MUBASHIR IQBAL KITABA
Medina, the heart of Islam, was gravely threatened by enemy hordes. The Holy Prophet of Islam (SAW) appealed for funds in order to finance a defensive campaign for meeting the impending danger, Hazrat Umar (RA), being affluent ,at once, thought of taking advantage of this golden opportunity and thus surpassed Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiq (RA) in the service of Islam. He hurried to his home and presented a considerable portion of his wealth to the Prophet(SAW) , who Prophet was much pleased to see it and asked , “Have you left anything for your dependants?”
“Half of my wealth, Ya Rasooluh (SAW), I have set aside for my children”, replied Umar (RA).
When Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiq (RA) brought his share, the same question was posed to him.
He (RA) promptly replied, “I have retained only Allah and His Prophet for my dependents”.
Deeply moved by these words, Umar (RA) said, “It would never be possible for me to surpass Abu Bakr Siddiq.
Hazrat Abu Bakr(RA), the first Caliph of Islam and the most trusted as well as devoted lieutenant of the Prophet (SAW), was born in Makkah two and a half years after the year of the Elephant or fifty and a half years before the commencement of Hejira. He was known as Abul Kaab in pre-Islamic days and on conversion to Islam was given the name of Abdulla and the title of AI Siddiq (the truthful) by the Prophet (SAW). He belonged to the Quraishite clan of Bani Taim and his geneology joins with that of the Holy Prophet in the 7th generation. He was one of the most respected leaders even before and after embracing Islam.
Abu Bakr’s(RA) ancestral occupation was business and trade and , in lieu of this, occasionally he undertook commercial trips to Syria and Yemen. He visited Hazrat Muhammad (SAW) even before, and at the time of the revelation , he was in Yemen. On his return to Makkah, the leaders of Quraish including Abu Jahl, Ataba and Shoba, ridiculed in his presence the declaration of Prophethood by Muhammad (SAW). There upon Abu Bakr (RA) got very much excited and exasperated and hurried to the Prophet’s place and embraced Islam.
According to Suyuti, the author of ‘Tarikh ul Khulafa’, the Prophet (SAW) said, “whenever I offered Islam to any person, he showed some hesitation before embracing it. But, Abu Bakr Siddiq (RA) is an exception as he embraced Islam without the slightest hesitation”.
It is a universally admitted fact that among the grownups, Hazrat Abu Bakr (RA), among the youngsters, Hazrat Ali (RA), and among the women, Hazrat Khadija (RA), were first to embrace Islam.
As stated above, Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiq (RA), being a wealthy person placed his entire wealth at the disposal of the Prophet (SAW). Besides, he purchased and set free a number of slaves including Hazrat Bilal (RA), who were bitterly persecuted for accepting Islam. He had to endure all sorts of hardships, intimidation and torture in the service of the new faith. Once, he was severely beaten till he became unconscious. The courage and determination exhibited by the Holy Prophet (SAW) and his faithful Companions in face of bitter opposition will always be a source of inspiration for those who strive for Truth.
Hazrat Abu Bakr (RA) , who had 40,000 dirhams at the time of his conversion, had only 5,000 left at the time of migration. Leaving his wife and children to the care of God, the great Companion left Makkah for Medina in the company of the Prophet (SAW).
Abu Bakr (RA) also fought shoulder to shoulder with the Prophet (SAW) in defensive battles which the adherents of the new faith fought for their existence. Abdur Rahman bin Abu Bakr, after his conversion to Islam, told his father that in the battle of Badr , he got a chance when he could easily strike him down. Abu Bakr (RA) promptly replied that he would not have spared him if he had had the opportunity.
Abu Bakr (RA) died on August 23, 634 A.C. at the age of 63. His Caliphate lasted for two years, three months and eleven days and he was buried by the side of the Prophet (SAW).
On the death of the Holy Prophet (SAW), Hazrat Abu Bakr (RA) was elected as the first Caliph of Islam. After his selection, at which people scrambled to offer ‘bayt’, the Caliph delivered his memorable speech before the electorate.
He said: “Brothers, now I am elected your Ameer, although I am no better than anyone among you. Help me if I am in the right and set me right if I am in the wrong. Truth is a trust: falsehood is treason. The weak among you shall be strong with me till (God willing) his right has been vindicated and the strong among you shall be weak with me till (if Lord will) I have taken what is due from him. Obey me as long as I obey Allah and His Prophet. If I disobey Him and His Prophet, obey me not.”
Intrinsically kind-hearted, Abu Bakr (RA) stood like a rock against the disruptive forces which raised their head after the death of the Holy Prophet(SA). It seemed then that the entire structure of Islam which had been built by the departed master-mind would crumble down. Abu Bakr(RA), being the faithful Companion of the Prophet (SAW), proved to be an exceptionally strong man and stuck to the path shown by his master. During the illness of the Prophet (SAW), an army of 700 men was mobilized under Usarna bin laid to avenge the defeat of Muslims at the hands of the Romans. There was a great turmoil in Arabia after the death of the Prophet (SAW), and his close associates counseled the new Caliph not to dispatch forces outside Medina at such a critical juncture.
Hazrat Abu Bakr (RA) was adamant on the point and replied that he would be the last person in the world to revise the orders of the Prophet. The charger of the commander Usama appointed by the Prophet(RA) was led by the Caliph himself. The army accomplished its object within forty days. The expedition had a salutary effect on the recalcitrant tribesmen who had begun to be sceptical about the inherent potentialities of Islam. The imaginative, timely and dynamic action taken by Abu Bakr Siddiq (RA) tended to establish Muslim power.
—The Author, a research scholar, can be reached at: [email protected]