The Shia acknowledge that Sayyidina Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu is among the first people to accept iman and believe in the nubuwwah of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. I have written about the iman of Sayyidina Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu while discussing the verse of the cave. Here, I will only debunk all those objections which the Shia scholars raise regarding Sayyidina Abu Bakr’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu iman.
Firstly, they claim that he heard from a soothsayer that a Messenger will be born and those who believe him and obey him will attain high ranks. Thus, he embraced Islam. The author of Hamlah Haydariyyah writes in agreement to his scholars:
کہ گفتار کاہن بدل یاد داشت
|ابا بکر ازاں پس برہ پاگز اشت|
|کہ مبعوث گردد یکے نامور||
باو کاہنے دادہ بود ایں خبر
بود خاتم انبیاۓ الہ
|زبطحاز میں در ہمیں چند گاہ|
|چوں او بگذرد جانشینش شوی||
تو با خاتم انبیاء بگر دے
بیا ورد ایمان نشاں چوں بدید
ز کاہن چو بودش بیاد ایں نوید
Thereafter, Abu Bakr remained in his occupation and remembered the soothsayer’s words in his heart. A soothsayer had informed him that a famous Messenger will be sent to a place near here called Batha. He will be the final Messenger of Allah. Remain with the seal of the Prophets and you will be his successor. He remembered the soothsayer’s prediction. Thus, when he saw the signs of Muhammad salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, he accepted iman.
If it is accepted that Sayyidina Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu accepted iman due to the soothsayer’s prediction, then he definitely understood his words to be true. So just as he believed that he will get khilafah after Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, he also believed the soothsayer’s words that Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam is true and his din is true. Thus, he believed in Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and had conviction that he was the true Messenger. His belief in risalah is confirmed and this is iman which the Shia deny. They claim that he did not accept iman from his heart. Mujtahid writes in Dhu al Fiqar:
خلیفۂ اول از اول امر از ایمان بہرہ نداشت اتفاق من علماء الامامیہ
It is the consensus of the Shia scholars that Abu Bakr did not accept iman from the very beginning.
Although Mujtahid Qiblah and Ka’bah have claimed that it is the consensus of the scholars that Abu Bakr did not accept iman from the very beginning, he made a blunder since ‘Allamah al Hilli has written in Sharh Tajrid that Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu himself said:
امنت قبل ان امن ابو بكر
I accepted iman before Abu Bakr accepted.
When Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu acknowledges his iman, then who will listen to Mujtahid?!
I am not sure as to whether the soothsayer only informed Sayyidina Abu Bakr rahimahu Llah of Rasulullah’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam nubuwwah or other Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum were also informed and whether Sayyidina Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu only believed him and embraced Islam? The Shia’s views are diverse in this regard from what I have read in their books. Some claim that the majority of the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum accepted iman due to the soothsayer’s prediction as is clear from the couplets of Hamlah Haydariyyah quoted above. Others are of the opinion that only two persons accepted iman due to this prediction as the author of Nuzhat Ithna ‘Ashariyyah has written:
و ہم آنکہ قول او اگر بقول کہنہ و منجمین مدفوع ست زیراکہ امامیہ ایں معنی را در حق اکثر صحابہ روایت نہ کردہ اند بلکہ در حق یک دو شخص
Moreover, his view that if the soothsayers and fortune tellers … is debunked since the Shia do not accept that the majority of the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum accepted iman due to the soothsayer’s prediction but only two of them did.
If it is accepted that the majority of the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum accepted iman due to the soothsayer’s prediction, then there is no reason for objection against Sheikhayn radiya Llahu ‘anhuma and there is no proof that the accepted Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum according to the Shia are excluded therefrom. When the Shia’s Siddiq brought iman due to this reason, then if the Ahlus Sunnah’s Siddiq also brought iman due to this reason then it is unsure whether he believed the soothsayer’s prediction or not. If he believed it and embraced Islam then there is no deficiency in his iman since some of the accepted Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum according to the Shia read the glad tidings from early books and accepted iman whilst others believed in the nubuwwah of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam in a dream and became Muslim. So what is the problem if Sheikhayn radiya Llahu ‘anhuma brought iman due to the soothsayer’s prediction?
