Abu Bakr

Background

His name was ‘Abdullah ibn Abi Quhaafah. Before Islaam, he was known as ‘Abd Ka’bah. The Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam named him ‘Abdullah.

In appearance, he was skinny and dark-skinned.[1]

He was born 2 years after the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. Abu Bakr lived in the same neighborhood as the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, but before the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was 25, no contacts were made between them. However, it was clear that both the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and Abu Bakr became close friends after that time.[2]

Abu Bakr was from Banu Taim, a branch of the Quraish tribe. Banu Taim was one of the weakest tribes of the Quraysh.[3] Each clan had its own job. For example, Banu Hashim (the Prophet’s tribe) was in charge of providing water to the pilgrims; and this was an honor for them. Banu Taim’s job was deciding about blood money and penalties. Abu Bakr would give the judgement on behalf of his tribe and they would have to follow his judgement.

Qualifications & Skills

Ø  As mentioned above, Abu Bakr was in charge of deciding about blood money and penalties.

Ø  The Arabs looked at Genealogy as a science. (Genealogy is the study of family ancestories and histories.) Abu Bakr was one of the best in Arabia.

Ø  He was a great interpreter of dreams and he even interpreted dreams during the lifetime of the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.

Ø  He was an excellent business man.

Some of his Virtues

The Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “The sun never rose over anyone better than Abu Bakr except the Prophets.”

Pre-Islaam

Abu Bakr had an excellent character even before Islam. Before Islam came, he did not partake in the idol worshipping.[4] He kept away from evil and depravity. When asked if he had ever drunk wine, he curtly replied, “Allah forbid, never!” The person asked, “Why not?”  Abu Bakr replied, “I hated that my body would emit foul smells and happen the loss of good manners.” When the matter was stated in the presence of the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, he said twice, “Abu Bakr is true.”

As-Siddeeq

After the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam returned from his miraculous night journey (israra wal-mai’raaj), some people went to Abu Bakr as-Siddeeq and said, “Will you not go to your companion (i.e., the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam)? He claims that he made a journey during the night to Jerusalem!” Abu Bakr said, “And did he say that?” They said, “Yes.” Abu Bakr said, “If he said that, then he sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam has spoken the truth.” Amazed by his words, they said, “Do you really believe him when he says that he went during the night to Jerusalem and came back before morning?” Abu Bakr said, “Yes, I indeed believe him concerning that which is more amazing than that. I believe him about the news from the heavens, which comes in the morning or at the end of the day.” Because of the stance that Abu Bakr took during the trial and test that followed the Prophet’s miraculous night journey, he was named As-Siddeeq (the “Truthful One”).[5]

Al ‘Ateeq

Another quality given to him by the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was Al-‘Ateeq (the liberated) from Hellfire.[6]

Mercy

Mercy was his overwhelming characteristic. After the battle of Badr, the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was trying to decide to do with the prisoners of war. He asked Abu Bakr what he should do. Abu Bakr replied that they should be ransomed and maybe Allah will guide them to Islaam. The Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam asked ‘Umar what he thought and ‘Umar replied that they should “strike them in the neck” (kill them). Abu Bakr always took the more merciful stance. (In this case, however, ‘Umar was right, as Allah revealed an ayah to the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam concerning this.)[7]

In the beginning of Islaam, the Quraysh would persecute the Muslims by torturing the slaves who believed. Abu Bakr would buy and free slaves who were being tortured. The day that Bilaal was being tortured, he addressed Ummayya ibn Khalaf, Bilal’s owner, saying, “Will you not fear Allah regarding this poor person? Until when (will you continue to persecute him)?” Ummaya replied, “You are the one who corrupted him. So you save him from his present condition.” Abu Bakr said, “I will do so. I have a black slave who is stronger than him and firmer than him upon your religion. I will trade you for Bilal.” Umayya accepted the offer. Once the trade was complete, Abu Bakr freed Bilaal.[8]

Firm when Needed

Although Abu Bakr was a very soft-hearted and soft-spoken person, he was firm when the situation called for it.

Two big examples of this in history are:

1.       At the death of the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. When everyone else was so struck by grief and disbelief, Abu Bakr was firm and he bought the situation under control.

2.       After the death of the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, so many people were leaving Islaam. Abu Bakr was quick to call them back to Islaam and firm in fighting the apostates and false prophets.

First to do Good Deeds

Abu Huraira narrates that the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said: “Who began this day fasting?” Abu Bakr said: “I did.” The Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said: “Who participated in a funeral procession today?” Abu Bakr said: “I did.” Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said: “Who fed a needy person today?” Abu Bakr said: “I did.” The Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said: “Who visited a sick person today?” Abu Bakr said: “I did.” Then, the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said: “These things cannot all meet in a single person but that they will enter Paradise.” [Sahih Muslim]

Personal reflection: We know that these four specific characteristics will guarantee you Jannah, but we still don’t get around to them because we are “too busy.” No one even told Abu Bakr, and SubhanAllah he was already doing it on his own!

Courageous

Abu Bakr urged the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam to openly preach Islaam, but the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said that they were still few in number. There were only 39 males who had become Muslim. One day, Abu Bakr delieverd a sermon in the masjid, in which he invited people to Allah and His Messenger. He was the first man (in that nation) to do so. The polytheists became angry and charged towards him and other Muslims and began to severely beat them. Abu Bakr was trampled on and beaten so bad that blood flowed down from his face. If the beating continued, Abu Bakr may died. His clansmen of Banu Taim came to defend him. He was unconscious, and when he finally regained consciousness, the first words out of his mouth were to ask how the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was doing.[9]

Abu Bakr always gave the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam protection. He even protected the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam in situations where no one else was willing to (other sahabah).

