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Umar (Arabic: Transliteration: `Umar ibn Al-Khattb, Umar Son of Al-Khittab, c.

58 6590 CE 7 November 644), also known as Omar, Farooq the Great was the most powerfu l of the four Rashidun Caliphs and one of the most powerful and influential Musl im rulers in history. He was a sahabi (companion) of the Islamic prophet Muhamma d. He succeeded Caliph Abu Bakr (632634) as the second Caliph of Rashidun Calipha te on 23 August 634. He was an expert jurist and is best known for his justice, that earned him the title Al-Farooq (The one who distinguishes between right and wrong). Under Umar the Islamic empire expanded at an unprecedented rate ruling the whole Sassanid Persian Empire and more than two thirds of the Eastern Roman Empire. His brilliantly coordinated multi-prong attacks against the Sassanid Per sian Empire resulted in the conquest of the Persian empire in less than two year s. His legislative abilities and firm political and administrative control over a rapidly expanding empire marked his reputation as a great political and milita ry leader. It was Umar, who for the first time in 500 years since their expulsio n from the Holy Land, allowed Jews to practice their religion freely and live in side Jerusalem. Early life Umar was born in Mecca to the Banu Adi clan, which was responsible for arbitrati ons among the tribes. His father was Khattab ibn Nufayl and his mother was Fatim a bint Hasham, from the tribe of Banu Makhzum. He is said to have belonged to a middle class family. In his youth he used to tend to his fathers camels in the pl ains near Mecca. His father was famed for his intelligence among his tribe. He w as a middle class merchant and is believed to be a ruthless man and emotional po lytheist who often treated Umar badly. As obvious from Umars own statement rega rding his father during his later political rule, Umar said, "My father Al-Khitt ab was a ruthless man. He used to make me work hard; if I didnt work he used to beat me and he used to work me to exhaustion." 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 an d literature. According to the tradition of Quraish, while still in his teenage years, Umar learned martial arts, horse riding and wrestling. He was tall and ph ysically powerful and was soon to became a renowned wrestler. Umar was also a gi fted orator, and due to his intelligence and overwhelming personality, he succee ded his father as an arbitrator of conflicts among the tribes. In addition, Umar followed the traditional profession of Quraish. He became a me rchant and had several journeys to Rome and Persia, where he is said to have met the various scholars and analyzed the Roman and Persian societies closely. Howe ver, as a merchant he is believed to have never been successful. Drinking alcoho l was very common among the Quraish, and Umar was also fond of drinking in his p re-Islamic days. During Muhammads era Umars hostility to Islam In 610 Muhammad started delivering the message of Islam. Umar, alongside others in Mecca, opposed Islam and threatened to kill Muhammad. He resolved to defend t he traditional, polytheistic religion of Arabia. He was most adamant and cruel i n opposing Muhammad and very prominent in persecuting the Muslims. Umar was the first man who resolved that Muhammad had to be murdered in order to finish Islam . Umar firmly believed in the unity of the Quraish and saw the new faith of Isla m as a cause of division and discord among the Quraish. Due to the persecution at the hands of the Quraish, Muhammad ordered his followe rs to migrate to Abyssinia. As a small group of Muslims migrated Umar felt worri ed about the future unity of the Quraish and decided to have Muhammad assassinat ed. Converting to Islam

Umar converted to Islam in 616, one year after the Migration to Abyssinia. The s tory was recounted in Ibn Ishaqs Srah; On the way to murder Muhammad, Umar met h is best friend Nuaim who had secretly been converted to a Muslim but he did not tell Umar anything about it. When Umar told him that he was going to kill Muhamm ad he was afraid. He knew Umar will attempt what he said. So just to divert his attention he told him to set his own house in order first, as his sister and her husband had converted to Islam. Upon arriving at her house, Umar found his sist er and brother-in-law Saeed bin Zaid (Umars cousin), reciting the verses of the Quran(Surah Taha). He started quarreling with his brother-in-law . When his si ster 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 hearin g these words, Umar slapped his sister so hard that she fell to the ground bleed ing from her mouth. When he saw what he did to his sister now, out of guilt he c almed down and asked his sister to give him what she was reciting. She gave him the paper on which was written the verses of the chapter Ta-Ha. He was so struck by the beauty of the verses that he accepted Islam that day. He then went to Mu hammad with the same sword he intended to kill him with and accepted Islam in fr ont of him and his companions. Umar was 27 when he accepted Islam. Following his conversion, Umar went to inform the chief of Quraish, Amr ibn Hishm, about his a cceptance of Islam. According to one account, Umar thereafter openly prayed at t he Kaaba as the Quraish chiefs, Amr ibn Hishm and Abu Sufyan ibn Harb, reportedly watched in anger. This further helped the Muslims to gain confidence in practic ing Islam openly. At this stage Umar even challenged anyone who dared to stop th e Muslims from praying, although no one dared to interfere with Umar when he was openly praying. Umars conversion to Islam gave power to the Muslims and the faith in Mecca. It wa s after this that Muslims offered prayers openly in Masjid al-Haram for the firs t time. Abdullah bin Masoud said, Umars embracing Islam was our victory, his migration to Medina was our succ ess and his reign a blessing from Allah, we didnt offer prayers in Al-Haram Mos que until Umar accepted Islam, when he accepted Islam Quraish were compelled to let us pray in the Mosque. Migration to Medina In 622 due to the growing popularity of Islam in the city of Yathrib (later rena med Mednat an-Nab, or simply Medina) Muhammad ordered his followers to migrate to Medina. Muslims usually migrated at night due to fear of Quraishs resistance to that migration, but Umar is reported to have migrated openly during the day tim e saying; Any one who wants to make his wife a widow and his children orphan. sh ould come and meet me there behind that cliff." Umar migrated to Medina accompan ied by his cousin and brother-in-law Saeed ibn Zaid. Life in Medina Medina became the new center of Islam and the religion spread rapidly across Ara bia. When Muhammad arrived in Medina, he paired off each immigrant (Muhajir) wit h one of the residents of the city (Ansari), joining Muhammad ibn Maslamah with Umar making them brothers in faith. Later in Umars reign as caliph Muhammad ibn Muslamah would be assigned the office of chief inspector of Accountability. Mus lims remained in peace in Medina for approximately a year before the Quraish rai sed an army to attack them. In 624 Umar participated in the first Battle between Muslims and Quraish of Mecca i.e. Battle of Badr.In 625 he participated in the Battle of Uhud. In the second phase of Battle when Khalid ibn Walids Cavalry at tacked Muslims at the rear changing the victory of Muslims to defeat, rumors of Muhammads death were spread many Muslim were warriors routed from the battle fiel d, Umar too was initially routed but hearing that Muhammad was still alive he we nt to Muhammad at the mountain of Uhud and prepared for the defenses of the hill to keep the Quraishi army down the hill. Later in the year Umar was a part of c ampaign against the Jewish tribe of Banu Nadir. In 625 Umars daughter Hafsah was

