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Hazrat Abu Bakr

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Hazrat Abu Bakr
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Name and parentage of Abu Bakr

Hadrat Abu Bakr, as-Siddiq, (R.A.) was born in 573 A.D. at Mecca. Thus he was two years younger than the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam). He belonged to a respectable and noble family, the Bani Tamim, a branch of Quraish Tribe. H is lineage joins with that of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam) six generations before. His name was Abdullah. Abu Bakr was his patronymic name (or Kuniyah) which became so famous that most of the people did not know his real name. After his conversion to Islam he received the title of "As-Siddiq" (The Truthful). His father's name was 'Uthman who was known by his patronymic name, Abu Qahafah. His mother's name was Salma but she was also known by her patronymic name, Ummul Khair.

Life before Islam

Since his boyhood, Hadrat Abu Bakr was a quiet and sincere man. He was very  honest and truthful. Because of his sterling character he was the closest friend of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam) since his youth and, the friendship proved to be life-long. He was a soft hearted man and keenly felt others sufferings and miseries. He used to help the poor and the needy, the distressed and the downtrodden.

Even before embracing Islam he did not like most of the customs of the days of ignorance and never drank any liquor.

His main profession was trade. He also accompanied the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam) in some of his trade missions. Because of his honesty people trusted him and often kept their money as a trust with him. His nobility and truthfulness soon made him a rich trader. Actually these qualities were soon to serve the noblest cause of Allah.

First man to accept Islam

Hadrat Abu Bakr was a firm friend of the Holy Prophet and knew him better than any other man. His honesty, nobility, truthfulness and trustworthiness, had great attraction for Abu Bakr. When the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam) disclosed to him secretly about the revelation of Allah, Abu Bakr accepted it immediately without having the slightest doubt. In this way he was the first adult free man to believe in the Holy Prophet's Mission, and became his confidant. The Holy Prophet (Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam) once spoke about this, "When I invited people towards Allah, everybody thought over it and hesitated, at least for a while, except Abu Bakr who accepted my call the moment I put it before him, and he did not hesitate even for a moment." When he accepted Islam, the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam) was very pleased.

Da'wat (Invitation) towards Allah

As soon as he had accepted Islam he started the work of Da'wat (Invitation towards Allah) first secretly and then openly when it was so allowed by the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam). First he went to ‘Uthman, Talha, Zubair and Said (Ridwanullah 'alaihim 'Ajma'in). They accepted Islam on his preaching. Next day he went to 'Uthman bin Maz'un, Abu'Ubaidah, Abdur Rahman bin 'Auf and some other prominent Quraish. They also accepted Islam at his hands. In the first instance eight prominent figures accepted Islam at the hands of Hadrat Abu Bakr as-Siddiq (R.A.). Among them was Hadrat Uthman, the third Caliph of Islam. In this way he was the first Muslim, after the Holy Prophet, to preach Islam and to invite people towards Allah in a very fruitful way. The main reason for his success was his popularity among the Meccans because of his honesty, nobility, trustworthiness, good morals and fair dealings.

Hardships for Da'wat (Invitation) towards Allah

Even though he was so much respected yet he was not spared, and disbelievers of Mecca did their best to harass him.

When the number of Muslims reached 39, Abu Bakr (R.A.) asked the permission of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam) to invite people openly. On his persistent request the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam) gave his consent and all of them went to Haram (the Holy Mosque or Ka ‘bah) for Tabligh (Preaching). Hadrat Abu Bakr (R.A.) gave a Khutbah (Sermon) which was the first ever delivered in the annals of Islam. Hadrat Hamzah accepted Islam the same day. When disbelievers and idolators from amongst Quraish heard it they fell on the Muslims from all sides. Abu Bakr (R.A.) despite the fact that he was considered to be the noblest of all the people in Mecca, was besmeared with blood. He was kicked, thrashed with shoes, trampled under feet and handled most roughly and savagely. He became unconcious and half-dead.  This is the place to observe his extreme love for the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam) that when he gained consciousness and opened his eyes in the evening he first enquired. "How is the Prophet (Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam)?" His deep love for the Holy Prophet, really, was the main cause of his success. His love and respect for the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu'alaihi wa Sallam) was unbounded.

On another occasion the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu'alaihi wa Sallam) was offering his Salat in the Ka'bah, Abu Jahl came and put a sheet of cloth around his neck and twisted it hard in order to strangle the Holy Prophet to death. Hadrat Abu Bakr saw this, he at once came and pushing Abu Jahl aside took off the piece of cloth around the neck of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam). He then said, "Do you want to kill such a gentle person who is a Messenger of Allah and declares Allah as the Cherisher and Sustainer." Then Abu Jahl and other enemies of Islam fell upon Abu Bakr and beat him severely.

