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Omar (r) Military Expansion. A.S. Hashim, MD From Sources of Reference. Al Farooq, Omar, Muhammad Husayn Haykal al-Tabari, History of the Prophets and Kings Tabqat ibn Sa'ad. al-Suyuti, The History of Khalifahs Madelung, Wilferd. The Succession to Muhammad.

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omar r military expansion

Omar (r)Military Expansion

A.S. Hashim, MD


sources of reference
Sources of Reference
  • Al Farooq, Omar, Muhammad Husayn Haykal
  • al-Tabari, History of the Prophets and Kings
  • Tabqat ibn Sa'ad.
  • al-Suyuti, The History of Khalifahs
  • Madelung, Wilferd. The Succession to Muhammad.
  • K. Y. Blankinship, The History of al-Tabari
  • Early Khilaafah, Muhammad Ali, Muhammad Ya’qub Khan
  • Modern Islamic political thought, Hahmid Enayat,
  • Encyclopedia Britannica
  • al-Bidayah wa al-Nihayah by ibn Kathir
  • Armstrong,
in this slide show
In this Slide Show
  • The Islamic Empire Grows
  • Countries Annexed
  • The Exacting Taskmaster
  • Omar and Mu’awiya
  • The Secret of their Success
  • The Great Famine
  • The Plague
  • Jerusalem
  • Mosque of Omar
  • Assassination
  • Abu Lu’ lu’ah
  • Islam Gives
the islamic empire grows
The Islamic Empire Grows
  • It is widely believed that Omar stressed more on:
    • consolidating his power and
    • political influence in the conquered land,
    • rather than pursuing conquests.
  • Nevertheless under Omar:
    • The Islamic empire grew at an unprecedented rate.
    • In 638, after the conquest of Syria, Omar dismissed Khalid, his most successful general due to his ever-growing fame and influence.
    • Later however Omar regretted over his decision.
    • The military conquests were halted between 638-639 during the years of great famine and plague in Arabia and Levant respectively.
countries annexed
Countries Annexed
  • During Omar’s reign the following countries were annexed to Islamic Empire:
    • Iraq and Syria
    • Egypt, Cyrenaica, Tripolitania, Fezzan,
    • Eastern Anatolia,
    • almost the whole of Sassani Persian Empire including Bactria, Persia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Caucasus and Makran
  • According to one estimate more than 4,050 cities were captured during these military conquest.
the zeal and the rush to annex
The Zeal and the Rush to Annex








omar consolidating his rule
Omar: Consolidating his Rule
  • Prior to his death in 644, Omar had ceased all military expeditions
    • apparently to consolidate his rule in Egypt and the newly conquered Persian Empire (642-644).
    • At his death in November 644, domain of his rule extended from present day Libya in west to Indus river in east and Oxus river in north.
  • See map in next slide
omar s empire 644
Omar's Empire, 644

Omar's empire at its peak, 644.

