Khalifa Abu Bakr - Appointment of Umar as his Successor

Khalifa Abu Bakr - Appointment of Umar as his Successor

Nomination of successor. Realizing that his end was drawing near, Abu Bakr felt that he should nominate his successor so that the issue should not be a cause of dissension among the Muslims after his death. Abu Bakr summoned Abdul Rahman bin Auf, and asked for his opinion about the nomination of Umar as the Caliph, Abdul Rahman favored the nomination. Some other companions were also consulted. The general consensus was that Umar was the fittest person to be appointed as the Caliph. Usaid bin Hudai said, "After you, O Caliph, Umar is the most deserving person for the office of the Caliph. There is none more resolute than he among us. His inner self is better than his exterior." Usman favored the nomination and remarked, "What is hidden of Umar is better than what outwardly appears; there is not his equal amongst us." Sayeed bin Zaid supported the proposal emphatically.

The general consensus. The general consensus was that Umar was the fittest person to be nominated as the Caliph. There was, however, an under current of feeling that Umar had the fiery and irascible temper, and he might not be able to show moderation so necessary for the head of the community. Abu Bakr observed that Umar's display of severity was meant to counteract his (Abu Bakr's) leniency. Abu Bakr felt that when the full responsibility of government was devolved upon Umar, he would become moderate in his opinion. Abu Bakr said: "I can say from my personal experience that Umar has always cooled me down whenever I have lost my temper with any one, just as whenever he felt me to be too lenient he counseled greater severity. For this reason I feel certain that with time, Umar will achieve the moderation that you desire."

Objection of Talha. Talha who was related to Abu Bakr, and perhaps coveted the caliphate for himself objected to the nomination of Umar. He said: "O successor of the Prophet, you knew full well how harsh Umar has been towards us all during your regime, and God only knows what he will meet to us when you are gone. You know that you are leaving us forever, and yet you are content to leave us in the hands of a man whose fierce and ungovernable rages are well known to you. Think O Chief, what answer will you give to Your Lord for such a behest?"

At this objection of Talha, Abu Bakr who was lying prostrate on his bed rose up with considerable effort and addressing Talha said: "Have you come to frighten me? I swear that when I meet my Lord, I will gladly tell Him that I appointed as ruler over His people, the man who was the best of them all."