Definitions

self purification

Abu Bakr

[uh-boo-bak-er]
Abu Bakr
The caliphate under Abu Bakr at its greatest extent
Born 573, Mecca, Saudi Arabia
Died 23 August 634, Medina, Saudi Arabia
Reign 8 June 632–23 August 634
Title(s) Al-Sadiq, Sadiq al Akber, Khalifa Rasul
Buried Al-Masjid al-Nabawi
Predecessor -
Successor Umar
[edit ]

Abū Bakr (c. 573 CE – 23 August 634/13 AH) was an early convert to Islam and a senior companion (Sahaba) of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. Throughout his life, Abu Bakr remained a friend and confidante of Muhammad. Upon Muhammad's death he became the first Muslim ruler (632–634), regarded in Sunni Islam as the first of the Rashidun (righteously guided Caliphs). His caliphate lasted two years and three months, during which time he consolidated the Muslim state. Upon the death of Muhammad, some tribes rebelled, and in return he fought the Ridda wars against these Arab tribes to establish Islamic rule over all of Arabia. He also conquered the lands of Syria and Iraq.

Early life

Abu Bakr was born at Mecca some time in the year 573 CE, in the Banu Taym branch of the Quraysh tribe. Abu Bakr's father's name was Uthman Abu Qahafa nicknamed Abu Qahafa, and his mother was Salma Umm-ul-Khair nicknamed Umm-ul-Khair. The birth name of Abu Bakr was Abdul Kaaba (servant of Kaaba) and when he accepted Islam in 610 he was named Abdullah (servant of Allah) by Muhammad. Suyuti relates through Ibn Sa'd al-Baghdadi's report from Aisha 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.

By most reports he was very handsome, citation needed and for his beauty he earned the nickname of Atiq. He was born in a rich family. He spent his early childhood like other Arab children of the time among the Bedouins who called themselves Ahl-i-Ba'eer- the people of the camel, he developed a particular fondness for camels.

In his early years he played with the camel foals and goats, and his love for camels earned him the nickname of Abu Bakr, the father of the foal of the camel. It is said that he didn't worship idols since his youth. When Abu Bakr was 10 years old he went to Syria along with his father with the merchants' caravan. Muhammad who was 12 years old at the time, was also with the caravan. Like other children of the rich Meccan merchant families, he was literate and developed a fondness for poetry. He used to attend the annual fair at Ukaz, and participate in poetical symposia. He had a very good memory. In 591 at the age of 18, Abu Bakr went into trade and adopted the profession of a cloth merchant which was the family's business. In the coming years Abu Bakr traveled extensively with caravans. Business trips took him to Yemen, Syria, and elsewhere. These travels brought him wealth and added to his experience. His business flourished and he rose in the scale of social importance. Though his father Uthman Abu Qahafa was still alive, he came to be recognized as chief of his tribe. Abu Bakr was assigned the office of awarding blood money in cases of murder. His office was something like the office of an honorary magistrate. Abu Bakr was an expert in genealogical lore and he knew intimately who was who in Mecca, and what his ancestry was.

During Muhammad's times

When Muhammad married Khadijah bint Khuwaylid and moved to her house, he became a neighbor of Abu Bakr who lived in the same locality. That was the quarter of Meccan aristocracy. Like the house of Khadija, the house of Abu Bakr was double storied and palatial in structure.

As neighbors, Muhammad and Abu Bakr came in contact with each other. Both of them were of the same age, traders and good managers.

Acceptance of Islam

On his return from a business trip from Yemen, he was informed by some of his friends that in his absence Muhammad had declared himself as the Messenger of God, and proclaimed a new religion. Abu Bakr converted to Islam becoming the second person to accept Muhammad's Prophethood. Also he was the first person outside the family of Muhammad to become a Muslim.

Life after accepting Islam

His birth name Abdul Kaaba was changed to Abdullah, because the former was indicative of paganism. His wife Qutaylah bint Abd-al-Uzza did not accept Islam and he divorced her. His other wife, Um Ruman, became a Muslim at his insistence. All his children except ‘Abd ar-Rahman ibn Abi Bakr accepted Islam, and Abu Bakr separated from his son Abdur Rahman.

Abu Bakr's dawah brought many people to Islam. He persuaded his intimate friends to convert to Islam. He presented Islam to others in such a way that many of his friends opted for Islam. Those who converted to Islam at the instance of Abu Bakr were:

Abu Bakr's acceptance proved to be a milestone in Muhammad's mission. Slavery was common in Mecca, and many slaves accepted Islam. When an ordinary free man accepted Islam, despite opposition, he would enjoy the protection of his tribe. For slaves however, there was no such protection, and were subjected to persecution. Abu Bakr felt for these slaves, so he purchased them and set them free. Abu Bakr purchased the freedom of eight slaves, four men and four women.

