Challenges Faced During the Caliphate of Abu Bakr

Challenges Faced During the Caliphate of Abu Bakr

Abu Bakr is the first Rashidun Caliphate. The duration of his caliphate was two years and four months. The death of Holy Prophet had led to countless revolts. Abu Bakr using his wisdom spent most of his time as caliph attempting to crush and defeat these revolts. No other caliph had to face as many challenges as Abu Bakr. The revolts emerged as the news of the demise of the Holy Prophet began to spread.

Mohammad Hussain Heikal writes in this regard:

“It was very sensitive era. The news of the death of Prophet Mohammad spread like a wildfire in every part of Arab world. It is said that no other news had spread so fast in the history of Arabs. Every tribe and every town soon became aware of this heartbreaking news.”

What Impact the News of Prophet’s Demise had on Arab?

One aspect of this news was that it was a time of distress and sorrow for the Muslims. As Abdul Rehman ibn Khaldun said:

“When the Holy Prophet passed away, everyone was bewildered and outraged in sorrow. All the Companions were in a state of distress. On the other hand, ferocious upheavals and fabrications began to emerge. This was the time when even a minor revolution may have resulted in enormous upheavals which may have continued till the Day of Judgement and erased Islam. (Tareekh Ibn Khaldun)

The Main Challenge Abu Bakr faced as a Caliphate

When Prophet Mohammad came to this world, he eliminated infidelity and unfaithfulness. This had concealed all the plots and tricks of infidels. Therefore, when Prophet Mohammad passed away the plots of these infidels came to the surface. It was then upon Abu Bakr to exterminate these infidelities and erase their existence from the root. Indeed, Abu Bakr performed this duty very well.

Abu Qasim al-Baghawi, Abu Bakr al-Safi in their booklets and Ibn Asakir narrates this from Aisha Bint Abu Bakr that when Prophet Mohammad passed away many upheavals arose, and many tribes became apostate.

abu bakr

Apostasy of Arabs

Jalaluddin Suyiti

Several Arab tribes turned to apostacy when Prophet Mohammad passed away. (Tareekh al-Khulfa)

Abdul Rehman ibn Khaldun

Although almost all Arabs became apostate, several tribes lost their faith in Islam. The dark clouds of upheavals surrounded the sky. Also the anti-Islam winds were blowing in all directions and were polluting the hearts of Arab against Islam. Muslims were baffled as they were minority compared to the infidels. (Tareekh ibn Khaldun)

After the demise of Holy Prophet, the air filled with the aroma of renunciation of Islam and apostasy. As the news spread, the infidels begin to plot schemes. Also, this was the moment that Jews and Christians had been waiting for years.

Now, we discuss what was the effect of the news of Prophet’s demise in different areas.

Condition of Makkah After Prophet's Demise

Makkah is the sacred place where not only Prophet Mohammad was born but also declared his prophecy. Also, Allah blessed Prophet Mohammad with the first revelation in Makkah. Regardless, as soon as the news of Prophet’s demise spread in Makkah, its condition begin to disrupt. One can imagine the chaos in Makkah from the fact that Attab ibn Syed who was the ruler of Makkah and appointed by the Holy Prophet, went undercover after being perplexed from the upheavals in the city. When the situation got worse, Suhayl ibn Amr gathered Muslims and addressed. Regarding this address, Mohammad Hussain Haikal in his book, ‘Abu Bakr’, says the following:

Address of Suhayl ibn Amr:

Allah has taken upon Himself the protection of Islam in Makkah. Suhayl ibn Amr, a Companion in Makkah, when saw the disbelief in Muslims, he gathered them, talked to them about the demise of the Prophet and then said:

“Remember! Whoever doubts the truthfulness of Islam and follows the path of apostate shall prepare himself for death.”

This was a big threat from Suhayl ibn Amr to Makkah. The reaction to this threat could have been worse and may have turned the tables against him so he continued his address and further said in a soft tone:

“No one should worry, Islam is an eternal religion and will last forever. It will neither weaken nor can anyone hurt its integrity.” (Abu Bakr)

The address of Suhayl ibn Amr left a strong impact on the people of Makkah and reinstated their belief in Islam.”

Condition in Taif

Bani Saqifah was the clan of Taif who accepted Islam very late. When the head of this clan saw the faith of the people of Taif wavering from Islam, he gathered everyone and addressed in the following words:

“O sons of Saqifah! You were the last in accepting Islam. Do not be among the first ones to apostate.”

This address was so impactful that the people of Taif gave up the idea of renouncing Islam.

This is the condition of the places where Prophet Mohammad had not only spent life and preached Islam, but their people had witnessed the morals of the Prophet. To say the least, these people were not just aware of the soul of Islam but were familiar with the status of the Companions. Regardless, if these places were wavering in ocean of doubts, then just imagine what would be the condition of the places far off from Makkah and Madina.

Oath of Allegiance to the Caliphate

The first challenge after the death of the Holy Prophet was to determine who will be his caliph. Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen Sultan Mohammad Najib-ur-Rehman in his book, The Rashidun Caliph, writes:

“After Prophet Mohammad passed away, different tribes of Ansar and Quraish started expressing their eligibility for succession in coated words. A group of hypocrites also wanted to be a part of it. At the time, had this sensitive issue of Caliphate not been addressed, it could have resulted in disputes and wrangles.” (The Rashidun Caliph)

Upheaval of Bani Saqifah in Caliphate of Abu Bakr

Regarding this Ibn Khaldun states:

In Bani Saqifah another upheaval (about electing caliphate) arose which was worse than anything else at the time. On this occasion Abu Bakr acted with much wisdom and intellect. All credits to him that he according to the will of Holy Prophet, after delegating the task of Prophet’s burial to Bani Hashim, went to Saqifah along with Umar and other highly ranked Companions. There, he put an end to any and all upheavals in this regard which if not stopped would have resulted in the omission of Islam from the globe. (Tareekh Ibn Khaldun)

Why was Abu Bakr elected as First Caliphate?

After Prophet Mohammad passed away different tribes of Ansar and Quraish started expressing their eligibility for succession in coated words. A group of hypocrites also wanted to be a part of it. At the time Quraish also brought up their ancestral superiority and connection with the Prophet. Therefore, the debate on choosing the Caliph was getting controversial.

Abu Bakr handled this tendentious issue quite wisely, and politely told the people that services and significance of Ansar and the sacrifices of the immigrants were very worthy. However, this fact was certain too that Arabs would not bear the leadership and sovereignty of anyone other than the family of Quraish. The immigrants are important being the leading ones in embracing Islam and the family members of the Prophet have their own significance. Hence, Muslims can take oath of allegiance at the hands of either Abu Ubaida ibn Jarrah or Umar ibn Khattab. On hearing this, Umar gave his hand in the hands of Abu Bakr and said, “You are the most pious and the best amongst us and dearest to Prophet Mohammad, so we take oath of allegiance on your hands.”

No one showed any apprehension on Umar Pledging allegiance to Abu Bakr. In fact, people in large groups started taking oath of allegiance immediately. (The Rashidun Caliphate)

What Happened when Abu Bakr became Caliphate?

If we pay close attention, we will realize that the matter of oath of allegiance on the hands of the elected caliph was very sensitive and attention worthy. It may have taken any turn. Abu Bakr handled it very wisely and took calculated steps which saved the Muslim umma from the biggest split. It is by virtue of Abu Bakr that Muslims remained united after the shattering news of Prophet’s demise.

