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ISLAMIC MEDICAL EDUCATION RESOURCES01

9605-MODEL LEADERS IN THE HISTORY OF ISLAM: ABUBAKR

Dr Omar Hasan Kasule, Sr. MB ChB, MPH, DrPH (Harvard) Professor of Medicine & Director, Training Center, International Islamic University PO Box 70 Jln Sultan PJ 46700 Telephone 60 3 755 3433 fax 60 3 757 7970 Seminar on ‘Building Leaders of the Community,’ Madrasah Wak Tanjomg al Islamiah, Singapore  31 May-1 June 1996

Abstract

This paper and the next one describe Abubakr al Siddiq and Omar Ibn al Khattab as model leaders. Their personalities and styles of leadership were different and complementary. A full picture of an ideal Muslim leader can be obtained by studying both of them. The 2 leaders are studied from their own pronouncements.

 

WHAT IS SPECIAL ABOUT ABUBAKR

Abubakr is remembered for the following: (a) he was the companion of the prophet in the cave on migration from Makka to Madina. (b) Abubakr was asked by the prophet to lead prayers when the prophet was in his last illness (c) He was the first believer in Makka (d) He had firm iman that knew no doubts (e) He had wisdom and vision (f) He put his focus of unity of state after death of prophet (g) he took a firm stand in riddat wars preserved religion and unity (h) He laid foundation for empire in byzantine and Persian lands (I) He collected Qur’an               

 

ABUBAKAR IN MAKKA BEFORE ISLAM:

Abubakr had good manners and was a loved personality. He was a leader in his tribe in charge of settling blood feuds. He was a successful cloth merchant due to his good personality. Even before Islam, he had good morals; he did not drink alcohol. He did  not participate in jahiliyyah worship. When the prophet called him, he did not hesitate to accept Islam

 

ABUBAKR IN MAKKA AFTER ISLAM:

He called others in Islam. He used his wealth to help poor Muslims. He was never  angry except for Allah. He was a constant companion of the Prophet. He planned the logistics of the hijra and was the prophet’s companion on the journey..

 

ABUBAKR IN MADINA:

He started as a farmer. He was always with the prophet. Abubakr and Omar were the closest advisers of the Prophet. Abubakr was kind to Badr prisoners of war. He understood and supported the prophet’s strategy at Hudaybiyyat. He led the pilgrimage after Hudaybiyyat. He led salt when prophet was sick (9) firm stand at death of prophet. His firm and wise stand at saqifa averted civil war.

 

ABUBAKR ON ASCENSION TO KHILAFAT:

Abubakr did not oppress opposers to his election. During the riddat wars, the usually soft Abubakr was tough and stood firm for the truth. He stabilized the state in his reign by such courageous stands. He took a firm stand on refusers of zakat. He was firm with pretenders to prophethood. he dispatched Usamah’s army to fulfill the prophet’s command although there were many dangers in Madina at that time. He initiated the Syrian and Iraq campaigns that resulted into the expansion of the Islamic state.

 

ABUBAKR AS A LEADER:

 

Abubakr was a full-time leader devoted only to his work. He was aware of his limitations and brought about him men who could complement him. He asked for obedience from the people only if He obeyed Allah and did not assume that he had a right to rule. He governed by shura.

 


DEATH OF ABUBAKR:

 

Abubakr was pre-occupied with ummatic welfare in the last 2 weeks of his life when he was sick. He consulted the companions before appointing Omar as the next khalifa. He undertook self criticism on his activities. He returned all the salary he had earned as khalifa to the public treasury.

 

Abubakr died with no wealth. he was buried in his old clothes; he said that the living needed new ones. He ordered his funeral should not distract from state affairs

 

MAIN LESSONS

 

The main lessons we learn from Abubakr are : (a) Simple life (b) Honesty (c) Politeness (d) Firmness (e) Caution (f) Against self-admiration (g) Self criticism (h) Accepting criticism (I)

Accountability (j) Gentle nature (k) Avoiding fitna

 

ABUBAKR’S MAIN ACHIEVEMENTS

(a) Abubakr was able to maintain the unity of the ummah after the passing away of the prophet (b) He stood firm and defeated the apostates (c) He stood form against the refusers of zakat (d) the started the era of conquests (d) He collected the Qur’an

 

TEXT

ABUBAKR TELLS MUSLIMS TO CORRECT HIM

“If I am upright then follow me; but if I deviate straighten me out” Tabari 10:11

 

CHARACTERISTICS OF A LEADER: ABU BUKAR’S SPEECH ON HIS ELECTION

“O Men! Here I have been assigned the job of being a ruler over you while I am not the best among you.  If I do well in my job, help me.  If I do wrong, redress me.  Truthfulness is fidelity, and lying is treason.  The weak shall be strong in my eyes until I restore to them their lost rights, and the strong shall be weak in my eye until I have restored the rights of the weak from them.  No people give up fighting for the cause of God but God inflicts upon them abject subjection; and no people give themselves to lewdness but God envelops them with misery.  Obey me as long as I obey god and His Prophet.  But if I disobey God’s command or His Prophet’s, then no obedience is incumbent upon you.  Rise to your prayer, that God may bless you” (Muhammad pp 508-511)

 

LEADERSHIP FOR A HIGHER PURPOSE THAN SELF-INTEREST:

The Holy Prophet (p.b.h.) was called back (by Allah) and people were not far away from the age of Kufr (infidelity) I became afraid that people might revert to their old religion and fall into differences.  I therefore, accepted this responsibility, although I did not like it. Hayat 2: 24 - 25

 

ACCOUNTABILITY TO PEOPLE:

“Keep a close watch on me.  Help me, if I am keeping right, if I go wrong, put me right.  Follow me till I am obeying Allah and do not pay any heed to me, if I defy Allah”. Hayat 2:24

 

RIGHTEOUS LEADER ARE FOLLOWED :

“Such conditions shall prevail as long as the leaders of the people stick to the path of righteousness. Don’t you see that every tribe has a leaders and the people follow him.  These leaders ought to be righteous”. Hayat 2:802

 

ABU BAKR’S WILL TO UMAR:

“I invite you to perform a task which is very tiresome.  Fear Allah O Umar! in obeying Allah and maintain piety in obeying Him. Piety is a guard (against evils).  This is Caliphate which is taken over by one who may carry out its responsibilities.  One who order rightful acts and himself does wrong, asks others to do good and himself act badly would soon lose his earnings, and deeds.  Thus if you are appointed as a Caliph to look after the affairs of people, you should try to desist from shedding blood, keep your belly empty from their wealth and save your tongue form causing disgrace to them.  You should do all this if possible and one has no capacity to perform anything except by the help of Allah”. Hayat.

Professor Omar Hasan Kasule May 1996