Omar who sacrificed his life while trying to free

Omar al
mukhtar, born in the year 1856, is known in modern Libya as the heroic martyr
who sacrificed his life while trying to free Libya from Italian colonization.
As a child, Omar AL Mukhtar had lived in the region of
Cyrenaica, which was under the control of the Ottoman Empire. He had also lost
his father at a young age, and lived much of his youth in poverty. However, he
would not only change the course of his tribe, country and people, but also the
world of Libyan Muslims in the Post Colonial Era.

A short
while after his father had passed,
Omar al Mukhtar, at the age of 16, was brought
under the care and tutelage of one of the Sheikhs in his home town. As he grew
in age, he had developed a life style of only sleeping three hours per day in
order to stay awake the rest of the day worshiping god. He ended up memorizing
the whole Quran and reciting it every week. This has led people to see him as a
humble, and deeply religious man.

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He earned the name of
‘Lion of the Desert’ by defending the people he  was traveling to Sudan with, from a lion that blocked
their path. Instead of allowing his people give up a camel which was a prized
possession at the time, to the lion, he took a horse and a shot gun, and chased
the lion. Eventually he came back with the lions head. This has highlighted his
courage and maturity at that time.

 His fifties was marked by the dawn of the Italian
colonization (1911-1943) of Libya as. At a time when the world was being controlled
by European powers, Omar Al Mukhtar stood firm for Islam and faced the Italian colonizers
of Libya with great courage in the face of danger.  He had fought fiercely
against the French with a group called Banu Sanus, who would later be known as the
Sanusies. Briefly, they also fought the British. As part of a global “feast”,
Italy joined the European nations in causing havoc in the southern part of the
northern hemisphere by colonizing Libya. It was during this time, Omar Al
Mukhtar, gathered his forces in the face of an attack against Libya, his
homeland. Although, Al mukhtar was offered large sums of money to pacify this
resistance, he refused and responded with this quote: “I’m not a sweet bite of
a meal anyone can swallow. No matter how long they try to change my belief and
opinion, Allah is going to let them down.” They then suggested he leave his home
town to live closer to the ruling party complete with a monthly salary, but he
again refused by saying, “No, I will not leave my country until I meet my lord.
Death is closer to me than anything, I’m waiting for it by the minute.”

The Sanusi, Muhammad az-Zaway, who once fought with him against the
French, attempted to persuade him to retreat to Egypt with the rest of those
who had fought against the French. However, he refused to turn his back on the
enemy knowing well that his chances were slim against a force that was enlarging by the minute. He and his companions defended
themselves until only he and one of his companions were left. At last he was
thrown from his horse, causing him to fall to the ground. He was shackled and
brought to city called Suluq, where the Italian military post was. His trial
illustrated his bravery. He did not fear telling the truth, even though what he
says might be easily used against him. Al Mukhtar believed Jihad, which is
defined as a holy war waged
on behalf of Islam as a religious duty, was ordained upon every able
Muslim while his homeland was occupied by the colonizers. With his faith, heroism
and courage, Omar al Mukhtar earned the respect of even his enemies.

His hanging took place before
hundreds of people in 1931. Intending to scare the Muslims, the Italians,
however, did not succeed in doing this. In fact the opposite took place. His
hanging shook the entire Muslim world, and numerous rebellions took place
specifically in North Africa. His last quote was “Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’un.” Which means, “From god we
have come, and to god we will return.”

Omar Al Mukhtar is known for his braveness and courage in the resistance of the
Italian occupation of Libya in 1943. He is loved and appreciated by many. This
is proven by the fact that his face is printed on the Libyan 10 Dinar note.
Also many roads are named after him throughout the Arab world. However, the
Italians did manage to crush the rebellion after Omar Al Mukhtar was hanged. Without
a strong leader, the people had no fight left in them


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