بسم الله الحد لله و صلاة و سلام على رسول الله و على آله و سلم
Amongst the claims of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad was that he was so close to the Prophet Muhammad صلى لله عليه و سلم that he became the Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه و سلم. He wrote, “In short, my Prophethood and messengership is only by virtue of my being Muhammad and Ahmad, and not in my own right; and I have been given this name because of my complete devotion to the Holy Prophet.”
For those who might not know, this is loosely based on the Sufi concept of Fana’ (obliteration of the self in the personality of another), taken literally. In other words, Mirza Ghulam said that he was so much like the Prophet Muhammad صلى لله عليه و سلم that “no degree of estrangement” existed between the two.
But lets take a step back for a moment. What about Abu Bakr? Did he obliterate himself in the Prophet Muhammad صلى لله عليه و سلم? If so, why did he not “become” Muhammad صلى لله عليه و سلم, even more so than Mirza? Lets compare Abu Bakr رضى الله عنه to Mirza Ghulam.
Before the advent of Islam, Abu Bakr was a close friend of the Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم. ‘Aisha رضى الله عنها said not a day went by that the Prophet صلى لله عليه و سلم did not visit the house of Abu Bakr at least once.
Abu Bakr was the first adult male to accept Islam (before him was ‘Ali and Khadijah عليهما السلام). Everyone hesitated for a moment before accepting Islam, but Abu Bakr accepted immediately, without any hesitation or question.
When the persecution in Makkah became severe, many Muslims sought refuge in Ethiopia (the first migration). Abu Bakr initially refused, but eventually decided to go. On his way, he was approached by Ibn al-Dughanna, the leader of the tribe al-Qaara. Ibn al-Dughanna asked him where are you going. Abu Bakr responded, “My people have driven me out of the land, so I am going to travel around the world worshiping Allah.” Ibn al-Dughunna replied, “O Abu Bakr, it is not appropriate for a man like you to leave your land or be driven out. Because you assist the needy, kind to his family, generous to guests, support the poor, and you stand up for every good cause.” These are the exact qualities Khadijah the first wife of the Prophet said to him after his first revelation. Abu Bakr possessed the qualities of the Prophet.
Abu Bakr had the honor of marrying off his daughter ‘Aisha رضى الله عنها to the Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم. When he was asked who he loves the most, the Prophet said “‘Aisha”. When asked who amongst the men, he said “Her father [Abu Bakr]”. He was the most beloved man to the Prophet.
When the Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه و سلم left Makkah, he took Abu Bakr رضى الله عنه as his companion. The daughter of Abu Bakr, Asma’ رضى الله عنه arranged to have food delivered to the Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم and her father. His son ‘Abdullah ibn Abi Bakr would gather intelligence and report it to the Prophet and Abu Bakr at night. During the journey, Abu Bakr had the opportunity to spend 11 days, night and day, drinking from the fountain of prophethood. All together, they were a blessed family!
Quraysh issued a manhunt to capture the Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم and Abu Bakr. At one point the trackers of Quraysh were directly above the Prophet and Abu Bakr. Abu Bakr said “O Messenger of Allah! If one of them were to look down below his feet, he would see us”. The Prophet said, “O Abu Bakr! What do you think of two whose third is Allah”. At this, the verse was revealed.
If you do not aid the Prophet – Allah has already aided him when those who disbelieved had driven him out [of Makkah] as one of two, when they were in the cave and he said to his companion [Abu Bakr], “Do not grieve; indeed Allah is with us.” And Allah sent down his tranquillity upon him and supported him with angels you did not see and made the word of those who disbelieved the lowest, while the word of Allah – that is the highest. And Allah is Exalted in Might and Wise. – Surah al-Tawbah, Verse 40
An ayah revealed mentioning Abu Bakr! In addition, Surah al-Nur Verse 22 was specifically about Abu Bakr.
When they reached Madinah in the migration, Abu Bakr resembled the Prophet so much that people mistook Abu Bakr as the Prophet! He even physically resembled his beloved!
We often hear of the closeness that happens between soldiers in times of battle. Abu Bakr experienced that closeness with the Prophet Muhammad by physically participating in numerous battles with the Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه و سلم, including:
- Battle of Badr – The Sahaba considered the soldiers at Badr the best of the Muslims
- Battle of Uhud
- Battle of Khandaq (The Ditch)
- Battle of Al-Hudaybiyah
- Battle of Hunayn
This part might especially resonate with Ahmadis: After the Battle of Badr, the Muslims had captured many enemy soldiers. The Prophet asked for suggestions on what to do with them. Abu Bakr suggested that they ransom them off, while ‘Umar suggested killing them. Upon this, the Prophet said, “…And the analogy of [Abu Bakr] is like also like ‘Esa who said ‘If you should punish them, indeed they are your servants. But if you forgive them, indeed it is you who are exhaulted and wise.'” Here, we see the Prophet comparing Abu Bakr to ‘Esa عليه السلام. Isn’t this exactly what Mirza claimed for himself?
When the Prophet was approaching his final days, he was unable to perform the congregational prayers. In his stead, the Prophet personally appointed Abu Bakr as the Imam of prayer. When the Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم passed, Islam was at risk of rapid collapse, it was Abu Bakr who stabilized community by defeating the false prophets, subduing the apostasy movements, and he even sent a small army led by Osama bin Zayd against the Byzantium Empire.
The Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه و سلم died at the age of 63. Two years later, Abu Bakr also died at the age of 63 – the same age. The Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم died in the house of ‘Aisha, at what was then a room adjacent to Masjid al-Nabawi. Abu Bakr held the honor of being buried physically on the right side of the Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه و سلم. They were united even in death.
It is the consensus of the Muslims for centuries that Abu Bakr is the greatest Muslim after the Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه و سلم. There are 10 individuals who were uniquely granted knowledge that they would be in heaven while they were living. The first of them is Abu Bakr.
Much more can be said about Abu Bakr, but it would literally take years to mention them all….
Despite his countless virtues and merits, honors and valours, Abu Bakr never claimed to be anything more than a common Muslim. He was a humble Sahabi, ma sha Allah. He never claimed to have worked his way up to being a prophet, a “non-law-bearing” prophet, or any other invented spiritual state. And even though the Prophet himself said had the likeness of ‘Esa bin Maryam, Abu Bakr never self-claimed to be the “second coming” of ‘Esa or such nonsense.
So who then is Mirza Ghulam to dare self-declare himself to have become a prophet, or that he became ‘Esa bin Maryam? Who is he to say he had no degree between himself and the Prophet? Abu Bakr is buried next to the Prophet, while Mirza never bothered to perform Hajj to even visit his grave! If anyone would have had this honor, it would have been Abu Bakr.
May we all recognize Abu Bakr’s greatness, emulate his humility, and save ourselves from false prophets who were foretold by our Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم.
و صلى الله عليه سيدنا محمد و على آله و سلم