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The Life of Abu Bakr - I

Wednesday 16/06/2010

 First Khutbah:

 
All perfect praise is due to Allah; I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad is His Slave and Messenger; may Allah exalt his mention, as well as his family and all his companions.
 
One of the matters that moves the hearts, draws people closer to Allah, and increases them in faith, is mentioning and describing the Companions, may Allah be pleased with them. This discussion of their virtues and highlighting of their greatness is so that people would look up to them, follow in their footsteps, and endeavour to reach their exalted level.
 
Slaves of Allah! The Companion we will discuss today is Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him. His name was ‘Abdullaah bin ‘Uthmaan, and he was born two and a half years after the 'Year of the Elephant'.
 
He was the finest person ever created after the prophets and messengers, may Allah exalt their mention. If the faith of the entire Muslim nation (excluding the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention )) were to be placed on one side of a scale and his faith on the other, then his side would outweigh the other side. He was the master of all masters.
 
He was a very wealthy man, and he utilised this wealth for the sake of Allah; he would purchase believing slaves and set them free for the sake of Allah.
 
When some of the Quraysh came to him to inform him that his companion (i.e. the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention )) was claiming that he had been on a journey at night to Jerusalem and then ascended through the Heavens, and then returned to his home (in Makkah) - all in one night, he remarked: “If he is really saying this, then he is telling the truth.” He was the believing one referred to in the saying of Allah (what means): {And the one who has brought the truth [i.e., the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention )] and [the one who] believed in it – those are the righteous.} [Az-Zumar: 33] Allah testified for him that he was a true believer. The one who came with the truth was Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) and the one who believed in him and was truthful was Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him. He was the first man to believe in the message and follow the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ).
 
Anas, may Allah be pleased with him, reported: “The Messenger of Allah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) climbed on mount Uhud along with Abu Bakr, ‘Umar and ‘Uthmaan, and it shook, so the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said:“O Uhud! Remain still, for you only have on you a Prophet, a Siddeeq (i.e., a truthful person), and two martyrs.”" [Al-Bukhari]
 
He is the one who was given the appellation 'Al-‘Ateeq' (i.e. the one freed from Hell) by the Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ), as mentioned in the book of Imaam At-Tirmithi  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him.
 
He, may Allah be pleased with him, was a handsome, dignified man and was a forerunner in performing acts of virtue. He was slim and narrow-shouldered, with a protruding forehead. He would dye his hair with Hennah. He was also very soft-hearted, compassionate, merciful and would weep very easily when hearing the recitation of the Quran.
 
During the pre-Islamic era, his knowledge of genealogy and the history of the early Arab tribes was so profound and detailed that ‘Aa’ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, stated that: “The Messenger of Allah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said:“Abu Bakr is the most knowledgeable person of Quraysh with regards to its lineage.”"[Al-Bukhari]
 
He was well loved by people and held in high esteem. People would acknowledge and recognise his tremendous virtue and sublime manners; the head of his tribe once said to him: “You make this tribe a praised one (by being a member of it); you help the needy, support the afflicted and do all other types of virtuous deeds.”
 
He resembled the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) in many of his characteristics, such as his never consuming intoxicants in the pre-Islamic era and making it forbidden for himself; nor did he ever prostrate to any idol. He, may Allah be pleased with him, explained why this was so, saying: “When I reached the age of discernment, Abu Quhaafah (i.e., his father ‘Uthmaan) took me by my hand and we headed to a place of worship that was filled with idols. He told me that these were my gods and the gods of my fathers and forefathers, and that I should therefore worship them. He then left me there, alone. I got close to one of the idols and said: `I am hungry, so please feed me. I am bare, so please provide me with clothing.' However, the idol did not budge. I therefore picked up a rock, threw it at the idol, and knocked it to the ground.” [End of quote]
 
Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, reported that the Messenger of Allah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said:"The best of people in the Pre-Islamic Period of Ignorance are the best in Islam, provided they comprehend religious knowledge." [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
 
When the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) invited him to embrace Islam, he, may Allah be pleased with him, did not hesitate or delay - unlike everyone else; he immediately believed and accepted Islam, and began calling others to it. Many great Companions entered Islam through his efforts, such as ‘Uthmaan bin ‘Affaan, Az-Zubayr bin Al-‘Awwaam, ‘Abdur-Rahmaan bin ‘Awf, Sa’d bin Abi Waqqaas, Talhah bin ‘Ubaydullaah, Abu ‘Ubaydah bin Al-Jarraah,and many others, may Allah be pleased with them.
 
Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him, had a servant who would bring him his earnings which he, may Allah be pleased with him, would eat from. One day, he brought him something and when Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him, had eaten some of it, the servant asked him if he knew where he had obtained the food. Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him, replied that he did not, and asked him where he got it from. The servant replied:“I acted as a soothsayer for a man in the pre-Islamic period, and not being good at it, I deceived him. Today, he met me and he recompensed me for that soothsaying, and that is what you have just eaten.” Upon hearing this, Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him, immediately put his fingers down his throat and vomited up all that he had eaten. He then said: “I swear by Allah! If it would have not come out except with my life, then I would still have done it (i.e., made himself vomit), because I heard the Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) saying: “Hell is more deserving of every (piece of) flesh that is cultivated from ill-gotten provision.”[Al-Bukhari] 
 
He, may Allah be pleased with him, endured much harm during his propagation and spreading of Islam, an example of which is when a man from the polytheists had pledged to protect him and therefore secured his return to his house after the Quraysh had threatened him; the man stopped them from assaulting him, informing them that he was under his protection, so they left him alone. After this, Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him, returned to his house and built a mosque in his front yard, in which he would recite the Qur’aan. This enraged the Quraysh because his recitation caused their women and children to gather outside his house in order to listen, and they feared that these women and children would be influenced by the recitation. Due to this, the Quraysh went to the man under whose protection Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him, was and urged him to end his pledge of protection. The man went to him and reminded him of the pledge he had given for his protection; he then gave him the choice to either stop reciting the Qur’aan or to free him from the pledge of protection. Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him, chose to end the pledge and told the man: “I will be content with the protection of Allah.”
 
The reason the Quraysh were enraged is that he, may Allah be pleased with him, was a very tender-hearted person and would easily cry whenever he recited the Qur’aan. His recitation was a means of calling people to Islam.
 
Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him, was the one who rescued the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) when the Quraysh attacked him, beat him and attempted to strangle him. He, may Allah be pleased with him, rushed and freed the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ), saying to them: “Will you kill a man simply because he says: 'My Lord is Allah'?” They therefore left the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) and turned on him, beating him so severely that his face was covered in blood. The only thing that saved him, after Allah, was his tribesmen hearing what was taking place and rushing to his rescue. They carried him to his house thinking, due to his appearance, that he had died.
 
He was for the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) his personal consultant and entrusted advisor who assisted him in his mission in Makkah. The best ever news for him, may Allah be pleased with him, was when he heard that the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) had selected him as his companion for his Hijrah, or migration. Upon hearing this news, he cried for joy, which made his daughter ‘Aa’ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, who was very young at the time, remark: “I never thought I would see someone cry due to happiness.”
 
He, may Allah be pleased with him, was one of 'The Two' (i.e. him and the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention )), who hid from their pursuers in a cave during their Hijrah. It was in this cave that the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said to him: “Do not grieve; indeed Allah is with us.” His fear and grief were not for his own life, but rather for that of the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ), lest the disbelievers would find them both and harm the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ). He, may Allah be pleased with him, was a very brave man and did not fear his enemies in the least.
 
Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him, narrated this story himself, saying: “I said to the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) when we were in the cave: ‘O Messenger of Allah! If any of them (i.e., the pursuing disbelievers) were to look down at their feet, they would see us.’ The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) replied reassuringly: “What do you think about two companions of whom Allah is the third (i.e. in terms of assistance)?” This was a statement to remind and reassure him, may Allah be pleased with him, that Allah was their supporter and protector.
 
He, may Allah be pleased with him, utilised his wealth, family and life for the service of Islam. He left his family, took just enough money, and went on this momentous journey, the outcome of which was unknown and fraught with danger. This bravery must certainly be recorded as one of his great merits.
 
He, may Allah be pleased with him, was on guard throughout this journey; he would walk behind the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) at times, in front of him at other times, to his left at other times, and to his right at others; he did this to ensure that nobody would surprise them with an attack. When they reached a location where a shepherd was, he, may Allah be pleased with him, asked the shepherd for milk and asserted that the udder be washed prior to milking the sheep in order to ensure that it would be clean for the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ).
 
During the battle of Badr, he, may Allah be pleased with him, was guarding the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) bravely lest the polytheists of the Quraysh would cause him any harm. He, may Allah be pleased with him, had his sword unsheathed and would strike anyone who attempted to come near the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ).
 
‘Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, once asked the people who were around him: “I ask you by Allah! Who is better, Abu Bakr or the believer from the people of Pharaoh?” The people were silent. He, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “Answer me!" The people remained silent, so he, may Allah be pleased with him, said: "I swear by Allah! One hour of Abu Bakr is better than the entire life of that believer from the people of Pharaoh because that man concealed his faith whilst Abu Bakr openly proclaimed his belief from the very outset.”
 
He, may Allah be pleased with him, was always at the very forefront in performing virtuous acts. Once, the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) asked his companions, may Allah be pleased with them: “Who is fasting this morning?”Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him, replied: “I am, O prophet of Allah.” Then he  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) asked: “Who followed a funeral procession today?” Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him, replied: “I did, O prophet of Allah.” He  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) then asked: “Who fed a hungry person today?” Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him, replied: “I did, O prophet of Allah.” He  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) then asked: “Who visited a sick person this morning?” Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him, replied: “I did, O prophet of Allah.” Thereupon, he  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: “It is never that these acts are done in a single day by a person except that he will therefore be admitted into Paradise.”
 
