Umar (May Allah be pleased with him)
Leaders are the essence of success of any nation. They are the men who always bear the responsibility of each citizen in their nation. Nowadays, we really need men who understand the right meaning of leadership, realize that change comes first from within themselves, and know how to achieve a stable nation. I can say confidently that Umar was a man of action, a man of power and a ball of fire. Let’s speak more about this successful leader who really inspired action.
From the very beginning, even before the message of Islam, Umar was an incredibly strong, brave and intelligent man. He was a prominent figure among the tribe of Quraysh. After the message of Islam, Prophet Muhammad said “O Allah! Honor Islam through the dearest of these two men to You: Through Abu jahl or through “Umar bin Al-Khattab.” He said: “And the dearest of them to Him was “Umar.” Umar converted to Islam and he played a great role, as he was one of the most powerful and influential Muslim caliphs in history. He was a senior companion of the Prophet Muhammad. He is a real role model for any leader seeking success, people’s love, and respect.
Umar Fears God
Anas ibn Malik narrated that one day he heard Umar talking and blaming himself saying “Oh Umar, fear God or He’e will punish you severely”. This shows to what extent Umar feared God.
One day Umar saw camels in the street, and he asked “Who owns these camels?” Someone replied: “These belong to your son Abdullah ibn Umar”. Then Umar said, “We should put them in Muslim’s treasury”. Umar was afraid that his son might exploit his father’s influence to raise up his camels.
One day, the ruler of Persia sent a messenger to the Muslims’ leader, Umar, to stop his soldiers from advancing to their borders. The messenger asked “Where can I find your leader?” Someone said: “Do you see the man who’s sleeping under the tree? He is our leader”. The messenger was astonished and said “Are you kidding!? I asked you about your leader! How can he move a step without guardians!”
I can justify simply that Umar fears only God. Umar is the man who took the power, maintained justice and did his best to his nation; thus he can close his eyes and sleep safely. Did you hear before about a leader who slept under a tree in the open air? Hundreds of guardians surround leaders now and they are still afraid of getting killed at any moment.
Umar Asked His Nation to Correct Him if He Strayed
When Umar took power, he said, “Oh people, you are my partners in running the state. Help me with your sound advice. If I follow the right path of God and His Prophet, follow me. If I deviate, correct me. Strengthen me with your advice and suggestions.”
Umar asked his people to reform him and he didn’t feel embarrassed of what he asked for. This is the unique leader who admitted that he might make mistakes and accept any constructive criticism simply. He always followed Allah’s orders as and His prophet’s teachings.
Umar Fulfilled His Leadership Duties Adequately
When Umar was the Muslims’ leader he used to examine the matters of his citizens on his own. He used to meet his citizens personally and deal with their problems and complaints directly. He really bore all responsibilities of his nation on his shoulder. Ibn Abbas (one of the Prophet’s companions) stated that Umar, after every prayer, used to stay at the mosque to fulfill the needs of all the people whether poor, rich, old or young. For the citizens who were far from the city of Madina, like the people of Iraq and the Levant and other parts of the Muslims’ state, Umar was followed up all their demands and needs by appointing honest men to regularly provide him with the news over there. Umar took an oath to work day and night for his nation because he was fully aware that one day he will stand before God and will be asked about his responsibilities.
In this year, a severe famine took place in the Muslims’ state during Umar’s rule. This incident showed how Umar supported his people in this period and the measures that this faithful leader took. Umar wrote to the provincial governors asking them to send food-grains to Arabia. Camel loads of foodgrains and other necessities of life came from the Levant, Iraq, and Egypt. Food grains were received from Egypt through the sea as well. Umar distributed food grains and other necessities among the people family wise. Meals were cooked at state-level and all people inside the Arabian desert who took refuge in the city of Madina were fed daily at the state’s expense. According to one account, as many as 40,000 persons were fed every day.
Umar decided to share the Muslims in their suffering even though he was the leader. He refused to eat meat, ghee or butter during the period of famine. He ordered that his meal should be cooked with oil. He would eat only the coarsest of food. As a consequence of eating nutritionless food, his color took a blacker hue. His stomach would rumble, but he said: “O stomach you may rumble as much as you like, but as long as the famine persists I can not allow you anything dainty”. One day some ghee came to the market and his servant purchased ghee for him. When Umar learned so he refused to have anything to do with such a luxury. A son of his cooked some meat one day and offered him a dish. He refused to eat it.
After the matters became worse, Umar decided to follow the teachings of Prophet Mohammed in this regard. He called the Muslims for gathering to perform Istisqa (prayer for rain), as he knew well that this catastrophe wouldn’t be relieved except by God. After a few days, God answered their invocations and rain dropped. Then, the famine was over and Umar and the Muslims performed thanksgiving prayer.
To conclude, Umar was an incomparable leader. He was fully aware that he took the power for the sake of God, he never sought fame, money or reputation. He realized that leadership is a huge responsibility and that he will be asked. He was always asking God for help, as he believed that no one can succeed without God’s help. He was saying in his invocations, “O God give me the power of self-criticism and self-assessment. O God bestow on me faith, and the power to do good. O God soften my heart for the faithful so that I attend to their needs with a sense of dedication. O God save me from hypocrisy. Strengthen my resolves so that whatever I do, I do for the sake of winning Your approbation.”