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Abu Bakr As-Siddiq (Abdallah ibn Abi Quhafa) ( , c. 573 CE – 23 August 634/13 AH) was Muhammad's father-in-law, closest companion and adviser, who succeeded to the Prophet's political and administrative functions, thereby initiating the office of the caliphate. He was also the first convert to Islam, after Khadija, Muhammad's first wife. Muhammad conferred on him the title Siddiq, the veracious, for his power to discern the truth. Upon Muhammad's death he became the first Muslim ruler (632–634), regarded in Sunni Islam as the first of the Rashidun (righteously guided Caliphs).In Shia Islam, he is, however, regarded as a usurper and political opportunist. His caliphate lasted two years and three months, during which time he consolidated the Muslim state. Upon the death of Muhammad, some tribes rebelled, and in return he fought the Ridda wars against these Arab tribes to establish Islamic rule over all of Arabia. He also conquered the lands of Syriamarker and Iraqmarker. Abu Bakr is also well known for collecting the verses of the Quran and putting them into the final book read by Muslims today. Many Hafiz (a person who commits the Quran to memory) had died in the previous wars so he was concerned about the preservation of the Quran. He also stopped the Quran being translated into different versions of Arabic.


Full name 'Abd Allah ibn 'Uthman ibn Amir ibn Amru ibn Ka'ab ibn Sa'ad ibn Taim ibn Murrah ibn Ka'ab ibn Lu'ai ibn Ghalib ibn Fihr al-Quraishi at-Taimi.

Early life

Abu Bakr was born in Mecca some time in the year 573 CE, in the Banu Taym branch of the Quraysh tribe. Abu Bakr's father's name was Uthman Abu Qahafa nicknamed Abu Qahafa, and his mother was Salma Umm-ul-Khair nicknamed Umm-ul-Khair. The birth name of Abu Bakr was 'Abdullah (servant of Allah). Abu Bakr was a thin man with white skin. Tabari relates (Suyuti also relates the same through Ibn Sa'd al-Baghdadi's report) from Aisha her description of Abu Bakr:

He was a man with fair skin, thin, emaciated, with a sparse beard, a slightly hunched frame, sunken eyes and protruding forehead, and the bases of his fingers were hairless.

By most reports he was very handsome, and for his beauty he earned the nickname of Atiq. He was born in a rich family. He spent his early childhood like other Arab children of the time among the Bedouins who called themselves Ahl-i-Ba'eer- the people of the camel, he developed a particular fondness for camels.

In his early years he played with the camel foals and goats, and his love for camels earned him the nickname of Abu Bakr, the father of the foal of the camel. According to Imam Suyuti's Tehreek-e- Khulufa it is mentioned that he didn't worship idols since his youth. When Abu Bakr was 10 years old he went to Syria along with his father with the merchants' caravan. Muhammad who was 12 years old at the time, was also with the caravan. Like other children of the rich Meccan merchant families, Abu Bakr was literate and developed a fondness for poetry. He used to attend the annual fair at Ukaz, and participate in poetical symposia. He had a very good memory and had a good knowledge of the genealogy of the Arab tribes. In 591 at the age of 18, Abu Bakr went into trade and adopted the profession of a cloth merchant which was the family's business. In the coming years Abu Bakr traveled extensively with caravans. Business trips took him to Yemenmarker, Syria, and elsewhere. These travels brought him wealth and added to his experience. His business flourished and he rose in the scale of social importance. Though his father Uthman Abu Qahafa was still alive, he came to be recognized as chief of his tribe. Abu Bakr was assigned the office of awarding blood money in cases of murder. His office was something like the office of an honorary magistrate. Abu Bakr was an expert in genealogical lore and he knew intimately who was who in Mecca, and what his ancestry was.

During Muhammad's times

When Muhammad married Khadijah bint Khuwaylid and moved to her house, he became a neighbor of Abu Bakr who lived in the same locality. That was the quarter of Meccan aristocracy. Like the house of Khadija, the house of Abu Bakr was double storied and palatial in structure.

As neighbors, Muhammad and Abu Bakr came in contact with each other. Both of them were of the same age, traders and good managers.

Acceptance of Islam

On his return from a business trip from Yemenmarker, he was informed by some of his friends that in his absence Muhammad had declared himself as the Messenger of God, and proclaimed a new religion. Abu Bakr was to Sunni Islam the first akhir baligh (post-puberty) free male to accept Muhammad's prophethood though Shias maintain Abu Talib and other adult members of Muhammad's immediate blood family were, i.e. the Hashemites. Some Sunnis accept Abu Talib may have been the first adult male convert, other dispute he ever converted. Scholars, as well as other Sunnis and all Shi'a Muslims maintain that the second person (and first male) to publicly accept Muhammed as the messenger of Allah was Ali ibn Abi Talib, though to Shias Ali always knew of Muhammad 's status through pre-knowledge. However, 'Ali was still a pre-pubescent child when he accepted Islam, and therefore may have been excluded from the duties of a Muslim. Also Abu Bakr was the first person outside the family of Muhammad to openly become a Muslim.

Life after accepting Islam

His birthname was 'Abdullah. His wife Qutaylah bint Abd-al-Uzza did not accept Islam and he divorced her. His other wife, Um Ruman, became a Muslim. All his children except ‘Abd ar-Rahman ibn Abi Bakr accepted Islam, and Abu Bakr separated from his son Abdur Rahman.

His conversion brought the most benefit to Islam. Abu Bakr's dawah brought many people to Islam. He persuaded his intimate friends to convert to Islam. He presented Islam to others in such a way that many of his friends opted for Islam. Those who converted to Islam at the instance of Abu Bakr were:

Abu Bakr's acceptance proved to be a milestone in Muhammad's mission. Slavery was common in Mecca, and many slaves accepted Islam. When an ordinary free man accepted Islam, despite opposition, he would enjoy the protection of his tribe. For slaves however, there was no such protection, and were subjected to persecution. He gave 40.000 dinar for the sake of Islam. Abu Bakr felt for these slaves, so he purchased them and set them free. Abu Bakr purchased the freedom of eight slaves, four men and four women.

The men were: The women were:

Most of the slaves liberated by Abu Bakr were either women or old and frail men. The father of Abu Bakr asked him to for why doesn't he liberate strong and young slaves who could be a source of strength for him, Abu Bakr replied that he was freeing the slaves for the sake of Allah, and not for his own sake.According to Sunni tradition the following verses of the Qur'an were revealed due to this:

He who gives in charity and fears Allah And in all sincerity testifies to the Truth; We shall indeed make smooth for him the path of Bliss {92:5-7}.

