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OMAR AL-MUKHTAR: An imperative lesson for the Ummah

OMAR AL-MUKHTAR: An imperative lesson for the Ummah
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Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported:

Once the Prophet (ﷺ) was speaking to us when, a Bedouin came and asked him: “When will the Last Day be?” The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) continued his talk. Some of those present thought that he had heard him but disliked the interruption and the other said that he had not hear him. When the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) concluded his speech he asked, “Where is the one who inquired about the Last Day?” The man replied: “Here I am.” The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) replied, “When the practice of honouring a trust is lost, expect the Last Day.” He asked: “How could it be lost?” He replied, “When the government is entrusted to the undeserving people, then wait for the Last Day.” [Al- Bukhari].

When times are such that undeserving men are taken to the heights of governance, must we conclude that it’s time already?

The oppressors are growing –growing with a speed like that of insects of swamp. From Kashmir to Syria to Libya to Myanmar, look around and it’s oppression everywhere, like it’s the new air we breathe.

For such times in tyranny, it’s important for the Muslims –the Ummah of our Prophet ﷺ. to tune back to some chapters from history that take us to the solutions –direct, clear-cut solutions if not.

Omar al-Mukhtar and the lesson

Omar al-Mukhtar –the face of resistance and struggle (as known round the globe) comes as the first and one prominent figure when themes of oppression and resistance are taken up.

In a town looked over by the Uthmany Khalifa, took birth a boy (who later concluded the definition of Haqq—just/truth in times of oppression by Italian powers) in 1862 named Omar al-Mukhtar. At a mature age of 16 he was taken under the care and guardianship of one of the Shuyookh.

With the mercy of Allah, Omar Mukhtar got well embedded into the religion and had a commendable understanding of Islam. For about eight years of his life, he studied in the Qur’an school of Giarabub –Senusy’s holy city.

Omar, a man well versed with the Qur’an (memorised the Qur’an at an early age) was known for his completion of revising Qur’an every seven days. And that he would try to be in a constant connection with Allah.

It is apparent today –how even when the Muslims are standing up against oppression (not just for their own Muslim brothers and sisters but anywhere against inhuman acts), the base is weak and inclined towards defeat. The chapter of Omar Mukhtar is thought of to take up because it displays the exact need the Ummah is in terms of political and social decisiveness.

Omar not for once thought of reducing the strictness in ibaadah. He had tawaqqul (belief in Allah) and was certain (as any believer must be) that ONLY Allah can help him and ONLY he could take him out of any mishap and that if he dies in a state of defeat from the opponent group (the Italian army) –that is the plan of Allah and he is the best of planners. And he acknowledged it well that if it is a test –he needs to be patient, all but standing for Haq (in the cause of Allah) was a goal he had.

Atrocious, but a fact it is –the Ummah of Prophet ﷺ has come too far from the work it was given with and is readily participating in acts of futility.

Allah says in the Qur’an:

“So remember Me; I will remember you. And be grateful to Me and do not deny Me ” ( 2:152)

The post script here is self explanatory (considering what Allah says in the Qur’an and what steps is the Ummah following).

Lion of the Desert and his example

Omar Mukhtar was the leader of Muslim resistance in North Africa in 1920s-30s. The thing by which he united his people –was Taqwa (Fear of Allah) and faith in Allah. He along with his army (people of the town) fought against the imperialism of Mussolini and the entire Italian army (the oppressors).

The history of the entire chapter of Omar al-Mukhtar is a take up for another day, but the oppression, crushing oppression of today has to be thought of from the perspective of solutions and ways. These men including their leader Omar –did not at the end win the war, so few questions arise here –what were they fighting for? Who were they ready to sacrifice their own lives for?

Let’s try to answer such questions further.

Mukhtar came to be known by a title –Lion of the desert. The incident preceding it is interesting and awe striking.

So on a day of one of his caravan trails (during his young days) to Sudan, a Lion had daunted the people from entering a passageway. To distract away the lion, some would offer their camels (their prized possessions) and some would leave. On his way, Omar learned of this lion. Without any second thought, he took the responsibility of the issue himself. With his gun-shot, he rode his horse behind the lion –head on. To the relief but much astonishment of the people, he returned with the head of that lion, and so was given the title –Lion of the Desert, rightly so.

Allah says in the Qur’an:

The Ummah today seems to be slightly cut through the commandment of Allah to fear ‘Only Him’. The example of Omar al-Mukhtar needs not to be dusted off the shelves for a mere ‘Awe’. Rather, a lesson of courage and unity and standing up together against oppression in the cause of Allah must be juiced from it to the core.


Omar Mukhtar when asked for any last words, replied –“Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’un” (From Allah we have come and to Allah we will return).

In his entire life, Omar stood up for his people and never for once did he accept the offers by Italian forces. When Italians offered him high ranks (to pacify his rebellion) in return of him surrendering and stopping this movement, he replied (and it became a famous quote) –“I’m not a sweet bite of a meal anyone can swallow. No matter how long they try to change my belief and opinion, Allah is going to let them down.”

Narrated Abu Huraira:

Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “Allah guarantees (the person who carries out Jihad in His Cause and nothing compelled him to go out but Jihad in His Cause and the belief in His Word) that He will either admit him into Paradise (Martyrdom) or return him with reward or booty he has earned to his residence from where he went out. (Al-Bukhari)

So did he actually win the fight? –No, not in the eyes of the people, but unlike the ‘sold out men’ of his time that surrendered and became the loyalties of Italians and allies to Kuffar against their own Muslim brothers and sisters, died a luxuries and normal death (maybe). But Omar was arrested, hung in front of many tribes (his people), and died as a Martyr. So who won and who was under actual defeat?

Allah says in the Qur’an:

“And do not say about those who are killed in the way of Allah, “They are dead.” Rather, they are alive, but you perceive [it] not” (2:154)

May Allah place him in high ranks in Jannah and help us be amongst the Muhsineen.

Imaan (belief) in Al-Qiyamah (Akhirah/ Day of Judgment and life after death) is one amongst the 6 pillars of imaan (compulsory for every Muslim to have belief in). But a mere claim in belief in Akhirah does not suffice the cause. A Muslim needs to have a ‘live belief’ in Akhirah, live belief –being certain in belief not just through claim but through actions. And when (in sha Allahu ta’ala) we have that, we would realize that Omar al-Mukhtar and his people were not just fighting for freedom, but they were fighting for a bigger cause –Haq in the cause of Allah. And true success would be attaining ranks in Jannah (May Allah make us amongust the people of Jannah) and not the mundane success.

Al-Qiyamah is an inevitable truth and the oppression being faced by our Muslim brothers and sisters today hint towards the hour.

May Allah protect us, give us strength, help us be constant on his deen and make us die in imaan.

Author is a student at Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh. Her interest lies in student activism and journalism. She uses Pen name “ Quest”.

Disclaimer: Views expressed are exclusively personal and do not necessarily reflect the position of Oracle Opinions.



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