Amr Ibn Al-Aas (rta) was the governor of Egypt during Umar Ibn Khattab’s (rta) caliphate. He belonged to one of the tribes of Quraish called Banu Saham. He entered the fold of Islam in 8 AH. The Prophet (sa) sent him towards Oman, and Amr Ibn Al-Aas’s (rta) preaching inspired the ruler to accept Islam.
He was an eloquent speaker, very soft spoken, a writer, thinker, politician and commander-in-chief. He has narrated thirty-nine Ahadeeth.
One day, a citizen of Egypt approached Umar (rta) and complained to him: “O Amir-ul-Mumineen! I have come to you to seek shelter from cruelty.”
Umar (rta) replied: “You have come to a man who has the power to grant you shelter.”
The Egyptian continued: “I participated in a race with Amr Ibn Al-Aas’s (rta) son. When I went ahead of him, he started to whip me and cried out: ‘I am the son of a noble family.’”
Upon hearing the complaint, Umar (rta) wrote a letter to Amr Ibn Al-Aas (rta) and summoned him along with his son.
When Amr Ibn Al-Aas (rta) and his son appeared before him, Umar (rta) inquired: “Where is the Egyptian?”
When he appeared before Umar (rta) too, he commanded the Egyptian: “Take this whip and hit him.”
As soon as the Amir-ul-Mumineen ordered the Egyptian to do so, he started to whip Amr Ibn Al-Aas’s (rta) son. Umar (rta) kept on repeating: “Whip the son of the noble family.”
Anas (rta) narrates: “By Allah (swt)! The Egyptian whipped the governor’s son fiercely, and we all wanted him to do so. However, after some time, we wished that he stopped.”
Then Umar (rta) ordered: “Whip Amr Ibn Al-Aas’s (rta) bald head too.”
The Egyptian said: “O Amir-ul-Mumineen! His son whipped me, and I have avenged him by way of Qisas.”
Then, Umar (rta) addressed Amr Ibn Al-Aas (rta): “Since when have you enslaved your people, when their mothers had borne them free?”
Amr Ibn Al-Aas (rta) clarified: “O Amir-ul-Mumineen! I was not aware of this incident and this man never brought his complaint to me.”
This is how justice was served during the caliphate of the Muslims. The son of a governor, belonging to a noble family, was commanded to be whipped before his own father’s eyes and that too by a common man, who had been wronged. Shariah laws protected the innocent and set an unprecedented example for others to stay within limits.
Adapted from “Sunehray Faislay”, published by Darussalam. Translated for “Hiba” by Rana Rais Khan.