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Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه), the Second of the Two

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A central tenet of the Shia doctrine is the rejection of the first of the Rightly Guided Caliphs, Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه), who supposedly stole the Caliphate from Ali (رضّى الله عنه). However, the Shia opinion of Abu Bakr’s character (رضّى الله عنه) does not match up with the Quran (and the associated historical events) which actually mentions Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) in a very positive light.

When the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) fled Mecca (i.e. Hijra), he asked Ali ibn Abi Talib (رضّى الله عنه) to lay in his bed so that the Quraish infidels would think that the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) was still asleep. He told Ali (رضّى الله عنه) not to worry because no harm would come to him. The Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) then called his closest companion, Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه), to accompany him on the dangerous emigration to Medinah. So it was that the Prophet and Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) made the Hijra together.

The Quraish disbelievers were giving chase, and the two men–the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) and Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه)–hid in a cave. But the Quraish disbelievers tracked them to the cave and would have apprehended them had it not been for the miracle of the spider’s web. The spider created a web in record time, and when the Quraish disbelievers saw it, they reasoned that the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) couldn’t possibly be in the cave because the spider’s web extensively covered the entrace, indicating that nobody had disturbed it in quite some time.

This was the miracle of the spider’s web, which saved the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) and Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه). This story is mentioned in the Quran in Verse 9:40. Allah says:

“If you will not aid him (the Prophet), Allah certainly aided him when those who disbelieved expelled him; he (the Prophet) had no more than him, him being the second of the two (i.e. Abu Bakr), when they were both in the cave, when he (the Prophet) said to his companion (Abu Bakr): ‘Grieve not, surely Allah is with us.’ Then Allah caused His Sakinah (serenity, peace, tranquility, etc.) to descend upon him (Abu Bakr)” (Quran, 9:40)

The first knee-jerk reaction of every Shia lay-person is to deny that this verse refers to Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه), but it should be noted that every Shia Tafseer available to us confirms that this verse is referring to Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) when the word “companion” is used. I refer the reader to the “Pooya/M.A. Ali” English Tafseer of the Quran, which is considered by the Shia to be the most authoratative English commentary of the Quran. It is the Tafseer relied upon by Al-Islam.org and it is in fact available on their website.

Al-Islam.org says
Pooya/M.A. Ali English Commentary

Verse 9:40

As has been mentioned therein, inside the cave, the companion of the Holy Prophet, Abu Bakr, was…

Shaikh Ali Rasheed, a Shia scholar, answered the following question on Al-Islam.org:

Al-Islam.org says

QUESTION:

Salam…What is meant by (verse) 9:40…Some say that this is a testimony from
God in supporting Abu-Bakr…?

ANSWER:

No doubt that the verse 9:40 is a reference to Abu Bakr. It is a matter of
fact that he accompanied the Holy Prophet (S) and was in the cave with him.
As to whether it was some “support” for him, I’m not sure what you are
implying…This verse cannot prove anything beyond the
historical context in which it was revealed. Allah knows best.

Was-Salaam,

Shaikh Ali Rasheed

Therefore, all sides–both Sunni and Shia–are agreed that the companion in the cave with the Prophet was Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه).

This Quranic verse (9:40) honors Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) in five ways:

Firstly: The Quran refers to Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) as the “second of the two” citing Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) as the sole partner of the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) in this miraculous event. This was indeed such a great honor that the Ansar forfeit their right to Caliphate and gave it instead to Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) based on this verse alone. It could be said that during the Hijra, a spider’s web saved Islam, and Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) was there to witness this miracle, Allah referring to him as the “second of the two.” In fact, Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) and the Prophet’s journey is so monumental that it is the day we start our Hijri calender from.

Secondly: In this verse of the Quran, we see that Allah refers to Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) using the term “sahib” (companion) showing the closeness of the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) to Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه). In fact, the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) chose his closest companion to accompany him on this very dangerous journey; nobody other than Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) was given the honor of escorting the Prophet to Medinah. It could be said that Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) was the personal bodyguard of the Prophet of Islam, the one man trusted enough to handle the delicate mission of transporting Allah’s Messenger (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) to safety and away from the clutches of the scheming infidels.

Thirdly: The Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) lovingly reassures Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) to “grieve not.” This is the Prophet’s own personal solace and affection being given to this man, and so how can it be then that the Shia would like to curse him? Did the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) curse him? No, instead he reassured him and told him: don’t worry, everything will be alright. This sentence of the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) proves his close relationship to Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه), showing that he cannot see Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) being in grief.

Fourthly: Most importantly, the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) continues and tells Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) that “Allah is with us.” This is the absolute negation of the Shia paradigm. The Shia say that Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) is doomed by Allah, but here we see that the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) says that Allah is with Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه). And indeed it must be in a positive light since the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) included himself by using the word “us.” The Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) is reassuring Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) that no harm can come to Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) because He has the special protection of Allah Himself. If it had been a Shia in the cave with Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه), then the Shia would have said to Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) that “Allah is against you” and not “Allah is with you.”

