While the Prophet (S.A.W) was being buried by Ali (A.S.) his family members his clan and some of the immigrants and Ansars, men like Abu Bakr, Umar and Abu Obaida with their friends were arguing with some 350 Ansars at Saqifa Bani Saeda, a place not far from the Prophet (S.A.W)s house as to who should succeed Mohammad (S.A.W). Saqifa Bani Saeda was a shedded place in Madina which belonged to the tribe of Bani Saeda, where generally notorious people assembled to hatch conspiracies or plan dacoities. [Gaisul Logaat page 408]. The Prophet (S.A.W) in his stay of ten years in Madina never visited this place nor did he ever send his representatives or companions for the purpose of preaching.
Though the members of Bani Khazraj and Bani Aws, the two branches of Bani Azd clan and the oldest residents of Madina had stopped fighting among themselves, which was their history they were always eager to oblige the Prophet (S.A.W) and his men from Mecca so that at the time of any conflict among themselves they may not be overpowered by the other clan. The immigrants who were till late living on the mercy of these tribes had now emerged as the third and most dominating force. They always boasted of their close relationship with the Prophet (S.A.W), of their being from the tribe of Quraish which was considered to be noblest clan of Arabia. They fully exploited this relationship and always talked with an air of superiority and authority.
The people of Madina who at one time did not hesitate to kill a person in the cause of Islam be he a close relative of these immigrants or any infidel of any part of Arabia were now afraid to do so. Their sole protectors the Prophet (S.A.W) was no more. They had also seen how some of the immigrants whose relatives were killed by the sword had now suddenly become all the more powerful. They could now take the revenge of their dear one, and there was nobody to help them. The mistrust among both the tribes was always there and the feat that the immigrants whose mind and attitude was known to them may exploit this situation and rule them made them more panicky. They now wanted to unite and fight these forces. They wanted to protect themselves and their children. With this fear in mind the Ansars on hearing the news of the demise of the Prophet (S.A.W) gathered here to decide their future course of action. There was tension, commotion and arguments. Some wanted Ali (A.S.) as their Caliph some wanted to choose somebody from the Ansars themselves. As they feared that they might be made the target of intrigues, conspiracies and politics of the immigrants.
Addressing the gathering of the Ansars Sad Bin Obada one of their leaders said, "O helpers the honour and respect you possess today no other tribe enjoys. The Prophet taught Islam to his people for twelve years, but only a few obeyed and they too were so weak and humble that they could not protect him. They neither followed the tenets of Islam in the true sense, nor were brave enough to keep his enemies away from him. Till Allah showed us the path of righteousness and gave us honour for protecting his Prophet and his followers. He gave you courage to strengthen Islam and fight its enemies. It was your sword which helped the Prophet to crush the infidels. Allah then recalled His Prophet, who went much satisfied with you. Therefore secure the leadership for yourselves as you are the most deserving of all." The gathering agreed to his suggestion and proposed his name for the leadership.
It was at this point when Umar entered Saqifa with Abu Bakr and Abu Obaida. Umar wanted to interrupt Saad Bin Obada but Abu Bakr stopped him and himself spoke. "Allah bestowed upon Mohammad His guidance and His religion and in turn Mohammad invited the people to accept them. We the immigrants were the first in whose heart the Almighty filled the respect for him, and we bowed our heads before him. Those who followed us came next to us. Therefore we stood more closer to the Prophet than others. Then we also belonged to the respected lot (Quraish). You helpers (people of Madina) too gave us shelter and helped our religion spread, but your position before the Prophet (in comparison to ours) was that of a Vazir. The Holy Quran has called you our brothers and partners and truly you have shared our sufferings and gains equally. By Allah you are more dear to us than others. You have always been contented with what Allah gave you. You carried His orders when he asked you to look after the immigrants whom He sent to you. Therefore dont be jealous of us, help us as you have helped us before. Today it is your duty to see that the Muslims are not divided among themselves. Dont feel bad at the honour Allah bestowed upon your immigrant brothers. I therefore call upon you to pay allegiance to Obaida or Umar whom I have chosen for the leadership."Obaida and Umar immediately rose and declined the honour saying "You (Abu Bakr) deserve more than us."