The men were:

The women were:

Most of the slaves liberated by Abu Bakr were either women or old and frail men. The father of Abu Bakr asked him to for why doesn't he liberate strong and young slaves who could be a source of strength for him, Abu Bakr replied that he was freeing the slaves for the sake of Allah, and not for his own sake. According to Sunni tradition the following verses of the Qur'an were revealed due to this:

He who gives in charity and fears Allah And in all sincerity testifies to the Truth; We shall indeed make smooth for him the path of Bliss {92:5-7}.

Those who spend their wealth for increase in self-purification; And have in their minds no favor from any one For which a reward is expected in return, But only the desire to seek the Countenance, Of their Lord, Most High; And soon they shall attain complete satisfaction {92:8-21}.

Persecution by the Quraysh

For three years after the advent of Islam, Muslims kept secret their faith, and prayed in secret. In 613 Muhammad received a revelation to call people to Islam openly. The first public address inviting people to offer allegiance to Muhammad was delivered by Abu Bakr. In a fit of fury the young men of the Quraysh tribe rushed at Abu Bakr, and beat him mercilessly till he lost consciousness. Following this incident Abu Bakr's mother converted to Islam. Abu Bakr was persecuted many times by the Quraysh.

Last years in Mecca

In 617, the Quraysh enforced a boycott against the Banu Hashim. Muhammad along with his supporters from Banu Hashim, were shut up in a pass away from Mecca. All social relations with the Banu Hashim were cut off and their state was that of imprisonment. Before it many Muslims migrated to Abyssinia (now Ethiopia). Abu Bakr, feeling distress, set out for Yemen and then to Abyssinia from there. He met a friend of his named Ad-Dughna (chief of the Qarah tribe) outside Mecca, who invited Abu Bakr to seek his protection against the Quraysh. Abu Bakr went back to Mecca, it was a relief for him, but soon due to the pressure of Quraysh, Ad-Dughna was forced to renounce his protection. Once again the Quraysh were free to persecute Abu Bakr. In the year 620 Muhammad's wife and uncle died. Abu Bakr's daughter Aisha was engaged to Muhammad, however it was decided that the actual marriage ceremony would be held later. In the year 620 Abu Bakr was the first person to testify to Muhammad's Isra and Mi'raj (night Journey). According to Sunni traditions, he was given title al-Siddîq, meaning "the truthful," "the upright," or "the one who counts true," due to his immediate belief of the journey. During the Roman-Persian Wars, the sympathies of the Quraysh of Mecca was with the Persians who were Zoroastrian. The Muslims on the other hand had their sympathies for the Byzantines who were Christians and were the People of the Book with a belief in the Abrahamic God. After the Persian victories over Byzantine, verses of the Qur'an revealed of Surah rum with the prophesy that Byzantine (Romans) will regain what they lost and the Persians will be defeated within few years. Over this Abu Bakr had a wager with Ubaiy bin Khalf, it was decided that one who lost the wager will pay one hundred camels. With a decisive Byzantine victory in 627 against the Persians, Abu Bakr won the wager, though Ubaiy bin Khalf was not alive but his heirs honored the agreement and gave Abu Bakr one hundred camels. Abu Bakr gave away all the camels as charity.

Migration to Medina

In 622 on the invitation of the Muslims of Medina, Muhammad ordered Muslims to migrate to Medina. The migration began in batches. Abu Bakr accompanied Muhammad in his migration for Medina. Due to the danger of the Quraysh, they did not take the road to Medina. They moved in the opposite direction, and took refuge in a cave in Mount Thaur some five miles south of Mecca. `Abdullah ibn Abi Bakr the son of Abu Bakr would listen to the plans and talks of the Quraysh, and at night he would carry the news to the fugitives in the cave. Asma bint Abi Bakr the daughter of Abu Bakr brought them meals every day. Aamir a servant of Abu Bakr would bring a flock of goats to the mouth of the cave every night where they were milked. The Quraysh sent search parties in all directions. One party came close to the entrance to the cave, but was unable to sight them. Due to this the following verse of the Qur'an was revealed:
If ye help not (your Leader) (it is no matter): for Allah did indeed help him; when the unbelievers drove him out: he had no more than one companion: they two were in the cave, and he said to his companion "Have no Fear, for Allah is with us": then Allah sent down His peace upon him, and strengthened him with forces which ye saw not, and humbled to the depths the word of the Unbelievers. But the word of Allah is exalted to the heights: for Allah is Exalted in might, Wise.

