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The Islamic World
The Islamic World

Khalifa Abu Bakr - The Monk Bahira

Abu Bakr. Having been bred up in the early years in the midst of the Bedouins who called themselves 'Ahl-i-Ba'eer'- the people of the camel, he developed particular fondness for camels. In the early years he played with the young ones of the camels, and his love for the camels earned him the surname of "Abu Bakr-the father of the foal of the camel."

Abu Bakr's encounter with the idols of the Ka'aba. A story is preserved that once when Abu Bakr was a child, his father took him to the Ka'aba, and asked him to pray before the idols. His father went away to attend to some other business, and Abu Bakr was left alone with the idols. Addressing an idol, Abu Bakr said, "O my God, I am in need of beautiful clothes, bestow them on me." The idol remained indifferent. Then Abu Bakr addressing another idol said, "O God, give me some delicious food. I am so hungry." The idol remained cold to the prayer. That exhausted the patience of young Abu Bakr. He lifted a stone, and addressing an idol said, "Here I am aiming a stone; if you are a God protect yourself." Abu Bakr hurled the stone at the idol, which broke into pieces. Abu Bakr left the Ka'aba. Thereafter Abu Bakr never prayed to the idols in the Ka'aba. This Abraham style of encounter with the idols made Abu Bakr a Muslim at heart long before his formal profession of Islam.

The monk Bahira. Jalal-ud-Din Syuti has preserved an account that when at the age of twelve, the Holy Prophet accompanied his Uncle Abu Talib along with a trade caravan, Abu Bakr was also with the caravan. The Holy Prophet reclined under a lote tree. The monk Bahira asked Abu Bakr as to who was the person who was reclining under the lote tree. Abu Bakr told the monk that he was Muhammad the son Abdullah. Thereupon the monk said, "Then, by Allah he is the prophet for none has taken shelter under this tree since the time of Jesus, the son of Mary." The war of Fijar. During the eighties of the sixth century, there was the war of Fijar between the Hawazin and the Quraish. We know that the Holy Prophet participated in this war, and his role lay in picking up the stray arrows thrown by the enemy, and handing to his Uncle Abu Talib. The sources are silent about the participation of Abu Bakr. We can, however, safely presume that Abu Bakr would have also participated in this war and played some peripheral role. Hilf-ul-Fudul. After the war of Fijar, the "Hif-ul-Fudul" was set up at Makkah. Its avowed object was to help all wronged persons I the redressing of their wrongs. The Holy Prophet often said that he was proud of the oath that he had taken about the fulfillment of the objectives of the "Hilf-ul-Fudul." The sources make no reference to Abu Bakr in this respect. The organization was set up at the house of Abdullah b Jad'aan who belonged to the same clan of the Quraish as Abu Bakr, we have thus reason to presume that Abu Bakr was also a member of the league and subscribed to its objective. Disciplined life. Though bred and brought up in an aristocratic family in the midst of an idolatrous society, conspicuous for indulgence in wine, women, and gambling. Abu Bakr resisted these temptations and led a disciplined life avoiding the frolics, frivolities, and dissipations that characterized the life of the contemporary youth of Makkah. Once Abu Bakr was asked whether he ever drank wine during the days of ignorance. He replied, "God forbid, I never touched wine even in the days of ignorance." He was asked, "why", and he said, "I sought to preserve my reputation and retain my decorum, and verily he who drinks wine destroys his reputation and his decorum." This shows that Abu Bakr enjoyed a good reputation and was known for his decorum.

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