Sayyidina Abu Bakr Siddique (RA) – Personality and status (part-1)
by Shaykh Ahmed Abdul Mujeeb Qasmi Nadvi (translated by Muhammad Owais Jafrey)
Ameer-ul-Momineen Sayyidina Abu Bakr Siddique, (RA) the lover and beloved at the same time of Prophet (SAW), was the most distinguished among Prophet (SAW)’s companions and was his first Khalifah. He was the first among the grown up males to embrace Islam. He was the first compiler of the Holy Qur’an and also one among those 10 Muslims, who were given the good news of being destined for Paradise while still living. According to Sa’eed bin Musayyib (RehmA) he was the second to Prophet (SAW). Second in the cave of Thore; second in the Imaamat-e-Sughra, i.e. minor leadership in religious affairs and prayers, and also in Imaamat-e-Kubra, i.e. major leadership in succeeding Prophet (SAW) as Khalifat-ul-Muslimeen. He (RA) is also second in the eternal resting place of Prophet (SAW) in Masjid-e-Nabavi. Neither Prophet (SAW), nor Muslims have ever given preference to anyone else over Sayyidina Abu Bakr (RA)’ status.
Among the male adults, he was the first to attest to La Ilaha IllalLah Muhammad-al-Rasul Allah. Prophet (SAW) once said that everyone to whom he (SAW) extended the message of Islam had some reluctance, but when it was extended to Abu Bakr (RA), he accepted it spontaneously without any hesitation. [Al-Badayah. 3:26]
Prior to the declaration of Prophethood, Abu Bakr had intimate friendship with Prophet (SAW). There existed a like mindedness and temperamental harmony among the two. Both had identical views on ethics and morals and both from the very beginning had abhorrence towards idol worship and drinking. Ibn Al Dughunnah mentioned Abu Bakr (RA)’s characteristics similar to what Ummul Momineen Khadijat-ul-Kubra mentioned about Prophet (SAW) on the eve of first revelation.
When Prophet (SAW) announced to Quresh in the morning his ascension to Heaven (Mi’raaj) during the previous night, everyone wondered and belied. A person thinking that Abu Bakr Siddique wouldn’t believe either went to him and told what Prophet (SAW) had declared. On listening to him Abu Bakr inquired: “Did Prophet (SAW) claim that.” The person said: “Yes.” Abu Bakr replied: “If Prophet (SAW) has said then it must be true”, and then added: “Prophet (SAW) tells us thing of the heaven, and Jibra’eel descends through seven heavens to bring revelations to him (SAW). We attest and embrace their truth, why then shouldn’t I believe that he (SAW) ascended the heaven in one part of the night?” That is why Abu Bakr was given the title of “Siddique”, the one who excels to attest. Tabqaat-e-Ibn Sa’ad quotes Abu Hurairah (RA) that Prophet (SAW) asked Jibra’eel: “Who among my people would attest to my journey to the heavens?” Jibra’eel submitted: “Abu Bakr will attest it; he is ‘Siddique.’
On different occasions Prophet (SAW) pointed to the excellence of Abu Bakr’s status and his distinguished place in the Ummah. Abu Hurairah (RA) relates that
once Prophet (SAW) said: “There is none to whom I didn’t recompense for the good done to me, except Abu Bakr, who will be rewarded by Allah (SWT) on the Day of Judgment. Material support rendered by Abu Bakr supercedes everyone’s support. If I had the choice to call some one my Khalil, i.e. real and beloved friend among my companions, I would have chosen Abu Bakr. Let it be known that my real and beloved friend is Allah (SWT) alone.” [Tirmidhi]
Prophet (SAW) was always generous to accept gifts from everyone, but he used to return it then or later in one way or the other. In the case of Abu Bakr, he (SAW) said that Allah (SWT) will reward him instead.
