The first four Caliphs who ruled after the death of Muhammad are often described as the “Khulafāʾ Rāshidūn”. The Rashidun were either elected by a council (see the election of Uthman and Islamic democracy) or chosen based on the wishes of their predecessor. In the order of succession, the Rāshidūnwere:
- Abu Bakr (632–634 CE).
- Umar ibn al-Khattab, (Umar І, 634–644 CE) – Umar is often spelled Omarin some Western scholarship.
- Uthman ibn Affan (644–656 CE) – Uthman is often spelled Othman (or Osman) in some non-Arabic scholarship.
- Ali ibn Abi Talib (656–661 CE) – During this period however, Muawiyah ibn Abi Sufyan (Muawiyah I) controlled the Levant and Egypt regions independently of Ali.
Abu Bakr (Abdullah ibn Abi Qahafa, (Arabic: عبد الله ابن أبي قحافة, romanized: `Abdullāh bin Abī Quhāfah), c. 573 CE unknown exact date 634/13 AH) was a senior companion (Sahabi) and the father-in-law of Muhammad. He ruled over the Rashidun Caliphate from 632–634 CE when he became the first Muslim Caliph following Muhammad’s death. As caliph, Abu Bakr succeeded to the political and administrative functions previously exercised by Muhammad, since the religious function and authority of prophethood ended with Muhammad’s death according to Islam. Abu Bakr was called As-Siddiq (Arabic: اَلـصِّـدِّيْـق, “The Truthful”), and was known by that title among later generations of Muslims. He prevented the recently converted Muslims from dispersing, kept the community united, and consolidated Islamic grip on the region by containing the Ridda, while extending the Dar Al Islam all the way to the Red Sea.
Abu Bakr was born in Mecca some time in 573 CE, to a rich family in the Banu Taym tribe of the Quraysh tribal confederacy. Abu Bakr’s father’s name was Uthman and given the laqab Abu Quhafa, and his mother was Salma bint Sakhar who was given the laqab of Umm ul-Khair.
He spent his early childhood like other Arab children of the time, among the Bedouins who called themselves Ahl-i-Ba’eer– the people of the camel, and developed a particular fondness for camels. In his early years he played with the camel calves and goats, and his love for camels earned him the nickname “Abu Bakr“, the father of the camel’s calf.
Like other children of the rich Meccan merchant families, Abu Bakr was literate and developed a fondness for poetry. He used to attend the annual fair at Ukaz, and participate in poetical symposia. He had a very good memory and had a good knowledge of the genealogy of the Arab tribes, their stories and their politics.
A story is preserved that once when he was a child, his father took him to the Kaaba, and asked him to pray before the idols. His father went away to attend to some other business, and Abu Bakr was left alone with the idols. Addressing an idol, Abu Bakr said “O my God, I am in need of beautiful clothes; bestow them on me”. The idol remained indifferent. Then he addressed another idol, saying, “O God, give me some delicious food. See that I am so hungry”. The idol remained cold. That exhausted the patience of young Abu Bakr. He lifted a stone, and, addressing an idol, said, “Here I am aiming a stone; if you are a god protect yourself”. Abu Bakr hurled the stone at the idol and left the Kaaba. Thereafter, he never went to the Kaaba to pray to the idols.
He was a man with fair skin, thin, emaciated, with a sparse beard, a slightly hunched frame, sunken eyes and protruding forehead, and the bases of his fingers were hairless.
He remained a hanif until converting to Islam and never worshipped idol