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Know about a great leader Umar

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Umar ibn al-Khaṭṭāb (Arabic: عمر بن الخطاب‎; c. 583/584 – 3 November 644), also known as Umar or Omar, was the second Rashidun caliph. He was one of the most powerful and influential Muslim caliphs in history.[7] He was a senior companion and father-in-law of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. He succeeded Abu Bakr (632–634) as the second caliph of the Rashidun Caliphate on 23 August 634. He was an expert Muslim jurist known for his pious and just nature, which earned him the epithet al-Farooq ("the one who distinguishes (between right and wrong)").

Under Umar, the caliphate expanded at an unprecedented rate, ruling the Sasanian Empire and more than two-thirds of the Byzantine Empire.[8] His attacks against the Sasanian Empire resulted in the conquest of Persia in less than two years (642–644). According to Jewish tradition, Umar set aside the Christian ban on Jews and allowed them into Jerusalem and to worship.[9] Umar was assassinated by the Persian slave Abu Lu'lu'a Firuz in 644.

Umar is revered in the Sunni tradition as a great ruler and paragon of Islamic virtues,[10] and some hadiths identify him as the second greatest of the Sahabah after Abu Bakr.[11][12] He is viewed negatively in the Twelver Shia tradition.[13]
Early life
Umar was born in Mecca to the Banu Adi clan, which was responsible for arbitration among the tribes.[14] His father was Khattab ibn Nufayl and his mother was Hantama bint Hisham, from the tribe of Banu Makhzum. In his youth he used to tend to his father's camels in the plains near Mecca. His merchant father was famed for his intelligence among his tribe.[15] Umar himself said: "My father, al-Khattab, was a ruthless man. He used to make me work hard; if I didn't work he used to beat me and he used to work me to exhaustion."[16]

Despite literacy being uncommon in pre-Islamic Arabia, Umar learned to read and write in his youth. Though not a poet himself, he developed a love for poetry and literature.[17] According to the tradition of Quraish, while still in his teenage years, Umar learned martial arts, horse riding and wrestling. He was tall, physically powerful and a renowned wrestler.[17][18] He was also a gifted orator who succeeded his father as an arbitrator among the tribes.[19]

Umar became a merchant and made several journeys to Rome and Persia, where he is said to have met various scholars and analyzed Roman and Persian societies. As a merchant he was unsuccessful.[17][20] Like others around him, Umar was fond of drinking in his pre-Islamic days.[21]

During Muhammad's era
Initial hostility to Islam
In 610 Muhammad started preaching the message of Islam. However, like many others in Mecca, Umar opposed Islam and even threatened to kill Muhammad. He resolved to defend the traditional polytheistic religion of Arabia. He was adamant and cruel in opposing Muhammad, and very prominent in persecuting Muslims.[22] He recommended Muhammad's death.[23] He firmly believed in the unity of the Quraish and saw the new faith of Islam as a cause of division and discord.[22]

Due to persecution, Muhammad ordered some of his followers to migrate to Abyssinia. When a small group of Muslims migrated, Umar became worried about the future unity of the Quraish and decided to have Muhammad assassinated.[24]

Conversion to Islam
Umar converted to Islam in 616, one year after the Migration to Abyssinia. The story was recounted in Ibn Ishaq's Sīrah. On his way to murder Muhammad, Umar met his best friend Nua'im bin Abdullah who had secretly converted to Islam but had not told Umar. When Umar informed him that he had set out to kill Muhammad, Nua'im said, “By God, you have deceived yourself, O Umar! Do you think that Banu Abd al-Manaf would let you run around alive once you had killed their son Muhammad? Why don't you return to your own house and at least set it straight?"[25]

