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Title – The Message   Preface   Arabian Peninsula the Cradle of Islamic Culture   Arabia before Islam   Conditions of Roman and Iranian Empires   Ancestors of the Prophet   Birth of the Prophet   Childhood of the Prophet   Rejoining the Family   Period of Youth   From Shepherd to Merchant   From Marriage up to Prophethood   The First Manifestation of Reality   The First Revelation   Who were the First Persons to Embrace Islam?   Cessation of revelation   General Invitation   Judgement of Quraysh about the Holy Qur’an   The First Migration   Rusty Weapons   The Fiction of Gharaniq   Economic Blockade   Death of Abu Talib   Me’raj – The Heavenly Ascension   Journey to Ta’if   The Agreement of Aqabah   The Event of Migration   The Events of the First Year of Migration   Some Events of the First and Second years of Migration   The Events of the Second Year of Migration   Change of Qiblah   The Battle of Badr   Dangerous Designs of the Jews   The Events of the Third Year of Migration   The Events of the Third and Fourth years of Migration   The Jews Quit the Zone of Islam   The Events of the Fourth Year of Migration   The Events of the Fifth Year Of Migration   The Battle of Ahzab   The Last Stage of Mischief   The Events of the Fifth and Sixth years of Migration   The events of the Sixth Year of Migration   A Religious and Political Journey   The Events of the Seventh Year of Migration   Fort of Khayber the Centre of Danger   The Story of Fadak   The Lapsed ‘Umrah   The Events of the Eighth Year of Migration   The Battle of Zatus Salasil   The Conquest of Makkah   The Battle of Hunayn   The Battle of Ta’if   The Famous Panegyric of Ka’b Bin Zuhayr   The Events of the Ninth Year of Migration   The Battle of Tabuk   The Deputation of Thaqif goes to Madina   The Prophet Mourning for his Son   Eradication of Idol-Worship in Arabia   Representatives of Najran in Madina   The Events of the Tenth Year of Migration   The Farewell Hajj   Islam is completed by the Appointment of Successor   The Events of the Eleventh Year of Migration   A Will which was not written   The Last Hours of the Prophet  

Restatement of the History of Islam & Muslims

By Sayed Ali Asgher Razawy


Chapter# /Title

1: Title
2: Chapter 1: Introduction
3: Chapter 2: The Geography of Arabia
4: Chapter 3: Before Islam
5: Chapter 4: Banu Hashim – Before the Birth of Islam
6: Chapter 5: The Birth of Muhammad and the Early Years of his Life
7: Chapter 6: The Marriage of Muhammad Mustafa and Khadija
8: Chapter 7: The Birth of Ali ibn Abi Talib
9: Chapter 8: On the Eve of the Proclamation of His Mission
10: Chapter 9: The Birth of Islam and the Proclamation by Muhammad of his Mission
11: Chapter 10: Early Converts to Islam and their persecution
12: Chapter 11: The Two Migrations of Muslims to Abyssinia (A.D. 615-616)
13: Chapter 12: Hamza Accepts Islam – A.D. 615
14: Chapter 13: Umar’s Conversion to Islam – A.D. 616
15: Chapter 14: The Economic and Social Boycott of the Banu Hashim (A.D. 616-619)
16: Chapter 15: The Deaths of Khadija and Abu Talib – A.D. 619
17: Chapter 16: Muhammad’s Visit to Ta’if
18: Chapter 17: The New Horizons of Islam
19: Chapter 18: The Hijra (Migration)
20: Chapter 19: The First Year of Hijra
21: Chapter 20: The Battles of Islam
22: Chapter 21: The Second Year of the Hijra
23: Chapter 22: The Battle of Badr
24: Chapter 23: The Marriage of Fatima Zahra and Ali ibn Abi Talib
25: Chapter 24: The Battle of Uhud
26: Chapter 25: The Birth of Hasan and Husain
27: Chapter 26: The Battle of the Trench
28: Chapter 27: The Muslims and the Jews
29: Chapter 28: The Treaty of Hudaybiyya
30: Chapter 29: The Conquest of Khyber
31: Chapter 30: The Battle of Mootah
32: Chapter 31: The Campaign of Dhat es-Salasil
33: Chapter 32: The Conquest of Makkah
34: Chapter 33: The Battle of Hunayn
35: Chapter 34: The Expedition of Tabuk
36: Chapter 35: The Proclamation of Surah Bara’ah or Al Tawbah
37: Chapter 36: The Last Expedition
38: Chapter 37: The Farewell Pilgrimage
39: Chapter 38: The Coronation of Ali ibn Abi Talib as the Future Sovereign of the Muslims and as Head of the Islamic State
40: Chapter 39: Usama’s Expedition
41: Chapter 40: Abu Bakr as Leader in Prayers (s)
42: Chapter 41: The Unwritten Testament of the Messenger of God
43: Chapter 42: The Wives of the Muhammad the Apostle of God
44: Chapter 43: The Death of Muhammad, the Messenger of God
45: Chapter 44: The Reaction of the Family and the Companions of Muhammad Mustafa to his Death
46: Chapter 45: Muhammad Mustafa and his Succession
47: Chapter 46: The Sunni Theory of Government
48: Chapter 47: The Struggle for Power I
49: Chapter 48: The Struggle for Power II
50: Chapter 49: The Struggle for Power III
51: Chapter 50: The Struggle for Power IV
52: Chapter 51: A Critique of Saqifa
53: Chapter 52: Saqifa and the Logic of History
54: Chapter 53: Saad ibn Ubada, the Ansari Candidate for Caliphate
55: Chapter 54: Abu Bakr the first Khalifa of the Muslims
56: Chapter 55: Principal Events of the Caliphate of Abu Bakr
57: Chapter 56: Democracy and the Muslims
58: Chapter 57: Umar bin al-Khattab, the Second Khalifa of the Muslims
59: Chapter 58: Uthman, the Third Khalifa of the Muslims
60: Chapter 59: Ali ibn Abi Talib, the Fourth Caliph of the Muslims
61: Chapter 60: Prelude to the War
62: Chapter 61: The Battle of Basra (the battle of Camel)
63: Chapter 62: The Change of Capital from Medina to Kufa
64: Chapter 63: The Revival of the Umayyads
65: Chapter 64: The Battle of Siffin
66: Chapter 65: The Death of Malik al-Ashtar and the Loss of Egypt
67: Chapter 66: The Assassination of Ali
68: Chapter 67: Some Reflections on Ali’s Caliphate
69: Chapter 68: Ali’s Internal and External and Internal Policy
70: Chapter 69: Ali as an Apostle of Peace
71: Chapter 70: Ali and the Ideals of Freedom and Liberty
72: Chapter 71: A List of “Firsts” in Islam
73: Chapter 72:The “Indispensability Equation” of Islam
74: Chapter 73: The Sacrifices of Muhammad for Islam
75: Chapter 74: The Major Failure of Abu Bakr and Umar
76: Chapter 75: Who Wrote the History of Islam and How?

