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ISLAMIC MEDICAL EDUCATION RESOURCES 04

0010-LEADERSHIP (PART II)

Lecture for 4th year students at the Kulliyah of Medicine, International Islamic University, Kuantan on 21st October 2000

4.0 DISEASES OF LEADERS AND FOLLOWERS

A. BACKGROUND OF LEADERSHIP DISEASES

HUMAN IMPERFECTIONS:

With the exception of prophets, no leaders or followers can claim being perfect. Any leader will have diseases (hopefully few). Followers also have diseases. The diseases of leaders and followers could be synergistic. The aim of good leadership is to minimize or compensate for them. This requires maturity and balance. The leader must be able to look at himself in a mirror or listen to trusted advisors to know and acknowledge weaknesses. Only the greatest can do this.

 

SOCIALIZATION:

Bad leadership is learned from poor role models in the home, the general society, and the work-place. Societies or organizations that depended on authoritarianism, no delegation, no participation produced the worst leaders in history.

 

DISEASES:

Good leaders have attributes and skills that have been discussed. Bad leaders are not necessarily those with opposite attributes and skills. Bad leaders have definite diseases that could exist alongside some of the good qualities. In the extreme some bad leaders have only diseases and none of the good qualities.

 

DEVIANT PERSONALITY:

Some bad leaders are actually psychologically sick: sadists, megalomaniacs, jealous, immature, or psychopathic personalities. Organizations and societies that allow such individuals to rise to the top pay a heavy price.

 

DEVIANT VALUES:

It is an irony of human experience that the best and the worst leaders can share some of the same practical and conceptual skills. They differ in the underlying values, personality, goals, and how the skills are used. Good moral leaders serve humanity while the bad ones cause suffering and harm.

 

PRIDE AND VANITY:

Leaders are supposed to be humble in dealing with their followers as the prophet was enjoined to be humble to the believers, janaah al dhull li al muuminiin (p 223 26:215). Pride and vanity have destroyed many leaders. They are from the SHAITAN and eventually lead to mutual hatred between leaders and followers. They may also become a disease of both the leader and his followers in which case there is mutual hatred between groups, organizations, and even nations.

 

DISHONESTY

A dishonest leader will be punished in hell, al waali al ghaash fi al naar (KS101).

 

UNCOMPENSATED WEAKNESSES:

A leader is a human being and can not be perfect. There will be weaknesses. The way to deal with them is to compensate for them by relying on strong people who have the skills that the leader may lack. The careful leader will also avoid activities that he lacks the ability to do well.

 

IGNORANCE:

Some bad leaders are sincere and are committing mistakes without being aware of them. Some commit mistakes because of basic inner limitations. Ignorance of a leader that is not acknowledged or compensated for spells disaster for the organization. Wrong decisions will be made and will be defended by the leader.

 

LACK OF CREATIVITY:

When a leader starts thinking he knows all and is perfect in all what he is doing, he closes his mind to new ideas. He suppresses creativity and innovation and persists in old ways even if they are unproductive. Some of such leaders realize the futility of their stand and tend to hide behind bureaucratic policies, rules, and regulations.

 

B. DISEASES THAT MANIFEST IN DEALING WITH FOLLOWERS

EXCESSIVE VENERATION:

Bad leaders with weak egos seek excessive veneration from their followers. These are inadequate persons who are not sure of themselves. An organisation that allows such persons to occupy leadership positions will regret the consequences.

 

OPPRESSION:

Bad leaders who lack legitimacy, personal authority, and self-confidence tend to be oppressive. They try to use force to impose their will. Those who oppose this are dealt with badly. Oppression eventually fails.

 

PETTY-MINDEDNESS:

Petty-mindedness is a sign of an immature personality and lack of vision. Small things become big while big things are not even recognized. The self becomes more important than the public interest.

 

MANIPULATION:

Bad leaders are manipulative. They control and do not build or develop their followers. Manipulation is not leadership. It is a form of coercion and deception. A manipulative leader does not deal honestly with followers. He uses physical and psychological pressures to get compliance. Often he uses outright deception.

