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Hadrat Ali (RA)Gives A Lecture on the Superiority Of Abu Bakr (RA) and Umar (RA)
A Historic Lecture of Hadrat Ali رضي الله عنه Concerning the Superiority of Hadrat Abu Bakr رضي الله عنه and Hadrat Umar رضي الله عنه
Hadrat Suwayd Ibn Ghaflah رحمه الله narrates that he once passed by a group of people who were degrading the status of Hadrat Abu Bakr رضي الله عنه and Hadrat ‘Umar رضي الله عنه. When he reported this to Hadrat ‘Ali رضي الله عنه, he said, “May Allaah curse those who harbour anything besides good towards the two illustrious men! They were the brothers and extremely close companions of the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم.”
Hadrat ‘Ali رضي الله عنه then mounted the pulpit and delivered an eloquent lecture in which he said:
“What is the matter with some people who speak about the two leaders of the Quraysh and the two fathers of the Muslims in a manner that I would never. I absolve myself from what they say and I shall punish for it. I swear by the Being Who splits the seed and Who creates the soul that it is only Allaah-fearing Mu’mineen who love these two men, and only the sinful outcast who dislikes them.
They were both true and loyal companions of the Messenger of Allaah صلى الله عليه وسلم who enjoined good, forbade evil, punished criminals and never trespassed the ways of the Messenger of Allaah صلى الله عليه وسلم in any matter. The Messenger of Allaah صلى الله عليه وسلم never valued any opinion as he did theirs and did not love anyone as much as he loved them.
The Messenger of Allaah صلى الله عليه وسلم passed through this world well pleased with them and the people were also just as pleased. Abu Bakr was apointed by the Messenger of Allaah صلى الله عليه وسلم to lead the prayer and when the Messenger of Allaah صلى الله عليه وسلم passed away, the Muslims entrusted the task of leading the prayer with him and also handed over their Zakah to him, because these two (Salah and Zakah) are always coupled (mentioned together in the Qur’an).
I was the first from amongst the progeny of ‘Abdul Muttalib to nominate him (as Khaleefah). He, however, did not like to assume the post and wanted one of us to rather fill it for him. By Allaah! He was the best of those left after the Messenger of Allaah صلى الله عليه وسلم, the most compassionate of them, the kindest, the wisest in his piety and the first to accept Islaam. The Messenger of Allaah صلى الله عليه وسلم likened him to (the noble angel) Mikaa’eel عليه السلام in his kindness and mercy and to (the noble Prophet) Ibraheem عليه السلام in his forgiving nature and reputation. He walked the path of the Messenger of Allaah صلى الله عليه وسلم until he passed away. May Allaah سبحانه و تعالى shower His mercy upon him.”
Hadrat ‘Ali رضي الله عنه continued, “With consultation from the people, Abu Bakr appointed ‘Umar Ibn al-Khattaab as his successor. While some people disapproved and others approved, I was amongst those who approved. By Allaah! Before he left this world, ‘Umar won the approval of all of those who had disapproved (of his appointment). He managed affairs in the manner that the Messenger of Allaah and his companion (Hadrat Abu Bakr) managed affairs, and he followed in their footsteps just as a foal follows in the footsteps of his mother.
By Allaah! He was the best of all of those who remained (after Hadrat Bakr). He was compassionate and merciful and helped the oppressed against the oppressor. Allaah سبحانه و تعالى brought the truth on his tongue to the extent that we actually thought that an angel spoke with his tongue. Allaah سبحانه و تعالى strengthened Islaam by his entering its fold and his migration was a bolster for the Deen.
While Allaah سبحانه و تعالى filled the hearts of the Mu’mineen (believers) with love for him, Allaah also filled the hearts of the Munafiqeen (hypocrites) with fear for him. The Messenger of Allaah likened him to (the noble Angel) Jibraa’eel عليه السلام in his sterness and austerity towards the enemies, and to (the noble Prophet) Nooh عليه السلام in his admonishment and frustration towards the Kuffaar (disbelievers).
Which of you can compare to the two of them? Their heights cannot be reached without having love for them and following in their footsteps. Whoever loves them loves me. On the other hand, whoever dislikes them dislikes me, and I am absolved of such a person. Had I warned against reviling the two of them previously, I would have certainly given the most severe punishment for it. Now after this proclamation of mine, if anyone says anything like this, he will be punished as a slanderer is punished.
Take note! The best person of this Ummah after its Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم, is Abu Bakr and then Umar.Allaah سبحانه و تعالى knows best where the best person after them is. I have now made myself clear and seek Allaah’s pardon for myself and on your behalf.”
[Khaythamah, La’alkaa’i, Abu Hasan Baghdadi, Shirazi, Ibn Mandah and Ibn Asaakir, as quoted in Muntakhab Kanzul Ummal, vol 4, p446; Hayaatus Sahaabah رضي الله عنهم, vol 2, pp 483-484]