Umar was a man of many distinctions. A study of his life shows that in many respects he had the unique distinction of being the first or foremost. Hereunder an attempt is made to catalogue the matters in which Umar was the foremost.
He was unique in his power of discrimination. The Holy Prophet conferred on him the title of ‘Al-Farooq’.
Among his contemporaries he was the foremost in the matter of knowledge and learning.
He had the unique distinction of having his views confirmed by the Holy Quran.
His superiority over his contemporaries was acknowledged when the Holy Prophet said that if there was to be a prophet after him, it would have been Umar.
He was the first Muslim ruler to be known by the title of Amir-ul-Mo’minin.
The conquests made by him exceeded in extent the conquests made by any other Muslim ruler throughout the course of history.
He was the first Muslim ruler to establish public treasury.
He was the first Muslim ruler to establish courts of justice and appoint judges.
He was the first Muslim ruler to establish the Army Department and assign regular salaries to the men in the armed forces.
He was the first to create army reserves.
He established the land revenue department for the first time.
He was the first ruler under whom the survey and assessment work of lands was undertaken.
He was the first Muslim ruler to take a census.
He was the first Muslim ruler to strike coins.
He was the first Muslim ruler to dig canals.
He was the first Muslim ruler to found cities.
He was the first Muslim ruler to divide the country into provinces and provinces into districts.
He imposed the customs duty for the first time.
He was the first to set up jails.
He was the first to organise the Police Department.
He was the first among the Muslim rulers to establish Military Centres and Military Cantonments at strategic points.
He established cavalry. He set up stables at strategic points. He created the distinction of pedigree and nonpedigree horses.
He established guest-houses in all cities. He established rest-houses on the road from Madina to Mecca for the comfort of travellers.
He provided for the care and bringing up of foundlings.
He laid down that no Arab could be made a slave.
He gave stipends to the poor.
He established schools throughout the country. He allowed liberal salaries to school teachers.
He was the first who instituted the prayers of Tarawih in congregation in the mosque in the month of Ramazan.
He was the first to formulate the principle of Qiyas.
He had the formula “Prayer is better than sleep” inserted in the call for morning prayers.
He was the first to provide light in mosques at nights.
He was the first to provide salaries for Imams and Muezzins.
He was the first to organise sermons in mosques.
He was the first to punish for writing satires and lampoons.
He was the first to prohibit the mention of women’s names in lyric poems, an ancient custom in Arabia.
He was the first to inflict eighty stripes for indulgence in wine.
He was the first to prohibit ‘Muta’ah’-marriage for a limited term.
He was the first to forbid the sale of female slaves, who had borne children to their masters.
He was the first who assembled the people to prayers over the dead with four Takbirs.
He was the first to enlarge and pave the Prophet’s mosque at Madina.
He was the first to expel non-Muslims from Arabia. The Jews from Hijaz were transferred to Syria, and the Christians from Nijran were transferred to Kufah.
He was the first to place the law of inheritance on a sound basis.
He was the first to establish trusts.