Fifthly: Allah sent his Sakinah (serenity, peace, tranquility, etc.) down upon Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه). Allah sends Sakinah down upon the believers; if Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) was an evil-doer as the Shia claim, then Allah would have sent his Wrath upon him, not his Sakinah. The Shia consider Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) to be an agent of Satan. Would Allah send his Sakinah down upon Satan?

Rebuttal of Shia Responses

The Shia have a difficult time dealing with this verse in the Quran, and deep down in their hearts they wish they could throw out this verse from the Quran because it so destroys their polemical stance against the Sunni. In fact, some of the early classical Shia scholars believed that verse 9:40 was added in the Quran by the Sahabah (i.e. Tahreef, or tampering of the Quran). Of course, the modern day Shia scholars have publically denied that they believe in Tahreef so they are forced to accept this verse as sound. They (the modern day Shia propagandists) have thus come up with some feeble responses to take away the honors that are given to Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) in verse 9:40.

The most popular response given by the Shia is that of Shaikh Mufid, who apparently had a dream in which he met Umar bin Khattab (رضّى الله عنه):

Najaf.org says
Al-Karajaki has reported that once Shaikh Mufid saw a dream, and then dictated it to his companions and disciples. He [Shaikh Mufid] said: I dreamt that as I was passing through a street, I saw…Umar bin Khattab, the second Caliph…

Then, Shaikh Mufid challenges Umar to explain why verse 9:40 praises Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه). After Umar (رضّى الله عنه) explains the reasons this verse gives Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) merit, Shaikh Mufid then replies and supposedly silences Umar (رضّى الله عنه) once and for all. After this, Shaikh Mufid wakes up from his dream and gleefully narrates his hallucination to his comrades.

Let us now examine Shaikh Mufid’s responses.

Shaikh Mufid says
When you say that Allah has mentioned the Prophet, peace be upon him and his progeny, and then mentioned Abu Bakr as his second, I do not see anything extraordinary in that. For if you ponder over it, you will find that Allah was only revealing the number of persons present in the cave. They were two; there could have been a Mo’min and a Kafir and they would still be two.

And when you talk of they being together at one place, it is again as simple as the first case. If there was one place only, it could have been occupied by a Mo’min and a disbeliever also. The Mosque of the Prophet is definitely a better place than the cave, and yet it was a gathering place for the believers and the hypocrites. The Ark of Prophet Noah carried the Prophet Noah, together with Satan and the animals. So being together at one place is no virtue

Shaikh Mufid is missing the point here. We are not saying that anyone who is physically close to the Prophet at any point in his life would become honored. What we are saying is that Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) was present with the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) in the defining moment of Islam; in fact, it was around this time that the Islamic calender would start. The Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) took nobody other than Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) on this epic journey and nobody else other than Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) was present on this momentous and miraculous day. It is obvious that the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) chose one of his closest companions to accompany him on the emigration to Medinah. He could have chosen anybody else, but he chose Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه). This is the honor, and it is cemented by the Quran which refers to Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) alone as the “second of the two” on this very historic and miraculous day in which Islam was saved by a spider’s web.

In fact, the Shia have a very hard time dealing with the fact that Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) was the one who accompanied the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) to Medinah. Imagine if it had been Abu Bakr (instead of Ali) who the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) had told to lay in his bed for him; and imagine then that it was Ali (instead of Abu Bakr) who the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) took along with him to Medinah. Then, we would hear the Shia chanting about how the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) left Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) to die on his bed (i.e. Abu Bakr was expendable), and how the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) loved Ali (رضّى الله عنه) so much that he could not part with him so he took him along on the historic Hijra that marks our calender. In fact, if this were the case, we would not hear the end of it from the Shia.

To deal with this “discrepancy” (i.e. why did the Prophet take Abu Bakr along with him), the Shia have furthered the most absurd of arguments, which is narrated in the Shia propaganda piece “Peshawar Nights.” The basic premise of this argument is that the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) took Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) along with him because he feared that if he left him in Mecca, then Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) would tell the Quraish infidels where the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) was and give them information so that they could capture and kill the Prophet of Islam.

Al-Islam.org says
Abu Bakr was taken on the journey for fear of his causing a disturbance and giving information to the enemy…the Quraish unbelievers were railing at the Prophet’s companions. The Prophet ordered Ali to sleep in his bed, and, fearing that Abu Bakr would disclose this fact to the unbelievers, the Prophet took Abu Bakr with him.

Let us momentarily accept this absurd proposition that Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) had the intention of divulging the Prophet’s whereabouts so that the Quraish infidels could capture and kill him. Keeping this in mind, let us fast-forward to the moment in which the Quraish infidels are gathering around the cave; they are merely a few feet away from the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) and it is only a spider web which separates them. If Abu Bakr’s intentions (رضّى الله عنه) were to have the Quraish infidels find the location of the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) so that they could capture him, tell me: wouldn’t this be a very opportune time to notify the Quraish that the Prophet was right here? When the Quraish were gathering around the cave, what prevented Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) from jumping out and informing them that the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) was in there and they should go and capture him!

