‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar (Radhiyallahu ‘Anhu)

The time is 3 A.H, halfway between Madinah and Uhud, the thousand strong Muslim army led by Nabi (SAW) dismounted from his horse Sakb. He was fully dressed for battle. A turban was wound about his helmet. He wore a breastplate beneath which was a coat of mail which was fastened with a leather sword belt. A shield was slung across his back and his sword hung from his side. 

As the sun set, Bilal (RA) called the adhan and they prayed. Rasoolullah (SAW) then reviewed his troops once more and it was then that he noticed in their midst the presence of eight boys who despite their age were hoping to take part in the battle. Among them were Zayd’s (RA) son Usamah and Umar’s (RA) son Abdullah, both only thirteen years old. Rasoolullah (SAW) ordered them all to return home immediately. Two of the boys however demonstrated that they were able fighters and were allowed to accompany the army to the Battle of Uhud while the others were sent back to their families.
From an early age, Abdullah ibn Umar (RA) thus demonstrated his keenness to be associated with the Prophet in all his undertakings. He had accepted Islam before he was ten years old and had made the Hijrah with his father and his sister, Hafsah (RA), who was later to become a wife of Rasoolullah (SAW). Before Uhud he was also turned away from the Battle of Badr and it was not until the Battle of the Trench (Khandaq) that he and Usamah (RA), both now fifteen years old and others of their age were allowed to join the ranks of the men not only for the digging of the trench but for the battle when it came. 

From the time of his hijrah till the time of his death more than seventy years later, Abdullah ibn Umar (RA) distinguished himself in the service of Islam and was regarded among Muslims as “the Good One, son of the Good One”, according to Abu Musa al-Ashari (RA).
He was known for his knowledge, his humility, his generosity, his piety, his truthfulness, his incorruptibility and his constancy in acts of ibadah. 

From his great and illustrious father, Abu Hafs Umar bin Khattaab (RA), he learnt a great deal and both he and his father had the benefit of learning from the greatest teacher of all, Muhammad Mustafa (SAW). Ibn Umar (RA) would observe and scrutinise closely every saying and action of the Prophet in various situations and he would practise what he observed closely and with devotion. For example, if Ibn Umar (RA) saw the Prophet performing Salaah in a particular place, he would later pray in the same place. If he saw the Prophet making a supplication while standing, he would also make a du’a while standing. If he saw him making a du’a while sitting, he would do the same. On a journey if he saw Rasool (SAW) descend from his camel at a particular place and pray two rakaats, and he had occasion to pass on the same route, he would stop at the same place and pray two raka’ats.
Aa’ishah (RA) noticed this devotion of Abdullah to Rasoolullah (SAW) and remarked: 

”There was no one who followed the footsteps of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, in the places where he alighted as did Ibn Umar.” 

In spite of his close observance of Rasool’s (S AW) actions, Ibn Umar (RA) was extremely cautious, even afraid, of reporting the Ahadith. He would only relate a hadith if he was completely sure that he remembered every word of it. One of his contemporaries said: 

”Among the Sahaabah R.A (companions of the Prophet), no one was more cautious about adding to or subtracting from the hadith of the Prophet than Abdullah ibn Umar (RA).”
Similarly he was extremely cautious and reluctant to make legal judgements (fatwas).’ Once someone came to him asking for a judgement on a particular matter and Abdullah ibn Umar (RA) replied: 

”I have no knowledge of what you ask.” 
The man went on his way and Abdullah bin Umar (RA) clapped his hands in glee and said to himself: 
”The son of Umar was asked about what he does not know and he said: I do not know.” 

Because of this attitude he was reluctant to be a qadi even though he was well qualified to be one. The position of qadi was one of the most important and esteemed offices in the Muslim society and state bringing with it honour, glory and even riches but he declined this position when it was offered him by the Khalifah Uthman. His reason for so doing was not that he underestimated the importance of the position of qadi but because of his fear of committing errors of judgement in matters pertaining to Islam. Uthman made him agree not to disclose his decision lest it might influence the many other companions of the Prophet who actually performed the duties of judges and juris consults.
Abdullah ibn Umar (RA) was once described as the “brother of the night.” He would stay up at night performing Salaat, weeping and seeking God’s forgiveness and reading Qur’an.
He gave generously and did not mind parting with wealth even if he himself would fall in want as a result. He was a successful and trustworthy trader throughout his life. In addition to this he had a generous stipend from the Bayt al-Mal which he would often spend on the poor and those in need. 

Abdullah ibn Umar (RA) encouraged the feeding and the helping of the poor and the needy. Often when he ate, there were orphans and poor people eating with him. He rebuked his children for treating the rich and ignoring the poor. He once said to them: 

”You invite the rich and forsake the poor.”
For Abdullah (RA), wealth was a servant not a master. It was a means towards attaining the necessities of life, not for acquiring luxuries. He was helped in this attitude by his asceticism and simple life-style.
Maymun ibn Mahran relates the following: 

”I entered the house of Ibn Umar. I estimated everything in his house including his bed, his blanket, his carpet and everything else in it. What I found was not a hundred dirhams’ worth.” 

That was not because Ibn Umar (RA) was poor. Indeed he was rich. Neither was it because he was a miser for indeed he was generous and liberal.

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