After staying at the cave for three days and three nights, Abu Bakr and Muhammad proceed to Medina, staying for some time at Quba, a suburb of Medina.

Life in Medina

In Medina, Muhammad decided to construct a mosque. A piece of land was chosen and the price of the land was paid for by Abu Bakr. Muslims constructed a mosque named Al-Masjid al-Nabawi at the site and Abu Bakr also took part in construction. Abu Bakr was paired with Khaarij ah bin Zaid Ansari as a brother in faith. Abu Bakr's relationship with his brother-in-Islam was most cordial, which was further strengthened when Abu Bakr married Habiba, a daughter of Khaarijah.

Khaarij ah bin Zaid Ansari used to live at Sukh, a suburb of Medina, and Abu Bakr also settled there. After Abu Bakr's family arrived in Medina he bought another house near Muhammad's.

The climate of Mecca was dry, but the climate of Medina was damp and this adversely affected the health of the immigrants, so that on arrival most of them fell sick. Abu Bakr also suffered from fever for several days and during this time he was attended to by Khaarijah and his family. At Mecca, Abu Bakr was a trader in cloth and he started the same business in Medina. He was a wholesaler, and had his store at Sukh, and from there cloth was supplied to the market at Medina. Soon his business flourished at Medina. Early in 623, Abu Bakr's daughter Aisha, who was already engaged to Muhammad, was handed over to Muhammad in a simple marriage ceremony, and this further strengthen the relation between Abu Bakr and Muhammad.

In 624 Abu Bakr participated in the first battle between the Muslims and the Quraysh of Mecca known as the Battle of Badr. In 625 he participated in the Battle of Uhud. Before the battle begun, Abu Bakr's son ‘Abd ar-Rahman ibn Abi Bakr who was still non-Muslim and was fighting from the side of the Quraysh, came forward and threw down a challenge for a duel. Abu Bakr accepted the challenge but was stopped by Muhammad. His son later converted to Islam and gained fame during the Muslim conquest of Syria as a fierce warrior. In the second phase of the battle, Khalid ibn al-Walid’s cavalry attacked the Muslims from behind, changing a Muslim victory to defeat. Many Muslim warriors were routed from the battle field but Abu Bakr remained, guarding Muhammad from the attacks of the Quraysh soldiers. During one such attack, two discs from Muhammad’s shield penetrated into Abu Ubaidah ibn al-Jarrah's cheeks. Abu Bakr went forward with the intention of extracting these discs but Abu Ubaidah ibn al-Jarrah requested he leave the matter to him, losing his two incisors during the process. Subsequently, Abu Bakr, along with other companions, led Muhammad to a place of safety. Later in the year Abu Bakr was a part of campaign again the Jewish tribe of Banu Nadir.

Later, in 627 he participated in the Battle of the Trench and also in the Battle of Banu Qurayza..In 628 he participated in Treaty of Hudaybiyyah and was made one of the witness over the pact.

In the year 628 he was a part of the Muslim campaign to Khaybar. In 629 Muhammad sent 'Amr ibn al-'As to Zaat-ul-Sallasal from where he called for reinforcements and Muhammad sent Abu Ubaidah ibn al-Jarrah. Commanding an army under him were Abu Bakr and Umar and they attacked and defeated the enemy..

In 630 when Muslim armies rushed for the Conquest of Mecca, Abu Bakr was a part of the army. Before the conquest of Mecca his father Uthman Abu Qahafa converted to Islam. In 630 he was part of Battle of Hunayn and Siege of Ta'if. He was part of the Muslim army in the campaign of Tabuk under Muhammad's command and he was reported to have given all his wealth for the preparation of this expedition.

In 631, Muhammad sent from Medina a delegation of three hundred Muslims to perform the Hajj according to the new Islamic way. Abu Bakr was appointed as the leader of the delegates. Abu Bakr had thus the honor of being the first Amir-ul-Haj in the history of Islam. In the year 632 Abu Bakr followed Muhammad to Mecca for the farewell Hajj.

Death of Muhammad

A short time after returning from the farewell pilgrimage, Muhammad became ill. When the fever developed he directed Abu Bakr to go to the war following Usama who was 18. When Muhammad died Muslims gathered in Al-Masjid al-Nabawi and there were suppressed sobs and sighs. Many Sahaba were in a state of disbelief that Muhammad had died. Abu Bakr came to the mosque and addressed the people, saying:

Whoever amongst you worshipped Muhammad — Muhammad is dead. But whoever worshipped Allah — Allah is alive and will never die.