This Shia view that Sayyidina Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu accepted iman due to the soothsayer’s prediction is falsified by their scholars’ statements who have stated that Sayyidina Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu accepted iman due to a dream. Accordingly, Qadi Nur Allah Shostari has written in Majalis al Mu’minin:
ابو بکر بہ برکت خوابے کہ او دیدہ بود مسلمان شدہ بود
Abu Bakr accepted Islam due to the blessings of the dream he saw.
If the Shia claim that Sayyidina Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu brought iman due to the soothsayer’s prediction just to show that he did not believe in his heart then this is disproved by his biography. Sayyidina Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu exhausted all his efforts to propagate Islam, invited people towards Islam, explained to his friends over and over and made them obedient to Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, requested Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam to openly proclaim his message and bought many slaves and freed them for the pleasure of Allah and did not care about his financial loss in the process. All of these points are proven from Shia books. Can any intelligent person accept that the person — whose sacrifices and efforts for the sake of din have surpassed the limits and who did not care of his life and wealth in making sure that Allah’s word reigns supreme — did not believe Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam to be the true messenger and Islam to be the true religion from his heart? Only the Shia can make such a preposterous statement. Otherwise, no sane person will ever accept this.
I reproduce the statement of the author of Istiqsa’ al Afham to prove that Sheikhayn radiya Llahu ‘anhuma encouraged Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam to propagate Islam openly which he acceded to and they bore hardships due to this very reason. He writes:
مگر ناصبی پیغمبر خدا را کہ از خوف کفار در حصن غار اختفا فرمودہ و در بدو اسلام از اظہار دعوت اعلانیہ احتراز داشتہ تا آنکہ شیخین دل تنگ شدہ آنحضرت را حث و ترغیب باظہار دعوت کردند و آں حضرت بنا بر اظہار عدم مصلحت از جہت اصرار ایشاں از اعلان مانع نیا مدہ حتی اصاب اولہما ما اصاب و قال ثانیہما ایعبد العزی و اللات علانیۃ و یعبد اللہ سرا از خوف خدا ناکل و نجوف غیر مائل می داند
However, the nasibi hid Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam in the cave out of fear for the kuffar and prevented Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam from propagating Islam openly in its beginning stages until the time came when Sheikhayn radiya Llahu ‘anhuma reluctantly encouraged Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam to propagate Islam publicly. Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam did not mention the reason for it not being appropriate due to their persistence. The difficulties that Abu Bakr faced are well-known. The other (‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu) said: “Will Lat and ‘Uzza be worshipped openly while Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala is worshipped behind closed doors? (This can never happen!)”
Let us hypothetically agree that Sayyidina Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu did not accept iman with a sincere heart and was a kafir (May Allah forbid!) as Mujtahid claims repeatedly. He writes in Dhu al Fiqar:
اول ایمان اصحاب ثلاثہ باثبات بایدر سانید بعد ازیں بایں افسانہ بیہودہ ترنم باید نمود زیراکہ دانستی کہ مسلک امامیہ دریں باب اینست کہ اصحاب ثلاثہ از اول امراز ایماں بہرہ نداشتند
The first requirement is to establish the acceptance of iman by the three companions. Then this ridiculous tale can be sung. It is the belief of the Shia that the three companions did not embrace Islam from the very beginning.
The ardent follower of Mujtahid writes in his book Istiqsa’ al Afham:
فان كفرهم و ارتدادهم واضح لا سترة فيه
Their disbelief and apostasy is evident. There is no uncertainty in this regard.
