In the name of Allah Most Gracious, Most Merciful
‘Abdullah was the son of the famous companion and the second khalifa of Islam, ‘Umar ibn al-Khattâb. He became Muslim with his father while still a child in Makkah and migrated with him to Madina. He was one of the most knowledgeable scholars from among the Companions and was renowned for his asceticism and worship. The Companions used to go to him for legal rulings especially in questions of the rites of pilgrimage. He performed sixty pilgrimages (hajj) and one thousand minor pilgrimages (‘umra).
‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar was extremely charitable. He was once given twenty four dinar of gold and distributed the whole amount in charity before departing from the gathering. Despite his charitable nature, he remained modest and fearful of Allah. On one occasion, a beggar came to him and ‘Abdullah told his son to give the beggar a gold dinar. When the beggar left, his son, ‘Abdul Rahmân, said to his father, ‘may Allah accept it from you, O beloved father.’ He said to him, ‘if I knew that Allah had accepted one prostration or charity of a single dirham, death would be more beloved to me than any thing, but do you know from whom He accepts? He only accepts from the righteous ones.’
Like his father, he was brave and courageous. While on a journey, he saw a group of people gathered by the roadside. He approached them and asked why they had gathered. They explained that they were afraid to go any further as there was a lion ahead on the path. ‘Abdullah went ahead and approached the lion. He took it by its ear, spoke to it and walked it away from the path. When asked about such an act of bravery, he explained that one thing that he had learned from the Messenger, upon him be peace, was that if you fear no one and nothing but Allah, Allah will always protect you.
He tried to avoid political controversy but would speak out against injustice and religious malpractice. The ruler, Hajjaj, delivered an extremely long Friday sermon. As a result, he delayed the prayer. As the time for prayer was passing away, ‘Abdullah stood and rebuked him saying ‘surely the sun will not wait for you!’ An argument ensued and the ruler felt both embarrassed and insulted. The incensed Hajjaj then instructed one of his henchmen to stab him with a poisoned spear. ‘Abdullah was murdered during the circumambulation of the Sacred House, dying as a result of having the poisoned spear poked into his foot.
He related 1630 hadith. He died aged 83 years old and is buried on the outskirts of Makkah.
(Taken from al-Jawâhir al-lu’luwiyya by Muhammad al-Jardâni al-Dimyâti)