Friday Sermon – Men of Excellence: Hazrat Abu Bakr r.a. (11 November 2022)


Friday Sermon

11 November 2022

Men of Excellence: Hazrat Abu Bakrra

Hazrat Abu Bakr

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

The accounts from the life of Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiqra were being mentioned. Among the narrations in this regard, it is mentioned that he was an expert in genealogy and also had an interest in poetry. It is recorded that Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiqra was the most knowledgeable with regard to the ancestry of the people of Arabia. Jubair bin Mut’im, who was an expert in this field of genealogy, stated, “I acquired the knowledge of lineages from Hazrat Abu Bakrra, particularly the lineage of the Quraish, as Hazrat Abu Bakrra had the most knowledge about their ancestry and he was aware of their good and bad traits. However, he would not mention their flaws. For this very reason, he was more widely accepted among the Quraish in comparison to Hazrat Aqeelra bin Abi Talib.” 

Following Hazrat Abu Bakrra, it was Hazrat Aqeelra who was most knowledgeable about the ancestry and genealogy of the Quraish, as well as their good and bad traits. However, Hazrat Aqeelra was disliked by the Quraish as he would mention their flaws as well. Hazrat Aqeelra would go to Masjid Nabawi [the mosque of the Prophetsa] and sit with Hazrat Abu Bakrra in order to learn about the ancestry and history of the Arabs. According to the people of Mecca, Hazrat Abu Bakrra was among their best individuals. Whenever they faced difficulty, they would seek his assistance. (Ali bin Burhan al-Din al-Halabi, Al-Sirah al-Halabiyyah, Vol. 1, [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 2002], p. 390)

It has been mentioned that Hazrat Abu Bakrra was most knowledgeable about the genealogy of the Arabs, particularly of the Quraish. As such, when the poets of the Quraish mocked the Holy Prophetsa through poetic couplets, Hazrat Hassanra bin Thabit was entrusted with the responsibility of replying to their mockery in similar poetic terms. When Hazrat Hassanra went before the Holy Prophetsa, he said to Hazrat Hassanra, “How will you mock the Quraish when I myself am from among the Quraish?” Upon this, Hazrat Hassanra replied, “O Messengersa of Allah! I will remove you from the Quraish in the likeness of removing a hair from dough or butter.” Following this, the Holy Prophetsa said to him, “Go to Hazrat Abu Bakrra and ask him about the ancestry of the Quraish.” Hazrat Hassanra said, “Thereafter, I would go to Hazrat Abu Bakrra before writing any couplets and he would guide me in relation to their men and women.” 

As such, when the verses of Hazrat Hassanra reached Mecca, the people of Mecca would say that these verses had been composed with the guidance and advice of Abu Bakrra. (Umar Abu Al-Nasr, Sirat Syedna Siddiq-e-Abkar, pp. 817-818)

Similar to his expertise in genealogy, Hazrat Abu Bakrra was also a great scholar of the history of the wars that were fought among the Arabs. In addition to this, although he was not formally a poet, he was very interested in poetry. Those historians who have penned the biography of Hazrat Abu Bakrra have discussed whether he composed poetry or not. Some historians have rejected the fact that he composed poetry, whereas others have even mentioned some of his couplets. Similarly, a manuscript, consisting of 25 poems with the poetic couplets of Hazrat Abu Bakrra has been obtained from a library in Turkey, or it is present there and it is said that these are poems of Hazrat Abu Bakrra. Someone has even written that I have received revelation, confirming these couplets to have been composed by Hazrat Abu BakrraTabaqat Ibn Sa’d and Sirat Ibn Hisham have also mentioned that Hazrat Abu Bakrra recited poetic couplets. The following verses are attributed to Hazrat Abu Bakrra, which he composed after the demise and burial of the Holy Prophetsa. The translation is as follows: 

“O eye! Continue to shed tears upon the demise of the master of this world and the Hereafter and may your tears never seize. O eye! Shed tears for the most excellent man from among the Quraish, who was placed in the grave this evening. May the salutations of the King of all kings, the Guardian of men and the Lord of the supplicants be bestowed upon the Holy Prophetsa. What meaning does life have now that the beloved has departed? What is there to adorn now upon the departure of the one who adorned this entire world? I wish that just like I enjoyed your companionship in this world, my demise had also occurred in your companionship.” (Umar Abu Al-Nasr, Sirat Syedna Siddiq-e-Abkar, pp. 818-822)

This was the translation of those couplets. 

