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  #341  
Old Friday, May 18, 2012
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Good Governance in Islam

By Mohammad Abbas

IN public administration all the key public functionaries ought to be people of high calibre, just and energetic and must possess qualities of head and heart. In the words of fourth rightly guided Caliph Hazrat Ali (RA) they should have the qualities of refinement, experience, alertness, power of comprehending problems, secrecy, freedom from greed and lust.

A careful analysis of principles of administration and qualities of an administrator from Islamic point of view would show that man’s personal character is the key to good governance.

Perhaps the most exhaustive work on Islamic ethics of administration and qualities of an administrator is by a Pakistani specialist on public administration Shaukat Ali. His book “Administrative Ethics in a Muslim State” offers a comprehensive survey of instructions in the Holy Qur’an and “Traditions” on the subject.

The other monumental work on Islamic system of administration is by Dr. Mohammad Al Burray of Medina University. The book is titled “Administrative Development: An Islamic perspective.

The following advice to the Governor (Wali) Mali Alk-Ashtar contained in a letter of Hazrat Ali (RA) gives in a nutshell the qualities of an administrator. He should be an ideal for his staff and fellow citizens and choose the most qualified yet pious, honest, truthful and God-fearing men for his administrative structure.

He should be impartial and dispense justice with equity and should be very careful about the back biters, sycophants, corrupt and scandal mongers. He should constantly remain in contact with his staff consult them and should not issue authoritative and arbitrary orders.

He should strike against corruption, injustice and evil usages of authority against citizens and take responsibility for any defect in his subordinates and staff. He should not reserve for himself or his relatives any common property in which others have share and stake.

If studied carefully, this letter of Hazrat Ali (RA) (text available in Nahjul Balagha) is a blueprint for efficient administration. It is based on the golden principles of Islam. The emphasis is on the character of the administrators.

They should continuously watch that justice, social equity and honesty prevail in the society and conduct themselves as servants of the people and trustees of state and of those below them in command as well as the public in general. They should love their fellow citizen as they love themselves and their families and not behave like rulers.

A long letter written during the rule of the Abbasid Caliph Al-Mamun is another best available source on the principles of administration in Islamic literature.

Written by Tahir Ibn Al-Husayn, Al-Mamun’s general, to his son Abdullah Ibn Tahir. This letter is summarized in Ibn-e-Khaldun’s “Muqqaddamah”. According to Ibn-e-Khaldun, Tahir in this letter to his son gave him advice concerning all religious and ethical matters.

He urged him to strive for virtue and good qualities in a manner so exemplary that no king or commander can do without. The general theme of this letter is duties and responsibilities of the administrative leaders or executives.

In the letter principles of administration abound and deal with accountability and punishment, moderation in administration, avoidance of falsehoods, consultation with specialists, on employment policy, supervision and foresight, punctuality, redressal of grievances and complaints, care for subordinates and the people of the State generally, a time schedule for officials, and policies governing revenue and expenditure.

Since Islamic system is democratic in nature and is based on Shariah and the Sunnah, there is no place in this system for dictatorial leadership, authoritarian attitude and one man decision-making. This is the principle which forms a constant current in Islamic system of administration. The system is human in nature, content and application. When Hazrat Omar (RA) would appoint a governor, he would invariably advise the incumbent

“Not to make reception halls so that you are accessible to every one, not to eat refined flour as it is not available to all citizens of the Ummah, not to wear thin cloth because this would make you easy going and not to ride a Turkish horse because this would make you haughty”.

There is absolutely no doubt that principles of administration in Islam are by far the most scientific and comprehensive set of principles for effective and efficient administration. Instructions of Hazrat Omar (RA) and Hazrat Ali (RA) noted earlier provide a complete frame for Islamic administration.

Islamic system of justice includes social justice, which means that the Government must manage to meet and fulfil the needs and requirements of all citizens because they have rightful share in State resources and are bonafide citizens of the country.

