Friday Sermon – Men of Excellence: Hazrat Abu Bakr r.a. (3 December 2021)


Friday Sermon

3 December 2021

Men of Excellence: Hazrat Abu Bakrra

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

Today, I will start relating the accounts from the life of Hazrat Abu Bakrra

Hazrat Abu Bakr’sra name was Abdullah and his father’s name was Uthman bin Amir. His appellation was Abu Bakr, and Atiq and Siddiq were his titles. It is said that he was born in 573 CE, two and a half years after Aam-ul-Fil [Year of the Elephant]. As I have mentioned, Hazrat Abu Bakr’sra name was Abdullah. He was from the Quraish and belonged to the tribe of Banu Taym bin Murrah. In the period of jahiliyyah [era of ignorance prior to the advent of Islam], his name was Abdul Ka‘bah, which the Holy Prophetsa changed to Abdullah. His father’s name was Uthman bin Amir and his appellation was Abu Quhafah. His mother’s name was Salma bint Sakhar bin Amir and her title was Umm-ul-Khair. According to one tradition, the name of his mother was Laila bint Sakhar. (Ibn Abd al-Barr, Al-Isti‘ab fi Ma‘rifat al-Ashab, Vol. 3, Abdullah bin Abi Quhafah [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 2002], pp. 91-92) (Ibn Saad, Al-Tabaqat al-Kubra, Vol. 3, Wa min Bani Taym bin Murrah bin Kaab [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar Ihya al-Turath al-Arabi, 1996], p. 90) (Ali Ibn al-Athir, Usd al-Ghabah fi Ma‘rifat al-Sahabah, Vol. 3, Abdullah bin Uthman [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Fikr, 2003], p. 204) (Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, Al-Isabah fi Tamyiz al-Sahabah, Vol. 4 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 2005], p. 145) 

When we go back seven generations in the ancestry of Hazrat Abu Bakrra, we reach Murrah, through whom his ancestry is also connected to the Holy Prophetsa. (Muhammad Husain Haikal, Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiq – Urdu Translation by Anjuman Sultan [Jehlum, Pakistan: Shahbaz Bok Corner Showroom], p. 57) 

Similarly, going back six generations, the lineage of Hazrat Abu Bakr’sra mother, maternally and paternally, also connects to the Holy Prophetsa. (Abdul Malik Mujahid, Syeduna Abu Bakr Siddiq ki Zindagi ke Sunehre Waqi‘at [Dar al-Salam], p. 29)

Umm-ul-Khair, who was the wife of Abu Quhafah, i.e. the father of Hazrat Abu Bakrra, was the daughter of his paternal uncle. (Ibn Hisham, Al-Raud al-Unf, Vol. 1, Islam Abi Bakr [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, Edition 1], p. 430)

That is, the mother of Hazrat Abu Bakrra was the daughter of Hazrat Abu Bakr’sra father’s paternal cousin. Hazrat Abu Bakr’sra parents were still alive at the time of his demise and they received the inheritance of their son, Hazrat Abu Bakrra. After his demise, his mother passed away first. (Ali Ibn al-Athir, Usd al-Ghabah fi Ma‘rifat al-Sahabah, Vol. 7, Ummul Khair bint Sakhr, Zair Harf al-Kha [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Fikr, 2008], pp. 314-315)

His father passed away in the 14th year after Hijrah at the age of 97. (Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, Al-Isabah fi Tamyiz al-Sahabah, Vol. 3, Harf al-Ain, Zair Lafz Uthman bin Amir [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Fikr, 2001], p. 424) 

Both parents of Hazrat Abu Bakrra had the opportunity to accept Islam. The account of his father’s acceptance of Islam is as follows. His father had not accepted Islam by the time of the conquest of Mecca and by that time, he had already lost his eyesight. When the Holy Prophetsa entered the Sacred Mosque [Masjid al-Haram] on the occasion of the conquest of Mecca, Hazrat Abu Bakrra took his father and brought him to the Holy Prophetsa. When the Holy Prophetsa saw them, he said, “Abu Bakr! You should have left this elderly gentleman at home and I would have gone to him myself.” Upon this, Hazrat Abu Bakrra said, “O Messengersa of Allah! It is more befitting that he comes to you rather than you going to him.” [Following this,] Hazrat Abu Bakrra seated him in front of the Holy Prophetsa. The Holy Prophetsa placed his hand over his chest and said, “Accept Islam and you will have peace!” Hence, Abu Quhafah accepted Islam. (Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, Al-Isabah fi Tamyiz al-Sahabah, Vol. 4, Dhikr Uthman bin Amir, Abu Quhafah [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 2005], pp. 374-375) 

Hazrat Jabirra bin Abdillah relates, “Abu Quhafah was brought on the day of the conquest of Mecca and the hair on his head and his beard had already turned white in the likeness of Saghama [type of flower].” In relation to Saghama it is said that it was a white flower that grew in the mountains. Nevertheless, the hair on his head and his beard were completely white. Upon this, the Holy Prophetsa said, “You should change its colour” i.e. he should dye it and it would be better to dye it with another colour. “However, you should avoid black.” (Sahih Muslim, Kitab al-Adab, Bab fi Sabgh al-Sha‘r wa Taghyir al-Shaib, Hadith 3911, translated, Vol. 11, pp. 198-199)

This does not mean that there is something wrong with dying the hair black; rather, the Holy Prophetsa might have considered that the hair being completely black at this age might not suit his countenance. Nevertheless, the Holy Prophetsa said that it should be dyed. 

Hazrat Abu Bakr’sra mother was among the early converts to Islam. There is mention of this in Sirat al-Halabiyyah that when the Holy Prophetsa went to Dar-e-Arqam in order for him and his companions to worship Allah the Almighty in secret, the number of Muslims at the time was 38. At the time, Hazrat Abu Bakrra made a request to the Holy Prophetsa that they go to the Sacred Mosque. 

