Illness of Abu Bakr. On the 7th of Jamadi-ui-Akhir of the 1 3th A H. corresponding to the 8th of August 634 C.E, Abu Bakr fell sick, and out of this sickness he never recovered. There are two accounts about the sickness of Abu Bakr. One account is that the 8th of August 634 was a cold day, when Abu Bakr took a bath and caught a chill. Another account is that about a year ago, along with some other companions Harith bin Kaladah, and Attab bin Usaid he had eaten some food which was poisoned, and which was to have its effect after a year. Harith b. Kaladah and Attab b Usaid died on the same day as Abu Bakr, and that lends support to the theory that the death of Abu Bakr was because of the effect of poison.
The physician. Abu Bakr developed high fever, and was confined to bed. His illness prolonged, and when his condition worsened, he felt that his end was near. Some companions called on him to inquire about his welfare. They said, “O Vicegerent of the Apostle of God, may we call a physician to examine you”. He said that the physician had already visited him. They inquired as to what had the physician said. Abu Bakr said that the physician had said that he would do what he would do.
Refund of the amount drawn from the treasury. When Abu Bakr felt that his end was near, he wanted to know what amount he had drawn from the State treasury as allowance for the office of the Caliph. He was told that this amount was six thousand dirhams. He directed that the plot of land which belonged to him should be sold, and from the sale proceeds, the amount of six thousand dirhams should be paid to the State treasury. He next took stock of the personal fortune that he had acquired since becoming the Caliph. These assets included a slave, a camel, and some cloth. He directed that these assets should be handed over to the new Caliph. When in pursuance of the will of Abu Bakr, the amount of six thousand dirhams and other assets were handed over to the new Caliph, Umar, the new Caliph wept and said, “O Abu Bakr, may God bless you; you have made the task of your successor most difficult.”
Property bequeathed to Ayesha. Abu Bakr had bequeathed some property to Ayesha. Now that he was on deathbed he desired that the property should be divided among her two brothers and three sisters in accordance with the Islamic Law. Ayesha said that they were two sisters, Asma and herself, and inquired as to who was the third sister? Abu Bakr said that his wife Habiba was pregnant, and he had a feeling that the child would be a girl. Indeed after the death of Abu Bakr, a girl was born to Habiba, who was named Umm Kulthum. Ayesha complied with the wish of her father and released the property in her charge for distribution among her brothers and sisters.
The Coffin. Abu Bakr next asked Ayesha as to how many pieces of cloth were used for the coffin of the Holy Prophet. Ayesha said that three pieces had been used in the coffin of the Holy Prophet. Abu Bakr thereupon desired that for his coffin as well, three pieces should be used. He wanted that the two sheets that he was wearing should be washed and used for his coffin, while the third piece might be purchased. Ayesha said that they were not so poor as not to afford to purchase all the three pieces required for the coffin. Abu Bakr said, “No, the new material will be of more use to the living than the dead. The cloth for the dead body is merely meant to absorb blood and pus, and it is not necessary that the cloth should be new.”
The day of death. Abu Bakr inquired of Ayesha as to what was the day on which the Holy Prophet had died. She replied that the day was Monday. Abu Bakr next inquired as to what was the day that day. She said that it was Monday. Abu Bakr said that in that case he would die that day. He desired that if he died that day, he should be buried the same day.
Last moments of Abu Bakr. As Abu Bakr lay on the deathbed, Ayesha wailed: “And one so unsullied in honor that the cloud draws moisture from his face; the protection of orphans. the defense of widows.” Abu Bakr said, “No, this encomium must be reserved for the Holy Prophet alone”. Ayesha said: “Wealth is of no avail to a man; on the day when the death-rattle is in his throat, and his breast is contracted by it.” Abu Bakr uncovered his face and said, “It is not so, Say that the agony of death shall come in truth; this, O man, is what you sought to avoid.” He swooned, and on regaining consciousness, he recited the verse of the Holy Quran: “Lord, let me die a true believer: And join me with the blessed ones on high who are virtuous.”
With these words of the Holy Quran on his lips, Abu Bakr expired. From God he had come and to God he returned. It was 22nd of Jamadi-ul-Akhir of 13 A.H. corresponding to 23rd of August, 534 C.E. The day was Monday. His death took place between the hours of the Maghrib and Isha prayers. He was 63 years at the time of his death. That was the exact age at which the Holy Prophet had died.
Burial. According to the will of Abu Bakr, his dead body was prepared for burial by his wife Asma b Umas. She was helped by his son Abdul Rahman. The funeral prayer was led by Umar. He was buried the same night in the house of Ayesha by the side of the grave of the Holy Prophet. In life, Abu Bakr had the honor of being a bosom companion of the Holy Prophet, after death he had also the honor of resting by the side of the Master.
Abu Qahafa. When Abu Bakr died, his father Abu Qahafa was at Makkah. It is reported that when Abu Bakr died, the city of Makkah was convulsed by an earthquake. Abu Qahafa said that the earthquake was indicative of some calamity. Soon the sad news arrived of the death of Abu Bakr. Abu Qahafa mourned the death of his son. Abu Qahafa died six months later at the age of ninety-seven.
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