The Story of Hazrat Umar (Radhiallahu Anho) and the Roman Envoy
Once an ambassador of the Emperor of Rome came to
Madina bearing many gifts. On arriving, he enquired
about the palace of the king of Madina. People answered,
“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 Ta’ala and which has become
enlightened through the splendor of His nearness. Thus, he has
become independent of the need for a royal palace. ”
They further informed him: “You will find the leader of the
believers, Hazrat Umar (Radhiallahu Anho) in the graveyard of Madina”.
The Roman Ambassador then went to the graveyard and there saw
Hazrat Umar (Radhiallahu Anho) lying down, having taken off his shirt with only 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 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 my
life and have been the companion and confidant of many rulers.
Never, have I feared any king. But, the awe and fear I feel for
this one dressed in such tattered clothing is causing my senses
to fly. This person without any weapons and without any forces
sleeping here alone on the 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 Ta’ala for this tattered clothed one has a heart that
is blessed with Allah Ta’ala’s contact and nearness.” Thus this
envoy, through the blessings of Hazrat Umar’ s (Radhiallahu Anho) company and
grace converted to Islam.
Maulana Rumi (Rahmatullah Alaihi) says:
“He who fears Allah Ta’ala and adopts a life of righteousness,
the jinn and men fear him.
And whoever sees him is overpowered by fear and awe.”
This story teaches us that true honor is brought about by
true and deep contact with Allah Ta’ala and not by outward
beauty and adornment. But, the foolish while displeasing Allah
Ta’ala, and in spite of committing sins, endeavor to acquire
honor and respect by building beautiful mansions, dressing in
expensive clothes and putting their trust in their businesses.
But we see that honor is only temporary and skin-deep. The
very same people who honor them in their presence curse them
behind their back. Today, one may be the President of the
country, but the moment he vacates or is removed, his honor is
no more in the newspapers. Similar is the condition of the
kings. However, the friends of Allah Ta’ala, the Auliyaa Allah,
are true kings. Hence, they are called Shah. This is their true
position and description in this world and they continue to be
remembered and honored after their death.
Ma’aarif- e -Mathnawi