Quranic verses and authentic ahadeeth that alluded to Caliphate of Imam Abubakr as-Siddeeq(as).

In The Name of Allah, The Beneficent, The Merciful.

Quranic verses that alluded to Imam Abu bakr’s(as) Caliphate.

There is not a single verse in the Quran which explicitly states that Abubakr was to be the first Khaleefah of the Muslim nation; nonetheless, there are a number of verses that implicitly point to his Caliphate – and to the fact that, of all of the Prophet’s companions, he was the most deserving candidate to rule the Muslim nation after the Prophets’s death. Those verses are as follows:

(A). Allah(swt) said: {“O you who believe! Whoever from among you turns back from his religion(Islam), Allah will bring a people whom He will love and they will love Him; humble towards the believers, stern towards the disbelievers, fighting in the way of Allah, and never afraid of the blame of the blamers. That is the Grace of Allah which He bestows on whom He wills. And Allah is All-sufficient for His creature’s needs, All-Knower”}. (Quran 5:54).

    This verse was, of course, revealed during the lifetime of the Prophet(saw), and yet it alluded to something that was to occur after the Prophet’s(saw) death. Immediately after the Prophet(saw) died, many people apostatized, rejecting faith after having believed. Allah(swt) had previously warned them that, if they were ever to turn away from their religion, He(swt) would {“bring a people whom He will love and they will love him – humble towards the believers, stern towards the disbelievers, fighting in the way of Allah, and never afraid of the blame of blamers”}. Those people, it turned out, consisted of Abubakr(as) and the members of his army who fought against the apostates. That Allah(swt) lavished such praise upon Abubakr(as) and those under his command confirms Abubakr(as) as the rightful Khaleefah after the Prophet’s death. Allah’s promise in the above mentioned verse came true: Abubakr(as) and those under his command fought against the apostates, doing so for the sake of Allah(swt), and fearing no human being that stood in their way. Abubakr’s army defeated the apostates, an event that, when juxtaposed with aforementioned verse, leaves us with a clear message: No one deserved to be the first Khalfeefah of the Muslim nation more so than Imam Abubakr As-Siddeeq(as) did – may Allah be please with him and with all of the Prophet’s Companions(ra).


(B). Allah(swt) said: {“If you help him[Muhammad(saw)] not(it does not matter), for Allah did indeed help him when the disbelievers drove him out, the second of two, when they[Muhammad(saw) and Abubakr(as)] were in the cave, and He(saw) said to his companion(Abu Bakr) : “Be not sad(or afraid), surely Allah is with us”. Then Allah sent down His Sakinah(tranquillity) upon him, and strengthened him with forces(angels) which you saw not, and made the word of those who disbelieved the lowermost, while it was the Word of Allah that became the uppermost, and Allah is All-Mighty, All-Wise”}. (Quran 9:40).

    The logical connection between this verse and Abubakr’s rightful place as the first Khaleefah of the Muslim nation is more subtle than it was in the aforementioned verses. Here, Abubakr(as) is referred to as being “the second of two”. Imam Al-Qurtubee(rah) wrote that certain scholars said that Abubakr was not only “the second of two” in the cave, but also “the second of two” in the ranking of this nation’s members. Abubakr was the “second of two” in another sense as well: The Prophet(saw) was the first to invite people to embrace Islam and to fight those who attempted to hinder the progress of Islam’s propagation, and – in the capacity of the new overall leader of the Muslim nation after the Prophet’s death – Abubakr was the second to do those very same things.


(C). Quran states: {“ Guide us to the straight way. The way of those on whom You have bestowed Your Grace, not (the way) of those who earned Your Anger, nor of those who went astray”. (Quran 1: 6-7).}

       These are verses that every Muslim reads at least 17 times a day, and in them Allah(swt) orders Muslims to ask for the following:

To be guided to the path of “those on whom You have bestowed Your Grace”. Who are “those on whom You have bestowed Your Grace”? Allah(swt) answered this question in Chapter “An-Nisaa” when He(swt) said: {“And whoso obeys Allah and the Messenger[Muhammad(saw)] then they will be in the company of those on whom Allah has bestowed His Grace, of the Prophets, the Siddiqun, the martyrs, and the righteous. And how excellent these companions are!”} (Quran 4:69).