The Holy Prophetsa stated, “O Abu Bakr, we are very few in number.” However, Hazrat Abu Bakrra insisted until the Holy Prophetsa, along with all his companions, went to the Sacred Mosque. Hazrat Abu Bakrra addressed the people whilst the Holy Prophetsa was also present there and he called them to Allah and His Messengersa. So in this way, he was the second orator after the Holy Prophetsa to call the people towards Allah. Following this, the idolaters pounced upon Hazrat Abu Bakrra and the other Muslims in order to attack them, and did so very brutally. Hazrat Abu Bakrra was trampled upon and was viciously beaten. Utbah bin Rabi‘ah was beating Hazrat Abu Bakrra with his shoes that had a double layer of leather. He used those to hit Hazrat Abu Bakrra in the face so much that his face became so swollen to the extent that his nose could not even be distinguished. 

Then, the people of Banu Taym came and pushed the idolaters away from Hazrat Abu Bakrra. They covered Hazrat Abu Bakrra in a cloth, picked him up and carried him home. They were almost certain of the demise of Hazrat Abu Bakrra due to the extent to which he was beaten. The people of Banu Taym then returned to the Sacred Mosque, i.e. the Ka‘bah, and said, “By Allah, if Abu Bakr passes away, we will certainly kill Utbah (who beat him the most).” 

They then returned to Hazrat Abu Bakrra. His father Abu Quhafah and the people of Banu Taym tried to speak to him but due to falling unconscious, Hazrat Abu Bakrra was unable to answer them. This continued till the night when he was finally able to speak, and the first thing he asked was, “How is the Messengersa of Allah?” The people did not reply, yet he continued to ask the same question. His mother then said, “By God, I have no news regarding your Companion.” Hazrat Abu Bakrra then said to his mother, “Go to Umm-e-Jamil bint al-Khattab, the sister of Hazrat Umarra”. Umm-e-Jamil had already accepted Islam but was keeping her faith hidden. “Go to her and ask about the Holy Prophetsa.” 

Hence, his mother went to Umm-e-Jamil and said, “Abu Bakr enquires about Muhammadsa bin Abdillah.” She answered, “I do not know Muhammadsa, nor Abu Bakr.” Umm-e-Jamil then said to the mother of Hazrat Abu Bakrra, “Do you wish for me to go with you?” to which she replied in the affirmative. 

She therefore accompanied her to Hazrat Abu Bakrra, and when she saw him lying on the floor covered in wounds, she screamed and said, “Whoever has done this to you is indeed wicked and I hope Allah the Almighty punishes them for it.” 

Hazrat Abu Bakrra then enquired about the Holy Prophetsa. Umm-e- Jamil said, “Your mother is also listening.” He replied, “She will not reveal your secret.” Thereafter, Umm-e-Jamil said, “The Holy Prophetsa is well.” Hazrat Abu Bakrra then asked, “Where is he now?” Umm-e-Jamil replied, “In Dar-e-Arqam.” 

Ponder over how great was Hazrat Abu Bakr’sra love for the Holy Prophetsa, for when he heard this, Hazrat Abu Bakrra said, “By Allah, I shall not eat nor drink until I have first gone to the Holy Prophetsa.” Hazrat Abu Bakr’sra mother narrates that they kept him (i.e. Hazrat Abu Bakrra) for a short while until there was no longer anyone walking around outside and were resting. Thereafter they took him outside. He was walking with her support until he reached the Holy Prophetsa and was overcome with intense emotion. 

Upon seeing his condition, the Holy Prophetsa knelt down to kiss Hazrat Abu Bakrra and the Muslims also leaned over. Hazrat Abu Bakrra then said, “O Messengersa of Allah! May my parents be sacrificed for your sake, I feel no pain other than the wounds the people caused on my face, and my mother here treats her son well.” This was what was said in brief. “Perhaps through you, Allah the Almighty protects her from the fire.” 

Hazrat Abu Bakrra said with regard to his mother that perhaps owing to the Holy Prophetsa’s grace, Allah the Almighty protected her from the fire, i.e. she became a believer. Following this, the Holy Prophetsa prayed for his mother and invited her to Islam, after which she accepted Islam. (Ali bin Burhan al-Din al-Halabi, Al-Sirah al-Halabiyyah, Vol. 1, Bab Istikhfa‘ihi wa Ashabihi fin Dar al-Arqam [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 2002], pp. 418-419)

In this way, the mother of Hazrat Abu Bakrra accepted Islam in the very early days. 

With regard to the narrations about the birth of Hazrat Abu Bakrra, there is an authentic book on the life of the companions according to which Hazrat Abu Bakrra was born two years and six months after Aam-ul-Fil [Year of the Elephant]. (Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, Al-Isabah fi Tamyiz al-Sahabah, Vol. 4, Abdullah bin Uthman, Abu Quhafah [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 2005], p. 145) 

It is recorded in Tarikh Al-Tabari and Tabaqat al-Kubra that he was born three years after Aam-ul-Fil. (Ibn Saad, Al-Tabaqat al-Kubra, Vol. 3, Dhikr Wasiyyat Abi Bakr [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 2012], p. 151) (Muhammad Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, Tarikh al-Tabari, Vol. 2 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah], p. 348)

Then, with regard to the titles of Hazrat Abu Bakrra, there are two titles which are well-known; one is Atiq and the other Siddiq. With regard to why he was called Atiq, it is mentioned that Hazrat Aishara stated that once, Hazrat Abu Bakrra went to the Holy Prophetsa, and the Holy Prophetsa said to him, 

أَنْتَ‭ ‬عَطِيْقُ‭ ‬اللّٰهِ‭ ‬مِنَ‭ ‬النَّارِ

“You have been saved by Allah, from the fire”. Thus, from that day onward, he was given the title of Atiq. (Sunan al-Tirmidhi, Abwab al-Manaqib, Bab Tasmiyihi Atiqan, Hadith 3679)