This includes provision of job, means of subsistence and economic justice. This further implies that it is the responsibility of the State to provide food, shelter and clothing to all the citizens of the State. Economic justice is aimed at equitable distribution of means of living and check concentration of wealth in a few hands.

That is why the rightly guided second Caliph Hazrat Umar (RA) refused to allot lands to the Muslim soldiers and commanders in areas conquered by Muslims in Iran, Iraq and Syria.

Only justice can create discipline in life of the people. Also essential is administrative justice, which means that all State functionaries are also subject to accountability and do not consider and treat people as “slaves” or “personal servants”.

They should not insult the people in any manner. They should be honest and efficiently administer public affairs. It should be ensured that the concentration of wealth in one class or in a few hands does not occur.

According to Ibn-e-Khaldun, a successful and viable administrative set up is that in which people’s participation is ensured. If the governed feel that they share the administrative process, the society would be stable.

What Ibne Khaldun observed is reflected in modern theory of New Public Administration(NPA) that administration should be such as make people feel that they are equal partners in the process of planning, administration and implementation. Thus public participation is an essential part of Islamic model of administration.

During the caliphate of first four rightly guided Caliphs and the rule of Umayyads and partly during Abbasid rule and under Fatimids in Egypt, public administration was a great success because of its efficiency and God-fearing administrators.

[The writer is former Director General Radio Pakistan]
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  #342  
Old Friday, May 18, 2012
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MERITS OF HADRAT UMAR AL-FAROOQ (R.A)



Praise of Sayyidna Umar (RA) in words of Hadrat Ali (Karam Allahu Wajahu)

bn Abu Mulaika reported: I heard Ibn 'Abbas as saying: Wlien 'Umar b. Khatab was placed in the coffin the people gathered around him. They praised him and supplicated for him before the bier was lifted up, and I was one amongst them. Nothing attracted my attention but a person who gripped my shoulder from behind. I saw towards him and found that he was 'All. He invoked Allah's mercy upon 'Umar and said: You have left none behind you (whose) deeds (are so enviable) that I love to meet Allah with them. By Allah, I hoped that Allah would keep you and your two associates together. I had often heard Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: I came and there came too Abu Bakr and 'Umar; I entered and there entered too Abu Bakr and 'Umar; I went out and there went out too Abu Bakr and 'Umar, and I hope and think that Allah will keep you along with them.

Reference

Book 031, Number 5885: Sahih Muslim



House in Paradise for Umar (RA) was already built

Jabir reported Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying:I entered Paradise and saw in it a house or a palace. I said: For whom is it resersred? They (the Angels) said: It is for 'Umar b. Khattab. (The Holy Prophet said to 'Umar b. Khattab): I intended to get into it but I thought of your feelings. Thereupon 'Umar wept and said: Apostle of Allah, could I feel any jealousy in your case?

Reference

Book 031, Number 5896: (Sahih Muslim)



Umar (RA) the one deserving to get inspiration

A'isha reported Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: There had been among the people before you inspired persons and if there were any such among my Umma Umar b. Khattab would be one of them. Ibn Wahb explained the word Muhaddathun as those who receive hint from the High (Mulhamun).

Reference

Book 031, Number 5901: (Sahih Muslim)


Allah aided Islam through Sayyidna Umar Ibn ul Khattab (Radhi Allah)

Sayyidna Ibn Umar (RA) reported that Allah’s Messenger (Salallaho alaihi wasalam) prayed. “O Allah, strengthen Islam with whichever of these two men is dearer to you. Abu Jahl or Umar ibn al-Khattab (Radhi Allah)”. And Umar (RA) was the one of the two dear to Allah

Reference

[Narrated in Tirimdhi Volume 2 Page No 638 Hadith No. 3701 – English Translation by Dar ul Ishaat Karachi, Pakistan] Imam Abu Isa Tirimdhi said : The Hadith is Hasan Sahih.



