A TALE OF FRIENDSHIP THAT STOOD THE TEST OF TIME
Narrated Abu Huraira:
I heard Allah’s Apostle SAW saying, “Anybody who spends a pair of something in Allah’s Cause will be called from all the gates of Paradise – ‘O Allah’s slave! This is good.’ He who is amongst those who pray will be called from the gate of the prayer (in Paradise) and he, who is from the people of Jihad will be called from the gate of Jihad and he, who is from those who give in charity (i.e. Zakat) will be called from the gate of charity and he, who is amongst those who observe fast will be called from the gate of fasting, the gate of Raiyan.”
Abu Bakr said, “He who is called from all those gates will need nothing,” and added, “Will anyone be called from all those gates, O Allah’s Apostle?” He, Prophet Muhammad SAW said, “Yes, and I hope you will be among those, O Abu Bakr.” [Sahih Al-Bukhari – Book 57 Hadith 18]
Growing up to be a wealthy merchant by profession, he was well mannered and upright in nature and proved his friendship with the Prophet SAW by being the first person to respond to the his (SAW) call towards Islam.
Such was the love that our Prophet had for his close friend who was born into the Quraish tribe, to parents who were idol worshippers. Abdullah ibn Abi Quhafa (Abu Bakr R.A.) was born two years after the birth of our Prophet and despite of being raised among idol worshippers he was always perturbed to see people of his tribe kneeling and praying before the inanimate idols that obviously, neither had sight nor hearing ability nor could think or communicate. Despite this ignorance, he maintained a high degree of conduct hence, was loved and respected by his community. Growing up to be a wealthy merchant by profession, he was well mannered and upright in nature and proved his friendship with the Prophet SAW by being the first person to respond to the his (SAW) call towards Islam.
It so happened that on hearing the full details from the people, of the Prophet SAW receiving revelation, he declared, “If he (Muhammad) really said so, then, he has said the truth.” It was not blind faith but rather his long term friendship and intimate knowledge of Muhammad (SAW’s) pure and honest characteristics that made Abu Bakr believe the truth of the divine revelation without a question. He rushed to the Prophet’s (SAW’s) house and upon entry asked whether the news that had reached him from the people was true. “They say that Allah has sent you to us (to order us) to worship Him Alone and not associate anything with Him’.
he entered the religion with a robust belief and spent a great part of his wealth in the cause of Allah and the Prophet and to alleviate the sufferings of the Muslims in distress.
The Prophet (SAW) asked, “What did you answer them O Atiq?” Abu Bakr answered, “I said: If he said so, then he has told the truth.” At this moment, the eyes of the Messenger of Allah overflowed with tears. Embracing Abu Bakr, he kissed his forehead and narrated to him how the revelation came to him in the cave of Hira. On listening to the first verse of the Quran Abu Bakr immediately grasped the right hand of the Messenger of Allah (SAW) and said, “I testify that there is no God but Allah and I testify that you are the Messenger of Allah.”
This is how he entered the religion with a robust belief and spent a great part of his wealth in the cause of Allah and the Prophet and to alleviate the sufferings of the Muslims in distress. This included the liberation of many slaves who had accepted Islam and he purchased Bilal R.A. whereupon he saved him from the tortures of the non-believers for refusing to renounce his monotheism. His constant companionship and loyalty to the Prophet (SAW) made them pass all the difficulties that encroached upon them. When the early Muslims in Mecca were under great turmoil, it was decided that all of them would migrate to Medina (then known as Yathrib), in clusters, to begin a new life in another city. Abu Bakr, along with the Prophet and some other companions, were the last to leave Mecca after the assurance of the fact that a majority of the Muslims had safely been evacuated from Mecca and were out of imminent danger.
They left for Medina in the darkness of the night, risking their lives against the Quraishi conspirators, who were preying on opportunities of constant attack. They took refuge in the Cave of Thawr, where they spent three nights. One time the Prophet (SAW), was deeply exhausted by the journey and laid his head in Abu Bakr’s lap and fell asleep. Suddenly, a scorpion (and some reports say a poisonous insect), stung Abu Bakr’s foot. Instead of flinching or crying out in pain, Abu Bakr remained still and silently bore the immense pain, so as not to break the Prophet (SAW’s) sleep. It was Abu Bakr’s tears falling on the Prophet’s face that caused him to wake up. Such was the level of their bond. Meanwhile, the Quraish were still in pursuit.