Surely, if this was the intention of Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه)–as the Shia so claim–then this is the only logical thing that would have happened. Instead, what does happen? We see the story narrated in the Quran itself. Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) is not gleeful that the Quraish infidels have found the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم), but rather he is grieved by this fact and fearful for the Prophet’s life (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم). And I say the Prophet’s life (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) and not his own because the Quraish infidels had a warrant for the capture of the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) and not Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه); the bounty was on the Prophet’s head (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) and Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) could simply turn him in to collect the reward.

Getting back to my point here: if it had been Ali (رضّى الله عنه) who had accompanied the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) on the Hijra, then the Shia would be declaring that this is a definitive proof for the fact that Ali (رضّى الله عنه) was superior to all the other Sahabah. The Shia propagandists would use it like they do the incident of Ghadeer Khumm, claiming it as a sign for who would be the successor of the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم). To conclude, the Shia have no explanation as to why the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) took Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) along and nobody else. The only logical explanation is that Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) was the Prophet’s top lieutenant, bodyguard, and trusted friend. Nothing else makes sense. At minimum, however, we have established the fact that Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) could not possibly be all the bad things that the Shia say he was; if even half of the things the Shia say are true, then it is highly improbable that the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) would have taken him along.

In fact, the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) specifically asked Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) to accompany him. This is recorded in Sahih Al-Bukhari. We read in “Ar-Raheequl Makhtum”:

So some people emigrated to Medinah, and most of those people who previously emigrated to the land of Ethiopia returned to Medinah. Abu Bakr also prepared to leave for Medinah but Allah’s Messenger said to thim: “Wait for awhile, because I hope that I will be allowed to emigrate also.” Abu Bakr asked: “Do you hope that?” He (the Prophet) replied with yes. So Abu Bakr did not emigrate for the sake of Allah’s Messenger in order to accompany him. (Sahih Al-Bukhari, no.3905)

Shaikh Mufid says
And when you talk about the added quality of being ‘SAHIB’, the companion, this indeed is a weaker point than the first two, because a believer and a disbeliever can both be in the company of each other. Allah, Most High, used the word ‘SAHIB’ in the following Ayah: ‘His “SAHIB” (companion) said to him while he was conversing with him: Have you disbelieved in the One Who created you from soil and then from a small quantity of sperm, then fashioned you harmoniously as a man?’ (al-KAHF V. 37). Further, we find in Arabic literature that the word “SAHIB” is used for the accompanying donkey, and also for the sword. So, if the term can be used between a Momin and a Kafir, between a man and his animal, and between a living and an inanimate object, then what is so special in it about your friend?”

Shaikh Mufid has referred to verse 18:37 in which the word “sahib” is used for a disbeliever. This point is extraneous, because a man can be friends with a disbeliever. This does not change the fact that he has a strong bond between himself and the other person. What we are establishing is simply that Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) had a strong bond of closeness between himself and the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم). In verse 18:37, it is two friends who get in a mutual debate with each other. The fact that one is a disbeliever does not change the fact that they are friends.

If we look up the word “Sahib” in the dictionary, we find that it means:

Sahib: n; friend, companion

Therefore, the word is not used to denote a person who is an enemy, since enemy is the opposite of friend/companion. We should ponder on why Allah used this word “companion” as opposed to something like “the hypocrite beside him” which the Shia would have used had they written the Quran.

The term “Sahib”, “Sahabi”, and “Sahabah” is always used in the Islamic context to denote a title of respect and closeness to the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم). Perhaps these words could be used in a different context, but firstly: they could never be used to denote an enemy, therefore the idea that Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) was an enemy of the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) or of Islam is totally out of the picture because the term “sahib” was used. And secondly: Islamically, the word “Sahib” is used in a very positive fashion, and therefore, because the Quran is an Islamic book, this is the only understanding of it we should take. For example, the term “kaafir” was used pre-Islamically to describe farmers buying seeds in the ground, covering them with soil while planting. If we read the Quran, should we then interpret the word “kaafir” to use this pre-Islamic meaning? Or should we use the Islamic context of the word, which is “disbeliever?”

The Quran here refers to Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) with the endearing term “sahabi” or companion. This term denotes a level of affection and closeness. Now, the Shia propagandists will argue that the word “companion” could be used for anyone, but an unbiased reading of the above Quranic verse, as well as the context in which the verse was revealed, shows nothing but a positive connotation. If this had been Ali (رضّى الله عنه) who was being referred to as the “sahib” of the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم), then you would see the Shia jumping up and down throwing this verse in our faces. Such is the double-standard of the Shia.

