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Khalifa Umar bin al-Khattab - Expansion of Islam and Military Campaigns

Umar's Call To Arms

When the messenger of Ammar bin Yasir arrived at Madina he immediately waited on Umar. Umar read the letter, looked to the Heaven and then turning to the messenger said, "Well brother, what is your name."

The messenger said, "My name is Qareeb."

And what's your father's name asked Umar.

"Zafar" said, the man.

Umar said, "This is good augury. This means that victory is near."

Umar immediately called a meeting of the faithful, and apprised them of the situation on the Persian front.

Addressing the people Umar said:

"Brothers, we have to consider a matter of great moment. Listen to what I say, and then give me firm advice. Do not indulge in unnecessary controversy for that would weaken your resolve and sap your courage. O Arabs, Allah has helped you with Islam and created amity among you after discord; given you wealth after hunger; and blessed you with victory over your enemies on all fronts, both in the east and the west. Now your enemies are once again in the field and seek to overpower you. But Allah is with us, and no power on earth can extinguish the light of Allah. We have to accept the challenge of our enemy."

Then he read the letter of the Governor of Kufa. He had written of the threat of the Persians to the Muslims at Basra and Kufa. Ammar had suggested that the Muslims should take the initiative, and attack the Persians at Nihawand, before the Persians gathered strength to march to Basra or Kufa. Umar expressed the view that as the war with the Persians was going to be crucial, he might go the field himself to lead the Muslim forces.

Othman suggested that all forces from Syria, Yemen, and elsewhere should assemble at Madina and then march against Persia. He was of the view that as the force thus assembled would be considerable that would demoralise the Persians.

Umar then asked for the opinion of Ali. Ali said that it would be unsafe to remove all forces from Syria and elsewhere. That would provide an opportunity to the Byzintines to attack Syria or the Ethiopians to attack Yemen. He said that the forces at Kufa and Basra should march against the Persians. He also suggested that the reserves throughout the country should be called to arms and they should proceed to the front to reinforce the regular forces. Ali also suggested that it was not necessary for Umar to command the forces in the field. He should remain at Madina and direct the operations from the Headquarters as heretofore, and should nominate a General of his choice to command the forces in the field.

After discussion it was decided to follow the course of action suggested by Ali.

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