Those who spend their wealth for increase in self-purification; And have in their minds no favor from any one For which a reward is expected in return, But only the desire to seek the Countenance, Of their Lord, Most High; And soon they shall attain complete satisfaction {92:8-21}.

Shias maintain these verses were revealed about Ali.

Persecution by the Quraysh

For three years after the advent of Islam, Muslims kept secret their faith, and prayed in secret. In 613 Muhammad decided to call people to Islam openly. The first public address inviting people to offer allegiance to Muhammad was delivered by Abu Bakr. In a fit of fury the young men of the Quraysh tribe rushed at Abu Bakr, and beat him mercilessly till he lost consciousness. Following this incident Abu Bakr's mother converted to Islam. Abu Bakr was persecuted many times by the Quraysh.

Last years in Mecca

In 617, the Quraysh enforced a boycott against the Banu Hashim. Muhammad along with his supporters from Banu Hashim, were shut up in a pass away from Meccamarker. All social relations with the Banu Hashim were cut off and their state was that of imprisonment. Before it many Muslims migrated to Abyssiniamarker (now Ethiopia). Abu Bakr, feeling distress, set out for Yemen and then to Abyssinia from there. He met a friend of his named Ad-Dughna (chief of the Qarah tribe) outside Mecca, who invited Abu Bakr to seek his protection against the Quraysh. Abu Bakr went back to Mecca, it was a relief for him, but soon due to the pressure of Quraysh, Ad-Dughna was forced to renounce his protection. Once again the Quraysh were free to persecute Abu Bakr. In the year 620 Muhammad's wife and uncle died. Abu Bakr's daughter Aisha was engaged to Muhammad, however it was decided that the actual marriage ceremony would be held later. In the year 620 Abu Bakr was the first person to testify to Muhammad's Isra and Mi'raj (night Journey). According to Sunni traditions, he was given title al-Siddîq, meaning "the truthful," "the upright," or "the one who counts true," due to his immediate belief of the journey. During the Roman-Persian Wars, the sympathies of the Quraysh of Mecca was with the Persians who were Zoroastrian. The Muslims on the other hand had their sympathies for the Byzantines who were Christians and were the People of the Book with a belief in the Abrahamic God. After the Persian victories over Byzantine, verses of the Qur'an revealed of Surah rum with the prophesy that Byzantine (Romans) will regain what they lost and the Persians will be defeated within few years. Over this Abu Bakr had a wager with Ubaiy bin Khalf, it was decided that one who lost the wager will pay one hundred camels. With a decisive Byzantine victory in 627 against the Persians, Abu Bakr won the wager, though Ubaiy bin Khalf was not alive but his heirs honored the agreement and gave Abu Bakr one hundred camels. Abu Bakr gave away all the camels as charity.

Migration to Medina

In 622 on the invitation of the Muslims of Medinamarker, Muhammad ordered Muslims to migrate to Medina. The migration began in batches. Ali was the last to remain in Mecca, entrusted with responsibility for settling any loans the Muslims had taken, and famously slept in the bed of Muhammad when the Quraysh led by Ikrima attempted to murder Muhammad as he slept. Meanwhile Abu Bakr accompanied Muhammad in his migration for Medina. Due to the danger of the Quraysh, they did not take the road to Medina. They moved in the opposite direction, and took refuge in a cave in Mount Thaurmarker some five miles south of Mecca. `Abdullah ibn Abi Bakr the son of Abu Bakr would listen to the plans and talks of the Quraysh, and at night he would carry the news to the fugitives in the cave. Asma bint Abi Bakr the daughter of Abu Bakr brought them meals every day. Aamir a servant of Abu Bakr would bring a flock of goats to the mouth of the cave every night where they were milked. The Quraysh sent search parties in all directions. One party came close to the entrance to the cave, but was unable to sight them. Due to this the following verse of the Qur'an was revealed:
If ye help not (your Leader) (it is no matter): for Allah did indeed help him; when the unbelievers drove him out: he had no more than one companion: they two were in the cave, and he said to his companion "Have no Fear, for Allah is with us": then Allah sent down His peace upon him, and strengthened him with forces which ye saw not, and humbled to the depths the word of the Unbelievers.
But the word of Allah is exalted to the heights: for Allah is Exalted in might, Wise.

'Aa'ishah, Abu Sa`eed al-Khudri and ibn 'Abbaas in interpreting this verse said

Abu Bakr was the one who stayed with the Prophet in that cave

It is narrated from al-Barra' ibn 'Azib, he said,

Once Abu Bakr bought a ride from 'Azib for 10 Dirham, then Abu Bakr said to 'Azib, "Tell your son the Barra to deliver that beast."
Then 'Azib said, "No, until you tell us how yourjourney with the Messenger of Allah when he went out of Makkah while the Mushrikeen were busy looking for you."
Abu Bakr said, "We set out from Makkah, walking day and night, until it came the time of Zuhr, so I was looking for a place to so that we can rest under it, it came to be that I saw a big rock, so I came to it and there was the place, so I spread a matress for the Prophet, then I said to him, " Rest O' Prophet of Allah."
So he rested, while I surveyed the area around me, are there people looking for us coming here to spy...
Suddenly I saw there was a shepherd herding his sheep to the direction of the place under the rock wanting to shade himself like us, so I asked, "Who is your master O' slave?"
He answered, "Slave of the fulan, someone of the Quraish."
He mentioned the name of his master and I knew him, then I asked, "Does your sheep have milk?"
He answered, "Yes!"
So he took one of the sheep, after that I ordered him to clean the breasts of the sheep first from dirt and dust, then I ordered him to blow his hand from dust, so he pat his two hands and he started milking, while I prepared a vessel with its mouth wrapped with cloth to contain the milk, so I poured the milk that was milked to the vessel and I waited until the bottom was cold, then I brought to the Prophet and it was that he had waken up, instantly I told him him, "Drink O' Messenger of Allah."
So he started to drink until I saw that he was full, then I told him, "Are we not going to continue walking O' Messenger of Allah?"
He answered, "Yes!"
At last we continued the journey while the mushrikeen keep looking for us, not one one that could pursue us except Suraqah ibn Malik ibn Ju'sham who rode his horse, so I said to the Messenger of Allah, "This man has succeded in pursuing us O' Messenger of Allah," but he answered, "ﻻ ﺗﺤﺰ ﻥ ﺇ ﻥ ﺍﷲ ﻣﻌﻨﺎ" (Do not worry, verily Allah is with us).

