One day, Umar (rta) was seated in Masjid Nabvi, when a man passed by saying: “O Umar! For you is the lowest level of Hell-fire.”
Umar (rta) ordered the witnesses surrounding him to bring this man to him. When the man was brought before him, Umar (rta) inquired: “Why did you say that?”
He replied: “When you appoint your rulers, you educate them regarding the principles they need to adhere to. Later on, you do not check, if they are abiding by those principles.”
Umar (rta) further inquired: “What is your complain?”
The man complained: “The ruler appointed by you in Egypt is acting against the principles you have set forth for him, and he is indulging into the forbidden.”
After listening to the entire case, Umar (rta) appointed two men from the tribe of Ansar to investigate the matter and sent them to Egypt. The investigators were to verify the issue from the common people of Egypt and bring the ruler of Egypt with them to Umar (rta) instantly, if the complaints against him were true.
Both men followed the Caliph’s orders and arrived in Egypt. They initiated their investigations and discovered that all allegations against him were true. Hence, they went to the ruler’s residence and requested to see him.
The ruler’s guard refused to let them in. The men warned the guard that they would break down the door, if not permitted to meet with the ruler. They also prepared a fire to do the same. Seeing that the matter was becoming serious, the guard quickly informed the ruler, who stepped out to meet the visitors.
The Ansaris asked the ruler to accompany them to meet Umar (rta). The ruler requested for time to take care of some business, before he could proceed for the journey. But the Ansaris informed them that they were not permitted to waste even a single moment. The ruler had to come along right away.
When the Ansaris brought the ruler to Umar (rta), the Egyptian ruler greeted the Caliph with Salam. Umar (rta) was unable to recognize the man standing before him. When he was appointed as a ruler, his complexion was quite dark; now, it was much fairer and he had put on weight as well.
Umar (rta) asked in surprise: “Who are you?”
The man replied: “I am the person, whom you appointed as the ruler of Egypt.”
Umar (rta) exclaimed: “Woe to you! You embraced what was declared forbidden for you and forgot what you were told to follow. By Allah! I will teach you a lesson you won’t forget.”
The Amir-ul-Mumineen ordered to bring a torn outfit made of wool, a stick and three hundred sheep that had been received as Sadaqah, and addressed the Egyptian ruler: “Wear this outfit, for I had seen your father wear a much more worn out garment than this one. Pick up this staff, as it is much better than the staff your father used to carry. Take these sheep to so-and-so place, where you will have to herd them.”
Umar (rta) continued: “And do not prevent any travellers from drinking the milk of these sheep, except my own family, as I do not recall permitting them to partake any milk or meat, which was donated as Sadaqah.”
As the Egyptian ruler turned to leave, Umar (rta) summoned him and asked: “Is everything clear to you?”
The ruler knelt to the ground and cried: “O Amir-ul-Mumineen! I won’t be able to carry out this task. You may chop my head off, if you so wish.”
Umar (rta) asked him: “If I reinstate you as a ruler, what will your conduct be like?”
He replied: “By Allah! From now on, you will hear only that about my conduct, which pleases you.”
Umar (rta), hence, reinstated him as the ruler of Egypt. True to his word, the man proved to be an exemplary ruler of Egypt, conducting all his affairs with Taqwa and sincerity.
Adapted from “Sunehray Faislay” published by Darussalam. Translated by Rana Rais Khan.