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

Trial Of Saad Bin Abi Waqas

Saad bin Abi Waqas was the victor of Qadisiyya. He was a prominent companion and a maternal uncle of the Holy Prophet Umar appointed him as the Governor of Kufa. In spite of his very high position, Saad could not escape from the scrutiny of Umar and had to face a trial.

It was reported to Umar that Saad had constructed a palace, and had provided a door which could be shut at his option. The orders of Umar were that where the Governors sat to meet the people or attend to their complaints there should be no door so that all people could have access to the Governor at all times.

Umar deputed Muhammad bin Masalma to hold an enquiry on the spot and if he found that a door had in fact been constructed it should be burnt. Muhammad went to Kufa and found the door. Saad argued that as a market adjoined his house the door was necessary to shut down the noise. This explanation was not accepted and Muhammad burnt the door.

On the eve of the battle of Nihawand when Saad was commanding the operations Jarah bin Sanan Asadi lodged some complaints against Saad. It was a critical time when all attention had to be concentrated at mobilising forces for confrontation with the Persians. In spite of critical situation, Umar decided to hold the enquiry. The complainant along with his witnesses was summoned to Madina. Saad was also summoned to Madina to face the trial.

The charges against Saad were:

(1) that in the battle-field he did not fight personally:

(2) that he did not make fair distribution; and

(3) that he did not offer the prayers correctly.

Saad explained that he could not fight personally as there were boils on his body. Nevertheless he directed all field operations personally and God made the Muslims victorious. Umar accepted the explanation and absolved Saad of the charge.

As regards the charge of unfair distribution, Saad presented the entire record. Umar scrutinised the record and agreed that the distribution in all cases had been made according to merit. He was accordingly absolved of this charge.

Umar asked Saad as to how he offered prayers. Saad explained in detail how he offered his prayers. Umar was satisfied that there was nothing wrong with the way in which he offered his prayers.

Umar accordingly absolved Saad bin Waqas of all the charges against him. He said that he knew that the charges were baseless but he had held the enquiry to establish the integrity of Saad.

In the enquiry Jarah bin Sanan Asadi had lodged the complaint and Asama bin Qatada had given evidence against Saad. After the enquiry Saad cursed Jarah as well as Asama. His curse fell on these two persons. Jarah became blind and was afflicted with poverty. Asama was killed by his own people.

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