Between the Holy Prophet and Abu Bakr, the latter was "The Second of the Two". A similar equation obtained between Abu Bakr and Umar. Whcn Abu Bakr became the Caliph, Umar was decidedly the 'Second of the Two'. The attachment and friendship between the two was of an exceptional character. Each preferred the other to himself. After the death of the Holy Prophet, Abu Bakr wanted Umar to be the Caliph, and Umar took steps to have Abu Balcr elected as the Caliph. The Holy Prophet often came to the mosque flanked by Abu Bakr on one side, and Umar on the other.
Umar and Abu Bakr vied with each other in doing good. In this connection some stories have come down to us which highlight the equation betweeu Abu Bakr and Umar.
In 633 AD. the Holy Prophet decided to lead an expedition, to Tabuk on the Syrian border. In order to finance the expedition,the Holy Prophet invited contributions and donations from his followers. Umar had then considerable money with him. He thought that that was the occasion when he might excel Abu Bakr in the doing of good. Umar went home and brought his donation. The Holy Prophet enquired of Umar as to what he had left behind for himself and his family. Umar stated that he had donated one half of his wealth in the name of Allah and had left one half for himself and his family. Then Abu Bakr came with his donation and the Holy Prophet put him the same question as to how much he had left for himself and his family.
Abu Bakr said that he had donated all that he had in the name of Allah, and that he had left Allah and His Prophet for himself and his family. This episode has formed the theme of one of the poems of Iqbal. The poem provides;
"For the moth the lamp and for the nightingle the flower;
For Sidiq, God and His Prophet alone suffice."
On that account Umar realised that it was difficult to excel Abu Bakr in the doing of good.
Abu Yala records from Ibn Masud that he said "I was in the mosque praying when there entered the Apostle of God and with him were Abu Bakr and Umar. He found me praying and said 'Ask and it shall be granted unto thee'. Then he said 'Whosoever wishes to read the Quran in a fresh and joyous manner let him read it with the reading of Ibn Masud' . Then I returned to my house and Abu Bakr came to me and gave me the good tidings regarding what the Holy Prophet had said. Then came Haarat Umar and he found Abu Bakr going forth having already been before him, and he said 'Verily Abu Bakr is the foremost in good'."
Even when Umar was not the Caliph, it was his practice to move about in Madina and help persons in distress.
In one of the suburbs of Madina there lived a blind old women who had no one to help her. Umar used to go in disguise to the house of the old woman, but was always surprised to find that some one else had anticipated him, and supplied the wants of the old lady.
Umar felt much distressed that in this noble task of helping a lady in distress his efforts were always frustrated by some other person. Umar felt curious as to who that person could be who beat him in the field of social service.
One day, Umar went to the house of the old woman earlier than usual and hid himself to watch as to who was the person who attended to the wants of the old woman.
Umar did not have to wait long for soon a man arrived who attended to the needs of the old woman, and this man was none other than the Caliph Abu Bakr.
Umar felt relieved that if in the matter of social service he had been beaten by any one, such person was the Caliph Abu Bakr who was decidedly superior to him.