September 15, 2019
Week 2 Lecture Notes
Once word had spread of the Prophet’s (saw) death, Muslims were shocked and worried about the future of the ummah without a leader. With his teachings and the Qur’an, it was their obligation to carry on his legacy.
The Meeting at Banu Sa’idah:
Some of the Ansar, the original inhabitants of Madinah got together at the council hall of Banu Sa’idah, one of the original tribes of Madinah, to discuss the succession to Rasulullah (saw). Abu Bakr (ra) and Umar (ra) went to the meeting fearing a decision would be made that would divide the ummah. Leaders of the Muhajirun and Quraish also arrived at the meeting.
Some of the Ansar argued that a successor should come from them as they helped shelter the Prophet (saw) in Madinah. Some of the Makkans argued that the successor should be one of them for they sacrificed the most for Islam. Abu Bakr (ra) advised that while the Ansar were well deserving, Arabs would only recognize a leader from the Quraish. He then offered Umar (ra) and Abu ‘Ubaidah (ra) as options which no one accepted.
Abu Bakr Becomes the Khalifah:
Umar (ra) spoke up and said that no one could lead the Muslims as long as Abu Bakr (ra) was alive because he was the most prominent Muhajirun and the closest companion of the Prophet (saw). He then gave the bai’ah by taking his hand and pledging his loyalty. Others saw wisdom in Umar’s (ra) words. The next day in the masjid all those present gave their loyalty to Abu Bakr (ra) and he reminded them of their rights upon him and their duty to correct him when he was wrong or did something against the teachings of the Qur’an or the Sunnah of the Prophet (saw).
The Early Life of Abu Bakr:
Abu Bakr belonged to the Banu Taim clan of the powerful Quraish tribe in Makkah. He was born in 573 C.E. nearly three years after the Prophet (saw). Abu Bakr is said to have always been good to others and his mother used to call him Atiq which means good, noble, and beautiful. Abu Bakr was a businessman and a fabric merchant who frequently traveled outside of Arabia to Yemen and Syria for his work. It was on these many caravan journeys that Abu Bakr accompanied Rasulullah (saw) and developed a close friendship.
When prophethood descended upon Muhammad (saw), Abu Bakr (ra) accepted the new faith at once. He heard that Muhammad (saw) was calling people to the new faith and decided to visit him. After the two met and talked, Abu Bakr (ra) left his friend’s home as a Muslim. It’s a tradition to accept Abu Bakr as the second convert to Islam after Khadija, the Prophet Muhammad’s (saw) beloved wife. Abu Bakr placed unwavering trust in Muhammad (saw). When Rasulullah (saw) described his journey of Isra’ and Mi’raj, many of the people of Makkah were in disbelief and his enemies declared him insane. But Abu Bakr said, “If Muhammad says so, I believe it.” It is because of this unwavering loyalty he was given the title, As-Siddiq, the truthful one.
Wealth in the Way of Islam:
Abu Bakr (ra) possessed a great deal of wealth from his business ventures as a merchant and was one of the wealthiest men in Makkah when he converted to Islam. Abu Bakr (ra) used his wealth as a service to the spreading of Islam and also fellow Muslims. During the early days of Islam, when the persecution of the minority Muslim population was common, Abu Bakr (ra) often used his own money to free Muslim slaves from their abusive masters. One such person is Bilal (ra) whom is considered the first muezzin. Abu Bakr (ra) also gave money to the poor and provided the muhajirun with weapons for war. Abu Bakr’s (ra) generosity is noted when he donated everything, he possessed to help Muslims prepare for the battle of Tabuk against the Byzantine empire. Abu Bakr (ra) also paid for the land on which the Masjid un-Nabi was built.
Rasulullah’s (saw) Burial:
Abu Bakr (ra) was appointed as the new caliph before the Prophet’s (saw) body was buried, such was the importance of having a Muslim leader. As the new leader, Abu Bakr’s (ra) first duty was to oversee the Prophet’s (saw) funeral. The body was prepared for burial by Ali (ra) and other family members and the community gathered to pray Salatul Janazah. The Prophet was buried in Aisha’s home (ra) where he passed away.
Campaign Against Syria:
The next task on Abu Bakr’s (ra) list was a conflict in Syria over the murder of a Muslim ambassador. Rasulullah (saw) had sent Muslim forces to capture and punish those responsible for the breach of diplomacy. The first army led by Zaid ibn Harithah (ra) was sent but Zaid was defeated in battle and killed. Rasulullah (saw) had decided to send another army led by Zaid’s (ra) son Usamah however he had passed before being able to do so. Abu Bakr (ra) ordered the departure of the army but instead of accompanying them as originally planned, as the new caliph he was forced to remain in Madinah. Usamah (ra) was very young but Rasulullah (saw) had placed trust in his abilities to lead the Muslim army, which Abu Bakr (ra) honored.
Abu Bakr (ra) famously advised Usama about warfare and the conduct of the Muslim army in which no civilians or plants should be harmed, nor peaceful Christians. Animals were also not to be slaughtered unless they were to be eaten. These rules of warfare are still applicable to Muslims today. Usama (ra) was successful in ending the dispute and avoiding bloodshed by capturing those responsible for his father’s death and gaining the allegiance of the local tribes.