Abu Bakr “al Siddiq”
(c. 570 - 634)
One of the first followers of Muhammad who, in 632, became the first of the four "rightly guided" caliphs. Abu Bakr repeatedly
led the Muslim 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 named him with
the attributes "The Most Truthful" (al-Siddîq) and "Allahs
Freedman From the Fire" (`Atîq Allâh min al-nâr).
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 Prophets mosque] remain
open except Abu Bakrs."
"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."
Sage Al-Suyuti relates a 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.
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, and fought
the pseudo-Prophets al-Aswad al-`Ansi.
Imam al-Nawawi pointed out that Abu Bakrs 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 Bakrs 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 commenting,
"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 Bakrs sayings: "Whoever fights his ego for Allahs
sake, Allah will protect Him against what He hates."
Sources: Saudi Aramco World, (January-February 2002); Abu