourth instance.

In at-Tahdhib of an-Nawawi, ‘The Qur’an was revealed in agreement with him on the prisoners at Badr, on the hijab, on the Station of Ibrahim and on the prohibition of wine.’ He added a fifth instance and its hadith is in the Sunan and the Mustadrak of al-Hakim that he said, ‘O Allah, make clear to us about wine with an explanation which relieves us from all doubt.’ Then Allah revealed its prohibition.

Ibn Abi Hatim narrated in his tafsir that Anas said: ‘Umar said, ‘I was in agreement with my Lord in four things: this ayah was revealed, “And certainly We have created man from an extraction of clay,” (Qur’an 23:12) and when it was revealed I said, “So blessed be Allah the best of creators,” and then it was revealed, “So blessed be Allah the best of creators.”‘ (Qur’an 95:8). Here he mentioned a sixth instance. The hadith has another chain of transmission from Ibn ‘Abbas which I have narrated in at-Tafsir al-Musnad.

Then I saw in the book Fada’il al-Imamayn of Abu ‘Abdullah ash-Shaybani that he said, ”Umar agreed with his Lord in TWENTY-ONE SITUATIONS,’ and he mentioned these six (aforementioned). He augmented as a seventh the story of ‘Abdullah ibn Ubayy. He said, ‘When ‘Abdullah ibn Ubayy died, the Messenger of Allah was invited to perform the funeral prayer over him so he stood up for that. I rose up until I stood up close to his chest and said, “Messenger of Allah, is it over the enemy of Allah, Ibn Ubayy, who said one day such-and-such?” Then, by Allah, it wasn’t very long until it was revealed, “And do not pray over one of them ever …” (Qur’an 9:84) to the conclusion of the ayah.’

They ask you about wine …’ (Qur’an 2:219) to the end of the ayah.

O you who believe, do not approach prayer …’ (Qur’an 4:43) to the end of the ayah. I say that the two of them, along with the ayah from Al-Ma’idah, are one instance, and the three are in the preceding hadith.

When the Messenger of Allah increased in seeking forgiveness for a people, ‘Umar said, ‘It is equal to them.’ Then Allah revealed, ‘It is equal to them whether you seek forgiveness for them …’ (Qur’an 63:2) to the end of the ayah. I say that this hadith has been narrated by at-Tabarani from Ibn ‘Abbas.

When he sought the advice of the Companions about the expedition to Badr, ‘Umar was in favour of the expedition and so it was revealed, ‘Just as your Lord brought you out of your house by the truth …’ (Qur’an 8:5) to the end of the ayah.

When he sought the advice of the Companions with respect to the story of the slander (of ‘A’isha) ‘Umar said, ‘Who married you to her, Messenger of Allah?’ He said, ‘Allah.’ He said, ‘Do you think that your Lord would conceal a defect of hers from you? Glory be to You, this is huge slander!‘ (Qur’an 24:16). Then the revelation came down just like that.

His story in the fast when he made love to his wife after waking from sleep (before the pre-dawn meal) – and that was forbidden in the beginning of Islam – and so it was revealed, ‘It is permitted to you on the night of the fast …’ (Qur’an 2:187) to the end of the ayah. I say that Ahmad narrated it in his Musnad.

His words, Exalted is He, ‘Whoever is an enemy to Jibril …’ (Qur’an 2:97) to the end of the ayah. I say that Ibn Jarir and others narrated it from many different narrators the best of which is from ‘Abd ar-Rahman ibn Abi Layla that: A Jew met ‘Umar and said, ‘Jibril, whom your companion mentions, is an enemy to us.’ So ‘Umar said, ‘Whoever is an enemy to Allah and His angels and His messengers and Jibril, Mika’il, then truly Allah is an enemy to the disbelievers.’ SO IT WAS REVEALED ON THE TONGUE OF ‘UMAR