 

SEEKING FALSE REPUTATION:

Bad leaders concentrate on building false reputations, appearances, and images. They neglect the hard work that produces real results. Such leaders who deceive themselves and their followers will not hide their weaknesses for long. False leaders are exposed sooner or later. If not exposed in their lifetime or period of tenure, history will expose them in unflattering terms. The Qur'an recounts stories of such leaders in bygone eras as a lesson to all of us.

 

ABANDONING FOLLOWERS:

Bad leaders will abandon their followers in times of crisis or danger. They will not stand to share the pain with them or lead them to a solution.

 

UNEQUAL TREATMENT OF FOLLOWERS:

Bad leaders treat followers unequally. There is favoritism. Those who praise the leader and pander to his ego are preferred over the more principled ones. Sycophants are brought near while the productive and hard-working are kept away. Favoritism may also manifest as nepotism, appointments or promotions based on family relationships and not merit. Injustice of a bad leader may be in attitude, actions, judgments, decisions, and communication. All what deviates from the truth and fair and equitable treatment is injustice. The leader who is just has great recompense from Allah, ajr al imaam al aadil (KS 46).

 

C. DISEASES OF FOLLOWERS:

Followers, like leaders, have diseases: hypocrisy, insincerity, bad advice to leader, disloyalty, disobedience, and excessive veneration of the leader. Followers show hypocrisy when they say something in front of the leader and the opposite when away from him. They may outwardly show loyalty and obedience when they are secretly plotting against him. Insincerity is all forms of dishonesty and lies to the leader and fellow followers. It also includes doing things for selfish individual interests while hurting the interests of the group. Some followers may give advice to a leader that they know is bad either for some selfish personal gain, or to hurt someone else, or to hurt the leader by making him commit mistakes. Disloyalty in all its forms is bad. It is however not loyalty to support and follow a leader in committing immoral acts. Followers must obey the leader as long as he is ordering them to do good. Disobedience rapidly results into chaos and break down of the civil order. Violence by the ruler against followers or among followers rapidly ensues in a situation of anarchy. It is for this reason that obedience should not be withheld even if the leader commits some minor mistakes. Some followers may spoil the leader by pandering to his ego and showing him excessive veneration. When all of this gets to his head he may start behaving like a dictator, develop vanity and pride and eventually fail in leadership.

 

D. LEADERSHIP FAILURE:

CAUSES OF LEADERSHIP FAILURE

Leadership failure is a consequence of a series of mistakes. An organization can survive a few leadership mistakes. When the mistakes are consecutive and cumulative, the death certificate for the organization is sealed. Leadership failure has several often inter-related causes: (a) refusal to admit mistakes and blaming them on others (b) belief of the leader that he is indispensable and behaving as a dictator (c) fear for position and neglecting training or developing replacements (d) disloyalty to superiors, peers, followers and the organization (e) lack of creativity: hating new ideas, persisting in unproductive but tested ways, and being too bureaucratic (f) lack of common sense, being away from reality and being theoretical (g) Lack of human skills and handling followers well and equitably (h) lack of a sense of bottom-line that you have to produce results (i) failure to lead and following the crowd (j) condoning or tolerating incompetence (k) failure to recognize and reward good work (l) followers hating the leader.

 

RESPONSIBILITY AND ACCOUNTABILITY:

A leader is accountable for all what goes on. He should have the courage to admit his mistakes so that he may correct them. He must also take ultimate responsibility for mistakes committed by subordinates although he is not personally directly culpable. He was supposed to select only the best and most competent, train them, and supervise them so that they make no mistakes. Bad leaders do not take personal responsibilities. They are not accountable for mistakes in their organization. They look for excuses (even valid ones) or shift responsibility to others. It is a sign of personal weakness and emotional immaturity for a leader to pretend to be all-knowing and perfect all the time.

 

RESULTS/BOTTOM LINE:

A leader is judged by results. Lack of a sense of a bottom line is a sure way to leadership failure. Such leaders may tolerate or even condone incompetence in the organization because success and results do not matter to them. They will fail to recognize and reward good work. A leader must achieve results. If he fails, even if he worked hard and sincerely and even if he has valid excuses, he is considered to have failed and he must accept responsibility. Accepting responsibility is the first positive step toward looking for a solution.

