Political and Civil Administration
The government of Umar was more or less a unitary government, where the sovereign political authority was the Caliph. The empire of Umar was divided into provinces and some autonomous territories like in some regions Azerbaijan and Armenia, that had accepted the suzerainty of the Caliphate. The provinces were administered by the provincial governors or Wali. The selection of which was made personally by Umar, who was very fastidious in it. Provinces were further divided into districts, there were about 100 districts in the empire. Each district or main city was under the charge of a junior governor or Wali, usually appointed by Umar himself, but occasionally they were also appointed by the provincial governor. Other officers at the provincial level were:
- Katib, the Chief Secretary.
- Katib-ud-Diwan, the Military Secretary.
- Sahib-ul-Kharaj, the Revenue Collector.
- Sahib-ul-Ahdath, the Police chief.
- Sahib-Bait-ul-Mal, the Treasury Officer.
- Qadi, the Chief Judge.
In some districts there were separate military officers, though the Governor (Wali) was in most cases the Commander-in-chief of the army quartered in the province. Every appointment was made in writing. At the time of appointment an instrument of instructions was issued with a view to regulating the conduct of Governors. On assuming office, the Governor was required to assemble the people in the main mosque, and read the instrument of instructions before them.
Umar's general instructions to his officers were:"Remember, I have not appointed you as commanders and tyrants over the people. I have sent you as leaders instead, so that the people may follow your example. Give the Muslims their rights and do not beat them lest they become abused. Do not praise them unduly, lest they fall into the error of conceit. Do not keep your doors shut in their faces, lest the more powerful of them eat up the weaker ones. And do not behave as if you were superior to them, for that is tyranny over them."
Various other strict codes of conduct were to be obeyed by the governors and state officials. The principal officers were required to travel to Mecca on the occasion of the Hajj, during which people were free to present any complaint against them. In order to minimize the chances of corruption, Umar made it a point to pay high salaries to the staff. Provincial governor received as much as five to seven thousand dirham annually besides their shares of the spoils of war (if they were also the commander in chief of the army of their sector). Under Umar the empire was divided into the following provinces.
- Arabia was divided into two provinces, Mecca and Medina;
- Iraq was divided into two provinces, Basra and Kufa;
- In the upper reaches of the Tigris and the Euphrates, Jazira was a province;
- Syria was a province;
- Umar divided Palestine in two provinces Aylya and Ramlah;
- Egypt was divided into two provinces, Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt;
- Persia was divided into three provinces, Khorasan; Azarbaijan and Fars.
Umar was first to established a special department for the investigation of complaints against the officers of the State. This department acted as Administrative court, where the legal proceedings were personally led by Umar. The Department was under the charge of Muhammad ibn Maslamah, one of Umar's most trusted men. In important cases Muhammad ibn Maslamah was deputed by Umar to proceed to the spot, investigate the charge and take action. Sometimes an Inquiry Commission was constituted to investigate the charge. On occasions the officers against whom complaints were received were summoned to Medina, and charged in Umar's administrative court. Umar was known for this intelligence service through which he made his officials accountable This service was also said to have inspired fear in his subjects.
Umar was a pioneer in some affairs:
- Umar was the first to introduce the public ministry system, where the records of officials and soldiers were kept. He also kept a record system that had the messages he sent to Governors and heads of states.
- He was the first to appoint police forces to keep civil order.
- He was the first to discipline the people when they became disordered.
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