Refuting Abu Bakrs remarks the Ansars said, "By Allah we are not jealous of what Allah has bestowed upon you and we also ensure you that of all the human beings on this earth we love you the most. What we fear is that tomorrow a person who is neither from you nor from us grabs the leadership then what will be our position? Therefore it would be better if we have one leader from you and one from us, and let all the Muslims pay allegiance to both. We may also decide here that when the leader of the Ansars dies, the Ansars may choose another leader from them and similarly when the leader of the immigrant dies they too will choose their own leader from amongst them. And this system can go for ever."
Abu Bakr not arguing with this said, "Allah made Mohammad His Prophet so that his men (Quraish), may pray to Him alone, though there were so many other gods from whom they (the people) expected prosperity and good things forgetting that they were all hand made gods and carved from stones or wood. Because the Arabs did not want to leave the religions of their ancestors. But Allah chose some people who were though very few, but sacrificed everything they had in His name. They suffered all hardships, faced oppositions but did not deter from the path of His obedience. These people were the firsts to pray with him (the Prophet ), they should truly be called his near ones and deserve to be his heir. Anyone who challenges this right is a tyrant. Similarly your status among the followers of Islam cannot be degraded. Allah created you to help His religion and His Prophet and towards you He asked his Prophet to migrate. Therefore position wise we are first and you stand second. We are the rulers and you are our vazirs. Whatever we shall do or decide will be with your consultations." Sensing the intentions of Abu Bakr, Habab Bin Manzar said to the people, "O Ansars do not pay allegiance to these immigrants. They are under your obligations and control. They are not strong enough to go against you. You are honourable, respectable, rich and more in number. You are also the fighting arms of Islam. With your help Islam could stand on its feet. Act as your people want you to act today, do not betray them and do not defeat your cause. It was you who gave refuge to the Prophet when he migrated to your city. By Allah they did not dared to pray openly till they stepped on your soil. Even their Friday prayers were offered in our mosque. Our swords forced the infidels of Mecca to surrender before the Prophet. Therefore you are superior to the immigrants and have more right to get the Caliphate. This is not the time for us to be divided or get dispersed. This is the time to insist for our rights, and if they do not agree to accept an Ansar as the Caliph of all the Muslims then let us have one Caliph from the Ansars and one from the immigrants."
Refusing to accept the suggestion of Habab bin Manzar, Umar said, "Two swords are not kept in one sheath. The Quraish will never accept an Ansar as their Caliph, because the Prophet was not from them. The heir of the Prophet must be from the same clan as that of the Prophet (S.A.W) only. And as the Prophet was from the Quraish therefore it is our right to be the heir of this government and his assets. This right of ours is unchallengeable. We are the Prophet near and dear ones and whoever challenges this right is a sinner and will be damned."
Hubab bin Manzar rose in anger and pointing at Umar said to his men, "Do not listen to this man or his companions otherwise you will lose your right to govern. If they do not accept your rights throw them out of your city and choose your own Caliph. You can do that because you have earned this position through your sword. If you agree with me, by Allah, I can drive these people to their old positions and whoever comes in my way will be dealt with this sword."
Then Abu Obaida bin Jarrah whom Abu Bakr and Umar had brought with them stood up and said, "O Ansars, do not spoil your good name which you have earned by being the first to help the immigrants and the first to give them shelter." But nobody listened to him. When Bashir bin Saad saw that the Ansars are bent upon making Hubab bin Manzar the Caliph whom he hated most inspite of his being from the same clan and also his cousin, stood up and said, "O Ansars we have earned our names in the wars we fought for the Prophet and we have also earned the respect of being true Muslims, then why should we be so selfish today? Why dont we put an end to this matter? We are already enjoying the high status Allah has bestowed upon us as the `Helpers of Islam then let the heir of the Prophet be from Quraish as the Prophet himself was from them. In my opinion it is not proper for us to dispute their rights of being his heir. I therefore request you to fear Allah and do not defraud the immigrants of their right."
