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Home » Entertainment » “Umar” Ramadan Series: Review and Synopsis of Episode 8

“Umar” Ramadan Series: Review and Synopsis of Episode 8

Synopsis: The episode starts with Abu Jahl verbally abusing the Prophet at the Ka’ba. Hamza ibn ‘Abd al-Muttalib (the Prophet’s uncle) then rides in on his horse, approaches Abu Jahl and strikes him hard on the face, declaring “How dare you abuse him when I am a follower of his religion?!” Abu Jahl doesn’t respond and just stands there stupidly. Hamza then goes to the house of the Prophet and takes his shahadah, officially becoming a Muslim.

Meanwhile, ‘Umar is in his house, sitting before an idol of Hubal, and deep in thought with his anger building as his thoughts turn towards the “divisions” caused by the Prophet. He then immediately gets up, straps on his sword, and heads out of his house (presumably) with the intention of killing the Prophet, as he suggested in the previous episode. On his way, he encounters one of the Quraysh who asks him where he is headed in such a hurry and so armed. ‘Umar explains that he is going to kill the Prophet and end the matter once and for all. The Qurashi noble says that he should first put his own house in order, explaining that both ‘Umar’s sister (Fatima bint al-Khattab) and his brother-in-law have become Muslim in case he didn’t know. ‘Umar is enraged and turns back.

The next scene shows Khabbab (a prominent early Muslim), ‘Umar’s sister and brother-in-law reading a manuscript of the Qur’an (Surah Ta-Ha). At the door, ‘Umar overhears the recitation of the Qur’an and bursts in demanding an explanation; by this point Khabbab has rushed into the inner quarters to hide. When Sa’id (Fatima’s husband) suggests that they have accepted Islam, ‘Umar begins brutally beating them both. At this point, Fatima angrily calls ‘Umar the enemy of God and asserts proudly that they have indeed become Muslim. He stops attacking them and realizes that there is blood oozing from his sister’s face…but when he proceeds to offer his help, she refuses it. ‘Umar then sees the manuscript of the Qur’an protruding from underneath the mattress and, despite the initial protestations of his sister (who feels he seeks to destroy it), he begins reading it. He is clearly moved and then looks up at his sister and brother-in-law and says “This is what Quraysh is fleeing from?!” He then declares that He who says such things (meaning in the Qur’an) is worthy of worship Alone. At this point, ‘Umar’s sister expresses great delight and Khabbab emerges from the inside room with a smile on his face and says “The Prophet’s du’a has been realized…he said may God glorify Islam with one of these men: Abul Hakam ibn Hisham (Abu Jahl) or ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab. ‘Umar then remembers his conversation with ‘Abd Allah ibn Mas’ud earlier on and is moved.

‘Umar then asks to be taken to the presence of the Prophet. He arrives at the Prophet’s house (still strapped with his sword) and the sahaba inside are hesitant to let him in at first, but Hamza tells them to open the door. When ‘Umar enters, Hamza pins him to the wall demanding to know why he has come armed. Next, as the  Prophet enters the room (implied), ‘Umar acknowledges the Oneness of God and the Prophethood of Muhammad…at which point all the sahaba present declare God is Great and embrace ‘Umar. ‘Umar also sees his brother (Zayd ibn al-Khattab) among the sahaba and tells him “You preceded me in Islam”. ‘Umar then commits himself, in the presence of the Prophet and all the sahaba, that he will do everything in his power to further Islam.

He then immediately goes to the house of Abu Jahl, bangs on the door, and–when Abu Jahl answers–tells him that he should know that he has now become a Muslim. Abu Jahl slams the door in his face. Next, he goes to the home of al-Walid ibn Mughirah and does the same thing. Finally, in the presence of the remaining nobles of Quraysh (‘Utbah, Abu Sufyan, Umayyah, etc.) he declares openly that he has become a Muslim and is now a proud follower of the Prophet. They set some thugs on him, but he soon overwhelms him with his physical strength until one of his tribal allies arrives and threatens the Banu ‘Abd al-Shams (the dominant tribe in Quraysh) with retaliation if they attack anyone of their allies again (‘Umar, from the Banu ‘Adi tribe, being one of them). Khalid ibn al-Walid, speaking with another Meccan noble, asserts that the the conversion of ‘Umar to Islam has changed the whole equation in Mecca.

‘Umar then gathers all the Banu ‘Adi around him, asserts his conversion to Islam, and calls them to the new religion. The next scene shows ‘Umar in the presence of the Prophet imploring him to allow him and the Muslims to pray at the Ka’ba, even if the disbelievers should detest it. Then, we see a group of Muslims (including all the prominent sahaba) led by the Prophet (not shown or heard) chanting the shahadah marching towards the center of Mecca to where the Ka’ba is. They then proceed to pray.

The Quraysh are then gathered once more for a council and this time are in real panic, discussing the events which have transpired since the conversion of ‘Umar who had been one of the most outspoken advocates of an anti-Islamic policy in Mecca. It was a real victory for Islam that he converted, they say.  The Quraysh then decide to challenge Muhammad to perform miracles in public to humiliate him in front of the people. There follows a public encounter between ‘Umar and the main notables of Quraysh, in which the former explains to them that their challenge to the Prophet is merely another sign of their disbelief, since even if he brought forth all the wondrous miracles they asked for, they would continue to disbelieve (he cites a number of Qur’anic verses to this effect). The next scene shows the Muslim exiles in Abyssinia receiving news that both Hamza and ‘Umar have converted (and that a large number of people in Mecca have entered Islam), which prompts many of them to return to the Arabian Peninsula. Finally, the episode ends with the imprisonment by Suhayl ibn ‘Amr of his two sons who have converted to Islam.

Review: This episode, by far, was the most intriguing, moving and engaging. The major event of ‘Umar’s conversion was done perfectly and was taken, almost word for word, from the classical Islamic texts. The emotional and psychological moments between ‘Umar’s persecution of his brother-in-law and sister and his acceptance of the Oneness of God are conveyed perfectly on screen. The actual scene of the conversion (in the presence of the Prophet and the Sahaba) could also not have been done any better. I really enjoyed watching the character of ‘Umar transform completely within this episode from one of the staunchest persecutors of Islam into one of its most committed champions. The impact of this event on Mecca (and the Quraysh) was also very well-done! All-in-all, an excellent episode and a great way to transition into the next phase of  the story of this great man’s life!

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2 Comments

  1. Playa4lyfe says:

    Thanks for the review, very informative! I heard somewhere that some (or maybe one?) of the sahaba that went to Abyssinia actually converted to Christianity. Have you heard something to that effect before?

  2. ballandalus says:

    Yes, I have. The sahabi who converted to Christianity was Ubayd-Allah ibn Jahsh, whose wife was Ramla bint Abu Sufyan (another early Muslim). Following her husband’s conversion and her refusal to abandon Islam, they got divorced. Upon her return to Arabia, the Prophet married her and she is know as the Mother of the Believers under the name Umm Habiba. It’s interesting because she was the daughter of Abu Sufyan, one of the staunchest enemies of the Prophet, but nevertheless was one of the most committed people to Islam.

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