Miscellaneous services for the cause of Islam in Mecca

Hadrat Abu Bakr served Islam in numerous ways. The Quraish cruelly persecuted a number of slaves who had accepted Islam and made life difficult for them. Muslim slaves were the worst sufferers at the hands of non-Muslim masters. Hadrat Bilal (a negro), one of the best known in the galaxy of Companions of the Holy Prophet, was one among such slaves. His master Umayyah bin Khalf lashed him at night and made him lie on the burning sand during the day because of Bilal's conversion to Islam. Hadrat Abu Bakr bought him freedom and Bilal became a free Muslim. Other Muslim slaves who were bought by Hadrat Abu Bakr (R.A.), and made free were, ‘Amir bin Fuhairah, Nazirah, Nahdiah, Jariah, Bani Momil and Bint Nahdiah etc. (R.A.).

Before Hijrah Hadrat Abu Bakr spent lot of money on new converts.

When he found himself hard pressed by disbelievers he asked the permission of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam) to migrate to Abyssinia in the 5th year of the Mission with other Muslims. The Holy Prophet (Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam) permitted him but in the way he met Ibn-ud-Daghna, the chief of another tribe, Qara. On his enquiry Hadrat Abu Bakr told him about the persecution of Quraish and his intention to migrate to Abyssinia. Ibn-ud- Daghna did not want him to leave Arabia and declared to the people of Mecca that Abu Bakr was under his protection. Then nobody dared to harm him.

Abu Bakr gets the title of As-SIDDIQ

The Holy Prophet (Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam) had Mi'raj (Ascension) in the IOth year of his Mission. He narrated his Ascension to the people in the morning. Some of them came to Abu Bakr and said, "Have you listened to your friend (the Holy Prophet)? He is claiming that he visited Jerusalem and the Sublime Throne in the heavens last night and talked with Allah Almighty. Would you believe it?" Hadrat Abu Bakr (R.A.) immediately replied. "If he said so then it is an absolute Truth". They again said, "Do you believe that he visited all these places and came back within a small part of night?" He again replied. "Of course I believe in it and I believe in the things which are farther than it, i.e., the news of Hell and Paradise". For this the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam) named him as-Siddiq i.e., the most Truthful and sincere person in Faith not having even slightest doubt. Of course Abu Bakr's faith was so

One of the Two in the Cave

When the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam decided to migrate to Medina, Abu Bakr was the only companion with him. He carried all his money, about five to six thousand Darhams, and started in the night with the Holy Prophet. They lay hidden in the cave of Thaur for three days. The Holy Qur'an describes it as follows

"When the disbelievers drove him out; he had no more than one companion. They were two in the cave. And he said to his companion: "Have no fear for Allah is with us". Then Allah sent down His peace upon him". (9:40)

Abu Bakr's slave 'Amir bin Fuhairah tended the flocks of goats near the cave during the day and supplied them fresh milk in the night. After three days when Quraish stopped the search of the Holy Prophet, ‘Amir bin Fuhairah (Abu Bakr's slave) brought two she-camels and both started for Medina. Thus, of all the companions, Abu Bakr (R.A.) had the honour of accompanying the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam) in the most critical days of his life. He proved to be most trustworthy on all occasions.

Hadrat Abu Bakr at Medina

He reached Quba (a place near Medina) with the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam) and stopped there. The Medinites were anxiously waiting for the Holy Prophet. At Quba there was a warm welcome. The Holy Prophet (Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam) stopped at the place of Bani 'Amr bin 'Auf at Quba. Multitudes of people came there to see the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam) and most of them mistook Hadrat Abu Bakr as the Holy Prophet. On seeing this Hadrat Abu Bakr stood up and spread a sheet over the head of the Holy Prophet to protect from him the scorching rays of the hot sun. Then the Medinites recognised the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam).

On reaching Medina he fell ill because of the change of climate and got high fever. The Holy Prophet (Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam) prayed for him and he was restored to health. At the time of establishing brotherhood bond between an immigrant from Mecca and a Medinite Muslim the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam) took into consideration the position in the society of the two persons. Hadrat Abu Bakr (R.A.) became the brother of Hadrat Haritha bin Zubair, a noted and respected Medinite.

