Umar bin al-Khattab (ra)Second Rightly Guided Caliph

Pre-Islamic Period
Umar In The Days Of Ignorance

No account is preserved about the early life of Umar during the days of ignorance. Umar belonged to an ordinary family of average means and there was nothing conspicuous about Umar or his family during the days of ignorance to be recorded or chronicled. We can merely pick up stray accounts here and there, and try to weave them into a readable narrative.

It appears that Umar grew up as a typical Arab-a tall young man with a fine physique and impressive personality. When he was a child his father put him to the task of grazing camels. Khattab was a hard taskmaster, and Umar often recalled how his father belaboured him mercilessly whenever there was a lapse on his part. Umar also recalled that when he was a child he used to graze the flocks of goats and sheep of his maternal aunts who doled out pittance to him in the shape of dates.

As a child, Umar used to graze the animals under his charge in the grazing ground Dajnan, about ten miles from Mecca. When Umar became the Khalifa, he happened to pass through Dajnan.

Turning to his companions he said:
"Gracious heavens! There was a time when I used to roam about this desert as a camel-herd, wearing a felt jacket, and whenever I sat down tired my father beat me. Now the times have changed. There is now none save God as my superior."

Among the Quraish of those days, reading and writing was not in vogue. In spite of that Umar received education in reading and writing. It is related that among the Quraish of Mecca only seventeen persons could read and write, and Umar was one of them. That has to be acknowledged as a great attainment.

Umar's father was an authority in tracing genealogies. Under the guidance of his father, Umar also acquired matchless skill in the matter of the study of pedigrees. Umar knew intimately as to who was who among the Quraish. He was also well versed in the knowledge of the history of Arabia.
Umar was blessed with a strong physique. He could undergo great rigours. He could travel on foot for miles. He was an athlete and a wrestler. He participated in the wrestling matches on the occasion of the annual fair at Ukaz, and he won in most of such matches. From the accounts that have come down to us it appears that Umar had attained perfection in the art of wrestling.
Some first hand descriptions of the physical appearance of Umar have come down to us. Ibn Saad and al-Hakim have recorded a description of Umar as Abu Miriam Zir, a native of Kufa described him. Zir said:
"I went forth with the people of Madina on a festival day, and I saw Umar walking barefoot. He was advanced in years, bald, of a tawny colour-a left handed man, tall, and towering above the people."

Ibn Umar described the physical appearance of Umar as follows:
"He was a man of fair complexion, a ruddy tint prevailing, tall, bald and grey."
Ubayd bin Umayr described Umar as follows:
" Umar used to overtop the people in height."
Salima bin al-Akwa'a said about him:
" Umar was ambidexter; he could use both his hands equally well."
Ibn Asakir records on tile authority of Abu Raja al-U'taridi that:
"Umar was a man tall, stout, very bald, very ruddy with scanty hair on the cheeks, his moustaches large, and the ends thereof reddish."

Umar was a skillful rider. He could successfully manage even the wildest of horses he would literally jump on the back of the horse, and sit with such ease and steadiness that he appeared to be a part and parcel of the horse he rode.

He was very intelligent and shrewd. He was a good public speaker. He was gifted with an uncommon degree ot tact and judgment, and on several occasions he successfully undertook ambassadorial missions on behalf of the Quraish.

By all accounts he was self-respecting, broad-minded and sincere. He was a man of strong convictions, a good friend, and a bad enemy. Like the rugged hills around him, he was harsh and stern, violent in temper, but very good of heart. He was always prepared to stand up against the oppressor and espouse the cause of the weak.

He followed the profession of a trader. He undertook journeys to Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and elsewhere for the purposes of trade. He was a successful trader, and he made good money as a result of these commercial journeys. When Umar migrated from Mecca, according to his own account, he was one of the richest Quraish merchants.

In his books, Akhbar-ul-Zaman, and Kitab-ul-Ausat the celebrated historian Masudi is understood to have related the incidents of the travels of Umar Masudi states that Umar paid visits to several Arabian and Persian princes. These books of Masudi have, however, been lost, and the details of these journeys are no longer available to us.

Before his conversion to Islam, Umar had three wives His first wife was Qariba bint Abi Umayya al-Makhzumi. She belonged to the same clan as the mother of Umar. She was one of the most beautiful women of Mecca of the day. His second wife was Zainab bint Maziun. She was the sister of Usman bint Maz'un an early companion for whom the Holy Prophet had great regard. She was the mother of Abdullah and Hafsa. His third wife was Malaika bint Jarul al-Khuzai. She was also called Umm Kulsum.

Umar And Islam

When the Holy Prophet (peace be on him) proclaimed his apostlehood, the reaction among the Quraish was violent. Umar, a young man of strong convictions, held the new faith to be a sacrilege of the idols of Katbah. Young, well-built, and fiery-tempered as he was, Umar was in tile forefront in opposition to Islam.

Some accounts have come down to us showing Umar's attitude to Islam in the days before his conversion. Umar has related that in the days of ignorance he was one day standing by an idol with a number of Quraish when an Arab sacrificed a calf. From the belly of the calf the following cry was heard:
"O blood red one,
The deed is done.
A man will cry
Besides God, none."

This corroborated what the Holy Prophet (peace be on him) said. Umar, however, dismissed the cry as sheer hallucination.

It is on record that along with some Arabs Umar went to a soothsayer, and asked him to look into the matter of Muhammad (peace be on him) who had proclaimed a new faith. The soothsayer looked to the beaven for a long time. Then he leapt and said:

"O men, God has honoured and chosen Muhammad,
Purified his heart and bowels.
His stay, among you,
O men will be short."

Umar cursed the soothsayer and returned home very cross and upset.

Lubna, a maid servant of Umar, accepted Islam. When Umar came to know of her conversion, he beat her violently and asked her to retract. She said that he might kill her, but she would not leave Islam. Thereafter it became the wont of Umar that he would beat her every day and would stop beating till he himself felt exhausted. In spite of that, the slave girl remained steadfast.
Umm Abdullah bint Khatamah, a lady related to Umar, also accepted Islam. Umar was very furious at her conversion. As she along with her husband Amar bin Rabiah and other early converts decided to migrate to Abyssinia, Umar felt moved. He visited her and said, "Umm Abdullah are you going?" She said, By God, you have made our living in Mecca very difficult. There is no option with us but to migrate elsewhere." Inadvertently Umar said, 'Umm Abdullah, may God protect you; go in peace." At that time Umm Abdullah felt that in spite of Umar's opposition to Islam, he would one day accept the new faith.

We have it on the authority of Umar himself that one day he came across the Holy Prophet in the Ka'bah. The Holy Prophet was reciting verses from the Holy Quran and as Umar listened to these verses he felt that it was the work of some poet. Then the Holy Prophet recited, "This is the revealed word of God; it's not the work of any poet. Yet you people do not believe". Thereupon Umar felt that if this was not the work of any poet it would be the work of a soothsayer. Thereupon the Holy Prophet recited the verses, "And this is not the word of any soothsayer; it is divine word communicated through Gabriel." Hearing these verses Umar stood transfixed for some time. In his heart of hearts he thought that perhaps truth lay with Muhammad (peace be on him).
Umar, however, dismissed these feelings and soon he was his former self very hostile to Islam. He went to the Quraish and participated in their counsels. They felt concerned that the venom of the new faith was spreading and the only remedy was that Muhammad (peace be on him) should be killed. All present at the meeting agreed that Muhammad (peace be on him) should be killed. Then the meeting invited volunteers who would kill the Prophet. Umar volunteered to kill the Prophet, and vindicate the faith of their forefathers.

Umar bin al-Khattab - Pre-Islamic Period
Ta Ha

One hot sultry day in the year A.D. 616, Umar buckled his sword and set out to kill the Holy Prophet (peace be on him). In the way, Umar met Nuaim bin Abduilah. He was a friend of Umar. He had been converted to Islam, but Umar did not know of that.

Noticing the dark frowns on his face, Nuaim asked Umar what he was up to. Umar said that he was going to slay Muhammad (peace be on him), and thus vindicate the gods of Ka'bah. Nuaim said! "Beware if you harm Muhammad (peace be on him) you will not be safe from the fury of Banu Hashim. Desist from such a course in your own interest". Umar ejaculated angrily: "It appears you have also become a Muslim." Nuaim said, "Umar, do not bother about me, but take care of your sister and brother-in-law who have been converted to Islam, and who may be reading the Quran at this very moment."

That made Umar pause. Instead of going to the Holy Prophet, he went to the house of his sister. His sister was Fatima and her husband was Saeed bin Zaid. Umar loved his sister. He had never thought that his brother-in-law or his sister would have the audacity to accept Islam. This was news to him. He could not believe it, but he thought it advisable to verify the facts.
As Umar stepped into the house of his sister, he found that both Fatima and her husband were reading the Quran from a leaf. Seeing Umar, his sister hid the leaf. Fatima rose to welcome her brother with a smile. But there was a dark frown on the face of Umar. "What were you reading", he thundered. "Nothing", replied Fatima.

Umar caught his brother-in-law by the throat and said, "So you have apostasised from the faith of your forefathers". Saeed retorted, "Rather we have abandoned falsehood for truth." Thereupon Umar was about to strike Saeed when Fatima intervened saying, "Hands off from my husband. If ypu have anything to say, say it to me, but do not touch my husband." Umar asked, "Is it a fact that you have become Muslims." She replied, "Yes. we have become Muslims. You may kill us if you like, but we will not waver in our faith".

Umar stayed his hands and desired that the leaf from which they had been reading should be shown to him. Fatima said that he could not touch the sacred leaf until he had washed his hands. Umar washed his hands, and the sacred leaf was handed over to him. It was the Sura Ta Ha. It read:

"Ta Ha
We have not sent the Qur'an to thee,
To be an occasion for thy distress,
But only as an admonition to those who fear God.
A revelation from Him,
Who created the earth and the heavens on high.
God most gracious,
Is firmly established on the throne of authority.
To Him belongs what is in the heavens and on earth,
And all between them and all beneath the soil.
If thou pronounce the word aloud, it's no matter
For verily He knoweth what is secret
And what is yet hidden.
Verily there is no god but He
To Him belongs the most beautiful names." (20: 1-8)

As Umar read the verses over and over again, he felt as if these verses were addressed to him in person, and the mysterious Ta Ha referred to Umar-the Man. Umar shuddered with the fear of God, and he felt as if his conscience was upbraiding him, "Umar, how long would you stay away from the path of truth. Has not the time come for you to follow the truth?"

And then Umar resolved that he would lose no time in following the truth. Turning to his sister and brother-in-law he said, "I came to you as an enemy of Islam; I go from you as a friend of Islam. I had buckled this sword to slay the Prophet of Islam; I now go to him to offer him allegiance."

Fatima and Saeed cried "Allah o-Akbar".
The episode has been dramatised by Allama Iqbal in his poem "Secrets of the Self". He has exhorted the Muslim women to be like the sister of Umar. He says:

"O Muslim women;
Out of the evening create a new dazzling morn.
To the true lovers of God,
Recite the Holy Qur'an
And enthusiastically translate
Its spirit into action
Don't vou know that such recitation
Changed altogether Umar's fate."

Umar bin al-Khattab - Conversion to Isalm

From the house of his sister, Umar proceeded to the house of Arqam at the foot of the Safa hill, where the Holy Prophet was lodged.
Umar knocked at the door of the house of Arqam.
"Who comes", enquired the guard.
"Umar bin al-Khattab". said Umar.

As the guard peeped through the door he saw that Umar had buckled his sword. The guard therefore hesitated to open the door.
Hamza said to the guard, "Open the door; if he comes in peace he will be welcome. If he is bent on mischief, we are enough to overpower him".
Umar was admitted. Hamza caught him by the hem of his cloak and said, "Umar, what brings you here?" The Muslims with drawn swords surrounded Umar, so that he could be overpowered if he showed any signs of violence.
Hearing the noise, the Holy Prophet came out of his cell. Addressing Hamza the Holy Prophet said, "Leave him Let him come forward".
As Umar stepped forward the Holy Prophet said Umar, how long will you stray from the path of Islam. Has the time not come for you to see the truth?"
Umar said, "Verily the time has come for me to see the truth. I have come to profess my faith in Islam".

The Holy Prophet stretched his hand. Umar held the hand with reverence and said, "I declare that there is no god but Allah, and that Muhammad is the Messenger of God".
In joy the Muslims shouted "Allah-o-Akbar". The Holy Prophet embraced Umar. The other Muslims embraced Umar one by one. Umar was the fortieth person to become a Muslim.
That day even Gabriel congratulated the Holy Prophet on the conversion of Umar. Gabriel said: "O Prophet of God, the dwellers in Heaven rejoice at the conversion of Umar and offer you their congratulations". Intoxicated with the joy of having become a Muslim, Umar proceeded to various parts of Mecca to announce that he had become a Muslim. He first went to the house of his maternal uncle Abu Jahl. He knocked at the door of the house of Abu Jahl.

"Who comes", asked Abu Jahl.
"It's Umar", said Umar. Abu Jahl opened the door and said,
"Welcome nephew". Umar said,
"Uncle do you know, I have become a Muslim." Abu Jahl said,
"Do not talk like that. I know that a man of your views can never become a Muslim". Umar said,
"No, uncle it is a fact that I have become a Muslim." Abu Jahl thereupon said,
"If what you say is true then be damned". Saying this Abu Jahl shut the door in the face of Umar.
Thereafter Umar went to see some other Quraish chiefs. He told them of his conversion to Islam. Like Abu Jahl they damned him and shut the doors of their houses against him.
Then Umar proceeded to the Ka'bah. There he saw Jamil bin Ma'mar al-Jamahi who enjoyed reputation for spreading reports in Mecca. Umar told him that he had accepted Islam. Jamil rose from his feet, and cried at the top of his voice:
"O ye Quraish, know that Umar bin al Khattab has been converted to Islam, and apostatised from the faith of his forefathers. "
On hearing this some Quraish youth gathered at the Ka'bah. Umar said,
"What Jamil said is not correct. I have not apostatised: I have seen the truth and accepted Islam". Thereupon the Quraish youth rushed at Umar with a view to beating him. A Shaikh dressed in Yemeni robes Al-Aas bin Wail passed that way, and enquired what was the matter. The Quraish said that Umar had apostatised, and they wanted to punish him for straying from the faith of his forefathers. The Shaikh said,
"A man should be free to choose whatever religion he iikes. Why beat him for that?" Abu Jahl also happened to come that way. Seeing the Quraish, he said,
"I offer protection to my nephew". Umar said,
"Uncle, I do not need your protection. For me the protection of God and the Holy Prophet is enough".
Then Umar went to the Holy Prophet and told him that he had publicly announced his conversion. Heretofore those who were converted to Islam kept their conversion to Islam secret for fear of the oppression of the Quraish. They also prayed in secret. Umar submitted to the Holy Prophet:
"O Messenger of God are we not in the truth?". The Holy Prophet said,
"Why not, we are verily in the truth".
"Then why should we not pray in the public? Has not the time come for us to declare our faith publicly?" said Umar. Umar tried to prevail on the Holy Prophet that the truth of Islam should become manifest. The Holy Prophet agreed with Umar.

The following day all the Muslims emerged from the house of Arqam and proceeded to the Holy Ka'bah, in two lines, one led by Umar, and the other by Hamza. At the Ka'bah the Muslims prayed openly. The Quraish watched the Muslims pray and said, "Verily by the conversion of Umar to Islam, the Muslims have taken the revenge from the Quraish".
After the Muslims had prayed in the Ka'bah, the Holy Prophet conferred on Umar the title of "Al-Faruq," for on that day through the efforts of Umar, the truth of Islam had become manifest.
Umar bin al-Khattab - Early Life in Madina

Migration From Mecca

In A.D. 622, the Holy Prophet decided that the Muslims should migrate from Mecca to Madina. The Muslims were required to proceed to Madina in batches.
Abu Salmah Abdullah bin Ashhal was the first Muslim to migrate from Mecca to Madina. He was followed by Bilal and Ammar Yasir. Thereafter Umar migrated from Mecca. While most of the other Muslims left Mecca in secret, Umar publicly declared that he was proceeding to Madina. He even challenged the Quraish that if any one of them had the courage to stop him from going to Madina, he was welcome to try his strength with hin. No Quraish of Mecca could have the courage to prevent the migration of Umar, and no one accepted the challenge to measure strength with him.

According to Ibn Asakir, Ali commented on the migration of Umar in the following terms:
I never knew any one migrate unless secretly except Umar, for he, when he resolved on migration, girt on his sword and slung over his bow and grasped in his hand its arrows, and went to the Ka'bah where in its quadrangle were the chiefs of the Quraish, and he went round about it seven times, then prayed two raka'ts at the station of Abraham, and went to each, one by one, in their circle and said, "May the face be foul of such as desire that his mother be bereaved of him and his child be left an orphan and his wife a widow, and if there be such a one, let him meet me behind this valley, but no one followed him.

In Sahih Bukhari it is stated that some twenty Muslims accompanied Umar on the occasion of his migration from Mecca. His companions included Zaid bin Khattab the brother of Umar; Said bin Zaid, the nephew of Umar and Khunais bin Hudhaifah the son-in-law of Umar (the husband of Hafsa). Other persons who accompanied Umar included: Amr b Suraqah; Abdullah b Suraqah; Waqid b Abdullah Tamimi; Khaula b Abi Khaula; Malik b Abi Khallla; Ayas b Bukair; Aqil b Bukair; Amir b Bukair and Khalid b Bukair.

Ayyash b Abu Rabiah al- Makhzumi and Hisham b Al-Aas b Wail al-Sahmi also decided to migrate with Umar. They made an appointment to meet at the thorn tree of Adat of Banu Ghifar about ten miles from Mecca. It was decided that if any one of them failed to turn up at the appointed place by sunrise on the day of departure fixed before hand it would be construed that he was not coming and had been held back by force.

Umar with his companions and Ayyash arrived at the appointed meeting place according to schedule. Hisham did not turn up and was held back by the Quraish.
The party arrived at Quba on the outskirts of Madina and there they stayed with Banu Amr bin Auf.

One day Abu Jahl and al-Harith rode to Quba and contacted Ayyash who was their cousin. They told Ayyash that his mother had vowed that she would not comb her hair, nor take shelter from the sun until she saw Ayyash.
Umar told Ayyash that this was nothing but an attempt to seduce him from his religion. Umar added that if the lice disturbed his mother she would of her own accord comb her hair, and if the heat of Mecca oppressed her, she would herself take shelter.
But Ayyash felt inclined to go. He said:
"I may go for a short while. I will clear my mother of her vow. I have also some money to recover from the people in Mecca which I would like to get."
Umar said:
"I am one of the richest of the Quraish and if you do not go with them, you may have one half of my money."
Ayyash, however, persisted in his wish to go to Mecca once .

Thereupon Umar said:
"If you must go, then take this camel of mine. She is well bred and easy to ride. Don't dismount, and if at any stage you suspect them of treachery, you may well escape on this camel. Then Ayyash left for Mecca on the camel of Umar. After they had proceeded some distance, Jahl said to Ayyash:
"I find my beast hard to ride. Will you not mount me behind you ?"

Ayyash agreed, and when they made their camels kneel to make the change over, Abu Jahl and al-Harith fell on Ayyash and bound him securely. They brought him to Mecca bound and said:
"O men of Mecca deal with your fools as we have dealt with this fool of ours".

When the Holy Prophet came to know how Hisham had been held back and how Ayyash had been abducted, he said:
"Who will bring me Ayyash and Hisham?"

Al-Walid b al-Mughira volunteered to undertake the mission. Al-Walid rode to Mecca and there he came to know that Hisham and Ayyash were kept in custody in a house which had no roof. One night al-Walid climbed the wall and contacted the prisoners who were in fetters. Al-Walid cut the fetters with the strokes of his sword. Then al-Walid led Ayyash and Hisham to Medina.

Umar bin al-Khattab - Early Life in Madina
Early Days In Madina

Having arrived in the neighbourhood of Madina, Umar and his party chose to stay at Quba, a suburb of Madina. Umar had about twenty persons with him including his brother Zaid, Khunais bin Hudaifah his son-in-law; Waqid bin Abdullah al Tamimi, and Ayyash. At Quba Umar and his party were the guests of Rifa'a bin Abdul Mundhir of Banu Amr. Umar and his party were accommodated in a few independent houses where they were lodged comfortably. There was already a mosque at Quba and here Umar prayed at the appointed hours.

At Quba all the Muslims waited eagerly for the Holy Prophet to come. Parties of men would go out for some distance on the route to Mecca and there wait for the Prophet to come. Several days passed away and the Holy Prophet did not come. Umar felt uneasy and he thought of going to Mecca to ascertain why the Holy Prophet was late in coming.

Then one noon the Holy Prophet accompanied by Abu Bakr arrived at Quba. As they arrived the people crowded round them. As the people had not seen the Holy Prophet before, it was difficult for them to know as to who out of the two was the Holy Prophet. Seeing this predicament of the people, Abu Bakr stood up and shielded the Holy Prophet with his mantle. Umar arrived at the spot and rushed to meet the Holy Prophet. The Holy Prophet embraced Umar and the chiefs of Quba who had come to we come him.

The Holy Prophet stayed at Quba for a few days and led the prayers in the mosque. Then the Holy Prophet proceeded to Madina. Umar followed in the train of the Holy Prophet. At Madina the Holy Prophet and the emigrants from Mecca were given a royal reception. The maidens of Madina mounted the roof tops of their houses and sang:

The full-moon has arisen on us
From the Thaniyat il-Wada'.
Thanksgiving is incumbent on us
So long as an invoker may invoke God.
O thou Divinely sent among us,
Thou hast brought a commandment that shall be obeyed!

The world of Madina was quite different from the world of Mecca. At Mecca the Muslims weere a persecuted people; at Madina they were the masters of their destiny. The life at Madina was a complete break with the past. The days of trials, tribulations and torture were over; they were now set on the path of fulfilment. They were now to build a new commonwealth and a new ideal society.

At Madina, the Holy Prophet had a mosque built. The Holy Prophet himself participated in the construction of the mosque Umar used to go every day from Quba to Madina to participate in the construction of the mosque. As the Muslims laboured they chanted:
"There is no life but the life of the next world,
O God have mercy on the Mohajreen and the Ansar."

To rehabilitate the emigrants from Mecca in the society of Madina the Holy Prophet established a fraternity among the Muslims of Mecca and those of Madina whereunder each migrant was paired with an Ansar of the corresponding status. The brotherhood thus established was unique in the annals of mankind. So strong and cordial were these bonds that these even surpassed the relationship of blood. In this roll of brotherhood, Umar was paired with Itban bin Malik of Banu Al-Khazraj.

The climate of Mecca was dry, but the climate of Madina was damp. The change adversely affected the health of the emigrants. On arrival at Madina most of the emigrants fell sick, Umar was blessed with robust constitution, and he was one of the few emigrants who did not suffer due to the change in climate.

In Mecca Umar was a trader. He had brought ample amount with him from Mecca. In Madina he started business afresh. He had his store at Quba and from there goods were supplied to the market at Madina. No details about the business of Umar are available. Umar was a shrewd businessman, and we have reasons to hold that his business flourished at Madina as it did at Mecca. After attending to business, Umar spent his spare time in the company of the Holy Prophet. The Holy Prophet consulted Abu Bakr and Umar on all important matters. When Abu Bakr and Umar held different views on a matter, the Holy Prophet took both the views into consideration before taking his decision. When Abu Bakr and Umar agreed on a point that view was invariably accepted by the Holy Prophet.

We have it on the authority of Abdur Rahman-bin-Ghanam that the Holy Prophet said to Abu Bakr and Umar that "if you two are agreed upon a counsel, I would not oppose you". (Suyuti 'History of the Caliphs').

Umar bin al-Khattab - Battle of Badr
Battle Of Badr

The first battle between thc Muslims and the Quraish of Mecca took place at Badr sixty miles from Madina on the trade route to Syria. A divine revelation had prepared the Muslims for Jihad. The revelation was:

"Fight in the way of God, with those who fight against you; but transgress not, for God loveth not the transgressors."

It was a cold day in January 624 A.D. when the Holy Prophet and his army reached the valley of Badr. Intelligence was brought that the Quraish army was encamped beyond a sandhill at the other end of the narrow plain.

The Muslims hastened to take possession of the only stream of water in the valley. The Muslims prayed to God for help. The Holy Prophet prayed, "O Lord, forget not Thy promise of assistance, for if this little band were to perish; there will be none to offer thee worship."

The Muslim army consisted of 313 men. They had only two horses and 70 camels. The Quraish army consisted of a thousand persons, and they had a cavalry of 200 horsemen and 100 camels. The Muslims were poorly equipped, but the Quraish were well armed.

The battle began early in the morning. The heralds of the Quraish stepped forward and poured insults and abuses on the Muslims. The Muslims replied with the shouts of "Allah-oAkbar."
Then three of the Quraish leaders Utba, Shaiba, and Walid stepped forward and challenged the Muslims to single combat. The challenge was accepted by Ali, Ubaida, and Hamza on behalf of the Muslims. In the duels that followed Ali killed Walid; Ubaida killed Shaiba; and Hamza killed Ttba. The Quraish army was stunned at the death of its three chosen leaders.

Then the general battle began. The ground on which the Muslims stood was hard and firm, being the sloping ground of a hill, while the Quraish were encamped on a sandy soil. Rain had fallen during the previous night. It had softened the ground where the Quraish stood and hardened the ground under the Muslims. The Quraish found the soil difficult to tread upon, and this was a great handicap for them. The Quraish were cut off from all water, as the only stream and the source of water was in the occupation of the Muslims. When the battle began the sun stared in the face of ihe Quraish warriors, which greatly confused them. The Muslims fought with the sun at their back, and this was a great advantage for them.

When the battle was at its height, the Holy Prophet picked up a handful of pebbles and threw them in the direction of the enemy saying, "Confusion seize them!"

And then a dust storm arose. It blew into the faces of the Quraish warriors. At this stage the Holy Prophet ordered a general charge. The Muslims rushed forward borne on the crest of the dust storm. Soon the hard-pressed Quraish fled in disorderly rout. The battle ended in the victory for the Muslims. Seventy men of the Quraish lay dead on the battle field. Only fourteen Muslims were martyred. Seventy persons from among the Quraish were captured alive. The rest of the Quraish escaped and fled to Mecca. The booty that the Muslims were able to capture comprised 11 camels, 14 horses, and considerable equipment and armour.

Throughout this battle Umar was the right hand of the Holy Prophet. Among the Quraish who took part in the battle all tribes of the Quraish were represented except the Banu Adi the tribe to which Umar belonged. No person from the Banu Adi fought against the Muslims at the battle of Badr, and this was attributed to the great regard in which Umar was held by his clan. On the other hand many persons belonging to Banu Adi who had been converted to Islam fought on the side of the Muslims under the leadership of Umar.

Among the Quraish who fought against the Muslims was Asi bin Hisham bin Mughirah a respectable Quraish noble. He was a brother of the mother of Umar and his maternal uncle. Umar maintained that all ties of relationship had ceased to exist between the Muslims and the polytheists. He singled out his maternal uncle and killed him in the battle.

The first person to be martyred in the battle was Mahja, a slave of Umar Umar thus came to claim the honour that the first Muslim to be martyred in the cause of Islam was a slave who belonged to him.

The Muslims returned to Madina along with the Quraish captives. Out of the prisoners many were eminent Quraish nobles. These included Abbas an uncle of the Holy Prophet; Aqil a brother of Ali; Abul Aas and Walid bin al-Walid. The sight of these chieftains coming as humble prisoners was very touching. On seeing them Saudah a wife of the Holy Prophet observed, "You come as prisoners; why did you not die on the battle-field?"

The Holy Prophet consulted his companions as to how these captives should be treated. Umar took the strong line and urged that unless these persons accepted Islam they should be killed. He suggested that each Muslim should kill his own kinsman among the prisoners; that Hamzah should kill Abbas and Ali should sever the head of Aqil.

Abu Bakr took the softer line. He suggested that they should be set free on ransom.
The Holy Prophet said that as God had given them victory, it was necessary for them to show mercy to the fallen enemy. He, therefore, agreed to set the captives free on ransom.

Umar bin al-Khattab - Battle of Badr
Captives of Badr

About the fate of the captives of Badr, Abu Bakr and Umar held contrary views. Abu Bakr took the lenient view, while Umar took the sterner view.

After taking into consideration both the views, the Holy Prophet said:
"Almighty God softens the hearts of some people-softer than milk. And He hardens the hearts of some people-harder than stone."

Turning to Abu Bakr who had counselled a lenient view, the Holy Prophet said:

"Abu Bakr you are like Abraham who said, 'He who follows me is one of us, and he who disobeys me, then O God, You are gracious enough to forgive'. And Abu Bakr you are also like Jesus who said, 'If you punish them they are Your servants, and if You forgive them, You are All Powerful, Mighty and Wise."

Turning to Umar, the Holy Prophet said:

Umar, you are like Noah who said, 'O God, do not leave on the earth a single unbeliever.' And Umar you are also like Moses who said, 'O God destroy their properties and harden their hearts so that they are not converted till they have suffered punishment."

The Holy Prophet accepted the advice of Abu Bakr and acted accordingly.
The following day, Umar visited the Holy Prophet, and saw that both the Holy Prophet and Abu Bakr were weeping.

Umar addressing the Holy Prophet said:

"What is it that makes you weep. Tell me, so that if there is any matter to be grieved over, I may also weep with you."

The Holy Prophet said:
"Umar, there is nothing for you to be grieved over. On the other hand you should rejoice that God has upheld the view that you had taken about the captives of Badr, and admonished those who had taken a contrary view."

Umar's curiosity was awakened and he wanted know what exactly was the revelation. The Holy Prophet recited the verses that had been revealed:

"It is not fitting for an Apostle
That he should have prisoners of war,
Until he has thoroughly subdued the land.
Ye look on the temporal goods of this world,
But God looks to the Hereafter,
And God is Exalted, Mighty, and Wise." (8:67)

Umar bin al-Khattab - Battle of Badr
Umayr Bin Wahb

Umayr bin Wahb was one of the leaders of the Quraish of Mecca who used to molest the Holy Prophet and his companions while at Mecca, and caused them considerable distress.
In the battle of Badr many of the relatives of Umayr were killed, and one of his sons Wahb was taken prisoner.

After the battle of Badr while one day Abu Sufiyan and Umayr sat in the Ka'bah at Mecca and exchanged views about the battle of Badr, Abu Sufiyan referring to the Quraish discomfiture said, "By God, there is no good in life now that they are dead."

Umayr said. "You are right. Were it not for a debt outstanding against me which I cannot discharge, and a family I cannot afford to leave unprovided for, I would ride to Madina and kill the Prophet."

Abu Sufiyan said, "If you have such noble thoughts I undertake to discharge your debt. I also undertake to take care of your family, and all that I have shall be theirs."
The pact was struck, and Umayr undertook to ride to Madina and kill the Prophet. Umayr took his sword, sharpened it, smeared it with poison and rode to Madina.

One day while in the Prophet's mosque at Madina, Umar was talking with some of his friends about the battle of Badr and mentioning how God had honoured them in giving them victory over the Quraish, he suddenly saw Umayr alight at the door of the mosque, girt with his sword.
Seeing him, Hadarat Umar said, "This dog the enemy of God is Umayr bin Wahb. By God he has come with some evil purpose."

Then Umar went to the Holy Prophet and said "O Prophet of God! this enemy of God, Umayr bin Wabb, has come girt with his sword." The Holy Prophet asked Umar to let Umayr come in.
Umar came to Umayr, and seizing his bandoleer he gripped him round the neck with it. He called the Muslims who were in the mosque, and asked them to sit around the Holy Prophet and watch the rascal Umayr carefully for he was not to be trusted.

When the Holy Prophet saw Umar grasping Umayr's bandoleer round his neck he told Umar to leave Umayr and let him advance.

Umayr came up and according to the pagan way said, "Good morning."
The Holy Prophet said, "God has honoured us with a better form of greeting O Umayr. It is 'Salaam', thc greeting of the inhabitants ot the paradise."

After a while, the Holy Prophet asked Umayr what had brought him to Madina.
Umayr said, "I have come about the release of my son."
"Then why have you a sword round your neck," asked the Holy Prophet.
Umayr said, "God damn these swords. Have they done us any good?"
"What has brought you?" asked the Holy Prophet again.
Umayr said that he had come to secure the release of his son.
The Holy Prophet said, "Did you not make a pact with Abu Sufiyan? Did he not undertake the responsibility to discharge your debt and look after your family? Did you not sharpen your sword and smear it with poison?"

"That's enough" said Umayr, "All this was secret known to no one. God alone must have told you of that. You are verily the Prophct of God".
Thereupon Umayr declared the article of faith and was converted to Islam. His son was released, and he too was converted to Islam.

Thereafter Umayr returned to Mecca, and he called the Quraish to Islam for that was the true faith.

The Call To Prayer

When the Holy Prophet was settled in Madina, some basic reforms were introduced. These included the institution of prayer, the levy of alms tax, the ordaining of fasting, the prescription of punishments; and the specification of the lawful and the unlawful.

In the early days the practice was that the faithful gathered in the mosque for prayer at the appointed time of their own accord without being summoned. The Holy Prophet, however, felt that with the spread of Islam, and the growth in the number of the Muslims, some method for the summoning of the faithful to prayer would have to be adopted.

At first the Holy Prophet thought of using a trumpet to summon the Muslims to prayer as the Jews did. On second thoughts he felt that it would not be advisable to imitate the Jews. Then an idea occurred to him that a clapper should be beaten to summon the faithful to the mosque.
One night a companion Abdullah bin Zaid had a dream which indicated the way for the summoning of the Muslims to prayers Abdullah came to the Holy Prophet and narrated his dream in the following terms:

"In the dream I saw a holy man wearing green garments. He held a clapper in his hand. I asked him to sell the clapper to me. He asked what for I needed the clapper, and I told him that I needed it for summoning the Muslims to prayer. He said that the clapper would not sere the purpose. I then asked him as to what method should be adopted, and he said 'Let some one with a loud voice stand at a suitable place in the mosque, and give the call 'God is great. I bear witness that there is no god but Aliah. Come to prayer."

The idea appealed to the Holy Prophet. When it was the time for prayer, the Holy Prophet summoned Bilal and asked him to give the call to prayer, in the terms of the formula indicated by Abdullah bin Zaid.

As the stentorian call resounded in the city of Madina, the faithful felt elated and electrified, and they rushed to the mosque in response to the summons. Umar heard the call in his house, and he hastened to the mosque dragging his cloak on the ground. He waited on the Holy Prophet, and enquired as to how the idea of the call to prayer had occurred to him. The Holy Prophet thereupon narrated the dream of Abdullah bin Zaid, and added that, as the vision appeared to be inspired, he had accepted it, and had the call given accordingly. Umar said that he too had a similar vision, but was happy that Abdullah bin Zaid had anticipated him. Umar said that there was however one difference between the formula proposed by Abdullah and the one that he had heard in his dream. The Holy Prophet anxiously enquired as to what was the difference. Umar said:

"According to the formula of Ahdullah bin Zaid we are only to witness that there is no god but Allah. In the call that I heard in my dream there were also the words 'I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of God."

Thereupon the Holy Prophet instructed Bilal that in the call to prayer, the expression "I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of God" should be included.
Turning to Abdullah bin Zaid, and Umar the Holy Prophet said, "Praise be to God. There are men among my followers to whom truth is revealed in dreams."

When Umar Slew The Men Who Appealed To Him

When the Holy Prophet came to Madina all the people except the Jews were converted to Islam. Most of them were sincere and earnest in their faith in Islam. Some of them in spite of their profession of Islam were hypocrites and indulge in activities hostile to Islam. There were some among them on whom Islam sat lightly and who did not fully realise the spirit of Islam or the status of the Holy Prophet.

It is recorded on the authority of Abul Aswad that two persons of Madina who professed Islam but did not realise its full significance had a dispute among themselves and took the matter to the Holy Prophet for decision. After hearing both the parties, the Holy Prophet gave his decision in favour of one person. The other person felt dissatisfied, and at his instance both of them went to Umar and the aggrieved person lodged an appeal with Umar against the decision of the Holy Prophet.
After hearing both the parties, Umar said to the man who had filed the appeal: "So you are dissatisfied with the decision of the Holy Prophet, and want me to reverse his decision."
"Yes, that is so," said the man
"And are you a Muslim," enquired Umar.
The man said, "Yes, I am."

Thereupon Umar said, "Wait for a while. I will soon give my decision that would satisfy you."
Umar went inside the house and brought his sword. With the sword Umar smote the appellant saying, "Woe to you, you regard yourself a Muslim and yet choose to appeal to me against the decision of the Holy Prophet. You are an infidel, and the penalty for your infidelity is death."
The other man went to the Holy Prophet and complained that Umar had killed his companion.
The Holy Prophet summoned Umar and put him to explanation. Umar said, "The man wanted me to hear an appeal against the decision of the Holy Prophet, and for this impudence he deserved the punishment of death."

The Holy Prophet deferred the decision on the case till God gave some light on the matter.
Soon God revealed that he who had no confidence in the Holy Prophet was no believer. As such Umar was justified in killing the man who had by his action expressed want of faith in the Holy Prophet.

