Hazrat Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr(رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ)

 

Muhammad Ibn Abu Bakr  (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) was the son of Hadhrat Abu Bakr (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) His mother’s name was Asma bint Umays(رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہا). He was born three and a half months before the death of Prophet Mohammad (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم).  He was two and a half years old at the time of Hadhrat Abu Bakr’s (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) death. After Hadhrat Abu Bakr’s (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) death, Asma bint Umays(رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہا) was married to Hadhrat Ali (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ)and Hadhrat Ali (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) took care of Mohammad Ibn Abi Bakr(رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) as his own son.

Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ)  spent considerable time in Egypt.  He headed the delegation that complained about the excesses of the Governor of Egypt to Hadhat Uthman (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) during his caliphate. It is reported that Hadhrat Uthman (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ)listened to the grievances of the delegation patiently and assured them that he will take remedial actions.  He promised that the incumbent Governor of Egypt will be asked to resign.  He also agreed to appointHadhrat Mohammad Ibn Abu Bakr (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) as the Governor of Egypt as per the wishes of the delegation. Appropriate orders were issued by the Caliph which were to be communicated to the Governor of Egypt by an official emissary. 

Marwan Ibn Hakam, the close relative of Muawiya (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ),who had infiltrated the Caliphate and had become Hadhrat Uthman’s(رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) Secretary, was not happy with this development.  He engineered a plan to stall the proceeding. As soon as the delegation left,  he wrote a (hand written) letter addressed to the Governor of Egypt.  He used official stationary, official stamp and Caliphate’s Official Messenger for this purpose.   The letter contained an order from the Caliph to the incumbent Governor of Egypt to eliminate Mohammad Ibn Abu Bakr (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) and his close associates as soon as they enter Egypt. While the emissary was taking this forged letter to the Governor of Egypt, he was caught on the way by the delegation headed by  Muhammad Ibn Abu Bakr (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) who were also returning to Egypt at that time. On inquiry, the emissary confessed that he was carrying a secret letter to the Governor of Egypt from the Caliph.  When this letter was opened by the delegation, they were aghast to see its contents. They were furious on the Caliph and considered that the Caliph had double crossed them.

  

Islamic history records the incident as follows.

A group of seven hundred Egyptians came to complain to Caliph Uthman ibn Affan (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) about their governor Ibn Abi Sarh’s tyranny, so Uthman Ibn Affan(رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) said: “Choose someone to govern you.” They chose Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ)so Uthman Ibn Affan (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ)  wrote credentials for him and they returned. On their way back, at three days’ distance from Madina, a messenger caught up with them with the news that he carried orders from Uthman Ibn Affan (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) to the governor of Egypt. They searched him and found a message from Uthman ibn Affan(رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) to Ibn Abi Sarh ordering the death of Muhammad Ibn Abu Bakr (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) and some of his friends. They returned to Madinah and besieged Uthman ibn Affan (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ)Uthman Ibn Affan (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) acknowledged that the camel, the servant, and the seal on the letter belonged to him, but he swore that he had never written nor ordered the letter to be written. It was discovered that the letter had been hand-written by Marwan Ibn al-Hakam.

 

The above incident shows what was going on inside the Caliphate and how the Khalifa was surrounded by the people who were working for the vested interests.  It also shows that Marwan was looking after the interest of some Governors in the Caliphate.

The atmosphere in Madina was already charged up as trouble makers from other places, particularly from Kufa, Iraq, were demanding Caliph’s ouster from office.  Hadhrat Uthman (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) did not use force to disperse the crowed who had gathered around his house. The Caliph was not in favor of using force on the crowd as it might have resulted in killing of scores of people.  The Khalifa was 80 years old and a father figure to his people.  His heart was full of love for his people and he never wanted any kind of bloodshed on the street. His approach to the trouble makers was conciliatory.  He tried hard to bring sanity to the rioters.  During the siege, he used to climb over the roof of his house and address the rioters in a most conciliatory way. His conciliatory approach was viewed as his weakness by the rioters. They thought that the people had abandoned their Caliph.  This was wrong perception.  They did not know that if Hadhrat Uthman (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) had decided to use force, he could have gathered several thousand armed supporters, much higher than the number of rioters who had gathered around his house.  In addition, he could have used security personnel to crush the uprising.  

Mohammad Ibn Abu Bakr (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) was supporting the agitators because he believed that the Caliph had planned to eliminate him and his close friends. When the news of Marwan’s forgery became public, the rioters demanded Marawan to be handed over to them. The Khalifa knew that if he hands over Marwan to them,  it will not end with Marwan. There will be killings and counter killings and it may trigger a large scale bloodshed. He refused to handover Marwan to the rioters and wanted law to take its own course in a peaceful atmosphere. But Caliph’s wise counsel was viewed with suspicion by the rioters.

