Umar - Assassination


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In 644, at zenith of his power, Umar was assassinated. His assassination was carried out by Persians, in response to the Muslim conquest of Persia. The assassination was planned several months earlier. In October 644 Umar went for Hajj in Mecca, the assassins started the hoopla of Umar's possible death that year, and the massive crowd of the congregation was used by the conspirators as a veil to hide themselves. It is related that when Umar stood at Mount Arafat he heard a voice saying:

"O Caliph, never again will you stand on the Mount of Arafat".

A companion of Umar, Jabir bin Mutaam is reported to have said:

We saw a man standing at the top of the hill and crying 'Verily that is the last Hajj of Umar. He will never come here again.

During one of rituals of Hajj, the Ramy al-Jamarat (stoning of the Devil), some one threw a stone on Umar that wounded his head, a voice was heard that Umar will not attend the Hajj ever again. Amongst the conspirators was:

  1. Hormuzan, the alleged mastermind of the plot. He was Persian Commander in Chief and was captured and brought to Umar at Madinah where to save his life he apparently converted to Islam.
  2. One of Umar's advisors, Ka'ab al-Ahbar, a former Jewish Rabbi, who had converted to Islam.
  3. Jafinah, the Christian Arab from Iraq, who was also a foster brother of Saad ibn Abi Waqqas, former governors of Busra.
  4. Piruzan, popularly known as Abu Lulu, he was slave of Mughira ibn Shu'ba the then governor of Busra.

It was Abu Lulu who was assigned the mission of assassinating Umar. According to the plan, before the Fajr prayers (the morning prayers before the dawn) Abu Lulu would enter Al-Masjid al-Nabawi, the main mosque of Madinah where Umar led the prayers and would attack Umar during the prayers, and then flee or mix with the congregation at mosque. There were Persian children slaves in Madina. Seeing them, Firoz is quoted saying:

You have been enslaved at such a tender age. This Umar sees eaten my heart. I will take his heart out".

Abu Lulu brought a conjectural complaint to Umar about the high tax charged from him by his master Mughirah. Umar wrote to Mughirah and inquired about the tax; Mughirah's reply was satisfactory, but Umar held that the tax charged from Abu Lulu was reasonable, owning the to his daily income. Umar then is reported to have asked Abu Lulu:

I heard that you make windmills; make one for me as well. In a sullen mood, Firoz said, " Verily I will make such a mill for you, that whole world would remember it ".

On 3 November 644, Abu Lulu attacked Umar while he was leading the morning prayers, stabbing him six times in the belly and last on the navel, that proved fatal. Umar was left profusely bleeding while Abu Lulu tried to flee, but people from all sides rushed to capture him; in his efforts to escape he is reported to have wounded twelve other people, six or nine of whom later died. At last he was captured but committed suicide using the same dagger. Umar died of the wounds three days later on Sunday, 7 November 644 (26th Dhū al-Ḥijja 23 ) . Umar is reported to have left the following testament:

Be kind and generous to the Muhajirun and the Ansar. Those out of them who are good, be good to them; those who are bad overlook their lapses. Be good to the people of the conquered lands. They are the outer line of our defense; they are the target of the anger and distress of our enemies. They contribute to our revenues. They should be taxed only on their surplus wealth. Be gracious to the Bedouins as they are the backbone of the Arab nation. I instruct you to be good to the Dhimmis for they are your responsibility. Do not tax them beyond their capacity. Ensure that they pay the Jizya without undue inconvenience. Fear God, and in all that you do keep His pleasure in view. In the matter of people fear God, and in the matter of Allah do not be afraid of the people. With regard to the people, I enjoin upon you to administer justice with an even hand. See that all the legitimate requirements of the people are met. Be concerned for their welfare. Ensure the safety of their person and property. See that the frontiers of our domains are not violated. Take strong steps to guard the frontiers. In the matter of administration do not prefer the rich to the poor. Be hard against those who violate the law. Show them no mercy. Do not rest content until you have brought the miscreants to book. Treat all the people as equal. Be a pillar of strength for those who are weak and oppressed. Those who are strong but do wrong, make them pay for their wrong-doings. In the distribution of booty and other matters be above nepotism. Let no consideration of relationship or selfish interest weigh with you. The Satan is at large; it may tempt you. Rise above all temptations and perform your duties in accordance with the injunctions of Islam. Get guidance from the Holy Quran and Sunnah. Freely consult the wise men around you. Apply your own mind in difficult cases, and seek light from God. Be simple in your living and your habits. Let there be no show or ostentation about you. Lead life as a model Muslim. As you are the leader of the Muslims, justify your leadership by being the best among them all. May God bless you.

As per Umar's will, he was buried next to Al-Masjid al-Nabawi alongside Muhammad and Caliph Abu Bakr by the permission of Aisha.

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