The Holy Prophet accordingly absolved Umar of the charge of murdering a believer.

Battle Of Uhud

The battle of Uhud was an extension of the battle of Badr.
The Quraish of Mecca came with a force of 3,000 men to avenge the defeat of Badr. The Muslims could muster a force of 1000 persons only, and out of these three hundred persons under Abdullah bin Ubbay a hypocrite withdrew at the last moment thus leaving only 700 persons to face the hostile Quraish.

The Holy Prophet arranged his force in battle array and posted a small contingent of archers to guard a vulnerable passage in the rear. The archers were instructed that they were not to leave their positions at any cost unless otherwise directed by the Holy Prophet.

With the Quraish was a contingent of women. They beat drums and sang songs to excite their men to action. They sang:
"We are the daughters of the morning star;
We tread on carpets;
If you advance we embrace you;
If you turn back we leave you."

The Quraish charged with full force, but the Muslims held fast. Then in the counter attack the Muslims broke the enemy line, and the Quraish fell back. At this stage the contingent of the Muslim archers, contrary to instructions, left their position in order to plunder the camp of the retreating Quraish. Khalid who was still a non-Muslim, and was fighting on the side of the Quraish rushed with his contingent and occupied the position vacated by the Muslim archers. The Quraish rallied, and launched an attack on the Muslims both from the front as well as the rear. In the confusion that followed, many Muslims were martyred. Even the Holy Prophet was wounded seriously, and he fell in a pit where many of his followers lay dead. Thereupon a cry rose from the ranks of the enemy that they had killed the Prophet of Islam.

When the news of the Holy Prophet's death got wind, panic seized some of the Muslims, and thinking that all was over, they fled to Madina According to tradition when Umar heard the news that the Holy Prophet had died, he flung his arms declaring that it was no use fighting any longer.
It is related that Anas b Nadar passing by Umar asked him how it had fared with the Prophet. Umar replied that he had heard that the Prophet had been killed. Anas observed that the Prophet's death should not prevent him from fighting in the way of Allah, for Allah was alive. Saying this Anas rushed at the infidels, and was martyred after having received seventy wounds.

Later, the Holy Prophet was found lying in a pit. At this stage Ali, Abu Bakr, Umar, Talha, Zubair, and Harith gathered round the Prophet, and removed him to a place of safety.
Abu Sufiyan the leader of the Quraish climbed a hillock and shouted, "Is Muhammad there?" The Holy Prophet asked his companions to remain quiet.

Abu Sufiyan then called for Abu Bakr and Umar. No reply was made, and thereupon Abu Sufiyan shouted, "All of them have been killed.'
At this Umar could not restrain himself, and shouted in reply, "O enemy of Allah, all of us are alive."
Abu Sufiyan in a mood of exultation cried, "Hubbal glory to thee."
Umar retorted, "Only Allah is Most High and Great. "
Abu Sufiyan said, "We have Uzza with us, and you have no lord."
Umar retaliated, "Allah is our Lord, and you have no lord."

When the two armies withdrew from the battle-field, seventy Muslims lay dead on the battle-field. In the battle the Quraish had the upper hand. They felt satisfied that they had avenged their defeat at Badr. The Quraish were in no mood to press their advantage to march to Madina. They chose to return to Mecca.

The Man Whom Umar Envied

Wahab bin Qabus was a shepherd who lived in a village near Madina. One day he came to Madina to see the Holy Prophet. He was accompanied by his nephew, and his herd of goats.
In Madina, Wahab came to know that the Holy Prophet had left for Uhud where he was fighting against the Quraish. He left his nephew and his goats at Madina, and himself proceeded to Uhud.
When he reached Uhud, the battle was at its thickest. A group of the Quraish was at the time advancing to attack the Holy Prophet. It was a critical situation, and turning to his companions the Holy Prophet said:

"He who disperses these people will be my companion in the Paradise."
Hearing the call, Wahab rushed at the advancing Quraish. Some were killed and the rest were put to flight. The Holy Prophet watched Wahab overpower the Quraish group single handed. When Wahab after the flight of the Quraish came to the Holy Prophet, he was given the tidings of Paradise. Wahab was intoxicated with pleasure at these tidings.

As soon as he heard these tidings, Wahab took his sword, and rushed to the enemy line. He dashed against the enemy as a hill torrent would dash against the rock making its way. Killing right and left he penetrated deep into the enemy line. He was surrounded by the enemy on all sides. He received many wounds but he went on playing havoc in the ranks of the enemy. The blood flowed profusely from his wounds, and then he fell dead on the battle-field.

When the battle was over, and the Muslims collected the dead bodies of all the martyrs, the Holy Prophet stood by his dead body and said:

"O Wahab, you have pleased me. May Allah be pleased with you."
Although the Holy Prophet was himself wounded, he led the funeral prayer of Wahab, and put him in the grave with his own hands. Umar who was present said that in the battle of Uhud none surpassed Wahab in bravery.

Thereafter Umar used to say often:
"I never envied anybody more than Wahab. I wish I could appear before Allah with a record as good as his."


Hafsa was the daughter of Umar. Her mother was Zainab, a sister of Usman bin Mazur an eminent Companion. Abdullah was a real brother of Hafsa.

In Mecca, Hafsa was married to Khunays bin Hudhaifa of the Banu Sahm clan of the Quraish. Khunays was one of the early converts to Islam. He participated in two migrations, migration to Abyssinia and the migration to Madina, and was blessed by the Holy Prophet.
In Madina, Khunays participated in the battle of Badr. He also fought in the battle of Uhud. He was wounded in the battle of Uhud. These wounds proved fatal, and he died shortly after the battle of Uhud. Hafsa thus became a widow at a very young age.

Umar felt much distressed at the grief of his daughter. After the period of Iddat was over, Umar thought of remarrying her. Like her father, Hafsa was hot of temper. Umar felt that it would be advisable if she was married to an elderly man of a sober temperament.

Umar's choice fell on Abu Bakr. Umar went to Abu Bakr, and offered him the hand of Hafsa. Umar had hoped that Abu Bakr would enthusiastically welcome the proposal. Umar was, however, disappointed, for Abu Bakr remained quiet and evaded the issue. Umar felt distressed that his friend Abu Bakr had not grasped the hand of friendship that he had extended to him.

Umar next went to see Usman. Usman had been married to Ruqayya, a daughter of the Holy Prophet. Ruqayya had died. Umar offered him the hand of Hafsa. Usman asked for some time to consider the matter. When Umar saw Usman a few days later, Usman said that his grief over the death of Ruqayya was so overwhelming that he did not contemplate another marriage.

Umar felt very angry at the rejection of his proposal by Abu Bakr and Usman. Brimming with rage, Umar went to see the Holy Prophet. The Holy Prophet greeted him with a smile and asked tenderly what was worrying him? Umar poured out the grief of his heart, and complained against Abu Bakr and Usman who had turned down the hand of friendship that he had extended to them.

The Holy Prophet addressed Umar with great affection and said, "Umar, I know of your worries and I also know of your services to Islam. Rest assured, Hafsa will marry a man better than Usman, and Usman will marry a lady better than Hafsa."

This meant that the Holy Prophet himself wanted to wed Hafsa. Umar was overwhelmed with joy at this great honour beyond his aspirations. Umar reverently kissed the hand of the Holy Prophet in token of his gratitude. He hurried home, and told Hafsa of the happy news.

Then he went to Abu Bakr. From the face of Umar radiating happiness, Abu Bakr judged of the developments. Addressing Umar he offered apologies and said, "The Holy Prophet had spoken to me about Hafsa, and as such I could not accept your proposal. But for that it would have been a great honour and pleasure for me to agree to your proposal."

Umar then went to Usman. Usman offered apologies and said, "The Holy Prophet had talked to me over the matter. He had offered me the hand of his younger daughter Umm Kulsum, and he had expressed the desire to marry Hafsa himself. Under these circumstances I could not accept your proposal."

In A.D. 625 Hafsa was married to the Holy Prophet that elevated the status of Umar and brought him at par with Abu Bakr, as both of them enjoyed the unique privilege of being the fathers-in-law of the Holy Prophet.

The Jews

In Madina there was a coosiderable number of Jews. They were wealthy and commanded influence. The Holy Prophet followed the policy of "live and let live". He accordingly entered into a treaty with the Jews. According to the terms of the treaty the Jews were to enjoy religious freedom and there was to be no interference in the religious affairs of the Jews by the Muslims. The Muslims and the Jews were to be on friendly terms and were to help each other in the promotion of objects of mutual interest. It was stipulated that the Muslims and the Jews would help each other in case of an attack by an enemy. No party was to give protection to the Quraish, and in case the Quraish invaded Madina both the Muslims and the Jews were to join in the defence of the city.
The Jews knew that in their holy books there were references to the advent of a prophet in Arabia. They were under the impression that the prophet would rise from their midst. When the Holy Prophet appeared from the ranks of the Quraish in Mecca, the Jews recognised in him all the signs of prophethood foretold in their sacred books. When the Holy Prophet came to Madina the Jews thought that he would be subservient to them. When the Holy Prophet followed an independent policy, the Jews embarked on a campaign of ridiculing Islam, and resorted to activities hostile to the Muslims.

Umar knew Hebrew, and he could talk with the Jews in their own language. Umar was a trader, and he had business contacts with the Jews. Out of the Muslims, Umar was popular with the Jews. One day the Jews gave him a copy of the Torah. Umar brought the copy to the Holy Prophet and said, "Messenger of God, this is a copy of the torah." Other companions including Abu Bakr were sitting with the Holy Prophet. The Holy Prophet paid no attention to what Umar had said. When Umar received no reply he began to read some passages from the Torah to the obvious displeasure of the Holy Prophet. Turning to Umar, Abu Bakr said, "Confound you, do you not see how God's Messenger is looking?" Umar looked at the Holy Prophet and said "I seek refuge in God from the anger of God and His Messenger. We are satisfied with God as Lord, with Islam as religion, and with Muhammad as prophet". Then the Holy Prophet said, "By Him in Whose hands Muhammad's life is, were Moses to appear to you, and you were to follow him and abandon me, you would err from the right path. Were he alive and come in touch with my prophetic mission, he would follow me." And then referring to the Jews the Holy Prophet said, "The Jews betrayed their own prophet; how can they be your friend?"

Umar asked some of his Jew friends whether there were any references to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be on him) in their scriptures. They answered the question in the affirmative. "Then why don't you accept him" asked Umar, and they said,"God sends him messages through Gabriel and Gabriel is our enemy." Umar told of this talk to the Holy Prophet. A few days later, God revealed to the Holy Prophet:

"O Apostle tell them,
Whosoever is the enemy of Gabriel,
Let him be so at his peril.
Verily God is the enemy of infidels." 2: 97-98

After this revelation, Umar broke up all contacts with the Jews.
When one of the Jewish tribes in Madina, Bani Qainuqa violated the terms of the treaty with the Muslhns, the Holy Prophet consulted his companions as to the action to be taken against the Jews. Some of the companions were in favour of conciliation, but Umar counselled that they should be expelled from Madina. They were accordingly expelled from Madina.

The Jews of the Banu Nadir clan affected to be submissive, and they were allowed to remain in Madina. Some time in A.D., 626 the Holy Prophet along with Abu Bakr and Umar went to the Banu Nadir Jews to claim blood money for a man murdered by a Jew. The Jews affected great humility, spoke words of flattery, and assured the Holy Prophet that they would comply with any order that he issued. As such they assured that the blood money demanded would be paid. Secretly the Jews deputed a man to climb on the roof of the house where they were sitting and from there hurl a stone on the head of the Holy prophet, as if it was an accident. It was revealed to the Holy Prophet that the Jews meant mischief.

The Holy Prophet accordingly rose from the place where he was sitting and returned home. His companions followed suit. The next day the Holy Prophet deputed Umar to tell the Jews that they should evacuate Madina. They hesitated. There followed a skirmish in which the Jews were overpowered. They were accordingly deported from Madina. Some of them went to Khyber and some went to Syria.

Battle Of The Trench

In A.D. 627 the Muslims had to face the combined opposition of the Quraish, the Jews, and some other tribes. The Quraish and their allies mustered a force ten thousand strong and marched to Madina.

The Holy Prophet was advised that a face to face fight against such a large force was not possible for the Muslims, and the safest course for them was to remain on the defensive. It was accordingly decided that a deep and wide trench should be dug round Madina for protective purposes.
The entire Muslim community in Madina was turned to dig the trench. When the Muslims dug the trench the following war song was on their lips:

"By God, had not Allah guided us, we would not have seen the right path, nor given Sadaqah, nor offered the prayers;

May Allah bestow on us confidence and calmness of mind, and make our steps firm to face the enemy.

The enemy has risen against us, and he intends insurrection, but we refuse to submit.
O God there is no welfare except that of the next world;
Shower Thy Grace on the Ansars and the Muhajirs".

The site for the trench was demarcated by the Holy Prophet. He allotted ten yards of trench to be dug by each party of ten persons. One of such parties was led by Umar. Later a mosque known as Umar Masjid was constructed near the site where Umar and his party had dug the trench.

When the Quraish and their allies arrived they found that a wide and deep trench which could not be crossed lay between them and the Muslims. This was a mode of warfare with which the Quraish were not familiar. They camped beyond the trench and decided to besiege the Muslims.

The Holy Prophet divided the trench into a number of sectors and a contingent was posted to guard each sector. One of such contingents was under the command of Umar. One day the Quraish assaulted the sector commanded by Umar, and tried to carry the entrenchment by storm. Umar reinforced by Zubair beat back the enemy with a heavy hand and many Quraish were killed.
On another occasion Umar's contest with the Quraish was so prolonged that the time for the afternoon prayers passed away. After making the enemy beat a retreat, Umar came to the Holy Prophet, and told him how the enemy had kept him so hotly engaged that he had missed his afternoon prayers. The Holy Prophet said that he himself had not offered his afternoon prayers by that time. Then the Holy Prophet led the prayers and Umar and other companions offered their prayers.

The siege prolonged for a month, and the Muslims were subjected to great hardships. Food ran short, and subsistence I became a problem. The Muslims nevertheless persevered and hoped that God would come to their relief.

And God did come to the relief of the Muslims. There were dissensions in the camp of the enemy. Provisions with lifted ran short. Above all a strong storm lashed the country side. The Muslims were safe in their houses in Madina, but the Quraish who had to bear the brunt of the storm in the open were unnerved. Abu Sufiyan ordered that the sedge should be lifted, and the Quraish should withdraw to Mecca. Their allies also left.

The Muslims had the upper hand on account of their unusual perseverance against heavy odds and the inspired leadership of the Holy Prophet.

Treaty Of Hudaibiya

Early in A.D. 628 the Holy Prophet decided to proceed to Mecca to perform the pilgrimage. He was accompained by companions about fourteen hundred in number. Umar also accompanied the Holy Prophet. In order to convince the Quraish that the Muslims had no war-like intentions against them, the Holy Prophet decided that they would carry no arms.

When the Muslims halted at Zul Hulaifah six miles from Madina Umar waited on the Holy Prophet and submitted that no reliance could be placed on the Quraish and accordingly it was unsafe to proceed to Mecca without arms. Umar urged that for self-defense the Muslims should be armed. The Holy Prophet accepted the advice of Umar, and some persons were sent to Madina to bring in arms.

When the Quraish of Mecca came to know that the Muslims were coming to Mecca they sent Khalid bin Walid and Ikramah bin Abu Jahl with two hundred horsemen to intercept the Muslims, and prevent their advance to Mecca. Finding the way to Mecca barred the Holy Prophet consulted his companions as to what course of action they should adopt. The consensus of opinion was that they should go ahead. If they were stopped they would fight; otherwise not.

The Holy Prophet enquired of his companions whether any one out of them could lead the Muslims to Mecca by a path other than the main route barred by the enemy. One of the companions volunteered to show an alternative way. He led the Muslims on a way full of rough rocks through the ravines of Mudniya. After a weary march the Muslims reached Hudaibiya on the lower side of Mecca and within the sacred territory.

The Muslims encamped at Hudaibiya, and here Urwa bin Masud came to see the Holy Prophet on behalf of the Quraish. He talked in diplomatic language, and tried to impress that the Quraish were strong and would not allow the Muslims to visit Mecca. He also insinuated that at the time of crisis the followers of the Holy Prophet were likely to leave him. Thereupon the companions of the Holy Prophet said, "May God curse you; how dare you think that we will abandon the Holy Propbet. Rest assured we will fight to the last for him".

When Urwa returned to the Quraish, he gave his impressions about the Holy Prophet and the Muslims in the following terms:

"O people of the Quraish! I have seen kings but by God I have never seen a klng as I have seen Muhammad amongst his companions. If he makes his ablutions they would not let the water fall on the ground; if a hair of his body falls they pick it up. They will not surrender him for anything in any case, do what you may."

As among the Quraish, the Adis specialised in diplomatic skill the Holy Prophet wanted Umar to go to the Quraish to negotiate. Umar submitted that he was a persona non grata with the Quraish, and his mission was not likely to be successful. He advised that Usman who was soft spoken and was popular with the Quraish should be sent on the mission. The advice was accepted and Usman was accordingly sent to the Quraish to negotiate regarding the Muslim's entry into Mecca and performing the pi]grimage.

When three days passed away, and Usman did not return from Mecca a rumour got afloat that he had been killed by thc Quraish. Umar donned his arms and accoutrements and waited on the Holy Prophet. He submitted that if the Quraish had killed Usman, the Muslims should fight the Meccans to the bitter end. The Holy Prophet asked all his Companions about 1,400 in number to assemble and take a vow binding themselves to Jibad against the infidels. The Holy Prophet sat under a tree, and all the Companions took the oath turn by turn. God approved of this measure, and the following verse was revealed to the Holy Prophet:

"Verily Allah was pleased with the faithful that they swore allegiance to thee under the tree."
In view of the pleasure of God, this oath later came to be called 'the Bait-ul-Rizwan'-the oath that pleased God.

A little later Usman returned from Mecca along with some emissaries from the Quraish. After some further negotiations the terms of a pact between the Muslims and the Quraish were hammered out. These terms were:

(1) There was to be a truce between the Muslims and the Quraish for a period of ten years.
(2) If any tribe wanted to enter into treaty with the Muslims it could do so, and whoever wished to enter a covenant with the Quraish was likewise free to do so.
(3) If any one from the Quraish came to the Muslims without the permission of his guardian, he was to be returned to the Quraish. On the other hand if a Muslim sought refuge with the Quraish, he was not to be delivered to the Muslims.
(4) The Muslims were to withdraw that year without performing the pilgrimage. They were free to perform the Hajj the following year when they could stay in Mecea for three days.
Prima facie these terms favoured the Quraish and Umar felt very bitter ahout them. He waited on the Holy Prophet and submitted:
"O Prophet of God! Are you not the Messenger of God?"
"Certainly I am", said the Holy Prophet.
"Are not our enemies idolatrous polytheists?" asked Umar.
"Undoubtedly they are", rejoined the Holy Prophet.
"Why should then we disgrace our religion?" added Umar.
The Holy Prophet said, "I am the Messenger of God, and I do not act in contravention of His commandments."

This silenced Umar, but he felt these terms to be humiliating to the Muslims. He saw Abu Bakr, and wanted him to persuade the Holy Prophet to revise the terms. Abu Bakr said:
"The Holy Prophet knows things better than we do. What the Holy Prophet has done is in the interests of the Muslims. Have faith in God. Do not be critical and hold fast to the stirrup of the Holy Prophet."

Thereafter the pact which came to be known as the Hudaibiya pact was duly signed between the Muslims and the Meccans. On behalf of the Muslims, the pact was among others signed by Umar.
After the pact had been signed Suhail's son Abu Jandal who had accepted Islam and was a captive with the Meccans escaped from the captivity and came to seek refuge in the Muslim camp. Suhail followed his son and demanded that in accordance with the Hudaibiya pact his son should be returned to him. Umar advocated that as Abu Jandal did not want to return, it was unfair to force him to return. The Holy Prophet said that they had entered into a pact with the Meccans and as Muslims they could not go back upon their word. He allowed Suhail to take away his son. Turning to Abu Jandal the Holy Prophet said, "Abu Jandal be patient. God in His bounty will Himself devise some way to facilitate your return to the Muslims". Umar went some distance with Abu Jandal and Suhail. He kept goading Abu Jandal with his sword, and the idea was that he should take the sword and kill his father. Abu Jandal was too depressed and confused to follow the clue. When Suhail and his son rode off to Mecca, Umar returned to the Muslim camp crest fallen.
The Muslims struck camp, and started on the return journey to Madina. Umar felt unhappy. He was bitter that in this deal the Quraish had had the upper hand. In the way, Surah Al-Fath was revealed to the Holy Prophet.

"Verily, We have opened wide for thee the gates of victory." The Holy Prophet called for Umar and told him that God had that day revealed to him that the Hudaibiya pact would lead to the victory of the Muslims. That made Umar rejoice.

Abu Bakr assessed the treaty of Hudaiblya in the following terms:
"No victory of Islam has more importance than the treaty of Hudaibiya. Men are always for hurrying things on, but God lets them ripen. Previously there had subsisted a wall of partition between the Muslims and the rest of the men; they never spoke to each other, and wherever they met they began to fight. Subsequently hostility died down, and security and mutual confidence took its place. Every man of even moderate intelligence who heard of Islam joined it, and the twenty-two months in which the truce subsisted the number of conversions was greater than throughout the whole of the previous period, and the faith of Islam diffused itself in all directions among the people."

Post Hudaibia-Pact Developments

In the wake of the Hudaibiya pact there took place developments which affected Umar personally.
At the time of Hudaibiya pact it was undertaken that if any person from the Quraish accepted Islam such a person was to be returned to the Quraish. Some men from among the Quraish accepted Islam and sought shelter with the Muslims. In accordance with the terms of the pact these persons were returned to the Quraish.

Later a crisis developed when some Quraish women accepted Islam against the wishes of their parents and husbands and sought refuge with the Muslims. The Quraish wanted such women to be returned to them. The Holy Prophet refused to return such women to the Quraish as in the meantime God had revealed:

"Believers, when believing women came to you as refugees, examine them. Allah knows the state of their faith. If you find them to be true believers do not return them to the unbelievers. They are not lawful to the unbelievers, nor are the unbelievers lawful to them You shall, however, give to their former husbands what they have spent on them. And you will be doing nothing unlawful after you have given them dowries." 60: 10

Another verse on the same subject provided:
"Do not marry idolatresses until they embrace the faith.
And do not marry your women to idolators."
Umar had three wives, namely:
(1) Zainab bint Mazaun Jamiah;
(2) Malaika bint Jarul Khuzai; and
(3) Qariba bint Abi Umayya Makhzumi.

Out of these three, only Zainab bint Mazaun had accepted Islam and migrated to Madina. The other two ladies did not accept Islam and did not choose to migrate. After the Hudaibiya pact, Umar divorced Malaika as well as Qariba. After being divorced by Umar, Malaika married Abu Jahm bin Hazifa while Qariba married Abdur Rahman son of Abu Bakr who was still an infidel.
After the Hudabiya pact the first Muslim woman who fled from the Quraish and sought refuge with the Muslims was Sabiha bint al-Haris. Her husband did not accept Islam. When the Quraish came to demand the restoration of Sabiha, the Holy Prophet refused to return her to the Quraish saying that the condition in the pact applied to men only and not to women. The Holy Prophet had Sabiha married to Umar.

In Madina, Umar married an Ansar lady Asiah bint Sabat Ansari. On marriage Umar changed her name to Jamila. Umar resided with her at Quba. It is reported that for some years she was Umar's favorite wife. A few years later, Umar divorced her and shifted to Madina. The reason why Umar divorced her is not known.

Ayesha and Umar

The raid on al-Mustaliq led to another unfortunate episode which was a cause of great concern to the Holy Prophet and his companions for some time. Each time the Holy Prophet went on a campaign, one of his wives accompanied him, and the decision was always taken by the drawing of lots. On the occasion of the raid of Mustaliq, Ayesha accompanied the Holy Prophet. On return from the campaign she traveled on the back of a camel in a closed litter. On account of the regrettable behaviour of Abdullah bin Ubayy, there was considerable tension in the atmosphere. As the caravan travelled at an unusual time, there was considerable upsetting of the programme. The party halted for the night at some distance from Madina. At early dawn the call to move was given. Ayesha went to the desert to answer the call of nature, and on return occupied her litter. There she noticed that the necklace of Yemenite agates which she wore was no longer around her neck. Hurriedly she left the litter, and went to the desert where she found the necklace. When she returned to the camp the spot was deserted, and the caravan had left. The men in charge of her camel, seeing the litter closed, and thinking it occupied, had placed it on the camel and departed with it. Ayesha called aloud, but no one responded to her call. She decided to sit down, hoping that some body would come to fetch her. Soon she fell asleep, wrapped in her cloak.

"We belong to God and to Him we return." These words fell on the ears of Ayesha, and she awoke with a start. A young man stood before her holding a camel by its reins. Safwan bin Al-Muthal following the army in the rear had notice a young woman asleep in the desert, and upon approaching her, recognised her as the wife of the Holy Prophet (peace be on him). Ayesha quickly covered herself with her veil. Safwan adjusted the camel's saddle-girth and made the beast kneel. Ayesha thereupon mounted the camel. Holding the camel by the bridle, Safwan resumed the road. After a tiring journey they reached Madina at noon, a few hours after the arrival of the Holy Prophet. That provided an opportunity to Abdullah bin Ubbay and some other hypocrites to whip up a campaign of slander against Ayesha. The Holy Prophet consulted his friends about divorcing Ayesha. Ali advised that Ayesha should be divorced. When Umar was consulted he said, "O Prophet of God, I know for certain that the hypocrites are speaking malicious lie." The Holy Prophet asked Umar as to the grounds with him for holding that the hypocrites were speaking lies, Umar said:

"By reason of God not allowing a fly to settle upon thy blessed skirts, because it alights also on impure things and soils its feet. How then would He not preserve thee and thy name from a worse defilement?"

Umar further said that he was sure that God Himself would cause the innocence of the young lady to become manifest." He further said:

"If God does not allow thy shadow to fall upon the ground, lest it might be polluted, or a person step thereon, will He not restrain thy honoured spouse from committing impropriety?"
Later, as anticipated by Umar, the Holy Prophet had a revelation in which God Himseif bore witness to the purity and innocence of Ayesha. When the ordeal was over, the Holy Prophet thanked umar for his support during the crisis. Ayesha paid for this kindness many years later when she allowed Umar to be buried in her chamber by the side of the Holy Prophet and Abu Bakr.

Purdah For Women

In Madina the Muslim women did not observe any purdah. They freely moved among men. The majority of men in Madina were men of great faith, and they were very careful in their conduct to women. There were some hypocrites among Muslims from whom any mischief could be expected. There were also some Jews from whom no good could be expected. Umar felt that if God forbidding any hypocrite played any mischief with regard to the women of Muslims that would be very damaging.

Umar expressed these views to the Holy Prophet, and suggested that women should be required to stay at home. Umar said that the wives of the Holy Prophet should particularly stay at home, for their prestige and honour were a matter of great concern for the Muslim community.
On hearing this advice of Umar, Zainab a wife of thc Holy Prophet said:
"Umar you have started in interfering in the domestic affairs of the Prophet as well. The revelation comes to our house. and you come up with suggestions of your own."
The Holy Prophet, however, appreciated what Umar had said. He said that he was awaiting revelation, and action would be taken in accordance with the injunctions of God.
And then came a detailed revelation on the subject. The revelation was:
"Prophet say to your wives: if you desire the present life and its beautiful things, come and I will give you your dowries and send you away in a handsome manner. And if you desire Allah and His Prophet and the next world, remember that Allah has in store a great reward for those of you who are righteous." 33:28

Another verse provided:

"O wives of the Prophet! Whoever of you commits flagrant indecency will have your punishment twice over. Indeed it is easy for Allah to double your punishment. As for those who are obedient to Allah and His Apostle and act righteously We shall give them their reward twice over. We have rare gifts in store for them." 33:30

And yet another verse said:
"O wives of the Prophet, you are like no other women. If you fear Allah do not be soft spoken, for it will tempt the man who has a disease in his heart. Speak in a dignified tone, stay in your homes, and do not display your beauty as in the days of ignorance. Observe prayer, give alms, and obey Allah and His Apostle. Members of the house of the Prophet! Allah only intends to rid you of your uncleanliness and to purify you completely. Women keep in mind the revelations of Allah and the words of wisdom which are recited in your houses. Benign is Allah; All-Aware." 33:32
These verses corroborated what Umar had said. When the Holy Prophet informed Umar of these verses he felt satisfied that God had ordered in the way he had desired. Turning to Umar the Holy Prophet said, "Umar, rejoice for once again Allah has spoken through your tongue."

The Conquest Of Mecca

According to the terms of the treaty of Hudaibiya the Arab tribes had the option to be allied with the Quraish or the Muslims. As a consequence the Banu Bakr joined the Quraish, and the Khuza'ah joined the Muslims.

In disregard of the treaty, Banu Bakr attacked the Khuza'ah and even when the Khuza'ah sought the sanctuary of the Ka'aba, many persons of the Khuza'ah were chased and put to death.
The Khuza'ah wanted the Muslims to come to their aid in accordance with the terms of the treaty. The Holy Prophet gave an ultimatum to the Quraish making three alternative demands, i.e.

(1) to pay the blood money for the victims;
(2) to terminate their alliance with Banu Bakr; or
(3) to consider the Hudaibiya pact to be abrogated.

In a fit of arrogance the Quraish replied that they would neither pay blood money, nor terminate their alliance with Banu Bakr, and that they were prepared to consider the Hadaibiya pact as having been abrogated.

The Muslims in general and Umar in particular were happy that the Hudaibiya pact of which they were critical had been abrogated by the Quraish themselves.

The Quraish soon realised that they had imprudently abrogated the treaty. Abu Sufiyan the leader of the Quraish visited Madina to arrive at some amicable settlement. He wanted his daughter who was a wife of the Holy Prophet to plead for him with the Prophet but she refused. Abu Sufiyan waited on Abu Bakr and Ali but they did not listen to him. He sought the help of Umar, and lJmar made him understand that there could no longer be any reconciliation with the Quraish unless they accepted Islam. The peace efforts having proved futile, Abu Sufiyan returned to Mecca.
After Abu Sufiyan had left Madina, the Holy Prophet ordered preparations to be made for a foray. As Umar came to see his daughter Hafsa, he saw that she was packing some goods. He enquired whether Holy Prophet had ordered her to get things packed up, and she said that he had. Later the Holy Prophet took Umar into confidence and told him that he was leading an expedition to Mecca, and that he was also to accompany him.

The Holy Propllet mustered a force over ten thousand strong and marched to Mecca. Having reached the neighbourhood of Mecca the Muslim army encan~ped at Marr al-Zahran
The Holy Prophet sent liadrat Abbas to Mecca on a diplomatic mission. Haclrat Abbas met Abu Sufiyan and advised him that the best course for him and the Quraish was to place themselves at the mercy of the Holy Prophet. Abu Sufiyan agreed to wait on ~he Holy Prophet to get terms.
Umar saw Abbas and Abu Sufiyan proceeding to the camp of the Holy l'rophet. Iladrat Umar strode forward l~urriedly, and addressing the Holy Prophet said. "Permit me to behead Abu Sufiyan the enemy of Islam." The Holy Prophet said, "Umar, wait for a while and see."
At the Muslim camp, Abu Sufiyan was converted to Islam. That was the end of the Quraish opposition.

The following day the Muslim army marched triumphantly into Mecca. One of the contingents was lead by Umar.

The triumphant entry of the Muslims in Mecca marked the vindication of the truth of Islam. The city which ten years ago had treated the Muslims cruelly, and had driven them to seek refuge with strangers, now lay at the feet of the Muslims.

In the hour of triumph the Holy Prophet forgot every evil suffered, and forgave every injury that had been inflicted on him. He granted general amnesty to the people of Mecca.
The Holy Prophet along with his companions visited the Ka'aba. The idols were broken, and one by one the stone gods were destroyed. Thereupon the Holy Prophet recited the verse from the Holy Quran:

"Say the Truth is come and falsehood gone; Verily faslehood is ever vanishing."
The people assembled at the Ka'aba, and the Holy Prophet delivered the following address:
"There is no god but Allah. He has no associate. He has made good His promise that He held to his bondman and helped him and defeated all the confederates. Bear in mind that every claim of privilege, whether that of blood or property is abolished except that of the custody of the Ka'aba and of supplying water to the pilgrims. Bear in mind that for any one who is slain the blood money is a hundred camels. People of Quraish, surely God has abolished from you all pride of the time of ignorance and all pride in your ancestry, because all men are descended from Adam, and Adam was made of clay." Then the Holy Prophet turning to the people said:
"O ye Quraish, what do you think of the treatment that I should accord you.?"
And they said, "Mercy, O Prophet of Allah. We expect nothing but good from you."

Thereupon the Holy Prophet declared:
"I speak to you in the same words as Joseph spoke to his brothers. This day there is no reproof against you; Go your way, for you are free."

The announcement was received with greatest joy and applause. Then accompanied by Umar the Holy Prophet ascended the brow of the Safa to initiate the people to the vow of allegiance to Islam. The people came in large numbers to be converted to Islam. After the oath-taking ceremony of men was over, the Holy Prophet directed Umar to take the oath of allegiance from women on his behalf. All the Quraish ladies in Mecca took the oath of allegiance to Allah, the Holy Prophet and Islam at the hands Umar.

Rumour Of Divorce By The Holy Prophet

In Madina, Umar lived in an elevated part of the city. His neighbour was Banu Umayya bin Zaid Ansari. The practice was that one day Umar attended the Holy Prophet, and informed his Ansari friend about all that had happened in the Prophet's Mosque. The other day Banu Umayya attended the Prophet's Mosque and on return informed Umar of all that had happened that day.
Umar felt that while in Mecca the Quraishites dominated over their women, in Madina things had changed, and the women asserted themselves. One day Umar was cross with his wife on some matter, but instead of being quiet she retorted, "How is it that you feel annoyed at my remonstrance. Go and see that the wives of the Holy Prophet remonstrate with the Holy Prophet. Tonight one of his wives quarrelled with him all the night."

Hearing this, Umar went to his daughter Hafsa and enquired of her whether she had quarrelled with the Holy Prophet. She said that she had quarrelled with the Holy Prophet as she had a grievance. Thereupon Umar said, "Hafsa you are incurring loss. Don't you know by annoying the Holy Prophet you invite the wrath of God." After reprimanding her in severe terms, Umar returned home.

At night, the Ansari neighbour of Umar knocked at his door, and as Umar went to see what was the matter, his friend told him that something very grave had happened. Umar thought that perhaps Banu Ghassan whose attack was expected had invaded Madina. Umar enquired whether Banu Ghassan had launched the attack. Banu Umaya said, "No. Something more serious than that has happened". When Umar pressed him to tell what had happened he said that the Holy Prophet had divorced his wives.

Umar was very much upset at the news. He spent the whole night in prayer. Early in the morning next day, Umar went to Hafsa. He found her weeping. He enquired of her whether the Holy Prophet had divorced her. She said that she did not know. Umar rebuked her saying. "Did I not warn you before hand that by annoying the Holy Prophet you would be inviting trouble?" Thereupon Hafsa burst into violent sobs. Umar left her weeping and went to the Prophet's Mosque. There the people were sitting in groups here and there and were lamenting that the Holy Prophet had divorced his wives.

The Holy Prophet was in the cell attached to the Mosque. Umar went to thc cell, and asked the slave at the door to seek the Holy Prophei's permission to his admittance. The slave returned to say that he had sought the requisite permission from the Holy Prophet but he had kept quiet.
Umar returned to the main hall of the Mosque, and sat in a corner in a dejected mood. After some time he rose and went again to the ceil of the Holy Prophet. Once again he requested the slave to get permission for his admittance. The slave returned to say that the Holy Prophet had made no reply.

Urnar returned once again to the main hall of the Mosque. He was highly upset and he prayed to God for mercy. Then once again he went to the cell of the Holy Prophet. This time he was allowed permission. Entering the cell, Umar said:

"O Messenger of God, I have not come to plead for Hafsa.
If that is your pleasure I would wring her neck with my own hands."
That softened the Holy Prophet and he smiled at the words of Umar.
Umar further said, "I find that in Mecca our ladies were docile; the climate of Madina has made them assertive. O Prophet of God if because of the impudence of your wives, you have divorced them, God, His angels, and all your followers are with you."

The Holy Prophet smiled and said, "Be assured, I have not divorced my wives. I have only decided to remain separate from them for a period of one month."

"Then may I tell so to Hafsa", said Umar.
The Holy Prophet said. "You may, if you like".
Umar cast a glance across the room. The Holy Prophet lay on a bare mat. There was no furniture in the room. There was hardly anything for the Holy Prophet to eat, but a barley bread. Seeing this extreme state of austerity, tears began to trickle from the eyes of Umar.
The Holy Prophet said, "Ibn-i-Khattab, what makes you weep ?"