Ibn Khaldun writes:

Had Abu Bakr not wisely handled the situation then who would have ceased Umar from emotional addresses, who would have picked up the sacred head of Prophet Mohammad from the chest of Aisha (when Prophet Mohammad passed away, his sacred head lied on the chest of Aisha), who would have resolved the dispute between the Ansar and the immigrants in Saqifah! Those who know these incidents must understand that Abu Bakr gets all the credit of handling the delicate situations and matters very well after Prophet Mohammad’s death. (Tareekh Ibn Khaldun)

Denial from Making Madina the Capital State

The hypocrites argued that Prophet Mohammad had neither appointed his caliphate nor there are any instructions in Quran which signal towards making Abu Bakr as the first Caliphate. They further argued that Holy Prophet in his life had allowed tribes to be independent in their matters. Now their demand of seeking autonomy is fair and square. Regarding this matter the hypocrites presented several arguments and justifications.

Mohammad Haikal writes:

The hypocrites presented different justifications and used Bahrain and Qeydar as reference. They said that when those countries were conquered and their governors when accepted Islam, Holy Prophet let them keep their post and did not replace them. Similarly, if we elect someone the ruler of our state then how can someone object, as long as the ruler is the follower of Islam. (Abu Bakr)

These hypocrite tribes neither accepted the leadership of Ansar nor the Immigrants rather they stated that they were the followers of Islam just like them. They further said that they were better than them just because of more education. Therefore, they had right just to become their teachers. They added: “We cannot allow them to rule over us.”

Objection on the Decision of the Prophet

Prophet Mohammad in his life had prepared troops with the intention of sending them to conquer Rome. He had appointed Usama ibn Zayd as the commander of the troops. These troops had yet not taken off that Holy Prophet passed away. Several people doubted the potential of Usama ibn Zayd as he was young and inexperienced. Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen in this regard says in his book:

“People suggested Abu Bakr to postpone the plan of sending troops for now, but he had different opinion. He rather decided to continue the march and said, “I cannot stop the orders of the Prophet.” It is said that while sending the troops he walked a long distance with them in order to show support. Hence, this troop reached its destination under the supervision of Usama ibn Zayd.” (The Rashidun Caliphate)

The Apostate Tribes

The tribes which were far off from Makkah and Madina had completely renounced Islam. Additionally, the tribes which meet borders of Rome in the North of Arab were also influenced by the Christians because of which they also became apostate. On the other hand, the tribes who were on the Southern side of Arab, by the border of Iran, interacted with Zoroastrians because of which they also renounced.

Denial from Paying Zakat

Regarding this Jalaluddin Sayoti says:

Umar ibn Khattab relates that when Prophet Mohammad passed away, several tribes of Arab renounced Islam and said that we will offer salat, but we will not pay zakat. On hearing this, I went to Abu Bakr and said, O Caliphate of Prophet! Be lenient with these people. Abu Bakr replied, I Swear to Lord! I will fight with them until I have sword in my hand. Even though in return I get zakat equivalent to the rope of camel. (Tareekh al-Khulfa)


Challenge of Collecting Zakat in Abu Bakr’s Caliphate per Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen

Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen in this regard in his book says:

Many wealthy Muslims refrained from paying zakat. This problem became so crucial and momentous that even a reliable and trustworthy person like Umar had to say, “O Abu Bakr these people must be handled politely, you may want to approach them differently.”

In response to this he said, “O Umar! You are very strict in Islam, how come you are so infirm now! Allah has fulfilled His promise and His will has been implemented. Now you cannot change it. I Swear to God! I will not hesitate to fight if I need to get zakat equivalent to even a small piece of rope.” It is a fact that Abu Bakr stayed true to his words for the rest of his life. (The Rashidun Caliphate)

Per Mohammad Hussain Haikal:

“People called zakat a form of tax and said this tax must be collected from the Non-Muslims. We are Muslims, we should not have pay tax. We are Muslims just like the Muslims of Madina. Why should we pay zakat to the ruler of Madina!” (Abu Bakr)

Per Ibn Khaldun:

“The Abasa and Zeeban tribe got infuriated. Abasa, Abruq and Zeeban gathered in Dhul-Qasya. Few people from the tribes of Bani Asad and Bani Kinanah also accompanied them. Collectively they decided to send a group of people to Abu Bakr for negotiations. They presented their request of offering fewer salat and exemption from zakat. Abu Bakr in response replied, Swear to Allah! I will fight with them even if I need to collect zakat from them equivalent to the piece of rope. Also he will not spare leniency of even one rakat in the five salat of the day.”

The disappointed apostate went back and made other Muslims aware of Abu Bakr’s response. The Abasa and Zeeban were ecstatic to hear the news as now they had a reason to attack Madina. Therefore, without any hesitation they attacked Madina but all in vain. As Abu Bakr had already prepared to respond in anticipation of their attack. (Tareekh Ibn Khaldun)

Claim of False Prophethood in Caliphate of Abu Bakr

After Prophet’s demise when Abu Bakr was busy dealing with the people who were in denial of paying zakat, Musaylimah was busy plotting his claim of erroneous assertion of Prophethood. He succeeded in influencing so many people that he managed to make an army consisting of forty thousand soldiers. Things got so out of control that his soldiers started killing people denying his prophethood. 

Reference from The Rashidun Caliphate

Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen, regarding this disruption says:

“Right after Prophet Mohammad passed away a few fabricators in Arab claimed false Prophethood. Aswad, Musaylimah and Sajjah had an erroneous individualized assertion of Prophethood. Sajjah was a Yemeni woman who also falsely claimed Prophethood. This discoid of claiming false Prophethood was very lethal and devastating to Muslims, hence, Abu Bakr had all his focus towards eradicating. He sent Muslim troops in set directions. Out of all the fraudulent prophets, Musaylimah-the great liar, was the strongest. For his demolition Khalid ibn Walid fought a battle against him and crushed him.” (The Rashidun Caliphate)

Reference from Tareekh Ibn Khaldun

Regarding aforementioned event, Ibn Khaldun states:

During the life of Prophet Mohammad, Taliha renounced Islam and settled in Sameera. He was a magician and had erroneously claimed false prophethood. Few clans of Bani Israel started following him. Prophet Mohammad had sent troops to crush his evil intentions. The Muslim troops had not succeeded yet that the news of the death of Holy Prophet came. Which added fuel to evil intentions of Taliha. The Ghatfan and Hawazan and Tay also became his supporters. Khalid bin Waleed stepped forward to crush them but before that Adi ibn Hatim from the Tay tribe came for negotiation because of which the people of Tay tribe decided to separate themselves from Taliha and entered the circle of Islam. (Tareekh Ibn Khaldun)

A Woman Claiming False Prophethood in Caliphate of Abu Bakr

Similarly a women claimed to be prophet. She had married Musaylima-The great liar. Musaylima in marriage settlement had agreed to spare two salats to her followers. Sajjah and his followers also fought battles against Muslims.

The news of the apostasy of Arabs came quite often. The situation got bad to an extent that with the exception of the Quraysh and Saqifah tribe, all or most tribes of Arab renounced Islam. This strengthened the intentions of Musaylimah. Taliha had the support of Tay and Asad tribe. The main people from Bani Saleem also renounced Islam. (Tareekh Ibn Khaldun)

In short, the Muslims in this distressed situation were in minority and the apostasy of Arab had all united against them. In this challenging time, Abu Bakr was unwavering and resolute against anti-Islam forces and eliminated them for never to arise again.