There are some historians who believe that Atiq was not the title of Hazrat Abu Bakrra, but was his actual name. However, this is not correct. Allama Jalaluddin al-Suyuti writes in Tarikh al-Khulafa,with reference to Imam Nawawi, that Hazrat Abu Bakr’sra name was Abdullah, and this is more commonly accepted and correct. There are also some who say that his name was Atiq; however, the point upon which most scholars agree upon is that Atiq was his title, not his name. (Jalaluddin Abd al-Rahman bin Abi Bakr al-Suyuti, Tarikh al-Khulafa, p. 27, Dar al-Kitab al-Arabi, Beirut, 1999)

The reason for being called Atiq as recorded in Sirat Ibn Hisham is that it was due to the beauty of his countenance and his overall elegance and grace. (Ibn Hisham, Al-Sirah al-Nabawiyyah, Islam Abi Bakr wa man ma‘ahu [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar Ibn Hazm, 2009], p. 117)

The following reasons for being called Atiq have been recorded in the commentary of Sirat Ibn Hisham; Atiq means al-Hasano; in other words, one who possesses excellent qualities. In other words, he was safeguarded from any condemnation and shortcomings. 

It is also said that he was called Atiq because none of his mother’s children would remain alive, and she vowed that if she ever had a child, she would name him Abdul Ka‘bah and would devote the child for the service of the Ka‘bah. When he remained alive and grew into a young man, he was called Atiq, i.e. one who was saved from death. (Ibn Hisham, Al-Raud al-Unf fi Tafsir al-Sirah al-Nabawiyyah, Vol. 1, Islam Abi Bakr [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, Edition 1], p. 430)

There are also various other reasons found for being called Atiq; according to some, he was called Atiq because there was no blemish in his ancestry whereby someone could raise an allegation against it. (Ibn Abd al-Barr, Al-Isti‘ab fi Ma‘rifat al-Ashab, Vol. 3, Abdullah bin Abi Quhafah [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Jil, 2002], p. 963) 

Another meaning of Atiq is ancient or old; thus, Hazrat Abu Bakrra was also called Atiq because he had always been one to carry out virtuous and good deeds. (Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, Al-Isabah fi Tamyiz al-Sahabah, Vol. 4 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 2005], p. 146) 

Similarly, he was also called Atiq because of being the foremost to accept Islam and in doing good works. (Umdat al-Qari, Kitab Bad‘ al-Khalq, Bab Manaqib al-Muhajirin wa Fadlihim, Vol. 16, p. 260, Dar Ihya al-Turath al-Arabi, Beirut, 2003)

Then, the reason for his title of Siddiq is also mentioned. Allama Jalaluddin al-Suyuti writes:

“As far as the title ‘Siddiq’ is concerned, it is said that this title was given to him during the period of jahiliyyah [era of ignorance prior the advent of Islam]. This was owing to the truthfulness demonstrated by him. It is also said that due to him immediately testifying to the news that the Holy Prophetsa would disclose to him, he was referred to as ‘Siddiq’.” (Jalaluddin Abd al-Rahman bin Abi Bakr al-Suyuti, Tarikh al-Khulafa [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kitab al-Arabi, 1999], pp. 28-29)

Hazrat Aishara relates that when the Holy Prophetsa was taken to Baitul Maqdis and the Al-Aqsa Mosque (referring to the incident of Isra [the spiritual night journey]), people began to discuss this the next morning, after having been informed of the news. Among the people were some who had accepted the Holy Prophetsa and had testified to his claim but distanced themselves. (There were some who were of weak faith.) 

At that time, some of the hypocrites came running to Hazrat Abu Bakrra and said, “Have you heard about your companion? He is claiming that he was taken to Baitul Maqdis last night.” Upon this, Hazrat Abu Bakrra asked whether the Holy Prophetsa had actually said this, to which the people replied in the affirmative. Hazrat Abu Bakrra stated that if the Holy Prophetsa had said this then this was surely the truth. People asked Hazrat Abu Bakrra whether he was testifying to the fact that the Holy Prophetsa went to Baitul Maqdis the previous night and returned before the morning. (This was because Baitul Maqdis was approximately at a distance of 1,300 kilometres from Mecca.) Hazrat Abu Bakrra replied, “Yes, I attest to that and I will also attest to that which may seem to be even more improbable.” Hazrat Abu Bakrra then stated, “I also testify to the heavenly news which is revealed to the Holy Prophetsa every morning and every night.” For this reason, Hazrat Abu Bakrra was known by the title of Siddiq. (Al-Mustadrak ala al-Sahihain lil Hakim, Kitab Marifat al-Sahabah, Vol. 3 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 2002], p. 4458)

Abu Wahb, the freed slave of Hazrat Abu Hurairahra, relates that the Holy Prophetsa once said, “The night I was taken [to Baitul Maqdis] (i.e. the incident of Isra), I said to Gabriel, ‘Surely, my people will not attest to me’”, meaning people would not believe him. “Gabriel said:

يُصَدِّقُكَ‭ ‬أَبُوْ‭ ‬بَكْرٍ‭ ‬وَهُوَ‭ ‬الصِّدِّيْقُ

“‘Abu Bakr will attest to you, for he is truthful (Siddiq).’” This is recorded in Tabaqat al-Kubra. (Ibn Saad, Al-Tabaqat al-Kubra, Vol. 3, Abu Bakr Siddiq [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 1990], p. 167) 

Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra states:

“Hazrat Aishara relates that when the incident of Isra [i.e. the Spiritual Night Journey] took place, people went running to Hazrat Abu Bakrra and asked him whether he was aware of what his friend was saying. He asked them what it was that he was saying. They replied, ‘He says that he travelled to Baitul Maqdis at night and then returned.’” 

Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra further writes:

“Had the Holy Prophetsa mentioned the incident of the Mi‘raj [i.e. the Spiritual Ascension] having occurred at the same time as being part of the same incident, the disbelievers would have raised more of an issue with that aspect; however, they only said that the Holy Prophetsa claimed that he travelled to Baitul Maqdis in the night. 

