Shama-il Tirmidhi Chapter 53, Hadith Number 12 (379).

Saalim bin ‘Ubayd Radiyallahu ‘Anhu, a sahaabi narrates: “Rasulullah Sallallahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam became unconscious (many times) during his (last) illness. When he became conscious he would ask: ‘Is it already time for salaah?’ When they replied yes, he would say: ‘Instruct Bilaal to call out the adhaan, and instruct Abubakr to lead the salaah’. This happened a few times.(He said this because he was too ill to go to the masjid. Sayyidinia Abubakr Radiyallahu ‘Anhu was naturally soft-natured. Many a time he would weep easily. Sayyiditina ‘Aayesha Radiallallahu ‘Anha knew her fathers relationship with Sayyidina Rasulullah Sallallhu ‘Alayhi Wasallam and that he would not be able to withstand the absence of Sayyidina Rasulullah Sallallahu’Alayhi Wasallain. Therefore ‘Aayeshah Radiyallahu ‘Anha made a request. ‘My father has a soft heart. If he is going to stand on your place and lead the salaah, he will begin to weep, and will not be able to lead the salaah. Therefore, request someone else to lead the salaah’. In this manner after ‘Aayeshah Radiyallahu ‘Anha had made several requests;- Rasulullah Sallallahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam replied: ‘Do you wish to become of those women in the incident of Yusuf (‘Alayhis Salaam). Instruct Abubakr to lead the salaah’. (The ‘ulama have given their opinions on the saying of Sayyidina Rasulullah Sallallahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam that. ‘You are like the women of Yusuf ‘Alayhis Salaam’. The first is that by you ‘Aayeshah Radiyallahu ‘Anha is meant, and by women only Zulaykha is meant. The plural is used as a mark of respect. According to this saying. (a.) The example is given of stressing on talking of things that are of no value, like Zulaykha stressed Yusuf ‘Alayhis Salaam to do something which was unadvisable and improper. In the same manner you are stressing on a thing which is out of place and incorrect. (b.) just as Zulaykha invited those women who tormented her, outwardly it was an invitation, but the actual reason was that they see the handsomeness and beauty of Yusuf ‘Alayhis Salaam and will excuse this wickedness of hers. In the sane manner Sayyiditina ‘Aayeshah Radiyallahu ‘Anha outwardly said this that Sayyidina Abubakr Radiyallahu ‘Anhu is soft-natured. He will not be able to stand on your place (in salaah), but she had this in mind, as mentioned by her on another occasion that: “What made me repeat this to Rasulullah Sallallahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam, was that according to me the people would never like such a person, who stands on the place of Sayyidina Rasulullah Sallallahu’Alayhi Wasallam, and will think of him as unlucky and unfortunate”.

The second explanation is that by ‘you’, Sayyiditina ‘Aayeshah Radiyallahu ‘Anha and Sayyiditina Hafsah Radiyallahu ‘Anha are meant, and by the women of Yusuf ‘Alayhis Salaam, those women are meant who were invited by Zulaykha. According to this saying too, the following is said: (a.) The example is given on useless talk that both Sayyiditina ‘Aayeshah Radiyallahu ‘Anha and Sayyiditina Hafsah Radiyallahu ‘Anha were stressing something that was improper. In some narrations it is also mentioned that Sayyiditina Hafsah Radiyallahu ‘Anha stressed on the same thing. (b.) This similarity is to show and stress on a thing that is not in the heart. Sayyiditina ‘Aayeshah Radiyallahu ‘Anha had in mind, that if the people see Sayyidina Abubakr Radiyallahu ‘Anhu standing on the place of Sayyidina Rasulullah Sallallahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam, they will begin to have evil thoughts of Sayyidina Abubakr Radiyallahu’Anhu being very unfortunate and unlucky. She also persuaded Sayyiditina Hafsah Radiyallahu ‘Anha, the daughter of Sayyidina ‘Umar Radiyallahu ‘Anhu to think alike and side with her, and that Sayyiditina Hafsah Radiyallahu ‘Anha may feel the greatness for her father Sayyidina Umar Radiyallahu’Anhu, and may also fancy that he would fulfil the position of a successor. Therefore Sayyidina Rasulullah Sallallahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam described to her the similitude of the women of Yusuf ‘Alayhis Salaam. They outwardly declared their approval of Zulaykha’s behaviour with Yusuf ‘Alayhis Salaam, but secretly each one tried to attract Yusuf ‘Alayhis Salaam towards themselves. Some of the ‘ulama have given other reasons too. Since this is a lengthy hadith, the commentary is being mentioned briefly here. The translation of the remaining portion of this hadith will be mentioned later, where necessary. an explanation is also given. In some narrations it has also been mentioned that Sayyidina Rasulullah Sallallahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam said that Allah Ta’aala and the Muslims would not accept anyone else besides Sayyidina Abubakr Radiyallahu ‘Anhu.

