How Omar ibn Said Persevered Even in Captivity

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Omar ibn Said

As a Muslim, there are many lessons that you must imbibe, and one of such is perseverance. A Muslim is expected to persevere even though this is not always an easy thing to do. This is the story of Omar ibn Said, a Muslim slave who persevered even in the face of immense odds.

Who was Omar Ibn Said?

He was born in Futa Toro in what is now modern-day Senegal to a family of rich people. Later, he would grow up to become a respected Islamic scholar and devoted decades of his life learning from some of his most knowledgeable Muslim forefathers. During this time, he was able to learn as much as possible from these clerics in different areas of study, he learned everything, from mathematics to Islamic jurisprudence to philosophy and many more.

However, his life was going to undergo a very dramatic shift in 1807 when war broke out in his region. During the chaos, he was taken as a slave and shipped off to the United States of America via the Atlantic Ocean. While in the United States, he would undergo untold suffering and had to escape from a terrible slave master in South Carolina. However, his joy would not last long as he was captured again and sold to another slave owner.

Devoted to Islamic Faith

Although there were concerted efforts to convert him to Christianity, he remained devoted to his Islamic faith and he made this clear with his series of writings and records. A prolific writer, he wrote a lot of manuscripts in Arabic detailing his experience in the hands of the slave masters and also his unshakeable devotion to Islam. He made copious references to several chapters of the Holy Quran and these writings gave a lot of insight into his thoughts and life.

He lived to his nineties as a slave but not once did he speak out against his faith or question the lifelong trial that Almighty Allah (SWT) had imposed on his life. Even as a slave, he never stopped learning and he never stopped preserving. Interestingly, his life and story are always referenced whenever the topic of Islam in the United States is raised.

Patience in the Face of Adversity

A close look at his life will instantly reveal a lot of lessons to us as Muslims. Almighty Allah (SWT) has already told us that we are going to face a lot of tribulations and trials in this world. But as a good Muslim, you are expected to take everything that befalls you in good faith. Allah (SWT) has a reason for everything that happens to us in this world.

The life of Omar ibn Said is a lesson to us all as far as patience in the face of adversity is concerned. Challenges will always come but as believers, we must never give in to despair. In 1991, a mosque in North Carolina was renamed in the memory and honor of this devoted Muslim. May Allah (SWT) bless him with the highest station in the Hereafter, aameen.