Umar ibn al-Khattaab
Once a caravan came to Madinah. It had women and children too with it. `Umar said to Abdul Rahman ibn `Auf, “Can you stand guard on them tonight?” So `Umar, the second caliph, and he, kept awake that night together and kept vigil over the caravan. During that nightly vigil they both offered Tahajjud (late night) prayer as well. `Umar on hearing a baby’s cry and approaching, said to the mother, “Fear Allah and do look after your child carefully.” Saying this he came back to his own position. Once again he heard it crying, and going over to her mother once again gave her the same advice. When during the last part of the night the child cried once again, `Umar came to its mother and said, “Woe to you! You appear not to be a good mother. How is it that your child could not sleep peacefully during the night.” The woman little suspecting that she was speaking to the Amir of the believers, said in reply, “May Allah bless you, O man, you have pestered me several times during the night. I want to wean it forcefully (before time), but the child is intractable.” `Umar asked her, “And pray, why wean it forcefully?” She said in reply, “Because `Umar grants allowance only for such children that have been weaned.” `Umar asked her, “How old is your child?” And she told him it was only a few months old. And `Umar asked the woman not to be hasty in weaning her child. Then he led the morning prayer in such a state that his weeping made the recital of the Quran inaudible and unintelligible. At the end of the prayer he said, “`Umar is ruined. He killed the children of the believers!” And at this, he ordered the crier to proclaim in the town of Madinah that the mothers should not wean their children only for the sake of allowance for the suckling. From now on, every child, suckling or weaned, shall receive a stipend. And it was also proclaimed throughout the length and the breadth of the Islamic state. Unparalleled in the Entire History of Mankind
By Allah! The entire history of mankind is unable to produce such a brilliant and glorious incident. None among the civilizations of the world can present any personage like `Umar. He kept awake the whole night, keeping guard over the caravan and the caravan slept in peace. And we should keep in mind that he was the head of the Islamic state, and wielded great authority and power that had conquered the then mighty empires of Rome and Persia. And in spite of all that he did what a petty guard detailed to patrol the vicinity of a caravan in its sojourn would not do. He drew the attention of the crying child’s mother to her babe and asked her to restrain it from crying. Is there anyone who can mete out that treatment to the children in a passing Caravan, like `Umar? Who is there among the greatest personages of the history of mankind who can even touch the great human consciousness of `Umar?