Chapter 40:

Abu Bakr as Leader in Prayers (s)

The Sunni historians claim that when Muhammad Mustafa was unable to attend the public prayers because of his illness, he ordered Abu Bakr to lead the congregational prayers, and they put this forward as “proof” that he wanted him (Abu Bakr) to become his successor.

There are various versions of this story extant. According to one, Bilal came to ask the Prophet if he would lead the prayer, and he said: “No, tell Abu Bakr to lead the prayer.”

There is a second version in which at prayer time, the Prophet asked a certain Abdullah bin Zama’a where was Abu Bakr. Ibn Zama’a went out to call Abu Bakr but could not find him. But he found Umar, and asked him to lead the prayer. But when Umar called the takbir (Allah-o-Akbar), the Prophet heard him, and said: “No! No! Allah and the believers forbid that. Tell Abu Bakr to do so.”

As per the third story, the Prophet asked those around him if the time for prayer had come. They said that it had, whereupon he asked them to tell Abu Bakr to lead the congregation. But his wife, Ayesha, said that her father was a very tenderhearted man, and if he saw his (the Prophet’s) place in the mosque empty, he (Abu Bakr) would cry, and no one would be able to hear his voice. But he (the Prophet) insisted that Abu Bakr act as the prayer-leader. 

There are some other stories also like these in the history books and the substance of them all is that Abu Bakr led the congregation in prayer(s) during the last days of the Prophet on this earth.

Muhammad ibn Ishaq

Ibn Shihab said, Abdullah b. Abu Bakr b. Abdur Rahman b. al-Harith b. Hisham told me from his father from Abdullah b. Zama’a b. al-Aswad b. al-Muttalib b. Asad that when the Apostle was seriously ill and I with a number of Muslims was with him, Bilal called him to prayer, and he told us to order someone to preside at prayer. So I went out and there was Umar with the people, but Abu Bakr was not there. I told Umar to get up and lead the prayers, so he did so, and when he shouted Allah Akbar, the Apostle heard his voice, for he had a powerful voice, and he asked where Abu Bakr was, saying twice over, “God and the Muslims forbid that.” So I was sent to Abu Bakr and he came after Umar had finished that prayer and presided. Umar asked me what on earth I had done, saying, “When you told me to lead the prayer, I thought that the Apostle had given you orders to that effect; but for that I would not have done so.” I replied that he had not ordered me to do so, but when I could not find Abu Bakr I thought that he (Umar) was most worthy of those present to lead the prayer. (The Life of the Messenger of God)

Foregoing is the earliest extant account of the story that Abu Bakr led the prayers. Its narrator was Abdullah b. Zama’a. He himself says that the Apostle ordered him to ask someone which means anyone, to lead the prayer, and he did not specifically mention Abu Bakr. Even later, when the Apostle forbade Umar to lead the prayer, he did not order Abu Bakr to take his place. He merely asked where was Abu Bakr? 

Abdullah b. Zama’a thought that Umar was “most worthy” to lead the prayer but the Apostle of God did not agree with him.