It is said that Hazrat Abu Bakrra possessed deep wisdom and insight. Hazrat Abu Sa’eed Khudrira relates, “The Holy Prophetsa stated, ‘Allah the Almighty gave the choice to one of his servants of either choosing this world or that which was with Allah. The servant chose that which was with Allah.’ Upon this, Hazrat Abu Bakrra began to cry and I said to myself, ‘Why is this elderly man crying? A servant was given the choice of either choosing this world or that which is with Allah and he chose that which is with Allah the Almighty.’ Indeed, this servant was the Messengersa of Allah and Hazrat Abu Bakrra possessed the most knowledge among us.” 

He further states in the narration, “The Holy Prophetsa stated, ‘O Abu Bakr! Do not cry. Indeed, out of everyone, it is Abu Bakr who extended the most kindness to me in terms of his companionship and wealth. If I were to have a Khalil [close companion] from among my Ummah, it would be Abu Bakr, however, the brotherhood and love for one another in Islam are sufficient. Close all the doors in this mosque except for the door of Abu Bakr.’” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab as-Salat, Hadith 466)

I have presented this reference again in relation to Hazrat Abu Bakr’sra wisdom and insight. The Promised Messiahas has explained what is meant by the “door” and I will mention that further on. 

Whilst narrating this incident, Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra states: 

“On one occasion during the final days of the Holy Prophet’ssa life, he stood up to deliver a speech and whilst addressing the companions, he stated, ‘O people, there is a servant of God, whom God addressed and said, “O My servant, I give you the option to either remain in this world or come to Me.” Upon this, the servant of God preferred to be in the nearness of God.’ When the Holy Prophetsa mentioned this, Hazrat Abu Bakrra began to cry. Hazrat Umarra says, ‘I was extremely angered upon seeing him cry because the Holy Prophetsa was relating an account of an individual who was given the option to either remain in this world or go to God Almighty, and the individual preferred to be in the nearness of God Almighty, yet this old man was crying over this.’ Hazrat Abu Bakrra cried so profusely that he began to have hiccups, which would not stop. Eventually, the Holy Prophetsa stated, ‘I have so much love for Abu Bakr that if I were allowed to make a Khalil [close companion] other than Allah the Almighty, then it would have been Abu Bakr.’ Hazrat Umarra says, ‘When the Holy Prophetsa passed away after a few days, it was then that we understood that Abu Bakr’s crying was indeed justified and for us to get angry over this was a sign of our foolishness.’” (Uswah-e-Hasana, Anwar-ul-Ulum, Vol. 17, p. 102)

In relation to the insight into the Holy Quran that was granted to Hazrat Abu Bakrra, the Promised Messiahas states:

“When the Holy Prophetsa read out this verse: 

اَلۡيَوۡمَ‭ ‬اَكۡمَلۡتُ‭ ‬لَكُمۡ‭ ‬دِيۡنَكُمۡ‭ ‬وَاَتۡمَمۡتُ‭ ‬عَلَيۡكُمۡ‭ ‬نِعۡمَتِيۡ

“[This day have I perfected your religion for you and completed My favour upon you.]

“Hazrat Abu Bakrra began to weep. Such was his insight into the Holy Qur’an. Someone asked, ‘Why does this old man weep?’ Hazrat Abu Bakrra said, ‘I can sense from this verse that the demise of the Prophet of God, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, is imminent.’ The Prophets of God are like officials. When a surveyor of land boundaries finishes their work at a certain place, they move on. In the same way, when the Prophets complete the task for which they are sent into the world, they take their leave. Therefore, when the announcement, 

اَلۡيَوۡمَ‭ ‬اَكۡمَلۡتُ‭ ‬لَكُمۡ‭ ‬دِيۡنَكُمۡ

“[This day have I perfected your religion for you] was heard, Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiq, may Allah be pleased with him, understood that that was the final call. This evidently demonstrates that the insight of Hazrat Abu Bakrra was immensely deep.

“It is also narrated in a Hadith, ‘Close all the gates that lead to the mosque, but the window of Abu Bakr shall remain open.’ 

(What is meant by the door here has been explained by the Promised Messiahas as well. He has explained as to what is meant by closing all the doors). 

