Incidents will be mentioned here which speak about the mutual consultation between Sayyidina ‘Umar and Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhuma regarding administrative affairs of the state and the former’s approval of the latter’s views and their subsequent implementation. Moreover, those narrations will be reproduced which prove that Sayyidina ‘Umar appointed Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhuma as his representative on many occasions. Instances of compassion will also be relayed. Incidents of such a nature are numerous, but we present a few here as samples. Every man with sense will realise the relationship these two men shared after studying these incidents.
When Sayyidina ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu was appointed Amir al Mu’minin, his previous business came to an end. The Sahabah held a consultation regarding his allowance. This incident is documented in Tabaqat ibn Sa’d and Tarikh al Tabari:
عن أبي أمامة بن سهل قال … و أرسل إلى أصحاب رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم فاستشارهم فقال قد شغلت نفسي في هذا الأمر فما يصلح لي منه فقال عثمان بن عفان كل و أطعم قال و قال ذلك سعيد بن زيد بن عمرو بن نفيل و قال لعلي ما تقول أنت في ذلك قال غداء و عشاء قال فأخذ عمر بذلك
Abu Umamah ibn Sahl reported:
He sent for the Companions of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and consulted with them. He said, “I am occupied in this matter (of khilafah). So what is permissible for me from the treasury?”
‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan said, “Eat and feed.” Sa’id ibn Zaid ibn ‘Amr ibn Nufayl gave the same opinion.
He said to ‘Ali, “What do you feel about this matter?”
He replied, “Breakfast and supper.”
‘Umar practiced upon this.
عن ابن عمر فقال إن كنت امرأ تاجرا يغني الله عيالي بتجارتي و قد شغلتموني بأمركم فما ذا ترون أنه يحل لي من هذا المال فأكثر القوم و علي ساكت فقال ما تقول يا علي فقال ما أصلحك و أصلح عيالك بالمعروف ليس لك من هذا المال غيره فقال القوم القول قول علي بن أبي طالب
Ibn ‘Umar reports:
‘Umar said, “I was a businessman. Allah made my dependents independent by means of my business. Now, you have occupied me with your affair (of khilafah). What do you feel is permissible for me from this wealth?”
People began submitting many opinions but ‘Ali remained silent. ‘Umar asked, “What do you say, O ‘Ali?”
He replied, “What is sufficient for you and your dependents, with moderation. Nothing else besides this wealth is permissible for you.”
The people agreed, “‘Ali ibn Abi Talib’s view is correct.”
The ‘Ulama’ elucidate that Sayyidina ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu would get allowance for food from the public treasury and two garments to wear, one in summer and one in winter. For travel purposes, a camel would be arranged for him and he would be given a servant. This was all the benefits the Khalifah of Islam received from the Muslims.
The Gregorian calendar is calculated from the birth of Sayyidina ‘Isa ‘alayh al Salam. During the reign of Sayyidina ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu, he consulted the Muhajirin and others regarding from when should the Islamic calendar commence. Different people gave various ideas. Imam al Bukhari has documented this occurrence in al Tarikh al Saghir and al Tarikh al Kabir:
عن عثمان بن رافع قال سمعت سعيد بن المسيب يقول قال عمر رضي الله عنه متى نكتب التاريخ فجمع المهاجرين فقال له علي من يوم هاجر النبي صلى الله عليه و سلم إلى المدينة فكتب التاريخ
‘Uthman ibn Rafi’ reports that he heard Sa’id ibn al Musayyab saying:
‘Umar enquired, “From when should we start the calendar.”
He gathered the Muhajirin for this purpose. ‘Ali said to him, “From the day the Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam emigrated to Madinah.”
Accordingly, he began the calendar from then.
Hafiz Ibn Kathir included more detail to the incident:
قال قائلون أرخوا من مولد رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم و قال آخرون من مبعثه عليه السلام و أشار علي رضي الله عنه و آخرون أن يورخ من هجرته من مكة إلى المدينة لظهوره لكل أحد فإنه أظهر من المولد و المبعث فاستحسن ذلك عمر و الصحابة فأمر عمر أن يؤرخ من هجرة رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم و أرخوا من أول تلك السنة من محرمها
Some people said, “Start the calendar from the birth of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.”
Others suggested, “From his appointment (as Nabi).”
‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu and others proposed that it commence from his hijrah from Makkah to Madinah due to everyone’s familiarity with it and that it is more famous than the birth and appointment.