One of the categories of those “on whom You have bestowed Your Grace” consists of Siddiqun, or the truthful ones; and the Prophet(saw) informed us that Abubakr(as) is one of the Siddiqun; in fact He(as) is the best of them.

Since all Muslims- from the time of the Prophet(saw) onwards – ask Allah(swt) to guide them to the way of Abubakr(as) and others like him, it should come as no surprise that, with the death of Prophet(saw), Imam Abubakr(as) was more deserving than anyone else to assume the reins of leadership over the Muslim nation.

As Muhammad Al-Ameen Ash-Shinqeetee aptly put it: “We should take away from this verse a clear understanding that Abubakr was deserving of the Caliphate, for he is alluded to in Chapter ‘Al-Faatihah’. In ‘Al-Faatihah’, we ask Allah to guide us to that way of a certain group of people, and so it is established that the way of a certain group of people, and so it is established that the group of people is upon the straight path Allah(swt) said:{“Guide us to the straight way. The way of those on whom You have bestowed Your Grace, not of those who earned Your Anger, nor of those who went astray”.}

Elsewhere, Allah(swt) made clear the identities of {‘those on whom You have bestowed Your Grace}’, informing us that among them are the ‘Truthful Ones’. It is clear, therefore, that Abubakr was one of those {‘on whom You have bestowed Your Grace’}, one of those whose example we must follow if we are to be saved in the Hereafter. So yes, Abubakr was on the straight path; and yes, he was deserving of the Caliphate”. (Adwaa Al-Bayaan vol1, page 36).


(D). Allah(swt) said: {“Allah has promised those among you who believe, and do righteous good deeds, that He will certainly grant them succession to(the present rulers) in the earth, as He granted it to those before them, and that He will grant them the authority to practise their religion, that which He has chosen for them(i.e. Islam). And He will surely give them in exchange a safe security after their fear(provided) they (believers) worship Me and do not associate anything (in worship) with Me. But whoever disbelieved after this, they are the Fasiqun(rebellious, disobedient to Allah)”} (Quran 24:55).

     Based on the events that occurred during the thirty or so years after the Prophet’s death, this verse from Chapter “An-Noor” clearly applies to the caliphates of Abubakr(as) , Umar(as), Uthman(as) and Ali(as). Al-Hafidh ibn Katheer(rah) related that one of the eminent scholars from early generations of Islam said that the caliphates of Abubakr and Umar are referred to in the Book of Allah(swt), after which he proceeded to recite the above-mentioned Verse.


(E). Allah(swt) said: {“And there is also a share in this booty) for the poor emigrants, who were expelled from their homes and their property, seeking Bounties from Allah and to please Him. And helping Allah(i.e helping His religion) and His Messenger[Muhammad(saw)]. Such are indeed the truthful(to what they say)”.} (Quran 59:8).

     In this verse, Allah(swt) said that those who migrated from Makkah to Al-Madeenah – and at their forefront was Abubakr(as), who had the sole honor among them of making that journey in the blessed company of the Prophet(saw) – were “indeed the truthful(ones)”. As such, Allah(swt) bore witness to the truthfulness of Abubakr; therefore, neither Abubakr nor the other ‘poor emigrants’ who pledged allegiance to him could have been false or untrue to themselves or to others when they appointed Abubakr to lead them, and when Abubakr accepted their nomination and pledges of allegiance.


Ahadeeth that either Directly or Indirectly point to Abubakr’s Caliphate.

 It is stated in Aqeedah Ahlus-Sunnah Wal-Jamaa’ah: The Ahadeeth(narrations) that allude to Abubakr’s caliphate are so numerous and are related by so many narrators that it is impossible – even for the people of innovations – to give any plausible reason to reject them. Those that do reject such ahadeeth do so only out of intransigence and because of a perverse, deep-rooted hatred towards the Prophet’s Companions(ra). (Aqeedah Ahlus-Sunnah Wal-Jamaa’ah (vol 2, page 538), by Naasir Hasan Ash-Shaikh).

