Abu Bakr’s advice to Umar on his Deathbed

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When Abû Bakr Al-Siddîq was on his deathbed he called ‘Umar – Allah be pleased with them – and said:

Fear Allah o ‘Umar, and know that Allah has deeds to be done for Him in the day which He will not accept if done at night, and He has deeds to be done for Him at night which He will not accept if done during the day. He will not accept extra (nâfilah) deeds unless you fulfill the obligatory deeds. The scales of those whose scales will be weighty on the Day of Resurrection will only be weighty because they followed the truth in this life and it was weighty to them. And scales in which the truth will be placed tomorrow truly deserve to be heavy. And the scales of those whose scales will be light on the Day of Resurrection will only be light because they followed falsehood in this life and it was a light matter to them. And scales in which falsehood will be placed tomorrow truly deserve to be light.

Allah the Exalted has mentioned the people of Paradise and mentioned them in the context of their best deeds, and overlooked their evil deeds, so when I remember them I say to myself: I fear that I will not be included with them. And Allah the Exalted has mentioned the people of Hell and mentioned them in the context of their worst deeds and rejected their best deeds, so when I remember them I say: I hope I won’t be amongst them. Allah’s worshippers should always be in a state of hope and fear, they shouldn’t wish flimsy wishes about Allah and neither should they despair of Allah’s mercy.

Reflections from the above speech

Here are some points to ponfer from the above speech.

  • Let’s ensure that we always give preference to obligatory deeds rather than to Nafilah (optional). For example, Isha prayers in Ramadan are more important than Taraweeh. Similarly, praying Tahajjud only to miss Fajr prayers is something that must never be done.
  • Let’s ensure that we never erase the lines between truth and falsehood. Just because the whole world has accepted something haram doesn’t mean that it’s now ok for everyone to do it. What Allah and the Prophet (s.a.w.s.) has regarded as haram should always be considered as such.
  • We should always be in a state of hope and fear. We should hope for Allah’s forgiveness but we shouldn’t get too complacent thinking that we are guaranteed to be forgiven. Also, let’s ensure that we strive constantly to get away from all those deeds and people who pull us toward sins and away from Allah’s happiness. Let’s remind ourselves that during the Day of Resurrection, even Satan would disown his followers and all will be left alone to defend for themselves. The Quran tells us in Surah Ibraheem, verse 22, “‘And Shaytaan (Satan) will say when the matter has been decided: “Verily, Allah promised you a promise of truth. And I too promised you, but I betrayed you. I had no authority over you except that I called you, and you responded to me. So blame me not, but blame yourselves. I cannot help you, nor can you help me. I deny your former act in associating me (Satan) as a partner with Allah (by obeying me in the life of the world). Verily, there is a painful torment for the Zaalimoon (polytheists and wrongdoers).”’

Reference: Abû Nu’aym, Hilyah Al-Awliyâ` Vol.1 p18; and Ibn Al-Jawzî, Sifah Al-Safwah.

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  • Anonymous

    Very insightful and educative. Thanks for the reminder.

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