Friday Sermon – Men of Excellence: Hazrat Abu Bakr r.a. (10 December 2021)

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Friday Sermon

10 December 2021

Men of Excellence: Hazrat Abu Bakrra

After reciting the tashahudta‘awuz and Surah al-Fatihah, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa stated:

Accounts related to Hazrat Abu Bakr’sra acceptance of Islam were previously being narrated. There are some more narrations in this regard. Certain accounts have been mentioned in different perspectives, but they all seem to be one incident. I will now mention a few more of these details. 

Hazrat Abu Bakr’sra acceptance of Islam has been recorded in Usd al-Ghabah as follows: 

Hazrat Abdullahra bin Mas‘ud relates that Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiqra said:

“Prior to the advent of the Holy Prophetsa, I once went to Yemen and stayed with an elderly gentleman belonging to the tribe of Azd. He was a scholar and had studied divine scriptures. He was also an expert in genealogy. When he saw me, he said, ‘I believe that you are a resident of the Haram.’ I replied that this was correct and I was indeed from the Haram. Following this, he said, ‘I believe that you belong to the Quraish.’ I replied that this was correct and I was from the Quraish. He then said, ‘I believe you to be from the tribe of Taym.’ I replied that this was correct and I belonged to the tribe of Taym bin Murrah. I stated, ‘My name is Abdullah bin Uthman and I am the offspring of Kaab bin Saad bin Taym bin Murrah.’ He said, ‘I only have one thing left to say to you.’” 

Here, he mentioned his name to be Abdullah bin Uthman. However, I believe that the Holy Prophetsa had not yet changed his name to Abdullah. Nevertheless, this is what is in the narration. 

“The elderly man said, ‘I only have one thing left to say to you.’ I asked what it was. He said, ‘Lift the shirt from your stomach and show me.’ I replied that I would not do so unless he told me why he asked this of me. He said, ‘Based on true and authentic knowledge, a prophet will be appointed in Haram and a young man and an elderly individual will support him in his task. As far as the young man in concerned, he will throw himself into difficulties and dispel worries and concerns. And as far as the elderly individual is concerned, he will be slim and of a fair complexion. He will have a birthmark on his stomach and a mark on his left thigh.’ He further said, ‘It is not necessary for you to show me what I ask of you. For me, all the other signs have been fulfilled in you, apart from that which is hidden from me.’” 

Hazrat Abu Bakrsa said, “I removed the shirt from my stomach and he saw a black birthmark above my navel. Upon this, he said, ‘By the Lord of the Ka‘bah! It is you! I will now present a matter before you and you should listen carefully.’” 

Hazrat Abu Bakrra said, “What is it?” He replied, “Be cautious of not deviating from the guidance; hold firmly on to this exemplary and lofty path. Remain fearful of God in relation to the wealth and prosperity that He will endow you with!” 

Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiqra says, “I completed my work in Yemen and met the elderly gentleman once more in order to bid farewell to him. Upon this, he said, ‘Will you remember some verses of mine, which I have composed in honour of that prophet?’ I replied that I would do so. Hence, he recited a few couplets.” 

Hazrat Abu Bakrra says, “I then went to Mecca and the Holy Prophetsa had already made his claim. Following this, Uqba bin Abi Mu‘ayt, Shaybah, Rabi‘ah, Abu Jahl, Abu Bakhtari and various other chiefs of the Quraish came to me. I asked them whether some form of affliction had befallen them, or whether something had happened for all of them to come there together. They said, ‘O Abu Bakr! A grave incident has taken place! Abu Talib’s orphan claims to be a prophet. If it were not for you, we would not delay in this matter, but seeing as you have now come, you are the one we turn to and you are sufficient for us to deal with this matter.’” 

Hazrat Abu Bakrra further says, “I politely avoided the subject, and when I enquired about the Holy Prophetsa, I was told that he was at the home of Khadija[ra]. I went and knocked on the door. When he came outside, I said, ‘O Muhammadsa, you have left the home of your family, and you have abandoned the religion of your forefathers.’ The Holy Prophetsa replied, ‘O Abu Bakr, I am the Messenger of Allah unto you and to all people, so believe in Allah.’ I asked, ‘What proof do you have of this?’ The Holy Prophetsa answered, ‘That elderly man whom you met in Yemen.’ I then said, ‘There were many elderly men in Yemen whom I met.’ The Holy Prophetsa said, ‘The elderly man who recited couplets to you.’ I then said, ‘My dear friend, who informed you of this?’ The Holy Prophetsa replied, ‘The same Archangel did, who appeared to the prophets before me.’ I then stated, ‘Extend your hand so that I may bear witness that there is no god besides Allah and that you are the Messenger of Allah.’” 

Hazrat Abu Bakrra states, “I then returned and no one between the mountains of Mecca was more pleased upon my acceptance of Islam than the Holy Prophetsa.” (Usd al-Ghabah Fi Ma‘rifat al-Sahaba, Vol. 3, pp. 312-313, Dar-ul-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 2008)

This was a narration of Usd al-Ghabah. It may well be that some aspects are exaggerated for the sake of narrating the account; nevertheless, many aspects will be correct as well. 