Some of those Ahadeeth refer directly to Abubakr’s caliphate, while others do so only in an implicit manner. Here, then, are some examples of those Ahadeeth:

(1). Jaabir ibn Mut’im said, “Once, when a woman went to the Prophet(saw), He(saw) ordered her to come back to him at a later time, She said, ‘Suppose that I come and do not find you’. It was as if she was hinting to the Prophet’s death. He(saw) replied: ‘If you do not find me , then go to Abubakr.” (Sahi Muslim 4/1856,1857 and Sahi Bukhari 3659).

Comment:  Commenting on this Hadeeth, Ibn Hajar(rah) said, “This hadeeth refutes the Shi’ites, who claim that Prophet(saw) appointed ‘Ali and Ibn Abbas to rule over the Muslim nation after his death”.(Fathul-Baaree vol 7, page 24).

(2). Hudhaifah said, “We were sitting down in the company of the Prophet(saw) when He said: “Verily, I do not know how much longer I will be among you, so follow those who come after me,” and He(saw) then pointed in the direction of Abubakr and Umar.(Silsilatul- Ahadeeth As-Saheehah, by Al-Albaani vol3, page 233, 236)

Comment: In other words Prophet(saw) said: follow those who will come after me: Abubakr(as) and Umar(as) who will rule over you when I am gone.

(3). Abu Hurairah reported that Messenger of Allah(saw) said: “While I was sleeping, I saw myself removing water from my Basin(on the day of Resurrection) and providing people with drink. Abubakr then came to me, took the bucket from my hand – in order to allow me to rest – and took out two bucketfuls(of water). The way in which he drew out water was characterized by a degree of weakness, and may Allah forgive me. Then (Umar)ibn Al-Khattab came and took the bucket from him. I never saw anyone who drew out(water) with greater strength than Umar. This continued until the people turned around and left, and yet(i.e even though many people drank from the basin) the basin was still full, and was still gushing forth with water”. (Sahi Muslim 4/1861, 1862).

Comment:  Commenting on this hadeeth, Ash-Shaafi’ee(rah) said, “The dreams of Prophets are (a form of) revelation”. When the Prophet(saw) said: “The way in which he drew out water was characterized by a degree of weakness,” he(saw) was referring to the short duration of Abubakr’s Caliphate, to his imminent death, and to the war he would fight in against the apostates – a war that would divert him from conquering new lands and expanding the borders of the Muslim nation. These were feats that Umar was able to accomplish due to the long duration of his Caliphate.(Al-Aitiqaad, by Al-Baihaqee page 171).

(4). Narrated Al-Qasim bin Muhammad:`Aisha, (complaining of headache) said, “Oh, my head”! Allah’s Messenger(saw) said, “I wish that had happened while I was still living, for then I would ask Allah’s Forgiveness for you and invoke Allah for you.” Aisha said, “Wa thuklayah! By Allah, I think you want me to die; and If this should happen, you would spend the last part of the day sleeping with one of your wives!” The Prophet(saw) said, “Nay, I should say, ‘Oh my head!’ I felt like sending for Abu Bakr and his son, and appoint him as my successor lest some people claimed something or some others wished something, but then I said (to myself), ‘Allah would not allow it to be otherwise, and the Muslims would prevent it to be otherwise”.(Sahih al-Bukhari #5666)

(5). A’isha reported that Allah’s Messenger (saw) in his (last) illness asked me to call Abu Bakr, her father, and her brother too, so that he might write a document, for he feared that someone else might be desirous (of succeeding him) and that some claimant may say: I have better claim to it, whereas Allah and the Faithful do not substantiate the claim of anyone but that of Abu Bakr.”(Sahih Muslim #2387).

Comment: The Prophet(saw) alluded here to how he expected some disagreement over the caliphate after his death, but at the same time made it clear that the disagreement would not last for long since the believers would, to be sure, refuse to have anyone other than Abubakr as their leader and Khaleefah. In the end, what transpired in the courtyard of Banu Saa’idah corresponded exactly to what the Prophet(saw) said in the aforementioned hadeeth: People disagreed with one another for short while, but then that disagreement was quickly followed by a unanimous decision to appoint Abubakr as their Khaleefah. (Aqeedah Ahlus-Sunnah Wal-Jamaa’ah Fis-Sahaabah vol 2 page 542).