Danger from External Forces in the Caliphate of Abu Bakr

At the time Romans and Persians had very strong empires. The fast and continuous spread of Islam could shake their empires. They were afraid of the downfall of their rule if majority of their people also started converting to Islam. Therefore, they not only supported the Arab apostasy but also prepared massive troops against Muslims. Regarding this, Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen says:

It was the era when the superpowers of the world, Roman and Persian Empires had made plans to harm Islam. The Persians who had ruled over Arabs for centuries, could not bear that the Arabs residing in desert become strong with robust military and be a continuous jeopardy to their rule. (The Rashidun Caliphate)

Caliphate of Abu Bakr

Abu Bakr’s important decision of sending Usama’s army not only reflects his bravery but also highlights his wisdom. In order to understand the logic behind this decision we need to understand the reason behind the battle.

The reason behind preparing the army

This army was not only the last army that the Holy Prophet prepared but also was the first army sent under the caliphate of Abu Bakr. Prophet Mohammad had himself put together this army and made Usama the commander in chief. After the battle of Mu’at and Tabuk, Prophet Mohammad was concerned about the differences between Muslims and Christians. He was worried that the Jews will provoke Romans to attack Arab. The incidents that took place in the battle of Mu’ta and Tabuk were also forecasting these doubts. These battles had added fuel to the fire and further strengthened the evil intentions of the Romans. They were already busy in the preparations to invade Arab. Holy Prophet could foresee this coming. Therefore, he was taking steps to prevent this from happening and ordered Usama to go towards Syria with troops. (Sirat Khulfa Rashideen)

The Muslims were in danger

During the life of Prophet Mohammad, the Muslims were in danger from the evildoing of Musaylima and Al-Aswad al-Ansi along with the Iranians and the Romans. The Holy Prophet’s strategy was to first deal with the Romans. As he anticipated that the defeat of Romans will automatically crush the false claimers of prophethood because of no support. This is why Prophet Mohammad had put together the army under the supervision of Usama. (Sirat Syed Siddiq Akbar)

After the expedition of Tabuk, Romans had decided to be fierce against Muslims and were planning to invade the Arab. In order to stop their invasion, Prophet Mohammad had organized the troops to attack Syria. However, when Prophet Mohammad got sick, the troops could not proceed. (Abu Bakr)

Power of the Romans

The Romans had conquered a big part of the world and were a superpower at the time. Muslims were aware of this. The same year, Muslims had defeated Jews in the battle of Khyber, Teama and Fidak. Therefore, they had to seek refuge in Palestine and were burning in the fire of revenge. They provoked Romans against Muslims by saying that if they could defeat big power like Iran then what are Muslims in front of them. (Abu Bakr)

These were the reasons why Prophet Mohammad had aligned troops against the Romans. This also shows that in order to strengthen the roots of Islam, it was important to gain victory over the Romans. However, the troops could not take off during the life of Holy Prophet.

Holy Prophet prepared the army of Usama

Regarding this matter, Mohammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari, writes in Tarikh al-Tabari:

Prophet Mohammad in his life had prepared an army under the commandership of Usama ibn Zayd to send to Syria. When Usama with the troops had just reached Jarf, they got the news of Prophet Mohammad’s illness. Therefore, the troops settled there until Prophet Mohammad died. (Tarik al-Tabari)

Obstacles Abu Bakr faced in sending the troops

After the demise of Prophet Mohammad, it was a struggle to prepare and send the troops again. Only Abu Bakr could fulfil this difficult task. He faced many obstacles in the way. As everyone had their own opinion regarding this matter. People made excuses and presented different justifications of why Abu Bakr should not send troops.

Arguments Abu Bakr heard regarding troops

Some of the common excuses people made are as follows:

  1. Since the death of Holy Prophet has arouse differences and troubles, it is better to deal with them first before dealing with outside matters.
  2. The safety of Madina is in jeopardy from the false claimers of prophethood and the deniers of paying zakat. Should there be any chaos or disturbance from those groups then there would not be army in Madina to protect it which may result in an easy defeat of the Muslims.
  3. If the troops leave, then all the tribes will know that Muslims are lacking the army to defend themselves which may give them chance to create a commotion.
  4. If it so important to send troops anyway then Abu Bakr must replace the commander. As Usama ibn Zayd is an inexperienced twenty-year-old young man.

People completely disregarded the fact that Holy Prophet had chosen Usama as the commander of the troops. Several people raised the point of replacing the commander during the life of Holy Prophet as well. This decision was opposed with full force after his death also. Bravo to the steadfastness and wisdom of Abu Bakr that he faced all the opposition. He stood by the decision of Holy Prophet and implemented it after his death.

Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen’s take on the matter

Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen Sultan Mohammad Najib-ur-Rehman says:

When Prophet Mohammad was sick during the last days of his life, under the supervision of Usama ibn Zayd he had prepared to send a force of seven hundred soldiers against the Romans. After Prophet Mohammad passed away, the condition of Muslims became insubstantial, and it seemed impossible to send any Muslim force out of Madina. Therefore, people suggested to postpone this plan, but Abu Bakr had different opinion. He rather decided to continue the march and said, “I cannot stop the orders of the Prophet.” (The Rashidun Caliph)

Opinion of Abu an-Nasr

Professor Umar Abu an-Nasr says:

Abu Bakr and all other Muslims could sense the revolt in the tribes of Arab after the death of Holy Prophet. Now the only question everyone had was whether to crush the inner rebellions first or follow the order of the Holy Prophet and send troops with Usama ibn Zayd for the protection of the Arab borders.  This was a crucial moment for the Muslims. Abu Bakr did not pay any heed to anyone rather the first thing he did after adorning the seat of caliphate was to pursue the order of Holy Prophet. He sent the troops to Syria under the commandership of Usama as intended by the Prophet. 

This was not an easy decision as he had to face a lot of opposition. To the least people started finding reasons to make him replace Usama ibn Zayd. This gave rise to many inner revolts. The fumes of revolts were rising from everywhere, but nothing could make Abu Bakr take a step back from this decision. As he was determined to complete what Prophet Mohammad had left.

Determination of Abu Bakr in sending troops

Abu Bakr said:

“I swear to the Lord Who possesses my life! Even if I am certain that the wild beasts from the jungle will take me away, I shall still not stop the troops under the commandership of Usama. The troops that Holy Prophet had commanded to send. I will still send the troops even if it is means that not even a single person is left in Madina.” (Sirat Khulfa Rashidun)

When people were disappointed that Abu Bakr refused to listen to them, they then went to Umar and asked him to talk to Abu Bakr. When Usama ibn Zayd saw that revolts has started because of him, he requested Umar to talk to Abu Bakr about postponing the expedition. Mohammad Hussain Haikal writes in this regard:

When Usama saw that people were pointing fingers at him because of his commandership, he went to Umar and requested him to meet with Abu Bakr and suggest him to postpone the expedition so we can deal with the inner revolts. Another group told Umar that he should try and talk Abu Bakr into postponing the sending of troops. If this is not possible then at least send the troops under the supervision of someone who is older and more experienced than Usama.

Why did Abu Bakr go to war?

After all the requests, Umar first of all conveyed the message of Usama ibn Zayd to Abu Bakr. On hearing this, Abu Bakr said:

“If the dogs and wolves from the jungle enter Madina and take me away even then I will not stop from doing what Holy Prophet had ordered.”

