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1862 - 1931.

Born in the Batnan province. Omar Al Mukhtar is Omar bin Mukhtar bin Omar bin Farhat from the Gaith family of the Minfah tribe. His mother was Aisha Bint Imharb. Omar's father was one of the noble men of Minfah, his father was highly known for his generousity, Omar's father spent his years in the lands of Birqa, his father was also known to be a brave warrior in battle when ever war is waged between the tribes in libya. Omar's father died on a Hajj trip in 1878 , before his death, he asked one of his close friends, Al Sayed Al Ghuryani, to ask his brother Hussein Al Ghuryani to raise his son Omar and his brother. Ghuryani who used to be the tribe leader of the Janzor tribe accepted the request.

Omar Al Mukhtar was 16 years old when his father died, he learned all he needed to learn from his father about the rules of living in the desert, Omar was a nomad and was raised as one. Omar studied in the Janzor school and learned the basics of Arabic grammar and the Qur'an, during his studies, he showed excelence in horse riding, it was his favorite sport until his death.

Omar's class mates and teachers use to notice his natural born leadership abilities and his high charisma, his deep nomadic voice and concrete logic and honesty always grabed attention whenever he spoke, his social circle was huge, and was espicialy close towards his teachers. Al Sayed Al Mahdi Al Sanosi of the Sanosi movment used to say: " If we had 10 of Omar, it would be enough for us ".

Omar was relegious, he did his 5 daily prayers on time and read the Qur'an on a daily basis. He lived as a poor man all his life, when he started to be self sufficient, he started a family, and he supplied for him self and his family by using the few flocks of sheeps and small farm land he used to own, when ever he had guests over, he always repeated the phrase: " we are not stingy of what we own and we are not sorry for what we do not own. " He was always self satisfied with the few material possesions he owned.

In 1886 at age 24 he stoped his education and worked towards a higher goal since Libya was in danger, Libya was under Ottoman rule and the drums of war was beating from Italy. The Italians saw Libya as their own from the Roman times.

Omar enlraged his social circle and started moving from tribe to tribe and made close ties between the tribes and Omar became well known. He started learning the different customs of every tribe and learned about the different logos every tribe used to tattoe on the horses camels and sheep.

Because of his travels and huge social circle, he got married 6 times. The first marriage was from Najwah Al Mabrook bint Said Abo Wazeer, after her death he married her sister Zainah, Zainah died outside of Libya after Omar's death. Omar's 3rd wife was Waneesah bint Al-Sayed Abdul-Allah Al-Jelani. His 4th wife was Karimah Al-Hajj Bo-Farwah Al-Bor'osi, they were later divorced. His 5th wife was the wife of his close friend Mohammed Bo-Najwah Al-Fahasi, he married her after her husband died in battle, she died in the Mohariqiyah battle against the Italians, his 6th wife was her little sister.

Libya was the only state left under Ottoman rule in north Africa, Algeria fell to France in 1830 and in 1880 Tunis also fell to France, Britain occupied Egypt in 1882 and continued its occupation southward to Sudan in 1896, it was obvious that the European colonizers wanted to engulf and colonize the entire Arab world.

October 1911 was a turning point for Omar Al Mukhtar, it was in this year that the Italians started invading Ottoman controlled Libya. The tribe men in Libya started gathering to discuss whether or not Jihad should be waged or not. The Libyans lacked modern military like a major European nation. The majority voted not to resist the invasion since doing so is suicide, but Ahmad Al-Sharif saw that resisting the invasion and waging Jihad was a religious duty as well as a national duty. Omar Al-Mukhtar was assigned to spread the news of Jihad to the green mountain area and Birqa.

Although the war seemed to be Italian vs Ottoman empire in Libya by international law, it wasn’t so, the native Libyans were the meat and bones of the resistance, the Ottoman Turks had 5000 troops spread between Benghazi and Tripoli.

The Libyans considered it a religious duty to defend their land, Omar used to repeat phrases like: " I will not leave this land until I meet my maker, death is closer to me than anything else and I am waiting for it by the minute. ". " I will not leave this spot until the prophets return, the rewards of performing hajj are insignificant compared to the rewards of defending my people. ". " It is compulsory for every Muslim to perform Jihad, the rewards are not for people but Allah will give us rewards. ". " I ask Allah to make this cause blessed. ".

In 1929 Omar once explained to the Italian general Batilio why he was fighting Italy in the Sedi Arhomah meeting even though Libya was losing so much.

Omar: " If it wasn’t for these wars, you wouldn’t have seen a single Arab walking in Libya and you would instead see Italians living here. "

In 1931 right before Omar's public hanging, Graciani asked Omar: " why did you fight the Faciaisit government? ".

Omar replied: " for my country and religion. "

Graciani: " What did you think you could have accomplished? ".

Omar: " Nothing but kicking you out of my country because you are invaders, defending our land is compulsory and victory or lose is from Allah. "

Graciani: " Are you fighting for the Sanosi movement?"

Omar (Pissed off and eyes locked at Graciani): " Your claims are not right, our cause is as clear as the sun and has no dust in it, our cause is for our nation and religion "

Graciani: " Were you ordered to kill the pilots Hoper and Biati? "

Omar: " Yes, all errors and accusations are the responsibilities of the leader, and war is war. "

Graciani: " With all your leadership abilities, how many days would it take you to submit the Libyan rebels to our rule and end the war? "

Omar: " I can’t do a thing, me and the rebels took an oath not to surrender until we die, I think you already know this and have seen it happen. "

Graciani wrote in his memoirs: " Omar entered my office the same way he left it, I was full of admiration towards him when he entered and I was still full of admiration when he left. "

When the court in Sor're'ya ordered its ruling by hanging Omar. Omar said: " real justice is with Allah and not your fake justice, to Allah we belong and to Allah we will return. "

In September 16th 1931, huge crowds were gathered from concentration camps to witness his hanging, the Italians wanted to set an example, the crowds heard Omar say right before his death: " Believing soul, return to your maker satisfied ".

Omar was known as the desert lion by the Italians.

In 2001, new major street in Italy was named after him, the Libyan news papers described the move as an apology from the Italian government.

Anthony Quinn played as Omar Al Mukhtar in the movie Al Mukhtar.

Pictures of Omar during his arrest

http://www.libyanet.com/omar2.jpg

http://www.libyanet.com/omar1000.jpg

References:

3/4th of the above writeup was grabbed from libyanet.com and translated from Arabic to English, the pages in libyanet were freeware and had references from Italian and Libyan historians from the 40s and 50s.

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