Sirr-ul-Khilafah (The Secret of Caliphate)
by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian
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Sirr-ul-Khilafah (The Secret of Caliphate) is the most enlightening philosophical contribution of Hazrat Mirza Sahib (peace be upon him) to the delicate question of the Caliphate. He has in his unique style exposed the hollowness of the controversies that have raged round false notions about the Chosen Companions of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him).
As this most valuable booklet was written in Arabic, the orbit of its usefulness was restricted. When I assumed the editorial charge of The Light in 1966, I persuaded my brother-in-faith Ch. Abdul Hamid Fazil to translate it in Urdu to enable me to render it into English. He kindly complied with my request and gave me his Urdu translation. I rendered it into English and published the same in fourteen installments in The Light. This marked the completion of my plan, because I thought it presumptuous on my part to take my English rendering as fit enough for publication in the form of a booklet. Thus the matter remained where it had ended.
Only recently some friends sincerely interested in the dissemination of Hazrat Mirza Sahib’s writings in English insisted on my publishing the English translation in the form of a booklet to widen the scope of its circulation. I hesitated a good deal. But when the pressure persisted, I made bold to consult Dr. Allah Bakhsh Sahib, Honorary General Secretary, Ahmadiyyah Anjuman Ishaat-i-Islam, Lahore. He readily agreed to the proposal and kindly got it sanctioned.
Thanks to the sincere endeavours of Mr. Nasir Ahmad, the booklet has been printed and will soon be in the hands of the readers. To err is human. It is bound to have flaws which the kind readers are requested to intimate to enable me to rectify the same in the next edition.
It is truly observed that translation is the wrong side of an embroidered cloth. It gives the design, but not the beauty. In this particular case, it is a fact that even the design may look blurred. But an earnest attempt has been made to convey the sense of the splendid writing based on knowledge vouchsafed by God to the Great Mujaddid of the 14th Century. It is next to impossible to capture the resplendent beauty of the original writing in an alien language. It is more so when the translator’s own knowledge of English is no commensurate with the needs of the great venture.
Mirza Muhammad Hussain,
Brandreth Road, Lahore
Sirr-ul-Khilafah (Secret of Caliphate):
Realise this. May God endow you with deep thought and insight. God has vouchsafed to me deep insight into the (Islamic) Khilafat (Caliphate). Like gifted people, I have reached the depth of the matter. My Sustainer has unravelled to me the secret that Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddique, Hazrat Umar Farooq — The Great and Hazrat Usman (God be pleased with them) were the paragons of faith and righteousness. They belonged to a class of people who enjoy preference in the eyes of God. The Benevolent God had appointed them as the recipients of His favours. Many saintly people gifted with the realisation of God, have borne witness to their spiritual greatness. They left their hearth and home to seek the pleasure of God. They took part in every battle. They paid no heed to the scorching heat nor did they heed the cold nights. But like a devoted young man, they adopted a way of living ordained by their Faith. They did not incline towards a near relative, nor did any attractive thing entice them. They abandoned all for the sake of God. Their righteous actions and noble deeds bear no trace of doubt. Every act of theirs points to the garden of their spiritual excellence and merits. The fragrance of their personalities gives a clue to this secret and to their mental joy. Their radiant personalities shed and spread light on and around us. Thus you should try to know their holy persons and not indulge in indecent haste in doubting them. Do not lean on false concoctions as they are charged with venom and are more overdrawn pictures. They are incredible accounts. Thus one should fear God and spurn such visible falsehoods. One should not behave like a person who jumps to conclusions and cherishes them and turns a blind eye to the Day of Reckoning. One should not quit the path of piety and perseverance. Unless one has full knowledge of truth, one should not indulge in guesses and surmises. One should not join the ranks of the transgressors.
Do not lose sight of the fact that the Reckoning is in the offing. The Real Lord of all creations is watching you. Soon His measures for assessment and appraisal will begin to operate. As you have sown so shall you reap. Thus you should not be cruel to yourselves. You should join the ranks of the Godfearing people. I will not deal with the events, because they are like a bottomless ocean. Only such people as are gifted with insight can bring out the precious pearls out of it. It is the habit of the people to denounce the historical research of another person. Only a very few noble souls benefit by it. I shall convey to you such things as have been vouchsafed to me by God. I hope they will enable you to grasp realities and will help you to get at the secrets. It has been revealed to me that these Companions were among the righteous people. He who caused them distress, tried to distress God and thus over-reached himself. He who cast aspersions on them and talked of them disparagingly and did not refrain from taunts and strictures, but ascribed to them atrocities and accused them of cruel and hostile behaviour, did not do them any harm. He only harmed himself. He did not fight with them but battled against God. The Companions were immaculate and above blame. You should not venture to tread those paths which lead to rack and ruin. Every one who indulges in cursing them, should abstain from aggression. He should keep before his mind’s eye the Day of Reckoning. He should be afraid of the hour of trial which will overtake the sinners.
By God, I tell you that God has made the Shaikhain the First Two Caliphs and the Third One who is know as Zwin Noorain as the gates of Islam and the gallant warriors of the Army of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). Thus he who does not believe in their glorious roles, and looks down upon the radiant arguments in support of their greatness, and does not honour their status, and insults and denigrates them and shoots an abusive tongue at them, must, I am afraid, await a tragic end for himself. He lives in danger of destroying his own faith. Those who caused them torture and showered curses on them, became ultimately hard-hearted and fell prey to divine wrath. I have seen this happening may times. I have declared several times that it is a sure way of depriving oneself of divine blessing, to harbour malice against the spiritual progeny of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). He who harbours ill-will against these pious souls, shuts upon himself the gates of God’s mercy and forgiveness. The doors of knowledge and God-realisation are slammed against him. God leaves him wallowing in the cesspool of carnal passions. God casts him away and makes him reprehensible. Indeed they (the Pious Caliphs) were tortured in the same way as the Prophets were tortured in their own times. Invectives were hurled at them as they were hurled at the Apostles of God. Thus, what crystallises is that they are the true heirs of the Apostles of God. Thus, as a reward for their sufferings, they shall be like the Imams of the nations on the Day of Resurrection. It is because when a true believer is cursed and is recklessly denounced as Kafir for no fault of his own and is subjected to abuse, he takes on the likeness of the prophets and joins the ranks of the Elects of God. He is rewarded as the prophets are rewarded. He receives compensation as the prophets do. There is no denying the fact that in their allegiance to the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of God be upon him) they behaved in a grand manner. This is why the Muslim Nation is called the Excellent Ummah. It is also designated the “Exalted Nation” and is praised by God. God has helped them (the Pious Caliphs) with the Holy Spirit as He always helps His Chosen Servants. The signs of their piety and truthfulness are writ large on the horizon. Their purity is dazzling. It is beyond the shadow of a doubt that they were among the truthful. God was pleased with them and their lives were attuned to the will of God. They were vouchsafed such honours as are granted to very few in the world.