The following account of Hazrat Abu Bakr’sra acceptance of Islam has been mentioned in Riyad al-Nadirah in the following manner:

Umm al-Mominin, Hazrat Umm Salamahra relates, “Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiqra was a close and sincere friend of the Holy Prophetsa. When he was commissioned as a prophet, the people of the Quraish went to Hazrat Abu Bakrra saying, ‘O Abu Bakr, your companion has gone mad’”, God forbid. “Hazrat Abu Bakrra asked, ‘What has happened to him?’ They answered, ‘He calls the people towards the unity of God at the Sacred Mosque and says that he is a prophet.’ Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiqra said, ‘Is this what he claimed?’ The people replied, ‘Yes, and he is saying this in the Sacred Mosque!’ Therefore, Hazrat Abu Bakrra went to the Holy Prophetsa, knocked on his door and called him outside. When the Holy Prophetsa came outside, Hazrat Abu Bakrra said, ‘O Abul-Qasim, what is this I hear of you?’ The Holy Prophetsa replied by asking, ‘O Abu Bakr! What is it that you heard about me?’ Hazrat Abu Bakrra said, ‘I have been informed that you call towards the unity of God, and you say that you are the Messenger of Allah.’ The Holy Prophetsa stated, ‘Yes, Abu Bakr. My Lord, the Exalted and Majestic has indeed sent me as a bearer of glad tidings and as a warner, He has made me the [fulfilment of] the prayer of Abrahamas, and sent me for the whole of mankind.’ Hazrat Abu Bakrra said to the Holy Prophetsa, ‘By Allah, I have never heard you utter a lie. You safeguard trusts, show kindness to your relatives and perform other good deeds, you are most worthy of prophethood. Extend your hand so that I may pledge my allegiance to you.’ So the Holy Prophetsa extended his hand and Hazrat Abu Bakrra pledged his allegiance to him, testified to his truthfulness and declared that what he had been sent with was indeed the truth. Hence, by Allah, Hazrat Abu Bakrra did not delay nor hesitate in the slightest when the Holy Prophetsa invited him to Islam.” (Al-Riyadh Al-Nadira, Vol. 1, pp. 84-85, Dar-ul-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 2014)

In one narration, it is mentioned that the Holy Prophetsa said, “Whoever I called to Islam either stumbled, hesitated or waited, except for Abu Bakr. The moment I spoke to him about Islam, he neither moved away, nor hesitated.” ( Usd al-Ghabah Fi Ma‘rifat al-Sahaba, Vol. 3, pp. 205-206, Abdullah bin Uthman, Dar-ul-Fikr, Beirut, 2003)

The Holy Prophetsa stated, “O people, Allah has sent me to you but you said that I am a liar. However, Abu Bakr said that I am truthful and he has expressed his support for me with his life and with his wealth.” This was a narration of Sahih al-Bukhari. (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Kitab Fazail Al-Sahab-ul-Nabi, Hadith no. 3661)

Mentioning Hazrat Abu Bakr’sra acceptance of Islam, Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra states:

“When the Holy Prophetsa announced his prophethood, Hazrat Abu Bakrra at the time was away [from Mecca]. When he returned, one of his housemaids said to him, ‘Your companion has lost his senses,’” God forbid, “‘and he is uttering strange things. He states that angels descend upon him from the heavens.’ 

“Hazrat Abu Bakrra stood up at once and went to the house of the Holy Prophetsa and knocked at his door. The Holy Prophetsa came outside and Hazrat Abu Bakrra submitted, ‘I have only come to ask one thing from you. Have you stated that the angels of God descend upon you and speak to you?’ Thinking that perhaps Hazrat Abu Bakrra may misunderstand, the Holy Prophetsa tried to explain the situation.” This is the more common narration in our literature of the Jamaat on the history of Islam. “However, Hazrat Abu Bakrra submitted, ‘Please do not explain yourself. All I want to know is, have you said such a thing?’ Again, thinking that perhaps Hazrat Abu Bakrra may ask questions such as the appearance of the angels and how they would descend upon him etc., the Holy Prophetsa wanted to say a few words to give some context; however, Hazrat Abu Bakrra again submitted, ‘No, no, just tell me, is it true?’ The Holy Prophetsa stated that it was indeed true. Upon this, Hazrat Abu Bakrra submitted, ‘I profess my belief in you.’ He then said, ‘O Messengersa of Allah! The reason I stopped you from giving any explanation is that I wanted my faith to be on the basis of witnessing the truth for myself rather than pondering over the proofs. This is because after having witnessed you as truthful and virtuous, I am not in need of any other proof.’ Thus, what the Meccans had tried to conceal was manifested by Hazrat Bakrra through this action of his.” (Tafsir-e-Kabir, Vol. 2, pp. 251-252)

Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra has mentioned the incident of Hazrat Abu Bakr’sra acceptance of Islam in another place as well. While elaborating on another matter, he mentions this incident in the following manner:

“The way in which Hazrat Abu Bakrra became a believer was extraordinary. When it was revealed to the Holy Prophetsa that he should claim prophethood, Hazrat Abu Bakrra was sitting in the house of a chief of Mecca. The chief’s housemaid came and said, ‘I do not know what has happened to Khadija. She is saying that her husband is a prophet just like Mosesas.’ People began to laugh upon hearing this news and said that people who made such claims were mad. However, Hazrat Abu Bakrra, who was very well acquainted with the life of the Holy Prophetsa, stood up at once and went to the door of the Holy Prophetsa and asked, ‘Have you made a claim?’ The Holy Prophetsa replied in the affirmative, saying, ‘Allah the Almighty has appointed me for the reformation of the world and has commanded me to abolish shirk [associating partners with Allah].’ Without any further enquiry, Hazrat Abu Bakrra replied, ‘I swear by my father and mother, you have never spoken a lie and I cannot accept that you would lie regarding God. Thus, I profess belief in the fact that there is none worthy of worship except Allah and that you are His Messenger.’ Following this, Hazrat Abu Bakrra assembled such youths who acknowledged his virtue and righteousness”, i.e. those individuals who had witnessed the virtues and righteousness of Hazrat Abu Bakrra, “and began to enlighten them. As a result, seven more individuals accepted the Holy Prophetsa. All these youths were between the age of 12 and 25.” (Daura-e-Europe, Anwar-ul-Ulum, Vol. 8, pp. 543-544)

Then, in another place, Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra mentions this incident in the following manner:

“Hazrat Abu Bakrra accepted the Holy Prophetsa based on a single proof and never for a moment did any doubt enter his heart.” It is the same proof, but the incidents vary slightly. “That proof was that he had observed the Holy Prophetsa ever since childhood and he knew that he never told a lie, never did anything mischievous and never uttered anything vulgar or obscene. Thus, this is what he knew about him. He had no knowledge of any specific shariah [religious law] based upon which he could judge the truthfulness of the Holy Prophetsa. He followed no law and knew nothing about what a prophet of God was, nor did he know about the proofs to substantiate a prophet’s truthfulness. All he knew was that the Holy Prophetsa never told a lie. 

“He was on a journey, and on his way back, someone told him, ‘Your friend Muhammadsa says that he is a messenger of God.’ Hazrat Abu Bakrra enquired, ‘Did Muhammadsa really say this?’ The person replied in the affirmative. Hazrat Abu Bakrra then said, ‘He does not lie. Whatever he says must be true. Since he has never spoken a lie about anyone, he could never lie about God. If he never betrayed the people before, it is impossible that he would betray them to such an extent as to ruin their souls.’ This was the only proof for Hazrat Abu Bakrra to accept the Holy Prophetsa, and this is exactly what God Almighty has also stated as a proof [of his truthfulness]. As such, He commanded [the Holy Prophetsa] to tell the people: 

فَقَدْ‭ ‬لَبِثْتُ‭ ‬فِيْكُمْ‭ ‬عُمُرًا‭ ‬مِّنْ‭ ‬قَبْلِهٖ‭ ‬اَفَلَا‭ ‬تَعْقِلُوْنَ

“[Ch.10: V.17]. In other words, ‘I lived amongst you for some time. Observe, during that time, I have not betrayed you in any way. How then, could I come to betray you with regard to God Almighty?’ 

“This was the evidence accepted by Hazrat Abu Bakrra, who said, ‘If he claims to be the messenger of God, then he is truthful and I believe him.’ After this, no doubt ever entered his heart, nor did his trust ever waver. He faced many a great trial and was forced to leave his wealth and homeland and even fight against his loved ones, but he never once doubted the truthfulness of the Holy Prophetsa.” (Bai‘at Karne Walo Ke Liyea Hidaayaat, Anwar-ul-Ulum, Vol. 6, pp. 76-77)

Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra mentioned this incident of Hazrat Abu Bakr’sra acceptance of the Holy Prophetsa while he was imparting guidance to those who had taken the bai‘at [pledge of allegiance].

The Promised Messiahas states:

“The Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, bestowed the title of Siddiq [the Truthful] to Hazrat Abu Bakrra. So, Allah the Exalted knows best the countless excellences of Hazrat Abu Bakrra. The Holy Prophetsa also said that the superiority of Hazrat Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him, is owed to a quality that exists in his heart. In truth, the sincerity demonstrated by Abu Bakrra is truly matchless. The fact of the matter is that in every era, anyone who desires to develop within themselves the excellences of a Siddiq and be one from among the Truthful must struggle, insofar as is possible, to inculcate within their being the nature and disposition of Abu Bakrra and then pray for this purpose as much as possible. Until a person is covered by the shade of Abu Bakr’s nature and does not take on the hue of his disposition, they cannot attain the excellences of the Truthful.”

