Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Caliph. Abu Bakr was named al-Siddîq: the Very Truthful, the One Who Never Lies.

...............Let me tell you a story. About  Building   Bridges so we can Get Over It...............
"Do you believe what he said,
When the Quraysh confronted the Prophet after the Night Journey, they turned to Abu Bakr and said: "Do you believe what he said, that he went last night to the Hallowed House and came back before morning?" He replied: "If he said it, then I believe him, yes, and I do believe him regarding what is farther than that. I believe the news of heaven he brings, whether in the space of a morning or in that of an evening journey." Because of this Abu Bakr was named al-Siddîq: the Very Truthful, the One Who Never Lies.

Abu Bakr’s high rank is indicated, among other signs, by the fact that to deny his Companionship to the Prophet entails disbelief (kufr), unlike the denial of the Companionship of `Umar, `Uthman, and `Ali to the Prophet. This is due to the mention of this companionship in the verse: "The second of two when the two were in the cave, and he said unto his companion: Grieve not" (9:40) which refers, by Consensus, to the Prophet and Abu Bakr. Allah further praised him above the rest by saying: "Those who spent and fought before the victory are not upon a level (with the rest of you)." (57:10)

The Shia shahadah (declaration of faith) states:

"There is no god but Alláh, Muhammad is the Messenger of Alláh, Alí is the Friend of Alláh. The Successor of the Messenger of Alláh And his first Caliph."

If you are already familiar with standard Sunni beliefs, you will immediately notice the addition to the shahadah regarding Imam Ali (رضّى الله عنه, cousin of the Prophet (pbuh), husband of his daughter Fatima R.A, father of Hassan (رضّى الله عنه. and Hussein (رضّى الله عنه. and the second person ever to embrace Islam. The term Shia or Shi'ite derives from a shortening of Shiat Ali or partisans of Ali (رضّى الله عنه..

Ali R.A. is the central figure at the origin of the Shia / Sunni split which occurred in the decades immediately following the death of the Prophet in 632. Sunnis regard Ali (رضّى الله عنهi. as the fourth and last of the "rightly guided caliphs" (successors to Mohammed (pbuh) as leader of the Muslims) following on from Abu Bakr(رضّى الله عنه . 632-634, Umar(رضّى الله عنه) 634-644 and Uthman (رضّى الله عنه)644-656. Shias feel that Ali (رضّى الله عنه) should have been the first caliph and that the caliphate should pass down only to direct descendants of Mohammed (pbuh) via Ali and Fatima (R.A,) They often refer to themselves as ahl al bayt or "people of the house" [of the prophet].

When Uthman (رضّى الله عنه. was murdered while at prayer, Ali finally succeeded to the caliphate. Ali (رضّى الله عنه. was, however, opposed by Aisha R.A., wife of the Prophet (pbuh) and daughter of Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه., who accused him of being lax in bringing Uthman's(رضّى الله عنه. killers to justice. After Ali's(رضّى الله عنه) army defeated Aisha's R.A. forces at the Battle of the Camel in 656, she apologized to Ali (رضّى الله عنه. and was allowed to return to her home in Madinah where she withdrew from public life.

However, Ali(رضّى الله عنه) was not able to overcome the forces of Mu'awiya Ummayad, Uthman's(رضّى الله عنه . cousin and governor of Damascus, who also refused to recognize him until Uthman's(رضّى الله عنه) killers had been apprehended. At the Battle of Suffin Mu'awiya's soldiers stuck verses of the Quran onto the ends of their spears with the result that Ali's (رضّى الله عنه). pious supporters refused to fight them. Ali R.A. was forced to seek a compromise with Mu'awiya, but this so shocked some of his die-hard supporters who regarded it as a betrayal that he was struck down by one of his own men in 661.

Mu'awiya declared himself caliph. Ali's(رضّى الله عنه) elder son Hassan(رضّى الله عنه) accepted a pension in return for not pursuing his claim to the caliphate. He died within a year, allegedly poisoned. Ali's (رضّى الله عنه). younger son Hussein(رضّى الله عنه) agreed to put his claim to the caliphate on hold until Mu'awiya's death. However, when Mu'awiya finally died in 680, his son Yazid usurped the caliphate. Hussein(رضّى الله عنه) led an army against Yazid but, hopelessly outnumbered, he and his men were slaughtered at the Battle of Karbala (in modern day Iraq). Hussein's (رضّى الله عنه . infant son, Ali, survived so the line continued. Yazid formed the hereditary Ummayad dynasty. The division between the Shia and what came to be known as the Sunni was set.

An opportunity for Muslim unity arose in the 750's CE. In 750 except for a few who managed to flee to Spain, almost the entire Ummayad aristocracy was wiped out following the Battle of Zab in Egypt in a revolt led by Abu Al Abbass al-Saffah and aided by considerable Shia support. It was envisaged that the Shia spiritual leader Jafar As-Siddiq, great-grandson of Hussein be installed as Caliph. But when Abbass died in 754, this arrangement had not yet been finalised and Abbas' son Al Mansur murdered Jafar, seized the caliphate for himself and founded the Baghdad-based Abbassid dynasty which prevailed until the sack of Baghdad by the Mongols in 1258.

Theological Differences and Attempts at promoting Unity
 the last Shia Imam, Muhammad al-Mahdi, who had no brothers disappeared within days of inheriting the title at the age of four. The Shias refused, however, to accept that he had died, preferring to believe that he was merely "hidden" and would return. When after several centuries this failed to happen, spiritual power passed to the ulema, a council of twelve scholars who elected a supreme Imam. The best known modern example of the Shia supreme Imam is the late Ayyatollah Khomeni, whose portrait hangs in many Shia homes. The Shia Imam has come to be imbued with Pope-like infallibility and the Shia religious hierarchy is not dissimilar in structure and religious power to that of the Catholic Church within Christianity. Sunni Islam, in contrast, more closely resembles the myriad independent churches of American Protestantism.  Sunnis do not have a formal clergy, just scholars and jurists, who may offer non-binding opinions.  Shias believe that their supreme Imam is a fully spiritual guide, inheriting some of Muhammad's inspiration ("light") .  Their imams are believed to be inerrant interpreters of law and tradition.  Shia theology is distinguished by its glorification of Ali.  In Shia Islam there is a strong theme of martyrdom and suffering, focusing on deaths of Ali and, particularly, Hussein plus other important figures in the Shia succession.  Shi`ism attracted other dissenting groups, especially representatives of older non-Arab (Mawali) civilizations (Persian, Indian, etc.) that felt they had not been treated fairly by the Arab Muslims.

Sunnis and Shias agree on the core fundamentals of Islam - the Five Pillars - and recognize each others as Muslims.  In 1959 Sheikh Mahmood Shaltoot, Head of the School of Theology at Al Azhar university in Cairo, the most august seat of learning of Sunni Islam and the oldest university in the world, issued a fatwa (ruling) recognizing the legitimacy of the Jafari School of Law to which most Shias belong.  As a point of interest, the Jafari School  is named after its founder Imam Jafaf Sidiq who was a direct descendent through two different lines of the Sunni Caliph Abu Bakr.  And Al Azhar University, though now Sunni, was actually founded by the Shia Fatimid dynasty in 969CE.