Were they hypocrites? No, not at all. Their at-one-ness with God’s will was indubitably clear. They were pure of heart and mind. They were immaculate. Even if one screens their lives, one cannot spot any sin or failing in them. Thus indeed they were among the Chosen of God. The Holy Quran is full of praises for them and gives them the glad tidings of the Paradise below which flow canals. They were ‘those on the right-hand’ and were the spiritual pioneers. They were among the pious and righteous people. The Holy Quran showers peace and blessings on them and bears witness that they are the recipients of the divine favours.
There is no denying the fact that they were the people who turned their back on their pre-Islamic fraternal ties and identified themselves with Islam. They courted the hostility of their nation for the sake of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of God be upon him). They landed themselves in hazards purely to do the will of God. The Holy Quran bears an incontestable testimony to the fact that they abandoned every thing and gave precedence to the will of God. They cherished the deepest reverence for the Holy Book. They bowed before God. Thus, where on earth is any proof, that they lived in defiance of the Holy Quran. Doubt cannot rank equal with certainty. O you! who harbour doubts against the First Three Pious Caliphs! Will you go on cherishing your impious notions? By God! They were the people who entered the valleys of death and stood firm to help the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of God be upon him). It is in the cause of Allah alone that they gave up their parents and progeny. They even put them to the sword in the Holy wars. They were at daggers drawn with their dear friends and made away with them. They surrendered their life, limb and property for Islam. In spite of these tremendous sacrifices they felt that even their righteous deeds were of no account. In presence of God they were shy as if they had been of no account. Their eyes knew no sleep. Their eyes closed only for a while and that also to fulfil the bodily obligation. They gave a wide berth to luxury and flesh-pots. In the face of these stark facts, how does it lie in your mouth to accuse them of conniving at injustice and oppression, and of inability to dispense justice. How on earth is it thinkable that they perpetrated atrocities! It is an established truth that they gave up the world of mundane enjoyment and completely surrendered themselves to God. As a matter of fact, they lived a life of self-abnegation. They annihilated themselves in the love of God. Thus, O you enemies of the Three Pious Caliphs! how dare you abuse them! This is a reckless behaviour which is devoid of an iota of modesty. Thus fear God and acquire softness and imbibe the spirit of accommodation. You shall be hauled over coals for false accusations in which you indulge in the teeth of true knowledge and cogent reasons. Do not be carried away by my hard and bitter reasoning. Keep your eyes on the facts that I have presented to you. Assess them yourselves, because you have taken to following those who harbour ill-will and rancour. You have abandoned the Holy Book which confers conviction and reveals truth. When one abandons truth, one inevitably falls into the lap of misguidance. How is it possible to attribute to the Companions things which are detrimental to piety and purity. The Holy Quran bears witness to the fact that God identified truth with them and immunised them against unbelief and transgression.
The Holy Quran has not branded the disputants and those engaged in mutual altercations as Kafirs. Each party is designated Muslim. It ordains that if two factions of the True Believers fall out and quarrel with each other, they should be reconciled.
If any group rebels against the other, the aggressor should be given a fight, until the insurrection is laid low. If they agree to desist from aggression, warring factions should be made to come to terms according to the rules of justice and fair-play. Do justice, because God loves those who do justice.
Indeed the True Believers are brethren-in-Islam. Thus it is incumbent upon a Muslim to bring about reconciliation among the estranged brethren. Fear God, so that He may show His mercy. “O you who believe in Islam, see that no section should ridicule another section. It is quite likely that the one ridiculed may be better than the one which has indulged in ridicule. On the same analogy, no woman should ridicule another woman who, in reality, may be more honourable. Do not scandalise each other, nor should any one indulge in name-calling, because it is a rank transgression after accepting Islam. He who does not desist, is a transgressor. O you True Believers! abstain from suspecting others, because suspicion sometime leads to sin. Do not spy on others nor indulge in backbiting. Is there any one among you, who would eat the flesh of his dead brother? You should hate this act. Fear God, because God accepts genuine repentance as He is Merciful.”
Thus what God has pronounced, applies to the truthful. Sometime one proclaims a verdict of kufr against True Believers because of some disputes, whereas God has called them True Believers even when they were warring with one another and has regarded them as brethren among themselves. Even when one group is at war against the other, neither of them is kafir in the eyes of God. God is not pleased with those who call one other bad names, fling accusations at one another, do not fraternalism, ridicule and backbite and suspect one another and consequently spy on the brethren. He who indulges in these vices after accepting Islam, earns the appellation of transgressor. Such evil-doers incur the wrath of God in the same way as the enemies of Islam incur divine displeasure. God’s displeasure descends on those who abuse the True Believers, because the Holy Quran calls even the warring believers as “a party from among the True Believers”. The rebel is branded aggressor. Those who oppose him become the victims of oppression. But none of them is dubbed apostate.
This guiding hint is enough for you if you are of the class of the God-fearing people. It is incumbent upon you not to behave in a manner which incurs divine wrath implied in the Quranic verses. You should not court ruin by indulging in overhaste. You should avoid the company of the transgressors. God has praised the True Believers at another place in these words:
“And made them cleave to the principle of righteousness and they were better entitled to it (48:27).”
He (God) enabled them to stand firm in their piety and they were truly worthy of the divine support.
How does it lie in your mouth to brand a section kafir, when it has been proclaimed pious by God. God Almighty has said of the Companions of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of God be upon him):
“Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. And those who are with him are hard against the disbelievers, tender among themselves (48:30).”
The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of God be upon him) and his Companions stand fast against the unbelievers. But among themselves they behave kind-heartedly. You find them in a prayerful mood — in a state of ruku’ (bent on their knees) and prostration. They strive for the grace and mercy of God. Their prostrations are writ large on their faces. There is a parable to this effect in the Torah and the Gospel. It is like a farm where a green shoot sprouts from under the ground. It grows strong and stout. Then it stands upright and delights the hearts of the farmers. It grows in strength and fills the hearts of the unbelievers with rage. It is evident that God denounced as kafir every one who harboured enmity against them (the Pious Caliphs) and behaved rancorously against them. Thus fear God and behave virtuously. He who flies into a fury against the Companions of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of God be upon him) is kafir in the eyes of God. Ponder over the Quranic verses relating to them and other verses also, so that God may enable you to become the rightly-guided people.