So if we hypothetically agree to the disbelief of Sayyidina Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu as claimed by the Shia, this will result in the disbelief of all the Muhajirin and Ansar and in fact all the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum since all of them accepted him as their leader and elected him as khalifah after Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and pledged allegiance at his hands. Those who pledged allegiance to him and elected him as khalifah were not ten or twenty or few hundreds or thousands. In fact, they were in the hundred thousands. According to one narration, the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum numbered one hundred thousand at Rasulullah’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam demise while according to Mulla Baqir Majlisi’s narration; they were four hundred thousand in number. If four hundred thousand people elect a kafir as their leader, what doubt remains in their disbelief? All the Muslims pledging allegiance at Sayyidina Abu Bakr’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu hands at that time is acknowledged by the Shia scholars. This is apparent from Sharif al Murtada’s statement recorded in volume 3 of Bihar al Anwar which Mujtahid has translated in the following words:
جمیع مسلماناں با ابو بکر بیعت کردند و اظہار رضا و خوشنودی باو و سکون و اطمینان بسوے او نمودند و گفتند کہ مخالف او بدعت کںدہ و خارج از اسلام ست
All the Muslims pledged allegiance to Abu Bakr and expressed their happiness and pleasure. They were comfortable and contented with him. They said that those who opposed him are innovators and out of the fold of Islam.
Glory be to Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala! What is the condition of Shia’s din and iman!? Due to their hatred for Sayyidina Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu, they falsify the din of Muhammad salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and explicitly label four hundred thousand Muslims as kuffar including the Muhajirin, Ansar, warriors, Banu Hashim and the Ahlul Bayt of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. May Allah protect us from such a blasphemous statement!
There is no need for us to present innumerable proofs to establish Sayyidina Abu Bakr’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu iman. This is because Shia scholars understood that to claim his disbelief is so ridiculous that it will leave any person puzzled. Hence they rejected it and belied all of their scholars who made such a claim. I will present their statements in this regard. Qadi Nur Allah Shostari states in Majalis al Mu’minin:
نسبت تکفیر بجناب شیخین کہ اہل سنت و جماعت بہ شیعہ نمودہ اند سنخے ست بے اصل کہ در کتب اصول ایشاں از ایشاں اثری نیست و مذہب ایشاں ہمین ست کہ مخالفان علی فاسق اند و محاربان او کافر
The Ahlus Sunnah wa l-Jama’ah’s attributing to the Shia the disbelief of Sheikhayn is unjustified since this is not found in Shia canonical books. Nonetheless, the belief of the Shia is that those who oppose Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu are transgressors and those who fight him are disbelievers.
Mujtahid Qiblah and Ka’bah states in Dhu al Fiqar in answer to this statement:
پوشیدہ نماند کہ ایں کلام بر تقدیر صحت و صدور آں از فاضل قادح مقصود ما و مفید مطلب او نمی شود زیراکہ سابق گزشتہ کہ فاسق در مقابلہ مومن اطلاق شدہ پس فرق میان کفر و فسق ہمیں ست کہ کافر نجس ست در دنیا و مخلد ست فی النار در عقبی و فاسق کہ بسپ انکاریکہ از ضروریات مذہب باشد مخلد در نار خواہد بود گو در دار دنیا احکام مسلمین بسپ اقرار شہادتین بر او جاری شود
It should be noted that the acceptance of the authenticity of Shostari’s statement is injurious and detrimental to our objectives. It has already been explained that the word transgressor is the antonym of believer. The difference between disbelief and transgression is that a disbeliever is impure in this world and will remain forever in Hell whereas on the other hand a transgressor will remain in Hell forever due to rejecting fundamental beliefs although Islamic rulings will apply to him in this world due to his declaration of the testimony of faith.
In this text, Mujtahid has erred or he has casually overlooked things. The text “The acceptance of the authenticity of Shostari’s statement,” is not understood. Did you accept or reject this statement of Qadi Nur Allah Shostari? To write such ambiguous words only serves to confuse us ignorant folk. If this text is found in Majalis al Mu’minin, then why cast doubts on it? And if it is not present there, he should have rejected it unambiguously which would result in blackening few pages with criticism of Tuhfah Ithna ‘Ashariyyah’s author as is his practice. Maybe he never saw Majalis al Mu’minin, hence he neither accepted it nor rejected it. Anyways, the text referred to is existent. If anyone has any doubt, he may check-up Majalis al Mu’minin. Regarding Mujtahid’s explanation, it is not understood since Qadi acknowledged that to label Sheikhayn as disbelievers is against their principles whereas Mujtahid is establishing the very same thing. So there must be an ijtihadi mistake on Qadi’s part for rejecting labelling them as disbelievers or there must be a mistake on Mujtahid’s part for establishing the same. Or maybe he wishes to establish another level between kufr and iman which is called Islam in his vocabulary which means hypocrisy, i.e. to express the kalimah outwardly but to harbour disbelief within. Thus, we have been forced to consider this third level and ponder over the proofs in its verification or rejection. We thus question Mujtahid’s soul and his followers for the reason for establishing this third level. Is it to reject the iman of the three khulafa’ and acknowledge their Islam, meaning that they were proclaimers of the kalimah externally but were internally hypocrites? Or were they believers in the nubuwwah of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam from their hearts just as claimed by their tongues but rejecters of the imamah of the rightful imam, usurpers of his rights and his oppressors? And since imamah is part of the principles of din, so rejection of one of the principles of din takes one out of the fold of Islam. Or is there another reason to fabricate this third level? Nonetheless, I cannot think of any other reason, so I will discuss the first aspect.