“When Hazrat Abu Bakrra attested to what the Holy Prophetsa said, the people said, ‘Do you accept this which goes against logic?’ Hazrat Abu Bakrra said, ‘I also accept the fact that divine words are revealed to him by day and by night.’” (Tafsir-e-Kabir, Vol. 4, p. 286)

The Promised Messiahas states:

“Allah the Almighty knows best the qualities which were found in Hazrat Abu Bakrra that led the Holy Prophetsa to call him Siddiq. The Holy Prophetsa also said that the reason for Hazrat Abu Bakr’sra excellence is owing to that which is found in his heart, and upon pondering closely, it becomes clear that it is difficult to find a similar example to the degree of truthfulness exhibited by Hazrat Abu Bakrra. The reality is that in any era, when one tries to achieve the lofty standards of Siddiq, it is necessary that they strive as much as possible to establish the nature and qualities of Abu Bakrra within themselves and to then pray as much as possible. Until one does not allow the qualities of Abu Bakrra to overtake them, and does not become imbued with the same qualities, he cannot attain the lofty standards of being Siddiq.” (Malfuzat, Vol. 1, pp. 372-373)

It is also recorded that aside from Atiq and Siddiq, Abu Bakrra had other titles as well, such as “Khalifatu Rasulillah” [The Khalifa of the Messengersa of Allah]. Hazrat Abu Bakrra was also known as Khalifatu Rasulillah, as it is recorded in a narration that a person once said to Hazrat Abu Bakrra:

خَلِيْفَةُ‭ ‬رَسُوْلِ‭ ‬اللّٰهِ

“O Khalifa of Allah!” Hazrat Abu Bakrra said, “Do not say Khalifa of Allah; rather, say Khalifa of the Messengersa of Allah.” (Ibn Saad, Al-Tabaqat al-Kubra, Vol. 3, Dhikr Bai‘at Abi Bakr Siddiq [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 1990], p. 137) 

That is, he was the successor to the Holy Prophetsa and he was content with this. In the commentary of Sahih Bukhari, Allama Badr al-Din Aini states that historians are unanimous in the fact that Hazrat Abu Bakrra was known as Khalifatu Rasulillah, and of course, this title was given to him after the demise of the Holy Prophetsa when he became a Khalifa. (Umdatul-Qari, Kitab Bad‘ al-Khalq, Bab Manaqib al-Muhajirin wa Fadlihim, Vol. 16, p. 260, Dar Ihya al-Turath al-Arabi, Beirut, 2003)

Thus, it cannot be said that this title was from the time of the Holy Prophetsa; rather, this title was given to him by the people after the time of the Holy Prophetsa, or Hazrat Abu Bakrra chose this title for himself.

Another title was “Awwahun”, which means extremely forbearing and tender-hearted. It is recorded in Tabaqat al-Kubra that Hazrat Abu Bakrra was called Awwahun due to his tenderness and kindness. (Ibn Saad, Al-Tabaqat al-Kubra, Vol. 3 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 2012], p. 127) 

He was called “Awwahun Munib”, which means tender-hearted and oft-returning to God. It is recorded in Tabaqat al-Kubra that the narrator heard Hazrat Alira say whilst standing at the pulpit, “Listen closely, Hazrat Abu Bakrra was very tender-hearted and oft-returning to God. Listen closely, Allah the Almighty granted Hazrat Umarra good-will, as a result of which he was a well-wisher.” (Ibn Saad, Al-Tabaqat al-Kubra, Vol. 3 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 2012], p. 127) 

“Amir al-Shakirin” was another title of Hazrat Abu Bakrra, meaning the leader of the grateful. Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiqra was known as Amir al-Shakirin because of how grateful he was. It is recorded in Umdat al-Qari that Hazrat Abu Bakrra would be called by the title of Amir al-Shakirin. (Umdatul-Qari, Kitab Bad‘ al-Khalq, Bab Manaqib al-Muhajirin wa Fadlihim, Vol. 16, p. 260, Dar Ihya al-Turath al-Arabi, Beirut, 2003)

Another title was “Thani Ihtnain” [one of the two]. Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiqra was given the title of Thani Ithnain by Allah the Almighty. Allah the Almighty stated:

إِلَّا‭ ‬تَنصُرُوهُ‭ ‬فَقَدۡ‭ ‬نَصَرَهُ‭ ‬اللّٰهُ‭ ‬إِذۡ‭ ‬أَخۡرَجَهُ‭ ‬الَّذِينَ‭ ‬كَفَرُواْ‭ ‬ثَانِيَ‭ ‬اثۡنَيۡنِ‭ ‬إِذۡ‭ ‬هُمَا‭ ‬فِي‭ ‬الۡغَارِ‭ ‬إِذۡ‭ ‬يَقُولُ‭ ‬لِصٰحِبِهِۦ‭ ‬لَا‭ ‬تَحۡزَنۡ‭ ‬إِنَّ‭ ‬اللّٰهَ‭ ‬مَعَنَاۖ‭ ‬فَأَنزَلَ‭ ‬اللّٰهُ‭ ‬سَكِينَتَهُۥ‭ ‬عَلَيۡهِ

“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.” [Ch.9: V.40]

The Promised Messiahas states:

“During a period of great hardship and difficulty, Allah the Almighty comforted His Prophetsa through him. He was honoured by being granted the title of Al-Siddiq [the truthful] and he enjoyed the nearness of the Holy Prophetsa. Moreover, Allah the Almighty bestowed upon him the title of being ‘one of the two’ and counted him amongst His most chosen servants …”

“Can you point towards any other man who has been referred to as ‘one of the two’, who has been named a close companion of the Prophetsa of both realms, and who has been made a recipient of the blessings enshrined in the words ‘Allah is with us’, and who has been declared as one of the two individuals who were granted divine succour? Do you know of anyone else who has been praised in the Quran in such a manner? Or whose character has been secured against all doubts and suspicions? Or regarding whom it has been stated, not as mere conjecture, but rather in clear and emphatic verses of the Holy Quran that he was among those accepted by God?