Nuaimal Hakim told him to inquire about his own house where his sister and her husband had converted to Islam. Upon arriving at her house, Umar found his sister and brother-in-law Saeed bin Zaid (Umar's cousin) reciting the verses of the Quran from sura Ta-Ha.[26] He started quarreling with his brother-in-law. When his sister came to rescue her husband, he also started quarreling with her. Yet still they kept on saying "you may kill us but we will not give up Islam". Upon hearing these words, Umar slapped his sister so hard that she fell to the ground bleeding from her mouth. When he saw what he did to his sister, he calmed down out of guilt and asked his sister to give him what she was reciting. His sister replied in the negative and said "You are unclean, and no unclean person can touch the Scripture." He insisted, but his sister was not prepared to allow him to touch the pages unless he washed his body. Umar at last gave in. He washed his body and then began to read the verses that were: Verily, I am Allah: there is no God but Me; so serve Me (only), and establish regular prayer for My remembrance (Quran 20:14). He wept and declared, "Surely this is the word of Allah. I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah." On hearing this, Khabbab came out from inside and said: "O, Umar! Glad tidings for you. Yesterday Muhammad prayed to Allah, 'O, Allah! Strengthen Islam with either Umar or Abu Jahl, whomsoever Thou likest.' It seems that his prayer has been answered in your favour."[27]

Umar then went to Muhammad with the same sword he intended to kill him with and accepted Islam in front of him and his companions. Umar was 39 years old when he accepted Islam.[28]

Following his conversion, Umar went to inform the chief of Quraish, Abu Jahl, about his acceptance of Islam.[citation needed] According to one account, Umar thereafter openly prayed at the Kaaba as the Quraish chiefs, Abu Jahl and Abu Sufyan, reportedly watched in anger.[29] This further helped the Muslims to gain confidence in practicing Islam openly. At this stage Umar even challenged anyone who dared to stop the Muslims from praying, although no one dared to interfere with Umar when he was openly praying.

Umar's conversion to Islam granted power to the Muslims and to the Islamic faith in Mecca. It was after this event that Muslims offered prayers openly in Masjid al-Haram for the first time. Abdullah Ibn Masud said,

Umar's embracing Islam was our victory, his migration to Medina was our success, and his reign a blessing from Allah. We didn't offer prayers in al-Haram Mosque until Umar had accepted Islam. When he accepted Islam, the Quraysh were compelled to let us pray in the Mosque.[30]

Migration to Medina
In 622 CE, due to the safety offered by Yathrib (later renamed Medīnat an-Nabī, or simply Medina), Muhammad ordered his followers to migrate to Medina. Most Muslims migrated at night fearing Quraish resistance, but Umar is reported to have left openly during the day saying: "Any one who wants to make his wife a widow and his children orphans should come and meet me there behind that cliff."[31][32] Umar migrated to Medina accompanied by his cousin and brother-in-law Saeed ibn Zaid.[28]

Life in Medina​

When Muhammad arrived in Medina, he paired each immigrant (Muhajir) with one of the residents of the city (Ansari), joining Muhammad ibn Maslamah with Umar, making them brothers in faith. Later in Umar's reign as caliph, Muhammad ibn Muslamah would be assigned the office of Chief Inspector of Accountability. Muslims remained in peace in Medina for approximately a year before the Quraish raised an army to attack them. In 624 Umar participated in the first battle between Muslims and Quraish of Mecca i.e., the Battle of Badr. In 625 he took part in the Battle of Uhud. In the second phase of the battle, when Khalid ibn Walid's cavalry attacked the Muslim rear, turning the tide of battle, rumours of Muhammad's death were spread and many Muslim warriors were routed from the battlefield, Umar among them. However, hearing that Muhammad was still alive, he went to Muhammad at the mountain of Uhud and prepared for the defence of the hill.[33] Later in the year Umar was a part of a campaign against the Jewish tribe of Banu Nadir. In 625 Umar's daughter Hafsah was married to Muhammad.[34] Later in 627 he participated in the Battle of the Trench and also in the Battle of Banu Qurayza.[35] In 628 Umar witnessed the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah.[35] In 628 he fought in the Battle of Khaybar. In 629 Muhammad sent Amr ibn al-A’as to Zaat-ul-Sallasal, after which, Muhammad sent Abu Ubaidah ibn al-Jarrah with reinforcements, including Abu Bakr and Umar, whereupon they attacked and defeated the enemy.[36] In 630, when Muslim armies rushed for the conquest of Mecca, he was part of that army. Later in 630, he fought in the Battle of Hunayn and the Siege of Ta'if. He was part of the Muslim army that contested the Battle of Tabouk under Muhammad's command and he was reported to have given half of his wealth for the preparation of this expedition. He also participated in the farewell Hajj of Muhammad in 632.[37]