married to Muhammad. Later in 627 he participated in the Battle of the Trench an d also in the Battle of Banu Qurayza. In 628 Umar participated in the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah and was made one of the witness over the pact. In 628 he was a part of Muslims campaign to Khaybar. In 629 Muhammad sent Amr ibn al-Aas to Zaat-ul-S allasal from where he called for reinforcement and Muhammad sent Abu Ubaidah ibn al-Jarrah with reinforcement, serving under him were Abu Bakr and Umar, they at tacked and defeated the enemy. In 630 when Muslim armies rushed for the Conquest of Mecca he was part of that army. Later in 630 he was part of Battle of Hunayn and Siege of Taif. He was part of Muslims army that went for the campaign of Tabuk under Muhammads command and he was reported to have given half of his wea lth for the preparation of this expedition. He also participated in a farewell H ajj of Muhammad in 631. Death of Muhammad Muhammad died on 8 June 632. Umar was full of grief upon hearing the news, Umar, the devoted disciple, could not accept the reality that the "Messenger of God" has died. According to the Quran, "Muhammad is but a messenger; messengers have passed away before", i.e. died or killed. It is said that Umar promised to stri ke the head of any man who would say that Muhammad died. At this point Abu Bakr is reported to have come out to the Muslim community and gave his famous speech which included: "Whoever worshipped Muhammad, let them know that Muhammad is dead, and whoev er worshipped God, let them know that Allah is alive and never dies." Ab Bakr then recited these verses from the Quran: "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?". Hearing this from Abu Bakr, the most senior disciple of Muhammad, Umar then fell down on his knees in great sense of sorrow and acceptance of the reality. Sunni Muslims say that this denial of Muhammads death was occasioned by his deep lov e for him. Foundation of the Caliphate Letter to Usama bin Zaid Umars political genius first manifested as the architect of the caliphate after Muhammad died in 8 June 632. While the funeral of Muhammad was being arranged a group of Muhammads 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. Umar found out abou t this meeting at Saqifah Bani Saadah, and taking with him two other Muhajirs, A bu Bakr and Abu Ubaidah ibn al-Jarrah, proceeded to the meeting, presumably to h ead off the Ansars plans for political domination. Arriving at the meeting Umar was faced with a unified community of tribes from the Ansar who refused to acce pt the leadership of the Muhajirs. However Umar was undeterred in his belief the caliphate should be under the control of the Muhajirs. Though they Khazraj were in disagreement, Umar after strained negotiations lasting up to one or two days , brilliantly divided the Ansar into their old warring factions of Aws and Khazr aj tribes, Umar resolved the divisions by placing his hand on that of Abu Bakr a s a unity candidate for those gathered in the Saqifah, most others gathered at t he Saqifah followed suit with the exception of the Khazraj tribe and their leade r, Sad ibn Ubada, whose tribe was ostracized. The Khazraj tribe is said to hav e posed no significant threat as there were sufficient men of war from the Medin an tribes such as the Banu Aws to immediately organize them into a military body guard for Abu Bakr. The creation of the islamic caliphate would be one of Umars most enduring legac ies, and its significance to world history is hard to overestimate. However Umar

