“It is incumbent upon me to increase your grants and livelihoods and fix up, for you, every means of defense. It is incumbent upon me not to throw you into jeopardies, nor confine you in your front posts; and I pledge that if you stay away on missions, I will be responsible for your families …”
Listed below are excerpts of a memorial speech delivered by Umar ibn Al Khattab, the famous companion of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and the second of the Rightly Guided Caliphs following Abu Bakr Al Siddiq, may Allah be pleased with them both.
Umar said these words in an address to the Muslim Community, having heard of their fear of his strictness, which, according to narrations, would disperse any gathering and trigger fear among children. However he was nicknamed Al Farouq, or The Differentiator, given his exemplary ability to differentiate between what’s right and what’s wrong. Of him Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:
“If there was a prophet after me, then it would be Umar,” connoting his knowledge about Islam and sincere loyalty to serve and defend the Islamic legacy. Also Aicha (the wife of the Prophet may Allah be pleased with her) reprotedly said of Umar:
“Satan fears Umar.”
Like most of his speeches, this one is proufound and highly inspirational. It speaks of high moral values that are cornerstone to any balanced Muslim character let alone ruler.
“I had been in the company of the Messenger of Allah, and a servant of his; and he had been, as no body else, of extreme lenience and mercy; and he had been, as Allah says of him:
[“to the believers compassionate and merciful.”] — Quran 9:138
“And I had been at his disposal, an unsheathed sword, until he sheathed me or let me go. Such had I been with the Messenger of Allah, until he passed away, with me much pleased. Many thanks to Allah for this, and with it I am greatly happy. Then Abu-Bakr came into power to manage the affairs of the Faithful; and he was, as you all know, of much graciousness, generosity and lenience; and I was a servant of his and an assistant, mixing my severity with his lenience, thus being at his disposal an unsheathed sword, until he sheathed me or let me go. Such had I been with him until he passed away, with me much pleased. Many thanks to Allah for this, and with it I am greatly happy.
“And now, brethren, I have been nominated to manage your affairs. So be aware, then, that that severity has been weakened, but it will be used only against those who are oppressive and aggressive to the Muslims. But to those who seek safety, religion and good will, I shall be more lenient than each of them to the others. I will never allow anybody to oppress another, or be aggressive to him; for, then, I will put his cheek to the ground and set my foot on the other cheek until he yields to the truth. And after practicing this severity of mine, I will put my cheek to the ground for those who are virtuous and content.
“I will not levy any taxes on your products or on any of the booties Allah has bestowed upon you, except what is due; and I pledge not to expend it except where it should be expended. It is incumbent upon me to increase your grants and livelihoods and fix up, for you, every means of defense, God willing It is incumbent upon me not to throw you into jeopardies, nor confine you in your front posts; and I pledge that if you stay away on missions, I will be responsible for your families until you return to them.
“Therefore, fear Allah, Oh servants of Allah. And help me against yourselves by leaving me in peace; and help me against myself by ordering beneficence and forbidding abomination, and by giving me good advice and counsel in all the affairs of yours Allah has charged me with.”
The Muslim Tribune Staff