omar and his generals
Omar and his Generals


Demanding of his Generals


Lending his ears to complaints

Quick to dismiss

the exacting taskmaster
The Exacting Taskmaster
  • Omar was a most exacting taskmaster for all his generals and governors.
  • He was quick to lend his ears to any complaint against them,
    • and he was even quicker to dismiss them
    • –with one exception – Mu'awiya!
    • Omar was forever indulgent to the sons of Abu Sufyan and the clan of Banu Umayya.
  • Mu'awiya, (the son of Abu Sufyan and Hind), as the governor of Syria,
    • lived in Damascus in imperial splendor,
    • surrounded by a glittering retinue.
    • It was a lifestyle that Omar did not tolerate in any other governor.
    • But Mu'awiya, for him, was a "special," and the rules which applied to others, did not apply to him.
omar and mu awiya
Omar and Mu’awiya
  • Tabari has recorded the following incident:
    • Omar was in Damascus and Mu'awiya came to see him every day – mornings and evenings –
    • Mu'awiya arrives bedecked in regal outfit, with splendidly caparisoned mounts and escorts.
    • When Omar commented, rather acidly, upon his pageantry, Mu'awiya said that:
    • Syria was swarming with Roman spies, and it was necessary to impress them with the "glory" of Islam.
    • His pageantry, he said, was only the outward emblem of that glory - the glory of Islam.
  • But Omar was not convinced, and remarked: "This is a trap laid by the slick and guileful man."
omar and mu awiya1
Omar and Mu’awiya
  • Mu'awiya answered: "Then I will do whatever you say, O Commander of the Faithful."
  • Omar answered back: “Even if I raise an objection, you baffle and bewilder me with words. I am at a loss to know what to do."
    • Here Omar condones Mu'awiya in anything and everything.
    • Omar, in fact, appears to be ostentatiously courting Abu Sufyan and his sons.
    • Once Omar placed them at the helm of affairs, they consolidated their position, and it became impossible to dislodge them.
    • It was in this manner that the secular, predatory, imperialist and economically exploitative Benu Umayya were foisted upon the Muslims.
    • The cultivation of Benu Umayya, it appears, was one of the constants in Saqifa's policy equation.
the secret of their success
The Secret of their Success
  • According to many, the secret of the military success was in the piety and the religious zeal of the Muslim soldiers.
    • The propulsive power behind the Arab conquests of the seventh century, they say, came from Islam,
    • And every Arab who left the peninsula to attack the Fertile Crescent, was a mujahid, fighting for the glory of God.
  • This claim, however, is only partly true.
    • Without a doubt there were those Muslims who wished to spread the light of Islam in the world
    • but the overwhelming majority fought for the material rewards that the conquests promised to bring to them.
    • They had developed a distinctly secular appetite for power and riches.
conquest plague and famine
Conquest, Plague, and Famine
  • Omar's Khilaafah is notable for its many conquests. His generals conquered:
    • Iraq, Iran, Atherbaijan, Kirman, Seistan, Khurasan, Syria, Jordan, Palestine and Egypt, and incorporated them into the empire of the Muslims.
    • All of these were permanent conquests.
    • The Romans lost Syria, Palestine and Egypt forever; and in Persia, the Sassani Empire ceased to exist.
  • Among other events of the Khilaafah of Omar, were:
    • the first outbreak of plague in Syria in 18 A.H.,
    • and a famine in Hijaz in the same year.
    • Between them, the plague and the famine killed more than 25,000 people.
omar and his generals1
Omar and his Generals
  • After dismissing Khalid bin al-Walid as supreme commander of the forces in Syria,
    • Omar appointed him, for a time, as governor of the district of Qinnisirin قنصرين
    • but Omar dismissed him again for his alleged "pomposity."
    • It is said Khalid died in poverty.
  • Sa'ad bin Abi Waqqas, the victor of the battle of Qadisiya fought against the Persians,
    • Sa’ad was Omar's governor of Iraq.
    • He too was dismissed in 21 A.H.
  • Many were appointed then removed from office, except one:
    • That exception was Mu’awiya, whom Omar coveted and was too timid to replace him.
the great famine
The Great Famine
  • In the year 638, Arabia fell into severe drought followed by a famine.
    • Bedouin people began to die because of hunger and epidemic diseases,
    • as a result of drought and famine hundreds of thousands of people from all over Arabia gathered at Medina
    • where due to city life and civic sense, food was rationed.
    • Soon the reserves of food at Medina began to decline,
  • Omar wrote to the provincial governors of Syria, Palestine and Iraq for the aid.
  • State of emergency was declared in Medina and Arabia.
the great famine1
The Great Famine
  • The timely aid of Omar's governors saved life of thousands of people throughout Arabia.
