Virtues and Outstanding Traits of Sayyiduna Abu Bakr al-Siddiq

If one were to scan through the annals of history, one would find the life stories of many great personalities. Men who influenced the lives of those around them, creating a new way of thinking and in all formed new ideologies. However, most of their lives have been tainted with stories of their greed, lust and hunger for power. As one continues to search through the books of our past, one would come to realise that the most influential people to have lived, were none other than the beloved companions of Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam. Motivated by none other than Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam himself, their lives tell a tale of honesty, trustworthiness and the ultimate in self-sacrifice. Thus, their noble qualities and outstanding character effectively earned them the title of being the greatest group of people to have ever walked upon the face of the earth, after the ambiya’ `alayhimus salam. This is the biography of one such companion, Sayyiduna Abu Bakr radiya Llahu `anhu.

 

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Virtues and Outstanding Traits of Sayyiduna Abu Bakr al-Siddiq

 

Translators Note

الحمد لله الذي هدانا للاسلام و ما كنا لنهتدي لو لا ان هدانا الله و الصلوة و السلام على سيدنا و امامنا و قدوتنا محمد رسول الله و على اله الطيبين الطاهرين و اصحابه الدعاة الى الحق المبين

 

The illustrious Sahabah radiya Llahu `anhum are those flowers who blossomed from the garden of risalah by the rays of revelation shining upon them and they are the sweet smelling roses which the Mercy to the Worlds, Muhammad salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam, nurtured himself. Their lives are a sterling example for every mu’min to follow. Every Sahabi has his own individual status and virtue, the greatest of which is that Allah Ta`ala selected each of them to be the companions of his beloved Muhammad salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam. It is for this reason that it is the unanimous belief of the Muslim ummah that the most illustrious of the saints of Allah cannot reach the status of even the lowest ranking Sahabi.

This treatise which is before you is an abbreviation and explanation of an extract from `Allamah Jalal al-Din Suyuti’s rahimahu Llah book Tarikh al-Khulafa’, which describes the life and virtues of Sayyiduna Abu Bakr al-Siddiq radiya Llahu `anhu. Allah willing, the virtues and merits of the other al-Khulafa’ al-Rashidin will also be highlighted in this treatise. We ask Allah Ta`ala to keep us occupied in the service of din with sincerity and ease. In addition we ask Allah Ta`ala to make this modest effort a means of our salvation.

`Abd Allah al-Barni al-Madani

Islamic lecturer

Madinah

29 / 06 / 1422 A.H

 

 Sayyiduna Abu Bakr al-Siddiq

 

Birth, Name and Lineage

Sayyiduna Abu Bakr radiya Llahu `anhu was born two years after Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam. His name is `Abd Allah ibn Abi Quhafah. He was from the noble tribe of the Quraysh and his entire lineage is as follows,

`Abd Allah ibn Abu Quhafah ibn `Uthman ibn `Amir ibn `Amr ibn Ka`b ibn Sa`d ibn Tim ibn Murrah ibn Lu’ay ibn Ghalib al-Qursahi, al-Taymi

 

Murrah is a common ancestor to both Sayyiduna Abu Bakr radiya Llahu `anhu and Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam, thus they share a common lineage. Sayyiduna Abu Bakr radiya Llahu `anhu is better known by his agnomen, Abu Bakr, than his actual name. In fact very few Muslims actually know that his name was `Abd Allah.

 

Title

Sayyiduna Abu Bakr radiya Llahu `anhu became famous by two titles: al-`Atiq and al-Siddiq. He received the title of “`Atiq” when Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam signalled towards him saying:

 

من سره ان ينظر الى عتيق من النار فلينظر الى ابي بكر

If anyone wishes to see a person who has been freed from the fire of Jahannam then he should look at Abu Bakr.[1]

 

Sayyiduna `Abd Allah ibn Zubayr radiya Llahu `anhu narrates that Sayyiduna Abu Bakr radiya Llahu `anhu was famous by the name `Abd Allah but when Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam said to him:

 

انت عتيق الله من النار

You have been freed from the fire of Jahannam.[2]

Since then he became famous by the title `Atiq.[3]

`Atiq means one who has been freed. Sayyiduna Abu Bakr radiya Llahu `anhu received this glad tiding from Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam that he will be protected from Jahannam and will enter Jannah, on numerous occasions in his lifetime. What a great honour that is indeed.

His other title is al-Siddiq, which means truthful or honest. His honesty and truthfulness was praised even during the days of ignorance. Another reason which has been mentioned for this title, as reported from Hasan al-Basri rahimahu Llah on the authority of Ibn Ishaq, is that Sayyiduna Abu Bakr radiya Llahu `anhu accepted the risalah of Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam immediately, without a second thought and did not request any miracle to be displayed by Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam, and was thus awarded the title of al-Siddiq.