himself was characteristically guarded about his own creation, Dr. Wilferd Made lung in his book The Succession to Muhammad summarising Umars contribution: Umar judged the outcome of the Saqifa assembly to be a falta [translated by Madelung as a precipitate and ill-considered deal because of the absence of mo st of the prominent Muhajirun, including the Prophets own family and clan, whos e participation he considered vital for any legitimate consultation (shura, mash wara). It was, he warned the community, to be no precedent for the future. Yet h e 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 fo rced 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 Um ar to censure the Saqifa meeting as a falta was no doubt its turbulent and undig nified end, as he and his followers jumped upon the sick Khazraji leader Sad bi n Ubada in order to teach him a lesson, if not to kill him, for daring to challe nge the sole right of Quraysh to rule. This violent break-up of the meeting indi cates, moreover, that the Ansar cannot all have been swayed by the wisdom and el oquence of Abu Bakrs speech and have accepted him as the best choice for the su ccession, 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 Umars candidate. A substantial number of the Ansar, presumably of Khazraj in particul ar, must have refused to follow the lead of the Muhajirun. According to various shia sources and some western scholars, Umar and Abu Bakr h ad in effect mounted a political coup against Ali at the Saqifah. According to o ne version of narrations in primary sources, Umar and Abu Bakr are also said to have used force to secure the allegiance from Ali and his party. It has been rep orted that after Alis refusal to pay homage, Abu Bakr sent Umar with an armed c ontingent to Fatimahs house where Ali and his supporters are said to have gathere d. Umar is reported to have warned those in the House that unless Ali succumbed to Abu Bakr, he would set the House on fire, with its inhabitants ablaze, and un der these circumstances Ali was forced to capitulate. This belligerent version o f events, fully accepted by Shia scholars, is generally rejected by Sunni schola rs who in view of other reports in their literature believe that Ali gave oath o f alliance to Abu Bakr without any grievance, while others believe that Ali was reluctant to swear allegiance to Abu Bakr and gave his allegiance six months lat er after the death of his wife Fatimah. Western scholars tend to agree that Ali believed he had a clear mandate to polit ically succeed Muhammad, but offer differing views as to the extent of use of fo rce by Umar in an attempt to intimidate Ali and his supporters, for instance, Dr . Wilferd Madelung in his book The Succession to Muhammad, discounts the possibi lity of use of force and argues that: Isolated reports of use of force against Ali and Banu Hashim who unanimously refuse to swear alligence for six months are probably to be discounted. Abu Bak r no doubt was wise enough to restrain Umar from any violence against them, well realizing that this would inevitably provoked the sense of solidarity of majori ty of Abdul Mannaf whos acquiescence he needed. His policy was rather not isolati ng Banu Hashim as far as possible. Caliph Abu Bakrs era During Abu Bakrs short reign as caliph he was mostly remained occupied with Rid da wars, Umar was one of his chief advisers and secretary. Umar along with Khali d ibn Walid, probably was the architect and main strategist behind the collapse of rebellion in Arabia. Though at the beginning due to the apprehensive situatio n in Arabia Umar was opposing the military operations against the rebel tribes, it was to enjoy their support in case of any possible foreign invasion by Romans or Persian, but later he seem to agree with Abu Bakrs warlike strategies to cr

ush rebellion. Khalid ibn Walid by late 632 had successfully united Arabia after consecutive victories against rebels. Later during his own reign, Umar would mo stly adopt the policy of avoiding wars and consolidating his power in the conque red land rather than expanding his empire through continuous warfare. Prior to B attle of Yamamah, Umar pressured Abu Bakr to call back Khalid, who had killed Ma lik ibn Nuwayrah, a rebel chief who was a state criminal. Umar was reportedly mi sguided by Maliks brother that Malik was a Muslim and Khalid killed him because he wanted to marry his wife Layla bint al-Minhal, a renowned beauty in Arabia. While Abu Bakr refused to accept Umars opinion and Umar continue insisting for Khalid disposal even after Khalids conquest of Iraq. This became a major issue between Abu Bakr and Umar and a spacious chapter in Islamic history. It was Umar who advised Abu Bakr to compile Quran in the form of a book, after the death of 300 memorizers of Quran in Battle of Yamamah. Abu Bakr appointed Umar as his su ccessor prior to his death in 634. He was confirmed in the office thereafter. Appointment as a Caliph Due to his strict and autocratic nature, Umar was not a very popular figure amon g the notables of Madinah and members of Majlis al Shura, accordingly succession of Umar was initially discouraged by high ranking companions of Abu Bakr. Never theless, Abu Bakr decided to make Umar, his successor. Umar, still was well know n for his extraordinary will power, intelligence, political astuteness, impartia lity, justice and care for poor and underprivileged people. Abu Bakr is reported to have said to the high-ranking advisers: His (Umars) 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 the God to whom I have appointed my successor, I will tell him that I have appointed the best man among your men. Abu Bakr was fully aware of Umars power and ability to succeed him. Succession of Umar was thus not as troublesome as any of the others. His was perhaps one of the smoothest transitions to power from one authority to another in the Muslim lands. Abu Bakr before his death called Uthman to write his will in which he dec lared Umar his successor. In his will he instructed Umar to continue the conques ts on Iraq and Syrian fronts. Abu Bakrs decision would prove to be crucial in t he strengthening of the nascent Islamic empire. Reign as Caliph Sword of Caliph Umar, with later hilt. On 22 August Caliph Abu Bakr died. The same day Umar assumed the office of Calip hate. After the assumption of office as the Caliph, Umar addressed the Muslims i n his Inaugural address as: "O ye faithful! Abu Bakr is no more amongst us. He has the satisfaction that he has successfully piloted the ship of the Muslim state to safety after negoti ating the stormy sea. He successfully waged the apostasy wars, and thanks to him , Islam is now supreme in Arabia. After Abu Bakr, the mantle of Caliphate has fa llen 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 c ome 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. Allah has examined me from you and you from me, In the performance of my duties, I will seek guidan ce 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, follo w me. If I deviate from the right path, correct me so that we are not led astray .