“By Allah, I cannot find anyone other than Hazrat Abu Bakr al-Siddiqra who has received such special and clear mention in the Scripture of the Lord of the Ancient House [Ka‘bah]. Therefore, if you are in doubt concerning that which I have said, or if you think that I have deviated from the truth, then quote even a single instance of another individual being mentioned in such terms in the Quran, if you are indeed truthful.” (Sirr-ul-Khilafah, Urdu translation of Sirr-ul-Khilafah , pp. 60, 63-64)

The Promised Messiahas wrote this in Sirr-ul-Khilafah

Another title of Hazrat Abu Bakrra is “Sahib-ul-Rasul”, which means “the Companion of the Messengersa”. 

Hazrat Abu Bakrra states that he once addressed a gathering and asked, “Who among you shall recite Surah al-Taubah?” One of them stated, “I will.” When he reached the verse:

إِذۡ‭ ‬يَقُولُ‭ ‬لِصٰحِبِهِۦ‮ ‬لَا تَحۡزَنۡ

That is, “When he said to his Companion, ‘Grieve not …’” [Ch.9: V.40], Hazrat Abu Bakrra began to cry and said, “By God, I was that very companion of the Holy Prophetsa.” (Ali bin Burhan al-Din al-Halabi, Al-Sirah al-Halabiyyah, Vol. 2, Bab Ard Rasul Allahsa Nafsihi … [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 2002], p. 54)

Another title of Hazrat Abu Bakrra was “Adam-e-Thani” [the Second Coming of Adam]. This title of Hazrat Abu Bakrra was granted to him by the Promised Messiahas. In one of his letters, the Promised Messiahas states:

“For Islam, Abu Bakrra was the second coming of Adam; similarly, if Hazrat Umar Farooqra and Hazrat Uthmanra, may Allah be pleased with both of them, did not show sincerity in the trust bestowed upon them, then it would be impossible for us to consider even one verse of the Quran to be from Allah the Almighty.” (Maktubat-e-Ahmad, Vol. 2, p. 151, Maktub number 2, Maktub banam Hazrat Nawab Muhammad Ali Khan Sahib, Rabwah)

In Sirr-ul-Khilafah, the Promised Messiahas states – the translation of which is:

“By God, Hazrat Abu Bakrra was the second coming of Adam for Islam and the foremost manifestation of the spiritual grace of the Holy Prophetsa, the Best of Creation.” (Sirr-ul-Khilafah, Urdu translation of Sirr al-Khilafah, pp. 51-52)

Another title of Hazrat Abu Bakrra was “Khalil-ul-Rasul” [A Friend of the Messengersa]. In various biographies, “Khalil-ul-Rasul” has been mentioned as one of the titles of Hazrat Abu Bakrra. This is based upon a narration found in the books of ahadith in which the Holy Prophetsa mentioned that if he were to make someone a close friend [Khalil] it would be Abu Bakrra. It is narrated by Ibn Abbas in Sahih Bukhari that during his final illness, the Holy Prophetsa stated, “If I was to take someone as a close friend [Khalil] from among the people, it would be Hazrat Abu Bakr. However, the friendship and brotherhood in Islam is most superior. Close all the doors in this mosque except for the door of Abu Bakr.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Salah, Bab al-Khaufah wa al-Mumir fi al-Masjid, Hadith 467) 

Our Research Cell has raised a question here [with regard to this title] and it is a valid point. They state that this hadith only mentions that if the Holy Prophetsa was to take someone as a close friend it would have been Hazrat Abu Bakrra, but he did not actually make him one. This has been explained by the Promised Messiahas in one place. The Promised Messiahas states:

“The explanation of the statement of the Holy Prophetsa whereby he mentioned that if he was to take someone as a close friend in this world, then it would have been Hazrat Abu Bakrra.” 

Expounding upon this, the Promised Messiahas states:

“This particular statement needs explanation because the Holy Prophetsa considered Hazrat Abu Bakrra as a friend of his. Then what does this [hadith] mean? The fact of the matter is that a close friendship [khullat] is a bond that becomes deeply ingrained within a person. However, it is only befitting to establish a relationship of such a nature with Allah the Almighty alone. With everyone else, one simply forms a bond of brotherhood and kinship. The very meaning of the word ‘khullat’ is for something to take root (this is the highest form of its definition) just like the love for Yusuf had become deeply rooted in Zulaikhah. This is the very meaning of the pure words of the Holy Prophetsa in that no one can be held as an equal in one’s love for Allah the Almighty. If the Holy Prophetsa was to take someone as a very close friend in this world then it would have been Abu Bakr.” (Malfuzat, Vol. 8, p. 277)

Allah the Almighty holds a distinct station and no one else can occupy that rank. But in terms of the general friendships that are formed in this world, Abu Bakrra was indeed a friend of the Holy Prophetsa, but even then this friendship with him was not like that of his bond of close friendship that he shared with Allah the Almighty. It is impossible for a prophet, and particularly for the Holy Prophetsa, to take someone as a close friend just like their bond of friendship they shared with Allah the Almighty. This was not possible at all. However, if it were possible to form a friendship in worldly terms, then the Holy Prophetsa stated that Abu Bakrra had the greatest right for this.

What names was Hazrat Abu Bakrra commonly known by? One of his names was Abu Bakr and there are various reasons as to why he was referred to by this name. According to some, Bakr refers to a young camel. Since he took a keen interest and possessed a great skill in looking after and tending to the camels, therefore people referred to him as Abu Bakr. Another meaning of bakkara is to act swiftly and be the first to do something. According to some, he was referred to by this name because he was the first to accept Islam. 

