SAYYIDINA SIDDIQUE - The Sublime
(Razi Allaahu anhu)
The general body of Muslims as well as the non-Muslims know full well and highly regard the noble qualities, the sincere services and the peerless piety of Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddique (R.A.), the most trusted and closest companion in life and death of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.). In the words of Qur'aan Majeed he was the "second of the two in the cave" - (9:40). He was verily the first in everything - first to pledge his faith in the Prophet (amongst the adults), first in services to the sacrifices for the faith, first to deputise for the Holy Prophet in leading congregational prayers, and the first of the four blessed Caliphs of the Holy Prophet. During his blessed sojourn in this world, and ever since his demise, he has been regarded as a touch stone and a magnet, both by the non-Muslims to judge and try the merits and the truths of the faith of Islam and they have felt greatly attracted and charmed by the simplicity and beauty of the humane doctrines of Islam as seen in the life and conduct of Hazrat Siddique-i-Akbar (R.A.) - he was truly great and supremely sublime. Hereunder we give a random sampling of the tributes paid to Hazrat Abu Bakr by the non-Muslims -
Mr. M. K. Gandhi, the late lamented leader and Mahatma to more than 400 million of Hindus of India, gave a piece of advice to his people on the eve of their attaining independence from the British in 1947. He said that the Hindus were regaining their freedom after a lapse of more than seven hundred years and that they have long forgotten the principles and the practices of good government and sound administration. He, therefore, offered his sincere advice to his compatriots that they would do well to keep before them the example and the model of Hazrat Abu Bakr and Hazrat Umer (R.A.) for the world has not produced better leaders of men (other than the prophets), than these two. Elaborating some of the virtues of the two noble Caliphs, Mr. Gandhi said that Hazrat Abu Bakr was a real Durwesh and he stuck to his simple way of life even during his exalted office of Caliphate and continued to serve his people to the best of his ability and capacity.
Von Krammer in his book 'The Orient under the Caliphs' writes about Hazrat Abu Bakr thus -
"Abu Bakr, the successor and representative of the Prophet in the highest affairs of the Muslim community, was a simple man to the old Arabian fashion and when summoned to the Caliphate he was changed in no respect."
H. G. Wells has many praises to offer to Hazrat Abu Bakr. What he says many be summed up as -
Abu Bakr was the embodiment of the spirit and soul of Islam and was the closest and most trusted lieutenant of the Prophet. If the Prophet was the source of wisdom and inspiration in the early years of Islam, Abu Bakr was the genius and the force behind it. He maintained the closest contact with the Prophet throughout and heartily and spontaneously believed in him (the Prophet) in whatever he said or did. After the demise of the Prophet he displayed such faith and determination as could move mountains. The Prophet had invited the world rulers to accept Islam, Abu Bakr gave practical shape to his wishes by opening the flood gates of conquests. If there were twenty men like him in the world of Islam, they would have conquered the whole of this world.
The relevant section of 'Cyclopedia of Islam' contains something on the following lines -
The great quality of Abu Bakr was his unshakable faith in the Prophethood of Muhammad. The spontaneous demonstration of the complete and the unshakable faith in the words and actions of the Prophet, as displayed in relation to the Ascension of the Prophet earned him the title of 'The Truthful' and this honorific has become a permanent suffix and forms an inseparable part of his name even to this day. Abu Bakr was extremely kind-hearted and most gentle and tolerant. When reciting the Holy Qur'aan, he was moved deeply and used to weep profusely. When the Prophet broke to him the good news that he (Abu Bakr) would keep him company during Hijrah, he was so greatly touched by the happy news and the honour done to him, that he could not contain himself and tears poured forth down his cheeks from both of his eyes. He used to immediately absorb and imbibe the spirit of the religious and prophetic commands as is proved by his efforts of setting the slaves free all through his life. He was ever ready without the slightest hesitation to offer and undertake the greatest of sacrifices for the sake of Islam and at the command of the Prophet. Before accepting Islam, he was a rich man having about 40 thousand Dirhams in cash but at the time of Hijrah he was left only with 5,000, which he took away with him.
