Honoured by Sunni Muslims as the epitome of the just ruler, 'Umar, or Omar - the second Caliph - is one of the most significant figures in early Islamic history. His rule (634-44 CE) laid the foundations of an empire that has since defined, both culturally and geographically, the heartlands of the Islamic world. Shibli Numani's classic account (now revived, having been unavailable for decades), links the military conquests of the period with 'Umar's reforms in law, government and public administration. He describes the personal strengths, skills and character of 'Umar and evaluates his contribution to the ethos of Islam.
Shibli Numani was a distinguished Urdu scholar of Arabic and Persian who was active in the latter half of the nineteenth century. He was one of the circle of Indian Muslim intellectuals who, led by Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, founded Aligarh Muslim University in 1875.