The Shias hold that Hazrat Abu Bakr and Hazrat Umar (God be pleased with them) perpetrated injustice against Hazrat Ali (God be pleased with him) and Hazrat Fatimah al-Zahra and usurped their rights and behaved in an unfair manner and resorted to the ways of the aggressors. How cruel this charge is! These people left their hearth and home. They abandoned their close friends and gave up their possessions. They underwent all these sacrifices purely for God and for His Apostle (God’s peace be upon him). They persevered in the face of trials and tribulations like the Chosen People of God. When they became Caliphs they did not fill their houses with gold and silver. Whenever they came by some, they passed it on to the Bait al-Mal (Public Treasury). They did not make their sons their Caliphs, as people enslaved to filthy lucre and sunk in misguidance, always do. They lived in a state of self-imposed poverty and extreme simplicity. They never felt inclined to luxuries as the rich men and aristocrats do. Is it thinkable that these people usurped other people’s property and were inclined to snatch and seize the possessions of others? Is this the spiritualising impact of the Holiest of the Holy — The Prophet of Islam (peace and blessings of God be upon him) on their conduct and character? The Almighty God has praised them. Thus they could never be as their traducers depict them. The Omnipotent God purified their minds and hearts and illumined their actions. God elevated them to the status of splendid specimens of righteousness for the coming pious people. I have not the slightest apprehension nor the vaguest misgiving about the piety and purity of their intentions. There is absolutely nothing to point to any the slightest failing on their part. By God! They were the justice-loving group. If they had been offered even a mountain of wealth with the slightest trace of corruption in it, they would not have paid any heed to it. They would never lean towards it as the slaves of greed and avarice do. If they had come by a huge pile of riches or vast lands of gold or if they had earned wealth in a pious manner, they would unhesitatingly have spent it in the way of the Almighty God or would have dedicated it to the promotion of spiritual welfare of mankind. In the light of these radiant realities, how on earth, is it thinkable that they offended Hazrat Fatimah al-Zahra for ‘a few trees only’ (i.e., Bagh-i-Fadak) or caused distress to the daughter of the Holy Prophet as the mischievous people think. Bear in mind that the nobleminded people are pure in their intentions. They adhere to the right firmly. The blessings of God descend on them as God has full knowledge of the God-fearing people.
If such deeds as they did, with the best of intentions, are assessed as acts of persecution, then even the “Lion of God” (i.e., Hazrat Ali) cannot wash his hands of the supposed and imaginary excesses. He shall also come to be regarded as one of those who had a hand in them. He evinced a liking for the daughter of Abu Jahl and caused mental distress to Hazrat Fatimah al-Zahra.
One should not give credence to the exaggerated notions and should not pick up crumbs from the tables of those who took a perverted view of reason and rationality and deviated from the path of righteousness. Such people saw truth, but stuck to untruth. Indeed I shall guide you on the path which shall rid you of doubts and misapprehensions. Thus it is incumbent on you (critics) to behave judiciously and not lean on perverted versions. I hope you will adhere to truth. I do not mind if some people blame me. No one can get right guidance unless God wills it. No one can get the blessing of contentment unless God is pleased to vouchsafe it. Surely God knows what passes in my heart and in yours. God is watching where I proceed and how you behave. He sees what passes in the hearts of the people of the world.
Every one gifted with insight and capacity for judicious scrutiny knows and the God-fearing persons always know that the claim of Hazrat Ali to Khilafat is not substantiated by such things as are established and unquestioned truths. There is no reference to it in the Holy Book. Although his Khilafat may be suffused with light and radiance, yet the arguments advanced by the Shia writers are not grounded in factual data. Thus there is hardly any reason for raising a contention on this point. A critic should not take recourse to the technique of the misguided sophists. By God! I have pondered over the meaning of the Holy Quran. I have cast searchlights in every nook and corner, but I have not come across anything as decisive as the Quranic verse relating to the continuous chain of the Pious Caliphate (24:55). I regard this verse as one of the momentous verses. I believe it to be Clear Ordinance. I take it as the most convincing and decisive argument from the Lord of the Universe. He who wants to draw right conclusions, can do so by assessing the position judiciously. He should take it that a good-tempered person will go in for a pure water (of knowledge). God will duly recognise his honest strivings and perpetuate the memory of his good behaviour. God will save him from misguidance and will enable him to stick to right guidance.
Indeed the Quranic commandments are correct and final. What we come across in this connection in the sayings and chronicles are invalid. They deepen the doubts, even though the events may have been narrated by reporters of status and standing. Do not be led away by their outward adornment. Do not look merely at their apparently refreshing appearance. Most of these narrations carry a taint of darkness, as they were not uninfluenced by the unjust.,
The authenticity of the traditions is such as is known to all. When a point has been stated in clear terms in the Holy Book, there is hardly any room for taking refuge in a tradition which runs contrary to the Holy Book. When truth is all too evident, how can you afford to run away from it. Abandonment of truth signifies misguidance. Thus O ye Muslims! Save yourselves from misguidance. If you lean on sheer narratives, it will not give you certainty. It will only accentuate your suspicions. Concoctions and fabrications give birth to doubt and uncertainties. Thus he who turns his back on the Holy Quran and takes shelter in hearsays, lands himself into the abyss of ruin and joins the ranks of the ruined people. The traditions vis-a-vis the Holy Quran are like an old man given to hearsays who staggers and cannot stand up firmly except by leaning on the Holy Quran. Thus it is vain to think that one can abandon the Holy Quran with impunity and can take a stable stand on the traditions. How can one derive light and guidance from the traditions after giving a go-by to the Holy Quran. Thus it is the Holy Quran which gives shelter to the shelterless and redeems a man from his failings and vouchsafes protection by its sound arguments. It proves every thing it says, by clear and incontrovertible reasoning. Every thing it says is correct and doubtless and carries solace to the hearts. It is most valid in its assertions. There is depth and vastness in what it says at length or in what it refers to in a few words. He who deviates from it and turns to its antithesis, deliberately transcends the bounds of faith and integrity. Pointed arrows make a sieve of his body, that is to say, he is banished from the realm of religion. He who holds the Quranic injunctions in light esteem or lowers them in the estimation of others and runs after reports which have no sound standing, consigns himself to unmitigated misguidance. Soon he will find himself engulfed in the flames of frustration. God shall demonstrate to him his clear error. The sum and substance of this contention is that security lies in following the Holy Quran. Ruin and destruction come in the wake of its repudiation. Thus there can be no greater calamity than that one should stray away from the Book of God in spite of his two “seeing” eyes. Thus always keep in mind the grandeur of the divine fort. This magnificent shelter is worth all our grateful appreciation. O ye forgetful folk! Give up your devious ways and become sincere seekers of truth.
Now I advance the Quranic verses and magnificent arguments in support of Hazrat Abu Bakr — The Truthful. I will prove my point to the hilt. It amounts to inviting perdition to follow false researches. He who pursues uncertainties, will land himself in hot water. Controversies can be served quietus by convincing arguments. Thus take my word and do not fight shy of me. I pray to God that He may vouchsafe you a clear penetrating vision. God says in His Holy Book:
“Allah has promised to those among you who believe and do good works that He will surely make them successors from among those who were before them; and that he will surely establish for them their religion which He has chosen for them; and that He will surely give them in exchange security and peace after their fear. They will worship Me, and they will not associate anything with Me. Then whoso is ungrateful after that, they will be the rebellious. And observe prayer and give zakat and obey the Messenger, that you may be shown mercy.
Think not that those who disbelieve can frustrate Our plan in the earth; their abode is Hell; and it is indeed an evil resort (24:56-58).”
This is the glad tidings given to the True Believers. Therein we have been apprised of the signs and qualities of the Pious Caliphs to come. Thus he who goes in search of the elucidation of the Word of God, should not adopt the ways of the transgressors and fabricators, especially when the truth has dawned upon him.
