Sunday, December 16, 2007

Whirling of Abu Bakr | a true Dervish and beloved companion of Prophet Muhammad

Picture of Abu Bakr caliph'Umar ibn Khattab, the companion of Prophet and second caliph of muslim community reported: One day the Messenger of Allah asked us for donations (for the newly established community). The desire came to me to surpass Abu Bakr, who had always been ahead of me in every good deed, I brought a fortune representing half of all I possessed and came to the presence of the Prophet.

The Holy Prophet enquired of Umar as to what he had left behind for himself and his family. Umar stated that he had donated one half of his wealth in the name of Allah and had left one half for himself and his family. Then Abu Bakr came in with a large sack of gold and placed it at the feet of our Master. The Holy Prophet put him the same question. Abu Bakr answered that he has donated all his wealth. Then the Messenger of Allah, looking at me, asked Abu Bakr, "Why haven't you kept anything for your children?" Abu Bakr answered, "My family and children are in the care of Allah and His Messenger."

"For the moth the lamp
and for the nightingale the flower;

For Siddiq*, God and His Prophet alone suffice."

- Sir Muhammad Iqbal

After this incident Abu Bakr was not visible for a few days and did not appear at the mosque of the Prophet. Feeling a void in the absence of Abu Bakr, the Prophet asked his whereabouts. The companions answered that Abu Bakr had distributed all his possessions and that he had nothing to wear except a piece of cloth, which he shared with his wife, each of them using it alternatively to wrap themselves at the time of prayer.

At that time the Prophet asked Bilal al-Habashi to go to the house of Prophet's daughter, Fatimah and asked her if she had an extra piece of clothe that could be brought to Abu Bakr so that he could clothe himself and come to the mosque. All that the noble Fatimah had was one extra piece of woolen cloth made of goat hair. When Abu Bakr wrapped it around his waist, it was too short. So he sewed some date palm leaves to it so that he could cover himself decently, and took the road to the mosque.

Before he arrived, Archangel Gabriel appeared to our Master in the same unseemly outfit that Abu Bakr was wearing. When the Prophet said to Gabriel that he had never seen him in such strange clothes, Gabriel replied that today all the angels in the heaven were so dressed to honor Hazrat Abu Bakr, the loyal, generous and faithful.

Allah Most High was sending blessings and salutation to Abu Bakr. Gabriel said, "Tell him his Lord is pleased with Him if he is pleased with his Lord."

When Abu Bakr came into the presence of our Master and heard the good news from the lips of beloved Prophet, he got up, thanked Allah, said, "Indeed I am pleased with my Lord!" and in his joy whirled around three times.

- quoted from Ibn al-Husayn al-Sulami's Kitab al-Futuwwah (The Way of Sufi Chivalry). Ibn al-Husayan is a highly respected sufi saint and scholar of the 10th century and the book is founded on very strong isnad (chain of authorities).

* Prophet used to call Abu Bakr, by the title "Siddiq", meaning the truthful, righteous one. its the same as the Hebrew word Tzaddik (arabic Sadiq).

. image credit: Abu Bakr (second figure on left), miniature from an illuminated manuscript; in the British Library.
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