Hazrat Urwah (RA), the maternal grandson of Abu Bakr. He said that Abu Bakr had 40 thousand Dirhams, which he spent according to Prophet (SAW)’s wishes in serving the cause of Allah’s Deen. He (RA) had bought to free seven such slaves who were persecuted by their infidel or polytheist masters, and Bilal (RA) was one of them. That is why Umar Farooq (RA) said: “Abu Bakr is our chief, who bought freedom for our chief.” Sayyidina Abu Bakr (RA) once submitted to Prophet (SAW): “All of my wealth belongs to you, please use it the way you like Yaa Rasul Allah.” No wonder that in his conversation from the death bed Prophet (SAW) mentioned Abu Bakr’s esteemed distinction which is recorded on the authority of Abu Saeed Khudri (RA) in Sahi Bukhari and Sahi Muslim. And it has clear indication of Abu Bakr’s succession after Prophet (SAW)’s departure.
A woman once came to Prophet (SAW) seeking clarification regarding a certain issue. Prophet (SAW) asked her to come later. The woman submitted: “What should I do, in case you are not alive?” Prophet (SAW) said: “See Abu Bakr in case you don’t find me.”
[Bukhari & Muslim]. This again is an indication of Abu Bakr’s rightful succession.
Once there was an argument between Abu Bakr (RA) and Umar Farooq (RA), and Abu Bakr comments were somewhat impolite. It was very unusual of him and he realized it a litter later. Repentant and said he went to apologize to Umar Farooq, who refused to accept the apology. Disappointed Abu Bakr then went to Prophet (SAW) and submitted the whole story to him. Addressing Abu Bakr (RA), Prophet (SAW) said three times: “May Allah forgive you.” Realizing what had happened, Umar Farooq (RA) rushed to see Abu Bakr at his home, but he wasn’t there. Umar (RA) then went to see Prophet (SAW). Seeing Umar (RA), Prophet (SAW)’s face mirrored his inner displeasure and his eyes turned red. Suspecting Prophet (SAW)’s displeasure may not jeopardize Umar, Abu Bakr sat down meekly on his knees and in all humility submitted: “Yaa Rasul Allah, it is but me, who had done wrong.” Addressing Umar, Prophet (SAW) said: “Verily Allah (SWT) sent me as a Messenger towards you, and you told me that I am a liar, but Abu Bakr affirmed and said: “You said the truth.” And Abu Bakr supported me with his heart, soul and resources. Wouldn’t you forgive my companion even for that reason? ”
Prophet (SAW) repeated this last sentence twice. No one ever hurt the feelings of Abu Bakr Siddique after this incident.
There is yet another tradition attesting to Abu Bakr’s status in the sight of Prophet (SAW). Abu Hurairah relates that Prophet (SAW) said: “Jibra’eel Ameen came, caught me by the hand and showed me that gate of Paradise through which will enter my Ummah.” Having heard that, Abu Bakr submitted: “Yaa Rasul Allah! I wish I had been with you to see that gate!” Prophet (SAW) replied: “Abu Bakr, you should know that you will be the first in my Ummah to enter Paradise.” [Abu Dawood]
The Holy Qur’an has also highlighted the close association of Sayyidina Abu Bakr Siddique with Prophet (SAW) and his contributions to the cause of Islam. Even the mention of his friendship in the pre-Islamic era has been mentioned. Ibne Abbas (RA) said that Aayah 15 of Surah Al-Ahqaaf:
“When he grown to manhood and reached the age of forty…” is in appreciation of Abu Bakr Siddique (RA). It has a background to it. Prophet (SAW) was twenty and Abu Bakr was 18 years old. Both were on their way to Syria with a trade caravan and stayed at a place to take rest. While Prophet (SAW) relaxed under the shade of a Jujube/Ziziphus tree, Abu Bakr engaged himself discussing religion with a monk. Pointing towards Prophet (SAW), the monk asked Abu Bakr: “Who is this youth?” He replied: “He is Muhammad son of Abdullah son of Abdul Muttalib.” The monk exclaimed: “By God, he will be a prophet as no one after Eesa ibn-Maryam, but only Muhammad can sit under the shade of this tree!” These words of the monk had such an impact on Abu Bakr that he always kept Prophet (SAW)’s company. When Allah (SWT) commissioned Muhammad (SAW) for Prophet Hood, Abu Bakr was of 40 years of age and it was at that time that Prophet (SAW) made the supplication which is the later part of Aayah 15 of Surah Ahqaaf:
…he says: O my Lord! Help me to be truly grateful for Your favors t me and to my parents; help me to do good work that pleases You; make my off spring good.”