However, there remain significant differences between the two forms of Islam and these are what tend to be emphasized.  Many Sunni's would contend that Shias seem to take the fundamentals of Islam very much for granted, shunting them into the background and dwelling on the martyrdoms of Ali R.A. and Hussein R.A.. This is best illustrated at Ashura when each evening over a period of ten days the Shias commemorate the Battle of Karbala, with a wailing Imam whipping the congregation up into a frenzy of tears and chest beating. It is alleged that instead of missionary work to non-Muslims, the Shia harbor a deep-seated disdain towards Sunni Islam and prefer to devote their attention to winning over other Muslims to their group. There is ongoing violent strife between Sunnis and Shias in Pakistan. On the other hand, in recent years there has been signification co-operation between the two groups in the Lebanon.  And some of the most dynamic developments in Islam today are taking place in Shia-dominated Iran.

Practical Differences
On a practical daily level, Shias have a different call to prayer, they perform wudu and salat differently including placing the forehead onto a piece of hardened clay from Karbala, not directly onto the prayer mat when prostrating. They also tend to combine prayers, sometimes worshipping three times per day instead of five. The Shias also have some different ahadith and prefer those narrated by Ali and Fatima to those related by other companions of the Prophet (pbuh). Because of her opposition to Ali, those narrated by Aisha count among the least favored.  Shia Islam also permits muttah - fixed-term temporary marriage - which is now banned by the Sunnis.  Muttah was originally permitted at the time of the Prophet (pbuh) and is now being promoted in Iran by an unlikely alliance of conservative clerics and feminists, the latter group seeking to downplay the obsession with female virginity which is prevalent in both forms of Islam, pointing out that only one of the Prophet's thirteen wives was a virgin when he married them.

Shias Today
Iran is overwhelmingly Shia - 89%. Shias also form a majority of the population in Yemen and Azerbaijan, Bahrain and 60% of the population of Iraq. There are also sizeable Shia communities along the east coast of Saudi Arabia and in the Lebanon.  The well known guerilla organization Hizbollah, which forced the Israelis out of southern Lebanon in 2000, is Shia.  Worldwide, Shias constitute ten to fifteen percent of the overall Muslim population.

Within Shia Islam there are different sects.  Most Shias are "Twelvers", i.e. they recognize the 12 Imams. There are also Sevener and Fiver Shias who don't recognize the later Imams.

The issue of Fadak
The issue of Fadak is a favorite topic for the Shia, and the story (in collusion with spiteful rhetoric) is one that the Shia children grow up on. The Shia propagandists feel no qualms in rabble-rousing and exploiting Fadak by reviving Fitnah and disagreements that died hundreds of years ago. On the other hand, the Ahlus Sunnah wal Jama’ah does not focus on the story of Fadak, namely to prevent senseless Fitnah and out of respect for Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) and Fatima (رضّى الله عنها), two of the great personalities of Islam.

Because of the fact that the issue of Fadak is not a center of focus in Sunni circles, many Sunni youth do not have the details about this event and most haven’t even heard of it. Meanwhile, the Shia youth are trained with propaganda points to assault the unknowing Sunnis with. This imbalance of knowledge leads to a quick “victory” for the Shia propagandists.

The reality, however, is that the Shia version of Fadak is completely biased, contrary to the facts, and yet another typical Taqiyyah-oriented deception and manipulation of history designed to malign Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه). We find that a fair analysis of Fadak not only absolves Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) of all wrong doing, but it also exposes the falsity of the Shia paradigm.

    * Fadak

Fadak was the name of a property that the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) personally owned. Upon the Prophet’s death (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم), Fatima (رضّى الله عنها) expected to inherit Fadak, but Caliph Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) refused to give it to her and he instead donated it to the state as charity. Based on this event, the Shia villify Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) for “stealing” land from the daughter of the Prophet.

The reason Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) did not–and Islamically could not–give Fadak to Fatima (رضّى الله عنها) was because the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) had declared that the Prophets do not leave behind inheritance. Prophets are awarded special financial privelages in order to aid them in their mission to spread Islam; Prophet Muhammad (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) got a portion of the Khums on the very basis that he was a Prophet. It is thus not an absurd stipulation that their inheritance too has a special set of rules distinct from non-prophets. Both Sunni and Shia Hadith confirm that the property of Prophets is left behind as charity and not to be awarded as inheritance.

    * Hadith

Let us now examine Sunni Hadith on the topic of Prophets and inheritance. Prophet Muhammad (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) said:

    “We do not leave inheritance. What we leave behind is charity.” (Sahih Muslim, Kitab al-Jihad was-Siyar, no. 49)

    “We, the Prophets, do not leave heirs.” (Musnad Ahmad, vol. 2 p. 462)

This is confirmed in Shia Hadith as well. Let us examine Shia Hadith in Al-Kafi, the most reliable of the four Shia books of Hadith, on the same matter:

    “The Prophets did not leave dinars and dirhams as inheritance, but they left knowledge.” (al-Kafi, vol. 1 p. 42)

This Shia Hadith in Al-Kafi has two separate narrations, and is considered Sahih by the Shia. The authenticity is confirmed by Ayatollah Khomeini, who used this Hadith to prove his claim of Wilayah al-Faqih. Khomeini said about the Hadith:

    “The narrators of this tradition are all reliable and trustworthy. The father of ‘Ali ibn Ibrahim [namely Ibrahim ibn Hashim] is not only reliable, [but in fact] he is one of the most reliable and trustworthy narrators.”

    (source: Khomeini, al-Hukumat al-Islamiyyah, p. 133, published by Markaz Baqiyyat Allah al-A’zam, Beirut)

So we wonder why this Hadith is reliable enough to prove Wilayah al-Faqih, but suddenly it is not used by the Shia to defend Abu Bakr’s (رضّى الله عنه) position?

Do we not then see that the statement made by Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) about Prophets not giving inheritance is the same statement that was made by Imam Sadiq (رضّى الله عنه) whom the Shia consider to be infallible? Allamah Al-Majlisi declared that the Hadith “do[es] not fall short of being Sahih.” And Ayatollah Khomeini considered it to be so Sahih that he used it to prove his Wilayah al-Faqih. If Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) is to be considered a liar for quoting this Hadith, then would the Shia also accept that Imam Sadiq (رضّى الله عنه), Allamah Majlisi, and Ayatollah Khomeini are also liars by same logic?

This Shia Hadith is referenced on, one of the most reliable of the Shia websites:

    Hadith 57, Chapter 4, h 1

    “The prophets did not leave any Dirham or Dinar (wealth) as their inheritance but they did leave knowledge as their inheritance.”


The Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) is recorded as saying:

    “What we leave behind is to become alms.” (Hadith ash-Shafi)

The truth is that the Shia has no leg to stand upon since we point to their own Al-Kafi.

When Ali (رضّى الله عنه) became Caliph, he did not revoke the decision of Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) on the propety of Fadak. What stopped Ali (رضّى الله عنه) from doing this? So why are the Shia against Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) when Ali (رضّى الله عنه) upheld the decision? In fact, the scholar Sayyid Murtada (known as ‘Alam al-Huda) narrates in his book on Imamah entitled ash-Shafi, that when Ali (رضّى الله عنه) became the Caliph he was approached about returning Fadak. Ali’s reply (رضّى الله عنه) was:

    “I am ashamed before Allah to overturn something that was prohibited by Abu Bakr and continued by Umar.” (al-Murtada, ash-Shafi fil-Imamah, p. 231; and Ibn Abil Hadid, Sharh Nahj al-Balaghah, vol. 4)

This here is the crux of the matter. Why didn’t Ali (رضّى الله عنه) return Fadak once he became Caliph? There is no Shia response to this question. We ask our Shia brothers to guess who returned Fadak. The Shia will be shocked to know that it would be a later Umayyad Caliph that returned Fadak to the descendants of Fatima (رضّى الله عنها), even though the Umayyads are hated and villified by the Shia. (However, this decision by the Umayyad Caliph was over-turned by future Caliphs on the basis that it was incorrect, considering that the Prophet [صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم] forbade inheritance of his property, and that Abu Bakr [رضّى الله عنه], Umar [رضّى الله عنه], Uthman [رضّى الله عنه], and Ali [رضّى الله عنه] upheld the decision of Fadak.)

