Of all the caliphs or architects of Islamic history , Umar owns a distinct position for not only being a wise and just ruler and jurisprudent but also a brave , courageous, valiant , unafraid , dauntless , lion hearted and valorous soldier. He was born in 581 CE to Khatab ibne Noufel( an arab from Quraish tribe) and Hantama binte Hasham (banu makhzoom tribe) in Makkah . Umar belonged to Banu adi clan and a middle class family . Professionally his father was a merchant and widely famous for his intelligence among his tribesmen . In childhood Umar would tend his father's camels in Makkah . Though education was not much common at that time in Pre Islamic Arabia yet Umar was among those luckiest Arabs who knew early to read and write in youth but later he knew that his interest lied in poetry and literature. As per Quraish's traditionalism being teenager Umar learned Martial arts , wrestling and horse riding. Physically he was tall , bald at front , black eyes , reddish white skin , white shining teeth , he was ambidextrous ( using both his hands equally). Following the footsteps of his father Umar in his late youth became a merchant and mostly journeyed to Persia and Rome where he availed the opportunity to analyze Persian and Roman norms , values, customs, traditions and met their renowned scholors. He was a celebrated merchant among all his tribesmen. He was an orthodox polythiest like other Quraishs of that time and firmly believed that polytheism was a unifying factor among them but his belief seemed to be weakening when in 610 Muhammad (PBUH) started promulgating Islam ( the mono theistic faith) that taught to worship only Omnipotent Almighty Allah, rejecting the concept of many Gods in Arabs. Like other pagan Arabs Umar also opposed new faith and became hostile to Holy Prophet Sale Allah Wasalm to the extent that he hatched a conspiracy to assassinate Prophet (SAW).
Once while taking his sword in his hand he was rushing with the intention to kill Muhammad (SAW) , he met his best friend Hzrat Naeem bin Abdullah ( who had secretly converted to Islam) Umar notified him about his intention whereupon Naeem asked him to inquire about his own house where his sister and her husband Saeed bin Zaid ( also his cousin) had entered into the fold of Islam. No sooner did Umar enter the home, his siter was reciting the verses of Surah Tuaha. On reaching there he started beating his brother in law while his sister rushed to rescue her husband , Umar also slpped her and she fell to the ground while bleeding from her nose. Despite being tortured they insisted upon following the Islam then Umar realized that he had mistaken and he moved to his sister asking her to give him what she was reading whereupon his sister denied saying that you are unclean and you can not touch Holy Quran. Umar got up , cleandd himself and started reading same verses that say "Verily I am Allah , there is no god but I ,therefore serve me and keep up prayer for my remembrance " (20:14). He cried saying that " surely this is word of Allah. I bear witness that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah" when Hazrat Khabab ( a sahabi and professionally a Goldsmith) heard that , he told Umar about the prayer of Propher Muhammad (SAW) that he prayed yesterday that "O Allah empower Islam with either Umar bin Khatab or Amr bin Hasham (Abu Jahal) At that time Umar was 39 years old. The Umar went to Holy Prophet (SAW) at Dar e Arqam with the changed intention and embraced Islam in 616 before him and other Sahaba. Then he went to Amr bin Hasham in order to notify him about his embracing Islam. Amr bin Hasham and Abu Sufiyan were sitting together , Umar's act intensified their anger. Since the day muslims prayed openly in Masjid e Haram and practiced Islam. In 622 CE when Holy Prophet migrated to Madina, Hazrat Umar too migrated to Madina with his cousin and brother in law openly. Exercising his heroic powers Umar participated in battle of Badar in 624, battle of Uhad in 625, in the same year Umar's dughter Bibi Hafsa was married to Prophet Muhammad (SAW).
In 627 he participated in battle of Trench and Banu Qurayza, in 628 he participated in treaty of Hudaibiyah. He also accompnied Muhammad (PBUH) during the conquest of Makkah in 630 and also farewell pilgrimage in 632. On 8th June 632 when Prophet Muhammad (SAW) died Umar did not believe it but when Hazrat Abu Bakar declared it , he accepted that sad news. After the death of Prophet (PBUH) Hazrat Abu Bakar was unanimously elected as the first caliph of Islam. Umar supported him as his chief secretary and advisor. Abu Bakar just ruled for 2 years and before his death he appointed Umar as his successor on 23rd August 634 CE for his strong will power, charismatic and earth shaking qualities, extraordinary intelligence, political foresightedness, impartiality, care for the needy and under privileged people and justice. On 22nd August 634 Umar assumed the office. The government established by Umar was an unprecedented and unparalleled unitary government, he established provincial system while Armenia and Azabaijan were autonomous. Umar divided his government into provinces which were headed by "Wali" and provinces were divided into districts which were headed by "Ameer" , so in this regard officers appointed by Umar were:
1) Wali = Governor.
