Abu Bakr (c. 573 August 23, 634) ruled as the first of the Muslim caliphs (632 634).
Abu Bakr was born in Mecca, a Quraishi of the Banu Taim clan. According to early Muslim historians, he was a merchant, and highly esteemed as a judge, as an interpreter of dreams, and as one learned in in Meccan traditions. He was one of the last people anyone would have expected to convert to the faith preached by his kinsman Muhammad. Yet he was one of the first converts to Islam (see below) and instrumental in converting many of the Quraish and the residents of Mecca.
Originally called Abd-ul-Ka'ba ("servant of the house of God"), on his conversion he assumed the name of Abd-Allah (servant of God). However, he is usually styled Abu Bakr (from the Arabic word bakr, meaning a young camel) due to his interest in raising camels. Sunni Muslims also honor him as Al-Siddiq ("the truthful", or "upright"). His full name was Abd-Allah ibn Abi Quhaafah.
He was one of Muhammad's constant companions. When Muhammad fled from Mecca in the hijra of 622, Abu Bakr alone accompanied him. Abu Bakr was also linked to Muhammad by marriage: Abu Bakr's daughter Aisha married Muhammad soon after the migration to Medina. Once a wealthy man, he was known to have impoverished himself by purchasing the freedom of several Muslim slaves from polytheist masters.
Sayyiduna Abu Bakr (radi Allahu anhu's) real name was Abdullah, and he was given the title of "As Siddique" or "Testifier to the Truth." His father, 'Uthman, was known as Abu Quhafah and his mother, Salma, was known as Ummul Khair. He was two and a half years younger than Sayyiduna Rasulullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam).
He was the first among the Sahaba to accept Islam. He accompanied Sayyiduna Rasulullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) during the Hijrah to Madinatul Munawwarah. Sayyiduna Abu Bakr (radi Allahu anhu) was a merchant. He freed many slaves, including Sayyiduna Bilal (radi Allahu anhu) and Sayyiduna Umayyah bin Qahaf (radi Allahu anhu).
He participated in all the battles in which Sayyiduna Rasulullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) had to fight the Kuffar.
Sayyiduna Abu Bakr (radi Allahu anhu) loved his faith more than anything else. At the Battle of Badr, his son, Sayyiduna Abdur Rahman (radi Allahu anhu), was fighting on the side of the Kuffar. After accepting Islam, Sayyiduna Abdur Rahman (radi Allahu anhu) said to his father, "O Father, at Badr, you were twice under my sword, but my love for you held my hand back." To this, Sayyiduna Abu Bakr (radi Allahu anhu) replied, "Son, if I had you only once under my sword, you would have been no more." He was so uncompromising in his faith.
At the time of the Battle of Tabuk, he donated all his wealth to the war effort, and when Sayyiduna Rasulullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) asked him, "What have you left for your family,?" he replied, "Allah and His Rasool (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam)."
After his election as the Caliph, Sayyiduna Abu Bakr (radi Allahu anhu) addressed the Muslims with these words:
"O People! I have been chosen by you as your leader, although I am no better than any of you. If I do any wrong, set me right. Listen, truth is honesty and untruth is dishonesty. The weak among you are the powerful in my eyes, as long as I do not give them their dues. The powerful among you are weak in my eyes, as long as I do not take away from them what is due to others.
"Listen carefully, if people give up striving for the Cause of Almighty Allah, He will send down disgrace upon them. If people become evil-doers, Almighty Allah will send down calamities upon them.
"Obey me as long as I obey Allah and His Rasul (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam). If I disobey Allah and His Rasul (sallallaahu alaihi wasallam), you are free to disobey me."
Such was the first Caliph of Islam. Indeed, the world would be a better place to live in, if we had leaders like Sayyiduna Abu Bakr (radi Allahu anhu).
Sayyiduna Abu Bakr (radi Allahu anhu) now sent Sayyiduna Usamah (radi Allahu anhu) on the expedition to Syria to fight the Romans, even though he had to attend to all the internal problems of the Islamic State.
