A few people level the accusation against Sayyidina Abu Bakr and Sayyidina ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhuma that during the era of nubuwwah they were not appointed leaders of the army, nor did they participate in any combat, nor were they injured during jihad; thereby deserving any reward. Thus, it is proof of their inability and unworthiness.
Those who have levelled this objection have done so only on the basis of stubbornness and enmity, and is also contrary to reality. The reality is that during the blessed era of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam , Sayyidina Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu was appointed the leader of the Muslim army, he waged jihad and was also injured and hurt. In this light, the following narrations are presented wherein all doubts will be clarified.
Sayyidina Salamah ibn Akwa’ radiya Llahu ‘anhu — a well-known Sahabi of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam — states:
قال (سلمة بن اكوع) بعث رسول اللّٰه صلى اللّٰه عليه وسلم أبا بكر إلى فزارة وخرجت معه حتى دنونا من الماء عرس أبو بكر حتى إذاصلينا الصبح أمرنا فشنا الغارة . فوردنا الماء فقتل أبو بكر من قتل ونحن معه …الخ
We waged jihad in the direction of Banu Fazarah. Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam appointed Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu as the leader. When we came to a well, Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu told us to spend the night and we stayed there for the night. The next morning we attacked this tribe from different sides and killed the people that were close to the well and imprisoned some.
Sayyidina Salamah ibn Akwa’ radiya Llahu ‘anhu states: “In this incident, we were with Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu and we waged jihad under his command.”
From this narration, the following is made clear:
The scholars of hadith have transmitted another narration of Sayyidina Salamah ibn Akwa’ radiya Llahu ‘anhu:
يقول (سلمة بن اكوع) غزوت مع رسول اللّٰه صلى اللّٰه عليه وسلم سبع غزوات ، وخرجت فيما يبعث من البعوث تسع غزوات مرة علينا أبو بكر ومرة علينا أسامة بن زيد
In the company of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam , I waged seven battles. Besides this, I participated in nine battalions that were sent out. In some of the expeditions, Abu Bakr was made the leader over us, whilst Usamah Ibn Zaid was made the leader in others.
Both Imam Bukhari and Imam Muslim W have reported this narration.
The famous historian, Hafiz ibn Kathir rahimahu Llah has mentioned that in the battle of Dowmat al Jandal:
ان أبا بكر الصديق كان على المهاجرين في غزوة دومة الجندل وخالد بن وليد على الأعراب في غزوة دومة الجندل
Sayyidina Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu was the commander over the Muhajirin and Sayyidina Khalid ibn Walid radiya Llahu ‘anhu was commander over the Bedouins that participated in the battle.
Ibn Abi al Hadid, a Shia scholar, writes in his commentary of Nahj al Balaghah:
أنه أمر أبا بكر في شعبان من سنه سبع على سريه بعثها إلى نجد فلقوا جميعا من هوازن فبيتوهم فروى بياس بن سلمه من ابيه قال كنت في ذاك البعث فقتلت بيدي سبعه منهم وكان شعارنا امت امت وقتل من اصحاب النبي صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم قوم وجرح أبو بكر وارتث وعاد الى المدينة
During Sha’ban in the seventh year after hijrah, Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam sent Abu Bakr as a leader of a battalion towards Najd. They went to the people of the tribe of Hawazin and attacked them at night. Bayas ibn Salamah narrates from his father: “I was present in the army. I killed seven disbelievers and we made our sign at the time, the words, ‘kill, kill’. On this occasion, a group of the companions of Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam were martyred and Abu Bakr was injured in this fight. He rested for a few days and after his condition became better, he returned to Madinah.”
Moreover, from amongst the Shia historians, al Mas’udi writes in al Tanbih wa al Ashraf about some of the skirmishes that took place. He mentions that during Sha’ban 7 A.H, Sayyidina Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu took the Muslim army towards Banu Kilab ibn Rabi’ah. This battalion was called Sariyyah Abu Bakr.