It has been reported in Hakim that when Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam informed the mushrikin of the journey of Mi`raj, they immediately ran to Sayyiduna Abu Bakr radiya Llahu `anhu and said to him:

Abu Bakr! Will you attest to what your friend Muhammad has said today, that he has travelled from Makkah to Bayt al-Muqaddas in one night?

 

Sayyiduna Abu Bakr radiya Llahu `anhu replied:

If he has said this then it must undoubtedly be true. I believe in something even more astonishing than that and that is the revelation which is sent to him from the heavens every day and night.

It was from that day that his title became al-Siddiq.

 

Nizal ibn Subrah narrates that they asked Sayyiduna `Ali radiya Llahu `anhu to enlighten them with something about Sayyiduna Abu Bakr radiya Llahu `anhu. Sayyiduna `Ali radiya Llahu `anhu replied:

 

Abu Bakr is that individual who was awarded the title of al-Siddiq by the mouth of Sayyiduna Jibra’il `alayh al-Salam and Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam. He was the true successor of Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam. Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam selected him for our din (when Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam appointed him as imam for salah during his lifetime) so we selected him to attend to our worldly affairs as well (when we appointed him as our leader and khalifah).[4]

 

Childhood and Youth

Sayyiduna Abu Bakr radiya Llahu `anhu grew up in Makkah and even after reaching adulthood continued to reside in Makkah. He never left Makkah except to conduct trade in neighbouring countries. He was regarded among the leaders and nobility of Makkah. He was a person of outstanding character and benevolent nature. He was well-known for his keeping of family ties and generosity. He would help the poor and weak as well as aid those who were in difficulty.

Imam al-Nawawi rahimahu Llah has stated that Sayyiduna Abu Bakr radiya Llahu `anhu was among the chiefs of his people and his opinion was highly regarded amongst them. He was greatly loved by his people. When the era of Islam dawned, he gave no thought to his rank or position and immediately accepted Islam, challenging the forces of falsehood.

 

The Purity of his Character

One is able to gauge the purity of Sayyiduna Abu Bakr’s radiya Llahu `anhu character by the fact that he was the friend of Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam. The person whom Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam chose as his friend would undoubtedly be purest in character and personality. Sayyiduna `A’ishah radiya Llahu `anha narrates:

I take an oath by Allah; Abu Bakr never indulged in poetic renditions, neither during the period of ignorance nor after accepting Islam. Both he and `Uthman had made consuming alcohol haram upon themselves before the advent of Islam.[5]

 

The Appearance of Sayyiduna Abu Bakr

Ibn Sa`d has reported a narration that a certain person came to Sayyiduna `A’ishah radiya Llahu `anha and asked her regarding the appearance of Sayyiduna Abu Bakr radiya Llahu `anhu, she replied:

He was fair in complexion and had a slim build. He had little hair on his cheeks (meaning his beard was not very thick). His face would become sweaty. He had thick eyebrows and a broad forehead.

 

In another narration, Ibn Sa`d has reported from Sayyiduna `A’ishah radiya Llahu `anha that Sayyiduna Abu Bakr radiya Llahu `anhu began to apply henna to his beard after it became white.

 

Embracing Islam

Sayyiduna `Ali radiya Llahu `anhu narrates that the first among the men to accept Islam was Sayyiduna Abu Bakr radiya Llahu `anhu.[6]

Sayyiduna Zayd ibn Arqam radiya Llahu `anhu narrates that the first person to perform salah behind Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam was Sayyiduna Abu Bakr radiya Llahu `anhu.[7]

There are various narrations reported from many Sahabah with regards to who was the first to accept Islam, which Imam Abu Hanifah rahimahu Llah reconciled in the following manner, the first man to accept Islam was Sayyiduna Abu Bakr radiya Llahu `anhu, the first woman to accept Islam was Sayyiduna Khadijah radiya Llahu `anha and the first amongst the youth to accept Islam was Sayyiduna `Ali radiya Llahu `anhu.

`Abd Allah ibn Husayn al-Tamimi radiya Llahu `anhu narrates that Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam said:

Whoever I invited towards Islam had doubts at first and after thinking carefully they accepted Islam, except for Abu Bakr; when I invited him towards Islam he did not hesitate for even a moment and accepted immediately.[8]

 

Imam al-Bayhaqi rahimahu Llah says that the reason for this is Sayyiduna Abu Bakr radiya Llahu `anhu had already seen the qualities of nubuwwah in Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam and even before accepting Islam, he had heard about Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam from the `ulama’ of the Ahl al-Kitab.