 

 

 

E. HATRED BY THE FOLLOWERS

ARROGANCE AND FEELING INDISPENSABLE:

When a leader starts thinking that he is special and that there is nobody else who can be in his position he is already on the way to being lost. He will soon become a dictator and will suppress all dissent and refuse to listen to advice. He will not develop his followers. Shaitan will encourage him to become increasingly arrogant until he eventually fails. An insecure leader fears for his position and tries to oppress or suppress people with leadership ability in the organization. This is an insincere person who should not have been a leader in the first place. A mark of a good leader is not coveting positions.

 

PUTTING PEOPLE DOWN:

 Poor leaders, actually leaders by default, put down people and are only manifesting their own lack of self-confidence and a feeling of low self-worth. They assume that everybody else must be like them. Such leaders either do not last long or continue leading failing organizations.

 

MISTRUST AND DISLOYALTY:

A bad leader does not trust others and is not trusted. He will be disloyal to his superiors, his peers, and his subordinates. He will even betray the organization in pursuit of his selfish interests.

 

INACCESSIBILITY:

A leader who is not accessible soon loses touch with realities in the organizations. He can not know what is going on at the grass-roots level. He lives in an ivory tower and his decisions and actions lack the common sense that is expected.  It is forbidden for the leader to close his door in front of those with needs (KS 45).

 

POOR HUMAN RELATIONS:

Poor leaders are poor in human relations. They demotivate followers, harass them and make them loathe the organization. Many followers will leave at the first opportunity. Some leaders develop this people incompetence into an art. They are aware of their inadequacy and inability to change so they make sure no follower stays too long with them. They know the follower will eventually get fed up with them and may confront them one day. They make sure he leaves before that breaking point. High turnover thus becomes a normal way with dire consequences for the organization.

 

FOLLOWING THE CROWD:

Some leaders abdicate their responsibilities. They fail to lead and follow the crowd. Some could justify this by saying that they are 'listening' to their followers. The main motivation for this is to be loved by the followers. Some leaders just do not want to confront the practical realities and difficulties of leadership and are content only with the pomp and material benefits of leadership.

 

CAUSES OF HATRED OF FOLLOWERS FOR LEADERS:

A leader who does not respect followers is soon hated. The causes of hatred are: impersonal behavior, not listening to followers, being self importance, wrong decisions, claiming credit for followers' work, blaming followers for the leader's mistakes, being secretive, withholding information, failure to protect followers from external attacks, public criticism of followers, not consulting followers, and over-working followers.

 

CONSEQUENCES OF HATRED BY FOLLOWERS:

No person should insist on continuing in a leadership position if he/she is hated by the followers. Leadership can not succeed if there is no good relation between the leader and the followers. Confrontations and divisions will sooner or later occur in the organisation. If a leader is in position for the good of the organisation and not personal interest, he will rather resign than expose the organisation to the risk of failure.

 

5.0 MODEL LEADERS IN ISLAMIC HISTORY

A. ABUBAKR AL SIDDIQ

WHAT IS SPECIAL ABOUT ABUBAKR:

Abubakr was special. He was unanimously considered the next best person after the prophet, ahsan al naas ba’ada al rasuul (KS 51). He was the closest friend and companion of the prophet, khaliil wa sahib al rasuul (KS 51). He was the most beloved person to the Prophet (PBUH) (KS 51). He and Omar were the two viziers of the Prophet (KS 51). The two did not always agree, ikhtilaaf Abubakr wa Umar fi majlis al nabi (KS 52) and thus provided some sort of balance in decision-making. The prophet referred to both of them as the pillar of the diin, ;imad al ddiin (KS 51). Abubakr was a very generous man, sakhaa Abubakr (KS53).

 

The following events show the special position and importance of Abubakr. He was the companion of the cave being with the prophet in the cave during the migration from Makka to Madina. The Prophet chose Abubakr to lead salat when the prophet was in his last illness.

 

Abubakr was the first believer of the Prophet (PBUH) (KS 51). He believed the prophet when others rejected him (KS 51). Abubakr's faith was firm and had no doubts that is why he was given the title al siddiq by Jibril (KS 51). The faith of Abubakr would weigh more on the scale than the faith of all the ummat (KS 51).

