Umar was blessed with the gift of forecasting events by playing upon the meaning of words.
When on the eve of the battle of Nihawand, the Governor of Kufa sent a messenger to Umar, he forecast the coming events by asking the messenger his name and the name of his father. When the messenger said that his name was ‘Qareeb’ meaning ‘near’, and his father’s name was ‘Zafar’ meaning ‘victory’, Umar forecast that for the Muslims victory was near.
It is recorded that once a man waited on Umar. He asked him what was his name. He said that his name was ‘Jamrah’, meaning a live coal.
Umar then asked him about his father’s name, and he said that his father’s name was ‘Shihab’ meaning ‘flame’.
Umar then enquired to which tribe he belonged. He said that he belonged to the tribe of ‘Al-Harrah’, meaning ‘heat’.
He was asked where did he live and he replied ‘Al-Harqah’ meaning ‘warmth’.
Umar asked him what was his clan and he said ‘sat Ladha’ meaning ‘blazing’.
Then Umar said:
“Go home, for all your people have been burnt.”
When the man went home, he found that his family had been burnt to death.
It was a custom with the Egyptians that a virgin was thrown in the river Nile to secure a rise in the surface of the water. When the Muslims conquered Egypt this inhuman practise was stopped. Instead of a virgin a card written by Umar was thrown in the river, and immediately the water rose in the river.
It is on record that when a contingent of the Muslim army under Sariyah fighting in Fars were exposed to danger, Umar while delivering Friday sermon in the Prophet’s mosque shouted ‘Sariyah to the hills’. The command was listened to by the Muslims in the battlefield thousand miles away and was complied with resulting in victory for the Muslims.
Umar had a highly developed sense of discriminating the truth from falsehood. Whenever a person spoke the truth, Umar would listen to him attentively, but whenever a person spoke anything false, Umar would promptly say “withhold that”.
It is related that the people of Kufa pelted their Governor with stones. When Umar heard of this he was much annoyed. He was distracted even in his prayer. When he came to the salutation he said:
“O God verily they have put confusion on me. O Allah you put confusion upon them, and place over them a youth of the Banu Thaqif who may rule over them after the manner of the rule of the time of Ignorance.”
This forecast came true when al Hajjaj came to rule over Iraq in the time of the Umayyads.