Whosoever defames these 2 Sahaba does not love Prophet (saw)

Muhammad ibn Sirin said: I do not suppose that a man who defames Abu Bakr (RA) and Umar (RA) loves the Prophet (salallaho alaihi wasalam)

Reference

[Tirimdhi, Hadith No. 3705 , Dar ul Ishaat], Imam Abu Isa al Tirimdhi (rah) said: The Hadith is Hasan Gharib.



Prophet(صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) Confirming the Strenght of Imaan

Abu Sa'id Khudri reported Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as say ing: While I was asleep I saw people being presented to me (in a dream) and they wore shirts and some of these reached up to the breasts and some even beyond them. Then there happened to pass 'Umar b. Khattab and his shirt had been trailing. They said: Allah's Messeneer, how do you interpret the dream? He said: (As strength of) faith.

Reference

Book 031, Number 5887 Sahih Muslim


Prophet(صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) informing about the Knowledge of Sayyidna Umar Ibn ul Khattab (R.A)


Hamza b. Abdullah b. 'Umar b. Khattab reported on the authority of his father that Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: While I was asleep I saw (in a dream) a cup containing milk bein. presented to me. I took out of that until I perceived freshness being reflected through my nails. Then I presented the leftover to 'Umar b. Khattab. They said: Allah's Messenger: how do you interpret it? He said: This implies knowledge.

Reference

Book 031, Number 5887 Sahih Muslim



Satan changes his way in front of Sayyidna Umar Ibn ul Khattab (R.A)

Sa'd b. Waqqas reported that Umar sought permission from Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) to visit him when some women of the Quraish were busy in talking with him and raising their voices above his Voiee. When'Umar sought permission they stood up and went hurriedly behind the curtain. Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) gave him permission smilingly. Thereupon 'Umar said: Allah's Messenger, may Allah keep you happy all your life. Then Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: I wonder at these women who were with me and no sooner did they hear your voice, they immediately went behind the curtain. Thereupon 'Umar said: Allah's Messenger, you have more right that they should fear you. Then Umar (addressing the women) said: O ye enemies of yourselves, do you fear me and fear not the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him)? They said: Yes, you are harsh and strict as compared to the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him). Thereupon, Allah's Messenger (maypeace be upon him) said: By Him in Whose Hand is my life, if satan would encounter you in the way he would certainly take a different way from that of yours.

Reference

Book 031, Number 5887 Sahih Muslim


“There cannot be any Prophet after our beloved Prophet Muhammad (Salallaho alaihi wasalam) as Authentic Hadith says “La Nabi Baadi” (There is no Prophet after me)” , however in explaining the greatness of Hadrat Umar (RA), Prophet (saw) said:”

Sayyidna Uqbah ibn Aamir (Radhi Allah) reported that Allah’s Messenger (salallaho alaihi wasalam) said: If there were to be a Prophet after me then he would be Umar ibn al-Khattab

Reference

►[Tirimdhi Hadith No. 3706, Musnad Ahmed bin Hanbal Hadith No. 17410]-In Tirimdhi It is declared as Hassan

►Volume 5, Book 57, Number 38: (Sahih Bukhari)
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Omar (RA): Forerunner of modern States


By Shaukat M Zafar

People say; Good leadership is like prized perfume. Its very first scented waft announces its presence with astonishing freshness. Bad leadership like skunk just stinks. Democracy is not a separate ideology from Islam. In fact democracy is very much there in Islam. There is no concept of dictatorship, popism (mullaiyat) and totalitarianism in Islam.

Islam doesn’t believe in any kind of Monarchy and Oligarchy. When we analyze what democracy is we come to the conclusion that it is nothing but the sense of Responsibility and Accountability. The absolute system of governing, which Islam presents totally based upon three golden fundamentals i.e. Consultation, Responsibility and Accountability. The political system of Islam totally depends upon Shooraiat (consultation). The significance of consultation in governance proves by this that a complete surah in Quran is named “Al-shoorah” (consultation).