Election of Abu Bakr to Caliphate

After Muhammad's death, previously dormant tensions between the Meccan immigrants, the Muhajirun, and the Medinan converts, the Ansar, threatened to break out and split the Ummah. The Ansar, the leaders of the tribes of Medina, met in a hall or house called saqifah, to discuss whom they would support as their new leader. When Abu Bakr was informed of the meeting, he, Umar, Abu Ubaidah ibn al-Jarrah and a few others rushed to prevent the Ansar from making a premature decision. Accounts of this meeting vary greatly. All agree that during the meeting Umar declared that Abu Bakr should be the new leader, and declared his allegiance to Abu Bakr, followed by Abu Ubaidah ibn al-Jarrah and Abu Bakr became the first Muslim caliph, who was given the title, Khalifa-tul-Rasool (Successor of messenger of Allah), a title only accepted by Sunni muslims.

After the meeting at saqifah, the Muslims who were not present were asked to submit to Abu Bakr, to give their pledge of allegiance. Most accounts agree that Ali(Muhammad's beloved companion, cousin and son-in-law) and his supporters initially refused to submit. After a period of time, the duration of which is disputed, the dissidents gave their bay'ah. Whether or not the process involved violence and intimidation, and whether or not Ali willingly swore allegiance to Abu Bakr have remained enduring controversies.

Reign as a Caliph

After assuming the office of Caliphate Abu Bakr's first address was as follow:

I have been given the authority over you, and I am not the best of you. If I do well, help me; and if I do wrong, set me right. Sincere regard for truth is loyalty and disregard for truth is treachery. The weak amongst you shall be strong with me until I have secured his rights, if God will; and the strong amongst you shall be weak with me until I have wrested from him the rights of others, if God will. Obey me so long as I obey God and His Messenger. But if I disobey God and His Messenger, ye owe me no obedience. Arise for your prayer, God have mercy upon you.

Abu Bakr's Caliphate lasted for 27 months, during which he crushed the rebellion of the Arab tribes throughout Arabia in the successful campaign against Apostasy. He launched campaigns against the Sassanid Empire and the Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantine Empire) and thus set in motion a historical trajectory that in just a few short decades would lead to one of the largest empires in history. He had little time to pay attention to the administration of state, though state affairs remained stable during his Caliphate. On the advice of Umar and Abu Ubaidah ibn al-Jarrah he agreed to have a salary from state treasury and abolish his cloth trade.

Ridda-Wars

Troubles emerged soon after Abu Bakr's succession, threatening the unity and stability of the new community and state. Several Arabic tribes revolted against Abu Bakr. In four of the six centres of the insurrection, the rebells rallied around people who claimed to be prophets, the most prominent among these Musaylimah. The tribes claimed that they had submitted to Muhammad only, and that with Muhammad's death, their allegiance had ended. This was common practice in pre-islamic Arabia: After the death of a tribal leader the alliance with the tribe of that leader was regarded as having ended. Thus several tribes acted in accordance to this pre-islamic practice and refused to pay taxes. Abu Bakr, however, insisted that they had not just submitted to a simple human leader but joined the Muslim religious community, of which he was the new head. So, in contrast to pre-islamic times, their allegiance was not seen as having ended at all.

This was the start of the Ridda wars (Arabic for the Wars of Apostasy). The apostasy of central Arabia was led by self-proclaimed prophet Musaylimah of in al-Yamama, while the other centers were to the south and east in Bahrain, Oman, Mahra region and Yemen. Abu Bakr planned his strategy accordingly and formed the Muslim army into 11 corps. The strongest corps, and this was the main punch of the Muslim army, was that of Khalid ibn al-Walid and was used to fight the most powerful of the rebel forces. Other corps were given areas of secondary importance in which to bring the less dangerous apostate tribes. Abu Bakr's plan was first to clear the area of west and central Arabia (the area nearest Medina), then tackle Malik ibn Nuwayrah, and finally concentrate against the most dangerous enemy Musaylimah. After series of successful campaigns, Khalid ibn al-Walid finally defeated Musaylimah and his tribe, the Banu Hanifa, in the Battle of Yamama. The Campaign of the Apostasy was fought and completed during the eleventh year of the Hijri. The year 12 Hijri dawned, on March 18, 633, with Arabia united under the central authority of the Caliph at Medina.