The humble translator wishes to add, a clear and evident proof of the nubuwwah and risalah of Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam is that the first to believe in him and accept him were those who knew him the best and the well-acquainted with his noble personality. They had complete conviction that Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam would not say anything untrue or contrary to reality. Who can know a person better than one’s own wife? Sayyiduna Khadijah radiya Llahu `anha was staying with Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam for fifteen years prior to him receiving nubuwwah and was entirely familiar with his habits and tendencies. When Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam informed her regarding his nubuwwah, her heart naturally accepted the truth of his statement.

Even before embracing Islam, Sayyiduna Abu Bakr radiya Llahu `anhu was the friend of Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam and after accepting Islam he never left the side of Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam, except on those occasions when Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam himself ordered him to, for example to lead the expeditions of hajj or jihad. He participated alongside Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam in all the battles that transpired and was the only person to have attained the honour of accompanying Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam on the journey of hijrah, as attested to by the verse:

 

ثَانِیَ اثْنَیْنِ اِذْ هُمَا فِی الْغَارِ اِذْ یَقُوْلُ لِصَاحِبِهٖ لَا تَحْزَنْ اِنَّ اللّٰهَ مَعَنَا ۚ

He was the second of the two (the other being his bosom friend Abu Bakr radiya Llahu `anhu) when they were (hiding from the kuffar) in the cave (outside Makkah) and he (Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam) told his companion (Abu Bakr radiya Llahu `anhu) (when the kuffar were on the verge of capturing them): “Do not grieve (do not fear for my safety). Verily Allah is with us (and He will protect us from the kuffar).[9]

 

It was Sayyiduna Abu Bakr radiya Llahu `anhu who remained firm and did not flee on the occasion of the Battles of Uhud and Hunayn, during the sudden attack of the mushrikin. Sayyiduna `Ali radiya Llahu `anhu narrates that Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam addressed both him and Sayyiduna Abu Bakr on the occasion of the Battle of Badr saying:

 

مع احدكما جبريل و مع الاخر ميكائيل

One of you is accompanied by Jibril while the other is accompanied by Mika’il.[10]

 

On the occasion of the Battle of Uhud, a tent was erected for Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam, wherein he spent the entire night weeping and supplicating to Allah Ta`ala to assist and grant the Muslims victory. At that time the other Sahabah were making preparations for battle and it was only Sayyiduna Abu Bakr radiya Llahu `anhu who was with the Rasul of Allah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam. He stood guard over the tent of Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam and whenever any enemy tried to reach the Rasul of Allah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam, Sayyiduna Abu Bakr radiya Llahu `anhu would pounce upon him like a ferocious lion. It is mentioned that none of the enemy could pluck up the courage to advance on the tent of Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam. This incident was narrated by Sayyiduna `Ali radiya Llahu `anhu who then stated:

Sayyiduna Abu Bakr radiya Llahu `anhu was the most courageous of all of us on that day.[11]

 

The Bravery and Courage of Sayyiduna Abu Bakr

Sayyiduna `Urwah ibn Zubayr radiya Llahu `anhu narrates that he asked Sayyiduna `Abd Allah ibn `Amr ibn al-`As radiya Llahu `anhu:

What is the worst of all the difficulties that the mushrikin inflicted upon Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam?

 

Sayyiduna `Abd Allah ibn `Amr ibn al-`As radiya Llahu `anhu replied:

 

I saw `Uqbah ibn Abi Mu`it taking a shawl and going towards Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam, while he was in salah. Then this vile individual wrapped this shawl around the neck of Rasulullah radiya Llahu `anhu, trying to strangle him. Abu Bakr arrived just in time, struck him and separated him from Rasulullah radiya Llahu `anhu. He then turned to the disbelievers and said:

اتقتلون رجلا ان يقول ربي الله و قد جائكم بالبينات من ربكم

Do you kill a person merely because he says my Rabb is Allah, and he has come to you with proof from his Rabb.[12]

 

Sayyiduna `A’ishah radiya Llahu `anha narrates that when the number of Muslims reached thirty-eight in Makkah, Sayyiduna Abu Bakr radiya Llahu `anhu asked Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam for permission to preach Islam openly. Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam advised him against it, as he could result in him being severely beaten by the mushrikin. It just so happened that one day when all the Muslims were present in the Haram, each of them sitting in different corners, and a large number of mushrikin had also gathered; Sayyiduna Abu Bakr radiya Llahu `anhu stood up and openly invited all of them towards the worship of one Allah Ta`ala and to accept the nubuwwah of Muhammad salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam. As soon as he said this all the mushrikin pounced upon him and began beating him so savagely that he fell unconscious. A few members of his tribe were present, who even though were not Muslims, attended to him and took him to his home, out of tribal loyalty. When he regained consciousness the first words out of his mouth were:

How is the Rasul of Allah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam? Has he been harmed?[13]

 

Sayyiduna `Ali radiya Llahu `anhu narrates that he saw the Quraysh surrounding the Rasul of Allah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam, some were pushing him, others were scoffing at him and a few were ridiculing him, saying:

 

انت الذي جعلت اللآلهة الها واحدا

You are the one who has made all the gods into one God (by denouncing the idols of the mushrikin and encouraging the worship of One Allah).