Shaikh Mufid says
And the words ‘Don’t grieve’ were not meant for any solace;. Because it was a statement forbidding an act. In Arabic, we have ‘donts’ and ‘dos’ as imperative verbs. Now, the grief expressed by Abu Bakr was either an act of obedience or disobedience. If it was obedience, the Prophet would not have forbidden it, therefore it is proved that it was an act of sin and disobedience

The Shia arguments are getting more and more ridicolous. Any unbiased outsider who read the Quran would know that the words “grieve not” were meant as solace. I cannot even think of a situation in which a person would use the terms “grieve not” except as a means of solace. These words are commonly said when a close one is grieving; for example, when a woman’s child dies, then people will tell her “grieve not” as a means to console her.

But because I know that the Shia propagandists will never allow us to simply use common sense, I will bolster my argument by quoting other verses in the Quran in which the words “grieve not” are used. In none of these verses are the words used in condemnation of a sin, but rather the words are used as a solace to cheer someone up who is grieving. Allah Almighty says:

“But a voice cried to her [Mariam (عليه السلام)] from beneath the palm-tree: ‘Grieve not! For your Lord has made a stream to flow beneath you.’” (Quran, 19:24)

These words are used for Mariam (عليه السلام), the blessed mother of Prophet Isa (عليه السلام). She is grieving and worrying, and so it is said to her as a solace “grieve not.” It should be noted that both Sunni and Shia revere Mariam (عليه السلام) and her status is one of the highest women in Paradise. Therefore, should we use the Shia arguments here, and say that she is being condemned for grieving? Let us insert Shaikh Mufid’s arguments here and substitute Mariam (عليه السلام) for Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه), and then we will see how obnoxious his argument is.

It is like Shaikh Mufid saying to Mariam (عليه السلام):

“And the words ‘Don’t grieve’ were not meant for any solace because it was a statement forbidding an act. In Arabic, we have ‘donts’ and ‘dos’ as imperative verbs. Now, the grief expressed by Mariam (عليه السلام) was either an act of obedience or disobedience. If it was obedience, then Allah would not have forbidden it, therefore it is proved that it was an act of sin and disobedience.”

And there are many other examples in the Quran in which the words “grieve not” are used, and always they are used as a solace. We have the example of Prophet Yousuf (عليه السلام); he tells his favorite brother to “grieve not.” This was the one brother whom Prophet Yousuf (عليه السلام) loved more than his other brothers who were corrupt, so Prophet Yousuf (عليه السلام) separated this favorite brother and then gave him solace. Allah Almighty says in the Quran:

“And when they went in to Yousuf, he (Yousuf) lodged his brother with himself, saying: I am your brother, therefore grieve not at what they do.” (Quran, 12:69)

Can any unbiased person read this verse and say that it is a condemnation of a sin (i.e. grieving)? No, surely that would not make sense; rather, this is an act of giving solace to his favorite brother.

Then we have the example of Prophet Lut (عليه السلام), who was fearful for the life of others, much in the same way that Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) was fearful for the Prophet’s life. And so Allah sent angels down to Prophet Lut (عليه السلام) who reassured him saying “fear not” and “grieve not.”

“And when Our messengers (i.e. angels) came unto Lut, he (Lut) was troubled upon their account, for he could not protect them; but they said: ‘Fear not, and grieve not! Lo! we are to deliver you and your household, (all) save your wife, who is of those who stay behind.” (Quran, 29:33)

Prophet Lut (عليه السلام) was worried and in grief when he saw the angels. The angels replied “grieve not.” Was this a command and a condemnation of a sin committed by Prophet Lut (عليه السلام)? Surely not. This was an act of solace to reassure Prophet Lut (عليه السلام) not to worry.

And then we have the example of Prophet Musa’s mother (عليه السلام), who was grieving about losing her son. Allah reassured her in the Quran and told her to “fear not” and “grieve not.”

“And We revealed to Musa’s mothers, saying: ‘Give him suck, then when you fear for him, cast him into the river and fear not and grieve not; surely We will bring him back to you and make him one of the messengers” (Quran, 28:7)

Notice how the Quran reassures her by saying: don’t worry, We will return your son and make him a messenger. This is far from a condemnation.

And then we have the example of the Prophet Muhammad (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) himself who Allah asks to “be patient” and “grieve not.” Is this a condemnation of the Prophet for a sin (i.e. not being patient and grieving)? It is interesting how the Shia’s colorful reading of verses pertaining to Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) are actually very dangerous because if we use the same logic in other verses then we end up condemning the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) himself. Allah says:

“And be patient (O Muhammad) and your patience is not but by (the assistance of) Allah, and grieve not” (Quran, 16:127)

The Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) and the believers were saddened after their defeat in the Battle of Uhud. And so it was that Allah sent down reassurance to the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم), saying in the Quran:

“So lose not heart and grieve not, for you will indeed be superior if you are truly believers.” (Quran, 3:139)

Here, Allah reassures them with solace, and tells them: don’t worry, you will indeed become victorious.

