March 2014

Abu Bakr al-Siddiq, `Atiq ibn Abi Quhafa, Shaykh al-Islam, `Abd Allah ibn `Uthman ibn `Amir al-Qurashi al-Taymi (d. 13), the Prophet’s intimate friend after Allah, exclusive companion at the Prophet’s Basin (hawd) and in the Cave, greatest supporter, closest confidant, first spiritual inheritor, first of the men who believed in him and the only one who did so unhesitatingly, first of his four Rightly-Guided successors, first of the ten promised Paradise, and first of the Prophet’s Community to enter Paradise.

Alone among the Companions, Abu Bakr repeatedly led the Community in prayer in the lifetime of the Prophet. The latter used to call him by his patronyms of Abu Bakr and Ibn Abi Quhafa, and he named him with the attributes "The Most Truthful" (al-Siddîq) and "Allah’s Freedman From the Fire" (`Atîq Allâh min al-nâr). When the Quraysh confronted the Prophet after the Night Journey, they turned to Abu Bakr and said: "Do you believe what he said, that he went last night to the Hallowed House and came back before morning?" He replied: "If he said it, then I believe him, yes, and I do believe him regarding what is farther than that. I believe the news of heaven he brings, whether in the space of a morning or in that of an evening journey." Because of this Abu Bakr was named al-Siddîq: the Very Truthful, the One Who Never Lies.

Among the Companions who narrated from him: Anas, `A’isha, Jabir, Abu Hurayra, the four `Abd Allahs (Ibn `Abbas, Ibn Mas`ud, Ibn `Umar, Ibn `Amr), `Abd Allah ibn al-Zubayr, `Umar, `Uthman, and `Ali. The latter is one of the narrators of the Prophet’s hadith cited by Abu Bakr: "We [Prophets] do not leave anything as inheritance. What we leave behind is charity (sadaqa)."

`Umar said: "Abu Bakr’s faith outweighs the faith of the entire Umma." This is confirmed by the following hadith: The Prophet asked: "Did any of you see anything in his dream?" A man said to the Prophet: "O Messenger of Allah, I saw in my dream as if a balance came down from the heaven in which you were weighed against Abu Bakr and outweighed him, then Abu Bakr was weighed against `Umar and outweighed him, then `Umar was weighed against `Uthman and outweighed him, then the balance was raised up." This displeased the Prophet who said: "Successorship of prophethood (khilâfa nubuwwa)! Then Allah shall give kingship to whomever He will." `Umar also said: "The best of this Community after its Prophet is Abu Bakr." `Ali named him and `Umar the Shaykh al-Islam of the Community and said: "The best of this Community after its Prophet are Abu Bakr and `Umar," "The most courageous of people is Abu Bakr," and "The greatest in reward among people for the volumes of the Qur’an is Abu Bakr, for he was the first of those who gathered the Qur’an between two covers." He was also the first to name it mushaf.

Abu Bakr’s high rank is indicated, among other signs, by the fact that to deny his Companionship to the Prophet entails disbelief (kufr), unlike the denial of the Companionship of `Umar, `Uthman, and `Ali to the Prophet. This is due to the mention of this companionship in the verse: "The second of two when the two were in the cave, and he said unto his companion: Grieve not" (9:40) which refers, by Consensus, to the Prophet and Abu Bakr. Allah further praised him above the rest by saying: "Those who spent and fought before the victory are not upon a level (with the rest of you)." (57:10)
The Prophet confirmed his high rank in many of his sayings, among them:
"Allah gave one of His servants a choice between this world and what He has with Him, and that servant chose what Allah has with Him." Abu Bakr wept profusely and we wondered why he wept, since the Prophet had told of a servant that was given a choice. The Prophet himself was that servant, as Abu Bakr later told us. The Prophet continued: "Among those most dedicated to me in his companionship and property is Abu Bakr. If I were to take an intimate friend other than my Lord, I would take Abu Bakr. But what binds us is the brotherhood of Islam and its love. Let no door [of the Prophet’s mosque] remain open except Abu Bakr’s."
Abu Bakr al-Siddiq,the biography of Abu Bakr al-Siddiq