Participation in the Holy Wars

He fought in almost all the battles along with the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam). In the first battle of Islam at Badr he was with the Holy Prophet like a shadow. His own son, who had not embraced Islam by that time, was fighting on the side of Quraish. After he accepted Islam he said to Abu Bakr one day, "Dear father! I found you twice under my sword at Badr but I could not raise my hand because of my love for you". "if I had got a chance", Abu Bakr replied, "I would have killed you". It was Abu Bakr's suggestion on which the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam) decided to release the prisoners of war after taking ransom.

In the battle of Uhud when some of the Muslims were running away, Abu Bakr was firm and when the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu'alaihi wa Sallam) was brought on the mountain after being injured, he was with him.

Hadrat Abu Bakr (R.A.) was the first companion to accept the peace plan of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam) without any hesitation at Hudaibiyah when all the Muslims insisted upon fighting. Even a Muslim like Umar (R.A.) hesitated to accept the treaty with the non-believers of Mecca but Hadrat Abu Bakr fully supported the Holy Prophet's decision.

On the occasion of Tabuk expedition Hadrat Abu Bakr (R.A.) brought everything that he possessed. When the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam) asked him, "What did you leave for your family?" Abu Bakr (R.A.) said, "I have left for them Allah and his Prophet". Even Hadrat Umar (R.A.) admitted that he could never hope to surpass Abu Bakr (R.A.) in his sacrifice for the cause of Allah and Islam.

Amir (Chief) of Al-Hajjul-Akbar (9 A.H.)

It was the 9th year of Hijrah when the first Haj took place. The Holy Prophet (Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam) had then returned from Tabuk expedition but he was so busy that he could not himself attend the Hajj pilgrimage. He sent Hadrat Abu Bakr as-Siddiq as his deputy to lead the Hajj caravan to Mecca. Among others in the Hajj caravan were Hadrat Sa'd bin Abi-Waqqas, Jabir, and Hadrat Abu Hurairah (R.A.). The Holy Qur'an calls this Hajj pilgrimage as "Al-Hajjul-Akbar" (The Great Hajj) because it was the first ever Hajj in the history of Islam and was the beginning of a new era of Islamic period and constitution. Hadrat Abu Bakr taught the people the Hajj rites and rituals and gave a historic sermon (Khutbah) on the Sacrificial Day before the congregation. Hadrat 'Ali followed him and proclaimed severance of all connections with the heathen world. It was announced: Non-believers should not approach the Ka'bah; no person should perform Hajj naked (as was observed before Islam); and all the treaties with pagan world would cease to operate after four months. The Holy Qur'an mentions it as follows

"An announcement from Allah and His Apostle, to the people (assembled) on the day of the Great Pilgrimage (Al-Hajjul-Akbar), that Allah and His Apostle dissolve (treaty) obligations with the Pagans. If, then, you repent, it is better for you (0 Pagan), but if you turn away then you mind it that you cannot frustrate Allah. And proclaim a grievous penalty to those who reject Faith". (9:3)

Imam of Holy Prophet's Mosque

Since his arrival at Medina the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam) himself led the Salats at his mosque all the time. This was really a high office and was not given to anybody in the presence of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam). A few months after his return from the Farewell Pilgrimage (AI-Hujjatul-Wida’) in IO A.H., the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam) fell ill. A time came when he was unable to move and could not go to the Mosque to lead the Salat. He had to appoint someone as the Imam and this honour fell to the lot of Abu Bakr. Abu Bakr's daughter, lady 'A'isha (Radiallahu Anha) was one of the most beloved wives of the Holy Prophet Sallallahu'alaihi wa Sallam). She knew that Hadrat Abu Bakr was a soft hearted man and it would be rather hard for him to replace the Holy Prophet(Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam) in the Salat. So she pleaded with the Holy Prophet (Sallailahu 'alaihi wa Sallam) to excuse Hadrat Abu Bakr from this duty but the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam) did not change his decision even though he was requested three times.

During those days once Abu Bakr was not present at the time of congregational Salat. Somebody asked Hadrat Umar to lead the Salat. The Holy Prophet (Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam) after hearing the voice of Hadrat Umar enquired about the Imam and when he found that Abu Bakr(R.A.) was not leading he was annoyed and said, "Nobody will lead the Salat besides Ibn Abu Qahafa (i.e. Hadrat Abu Bakr)". Then Abu Bakr (R.A.) was called but by that time Hadrat Umar had completed the Salat. The Salat was repeated by the order of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam) and Abu Bakr (R.A.) led it.

