Webinar: Lessons from the life of ʿUmar II

Webinar: Lessons from the life of ʿUmar II

In this webinar, I discuss the life of one of my favorite heroes, ʿUmar II aka ʿUmar bin ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz (RA). We do a deep dive into his life covering various accomplishments of his and extracting a lot of important lessons from his life.

To continue learning lessons from the life of ʿUmar bin ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz, get the eBook that this webinar is based on here: https://gumroad.com/l/umar2

The eBook is also available at Amazon in both Kindle and Paperback format.

Posted by Ismail Kamdar in Islam, Leadership, 0 comments
The upbringing of ʿUmar bin ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz

The upbringing of ʿUmar bin ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz

This article is made up of selected passages from my latest book; Productivity Principles Of ʿUmar II. To learn more about this book, click here.

Family Background

ʿUmar b. ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz, aka ʿUmar II, was a descendant of the Umayyads on his father’s side and a descendant of ʿUmar b. al-Khaṭṭāb on his mother’s side. He was named after his maternal great grandfather.

On his father’s side, he was ʿUmar, son of ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz, son of Marwān, son of al- Ḥakam, son of Abī al-ʿĀṣ, son of Umayyah.[1] King ʿAbd al-Mālik was his father’s brother, and that made Walīd and Sulaimān his first cousins.

On his mother’s side, he was ʿUmar, son of Layla, daughter of ʿĀṣim, son of ʿUmar, son of al-Khaṭṭāb. The story of how his grandparents met is often retold in Muslim circles due to its mythical and mysterious nature. When ʿUmar I was caliph, he had a habit of going around at night in disguise to see if anybody needed help. One night, he overheard a conversation between a young lady and her mother. The mother was telling her daughter to mix milk with water and sell it in the market. Her daughter reminded her that Caliph ʿUmar had prohibited such practices. The mother said, “ʿUmar cannot see you.” To which the daughter replied, “But the Lord of ʿUmar can.”

ʿUmar was so impressed by this reply that he asked his servant to find out who that young lady was. When he learned more about her, he approached her with an offer to marry his son ʿĀṣim. She accepted the offer, and they got married. It is narrated that later ʿUmar had a dream, after which he used to say, “I wish I knew the man from my descendants, with a scar on his face, [2] who will fill the earth with justice, just as it was full of injustice and oppression.”[3] Many Muslim historians claim that the just ruler ʿUmar saw in his dream was actually ʿUmar II.

How he was raised

Greatness does not occur in a vacuum. Great people are often the products of extraordinary parenting, and the parents of ʿUmar II were extraordinary.

In this section, I will focus primarily on ʿUmar’s mother Layla and how she raised him. The reason for this is twofold: First, as a governor, ʿUmar’s father was very busy running the province, therefore there are fewer narrations about the role he played in his son’s life. As a result, most stories are about ʿUmar’s mother and the choices she made. Secondly, we live in a time in which motherhood is often demeaned and overlooked. Women are taught to choose careers and money over children and parenting, and stay-at-home mums are frowned upon. Because of this, entire generations are losing out on one of the most important factors that contribute to success: extraordinary mothers.

ʿUmar II was born into the second generation of Muslims following Prophet Muhammad (s), at a time when traditional culture was still the norm. Traditional culture dictates that fathers work to provide for their families, while the mother plays the primary role in raising and nurturing the children. This view of clearly identified and balanced roles is part of the Islamic tradition, as well as the tradition of many other cultures and religions, and it is a precept that worked perfectly. It was only in recent times that the dominant culture has changed, and the results have been disastrous.

So, as was the norm at the time, ʿUmar’s father worked to support the family, and his mother focused on raising her children as best as she could. The results of her efforts are clear: an extraordinary and pious king, ʿUmar II.