Then Umar put forward the recommendation of the other group before Abu Bakr. This made him upset, and he said:

“O Ibn Khattab! Prophet Mohammad appointed Usama as the commander of the army, I did not. And you want me to back off from this decision.” (Abu Bakr)

Abu Bakr’s response to Objections against sending troops

Umar told Abu Bakr’s answer to the people making objections. Some people were concerned that Muslims were in minority. They suggested that Abu Bakr should not part them from him for the safety of Madina. However, Abu Bakr said:

“I swear to the Lord Who possesses my life! If I am left with not even a single person and I fear that the wild animals will tear me apart. Even then I will not stop Usama from this expedition as ordered by Holy Prophet. If I am the only one left in the whole town then I will alone pursue the order of Prophet Mohammad.” (Tarikh Tabrani)

Expedition of the Troops

Abu Bakr forfeit all the arguments and ordered the expedition of the troops. He ordered everyone to join the troops at Jarf. 

Abu Bakr with his wisdom made such arrangements that all the differences regarding this expedition were resolved before the troops took off.


Abu Bakr’s support for the troops

When the troops were taking off, Usama was riding the horse. Abu Bakr started walking along side of his horse. People were surprised to see that Abu Bakr is giving this much respect and regard to the commander. Therefore, they thought they should follow the footsteps of their caliph and not object his decision. This ended all the arguments and differences regarding this matter.

Mohammad Hussain Haikal describes this scene as follows:

Usma ibn Zayd was very worried that he is riding the horse and Abu Bakr, the caliph of Prophet Mohamad, is walking along side. Out of utmost respect he said:

“O respected Caliph of the Prophet! Either you also ride the horse or allow me to walk with you.”

On this Abu Bakr replied:

“Neither will I ride the horse, nor will you get off the horse. If I can take a few footsteps in the way of Allah, may be that will become a source of my forgiveness on the Day of Judgement.”

Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen says:

It is said that while sending the troops, Abu Bakr walked a long distance with them in order to show support. Hence, this troop reached its destination under the supervision of Usama ibn Zayd. (The Rashidun Caliphs)

The Aftermath of sending Troops:

So far, the incidents shared verify that Abu Bakr dealt with all the obstacles in the way of sending troops with utmost valor and integrity. Now, it is important to look at the aftermath of it as well. 

When troops of Usama ibn Zayd left, one could witness that it left miraculous impacts on the people. For example, those thinking to renegade, gave up that thought and the tribes said:

“Had they not had strength, then they would have never left their capital Madina. They must have this many troops in Madina that’s why they are sending them to fight Romans.” (Sirat Khulfa Rashideen)


The impact troops had on people

Jalal Uddin Sayoti writes:

When these troops passed by a tribe who were thinking to rebel, they would say to themselves that if they were not powerful then they would not have separated such a large army from themselves to fight against Romans. If they get victory over Romans, we will join them too. (Tareekh Khulfa)


Victory of the troops

The army of Usama was victorious. Therefore, when they returned many tribes came back on track and gave up the idea of rebel. In fact, a lot of them adopted Islam and accepted Madina as their capital.

This battle had a huge impact in turns of strengthening Muslims. Not only Arab but the surrounding countries also gave up their evil idea of harming Muslims. The power of Muslims daunted and intimidated Romans. Hence, they let go the evil intention of invading the Arab land.

What did Abu Bakr do while he was a caliph?

The most important step Abu Bakr took as a caliph was to implement the decision Holy Prophet which was to send troops against Romans under commandership of Usama. Prophet Mohammad had started this task in his life but could not finish.  If we sum up the aftermath of all the incidents from sending of troops to their victorious return we can conclude:

  • This expedition set good repute and fear of Muslims on the Arabs.
  • The strength of Muslims demotivated the deniers of zakat.
  • Muslims were motivated to defeat the false claimers of prophethood.
  • Foreign powers became fearful of Muslims.
  • It reunited the Muslims.

The aforementioned benefits really made the Companions believe in the wisdom of Abu Bakr. Abu Huraira said:

“Had Abu Bakr not become the caliphate of the Prophet, then believers in Allah had not existed.”

One of the biggest challenge Abu Bakr faced in his caliphate was to deal with the deniers of zakat. In this article we have shared some of the facts from both sides, for the reader to decide who was on the right path.

Point of View of the deniers of zakat

After the troops left Madina under the commandership of Usama, the deniers of zakat started causing trouble and did not want to cooperate with the policies Abu Bakr had put in place. They thought it was a good opportunity to cause trouble as there were no forces in Madina. Therefore, the deniers could easily pressurize the caliph and get the policy amended in their favour. 

Among the deniers of zakat were the tribes Abasa, Dhubyan, Kinanah, Ghatafan and Farazah. They believed that Madina on one hand is busy fighting with huge external forces like Rome and Iran. While on the other hand the false claimers of prophethood had trapped Madina in a mess. Furthermore, there were some internal bouts as well from those who were not accepting Abu Bakr as a caliph. The power of Muslims was in jeopardy after the death of Prophet Mohammad pbuh. The deniers thought that the chaotic situations have well drained the forces of Madina. It will not have strength to fight and will surrender in front of the demands.

The point of view of the Believers

The dilemma of the deniers of zakat was an important and sensitive matter. To discuss the matter, Abu Bakr called a meeting with the esteemed Companions. Many Companions suggested that initiating a battle with the deniers of zakat at this point will further weaken the strength of the Muslims. Let’s be lenient in this matter. We should conjoin with them and together be a bigger force against the enemies of Islam. In this way, we have more chances of being successful in the battles against the external forces. 

The point of view of Abu Bakr

On hearing everyone’s suggestion, Abu Bakr stood up and said:

 “I will fight against the deniers of salat and zakat.” 

Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen Sultan Mohammad Najib-ur-Rehman writes in his book:

When Abu Bakr became the first caliph, many wealthy Muslims refrained from paying zakat. This problem became so crucial and momentous that even a reliable and trustworthy person like Umar had to say; “O Abu Bakr these people must be treated politely, you may want to approach them differently.” 

Abu Bakr in a sense of explanation said, “O Umar you are very strict in Islam, how come you are so infirm now! Allah has fulfilled his promise and implemented His will. Now you cannot change it. Swear to God! I will not hesitate to fight if I need to get zakat equivalent to even a small piece of rope.” 

It’s a fact that Abu Bakr stayed true to his promise throughout his life.

Why did Abu Bakr not agree to the suggestion of the Companions?

  • When we look at the mandatory things in Islam, along with salat, zakat is must.
  • In Quran, wherever Allah ordained about salat, He ordered about zakat as well.
  • An incident in the life of Holy Prophet took place. Bani Saqifa, a tribe of Taif, went to the Prophet to accept Islam. They then asked him to excuse them from offering prayer. However, Holy Prophet did not excuse them from offering prayer. 
  • If deniers of zakat were not fought, then in future many new Muslims would have adopted the same approach to save money.
  • Letting go the deniers of zakat was like amending the religion.
  • Had Abu Bakr let go of one compulsive order of Islam then in future people would have used it to their advantage as an example in an argument of letting go any other compulsive order that they might find difficult. 
  • If Abu Bakr had handled this matter politely, the false claimers of prophethood may have plotted propaganda that if the religion was true then it would have stood its ground and not changed. Thus, they could astray other Muslims on this basis.

Upon weighing all of these circumstances, Abu Bakr decided to start a battle against the deniers of zakat.