 

Abubakr had wisdom and a far vision. He focused on the unity of state after death of prophet. He took a firm stand in the apostasy, riddat, wars. His stand preserved the religion and the unity of the Muslim state. It was Abubakr who laid the foundation for the Muslim empire in Byzantine and Persian lands. It was Abubakr who acting on the advice of Omar collected the Qur'an in one volume.

 

ABUBAKAR IN MAKKA BEFORE ISLAM:

Abubakr was known for his good manners. He was a loved personality. He was a leader in his tribe in charge of settling blood feuds. Abubakr was a successful cloth merchant in Makka due to his good personality. He had good morals. He did not drink alcohol. He did not participate in jahiliyyah worship. He never hesitated to accept Islam. After embracing Islam, he called others to the ddiin with vigor and courage. He used his big wealth to help poor Muslims who were persecuted. He was a humble person who was known never to get angry except for Allah. His belief was so strong that he bet on the winner in the Byantine-Persian war. The Qur'an and history validated his bet.  Companion of the Prophet. The prophet trusted Abubakr to plan the hijra. While as the Prophet's companion in the cave, Abubakr had fear for the Prophet's life and not for his.

 

ABUBAKR IN MADINA:

On migration to Madina, Abubakr started as farmer. He continued to have a gentle and lovable character. He never got angry except for Allah as is exemplified in his story with Finhas. Abubakr was always at the side of the prophet. Abubakr and Omar were the two ministers of the Prophet. He turned to them for advice. He was aware of the differences in their personalities and liked to listen to both of them in order to get the middle position. Abubakr advised clemency for Badr prisoners of war whereas Omar advised retribution. Abubakr agreed immediately with prophet at Hudaybiyyah whereas Omar at first opposed the Hudaybiyyah settlement on the grounds that it was in favor of the Quraish; he later withdrew his opposition when he understood the strategic considerations. The prophet selected Abubakr to lead the pilgrimage after the hudaybiyyah settlement. The prophet also selected him to lead salat when the prophet was sick. Abubakr stood firm stand at death of prophet and was able to lead the people out of their shock. He took a firm and wise stand at saqifat bani sa'idah that averted civil war over the issue of who would be the political leader of the community following the passing away of the prophet.

 

ABUBAKR ON ASCENSION TO KHILAFAT:

Abubakr showed his magnamity by not oppressing those who opposed his election to the khilafat. He showed his strength of character by the determination to fight the apostates who refused to pay zakat on the death of the prophet. In the apostasy, riddat, wars that ensued, the usually soft-spoken Abubakr was tough for the truth. He stabilized the infant Muslim state in his reign by this and subsequent courageous stands. His treatment of the defeated apostates was very balanced. He endorsed Khalid’s killing of those who had killed innocent Muslims. He forgave prisoners who were brought to Madina. He had a firm uncompromising stand against pretenders to prophethood whom he fought until they were subdued. The prophet had, just before his passing away, prepared an army under the command of Usamah Ibn Zayd. The prophet passed away before the army moved. Abubakr took a firm stand on despatching the army despite the civil disturbance in Madinah at that time. It was Abubakr who initiated the Palestine and Iraq campaigns that resulted into the expansion of the Islamic state.

 

ABUBAKR AS A LEADER:

Abubakr was a full-time leader. He was aware of his limitations. He asked for obedience if he obeyed Allah and did not demand obedience to him as a person. He governed by shura. He however did not develop a bureaucracy. This was because his reign was too short and he was busy with military activity for administration.

 

DEATH OF ABUBAKR:

Abubakr was pre-occupied with ummatic welfare in last 2 weeks of his life. He consulted people before proposing Omar as the next work. He undertook self criticism of his activities. On his death, he returned all the salary earned in 2 years to the treasury, bait al maal. He died with no personal wealth. He was buried in his old clothes; he urged that the living had more claim to new clothes. He ordered his funeral not distract state affairs. He reigned for 27 months. He died on Monday 21 Jumada I 12 AH and was buried the same night.  He was aged 63.