The Promised Messiahas further states:

“What is the nature of Abu Bakrra? This is not the occasion for a detailed discussion and discourse on this subject, as much time would be required for such an exposition. To be brief, I shall narrate an incident. 

“When the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, made his claim to prophethood, Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiq, may Allah be pleased with him, had travelled to Syria for the purpose of trade. On his return, he was still en route when he happened to meet someone. Hazrat Abu Bakrra enquired of him as to the circumstances in Mecca and asked him if there was any current news. It is commonly observed that when a person returns from a journey, they will ask their fellow countrymen about the circumstances of their homeland. The individual responded, ‘What is new is that your friend [Muhammadsa] has made a claim to prophethood.’ As soon as Hazrat Abu Bakrra heard this, he responded, ‘If he has made such a claim, then he is truthful indeed.’ This shows the degree to which Hazrat Abu Bakrra thought well of the Holy Prophetsa. He felt no need to ask for a miracle. In actuality, only such a one who is uninformed of a claimant’s circumstances, or who is unrelated to them, will ask to be shown a miracle for their heart’s satisfaction. But as for the one who has no objection, what need has he for a miracle? 

“In short, Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiqra affirmed his belief in the Holy Prophetsa even before he had returned home. When he arrived in Mecca, he presented himself before the Holy Prophetsa and enquired, ‘Have you claimed to be a Prophet?’ The Holy Prophetsa said, ‘Yes, this is correct.’ At this, Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiqra said, ‘Bear witness that I am the first of those who have affirmed your truthfulness.’ However, these were not mere words; in fact, Hazrat Abu Bakrra demonstrated that his actions accorded with his words. This was to such an extent that he fulfilled his oath until his very last breath and did not leave the Holy Prophetsa even after death.” (Malfuzat, Vol. 1, pp. 372-374)

In the commentary of the verse of Surah al-Rahman:

وَلِمَنْ‭ ‬خَافَ‭ ‬مَقَامَ‭ ‬رَبِّهٖ‭ ‬جَنَّتَانِ

“But for him who fears to stand before his Lord there are two Gardens” [Ch.55: V.47], the Promised Messiahas presented the example of Hazrat Abu Bakrra and stated:

“Take Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiqra as an example; he encountered a person whilst returning from Syria and asked him for the latest news. The person replied, ‘There is no news other than the fact that your friend, Muhammad[sa] has claimed prophethood’. Upon this, Hazrat Abu Bakrra replied, ‘If he has claimed prophethood then he is truthful. He could never be a liar.’ Afterwards, Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiqra went straight to the Holy Prophet’ssa home and said to him, ‘May you bear witness that I was the very first to believe in you.’ Ponder over the fact that he did not demand a miracle from the Holy Prophetsa. It was solely on the basis of what he knew about him from before that made him accept him. 

“Remember, miracles are demanded by those who are unacquainted. For an old friend, the events of a person’s life suffice as a miracle. Thereafter, Hazrat Abu Bakrra had to face great struggles; he endured hardships and extreme pain. Although he endured the most pain and suffering, he was also the first to succeed the throne of prophethood.” Allah the Almighty rewarded him in this world, and was assured Paradise in the Hereafter. “He who once had to toil all day in his business, was eventually appointed as the first successor to the Holy Prophetsa.” (Malfuzat, Vol. 10, pp. 78-79)

Then, at one instance, the Promised Messiahas states:

“There are two types of people: there are those who are pure in nature and are the foremost to believe. Such people are wise and sagacious, just like Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiqra. Then there are those foolish, who only act when something befalls them.” (Malfuzat, Vol. 3, p. 261)

In other words, they only think to accept when they are faced with a hardship or affliction. 

There is a difference of opinion among historians regarding the first male to accept the Holy Prophetsa; as to whether it was Hazrat Abu Bakrra, Hazrat Alira, or Hazrat Zaid bin Harithara. (Subul Al-Huda Wa Al-Rishad, Vol. 2, pp. 300-304, Dar-ul-Kutub Al-Ilmiyyah, 1993) (Tarikh Al-Tabari, Vol. 1, pp. 537-540, Dar-ul-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut)

Some present the solution that Hazrat Alira was the first child, Hazrat Abu Bakrra was the first adult and Hazrat Zaidra was the first slave. Allama Ahmad bin Abdullah reconciles these various points views as follows:

“The very first to accept Islam was Hazrat Khadijara bint Khuwailid. The first to accept Islam from among the men was Hazrat Alira, who was only a child”, as has been mentioned previously that he was only 10 years old, “and had kept his belief in Islam hidden. The first adult from among the Arabs to accept Islam and to express his belief was Hazrat Abu Bakrra bin Abi Quhafa. The first from among the freed slaves to accept Islam was Zaidra bin Haritha. All agree on this unanimously and there is no doubt about this.” (Al-Riyadh Al-Nadira Fi Manaqib Al-Ashara, Vol. 1, p. 89, Dar-ul-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 2014)

The following is what Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad Sahibra has said regarding this debate:

“When the Holy Prophetsa began the propagation of his mission, the first to believe was Hazrat Khadijara, who did not hesitate, even for a moment. There is a disagreement among historians in reference to who the first convert among the men was after Hazrat Khadijara. Some name Hazrat Abu Bakrra Abdullah bin Abi Quhafah, while others say Hazrat Alira […] or Hazrat Zaidra bin Harithah”. 

Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad Sahibra says:

“However, to us, this argument is useless. Hazrat Alira and Zaidra bin Harithah were among the house-folk of the Holy Prophetsa and lived with him as his own children. They were to follow whatever was said by the Holy Prophetsa”, as they were children – whatever the Holy Prophetsa said, they accepted it. It is possible that they accepted this in the same way as well. “Thus, their names need not be included. Among the rest, Hazrat Abu Bakrra is unanimously accepted as the first and foremost in his acceptance of Islam. Therefore, with regard to Hazrat Abu Bakrra, Hassanra bin Thabit Ansari, the court poet of the Holy Prophetsa, says:

اِذَا‭ ‬تَذَكَّرْتَ‭ ‬شَجْوًا‭ ‬مِنْ‭ ‬اَخِيْ‭ ‬ثِقَةٍ

فَاذْكُرْ‭ ‬اَخَاكَ‭ ‬اَبَابَكْرٍ‭ ‬بِمَا‭ ‬فَعَلَا

خَيْرَ‭ ‬الْبَرِيَّةِ‭ ‬اَتْقَاهَا‭ ‬وَ‭ ‬اَعْدَلَهَا

بَعْدَ‭ ‬النَّبِيِّ‭ ‬وَ‭ ‬اَوْفَاهَا‭ ‬بِمَا‭ ‬حَمَلَا

اَلثَّانِيَ‭ ‬التَّالِيَ‭ ‬الْمَحْمُوْدَ‭ ‬مَشْهَدُهٗ

وَاَوَّلَ‭ ‬النَّاسِ‭ ‬مِنْهُمْ‭ ‬صَدَّقَ‭ ‬الرُّسُلَا

“Meaning, ‘Whenever a compassionate reminiscence of any of your noble brethren rises in your heart, remember your brother Abu Bakrra as well, on account of his virtues – worthy of remembrance. After the Holy Prophetsa, he was the most righteous and most just of all men and the greatest of those who fulfil their responsibilities. Indeed, it was Abu Bakrra who was the second individual with the Holy Prophetsa in the Cave of Thaur, who had effaced himself in the obedience of the Prophetsa. Whatever task he would undertake, he would make it beautiful, and he was the first of all people to believe in the Messenger.’

“Due to his nobility and abilities, Hazrat Abu Bakrra was greatly honoured and respected by the Quraish, and in Islam he acquired a status which no other companion has attained. Hazrat Abu Bakrra did not, even for a moment, doubt the claim of the Holy Prophetsa; rather, he accepted him instantaneously. Then he devoted his entire interest and his entire life and wealth in the service of the religion brought by the Holy Prophetsa. Among his companions, the Holy Prophetsa held Abu Bakrra most dear to himself. After the demise of the Holy Prophetsa he became his first Caliph. During the time of his Caliphate, he furnished evidence of his unparalleled ability. 

“Regarding Hazrat Abu Bakrra, a renowned European orientalist named Sprenger writes, ‘The faith of Abu Bakr is, in my opinion, the greatest guarantee of the sincerity of Mohammad in the beginning of his career. Even though Mohammad himself may have been misled, he would not deceive anyone. In fact, he believed himself to be the prophet of God with full sincerity of heart’.”

Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad Sahibra further writes that Sir William Muir was also in agreement with the opinion held by Sprenger. (Sirat Khatamun-Nabiyyin, Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmadra, pp. 121-122)

With regard to the trials and difficulties Hazrat Abu Bakrra had to endure for the sake of propagating the message of Islam, it is written in Usd al-Ghabah that upon the advent of Islam, Hazrat Abu Bakrra was the very first to accept the message of Islam. An entire community of people accepted Islam through him owing to the love and affinity they had with him (i.e. for Hazrat Abu Bakrra); so much so that five of the Ashra Mubashra [10 companions given the glad-tidings of Paradise in their lifetime] embraced Islam through Hazrat Abu Bakrra. (Usd al-Ghabah Fi Ma‘rifat al-Sahaba, Vol. 3, p. 205, Abdullah bin Uthman, Dar-ul-Fikr, Beirut, 2003)

Those who entered the fold of Islam owing to the preaching efforts of Hazrat Abu Bakrra were Hazrat Uthmanra bin Affan, Hazrat Zubairra bin Al-Awam, Hazrat Abdur Rahmanra bin Auf, Hazrat Saadra bin Abi Waqas and Hazrat Talhara bin Ubaidullah. (Sirat Ibn Hisham, Vol. 1, p. 166, Dar-ul-Kitab Al-Arabi, Beriut, 2008)

In relation to this, Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad Sahibra writes in his book Sirat Khatam-ul-Nabiyyin:

“After Hazrat Khadijara, Hazrat Abu Bakrra, Hazrat Alira and Zaidra bin Harithah, five more individuals accepted Islam, by the preaching of Hazrat Abu Bakrra. All of these individuals acquired such eminence and dignity, that they are considered the greatest of companions. These are their names: 

“First was Hazrat Uthmanra bin Affan who belonged to the dynasty of the Banu Umaiyyah. When he accepted Islam, his age was approximately 30 years. After Hazrat Umarra, he became the Third Caliph of the Holy Prophetsa. Hazrat Uthmanra was remarkably modest, loyal, soft-hearted, beneficent and affluent. He served Islam financially in many instances. The love of the Holy Prophetsa for Hazrat Uthmanra can be measured by the fact that he gave him two of his daughters in marriage, one after another, due to which he is known as Dhu  al-Nurain. 

“Second was Hazrat Abdur Rahmanra bin Auf who belonged to the dynasty of the Banu Zuhrah – the dynasty of the Holy Prophet’ssa mother. He was a man of extraordinary understanding and experience. It was he who settled the issue of the Caliphate of Hazrat Uthmanra. When he accepted Islam, he was approximately 30 years of age. He died in the reign of Uthmanra

“Third was Saadra bin Abi Waqas who, at that time, was in the prime of his youth – that is to say, 19 years of age. He was also from the Banu Zuhrah and was astonishingly brave and courageous. In the reign of Hazrat Umarra, Iraq was conquered at his hands. He died in the time of Amir Mu‘awiyah. 

“Fourth was Zubairra bin al-Awam, who was a cousin of the Holy Prophetsa. He was the son of Safiyyah bint Abdil-Muttalib and later became the son-in-law of Hazrat Abu Bakrra. He belonged to the Banu Asad and when he accepted Islam, he was only 15 years old. On the occasion of the Battle of the Ditch, the Holy Prophetsa endowed him the title of Hawari [Disciple] due to an exceptional service performed by him. He was martyred in the reign of Hazrat Alira after the Battle of the Camel. 

“Fifth was Talha bin Ubaidullah who was from the tribe of Hazrat Abu Bakrra, the Banu Taym. During that time, he was at the prime of his youth. Talha was also amongst the distinctive devotees of Islam. He was martyred in the reign of Hazrat Alira during the Battle of the Camel. 

“All of these five companions are amongst the Ashrah Mubasharah; in other words, they are included amongst those 10 companions who were especially given glad tidings of entrance into Paradise from the blessed tongue of the Holy Prophetsa himself, and who were regarded as his utmost intimate companions and advisors.” (Sirat Khatamun-Nabiyyin, Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmadra, pp. 122-123)

The disbelievers of Mecca perpetrated all kinds of cruelty and injustice against those who accepted Islam. It was not just the weak and enslaved Muslims who were a target of their oppression, but even the Holy Prophetsa himself and Hazrat Abu Bakrra were not safe from them either. History bears testimony to the fact that they were also made a target of all kinds of injustices and cruelties, i.e. the Holy Prophetsa and Hazrat Abu Bakrra

There is an incident mentioned in Sirat al-Halabiyyah that when Hazrat Abu Bakrra and Hazrat Talhara openly expressed their acceptance of Islam, Naufal bin Adawiyyah took hold of both of them. This person was referred to as the “Lion of the Quraish” and he tied both of them with one rope. Even the people of their own tribe, Banu Taym did not come and save them. That is why both Hazrat Abu Bakrra and Hazrat Talhara are also known as “qarinain”, i.e. two friends joined together. Owing to Naufal bin Adawiyyah’s strength and cruelty, the Holy Prophetsa stated:

اَللّٰهُمَّ‭ ‬اكْفِنَا‭ ‬شَرَّ‭ ‬ابْنِ‭ ‬الْعَدَوِيَّةِ

“O Allah! Be sufficient for us against the evil of Ibn Adawiyyah.” (Al-Sirat al-Halabiyyah, Vol. 1, p. 395, Dar-ul-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 2002)

Urwah bin Zubair narrates that he once asked Hazrat Abudullah bin Amr bin al-Aas to tell him the most heinous act committed by the idolaters against the Holy Prophetsa. He replied that once, the Holy Prophetsa was offering his prayer in the Hateem of Masjid Al-Haram when Uqbah bin Abi Muait came and put a cloth around the Holy Prophet’ssa neck and then began to strangle him. During this time, Hazrat Abu Bakrra came and took hold of Uqbah’s shoulder and pulled him off the Holy Prophetsa and stated:

أَتَقْتُلُوْنَ‭ ‬رَجُلًا‭ ‬أَنْ‭ ‬يَّقُوْلَ‭ ‬رَبِّيَ‭ ‬اللّٰهُ

“Do you seek to kill a person because he says that Allah is his Lord?” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab Manaqib Al-Ansar, Hadith no. 3856)

In another narration, it states that the idolaters once asked the Holy Prophetsa whether he had said such and such thing about their idols. The Holy Prophetsa replied in the affirmative, upon which the idolaters surrounded the Holy Prophetsa. Meanwhile, someone informed Hazrat Abu Bakrra to enquire about his companion. Hazrat Abu Abkrra left and went to Masjid al-Haram. There he saw the Holy Prophetsa in a state whereby people had surrounded him. Hazrat Abu Bakrra then stated:

أَتَقْتُلُوْنَ‭ ‬رَجُلًا‭ ‬أَنْ‭ ‬يَّقُوْلَ‭ ‬رَبِّيَ‭ ‬اللّٰهُ

“Do you seek to kill a person because he says that Allah is his Lord even though he has brought manifest signs from your Lord?” 

