This is greatness!
When the cost of living increased, Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) enacted to increase the salary of his officers. It was a relief for all of them. However he did not increase his salary. Before taking on the chair of Khaleefa, Umar was making his livelihood out of trading. He was able to feed his family well. After being designated as the Khaleefa, Umar (R) was not able to continue with his trading. He and his family sustained on the negligible amount he received as the salary of Khaleefa. He never lured towards extravagance, rather he lead a simple life. He never looked at his neighbor to define his lifestyle. He struggled a lot when the price of commodities shot up. Many a times, he had to borrow money. Still, he never thought of increasing Khalifa’s salary.
Usman(R), Ali(R), Thwalha(R) and Zubair(R) – the close companions of Umar(R) – discussed his situation. They felt that the very poor lifestyle of Khalifa is a saddening matter for the entire Islamic nation. All were of the same opinion that Khaleefa should draw an amount sufficing a decent living towards his salary. Although finding a solution was easy, it was not that easy to implement it, especially since it is a matter regarded to Umar(R). Umar had a determination that he should be the person taking the least amount from the public treasury. Then, who would dare presenting this topic in front of such a Khaleefa?
Umar (R) was very adamant in things related to his personal life and even more, when it comes to religious matters! Usman (R) had an idea. “How about taking help of Khaleefa’s daughter , Hafza(R)?
They all called on Hafza(R) and told her the matter. Hafza(R) approached Umar (R) with this matter when he was sitting alone, an appropriate situation.
Umar(R) listened to his daughter calmly. Hafza(R) was curious to hear his reply. With a unyielding face Umar(R) told: ” Hafza, I know that the matter you told me now is not from you, some one else is there behind it. I will not spare them!” Umar (R) continued, “Daughter, you were the wife of the Prophet(may peace be upon him). Let me ask you something, How many clothes did he have altogether?”
“Which was the best food he ever had?”
“Wheat bread with butter”
“How was the Prophet’s blanket?”
“A rough cloth. He will lie on it when it is hot. When it’s cold, he will lie on it’s half and cover him with other half.”
“Hafza, you should tell this to those who sent you to me. Lives of the Prophet(PBUH) and that of Aboobakr(R) was all very simple and at the same time with difficulties. Prophet (PBUH), after him AbooBackr(R), and this Umar(R) after both of them. Both my predecessors fulfilled the aim of their life. Their lifestyle was the secret of their success. Now, it’s my turn. Hafza, we should not be heedless to the Qura’nic condemnation. “…”Ye received your good things in the life of the world, and ye took your pleasure out of them…” (46:20) – Daughter, I should not fall for these temporary comforts. If I follow the ways of my predecessors, No doubt, I will be successful too. If I wish for anything more, I will be among losers ”
There was nothing left for that daughter to tell her father. With her eyes filled, she returned. Umar (R) realized that the way to greatness is a simple life and dignified thoughts. Dissatisfaction and arduous desires are the reason of destruction. When we try to live to match up with our surroundings, it is the joy and beauty of our life that gets destroyed.
English rendering of article written by Abdul Wadud!