(6). Ubaidullah ibn Abdullah said, “I entered upon Aaishah and said, ‘Will you not speak to me about the (final) illness of the Messenger of Allah(saw)”? Aaishah responded, ‘Yes’. When the Prophet’s limbs became stiff(because of his illness), he(saw) asked: ‘Have the people been led in Prayer?’ We said, ‘No, but they are waiting for you, O Messenger of Allah’. He(saw) said: “Pour some water for me into the container(so that I can perform ablution)”. We did as he asked, and he washed himself. He then stood up to leave, but was prevented from doing so when he passed out. Upon regaining consciousness, he(saw) asked, ‘Have the people performed prayer’? We said, ‘No’, and they are waiting for you, O Messenger of Allah’. He(saw) said, ‘Pour some water for me into the container’. After we did as he asked, and after he washed himself he got up to leave, but again he passed out. When he regained consciousness, he(saw) asked, ‘Have the people performed prayer?’ We said, ‘No, and they are waiting for you, O Messenger of Allah’. The people were gathered in the Masjid, and they were all waiting for the Messenger of Allah(saw) to come out and lead them in the late-night ‘Eesha prayer.(realizing that he was not able to go out), the Messenger of Allah(saw) sent word to Abubakr ordering him to lead the people in prayer. When the messenger came to us and said(to my father), ‘Verily, the Messenger of Allah orders you to lead the people in prayer,’ Abubakr who was a gentle-hearted man said, ‘O Umar, lead the people in prayer’. ‘Umar responded, ‘You are more deserving of that (honor)’. During the days that followed, Abubakr led the people in prayer. When the Messenger of Allah(saw) then found in himself a renewed feeling of energy and vigor, he went out, but(not being able to walk on his own) he had to be helped by two men, and one of them was Al-Abbaas. This happened during the Dhuhr prayer. By the time the Prophet(saw) went out, Abubakr had already commenced the prayer. Upon seeing the Prophet(saw), Abubakr made it clear that he was moving back(to the first row of the congregation, so that the Prophet(saw) could lead the prayer), but the Prophet(saw) signalled to him that he should not move back. The Prophet(saw) then said to his two helpers, ‘Seat me by his side’. They helped him sit down beside Abubakr, who then proceeded, while remaining in a standing position, to follow the prayer of the Prophet(saw), who was sitting down; Meanwhile, the people were following the prayer of Abubakr”.[Sahi Muslim (418), Sahi Bukharee (687)].

Comment: This hadeeth proves that, of all of the Prophet’s companions(ra) none was better than Abubakr(as); given that he was better than any other companion, it follows that he was most deserving of the Caliphate. Incidentally, we learn from this hadeeth that, if for whatever reason the Imam of a Masjid is not able to attend a specific prayer, he should appoint someone to take his place. And finally, this hadeeth establishes the superiority not just of Abubakr(as), but of Umar(as) as well – since Umar was the only person Abubakr turned towards when he wanted someone to leader the people in his stead. (Sharh An-Nawawee vol4, page 137).

(7). Abdullah ibn Mas’ood reported that, when the Messenger of Allah(saw) died, the people of the Ansaar said, “Let there be two rulers: one that will be chosen from among us ( the Ansaar), and one that will be chosen from among you (i.e, from among the Muhaajiroon)”. ‘Umar(as) went to them and said, “O people of the Ansaar, don’t you know that the Messenger of Allah(saw) ordered Abubakr to lead the people in prayer. So which one of you would be pleased with himself if he were to be placed ahead of Abubakr(in ranking or status)?” The people of the Ansaar responded, “We seek refuge from being placed ahead of Abubakr”. (Al-Mustadrak vol 3, page 67).

(8). Ibn Sa’ad reported that Ali said, “When the Prophet(saw) died, we reflected on our situation, realizing that the Prophet(saw) had put Abubakr forward for prayer. And so we were pleased to choose for our worldly affairs the same man that the Messenger of Allah was please to choose for our religious affairs. Thus it was that we put Abubakr forward for the Caliphate”.(At-Tabaqaat, by Ibn Sa’ad vol 3 page 183).

