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ther rebuilt the temples of Jerusalem and Medina. He was the first of the Saracens that made rolls to enter the names of all that were in the military service, or that received pay from the public. He also was the first to employ the date of the Hejirah, concerning which the reader may see more in the Life of Mohammed, p. 31; moreover, he was author of the law forbidding a woman, who had ever borne a child, to be sold for a slave. The author of the History of Jerusalem, already mentioned, adds, That if he had nothing else to recommend him besides his taking Jerusalem, and purging it from idolatry, that alone were sufficient."
He never used to hoard up any money in the treasury, but divided it every Friday, at night, amongst his men, according to their several necessities. In which particular, his practice was preferable to Abubeker's; for Abubeker used to proportion his dividends to the merit of the persons that were to receive it, but Omar had regard only to their necessities; saying, "That the things of this world were given to us by God for the relief of our necessities, and not for the reward of virtue; because the proper reward of that belonged to another world."*
The following story of this caliph is related by Mr. Lane, in his Notes to the Arabian Nights:-" Omar was one day sitting to judge the people, when a comely young man in clean apparel was brought before him by two handsome youths, who had seized him by his vest. The caliph having ordered the two youths to withdraw from their prisoner, demanded the object of their application, to which they replied:-O prince of the faithful, we are two brothers by the same mother, and we had a father prudent and honoured among the tribes, who reared us from infancy, and bestowed on us great favours: and he went forth into his orchard to recreate himself and pluck its fruits, when this young man slew him. We therefore request thee to retaliate his offence, and to pass judgment upon him in accordance with the commands of God.'
"Oma casting a terrifying glance upon the young man said, to him: 'What hast thou to say in reply to these two youths? Now that young man was of fine heart and bold tongue; he had cast off the garments of dastardy, and divested himself of the apparel of fear; and after some preliminary compliments to the caliph, delivered in elegant language, he replied, "These youths have spoken truth, and the command of God is an interminable decree;' but I will state my case, and it is for thee to decide upon it. Know, O prince, that I am of the choicest of the genuine Arabs, and I grew up in the dwellings of the desert till an oppressive famine afflicted my people, when I came to the environs of this town with my family and wealth. Now I had several she camels of great estimation, and a most
beautiful male camel of high breed, whereby the she camels bore abundantly; and whilst I was journeying on a road which passed through gardens of trees, one of my she camels ran to the orchard of the father of these young men, and nibbled at some trees which appeared above the wall. I drove her away from the orchard, but lo! a sheikh appeared through an interstice of the wall with a stone in his hand, and smiting the male camel with it in the right eye, he killed it. Seeing my male camel fall, I became hot with anger, and took up that same stone and smote him with it, and the man was killed by that wherewith he had killed. Upon being struck with the stone he uttered a great cry and a painful shriek, whereupon I hastened from the place; but being seized by these youths, I am brought before thee.' Then Omar said, "Thou hast confessed thy crime : liberation hath become difficult, retaliation is necessary, and there is no escape.' The young man replied, I hear and obey; but I have a young brother, whose father left him abundance of wealth and gold, and committed both him and his treasure to my charge. Now the money is buried, and no one but myself knoweth where therefore, before passing sentence of death, give me three days that I may appoint a guardian for the boy, by which time I will return to discharge my obligations, and will give surety for my return. The caliph asked who would be surety; when the young man looking round him pointed to Aboo Dharr,* who thereupon consented to become his guarantee for three days.
"The third day had almost closed, and the were surrounding Omar like stars round the man had not returned. Aboo Dharr was who were waiting, said to him, 'Where is the delinquent? How shall he who hath fled return? But we will not move from our place until thou bring him to us, that our blood revenge may be taken.'-Aboo Dharr replied, 'By the Omniscient King, if the three days expire, and the young man come not, I will discharge the obligation and surrender myself to the caliph.' And Omar said, 'By Allah, if the young man delay his coming, I will assuredly pass sentence upon Aboo Dharr, according as the law of Islam requireth!' Upon this the tears of the assembly flowed, and the sighs of the spectators rose, and great was the clamour. The chiefs of the companions' begged the youths to accept pecuniary compensation; but they would be satisfied with nothing less than the revenge of blood.
companions of the prophet' moon; but as yet, the young present, and the plaintiffs
"Whilst the people were thus lamenting, lo, the young man approached and stood before the caliph, with his face glistening with perspiration; and he said I have committed my brother to his maternal uncles, and acquainted them with all his affairs, and the depository of his wealth; then I rushed through the sultry mid-day heat, and fulfilled my promise.' And the people wondered at his veracity and good faith, and praised him; but he replied: 'Are ye not convinced that when the period of death hath arrived, no one can escape from it? Verily I fulfilled my promise, that it might not be said,-Fidelity hath departed from among men.' Then Aboo Dharr said :-O prince, I became surety for this young man, and knew not his tribe, nor had I previously seen him. But when he turned from all
* A celebrated and highly esteemed relater of the sayings and actions of the prophet.
others and appealed to me, I deemed it not right to deny him, that it might not be said, Virtue hath departed from among men.' And upon this the two youths said :- O prince, we give up to this young man the blood of our father, since he hath converted sadness into cheerfulness, that it may not be said,- Kindness hath departed from among men.' Then the caliph rejoiced at the pardon granted to the young man, and greatly extolled the humanity of Abeo Dbarr and the kindness of the two youths. He then offered to pay the latter the price of their father's blood from the government treasury, but they refused to receive it."