“The hidden message in this is that since the mosque is where divine secrets are manifested, the entrance that opens towards Abu Bakr Siddiqra will not be closed. (The divine secrets and deep intricacies will continue to be revealed to Hazrat Abu Bakrra). The Prophets make use of metaphors and symbols. An individual who, like a dull Muslim cleric, says that everything must be literal, is gravely mistaken. For example, Abraham, on whom be peace, telling his son to ‘change the threshold of his gate’ or the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, seeing gold bangles etc. are all things that were not taken literally; they were metaphors and allegories, and encompassed a deeper reality.” 

The Promised Messiahas further states: 

“In short, the point is that from all the companions, Hazrat Abu Bakrra was blessed with the deepest understanding of the Quran which is why he was able to derive this point from it.” 

The Promised Messiahas further states:

“Now when Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him, derived this argument from the verse mentioned earlier, it is my belief that even if his interpretation was apparently at odds with what we observe, righteousness and honesty would demand that we agree with Abu Bakrra. But in this case, there is not a single word in the Holy Qur’an that opposes the interpretation of Hazrat Abu Bakrra.” 

The Promised Messiahas further states: 

“Now the Muslim clergy ought to be asked: was Abu Bakrra a wise man or not? Is this Abu Bakrra not the same person who was given the title Siddiq (the Truthful)? Is this not the same person who became the first Caliph of the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him? Is he not the same man who rendered the magnificent service to Islam of stopping in its tracks the dangerous epidemic of apostasy? Alright, put everything else to one side. Just tell me this: what need was there for Abu Bakrra to take a stand at the pulpit in the first place? Then, do tell me, keeping righteousness in consideration, when Hazrat Abu Bakrra recited the verse:

وَمَا‭ ‬مُحَمَّدٌ‭ ‬إِلَّا‭ ‬رَسُولٞ‭ ‬قَدۡ‭ ‬خَلَتۡ‭ ‬مِن‭ ‬قَبۡلِهِ‭ ‬الرُّسُلُ

“[And Muhammad is only a Messenger. Verily, all Messengers have passed away before him.] Did he do so to present a perfectly sound argument or would he present such a flawed argument that even a child could say that anyone who believes that Jesusas was among the dead turns into a disbeliever?” 

In other words, by reciting this complete verse his intention was to present a very clear and strong argument as opposed to presenting a weak and incomplete argument. 

Then, on another occasion, whilst expounding on the same aspect, the Promised Messiahas states:

“There are two aspects to the following verse: 

اَلۡيَوۡمَ‭ ‬اَكۡمَلۡتُ‭ ‬لَكُمۡ‭ ‬دِيۡنَكُمۡ

“[This day I have perfected your religion for you.]

“The first is that He purified you and the second is that He completed the Book. It is said that when this verse was revealed, Abu Bakrra began to cry. Someone asked, ‘O elder, why are you crying?’ He replied, ‘I perceive the scent of the Holy Prophet’ssa demise from this verse’, for it has been decreed that once the mission is complete, its very completion points towards the time of demise. Just as there are worldly projects and once they are complete, the executive bodies depart. When the Holy Prophetsa learnt of this incident regarding Hazrat Abu Bakrra, he said that Abu Bakr was the most intelligent and that were he to have any friend in this world, it would be Abu Bakr. He also said that Abu Bakr’s window would remain open in the mosque while all others should be closed. If someone wonders as to the connection in this (i.e. between considering him to be his friend and keeping his window open, the Promised Messiahas states about the connection), remember that the mosque is the house of God and the fountainhead of all verities and knowledge. Hence, the Holy Prophetsa said that this window should be kept open for him just as his inner window remains open. It is not to say that other companions were left deprived, there were also those among them who possessed great insight, however, the greatest among them was Hazrat Abu Bakrra. In fact, Hazrat Abu Bakr’sra superiority was in his personal insight, which manifested at the outset and at the end. In essence, Hazrat Abu Bakrra was the embodiment of the ultimate culmination of those who possess insight.” (Malfuzat, Vol. 8, pp. 399-400)

Then, the Promised Messiahas states:

“Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiqra was among the experienced and insightful. He saw difficult times and endured their hardships and participated in many battles and witnessed their military operations. He traversed many deserts and mountainous terrains. There were countless instances where he faced death, yet he proceeded forth without hesitation and there were many crooked paths that he rectified, and he was at the forefront in many battles. There were many disorders that he completely eradicated. There were many riding animals that he enfeebled on journeys (meaning he travelled so much that the riding animals would become fatigued) and he crossed many stages that led him to become experienced and insightful. He remained patient in the face of difficulties and was devoted to worship. Hence, Allah the Almighty chose him to be the close companion of the recipient of His signs [the Holy Prophetsa] and lauded him on account of his truthfulness and steadfastness. This was to indicate that he was at the forefront among the beloved of the Holy Prophetsa. He was born with the spirit of independence imbibed within him and loyalty was a part of his nature. It was for this reason that he was selected for such a dangerous and most important task and that too at a time of fear. Allah is All-Knowing and Wise and places all things at their appropriate place and time and makes water flow from the appropriate springs and so He turned lovingly to Ibn Abi Quhafah and bestowed special favours upon him and made him an incomparable individual. Allah the Almighty states that He is the Most Truthful in speech (meaning that whatever Allah the Almighty has stated is the most true). He says: 

اِلَّا تَنۡصُرُوۡهُ فَقَدۡ نَصَرَهُ اللّٰهُ اِذۡ اَخۡرَجَهُ الَّذِيۡنَ كَفَرُوۡا ثَانِيَ اثۡنَيۡنِ اِذۡ هُمَا فِي الۡغَارِ اِذۡ يَقُوۡلُ لِصَاحِبِهٖ لَا تَحۡزَنۡ اِنَّ اللّٰهَ مَعَنَا ۚ فَاَنۡزَلَ اللّٰهُ سَكِيۡنَتَهٗ عَلَيۡهِ وَاَيَّدَهٗ بِجُنُوۡدٍ لَّمۡ تَرَوۡهَا وَجَعَلَ كَلِمَةَ الَّذِيۡنَ كَفَرُوا السُّفۡلٰي ؕ وَكَلِمَةُ اللّٰهِ هِيَ الۡعُلۡيَا ؕ وَاللّٰهُ عَزِيۡزٌ حَكِيۡمٌ

‘If you help him not, then know that Allah helped him even when the disbelievers drove him forth while he was one of the two when they were both in the cave, when he said to his companion, ‘Grieve not, for Allah is with us.’ Then Allah sent down His peace on him, and strengthened him with hosts which you did not see, and humbled the word of those who disbelieved, and it is the word of Allah alone which is supreme. And Allah is Mighty, Wise.’” [9:40] (Sirrul Khilafah, pp. 60-62, Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 8, p. 339)

Hazrat Abu Bakrra was also very proficient in the discipline of interpreting dreams. It is recorded that Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiqra had a special gift when it came to interpreting dreams and he exceeded everyone else in this regard. In fact, he would even interpret dreams during the time of the Holy Prophetsa. Imam Muhammad bin Sirin says that after the Holy Prophetsa, Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiqra was the greatest interpreter of dreams. (Muhammad Ilyas Adil, Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiq, p. 174)

Some interpretations which Hazrat Abu Bakrra did of dreams have been recorded. 

Hazrat Ibn Abbasra narrates that while returning from Uhud, a person went to the Holy Prophetsa and said, “O Messengersa of Allah, I have seen a dream in which there was a cloud that was dripping with butter and honey. I saw people taking it in their hands; some would take a lot while others would only take a little. I also saw a rope that extended into the heavens, and I saw you take hold of it and use it to ascend. Thereafter, another person took hold of it and used it to ascend. After him, there was another person who took hold of it and ascended. Then, there was another person who took hold of the rope, but it broke. It was then mended for him and he used it to ascend.” Hazrat Abu Bakrra said to the Holy Prophetsa, “O Messengersa of Allah, allow me to interpret this, with your permission.” The Holy Prophetsa told him to interpret it and so Hazrat Abu Bakrra said, “The cloud which brought shade represents Islam and the honey and butter dripping from it represents the Quran. Its sweetness and splendour and people taking the honey and butter, represent people attaining the Quran, (in other words, those attaining knowledge of the Quran); either a lot or only a little. The rope that extended into the heavens represents the truth upon which you are established. You took hold of it and you were elevated by using it. Then there will be someone to come after you who will hold it and be elevated as a result, then there will be another person who will also be elevated by it. There will then be another person, but the rope will be cut, then it will be repaired for him and will use it to be elevated.” The Holy Prophetsa said, “You are correct about certain aspects and incorrect about others.” Hazrat Abu Bakrra said, “O Messengersa of Allah, I swear, please do tell me what it is that I am correct about and what I am incorrect about?” The Holy Prophetsa said, “Abu Bakr do not swear”. (Sunan Ibn Majah, Kitab Tabir-ul-Ru’ya, Hadith 3918)

In other words, he did not wish to express the correct interpretation of the dream at that time in absolutely clear terms. Hence, he said, “Do not swear. Whatever you have interpreted is enough.”

