Download PDF: [S] The Simplicity of the Khalifah
It was the manner of the early Muslim leaders that when they saw people opposing and refuting the Laws of Shari’ah, the first thing they did was rectify themselves. When the leader became upright, the subjects also followed suit.
After the death of Sulayman bin Abdul Malik, without even asking for this position, Hadrat ‘Umar bin Abdul Aziz Radi Allahu ‘Anhu became the ruler of the Muslims.
The first thing which happened is that new horses were presented to Hadrat ‘Umar bin Abdul Aziz Radi Allahu ‘Anhu by those serving the government. These were new horses which no one had used prior to the Khalifah. The conduct previous to this was that when the previous Khalifah in this Ummmayah period died, all the horses which were used by that leader were given to his family and only new horses, which no one had used before, were given to the new leader.
In the same way, when these new horses were presented to Hadrat ‘Umar bin Abdul Aziz Radi Allahu ‘Anhu, he asked what these were. He never touched this new horses and instructed these new horses to be included in the Baitul Maal. Hadrat ‘Umar bin Abdul Aziz Radi Allahu ‘Anhu still used his old donkey.
The servants then presented him a new piece of cloth to be placed on the floor for him to sit. Hadrat ‘Umar bin Abdul Aziz Radi Allahu ‘Anhu asked what was this. He was told that this was a brand new piece of cloth on which no one had sat upon prior to him. The servants felt that the new leader would become pleased by this. However, Hadrat ‘Umar bin Abdul Aziz Radi Allahu ‘Anhu replied, “Take this and include it in the Baitul Maal.” He refused to sit on this new piece of cloth.
Hadrat ‘Umar bin Abdul Aziz Radi Allahu ‘Anhu then sat on his old donkey and continued further. As he went forward, he saw that a brand new piece of carpet had been placed in front of him and this was also part of the protocol for the new leader. He then kicked the carpet away with his foot and sat on an old straw mat. Hadrat ‘Umar bin Abdul Aziz Radi Allahu ‘Anhu also ordered that this new carpet be placed in the Baitul Maal and that he had no use for it.
Another ignorant habit among these leaders in the Ummayad Dynasty was that all the old bottles which were used by the previous leader were given to his family members and only new bottles were used to fill the oils and fragrances of the new leader. The sons of Sulayman had in fact spent the entire night changing this They had also changed quickly into the new clothes which was prepared for their father so that it could become old and they would be able to acquire it. When Hadrat ‘Umar bin Abdul Aziz Radi Allahu ‘Anhu saw this, he remarked, “This belongs to me and Sulayman and certainly does not belong to you. Therefore, all of this should be kept in the Baitul Maal so that it could be of benefit to the Muslim Ummah.”
When the servants saw this behaviour, they started to think that perhaps they themselves would acquire nothing from now on. They then decided to lure Hadrat ‘Umar bin Abdul Aziz Radi Allahu ‘Anhu using the method of presenting beautiful females slaves in front of him. They also felt that perhaps he would be captured by one of these beautiful females slaves and his mind would be changed. Thereafter, it would be a huge celebration for them.
They then presented all of these beautiful female slaves to Hadrat ‘Umar bin Abdul Aziz Radi Allahu ‘Anhu. However, the complete opposite happened. He started to ask them their names, where they came from and how had they been captured, etc. As each one of them revealed their secret. Hadrat ‘Umar bin Abdul Aziz Radi Allahu ‘Anhu released each one with respect and dignity. When the advisers saw this, they lost all hope and realised that they would be getting nothing.
Thereafter, Hadrat ‘Umar bin Abdul Aziz Radi Allahu ‘Anhu remained for three days in his house and did not allow anyone to visit him. The high profile leaders of the Banu Marwan and the Banu Ummayah also waited outside his house to see what type of person would be appearing. They also understood that the face of politics had changed and that it would be impossible in future to acquire any ill-gotten gains. They always had this impression that the wealth of the ordinary masses could be quietly divided among themselves without anyone knowing a thing. At this moment, sadness and regret had overtaken them. In this state of worry and apprehension, they waited outside his door.
One morning, Hadrat ‘Umar bin Abdul Aziz Radi Allahu ‘Anhu unexpectedly appeared outside his house. He began to meet the other leaders and the common people. Hadrat ‘Umar bin Abdul Aziz Radi Allahu ‘Anhu then instructed everyone that as of that day the entire government would follow the laws of Nizaam-e-Mustafa Sallal Laahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam and everyone present clearly understood this. The oppressed would be given their rights. There will be justice and equality and there would be no greed for the riches of this world.
In other words, this great leader had sacrificed his entire life for the Divine Pleasure of Allah azza wajal. He also practised what he preached. When this happened, there was also a revolution among the Muslim masses of the day. This proves that when the leaders of a nation reform themselves, the subjects also do the same.
There is no doubt that Hadrat ‘Umar bin Abdul Aziz Radi Allahu ‘Anhu was a unique leader who had unique qualities. Prior to him being nominated, the Baitul Maal had become a source of fraud and deceit. The other advisers in the court had made this their own personal source of income.
However, his appearance was like a new light which shown on the Muslims. There is no doubt that he also had Divine Help and Assistance in this regard. One day, out of concern, Hadrat ‘Umar bin Abdul Aziz Radi Allahu ‘Anhu also advised the people in the court that, “I believe that I will not receive any help in future in carrying out my duties of Khalifah (due to his strict behaviour).”
However, his advisers informed him, “O Ameerul Mo’mineen, your status is like a bazaar and in a bazaar only those goods are given which is fit for a bazaar.” In other words, they were informing him that because of his noble and pious behaviour, people will in future only bring the best of wealth to him so that he could carry out his duties. This was the result of his complete divorce from the world and his genuine sincerity. Allah azza wajal had also blessed him with such advisers who would also help in fulfilling this noble mission. (Seerat ‘Umar bin Abdul Aziz, Abdul Hakeem)
In Surah Talaq (65), verse 2, the Qur’an declares:
وَ مَنۡ یَّـتَّقِ اللہَ یَجْعَلْ لَّہٗ مَخْرَجًا ۙ﴿۲﴾
“And he who fears Allah, Allah will make a way for his deliverance.”
The appellation of ‘Umar bin Abdul Aziz bin Marwan Quraishi Umawi was “Abu Hafz.” He was a symbol of piety and greatness. He is also considered as the fifth rightly-guided Khalifah. When Sulayman bin Abdul Malik saw his piety and standing, he personally nominated him as the leader of the Muslims after him. Hadrat ‘Umar bin Abdul Aziz Radi Allahu ‘Anhu did not rule for very long and, tragically, he was also poisoned.