Accusation of the Pledge at the Hands of Abu Bakr Being Sudden

The Four Daughters of Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam
August 28, 2015
Objection of Fleeing from the Frontlines of Battle
September 11, 2015

BACK Return to Table of contents

 

Accusation of the Pledge at the Hands of Abu Bakr Being Sudden

 

The enemies of the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum — the Shia — raise an objection regarding the pledge of khilafah at the hands of Sayyidina Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu that the pledge was taken suddenly, without thinking and no consultation took place. He was also made the khalifah without any proof.

Therefore, the khilafah of Sayyidina Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu was not based on the truth and this leader is not upon the truth.

 

Answer

The sect that opposes the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum has made the following statement of Sayyidina ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu the basis of their objection:

 

كانت بيعة أبي بكر فلتة وقي الله شرها

The pledge at the hands of Abu Bakr was sudden, Allah Ta’ala saved us from the evil of its suddenness.

 

The purport of this statement of Sayyidina ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu has been explained by Abu ‘Ubaid al Qasim ibn Salam (d. 224 A.H) in his work Gharib al Hadith, in the following text:

 

انما معناها البغتة وانما عوجل بها مبادروه لإنتشار الامر والشقاق حتى لا يطمع فيها من ليس لها بموضع وكانت الفلتة هي التي وقى الله بها الشر المخوف

It means; suddenly. There was haste in it because the matter could have led to disunity and disagreement, so that no-one who was unworthy could desire and the haste is what Allah Ta’ala used to save the evil that was feared.[1]

 

This subject is discussed in another place:

 

أما قوله فلتة فان معنى الفلتة الفجأة وانما كانت كذالك لأنه لم ينتظر بها العوام انما ابتدرها اكابر أصحاب محمد صلى الله عليه وسلم من المهاجرين عامته الأنصار الى تلك الطيرة التي كانت من بعضهم ثم اصفقوا له كلهم لمعرفتهم ان ليس لأبي بكر منازع ولا شريم في الفضل ولم يكن يحتاج في امره الى نظر ولا مشاوره فلهذا كانت فلتة وبها وقى الله الاسلام وأهله شرها

 

The meaning of the word ‘فلتة’ is sudden. And that is how it happened because the general masses were not waited upon but the senior Sahabah from the Muhajirin and Ansar went forward. They all then placed their hands in his hand because they knew that there is no rival for Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu and no-one shared his virtue and there was no need to discuss the matter or consult about it. Therefore, it was sudden and through it Allah Ta’ala saved Islam and the Muslims from its evil.[2]

 

Similarly, Shah ‘Abdul ‘Aziz rahimahu Llah has given a detailed response to this objection in his work Tuhfah Ithna ‘Ashariyyah:

 

The purport of “Allah Ta’ala saved from its evil” is that the pledge of khilafah at the hands of Sayyidina Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu took place in Saqifah Bani Sa’idah quickly; bearing in mind the difference of opinion or disagreement that could have arisen. There was no opportunity for lengthy deliberation and discussion. However, the fear that existed for hastening in this matter was that if the pledge was not found in its place, then someone unworthy person would have been appointed to the post. Through the grace of Allah Ta’ala, it did not occur and the matter of truth found its standing.[3]

 

It is apparent that in this statement, Sayyidina ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu did not imply that the pledge at the hands of Sayyidina Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu was not correct. The reason for this is:

  1. In Saqifah Bani Sa’idah, the first two people to pledge allegiance at the hands of Sayyidina Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu was Sayyidina ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu) and the second was Sayyidina Abu ‘Ubaidah ibn al Jarrah radiya Llahu ‘anhu. After this, the rest of the people pledged allegiance.
  2. On this occasion, both of them (Sayyidina ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu and Sayyidina Abu ‘Ubaidah ibn al Jarrah radiya Llahu ‘anhu) used the following words in favour of Sayyidina Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu:
 

أنت خيرنا وأفضلنا

You are the best among us and the most virtuous among us.

 

The Muhajirin and Ansar that were present there, they did not refute these words, but they accepted it. So, in this case, it was accepted that Sayyidina Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu was the best and most virtuous amongst the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum and they were convinced of this.

 

Note: –

The above quoted words which Sayyidina ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu used in favour of Sayyidina Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu are mentioned in Sahih al Bukhari (vol. 1 p. 518) in the following manner:

 

بل نبايعك فانت سيدنا وخيرنا واحبا الى رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم

In fact, we pledged allegiance to you because you are our leader and the best amongst us and the most beloved to Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam .[4]

 

Summary

Those who have levelled this criticism against Sayyidina Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu have done so in vain. This is because the intent of Sayyidina ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu was not to imply that the pledge was done out of place or without thinking, that despite his ineligibility for the post he was still elected as the khalifah, and is not the true khalifah. However, Sayyidina ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu mentioned this statement knowing the reality of the situation that there was haste in the matter of pledging allegiance so that there will be no confusion in the case where different opinions are raised.

Allah Ta’ala saved Islam and the Muslims from the evil of differences of opinion and the correct khalifah was chosen quickly and the chosen khalifah was worthy of this position. Based on this, most of the Muslims accepted happily and there was no disagreement. This proves that the selection was correct.

It is beneficial to mention at this point, in order to remove any doubt, that some of the narrations of this incident where it is stated that the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum argued with each other, drew swords etc. are totally incorrect. Such narrations are nothing but exaggerations of history and according to the scholars of the field; they are highly debated and criticised and can never be relied upon.

 

NEXT⇒ The Accusation of Waging War Against Those who Stopped Paying Zakat


[1]Gharib al Hadith vol. 2 p. 231

[2]Gharib al Hadith vol. 3 p. 352, 357, Minhaj al Sunnah vol. 3 p. 118, al Muntaqa p. 338

[3]Tuhfah Ithna ‘Ashariyyah p. 271

[4]Sahih al Bukhari vol. 1 p. 518

Back to top