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The noble vision of Prince Khalifa.

After 1,291 years from the death of Khalifa Omar bin Abdul Aziz, one of the most strategic and great leaders of the Arab and Islamic world, another great leader is following his footsteps in the land where the Khalifa built the famous Khamis Mosque. The land of Delmun will always remember him and one of its sons will take his dream forward.

The visions of Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa echoes the simplistic reforms of the builder of the Khamis Mosque and Bahrain seems set to repeat that history.

The short rule of Omar bin Abdul Aziz was like an oasis in a vast desert -- like a benevolent rain that had fallen on an arid soil. It was the brightest period in the 91-year caliphate of the Umayyads, which, though short-lived, had transformed the outlook of the state and had released such powerful democratic forces.

This echoes Prince Khalifa's vision, which has turned this oasis called Bahrain into a testimonial to modern architecture.

Omar bin Abdul Aziz was a capable administrator, well-versed in his duties towards this world and the hereafter. He was extremely hardworking and when people urged him to take rest, he never heeded them. He had set before himself caliph Omar's administration as a model to be copied. We can read the history and remember the past four decades where His Royal Highness has never rested in his duties and has been an example of hard work for the new generation.

Omar bin Abdul Aziz was very kind and just towards non-Muslims and has been acknowledged by the "Encyclopaedia of Islam".

As a devout Muslim, he was not only graciously tolerant to the members of other creeds but also solicitous towards them. Christians, Jews and fire-worshippers were allowed to retain their churches, synagogues and temples.

Similarly, under His Majesty the King, His Royal Highness the Premier and His Royal Highness the Crown Prince, Bahrain has been tolerant to other religions in building their temples or places of worship.

All these measures added to the stability of the state and the prosperity of the people who lived in peace and tranquillity. During his short reign of two years, people had grown so prosperous and contented that one could hardly find a person who would accept alms.

In recent times how much we have missed the stability created by His Royal Highness Prince Khalifa during the past 40-50 years.

The strategic vision has been revealed only now when we can see the results though we could not understand his wisdom decades ago when this was unveiled.

Omar bin Abdul Aziz was a unique ruler from every point of view. The high standard of administration set by him could only be rivalled by the first four caliphs of Islam. "The reign of Omar II," writes Ameer Ali, "forms the most attractive period of the Umayyads domination."

The historians dwell with satisfaction on the work and aspirations of a ruler who made the welfare of his people the sole object of his ambition. His short but glorious reign has no match thence after.

A man with so many responsibilities, decisions and planning for future, the question arises of how an ordinary person can have so many talents in him? How can he still be motivated every day? And how can he remember all the details? It is a fact that such leaders repeat once every 12-13 centuries and we need to capitalise that to take maximum benefit of such leaders and showcase such individuals as the pride of our country and its great history.

It will not only benefit our generation and the next but generations several centuries ahead. Have we been fair to ourselves, the country and His Royal Highness to promote his uniqueness to the region and rest of the world?

Perhaps not, but I am sure many other countries have taken his wisdom towards their development. As other Europeans did to ancient Arab scientists, so it's time for us not only to recognise His Royal Highness in our heart but also in our mind, strategies, education, way of life and process of thinking.

Omar bin Abdul Aziz would have been proud to hand over his vision to one of his grandsons to achieve much more in the land of Delmun.

The author is a Bahrain-based management and technology expert

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Publication:Gulf Daily News (Manama, Bahrain)
Geographic Code:7BAHR
Date:Jun 23, 2015
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