It is incumbent on a seeker after truth that he should accept a sound argument and give up wrong contentions and unwarranted reasoning. Thus alone he will follow in the footsteps of the righteous people. Its full import will be brought home to you by convincing arguments. Thus O people of understanding! take it that God has held out a promise in the Quranic verse (24:56-58) that He will soon raise a Caliph for the Muslim men and women. By His grace, the Caliph will redeem them from a state of fear which has overtaken them. It is the Caliphate of Hazrat Abu Bakr only, which fully answers this description. His Caliphate synchronised with a period crises and calamities. This is known to every research scholar. On the death of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of God be upon him), Islam and Mussalmans both faced trials and tribulations. Majority of the hypocrites turned apostates. The apostates became very aggressive. Many of them became impostors and claimed to be “prophets”. Many village people were taken in by their imposture and they became their accomplices. So much so the Musailma the Impostor was able to rally round him one lakh of ignorant and wicked people. Mischief burst into flames. Hardships increased. Calamities and distresses surrounded the Muslim nation. The True Believers were shaken by an earthquake of the crises. At times every True Believer faced a severe test. Dangerous conditions cropped up and put the Believers at their wit’s end. It appeared that the True Believers were burning in the embers which had burst into flames inside their hearts. It appeared as if they were under a slaughtering knife. Sometimes they mourned over the departure of their Beloved Prophet who was the noblest of the human beings. Some time they shed tears under the distressing stress of the mischiefs which had grown into a holocaust. All traces of peace were wiped out. The mischief-mongers appeared to have got an upper-hand. Just as a foul-smelling plant spreads its foul odour everywhere, the mischief waxed and spread its infection. The Muslims were stricken with fear and harassment. It was in this hour of mounting problems that Hazrat Abu Bakr was elected Ruler, and Successor of the Holy Prophet (God’s peace be upon him). He was also overwhelmed by fear and sorrow. When he saw the symptoms of distress spread by the hypocrites, he shed tears profusely. While he wept he also prayed to God to save Islam and Muslims from the rising crescendo of crises. Hazrat Ayeshah (God be pleased with her) says that when her father was elected Caliph and God entrusted to him the duties of the Emirate of the True Believers, he saw a storm of opposition all round him. False prophets, apostates and hypocrites came out into the open to sabotage his Caliphate. The crises and calamities that erupted were so disastrous that they were enough to smash mountains into smithereens, if they had descended on them. But God fortified him with the fortitude of the prophets, and divine help came to his rescue. The false prophets were killed. The apostates were also destroyed and the mischiefs dwindled and disappeared. All obstacles crumbled into dust. It became evident that God had decided to strengthen and stabilise Khilafat and salvaged the Muslim community from impending ruin. The state of fear changed into a state of peace and tranquillity. God put their Faith on a firm footing and fortified the hearts of the True Believers. The mischief-makers ate the humble pie. God fulfilled His promise to the True Believers and assisted His servant — Siddique Akbar (God be pleased with him) and destroyed the rebel leaders and high-priests of opposition. He infused fear in the hearts of the unbelievers and they took to their heels in utter discomfiture. When they returned they went in ashes and sack cloth. Such was the promise of the Almighty God. He alone is the Most Truthful.
It is evident how God created favourable circumstances and thus kept His promise of providing a firm foundation for Hazrat Abu Bakr’s Khilafat. It is a matter for consideration that the Muslim community was in a state of turmoil when Hazrat Abu Bakr became Caliph. Islam was in the thick of crises. It looked like a burnt-out thing. God made Islam supreme and salvaged it from the slough of despond. The false claimant to prophethood met with an ignominious end. The apostates were cut down like beasts. Thus God showered the blessings of peace on the Muslims. He redeemed them from the stricken state in which they lay like almost dead people. As the calamity was averted by God’s grace, the Muslims were full of extreme joy. They congratulated Hazrat Abu Bakr, and they raised cries of hosanna. They were brimming over with intense and immense joy. They prayed to God for him. They left no stone unturned in their reverence for him. The love of Hazrat Abu Bakr took deep roots in their hearts. They followed him and regarded their allegiance as a matter of bliss. They looked upon him as one who enjoyed divine help in a manner almost identical with that of the prophets. All this stemmed from Hazrat Abu Bakr’s love of truth and his profound belief in God.
By God, Hazrat Abu Bakr was the Second Adam of Islam1 and the First Manifestation of the radiance that emanated from the most Exalted of Human Beings. Although, he was not prophet himself, yet he had been endowed with the potentialities of prophets. The glowing testimony to the truth of this statement lies in the fact that in his time Islam regained its glory. This triumph was restored after bearing up with the slings and arrows of adverse circumstances. The spring-time returned and the boughs and flowers regained their original freshness. Immediately before this, Islam lay half dead under the blows of crises and calamities. It appeared to be burnt-out by the flames. But God came to its rescue and saved it from the trials and tribulations. God in His wondrous ways brought salvation to the crises-stricken Islam and showered His help and assistance: so much so that Islam attained hegemony over other countries and became the ruling force over other peoples, after it had undergone almost complete disintegration and had nearly been levelled down with the earth. God inflicted disgrace on the hypocrites and illumined the faces of the True Believers. Every Muslim’s mind was filled with the praise of God. The Muslim Community was overwhelmed with a sincere sense of gratitude for Hazrat Abu Bakr who, by the grace of God, had brought about a marvellous transformation. With the exception of the apostates and transgressors, every one came to him and offered his whole-hearted allegiance. All this was the highest reward which God confers on him whom He has chosen and purified and with whom He is pleased and has taken him under His shelter. God does not let His reward to the True Believers go waste.
In short, the relevant Quranic verses quoted earlier point to Hazrat Abu Bakr’s Khilafat and to no one else. Ponder over the point as deeply as you can. Fear God and fear His wrath. Think deeply over the matter. In all certainty the verses had a reference to the future to buoy up the hearts of the True Believers and strengthen their faith in the time of crises. This was to enable them to repose glowing faith in the promises of God. In the Quranic verses quoted previously there was a pointer to the times after the death of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of God be upon him) when mischiefs would erupt and troubles would descend on Islam. God held out His promise that he would elevate one of them to the rank of Khalifah. He would extricate Islam from the grip of mischief and restore peace and tranquillity. He made the wavering Faith stable and put an end to the mischief-mongers. In the circumstances, there is hardly any ground for doubt that all this applies to the Khilafat of Hazrat Abu Bakr only and to none else. Thus there is no reason for denial, because the argument in his favour is indubitably clear. When Hazrat Abu Bakr came to the helm of affairs, he found the wall of Islam shaky and tending to fall, because the saboteurs had tried to undermine it. Thus God, by His Own hands, stabilised it and made it an impregnable fort garrisoned by an army of votaries. Thus O Doubter, exercise your intellect and intelligence. Do you find any loophole anywhere? Can you point to any one to whom the Quranic verse applies?
I know that some Shia gentlemen pick a bone with Ahl-i-Sunnat about Hazrat Abu Bakr’s Caliphate. The dispute has been raging for a long time. It some time degenerated into a clash and an exchange of vituperations. At one time, the quarrel came up before the courts. I wonder at the attitude of the Shia people. Their short-sightedness amazes me. Their extremely superstitious behaviour distresses me. They have adopted a critical attitude in the face of indubitably clear and decisive proofs. They just turn a blind eye to all this. Unlike fair-minded people, they refuse to pay heed to incontrovertible facts. I call their attention to an argument which will act as an eye opener. This line of argument does not discriminate against either party. Let us all assemble in an open place. We should all go down, in all humility, before the Almighty and utter curses against liars.
