The Sudden and Violent “ELECTION” of Abu Bakar (R)

The Sudden and Violent “ELECTION” of Abu Bakar (R)

Hasan Mahmud

References in footnotes in it are deleted for smooth reading – those can be found in the link of the book :-
From "History of Tabari - Volume 10" of 38 Volumes.

What Took Place between the Muhajirun and the Ansar over the Matter of Leadership at the Portico of the Banu Sa'idah*

According to Hisham b. Muhammad—Abu Mikhnaf—'Abdallah b. 'Abd al-Rahman b. Abi 'Amrah al-Ansarl: When the Prophet passed away, the Ansar gathered on the portico of the Banu Sa'idah said, "Let us appoint Sa'd b. 'Ubadah 3 to be in charge of our affairs after Muhammad”. They made Sa'd come out to them; but he was sick, and after they had gathered he said to his son or to one of his cousins, "Because of my illness I cannot make my words heard by all the people. Take my
speech from me and make them hear it. "So he spoke, and the man memorized what he said and said jit] in a loud voice so that his companions would hear it.  After praising and extolling God, he said:

“Company of the Ansar! You have precedence in religion and merit in Islam that no (other] tribe of the Arabs can claim. Muhammad remained ten-odd years in his tribe, calling them to worship the Merciful and to cast off idols and graven images, but only a few men of his tribe believed in Him, and they were able neither to protect the Apostle of God, nor to render His religion strong, nor to divert from themselves the oppression that befell them all; until, when He intended excellence for you, He sent nobility to you and distinguished you with grace. Thus, God bestowed upon you faith in Him and in His Apostle, and protection for him and his companions, and strength for him and his faith, and battle [jihad] for his enemies. You were the most severe people against his enemies who were among you, and the most troublesome to his enemies who were not from among you, so that the Arabs became upright in God's cause, willingly or unwillingly, and the distant one submitted in abject humiliation, until through you God made great slaughter in the earth for His Apostle, and by your swords the Arabs were abased for him. When God took (the Prophet) to Himself, he was pleased with you and consoled by you. (So] keep [control of] this matter to yourselves, to the exclusion of others, for it is yours and
yours alone”.

They answered him all together, "Your opinion is right, and you have spoken correctly. We will not diverge from your opinion, and we shall put you in charge of this business. For indeed, you are sufficient for us and satisfactory to whoever is
righteous among the believers." But then they began to debate among themselves, and [some] said, "What if the Muhajirun of Quraysh refuse, saying, 'We are the Muhajirun and the first companions of the Apostle of God; we are his kinsmen and his friends. So why do you dispute this matter with us after him?"' [Another] group of the Ansar) said, "Then we should say, let us have a leader from among ourselves, and you a leader from among yourselves,' for we should never be satisfied with less than this leadership." When Sad b. 'Ubadah heard this, he said, "This is the beginning of weakness."

'Umar learned of this and went to the Prophet's house and sent to Abu Bakr, who was in the building. 8 Now 'All b. Abi Talib was working busily preparing the Apostle [for burial], so ['Umar] sent a message to Abu Bakr to come out to him.  Abu
Bakr sent back that he was occupied, but ['Umar] sent him another message, saying, "Something has happened that you must attend to in person." So he came out to him and [‘Umar] said to him, "Didn't you know that the Ansar have gathered at the portico of the Banu Sa'idah intending to put Sa'd b. 'Ubadah in charge of this affair? [Even] the best of them is saying, 'A leader for us and a leader for Quraysh.'"

So the two of them hurried toward them; they met Abu 'Ubaydah b. al-Jarrah, and the three of them marched toward them. [On their way] they were met by Asim b. Adi and 'Uwaym b. Sa'idah, who said, "Go back, for it will not be as you wish."
But they refused [to turn back] and arrived while (the Ansar] were gathered. 

According to 'Umar b. al-Khattab: We came to them, and I had pieced together a speech that I wanted to deliver to them; but when I had pushed in among them and was about to begin my address, Abu Bakr said to me, "Easy does it, 'Umar, until I
have spoken; then afterward say whatever you wish." So he spoke [first], and there was nothing that I had wanted to say that he did not come to, or amplify it.  According to 'Abdallah b. 'Abd al-Rahman: Abu Bakr began by praising and
extolling God. Then he said, "Verily God sent Muhammad as an Apostle to His creatures and as a witness to his community, that they should worship God and affirm His oneness. For they had worshiped various deities other than Him, alleging that [those deities] were intercessors before Him on their behalf and were beneficial for them. [Those gods] were of carved stone and hewn wood." Then he recited, "And they serve beside God that which can neither harm nor help them, saying:
'These are our intercessors before God.'  And they said, "We worship them only that they may make us nearer to God."