    • First governor to respond was Abu Obadiah ibn al-Jarrah, the governor of Syria and supreme commander of Rashidun army. He sent a historic letter to Omar saying:
  • I am sending you caravans whose one end will be here at Syria and the other will be at Medina.
  • Later Abu Obadiah paid a personal visit to Medina
    • and acted as an officer of Disaster Management cell,
    • which was headed personally by Omar.
    • Hundreds of thousands of people from desert towns had already gathered in Medina
  • People from the desert towns swarmed Medina, once adequate supply of ration had reached there.
the great famine2
The Great Famine
  • Omar dispatched his men to the routes of Iraq, Palestine and Syria
    • to take the supply caravans to the desert settlements deeper into Arabia, which in turn saved millions from annihilation.
  • For the internally displaced people, Omar hosted a dinner every night at Medina.
  • By early 639 conditions began to improve,
    • Arabia received rain, goodly precipitation, and soon the famine ended,
    • Omar personally supervised the rehabilitation of the displaced people.
  • These people were
    • given adequate ration and
    • were exempted from payment of Zakat for that year and the next year.
the plague
The Plague
  • While famine was ending in Arabia, many districts in Syria and Palestine were devastated by an epidemic of plague.
  • While Omar was on his way to visit Syria:
    • at Elat, he was received by Abu Ubaida, the governor of Syria,
    • who informed him about the plague and its intensity
    • and he advised Omar to go back to Medina, rather than expose himself to it.
  • Omar tried then to persuade Abu Ubaida to go with him to Medina
    • but Abu Ubaida refused to abandon his troops in such critical situation.
    • Soon, Abu Ubaida himself contracted the plague and died in 639.
    • It is said that the plague cost the life of 25,000 Muslims in Syria.
    • In late 639 Omar visited Syria for its administrative re-organization, as most of the veteran commanders and governors had died.
  • The siege of Jerusalem was bloodless.
  • The Byzantine garrison could not expect any help from the humbled regime of Heracleus.
  • After a siege of four months, Sophronius offered:
    • to surrender the city and pay a Jizya (tribute),
    • on condition that the Khalifa comes to Jerusalem to sign the pact and accept the surrender.
  • It is said that when Sophronius' terms became known to the Muslims,
    • Abu Obadiah wrote to Khalifa Omar about the situation, and invited him to come to Jerusalem to accept the surrender of the city.
omar with sophronius
Omar with Sophronius
  • After the Siege of Jerusalem, Patriarch Sophronius refused to surrender except to the Khalifa Omar himself.
  • Omar traveled to Jerusalem and accepted the surrender.
  • He then visited the Church of the Holy Sepulcher
  • Sophronius invited him to pray inside the Church, but Omar declined so as not to set a precedent and thereby endanger the Church's status as a Christian site.
  • Instead Omar prayed outside in the courtyard.
  • Hence the Mosque of Omar was built in its current shape by the Ayyubi Sultan al-Afdhal bin Saladin in 1193 in memory of this event.
  • It has a 15-meter high minaret that was built before 1465 CE
the pact
The Pact
  • Upon Omar's arrival in Jerusalem, a pact known as The Omari Covenant was drawn up.
  • It surrendered the city and gave guarantees of civil and religious liberty to Christians in exchange for jizya.
  • It was signed by Khalifa Omar on behalf of the Muslims, and witnessed by Khalid, Amr, Abdul Rahman and Mu'awiya.
  • In late April 637, Jerusalem was officially surrendered
  • Omar allowed Jews to live in Jerusalem. It was the first time, after almost 500 years of oppressive rule of the Romans, that Jews were allowed to enter and worship freely in their holy city
  • After staying for ten days at Jerusalem, the Khalifa returned to Medina.
mosque of omar
Mosque of Omar مسجد عمر بن الخطاب
  • During his stay in Jerusalem, Omar was led to the Foundation Stone on the Temple Mount.
  • This is the Rock from where, (less than 20 years earlier) Prophet Muhammad ascended with the Angel Gabriel in his night journey to heaven; known as "Israa and Mi'raaj الاسراء والمعراج".
  • As Omar cleared the refuse and debris from the site of the Holy of Holies, a large rock was revealed.
  • Even more of the rock was exposed through further cleaning. Omar built a fence around it and ordered the building of a mosque nearby.
  • According to the Gaullic bishop Arculf, who lived in Jerusalem from 679 to 688, the Mosque of Omar was a rectangular wooden structure built over ruins, which could accommodate 3,000 worshipers
  • In 644, at the zenith of his power, Omar 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 Omar went for Hajj in Mecca,
    • the assassins started the hoopla of Omar's possible death that year,
