Friday, 28 December 2012

How Abu Bakr became Caliph

Prophet Mohammed passed away on 28th Safar 11 AH (23rd May 632 AD) in Madina. Few days back he had performed his first as well as last Hajj (Pilgrimage) to Makka. 

En route to Madina, Prophet Mohammed on the day of Solar Equinox ordered an arrangement for an important declaration to be made. The location was Ghadeer valley and the date was 18th Dhul Hajja 10 AH (20th March 632 AD). 

Prophet Mohammed declared Ali son of Abu Talib (his brother and son in law) to be absolute commander of all faithfuls (Amir al Mo'mineen) on Divine Orders he said to have received. Thus Imamat (Divinely appointed leadership) of Ali was established by none else but Prophet Mohammed himself.

Prophet Mohammed also declared that after him there will be twelve deputies of him till the day of Resurrection. People were asked to pay allegience to Ali son of Abu Talib. Prophet Mohammed than declared the following verse of Quran:

[Qur'an 3:5] This day I have perfected for you your religion, completed my favour upon you and have chosen for you Islam as you religion.

Thus, Prophet Mohammed declared that his Divine Mission was now complete, also, Ali would execute his duties of guidance on his behalf as Imam (Divinely appointed leader); since, no more prophets or messengers were to come after him. Prophet Mohammed declared his legacy consisted of Quran and His family members. There was no doubt left in minds of people as to who should lead the community after Prophet Mohammed.

Prophet Mohammed returned to Madina, his health began to deteriorate as the effects of poison given to him at Khaybar siege were now becoming evident. Prophet Mohammed also sensed that though his declarations about his heir were clear but people had began to doubt it during his very life, hypocrite group had some personal motives among these people.

Prophet Mohammed thus gathered his companions around him and ordered for pen and papers so that he may write his will which would clear all remaining doubts if any about his previous declaration. People around him accused him to be unfit to will, he was also declared to be in mentally unfit conditions for will. 

Umar Khattab (who later became 2nd Caliph) was also present in the gathering. Umar Khattab himself declared Prophet Mohammed to be seriously ill. Therefore he declared Quran and Prophet's convention were enough for community. Prophet Mohammed asked these people to leave him alone instantly. 

Abdullah son Abbas (Prophet’s cousin) later declared that that Thursday was most unfortunate for Islam when Prophet Mohammed himself was prevented from writing his will.

When Prophet Mohammed passed away his funeral rites were most important duties for Muslims, but none gathered up to perform or take part into it except few. All as they got news began to be part of the controversy: now who should be followed and why. 

In such environment Ali son of Abu Talib (cousin brother and son in law) performed all funeral duties of Prophet Mohammed. Ali son of Abu Talib and Abbas son of Abdul Mutallib (Prophet’s uncle) gave funeral bath to body of Prophet Mohammed and shrouded him. Ali dug the grave.

Before burial when Funeral prayers were to be performed few individual less than 20 gathered up. Ali led the funeral prayers and laid Prophet Mohammed to rest inside Masjid Nabawi (Prophet's mosque) in Madina.

People felt more important duty was to appoint a leader first, so they gathered up here and there to discuss the issue. Abu Bakr and Umar were together when they heard the news that one such gathering was held at Saqifa Banu Saida (A house) where the Caliph (successor) would be finalised. They wasted no time and hurriedly went there.

Lots of commotion was going over there. Muhajirs (Makkan emmigrants) and Ansaar (Madinites) each were demanding caliph be from them. Among Ansaar (Madinites) Aus and Khazraj were demanding Caliph be from among them. Abu Bakr shouted at Ansaar and asked them not to be the first to start controversy in Islam when they had been the first helpers of Islam.

Ansaars (Madinites) were adamant at first, later concluded that there would be two caliphs; one from Makkans and another from Madinites. Each Ansaar clan demanding Caliph should be from their clan.