[Abu Bakr continued,] "Now the Arabs found it most distressing that they should leave the religion of their forefathers; so from among his tribe God singled out the first Muhajirun, by having them affirm that he spoke the truth and by their belief in him, and consoling him and enduring patiently with him the harsh insults their tribe [directed] against them and (their tribe), calling them liars. All the people were opposed to (the Muhajirun) and rebuked them; but they were not distressed by their small numbers or by the hatred of the people for them or by (the people's) single-minded opposition to them, for they were the first who worshiped God on the earth and who believed in God and the Apostle. They are his friends and kinsmen and the most deserving people in this matter after him; only a wrong doer would dispute that.

Oh company of the Ansar, your superiority in religion and great precedence in Islam are undeniable. May God be satisfied with you as helpers ( ansdi ) for His religion and His Apostle. He made his hijrah to you, and the majority of his wives
and his companions are among you ; so after the first Muhajirun—there is no one among us who is in your station. We are the leaders, and you the helpers; matters shall not be settled without consultation, nor shall we decide on them without you."

Then al-Hubab b. al-Mundhir b. al-Jamuh stood up and said, "Oh company of the Ansar, take command of yourselves, for you overshadow [other] people. No one will dare oppose you [if you do], nor will the people proceed, except in accordance
with your opinion. You are the people of power and wealth, numerous and strong in resistance and experienced, having boldness and courage. The people look only to what you do ; so do not differ among yourselves, lest your judgment (ru’y) be
spoiled and your cause (amr) collapse. This one [i.e., Abu Bakr] insisted on what you have heard. So [let us have) a leader from among us, and [they] a leader from among them."

At this 'Umar said, "Absolutely not; two cannot come to agreement in a joining. By God, the Arabs will not be content to give you the leadership when their Prophet was not one of you; but they would not prevent their affairs from being led by one of those among whom prophethood [had appeared] and from whom the guardian of their affairs [was chosenj. In that [fact] is manifest argument and clear proof for us against those Arabs who deny [it]. Who would attempt to wrest from us the sovereignty ( sultan ) of Muhammad and his authority ( imarah ), seeing that we are his friends and his kinsmen, except someone advancing falsehood, inclining to sin, or hurtling into destruction?"

[But] al-Hubab b. al-Mundhir stood up [again] and said, "Oh company of the Ansar, take charge of your own affairs and do not listen to what this one and his companions say, for they would do away with your share in this matter. If they refuse to give you what you ask for, then drive them out of this country and seize control of these matters despite them. For you are more deserving of this authority than they are, as it was by your swords that those who were not yet converted came to obey this religion. I am their much-rubbed little rubbing post, and their propped little palm tree loaded with fruit. By God, if you wish to return it as a stump [then do so!]" 'Umar said, "Then may God kill you!" and (al-Hubab) replied, "Rather may He kill you!"

At this Abu 'Ubaydah said, "Oh company of the Ansar, you were the first who helped and strengthened, so do not be the first to substitute and change for the worse”. Then Bashir b. Sa'd, father of al-Nu'man b. Bashir, stood up and said, "Oh
company of the Ansar, if indeed by God we were the first in merit in battling the polytheists and in precedence in this religion, we would want by (these deeds) only [to gain] our Lord's pleasure, and obedience to our Prophet, and sustenance for ourselves; it is not appropriate for us to exalt ourselves over [other] people. Let us not seek by it some transitory thing of the world, for indeed God is the One Who provides (such things) for us out of His grace. In truth Muhammad was from Quraysh, and his people are more entitled to [hold] (authority) and more suitable. I swear by God that He shall never see me contesting this matter {ami) with them. So fear God and do not oppose them or dispute with them."

At this Abu Bakr said, "This is 'Umar, and this is Abu 'Ubaydah; render the oath of allegiance to whichever of them you wish." But they both said, "No, by God, we shall not undertake [to hold] this authority over you, for you are the best of the
Muhajirun, the "second of two when they were in the cave", and the Apostle of God's deputy ( khalifah ) over the prayer; and prayer is the most meritorious obedience {din) of the Muslims. So who should precede you or undertake this authority over you? Extend your hand so we may render the oath of allegiance to you!"