So again, I ask our Shia brothers: why didn’t Ali (رضّى الله عنه) return Fadak once he became Caliph? Why did he uphold Abu Bakr’s decision (رضّى الله عنه) if it was so wrong? Why don’t the Shia hate Ali (رضّى الله عنه) for failing to return Fadak? Why don’t they hate Ali (رضّى الله عنه) for reaping the gains of Fadak while he was Caliph? Why the double standard with Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه)? The Shia say that Caliph Umar (رضّى الله عنه) gave Fadak back to Hasan (رضّى الله عنه) and Hussain (رضّى الله عنه), and they accuse Caliph Uthman (رضّى الله عنه) of being a tyrant because he snatched it back from them. So then the question is: why didn’t Ali (رضّى الله عنه) return Fadak to Hasan (رضّى الله عنه) and Hussain (رضّى الله عنه) when he became Caliph? Uthman (رضّى الله عنه) is a tyrant but Ali (رضّى الله عنه) is not? Indeed this is nothing short of an incredible double standard.

What is also interesting is that Hasan (رضّى الله عنه)–who was also Caliph for a short duration–also did not return Fadak! He did not claim it for himself, nor did he distribute it to the other inheritors from Fatima’s lineage (رضّى الله عنها). So why did he too do nothing about Fadak? Surely, if blame is to be put on Abu Bakr’s shoulders (رضّى الله عنه), and on the shoulders of Uthman (رضّى الله عنه), then fairness dictates that equal blame should be put on Hasan (رضّى الله عنه)!

    * Shia Rebuttal #1: Taqiyyah

According to the Shia, Fadak should have been rightfully distributed to the progeny of Fatima (رضّى الله عنها). Then, why didn’t Ali (رضّى الله عنه) do what is right? The only response the Shia can give is their standard cop-out: why, of course Ali (رضّى الله عنه) was doing Taqiyyah! The Shia will say that this is why he didn’t return Fadak. Oh, nice! Whenever the logic of historical facts do not sit well with the Shia narrative, they will then always have the trump card of Taqiyyah. (Taqiyyah, according to a Shia Hadith in Al-Kafi, means to say something outwardly but mean something else inwardly.)

How can we have an intelligent discussion with the Shia when everyone in history is doing Taqiyyah? Why can’t we claim then that Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) was also doing Taqiyyah and that’s why he didn’t return Fadak to Fatima? And why couldn’t we say that Uthman (رضّى الله عنه) was also doing Taqiyyah? It becomes comical when one’s entire historical narrative rests on Taqiyyah. There is no way to prove anything if we rely on Taqiyyah as a precedent.

The only way the Shia can answer why Prophet Muhammad (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) took Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) as a companion and even married his daughter is that the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) was of course doing Taqiyyah! The only way that the Shia can reconcile the fact that Ali (رضّى الله عنه) didn’t fight the Three Caliphs like Hussain (رضّى الله عنه) fought Yezid is again of course Taqiyyah! Why didn’t Allah reveal anything in the Quran about Imamah or the Wilayah of Ali? Again, Allah was doing Taqiyyah!

    * Shia Rebuttal #2: Usurped Property

We have also seen the Shia propagandists claim that the reason Ali (رضّى الله عنه) didn’t take back Fadak was that the Ahlel Bayt does not take back usurped property. To bolster this argument, the Shia will bring up the example of Prophet Muhammad (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم), whose Meccan home had been usurped by the infidels; upon conquering Mecca, the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) did not take it back.

This answer is very weak, and easily debunked by simply providing the names of Infallible Imams of the Shia who accepted usurped property. Caliph Umar bin Abdul Aziz “returned” Fadak to Imam Muhammad Al-Baqir, who accepted it. Imam Al-Baqir is considered to be one of the Infallible Imams of the Shia, and thus very much part of what the Shia consider to be the Ahlel Bayt. Caliph Umar bin Abdul Aziz was wrong in returning Fadak (and his ruling was overturned by later Caliphs), but that’s not the point. The point is that we see here that one of their twelve Infallible Imams accepted usurped property.

The government once again took back Fadak, and then another Caliph came along later down the line who decided to once again return Fadak to the descendants of Fatima (رضّى الله عنها). Caliph Ma’mun would return Fadak to Imam Rida, yet another of those whom the Shia consider to be Infallible Imams. And there are a couple more examples of the Shia Infallibles accepting usurped property. Thus, this argument of the Shia is baseless.

The Answering-Ansar Team has argued that “no Shia would use such a pathetic argument”, but the reality is that we have seen this argument being used again and again on various forums. Thus, it was imperative that we respond to it here. We are glad that the Answering-Ansar Team also recognizes the baseness of this argument; instead, they have said that Ali (رضّى الله عنه) did not want to commit Fitnah (i.e. disunity, chaos, etc) and this is why he didn’t return Fadak. We address this argument below.

    * Shia Rebuttal #3: Ali (رضّى الله عنه) Didn’t Want Fitnah

One could just as easily say that Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) didn’t return Fadak for the exact same reason. Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) must have been under immense stress from the general public who would have been angered if the Shariah was abandoned for those of a high rank such as Fatima (رضّى الله عنها). Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) was held accountable to many poor people who would recieve aid from the charity money obtained from Fadak. This was at the same time that Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) was waging a war against those who refused to pay Zakat. Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) was so strict on the Shariah in regards to the charity from Zakat; imagine how upset the apostate renegades would have been had they seen him be lax on the charity from Fadak.

In any case, this argument of the Shia is pretty much the same as the Taqiyyah argument. Thus, our counter-response above applies here as well. In any case, if Ali (رضّى الله عنه) was a brave and courageous man, then he should have done what is right and restored the land to its rightful owners. The cowardly image of Ali (رضّى الله عنه) that the Shia portray–of a man who cannot stand up for what he thinks is right–is offensive to the Ahlus Sunnah. The Shia believe that Ali (رضّى الله عنه) could make all the atoms of the earth submit to him, so surely he should have used some of this supernatural power to do what is right.

    * Shia Rebuttal #4: Fatima (رضّى الله عنها) Was Dead

Sometimes an E-Shia will try forwarding the argument that Fatima (رضّى الله عنها) died six months into Caliph Abu Bakr’s rule, and thus Fadak was a non-issue by the time Ali (رضّى الله عنه) became Caliph. Unfortunately, this argument falls apart when we look at the Shia narrations which show that Ali (رضّى الله عنه) approached Umar (رضّى الله عنه) and asked him to return Fadak to Fatima’s heirs, including Hasan (رضّى الله عنه) and Hussain (رضّى الله عنه). Thus, according to the Shia, Fadak was still a monumental issue and the land should be returned to the progeny of Fatima (رضّى الله عنها). In fact, the Shia today still claim that Fadak should be returned to those whom they call “Syedi.”

Hasan (رضّى الله عنه) and Hussain (رضّى الله عنه) were the inheritors of Fatima (رضّى الله عنها), and thus Fadak–according to the Shia–was their right. The Shia curse Uthman (رضّى الله عنه) for taking Fadak away from Ali (رضّى الله عنه) and giving it to Marwan (رضّى الله عنه). As can be seen, the issue of Fadak did not then die with Fatima (رضّى الله عنها) and this argument is weak.