During his sickness, the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam) once felt some relief and went for Zuhr Salat, supported by Hadrat ‘Ali and Hadrat ‘Abbas (R.A.). His face beamed with joy and full satisfaction on seeing Abu Bakr leading the Salat. Sensing the presence of the Holy Prophet, (Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam) Abu Bakr wanted to step back but the Holy Prophet stopped him and sat down by his side. After the Salat the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam) gave his last address: "Allah offered one of His servants the choice of the life on this earth and a life with Him. But the servant accepted the latter". Hearing this tears came out of Abu Bakr's eyes and rolled down to his beard. He thought of the inevitable separation from his Beloved Master (the Holy Prophet). Most of the people did not understand the meaning of Holy Prophet's address and they were surprised at Abu Bakr's crying.

Early in the morning of the last day of his life, the Holy Prophet's condition became suddenly better for a while. As the apartment was just adjoining the Mosque, he raised the curtain and observed the Muslims busy in Salat under the Imamat (leadership) of Hadrat Abu Bakr (R.A.). A smile lit up the pale face of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam). Seeing the sign of the Holy Prophet's recovery the people in the Mosque lost control over themselves in sheer delight. They might have fallen out of the file but the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam) asked Hadrat Abu Bakr to lead the Salat and he went inside and let the curtain fall

News of the Death of the Holy Prophet

When Hadrat Abu Bakr (R.A.) found the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam) in a better condition in the morning of the last day of his life, he went a few miles outside Medina to meet his wife Hadrat Kharjah bint Zuhair (Radiallahu anha). After hearing the news of the death of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam), he immediately returned and saw great rush at the gate of the Mosque. He did not talk to anybody and went straight to Hadrat  ‘ A’isha’s apartment where the Holy Corpse was lying. After taking permission he entered the apartment and kissed the Holy Face, tears rolling out of his eyes. Then he remarked, "May my parents be sacrificed for you. I swear by Allah that death will never come twice to you. You have tasted the death which was destined for you and now you will get no other." He covered the Holy Body with a sheet and came to the Mosque.

A multitude of people was crying in the Mosque. Hadrat Umar (R.A.) was in a strong emotional state and was shouting that the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam) had not died. Hadrat Abu Bakr (R.A.) tried to calm him but Umar did not pay any attention to him. Noting the delicacy of the situation, Hadrat Abu Bakr stood in another corner of the Mosque and gave his most effective and historical address. All the people gathered around him. He said:
"O People! If any one of you worshipped Muhammad (Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam) he should bear in mind that Muhammad is dead. But those who worshipped Allah should know that He is Alive and will never die. Allah says in the Holy Qur'an: "Muhammad is only a Messenger of Allah. There came down a number of Messengers before him. Then would you turn back from Islam, if he dies or is killed?"

The address of Hadrat Abu Bakr touched the hearts of the people. Hadrat Umar also cooled down. Hadrat 'Abdullah says, "It seemed that the verse of the Holy Qur'an to which Abu Bakr referred was just revealed, although we had recited it several times in the past"

Abu Bakr chosen as the First Khalifah

The Holy Prophet (Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam) did not nominate his successor and left the choice of his deputy or viceroy (Khalifah) to his Ummah (followers). There were two groups of Muslims in Medina viz., Muhajirin (the Immigrants from Mecca), and Ansar (Helpers i.e., Medinites). After the death of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam), Ansar (Medinites) gathered in a big Hall of Medinah known as "Saqifah-i-Bani Sa'idah" to discuss the appointment of a Khalifah. Hadrat Abu Bakr and Hadrat Umar with other prominent Muhajirin (Immigrants) were in the Mosque. When they were informed about the gathering of Ansar, Hadrat Abu Bakr and Umar also went there accompanied by a number of eminent Muhajirin like Hadrat Abu 'Ubaidah bin al-Jarrah. Since Hadrat 'Ali and Hadrat Zubair (two prominent figures among Muhajirin) were not present at the spot, they could not go to the gathering.