The nectar of good governance and effective administration is enshrined in its leadership’s personal integrity and self-accountability; in justice for all, and in people’s freedom to speak out. The American Constitution prides itself for incorporating in its preamble the five basic responsibilities of the government – justice for all; ensuring domestic tranquility; providing for common defense; promoting general welfare and lastly, securing the blessings of liberty to people and to their posterity. Hazrat Umer in the 7 th century extolled and applied these principles – already available to him through Islam – in letter and spirit, and without any exceptions during his reign.

“No man is above the law and no man below it; nor do we ask any man’s permission when we require him to obey it. Obedience to the law is demanded as a right; not asked as a favor”. -Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919)

“Hazrat Umer (R.A) was courageous, unselfish, and passionately committed to the ideals of justice and equity which had been so lacking in the Meccan polity.” – Karen Armstrong, “Muhammad: A Prophet for Our Time’, pg185 Hazrat Umer, by all accounts, was an “energetic and brilliant” man. He can, of course, be called the forerunner of any, “visionary modern state”, in the comity of 192 countries of the world, in which people are prosperous and safe, are treated equally by the law of the state, irrespective of their social or financial status; are habitually law-abiding, and fair in their dealings, are literate and tolerant, and above all, are thoroughly charitable and honest. He, during his tenure of ten years, six months and four days, not only accomplished these ideals in some very difficult times, but also lived to see people willingly live by them.

As described in connection with the life of Hadrat Abu-Bakr, during his illness he consulted the “Shura” about the next “Khalifah” and then gave his decision in favour of Hadrat Umar (R.A.) who took the charge of Caliphate after the death of Hadrat Abu Bakr (R.A.) His caliphate marked the “Golden Age” of Islam. He was a very pious Muslim. His success lay in two things-fear of Allah and his love for the Holy Prophet (PBUH). He never used even oil from the Bait-ul-Mal (Public Treasury) to burn a lamp at night for his personal needs. Whenever he finished the official work he put off the lamp.

He used to patrol in the city at night to find out the needs and requirements, and conditions of the people. He did not hesitate to take his wife to work as a midwife for a poor woman. The salary he got from the Bait-ul-Mal was so low that it was hardly enough for him and his family’s needs. When some of the eminent Muslims requested him to increase the amount he, said, “The Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam) has left a standard by his personal example. I must follow him”. Hadrat Umar was the most just ruler in the Islamic History. All the citizens, including the Caliph himself, were equal before law. Once he appeared before a court at Medina to clarify his position against a complaint. The Qadi (Judge) wanted to stand in his honour, but he did not allow him to do so, so that there would be no distinction between him and an ordinary person before Law. Courts were completely independent and free to give its verdict on any matter that was presented before them even if it was against state or khalifah. The government couldn’t interfere in their decisions. He was really the founder of modern democratic system.

As far as Khalifa is concerned, he had no right and power to forgive or condone those who were prosecuted and convicted by the courts. There was complete supremacy and rule oflaw. They were all equal in the eyes of law whether they were rich or poor, ruler or labourer. Nothing was hidden from anyone regarding matters or policies relating to Government and state. Khalifa used to tell participants in Jummah prayer in mosque about important issues. Every citizen could enquire about any thing. Democracy was ruling in its best shape. Khalifa was held responsible and was subject to answer to his people. History is full of different examples that how Khalifa consulted Majlis-e-Shoorah on different issues and how sahabah reacted, criticised and gave their opinions.

Once a Christian complained to Hazrat Umer when he was in the Harem in Makka that he had been doubly taxed on his horse. He submitted this complaint when Umer was delivering the khutba there. Later when he returned to the capital, the same Nasrani (Christian) who had lodged the complaint came to him to remind him of it. Hazrat Umer told him, “I’m the Hanifi, who took care of your complaint there and then”. During the famine days in 639 or around and while returning from Syria, he stopped by a lone tent in which there lived an old woman. He asked her, “How is Umer doing?” She replied, “I heard about him coming from Syria. God’s curse be on him, I haven’t received a single Hibba from him during these hard times.” “How should Umer know about you, living so far away?’ asked Hazrat Umer. She angrily replied, “What kind of caliph is he if he doesn’t know how people are living under him”. Hazrat Umer cried bitterly outside her tent. He later fixed a daily allowance for all those who were poor, jobless, or were people with special needs. Anybody leading apparently an easy life, but availing himself of that allowance was personally tested on the caliph whenever possible. If found guilty, he was chided in such words as, “You have belittled yourself in my eyes”. During those hard times, Hazrat Umer was often found in a great agonizing state. He would cry and pray, “O God, do not inflict these people with hardships because of my doings”.