It is narrated from Anas from Abu Bakr he said,

I said to the Prophet when were in the cave, "If only they had looked under their feet we would assuredly be seen" The Messenger answered, "ﻣﺎ ﻇﻨﻚ ﻳﺎ ﺃ ﺑﺎ ﺑﻜﺮ ﺑﺎ ﺛﻨﻴﻦ ﺍﷲ ﺛﺎ ﻟﺘﻬﻤﺎ" (What do you think O' Abu Bakr with two people while Allah is the third).

After staying at the cave for three days and three nights, Abu Bakr and Muhammad proceed to Medinamarker, staying for some time at Quba, a suburb of Medina. While Sunni sources such as these portray Abu bakr in an exalted light in the cave, Shia sources however generally tend to portray the incident in the cave as a Quranic condemndation of Abu Bakr for cowardice and fear.

Life in Medina

In Medina, Muhammad decided to construct a mosque. A piece of land was chosen and the price of the land was paid for by Abu Bakr. Muslims constructed a mosque named Al-Masjid al-Nabawimarker at the site and Abu Bakr also took part in construction. Abu Bakr was paired with Khaarij ah bin Zaid Ansari as a brother in faith. Abu Bakr's relationship with his brother-in-Islam was most cordial, which was further strengthened when Abu Bakr married Habiba, a daughter of Khaarijah.

Khaarij ah bin Zaid Ansari used to live at Sukh, a suburb of Medina, and Abu Bakr also settled there. After Abu Bakr's family arrived in Medina he bought another house near Muhammad's.

The climate of Mecca was dry, but the climate of Medina was damp and this adversely affected the health of the immigrants, so that on arrival most of them fell sick. Abu Bakr also suffered from fever for several days and during this time he was attended to by Khaarijah and his family. At Mecca, Abu Bakr was a trader in cloth and he started the same business in Medina. He was a wholesaler, and had his store at Sukh, and from there cloth was supplied to the market at Medina. Soon his business flourished at Medina. Early in 623, Abu Bakr's daughter Aisha, who was already engaged to Muhammad, was handed over to Muhammad in a simple marriage ceremony, and this further strengthen the relation between Abu Bakr and Muhammad.

In 624 Abu Bakr was involved in the first battle between the Muslims and the Quraysh of Mecca known as the Battle of Badrmarker, but did not fight instead acting as one of the guards of Muhammad's tent. In 625 he participated in the Battle of Uhud which ended in a rout by the majority of the Muslims. Before the battle begun, Abu Bakr's son ‘Abd ar-Rahman ibn Abi Bakr who was still non-Muslim and was fighting from the side of the Quraysh, came forward and threw down a challenge for a duel. Abu Bakr accepted the challenge but was stopped by Muhammad. His son later converted to Islam and gained fame during the Muslim conquest of Syria as a fierce warrior. In the second phase of the battle, Khalid ibn al-Walid’s cavalry attacked the Muslims from behind, changing a Muslim victory to defeat. Many Muslim warriors were routed from the battle field but in Sunni accounts Abu Bakr remained, guarding Muhammad from the attacks of the Quraysh soldiers, while Shia and many Sunni accounts dispute this. Shia criticisms of his lack-lustre military achievements in comparison with the genuinely accomplised Ali should be put into context: Abu Bakr was a middle aged man during these battles, was not a soldier but a merchant by trade, and had never seen battle before - it may thus be unfair to directly compare him with Ali in this regard. In Sunni accounts during one such attack, two discs from Muhammad’s shield penetrated into Abu Ubaidah ibn al-Jarrah's cheeks. Abu Bakr went forward with the intention of extracting these discs but Abu Ubaidah ibn al-Jarrah requested he leave the matter to him, losing his two incisors during the process. In these stories subsequently Abu Bakr, along with other companions, led Muhammad to a place of safety. Later in the year Abu Bakr was a part of campaign again the Jewish tribe of Banu Nadir.

Later, in 627 he participated in the Battle of the Trench and also in the Battle of Banu Qurayza. In 628 he participated in Treaty of Hudaybiyyah and was made one of the witnesses over the pact.

In the year 628 he was a part of the Muslim campaign to Khaybar. In 629 Muhammad sent 'Amr ibn al-'As to Zaat-ul-Sallasal from where he called for reinforcements and Muhammad sent Abu Ubaidah ibn al-Jarrah. Commanding an army under him were Abu Bakr and Umar and they attacked and defeated the enemy.

In 630 when Muslim armies rushed for the Conquest of Mecca, Abu Bakr was a part of the army. Before the conquest of Mecca his father Uthman Abu Qahafa converted to Islam. In 630 he was part of Battle of Hunayn and Siege of Ta'if. He was part of the Muslim army in the campaign of Tabukmarker under Muhammad's command and he was reported to have given all his wealth for the preparation of this expedition.

In 631, Muhammad sent from Medina a delegation of three hundred Muslims to perform the Hajj according to the new Islamic way. Abu Bakr was appointed as the leader of the delegates in some Sunni accounts. If this version is correct Abu Bakr had thus the honor of being the first Amir-ul-Haj in the history of Islam. In the year 632 Abu Bakr followed Muhammad to Mecca for the farewell Hajj.