Umar’s remark on Abu Bakr’s decision

When Umar saw the passion of Abu Bakr, he said:

“I have a firm belief now that Allah has enlightened Abu Bakr in the matter of fighting against the deniers of zakat. Abu Bakr has taken the right decision.”

Plots of deniers of zakat

The deniers of zakat soon realized that Abu Bakr did not accept their demands. Therefore, they decided to take a quick action and attack Madina before the troops of Usama returned. They thought that probably just intimidating the Believers with their force might make Abu Bakr to take back his decision. The deniers of zakat understood if they waited to see what action plan Muslims will take then certainly shame and defeat will be their destiny. Therefore, it is smart to attack Madina before the troops return. To start off they camped outside of Madina and before attacking they sent a delegation to Madina to negotiate with Abu Bakr. However, Abu Bakr was stern in his decision and said:

“If they deny paying zakat, equivalent to even a piece of rope, that they paid in the life of Holy Prophet (pbuh) I will not hesitate to fight.”

The delegation returned in disappointment. As they had thought that Abu Bakr will be intimidated by seeing their forces and weapons and will change his decision. Rather Abu Bakr stood his ground in this tough time. When the delegation was negotiating with Abu Bakr they were keenly observing and weighing the strength of the Muslims and concluded that the Muslims are not strong enough to defeat them.

Foresight and wisdom of Abu Bakr

When the delegation left, Abu Bakr gathered the Muslims and addressed:

“Up till now they (the deniers of zakat) thought that we will agree to their terms. However, now they are certain that we will not agree to them. Now be prepared to get attacked from them.”

Later, Abu Bakr gave a small division of army to Ali, Zubair, Talha and Abdullah ibn Masood and sent them to each corner of Madina which was prone to attack from the enemy. Three days after the delegation left, someone informed Abu Bakr that the enemy is fully prepared to fight and will attack the next day.

The expedition of Muslims

Abu Bakr gathered the Muslims of Madina and expedited towards the enemy in the darkness of night.  The enemy was sound asleep when Muslims attacked them. In fear they started running away. When they reached their battlefield, they fought where the battle continued for a long time. The deniers started throwing ropes at the hands of the Muslims. This scared the camels of the Muslims and they started running towards the Madina. Therefore, the battle ended without any conclusive results. 

The deniers thought that this has further weakened the Muslims. Thus, they decided to attack them with full force. The next night Abu Bakr and other Companions did not sleep at all rather prepared for the battle. Later that night, Abu Bakr and Muslims attacked the enemy again. They were once again sleeping being oblivious of their surroundings. This time Muslims defeated the enemy and gave them a lifelong lesson. The Muslims chased the enemy for a long distance and then returned to Madina.

Battle of Abraq

The deniers of zakat had gathered at Abraq. The people of the tribe Dhubyan owned Abraq and were among the pioneers in denying zakat. The troops of Usama returned with a colorful victory. Abu Bakr wanted to crush even the minor impression of the deniers of zakat. Additionally, after facing defeat, the deniers of zakat had started troubling the Muslims residing in their areas. They had made their lives miserable.  For the protection of Madina, Abu Bakr left the troops of Usama in Madina. He then along with other Muslims went to Abraq. Yet again the deniers faced a big defeat. Abu Bakr evicted the tribe Dhubyan from Abraq, and the land was divided among the Muslims. 

Umar al-Nasr writes in his book:  

When Abu Bakr defeated and evicted the tribes Abasa, Dhubyan, Kinanah, Ghatafan and the deniers of zakat, they united with the Tulayha ibn Khuwaylid. Abu Bakr had also announced that since this land has been granted to us by Allah as War booty, we will not give it to the runaway people. Therefore, the land of Abraq, the surrounding lands and graze fields were divided among Muslims. Abu Bakr then returned to Madina.” (Sirat Abu Bakr Siddiq)

How Abu Bakr saved Muslims after the death of Holy Prophet pbuh?

Abu Bakr with his wisdom, insight and bravery crushed the existence of the deniers of zakat. Mohammad Hussain Haikal writes in his book:

Abdullah ibn Masood said in this regard, “After Prophet Mohammad, we were at a very dangerous point. Had Allah not helped us through Abu Bakr then we would have collapsed. We Muslims agreed that we do not need to fight to collect the camels in zakat. However, Abu Bakr decided to fight against the deniers of zakat. Allah granted Abu Bakr the ability to guide Muslims because of which Muslims came out of these tough times.”

On one hand Abu Bakr was dealing with the deniers of zakat and on the other hand the storm of apostasy was rising. This not only gave chance to the exterior forces to plot but it also gave opportunity to the claimers of false prophethood. This mischief was particularly influencing the newly converted Muslims. As they were yet unaware of the true reality and teachings of Islam. Additionally, the apostles united with the false claimers of prophethood as this was a great opportunity for them to strengthen against Islam. To add fuel to the fire the deniers of zakat used this chaotic moment to their advantage to pressurize Abu Bakr and fulfil their demands. In short, it was a very perilous time that only Abu Bakr could deal with. Allah Almighty chose him to crush the fitnah of that time and set the foundation of a strong Islamic state.

Upheavals in the Era of Abu Bakr

Umar Abu al-Na’ar writes:

The mischief that emerged in the era of Abu Bakr was very dangerous. The false claimers of the prophethood were among the pioneers to spark this mischief. They claimed that they receive revelation from Allah in the same manner as Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) did. Apparently, they were Muslims with such a hollow faith that they claimed themselves as the prophet.

The False Purports of Prophethood

The following people claimed false prophethood in the era of Abu Bakr:

Tulayha ibn Khuwaylid 

He was from the Banu Asad tribe. He claimed prophethood while Prophet Mohammad was still alive. This cursed man wrote a letter to the Holy Prophet in which he claimed to be the partner in the prophecy of Prophet Mohammad and that he is the recipient of Divine revelation. 

Aswad al-Ansi 

Aswad also during the life of Prophet Mohammad was another false claimer of Prophethood. Due of this false claim he ignited sedition in Yemen and its surroundings. 

Sajah bint Al-Harith ibn Suayd

A woman named, Sajah bint Al-Harith ibn Suayd also declared to be the prophetess in Banu Tamim. She married Musaylimah and in conjunction with him caused a lot of mischief among the tribes and snowballed the number of rebellions against Islam. When Musaylimah married her, he allowed her to not offer two prayers as a gift of marriage. 

Musaylimah al-Kazzab 

The great liar, Musaylimah declared his prophecy in the region of al-Yamama (in present day Saudi Arabia). He wrote a letter to Prophet Mohammad in which he purported to be his partner in prophecy. 

Dhu at-Taj Laqit 

He purported to be a prophet in Oman.

Why false prophets were a danger to Islam?

In the upcoming lines we will elaborate how the upheaval of the false prophethood were not only turmoil for Islam, but they used their full force to eradicate the existence of Islam. Praises to the perseverance of Abu Bakr that in a short period of two and a half years of his caliphate, he faced the mischiefs and the rebellions. He not only defeated the self-proclaimed prophets but also crushed the root cause of these mischiefs. 

Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen Sultan Mohammad Najib-ur-Rehman writes in his book, The Rashidun Caliphate:

“Right after Prophet Mohammad passed away a few fabricators in Arab claimed false prophethood. Aswad, Musaylimah and Sajah had an erroneous individualized assertion of Prophethood. Sajah was a Yemeni woman who purported as prophetess. This affliction of false prophethood was very lethal and devastating to Muslims.” (The Rashidun Caliphate)

Aswad al-Ansi

Al-Aswad al-Ansi was the soothsayer of the South Yemen. He had a sorcery power to glib the crowd with his witty tricks. Using such tricks, he managed to attract and influence a mob of illiterates and then declared false prophethood.