His words, Exalted is He, ‘Then no! By your Lord, they do not believe …’ (Qur’an 4:65) to the end of the ayah. I say that its story has been narrated by Ibn Abi Hatim and Ibn Mardawayh from Abu’l-Aswad. He said: Two men brought a dispute to the Prophet and he gave judgment between them. The One who had judgment given against him said, ‘Let us go to ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab,’ and so the two of them went to him. The man said. ‘The Messenger of Allah gave judgment in my favour against this man and he said, “Let us go to ‘Umar.” ‘Umar said, ‘Is it like that?’ He said, ‘Yes.’ So ‘Umar said, ‘Stay where you are until I come out to you.’ Then he came out to them wrapping his sword in his garment and struck the one who had said, ‘Let us go to ‘Umar,’ and killed him. The other returned and said, ‘Messenger of Allah, ‘Umar killed–by Allah!–my companion.’ So he said, ‘I wouldn’t have thought that ‘Umar would have ventured to kill a believer.’ Then Allah revealed, ‘Then no! By your Lord they do not believe …’ to the end of the ayahHe declared, there was to be no retaliation or compensation for the blood of the man and declared ‘Umar free from any wrong in his killing. There is another connected text that supports this story which I have related in at-Tafsir al-Musnad.

Seeking permission to enter. That was because his servant entered his room when he was sleeping and he said, ‘O Allah, forbid entrance.’ Then the ayah of seeking permission to enter was revealed.

His saying about the Jews, ‘They are confounded people.’

His words, exalted is He, ‘Many of the first ones and many of the latter ones.’ (Qur’an 56:39-40). I say that Ibn ‘Asakir narrated it in his Tarikh from Jabir ibn ‘Abdullah and that it is in the Asbab an-Nuzul.

The lifting (abrogation) of the recitation of, ‘The older man and the older woman when they commit adultery …’ to the end of the ayah.

His words on the Day of Uhud when Abu Sufyan said, ‘Is so-and-so among the people?’ (‘Umar said) “We will not answer him,’ and the Prophet agreed with him. I say that Ahmad narrated its story in his Musnad.

He said: And one joins to this what ‘Uthman ibn Sa’id ad-Darimi narrated in his book ar-Radd ‘ala’l-Jahmiyyah by way of Ibn Shihab from Salim ibn ‘Abdullah that Ka’b al-Ahbar said, ‘Woe to the king of the earth from the King of heaven.’ Then ‘Umar said, ‘Except for whoever takes himself to account.’ Ka’b said, ‘By the One in Whose hand is my soul it is in the Tawrah. You have carried it on (the words of the verse) consecutively.’ Then ‘Umar fell prostrate.

Then I have seen in al-Kamil of Ibn ‘Adi by the route of ‘Abdullah ibn Nafi’–and he is weak–from his father from ‘Umar that Bilal used to say, when he called the adhan, ‘I witness that there is no god but Allah. Come to prayer.’ Then ‘Umar said to him, ‘Say after it, “I witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.”’ The Prophet said, ‘Say as ‘Umar said.’ (The History of the Khalifahs who took the right way: A Translation of the Chapters on al-Khulafa’ ar-Rashidun from Tarikh al-Khulafa’ of Jalal ad-Din as-Suyuti, translated by Abdassamad Clarke [Ta-Ha Publishers Ltd., London, UK: 3rd revised edition, 1995], pp. 123-127; capital and underline emphasis ours)

Now this raises some uncomfortable questions for Muslims.

How can Umar’s suggestions and words be included within the Islamic scripture seeing that he wasn’t a messenger or prophet, and therefore wasn’t a recipient of divine revelation or inspiration?

Does this mean that the Quran is not 100% divine in origin since it actually contains the uninspired statements of a fallible human being? Which Muslim will accept that the Quran is not entirely composed of the eternal words of Allah?

This brings me to my next point. How can the words of an uninspired person be a part of the Quran when it is supposed to be the uncreated speech of Allah?

This either means that Umar was predestined to say all of the things found in the Quran, which implies that he must have been inspired to utter these words or make all of these suggestions. If so then this proves that Umar must have been a prophet/messenger, thereby contradicting Muhammad’s assertion that there are no more prophets/messengers after him.

Or we have to accept the fact that Allah incorporated the fallible comments and suggestions of someone who wasn’t a prophet or messenger since he foreknew that Umar was going to say all these things.

If so then this means that Allah’s uncreated speech not only incorporates the words of imperfect, uninspired human beings, but actually depends on them and is even shaped by these individuals.

This in turn means that Allah needed these beings to exist, and therefore had no choice but to create them, which means that he isn’t truly free to create whomever he wants. Allah had to create Umar, otherwise a portion of his speech would be falsified or never become a reality since Umar wouldn’t have been around to make those comments or suggestions contained within the Quran.

So much for the Quran being the uncreated, perfect revelation of an all-wise God who is free from all wants and needs.

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