Objection

Some Muslims maintain that Ameerul Momineen Ali b. Abi Talib (a.s.) had cordial relations with the pseudo-caliphs. As proof, they allege that he (a.s.) named his son after Abu Bakr b. Abi Quhafaah. So their claim goes – if Ali (a.s.) had any grievance against Abu Bakr – as the Shias claim – why would he (a.s.) name his son after him?

Another group – ever so zealous about unity of Muslims – claims that by naming his son after Abu Bakr b. Abi Quhafah, Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) was in favor of unity amongst Muslims.

Reply

The son of Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) under question was martyred in Karbala. We will go on to prove that his name was not Abu Bakr as is being claimed.

1. Why will Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) name his son after a weakling
2. Salutations on the martyrs of Karbala ends the debate
3. Abu Bakr’s real name
4. If the daughter was not worthy, how can the father be worthy?
5. How the Muslims treated Abu Bakr Muhammad Ibn Ali Ibn Abi Talib?

Back to Top1. Why will Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) name his son after a weakling

Historians and scholars of both sects are unanimous that there was perhaps no one as chicken-hearted as Abu Bakr b. Abi Quhafah.

On several occasions, he was only too ready, even pleased, to abandon the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) in the midst of enemies. Two occasions that come to mind as highlighted by the Holy Quran are the Battles of Ohad and Hunain, when he made good the escape, perhaps with the ulterior motive of ruling over the Muslims later. He also abandoned the Holy Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) burial again with the sole intent of grabbing power.

Even the company of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.), whose mere presence is a shield against all difficulties, did not offer any comfort to Abu Bakr. He wept like a child inside the cave, while the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) was avoiding the infidels of Meccaduring migration to Medina. Had it not been for the Holy Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) severe reprimand and the divine tranquility that descended on the Prophet (s.a.w.a.), it is likely that the infidels would have apprehended the Noble Prophet (s.a.w.a.) due to Abu Bakr’s weeping. Even the spider at the entrance of the cave had more common sense and courage than Abu Bakr.

The question Muslims must ask themselves – why would Ali b. Abi Talib (a.s.) the brave one who never wilted in battle and risked his life often all by himself – especially in Ohad and Hunain – name his son after a weakling?

Particularly when you consider that Ali’s (a.s.) sons Abbas, Jafar and Abdullah were created especially for Karbala. The intensity of the battle of Karbala was more severe than Ohad and Hunain. Also Karbala was far more important since Ohad and Hunain were against infidels while Karbala was against the Muslims.

In view of this – is it still likely that Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) would name his son after a weakling?

Back to Top2. Salutations on the martyrs of Karbala ends the debate

All doubts on the subject are erased on reciting the ziyarat of martyrs of Karbala as instructed by Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s.):

السَّلَامُ عَلَى أَبِي بَكْرٍ مُحَمَّدِ بْنِ أَمِيرِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ

‘Peace be upon Abu Bakr, Muhammad Ibn Ameerul Momineen.’

  • Al-Mazaar p. 149 by Muhammad Ibn Makki (r.a.) Shaheed Awwal (r.a.)

According to Shaheed Awwal (r.a.), who is among the most renowned of Shia scholars, Abu Bakr was clearly the agnomen (kuniyyah) of Ameerul Momineen’s (a.s.) son, while his name was Muhammad.

The illustrious scholar Shaikh Abbas al-Qummi (r.a.) in his book – Nafas al-Mahmoom under the discussion of the martyrdom of the sons of Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) records:

‘His name is not known (his agnomen is Abu Bakr) while his mother was Layla, the daughter of Mas’ood Ibn Khalid.’

So clearly no one claims his name was Abu Bakr. There is unanimity in reports from various scholars like Shaheed al-Awwal (r.a.) and Shaikh Abbas al-Qummi (r.a.) that Abu Bakr was his agnomen and NOT his name.

The agnomen is different from the name. So, it is conclusive that Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) did not name his son Abu Bakr.

Back to Top3. Abu Bakr’s real name

It is unfortunate Muslims have taken a person as the caliph without having certainty even about his name. When even the name of an individual is suspect, what is there to be said about his traits which are certainly even more dubious than the name!

Contrast this with Ameerul Momineen Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) whose name is derived from Allah’s name. When an individual’s mere name is from Allah’s Name, nothing more need be said about his virtues!

As far as Abu Bakr’s name is concerned it was Ateeq (freed slave).

Al-Ehtejaaj vol.. 1 p. 206

The name is an indication of his ancestry and family occupation. Interested readers can refer to:

  • Tarikh-o-Madinato Dimishq vol.. 66, p. 327
  • Al-Kaafi 8, p. 33

So to begin with his name was not Abu Bakr.

And even if Ameerul Momineen’s (a.s.) son was named Abu Bakr, it was clearly not linked to the ‘caliph’ since that was never his name in the first place.

Do these Muslims have any instance of Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) naming his son ‘Ateeq’?

Then they might have a case since that was the pseudo-caliph’s name. Otherwise they are only wasting everyone’s time with false allegations.

Back to Top4. If the daughter was not worthy, how can the father be worthy?

Those who are out to establish some link between Abu Bakr and the Ahle Bait (a.s.) through the name argument are obviously not familiar with traditions on the subject.

Sample this report –

Ya’qoob al-Sarraaj narrates: I came to Imam Sadiq (a.s.) while he was standing near the head of Imam Moosa Kazim (a.s.), who was in the cradle.

He (Imam Sadiq a.s.) was confiding in him for long.

I sat down till he was finished. Then I went to him (a.s.).

He (a.s.) said to me: Come close to your master and greet him.

I drew near him and saluted him. He (a.s.) replied (to my salutation) eloquently and said, “Go and change your daughter’s name, the one you christened yesterday. For surely it is a name, despised by Allah.”

A daughter was born to me and I had named her Al-Humaira (a demeaning nickname of the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) wife).

Imam Sadiq (a.s.) said – Conclude the matter as you have been guided.

Then I changed her name.

  • Kaafi vol. 1 p. 310, vol. 2 p. 70
  • Wasaail al-Shia vol. 21 p. 389
  • Kitaab al-Irshaad vol. 2 p. 219
  • Madinah al-Ma’ajiz vol. 6 p. 224
  • Manaaqib-o-Aale Abi Talib (a.s.) vol. 4 p. 288

Clearly, when this is the case with the daughter’s name, what can one say about the father!

Back to Top5. How the Muslims treated Abu Bakr Muhammad Ibn Ali Ibn Abi Talib?

These Muslims who go all out to prove a connection between Ameerul Momineen’s (a.s.) son and Abu Bakr b. Abi Quhafah must reflect for a moment on how they have treated Muhammad b. Ali b. Abi TaliIb. Assume for a moment that Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) has named him after Abu Bakr. Has this fact changed anything for these Muslims? Will they now condemn Yazid for killing him especially since in their view he was named after Abu Bakr b. Abi Quhafah? How will these Muslims face Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) and Allah’s Prophet (s.a.w.a.) for treating Muhammad b. Ali b. Abi Talib in this way and for elevating the status of his killers?

Leave alone the discussions over his name, it is debatable whether these Muslims even consider Muhammad b. Ali as the son of Ali b. Abi Talib (a.s.). If they do and still support his killing, then this much is sufficient to make lovers of Ali b. Abi Talib (a.s.) weep in grief.