Layla made several decisions that highlight her concern for her ʿUmar’s upbringing. She sent him to the greatest scholars of Medina to study Islam, so that he would not just learn the knowledge of the religion but would also see the active example of his teachers’ piety and personal virtues. Her decision gave ʿUmar the opportunity to emulate the behavior of the scholars as well as learning the knowledge they shared. ʿUmar’s mother chose ʿUmar’s grand-uncle ʿAbd Allāh b. ʿUmar to be his mentor so that ʿUmar could absorb the religion and piety directly from the first generation of Muslims. (Ibn ʿUmar was a companion of Prophet Muhammad) And when she migrated to Egypt, she left her son back in Madina so that he would grow up in the best possible environment.[4]

The decision to leave ʿUmar in Madina was particularly difficult. ʿUmar lived in an era before technology. By leaving him in Medina, his mother was sacrificing being physically close to her son in exchange for him growing up in a better environment. This would be an extremely difficult sacrifice for any parent to make, but the results speak for themselves.

As a result of these this mother’s three amazing decisions: educating ʿUmar in Medina under the scholars of Islam, choosing ʿUmar’s grand-uncle ʿAbd Allāh b. ʿUmar to be her son’s mentor, and leaving ʿUmar behind when she moved to Egypt, ʿUmar grew up to become one of the most extraordinary Muslims of his generation. ʿUmar benefited greatly from the environment of Medina. He became more religious, knowledgeable, and empathetic than his cousins. His growth into an extraordinary individual can be directly attributed to the amazing sacrifices his mother made in raising him.

To learn more, purchase the full book, which is currently available in PDF, Paperback and Kindle formats.

Purchase the PDF Edition here: https://gumroad.com/l/umar2
Purchase the Kindle Edition here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07ZQ27KSW
Purchase the Paperback Edition here: https://www.amazon.com/Productivity-Principles-%CA%BFUmar-II-al-%CA%BFAz%C4%ABz/dp/1703555384/

[1] As-Sallabi, ʿUmar Bin ʿAbd al- ʿAzīz, p. 48

[2] ʿUmar II had a scar on his face from a horse-accident during his childhood. His parents took this as a good sign that the vision was about him. (As-Sallabi, ʿUmar BinʿAbd al- ʿAzīz, p. 55)

[3] al-Dhahabī, Siyar aʿlām al-Nubalāʾ, vol. 5, p. 122

[4] As-Sallabi, ʿUmar Bin ʿAbd al- ʿAzīz, pp. 59-60

Posted by Ismail Kamdar in Leadership, 1 comment
20 Facts about the Islamic Golden Ages

20 Facts about the Islamic Golden Ages

The Islamic Golden Ages refers to points in time when Muslims were the dominant civilization in the world. It was a time of prosperity and cultural advancement. The Muslims led the world in almost every single field. I discuss the rise and fall of the Golden Age in more detail in this course.

This short article serves as a simple fact sheet on the Golden Ages, to help readers remember some core facts about these beautiful parts of our history. All the facts listed below are taken from authentic history books.

Facts About The Eras

  1. There were three Islamic Golden Ages (so far).
  2. The first two occurred concurrently in the Abbasid Empire and Umayyad Spain.
  3. The second occurred during the middle phase of the Ottoman Era.
  4. The Umayyad and Abbasid Golden Ages produced far more important developments than the Ottoman Golden Age.
  5. All of these Golden Ages were possible because the Muslim rulers of that time were committed to research, education, and development.

Facts About The Umayyad Golden Age

  1. It did not occur when the Umayyads were the sole rulers of the Muslim world. It occurred when their authority was restricted to Spain.
  2. Under Umayyad rule, Spain became the most advanced civilization in Europe at that time.
  3. The Umayyads built some of the most impressive buildings in history, including the Alhambra Palace, Madina al-Zahra and the Cordoba Mosque.
  4. The height of their Golden Age was the reign of Abdur Rahman III which lasted for fifty years.
  5. Spain remained a Muslim land for around three hundred years after the Umayyad Era, but it never experienced another Golden Age.
Cordoba Mosque
The Cordoba Mosque remains one of the most beautiful buildings in Spain.