‘Umar and the Sahabah favoured this view. Accordingly, ‘Umar commanded that the calendar be launched from Rasulullah’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam hijrah and they began from Muharram the starting of that year.
The ‘Ulama have written that the Islamic calendar was introduced just two and a half years into the Faruqi khilafah in the month of Muharram.
A conquest dubbed the Conquest of al Jazirah took place in the year 17 A.H. The residents of that area were ethnically Christian. Sayyidina Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas radiya Llahu ‘anhu sent a delegation of their leaders to Sayyidina ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhuma in Madinah Munawwarah so they may come to a decision regarding their Jizyah, etc. The delegation arrived in Madinah and spoke to Sayyidina ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu. They suggested:
فخذ منا شيئا و لا تسميه جزية فقال إنا نحن فنسميه جزية و أما أنتم فسموه ما شئتم فقال له علي بن أبي طالب ألم يضعف عليهم سعد الصدقة قال بلى و أصغى إليه و رضي به منهم جزاء (جزية)
“Take something from us but do not call it Jizyah (tax).”
‘Umar said, “We will call it Jizyah and you may call it what you want to.”
‘Ali ibn Abi Talib said to him, “Did Sa’d not double the sadaqah upon them already.”
He said, “Definitely.”
He considered what ‘Ali said and became pleased with it as a substitute (term) for the Jizyah.
When the Muslims conquered Iraq, a special consultation was held to discuss what to do with the lush and fertile lands of the area and the farmers. This consultation has been documented by the muhaddithin and Fuqaha’:
حدثنا إسرائيل عن أبي إسحاق عن حارثة بن مضرب عن عمر رضي الله عنه أنه إذا أراد أن يقسم السواد بين المسلمين فأمر بهم أن يحصوا فوجد الرجل المسلم يصيبه ثلاثة من الفلاحين يعني العلوج فشاور أصحاب النبي صلى الله عليه و سلم في ذلك فقال له علي بن أبي طالب دعهم يكونون مادة للمسلمين فتركهم فبعث عثمان بن حنيف فوضع عليهم ثمانية و أربعين و أربعة عشرين و اثني عشر
Isra’il narrated to us―from Abu Ishaq―from Harithah ibn Mudrib―from ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu that he intended to divide the land (of Iraq) between the Muslims. He first commanded them to estimate. It turned out that each Muslim will receive a piece of land equivalent to three farmers’ lands. He then consulted the Sahabah of the Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam in this regard. ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib told him, “Leave them (and take tax from them) so that it will be capital for the Muslims.” He implemented this suggestion.
He then sent ‘Uthman ibn Hunayf who stipulated for the rich 48, for the middle-class 24, and for the lower class 12 dirhams as tax.
In 21 A.H., when news of the mobilisation of the forces of Persia reached Madinah, Sayyidina ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu held a meeting with the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum. Various Sahabah delivered pertinent advices. Ibn Kathir records the incident:
فقام عثمان و طحلة و الزبير و عبد الرحمن بن عوف في رجال من أهل الرأي فتكلم كل منهم بانفراده فأحسن و أجود و اتفق رأيهم على أن لا يسير من المدينة و لكن يبعث البعوث و يحصرهم برأيه و دعائه و كان من كلام علي أن قال يا أمير المؤمنين إن هذا الأمر لم يكن نصره و لا خذلانه بكثرة و لا قلة هو دينه الذي أظهره و جنده الذي أعزه و أمده بالملائكة حتى بلغ ما بلغ فنحن على موعود من الله و الله منجز وعده و ناصر جنده و مكانك فيهم يا أمير المؤمنين مكان النظام من الحرز بجمعه و يمسكه فإذا انحل تفرق ما فيه و ذهب ثم لم يجتمع بحذافيره أبدا و العرب اليوم و إن كانوا قليلا فهم كثير عزيز بالإسلام فأقم مكانك فأعجب عمر قول علي و سر به و كان عمر إذا استشار أحدا لا يبرم أمرا حتى يشاور العباس فلما أعجبه كلام الصحابة في هذا المقام عرضه على العباس إلخ
‘Uthman, Talhah, Zubair, and ‘Abdul Rahman ibn ‘Awf stood up from the influential men. Each of them spoke individually, and conveyed what was in their hearts most eloquently and expressively. They agreed that ‘Umar should not travel from Madinah but he should rather mobilise and send forces who will be bound to his instructions and commands.
