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Is it True That Sayyiduna ‘Umar bin al-Khattab Had His Son Flogged For Drinking Alcohol?

Answered by Shaykh Yusuf Weltch 

Question Summary


Is it true that Sayyiduna’ Umar bin al-Khattab had his son flogged for drinking alcohol? Did his son die from that flogging?

Question Answer


In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate

It is true that Sayyiduna’ Umar bin al-Khattab flogged his son due to the latter’s drinking of alcohol and intoxication. However, it is not true that the son died due to the flogging as it is established in the below narration that his son lived months in a state of health before passing away.

The Punishment of Drinking Alcohol


A Muslim who can speak is flogged 80 times for willingly drinking wine (khamr), knowing that it is forbidden, regardless of the amount, and for drinking other intoxicants willingly to the extent that they become intoxicated. This flogging is a means of purification from this sin and an expiation for it.

Thus, Sayyiduna’ Umar, although firm, established this punishment on his own son out of mercy for him and seeking that he understand the gravity of the sin and seeking that Allah Most High forgive him.

‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar narrates, saying, “My brother, ‘Abdur Rahman bin ‘Umar (Allah be pleased with them) drank (alcohol) along with Abu Sirwa’a’ Uqba bin al-Harith while we were in Egypt during the caliphate of ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab and they became intoxicated. When they came out of the intoxication, they went to ‘Amr bin al-‘Aas, the leader of Egypt. They said, “Purify us! For indeed, we got drunk from a drink that we drank.” ‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar said, “I didn’t know they went to ‘Amr bin al-‘Aas.” He (Abdur Rahman) continued, saying, “My brother mentioned to me that he got drunk.” So I said to him, “Enter the house; I will purify you.” He told me that he informed the leader (‘Amr bin al-Aas).” So I said, “I swear by Allah, you will not have your head shaved before all the people. Enter the house; I will shave your head…” This was at a time that they would shave the head of the one upon whom the Hadd punishment is established.

“…So he entered the house with me. So I shaved my brother’s head with my hand then ‘Amr bin al-‘Aas flogged them both.” ‘Umar bin al-Khattab heard about this and wrote to ‘Amr bin al-‘Aas commanding him to send ‘Abdur Rahman bin ‘Umar to him by camel.” ‘Amr then sent him. When ‘Abdur Rahman arrived to (his father) ‘Umar, the latter flogged him and punished him due to his relationship to him. He (Umar) then released him. He (‘Abdur Rahman bin ‘Umar) remained healthy for the next few months; then, his determined lifespan came to him. Many people assumed that he (‘abdur rahman) died from the flogging of (his father) ‘Umar, and this is not so.” [Bayhaqi]

Summary


Sayyiduna’ Umar was a person of firm implementation of the Qur’an and Prophetic teachings. He was not of the type to treat people with different standards as others just because they were his relative (in this case, his son). He justly established the ruling upon his son; however, we should not forget that ‘Umar’s intention was never anything but seeking the best for his son – even though the means to attaining that outwardly seemed harsh. The son’s sin was expiated and purified via this punishment, and for certain, this punishment was not the cause of his death. Rather, his death was coincidentally several months after this occurrence, not because of it.

Hope this clarifies matters
Allah bless you
[Shaykh] Yusuf Weltch

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Yusuf Weltch is a teacher of Arabic, Islamic law, and spirituality. After accepting Islam in 2008, he then completed four years at the Darul Uloom seminary in New York, where he studied Arabic and the traditional sciences. He then traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he stayed for three years studying in Dar Al-Mustafa under some of the greatest scholars of our time, including Habib Umar Bin Hafiz, Habib Kadhim al-Saqqaf, and Shaykh Umar al-Khatib. In Tarim, Shaykh Yusuf completed the memorization of the Qur’an and studied beliefs, legal methodology, hadith methodology, Qur’anic exegesis, Islamic history, and a number of texts on spirituality. He joined the SeekersGuidance faculty in the summer of 2019.

 

This answer was collected from Seekersguidance.org. It’s an online learning platform overseen by Sheikh Faraz Rabbani. All courses are free. They also have in-person classes in Canada.

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