Who was Hazrat Abu Bakr (RA)
Hazrat Abu Bakr Saddique (RA) was the first Caliph of Islam after the death of Hazrat Muhammad (SAW). He was born in Makkah in 573 CE, two years and a few months after the birth of the Holy Prophet (SAW) of Islam. He was a member of the Quraysh crews that ruled the city before the Prophet (SAW).
Abu Bakr’s (RA) full name was Abdullah ibn Abi Quhafa ibn Amir ibn Amr ibn Ka’b ibn Sa’d ibn Taym ibn Murrah ibn Ka’b ibn Lu’ayy ibn Ghalib ibn Fihr. He was brought up by his well-to-do parents, thus he acquired considerable self-respect and high status. His father Uthman Abu Qahafa accepted Islam on the day of the conquest of Mecca. His mother Salma bint Sakhar, also known as Umm al-Khair, soon converted to Islam and migrated to Medina.
Early Life of Hazrat Abu Bakr (RA)
Childhood and Upbringing
He spent his early childhood in the Bedouins like other Arab children of that time. In his early years, he played with camel calves and goats, and his love for camels earned him the nickname Abu Bakr (RA), meaning ‘father of the camel calf’.
In 591 AD, at the age of 18, he took up trade and became a cloth merchant, which was the business of his family. He started his business with a capital of forty thousand dirhams. In the following years, He traveled extensively with caravans (camel trains, a chain of camels carrying travelers from one place to another). Business trips took him to Yemen, Syria, and many other countries in what is now the Middle East.
Hazrat Abu Bakr Saddique (RA) was remarkably virtuous. Even before Islam, he had forbidden alcohol for himself. He acquired great values, high morals, and good morals in an ignorant society.
Acceptance of Islam
He accepted Islam after searching for the true religion. He was the first person who responded and believed in Allah’s Messengers. His immediate acceptance of Islam was the result of steadfastness with the Prophet of Islam (PBUH). Abu Bakr (RA) knew the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) as a truthful, honest and honorable person.
When he accepted Islam, the Messenger of Allah (SAW) was overjoyed. He was considered instrumental in the triumph of Islam due to his proximity to the Quraysh crews. His elevated character is a quality bestowed by Allah (SWT).
Relationship with Prophet Muhammad (SAW)
Hazrat Abu Bakr (RA) and the Holy Prophet (SAW) had an incredibly close and intimate relationship. Both were friends even before the Prophethood of Prophet Muhammad (PBUM). He had the privilege of having a multifaceted relationship with the Holy Prophet (SAW). He was one of the early converts to Islam, a close friend, an advisor, a kind neighbor, and a relative (father-in-law) of the Prophet (PBUM).
When the Holy Prophet (SAW) received the orders of Hijrah to Medinah from Allah, many Muslims left Mecca for safety. He stuck with them even when they left for Madinah and the Meccans tried to harm them. The Quraysh promised a reward for capturing the Holy Prophet (SAW). They hid and took a secret path. Umm Mabad’s goat gave him a lot of milk miracle. Zubair gave them a gift. He stayed in a cave on Thawr for three days while the Meccans watched. A spider spun its web at the opening of the cave, and a pigeon built its nest there.
The swords followed their tracks until they reached their hiding place. However, upon recognizing the trap and considering the early morning hours, they abandoned the pursuit, informing everyone that further efforts would be futile. Abu Bakr’s son gathered news from the Quraysh, his daughter Hazrat Asma (RA) brought food, and his servant grazed goats for milk at night.
Succession and Titles of Hazrat Abu Bakr (RA)
Succession of Hazrat Abu Bakr (RA)
He nominated Umar bin Al-Khattab (RA) as his successor on his deathbed. Umar bin Al-Khattab (RA) was the second caliph of Islam.
Titles of Hazrat Abu Bakr Saddique (RA)
His lineage is traced back to Prophet Muhammad’s (SAW) lineage from Murrah bin Ka’b. He is mentioned twice in the Quran.
Abdullah: The name Abdullah means “servant of Allah” in Arabic. This is his birth name.
Ateequ: One of his early titles before converting to Islam was Ateeq, which means “The Saved”. The Prophet Muhammad (PBUM) later repeated this title when he said that Abu Bakr (RA) was “Allah’s Ateeq from the fire”, meaning “safe” or “protected” and his Relationship with Allah shows how close one is to Allah. And he is protected by Allah.
Al-Saddique: Al-Saddique, the most famous of Abu Bakr’s (RA) titles, is derived from the word ‘Sadiq’, which means truth. Hence Saddique means one who is consistently truthful or believes in the truth of something or someone. The Holy Prophet (SAW) gave him the title Siddiq (The Truthful) because he affirmed the Miraj, the night journey of the Holy Prophet (PBUM), and his ascension to heaven.
Al-Sahib: He is respectfully referred to as “al-Sahib” (companion) in the Quran, describing his role as a companion of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW), who hid from the Quraysh in the cave of Jabal Thawr during the Hijrah.
Al-Awwah: Al-Awwa means one who prays to Allah often and is merciful and tender-hearted.