The address of ‘Ali was as follows, “O Amir al Mu’minin! This religion is not assisted or deserted by abundance or scarcity of numbers. It is His religion which He gave supremacy to and His army whom He honoured and assisted with the angels until it reached this lofty level. We have full conviction on the promise of Allah and Allah will definitely deliver on His promise and assist His army. Your position among them, O Amir al Mu’minin, is like the string of an amulet, keeping it together and holding it. If it breaks, the beads on it will fall and scatter, and all will never again be collected together. Today, although the Arabs are few in number, they are plenty and revered due to Islam. So remain where you are.”
‘Umar was amazed and delighted at ‘Ali’s advice. ‘Umar’s habit was that when he would consult anyone, he would not finalise a decision until he consulted with ‘Abbas. Now when the speeches of the Sahabah pleased him in this matter, he presented them to ‘Abbas (who approved and the orders were carried out).
The consultation that was held regarding Nahawand has been documented by the Shia in books considered reliable by them like Nahj al Balaghah, etc. Sayyidina ‘Ali’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu unique address is documented in great detail in Nahj al Balaghah wherein he presents benevolent and considerate views to Sayyidina ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu with regards the battle with the Persians. Its subject matter is nearly the same as the quotation from al Bidayah. Both Sunni and Shia historians have recorded this incident and have openly publicised Sayyidina ‘Ali’s heartfelt address to Sayyidina ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu. He says:
من كلام له عليه السلام و قد استشار عمر بن الخطاب في الشحوص لقتال الفرس بنفسه إن هذا الأمر لم يكن نصره و لا خذلانه بكثرة و لا قلة و هو دين الله الذي أظهره و جنده الذي أعده و أمده حتى بلغ ما بلغ و طلع حيث طلع و نحن على موعود من الله و الله منجز وعده و ناصر جنده و مكان القيم بالأمر مكان النظام من الخرز يجمعه و يضمه فإن انقطع النظام تفرق و ذهب ثم لم يجتمع بحذافيره أبدا و العرب اليوم و إن كانوا قليلا فهم كثيرون بالإسلام و عزيزون بالاجتماع فكن قطبا و استدر الرحى بالعرب و أصلهم دونك نار الحرب فإنك إن شخصت من هذه الأرض انتقضت عليك العرب من أطرافها و أقطارها إلخ
Part of his address after ‘Umar ibn al Khattab consulted them regarding him travelling to fight the Persians himself:
This matter is neither assisted nor deserted by abundance or scarcity of numbers. It is the religion of Allah which He made dominant and His army whom He prepared and assisted until it reached this lofty level and spread far and wide. We have full conviction on the promise of Allah and Allah will definitely fulfil His promise and assist His army. The position of the administrator of the state is like the string of a pearl necklace, which keeps and holds the beads together. If the string breaks, the beads on it will fall and scatter, and all will never again be collected together. Today, although the Arabs are few in number, they are plenty due to Islam and privileged due to unanimity. So be the pivot and let the Arabs surround you like the stone of the mill and let them face the heat of war to your exclusion. Because if you move from this land, the Arabs will pounce on you from every niche and corner of the peninsula.
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It has become more manifest than the sun in broad daylight to the readers that there existed conviction, reliance, and love between these two personalities. There is no need to ponder deeply to realise the baselessness and falseness of the tales of their disagreement and disunity. Allah’s Speech is true. And these incidents are glaring testimony to the fact that the tales of enmity and hatred are nothing more than concoctions.
Shia scholars have written in the books they take pride in like Nahj al Balaghah, amongst others, that when Sayyidina ‘Umar al Faruq radiya Llahu ‘anhu made preparations for the war against the Romans, Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu presented to him his sincere counsel. The senior commentators of Nahj al Balaghah (Ibn Abi al Hadid and Ibn Maytham al Bahrani) have quoted details attached to this counsel. They have not criticised it in any way, which proves its authenticity in their eyes. The text is as follows:
من كلام له عليه السلام قد شاوره عمر بن الخطاب في الخروج إلى غزوة الروم بنفسه … إنك متى تسير إلى العدو بنفسك فتقلهم فتنكب لا تكن للمسلمين كانفة دون أقصى بلادهم و ليس بعدك مرجع يرجعون إليه فابعث إليهم رجلا مجربا و احفز معه أهل البلاء و النصيحة فإن أظهره الله فذاك ما تحب و إن تكن الأخرى كنت ردأ للناس و مثابة للمسلمين
His address when ‘Umar ibn al Khattab sought his opinion regarding leaving to fight the Romans himself.
