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Khalifa Umar bin al-Khattab - Testament and Assessment of Umar

Testament Of Umar

On his death bed Umar was requested to make a testament for the guidance of his successor. Umar addressed the following testament to his successor:

"I enjoin upon you to have trust and faith in God, He Who has no peer.

Be kind and generous to the Muhajreen and the Ansar. Those out of them who are good, be good to them; those who are bad overlook their lapses.

Be good to the people of the conquered lands. They are the outer line of our defence; they are the target of the anger and distress of our enemies. They contribute to our revenues. They should be taxed only on their surplus wealth.

Be gracious to the Bedouins as they are the backbone of the Arab nation.

I instruct you to be good to the Dhimmis for they are your responsibility. Do not tax them beyond their capacity. Ensure that they pay the Jizya without undue inconvenience.

Fear God, and in all that you do keep His pleasure in view. In the matter of people fear God, and in the matter of Allah do not be afraid of the people.

With regard to the people, I enjoin upon you to administer justice with an even hand. See that all the legitimate requirements of the people are met. Be concerned for their welfare. Ensure the safety of their person and property.

See that the frontiers of our domains are not violated. Take strong steps to guard the frontiers.

In the matter of administration do not prefer the rich to the poor. Be hard against those who violate the law. Show them no mercy. Do not rest content until you have brought the miscreants to book.

Treat all the people as equal. Be a pillar of strength for those who are weak and oppressed. Those who are strong but do wrong, make them pay for their wrong-doings.

In the distribution of booty and other matters be above nepotism. Let no consideration of relationship or selfish interest weigh with you.

The Satan is at large; it may tempt you. Rise above all temptations and perform your duties in accordance with the injunctions of Islam.

Get guidance from the Holy Quran and Sunnah. Freely consult the wise men around you. Apply your own mind in difficult cases, and seek light from God.

Be simple in your living and your habits. Let there be no show or ostentation about you. Lead life as a model Muslim. As you are the leader of the Muslims, justify your leadership by being the best among them all. May God bless you."

His son Abdullah also desired some words of parting advice. Umar asked him to hold fast to the fundamentals of faith. Abdullah asked what these fundamentals were.

Umar said that these were:

(1) Keep fast in the intense heat of the summer when the Ramazan falls in such a season.

(2) Kill the enemies of Islam with sword.

(3) In the event of any calamity or distress exercise patience.

(4) In the cold of the winter perform your ablutions in full.

(5) On a cloudy day hurry up in offering prayers.

(6) Abstain from the mud of destruction.

Abdullah enquired what was the mud of destruction, and Umar said it was wine-bibbling.

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