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The Story of Hazrat Umar and the Roman Envoy

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Maulana Jalaluddin Rumi.  From his Mathnavi, a collection of stories, parables, and explanations

Hazrat Umar (RA) was the second Khalifah of Islam. He ruled the Muslim lands for about ten years after the death of Hazrat Abu Bakr (RA). During his rule, the Muslim lands expanded to rule the entire Persian Empire and much of the Eastern Roman Empire.  Because of this, ambassadors and envoys used to come to Madinah from all over the world to meet Hazrat Umar (RA). Hazrat Umar (RA) also introduced many reforms and improvements in the Muslim state and he was known as an extremely fair ruler.


Inspite of being the ruler of so many people and countries, hazrat Umar (RA) used to live a very simple life. Even after bec0ming the Khalifah, he used to wear the same kind of clothes, live in the same kind of house, and eat the same kind of food that he had during the time of the Prophet (SAW)

Once the ambassador of the Emperor of Rome came to Madina with many gifts. Arriving at Madina, he enquired from the people the whereabouts of the palace of the King of Madina.

The people replied:

“Our King has no palace. However, our leader, the leader of the believers has a mansion – his respected self which has a special contact with Allah and which has become enlightened through the splendour of His nearness. Thus this has made him independent of the need for royal palaces.

They further informed him: “You will find the leader of the believers, Hazrat Umar in the graveyard of Madina”.

The Roman Ambassador then went to the graveyard and there saw Hazrat Umar lying down, having taken off his shirt with a sheet covering the lower part of his body. He was lying down fast asleep on the ground with no throne or crown on his head. Neither were there any soldiers nor any bodyguards. But as the ambassador looked at his face, he began shaking with fear. Within himself he said:

“I have seen many great Kings in this life. And have been the companion and confidant of many Rulers. Never have I any fear for any King.

But the awe and fear I feel for this one.

Dressed in such tattered clothing is causing my senses to depart.

This person without any weapons and without any forces sleeping here alone on this ground.

What is it that causes my whole body to shake and tremble in awe of him?

Even if I had seven bodies, they would not bear it and all would tremble. “

Then the envoy said to himself:

“This awe and fear that I feel is not for this one who is dressed in tattered clothes. In fact, this is fear of Allah for this tattered clothed one has a heart that is blessed with Allah’s contact and nearness.”

Thus this envoy, through the blessings of Hazrat Umar’ s company and grace converted to Islam.

Moulana Rumi (RA.) says:

“He who fears Allah and adopts a life of righteousness, him the jinn and men fear.

And whoever sees him is overpowered by awe and fear. “


This story teaches us the lesson that true honour for men is brought about by true and deep contact with Allah and not by outward shows of beauty and adornment. But the foolish ones of our age are displeasing Allah and in spite of committing sins are endeavouring to acquire honour and respect by building beautiful mansions, dressing in expensive clothing and putting their trust in their businesses.

But we see that the honour they acquire is such that in their absence, those very same people who honour them in their presence swear them.

Today, he may be the President of the country, but the moment he vacates that position or is removed from this position, and then there is no more any honour for him in the newspapers. Similarly is the position of the Kings. But Saints of Allah, the Awliyaa Allah, are the true Kings. Hence they are called Shah. This is their true position and description in this world as well as after their demise. They continue to be mentioned with honour even after their death.


Posted by Ihsan Buxsoo at 9:48 PM 

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