Facts About the Abbasid Golden Age

  1. The Abbasid Golden Age began with Harun al-Rashid and lasted a few centuries.
  2. It was the longest of all the Islamic Golden ages and the most significant.
  3. Mamun al-Rashid set up Bait al-Hikmah (House of Wisdom) as the main research center in Baghdad. Many important discoveries and inventions can be traced back to Bait al-Hikmah.
  4. Math, Science, Fiqh, Hadith, Tafsir, Language, Philosophy, Medicine, and many other important fields all developed greatly during this Golden Age.
  5. The Abbasid Golden Age ended with the sacking of Baghdad by the Mongols in which thousands of important books were destroyed.

Facts about the Ottoman Golden Age

  1. The Ottoman Empire reached its Golden Age during the reign of Sulaiman the Magnificent.
  2. At the height of Sulaiman’s reign, he ruled fifty countries across three continents.
  3. The reign of Sulaiman lasted forty-five years.
  4. The main advancements of Muslim civilization during the Ottoman Era were in the fields of military science and politics.
  5. The Ottoman Era only ended less than a century ago during World War I.

These are just a few interesting facts about the Muslim Golden Ages. To learn more, check out our full online course here.

Golden Age Buildings
A remnant of the Islamic Golden Ages.
Posted by Ismail Kamdar in Leadership, 0 comments
The Islamic Mentorship Paradigm:  A Case Study of Ṣalāḥ ad-Dīn and Nūr ad-Dīn

The Islamic Mentorship Paradigm: A Case Study of Ṣalāḥ ad-Dīn and Nūr ad-Dīn

Mentor: An experienced and trusted adviser.

In the world of business, mentors are crucial for success. Every good business book recommends getting a mentor to help you succeed in your field. This is true in Islam as well. Mentorship has always been an important part of Islamic relationships.

But how does the Islamic concept of mentorship differ from modern understanding?

In this article, we will explore the answer to this question through a practical example; the relationship between Ṣalāḥ ad-Dīn al-Ayūbī and his mentor Nūr ad-Dīn al-Zengī.

Brief Biographies of Ṣalāḥ ad-Dīn and Nūr ad-Dīn

Nūr ad-Dīn al-Zengī was a commander of the Seljuk army in Syria during the 12th Century. His father ʿImād al-Dīn was also the commander of the Seljuk army, and he took over the army after his father’s death. Nūr ad-Dīn conquered Damascus, liberating it from the rule of the crusaders’ allies, and unified the greater Syrian region making it part of the Seljuk Empire. However, he wasn’t able to liberate Jerusalem, which remained under crusader control. (Alkhateeb, pp. 100-101)

Nūr ad-Dīn was the teacher, commander, and mentor of Ṣalāḥ ad-Dīn al-Ayūbī. In was under his care that Ṣalāḥ ad-Dīn grew into the successful leader that he is renowned across the globe for being. Ṣalāḥ ad-Dīn spent his youth training under Nūr ad-Dīn and developed a very close relationship with him. (Sallabi, vol. 2 pp. 30-31)

Ṣalāḥ ad-Dīn al-Ayūbī is one of the most famous Muslim leaders in history. He was a commander of the Abbasid army during the 12th Century. He is most famous for fighting against the crusader invasion and repelling them from the region. Ṣalāḥ ad-Dīn’s legacy can be summarized in three major accomplishments; liberating Egypt from the Fāṭimids, liberating Jerusalem from the Crusaders, and establishing the Ayūbī Dynasty in Egypt. (Alkhateeb, p. 102)

The details about Ṣalāḥ ad-Dīn’s life, and his relationship with Nūr ad-Dīn, in this article, have been extracted primarily from Dr. Ali Salabi’s three-volume book Salah ad-Deen al-Ayubi. Firas Alkhateeb’s Lost Islamic History was also consulted for additional details.

