After being forcefully elected as the caliph, Abu Bakr delivered his first sermon in the mosque, with the following sentences :- "O people! Know that there is a devil who constantly haunts me. Then if I do good, follow me. But if I commit evil, keep away from me" [Al-Imamah was Siyaasah of Ibn Qutaybah, 3rd century]. This confession of Abu Bakr has confused the traditionalists of every era who have tried their best to justify them but have miserably failed to do so. Particularly when you compare them with Ali (A.S.)s historical claim, "Ask me before I go away from you."
After the death of Abu Bakr, when Umar became the Caliph, Saad migrated to Syria but was way laid and killed by some unknown persons.
The speeches and counter speeches, the slogans and counter slogans between the Ansars and imigrant rose to such a pitch and created such a drama that none could realise the consequences of their behaviour at Saqifa Bani Saeda. With the result many of the Ansars who had voted for Abu Bakr later withdrew their allegiances from him. But it was too late. The chair of the Caliphate was already grabbed and there was nobody who could take it back from them. The Ansars felt cheated and often taunted the immigrants for their manipulations at Saqifa. The group of Abu Bakr from which three Caliphs, Abu Bakr, Umar and Usman came were so scared of the Ansars that none of them gave any governmental jobs to the Ansars in their regimes.
Umar narrating his feelings about the whole Saqifa affair to Ibne Abbas said, "Do not call it accidental and snatching an opportunity though it was all. Allah saved his nation from this misadventure. Now if anyone repeats this act you should kill him". [Tabari, Vol. 3, Page 20].
Ali (A.S.) speaking about the happenings at Saqifa said, "By Allah the son of Abu Qahafa (Abu Bakr) dressed himself with it (Caliphate) knowing for certain that my position in relation to it (caliphate) was the same as the position of an axe with the handmill. The flood water flows down from me, and the bird cannot fly upto me. I put a curtain against the Caliphate and kept myself detached from it. Then I began to think whether I should assault or endure calmly the blinding darkness of tribulations wherein the grownups are feebled and the young grow old, and the true believer acts under strain till he meets Allah (on his death). I found that endurance thereon was wiser so I adopted patience, although there was a thorn pricking in the eye and suffocation (mortification) in the throat. I watched the plundering of my inheritance till the first one (Abu Bakr) went his way, but handed over the Caliphate to Ibnul Khattab (Umar) after himself."
Sahih Muslim has also recorded a tradition that Umar did not like Ali (A.S.) and his uncle Abbas calling Abu Bakr a liar, a sinner, a fraud and a cheat. He always complained to them for using these derogatory terms [Sahih Muslim, Vol.1, page 71].
After finishing the task at Saqifa, Abu Bakr, Umar, Abu Obaida and Bashir Bin Saad came to the mosque where the members of Bani Hashim had assembled near Ali (A.S.). The members of Bani Umayya forming another group sat near Usman, and the members of Bani Zaheera with Abdur Rahman Bin Awf. The Prophet (S.A.W) was already laid to rest by Ali (A.S.), his relatives and friends. The atmosphere in the mosque was of gloom and sadness. Neither Abu Bakr nor any of his companions enquired about the Prophet (S.A.W)s burial or uttered a word of condolence to Ali (A.S.) or anybody from his family or friend. Umar straight away asked every person present in the mosque to pledge their allegiance to Abu Bakr. Usman and the members of his clan immediately went to Abu Bakr who had gone and sat on the pulpit, pledged their allegiance to him. Seeing them Abdur Rahman Bin Aof and his men too went to Abu Bakr and pledged their allegiance to him.
When Ali (A.S.) and his men saw this atmosphere in the mosque of the Prophet (S.A.W) soon after his death they walked away from the mosque and went to the house of Ali (A.S.). Those who left the mosque with Ali (A.S.) were Salman Farsi, Abu Zar Ghaffari, Miqdad, Khuzaima Bin Saabit, Abu Ayub Ansari, Jabir Bin Abdulla Ansari, Talha, Zubair Bin Awan and Abu Sayeed Bin Khudri. All trusted friends of the Prophet (S.A.W) and distinguished characters of Islamic history.
Humiliated by the walking away of Ali (A.S.) and his relatives and companions Umar asked Abu Bakr to summon Ali (A.S.) and ask him to pay his allegiance. Abu Bakr sent his slave Qinfuz to bring Ali (A.S.). Qinfuz came to Ali (A.S.) and said, "The successor to the Prophet of Allah has called you." Ali (A.S.) replied, "You people have so soon started heaping allegations against the Prophet ." Qinfuz returned and told Abu Bakr what Ali (A.S.) had said. Abu Bakr began to cry. Umar who also did not like Ali's (A.S.) answer asked Abu Bakr not to give time to Ali (A.S.) but force him to pay allegiance. Abu Bakr again sent Qinfuz to Ali (A.S.) to say that the leader of the faithful is calling him to pledge his allegiance. When Qinfuz repeated the words of Abu Bakr Ali (A.S.) replied, "Praise be to Allah, your master has claimed a title to which he is not entitled."
