When we think about the times of Sayyidina ‘Umar ibn Khattab (Radiallahu Anhu) we don’t remember simply strength and power, but the humility and compassion that accompanied it. He was a great ruler not merely because he conquered a vast amount of land, but because he personally owned little and did everything to ensure that his subjects lived respectably. The amount of years he ruled was not a matter of concern, because really, who wants the demise of a just ruler who looks after their interests instead of his own?
One day while he was khaleef, Sayyidina ‘Umar (Radiallahu Anhu) was pondering on the fact that he had become khaleef and who could be better than him. In order to remind himself who he was and where he came from, he called out the adhaan, as was done to gather the people in the masjid so that one may deliver an announcement. The people assembled in the masjid and said takbeer, and Sayyidina ‘Umar ascended the minbar and praised and glorified Allah as He deserves, and sent blessings and peace upon His Prophet.
Thereafter he said: “O’ people, I remember when I used to tend the flocks of my maternal aunts of Banu Makhzoom, they would give me handful of dates or raisins, which would be sufficient for a day, and what a day that was!”
Then he came down, and Sayyidina ‘Abdul Rahmaan ibn ‘Awf (Radiallahu Anhu) said to: “Ya Ameer al Mumineen, all you did was denigrate yourself!” Sayyidina ‘Umar (Radiallahu Anhu) replied saying “Woe to you, ya ibn ‘Awf! I was alone and I started to think. I said to myself “You are the khaleef, who is better than you?” so I wanted to remind myself of what I am.” According to another report, he stated “I noticed something in myself, and I wanted bring myself down a rung or two.”
Nothin more needs to be said for that.