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Sayyiduna Abu Bakr (radiyallahu 'anhu) wearing a sack kurta

Question

Is the following story authentic?

Sayyiduna Abu Bakr (radiyallahu ‘anhu) had given away all his wealth in the path of Allah Ta’ala and came to Nabi (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) wearing a kurta made of sacks and thorns for buttons.

 

Answer

The story in question has two versions:

1) Sayyiduna Abu Bakr (radiyallahu ‘anhu) had given away all his wealth in the path of Allah Ta’ala and came to Nabi (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) wearing a kurta made of sacks and thorns for buttons. Jibra’il (‘alayhis salam) asked Nabi (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) as to why Abu Bakr was wearing these garments. Nabi (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) replied that Abu Bakr had spent all his wealth for the cause of Islam before the conquest of Makkah. Jibrail (‘alayhis salam) said Allah Ta’ala has conveyed his salam to Abu Bakr and is inquiring, is Abu Bakr pleased or displeased with him in this poverty? Sayyiduna Abu Bakr (radiyallahu ‘anhu) replied: ‘Can I ever be displeased with Allah? I am pleased with my Rabb,  I am pleased with my Rabb,  I am pleased with my Rabb.

2) Jibrail (‘alayhis salam) descended from the heavens wearing a sack. Nabi (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) asked him: ‘What is this O Jibrail’? Jibrail (‘alayhis salam) replied: ‘Allah Ta’ala has commanded the angels in the sky to wear these sacks, just as Abu Bakr is wearing’.

Although the above story is found in numerous books and is commonly quoted, it is reported via extremely weak chains and is not suitable to quote.

‘Allamah Ibn Taymiyyah, Hafiz Ibn Kathir and Hafiz Suyuti (rahimahumullah) have dismissed the authenticity of this narration. Infact Hafiz Ibn Kathir (rahimahullah) has said: ‘Were it not for the fact that this story is widespread, ignoring it and not mentioning it even to show its weakness, would have been better’.

(Refer; Tarikhul Khulafa of Hafiz Suyuti (rahimahullah), pgs. 34-35. Also see Kitabul Majruhin of Ibn Hibban -rahimahullah-, vol. 2 pg. 185)

However, the generosity of Sayyiduna Abu Bakr (radiyallahu ‘anhu) and his contributions for the sake of Islam is proven in various other narrations. Among these is the following Hadith:

Sayyiduna ‘Umar ibn Al Khattab (radiyallahu ‘anhu) reports:

Nabi (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) commanded us to give sadaqah. It so happened that at that time I had some wealth. I said to myself, ‘Today, I have an opportunity to surpass Abu Bakr’, so I brought half of my wealth. Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) asked: ‘What have you left for your family?’ I replied: ‘The like of what I have brought’. Sayyiduna Abu Bakr (radiyallahu ‘anhu) then came with his wealth. Nabi (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) asked him, ‘What have you left for your family’? He replied: ‘I have left Allah and his Messenger for them (Sayyiduna Abu Bakr -radiyallahu ‘anhu- had brought all of his wealth). Sayyiduna ‘Umar (radiyallahu ‘anhu) said, ‘I will never be able to surpass Abu Bakr ever’.

(Sunan Tirmidhi, Hadith: 3675. Imam Tirmidhi -rahimahullah- has classified the above Hadith as authentic).

 

And Allah Ta’ala Knows best.

 

Answered by: Moulana Suhail Motala

 

Approved by: Moulana Muhammad Abasoomar

 

Checked by: Moulana Haroon Abasoomar