Abu Bakr's companionship with the Prophet
It has to be mentioned right from the beginning that both Prophet Muhammad and Abu Bakr Assiddeeq had similar 1 temperaments 2 . Both were kind, lenient, 3merciful 4 truthful and honest. Both found comfort in solitude 5 and abstained 6 from drinking alcohol, even before Islam was established 7 . Abu Bakr's complexion 8 was fair, and he was rather slim 9. He was tender, wise 10 and solemn 11 and seldom joined12 in the polytheistic13 celebrations of his countrymen 14 .
After the Prophet had married Khadeejah, the wealthy, 40-year-old landlady15 from Mecca, his lodging 16was very close to that of Abu Bakr. According to `Aishah, Abu Bakr's daughter and the prophet's wife after the death of Khadeejah, her father was frequently visited by the Prophet, with whom he developed a strong friendship17 .
When God's message was revealed18 to Muhammad, the first man to believe in him was Abu Bakr. In fact, Abu Bakr had always doubted the validity19 of idolatry20and had very little enthusiasm21 for worshipping 22 idols. So when he accepted Islam he did his best to attract other people to it. Soon `Othman bin Affan, Abdul-Rahman bin Awf, Talhah bin Obaydillah, Sa'd bin Abi Waqqas, Al-Zubayr bin Al-'Awwam and Abu Obaydah bin AI-Jarrah all flocked to join Muhammad (May God bless him and give him peace). The Prophet once said: ''`Abu Bakr was the only person who accepted Islam immediately, without suspicion.23
Abu Bakr's occupation was drapery24 . Adraper, in order to be successful25 in his trade26 should not go against his customers'27 wishes. Nevertheless, he preached 28the new religion ardently 29without considering how it might affect his business. When the infidels30 started torturing 31their poor Muslim slaves32, Abu Bakr intervened 33. As he was unable to release34 them by force, he paid their masters money and set them free. Bilal bin Rabah was one of those who were tortured in the sun, by being brutally35whipped 36 and covered with heavy rocks while lying on the burning sand in the summer heat. When Islam started, Abu Bakr had 40,000 dirhems but by the time he emigrated to Madina he had only 5,000 left.
When the Prophet spoke with contempt of the disbelievers' gods, the infidels got very irritated and attacked him violently when he was on his way to the Ka'ba. Had it not been for Abu Bakr's intervention, something bad might have happened to him.
As the Qurayshites rejected the Prophet's message, he started to look for another tribe37 which would give him refuge38 .He was accompanied on this search by Abu Bakr. The only shelter39 which they could find was in Yathreb, or Madina, which was then inhabited40 by two warring41 tribes, the Aws and Khazraj. Later, through the Prophet's good offices, the two tribes became united and were given the name of "Ansar" or "Helpers".
Abu Bakr was known as "Assiddeeq' after the incident on the Prophet's midnight journey 42 to Jerusalem. The Qurayshites, being experienced43 merchants44 knew that such a journey, if it ever happened, would take two months by camel. When Muhammad told them he had accomplished his round trip 45to Jerusalem in one night, they scoffed46 at him and began to doubt his sanity47. As for Abu Bakr, when he first heard of it he thought that they were telling
Later when the battle of Badr took place between Muslims and non-Muslims, and the latter62 out numbered the former by three to one, some sort of canopy 63was erected 64 for the Prophet at the battle lines. Abu Bakr alone was entrusted 65with his safety. This shows the very close relationship between the two; and when the Prophet's mantle66 fell from his shoulders during his earnest67 prayer to God, his intimate companion put it courteously 68back.
In the battle of Ohod, which took place the following year after Badr, the disbelievers69 won the battle because the archers 70left their places on the top of the mountain. Only a dozen people stayed with the Prophet on this occasion, one of whom was the staunch71 believer Abu Bakr.
This loyalty was evident in all the campaigns which the Prophet led, especially those waged72 against the Jews of Banu Nadier and Banu Qaynoqa', and against the Jews of Fadak, Tayma' and Khaybar, not to mention the heroic battle of the Trench. In fact, from the very start of the Islamic era 73 he was playing the role of vizier 74advising and supporting the Prophet.
In the year 6 A.H. the Muslims attempted75 to take Mecca itself, the stronghold 76 of polytheism. When they reached the Hodaybiya Valley, Quraysh sent negotiators77to persuade them not to attack the city and agreed to let them in for pilgrimage the following year. The Prophet agreed, but some of his followers refused. They were determined to conquer78 Mecca immediately. Abu Bakr stood firmly by the side of the Prophet; but it was only when a full Qur'anic chapter entitled "Fath" or "Conquest" was revealed that they were finally convinced.79
When Mecca was at last subdued 80, all the tribes of Arabia were convinced that Muhammad was a true apostle sent to them by God. They stopped resisting and sent delegates81 to Madina proclaiming their allegiance 82to him. While he was busy receiving delegates, he let Abu Bakr preside over the 300 pilgrims. This incident proved of vital83 importance later when a caliph was chosen after the death of the Prophet.
The 10th year A.H. was called "the valediction year", because the Prophet, with 100,000 followers, including Abu Bakr and all the Prophet's household84, performed his last pilgrimage and from the top of `Arafat mountain gave his everlasting85 speech in which he summarized86 the numerous commandments of Islam.
After his return to Madina the Prophet became ill and could not lead the prayers in the Grand Mosque. He gave instructions to 'Aishah' to tell her father to lead the prayers. She pointed out that Abu Bakr's voice was rather low and the worshippers might not hear his recitation 87of the Qur'an. She also said that he often wept while praying, and suggested Omar bin al-Khattab as being fitter88 for the task 89.The Prophet became extremely angry, and gave emphatic90 orders that Abu Bakr should lead the prayers. This was taken by the Muslims as another sign to choose Abu Bakr to be their caliph after the Prophet's death.