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During the caliphate of Umar, Muawiyah had sought the permission of Umar to undertake naval warfare. Umar consulted 'Amr b Al 'Aas who was then the Governor of Egypt. 'Amr b Al 'Aas reported unfavorably in the following terms:

"O Commander of the Faithful, I have seen a numerous people going upon it overpowered by a few. When it is calm it tends the heart, and when it is in motion, it twists the brain. It weakens confidence and strengthens doubt. There is nothing there but sky and water. People at sea are like a worm in a log of wood. If their boat inclines they sink, and if they survive they are dazed."

Umar rejected the proposal of Muawiyah to undertake war on the sea in the following terms:

"I have heard that the Syrian Sea rises higher than the highest thing on earth, and it seeks Allah's permission day and night to spread over the earth and drown it. So how can I send forces over this terrible Kafir. By Him Who sent Muhammad with the truth, I shall never send any Muslim upon it."