Umar's Assurance

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Not to be confused with the Pact of Umar.

Umar's Assurance, or al-ʿUhda al-ʿUmariyya (Arabic: العهدة العمرية‎‎), is an assurance of safety given by the Caliph Umar ibn al-Khattab to the people of Aelia, the Roman name for Jerusalem. Several versions of the Assurance exist, with different views of their authenticity.[1]

The significance of the Assurance is discussed by early Muslim historians such as al-Waqidi, al-Baladhuri, in addition to Ibn al-Athir and Abu al-Fida’. The text of the document is included, either abridged or as long text, in the works al-Ya'qubi, Eutychius, al-Tabari (copied from Sayf ibn Umar), al-Himyari, Mujir al-Din al-Hanbali, and Ibn al-Jawzi.[2]

Opinions differ on the authenticity of the different versions of the Assurance.[1] Many historians have questioned the authenticity of the Christian versions of this pact and argue that such documents were forged by Christian scribes to secure their possession of some religious sites.[3][4] Some historians consider aspects of al-Tabari's version to be authentic.[5] For instance, Moshe Gil while discussing al-Tabari's version points out that "the language of the covenant and its details appear authentic and reliable and in keeping with what is known of Jerusalem at the time."[6]

Historical background[edit]

By 637 AD, Muslim armies began to appear in the vicinity of Jerusalem. In charge of Jerusalem was Patriarch Sophronius, a representative of the Byzantine government, as well as a leader in the Christian Church. Although numerous Muslim armies under the command of Khalid ibn al-Walid and 'Amr ibn al-'As began to surround the city, Sophronius accepted to surrender but he demanded that Umar come to accept the surrender himself.

Having heard of such a condition, Umar ibn al-Khattab left Medina to Jerusalem.


  1. ^ a b Abu-Munshar 2007, p. 88.
  2. ^ Abu-Munshar 2007, p. 89.
  3. ^ Morony, M. G. (2005). Hendrika Lena Murre-van den Berg; Theo Maarten Van Lint; Jan J. Ginkel, eds. Redefining Christian Identity: Cultural Interaction in the Middle East Since the Rise of Islam. Peeters Publishers. pp. 22–23. ISBN 978-90-429-1418-6. Retrieved 19 January 2013. 
  4. ^ ʻOded, Peri (2001). Christianity Under Islam in Jerusalem: The Question of the Holy Sites in Early Ottoman Times. BRILL. p. 128. ISBN 978-90-04-12042-6. Retrieved 19 January 2013. 
  5. ^ Abu-Munshar 2007, p. 94.
  6. ^ Gil, Moshe (1997-02-27). A History of Palestine, 634-1099. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521599849. 


  • Abu-Munshar, Maher Y. (2007-09-15). Islamic Jerusalem and its Christians: a history of tolerance and tensions. Tauris Academic Studies. ISBN 9781845113537. 

Further reading[edit]