Workshops at the 15th International Leadership Training programme Islamabad Pakistan 01-31st  October 1998 by Prof Dr Omar Hasan Kasule, International Islamic University, Malaysia















                What is special about Abubakr: Companion of the cave. Prophet chose him to lead salat. First believer. Firm iman that knew no doubts (siddiq). Wisdom, far vision. Focus of unity of state after death of prophet. Firm stand in riddat wars preserved religion and unity. Laid foundation for empire in byzantine and Persian lands. Collected Qur’an                         


Abubakar in makka before Islam: Good manners and loved personality. Leader in his tribe in charge of settling blood feuds. Successful cloth merchant in makka due to his good personality

Good morals, did not drink alcohol. Did not participate in jahiliyyah worship. Did not hesitate to accept Islam. Called others in Islam. Used his wealth to help poor muslims. Got title al siddiq. Not angry except for Allah: bet on byantine-persia war. Companion of the Prophet. Planned hijra. Companion of the cave: fear for Prophet not himself


Abubakr in madina: Started as farmer. Never got angry except for Allah : story of finhas. Always with Prophet. Abubakr and Omar 2 ministers of the Prophet. Kind to badr prisoners of war. Abubakr agreed with prophet at hudaybiyyah. Led pilgrimage after hudaybiyyah. Led salt when prophet was sick (9) firm stand at death of prophet. Firm and wise stand at saqifa averted civil war


Abubakr on ascension to khilafat: Abubakr did not oppress opposers. Riddat wars: usually soft Abubakr was tough for truth - stabilized state in his reign by courageous stands - endorsed khalid’s killing those who killed muslim - forgave prisoners brought to madina - did not forgive others. Firm stand on regfusers of zakat. Firm stand on pretenders to prophethood. Firm stand on despatching usamah’s army. Initiated Palestine and Iraq campaigns


Abubakras a leader: Full-time leader. Aware of his limitations. Asked for obedience if he obeyed Allah. Governed by shura. Did not develop bureaucracy: reign too short - busy with military activity for administration


Administrative division: Abubakr divided the peninsula into 13 districts: hejazi (makka, madina, taif) - yaman (sana, hadharamawt, khawla, zubyd, jand, najran, jarsh) and bahrain


Death of Abubakr: Pre-occupied with ummatic welfare in last 2 weeks. Consulted people before appointing Omar. Self criticism on his activities. Returned salary to bait al maal. Died with no wealth. Buried in his old clothes; the living need new ones. Ordered his funeral not distract from state affairs. He reigned for 27 months. He died on Monday 21 Jumada I 12 ah and was buried the same night.  He was aged 63.


Main Lessons: Simple life. Honest. Polite. Firm. Caution. Against self-admiration. Self criticism. Accept criticism. Accountability. Gentle nature. Avoid fitna


name and family: Abubakr’s name was Abdullah bin Othman bin Amer (Abu Quhafa).


Basic philosophy of leadership: Abubakr followed and did not innovate. his reign was too short for a lot of administrative developments.


Abubakr’s ijtihad: Fighting refusers of zakat. Fighting refusers of zakat. Fighting the murtadd. Collecting the Qur’an.


Manin achievements: Unity of ummah / arabian peninsula. Riddat. Zakat. Start of the futuhat. Collecting Qur’an.


Abubakr the companion in the cave :

                “If you help not (your leader) (It is no matter): for Allah did indeed help him when the unbelievers drove him out: he had no more than one companion: The two were in the Cave and he said to his companion “have no fear for Allah is with us” then Allah sent down his peace upon him and strengthened him with force which you saw not, and humbled to the depths the word of the unbelievers.  But the word of Allah is exalted to the heights: For Allah is Exalted in might wise.


Called Siddiq in the Qur’an: “wa llathi ja’a bi sidq wa saddaqa bihi”


Prophet praised him: “law kuntu mutakhidha khalila l itakhadhtu Aba Bakr”




Abubakr tells Muslims to correct him: “If I am upright then follow me; but if I deviate straighten me out”

Tabari 10:11


Abubakr’s letter to Khalid Ibn Al Walid Warning about self-admiration: “Abu Jafar his authorities: The letter of Abu Bakr came to Khalid at al-Hirah when he had just returned from his pilgrimage.  It said, Go until you reach the Muslim armies at al Yarmuk, for they are distressed and causing distress.  Do not by any means return to the like of what you have done, for your worry will not, with God’s help, worry the masses of the troops, and your method of removing the people’s distress will never remove it. May your intention and your favored position gladden you,  Abu Sulayman!  Therefore complete your work so that God may make it complete for you. Do not by any means let self admiration enter you, so that you lose and fail.  See that you do not rely upon any work of yours for God controls the bestowal of favor, and He is the owner of reward”. Tabari 11:69


Characteristics of a leader: Abu Bukar’s speech on his election: “O Men! Here I have been assigned the job of being a ruler over you while I am not the best among you.  If I do well in my job, help me.  If I do wrong, redress me.  Truthfulness is fidelity, and lying is treason.  The weak shall be strong in my eyes until I restore to them their lost rights, and the strong shall be weak in my eye until I have restored the rights of the weak from them.  No people give up fighting for the cause of God but God inflicts upon them abject subjection; and no people give themselves to lewdness but God envelops them with misery.  Obey me as long as I obey god and His Prophet.  But if I disobey God’s command or His Prophet’s, then no obedience is incumbent upon you.  Rise to your prayer, that God may bless you” (Muhammad pp 508-511)


Abubakr Khalifat Rasulillah: “Lamma buyi’a Abu Bakr khatabhu rajulu min al muslimiin biqawlihi ya khalifat llaah falam yad’uhu abubakr yamdhi fi hadithihi bal qala lahu lastu bi khalifat llaah wa lakitnni khalifat rasulillaah”.


