March 3, 2001
Abu Bakr As-Siddique: The Truthful Companion
“No one has
been a better Companion to me than Abu Bakr”.
These were the words
of the Holy Prophet in his last sermon, about the Companion who will feature in
Abu Bakr the
First Among Men to Enter Islam
Abu Bakr was always
a very close Companion of the Holy Prophet, he knew him better than any other
man. He knew how honest and upright the Prophet was. Such knowledge of the
Prophet made Abu Bakr be the first man to follow the Message of Prophet Muhammad
(saw). He was indeed the first adult male to accept Islam.
The Holy Prophet
told Abu Bakr what had happened at Mount Hira’, he told him that Allah (swt) has
revealed to him and made him His Messenger. When Abu Bakr heard this from the
Prophet (saw), he did not stop to think, he at once became a Muslim. He
submitted to Islam with such determination that once the Holy Prophet himself
remarked “I called people to Islam, everybody thought over it, at least for
a while, but this was not the case with Abu Bakr, the moment I put Islam before
him, he accepted it without any hesitation”. He was titled As-Siddique
by the Prophet because his faith was too strong to be shaken by anything.
In fact, Abu Bakr
was more than a great believer, as soon as he became a Muslim, he immediately
began to preach Islam to others. Among those who accepted Abu Bakr’s invitation
to Islam were: Uthman, Zubair, Talha, Abdul Rahman bin Auf, Saadi bin Waqqas and
others who later became the pillars of Islam.
Abu Bakr’s love of
the Prophet (saw) was so great that he was willing to sacrifice his life for the
sake of protecting and comforting the Prophet (saw). Such love and sacrifice
were demonstrated when one day the Holy Prophet was saying his prayers in the
Ka’aba, while some of the chiefs of Mecca were sitting in the court yard of the
Ka’aba. Seeing the Prophet praying, ‘Uqbah bin Abi Mu’eet took a long piece of
cloths and put it around the Prophet’s neck and twisted it hard in an attempt to
strangle the Prophet (saw) to death. At that moment Abu Bakr happened to pass by
from a distance, he saw ‘Uqbah trying to strangle the Prophet to death.
Immediately Abu Bakr ran to the help of the Prophet, he pushed ‘Uqbah aside and
took the cloth from around the Prophet’s neck. Thereupon the enemies of Islam
came down upon Abu Bakr and beat him, although Abu Bakr with faith like a rock
did not care for his own suffering, he was glad that he was able to save the
Prophet of Allah, even at the risk of his own life.
Abu Bakr, with the
wealth he had, had a major role in freeing some of the Muslim slaves, who were
barbarically tortured by their heartless Mushrik (idol-worshipping)
masters to give up the Faith and return to their masters’ beliefs. The heartless
monsters tried all kinds of torture: they made them lie all naked on the burning
desert sand, putting big stones on their chest, as well as other kinds of
torture. Here Abu Bakr’s wealth came to the rescue, as he bought the poor
helpless slaves from their inhuman masters and set them free, Bilal Al-Habashi,
the slave of Umayya bin Khalaf, was among those who were set free by Abu Bakr.
Bilal became afterwards the Mu’azzin (caller to prayer) at the Prophet’s
Islam was growing
rapidly in Mecca, the enemies of Islam were getting frustrated by this rapid
growth. The Chiefs of Mecca found that it is necessary for them to get rid of
the Prophet (saw) before Islam can cause a real threat to them, so they planned
to kill the Prophet. Allah (swt) revealed to his Prophet the intentions of the
non-believers and ordered him to migrate to Madinah. So the Prophet quickly went
to Abu Bakr’s house who was among the few that were left in Mecca with the
majority of Muslims having already migrated to Madinah.
The Prophet informed
Abu Bakr that he was commanded to migrate to Madinah that night and that he has
chosen him to have the honor of joining him on his migration. Abu Bakr’s heart
was full of joy, “I have been looking forward to this day for months”
The Meccans were so
eager to find the Prophet they were searching for him like mad hounds. Once they
came to the mouth of the cave, Abu Bakr grew pale with fright, he feared not for
himself, but for the life of the Holy Prophet. However, the Prophet (saw)
remained calm and said to Abu Bakr “do not fear, certainly Allah is with
us”. Such words quickly calmed down Abu Bakr and brought back tranquility
to his heart.
Abu Bakr, being the
closest of Companions to the Prophet (saw), took part in all the battles that
Prophet Muhammad had fought. At Uhud and Hunain, some members of the Muslim army
showed signs of weakness. However, Abu Bakr’s faith never wavered. He always
stood like a rock by the side of the Prophet.
Abu Bakr’s faith and
determination to raise the banner of Islam were so great that at Badr, one of
his sons, who had not yet embraced Islam was fighting among the enemies, Abu
Bakr was so eager to find his son in the battle that he was searching for him
amongst the enemies in order to slay him.
Abu Bakr’s great
love of the Prophet was demonstrated when peace talks at Hudaibiya were held.
