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  • Print publication year: 1996
  • Online publication date: October 2009

1 - Abū Bakr: the Successor of the Messenger of God and the caliphate of Quraysh


The fundamental account about the assembly at the Saqīfat Banī Sā'ida, in which the succession of Abū Bakr to Muḥammad was decided, goes back to 'Abd Allāh b. al-'Abbās. All other reports make use of information drawn from it or are later elaborations of it. Slightly variant versions with different chains of transmission are provided by Ibn Hishām, al-Ṭabarī, 'Abd al-Razzāq b. Hammām, al-Bukhārī and Ibn Ḥanbal. The isnāds meet in al-Zuhrī, who related the report of Ibn al-'Abbās on the authority of 'Ubayd Allāh b. 'Abd Allāh b. 'Utba b. Mas'ūd. The account clearly reflects the characteristic point of view of Ibn al-'Abbās, and there is no reason to doubt the reliability of the chain of transmitters.

Ibn al-'Abbās narrated that on the occasion of the last pilgrimage led by the caliph 'Umar, that is in Dhu 1-Ḥijja 23/October 644, he, Ibn al-'Abbās, was visited at his campsite (manzil) at Minā by 'Abd al-Raḥmān b. 'Awf, whom he used to assist in the recitation of the Qur’ān (uqri'uhu l-Qur'ān). 'Abd al-Raḥmān reported that he had witnessed the caliph on that day being approached by a man who addressed him: 'What are you going to do about a man who says: By God, if 'Umar b. al-Khaṭṭāb were to die, I would swear allegiance to so-and-so (fulān). By God, the oath of allegiance for Abū Bakr was merely a precipitate deal which then was carried out (mā kānat bay'at Abī Bakr iliā falta fa-tammat).’

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The Succession to Muhammad
  • Online ISBN: 9780511582042
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