"I am excused, before each of my friends, of any intimate friendship with anyone. But if I were to take an intimate friend, I would take Ibn Abi Quhafa as my intimate friend. Verily, your Companion is the intimate friend of Allah!"
"You [Abu Bakr] are my companion at the Basin and my companion in the Cave."
"Call Abu Bakr and his son so that I will put something down in writing, for I fear lest someone ambitious forward a claim, and Allah and the believers refuse anyone other than Abu Bakr."
`Amr ibn al-`As asked: "O Messenger of Allah, who is the most beloved of all men to you?" He replied: "Abu Bakr."
"It is impermissible for a people among whom is Abu Bakr, to be led by other than him."
"Take for your leaders those who come after me: Abu Bakr and `Umar."
"O`Ali! Abu Bakr and `Umar are the leaders of the mature inhabitants of Paradise and its youth among the first and the last, except for Prophets and Messengers."
"The sun never rose nor set over anyone better than Abu Bakr."
"The Prophet used to hold nightly conversations with Abu Bakr in the latter’s house, discussing the affairs of Muslims, and I [`Umar] was present with them."
`Umar was angered by Abu Bakr one day and left him in anger. Abu Bakr followed after him, asking his forgiveness, but `Umar refused and shut his door in his face. Abu Bakr then went to the Prophet and took hold of his garment until his knee showed. The Prophet said: "Your companion has been arguing!" Abu Bakr greeted him and said: "There was a dispute between me and `Umar, then I felt remorse and asked him to forgive me but he would not, so I came to you." The Prophet said, repeating three times: "Allah forgives you, O Abu Bakr! Allah forgives you, O Abu Bakr! Allah forgives you, O Abu Bakr!" Then `Umar felt remorse and went asking for Abu Bakr at his house without finding him. He came to the Prophet and greeted him, but the Prophet’s face changed with displeasure. Seeing this, Abu Bakr sat up on his knees in fear before the Prophet, saying twice: "O Messenger of Allah! I am the one who trangressed. O Messenger of Allah! I am the one who transgressed." The Prophet said to the people: "Allah sent me to you and you all said: ‘You are lying!’ But Abu Bakr said: ‘He said the truth.’ Abu Bakr gave me solace with his person and property. Will you leave my companion alone once and for all? Will you leave my companion alone once and for all?!" After this Abu Bakr was never harmed again.
"Jibril came to me, took me by the hand, and showed me the gate through which my Community shall enter Paradise." Abu Bakr said: "Would that I were with you to see it!" The Prophet said: "Did you not know? You will be the first of all my Community to enter it."
Al-Suyuti relates through Ibn Sa`d’s report from `A’isha her description of Abu Bakr: "He was a man with fair skin, thin, emaciated, with a sparse beard, a slightly hunched frame, sunken eyes and protruding forehead, and the bases of his fingers were hairless." He was the foremost genealogist of the Quraysh and the best of them at interpreting dreams after the Prophet according to Ibn Sirin. `A’isha related that both he and `Uthman had relinquished drinking wine even in the Time of Ignorance. His caliphate lasted two years and three months in which he opened up the lands of Syria and Iraq for the Muslims, suppressed apostasy among the Arab tribes, fought the pseudo-Prophets al-Aswad al-`Ansi, Tulayha al-Asadi who recanted and declared his prophethood in Najd, and Musaylima the Liar who was killed in the devastating battle of al-Yamama.

Imam al-Nawawi pointed out that Abu Bakr’s genealogical tree alone regroups four successive generations of Companions of the Prophet: his father Abu Quhafa, himself, his daughter Asma’, and her son `Abd Allah, in addition to Abu Bakr’s son `Abd al-Rahman and his grandson Abu `Atiq. Nawawi states that only one hundred and forty-two hadiths of the Prophet are narrated from Abu Bakr. He comments: "The reason for this scarcity, despite the seniority of his companionship to the Prophet, is that his death pre-dated the dissemination of hadiths and the endeavor of the Followers to hear, gather, and preserve them." Among Abu Bakr’s sayings: "Whoever fights his ego for Allah’s sake, Allah will protect Him against what He hates."

Inshā'Allāh wa ta'ala today we are going to start with the greatest human being that has ever walked the face of the earth that was not a prophet, and that is Abu Bakr al-Siddiq raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him), and that is by the testimony of the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) himself.  You can look at Abu Bakr raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) and see that he was almost a copy of the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him).  He surpassed everyone in generosity, modesty, ṣalāh, qira'at'l-Qur'an.  He surpassed everyone in everyone in everything, and that is why Ali raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) said about Abu Bakr, “If you think about something good, then Abu Bakr would have already done it.”

What makes him raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) amazing is that he was al-Siddiq, the person whose truthfulness was testified to by the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him).  By the testimony of the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him), this was the greatest man.  Why?  Because whenever he said that he believed in the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him), he meant it.  There was consistency not only between his words and reality but also between his actions and his words whenever he said he loves Allāh and the Messenger ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him).

We can see when his friend the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) comes to him and tells him, “By the way, I am a Messenger of Allāh,” the same day Abu Bakr goes and brings some of the giants to Islam:  Talhah, al-Zubayr, 'Uthman, 'Abdul-Rahman b. 'Awf – all of these great companions.  He accounts for over half of the ten promised Paradise who we are covering in this series.

Abu Bakr al-Siddiq

Truly what I want to focus on today is his sidq (truthfulness) and love for the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him).  This was the man who whenever the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) was being beaten publicly, he went and defended the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) although he was physically not that strong and was beaten to a point that he became unconscious.  Abu Bakr raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) was beaten so badly that whenever his own mother saw him, she could not recognize his face because of how swollen it was.  As soon as he wakes up, he doesn't care about his own health.  He is not dazed and knows exactly what he is doing, and he knows exactly what his purpose in life is.  He says, “Where is Muḥammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him)?  I want to see the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him).”  His mother wants to give him food, drink, and help him up so that he can start walking on his own.  He says, “I want to go to dar'l-Arqam.  I want to see the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) to know that he is okay.”  subḥānAllāh, look at that deep love he had for him.

