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

Amr Bin Al Aas

Amr bin Al Aas was the conqueror of Egypt. He enjoyed a high position but in spite of that he did not escape from the scrutiny of Umar.

It was reported to Umar that Amr had amassed much wealth. Umar wrote to Amr:

"It has come to my notice that you have amassed considerable wealth. Originally you were a man of ordinary means. Whence comes such wealth?"

Amr explained that he owned some land which brought good income. Moreover the salary that he got was ample which he could invest in business.

Umar was not satisfied with the explanation. He had half of the wealth of Amr confiscated to the State. Umar reprimanded Amr in the following terms:

"O ye Governors you have sat on the springs of wealth. Nothing stands in your way in amassing wealth. You people are playing with fire."

Amr bin Al Aas had a pulpit for himself in the Juma Mosque at Fustat. Umar rebuked Amr for that in the following terms:

"I cannot approve that the Muslims should sit low while you should sit above them. Do away with the pulpit."

Amr bin Al Aas complied with the orders.

Once on the occasion of the Hajj in the presence of all the Governors, Umar addressed the people:

"O ye people, I have not sent the Governors so that they may maltreat you or deprive you of your lawful possessions. I have sent them so that they may be a source of inspiration to you in leading life according to the Islamic way. If any Governor violates these terms, please inform me and would take action."

A man rose up from the congregation to enquire whether a Governor could on his own account beat a Muslim. Umar said that if any punishment was inflicted as a result of a judicial trial the man could be punished; otherwise not. The man complained that Amr bin Al Aas the Governor of Egypt had inflicted eighty stripes on him without any judicial trial. Amr said that he had beaten the man to enforce discipline Umar said that unless the man was judicially tried and found guilty no punishment could be inflicted on him. Umar asked the complainant that as Amr beat him without authority, he could strike him with a similar number of lashes to vindicate himself. Amr begged for Umar's permission to conciliate the man. Umar agreed, and Amr bin Al Aas conciliated the man after paying him a substantial amount.

On one occasion Amr called a man 'Munafiq'. The man came to Umar and complained. Umar gave the complainant the authority to return to Egypt, confront the Governor with the charge before the public and if it was established claim indemnity. The man returned to Egypt and confronted the Governor with the charge in the main mosque. Amr denied the charge but the man asked the men in the congregation to say on oath whether they had heard the Governor on such and such a day calling him 'Munafiq'. Many persons stood up to corroborate the statement. Thus cornered Amr said to the complainant, "You may take your revenge". Thereupon the complainant said, "Now I forgive you."

On another occasion an Egyptian complained before Umar that in a horse race his horse was leading but Muhammad the son of Amr beat him and had his own horse to be the winner. When the matter was brought to the notice of Amr he put the complainant in prison. The complainant escaped from the prison and came to Madina to lodge his complaint with Umar. Umar summoned Amr and his son to Madina. They were apprised of the complaint against them. They could not offer a satisfactory explanation. Umar ordered that the complainant should beat Muhammad the son of Amr in the same way as Muhammad had beat him. The complainant beat Muhammad the son of Amr accordingly and felt satisfied.

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