The Pact of Umar

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The Pact of Umar (العهدة العمرية‎, Al-'Uhda Al-'Umariyya) (637 AD) is an agreement between a subdued Christian population and the Muslim invaders lead by Umar Ibn Al-Khattab, the second Rightly-guided Caliph.

Text of Pact

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful. This is a document to the servant of Allah `Umar, the Leader of the faithful, from the Christians of such and such city. When you (Muslims) came to us we requested safety for ourselves, children, property and followers of our religion. We made a condition on ourselves that:

  • we will neither erect in our areas a monastery,
  • church,
  • or a sanctuary for a monk,
  • nor restore any place of worship that needs restoration
  • nor use any of them for the purpose of enmity against Muslims.
  • We will not prevent any Muslim from resting in our churches whether they come by day or night,
  • and we will open the doors [of our houses of worship] for the wayfarer and passerby.
  • Those Muslims who come as guests, will enjoy boarding and food for three days.
  • We will not allow a spy against Muslims into our churches and homes or hide deceit [or betrayal] against Muslims.
  • We will not teach our children the Qur'an,
  • publicize practices of Shirk,
  • invite anyone to Shirk
  • or prevent any of our fellows from embracing Islam, if they choose to do so.
  • We will respect Muslims,
  • move from the places we sit in if they choose to sit in them.
  • We will not imitate their clothing, caps, turbans, sandals, hairstyles, speech, nicknames and title names,
  • or ride on saddles,
  • hang swords on the shoulders, collect weapons of any kind or carry these weapons.
  • We will not encrypt our stamps in Arabic,
  • or sell liquor.
  • We will have the front of our hair cut,
  • wear our customary clothes wherever we are,
  • wear belts around our waist,
  • refrain from erecting crosses on the outside of our churches
  • and demonstrating them and our books in public in Muslim fairways and markets.
  • We will not sound the bells in our churches, except discretely,
  • or raise our voices while reciting our holy books inside our churches in the presence of Muslims,
  • nor raise our voices [with prayer] at our funerals,
  • or light torches in funeral processions in the fairways of Muslims, or their markets.
  • We will not bury our dead next to Muslim dead,
  • or buy servants who were captured by Muslims.
  • We will be guides for Muslims and refrain from breaching their privacy in their homes.'
  • We will not beat any Muslim.

These are the conditions that we set against ourselves and followers of our religion in return for safety and protection. If we break any of these promises that we set for your benefit against ourselves, then our Dhimmah (promise of protection) is broken and you are allowed to do with us what you are allowed of people of defiance and rebellion.'[1]
The Pact of Umar


Some secular scholars, and more recently, certain apologists, have doubted the authenticity of this document (as they also have with the hadith literature and the Qur'an itself), but what they do not doubt is that what is described within this document was actually practiced by the early Muslims. For example, the use of distinguishing marks is consistent with documentary and archaeological evidence from seventh and eighth century Iraq and Syria.[2]

Regardless of what secular scholars say, this document is universally accepted as genuine by mainstream Muslims. This view is echoed by some of Islam's greatest scholars and historians, including al-Khallal (d. 923 AD), Ibn Hazm (d. 1063 AD), al-Tartushi (d. 1126 AD), Ibn Qudama (d. 1123 AD), Ibn Taymiyyah (d. 1138 AD), Ibn ‘Asakir (d. 1176 AD), Ibn al-Qayyim (d. 1350 AD), Ibn Kathir, al-Hindi and ‘Ali ‘Ajin. The eighth-century Hanafi jurist, Abu Yusuf, further noted that the terms in the Pact dealing with dhimmis are clearly in agreement with the Qur'an and hadith literature. Therefore, the Pact "stands till the day of resurrection."

Wikipedia Article "Covenant of Umar I"

The corresponding Wikipedia article "Covenant of Umar I" states "Some Palestinian Christians and Muslims see the document as having the force of law, even after more than thirteen centuries."[3] While this may at first seem impressive, one must consider the fact that the Christians of Palestine (unless mentioned to dispel the so-called myth of “all Arabs being Muslim”) are a forgotten minority, who regularly face persecution and even death. There is little surprise they would support a humiliating pact which officially labels them as second-class citizens, for it spares their lives and the lives of their loved ones. It is a given that African-Americans were relieved when slavery was outlawed by the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States' Constitution in 1865. This hardly makes the Jim Crow Laws any more acceptable.

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See Also

  • Pact of Umar - A hub page that leads to other articles related to the Pact of Umar
  • Library - WikiIslam's online library of books


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External Links


  1. Tafsir ibn Kathir - Paying Jizyah is a Sign of Kufr and Disgrace
  2. Robinson, Chase F. - Neck-Sealing in early Islam - (BRILL) Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient, Volume 48, Number 3, 2005 , pp. 401-441(41)
  3. Covenant of Umar I - Wikipedia, June 29, 2010