It is narrated by Ibn Shihab that the Holy Prophetsa saw a dream. Whilst narrating this dream to Hazrat Abu Bakrra, he said, “I saw in a dream that both of us were standing on an elevation, and I was two and a half steps ahead of you.” He replied, “This is good, O Messengersa of Allah. May Allah keep you alive until you see with your own eyes that which makes you happy and cools your eyes.” He repeated this to him three times. On the third time, he said, “O Abu Bakr, I saw us in a dream in which we were both standing at an elevation and I was two and a half steps ahead of you.” He replied, “O Messengersa of Allah, Allah the Almighty will call you unto Himself towards His mercy and forgiveness and I will remain alive after you for two and half years.” (Al-Tabaqat Al-Kubra, Vol. 3, p. 132, Dar-ul-Kutub Al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 2012)

This was Hazrat Abu Bakr’sra interpretation and this is exactly what occurred.

The blessed wife of the Holy Prophetsa, Hazrat Aishara, narrates, “I saw three moons descend into my room. I mentioned this dream before my father, Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiqra.” When the Holy Prophetsa passed away and his burial took place in Hazrat Aisha’sra room, Hazrat Abu Bakrra said to her, “He is one among your moons and he is the best of them.” (Muwatta, Kitab-ul-Janaiz, Hadith 546, Dar-ul-Fikr Beirut, 2002)

Hazrat Abdur Rahmanra bin Abi Lailah narrates, “The Holy Prophetsa once said, ‘I saw that a flock of black sheep is following me, followed by a flock of grey sheep.’ Upon hearing this, Hazrat Abu Bakrra said, ‘O Messengersa of Allah, these Arabs will follow you, and then non-Arabs will follow them.” The Holy Prophetsa then said, ‘The angels have also given the same interpretation.’” (Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaybah, Vol. 10, p. 125, Kitab-ul-Iman Wa Al-Ru’ya, Hadith 31101)

This completes the mention of dreams. 

Now I will mention who was the first amongst the men to become Muslim. In this regard, it is widely accepted that it was Hazrat Abu Bakrra. Hazrat Ammar bin Yasirra narrates, “I witnessed the Holy Prophetsa at such an early period when he was accompanied only by five slaves, two women and Hazrat Abu Bakrra.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab Fazail Al-Sahab Al-Nabi, Hadith 3660)

Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad Sahibra has written a detailed note about this in his book Sirat Khatam-ul-Nabiyeensa. He deliberated upon who was the first person to believe in the Holy Prophetsa. Thus, he writes: 

“When the Holy Prophetsa began the propagation of his mission, the first to believe was Hazrat Khadijahra, 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 Khadijahra. Some name Hazrat Abu Bakr ‘Abdullah bin Abi Quhafahra while others say Hazrat Alira, whose age, at that time, was only ten years. Others assert that the freed slave of the Holy Prophetsa, Hazrat Zaid bin Harithahra was the first one to embrace Islam. However, to us, this argument is useless. Hazrat Alira and Zaid bin Harithahra 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 a matter of fact, no verbal declaration was necessary. Thus, their names need not be included. Among the rest, Hazrat Abu Bakrra is unanimously accepted as being the first and foremost in his acceptance of Islam. Due to his nobility and abilities, Hazrat Abu Bakrra was greatly honoured and respected by the Quraish, and in Islam he acquired a status that no other companion has attained. Hazrat Abu Bakrra did not, even for a moment, doubt the claim of the Holy Prophetsa, rather, accepted him instantaneously. Then he devoted his entire interest and his entire life and wealth to 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. With regards to 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 at 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.’ 

“Sir William Muir is also in complete concurrence with his view.