Attributes of abubakr’s  : simple life: “Aisha reported my father’s dwelling was at al-Sunh with his wife Habibah bt. Kharijah b. Zayd b. abi Zuhayr of the Banu al-Harith b. al-Khazraj.  He had built himself a room from palm leaves.  He did not add to that up to the time he moved to his dwelling in Medina.  He continued to reside there at al-Sunh for six months after he had received the oath of allegiance, He would go by foot to Medina.  Occasionally, he would ride on a horse he had, wearing a waist wrapper and a worn-out cloak.  He would come to Medina to lead the people in public worship. When he finished the evening worship (isha) he would return to his family at al-Sunh.  When he was present, he would lead the people in their worship; when he was not present, Umar would lead them in it. He would spend Friday morning at al-Sunh dyeing his head and his beard, then he would go forth according to the time of the Friday worship, in which he would lead the people.  He was a man of commerce.  He would go forth early every day to the market, where he would sell and buy.  He had a flock of sheep that would go home to him.  Sometimes he would go forth with it himself; sometime, it would be taken care of, so that it was pastured for him.  He also would milk the sheep for the community.  When he was rendered the oath of allegiance as caliph, a girl from the community said to him, “Now the ewes of our house will not be milked for us” Abubakr heard her and said, “On the contrary.  By my life I will most definitely milk them for you.  I certainly hope that what I have entered into will not turn me away from my previous habit. “When he would milk for them, he sometimes would say to a girl from the community, “O girls, would you like me to tend (your sheep) for you, or to leave them to pasture by themselves?”  Sometimes she would say, “Tend (them); other times she would say, “Leave (them)”. Whichever of those she said, he would do. He remained like that at al-Sunh for six months, them he came down to Medina to reside in it and look after his responsibilities. He said, “No, by God, trading will not set right the affairs of the people.  Only my devoting myself exclusively to them and looking after their business will set them aright.  My dependents must have what will make them prosper”.  Thus, he abandoned trade and expended of the Muslim’ money enough to make him prosper and make his dependents prosper day by day. [....]  That which they had allocated for him every year was six thousand dirhams.  When death came to him, he said, “Give back what we have of the Muslims money, for I will not acquire anything of this property.  My land which is in such-and-such a place is given to the Muslims as compensation for what I have acquired of their property”.  He transferred that to Umar along with milch camels, a slave who was a bed wetter, and velvet worth five dirhams.  Umar said, “He has caused troubles for those after him”. Tabari 11: 151 - 153


Abubakr paid: Abe Zayd--’ Al Ib. Muhammad -- those whom I have mentioned

his transmitting from them : Abu Bakr Said, “Figure out how much I have spent from the treasury since I was put in charge and settle it for me.  “They found it amounted to eighty thousand dirhams during

his rule.


ATTRIBUTES OF ABUBAKR’S : SELF-CRITICISM: Abubakr said “Indeed, I do not grieve for anything from this world, except for three (things) which I did that I wish I had left aside, about which I wish I had asked God;s Messenger. As for the three that I wish I had left aside, I wish that I had not thrown open the house of Fatimah to reveal something, even though they had locked it with hostile intent, I wish that I had not burned al-Fuja’ah al-Sulami and that I had quickly killed him or forbearingly let him go.  I wish, on the day of Saqifat Bani Saidah, that I had thrown the matter upon the neck of one of the two men (meaning Umar and Abu Ubaydah) so that one of them would have become the commander (of the Faithful) and I would have been his minister (wazir). As for those I left aside, I wish that on the day I was brought al-Ashath ibn Qays as a prisoner I had cut off his head, for I imagine that he does not see any evil but that he helps it along.  I also wish, when I sent Khalid ibn al-Walid to fight the people of apostasy, that I had stayed at Dhu al-Qassah, so that if the Muslims had triumphed, they would have triumphed, but if they had been defeated, I would have been engaged or (provided) reinforcement.  Furthermore, I wish, when I sent Khalid ibn al-Walid to Iraq; [... missing?] thereby, I would have stretched forth both of my hands in God’s path. (He stretched forth his hands). I also wish that I had asked God’s Messenger with whom the government rests, so that no one would contend about it.  I wish I had asked him whether the Ansar have a share in the government.  I wish I had asked him about the inheritance of the bother’s daughter and the paternal aunt, for I have some doubts in my mind abut the two of them. Tabari 11: 149 - 150


Attributes of abubakr’s : avoiding fitna: “Al Zibriqan and al Aqra went out to AbuBakr and said, “Make over to us the Kharaj of al-Bahrayn and we will guarantee for you that no one from our tribe will repudiate, so Abu Bakr did that and wrote the document.  The one who acted as middleman for them was Talhah ibn Ubaydallah. They called upon witnesses, among them Umar but when the document was brought to Umar, he looked at it without witnessing it.  Then he said, No by God, absolutely not!” and tore up the document and erased it. Talhah became angry at this, so he went to Abu Bakr saying, “Are you the commander of is Umar?” Whereupon (Abu Bakr) replied, Umar is, except that obedience is owed to me”. so he calmed down. The two of them witnessed with Khalid all the battles up to al Yamamah, them al-Aqra went to Dumah with Sharhabil”. Tabari 10: 97 - 98


