Abu Bakr’s eloquence. Abu Bakr was known for his eloquence and oratory. He used to address the faithful every week on Fridays. His sermons and addresses were the specimen of masterly eloquence, every word thereof vibrated with superb faith and appealed directly to the heart. All his sermons and addresses have not been preserved. Only a few of his sermons and addresses have come down to us, and these classical addresses which are veritable gems of literature evoke our admiration.
Inaugural address. On assuming office, he delivered the following address, which is a unique document for the guidance of all rulers “Gentlemen, I have been placed in authority, though by Allah I was averse to the assumption of authority. I would have been pleased if any of you had taken over the office, and I would have assisted him. I have been made to rule over you though I am not the most worthy among you. If you expect me to act as did the Holy Prophet of God, know that I cannot do so, for the Apostle of God was a servant whom the Lord honored with His inspiration and preserved him thereby from error I am an ordinary mortal and not better than any of you. Therefore, watch over me. When you see that I am steadfast and obey Allah and His Prophet, then obey me when you see that I turn aside from the right path do not obey me. Help me if I am in the right; set me right if I am in the wrong. Know that I have a devil that seizes upon me. Therefore, when you see me enraged avoid me for at that time I cannot be influenced by your counsels or glad salutations. We have the Quran for our guidance. We have also with us the instructions of the Holy Prophet. These will be our unerring guides. Know O men that piety is the most solid goodness, and the vilest of what is evil is vice. Truth is a trust, falsehood a treason. The weak among you shall be strong with me till God willing his rights have been vindicated; and the strong among you shall be weak with me till, if the Lord wills, I have taken what is due from him.”
Guidelines for the faithful. In the following sermon, Abu Bakr set the guidelines for the conduct of the faithful: “Beware you of following vain desire, for verily he prospers who is preserved from lust, greed and anger; and beware you of pride for what pride belongs to him who is made of earth, and whom the worms devour after death, To day you are alive; tomorrow you may be dead. Therefore act uprightly from day to day and hour to hour. Be you patient for every work is accomplished through patience. Be you watchful for watchfulness is profitable. Act uprightly for a good act is acceptable to God. Refrain from things against which the Lord has warned you under pain of His wrath. Vie you with one another in hastening to obtain the things that the Lord has promised you in His mercy. Be heedful and in fear for the Lord has declared to you things for which He destroyed those that were before you and things through which He delivered those before you. Verily He has manifested to you in His book His commands and His prohibitions, the works He approves and that He abhors. God is He Whose assistance should be implored. There is no power or strength but in the Lord. Obey God, preserve your portion of excellence. Make your charitable donations even when you are poor. O Servants of God, think of your brethren and companions who have departed. Verily, the Lord has no co-partner, and between Him and any of His creatures there is no mediatory influence that can bestow good upon him or avert from him evil save in His worship and obedience to His commands for verily there is no good after which comes hell fire, and no evil after which comes heaven”.
The light of the Book of God. In another sermon, Abu Bakr said: “I commend to you piety to God. Praise Him as befits Him. Mingle desire with fear, for God praised Zikriya and the people of his house and said, “These strove to excel in good works and called upon Us with love and with fear and humbled themselves before Us”. Therefore, know, O servants of God, that the Lord holds your lives as a pledge for what is due to Him, and has taken your compacts regarding it, and has purchased of you a little that is perishable, in exchange for eternal abundance, and this Book of God is among you, whose light cannot be extinguished, nor its wonders end. Therefore, seek you illumination from its light, and accept counsel from His Book and seek light from it in the day of darkness. Verily He has created you for His worship and has appointed for you guardian angels honorable in the sight of God writing down actions, who know that which you do. And know O servants of God that you proceed and draw nigh to an appointed time, the knowledge of which, verily, is hidden from you. Vie you with one another in fulfilling the obligations of your appointed times before your appointed periods are completed, lest they cast you upon the evilest of your works, and verily there are some who have made over the obligations of their appointed times on others, and have taken no heed of themselves. Therefore, I forbid you to be like them. Then haste, flee, flee for behind you is a nimble pursuer, swift of deed. Where are the comely, beautiful of countenance, exulting in their youth? Where are the monarchs who built cities and entrenched them round about? Where are they who boasted of victories on fields of battle? Verily their pillars were overthrown when fortune betrayed them, and they went down into the darkness of the grave. Haste, haste, flee, flee.”
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