Hazrat Umar Farooq, since his appointment as the second caliph of muslims, took his charge vigilantly. From 13 AH to 23 AH, world saw a marvelous leader who set foundations for modern day concept of good governance and public administration. Continuing “Al-Shoora” (consultation) as the root legacy of Islamic governance, Caliph Umar established his reign on strong foundations of justice. His rigorous communication with governors of other states under Islamic empire facilitated uniform application of rules and regulations. He him self was an epitome of justice and piousness, thus he expected the same from governors of other states. His principles of governance are evident from the letters he used to write to governors. There are numerous letters of Hazrat Umar Farooq, which can be pertinent to drive good governance rules. Excerpt of a letter of hazrat Umar Farooq are mentioned below:
Letter of Hazrat Umar to Abu Musa Ashari:
Abu Musa Ashari was appointed as governor of Kufa and Basra at various times. He was the first appointed caliph of Basra after conquer of Persian Empire. In one famous epistle of Umar bin Khattab (R.A) to Abu Musa Ashari, Hazrat Umar stressed upon the mechanism of justice provided to masses and of appointment of new judges. He starts his letter with advice about importance of justice in Islam and establishes that “Qada” is a firm obligation. then he guides to understand the issue brought forward in a best possible way to issue just verdict. Another beautiful point raised was about equal treatment of both the conflicting parties. Any gesture from the judge must not reflect baisness of the judge. One important rule followed in international and domestic law, was inscribed by him too; burden of the proof lies on plantiff while the obligation of the oath is on the defendant and respondent. He said that reconciliation is allowed between muslisms but only in a case when reconciliation does not promote the act of crime or inhibit a halal act.
Unlike modern day judicial settlements, which follow doctrine of precident, res judicata, estoppel, letter of Hazrat Umar Farooq established a unique law of estoppel. it said that any judgment must not deter the judge to review on basis o rationality and reasoning. To revise a decision for upholding truth is much better than letting the null and void continue. The judge was advised to be perceptive, unlike modern day justice which solely relies on “witness and evidence” but not truth. How ever, the judgment must be strictly in line with the guidance provided by Quran and Sunnah. Though a judge was allowed to use his senses and perception in a case where direct rulings from Quran and Sunnah were unavailable, but the final check of coherence with islamic principles was a must for every decision being made. In letter of Hazrat Umer, Malik Ashtar was further advised to setup a deadline for a complainant to produce evidence. Wisdom behind this order was to deliver timely justice.
Some rules regarding witness were also mentioned. Although Hazrat Umar advised to act fairly for all, but he instructed to examine the quality of witness. A person convicted of “hadd” or has been found guilty of false witness previously or is seen serving personal interests of relatives and friends, would not be trusted as a witness.
Lastly he advised the chief, judge, governor or the person in command to be aware of his activities. He must not get angry or annoyed while providing justice to people. Since providing justice is one of the holy acts, a person faithful in his adjudication will get highest rewards from ALLAH subhana hu wa tala in both worlds.