Attributes of abubakr’s : gentle persuasion that inspired men and made them obedient: bu Bakr became anxious about Syria, whose matter caused him concern. Abu Bakr had sent Amr in al Asi back to a post to which the Messenger of God had appointed him that of the taxation of the Sa’d Hudhaym, the Udhrah, and those associated with them of the Judham and the Hadas - before his going to Uman.  Then he departed for Uman with a promise that his office would be restored to him when he returned.  Abu Bakr fulfilled that promise. When he became anxious about Syria, Abu Bakr wrote to Amr, saying, “I have restored you to the office to which the Messenger of God appointed you once and named you once more, when you were sent to Uman in fulfillment of the promises of God’s Messenger, so that you have taken it up once and then again.  I would like, Abu Abdallah, to devote you entirely to that which is better for you in your life and your return to God, unless that which you have now is preferable to you”. Amr wrote back to him, I am one of the arrows of Islam, and you after God, are the one who shoots them and collects them.  Look for the strongest, most fearsome, and best of them and aim at something with it, if comes to you from some direction”. Tabari 11: 78 - 79


Dealing with opposition : [Sa’d ibn Ubadah refused to swear allegiance Abubakr]  He was left for several days, then he was sent to (and told) that he should come to render the oath of allegiance, for the people (generally) had done so and his tribe as well.  But he said, By God, I shall not do it, before I have shot at you with whatever arrows are in my quiver, and have reddened that head of my spear, and struck you with my sword, as long as my hand control it.  I will fight you with my family and those who obey me of my tribe.  I swear by God (even) if the Jinn gathered to you with the people, I would not render the oath of allegiance to you, until I am brought forth before my God and know what my reckoning is. When Abu Bakr was informed of this Umar said to him, “Pester him until he renders the oath of allegiance”. But Bashir ibn Sa’d Saif, “He has refused; he has made up his mind, and wouldn’t render the oath of allegiance to you even if he were killed, and he would not be killed without his children and family and a party of his kinsmen being killed with him.  So leave him alone; leaving him won’t harm you, he is only one man”  So they left him alone. They came to accept the advice of Bashir ibn Sa’d consulting him whenever it seemed right to them to do so. Sa’d ibn Ubadah used not a pray in their prayer or congregate with them; for Friday prayer; he performed the pilgrimage to Mecca but did not press on with them in the multitudes, he continued thus until Abu Bakr died. Tabari 10 : 9 - 10





List the following from what you have read about Abu Bakr


(a)           Personal attributes

(b)           Conceptual skills

(c)           Practical skills

(d)           Human skills







Leadership style and achievements of Omar Ibn al Khattab












Background: Omar was born in Makka and lived the normal life of youths of that time.His family, the banu addiy, were in charge of diplomacy for the Quraish and Omar seems to have gone on several diplomatic missions while young. Omar’s family  was relatively poor. Omar was one of the few literate Quraish.  He liked poetry and kept this interest even in Islam and when he became Khalifa.  He was an orator and knew Arab genealogy.  He traveled widely in and around Arabia.  He had a strong interest in knowledge. Omar was a trader in Makka but did not do well.  This was because of his personality which was rather tough.  He did not seem very interested in money. Omar had strong opinions about issues of concern to him.  He was fanatic about the unity of his people and tolerated no dissension that could lead to weakening this unity.  He fought those who left the Makkan pagan religion with the same vehemence as he fought the Muslims.


Strong personality: Omar’s personality was different from that of Abubakar. The two seemed to be at extreme ends of the spectrum but were a perfect illustration of what is needed in complementation. That is why the prophet had both of them beside him all the time. Omar was a practical man of action. Omar was brave and very daring.  When he became a Muslim he declared his conversion in public in Makka.  He and Hamza led the first public demonstration in Islam when they led Muslims from their hiding places to pray in from of the Kaaba. Omar unlike all other companions migrated in public from Makka and dared any who wanted to challenge him. Omar was open-spoken and always expressed his views. Omar was feared, Abubakr had to consider this against Omar’s strengths as he appointed him as successor.


Balance: Omar was known for being tough.  He however had a soft spot in him.  This was demonstrated on many occasions.  Before accepting Islam, he confronted his Muslim sister in Makka and beat her.  When he saw blood he was very sorry and was profoundly affected.  Her bravery and steadfastness softened him. When the prophet passed away Omar behaved contrary to character.  He however soon picked himself up and stood by Abubakr to elect a new leader and avoid break-up of the state.


Vision and foresight: Omar always had the big picture in mind as well as the public interest. Many revelations were revealed to support Omar’s opinions and view.  The following verses were revealed : Forbidding Riba, Forbidding alcohol, Praying at maqam ibrahim, adhan, Forbidding funeral prayers for a hypocrite, Abdullah Ibn Ubayy, Hijab for the prophet’s wives. Omar participated in the battle of Badr and had the opinion that the Quraish prisoners of war should be killed. The Qur'an was revealed to support his position.


Omar and service: Anxiety about affairs of the Ummah: not sleeping. Omar was the father of the poor and the weak. Omar and Umm Kulthum attended birth of a strange woman. Omar and the woman with hungry children. Omar spending the night guarding goods of traders in the market.


Omar and Ijtihad: Omar was very active in ijtihad. The following legal opinions are attributed to him: Forbadding mut’ah, return of Arab captives, a hadd for drinking, rulings about divorce. The principle of necessity of fiqh. Inheritance. Distribution of land in Egypt, Syria and Iraq


Physical health: Omar was physically and mentally very strong.  This enabled him to exercise a very dynamic leadership.  He was able to work hard.  He could personally attend to many details and follow up projects.  He exercised more control over state affairs that did Abu Bakr. Omar slept very little. Omar was able to follow-up affairs of far- away provinces by use of the postal system, hajj, spies, and tours of inspection.


Omar before becoming khalifah: Omar accepted Islam in a dramatic way.  He had set off to kill the prophet.  He instead went to his sister’s house when he found out she was a convert.  He confronted her and her husband and ended up reading some pages from the Qur’an.  It was this that finally touched his heart and he went to the prophet to accept Islam. Omar in Makka after Islam was as source of strength for Muslims. Before his conversion they prayed in secret. After his conversion they prayed publicly at the Kaaba and none of the Quraysh dared face him. Omar was active as a vizier to Abubakr and was always at his side. Omar differed from Abubakr about the riddat wars but eventually came around to realize the wisdom of Abubakr’s view. Omar suggested collecting the Qur’an.


