Quba. When the Holy Prophet and Abu Bakr reached in the neighborhood of Madina their first stop was at Quba, a suburb of Madina. As they arrived at Quba the people crowded round them. As the people had not seen them before, it was difficult for them to know as to who out of the two was the Holy Prophet. Seeing this predicament of the people, Abu Bakr stood up and shielded the Holy Prophet with his mantle. Thereupon the people came to know who was the Holy Prophet. The Holy Prophet and Abu Bakr stayed at Quba for a few days, and then they proceeded to Yathrib which was named Madinat-un-Nabi or Madina in the honor of the arrival of the Holy Prophet.
Reception at Madina. At Madina the Holy Prophet and Abu Bakr were given a royal welcome. The maidens of Madina mounted on the roof tops of their houses and sang: “From the hill tops of the south, The full moon cloth arise, With what a lovely call, Unto God doth he call, And we thank him for it all. O you sent by Allah the Rahman We bow to thy demand.”
The change. The world of Madina was quite different from the world of Makkah. At Makkah the Muslims were a persecuted people, at Madina they were the masters of their destiny. The life at Madina was a great break with the past. The days of trial, tribulations and tortures were now over, the Muslims were now set on the path of fulfillment. They were now poised to build a new commonwealth and a new ideal society.
Construction of the mosque. The first thing that the Holy Prophet called upon the Muslims to do at Madina was to build a mosque which was to be the prayer house as well as the community center. The owner of the plot of land selected for the purpose of building the mosque insisted on donating the land free. The Holy Prophet, however, paid the price at the market rate, and this price was paid by Abu Bakr. All the Muslims including the Holy Prophet and Abu Bakr participated in the construction of the mosque. As the Muslims labored, they chanted: “There is no life, but the life of the next world, O God have mercy on the Muhajreen and the Ansar.”
Within a few months the mosque was completed. It was square in form each side measuring fifty yards. It faced towards the north, and had three gates on each of the remaining three sides. Adjoining the mosque, apartments were constructed for the household of the Holy Prophet, and for some of the companions, including Abu Bakr. The mosque was a monument of simplicity. The walls were made of mud bricks, and the roofs were supported by trunks of palm trees. The apartments for the houses of the Holy Prophet and Abu Bakr were simple structures, and blankets of camel hair were hung at the doors. The courtyard in each case was hardly six to seven paces in length, and the length of the rooms did not extend beyond ten paces.
Rehabilitation of the Muhajireen. To rehabilitate the migrants from Makkah in the society of Madina, the Holy Prophet established a fraternity among the Muslims of Makkah and those of Madina whereunder each migrant was paired with an Ansar of corresponding status. The brotherhood thus established was unique in the annals of mankind. So strong and cordial were these bonds that they even surpassed the relationship of blood. In this roll of brotherhood, Abu Bakr was paired with Khaarij ah bin Zaid Ansari. Abu Bakr’s relationship with his brother-in-Islam was most cordial which was further strengthened when Abu Bakr married Habiba, a daughter of Khaarijah.
Sukh. Khaarijah had his house at Sukh, a suburb of Madina. Abu Bakr also settled at Sukh. When the family of Abu Bakr came from Makkah they were lodged in the apartments adjoining the Prophet’s mosque at Madina. Abu Bakr visited them frequently but he continued to have his personal residence at Sukh. He usually walked from Sukh to Madina on foot. Sometimes he rode on a horse.
Change in climate. The climate of Makkah was dry, but the climate of Madina was damp. That adversely affected the health of the emigrants. On arrival at Madina most of the emigrants fell sick. Abu Bakr also suffered from fever for several days. During his sickness he was attended to by Khaarijah and his family.
Trade in Madina. At Makkah, Abu Bakr was a trader in cloth. He started the same business at Madina. He was a wholesaler. He had his store at Sukh, and from there cloth was supplied to the market at Madina. Abu Bakr was a shrewd businessman, and we have reasons to hold that his business flourished at Madina in the same way as it did at Makkah. From the accounts, that have come down to us, it appears that at the time of his conversion to Islam Abu Bakr had an amount of 40,000 Dirhams, and that at the time of his death he left no money. These accounts tend to give the impression that after conversion to Islam, Abu Bakr did not attend to business, and subsisted all the years from 610 to 634 C.E. on the original amount of 40,000 Dirhams. That is not the correct position. As a matter of fact, Abu Bakr remained active in business throughout his life. It is related that even alter he had been elected as a Caliph he took the cloth to the market for disposal. At the insistence of Umar, and Abu Ubaida he suspended his business activities and accepted a meager allowance from the treasury. This shows that up to the time of his election as the Caliph, Abu Bakr remained active in business.
Abu Bakr as the Chief Counselor. After attending to business it was the wont of Abu Bakr to spend his spare time in the company of the Holy Prophet. Abu Bakr always acted as the ‘Second of the Two’. He was the Chief Counselor of the Holy Prophet. The Holy Prophet consulted Abu Bakr on all important matters, and the advice tendered by him was usually accepted. The Holy Prophet used to say that Abu Bakr was the best counselor. At meetings Abu Bakr was always assigned a special place to the right of the Holy Prophet.