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The Islamic World
The Islamic World

Khalifa Abu Bakr - The Debate

Abu Bakr's appeal to the Ansar. When Abu Bakr, Umar and Abu Ubaidah reached Saqeefa Bani Sa'idah the Ansars were on the verge of electing Sa'id bin Ubadah, the Ansar leader, as the successor to the Holy Prophet. Abu Bakr took the stage and brought home to the people assembled, the gravity of the problem. He pointed out that the matter did not concern the citizens of Madina alone; it was a matter of concern for all the Arabs who had become Muslims. All the Arab tribes were not likely to accept the leadership of the Ansars, particularly when there were differences among the two principal tribes of the Ansars themselves. Abu Bakr pointed out that under the circumstances the Quraish who were the custodians of the Kaaba could alone provide the leadership for the Muslim community. Addressing his appeal to the Ansar he said: "O Ansar, none can deny the superiority of your position in religion or the greatness of your eminence in Islam. You were chosen by Allah as the helpers of His religion and His Apostle. To you the Prophet was sent on his emigration from Makkah and from you come the majority of his companions and his wives. Indeed in position you are next only to the earliest companions. Therefore it would be fair if we take the Amirat and you accept the ministry. You should not be obstinate in your stand. We assure you that we will do nothing without consulting you."

The Debate. After the address of Abu Bakr, Habab bin Mandhar an Ansar leader rose to say that the Amirat was the right of the Ansars and they could not forego their right. He added that the utmost concession that they could make in favor of the emigrants was that they could have two Amirs, one from the Ansars and the other from the emigrants,

Umar said that Islam stood for unity-one God, one Prophet, and one Quran. It followed as a necessary corollary that the Muslim community should have one Amir. lf the proposal of having two Amirs was once accepted, other people would later lay claim to the election of an Amir from them. Such multiple Amirat would lead to the disintegration of the Islamic polity. Umar emphasized that in the interest of the solidarity of Islam they could not have more than one Amir, and it was imperative that such Amir should be from the Quraish, the tribe of the Holy Prophet.


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