Carrying out the instructions of Rasulullah Sallallahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam, Abubakr Radiyallahu ‘Anhu led the salaah. (He performed seventeen salaahs till the death of Sayyidina Rasulullah Sallallahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam. This incident which is mentioned above began on a Thursday evening. On Thursday the illness of Sayyidina Rasulullah Sallallahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam became worse. All this took place at the time of ‘eshaa on Friday night (Thursday night in common usage). From this salaah onwards Sayyidina Abubakr Radiyallahu ‘Anhu began leading the prayers. Sayyidina Rasulullah Sallallahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam passed away on a Monday just before midday. Therefore the total number of salaah led by Sayyidina Abubakr Radiyallahu ‘Anhu till the death of Sayyidina Rasulullah Sallallahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam is seventeen prayers, which Sayyidina Abubakr Radiyallahu ‘Anhu performed continuously. According to this humble servant the illness of Sayyidina Rasulullah Sallallahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam had begun long before this, hence Sayyidina Abubakr Radiyallahu ‘Anhu had led the salaah on a number of occasions.)

Once during the illness, Rasulullah Sallallahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam felt a bit well during the time of salaah. He asked if there was anyone who could support him till the masjid, Barirah and another person offered themselves, held him by his mubaarak hands and took him to the masjid. Abubakr Radiyallahu ‘Anhu sensing the arrival of Rasulullah Sallallahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam, thought of moving back. Rasulullah Sallallah ‘Alayhi Wasallam signaled him to remain there. Abubakr Radiyallahu ‘Anhu completed the salaah. After that Rasulullah Sallallahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam passed away. (He passed away on a Monday).

It is apparent what difficulties and hardships the Sahaabah Radiyallahu ‘Anhum experienced at this time, also bearing in mind the mischief of the munaafiqeen-hypocrites and enemies. The upkeep and safeguarding of the garden that Sayyidina Rasulullah Sallallahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam nurtured for twenty three years. Together with all this the passing away of the blessed and noble personality of Sayyidina Rasulullah Sallallahu’Alayhi Wasallam, who was so beloved, for whom the Sahaabah Radiyallahu ‘Anhum had sacrificed their homes, family and relatives. On this morning it seemed that he was recovering, actually he was sustaining it and not recovering. After the death of Sayyidina Rasulullah Sallallahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam the news spread quickly, but many people could not believe it. Therefore, ‘Umar (a respected and strong hearted person with all the virtues, courage, tolerance etc. could not bear it, and in this state unsheathed his sword and stood up and) began saying, “I swear by Allah that Rasulullah Sallallahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam has not passed away. The person saying Rasulullah Sallallahu’Alayhi Wasallam had passed away. I will severe that person’s head with my sword”. He (Saalim) said, the people were ummis (unlettered-they did read or write), nor was there a nabi among them before this, therefore all those present kept silent. They (the Sahaabah) said to Saalim go to the companion of Rasulullah Sallallahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam and call him.

(He is the only one that will bring the boat to shore at this stormy period. Sayyidina Abubakr Radiyallahu ‘Anhu after seeing that Sayyidina Rasulullah Sallallahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam was feeling better had taken leave from Sayyidina Rasulullah Sallallahu’Alayhi Wasallam to go and visit his family which was about the distance of a mile away). I went to Abubakr (Radiyallahu ‘Anhu) in the state of shock and tears were flowing from my eyes. At that time he was in the masjid. Upon seeing my state asked: ‘Did Rasulullah (Sallallahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam) pass away? I conveyed the news to him and also said to him that ‘Umar had said, if he heard anyone saying Rasulullah (Sallallahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam) has died, he would cut off that person’s head with that sword of his. Abubakr said, “Let’s go”. I went with him. He reached the house while the people were gathering around Rasulullah (Sallallahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam). He said: ‘O people, make way for me’. The people made way for him. He gave a deep look at the mubaarak face of Rasulullah Sallallahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam and kissed his forehead, then recited this aayah:

“Lo! thou will die, and lo! they will die…” – Surah Zumur, 30.

Then they (Sahaabah Radiyallahu ‘Anhum) asked: ‘O Companion (Abubakr Radiyallahu ‘Anhu) of Rasulullah (Sallallahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam) has Rasulullah (Sallallahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam) really passed away?’ He replied: ‘Yes’. Now they accepted. (After that they asked him other questions, because in every question there was a peculiarity.) They said: ‘O Companion of Rasulullah (Sallallahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam), should janaazah salaah be performed for Rasulullah?’ He replied: ‘Yes’. They said: ‘And how?’ He said: ‘A group at a time enter the room and perform the janazah salaah individually without jamaa’ah, and return. In this manner all will perform this salaah’. They (the Sahaabah) asked. ‘O Companion of Rasulullah (Sallallahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam) shall Rasulullah Sallallahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam be buried?’ He replied: ‘Yes’ They inquired: ‘Where?’ He replied: ‘At the spot where Allah had taken his ruh. Verily’Allah Ta’aala has not taken his ruh but at a venerated place’. They (Sahaabah) knew he said the truth (and became satisfied with all the answers). Thereafter he instructed the family of his (Rasulullah Sallallahu’Alayhi Wasallam’s) father to carry out the tajheez and takfeen.