Reference by Umar Abu al-Na’ar

About the false prophethood of Aswad, he writes in his book:

“Al-Aswad al-Ansi proclaimed prophethood in Yemen and instigated blood spilling and affliction. This mischief continued until his assassination. Due to his anecdotes, he acquired the name of Dhu al-Himar (the master of the ass) and Dhu al-Khimar (‘the veiled’ as he used to cover his face to create an aura of mystery). He had gained power in Yemen and had become a self-proclaimed prophet.

He had claimed his prophecy while Prophet Mohammad was still alive. When Holy Prophet was informed of his affliction and blood shedding, he prepared the army of Usama. He advised the informers to relay his message to the monarchs of the relevant area to continue the fight against Aswad al-Ansi. Once Usama’s army returns from their expedition, they will head their way to crush Aswad. However, before this could happen, Prophet Mohammad became ill and passed away.”

Wisdom of Abu Bakr in dealing with Aswad

The point to ponder here is how strategically and with strong faith Abu Bakr dealt with the mischief caused by the rebellions. This is the mischief that had ignited in the last days of the life of Prophet Mohammad. The spark of mischief turned into burning flames when the news of Prophet’s death spread. This news had shaken the strong foundation of Muslims that the Prophet had set. The Muslims began to lose faith which formed a crack in their union and strength. This was the time of disbelief and chaos which gave the opportunity to self-proclaimed prophets, deniers of zakat and the exterior rivals to further blast the flames of turmoil and mischief. 

One can only imagine how Abu Bakr dealt with all of this chaos and cemented the roots of Islam in Arab and reconstructed the Islamic state whose foundation was laid by the Prophet Mohammad. This is why Abu Hurairah stated that had Abu Bakr not become the caliph then there would have been no one to take Allah’s name.

What caused upheaval after the death of Holy Prophet?

Let’s talk about what happened after the death of Holy Prophet that led to the upheaval to such an extent. There is a famous tradition regarding this matter which is described as under:

Badhan ibn Sasan was the governor of Yemen who reported Khosrow of Prophet Mohammad preaching Islam. When Prophet Mohammad sent a letter to Khosrow inviting him to adopt Islam, he became furious and ordered Badhan to (God forbid) behead Prophet Mohammad and bring him to his court. Badhan sent two men for this task. When these two men met Prophet Mohammad, he prophesied that Khosrow has been assassinated by his son who has then taken over the throne. When this proved to be true, Badhan converted to Islam. Holy Prophet then made him the ruler of Yemen. After his death, his son Shahr succeeded his throne. He elected different governors to handle matters of Yemen. These governors had barely settled in when Aswad al-Ansi attacked Yemen. He killed Shahr and declared himself ruler of Yemen.

Reference from Sirat Abu Bakr Siddiq

In the book, ‘Sirat Abu Bakr Siddiq’, the author writes about the affliction of this mischief in the following words:

Yemen, Khidr Mut, Bahrain, Ahsa and Adan, were captured by Aswad. From the shores of Adan to Shahr till the valley of Taif were conquered by Aswad. The way Abu Bakr crushed the power of Aswad without raising a sword or sending troops is a living example of his wisdom and political insight. The rule of Aswad on such a large vicinity was a distress for every Muslim. 

Everyone wanted Abu Bakr to send troops to crush this rebellion. However, Abu Bakr neither felt intimidated by the power of Aswad nor hasted to take the wrong decision regardless of the pressure from the Muslims. Instead, he took such calculated measures that crushed Aswad and yet not stir any upheaval in those areas. He instead of using the force of sword persuaded the leaders and monarchs of Yemen towards Islam, the religion of peace. Furthermore, he unveiled the barbaric mindset of Aswad. Resultantly, Aswad was assassinated without any blood spill in those regions. He also took such measures beforehand so that his assassination did not compromise or impact the peace in those areas.

Tulayha ibn Khuwaylid

He claimed to be a prophet in the life of Prophet Mohammad. The incident of his rebellion is narrated as follows:

Tulayha ibn Khuwaylid was passing from a desert along with his followers. He projected the presence of water in a certain area that happened to be true, after which he claimed to be a prophet. In reality, he projected the presence of water after seeing the birds emerging from certain area. However, his followers did not know that and were fooled into acknowledging him as a prophet. This continued for some time. To expand the circle of his followers he ended zakat, which influenced the deniers of zakat. He also repealed the compulsion of offering salah. Like any other mischief, this upheaval fired up after the news of the death of Holy Prophet spread.

Reference from Sirat Abu Bakr Siddiq

The author of ‘Sirat Abu Bakr Siddiq’ writes in his book:

The rebels of the Prophets claimed of the false prophecy in the last days of the life of Prophet Mohammad. In response to them Prophet Mohammad sent Dhiraar ibn al-Azwar to Muslim governors of Bani Asad with the instructions to take strict actions against the purported prophets. Following the instructions, Muslims camped in Dardat and Tulayha along with his companions camped in Sameera. Muslim force was increasing day by day after hearing their success in small battles. Therefore, Dhiraar decided to head towards Sameera with his forces. Muslims were still preparing for the battle when they heard the news of the death of Holy Prophet which created a state of restlessness in them. This Muslim force then began to weaken as some of them lost faith and united with Tulayha.

Strength of Tulaya

One can imagine the strength of Tulayha’s force by the fact that he did not hesitate to attack Madina. However, Abu Bakr responded to this attack in timely manner and saved Madina from his  evil intentions. 

This did not stop Tulayha, his power was building day by day. His power flourished quite a lot when Abu Bakr defeated the deniers of zakat.

Why the deniers of zakat conjoined with the false claimers of Prophethood?

There were two reasons behind the union of the deniers of zakat with Tulayha.

  1. They wanted avenge from the state of Madina.
  2. These tribes did not want to pay zakat. The religion that Tulayha had introduced exempted zakat or did not make it mandatory.

Reason of Tulayha’s strength

Tulayha strengthened further when the hypocrite Uyaina ibn Hafs joined him. Uyaina was the man who supported non-Muslims in the battle on Trench. When he attacked Madina, Holy Prophet along with his Companions came out of Madina and defeated him.  

Because of his prolonged animosity with Islam, he united with Tulayha and further strengthen him. The tribes of Eastern Arab also united with him. His power had caused nothing but affliction to Muslims to an extent that Muslims from the surrounding areas were forced to seek refuge in Madina. Tulayha on the other hand openly started to deny the rule of Madina.

Reference from Mohammad Haikal

He says in this regard:

The tribes of Abas, Ghatafan, Banu Bakr and their supporters who had faced defeat after attacking Madina were seeking revenge, so they stood with Tulayha. Additionally, tribes of Eastern Arab Bani Ghatafan, Muslim and the Bedouin tribes also united with Tulayha. (Abu Bakr)

To extinguish the mischief caused by Tulayha, Abu Bakr selected Khalid Ibn Walid. Since at the time Muslims were fighting multiple battles, therefore the Muslims were in very small number compared to the army of Tulayha. Abu Bakr knew to defeat Tulayha it is important to shrink the circle of supporters around him. In order to do so the steps that Abu Bakr took are the living example of his political wisdom and insight. During this time, Adi ibn Hatim, the leader of the tribe Bani Tayy came to Abu Bakr with the zakat money. The residents of Madina were outraged to see him. As most of the people of his tribe were in the army of Tulayha and rest of them were against Muslims. On one signal from Tulayha, they were willing to fight against Muslims. 