إِنَّهُ‭ ‬بَكَّرَ‭ ‬إلَى‭ ‬الْإِسْلَامِ‭ ‬قَبْلَ‭ ‬غَيْرِهِ

That is, “He was the first one to embrace Islam.” (Bashir Sajid, Asharah Mubasharah, p. 41, Al-Badr Publications, Lahore, 2000)

Allama Al-Zamakhshari writes that owing to his quality of “Ibtikar” in that he was the first one to do things, he was thus known as Abu Bakr. (Ali bin Burhan al-Din al-Halabi, Al-Sirah al-Halabiyyah, Vol. 1, Bab Awwal al-Nas Imanan bihisa [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 2002], p. 54)

With regard to Hazrat Abu Bakr’sra appearance, Hazrat Aishara narrates that once, she was sat in her camel litter and saw an Arab man walking. Upon this, she stated, “I have never seen anyone resemble Hazrat Abu Bakrra more than this person.” The narrator states that they asked Hazrat Aishara to describe the features and appearance of Hazrat Abu Bakrra. Hazrat Aishara stated, “Hazrat Abu Bakrra had a fair complexion and was of a thin build. He had very slender cheeks and his back was slightly curved forward as a result of which his outer garment would slip down from his back. He had a slender face and deep-set eyes and he had a prominent forehead.” (Ibn Saad, Al-Tabaqat al-Kubra, Vol. 3, Abu Bakr Siddiqra wa man Bani Taym bin Murrah bin Kaab [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 1990], p. 140) 

In Sahih al-Bukhari, there is a narration from Hazrat Abdullah bin Umarra in which the Holy Prophetsa said, “Whosoever lets his clothes drag on the floor behind him out of arrogance, Allah the Almighty will not even glance at him on the Day of Judgement.” Hazrat Abu Bakrra said, “My cloak from one side becomes loose and falls down, unless I pay special attention to it.” The Holy Prophetsa stated, “You do not do it out of arrogance.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab Fada‘il Ashab al-Nabisa, Bab Qaul al-Nabisa Lau Kunta Muttakhidhan Khalilan, Hadith 3665) 

Therefore, it was permissible for him as there was no harm in doing so.

Hazrat Abu Bakrra would use Henna and Katam as a dye. (Sahih Muslim, Kitab al-Fada‘il, Bab Shaibihisa, Hadith 6073) 

Katam is a plant that grows on mountains. It is applied after mixing with indigo leaves [wasmah], which causes the hair to go black. (Lisan al-Arab, Zair madah ‘Katama’)

With regard to Hazrat Abu Bakr’sra occupation before the advent of Islam and his status among the Quraish, there is a narration in Tarikh al-Tabari which states, “Hazrat Abu Bakrra was loved and respected among his people. He possessed a soft nature. Hazrat Abu Bakrra had the most knowledge with respect to the lineage of the Quraish and knew all the positive and negative aspects of it. He was a trader by profession and possessed good morals and virtues. The Quraish would approach Hazrat Abu Bakrra for a number of reasons and loved him dearly”, i.e. due to his knowledge and experience and also his beneficial gatherings. (Muhammad Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, Tarikh al-Tabari, Vol. 1, Tarikh ma Qabl al-Hijrah [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah], pp. 540-541)

Muhammad Husain Haikal writes:

“All of the Quraish were merchants and every person of the Quraish was involved in trade. Thus, when Abu Bakrra grew up, he began trading in clothes, in which he achieved great success. Soon enough, he became known as one of the most successful merchants in Mecca. One big reason for his success in trading was his charismatic personality and exceptional morals.” (Muhammad Husain Haikal, Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiq Akbarra – translated by Shaikh Ahmad Panipati, p. 41, Ilm-o-Irfan Publications, Lahore, 2004)

When the Holy Prophetsa made his claim to prophethood, Hazrat Abu Bakr’sra total wealth amounted to 40,000 dirhams. Through his wealth, Hazrat Abu Bakrra would free slaves and help the Muslims, to the extent that when Hazrat Abu Bakrra migrated to Medina, he only had 5,000 dirhams remaining. (Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, Al-Isabah fi Tamyiz al-Sahabah, Vol. 4, Dhikr Abdillah bin Uthman [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 2005], p. 148) 

There are various incidents prior to the advent of Islam. Owing to his wealth and excellent morals, Hazrat Abu Bakrra had a high standing among the Quraish. He was counted amongst the leaders of the Quraish. Everyone would seek his advice and he was counted amongst the most pious and virtuous people. He was a generous and noble leader and would always generously spend his wealth. He was very popular and dear to his people. He would always sit in respectable gatherings. He possessed the most knowledge about the interpretation of dreams. 

A renowned scholar of the interpretation of dreams, Ibn Sirin states that after the Holy Prophetsa, from among the Muslims, Abu Bakrra was the greatest scholar on the interpretation of dreams and he possessed the most knowledge about the lineage and family tree of the Quraish. 

Jubair bin Mut‘im, who was an expert in genealogy, states, “I learned genealogy from Hazrat Abu Bakrra, especially regarding the genealogy of the Quraish, because Abu Bakrra possessed the most knowledge about the lineage of the Quraish and knew the most about the positive and negative traits related to it. However, Hazrat Abu Bakrra would not mention the negative aspects. For this reason, Hazrat Abu Bakrra was more popular than Hazrat Aqil bin Abi Talib. 

“After Hazrat Abu Bakrra, Hazrat Aqil had the most knowledge about the genealogy and ancestors of the Quraish, as well as their positive and negative traits. But Hazrat Aqil was disliked by the Quraish because he would recount those negative aspects to the Quraish. Hazrat Aqil would sit in Masjid Nabawi with Hazrat Abu Bakrra to learn genealogy and about the [historical] incidents and events of the Quraish. In the eyes of the people of Mecca, Hazrat Abu Bakrra was among their most excellent people and so whenever the Meccans faced difficulty, they would come and seek help from him. (Ali bin Burhan al-Din al-Halabi, Al-Sirah al-Halabiyyah, Vol. 1, Bab Istikhfa‘ihi wa Ashabihi fin Dar al-Arqam [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 2002], p. 390)