Umar said, "You are the Prophet of God and you are living in such straitened circumstances. The people of Persia and Byzantine live in luxury. O Prophet of God why don't you pray to God that he should bestow wealth on you?"

The Holy Prophet said. "Do you think He Who made me His Prophet could not make me wealthy. Indeed He offered me the keys of all treasures in the world, but I refused them in return for the treasures in the next world. Surely treasures in the next world are to be preferred to petty wealth in this world. And as for the riches of Persia and Byzantinc rest assured all such wealth will lie at the feet of the Muslims. I will not be alive then, but in your lifetime, both Persia and Byzantine will be overpowered by the Muslims."

The Funeral Of Abdullah Bin Ubayy

Abdullah bin Ubayy was an Ansar chief of Madina. Abdullah bin Ubayy had the ambition to wear the crown of Madina. When the people of Madina invited the Holy Prophet and the Muslims to migrate to Madina and accepted the Holy Prophet as their ruler the designs of Abdullah bin Ubayy were frustrated. As all the Arabs of Madina accepted Islam, Abdullah also became a Muslim as a measure of expediency. Islam, however, sat lightly on him, and he often indulged in activities hostile to Islam.

In the battle of Uhud, he betrayed the Muslim trust and withdrew his contingent at the last moment. On the occasion of the raid of Al-Mustaliq he said unbecoming things against the Muhajreen including the Holy Prophet. In the sad episode of False Allegation he was responsible for calumny against Ayesha. Umar sought the permission of the Holy Prophet to kill Abdullah bin Ubayy, but the Holy Prophet, kind-hearted as he was, did not give the permission.
Even Allah had taken notice of the hypocrisy of Abdullah bin Ubayy, and in a revelation to the Holy Prophet it was said that even if he prayed for the hypocrites seventy times his prayer would not be accepted.

When Abdullah bin Ubayy died, the Holy Prophet attended his funeral and decided to lead the funeral prayer. At this stage Umar waited on the Holy Prophet, and tried to dissuade him from leading the funeral prayer of Abdullah bin Ubayy. Umar recounted the various hypocricies of Abdullah, and also referred to the revelation whereunder God had said that the hypocrites would not be forgiven even if seventy prayers were offered.

The Holy Prophet said:
"Umar, get behind me and let us offer the prayer. In this matter God has given me the choice, and I have decided to adopt a magnanimous attitude."

Thereupon Umar joined the ranks and the funeral prayers were offered under the leadership of the Holy Prophet. The Holy Prophet remained in the graveyard till Abdullah was buried. Then the Holy Prophet prayed over the grave of Abdullah before returning home.
A few days later, the following verses were revealed to the Holy Prophet:
"And never pray for any of them at his funeral, And do not stand by his grave, For they disbelieved in God and His Apostlc." 9:84

When the Holy Prophet informed Umar of these verses, Umar felt happy that Almighty Allah had confirmed his point of view.

When Gabriel Appeared In The Shape Of A Man

Umar stated that one day when he and some other companions were with God's Messenger, a man with very white clothing and very black hair came up. Sitting down beside the Holy Prophet leaning his knees against his, and placing his hands on his thighs he said, "Tell me Muhammad about Islam."

The Holy Prophet said, " Islam means that you should testify that there is no god but Allah; that Muhammad is God's Messenger; that you should observe the prayer, pay the Zakat, fast during Ramadan, and make the pilgrimage to the House of God, if you have the means".
The visitor said "You have spoken the truth. Now tell me about faith "
The Holy Prophet said, "It means that you should believe in Allah, His angels, His books, His Apostles, and the last day, and that you should believe in the decreeing both of good and evil."
The man said that that was true. He then asked, "Now tell me about doing good."
The Holy Prophet said, "It means that you should worship Allah as if you are seeing Him, and if you aye not seeing him (percieve) that He is in fact seeing you."
The man accepted the statement as correct. He next asked, "Now tell me about the Hour".
The Holy Prophet said, "The one who is asked about is no better informed than the one who is asking".
Thereupon the man said, "Then tell me about its signs".
The Holy Prophet replied, "The signs are that a maid servant should beget her mistress, and that you should see barefooted naked poor men and shepherds exulting themselves in buildings."
The visitor felt satisfied then he sought leave to depart and as soon as leave was given he disappeared Umar who was present wondered who was the visitor.

Turning to Umar, the Holy Prophet said, "Do you know who was the visitor?"
Umar replied that he did not know.
Thereupon the Holy Prophet said, "He was Gabriel, who came to you to teach your religion."
Khalifa Umar bin al-Khattab - Life After the Conquest of Mecca
Tidings Of Paradise

It is related by Abu Huraira that once he along with other companions including Abu Bakr and Umar were sitting with the Holy Prophet. The Holy Prophet rose from their midst and went to the garden of Ansar Banu Najjar.

The return of the Holy Prophet uas delayed, and his companions felt anxious. Abu Huraira was the first to proceed to the garden of Banu Najjar. There he found no gate. He managed to go inside the garden through a drain.

Seeing him, the Holy Prophet said, "Abu Huraira what brings you here?"
Abu Huraira said, "You took long to return and we felt worried. So we have come after you".
Thereafter the Holy Prophet gave him his shoes and said, "Go carrying these shoes outside the garden, and whomsoever you meet who declares the article of faith with the sincerity of heart, give him the tidings of Paradise."

As Abu Huraira came out of the garden carrying the shoes of the Holy Prophet, the first person to meet him was Umar.

Umar said to Abu Huraira, "Why are you carrying the shoes of the Holy Prophet ?"
Abu Huraira said, "I am carrying these shoes under the command of the Holy Prophet. I have been commissioned to give the tidings of Paradise to whomsoever I meet, while carrying these shoes, who declares that he believes in the article of faith with sincerity of heart."
Umar felt angry. He handled Abu Huraira rather violently and said, "No such tidings are necessary. Abu Huraira go back."

As Abu Huraira went back to the Holy Prophet, he complained against Umar, and said that Umar had obstructed him in the performance of the mission that the Holy Prophet had entrusted to him.
In the meantime Umar also turned up. Seeing him, the Holy Prophet said, "Why did you behave rudely to Abu Huraira?"

Umar said "May my parents be a sacrifice to you Holy Prophet. The truth of the matter is that he intended to give the tidings of Paradise to all Muslims irrespective of their conduct. That would have been repugnant to the injunctions of Islam which makes admission to Paradise contingent by doing good. Holy Prophet, do not issue permits for the Paradise. Let the people do their duties. If they are assured of Paradise before hand there is the danger that they would relax in the performance of their obligations."

The Holy Prophet said, "Alright, let the Muslims perform their obligations."

The Farewell Pilgrimage

Early in A.D. 632 the Holy Prophet decided to proceed to Mecca to perform the Hajj. The pilgrimage was planed on a large scale. Messengers were sent to all parts of Arabia asking the Muslims to collect at Madina for the purpose of the pilgrimage. In response to this call over one lakh persons assembled in Madina.

Then the caravan of over one lakh persons started for Mecca. The Holy Prophet rode at the head. All his wives accompanied him. Then followed Abu Bakr and Umar accompanied by their families.
At Dhul Hulaifa the Holy Prophet and all his followers put on the Ihram. The Holy Prophet gave the signal call "Labbaik, Allabumma Labbaik--here I am at Thy service O Lord." This cry was repeated by all the one lakh persons in the congregation.

The party reached Mecca on the 4th of Zul Hajj, after a journey of nineteen days. On the 8th of Zul Hajj the party left Mecca for Mina and passed the night there. Next day the party proceeded to Arafat. After mid-day prayers on the 9th of Zul Hajj the Holy Prophet delivered his historic address.

After giving praise to God, the Holy Prophet said:
"O people, listen carefully to my words for I may not be among you next year, nor ever address you again from this spot. O people just as you regard this month as sacred, so regard the life and property of every Muslim as a sacred trust. Return the goods entrusted to you to their rightful owners. Hurt no one so that none may hurt you. Usury is forbidden. Satan has despaired of leading you astray in big things, so beware of obeying him in small things. Women have rights over you and you have rights over them. Be good to them. You may soon have to appear before God and answer for your deeds so beware. Do not go astray after I have gone. O people no prophet will come after me, and no new faith will be born. Worship your God, say your prayer, fast during the month of Ramadan, and give your wealth in charity. All Muslims free or enslaved have the same rights and the same responsibilities. None is higher than the other unless he is higher in virtue. Feed your slaves as you feed yourselves; clothe them as you clothe yourselves. Do not oppress them, nor usurp their rights."

Having spoken thus the Holy Prophet turned his face to the Heaven and said:
"Be my witness O God, that I have conveyed Your message to Your people."

And then all the people said:
"Yes, you have done so."

After the Holy Prophet had delivered his address, God revealed to him the verses:
"This day have We perfected for you your faith, And completed Our blessing upon you And have accepted for you Islam as religion."

As Umar heard these verses, he felt happy that God had perfected the faith for them. Umar called on Abu Bakr and found him very sad. Umar asked Abu Bakr the reason for his sadness when God had sent the tidings that their faith had been perfected. Abu Bakr said that the implication of these verses was that the mission of the Holy Prophet had been completed, and that the day when the Holy Prophet would depart to meet his Lord was not far off. Umar could not, however, share the fears of Abu Bakr that the Holy Prophet would not live long in their midst.

The party left Arafat in the evening and passed the night at Muzdalifa. The following day they went to Mina and sacrificed the animals. The Holy Prophet sacrificed 63 animals, one for each year of his life. Umar sacrificed 52 animals. The men next shaved their heads and the Hajj was completed. Thereafter the Holy Prophet and his followers returned to Madina.

Passing Away Of The Holy Prophet

A short time after returning from the "Farewell Pilgrimage", the Holy Prophet fell sick. The poison which a Jewess had given to him at Khyber had slowly penetrated into his system, and began to show its effects. The Holy Prophet felt that having fulfilled his mission his earthly life was to end and he was to meet his Master.

One night the Holy Prophet went to the graveyard and there prayed for the souls of his companions who had fallen at the battle of Uhud. Then he returned to the apartment of his wife Maimuna. The fever became violent. The Holy Prophet assembled all his wives and told them that on account of his sickness it would not be possible for him to visit each wife in turn. He wanted their permission to stay in the apartment of Ayesha till he recovered. All the wives gave their consent, and the Holy Prophet supported by Ali and Abbas moved to the apartment of Ayesha.
A day later there was some relief and the Holy Prophet took a bath. Refreshed by the bath the Holy Prophet went to the Mosque to offer thc noonday prayer. After the prayer had concluded, the Holy Prophet took his seat on the pulpit and addressed the people:

"There is a servant whose Lord has given him option between this life and the next nigh unto the Lord and the servant has chosen the latter. O People it has reached me that you are afraid of the approaching death of your Prophet. Has any previous Prophet lived for ever among those to whom he was sent so that I would live for ever among you? Behold, I am about to go to my Lord. You too will go sooner or later."

After the address the Holy Prophet retired to the quarter of Ayesha. His condition did not improve The night following the seventh June 632 A D. lay heavy upon him. He was overheard praying constantly to Allah for his blessings The morning of the eighth June brought some relief. Fever and pain abated to some extent. Moving the curtain of his apartment the Holy Prophet saw the Muslims praying in the Mosque. The Holy Prophet supported by Ali walked to the Mosque. After the conclusion of the prayer, the Holy Prophet took his seat on the pulpit and addressed his followers thus:

"By the Lord! As for myself, I have not made lawful anything excepting that which God has declared lawful; nor have I prohibited aught but that which God has forbidden."
Thereafter the Holy Prophet returned to the apartment of Ayesha. The condition of the Holy Prophet grew worse, and within a few hours he passed away.

The faithful had assembled in the Mosque. They sat in groups here and there. There was an air of uneasiness in the atmosphere. There was a whispering that the Holy Prophet was dead, There were suppressed sobs and sighs, Many persons were weeping, What would happen to the Muslims when the Great Prophet was to be no longer in their midst was the thought that disturbed everyone.
All eyes were turned to the quarter of Ayesha. The faithful had the fond hope that the door of the chamber would open any moment and the Holy Prophet would emerge with his face radiating divine light.

In the courtyard of the Mosque. Umar moved among the people saying:
"Who says that the Prophet is dead. I testify that he is alive and has gone to Allah like Moses, and would return to us after some time."

The door of the chamber of Ayesha opened and a thin frail old man walking stoopingly moved towards the courtyard of the Mosque. He had the look of a patriarch. He was Abu Bakr. As he stood among the people, his furrowed face and tear stained eyes betrayed the grief within him. In measured words he said:

"Listen to me, ye people. Those of you who worshipped Muhammad know that he is dead like any other mortal. But those of you who worship the God of Muhammad know that He is alive and would live for ever."

A hushed silence fell on the gathering. They were stunned with the shock. Abu Bakr wiped the tears from his eyes and turning to the people recited the following verses from the Holy Quran:
"Muhammad is but a Messenger, Messengers of God have passed away before him. What, if he dies or is killed? Will you turn back upon your heels? And whosoever turns back upon his heels Will by no means do harm to Allah, And Allah will reward the thankful."

Abu Bakr added:
"Muhammad the Great Prophet was a mortal; From Allah he came, and to Allah he has returned."
The effect of Abu Bakr's address was electrical in character. It appeared as though the people did not know that this verse of the Holy Quran had come down until Abu Bakr had recited it that day.

Umar said:
"By God when I heard Abu Bakr recite these words I was dumb founded so that my legs would not bear me, and I fell to the ground knowing that the Holy Prophet was indeed dead."

Election Of Abu Bakr As The First Caliph

When the dead body of the Holy Prophet of Islam was being prepared for burial, the Ansar assembled at their meeting place 'Saqifa-i-Bani Sa'dah' to discuss the question of succession to the Holy Prophet. The Holy Prophet was the last of the prophets, and there could be no prophet after him. He was also the Leader of the Muslims, and it was necessary that after him there should be some one who should be the head of the community.

At the meeting at Saqifa-i-Bani Sa'dah, Sa'd bin Ubadah made a passionate plea that the successor to the Holy Prophet for managing the temporal affairs of the community should be chosen from among the Ansars. He argued that they were the people who had protected Islam, and had offered a home for the Holy Prophet and his companions when they were persecuted by their own people. It was through their efforts that Islam had spread and grown. When Sa'd completed his speech he was applauded by the audience and it appeared as if the Ansars were going to choose him as their Leader in succession to the Holy Prophet.

While the meeting was being held at Saqifa-i-Bani Sa'dah some one reported to the Muhajreen assembled at Masjid-Nabvi that the Ansars had assembled to choose a successor to the Holy Propbet. it was a critical situation. The burial of the Holy Prophet was a matter that needed priority, but the question of choosing a successor to the Holy Prophet was a question of life and death for the Muslim community and if any wrong decision was taken at that stage, the future of Islam was likely to be jeopardised. Umar accordingly prevailed upon Abu Bakr to proceed to Saqifa-i-Bani Sadah to negotiate the matter with the Ansars before it was too late.

When Abu Bakr, Umar, and Abu Ubaidah reached the Saqifa-i-Bani Sa'dah, the Ansars were on the verge of electing Sa'd bin Ubadah as the successor to the Holy Prophet. Abu Bakr took the stage and explained that the Quraish were the custodians of the House of God at Mecca, and as such it was necessary that the successor to the Holy Prophet should be chosen from among the Quraish.

Addressing his appeal to the Ansar he said:
"O Ansar, none can deny the superiority of your position, or the greatness of your eminence in Islam. You were chosen by Allah as the helpers of His religion and His Apostle. To you the Prophet was sent on his emigration from Mecca and from among you come the majority of his companions and his wives. Indeed, in position you are next only to the earliest companions. Therefore it would be fair if we take the Amirate and you accept the Wazirate. You should not be obstinate in your stand. We assure you that we will do nothing without consulting you."

This did not satisfy the Ansars. Habab bin Mandhar rose to say that the Amirate was the right of the Ansars and they could not forego that right. He added that the utmost concession that they could make in favour of the Muhajreen was that they could have two Amirs, one from the Ansars and the other from the Muhajreen.

Umar said that this would create a division between the Ansars and the Muhajreen and that would be against the interests of Islam. Islam stood for unity-one God, one Prophet and one Quran. It followed as a necessary corollary that the Muslim community should remain united and should have one Amir. If the proposal of having two Amirs from the Ansars and Muhajreen was accepted, other tribes would later lay claim to the election of their Amir as well. Such multiple Amirates would lead to the disintegration of Islamic polity. Umar emphasised that in the interests of the solidarity of Islam they should not have more than one Amir and that such Amir should be chosen from among the Quraish, the tribe of the Holy Prophet.

There was some further exchange of hot words between Habab and Umar. Abu Bakr took the stage again and said:

"God is my witness that we are not pressing the claim of the Quraish because of any selfish interest. The proposal is prompted in the interest of the solidarity of Islam. To give you a proof positive of our sincerity I declare before you that I do not covet the office. Here are Umar and Abu Ubaidah. You may choose any one of these."

This appeared to have some effect on the Ansars. Zaid bin Thabit an eminent Ansar said:
"In fact the Holy Prophet was from the emigrants Hence it is necessary that the Imam is also selected from among them. God chose us as Helpers, and we should continue to help the successor of the Holy Prophet in the same way as we helped the Holy Prophet himself."

Suporting him, Bashir bin Sad another Ansar leader said: "O Ansar! if we have secured a position of superiority in the holy wars against the polytheists and gained precedence in matters of religion, it was with the object of pleasing our Allah and obeying our Prophet. It is not proper to make this as a ground for self aggrandisement. We should leave our reward to Allah. We must realise that the Holy Prophet came from the Quraish, and that the Quraish have strongest claims for his successorship. We should not quarrel with the Quraish on this issue."

That turned the tables and the Ansars now appeared to be inclined to choose the Leader from among the Quraish. There upon Abu Bakr repeated his proposal that they might choose any one out of Umar and Abu Ubaidah.

Umar rose to say:
"O Abu Bakr, how can I or Abu Ubaidah be preferred to you.
You were the second of the two in the Cave. You were appointed as Amir-ul-Hajj. During his illness the Holy Prophet appointed you as the Imam to lead the prayers. Of all the Companions you were the dearest to the Holy Prophet, and so you are dearest to us. Stretch your hand so that we may offer our allegiance to you."

Umar made Abu Bakr stand, and he was the first to touch the hand of Abu Bakr reverently ID token of allegiance. Abu Ubaidah was the next to offer allegiance. Thereafter the Ansars except Said bin Ubadah advanced turn by turn to offer allegiance to Abu Bakr.

Installation Of Abu Bakr As The Caliph

On the day following the burial of the Holy Prophet, all the Muslims assembled in the Prophet's Mosque.

Umar addressed the people as follows:
"O ye men of faith! Yesterday I had said to you Who says that the Holy Prophet is dead'. I am afraid what I said was not correct. In the Holy Book of God there is nothing to indicate that the Holy Prophet was to live forever. The Holy Prophet himself never gave an indication to the effect that he was to live for ever. I was of the impression that the Holy Prophet was to live in our midst and guide us. But this impression was not correct. The Holy Quran itself provides that the Holy Prophet was a mortal liable to death. The Holy Prophet had come from God, and to God he has returned. He has returned after fulfilling the mission entrusted to him. God has perfected our religion. God has given us a Book through which He guided His Messenger, and through which He will continue to guide the faithful. Our task is to hold steadfast to the Book of God, and to follow His injunctions. We miss the Holy Prophet. But the Holy Prophet was a messenger. He has delivered the message, and after fulfilling his role returned to his Master. The message remains with us in the form of the Holy Book. Those who worship Allah let them know that Allah lives and is not subject to death. The Holy Prophet was a mortal and has gone to His Master. We must follow in the footsteps of the Holy Prophet, and get used to life without his physical presence. In his absence our people must have a leader who would guide us. For this task who can be more competent than Abu Bakr, the life long friend of the Holy Prophet, whom God has referred to as 'Second of the Two'. O ye faithful, rise and offer allegiance at the hand of Abu Bakr."
Having made this address, Umar requested Abu Bakr to take his seat on the pulpit. Abu Bakr took his seat on the pulpit, a step below that which was used by the Holy Prophet. Thereafter all the Muslims present swore their allegiance.

Thereafter Abu Bakr after praising Allah and the Holy Prophet addressed the people:
"O people ! I swear by Allah that I never coveted the Amirate either by day or by night, nor had I any inclination towards it. I never prayed to God openly or in secrecy to confer the Amirate on me. But I certainly feared that some mischief might arise at this critical juncture in the history of the Muslims. In fact a big task has been assigned to me which is beyond my power to fulfil except with the help of the Almighty Allah. I wished to see the Strongest of men in my place today. Now, it is beyond doubt that I have been elected your Amir, although I am no better than you. Help me if I am in the right; set me right if I am in the wrong. Truth is a trust; falsehood is a treason. The weak among you shall be strong with me till God willing his rights have been vindicated, and the strong among you shall be weak with me till, if the Lord will, I have taken what is due from him. Obey me as long as I obey Allah and His Prophet. When I disobey Him and His Prophet, then obey me not."
Umar played an important role in the election of Abu Bakr as the first Caliph of Islam. During tbe caliphate of Abu Bakr, Umar remained as the principal Adviser of the Caliph.

Umar And Khalid Bin Walid

Khalid bin Walid who was a cousin of the mother of Umar was the hero of the apostasy wars conducted during the caliphate of Abu Bakr. While Umar appreciated Khalid's skill as a General he was critical of Khalid's moral conduct.

Having defeated Taleaha at the battle of Buzakha, and reduced the tribes in the north Khalid bin Walid decided to march against the Bani Tamim who lived on a plateau bordering on the Persian Gulf. The Bani Tamim had accepted Islam during the life time of the Holy Prophet. After the death of the Holy Prophet when the wave of apostasy spread over the Arabian peninsula, the Bani Tamim were also affected. The tribe came to be divided into two sections. One section remained faithful to Islam while the other section apostatised.

When Khalid gave his army the order to march to Bataha the headquarter of the Bani Tamim a section of the army objected to the order on the ground that the Caliph had not sanctioned any action against the Bani Tamim. The objection was overruled by Khalid.

The orders of Abu Bakr were that if any tribe professed faith in Islam, no action was to be taken against it. If a tribe did not profess faith in Islam, it was to be invited to accept Islam, and operations were to be undertaken against it only in the event of refusal. The strategy laid down was that if on reaching a settlement the residents pronounced Adhan, it was to be understood that the people were Muslims. In the absence of such response it was to be presumed that the people were hostile to Islam.

Before the Muslim army reached Bataha, delegation from Bani Tamim waited on Khalid. They brought with them the necessary amount of the tax payable to the Muslims. Khalid took the amount, but continued his advance to Bataha. When the forces of Khalid reached Bataha there were no forces of the Bani Tamim to oppose the Muslims. The position was confused. Malik the chief of Bani Tamim neither came forward to offer his submission, nor did he come forward to oppose the Muslims.

Khalid directed his soldiers to forage in the neighbourhood. Malik and his wife Laila were taken captive and brought before Khalid. Malik's wife Laila was known far and wide for her breath-taking beauty. Her long glossy hair flowed upto her knees. She had gorgeous legs and she carried herself with peculiar grace and charm. In Khalid's camp Malik was killed and Khalid married Laila.
This led to considerable scandal. In some quarters it was held that Malik was indeed a Muslim and that he had been killed because Khalid coveted his beautiful wife Laila. Some of the Ansars in the army of Khalid led by Abu Qatadah withdrew from the army of Khalid. Abu Qatadah along with Mutamim the brother of the late Malik set out for Madina to lodge a complaint against Khalid. Mutamim was a distinguished poet, and he composed a heart rending elegy mourning the death of his brother. The elegy became very popular in Maclina, and those who listened to it felt sympathy for Malik.

Khalid was summoned to Madina and put to explanation. Khalid's defense was that if according to the Holy Prophet he was the 'Sword of Allah' how could such sword fall against the neck of a Muslim? Umar was highly critical of the conduct of Khalid and held that he was guilty of murdering a Muslim to marry his beautiful wife. As the false prophet Musailma had defeated the Muslims twice, and Khalid's services were required to defeat Musailma, Abu Bakr took a lenient view, and decided that blood money should be paid out of the Baitul Mal to the heirs of Malik. Umar did not feel happy over the decision.

Khalid fought against Musailma in what came to be known as the battle of Yamama. It was a great trial of strength and though the Muslims won a victory, this was achieved at a heavy cost. Over 14,000 followers of Musailma died in the battle. Twelve hundred Muslims fell as martyrs in the battle and though the number was very much less than the number of dead of Banu Hanifa, the tribe of Musailma, yet the Musllm loss was quite heavy. Among the martyrs was Zaid the brother of Umar. Umar felt much grieved at the death of his brother. He used to say "Whenever the breeze blows from Yamama it brings to me the fragrance of Zaid".

Terms with the Banu Hanifa were negotiated by Khalid with Maja'a. Maja'a had a beautiful daughter and one of the terms stipulated by Khalid was that Maja'a should marry his daughter to him. Maja'a hesitated but Khalid forced him to marry his daughter to him the same day that the treaty was signed. Umar was critical of the conduct of Khalid, and complained to Abu Bakr.

Abu Bakr wrote a letter to Khalid reprimanding him in the following terms:
"O son of the mother of Khalid. What has gone wrong with you? You are out to wed women when the land around your camp is still drenched with the blood of over a thousand martyrs."

In Iraq, in the battle of Daumatul Jandal fought in 633 AD, Khalid married the beautiful daughter of the chief Judi bin Rabee'a. Umar spoke critically of this marriage to Abu Bakr.

Abu Bakr disposed of the matter with the remarks:
"Khalid has a soft corner in his heart for beautiful women. He is the victor, and he may well have Bint Judi as his prize, if that is his pleasure."

At the battle of Muzayyah in Iraq fought under the command of Khalid two Muslims, Abdullah and Labid were killed. Khalid was criticised for killing two Muslims. Umar was very bitter and pressed for action against Khalid, Abu Bakr again took a lenient view. He held that such things were likely to occur when Muslims chose to live in the midst of non-Muslims against whom military operations were undertaken. Abu Bakr paid blood money out of the Baitul Mal to the heirs of the two persons who had been killed.

Umar As Adviser

During the Caliphate of the Abu Bakr, Umar was the principal Adviser of the Caliph.
A story is on record showing the great esteem and regard that Abu Bakr had for Umar and his opinion.

It is related that once Ayanayah bin Hassan and Aqrah bin Habas two tribal chiefs waited on Abu Bakr, and requested that an estate be awarded to them. They suggested that close to their settlement there was a rock waste land which produced nothing, and that that wasteland might be gifted to them so that by their efforts they might make it productive.

Abu Bakr consulted the people around him. They suggested that it was a good proposition for thereby the wasteland would become productive. Abu Bakr accordingly agreed to award the land in question to them. A document was drawn up. Umar was not present and Abu Bakr advised the grantees to get it witnessed by Umar.

The grantees thought that such witnessing by Umar was merely formal and that there would be no difficulty in obtaining his signature, on the document. The grantees went to Umar and requested him to affix his signatures to the document as it had been approved by Abu Bakr.

After reading the document, Umar returned it to the grantees saying that he could not be a party to the deed.

The grantees in a fit of anger went to Abu Bakr and reported what Umar had said.
Abu Bakr remained quiet. Thereupon the grantees turning to the Caliph said "Are you the Caliph, or is Umar the Caliph?"

Abu Bakr said "You may very well take Umar to be the Caliph".

Then Umar came to the Caliph. Abu Bakr enquired what was the reason for his refusal to sign the document.

Umar asked "Is the land which you have gifted your property or is it a trust with you on behalf of the Muslim community".

Abu Bakr said "It is not my personal property; as such it should be a trust on behalf of the Muslim community".
Umar said "If that is the position, how can you extinguish the trust by gifting it to A or B. They may take it on lease subject to terms, but it must remain the State property. "

Turning to the applicants, Abu Bakr said "Umar has spoken the truth. I cannot deviate from the law."

Turning to Umar, Abu Bakr said "I had already requested you to take over the office of the Caliph, but you thrust the burden on my shoulders. I may not be with you for long and ultimately this responsibility will have to be shouldered bv you."

Abu Bakr And Umar

Between the Holy Prophet and Abu Bakr, the latter was "The Second of the Two". A similar equation obtained between Abu Bakr and Umar. Whcn Abu Bakr became the Caliph, Umar was decidedly the 'Second of the Two'. The attachment and friendship between the two was of an exceptional character. Each preferred the other to himself. After the death of the Holy Prophet, Abu Bakr wanted Umar to be the Caliph, and Umar took steps to have Abu Balcr elected as the Caliph. The Holy Prophet often came to the mosque flanked by Abu Bakr on one side, and Umar on the other.

Umar and Abu Bakr vied with each other in doing good. In this connection some stories have come down to us which highlight the equation betweeu Abu Bakr and Umar.

In 633 AD. the Holy Prophet decided to lead an expedition, to Tabuk on the Syrian border. In order to finance the expedition,the Holy Prophet invited contributions and donations from his followers. Umar had then considerable money with him. He thought that that was the occasion when he might excel Abu Bakr in the doing of good. Umar went home and brought his donation. The Holy Prophet enquired of Umar as to what he had left behind for himself and his family. Umar stated that he had donated one half of his wealth in the name of Allah and had left one half for himself and his family. Then Abu Bakr came with his donation and the Holy Prophet put him the same question as to how much he had left for himself and his family.

Abu Bakr said that he had donated all that he had in the name of Allah, and that he had left Allah and His Prophet for himself and his family. This episode has formed the theme of one of the poems of Iqbal.

The poem provides;
"For the moth the lamp and for the nightingle the flower;
For Sidiq, God and His Prophet alone suffice."

On that account Umar realised that it was difficult to excel Abu Bakr in the doing of good.
Abu Yala records from Ibn Masud that he said "I was in the mosque praying when there entered the Apostle of God and with him were Abu Bakr and Umar. He found me praying and said 'Ask and it shall be granted unto thee'. Then he said 'Whosoever wishes to read the Quran in a fresh and joyous manner let him read it with the reading of Ibn Masud' . Then I returned to my house and Abu Bakr came to me and gave me the good tidings regarding what the Holy Prophet had said. Then came Haarat Umar and he found Abu Bakr going forth having already been before him, and he said 'Verily Abu Bakr is the foremost in good'."

Even when Umar was not the Caliph, it was his practice to move about in Madina and help persons in distress.

In one of the suburbs of Madina there lived a blind old women who had no one to help her. Umar used to go in disguise to the house of the old woman, but was always surprised to find that some one else had anticipated him, and supplied the wants of the old lady.

Umar felt much distressed that in this noble task of helping a lady in distress his efforts were always frustrated by some other person. Umar felt curious as to who that person could be who beat him in the field of social service.

One day, Umar went to the house of the old woman earlier than usual and hid himself to watch as to who was the person who attended to the wants of the old woman.

Umar did not have to wait long for soon a man arrived who attended to the needs of the old woman, and this man was none other than the Caliph Abu Bakr.

Umar felt relieved that if in the matter of social service he had been beaten by any one, such person was the Caliph Abu Bakr who was decidedly superior to him.

Nomination Of Umar As The Caliph

On the seventh Jamadi-ul Akhir of thc 13th A.H. (8th August 633) which was a cold day, Abu Bakr took a bath and caught a chill. That developed into a high fever.

Abu Bakr was confined to bed, and he appointed Umar to lead the prayers during the period of his illness . His illness prolonged, and when his condition worsened, he felt that his end was near. It was suggested to him that a physician be called. He said "Now all is over."

Realising that his end was drawing near, Abu Bakr felt that he should nominate his successor, so that the issue might not be a cause of dissension among the Muslims after his death. Abu Bakr summoned Abdul Rahman bin Auf, and asked for his opinion about the nomination of Umar. Some other Companions were also consulted.

The general concensus was that Umar was the fittest person to be appointed as the Caliph. It was, however, felt that Umar had too fiery and tirascible temper, and he might not be able to show moderation so necessary for the Head of the Community.

Abu Bakr observed that Umar's display of severity was meant to counteract his ( Abu Bakr's) leniency. Abu Bakr felt confident that when the full responsibility of government devolved upon Umar he would become more moderate in his opinions.

Abu Bakr elaborated.
"I can say from my personal experience that Umar had always cooled me down whenever I lost my temper with any one just as whenever he felt me to be too lenient he counselled greater severity. For this reason I feel certain that with time, Umar will achieve that moderation you desire".
Taleah objected to the nomination of Umar and said:

"O successor of the Prophet; You know full well how harsh Umar has been towards us all during your regime and God only knows how he will deal with us when you are gone. You know that you are leaving us for ever, and yet you are content to leave us in the hands of a man whose fierce and ungovernable rages are well known to you. Think O Chief, what answer will you give to your Lord for such a behest."

At this, Abu Bakr who was lying prostrate in his bed, rose up with considerable effort and said:
"Have you come to frighten me? I swear that when I meet my Lord, I will gladly tell Him that I appointed as ruler over his people, the man who was the best of all mankind. "

Thereupon Ali, who was also present, rose to say that he would acknowledge no other Caliph save Umar. Abu Bakr was much impressed with the seldessness of Ali for not pressing his own claim, and for putting the interests of the Muslim community above personal interests. Turning to Ali, Abu Bakr said:

"You are indeed a prince in the most exalted sense of the term, for others are mere men."
Then Abu Bakr sent for Umar, and informed him that he had appointed him as his successor.
Umar said: "But I have no desire for the office." Thereupon, Abu Bakr said:
"But the office needs you. I have prayed to God to direct me rightly in the choice of my successor, and my choice is fundamental for the unity and strength of the Muslims."

Umar acquiesced, and Abu Bakr dictated the testament to Othman appointing Umar as the Caliph in succession to Abu Bakr.

The testament having been drawn up, Abu Bakr, supported by his wife Asma walked up to the door, and addressed the people who had gathered there. He told them that he had appointed Umar as his successor, and they said "We approve."

After obtaining the approval of the people in general terms, Abu Bakr lay on the bed and prayed to God;

"O Lord! I have made this testament for the welfare of the community in order to counteract discord among them. What my intentions are, you know full well. I have spared no pains in making the best selection. O God, I entrust the Muslims to your care. O Allah keep their ruler on the right path. O God, make my successor the most pious of rulers and confer peace on the Muslims."

Umar's Inaugural Address

After the assumption of office as the Caliph, Umar addressed the Muslims who had assembled in the Prophet's mosque. In the course of the address, Umar said:

"O ye faithful! Abu Bakr is no more amongst us. After having led us for about two years, he has returned to His Maker. He has the satisfaction that he has successfully piloted the ship of the Muslim state to safety after negotiating the stormy sea. He successfully waged the apostasy wars, and thanks to him, Islam is now supreme in Arabia. Islam is now on the move and we are carrying Jihad in the name of Allah against the mighty empires of Byzantine and Persia.

After Abu Bakr, the mantle of Khilafat has fallen on my shoulders. I swear it before God that I never coveted this office. I wished that it would have devolved on some other person more worthy than me. But now that in national interest, the responsibility for leading the Muslims has come to vest in me, I assure you that I will not run away from my post, and will make an earnest effort to discharge the onerous duties of the office to the best of my capacity in accordance with the injunctions of Islam.

In the performance of my duties, I will seek guidance from the Holy Book, and will follow the examples set by the Holy Prophet and Abu Bakr. In this task I seek your assistance. If I follow the right path, follow me. If I deviate from the right path, correct me so that we are not led astray.
Now brothers I offer a few prayers and you say Amen to them.

O Allah I am hard, make me soft to promote the Truth, to comply with your injunctions and to aspire to a better life in the world hereafter.
O Allah make me hard for the enemies of Islam and for those who create mischief so that their desigus against Allah come to naught.
O Allah I am miser; make me generous in the promotion of the good.
O Allah save me from hypocrisy. Strengthen my resolves so that whatever I do, I do for the sake of winning Your approbation.
O Allah soften my heart for the faithful so that I attend to their needs with a sense of dedication.
O Allah, I am careless, make me responsible enough so that I do not lose sight of You.
O Allah I am weak in offering my obedience to You; make me active and fortify my faith.
O Allah bestow on me faith, and the power to do good.
O Allab give me the power of self-criticism and self assessment.
O Allah bestow on me the insight into the meaning of the Quran and the strength to act in accordance with what the Quran says.
O Allah You are capable of doing anything: bless us with Your favour. Amen."

Umar's Address About His Conduct
After the assumption of office as Caliph, Umar soon realised that he was more feared than loved. Abu Bakr his predecessor was tender and soft hearted. Whenever he appeared in the streets of Madina, the children ran to him saying "Father, Father." He caressed and patted them. When Umar became Caliph, the children would run away at his sight saying "Here comes Umar, let us run away."

On the occasion of the first Friday prayer after his assumption of office as Caliph, Umar addressed the faithful assembled in the mosque in the following terms:
"Brethren, it has come to my notice that the people are afraid of me. They say 'When the Holy Prophet was alive, Umar was harsh to us. During the caliphate of Abu Bakr, Umar was hard and stern. Now that he has become the Caliph himself, God knows how hard he will be. Whoever has said this is not wrong in his assessment.