When we look at the Caliph’s virtuous attitude in dealing with the rioters, we find it beyond imagination of human minds.  He did not place even official guards to protect himself from the rioters.  It was Hadhrat Ali (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) who sensed the seriousness of the situation, and risking the lives of his sons,  asked  Hadhrat Hassan(رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) and Hadhrat Hussain (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) to guard the door of the Khalifa 24 hours of the day.  This was done against the wishes of the Caliph. The Caliph was not afraid of his life and preferred to die in the cause of Allah. The human history cannot produce the examples of our Khulafa e Rashideen. Alas, rioters could not understand Hadhrat Uthaman’s (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) generosity and extraordinary care and concern for his people.

The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) had asked Hadhrat Uthman (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ)  not to resign if he was pressurized to relinquish the Caliphate.  He was following the Prophet’s (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم)instructions by refusing to resign.  Alas, people did not realize it.  He was foretold by the Prophet  (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) about his martyrdom.  He knew it was coming.  He never liked anyone else, even among the rioters, to die.  He was protecting the lives of the people and waiting for the Prophet’s (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) prophesy to come true.  Subhanallah.  Look at the standard of Iman of our Khulafa e Rashideen.

It is in Hadith – Narrated by Ummul Momineen Aisha(رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہا): The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) said : “O `Uthman (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ)! It may be that Allah (سبحانہ و تعا لی) shall vest you with a shirt. If they demand that you remove it, do not remove it. (Ibn Hibban, Ahmad, Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah, al-Hakim, all with sound chains).

Tirmidhi narration adds, “The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم)repeated it three times.” Another sound version in Ahmadstates:  “If the hypocrites ask that you remove it, do not ….”  

 

When the siege continued for a long time, the rioters started getting impatient.  They were demanding Caliph’s resignation.  Some trouble makers among the agitators then hatched a plan to enter the house of the Caliph by force.  They convinced Mohammad Ibn Abu Bakr (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ)  to accompany them.   It looked they wanted to physically take control of the Caliphate.  As the gate was guarded by people, they entered the house from behind by climbing the walls.  It is wrong to say that Mohammad Ibn Abu Bakr (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) entered the house of the Caliph with the intention to kill him (Astaghfirullahal azeem).  It is reported in authentic history accounts that when Mohammad Ibn Abu Bakr (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) entered the house along with some rioters, Hadhrat Uthman (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) was reading Quran.  The Caliph looked at Mohammad Ibn Abu Bakr (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ)  and told him  “Son, if your father was alive today and if he had seen you like this in front of me, he would not have been happy with you.”.  The fatherly advice of the Caliph touched the heart of 25-year-old Mohammad Ibn Abu Bakr (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) .  He realized his mistake.  His anger turned into repentance.  He did not say a word and left the house.  However, the rioters who were working for the vested interests, who had used Mohammad Ibn Abu Bakr (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) all along, considered it as a opportunity to do away with the Caliph.  They attacked and killed the Caliph. Later they looted the Caliph’s house and Government treasury. 

The most reliable report on the above incident is, of al-Zuhri from Ibn al-Musayyab, mursal, in Dhahabi’s Tarikh al-Islam, as follows:

“Mohammad Ibn Abi Bakr (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) led the group that burst in, then Uthman (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) mentioned his father to him and he drew back in shame. He later said: “I repented at that moment.” But the others pounced on Uthman (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) and killed him.  Na’ila  (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہا) the wife of Uthman (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) confirmed this to Ali (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ)adding: “Nevertheless, he brought in those who killed him!”  Rayta or Khansa’ the Mawlat of Usama ibn Zayd was in the house at that time and he also confirmed this happening.”

The above incident is recorded in Ibn Sa’d Tabaqat, at-Tabari’s Tarikh, al-Maliqi’s Maqtal as-Shahid Uthman(رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ), Ibn Kathir’s al-Bidaya wan-Nihaya, and many others.

 

Imam an-Nawawi in Tahdhib al-Asma’ wal-Lughat also mentioned this incident.

“After the assassination of Uthman (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) in 35 H, Ali (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) used Mohammad ibn Abi Bakr (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) in various official positions, the last of them as Governor of Egypt in 37 H which shows he was convinced that Mohammad Ibn Abi Bakr (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) was not responsible for the assasination of Hadhrat Uthman (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ).  Mohammad Ibn Abi Bakr (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) fought alongside Ali (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) at the Camel and Siffin.  After the Camel, Ali (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) deputized him to escort (Ummul Momineen) A’isha (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہا) back to Madina. Had Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) been responsible for the assasination of Uthman (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ)Ummul Momineen A’isha (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہا)would never have forgiven him nor wept heavily when he was killed in Egypt in 38 H”.