Islamic Mentorship: A Spiritual Framework

This brief summary of Ṣalāḥ ad-Dīn’s life and accomplishments doesn’t reveal any differences between the Islamic and modern systems of mentorship. Through effective mentorship, Ṣalāḥ ad-Dīn grew into a confident leader who achieved worldly success and accomplished his goals. He was even able to accomplish some of the goals that his mentor was unable to accomplish, like the liberation of Egypt and Palestine.

However, there is a big difference between the two systems of mentorship that can only be uncovered by digging deeper. That is what we will focus on now.

While it is true that both modern mentorship and Islamic mentorship are effective in achieving worldly goals, it is important to note that this is not the primary focus of Islamic Mentorship. It is simply a byproduct of it. The focus of Islamic mentorship is on achieving righteousness, eternal salvation, and the life of Barakah.

The achievement of worldly goals, in this context, is considered a matter of destiny. The focus is on pleasing God, achieving closeness to Him, and attaining Barakah in this life. If all of this is accomplished, then worldly success is simply the cherry on top and a matter that is left up to destiny.

How Nūr ad-Dīn prepared Ṣalāḥ ad-Dīn for true success

Ṣalāḥ ad-Dīn started serving Nūr ad-Dīn at a very young age. Nūr ad-Dīn recognized his potential and developed a close relationship with him so that he could help him develop his skills. Ṣalāḥ ad-Dīn was so close to Nūr ad-Dīn that he was like a private secretary to him. (Sallabi, vol. 2 p. 30) It was in this position that he was able to learn from Nūr ad-Dīn’s personality.

Dr. Ali Sallabi describes the relationship between Nūr ad-Dīn and Ṣalāḥ ad-Dīn as follows:

Ṣalāḥ ad-Dīn was influenced by the Sultan Nūr ad-Dīn who gave him a brilliant example of devotion and a serious sense of religious responsibility; he learned from his sincerity and self-sacrifice, and how to converse with his lord in private prayer in his own place of worship, taking from that the spiritual strength to engage in Jihad. (Sallabi, vol. 2 p. 31)

This quotation summarizes some of the key differences be the Islamic and modern systems of mentorship. Nūr ad-Dīn’s methodology focused primarily on spiritual development. Prayer, sincerity, responsibility to God and devotion were all essential qualities that Nūr ad-Dīn helped Ṣalāḥ ad-Dīn develop. This fits in the Islamic Paradigm for success, which teaches us to be God-Centric, Purpose-Driven, Hereafter focused, Sincere, and have a sense of responsibility.

Nūr ad-Dīn taught Ṣalāḥ ad-Dīn how to take spiritual strength from prayer. This is an essential quality that every Muslim mentor needs to pass on to his/her mentees. A Muslim’s life must revolve around prayer, and this prayer should provide the necessary spiritual strength to fuel our productivity.

Nūr ad-Dīn also focused on a serious sense of religious responsibility. This is another important concept. Islamic culture emphasizes the importance of having a sense of responsibility. This sense of responsibility is religious in that God had made us His representatives on earth, and we are responsible to Allah for what we do with our lives. Ṣalāḥ ad-Dīn how was taught this sense of responsibility from a very young age, and it guided his focus for his entire life. This is the result of effective Islamic mentorship.

A third crucial quality that Nūr ad-Dīn taught Ṣalāḥ ad-Dīn was sincerity. In Islam, sincerity is crucial for success. Without sincerity, there is no reward, no Barakah, and no real success. Everything revolves around sincerity. This is why it is crucial for a Muslim mentor to guide his mentees towards sincerity. Without it, there is no success.

These are three of the most important things that Nūr ad-Dīn taught Ṣalāḥ ad-Dīn. from this relationship, we learn the proper Islamic method of mentorship, the focus points of such a relationship, and we can see the fruits in the results.

The effects of successful mentorship on Ṣalāḥ ad-Dīn

This beautiful mentorship led to the Barakah effect in the life of Ṣalāḥ ad-Dīn. Let us take a look at some of the blessed accomplishments on Ṣalāḥ ad-Dīn’s life.

