Omar Farooq was
the second Caliph, who succeeded Abu Bakr Siddiq in 13 A.H. His
reign is regarded as the golden period of the Caliphate. He was
simple, just, honest, brave and conscientious. When Constantinople
was captured, the news was brought to him by Mu'awiah Ibn Khudej.
The messenger reached Madinah after the sun had crossed the zenith.
He thought the Caliph might be taking a rest, and retired to
Masjid-e-Nabavi. Not long after his entry into the mosque, a
maid-servant of the, Caliph happened to pass by the mosque. She came
to know that a messenger had brought news from the battlefield. She
instantly informed the Caliph and soon returned to bring the
messenger to the court. On learning about the capture of the town,
the Caliph bowed before Allah in gratitude. Then placing whatever
food he had in front of the messenger, he asked, "Why did you not
come to me directly"?
replied, "Amirul Moomineen, I presumed you might be enjoying the
the great Caliph, "Its pity that you thought so. If I sleep during
the day time then, who will bear the burden of ruling the empire?"
was the sovereign ruler of the entire Islamic Empire, he understood
very well the extent of his power, rights and status. Once while
delivering a sermon, he said: "My rights over public funds (the
Baitul Maal) are similar to those of the guardians of an
orphan. If well placed in life, I will not claim anything from it.
In case of need, I shall draw only as much as it constitutionally
allowed for providing food. You have every right to question me
anything about, any improper accumulation of the revenue and bounty
collections, improper utilization of the treasury money, provision
of the daily bread to all, border-security arrangements and
harassment caused to any citizen."
occasion he declared: "For Omar what is permissible from Baitul
Maal is a length of the cloth sufficient to cover him, a ride
for Haj pilgrimage and other State tours, and sustenance for his
dependence equal to the requirements of a middle class family."
Records indicate that he never exceeded his just claims.
Maqdis (Jerusalem) was captured, great Caliph Omar was invited to
the town. Abu Obaidah and other rank officer of the Muslim Army went
out of the town to receive him. They witnessed the great general
approaching them in very modest clothing. They wanted the Christian
citizens of the town to be impressed by the entry of the victor
ruler. They rushed to him with a costly robe and a stallion of high
Turkish pedigree. He declined the offering saying, "All veneration
comes to us through following the religion of Allah. Islam is the
only mark of exaltation."
essential feature of justice is equality. There should not be any
distinction between a Lord and a Layman or between the ruler and
ruled. 'Ubai was a common citizen. He charged Omar, the Caliph, in
the court of Qazi Zaid bin Thabit. The Caliph presented himself
before the court in simple dress. The Qazi offered his respect to
the Caliph. He was reprimanded, 'This is your first act of
injustice." And he seated himself by the side of 'Ubai.
‘Ubai had no
proof for his claim. Caliph Omar disowned the claims. 'Ubai wanted
that the Caliph should take an oath as was the practice. The Qazi
suggested that ‘Ubai should exempt the Caliph from this formality.
This was disapproved by Omar himself. He said, "Unless 'Ubai and
Omar are not equal in your court, you do not deserve to hold the
high office of the Qazi."
Caliph Omar was
the champion of freedom and democratic norms. He proved through his
words and deeds that every person is born free and even the lowest
of the low should not be abashed or humiliated.
Amar bin al-Aas
was the governor of Egypt. His son once manhandled and caned a
native. Caliph Omar reprimanded the father and his son thus, "Since
when have you taken men as slaves? All are born free, you should
Caliph Omar was
returning from his sojourn at Syria. On the way he saw an old lady
by the side of a tent. He approached her and asked, "Do you know
anything about Omar?"
"Yes, he has started from Syria. But let Allah destroy him. He has
never cared to know about me."
He said: "How
can Omar know about you who live so far?"
She replied: "If
he cannot be aware of his subjects, why has he accepted the burden
shuddered at the remark and arranged for meeting her needs.
Hurmuzan was a
general of the Iranian army. He was defeated in a war. He accepted
to pay the tribute but soon rebelled and fought another war. This
time also he was vanquished and got arrested. He was brought before
Caliph Omar. He was clad in his silken robes. Golden crown decorated
his head. The bejeweled sword hung from his waistband. Caliph Omar
was in Masjid-e-Nabawi at that time. He was told, "You have
repeatedly gone back on your words. What excuse you have now?"
"I am afraid I will be killed before my apologies."
He was assured,
"Do not be afraid. No such thing will happen."
He asked for a
cup of water. Water was fetched. Holding the cup in his hand, he
pleaded, "I fear I will be killed while drinking water."
He was assured
again. "Do drink it. Until you drink water and offer your excuses,
be assured, no harm will befall on you." Placing the cup down,
Hurmuzan said, "I do not drink water now. You have given me
protection. So you cannot kill me either."
the Caliph. He was about to flare up when Ansar said, "Ameerul
Mumineen, he is speaking the truth. You have given him the word that
nothing will happen to him till he drinks water."
concurred with this statement. The Caliph addressed the prisoner, "Hurmuzan,
you have deceived me. But I am going to pay you back in the same
coins. Islam has not taught us to do so. I stand by my words."
This kind of
benevolent gesture moved Hurmuzan. He instantly came to the fold of
Islam. The Caliph sanctioned an allowance of two thousand riyals per
annum for him.
benevolent and magnanimous was he towards the non-Muslim citizens.
When he entered Jerusalem along with Father Cephrovenus, he had a
bag full of roasted millet, another full of dates, a water bottle
and a wooden vessel, all hung from the back of a red camel. The two
men were inside the temple of Jerusalem when Azan (the call for
prayer) was heard. The padre insisted that Caliph Omar should offer
his prayers inside the temple alone. But the Caliph refused to
oblige him saying, "May be, later other Muslims follow my tradition
and gradually try to usurp the place for permanent use." The Caliph
then moved outside the church and performed his prayers there. The
religious sentiments of people of other faith were thus upheld in
great esteem, and the Caliph ensured security of their holy place.