Few among them nominated Abu Obada son of Jarrah to be the caliph. Abu Bakr also nominated him along with Umar Khattab, and asked to select any one from among them. Umar was pretty sure his caliphate would be challenged, thus the time was not appropriate for him to step up. He took hands of Abu Bakr and declared to have paid his allegience to Abu Bakr as Caliph.

Instantly, some others also paid allegience to Abu bakr as Caliph. Supporters of Abu Obada argued with Umar that what he did amounted to murder of Abu Obada. Umar declared that it was Allah who dealt with Abu Obada and not him. 

Thus, in such turmoil and controversy Abu Bakr was declared Caliph. Umar himself declared that so called election was hasty but declared it was necessary in his opinion. Later, Abu Bakr went to Prophet's mosque and declared his caliphate from pulpit of Prophet Mohammed.

Chaos began as he began declaration of his caliphate on basis of above mentioned election. Companions got divided, as majority of them were never present at election at first, secondly many knew Ali was rightful caliph. Some however also gave their allegience to Abu Bakr.

Salman Farsi, Bilal Habashi, Khabbat bin Arit, Huzaifa Yamani, Ammar bin Yasir, Abdullah bin Masud, Abu Ayyub Ansari, Jabir bin Abdullah, Ubay bin Ka'ab, Abu Darr Ghiffari, Miqdad Kindi were staunchest supporter of Ali and declared Abu Bakr an illegitimate caliph.

Prophet Mohammed's family members also declared the whole election as illegitimate and against the final Will of Prophet Mohammed. Ali son of Abu Talib himself along with Abbas bin Abdul Mutallib (Prophet's uncle), Abdullah bin Abbas (Prophet's cousin) and others declared the whole election and caliphate to be illegitimate.

Other companions also declared it to be un-rightful, among them were Zubair son of Awwam son in law of Abu Bakr. He also favoured Ali's caliphate on that occasion. Abu Sufyan who had outwardly become Muslim also opposed Abu Bakr's caliphate in favour of Ali’s.

Fatima Zahra the daughter of Prophet Mohammed was herself shocked about the news and objected to it. She had Fidak, a date garden, gifted to her  by Prophet himself. Abu Bakr snatched away the property and declared it to be State’s property citing ‘prophets don’t leave properties as legacy rather all they leave becomes charity’ as a reason.

Fatima Zahra challenged Abu Bakr in front of all in mosque and demanded the property’s return, Ali also assisted her in the demand, Abu Bakr denied and remained adamant. Fatima Zahra openly declared her opposition and anger for Abu Bakr in courtyard of Prophet’s mosque.

Ali was also convinced that his Imamat (Divinely appointed leadership) was safe since it could never be usurped, and he also had immense supporters to acknowledge his Imamat. Caliphate was never a necessity for executing Imamat in his opinion.

Thus, Abu Bakr’s caliphate was never unchallenged as others were independently following Ali as spiritual chief yet opposed Abu Bakr’s political leadership.

Umar took few of his supporters to the house of Ali. Ali was convinced that most people had betrayed Prophet Mohammed regarding the will. Ali was not in opinion of waging war, since time was critical and an open war at such time would have been final blow to Islam.

In that incident assaults were done to the house which Prophet Mohammed had declared to be his own home. Fatima Zahra got seriously injured during the incident and passed away following a miscarriage and injury.

She was secretly buried and Abu Bakr and his allies were not allowed to accompany. Abu Bakr later learnt from some source that Fatima Zahra had passed away. It was just few weeks since Prophet Mohammed had passed away.

With the above incidents and assaults rift between two sides widened and those who staunchly supported Ali as Caliph began to be called Shiat Ali (Supporters of Ali) or simply as Shia. These incidents divided Muslims into two sects Shia and the other those who supported Abu Bakr as Sunni (Ahlul Sunnah).

Shias are accused of not following Companions, these people who were first to be called as Shia were companions themselves, thus, Shias of today accept all those companions who started Shiat (support) for Ali.

