The Life of Abu Bakr – History, Story, and Legacy
As a close and loyal friend of the Prophet Muhammad PBUH, Abu Bakr made an easy transition to Islam. Ultimately, he was made Islam’s caliph although he was not labeled as a prophet, which according to others, had ceased upon the death of Muhammad PBUH.
Throughout his friendship with Muhammad PBUH, Abu Bakr maintained his loyalty no matter what. To get a better idea of his history, let’s go over his life story from start to finish.
Early History of Abu Bakr
Abu Bakr’s story begins when he was born in 573 CE, in Mecca. Abu Bakr is Uthman Abu Quhafa’s son and member of the Quraysh tribe.
His birth name is Abdullah, but his nickname was obtained because of his fascination with camels, which interprets as “father of a camel’s calf”.
Abu bakr was raised in a wealthy family and was provided with a great education. He loved the arts and allowed himself to develop his passion for poetic art.
Abu Bakr Conversion to Islam
Abu Bakr transitioned to Islam shortly after Muhammad PBUH began preaching in 610 CE. It is believed that he was the first man to make the transition.
Abu Bakr was very protective towards Muhammad PBUH in both personal and financial matters and was able to persuade many family and friends to accept the Islam faith.
Due to his strong supportive nature, he was again nicknamed Siddique.
Nevertheless, no matter how much wealth and influence Abu Bakr had, he was not able to prevent Muhammad PBUH or himself from experiencing the atrocities seen among Mecca.
The good thing is that it all did not waiver his faith as he was able to pay for the freedom of several Islamic followers who were persecuted. Because of the 619 CE death of Muhammad’s PBUH uncle Abu Talib, the last remaining Muslims became more endangered.
Then, in 622 CE Abu Bakr received a request to have him, Muhammad PBUH, and others go to Yathrib, where Muhammad PBHU became presented with an offer of the king.
The kingship was happily accepted, but a minor setback had to be resolved with the Meccans first.
After the Meccan issue was resolved they made their way to Medina. After settling within Medina, Abu Bakr remained by Muhammad’s PBHU side where he was appointed as an advisor. Plus, he took part in many conflicts involving the Meccan Empire.
Besides his loyalty, Abu Bakr made it his duty to have Muhammad PBHU take his daughter Aisha in marriage, which would then connect him to the Prophet eternally. This in turn made Abu Bakr become Muhammad’s PBHU father-in-law.
The Prophet’s Death
After Muhammad’s PBUH 632 CE death, an overwhelming amount of shock developed among the Muslims, which made many not accept the fact at all even though he had made it clear that he too was only human and prone to the same demise as others.
A practical problem then arose, which concerned the fact that there was no indication of succession following the death of Muhammad PBHU or how the government should be run. This is where Abu Bakr took it upon himself to succeed Muhammad PBUH and embraced his new title as Khalifa’tul Rasul or Khalifa for short, this title is what became the underlining for Islamic Caliphates today.
Initial Islamic Caliph
As the very first Islamic caliph, Abu Bakr began his governance by deploying forces towards Syria in an attempt to seek revenge for the defeat experienced at Mu’tah in 629 CE.
These actions showed that Muslims were truly united as one and would never allow their fallen to die in vain. Plus, to let the world know that their Caliphate planned to carry on with what the prophet had previously planned.
Besides this, other problems sprang up near Medina. In the east, the Bedouin tribe had now renounced Islam due to the death of Muhammad PBHU and believed that their pact died along with Muhammad PBHU
What is worse is that quite a few imposters sprang up all over. Muhammad PBUH had warned that imposters would appear, so Abu Bakr al Siddiq made sure that they would not smear the true prophet’s reputation and create alternative faiths.
Like we saw as Muhammad PBHU Led, the city of Medina became a stronghold for Islam and managed to fend off the many attempts by Arab forces to take control of Medina. But, because of the powerful leadership of Abu Bakr, they had managed to stand up to them as he led from his position. Following the securing of Medina, holy war was declared against those who were seen as traitors.
The Coming Ridda Conflicts
Soon after the declaration of war, Abu Bakr gathered his faithful Islamic forces and brought
them together for the same cause that they all believed in.
The Ridda conflicts were also known as the Wars of Apostasy and as Abu Bakr’s first year ended as a leader, he was able to bring the entire Arabian Peninsula together.
Although Abu Bakr’s most loyal general, Musaylimah got killed during battle no matter how much he was disliked; there was significant sadness around his death from Abu Bakr.
However, another commander Khalid Ibn Walid demonstrated his high integrity on the battlefield and made it a point to never back down or lose a battle.
Khalid was also highly aware of how the enemy fought in the desert and how they relied on people for their own purpose and not for the cause being fought for. It was this feature that Musaylimah followers recognized following the death of Musaylimah in battle.
The Iraqi and Syrian Assaults
As he continued to follow in Muhammad’s PBHU footsteps, Abu Bakr determined that it was better to have his Arabian allies center their strength towards Iraq and Syria.
When the Iraqi and Syrian forces saw the Arabians approaching, they opted to retreat due to their exhausted state from previous battles and the depletion of all necessary resources.
However, the Nestorians and Monophysites of Byzantine and certain Arabs within the Iraqi borders openly welcomed the Muslims.
Then, in 633 CE, Khalid traveled to Iraq and united with Arabian forces to conquer Hira.
Despite Khalid being disciplined and quite successful in battle, he opted to not obey any execution orders that his Caliph passed down and slaughtered every prisoner of war under his control.
At the same time, forces in Syria were preparing for an attack of their own that would prove effective. However, due to Heraclius’s failing health, he had to pass the responsibility to his brother Theodore.
Feeling that an attack was imminent and aware of their enemy’s tactics, Abu Bakr decided to withdraw Khalid and his forces from Iraq and occupy Syria.
Khalid and his forces made their desert trek with very few men along with a few camels to supply their water, which came in handy.
While on his way towards Syria, Khalid attacked several territories under Syrian control and then made his way to Ajnadayn to help battle the Byzantine forces, which resulted in a crucial triumph that reinforced Abu Bakr’s stance within the area.
Still, because of Khalid being in Syria, the Arab forces remaining in Iraq had undergone a brutal beating from the Sassanians, which resulted in a big loss.
With everything considered, the most prominent abilities that Abu Bakr expressed involved his laid back attitude and determination and not controlled by his feelings, such as seen among the Arabs.
Instead, he fancied an approach that was reasonable as it was seen between him and Khalid. Regardless of not having many good qualities as his general, Abu Bakr regarded Khalid as a very unique soldier.
The Death of Abu Bakr Al Siddiq and his Legacy
Although Abu Bakr lived a great life and military life, his history-making came to an end in 634
CE due to old age before he was able to enjoy the victories stemming out of Iraq and Ajnadayn.
Prior to his death, Umar ign al-Khattab was chosen by Abu Bakr as next-in-line. Abu knew that he chose well when Umar would continue with strengthening the forces in both Syria and Iraq.