Aboo Bakr (Radiallaahu Anhu) .The Very First Caliph.
By Abdullah Chothia.
Since his childhood, Aboo Bakr (Radiallaahu Anhu) was a quiet and sincere man. He was very honest and truthful. Because of his sterling character, he was the closest friend of the noble Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) since his youth and the friendship proved to be life-long. He was a soft-hearted man and keenly felt others' sufferings and miseries. He used to help the poor and the needy, the distressed and the downtrodden.
His main profession was trade. He also accompanied the noble Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) in some of his trade missions. Because of his honesty, people trusted him and often kept their money as a trust with him. His nobility and truthfulness soon made him a rich trader. Actually, these qualities were soon to serve the noblest Cause of Allah.
Aboo Bakr (Radiallaahu Anhu) was a firm friend of the noble Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) and knew him better than any other man. The Prophet's honesty, nobility, truthfulness and trustworthiness had great attraction for Aboo Bakr (Radiallaahu Anhu). When the noble Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) disclosed to him secretly about the Revelation of Allah, Aboo Bakr (Radiallaahu Anhu) accepted it immediately without the slightest hesitation.
The noble Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) had Mi'raaj (Ascension) in the lOth year of his Mission. He related his Ascension to the people in the morning. Some of them came to Aboo Bakr Radiallaahu Anhu and said, "Have you listened to your friend (the noble Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam))? He is claiming that he visited Jerusalem and the Sublime Throne in the heavens last night and talked with Allah Almighty. Would you believe it?" Aboo Bakr (Radiallaahu Anhu) immediately replied, "If he has said this then it can be nothing but absolute truth."
He fought in almost all the battles along with the noble Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam). In the 'first battle of Islaam at Badr, he was with the noble Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) like a shadow.
His own son, who had not embraced Islaam by that time, was fighting on the opposite side. After he had become a Muslim, he once said to his father, Aboo Bakr (Radiallaahu Anhu) "Dear father! I found you twice under my sword at Badr, but I could not raise my hand because of my love for you." "If I had got a chance", Aboo Bakr (Radiallaahu Anhu) replied, "I would not have spared your life."
It was on Aboo Bakr's (Radiallaahu Anhu) suggestion that the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) decided to release the prisoners of war after taking ransom.
Aboo Bakr (Radiallaahu Anhu) on the morning of the Prophets (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) last day in this world, had gone a few miles outside Madeenah to meet his wife, as he had found the Prophets (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) health to be better. After hearing the news of his death, he immediately returned. He saw a large crowd at the gate of the Masjid. He did not talk to anybody and went straight to the Prophets (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) apartment. After taking permission, he entered the apartment and kissed the noble forehead of the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam), with tears bursting from his eyes. Then he remarked, May my parents be sacrificed for you. I swear by Allah that death will never come twice to you. You have tasted death which was destined for you and now you will get no other." He covered the noble body with a sheet and came t the Masjid.
The Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) did not nominate his successor and left the choice to his Ummah (followers). There were two groups of Muslims in Madeenah, namely' Muhaajiroon (those who had migrated from Makkah) and Ansaar (helpers, i.e. the original residents of Madeenah). Following the Prophet's (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) death, after brief consultation, both Ansaar and Muhaajiroon unanimously elected Aboo Bakr (R.A) as the caliph and successor to the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam).
After the death of the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam), various factions rose in rebellion. Some individuals, driven by the lust for power and fame even declared themselves to be prophets. There were many problems and much confusion which extremely distressed the Sahaabah (Radiallaahu Anhum), but Aboo Bakr (Radiallaahu Anhu) remained firm and successfully confronted all the enemies.
After a fortnight's illness, Aboo Bakr (Radiallaahu Anhu) passed away at the age of 61. Before his death he said to his daughter 'Aa'ishah (Radiallaahu Anha) "Do not use a new cloth for my shroud. Wash the sheet in my use and wrap my corpse in it". His wish was acted upon. His next wish was to repay all the money he had received as salary for being the Caliph, by selling his garden. He said, "I did not like to take anything from the Baytul-Maal (The Treasury but 'Umar pressed me to accept some allowance so that I would be relieved of my occupation and devote my full time to the duties of the khilaafah." After his death, 'Aa'ishah (Radiallaahu Anha) asked 'Umar (Radiallaahu Anhu) to take possession of the garden, as desired by her father, and include it in the Baytul-Maal. 'Umar (Radiallaahu Anhu) remarked, "May Allah bless him. He left no chance for anybody to raise a finger against him."
Aboo Bakr (Radiallaahu Anhu) left behind a noble example of selfless service. He lived and worked for the sake of Islaam to his last breath, but sought no reward.
Riyadul Jannah (October 2001)
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