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1. Orientations
a. Figures
2. Koran
3. Theology
4. Concept of divine
5. Sharia
6. Muhammad
7. Cult and Festivals
8. Mecca
9. Cultic personalities
10. Caliph
11. Structures
12. Popular religion
13. Others
14. Calendar

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Islam / Caliph /
Umar 1 ibnu l-Khattab
Arabic: ¢umar bni 'al-khattāb
Other spelling: Omar

Illustration of how Umar's covenant of peace, issued to the Christians of Jerusalem may have looked like.
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Illustration of how Umar's covenant of peace, issued to the Christians of Jerusalem may have looked like.

(c. 586-644) Second caliph of Islam (634-644).
Umar's reign represents one of the most important stages in the early Muslim expansion. Under him, the Muslims developed from being an Arabian principality, into becoming a world power. His armies conquered Mesopotamia and Syria, and by the time of his death campaigns had been launched against Egypt.
Umar was a clever administrator, and made sure that conquered lands came under control of men who respected the caliph and worked according to his guidelines. Considering that Muhammad was mainly involved in establishing Islam as a religion, it would be correct to say that Umar is the real founder of the Islamic state. Yet, it must be clarified, Umar made his decisions based upon the revelations received by Muhammad and upon the example of Muhammad.
Umar dealt with his generals in a shrewd manner, and never lost control over them, no matter how much success they might have. He found an important ally in the Umayyad clan.
In his work for developing the administration, Umar also laid the foundations for a legal system, which would eventually develop into Sharia. Among Umar's regulations was to ban non-Muslims from the land of Arabia, punishment for drunkenness and it is also claimed by some traditions that it is Umar who made adultery punishable by stoning. Umar institutionalized the prayer of the month Ramadan and obligatory pilgrimage, and defined the Hijra calendar system.
Umar was a strict Muslim, hard on himself as well as on offenders. He never claimed to be anything than a representative for the only rightful ruler, Muhammad. He was generally highly respected by his contemporaries, as well as by later generations of Sunni Muslims. The Shi'is regard him with suspicion, considering him an opponent of Ali.


c. 586: Born in Mecca.
615: Umar converts to Islam, but according to some traditions, the conversion was as late as 618.
622: Participates in the hijra, the escape to Madina. By this time, he had become one of Muhammad's chief advisors.
624: Participates at the Battle of Badr, but judging from the sources, he is not central.
625: Participates at the Battle of Uhud, but is apparently no more central than at Badr.
625: Muhammad marries Umar's daughter Hafsa.
632: Following the death of Muhammad, Umar propagates for Abu Bakr becoming leader of the Muslim community. Umar and Abu Bakr worked closely together, and according to some traditions did Abu Bakr nominate him as his successor. It is however clear that there was no form of formal nomination.
634: Abu Bakr dies, and Umar becomes leader of the Muslims.
636: Founds Basra as a military station.
638: Jerusalem is conquered, and Umar promises to protect the Christian population in the city.
641: Umar takes the title "amiru l-mu'minin", "Prince of the true believers".
644 November 3: Dies in Madina after being assassinated by the Christian Persian slave Abu Lu'lu'a. Umar had not arranged for a successor, but would be succeeded by Uthman, who was appointed by a 6 man strong council.

By Tore Kjeilen