From the Book:
The History of Islam – by Akbar Shah Najeebabadi
Volume 2. Chapter 2. Page 211-213.
Umar bin Abdul Aziz’s period as caliph like Abu Bakr was very short. But just as Abu Bakr’s regime was very important and invaluable, Similarly Umar bin Abdul Aziz’s was very precious for the world of Islam. Banu Umayyah’s rule had created in the people a love for worldly prosperity, ego and power, this made them indifferent to the hereafter. Umar bin Abdul Aziz’s caliphate in a very short time removed those evils and inclined them to spiritualism and religious deeds. his greatest achievement was that he set the Islamic caliphate on the model of rightly guided caliphs and restored the style of government of Abu Bakr and Umar bin Khattab to the world.
He hated repression and tyranny perpetrated by caliph. By establishing liberty and peace in the world, he wanted every individual to profit from their human rights. He did not want even an atheist to feel compelled. He even gave the Khawarij opportunities to give vent to their feelings. He wanted to see the status of the caliph of the Muslims established but only to the extent that justice was maintained. Even if a criminal verbally abused a caliph, the most caliph could do would be to retaliate in like manner, in other words, His retaliation should not go beyond verbally abusing the criminal. He never wanted his subordinates to agree to his proposals without reference to Islamic law. He regarded a caliph not as the ruler but as an affectionate father to the Muslims. In short, whatever we have seen during the regimes of Abu Bakr and Umar bin Khattab, all the essentials were also apparent during Umar bin Abdul Aziz’s administration. It can justifiably be said that with Umar bin Abdul Aziz’s death, the rightly guided caliphate came to an end. During the period of his caliphate, many people embraced Islam willingly. These large number of converts have not been found in the time of other caliphs although only a few military expeditions were fought in his time. His authority extended from Sindh, Punjab, Bukhara and Turkistan in the East to Morocco, Spain and France in the west. People enjoyed absolute peace everywhere although the Islamic domain was vast in size.
During his administration new roads were made, schools and hospitals were made in every state. The world has never seen the prevalence of true justice to such a degree again. Because of the people’s awareness of this, his death was mourned not only in the houses of the Muslims but also the Christians and Jews were found even more distressed. The Christian clergy in their monasteries and churches ruefully mourned saying that justice, the one who established it and its protector has left the world.
Umar bin Abdul Aziz put an end to the distinction of Shia, Sunni and Khawarijs. Until the present there is no one who harbors any ill feeling against him from any sect. The opportunity is there for everyone to think and reflect over the fact that whoever follows Islam most closely becomes most beloved to all. His personality was the embodiment of what Islam is, the people of all religions responded to it. The closer a ruler comes to living Islam in its reality the greater the response from his people. The life of Umar bin Abdul Aziz was an example of this.
The Europeans hold Abu Bakr, Umar bin Khattab, Umar bin Abdul Aziz, Nooruddin Zangi and Salahuddin Ayyubi in great reverence due to their nobility, wisdom and graciousness. They should also reflect on how close they followed Islam and that all their qualities were totally dependent on this single fact. They were true Muslims and they tried to follow Islam both in letter and in spirit. We know that Umar bin Abdul Aziz was the ruler of the greatest empire in the world and we also find him giving the Friday sermon from the pulpit wearing a patched shirt, As students of History we can be justly astonished. What kind of sense of duty and responsibility can there be in a man who had lived in great comfort and luxury but after assuming the office of caliph was reduced to skin and bones within a two and half year period.