If my prayer in this prayer-duel proves of no avail, I offer to accept every punishment. I shall further declare that the other party was in the right and shall give five thousand rupees. If I fail in this, may the curse descend on me till the Day of Resurrection. If the other party approves, I shall in advance deposit the stipulated sum in the Government Treasury or entrust it to some notable personage. I must make it clear that my challenge is not for all and sundry. I am not addressing a lay man. I am addressing such a person as undertakes to write a pamphlet in reply to mine. I have adopted this procedure because prayer-duel and contest are justifiable only in the case of a man of understanding and discernment and those who are duly qualified for such a contest. The ignorant folk with no knowledge of Arabic cannot come forward and demand the offer of a prize for a success in a contest. Those who are clumsy like camels cannot claim to have a seat in an cultured assembly. Thus the man whom I challenge must have some qualifications for an intellectual debate. Thus a person who cannot write as I do, cannot enter the lists against me. By the grace of God I have reached the core of the matter, and I would like to face a person who like me claims to display a miracle in discussion. I cannot relish the idea of going about challenging lay men. This is below my dignity. It is distasteful to me to descend to the level of a common man. Thus I shall not enter into discussion with an ignorant person. I shall refrain from parleying with the uneducated.
I have been vouchsafed knowledge that the Siddique — The Great was a person of superior stature and eminence among the Companions. As such he was the immediate First Caliph and it is to him that the Quranic verse relating to caliphate (succession) relates. If those who think otherwise and say that the Quranic verse relates to some one else, they should bring some convincing argument in support of their view, if they are right. If they fail to bring any such argument and never shall they bring it, it behoves them not to become enemies of the righteous people. They should part company with the mischievous persons. It does not become a True Believer to follow the quarrelsome people. How on earth do they utter curses against a person who was the elect of God and who was firmly placed on the caliphat seat by God Himself.
I shall show signs to counter the abusive propaganda of the enemies of Hazrat Abu Bakr. I shall expose the fraud of the fraudulent critics. Hazrat Abu Bakr (God be pleased with him) saved Islam from great calamities and terrible atrocities. He laid low the pythons that breathed fire. He restored peace and tranquillity and by the grace of God, he inflicted crushing defeat on the mischief-makers.
Hazrat Abu Bakr had countless qualities. All the Muslims owe him a debt of gratitude. No one can deny this except the extremists. Just as God enabled him to establish peace and extinguish the fire kindled by apostates, He also enabled him to become the first champion and the first devotee of the Holy Quran. He was the first to make the Holy Book available. Thus he strove to the best of his capacity in collecting the verses of the Holy Quran. He had been endowed with the knowledge of the proper arrangement by the Beloved Prophet of God. In the service and support of Islam he opened the gushing fountains. More than that he shed tears. This is now an established fact. But prejudice undermines the reason of the rational thinkers. If a critic wants to get at the core of truth, he should rise above his prejudices and think over the matter with a clean mind. He should quit the path of misguidance, because justice is a key to blessings. It is love of justice which extricates one’s mind from gloom and darkness. Indeed genuine knowledge and proper discernment rank as high as the throne of the Almighty. Knowledge coupled with the love of justice is an important stage in the spiritual evolution. He who is fond of solving difficulties and getting at the core of truth, should act righteously and should also scrupulously abstain from the fanaticism of the unjust.
Of the special pieties and qualities, there is one deserving of attention. It is his selection as his Companion by the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of God be upon him) at the time of migration. He was made the closest fellow-traveller of the Best of human beings. His companionship in this crisis shows that he was closely identified with the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of God be upon him). The secret underlying all this was in the knowledge of God. Siddique — The Great was the bravest and the most pious of all the Companions and was thus loved by the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) more than all other Companions. He had effaced himself in the love of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). From the very beginning he used to serve and assist the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). God also enabled Hazrat Abu Bakr — The Truthful to assist the Holy Prophet in the crisis. This is why he was specially named Siddique. He enjoyed the nearness of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of God be upon him). He was vouchsafed the designation of “the second of the two” (9:40) by God. Thus he was counted among the Chosen People.
He had vast and varied experience. He was a man of deep insight. He had passed through trying circumstances and had faced great trials. He knew how to tackle calamities. He had experience of high and low. He had experience of dangerous grounds. He had straightened great tangles. By his vast store of experience, he had become a veteran with a rich mind. He went through fire and water patiently and resigned himself to the will of God Who chose him as the special Companion of the Holy Prophet.
He (Hazrat Abu Bakr) had a vast experience. He belonged to a class of people who are used to deep pondering over matters. He had been through great hardships. He had seen great expeditions. He had been through the rough and tumble of life. He had laid low many mischiefs. All these had enriched and enlarged his store of experience and knowledge. He persevered in the face of trying situations. He was content with his endeavours to earn the divine pleasure. It was for these varied qualities that God chose him for very close association with the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of God be upon him). As he was referred to in certain Quranic verses, God praised his truthfulness and steadfastness. It was a significant pointer to the fact that he was Number One among the Companions of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of God be upon him). Nobility was deeply embedded in his temperament. The quality of fidelity was the hall-mark of his character. This explains why the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of God be upon him) opened his mind to him in the critical moments of danger and crisis. God is Wise. He moves an important matter at the appropriate time. He engineers the flow of water from its source. It was in accordance with the Supreme Divine Wisdom that His choice fell upon the son of Abi Qaha-fah (Hazrat Abu Bakr). Thus Hazrat Abu Bakr won distinct and unique recognition. He was a man of rare calibre. God said of him that he was most truthful:
“If you help him not, then know that Allah helped him even when the disbelievers drove him forth while he was one of the two when they were both in the cave, when he said to his Companion, ‘Grieve not, for Allah is with us.’ Then Allah sent down His peace on him and strengthened him with the hosts which you did not see, and humbled the word of those who disbelieved, and it is the word of Allah alone which is supreme. And Allah is Mighty and Wise (9:40).”
Now this verse is indubitably clear. The critics of Abu Bakr should ponder over it with wisdom and imagination. They should not deliberately evade it. They should, in all sincerity, try to grasp the significance of what God has said of Him.