When you will go out to the enemy and face them yourself, then―Allah forbid―if you are killed, the Muslims will have no sanctuary in any of the cities. There is no one after you to whom they can return to after your demise. So, rather send them an experienced man and combine him with people who have resoluteness, experience, and goodwill. If Allah grants them victory then this is what you aspire. However, if the opposite happens, you will be the support for the people and the sanctuary for the Muslims.
Ibn Abi al Hadid al Mu’tazili comments under this address:
و اعلم أن هذه الغزاة هي غزاة فلسطين التي فتح فيها بيت المقدس و قد ذكرها أبو جعفر الطبري (محمد بن جرير) في التاريخ و قال إن عليا عليه السلام هو كان المستخلف على المدينة لما شخص عمر إلى الشام و إن عليا عليه السلام قال له لا تخرج بنفسك إنك تريد عدوا كلبا
Remember that this battle was the Battle of Palestine in which Bayt al Maqdis was conquered. Abu Jafar al Tabari (Muhammad ibn Jarir) mentioned it in his Tarikh and added that ‘Ali was appointed over Madinah when ‘Umar left for Sham and that he said to ‘Umar, “Do not leave yourself. Do you want a dog race?”
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If he had no power to oppose Sayyidina ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu and regarding clashing with him contrary to goodness, he would not have mingled with those oppressive Khalifas’, but would have remained aloof from them and cut ties with them. He would practice upon the divine directive:
وَلَا تَرْكَنُوْا إِلَى الَّذِيْنَ ظَلَمُوْا فَتَمَسَّكُمُ النَّارُ
And do not incline toward those who do wrong, lest you be touched by the Fire.
People of reason and sound temperament will be able to ponder over these aspects and reach the correct conclusions.
Wealth came pouring into Sayyidina ‘Umar’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu hands after the conquests. After distributing the wealth (among the needy), a meeting was held to discuss what to do with the remainder. Hafiz Nur al Din al Haythami has narrated this incident in Majma’ al Zawa’id with reference to Muhaddith al Bazzar which contains Sayyidina ‘Ali’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu opinion:
عن طلحة بن عبيد الله قال أتي عمر بمال فقسمه بين المسلمين ففضلت منه فضلة فاستشار فيها فقالوا لو تركته لنائبة إن كانت قال و علي ساكت لا يتكلم فقال ما لك يا أبا الحسن لا تتكلم قال قد أخبر القوم فقال عمر لتكلمني فقال إن الله قد فرغ من قسمة هذا المال و ذكر مال البحرين حين جاء إلى النبي صلى الله عليه و سلم و حال بينه و بين أن يقسمه الليل فصلى الصلوات في المسجد فلقد رأيت ذلك في وجه رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم حتى فرغ منه فقال لا جرم لتقسمنه فقسمه علي فأصابني منه ثمان مائة درهم
Talhah ibn ‘Ubaid Allah reports:
Wealth was brought to ‘Umar who distributed it among the Muslims. Some wealth remained so he consulted them with regards to it. They said, “Maybe you should keep it for a rainy day (and not distribute it immediately).”
This whole time ‘Ali remained silent, speaking not a word. So ‘Umar asked, “What is the matter, O Abu al Hassan? You are not speaking?”
He said, “The people have already spoken.”
‘Umar said, “You also express your opinion to me.”
He said, “Firstly, Allah listed the recipients of this wealth. Secondly, when the wealth of Bahrain came to Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, night fell and he was unable to distribute it promptly. He performed all the salah in the Masjid (and did not go home). I saw clear signs of worry on his blessed face. Until the wealth was not distributed, he felt no peace. (So we should also feel no peace until it is promptly distributed.)”
‘Umar said, “You should definitely distribute this wealth.”
Accordingly, ‘Ali distributed it and I received 800 dirhams.
