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Khalifa Abu Bakr - Successor to the Holy Prophet

The faithful assembled in the mosque

The faithful were assembled in the mosque. They sat in groups here and there. There was an air of uneasiness in the atmosphere. There was a whispering that the Holy Prophet of Islam was dead. There were suppressed sobs and sighs. Many persons were weeping. What would happen to the Muslims when the great Prophet was to be no more in their midst was the thought that disturbed every body.

All eyes were turned to the quarter of Ayesha. The faithful had the fond hope that the door of the chamber would open any moment, and the Holy Prophet would emerge therefrom with his face radiating divine light.

In the courtyard of the mosque, Umar moved among people and said: "Who says that the Holy Prophet is dead? I testify that he is alive, and has gone to Allah like Moses, and would return to us after some time."

Abu Bakr's address to the Muslims. The door of the chamber of Ayesha opened, and a thin frail old man walking stoopingly moved towards the courtyard of the mosque. He was dressed in a long loose toga with a shawl spread over his shoulders. His complexion was fair; his beard was dyed red; and he had the look of a patriarch. He was Abu Bakr.

As he stood among the people, his furrowed face and tear stained eyes betrayed the grief within him. In measured words he said: "Listen to me, ye people. Those of you who worshipped Muhammad know that he is dead like any other mortal. But those of you who worship the God of Muhammad (SAW) know that He is alive and would live for ever."

A hushed silence fell on the assembly. They were stunned and bewildered with the poignancy of grief. Abu Bakr wiped the tears from his eyes, and turning to the people recited the following verses from the Quran: "Muhammad is but a messenger, Messengers of God have passed away before him; What, if he dies or is killed? Will you turn back upon your heels? And whosoever turns back upon his heels will by no means do harm to Allah, and Allah will reward the thankful."

Abu Bakr added. "Verily Muhammad the great Prophet of Allah was a mortal. Having fulfilled his mission he has gone back to his Master. From God he came, and to God he has returned."

Effect of Abu Bakr's address. The effect of Abu Bakr's address was electrical in character. It appeared as though the people did not know that the verses of the Holy Quran had come down until Abu Bakr; had recited them that day. Umar said: "By God when I heard Abu Bakr recite these words I was dumb-founded so that my legs would not bear me, and I fell to the ground knowing that the Holy Prophet was indeed dead."

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