During the negotiations, the spokesman of Quraish was touching the beard of the
Prophet every now and then. Abu Bakr’s love for the Prophet was so great that he
could bear no more, he took out his sword and looked angrily at the man saying
“if that hand touches the beard of the Prophet again, it will not be
allowed to go back”.
Tabuk was the last
expedition of the Holy Prophet. He was keen to make it a great success, he
therefore asked people to help the expedition with whatever they could. This
brought the best out of Abu Bakr who beat all records as he took all his money
and household articles and heaped them at the Prophet’s feet.
“Have you left
anything for your children?” asked the Prophet. Abu Bakr then responded
with great faith “Allah and his Messenger are enough for them”.
Companions standing around were stunned they realized that whatever they do they
could not outdo Abu Bakr in the field of service to Islam.
The Successor of
The first Hajj under
Islam was in the ninth year of Hijra. The Prophet (saw) was too busy at Madinah
to lead the Hajj, so he sent Abu Bakr as his agent, he was to lead the Hajj in
place of the Prophet.
The Prophet (saw)
led the prayers himself ever since he arrived to Madinah. During his last
illness, the Prophet could no longer lead the prayers, he was too weak to go to
the mosque, he therefore had to choose someone to fill such high position after
him. Abu Bakr was also the one who was honored to be chosen by the Prophet for
such a task.
Thus in the lifetime
of the Prophet, Abu Bakr came to fill the highest position under Islam – the
Imam leading prayers. While one day Abu Bakr was away Omar was appointed by the
Companions to lead the prayers in his absence. Realizing the change of voice,
the Prophet said “This is not Abu Bakr’s voice. None but he should lead
prayers, he is the fittest person for this position!”.
When the news of the
Prophet’s death came out, many Muslims were confused and stunned. Omar himself
was so overcome with emotions that he drew his sword and declared “If
anyone says that the Messenger of Allah is dead, I will cut off his head”.
Muslims stayed in
such state until Abu Bakr arrived and gave his famous address: “O People!
If anyone among you worships Muhammad, let him know that Muhammad is dead. But
if anyone among you who worships Allah, let them know that He lives and will
never die. Let all of us recall the words of the Qur’an: “Muhammad is only
a Messenger of Allah, there have been Messengers before him. What then, will you
turn back from Islam if he dies or is killed?”
Suddenly, Abu Bakr’s
words started to sink in, and in no time the confusion was gone. Having shrugged
off the shocking news of the Prophet’s death, Muslims realized that they need
someone to fill the position of leadership amongst them.
The two main groups
amongst Muslims were the Muhajirun (migrants from Mecca) and the Ansar
(the helpers of Madinah). The Ansar gathered at a meeting place called Thaqifa
Bani Saida. Saad bin Abada, the Ansar leader, suggested that the Khalifa should
be from amongst them. Although many refused saying that the Muhajirun in right
have a better claim to the Khilafah. When the news reached Abu Bakr, he quickly
went to their gathering, fearing that confusion might spread once again, and
said “Both Muhajirun and Ansar have done great service to Islam. But the
former were the first to accept Islam, they were always very close to the
Messenger of Allah. O Ansar, let the Khalifa be from amongst them”. After a
short discussion, the Ansar agreed that they should choose the Khalifa from
amongst the Muhajirun, being from the tribe of Quraish and being the first to
Abu Bakr then asked
people to choose between Omar Ibn al-Khattab and Abu Ubaida Ibn al-Jarrah.
Hearing this, both men jumped to their feet and exclaimed “O Siddique, how
can that be? How can anyone else fill this position as long as you are among us?
You are the best person from the Muhajirun. You were the Companion of the
Prophet (saw) in the Thawr cave. You led prayers in his place, during his
last illness. Prayer is the foremost thing in Islam. With all these
qualifications you are the fittest person to be the successor of the Holy
Prophet. Hold out your hand that we may pledge loyalty to you!”
But Abu Bakr did not
stretch out his hand. Omar saw that the delay might lead to the reopening of the
disagreements, so he himself took Abu Bakr’s hand out and pledged loyalty to
him. Others followed by example, and Abu Bakr became the first Khalifa by
general consent of the Muslims.
The next day, Abu
Bakr addressed the gathering of Muslims in the Prophet’s mosque urging them to
continue their path as true Muslims and to give him loyalty and support as long
as he is obeying the Commands of Allah (swt) and His Messenger.
Ali (raa), along
with some of his relatives, delayed their pledge of loyalty to Abu Bakr for six
months. Although both men respected each other, there was a difference of
opinion with the Khalifa as to the right of inheritance of the Prophet’s land.
But Ali soon after the death of his wife Fatima (raa) gave the pledge of loyalty
to Abu Bakr.
Such was the quality
of the humble and generous Companion who believed the Prophet in everything, to
the extent that he was called As-Siddique by the Prophet. His great personality
and service to Islam and Muslims earned him the love and respect of all Muslims,
so that he was chosen as the first Khalifa after the death of the Prophet by all