If the reason for rejecting the iman of the three khulafa’ is because they were proclaimers of the kalimah externally but rejecters of Towhid and nubuwwah internally as claimed by majority of the Shia. In fact, the Shia are forced to believe this since their Imam Mahdi has stated that they were proclaimers of the kalimah externally but disbelievers internally as Mulla Baqir Majlisi has written in Risalah Raj’iyyah with reference to the absent Imam:
ایشاں از روۓ گفتہ یہود بظاہر کلمتین گفتند از براۓ طمع اینکہ شاید ولایتی و حکومتی حضرت بایشاں بد ہد و در باطن کافر بودند
They recited the kalimah outwardly due to the Jews’ words with the hope that Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam might appoint them as governors or give them authority due to this whereas they were disbelievers internally.
I have answered this above. There is no need to repeat it. For this very reason, majority of Shia scholars have rejected this view and labelled those who hold this view as nasibi. Accordingly, Mulla ‘Abdullah — a Shia scholar — writes in Izhar al Haq that to deny the iman of Sayyidina Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu is a far cry from justice. These are his exact words:
جواب گفتن ایں سخن بارتکاب آنکہ در سبق ہجرت ایمان شرط ست و آں شخص یعنی ابو بکر معاذ اللہ ہیچ وقت ایمان نداشتہ حتی قبل از سنوح ناخوشی امیر المومنین از انصاف دور است
To answer this, it should be remembered that iman is a condition for being a forerunner in hijrah while that man (i.e. Abu Bakr, Allah forbid) was not a believer at any time. He was not a believer even before he displeased Amir al Mu’minin. This stance is far from soundness.
Mulla ‘Abdul Jalil al Qazwini writes in Naqs al Fada’ih:
اما ثناء خلفاء پس برآں انکارے نیست بزرگاںد از مہاجرین و السابقین الاولون من المہاجرین و الانصار و الذین اتبعوہم باحسان
There is no scope to deny the virtues of the khulafa’. They were from amongst the forerunners of the Muhajirin.
He writes at another place:
اما آنچہ سیرت ابو بکر و عمر و دیگر صحابہ بیان کردہ مجملے ست نہ مفصل آں را خلاف نہ کردہ اند شیعہ الا درجۂ خلافت و امامت را شیعہ انکار کںد دریشاں کہ درجۂ امامت نداشتند و آں فقدان عصمت و نصوصیت و کثرت علمی ست اما صحابہ رسول ایشاں را داںد و از درجہ شاں نہ گزراںد
The biographies of Abu Bakr, ‘Umar and other Sahabah have been mentioned in brief, not in detail. The Shia do not contest this. They say regarding authority and power that these personalities did not enjoy the level of imamah. The reason for this is they lacked infallibility and vast knowledge. They also belief and state that these were the companions of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and they do not strip them of their ranks.
It is recorded in al Ihtijaj of Tabarsi that Imam al Baqir rahimahu Llah said:
لست بمنكر فضل ابى بكر و لست بمنكر فضل عمر و لكن ابا بكر افضل من عمر
I neither deny the virtue of Abu Bakr, nor the virtue of ‘Umar. However, Abu Bakr was superior to ‘Umar.
