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Thursday January 17, 2019
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"No one has been a better companion to me than Abu Bakr (RA)," said the Holy Prophet SAW in his last sermon.

A great reward indeed! Abu Bakr (RA) had earned it. All his life he stood by the side of the Prophet SAW. He did not care for his life. He did not care for his riches. He did not care for what others said about him. His only ambition was to serve the Prophet SAW more than anyone else. The cost did not matter. The ambition was fulfilled. And Abu Bakr (RA) got his reward in full. The Messenger of Allah SAW was well pleased with him. He gave him the first place among the Companions. Abu Bakr (RA) was to be the first man to fill the place of the Prophet SAW. He was also to lie in eternal rest by the prophet's side.

Service to the Prophet - First among Men

Abu Bakr (RA) was always very close to the Holy Prophet SAW. He knew him better than any other man. He knew how honest and upright his friend had always been. So he was the first among men to believe in the Prophet's mission. He was the first adult male to accept Islam. After the first revelation, the Holy Prophet SAW told him what had happened at Mount Hira. He told him that Allah had made him His Messenger. Abu Bakr (RA) did not stop to think. He at once became a Muslim. Once the holy Prophet himself remarked, "I called people to Islam. Everybody thought over it, at least for a while. But this was not the case with Abu Bakr (RA). The moment I put Islam before him, he accepted it without any hesitation."

The Holy Prophet SAW called at Abu Bakr (RA)'s house every day. The two sat down and thought out ways of spreading Islam. Together they went to people and places and delivered the message of Allah. Wherever the Holy Prophet SAW went, Abu Bakr (RA) went with him.

Risks His Life

One day the Holy Prophet SAW was saying his prayers in the Kaaba. He was totally lost in the thoughts of Allah. Abu Jahl and some other chiefs of Mecca were sitting in the courtyard of the Kaaba. "I must finish with Muhammad today," said Abu Jahl. So saying, he took a long piece of cloth. He put it around the Holy Prophet SAW's neck. Then he twisted it hard. He was going to strangle the Messenger of Allah to death. The other chiefs looked on and laughed.

Abu Bakr (RA) happened to see this from a distance. He at once ran to the help of the Prophet SAW. He pushed Abu Jahl aside and took off the cloth from around the Holy Prophet SAW's neck. Thereupon Abu Jahl and other enemies of Islam came down upon Abu Bakr (RA). They beat him very much. Indeed, the beating was so severe that Abu Bakr (RA) fell down senseless. He was carried home. He could not regain his senses till after several hours. And when he did come to himself, the first question he asked was, "Is the Prophet un-hurt?" Abu Bakr (RA) did not care for his own suffering. He was glad that he was able to help save the Prophet's life. Abu Bakr (RA) knew full well that if any harm came to the Prophet SAW, the only hope of mankind would be gone. This made him risk everything he held dear, for the safety of the Prophet SAW and for the spread of his message.

The Title of "Siddiq"

In the tenth year of his mission, the Holy Prophet SAW had the Miraj or Ascension. One night the angel Gabriel AS came with the word that Allah the Almighty wanted the Holy Prophet SAW to come all the way up to the highest heaven. The Holy Prophet SAW undertook the journey.

In the morning, after the ascension had taken place, the Holy Prophet SAW talked to people about the Miraj. This drew the jeers of his enemies.

"Look!" they howled out, "what nonsense he talks! Surely, now his followers too will laugh at him. Who is going to believe in such a midsummer night dream?"

The talk was going on when Abu Bakr (RA) came up. "Do you know, Abu Bakr (RA), what news your friend has for you in the morning?" said one of the mean. "He says he was on the highest heaven last night, having a talk with Allah, the Almighty. Would you believe it?"

"I would believe anything that the Messenger of Allah says," replied Abu Bakr (RA)

When the Holy Prophet SAW learnt of this, he at once said, "Abu Bakr (RA) is the `Siddiq'." `Siddiq' is a person so sincere of heart that doubts never mar his love. Abu Bakr (RA) earned this title because of his faith was too strong to be shaken by anything.

Migration to Medina

W hen the Meccans were intent on putting out, once and for all, the light of Islam, Allah commanded the Holy Prophet SAW to move to Medina. In the burning heat of the midday sun, there was a knock at Abu Bakr (RA)'s door. He ran to the door and found the Messenger of Allah SAW standing outside. "I must leave for Medina tonight," said he.

"Will I also have the honour of going with you?" asked Abu Bakr (RA) eagerly.

"Of course," came the reply. "Set about getting things ready."

Abu Bakr (RA) was beside himself with joy. "I have been looking forward to this day for months," he exlaimed. "I have specifically kept two camels to carry us to Medina."

 It was Abu Bakr (RA) who made all the arrangements for the historic journey. for three days he and the Prophet SAW lay hidden in the Thaur cave. Abu Bakr (RA)'s slave tended the flocks of goats near the cave all day and supplied them fresh milk for food. His son, Abdullah, brought news about what the Meccans were doing.

The Meccans were searching for the Holy Prophet SAW like mad hounds. Once they came right to the mouth of the cave. Abu Bakr (RA) grew pale with fright. He feared, not for himself, but for the Prophet SAW. However, the Holy Prophet SAW remained perfectly calm. "Do not fear," he said to Abu Bakr (RA), "certainly Allah is with us."

Of all the companions, Abu Bakr (RA) had the honour of being with the Prophet during the most critical days of his life. Abu Bakr (RA) knew full well what this honour meant. And he did full justice to the trust put in him.

