As mentioned earlier, it was generally known among the Companions that the first among them was Abu Bakr followed by Umar followed by Uthman ibn Affaan. Ibn Umar reports in a sahih hadith: "During the time of the Prophet (sas), we never equated anyone with Abu Bakr then Umar then Uthman. We left the remainder of the Companions of the Prophet (sas) and never made comparisons between them." (Abu Daud - sahih)
In Sahih Al-Bukhari, the Prophet (sas) said: "While I was sleeping I saw myself in paradise. Then there was a woman making wudhuu by the side of a palace. I said: 'Whose is this palace?'. They said: 'It is Umar's.' I remembered the jealousy of Umar and I turned to leave. Then, Umar cried and said: 'Could I be jealous over you, Messenger of Allah?!'".
The Prophet (sas) taught us that to a true believer Allah and His
Messenger (sas) are more beloved than all else, including ones on self/life. In
Sahih Al-Bukhari, Abdullah ibn Hisham reports: "We were with the Prophet (sas)
and he took the hand of Umar ibn Al-Khattab. Umar said to the Prophet (sas):
'O Allah's Messenger, you are dearer to me than all else except for myself.' The
Prophet (sas) said to him: 'No, by the One in whose hand my soul is not
until I am dearer to you than even your self.' Umar said: 'Now, by
Allah, you are dearer to me than my own self.' The Prophet (sas) said: 'Now,
In Sahih Al-Bukhari, the Prophet (sas) bore witness to the superiority of Umar ibn Al-Khattab in his deen, saying: "While I was sleeping, I saw the people being presented to me. Each of them was wearing a shirt. Some reached to their breast and some reached farther than that. Then Umar was shown to me with his shirt reaching all the way to the ground." They asked: 'How do you interpret it, Allah's Messenger?' He said: 'Ad-deen (practice)'"
Umar was among the very few most knowledgeable of the Companions coming only after Abu Bakr. He took his knowledge straight from Allah's Messenger (sas), who bore witness to Umar's position and his knowledge. Those who accuse Umar and others of betraying Islam, "stealing" the Caliphate, etc. should fear Allah in giving the lie to the clear testimony of Allah's Messenger (sas) himself.
From Sahih Al-Bukhari, the Prophet (sas) said: 'While sleeping, I drank - meaning milk - until I saw springs coming from my fingernails. Then, I gave Umar some to drink.' They said: 'How do you interpret it, Allah's Messenger?' He said: 'Knowledge.'
Umar was a person of great individual strength and fortitude. He was one of the two 'Umars' which the Prophet (sas) asked Allah to bless Islam with before he had become Muslim.
In Sahih Al-Bukhari, the Prophet (sas) said: "While sleeping, I saw myself at a well on which there was a water bucket. I took from the well the amount which Allah wished. Then, Abu Bakr took the bucket and took out a bucket or two and in his drawing of water was weakness - and Allah forgive him his weakness. Then it (the bucket) was transformed into a huge barrel. Umar took this barrel and began drawing water. I never saw any leader among the people who could pull the water like Umar ibn Al-Khattab until the people sent their camels to their pens."
The meaning of "sent their camels to their pens" is that that the people got all the water they needed for themselves and for all of their animals until their camels were fully loaded with water.
From Sahih Al-Bukhari, the Prophet (sas) said: "There were among those who came before you individuals spoken to. If anyone among my nation is one of these, it is surely Umar."
Those "spoken to" means individuals who, while not prophets, receive inspirations which match or foretell the actual Communication from Allah received by the prophet of their time. These people do not have the status of the prophets, and their ideas or inspirations are of no use or validity until confirmed by the actua Communication. In the absence of a prophet, this is one of the greatest gifts which an imam or scholar of fiqh can possess. The texts and other scholars can define the perimeter within which the truth must lie, but a great individual such as Umar has the added advantage of their gift of "instinct" or inspiration which leads them in the right direction.
Any claim of inspiration, dreams, etc. which is at odds with the evidence, whether during the time of a prophet or not, is falsehood and is from Shaitaan regardless of the apparent knowledge, station or good works of the individual involved.
In a different version of the above hadith found in Muslim, the Prophet (sas) said: "There were among those who came before you among the Jews men who were spoken to without being prophets. If there are any such among my nation, it is Umar."
From At-Tirmidhi, the Prophet (sas) said: "Allah has placed the truth on the tongue of Umar and on his heart."