Narrated Abu Bakr: I said to the Prophet (SAW) while I was in the Cave, “If any of them (polytheists) should look under his feet, he would see us”. Thereupon he SAW said, ‘Abu Bakr, what can befall us who have Allah as the third One with them.” (Sahih al-Bukhari 3653, Book 62, Hadith 5)
It was verily revealed in Surah Al-Tawbah – ‘If you do not aid the Prophet – Allah has already aided him when those who disbelieved had driven him out [of Makkah] as one of two, when they were in the cave and he said to his companion, “Do not grieve; indeed Allah is with us.”
And Allah sent down his tranquillity upon him and supported him with angels you did not see and made the word of those who disbelieved the lowest, while the word of Allah – that is the highest. And Allah is Exalted in Might and Wise.’ What an honour for Abu Bakr, to have been the companion of the Messenger SAW in the cave and to have a mention in the Holy Quran. Abu Bakr constantly remained in the company of the Prophet, was active in the call of people to Islam and also in the first battle of Islam, the Jung-e-Badr, in which the Muslims had gained victory. He even offered his daughter Aisha to be married to the Prophet.
On the death of the Prophet (SAW), when whole of the Muslim community was in a state of shock and grief, it was Abu Bakr who handled the situation firmly, being himself full of pain on losing a companion, a friend, a Prophet and a son-in-law. He came out of the room of Aisha R.A. and addressed the assembly: “Whoever worshipped Muhammad, then Muhammad is dead but whoever worshipped Allah, then Allah is alive and shall never die.”
Abu Bakr was so concerned of going astray that he would continuously supplicate to Allah: “O Allah, the turner of hearts! Make my heart constantly firm in your religion”
He then recited, “(O Muhammad) Verily you will die and they also will die.” (Qur’an39:30) “Muhammad is no more than an Apostle; and indeed many Apostles have passed away, before him. If he dies or is killed, will you then turn back on your heels? And he who turns back on his heels, not the least harm will he do to Allah and Allah will give reward to those who are grateful.” (Qur’an3:144) Ibn Abbas said: “By Allah, it was as if the people had never heard the Qur’anic verse until Abu Bakr recited it as a reminder. So the people began reciting it until there was not a person who did not recite it.”
Abu Bakr’s appointment as the first Caliph gave a new fold to Islam. He continued to lead the ummah with wisdom honesty and firm belief. He undertook major works such as facing the apostates’ establishment of the state treasury or the Bait-ul-maal, regulations for zakaat and the compilation of the Quran. Abu Bakr was so concerned of going astray that he would continuously supplicate to Allah: “O Allah, the turner of hearts! Make my heart constantly firm in your religion” and he would say “By Allah, I would not rest assured and feel safe from Allah’s punishment even if one of my feet was in Paradise”. He died a man, in submission to Allah, in piety to Allah, humble before Allah, in humility to Allah, in service of the Ummah.
Their friendship was such that the Messenger of Allah (SAW) never stopped talking about the good merits of Abu Bakr. From among what he SAW said about Abu Bakr, a mention might be made of the following: “There is no one who did a favour to us, but that we gave him a reward for it, except for Abu Bakr, who has done a favour to us, for which Allah would give him reward on the Day of Judgement.” You see, the righteous friends will be with you even after your life ends. For Allah promised in the Quran (Surah Az-Zukhruf 43:67), “Close friends, that Day, will be enemies to each other, except al-Muttaqoon (i.e. those who have Taqwah; the righteous).
This story and accounts of the friendship of Prophet SAW and his close friend Abu Bakr R.A., should serve as an introspection for you to look deep inside and analyse your bond with your friends. Do you think they will stand by and support you in achieving the purpose of your life or will they distract you or take you away from it? Do strive in achieving Allah’s pleasure or is this completely unimportant to them? And what about yourself— what kind of friend are you? Do you set for them examples of good deeds and help them grow in deen together?
Written by: Azka
Edited by: Zarafshan Shiraz