Abu Bakr

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Abu Bakr (Abdullah ibn Abi Qahafa) (Arabic: عبد الله بن أبي قحافةTransliteration: 'Abdullāh bin Abī Quhāfah, c. 573 CE – 23 August 634/13 AH) was a senior companion (Sahabah) and the father-in-law of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. He ruled over the Rashidun Caliphate from 632-634 CE when he became the first Muslim Caliph following Muhammad's death.[1] As Caliph, Abu Bakr succeeded to the political and administrative functions previously exercised by the Prophet, since the religious function and authority of prophethood ended with Muhammad's death according to Islam. He was called Al-Siddiq (the truthful)[2] by the Prophet and was known by that title among later generations of Muslims.

As a young man, Abu Bakr became a cloth merchant and he traveled extensively in Arabia and neighboring lands in the Middle East, through which he gained both wealth and experience. He eventually came to be recognized as the chief of his clan.[3] On his return from a business trip to Yemen, he was informed that in his absence Muhammad had openly declared his prophethood. Not long after, Abu Bakr accepted Islam and was the first person outside the family of Muhammad to openly become a Muslim. He was instrumental in the conversion of many people to the Islamic faith[4] and early in 623, Abu Bakr's daughter Aisha was married to Muhammad, strengthening the ties between the two men.[2]

Abu Bakr served as a trusted advisor and close friend to the Prophet. During the lifetime of Muhammad, he was involved in several campaigns such as the Battle of Uhud, the Battle of the Trench, the Battle of Banu Qurayza, Battle of Khaybar, the Conquest of Mecca, the Battle of Hunayn, the Siege of Ta'if, and the Battle of Tabuk where he was reported to have given all of his wealth for the preparation of this expedition.[5] He also participated in the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah and was made one of the witnesses over the pact.[5]

In 631, the Prophet became fatally ill, and after his death Abu Bakr became the first Muslim or Caliph. During his rule, he defeated the rebellion of several Arab tribes in a successful campaign, unifying the entire Arabian peninsula and giving it stability.[6] This enabled him to launch successful campaigns against the Sassanid Empire (Persian Empire) and the East Roman Empire (Byzantine Empire) who were threatening Arabia's borders. Prior to dispatching his army to Syria against the Romans he gave them the following commands which established the conduct of war for later Muslim generations:

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