What are the characteristics of Umar bin Khattab (ra)?

The Details of the Question

Umar (RA) is one of the greatest characters of the religion of Islam. Although I know that he was a strong and determined person in the history of Islam, some people say that he was harsh. There is a group that accuses Umar (RA) of various bad deeds. Others also say that he was a harsh person (in a negative way).

1) Could you give some information about Umar’s (RA) personality traits as well as his strong will and determination as a person who lived in the history of Islam?

2) What kind of harsh person was he? (Also clarify that he was not a harsh person who was allegedly rude or tyrannical.)

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Umar (ra) is known for being strict in doing what he believed. Before he became a Muslim, he treated the first believers harshly. After he became a Muslim, he turned his harshness against the polytheists in favor of Islam.

After becoming the caliph too, Umar (ra) acted very carefully to be meticulous about the implementation of the truth and the obtainment of the right and to personally follow up even the smallest details. When he ordered or forbade something, he would first start from his own family. He would gather his family members together and say to them:

“I have forbidden this and that. People watch you like a bird of prey watches meat. I swear by Allah that if any of you disobey these prohibitions, I will punish him more severely.”

Although he had a harsh temperament, he was very humble toward people. The fact that he was the head of a state with large lands and strong armies did not prevent him from leading a modest and simple life like other people.

He avoided wearing expensive, luxurious clothes, and did not hesitate to do ordinary work when necessary, like other people. Anyone who did not know him would never understand that he was the caliph of the Muslims because the garment he generally wore was full of patches.

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