Was Omar the Second Caliph of Islam A Good Man?

Hello everyone it’s your friendly ex-Muslim Abdullah Sameer. In this post, I will be discussing Umar Ibn Al-Khattab who became a close friend of Mohammad. He became one of the most powerful men in Islam – the 2nd caliph of Islam. Was he really a good man? Was he really someone Muslims should be looking up to?

As a quick disclaimer, keep in mind that Shias would reject hadiths praising Abu Bakr and Umar. They think that Bukhari invented them to argue against Ali’s rights as caliph.  Whatever the case is, this post is presented from the Sunni perspective.

Ibn Abbas said that Mohammad said:

There is no Angel in heaven that does not respect Umar and there is no shaytan on the earth but that he is afraid of Umar.

Later on, we read,

Uqbah ibn Amir narrated that Mohammad said:

If there were to be a Prophet after me it would be Umar.

So it’s safe to say that Umar was a big deal. Mohammad respected him a lot and they both were very close. But was he really a good person?

For starters, Mohammad and his companions for some reason loved getting married and having sexual relationships with minors. The book Tarikh al-Khamis written in the 16th century mentions this strange story:

‘Umar asked ‘Ali for the hand of his daughter, Umm Kulthum in marriage. ‘Ali replied that she has not yet attained the age (of maturity). ‘Umar replied, ‘By Allah, this is not true. You do not want her to marry me. If she is underage, send her to me’. Thus ‘Ali gave his daughter Umm Kulthum a dress and asked her to go to ‘Umar and tell him that her father wants to know what this dress is for.

When she came to Umar and gave him the message, he grabbed her hand and forcibly pulled her towards him. ‘Umm Kulthum asked him to leave her hand, which Umar did and said, ‘You are a very mannered lady with great morals. Go and tell your father that you are very pretty and you are not what he said of you’. With that ‘Ali married Umm Kulthum to ‘Umar.

Wait, what?! So many problems here. So Ali felt hesitant and then Umar started emotionally blackmailing him? That is not even the worst part of this story. So when Umm Kultham, this kid who was sent to Umar to inquire about a dress, went to see him, he forcefully pulled her towards him like a creepy pedo? She obviously got scared. Who wouldn’t? And asked to be released and Umar saw this as a sign that she was mature? And Ali bought it? Was he really like “Oh wow so my daughter didn’t let herself get molested by this creep which means she is definitely mature. Therefore It makes total sense for me to let him get married to my daughter!”

If you are wondering whether this is fabricated, this story is defended by the Muslim apologist Bassim Zawadi where he made a poor attempt at trying to make this incident sound … sane somehow. The excerpt of Bassim’s defense is below.

“Now the question on everyone’s mind would be why Ali initially reacted the way that he did. Well, there are two possible answers.

First, it is possible that Ali thought that Umar wanted to get married and consummate the marriage with Umm Kulthum right away. Thus, Ali stated her age because he believed that his daughter was still not ready for intercourse (which was true since Umar consummated the marriage a year after marrying Umm Kulthum).”

So Ali thought Omar was a horny 50-something year old who couldn’t wait to get his hands on his daughter? Good save there Bassim 

“Secondly, Ali did not want Umar to marry his daughter and only used the age of his daughter as an excuse. This might be an argument that Shias use since they hate Umar, however, I believe that it is possibly the case for a different reason. As I argued in my previous article, there are sources that indicate that the companions did not want Umar to get married to another woman for fear that she might distract him from his duties as a Caliph. Thus, it is very likely that Ali didn’t want Umar to get married for the same reasons and only used the age of his daughter as an excuse. However, his excuse was wrong and he knew it, therefore he eventually married his daughter to Umar.”

Are you have to be kidding me? Firstly, Bassim admits that Umm Kulthum was too young to get married with his first point. Umar consummated the marriage a year later. Why did he wait? Because she was still a child when they got married. Is it wrong to have sex with a child but marrying them and having a relationship with them is A-Okay? It doesn’t matter whether you have sex with a child or not, being in a relationship or even marrying a child is wrong. And what Umar did to Umm Kulthum was absolutely disgusting. Imagine you have a child and some creepy older man pulls the child towards themselves forcefully and acted repusively with them. Would you, as a parent, actually be okay with that? 

Bassim later goes on to explain in the article that it’s fine because back then people got married early and it was a norm. And you know what? I agree. It was a very common practice back then. But every century and generation have their own flaws. Islam is supposed to be a perfect religion. This “flaw” should not be permitted by Islam just because it was a norm back then. This just goes to show that Islam is false and only suitable for people back then. 

Oh, and ladies this one is for you! guess who you can thank for the ruling of hijab? Umar! He desperately wanted women to cover up! He desperately wanted Allah to reveal some verse on veiling.