Following this, they let the Holy Prophetsa go and instead pounced upon Hazrat Abu Bakrra and began to attack him. Hazrat Abu Bakr’sra daughter, Hazrat Asmara states that Hazrat Abu Bakrra returned in such a state that when he would touch his hair, they would fall into his hands and he would continue to repeat:

تَبَارَكْتَ‭ ‬يَا‭ ‬ذَا‭ ‬الْجَلَالِ‭ ‬وَ‭ ‬الْاِكْرَامِ

“O Possessor of Majesty and Honour! Holy art Thou.” 

In another narration, it is mentioned that these people grabbed hold of the Holy Prophet’ssa blessed head and beard with such force that most of his blessed hair came out. Hazrat Abu Bakrra stood up to save him and he was saying:

أَتَقْتُلُوْنَ‭ ‬رَجُلًا‭ ‬أَنْ‭ ‬يَّقُوْلَ‭ ‬رَبِّيَ‭ ‬اللّٰهُ

“Do you seek to kill a person because he says that Allah is his Lord – Do you seek to kill a person because he says that Allah is his Lord?” 

Hazrat Abu Bakrra was crying whilst saying this. Upon this, the Holy Prophetsa stated, “O Abu Bakr! Leave them. I swear by Him in Whose hands is my life, I have been sent to them so I may be sacrificed [in this way].” 

Following this, the disbelievers let the Holy Prophetsa go. (Al-Sirat al-Halabiyyah, Vol. 1, p. 417, Dar-ul-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 2002)

On one occasion, Hazrat Alira asked the people, “O people! Who is the bravest among everyone?” People replied, “O Leader of the Faithful! You are the bravest.” Hazrat Alira replied, “As for me, whoever came up against me in combat, I did full justice.” In other words, he killed them. “However, the bravest was Hazrat Abu Bakrra. When we erected a tent for the Holy Prophetsa on the day of the Battle of Badr and thereafter we announced, ‘Who is it that shall stay with the Holy Prophetsa, so that no one from among the idolaters will be able to get to him?’ I swear by God, no one went close to the Holy Prophetsa except Hazrat Abu Bakrra, who went and stood next to the Holy Prophetsa with his sword drawn out. In other words, none of the idolaters would have been able to get to the Holy Prophetsa unless they did not first come up against Hazrat Abu Bakrra. Thus, he was the bravest of all.” 

Hazrat Alira states:

“On one occasion, I saw the Quraish had caught hold of the Holy Prophetsa; one person was taking out all his anger on him, while another person was troubling him. They were saying, ‘You say that there is only One God and forsake all others.’ By Allah, whoever would approach the Holy Prophetsa, Hazrat Abu Bakrra would strike them and they would flee or he would reproach them and move them away. He would say, ‘May you be ruined!’

أَتَقْتُلُوْنَ‭ ‬رَجُلًا‭ ‬أَنْ‭ ‬يَّقُوْلَ‭ ‬رَبِّيَ‭ ‬اللّٰهُ

“‘Will you slay the man because he says, “My Lord is Allah?”’” 

Hazrat Alira then pulled his cloak and cried so profusely that his beard became drenched. Hazrat Alira then said, “I ask you in the name of God, was the believing man from among the people of Pharaoh better or Hazrat Abu Bakrra?” 

Perhaps Hazrat Alira referred to the believing man from among the people of Pharaoh because this verse of the Quran refers to that person from among the people of Pharaoh who had concealed his faith. In the court of Pharaoh, he said: 

أَتَقْتُلُوْنَ رَجُلًا أَنْ يَّقُوْلَ رَبِّيَ اللّٰهُ

Upon this, everyone fell silent. Hazrat Alira then said, “By Allah! Even one hour of Hazrat Abu Bakrra was better than the virtuous deeds of the believer from among Pharaoh’s people, even if his deeds filled the entire earth. This is because that individual concealed his faith, but he (i.e. Hazrat Abu Bakrra) openly announced his faith.” (Abu Bakr Siddiq Shakhasiyyatahu Asarahu, Dr Muhammad Ali Al-Sallabi, p. 38, Dar-e-Ibn Kathir, Beirut, 2003)

Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra states:

