22) HOW ABU BAKR CAME TO POWER?

All the above mentioned principles are derived, not from any Ayat or Hadith, but from the events and happenings after the death of the Holy Prophet.

According to Sunnis, the first Four Caliphs are called Khulafa Al-Rashideen (the Caliphs who were on the path of truth).

Let us see how the first Khilafat Al-Rashida came into being.

As soon as the Holy Prophet died, the Muslims of Medina, known as 'Ansar' (the Helpers) gathered at Saqifa Bani Sa'ida. According to the author of Ghiasullughat, it was a secret house where the Arabs used to gather for their evil activities. Here, Sa'ad Bin Ubaada, who was then ailing, was led to a stately chair and made to sit upon it, wrapped in a blanket so that he might be elected the Caliph. Sa'ad then delivered a spcech in which he recounted the virtues of the Helpers from Medina and told them to take over the Caliphate before anyone else could do it. The Helpers agreed svith him and said that they wanted him to be the Caliph. But then, among themselves, they began to ask, "If the Refugees from Quraish oppose this move and put forth their claim, what shall we reply to them?"

A section of the gathering said, "We shall tell them, Let us have one leader from among you and one from us." Sa'ad said, "This is the first weakncss you have shown."

Someone informed Umar of this gathering saying, "If at all you desire to acquire tne dignity of rulership you should reach the Saqifa before it is too late and difficult for you to undo what is bring done there." With the receipt of this news, Umar, along with Abu Bakr, rushed towards Saqifa. Abu Ubaidah also accompanied them .

Tabari, Ibn Atheer. Ibn Qutaiba and others proceed with their narrations statir.g that having reached the Saqifa, Abu Bakr, Umar and Abu Ubaidah had hardly taken their seats when Thabit Bin Qais stood up and began enumerating the virtues of the Ansar (Helpers) and suggested that the office of the Caliphate should be offered to someone from the Helpers. Umar is reported to have said: "When the speaker of the Helpers finished his speech, I made an attempt to speak as already I had thought over some wonderful points, but Abu Bakr bekoned me to keep quiet. Therefore, I remained silent. Abu Bakr had better effeciency and knowledge as compared to me. He spontaneously spoke the same things I had thought of and expressed them even better."

According to 'Roudhatus-Safa', Abu Bakr addressed the assembly at the Saqifa thus:

"Assembly of the Helpers! We acknowledge your good qualities and virtues. We have also not forgotten your struggles and endeavours for promoting the cause of Islam. But the honour and respect the Quraish have among the Arabs is not enjoyed by any other tribe, and the Arabs will not submit to anyone other than the Quraish."

In 'Seerat Al-Halabiya' it is added: "However, it is a fact that the Muharjirin (Refugees) were the first to accept the Islamic creed. The Prophet of Islam was from their tribe. We are the relatives of the Apostle and therefore we are the people who are entitled to the Caliphate. It will be advisable to have the leadership arnong us and for you to take the ministry. We will not act unless we consult you. Heated arguments started, during which Umar cried: 'By Allah, I will kill him who opposes us now."

Habbab Bin Munzir Bin Zaid, a Helper from the Khazraj clan, challenged him saying, "By Allah, we will not allow anyone to rule over us as a Caliph. One leader must come from you and one from amongst us." Abu Bakr said, "No, this cannot be; it is our right to be the rulers and yours to be our ministers." Habab said, "O Helpers! Don't subrnit yourselves to what these people say. Be firm..... By Allah, if anybody dares to oppose me now, I will cut his nose with my sword." Umar remarked, "By Allah, duality is not advisable in the Caliphate. There cannot be two kings in one regime, and the Arabs will not agree to your leadersip, because the Apostle was not from your clan.

Tabari and Ibn Atheer both state that there was a fairly prolonged exchange of words between Habbab and Umar on this matter. Umar cursed Habbab, "May Allah kill you"; Habbab retorted, "May Allah kill you."

Urnar crossed over and stood at the head of Sa'ad Bin Ubaada and said to hinl, "We want to crush you so as to creak every limb of yours." Infuriated by this threat, Sa'ad got up and caught Umarís beard. Umar said, "If you pull out even one hair, you will see that all will not be well with you." Then Abu Bakr pleaded with Umar to be calm and polite. Umar turned his face from Sa'ad who was saying, "By Allah, had I strength enough just to stand, you would have heard the lions roar in every nook and corner of Medina and hidden yourselves in holes. By Allah, we would have made you join with those people again among whom you were only of the followers and not leaders."

lbn Qutaiba says that when Bashir bin Sa'ad (the Chief of the tribe of Aws) saw that the Ansar were uniting behind Sa'ad bin Ubaada (who was the Chief of the Khazraj tribe) he was overcome with envy and stood up supporting the claim of the Quraishite refugees."

In the midst of this melee Umar said to Abu Bakr: "Hold out your hand so that I may give you the pledge of loyalty." Abu Bakr said, "No, you give me your hand so that I may pledge loyalty to you, because you are stronger than me and more suitable to the Caliphate.~' Umar took the hand of Abu Bakr and pledge allegiance to him saying, "My strength is not of any value when compared to your rnerits and seniority. And if it is of any value then my strength added to yours will sucessfully run the Caliphate."

Bashir Bin Sa'ad followed suit. Khazrajites called him that he was doing it because of envy of Sa'ad bin Ubaada. Then the tribe or Aws talked arnongst thernselves that if Sa'ad bin Ubaada was madeCaliph that day, the trbe of Knazraj would always feel themselves superior to Aws, and nobody from Aws would ever get this dignity. Therefore, they all pledged their allegiance to Abu Bakr.

Somebody from Khazraj took out his sword; but was overcome by others.

Ibn Qutaiba writes, "When Abu Bakr had captured the Caliphate, Ali was dragged to Abu Bakr though he was all the time saying, "I am the slave of Allah and the brother of the Messenger of Allah." Then Ali was commanded to take the oath of allegiance to Abu Bakr. Ali said,

"I have more rights to the Caliphate than anyone of you. I will not plcdge obedience to you. As a matter of right, you should give the pledge of obedience to me. You have called for the pledge of loyalty from, the Ansars on the ground that you have blood relations with the Messenger of Allah. You are usurping the Caliphate from us, the members of his house. Did you not reason with the Ansars that you have better rights to the Caliphate than they because the Apostle was of your kinship, and they handed over the Government to you and accepted your leadership? Therefore, the very reason put forth by you to the Ansars is now forwarded by me. Our relations with the Apostle in life as well as in death are closer than those of anyone of you. If you are faithful to your argument, you should do justice; otherwise you know that you have consciously moved towards tyranny."

Umar said, ' Unless you give a pledge, you will not be spared." Ali cried,

"Milk out as much as you can for the udders are in your hand. Make it as strong as possible today, for he is going to hand it over to you tomorrow. Umar. I will not yield to your commands. I shall not pledge loyalty to him."

Ultimately Abu Bakr Said, "O Ali! If you do not desire to extend your allegiance to me, I am not going to press you for the same."

 

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CHAPTER-23