The Companions of the Holy Prophet (sa)

Hadhrat Abu Bakr (ra)

In a reported hadith (Tradition: saying of) the Holy Prophet(saw) said1: ‘Love of Abu Bakr(ra) and gratitude to him are a duty on everyone of my Ummah’ Introduction Abu Bakr(ra) was one of many Arabic titles (kunya) given to Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) but his actual name was Abdul Ka’aba but after he became a Muslim was named by the Holy Prophet(saw) ‘Abdullah ibn Abi Qahafa ‘Uthman ibn ‘Amir ibn ‘Amr ibn Ka’b ibn Sa’d ibn Taym ibn Murrah ibn Ka’b ibn Lu’ayy ibn Ghalib al-Quraishi al- Taymi. His other titles are numerous and offer us a deep insight into his character as perceived by those around him. The first of his titles is ‘Ateeq which literally means noble or one who is freed from some unfortunate outcome or circum- stance. There are countless reasons put forward for him being named as such with the most compelling relating to a hadith in which the Holy Prophet(saw) said: ‘Abu Bakr(ra) you are the one whom Allah has freed from the hellfire’2. He was also known as As-Siddiq, which comes from the root ‘truthfulness’ and literally means that a person is in a constant state of truthfulness. It has been related in Al-Bukhari (Book of Hadith – Traditions) that the Holy Prophet(saw) once climbed with Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra), Hadhrat ‘Umar(ra) and Hadhrat ‘Uthman(ra) to the top of Mount ‘Uhud upon which he said3: ‘Be firm, O ‘Uhud, for upon you are a Prophet, a Siddiq (Hadhrat Abu Bakr) and two martyrs (Hadhrat ‘Umar and Hadhrat ‘Uthman)’. In relation to this the Promised Messiah(as) writes in Arabic4: Hadhrat Abu Bakr As-Siddiq(ra) – The Great Lover of Allah By Adam Hani Walker – UK 3KHILAFAT: Special Edition 2 The Review of Religions – November 2007 Nov 2007.qxd 28/12/07 11:31 Page 3 4 The Review of Religions – November 2007 KHILAFAT: Special Edition 2 HADHRAT ABU BAKR AS-SIDDIQ(RA) ‘My Lord has made it clear to me that the Siddiq (Abu Bakr(ra)) and Fariq (‘Umar(ra)) and ‘Uthman were of the righteous and the faithful and were of those who were chosen by Allah and were bestowed in particular with the bounties of the Gracious One. I have been informed that they were of the righteous and he who hurts them, hurts Allah and is a transgressor.’ In further expounding the deep meaning of As-Siddiq the Promised Messiah(as) delves into his vast ocean of knowledge and, as was his habit, presents us with a glowing pearl of knowledge. He writes that Prophethood after Hadhrat Muhammad(saw) is only attainable through the complete and absolute losing of oneself in the love of the Holy Prophet(saw). The Promised Messiah(as) writes5: ‘…all the doors leading to Prophethood have been closed except the door of Sirat-e- Siddiqi, i.e., losing oneself in the Holy Prophet.’ There were several other titles attributed to Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) but none more esteemed than the title As-Sahib (the companion) which was most magnificently assigned to him by Almighty Allah. It is said that when taking shelter in the cave of Hira, Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) began to weep. The Holy Prophet(saw) asked him why he was weeping. Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) replied6: ‘I do not weep for my life, O Prophet of God, because if I die it is only the question of a single life. But if you die it will be the death of Islam and of the entire Muslim Community.’ It was here that Almighty Allah revealed a comforting verse to remove the fears of Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) in which He gave him the title As-Sahib7, …when he said to his companion, ‘Grieve not, for Allah is with us.’ To merit such a unique title, and be so closely associated with Hadhrat Khatam-An-Nabiyyeen(saw), indi- cates that Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) was exemplary in the way he conducted himself. This was exemplified in Nov 2007.qxd 28/12/07 11:31 Page 4 5KHILAFAT: Special Edition 2 The Review of Religions – November 2007 HADHRAT ABU BAKR AS-SIDDIQ(RA) his acceptance of Islam when he did not hesitate for a fraction of a second to believe the Holy Prophet(saw) and offer his bai’at at the hand of Hadhrat Khatam-An- Nabiyeen(saw). Regarding his accep- tance the Holy Prophet(saw) addressed the companions and said8: ‘Verily, when Allah sent me to you, you said, “You are lying”, but Abu Bakr said: ‘He has spoken the truth.” He then consoled me by sacrificing his life and his wealth.’ Family Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) came from a prominent family of good standing and his father was called ‘Uthman ibn ‘Aamar ibn ‘Amr(ra) (also known by the title Abu Quhafa) and his mother was called Salma bint Sakhr ibn ‘Amr ibn Ka’ab ibn Sa’ad ibn Tayim(ra) (also known by the title Umm-ul-Khair). Whilst his mother accepted Islam in the early days before Hijrah, his father did not accept until the day that Islam liberated Makkah Al-Mukarramah from the hands of the tyrannical pagans. Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) was blessed with four wives who bore six children between them. His wives were Hadhrat Qateelah, Hadhrat Umm Ruman, Hadhrat Asma’ and Hadhrat Habibah. His blessed children were Hadhrat ‘Abdur- Rahman(ra), Hadhrat ‘Abdullah(ra), Hadhrat Muhammad(ra), Hadhrat Asma'(ra), Hadhrat ‘A’ishah(ra) and Hadhrat Umm Kulthoom who was born shortly after he passed away. His were blessed believers who contributed heavily towards the success and development of traditional Islamic thought and rule. The family of Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) was one of the very few families that was blessed with four gener- ations classed as companions of the Holy Prophet(saw). Delving deeply into the lineage of Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) leads one to realise the rich prophetic tree from which he grew. He was in fact related to Hadhrat Muhammad(saw) through Hadhrat Tamim (his fourth generation grandfather), who was the brother of Hadhrat Kulab (the fifth generation grandfather of the Holy Prophet(saw)) who were the sons of Hadhrat Morah from the Nov 2007.qxd 28/12/07 11:31 Page 5 6 The Review of Religions – November 2007 KHILAFAT: Special Edition 2 HADHRAT ABU BAKR AS-SIDDIQ(RA) family tree of Hadhrat ‘Adnan as shown in the diagram9. Hadhrat Ibn Hishaam concurs with the above lineage and goes even further listing the blessed lineage of Hadhrat ‘Adnan all the way to Hadhrat Adam(as). The list is as follows10: ‘Adnan ibn Udd [also known as Udad] ibn Muqawwim ibn Nahur ibn Tayrah ibn Ya’rub ibn Yashjub ibn Nabit ibn (Prophet) Isma’il ibn (Prophet) Ibrahim [the intimate friend of Allah] ibn Tarih [also known as Azar] ibn Nahur ibn Sarugh ibn Ra’u ibn Falakh ibn Aybar ibn Shalakh ibn Arfakhshadh ibn Sam ibn (Prophet) Nuh ibn Lamk ibn Muttushalakh ibn Akhnukh [who was said to be Prophet Idris] ibn Yard Mahlayl ibn Qaynan ibn Yanish ibn Shith ibn Adam(as).’ This was indeed a lineage of great blessings and miracles including no less than six Prophets (Hadhrat Muhammad, Hadhrat Isma’il, Hadhrat Ibrahim, Hadhrat Nuh, Hadhrat Idris and Hadhrat Adam, may Allah be pleased with them all). ABU BAKR(RA) LINEAGE Nov 2007.qxd 28/12/07 11:31 Page 6 7KHILAFAT: Special Edition 2 The Review of Religions – November 2007 HADHRAT ABU BAKR AS-SIDDIQ(RA) Early Life and Acceptance of Islam Not much is known about the life of Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) prior to his accepting Islam. Scholars have estimated that he was born in Makkah roughly two and a half years after the birth of the Holy Prophet(saw) in 572 AD. He spent most of his youth in Makkah learning how to become a successful merchant and as the years passed he would often leave Makkah with various caravans on trade expeditions in other countries. His business activities proved to be very successful and he soon established himself as a wealthy merchant. It is also known that from a young age Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) lived the life of a Bedouin and came to be known as someone who had a keen interest in camels of which he owned many. He was a just and equitable man quickly gaining a reputation for being trustworthy and honourable, so much so that he was entrusted by many tribes with blood money and other items of value. It is a natural sign of the truth of Islam that following its advent people were delivered from darkness into spiritual illumi- nation; however, Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) was an extraordinary indi- vidual because, unlike most pre- Islamic Arabs, he lived a pure and honest life in the period of ignorance (Jahiliyyah). It is easy to understand why he was such an honest person because during his youth he kept the very best of company being a friend of the Holy Prophet(saw). Regarding Hadhrat Abu Bakr’s friendship with the Holy Prophet(saw) before the advent of Islam Al- Zamakhshari writes11: ‘Abu Bakr’s name will be juxtaposed alongside that of the Messenger of Allah until the end of time. When he was young Abu Bakr was a close friend of the Prophet(saw); and when he grew older he spent his wealth on him…’ In addition to his extraordinary qualities he was also exceptional in his actions as was exemplified by the fact that he was one of the few blessed companions who protected themselves from alcohol before the advent of