The Pact of Umar (also known as the Covenant of Umar, Treaty of Umar or Laws of Umar; Arabic: ? or or ), is an apocryphal treaty between the Muslims and the Christians of either Syria, Mesopotamia, or Jerusalem that later gained a canonical status in Islamic jurisprudence. It specifies rights and restrictions for non-Muslims (dhimmis) living under Islamic rule.
There are several versions of the pact, differing both in structure and stipulations. While the pact is traditionally attributed to the second Rashidun Caliph Umar ibn Khattab, other jurists and orientalists have doubted this attribution with the treaty being attributed to 9th century Mujtahids (Islamic scholars) or the Umayyad Caliph Umar II. This treaty should not be confused with Umar's Assurance of safety to the people of Aelia (known as al-?Uhda al-?Umariyya, Arabic: ?).
In general, the pact contains a list of rights and restrictions on non-Muslims (dhimmis). By abiding to them, non-Muslims are granted security of their persons, their families, and their possessions. Other rights and stipulations may also apply. According to Ibn Taymiyya, one of the jurists who accepted the authenticity of the pact, the dhimmis have the right "to free themselves from the Covenant of 'Umar and claim equal status with the Muslims if they enlisted in the army of the state and fought alongside the Muslims in battle."
According to Abu-Munshar, the historical origin of the document may lie in an agreement made between the Muslim conquerors and the Christians of Jazira or Damascus which was later extended to Dhimmis elsewhere. He further writes that, "The humiliating conditions enumerated in the so-called "Pact of Umar" are utterly foreign to the mentality, thoughts and practices of this caliph...The deficiencies [in the textual integrity] support the contention that Umar was not the originator of the document." Some Western historians suggest that the document was based on Umar's Assurance, a treaty concluded between Umar ibn Khattab and the Patriarch of Jerusalem, Sophronius following the capture of Jerusalem by the Rashidun Caliphate (637), while others believe the document was either the work of 9th century Mujtahids or was forged during the reign of the Umayyad Caliph Umar II (717-720), with other clauses added later. Other scholars concluded that the document may have originated in immediate post-conquest milieu and was stylized by later historians.
Western scholars' opinions varied about the Pact's authenticity. According to Anver M. Emon, "There is intense discussion in the secondary literature" about the Pact's authenticity, With scholars disagreeing on whether it might have originated during the reign of Umar b. al-Khattab or was "a later invention retroactively associated with Umar -- the caliph who famously led the initial imperial expansion -- to endow the contract of dhimma with greater normative weight?" A.S. Tritton is one scholar who has "suggested that the Pact is a fabrication" because later Muslim conquerors did not apply its terms to their agreements with their non-Muslim subjects, which they would have if the pact had existed earlier. Another scholar Daniel C. Dennet believes that the Pact was "no different from any other treaty negotiated in that period and that it is well within reason that the Pact we have today , as preserved in al-Tabari's chronicle is an authentic version of that early treaty." Historian Abraham P. Bloch writes that, "Omar was a tolerant ruler, unlikely to impose humiliating conditions upon non-Muslims, or to infringe upon their religious and social freedoms. His name has been erroneously associated...with the restrictive Covenant of Omar."
"A later generation attributed to 'Umar a number of restrictive regulations which hampered the Christians in the free exercise of their religion, but De Goeje and Caetani have proved without doubt that they are the invention of a later age; as, however, Muslim theologians of less tolerant periods accepted these ordinaces as genuine ....
The book Classical Islam: a Sourcebook of Religious Literature, quotes a version of the Pact from Kitab al-Umm of al-Shafi'i (d.204/820) that it says may be "a forerunner to the later document which gained something of a canonical status, making it applicable in many locations ..."
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There are several different versions of the pact that differ both in their language and stipulations.
It is in harmony with the same spirit of kindly consideration for his subjects of another faith, that 'Umar is recorded to have allowed an allowance of money and food to be made to some christian lepers, apparently out of the public funds.;(https://dl.wdl.org/17553/service/17553.pdf])
A later generation attributed to 'Umar a number of restrictive regulations which hampered the Christians in the free exercise of their religion, but De Goeje and Caetani have proved without doubt that they are the invention of a later age;(online)