Although his military power became known throughout the world, his character had also reached the ears of every person. Omar’s personality and integrity impressed even his colonialist enemies as he stuck to the Islamic principles even though the worst war crimes and brutal occupation faced him and his people. In a spectacular case of true leadership, they had once captured some Italian soldiers and made them prisoners. One of Omar’s soldiers wanted to kill them but Omar stopped him saying: “We do not kill prisoners!” then the soldier replied “They do it to us” and then Omar spoke and said “They are not our teachers.”

These are many statements said about this magnificent man. An author called A. Del Boca said about him: “Omar is not only an example of religious faith and a born fighter but also the builder of that perfect military-political organization, which for ten years kept in check troops under four governors.” Omar’s implacable adversary, General Graziani, gave us this physical and moral description, which is not lacking in admiration: “Omar was endowed with a quick and lively intelligence; was knowledgeable in religious matters, and revealed an energetic and impetuous character, unselfish and uncompromising; ultimately, he remained very religious and poor, even though he had been one of the most important Senusist figures.”

On September 11, 1931, he was ambushed near Zonta and was finally captured. With dignity and calm he faced up to the immediate situation and accepted his death sentence with the words: “From God we came and to God we must return.” The execution of the old fighter—carried out in the concentration camp of Solluq on September 16—caused great indignation in the Muslim World. His last words were ayahs from the Qur’an which said, “[To the righteous it will be said], “O reassured soul, return to your Lord, well-pleased and pleasing [to Him], And enter among My [righteous] servants and enter My Paradise.” (89:27-30) May Allah grant us a man like him to restore our dignity, Islamic values and power.

By Muhaimin Hussain

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