How Abu Bakr saved Muslims from the Mischief of Tulayha?

The political intellect of Abu Bakr turned the tables around. He took the following measures in this regard:

When the people of Madina got worried on the arrival Adi ibn Hatim, Abu Bakr told them: “Don’t worry! This man is a source of blessing for us.” He advised Adi to talk to the people of his tribe and warn them that if they did not back off from supporting Tulayha then sword will be raised against them before Tulayha. Abu Bakr further advised that if they agree then call the five hundred people of tribe Tayy, who are with the army of Tulayha, by telling them that Muslims are attacking their tribe. Upon their return tell them the truth and invite them to accept Islam.

Abu Bakr then advised Khalid ibn Walid that when the people of tribe Tayy unite with you then apply the same strategy with the people of al-Jadila tribe. Allah will bless you in your cause. 

Adi’s warning to his tribe

Adi ibn Hatim returned to the people of his tribe and warned them that Khalid ibn Walid has set off with his army and if you did not refrain from supporting Tulayha then they will start off with attacking us. We should call our brothers and relatives from the army of Tulayha. As Muslims are fighters, they have already defeated the fierce tribes outside Madina, and they will defeat us too. After hearing the long spiel of Adi, the people of his tribe were convinced. They were convinced because they could foresee their defeat by when Adi stated the fact that Muslims regardless of being small in number had defeated the big forces of Romans and the five tribes of the deniers of zakat.  

Therefore, they decided to call their brothers and relatives back from the army of Tulayha. They decided to call them strategically because if they tell them the truth, Tulayha will have them killed.

The Return of tribe Tayy from the army of Tulayha

People of Banu Tayy sent message to their people in Tulayha’s army that Muslims are preparing to attack their tribe so they should return home to fight against them. Tulayah was happy to send them back because he thought this fight will further weaken the Muslims before they could attack him. The point of view of Tulayha was:

  1. If the tribe Tayy succeed, then the Muslims will not have any strength left to attack me and I will have an easy opportunity to attack Madina.
  2. Contrarily, if the Muslims succeed, they will still have faced a lot of loss and weakened. In that case I will attack them right away.

Tulayha’s interest in letting go Banu Tayy’s army

Tulayha anticipated that regardless of any circumstance, things would be in his favour so he happily let go the people of tribe Tayy. When they returned, the elders of tribe and Adi ibn Hatim convinced them that uniting with Muslims will benefit them and protect their lives and belongings.

Adi ibn Hatim went to Khalid ibn Walid along with an army of five hundred soldiers. He welcomed him and told them about their next move which was to attack the tribe al-Jadila. The people of the tribe Tayy mentioned that al-Jadila is the branch of their tribe. They asked to allow them some time to convince the people of al-Jadila  tribe. Adi ibn Hatim went to that tribe along with some of his people and was able to persuade them. Therefore, they also united with Muslims.

Reference from Sirat Abu Bakr Siddiq

The book says regarding this matter:

  • Now Khalid ibn Walid intended to go towards the station of Ansr so they can fight against the tribe al-Jadila. Adi interrupted and said that tribe al-Jadila  is an offshoot of our tribe. Therefore, allow me to go talk to them so they can convert to Islam again. He granted him permission. This is how Adi successfully remorse al-Jadila  tribe and agreed their one thousand soldiers to join the army of Khalid ibn Walid.

Next Steps by Abu Bakr

Khalid ibn Walid informed Abu Bakr of the current situation who then instructed him to head towards Tulayha. He further instructed that to allow Bani Tayy to fight against Bani Qays, should they want to do so. 

The strategy behind this instruction of Abu Bakr was:

  1. Bani Tayy and Bani Asad are comrade. They have relatives amongst each other because of which they may refuse to be part of the army.
  2. Should they fight against each other, they will not fight whole heartedly.

When the army headed towards Tulayha, Bani Tayy said that they only want to fight against Bani Qays because they are our military allies. Khalid ibn Walid permitted them. The people of Bani Tayy were delighted to hear this and fought against Bani Qays with full force. They were so involved in this fight that Adi provoked the people of his tribe by saying that how can they be our friends if they hold animosity against Islam. However, Khalid ibn Walid stopped him and told him not to go against the people of his tribe as fighting against Bani Qays is also Jihad. 

This battlefield turned into the favour of Muslims, and they defeated Tulayha, who managed to escape the battlefield for his life and never raised any mischief again.

Incident of Escape of Tulayha

Mohammad Hussain Haikal describes the incident of the escape of Tulayha in his book in the following words:

  • Now an expedition had started at the station of Buzakha. Khalid ibn Walid was the commander in chief from the Muslims and Uyaina led the army of Tulayha who was sitting in a camp wrapped in a blanket and was apparently waiting for a Divine revelation. When the battle started, Uyaina realized the strength of the Muslims and Khalid. Therefore, Uyaina rode to Tulayha and asked him, “Did angel Gabriel bring him God’s revelation? To which he replied, “Not yet.”

On hearing this Uyaina went back to the battlefield and fought Muslims. The Muslims army managed to make dents in foe’s army. Uyaina then ran towards Tulayha’s camp again and inquired, “Did Gabriel bring God’s revelation?” He got the same reply again. Uyaina now got anxious and asked when will he receive God’s revelation? Tulayha replied, “My request had reached the Highest, now we just have to wait and watch if we get the answer?” 

On hearing this Uyaina went to the battlefield again and got busy in the fight.

How Tulayha was exposed?

When Uyaina saw that Khalid ibn Walid’s army is pushing their wings back, there is blood spill of his army every where and they are about to lose, he got worried and went to his master Tulayha and yet again asked the same question to which he replied, “Listen! God said that you have the same millstone as the Muslims and your words are as such that you will never forget.” 

On hearing this Uyaina suspected his master of falsehood and could not help but say: “Certainly Allah knows that soon such incidents will take place that you will not be able to forget.”

Arabs reference battle with a millstone. Tulayha meant that you are facing the same tough battles that Muslims are facing, and you will not forget whatever you are experiencing in this battlefield. 

After this Uyaina faced his people and addressed them loudly:

“O Bani Faraza! Tulayha is a liar, withdraw from the battle and run for your lives.”

On hearing Uyaina, the people of Banu Faraza fled while the army gathered around Tulayha and asked, “What does he command them to do?”

Tulayha had already prepared a horse for himself and a camel for his wife. When he saw people in enormous affliction, he along with his family fled the battlefield while saying whoever can manage to escape must escape with his family like I did.”  (Abu Bakr)

Sajah bint Harith

She was a woman who claimed to be the false prophetess. Sajah was from the tribe of Banu Yaryu which was the off shoot of the tribe Banu Tamim. She was married in the Banu Taghlib tribe. Sajah was a soothsayer. After the death of Prophet Mohammad when the upheavals started, she began to visit different tribes of Arab and started proclaiming her false prophecy. Particularly she visited the tribes who were the deniers of zakat.