Who can doubt the iman and virtue of Sayyidina Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu after seeing these narrations and thousands of similar narrations which I will shortly reproduce? Thus, the claim that Sayyidina Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu was internally a disbeliever is falsified by the narrations of the Shia scholars and the great Imams. If someone is still in doubt, he should study the Shia commentaries and narrations. Notwithstanding their deep hatred and malice for the three khulafa’, thousands of narrations and ahadith extolling their virtue and in their praise are found. Their commentators agree that Sayyidina Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu would purchase slaves and set them free owing to their Islam. ‘Allamah al Tabarsi writes in Majma’ al Bayan:
عن ابن الزبير قال ان الاية نزلت فى ابى بكر لانه اشترى المماليك الذين اسلموا مثل بلال و عامر بن ميسرة و غيرهما و اعتقهم
It is reported that Sayyidina Ibn Zubair radiya Llahu ‘anhu said: “This verse was revealed regarding Abu Bakr since he would purchase slaves who had embraced Islam like Bilal, ‘Amir ibn Maisarah, etc., and free them.
Sayyidina Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu would spend his wealth in the path of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala so Allah revealed this verse, “the righteous one will avoid it (Hell) who gives his wealth to purify himself.” The man who would purchase Muslim slaves and set them free, regarding whom Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala revealed verses and whom Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala marked as “the most righteous of people,” it is astonishing that leave alone rejecting his virtue and piety, they reject his iman and label him a hypocrite and disbeliever. Anyways, there remains no doubt regarding Sayyidina Abu Bakr’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu iman and Islam which has been acknowledged by the Shia scholars.
Concerning the third aspect, i.e. iman means believing in the particles of faith — and imamah is one of them — which Sayyidina Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu denied; hence, he cannot be called a believer. I will thoroughly debunk this aspect under the discussion of Imamah, Allah willing. Nonetheless, to include Imamah among the particles of din in the early stages of nubuwwah and to reject the iman of he who did not believe in the imamah of the twelve Imams at that time is stupidity according to my understanding. This is because when Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam proclaimed nubuwwah and invited people towards Islam, he selected belief in the oneness of Allah and his nubuwwah as the signs of iman. No one was obliged to believe in the Imamah of the Imams. In fact, the Islam of Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu was accepted due to his belief in Towhid and nubuwwah. There was no mention of Imamah for someone to believe or reject. If I am mistaken, the Shia should prove from their own books that when Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam began inviting people towards Islam, he bade them to believe in the Imamah of Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu coupled with believing in Towhid and nubuwwah. Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu was a youngster at that time. Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam did not tell anyone that just as belief in the oneness of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala and his nubuwwah is necessary for iman, it is necessary to believe in the imamah of this youngster Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu. When Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam did not say this to anyone and did not include belief in Imamah as one of the fundamentals of din, the acceptance or rejection of Sayyidina Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu cannot be proven. When this is not proven, there is no deficiency in his iman.
The Shia can claim that in the last part of the era of nubuwwah when Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam read the sermon of Sayyidina ‘Ali’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu Imamah at Ghadir Khum and invited people to belief in Imamah, then rejection of it will result in deficiency in one’s iman. However, when there is no trace of this sermon and no one was aware of the word Imamah, then to regard it as one of the fundamentals of din and to label those ignorant of it as rejecters and to regard their rejection as the reason for their disbelief is compound ignorance. The Shia can say that Sayyidina Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu rejected Sayyidina ‘Ali’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu Imamah at Ghadir Khum from his heart and exposed this only after Rasulullah’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam demise by assuming the position of the imam. We can hypothetically accept this, but this can only prove his apostasy — may Allah forbid! It cannot prove deficiency in his initial iman which he brought in the very beginning. Moreover, his acceptance of iman from the deep recesses of his heart in the first stage of nubuwwah remains intact. With regards to his alleged apostasy due to usurping the khilafah, I will debate this while discussing Imamah, Allah willing.
 “But the righteous one will avoid it (Hell).” It reads further: “(He) who gives (from) his wealth to purify himself. And not (giving) for anyone who has (done him) a favour to be rewarded. But only seeking the countenance of his Lord, Most High. And he is going to be satisfied.” Surah al Layl: 17-21