Omar as Khalifa: Wanted to be corrected; accepted advice. Omar managed the Iraq, Syrian, and Egyptian campaigns directly with a lot of hands-on management. The Iraq campaign: consulted companions whether he goes himself or appoints a commander.  The decision was to send a commander.  Omar followed the campaign closely and asked Sa’ad for frequent reports. After conquest of Madain Omar decided not to expand farther into Persian territory but to consolidate territory already held.  As part of his foresight he refused to distribute the land of Iraq among the conquerors. Omar was reluctant to allow Amre b al As to invade Egypt.  In the end a half decision was made and Amre exploited the opportunity to go ahead.  He was very anxious about affairs of state and slept little.  Omar was in continuous correspondence with Amre to follow up affairs of Egypt.  Omar decided against making Alexandria a capital.  He refused a house that Amre built for him in Fustat.  He also ordered Amre to get advice from Benjamin the patriarch of Egypt on how to administer the territory.  Omar had the foresight to forbid the distribution of Egyptian lands.  He differed with Amre about taxation and the difference became very hot.  He however did not dismiss Amre. Decision to return Arab captives to their families. Dismissal of Khalid Ibn al Walid. Exiling the Christians of Najran so that there was only one religion in the peninsula. Omar turned away from Syria when he was informed of plague there. Omar led the effort to save lives during the hunger that afflicted Madina.


High standards: Omar gave trouble to those who came after him because he set very high unattainable standards for those after him. The prophet named him al Farooq, one who distinguishes between right and wrong.  He gave Islam strength and dignity.  He was inspired with guidance.


Omar’s management and administrative innovations: Abu Bakr’s short reign was a period of transition.  It was during Omar’s reign that the state stabilized.  It was also during the 10 years of Omar’s reign that the Islamic empire expanded from Persia to Africa. Omar is remembered for many administrative innovations: establishment of bayt al mal, establishment of courts and appointment of judges, start of the hijri calendar, organization of the war department, putting army reserves on the payroll, survey and assessment of lands, census and building of canals. Among the firsts of  Omar were: being called Amir al Muminun, hijri calendar, taraweeh, date and stamp documents, appointment of public readers of the Qur’an. Among Omar’s firsts was establishment of waqf of his land at Khaybar, carrying a whip and using it for discipline, survey of the sawad lands,  establishment of kharaj and jizyah taxation systems, building cities (Basra, Kufa, Fustat), transporting food by sea, flour house, appointment of judges, bayt al maal, forbade sale of mothers, establishment of ushr collecting people to pray taraweeh in group, whipping as hadd for drinking, compulsory military service, standing army, postal service, prisons, mint. Omar established several dawawiin: insha, ata, jund, jabayah (kharaj and jizyah), ihsa, muhasabah, waqf khayri. Omar established the military register and started paying stipends to citizens and their families so that they may concentrate on jihad.  He discouraged pursuit of trade and agriculture so that the military spirit would not be lost.


Omar’s government.: The mosque was the headquarters of the government. Omar aimed at unity of religion and government in the Arabian peninsula.  It was for this reason that he exiled the Christians and the Jews and also returned all Arab captives to their families. Omar was directly in charge of military policy.  He was not for outright expansion.  He always thought about consolidation. Omar did not impose a uniform system of government or economic organization in the empire. He allowed local variations.  However control and major decisions were centralized. Shura was the basis of government. Omar appointed officials on the basis of accessibility, not coveting positions, kindness, not engaged in business, not a relative. Workers were given fixed salaries. There was a check on the wealth of officials. Omar appointed judges, in Basra, Kufa, and Egypt and established the principle of separation of the judiciary from the executive branch of government. Omar did not appoint people from the family of the prophet to administrative positions.  He did not allow the Quraish to disperse in conquered territories. He kept the leading companions with him in Madina. Omar controlled his subordinates closely.  He felt personally responsible for their mistakes. Omar sent Muhammad Ibn Muslamah to audit Amre on excess wealth that he had accumulated. How Omar checked on workers: policy of open door, public punishment for errant workers, workers equal to citizens under the law, disciplining without firing, firing  in case of shubuhat, informers, hajj, tours of inspection. Omar hated differences and dissension. Omar punished his son Abdu Rahman for drinking. Omar rejected gift for his wife. Omar did not allow wives to interfere in official work. Justice for all.  The story Jabala, the Ghassinian prince.  Omar and punishment of Amre’s  son for mistreating an Egyptian.





OMAR FORBADE WASTING OF PUBLIC PROPERTY: “According to Yunus : Umar sent me off with some alms camels to the designated pasturage and I put my baggage on one of the sh-camels.  When I was intending to lead them away, he asked me to show him them, I did so and he saw my baggage on a fine she-camel in among them and You wretch! You make use of a she-camel that will provide goodness to a Muslim family!   Why not a two-year-old camel constantly discharging urine, or a she with little milk”.Tabari 14 : 105


OMAR ADVISED NOT TO PLACE CONFIDENCE IN OUTSIDERS : “According to Umar b. Muhalid al-Hamdani : Umar b. al-Khattab was told that there was someone from al-Anbar who had some knowledge of the State register (and was asked) if he would take him on as a secretary.  Umar replied, IN this case, I would be taking on as a confidant (someone) from outside the (community of the) believers”. Tabari 14 : 105