The critics should not invite hazards on account of their rancorous attitude towards the Elect of God, His pious servants and those who are the beloved of the Omnipotent God. Indeed the piousminded men adopt the way of virtue and keep away from the dangerous spots. They seek the ways and means which may win them refuge with God. Those who act otherwise should hold tongues and refrain from abusing and back-biting. Abstain from eating the flesh of a brother. Revolve in your mind the above-quoted verse. Does it ring with the praise of Siddique — The Great or does it hold him up as a target of reproach? I ask the critic: “Can you point to any of the Companions whom God has praised in such high terms? Do you have any knowledge of any one who was designated “One of the two” and who was mentioned with such honorific word as Sahib (close Companion) and was made a participant in the benevolence of God, enshrined in the expression “Indeed God is with us”? Is there any other Companion who has been mentioned in the Holy Quran in glowing terms?” Indeed God fortified his (Hazrat Abu Bakr’s) personal life against all doubts and suspicions. By clear ordinance and not by vague and dubious words, God established the fact that Abu Bakr was the elect of God. By God, I assert that no one except Abu Bakr (God be pleased with him) has received such special mention from God — the Lord of Ka’bah, in the Holy Quran. If the sceptic entertains doubts about what I say or suspects that I have deviated from truth and have turned to something contrary to it, then the onus lies on him to produce an instance and tell me in clear terms of another person so pointedly mentioned in the Holy Quran. He should do so, if he is righteous.
By God I say that Siddique —The Great — is a person who has been specially chosen to be granted the spiritual Robe of Honour. God Himself is witness to the fact that he was of the Chosen People. He was praised for keeping close company with the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of God be upon him). In a way, God has hinted that Abu Bakr was a noble soul who could not bear the ordeal of separation from the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of God be upon him). But he could afford to bear separation from his dearest and nearest. He preferred his Divine Master to everything in life. He came running to him and bent his steps towards death, of his own free will and volition. When the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of God be upon him)asked him to accompany, he stood up in ecstatic self-surrender. When the Meccans conspired to compel the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of God be upon him) to quit Mecca, the beloved of the Almighty God came to Abu Bakr and told him that he had received an order from on High to migrate from Mecca and he should accompany him and that they should bid farewell to the place. Siddique — The Great, glorified God that the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of God be upon him) had selected him as his Companion in the crisis. It used to be his heart’s wish to find an opportunity to help the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of God be upon him). He always looked forward to such a contingency. At last, the time came and he stood by his Divine Master. He bore all troubles and privations. He was never afraid of the murderous designs of the assassins. Thus his superiority and excellence is a fact established by clear ordinances. There are irresistible reasons to the effect that he enjoyed a high status. His truthfulness is clear as the day-light. He opted for the blessings in the Hereafter and was completely reconciled with this preference. He spurned the fleeting pleasures of this world. No one after him can be a patch on him in the sublime qualities which illumined his person.
A critic may raise an objection and contend that if Hazrat Abu Bakr (God be pleased with him) had a great merit, why his greatness appeared only on the death of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of God be upon him). The critic should bear in mind that God knew that Hazrat Abu Bakr (God be pleased with him) accepted the Holy Prophet’s message, when no one else in the Arab community had accepted it. He accepted Islam when the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was all alone and a great mischief was rampant. After accepting Islam, Hazrat Abu Bakr (God be pleased with him) faced great troubles and humiliations at the hands of his own people, who abused and maligned him. He was put to great torture and was forced to leave his home as the Holy Prophet himself had to migrate. The erstwhile friends turned against him and heaped vilifications upon him. He sacrificed his property and jeopardised his life in his crusade against the enemies of Islam. He had led life of ease and comfort before Islam. But he gave up all in the way of God. He began to live the life of privation. From a wealthy person, he became poor and indigent. In view of the trials and tribulations he suffered by castings his lot with Islam, God intended to reward him for his numerous sufferings and to compensate him for the years of victimisation. God intended to give him something better than what he had willingly lost in the way of God, because God does not let the sacrifices of the righteous people go to waste. Thus God conferred Khilafat on him and exalted him in the eyes of the world and elevated his remembrance. By His blessings and grace, God made him the Commander of the Faithful.
One must not forget that all the Companions and the Holy Prophet — the Pride of Humanity, worked in complete harmony like the limbs of a living body. Some of them were like eyes, some like ears, some like hands and still some others like feet. Thus the Companions of Allah’s Apostle (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) did all they could in the service of Islam in conformity with their capabilities. In all that they did, they sought the pleasure of Allah — the Creator of the Universe and the Sustainer of the worlds. He who says that the Three Great Companions were Kafirs, hypocrites and usurpers, thus tars all others also with the same brush, because each one of them swore allegiance to Hazrat Abu Bakr, then to Hazrat Umar and then to Hazrat Usman. They all joined the Holy Wars in pursuance of the divine command. They preached Islam and conquered the territories of the unbelievers. Thus in my view there is none more devoid of sense than a person who maintains that all the Mussalmans became apostates. such a person impliedly believes that all the divine promises made in the Holy Quran were false. Holy is our God as He alone is the Protector of the Millat. The divisionists often indulge in such recriminations. In their campaign of vilification, they have transgressed all bounds and their eyes are shut against truth. There can be no alliance between us and the vilifiers. Mutual love cannot arise, when they and we are poles asunder. Allah knows that I am of the righteous people.
Alas for these people! Rancour has blinded their eyes. They cannot refrain from fabricating false charges. Their attitude astonishes me. I am at a loss to understand the type of faith they hold. They feel no compunction in calling the Three Great Companions repudiators, hypocrites and apostates. They never care to think that the Holy Quran itself has come to us through these Three Companions. Thus the slanderers as a result of their false belief cannot avoid the erratic view that the Holy Quran which we have today, has no reality and is far from being authentic and that it is not the Word of God but is a version of the fabricators, who were treacherous. According to these slanderers, not one among the entire community of the Companions was honest. This being so the questions arise: “How did they get guidance in religious matters? What Book from God they had, which they relied on and which elevated them.” This leads to the conclusion that the critics had gone astray and they had no religion nor any scripture. Thus those who charge the Three Companions with perfidy, infidelity, misguidance and impiety, must also say in so many words that the Holy Quran is wrong and that it has been subjected to human interference. Things have been added to it as well as things have been taken away from it and that it has lost its pristine purity. They cannot get away from believing all this. When those who supervised the collection of the verses and got the Holy Quran in the form of Book, were unbelievers, the fruit of their labours must also be far from original textural purity. The wrong-headedness of the vilifiers points to one and only one conclusion that the real Holy Quran has vanished. These slanderers must proclaim their repudiation of the elect of God and say that they had lost faith in all prophets of God. This will mean that after the departure of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of God be upon him) only a microscopic minority adhered to the true Shariat and they were inclined to be secretive or, God forbid, they adopted a worldly behaviour or they pursued this course with ulterior motives. This will imply a great crisis for Islam and a great calamity for the Apostolic Message of the Best of Mankind (peace and blessings of God be upon him). But all this is incredible because God will never break His promises nor will He ever let His Faith fall into the hands of the dishonest people conspiring against His Messenger and His Message.