There is also the example in the Quran of Prophet Ibrahim (عليه السلام) when he was confronted by angels. He and his wife had been grieving that they could not have a son because he and his wife were so old. The angels reassure him telling him to “despair not.”

“Inform them about Ibrahim’s guests. When they entered his quarters, they said: ‘Peace.’ He (Ibrahim) said: ‘We (my wife and I) are apprehensive about you.’ They (the angels) said: ‘Do not be apprehensive. We have good news for you: an enlightened son.’ He (Ibrahim) said: ‘How can you give me such good news, when I am so old? Do you still give me this good news?’ They (the angels) said: ‘The good news we give you is true; despair not!’” (Quran, 15:51-55)

Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) was apprehensive of the Quraish infidels who were surrounding the cave, and likewise was Prophet Ibrahim (عليه السلام) apprehensive of these unknown visitors. When the angels told him “do not be apprehensive” was this a condemnation or a reassurance? Surely when we factor in the greatness of Prophet Ibrahim (عليه السلام) even the staunchest Shia can agree that it is reassurance and not condemnation, for the Shia believe that Prophet Ibrahim (عليه السلام) was infallible! And then the angels even tell him “despair not” in a similar manner that the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) told Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) to “grieve not.” If the Shia would like to argue that Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) was weak in faith for being in grief, then using this same logic one would have to say that Prophet Ibrahim (عليه السلام) was weak in faith for doubting the angels that he could have a child at so old an age.

When the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) first became the Prophet, he was worried that he might forget verses of the Quran. To this, Allah said to him: Do not worry, We shall enable you to recite this Word, then you shall not forget it. Was the Prophet being condemned by Allah or reassured? Logic tells us it is the latter. I was reading a biography written by Dr. Ali Shariati, a prominent Shia, who narrates that Ali’s daughter (Umm Kulthoom [رضّى الله عنها]) reassured her mother (Fatima [رضّى الله عنها]) and said: “It is nothing, mother, do not worry!”
(source: http://www.iranchamber.com/personalities/ashariati/works/fatima_is_fatima4.php) Was this to give solace or as a condemnation of her mother for worrying?

And there are so many more examples that I could give, but I fear that a person who does not want to use common sense can never read a text with the intellectual honesty needed to arrive at the truth. The Shia propagandist will try to further the claim that the grief expressed by Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) is showing his weakness in faith; but a similar accusation could then be made about all the individuals mentioned in the Quranic verses above.

Even the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) had days when his mission became very burdensome to him and he grieved because of this. The Quran contains verses which were sent to the Prophet expressely to comfort him in times of distress–Surah an-Nashrah is one of them. It is well-known that there was a year in the Prophet’s life which was so full of grief that he referred to it as “Aamm-ul Huzn” which means “the year of grief.” The Prophet himself named it this, so how can someone say that grieving is a sin? It is actually insulting a great deal of pious believers and belitting their faiths simply for the sake of trying to bolster one’s polemical stance in a debate, in suggesting that people who are afraid or upset by life’s circumstances do not have faith in Allah. This is a very dangerous territory to tread because the Quran contains so many verses addressed to people who were grieving, and all of these people are amongst those promised Paradise.

Shaikh Mufid says
the Prophet replied: ‘Do not grieve, surely, Allah is with us’ meaning; with me and my brother, Ali b. Abi Talib.’

This is has to be the most comical argument I have ever seen, and I do not know how anyone can possibly take Shaikh Mufid seriously after reading this argument of his. The Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) said “Grieve not! Allah is with us!” The Shia are in agreement that the first part refers to Abu Bakr (and they even say that it was said out of condemnation of Abu Bakr’s fear and grief). A normal human being would read this verse and say “Allah is with us” refers to the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) and Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) because nobody else was in the cave but these two.

It is obvious and a self-evident conclusion that the words “Allah is with us” refers to the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) and his companion who was with him in the cave. But the Shia have a magical explanation for who it refers to, claiming that somehow it refers to Ali ibn Abi Talib (رضّى الله عنه). How any rational mind can accept this rendering of the text, that I do not know. What would stop a third person from reading this verse in the Quran and saying that “us” refers to Mirza Ghulam Ahmed (i.e. the Qadiani leader) or really anybody else? The sky is the limit if we allow ourselves to have such open and non-sensical readings of the Quran.

One thing should be noted here: Shaikh Mufid has gone to great lengths to deny that “Allah is with us” refers to Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه), and he has reassured us that it refers to the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) and Ali (رضّى الله عنه). Therefore, one thing is for certain: even the Shia have to admit that whoever it does refer to is a blessed person. The fact that Shaikh Mufid wants this honor to be accorded to Ali (رضّى الله عنه) shows that whoever “Allah is with” can only be a just and upright individual; hence, it will not be acceptable for the Shia to later just shrug their shoulders and say that it is not a big deal when Allah says He is with someone. This approach has been taken by Peshawar Nights in which “Well Wisher” says that it is no big deal that Allah says He is with Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه); but how can this be when Shaikh Mufid himself found it incumbent that this actually refers to the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) and Ali (رضّى الله عنه)?

