Abu Bakr’s Caliphate
Imam Ali Ibn Abi al `Izz al Hanafi
The Islamic Creed
Abridged by Abdul Mun`im Saleh Al `Ali Al `Izzi
© 2000 Al Attique Publishers
We affirm that the caliphate after the Prophet was, first and foremost, deserving of Abu Bakr,
believing in his superiority and seniority over the rest of the Ummah.
This is our opinion. However, the Ummah disagreed over the nature of Abu Bakr's succession.
Was it by the Prophet's command, or was it simply a choice? Hasan al-Basri and a group of
people from the Ahl al-Hadith believe it was by dint of command, although subtle and indirect,
coming from the Prophet (saws). Some of them in fact have said that it is proven by the texts.
However, some others of the Ahl al-Hadith. the Mu'tazilah and Ash'ariyyah have said that it was
established by choice and consent.
As a matter of fact, we have some reports that suggest that the caliphate of Abu Bakr was by the
dint of a command from the Prophet (saws). One of them is in Bukhari, narrated by Jubayr b.
Mut'im who said: "A woman came up to the Prophet (saws). He told her to come back to him
later. She asked, 'What if I came and didn't find you?' (She meant, if he was dead). He replied, 'If
you didn't find me, go to Abu Bakr.'" There are other reports supporting this one which can be
said to be the text in support of his succession.
Then there is the hadith of Hudhayfah b. al-Yaman who reports that the Prophet (saws) said:
"Follow the two that will come after me: Abu Bakr and 'Umar." The traditionalists have preserved
The Sahihayn also have reports narrated by 'A'isha about her father. She says: "The day the
Messenger of Allah took ill, he entered into my house and said, 'Call in your father and brother so
that I write down in favor of Abu Bakr, for Allah and the Muslims will not accept anyone but Abu
Reports about the Prophet preferring Abu Bakr over others are well known. In one of them he
said: "Ask Abu Bakr to le