Death of Muhammad
When Muhammad died on 8 June 632 Umar initially disbelieved that he was dead.[38] It is said that Umar promised to strike the head of any man who would say that Muhammad died. Umar said: "He has not died but rather he has gone to his lord just as Moses went, remaining absent from his people for forty nights after which he has returned to them. By Allah, the messenger of Allah will indeed return just as Moses returned (to his people) and he will cut off the hands and legs of those men who claimed he has died."[39] Abu Bakr then publicly spoke to the community in the mosque, saying:

"Whoever worshiped Muhammad, let them know that Muhammad has died, and whoever worshiped Allah, let them know that Allah is alive and never dies."

[40] Abū Bakr then recited these verses from the Qur'an:
"Muhammad is but a messenger; messengers (the like of whom) have passed away before him. If, then, he dies or is killed, will you turn back on your heel?"

[40] Hearing this, Umar fell on his knees in sorrow and acceptance. Sunni Muslims say that this denial of Muhammad's death was occasioned by his deep love for him.[38]

Foundation of the caliphate​

Umar's political capacity first manifested as the architect of the caliphate after Muhammad died on 8 June 632.[41] While the funeral of Muhammad was being arranged a group of Muhammad's followers who were natives of Medina, the Ansar (helpers), organised a meeting on the outskirts of the city, effectively locking out those companions known as Muhajirs (The Emigrants) including Umar.[41] Umar found out about this meeting at Saqifah Bani Saadah, and, taking with him two other Muhajirs, Abu Bakr and Abu Ubaidah ibn al-Jarrah, proceeded to the meeting, presumably to head off the Ansars' plans for political separation. Arriving at the meeting, Umar was faced with a unified community of tribes from the Ansar who refused to accept the leadership of the Muhajirs.[41] However, Umar was undeterred in his belief the caliphate should be under the control of the Muhajirs.[42] Though the Khazraj were in disagreement, Umar, after strained negotiations lasting one or two days, brilliantly divided the Ansar into their old warring factions of Aws and Khazraj tribes. Umar resolved the divisions by placing his hand on that of Abu Bakr as a unity candidate for those gathered in the Saqifah. Others at the Saqifah followed suit, with the exception of the Khazraj tribe and their leader, Sa'd ibn 'Ubada, who were ostracized as a result. The Khazraj tribe is said to have posed no significant threat as there were sufficient men of war from the Medinan tribes such as the Banu Aws to immediately organize them into a military bodyguard for Abu Bakr.[41]

Wilferd Madelung summarises Umar's contribution: [43]

Umar judged the outcome of the Saqifa assembly to be a falta [translated by Madelung as 'a precipitate and ill-considered deal'[44]] because of the absence of most of the prominent Muhajirun, including the Prophet's own family and clan, whose participation he considered vital for any legitimate consultation (shura, mashwara). It was, he warned the community, to be no precedent for the future. Yet he also defended the outcome, claiming that the Muslims were longing for Abu Bakr as for no one else. He apologized, moreover, that the Muhajirun present were forced to press for an immediate oath of allegiance since the Ansar could not have been trusted to wait for a legitimate consultation and might have proceeded to elect one of their own after the departure of the Mekkans. Another reason for Umar to censure the Saqifa meeting as a falta was no doubt its turbulent and undignified end, as he and his followers jumped upon the sick Khazraji leader Sa'd bin Ubada in order to teach him a lesson, if not to kill him, for daring to challenge the sole right of Quraysh to rule. This violent break-up of the meeting indicates, moreover, that the Ansar cannot all have been swayed by the wisdom and eloquence of Abu Bakr's speech and have accepted him as the best choice for the succession, as suggested by Caetani. There would have been no sense in beating up the Khazraji chief if everybody had come around to swearing allegiance to Umar's candidate. A substantial number of the Ansar, presumably of Khazraj in particular, must have refused to follow the lead of the Muhajirun.[43]