Death of Muhammad

A short time after returning from the farewell pilgrimage, Muhammad became ill. In his fatal illness, Muhammad came out with a piece of cloth tied around his head and sat on the pulpit. After thanking and praising Allah he said,

ﺇ ﻥ ﺍ ﷲ ﺧﻴﺮ ﻋﺒﺪﺍ ﺑﻴﻦ ﺍﻟﺪ ﻧﻴﺎ ﻭ ﺑﻴﻦ ﻣﺎ ﻋﻨﺪ ﻩ ﻓﺎ ﺧﺘﺎ ﺭ ﺫ ﻟﻚ ﺍﻟﻌﺒﺪ ﻣﺎ ﻋﻨﺪ ﺍﷲ

Allah has given one of His Slaves the choice of receiving the splendor and luxury of the worldly life whatever he likes or to accept the good which is with Allah. So he has chosen that good which is with Allah

Abu Bakr wept profusely and said,

Our fathers and mothers be sacrificed for you

The companions was astonished by this (they wondered why Abu Bakr wept), and the people said,

Look at this old man!
Allah's Apostle talks about a Slave of Allah to whom He has given the option to choose either the splendor of this worldly life or the good which is with Him, while he says "our fathers and mothers be sacrificed for you"

It turned out Muhammad himself was that servant, as Abu Bakr later told the companions. Muhammad continued, in Sunni accounts:

ﺇ ﻥ ﻣﻦ ﺃ ﻣﻦ ﺍﻟﻨﺎ ﺱ ﻋﻠﻲ ﻓﻲ ﺻﺤﺒﺘﻪ ﻭ ﻣﺎ" ﻟﻪ ﺃ ﺑﻮ ﺑﻜﺮ ﻟﻮ ﻛﺒﺖ ﻣﺘﺨﺬﺍ ﺧﻠﻴﻼ ﻏﻴﺮ ﺭ ﺑﻲ ﻻ ﺗﺨﺬ ﺕ ﺃ ﺑﺎ ﺑﻜﺮ ﻭ ﻟﻜﻦ ﺃ ﺧﻮ ﻩ ﺍ ﻻ ﺳﻼ ﻡ ﻭ ﻣﻮ ﺩ ﺗﻪ ﻻ ﻳﺒﻔﻴﻦ ﻗﻲ ﺍ ﻟﺴﺠﺪ ﺑﺎ ﺏ ﺇ ﻻ ﺳﺪ ﺇ ﻻ ﺑﺎ ﺏ ﺃ ﺑﻲ ﺑﻜﺮ

No doubt, I am indebted to Abu Bakr more than to anybody else regarding both his companionship and his wealth. And if I had to take a Khalil from my followers, I would certainly have taken Abu Bakr, but the fraternity of Islam is sufficient. Let no Door of the Mosque remain open, except the door of Abu Bakr

The good referred in the first part means the good in the hereafter. Khalil means intimate friend. The door referred to here is the door to the mosque of Muhammadmarker. When the fever developed he directed Abu Bakr to go to the war following Usama who was 18, but he mysteriously did not listen and lingered in Madina, Shias say desirous of becoming the successor. When Muhammad died Muslims gathered in Al-Masjid al-Nabawi and there were suppressed sobs and sighs. Abu Bakr came from his house at As-Sunh (a village) on a horse where he had been with his new wife. He dismounted and entered the Prophet's Mosque, but did not speak to anyone until he entered upon 'Aa'isha. In Sunni accounts he went straight to Muhammad who was covered with Hibra cloth (a kind of Yemenite cloth). He then uncovered Muhammad's face and bowed over him and kissed him and wept, saying,

Let my father and mother be sacrificed for you.
By Allah, Allah will never cause you to die twice.
As for the death which was written for you, has come upon you

'Umar was making a sermon to the people saying,

By Allah, he is not dead but has gone to his Lord as Musa ibn Imran went and remained hidden from his people for forty days.
Musa returned after it was said that he had died.
By Allah, the Messenger of Allah will come back and he will cut off the hands and legs of those who claim his death."

Abu Bakr arrived and said,

Sit down, O 'Umar!

But 'Umar refused to sit down. So the people came to Abu Bakr and left Umar. Abu Bakr said,

To proceed, if anyone amongst you used to worship Muhammad , then Muhammad is dead, but if (anyone of) you used to worship Allah, then Allah is Alive and shall never die.
Allah said, "And Muhammad is no more than a messenger; the messengers have already passed away before him; if then he dies or is killed will you turn back upon your heels?
And whoever turns back upon his heels!s, he will by no means do harm to Allah in the least and Allah will reward the grateful."

It was as if the Muslims never knew of this Verse before Abu Bakr recited it and all the Muslims received it from him, and then every Muslim recited it. 'Umar said,

By Allah, when I heard Abu Bakr reciting it, my legs could not support me and I fell down at the very moment of hearing him reciting it, declaring that the Prophet had died.

Election of Abu Bakr to Caliphate

Caliph Abu Bakr's empire at its peak in August 634.

After Muhammad's death, previously dormant tensions between the Meccan immigrants, the Muhajirun, and the Medinan converts, the Ansar, threatened to break out and split the Ummah. The Ansar, the leaders of the tribes of Medina, met in a hall or house called saqifah, to discuss whom they would support as their new leader. When Abu Bakr was informed of the meeting, he, Umar, Abu Ubaidah ibn al-Jarrah and a few others rushed to prevent the Ansar from making a premature decision. Accounts of this meeting vary greatly. All agree that during the meeting Umar declared that Abu Bakr should be the new leader, and declared his allegiance to Abu Bakr, followed by Abu Ubaidah ibn al-Jarrah and Abu Bakr became the first Muslim caliph, who was given the title, Khalifa-tul-Rasool (Successor of messenger of Allah), a title only accepted by Sunni Muslims. Shias criticise Abu Bakr for forsaking the funeral of Muhammad to attend the political gathering, and believe that Muhammad had already appointed Ali in his lifetime as his successor. This view portrays Abu Bakr and Umar as plotters in a political coup against the Alids. The most recent detailed western account of Madelung also portrays Abu Bakr as a political opportunist whose character as the founder of Sunni Islam has been extensively embellished by subsequent kings and emperors (caliphs) making it difficult to openly criticise him

Reign as a Caliph

After assuming the office of Caliphate Abu Bakr's first address was as follow:

I have been given the authority over you, and I am not the best of you.
If I do well, help me; and if I do wrong, set me right.
Sincere regard for truth is loyalty and disregard for truth is treachery.
The weak amongst you shall be strong with me until I have secured his rights, if God wills; and the strong amongst you shall be weak with me until I have wrested from him the rights of others, if God wills.
Obey me so long as I obey God and His Messenger.
But if I disobey God and His Messenger, ye owe me no obedience.
Arise for your prayer, God have mercy upon you.

Abu Bakr's Caliphate lasted for 27 months, during which he crushed the rebellion of the Arab tribes throughout Arabia in the successful campaign against Apostasy. He launched campaigns against the Sassanid Empire and the Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantine Empire) and thus set in motion a historical trajectory that in just a few short decades would lead to one of the largest empires in history. He had little time to pay attention to the administration of state, though state affairs remained stable during his Caliphate. On the advice of Umar and Abu Ubaidah ibn al-Jarrah he agreed to have a salary from state treasury and abolish his cloth trade.