Fakhr al Islam ‘Ali ibn Muhammad al Bazdawi al Hanafi (d. 482 A.H.) briefly wrote about this incident. The background of the incident is that Sayyidina ‘Umar al Faruq radiya Llahu ‘anhu summoned a pregnant woman (regarding some complaint of hers). Due to his awe and fear, she miscarried and lost her child. He continues:
و شاورهم (الصحابة) في إملاص المرأة فأشاروا بأن لا غرم عليه و علي ساكت فلما سأله قال أرى عليك الغرة
He consulted the Sahabah regarding the miscarriage of a woman. They indicated that there is no penalty (for the child). ‘Ali was silent all this time. When ‘Umar asked him, he said, “I feel that paying the penalty (blood money) for the child is compulsory upon you.”
 Tabaqat ibn Sa’d, vol. 3 pg. 221, chapter on ‘Umar, Leiden print, Europe.
 Tarikh al Umam wa al Muluk, vol. 4 pg. 164, year 15, old Egypt print; Sirat ‘Umar ibn al Khattab, pg. 89 – 90, Egypt print.
 Al Tarikh al Saghir, pg. 9, Anwar Muhammadi print, Ilahabad, India; al Tarikh al Kabir, vol. 1 pg. 9, Hyderabad print, Dakkan; al Mustadrak, vol. 3 pg. 14, book on hijrah, Hyderabad print, Dakkan; Sirat ‘Umar ibn al Khattab, pg. 51, Egypt print.
 Al Bidayah, vol. 7 pg. 74, Egypt print.
 Sirat ‘Umar ibn al Khattab, pg. 51.
 Tarikh al Tabari, vol. 4 pg. 198, conquest of al Jazirah, 17 A.H.; al Bidayah, vol. 7 pg. 76, discussion on the conquest of al Jazirah, 17 A.H.
 Yahya ibn Adam: Kitab al Kharaj, pg. 42, Egypt print; Kitab al Amwal, pg. 59, Egypt print; al Baihaqi: al Sunan al Kubra, vol. 9 pg. 134, book on expeditions, chapter on land, Dakkan print; Kanz al ‘Ummal, vol. 2 pg. 301, book on jihad from the section on booty, discussion on Jizyah, with reference to Ibn Zanjawiyyah and al Khara’iti, first edition, Hyderabad Dakkan print.
 Al Bidayah, vol. 7 pg. 107, year 21 A.H.; Tarikh al Tabari, vol. 4 pg. 237, conquest of Nahawand 21 A.H., Kitab al Amwal, pg. 252; Tarikh Khalifah ibn Khayyat, vol. 1 pg. 120.
 Nahj al Balaghah, vol. 1 pg. 264, ‘Ali’s address concerning fighting the Persians, Egypt print; Kitab Akhbar al Tiwal, pg. 134, new Egypt print.
 Nahj al Balaghah, vol. 1 pg. 253, Egypt print with footnotes of Sheikh ‘Abduhu.
 Sharh Nahj al Balaghah, vol. 2 pg. 584 – 585, Beirut print; Ibn Maytham: Sharh Nahj al Balaghah, vol. 3 pg. 161 – 162, new Tehran print; al Durrah al Najafiyyah Sharh Nahj al Balaghah, pg. 176, Iran print; Sayed ‘Ali Naqi: Sharh Nahj al Balaghah (Persian commentary), vol. 2 pg. 406 – 407, Tehran print.
 Surah Hud: 113.
 Majma’ al Zawa’id, vol. 10 pg. 238, chapter regarding spending and withholding, Egypt print; Usul Fakhr al Islam al Bazdawi, pg. 239 – 240, new edition, Nur Muhammad print, Karachi with the takhrij of al Qasim ibn Qatlubagha al Hanafi; ‘Abdul ‘Aziz al Bukhari: Kashf al Asrar Sharh Usul Bazdawi, vol. 3 pg. 949, old print.
 Usul Fakhr al Islam al Bazdawi, pg. 239, chapter on consensus, new print, Nur Muhammadi, Karachi; Abu Bakr ibn Ahmed ibn Abi Sahl Shams al A’immah (d. 483.490 A.H.): Usul al Sarakhsi, vol. 1 pg. 304, Hyderabad Dakkan print; Kashf al Asrar Sharh Usul Bazdawi, vol. 3 pg. 949, chapter on consensus, old Egypt print; Kanz al ‘Ummal, vol. 7 pg. 300, Hadith: 3485, with reference to ‘Abdul Razzaq and al Baihaqi, first edition; Musannaf ‘Abdul Razzaq, vol. 9 pg. 458, chapter regarding one the sultan frightens, Beirut print.Back to top