A visit to ‘Umar ibn ‘Abdul-Aziz

During the caliphate of ‘Umar ibn ‘Abdul-Aziz (may Allah have mercy on him), a woman traveled from Iraq to come and meet him. When she arrived at his house, she asked whether there was a guard to prevent people from going inside to meet him. She was told, "No, enter if you wish." The women entered the house and saw Fatimah (may Allah have mercy on her), the wife of ‘Umar.

Fatimah was sitting down at the time, spinning some cotton. The woman extended the greeting of salaam; Fatimah returned salaam to the woman. As soon as the woman sat down, she began to look around, and was surprised to find that there was nothing of value or of importance in the house. Without realising that she was speaking out loud, the woman said, "I came to build and furnish my house from this house, which I have found to be empty and barren." Fatimah said, "The emptiness and barrenness of this house allows for the construction and adornment of houses such as yours."

‘Umar entered the house, gave salaam, and then asked his wife about the women. He took out a bunch of grapes, chose the best ones, and gave them to his wife, so that she could then offer them to the visitor. He (‘Umar) then approached the woman and asked, "What do you need?"

The woman said, "I am a woman from the inhabitants of Iraq, and I have five daughters who cannot work and who have with them no material possessions. I came to you hoping that you might be willing to help them." Upon hearing this ‘Umar began to cry, he took out his inkstand and papers, and wrote a letter to the governor of Iraq.

‘Umar asked the woman for the name of her eldest daughter, and when she told him, he wrote down an amount that was to be given to her. Upon realising that, the woman praised Allah (the Exalted), ‘Umar then asked the woman the name of her second, third, fourth and fifth daughters. The woman told him their names and praised Allah (the Exalted). When she realised that he had given money to all of them, she became so happy that she made dua for him.

The woman left ‘Umar's house with the paper that she was give to deliver to the governor of Iraq, and after the long journey back to Iraq, she went to the governor to give him the piece of paper. When she gave the paper to the governor, he began to cry for a long time, and then he said, "May Allah have mercy on the writer of this letter." The woman said, "Has news come to you of his death?" the governor replied, "Yes." The woman screamed when she heard this, but the governor told her not to worry, and that he was going to give her the allotted portion to her in any case.


This story shows us the character and generosity of righteous leaders from the past, they lived simple lives and often you wouldn't have been able to tell who was the commoner and who was the ruler, they had genuine concern for the welfare of their people. 'Umar ibn Abdul Aziz was one of these rulers.