The truth of the matter is that I was the slave and servant of the Holy Prophet. The Holy Prophet was most kind hearted, liberal and generous. In contrast I was hard and harsh so that I was like a naked sword. It was for the Holy Prophet to use the sword or sheathe it at his option. On occasions he sheathed the sword, and sometimes he used it. My purpose was to point to the Holy Prophet the other side of the picture. The decision rested with him. Sometimes he ignored my point of view. There were occasions when he agreed with me. Till the death of the Holy Prophet that remained the equation between him and me. Thank God, the Holy Prophet was pleased with me. Though the Holy Prophet sometimes accepted my advice, and sometimes turned it down, yet he approved of my conduct.

During the caliphate of Abu Bakr my role remained the same. Abu Bakr was most soft hearted and tender. It was my business to bring the other side of the picture to his notice. He always took my point of view into consideration, but the ultimate decision lay with him. Some times he agreed with me, and I acted as his agent to enforce a decision which appeared to be harsh. Sometimes he did not agree with me, and I had to remain quiet. I am happy that throughout the period of his office, Abu Bakr approved of my conduct, and ultimately nominated me as his successor, although I did not covet the office.

Now that the entire responsibility has come to vest in me, know ye brethren that you will feel a change in me. I will no longer be hard and stern in all matters. For those who practise tyranny and deprive others of their rights, I will be harsh and stern, but for those who follow the law, and are devoted to religion, I will be most soft and tender. I will not tolerate any person make any excess. He who commits any tyranny, him I will sternly call to book. I will be harsh and stern against the aggressor, but I will be a pillar of strength for the weak and the meek. They will find in me their best friend.

Friends you have some rights on me, and I tell you of these rights, so that you may be in a position to call me to account. These rights are:
firstly, that I should not exact any tax or other levy from you not authorised by law;
secondly, that whatever taxes are lawfully realised from you are spent in your best interests:
thirdly, it is incumbent on me that I should protect the frontiers of your land;
fourthly, it is my duty to promote your prosperity and look after your interests; and
fifthly, it is my obligation to do justice.

O servants of God, continue to fear God. Suppress your selfish motives and work for the solidarity of the Muslims as a whole. In running the State, you are my partners. Help me with your sound advice. If I follow the right path laid down by God and His Prophet follow me. If I deviate, correct me. Strengthen me with your advice and suggestions. Let us pray for the glory of Islam."

Amirul Muminin

When the Holy Prophet died, and Abu Bakr succeeded him he was called "Khalifa tul Rasul", i e. the representative of the Prophet.

When Abu Bakr died and Umar succeeded him he called himself 'Khalifa', but the question arose whose Khalifa or representative he was. It was pointed out that strictly speaking he was not the Khalifa of the Rasul. He was the Khalifa of the Khalifatul Rasul. Umar felt that this was a cumbersome title, for in that case, those who followed him would have to be designated by an endless chain of Khalifas.

Umar accordingly felt that the Head of the Muslim State should be known by a simpler title which should reflect the Islamic character of the State. Umar asked the people around him to ponder over the matter, and if they could think of some suitable title they should bring such title to his notice.

One day Labid bin Rabia and Adi bin Hatim came to Madina from Kufa. They alighted at the Prophet's mosque and there coming across Amr b. Al As asked him to announce their arrival to the Amir-ul-Muminin.

Amr b. Al As was struck by the novelty of the term 'Amir-ul-Muminin'. He asked Labid and Adi as to how they referred to Umar as 'Amir-ul-Muminin'. They said "We all Muslims are Momins and Umar is our Commander. He is thus Amir-ul-Muminin".
Amr b. Al As said "Wonderful You have hit upon a beautiful term. God bless You".
Amr b. Al As hastened to Umar end there said "Amir-ul-Muminin, two persons have come from Kufa, and they seek permission to see you".

Umar became curious at being addressed "Amirul-Muminin". He asked Amr b. al Aas as to how he had coined the term 'Amir-ul-Muminin'. Amr b. al-Acts said that the visitors from Kufa had used that term, and as he was attracted by the term he had used it.

Umar said "We were in search of some suitable term to signify the office I hold, and here is a term which is attractive". He asked Amr b. al Aas as to what he thought of the title.
Amr b. al Aas said "I am attracted by the term. It is God sent. We all are Muslims and you are our Amir. The term is very attractive and significant."

After Umar had seen the visitors from Kufa, he convened a meeting of his consultative assembly, and there the question was discussed whether he should adopt the title of 'Amir-ul-Muminin' for the office that he held. The Assembly approved the title.
Henceforward Umar came to be addressed in his official capacity as Amir-ul-Muminin.

Umar's Allowance

Before becoming the Caliph Umar lived by trade. After assuming the Caliph he could no longer carry on charge as his business. He accordingly agreed to accept a daily allowance from the Baitul Mal. Different amounts of daily allowance were suggested by different people. Umar sought the advice of Ali as to the amount of the allowance he should accept. Ali suggested that he should take as much amount as might moderately suffice for an average Arab, neither too much, nor too little. Umar accepted this suggestion and a modest amount of allowance was settled for him. The exact amount of the allowance thus settled is, however, not reported in any history.

Later on some companions including Ali, Usman, Zubair, and Talhah thought of increasing the allowance of Umar as it was not sufficient to meet the minimum requirements of Umar. These companions could not have the courage to broach this subject to Umar direct. They accordingly approached Hafsa the daughter of Umar, and asked her to ascertain Umar's reaction to the proposal.

When Hafsa talked about the matter to Umar, he became angry and wanted to know who were the persons who had made that suggestion. Hafsa said that before she could tell who were the persons concerned she wanted his reaction to the proposal.

Thereupon Umar wanted Hafsa to tell what was the Holy Prophet's best dress in her house. She said that it was a pair of clothes of red colour which the Holy Prophet wore on Fridays or when receiving envoys.

Umar then asked what was the best of food that the Holy Prophet took. She said that the Holy Prophet's food was simple barley bread. Umar next asked as to what was the best bedding that the Holy Prophet ever used. She said that it was a piece of thick cloth. In summer it was spread in four layers and in winter in two, half he spread underneath, and with the other half he covered himself.

Thereupon Umar said:
"Hafsa, go and tell the people who have deputed you that the Holy Prophet has set a standard by his personal example. I must follow him. My case and that of thc Holy Prophet and Abu Bakr is like the case of three men travelling on the same road. The first man started with a provision and reached the goal. Thc second followed the first and joined him. Now the third is on his way. If he follows their way he will also join them, otherwise he can never reach them."

When Hafsah told of Umar's reaction to the proposal to the companions who had dcputed her they said: "May God bless Umar. He excels all of us in the matter of virtue."

Expulsion Of Jews And Christians From Arabia

At the time of his death the Holy Prophet had expressed the view that in Arabia there should be only one religion, namely Islam. During the lifetime of the Holy Prophet, all the tribes in Arabia had accepted Islam. There were only a few pockets of non-Muslims, the Jews in Khyber, and the Christians in Najran.

During the caliphate of Abu Bakr, many tribes who had accepted Islam apostatised. As a result of the apostasy wars, all the apostate tribes were defeated and they once again accepted Islam. During the brief period of his office, Abu Bakr allowed the status quo to continue with regard to the Jews and the Christians.

At the time of the conquest of Khyber, a treaty was executed with the Jews whereunder they were allowed to cultivate the lands on the payment of one half of the produce to the Muslim state at Madina. The treaty also provided that the Jews could be turned out of Khyber, whenever the Muslim state deemed it necessary.

When Umar became the Caliph he deputed his son Abdullah to Khyber to collect the revenue. As Abdullah lay sleeping on the roof of a house in Khyber at night, his bed was overturned by the Jews causing him an injury in the arm. Umar investigated the matter and found that the Jews were bent on mischief. Umar accordingly passed orders expelling the Jews from Khyber. They migrated to Syria. They were allowed to carry their movable belongings with them. Their immovable property in Khyber was distributed among the Muslims.

The Christians of Najran near Yemen had a pact with the Holy Prophet "hereunder they were allowed to live in peace unless they indulged in any hostile activities against Islam. It was also stipulated that they would not indulge in usury. When Umar became the Caliph it was brought to his notice that the Christians of Najran had violated the peace pact in as much as they were indulging in usury, and were also guilty of activities hostile to Islam.

Umar summoned the representatives of the Christians of Najran, and apprised them of the charge of violating the terms of the treaty. In a vainglorious mood the deputationists said "If that was that, they might be expelled." Umar accordingly passed orders for their expulsion. Arrangements were made for their settlement in Iraq. They were allowed to carry their entire movable property with them. Their immovable property was acquired by the state on payment.

Umar instructed his officers in Iraq that all possible assistance should be provided for the settlement of the refugees from Najran in Iraq. The Christians were exempted from the payment of Jizya for the first two years.

With the expulsion of the Jews and the Christians from Arabia, the country became an exclusively Muslim land. Umar has thus the distinction of being the first ruler under whom Arabia became the exclusive preserve for Islam.


In the month of the Holy Ramadan, it was the practice with the Holy Prophet that he would stay in the mosque after the Isha prayers, and offer extra prayers. One night as the faithful saw the Holy Prophet offering extra prayers, they also prayed as the Holy Prophet did. The following night more Muslims stayed in the mosque after the night prayer to offer extra prayers. On the third night there was a still larger gathering of the Muslims to perform the extra prayers. On the fourth night when a large number of the faithful assembled to offer the extra prayers, the Holy Prophet did not offer the extra prayers and retired to his house immediately after the Isha prayers. For the following nights as well the Holy Prophet retired immediately after the night prayers, and gradually the number of Muslims who offered the extra prayers diminished. Then one night the Holy Prophet offered the extra prayers again. When the Holy Prophet was asked about the reason for the break in the extra prayers for some nights he said that he had avoided these prayers lest the Muslims might take them to be an obligation under law, and that might become a burden for the Muslims. The Holy Prophet explained that such prayers were not compulsory, but if any one offered them voluntarily, he would have the blessing of God. Thereafter it became the practice that some Muslims offered the extra prayers during the month of Ramadan on their own account, while others did not, and retired to their homes after offering the night prayers.

When Umar became the Caliph, he saw that many Muslima gathered in the Prophet's mosque to offer extra prayers after the night prayers. Each person prayed according to his own discretion, and there were no specifications about the number of Rakaats to be offered. Umar felt that it would be a reform in the proper direction, if the prayers were offered in congregation and the number of Rakaats was fixed. After consulting the Companions, Umar issued instructions in 635 AD that such extra prayers should be offered in congregation under the imamate of a Quran reader who should recite a considerable part of the Quran each night, so that the entire Quran was completed during a week or so. It was laid down that these prayers should comprise ten taslima's each containing two rakaats and that after every four rakaats there should be a rawih' or a pause. Because of such pauses these extra prayers came to be known as 'Tarawih'.

These instructions were circulated throughout the Muslim dominions. There were some who felt that as the Holy Prophet had not prescribed such prayers, it was unlawful to prescribe such prayers after the death of the Holy Prophet. Umar explained that he was not prescribing these prayers as compulsory; it was open to any one to offer or not to offer these prayers at his discretion. If any one offered these prayers that would be to his credit, but if any body did not do so that would not bring him any discredit. He also elucidated that his instructions being of an advisory character only were in no way repugnant to Islam. If he had instructed the Muslims to do what Allah or the Holy Prophet had prohibited that would have been repugnant to Islam, out if he wanted the Muslims to do anything at their option which was intrinsically good and had not been prohibited, that was not repugnant to Islam, but was on the other hand in consonance with the spirit of Islam.

Umar And The Holy Quran

The Holy Quran was revealed to the Holy Prophet in parts from time to time spread over a period of 23 years. Whenever the Holy Prophet received the revelation. he would dictate it to one of his Katibs who would record it on some piece of leather, date skin, or even bones and stones.
The principal scribe of the Holy Prophet was Zaid bin Thabit. Many companions committed the entire Quran to memory and these 'Huffdz' could recite the entire Quran any time. The Holy Prophet kept all the pieces of leather, date skins another materials on which the verses of the Holy Quran had been written in his custody.

During the lifetime of the Holy Prophet, revelation was a continuous process, and there was no occasion for giving them the form of a book. After the death of the Holy Prophet, the process of revelation came to close, and now the need of some sort of compilation to preserve the Word of God was felt.

In the battle of Yamama, most of the Companions who had learnt the Holy Quran by heart were martyred. Umar was the first to feel that if those who had committed the Holy Quran to memory were dead, there was the danger that there would be none left who could be relied upon as the repository of the Quran. There was also the danger that with the lapse of time there might be some interpolations in the text inadvertently or even deliberately.

Umar suggested to the Caliph Abu Bakr that the Holy Quran should be suitably compiled under the authority of the State Abu Bakr was reluctant to undertake the project. His plea was that as the Holy Prophet had not felt the necessity for such a compilation, it did not behove him as the successor to the Prophet to take any initiative in the matter.

Umar, however, continued to press his point. Umar argued that during the lifetime of the Holy Prophet the process of revelation was continuous, and as the Holy Prophet himself was the repository of all revelations, there was no occasion for such a compilation. After the death of the Holy Prophet, the position had changed, and unless the Holy Quran was compiled, there was the danger that the Quran might be lost. In the absence ot an authentic text, there was also the danger that some unscrupulous persons might add to or vary the text to suit their interests. The argument appealed to Abu Bakr, and whe n other prominent Muslims were consulted, they also endorsed the views of Umar. Abu Bakr accordingly undertook the project for the compilation of the Holy Quran.
Zaid b. Thabit was commissioned by Abu Bakr to collect all the verses of the Holy Quran and compile them in a book form.

Zaid's immediate reaction to the proposal was that if he had been asked to remove a mountain from its original site, and place it elsewhere, he would have considered such a task easier than the task of collecting the Holy Quran. Abu Bakr and Umar appreciated the gravity of the problem, but observed that as the Word of God had to be preserved for the guidance of the coming generations, the task had to be undertaken whatever the odds. Zaid thereupon set to the task of collecting the verses.

A proclamation was made that whosoever had learnt any portion of the Quran from the Holy Prophet should produce such portion. Two witnesses had to be produced in each case to establish the genuineness of the verse. When all the verses had been collected a Committee was set up of which Umar was a member. This Committee supervised the compilation of the Holy Quran. Sad b. al As dictated, and Zaid bin Thabit wrote the Holy Quran. These was checked by the members of the Committee including Umar.

When the work was completed it was further checked by Abu Bakr, and the finally approved copy was kept by Abu Bakr in his personal custody. The sacred compilation was given the name of 'Mashaf'.

During his Caliphate, Umar took steps to ensure that the teaching of the Holy Quran was spread extensively, and that a large number of persons learnt the text by heart so that there could be no possibility of any corruption in the text.

Under the orders of Umar, hundreds of schools were opened throughout the length and breadth of the islamic world for the teaching of the Holy Quran. Highly qualified teachers were appointed for the purpose, and they were given good salaries.

Such Companions who had learnt the Holy Quran by heart were sent to distant places to teach the Holy Quran. Muadh b. Jabal; Ibada b al Samit; and Abu Darda were prominent companions who knew the Holy Quran by heart. They were sent to Syria where Ibada headed the school at Hims: Abu Darda at Damascus; and Muadh at Jerusalem. It is related that Abu Darda held his classes in the Jamia Masjid at Damascus and the enrolment in his class was 1600.

Umar took pains in promoting and popularising the study of the Holy Quran. All the Muslims were required to learn at least five Suras by heart. Special stipends were granted for the learning of the Holy Quran. In his instructions to the Army, Umar exhorted the men to read and memorise the Holy Quran.

Umar was very particular about the use of correct vowels and the correct pronunciation of the words in the Holy Quran. In his instructions to the teachers of the Holy Quran, Umar said:
"Teach them the vowels of the Quran, as you teach its learning by heart."

Umar also instructed that along with the teaching of the Holy Quran, the study of the Arabic language and literature should be made compulsory so that the readers of the Holy Quran should themselves be able to distinguish between right and wrong vowels.

Umar also laid down that no one who was not versed in Arabic lexicology should be permitted to teach the Holy Quran.

Umar And Mosques

As the Islamic dominions extended progressively, Umar ordered that mosques should be built in all conquered territories.

In the newly founded cities of Kufa and Basra, Jami Masjids were built in the centre of the city and smaller mosques were built in each tribal quarter.

In the case of smaller towns in Iraq and Syria, a mosque was required to be constructed in each town. According to one account as many as 4000 mosques were constructed during the caliphate of Umar.

Umar had the sacred mosque at Kaaba extended. In 739 AD Umar purchased the surrounding houses at state expense. These were demolished, and the area under them was included in the mosque. Heretofore there was no wall round the mosque. Umar had a wall constructed for the first time. Heretoforc the mosques were not lit. Umar provided lights for the mosques for the first time.
Formerly the cover of the Kaaba was of ordinary cloth. Umar had the cover made of a superior and finer cloth manufactured in Egypt.
The bounds of the Haram, the sanctuary of the Kaaba extended to three miles in one direction, and seven to nine miles in other directions. The boundaries were not defined, and there was the risk of this area being encroached upon. Umar had the area surveyed, and the boundaries were demarcated. Stone pillars called Ansab were fixed to mark the boundaries.

Umar extended the Prophet's Mosque at Madina as well. In 639 AD, the same year as the Kaaba was extended, Umar purchased the houses that surrounded the Masjid i-Nabvi. After demolishing them, the area was utilised for the extension of the mosque.

Abbas whose house also surrounded the mosque refused to sell his house. He sued the state in the Court of the Qazi Ubayy b. Kab. The Court gave its verdict against the state, and held that the property could not be acquired compulsorily. Umar accepted the verdict of the Court. Thereupon Abbas voluntarily gifted his house for the extension of the mosque. Umar accepted the gift gratefully, and provided alternative accommodation to Abbas.

As a result of extension the length of the mosque rose from 100 to 140 yards while its width rose from 60 to 80 yards.

Umar was the first to provide lights for Masjid-i-Nabvi. Umar also made arrangements for the burning of the incense in the mosque. The floor of the mosque was paved and covered with mats.
Umar And Drinking

Drinking was very common among the Quraish. Some accounts say that during the days of ignorance even Umar was a wine bibbler. When Umar became a Muslim, he never touched wine. Umar was a great thinker. He thought that as under the influence of drink one becomes oblivious of his duties and responsibilities, drink must be prohibited by an injunction from God. Umar often talked to the Holy Prophet on the subject, and prayed for an injunction to enforce prohibition.
At Madina the following verse was revealed to the Holy prophet:

"They ask you about wine and games of chance. Say 'They lead to great sin, and have some use for men. But the sin inherent in them exceeds their usefulness." (2: 219)

The Holy Prophet informed Umar of this revelation. Umar said: 'Holy Prophet. This is not enough, pray to God for a specific injunction."

Some time later came another revelation, namely:
"Believers! wine, games of chance, idols, and diving arrows are abominations which are the handiwork of the Devil. Avoid them so that you may prosper." (5: 90)

When Umar was informed of this revleation, he said: "Holy Prophet; this is a negative provision. Pray to God to give some positive injunction."

Then another verse was revealed which provided:
"The Devil intends that by means of wine, games of chance, he should provoke enmity and hatred among you; and stop you from remembering Allah and saying your prayers. Will you not keep them away from them?" (5: 91)

This verse provided the necessary sanction for the prohibition of drinking. In spite of this injunction many Muslims continued to indulge in drinking.
When Umar became the Caliph, and the Muslim conquests extended east and west, bringing prosperity to the Muslims, Umar felt that in order to safeguard the purity of faith some hard and fast policy about drinking should be laid down. While the Holy Qur'an provided specific punishments for some offences, no penalty was specified in the case of drinking. That made some of the wine bibblers take the plea that if God intended prohibition, the penalty for the offence would have been prescribed.

Umar convened a meeting of his Consultative Assembly to consider the question. The first question that was taken up for consideration was: whether the drinking of wine was lawful or unlawful. The verdict was that it was unlawful.

The next question was: if it was unlawful what should be the penalty therefore. Umar agreed that no penalty in this behalf had been laid down in the Holy Quran, but he held that a penalty therefore could be laid down on the basis of analogy keeping in view the penalty provided for offences of kindred character.

Ali argued that the offence of drinking was of the same species as calumny for under the influence of drink one was apt to say many things which he should not have otherwise said. In the case of calumny the Holy Quran provided punishment as follows:

"Give eighty lashes to each one,
Of those who accuse honourable women;
But do not support their accusation with four witnesses.
Do not accept their testimony,
For it is they who break the law."

Ali advised that for drinking the same penalty i. e. eighty lashes should be provided.

This advice was accepted by Umar. Umar issued orders to all concerned to the following effect:
"Drinking is banned under the Holy Quran. If any Muslim drinks and pleads that this was lawful then cut off his head for what he says is a violation of the Holy Word. If he says that it is unlawful but that he fell into error then give him eighty lashes publicly."

These instructions were enforced vigorously, and the Muslim society was practically rid of the evil of drinking.


When Islam appeared on the world stage, the world economy was based on slavery. Islam was the first religion to raise its voice against slavery. Among the early converts to Islam, many were slaves. Indeed one of the reasons for the hostility of the Quraish againt Islam was that they saw in Islam a hostile force to slavery on which the economy of Mecca was based.

When Umar became the Caliph of Islam, he took particular measures to eliminate the evils of slavery as far as possible. He took a very bold step when he declared that no Arab could be a slave. Arabia was thus the first country in the world, which under the impact of Islam abolished slavery. During the apostasy wars many Arabs had been taken captive and made slaves. Umar emancipated all such slaves.

Umar also decreed that slave women who had borne a child to her master stood emancipated.

The Holy Quran laid down:
If you see good in them (slaves), make agreement with them."
Umar implemented this injunction and laid down that a slave could make an agreement with the master that he would pay so much within the specified period to secure his freedom. Anas had a slave Sirin by name. The slave wanted to enter into an agreement with his master, but Anas refused. When the matter was reported to Umar, he made Anas enter into an agreement with his slave.

In the matter of stipends allowed by the state, Umar made no distinction between the master and the slave. The slaves were given the stipends on the same scale as their masters.
Umar issued orders that slaves could not be separated from their kindred. Under these orders the child was not to be separated from its mother. If there were two brothers it was obligatory that both of them should be purchased by one master.

Umar was considerate that when some very highly placed person was taken captive, he should be ransomed and not kept as a slave. When in Syria the daughter of the emperor Heraclius was taken captive, she was returned to her father. When in the battle of Babylon, Armanusa the daughter of Maqauqas was taken captive she was returned to her father.

In order to raise the status of slaves, Umar enjoined that the master should generally take meals with their slaves. Occasionally Umar invited slaves to dine with him. Umar said:

"The curse of God be upon those who feel ashamed to sit to meals with slaves."
Umar laid down that if a Muslim slave gave protection to a non-Muslim such protection was to be honoured like the protection given by any other Muslim.

Umar took pains to provide facilities to slaves to rise to position of importance in the State. During the caliphate of Umar Ikramah who came to be regarded as an Imam of Hadith was a slave. Nafi who was the teacher of Imam Malik was a slave. There were many other slaves who became eminent during the caliphate of Umar.

Umar's Control Of Sexuality Laxity

In the days of ignorance sexual laxity was the order of the day. Islam stood for reform in the moral and social fields, and condemned sexual laxity in all forms. Under Islam a limitation was placed on the number of wives one could marry. Such number was not to exceed four, and it was enjoined that all the wives should be treated alike with due justice. Lapidation was provided as the punishment for those found guilty of adultery.

When Umar became the Caliph he took further steps to rid the society of sexual laxity.
In the days of ignorance poetry was pressed into service as an instrument of moral laxity. The poets indulged in ribald poems. They named their sweethearts in their poems and by indulging in poetic licence compromised the honour and integrity of ladies. Then where ladies were no party to love the poets in their imagination made their beloveds return their love in passionate terms. Such poetry did considerable social harm, and disturbed domestic peace in many a home. Umar took cognisance of this unsocial practice. He commanded the poets not to mention the names of ladies in their poems. He also issued directions that the poets should not indulge in any versification calculated to encourage moral depravity. Where some poets inadvertently or otherwise contravened these instructions they were flogged or punished.

Mutah in some form or the other was permissible or at least not expressly forbidden before the time of Umar. Umar felt that Mutah "hereunder a man married a woman for a specified number of days amounted to disguised prostitution and this led to moral laxity. Umar accordingly passed an order prohibiting Mutah. He declared that it was open to a person to divorce a woman after regular marriage for any valid reason, but a marriage which was stipulated to be dissolved after a specified number of days was repugnant to the spirit of Islam which stood for stability of domestic homes. Umar elaborated that the purpose of marriage was to set up homes with a view to getting children and Mutah negated such objects. Moreover in the case of Mutah the children born of such union were to be subject to social disability which was detrimental to social order.

Under the Islamic law divorce was permissible. The Holy Prophet however took pains to explain that divorces which disrupted family life were distasteful to God. People were enjoined not to be hasty in the matter of divorce. Divorce could be effective only when three divorces were given. The idea was to provide some opportunity for reconciliation. When under Umar more countries were conquered and women from other countries became available for the Muslims, some Muslims resorted to the practice of announcing three divorces simultaneously. In order to put a stop to this unsocial practice Umar laid down that if a person gave three talaqs simultaneously such divorce would be irrevocable.

With the conquest of Iraq and Syria, Iraqi and Syrian women became available to the Muslims. Attracted by the beauty of these women, the Muslims divorced their Arab wives. That created a social crisis which led to sexual laxity. Umar accordingly ordered that marriages with foreign ladies should be permitted under exceptional circumstances. Hudhaifa was the administrator of al Madina and he married a Christian beauty of Iraq. When this was brought to the notice of Umar he required Hudhaifa to divorce the Christian beauty, Hudhaifa said that he would not comply with the order unless he was told whether his marriage was unlawful or else; the Caliph referred to the authority under which he wanted him (Hudhaifa) to divorce his legally wedded wife. Umar wrote to say that the marriage he had contracted was not unlawful, but he had been advised to divorce the Christian beauty as it was bound to adversely affect the interests of Arab ladies. Moreover if the Muslims married non-Muslim ladies merely for tbeir beauty that would encourage sexual laxity. Thereupon Hudhaifa divorced his Christian wife.

Besides four lawful wives Islam permitted any man to take over any number of slave girls to bed. These slave girls were to be the property of the Master and he could sell them any time. With the extension in conquests the number of available slave girls increased and Umar felt that this would promote sexual laxity. He ordered that Umm ul Walad that is such slave girls who bore children to their masters would stand emancipated. This had the effect that such women could no longer be treated as concubines and were to be given the status of regular wives or divorced when they could, as free women, marry other persons.

The Dhimmis

In the conquest of non-Muslim countries by the Muslims, the population which did not embrace Islam were guaranteed life, liberty, and property and were called "Ah Al-Dhimma" or "Dhimmis" i.e. the People of the Covenant or Obligation.

In the treaties with the non-Muslims executed during the caliphate of Umar it was invariably provided that the life, liberty, and property of the non-Muslims who accepted to pay Jizyah was guaranteed.

In the treaty with the Christians of Jerusalem it was provided: "The protection is for their lives, and properties, their Churches and Crosses. Their Churches shall not be used for habitation nor shall these be demolished, nor shall injury be done to their Crosses."

Umar took pains to uphold the principle that there is no compulsion in religion. Those non-Muslims who chose to become Muslims of their own accord were welcome, but there were no compulsory conversions. The Muslims were forbidden to interfere with the religious freedom of the Dhimmis.

The Dhimmis were treated as full citizens of the State. There was to be no discrimination between a Muslim and nonMuslims in the eyes of law. If a Muslim killed a Dhimmi he was subject to the same penalty as if he had killed a Muslim. The lands of the Dhimmis were left in their possession. Umar issued strict instructions that all assessments in the case of Dhimmis should be fair.
The Dhimmis were required to pay Jizyah, but this was in lieu, of their exemption from military duty. Where the Dhimmis performed military duty, Jizyah was not taken from them. When any non-Muslim was too poor to pay Jizyah he was exempted from the levy.

Umar allowed the Dhimmis to follow their own personal laws. In order to maintain the integrity of the Dhimmis Umar ordered that they should wear the dress which they used to wear before the conquest of their country bv the Muslims. They were required not to imitate the Muslims in the way of dress or otherwise. This order was issued not with a view to humiliating the Dhimmis in any way but to maintaining their cultural identity.

The Dhimmis were free to follow their religious practices but they were enjoined in their own interest not to carry such practices in any way offensive to the Muslims. The Christians were free to ring bells in their churches but in the interests of enmity between the two communities they were asked not to ring the bells at the time when the Muslims were offering prayers. The Christians were allowed to take out their crosses in processions but they were advised that such processions should avoid routes passing through settlements populated by Muslims. These restrictions did not in any way interfere with the liberty of the Dhimmis. These were in their direct interests in as much as thereby the risk of any conflict with the Muslims on sentimental grounds was eliminated.

Umar issued strict instructions to his officers that the covenants with the Dhimmis should be enforced in letter as well as in spirit. These instructions provided:
"Forbid the Muslims to do any injustice to the Dhimmis. No harm should be done to them in any way."

Even on his death bed, Umar thought of the State's responsibility to the Dhimmis. In his bequest to his successor he said:
"My bequest to my successor is that covenants with the Dhimmis should be observed faithfully. They should be defended against all invasions. No injustice should be done to them. They should be treated as full fledged citizens and should enjoy equality before law. Their taxes should be fair, and no burden should be imposed on them which they cannot bear."

Allowances And Stipends For The Muslims

After the battles of Yermuk and Qadisiyya the Muslims won heavy spoils. The coffers at Madina became full to the brim and the problem before Umar was as to what should be done with this money. Some one suggested that money should be kept in the treasury for the purposes of public expenditure only. This view was not acceptable to the general body of the Muslims. Concensus was reached on the point that whatever was received during a year should be distributed.

The next question that arose for consideration was as to what system should be adopted for distribution. One suggestion was that it should be distributed on ad hoc basis and whatever was received should be equally distributed. Against this view it was felt that as the spoils were considerable that would make the people very rich. It was therefore decided that instead of ad hoc division the amount of the allowance to the stipend should be determined before hand and this allowance should be paid to the person concerned regardless of the amount of the spoils. This was agreed to.

About the fixation of the allowance there were two opinions. There were some who held that the amount of the allowance for all Muslims should be the same. Umar did not agree with this view. He held that the allowance should be graded according to one's merit with reference to Islam.
Then the question arose as to what basis should be used for placing some above others. Suggested that a start should be made with the Caliph and he should get the highest allowance. Umar rejected the proposal and decided to start with the clan of the Holy Prophet.

Umar set up a Committee to compile a list of persons in nearness to the Holy Prophet. The Committee produced the list clan wise. Bani Hashim appeared as the first clan. Then the clan of Abu Bakr was put and in the third place the clan of Umar was put. Umar accepted the first two placements but delegated his clan lower down in the scale with reference to nearness in relationship to the Holy Prophet.

The members of the clan of Umar objected to the order of Umar but he rebuked them saying; "You desire that you should stand on my neck and deprive me of my good deeds. I cannot permit that."
In the final scale of allowance that was approved by Umar the main provisions were:

(1) The widows of the Holy Prophet received 12,000 dirhams each;
(2) Abbas the uncle of the Holy Prophet received an annual allowance of 7,000 dirhams;
(3) The grandsons of the Holy Prophet Hasan and Hussain got S,OOO dirhams each;
(4) The veterans of Badr got an allowance of 6,000 dirhams each;
(5) Those who had become Muslims by the time of the Hudaibiya pact got 4,000 dirhams each;
(6) Those who became Muslims at the time of the conquest of Mecca got 3,000 dirhams each;
(7) The veterans of the apostasy wars got 3,000 dirhams each.
(8) The veterans of Yermuk and Qadisiyya got 2,000 dirhams each!

In announcing this scale Umar said:
"I have decided the scale according to merit by entry into Islam and not by position."

In this award Umar's son Abdullah got an allowance of 3,000 dirhams. On the other hand Usama got 4,000. Abdullah objected to this distinction and Umar said:
"I have given Usama more than you because he was dearer to the Holy Prophet than you and his father was dearer to the Holy Prophet than your father."

Umar's Criteria For Appointment As Governors

In order to maintain the integrity of administration, Umar laid down very difficult criteria for the selection of candidates for appointment as Governors. Some accounts have come down to us which show how scrupulous was Umar in choosing his Governors.

It is related that once Umar decided to appoint a Governor. The Governor-designate came to Umar to get his orders of appointment. Umar asked his Secretary to draft the order. As the order was being drafted a younger son of Umar came and sat in his lap. Umar caressed the child. Thereupon the Companion said, "Amir ul Muminin your children come to you freely, but my children do not dare to come near me". Thereupon Umar said, "If your own children are afraid of you, the people will be still more afraid of you. The oppressed will hesitate to bring forward their complaints to you. As such you are not fit to be a Governor, and the orders about your appointment as Governor stand cancelled."

Once Umar thought of appointing a Companion as Governor. Before the orders of appointment were issued that Companion called on Umar and solicited appointment as a Governor. Umar said:
"I was going to appoint you as a Governor on my own account, but now that you have yourself asked for this appointment, I think you are not fit for the office. As you have asked for the office I fear you will use it as an office of profit and I cannot allow that. I would appoint only such men who regard such office as a burden to he entrusted to them in the name of Allah."

The appointment of Governor for Kufa became a matter of great headache for Umar. If he appointed a man who was harsh and stern the people complained against him. If he appointed a soft hearted man, the people took advantage of his leniency. Umar wanted his comrades to advise him regarding the selection of a right man for the office of the Governor of Kufa. One man rose up to say that he could suggest a man who would be the fittest person for the job: Umar enquired who was he, and the man said,", Abdullah bin Umar" Umar said, "May God curse you, you want that I should expose myself to the criticism that I have appointed my son to a high office. That can never be".

Around Umar there were such prominent persons as Usman Ali, Zubair, Talha and others. Umar did not offer them any office. Some one asked Umar why did he not appoint such prominent persons as Governors. Umar said, "These notables occupy a high status because of their virtues and other qualities. I do not appoint them as Governors lest for any lapse they may lose the prominence they enjoy at present."

Once the post of the Governor of Hems fell vacant, and Umar thought of offering it to Ibn Abbas. Umar called Ibn Abbas and said, "I want to appoint you as the Governor of Hems, but I have one misgiving." "What is that", asked Ibn Abhas. Umar said, "My fear is that some time you would be apt to think that you are related to the Holy Prophet, and would come to regard yourself above the law." Ibn Abbas said, "When you have such a misgiving I would not accept the job." Umar then said, "Please advise me what sort of man should I appoint." Ibn Abbas said, "Appoint a man who is good, and about whom you have no misgiving".

Some one asked Umar, "What is your criterion for selecting a man for appointment as a Governor?" Umar said, "I want a man who when he is among men should look like a chief although he is not a chief, and when he is a chief, be should look as if he is one of them."
Political Administration

Under Umar the country was divided into number of provinces. Historians differ about the exact number of provinces. Some say that the number of provinces was eight, while there are others who give a higher figure.

From the information that has come down to us, it appears that:
(1) Arabia was divided into two provinces, Mecca and Madina;
(2) Iraq was divided into two provinces, Basra and Kufa;
3) In the upper reaches of the Tigris and the Euphrates, Jazira was a province;
(4) Syria was a province;
(5) Umar divided Palestine in two provinces Aylya and Ramlah;
(6) Egypt was divided into two provinces, Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt;
(7) Persia was divided into three provinces, Khurasan; Azarbaijan and Fars.
Each province was in turn divided into districts. The exact number of districts is not known. In Persia alone the number of districts was 47. The total number of districts in the country must thus be around 100.
Each province was under the charge of a Governor or Wali. Other officers at the provincial level were:
(1) Katib, or Chief Secretary;
(2) Katib-ud-Diwan; Secretary, Army;
(3) Sahib-ul-Kharaj; Revenue Collector;
(4) Sahib-ul-Ahdath; Police Officer;
(5) Sahib-ul-Bait-ul-Mal, Treasury Officer
(6) Qadi, the Chief Judge.

In some districts there were separate military officers, though the Wali was in most cases the Commander-in-chief of the army quartered in the province.
During the Caliphate of Umar some of the notable Governors were:

(1) Abu Ubaidah was the Governor of Syria.
(2) Yazid b Abi Sufyan became the Governor of Syria after the death of Abu Ubaidah.
(3) Amir Mu'awiyah became the Governor of Syria after the death of his brother Yazid.
(4) Amr b. al-Aas was the Governor of Egypt.
(5) Saad b Abi Waqqas was the Governor of Kufah.
(6) Utbah b Ghazwan was the Governor of Basra.
(7) Abu Musa Ashari succeeded Utbah as the Governor of Basra.
(8) Itab b Usaid was the Governor of Mecca;
(9) Ayyad b Ghanam was the Governor of Jazira.

For every district, there were two main office holders, namely:
(l) Amil who was the main executive and responsible for the general administration; and
(2) Qadi responsible for the administration of justice.

