In this series, we will look into interesting facts of the lives of notable figures in Islam and other people who have memorized the Quran, from the 1st century until today.
Abu Bakr as-Siddiq (Hafiz in the 1st Century)
Abu Bakr as-Siddiq (ra) is the closest friend to Prophet Muhammad (saw) and one of the ten companions who has been promised Paradise. He was the first from outside of the Prophet’s (saw) family to embrace Islam. His kinship with the Prophet (saw) was further cemented through the ties of marriage, when he had the honour of being the Prophet’s father in law through the Prophet’s marriage to his daughter, Aisha (ra).
He was appointed to be the first Caliph after Prophet Muhammad (saw) passed away in the year 632 H. A memorizer of the Quran himself, Abu Bakr (ra) was also instrumental in preserving the Quran in written form when he ordered the compilation of the Quran during his caliphate.
In this post, we look at five interesting facts and stories of Abu Bakr’s (ra) life.
Related: Lessons from Prophet Ayyub (AS)
#1: He refused to worship the idols at the Kaaba in his youth
When Abu Bakr (ra) was a child, his father took him to the Kaaba and asked him to worship the idols. His father then left for some business matters, leaving Abu Bakr (ra) alone with the idols. Abu Bakr (ra) then said to one idol, “O my God, I am in need of beautiful clothes; bestow them on me”. After no response, he then said to another idol, “O God, give me some delicious food. See that I am so hungry”.
After not getting any responses, the young Abu Bakr (ra) lost his patience and prepared to hurl a stone at the idol. He said to the idol, “Here I am aiming a stone; if you are a god protect yourself”. Abu Bakr (ra) threw the stone at the idol and left the Kaaba, never returning to pray to the idols.
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#2: He was a wealthy merchant and honest judge
When he was 18, Abu Bakr (ra) went into trade. He became a cloth merchant, which was the profession of his family’s business. He did not indulge in trade tricks and always traded fairly. His business flourished and he became one of the richest merchants of Makkah. Despite his success, he remained reputed for his honesty and integrity.
As his business flourished, so did his status of social importance rise and he had a wide circle of friends. Yet, he remained humble and found joy from helping those in distress. He often attended to the sick and looked after the poor, generously giving rich bounties to those in need.
During his youth, Abu Bakr (ra) also came to be recognized as the chief of the Bani Taim section, the branch of Quraish of his genealogical lineage. Abu Bakr (ra) was assigned the office of awarding blood money in cases of murder. His judgments and awards were always fair and just that satisfied all parties.
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#3: He influenced many friends to embrace Islam
Abu Bakr (ra) also used his social influence to bring many people to Islam. He presented Islam in such a way that persuaded many of his close friends to embrace Islam.
Those who converted to Islam through the da’wah of Abu Bakr (ra) included:
- Uthman Ibn Affan (ra)
- Talha Ibn Ubayd-Allah
- Abdur Rahman bin Awf
- Sa`d ibn Abi Waqqas
- Abu Ubaidah ibn al-Jarrah
- Abu Salama
- Khalid ibn Sa`id
- Abu Hudhaifah ibn al-Mughirah
#4: He achieved extraordinary things in just 27 months of his caliphate
Abu Bakr’s (ra) caliphate lasted only 27 months, yet he achieved many things during this short time. During his caliphate, he had:
- Crushed the rebellion of the Arab tribes throughout the Arabian Peninsula in the successful Ridda Wars.
- Sent general Khalid ibn al-Walid on conquests against the Sassanid Empire in Mesopotamia and against the Byzantine Empire in Syria, paving the way to one of the largest empires in history.
- Appointed a committee to compile and preserve the Quran in written format after about 700 hafiz had fallen as syuhadaa in the Battle of Yamama
#5: He wanted to follow Prophet Muhammad (saw) closely even in death
When Abu Bakr’s (ra) health worsened, he felt that his end was near. Realizing his death was near, he sent for Ali and requested him to perform his ghusl since Ali (ra) had also performed ghusl for Prophet Muhammad (saw).
Abu Bakr (ra) then asked Aisha (ra) how many pieces of cloth were used for Prophet Muhammad’s shroud. Aisha said that three pieces had been used, and so Abu Bakr (ra) requested the same number for his own shroud.
Umar (ra) led the funeral prayer Abu Bakr (ra). Abu Bakr (ra) was then buried by the side of Prophet Muhammad’s (saw) grave in Aisha’s (ra) house near Al-Masjid al-Nabawi.
Related: How to Attain Taqwa in Islam
What are other facts about Abu Bakr’s (ra) life that you find interesting? Share your thoughts in the comments below with the Quran Academy family.