Much discussion was going on in the gathering of the Ansar about the selection of a Khalifah. Some of the leading Ansar wanted a Khalifah from amongst the Ansar. When Hadrat Abu Bakr heard it, he said. "We acknowledge the sacrifices of Ansar for Islam. You really deserve to have a Khalifah from amongst yourselves, but Arabs will not agree on any "Amir" (Chief of other than a person from the Quraish." Hearing Hadrat Abu Bakr another Ansari, Khabab bin Mundhar stood up and said, "Let there be two Amirs (Khalifahs) then, one from amongst Quraish and another from amongst Ansar." On this Hadrat Umar stood up and said, "This is not at all possible. There would be great confusion because of two Amirs." Hadrat Khabbab bin Mundhar did not agree with Umar and there was a hot talk between them. Hadrat Abu 'Ubaidah tried to cool them down. Then another Ansari Hadrat Bashir bin an-Nu'man (R.A.) stood up and said, "The Holy Prophet belonged to the Quraish tribe. Quraishites have preference over others. All the Arabs would agree on them. Therefore a Khalifah must be from amongst them. We do not want any dispute with Muhajirin in the matter of Khilafat. We the Medinites are Ansar (Helpers) and we would prefer to remain Helpers of Allah and His Holy Prophet (Sallaliahu'alaihi wa Sallam)." Another Ansari Hadrat Zaid bin Thabit (R.A.) also supported this view and said, "There should be a Khalifah from amongst Muhajirin (Quraishis). We Medinites were Ansar (Helpers) of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam) and would remain Ansar (Helpers) of his Khalifah as well." A number of Ansar then supported this view, and there was general satisfaction in the council over the selection of a Muhajir (Quraishi) Khalifah. Seeing this Hadrat Abu Bakr (R.A.) stood up and said, "I propose the name of Umar and Abu'Ubaidah bin al-Jarrah for this post. Select anyone of these two men as your Khalifah." But both of them refused and Hadrat Umar said, "Abu Bakr is the best of all of us because Allah has mentioned him in the Holy Qur'an saying: "The one amongst two in the cave" (9:40). He further said, Abu Bakr excelled at every occasion during the life of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam). He deputised the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam) in leading Salats, he was appointed the Chief of Haj caravan. As such he is the fittest person to be the Khalifah." Hadrat Abu Bakr still hesitated but Umar (R.A.) and Hadrat Zaid bin Thabit Ansari held his hand and took pledge of loyalty (Bai'at). Then Hadrat Abu 'Ubaidah bin al-Jarrah and Hadrat Bashir bin an-Nu'man Ansari also took pledge of loyalty at his hands. Seeing this people from all the sides rushed to pledge loyalty to Abu Bakr (R.A.) as the first successor of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu'alaihi wa Sallam).

Next day a general pledge of loyalty (Bai'at) was taken by the Muslims in the Mosque of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam). Thus Hadrat Abu Bakr assumed the greatest office, after the office of prophethood, and became the first Khalifah of Islam. He gave his first address as a Khalifah in the mosque after the general "Bai'at""0 people! I have been selected as your Trustee although I am no better than anyone of you. If I am right, obey me. If I am misguided, set me right. Of course truth is honesty and a lie is dishonesty. The weakest among you is powerful in my eyes until I do not get him his due, Insha-Allah (If it should please Allah). The most powerful among you is the weakest in my eyes until I do not make him pay due rights to others Insha Allah. Allah sends down disgrace on those people who give up Jihad in the path of Allah. Allah surely sends down calamities on such people who indulge in evils.

"I ask you to obey me as long as I obey Allah and His Messenger (Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam). If I disobey Allah and His Messenger you are free to disobey me. Now come and offer Salat."

In his short address, Hadrat Abu Bakr showed the role of an exemplary Khalifah of Islamic Government. No doubt Islamic Government means: "Government of Allah and His Prophet, by His obedient servants for the benefit of the people in this world and in the Hereafter."

About thirty three thousand people took pledge of loyalty (Bai'at) at the hand of Hadrat Abu Bakr in the mosque. The selection (or Election) of Hadrat Abu Bakr is a pointer towards Islamic Democracy and furnishes example for selection of a Leader for Ummat-i-Muslimah (Muslim Community) till the Day of Judgement.

Hadrat ‘Ali took pledge of loyalty a few months later because he was busy in collecting various parts of the Holy Qur'an. Some other reasons have also been given for his delay in "Bai'at'' which are ignored here.

Problems faced by Hadrat Abu Bakr As-Siddiq as a Caliph

After the death of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam), the Arabs were on all sides rising in rebellion. Apostasy and disaffection raised their heads. Christians and Jews were filled with unrest. Some Muslim tribes refused to pay Zakat to the Caliph for "Baitul Mal" (the Public Treasury). Some disbelievers declared themselves to be prophets. There were many problems and much confusion. Hadrat Abu Bakr (R.A.) faced all these with unparalleled courage and the highest degree of Iman (Faith) which is the characteristic of a "SIDDIQ". At this place I would like to point out that "SIDDIQIAT" is the highest stage of Iman (Faith) and "Tawakkul" (Trust in Allah) after prophethood as pointed out in the following verse of the Holy Qur'an

"All those who obey Allah and the Prophet are in the company of those upon whom Allah has shown favours - of the Prophets, "Siddiqin" (The Sincere), "Shuhada" (The Martyrs), and "Salihin"(The Righteous Muslims): Ah! What a beautiful company." (4:69).