 

MAIN LESSONS:

Abubakr has simple life. He was honest, polite, gentle but firm. He was cautious Caution. He was firm against self-admiration. He liked self criticism and accepted criticism from others. He had a high sense of accountability. In all his actions and words, he always tried to avoid fitnat.

 

BASIC PHILOSOPHY OF LEADERSHIP:

Abubakr followed and did not innovate. He stuck to methods of the prophet and continued in his foot-steps very closely. His reign was too short for a lot of administrative developments.

 

MAIN ACHIEVEMENTS:

Abubakr's short reign had a lot of achievements of lasting impact. The unity of the ummah was preserved by maintaining a unified government in the Arabian peninsula. Apostasy was stamped out of the peninsula and the unity of religion was maintained in the Arabian Peninsula. He started the military campaigns (futuhat) towards the east and west. Most memorable of his achievements was the collection of the Qur'an.

 

B. OMAR AL FARUQ

WHAT IS SPECIAL ABOUT OMAR

The Prophet said that if there were a prophet after him, he would have been Omar, law kaan nabiyu ba’adi lakaan Omar (KS 397). Omar came only next to Abubakr in ranking, Omar yali Abubakr fi a manzilat (KS397). Allah put the truth on Omar’s toungue, ja’ala al laahu al haqq ;ala kisaan Omar (KS 397) because he used to state opinions that were later corroborated by the revelation. Even before his conversion, the prophet used to pray to Allah to honor Islam with one of two men: Omar Ibn al Khattaab and Amr bin Hishaam (Abu jahal) (ks 397). Even shaitan was afraid of Omar (KS 397). If Omar followed a path, shaitan would follow a different one (KS 397). He has wide knowledge, si’at al ‘ilm (KS 398). He was very serious in matters of religion, ashadduhum fi diin al laah Omar (KS 398).

 

BACKGROUND:

Omar was born in Makka and lived the normal life of youths of that time. His family, the banu addiy, were in charge of diplomacy for the Quraish and Omar seems to have gone on several diplomatic missions while young. Omar’s family was relatively poor. Omar was one of the few literate Quraish.  He liked poetry and kept this interest even in Islam and when he became Khalifa.  He was an orator and knew Arab genealogy.  He traveled widely in and around Arabia.  He had a strong interest in knowledge. Omar was a trader in Makka but did not do well.  This was because of his personality which was rather tough.  He did not seem very interested in money. Omar had strong opinions about issues of concern to him.  He was fanatic about the unity of his people and tolerated no dissension that could lead to weakening this unity.  He fought those who left the Makkan pagan religion with the same vehemence as he fought the Muslims.

 

STRONG PERSONALITY:

Omar’s personality was different from that of Abubakar. The two seemed to be at extreme ends of the spectrum but were a perfect illustration of what is needed in complementation. That is why the prophet had both of them beside him all the time. Omar was a practical man of action. Omar was brave and very daring.  When he became a Muslim he declared his conversion in public in Makka. He and Hamza led the first public demonstration in Islam when they led Muslims from their hiding places to pray in from of the Kaaba. Omar unlike all other companions migrated in public from Makka and dared any who wanted to challenge him. Omar was open-spoken and always expressed his views. For example he disagreed with the prophet regarding the Hudaybiyyah treaty (KS 399). Omar was feared, Abubakr had to consider this against Omar’s strengths as he appointed him as successor. Omar was so strong that after he was stabbed he completed the prayer despite the pain (KS 401).

 

BALANCE:

Omar was known for being tough.  He however had a soft spot in him.  This was demonstrated on many occasions.  Before accepting Islam, he confronted his Muslim sister in Makka and beat her.  When he saw blood he was very sorry and was profoundly affected.  Her bravery and steadfastness softened him. When the prophet passed away Omar behaved contrary to character.  He however soon picked himself up and stood by Abubakr to elect a new leader and avoid break-up of the state.

 

VISION AND FORESIGHT:

Omar always had the big picture in mind as well as the public interest. Many revelations were revealed to support Omar’s opinions and view for example: prohibition of riba,  prohibition of alcohol, praying at the station if Ibrahim, maqam Ibrahim, enactment of the call for prayer, adhan, prohibition of funeral prayers for a hypocrite (Abdullah Ibn Ubayy),  and hijab for the prophet’s wives. Omar participated in the battle of Badr and had the opinion that the Quraish prisoners of war should be killed. The Qur'an was revealed to support his position.