We call all people to witness that such beliefs as cast aspersions on the Great Companions are alien to us. In our eyes they are akin to kufr and they bring one close to apostasy. The temper of the righteous revolts against these false beliefs. Is it at all thinkable that the Companions committed an act of kufr when they dedicated all they had, to the service of Islam? They laid down their lives for the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and joined the Holy Wars. They grew grey in their devotion to Islam. How did a vicious notion like the one propagated against them come into existence! The Companions were blessed with the right faith and the fountain-head of their faith was all the time active. How could the springs of their belief run dry! Thus woe betide the people who turn a blind eye to the Day of Reckoning and do not cherish fear of God and hastily make the pious and righteous folk a target of their vituperations. Curiously enough, the critics admit that Hazrat Abu Bakr established peace when the enemies were rampant. He identified himself with the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) as his close Companion when the Apostle of Allah was alone. When the Holy Messenger (peace be upon him) came out into the open, Hazrat Abu Bakr followed him in all fidelity. Hazrat Abu Bakr bore the brunt of hostilities in the Holy Prophet’s company. He stood by the Apostle of Allah with unflagging zeal and faced the social ostracism of his kith and kin. He participated in every war and made short work of the enemies of God and His Prophet. In short, he completely surrendered himself to the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of God be upon him). He assumed the office of Caliph at a critical juncture, because all the hypocrites had turned renegades. Many impostors had arisen. He warred with them and killed them. He went on crusading till peace reigned supreme, affairs were put on an even keel and the mischief makers were routed.
When Hazrat Abu Bakr breathed his last, he was buried next to the grave of the sovereign of Prophets and the lord of the holy persons. He lived very closely with the Beloved of God (peace be upon him). After surviving him for some time, he joined his company after death. It is a matter of great surprise that in the eyes of the denigrators, God allowed the “usurpers and the traitors” to be close to the grave of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) and did not let His Apostle get rid of them even after death. How is that those who are branded “usurpers” by the denigrators remained with the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) in life as well as after death. Our God is Holy and is above and beyond what the fabricators talk of His Prophet. God with His grace and blessing, kept the righteous Companions close to the lord of the pious. It is a sign of great significance and is food for thought for those who shoot their tongues at the Great Companions.
Thus a person endowed with common sense should not abandon certainty for superstition. He should not venture into insolence against the lord of the pious. He should know that the grave of the Holy Prophet is one magnificent garden among the heavenly gardens. It is illumined with the divine grace and radiance. It is worthy of reverence and veneration of all. Thus it is a matter for extreme caution, and one should not allow oneself to be deflected into devious path. The sacred grave of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) is worthy of the greatest respect and honour. It is a sacrilege to say that it lies between the “usurpers and defectors.” Hazrat Ali Murtaza (God be pleased with him) and Hazrat Iman Hussain (God be pleased with him) have no need of a spurious respect of any one who himself is a prey to fallacy. Thus a denigrator should not hold his tongue and strive to join the rank and file of the God-fearing folk. When he himself cannot reconcile to the idea of being flanked by unbelievers and the mischief-makers after death, how dare he attribute this to the Holy Prophet by holding an abhorrent notion about his Great Companions. It is a blasphemy to ignore the prophetic status and ascribe things to the Holy Prophet when those very things are not acceptable to the critic himself. Only a man bereft of sense can behave in that manner. A critic who talks ill of Hazrat Abu Bakr (God be pleased with him), is virtually guilty of irreverence to Hazrat Ali (God be pleased with him) also, because he thereby makes an utterance which also impliedly detracts from his piety. A reprehensible conduct like this is repugnant to the spirit of piety and is on the contrary, a distinctive quality of the hardened hypocrites.
When we asked the divisionists which of the men of mature age first accepted Islam and parted company with the unbelievers, they have perforce to admit that it was Hazrat Abu Bakr. Again when we ask them to tell us who migrated with the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of God be upon him) and turned his back on his nearest and dearest and went where the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) led him, they involuntarily exclaim that it was Hazrat Abu Bakr. When they are faced with the question about the person who was the First Successor, they have to acknowledge that it was Hazrat Abu Bakr. They also hold that it was Hazrat Abu Bakr who collected the Quranic verses in the form of Book for distribution to the cities. They also know that he was buried next to the Holy Prophet’s grave. It is strange that all excellences fell to the lot of those whom the denigrators regard as disbelievers. Moreover the superiorities of Islam manifested themselves in their lives. Is it possible for a true believer to think that the foundation-stone was laid by one whom these castigators curse and abuse? Every category of nearness to the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of God be upon him) was vouchsafed to Hazrat Abu Bakr. Still he is the target of vilification, while according to the confession of the critics no one else got the glory which Hazrat Abu Bakr got. The denigrators are themselves “guilty” of holding such beliefs as indicate that God’s sole attention was toward Hazrat Abu Bakr. A notion of odious comparison is reprehensible.
Truly speaking, Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddique and Hazrat Umar Farooq were eminent Companions. They never usurped any one’s rights. They were imbued with the true spirit of piety. They established justice. They always subjected all overt and covert affairs to a sifting scrutiny. They had no worldly longings. They devoted their whole soul to the service of Allah. I do not find any one equal to Shaikhain (i.e., Hazrat Abu Bakr and Hazrat Umar) in magnanimity and largess and in complete subordination to the Great Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). They followed in the footsteps of their spiritual lord. They had annihilated themselves in the love of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him). They were matchless in readily undergoing sufferings and privations to please the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him). They lion-like used to go out to encounter the enemy caravans and armies of the unbelievers to frustrate their nefarious designs. They persevered in their endeavours until Islam became supreme and the enemy armies were defeated and idolatry was done away with, heralding the sunrise of Ummah and its Faith. Allah rewarded them richly by conferring on them nearness to the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) even after death. They laid the Mussalmans under a heavy debt of gratitude by their unique devotion to the person of the Holy Prophet and his Holy Missions. Allah is All-knowing. Nothing is hidden from Him. He showers His blessings on him who does not sting in sacrificing his all in His way. God does not let devotion go unrewarded, even if the whole world may turn against the recipient. The seeker of God is never at a disadvantage. He does not experience any destitution. Allah does not abandon the truthful people. It is a rare good fortune that these two Great Companions were buried alongside the Holy Prophet’s sacred grave. Even Moses and Jesus would have envied this great honour, if they had been alive. But such exaltations do not come by merely longing for them. No one can get them by force. Unless one is destined to get these honours, no one can get them by any endeavours. Only such people as are chosen by God, and are enveloped in the divine mercy, get these honours.
In short, those who make odious comparisons and lose sight of these facts and pay not attention to the status vouchsafed by God to Hazrat Abu Bakr. They just indulge in vilification and rain curses on him. They will soon know that they have reached a point of no return. Indeed Hazrat Abu Bakr the Great and Hazrat Umar Farooq where the vanguard of the Muslims. Allah had granted them a very exalted position. They propagated Islam in villages and towns. Their missionary activities spread far and wide. During their Caliphate, Islam prospered and its fragrance filled the atmosphere. They achieved great victories. Hazrat Abu Bakr’s accession to Caliphate synchronised with the eruption of a great mischief which almost threatened Islam. But Allah came to the rescue of Hazrat Abu Bakr and enabled him to save the Muslims from the calamity and to rehabilitate Islam.