In the following lines I would like to mention the main problems faced by Abu Bakr as-Siddiq (R.A.) in brief.

Usamah's Expedition

The freed slave of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam) and his adopted son, Hadrat Zaid bin Harith (R.A.) was martyred at the hands of Syrians (Romans) at Mautah in 8 A.H. A few weeks before his death the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam) appointed Hadrat Usamah (R.A.), the son of Zaid to lead an expedition against Syrians in order to avenge the death of his father, Zaid. When Hadrat Usamah was about to leave, the news of the demise of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam) came and the departure of the army was postponed. After being chosen as Caliph, the first task before Abu Bakr (R.A.) was to send out this expedition. As a matter of fact, it was the most critical time in the history of Islam. The entire peninsula was in a state of unrest and disorder. Some of the new converts thought Islam would come to an end with the Holy Prophet's life. Many of the tribes had entered the fold of Islam only a short time before and were not firm in Islam. About this the Holy Qur'an has already predicted

"The wandering Arabs (Bedouins) say: We have (firm) faith. Say (to them O Muhammad): You believe not (firmly), but rather say "We submit", for the Faith has not entered into your hearts." (39:14).

At the same time news came to Medina that apostates under the command of some false prophet were planning to invade the town. Hadrat Abu Bakr(R.A.) was really facing a difficult situation. In the circumstances, the companions approached him to withdraw the expedition of Hadrat Usamah bin Zaid. In their opinion it was unwise to send troops out of Medina because they were needed at home.
Here was the test of Abu Bakr's (R.A.) faith in following the ways of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam). He got through in his test and proved to be the most firm among all of his companions including Hadrat Umar. Abu Bakr (R.A.) said he could never alter the decision taken by his master (the Holy Prophet). He firmly replied to his companions, "How can I fold up the flag which was unfurled by the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu'alaihi wa Sallam) himself?" When Muslims saw that Hadrat Abu Bakr was firm they requested him to change the command of Hadrat Usamah because he was too young and inexperienced -- not yet twenty, thus was not fit to lead the expedition. Hearing this Hadrat Abu Bakr was much annoyed and said, "Do you want me to dismiss a man appointed by the Messenger of Allah?"

At last the army led by Hadrat Usamah left after three weeks of Holy Prophet's death. Hadrat Umar (R.A.) was also included in the army. Hadrat Abu Bakr sought Usamah's permission to leave him in Medinah, and he agreed. Hadrat Abu Bakr himself bid him farewell and went to some distance out of Medina. The young commander of the army was riding a horse and the great Caliph was walking by his side. After forty days Hadrat Usamah returned to Medinah with a great victory, the victory of Abu Bakr's (R.A.) firm Faith.

The success of Usamah's expedition also opened the eyes of those who thought Islam was dying out after the demise of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam). Some of the tribes again came back to Islam which they had left.

Illness of Hadrat Abu Bakr and Umar's Nomination

It was the 7th Jamada-ul-Akhira, 13 A.H. that As-Siddiq al-Akbar fell ill. He had a severe fever. When the illness took a serious turn he called the "Shura" (Advisory Council) to consult about his successor, the second Caliph. Since he had seen some confusion after the demise of the Holy Prophet for the selection of a Caliph, he preferred to let the Muslims decide the matter in his presence. Following were the leading figures present in the Shura:Umar, 'Uthman,'Ali, 'Abdur-Rahman bin 'Auf, Mu'adh bin Jabal, Ubaiy bin Ka'b, Zaid bin Thabit (Ridwanullah 'alaihim Ajma'in) and other leading Muhajirin and Ansar. According to some historians he first consulted some of the most prominent Companions before calling the meeting of the General Shura about this. Among these persons were 'Uthman,'Abdur rahman bin 'Auf and Usaid bin hadir etc. (R.A.) Hadrat Abu Bakr put his proposal for Hadrat Umar to be the second Caliph. All of them agreed with the proposal except for an objection by some of the Companions about his strictness. That was the only ground on which Hadrat'Ali and Talha (R.A.) also did not agree with Hadrat Abu Bakr. But Abu Bakr(R.A.) rejected their plea on the ground that the burden of Caliphate would make him milder. Since there was no opposition to Hadrat Abu Bakr's view, Hadrat Umar was declared to be the next Caliph and all the Companions, including Hadrat'Ali and Hadrat Talha, agreed to it.