OMAR’S LEADERSHIP : SOME OF HIS MEMORABLE DEEDS: According to Abu al-Sa’ib [Salm b. Juadah]-Ibn Fudayl-Dirar-Husayn al-Murri ‘Umar said, “The Arabs are like a tractable camel that follows its leader.  So its leaders should watch were he is leading it. BY the Lord of the Ka’bah, I shall certainly carry them along the [straight road]…. According to Ya’qub b. Ibrahim-Isma’ilb. Ibrahim-Yunus-al-Hassan [al-Basri]: ‘Umar said, “When I find my self in a position when I feel comfortable, but that means my people have no assess [to me], then this [can not] [continue] to be my position; I [must once again] be on the same  level as my people. … According to Khallad b. Aslam-al-Nadr b. Shumayl-Qatan-Abu Yazid al-Madini-a client of ‘Uthman b. ‘Affan: I was riding behind ‘Uthman b. ‘Affan one hot day when there was an extremely hot wind blowing and he came to the alms-animal pen.  There was a man wearing a waist wrapper and an upper garment with another wrapped around his head.  He was driving camels into the pen; the is, the alms-camel pen. ‘Uthman said, “Who do you think this is?” We finally reached him and he was ‘Umar b. al-Khattab. (‘Uthman) said, “He is indeed ‘the strong, the trustworthy one!”.,,…According to Ja’far b. Muhammad al-Kufi and ‘Abbas b. Abi Talib-Abu Zakariyya’ Yahya b. Mus’ab al-Kalbi-Umar b. Nafi’Abu Bakr al-’Absi I entered the alms-animal enclosure with ‘Umar b. al-Khattab and ‘Ali b. Abi Talib. ‘Uthman sat down in the shade to write while ‘Ali stood by him, dictating to him what Umar was saying.  In a very hot day ‘Umar was  standing in the sun and wearing two black garments, one as a  waist wrapper, another wrapped around his head, as he counted the alms camels, recording their colors and their ages. ‘Ali spoke to ‘Uthman, and I heard him quoting the description of the daughter of Shu’ayb in God’s Book, “O father, hire him; the best of those you hire will be the strong, the trustworthy one!” ‘Ali pointed at ‘Umar and said, “This is ‘the strong, the trustworthy one!”…. According to Ya’qub b. Ibrahim-Isma’il-Yunus-al-Hassan : ‘Umar said, If I live, I shall certainly travel for a whole year among my subjects, God willing.  I know that people have needs that do not reach me.  Their governors will not refer them to me, nor will they themselves come to me.  I shall travel to Syria and stay there two months.  Then I shall travel to the Jazirah and stay there two months.  Then I shall travel to Egypt and stay there two months.  Then I shall travel to Bahrain and stay there two months.  Then I shall travel to al-Kufah and stay there for two months.  The I shall travel to al-Basrah and stay there for two months.  Indeed, what a fine year this will be! ….According to Muhammad b. ‘Awf-Abu al-Mughirah ‘Abd al-Quddus b. al-Hajjaj-Safwan b. ‘Amr-Abu al-Mukhariq Zuhayr b. Salim-Ka’b al-Ahbar.  I stayed with a man called Malik who was under the protection of Umar b. al-Khattab.  I asked him how one could get access to the Commander of the Faithful.  He replied that there was no door barring the (way to Umar) or any obstacle, that he would say his prayers, would then sit down, and anyone who wished could talk to him. …. According to Yunus b. Abd. al ‘A’la-Sufyan [Uyaynah]-Yahya-Salim-Aslam: ‘Umar sent me off with some alms camels to the designated pasturage and I put my baggage on one of the she-camels.  When I was intending to lead them away, he asked me to show him them.  I did so and he saw my baggage on a fine she-camel in among them and said, “You wretch! You make use of a she-camel that will provide goodness to a Muslim family! Why not a two-year-old camel constantly discharging urine, or a she with little milk? …. According  to ‘Umar b. Ismail b. Muhalid al-Hamdani-Abu Mu’awiyah-Abu Hayyan-Abu  al-Zinba’-Abu al-Dihqanah ‘Umar b. al-Khattab was told that there was someone from al-Anbar who had some knowledge of the state register [and was asked] if he would take him on as a secretary.  ‘Umar replied, “In this case, I would be taking on as a [confidant] someone from outside the [community of the Believers!”…. According to Yunus b. ‘Abd al-’A’la-Ibn Wahb-’Abd al-Rahman b. Zayd-his father-his grandfather; Umar b. al-Khattab addressed the people and said, “By Him who sent Muhammad with the Truth, if one camel were to perish untended on the bank of the Euphrates, I would fear that God would hold the Khattab family responsible for it”.  Abu Zayd added that the Khattab family meant himself, no one else… According to Ibn al-Muthanna-Ibn Abi Adi-Shu’bah-Abu ‘Imran al-Jawni: Umar wrote to Abu Musa, “There are still  prominent men who refer the needs of the people [to  me] on their behalf.  So honor those prominent men who are in your jurisdiction.  It is justice enough for an uninfluential Muslim that he be treated fairly in juridical decisions and in the division [of spoils after being referred to me]’…. According to Abu Kurayb-Ibn Idris-Mutarrif-al-Sha’bi : A Bedouin came to Umar and said, “My stallion camel has both mange and saddle sores; give me a mount”. ‘Umar replied to him, ‘Your camel does not have mange and saddle sores!” (The bedouin) turned away, reciting the following: Abu Hafs Umar has sworn by God’s name That no mange or saddle sores have afflicted [my mount].  Forgive him, God, that he has given a false oath! (‘Umar exclaimed, “O God, forgive me!” He called the Bedouin back and gave him a [fresh] mount. …. According to Ya’qub b. Ibrahim-Isma’il-Ayyub-Muhammad: I was informed that a man who was related to ‘Umar asked him [for money].  But he chided him and sent him away.  People spoke to(‘Umar) about him, and he was asked why he chided him and sent him away when he begged from him.  He replied “He asked me for some of God’s money.  What will be my excuse if I meet Him when I am a treacherous ruler?  Why did he not ask for some of my money?” (The source) added that (Umar) sent him 10,000 [dirhams]…. According to Muhammad b. al-Muthanna-Abd. al-Rahman b. Mahdi-Shu’bah-Yahya b. Hudayn-Tariq b. Shihab: Whenever Umar sent governors in charge of provinces, he would say about them, “O God, I have not sent them to take the property (of the people) nor to abuse them physically.  Anyone oppressed by his commander has no commander except me”…. According to Ibn Bashshar-Ibn Abi Adi-Shu’bah-Qatadah-Salim b. Abi al-Ja’ad-Ma’dan b. Abi Talhah: ‘Umar b. al-Khattab gave an address to this people and said, ‘O God, I call You to bear witness to the commanders of the garrison towns that I have sent them only to teach the people their religion and the practice of their Prophet, to distribute among them their spoils and to act with justice.  If they have any doubt about any matter, they will refer it to me”. … According to Abu Kurayb-Abu Bakr b. Ayyash-Abu Hasin: Whenever Umar appointed his governors, he would go out with them to bid them farewell, saying, “I have not appointed you governor over Muhammad’s community with limitless authority.  I have made you governor over them only to lead them in prayer, to make decisions among them based on what is right, and to distribute [the spoils] among them justly.  I have not given you limitless authority over them.  Do not flog Arab [troops] and humiliate them; do not keep them long from their families and bring temptation upon them; do not neglect them and cause them deprivation.  Confine yourselves to the factual text of The Qur’an, and do not frequently cite prophetic traditions.  I am your partner”.  He would also allow vengeance to be taken on his governors.  If there was a complaint against a governor, he would bring together the governor and the complainant.  If there was a genuine case against (the governor) for which punishment was obligatory, he would punish him….. According to Yaqub b. Ibrahim-Ismail b. Ibrahim-Said al-Jurayri-Abu Nadrah-Abu Firas: ‘Umar b. al-Khattab made the Friday address and said, “O people, I do not send governors to you to flog you or to take your possessions.  I send them to you to teach you your religion and the way you should follow.  If anything other than these is done to anyone, he should refer I the matter) to me.  By Him in whose hand is my soul, I shall certainly permit the law of retaliation to be used against (any governor).  “Up jumped Amr b. al-’As and said, “Do you rally think you will allow the law of retaliation to be used against any commander appointed over your subjects who disciplines one of them?” (Umar) replied, “Yes indeed, I shall certainly allow that.  Why not, as I have seen the Messenger of God allow the law of retaliation against himself?  Do not beat Muslims and humiliate them; do not keep them log from their families and bring temptation upon them; do not deny them their rights and turn them into infidels; do not settle them among thickets so that you lose them”. …. ‘Umar reportedly would himself patrol at night, seeking out the Muslim’s dwellings and personally finding out how they were faring. Tabari 14:103-108