Comment: Al-Baaqaalanee said, “Ali said to Abubakr: The Messenger of Allah(saw) put you forward(ahead of all of us) for our religious affairs; should we not then be pleased with you for our worldly affairs? Here, Ali was referring to when the Prophet(saw) ordered Abubakr to lead the pilgrims during the Hajj of 9H, and when the Prophet(saw) during his final illness ordered Abubakr to lead the people in prayer. Indeed Abubakr was the best of this nation, being blessed with the strongest faith, the most knowledge, and the deepest understanding of the religion”.(Al-Insaaf Feema Yajibu ‘Aitiqaaduhu Wala Yajoozul-Jahl Bihi, page 65).

 To be sure, Abubakr(as) was the right and only candidate for the Caliphate. As Abul-Hasan Al-Asharee put it, “That the Prophet(saw) placed Abubakr ahead of all of his Companions is something that every Muslim is required to know. It proves beyond a doubt that, of all of the Prophet’s companions, Abubakr was the most knowledgeable, and he knew the most Quran. In a narration that is not only authentic, but is also agreed upon by all scholars, the Messenger of Allah(saw) said, ‘The one who leads the people should be he who knows the most from the Book of Allah. If more than one of them are equal in recitation, then it should be the most knowledgeable regarding the Sunnah. If they are equal regarding their knowledge of the Sunnah, then it should be the eldest among them. And if they are equal in age, it should be the first of them to have accepted Islam”. Ibn Katheer(rah) said, “This saying of Al-Asharee, may Allah have mercy on him, is something that should be written down with gold ink. We should remember that the qualities that are mentioned in the hadeeth he quoted are all qualities that were possessed by Abubakr”. (Al-Bidaayah Wan-Nihaayah vol 5, page 265).


Why Prophet Muhammad(saw) did not give a direct command to appoint Imam Abubakr(ra) as the Caliph over Muslims after him?

Answer:  Based on all of the aforementioned proofs, we are convinced that the Prophet(saw) clearly ordered Muslims to appoint Abubakr(as) as their Khaleefah; that order, however was given in an indirect manner. The reason why the Prophet(saw) did not give a direct command was that he knew, based on what Allah informed him of through revelation, that the Muslims would choose Abubakr, knowing fully well that no one among them was more deserving of the position than he was.(Aqeedah Ahlus-Sunnah Wal-Jamaa’ah vol2, page 548).

Abul Abbas Ahmed Ibn Taymiyyah(rah) said, “In conclusion, it is clear that, through his sayings and deeds, the Prophet(saw) indicated on many occasions that his companions should choose Abubakr(as) as the first Khaleefah of the Muslim nation. The Prophet(saw) intended to write a letter confirming his decision, but then he came to know that the Muslims would choose Abubakr anyway, and so, based on that knowledge, he decided not to write the letter. Had there been any doubt in his mind regarding whether or not his companions would choose the right candidate, He(saw) would have made the matter crystal-clear for them; instead, he knew that they would make the right decision, and so he deemed it sufficient to indicate to them on numerous occasions and in many ways that Abubakr was his choice to be the Khaleefah after his death”.

Ibn Taymiyyah(rah) went on to a mention a good reason why the Prophet(saw) did not give a clear and direct command to his companions concerning Abubakr’s appointment to the Caliphate. Had the Prophet(saw) given such a command,  Abubakr’s caliphate would have been confirmed through revelation only – that is, through Verses of the Quran and sayings of the Prophet(saw). But as matters stood, or in other words, since the Prophet(saw) did not give a direct command, Abubakr’s caliphate was confirmed not only through revelation – verses of the Quran and sayings of the Prophet that alluded to Abubak’r caliphate – but also through ‘Ijmaa’, or the consensus of the Muslim nation. Therefore, it was not only Allah who chose Abubakr – which He infact did through His Divine Preordainment, and through Verses of the Quran that alluded to Abubakr’s Caliphate; nor was it the Prophet(saw) alone who chose Abubakr – which he infact did through indirect means; but it was also the believers who chose him. This amounted to a triple honor for Abubakr : He was chosen by Allah, His Messenger(saw) and the believers. Therefore, the Prophet(saw) came to the correct conclusion that no specific appointment letter was required.[(Minhaaj As-Sunnah vol1, page 139-141) and (Majmoo’ Al-Fataawah 935/47-49)]

{Taken from the book, “The Biography of Abu Bakr As-Siddeeq”, by Dr. Ali Muhammad Muhammad As-Sallaabee, page 221 to 234}

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