Map detailing the sites of Major battles fought during ridda wars.
Troubles emerged soon after Abu Bakr's succession, threatening the unity and stability of the new community and state.Several Arabic tribes revolted against Abu Bakr. In four of the six centres of the insurrection, the rebells rallied around people who claimed to be prophets, the most prominent among these Musaylimah.The tribes claimed that they had submitted to Muhammad only, and that with Muhammad's death, their allegiance had ended. This was common practice in pre-islamic Arabia: After the death of a tribal leader the alliance with the tribe of that leader was regarded as having ended. Thus several tribes acted in accordance to this pre-islamic practice and refused to pay Zakat (Charity).Abu Bakr, however, insisted that they had not just submitted to a simple human leader but joined the Muslim religious community, of which he was the new head. So, in contrast to pre-islamic times, their allegiance was not seen as having ended at all.This was the start of the Ridda wars (Arabic for the Wars of Apostasy). The apostasy of central Arabia was led by self-proclaimed prophet Musaylimah of in al-Yamama, while the other centers were to the south and east in Bahrainmarker, Omanmarker, Mahramarker region and Yemenmarker. Abu Bakr planned his strategy accordingly and formed the Muslim army into 11 corps. The strongest corps, and this was the main punch of the Muslim army, was that of Khalid ibn al-Walid and was used to fight the most powerful of the rebel forces. Other corps were given areas of secondary importance in which to bring the less dangerous apostate tribes. Abu Bakr's plan was first to clear the area of west and central Arabia (the area nearest Medina), then tackle Malik ibn Nuwayrah, and finally concentrate against the most dangerous enemy Musaylimah. After series of successful campaigns, Khalid ibn al-Walid finally defeated Musaylimah and his tribe, the Banu Hanifa, in the Battle of Yamama. The Campaign of the Apostasy was fought and completed during the eleventh year of the Hijri. The year 12 Hijri dawned, on 18 March 633, with Arabia united under the central authority of the Caliph at Medina.

This phenomenon was later regarded as primarily a religious movement by Arabic historians. However, the early sources indicate that in reality it was mainly political. After all, the revolting Arabs only refused to pay Zakat (Charity), but they did not refuse to perform the salah. This however is disputed and explained by Muslim scholars in that the dictation of Zakat was one of the Five pillars of Islam and its denial or withholding is an act of denial of a cornerstone of faith, and is therefore an act of apostasy. Bernard Lewis states that the fact that Islamic Historians have regarded this as a primarily religious movement was due to a later interpretation of events in terms of a theological world-view.The opponents of the Muslim armies were not only apostates, but also - if not most of them - tribes which were largely or even completely independent from the Muslim community.However, these revolts also had a religious aspect: Medinamarker had become the centre of a social and political system, of which religion was an integral part; consequently it was inevitable that any reaction against this system should have a religious aspect.

The Qur'an — preservation

According to Sunni Islam, Abu Bakr was instrumental in preserving the Qur'an in written form. It is said that after the hard-won victory over Musaylimah in the Battle of Yamama fought in 632, Umar (the later Caliph Umar), saw that many of the Muslims who had memorized the Qur'an had died in battle. Fearing that the Qur'an may be lost or corrupted, Umar requested the Caliph Abu Bakr to authorize the compilation and preservation of the Book in written format. After initial hesitation, Abu Bakr made a committee headed by Zayd ibn Thabit which included the memorizers of the Qur'an and Umar and to collect all verses of the Book. After collecting all Qur'anic verses from texts in the possession of various sahaba, Zayd ibn Thabit and members of his committee verified the reading by comparing with those who had memorized the Qur'an. After they were satisfied that they had not missed out any verse or made any mistakes in reading or writing it down, the text was written down as one single manuscript and presented in a book form to the Caliph Abu Bakr. This process happened within one year of the death of Muhammad when most of his sahaba (companions) were still alive, ensuring that the text would not be corrupted in any form.

Prior to his death, Abu Bakr gave this authorized copy of the Qur'an to Umar - his successor. It remained with him throughout his tenure as Caliph (10 years). Prior to his death, Umar gave this Book to his daughter Hafsa bint Umar, who was one of the wives of Muhammad. Umar did not nominate his successor on his deathbed, and thus preferred to leave this copy with Hafsa so as not to indicate his personal preference of who would be the next caliph. Later on, it became the basis of Uthman Ibn Affan's definitive text of the Qur'an which was published far and wide merely 18 years after the death of Muhammad. Later historians give Uthman Ibn Affan the principal credit for re-verification and publishing the Qur'an. Shi'as reject the idea that Abu Bakr or Umar were instrumental in the collection or preservation of the Qur'an.

Military expansion

Once the rebellions had been put down, Abu Bakr began a war of conquest. Whether or not he intended a full-out imperial conquest is hard to say; he did, however, set in motion a historical trajectory that in just a few short decades would lead to one of the largest empires in history. Abu Bakr began with Iraqmarker, the richest province of Persian Empire. He sent his most brilliant general Khalid ibn al-Walid to invade the Sassanid Empire.

Invasion of Sassanid Persian Empire

Map detailing the route of Khalid ibn Walid's conquest of Iraq.

After the Ridda Wars, a tribal chief of north eastern Arabia, Muthanna ibn Haris, raided the Persian towns in Iraq. With the success of the raids, a considerable amount of booty was collected. Muthanna ibn Haris went to Medina to inform Caliph Abu Bakr about his success and was appointed commander of his people, after which he begun to raid deeper into Iraq. Using the mobility of his light cavalry he could easy raid any town near the desert and within moments could disappear again in to the desert, into which the Sassanid army was unable to chase them. Muthanna’s acts made Abu Bakr think about the expansion of the Rashidun Empire.