(Sayyidina ‘Ali, Sayyidina Fadl bin ‘Abbaas, Sayyidina Usaamah and Sayyidina Shaqraan,-the slave of Sayyidina Rasulullah Sallallahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam-Radiyallahu ‘Anhum carried out the tajheez and takfeen.)

(And to safeguard Islaam and keep away differences and controversies, he suggested a person should be chosen, and all matters referred to him. In one narration it is stated that when Sayyidina ‘Umar Radiyallahu ‘Anhu unsheathed his sword and was saying, “The one who says that Sayyidina Rasulullah Sallallahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam has passed away, I will cut off his head”. Sayyidina Abubakr Radiyallahu ‘Anhu cautioned him and delivered a khutbah wherein he recited the aayah of the Qur-aan: “Muhammad is but a messenger, messengers (the like of whom) have passed away before him…” – Surah Aali ‘Imraan, 144.

Thereafter he said the one who worshipped Muhammad Sallallahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam should know that Sayyidina Rasulullah Sallallahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam had passed away, the one who worships Allah, let him know that Allah is living and will live for ever. When the people heard Sayyidina Abubakr Radiyallahu ‘Anhu delivering the khutbah, they all attentively turned their attention towards the mimbar. In a narration it is stated, that Abubakr Radiyallah ‘Anhu said in this khutbah, it is now necessary to choose a person who shall keep up and guard the deen. Every person should give his view.)

The Muhaajireen got together and discussed the matter. They said: ‘Lets go to our brothers from among the Ansaar and include them in this matter. The Ansaar said: ‘we shall have an amir, and the Muhaajireen, shall have an amir (Upon that Sayyidina Abubakr Radiyallahu ‘Anhu narrated the saying of Sayyidina Rasulullah Sallallhu ‘Alayhi Wasallam that the amirs are from the Quraysh) ‘Umar ibnul Khattaab Radiyallahu ‘Anhu said: ‘Who is that person who in one instance possesses these three virtues Whom Allah Ta’aala has mentioned Qur-aan thus: “…(1) the second of two; when they two were in the cave, (2) when he said unto his comrade: Grieve not. (3) Lo! Allah is with us…” – Surah Taubah40.

Also other virtues. These three should also be such that they are of the highest order: (l.) To have unity and a close relationship with Sayyidina Rasulullah Sallallahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam and have assisted him when he was alone. (2.) Allah Ta’aala addresses him as the Companion of Sayyidina Rasululah Sallallahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam’. (3) Be in the company of Allah, as Sayyidina Rasulullah Sallallahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam has said to him that ‘Allah is with us’. At that time both Sayyidina Rasulullah Sallallahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam and Sayyidina Abubakr Radiyallahu ‘Anhu were there, regarding which Sayyidina Rasulullah Sallallahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam said: ‘Allah is with us.’ Sayyidina’Umar Radiyallahu ‘Anhu said: ‘You say, who are these two persons that are mentioned in the aayah. How great are these two personalities?’ i.e. Who can be a greater personality than Sayyidina Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam and Sayyidina Abubakr Radiyallahu ‘Anhu? Besides this they discussed other matters too, which have been mentioned in the narrations. In one hadith it is stated Sayyidina ‘Umar Radiyallahu ‘Anhu said: ‘O Ansaar, do you know that Rasulullah Sallallahu’Alayhi Wasallam instructed Abubakr to stand on his musallaa (place of prayer)? During the time of his illness he instructed Abubakr to lead the prayers? Who amongst you has the heart to remove such a person from the imaamah, whom Rasululllah Sallallahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam appointed as an Imaam’. The Ansaar said: ‘We seek refuge in Allah. We cannot by pass Abubakr’

Thereafter ‘Umar Radiyallahu ‘Anhu offered him his hand and made bay’ah (allegiance). All the people (present at Saqifah whole heartedly and with eagerness) also made bay’ah on the hands of Abubakr Radiyallahu ‘Anhu.

This is the initial bay’ah that took place among the gathering of the Ansaar. Thereafter a general bay’ah was held in the Masjidun Nabawi, at the beginning of which ‘Umar Radiyallahu ‘Anhu delivered a khutbah in which he mentioned the virtues of Abubakr Radiyallahu ‘Anhu and elaborated on other matters. Abubakr Radiyallahu ‘Anhu then delivered a lengthy khutbah in which he said this too that, ‘I swear an oath by Allah that I never coveted the post of khilaafah. Nor was I induced to do so in private or public, nor did I make du’aa for it. I feared that if I did not accept it, greater calamities would appear among the umrnah. I have no rest in it, and what has been thrown on me, is a burden which is beyond my control. Things can only run smoothly with the help of Allah’.