Ṣalāḥ ad-Dīn converted Al-Azhar into a Sunni university. It continues to operate today and is currently the oldest active university in the world. Many of the greatest scholars of every generation since have studied or taught at al-Azhar University. This is the Barakah of sincerely setting up a traditional Islamic University in Egypt.

Ṣalāḥ ad-Dīn’s legacy is fondly remembered by Muslim and Non-Muslim alike. He remains a popular hero renowned for his justice, forgiveness, and tolerance to other faiths. He is even promoted as a hero in several movies, TV series and even videogames. How many leaders can say that Muslim and Non-Muslim alike will still take them as a role model a thousand years later?

The third aspect of Barakah in his legacy is the Ayūbī and subsequent Mamluk dynasties. Ṣalāḥ ad-Dīn’s conquest of Egypt created two amazing dynasties that ruled Egypt for centuries. First were the direct descendants of Ṣalāḥ ad-Dīn, the Ayūbīs. Then came the Mamluks, a dynasty of freed slaves who started life as loyal servants of the Ayūbīs. This legacy includes the Mamluks defeating the Mongols at the Battle of ʿAyn Jālūt, similar to how Ṣalāḥ ad-Dīn defeated the crusaders in Jerusalem.

All of these are clear examples of the Barakah found in the legacy of Ṣalāḥ ad-Dīn which carried on into his successors, and their successors. As long as sincerity remained, the Barakah remained, and it lasted for centuries.

Summary: Muslim mentors should primarily focus on spiritual success

As Muslims, we believe that success is in Allah’s Hands. It is a matter of destiny and so we should trust Allah’s plan for us. It is far more important for us to focus on spiritual development by improving our relationship with Allah, sincerity and focus on the afterlife. One of the ways to achieve this is through a strong mentor.

A good Muslim mentor will assist his mentee in changing their perspective from the material towards the spiritual. A good mentor, like Nūr ad-Dīn, would teach their mentee the importance of Salah, Dua, Tawakul, and sincerity.

A relationship like this is blessed and leads to Barakah in one’s efforts and projects. When seeking a mentor, we should seek out righteous mentors who can help us elevate ourselves spiritually, and move our goals in a direction that is pleasing to Allah.

Check out our latest eBook bundle. This bundle of 10 eBooks includes our bestsellers on self-confidence, time management, and goal-setting, and is currently available for only $30 here.

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History of the Umayyad Empire

History of the Umayyad Empire

This video is a module from my latest online course; Muslim Golden Ages: Rise & Fall.

Through this course, you will

  1. unlock the hidden history of Muslim civilizations that has been kept a secret for too long.
  2. discover the key contributions of Muslims to various arts and sciences.
  3. understand how the Muslims fell from power, and how history was rewritten to hide our accomplishments.
  4. be inspired to become the best version of yourself and rise to greater heights.
  5. contribute to a discussion on how the ummah can rebuild itself and enter a new golden age.

In this course, you will NOT learn about:

  1. Too many names, dates and locations. (The focus is on beneficial knowledge)
  2. Sectarianism. (The course focuses on positive contributions, not criticisms)
  3. Political history and wars. (unless relevant to the topics…like the Mongols!)

Who is this course for? (You, of course!)

  • History Buffs.
  • Muslims who are curious about their legacy.
  • Muslim Teenagers who want to learn the real history of science and culture.
  • Parents who want to teach their children the correct history of science and culture.
  • Anybody who is tired of the Islamaphobes controlling the narrative and wants to empower themselves with the true history of the Muslim world.

Who is this course NOT for?

  • Sectarians who want history to reflect their worldview.
  • People who are unable to study history without bias.
  • Anybody who has no interest in the history of the Muslim world at all.
  • Young children as some of the content is mature in nature!

Join the course today by clicking here.

Posted by Ismail Kamdar in Leadership, 0 comments