 

There was none among us who had the courage to go to his aid. (Sayyiduna `Ali radiya Llahu `anhu was very young at time as this incident took place in the early days of Islam.) Only Sayyiduna Abu Bakr radiya Llahu `anhu was brave enough to step forward and pushing the disbelievers away one by one he said to them: “May you all be destroyed, do you kill a man merely because he says my Rabb is Allah.” Thereafter Sayyiduna `Ali radiya Llahu `anhu began crying so profusely that his beard became wet with the excessive tears. He then addressed his audience saying:

I take an oath by Allah, who is more superior, the one who brought iman from the family of Fir`own (as mentioned in Surah al-Tahrim) or Abu Bakr?

 

When they remained silent, Sayyiduna `Ali radiya Llahu `anhu said:

One moment of the life of Abu Bakr is far superior to a thousand of the believers from the family of Fir`own because they kept their iman a secret, out of fear for their nation, whereas Abu Bakr proclaimed his iman openly before everyone.[14]

 

His Service to Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam as well as Generosity and Open-Heartedness

Allah Ta`ala says in the glorious Qur’an:

وَ سَیُجَنَّبُهَا الْاَتْقَی ﴿17ۙ﴾ الَّذِیْ یُؤْتِیْ مَالَه یَتَزَکّٰی

Far removed from it (Jahannam) shall be the one with the most taqwa (the mu’min) who spent his wealth to purify (his soul from greed and from other sins by attaining Allah’s pleasure and resultant forgiveness).[15]

 

`Allamah Ibn al-Jowzi rahimahu Llah has said that it is the consensus of the scholars of knowledge that this verse was revealed regarding Sayyiduna Abu Bakr radiya Llahu `anhu. Sayyiduna Abu Hurayrah radiya Llahu `anhu narrates that Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam has said:

No person’s wealth has benefitted me as much as the wealth of Abu Bakr has benefitted me.

Upon hearing this Sayyiduna Abu Bakr radiya Llahu `anhu began weeping and said:

All of my wealth is only but for you.[16]

 

Sayyiduna `Ali, Sayyiduna `Abd Allah ibn `Abbas, Sayyiduna Anas, Sayyiduna Jabir and Sayyiduna Abu Sa`id al-Khudri radiya Llahu `anhum all narrated that Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam would spend from the wealth of Abu Bakr as he would from his own. In other words, Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam regarded the wealth of Sayyiduna Abu Bakr as his own.[17]

In the early period of Islam, Sayyiduna Abu Bakr radiya Llahu `anhu bought and freed seven such slaves who were continually beaten and punished for having accepted Islam.[18]

In the early years of Islam prior to hijrah, Sayyiduna Abu Bakr radiya Llahu `anhu spent approximately forty thousand dirhams in the aid of Islam and Muslims in general.

Sayyiduna `Umar ibn al-Khattab radiya Llahu `anhu narrates:

 

On one occasion Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam encouraged us to donate our wealth. At that time I had just come into possession of large amount of wealth and I thought to myself that today I will surpass Abu Bakr. I divided whatever wealth I possessed into two equal halves and took one half to Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam. Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam enquired as to what I had left for my family. I replied that I had left an equal half for my family. Later Abu Bakr radiya Llahu `anhu arrived with all of his wealth and when Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam asked him what he had left for his family he replied:

I have left Allah and His Rasul for them.

I then realised that I will never be able to surpass Abu Bakr.[19]

 

Sayyiduna Abu Hurayrah radiya Llahu `anhu narrates that Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam has said:

I have repaid all the good that others have shown to me except for Abu Bakr, as his is of such an extent that Allah Ta`ala himself will repay and reward him on the Day of Qiyamah. No person’s wealth has benefitted me as much as the wealth of Abu Bakr.[20]

 

Sayyiduna `Abd Allah ibn `Abbas radiya Llahu `anhu narrates that Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam said:

No one has shown me kindness as Abu Bakr has. He aided me with his wealth and person, and even gave his daughter to me in marriage.[21]

 

Sayyiduna Abu Bakr salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam was the Most Knowledgeable of all the Sahabah as well as the Wisest

Imam al-Nawawi rahimahu Llah has written in Tahdhib that our `ulama have taken proof from the incident of fighting the rejecters of zakah that Sayyiduna Abu Bakr radiya Llahu `anhu was the most knowledgeable of the Sahabah radiya Llahu `anhum. It is report in both Bukhari and Muslim that when certain tribes refused to pay zakah, Sayyiduna Abu Bakr radiya Llahu `anhu said:

 

والله لو منعوني عقالا كانوا يؤدون الى رسول الله لقاتلتهم على منعه

I take an oath by Allah; I will fight them even if they refuse to give me a rope which they used to give in the time of Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam as zakah.

