The Spiritual Types
Of Abū Bakr And Omar
the battle of Badr, which was the first confrontation between
Islam and its enemies, 70 polytheists were killed, 70 more
taken prisoners and 13 Muslims were killed.
The Prophet Mohammad returned to Madina with the booty of
the polytheists and the 70 prisoners of war. He decided
to seek advice from Abu Bakr concerning these prisoners
and asked him:
- "What do you think about it, oh Abu Bakr?"
He answered: "They are your people, the sons of your
maternal uncle. If you kill them, they will enter the Fire;
but if you let them free for a ransom, Allah will cause
them to accept islam and what you would take for them (as
ransom) would be a strengthening of the muslim and an additional
support in their struggle against their foes."
Then the Messenger of Allah ﷺ
turned to Omar and asked him:
- "What is your opinion, oh Abu Hafs?"
He answered; "You have now in front of you the leaders
of the polytheists and their heroes, so cut of their necks
and God will not be lacking in His bounties and power to
It was on this occasion that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ
while turning to Abu Bakr, remarked the following:
- "Your example (mathalu-ka, your spiritual
type) among the angels, oh Abu Bakr, is the archangel Michael
- peace be upon him, as he descends to the earth only with
compassion (al-rahmah). And your spiritual type among
the prophets is Abaraham (peace be upon him), who said the
following words, according to the quranic verse:
Then whoever follows me, he is surely of me, and whoever
disobeys me, Thou surely arc Forgiving, Merciful.
Qurān 14, 36
But your spiritual type (a) is also Jesus' (peace be upon
him) when he exclaimed according to the quranic verse:
Thou shouldst chastise them, then surely they are Thy
servants; and if Thou shouldst forgive them, then surely
art the Mighty, the Wise.
Qurān 5, 188
Then the Prophet ﷺ
turned to Omar and told him:
Your example (mathalu-ka, your spiritual type) among
the angels, oh Omar, is Gabriel (peace upon him), because
he descends with punishment and sternness (bi al-'adhābi
wa al-shiddah). And your spiritual type among the prophets
is Noah (peace be upon him), when he cried:
... My Lord! leave not upon the
land any dweller from among the unbelievers.
also have the spiritual type of Moses (peace be upon him)
when he exclaimed against Pharao and his people:
... Our Lord! destroy their riches
and harden their hearts so that they believe not until they
see the painful punishment.
In the meantime the question of the booty and the prisoners
was still unsolved. After seeking the advice of his two
companions about the fate of the prisoners, the Messenger
ﷺ tended toward
the opinion of Abu Bakr, which was to set them free for
a ransom. In the morning however, when Omar visited the
Messenger of Allah ﷺ
, he found him with Abu Bakr crying. Omar asked:
Oh Allah's Messenger, why are you weeping?"
He answered: "I am weeping because of what has occurred
to your companions concerning the ransom". Meaning
because of the revelation of the following verses:
It is not fit for a prophet that
he should take captives unless he has fought and triumphed
in the land; you desire the frail goods of this world, while
Allah desires (for you) the hereafter; and Allah is Mighty,
Were it not for an ordinance from Allah that had already
gone forth, surely there would have befallen you a great
chastisement for what you had taken to.
Qurān 8, 67-68
It is also reported that the Prophet ﷺ
"If once a punishment is sent down from Heaven, none
would escape except for Omar, for he was the only one, who
did not slacken from the struggle (lam yatruk al-qitāl)".
But it was not really because of the question of the booty,
why doubts and opposition emerged, instead the problem of
the prisoners was to be solved before the war had ended,
as proven by the above two quranic verses:
Eat then of the lawful and good
(things) which you have acquired in war, and be careful
of (your duty to) Allah; surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.
Allah speaks the truth and He alone guides to the right