"But little is known to us of the private life of Omar, but we learn that he was married seven times; three times in Mecca, and four times after the flight to Medina ; which proves that he did not live entirely devoted to God and Islamism. Beside his wives, he had two female slaves, both of whom bore him children; and he also got Ayesha to forward his suit with two other women, but they both refused him. One was a daughter of Otba, who would not accept him because, from jealousy, he always kept his wives locked up. The other, Asma, a daughter of Abubeker, declined to receive his addresses because she dreaded the hard living of the abstemious caliph, who is said to have confined his household to barley bread and camel's flesh. Omar, however, was so much in love with Asma, that Ayesha was afraid to acquaint him with her refusal, and therefore took counsel with Amrou Ebn Aas. The latter accordingly went to Omar, and said to him, 'I have heard you wish to marry Asma, and would dissuade you from it, for she has grown up so uncontrolled amongst her brothers, that she will neither submit to thy restraints nor suit so strict a ruler; and if she complains of thy severity, all the people will support her cause, and condemn thee, because she is the daughter of Abubeker.' This artful speech succeeded, and Ayesha was spared from further commissions. Omar concluded a marriage with Omm Kolthum, the daughter of Ali; but Ali expressed great unwillingness in giving him his daughter, because of her extreme youth; and a somewhat similar scene took place as that which preceded the marriage of Mohammed with Ayesha. Ali sent his daughter to Omar, who unveiled her, and drew her towards him; but she escaped from his hands, and went and complained to her father, who accordingly said to Omar, If thou wert not caliph, I would break thy nose and scratch thy eyes out. Omar subsequently won Ali over, by saying that Mohammed had declared that all ties of relationship and marriage would cease on the day of resurrection, save those in his own family; therefore, as Omm Kolthum was the grandchild of the prophet, through her mother Fatima; if he married her now, she would become one of his wives in paradise.' Omm Kolthum, however, again evinced a dislike to return to the old voluptuary, as she called him; but Ali overruled her objections by the simple reply of, He is now thy husband.'"-See Weil, Geschichte der Chalifen.
OTHMAN EBN AFFAN, THIRD CALIPH AFTER MOHAMMED. Hejirah 23-35. A.D. 643-655.
DURING the three days which Omar survived his mortal wound, his friends came about him, soliciting him to make his will, and name a successor. Disliking this task, he merely observed, that if Salem were alive he should approve of none so well as him. Upon this they named several to him, but with all they proposed he still found some fault or other. Some recommended Ali, on account not only of his valour and other great qualities, but also of his near relationship to Mohammed. But Omar thought him scarcely serious enough for so weighty a charge. Then Othman Ebn Affan was named; and Omar rejected him also, as likely to misuse his authority by favouring his own friends and relations. When they saw that they could not name any one but Omar would take an exception to him, they suspected, not without apparent reason, that all the objections proceeded from a desire that his son should succeed him. But his son being mentioned to him, he answered, that it was enough for one in a family to have to give an account of so weighty a charge as the caliphate. At last, when they could not persuade him to name a successor, to meet their wishes in some degree he appointed six persons, who were to consult upon and determine the matter within three days of his decease. During their deliberations his son was to be present, but was not to have a right of voting. The six commissioners were Othman, Ali, Telha, Zobeir, Abdarrhamant Ebn Auf, and Saed Ebn Abi Wakkas; all of whom had been the familiar acquaintance and companions of Mohammed. Omar being dead, they met to consult; and Abdarrhaman said, that for his part he would willingly lay aside all pretensions to the office, provided they would agree to choose one of their own number.
Hejirah 23. Which year beginning on the 18th of November, in the year of our Lord 643, the greatest part of it answers to the year 644.
+ Abulfaragius, instead of Abdarrhaman puts in Abu Obeidah; but I have chosen rather to follow Eutychius and Elmakin, because there are more authors than one who say positively, that Abu Obeidah died of the plague in Syria, in the 18th year of the Hejirah
All of them agreed at once to this proposition but Ali, who thought himself injured, because he had not been the immediate successor of Mohammed. At last, when Abdarrhaman had sworn that he would neither vote for nor favour any man whatsoever that should offer himself, Ali also gave his consent. Upon this, Abdarrhaman consults with the rest, who inclined to Othman Ebn Affan. Accordingly, Othman was chosen caliph, and inaugurated three days after Omar's death.* Abulfaragius says, that Abu Obeidah (whom he puts in the room of Abdarrhaman) came to Ali, and asked him if he would take the government upon him, upon condition that he should be obliged to administer according to what was contained in the book of God, the tradition of his prophet, and the determination of two seniors. Ali answered, that as for the book of God, and the tradition of his prophet, he was content; but he would not be obliged to be determined by the constitutions of the seniors. The same terms being offered to Othman, he embraced them without exception, and was immediately chosen caliph.
As soon as he was established in the government, Othman followed the example of his predecessors, and sent his forces abroad to enlarge his dominions. In a short time, Maho'l Bassorah, and what remained of the borders of Ispahan and Raya was taken; so that the poor Persian king was now eaten up on all sides, and had very little left him. The same year that Othman was made caliph, Birah and Hamden were taken, and Moawiyah, who was then prefect of Syria, and afterwards caliph, invading the territories of the Grecian emperor, took a great many towns, and wasted the country.
We have already observed, that Othman was suspected of being too much inclined to favour his friends, and that upon this account Omar had judged him unworthy of succeeding him. This inclination showed itself plainly enough now that he had got the government into his hands, and was in a capacity to indulge it. Notwithstanding the signal services that Amrou Ebn Al Aas had done the Saracens by adding Egypt to their empire, Othman deposed him, and deprived
There is some variety in the accounts of the time of Othman's inauguration. Some say there was but one day left of the last month in the twenty-third year of the Hejirah. Others say it was on the 20th day o. the first month (Moharram) of the twenty-fourth year.