Each tribe settled in Mecca had an assigned responsibility with regard to the Ka‘bah and each task was delegated; the Banu Abd Manaf were assigned the duty of providing water and all necessary provisions for the pilgrims; the Banu Abd Dar were responsible for the banners used in battle and the safety of the Ka‘bah and maintaining of Dar al-Nadwah [assembly point where chiefs of the Quraish discussed important matters]. Leading the army in battle was assigned to the Banu Makhzum which was the tribe of Hazrat Khalidra bin Walid; collecting blood money and matters related to that was assigned to the Banu Taym bin Murrah which was the tribe of Hazrat Abu Bakrra. When Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiqra became an adult, this responsibility was assigned to him. (Muhammad Husain Haikal, Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiqra – translated, p. 59)

When Hazrat Abu Bakrra would decide the amount for blood money, the Quraish would accept it and respect his decision, but if someone other than him would set the amount, the Quraish would shun him and refuse to accept it. (Ali Ibn al-Athir, Usd al-Ghabah fi Ma‘rifat al-Sahabah, Vol. 3, Abdullah bin Uthman [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Fikr, 2008], p. 311) 

Hazrat Abu Bakrra was also part of the Hilf al-Fudul. This was a special pact that was formed to help the poor and the oppressed. In ancient times, some noble-hearted individuals thought that an alliance should be formed in which they vow to ensure that each person is given their due rights and to assist them in attaining what is rightfully theirs; also that they would stop the cruelty of the oppressors. In Arabic, because one’s right is also known as “fadl”, and its plural is “fudul”, that is why this pact became known as “Hilf al-Fudul”. According to other narrations, it is also said that since many members of this alliance had the word fadl in their names, this agreement was named Hilf al-Fudul. 

In any case, after the Battle of Fujar, Zubair bin Abdul-Muttalib, a paternal uncle of the Holy Prophetsa, was most probably inspired by this war and proposed to revive this alliance once again. Therefore, upon this idea of his, the representatives from the different tribes of the Quraish gathered at the home of Abdullah bin Jud‘an where arrangements for a feast had been made from him. All the representatives unanimously took a mutual oath that they would forever restrain injustice and assist the oppressed. The ones who took part in this agreement include the Banu Hashim, Banu Muttalib, Banu Asad, Banu Zuhrah and Banu Taym. The Holy Prophetsa was also present at this occasion and joined in this agreement. Hence, on one occasion during the time of his prophethood, the Holy Prophetsa said, “In the house of Abdullah bin Jud‘an, I once partook in such an oath that even if I was called to it today, in the age of Islam, I would respond to it.” (Sirat Khatamun-Nabiyyin, 104-105)

With regard to Hazrat Abu Bakrra participating in the Hilf al-Fudul, an author states that the Holy Prophetsa was present in this alliance as well as Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiqra. (Sayeduna Siddiq Akbarra ke Shab o Roz, Muhammad Hudhaifah Lahori, p. 19, Maktabah al-Haramain, Lahore)

With reference to Hazrat Abu Bakr’sra relationship and friendship with the Holy Prophetsa prior to prophethood, it is narrated by Ibn Ishaq and others that they were friends even prior to prophethood. Hazrat Abu Bakrra was fully aware of the Holy Prophet’ssa honesty, trustworthiness, virtuous nature and excellent morals. In one narration, it is said, “Hazrat Abu Bakrra was friends with the Holy Prophetsa even in the jahiliyya [era of ignorance prior to the advent of Islam].” (Ibn Kathir, Al-Bidayah wa al-Nihayah, Vol. 2, Ch. 3, Bab Dhikr Awal man Aslama, [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 2001] 29, p. 32)

In Siyar al-Sahabah it is written, “From childhood, Hazrat Abu Bakrra had a special bond of love and reverence with the Holy Prophetsa. He was part of the Holy Prophet’ssa close associates and often had the fortune of travelling with him on many trade expeditions.” (Sheikh Shah Moinuddin Ahmad Nadvi, Siyar al-Sahabah, Vol. 1, p. 56)

With regard to the Holy Prophet’ssa circle of friends prior to his prophethood, Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad Sahibra writes:

“Prior to his prophethood, the circle of friendly relations of the Holy Prophetsa seems to be quite limited. This is because the Holy Prophetsa was one to prefer seclusion from the beginning and never intermingled with the common society of Mecca during any part of his life. However, there were a few individuals with whom the Prophetsa possessed a relationship of friendship. The most distinct among them was Hazrat Abu Bakrra, also known as Abdullah bin Abi Quhafah, who belonged to a noble family of the Quraish. On account of his nobility and aptitude, his people looked upon him with great reverence. Next to him was Hakim bin Hizam, who was the nephew of Hazrat Khadijahra. He was a man of exceptionally good nature. In the beginning, he did not accept Islam, yet he held feelings of sincerity and love for the Holy Prophetsa. Ultimately, his natural propensity drew him to Islam. The Holy Prophetsa also had relations with Zaid bin Amr. He was a near relative of Hazrat Umarra and was among those who had abandoned polytheism even in the time of the jahiliyyah. He attributed himself to the Abrahamic Religion, but passed away prior to the advent of Islam.” (Sirat Khatamun-Nabiyyin, p. 114)

Nonetheless, Hazrat Abu Bakrra was the closest associate of the Holy Prophetsa. Even during the age of ignorance, Hazrat Abu Bakrra was averse to idolatry and abstained from it. Hazrat Abu Bakrra never practised idolatry, nor did he prostrate before any idol even during the age of ignorance. It is recorded in Sirat al-Halabiyyah that most certainly, Hazrat Abu Bakrra never prostrated to any idol. Allama Ibn Jawzi has included Hazrat Abu Bakrra amongst those individuals who refused to worship idols, even during the age of ignorance. That is to say, he never went near any idols. (Ali bin Burhan al-Din al-Halabi, Al-Sirah al-Halabiyyah, Vol. 1, Bab Dhikr Awwal al-Nas Imanan [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 2002], pp. 384-385)