“After Hazrat Khadijahra, Hazrat Abu Bakrra, Hazrat Alira and Zaid bin Harithahra, five more individuals accepted Islam through 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: Hazrat Uthman bin Affanra, Hazrat Abdur Rahman bin Aufra, Hazrat Sa’dra bin Abi Waqqas, Hazrat Zubairra bin Al-Awwam, and Hazrat Talhahra bin Ubaidillah. All of these five companions are amongst the Asharah Mubashsharah, in other words, they are included amongst those ten companions who were especially given glad tidings of entrance into paradise from the blessed tongue of the Holy Prophetsa himself, and who were regarded his closest companions and advisors.” (Sirat Khatam-ul-Nabiyeen, pp. 121-123)

Once, whilst encouraging the Community to make financial sacrifices, Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra made a connection to the aforementioned incident and stated: 

“A believer does not hesitate upon such calls to action (in other words, calls to contribute wealth or make sacrifices), rather, they rejoice and take pride in that they were the first to be called; they do not show fear, but are delighted and express gratitude to God Almighty; they make sacrifices to their utmost for His sake and attain a rank that is preeminent. Can anyone say that Hazrat Abu Bakrra ever thought to himself why he was the first to have the opportunity to offer such services or sacrifices that he did? Would he have thought about it or desired to have that opportunity? He very happily put himself in danger and endured various kinds of suffering for God’s sake. For this reason, he attained a station that even Hazrat Umarra could not. The first to embrace faith is the first to have the opportunity to make sacrifices, though there were dangers even when Hazrat Umarra embraced Islam. They were subjected to torment, prevented from offering prayers and the companions were exiled from their homeland. The first migration to Abyssinia was taking place. The time of prosperity came much after they had embraced Islam, however, even so, Hazrat Umarra could not amount to the station achieved by Hazrat Abu Bakrra for embracing Islam and making sacrifices from the very beginning. Owing to this, when Hazrat Abu Bakrra and Hazrat Umarra fell into a disagreement once, the Holy Prophetsa said, “At a time when you all rejected Islam, Abu Bakr accepted Islam. At a time when you all opposed Islam, he supported Islam. Why do you trouble that same person now?” The Holy Prophetsa himself expressed the merit of his acceptance of Islam and the sacrifices that he demonstrated from the outset, despite the fact that even Hazrat Umarra also endured pain and made sacrifices. Regardless, Hazrat Abu Bakrra was superior for taking the lead. Can anyone claim that Hazrat Abu Bakrra ever desired to embrace Islam at the time of the conquest of Mecca? Even if Hazrat Abu Bakrra was offered the power to govern the entire world in exchange for that, he would consider it an extremely unworthy bargain and refuse to accept it. In fact, he would not even feel the need to spend even an ounce of his effort to reject the governance of the world that would have been offered to him in exchange for this.” (Man Ansari Ila Allah, Anwar-ul-Ulum, Vol. 9, pp. 30-31)

Hence, this is the reward of sacrifice, and this is how Allah the Almighty remunerates a person according to their rank. 

In respect to the freeing of slaves, it is recorded that Hazrat Umarra used to say:

أَبُوْ‭ ‬بَكْرٍ‭ ‬سَيِّدُنَا‭ ‬وَأَعْتَقَ‭ ‬سَيِّدَنَا‭ ‬يَعْنِيْ‭ ‬بِلَالًا

“Abu Bakr is our leader, and he freed our leader.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab Fazail Al-Sahab Al-Nabi, Hadith 3754)

In other words, he was referring to Hazrat Bilalra. In the early days of Islam, Hazrat Abu Bakrra freed seven slaves with his personal wealth who were being tormented on account of their belief in Allah. Those slaves are named: Hazrat Bilalra, Amirra bin Fuhairah, Zinnirahra, Nahdiyahra, her daughter Bani Mu’ammal, a handmaid and Umm Umais. (Al-Asabah Fi Tamyeez Al-Sahabah, Vol. 3, p. 247, Dar-ul-Fikr, Beirut, 2001)

Even the opponents acknowledged his virtuous character and excellent morals. In this regard, Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra states:

“A man such as Abu Bakrra, to whom all of Mecca was ever-grateful, would spend all of what he earned on the freeing of slaves. Once, he was departing from Mecca when a chief met him en route and asked, ‘Where are you heading, O Abu Bakr?’ He replied, ‘There is no longer any security for me in this city, so I am going elsewhere.’ The chief then said, ‘If a pious individual such as yourself leaves this city, then it will certainly fall into ruin. I shall grant you protection, so do not leave this city.’ Hence, he returned under the protection of this chief. 