Abu Bakr raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) was the one who went with the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) on hijrah (migration).  I want you to think about this.  Rasulullah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) comes to the house of Abu Bakr al-Siddiq raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) and decides that he wants Abu Bakr to accompany him on the hijrah.  Rasulullah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) is not just Mecca's most wanted in those days; Rasulullah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) was the world's most wanted and had a target on top of his head.  The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) comes to the house of Abu Bakr raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) and says, “I want you to accompany me on this journey.”  This was not a journey where they would ride in a limousine and have body guards because he is the prophet of Allāh.  This is a journey in which they were marked for death.  Abu Bakr raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) cried out of happiness.  Aisha raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) said, “I knew that some people could cry out of happiness, but I never really understood it until I saw my father on that day when Abu Bakr started to cry and grabbed the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) and said, 'I get to be your companion, Rasulullah?!'”  He was so happy that he got to be with the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him).

Even in the hijrah when Abu Bakr raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) is with the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him), imagine those moments in the cave together.  Imagine when they were all alone and shared what were supposed to be the most horrifying moments but at the same time were the best moments of Abu Bakr's life.  Rasulullah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) was sleeping, and Abu Bakr raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) sees a scorpion coming into the cave.  Abu Bakr raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) puts his foot on the hole of that cave and allows the scorpion to drive deeply into his foot and bite into his foot.  He did not want to wake up the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him), so even with the scorpion biting into his foot, Abu Bakr raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) does not even shriek.  Rather, the tears falling down from his eyes fall on the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him).  The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) would only be awoken by the tears of Abu Bakr al-Siddiq raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him).

Even in the journey of hijrah when they came to the house of Umm 'Abad raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) and they had nothing to drink for days, and finally Abu Bakr raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) and the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) are going to have a chance to drink some milk to satisfy their thirst and hunger, Abu Bakr said, “And so my beloved one drank until I became full.”  His thirst was quenched just by looking at the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) drinking.

Abu Bakr raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) loved the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) so much that it transcended human norms, subḥānAllāh!  We even see an incident that took place.  It is a poem by Abu Bakr raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) in which he says about the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him):  “My beloved on became sick, so I visited him.  So I became sick because I saw him sick.  Whenever Rasulullah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) became better, my beloved one visited me because I was sick.  So I looked at the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) healthy, so I too became healthy.”  subḥānAllāh!  That's how much he loved the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him).

That's why the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) always praised Abu Bakr al-Siddiq raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him).  Even at the end of his life ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him), when he stood in the masjid to give one of his final speeches, and Abu Bakr raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) understood that one of the implications of that speech was that the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) was going to die, Abu Bakr raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) burst into tears.  Rasulullah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said, “Close all the gates of all the other sahabah to the masjid except for the gate of Abu Bakr raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him).  We have been able to repay everyone who has done something for us, but I've never been able to repay Abu Bakr al-Siddiq raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him).  I could never pay him back.”  subḥānAllāh.

Imagine the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) is saying to him that he could never pay him back because Abu Bakr truly loved the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) more than he loved his own self, so much so that when Abu Bakr raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) worked for so long to try to convert his father Abu Quhafa to Islam.  Abu Quhafa finally accepted Islam, and on what was supposed to be one of Abu Bakr's most joyous days of his life started to cry.  They said, “Why are you crying?”  He said, “Because I remember my beloved one ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) when Abu Talib, his uncle, was passing away and how much the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) wanted Abu Talib to be Muslim, but Abu Talib did not accept Islam, and Rasulullah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) was so hurt because of that.  I wish that the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) could live these moments instead of me.”

SubḥānAllāh, we see the love that Abu Bakr raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) had for the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) was the true love we should have.  So I ask you:  how much do you love Muḥammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him)?  That is what is going to get you his companionship on the Day of Judgment:  loving him and following him.  How much do you want to live like him?  How much do you want to die like him?

Abu Bakr wakes up at the age of 63 years old on a Monday and realizes that he has a fever.  He realizes that he is about to die on the same day that the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) passed away at the same age that the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) passed away.  He asked for his family to shroud him in the same clothes that the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) was shrouded in.  It was destined that for the rest of the existence of this world, Abu Bakr raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) would be buried right next to the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) and his head right next to the shoulder of the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) as if he is still leaning his head on the shoulder of the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) as was always done in dunya.

This brings us to a beautiful hadeeth.  There was a person who wanted the companionship of the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) in Jannah.  The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said, “What have you prepared?”  He said, “I haven't prepared much ṣalāh or much siyam.  The only thing that I know that I've prepared is that I love you, ya Rasulullah.”  The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said, “You will be with the one whom you love.”

How much do you love the Messenger ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him)?  How much do you love Allāh?  Without that love, we will not be able to attain that lofty position in Jannat'l-Firdaws, the highest level of Paradise.

We ask Allāh subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) to grant us that quality of truthfulness when we say, “I love Allāh, and I love Rasulullah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him),” and to gather us with the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) and his companions in the highest level of Jannat'l-Firdaws.  Allahumma āmīn.  Jazakum Allahu khayran!
Lecture by Shaykh Omar Suleiman | Transcribed by Sameera

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