    * Conclusion

The Shia accusations against Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) are baseless, since he was following orders from Prophet Muhammad (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) and this decision was upheld by Ali (رضّى الله عنه). If the Shia want to lay blame on Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) for using Fadak as a charitable property, then the Shia should also accuse Ali (رضّى الله عنه) since he did the same thing during his Caliphate. The truth is that Ali (رضّى الله عنه) did at first think that Fadak should be given to Fatima (رضّى الله عنها); however, he changed his mind after being presented with Abu Bakr’s argument (رضّى الله عنه), and this is why Ali (رضّى الله عنه) upheld the first Caliph’s decision in regards to Fadak.

Abu Bakr al-Siddiq, `Atiq ibn Abi Quhafa, Shaykh al-Islam, `Abd Allah ibn `Uthman ibn `Amir al-Qurashi al-Taymi (d. 13), the Prophet’s intimate friend after Allah, exclusive companion at the Prophet’s Basin (hawd) and in the Cave, greatest supporter, closest confidant, first spiritual inheritor, first of the men who believed in him and the only one who did so unhesitatingly, first of his four Rightly-Guided successors, first of the ten promised Paradise, and first of the Prophet’s Community to enter Paradise.

Alone among the Companions, Abu Bakr repeatedly led the Community in prayer in the lifetime of the Prophet. The latter used to call him by his patronyms of Abu Bakr and Ibn Abi Quhafa, and he named him with the attributes "The Most Truthful" (al-Siddîq) and "Allah’s Freedman From the Fire" (`Atîq Allâh min al-nâr). When the Quraysh confronted the Prophet after the Night Journey, they turned to Abu Bakr and said: "Do you believe what he said, that he went last night to the Hallowed House and came back before morning?" He replied: "If he said it, then I believe him, yes, and I do believe him regarding what is farther than that. I believe the news of heaven he brings, whether in the space of a morning or in that of an evening journey." Because of this Abu Bakr was named al-Siddîq: the Very Truthful, the One Who Never Lies.

Among the Companions who narrated from him: Anas, `A’isha, Jabir, Abu Hurayra, the four `Abd Allahs (Ibn `Abbas, Ibn Mas`ud, Ibn `Umar, Ibn `Amr), `Abd Allah ibn al-Zubayr, `Umar, `Uthman, and `Ali. The latter is one of the narrators of the Prophet’s hadith cited by Abu Bakr: "We [Prophets] do not leave anything as inheritance. What we leave behind is charity (sadaqa)."

`Umar said: "Abu Bakr’s faith outweighs the faith of the entire Umma." This is confirmed by the following hadith: The Prophet asked: "Did any of you see anything in his dream?" A man said to the Prophet: "O Messenger of Allah, I saw in my dream as if a balance came down from the heaven in which you were weighed against Abu Bakr and outweighed him, then Abu Bakr was weighed against `Umar and outweighed him, then `Umar was weighed against `Uthman and outweighed him, then the balance was raised up." This displeased the Prophet who said: "Successorship of prophethood (khilâfa nubuwwa)! Then Allah shall give kingship to whomever He will." `Umar also said: "The best of this Community after its Prophet is Abu Bakr." `Ali named him and `Umar the Shaykh al-Islam of the Community and said: "The best of this Community after its Prophet are Abu Bakr and `Umar," "The most courageous of people is Abu Bakr," and "The greatest in reward among people for the volumes of the Qur’an is Abu Bakr, for he was the first of those who gathered the Qur’an between two covers." He was also the first to name it mushaf.

Abu Bakr’s high rank is indicated, among other signs, by the fact that to deny his Companionship to the Prophet entails disbelief (kufr), unlike the denial of the Companionship of `Umar, `Uthman, and `Ali to the Prophet. This is due to the mention of this companionship in the verse: "The second of two when the two were in the cave, and he said unto his companion: Grieve not" (9:40) which refers, by Consensus, to the Prophet and Abu Bakr. Allah further praised him above the rest by saying: "Those who spent and fought before the victory are not upon a level (with the rest of you)." (57:10)

The Prophet confirmed his high rank in many of his sayings, among them:

        "Allah gave one of His servants a choice between this world and what He has with Him, and that servant chose what Allah has with Him." Abu Bakr wept profusely and we wondered why he wept, since the Prophet had told of a servant that was given a choice. The Prophet himself was that servant, as Abu Bakr later told us. The Prophet continued: "Among those most dedicated to me in his companionship and property is Abu Bakr. If I were to take an intimate friend other than my Lord, I would take Abu Bakr. But what binds us is the brotherhood of Islam and its love. Let no door [of the Prophet’s mosque] remain open except Abu Bakr’s."

        "I am excused, before each of my friends, of any intimate friendship with anyone. But if I were to take an intimate friend, I would take Ibn Abi Quhafa as my intimate friend. Verily, your Companion is the intimate friend of Allah!"

        "You [Abu Bakr] are my companion at the Basin and my companion in the Cave."

        "Call Abu Bakr and his son so that I will put something down in writing, for I fear lest someone ambitious forward a claim, and Allah and the believers refuse anyone other than Abu Bakr."

        `Amr ibn al-`As asked: "O Messenger of Allah, who is the most beloved of all men to you?" He replied: "Abu Bakr."

        "It is impermissible for a people among whom is Abu Bakr, to be led by other than him."

        "Take for your leaders those who come after me: Abu Bakr and `Umar."

        "O`Ali! Abu Bakr and `Umar are the leaders of the mature inhabitants of Paradise and its youth among the first and the last, except for Prophets and Messengers."

        "The sun never rose nor set over anyone better than Abu Bakr."

        "The Prophet used to hold nightly conversations with Abu Bakr in the latter’s house, discussing the affairs of Muslims, and I [`Umar] was present with them."

        `Umar was angered by Abu Bakr one day and left him in anger. Abu Bakr followed after him, asking his forgiveness, but `Umar refused and shut his door in his face. Abu Bakr then went to the Prophet and took hold of his garment until his knee showed. The Prophet said: "Your companion has been arguing!" Abu Bakr greeted him and said: "There was a dispute between me and `Umar, then I felt remorse and asked him to forgive me but he would not, so I came to you." The Prophet said, repeating three times: "Allah forgives you, O Abu Bakr! Allah forgives you, O Abu Bakr! Allah forgives you, O Abu Bakr!" Then `Umar felt remorse and went asking for Abu Bakr at his house without finding him. He came to the Prophet and greeted him, but the Prophet’s face changed with displeasure. Seeing this, Abu Bakr sat up on his knees in fear before the Prophet, saying twice: "O Messenger of Allah! I am the one who trangressed. O Messenger of Allah! I am the one who transgressed." The Prophet said to the people: "Allah sent me to you and you all said: ‘You are lying!’ But Abu Bakr said: ‘He said the truth.’ Abu Bakr gave me solace with his person and property. Will you leave my companion alone once and for all? Will you leave my companion alone once and for all?!" After this Abu Bakr was never harmed again.

        "Jibril came to me, took me by the hand, and showed me the gate through which my Community shall enter Paradise." Abu Bakr said: "Would that I were with you to see it!" The Prophet said: "Did you not know? You will be the first of all my Community to enter it."