Abu Bakr started with the invasion of Iraq. The problems faced by Abu Bakr were that the Arabs feared the Persians with a deep, unreasoning fear which ran in the tribal consciousness as a racial complex and was the result of centuries of Persian power and glory. In return the Persian regarded the Arab with contempt. It was important not to suffer a defeat, for that would confirm and strengthen this instinctive fear. To make certain of victory, Abu Bakr decided on two measures; that the invading army would consist entirely of volunteers; and he put in command of the army his best general Khalid ibn al-Walid. After defeating the self-proclaimed prophet Musaylimah in the Battle of Yamama, Khalid was still at Al-Yamama when Abu Bakr sent him orders to invade the Sassanid Empire. Making Al-Hirahmarker the objective of Khalid, Abu Bakr sent reinforcements and ordered the tribal chiefs of north eastern Arabia, Muthanna ibn Haris, Mazhur bin Adi, Harmala and Sulma to operate under the command of Khalid along with their men. In about third week of March 633 (first week of Muharram 12th Hijrah) Khalid set out from Al-Yamama with an army of 10,000. The tribal chiefs, with 2,000 warriors each, joined Khalid; Thus Khalid entered the Persian Empire with 18,000 troops.After entering Iraqmarker with his army of 18,000, Khalid won decisive victories in four consecutive battles: Battle of Chains, fought in April 633 A.D; Battle of River, fought in the 3rd week of April 633 A.D; Battle of Walaja, fought in May 633 A.D (where he successfully used a double envelopment manoeuvre), and Battle of Ullais, fought in the mid of May, 633 A.D. By now the Persian court already disturbed by the internal problems, was down and out. In the last week of May 633 A.D, Hira capital city of Iraq fell to the Muslims after resistance in the Siege of Hira. After resting his armies, in June 633 A.D Khalid laid siege of Al Anbarmarker, which resisted and was eventually surrendered after a siege of a few weeks in July 633 A.D after the Siege of Al-Anbar.Khalid then moved towards the south, and conquered the city of Ein ul Tamr after the Battle of Ein ut Tamr in the last week of July, 633 A.D. By now, almost the whole of Iraq (Euphrates region) was under Islamic control. Khalid got a call of help from northern Arabia at Daumat-ul-Jandal, where another Muslim Arab general, Ayaz bin Ghanam, was trapped among the rebel tribes. Khalid went to Daumat-ul-jandal and defeated the rebels in the Battle of Daumat-ul-jandal in the last week of August, 633 A.D. Returning from Arabia, he got news of the assembling of a large Persian army. He decided to defeat them all separately to avoid the risk of defeat to a large unified Persian army. Four divisions of Persian and Christian Arab auxiliaries were present at Hanafiz, Zumiel, Sanni and Muzieh. Khalid devised a brilliant plan to destroy the Persian forces. He divided his army in three units, and attacked the Persian forces in brilliantly coordinated attacks from three different sides at night, starting from the Battle of Muzieh, then the Battle of Sanni, and finally the Battle of Zumail during November 633 A.D. These devastating defeats ended Persian control over Iraq, and left the Persian capital Ctesiphonmarker unguarded and vulnerable for Muslims attack, before attacking the Persian Capital Khalid decided to eliminate all Persian forces from south and west, he accordingly marched against the border city of Firaz, where he defeated the combined forces of the Sassanid Persians, Byzantine Romans and Christian Arabs in the Battle of Firaz in December 633 A.D. This was the last battle in his conquest of Iraq. While Khalid was on his way to attack Qadissiyah, a key fort in the way to Persian Capital Ctesiphon, he received the letter of Caliph Abu Bakr and was sent to Roman front in Syria to assume the command of Muslim armies to conquer Roman Syria.

Invasion of Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire

Map detailing Rashidun Caliphates invasion of Levant.
With a successful invasion of Sassanid Persian province of Iraq, Abu Bakr’s confidence grew and he concentrated large army at Zhu Qissah and sent them to Roman Syria, the army was divided in four corps. Each, under its own commander and target. While these armies where on there march towards there target they received intelligence of concentration of large Byzantine armies at Ajnadayn. The armies stopped their advance and wrote to Abu Bakr for help. Position in Iraq was stable by now, Caliph accordingly wrote to Khalid to take half of his forces of Iraq to Syria and assume the command of Muslim armies in Syria. The Byzantine province of Syria in those days consisted of modern day Syria, Jordanmarker, Israelmarker, the Palestinian territoriesmarker, Lebanonmarker and southern Turkeymarker. There were two routes towards Syria from Iraq, one was via Daumat-ul-Jandal and the other was through Mesopotamia passing though Ar Raqqahmarker. Muslim armies in Syria were in need of urgent reinforcement, Khalid avoided the conventional route to Syria via Daumat ul Jandal because it was a long route and would take weeks to reach Syria, he avoided Mesopotamia’s route because of presence of Roman garrisons in Northern Syria and Mesopotamia and engaging with them at the time when Muslim armies were being outflanked in Syria, was not a wise idea. Khalid selected a rather short route to Syria, an unconventional route passing though Syrian Desert. He boldly marched his armies though desert were it is recorded that his soldiers marched for two days without a single drop of water, before reaching a pre-decided water source in oasis. Khalid thus entered Northern Syria and caught Byzantine at there right flank and according to modern historians, it was this ingenious strategic maneuver of Khalid, his perilous march though desert and appearing at the north-eastern front of Byzantines while they were occupied in tackling Muslim armies in southern Syria, that unhinged the Byzantine defenses in Syria.Khalid entered Syria in June 634 and quickly captured the border forts of

Map detailing the route of Khalid ibn Walid's invasion of Syria.

Sawa, Arak, Tadmurmarker, Sukhnahmarker. Qaryatayn and Hawarin were captured after the Qaryatayn and the Hawarin. After dealing with all these cities, Khalid moved towards Damascusmarker, passing though a mountain pass which is now known as Sanita-al-Uqab (Uqab pass) after the name of Khalid's army standard. From here he moved away from Damascus, towards Basramarker, the capital of Ghassanid Arab kingdom, a vassal of Eastern Roman empire. He had ordered other Muslim commaders to concentrate there armies at Busra, which were still near the Syrian-Arabia border. At Maraj-al-Rahab, Khalid defeated a Ghassanid army of Christian Arabs in a quick Battle of Marj-al-Rahit. Meanwhile Abu Ubaida ibn al-Jarrah, the supreme commander of Muslim armies in Syria had ordered Shurhabil ibn Hasana to attack Basra.The later laid siege of Basra with his small army of 4000 men. Roman and Ghassanid Arab garrison, noticing that this might be the advance guard of the larger Muslim army to come, decided to attack and destroy Shurhabil’s army. They came out of the fortified city and attacked Shurhabil, surrounding him from all sides; Khalid reached the arena with his advance guard cavalry and saved the day for Shurhabil. The combine forces of Khalid, Shurhabil and Abu Ubaidah then laid the siege of Basra, which surrendered some time in mid July 634. thus effectively ending the Ghassanid Dynasty.

