In the Name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful

Umar ibn Al-Khattab (RA) was an excellent judge of character. He (RA) used to say, “Do not be deceived by a man’s eloquence; rather whoever fulfills trusts and refrains from impugning people’s honor is a real man.”

And he used to say, “Do not look at a man’s prayer or fasting; rather look at his reason and honesty.”

Once a man gave testimony in a case, and Umar (RA) asked the people if anyone could vouch for the man’s character. One person said to him, ‘I will vouch for him, O Ameer ul Mumineen (Leader of the Muslims).’

Umar (RA) asked him, “Are you his neighbor?” He said, “No.”

He (RA) then asked, “Did you spend a day with him and come to know his real character?” The man said, ‘No.’

He (RA) asked next, “Did you travel with him? For traveling and being away from home reveal a man’s true essence.” Again the man said, No.

Umar (RA) said, “Perhaps you saw him in the mosque, standing, sitting and praying?”

At that the man said, ‘Yes.’

Umar (RA) said, “Go away, for you do not know him.”

He (RA) used to say to the people, “There are two types of people of whom I have no fear for you: a believer whose faith is obvious and a kafir (disbeliever in Allah and His Messenger) whose kufr (disbelief in Allah and His Messenger) is obvious. Rather, I fear for you the hypocrite who hides behind a show of faith but strives for some other purpose.”

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