Hazrat Umer did not believe in the concept of pre-destination as did many of his veteran officials and Sahabis such as Hazrat Abu Obaida, and Hazrat Muaz bin Jabal. During the breakout of an epidemic in 639 in Syria and Egypt. The army had been stationed at a low lying area. Hazrat Umer asked the commander, Hazrat Abu Obaidah, to remove it to the higher lands. He refused to do so contending it was, “Ifrar min Qadrutullah, i.e. it amounted to running from Taqdeer-e-Illahi”. Meanwhile about 25 thousand soldiers perished. Hazrat Umer and Hazrat Umro bin al Aas always contented that the epidemic was a curse like the one which once had befallen Bani Israel. It needed to be dealt with “Tadbeer, logic and effort”. But Hazrat Obaidullah and later Hazrat Muaz died, sticking to their pre-fated philosophy, contending that it was a blessing in the sense that it was test of their faith in God. In short he was the best example of an ideal character, and was the greatest “Khalifah” of Islam after Abu Bakr (R.A.). He selflessly devoted his whole energy for the cause of Islam. Muslims will always be indebted to him for his great achievements.
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  #344  
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Achievements of Hazrat Umar (r.a).


Syeddina Umar(ra) dealt with many matters quickly and before they would rise to cause. It was also the sharpness of his personality and austerity that quelled many of the troubles that would appear to his successors. Here is some of his major achievements in list form.

1. Establishment of Public Treasury
2. Establishments of courts of Justice and appointment of Judges
3. Placing the reserve army on the state’s Payroll and organization of the War department
4. Establishment of Postal service
5. Establishment of the Land Revenue department
6. Survey and assessment of lands
7. Public census
8. Punishment of those who practice Monopoly by exile to different lands
9. Establishment of and use of Jails
10. Building of Canals and Bridges
11. First to use the Whip
12. Establishment of Public Rest Areas, hostels and Wudu (Ablution) Stations
13. Fixing the date to the Start of the Migration of the Messenger
14. Dividing the state and the conquered territories into provinces
15. Founding of new cities (al-Amsar) such as Kufah, Basarah and Fustat
16. Zakat on Produce of the sea, such as fish, Lobster, shrimp etc., and appointment of a responsible official.
17. Use of secret reports and specially designated emissaries to provide first reports as what is really going on in different provinces
18. Salary for Imams, Muadhans (Callers to prayer) teachers and public lectures.
19. Stipends for the poor among the Jews and Christians who lived in conquered lands.
20. Punishment for drunkenness, written satires and lampoons.
21. Establishment of Guilds for certain trades.
22. Prohibition of the mention of women’s names in poetry.
23. Holding tarawih (Ramadan night prayers) in congregation, before his time it was done individually.
24. Providing lighting in the Mosques at night
25. Persuading Abu Bakr to collect the Qur’an in one book.
26. Establishment of Military bases at strategic points in the different provinces.
27. Establishment of the Police department
28. Personally making nightly rounds to check on the condition of the people first hand.
29. Formulation of the Principal of Qiyas (Analogical Reasoning.) for determining rulings on newly encountered matters in Fiqh (Jurisprudence.)
30. Establishment of a more exact system of calculation of the inheritance.
31. Limiting the relationship between Muslims and Non-Muslims
32. Establishing a stable for the lost camels
33. State intervention to control the price of merchandise
34. First to enlarge the al-Haram (the Sacred Mosque) at Mecca. First to place a cover on the Kaaba
35. Discovered the place of Isra, Ascension of the Messenger to heavens at Jerusalem
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