Initial challenges Umar was already not an endearing figure in Medina. Although almost all of the M uslims had given pledge of loyalty to him, nevertheless he was rather more feare d than loved. The first challenge for Umar was to win out his subjects and membe rs of Majlis al Shura. Umar was a gifted orator, and he would use his ability to get a soft corner in the hearts of people. On Friday prayers Umar addressed the people as follow: Brethren, it has come to my notice that the people are afraid of me..... the y say that he (Umar) has become the Caliph now, God knows how hard he will be. W hoever has said this is not wrong in his assessment...... know ye brethren that you will feel a change in me. For those who practise tyranny and deprive others of their rights, I will be harsh and stern, but for those who follow the law, I will be most soft and tender. Umars addresses greatly moved the people. Next time he addressed the people as: I will be harsh and stern against the aggressor, but I will be a pillar of s trength for the weak. I will not calm down until I will put one cheek of a tyrant on the ground an d the other under my feet, and for the poor and weak, I will put my cheek on the ground. There could be no better definition of the democracy and justice, then the histo ric words of Umar, over which he laid foundation of his rule: By God, he that is weakest among you shall be in my eye the strongest, until I have vindicated for him his rights; he that is strongest I will treat as the weakest, until he complies with the law. Umars stress was on the well being of poor and underprivileged people, as this class made a bulk of any community, the people were soundly moved by Umars spee ches and his popularity grew rapidly and continuously over the period of his rei gn. In addition to this Umar, in order to improve his reputation and relation wi th Banu Hashim, the tribe of Ali, delivered to him his disputed estates in Khayb er. Though he followed Abu Bakrs decision over the dispute of land of Fidak, co ntinued its status as a state property. In Ridda wars, thousands of prisoners fr om rebel and apostate tribes were taken away as slaves during the expeditions. U mar ordered the general amnesty for the prisoners, and their immediate emancipat ion. This made Umar quite a popular among the budoiene tribes. With necessary pu blic support with him, Umar took a bold decision of retrieving Khalid ibn Walid from supreme command on Roman front. Political and civil administration The government of Umar was more or less a unitary government, where the sovereig n political authority was the Caliph. The empire of Umar was divided into provin ces and some autonomous territories like in some regions Azerbaijan and Armenia, that had accepted the suzerainty of the Caliphate. The provinces were administe red by the provincial governors or Wali. The selection of which was made persona lly by Umar, who was very fastidious in it. Provinces were further divided into districts, there were about 100 districts in the empire. Each district or main c ity was under the charge of a junior governor or Wali, usually appointed by Umar himself, but occasionally they were also appointed by the provincial governor. Other officers at the provincial level were: Katib, the Chief Secretary. Katib-ud-Diwan, the Military Secretary. Sahib-ul-Kharaj, the Revenue Collector.

Sahib-ul-Ahdath, the Police chief. Sahib-Bait-ul-Mal, the Treasury Officer. Qadi, the Chief Judge. In some districts there were separate military officers, though the Governor (Wa li) was in most cases the Commander-in-chief of the army quartered in the provin ce. Every appointment was made in writing. At the time of appointment an instrum ent of instructions was issued with a view to regulating the conduct of Governor s. On assuming office, the Governor was required to assemble the people in the m ain mosque, and read the instrument of instructions before them. Umars general instructions to his officers were: "Remember, I have not appointed you as commanders and tyrants over the peopl e. I have sent you as leaders instead, so that the people may follow your exampl e. Give the Muslims their rights and do not beat them lest they become abused. D o not praise them unduly, lest they fall into the 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 ov er them." Various other strict code of conducts were to be obeyed by the governors and sta te officials. The principal officers were required to come to Mecca on the occas ion of the Hajj, during which people were free to present any complaint against them. In order to minimize the chances of corruption, Umar made it a point to pa y high salaries to the staff. Provincial governor received as much as five to se ven thousand dirham annually besides their shares of the spoils of war (if they were also the commander in chief of the army of their sector). Under Umar the em pire was divided into the following provinces. Arabia was divided into two provinces, Mecca and Medina; Iraq was divided into two provinces, Basra and Kufa; In the upper reaches of the Tigris and the Euphrates, Jazira was a province; Syria was a province; Umar divided Palestine in two provinces Aylya and Ramlah; Egypt was divided into two provinces, Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt; Persia was divided into three provinces, Khorasan; Azarbaijan and Fars. Umar was first to established a special department for the investigation of comp laints against the officers of the State. This department acted as Administrativ e court, where the legal proceedings were personally led by Umar. The Department was under the charge of Muhammad ibn Maslamah, one of Umars most trusted man. In important cases Muhammad ibn Maslamah was deputed by Umar to proceed to the s pot, investigate the charge and take action. Sometimes an Inquiry Commission was constituted to investigate the charge. On occasions the officers against whom c omplaints were received were summoned to Medina, and charged in Umars administr ative court. One of Umars most powerful department was his intelligence departm ent of secret services. Umars iron fist rule on his empire, is often credited t o this institution . His agents were everywhere, in the army, in the bureaucracy and in the enemy land. For the officials of Umar it was said to be the most fea rsome department. Umar was a pioneer in some affairs: Umar was the first to introduce the public ministry system, where the record s of officials and soldiers were kept. He also kept a record system that had the messages he sent to Governors and heads of states. He was the first to appoint police forces to keep civil order. He was the first to discipline the people when they became disordered.