This phenomenon was later regarded as primarily a religious movement by Arabic historians. However, the early sources indicate that in reality it was mainly political. After all, the revolting Arabs only refused to pay taxes, but they did not refuse to perform the salah. Bernard Lewis states that the fact that Islamic Historians have regarded this as a primarily religious movement was due to a later interpretation of events in terms of a theological world-view. The opponents of the Muslim armies were not only apostates, but also - if not most of them - tribes which were largely or even completely independent from the Muslim community. However, these revolts also had a religious aspect: Medina had become the centre of a social and political system, of which religion was an integral part; consequently it was inevitable that any reaction against this system should have a religious aspect.

Shi'ite view

The Muslims believe that although there were some people that took the opportunity to proclaim themselves as prophets, the majority of people who battled against Abu Bakr were people who expected Ali to be the next Caliph, since they believe that Muhammad was expressing this wish at the Hadith of the two weighty things.

The Qur'an — preservation

According to Sunni Islam, Abu Bakr was instrumental in preserving the Qur'an in written form. It is said that after the hard-won victory over Musaylimah in the Battle of Yamama fought in 632, Umar (the later Caliph Umar), saw that many of the Muslims who had memorized the Qur'an had died in battle. Fearing that the Qur'an may be lost or corrupted, Umar requested the Caliph Abu Bakr to authorize the compilation and preservation of the Book in written format. After initial hesitation, Abu Bakr made a committee headed by Zayd ibn Thabit which included the memorizers of the Qur'an and Umar and to collect all verses of the Book. After collecting all Qur'anic verses from texts in the possession of various sahaba, Zayd ibn Thabit and members of his committee verified the reading by comparing with those who had memorized the Qur'an. After they were satisfied that they had not missed out any verse or made any mistakes in reading or writing it down, the text was written down as one single manuscript and presented in a book form to the Caliph Abu Bakr. This process happened within one year of the death of Muhammad when most of his sahaba (companions) were still alive, ensuring that the text would not be corrupted in any form.

Prior to his death, Abu Bakr gave this authorized copy of the Qur'an to Umar - his successor. It remained with him throughout his tenure as Caliph (10 years). Prior to his death, Umar gave this Book to his daughter Hafsa bint Umar, who was one of the wives of Muhammad. Umar did not nominate his successor on his deathbed, and thus preferred to leave this copy with Hafsa so as not to indicate his personal preference of who would be the next caliph. Later on, it became the basis of Uthman Ibn Affan's definitive text of the Qur'an which was published far and wide merely 18 years after the death of the Prophet. Later historians give Uthman Ibn Affan the principal credit for re-verification and publishing the Qur'an. Shi'as reject the idea that Abu Bakr or Umar were instrumental in the collection or preservation of the Qur'an.

Military expansion

Once the rebellions had been put down, Abu Bakr began a war of conquest. Whether or not he intended a full-out imperial conquest is hard to say; he did, however, set in motion a historical trajectory that in just a few short decades would lead to one of the largest empires in history. Abu Bakr began with Iraq, the richest province of Persian Empire. He sent his most brilliant general Khalid ibn al-Walid to invade the Sassanid Empire.

Invasion of Sassanid Persian Empire

After the Ridda Wars, a tribal chief of north eastern Arabia, Misnah ibn Haris, raided the Persian towns in Iraq. With the success of the raids, a considerable amount of booty was collected. Misnah ibn Haris went to Medina to inform Caliph Abu Bakr about his success and was appointed commander of his people, after which he begun to raid deeper into Iraq. Using the mobility of his light cavalry he could easy raid any town near the desert and within moments could disappear again in to the desert, into which the Sassanid army was unable to chase them. Misnah’s acts made Abu Bakr think about the expansion of the Rashidun Empire.

Abu Bakr started with the invasion of Iraq. The problems faced by Abu Bakr were that the Arabs feared the Persians with a deep, unreasoning fear which ran in the tribal consciousness as a racial complex and was the result of centuries of Persian power and glory. In return the Persian regarded the Arab with contempt. It was important not to suffer a defeat, for that would confirm and strengthen this instinctive fear. To make certain of victory, Abu Bakr decided on two measures; that the invading army would consist entirely of volunteers; and he put in command of the army his best general Khalid ibn al-Walid. After defeating the self-proclaimed prophet Musaylimah in the Battle of Yamama, Khalid was still at Al-Yamama when Abu Bakr sent him orders to invade the Sassanid Empire. Making Al-Hirah the objective of Khalid, Abu Bakr sent reinforcements and ordered the tribal chiefs of north eastern Arabia, Misnah ibn Haris, Mazhur bin Adi, Harmala and Sulma to operate under the command of Khalid along with there men. In about third week of March 633 (first week of Muharram 12th Hijrah) Khalid set out from Al-Yamama with an army of 10,000. The tribal chiefs, with 2,000 warriors each, joined Khalid; Thus Khalid entered the Persian Empire with 18,000 troops.