The news that Sayyiduna Rasulullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) had passed away, made some new Muslims think that the Islamic State would crumble and they refused to pay the Zakaah. These new Muslims could not yet get used to their faith and its requirements until then. Sayyiduna Abu Bakr (radi Allahu anhu) declared, "By Allah! Even if a single thread is due from a man, he must give it. If he refuses, I will declare war against him."
Some others became imposters and renegades. Tulaiha, Musailimah, Maalik bin Nuwairah, Aswad Ansi and a woman named Sajah claimed that they were prophets and caused a great deal of confusion. Sayyiduna Abu Bakr (radi Allahu anhu) was quick to take action against these imposters.
Sayyiduna Khalid bin Walid (radi Allahu anhu) was sent to deal with Tulaiha who fled to Syria and later became a Muslim. Maalik bin Nuwarah was killed. Sayyiduna Ikramah (radi Allahu anhu) and Sayyiduna Surahbil (radi Allahu anhu) were sent to take action against Musailimah, but they were defeated. Sayyiduna Abu Bakr (radi Allahu anhu) sent Sayyiduna Khalid bin Walid (radi Allahu anhu) to tackle the notorious Musailamah who married Sajah. In the fight that followed, Sayyiduna Wahshi (radi Allahu anhu) killed Musailamah. Musailamah and Aswad Ansi also claimed to be prophets while Sayyiduna Rasulullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) was alive. Aswad was killed by the Muslims of Yemen.
Sayyiduna Abu Bakr (radi Allahu anhu's) swift and bold steps saved the Islamic State from the serious danger of chaos and confusion. He could now attend to other urgent problems.
During his Khilaafat, Sayyiduna Abu Bakr (radi Allahu anhu) had to take action against the Iranian Empire. The Emperor of Iran, Khusrou Parvez, was killed by his son, Shirooya, and the whole empire fell into chaos and disorder.
Hurmuz, the Persian governor of Iraq, was very hostile to the Arabs and he was also cruel to the Muslims living in that area.
Sayyiduna Abu Bakr (radi Allahu anhu) sent Sayyiduna Muthamia (radi Allahu anhu) to take action against the Iranians in Iraq. His forces were not enough and Sayyiduna Khalid bin Walid (radi Allahu anhu) was then sent with reinforcements. The Muslim army captured vast areas of the Iranian Empire in several battles.
Sayyiduna Abu Bakr (radi Allahu anhu) then turned his attention to the Romans who were causing trouble in the North-West frontier. Sayyiduna Abu Bakr (radi Allahu anhu) sent 4 separate armies under Sayyiduna Ubaidah bin Jarrah, Sayyiduna Amr Ibnul As, Sayyiduna Yazid bin Abu Sufyaan and Sayyiduna Surahbil bin Hasnal (radi Allahu anhumul ajma'in) to deal with the Roman power.
The four armies joined into one unit to face the Romans more effectively. The Romans had amassed 150 000 soldiers, but the total Muslim army was only 24 000. Reinforcements were requested. Sayyiduna Abu Bakr (radi Allahu anhu) asked Sayyiduna Khalid bin Walid (radi Allahu anhu) to take charge of the Iraqi front and Sayyiduna Muthanna (radi Allahu anhu) to rush to the Syrian front to help fight the huge Roman army. The armies met in Yarmuk after Sayyiduna Abu Bakr (radi Allahu anhu) passed away. In this battle, the Romans were totally defeated.
Sayyiduna Abu Bakr (radi Allahu anhu) fell ill at this time and passed away on the 21st of Jamadi-ul-Aakhir 13 A.H. (22 August 634). His rule lasted 2 years and 3 months. He was 63 years old.
One of the many contributions of Sayyiduna Abu Bakr (radi Allahu anhu) was the collection and compilation of the Holy Quran.
He lived a very simple, pious and upright life. He was a true servant of Almighty Allah and a meticulous follower of Sayyiduna Rasulullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam).
He wore ordinary clothes and his meals were very simple. He attended to house-hold work and would go out at night and seek the poor and destitute. Humility and modesty were the keynotes of his character. He felt embarrassed when people showered praises on him or showed him immense respect. He often fasted during the day and spent the whole night in Salaah and meditation. He was a great orator and a master of genealogy (one who can trace a person's family line). In personal life, he was a Saint. He used all his powers to promote the interest of Islam and the good of people.