Reforms Umar is regarded as one of the greatest political geniuses in history. While und er his leadership, the empire was expanding at a unprecedented rate, he also beg an to build the political structure that would hold together the vast empire tha t was being built. He undertook many administrative reforms and closely oversaw public policy. He established an advanced administration for the newly conquered lands, including several new ministries and bureaucracies, and ordered a census of all the Muslim territories. During his rule, the garrison cities (amsar) of Basra and Kufa were founded or expanded. In 638, he extended and renovated the M asjid al-Haram (Grand Mosque) in Mecca and the Al-Masjid al-Nabawi (Mosque of th e Prophet) in Medina. Umar also ordered the expulsion of the Christian and Jewis h communities of Najran and Khaybar allowing them to reside in Syria or Iraq. He issued orders that these Christians and Jews should be treated well and allotte d them the equivalent land in their new settlements. Umar also forbade non-Musli ms to reside in the Hejaz for longer than three days. He was first to establish army as a state department. Umar was founder of Fiqh, the Islamic jurisprudence. He is regarded by Sunni Muslims to be one of the greatest Faqih. Umar as a juri st started the process of codifying Islamic Law. In 641, he established Bayt almal, a financial institution and started annual allowance for the Muslims. A yea r later he also started allowance for the poor, underprivileged and old non-Musl im citizens of the empire. As a leader, Umar was known for his simple, austere lifestyle. Rather than adopt the pomp and display affected by the rulers of the time, he continued to live much as he had when Muslims were poor and persecuted. In 639, his fourth year as caliph and the seventeenth year 17 since the Hijra, he decreed that the Islamic calendar should be counted from the year of the Hijra of Muhammad from Mecca to Madinah. Military expansion Wars of Caliph Umar It is widely believed that Umar stressed more on consolidating his power and pol itical influence in the conquered land, rather than pursuing conquests. Neverthe less under Umar, The Islamic empire grew at an unprecedented rate. In 638, after the conquest of Syria, Umar dismissed Khalid, his most successful general due t o his every growing fame and influence. Later however Umar regretted over his de cision. The military conquest were partially terminated between 638639 during the years of great famine and plague in Arabia and Levant respectively. During his reign Levant, Egypt, Cyrenaica, Tripolitania, Fezzan, Eastern Anatolia, almost w hole of Sassanid Persian Empire including Bactria, Persia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Caucasus and Makran were annexed to Islamic Empire. Accordiong to one estimate m ore than 4050 cities were captured during these military conquest. Prior to his death in 644, Umar had ceased all military expeditions apparently to consolidate his rule in Egypt and newly conquered Sassanid Empire (642644). At his death in November 644, domain of his rule extended from present day Libya in west to Indu s river in east and Oxus river in north. The great famine In the year 638 Arabia fell into severe drought followed by a famine. Bedouin pe ople began to die because of hunger and epidemic disease. Hundreds of thousands of people from all over Arabia gathered at Madinah where food was rationed. Soon the reserves of food at Madinah began to decline, and Umar wrote to the provinc ial governors of Syria, Palestine and Iraq for aid. A state of emergency was dec lared in Madinah and Arabia. The timely aid of Umars governors saved the lives of thousands of people throughout Arabia. The first governor to respond was Abu Ubaidah ibn al-Jarrah, the governor of Syria and supreme commander of Rashidun a rmy. He sent a historic letter to Umar saying I am sending you the Caravans whose one end will be here at Syria and the ot her will be at Madinah.

Later, Abu Ubaidah paid a personal visit to Madinah and acted as an officer of D isaster management cell, which was headed personally by Umar. Once an adequate s upply of rations reached Madinah, Umar dispatched his men to the routes of Iraq, Palestine and Syria to take the supply caravans to the desert settlements deepe r into Arabia, which in turn saved millions from starvation. For internally disp laced people, Umar hosted a dinner every night at Madinah, which according to on e estimate had attendance of more than hundred thousand people. By early 639 con ditions begun to improve. Arabia received precipitation and as soon as the famin e ended, Umar personally supervised the rehabilitation of the displaced people. They were given adequate amounts of rations and were exempted from payment of za kat for that year and the next year. The great plague While famine was ending in Arabia, many districts in Syria and Palestine were de vastated by plague. While Umar was on his way to visit Syria, at Elat, he was re ceived by Abu Ubaidah ibn al-Jarrah, governor of Syria, who informed him about p lague and its intensity and he was suggest to go back to Madinah. Umar tried to persuade Abu Ubaidah to come with him to Madinah but he denied to leave his troo ps in that critical situation. Abu Ubaidah died in 639 due to plague, which also cost the life of 25,000 Muslims in Syria. After the plague had weakened in late 639 Umar visited Syria for political and administrative re-organization, as mos t of the veteran commanders and governors had died of plague. Assassination In 644, at zenith of his power, Umar was assassinated. His assassination was car ried out by Persians, in response to the Muslim conquest of Persia. The assassin ation was planned several months earlier. In October 644 Umar went for Hajj in M ecca, the assassins started the hoopla of Umars possible death that year, and t he massive crowd of the congregation was used by the conspirators as a veil to h ide themselves. It is related that when Umar stood at Mount Arafat he heard a vo ice saying: "O Caliph, never again will you stand on the Mount of Arafat". A companion of Umar, Jabir bin Mutaam is reported to have said: 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. During one of rituals of Hajj, the Ramy al-Jamarat (stoning of the Devil), some one threw a stone on Umar that wounded his head, a voice was heard that Umar wil l not attend the Hajj ever again. Amongst the conspirators was: Hormuzan, the alleged mastermind of the plot. He was Persian Commander in Ch ief and was captured and brought to Umar at Madinah where to save his life he ap parently converted to Islam. One of Umars advisors, Kaab al-Ahbar, a former Jewish Rabbi, who apparentl y had converted to Islam, but his conversion is generally doubted by the Shiite scholars. Jafinah, the Christian Arab from Iraq, who was also a foster brother of Saad ibn Abi Waqqas, former governors of Busra. Piruzan, popularly known as Abu Lulu, he was slave of Mughira ibn Shuba the then governor of Busra. It was Abu Lulu who was assigned the mission of assassinating Umar. According to the plan, before the Fajrprayers (the morning prayers before the dawn) Abu Lulu will enter Al-Masjid al-Nabawi, the main mosque of Madinah where Umar led the p rayers and will attack Umar during the prayers, and will flee or will mix with t he congregation at mosque. There were Persian children slaves in Madina. Seeing them, Firoz is quoted saying:

You have been enslaved at such a tender age. This Umar sees eaten my heart. I will take his heart out". Abu Lulu brought a conjectural complaint to Umar about the high tax charged from him by his master Mughirah. Umar wrote to Mughirah and inquired about the tax, Mughirahs reply was satisfactory Umar held that the tax charged from Abu Lulu w as reasonable, owning the to his daily income. Umar than is reported to have ask ed Abu Lulu: I heard that 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 whole world would rem ember it ". On 3 November 644, Umar was attacked, while leading the morning prayers, Abu Lul u stabbed him six times in the belly and last on the navel, that proved fatal. U mar was left profusely bleeding while Abu Lulu tried to flee but people from all sides rushed to capture him, he in his efforts to escape is reported to have wo unded twelve other people, six or nine of them later died. At last he was captur ed but committed suicide from the same dagger. Umar died of the wounds three day s later on Sunday, 7 November 644. Umar is reported to have left the following t estament: Be kind and generous to the Muhajirun and the Ansar. Those out of them who a re good, be good to them; those who are bad overlook their lapses. Be good to th e people of the conquered lands. They are the outer line of our defense; they ar e the target of the anger and distress of our enemies. They contribute to our re venues. They should be taxed only on their surplus wealth. Be gracious to the Be douins 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 capa city. 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 pe ople, I enjoin upon you to administer justice with an even hand. See that all th e 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 d omains 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 th em 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 an d 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 yo ur own mind in difficult cases, and seek light from God. Be simple in your livin g 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. As per Umars will, he was buried next to Al-Masjid al-Nabawi alongside Muhammad and Caliph Abu Bakr by the permission of Aisha. Aftermaths On his death bed Umar vacillated to appoint his successor, however it has been r eported that he said that if Abu Ubaidah ibn al-Jarrah, Khalid ibn Walid or Sali m, the mawali and freed Persian slave, were alive he would have appointed one of them his successor. Umar finally appointed a committee of six persons comprisin g,

Abdur Rahman bin Awf Saad ibn Abi Waqqas Talha ibn Ubaidullah Uthman ibn Affan Ali ibn Abi Talib Zubayr ibn al-Awwam Their task was to chose a caliph from amongst them. Umar appointed a band of fif ty armed soldiers to protect the house where the meeting was proceeding. Until t he appointment of the next caliph Umar appointed a notable Sahabi, a mawali, Suh ayb ar-Rumi (Suhayb the Roman) as a caretaker Caliph. While the historic meeting for selection of caliph was preceding, Abdulrehman ibn Abu Bakr and Abdur Rahma n bin Awf revealed that they saw the dagger used by Abu Lulu, the assassin of Um ar. A night before Umars assassination, reported Abdur Rahman bin Awf, he saw H ormuzan, Jafina and Abu Lulu, while they were suspiciously discussing some thing , bewildered by his presence, the dagger fell, it was the same two sided dagger used in the assissination. Abudulrehman ibn Abu Bakr, son of late caliph Abu Bak r also confirmed that few days before Umars assassination, he once saw this dag ger with Hurmazan. After the mystery of assassination got uncovered by the two o f the most notable governmental figures, it seemed clear that the assassination was planned by the Persians residing in Medina. Infuriate by this Umars younger son Ubaidullah ibn Umar sought to kill all the Persians in Madinah. He killed H ormuzan, Jafinah, and daughter of Umars assassin Abu Lulu, who is believed to b e a Muslim. Ubaidullah was intercepted by the people of Madinah and withholding him from the massacre. Amr ibn al-Aas is said to have intercepted him, convinced him to handover his sword. The murder of Jafinah, enraged Saad ibn Abi Waqqas, his foster brother, and he assaulted Ubaidullah ibn Umar and again the companion s intervened. It is also believed that Umar daughter Hafsa bint Umar provoked Ub aidullah to take the punitive action. When Umar was informed about the incident, he ordered that Ubaidullah should be imprisoned and the next Caliph should deci de his fate. Umar died on 7 November 644; on 11 November Uthman succeeded him as the Caliph. After prolonged negotiations the tribunal decided to give blood mon ey to the victims and released Umars son Ubaidullah, on the ground that after t he tragic incident of Umars assassination people will be further infuriated by execution of his son the very next day. Legacy Umar is regarded as one of the most influential figures in Islamic history. He w as in a true sense the architect of the Islamic Empire. As a leader, Umar was k nown for his simple, austere lifestyle. Rather than adopt the pomp and display a ffected by the rulers of the time, he continued to live much as he had when Musl ims were poor and persecuted. Physical Appearance Umar is said to be blessed with a strong physique. He could travel on foot for m iles. From contemporary sources it appears that Umar had attained perfection in the art of wrestling. He was an athlete and a wrestler. He is said to have parti cipated in the wrestling matches on the occasion of the annual fair of Ukaz. Fro m first hand accounts of his physical appearance Umar is said to be vigorous, ro bust and a very tall man, in markets he would tower above the people. The front part of his head was bald, always Asara Yusran (working with two hands), both h is eyes are black, with yellow skin, however, ibn Saad in his book The Book of the Major Classes (Tabaqat al-Kubra) stated that he never knew that Umar had ye llow skin, except if the people took into criterion a certain part of his life w here his color changed because he always ate oil at that part of his life, Other s say he has reddish-white skin. His teeth were ashnabul asnan (very white shini ng). He would always color his beard and take care of his hair using a type of p lant.

