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Khalifa Umar bin al-Khattab - Inter-Personal Relations and Interactions

Friends Who Could Straighten Him

True to the title 'Al-Farooq', Umar was an embodiment of truth. He did not hesitate to speak the truth, in the best interests of the Muslim State. Such truth was sometimes bitter, and the people held him in awe.

Some people understood him, and appreciated his sterling qualities of courage, conviction, and truthfulness. Some people misjudged him and felt that he was unduly hard and harsh with the people.

Umar knew that he was more feared than loved. Under a stern exterior, Umar had a heart full of the milk of human kindness. Whenever Umar came across a person who was in distress or was in any way oppressed, Umar was all sympathy for him, and he did all he could to alleviate his distress.

Umar did often reflect and ponder over the responsibilities that had come to vest in him and the way he discharged them. He did not feel very happy with the equation between himself and the people. He regretted that the people dld not understand him properly.

Hudhaifa a prominent companion has left on record that one day he went to see Umar and found that he was feeling much perturbed. Seeing the disturbed state of the mind of Umar, Hudhaifa enquired as to what was the matter.

Umar said:

"I was feeling unhappy that the people have awe of me. They generally avoid me, and hesitate to bring my shortcomings to my notice. I was just thinking as to what, would happen if I were to fall in erroneous ways, and because of the awe that the people have of me, no one comes forward to restrain me."

Thereupon Hudhaifa said:

"Your awe is because of the truth at your command. If you deviate from the path of truth, the people will not be afraid to call you to account. Verily if I see that you are in the wrong, I will fix you up, and straighten you."

At this Umar felt very happy. He said:

"Thank God, there are friends who will straighten me when I err. If I have such friends around me, I need have no fear of falling into error."

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