When he would wake up in the morning and recite the Holy Quran, the women and children would listen through the walls to hear the Quran recitation, for there was great fervour and emotion in his voice, and seeing as the Holy Quran is in Arabic, all the women and children could understand it, and consequently, all the listeners would be moved by it. When word of this spread, a commotion was made in Mecca that everyone would abandon their faith in this way. In the end, the people went to this chief and asked why he had granted him his protection. The chief then went to Hazrat Abu Bakrra asking that he not recite the Holy Quran, as the Meccans were angered by this. Hazrat Abu Bakrra replied, ‘Then rescind your protection of me, as I cannot refrain from doing so.’ The chief then withdrew his protection of him. How wonderful a proof of his righteousness and piety it is that these people were staunch enemies of the Holy Prophet Muhammadsa and would revile him, yet they recognised the virtue of Hazrat Abu Bakrra to the extent that this chief told him that if he leaves the city then it will fall into ruin.” (Tafsir-e-Kabir, Vol. 10, p. 327)

It is stated in relation to the leading of prayers that, in the absence of the Holy Prophetsa, Hazrat Abu Bakrra was among the select few honoured with leading the prayers in Masjid Nabawi. Hazrat Abu Bakrra also had the special honour, under the instructions of the Holy Prophetsa during his final days, of leading the prayers. With regards to this, there are numerous narrations. Hazrat Aishara relates that the Holy Prophetsa said, “It does not behove anyone aside from Abu Bakrra to lead the prayers when he is among them.” (Sunan Al-Tirmadhi, Kitab Al-Munaqib, Hadith 3673)

Aswad relates, “We were in the presence of Hazrat Aishara and whilst we discussed the punctuality in prayer and its greatness, she said, ‘When the Holy Prophetsa was suffering from the illness which led to his demise, [on one occasion] it was the time for prayer and the call to prayer was made. The Holy Prophetsa instructed, “Tell Abu Bakrra to lead the people in prayer.” He was told that Abu Bakrra is soft-hearted and when he stands in your place, he would not be able to lead the people in prayer. The Holy Prophetsa gave the instruction once again and he was told again that he is soft-hearted. The Holy Prophetsa instructed a third time and said, “Verily you are like the women in the time of Joseph (i.e. you are saying similar things), tell Abu Bakrra to lead the people in prayer.” Hazrat Abu Bakrra then went forth to lead the prayers. The Holy Prophetsa felt a slight improvement in his health so he went forth with two people supporting him on either side.’ [Hazrat Aishara] says, ‘I remember this, as though I am seeing it today, that due to his illness, his feet were leaving a line in the ground (i.e. he couldn’t walk properly or lift his feet, so they were dragging on the ground). When Hazrat Abu Bakrra saw him coming in this manner he desired to move back, but the Holy Prophetsa indicated to him to remain in his place. The Holy Prophetsa was then brought forward to sit beside Hazrat Abu Bakrra.’” 

A’mash was asked if the Holy Prophetsa was leading the prayer whilst Hazrat Abu Bakrra was following, and if the people were in congregation whilst following the prayer of Hazrat Abu Bakrra. He replied in the affirmative whilst indicating with his head. The Holy Prophetsa was sitting to the left of Hazrat Abu Bakrra and Hazrat Abu Bakrra was offering the prayer whilst standing. (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab-ul-Adhan, Hadith 664)

The narrator of this, Hazrat Anasra bin Malik Ansari says, “He told me that he [Hazrat Abu Bakrra] followed the Holy Prophetsa, served him and remained in his presence. He then said that Hazrat Abu Bakrra led the people in prayer. During the final illness of which the Holy Prophetsa eventually passed away, it was a Monday and people were standing in rows for prayer, the Holy Prophetsa drew back the curtains from his room and he was looking towards us as he stood, and his blessed countenance was as though it were a page of the Holy Quran. The Holy Prophetsa then smiled out of happiness and we thought to ourselves that we have happily fallen into a trial due to seeing the Holy Prophetsa. Hazrat Abu Bakrra then wanted to move back to join the rows as he thought that the Holy Prophetsa had come to [lead] the prayer. However, the Holy Prophetsa indicated to him to complete the prayer, and then he left the curtain to cover once more, and he passed away that very day.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab-ul-Adhan, Hadith 670)

