Once the ambassador of the Emperor of Rome came to Madinah with many gifts, he inquired from the people the whereabouts of the palace of the King. The people replied:
“Our King has no palace. However, our leader, the leader of the believers has a mansion – his respected self which has a special contact with Allah and which has become enlightened through the splendor of His nearness. Thus this has made him independent of the need for royal palaces.”
They further informed him:
“You will find the leader of the believers, Umar in the graveyard of Madinah”.
The Roman Ambassador then went to the graveyard and there he saw Umar lying down, having taken off his shirt with a sheet covering the lower part of his body. He was lying down fast asleep on the ground with no throne or crown on his head. Neither were there any soldiers nor any bodyguards. But as the ambassador looked at his face, he began shaking with fear. Within himself he said:
“I have seen many great Kings in this life and have been the companion and confidant of many Rulers. Never have I any fear for any King.
But the awe and fear I feel for this one, dressed in such tattered clothing is causing my senses to depart.
This person, without any weapons and without any forces sleeping here alone on this ground.
What is it that causes my whole body to shake and tremble in awe of him?
Even if I had seven bodies, they would not bear it and all would tremble. ”
Then the ambassador said to himself:
“This awe and fear that I feel is not for this one who is dressed in tattered clothes.
In fact, this is fear of Allah for this tattered clothed one has a heart that is blessed with Allah’s contact and nearness.”
Thus this ambassador, through the blessings of Umar’ s company and grace, converted to Islam.
Lessons from the Story
This story teaches us the lesson that true honor for men is brought about by true and deep contact with Allah and not by outward shows of beauty and adornment. But many people of our age are displeasing Allah, committing sins, endeavoring for worldly pleasures…
Today, Presidents and kings gain temporary honor. But the pious rulers of the past are the true Kings. This is their true position and description in this world as well as after their demise. They continue to be mentioned with honor even after their death.