Humility

Abu Bakr was very humble and lived a very simple life.

When he was sitting amongst the people, nobody could recognize who was the khalifa. [Compare that to now – a president or prime minister would first of all not be sitting amongst just any people. And if he was, he would have a dozen body guards!]

He was so humble and had no problem doing work for others. The little girls of the locality would come to him with their goat to be milked and he would do it for them!

Knowledgeable

“What sky will shade me and what earth will carry me if I say in the Book of Allah something without knowledge.” – Abu Bakr as-Siddeeq

Abu Bakr was a very prominent faqih, but he is not so well known for that because he was afraid of saying something (about Islaam) and being wrong.[10]

Abu Bakr was one of the most knowledgeable companions. During his illness, the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam gave a sermon and said, “Verily, Allah gave a servant of His a choice between this world and what He has with Him (in terms of rewards), and that servant has chose what is with Allah.” Abu Bakr began to cry when he heard this, because he was the only one who realized that the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was referring to himself.[11]

Relationship with the Prophet

“If I were to take a Khalil from mankind I would certainly have taken Abu Bakr.” – the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam

(A continuation of the hadith above), the Prophet said, “O Abu Bakr! Don’t weep.” The Prophet added: “Abu- Bakr has favored me much with his property and company. If I were to take a Khalil from mankind I would certainly have taken Abu Bakr, but the Islamic brotherhood and friendship is sufficient. Close all the gates in the mosque except that of Abu Bakr.”[12]

Abu Bakr loved the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam very much and he was his closest friend.

The Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam sent ‘Amr bin Al ‘Aas as the commander of the troops of Dhat-us-Salasil. ‘Amr bin Al-‘Aas said:

(On my return) I came to the Prophet and said, “Who do you love most?” He replied, “‘Aa`isha.” I said, “From amongst the men?” He replied, “Her father (Abu Bakr).” I said, “Whom (do you love) next?” He replied, “’Umar.” Then he counted the names of many men, and I became silent for fear that he might regard me as the last of them.”[13]  

Also, Abu Bakr was the father in law of the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.

Abu Bakr was always helping RasulAllah and trying to take care of his well-being and safety. When the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and Abu Bakr were migrating to Madinah together and they stopped at the cave, Abu Bakr went in first to check and make sure it was safe.[14] When they were in the cave, the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam slept with his head in Abu Bakr’s lap. A scorpion bit Abu Bakr on the hand, but he didn’t move or make a sound, afraid that he would wake the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. The Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam woke because of a tear that fell from Abu Bakr’s eyes and onto his face.[15]

Whoever Angered Abu Bakr Angered the Prophet

From Rabi’ah al-Aslami who reported: I used to serve the Messenger of Allah, so he gave me a piece of land and gave Abu Bakr a piece of land. Then, the worldly life came and we argued over a bunch of palm trees, so Abu Bakr said: ‘It is in my piece of land!’ and I said: ‘It is in my piece of land!’ Then there was an exchange of words between Abu Bakr and myself, so Abu Bakr said something to me that I disliked, and he regretted that.So he said to me: ‘O Rabi’ah! Say back to me what I said to you so that we would be equal.’ I said: ‘I will not do so!’ Abu Bakr said: ‘Say it, or I will call the Messenger of Allah on you!’ I said: ‘I will not do so.’

So Abu Bakr – may Allah be pleased with him – went to the Prophet and I followed him, so the people from (the tribe of) Aslam came and said: ‘May Allah have mercy on Abu Bakr! Why would he call the Messenger of Allah on you when he (the Prophet) has said to you what he has said?’ So I said:

‘Do you know who that is? That is Abu Bakr the Truthful (as-Siddeeq)! He is the one who was in the Cave with the Prophet, and he is the elder of the Muslims! So you had better not cause him to turn around and see you helping me against him, making him angry, causing the Messenger of Allah to come and become angry because of Abu Bakr’s anger, thereby causing Allah to become angry for both of their anger, thereby causing me to be destroyed!’So they said: ‘So what do you want us to do?’ I said: ‘Go back to where you came from.’ So Abu Bakr went to the Messenger of Allah and I followed him by myself and continued until he got to the Prophet and informed him of our conversation as it happened.

So he (the Prophet) raised his head to me and said: ‘O Rabi’ah! What is going on between you and as-Siddeeq?’ So I said: ‘O Messenger of Allah, this happened and that happened, so he said something to me that I disliked, and he told me to say the same thing back to him so that we would be equal.’

So the Messenger of Allah said: ‘Do not return his comment to him, rather say ‘May Allah forgive you, O Abu Bakr! May Allah forgive you, O Abu Bakr!’ So Abu Bakr – may Allah have mercy on him – turned his face and began to cry.[16]

[For full details on his khilaafa, “The History of Islaam” is an excellent read! I can also email anyone from the halaqa if they would like the full notes.]


[1] Conquest notes.

[2] Shining Stars, pg. 18

[3] Conquest notes.

[4] Conquest notes.

[5] The Noble Life of the Prophet, V.1, pg. 553.

[6] Shining Stars, pg.17

[7] The Noble Life of the Prophet, V.2, pg. 1013

[8] The Noble Life of the Prophet, V.1, pg.395

[9] The Life of the Noble Prophet, V.1, pg. 389

[10] The Code Evolved Notes

[11] The Noble Life of the Prophet, V.3, pg. 1973

[12] Bukhari, V.1/Book 8/#455

[13] Bukhari, 5/59/644

[14] Shining Stars

[15] Conquest Notes

[16] as-Silsilah as-Saheehah; #3258
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