Early Muslim historians Ibn Saad and Al-Hakim have recorded a description of Uma r mentioning that Abu Miriam Zir, a native of Kufa described Umar as: I went forth with the people of Medina on a festival day, and I saw Umar wal king barefoot. He was advanced in years, bald, of a tawny colour- a left handed man, tall and towering above the people. Umars eldest son Abdullah described the physical appearance of his father as f ollows: He was a man of fair complexion, a ruddy tint prevailing, tall, bald and gre y. an other historian Salima bin al-Akwaa said about him: Umar was ambidexter, he could use both his hands equally well. Ibn Asakir records on the authority of Abu Raja al-Utaridi that: Umar was a man tall, stout, very bald, very ruddy with scanty hair on the ch eeks, his moustaches large, and the ends thereof reddish. Political legacy Umar is considered as a political genius, as an architect of Islamic Empire he i s regarded as 52nd most influential figure in history. Umar remained politically stagnant during Prophet Mohammads era, however after his death, it was Umars brilliance that Abu Bakr was elected Caliph, despite of massive initial confront ations at Saqifah. Umar successfully broke the alliance of the tribes of Madinah who claim Caliphate to be their right in addition cleverly sidelined Ali, pavin g the way for the succession of Abu Bakr. during Abu Bakrs era, he actively par ticipated as his secretory and main adviser. After succeeding Abu Bakr as caliph , Umar win over the hearts of Baudouin tribes by emancipating all their prisoner s and slaves taken during Ridda wars, his excellent oratory skills helped him to heightened his popularity graph, mostly among the poor and underprivileged peop le. He proved himself as a excellent manager during the year of the great Famine when his dynamic abilities saved millions from starvation. He is best known to built up an efficient administrative structure of the empire, that held together his vast realm. He organized an effective network of intelligence, partly a rea son for his strong grip on his bureaucracy. His judicial reforms were fairly mod ern and advance in nature when compared to contemporary systems of his era. He o pposed the construction of present day Suez Canal, as it posed threat to the sec urity of Madinah. Twelve hundred years later Great Britain opposed the construct ion of the canal for the same reason as it then posed threat to its colonies in Indian subcontinent. One of the reason of the compactness of his political rule in the conquered lands is reputed to his policy of tolerance to their religious believes and imposition of far lower taxes on them as compared to Sassanid Persi an empire and Byzantine Empire. Their local administration was kept un-touched a nd several of the former Byzantine and Persian official were retained on their s ervices under Umars governors. Umar was very painstaking in every matter. His meticulous was evident from his a ppointment of governors and judges that never let him lose his grip on the gover nment. He never appointed governors for more than two years, for they might get influence in their county. He dismissed his most successful general Khalid ibn W alid, due to his immense popularity and growing influence that he saw menace to his authority. Rather than tenacious conquest he stressed more on consolidating his rule in the conquered land, a fact that saved Byzantine empire from complete disappearance. Umar is reported to have wished an official tour across his doma in to personally examine the condition of his subjects. In 641, before the conqu est of Persian empire, Umar is reported to have said:

