The Rashidun Caliph Series

The Rashidun Caliph Series_abu bakr

Abu Bakr As-Siddeeq

Name, linage and Kunyah

The full name of Abu Bakr was Abdullah ibn Uthman ibn Amir ibn Amr ibn Ka’b ibn Sa’d ibn Taym ibn Murrah ibn Ka’b ibn Lu’ayy ibn Ghalib al-Qurashi at-Taymi. His linage converged with the Prophet’s in the sixth grandfather, Murrah ibn Ka’b.[1]

‘Abu Bakr’ is a Kunya, honorary name usually composed of ‘Abu (father of) someone /something. Bakr refers to a young camel and was used by the Arabs as a name, a man called Bakr was considered to be the father of a great tribe.[2]

His Birth

He was born after the ‘Year of the Elephant’. He had a noble and good upbringing by his parents, who were held in high esteem by their people. This gave Abu Bakr a dignified position in society.

His early life

During jahiliyah (the period before Prophethood), Abu Bakr was one of the prominent figures and leaders of the Quraysh. He was well known for a number of things, including:

His knowledge of Genealogy

He was one of the most knowledgeable people about genealogy and the history of the Arabs. His knowledge was so impressive he was a reference point for people in this field.

His trade

Prior to Prophethood he was a merchant. He would travel to Basrah in Syria for the purpose of trade. At the age of 18 he began his trade in cloth, which was the family’s business.

He was well-liked among people

He had a very likeable personality, people enjoyed being in his company.

He never drank wine

He was one of the most dignified men prior to Prophethood. He never ever drank alcohol as he didn’t see it befitting for an honourable person to do so.

He never prostrated before any Idol

He never saw the logic in Idol worship, even though his father encouraged him to do so, he once again didn’t see it befitting of an intelligent man to bow to that which does not benefit nor harm.

Accepting Islam

The pure and innocent nature of Abu Bakr put him on a spiritual path, he was seeking the truth, he knew idolatry was false and he had heard of faiths during his business trips but he was never convinced, so it was not long after hearing the pure message of Tawheed that he submitted to Allah and accepted the Prophet Muhammad as the final messenger of Allah. Abu Bakr had a very close relationship with Muhammad previously and was well aware of his character, manners, honesty, integrity, so it wasn’t difficult for him to accept his message.

Calling others to Islam

Abu Bakr he learnt very quickly at the hands of the Prophet Muhammad and began his dawah, calling people to Islam. The first fruits of Abu Bakr’s dawah saw some of the best of humankind accept Islam namely: as-zubayr ibn al-awwam, Uthman ibn Affan, Talhah ibn Ubaydullah, sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas, Uthman ibn Madh’oon, Abu Ubaydah ibn al-Jarrah, Abdur Rahman ibn Awf, Abu Salamah ibn Abdul-Asad and al-Arqam ibn Aqil-Arqam (may Allah have mercy on them all).

The first to openly call to Islam

As the number of Muslims reached approximately forty Abu Bakr sought permission to openly call the Meccans to Islam. At the Ka’ba Abu Bakr began his call, delivering a sermon which agitated the Meccans to the point that the Quraish stood up and beat him so severely until he fell unconscious and was near death.

His wife Qutaylah did not accept Islam and he divorced her. He had three wives of them Umm Ruman who did accept Islam.

Meccah to Madina

After the death Abu Talib and the death of Khadijah, the persecution against the Muslim became unbearable. To the point where Allah commanded the believers to slowly but surely start moving to Madina. This was a dangerous task, long distance, difficult terrain, potential capture or even facing death if one was caught. Yet, Abu Bakr dreamt of making this journey with the Prophet knowing this would be most dangerous and may result in their death, yet his love for the Prophet over came all fear. A plan was made, by the senior Quraish, to kill the Prophet Muhammad, at the same time a plot was devised by Allah in which Ali was left in the bed of the Prophet, while the Prophet alongside Abu Bakr began their journey to Madinah.

[1] Ahmed ibn Ali ibn Hajar al-asqalani, al-Isabah fee Tamyeez as-sahabah (biographies of the companions) (Beirut: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyah, 1995) Vol 4 pp.144-145

[2] Majdi Fathi as –Sayyid, Seerah wa Hayat as-siddeeq (Biography and life of (Abu Bakr) as-sideeq, (Tanta, Egypt, Dar as-Sahabah lit-turath, 1996, p.27.