Geographical Map detailing the route of Khalid ibn Walid's invasion of Syria.

Here Khalid took over the command of Muslim armies in Syria from Abu Ubaidah, as per the instructions of Caliph. The massive Byzantine armies were concentrating at Ajnadayn to push the invading armies back to desert, early Muslim sources, have mentioned its size to be 90,000, while most of the modern historians doubt the fugures, but consider this battle to be the key to broke the Byzantine power in Syria. According to the instructions of Khalid all Muslim corps concentrated at Ajnadayn, where they fought a decisive battle against Byzantine on 30 July 634.Defeat at the Battle of Ajnadaynmarker, left Syria vulnerable to the Muslim invaders. Khalid decided to capture Damascus, the Byzantine stronghold. At Damascus Thomas, son in law of Emperor Heraculis, was in charge. Receiving the intelligence og Khalid's march towards Damascus he prepared for the defences of Damascus. He wrote to Emperor Heraculis for reinforcement, who was at Emesa that time. Moreover Thomas, in order to get more time for preparation of a siege, sent the armies to delay or if possible halt Khalid's march to Damascus, one such army was defeated at Battle of Yaqusa in mid-August 634 near Lake Tiberias 90 miles from Damascus, an other army that halted the Muslim advance to Damascus was defeated in Battle of Maraj as Saffer on 19 August 634. These engagements delayed Khalid’s advance and gave Thomas enough time to prepare for siege. Meanwhile Heraculis's reinforcement had reached the city, which he had dispatched after the bad news of Ajnadyn. Before Heraculis's another regiment could reach Damascus, Khalid had finally reached Damascus. Khalid reached Damascus on 20 August and besieged the city. To isolate the city from rest of the region, Khalid placed the detachments south on the road to Palestine and in north at Damascus-Emesa route, and several other smaller detachments on routes towards Damascus. Heraculis's reinforcement was intercepted and routed at the Battle of Sanita-al-Uqab, 20 miles from Damascus. Khalid's forces withstood three Roman sallies that tried to break the siege. Khalid finally attacked and conquered Damascus on 18 September 634 after a 30-day siege. According to some sources the siege lasted for four or six months. Heraculis, having received the news of the fall of Damascus, left for Antiochmarker from Emesamarker. The citizens were given peace on the terms of annual tribute; the Byzantine army was given a three-day peace to go as far as they could. After the three-day deadline was over, the Muslim cavalry under Khalid's command attacked the Roman army, catching up to them using an unknown shortcut, at the Battle of Maraj-al-Debaj, 190 miles north of Damascus. Abu Bakr died during the siege of Damascus and Umar became the new Caliph. He dismissed his cousin Khalid ibn al-Walid from the command and appointed Abu Ubaidah ibn al-Jarrah the new commander in chief of Islamic army in Syria. Abu Ubaidah got the letter of his appointment and Khalid's disposal during the siege, but he delayed the announcement until the city was conquered.


On 8 August 634, Abu Bakr fell sick, and never recovered. There are two accounts about the sickness of Abu Bakr. One account is that 8 August 634 was a cold day and when Abu Bakr took a bath, he caught a chill. Another account is that about a year before, along with some other companions, Harith bin Kaladah, and Attab bin Usaid, he had eaten some food which was poisoned, and which was not to affect him for a year.

Abu Bakr developed high fever, and was confined to bed. His illness was prolonged, and when his condition worsened, he felt that his end was near.

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, though there was already controversy over Ali not having been appointed.He appointed Umar as his successor after discussing with some companions. Some of them favored the nomination and others disliked it, due to the tough nature of Umar.

Abu Bakr thus dictated the testament to Uthman Ibn Affan in the following terms:

In the name of Most Merciful God.
This is the last will and testament of Abu Bakr bin Abu Qahafa, when he is in the last hour of the world, and the first of the next; an hour in which the infidel must believe, the wicked be convinced of their evil ways, I nominate Umar bin al Khattab as my successor.
Therefore, hear to him and obey him.
If he acts right, confirm his actions.
My intentions are good, but I cannot see the future results.
However, those who do ill shall render themselves liable to severe account hereafter.
Fare you well.
May you be ever attended by the Divine favor of blessing.

Abu Bakr next asked Aisha as to how many pieces of cloth were used for Muhammad's shroud. Aisha said that three pieces had been used. Abu Bakr thereupon desired the same number for his own shroud. On Monday 23 August 634 Abu Bakr died. The funeral prayer was led by Umar. He was buried the same night by the side of Muhammad's grave in Aisha's house near Al-Masjid al-Nabawi


Father: Uthman ibn Amir Abu Qahafa
Mother: Umm al-Khair Salma bint Shakhr ibn Amir ibn Ka'ab ibn Sa'ad ibn Taim
:Brother: Mu'taq (presumably the middle)
:Brother: Utaiq (presumably the youngest)
:Brother: Quhafah ibn Uthman
:Himself: Atiq (presumably the eldest)
:Wife: Qutaylah bint Abd-al-Uzza ibn 'Abd ibn As'ad (divorced)
::Daughter: Asma bint Abu Bakr
:::Grandson Abd-Allah ibn al-Zubayr - His birth spread happiness amongs muslims, killed by Hajjaj bin Yousef.
:::Grandson Urwa ibn al-Zubayr
::::Great grandson Hisham ibn Urwa
::Son: 'Abd Allaah ibn Abi Bakr
:Wife: Um Ruman bint Amir ibn Uwaymir ibn Zuhal ibn Dahman (from Kinanah)
::Step son: Tufail ibn Abdullah, The son of Abd-Allah ibn Harith
::Son: ‘Abd ar-Rahman ibn Abi Bakr
::Daughter: 'Aa'ishah
::Son in law: Muhammad, tree
:Wife: Asma' bint Umays ibn Ma'ad ibn Taym al-Khath'amiyyah (former wife of Ja`far ibn Abī Tālib)
::Son: Muhammad ibn Abu Bakr
:Wife: Habibah bint Kharijah ibn Zayd ibn Abi Zuhayr (from the tribe of Banu al-Haris ibn al-Khazraj
::Daughter: Umm Khultum bint Abu Bakr.