In another narration, it is mentioned that Hazrat Umarra once led the prayers in those days. The details of this are as follows:

Hazrat Abdullahbin Zam’ah states, “When the illness of the Holy Prophetsa intensified, I was among a group of the Muslims which was serving him. Hazrat Bilalra came to call the Holy Prophetsa for prayer. He said to tell somebody to lead the prayers.” Hazrat Abdullah bin Zam’ah went outside and saw that Hazrat Umarra was among the people, but Hazrat Abu Bakrra was not present. Hazrat Zam’ah said, “O Umar, stand up and lead everyone in prayer.” He stepped forward and said, “Allahu Akbar” [to indicate the start of prayer]. When the Holy Prophetsa heard his voice – Hazrat Umar’sra voice was loud – the Holy Prophetsa said, “Where is Abu Bakr? Allah rejects this, and so do the Muslims.” The Holy Prophetsa sent for Hazrat Abu Bakrra. When he came, despite the fact that Hazrat Umarra had led the prayers, Hazrat Abu Bakrra led the prayers again. This is one narration.

In a different narration, it is mentioned that when the Holy Prophetsa heard the voice of Hazrat Umarra, he came outside and raised his head above his dwelling to see. He then said, “No, no, no. Ibn Abi Quhafah [Abu Bakr] should lead the prayers.” He said this, expressing displeasure. (Sunan Abu Dawud, Kitab Al-Sunnah, Hadith 4660-4661)

There are further details on this in Musnad Ahmad. When Hazrat Umarra found out about this, he said to Hazrat Abdullah bin Zam’ah, the one who had asked Hazrat Umarra to lead the prayers, “I thought that the Holy Prophetsa had ordered you that I should lead the prayers, otherwise, I would never have led the prayers.” In reply, Hazrat Abdullah bin Zam’ah said, “No. When I saw that Abu Bakr was not present, I thought to myself that, after him, you are most worthy to lead the prayers. That is why I asked you to lead the prayers. I was not told specifically [about you].” This narration is from Musnad [Ahmad bin Hanbal]. (Musnad Ahmad bin Hanbal, Vol. 6, pp. 412-413, Hadith 19113, Alim-ul-Kutub, Beirut, 1998)

With regard to his kindness towards his children, an author writes: 

“Hazrat Abu Bakrra loved his children dearly and on many occasions, he would show his affection through his words and his actions. His eldest son, Hazrat Abdur Rahman, used to live in a separate house, however, Hazrat Abu Bakrra had taken it upon himself to arrange for his expenses. His eldest daughter, Hazrat Asmara was married to Hazrat Zubairra bin Al-Awwam. In the beginning, they faced difficult circumstances and did not even have the capacity to have a worker to help around the house. For this reason, Hazrat Asmara had to work very hard, she would prepare the dough, make the food, gather water, draw up water from the well, and she would gather date stones from quite a distance and bring them, placed upon her head. She would also feed the horses etc. When Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiqra found out about her situation, he sent over a worker who would tend to the horses and put out their feed. Hazrat Asmara would say, ‘By sending the worker, my father has set me free.’” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab-ul-Nikah, Hadith 5224)

Hazrat Abdullah bin Abi Bakr loved his wife, Atikah, dearly. It is written that, owing to this, he had stopped going for Jihad. Hazrat Abu Bakrra could not bear this and said to Abdullah, “You have stopped going to Jihad because of your wife. You must divorce her.” Although he obeyed this command, owing to the separation from Atikah, he composed some sorrowful and moving couplets. When Hazrat Abu Bakrra heard these, his heart melted and he gave permission for Abdullah to reunite with her. (Talib Hashmi, Sirat Khalifatul Rasul Syedna Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiq, pp. 349-351, Hasanat Academy, Lahore)

Hazrat Bara stated, “I entered the home of Hazrat Abu Bakrra along with him and saw that Hazrat Aishara was lying down and was unwell with a fever. I saw that Hazrat Abu Bakrra kissed Hazrat Aishara on the cheek and inquired about her health, saying, ‘My dear daughter, how are you feeling now?’” 

The remaining accounts will be mentioned in future.

(Official Urdu transcript published in Al Fazl International, 2 December 2022, pp. 5-9. Translated by The Review of Religions.)

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