Umar bin Abdul Aziz: The ruler and reformer

History Contributor
Umar bin Abdul Aziz
© Rendy Olii |

One of the best rulers in the history of Islam is Umar bin Abdul Aziz. He had a combination of Taqwa, prudence, courage and unique qualities. Therefore, many consider him as the fifth caliph of Islam.

Birth and early childhood of Umar bin Abdul Aziz

The first reformer of Islam was Umar bin Abdul Aziz. His mother was the granddaughter of the second caliph of Islam, Omar (R). He was born in 61 AH. That is, 50 years after the death of the Prophet (peace be upon him). Numerous Companions of the Prophet were alive during his reign.

He had a deep knowledge of Hadith and Fiqh. That is why he was well aware of the advantages and disadvantages of any addition or subtraction in the management of the state.

After taking on the royal responsibility

When he accidentally ascended the throne at the age of 37 and felt that huge responsibility of power and prestige fell on his shoulders, his lifestyle changed. He chose the path of Islam without any hesitation. As if it was his previous decision.

He inherited the throne. But while taking the oath of allegiance, he declared in public that ‘I am freeing you from my oath of allegiance. You can choose anyone you want as caliph.’ Then the people unanimously and eagerly said, ‘We are electing you’, then he took charge of the caliphate on his own.

Ascending to the throne of power, he embarked on the work of state reform. On the first day, he renounced everything that belonged to the kingdom. And introduced the rule of the caliph among the Muslims.

Reign of Umar bin Abdul Aziz

One of the activities he carried out when he came to power was the reformation of the royal family. He looked at the people of the dynasty. He brought them to the level of ordinary Muslims from all sides.

As a ruler, he deposited all the state treasuries in ‘Baitul Maal’ (royal treasury). What happened as a result of this unimaginable change is that “his annual income has come down from 50,000 Ashrafis to 2,000 Ashrafis.” He forbade the wealth of ‘Baitul Maal’ for himself and his family. Even as caliph he did not receive a salary from the royal treasury.

After gaining the kingdom, he changed his way of life. Where he lived a glorious life before becoming head of state; As soon as he became the caliph there, he went into poverty.

It is said before he became the caliph, he did not like clothes worth a thousand dirhams. After becoming the caliph, he considered clothes worth 4/5 dirhams to be very expensive for him.

Reforming the state apparatus

After radical reforms in his home and the royal family, he turned his attention to reforming the state system. He created an efficient administrative system. The amendments he made to the state system are as follows:

  • Dismissed oppressive governors.
  • Sought out honest people to carry out the duties of the governor.
  • He brought all the administrative employees who illegally interfered in the life and property of the people under the law and enforced the rule of law.
  • All illegal and unjust taxes imposed by the Umayyad administrators, including excise taxes; He canceled it as soon as he came to power.
  • He amended the existing system of zakat collection in a new way.
  • The money of ‘Baitul Maal’ was only used for the welfare of common Muslims.
  • Remedy all the injustices done to the non-Muslim subjects of the state.
  • He returned to the non-Muslims the places of worship which were unjustly occupied.
  • He also returned to the non-Muslims the lands that had been taken away from them.
  • Freed the judiciary of the state from subordination to the governing department of the government.

In this way, Umar bin Abdul Aziz fully established and revived the Islamic state system to make it beautiful, well-organized, and consolidated.

The spread of Islamic teachings under Umar bin Abdul Aziz

In his short rule, the ignorant customs of half a century were removed. The propagation of distorted beliefs was stopped. Apart from that, the system of religious education of the people was widely introduced. The teaching system of the Quran and Hadith attracted the intellectual class.

As a result, world-famous Imams like Abu Hanifa, Malik, Shafi’i, and Ahmad Ibn Hamble emerged after and during his reign.

During the reign of Umar bin Abdul Aziz, the state of knowledge in the kingdom improved so much that if only four people came together, discussions on prayers, fasting, Hajj, Zakat, and Quran-Sunnah would start there.

During the time of Umar bin Abdul Aziz, many neighboring states converted to Islam. Under the influence of Islam, many people became Muslims. Which has an impact on the state treasury. It had a profound moral impact on the long-running Roman Empire.


The reign of Umar bin Abdul Aziz was only two years and five months. In a short period of two and a half years of state power, huge changes took place in his empire. Umar bin Abdul Aziz, the revolutionary hero, was poisoned and killed in 101 AH by a conspiracy of the Umayyad dynasty. He was then 39 years old.

May Allah grant him the highest abode of Paradise. Ameen.

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