The role of Abu Bakr in the Battle of Badr and Uhud

Badr was a very decisive battle, it set the boundaries for both the Muslims as well as the pagans. It took place on the 17th Ramadan, 2H. In this battle Abu Bakr was one of the guards of the Prophet’s tent and was entrusted with his safety. Abu Bakr fought bravely ready to fight against any one that opposed the Prophet, be that even his son.

On the battle of Uhud, when the archers disobeyed the Prophet and had come down from the mountain peak, which they had been told to not move from no mater what. The Quraish did a U turn and attacked the Muslims, the beating was bad, so bad that the Prophet had to run up a mountain to survive and one of the few men that guarded him and helped him up was Abu Bakr. 

The Death of the Prophet and Abu Bakr

The Prophet died in 11 AH, and when he died it was the biggest calamity that hit the ummah ever, even senior sahaba couldn’t handle this news. Umar ibn Khattab refused to accept the death of the Prophet. It was only until the arrival of Abu Bakr that the situation calmed down and Abu Bakr gave an amazing speech in which he said

Mohammad is not but a messenger, Other Messengers have passed on before him. So, if he was to die or be killed, would you turn back on your heels (to disbelief)? And he who turn back on his Heels will never harm Allah at all, but Allah will reward the grateful.”[1]

Umar upon hearing the sermon of Abu Bakr and in particular this verse he, Umar said, it is as though this is the first time I’m hearing this verse.

[1] Ali Imran 3:144

The First Caliph of Islam & Saqeefah Bani Sa’idah

After the death of the Prophet the Ansar gather in Saqeefah Bani Sa’idah on the same day 12th Rabi al awwal, 11AH, they discussed amongst themselves the matter of appointing a Caliph, and they agreed to appoint the leader of the al-Khazraj, Sa’d ibn Ubadah. When this news reached the Muhajireen they rushed out to meet the Ansar, in which Abu Bakr spoke very eloquently praising the efforts of the Ansar and informing them that leadership must be in the hands of the Quraish, to which he nominated Umar Ibn Khattab and Abu Ubaydah. There a lengthy hadith in Sahih Al Bukari where Umar narrates the full event, and you can also watch ‘The Rashidun Caliphs series on Islamic Courses Online to learn the full details. To which the Ansar conceded and they unanimously accepted the suggestion of Umar and that was Abu Bakr to be the calipha of the Prophet Muhammad.  So, there was a total agreement on the appointment of Abu Bakr being the leader of the Muslims.


Compilation of the Qur’an

One of the most remarkable achievements of Abu Bakr was the compilation of the Qur’an. After the death of the Prophet many false Prophets stood, some from the Muslim community who refused to pay Zakkat. This led to wars between Abu Bakr and those who refused to submit and pay Zakaat. During these wars many of the memorisers of the Qur’an were killed, so Umar out of fear suggested to Abu Bakr to compile one complete copy of the Qur’an be it all written on wood, bones, skins whatever, but he felt they was a dire need of having one hard copy, at first Abu Bkar was hesitant but eventually he conceded and put Zaid Ibn Thabit in charge of the project and they formed one large complete copy of the Qur’an. The Book was kept in the possession of Abu Bakr until his death, and then it was passed onto Umar who gave the responsibility of guardianship to his daughter Hafsa. The modern edition of the Qur’an is the Uthamn copy which is based on the copy kept with Abu Bakr, more details of this can be seen on Islamic Courses Online.

His death and His burial

Abu Bakr died on 22nd of Jumada Al-Akhirah, 13AH after suffering from a fever for over two weeks during which he gave instructions that Umar bin Khattab should lead the prayers. He died at the same age of the Prophet Muhammad 63 years old and his caliphate lasted two years and three months. Abu Bakr lived as a wealthy business man but the moment of his death he left this world leaving behind a servant, a camel and a garment. He was buried alongside the Prophet in Aishas room. The funeral prayer was led by Umar and Ali Ibn Abi Talib gave a very emotional loving speech praising Abu Bakr and talked about the huge loss to Ummah. The people gathered around Ali and they all wept.

Abu Bakr was the best man to walk on this earth after all the Prophets of Allah. His life was full of struggle, once he embraced Islam he knew what kind of life he would life. He served the Ummah like a real leader, he followed in the footsteps of the best of mankind. We pray that his life serves as inspiration to all Muslims.

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