S.A. Bent, comp. Familiar Short Sayings of Great Men. 1887.

Omar I.

  • [The second caliph or successor of Mohammed; converted to Islamism, A.D. 615; succeeded Aboo-Bekr, 634; took Damascus, 635; Jerusalem, 638; conquered Syria and Persia, 638; subdued Egypt by his general Amru, 640–641; assassinated at Medina, 644.]
  • As to the books you have mentioned, if they contain what is agreeable with the book of God, in the book of God is sufficient without them; and if they contain what is contrary to the book of God, there is no need of them.

  • To his lieutenant Amru, who, after the capture of Alexandria, asked what should be done with the library. The librarian, a Christian, had asked for the books, of which no account had been made in the inventory of capture. On Omar’s answer the books fed the five thousand baths of Alexandria for six months. This is doubted by Gibbon; and denied by Fournier for two reasons,—first, because the caliph was never in Alexandria; and secondly, because the library had ceased to exist two and a half centuries before.