He was with the Prophet in all the difficult and trying situations and faced all hazards, not only with extreme patience and perseverance, but also with great courage and forbearance. The greatest moment in his life, the highest point of his success arrived when he was picked out as the only companion of the Prophet during the latter's journey to Medina on Hijrah. Allaah rewarded his selfless and devout services by bestowing upon him in the Holy Qur'aan the title of the "second of the two in the cave" (9:40) and thus gave him an immortal place in the annals of the history of Islam. Abu Bakr was deputed by the Prophet in 9 A.H. to be Amirul Hajj and he led all the ceremonies and also the congregational prayers for the assembly which included Hazrat Ali (R.A.) as well. He was also the nominee of the Prophet to lead the five time daily prayers in the Prophet's mosque in Medina during the illness of the Prophet. Since he did not tolerate even the slightest deviation from the path of the faith and the traditions of the Holy Prophet, and as his life and conduct were extremely righteous and pious, he become, as if it were, a prototype of the Holy Prophet or a Personification of the Prophet (S.A.W.). The noblest example of his (Abu Bakr's) unswerving and meticulous faith in the actions and decision of the Prophet was his determination to dispatch the Jaish-i-Usama (the battalion of Usama) despite opposition from some quarters, and in the face of most extraordinary situation which had developed, after the demise of the Holy Prophet, in Medina.
Stanley Lane Pool in his 'Studies in a Mosque,' writes -
"The ability for sound decision, and a heart overflowing with love and affection, were the two assets of Abu Bakr, which proved to be of unprecedented help and assistance for the advancement and spread of Islam."
Simon Okely in 'History of Saracens' says -
"Abu Bakr never left any monies in Baitul-Maal (Public Treasury). He would distribute them all amongst the needy after Friday Prayers. His qualities of modesty, integrity, infallibility, and abstinence and indifference to the attractions of the world are such as are worth of emulation. He used to take only three Dirhams per day from Baitul-Maal for his daily expenses!
"Despite this frugal amount, he asked on his death bed, his daughter Aisha (R.A.) to refund the total amount of grant which he had drawn in his life- time from Baitul-Maal by way of subsistence allowance, by disposing of his property. When Hazrat 'Umer (R.A.) came to know of this, he said that "Abu Bakr had left an extremely difficult example for his successor to follow." Hazrat Abu Bakr also advised Hazrat 'Aisha (R.A.) to make out a complete list of all his assets and valuables so that no one could ever say that he had helped himself during his office in Caliphate. His only assets in life were a negro slave and a camel. He would give away in charity every Friday, his weekly savings and all that was in Baitul-Maal. What he left behind him was a shirt and a sheet of coarse cloth and a sum of five Dirhams! When these were handed over to his successor Hazrat 'Umer (R.A.), he declared, "I cannot possibly follow his example."
Dr. Vile in his 'A History of the Islamic Peoples' writes -
"The private life of Abu Bakr was as pious and above reproach as his public life. Nobody could ever dare point out an accusing finger at him."
Andre Servier, in his 'Islam and the Psychology of the Muslims' says that:
"Abu Bakr loved simplicity and led a life of abstinence even as a Caliph. He was the real leader of his people, the beloved of the Medinites. One quality which surpassed all his other qualities was his energetic devotion to hard work."
Sir William Muir in his 'The Caliphate' writes:
"Abu Bakr was extremely tender-hearted and came to be known as 'Al-Awwaah,' that is, one who is given to heave deep sighs. He is not known to have oppressed any one during all his life. During the day he attended to the affairs of the State and at night he served the poor and the needy. Once 'Umer went out at night to help a blind old woman but was amazed to find Abu Bakr already busy in the service of that woman.
"No doubt Abu Bakr was kind and tender hearted, but at the same time he was firm in the pursuit of what was just and right. He did not rest contented until he had the Usama battalion dispatched to its destination although there was an urgent and pressing need for a fighting force to be present in Medina. But Abu Bakr took the stand that he would never fold the flag which the Prophet had unfurled by his own hands. His faith in and dedication to the Prophet is a testimony for all the world of the truthful mission of the Prophet!"
(Courtesy: Yaqeen International)