At this point I would like to point out that the decision of Hadrat Abu Bakr (R.A.) for the selection (or election) of Hadrat Umar in his presence during his life was purely based on his "Ijtihad" (Personal Judgment of a Jurist) as explained by him after his nomination of Umar (R.A.) was recorded. As a matter of fact it was the need of the time and Hadrat Abu Bakr (R.A.) was totally right in his "Ijtihad". The proof of this is also the "Ijma’” (Agreement) of the Companions on his proposal to select a Caliph while he was still alive.

Although the appointment (election) of the Caliph did not take place in the same way as it happened with Hadrat Abu Bakr (R.A.), it was not un-democratic in the sense that the nomination of Hadrat Umar took place after fair consultation with the "Shura". Hadrat Abu Bakr never wanted anything which would make Islam weak after him. He knew what had happened after the death of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam) the repetition of which was to be avoided. The strength of the Muslim community lay in unity and that had to be preserved at any cost. For these reasons Hadrat Abu Bakr(R.A.) wanted an agreed person to be nominated as his successor in his presence. Therefore he took a decision by "Ijtihad" for the nomination of a Caliph after due consultation.

After the "Shura" (Advisory Council) had agreed on Hadrat Umar, Hadrat Abu Bakr asked Hadrat 'Uthman (R.A.) to write the will

"Bismillah-irrahmanir-Rahim (In the name of Allah, most Gracious, most Merciful)--This is the declaration which is made by Abu Bakr bin Abi Quhafah while he is about to leave for the next world. At this time even a non-believer starts to believe, and even a great sinner returns to faith, and a disbeliever begins to trust in Allah. I appoint Umar bin Khattab as the Caliph (Khalifah). You must follow his orders and obey him. I have done everything good for the sake of Allah, for His Holy Prophet and for the welfare of His Religion and Muslims and for myself in appointing him (Umar as the Caliph). I hope that he would be honest and just but if he changes his ways, and becomes unjust, I would have no responsibility, as I do not have the knowledge of the unseen. Everybody is responsible for what he does."

Afterwards he went up to his balcony with the help of some persons and addressed a big gathering of Muslims: "O my brothers! I have not appointed any of my relations or brothers as a Caliph, I have chosen the best person among you. Do you agree on this'? All of them replied in the affirmative. Then he called Umar (R.A.) and talked with him for a long time and gave him words of parting advice. Some of them are as under

"O Umar always fear Allah. An optional deed is not accepted unless the obligatory deed is done. The weight of your goodness would be heavy on the day of Judgement if you followed the Right Path in this world. The deeds of the persons who followed wrong Path in this world be having no weight on the Day of Judgement. They will have a terrible time. Make the Holy Qur'an and Truth your guide for success. Umar if you follow the path I propose for you, I will surely be by your side..........".

As-Siddiq al-Akbar passes away

After a fortnight's illness, As-Siddiq al-Akbar passed away at the age of 61 on Tuesday, the 22nd Jamadal-Akhira, 13 A.H. (23rd August 634 A.D.). Before his death he said to his daughter Lady ‘A’isha (Radiallahu 'Anha), "Do not use new cloth for my shroud. Wash the sheet in my use and wrap my corpse in it". His wish was acted upon. His next wish was to pay all the money he got as salary for Caliph from "Baitul Mal" (The Public Treasury) after selling his garden. He said, I did not like to take anything from the "Baitul Mal but Umar  pressed me to accept some allowance so that I would be relieved of my occupation and devote my full time to the duties of the Khilafat (Caliphate). I was left no choice but to accept the offer". After his death 'A'isha asked Hadrat  Umar to take over that garden as desired by her father. Umar remarked: "May Allah bless him. He left no chance for any body to open his lips against him".

Hadrat Abu Bakr (R.A.) was a rich merchant before his Khilafat. After he was selected as Caliph, Hadrat Umar and some other Companions put pressure on him to leave his business and accept some allowance from the Baitul Mal. He took the least possible amount which was hardly sufficient for him and his family. Once his wife wanted to prepare some sweet dish, and somehow saved something after one month. When she brought to him the money to make purchases for the sweet dish, Hadrat Abu Bakr said, "It seems that we have been over-paid, beyond our needs". He then deposited the saving in the Baitul Mal and she was not able to prepare the sweet dish. Not only this he got his allowance cut down for future by the amount saved by his wife.

