The Value of the Oppressed

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Abdul Malik Mujahid heads Darussalam, an international publishing house that publishes Islamic books. He is also the author of multiple books.

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Apr 11 - The value of the oppressed

Caliph Umar Ibn Abdul-Aziz was the nephew and son-in-law of Caliph Abdul Malik Ibn Marwan. His mother Umm Asim was the grand daughter of Umar Ibn Khattab (rta). His father Abdul-Aziz governed Egypt for twenty-one years. Waleed appointed Umar Ibn Abdul-Aziz as the governor of Madinah. In 99 Hijri, upon the death of Caliph Sulaiman Ibn Abdul Malik and as per his will, Umar Ibn Abdul-Aziz was appointed as the succeeding Caliph.

During his caliphate, Umar Ibn Abdul-Aziz had arranged for the plundered property to be returned to its rightful owners, ensured the effectiveness and operation of the state treasury and restored the integrity of Caliph Ali (rta), who was earlier slandered in sermons.

In 101 Hijri, with the assistance and wicked scheming of some influential men, Umar Ibn Abdul-Aziz was poisoned and killed. But his short reign of two years is considered to be a historic one with regard to his achievements, success and popularity as a capable ruler.

Following is one of the many stories of the caliph’s sense of justice that won him people’s hearts.

Once, Caliph Umar Ibn Abdul-Aziz was roaming in the market of Hamas. Suddenly, a man adorning a striped wrap approached him. He said: “O, Amir-ul-Mumineen! You have commanded the oppressed to come to you for justice!”

Umar Ibn Abdul-Aziz replied: “Yes! Indeed.”

The man continued: “Hence, a man who has been wronged has come to you travelling from a faraway land.”

Umar Ibn Abdul-Aziz questioned him: “Where is your family?”

The man replied: “Further from the province in Yemen.”

Umar Ibn Abdul-Aziz responded: “By Allah! Your family is far from the family of Umar.” And he climbed down immediately from his mount. He further inquired: “How have you been oppressed?”

The traveler answered: “A man has illegally occupied my land, on which I used to grow grains, and evicted me.”

After listening to the man’s complaint, Umar Ibn Abdul-Aziz wrote to Urwa Ibn Mohammad that he should pay heed to the man’s complaint, and when he would be proved right, Urwa should ensure that the man’s land was rightfully returned to him. Umar Ibn Abdul-Aziz placed a seal on his letter, finalizing his orders.

When the stranger prepared to leave, Caliph Umar Ibn Abdul-Aziz questioned him: “Wait! Since you have travelled from far, what expenses did you have to incur for your journey or how much did you have to pay for your ride and how many clothes did you change?”

When an estimate was prepared, it came to approximately 15 Dinars. Umar Ibn Abdul-Aziz paid the traveller his money and set him off for his journey back home. Subhan’Allah!

Adapted (with permission) from “Sunehray Faislay” published by Darussalam. Translated for “Hiba” by Rana Rais Khan.

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