Agent to the Prophet SAW

The first Hajj under Islam fell in the ninth year of Hijra. The holy Prophet SAW was too busy at Medina to lead the Hajj himself. So he sent Abu Bakr (RA) as his agent. He was to lead the Hajj in place of the Prophet SAW. Ali RA was also sent with Abu Bakr (RA). Abu Bakr (RA) read the Khutba (Sermon) of Hajj. Then Ali RA stood up and read out to the people the commandments of Allah concerning the idol worshippers. From that year on, they were forbidden to enter the Kaaba.

Ever since he came to Medina, the holy Prophet SAW himself led prayers in the Prophet SAW's Mosque. It was an unusually high office which the Messenger of Allah himself filled. During his last illness, the holy Prophet SAW could no longer lead prayers. He grew too weak to go to the mosque. He had to appoint someone to act in his place. This honour also fell to the lot of Abu Bakr (RA). Aisha RA, who was Abu Bakr (RA)'s daughter and a wife of the holy Prophet SAW, thought that the burden was too much for her tender-hearted father. She pleaded with the holy Prophet SAW to excuse her father from this duty. But the holy Prophet SAW did not change his mind.

Thus in the lifetime of the holy Prophet SAW Abu Bakr (RA) came to fill the highest office under Islam. One day Abu Bakr (RA) was away on some business and Umar RA led the prayer in his absence. "This is not Abu Bakr (RA)'s voice," remarked the ailing Messenger of Allah. "No one but he should lead prayers. He is the fittest person for this high office."

On the last day of his life, the condition of the holy Prophet SAW became suddenly better for a while. It was early morning. Abu Bakr (RA) was leading the prayer in the mosque. The holy Prophet SAW lifted the curtain of his door and fixed his gaze on the worshippers. They were busy in prayer under Abu Bakr (RA)'s leadership. A smile lit up on the pale face of the holy Prophet SAW. He let go of the curtain. But he was happy at the thought that he had chosen the best man to fill his place.

It was through these qualities and also the pledge of loyalty that the Sahaba showed towards Abu Bakr (RA) he became the 1st Caliph by the general consent of the people.

Abu Bakr (RA) Passes Away

After an illness of two weeks, Abu Bakr (RA) passed away. He was sixty-three at the time. He was buried by the side of the Holy Prophet SAW.

Before his death he said, "Do not use new cloth to cover my dead body. The sheet of cloth I have on will do for me. Wash it clean."

"But this is too old and worn, father," said his daughter Aisha RA.

"This old and worn sheet will do for me," he replied.

On the 22nd of Jamadi-ul-Akhir, 13 A.H., Abu Bakr (RA) was taken ill. He had severe fever.  Everything was done to bring down the fever, but all in vain. It became clear to the aged Caliph that his end had come.

Two Years of Abu Bakr (RA)'s Calpihate

Abu Bakr (RA) was Caliph for only two years, three months and ten days. This was a relatively short period of time in the life of people. But during this short period, Abu Bakr (RA) was able to do great things for Islam. These achievements have made his name immortal. They have placed him among the greatest men of all time.

When Abu Bakr (RA) took over, Islam was confined to Arabia alone. And here, too its hold was rather shaky. In many parts of the country, Islam was but a name. It was not a way of life with most people. Scores of tribes had thought of the Holy Prophet SAW has a mere king. They tried to throw off his yoke as soon as he was no more. Abu Bakr (RA) taught these people a lasting lesson. He taught them that Islam was a way of life.

Abu Bakr (RA) was able to do this because of his unshakable faith. No difficulties could take him off the path of the Prophet SAW. Usama RA might be youthful and inexperienced, but Abu Bakr (RA) would not hear a word against him. He was appointed by the Prophet SAW. There might be rising in the country, but Abu Bakr (RA) would not put off the expedition to Tabuk. The Prophet SAW had ordered it.  Abu Bakr (RA) stood unequalled in his love for Allah and His Apostle SAW. This was the secret of his unbending strength. It was this inner strength that carried him through the darkest hours of his Caliphate.

Abu Bakr (RA) was as sincere as he was firm in faith. He lived up to every word of what he said at the beginning of his Caliphate. He was never anything but the faithful agent of Allah and His Apostle, and the humblest servant of his people. It was this fact which won him the deepest love and respect for all classes of his people. The result was that Islam took an unshakable hold on the country of its birth. Soon it gathered enough strength to overlap its boundaries. It struck at the two most feared powers of the time. And lo! it was successful. Abu Bakr (RA) had put Islam on the road to worldwide expansion.

 Islam means total submission to the will of Allah. It means that utter absence of all selfishness. The Holy Prophet SAW showed by his example how that goal could be reached. He SAW showed how the power of the State should not be used for private ends but for the public good. Abu Bakr (RA) was the first among his followers to live up to the Prophet SAW's example. He got no personal gain out of the Caliphate. He spent every minute of the last two years of life in the service of his people, but got not a penny as wages.

Abu Bakr (RA) had several sons and many near relatives. For public offices, he did not choose anyone of them. He rather chose other people who were more fit for public service. He had to nominate his own successor to prevent quarrels. But his choice fell on none of his own relatives. His choice was rather the man whom he honestly believed to be the best among the Companions. All the same, he did not force his choice on people. He put his proposal before the Companions. When they had agreed to it, he put it before the people.

In short, Abu Bakr (RA) showed the world what government of the people, for the people, and by the people really meant. Neither the East nor the West had ever known such a form of government before. The mighty empires of Iran and Byzantium were based upon naked force.

In short Abu Bakr (RA) kept going the great work of the Prophet SAW. For that he had to fight hard. He fought with a will and with a faith that amazed everyone. Islam is forever grateful to him for the great services he rendered to it.

Oh Allah continue to raise the rank of Hazrat Abu Bakr RA and let us be amongst his party on the day of Resurrection.  Ameen.

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