As-Siddiq al-Akbar left behind a noble example of selfless service. He lived and worked for the sake of Islam to his last breath, but sought no reward.

Wives and Children

Wives
His first wife was Qatilah bint 'Abdul 'Aziz who bore to him 'Abdullah and Asma (R.A.). His second wife, Umm-i-Ruman gave birth to Lady  ‘A’ isha (R.A.), the most beloved wife of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam), and 'Abdur Rahman (Rad A.). Besides these two he also married Asma' and Habibah (R.A.).

Children
Daughters
(i) Ummul-Mu'minin Hadrat 'A'isha (R.A.)
(ii) Asma, and
(iii) Umm-i-Kulthum, born to Habibah after his death.

Sons
(i) 'Abdullah,
(ii),'Abdur Rahman and
(iii) Muhammad.

Abu Bakr, a Saviour of Islam

As-Siddiq al-Akbar took the office of Caliphate (Khilafat) at the most crucial and critical moment of Islamic history. He gave Islam a new life after the death of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam). Islam, in its infant stage, when he was entrusted with the responsibility to Caliphate, was threatened by rebellions, rise of false prophets and apostasy movements. He crushed all the futile powers because of his unshakeable faith. No amount of difficulties could make him deviate from the Sunnah (Path) of the Holy Master. He brought unity among the Muslims and crushed all the rebellions. In view of his great service for the cause of Islam at that critical moment when there was a lot of confusion, Abu Bakr (R.A.) may rightly be called the Saviour of Islam.

It was in the time of Abu Bakr that Islam started to cross the Arabian borders. A major part of Iraq came under his rule and Muslim armies had captured many important cities of Syria. Thus Islam, the religion of whole mankind, started to be a world religion in his period.

Collection of the Holy Qur'an

One of the greatest services rendered to Islam by Abu Bakr (R.A.) was the collection of the Holy Qur'an. There were hundreds of Huffaz (i.e., those who committed the whole Holy Qur'an to memory) among the Companions during the life-time of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu'alaihi wa Sallam) but it had not been compiled in book form though its memorisation continued even after the death of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam). In various battles which took place against rebels and false prophets, a number of Huffaz Companions were martyred. In the battle against Musailimah al-Khad-dhab about seventy Huffaz had died.

It then occurred to HadratUmar (R.A.) that necessary steps should be taken to preserve the Holy Qur'an intact in its original form against every kind of danger and it was not wise to depend exclusively upon those who had learnt it by heart. Therefore, he urged Hadrat Abu Bakr (R.A.) to put it in black and white in the form of a book. Other Companions also agreed with Umar’s opinion but Hadrat Abu Bakr hesitated in the beginning because it was not done by the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam). However after some discussion he agreed to it and appointed Hadrat Zaid bin Thabit (R.A.) for this work who was hesitant at first but later, he changed his mind and started the work. Hadrat Zaid bin Thabit was the best qualified person for this work because he had acted as an amanuensis to the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam), and was one of the Companions who had learnt the Holy Qur'an directly from him. Moreover, he was also present on the occasion when the Holy Prophet recited the whole of the completed Holy Qur'an to angel Gabriel. Hadrat Zaid bin Thabit adopted the same order of the various chapters of the Holy Book as was revealed to the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam). In the compilation of the Holy Book a number of prominent Companions assisted him. The compiled copy of the Qur'an was kept in the house of Umm ul-Mu'minin, Hadrat Hafsah (Radiallahu 'Anha) who was one of the wives of the Holy Prophet and daughter of Hadrat Umar. It was proclaimed that anyone, who desired, might make a copy of it or compare with it the copy one already possessed.

The collection of the Holy Qur'an in a book form was not an act against the Sunnah (Ways) of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam), because the Holy Qur'an declares itself "A BOOK" at a number of places e.g., in the very beginning it says
"This is the Book........." (2:2)
During his caliphate Hadrat 'Uthman sent copies of the same compilation of the Holy Qur'an, collected during the period of Hadrat Abu Bakr (R.A.), to various places of his caliphate.

In this way we see that Hadrat Abu Bakr (R.A.) kept doing the great work of his Holy Master (Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam). With unshakeable faith and full courage he had struggled to the utmost. Islam is for ever grateful to its greatest hero, the next to prophets, for the great services he rendered to it.
Hadrat Abu Bakr's caliphate lasted for only two years, three months and ten days (according to Islamic calendar).