2) Ameer = Junior Governor.
3) Katib = Chief Secretary.
4) Ktib-ud-deewan = Military Secretary.
5) Sahib-ul-kharaj = Revenue Collector.
6) Sahib-ul-Ahdath = Police Chief.
7) Sahib Bait-ul-mal = Treasury Officer.
Qazi = Chief Judge.
Umar instructed those at the corridors of power that "I have not appointed you as Commanders but leaders so that people may follow your example, do not shut your doors to them and never behave as if you are superior to them" and his historical sentence that can never be omitted that is "If a dog dies hungry on the bank of river Euphrates, Umar will be responsible for dereliction of duty". The other initiatives that he took were :
A) Arabia was divided into 2 provinces Makkah and Madina.
Iraq was divided into 2 provinces Basra and Kuffa.
C) Tigris , Euphrates and Jazeera were collectively made a single province.
D) Syria was made a single province.
E) Egypt was divided into 2 provinces Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt.
F) Persia was divided into 3 provinces Khurasan, Azarbaijan and Faras.
G) He established administrative courts where complaints against officers were heard and action "if necessary" against them was taken.
H) He established intelligence service .
I) He introduced system of pension for widows.
J) He established disaster management cell in case of any calamity.
K) He made official records of officers , soldiers and instructions that he issued to his heads of states.
L) He was the first to appoint police forces in order to maintain law and order situation.
M) He was first to introduce census.
N) He introduced Fiqh and Islamic jurisprudence.
O) He ordered that Islamic calendar should be counted from the year of Hijrah of Prophet (PBUH) from Makkah to Madina.
Umar ordered strictly to those at the helm of affairs not to engage in any sort of business dealing or personal trade for it would be considered as negligence towards duty assigned. Umar conquested Syria ,Plastine,Armenia,Upper Egypt,Lower Egypt, North Africa(Libya,Morocco,Sudan,Tunisia,Algeria) , Iraq,Iran ( Isfahan,Tabaristan,Faras,Kerman and Sistan), Makran (Pakistan) , Azarbaijan and Khurasan(Afghanistan) .
These conquests started in 634 and ended in 644 with the conquest of Khurasan after that Umar was martyred. Umar approximately ruled 3 continents of present day world. Being ruler of 3 continents he lived in a mud hut without doors and used to wear a gown that was tattered in 12 places , used to eat barley bread and used to sleep among beggars or on the steps of Mosque at Madina.He used to walk in the streets at night in order to know the problems of common masses. Same way of communication was a,followed by Abbasid Caliphs and Mughal rulers of sub continent. The magnificent era of Umar Farooq ended with his assassination in 644 by a Persian Feroz Nahvandi (Abu Lulu) in the wake of muslim conquest of Persia. His assassination was planned several months earlier and the task was assigned to Feroz. As per the plan on 31st October 644 Feroz entered masjid e Nabvi before Fajar prayer, Umar started leading prayer and Feroz stabbed him 6 times in the belly and last on the naval , that proved fatal. Feroz tried to flee but people held him whereupon he wounded 12 other people and finally he tried to suicide by stabbing himself but he was caught. 6 or 9 of the injured died later. Umar succumbed to injuries on 3rd November 644 (26 Zul Hajah). He guided his people with his golden principles. As per his will he was burried next to Masjid e Nabvi alongside Prohet Muhammad and Abu Bakar with the permission of Bibi Ayesha. On the death bed Umar formulated a committee of 6 persons to appoint a caliph , they were….
1)Zubair ibne Awam, 2) Ali ibne Abi Talib, 3) Usman ibne Affan, 4) Talha ibne Ubaidullah, 5) Saad ibne Abi Waqas, 6) Abdul Rahman bin Auf.
The name of Umar’s cousin and brother in law Saeed ibne Zaid was excluded owing to having blood relation with Umar. It was Umar’s policy not to appoint anyone related to him even if he meets the criteria for being a ruler. 50 soldiers were deployed to protect the house where new caliph was being elected. Suhaib ar Rumi was appointed as caretaker caliph. The conspiracy of Umar’s assassination was hatched by 3 persians residing in Madina, they were Jafina , Abu Lulu and Hurmuzan. On 7thNovember Usman Ghani succeeded Umar as caliph .
His splendid era has a tragic end