Abu Bakr (RA)’s generosity in spending his wealth in the cause of Allah has been complimented in Aayah 10 of Surah Al-Hadeed:
“Why should you not give for Allah’s cause; when Allah alone will inherit what is in the heavens and earth? Those who gave and fought before the conquest [of Makkah] are not like others: they are greater in rank than who gave and fought afterwards. But Allah has promised a good reward to all of them: Allah is fully aware of all that you do.”
Ibn-e-Umar said that once while Abu Bakr wearing a cloak torn at the upper end exposing his chest sat with Prophet (SAW). Jibra’eel Ameen came to Prophet (SAW) and inquired as to why Abu Bakr’s cloak was torn? Prophet (SAW) said: “Yaa Jibra’eel, Abu Bakr has spent all his wealth on me before the conquest of Makkah.” Jibra’eel replied: “Yaa Rasul Allah: “Convey Allah’s Salaam to Abu Bakr and ask if he is happy or unhappy on his faqr i.e. material poverty with Allah?” When Prophet (SAW) asked Abu Bakr, he started crying and said: “Me, unhappy with my Rub? No! I am happy with Him.” [Asbaab-un-Nuzool, p. 303. Hilyatul Auliya 105:7]
Once Prophet (SAW) was in the company of his companions, he (SAW) inquired:
“Who among you is fasting today?” Abu Bakr said: “I am fasting today Yaa Rasul Allah.”
Prophet asked again:
“Who from among you participated in the funeral today and followed the bier?” Abu Bakr replied: “I did that Yaa Rasul Allah.”
Prophet (SAW) asked the third time: “Who fed the hungry from among you today?” Abu Bakr submitted: “Yaa Rasul Allah I did.”
Prophet (SAW) lastly asked: “Who from among you visited a sick person today?”
Abu Bakr replied: “I did Yaa Rasul Allah.”
Prophet (SAW) said: “The one who has all these four attributes in him will surely enter Paradise.” [Sahi Muslim 1:28]
Hazrat Abu Bakr loved Prophet (SAW) passionately. In fact his love for the Prophet (SAW) imbued him with those ideal characteristics, which makes him so distinct and distinguished among Prophet (SAW) companions. His personality bears the hallmark of Prophet (SAW) close association. It was hard for Abu Bakr to bear the loss Prophet (SAW). The very mention of his (SAW)’s name made him tearful. Urwah (RA) said that it was two years after Prophet (SAW) passing away that Abu Bakr was delivering a Khutbah. He had hardly uttered these words: “When Prophet (SAW) stood to deliver his Khutbah the first year”, Abu Bakr couldn’t control his emotions and started crying like a child. He tried to control himself, but again he was overpowered with emotions. He started the third time and was hardly able to deliver the whole Khutbah. [Musnad Ahamd. 1:8]
Once our beloved Prophet (SAW) fell sick and weakness was much evident from his person. Abu Bakr visited him and got so concerned and sad that on returning home he himself got sick. After having recovered, Prophet (SAW) went to see Abu Bakr and seeing the Prophet, Abu Bakr face lit up with happiness and the very sight of Prophet (SAW) face cured this ardent lover and beloved of Prophet (SAW).
May Allah (SWT) enable us to love companions of Prophet (SAW) as they deserved to be loved, and enable us to love Prophet (SAW), as his companions loved him! Aameen!
SWT = Subhanahu Wa Ta'Ala
SAW = Sallallaho Alaihe Wasallam
RAnha= Radhiyallaho anha
The Friday Khutbahs are published to enhance your knowledge of Islam. The references of Quran and Hadith are the approximate translation of the Arabic text. The editors have not verified the accuracy of the the English translation. The scholarly reader is encouraged to refer to the original Arabic script if there is any doubt. Kindly notify us if the translation can be enhanced.