Martyrdom of Mohammad ibn Abi Bakr (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ)

When the Battle of Siffin ended, Mu’awiya (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) invaded Egypt along with the deserters of Hadhrat Ali’s (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) Army.  A strong force of over 10,000 was gathered for this purpose and Amr bin Al-Aas (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) acted as commander.  At that time  Mohammad bin Abu Bakr’s (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) army consisted of about 2000.  Amr bin Al-Aas (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) defeated Mohammad bin Abu Bakr (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ).  As the army was defeated, most of the companions of Mohammad bin Abu Bakr (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) fled. Mohammad bin Abu Bakr (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) took refuge in an old ruined place where he was hunted down.  Amr bin Al-Aas (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) is reported to have burned Mohammad Ibn Abu Bakr (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) alive.  Later his remains were reported to have been buried outsideFustat in a mosque called Zimam, but some believe that only his skull was buried there.

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Muhammad participated in the battles of Jamal and Siffin. He was the son of the paternal aunt of Abdullah Ibn Abbas and the half brother of the sons of Ja’far at-Tayyar, and also the half brother of Yahya the son of Amirul Momineen (a.s) through Asma.

Muhammad had a son named Qasim Ibn Muhammad Ibn Abi Bakr. Yahya was the greatest scholar and jurist of Medina and a student of Imam Sajjad (a.s). Both Shias and Sunnis confessed to the knowledge and intellect of Yahya.

Qasim had a daughter name Umme Farwa. She was married to Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s) and she became the mother of Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s), the sixth Imam of the Shias. During his caliphate, Amirul Momineen Ali (a.s) appointed Muhammad Ibn Abi Bakr as the governor of Egypt.

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After the Battle of Siffin, Ali ibn Abi Talib appointed Muhammad ibn Abu Bakr as the Governor of Egypt, then a newly conquered province of the Islamic empire. In 658 CE (38 A.H.), Mu’awiya ibn Abi Sufyan, the then Governor of Syria, sent his general ‘Amr ibn al-‘As and six thousand soldiers against Muhammad ibn Abu Bakr. Muhammad asked Imam Ali for help. Ali is said to have instructed his foster son to hand the governorship over to his best general and childhood friend, Malik al-Ashtar, whom he judged better capable of resisting Amr ibn al-As. However, Malik died on his way to Egypt. Islam researcher Wilferd Madelung believe that Malik was poisoned by Muawiyah I.

Ibn Abu Bakr was eventually defeated by ‘Amr ibn al-‘As. ‘Amr’s soldiers were ordered to capture him and bring him alive, to Muawiyah I. However, a soldier named Mu’awiya ibn Hudayj is said to have quarreled with the prisoner and killed him out of hand. Ibn Hudayj was so incensed at Ibn Abu Bakr that he put his body into the skin of a dead donkey and burned both corpses together, so that nothing should survive of his enemy.However, Shi’a accounts say that the Muawiyah I who later became the first Umayyad Caliph was the actual killer of Ibn Abu Bakr. His grave is located in a mosque in Cairo, Egypt.

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According to a Muslim author:`Ali loved Muhammad Ibn Abu Bakr as his own son and his death was felt as another terrible shock. `Ali prayed for him, and invoked God’s blessings and mercy upon his soul

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Openly opposed Muawiya
Both of Abu Bakr’s sons Abdu’l-Rahman ibn Abu Bakr and Mohammed ibn Abu Bakr openly opposed Muawiya

The appointment of Yazid was unpopular in Madina. Sahih Al Bukhari Volume 6, Book 60, Number 352, Narrated by Yusuf bin Mahak:

Marwan had been appointed as the governor of Hijaz by Muawiya. He delivered a sermon and mentioned Yazid bin Muawiya so that the people might take the oath of allegiance to him as the successor of his father (Muawiya). Then ‘Abdur Rahman bin Abu Bakr told him something whereupon Marwan ordered that he be arrested. But ‘Abdur-Rahman entered ‘Aisha’s house and they could not arrest him. Marwan said, “It is he (‘AbdurRahman) about whom Allah revealed this Verse: ‘And the one who says to his parents: ‘Fie on you! Do you hold out the promise to me..?'” On that, ‘Aisha said from behind a screen, “Allah did not reveal anything from the Qur’an about us except what was connected with the declaration of my innocence (of the slander).”