OMAR STARTED WITH FAMILY IN ORDERING NEW THINGS: When ‘Umar wanted to order the Muslims to do something that was of benefit to them or to forbid them doing something that was not, he would begin with him own family.  He would come to them, exhorting them and threatening them not to go against his order.  According to Abu Kuraby Muhammad b. Al Ala’--Abu Bakr b. ‘Ayyash-’Ubaydallah b. ‘Umar in Medina - Salim: When ‘Umar went up into the minbar and forbade the people from doing something, he would [first] bring together his own family and say, “I have forbidden the people from doing so and so.  They all look at you as birds look-that is, at their prey-and I swear in God’s name that if I find anyone of you doing (whatever is forbidden) I shall double his punishment !”.


PREVENTING SUBORDINATES FROM LUXURY: According to Abu Kurayb-Abu Bakr-’Asim [b. Kulayb]: Umar appointed someone governor of Egypt.  While Umar was walking through one of the streets of Medina, he heard someone say, “Good heavens, Umar, you appoint someone governor who acts treacherously and you say that you have no responsibility in the matter, when your governor is doing so and so!” So [‘Umar] sent for (the governor) and when he arrived gave him a staff, a woolen coat, and sheep, saying to the man whose name was ‘Iyad b. Ghanm, “Pasture them, for your father was a shepherd”.  Then he called him back and mentioned what has been said [about him]. He added, “What if I send you back!”  He returned him to his post, saying, “I must have your word that you will not wear any fine cloth, nor ride an expensive horse [birdhawn]…. According to Abu Kurayb-Abu Usamah-Abdallah b. al-Walid-’Asim-Ibn Khuzaymah b. Thabit al-Ansari: When Umar appointed a governor, he would write him a certificate of investiture that would be witnessed by a group of both Emigrants and Helpers, stipulating that he should not ride an expensive horse, or eat white bread, or wear any fine cloth, or prevent the people’s needs [from being satisfies].