Sir William Muir

It is related that on one occasion Abu Bakr happened not to be present when the summons to prayer was sounded by Bilal, and that Umar having received, as he erroneously believed, the command of Mohammed to officiate in his room, stood up in the mosque, and in his powerful voice commenced the Takbir, “Great is the Lord!” preparatory to the service. Mohammed overhearing this from his apartment, called out with energy, “No! No! No! The Lord and the whole body of believers forbid it! None but Abu Bakr! Let no one lead the prayer but only he.” (The Life of Mohammed, London, 1877)

As stated above, according to the Sunni historians, the purpose of the Apostle in ordering Abu Bakr to lead the prayers was to “promote” the latter as his successor.

It is entirely possible that Abu Bakr led the Muslims in prayer in the lifetime of the Apostle himself. What, however, is not clear is if he did so at the orders of the Apostle, or, at least with his tacit approval. The claim that Abu Bakr led the prayers at the orders of the Prophet is open to question because he was a subaltern in Usama’s army, and the Apostle had ordered him to leave Medina and to report to his Commanding Officer at Jorf which, apparently, he never did. 

Even if it is assumed that the Apostle ordered Abu Bakr to act as an Imam (prayer-leader), it is still not clear how it became an “endorsement” of his candidacy for succession. After all, Abu Bakr himself, Umar bin al-Khattab, and Abu Obaida ibn al-Jarrah, all three had served under Amr bin Aas in the campaign of Dhat es-Salasil, and had offered their prayers behind him for many weeks. Amr bin Aas had made it plain to all three of them that he was their boss not only in the army but also as a leader in religious services. 

As already noted, the Sunni Muslims assert that the Prophet chose Abu Bakr to lead the public prayers just before his death because he wanted the latter to be his khalifa. 

Ibn Hajar Makki, a Sunni historian, says in his book, Tatheer al-Janan (page 40):

“Abu Bakr led Muslims in prayer (at the orders of the Apostle). It is, therefore, the consensus of all scholars that his khilafat was by the fiat of the Apostle.”

But the same Sunnis also hold the view that leading other Muslims in prayer does not confer any merit upon the leader himself, and that it is not necessary for a man to be “qualified” to act as an Imam (prayer-leader). In this connection, they quote the following “tradition” of the Prophet of Islam on the authority of Abu Hurayra:

Abu Hurayra reports that the Apostle of God said that:

“Prayer is a mandatory duty for you, and you can offer it behind any Muslim even if he is a fasiq (even if he commits major sins).”

According to this “tradition” a fasiq (sinner) is just as well qualified to be an Imam (prayer-leader) as a saint; in the matter of acting as Imam, the sinner and the saint enjoy parity!

John Alden Williams

And hearing and obeying the Imams and the Commanders of the believers (is necessary) – whoever received the Caliphate, whether he is pious or profligate, whether the people agreed on him and were pleased with him or whether he attacked them with the sword until he became Caliph and was called “Commander of the Believers.” Going on a holy war (Jihad) is efficacious with a pious or with a dissolute commander until the day of Resurrection; one does not abandon him. Division of the spoils of war and applying the punishments prescribed by the Law is for the Imams. It is not for anyone to criticize them or contend with them. Handing over the alms-money to them (for distribution) is permissible and efficacious; whoever pays them has fulfilled his obligation whether (the Imam) was pious or dissolute. The collective prayer behind the Imam and those he delegates is valid and complete; both prostrations. Whoever repeats them is an innovator, abandoning the tradition and opposed to the Sunna. There is no virtue in his Friday prayer at all, if he does not believe in praying with the Imams, whoever they are, good or bad; the Sunna is to pray two prostrations with them and consider the matter finished. On that let there be no doubt in your bosom. (Some Essential Hanbali Doctrines from a Credal Statement in Themes of Islamic Civilization, p. 31, 1971).

According to the Hanbali verdict quoted above, anyone and everyone can lead the Muslims in prayer. Abu Hurayra and Abu Sufyan are as much qualified to become prayer-leaders as Abu Bakr. This opinion was formulated by the later generations of the Muslims. One man who didn’t share it with them, was Muhammad Mustafa, the Interpreter of God’s Last Message to mankind. He considered Umar bin al-Khattab “unqualified” to lead the Muslims in prayer, and forbade him to do so.

The Shia Muslims discount as spurious the “tradition” which Abu Hurayra has attributed to the Prophet of Islam that it is lawful to offer prayer behind anyone, even a fasiq. They say that an Imam (a prayer-leader) must be:

1.    A Muslim

2.    A male

3.    An adult

4.    Sane

5.    Just (‘Adil)

6.    Knowledgeable

7.    A man of good reputation, i.e., one known to possess good character.

The story that Abu Bakr led Muslims in prayer in the lifetime of the Prophet, is either true or it is false. If it is true, then it means that he carried out a duty which according to Abu Hurayra and the Sunni jurists and scholars, anyone and everyone else was qualified to perform, and it did not make him “special” in any way; if it is false, then it means that he did not lead any prayer-meeting at all when the Prophet was still alive. 

But if this report is true, then it also means that any prayer offered behind Umar bin al-Khattab, is void. The Prophet said that God Himself didn’t want Umar to act as prayer-leader. Umar’s insistence upon leading the Muslims in prayer, before or after the death of the Prophet, could not possibly make those prayers less unacceptable to God!





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