Taking advantage of the difference thus created by Bashir among the Ansars Abu Bakr rose and said, "I advise you to choose one of these two (pointing towards Umar and Abu Obaida) as your Caliph." Umar immediately stood up and apologized, "How can I be a candidate in presence of a man of your caliber and status. You have embraced Islam much before me, you are also rich and have the honour of being the Prophets companion in the cave. Who can dare to challenge you. Raise your hand and I will pay allegiance to you." Accordingly Abu Bakr stretched his hand before Umar, but before Umar could grasp it, Bashir bin Saad jumped on it and holding Abu Bakrs hand pledged allegiance to him. Hubab bin Manzar shouted at Bashir and said, "You are sacked from our clan. What forced you to do that? It is your jealousy with me that has forced you to do that." Bashir replied, "No it is not so. The Quraish deserve this honour."
When the members of Bani Aws saw that Bashir who was from the clan of Khazraj and one of its leaders have stolen the initiative and has sworn allegiance to Abu Bakr, even before the immigrants could do so and have thus gained favour they too rushed forward and started pledging their allegiance to Abu Bakr lest they may have to face the wrath of the immigrants. They were so excited by this situation that one of them remarked, "If Saad bin Obada becomes the caliph then his tribe will gain respect and we shall be treated as inferiors. Therefore let us (Aws) all pledge our allegiance to Abu Bakr."
Hubab bin Manzar pulled his sword but was overpowered by his opponents and his sword was taken from him. The scuffle continued and Hubab was heard shouting, "O Ansars, what are you doing? I can see your children begging on the doorsteps of the immigrants and they do not get even water." Abu Bakr asked Hubab if he was afraid of him. Hubab said, "No, but I am afraid of your successors." Abu Bakr said, "At that moment you do what you deem fit. I will not come in your way Hubab." But alas neither you nor I will be alive to see the disaster these people will spell.
The fear of losing the sympathy of the immigrants grew so much among the Ansars that they madly rushed towards Abu Bakr to pledge their allegiance and in that melee, Saad bin Obada was almost trampled. When his people protested Umar cried, "Kill him! May Allah kill him." Saying this Umar jumped on Saads head and sitting on it and pressing it he said, "I will crush you in such a way that your body will break into pieces." Saad catching Umar by his beard shouted back, "By Allah if you take even one hair of my body, I will break all your teeth and you will go home toothless." Abu Bakr separated the two and advised Umar to cool down lest his mission fails. Saad then told Umar, "By Allah if I would not have been sick today, and if I could only stand on my own you would have heard such echoes of my voice from the lanes and bylanes that you and your people would have vanished into the holes of this earth. If my health would have been better today I would have sent you to such people who would have made you their subjects and slaves and you would never have been Caliph."
Then he asked his men to carry him home. Thus he went away without pledging allegiance to Abu Bakr. Similarly many others who were neither in favour of Abu Bakr nor Hubab bin Manzar went away saying we will pledge our allegiance to only Ali (A.S.) and none else. Umar pledging his allegiance to Abu Bakr said, "Think that my strength has also been added to your strength."
Abu Bakr who was not happy with the attitude of Saad bin Obada. He sent for him to come back and pledge his allegiance, but Saad refused and told the messengers, "Tell him I will hit him with all the arrows I have and I will paint my lance with his blood. I, my relatives and the people of my clan will fight with him, and by Allah if all the men and even the Jinns come to pledge their allegiance to him I will not pledge mine." On hearing this Umar asked Abu Bakr not to let go Saad but force him to pay allegiance to him. But Basheer intervened and advised them not to precipitate the matter saying, "Leave Saad alone. Because if he has refused once he will never do it now even if you kill him, and he will not be killed till all his relatives are killed, and you will not be able to kill his relatives till you do not kill all the members of Bani Khazraj clan, and that will only be possible when you first finish the clan of Bani Aws. Therefore, be content with what you have achieved. By sparing him you lose nothing." Abu Bakr accepted Bashirs advice and did not touch Saad.
Saad never forgave them for this. He neither pledged his allegiance to them not was he ever seen with them, nor prayed in their company, nor went to Hajj with them.