According to some historians, Sajah was the part of the Iranian plot which intended to weaken Muslims which would provide the enemies the opportunity to attack Madina. Mohammad Hussain Haikal writes in this regard:

  • Some historians argue that Sajah was in fact visiting the tribes on the command of the Iranian leaders of Iraq. The intention was to ignite upheaval against the Muslims rule which had already shaken after the death of Prophet Mohammad. Arabs had converted, Badhan, the ruler of Yemen, into Muslim and had captured Yemen. Now they were slowly spreading their roots into Iran. (Abu Bakr)

Regardless of the fact whether Sajah was an Iranian plot or not, she had harmed the Muslim union and had strayed the newly converted Muslims from the righteous path. When she attempted to attacked Madina with her army, Abu Bakr crushed them in a way that this mischief never raised its head again.

Musaylimah – The Liar

Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen writes in is his book, The Rashidun Caliphate: 

“Amongst all the false prophets, the biggest liar of self-proclaimed prophecy was Musaylimah.”

According to a tradition, the army of Musaylimah consisted of forty thousand soldiers and according to another tradition it consisted of seventy thousand soldiers. At the time this was considered a huge army. (Abu Bakr)

It is written in Sirat Abu Bakr Siddiq:

Musaylimah was the biggest self-proclaimer of false prophethood. He had forty thousand brave soldiers who were not heard of before in Arab.”

One can imagine the strength of Musaylimah’s army from the fact that Abu Bakr had never prepared so much against any other army. Mohammad Hussain Haikal writes:

Abu Bakr had prepared a group of eleven armies to fight against the army of apostasies. He sent each group against single apostate tribe. However, he thought sending one group was not enough against Musaylimah. (Abu Bakr)

How Abu Bakr prepared against Musaylimah?

The preparations that Abu Bakr did for the expedition against Musaylimah are as follows:

  1. He sent the army of Ikrima.
  2. Sent the army of Sharjil 
  3. Inclusion of the people of Badr in the battle of Yamama. Although Abu Bakr had refrained the people of Badr from going on any expedition and wanted to keep them in Madina to consult with them regarding different matters. However, he sent them to the expedition against Yamama.
  4. Included the people who had learnt the Holy Quran by heart.
  5. Sent the army of Khalid ibn Walid
  6. Arranged the army of the Ansar which was led by Thabit ibn Qays and Barad ibn Malik.
  7. An army from the immigrants which was led by Hudhayfah ibn Atbah and Zayd ibn Khattab.
  8. Arranged the armies from different fighter tribes in which the leader of each tribe commanded their respective army.

These preparations show how fierce was the army of Musaylimah and how big of a threat it was to the sovereignty of Islam.

Why Musaylimah was a big force?

If we pay attention to the root cause behind the strength of his army, we can say:

His false self-proclamation of prophethood was different and unique from others. He (God forbid) had claimed himself as a partner in the prophecy of Prophet Mohammad. 

Mohammad Hussain Haikal writes in his book:

Musaylimah had come to Madina along with the people of his tribe to adopt Islam. His companions left him behind to keep a watch on their camels and belongings. When Prophet Mohammad gave gifts to the people of his tribe, they mentioned about him as well. The Holy Prophet then said that these gifts are equally for the caretaker of your belongings. Musaylimah interpreted the meaning of the words of the Prophet according to his own wish and said it means that Prophet Mohammad is (God forbid) making me partner in his prophethood. (Abu Bakr)

When Prophet Mohammad heard about this, he was holding an old stem of the date in hand and said: “If Musaylimah asks me for even the old stem of date, I will not give him that.”

The news of death of Prophet Mohammad further strengthened Musaylimah as he spread the rumor that the true prophet cannot die. His followers claimed that this is why Musaylimah is still alive even after being one hundred and fifty years old.

Followers of Musaylimah

Prophet Mohammad sent a man named Nahr ar-Raddhal to the place of Musaylimah so he can preach Islam and revoke people from this mischief. However, that cursed man was dazzled by the worldly luxuries and united with Musaylimah. He then started telling people that (Prophet Mohammad) has sent me from Madina so I can tell people that Musaylimah is telling the truth. 

The followers of the rest of the purported prophets were mainly from different tribes who conjoined with these prophets because of being prejudice against other tribes. This is why they were easy to crush. However, the followers of Musaylimah were unitedly standing with each other without any tribal animosity.

Another reason of Musaylimah’s strength was that his followers were ideological. Rest of the false proclaimers of prophethood had conjoined the deniers of zakat with them who were not ideological rather love for wealth and money had forced them to follow them. However, the followers of Musaylimah thought that they were fighting for their right, so they get their share in prophethood.

At the time Arab had Christians, Jews, Nazarenes and polytheists. This religious upheaval also gave strength to Musaylimah. Allowing alcohol and sex had made people the worshipers of their an-nafs.

The initial defeat of Abu Bakr against Musaylimah

The morals of the Musaylimah’s army skyrocketed when they defeated the army of Ikrima. This is how they were able to back off the army of Sharjil and got a further boost of confidence. On seeing the defeat of Muslims, people who had yet not joined Musaylimah, united with him and defeated Muslims again.

Several people from the tribe of Musaylimah knew that he was a liar, yet they supported him. Regarding this, the book, Sirat Abu Bakr, mentions an incident:

Several people knew Musaylimah was a liar yet supported him since he belonged to their tribe. Tulyaha went to Yamama and asked people where is Musaylimah. People asked, “Why do you take his name so disrespectfully when he is the prophet of Allah.”

Tulayha said:  “I can’t come to a conclusion until I meet him.”

Therefore, people took him to Musaylimah and he said:

Tulayha: “O Musaylimah! Who brings you the God’s revelation?”

Musaylimah: “Rahman.” 

Tulayha: “In light or in darkness?” 

Musaylimah: “In darkness.”

Tulayha then said, I witness that you are a liar, and Prophet Mohammad is the truth. However, we endear our lie more than the truthful prophet of others. He supported Musaylimah and was killed while fighting along with him in a battle.

If we look at the preparations of Abu Bakr and the vastness of Musaylimah’s army, we can understand the severity of mischief and upheaval caused by him. Abu Bakr sent his forces to fight against Musaylimah and defeated him and put an end to his upheaval for good.

Dhu at-Taj Laqit

He belonged to the tribe Adaz which was resided in Oman. He declared himself as a prophet after the death of Holy Prophet in Oman. In the era of Prophet Mohammad, Iran had an influence over it and its ruler was called Jayfar. Prophet Mohammad sent him an invitation to Islam. After getting answers to certain questions, he had converted to Islam. 

However, when the news of Prophet’s death spread, Laqit purported to be the prophet. He expelled the ones from Oman who denied his claim. Jayfar also had to move out of Oman and dwelled in the nearby mountainous area. After uprooting the mischief of Musaylimah, Abu Bakr sent Hudhayfah and Arfajah ibn Hathama al-Bariqi to Oman so they could crush this mischief as well. Ikirma had already reached Oman before them, so Abu Bakr instructed them to first consult with him before doing anything. When they consulted Ikirma he suggested before attack let’s bring Jayfar and his companions to Oman and include them in our army. 

Laqit was stationed at Dhibba, which is now United Arab Emirates. At first it seemed like Muslims were going to lose but then with Allah’s help they gained victory. People still see the graves of the fallen mischiefs in the area. Muslim army killed Laqit along with his ten thousand soldiers. Some fled away and a lot of them converted to Islam.


This article is the English translation of Urdu article “Hazart Abu Bakr k dour mei uthnay walay fitnay”. Sultan Mohammad Abdullah Iqbal Sarwari Qadri penned this article in Urdu. Fatima Noor Sarwari Qadri had the honour of translating it into English with minor changes. To read the original article, click the link below:

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