But Shaikh Mufid is not satisfied with his own explanation that “us” refers to the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) and Ali (رضّى الله عنه), so he furthers another ludicrous claim:

Shaikh Mufid says
As for the assurance that ‘Allah is with us’, the pronoun ‘us’ was used by the Prophet for himself. The use of plural pronoun for oneself is a sign of ones elevated status.

Allah says: ‘Indeed, We are the One who has revealed the Quran, and We will most surely preserve it.’ (Al-Hijr V.9).

And again: ‘We are the One who gives life and ordains death, and We are the inheritor’ (al-Hijr V.23).

Unfortunately, Shaikh Mufid could not provide a single reference in the Quran in which the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) uses the plural form to refer to himself. Suddenly, just this once, the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) chose to use the plural form for himself? This is quite a coincidence. The Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) would have easily said that ‘Allah is with me’ if he were excluding Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه). The idea that “we” refers to the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) alone has no basis whatsoever, and it is contradicted by Shaikh Mufid’s earlier claims that “we” refers to the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) and Ali (رضّى الله عنه). Really, which argument is it? How can the “we” be a pronoun used in the singular for the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) alone when it also supposedly refers to the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) and Ali (رضّى الله عنه)? The only reason Shaikh Mufid has to further two contradictory arguments is that neither makes sense, and the only obvious reading of the text is that “us” refers to the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) and his companion in the cave.

Shaikh Mufid says
Your claim that AS-SAKINAH (serenity) was sent down to Abu Bakr is indeed outrageous…in this event of the cave, serenity was sent down to the Prophet alone, excluding Abu Bakr. This may be a pointer to the fact that Abu Bakr was not among the believers!

The Shia admit that it was Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) who was grieving and worried in the cave. Therefore, logically it only makes sense that Allah would send down reassurance and serenity to Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه), since the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) was already serene and unworried. Let me give you an example:

I was really worried about my math test. My friend was not worried at all because he was going to ace it. He told me “don’t worry, you will be fine!” And then my math teacher also reassured me and calmed me down, telling me that I would do fine.

The math teacher here gave reassurance (Sakeenah) to me, because it is me who is worried about the math test. My friend did not need any reassurance because he was not worried to begin with. If we mix it up like the Shia do, then we would have something nonsensical like this:

I was worried. My friend was not and told me not to worry. My math teacher reassured and calmed my friend down.

It doesn’t make sense, but I guess this doesn’t matter to the Shia because the Shia will always have magical intepretations and readings of the text that are simply counter-intuitive. We have seen the epitome of this when we see that they can further the brazen claim that “Allah is with us” refers to Ali (رضّى الله عنه) somehow. No ammount of reasoning will ever convince such a person of the truth. Perhaps they could also claim here that the Sakeenah was sent to Ali (رضّى الله عنه)!

Najaf.org says
Sheikh Mufid says that Umar made no reply to my arguments, and as people around him scattered, he woke up from his sleep

Congratulations, O great Shaikh Mufid! You have defeated Umar bin Khattab (رضّى الله عنه) in your imaginary dream, how brave you are. I will now go dream of Mike Tyson and in my dream I will knock him out. That will just prove how great I am and how weak Mike Tyson is.

Let us now refer to the Shia Tafseer of this verse.

Al-Islam.org says
Pooya/M.A. Ali English Commentary

Verse 9:40

As has been mentioned therein, inside the cave, the companion of the Holy Prophet, Abu Bakr, was frightened and had started crying in anguish when he heard the voices of the enemy. Then the Holy Prophet said:

“Do not fear. Allah is with us.”

Compare this fear to the tranquillity of Ali described in the commentary of verse 207 of al Baqarah which was revealed to honour and glorify Ali.

The Shia version is very comical indeed. They attempt to do whatever they can to color the event and make Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) look like a coward. Here, they say that Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) was crying like a baby and that he was really frightened, comparing this with Ali’s bravery (رضّى الله عنه). We wonder where this bravery went when–according to the Shia–Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) ordered his men to break down the door to Ali’s house (رضّى الله عنه), manhandled his wife, and killed Ali’s wife and unborn child, dragging Ali (رضّى الله عنه) through the streets by the collar? Where was Ali’s bravery (رضّى الله عنه) then? (It should be noted that the Ahlus Sunnah rejects such tales, but I am only bringing this up to respond to the outlandish claims that Abu Bakr [رضّى الله عنه] was cowardly. From where do the Shia get this idea from except their own mouths and imaginations? No where in the Quran does it say that Abu Bakr [رضّى الله عنه] was crying.)

There is absolutely no proof that Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) was crying. With no proof that Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) cried, how do the Shia simply assert this? What could prevent someone else from saying that Ali (رضّى الله عنه) cried when the Quraish infidels surrounded the Prophet’s bed (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم)? Someone could claim that Ali (رضّى الله عنه) wet the bed because he was so frightened, or really anything else; using the approach of the Shia, one can make up many inflammatory (and imaginary) things. But it doesn’t make them true, especially without a shred of evidence.