MAJOR POLICY SPEECH BY OMAR: Narrated Ibn ‘Abbas : I used to teach (the Qur’an) some people of the Muhajirin (emigrants), among whom there was ‘Abdur Rahman bin ‘Auf.  While I was in his house at Mina, and he was with ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab during ‘Umar’s last Hajj, Abdur-Rahman came to me and said, - “Would that you had seen the man who came today to Chief of the Believers (‘Umar), saying, ‘O Chief of the Believers !  What do you think about so-and-so who says, ‘If ‘Umar should die, I will give the pledge of allegiance to such-and-such person, as by Allah, the pledge of allegiance to Abu Bakr was nothing but a prompt sudden action which got established afterwards. ‘Umar became angry and then said, ‘Allah willing, I will stand before the people to-night and warn them against those people who want to deprive the others of their rights (the question of ruler ship). “‘Abdur-Rahman said, “I said, ‘O Chief of the Believers!  Do not do that, for the season of Hajj gathers the riffraff and the rubble, and it will be they who will gather around you when you stand to address the people.  And I am afraid that you will get up and say something, and some people will spread your statement and may not say  what you have actually said and may not understand its meaning, and may interpret it incorrectly, so you should wait till you reach Medina as it is the place of emigration and the place of Prophet’s Traditions, and there you can come in touch with the learned and noble people, and tell them you ideas with confidence, and the learned people will understand your statement and put it in its proper place’.  On that, ‘Mar said, in the first speech I will deliver before the people in Media.  “Bin Abase added: We reached Median by the end of the month of Dhul-Hijja, and when it was Friday,  we went quickly (to the mosque) as soon as the sun had declined, and I saw Sa’id bin Zaid bin ‘Amr bin Nufail sitting at the corner of the pulpit, and I too sat close to him so that my knee was touching his knee, and after a short while, ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab came out, and when I saw him coming towards us, I said to Said bin Zaid bin ‘Amr bin Naufal, “Today ‘Umar will say such a thing as he has never said since he was chosen as Caliph”.  Said denied my statement with astonishment and said, “What thing do you expect ‘Umar to say the like of which he has never said before?”  In the meantime, ‘Umar sat on the pulpit and when the call makers for the prayer had finished their call, ‘Umar stood up, and having glorified and praised Allah as He deserved, he said, “Now then, I am going to tell you something which (Allah) has written for me to say.  I do not know; perhaps it portends my death, so whoever understands and remembers it, must narrate it to the others wherever his mount takes him, but if somebody is afraid that he does not understand it, then it is unlawful for him to tell lies about me.  Allah sent Muhammad with the Truth and revealed the Holy Book to him, and among what Allah revealed, was the verse of the Rajam (the stoning of married person (male & female) who commits illegal sexual intercourse, and we did recite this verse and understood and memorized it.  Allah’s Apostle did carry out the punishment of stoning and so did we after him.  I am afraid that after a long time has passed, somebody will say, ‘By Allah, we do not find the Verse of the Rajam in Allah’s Book, ‘and thus they will go astray be leaving an obligation which Allah has revealed.  And the punishment of the Rajam is to be inflicted to any married person (male & female) who commits illegal sexual intercourse if the required evidence is available or there is conception or confession.  And then we used to recite among the Verses in  Allah’s Book:  ‘O people! Do not claim to be the offspring of other than your fathers, as it is disbelief (unthankfulness) on your part that you claim to be the offspring of other than your real father’.  Then Allah’s Apostle said, ‘Do not praise me excessively as Jesus, son of Marry was praised, but call me Allah’s Slave and His apostle. (O people!) I have been informed that a speaker amongst you says, ‘By Allah, if ‘Umar should die, I will give the pledge of allegiance to such and such person’.  One should not deceive oneself by saying that the pledge of allegiance given to Abi Bakr was given suddenly and it was successful.  No doubt, it was like that, but Allah saved (the people) from its evil, and there is none among you who has the qualities of Abu Bakr.  Remember that whoever gives the pledge of allegiance to anybody among you without consulting the other Muslims, neither that person, nor the person to whom the pledge of allegiance was given are to be supported, lest they both should be killed.  And no doubt, after the death of the Prophet we were informed that the Ansar disagreed with us and gathered in the shed of Bani Sa’da.  ‘Al I  and Zubair and whoever was with them, opposed us, while the emigrants gathered with Abu Bakr.  I said to Abi Bakr, ‘Let’s go to these Ansari brothers of ours’.  So we set out seeking them, and when we approached them,  two pious men of theirs met us and informed us of the final decision of the Ansar, and said, ‘O group of Muhajirin (emigrants)!  Where are you going?’  We replied, ‘We are going to these Ansari brothers of ours’.  They said to us, ‘You shouldn’t go near them.  Carry out whatever we have already decided’.  I said, ‘By Allah, we will go to them’.  And so we proceeded until we reached them at the shed of Bani Sa’da.  Behold!  There was a man sitting amongst them and wrapped in something.  I asked, ‘Who is the man?’  They said, ‘He is Sa’d bin ‘Ubada.’  I asked, What is wrong with him?’  They said, ‘He is sick’.  After we sat for a while, the Ansar’s speaker said, ‘None has the right to be worshipped but Allah’ and praising Allah as He deserved, he added, “To proceed, we are Allah’s Ansar (helpers) and the majority of the Muslim army, while you, the emigrants, are a small group and some people among you came with the intention of preventing us from practicing this matter (of caliphate) and depriving us of it’.  When the speaker had finished, I intended to speak as I had prepared a speech which I liked and which I wanted to deliver in the presence of Abu Bakr, and I used to avoid provoking him.  So, when I wanted to speak, Abu Bakr said. ‘Wait a while disliked to make him angry. So Abu Bakr himslef gave a speech, and he was wiser and more patient than I.  By Allah, he never missed a sentence that I liked in my own prepared speech, but he said the like of it or better than it spontaneously.  After a pause he said, ‘O Ansar!  You deserve all (the qualities) that you have attributed to yourselves, but this question (of Caliphate) is only for the quraish as they are the best of the Arabs as regards descent and home, and I am pleased to suggest that you choose either of these two men, so take the oath of allegiance to either of them as you wish.  And then Abu Bakr held my hand and Abu Ubada bin Al-Jarrah’s hand who was sitting amongst us.  I hated nothing of what he had said except that proposal, for by Allah, I would rather have my neck chopped off as expiatory for a sin than become the ruler of a nation one of whose members is Abu Bakr, unless at the time of my death my own self suggests something I don’t feel at present’.  And then one of the Ansar said, ‘I am the pillar on which the camel with a skin disease (eczema) rubs itself to satisfy the itching (i.e. I am a noble) and I am as a high class palm tree!  O Quraisb there should be one ruler from us and one from you.’  Then there was a hue and cry among the gathering and their voices rose so that I was afraid there might be great disagreement, so I said, ‘O Abu Bakr! Hold your hand out’.  He held his hand out and I pledged allegiance to him, and then all the emigrants gave the pledge of allegiance and so did the Ansar afterwards.  And so we became victorious over Sa’d bin ‘Ubada (whom Al-Ansar wanted to make a ruler).  One of the Ansar said, ‘You have killed Sa’d bin ‘Ubada’.  I replied, ‘Allah has killed Sa’d bin ‘ubada’. “ ‘Umar added, “By Allah, apart from the great tragedy that had happened to us (i.e. the death of the Prophet), there was no greater problem than the allegiance pledged to Abi Bakr because we were afraid that if we left the people, they might give he pledge of allegiance after us to one of their men, in which case we would have given them our consent for something against our real wish, or would have opposed them and caused great trouble.  So, if any person gives the pledge of allegiance to somebody (to become a caliph) without consulting the other Muslims, then the one he has selected should not be granted allegiance, lest both of them should be killed”. Bukhari 8 : 537 - 543, Hadith # 817.