Al-Suyuti relates through Ibn Sa`d’s report from `A’isha her description of Abu Bakr: "He was a man with fair skin, thin, emaciated, with a sparse beard, a slightly hunched frame, sunken eyes and protruding forehead, and the bases of his fingers were hairless." He was the foremost genealogist of the Quraysh and the best of them at interpreting dreams after the Prophet according to Ibn Sirin. `A’isha related that both he and `Uthman had relinquished drinking wine even in the Time of Ignorance. His caliphate lasted two years and three months in which he opened up the lands of Syria and Iraq for the Muslims, suppressed apostasy among the Arab tribes, fought the pseudo-Prophets al-Aswad al-`Ansi, Tulayha al-Asadi who recanted and declared his prophethood in Najd, and Musaylima the Liar who was killed in the devastating battle of al-Yamama.

Imam al-Nawawi pointed out that Abu Bakr’s genealogical tree alone regroups four successive generations of Companions of the Prophet: his father Abu Quhafa, himself, his daughter Asma’, and her son `Abd Allah, in addition to Abu Bakr’s son `Abd al-Rahman and his grandson Abu `Atiq. Nawawi states that only one hundred and forty-two hadiths of the Prophet are narrated from Abu Bakr. He comments: "The reason for this scarcity, despite the seniority of his companionship to the Prophet, is that his death pre-dated the dissemination of hadiths and the endeavor of the Followers to hear, gather, and preserve them." Among Abu Bakr’s sayings: "Whoever fights his ego for Allah’s sake, Allah will protect Him against what He hates."

Abu Bakr As-Siddique was the closest of the Companions in relationship to the Prophet (sas).  From Sahih Al-Bukhari: Ibn Abbas reports:  "The Prophet (sas) came out during his illness from which he died his head bound with a cloth.  He sat on the minbar, thanked Allah, praised Him and said:  "There is no one among the people who has been more generous to me with his life and his property than Abu Bakr ibn Abi Quhaafa and if I was to take a bosom friend, I would take Abu Bakr as my bosom friend.  But, the friendship of Islam is better.  Block off every door in this Masjid except the door of Abu Bakr."

Being the closest Companion to the Prophet (sas), Abu Bakr was also the most knowledgeable of them and the quickest to both believe and to understand teachings of the Prophet (sas), as we see in the following hadith:

Abu Said Al-Khudhri reports: The Prophet (sas) gave a khutba and said:  "Allah gave a slave the choice between this world and that which is with Him and that slave chose that which is with Allah."  Abu Bakr began to weep and we were surprised that he should cry like that just because the Prophet (sas) mentioned that Allah gave a slave a choice.  As it turned out, the Prophet (sas) was the one who was givent the choice and Abu Bakr was the most knowledgeable among us. Sahih Al-Bukhari

Shortly before his death, the Prophet (sas) gave us very important wasaaya or "parting advice" on a variety of subjects.  Among them were the virtures of Abu Bakr.  Also among them were various warnings about practices of shirk and bid'a which the nations have alway fallen into in periods if ignorance after the messenger has departed.  One such practice was excess with regard to graves of prophets and righteous individuals.  Turning graves into places of worship (or burying people in places of worship) is completely forbidden in Islam and has been one of the main gateways to shirk through the ages.

From Sahih Muslim, Jundub narrates:  I heard the Prophet (sas) five days before his death saying: "I declare my innocence before Allah that I should have any bosom friend among you for Allah Most High has taken me as His friend just as He took Ibrahim as His friend.  If I were to take any bosom friend from my nation I would take Abu Bakr.  Listen!  Those who came  before you took the graves of their prophets and their righteous ones as places of worship.  Listen!  Do not take graves as places of worship.  I forbid you that."

How sad it is that so many of our Muslim brothers and sisters continue to live in disobedience and disrespect of this great wasiya (final advice) of the Prophet (sas).

From Sahin Al-Bukhari Amr ibn Al-Aas narrates: The Prophet (sas) sent me to the army during the battle of Dhat Al-Salaasil.  When I returned to him (sas), I asked him (sas):  Who is most beloved to you?  He said: "Aisha."   I said: What about among men?  He said:  "Her father."   I said:  And then who?  He said:  "Then Umar ibn Al-Khattab."  And then he listed some other men.

The Companions were well aware of who were the first few Companions in closeness to the Prophet (sas) and the Rightly-Guided Khalifas were chosen on that basis.  From Sahih Al-Bukhari, Ibn Umar reports:  We used to discuss the best of the people during the time of the Prophet (sas) and we saw the best as Abu Bakr, then Umar, then Uthman ibn Affaan, may Allah be pleased with them all.

Ali ibn Abi Talib (ra) was also very much aware of this and bore witness to it as we see in this narration from his son which is found in Sahih Al-Bukhari also:  I said to my father:  Who is the best of the people after Allah's Messenger (sas)?  He said: "Abu Bakr".  I said:   And then who?  He said:   And then Umar ibn Al-Khattab.  I was afraid that he would say Uthman next, so I said: And then you?  To which he answered:  I am nothing but a man among the Muslims."

Also, from Sahih Al-Bukhari:  Once, there was a problem between Abu Bakr and Umar.   Eventually, Umar came to the Prophet (sas) and said: O Allah's Messenger, I was wrong. He repeated it twice.  Then, the Prophet (sas) said: "Allah sent me to you and you said: 'You lie.' but Abu Bakr said: 'He speaks the truth.'  And he supported me with his life and his property so could you please leave for me my companion?"  He said it twice.  Abu Bakr was never mistreated after that.

Abu Bakr was the quickest of the Companions to rush to any good deed.  From Abu Daud (with an authenticity of "hassan"): Umar ibn Al-Khattab said:   The Prophet (sas) ordered us to give sadaqa.  It happened to coincide with some wealth I had just acquired and I said to myself:  If I will every surpass Abu Bakr, this is the day I will surpass him.  And so I cam to the Prophet (sas) with half of my wealth and he (sas) said to me:  "What have you left for your family?" I said:  The same amount.  Then Abu Bakr came with all of his wealth.  The Prophet (sas) said to him:  "What have you left for your family?"  He said:  I have left them Allah and His Messenger."  I said:  I will never surpass you in anything."

We affirm that the caliphate after the Prophet was, first and foremost, deserving of Abu Bakr, believing in his superiority and seniority over the rest of the Ummah.

This is our opinion. However, the Ummah disagreed over the nature of Abu Bakr's succession. Was it by the Prophet's command, or was it simply a choice? Hasan al-Basri and a group of people from the Ahl al-Hadith believe it was by dint of command, although subtle and indirect, coming from the Prophet (saws). Some of them in fact have said that it is proven by the texts. However, some others of the Ahl al-Hadith. the Mu'tazilah and Ash'ariyyah have said that it was established by choice and consent.

As a matter of fact, we have some reports that suggest that the caliphate of Abu Bakr was by the dint of a command from the Prophet (saws). One of them is in Bukhari, narrated by Jubayr b. Mut'im who said: "A woman came up to the Prophet (saws). He told her to come back to him later. She asked, 'What if I came and didn't find you?' (She meant, if he was dead). He replied, 'If you didn't find me, go to Abu Bakr.'" There are other reports supporting this one which can be said to be the text in support of his succession.

Then there is the hadith of Hudhayfah b. al-Yaman who reports that the Prophet (saws) said: "Follow the two that will come after me: Abu Bakr and 'Umar." The traditionalists have preserved this report.

The Sahihayn also have reports narrated by 'A'isha about her father. She says: "The day the Messenger of Allah took ill, he entered into my house and said, 'Call in your father and brother so that I write down in favor of Abu Bakr, for Allah and the Muslims will not accept anyone but Abu Bakr."