 

OMAR AND SERVICE:

Omar was always anxious about the affairs of the Ummah and could not sleep. Omar was the father of the poor and the weak. Omar and his wife, Umm Kulthum, attended birth of a strange woman. Omar carried food on his back during the night to a woman with hungry children. He spent the night guarding goods of traders in the market in Madina. In the year of hunger. ‘aamu al majaa’a,  he worked indefatigably to feed the people (KS 400).

 

OMAR AND IJTIHAD:

Omar was very active in ijtihad. The following legal opinions are attributed to him: prohibition of mut’ah, return of Arab captives, the punishment, hadd,  for drinking alcohol, rulings about divorce, the principle of necessity in  fiqh, and inheritance law. He initiated new regulations about distribution of land in Egypt, Syria and Iraq. In each country he considered the general economic interest. He forbade temporary marriage, mut’at (KS 399, 400). He initiated salat al taraweeh in congregation in Ramadhan (KS 400).

Omar was the first to be called Amir al Mu uminuun, awwal man tasamma bi amir al mu uminuun (KS 400). He was the first to use the hijri calendar, awwal man arrakha bi al hijra (KS 400).

 

PHYSICAL HEALTH:

Omar was physically and mentally very strong.  This enabled him to exercise a very dynamic leadership. He was able to follow-up affairs of far-away provinces by use of the postal system, hajj, spies, and tours of inspection. He was able to work hard.  He could personally attend to many details and follow up projects.  He exercised more control over state affairs that did Abu Bakr. Omar slept very little.

 

OMAR BEFORE BECOMING KHALIFAH:

Before accepting Islam, Omar was one of the greatest opponents of the prophet (PBUH). Omar accepted Islam in a dramatic way.  He had set off to kill the prophet.  He instead went to his sister’s house when he found out she was a convert. He confronted her and her husband and ended up reading some pages from the Qur’an.  It was this that finally touched his heart and he went to the prophet to accept Islam. Omar in Makka after Islam was as source of strength for Muslims. Before his conversion they prayed in secret. After his conversion they prayed publicly at the Kaaba and none of the Quraysh dared face him. Omar was active as a vizier to Abubakr and was always at his side. Omar differed from Abubakr about the apostasy, riddat,  wars but eventually came around to realize the wisdom of Abubakr’s view. Omar suggested collecting the Qur’an and Abubakr took his advice.

 

OMAR AS KHALIFA:

As a leader Omar wanted to be corrected. He solicited and accepted advice. Omar managed the Iraq, Syrian, and Egyptian campaigns directly with a lot of hands-on management. In the Iraq campaign, Omar consulted companions whether he goes himself or appoints a commander. The decision was to send a commander was based on the advice of the companions. Omar followed the Iraq campaign closely and asked Sa’ad for frequent reports. After conquest of Madain Omar decided not to expand farther into Persian territory but to consolidate territory already held. As part of his foresight he refused to distribute the land of Iraq among the conquerors. Omar was reluctant to allow Amre b al As to invade Egypt.  In the end a half decision was made and Amre exploited the opportunity to go ahead.  He was very anxious about affairs of state and slept little.  Omar was in continuous correspondence with Amre to follow up affairs of Egypt.  Omar decided against making Alexandria a capital.  He refused a house that Amre built for him in Fustat.  He also ordered Amre to get advice from Benjamin the patriarch of Egypt on how to administer the territory.  Omar had the foresight to forbid the distribution of Egyptian lands.  He differed with Amre about taxation and the difference became very hot.  He however did not dismiss Amre. He made the decision to return Arab captives to their families. Omar did not hesitate to dismiss Khalid Ibn al Walid when he was convinced that was in the best interests of the state. A lesser leader would have been cowered by Khalid's military power and reputation. He exiled the Christians of Najran so that there was only one religion in the peninsula. Omar turned away from Syria when he was informed of plague there. Omar led the effort to save lives during the hunger that afflicted Madina.

