How Umar (ra) reacted to a natural disaster

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I read the below this morning and my love for this beloved companion of our Prophet (saw) just grew more. This Khalif was a true leader in every sense – subhanAllah I love Islamic history not because it tells good stories but because it talks about real people that dealt with real problems.

In the year 18H, a great drought overwhelmed the inhabitants of the Arabian Peninsula. There seemed no end to the drought, as people were on the verge of starvation. That year was called the year of the Ashes. It is noted Umar (ra) (the was the Khalif at the time) himself gave up meat and ghee until peoples lives improved. He said: “How will I come to care about the affairs of the people if I am not afflicted by that which afflicts them.”

Umar (ra) appointed a group of men to take care of the thousands of people that had come to Medinah looking for help and aid. Umar’s (ra) workers began the task of cooking for the refugees. Umar (ra) was very organised, making sure that each worker knew exactly what his job was, in order to avoid redundancies. He (ra) also appointed another group of workers to station themselves in the various outskirts of Medinah – they supervised the distribution of food to refugees. In the evenings all the workers would meet with Umar informing with the updates of the day. Umar (ra) also requested help from Egypt and Ash-Sham. And subhanAllah Umar (ra) himself worked in the camps.

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