“Umar bin Al-Khattab used to say to Allah’s Apostle “Let your wives be veiled” But he did not do so. The wives of the Prophet used to go out to answer the call of nature at night only at Al-Manasi.’ Once Sauda, the daughter of Zam’a went out and she was a tall woman. ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab saw her while he was in a gathering, and said, “I have recognized you, O Sauda!” He (‘Umar) said so as he was anxious for some Divine orders regarding the veil (the veiling of women.) So Allah revealed the Verse of veiling.”

He was anxious for some Divine ruling. Initially, Mohammad was against it but then he gave in to his constant requests and declared that “Allah” has revealed the verse upon him. 

“Sauda (the wife of the Prophet) went out to answer the call of nature after it was made obligatory (for all the Muslim ladies) to observe the veil. She was a fat huge lady, and everybody who knew her before could recognize her. So ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab saw her and said, “O Sauda! By Allah, you cannot hide yourself from us, so think of a way by which you should not be recognized on going out. Sauda returned while Allah’s Apostle was in my house taking his supper and a bone covered with meat was in his hand. She entered and said, “O Allah’s Apostle! I went out to answer the call of nature and ‘Umar said to me, so-and-so.” Then Allah inspired him (the Prophet) and when the state of inspiration was over and the bone was still in his hand as he had not put in down, he said (to Sauda), “You (women) have been allowed to go out for your needs.”

This is all just so sad. This poor woman just went out to the washroom and Umar started lecturing her on how she needs to cover up more. Whatever happened to lowering your gaze? Imagine you as a woman going to take a leak and every time you go out this male Karen tells you they can still see you so you need to cover up more. The modern image of the Taliban comes to mind, which probably resembles Mohammad and his crew pretty well. 

Umar has also bragged about how Allah agreed with him on three matters and also went as far as to speak about how he told Mohammed’s wives that if they didn’t behave properly, Mohammad would divorce them and Allah will give him new and better wives!

“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 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)”

Imagine for a second if you and your partner had an argument and your partner’s friend came along and told you “Stop bothering him (or her) otherwise they will divorce you and be blessed with a better partner.” Would you not find that insulting? And apparently, Mohammad didn’t even care enough to defend his wives because he was a coward who needed his companions (and his imaginary Allah) to defend him against his wives whenever they would get into arguments. 

Show “Hitting Muhammad’s Wives” on screen

When Umar wasn’t going around ordering women to cover themselves, he was busy hitting the wives of the prophet for making him feel bad because apparently, Mohammad was a baby who needed defending all the time. In the following incident narrated in Saheeh Muslim we see an example of where he hit his daughter and Abu Bakr hit HIS daughter:

“Abu Bakr (Allah be pleased with him) came and sought permission to see Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ). He found people sitting at his door and none amongst them had been granted permission, but it was granted to Abu Bakr and he went in. Then came ‘Umar and he sought permission and it was granted to him, and he found Allah’s Apostle (ﷺ) sitting sad and silent with his wives around him. He (Hadrat ‘Umar) said: I would say something which would make the Prophet (ﷺ) laugh, so he said: Messenger of Allah, I wish you had seen (the treatment meted out to) the daughter of Khadija when you asked me some money, and I got up and slapped her on her neck.

Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) laughed and said: They are around me as you see, asking for extra money. Abu Bakr (Allah be pleased with him) then got up went to ‘A’isha (Allah be pleased with her) and slapped her on the neck, and ‘Umar stood up before Hafsa and slapped her saying: You ask Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) which he does not possess. They said: By Allah, we do not ask Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) for anything he does not possess. Then he withdrew from them for a month or for twenty-nine days.

Then this verse was revealed to him:” Prophet: Say to thy wives… for a mighty reward”. He then went first to ‘A’isha (Allah be pleased with her) and said: I want to propound something to you, ‘A’isha, but wish no hasty reply before you consult your parents. She said: Messenger of Allah, what is that? He (the Holy Prophet) recited to her the verse, whereupon she said: Is it about you that I should consult my parents, Messenger of Allah? Nay, I choose Allah, His Messenger, and the Last Abode; but I ask you not to tell any of your wives what I have said He replied: Not one of them will ask me without my informing her. God did not send me to be harsh or cause harm, but He has sent me to teach and make things easy.”

So Mohammad just sat there letting them hit his wives? Yes, it’s true they were their fathers but does that really change anything? If you were married to one of your best friends’ daughter and you both got into an argument, would you really be okay with your best friend coming and slapping her? Even if he is the father? 

I came across a very cringe-worthy video of Zakir Naik where he tries to justify this hadith.

He offered a horrible and stupid justification and comparison of a father slapping a child IN ORDER TO snap them out of jumping off a building. That is different from slapping a married adult. To be fair, this is Mohammad we are talking about so forget I said adult,… so it’s slapping married people for arguing with their husband. This is so toxic.

