Migration to Medina
In 622 due to the growing popularity of Islam in the city of Yathrib (later renamed Al-Madinah Al-Munawwarah, the enlightened city, or simply Medina) Muhammad ordered his followers to migrate to Medina. Muslims usually migrated at night due to fear of Quraish’s resistance to that migration, but Umar is reported to have migrated openly during the day time. Ibn Asakir narrated that Ali said: I don’t know of anyone who didn’t emigrate in secret except for Umar ibn al-Khattab; because when he wanted to emigrate he strapped on his sword, put his bow over his shoulder, carried his arrows in his hand, and came to the Ka‘bah where the nobles of Quraysh were in the courtyard. He performed seven circuits, and then prayed two raka‘at at the Station (of Ibrahim). Then he approached their circle one step at a time and said, “Whoever wishes to bereave his mother, orphan his children and widow his wife then let him meet me behind this valley.” Not one of them followed him. Umar migrated to Medina accompanied by his cousin and brother-in-law Saeed ibn Zaid.
Life in Medina
Medina became the new center of Islam and the religion spread rapidly across Arabia. When Muhammad arrived in Medina, he paired off each immigrant (Muhajir) with one of the residents of the city (Ansari), joining Muhammad ibn Maslamah with Umar(R.A) making them brothers in faith. Later in Umar’s reign as caliph Muhammad ibn Muslamah would be assigned the office of chief inspector of Accountability. Muslims remained in peace in Medina for approximately a year before the Quraish raised an army to attack them. In 624 Umar participated in the first Battle between Muslims and Quraish of Mecca i.e. Battle of Badr. In 625 he participated in the Battle of Uhud. In the second phase of Battle when Khalid ibn Walid’s Cavalry attacked Muslims at the rear changing the victory of Muslims to defeat, rumors of Muhammad’s death were spread. Many Muslim were warriors routed from the battle field, Umar too was initially routed but hearing that Muhammad was still alive he went to Muhammad at the mountain of Uhud and prepared for the defenses of the hill to keep the Quraishi army down the hill. Later in the year Umar was a part of campaign against the Jewish tribe of Banu Nadir. In 625 Umar’s(R.A) daughter Hafsah was married to Muhammad. Later in 627 he participated in the Battle of the Trench and also in the Battle of Banu Qurayza. In 628 Umar participated in the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah and was made one of the witness over the pact. In 628 he was a part of Muslims’ campaign to Khaybar. In 629 Muhammad sent Amr ibn al-A’as to Zaat-ul-Sallasal from where he called for reinforcement and Muhammad sent Abu Ubaidah ibn al-Jarrah with reinforcement, serving under him were Abu Bakr and Umar, they attacked and defeated the enemy. In 630 when Muslim armies rushed for the Conquest of Mecca he was part of that army. Later in 630 he was part of Battle of Hunayn and Siege of Ta’if. He was part of Muslim’s army that went for the campaign of Tabuk under Muhammad’s command and he was reported to have given half of his wealth for the preparation of this expedition. He also participated in a farewell Hajj of Muhammad in 631.
Death of Muhammad (SAW)
Muhammad died on 8 June 632. Umar was full of grief upon hearing the news of demise of Muhammad(SAW). Umar, the devoted disciple, could not accept the reality that the “Messenger of God” has died. According to the Qur’an, “Muhammad is but a messenger; messengers have passed away before”, i.e. died or killed. It is said that Umar promised to strike the head of any man who would say that Muhammad died. At this point Abu Bakr is reported to have come out to the Muslim community and gave his famous speech which included:
Whoever worshipped Muhammad, let them know that Muhammad is dead, and whoever worshipped God, let them know that God is alive and never dies.
Abu Bakr then recited these verses from the Qur’an:
Muhammad is but a messenger; messengers (the like of whom) have passed away before him. If, then, he dies or is killed, will you turn back on your heel?
Hearing this from Abu Bakr, the most senior disciple of Muhammad, Umar then fell down on his knees in great sense of sorrow and acceptance of the reality. Sunni Muslims say that this denial of Muhammad’s death was occasioned by his deep love for him.