Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra)
The personal name of Hadrat Abu Bakr ra was Abdullah, but based on his son’s name, Bakr, he was known as Abu Bakr. His father was known as Abu Qahafah and his mother as Ummul Khair Salma. He was born in 572AD in Mecca. He was a close friend of the Holy Prophet saw. He was the first among men to confirm the truth of the claim of the Holy Prophet saw and thus earned the title Siddiq. He was in the company of the Holy Prophet saw during his migratory journey (Hijrah) from Mecca to Medina. He was the only companion of the Holy Prophet saw in the Cave Thaur, where they both took refuge during this journey.
Following the Hijjatul Wida (The Last Pilgrimage), when the Holy Prophet saw fell seriously ill, he instructed Hadrat Abu Bakra ra to lead the daily Prayers. After the sad demise of the Holy Prophet saw, Hadrat Abu Bakr ra was elected as the first Khalifah. He had to deal with an extremely difficult situation which developed due to the sudden demise of the holy Prophet saw.
The first problem was that some of the tribes renounced Islam, simply because their tribal chiefs did not feel necessary to remain loyal to the successors for the Holy Prophet’’. Not only that but they started preparing to attack Medina to end the newly established institution of Khilafat. Hadrat Abu Bakr ra. After knowing their intentions, sent troops and succeeded in suppressing their rebellion.
The second major problem faced by Hadrat Abu Bakr Siddiq ra was that many people refused to pay the Zakat, which was essential for fulfilling the needs of the Islamic state and caring of the poor. Hadrat Abu Bakr ra vowed to collect Zakat from every one and took all the necessary measures to achieve this goal.
The most dangerous of all the problems was that a number of ambitious persons pretending to be prophets, started rebellion against the Islamic state. Musalima Kadhdhab and Aswad Ansi, raised large armies and captured some of the Muslim territories. Hadrat Abu Bakr ra was prompt to fight back these rebellious false prophets. Despite meager resources, Allah granted him victory against the mischief mongers.
One of the many great achievements of his Khilafat was the collection of the Holy Qur’an at one place. Although the writing and arrangement of the Holy Qur’an was done under the supervision of the Holy Prophet saw himself, yet it was written on various pieces of skin, leaves and slates. Hadrat Abu Bakr ra collected all these pieces of writings in one place, and re-organized the system of Huffaz, or those who committed it to memory, in a systematic way, for the preservation of the Qur’an.
During the last days of his life, the Holy Prophet saw had raised an army to be sent against the Romans who had made some incursions into the Northern borders. This army was still in medina when the Holy Prophet saw passed away. As Hadrat Abu Bakr ra became Khalifah, the law and order situation within and outside the Medina became very delicate. In view of this grace danger, many Companions of Holy Prophet saw advised him not to send the army against Romans. But Hadrat Abu Bakr ra replied forcefully, “What authority has the Son of Abu Qahafah, to stop that which was started by the Holy Prophet saw. The Muslim army, under the command of Hadrat Khalid bin Walid ra, crushed a rebellion in Bahrain. Then the Persians were defeated, who had supported the rebels of Bahrain. The Muslim Army Also defeated the Roman forces in the battles of Ajnadan and Yarmuk, and thus the whole of Syria came under the control of the Islamic state.
Hadrat Abu Bakr ra passed away on August 23, 634 AD, after remaining ill for fifteen days. He was one of the ten blessed ones to whom the Holy Prophet saw had given the glad tidings that they had been rewarded the Paradise. He remained Khalifah for a little over two years.
(The Ahmadiyya Gazette, Majeed A. Mian, April/May 2000, p28-29)