Had it not been that the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) asked these questions, he, may Allah be pleased with him, would surely not have informed anyone about the good deeds that he performed on that day, but since the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) asked, there was no choice but to reply.
 
He, may Allah be pleased with him, was always the forerunner in performing good deeds, and nobody could compete with him in this regard. ‘Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, had always wished to precede Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him, in any good deed, even if it would be just the once; the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) once requested the people to spend in charity, so ‘Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, said to himself: “Today is my chance to be victorious.” He, may Allah be pleased with him, brought half of his wealth and placed it in front of the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ), who asked: “O ‘Umar! What is this?” ‘Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, responded: “This is half of my wealth.” The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) asked: “What did you keep for your family?”‘Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, replied: “The other half.” Shortly afterwards, Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him, came and placed some money in front of the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ), who asked him: “O Abu Bakr! What is this?”Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him, responded: “This is all my wealth.” The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) asked: “What did you keep for your family?” Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him, replied: “I kept for them Allah and His Messenger.” ‘Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, remarked about this feat: “I realised on that day that I could never be victorious against him.” [At-Tirmithi]
 
His high ambition in performing acts of virtue and his striving for Paradise were unmatchable. Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, reported that the Messenger of Allah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: “He who spends a pair (of anything) in the way of Allah will be called from the gates of Paradise: `O slave of Allah! This gate is better for you.' One who is constant in prayer will be called from the Gate of Prayer; and whoever is eager in fighting in the Cause of Allah will be called from the Gate of Jihaad; and whoever is regular in observing fasting will be called from the Rayyaan Gate. Furthermore, the one who is generous in charity will be called from the Gate of Charity.”Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “O Messenger of Allah! May my mother and father be sacrificed for you! Those who are called from these gates will stand in need of nothing. Will anybody be called from all of these gates?” He  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) replied: “Yes, and I hope that you will be one of them.”[Al-Bukhari & Muslim]
 
Abu Hurayrah may Allah be pleased with him, said: “It was never that we (i.e. the Companions) competed in any act of virtue except that Abu Bakr came first.” [Ahmad]
 
An example of his remarkable humility was when he was seeing off the army that was heading to Levant (i.e. Shaam); he, may Allah be pleased with him, was walking while Zayd, may Allah be pleased with him,who was the commander of the army, was riding on his horse. Zayd, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “O leader of the believers! Either you ride or I step down.” Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “Neither will you come down, nor will I ride, I am seeking the reward of these steps (in the Path of Allah).”
 
Even the disbelievers recognised his rank amongst the Muslims, and this is why during the battle of Uhud, when the false news spread that the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) had been killed, Abu Sufyaan, may Allah be pleased with him, who was a disbeliever at the time asked: “Is Muhammad still alive amongst you?” The Muslims did not respond because the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) had commanded them not to. Hearing no answer, Abu Sufyaan, may Allah be pleased with him, then asked thrice:  “Is Abu Bakr still alive amongst you?"
 
Muhammad bin ‘Ali bin Abi Taalib may Allah be pleased with him, once asked his father: “Who was the best person after the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention )?” He, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “Abu Bakr.” Then he asked: “Then who?” He, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “`Umar.” Muhammad, may Allah be pleased with him, commented: “I was afraid he would say `Uthmaan next, so I said: 'then you?'” ‘Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “I am but a common person from the Muslim nation.” [Al-Bukhari]
 
It was he who was referred to by the saying of Allah which means: “But the righteous one will avoid it [i.e., Hell]. [He] who gives [from] his wealth to purify himself. And not [giving] for anyone who has [done him] a favour to be rewarded. But only seeking the countenance of his Lord, Most High. And he is going to be satisfied.” [Al-Layl: 17-21]
 
He, may Allah be pleased with him, was the best of those mentioned in the saying of Allah which means: “And the first forerunners [in the faith] among the Muhaajireen [i.e., the emigrants from Makkah] and the Ansaar [i.e., the residents of Madeenah] and those who followed them with good conduct – Allah is pleased with them and they are pleased with Him, and He has prepared for them gardens beneath which rivers flow, wherein they will abide forever. That is the great attainment.” [At-Tawbah: 100]
 
The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) testified to him that he was free of arrogance. Ibn `Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, reported that the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: “Whoever allows his lower garment to drag out of vanity will find that Allah will not look at him on the Day of Resurrection.”Upon hearing this, Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “O Messenger of Allah! My lower garment keeps sliding down, though I am always careful and pull it up and wrap it (around me).” The Messenger of Allah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: “You are not of those who do it out of vanity.”[Al-Bukhari]
 
‘Amr bin Al-‘Aas may Allah be pleased with him, asked the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ): “O Messenger of Allah! Who is the most beloved person to you?” The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: “`Aa’ishah.”He then asked: “And from the men?” He  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) replied: “Her father.”[Muslim]
 

The Life of Abu Bakr - II

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