 

The humble translator writes that when Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam left this earthly abode, certain tribes refused to pay zakah and as a result a difference of opinion arose among the Sahabah as to what to do with them. Some said that they have recited the kalimah and even perform salah, so how can we fight against them? However, Sayyiduna Abu Bakr radiya Llahu `anhu possessed deeper insight. He knew that the kalimah only benefits a person when a person fulfils the requisites of the kalimah. Whoever denies any law of Islam in actual fact denies the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam, and whoever denies the Qur’an and the Sunnah of Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam leaves the fold of Islam, making fighting against them permissible.

Sayyiduna Abu Sa`id al-Khudri radiya Llahu `anhu narrates that Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam had said in a khutbah, (a few days prior to his demise):

 

ان الله تبارك و تعالى خير عبدا بين الدنيا و بين ما عنده فاختار ذلك العبد ما عند الله

Allah Ta`ala has given a servant a choice between remaining in this world or that which is with Him, and that servant chose that which is with Allah.

When Abu Bakr radiya Llahu `anhu heard this he immediately began weeping and said: “O Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam, may my parents be sacrificed for you.” We were extremely astonished at the behaviour of Abu Bakr that Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam was merely informing them of the choice made by one of Allah’s servants and he begins to weep for no apparent reason. It was only later that we realised Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam was actually referring to himself and Abu Bakr was the most knowledgeable amongst us. On this occasion Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam said: “Undoubtedly Abu Bakr has been the most generous to me with his wealth and friendship. If I were to take a beloved from amongst men, then I would have made Abu Bakr my beloved but instead we have between us the bonds and love of Islam. Listen! All doors that open into the Masjid (Masjid al-Nabawi) should be sealed except for the door of Abu Bakr.”[22]

 

Ibn Kathir rahimahu Llah says that Sayyiduna Abu Bakr radiya Llahu `anhu surpassed all the other Sahabah radiya Llahu `anhum in knowledge of the Qur’an. This becomes apparent from the fact that Rasulullah radiya Llahu `anhu selected him as imam when he has categorically stated:

يؤم القوم اقرأهم بكتاب الله

The most knowledgeable of the Qur’an should be appointed as the imam.

 

In addition there was no person more knowledgeable regarding the ahadith of Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam then Sayyiduna Abu Bakr radiya Llahu `anhu. The reason being that he remained by the side of Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam throughout his lifetime. His memory and intelligence was also unmatched by the other Sahabah radiya Llahu `anhum. However, he did not choose to report many narrations, instead he attended to the problems affecting the Muslim ummah. It is for this reason that many narrations have not been reported from him. However, whenever the Sahabah radiya Llahu `anhum encountered any hurdle then its solution from the ahadith of Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam could be found with Sayyiduna Abu Bakr radiya Llahu `anhu.

Imam al-Nawawi rahimahu Llah says that Sayyiduna Abu Bakr radiya Llahu `anhu was one of those Sahabah who had memorised the entire Qur’an. This view has been asserted by many `ulama of din among who is Ibn Kathir rahimahu Llah.

 

Sayyiduna Abu Bakr is the Highest in Rank from the Ummah of Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam

It is the unanimous belief of the Ahl al-Sunnah wa l-Jama`ah that after Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam and the other ambiya’, the highest in rank is Sayyiduna Abu Bakr radiya Llahu `anhu then Sayyiduna `Umar radiya Llahu `anhu then Sayyiduna `Uthman radiya Llahu `anhu, then Sayyiduna `Ali radiya Llahu `anhu. Thereafter it is the remaining of the `Asharah-Mubasharah, then those Sahabah who participated in the Battle of Badr, then those Sahabah who participated in the Battle of Uhud and those Sahabah who participated in the Pledge of Ridwan. Abu Mansur al-Baghdadi has reported that there is a consensus on this matter.

Sayyiduna `Abd Allah ibn `Umar radiya Llahu `anhuma says that in the lifetime of Rasulullah they would regard Abu Bakr, `Umar and `Uthman superior to the other Sahabah.[23]

In addition it has been reported in Tabarani that Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam was aware of this and did not reject it. Sayyiduna Ibn `Umar says in another narration that even when Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam was among them they would regard Abu Bakr, `Umar, `Uthman and `Ali radiya Llahu `anhum as superior to the other Sahabah.

