Umar ibn al-Khattab, al-Farooq (in Arabic, عمر بن الخطاب) (c. 581 - November, 644), sometimes referred to as Umar Farooq or just as Omar or Umar, was the second caliph of Islam (634-644) and regarded by Sunnis as one of the first four Khulfa-e-Rashidun (or "Rightly Guided Caliphs").
Umar was born in Mecca around 581 to the Adi clan of the Quraish tribe. He is said to have belonged to a middle class family. He was literate, which was uncommon in those times, and he was also well known for his physical strength, being a champion wrestler. When Muhammad first declared his message of Islam, Umar resolved to defend the traditional religion of the Quraish (classified by Muslims as idolatry). It is said that he was planning to kill Muhammad when he heard his sister reciting verses of the Qur'an. His heart was softened and he immediately converted to Islam.
Umar's conversion to Islam strengthened its standing in the city of Mecca due to Umar's reputation as a great warrior. Many of the Quraish who persecuted the Muslim minority began to desist out of fear of Umar. He was part of the first emigration (Hijra) to Yathrib (renamed Medinat al Nabi, or simply Medina shortly thereafter) in 622 C.E. (also known as year 1 A.H., Anno Hegirae, in the Islamic calendar, which was instituted by Umar in 638). Umar was a close companion of Muhammad and participated prominently in all of the Muslim battles against the Quraish. In 625, Umar's daughter Hafsa was married to Muhammad. When Muhammad died in 632, Umar fell into despair. It is said that he initially refused to believe that Muhammad had died.
Abu Bakr became the first successor to Muhammad. During Abu Bakr's short reign as caliph, Umar was one of his chief advisors. Abu Bakr nominated Umar as his successor prior to his death in 634. He was elected to the office thereafter. Ali ibn Abi Talib, who had sought the Caliphate at Abu Bakr's death, willingly served under Umar, as chief justice and advisor. Umar also awarded pensions to the surviving members of Muhammad's family. The Sunni/Shi'a schism, however bitter in later years, seems to have been dormant during Umar's caliphate. Ali's acceptance of the election, and submission to the authority of Umar, are considered by many historians to be the prime reasons for the stability of the period.
During Umar's reign, the Islamic empire grew at an unprecedented rate, taking Mesopotamia and parts of Persia from the Sassanids (and effectively ending that empire), and taking Egypt, Palestine, Syria, North Africa and Armenia from the Byzantines. Many of these conquests followed the watershed Battle of Yarmuk in 636 when a Muslim army of 40,000 decisively defeated a Byzantine force numbering 120,000, permanently ending Byzantine rule south of Asia Minor.
In 637, after a prolonged siege of Jerusalem, the Muslims took the city. Umar was to have entered the city in triumph, but, the story goes, he was such a humble man that he entered the city on foot, with his servant upon his mount. He was given the key to the city by the Greek Orthodox patriarch, Sophronius, and invited to pray at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Umar chose to pray some distance from the Church, so as not to endanger its status as a Christian temple. His circumspection was proven farsighted when fifty-five years later, the Mosque of Umar was constructed on the site where he prayed.
Umar undertook many administrative reforms and closely oversaw public policy, establishing an advanced administration for newly conquered lands, including several new ministries and bureaucracies, as well as ordering a census of all the Muslim territories. During his reign, the garrison cities of Basra and Kufa were founded. In 638 he extended and renovated the Grand Mosque in Mecca and the Mosque of the Prophet in Medina. Umar also began the process of codifying Islamic law.
In 638, he married the Prophet's granddaughter, Umm Kulthum, the daughter of Ali and Fatima. He was known for his simple lifestyle. Rather than adopt the pomp and display affected by the rulers of the time, he continued to live much as he had lived when Muslims were poor and persecuted.
Umar died in 644, the victim of an assassin's dagger. Umar's killer (Abu Lu' Lu' ) was a Persian slave who was angered by a personal quarrel with Umar; he stabbed the Caliph six times as Umar led prayers in the Masjid al Nabawi mosque in Medina. Umar died two days later, and was buried there alongside Muhammad and Abu Bakr. A strong ruler, he was universally respected for his justice and authority. Uthman ibn Affan was elected as his successor.
The family name Farooqui (alternative spellings, Farooqi, Faruqi, etc.) is maintained by families claiming descent from Umar.
Al Farooq - The Life of Umar The Great By Shams-Ul-Ulama Allama Shibli Numani (In Progress)