He was also averse to drinking alcohol during the age of ignorance. Hazrat Aishara relates that Hazrat Abu Bakrra had deemed alcohol forbidden for himself in the age of ignorance. He did not consume alcohol in the pre-Islamic era, nor after the advent of Islam. (Kanz al-Ummal, Vol. 12, p. 490, Bab Manaqib Abi Bakrra, Hadith 35609, Mu‘assisat al-Risalah, Beirut, 1985)

It is reported that once, in a gathering of companions of the Holy Prophetsa, Hazrat Abu Bakrra was asked whether he ever consumed alcohol in the age of ignorance. In response, Hazrat Abu Bakrra stated, “I seek refuge with Allah.” He was asked about the reason for this [i.e. why he did not consume alcohol]. He replied, “I value my honour and purity because the one who consumes alcohol destroys his honour and purity.” The narrator reports that when the Holy Prophetsa came to hear about this, he said:

صَدَقَ‭ ‬أَبُوْ‭ ‬بَكْرٍ‭ ‬صَدَقَ‭ ‬أَبُوْ‭ ‬بَكْرٍ

That is, “Abu Bakr has spoken the truth. Abu Bakr has spoken the truth.” (Jalaluddin Abd al-Rahman bin Abi Bakr al-Suyuti, Tarikh al-Khulafa, p. 30, Chapter: kana Abu Bakr A’Af al-Nas fi al-Jahiliyyah, Dar al-Kitab al-Arabi, Beirut, 1999)

The Holy Prophetsa repeated this twice. 

There are many narrations recorded that mention how Hazrat Abu Bakrra accepted Islam. Some instances are very detailed whilst others are brief; however, I will make mention of some of them. Hazrat Aishara relates, “Ever since I can remember, my mother and father were followers of Islam. There was never a day when the Holy Prophetsa did not visit us in the morning and evening.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Kafalah, Bab Jawar Abi Bakr fi Ahd al-Nabisa wa Aqdih, Hadith 2297) 

There are various narrations about Hazrat Abu Bakrra and his acceptance of Islam. 

In Sharah Zarqani, the incident of Hazrat Abu Bakr’sra acceptance of Islam is mentioned as follows:

“One day, Hazrat Abu Bakrra was in the home of Hakim bin Hizam. One of his housemaids came and said, ‘Your aunt, Khadija, is saying that her husband claims to be a prophet just like Mosesas.’ On hearing this, Hazrat Abu Bakrra quietly departed, went to meet the Holy Prophetsa and accepted Islam.” (Sharh Zurqani ala al-Mawahib al-Laduniyyah, Vol. 1, pp. 447-448, Dhikr Awwal min Aamana billah wa Rasulih, Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 1996)

In the commentary of Sirat Ibn Hisham, known as Al-Raud al-Unf, the incident surrounding Hazrat Abu Bakr’sra acceptance of Islam as well as one of his dreams is mentioned as follows:

“Before the advent of the Holy Prophetsa, Hazrat Abu Bakrra saw a dream. He saw that the moon had descended in Mecca and broke into small pieces, spreading to all the places and dwellings of Mecca. A piece [of that moon] entered each and every household, and it seemed as though all the pieces were gathered into his lap. Hazrat Abu Bakrra mentioned this dream to some scholars among the People of the Book and they interpreted it to mean that the time of the awaited prophet was nigh and that he”, i.e. Hazrat Abu Bakrra, “would accept him and owing to this he would become the most fortunate among all the people. Following this, when the Holy Prophetsa invited Hazrat Abu Bakrra to accept Islam, he immediately accepted him without any hesitation.” (Ibn Hisham, Al-Raud al-Unf fi Tafsir al-Sirah al-Nabawiyyah, Vol. 1, Islam Abi Bakrra [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 2013], p. 431)

In Subul al-Huda, there is also mention of the incident of Hazrat Abu Bakr’sra acceptance of Islam. Kaab relates that Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiqra accepted Islam as a result of the revelation he received from the heavens. The details are as follows: 

“Hazrat Abu Bakrra was away on a business trip to Syria. While he was there, he saw a dream and told Bahira the Monk about it. Upon hearing about the vision, Bahira asked, ‘Where are you from?’ Hazrat Abu Bakrra replied that he was from Mecca. Bahira asked which tribe in Mecca he belonged to. Hazrat Abu Bakrra replied that he belonged to the Quraish. Bahira then asked what he did to make a living. Hazrat Abu Bakrra replied that he was a merchant. Upon this, Bahira said, ‘If Allah the Almighty fulfils your dream, then there will be a prophet raised from among your people. You will be subservient to him during his life, and will become his caliph after his demise.’ Hazrat Abu Bakrra kept this matter hidden until the advent of the Holy Prophetsa, and Hazrat Abu Bakrra said, ‘O Muhammadsa, what is the proof of your claim?’” In all other narrations about this, there is no mention that he ever asked for proof. Nonetheless, it is mentioned in this narration. “The Holy Prophetsa responded, ‘The dream you saw whilst in Syria is my proof.’ Upon hearing this, Hazrat Abu Bakrra embraced the Holy Prophetsa and kissed him between the eyes, saying, ‘I bear witness that you are the Messengersa of Allah.’” (Mustafa Abd al-Wahid, Subul al-Huda wa al-Rashad fi Sirat Khair al-Ibad, Vol. 1, Chapter 9, fi ma Akhbara bihi al-Ahbar… [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 1993], p. 124)

In this narration, there was mention of a dream of Hazrat Abu Bakrra, but there were no details recorded about what he saw in that dream. However, according to the account in Sirat al-Halabiyyah it seems to be the same dream in which Hazrat Abu Bakrra saw the moon falling and breaking into pieces, which has already been mentioned. Hazrat Abu Bakrra told Bahira the Monk about this dream. (Ali bin Burhan al-Din al-Halabi, Al-Sirah al-Halabiyyah, Vol. 1 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 2001], p. 391)

In any case, biographers have mentioned various narrations and, insha-Allah, they will be mentioned in the future. 

(Original Urdu transcript published in Al Fazl International, 24 December 2021, pp. 5-10. Translated by The Review of Religions.)

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