Brief introduction to Sayyiduna Siddiq Al-Akbar
The respected name of the first caliph, the Leader of the Believers, Sayyiduna Abu Bakr Siddiq is Abdullah. His Kunniyah [patronymic appellation] is ‘Abu Bakr’ and his titles are Siddiq and Atiq.
The meaning of ‘Siddiq’ is ‘One who speaks the truth’. He was referred to by this title even in the period of ignorance because he always spoke the truth. The meaning of Atiq’ is ‘freed’. The Holy Prophet (May Peace and Blessings be upon Him) conveyed glad tidings to him saying: You are freed from the fire of Hell.
This is why He got this title. (Tarikh-ul-Khulafa, p. 29) He is ‘Quraishi’, and seven generations above, his genealogical tree joins with that of the Prophet of Rahmah, the Intercessor of Ummat, the Owner of Jannah (May Peace and Blessings be upon Him).
He was born in Makkah, approximately two and half years after ‘‘Am-ul-Fil’. The Leader of the Believers Sayyiduna Siddiq Al-Akbar is that companion who was the first to testify to the Prophethood of the Beloved and Blessed Prophet (May Peace and Blessings be upon Him) among all the people. He possesses noble virtues and excellences to such a great extent that, leaving the Prophets (May Peace and Blessings be upon Him), he is the greatest and most highly ranked of all mankind.
Amongst all the free men, he was the first to embrace Islam, and he participated in all Jihad’s (Islamic battles) with full devotion and valour, and being an advisor to the Holy Prophet (May Peace and Blessings be upon Him) in every decision in war and in peace, he proved his loyalty and allegiance by supporting the Prophet of Rahmah, the Intercessor of Ummat, the Owner of Jannah (May Peace and Blessings be upon Him) at every step of life. He passed away on 22 Jumadil Akhir, in the 13th year after Hijrah (migration to Madinah) on the blessed day of Monday, after a splendid reign of caliphate which lasted two years and seven months. The Leader of the Believers, Sayyiduna Umar led the funeral prayer and Sayyiduna Siddiq Al-Akbar was buried inside the blessed tomb beside the Beloved and Blessed Prophet (May Peace and Blessings be upon Him). (Al-Kamal-fi-Asma-ur-Rijal, p. 387; Tarikhul-Khulafa, pp. 27-62)
Who was the first to embrace Islam?
It is stated in a book ‘Savanih Karbala’: ‘Although most of the blessed companions and the Tabi’in emphasized that Siddiq Al-Akbar was the first Muslim, some said that Sayyiduna Ali was the first Muslim, and others said that Sayyidatuna Khadija embraced Islam first.
Imam Abu Hanifah has reconciled these opinions by saying that Sayyiduna Abu Bakr embraced Islam first from amongst the men, the Mother of the Believers, Sayyidatuna Khadijah was the first woman of Islam and Sayyiduna Ali embraced Islam first among all the boys. (Tarikh-ul-Khulafa, p. 26)