After entering Iraq (Mesopotamia) with his army of 18,000, Khalid won decisive victories in four consecutive battles: the Battle of Chains, fought in April 633 CE; the Battle of River, fought in the 3rd week of April 633 CE; the Battle of Walaja, fought in May 633 CE (where he successfully used a double envelopment maneuver), and the Battle of Ullais, fought in the mid of May, 633 CE. By now the Persian Empire was struggling and in the last week of May 633 CE, the capital city of Iraq, Al-Hirah, fell to the Muslims after resistance in the Battle of Hira. Thereafter the Siege of Al-Anbar during June-July 633 resulted in surrender of the city after strong resistance. Khalid then moved towards the south, and conquered the city of Ein ul Tamr after the Battle of ein-ul-tamr in the last week of July, 633 CE.

By now, almost the whole of Iraq was under Islamic control. Khalid got a call of help from northern Arabia at daumat-ul-jandal, where another Muslim Arab general, Ayaz bin Ghanam, was trapped among the rebel tribes. Khalid went to Daumat-ul-jandal and defeated the rebels in the Battle of Daumat-ul-jandal in the last week of August, 633 CE. Returning from Arabia, he got news of the assembling of a large Persian army. Within a few weeks, he decided to defeat them all separately to avoid the risk of defeat to a large unified Persian army. Four divisions of Persian and Christian Arab auxiliaries were present at Hanafiz, Zumiel, Sanni and Muzieh. Khalid divided his army in three units, and decided to attack these auxiliaries one by one from three different sides at night, starting from the Battle of Muzayyah, then the Battle of Saniyy, and finally the Battle of Zumail In November 633 CE, Khalid defeated those armies in his series of three sided attacks at night. These devastating defeats ended Persian control over Iraq. In December 633 CE, Khalid reached the border city of Firaz, where he defeated the combined forces of the Sassanid Persians, Byzantine Romans and Christian Arabs in the Battle of Firaz.

This was the last battle in his conquest of Iraq.

Invasion of Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire

Caliph Abu Bakr congratulated Khalid ibn al-Walid over his victories and gave him a new task, to enter the Byzantine province of Syria and command Islamic armies there. The Byzantine province of Syria in those days consisted of modern day Syria, Jordan, Israel, the Palestinian territories, Lebanon and southern Turkey. Passing through the Syrian Desert, Khalid with his half of the army of 9,000 warriors entered Syria in June 634 and commanded the 23,000 strong Muslim army present there under the command of four generals, Abu Ubaidah ibn al-Jarrah, Yazid ibn Abu Sufyan, Sharjeel bin Hosanna and 'Amr ibn al-'As.

After only one day, Khalid set out for the conquest of Syria.

He reached the town of Sawa, and defiant forces present there resisted but later in the evening surrendered the city and agreed to pay tribute. He moved to the city of Aarak in the same day, and this city too surrendered and agreed to pay tribute. The next day Khalid moved to the city of Tarmad, which surrendered as well. He moved further and cities of Sakhna and Qadma also surrendered and agree to pay tribute. The next day the cities of Qarteen and Hawwareen were captured after the Battle of Qarteen and the Battle of Hawareen. After dealing with all these cities, Khalid moved towards Damascus, after three days journey he reached a mountain pass, 20 miles from Damascus which is now known as Sanita-al-Uqab (Uqab pass) after the name of Khalid's army standard. From here he moved away from Damascus towards the rest of the Islamic armies which were still near the Syrian-Arabia border. At Maraj-al-Rahab, Khalid defeated a Ghassanid army of Christian Arabs in a short Battle of Marj-al-Rahit. By now he was moving away from Damascus, the stronghold of Byzantines, and towards the city of Basra. Khalid reached Basra after three days at a time when Sharjeel bin Hassana's 4,000 army was fighting the 12,000 Roman army.

