Pact Of Umar Analysis

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Shortly after Muhammed founded Islam, Muslims began ruling the Arab lands. Jews lived as a minority under a variety of Muslim-ruled governments. Their rights and privileges were significantly less than that of their Muslim counterparts. In fact, Jews were part of the Dhimmi, which was considered to be any non-believer of Islam. A constant in these hierarchical relationships was Muslims in government and Jewish subjugation. Some scholars say that the motivation behind this oppression was religious; Muslims were simply practicing Islam and trying to gain converts. Another widely-held view is that the Muslims were governing purely for economic gain, regardless of their subjects. The “Pact of Umar” and “A Christian and a Jewish Notable Pay Their …show more content…
Ghanam put the “Pact of Umar” into writing form. The footnote mentions that he died in the year 697, suggesting that this pact came into effect in the mid to late 7th Century. Additionally, the introduction notes that Umar, a Muslim, had just made peace with the Christian inhabitants of Syria. The introduction states that, “we wrote him the following.” (Stillman 157). From this, it can be discerned that “The Pact of Umar” is an agreement between Umar, who is representing the government and Muslim majority, and the Christian minority. It is universally accepted that “The Pact of Umar” was the rule of law for all Dhimmi, so the obligations extend to Jews as well. The author explains that the Muslims had made forceful advances on the minorities and agreed protect them with certain stipulations. Although these obligations are written by the minority, the authority is evidently in the hands of Umar and the …show more content…
“The Pact of Umar” includes multiple obligations that deal with appearance of non-Muslims, and all of them have one thing in common. They ensure that the Dhimmi look as different from the Muslims as possible. “We shall not attempt to resemble the Muslims in any way with regard to their dress…We shall not speak as they do…” (Stillman 157). This shows a need for Muslims to distance themselves from the Jews and other non-believers. There is no effort made for assimilation or standardization among appearance. The agreement goes even further “We shall clip the forelocks of our head.” (Stillman 158). As is the case with other obligations, this law has nothing to do with Islam or economic benefit. This is in the pact so that no Muslim is confused with a non-Muslim. In the eyes of a Muslim, it would be disrespectful to be mistaken for one of “them”- them being a non-believing minority. The “Pact of Umar” was an agreement written in the late 7th Century between Umar and the Dhimmi. It limits the rights of the Dhimmi but does not enforce Islam on them. Additionally, no mention is made of any economic laws or severe taxation. Umar decides to add an obligation onto the end of the agreement, meaning it would likely be extremely important to him. (Stillman 158). This deals with not striking any Muslim, which again, leaves Islamic tradition or teaching out of it. “The Pact of Umar” has a pervasive theme which involves

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