Umar was 27 when the Prophet (peace be upon him) began his mission. Young Omar was one of those who did not care to listen to the message of Islam. He was leading the old way of life. As years went by, Islam made slow headway. This made Omar angry. He wondered how people who once went over to Islam never went back to their old faith. One of Omar’s own maid-servants became a Muslim. He beat her as much as he could, but she would not give up the new faith.
At last in the sixth year of the Prophet’s mission, a number of Muslims left for Abyssinia. This made Umar boil with rage. “Here is a man,” he thought to himself “who has split the people. People lived smoothly enough. He appeared on the scene. He has torn son from father and brother from brother. Now his followers are running away to another land. Surely Muhammad is the cause of all trouble. I must slay him and put an end to the trouble.”
With this resolve, Omar drew his sword and set out to kill the Prophet (peace be upon him). On the way, he met a friend who asked him why he looked so upset. Omar told him what he was going to do. “You better take care of your own kin first,” said the friend, “Your sister and her husband have gone over to Islam.”
These words changed the direction of Omar’s anger. He went straight to the house of his sister, Fatima. He knocked at the door. Someone was reciting the Qur’an inside. Fatima was terrified when she heard Omar’s voice. She hid the portion of the Qur’an she was reading and opened the door.
“What was it that you were reciting just now?” Omar demanded.
“Oh nothing,” said the sister.
“Why nothing?” he shouted in rage. “I have heard it. I know you both have accepted Muhammad’s faith.” Saying this, he began to beat his brother-in-law, Saeed. Fatima ran to his help and got a blow to the head. The head began to bleed. This made the couple gather courage. “Yes, we have become Muslims,” they shouted at Omar. “Do what you will.” The sight of the bleeding sister deeply moved Omar. Fatima was such a loving sister! Surely there must be some great truth in the Qur’an which had won her innocent heart. “Would you let me have a look at the Qur’an?” said Omar.
Fatima handed him the few pages of the book she had.
Omar sat down to study the pages. Soon his face changed. His anger cooled down. The fear of Allah gripped his heart. He wept and declared, “Surely this is the word of Allah.”
Omar was again on his way to the place of the Prophet (peace be upon him). But he was a changed man. He was not going to slay him but to embrace his faith.
The Noble Prophet was sitting in the company of some men. He saw Omar coming and asked, “Omar , what brings you here?”
“O Prophet of Allah!” replied Omar, “I have come to embrace Islam.” Great was the joy of the Noble Prophet (peace be upon him) and his followers. Loud shouts of “Allah is the Greatest” rented the air of Makkah.
Soon everyone knew that Omar was no longer an enemy of Islam. It was a great day for Islam because one of its bitterest enemies had become its staunch follower.