“When we ponder over the incidents in the life of the Holy Prophetsa, this claim that the Holy Prophetsa had an extraordinary amount of love and sympathy for mankind becomes a manifest reality, and at each step we can see proofs of this. For years on end the Holy Prophetsa endured such horrific persecution for the sake of the One God that is difficult to describe. One day, whilst the Holy Prophet was in the Ka‘bah, the disbelievers tied a belt around the neck of the Holy Prophetsa and fastened it so tightly that his eyes became red and began to bulge. When Hazrat Abu Bakrra heard this, he came running and upon seeing the treatment of the Holy Prophetsa, tears began to flow from Hazrat Abu Bakr’sra eyes. Pushing the disbelievers away, he said, ‘Fear Allah! Will you persecute someone just because he says that Allah is his Lord?’” (Tafsir-e-Kabir, Vol. 7, pp. 63-64)

The Promised Messiahas states:

“Once, the enemies found the Holy Prophetsa alone and tied a belt around his neck and began tightening it. He was on the brink of death when coincidentally Hazrat Abu Bakrra came there and with great difficulty he managed to release him. Upon this, Hazrat Abu Bakrra was beaten so severely that he fell to the ground and lost consciousness.” (Chasma-e-Ma‘rifat, Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 23, pp. 257-258)

There are various narrations about Hazrat Abu Bakrra freeing slaves. It is mentioned in a narration that when Hazrat Abu Bakrra accepted Islam, he had 40,000 dirhams. He spent that in the way of Allah and freed seven people who were persecuted due to their belief in Allah [and Islam]. The slaves freed were Hazrat Bilalra, Aamirra bin Fuhayrah, Zinnirahra, Nahdiyahra and her daughter, as well as a female slave of Bani Mo’mal and Umm Ubaisra. (Al-Isaba Fi Tamyeez Al-Sahaba, Vol. 3, p. 247, Abdullah bin Uthman, Dar-ul-Fikr, Beirut, 1995)

Hazrat Bilalra was the slave of Banu Jumah tribe and Umayyah bin Khalaf would persecute him severely. (Usd al-Ghabah Fi Ma‘rifat al-Sahaba, Vol. 1, p. 283, Bilal bin Ribah, Dar-ul-Fikr, Beirut, 2003)

According to one narration, when Hazrat Bilalra accepted Islam, his owners laid him on the ground and placed stones and a leather skin on top of him. They said to him, “Your lord is Lat and Uzza”; however, Hazrat Bilalra would only say “AhadAhad”. Hazrat Abu Bakrra came to them and asked, “How long will you go on persecuting him for?” The narrator states that Hazrat Abu Bakrra bought Hazrat Bilalra for seven auqiah and freed him. One auqiah is 40 dirhams, and so he was bought for 280 dirhams. 

Hazrat Abu Bakrra then informed the Holy Prophetsa of this incident, to which the Holy Prophetsa said, “O Abu Bakr! Include me as part of it as well.” Hazrat Abu Bakrra submitted, “O Messenger of Allahsa! I have already freed him.” (Al-Tabaqaat-ul-Kubra li ibn Saad, Vol. 3, p. 175, Bilal bin Ribah, Dar-ul-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 2012) (Lughat-ul-Hadith, Vol. 1, p. 82, Numani Kutub Khana, Lahore)

Hazrat Aamirra bin Fuhayrah was a slave of African descent. He was the slave of Tufayl bin Abdillah bin Sakhbarah, who was the [step] brother of Hazrat Aishara from his mother’s side.  Hazrat Aamirra is counted amongst the earliest Muslims. He was persecuted in the way of Allah. Hazrat Abu Bakrra bought him and freed him. (Usd al-Ghabah, Vol. 3, p. 31, Aamir bin Fuhayrah, Dar-ul-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 2003)

Hazrat Zinnirahra al-Rumiyyah was among the early female Muslims and accepted Islam in the beginning. The idolaters would inflict cruelties on her. She was the female slave of the Banu Makhzum. Abu Jahl would persecute her. It is recorded that she was the slave of Banu Abd Al-Dar. When she accepted Islam, she lost her eyesight. Upon this, the idolaters said that Lat and Uzza caused Zinnirahra to lose her sight because she rejected them. Upon this, Zinnirahra said, “Lat and Uzza do not even know who worships them, how could they take away my sight when they themselves cannot see anything. This is from the heavens and it was Allah’s decree that I lost my sight. My Lord has the power to enable me to see again.” 

This was her reply to the disbelievers. The next morning, when she woke up, Allah the Almighty restored her vision and she was able to see again. Upon this the Quraish said, “This is because of Muhammad’s sorcery.” When Hazrat Abu Bakrra saw the pain and suffering inflicted upon her, he bought her and set her free. (Usd al-Ghabah, Vol. 6, p. 127, Zinnirahra Al-Rumiyyah, Dar-ul-Fikr, Beirut, 2003)

The accounts will continue in the future, insha-Allah, and there are some more narrations with regard to the freeing of slaves.

(Original Urdu transcript published in Al Fazl International, 31 December 2021, pp. 6-9. Translated by The Review of Religions.)

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