Zakir Naik says there are many occasions where Abu Bakr and Umar slapped their daughters for arguing with their husband, Mohammad. I’m sorry but do you guys know of any healthy relationship where there are no arguments? This was not a marriage! This was a master-to-slave relationship Mohammad had with his “wives”. In a relationship there are arguments. That’s how relationships work. It’s not always sunshine and rainbows. If Mohammad couldn’t handle getting into arguments with his wives. He shouldn’t have married them!

Zakir goes on to explain in the video that it’s okay for a father to slap his child but not the other way around and somehow equates that to a husband and wife relationship because a wife shouldn’t hit back as women are physically weaker than men? Does that mean Zakir naik thinks a woman isn’t even capable of hitting a man lightly? Just like how husbands in Islam can only hit a woman lightly…. Somehow in his messed up brain, and of all the people clapping for him, that makes sense.

Also no, it doesn’t matter whether you are a father or not. Hitting a child is not okay. It has been proven to be bad for them psychologically. That is not how you discipline your child. Sure this happened back when it was a norm to hit your kids. But if Islam is a religion for all times to come, such a dangerous and immoral act should have not been done by the examplar role models of the religion. The stars of Islam should have done better.

We all know that alcohol is forbidden in Islam, but did you know what was the punishment Umar set for people who drank alcohol? 

“Anas b. Malik reported that Allah’s Apostle ﷺ gave a beating with palm branches and shoes and that Abu Bakr gave forty lashes. When Umar (became the Commander of the Faithful) and the people went near to pastures and towns, he said (to the Companions of the Holy Prophet). What is your opinion about lashing for drinking? Thereupon Abd al-Rahman b. Auf said: My opinion is that you fix it as the mildest punishment. Then ‘Umar inflicted eighty stripes.”

So Mohammad gave a beating with palm branches and shoes, Abu Bakr gave forty lashes and Umar set eight stripes? For just drinking Alcohol? 

If you drink moderately, there is nothing wrong with it. In fact, drinking wine moderately might have some small health benefits. But if you don’t like drinking, that’s fine. You do you. But to inflict such a violent punishment for people who are just minding their own business and drinking? Is that really a moral thing to do?  

See the difference? Over here, drinking and driving is a crime.  Harassment is a crime.  Drinking itself is not a crime.  Because you can drink responsibly.

I thought Umar was supposed to be this great man. So far his behavior seems quite typical of 7th-century men. 

Just when you thought Umar couldn’t get any more unlikable, he proves us wrong! He killed a man for doubting the decision of Mohammad! According to tafsir Ibn-e-kathir 

“two men took their dispute to the Prophet, and he gave a judgment to the benefit of whoever among them had the right. The person who lost the dispute said, “I do not agree.” The other person asked him, “What do you want then” He said, “Let us go to Abu Bakr As-Siddiq.” They went to Abu Bakr and the person who won the dispute said, “We went to the Prophet with our dispute and he issued a decision in my favor.” Abu Bakr said, “Then the decision is that which the Messenger of Allah issued.”

The person who lost the dispute still rejected the decision and said, “Let us go to `Umar bin Al-Khattab.” When they went to `Umar, the person who won the dispute said, “We took our dispute to the Prophet and he decided in my favor, but this man refused to submit to the decision.” `Umar bin Al-Khattab asked the second man and he concurred. `Umar went to his house and emerged from it holding aloft his sword. He struck the head of the man who rejected the Prophet’s decision with the sword and killed him. Consequently, Allah revealed, the aforementioned verse.”

But no, by your Lord, they will not [truly] believe until they make you, [O Muhammad], judge concerning that over which they dispute among themselves and then find within themselves no discomfort from what you have judged and submit in [full, willing] submission. (4:65)

Wow, such an incredible human being wasn’t he? A man only just refused to give in to the decision Mohammad made and that was enough for Umar to lose his mind and kill him and then the verse of the Quran instead of condemning him for murder actually defends him!  Can you imagine something like this happening to a random person today? Even Muslims would condemn him. Even they would be like “That’s so stupid how can someone be such an idiot to kill someone just because they didn’t agree with a scholar’s opinion”.  But in this case, questioning Muhammad is blasphemy and Umar considered it worthy of death. 


So there you have it, Umar bin al-Khattab was a perverted, creepy, misogynistic, woman slapping, murdering accomplice. This man, ladies, and gentleman, was appointed the second caliph of Islam. Even if some of you are to argue that some of the stuff he did was a norm back then, I ask you, was Islam meant to be a religion only for the 7th century? Did Islam not come to fix the social norms of the society and guide people to the right path? Wasn’t Islam supposed to be a religion for all times to come? If so, then these criticisms are valid. But we know these men are no shining exemplars, they are just petty 7th century men who used Islam to benefit themselves.


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