Reports about the Prophet preferring Abu Bakr over others are well known. In one of them he said: "Ask Abu Bakr to lead in the Prayers."

Trustworthy compilations also have another report recording the Prophet as having said from his pulpit: "Were I to take someone a Friend from among the people of the earth, I would have taken Abu Bakr as the Friend. Let there not be a door opening into the (Grand) mosque. Close them all, except for Abu Bakr's door."

As for those who held the view that the Prophet did not appoint Abu Bakr as his caliph, not at least through a proven hadlth, they have argued with the report of Ibn 'Umar who reported 'Umar ibn al-Khattab as saying: "If I nominate a successor after me, then one who was better than me, that is, Abu Bakr, nominated a successor after him. But if I don't nominate, then one who was better than me, that is, the Prophet (saws), did not name a successor after himself." 'Abdullah Ibn 'Umar adds: "When he mentioned the Prophet, I knew that he was not going to nominate his own successor."

What seems likely, although Allah knows best, is that the Prophet (saws) did not issue a written edict to the effect that Abu Bakr would be the caliph after him. He did intend to do that, but changed his mind, saying, "Allah and the Muslims will accept none but Abu Bakr." This indeed was a stronger manner of appointing him his successor, the Prophet (saws) let know the believers his own preference of Abu Bakr as his successor, and led them to accepting his preference through his various words and deeds. He also spoke of his appointment in favorable terms, expressing his own satisfaction. Were his hints insufficient to announce where his choice lay, he would have spoken out more explicitly, leaving no room for excuses and doubts…

Death of Abu Bakr
Passing away of Abu Bakr

Illness of Abu Bakr. On the 7th of Jamadi-ui-Akhir of the 1 3th A H. corresponding to the 8th of August 634 C.E, Abu Bakr fell sick, and out of this sickness he never recovered. There are two accounts about the sickness of Abu Bakr. One account is that the 8th of August 634 was a cold day, when Abu Bakr took a bath and caught a chill. Another account is that about a year ago, along with some other companions Harith bin Kaladah, and Attab bin Usaid he had eaten some food which was poisoned, and which was to have its effect after a year. Harith b. Kaladah and Attab b Usaid died on the same day as Abu Bakr, and that lends support to the theory that the death of Abu Bakr was because of the effect of poison.

The physician. Abu Bakr developed high fever, and was confined to bed. His illness prolonged, and when his condition worsened, he felt that his end was near. Some companions called on him to inquire about his welfare. They said, "O Vicegerent of the Apostle of God, may we call a physician to examine you". He said that the physician had already visited him. They inquired as to what had the physician said. Abu Bakr said that the physician had said that he would do what he would do.

Refund of the amount drawn from the treasury. When Abu Bakr felt that his end was near, he wanted to know what amount he had drawn from the State treasury as allowance for the office of the Caliph. He was told that this amount was six thousand dirhams. He directed that the plot of land which belonged to him should be sold, and from the sale proceeds, the amount of six thousand dirhams should be paid to the State treasury. He next took stock of the personal fortune that he had acquired since becoming the Caliph. These assets included a slave, a camel, and some cloth. He directed that these assets should be handed over to the new Caliph. When in pursuance of the will of Abu Bakr, the amount of six thousand dirhams and other assets were handed over to the new Caliph, Umar, the new Caliph wept and said, "O Abu Bakr, may God bless you; you have made the task of your successor most difficult."

Property bequeathed to Ayesha. Abu Bakr had bequeathed some property to Ayesha. Now that he was on deathbed he desired that the property should be divided among her two brothers and three sisters in accordance with the Islamic Law. Ayesha said that they were two sisters, Asma and herself, and inquired as to who was the third sister? Abu Bakr said that his wife Habiba was pregnant, and he had a feeling that the child would be a girl. Indeed after the death of Abu Bakr, a girl was born to Habiba, who was named Umm Kulthum. Ayesha complied with the wish of her father and released the property in her charge for distribution among her brothers and sisters.

The Coffin. Abu Bakr next asked Ayesha as to how many pieces of cloth were used for the coffin of the Holy Prophet. Ayesha said that three pieces had been used in the coffin of the Holy Prophet. Abu Bakr thereupon desired that for his coffin as well, three pieces should be used. He wanted that the two sheets that he was wearing should be washed and used for his coffin, while the third piece might be purchased. Ayesha said that they were not so poor as not to afford to purchase all the three pieces required for the coffin. Abu Bakr said, "No, the new material will be of more use to the living than the dead. The cloth for the dead body is merely meant to absorb blood and pus, and it is not necessary that the cloth should be new."

The day of death. Abu Bakr inquired of Ayesha as to what was the day on which the Holy Prophet had died. She replied that the day was Monday. Abu Bakr next inquired as to what was the day that day. She said that it was Monday. Abu Bakr said that in that case he would die that day. He desired that if he died that day, he should be buried the same day.

Last moments of Abu Bakr. As Abu Bakr lay on the deathbed, Ayesha wailed: "And one so unsullied in honor that the cloud draws moisture from his face; the protection of orphans. the defense of widows." Abu Bakr said, "No, this encomium must be reserved for the Holy Prophet alone". Ayesha said: "Wealth is of no avail to a man; on the day when the death-rattle is in his throat, and his breast is contracted by it." Abu Bakr uncovered his face and said, "It is not so, Say that the agony of death shall come in truth; this, O man, is what you sought to avoid." He swooned, and on regaining consciousness, he recited the verse of the Holy Quran: "Lord, let me die a true believer: And join me with the blessed ones on high who are virtuous."

With these words of the Holy Quran on his lips, Abu Bakr expired. From God he had come and to God he returned. It was 22nd of Jamadi-ul-Akhir of 13 A.H. corresponding to 23rd of August, 534 C.E. The day was Monday. His death took place between the hours of the Maghrib and Isha prayers. He was 63 years at the time of his death. That was the exact age at which the Holy Prophet had died.

Burial. According to the will of Abu Bakr, his dead body was prepared for burial by his wife Asma b Umas. She was helped by his son Abdul Rahman. The funeral prayer was led by Umar. He was buried the same night in the house of Ayesha by the side of the grave of the Holy Prophet. In life, Abu Bakr had the honor of being a bosom companion of the Holy Prophet, after death he had also the honor of resting by the side of the Master.

Abu Qahafa. When Abu Bakr died, his father Abu Qahafa was at Makkah. It is reported that when Abu Bakr died, the city of Makkah was convulsed by an earthquake. Abu Qahafa said that the earthquake was indicative of some calamity. Soon the sad news arrived of the death of Abu Bakr. Abu Qahafa mourned the death of his son. Abu Qahafa died six months later at the age of ninety-seven.
Appointment of Umar as his Successor

Nomination of successor. Realizing that his end was drawing near, Abu Bakr felt that he should nominate his successor so that the issue should not be a cause of dissension among the Muslims after his death. Abu Bakr summoned Abdul Rahman bin Auf, and asked for his opinion about the nomination of Umar as the Caliph, Abdul Rahman favored the nomination. Some other companions were also consulted. The general consensus was that Umar was the fittest person to be appointed as the Caliph. Usaid bin Hudai said, "After you, O Caliph, Umar is the most deserving person for the office of the Caliph. There is none more resolute than he among us. His inner self is better than his exterior." Usman favored the nomination and remarked, "What is hidden of Umar is better than what outwardly appears; there is not his equal amongst us." Sayeed bin Zaid supported the proposal emphatically.