The key point to be remembered is that the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) also told Ali (رضّى الله عنه) not to worry when he asked Ali (رضّى الله عنه) to sleep in his bed. Therefore, should we then say that Ali (رضّى الله عنه) was fearful and this shows his lack of faith that the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) had to reassure him? No. The only thing that we can ascertain from the fact that the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) reassured Ali (رضّى الله عنه) and Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) is that the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) loved them both and this is why he gave them words of solace. Loved ones always give words of solace, and this doesn’t mean that the one who is getting the words of solace is un-necessarily fearful or cowardly. I have given many examples in the Quran in which words of solace are given to an individual and it does not mean that there is anything wrong with the said individual. Please see the above discussion for this.

In fact, Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) was the bravest companion of all that he risked his life to accompany the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) on this very dangerous mission. The Quraish were on high alert when they found out that the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) left Mecca. Why would Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) choose to accept this risky mission, if his life was in danger as the Shia claim?

The truth is that Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) was worried and grieving but he was not fearful of his own life, but rather he was worried about the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) more than himself. In fact, many times in his life did Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) say that he valued the life of the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) above his own, and even he valued the family of the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) above his own family. Therefore, Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) was worried about the Prophet’s life, and there is nothing cowardly in this.

We read in “Ar-Raheequl Makhtum”:

[3] Sahih Al-Bukhari 1/516, 558: Abu Bakr was not afraid for himself, but as is reported, he was worried about Allah’s Messenger saying: “If they kill me, then I am only one man. But if they kill you (O Muhammad), they will have destroyed the whole nation.” So it was then that Allah’s Messenger said, “Do not grieve, for Allah is indeed with us.” (Ar-Raheequl Makhtum, p.207)

And a similar thing is narrated in “Mukthasar Seeratir-Rasul” (p.168).

We read in Tafseer Ibn Kathir:

While in the cave, Abu Bakr was afraid the pagans might discover them for fear that some harm might touch the Messenger . (Tafseer Ibn Kathir)

From a logical standpoint, we know that Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) was more worried about the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) than himself for the simple fact that the Quraish infidels had a warrant for the arrest and capture of the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم), not of Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه). The bounty was on the head of the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم), not on Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه). In fact, Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) was immune from the persecution of the Quraish infidels because he had powerful tribal connections to protect him. The Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) had recently lost this tribal protection with the death of Abu Talib and this was the impetus for the eventual Hijra of the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم). Therefore, if anyone was at risk, it was the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم). Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) loved the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) so much that he feared that the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) would be captured as the Quraish were interested in capturing the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم), not Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه). There was a bounty on the Prophet’s head (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم), and Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) could have simply jumped out of the cave and told the Quraish that the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) was hiding in the cave, thereby collecting the bounty.

Shia says
Abu Bakr was crying out loud and sobbing, just so that he could attract the attention of the Quraish Kufaar who were outside. Tell me: why was Abu Bakr crying when he knew that the enemies of Islam might hear him?

I was about to finish this article, when I came across this reply on a discussion forum. What surprises me is that the Shia can advance so many contradictory responses to justify their faith. First, the Shia propagandist accuses Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) of deliberately crying out in order to give the location of the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) away to the Quraish infidels. Then the Shia accuse Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) of crying out of cowardice, because he supposedly didn’t have true Iman (faith). These two claims contradict each other. If Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) wanted to give away the location of the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم), he would have no reason to be scared and terrified. If he was scared and terrified, he would obviously not want to give their location away.

And I have already dealt with the accusation that Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) wanted to reveal the location of the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم). If Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) wanted to do this, then the most opportune time would have been when the Quraish infidels were gathering outside the cave. What prevented Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) from jumping out of the cave and saying “here he is, get him!”

To this, I was given the most absurd and outrageous of answers by the Shia propagandists, who no doubt were getting desperate:

Shia says
Allah silenced the voice of Abu Bakr so that he could not yell out to the Quraish Kufaar. Abu bakr wanted to cry out to them but Allah prevented him from doing so.

I honestly do not think that anybody can take this view seriously, and I doubt that anyone who was not born a Shia and brainwashed with such beliefs could actually believe that “Allah silenced Abu Bakr in the cave.” There is absolutely no evidence to support this claim, and it is a very convenient (and unproveable) claim which no unbiased person can accept.

I think we should always ask ourselves if we believe what we believe simply because we were taught to do so from birth. The problem with the “Allah silenced Abu Bakr in the cave” story is that only a person born a Shia (and brainwashed throughout his life) could accept such a tale. There is nothing in history to suggest that such a thing ever occurred. And really, it is quite possible to view any event in history like this. What could prevent the Nasibis (a group which hates Ali) from claiming that Ali (رضّى الله عنه) wanted to jump out of the Prophet’s bed and tell the Quraish infidels where the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) was, but that Allah silenced him? Would the Shia (or even the Sunnis) accept such a ludicrous claim? It would be a laughable argument and easily brushed aside without further thought. So I do not know how the Shia view themselves seriously when they bring up such arguments for Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه).

