Abu Bakr's closeness to the Prophet, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam

  • Author: Fatwa No. 90882
  • Publish date:12/12/2010
  • Sections:FATWA FOR ALL
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Question:

I am a Shia and have this doubt about Ahl ul-Sunnah, and no Sunni Mufti is agreeing to answer a few questions. I have, such as amongst the companions Abu Bakr is viewed as the most superior on account of his closeness to the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ). If this is indeed the case then why did the Prophet not select him to be his brother when he divided the companions in to pairs on the Day of Brotherhood? Rather, the Prophet chose Ali may Allah be pleased with him, saying "You are my brother in this world and the next", so on what basis is Abu Bakr closer? See the History of the Caliphs who took the right way, by Jalaladeen Suyuti, English translation by Abdassamad Clarke p177, (Taha publishers). 
 
Fatwa:
 
All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.
 
The excellence of Abu Bakr , may Allah be pleased with him, over all other companions , may Allah be pleased with them, is something on which the Muhaajireen (those who migrated from Makkah to Madeenah) and the Ansaar (the citizens of Madeenah who helped and gave aid to the Muhaajireen) agreed in a consensus. Ibn 'Umar , may Allah be pleased with him, narrated: "During the reign of the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) we were not used to equal anyone to Abu Bakr, then to 'Umar then to 'Uthamaan , may Allah be pleased with them, and then we did not distinguish between the remaining companions [considered the rest as equal in rank]." [Al-Bukhari]
 
Moreover, Al-Bayhaqi  may  Allah  have  mercy  upon  him reported that Al-Shaafi'ee  may  Allah  have  mercy  upon  him said: 'None of the companions nor their righteous followers differed with regard to the preference of Abu Bakr and 'Umar over all other companions , may Allah be pleased with them; nonetheless some of them differed in relation to 'Ali and 'Uthmaan as to whom is better than the other.'
 
Indeed, there are many texts [evidences] which prove the excellence and preference of Abu Bakr over all other companions , may Allah be pleased with them, in excellence and as a caliph; we are going to mention some of them. The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said: "If I were to take an intimate friend, I would have taken Abu Bakr as one, but he is my brother and my companion." [Al-Bukhari and Muslim] It is also confirmed that 'Amr Ibn Al-'Aas , may Allah be pleased with him, asked the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ): "Who is the dearest person to you?'' He  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) replied: "'Aa'ishah." I asked: "And among men? He  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said: "Her father." [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]Furthermore, 'Aa'ishah , may Allah be pleased with him, narrated: "When the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) was ill during his death sickness, when it was time for the prayer and the call to the prayer was made, He  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said: "Order Abu Bakr to lead the Muslims in prayers." [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
  
As regards the narration that you mentioned in the question, it is reported by At-Tirmithi  may  Allah  have  mercy  upon  him that the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said to 'Ali, may Allah be pleased with him,: "You are my brother in this world and in the Hereafter." Some scholars  may  Allah  have  mercy  upon  him classified the narrators of this narration to be weak. Even if we presume that this narration is authentic, the most that could be said about it is that it proves the excellence of 'Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, this is a matter that no one doubts. Indeed there are many texts about his excellence and virtues.
 
However, in the above narration there is nothing that suggests that he is better than Abu Bakr , may Allah be pleased with him, and this is not a defect or imperfection to Abu Bakr , may Allah be pleased with him, because if it was the case, it would be said; why didn't 'Ali , may Allah be pleased with him, accompany the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) when he migrated, and why the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) did not say: "I would have taken 'Ali , may Allah be pleased with him, as a close friend Instead of Abu Bakr. may Allah be pleased with him ", and so forth.
 
Therefore, the excellence and preference of Abu Bakr and 'Umar, over other companions , may Allah be pleased with them, is evident, and Abu Bakr , may Allah be pleased with him, is the best of all other companions , may Allah be pleased with them, without exception. This is indeed what 'Ali , may Allah be pleased with him, himself believed in and said. 'Abdullaah Ibn Salam ah  may  Allah  have  mercy  upon  him narrated: "I heard 'Ali , may Allah be pleased with him, saying: "The best of the people after the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) is Abu Bakr , may Allah be pleased with him, and the best of the people after Abu Bakr is 'Umar , may Allah be pleased with him,."[Ibn Maajah]  
 
Allah Knows best.
 
Fatwa answered by:The Fatwa Center at Islamweb

 

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