Islam. In a gathering of the companions Hadhrat Abu Nov 2007.qxd 28/12/07 11:31 Page 7 8 The Review of Religions – November 2007 KHILAFAT: Special Edition 2 HADHRAT ABU BAKR AS-SIDDIQ(RA) Bakr(ra) was questioned about whether or not he drank wine before entering the fold of Islam to which he admonished the questioner by saying12: ‘I seek refuge in Allah…I tried to protect my honour and my manliness, for whoever drinks wine will lose his honour and his manliness’. On this incident being related to the Holy Prophet(saw) he replied: ‘Abu Bakr has told the truth, Abu Bakr has told the truth’. Regarding his accepting Islam, some scholars document Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) as the first grown free man to accept Islam with Hadhrat ‘Ali(ra) being the first child and Hadhrat Khadija(ra) the first lady. Imam Al-Suyuti supports the view that Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) was the first man to accept Islam citing in evidence the following couplets of the great poet of the Holy Prophet(saw), Hadhrat Hassaan ibn Thaabit(ra), as related by Hadhrat Ash-Sha’bi(ra)13: ‘When you recall the distress of a trusted brother, then remember your brother Abu Bakr for what he did. The best of creation, most fearfully obedient among them, and the most just, except for the Prophet, and most certain to fulfil what he has undertaken. The second, the follower whose assembly is praised, and the first of those men who affirmed the Messenger.’ Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) was not present in Makkah when the first conversions took place. The first grown man to accept was the freed slave of the Holy Prophet(saw) Hadhrat Zaid ibn Haarithah(ra) who was about thirty years of age at the time. It is the view of Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih II(ra)14 that upon Hadhrat Abu Bakr’s(ra) return to Makkah he began to hear stories about how the Holy Prophet(saw) had turned mad, announcing to people that angels were delivering him messages from God. Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) was a close friend of the Holy Prophet(saw) and knew that if he had Nov 2007.qxd 28/12/07 11:31 Page 8 9KHILAFAT: Special Edition 2 The Review of Religions – November 2007 actually made such claims they would most certainly be true. Such was the absolute trust he placed in the Holy Prophet(saw). Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) proceeded to the home of the Holy Prophet(saw), and upon entering, asked the Holy Prophet(saw) about what had taken place. So as to avoid any misunderstanding of what he was saying, the Holy Prophet(saw) began to offer him a long explanation of the events but Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) stopped him and said that he wanted no explanation but only to know if an angel had conveyed messages from God to him. Once again the Holy Prophet(saw) tried to offer a lengthy explanation but Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) again said that he had no need for such an explanation but only to know if God had communicated with him. The Holy Prophet(saw) answered him in the affirmative and Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) accepted the claims of the Holy Prophet(saw) without hesitation and affirmed his status as a Muslim. Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) went on to say that had the Holy Prophet(saw) offered a lengthy explanation to be followed by debate then this would have detracted from the sincerity and value of his faith and acceptance. On reading this, who, from all of Allah’s creation, would dare to question the sincerity or pure righteousness of Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) ‘the trusted one.’ This alone should be enough to make clear that the status of Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) was amongst those who had the highest levels of Taqwa (righteousness). His acceptance was indeed the most spectacular of all the companions because it was based on complete belief and required no qualification. Surely this unique action of trust places Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) amongst those referred to in the following verse:15 And who is better in faith than he who submits himself to Allah, and he is a doer of good and follows the religion of Abraham, the upright? And Allah took Abraham for a special friend. This verse mentions the term ‘Special Friend’ (khalil) which is taken from the Arabic Khullah (meaning intimate friendship) which more precisely refers to a HADHRAT ABU BAKR AS-SIDDIQ(RA) Nov 2007.qxd 28/12/07 11:31 Page 9 10 The Review of Religions – November 2007 KHILAFAT: Special Edition 2 type of16, ‘friendship or affection which penetrates the heart and takes root in it’ making a Khalil someone who is17, ‘a special and particular friend who penetrates the inner parts’ of the heart. In a famous hadith, the Holy Prophet(saw) expresses his deep love for Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) by both connecting the concept of a Khalil with the unshakeable trust and submission shown by Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) when he accepted Islam18. Further reiterating this Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih II(ra) relates another hadith in which the Holy Prophet(saw) said19: ‘If I had taken anyone as my Khalil I would have taken Abu Bakr as such, but my Khalil is God’. Companion of the Holy Prophet(saw) From the day that Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) is said to have uttered the blessed Shahadah (affirmation of the unity of Allah and of Muhammad being a Messenger of Allah) he did not leave the side of the Holy Prophet(saw) but with his express permission for special circumstances such as Hajj and to take part in battles. It has been reported20 that in gatherings the companions would always surround the Holy Prophet(saw) and listen to him with such enthusiasm and intensity that their circle would resemble a solid wall; however, a place by the side of the Holy Prophet(saw) would always be left for his trusty companion Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) and when he would join the group the Holy Prophet(saw) would address the entire group but face Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra). As has already been touched upon, Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) was blessed with the opportunity to accompany the Holy Prophet(saw) during Hijra (migration from Makkah to Madinah) and seek refuge from the Quraish in the Cave of Thaur (Ghaar Thaur). It is important to be fully aware of the magnitude of this blessing and know that Allah chose Abu Bakr(ra) from the greatest companions to accompany His beloved Prophet(saw). Reminiscing upon the glorious miracles and the fond memories of those three nights spent in Ghaar Thaur, the Holy Prophet(saw) asked HADHRAT ABU BAKR AS-SIDDIQ(RA) Nov 2007.qxd 28/12/07 11:31 Page 10 11KHILAFAT: Special Edition 2 The Review of Religions – November 2007 the greatest of the poets among the companions, Hassaan ibn Thabit, if his dazzling pen had recorded anything about Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) during those nights. Hadhrat Hasaan ibn Thabit responded in the affirmative and recited21: ‘and “the second of the two’’ in the glorious cave, The enemy went round about it when he ascended the mountain. The love of the Messenger (for him) they already knew, Amongst people he held not equal any man.’ Indeed, the love of the Holy Prophet(saw) for his beloved Abu Bakr(ra) was special and derived itself from the immense love and sacrifice which Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) continuously displayed for the Creator of the Heavens and Earth, Almighty Allah. The life of Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) was characterised by his pure will to excel in all good and noble qualities and none more than kindness and generosity. Over a very short period of time it became apparent to the inhabitants of Arabia that Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) was the most generous of all the companions. It was his habit to regularly free a slave for the sake of Allah. It is famously known that Allah blessed Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) with the opportunity to free Hadhrat Bilal Al-Habashi(ra) from his torturous life of slavery but another incident involved Hadhrat Zinneerah(ra) who was also a freed slave. Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) paid for her freedom and shortly after this Hadhrat Zinneerah(ra) lost her vision. The Quraish became boastful and mocked Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) and Hadhrat Zinneerah(ra) saying that her loss of vision was in fact a curse upon her from the ‘real gods’ saying that it was none other than al-Laat and al-Uzzah (two pagan gods) who took her eyesight. Hadhrat Zinneerah(ra) rebuked them and remained steadfast in her faith, after which, out of His Mercy and Grace, Almighty Allah cured her by returning her vision22. The resilience and power of faith entered the hearts of those slaves whom Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) freed. One young lady who was freed by HADHRAT ABU BAKR AS-SIDDIQ(RA) Nov 2007.qxd 28/12/07 11:31 Page 11 12 The Review of Religions – November 2007 KHILAFAT: Special Edition 2 Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) was subse- quently captured and contin- uously beaten. Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) was not only generous with his wealth in freeing slaves but he would never hesitate for even a second to offer his wealth, effort and very life for the sake of Almighty Allah. There was great rivalry between Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) and Hadhrat ‘Umar(ra) in the doing of good works. Once the Holy Prophet(saw) invited funds for a campaign and when Hadhrat ‘Umar(ra) was asked what he had brought, he responded that he had brought one-half of what he possessed. When Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) was asked, his response was that he had brought everything and had only left behind the name of Allah and His Messenger. In this regard Abu Bakr(ra) was an example for all mankind as related to us by the Holy Prophet(saw) who said23: ‘I have never been under obligation to anyone but that I have repaid him, except for Abu Bakr(ra), for he has put obligations on me which Allah will repay him on the Day of Rising; no one’s wealth has ever benefited me as much as Abu Bakr’s wealth.’ Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) was also blessed with the honour of his daughter, Hadhrat ‘A’ishah (some- times spelt as Ayesha or Aisha)(ra), marrying the Holy Prophet(saw). The events leading up to the Nikah and consummation of this blessed marriage have been beautifully expounded by Hadhrat Muhammad Zafrullah Khan(ra) in his book ‘Muhammad; Seal of the Prophets’24. In summary the facts, as we know them, were that two years before Hijrah the Holy Prophet(saw) was asked by Hadhrat Khaulah(ra),‘Messenger of Allah, why do you not marry?’ to which he replied, ‘Whom shall I marry?’ She enquired as to whether he would prefer to marry a virgin or a widow. The virgin she talked of was Hadhrat ‘A’ishah(ra) and the widow Hadhrat Saudah(ra). The Holy Prophet(saw) requested that Khaulah approached both of them. Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) was pleased with the proposal but wanted to first enquire from the Holy Prophet(saw) if such a marriage would be permissible considering the close relationship of bro- HADHRAT ABU BAKR AS-SIDDIQ(RA) Nov 2007.qxd 28/12/07 11:31 Page 12 13KHILAFAT: Special Edition 2 The Review of Religions – November 2007 therhood they had. The Holy Prophet(saw) informed Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) that it was permissible as only physical, and not spiritual brotherhood, prohibits marriage. The Nikah ceremonies were thus held for both Hadhrat ‘A’ishah(ra) and Hadhrat Saudah(ra) in the month of Shawwal during the tenth year of Prophethood. The Mahr for both marriages was a modest amount of 400 dirhams each. Describing his love for Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra), the Holy Prophet(saw) is reported by Hadhrat Ibn ‘Abbas(ra) to have remarked25: ‘No one has shown greater favour to me than Abu Bakr. He shared himself and his wealth with me and married me [to] his daughter’. It is worth pausing for a moment and discussing the age of Hadhrat ‘A’ishah(ra) when she married the Holy Prophet(saw) as this has been an issue the opponents of Islam have manipulated in order to attack the pure character of the Holy Prophet(saw). Using the ill-informed research of some Muslims, the opponents of Islam propose that the marriage ceremony between the Holy Prophet(saw) took place when Hadhrat ‘A’ishah(ra) was five or six years old with the marriage being consummated when she was nine or ten years of age. Such allegations are based on a cocktail of half-truths, manipulation and deception of the highest order. Historical research establishes that Hadhrat ‘A’ishah(hra) was in fact ten years old at the time of her Nikah which took place two years before Hijrah. Her marriage was not consummated until the third year after Hijrah making her about fifteen years old when the marriage was consummated. To be married at the age of fifteen during the time of the Holy Prophet(saw) was not at all out of the ordinary. By the age of fifteen it was common for girls of the Arabian peninsular, in the hot climate of Arabia, to have matured beyond the age of puberty and to have begun married life. Explaining the great wisdom behind this marriage Hadhrat Muhammad Zafrullah Khan writes:26 ‘In no single marriage of his [the Holy Prophet(saw)] was he inspired by any purely personal HADHRAT ABU BAKR AS-SIDDIQ(RA) Nov 2007.qxd 28/12/07 11:31 Page 13 14 The Review of Religions – November 2007 KHILAFAT: Special Edition 2 desire or motive. At the time when his nikah was performed with Aisha, she was only ten years of age. She was the daughter of his closest and most devoted friend; had been brought up from her birth in an atmosphere of piety and righteousness; her mind under the Holy Prophet’s care could be moulded along lines of utmost beneficence; she could be instructed in an intimate relationship with regard to all that Islam required of a woman and could thus prove most helpful in guiding Muslim women, both by precept and by example, along the ways of righteousness; and she could be expected to survive the Holy Prophet for a long period and to serve as a source of instruction for the whole Muslim community, as indeed proved to be the case in fact. A great part of the knowledge of the ways and practice of the Holy Prophet, peace be on him, was handed down to future generations of Muslims through Aisha’. Thus do we find that the friendship of Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) with the Holy Prophet(saw) expanded in meaning and purpose upon the marriage of his daughter to the Holy Prophet(saw).The love of the Holy Prophetsaw) for Hadhrat ‘A’ishah was of a very special and unique nature. Commenting on Hadhrat ‘A’ishah(ra) the Holy Prophet(saw) showered her with praise by saying27: ‘Many amongst men attained perfection but amongst women none attained perfection except Mary, the daughter of ‘Imran and Asiya, the wife of Pharaoh. And the superiority of ‘Aisha to other women is like the superiority of Tharid (i.e. an Arabic dish) to other meals.’ Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) was an ever- forgiving person who always sought to find goodness in people and act justly in his every action even if he himself had been wronged. In one incident, a man slandered his daughter, Hadhrat ‘A’ishah(ra) (The Mother of the Faithful) who, as mentioned previously, was the wife of the Holy Prophet(saw). By coincidence the slanderer was reliant upon HADHRAT ABU BAKR AS-SIDDIQ(RA) Nov 2007.qxd 28/12/07 11:31 Page 14 15KHILAFAT: Special Edition 2 The Review of Religions – November 2007 charitable donations given to him by Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) in order to live and feed his family. Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) immediately stopped supporting this man financially but his generous and forgiving nature overwhelmed him and he soon began to again support the man financially. It should be noted that in this instance the Holy Prophet(saw) advised him that mercy was the best reaction. Throughout his life Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) was privileged to learn and expand as a human being under the watchful eye of the greatest of teachers from Almighty Allah’s creation, Hadhrat Muhammad(saw)28. Prior to outlining some of his achievements during the latter part of his life as Khalifat-ur-Rasul (Successor to the Messenger) we should spend a few sentences reflecting upon the status of Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) as a Da’ee ilallah (one who calls others to the way of Allah). He was an exceptional preacher and, with the permission of the Holy Prophet(saw), became the first of the companions to openly preach the message of Islam in public. After accepting Islam it became common occurrence for Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) to request the Holy Prophet’s permission for him to openly preach the message of Allah but the Holy Prophet(saw) continuously refused his requests knowing that it was not yet the appropriate time. One day, Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) was granted this permission upon which he stood up in the middle of a large gathering outside Ka’bah and, with no thought for his own safety, delivered a sermon inviting the people of the various tribes present to the Sirat-ul-Mustaqeem (the Straight Path of Islam). The people present became enraged and began to beat Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) and indeed all the other Muslims present which included the Holy Prophet(saw). Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) is said to have been beaten to within an inch of his life and was saved by the members of his tribe as they could not bear to see him trampled upon by members of opposing tribes. His injuries were so severe that people found it difficult to distinguish his nose from his face. Despite being close to death, and in no state to carry out even simple tasks, he could not allow himself to rest until he stood face to face with HADHRAT ABU BAKR AS-SIDDIQ(RA) Nov 2007.qxd 28/12/07 11:31 Page 15 16 The Review of Religions – November 2007 KHILAFAT: Special Edition 2 the Holy Prophet(saw) to ensure that he was healthy and unharmed. It was during this emotion-filled meeting that Ummul Khair(ra), the blessed mother of Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra), accepted Islam in the presence of the Holy Prophet(saw). This painful test in no way deterred this great Da’ee (caller) from continuing to invite people to Islam but only acted to make him far more resolute in his pure intention to serve Almighty Allah by spreading the great news of Islam. In addition to the members of his own blessed family, Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) was enabled by Allah to convert countless people including Hadhrat ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan(ra), Hadhrat Al-Zubayr ibn- ul ‘Awwam, Hadhrat ‘Abdur- Rahman ibn ‘Awf(ra), Hadhrat Sa’d ibn Abi Waqas(ra) and Hadhrat Talha ibn ‘Ubaidillah(ra)29. Demise of the Holy Prophet(saw) Prior to becoming a Khalifah, Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) suffered through the pain of the Holy Prophet’s final days on earth. This was especially testing for him because of the unique love he had developed for the Holy Prophet(saw) and also in light of the great burden which the Holy Prophet(saw) would place upon him during this period. The Holy Prophet(saw)’ instructed Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) to lead the prayers whilst the Holy Prophet(saw) was too weak to do so. Many people, including the wives of the Holy Prophet(saw), felt that such a burden was too great for the tender heart of such a kind and gentle person but the Holy Prophet(saw) was firm in his command. The great historian Al- Tabari has reported that for some three days or seventeen prayers, Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) endured the deep pain of acting as the Holy Prophet’s deputy and leading the prayers30. In one heartbreaking hadith, it is narrated that two companions carried the Holy Prophet(saw) into the Mosque while Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) was leading the prayers as he had been bidden by the Holy Prophet(saw). The Holy Prophet’s illness is said to have become so overpowering that his blessed feet were dragging along the floor of the Mosque as he was being carried by the two companions. On realising his presence, Hadhrat HADHRAT ABU BAKR AS-SIDDIQ(RA) Nov 2007.qxd 28/12/07 11:31 Page 16 17KHILAFAT: Special Edition 2 The Review of Religions – November 2007 Abu Bakr(ra) began to weep but continued to lead the prayer in complete obedience to his duty. His love and complete subservience to Allah’s Messenger was so great that he even tried to step back so that the Holy Prophet(saw) could lead but the Holy Prophet(saw) did not permit this. The unrelenting pain he felt at the mere thought that he should lead the Holy Prophet(saw) in prayers was so piercing that he could no longer bear it and cleverly placed himself in such a position that the congregation believed that the Holy Prophet(saw) was leading. The effect of this was that the congregation was following the Holy Prophet(saw) and the Holy Prophet(saw) was following Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra). It was during the last days of the life of the Holy Prophet(saw) that we are reminded of the great connection and understanding which Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) had with the Holy Prophet(saw) and also Hadhrat Abu Bakr’s phenomenal comprehension of the Holy Qur’an. One day the Holy Prophet(saw) addressed the companions saying31: ‘Today I have received the revelation: When the help of Allah comes and the victory, and thou seest men entering the religion of Allah in troops, Glorify thy Lord with His praise and seek forgiveness of Him. Surely He is Oft-Returning with com- passion. (Ch.110: Vs.2-4) Ordinarily Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) would take great joy in eagerly listening to new verses of the Holy Qur’an as they were being revealed; but on this occasion, rather than display happiness, he began to weep and cry uncontrollably. This perplexed the companions as the context of this chapter seemed to hold glad tidings of victory. Hadhrat ‘Umar(ra) became agitated by this and he and other companions questioned why Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) should be crying so. They had not realised that the coming of the victory of Islam also meant that the Holy Prophet(saw) would soon pass away. Of all the companions it was only Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) who had instantly understood the meaning HADHRAT ABU BAKR AS-SIDDIQ(RA) Nov 2007.qxd 28/12/07 11:31 Page 17 18 The Review of Religions – November 2007 KHILAFAT: Special Edition 2 and in a display of the highest affection and love which a man can offer to his brother, the Holy Prophet(saw) spoke the words:32 ‘Abu Bakr(ra) is very dear to me. If it were permissible to love anyone more than others, I would so have loved Abu Bakr(ra). But that degree of love is only for God. O my people, all the doors which open to the Mosque should be closed from today except the door of Abu Bakr(ra)’. Could any sincere lover of the Holy Prophet(saw) wish for more precious words than these to be uttered about him or her by the Holy Prophet(saw)? There most certainly could have been no person left in the Mosque that day who did not come to appreciate the love held by the Holy Prophet(saw) for his dear companion Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra). Appointment as Khalifah After the passing of Hadhrat Muhammad, Khatam-An- Nabiyeen(saw) there emerged a void within the Ummah. Losing the Holy Prophet(saw) created an intense atmosphere of sorrow, fear and disunity. Ibn Rajab reports that when the Holy Prophet(saw) passed away the Muslims became33: ‘…shocked, bewildered and confused. Some of them were stunned and became perplexed; others sat down and were not able to stand; others lost their ability to speak; and yet others were in complete denial and refused to believe that the Holy Prophet(saw) had really died’’. Hadhrat Abu Bakr was away from Madinah on the day that the Holy Prophet(saw) passed away. Upon his return, he entered the chamber in which the blessed body of the Holy Prophet(saw) lay and with tears in his eyes, kissed the forehead of his beloved companion and then walked out into the assembly of the faithful where Hadhrat ‘Umar(ra) stood with his sword drawn ready to smite anyone who dare say that the Prophet was dead. He asked Hadhrat ‘Umar(ra) to sit down and then addressed the companions with the most fitting of words34: ‘Whosoever used to worship Muhammad, then (let him HADHRAT ABU BAKR AS-SIDDIQ(RA) Nov 2007.qxd 28/12/07 11:31 Page 18 19KHILAFAT: Special Edition 2 The Review of Religions – November 2007 know that) indeed Muhammad has died. And whosoever worships Allah, then Allah is alive and does not die’. He then qualified this statement and proved that the Holy Prophet(saw) was not immortal by reciting a verse from the perfect book, the Qur’an35: And Muhammad is only a Messenger. Verily, all Messengers have passed away before him. If then he dies or be slain, will you turn back on your heels? And he who turns back on his heels shall not harm Allah at all. And Allah will certainly reward the grateful. Al-Qurtubi very poignantly points out that this very action of Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) was the highest display of courage36: ‘…If bravery is defined as having a firm and steadfast heart during times of hardship and calamities, and there was no calamity that was greater than the death of the Holy Prophet.’ Following this, there was consensus that the Holy Prophet(saw) was indeed dead. This is known as the first consensus amongst the Muslims. There was no established system by which a Khalifah could be elected and it was in this distressing atmosphere that the blessed companions found them- selves. A heated and unfruitful debate erupted between members of the Muhajirun and Ansar as to who should become the Khalifah and lead the faithful. At this critical juncture it could only have been Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra), perhaps the most tender-hearted and fragile of all the companions, who could bring calm to the situation. Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) was universally agreed upon by the Muhajirun and Ansar as the Khalifatul Rasul (the Successor to the Messenger). Commenting on this great day of blessing the Promised Messiah(as) writes37: ‘As it happened at the time of Hadhrat Abu Bakr Siddiq(ra), the death of the Holy Prophet(saw) was considered HADHRAT ABU BAKR AS-SIDDIQ(RA) Nov 2007.qxd 28/12/07 11:31 Page 19 20 The Review of Religions – November 2007 KHILAFAT: Special Edition 2 untimely and many ignorant Bedouins turned apostate. The companions of the Holy Prophet(saw), too, stricken with grief, became like those who lose their senses. Then Allah raised Abu Bakr Siddiq(ra) and showed for the second time the manifestation of His Power and thus Islam, which was about to fall, was supported by Him and He fulfilled this promise of His which was given [in the verse of Surah An-Nur]. … and that He will surely establish for them their religion which He has chosen for them; and that He will surely give them in exchange security and peace after their fear. (Ch.24:V.56) That is, after the fear we shall firmly re-establish them. That is what also happened at the time of Moses(as), when he died on his way from Egypt to Canaan before taking the Israelites to the intended destination in accordance with the promise. At his [Moses’s] death the Israelites were plunged into deep mourning. It is written in Torah that with the grief at this untimely death [of Moses] and his sudden departure the Israelites wept for forty days. The same happened with Christ(as). At the time of the incident of Crucifixion all his disciples scattered and even one of them apostatised.’ The Promised Messiah(as) records this first consesus as the greatest service to Islam as in its absence, the Muslim community would have never united. It also proves that all prophets, including Jesus(as) had passed away. In another place the Promised Messiah(as) reaffirms that the position of Khalifah could have gone to none other than Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra)38: ‘And I have been told that the Siddiq (Abu Bakr(ra)) was the greatest in rank and the highest in station of all the Companions.’ Over the following years and centuries there erupted much criticism of his appointment by Shia scholars, as they were, and are, of the opinion that Hadhrat ‘Ali(ra) was the rightful successor to HADHRAT ABU BAKR AS-SIDDIQ(RA) Nov 2007.qxd 28/12/07 11:31 Page 20 21KHILAFAT: Special Edition 2 The Review of Religions – November 2007 the Holy Prophet(saw). The evidence against this opinion is so overwhelming that it would be unmanageable to discuss it all in this article. A seeker of truth is best advised to read the book of the Promised Messiah(as) ‘Sirr-ul- Khilafah’ in which he outlines that upon the death of the Holy Prophet(saw) the verse of Successorship (Istikhlaf)39 came into immediate action and could have only applied to Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra). The Promised Messiah(as) writes40: ‘In the verse of Istikhlaf, (Ch.24:V.56), Allah has promised Muslim men and Muslim women that, in any case, under His mercy and blessings, some of the believers would be made Khalifahs; and Allah would replace the sense of danger in their hearts with a sense of security and peace. So this is a circumstance, a condition, which does not properly and fully apply to any except the Khilafat of the Siddiq.’ Before mentioning a few conclusive narrations of the Holy Prophet(saw) and his Companions, regarding the legitimacy of Hadhrat Abu Bakr’s(ra) Khilafah, the magnificent explanation of Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IV(ru) is one of pure logic. In a Question and Answer41 session, he very sensibly points out that as a matter of common knowledge it was accepted that Hadhrat Ali(ra) was one of the most courageous companions and that in the battlefield the fiercest position to be, after that of the Holy Prophet(saw), was where Hadhrat ‘Ali(ra) was standing. Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IV(ru) says that in light of the tremendous bravery and righteousness of Hadhrat ‘Ali(ra) it is incomprehensible that he would offer his bai’at at the hand of Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) had he known that the Holy Prophet(saw) instructed that somebody else should be the Khalifah. It is in actuality an insult of the highest order to accuse Hadhrat ‘Ali(ra) of disobeying a direct command of the Holy Prophet(saw), Hadhrat Khatam An-Nabiyeen, and offering his pledge of allegiance to Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra). The only logical conclusion is that he in fact knew and accepted that Hadhrat HADHRAT ABU BAKR AS-SIDDIQ(RA) Nov 2007.qxd 28/12/07 11:31 Page 21 22 The Review of Religions – November 2007 KHILAFAT: Special Edition 2 HADHRAT ABU BAKR AS-SIDDIQ(RA) Abu Bakr(ra) should be the rightful Khalifah. Likewise, it is inconceivable that a man of the towering status of Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra), a pillar of righteousness, should have accepted a position which he knew the ‘Beloved of Allah’(saw) had issued to someone else. It is reckless of anyone to infer that the one whom the Holy Prophet(saw) named ‘the truthful one’ would act so deceitfully upon the Holy Prophet’s(saw) death. Hadhrat ‘Ali(ra) has himself been recorded on many occasions as having expressed his love and respect for Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra). He is reported to have said in one narration42, ‘By the One in Whose Hand is my self, we never strove to be first in a good action but that Abu Bakr was before us in it’. In another report he praised, and showed his deep love for, both Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) and Hadhrat ‘Umar(ra) saying43: ‘The best of mankind after the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, is Abu Bakr and ‘Umar. Love for me will never be united with hatred of Abu Bakr and ‘Umar in the heart of a believer’. Regarding the status of Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) in the eyes of the Holy Prophet(saw) we find an interesting hadith44 in which a lady visited the Holy Prophet(saw) and was told to come back after a while, to which she asked the Holy Prophet(saw) who she should visit if she returned and he was not there (i.e. he had passed away); to which he responded, ‘If you should not find me, go to Abu Bakr’. This, coupled with the fact that the Holy Prophet(saw) chose Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) to lead the prayers when he was ill, should leave no doubt in the heart of a sincere believer that Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) was the legitimate Khalifah after the death of the Holy Prophet(saw). After being elected, Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) reluctantly, and under the persuasion of Hadhrat ‘Umar(ra), climbed the pulpit. After a heart- rendering introduction by Hadhrat ‘Umar(ra), the Muslim world was treated to one of the most famous and meaningful speeches in the history of Islam. Although only a paragraph or so long, his humble Nov 2007.qxd 28/12/07 11:31 Page 22 23KHILAFAT: Special Edition 2 The Review of Religions – November 2007 HADHRAT ABU BAKR AS-SIDDIQ(RA) statements would not only outline his Khilafah but that of those shining stars that followed him. He said the following45: ‘O People, I have indeed been appointed over you, though I am not the best among you. If I do well then help me; and if I act wrongly then correct me. Truthfulness is synonymous with fulfilling the truth, and lying is tantamount to treach- ery. The weak among you is deemed strong by me, until I return to them what is rightfully theirs, Allah Willing. And the strong among you is deemed weak by me, until I rightfully take from them what is rightfully someone else’s, Allah Willing. No group of people abandons Jihad in the way of Allah, except that Allah makes them suffer humiliation. And wickedness does not become widespread among a people, except that Allah inflicts them with widespread calamity. Obey me so long as I obey Allah and His Messenger. And if I disobey Allah and His Messenger, then I have no right to your obedience. Stand up now and pray; may Allah have mercy on you.’ The Great Leader These words of humility and wisdom marked the beginning of Hadhrat Abu Bakr’s Khilafah and encapsulated the way with which he conducted himself throughout his entire term as Khalifah. He was a champion of absolute justice. This was then exemplified in one of his first decisions to dispatch an army led by Hadhrat Usamah ibn Zaid to Syria to defend the Muslim empire against an aggressive Roman Empire. What was peculiar about this order is that despite it actually being the final order of the Holy Prophet(saw), before his passing away, many of the com- panions disagreed with Hadhrat Abu Bakr’s decision to dispatch the army. They did not agree that such a large number of people should leave Madinah when the Muslims were so vulnerable as a result of loss of the Holy Prophet(saw). They also objected to the army being led by a Hadhrat Usamah ibn Zaid who was just a teenager. Their argument did hold some weight considering the many apostate tribes threatening to cause Nov 2007.qxd 28/12/07 11:31 Page 23 24 The Review of Religions – November 2007 KHILAFAT: Special Edition 2 HADHRAT ABU BAKR AS-SIDDIQ(RA) internal disorder; however Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) did not flinch for a second and remained obedient to the order of the Holy Prophet(saw). He rebuked the companions who were against dispatching the army and in the strongest of terms said:46 ‘By the One Who has the soul of Abu Bakr in His hand, had I thought that wild predatory animals would make off with me, I would still send out Usamah’s army in accordance with what the Messenger of Allah commanded Usamah to do. And even if I were the last person to remain in these cities, I would still do the same.’ With this Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) dispatched the army to Al-Shaam (present day Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Palestine) ordering Hadhrat Usamah(ra) to adhere to the regulations of war as set out by the Holy Prophet(saw) and stressed that no Muslims should be unjust, nor cut down trees, nor injure the holy people of other lands47. His obedience to the Holy Prophet(saw) was such that he ordered Hadhrat Usamah(ra) not to rush back but to take his time and fulfil every order of the Holy Prophet(saw) to the finest detail. The result was that Hadhrat Usamah(ra) returned some forty days later with a healthy army that had successfully suppressed the Roman empire in Al-Shaam. However, whilst he was away with most of the Muslim army and military resources, there erupted a surge of internal battles, which are known as the Al-Riddah or Apostate wars. Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IV(ru) has referred to the challenge here faced by Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) as48, ‘The main task of the Prophet(saw)’s successor, Abu Bakr(ra)…’. It is worth noting that whilst Al-Riddah literally means ‘the wilful recantation from the religion of Islam’, Huzur(ru) established that the groups involved in the Al-Riddah wars were named as such by the companions in the metaphorical sense and that they had in fact, for the most, not recanted the religion of Islam. Huzur(ru) clarifies the actual facts of the revolt through the following quote of Bernard Lewis49: ‘The refusal of the tribes to recognise the succession of Nov 2007.qxd 28/12/07 11:31 Page 24 25KHILAFAT: Special Edition 2 The Review of Religions – November 2007 HADHRAT ABU BAKR AS-SIDDIQ(RA) Abu Bakr was, in effect, not a relapse by converted Muslims to their previous paganism, but the simple and automatic termination of a political contract by the death of one of the parties. The tribes nearest to Madinah had in fact been converted and their interests were so closely identified with those of the umma that their separate history has not been recorded. For the rest, the death of Muhammad automatically severed their bonds with Madinah, and the parties resumed their liberty of action. They felt in no way bound by the election of Abu Bakr in which they had taken no part, and at once suspended both tribute and treaty relations. In order to re-establish the hegemony of Medina, Abu Bakr had to make new treaties.’ In reality, the Al-Riddah defectors represented several corrupt factions which either intentionally or unintentionally attempted to spark disorder within the Ummah following the passing of the Holy Prophet(saw). They can be divided into four broad categories, namely: 1. those who falsely claimed prophethood creating deviant splinter groups; 2. those who wanted to continue to follow Islam only to be prevented from doing so by tyrannical leaders; 3. those who wanted to remain within the Ummah but refused to pay Zakah or wanted to renegotiate the amount, and; 4. those who did not feel obligated to pledge allegiance to, and accept, Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra). It would be credible to say that following the death of the Holy Prophet(saw), and with the exception of the great moral degradation which the Promised Messiah(as) was sent to remove, there has been no greater threat to Islam than the Al-Riddah wars. The effect they were having was to create serious disorder within the Muslim provinces, which had the potential to split and fragment the Ummah. Following the death of the Holy Prophet(saw) the Ummah Nov 2007.qxd 28/12/07 11:31 Page 25 26 The Review of Religions – November 2007 KHILAFAT: Special Edition 2 HADHRAT ABU BAKR AS-SIDDIQ(RA) was spiritually unified by Hadhrat Abu Bakr’s wise and decisive decisions when faced with the crisis of succession. In a very similar fashion the magnificent and righteous qualities of Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) were called upon during the Riddah wars to neutralise the threat of anarchy and maintain the physical and political unity of the Ummah. Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) successfully thwarted one attack upon the Muslims which was headed by Kharjah ibn Hism. Then in a later incident five prominent tribes visited the city of Madinah to negotiate a lowering of the Zakah; however, to the dismay of many companions, Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) refused to negotiate with them. A group led by Hadhrat ‘Umar(ra) approached Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) and voiced their dismay at his decision to fight those who refused to pay Zakah with the following words:50 ‘What right do you have to fight these people? The Prophet(saw) has said: “I was ordered to fight people until they say there is no God but Allah. If they say this, they safeguard themselves and their property from me’.” Here Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) stood firm and refused to act upon the opinion of his companions. He knew the cunning mischief behind the renegade tribes’ actions and conveyed this to the people of Madinah by delivering the following sermon51: ‘The delegation has observed just how few of you there are in Madinah. You do not know whether they will attack you by day or night. Their vanguard is only a stone’s throw from Madinah. They wanted us to accept their proposals and make an agreement with them, but we have rejected their request. So make ready for their attack.’ In fulfilment of his words the tribes attacked no less than three days later and were suppressed by the Muslims’ thinly spread army of Madinah. A testament here to the great statesman-like and military qualities of Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) was that not only could he read situations with unique vision but Nov 2007.qxd 28/12/07 11:31 Page 26 27KHILAFAT: Special Edition 2 The Review of Religions – November 2007 HADHRAT ABU BAKR AS-SIDDIQ(RA) that he repelled each of these ruthless attacks with the barest of military resources. The campaign in Syria under Hadhrat Usamah ibn Zaid had used up much of the Muslims’ financial and physical resources and left them short of manpower. In the face of such tribulation, Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) was successful due to his unshakeable belief in trusting Allah (Tawakkul ‘Alallah). Another great test for Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) during this period was the false claimants of prophethood with perhaps the most famous and well-documented being ‘Musailimah the Liar’. In an unprecedented action, Musailimah moved to attack Madinah with a hundred-thousand-man-strong army. Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) reacted by dispatching Hadhrat Khalid ibn Waleed at the head of a far weaker force of only 13,000 men in what would later be called the battle of Yamamah (Yamamah being the place where they fought). Despite their valiant efforts, the Muslim army was suppressed at several key junctures and needed a fresh strategy. Hadhrat Khalid ibn Waleed adopted a proposal put forward by several companions ordering that the Muslims from among the army that knew the Holy Qur’an by heart should form a separate elite regiment to attack Musailimah. It was thought that the rest of the army, made up of relatively new Muslims, did not fully appreciate the spirit of jihad and that a regiment comprised specifically of Huffaaz would make for a formidable force. The Huffaaz, numbering 3,000 in total, attacked the army of Musailimah with such stealth and power that they were ultimately granted victory by Almighty Allah. Musailimah was killed in battle by Hadhrat Wahshy ibn Harb (the same person who, before accepting Islam, had killed Hadhrat Hamza the uncle of the Holy Prophet(saw)) in what later became known as the garden of death. The shortfall of this action was that of the 3,000 Huffaaz some 500 were martyred. Deeply concerned by the inevitability that the Huffaaz would continue to reduce in number with each new battle, Hadhrat ‘Umar(ra) suggested that it was now necessary for the verses of the Holy Qur’an to be collected Nov 2007.qxd 28/12/07 11:31 Page 27 28 The Review of Religions – November 2007 KHILAFAT: Special Edition 2 HADHRAT ABU BAKR AS-SIDDIQ(RA) into one book. The fact that the Holy Prophet(saw) had not done this made Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) hesitant at first; however, he eventually agreed and initiated the process. He assigned this task to Hadhrat Zaid ibn Thabit(ra) who began to collate the verses of the Holy Qur’an by writing down what others had recited and copying down verses that had been written on differing objects which even included tattoos on people’s skin. Relating the magnitude of the mammoth task, Hadhrat Zaid ibn Thabit(ra) said52: ‘By Allah, if he had imposed on me the responsibility of removing one of the mountains it would not have been heavier for me than what they ordered me to do of collecting the Qur’an.’ Collating the Qur’anic verses into one book was an achievement of the highest order. The measure of this great act of Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) certainly amounts to an immeasurable fountain of blessings, as Allah afforded him the honour of an initiative, the publishing of the Holy Qur’an, by which many billions of people have since benefited, and will continue to benefit, Insha Allah. After resolving the internal problems of the Muslim empire, Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) pursued a defensive military strategy to fortify and defend the Muslim territories against bordering enemies. This started with him dispatching an army headed by Hadhrat Khalid bin Waleed(ra) to the South-West of Iraq and a second army led by Hadhrat ‘Iyaad ibn Ghanam to North-Eastern Iraq. It is during this period that we discover how much of a master military strategist Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) was. Al-Tabari records that Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) was very explicit in his instructions to the two generals who were tasked with defending Muslims against the Persians in Iraq. Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) instructed that Muslims were forbidden to initiate any act of aggression against the enemy but rather proceed with love in an attempt to win the hearts of non- Muslims. One must pause and ask when in the annals of history has any army been dispatched with its primary instruction to put aside the Nov 2007.qxd 28/12/07 11:31 Page 28 29KHILAFAT: Special Edition 2 The Review of Religions – November 2007 HADHRAT ABU BAKR AS-SIDDIQ(RA) sword and win over the hearts of its opponents? He also instructed Hadhrat Khalid bin Waleed(ra) not to admit people into his army that had left Islam and subsequently re-entered the fold of Islam. Such people might have posed too great a threat to the greater stability of the military lines having already displayed a great weakness in faith. The two armies did as Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) instructed and under Hadhrat Khalid bin Waleed’s leadership the combined army managed to repel the Persian aggressors and take control of the whole of Iraq. Following this great victory Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) replaced Khalid bin Waleed(ra) with a great warrior and commander Hadhrat Al-Muthanna ibn Haaritha Al- Shaybani(ra) who was assigned the task of defending Iraq from once again falling under the control of tyrannical rule. Hadhrat Khalid bin Waleed(ra) was subsequently appointed the general of a new army dispatched to the border of Shaam where they would remain. During the time of the Holy Prophet(saw) the leader of the Roman-ruled Shaam threatened that he would one day attack Madinah and it was therefore important that a defensive force be stationed on the border. Khalid bin Waleed(ra) was thus under strict orders to remain on the border but not fight anyone unless the opponents were the aggressors. It was not long before the leader who had once threatened to attack Madinah ordered his army to attack the Muslim army. Khalid bin Waleed, the Sword of Allah, by Allah’s Grace, was unaccustomed to losing on the battle field. The Muslim army thus successfully defeated the fearsome Arab tribes of Al-Shaam with each of them scattering on seeing the resilience of the Muslim army. After a period of setbacks and great hardship which included the martyrdom of the son of Hadhrat Khalid bin Waleed(ra), and an impressive build-up of Roman military might in Shaam, it became apparent to Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) that a more robust defensive strategy was required. He thus gathered his closest companions for a Majlis-al- Shura (a consultative council) to discuss the options available to them. After much thought, he Nov 2007.qxd 28/12/07 11:31 Page 29 30 The Review of Religions – November 2007 KHILAFAT: Special Edition 2 HADHRAT ABU BAKR AS-SIDDIQ(RA) assigned Hadhrat Khalid bin Waleed(ra) to another province and came to the decision that four armies should be sent to Al-Shaam which would be commanded by Hadhrat Yazeed ibn Abi Sufyan, Hadhrat Shurahbil ibn Hasanah, Hadhrat Abu ‘Ubaidah ibn Al- Jarrah, and Hadhrat Amr ibn Al- ’Aas. The task ahead of them was great as they knew they would have to hold off the might of the Roman Empire, which had built up an impressive set of defences across the whole Al-Shaam region. Over time, the four leaders of the Muslim armies became weary of the powerful threat facing them and each wrote letters to Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) requesting reinforcements. Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) remained steadfast and reminded each of them of their duty and that whilst they were fewer than the Romans in number, Almighty Allah had blessed them with Muslim soldiers who each valued death in the cause of Allah more than life. As was the great characteristic of Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) , he remained constant in his trust in Almighty Allah and again rebuked the four generals saying53: ‘Verily, people such as yourselves do not lose because they are few in number. When tens of thousands of soldiers gather together, they are defeated only because of their sins. So protect yourselves from sins, gather in Yarmook, so that you can support one another. And let each man among you lead his com- panions in prayer.’ Sensing the need for a more powerful strategy of defence Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) ordered all four armies to gather in Yarmook and issued an order which sent tremors throughout the land of Al- Shaam. He instructed that the Sword of Allah, Hadhrat Khalid Bin Waleed(ra) should leave his post in Iraq and lead a combined large Muslim army in Al-Shaam. Khalid bin Waleed(ra) did so with great skill and ability defeating the Romans in both Ajnadain and Yarmook despite being far less well-equipped and greatly outnumbered. A fierce battle then ensued which required of Hadhrat Nov 2007.qxd 28/12/07 11:31 Page 30 31KHILAFAT: Special Edition 2 The Review of Religions – November 2007 HADHRAT ABU BAKR AS-SIDDIQ(RA) Khalid bin Waleed(ra) some of his greatest tactical mastery, but the inevitable outcome was that the Muslim army was victorious inflicting unprecedented damage upon the Roman army. However, the Muslims could not rejoice in their victory as Khalid bin Waleed(ra) informed them of the demise of Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra). It was in fact during the battle that news reached Khalid bin Waleed(ra) of Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra)’s demise but he kept the news from the Muslim army so as not to dishearten them. The military accomplishments of Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) cannot be understated and provided a clear and unifying platform for his successors to build upon. The magnitude of his advancement of Muslim territories can be appreciated as shown on the map54: Demise of Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) As Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) became more and more ill he came to the decision that the station of Khalifah should be given to Hadhrat ‘Umar ibn Al-Khattab(ra). The companions for the most part were in complete agreement with this decision and all were obedient to it. Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) died in his house with Hadhrat ‘A’ishah(ra) by his side as he was instructing that Hadhrat ‘Umar(ra) should repay the simple wage he received from the Baitul Maal by giving his garden to the treasury. On this day, Madinah was filled with sadness only second in intensity to that felt after the passing of the Holy Prophet(saw). The companions were distraught and Hadhrat ‘Umar(ra) cried with such pain and anguish that his tears formed a small pool on the floor. On hearing the news Hadhrat ‘Ali(ra), filled with emotion, marched to the house of Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) and, surrounded by a large crowd, delivered a long speech in which he outlined some of the dazzling achievements and sacrifices of Hadhrat ‘Umar(ra). In this heart- warming tribute Hadhrat ‘Ali(ra) is reported to have said55: ‘O Abu Bakr, may Allah have mercy upon you. You were the closest companion and friend of the Messenger of Allah(saw); you were a comfort to him; you were the one he trusted most. If he had a secret, he would tell it Nov 2007.qxd 28/12/07 11:31 Page 31 32 The Review of Religions – November 2007 KHILAFAT: Special Edition 2 HADHRAT ABU BAKR AS-SIDDIQ(RA) to you; and if he needed to consult someone regarding a matter, he would consult you. You were the first of your people to embrace Islam, and you were the most sincere of them in your faith. Your faith was stronger than any other person’s, as was the degree to which you feared Allah. And you were wealthier than anyone else in terms of what you acquired from the religion of Allah ‘Azza Wa Jall (The Possessor of Majesty and Might). You cared most for the Messenger of Allah, and Islam. Of all people you were the best companion to the Messenger of Allah; you possessed the best qualities; you had the best past; you ranked the highest; and you were the closest to him. And of all people you resembled the Messenger of Allah the most in terms of his guise and demeanour. Your ranking was higher than anyone else’s, and the Prophet held you in higher esteem than anyone else. On behalf of the Messenger of Allah and Islam, Nov 2007.qxd 28/12/07 11:31 Page 32 33KHILAFAT: Special Edition 2 The Review of Religions – November 2007 HADHRAT ABU BAKR AS-SIDDIQ(RA) may Allah reward you with the best of rewards. When the people disbelieved in the Messenger of Allah you believed in him. Throughout your life you were both his eyes with which he saw, and his ears with which he heard. Allah has named you ‘Truthful’ in His Book when He said: And He who has brought the truth and he who testifies to it as the truth – these it is who are the righteous. When people were stingy in their support for the Messenger of Allah, you comforted him. And when people sat still, you stood side by side with the Messenger of Allah, facing the same hardships that he faced. In times of hardship, you were truly a good and noble companion of his. You were the ‘second of two’, his Companion in the Cave; and the one upon whom As- Sakeenah (peace, tranquility, calmness) descended. You were his companion during the migration (to Al-Madinah), and you were his successor regarding the religion of Allah and his Nation. And a truly good successor you proved to be when the people apostatised. You did what no other Khalifah of God did before you. You stood up firmly and bravely when his other Companions lost their resolve and became soft. You truly were as the Messenger of Allah said: weak in your body but strong regarding the commands of Allah; humble in yourself, but lofty in your ranking with Allah; well-esteemed in the eyes of the people, honoured and great in their hearts. Not a single one of them had any reason to dislike you, to be suspicious of you, or to hold you in contempt… The weak and humble you have always treated as strong and honourable, making sure you gave them what was rightfully theirs. And in this regard, you have treated relatives and strangers equally. Of all people, you respected those who are most obedient to Allah and who fear Him the most. In your overall character, you embod- ied truth and compassion. Your Nov 2007.qxd 28/12/07 11:31 Page 33 34 The Review of Religions – November 2007 KHILAFAT: Special Edition 2 HADHRAT ABU BAKR AS-SIDDIQ(RA) speech has always been characterised by the qualities of wisdom and decisiveness. And you have always struck a noble balance between gentleness and firmness. You have always based your knowledge on knowledge, and once you have made your decisions, you have always kept firm resolve to execute them… Verily to Allah do we belong, and to Him is our return. We are pleased with, and submit to, Allah’s decree. And by Allah, other than the death of the Messenger of Allah, Muslims have never been afflicted with greater calamity than the calamity of your death. You have always been a protector, a sanctuary, and a source of honour for this religion. May Allah make you join the company of His Prophet, Muhammad(saw), and may He not deprive us of your reward. And may He not lead us astray after you.’ This statement of love gives us not only a valuable insight into the great achievements of Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) but also of the immense love and high esteem which the companions had for him. It is at this juncture that we relate the most astonishing part of his Khilafah. His achievements as Khalifah, as outlined in the previous pages, were not made in ten years or twenty or even thirty but rather over just two years and some months. With the exception of Hadhrat Muhammad(saw), no statesman or spiritual head has achieved so much in such a concentrated period of time. Most importantly he took his responsibilities seriously and fulfilled his mission, which Allah had set him. He presented Hadhrat ‘Umar(ra) with a spiritual community which was stable, unified, greatly expanded and most importantly filled with the Madinite love for Almighty Allah. If one had to highlight any single defining characteristic of Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) which those after him benefited from the most, it would have to be his complete trust in Allah. Not a calamity challenged the Ummah when Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) did not hold firm to the fact that Allah had the power to overcome anything. It should be fitting that on perhaps the only occasion that Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) Nov 2007.qxd 28/12/07 11:31 Page 34 35KHILAFAT: Special Edition 2 The Review of Religions – November 2007 HADHRAT ABU BAKR AS-SIDDIQ(RA) had experienced fear from a situation, namely, the threat to the Holy Prophet(saw) in Ghaar Thaur, it was Allah Who comforted His most truthful of servants. At the age of 63, Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) moved into the next world. He was buried in the same chamber as the Prophet and at the shoulder of his great leader, mentor and dearest of loves Hadhrat Muhammad(saw). It is fitting here, and should provide us with immense comfort, to recall a glorious hadith of the Holy Prophet(saw) in which he said56: ‘As for you, Abu Bakr, you will be the first of my Ummah to enter the garden.’ Here, we are reminded of heart- warming incident involving Hadhrat Ibn ‘Abbas which occurred as he stood over the dead body of the second Khalifah of Islam, Hadhrat ‘Umar(ra). He relates that as he stood there, a man rested his elbow on his shoulder, saying57: ‘O ‘Umar(ra)! May Allah bestow His Mercy on you. I always hoped that Allah would keep you with your two companions, for I often heard Allah’s Apostle saying, “I, Abu Bakr and ‘Umar were (somewhere). I, Abu Bakr and ‘Umar did (something). I, Abu Bakr and ‘Umar set out.’’ So I hoped that Allah will keep you with both of them.’ Hadhrat Ibn ‘Abbas says that he turned to find that the man was none other than the ‘Gates of Knowledge’ Hadhrat ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib(ra). Still to this very day do we find the graves of these two faithful companions set at the shoulders of our beloved Habibullah(saw) in the Prophet’s Mosque. Conclusion Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) was the greatest of the companions and after the Holy Prophet(saw) displayed in word and deed the closest characteristics to those of the Holy Qur’an. Indeed, the Promised Messiah(as) was gifted by Almighty Allah with unique insights into the characteristics and lives of the companions of the Holy Prophet(saw) by way of visions. On many occasions the Nov 2007.qxd 28/12/07 11:31 Page 35 36 The Review of Religions – November 2007 KHILAFAT: Special Edition 2 HADHRAT ABU BAKR AS-SIDDIQ(RA) Promised Messiah(as) was blessed with the opportunity to meet some of these great ambassadors of Islam and even feel their hardship. His words, therefore, hold exceptional standing and have been vouchsafed as being representative of the truth. Writing about our beloved Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra), the Promised Messiah(as) comments58: ‘Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him) was a man of deep insight, meek, and compassionate. Humility and meekness were his qualities. Forgiveness, kindness and compassion were his characteristics. He was recognised by the light of his forehead. He was deeply attached to the Holy Prophet and his soul had been united to the soul of the best of creation. He was covered by the same light that had been bestowed upon his master, the beloved of the Lord. He was enveloped by the light of the Holy Prophet(saw) and his great bounties. He was distinguished from all other men in his understanding of the Qur’an and in his love of the Chief of the Messengers and the Pride of Mankind. When the life of the hereafter and the mysteries of the Divine were manifested to him, he forsook worldly connections and physical attachments and was tinged with the tinge of his beloved, and he gave up all objectives for the sake of the One sought after. He discarded all physical impurities and took on the colour of the One, the True, and he disappeared in the pleasure of the Lord of the worlds. When the love of the True Divine saturated the whole of his being and its light began to manifest itself in all his actions and words and his attitudes, he was named the Siddiq and he was invested with fresh and deep knowledge from the presence of the best of bestowers. Faithfulness became his nature and its effects made themselves manifest in all his doings and sayings and movings and stoppings and in his senses and in his pure breath. He was included among those upon Nov 2007.qxd 28/12/07 11:31 Page 36 37KHILAFAT: Special Edition 2 The Review of Religions – November 2007 HADHRAT ABU BAKR AS-SIDDIQ(RA) whom the Lord of the heavens and the earth had bestowed His favours. The truth is that he was a comprehensive illustration of the book of prophethood. He was a leader of those who are recipients of grace and perfection and had partaken of the nature of the Prophet. In stating this I have not been guilty of exaggeration, nor is my statement merely the result of my wishful thinking but is a reality which has been disclosed to me from the Presence of the Lord of Honour.’ The content of this article amounts to nothing more than a droplet in the ocean of the life and achievements of Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra). We should each aspire to delve deeper and deeper into the life of this great lover and servant of Almighty Allah. The best way to display our sincere love and gratitude for his great sacrifices is to pray to Allah that we may each instil the spirit of Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) in ourselves and our children.. Let us aspire to become an Abu Bakr(ra) in our faith, love, spirituality, preaching, courage, etc. The Promised Messiah(as) has instructed59: ‘For my part, no one can be a true Muslim unless he imbibes the colour and complexion of Abu Bakr, ‘Umar, ‘Uthman, and ‘Ali, (may Allah be pleased with them all). They did not love this world but placed themselves entirely at the service of God.’ Bibliography 1. The Holy Qur’an; With English Translation and Commentary. 1988. Published under the auspices of Hadhrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad. Islam International Publications. Islamabad (England). 2. Tafsir Al-Qurtubi, ‘Abu Abdullah Muhammad Ibn Ahmad Al-Ansari Al- Qurtubi. 1965. 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