Qinfuz came back and conveyed what Ali (A.S.) had said. Abu Bakr again began to cry. This reply of Ali (A.S.) infuriated Umar so much that he took some people with him and came to Ali (A.S.)s house and started banging the door. Hearing the noise Fatema (S.A.) came to the door and asked Umar as to why he was misbehaving. Addressing him she said,"I do not remember any other nation who has done worse than what you are doing. You left the body of the Prophet (S.A.W) without burial and went away to decide the issue of Caliphate." [Allama Ibn Qutaiba].
Umar putting fire to the door kicked it so hard that Fatema (S.A.) was crushed between the wall and the door. Fatema (S.A.)s ribs and hands were broken and the baby she carrying was still born. Fatema (S.A.) began to wail, "O my revered father, O Messenger of Allah see what miseries have been hurled upon us after you by Abu Kuhafa (Abu Bakr) and Ibnul Khattab (Umar)."
When the companions of Umar heard the wailing of Fatema (S.A.) many of them left the place weeping. and only a few remained with Umar. These companions of the Prophet (S.A.W) who were inside the house with Ali (A.S.) to avoid further confrontation came out. Zubair Bin Awan the son in law of Abu Bakr who was also inside with Ali (A.S.) pulled out his sword but Umars men pounced upon him on Umars orders and Salman Bin Asham overpowering him snatched his sword dashed him to the wall. Umar then dragging him and other companions of the Prophet (S.A.W) brought them to the mosque where Abu Bakr was still waiting for them. Abu Bakr asked them as to why are they refusing to pay allegiance to him. The he reminded them his services in the cause of Islam. But none replied. Umar them forced them all pay allegiance to Abu Bakr [Al-Melal Wan Nehal by Shahrastani].
After completing this task again came to Ali (A.S.)s house and dragging Ali (A.S.) who was attending to his injured wife and suffocating children brought him to Abu Bakr to force him pay allegiance. Abu Bakr too asked Ali (A.S.) to pay allegiance, but Ali (A.S.) refused and said, "I am more deserving than you, you must pay allegiance to me because you have taken the Caliphate from Ansars on the plea that Mohammad (S.A.W) was from your tribe, that you were more closer to him than the Ansars. Then are we the members of his family not nearer to him than you? The Ansars have conceded and have accepted your arguments, now I am putting the same arguments before you. If you are a true Muslim then do justice to me or be called a tyrant."
said, "We will not leave you till you pledge your allegiance to
Abu Bakr." Ali (A.S.) replied,
Abu Obaida Bin Jarrah who was also anxious to see that Ali (A.S.) pledges allegiance intervened and said to Ali (A.S.), "Brother you are younger to them in age (Ali (A.S.) was thirty three and the others were over sixty). Your experience in these affairs is less than theirs. They know more of politics than what you know. I find Abu Bakr more competent than you. Therefore it is your duty to pledge allegiance to him. And if you live after them then this post is for you, because you are respectable, strong, full of knowledge and understanding, a senior Muslim and also the son in law of the Prophet." Replying to Obaida Ali (A.S.) said, "O you immigrants do not remove the leadership of the estate and the government from the Prophets house and take it to your house, and do not deprive his family of the honour they possess. By Allah O immigrants we are more deserving for this post than you because we are his family. We have the best knowledge of Quran, the traditions and the tenets of Islam. We are more informed about the religion than you. If there is anybody who can solve the difficulties of the people it is we. We will give them better justice. Do not follow your desires otherwise you will be misled."
Basher Bin Saad the man from Ansars, who had jumped at Saqifa to pledge allegiance to Abu Bakr because of his enmity with his cousin Saad Bin Obada said, "Ali had you addressed us (the Ansars) before we pledged our allegiance to Abu Bakr we would not have opposed you." Ali (A.S.) then left the mosque and came to the grave of the Prophet wailing, "O brother see how our people have rendered me weak to the utmost and were about to kill me." History has recorded Umars visit to the house of Abu Obaida to offer him the chair of the caliphate. Abu Obaida turning down the offer said, "I have never heard you talking so foolishly before" [Tarikhul Khulafa, page 48].
When Abu Bakr returned home his father Abu Qohafa asked him as to who got the Caliphate. Abu Bakr said that he was chosen. Abu Qohafa surprisingly asked, "How come that the descendants of Abde Munaf (Bani Hashim and Bani Umayya) and Bani Mogheera did not object." Abu Bakr said Bani Hashim did not oppose him. Abu Qohafa asked, "On what grounds did they choose you"? Abu Bakr replied, "Because I was the oldest among the immigrants." Abu Qohafa retorted, "Then why not me? I am older than you. Why did you not suggest my name." Abu Bakr did not answer.
For three days Abu Bakr did not come out of his house. He kept the doors closed and whenever he came out he asked the people to withdraw their pledge as he finds himself inefficient (for the job). When Umar heard this he came to meet him. Abu Bakr cursed him for putting this burden on him [Kanzul Ummal, vol. 4, page 135].
