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The Khuṭbah of ʿUmar ibn ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz

A stunning sermon (khuṭbah) outlining the reason for which we were created and what the objective of our death must be.

I swear by Allāh that had I wanted something else, namely, affluence, then it would have been easy for me to utter the word, aware as I am of the means for obtaining this.

Alhamdulillāh was ṣalātu was salāmu ʿalá nabiyyinā wa habīibnā muhammad

According to ʿAbdullāh ibn Bakr ibn Habīb al-Sahmī: We were told by a man in the mosque of al-Junābidh that ʿUmar ibn ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz delivered a sermon to the people in Khunāsirah in which he said:

O people, you were not created in vain, nor will you be left to yourselves [See 75:36]. Rather, you will return to a place in which Allāh will descend in order to judge among you and distinguish between you. Destitute and lost are those who forsake the all- encompassing mercy of Allāh, and they will be excluded from Paradise, the borders of which are as wide as the heavens and the earth. Don’t you know that protection, tomorrow, will be limited to those who feared Allāh [today], and to those who sold something ephemeral for something permanent, something small for something great, and fear for protection? Don’t you realize that you are the descendants of those who have perished, that those who remain will take their place after you, and that this will continue until you are all returned to Allāh? Every day you dispatch to Allāh, at all times of the day, someone who has died, his term has come to an end. You bury him in a crack in the earth and then leave him without a pillow or a bed. He has parted from his loved ones, severed his connections with the living, and taken up residence in the earth, whereupon he comes face to face with the accounting. He is mortgaged to his deeds: He needs his accomplishments, but not the material things he left on earth.

Therefore, fear Allāh before death descends and its appointed times expire. I swear by Allāh that I say those words to you knowing that I myself have committed more sins than any of you; I, therefore, ask Allāh for forgiveness and I repent. Whenever we learn that one of you needs something, I try to satisfy his need to the extent that I am able. Whenever I can provide satisfaction to one of you out of my possessions, I seek to treat him as my equal and my relative, so that my life and his life are of equal value. I swear by Allāh that had I wanted something else, namely, affluence, then it would have been easy for me to utter the word, aware as I am of the means for obtaining this. But Allāh has issued in an eloquent Book and a just example (sunnah) by means of which He guides us to obedience and proscribes disobedience. He lifted up the edge of his robe and began to cry and sob, causing the people around him to break into tears. Then he stepped down. That was the last sermon he gave before he died, may Allāh have mercy on him.

For variant versions of this sermon, see Ibn Abd al-Hakam, Sīrah 43-45, 132-33; Ibn Kathīr, Bidāyah, IX, 199; This translation was taken from The History of al-Ṭabarī, Vol XXIV, by D.S.Powers/

In the same book, it is also related that According to ʿAbdullāh – his father – al-Fuḍayl – ʿAbdullāh: I was told that ʿUmar ibn Abd al-ʿAzīz wrote to the Syrian army as follows:

“Al-salāmu ʿalaykum wa raḥmatullāh. Now then, whoever contemplates death frequently speaks little, while he who knows that death is certain is satisfied with a little. Farewell.”

Published: June 20, 2007
Edited: January 30, 2023


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