As soon as Khalid reached there with his 9,000 warriors, the Roman army retreated and fortified themselves in the castle. After few days they came out and were defeated in the Battle of Bassorah and again retreated to castle and surrendered the city. 130 Muslims died, and by now it was almost mid of July 634. The Muslims soon heard of the gathering of a Roman army at Ajnadayn said to be 90,000 strong, after which all the divisions of the Muslim army joined Khalid at Ajnadayn on 24 July 634, and the Muslim army became 32,000 in number. Khalid defeated the Romans on 30 July 634 at the Battle of Ajnadayn. After one week Khalid moved to Damascus, and on his way there he defeated another Roman army in the Battle of Yakosa in mid-August 634. Tomur, the son-in-law of Emperor Heraclius, sent another army to stop Khalid but they too were defeated in the battle of Maraj-al-Safar on 19 August 634. The next day Khalid finally reached Damascus and besieged the city for 30 days, having defeated the reinforcements sent by the Roman Emperor Heraclius at the Battle of Sanita-al-Uqab 20 miles from Damascus. Khalid's forces withstood three Roman attacks that tried to break the siege, and finally attacked and conquered the city on 18 September 634 after Conquest of Damascus.

The Byzantine army was given a deadline of three days to go as far as they could, with their families and treasure, or simply agree to stay in Damascus and pay tribute. After the three days deadline was over, the Muslim cavalry under Khalid's command attacked the Roman army, catching up to them using an unknown shortcut, at the Battle of Maraj-al-Debaj. Abu Bakr died during the siege of Damascus and Umar became the new Caliph. He dismissed his cousin Khalid ibn al-Walid from the command and appointed Abu Ubaidah ibn al-Jarrah the new commander in chief of Islamic army in Syria. Abu Ubaidah got the letter of his appointment and Khalid's disposal during the siege, but he delayed the announcement until the city was conquered.

Death

On 8 August 634, Abu Bakr fell sick, and never recovered. There are two accounts about the sickness of Abu Bakr. One account is that the 8 August 634 was a cold day and when Abu Bakr took a bath, he caught a chill. Another account is that about a year before, along with some other companions, Harith bin Kaladah, and Attab bin Usaid, he had eaten some food which was poisoned, and which was not to affect him for a year.

Abu Bakr developed high fever, and was confined to bed. His illness was prolonged, and when his condition worsened, he felt that his end was near.

Realizing that his end was drawing near, Abu Bakr felt that he should nominate his successor so that the issue should not be a cause of dissension among the Muslims after his death, though there was already controversy over Ali not having been appointed.

He appointed Umar as his successor after discussing with some companions. Some of them favored the nomination and others disliked it, due to the tough nature of Umar.

Abu Bakr thus dictated the testament to Uthman Ibn Affan in the following terms:

In the name of Most Merciful God. This is the last will and testament of Abu Bakr bin Abu Qahafa, when he is in the last hour of the world, and the first of the next; an hour in which the infidel must believe, the wicked be convinced of their evil ways, I nominate Umar bin al Khattab as my successor. Therefore, hear to him and obey him. If he acts right, confirm his actions. My intentions are good, but I cannot see the future results. However, those who do ill shall render themselves liable to severe account hereafter. Fare you well. May you be ever attended by the Divine favor of blessing.

Abu Bakr next asked Aisha as to how many pieces of cloth were used for Muhammad's shroud. Aisha said that three pieces had been used. Abu Bakr thereupon desired the same number for his own shroud. On Monday 23 August 634 Abu Bakr died. The funeral prayer was led by Umar. He was buried the same night by the side of Muhammad's grave in AISHAH HOUSE NEAR OF Al-Masjid al-Nabawi

Family

Abu Bakr's father's name was Uthman Abu Qahafa aka Abu Quafah, his mother's name Salma Umm-ul-Khair and his grandfather's name was Amir ibn Amr.

In history name of his only one brother is mention which is Quafah ibn Uthman.

Today, there are so many families which are believed to be descents of Abu Bakr. Most of them are known by the name Siddiqi which was a title given to Abu Bakr by Muhammad. But they are also known by some other names in different localities. For example, In East Ethiopia, Siddiqis are usually called Qallu which is to mean people of the religion, as they are the first to bring Islam to this area. In Somalia, they are commonly known as Sheekhaal and they are highly celebrated by other Somali clans.

Legacy

Abu Bakr became the Caliph on the 8 June 632 C.E. and he died on 23 August 634 C.E. Though the period of his caliphate covers two years, two months and fifteen days only, his achievements were remarkable. His glorious triumph in Ridda Wars and successful invasions of the two most powerful empires of the time the Sassanid Empire and Byzantine Empire.

Abu Bakr had the distinction of being the first Caliph in the history of Islam. He was the first Caliph to nominate a successor. He was the only Caliph in the history of Islam who refunded to the state treasury at the time of his death the entire amount of the allowance that he had drawn during the period of his caliphate.

He was the first Muslim ruler to establish Bayt al-mal. He was the first Muslim ruler to establish crown pasture. He was the first Muslim ruler to establish 'Ijtihad'.

