Umar bin Khattab’s Example of Tolerance in Palestine

Umar bin Khattab’s Example of Tolerance in Palestine

Faculty of Tarbiyah and Teacher Training – Bro, do you know who Umar bin Khattab is? He was a cool caliph from the Islamic era, bro! He ruled from 634 to 644 CE and was appointed as caliph based on the will of Abu Bakar, the previous caliph. In Palestine, he truly demonstrated a tolerant attitude, bro.

Umar bin Khattab was not only skilled in leadership but also left an unforgettable mark in history. Speaking of which, do you know about Alma Ata University, bro? It’s an amazing university that can be a place to explore more about historical figures like Umar bin Khattab. They have study programs that can help us understand the values of diversity, including the tolerance exemplified by great figures like Umar bin Khattab. So, if you’re curious and want to delve deeper, Alma Ata could be a great choice, bro!

According to Imam Suyuthi in the book Tarikh Khulafa, page 95, Umar is considered the closest and most beloved companion of the Prophet Muhammad. He was indeed firm, brave, and very just. He was also smart, with high integrity, bro. During his 10 years and 6 months as caliph, Islam advanced rapidly. His territory expanded widely, from the Arabian Peninsula, Persia, Syria, Jordan, to Palestine.

In the 18th year of Hijra, many regions like Jundisapur, Raha, Simsath, Haran, Nashihin, and parts of the Arabian Peninsula came under Umar’s rule. Eventually, Islam under Umar’s governance became a new world power, rising after the Romans and Persians, bro. Despite this, Umar always implemented policies that were vocal about tolerance and justice for everyone, including non-Muslims. Awesome, right?

Bro, Umar bin Khattab was truly amazing! He always ensured the rights of minorities were recognized and protected under his government, including Jews and Christians. Every religion was free to practice their beliefs without discrimination. Churches and synagogues were safe, with no fear of being destroyed.

There’s a story when Umar entered the city of al-Quds in Palestine, it was time for the Asr prayer, and he was in a church. Ibn Khaldun in the book Tarikh Ibn Khaldun narrated that Umar told the church bishop, “I want to pray Asr.” The bishop replied, “Just pray in the church.” But Umar refused, preferring to pray alone on the steps outside the church door. After praying, Umar explained to the bishop why he refused to pray inside the church. He said, “If I pray inside the church, later Muslims might take over this church, turning it into a mosque, just because ‘Umar prayed here.'”

When Umar entered Jerusalem, he also instructed Muslims, “Do not disturb the Christians and their churches. Their right to worship must be protected,” as stated by Sheikh Saleh bin Abdulrahman al Hushain in the book at-Tasamuh wal Udwaniyah baina al-Islami wa al-Gharab, page 120. Incredible, right? No wonder Umar is a model for interfaith tolerance, bro!

Bro, Umar bin Khattab was truly legendary, especially in the context of the tolerance he exemplified in Palestine. His tolerance wasn’t just for Christians and Jews, but also for Zoroastrians, who believe in two gods: the god of good (Ahura Mazda) and the god of evil (Angra Mainyu/Ahriman). As explained by Professor Quraish Shihab in his book “Tolerance; Divinity, Humanity, and Religiosity,” page 116.

When Islam conquered Persia, which was predominantly Zoroastrian, Umar bin Khattab immediately held a council to discuss how they should be treated. He didn’t want any discrimination against those who worship fire. The council concluded, based on the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad, to treat them the same as Christians and Jews. Everyone was equal before the law and in court, without any discrimination. Truly top-notch, bro! Umar bin Khattab was a role model for interfaith tolerance.

This is the greatness of the tolerance exemplified by Umar bin Khattab in Palestine, bro! He didn’t just promote tolerance for Christians and Jews but also for Zoroastrians.
Bro, Umar bin Khattab made some awesome policies! There’s the Eliya Agreement, which Umar made after Muslims successfully conquered Jerusalem, Palestine, in 636 CE. This agreement is also known as Mu’ahadah Iliya, or the “Jerusalem Agreement.”

According to the book al Khulafa ar-Rasyidin by Abdul Wahab al-Najjar, page 151, this agreement was signed in the year 15 H/636 CE, specifically on April 12, 636 CE. Umar signed it in Eliya, an ancient city in Jerusalem.

In the Eliya Agreement, Umar bin Khattab provided security guarantees for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, including Christians and Jews. The guarantees were amazing, bro! They included the freedom to live, practice their religion, stay in their homes, own property, and worship freely.

“This is what Abdullah Umar, the Commander of the Faithful, granted the people of Eliya in terms of security. He granted them security for their lives, property, churches, crosses, their sick, their healthy, and all their people. Their churches will not be occupied, destroyed, diminished, nor anything taken from their surroundings or their crosses or anything from their property, and they will not be forced to leave their religion, nor will any of them be harmed, and no Jews will live with them in Eliya. The people of Eliya must pay the jizya (tax) like the people of the other cities. They must expel the Romans and bandits. Anyone who leaves will be safe with their person and property until they reach their place of safety.”
(Abdul Wahab al-Najjar, al Khulafa ar-Rasyidin, [Beirut; Thabaah wa Nasyar wa at-Tawzi’, n.d.], page 151).




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