Above was the scene of Madina, other cities also declared opposition towards Abu Bakr. Umar and Abu Bakr in such an environment started a junta. Abu Bakr on advices of Umar started to send military envoys to different cities to get allegiance for him, and to collect all charities, tributes, taxes etc for him.

Few culprits from here and there citing opposition for Abu Bakr started parallel caliphate, some even declared themselves prophets. This was the effect of caliphate of Abu Bakr.

Not all cities became victims of false prophets; most cities were just opposed to caliphate of Abu Bakr in favour of Ali. Abu Bakr sent envoys and whichever chief opposed his caliphate, was without any waste of time accused of declaring himself prophet and was executed.

An envoy under leadership of Khalid son of Walid went towards Najd area, Prophet himself had appointed Malik son of Nuwaira as its chief. Khalid demanded allegiance from him for Abu Bakr but Malik denied and did not either hand over State’s tribute to him. Khalid accused Malik of declaring himself as prophet and executed him.

Khalid after executing Malik continued the assault and raped his widow Laila on pretext that he would later marry her. Such actions resulted opposition from his envoy camp as well. Abu Dujana, who was under Khalid’s command left him and returned to Madina to lodge a complaint.

Umar who already had frictions with Khalid when heard the incident advised Abu Bakr to burn Khalid alive, to which Abu Bakr dismissing it said: Khalid is 'Sword of Allah', it is unsheathed, I won’t dare to put it back in sheath. Such was the manner in which Abu Bakr’s caliphate was consolidated.

Islam’s mission was confused with military ambitions, armies were sent here and there for capture and spoils were sent to Madina. Military advancement was declared advancement of Islam. Abu Bakr ruled for 2 ½ years and later died. This was the time when Islam as whole was accused of spreading itself on basis of sword.

Before death when Abu Bakr was on his death bed seriously ill asked a will to be written, this was written by Uthman son of Affan (later third Caliph). Note that, Prophet Mohammed was not allowed to write a will since he was declared to be unfit. Now, Abu Bakr, who frequently lost consciousness, was declaring his will.

Prophet Mohammed was not allowed to write the will, also Umar had declared: since Prophet was ill, Quran and Prophet’s conventions were enough for us, didn’t objected to seriously ill Abu Bakr’s will, for obvious reason!

Abu Bakr nominated Umar son of Khattab as next Caliph in his will, when he died Umar’s started his caliphate.

Oh Allah! Peace and Salutation be upon Mohammed and House-hold of Mohammed. Return to main topic: Karbala, brief overview


  1. Quite interesting. dark pages of aranian/Muslim History.

    1. Dr. Anburaj, you're welcome, thanks for your comment.

  2. Made up history. Absolutely no basis at all

  3. why did hazrat ali not do JIHAD with sahaba for 24 years?

    1. 1) Prophet Mohammed SAW not waging Jihad on Makkan Pagans for whole 15 years does not make us conclude that there was any allegiance to paganism.
      2) What would you say about Maula Ali AS going for Jihad at battle of Jamal (Camel) in Basra with so called Sahaba ie: Talha, Zubair and Aisha? And later also waging Jihad at battle of Siffin with so called Sahaba ie Mauwiya, Amr Aas etc?
      3) For 24 years that youre talking about Maula Ali AS actually never went to any Jihad when other Sahaba were busy with so called Jihads at Iraq, Iran, Syria etc, Why a person (Maula Ali AS) who took part in every Jihad during Prophet Mohammed's SAW life never went for so called Jihad during tenure of all three caliphs and later after 30 years once again started a series of Jihad during his caliphate? Think on it!

  4. what is justification of Mutta?

    1. The question is irrelevant to the above topic, anyways, the answer is Holy Qur'an, Surah Nisa (4), Verse 24. Good day

  5. I was born and brought up in a Sunni community and even regarded as a Sunni. But recently after reading Islamic history objectively, both sunni and shia sources, I now feel I there is substance in Shia view and I start seeing light.