Today there are many families which are believed to be descents of Abu Bakr. Most of them are known by the name Siddiqi which was a title given to Abu Bakr by Muhammad. But they are also known by some other names in different localities. For example, In East Ethiopiamarker, Siddiqis are usually called Qallu, which means people of the religion, as they were the first to bring Islam to this area. In Somaliamarker, they are commonly known as Sheekhaal and they are well-respected by other Somali clans. In Sylhet Division of Bangladeshmarker, they are known by the name of Qureshi.


Abu Bakr became the Caliph on 8 June 632 C.E. and he died on 23 August 634 C.E. Though the period of his caliphate covers only two years, two months and fifteen days, it included successful invasions of the two most powerful empires of the time: the Sassanid Empire and Byzantine Empire.

Abu Bakr had the distinction of being the first Caliph in the history of Islam. He was the first Caliph to nominate a successor. He was the only Caliph in the history of Islam who refunded to the state treasury at the time of his death the entire amount of the allowance that he had drawn during the period of his caliphate .

He was the first Muslim ruler to establish Bayt al-mal. He was the first Muslim ruler to establish crown pasture. He was the first Muslim ruler to establish 'Ijtihad' .

He has the distinction of purchasing the land for Al-Masjid al-Nabawimarker. According to Sunni Muslims, in the matter of virtue, Abu Bakr excelled all other Sahaba.

Both Abu Bakr and Uthman ibn Affan had given up drinking wine even in the time before Islam.He was the foremost genealogist of the Quraysh and the best of them at interpreting dreams after Muhammad according to Ibn Sirin .

Sunni view

Sunni Muslims also consider Abu Bakr as one of the ten Sahaba for whom Muhammad had testified that they were destined for Paradise. He is regarded as Khalifa Rasulullah The successor of Messenger of Allah, and first of the Rightly Guided Caliphs - i.e. Rashidun and being the rightful successor to Muhammad. Abu Bakr had always been the closest friend and confidant of Muhammad throughout his life. He was always there beside the Prophet at every major event. It was Abu Bakr's wisdom that Muhammad always honored and would always consult him before anyone else. During the last few weeks of his life, Muhammad preferred Abu Bakr to lead the Muslims in prayer while he was ill. Upon Muhammad's death, it was Abu Bakr who demonstrated sagacity to keep the ranks of the Muslims together. Muhammad had not left behind a clear will on who would succeed him. There was dissension between the two original tribes of Medina, namely Aws and Khazraj regarding who would become the ruler over the Muslims after Muhammad. This even led to drawing of swords between them. Abu Bakr, Umar and Abu Ubaidah ibn al-Jarrah rushed to the spot where the dispute almost turned bloody, and delivered his famous speech to show the path of unity between the Muslims and declared that Umar should become the first caliph. In turn, Umar declared his allegiance to Abu Bakr saying that there is no better man amongst the Muslims after Muhammad. Majority of the sahaba (companions of the Prophet) assembled there followed suit and pledged their allegiance to Abu Bakr. Sunnis point out this fact of avoiding bloodshed between Muslims and preserving the unity of the state as of paramount importance, or it would have led to self-destruction of the new state.

The famous scholar Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal stated that he is the best of all companions (sahaba) of the Prophet.He is also best remembered by Ahlus-Sunnah Wal Jama'ah and the world history, for his famous speech upon the death of Muhammad which he delivered at the Mosque of the Prophet:

O' men, if anyone worships Muhammad, Muhammad is dead.
And if anyone worships God, God is Alive, Immortal.
He then recited the verse from the Qur'an:
"Muhammad is no more than an Apostle. Many were the Apostles that passed away before him. If he died or were slain, will ye then turn back on your heels ? If any did turn back on his heels, not the least harm will he do to God. But God (on the other hand) will swiftly reward those who (serve him) with gratitude."

Sunnis also consider the narrations about Abu Bakr and his family by the Shi'a to be spurious.

Shi'a view

The Shi'a have a very unfavorable view of Abu Bakr. They believe that he was a usurper who snatched the Caliphate when it should have gone to Ali, who had been appointed by Muhammad as his successor at Ghadir Khumm. It is also believed he and Umar conspired to take over power in the Muslim nation after Muhammad's death, in a coup d'état against Ali, as they had ignored Muhammad's wishes by preventing Muhammad from writing the name of the successor on a piece of paper during Muhammad's illness. They also met secretly with the tribal leaders of Mecca and Medina at Saqifah to elect Abu Bakr. The Shia do not view Abu Bakr's being with Muhammad in the cave as a meritorious act. This is mainly because in the Quran, it states clearly that only God choses the leadership of Islam. It also states that not even angels are allowed to nominate a Caliphate. The election that took place at Saqifah was completely formulated by the people and not by Muhammad and hence not by God.

The Shi'a criticize Abu Bakr for a dispute between him and Muhammad's daughter, Fatimah, that ended with her becoming angry with Abu Bakr and refusing to talk with him for the rest of her life, she died six months later. Abu Bakr had refused to grant her a piece of land which Muhammad had given to her as a gift before his death. Shias also accuse him of participating in the burning of the house of Ali and Fatima, an event which is corroborated by several Sunni sources (see Fadak)

The Shi'a believe that Abu Bakr sent Khalid ibn Walid to crush those who were in favour of Ali's caliphate (see Ridda Wars). The Shi'a strongly refute the idea that Abu Bakr or Umar were instrumental in the collection or preservation of the Qur'an, claiming that they should have accepted the copy of the book in the possession of Ali

Non-Muslims view

Edward Gibbon wrote about Abu Bakr as:
The moderation, and the veracity of Abu Bakr confirmed the new religion, and furnished an example for invitation.

William Muir states that:
Abu Bakr's judgment was sound and impartial; his conversation agreeable and his demeanor affable and much sought after by the Quraysh and he was popular throughout the city....
The faith of Abu Bakr was the greatest guarantee of Muhammad's sincerity in the beginning of his career, and indeed, in a modified sense, throughout his life.
To have such a person as a staunch adherent of his claim, was for Muhammad a most important step.

William Montgomery Watt writes:
From 622 to 632 he (Abu Bakr) was Mohammed's chief adviser, but had no prominent public functions except that he conducted the pilgrimage to Mecca in 631, and led the public prayers in Medina during Mohammed's last illness.

See also


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