Ibn Katheer wrote in his book the Al-Bidayah wan-Nihayah  that “in the year 56 AH Muawiyah called on the people including those within the outlying territories to pledge allegiance to his son, Yazeed, to be his heir to the Caliphate after him. Almost all the subjects offered their allegiance, with the exception of Abdur Rahman bin Abu Bakr (the son of Abu Bakr), Abdullah ibn Umar (the son of Umar), al-Husain bin Ali (the son of Ali), Abdullah bin Az-Zubair (The grandson of Abu Bakr) and Abdullah ibn Abbas (Ali’s cousin). Because of this Muawiyah passed through al-Madinah on his way back from Makkah upon completion of his Umrah Pilgrimage where he summoned each one of the five aforementioned individuals and threatened them. The speaker who addressed Muawiyah sharply with the greatest firmness amongst them was Abdurrahman bin Abu Bakr as-Siddeeq, while Abdullah bin Umar bin al-Khattab was the most soft-spoken amongst them.

Their sister Asmā’ bint Abu Bakr was just as out spoken. Asma’s son, Abdullah, and his cousin, Qasim ibn Muhammad ibn Abu Bakr, were both grandsons of Abu Bakr and nephews of Aisha. When Hussein ibn Ali was killed in Karbala, Abdullah, who had been Hussein’s friend, collected the people of Mecca and made the following speech:

O people! No other people are worse than Iraqis and among the Iraqis, the people of Kufa are the worst. They repeatedly wrote letters and called Imam Hussein to them and took bay’at (allegiance) for his caliphate. But when Ibn Zeyad arrived in Kufa, they rallied around him and killed Imam Hussein who was pious, observed the fast, read the Quran and deserved the caliphate in all respects.[8]
After his speech, the people of Mecca also joined Abdullah to take on Yazid. When he heard about this, Yazid had a silver chain made and sent to Mecca with the intention of having Walid ibn Utbah arrest Abdullah ibn al-Zubayr with it. In Mecca and Medina Hussein’s family had a strong support base, and the people were willing to stand up for them. Hussein’s remaining family moved back to Madina. Eventually Abdullah consolidated his power by sending a governor to Kufa. Soon Abdullah established his power in Iraq, southern Arabia, the greater part of Syria and parts of Egypt.

Yazid tried to end Abdullah’s rebellion by invading the Hejaz, and he took Medina after the bloody Battle of al-Harrah followed by the siege of Mecca. But his sudden death ended the campaign and threw the Umayyads into disarray, with civil war eventually breaking out. This essentially split the Islamic empire into two spheres. After the Umayyad civil war ended, Abdullah lost Egypt and whatever he had of Syria to Marwan I. This, coupled with the Kharijite rebellions in Iraq, reduced his domain to only the Hejaz.

Abdullah ibn al-Zubayr was finally defeated by Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan, who sent Al-Hajjaj ibn Yusuf. Hajjaj was from Ta’if, as were those who had killed Hussein. In his last hour, Abdullah asked his mother Asma what he should do. Asma replied to her son:

You know better in your own self that if you are upon the truth and you are calling towards the truth go forth, for people more honourable than you were killed and have been killed, and if you are not upon the truth, then what an evil son you are, you have destroyed yourself and those who are with you. If you say what you say, that you are upon the truth and you will be killed at the hands of others then you will not truly be free, for this is not the statement of someone who is free… How long will you live in this world, death is more beloved to me than this state you are on, this state of weakness.
Then Abdullah said to his mother after she had told him to go forth and fight: “I am afraid I will be mutilated by the people of Sham. I am afraid that they will cut up my body after they have killed me.” She said: “After someone has died, it won’t make any difference what they do to you if you have been killed.” Abdullah said to his mother:

I did not come to you except to increase myself in knowledge. Look and pay attention to this day, for verily, I am a dead man. Your son never drank wine, nor was he fornicator, nor did he wrong any Muslim or non-Muslim, nor was he unjust. I am not saying this to you to show off or show how pure I am but rather as an honour to you.
Abdullah then left by himself on his horse to take on Hajjaj. Hajjaj’s army defeated and Abdullah on the battlefield in 692. He beheaded him and crucified his body. He said, “No one must take down his body except Asma. She must come to me and ask my permission, and only then will his body be taken down.” Asma refused to go and ask permission to take down her son’s body. It was said to her, “If you don’t go, his body will remain like that.” She said, “Then let it be.” Eventually Hajjaj came to her and asked, “What do you say about this matter?” She replied, “Verily, you have destroyed him and you have ruined his life, and with that you have ruined your hereafter.”

The defeat of Abdullah ibn al-Zubayr re-established Umayyad control over the Empire.