A fine representative of Islamic moral values throughout his life and a close friend of our Prophet (saas), Hazrat Abu Bakr was born in Mecca in 571.
He was the first Caliph of the era in Islamic history known as the “Period of the Four Caliphs.” With the Qur’anic moral values he exhibited under all circumstances, he was an exemplary Muslim on whom great successes were bestowed.
Hazrat Abu Bakr embraced Islam at a time when it was not yet being preached openly.
From the moment he became a Muslim, he lived by Islamic moral values in the most scrupulous manner.
He provided great material assistance and personal support to our Prophet (saas) in his preaching work. With his devotion to, and deep love of Allah, he was instrumental in many people becoming acquainted with the moral values of Islam.
HAZRAT ABU BAKR’S CHARACTER
Hazrat Abu Bakr was known for his honesty even before embracing Islam. He was a leading member of the Quraysh and took part in meetings on important matters.
Hazrat Abu Bakr looked after blood money and debts, which were under the control of people with elevated virtues chosen by the tribes, who in turn determined the sums to be paid.
The Quraysh abided by his decisions on blood money and gladly paid the sums determined by him.
Hazrat Abu Bakr spent his youth exhibiting highly superior moral values, and was a close friend of the Prophet Muhammad (saas) even before he received the prophethood. Since he was one of the first people to heed the Prophet Muhammad’s (saas) call after he received the prophethood, the Prophet (saas) said to him:
"Abu Bakr heeded my call without any hesitation." (A Great History of Islam from Its Birth to Present, Vol: 2 p: 31)
After embracing Islam, Hazrat Abu Bakr obeyed everything the Prophet (saas) said and always maintained the bounds set by Allah. Because of his honesty, loyalty and chastity our Prophet (saas) referred to him as ‘Al-Siddiq’, meaning the Truthful One. With his broad learning, profound knowledge of religious matters, sure opinions and noble behavior, Hazrat Abu Bakr was an exemplary Companion.
When his son Abdurrahman joined the pagans at the battle of Badr, he fought against his son, and thus showed how he held earning Allah’s approval above all else.
HAZRAT ABU BAKR’S EXEMPLARY SPENDING OF HIS FORTUNE
Hazrat Abu Bakr spent his whole fortune in the cause of Allah. By paying large sums of money to slave owners, he was instrumental in the freeing of many Muslims taken captive by the Quraysh who wanted to force them to return to pagan beliefs.
Hazrat Abu Bakr was active in commerce and Allah bestowed great wealth and assets upon him. Since he spent his entire fortune on spreading Islamic moral values, causing our Prophet (saas) to say this about him;
"Abu Bakr is the leading figure when it comes to sacrificing all his possessions. What an excellent friend Abu Bakr is. There is Islamic love and brotherhood between us." (Bukhari, 8/Salat, 80)
Another account referring to how Hazrat Abu Bakr spent all he had on Allah’s path goes:
"Aisha (as) told me: When he died, he left behind neither a dirhem nor a dinar." (Nawawi, Tahdhib al-Asma wal Lugat, II,189 Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, al-Isaba fi tamyiz al-Sahaba IV, 279)
THE JOURNEY OF OUR PROPHET (SAAS) AND HAZRAT ABU BAKR (AS)
Our Prophet(saas) left his home on the night of the 27th Safar in the 14th year of his prophethood and went to the home of Hazrat Abu Bakr. He and Hazrat Abu Bakr then left Mecca. Traveling south they came to Mount Thawr and hid in a cave there. That cave in Mount Thawr was known as "Athal." At that point, the pagans came right up to the cave mouth. But our Prophet (saas) was in complete submission to the destiny appointed for them by Allah.
If you do not help him, Allah did help him when the disbelievers drove him out and there were two of them in the Cave.* He said to his companion, ‘Do not be despondent, Allah is with us.’ (Surat at-Tawba, 40)
When the pagans saw that a spider has spun a web over the mouth of the cave, and that pigeons had built a nest and laid eggs there, they assumed nobody was inside and left.
Hazrat Abu Bakr was the devoted friend who sheltered in that cave alongside our Prophet (saas). He thus enjoyed the honor of witnessing that miraculous event.
THE CALIPHATE OF HAZRAT ABU BAKR
Hazrat Abu Bakr never abandoned the Prophet Muhammad (saas) after the migration, and carried the standard at the battle of Tabuk.
In the ninth year of the migration the Prophet (saas) charged him with leading the Hajj caravan.
When our Prophet (saas) fell ill, he appointed him as his representative to lead the Companions in prayer. And after the Prophet’s (saas) death, Hazrat Abu Bakr was chosen as Caliph. After assuming the post of Caliph, Hazrat Abu Bakr addressed the people in these important words:
"O People! I have become your ruler. Yet I am not the best of you. If I do good things, help me. If I do wrong things, show me the true. Honesty is certitude, but lying is betrayal. Even the weakest of you is strong alongside me, so I will protect his rights. But even the strongest of you is weak alongside me, so I will draw others’ rights from him." (Hazrat Muhammad and His Life, DIB Press, Ankara, 1996, p. 435)
With these words, Hazrat Abu Bakr summarized in the finest possible manner the virtues that a ruler possessed of Islamic moral values must have. He achieved much success throughout his brief caliphate of two years:
Disputes began arising at intervals after the death of our Prophet (saas), but he re-established the authority of the State by bringing Muslims together again.
He initiated work on the collection and preservation of the Holy Qur’an.
He was instrumental in Islamic moral values spreading beyond the Arabian Peninsula for the first time, to Syria, Palestine and Iraq.
He strove against false prophets and movements that had no place in religious moral values. He thus ensured that Islamic moral values remained as they were in the time of our Prophet (saas).
HAZRAT ABU BAKR TREATED THE PEOPLE OF THE BOOK WITH AFFECTION AND COMPASSION
Hazrat Abu Bakr said that the People of the Book should be treated well, even in times of war. This moral value is very clear in an address he made to his army:
"Do not betray your cause. Do not abandon mercy even in war. Do not kill or persecute children, women or the elderly, and do not cut down date and other fruit trees or kill sheep, goats and other animals except in order to eat them. If you encounter people who are praying in churches, leave them to their worship. If you are offered food and drink, do not eat and drink without saying ’In the Name of Allah’.” (Ibn al-Athir, Al-Kâmil fi at-Tarikh II, 139)
THE SUPERIOR MORAL VALUES OF HAZRAT ABU BAKR IN THE WORDS OF OUR PROPHET (SAAS)
In a hadith from Abu-d Darda related by Bukhari, Prophet Muhammad (saas) says: "It is certain that Allah sent me to you as a prophet, but some people did not believe. But Abu Bakr said ‘You have spoken the truth!’ and helped me with his life and possessions. You will now leave this dear friend to me with this virtue, will you not?” (Prophet Muhammad (saas) said this twice). (Political, Religious, Cultural and Social Islam, Vol: 1 p: 269-270)
In another hadith related by Abu Huraira, the Messenger of Allah (saas) said: "Apart from Abu Bakr, there are none whose goodness we have not repaid. He has done such good things for us that Almighty Allah will repay him on the Day of Reckoning... (A History of Political, Religious, Cultural and Social Islam, Kayihan Press, Hasan Ibrahim Hasan, Ziya Kazic, Ismail Yigit, Abdulkerim Ozaydin, Idris Bostan, Fehamettin Basar Vol: 1, p: 270)