According to various Twelver Shia sources and Madelung,[45][46] Umar and Abu Bakr had in effect mounted a political coup against Ali at the Saqifah[41] According to one version of narrations in primary sources, Umar and Abu Bakr are also said to have used force to try to secure the allegiance from Ali and his party. It has been reported in mainly Persian historical sources written 300 years later, such as in the History of al-Tabari, that after Ali's refusal to pay homage, Abu Bakr sent Umar with an armed contingent to Fatimah's house where Ali and his supporters are said to have gathered. Umar is reported to have warned those in the House that unless Ali succumbed to Abu Bakr, he would set the House on fire[42][page needed] and under these circumstances Ali was forced to capitulate. This version of events, fully accepted by Shia scholars, is generally rejected by Sunni scholars who, in view of other reports in their literature, believe that Ali gave an oath of alliance to Abu Bakr without any grievance. But then other Sunni and Shia sources say that Ali did not swear allegiance to Abu Bakr after his election but six months later after the death of his wife Fatimah putting into question al-Tabari's account. Either way the Sunni and the Shia accounts both accept that Ali felt that Abu Bakr should have informed him before going into the meeting with the Ansar and that Ali did swear allegiance to Abu Bakr.

Western scholars tend to agree that Ali believed he had a clear mandate to succeed Muhammad,[citation needed] but offer differing views as to the extent of use of force by Umar in an attempt to intimidate Ali and his supporters. For instance, Madelung discounts the possibility of the use of force and argues that:

Isolated reports of use of force against Ali and Banu Hashim who unanimously refused to swear allegiance for six months are probably to be discounted. Abu Bakr no doubt was wise enough to restrain Umar from any violence against them, well realizing that this would inevitably provoke the sense of solidarity of the majority of Abdul Mannaf whose acquiescence he needed.[47] His policy was rather not isolating Banu Hashim as far as possible.

According to Tom Holland, Umar's historicity is beyond dispute.[48] An Armenian bishop writing a decade or so after Qadisiyya describes Umar as a "mighty potentate coordinating the advance of the sons of Ismael from the depths of the desert".[48][49] Tom Holland writes "What added incomparably to his prestige, was that his earth-shaking qualities as a generalissimo were combined with the most distinctive cast of virtues. Rather than ape the manner of a Caesar, as the Ghassanid kings had done, he drew on the example of a quite different kind of Christian. Umar's threadbare robes, his diet of bread, salt and water, and his rejection of worldly riches would have reminded anyone from the desert reaches beyond Palestine of a very particular kind of person. Monks out in the Judaean desert had long been casting themselves as warriors of God. The achievement of Umar was to take such language to a literal and previously unimaginable extreme."[48]

Abu Bakr's era
Due to the delicate political situation in Arabia[vague], Umar initially opposed military operations against the rebel tribes there,[citation needed] hoping to gain their support in the event of an invasion by the Romans or the Persians. Later, however, he came to agree with Abu Bakr's strategy to crush the rebellion by force. By late 632 CE, Khalid ibn Walid had successfully united Arabia after consecutive victories against the rebels. During his own reign later, Umar would mostly adopt the policy of avoiding wars and consolidating his power in the incorporated lands rather than expanding his empire through continuous warfare.[50]

Umar advised Abu Bakr to compile the Quran in the form of a book after 300 huffāẓ (memorizers) of the Quran died in the Battle of Yamamah.[51]

Appointment as a caliph
Abu Bakr appointed Umar as his successor before dying in 634 CE.[52] Due to his strict and autocratic nature, Umar was not a very popular figure among the notables of Medina and members of Majlis al Shura; accordingly, high-ranking companions of Abu Bakr attempted to discourage him from naming Umar.[53][54] Nevertheless, Abu Bakr decided to make Umar his successor. Umar was well known for his extraordinary willpower, intelligence, political astuteness, impartiality, justice, and care for the poor.[55] Abu Bakr is reported to have said to the high-ranking advisers:

His (Umar's) strictness was there because of my softness when the weight of Caliphate will be over his shoulders he will remain no longer strict. If I will be asked by God to whom I have appointed my successor, I will tell him that I have appointed the best man among your men.[56]

Abu Bakr was aware of Umar's power and ability to succeed him. His was perhaps one of the smoothest transitions of power from one authority to another in the Muslim lands.[57] Before his death, Abu Bakr called Uthman to write his will in which he declared Umar his successor. In his will he instructed Umar to continue the conquests on Iraqi and Syrian fronts.[citation needed]

Source: wikipedia
 
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