Every appointment was made in writing. On appointment every officer was given an instrument of instructions in which his powers and duties were specified. On arrival at the headquarters of his charge, the officer in question was required to assemble the people and read the instrument of instructions before them. In this way the public became aware of the powers and obligations of the officers concerned, and could call them to account for any sins of omission or commission.
Umar's general instructions to his officers were: "Remember, I have not appointed you as commanders and tyrants over the people. I have sent you as leaders instead, so that the people may follow your example. Give the Muslims their rights and do not beat them lest they become abused. Do not praise them unduly, lest they fall into tht error of conceit. Do not keep your doors shut in their faces, lest the more powerful of them eat up the weaker ones. And do not behave as if you were superior to them, for that is tyranny over them."

At the time of appointment, every officer was required to make the promise:
(1) that he would not ride a Turkish horse;
(2) that he would not wear fine clothes;
(3) that he would not eat sifted flour;
(4) that he would not keep a porter at his door; and
(5) that he would always keep his door open to the public.
At the time of appointment a complete inventory of all the possessions of the person concerned was prepared and kept in record. If there was an unusual increase in the possessions of the office holder, he was immediately called to account, and the unlawful property was confiscated by the State.

The principal officers were required to come to Mecca on the occasion of the Hajj. In public assembly Umar invited all who had any grievance against any office to present the complaint. In the event of complaints inquiries were made immediately and grievances redressed on the spot.
Explaining the functions of the officers, Umar said: "Brethren, officers are appointed not that they should slap you in your faces and rob you of your properties, but in order that they should teach you the way of the Prophet of Allah. So, if any officer has acted contrary wise, tell me that I might avenge it."

A special office was established for the investigation of complaints that reached the Caliph every now and then against the officers of the State. The Department was under the charge of Muhammad b Maslamah Ansari a man of undisputed integrity. In important cases Muhammad b Maslamah was deputed by Umar to proceed to the spot, investigate the charge and take action. Sometimes an Inquiry Commission was constituted to investigate the charge. On occasions the officers against him complaints were received were summoned to Madina, and put to explanation by the Caliph himself.

In order to minimise the chances of corruption, Umar made it a point to pay high salaries to the staff. Provincial governor received as much as five thousand rupees a month besides their shares of the spoils of war.

Land Administration

As a consequence of conquests on a large scale in Iraq and Persia and elsewhere a question arose as to the administration of land in the conquered territories. The Arabs followed the maxim, "Spoils belong to the victors". On this basis all spoils that were won as a result of any victory were distributed to the extent of four-fifth among the conquering army, and one-fifth was sent to Madina as the State share. On this analogy the army insisted that all agricultural lands should be distributed among the conquering army, and the inhabitants should be made their serfs and slaves.

Umar convoked a special assembly at Madina to consider the question from all aspects. Eminent companions like Abdur Rahman b Auf and others supported the viewpoint of the army. They argued that the lands belonged to the conquerors, and future generations had no right to them. Bilal was so vehement in the support of the demand of the army that Umar had to exclaim "May Allah save me from Bilal."

At the assembly Umar argued that as the conquering army had already had the spoils distributed among them that was enough and the land should belong to the State. Umar advanced the argument that if the lands in the conquered territories were divided up among the army, wherefrom would they get the necessary finance for the raising and equipment of the armies in future for defence against foreign aggression and for the maintenance of law and order within the country.

Ali, Usman, and Talha supported Umar but still no decision could be reached. Then Umar recollected Sura Al-Hashr which spoke of the poor who had fled, and of those to come thereafter. From these verses Umar inferred that lands were assets in which even the coming generations were interested and as such these should be the property of the State. These verses proved decisive and a concensus was reached:

(1) that the lands conquered would be the property of the State and not that of the conquering forces;
(2) that the former occupants of lands would not be dispossessed;
(3) that they should continue in possession of tbe lands and pay specified taxes to the State.

That was a wise decision attribute to the genius of Umar. Umar took settlement operations in a scientific way. In Iraq his Settlement Commissioners were Usman b Hanif and Hudhaifah b al-Yaman. These Settlement Commissioners measured land in Iraq with such care and precision as one measures cloth. Iraq measured 375 miles long and 240 miles wide with a superficial area of 30,000 square miles. The royal dynasty's estates, endowments of fire temples, and the estates of those who had died heirless or fled the country were declared state property. The rest of the lands were left in the possession of their former occupants and assessed to land revenue per jarib according to the nature of crops sown. These rates were: wheat two dirhams per jarib per year; barley one dirham; sugar cane six dirhams; cotton five dirhams; grapes ten dirhams; date palm gardens ten dirhams and so on. In the first year the income from State land amounted to seventy lakh dirhams. Land revenue assessment under private occupation worked out at 86 million dirhams.

The whole settlement was carried out in such a way that fresh lands were extensively brought under cultivation, and the land produce increased extensively. In the year following the settlement the land revenue increased from 86 million dirhams to 100 million dirhams.

In other conquered countries no special settlements were carried out. In such countries the existing systems continued and the records in existence were adopted. In Iraq and Persia the records were kept in Persian. Umar allowed the records to be kept in Persian even after their conquest by the Muslims. In Syria the previous records were kept in Latin, and in Egypt in the Coptic. In all such cases status quo was allowed to continue.

Under the Pharaohs taxes on land in Egypt could be paid in cash or kind, and the settlement was for a period of four years at a time. When the Romans occupied Egypt the same system continued but besides the normal land revenue they levied additional levies "hereunder large quantities of grain were collected for presentation to the authorities at Constantinople. Umar abolished the additional levies and the system in vogue under the Pharaohs was allowed to continue. The rules about the method of collection were made simpler and milder.

In the time of Umar the land revenue Army

In the early days of Islam there was no standing army. On the occasion of any battle contingents were raised from the various tribes and these were disbanded when the battle was over. No regular salaries were paid. Those who fought were compensated by distributing the spoils of war among them.

Umar was the first Muslim ruler to organise the army as a State Department. This reform was introduced in 637 A.D. A beginning was made with the Quraish and the Ansars and the system was gradually extended to the whole of Arabia. A register of all adults who could be called to war was prepared, and a scale of salaries was fixed.

The scale was:
(l) Those who had fought in the battle of Badr 5,000 dirhams.
(2) Those who had fought in the battle of Uhud 4,000 dirhams.
(3) Those who had migrated before the conquest of Mecca 3,000 dirhams.
(4) Those who had embraced Islam at the time of the conquest of Mecca 2,000 dirhams
(5) Those who had fought in the battles of Yermuk or Qadissiya 2,000 dirhams.
(6) For the Yamanites 400 dirhams
(7) Those who had fought after the battles of Yermuk and Qadissiya 300 dirhams.
(8) The rest 200 dirhams

All men registered were liable to military service. They were divided into two categories, namely:
(l) those who formed the regular standing army; and
(2) those who lived in their homes, but were liable to be called to the colours whenever needed.

For the purpose of army administration, Umar established Military Centres which were called 'Jund'. These Centres were set up at Madina; Kufa; Basra; Mosul; Fustat; Damascus; Jordan; and Palestine. At these centres barracks were built for the residence of troops. Big stables were constructed where four thousand horses fully equiped were kept ready for service at short notice at every Military Centre. All records pertaining to the army were kept at Military Centres. Food stores of the commissariat were kept at these places and therefrom sent to other places.

In addition to Military Centres, cantonments were established in big towns and places of strategic importance.

Under the Army Department, there was a separate Commissariat Department. All the food stores were collected at one place, and from there disbursed on the first ot every month.
Pay and Bhatta were disbursed at different times. The pay was paid in the beginning of the Mohurram. The Bhatta was paid in spring and some extra allowances were paid during the harvesting season.

Every tribal unit had its leader called Arifs. Such units if under Arifs were grouped and each group was under a Commander called Umar-ul-Ashar.

Promotions in the army were made on the strength of the length of service or exceptional merit.
Expeditions were undertaken according to seasons. Expeditions in cold countries were undertaken during the summer, and in hot countries in winter. In spring the troops were generally sent to lands which had a salubrious climate and a good pasturage.

Much thought was given to climate and sanitation in the lay out of cantonments and the construction of barracks. Special provisions were made for roads and streets in cantonments, and Umar issued instructions prescribing the width of roads and streets.

When the army was on the march, it always halted on Fridays. When on march, the day's march was never allowed to be so long as to tire out the troops. The stages were selected with reference to the availability of water and other provisions.

Leave of absence was given to army men at regular intervals. The troops stationed at far off places were given leave once a year and some time twice.

Each army corps was accompanied by an officer of the treasury, an Accountant, a Qazi, and a number of interpretors besides a number of physicians and surgeons.
Umar issued instructions laying stress on the teaching of four things to the soldiers, namely: horse-racing; archery; walking barefoot, and swimming.

On the battlefield the army was divided into sections. These sections were:
(1) Qalb or the centre;
(2) Maqaddamah or the vanguard;
(3) Maimanah or the right wing;
(4) Maisarah or the left wing;
(5) Saqah or the rear;
(6) Rid-extreme rear

Other components were:
(1) Talaiah or patrols to keep watch over the movements of the enemy;
(2) Ra'id or foraging parties,
(3) Rukban or the camel corps;
(4) Farsan or the cavalry;
(5) Rajil or the infantry;
(6) Ramat or the Archers.

According to instructions every soldier was required to keep with him several things of personal need. These included among other things needles, cotton, twine, scissors, and a feeding-bag.
Catapults were used extensively in siege operations. Under Umar another machine employed in siege operations was Dabbabah. It was a wooden tower which moved on wheels and consisted of several storeys. The tower was wheeled up to the foot of the fort under siege, and then the walls were pierced by stone throwers' wall-piercers and archers who manned the Dabbabah.
Under the instructions of Umar, suitable arrange, meets were made for the clearance and construction of roads, and bridges. These operations were usually performed by the conquered people under the supervision of the Muslim army.

A remarkable feature of the army organisation under Umar was that he had complete control over the army at all times as if he were present in person at every field. The control was facilitated because of the sense of awe and majesty that the person of Umar inspired. The espionage and intelligence services in the army were well organised. Reporters were attached to every unit, and they kept the Caliph fully informed about everything pertaining to the army.
Under Umar vast conquests were made in Iraq, Persia, Syria, and Egypt and this speaks for the efficiency of the army and the military organisation collected from Egypt amounted to twelve million dinars.

Judicial Administration

Umar took particular pains to provide effective and speedy justice for the people. He set up an effective system of judicial administration, "hereunder justice was administered according to the principles of Islam.

Qadis were appointed at all administrative levels for the administration of justice. Umar was the first ruler in history to separate judiciary from the executive. The Qadis were chosen for their integrity and learning in Islamic law. High salaries were fixed for the Qadis so that there was no temptation to bribery. Wealthy men and men of high social status were appointed as Qadis so that they might not have the temptation to take bribes, or be influenced by the social position of any body. The Qadis were not allowed to engage in trade. Judges were appointed in sufficient number, and there was no district which did not have a Qadi.

Umar issued 'Farmans' from time to time laying down the principles for the administration of justice. In one of the Farmans issued to Judicial Officers, Umar laid down the following principles:
"Praise to God.
Verily justice is an important obligation to God and man. You have been charged with this responsibility. Discharge the responsibility so that you may win the approbation of God and the goodwill of the people.

Treat the people equally in your presence, in your company, and in your decisions, so that the weak despair not of justice, and the high-placed have no hope of your favour.
The onus of proof lies on the plaintiff. He who denies must do so on oath. Compromise is permissible, provided it does not turn the unlawful into lawful, and the lawful into unlawful. Let nothing prevent you from changing your previous decision if after consideration you feel that the previous decision was incorrect.

When you are in doubt on a question and find nothing about it in the Quran or in the Sunnah of the Prophet, think over the question over and over again. Ponder over the precedents and analogous cases, and then decide by analogy.

A term should be fixed for the person who wants to produce witnesses. If he proves his case, get him his right. Otherwise, the suit should be dismissed.
All Muslims are reliable, except those who have been punished with flogging, or who have borne false witness or are doubtful in integrity."

History has preserved the names of some of the eminent persons who held judicial office during the caliphate of Umar.

Zaid bin Thabit was appointed by Umar as the Qadi of Madina. He was well versed is Syriac and Hebrew, and was an expert in civil law.

Ka'b-b. Sur al-Azdi was the Qadi of Basra. He was a man of keen insight and wide learning. Many of the dicta laid down by him became classical and were reported by Imam Ibn Sirin.
Ibada b. al-Samat was the Qadi of Palestine. He was one of the five men who had memorised the Holy Quran in the lifetime of tbe Holy Prophet. Umar held him in great esteem.

Abdullah b Masud was the Qadi of Kufa. He was a man of great scholarship and judicial acumen. He is considered the Father of the Hanafi law.

Qadi Shuraih succeeded Abdullah b Masud as the Qadi of Kufa. He was well known throughout the country for his intelligence and keen sense of judgment. He was regarded as a model Judge. Ali used to call him 'Aqd-ul-Arab'-i.e. the most judicious of all the Judges of Arabia.
About Qadi Shuraih's appointment as a Judge there is a story on record. It is related that Umar purchased a horse on approval, and gave it to somebody to try it. The horse got hurt in the ride, and Umar wanted to return it, but the owner refused to take it back. In the dispute that arose as a consequence, Shuraih was chosen as the arbitrator. He gave the verdict that if the horse was ridden with the permission of the owner it could be returned; otherwise not. Umar said that that was the right decision and at once appointed Shuraih as the Qadi of Kufa.

Public Treasury and Coins

In the time of the Holy Prophet there was no public treasury. Whatever revenues or other amounts were received were distributed immediately. There were no salaries to be paid, and there was no state expenditure. Hence the need for the treasury at public level was not felt.

In the time of Abu Bakr as well there was not treasury. Abu Bakr earmarked a house where all money was kept on receipt. As all money was distributed immediately the treasury generally remained locked up. At the time of the death of Abu Bakr there was only one dirham in the public treasury.

In the time of Umar things changed. With the extension in conquests money came in larger quantities, Umar also allowed salaries to men fighting in the army. In A.D., Abu Huraira who was the Governor of Bahrain sent a revenue of five lakh dirhams. Umar summoned a meeting of his Consultative Assembly and sought the opinion of the Companions about the disposal of the money. Most of tbe Companions advised immediate distribution of the money. Usman advised that the amount should be kept for future needs. Walid bin Hisham suggested that like the Byzantines separate departments of Treasury and Accounts should be set up.

After consulting the Companions Umar decided to establish the Central Treasury at Madina. Abdullah bin Arqam was appointed as the Treasury Officer. He was assisted by Abdur Rahman and Muiqib. A separate Accounts Department was also set up and it was required to maintain record of all that was spent.

Later provincial treasuries were set up in the provinces. After meeting the local expenditure the provincial treasuries were required to remit the surplus amount to the central treasury at Madina. According to Yaqubi the salaries and stipends charged to the central treasury amounted to over three crore dirhams.

In most of the histories of the Muslim period it is stated that among the Muslim rulers, the Umayyad Caliph Abdul Malik bin Marwan was the first to strike coins. Further historical research has established that Umar has the distinction of being the first Muslim ruler to strike Islamic coins.

It is stated in Maqrizi's Kitab-ul-Nuqad ul-Islamia and Mawardi's Al-Ahkam us-Sultaniyah that Islamic coins were first struck by Umar. Umar struck the coins of dirhams. The coins of Umar resembled the coins of Anusherwan. These, however, bore the legends "Praise to Allah"; "Muhammad is the Apostle of Allah"; and "There is no god but Allah".

According to Mawardi when Persia was conquered three types of coins were current in the conquered territories, namely Baghli of 8 dang; Tabari of 4 dang; and Maghribi of 3 dang. Umar made an innovation and struck an Islamic dirham of 6 dang.

Umar and Hadith

During his lifetime the Holy Prophet pronounced on various matters. When any one met with a problem he went to the Holy Prophet for his verdict. Such decisions remained know to the persons concerned and were not publicised. As such the decisions of the Holy Prophet remained wide spread. The traditions were not compiled in any compendium and as such the sources remained scattered. In view of the diffusion of resources there grew the risk that some traditions reported might be spurious or coloured with the views or prejudices of the narrator.

Umar was the first to realise the necessity of the proper sifting of the traditions. Umar accordingly founded the science of Hadith. The practice with Umar was that if any new problem cropped up, Umar announced in the public assembly the point at issue, and inquired if any of them remembered any tradition of the Holy Prophet on the subject. Those who narrated any tradition were required to produce some witnesses in support of the tradition. If such statement was duly corroborated and was in accordance with the spirit of the Holy Quran as well as common sense it was adopted and applied to the facts of the case in hand. In this way a rich corpus of Hadith was built up. These were recorded and copies were supplied to all provinces for guidance. Umar deputed experts in Hadith to various provinces to educate the provincial officers in Hadith.
Umar classified the traditions in two broad categories. One category of traditions pertained to religious, moral and social affairs pertaining to the community at large. These matters emanated from the prophetic mission of the Holy Prophet. The other traditions revolved round the person of the Holy Prophet and pertained to his words and deeds as a human being. Umar distinguished between these two categories and took care to ensure that these two categories did not get mixed up. All matters falling in the first category were binding and had the status of law. The matters falling in the second category remained as ideals to be followed, but these did not have the status of law. Umar took particular care to disseminate all traditions falling in the second category. The traditions in the second category were sparingly reported or publicised.

Umar was alive to the danger that whatever was ascribed to the Holy Prophet, right or wrong would obtain currency and venerable acceptance. Umar evolved principles on the basis of which the traditions were to be accepted. The basic principles were:

(1) The report should be literally faithful;
(2) Every Hadith narrated should carry with it the name of the narrator and the chain of narrators;
(3) The narrators must be men of proven faith and integrity;
(4) In judging the veracity of a report the occasion and circumstances involved should be taken into consideration;
(5) The report should not be repugnant to the Holy Quran;
(6) The report should be rational.

There was some dispute about the number of takbirs to be said in funeral prayers. Sufficient evidence was adduced to the effect that the Holy Prophet offered four takbirs. It was accordingly laid down by Umar that in funeral prayers four takbirs should be said. The matters regarding bath for sexual impurity, Jizyah to be levied on Magians and other allied matters were decided in the light of authentic traditions of the Holy Prophet.

It is related that Abu Musa Ash'ari the Governor of Basra once came to see Umar and by way of permission said "Assalamulaikam". Umar was busy and did not pay attention to Abu Musa. Abu Musa repeated the greetings thrice and then went away. Umar had him recalled and enquired why he had gone away. Abu Musa said that he had heard the Holy Prophet say, "Ask permission thrice, and if you do not get permission go away". Umar asked for corroborative evidence in support of the tradition. Abu Musa produced the evidence and the tradition was accepted as a guide.

In the time of Umar a question arose whether a , woman who had been divorced but the divorce had not become I effective could remain in the house of her husband. A lady Fatima bint Qais stated before Umar that she had it on the authority of the Holy Prophet that such woman could no longer lodge with her husband. The Holy Quran clearly provided that such woman could lodge with her husband till the divorce became effective. Umar accordingly ruled: "We cannot abandon the Book of Allah on the word of a woman, for we do not know whether she remembers the tradition correctly or has forgotten it."

Lest the people should make mistakes in reporting Hadith direct from the Holy Prophet, Umar forbade the Companions to report direct from the Holy Prophet. Umar also enjoined that Hadith should not be mixed with the Quran. Lest there might be mistake in reporting. Umar enjoined, "Report sparingly from the Holy Prophet". When Umar was asked to quote traditions he would usually say "Had I not feared that I might make a mistake in reporting Hadith I would have quoted one." Umar emphasised that extra care should be taken to ensure that there was no mistake in reporting. The checks and restraints imposed by Umar on the reporting of traditions and the high standard of accuracy required by him paid dividends and all the traditions that were accepted and publicised were free from flaw.

Traditions On Religious Matters

Umar was very close to the Holy Prophet. He was very careful and cautious in reporting traditions. Over five hundred traditions are on record which are said to have been reported exclusively on the authority of Umar.

Some of the traditions on religious matters reported by Umar are noticed hereunder. The account is based on 'Sahih Bukhari'.

Umar said that he heard the Holy Prophet say:
"God created Adam, then passed His right hand over his back and brought forth from it his offspring saying 'I have created these for paradise and they will do the deeds of those who go to paradise'. He then passed his hand over his back and brought forth from it his offspring saying 'I have created these for hell and they will do the deeds of those who go to hell'." A man asked what was the good of doing anything. The Holy Prophet replied:

"When God creates a man for paradise He employs him in doing the deeds of those who will go to paradise, so that his final action before death is one of the deeds of those who go to paradise, for which He will bring him into paradise. But when He creates a man for hell He employs him in doing the deeds of those who will go to hell, so that his final actions before death are the deeds of those who go to hell, for which He will bring him into hell."

Umar stated that on the day of Khaibar some of the companions of the Holy Prophet stated that so and so were martyrs, but when they came to a man about whom they said "So and so is a martyr", the Holy Prophet declared "By no means. I have seen him in hell in a cloak which he took disbonestly."

The Holy Prophet asked Umar: "Go, Ibn al-Khattab and announce among the people three times that only the believers will enter paradise."
In compliance with these instructions, Umar went out and announced three times "Only the believers will enter paradise."
Umar reported the Holy Prophet as saying:

"Do not sit with those who believe in freewill and do not address them before they address you."
The Holy Prophet, according to Umar said:

"If any one performs the ablution completely, then says 'I testify that there is no god but God, and that Muhammad is His servant and messenger', the eight gates of paradise will be opened for him, and he may enter by whichsoever of them he wishes."

Umar said, "The Prophet saw me standing and passing water and said Umar do not pass water standing' and I never did it again."
The Holy Prophet said, "Do not wash in water which has been exposed to the sun for it produces leprosy."

The Holy Prophet said:
"If four persons give a good testimony about any Muslim, God will cause him to enter paradise."
The Holy Prophet was asked whether this would apply if three testified and he said it would they further asked if it applied if two testified and he said it would but they did not ask him about one.
Umar reported the Holy Prophet as saying:
"Should any one fall asleep and fail to recite his portion of the Quran or a part of it, if he recites it between the dawn and the noon prayer, it will be recorded of him as though he had recited it during the night."
Umar said:
"I heard Hisham b Hakim b Hizam reciting Sura al Furqan in a different way from my way of reciting it the way that God's Messenger had taught me. I nearly spoke sharply to him, but I delayed till he had finished, and then catching his cloak at the neck I brought him to God's Messenger and said: 'Messenger of God, I heard this man reciting Sura al Furqan in a manner different from that in which you taught me to recite it'. The Holy Prophet told me to leave him, and then turning to him asked him to recite. When he recited it in the manner in which I had heard him recite it, God's Messenger said, 'Thus was it sent down'. He then asked me to recite it, and when I had done so, he said 'Thus was it sent down'. I was surprised and the Holy Prophet said, 'The Quran was sent down in seven modes of reading, so recite according to what comes most easily."

About the Holy Quran, Umar reported the Holy Prophet as saying:
"By this Book, God exalts some people, and lowers others." Umar said that God's Messenger used to seek refuge in God from five things, namely:
(1) Cowardliness;
(2) Niggardliness;
(3) Evils of old age;
(4) Evil thoughts; and
(5) Punishment of the grave.
Umar reported the Holy Prophct as saying:
"Among God's servants there are people who are neither prophets nor martyrs but whose position in relation to God will be an object of desire by the prophets and martyrs on the day of resurrection."

The people wanted to know who were such people and the Holy Prophet said:
"They are people who have loved one another by reason of God's spirit, and were giving gifts to one another without being related or having common property. I swear that their faces will be light, and they will be placed upon light, neither fearing when men fear, nor grieving when men grieve."
Umar said that the Holy Prophet sent to Najd an expedition which took much booty and came back quickly.

A man who had not gone out said, "We have never seen an expedition return more quickly or bring finer booty than this one".

Thereupon the Holy Prophet said:
"Shall I not indicate to you people who have most excellent booty and a most excellent return? They are people who have been present at the morning prayer, then sat mentioning of God till the sun rose. They have the quickest return and the most excellent booty."

Umar stated that he heard God's Messenger say:
"Four rakaat before the noon prayer after the sun has passed the meridian are reckoned equivalent to a similar number at the dawn prayer. There is nothing which does not glorify God at that hour."
Umar said that then the Holy Prophet recited:
"Their shadows turn round from the right and the left prostrating themselves to God."
Umar said that he asked the Holy Prophet about the injunction:
"You may shorten your prayer if you fear those who are infidels may afflict you."
About this the Holy Prophet elaborated:
"It is an act of charity which God has done to you, so accept His charity."
About the call to prayer, Umar reported the Holy Prophet as saying:
"When the Muezzin says 'God is most great, God is most great', and you make the response 'God is most great, God is most great', then says 'I testify that there is no god but God', then says 'I testify that Muhammad is God's Messenger', and you make the response 'I testify that Muhammad is God's Messenger', then says 'Come to prayer', and you make the response 'There is no might and no power except in God', then says 'Come to salvation', and he makes the response 'God is most great; God is most great', then says There is no god but God', and if you say this from heart, you will go to paradise."

Umar and Fiqh

Umar was the founder of Fiqh or Islamic jurisprudence. Over one thousand juristic pronouncements of Umar are on record. All the four schools of law in Islamic jurisprudence follow the law laid down by Umar. The pronouncements of Umar are cited in the Musannaf of Ibn Abi Shaiba. These are also found in Shah Wali Ullah's book Faraq's Fiqh.

Umar not only declared the law; he also established principles of inference and construction and formulated rules therefor. He distinguished between the acts of the Holy Prophet performed in pursuance of his prophetic mission and the acts that he performed as an ordinary man. All that the Holy Prophet did in the first capacity was held by Umar to be binding and a basic source of law. In matters falling in the second category room remained for devising new laws to suit the changing conditions and circumstances.

Umar also laid down the principle of Qiyas or logical deduction. According to this principle when the Quran and the Hadith did not mention the details of law on any point, such law could be arrived at by logical deduction. In his instructions to his judicial officers Umar said:
"When you do not find a judgement on an issue in the Quran or Hadith and you are in doubt about it, ponder over the question and ponder again. Then look for dicta on like and similar issues, and decide accordingly."

In addition to these fundamental principles Umar enunciated numerous rules about inference and generalisation of laws which form the basis of Islamic jurisprudence,
When some one asked Umar's verdict on a mere academic question which had not actually arisen, Umar forbade people raising hypothetical propositions.
Umar held that one should not urinate standing.
Umar was asked whether one could perform the ablution with sea water. Umar answered the question in the affirmative.
Umar was asked whether one could perform ablution with water taken from a non-Muslim. Umar found no objection to such ablution.
Umar was asked whether one who has had sexual intercourse could perform Tayammum and offer prayers. Umar said that for him bath was essential.
Umar was very strict about the offering of prayers. He issued instructions to the provincial Governors that their foremost duty was the offering of prayer.
Umar was asked as to the time for the morning prayer. He said "In the shadow of the twinkling stars".
Umar held that the prayer of Zuhr should be delayed as far as possible and the prayer of Isha should be offered as early as possible.
Umar was asked: if the meals are ready and it is also the time for prayers, which should be given priority. Umar said "first take your meals".
When Umar saw a person offering prayer by the roadside he was advised to pray in the mosque.
Umar forbade the people to talk loudly in the mosque.
Umar enjoined that one should not come to the mosque having eaten some thing which produces a bitter smell.
Umar was very particular that when offering prayers in congregation the lines should be straight.
Umar held that journey on a Friday was not forbidden.
Umar enjoined that around a person on death bed one should recite the article of faith.
When one of the wives of Umar died Umar led the funeral prayers himself.
Umar held that in one's shroud three sheets were enough.
Umar ruled that on the occasion of a funeral prayers four Takbirs should be offered.
Umar held that in a garden those trees the fruit whereof was reserved for distribution among the poor were exempt from Zakat.
Umar held that if any thing was given as Sadaqa it could not be repurchased whatever the price or consideration.
Umar held that when a man was under debt, he should offer Zakat on the value of his property after deducting the amount of the debt.
Umar held that one should not fast unless he had seen the moon of Ramazan and he should not fast after he had seen the Eid moon.
Umar advised the people to keep a fast on the tenth of the Muharram.
Umar insisted that in the month of Hajj priority should be given to the Hajj and not to Umra.
Umar prohibited the sale of wine.
Umar held that one should not purchase anything already mortgaged with him.
Umar held that if one passed through a garden he could pick up fruit that had fallen on the ground.
Umar forbade Mutah.
Umar held that where three talaqs were announced simultaneously such divorce would be irrevocable.
Umar held that a slave woman who bore children to her master stood emancipated.
Umar held that justice should not be delayed.
Umar enjoined his officers to dispatch the State business expeditiously.
Umar held that in the court the Judge should not be praised.
All acts should be judged according to the test of public interest.
Any act which did not harm any one and was otherwise not forbidden under law was permissible.
In the famous Fidak case Umar held that the property which vested in the Holy Prophet vested after him in the State and not in his heirs.

Matters About Fiqh

Umar said:
"I provided a man with a horse to ride on God's path, but as he who had it did not look after it well, I wanted to buy it, and I thought he would sell it at a cheap price. I therefore asked the Prophet, but he said 'Do not buy it, and do not take back what you gave as Sadaqa even if he gives it to you for a Dirham, for the one who takes back what he gave as Sadaqa is like a dog which returns to its vomit."
Umar said:
"Once, captives came to the Holy Prophet among whom was a woman whose breast was oozing with milk. She was running and when she found a child among the captives she took him, put him to her breast and suckled him. Then the Prophet said to us 'Do you think this woman will cast her child into the fire?' We replied 'Not so long as she is in a position not to do so'. He said 'God is more merciful to His servants than this woman to her child."
Umar reported the Holy Prophet as saying:
"Gold for gold is usury unless both hand over on the spot; silver for silver is usury unless both hand over on the spot; wheat for wheat is usury unless both hand over on the spot; barley for barley is usury unless both hand over on the spot; dates for dates is usury unless both hand over on the spot."
Umar reported the Holy Prophet as saying:
"He who brings goods for sale is blessed with good fortune, but he who keeps them till the price rises is accursed."
Umar also reported the Holy Prophet as saying:
"If any one keeps grain from the Muslims waiting for the, price to rise, God will smite him with tubercular leprosy and insolvency."
Umar said:
"God sent Muhammad with the truth and sent down the Book to him, and the verse of stoning was included in what God Most High sent down. God's Messenger had people stoned to death and we have done it also since his death. Stoning is a duty laid down in God's Book for married men and women who commit fornication when proof is established, or if there is pregnancy, or a confession."
Umar said that a man called Abdullah whose nome-de-plume was 'ass' used to make the Prophet laugh. The Prophet had beaten him because of wine drinking, but when he was brought to him one day and he gave orders and had him beaten, and then one of those present said, "O God curse him; how often he is brought', the Prophet said, "Do not curse him. I swear by God that for all I know he loves God and His Messenger."
Umar reported the Holy Prophet as saying:
When you find that a man has been unfaithful with regard to spoils in God's way, burn his goods and beat him."
Umar stated that the Holy Prophet reserved three things exclusively to himself namely: the Banu an Nadir; Khaibar; and Fidak. The Banu an-Nadhir property was kept wholly for his own purposes. Fidak was kept for travellers. Khaibar was divided into three sections, two for the Muslims and one for the maintenance of his family. If anything remained after meeting the needs of his family, that was divided among the poor Muhajreen.

The Land Of Fidak

When during the lifetime of the Holy Prophet, the Muslims conquered Khyber, the Holy Prophet deputed Mahisa bin Masud Ansari to Fidak a neighhouring township to invite the inhabitants to Islam. The township was a Jewish settlement, the chief being a Jew Yusha bin Nun. After the fall of Khyber, the Jews of Fidak were in no mood to offer resistance. The Jews submitted, and offered to surrender one half of their land.

About the disposal of the land in Fidak, God revealed:
"What Allah has made this people (the Jews) to deliver,
To conquer which you did not lead any force,
Vests in the Apostle,
And Allah empowers His Apostles over whom He pleases."

The Holy Prophet accordingly reserved the land for himself. The proceeds from the property were utilised by the Holy Prophet for the maintenance of His family. These were also utilised for charity, and for the relief of those in distress.

After the death of the Holy Prophet Fatima as the successor of the Holy Prophet claimed the land at Fidak. Abu Bakr did not concede the claim. Abu Bakr declared that He had heard from the Holy Prophet that prophets leave no inheritable property and that all that they have is public trust.
Fatima died during the caliphate of Abu Bakr. After the death of Abu Bakr, Ali and Abbas lodged before Umar a claim to the land of Fidak. Umar upheld the decision of Abu Bakr. He held that the land was a reserve of the Holy Prophet, but it was a reserve for public purposes, and after his death the reserved vested in the State, and could not be claimed by his successors as if it was his personal property.
On this occasion, explaining his decision, Umar said:
"The Holy Prophet used to take from the land of Fidak the maintenance of his family for the year. The rest he spent in the way of Allah. This was the Holy Prophet's practice as long as he lived. When the Holy Prophet, on whom be peace and blessings, died, Abu Bakr said 'I am the successor of the Apostle of Allah'. So he took possession of land and used it as the Holy Prophet had used it. Then Abu Bakr died. Now I am the successor of Abu Bakr, and I have had the land in my possession for two years, and have done with it as the Holy Prophet, and Abu Bakr had done before."
The upshot of Umar's decision was that the land at Fidak was a public trust to which the ordinary law of inheritance did not apply.


When after the battle with Banu Nadir the lands of the Jews were occupied the question arose as to how such lands were to be distributed. To solve this issue, the following verse was revealed to the Holy Prophet:
"Whatever lands fall to you from the people of the town, they belong to Allah and the Apostle and orphans and the needy and the wayfarer and the poor among the Muhajreen who were driven from their homes, and for all those who come after."
During the caliphate of Umar when extensive conquests were made in Iraq and Syria, the combatants demanded that all agricultural funds left by the enemy should be distributed among them.
Umar convened an assembly at which this question was discussed. Abdul Rahman bin Auf, Zubair bin Al-Awam, and Bilal bin Rabah among others were strongly of the view that such lands should be distributed among the soldiers.
Umar observed that there were various aspects of the question and each aspect had to be taken into consideration carefully.
The economic aspect of the question was that if such lands were distributed no assets would be left with the state to provide the source of revenue for the future. Under the circumstances the best course was that such lands should be state property so that income accruing therefrom could be utilised for meeting the future needs.
The social aspect was that if such lands were distributed some people would get rich, while the others would remain poor. Those who have fought on various fronts would on that basis get lands in various countries and that would create great disparity among the ranks of the Muslims. That was repugnant to Islam.
Umar emphasised that in the verse of the Holy Quran on the subject (quoted above), the words 'and those that will come after,' were of particular significance. The implication was that such lands should remain state property so that the coming generations might also profit therefrom.
Umar elaborated:
"These lands belong to the coming generations and are therefore the property of the nation. How can I then distribute them among those who are present and deprive those who will come after."
The debate lasted for several days, and ultimately the concensus of opinion emerged in favour of the view advanced by Umar. According to the four schools of law that emerged subsequently three schools upheld the view taken by Umar. The school of Imam Shaf'i, however, insisted that the conquered lands should have been divided among the combatants.


Umar was the first Muslim ruler to levy Ushr. Ushr as the name implies was an import duty levied at ten per cent on the value of goods imported.
When the Muslim traders went to foreign lands for the purposes of trade they had to pay a ten per cent tax to the foreign states. Ushr was levied on reciprioal basis on the goods of the traders of other countries who chose to trade in the Muslim dominions.
Umar issued instructions that Ushr should be levied in such a way so as to avoid hardship. The tax was levied on merchandise meant for sale. Goods imported for consumption or personal use but not for sale were not taxed. The merchandise valued at two hundred dirhams or less was not taxed.
The instructions provided that the tax should be charged only on goods which were brought in openly, and the personal luggage was not to be searched.
When the citizens of the State imported goods for the purposes of trade, they had to pay the customs duty or import tax at lower rates. In the case of the Dhimmis the rate was five per cent and in the case of the Muslims 2 1/2 per cent. Tn the case of the Muslims the rate was the same as that of Zakat. The levy was thus regarded as a part of Zakat and was not considered a separate tax.
A story is told that a certain Christian of the Banu Taghlib tribe and a citizen of the Muslim state imported a horse. The horse was valued at 20,000 dirhams, and being a Dhimmi the import tax on the horse was assessed at 5 per cent, i.e. 1,000 dirhams. He paid the tax but then went out of the country on business riding that horse. He returned after some time, and the taxing authorities demanded the Ushr on the horse again. He represented that as he had already paid the tax, it was a case of hardship to pay the tax for the second time.
The Christian waited on Umar at Madina, and represented his case. Umar after hearing the case merely said, "Alright, you can go." The man thought that Umar had probably not agreed with his view point. He accordingly went to the tax authorities and expressed his willingness to pay the tax. The taxing authorities told him that they had already received instructions from Umar that when any goods had been subjected to Ushr, these should not be subjected to the tax on re-import within a year.
Hearing of this order, the Christian trader said, 'How just is Umar; verily the religion that he follows is the Truth." Thereupon he declared the article of faith and became a Muslim.

