Abu Bakr was famous for his lenience to the point that young boys used to run to him whenever he passed by calling out, “O father!” He would pat them on the head, conversely, ‘Umar was feared to the point that gathered men would disperse and leave their yards till they figured out how he was to handle them. When ‘Umar learned of that, he cried out publicly, “Come to Salat in congregation.” ‘Umar went up the pulpit and sat where Abu Bakr used to place his feet. When people gathered, ‘Umar stood up. He started off by praising ALLAH and glorifying HIM, as befits the LORD. He then invoked peace and blessings on the Prophet. ‘Umar preceded saying: “I learnt that people have come to fear my strictness and firmness and that they said: “Umar was severe to us while ALLAH’s messenger lived among us, then he was severe to us while Abu Bakr was in charge of our affairs. How will he handle us now that he is in charge?”
Whoever said that is right. I had been in the company of the Prophet, and a servant of his; and he had been, as nobody else was, of extreme lenience and mercy; exactly as ALLAH describes him saying:
“…to the believers compassionate and merciful.” (At-Tawbah: 128). And I was at his disposal, and an “unsheathed sword”,
till he sheathed me or let me go. Such had I been with him until he passed away much pleased with me. Praise be to ALLAH, and for this I am greatly happy. Then Abu Bakr came into power to manage the affairs of the faithful; and he was, as you all know, of much graciousness, generosity and lenience; and I was a servant of his and an assistant, mixing my severity with his lenience, thus being at his disposal and an “unsheathed sword”, till he sheathed me or her let me go. Such had I been with him until he passed away much pleased with me. Praise be to ALLAH, and for this I am greatly happy.
“And now, brethren, I have been nominated to manage your affairs. So be aware, then, that that severity has been weakened, but it will be used only against those who are oppressive and aggressive to Muslims. Yet, to those who seek Islam, safety and goodwill, I shall be more lenient than each of them is to others. I will never allow anybody to oppress or be aggressive to another for, then, I would put his cheek to the ground and set my foot on the other cheek until he yields to the truth. After such severity, though, I will put my cheek to the ground for those who are virtuous and content.
“I will not levy any taxes on your products or on any of the booty ALLAH has bestowed upon you except what is due, and I will pledge not to expend it except where it should be expended. It is incumbent upon me to increase your grants and livelihoods and make available for you every means of defense, ALLAH willing. It is incumbent upon me not to throw you into jeopardy, nor confine you to front posts in war; and I pledge that if you go away on missions, I will be responsible for your families until you return to them.
Therefore, fear ALLAH, slaves of ALLAH, and help me against yourselves by leaving me in peace; and help me against myself by ordering beneficence and forbidding abomination, and by giving me good counsel in all your affairs that ALLAH has charged me with.”