The general consensus. The general consensus was that Umar was the fittest person to be nominated as the Caliph. There was, however, an under current of feeling that Umar had the fiery and irascible temper, and he might not be able to show moderation so necessary for the head of the community. Abu Bakr observed that Umar's display of severity was meant to counteract his (Abu Bakr's) leniency. Abu Bakr felt that when the full responsibility of government was devolved upon Umar, he would become moderate in his opinion. Abu Bakr said: "I can say from my personal experience that Umar has always cooled me down whenever I have lost my temper with any one, just as whenever he felt me to be too lenient he counseled greater severity. For this reason I feel certain that with time, Umar will achieve the moderation that you desire."

Objection of Talha. Talha who was related to Abu Bakr, and perhaps coveted the caliphate for himself objected to the nomination of Umar. He said: "O successor of the Prophet, you knew full well how harsh Umar has been towards us all during your regime, and God only knows what he will meet to us when you are gone. You know that you are leaving us forever, and yet you are content to leave us in the hands of a man whose fierce and ungovernable rages are well known to you. Think O Chief, what answer will you give to Your Lord for such a behest?"

At this objection of Talha, Abu Bakr who was lying prostrate on his bed rose up with considerable effort and addressing Talha said: "Have you come to frighten me? I swear that when I meet my Lord, I will gladly tell Him that I appointed as ruler over His people, the man who was the best of them all."

Ali. Thereupon Ali who was present on the occasion rose to say that he would acknowledge no one as Caliph save Umar. Abu Bakr was much impressed with the integrity of Ali for not pressing his own claim, and putting the interests, of the community above his personal interests. Turning to Ali, Abu Bakr said: "Ali, you are indeed a prince in the most exalted sense of the word, for others are mere men."

Umar. Then Abu Bakr sent for Umar, and informed him that he had nominated him as his successor. Umar said that he did not covet the office. Thereupon Abu Bakr said, "But the office needs you. I have prayed to God to direct me rightly to the choice of my successor, and my choice is fundamental for the unity and of the Muslims."

The testament. Umar acquiesced, and Abu Bakr dictated the testament to Usman in the following terms: "In the name of Most Merciful God. This is the last will and testament of Abu Bakr bin Abu Qahafa, when he is in the last hour of the world, and the first of the next; an hour in which the infidel must believe, the wicked be convinced of their evil ways, I nominate Umar bin al Khattab as my successor. Therefore, hear to him and obey him. If he acts right, confirm his actions. My intentions are good, but I cannot see the future results. However, those who do ill shall render themselves liable to severe account hereafter. Fare you well. May you be ever attended by the Divine favor of blessing."

Approval of the people. The testament having been drawn up, Abu Bakr supported by his wife Asma walked up to the door and addressed the people who had collected there. He told them that he had appointed Umar as his successor. They said, "We approve". After obtaining the approval of the people in general terms, Abu Bakr lay on the bed, and prayed to God: "O Lord! I have made this testament for the welfare of the community in order to counteract discord among them. What my intentions are, You know full well. I have spared no pains in making the best selection, O God, I entrust the Muslims to Your care. O Allah, keep their ruler on the right path. O God, make my successor the most pious of rulers, and confer peace on the Muslims."

Counsel to Umar. Addressing his successor, Umar, Abu Bakr said: "Let not sorrow for me divert you from the service of the Lord. You saw what I myself did when the Prophet died, and there could be no greater sorrow for mankind than that. Truly, if grief had stayed me then from girding my loins in the cause of the Lord and of His Prophet, and if, I swear by Allah, I had shown the slightest weakness in carrying out the command of Allah on that day. He would have punished us by bringing on us destruction. I expect you to do your duty against all odds. May God bless you."

Wishes and Regrets of Abu Bakr
Wishes and regrets of Abu Bakr. On his deathbed, when reviewing the main events of his life, Abu Bakr gave expression to certain wishes and regrets. He said that there were three things that he did and which he wished he should not have done. There were three things which he did not do and wished that he should have done them. There were three things which he did not inquire from the Holy Prophet, and which he should have inquired.

Things which he did but should not have done. The first thing, which he did but wished that he should not have done, was that he should not have insisted on Ali offering him allegiance as Caliph. The second thing was that when Faja'a Salmi was brought to him he should not have ordered him to be burnt alive, but should have killed him otherwise or let him free. The third thing was that he should not have accepted the caliphate, but should have seen that either Umar or Abu Ubaida were declared as the Caliph, and he should become a Minister to the Caliph. When Ali was asked to take the oath of allegiance to Abu Bakr, that annoyed Fatima, and Abu Bakr felt sorry for such annoyance. Faja'a was burnt to death, and that was against a tradition of the Holy Prophet which laid down that if a person professed to be a Muslim, he should not be burnt to death. Abu Bakr had no personal interest in the Caliphate, and, therefore, he always longed that someone else from among the Quraish should have become the Caliph, and he could have helped him as his Minister.
Things which he did not do, and wished that he should have done them

The first thing which he did not do, but wished that he should have done it was that when Asha'as bin Qais was brought to him as a captive he should have ordered him to be killed, and should not have pardoned him. The second thing was that when he sent the forces against the apostates he should have remained at Zul Qissa, so that he could have proceeded to the help of the Muslim force fighting against the apostates. The third thing was that when he commissioned Khalid to proceed to the Syrian front, he should have sent Umar to Iraq and in this way he should have spread both his hands in the way of Allah. Asha'as the Kinda chief was deceitful by nature, and Abu Bakr not only pardoned him, but married his sister to him. Abu Bakr felt that that was a mistake as Asha'as was a faithless person. Abu Bakr directed the apostasy campaign from Madina. Abu Bakr felt that a better base for such operations was Zul Qissa.

When Khalid was withdrawn from the Iraq front, the Muslim position on this front became weak. It would have been a better course of action if reinforcement should have been sent to Iraq under the command of a leader like Umar.

Things that he should have inquired from the Holy Prophet. The first thing which Abu Bakr wished to have inquired from the Holy Prophet was as to who should be his successor. The second thing was what share should be allowed to the Ansar in the administration. The third thing was as to what part of the inheritance should be allowed to a niece or a paternal aunt. The caliphate issue has remained a source of great headache to the Muslims and Abu Bakr felt that if there had been any definite instructions of the Holy Prophet on the point that could have eased the situation. The question of the equation between the Ansars and the emigrants also involved considerable controversy, and it would have been in the fitness of things if some definite guidance from the Holy Prophet on the point was forthcoming. The question of giving share to a niece or a paternal aunt involved difficulty and if there had been a specific ruling from the Holy Prophet that would have solved the point.

Ali's Oration on the Death of Abu Bakr

.............Ali's oration.........

Ali's oration. When Ali came to know of the death of Abu Bakr, he rushed to his house, and standing outside the house wherein lay the dead body of Abu Bakr, delivered an oration, which is a masterpiece of oratory, and is a beautiful summing up of the character and personality of Abu Bakr.

Master of many virtues. Ali said: "Mercy of God on you, O Abu Bakr. You were an affectionate companion and friend of the Prophet of Allah, a source of joy to him, and one who knew his secrets and enjoyed the privilege of being consulted by him. You were the first person to embrace Islam: you had the purest faith, and your belief in Islam was unshakable. Of all, you feared Allah most, and you were the source of the greatest advantage to His faith. You had been with the Prophet more than any one else, and your love for Islam was superior to others. A blessing to the companions you were the best of associates. Master of many virtues, excelling others in accomplishments and superior to all in position, you resembled the Holy Prophet more than any other person in the uprightness of character and conduct and in kindness and excellence. Your rank was noble, your position sublime, and you enjoyed the greatest confidence of the Prophet. May God reward you with goodness on behalf of Islam and the Prophet."