Muhammad ibn `Ali ibn Abi Talib, who is the son of Sayyiduna `Ali radiya Llahu `anhu from a wife other then Sayyiduna Fatima radiya Llahu `anha, narrates:

 

I asked my father, `Ali radiya Llahu `anhu, who is the best after Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam? And he replied, ‘Abu Bakr.’ I then asked, ‘And who is the best after him?’ He replied, `Umar.’ I then became afraid that if asked him who was best after `Umar he would say `Uthman, so instead I said to him, ‘After Abu Bakr and `Umar you are best’, to which he replied:

ما انا الا رجل من المسلمين

I am but a man from the Muslims.[24]

 

The humble translator adds, in this narration which informs us of the high status and rank of Sayyiduna Abu Bakr and Sayyiduna Umar, we also learn of the humility, humbleness, piety and asceticism of Sayyiduna `Ali radiya Llahu `anhu.

Sayyiduna Salamah ibn Akwah radiya Llahu `anhu narrates that Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam has said:

After the ambiya, the highest in rank is Abu Bakr.[25]

 

Another narration, which has been reported by Sayyiduna Sa`d ibn Zurarah radiya Llahu `anhu that Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam has said:

The pure soul, Jibril, has informed me that after you from your ummah the best is Abu Bakr.[26]

 

Sayyiduna Anas ibn Malik radiya Llahu `anhu narrates that Rasulullah radiya Llahu `anhu has said:

The most merciful of my ummah upon my ummah is Abu Bakr, the strictest in matters of din is Umar, the most modest of them is `Uthman and the best in decision making is `Ali.[27]

 

Abu Ya`la has reported Sayyiduna `Ali radiya Llahu `anhu saying:

لا تفضلنى احد على ابى بكر الا جلدته حد المفترى

Whoever says that I am better than Abu Bakr, I will mete out to him the same punishment that is given to one who gives false testimony.[28]

 

Those Verses That Were Revealed in Praise of Sayyiduna Abu Bakr

Allah Ta`ala has said in the glorious Qur’an:

 

ثَانِیَ اثْنَیْنِ اِذْ هُمَا فِی الْغَارِ اِذْ یَقُوْلُ لِصَاحِبِهٖ لَا تَحْزَنْ اِنَّ اللّٰهَ مَعَنَا ۚ

He was the second of the two (the other being his bosom friend Abu Bakr radiya Llahu `anhu) when they were (hiding from the kuffar) in the cave (outside Makkah) and he (Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam) told his companion (Abu Bakr radiya Llahu `anhu) (when the kuffar were on the verge of capturing them): “Do not grieve (do not fear for my safety). Verily Allah is with us (and He will protect us from the kuffar).”[29]

 

The entire Muslim ummah is in agreement that Sayyiduna Abu Bakr radiya Llahu `anhu was with Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam in the cave and it is to him that this verse refers.

Regarding this incident Allah says:

فَاَنْزَلَ اللّٰهُ سَکِیْنَتَهُ عَلَیهِ

So Allah caused His tranquillity (serenity, mercy and peace) to descend on him.

 

Sayyiduna `Abd Allah ibn `Abbas radiya Llahu `anhu narrates that the tranquillity descended upon Sayyiduna Abu Bakr radiya Llahu `anhu, as it was he who had become anxious and Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam was completely composed and calm. Mufassirin have written that Sayyiduna Abu Bakr radiya Llahu `anhu was not anxious because of fear for himself as he would gladly sacrifice his life for the Rasul of Allah. Instead he was fearful that the mushrikin might harm Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam. This is why Allah Ta`ala allowed his tranquillity to descend upon him so as to remove his grief.

Sayyiduna `Amir ibn `Abd Allah ibn Zubayr radiya Llahu `anhu narrates that when the mushrikin of Makkah began to persecute the weak Muslims, specifically those slaves who had accepted Islam, then Sayyiduna Abu Bakr radiya Llahu `anhu began purchasing the old and female slaves, and setting them free, so as to save them from being tormented. His father then said to him:

“Son if only you were to purchase and set free the strong among them then at least if at any time you are in some difficulty they can come to your aid.” Abu Bakr radiya Llahu `anhu replied: “O father, I only desire the reward from Allah.”

Sayyiduna `Amir ibn `Abd Allah adds:

My family informed me that these verses were revealed with regards to this incident.