When the two of them went forth to render the oath of allegiance to him, Bashir b. Sa'd went to him ahead of them and swore allegiance to him (first). At this al-Hubab b. al- Mundhir shouted to him, "Oh Bashir b. Sa'd, you are in opposition
[to your kinsmen]; what drove you to [do] what you have done? Did you envy your cousin 38 the sovereignty?" He replied, "By God, no! But I abhorred contending with a group for a right that God had given them." Now when the Aws saw what Bashir b. Sa'd had done and what Quraysh had called for and what the Khazraj were demanding by way of giving sovereignty to Sa'd b. 'Ubadah, they said to one another (and among them was Usayd b. Hudayr, one of the naqlbs ): "By
God, if once you appoint the Khazraj over you, they will always have the advantage over you on that account, and will never give you any share in it with them. So tand up and render the oath of allegiance to Abu Bakr." So they came forth to him and endered the oath of allegiance to him. Thus that which Sa'd b. 'Ubadah and the Khazraj had agreed to do was defeated.

Hisham—Abu Mikhnaf—Abu Bakr b. Muhammad al-Khu-za’i: Aslam approached en masse until the streets were packed with them, and they rendered the oath of allegiance to Abu Bakr. 'Umar used to say, "It was not until I saw Aslam
that I was certain we had won the day." 

Hisham—Abu Mikhnaf—'Abdallah b. 'Abd al-Rahman. People approached from all sides swearing allegiance to Abu Bakr, and they almost stepped on Sa'd b. 'Ubadah. Some of Sa'd's associates said, "Be careful not to step on Sa'd!" At this 'Umar
said, "Kill him; may God slay him!" Then he stepped on his head, saying, "I intend to tread upon you until your arm is dislocated."  

At this Sa'd took hold of 'Umar's beard and said, "By God, if you remove a single hair from it you'll return with no front teeth in your mouth." Then Abu Bakr said, "Take it easy, 'Umar; compassion would be more effective at this point." So 'Umar
turned away from him. Sa'd said, "By God, if I had the strength to get up, you would have heard from me in the regions and streets [of Medina], roaring in a way that would make you and your companions take cover; by God, I shall join to you a group among whom you would be a follower, not a leader. [Now] carry me from this place."

So they carried him and took him into his house. He was left for several days; then he was sent to [and told] that he should come to render the oath of allegiance, for the people [generally] had done so and his tribe as well. But he said, "By God, I shall not do it, before I have shot at you with whatever arrows are in my quiver, and have reddened the head of my spear, and struck you with my sword, as long as my hand controls it. I will fight you with my family and those who obey me of my tribe. I swear by God, [even] if the jinn gathered to you with the people, I would not render the oath of allegiance to you, until I am brought forth before my God and know what my reckoning is."

When Abu Bakr was informed of this, 'Umar said to him, "Pester him until he renders the oath of allegiance." But Bashir b. Sa'd said, "He has refused; he has made up his mind, and wouldn't render the oath of allegiance to you even if he were
killed; and he would not be killed without his children and family and a party of his kinsmen being killed with him. So leave him alone; leaving him won't harm you, he is only one man," So they left him alone. They came to accept the advice of Bashir b. Sa'd, consulting him whenever it seemed right to them to do so.

Sa'd [b. 'Ubadahj used not to pray in their [daily] prayer or congregate with them [for Friday prayer]; he performed the pilgrimage [to Mecca] but did not press on with them in the multitudes. He continued thus until Abu Bakr died.

According to 'Ubaydallah b. Sa'd —his uncle—Sayf b. 'Umar—Sahl and Abu 'Uthman—al-Dahhak b. Khalifah: When al-liubab b. al-Mundhir stood up, he drew his sword and said, "I am their much-rubbed little rubbing post and their propped
Little palm tree loaded with fruit. I am [like] the father of a cub in the lion's den, related to the lion [as son to father]." Then 'Umar attacked him, striking his hand so that the sword dropped out, and picked it up. Then he pounced upon Sa'd [b.
'Ubadah]; and they all fell upon him. The people rendered the oath of allegiance successively [to Abu Bakr] ; and Sa'd rendered the oath of allegiance. It was an action taken without consideration, like those of the jdhiliyyah. Abu Bakr stood up before them. Someone said, when Sa'd was being trampled, "You have killed Sa'd," to which 'Umar replied, "God killed him, for he is a hypocrite"; and 'Umar struck the sword on a stone, breaking it.

According to 'Ubaydallah b. Sa'd his uncle Ya'qub—Sayf—Mubashshir—Jabir: Sa'd b. 'Ubadah said to Abu Bakr on that day, "Oh company of Muhajirun, you begrudge me sovereignty (i al-imarah ), and you and my tribe have compelled me to render the oath of allegiance." At this they replied, "If we had compelled you to division and then you had come to unity [jam a'ah] [of your own accord] you would be in a comfortable position; but we forced [you] to unity, so there is no going back on it. If you withdraw a hand from obedience, or divide the union, we will strike off your head."


Supporting reference - Sahi Bukhari Vol 8 Hadis 817  -