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

Abu Musa Ashari

Abu Musa Ashari was the Governor of Basra. He held the chief command of the operations in Persia. After the victory of Isfahan Abu Musa sent a delegation of sixty persons to Madina. A young man Zaba bin Mahsin waited on Abu Musa and desired that he should also be included in the delegation. Abu Musa regretted his inability as persons more derserving than Zaba had been included in the delegation. Zaba felt dissatisfied and he held out a threat of complaining to the Caliph. Abu Musa informed Umar of the threat of Zaba.

Zaba went to Madina and there lodged a complaint against Abu Musa. Umar recorded the complaint and summoned Abu Musa to Madina. When Abu Musa came to Madina, Umar showed him the list of charges against him and asked for his explanation.

The first charge was that out of the captives he had kept sixty captives for himself. Abu Musa explained that these captives had applied for being ransomed and he had kept them with him till they were ransomed. Umar held that the charge was not established.

The second charge was that he had paid one thousand dirhams to a poet. Abu Musa said that he had paid the amount out of his money. Abu Musa presented the accounts. Umar felt satisfied and this charge was dismissed.

The third charge was that Abu Musa had a maid Aquila who was given two shares. Abu Musa explained that there was something curious with the maid as her consumption of food was twice that of an average adult. As such she had to be given two shares.

The fourth charge was that Abu Musa had entrusted most of his work to a young man Ziyad. Abu Musa explained that he had done so in public interest as Ziyad was most intelligent.

Umar summoned Aquila and Ziyad to Madina. He verified that Aquila actually consumed food twice the normal food of an adult. By questioning Ziyad Umar felt convinced that Ziyad was highly intelligent and that it was in public interest to avail of his intelligence.

Abu Musa acquitted of the charges, and was asked to resume his office at Basra.

On another occasion a person came to Umar, and complained against Abu Musa. He said that at the time of the distribution of spoils Abu Musa gave him a smaller share. He protested and u;-ged that he should be given the full share due to him. Thereupon Abu Musa felt anno~ed, struck him with twenty lashes and had his hair shaded. IJmar asked the complainant to return to Basr. and there level the charge against Abu Musa before a congregation. If thc charge was established he could have his revenge from Musa. Iladrat Umar gave the complainant the necessary authority in this behalf. The complainant returned to Basra and there in the mosque Icvelled the charge aagainst ~\bu Musa. There were many in the congregation who came forward to support the charge. Abu Musa turning to the con,!~lainatlt said, "You can have your revenge. You may beat me, or accept some money from me at your option.' Tllereupon the complainant said, "rTow I feel satisfied and I forgive vou in the name of Allah."

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