If I would live few more years, I wish to visit Syria next year, then next I raq and then the next year Egypt to personally check the conditions of the subje cts and inquire whether my mandate is followed or not. It should be noted that at the time, Umar made this statement, Persia was not ye t conquered (conquest of Persia begun in 642). He would walk the streets of Medi na with a whip in his hand, and it is said that Umars whip was feared more than the sword of another man. He is famous for covert night tour of the city to kno w the secret life of his domain, the tradition that later be followed by some of the Abbasid Caliphs and even Mughul rulers of Indian subcontinent. Saeed M.Moht sham cites from Caliph Umars rule in his research paper Vision and Visionary Le adership An Islamic Perspective: "He used to monitor very closely the public policy and had kept the needs of the public central to his leadership approach. As second caliph of Islam, he re fused to chop off the hands of the thieves because he felt he had fallen short o f his responsibility to provide meaningful employment to all his subjects. As a ruler of a vast kingdom, His vision was to ensure that every one in his kingdom should sleep on a full stomach. If a dog dies hungry on the banks of the River Euphrates, Umar will be respo nsible for dereliction of duty. (Umar) The author further wrote that: He also knew that just having a vision is not enough unless it is supported by effective strategies. He didnt only have a vision; he truly transformed his vi sion into actions. For example, to ensure that nobody sleeps hungry in his empir e, he used to walk through the streets almost every night to see if there is any one needy or ill." In The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Gibbon refers to Umar in the follow ing terms: "Yet the abstinence and humility of Umar were not inferior to the virtues of Abu Bakr: his food consisted of barley bread or dates; his drink was water; he preached in a gown that was torn or tattered in twelve places; and a Persian sat rap, who paid his homage as to the conqueror, found him asleep among the beggars on the steps of the mosque of Muslims." Military legacy It has been reported that Umar was a champion wrestler of his time, and though n ot distinguished as a swordsman, he would later attain prominence as a master st rategist. Along with Khalid, he is said to be one of the key figures in the coll apse of the Arabian rebellion, the greatest triumph of Abu Bakr. One of his grea test strategic marvels was his brilliant fission of Persio-Roman alliance in 636 , when Emperor Heraclius and Emperor Yazdegerd III allied against their common e nemy Umar. He was lucky in that the Persian Emperor Yazdegerd III couldnt synch ronize with Heraclius as planned. Umar fully availed the opportunity and success fully tackled the minefield by straining the Byzantines to jump in the battle. T his was contrary to the orders of Empreror Heraclius, who presumably wanted a co ordinated attack along with the Persians. Umar did this by sending reinforcement s to the Roman front with instructions that they should appear in the form of sm all bands, one after the other, giving the impression of a continuous stream of reinforcements that finally lured the Byzantines to an untimely battle. On the o ther hand Yazdegerd III of Persia was engaged in negotiations that further gave Umar time to transfer his troops from Syria to Iraq. These troops proved decisiv e in the Battle of Qadisiyyah. Both the battles thus fought proved decisive and

are noted as two of the most decisive battles in history. His strategic dimensions were the prime reason of Muslim victory at 2nd Battle o f Emesa in 638. Where the pro-Byzantine Christian Arabs of Jazira, aided by Byza ntine Emperor, making an unexpected flanking movement and laid siege to Emesa (H oms). Umars brilliance was behind this Muslim victory and was achieved without firing a single shot. Umars orders to invade the very homeland of the Christian Arab forces besieging Emesa, the Jazirah. A three prong attack against Jazirah was launched from Iraq . To further pressurize the Christian Arab armies, Umar instructed Saad ibn Abi Waqqas, commander of Muslim forces in Iraq, to sent reinforcement to Emesa, Umar himself led a reinforcement from Madinah and marched towards Emesa. Under this unprecedented press-gang, Christian Arabs retreated from Emesa before Muslims re inforcement could reach their. This incursion from Byzantines however resulted i n Muslim annex Mesopotamia and parts of Byzantine Armenia. Nonetheless the greatest triumph of Umar remained Conquest of Persian empire. Af ter years of non-offensive policy according to which Umar wished the Zagros Moun tains to be the frontiers between Muslims and Persians, after Battle of Nahavand Umar launched a whole scale invasion of Sassanid Persian Empire. The invasion w as a series of well coordinated multi-prong attacks that was based on the princi ple of isolating and then destroying the target. Umar launched the invasion by a ttacking the very heart of Persia aiming to isolate Azerbaijan and eastern Persi a. It was immediately followed by simultaneous attacks on Azerbaijan and Fars. I n the final secession Sistan and Kirman and captured thus isolating the strongho ld of Persian, the Khurasan. The final expedition was launched against Khurasan where after Battle of Oxus river Persian empire ceased to exist, and emperor Yaz degerd III fled to Central Asia. He founded the city of Cairo, conquered 36,000 cities or castles, and built 1400 mosques. Religious legacy Sunni views Main article: Sunni view of Umar Sunnis remember Umar as a rigid Muslim of a sound and just disposition in matter s of the religion of Allah, a man they title Farooq, meaning "leader, jurist and statesman", and the second of the rightly-guided Caliphs. He patched his clothe s with skin, took buckets on his two shoulders, always riding his donkey without the saddle, rarely laughing and never joking with anyone. On his ring is writte n the words "Enough is Death as a reminder to you O Umar". He did not seek adv ancement for his own family, but rather sought to advance the interests of the M uslim community, the ummah. The general Sunni sentiment for Umar is summarized b y one of Muhammads companions, Abd Allah ibn Masud: Umars submission to Islam was a conquest, his migration was a victory, his Imamate (period of rule) was a blessing, I have seen when we were unable to pray at the Kaabah until Umar submitted, when he submitted to Islam, he fought them (the pagans) until they left us alone and we prayed. Abd Allah ibn Masud, Umar made the pilgrimage to Mecca nine times. Mohammed had the highest esteem fo r Umar. He said that: If God had wished to give another prophet to the world, His choice would hav e fallen upon Umar Mohammed, Shia views Main article: Shia view of Umar

Umar is viewed very negatively in Shia literature and is regarded as a traitor to Muhammad, a usurper of Alis rights, and a murderer. Some Shia writers have accused him of killing Muhammads daughter Fatimah (see Fatimahs death). Accord ing to Shia Muslims, Fatimah, wife of Ali and daughter of Muhammad, was physical ly abused by him. These sources report that the event caused her to miscarry her child and eventually led to her death soon after.