In all fairness, we should be grateful to the venerable personage who was a Dedicated Champion of Islam. We should pay homage to his eminence. We should be on guard against finding fault with the Great Helper of our Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of God be upon him). He defended our Faith. He saved our homes. He worked for our welfare. It is passing strange how critics refuse to acknowledge the spiritual eminence of Hazrat Abu Bakr, although the radiant traits of his character shine like the sun. Undoubtedly, every True Believer reaps what he sows. He benefits by the knowledge acquired by him. Hazrat Abu Bakr gave us the Holy Quran for the preservation of our Faith. He gave us peace and amity. He who denies this deliberately goes off the rails. He is caught in the devil’s net. Those who are in confusion about the true status of Hazrat Abu Bakr by design, and not through failure of knowledge, and make the transparent fountain muddy and fly into fury, are guilty of offering insult to the one who topped the list of the Companions. Hazrat Abu Bakr was indeed a paragon of excellence. He cherished fear of God and leaned on His mercy. He was full of the milk of human kindness. In his nature, there was the soul of piety to the highest perfection. He had spurned the ‘self’ and its allurements. He had attained a degree of self-annihilation. Bodily desires and superficial emotions were alien to his God-intoxicated self. He was a recluse. He inaugurated moral reforms. The True Believers got their victories through his mediation. He was above and beyond the tooth of calumny. Thus the mutual differences should not be given any importance. They should be appraised in the light of the beneficent works. It is a matter for consideration that Hazrat Abu Bakr paid no attention to his own sons and daughters. He did not let them grow rich. He did not assign to them high offices. For himself he just got to meet his bare necessities. How could such a self-denying personage be cruel to the scions of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of God be upon him). God had conferred upon him superiority over all other Companions for his unique sincerity of purpose. All differences do not stem from bad motives, as some people foolishly think. Not infrequently does a difference spring from ijtihad. Thus the safe and appropriate line of approach is to say that the differences among the most venerable Companions were just differences of opinion and were not born of aggression or transgression. Those who take their stand on an honest evaluation, are forgiven even if them may be in the wrong. Sometime even the righteous people, or even the saints and sufis have mutual differences born of envy and dislike. In all such disputes there are divine purposeful mysteries.
Thus when something untoward is attributed to them, it is incumbent on us to give it a short shrift. We should not propagate it. Their matter should be left to God. God alone is the Protector of His righteous servants. It is the way of God that He in His Own way brings about reconciliation, but not in the manner He adjudicates in the case of transgressors. All men of God cherish love for God. They are the elect of God. God tells us of the differences among them. The Holy Quran says:
“And We shall remove whatever of rancour may be in their breasts so that they will become as brothers, facing one another (15:48).”
This is a fact. This alone is truth, pure and simple. But the generality of people are not proper judges as people gifted with insight are. Common folk accept the tales they hear. Then some one else intervenes and magnifies the original statement. The hearer accepts it as correct and adds to if from himself. When it reaches the third person he also takes it at its face value and then exaggerates it. This process goes on ad infinitum until the reality is completely obscured. Ultimately a new thing emerges and is just the opposite of the truth. Thus the dishonest of the narrators spells ruin.
Many realities have been obscured by the chain of interested narrators. Many facts have been subverted in the process of communication. Many concoctions got currency and many matters were denuded of their real essence. No one now can know what the real matter was. If the early Companions and the scions of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) were to come to life, they would be lost in astonishment on hearing the accounts fabricated about them. The long yarns spun by the satanic people would unnerve them. They would be struck dumb to find how the false narrators have made mountains of molehills. The reporters invented such falsehoods as deceived the unwary folk. As a matter of fact, many mischiefs were bred in the succeeding generations. These mischiefs erupted and blew like a whirlwind. Many ridiculous things got currency and were accepted as if they had been told by truthful people. Thus one should exercise one’s intelligence and wisdom and should not act in haste. If a critic ponders over what has been vouchsafed to me, he cannot help accepting that I am not one of the shirkers. It is for the reader to accept or reject. But those who are dyed deep in the hatred of Shaikhain and are overcome by sheer malice against them, may not accept what I say. They will resist my statement until the Word of God has come. They will reject even the obvious facts. Let them wait for sometime. God will expose what they harbour in their minds.
O people! Refrain from entertaining doubts about the Companions and do not plunge into the abyss of ruin and destruction. The Companions passed away long, long ago. You have no knowledge of the mysteries of their time. You cannot even conjecture what happened in the remote past and how the enlightened Companions became estranged among themselves. Thus there is not use pursuing a figment of imagination. Fear God, if you are pious. Undoubtedly the Companions of the Holy Prophet and his scions were spiritual people. They had surrendered themselves to God. They lived in pious retirement and isolation from the world. Thus do not give a moment’s credence to the fiction that they disputed for mundane grains and battled against one another in open warfare.
If Hazrat Abu Bakr had been a usurper in the eyes of Hazrat Ali, he would not have agreed to owe allegiance to him. He would have followed the example of Hazrat Ibrahim (peace be upon him) and would have migrated. Hazrat Ali was the soul of sincerity and fidelity. He did not show any resentment. Hazrat Ali (God be pleased with him) was the symbol of love and a treasurehouse of magnanimity. He was Hujjatullah — ‘the divine argument for the people.’ He was the best exemplar of this time. God had illumined his soul so that he might disseminate light and radiance in the world. Split occurred on his elevation to Khilafat. But truth was on his side. Those who warred against him were rebellious and intransigent people. He lived through troubled period. But he was the recipient of divine blessings. He persevered righteously in the face of the mischief-mongers.
Hazrat Ali (God be pleased with him) was pious and immaculate in this life. He was one of those who are loved by God. He was the Elect of God and an eminently noble soul of his time. He was the ‘Lion of Allah’. He derived the greatest pleasure from generous acts. His gallantry and valour were peerless. On the battlefield he was indomitable and invincible and did not budge and inch even in the face of an army. He passed his life in sublime humility. Among human beings, he had reached the highest peak of piety and virtue. He was foremost in charming away the sorrows of the stricken people. He used to search out the indigent people and the orphans and treated them generously. He was all help to the neighbours. In battles, he performed numerous feats of rare bravery. He displayed unique skill in handling sword and bayonet. But he was sweet in his talk. He was a superb orator. His illuminating talk penetrated the hearts and minds of the listeners and thus burnished the rusty minds. He who studied his statements felt illumined by his luminous arguments. He was a great elocutionist. He who came up against him was subdued and overwhelmed by his forensic eloquence. He was a paragon of virtue. He who denies his excellences, is a shameless creature. He looked after the helpless and commanded that the indigent or those not indigent should be fed. He had drunk deep at the fountain of the Holy Quran. He was gifted with a deep understanding of the mysteries of the Holy Quran. I saw him in a waking vision. He vouchsafed me the commentary of the Holy Quran and told me that it was his commentary and he was entrusting the same to me as its trustee. He then prayed that it might prove a blessing to me. I extended by hands and got the commentary. Then I thanked the august donor and the Omnipotent God. He was dowered with high moral excellence. He was firm and resolute. He was highly considerate and humble of temperament. He possessed radiant qualities. He always meant what he said and said what he meant. God — the Lord of East and West knows that I cherish deep love for Hazrat Ali — the ‘Lion of God’ and for his great sons. I am against a person who is against them.
- Translator’s Note: The sense of Hazrat Abu Bakr’s being the Second Adam of Islam, is that he animated it by his superb spiritual strategy and crushed the enemies who threatened Islam after the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). ↩