Military Campaigns under Muhammad (SAW)
Role in Battles of Badr
In 624, he was involved in the first battle between the Muslims and the Quraysh of Mecca, known as the Battle of Badr, but did not fight, instead serving as one of Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUM) tent guards. In this regard, Hazrat Ali (RA) later asked his companions who they thought was the bravest of men. Everyone said that Ali was the bravest of all men.
So Hazrat Ali (RA) replied: No, Abu Bakr (RA) is the bravest of men. In the battle of Badr, we prepared a camp for the Messenger of Allah (SAW), but when we were asked to present ourselves to protect him, no one came forward except him. With a drawn sword, he stood by the Prophet’s (PBUM) side and protected him from the infidels by attacking those who dared to approach him. Therefore he was the bravest of men.
Role in Battles of Uhud
In 625, he took part in the Battle of Uhud, in which the majority of the Muslims were defeated and he was wounded. Before the battle began, his son Abd al-Rahman, who was still a non-Muslim and fighting on the side of the Quraysh, came forward and issued a challenge for battle. He accepted the challenge but was stopped by Prophet Muhammad (SAW). Later, Abd al-Rahman (RA) went to his father and told him that you were targeted and exposed to me. I turned away from you and did not kill you. To this Abu Bakr replied, “However, if you came forward as a target for me, I would not turn away from you.”
In the second phase of the battle, the cavalry of Khalid bin Waleed attacked the Muslims from behind. He was turning Muslim victory into defeat. Many people, including Abu Bakr (RA), ran away from the battlefield. However, by his own account, he was “the first to return”.
Role as the First Caliph
On the evening of the death of the Prophet (SAW) of Islam, He was elected as the first Caliph of Islam. Three days before the Prophet’s (PBUM) death, he entrusted Abu Bakr with the responsibility of prayer, the most important pillar of Islam. He deserved to be the first caliph because he was the closest of all the companions of the Prophet (SAW) of Islam and also the friend of the cave.
Challenges faced as a Caliph
- The rise of false Holy Prophets who challenged the authority of the caliph in Medina such as Musailmah al-Khaab.
- The rise of the apostate wars against the forces that rose against the authority of the Caliph. The Caliph organized the Muslim armies to bring such armies under his command.
- He was faced with the challenge of fulfilling the Prophet’s promise to send a Muslim army against the Romans or the Byzantines. Despite the opposition of some of the Companions against such a move, the Caliph sent Usama bin Zayd, although young, to lead an army that included experienced Companions of the Holy Prophet (SAW).
- Some crews refused to pay zakat, an incident that forced the Caliph to take severe action against them. The Caliph argued that Zakat was one of the pillars of Islam and that refusing to pay it was tantamount to rejecting Islam.
- He helped restore the unity of the Ummah which was divided over the question of the Holy Prophet’s (PBUM) successor. The Ansar and the Muhajireen wanted the Caliph to be appointed from their group.
- He faced the challenge of nominating his successor after reviewing the available options and settling on the choice of Umar al-Khattab (RA).
Legacy and Contributions
One of his main contributions to Islamic History was to ensure the unity of the Muslim Ummah (community) in an era of uncertainty and possible division. One of his most important contributions was his leadership in the Wars of Rida, also known as the War of Apostasy. It was a military campaign launched to bring back the Arab crews who had left Islam after the death of Prophet Muhammad (SAW). By effectively suppressing rebellions and consolidating the political and religious authority of the fledgling Islamic state. He helped to stabilize the region and prevent further fragmentation.
Hazrat Abu Bakr (RA) also oversaw the compilation and preservation of the Quran. Recognizing the importance of preserving the divine revelations, he ordered the collection of the Quranic verses in written form. This compilation ensured the authenticity and standardization of the Quran which has remained intact to this day.
Additionally, He launched military campaigns outside the Arabian Peninsula, marking the beginning of the Islamic conquests. He sent troops to the Byzantine and Sasanian empires, successfully expanding the region under Islamic rule. His strategic decisions and military leadership laid the foundation for the territorial expansion of the Islamic empire under the later caliphs
Death of Hazrat Abu Bakr (RA)
Hazrat Abu Bakr (RA) died in 634 AD after a 15-day illness. His last wish was to donate his property (a garden) for the welfare of Muslims, in return for his living expenses from the Muslim treasury. His business was to manage the affairs of the Caliphate. Hazrat Umar (RA) led his funeral prayer and he was buried near the grave of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) and his head was placed parallel to the shoulders of the Holy Prophet (PBUH).
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Abu Bakr (RA) Saddique Mosque is one of the oldest mosques in Medina, Saudi Arabia. It is located on the southwest side of Masjid Nabawi.
Therefore, Hazrat Abu Bakr (RA) was chosen as his successor on the day of the Holy Prophet’s (SAW) death.
The real name of Abu Bakar (RA) was Abdullah bin Quhafa.
Hazrat Abu Bakr (RA) passed away at the age of 61.
Hazrat Abu Bakr Saddique (RA) lasted for approximately 2 years, 2 months and 14 days.