Ali ibn Abi Talib’s eulogy of Abu Bakr

After the Prophet ‎’s death, there was no day more sad for the people of Madinah than the day of Abu Bakr’s passing. Upon receiving the news that his beloved friend  had returned to his Lord, Ali ibn Abi Talib made his way to Abu Bakr’s house. Standing outside, he delivered the following eulogy:

O Abu Bakr, may Allah have mercy upon you. You were the closest companion and friend of the Messenger of Allah; you were a comfort to him; you were the one he trusted most. If he had a secret, he would tell it to you; and if he needed to consult someone regarding a matter, he would consult you. You were the first of your people to embrace Islam, and you were the most sincere of them in your faith. Your faith was stronger than any other person’s, as was the degree to which you feared Allah. And you were wealthier than anyone else in terms of what you acquired from the religion of Allah. You cared most for both the Messenger of Allah and Islam. Of all people, you were the best Companion to the Messenger of Allah; you possessed the best qualities; you had the best past; you ranked highest; and you were closest to him. And of all people, you resembled the Messenger of Allah the most in terms of his guidance and demeanor. Your ranking was higher than anyone else’s, and the Prophet honored you and held you in higher esteem than anyone else. On behalf of the Messenger of Allah and Islam, may Allah reward you with the best of rewards.

When the people disbelieved in the Messenger of Allah, you believed in him. Throughout his life, you were both his eyes with which he saw, and his ears with which he heard. Allah has named you truthful in his book when He said: “And the one who has brought the truth and [they who] believed in it – those are the righteous.” When people were stingy in their support for the Messenger of Allah, you comforted him. And when people sat still, you stood side by side with the Messenger of Allah, facing the same hardships that he faced. In times of hardship, you were truly a good and noble Companion of his. You were the “second of two,” his Companion in the Cave, and the one upon whom tranquility descended. You were his Companion during the hijra, and you were his successor regarding the religion of Allah and His nation. And a truly good successor you proved to be when the people apostatized. You did what no other successor of a Prophet did before you. You stood up firmly and bravely when his other Companions lost their resolve and became soft. And when they became weak, you adhered to the methodology of the Messenger of Allah.

You truly were as the Messenger of Allah described: weak in your body, but strong regarding the commands of Allah; humble in your own estimation, but lofty in your ranking with Allah; well-esteemed in the eyes of people, honored and great in their hearts. Not a single one of them had any reason to dislike you, to be suspicious of you, or to hold you in contempt. The weak and humble you have always treated as strong and honorable, making sure you gave them what was rightfully theirs. And in this regard, you have treated relatives and strangers equally. Of all people, you respect those who are most obedient to Allah and who fear Him the most. In your overall character, you embody truth and compassion. Your speech has always been characterized by the qualities of wisdom and decisiveness. And you have always struck a noble balance between gentleness and firmness. You have always based your decisions on knowledge, and once you have made your decisions, you have always kept a firm resolve to execute them.

Verily to Allah we belong and to Him is our return. We are pleased with and we submit to Allah’s decree. And by Allah, other than the death of the Messenger of Allah, Muslims have never been afflicted with a greater calamity than the calamity of your death. You have always been a protector, a sanctuary, and a source of honor for this religion.

May Allah make you join the company of His Prophet, Muhammad, and may He not deprive us of your reward. And may He not lead us astray after you.

At-Tabsirah by Ibn al-Jawzee (1/477-479)

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