He has the distinction of purchasing the land for Al-Masjid al-Nabawi. According to Sunni Muslims, in the matter of virtue, Abu Bakr excelled all other Sahaba.

Both Abu Bakr and Uthman ibn Affan had relinquished drinking wine even in the time before Islam. He was the foremost genealogist of the Quraysh and the best of them at interpreting dreams after Muhammad according to Ibn Sirin.

Sunni view

Sunni Muslims also consider Abu Bakr as one of the ten Sahaba (companions) for whom Muhammad had testified that they were destined for Paradise. He is regarded as Khalifa Rasulullah The successor of Messenger of Allah, and first of the Rightly Guided Caliphs - i.e. Rashidun and being the rightful successor to Muhammad. Abu Bakr had always been the closest friend and confidant of Muhammad throughout his life. He was always there beside the Prophet at every major event. It was Abu Bakr's wisdom that Muhammad always honored and would always consult him before anyone else. During the last few weeks of his life, Muhammad preferred Abu Bakr to lead the Muslims in prayer while he was ill. Upon Muhammad's death, it was Abu Bakr who demonstrated sagacity to keep the ranks of the Muslims together. Muhammad had not left behind a clear will on who would succeed him. There was dissension between the two original tribes of Medina, namely Aws and Khazraj regarding who would become the ruler over the Muslims after Muhammad. This even led to drawing of swords between them. Abu Bakr, Umar and Abu Ubaidah ibn al-Jarrah rushed to the spot where the dispute almost turned bloody, and delivered his famous speech to show the path of unity between the Muslims and declared that Umar should become the first caliph. In turn, Umar declared his allegiance to Abu Bakr saying that there is no better man amongst the Muslims after Muhammad. Majority of the sahaba (companions of the Prophet) assembled there followed suit and pledged their allegiance to Abu Bakr. Sunnis point out this fact of avoiding bloodshed between Muslims and preserving the unity of the state as of paramount importance, or it would have led to self-destruction of the new state.

The famous scholar Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal stated that he is the best of all companions (sahaba) of the Prophet. He is also best remembered by Ahlus-Sunnah Wal Jama'ah and the world history, for his famous speech upon the death of Muhammad which he delivered at the Mosque of the Prophet:

O' men, if anyone worships Muhammad, Muhammad is dead. And if anyone worships God, God is Alive, Immortal. He then recited the verse from the Qur'an: "Muhammad is no more than an Apostle. Many were the Apostles that passed away before him. If he died or were slain, will ye then turn back on your heels ? If any did turn back on his heels, not the least harm will he do to God. But God (on the other hand) will swiftly reward those who (serve him) with gratitude."

Sunnis also consider the narrations about Abu Bakr and his family by the Shi'a to be spurious.

Shi'a view

The Shi'a have a very unfavorable view of Abu Bakr. They believe that he was a usurper who snatched the Caliphate when it should have gone to Ali, who was part of Banu Hashim and Mohammad's bloodline. They also believe he and Umar conspired to take over power in the Muslim nation after Muhammad's death, in a coup d'état against Ali. The Shia do not view Abu Bakr's being with Muhammad in the cave as a meritorious act. The Shi'a criticize Abu Bakr for an apparent dispute between him and Muhammad's daughter, Fatimah, that ended with her becoming angry with Abu Bakr and refusing to talk with him for the rest of her life, she died six months later. Abu Bakr had refused to grant her a piece of land which Muhammad had left. (see Fadak)

The Shi'a believe that Abu Bakr sent Khalid ibn Walid to crush those who were in favour of Ali's caliphate. The Shi'a strongly refute the idea that Abu Bakr or Umar were instrumental in the collection or preservation of the Qur'an, claiming that they should have accepted the copy of the holy book in the possession of Ali

Non-Muslims view

Edward Gibbon wrote about Abu Bakr as:
The moderation, and the veracity of Abu Bakr confirmed the new religion, and furnished an example for invitation.

William Muir states that:

Abu Bakr's judgment was sound and impartial; his conversation agreeable and his demeanor affable and much sought after by the Quraysh and he was popular throughout the city.... The faith of Abu Bakr was the greatest guarantee of Muhammad's sincerity in the beginning of his career, and indeed, in a modified sense, throughout his life. To have such a person as a staunch adherent of his claim, was for Muhammad a most important step.

William Montgomery Watt writes:

From 622 to 632 he (Abu Bakr) was Mohammed's chief adviser, but had no prominent public functions except that he conducted the pilgrimage to Mecca in 631, and led the public prayers in Medina during Mohammed's last illness."

References

See also

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