The life of Umar bin al Khattab [RA], the second Caliph of Islam has been an inspiration for many generations. From folk songs in places far away from Arabia to biographies of people like Mahatma Gandhi, the influence of Umar [RA] has always been visible everywhere. A man who was once the most feared enemy of Islam, turned out to become one of the greatest role models of Islam.
The rule of Umar [RA] transformed the Islamic Caliphate of Medina from a local power in the Arabian peninsula to an empire that stretched all the way from modern day Libya to parts of Turkey and Iran, covering all of Syria, Jordan, Palestine, Israel, Iraq and the entire Arabian peninsula. Despite this, his life as a ruler was a story of humbleness that was very rare in history. While the emperors of his time in Rome and Persia enjoyed the luxuries of power, the Caliph of Islam slept under palm trees, attended to personal needs of the nomadic people in the desert, and chose brides for his sons from among the poorest of his citizens. As the empire grew larger, the sense of responsibility in the Caliph burdened him. He worried about being held responsible to Allah for even a sheep that dies of hunger on the banks of the River Euphrates, a place more than a thousand kilometers away from his Capital.