It is significant to note here that the tribes of Bani Taem (Abu Bakrs tribe) and Banu Adi tribe (the tribe of Umar) were not on friendly terms with the tribe of Bani Hashim even before the advent of Islam [Sawaequl Mohreqah, page 31].
At the time of Prophet (S.A.W)s death Abu Sufian was not in Madina. When he was returning home he met a traveller coming from Madina who informed him of the Prophet (S.A.W)s death. Abu Sufian asked, "Who is the ruler in place of Mohammad?" "Abu Bakr" replied the traveller. "What about Ali and Abbas, how did they reconcile this? Were they considered so weak as to be ignored?" asked Abu Sufian. "They remained silent" said the traveller. Abu Sufian remarked, "By Allah if I remain alive I will get their honour back to them. I can see the dust of trouble and mischief rising. This dust can only be removed by bloodshed."
On entering Madina Abu Sufian roamed the lanes and bylanes expressing his anger and surprise at Abu Bakr becoming the ruler of the Muslim world. Addressing the tribes of Bani Hashim and Bani Umayya he asked, "O tribes of Hashim and Umayya, how can Abu Bakr rule over you. The Caliphate has gone to the most wretched and lowest tribe of Arabia. It has to be with the Hashmis and towards them it has to go. Only Abul Hasan (Ali (A.S.)) deserves this honour. Therefore, rise O Hashmis and take back your right which has fraudulently been snatched from you."
After creating an atmosphere against Abu Bakr, Abu Sufian came to the house of Abbas Ibne Abdul Mutallib uncle of the Prophet (S.A.W) and said, "See how these people have grabbed the Caliphate from Bani Hashim and have confined it to the clan of Bani Tayem. And this man (Abu Bakr) will pass it to a haughty man Umar of Bani Adi, after himself. Let us go to Ali and persuade him to come out of his seclusion and take up arms to regain his right. When we both will pledge our allegiance to him others will follow us. As you are the uncle of the Prophet (S.A.W) and my words carry weight with the Quraish. Then whoever dares to oppose us will be killed."
When he found Abbas convinced, he brought him to Ali (A.S.) and said, O Ali! What a fall for this seat of Caliphate. How can the Caliphate go to the lowest tribe like Banu Tayem" [Tabari vol. 3, page 202]. "Give me your hand and I will pledge my allegiance to you, and if any one dares to oppose me I will fill the streets of Madina with the calvaries and infantries of Mecca." Abbas too persuaded Ali (A.S.) to declare his Caliphate and said, "Stretch your hand and I will pledge my allegiance to you so that the people may know that the Prophets uncle has accepted Ali as the Caliph, and nobody will dare to oppose then." Ali (A.S.) replied, "Who else can have this right but me. I do not accept Caliphate under cover. If I accept it I will accept it openly." Ali (A.S.)s answer silenced Abbas. Then Ali (A.S.) turned to Abu Sufian and said, "I do not need your help or sympathy. You have always tried to harm Islam. By Allah your only purpose of coming to me is to create dissensions among the Muslims." Then addressing the Muslims who had gathered by then, Ali (A.S.) said, "O people steer clear through the waves of mischief in boats of deliverance. Turn away from the path of dissensions and remove the crown of pride. Prosperous is he who rises with wings (when he has power) or he remains peaceful and allows others to enjoy peace. It (the aspirations of Caliphate) is like turbid water or like a morsel that suffocates the person who swallows it. One who plucks fruits before its ripening is like one who cultivates in anothers field. If I speak out they will call me power greedy, but if I keep quiet they will say that I am afraid of death. It is a pity that after all the ups and downs (I have experienced in my life) I have to hear this. By Allah the son of Abu Talib (himself) is more familiar with death than an infant with the breast of his mother. I have some knowledge if I disclose you will tremble like ropes trembling in deep well."
all these words of Ali (A.S.) did not change the mind of Abu Sufian because
he had not come to Ali (A.S.) with honest intentions. His intention was
to create trouble so as to get a share in the power. When he failed to
take Ali (A.S.) with him, he went back to the streets and bazaars of Madina
again accusing Abu Bakr for usurping the rights of Ali (A.S.). When Umar
saw that the utterings of Abu Sufian in the streets and bazaars of Madina
may encourage the people to revolt against them he advised Abu Bakr to
silence him some how. Abu Bakr immediately summoned Abu Sufian and offered
him the right to collect Saqa.(a source of good income) But Abu
Sufian refused because that was not enough for him. Abu Bakr then offered
him the governorship of Syria which he readily accepted but on the condition
that his son Yazeed will act as the governor instead of him. This change
made no difference to Abu Bakr and he not only accepted it but also gave
Yazeed a grand send off. Abu Bakr himself accompanied the caravan of Yazeed
on foot for two miles. When Yazeed asked him to return Abu Bakr refused.
Yazeed then requested Abu Bakr to atleast sit with him on the mount, he
did not oblige nor he allowed Yazeed to descend from his mount and walk
with him saying, "Neither I will sit down on the mount nor you
will walk with me." [Eqdul Fareed, Vol. 10, Page 37]