ثم سريه أبي بكر في هذا الشهر إلى بني كلاب بن ربيعه بن عامر…بناحيه ضريه
Then the battalion of Abu Bakr in this month (Sha’ban 7 A.H) towards Banu Kilab ibn Rabi’ah ibn ‘Amir.
From the references of the Ahlus Sunnah and Shia quoted above, the following is proven:
The scholars of history and biographies have written in detail regarding Sayyidina ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu, that he participated in jihad in the path of Allah Ta’ala a number of times and his exploits in the decisive battles of Islam are clearly proven. Presenting the details of this will unnecessarily lengthen the discussion. Despite this, a few references are presented to prove the matter, ponder over them.
قالوا شهد عمر بن الخطاب بدرا واحدا والخندق والمشاهد كلها مع رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم وخرج في عدةسرايا وكان أميرا بعضها
The scholars of biographies state that ‘Umar participated in the Battles of Badr, Uhud and Khandaq. Aside from these, he was with Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam in other battles as well and was appointed as the leader of a number of battalions.
The biographers have written:
عن عبد الله بن بريدة عن أبيه بريدة الأسلمي قال لما كان حيث نزل رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم بحضره أهل الخيبر اعطى رسول الله اللواء عمر بن الخطاب …الخ
Buraydah al Aslami says that when Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam dismounted at Khaybar, then he gave the flag to ‘Umar ibn al Khattab.
Ibn Kathir rahimahu Llah mentions in al Bidayah wa al Nihayah, with reference from Bayhaqi that on one occasion, Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam sent Sayyidina ‘Umar ibn al Khattab radiya Llahu ‘anhu with a battalion of thirty to fight the Hawazin, and a guide from the Banu Hilal went along with them. They would travel at night and remain hidden during the day. When they reached close to the city of the enemy, those people fled.
After this, Sayyidina ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu returned to Madinah Munawwarah. Some gave the counsel that Banu Khath’am should be fought, so he said that Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam had sent him to fight only the Banu Hawazin (and Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam did not instruct him to fight any other tribe).
In Tabaqat Ibn Sa’d, this incident is said to have occurred in Sha’ban 7 A.H:
ان رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم بعث عمر بن الخطاب رضي الله عنه في ثلاثين راكبا ومعه دليل من بني هلال وكانوا يسيرون الليل ويكتمون النهار فلما انتهوا الى بلادهم هربوا منهم وكر عمر راجعا الى المدينة فقيل له هل لك في قتل خثعم؟ فقال ان رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم لم يأمرني الا بقتال هوازن في أرضهم
The famous Shia historian, al Mas’udi, writes in al Tanbih wa al Ashraf regarding this battalion of Sayyidina ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu which was sent out in in 7 A.H. The incident is mentioned in the following text:
ثم سرية عمر بن الخطاب في شعبان (٧ﻫ) الى الموضع المعروف بتربه وتربه ناجيه العبلاء على اربع ليال من مكة وقيل خمس طريق ثنعا ونجران اليمن
From the above references (of the Ahlus Sunnah and Shia), it is clear that:
Therefore, this accusation of the opposition — that Sheikhayn radiya Llahu ‘anhuma did not participate in any Islamic jihad nor were they appointed as leaders of any army — is totally baseless.
 Musnad Imam Ahmed vol.4 p.51 and Muslim vol. 2 p. 89, Nur Muhammadi, Delhi
 Bukhari vol.2 p.112, Muslim vol. 2 p. 118
 Al Bidayah wa al Nihayah vol .5 p. 18
 Sharh Nahj al Balaghah vol. 4 p. 250, Old Edition, Beirut
 Al Tanbih wa al Ashraf p. 4227, New Edition, Egypt
 Tabaqat Ibn Sa’d vol.3 p.195
 Tabaqat Ibn Sa’d vol.3 p.195
 Al Bidayah wa al Nihayah vol.4 p. 221, Tabaqat Ibn Sa’d vol. 3 p. 195