During the Caliphate of the Abu Bakr, Umar was the principal Adviser of the Caliph.
A story is on record showing the great esteem and regard that Abu Bakr had for Umar and his opinion.
It is related that once Ayanayah bin Hassan and Aqrah bin Habas two tribal chiefs waited on Abu Bakr, and requested that an estate be awarded to them. They suggested that close to their settlement there was a rock waste land which produced nothing, and that that wasteland might be gifted to them so that by their efforts they might make it productive.
Abu Bakr consulted the people around him. They suggested that it was a good proposition for thereby the wasteland would become productive. Abu Bakr accordingly agreed to award the land in question to them. A document was drawn up. Umar was not present and Abu Bakr advised the grantees to get it witnessed by Umar.
The grantees thought that such witnessing by Umar was merely formal and that there would be no difficulty in obtaining his signature, on the document. The grantees went to Umar and requested him to affix his signatures to the document as it had been approved by Abu Bakr.
After reading the document, Umar returned it to the grantees saying that he could not be a party to the deed.
The grantees in a fit of anger went to Abu Bakr and reported what Umar had said.
Abu Bakr remained quiet. Thereupon the grantees turning to the Caliph said "Are you the Caliph, or is Umar the Caliph?"
Abu Bakr said "You may very well take Umar to be the Caliph".
Then Umar came to the Caliph. Abu Bakr enquired what was the reason for his refusal to sign the document.
Umar asked "Is the land which you have gifted your property or is it a trust with you on behalf of the Muslim community".
Abu Bakr said "It is not my personal property; as such it should be a trust on behalf of the Muslim community".
Umar said "If that is the position, how can you extinguish the trust by gifting it to A or B. They may take it on lease subject to terms, but it must remain the State property. "
Turning to the applicants, Abu Bakr said "Umar has spoken the truth. I cannot deviate from the law."
Turning to Umar, Abu Bakr said "I had already requested you to take over the office of the Caliph, but you thrust the burden on my shoulders. I may not be with you for long and ultimately this responsibility will have to be shouldered bv you."