When Umar Was Put To Explanation

It was noon of a Friday. The faithful at Madina had gathered in the Prophet's mosque to offer the Friday prayers.

Umar, the Caliph arrived to lead the prayers. He said his preliminary prayer and then proceeded to deliver his address to the congregation. He began by reciting some verses from the Holy Quran. Then addressing the congregation he said "Now listen".
A young man from the congregation stood up to say, "We will not listen to you, until you give us the explanation that you owe to us."
The people were startled at this audacious interference. Umar paused for a moment, and then turning to the young man said, "Explanation for what?"
The young man said "The other day each one of us obtained a piece of cloth from the Baitul Mal. Today I find two pieces of cloth on the person of the Caliph. I want to know what right had the Caliph to get a share twice the share of an ordinary Muslim?"
Before Umar could explain Abdullah the son of Umar rose up and said, "Friends, the truth of the matter is that like every other person my father and myself obtained a piece of cloth each from the Baitul Mal. My father is so tall that the piece of cloth that he got from the Baitul Mal did not suffice him. So I gave him my piece of the cloth".
This explanation satisfied every one. The young man who had interrupted the Caliph said, "We are satisfied. You can now proceed with your address. We will listen to you and, obey your commands."
Turning to the audience Umar said, "What will you do, my friends, in case I deviate from the truth one day?"
Thereupon a man rose up and said, "When you wilfully deviate from the truth, we will withdraw our allegiance to you and I for one would feel it my duty to kill you with my sword."
The Caliph said with an apparent show of anger "Man, do you know to whom you are speaking?"
The man said, "Yes, I am talking to Umar, the Commander of the Faithful".
"Then how dare you threat him with your sword" said the Caliph.
The man said, "You are our Caliph and Commander as long as you follow the truth. When you deliberately deviate from the path of the truth you no longer command our allegiance. Then we have the right to kill you, because you lead us in the wrong way."
At this the face of Umar lit up, and a smile of satisfaction played on his lips. Raising his hands towards the heaven he said in a voice choked with emotion "Great Allah, I offer you my thanks that there is no dearth of men among the faithful who have the courage to lift the sword even against the head of Umar when he deviates from the Truth."
Turning to the faithful, Umar said: "I enjoin you to follow me as long as I follow Allah and his Prophet. When there is any deviation on my part correct me. If I deliberately deviate from the Truth do not follow me. Play that you and I may steadfastly keep to the path of the Truth enjoined by Islam."

Umar and Self Remorse

Once Umar was busy with some important affairs of the State, when a person came to him and, complaining about some petty grievance, asked for immediate redress.
Thus disturbed, Umar felt very much annoyed. He took the lash and struck the man saying:
"When I sit for redressing the grievances of the common men you do not come, and when I am engaged in other important work you come with your grievances to disturb me."
The person walked away in a sullen mood. When the man went away, Umar felt struck with remorse for having treated the man shabbily.
Umar ran after the man, and overtaking him handed him his lash and said:
"I have been hard on you and lashed you. You take this lash, and strike me so that the account may be squared."
The man was overwhelmed with the sense of justice of Umar. He said:
"O Commander of the Faithful, how can I raise my hand against you. I seek no revenge. I forgive you. May Allah forgive you."

Umar went home and offered a special prayer of repentance. He upbraided himself loudly:
"O Umar, you were low but Allah elevated you. You were wandering astray but Allah guided you. You were base but Allah ennobled you and gave you sovereignty over the people. Now one of them comes and asks you for requital for the harm done to him, and you beat him.
What answer would you give before Allah?"

Umar kept chiding himself long. Holding a straw in his hand he said:
"I wish, I were a straw like this." Turning to himself he said, "I wish my mother had not given birth to me."

The Man Who Came To Murder Became A Convert

By 638 A.D., the whole of Syria was under the occupation of the Muslims. Heraclius the Byzantine emperor had left Syria and withdrawn his forces. His parting words were:
"Farewell Syria, never again will I come to this beautiful land. What a fine country I am leaving for the enemy."

Some of the Christian Arabs felt grieved at the discomfiture of the Christians at the hands of the Muslims. In a spirit of fanaticism they vowed vengeance against the Muslims. Having failed to defeat the Muslims on the battlefield they decided to resort to underhand means and murder some high ranking Muslims. A Ghassanid Arab Wasiq by name undertook to murder Umar the Caliph of Islam.

Wasiq waited on Heraclius at Constantinople, and volunteered to rid the Byzantine emperor of his enemies. The scheme appealed to Heraclius. He paid Wasiq a huge sum and promised to pay much more when he succeeded in his mission. Thus patronised, Wasiq decided to proceed to Madina.
Arab as he was, Wasiq found no difficulty in coming over to Madina in cognito. He posed himself as a Muslim coming from the interior of the desert to pay a visit to Madina. Wasiq carried a poisoned dagger carefully hidden in the folds of his cloak. Having reached Madina, he was on the look out for a suitable opportunity when he could come face to face with the Caliph of Islam, and kill him with his dagger in an unguarded moment.

He had thought that the ruler of the Muslim state would be surrounded by heavy body-guards at all times and it would be difficult to reach him. He was surprised to learn in Madina that there were no body-guards around the Caliph of Islam. Wasiq felt happy that unguarded as the Caliph was, he could easily get an opportunity to fulfil his mission.

Wasiq waited for a suitable opportunity. One day at noon Wasiq found Umar sleeping under a tree, all alone and without any guard. There was no body near at hand. Wasiq thought that this was a golden opportunity for him and he could despatch the Caliph of Islam without any difficulty.
Cautiously with measured steps and hushed breath Wasiq stepped upto Umar and took his sword. He was about to plunge his sword in the body of Umar when his eyes fell on the face of Umar. The sight of the unadorned majesty of the pious Caliph sent a shudder through the body of Wasiq, and the sword dropped from his trembling hands. With the noise of the dropping of the sword, Umar opened his eyes. He was quick to take hold of the fallen sword and then rising up faced his would be assassin.

Wasiq fell at the feet of the Caliph, implored his forgiveness and embraced Islam.

Criticism Against Umar

One day in a Friday address Umar said that he had tried to serve Islam and the Muslims to the best of his capacity. He added that being a human being he was apt to make mistakes. He requested the faithful to point out his mistakes if any, so that he may correct himself.
After the prayers Umman bin Sawad stepped upto Umar and said that he wanted to apprise him of his mistakes. Umar invited him to come along to his house where they could talk over the matter at leisure.

Umman bin Sawad said that he had no intention of criticising the Caliph; as a well wisher he merely wanted to bring some points to his notice. Umar said that such observations and counsels were most welcome to him.

Umman bin Sawad said that he had four objections and these were:
(1) That Umar had prohibited Umra in the month of Hajj;
(2) That Umar had declared Mut'ah unlawful.
(3) That Umar had emancipated slave girls who bore their masters children.
(4) That Umar was harsh and stern.

Umar enquired whether these were all the objections against him or whether there were any other objections as well. Umman said that these were the only points of criticism against him.
About the first charge Umar said:

"I have not prohibited Umra. My only instructions are that in the month of Hajj priority should be given to Haj over the Umra. Some of the persons were prone to think that when they had performed the Umra that was enough and that thereafter Hajj need not be performed. Such a course was derogatory to Hajj and in order to preserve the integrity and sanctity of Hajj. I have merely instructed that in the month of Hajj, the pilgrims should concentrate on the Hajj. In the other months it is open to them to perform Umra."

About the Mutah, Umar said:

"Mutah was an ancient practice with the Arabs. The Holy Prophet did not like the practice though he tolerated it on some occasions due to special circumstances. Even then on at least two occasions he prohibited the practice. God has spoken of the sanctity of the marriage ties, and if the marriage is held sacred on one side and Mutah is allowed on the other that would be inconsistent. If Mutah is allowed that would be a sort of sanctioned prostitution. That is repugnant to Islam. If any person marries the idea is to establish a home. If a person marries for a few specified days that is foreign to the establishment of a home. Mutah is thus repugnant to Islam. If any person wants to dissolve the marriage after a few days it is open to him to give the divorce in the usual way. I have prohibited Mutah in the interests of the sanctity and integrity of Muslim homes. That is a social reform. There is no express injunction allowing Mutah and by disallowing it I have not contravened any provisions of Islamic law."

As regards the emancipation of slave girls, Umar explained:
"We have already laid down that no Arab can be a slave. If the slave girls were not emancipated there would have been the anomaly that while the children were free their mother was not free. Moreover for every marriage there is a dower. In the case of slave girls the dower is that when they become mothers they would be emancipated. This is a humanitarian reform strictly in accordance with the Spirit of Islam."

As regards the fourth charge Umar said:
"I am harsh and stern only for the wrong doer, the tyrant and the oppressor. For the weak and the meek I am never harsh or stern."

After hearing these explanations Umman bin Sawad said: "Verily Umar you have spoken the truth. You have done well in whatever you have done. You have acted in the interests of Islam. May God bless you. No blame rests on you."

The Eid Moon

Uqba bin Farqad was the Governor of Azarbaijan. It was the month of the Ramadan. When 29 fasts were over the faithful gathered to sight the Eid moon, but no moon was seen. Uqba bin Farqad accordingly ordered that the fast should be kept for the thirtieth day of the Ramdan as well.
The next day Uqba kept the fast, and went on tour in the interior of the country. The Governor said the noon prayers and then retired to rest. When he woke up, he was told that the new moon was visible in the sky. Uqba went out and he saw that though there were yet a few hours for the sun to set, the moon was visible in the sky.

On sighting the moon, the Governor summoned the Ulema and sought for their opinion about the observance of the fast ud the Eid. The concensus of opinion was that after the noon had been sighted the observance of the fast was not lawful. In deference to this opinion Uqba broke the fast before sunset and other Muslims did likewise.

A difficulty, however, arose about the celebration of the Eid. It was so late in the day that Eid could not be celebrated hat day. After consulting the Ulema Uqba decided that trough the fast was to be broken, the Eid was to be celebrated he following day.

As the issue involved an important question of religious aw, Uqba referred the case to Umar for the final verdict in matters concerning the sighting of the moon in daylight and the celebration of the Eid.

When the case was referred to Umar, he gave the following decision:
"When you see the moon in the earlier part of the day you should break the fast and celebrate the Eid. A moon appearing in the earlier part of the day is indicative of th fact that it actually appeared on the horizon the previous night, but for some reason could not be seen. When you see the moon in the later part of the day keep the fast an celebrate ibe Eid on the following day. Sometimes the moon is bigger and it becomes visible before the evening but it is not a moon of the previous day. It is really for the day to follow. Moon seen in the earlier part of the day belongs to the previous day and the moon seen in th later part belongs to the following day."

Umar's Attitude To Sinners

Some time in 639 A.D. the year of the famine and the plague some Muslims in Syria drank wine. When called to question, they argued that in the Holy Quran, no definite punishment was prescribed for drinking and as such they were not liable to any punishment. Abu Ubaida reported the matter to Umar.

In reply, Umar instructed Abu Ubaida to call the delinquents to the mosque and there before the congregation ask them whether they considered drinking lawlul or unlawful. If they considered it lawful they should be deemed to have apostasised and in that case they should meet thc penalty for apostasy namely death. If they held that drinking was unlawful then they should be inflicted eighty lashes. Umar explained that although the Holy Quran did not provide the penalty for drinking, it did not forbid the prescription of such penalty. The State could therefore in public interest prescribe a penalty. The State had after due deliberation provided a penalty of 80 lashes and this was in no way repugnant to Islam.

When the instructions of Umar were received at Emessa, Abu Ubaida called the delinquents to the mosque. These included Zarrar bin Azwar and Abu Jandal. There before the congregation Abu Ubaida put them the question whether they regarded drinking as lawful or unlawful. They held that they regarded it unlawful. Abu Ubaida then said that if they had done an unlawful thing they exposed themselves to punishment. They argued that no punishment was due as none had been prescribed by the Quran. Abu Ubadia explained in the terms of the instructions of Umar that when a person was guilty of an unlawful act, the State could prescribe a penalty. Abu Ubaida accordingly inflicted on the delinquents the punishment of eighty stripes.

The delinquents took the punishment to heart. Abu Jandal was particularly very disconsolate. He locked himself in his house and refused to come out and face the people. Abu Ubaida felt for him and reported the matter to Umar. Thereupon Umar wrote a conciliatory letter. He wrote:
"It is a fact that when you violate the principle of the unity of God, and create rivals to Allah the sin is too serious to be forgiven. Allah does not forgive this sin. As regards other sins God in His Mercy and Kindness forgives such sins when one is repentant. Allah says 'O my people, if you transgress and then repent do not despair of the mercy of Allah for He is Forgiving and Merciful."

In the letter Umar advised Abu Jandal to seek the forgiveness of Allah and come out of his house and attend to the affairs of the world as usual. To the general public Umar advised in the letter:
"Do not exult over the sins of others. Do not ridicule them. If they are repentant help them in the process of repentance so that Allah may forgive them."

When the letter of Umar was received, Abu Ubaida called Abu Jandal and other delinquents to the mosque and there read the letter of Umar before the gathering. The letter had the necessary solacing effect. The delinquents repented and then applied for being sent to some expedition on Jihad. Abu Ubaida sent them to fight and they fought with a sense of dedication.

Abu Sufiyan And Umar

Before the conquest of Mecca, Abu Sufiyan was the leader of the Quraish in Mecca. He was very hostile to Islam. He led the Quraish at the battle of Uhud. He was the leader of the Quraish at the battle of the Ditch. The Muslims suffered considerably at the hands of Abu Sufiyan. Umm Habiba a daughter of Abu Sufiyan, however, accepted Islam and was married to the Holy Prophet.
As Abu Sufiyan was the bitter enemy of Islam, Umar was very bitter against him. At the time of the conquest of Mecca when Abu Sufiyan came to the Muslim camp for negotiation, Umar sought the permission of the Holy Prophet to kill Abu Sufiyan. The Holy Prophet asked Umar to wait and watch further developments.

Thereafter Abu Sufiyan and all the Quraish of Mecca became Muslims. As Abu Sufiyan was an aristocrat, even after becoming a Muslim he could not get rid of his past arrogance.
In Madina a complaint was lodged before Umar against Abu Sufiyan. It was complained that Abu Sufiyan had constructed a house, and blocked the drainage so that the drainage water was diverted to the houses of neighbours thereby creating a nuisance and damaging such houses.

Umar decided that when he visited Mecca on the occasion of the Hajj he would see the site, and pass the necessary orders on the spot. When Umar came to Mecca he visited the site. It transpired that Abu Sufiyan had placed some stones in the drain in such a way that the flow of the sullage in the proper direction was obstructed and was instead diverted to the houses of the neighbours. Umar felt convinced that the conduct of Abu Sufiyan was not fair.

Umar summoned Abu Sufiyan and asked him to remove the stones so that the sullage should flow unobstructed. Abu Sufiyan contended that he had acted within right and as such was not going to comply with the orders of the Caliph. Umar flourished his whip and said, "Abu Sufiyan I command you to remove these stones forthwith, otherwise I will whip you, your status notwithstanding."
Without further contention, Abu Sufiyan removed the stones in the manner desired by Umar.

Thereupon turning his face to the Kaaba Umar said:
"Praise be to God, Who, because of the power of Islam, made an ordinary man like Umar dominate over a chief like Abu Sufiyan."

Abu Sufiyan said:
"All praise is due to God Who blessed me with the light of Islam which has shown me the true path, and made me bow before the truth".

Umar said:
"Abu Sufiyan! Congratulations, for Islam has shown you the true path."

Umar Marries A Milkmaid To his Son

One night, Umar as usual went in disguise with his comrade Ibn Abbas to see the condition of the people. They strolled from one quarter to another. At last they came to a colony where very poor people lived.

While passing by a small hutment, the Caliph heard a whispering talk within. The mother was telling her daughter that the amount fetched by her that day on account of the sale of milk was very little. She told her that when she was young, and used to sell milk, she always mixed water with milk, and that led to considerable profit. She advised her daughter to do the same.
The girl said, "You adulterated milk, when you were not a Muslim. Now that we are Muslims, we cannot adulterate milk."

The mother said that Islam did not stand in the way of he adulteration of milk.
The daughter said, "Have you forgotten the Caliph's order? He wants that the milk should not be adulterated."

The mother said, "But the Caliph has forgotten us. Were so poor, what else should we do but adulterate milk in order to win bread?"

The daughter said "Such a bread would not be lawful, and as a Muslim I would not do anything which is against he orders of the Caliph, and whereby other Muslims are deceived."
The mother said, "But there is neither the Caliph nor any of his officers here to see what we do. Daughter you are still a child. Go to bed now and tomorrow I will myself mix the milk with water for you."

The girl refused to fall in with the plan of her mother. She said, "Caliph may or may not be here, but his order is order, and it must be obeyed. My conscience is My Caliph. You may escape the notice of the Caliph and his officers, but how can we escape the notice of Allah and our own conscience?"

Thereupon the mother remained quiet. The lamp was extinguished and the mother and the daughter went to sleep.

The next day, Umar sent a man to purchase milk from the girl. The milk was unadulterated. The girl had kept her resolve.

Umar turned to his companion and said, "The girl has kept her resolve in spite of the exhortation of her mother. She deserves a reward. What reward should I give her?"
"She should be paid some money" said Ibn Abbas.

Umar said, 'Such a girl would become a great mother Her integrity is not to be weighed with a few coins; it is to be measured in the scale of national values. I shall offer her the highest award in my gift, and which shall also be in the highest interest of the nation."

The Caliph summoned the daughter and the mother to his court. The mother trembled as she stood before the mighty ruler. But the girl faced the Caliph boldly and with great equanimity. She was beautiful, and there was an impressive dignity about her.

Then before the gathering, Umar related how he had overheard the mother and the daughter, and how in spite of the exhortations of the mother the daughter had kept he resolve.

Someone suggested that the mother should be taken the task. The Caliph said that ordinarily he would have punished the mother, but he had forgiven her for the sake of he daughter. Turning to the girl the great Caliph said, "Islam needs daughters like you, and as a Caliph of Islam it devolve on me to reward you by owning you as a daughter".

The Caliph called his sons, and addressing them said "Here is a gem of a girl who would make a great mother. I desire that one of you should take this girl as wife. I know of no better bride than this girl of sterling character. In matters of wedlock, it should be the character, and not the stature in life that should count."

Abdullah and Abdur Rahman the elder sons of the Caliph were already married. Asim the third son was yet unmarried, and he offered to marry the girl. Thereupon with the consent of the milkmaid and her mother Asim was married to the girl, and the milkmaid became the daughter-in-law of the Caliph.

From this union was born a daughter Umm Asim, who became in due course the mother of Umar bin Abdul Aziz. Umar bin Abdul Aziz became a Caliph in due course.

While other Caliphs of the Ummayad dynasty revelled in luxury, Umar bin Abdul Aziz as a Caliph set up standards for austerity and simplicity following in the footsteps of Umar the second Caliph of Islam. It is said that if ever there was a noble Caliph after the 'Rightly guided Caliphs', such a man was Umar bin Abdul Aziz. And he inherited the noble qualities of the milkmaid who married the Caliph's son, and those of Umar Farooq who had the eye to discern the nobler qualities of sterling character in a poor girl.

Umar Flogs His Son To Death

Abu Shahma was a son of Umar. He fought in the battles in Egypt. After the conquest of Egypt he built a house for himself in Fustat.

One day in the company of a friend he inadvertently drank wine and became unconscious. The following day he went with his friend to Amr bin Al Aas, confessed their guilt, and wanted to be punished. Amr bin Al Aas said that as they had drunk the wine inadvertently, and were feeling repentant, that was enough and no further punishment was called for.

Abu Shahma did not wish to avail of the benefit of inadvertence. He insisted that he should be punished according to law, failing which he would bring the matter to the notice of the Caliph. Thereupon Arm bin Al Aas inflicted the usual punishment of lashes in the compound of his house. Abu Shahma's head was also shaved off in the house of the Governor.

The Reporter reported the matter to Umar, and Umar addressed a letter to Amr b. Al Aas in strong terms as follows:
"O Amr bin Al Aas it has come to my notice that you have been derelict in the performance of your duty. You have shown undue favour to Abu Shahma by awarding him punishment in your house rather than at a public place. You were apparently moved by the consideration that he is my son. You should know that in such matters I cannot tolerate any concession to a person on the ground that he is related to me. As soon as you get this letter send Abu Shahma to Medina on a naked camel."

Amr bin Al Aas complied with the instructions and despatched Abu Shahma to Madina. In the way Abu Shahma fell sick and when he reached Madina he could hardly walk.
Umar was furious, and he ordered that Abu Shahma should be lashed in the public. Abdul Rahman b. Auf pleaded that the boy had already been lashed in Egypt and no further punishment was called for Abu Shahma said that he was suffering, and the punishment should be deferred till he was recovered.

Umar brushed aside these pleadings Abu Shahma was flogged publicly. Abu Shahma could not withstand the ordeal He fell senseless after a few stripes had been inflicted. He remained in a state of agony for a few days and then died a martyr to the highly developed sense of justice of his father.

Umar And His Whip

It is related that once while riding a camel, the whip of Umar dropped. Many persons who saw the whip fall rushed to pick up the whip to hand it over to the Caliph. Umar asked them to mind their own business, and not to bother about his whip. Umar dismounted and picked up his whip himself.

Iqbal has dramatised the episode in his classic poem 'The Secrets of the Self'. Iqbal exhorts:
"Like Umar, come down from the camel,
Beware of incurring obligations, beware"
From this episode, Iqbal deduces a code of conduct, the highlights whereof are:
"Do not incur the obligation of any person,
Do not debase yourself by receiving benefits.
Self is weakened by asking; asking disintegrates the Self,
By asking, poverty is made more abject.
By begging, the beggar is made poorer,
Even if you are poor and overwhelmed by affliction,
Do not seek your bread by the bounty of another."

Iqbal further elaborates:
"God loves a man that earns his living;
Woe to him that accepts bounty from another's table.
The more your hands are empty, the more you are master of yourself.
Seek no favours and walk with your head erect like the pine.
Sweet is a little dew gathered by one's own hand,
Be a man of honour, and like the bubble
Keep the cup inverted even in the midst of the sea."

Umar's Care For The Poor

It was the year of the famine. Umar took pains to ensure that adequate relief reached all people, and that there were no persons in the city who went to sleep hungry.
One night as usual Umar went on his round. He was accompanied by his slave Aslam. As he strolled from street to street all was quiet and the people seemed to be asleep. Umar thought to himself, "Thank God, there is no one in this city whom the famine has afflicted."
Then as he turned a corner he saw a cottage where light was burning, and from where the sound of the weeping of the children was heard. Umar went to the cottage. He saw that the lady of the house was cooking something on the hearth, and the children were crying.
Umar knocked at the gate, and addressing the lady of the house Umar enquired why were the children crying. She said that they were crying because they were hungry. "And what are you cooking", asked Umar. The lady said that in the kettle there was only water and stones. That was to while away the children that food was being cooked for them. She hoped that exhausted the children would go to sleep.

Hearing this tale of woe, Umar felt guilty. He had thought that because of the arrangements made by him, no one was afflicted in the city and here was a family which was starving. Umar said to the lady that he would arrange relief for her family immediately.

Umar went to the Baitul Mal. There he put the necessary provisions in a bag and carried the bag to the cottage. His slave insisted that he would carry the bag, but Umar said that he would carry his burden himself. Umar handed over the bag of provisions to the lady. Umar sat by the hearth and helped the lady cook the meals. When the meals were ready the children were awakened and served with the delicious meals. As the children ate to their fill and were satisfied they smiled the smile of happiness. Seeing the destitute children smile Umar also felt happy.

Umar enquired of the lady whether there was none to support. She said that the father of the children had died, and there was no body to support. Whatever little was in the house had been gradually used up and they were starving since the last three days.

Umar asked the lady why she had not brought her distress to the notice of the Caliph. The lady said that in spite of her poverty she had some sence of self-respect and she could not go and beg the Caliph for any favour. She added that it was incumbent on the Caliph to ascertain that there was no one in his charge who was starving.

Umar said, "You are right. Please excuse me for the remissness in the past. For the future it will be my responsibility to see that your wants are satisfied."

And when the lady realised that the man who had come to her relief was the Caliph himself, she felt satisfied that the Caliph had discharged his onerous responsibilities creditably.

Stipends For Children

When Umar opened the register for public allowances, and allowed stipends for children as well, he laid down the condition that the children were not to get any allowance until they were weaned.
In their desire to get allowances for the children, the parents cut down the period of weaning.
One night Umar went on his rounds as usual. As he was patrolling a street, he heard the voice of a baby crying. Umar stood outside the house for some time, but the baby did not stop crying.
Umar knocked at the door and was admitted inside the house. He saw that a woman held a small baby in her lap and the baby continued to cry.

Umar turned to the lady and said, "What sort of mother you are. The baby is crying, and you do not feed it with you milk."

The woman said, "Go and ask Umar as to what sort of Caliph he is He has ordained that a child would not get a stipend until it was weaned. In order to secure the stipend for our child we are trying to wean it."

Umar argued that it was cruel to wean a baby at such an early age.
The woman retorted, "The blame for such cruelty rests on Umar who has created artificial distinction between child and child. Justice demands that every child should get a stipend, weaning or no weaning."

Umar said, "All right. Feed your baby with your milk, and rest assured you will get the stipend for your baby even though it is not weaned."

The following day Umar passed orders that stipends would be allowed for children from their date of birth. These orders were given a retrospective effect and the previous orders were rescinded.

Punishment For Illicit Love

Abul Siara was a native of Madina. He fell in love with a beautiful lady who was the wife of one Abi Jandab. Abul Siara saw the lady and pressed his suit vehemently. The lady warned him to desist from such a course. She told him that if her husband came to know of his approach he would murder him. In spite of the warning, Abul Siara continued his suit. The lady reported the matter to the younger brother of Abi Jandab. He warned Abul Siara in strong terms, but he took no need and persisted in his erroneous course.

Exasperated, the lady reported the matter to her husband Abi Jandab. Abi Jandab laid down a trap for catching Abul Siara. He gave out that he was going out for the grazing of his camels, and he would return after a few days. At night, thinking that Abi Jandab was not at home, Abul Siara knocked at the door of his beloved. The lady asked him to go away as she was married and could not reciprocate his love. He sighed and sobbed and made declarations of love in pathetic terms. He said that he was so much lost in her love that he would even welcome death. Apparently moved by the frenzied state of her lover, the lady admitted Abul Siara to her house. She advised him to hide himself in the room. In the meantime she would decorate herself and then come to him.
As soon as Abul Siara entered the room, Abi Jandab who was already there started beating Abul Siara with sticks and whips. Abul Siara cried and shrieked. The lady asked the younger brother of Abi Jandab to intervene lest the man might be killed. At his intervention, Abi Jandab withdrew his hand. Badly bruised with his bones broken, Abul Siara was carried out and thrown in the way of camels. When Abul Siara came to consciousness and the people asked as to what had happened he said that he had fallen from a camel and broken his bones.

The matter came to the notice of Umar. He sommoned the parties and recorded their statements. The lady stated how Abul Siara tried to seduce her and how she resisted his love. Abi Jandab stated how a trap had been laid to catch Abul Siara red handed. Abul Siara confessed his guilt. Umar highly praised the conduct and character of the lady. He absolved Abi Jandab of the charge of violence against Abul Siara. Abul Siara was pronounced guilty and awarded punishment.

Trial Of Saad Bin Abi Waqas

Saad bin Abi Waqas was the victor of Qadisiyya. He was a prominent companion and a maternal uncle of the Holy Prophet Umar appointed him as the Governor of Kufa. In spite of his very high position, Saad could not escape from the scrutiny of Umar and had to face a trial.
It was reported to Umar that Saad had constructed a palace, and had provided a door which could be shut at his option. The orders of Umar were that where the Governors sat to meet the people or attend to their complaints there should be no door so that all people could have access to the Governor at all times.

Umar deputed Muhammad bin Masalma to hold an enquiry on the spot and if he found that a door had in fact been constructed it should be burnt. Muhammad went to Kufa and found the door. Saad argued that as a market adjoined his house the door was necessary to shut down the noise. This explanation was not accepted and Muhammad burnt the door.

On the eve of the battle of Nihawand when Saad was commanding the operations Jarah bin Sanan Asadi lodged some complaints against Saad. It was a critical time when all attention had to be concentrated at mobilising forces for confrontation with the Persians. In spite of critical situation, Umar decided to hold the enquiry. The complainant along with his witnesses was summoned to Madina. Saad was also summoned to Madina to face the trial.

The charges against Saad were:
(1) that in the battle-field he did not fight personally:
(2) that he did not make fair distribution; and
(3) that he did not offer the prayers correctly.

Saad explained that he could not fight personally as there were boils on his body. Nevertheless he directed all field operations personally and God made the Muslims victorious. Umar accepted the explanation and absolved Saad of the charge.

As regards the charge of unfair distribution, Saad presented the entire record. Umar scrutinised the record and agreed that the distribution in all cases had been made according to merit. He was accordingly absolved of this charge.

Umar asked Saad as to how he offered prayers. Saad explained in detail how he offered his prayers. Umar was satisfied that there was nothing wrong with the way in which he offered his prayers.
Umar accordingly absolved Saad bin Waqas of all the charges against him. He said that he knew that the charges were baseless but he had held the enquiry to establish the integrity of Saad.
In the enquiry Jarah bin Sanan Asadi had lodged the complaint and Asama bin Qatada had given evidence against Saad. After the enquiry Saad cursed Jarah as well as Asama. His curse fell on these two persons. Jarah became blind and was afflicted with poverty. Asama was killed by his own people.

Amr Bin Al Aas

Amr bin Al Aas was the conqueror of Egypt. He enjoyed a high position but in spite of that he did not escape from the scrutiny of Umar.
It was reported to Umar that Amr had amassed much wealth. Umar wrote to Amr:
"It has come to my notice that you have amassed considerable wealth. Originally you were a man of ordinary means. Whence comes such wealth?"
Amr explained that he owned some land which brought good income. Moreover the salary that he got was ample which he could invest in business.
Umar was not satisfied with the explanation. He had half of the wealth of Amr confiscated to the State. Umar reprimanded Amr in the following terms:
"O ye Governors you have sat on the springs of wealth. Nothing stands in your way in amassing wealth. You people are playing with fire."
Amr bin Al Aas had a pulpit for himself in the Juma Mosque at Fustat. Umar rebuked Amr for that in the following terms:
"I cannot approve that the Muslims should sit low while you should sit above them. Do away with the pulpit."
Amr bin Al Aas complied with the orders.

Once on the occasion of the Hajj in the presence of all the Governors, Umar addressed the people:
"O ye people, I have not sent the Governors so that they may maltreat you or deprive you of your lawful possessions. I have sent them so that they may be a source of inspiration to you in leading life according to the Islamic way. If any Governor violates these terms, please inform me and would take action."

A man rose up from the congregation to enquire whether a Governor could on his own account beat a Muslim. Umar said that if any punishment was inflicted as a result of a judicial trial the man could be punished; otherwise not. The man complained that Amr bin Al Aas the Governor of Egypt had inflicted eighty stripes on him without any judicial trial. Amr said that he had beaten the man to enforce discipline Umar said that unless the man was judicially tried and found guilty no punishment could be inflicted on him. Umar asked the complainant that as Amr beat him without authority, he could strike him with a similar number of lashes to vindicate himself. Amr begged for Umar's permission to conciliate the man. Umar agreed, and Amr bin Al Aas conciliated the man after paying him a substantial amount.

On one occasion Amr called a man 'Munafiq'. The man came to Umar and complained. Umar gave the complainant the authority to return to Egypt, confront the Governor with the charge before the public and if it was established claim indemnity. The man returned to Egypt and confronted the Governor with the charge in the main mosque. Amr denied the charge but the man asked the men in the congregation to say on oath whether they had heard the Governor on such and such a day calling him 'Munafiq'. Many persons stood up to corroborate the statement. Thus cornered Amr said to the complainant, "You may take your revenge". Thereupon the complainant said, "Now I forgive you."

On another occasion an Egyptian complained before Umar that in a horse race his horse was leading but Muhammad the son of Amr beat him and had his own horse to be the winner. When the matter was brought to the notice of Amr he put the complainant in prison. The complainant escaped from the prison and came to Madina to lodge his complaint with Umar. Umar summoned Amr and his son to Madina. They were apprised of the complaint against them. They could not offer a satisfactory explanation. Umar ordered that the complainant should beat Muhammad the son of Amr in the same way as Muhammad had beat him. The complainant beat Muhammad the son of Amr accordingly and felt satisfied.

Dismissal Of Khalid

Some time in 637 A.D., Khalid had a special bath in which he rubbed his body with a certain substance which had an ingredient of alcohol in it. This was reported to Umar, who reprimanded Khalid as follows:

"It has come to my notice that you have rubbed your body with alcohol. Lo Allah has made unlawful the substance of alcohol as well as its form, just as he has made unlawful both the form and substance of sin. He has made unlawful the touch of alcohol in a bath no less than the drinking of it. Let it not touch your body for it is unclean."

Khalid explained that the drug had been boiled before use and all alcohol therein had evaporated. Umar did not accept the explanation, but he chose to take no action.

After the battle of Marash in 638 A.D., Athath bin Qais a Kinda chief and poet wrote a panegyric in the praise of Khalid. Khalid gave the poet a reward of 10,000 dirhams. When this was reported to Umar, he commanded Abu Ubaida:

"Bring Khalid in front of the congregation, tie his hands with his turban and take off his cap. Ask him from which funds he gave such a high award to Athath, from his own pocket or from the spoils acquired in the expedition of Marash. If he confesses to having given the award from the spoils, he is guilty of misappropriation. If he claims that he gave the money from his own pocket, he is guilty of extravagance. In either case dismiss him and take over the charge from him."

The command of Umar was carried to Abu Ubaida by Bilal, the Muezzin. Bilal arrived at Emessa and handed over the Caliph's letter to Abu Ubaida for compliance. Khalid who was then at Qinissrin was summoned to Emessa.

At Emessa when Khalid called on Abu Ubaida, he was informed of the Caliph's charge against him. Abu Ubaid asked Khalid whether he was inclined to confess his guilt. Khalid wanted some time to consider the matter and this was allowed. Khalid consulted his sister who was at Emessa. She advised him against confession. Khalid accordingly told Abu Ubaida that as he was not guilty, there was nothing to be confessed.

A congregation of the Muslims was held in the principal mosque at Emessa. Here Bilal faced Khalid and enquired, "O Khalid, did you give Athath ten thousand dirhams from your own pocket or from the spoils?" Khalid was astounded, and for some time he was quiet. Bilal walked unto him; took off his turban and tied his hands therewith. Bilal said that he had done so in accordance with the orders of the Caliph. He repeated his question as to from where ten thousand dirhams had been paid to Athath. After some time Khalid found his voice and said that he had paid the money from his own pocket.
Abu Ubaida took over the charge from Khalid and instructed him to proceed to Madina to see the Caliph.

Khalid arrived at Madina as an embittered man. When Khalid met Umar, Umar paid him a tribute: "Khalid you have done what no other man has done; but it's not the people who do; it is Allah Who does".

Khalid protested against the treatment meted out to him. Umar said, "Whence comes all this wealth?"

Khalid said, that it was the share of his spoils Khalid estimated that his wealth did not exceed 60,000 dirhams. He offered, "Whatever exceeds 60,000 dirhams is yours."
Umar had the possessions of Khalid checked and evaluated. The assessment worked out to 80,000 dirhams. Umar accordingly confiscated Khalid's possessions valued at Rs. 20,OOO. After this transaction, Umar said to Khalid:

"That settles the case. I have no more charge against you. I assure you that you are honourable in my eyes' and you are dear to me. After this day you will have no further cause of complaint against me."

Khalid felt bitter. After staying in Madina for a few days, Khalid left for Syria. Many people gathered to bid farewell to the General. The people felt that Khalid the hero of their dreams had been treated with injustice.

After Khalid had left, the people of Madina waited on Umar and wanted him to return to Khalid his property which had been confiscated. Umar did not accept the appeal He said, "I do not trade with what belongs to Allah and the Muslims". The issues which agitated the public mind were: Whether Umar had taken such drastic action because of his personal ill will against Khalid or whether Khalid was really dishonest. Umar clarified:

"I have not dismissed Khalid because of my anger or personal ill will against him. I have not dismissed Khalid because he was dishonest. I have dismissed him because the people glorified him and were misled. I feared that the people would rely on him. I want the people to know that it is Allah Who does all things; and that there should be no wavering in the faith of the people in Allah by attributing success in any field to any human being."

The Muslims Carried The Earth Of Persia

In compliance with the instructions of Umar, Saad bin Abi Waqas sent a delegation of twelve Muslims to offer Islam to Yazdjurd the emperor of Persia. The Muslim delegation included Noman b. Muqrin, Muthanna bin Haritha, Asim b. Amr, and Mugheera bin Zurara.

The Muslim delegation rode to Ctesiphon or al-Madsen the capital of Persia. The Muslims dismounted outside the palace of the emperor. A large crowd of the Persians gathered to stare at the shaggy horses and stern faced hard sons of the desert.

