Umer Farooq (RA): Administrator par excellence
Abid Hussain Rather
Hazrat Umer Farooq (RA) was one of the close companions of prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and second of Khulfa e Rashideen after Hazrat Abu Bakar (RA). He reigned for ten long years and during his tenure the Islamic empire extended up to twenty three lakh square miles.
He had a great political vision and conquered the world’s largest powers of Rome and Iran without any bloodshed. His polity is an unbeatable and unique example for the world politicians and world’s great writers have admired him for his political strategies.
Important countries like Iraq, Iran, Egypt, Libya and Armenia were conquered during the reign of Hazrat Umer (RA). Jerusalem was also conquered for the first time during this period. Besides conquering different countries and extending the then Islamic empire, Hazrat Umer (RA) set an exemplary administration with different departments to take care of different aspects of human affairs and to serve his people in best possible way. He appointed various supervisors to take care of various departments in his government and he also used to take accountability of these supervisors himself. A brief introduction of the various cadres and departments during his governance is given below.
System of Justice
There was a totally unique system of Justice during the tenure of Hazrat Umer (RA) as the Khalifa of Muslim Ummah. Not even a single case of injustice was reported in such a large empire. Justice was not restricted to only Muslims but non Muslims were also treated equally and fairly.
They were given their rights with justice and there was no difference in justice on the basis of religion. Rich and poor, known and unknown people were treated equally in his government. During his reign many non Muslims converted to Islam because of the system of justice that was prevailing during his reign.
Special courts of justice were established in various districts to deal with corrupt people and for their punishment. Hazrat Abu Huraira (RA) was appointed to check the accountability of shopkeepers and deal with people involved in various wrong acts or who would misuse government property. The punishment of expatriation was also invented by Hazrat Umer (RA).
Department of Accounts
There was a strict system of accountability during the Khilafath of Hazrat Umer (RA). Hazrat Umer (RA) used to take accountability of his family members also and there was no system of corruption in his government. There are reports in history in which he took accountability of his son and daughter and warned them about misusing the government property.
Every single person had the right to enquire about the government policies and complaint for wrong doers and dishonest officials. It was during this period census for the whole Arab was conducted in a phase manner and special incentives were allotted to disabled and widows. Tax system for foreign trade was created during this period.
Police and Military Department
When the Islamic empire was sprawling its dimensions and became bigger and greater than Roman Empire by conquering the countries like Rome, Iran and Syria, establishment of military force was necessary to protect it from enemies. It was during this period, a military force established to protect the empire from enemies and special training was given to them.
Military barracks and cantonments were constructed at various important places like Kofa, Basra, Palestine etc.
The people engaged in the service of empire were paid fairly and pension was given to their family members. Pension was allotted to the widows of martyrs in earlier wars. Hazrat Umer (RA) established an invariable and reputed police department in his reign who used to serve the common masses and maintain discipline. These departments also took care of public properties and maintain peace.
High officials were assigned the task of looking into different matters of common masses and avoiding them from un-Islamic and immoral activities. Various jails were constructed and many large buildings were converted to jails for the punishment of culprits. First of all the house of Safwan Ibn Ummaya in Mecca was purchased for four thousand Dirhams and was used as prison for culprits. Besides this many prisons were constructed in other cities of the Mecca.
Many canals were constructed for irrigational purposes and a broad system of irrigation network was established during the reign of Hazrat Umer (RA). One lakh and twenty thousand workers were engaged in the Egypt for canal construction during the reign of Hazrat Umer (RA) [Tareekh e Islam page 175]
Establishment of Govt. Depositories (BaitulMaal)
There was no permanent system of government depositories before this period. Hazrat Umer (RA) extended the system of government depositories during his reign and government depositories were established in every city and every division for helping the poor and needy people. Huge buildings were constructed for depositories and honest people were given charge of these depositories. Hazrat Abdullah Bin Arkam (RA) was appointed as the first finance minister.
Department of Education
It was Hazrat Umer (RA) who established the system of teaching Quran in every conquered region and the people well versed in the knowledge of Quran were engaged in the duty of teaching Quran. Learning Quran was essential and mandatory during the period of Hazrat Umer (RA).
Hazrat Abu Sufiyan (RA) along with other Sahabas were sent to tribal areas to test the Quranic knowledge of people and those who couldn’t read or memorize Quran were punished. Even a syllabus for teaching was framed for the madrassas.
Department of Public Constructions
Though there wasn’t any permanent department for this purpose during this period but roads, buildings, bridges, mosques, guest houses, cantonments were constructed in different regions under the guidance of government officials during the reign of Hazrat Umer (RA). Some canals like canal of Abi Mosa were constructed to provide the drinking water for common masses. New colonies and new cities like Basra, Kofa, Mosal came into existence during the reign of Hazrat Umer (RA).
In short the period of Hazrat Umer (RA) was a progressive and enlightening period of Muslim Ummah during khilafath e Rashideen in which the Islamic state was established in a practical form. Despite being the emperor of such a vast Islamic state, Hazrat Umer (RA) was a simple and God fearing person with high morale who always tried to make his lord happy and serve his people.
He had the passion to serve mankind and always preferred equally with his people. Serving his people was mandatory for Hazrat Umer as he always kept his doors open for the service of common masses. Further, Hazrat Umer (RA) always advised his governors and other ministers to be ready for the service of people. These are the reasons that the khilafath of Hazrat Umer ( RA) is still a milestone for present world and works as a beacon light for the present day politicians. May Allah be pleased with him?
(The author is a member of JKIFTS columnist’s council and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)