 

Sayyiduna `Abd Allah ibn Zubayr radiya Llahu `anhum narrates that the verses:

 

فَاَمَّا مَنْ اَعْطٰی وَ اتَّقٰیۙ   ﴿۵﴾ وَ صَدَّقَ بِالْحُسْنٰیۙ ﴿6﴾ فَسَنُیَسِّرُهُ لِلْیُسْرٰی

Far removed from it (Jahannam) shall be the one with the most taqwa (the mu’min) who spent his wealth to purify (his soul from greed and from other sins by attaining Allah’s pleasure and resultant forgiveness).[30]

were revealed regarding Sayyiduna Abu Bakr radiya Llahu `anhu.

 

Sayyiduna `Abd Allah ibn `Abbas radiya Llahu `anhu narrates that the verse, “And consult with them in matters,” was revealed regarding Sayyiduna Abu Bakr radiya Llahu `anhu and Sayyiduna Umar radiya Llahu `anhu. This means that Allah Ta`ala has instructed Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam to consult with them in matters.[31]

In another narration, Sayyiduna `Abd Allah ibn `Abbas radiya Llahu `anhu narrates that the verse in Surah al-Ahqaf, “We enjoined (commanded) man to treat his parents kindly,” until the next verse was revealed regarding Sayyiduna Abu Bakr radiya Llahu `anhu.

 

Those Virtues That Were Mentioned Regarding Sayyiduna Abu Bakr and Sayyiduna `Umar

Sayyiduna Abu Sa`id al-Khudri radiya Llahu `anhu narrates that Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam has said:

Every Nabi was appointed two advisors in the sky and two advisors in the earth. My two advisors in the sky are Jibril and Mika`il, and my two advisors in the earth are Abu Bakr and `Umar.[32]

 

Sayyiduna Sa`id ibn Zayd radiya Llahu `anhu narrates that Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam has said:

Abu Bakr will be in Jannah, `Umar will be in Jannah, `Uthman will be in Jannah, `Ali will be in Jannah… (and in this manner Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam took the names of all the `Asharah Mubasharah.)[33]

 

Sayyiduna Anas ibn Malik radiya Llahu `anhu narrates that when Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam would sit in a gathering along with his Sahabah of the Muhajirin and Ansar then out of awe of Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam, none would have the courage to look directly at Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam, except for Abu Bakr and `Umar. They would look at Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam and smile, and Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam would in turn look upon them and smile.[34]

Sayyiduna `Abd Allah ibn `Umar radiya Llahu `anhu narrates that Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam entered the Masjid one day, with Abu Bakr on his right and `Umar on his left. Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam then grabbed their hands and addressing the other Sahabah, he said:

This is how we will rise on the Day of Qiyamah.[35]

 

The humble translator wishes to add that Allah Ta`ala has granted only the two of them this immense honour of resting alongside Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam until the Day of Qiyamah and then rising alongside Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam on the Day of Resurrection. This hadith also prophesises that they would be buried alongside Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam.

Those people who hold enmity for both these illustrious personalities should ponder over the state of their iman.

 

Sayyiduna `Ali radiya Llahu `anhu narrates that Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam has said:

 

May Allah’s mercy be upon Abu Bakr, he married his daughter to me, he undertook all the expenses in bringing me to Madinah, and he set Bilal free. May Allah’s mercy be upon `Umar, he always speaks what is the truth even though it might be bitter to others, which is why he does not have any friends. May Allah’s mercy be upon `Uthman; even the angels are bashful in front of him. May Allah’s mercy be upon `Ali, may the truth follow him wherever he may go.[36]

 

Sayyiduna `Abd Allah ibn Mas`ud radiya Llahu `anhu narrates that Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam has said:

Every nabi has a special friend and companion, and my special friends are Abu Bakr and `Umar.[37]

 

Those Ahadith Which Clearly Refer to the Khilafah of Abu Bakr

Sayyiduna Jubayr ibn Mut`im radiya Llahu `anhu reports from his father that once a woman came to Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam (seeking a verdict or ruling), and Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam ordered her to return on another day for the solution to her problem. The woman then said to Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam:

What if I find you are no longer here, then what should I do? (indicating towards the demise of Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam.)

Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam replied:

ان لم تجدينى فأتى ابا بكر

If you find that I am no longer here, then go to Abu Bakr.[38]

 

Sayyiduna Anas ibn Malik radiya Llahu `anhu narrates that the tribe of Banu Mustaliq sent me to ask Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam, to whom they should send their zakah after his demise. Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam replied:

Send it to Abu Bakr.[39]

 

Sayyiduna `A’ishah radiya Llahu `anha narrates that Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam said to her in his final illness:

 

Send for your father and brother, I wish to make a bequest as I fear that others may begin to desire, claiming that they are more fitting for the position, whereas Allah Ta`ala and the believers will accept no other but Abu Bakr.[40]

 

It has been reported in both Bukhari and Muslim that Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam appointed Sayyiduna Abu Bakr radiya Llahu `anhu as Imam of salah in his place, on which Sayyiduna `A’ishah radiya Llahu `anha said to Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam:

O Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam, Abu Bakr is an extremely soft hearted person; if he stands in your place then he will not be able to perform the salah (as he will begin weeping).

Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam sternly replied:

No! Order Abu Bakr to lead the salah.

 

It has been mentioned previously that it has been reported in Bukhari and Muslim that Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam had said in a khutbah before his demise that all other doors opening into the masjid should be closed, except for the door of Abu Bakr radiya Llahu `anhu. In this too there is a clear indication that Abu Bakr radiya Llahu `anhu after being appointed as khalifah will enter the masjid to perform the salah from this door.

Sayyiduna `Ali radiya Llahu `anhu narrates:

 

Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam had appointed Abu Bakr radiya Llahu `anhu as Imam, even though I was present. It was not such that I was absent at the time or that I was ill and as a result could not perform the salah. It was from this that we understood that Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam desired for us to make Abu Bakr our khalifah after his demise. Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam chose him to lead us in our matters of din, so we chose him to lead us in our worldly affairs as well (i.e. we appointed him as our khalifah and believed him most eligible).[41]

 

Sayyiduna Hafsah radiya Llahu `anha once asked Rasulullah radiya Llahu `anhu:

Whenever you are ill, you put Abu Bakr forward (appoint him as Imam for salah, that is to say why you never appoint my father, `Umar, to lead the salah.)

Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam replied:

I do not put Abu Bakr forward, but it is Allah who puts him forward (i.e. whatever I do, is done with the order of Allah).[42]

 

Sayyiduna Abu Bakr ibn `Ayyash rahimahu Llah was asked by Harun al-Rashid rahimahu Llah:

 

“How did the people appoint Abu Bakr as khalifah?” He replied: “He was appointed as khalifah because of the silence of Allah, Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam and the entire mu’minin. Harun al-Rashid rahimahu Llah replied: “You have not given a satisfying answer, and I am not convinced by it.” Sayyiduna Abu Bakr ibn `Ayyash rahimahu Llah then explained: “When Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam took ill, Sayyiduna Bilal radiya Llahu `anhu came to Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam and asked, ‘Who should lead the salah in your place?’ to which Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam replied, ‘Instruct Abu Bakr to lead the salah.’ Thereafter Sayyiduna Abu Bakr led the salah for eight consecutive days. During this time, revelation did not stop descending. If Allah Ta`ala disliked this he would most definitely have prohibited it via revelation to Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam. At the same time, Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam did not appoint anyone else to lead the salah during these eight days and the mu’minin understanding this to be the desire of Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam did not object to this appointment.” Hearing this reply Harun al-Rashid rahimahu Llah became pleased and was satisfied.[43]

 

NEXT⇒ Objection of not Participating in Jihad


[1]  Reported by Abu Ya`la in his Musnad, Ibn Sa`d and Hakim, who graded it as sahih.

[2]Tirmidhi, Hadith: 3779, Al-Hakim v. 2 p. 315-316

[3]Tabarani

[4]Hakim

[5]Ibn `Asakir

[6]Ibn `Asakir

[7]Ibn Khaythamah

[8]Al-Sirah al-Nabawiyyah by Ibn Hisham v. 1 p. 159

[9]  Surah al-Towbah: 40

[10]Musnad Ahmad, Hakim, Abu Ya`la

[11]Bazzar

[12]Bukhari

[13]Ibn `Asakir

[14]Bazzar

[15]  Surah al-Layl

[16]Musnad Ahmad

[17]Ibn Kathir

[18]Ibn `Asakir

[19]Tirmidhi

[20]  ibid

[21]Ibn `Asakir

[22]Bukhari, Muslim

[23]Al-Bukhari

[24]Al-Bukhari, Fada’il Ashab al-Nabi Hadith: 3656

[25]Al-Tabarani, v. 9 p. 44

[26]Al-Tabarani, v. 9 p. 44

[27]Abu Ya`la

[28] Ibn `Asakir

[29]  Surah al-Towbah: 40

[30]  Surah al-Layli: 5-7

[31]Al-Hakim

[32]Tirmidhi

[33]Al-Sunan

[34]Tirmidhi

[35]Tirmidhi, al-Hakim, Tabarani

[36]Ibn `Asakir

[37]Ibn `Asakir

[38]Bukhari, Muslim

[39]Al-Hakim

[40]Muslim

[41]Ibn `Asakir

[42]Ibn `Asakir,

[43]Ibn `Adi