    • and the massive crowd of the congregation was used by the conspirators as a veil to hide themselves.
conspiracy to kill omar
Conspiracy to Kill Omar
  • Amongst the conspirators was:
    • Hormuzan, the alleged mastermind of the plot. He was Commander in many battles, was captured and brought to Medina. He embraced Islam, used to give advice to Omar, and was given a pension.
    • Ka'ab al-Ahbar كعب الأحبار‎ , One of Omar's advisors, a former Jewish Rabbi, who apparently had converted to Islam, a good friend of Omar.
    • Jafinah جفينة , the Christian Arab from Iraq, who was also a foster brother of Sa'ad ibn Abi Waqqas, former governor of Basra.
    • Pirouz فيروز , popularly known as Abu Lulu أبو لؤلؤة , he was slave of Mughira ibn Shu'ba the then governor of Basra.
abu lu lu ah
Abu Lu’ lu’ah أبو لؤلؤة
  • In addition to his superb military skills, Pirouz was a skilled workman,
    • a carpenter, blacksmith, and a skillful artisan,
    • his owner Mughira ibn Shu'ba allowed him to live in his own household
    • Omar had given Mughira special permission to send Abu Lu‘ lu'ah to Medina—since captives were not permitted to live in Medina.
  • There are many controversial stories about Abu Lu‘ lu'ah
  • It is said that he intended to commit his acts due to:
    • What the Arab-Muslim invaders in Iran had committed,
    • which resulted in massacre, rape, and looting of their country
abu lu lu ah1
Abu Lu’ lu’ah أبو لؤلؤة
  • Abu Lulu brought a conjectural complaint to Omar about the high tax he was charged by his master Mughirah.
  • Mughirah was the governor of Basrah
  • Omar wrote to Mughirah inquiring about the tax,
  • Mughirah's reply was satisfactory, and Omar held that the tax charged to Abu Lulu was reasonable,
  • Omar then is reported to have asked Abu Lulu:
  • I heard that you make windmills; make one for me as well.
  • In a condescending way, Pirouz said, "Verily I will make such a mill for you, that whole world would ever remember".
abu lu lu ah2
Abu Lu’ lu’ah أبو لؤلؤة
  • On 3 November 644, Omar was attacked by Abu Lulu
  • Abu Lulu stabbed him six times in the belly and the last on the navel, that proved fatal.
  • Omar was left profusely bleeding while Abu Lulu tried to flee
    • but people from all sides rushed to capture him, he in his efforts to escape is reported to have wounded twelve other people, six or nine of them later died.
    • At last he was captured but committed suicide from the same dagger.
    • Others claim he escaped then found later and was killed.
  • Omar died of the wounds three days later on Sunday, 7 November 644.
ubaidullah ibn omar avenges
Ubaidullah ibn Omar Avenges
  • Ubaidullah ibn Omar, furious, sought to kill all Persians in Medina.
  • He killed:
    • Hormuzan,
    • Jafinah جفينة, and
    • the daughter of Abu Lulu, who is believed to be a Muslim.
  • Ubaidullah was then intercepted, withholding him from the further massacre.
  • It is also believed that Omar’s daughter Hafsa provoked Ubaidullah to take the punitive action.
  • The murder of Jafinah, enraged Sa’ad ibn Abi Waqqas, (his foster brother), and he assaulted Ubaidullah and again the companions intervened.
release of ubaidullah
Release of Ubaidullah
  • When Omar was informed about the incident, he ordered that:
    • Ubaidullah should be detained and
    • The next Khalifa to decide his fate.
  • Uthman succeeded Omar as the Khalifa.
  • After prolonged negotiations the tribunal decided to give blood money to the victims
  • Thus they released Omar's son Ubaidullah,
    • on the ground that after the tragic incident of Omar's assassination
    • people will be further infuriated by execution of his son the very next day.
committee of six
Committee of Six
  • Omar finally appointed a committee of six persons comprising,
    • Abdul Rahman ibn Awf
    • Sa'ad ibn Abi Waqqas
    • Talha ibn Obaidullah
    • Uthman ibn Affan
    • Ali ibn Abi Talib
    • Zubair ibn al-Awwam
  • Their task was to chose a Khalifa from amongst them.
  • Omar appointed a band of fifty armed soldiers to protect the house where the meeting was proceeding.
islam gives
Islam Gives
  • The hundred years from 632 to 732 were the century of the Arabs.
  • They were supreme, they were triumphant, they were irresistible and they were invincible – in that century.
  • Islam united the Muslims and gave them
    • a sense of direction,
    • purpose and
    • propulsive power.
  • Without Islam, their future would have been just as irrelevant and barren as their past had been.
  • But there is no correlation between their conquests on the one hand, and piety and religious enthusiasm on the other. 
in conclusion
In Conclusion
  • Omar and military expansion
  • Discussed in this slide show are:
    • The Islamic Empire Grows
    • Countries Annexed
    • The Exacting Taskmaster
    • Omar and Mu’awiya
    • The Great Famine
    • The Plague
    • Jerusalem
    • Mosque of Omar
    • Assassination
    • Abu Lu’ lu’ah
thank you

Be in Allah’s Care

Dr. A.S. Hashim