The delegation was ushered into the presence of the emperor Yazdjurd surrounded by interpretors and couriers. The Persians used to prognosticate events by omen. In a playful mood Yazdjurd asked the Muslim envoys what a mantle was called in Arabic. They said that it as called "burd". "Burd" in Persian meant to carry away, and the emperor felt; that the Arabs were to carry away Persia.

Then he asked what was the Arabic name for a whip and they said that it was 'Saut'. He construed it as 'Sokht', which in Persian meant "burned". The emperor felt in his heart that the Muslims were going to burn Persia.

Yezdjurd next asked, 'What compels you to invade our land. Is it because we have left you in peace that you have grown so bold?"

Noman b. Muqrin speaking on behalf of the delegation said that. Allah had been kind to them. God had sent a prophet to them who bad shown them the right way. Under the leadership of the Prophet they had been transformed. They were the chosen people of God, and God had entrusted to them a mission, the mission of spreading the true faith.

Noman added:
"In pursuance of our mission, we call you to our faith. If you accept our faith we will leave you with the Book of God, and leave you to your land. If you are not agreeable to join our faith you should accept our overlordship and pay us 'Jizya'. If this alternative is also not acceptable to you, then the sword will decide the issue between us."

Yazdjurd retorted:
"Don't you recollect that you were the most wretched and most miserable people that the world ever saw. Whenever you showed signs of recalcitrance we had only to issue orders to the commanders of our frontier outposts and they crushed your mutinous spirit."

Thereupon Mugheera bin Zurara said that what the emperor said about the Arabs was true in the days of Ignorance; after the advent of the Prophet things had changed and they were no longer wretched or miserable. It was not hunger or misery that had brought them to Persia. They had come carrying the message of the new faith for them. If the message was accepted they would be happy and treat them as brothers. If they were not inclined to accept the new faith or pay Jizya, then there was no option but fight.

The emperor was enraged at these bold words of the Muslims. He shouted, "But for the fact that envoys are not killed, I would surely have killed you. Know that we are a great people whose history extends over ages and such people are proud of their faith which they would not change. And as regards Jizya, I would put dust in your mouth. And as regards the fight know that we are not afraid of you. Tell your Commander that I am sending Rustam against him with a large force, who will teach you a bitter lesson."

Then Yazdjurd asked a court attendant to fetch a basket of earth. When the basket was brought, addressing the Muslim envoys he said, 'Here is the Jizya for you; carry it".
Asirn b. Amr stepped forward, and carried the basket on his head. Turning to the emperor he said, "You have of your own accord handed over your land to the Muslims. We accept your gift."
Thereafter the Muslim envoys rode back at great speed to the Muslim camp carrying the basket of the earth of Persia.

Immediately thereafter Rustam saw Yazdjurd, and the emperor told him that he had given the Muslim envoys dust to carry. Rustam said that was a bad omen for it signified that the Muslims had carried away Persia.

Rustam sent off a group of horsemen to pursue the Muslim envoys and get the fateful basket containing the dust of Persia back from them. To these horsemen Rustam said, "Proceed with the speed of lightning and snatch your mother-earth from the Muslims. lf you recover the basket our land will be safe; if you fail then we are doomed."

The Persian party set off at a brisk pace in pursuit of the Muslim envoys, but they could not catch the Muslims. The Muslims crossed the Ateeq bridge to safety long before the Persians could arrive at the bridge head. The Persians returned crest fallen to report to Rustam the failure of their mission.

In the Muslim camp, there was rejoicing. Presenting the basket containing the dust of Persia to Saad b. Abi Waqas Asim b. Amr said:

"Commander Allah has given us the keys of their kingdom. Rejoice for this is a sign that we are going to conquer their land."

In the Persian camp, Rustam sulked and muttered to himself:
"The enemy has snatched away the keys of our kingdom."

Deposition Of Khalid

On assuming office as Caliph, the first official order that Umar passed as the Caliph was to depose Khalid from the chief command of the Muslim forces in Syria.
Umar addressed his order to Abu Ubaida as follows:
"I urge upon you the fear of Allah Who lives eternally while everything else perishes, Who has guided us away from wrong doing and taken us out of darkness into light. I appoint you Commander of the army instead of Khalid bin Waleed. So take charge from him as is your duty.
Send not the Muslims to their destruction for the sake of plunder; and place not the Muslims in a camp without reconnoitring it and knowing what is there.
Send not expeditions except in properly organised units. And beware of taking any steps which may lead to the annihilation of the Muslims.
Allah has tried me with you, and tried you with me. Guard against the temptations of this world lest they destroy you as they have destroyed others before you; and you have seen how they fell."
The Caliph instructed the messenger to carry the letter to Syria and hand it over personally to Abu Ubaida.

The messenger arrived with the letter at Damascus in the first week of September 634, and handed over the letter to Abu Ubaida. Abu Ubaida read the letter, but he felt that with the siege of Damascus in progress, that was not the opportune time for making a change in the command. He kept the letter with him as a closely guarded secret, and proceeded to act as if no orders had been received from Madina.

When Damascus fell, the pact with the Byzantines was signed by Khalid, Abu Ubaida had offered amnesty to the Byzantines over the head of Khalid, but even when Khalid felt annoyed, Abu Ubaida merely argued in conciliatory terms, and did not drop a hint that he had indeed acted with due authority.

After Khalid had returned from his campaign of the 'Meadow of the Brocade', and written a report addressed to Abu Bakr, Abu Ubaida could no longer keep the letter of the Caliph as a secret. Reluctantly he handed over the letter of Umar to Khalid. Khalid read the letter, and was shocked at its contents.

Turning to Abu Ubaida, Khalid said, "This letter must have reached you about a month ago: why did you conceal it from me?" Abu Ubaida said that he did not wish to sheaken his authority while he was engaged with the enemy.

Khalid gave the charge of the command to Abu Ubaida. The options before Khalid were to retire, or to seek transfer to some other front Khalid did not avail of these options, and he chose to serve in Syria under the command of Abu Uhaida. Khalid said that he was fighting in the name of Allah and it made no difference to him whether he held the command or fought under the command of someone else.

Fall Of Jerusalem

After the battle of Yermuk, when the main Muslim army under Abu Ubaida and Khalid left for the north of Syria, some Muslim contingents under Amr bin Al Ass and Shurahbil remained stationed in the southern sector comprising Jordan and Palestine.

Finding that the bulk of the Muslim army had left, Artabun the Byzantine Governor assembled a large force at Ajnadin in another bid to drive away the Muslims from the soil of Syria. The battle at Ajnadin fought towards the close of 636 was very bloody and gruesome. Both sides fought bravely but ultimately the Byzantines were defeated, Artabun defeated with heavy loss fled to Jerusalem with the remnant of his army.

After the victory of Ajnadin the Muslim forces spread in all directions in Jordan and Palestine. The towns of Sabtah, Gaza, Nablus, Bait-Jibrin and many other towns were captured one after the other. That cleared the way to Jerusalem. The city of Jerusalem sacred to the Jews and the Christians was strongly fortified. It was protected on every side by deep valleys and steep ascents. Military engines were mounted on the walls which were intended for playing havoc with the advancing invader. It was the winter season, and the severity of the winter added to the difficulties of the besieging Muslim force. The siege dragged on and the Byzantines offered very stiff resistance.

Amr b Al Aas the Muslim Commander in the southern sector wrote to Abu Ubaida for reinforcement. By this time, northern Syria had fallen to the Muslims and Abu Ubaida was able to spare many contingents which rushed to the aid of the Muslims fighting in the southern sector. When the citizens of Jerusalem came to know that the besieging Muslim forces had been considerably strengthened they lost heart. Finding further resistance futile the Patriarch of Jerusalem sued for peace. He said that it was written in their holy books that the city would surrender to the man who was the best among the Muslims. He accordingly desired that the Caliph Umar should come to Jerusalem personally to receive the surrender of the city.

Abu Ubaida referred the matter to Umar at Madina. Umar called a meeting of his Consultative Council, and asked for their advice, Othman expressed the view that it was not necessary for the Caliph to go, and that the defeated Byzantines would themselves surrender. Ali said that Jerusalem was as much sacred to the Muslims as the Jews or the Christians, and that in view of the sanctity of the place it was desirable that its surrender should be received by the Caliph personally. Umar decided to accept the advice of Ali.

Leaving Ali as his deputy at Madina, Umar proceeded to Jerusalem. No retinue accompanied the Caliph. Umar was accompanied by one slave only, and between these two persons they had only one camel which they rode turn by turn. As they neared Jabia where the Muslim Commanders were to meet Umar, it was the turn of the slave to ride. The slave wanted Umar to ride the animal, but Umar refused. As they came to Jabia the people saw the strange spectacle of the slave riding the camel and the Caliph walking on foot.

At Jabia the Muslim Commanders met Umar. Abu Ubaida was dressed in coarse garments, and Umar was much pleased to meet him. Yazid b. Abu Sufiyan, Khalid bin Walid and some other commanders were dressed in fine clothes and Umar expressed his displeasure at their gaudy dress. Abu Ubaida explained in detail the situation in Syria. He elaborated how with the grace of God the Muslims had been able to overthrow the mighty Byzantine power in Syria. As Umar saw the green fields, orchards and lofty buildings of Syria he was greatly moved and he recited from the Holy Quran:

"They have left many a garden, fountain, park, arbour, and riches which they used to enjoy. Thus it is that We put another community in possession thereof."

A deputation from Jerusalem waited on Umar at Jabia and a treaty was drawn up. According to the treaty security of life and property were guaranteed to all citizens of Jerusalem. The safety of churches and other religious buildings and places was provided for. The citizens were required to pay Jizya. Any one not agreeable to owe allegiance to the Muslims was given the option to leave the city.

After the treaty had been drawn up, Umar decided to travel to Jerusalem. Again he travelled in a simple way as an ordinary traveller. No guard was suffered to accompany him. He rode on a poor horse, and refused to change it for a better charger.

At the gate of Jerusalem, Umar was greeted by the Patriarch of Jerusalem, the elite of the city and the Muslim Commanders. While those who had come to receive him wore costly dress, Umar was dressed in a garment of coarse cloth ordinarily worn by an average Arab. When some one advised him to wear a better dress befitting the state occasion, Umar turned down the suggestion saying that he derived his strength and status from his faith in Islam, and not from any dress. When the Patriareh of Jerusalem saw the ascetic simplicity of the Caliph of Islam, and then looked to his own costly dress, he said, "Verily Islam has excelled all other religions".

The Partriarch of Jerusalem handed over the keys of the city of Jerusalem to Umar. The Muslims were now the masters of Jerusalem. That was a special divine favour of God to the Muslims. As Umar entered the city he was greeted by the citizens with great enthusiasm. Umar said that he wanted to be led to some place where he could offer thanksgiving prayer to God. He was led to a Church but he refused to pray there, on the ground that that would set a precedent for the Muslims of the following generations to forcibly convert churches into mosques. He was thereafter led to a place where the prophet David used to pray. Here Umar offered special prayers of thanksgiving and all the Muslims joined him. As the Byzantines watched the Muslims at pray, they felt that such people so obedient to God were bound to command. The Patriarch said that he was not sorry for surrendering the city for he had surrendered it to a better people.

Umar stayed in Jerusalem for a few days. He reorganised the administration, and made the necessary arrangements to look after the needs of the citizens. He founded a mosque at an elevated place in the city. This mosque came to be known as Umar's Mosque. On the inaugural occasion Bilal was requested to give the call to prayer as he used to do in the time of the Holy Prophet. After the death of the Holy Prophet, Bilal had ceased to give the 'Adhan.' At the request of Umar he agreed to give the Adhan to mark the foundation of Umar's mosque. As Bilal gave the call to pray in his stentorian voice. Umar and the Muslims wept recalling the days when the Holy Prophet used to be in their midst. As the inspiring words of the Adhan resounded in the hills and dales, the people stood in awe realising that a new era had dawned in Syria.

Umar's Address At Jabiah

After receiving the surrender of Jerusalem and completing the tour of Syria when Umar was returning to Madina he led the prayer at Jabiah. On this occasion he delivered an address which is preserved in history.

In the course of the address, Umar said:
"O ye people I counsel you to read the Quran. Try to understand it and ponder over it. Imbibe the teachings of the Quran. Then practise what the Quran teaches. The Quran is not theoretical; it is a practical code of life. The Quran does not bring you the message of the Hereafter only; it is primarily intended to guide you in this life. Would your life in accordance with the teachings of Islam for that is the way of your well being. By following any other way you will be inviting destruction.

Fear Allah, and whatever you want seek from Him. All men are equal. Do not flatter those in authority. Do not seek favours from others. By such acts you demean yourself. And remember that you will get only that is ordained for you, and no one can give you anything against the will of God. Then why seek things from others over which they have no control? Only supplicate God for He alone is the sovereign.

And speak the truth. Do not hesitate to say what you consider to be the truth. Say what you feel. Let your conscience be your guide. Let your intentions be good, for verily God is aware of your intentions. In your deeds your intentions count. Fear God, and fear no one else. Why fear others when you know that whatever sustenance is ordained for you by God you will get under all circumstances? And again why fear when you know that death is ordained by God alone and will come only when He wills?

Allah has for the time being made me your ruler. But I am one of you. No special privileges belong to me as a ruler. I have some responsibilities to discharge, and in this I seek your cooperation. Government is a sacred trust, and it is my endeavour not to betray the trust in any way. For the fulfilment of the trust I have to be a watchman. I have to be strict. I have to enforce discipline. I have to run the administration not on the basis of any personal idiosyncracies; I have to run it in public interest and for promoting the public good. For this we have the guidance in the Book of God. Whatever orders I issue in the course of day to day administration have to conform to the Quran. God has favoured us with Islam, He sent to us His Messenger. He has chosen us for a mission, Let us fulfil that mission. That mission is the promotion of Islam. In Islam lies our safety; if we err we are doomed."

March To Egypt

After Amr b. Al-Aas had left for Egypt with 4,000 soldiers only, Umar on second thought considered that it was idle to expect to conquer such a large country as Egypt with vast manpower and reources with a meagre force of 4,000. Umar accordingly wrote a letter to Amr b. Al-Aas asking him to come back. A post script was however added:

"If you receive this letter when you have already crossed into Egypt then you may proceed. Allah will help you and I will also send such reinforcement as may be needed."
The letter was sent through a special messenger Uqba bin Amr.

Uqba caught up Amr at Rafat a little short of the frontier. Guessing what might be in the letter, Amr ordered the army to quicken up its speed. Turning to Uqba, Amr said that he would receive the Caliph's letter from him when the army had halted after the day's journey. Uqba being not aware of the contents of the letter agreed and marched along with the army.

The Muslim army halted for the night at Shajratein. This was a place well within the Egyptian territory. Now the Caliph's letter was received and read. Amr consulted his companions as to the course of action to be adopted. The unanimous view was that as they had received the letter on the Egyptian soil, they had the permission to proceed. To the Caliph, Amr wrote:

"We have received your letter when we have reached Egypt. Therefore in the fulfilment of destiny we proceed seeking Allah's blessing."

Wben Umar received the reply, he decided to watch further developments.
From Shajratein, the Muslim army marched to Areesh. It was a small town where there was no garrison. No resistance was offered and the citizens offered allegiance on the usual terms. That was the Eid-uz-Zuha day. The Muslims celebrated the Eid festival at Areesh and offered the usual sacrifices.

In the later part of December 639 the Muslim army reached Farma. It was a fortified town manned by a Byzantine garrison. The Muslims besieged the town. There were sallies and counter sallies with no decisive result. The siege dragged on for two months. Towards the fall of February 640 an assault group led by Useifa b. Wala assaulted the fort and captured the gate through which the rest of the Muslim army entered. Thereupon the Byzantine resistance collapsed and the city was captured by the Muslims.

After the fall of Farma the Muslims marched to Bilbeis 40 miles from Memphis. It was a fortified town, and the Muslims besieged it. The siege lasted for a month, and towards the end of March 640 the city surrendered to the Muslims.

From Bilbeis the Muslims marched to Babylon. Amr had visualised that the conquest of Egypt would be a walk over. This expectation was belied. Even at the outposts of Farma and Bilbeis the Muslims had to meet stiff resistance. The siege of Farma had lasted for two months and that of Bilbeis for one month.

Babylon was a larger and more important city and here resistance on a larger scale was expected. Amr nevertheless persevered and pushed on to Babylon.

March To Alexanderia

When Umar received the report of Amr bin Al-Aas about the conquest of Babylon and the treaty with Maqauqas, he wrote back to say that he approved of the terms provided Heraclius agreed to submit to them. He desired that as soon as the reactions of Heraclius were known, he should be informed so that further necessary instructions might be issued.

Heraclius's reaction to the report of Maqauqas was violent. He remarked sarcastically that the Muslim force hardly numbered 12,000 while the Byzantine force in Egypt was five times as large leaving aside the Copts. Maqauqas was removed from the Viceroyship of Egypt, but he remained the Head of the Coptic Church. This was a matter in which the emperor could not interfere. Heraclius sent strict orders to the Commander-in-chief of the Byzantine forces in Egypt that the Muslims should be driven from the soil of Egypt.

Maqauqas waited on Amr and told him that Heraclius had repudiated the treaty of Babylon. Maqauqas assured Amr that so far as the Copts were concerned the terms of the treaty would be followed, but they were not responsible for the Byzantines. That was now an issue which the Muslims and the Byzantines might settle among themselves.

Maqauqas asked for three favours from the Muslims, namely:
1. Do not break your treaty with the Copts;
2. If the Byzantines after this repudiation ask for peace, do not make peace with them, but treat them as captives and slaves; and
3. When I am dead allow me to be buried in the Church of St. John at Alexandria.
This position was to the advantage of the Muslims. The Copts were the real natives of the land of Egypt. Both the Byzantines and the Muslims were strangers. Though some Copts from personal considerations continued to support the Byzantines, the sympathies of tho S::opts were now by and large with the Muslims. The Copts were not supposed to fight against the Byzantines on behalf of the Muslims but they undertook to help the Muslims in the promotion of war effort, help them in the provision of stores; build roads and bridges for them; and provide them moral support.
Under the circumstances the Muslim fight in Egypt was not against the Egyptians; it was against the Byzantines who were really intruders.

The Generals of the emperor mustered at Alexandria the capital of Egypt, and decided to wage a relentless war against the Muslims and drive them from Egypt.

Amr reported these developments to Umar, and Umar desired that before the Byzantines could gather further strength the Muslims should strike at them and drive them from Alexandria.
In February 641, Amr set off with his army from Babylon and the destination was Alexandria. On the third day of their march from Babylon the Muslims encountered a Byzantine detachment at Tarnut on the west bank of the Nile. Light action followed. The Byzantines could not hold the ground, and withdrew northwards to Alexandria.

While the main Muslim army halted at Tarnut, an advance guard under Shareek bin Sumayy was required to proceed forward. Twenty miles from Tarnut, Shareek came across a Byznatine detachment. The Byzantine force was very large, and it launched an attack on the Muslim advance guard thinking that they would be able to annihilate it. The Muslim advance guard fell back. The next day the Byzantine fell on the Muslim advance guard again, but in the meantime the main Muslim army had arrived and the Byzantines found safety in withdrawal.

The following day the Muslims resumed their march and reached Sulteis where they encountered a Byzantine detachment. Some hard fighting followed, but the Byzantine resistance soon broke down and they withdrew to Alexandria. The Muslims halted at Sulteis for a day and then resumed the march to Alexandria. Alexandria was still two day march from Sulteis.

After one day's march the Muslim forces arrived at Kirayun twelve miles from Alexandria. Here the Muslim advance to Alexandria was blocked up by a Byzantine detachment 20,000 strong. The strategy of the Byzantines was that the Muslims should be driven away before they actually arrived at Alexandria.

The two forces were deployed for action, and some hard fighting followed but the action remained indecisive. This state of affairs persisted for ten days. On the last day the Muslims launched a vigorous assault. The Byzantine resistance broke down, and they withdrew to Alexandria. The way to Alexandria having been cleared, the Muslim forces resumed the march from Kirayun and reached the outskirts of Alexandria some time in March 641 A D.

Battle Of Alexandria

The Muslims appeared before Alexandria in March 641. Alexandria was heavily fortified. There were walls behind walls, and forts within forts. The Byzantine force within the city numbered 50,000 while the strength of the invading Muslim force was 1,000 only. There was no dearth of provisions and food supply in the city. The city had direct access to the sea, and through the sea route help from Constantinople in men and material could come any time.

As Amr surveyed the military situation, he felt that Alexandria would be a hard nut to crack. The Byzantines had high stakes in Alexandria, and they were determined to offer stiff resistance to the Muslims Amr, however, felt that in spite of the heavy odds the Muslims would be able to conquer the city. The Muslims accordingly decided to lay siege to the city. The Byzantines mounted catapults on the walls of the city, and these engines pounded the Muslims with boulders. This caused considerable damage to the Muslims and Amr ordered his men back from the advance position so that they might be beyond the range of these missiles.

A see-saw war followed. When the Muslims tried to go close to the city they were pounded with missiles. When the Byzantines sallied from the fort, they were invariably beaten back by the Muslims.

Heraclius the Byzantine emperor collected a large reinforcement at Constantinople. He intended to march at the head of this reinforcement personally to Alexandria. Before he could finalise the arrangements he died. The reinforcement mustered at Constantinople dispersed, and no help came to Alexandria.

When the Muslims came to know that the Byzantine emperor had died and that no reinforcement was likely to come to Alexandria they intensified their attacks. In one of the assaults the Muslims got into one of the towers. On the Byzantine counter attack the Muslims withdrew. As the Byzantines closed the outer gate four Muslims were trapped inside. These four Muslims descended to an underground chamber. Because of the narrowness of the passage it was not possible for the Byzantines to descend to the chamber to capture these Muslims alive. Left to themselves these Muslims would have been starved to death within a few days. Among these four trapped Muslims were Amr b. Al-Aas the Commanderin-Chief of the Muslim force; Masalma bin Mukhallad a young stalwart, and two others. The Byzantines were not aware of the identity of these four Muslims. They took them to be ordinary soldiers of no particular significance.

In a playful mood the Byzantines asked these trapped Muslims to surrender for if they did not do so they would automatically die in the underground cellar within a few days. The Muslims refused to surrender. Thereupon the Byzantines said that they could be exchanged with Byzantine prisoners in the Muslim camp. This was also not agreed to by the trapped Muslims. Thereupon in a chivalrous mood the Byzantines said, "Let us have a duel, one man out of you and one man from us. If your man kills our man, all of you can depart. If your man is killed the rest of you will be our captives". To this the Muslims agreed.

Amr wanted to offer himself for the duel, but Masalma a young man of great sinews prevailed upon him that he should let Masalma fight the duel Amr ultimately agreed. The Byzantines gave a solemn undertaking in the terms of the agreement arrived at and the trapped Muslims came out of the cellar into the chamber where the duel was to be held.

The Byzantine champion stepped forward and he was met by Masalma from the Muslim side. The contest was hard and stiff, and it appeared as if the Byzantine champion would score. But ultimately Masalma scored and the Byzantine champion was killed. The Byzantines kept their word. After the duel was over they opened the gate of the tower and let the Muslims go in peace. Little did they know that these four included the Commander-in-Chief of the Muslim force.

The state of stalemate continued. The Muslims intensified their attacks but there was no slackening of the Byzantine resistance. The siege dragged on for six months, and in Madina Umar got impatient. In a letter addressed to Amr the Caliph expressed his concern at the inordinate delay in the conquest of Egypt. Umar wrote:

"When you get this letter address the people and urge them to fight. Launch the attack in the early afternoon of a Friday for that is the hour of God's blessing."

Amr bin Al-Aas assembled his men, and read to them the letter of Umar. Fiery speeches were held to inspire the Muslims to violent action. It was decided that after the ensuring Friday prayers an all-out assault would be launched on the enemy. Ubada was chosen to carry the standard and launch the assault.

The following Friday after the noon prayers, the Muslims marched to the battle-field with the coffins tied on their heads. They moved forward with the fury of a torrent, and all resistance was swept aside. Before the sun set the city was carried by the Muslims by storm. Over 20,000 Byzantines were killed or taken captive. The rest of the Byzantine army found safety in flight to Constantinople through ships that stood anchored in the port. Some wealthy traders also left.
On behalf of the Egyptians, Maqauqas sued for peace, and peace was allowed. In his report to the Caliph, Amr reported:

"We have conquered Alexandria. In this city there are 4,000 palaces, 400 places of entertainment, and untold wealth."

The Muslim soldiers were keen to collect the war spoils and distribule them among themselves. Maqauqas pleaded that in pursuance of the terms of the treaty those Egyptians who had chosen to remain in the city could not be deprived of their belongings or property. Most of the Muslim soldiers were of the view that as Alexandria had been taken by sword the Muslims had the right to the spoils of war. The matter was referred to Umar, and he decided that while the Muslims could appropriate all the property and assets of the former Government, the private property should not be touched if the owners were there.

With the fall of Alexandria the Muslims were the masters of Egypt.

After the fall of Alexandria, Amr bin Al-Aas deputed a fast rider Muawiyah bin Khudaij to carry the news of the victory of the Muslims to Umar at Madina. When Muawiyah reached Madina it was noon. Muawiyah thought that Umar would be resting at the time and it was inadvisable to disturb him. He accordingly went to the Prophet's mosque to await the arrival of the Caliph there to lead the afternoon prayers. A slave girl of Umar who was passing that way happened to see the traveller. Her curiosity having been awakened she enquired from the traveller from where he had come and he said that he was coming from Alexandria. The slave girl knew how Umar had been anxiously awaiting news from Alexandria. She accordingly rushed home and told Umar that a man had come from Alexandria. Umar asked the slave girl to go to the mosque to fetch the messenger from Alexandria.

As Muawiyah presented himself, Umar anxiously enquired what news he had brought. Muawiyah said that he carried good news and that God in His mercy had given victory to the Muslims. Umar then enquired from Muawiyah why did he not come straight to him. Muawiyiah said that he thought the Caliph would be resting and it was inadvisable to disturb him at that hour of the day. Thereupon Umar said, "I am sorry that you have such a poor opinion of me. Who would bear the burden of the Caliphate, if I were to sleep during the days?"

Shadows Of Death

Once the Holy Prophet saw in a dream that he was drawing water from a well. Then he stepped aside and asked Abu Bakr to draw water. Abu Bakr was able to draw two buckets only. While drawing the third bucket, he felt exhausted and stepped aside. Then Umar took the job, and he completed ten rounds. The Holy Prophet interpreted the dream to signify that after his death, Khilafat would vest in Abu Bakr, who would hold the office for two years and a few months. Thereafter Umar would succeed him, and his term of office would be ten years. When Umar assumed office as Caliph, he had the conviction that he would die after ten years.

In the time of Abu Bakr, Auf bin Malik Al-Shajjai a prominent companion had a dream in which it was indicated to him by an unknown power that Umar was to be conspicuous for three things: firstly, that he would be a pillar of strength for Islam; secondly, that he would be the Caliph; and thirdly, that he would die the death of a martyr. When the dream was narrated to Umar in the time of Abu Bakr, Umar silenced Auf bin Malik saying "May Abu Bakr live long; do not talk of the caliphate of any one else. "When Abu Bakr died and Umar became the Caliph, he asked Auf bin Malik to narrate his dream. After hearing the dream, Umar said, "How can I get martyrdom when I stay in Madina, and do not go to the field to take part in the battles against infidels. But then Umar recalled that the Holy Prophet himself on more than one occasion had referred to him as 'Shahid'. He, therefore, felt that he might be blessed with martyrdom even in Madina.

In the battle of Nihawand, the Muslim forces by way of war strategy spread the news that the Caliph had died. That brought the enemy in the open and in the ensuing fight they were defeated, and the Muslims were victorious. When Umar came to know of this, he said 'If with the death of Umar, Islam can be victorious, let Umar die a hundred times."

When the year 644 A.D. dawned, that being the tenth year of his rule, Umar had the premonition that before the year ended, he would die.

That year the Hajj fell in the month of October. Umar performed the Hajj in the company of all his wives and all the surviving wives of the Holy Prophet. Umar had the feeling that that was his last Hajj. It is related that when Umar stood at the mount of Arafat he heard a voice saying, "O Caliph, never again will you stand on the Mount of Arafat". When during the Hajj ceremony, Umar threw pebbles at the devil, he once again heard a voice that that was to be his last Hajj".

Ayesha who was present on the occasion of the pilgrimage has left on record that as the party treaded the path between Mina and Mecca, some unseen person addressing Umar said:

"Upon such an Irnam as thou be peace and blessings,
With your deeds you have prepared for the journey to the Heaven,
In this journey no one can outstrip you.
You brought glory to Islam,
After you there will be distress,
But so is the will of God.
From God you came, and now to God return."

It is narrated by Said b. Al-Museeb that while at Mina, Umar raised his hands and prayed:
"O Allah, I have now become old. I am feeling weakness in my limbs.
O Allah I have done the mission entrusted to me to the best of my capacity. Now call me to Yourself before I feel imbecile to work in your cause. O Allah bless me with the death of a martyr, and may that be in Madina the city of your beloved."

Jabir bin Mutaam states that he was present at the time of the Hajj with Umar. He relates:
"We saw a man standing at the top of the hill and crying 'Verily that is the last Hajj of Umar. He will never come here again."

Ahu Musa Ashaari states that at that time he had a dream. In the dream he saw the Holy Prophet and Abu Bakr standing on a mountain. Umar stood at the base. Abu Bakr and the Holy Prophet asked him to come up and he climbed the mountain. The dream was interpreted to imply that the death of Umar was imminent.

On the last Friday in October 644, while presiding at the Friday Prayers Umar said that in a dream he had seen a bird peck at him and this implied that he was going to die. He said, "May be this is the last Friday prayer for me to preside, and thus ye faithful, farewell."

Kaab Ahbar, a soothsayer came to Umar and said "O Caliph you are going to die within three days. You may nominate your successor if you like". Umar enquired how he knew that he was to die within three days. He said that he knew that fron1 the holy book Torah. Ha~ rat Umar enquired w' ether there was an>' reference to him in the Torah. Kaab said that Umar was not mentioned as such in the Torah, but the Torah zuentioned a king who was just like Umar, Kaab said that when he read of that king, he always recalled Uznar.

About that king it was written in the Torah:
"And he had with him a prophet who was inspired, and the Lord inspired the prophet to say to him make thou the covenant, and write thy testament, for verily thou art a dead man within three days. The prophet therefore told him this, and when it was the third day, he fell down between the wail and the bed".

And as foretold by Kaab the soothsayer, Umar was stabbed to death within three days.

A Persian Stabbed Umar

After the battle of Nihawand, many Persians, men, women, and children were taken as captives by the Muslims. The captives were sold as slaves. One of these siaves was Firoz alias Abu Lulu. He was purchased by Mughirah Shu'bah the Governor of Basra. This Firoz was a craftsman, a carpenter, an iron smith and a painter. Umar did not allow non-Muslim adult captives to reside in Madina. Mughirah sought special permission for the residence of Firoz in Madina on the ground that as he was a skilled craftsman, he would be of service to the people. Umar gave the permission as a special case.

One day, Firoz waited on Umar and complained that the tax which his master Mughirah was exacting from him was too high. He wanted the Caliph to reduce the levy. Umar enquired what work did he do. He said that he worked as a carpenter, painter, and an ironsmith. He added that he could make windmills as well. Umar next enquired as to the amount of the tax that he was required to pay to his master. He said that he had to pay two dirhams a day. Umar said that keeping in view the lucrative nature of the jobs done by him, the levy of two dirhams a day was prima facie not excessive. Umar said that he would, however, write to Mughirah, and examine the question further in the light of what Mughirah said. That did not satisfy Firoz, and he went away sulking.

Umar wrote to Mughirah, and in reply Mughirah quoted facts and figures to establish that what he took from his slave was by no means excessive. When Firoz called on Umar again, Umar explained to him that as the levy was not excessive, no reduction therein was called for that made Foroz angry. In order to humour Firoz, Umar said, "I understand you make windmills; make one for me as well." In a sullen mood, Firoz said, "Verily I will make such a mill for you, that the world would talk about it." As Firoz went away, the Caliph told the people around him that the Persian slave had threatened him.

There were Persian children slaves in Madina. Seeing them, Firoz would say, "You have been enslaved at such a tender age. This Umar sees eaten my heart. I will take his heart out". He made for himself a dagger with a very sharp edge and smeared it with poison.

On the 1st of November 644 A.D. at the time of the morning prayer, Firoz went with his dagger to the Prophet's mosque and hid himself in a corner in one of the recesses of the mosque. When the faithful stood for prayer after straightening the lines, and Umar took up his position as the Imam to lead the prayer, Firoz emerged from his place of hiding and rushed at Umar. Firoz struck Umar six consecutive blows with his dagger, and Umar fell on the floor profusely bleeding.

Other persons rushed at Firoz, but he had the fury and frenzy of a desperate man about him. He struck right and left, and thirteen Muslims were wounded, some of them fatally, before Firoz could be overpowered. At last realising that he could not escape, Firoz stabbed himself to death with his own dagger.

Umar On Death Bed

From the mosque Umar was carried home. When he regained consciousness he asked who was his murderer. He was told that his murderer was the Persian slave Firoz. Thereupon Umar said, "Praise be to God that I have not been murdered by a Muslim".

The physician administered him date cordial and milk. These could not be digested and gushed out of his wounds. That indicated that the wounds were fatal and that he could not survive for long.

The people around him praised him for his virtues and sterling qualities. He asked them not to praise him. He said:

"All praise is to Allah. If all the treasures of this world were to be at my disposal, I would offer them as a ransom to be saved from the trial at the Day of Judgement."

He then recited the Arabic verse:
"I have been unjust to my soul,
Except that I am a Muslim,
Say my prayers and fast."

Umar asked his son Abdullah to wait on Ayesha and beg her permission for his burial by the side of the Holy Prophet and Abu Bakr. Ayesha wept as she came to know that Umar was about to die. She said, "I had reserved this place for my own burial, but I give Umar precedence over myself. Let him be buried there". When Umar was told that Ayesha had given the permission, he felt happy and said, "God bless Ayesha. She has fulfilled my greatest wish. Now I can die in peace."

Then he asked his son to estimate the debt that he had to pay. He was told that the debt amounted to eighty six thousand dirhams. This included the salary that he had drawn from the Baitul Mal during the period of his caliphate. He instructed that the debt should be paid by the sale of his property. Thereafter Umar gave detailed instructions to his son regarding his funeral. He said:

"Be moderate in the expenses of my shroud, for verily if there is anything of good with God in my favour, He will give me in exchange what is better than it, and if I have been otherwise, He will strip me of all that I have. And be moderate in the grave that you dig for me, for verily if there be anything of good with God in my favour, He will widen it for me, and if I have been otherwise, He will make it narrow for me to squeeze my body. And let no woman go with my funeral. Praise me not for that which is not in me, for the Lord knows best what I am. Therefore when you carry me to the grave, hasten in your going for if there is anything of good with God in my favour you will speed me to that which is good, and if I have been otherwise, you will cast from your necks an evil that you bear."

Thereafter Umar turned his face to the Qibla and breathed his last. There was serene smile on his face as he lay dead.

Umar And His Successor

When Umar was on his death bed, he was asked that he should nominate his successor. Umar sighed and said, "Whom should I nominate my successor? If Abu Ubaida had been alive, I would have nominated him as my successor for about him the Holy Prophet had said that he was the trustee of the Muslim community. If Salam the liberated slave of Abu Huzaifa had been alive, I would have nominated him as my successor for about him the Holy Prophet had said that among the Muslims he loved Allah most."

Some one said, "I propose the name of your son Abdullah for the office."

Thereupon Umar said:
"May God curse you for tempting me to nepotism by nominating my son when I am going to meet my Creator. The Caliphate is an affair affecting the entire Muslim community, and I would not like to make it an hereditary office in my family. I swear it by God that I never coveted the caliphate for myself. Therefore what I never coveted for myself I would not like to pass on to my family. If the caliphate is something good then by holding the office for the last ten years, I have had the blessing for my family. If the caliphate is something bad then why should I pass on this bad thing to my family? God is my witness that during my caliphate I showed no favour to my family members. On the other hand I was more hard with them than with the other Muslims. I have tried to fulfil the obligations of the office always under the shadow of the fear lest I may at any stage falter in the performance of my duties. I do not know whether I have succeeded in my purpose, but I will be happy if my achievements and failures just balance, so that I am neither rewarded nor punished for holding the office of the caliphate. Remember ye men, that if I nominate my successor, a better man than me (namely Abu Bakr) also nominated his successor. And again if I do not nominate a successor, remember that the best of men, namely Muhammad (peace be on him) did not nominate a successor. Whatever the case I am confident that Allah will Himself protect the interests of Islam."

At this, the persons around Umar went away. Umar had some sleep. Then the men came again and they said:

"O Amirul Momnin, if you are not going to nominate a successor at least leave some instructions for the selection of your successor."