As-Siddiq. Ali added: "For the Prophet of Allah you were like his very sight and hearing. You corroborated the truth of his message at a time when everybody belied him, and so you were called As-Siddiq (the veracious) by Allah in His revelations. He says, "The one who came with the Truth, and the one who corroborated the Truth. The one who came with the Truth was Muhammad (peace be on him) and one who corroborated the Truth was Abu Bakr. You supported him when others had deserted him, and you remained firm in helping him in misfortunes when others had withdrawn their support. In the days of hardship you were his best companion. You were "the second of the two", and his companion in the Cave. You were the person on whom God conferred tranquillity of mind. You were the only companion of the Prophet in his migration to Madina, and you were his Caliph among his followers and in the religion of Allah. You discharged the functions of the Khilafat in a most excellent manner at a moment when people had taken to apostasy, and you exhibited such firmness in enforcing the commands of Allah as had never been exhibited by the Khalifa of any other Prophet."

Firmness of Abu Bakr. Talking about the firmness of Abu Bakr, Ali said: "You rose to the occasion when your colleagues showed lassitude, and you became bold when they were weak. You retained your adherence to the ways of the Prophet when others deviated from them. You were his true Caliph with no dispute or difference, although this gave offence to hypocrites and umbrage to the infidels, brought grief to those who were jealous and made the rebels wrathful. You stuck to the commands of Allah when others showed cowardice. You remained firm when others went astray. You passed through the Divine light while they remained behind. Afterwards they followed you and attained their goal."

Dignity of Abu Bakr. About the dignity of Abu Bakr, Ali said: "You had the lowest voice but the highest distinction. Your conversation was most exemplary and your reasoning most just; your silence was longest in duration, and your speech was most eloquent. Bravest among men, and well-informed about matters, your action was dignified."

Father to the believers. Ali referred to Abu Bakr as the 'Father of the Believers', in the following terms: "I swear by Allah, you were the leader of the believers. You came towards the Faith when others were away from it. You followed them when they turned towards it. Indeed you acted like a kind father to the believers till your filial affection made them your children. You bore the heavy burden which they could not and you professed to do what they had omitted. You preserved what they had ruined, and you taught them what they knew not. You took the risk when they were helpless and you remained firm when they were impatient."

Abu Bakr's equation between the believers and the infidels. Referring, to Abu Bakr's equation between the believers and the infidels, Ali said: "You redressed the grievances of those who asked for justice; hence they turned to you for guidance and were therefore successful and got through you what they had never dreamt of. For infidels you were a source of terrible punishment and a burning fire, and for the believers kindness, affection and protection."

Righteousness, truth and benevolence of Abu Bakr. Highlighting the virtue, of righteousness, truth and benevolence of Abu Bakr, Ali said: "You flew in the atmosphere of piety, attained its noble reward and won in superiority. Your argument was never weak, and your judgment was never faulty. You were never guilty of cowardice, and your heart was never crooked or misdirected. You were like a rock which stands firm in the face of hard blows and dashing winds. You were, as the Prophet of Allah has said, the most generous of men in friendship and in giving money. Again, as he says, you were weak in body, but strong in enforcing the commands of God. You were humble in your manners, but dignified in the estimation of God, great in the eyes of men and commanding respect with them. No one could even as much as wink at you, nor could anyone taunt at you. You were not in a position to excite temptation and you were not partial to anybody. The weak and the humble were strong with you as you secured their rights; and the strong were weak and humble with you, as you made them surrender the rights of others. In this matter those who were far from you were all equal. Those who obeyed and feared Allah most were nearest to you. Your dignity lay in righteousness, truth, and benevolence; your word was imperative and definite, your command mild and cautious, and your judgment wise and firm. Thus you extirpated evil and made the way for the Truth clear; difficulties were solved, and fires of evil and discord extinguished."

Abu Bakr's high position in doing good. Speaking of Abu Bakr's high position in doing good, Ali said : "You brought moderation to faith; strength to belief, firmness to Islam and the Muslims, and triumph to the command of Allah. Although it became a source of grief to infidels, yet I say it on oath that you made a great advance in this and placed in great difficulty those who came after you. Evidently you attained a high position in doing good."

Mourning on the death of Abu Bakr. Mourning the death of Abu Bakr, Ali said: "You are above lamentation; mourning for you is great in Heaven. Your death has broken the backbone of the people and we recite the verse 'From God you came and to God you have returned'. However we submit to what has been ordained by Allah and are ready to obey His commands. By Allah, never shall the Muslims suffer, after the death of the Prophet, a calamity greater than your death."

Conclusion. Concluding his oration Ali said: "You were a source of honor, protection and support to the Faith and for the believers you were like a group of men, a stronghold and a place of refuge; while, for the hypocrites you were all strictness and terror. May Allah, in reward for these, take you near to your Prophet, and may He not deprive us of the fruits of your efforts and may He not mislead us after you. We recite once again 'From God you came, and to God you have returned'.".

References in the Holy Quran. Abu Bakr has the unique distinction of being referred to in the Holy Quran in several verses.

Al-Bara'at. In Sura "A1-Bara'at', there is a reference to Abu Bakr in the following verse: "He being the second of the two, When they were in the cave and when Muhammad said to his companion 'Grieve not, surely God is with us,' then God came to their help, and protected them with an army which they saw not". {9:40}

Al-Lail. The following verses in the Sura "Al-Lail" refer to Abu Bakr: "Those who spend their wealth for increase in self-purification and have in their minds no favor from any one, for which a reward is expected in return, but only the desire to seek the countenance of their Lord, Most High and soon will they attain complete satisfaction." {92:18-21}

"He who gives in charity, and fears Allah and in all sincerity testifies to the best, We will indeed, make smooth for him, the path to bliss". {92:1-7}

Al-Ahzab. When the verse "Surely Allah and His angels bless the Prophet" {33:56} was revealed, Abu Bakr inquired of the Holy Prophet whether he was included in the divine grace which was bestowed on the Holy Prophet. It was on this that the following verse was revealed which contains an implied reference to Abu Bakr: "He it is, Who sends His blessings on him, and so do His angels that He may bring him forth out of utter darkness into light, and He is merciful to the believers'. {33:43}.

Al-lmran. The commentators are agreed that the following verse of Sura "Al-lmran" refers to Abu Bakr and Umar: "And take counsel with them in the affair". (3:158)

Al-Waqiah. Shah Wali Ullah and other commentators hold that in the following verse of Sura "AI-Waqiah", the "believers that are good refers to Abu Bakr and Umar: "And if you back up each other against him, then surely Allah it is Who is his Guardian, and Gabriel, and the believers that do good, and the angels will be his helpers." {66:4}.

Ar-Rahman. According to commentators the following verse in Sura "Ar-Rahman" refers to Abu Bakr: "And for him who fears to stand before his Lord are two gardens", (15:46)

Al-Imran. The following verse in Sura "Al-Imran" with reference to the Jews has an implied reference to Abu Bakr: "And you will certainly hear from those who received the Book before you and from the polytheists much that is wrong, but if you preserve and fear God, that is the steadfastness of things."

An-Nur. In Sura "An-Nur", the following verse refers to Abu Bakr: "And let not those of you who possess grace and abundance swear against giving to the near of kin and the poor and those who have migrated in the way of Allah, and they should pardon and turn away. Do you not like that God should forgive you?" {18:24}.

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Abu Bakr-al-Siddîq
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