 Construction projects : khalij amir al muminin, canals in iraq and syria, garisson cities: kufa,

basra, fustat, jabalah in syria (rebuilt), expansion of the makka haram (move to txt/gov-wealth)


Institution of the Islamic calendar : “Muhammad Ibn Ismail ... so they agreed upon al Muharram”

Tabari 6 : 158


Consultations and decisions on Omar’s command of the Iraq army : ‘Umar set out on the first day ...  my deputy in Medina”. Tabari 12 : 1 - 5


Decision on whether Omar will command the Iraq army: “When Umar had told the people the news ... he will be the man to fact them” Tabari 13 : 196 - 199


                OMAR’S WORDS

                Leader must exercise leadership: From Omar’s first speech: “...The likeness of the Arabs is only to a camel led by the nose following its leader’ therefore, let its leader look where he leads.  As for me, by the Lord of the Kaaba, I will indeed bring them along on the road”. Tabari 11 : 158 - 159


Leader must have initiative: “The most sagacious man is he who displays his own initiative, when he has no directives from his superior to fall back on, or who, without holding back, gives expression to his own views”.    Tabari 13 : 72 - 75


Omar worries about a camel in far-away Iraq: “According to Yunus : Umar b. al-Khattab addressed the people and said, By Him who sent Muhammad with the Truth, if one camel were to perish untended on the bank of the Euphrates, I would fear that God would hold the Khattab family responsible for it”. Tabari 14 :105 - 106


Omar, a gentle ruler: “According to Abdul Hamid b. Baya : Umar b. al-Khattab said, “O subjects, you have an obligation to us to give advice on what is unknown and cooperate in doing good.  There is no forbearance (him) dearer to God and more generally advantageous then that of a gentle leader.  O subjects there is no ignorance more hateful to God and more generally evil than that of a harsh leader.  O subject, he who enjoins well-being for someone in his midst, God will bring  him well-being from above”.

                Tabor 14 : 139


Every group elect a leader : Omar’s directive “Whenever three persons among the Muslims proceed on a journey, they should make one their Amir, for the Holy Prophet (P.B.H) has ordered us to observe this rule” Hayat 2: 58


Arabs are like camels: “The Arabs are like a tractable camel that follows its leader. So its leader should watch where he is leading it.  By the Lord of the Kabah, I shall certainly carry them along the straight road”. Tabari 14:103


Everybody counts: The weak are also Muslims” Tabari 13 : 183


Omar’s desire to be on the people’s level : “When I find myself in a position when I fell comfortable, but that means my people have no access (to me) then this (can) not (continue)  to be my position; I (must once again) be on the same level as my people”.


Omar’s desire to visit provinces: “If I live, I shall certainly travel for a whole year among my subjects, God willing.  I know that people have needs that do not reach me.  Their governors will not refer them to me, nor will they themselves came to me.  I shall travel to Syria and stay there two months.  I shall travel to the Jazirah and stay there two months.  Then I shall travel to Bahrain and stay there two month.  Then I shall travel to al-Kufah and stay there for two months.  Then I shall travel to al-Basrah and stay there for two month.  Indeed, what a fine year this will be”. Tabari 14 : 104


Leader should not feel he is special : Omar admonishes Saad, commander in Iraq: “O Sa’d, Sa’d of banu Wuhayb! You must not allow yourself to be deluded into deviatin from (the way of) God if it is said: (This is) the uncle of the messenger of God (and that is) one of his Companions.  God will not eradicate one bad thing by means of another but will rather eradicate a bad thing with a good one.  For there is no relationship between God and any human being except obedience.  In the eyes of God people are equal, regardless of rank; God is their Master, and they are His servants.  The differ from each other in their well-being, and they achieve God’s favour by observing (His commandments).  Ponder the way in which the Prophet behaved since the beginning of his mission and until his death; stick to it, because this is the proper behaviour.  This is my admonition to you!  If you disregard it and turn away from it, your endeavor will fail, and you will be one of the losers. Tabari 12 : 8


Leader to keep secrets : Omar’s advice to Abu Ubayd: “... Keep your tongue and by no means give away your secret, for the possessor of the secret, as long as he keeps it, is fortified: he will not be approached from a direction he does not like, whereas if he causes it to be lost, Then he is lost”. Tabari 11: 187.




List the following from what you have read about Omar


(a)           Personal attributes

(b)           Conceptual skills

(c)           Practical skills

(d)           Human skills



Compare Abu Bakr and Omar’s leadership styles on the following: (FAROOQp24).



Professor Omar Hasan Kasule October 1998