Thereupon Umar said:
"After hearing you and weighing the pros and cons of the case carefully I had decided that I should nominate my successor who should lead the Muslims on the path of righteousness. But then I lost consciousness, and in that state of unconsciousness I had a dream. I saw that a man who had laid out the garden was plucking all ripe and unripe fruit from all the trees, and gathering it on the ground. I interpret this dream to mean that I will die, and Allah will Himself attend to the affairs of the Muslim community. I therefore refrain from nominating a successor for I do not wish that even after death I should continue to carry the burden of the caliphate."

When pressed to leave some guidance for the people to choose his successor, Umar said that he would nominate a Committee comprising Ali, Usman, Abdur Rahman b. Auf; Sad bin Abi Waqqas; Zubair b. Awwam; and Abu Talha. All these were eminent Companions whom the Holy Prophet gave the tidings of paradise in their lifetime.
Umar said:
"I enjoin that this Committee should elect one of themselves as the Caliph."
The following, day Umar called the members of the Committee (except Abu Talha who was cut of station) and enjoined them that they should deliberate and choose one from among themselves as the Caliph. The Committee retired to hold a meeting. It was soon found that there were strong dissensions among the members, and loud voices were raised highlighting the differences. Thereupon Abdul Rahman b. Auf addressing the members of the Committee said:
"The Amirul Momnin is not yet dead, and you have started quarrelling over the question of succession."

When this state of affairs was brought to the notice of
Umar he instructed:
"Defer the consideration of this issue for the present. When I die you take up the issue and then settle it within three days. On the fourth day after my death the person chosen by you should take the oath of office. He should be some one out of you. Abdullah b. Umar will sit with the Committee as Adviser and Moderator, but he will have no vote, nor will he be eligible for election as the Caliph. If during this period Abu Talha joins you he will be a member. If he does not come within three days, the rest of the members of the Committee will have the authority to take the decision. During these three days, Suhaib will lead the prayers. Thereafter, whosoever, is elected as the Caliph will lead the prayers."

Testament Of Umar

On his death bed Umar was requested to make a testament for the guidance of his successor. Umar addressed the following testament to his successor:
"I enjoin upon you to have trust and faith in God, He Who has no peer.
Be kind and generous to the Muhajreen and the Ansar. Those out of them who are good, be good to them; those who are bad overlook their lapses.

Be good to the people of the conquered lands. They are the outer line of our defence; they are the target of the anger and distress of our enemies. They contribute to our revenues. They should be taxed only on their surplus wealth.

Be gracious to the Bedouins as they are the backbone of the Arab nation.
I instruct you to be good to the Dhimmis for they are your responsibility. Do not tax them beyond their capacity. Ensure that they pay the Jizya without undue inconvenience.
Fear God, and in all that you do keep His pleasure in view. In the matter of people fear God, and in the matter of Allah do not be afraid of the people.

With regard to the people, I enjoin upon you to administer justice with an even hand. See that all the legitimate requirements of the people are met. Be concerned for their welfare. Ensure the safety of their person and property.

See that the frontiers of our domains are not violated. Take strong steps to guard the frontiers.
In the matter of administration do not prefer the rich to the poor. Be hard against those who violate the law. Show them no mercy. Do not rest content until you have brought the miscreants to book.

Treat all the people as equal. Be a pillar of strength for those who are weak and oppressed. Those who are strong but do wrong, make them pay for their wrong-doings.
In the distribution of booty and other matters be above nepotism. Let no consideration of relationship or selfish interest weigh with you.
The Satan is at large; it may tempt you. Rise above all temptations and perform your duties in accordance with the injunctions of Islam.

Get guidance from the Holy Quran and Sunnah. Freely consult the wise men around you. Apply your own mind in difficult cases, and seek light from God.
Be simple in your living and your habits. Let there be no show or ostentation about you. Lead life as a model Muslim. As you are the leader of the Muslims, justify your leadership by being the best among them all. May God bless you."

His son Abdullah also desired some words of parting advice. Umar asked him to hold fast to the fundamentals of faith. Abdullah asked what these fundamentals were.

Umar said that these were:
(1) Keep fast in the intense heat of the summer when the Ramazan falls in such a season.
(2) Kill the enemies of Islam with sword.
(3) In the event of any calamity or distress exercise patience.
(4) In the cold of the winter perform your ablutions in full.
(5) On a cloudy day hurry up in offering prayers.
(6) Abstain from the mud of destruction.
Abdullah enquired what was the mud of destruction, and Umar said it was wine-bibbling.
Elegies And Tributes On The Death Of Umar
Atika the wife of Umar burst into the following elegy on the death of Umar:
"Eye, let thy tears and weeping be abundant,
Death has afflicted me in the fall of a horseman
Distinguished in the day of battle and of contumely,
The stay of faith, the defence against inclement fortune,
And a champion unto the afflicted and oppressed,
Say unto the hopeless die,
Since Death hath given us to drink the cup of dissolution." She also said:
"Firoz has deprived us of such a fair complexioned, fair minded person
Who was fastidious about his prayers
Who was regular in the recitation of the Holy Qur'an,
Who was a source of strength for the weak;
And who was stern and harsh against the oppressors."
Another wife of Umar mourned his death in the following terms:
"The death of Umar has overwhelmed me with such grief
That the entire world now appears to be a place of sorrow and distress."
Bint Abi Hashma said:
"We mourn the death of Umar
Who disentangled every knot,
Who solved every difficulty,
Who put an end to all mischief,
Who revived the Sunnat of the Holy Prophet,
He has departed from this world
Free from all blame."
Hafsa expressed her grief in the following terms:
"I am bearing this bereavement with patience,
The Holy Qur'an condoles me,
You are not alone to die,
Every one is to die in turn."
A poet mournfully said:
"Because of the leadership of Umar,
The Muslims became a disciplined community,
Apparently it's impossible that after him,
Any one should carry the burden of the State
As effectively as he did."
Sa'id bin Zaid, the brother-in-law of Umar, wept grievously.
He was asked why he was weeping so profusely. He said:
"I am not weeping for Umar. I am weeping for Islam in which cracks will appear after his death."
Seeing the face of Umar, Ali said:
"Salutations of God to thee,
Verily, there is no man
Other than this shrouded one,
Whose deeds I envy."
'Usman seeing the face of Umar said:
"Out of us, who can equal Umar?"

Distinctions of Umar

Umar was a man of many distinctions. A study of his life shows that in many respects he had the unique distinction of being the first or foremost. Hereunder an attempt is made to catalogue the matters in which Umar was the foremost.

He was unique in his power of discrimination. The Holy Prophet conferred on him the title of 'Al-Farooq'.

Among his contemporaries he was the foremost in the matter of knowledge and learning.
He had the unique distinction of having his views confirmed by the Holy Quran.

His superiority over his contemporaries was acknowledged when the Holy Prophet said that if there was to be a prophet after him, it would have been Umar.

He was the first Muslim ruler to be known by the title of Amir-ul-Mo'minin.

The conquests made by him exceeded in extent the conquests made by any other Muslim ruler throughout the course of history.

He was the first Muslim ruler to establish public treasury.
He was the first Muslim ruler to establish courts of justice and appoint judges.
He was the first Muslim ruler to establish the Army Department and assign regular salaries to the men in the armed forces.
He was the first to create army reserves.
He established the land revenue department for the first time.
He was the first ruler under whom the survey and assessment work of lands was undertaken.
He was the first Muslim ruler to take a census.
He was the first Muslim ruler to strike coins.
He was the first Muslim ruler to dig canals.
He was the first Muslim ruler to found cities.
He was the first Muslim ruler to divide the country into provinces and provinces into districts.
He imposed the customs duty for the first time.
He was the first to set up jails.
He was the first to organise the Police Department.
He was the first among the Muslim rulers to establish Military Centres and Military Cantonments at strategic points.
He established cavalry. He set up stables at strategic points. He created the distinction of pedigree and nonpedigree horses.
He established guest-houses in all cities. He established rest-houses on the road from Madina to Mecca for the comfort of travellers.
He provided for the care and bringing up of foundlings.
He laid down that no Arab could be made a slave.
He gave stipends to the poor.
He established schools throughout the country. He allowed liberal salaries to school teachers.
He was the first who instituted the prayers of Tarawih in congregation in the mosque in the month of Ramazan.
He was the first to formulate the principle of Qiyas.
He had the formula "Prayer is better than sleep" inserted in the call for morning prayers.
He was the first to provide light in mosques at nights.
He was the first to provide salaries for Imams and Muezzins.
He was the first to organise sermons in mosques.
He was the first to punish for writing satires and lampoons.
He was the first to prohibit the mention of women's names in lyric poems, an ancient custom in Arabia.
He was the first to inflict eighty stripes for indulgence in wine.
He was the first to prohibit 'Muta'ah'-marriage for a limited term.
He was the first to forbid the sale of female slaves, who had borne children to their masters.
He was the first who assembled the people to prayers over the dead with four Takbirs.
He was the first to enlarge and pave the Prophet's mosque at Madina.
He was the first to expel non-Muslims from Arabia. The Jews from Hijaz were transferred to Syria, and the Christians from Nijran were transferred to Kufah.
He was the first to place the law of inheritance on a sound basis.
He was the first to establish trusts.

Holy Prophet's Assessment Of Umar

A number of traditions have come down to us which speak of the Holy Prophet's assessment of Umar.

Before the conversion of Umar to Islam, the prayer of the Holy Prophet is on record wherein he prayed "O God, glorify Thy faith by the conversion of Umar."

There is a tradition that when Umar was converted to Islam the Holy Prophet said that Gabriel had visited him to say "O Muhammad, verily the dwellers in Heaven rejoice with you at the conversion of Umar."

According to Abu Hurrayrah, the Holy Prophet once related a dream in the presence of Umar. The Holy Prophet related, "While I was asleep, I saw myself in paradise, and beheld there a woman performing her ablutions by the side of a house. I enquired whose house it was, and I was told that it was Umar's. The lady said that she belonged to Umar. Then recollecting how jealous Umar was in the matter of women, I turned back, and thereafter I woke up". Hearing this, Umar said, "O Prophet of God, everything of mine is at your service; how can I be jealous of you in any matter?"
On another occasion, the Holy Prophet had another dream.
He related:
"While I was asleep, I dreamt that I drank milk. Then that milk began to flow from my fingers. That milk I asked Umar to drink, and he drank to his fill." The Holy Prophet was asked to interpret the dream and he said that the dream signified that among his followers, Umar would excel every one in knowledge.

According to another tradition, the Holy Prophet said, "While I was asleep, I saw the people presented to me. These people wore garments. Some had garments reaching to their breasts, and some had garments which reached their toes. Then Umar was presented, and upon him was a garment which was so long that he dragged it as he moved". The Holy Prophet was requested to interpret the dream. The Holy Prophet said that the significance of the dream was that Umar would be a source of strength and service to Islam.

Al-Bukhari carries a tradition according to which the Holy Prophet said that there was to be no prophet after him, but if there were to be no bar to such prophethood, Umar would have been the prophet. That was the highest tribute that the Holy Prophet could pay to Umar.

According to another tradition the Holy Prophet said, "Verily God has placed truth upon the tongue of Umar, and upon his heart." According to an allied tradition, the Holy Prophet said, "Never did a thing come upon the people, and they said one thing regarding it, and Umar another, but the Qur'an revealed it after the manner that Umar had said. The greatest tribute was paid to Umar, when the Holy Prophet said, "God speaks through the tongue of ;Umar."

There is a tradition that Gabriel once came to the Holy Prophet and said, "Greet Umar with a salutation, and tell him that his anger is glory and his approval, command."

According to a tradition, the Holy Prophet said, "Umar is the lamp of the dwellers in paradise."
A tradition is on record according to which pointing to Umar the Holy Prophet said, "Umar is a strongly bolted gate against discord. As long as he lives in your midst, there will be no discord among the Muslims."

We have it on the authority of 'Ayesha that the Holy Prophet said, "Verily I behold the evil spirits among genii and men, fleeing from Umar". In the same strain the Holy Prophet said, "Verily Satan avoideth Umar."
There is another tradition according to which the Holy Prophet said, "There is not an angel in Heaven, but he revereth Umar, and not a demon on earth but he fleeth from Umar.",

On the occasion of the last pilgrimage the Holy Prophet said, "Verily God approved of the conduct of the pilgrims at Arafat in general and Umar in particular".

There is a tradition that in the days of his illness the Holy Prophet said, "The Truth after me is with Umar, wherever he may be."
About Umar's victory against Satan, the Holy Prophet said, "Verily Satan hath never met Umar since his conversion, but he hath fallen prostrate on his face."
According to a tradition the Holy Prophet said, "Gabriel said to me, 'verily Islam will weep at the death of Umar."
According to a tradition the Holy Prophet expressed his attachment to Umar in the following terms: "He who hateth Umar hates me, and he who loveth Umar loves me".
The Holy Prophet's Joint Tributes To Abu Bakr And Umar
Some traditions have come down to us "hereunder the Holy Prophet paid joint tributes to Abu Bakr and Umar.
Abu Hurrayrah said:
"I heard the Holy Prophet say, 'while a shepherd was in the midst of his flock, a wolf rushed upon it and carried from it a sheep and the shepherd pursued it, the wolf turned to him and said, who will be a protector to it on the day of resurrection-the day when there will be no other shepherd than myself. As a man was driving an ox which he had laden, it turned to him and said, Verily I was not created for this but for tillage."
The companions cried, "Good God! Should an ox talk." The Holy Prophet said:
"I believe in it, and likewise Abu Bakr and Umar."
This is indicative of the Holy Prophet's trust in the faith of Abu Bakr and Umar.
The Holy Prophet said:
"There was never a prophet but he had two Ministers from the dwellers in heaven and two Ministers from among the dwellers on earth. My two Ministers of the dwellers of heaven are Gabriel and Michael, and of the earth Abu Bakr and Umar'."
It is related in a tradition that one day the Holy Prophet entered the mosque with Abu Bakr and Umar, one of them on his right hand, and the other upon his left. He held their hands and said:
"Thus shall we arise on the Day of Judgment."
According to another tradition, the Holy Prophet looked on Abu Bakr and Umar and said:
"They are my hearing and my sight."
There is another tradition according to which turning to Abu Bakr and Umar, the Holy Prophet said:
"Praise be to God, Who has strengthened me with ye two." On one occasion, addressing Abu Bakr and Umar, the Holy Prophet said:
"If you two are agreed upon any matter, I would not oppose you."
The Holy Prophet also said:
"Every prophet has chosen ones among his people and verily my elect from among my companions are Abu Bakr and Umar."
The Holy Prophet said:
"Love towards Abu Bakr and Umar is faith; hatred towards them is infidelity."
The Holy Prophet said on another occasion:
"Love towards Abu Bakr and Umar and a knowledge of them is an injunction of the law."
The Holy Propet also said:
"Verily I hope for the same benefit for my people by their profession of love towards Abu Bakr and Umar that I hope for them by their profession of faith ithere is no god but God'."

Assessment Of Umar By The Companions

Abu Bakr said about Umar, "There is not upon the face of the earth a man dearer to me then Umar." When Abu Bakr was on his death bed, it was said to him, "What will you say to God, now that you have appointed Umar as your successor?" Abu Bakr said, "I will say to Him that I appointed over His people the man who was the best among them all."

After the death of Umar, Ali said in the course of one of his sermons:
"When Umar became the Caliph, there were some people who approved of his caliphate and there were some who disagreed. During his caliphate he administered the affairs of the State strictly on the lines laid down by the Holy Prophet and his successor Abu Bakr. He followed them in the same way as a child follows its mother. Verily he was a pillar of strength for the weak, the poor, and the aggrieved. He was for the Muslims a source of honour, prosperity and victory. Nothing stood in his way in promoting the cause of Truth. He was so discriminating in truth that we come to believe that the angel spoke through his tongue. By being converted to Islam, he became a source of honour and strength for Islam His migration was a cause of strengthening the religion of Islam. God made the infidels fear Umar, and the pious Muslims love him. As he was very harsh with the enemies of Islam, the Holy Prophet compared Umar to Gahriel. As he had a fiery temper the Holy Prophet compared him to Nuh, O ye Muslims bear in mind that after the Holy Prophet, among his followers the two best persons were Abu Bakr, and Umar."

Ali used to say, "When the righteous are mentioned, then be quick and mention Umar." Ali also said "We used to say not without reason that the Divine Presence spoke by the tongue of Umar."
Abu 'Ubaida bin Al-Jarah, the Commander-in-Chief of the Muslim forces in Syria said:
"When Umar will die, Islam will be disgraced. I do not wish that I should survive Umar. I wish to die during the life-time of Umar."

'Abdullah bin 'Abbes said:
"May God bless the soul of Umar. By God he was a pillar of strength for Islam. He was the shelter for the orphans and the widows. By his conduct he fortified the faith of others. He was a model Muslim. The weak relied on him for the redress of their grievances. He was a great helper of the people. As a Caliph he promoted the interests of Islam. Under him the standard of Islam was carried east and west, and the call to prayers could be heard in plains and on hills even in distant lands. In the states when he was hard or humble he maintained the dignity of Islam. He remembered God at all times. He was indeed the gem of a man. May Allah humilitate the person who talks ill of Umar, or bears him any enmity."

Ibn Masiud said:
"If the wisdom of Umar were placed in the scale of a balance, and the wisdom of living things upon the earth in the other scale, the wisdom of Umar would outweigh them, and verily the people used to think that Umar carried nine-tenth of the wisdom of the world."
Ibn Mas'ud on another occasion said:
"Verily Umar was the most learned of us all in the Book of God, and most profoundly versed in the religious ordinances of Allah."
On the death of Umar, Ibn Mas'ud said:
"Umar was the fort of Islam. The people could enter the fort but could not come out of it. With the death of Umar that fort has fallen and now people would come out of it." 'Abbas said about Umar:
"I was a neighbour of Umar. After the Holy Prophet I have not found any person superior to Umar in the love of God. He spent the greater part of night in prayer. Throughout the day he worked hard to win the pleasure of Allah".

On the death of Umar, Saeed b. Zaid said:
"With the death of Umar, Islam has come to grief. His death has caused a breach in the citadel of Islam which would not be filled up."

Abu Hudhaifa said:
"It is as if the wisdom of mankind lay hidden in the bossom of Umar. By Allah I know not a man whom the reproof of the censurer in what relateth to the service of God, does not touch, but Umar." He also said, "In the time of Umar Islam attained the climax of glory. After his death Islam will have to face difficulties."

'Ayesha said of him "By Allah, Umar was active in affairs, singly undertaking their management."
Abu Talha Ansari said, "By God, there is no Muslim household which has not suffered because of the death of Umar."

Ibn Umar said, "I never saw any one after the Holy Prophet, from time time that he died, any person more vehement and yet more beneficent than Umar."

Ibn 'Abbas was asked about Umar, and he said, " Umar was like a wary bird who apprehended a snare at every step to trap it."

Amir Muawiyah said, "Abu Bakr sought not the world, and the world sought him not. In the case of Umar, the world sought him, but he sought it not."

Sayings Of Umar

Umar was known for his great knowledge and wisdom. He often expressed his thoughts in words conspicuous for their wisdom. A number of his sayings have come down to us, and these show the depths and dimensions of his thoughts and expressions. We give hereunder the various sayings attributed to Umar, which we have been able to gather from various sources:

"He who keeps his own counsel keeps his affairs in his own hands."
"Fear him, whom you hate."
"The wisest man is he who can account for his actions."
"Do not put off today's work for tomorrow."
"Money cannot help lifting its head."
"What regresses. never progresses."
"He who does not know evil will fall into it."
"When a man puts me a question, I judge of his intelligence."
"Don't forget your own self while preaching to others."
"The less of the world, the freer you live."
"Avoidance of sin is lighter than the pain of remorse."
"On every dishonest man, there are two watchmen, his possessions, and his way of living."
"If patience and gratitude had been two she camels, it would have mattered little on which I rode."
"May God have mercy on him who sends me my faults as a present."
"Preserve the sayings of those people who are indifferent to the world. They say only that what God wishes them to say."
"Fear God, for He alone lives; all other things are liable to perish."
"The wisest among you is he whose sustenance is the fear of God."
"Praise God, for by praise His blessings multiply."
"Fear God, for that is fortune; indifference to God is misfortune."
"Be patient; patience is a pillar of faith."
"Acquire knowledge and teach it to the people"
"Be dignified, honest, and truthful"
"Do not be an arrogant scholar, for scholarship cannot subsist with arrogance".
"When you see that any scholar loves the world, then his scholarship is in doubt".
"God forbid, men should be jealous of knowledge as they are jealous of women."
"May God bless the man who says less and does more."
"The criterion of action is that today's work should not be deferred till the following day."
"Trust is that there should be no difference between what you do and say and what you think."
"Learn the Arabic language; it will sharpen your wisdom." "Luxury is an obstacle, and so is the fatness of the body."
"A man may be as straight as an arrow, but even then he will have some critics."
"O Allah do not give me in excess lest I may be disobedient to You. And do not give me less, lest I may forget You."
"Allah loves moderation and hates extravagance and excess."
"He who went to the kings to seek favours went away from God."
"Sit with those who love God, for that enlightens the mind."
"Before Allah that is the best dinner which people eat together."
"As long as you are pure of heart, you speak the truth."
"The pilgrims are the delegations of God."
"If your ruler is just, praise God; if he is unjust, pray to God to rid you of him."
"Allah is happy with such rulers whose slaves are under their control."
"Forgive the people so that God may forgive you."
"For the people prefer that which you prefer for yourself.
Which you do not wish for yourself, do not impose on others."
"In the eyes of God he is the best ruler who has secured prosperity and comfort for the people."
"That ruler is most accursed whose misconduct leads to the distress of the people."
"Every ruler should keep his door open to the people."
"Understand the teachings of the Holy Quran for that is the source of knowledge."
"Relate as few traditions as possible, lest by being involved in traditions the people overlook the Quran."
"All the injunctions of Islam are based on reason."
"The way to express gratitude to God is to give Zakat out of the property that He has bestowed on you."
"In my view your greatest obligation is to offer prayers.
He who fulfils this obligation with great regularity will be secure in his religion."
"He who sleeps without offering the night prayer, may he never enjoy a sound sleep."
"Women should offer Zakat on their ornaments."
"Blessed are those who are martyred in the way of Allab."
"In the preparation of Islam, commit no excess."
"Without consultation, the caliphate is unlawful."
"The ruler whose intention is good will have the help of God in the administration of his affairs; he whose intention is bad will come to disgrace."
"Do not accept gifts; that is bribery."
"The Judge should always uphold the principle of equality before law."
"May God curse the people who hesitate to dine with the slaves."
"Do not be misled by a person's prayers and fasting; look to his sincerity and wisdom."
"Do not be misled by hearing of any one's reputation."
"He trusts in God who sows seed in the ground then depends on God."
"Earning of livelihood by following some profession is better than living on charity."
"He who has any public responsibility should perform his duties without caring for criticism."
"He is to be preferred who has the urge to sin, but does not sin."
"Do not depend upon the morality of a person until you have seen him behave while in anger."
"I am surprised at three things. Man runs from death while death is inevitable. One sees minor faults of others, but overlooks his own major faults. When there is any defect to one's cattle he tries to cure it, but does not cure his own defects."
"To flatter is to slaughter."
"He, who pretends to be what he is not, is a hypocrite."
"If a person has ten habits out of which nine are good and one bad, that bad one will destroy the good ones."
"Do not overeat; that invites disease."
"He who wins through fraud is no winner."
"He who wants paradise should hold fast to the community. "
"The efficacy of a prayer depends not on the words but on the sincerity of intention."
"In the narration of facts refrain from poetising."
"When you do not know of a thing say so plainly."
"O I am not worried about the poverty of the Muslims. I am afraid lest by getting rich they might become proud and thereby invite destruction. "
"In the performance of your duties neither be over zealous, nor indifferent."

When Allah Corroborated Umar

Many instances are on record when Umar gave a particular opinion and that opinion was later on corroborated by Allah and conurmation thereof was communicated to the Holy Prophet through Gabriel. That is why the Holy Prophet repeatedly said:
"God speaks through the tongue of Umar."

Umar suggested that the station of Abraham in Mecca should be used as a place of prayer. Later an injunction to this effect was revealed to the Holy Prophet.
Umar suggested that the wives of the Holy Prophet should be veiled. Later a verse was revealed enjoining the wives of the Holy Prophet to be veiled.

Umar suggested that the use of wine should be prohibited. Thereafter God enjoined the prohibition of wine.

'Abdullah b. Ubbay though a Muslim was insincere in his professions and was the enemy of God and the Holy Prophet. When he died the Holy Prophet led his funeral prayer. Umar suggested that the Holy Prophet should not pray at the funeral of those who were the enemies of God and the Prophet. A verse was later revealed enjoining the Holy Prophet not to pray at the funeral of those who were the enemies of God and His Prophet.

When there was an imputation against the conduct of 'Ayesha, Umar said that this was a grievous calumny. Later a verse was revealed declaring the episode as a calumny and establishing 'Ayesha's innocence.

After the battle of Badr, it was decided that the prisoners of the Quraish should be released on ransom. Umar said that the prisoners being the enemies of God should be killed. Later according to a revelation the Holy Prophet was enjoined that the enemies of God should be killed.
When the Azan was originally proposed the contents of the call were:

"I testify that there is no god but Allah-come ye to prayers."
Umar suggested, "The words 'I testify that Muhammad is the Messenger of God' should be added". A revelation corroborated this suggestion.

The practice was that people went to see the Holy Prophet unannounced. Umar suggested that all visitors should seek permission before being admitted to the presence of the Holy Prophet. A verse was later revealed enjoining the asking of permission before entering the presence of the Holy Prophet.

Once two persons to a dispute referred the case to the Holy Prophet and the Holy Prophet gave his verdict. One of them appealed against the decision of the Holy Prophet. Umar slew him with his sword. A verse was revealed absolving Umar from the death of the person who did not believe in the judgment of the Holy Prophet.

Once a Jew said to Umar, "Verily Gabriel who speaks to your Master is our enemy." Umar retorted, "Whosoever is an enemy to God, or His angels, or His Apostles, or Gabriel, or Michael, verily God is an enemy to the unbelievers." Later a verse was revealed declaring that God was the enemy of unbelievers.

Umar In History

During the ten years of his rule from 634 to 644 A.D., Umar changed the course of history. Emerging from the deserts of Arabia, the Arabs fortified with the faith of Islam overpowered the Byzantine power in the west and the mighty Persian empire in the east. During the short space of ten years the Muslims conquered countries comprising an area of 2,251,030 square miles. Under Umar the lslamic dominions assumed the dimensions of a continent. These extended from Mecca 1,036 miles to the north, 1.087 miles to the east, and 483 miles to the south. These countries included Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Khuzistan, Fars, Isfahan, Azarbeijan; Armenia, Makran and Khurasan. The dominions extended from the Oxus to the Nile.

There have been many conquerors in the course of history and the record of the conquests of Umar compares very favourably with the record of other conquerors. In one point the conquests of Umar surpass the conquests of all other conquerors. Whereas the conquests of other conquerors did not endure for long, the conquests of Umar in the name of Islam have endured for the last 1,400 years.
In the history of the world, Umar accordingly occupies a prominent position. He is one of the greatest men of all times. The passage of time has in no way dimmed the glory of his greatness. The life-story of Umar which we have tried to narrate in these pages projects in unmistakable terms all the qualities that male greatness. Umar lives in history as a great conqueror, a great ruler and the founder of the Muslim state. Umar lives in legend as an embodiment of all that a great ruler or a great man should be.

The qualities and characteristics of the personality of Umar include: towering personality; robust constitution; great power of mind; inflexible integrity; strong sense of justice; simplicity of habits; contempt of pomp and luxury; strong faith in his mission; strong conviction fos the truth; highly developed sense of duty; absolute impartiality; devotion to Islam; extreme sense of dedication; very strong sense of justice; sympathy for the aggrieved; courage against the oppressor; energy; piety; humility; discipline; frugality; morality; political insight; accessibility; vigilance; patience; perseverance; accountability before law; equality for all; and indeed all the virtues that a ruler or a leader of men should possess.

Umar was a man of great knowledge and learning. He was a good orator. Every Friday he would address the faithful in the Prophet's mosque at Madina. Some of the addresses that he delivered on such occasions have come down to us and are masterpieces of religious teaching. While sending his forces on various expeditions he addressed them in very inspiring terms. He was a good writer and some of his letters which have come down to us show the skill of his penmanship. The instructions that he issued to his officers to regulate statebusiness are very much modern in content. Many anecdotes about him have come down to us, and these project his greatness, wisdom, and foresightedness. He was a good judge of poetry. He could freely quote appropriate verses to suit the occasion. He was a good judge of men. He could discern the truth from falsehood. He always called a spade a spade, and would never mince matters. Whatever he regarded as the truth he spoke it even though it might appear to be bitter. He enjoyed the reputation of being hard and harsh, but that was primarily because he always valued the truth, and had no hesitation in expressing it even though it might be displeasing. Howsoever stern or angry he might be, if the verses of the Holy Qur'an were read before him he would at once soften, and even burst into sobs.

Physically as well as intellectually he was a man of towering personality. But he never tried to give the impression that he was in any way superior to the people around him. He was a good critic, but his criticism was not meant for others; alone it was meant for himself as well He listened to his critics with great respect and if such criticism was infounded he tried to explain things to them. He subjected himself to rigorous self-criticism. Whenever there was any lapse on his part, he would shut himself in a room of his house and then loudly reprimand himself. If he beat any body with his whip inadvertently and such punishment was found to be unjustified he would ask the person concerned to beat him with the whip in the same way as he had beaten him. During the famine he refused to take ghee or meat simply because the people of average means could not afford such food. He was the ruler of vast dominions but he denied himself all privileges of rulership. The allowance that he drew was just enough for a person of average means. When the people around him insisted that his allowance should be raised, he refused to accept any increase. And when he died he willed that after the sale of his property the entire amount of the allowance that he had drawn should be refunded to the treasury.

He set very high standards of integrity, and was the first to practise what he preached. His son 'Abdullah was a very talented man but he refused to give him any office. One of his sons Abu Shama was found guilty of drinking and Umar had him flogged to death. Once a Governor gave some gift to one of his wives. Umar returned the gift and rebuked the Governor. Once a wife of Umar sent some perfume as a gift to the wife of the emperor of Byzantine. The wife of the emperor of Byzantine sent some gift in return. Umar sold the gift and credited the proceeds to the state treasury.

He ate the coarsest of food, and wore clothes of the coarsest of cloth. Once he was late for the Friday prayer and the explanation that he offered was that he had his clothes washed, and they took some time to dry which delayed his departure for the mosque Umar the ruler of the largest empire of the time had only one shirt in his wardrobe and that too was patched. When the envoy of the Byzantine emperor came to Madina, he expected that the Caliph would be living in a heavily guarded palace. The envoy found no palace and no guard. He found the Caliph sitting in the mosque in the company of ordinary people. Umar was the living embodiment of the doctrine of equality before law. Once he appeared in a suit in a law court and when the Judge wanted to show him some respect for the office he held, he desired that no preference should be shown to him in any way and that the law must have its course. When a messenger riding a dromedary came from Iraq carrying the news of the victory of the Muslims at the battle of Qadisiyya, Umar met the messenger a few miles outside Madina and ran all the way by the side of the dromedary of the messenger hearing the news and without disclosing his identity to the man who had brought the news. When Umar went to Palestine to receive the surrender of the city of Jerusalem the world witnessed the strange spectacle of Umar's slave riding the camel, and Umar the mighty Caliph, walking on foot holding the reins of the camel.

Umar would perambulate the streets of Madina at night carrying his whip in his hand. The whip would freely descend on any one found guilty of any lapse or excess regardless of his status. Once a chief was found passing through the streets of Madina at the head of a procession of his followers. Umar whipped him for this display of arrogance. A prince of Syria who had accepted Islam and was staying at Madina and Mecca as a state guest slapped a man who accidentally trod on his feet in the course of the Hajj. Umar laid down that the man who had been slapped could in turn slap the prince.

Umar kept a watch over the people as a shepherd would keep a watch over his animals. A blind woman in Madina had no one to attend to her needs. Umar visited her frequently and attended to her needs. In a cottage a woman was found cooking stone in a kettle merely to give the children the impression that food was being cooked for them whereas there was nothing in the house to be cooked. Umar carried a bag of flour and other eatables on his own back and handed them over to the lady. A Bedouin and his wife came to Madina and were in a predicament as the lady suffered from the pains of childbirth. Umar's wife acted as a midwife and Umar sat all the time outside the tent awaiting the birth of a child.

He took particular care to appoint men of approved integrity to high offices under the state. He watched over them like a hawk, and as soon as any lapse on their part came to the notice of Umar immediate action was taken. People were free to complain against their officers. Impartial enquiries were held and when any officer was found guilty he was removed and punished. All the Governors were required to assemble at Mecca on the occasion of the Hajj, and here any person could complain against any officer. Umar exhorted all concerned to realise that the officers were not meant to rule; they were there to serve the people, and build up a welfare state. Umar's concept of administration was:

"By God he that is weakest among you shall be in my eyes the strongest until I have vindicated for him his right. He that is strongest I will treat as the weakest until he complies with law."
No political thinker or ruler since Umar has been able to come forward with a better concept of the purpose of the state than the concept enunciated by Umar. About the ruler and the ruled relationship, Umar said:

"People generally hate their ruler and I seek protection of Allah lest my people should entertain similar feelings about me."

Some of his standing instructions to his executive were: "Avoid vain suspicions; keep away from malice; do not encourage people to cherish vain hopes; be careful in respect of Allah's property in your charge; be accessible to the people; guard yourself against evil men; seek the company of the righteous; attend to your job with due diligence; do not procrastinate in the despatch of state business; watch your subordinates; take immediate action against those who are corrupt or inefficient; and award merit." All these instructions given 1,400 years ago would be as true today as these were then.

Umar stood for quick and impartial justice. Umar appointed capable and upright persons as Judges. He instructed his Judges in the following terms:
"Justice is an important obligation. Treat the people equally in your presence, in your company, and in your decisions, so that the weak despair not of justice and the high placed have no hope of your favour . When you are in doubt on a question and find nothing about it in the Quran or in the Sunna of the Prophet think over the question; ponder over the precedents and analogous cases and then decide by analogy."

Umar took special pains to project Islam in the proper perspective as a living faith. There was a school of thought who held that religion was mystical and supra-rational and as such the injunctions of religion including Islam were not to be tested on the basis of intellect or reason. Umar founded what later came to be called Israr Ilmuddin. He held that Islam was a rational religion and all its injunctions and practices could be tested and justified on the basis of reason and intellect. He was the first Muslim to undertake Ijtihad, and lay down new laws in keeping with the spirit of Islam. In the Holy Quran no punishment was laid down for drinking. Umar laid down a penalty of 80 lashes in this behalf. The position about Mutah was not clear. ' Umar forbade Mutah. The position about three divorces was not clear. Umar held that even when three divorces were announced at one sitting the divorce was irrevocable. In the month of Ramadan Umar enjoined upon the Muslims to offer Tarawik in congregation.

Umar took pains to ensure that the faish of Islam should remain pure and should have no characteristic of idolatry about it. The tree under which the Holy Prophet took the oath of allegiance on the occasion of the Hudaybiah pact came to he regarded by the people as something sacred. Umar had the tree uprooted to avoid idolatrous veneration thereof. On the way from Madina to Mecca there was a mosque where the Holy Prophet had once said his prayers. It became the practice that the pilgrims offered extra prayers at the mosque. Umar forbade the practice. The Black Stone at the Kaaba came to be held as sacred. Umar held that it was just a stone. At one stage the Holy Prophet had ordered Rummal in Hajj, under which the first rounds in the case of the Kaaba were to be performed running. Umar was of the view that Rummal had been provided under circumstances which no longer existed. He did not abrogate the practice but nevertheless held that if some body could not run that did not matter.

Umar is known for his humanitarian reforms. He provided privileges for slaves. He emancipated girl slaves who bore their masters children. Full protection was afforded to the Dhimmis. In the matter of citizenship they were treated at par with other citizens.

In the social field Umar took particular steps to build a social order according to the teachings of Islam. Prohibition was enforced with great strictness. It was the practice with Arab poets to mention the names of their beloveds in their poetry. Umar prohibited the practice. The poets also indulged in satires and lampoons. Umar issued strict instructions that no poet should write satires and lampoons. Umar also ordered that in their verses the poets should not extol non-Islamic virtues. Umar laid down that no person, howsoever rich should build a double storeyed house, and no house should comprise more than three rooms.

The political and social order that Umar set up by applying the principles of Islam was more democratic than the democracies of today and more socialist than the socialist countries of today. That order has remained the ideal for all Muslim countries to revive.
Because of his achievements, Umar occupies an outstanding place in the history of the world. We do not come across any other ruler in world history who led so simple a life and yet inspired awe and terror among his people and his foes alike. The awe and fear that Umar commanded was because of his high moral character People feared him because he feared God. Umar was an embodiment of the virtues of Islam. About him the Holy Prophet said:

"If God had wished that there should have been another prophet after me, he would have been Umar."

About Umar we can appropriately say what Girami said of Iqbal, namely:
"In the eyes of those who know the secret of things, He fulfilled a prophet's role, but he cannot be called a prophet."

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