 

HIGH STANDARDS:

Omar gave trouble to those who came after him because he set very high unattainable standards for those after him. This was very clear in his testament and will for his successor (KS 401). Until today Leaders whether Muslim or non-Muslim look up to Omar as a model and aspire to emulate him. He was known as al Farooq, one who distinguishes between right and wrong, because of his strong sense of justice (KS 397). He gave Islam strength and dignity both in his lifetime and in generations to come. Omar was called the door to fitnat, baab al fithat (KS 399), because after his death the state did not stabilize. He went to extremes to show financial integrity in his dealing with bayt al maal (KS 400).

 

OMAR’S MANAGEMENT AND ADMINISTRATIVE INNOVATIONS:

Abu Bakr’s short reign was a period of transition.  It was during Omar’s reign that the state stabilized.  It was also during the 10 years of Omar’s reign that the Muslim empire expanded to Central Asia and North Africa. Omar has the honor of having first initiated the following: using the title Amir al Muminun for the khalifah, hijri calendar, salat al taraweeh in congregation, dating and stamping documents, appointment of public readers of the Qur’an in various cities, establishment of waqf of his land at Khaybar, carrying a whip and using it for discipline, survey of the sawad lands,  establishment of the kharaj and jizyah taxation systems, building new garrison cities (Basra, Kufa, Fustat), transporting food by sea, establishing a flour house for the hungry, appointment of judges, establishment of the public treasury, bayt al maal, prohibition of the sale of mothers, establishment of ushr, whipping as hadd for drinking, compulsory military service, a standing army, postal service, prisons, and the mint. Omar established several population registers, dawawiin (KS 400), with the following names: diwan al insha, diwan al ata, diwan al jund, diwan al jabayah (kharaj and jizyah), diwan al ihsa, diwan al muhasabah, and diwan al waqf al khayri. Omar established the military register and started paying stipends to citizens and their families so that they may concentrate on jihad.  He discouraged pursuit of trade and agriculture so that the military spirit would not be lost during the pioneer days of the Muslim state because the duty of defense was paramount.

 

Omar collected the Qur’an, jamu al Qur’an (KS 397, KS 53).

 

OMAR’S GOVERNMENT:

The books of history have recorded many of Omar’s policy and administrative innovations, siyasaat & tashriu (KS 400). The mosque was the headquarters of the government. Omar aimed at unity of religion and government in the Arabian peninsula.  It was for this reason that he exiled the Christians and the Jews and also returned all Arab captives to their families. Omar was directly in charge of military policy.  He was not for outright expansion.  He always thought about consolidation. Omar did not impose a uniform system of government or economic organization in the empire. He allowed local variations.  However control and major decisions were centralized. Shura was the basis of government. Omar appointed officials on the basis of accessibility, not coveting positions, kindness, not engaged in business, not a relative. Workers were given fixed salaries. There was a check on the wealth of officials. Omar appointed judges in Basra, Kufa, and Egypt. He established the principle of separation of the judiciary from the executive branch of government. Omar did not appoint people from the family of the prophet to administrative positions.  He did not allow the Quraish to disperse in conquered territories. He kept the leading companions with him in Madina. Omar controlled his subordinates closely.  He felt personally responsible for their mistakes. Omar sent Muhammad Ibn Muslamah to audit Amre on excess wealth that he had accumulated. Omar had a very effective method of checking on his officials. He had an open door policy so that citizens could complain directly to him about any official. He had informers in all cities. During hajj he asked citizens from various cities about the way the officials treated them. Finally he undertook tours of inspection in the provinces to see the conditions for himself. Public punishment for errant workers was common as a lesson to others. Government workers were equal to citizens under the law. He sometimes disciplined errant officials without firing them. Firing was carried out in case of shubuhat, in order to preserve the integrity of government.. Omar hated differences and dissension. Omar punished his son Abdu Rahman for drinking above the normal punishment. Omar rejected gifts for his wife to keep away from impropriety. Omar did not allow wives to interfere in official work. He made sure Justice was for all. Omar and punishment of Amre’s  son for mistreating an Egyptian to make sure that all were equal under the law.

Professor Omar Hasan Kasule, Sr. October 2000