I understand that religion is about faith and that there are times we can’t objectively prove our beliefs. However, I also believe that Islam teaches us we can derive our beliefs through reason and understanding. The idea that the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) befriended a man whom he knew to be at best a hypocrite and at worst a subversive Kaafir, and gave him a senior place in the Muslim community, does not strike me as credible. Why in the world would the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) take Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) on the Hijra?

If the Shia would like to say that they know that Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) wanted to give up the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) to the Quraish infidels, then didn’t the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) know this as well? If the Shia knew it, then surely the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) knew it, since as a basic principle, the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) knew more than anyone else. Unless the Shia would like to say that they know more than the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم), and only they knew Abu Bakr’s intentions (رضّى الله عنه) and the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) did not know. If the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) knew, then why did he even accept to take Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) along in the first place?

If Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) really tried so blatantly to give the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) away during their flight, why would the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) have continued to keep him in his confidences? I find the oft-given explanation that he was “keeping his enemies near” to be lacking. Obviously people revere the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) so much that they scrutinize everything he did, including the company he kept. What need had a man, who believed enough in his cause to risk death and who never once compromised his mission or philosophy, of false friends? It only makes logical sense that the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) would distance himself from a man who tried to have him captured. It does not make sense then that the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) would continue to keep this man in his company (to the extent of marrying his daughter Aisha) and to allow him to remain in power amongst the Muslims.

Back to the ridicolous argument that Allah silenced Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه), then why didn’t Allah also silence Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) when he claimed the Caliphate over Ali (رضّى الله عنه)? Or perhaps the Nasibis could claim that Ali (رضّى الله عنه) was silenced by Allah and this is the only reason Ali (رضّى الله عنه) was not able to reveal the Prophet’s whereabouts when the Quraish infidels surrounded Ali (رضّى الله عنه) who was sleeping in the Prophet’s bed. There is really no limit to the possibilities and fairy-tales one can concoct with such logic used by the Shia propagandist who invents a whole slew of details which do not appear in the Quranic text at all. Why didn’t the verse in the Quran say that the “sahib” wanted to reveal the Prophet’s location but Allah silenced him? Perhaps this is written in the Shia version of the Quran, which involves putting Ali’s name (رضّى الله عنه) in brackets wherever anything good is mentioned and putting the Three Caliphs’ names wherever anything bad is mentioned.

Conclusion

The Quran mentions Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) on this historic day when the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) made Hijra. If Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) was even half of the bad things that the Shia claim, then what logic would Allah have to honor him with this verse in the Quran? It is, after all, this verse in the Quran which made the Ansar realize the greatness of Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه). Why would Allah do such a thing? What prevented Allah from condemning Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) in this verse? And why did the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) say “Allah is with us” and not “Allah is against you”? Certainly, I would not want to question the greatness of a man who was mentioned in the Quran with such honor. And the truth is that the Shia who criticize Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) are no way near his status, and they are nothings and nobodies, who are so insignificant that they were not even mentioned in the Quran at all.

The most important question for the Shia to ask themselves is how they can reconcile the fact that it was Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) who the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) took with him on the Hijra. According to the Shia, Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) and Ali (رضّى الله عنه) were enemies. Therefore, let me ask you: if it was Ali (رضّى الله عنه) who was doing the Hijra, would he take along Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) as his sole partner? If the answer to this is no, then why wouldn’t Ali (رضّى الله عنه) follow the Sunnah of the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم)? Or, to give another example, what about the exodus of Hussain (رضّى الله عنه) from Medinah to Kufa; would Hussain (رضّى الله عنه) take Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه) along? If the answer is no, why isn’t Hussain (رضّى الله عنه) following the Sunnah of the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم)? The true answer is that Ali (رضّى الله عنه) and Hussain (رضّى الله عنه) had nothing against the first Caliph and they would love to follow the example of the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) which was to have a good relationship with Abu Bakr (رضّى الله عنه).

I wish that our Shia brothers could look into their heart of hearts, and ask themselves honestly: if it was Ali (رضّى الله عنه) who was mentioned in verse 9:40 as being the “second of the two”, then how would they interpret this verse? The methodology of the true seeker of knowledge is that he first reads the Quran and then makes up his mind after this based on what the Quran says. Meanwhile, the methodology of the Ahlul Bidah wal Dalalah (The People of Innovation and of Hell-Fire) is that they first make up their minds with their own ideas and the ideas of their priests, and then they go into the Quran looking to generate “evidences” and “proof” to back up these preconcieved beliefs, manipulating and twisting verses of the Quran to make them mean really whatever they want them to mean.

Article Written By: Ibn al-Hashimi, www.ahlelbayt.com

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