‘Umar[RA] said: “By Allah, one night of Abu Bakr is better than all the life of Umar’s family…”
The preparation of Abu Bakr for the journey [to Madinah]
Aishah [raadi Allahu ‘anha] narrated, “The Messenger of Allah [salallahu alayhi wa sallam] used to visit the house of Abu Bakr [raadi Allahu ‘anhu] daily twice- once in the morning and once in the evening- regularly, without any break. on the day when the Messenger of Allah was permitted by Allah to migrate from Mecca, he came at noon. At such an hour he never visited us. When Abu Bakr saw him he said, ‘The Messenger of Allah has come here at this time due to a certain very urgent need.’ When he entered the house, Abu Bakr moved a little to give him the place to sit on the cot. None, except me and my sister Asmaa were present at that time over there. The Messenger of Allah asked, ‘Ask these persons present here to go out for a while.’ Abu Bakr said, ‘These are my two daughters. May my parents be sacrificed for you, what is the matter?’ He said, ‘Allah has permitted me to leave [this place i.e. Mecca] and migrate.’
Hearing that Abu Bakr asked, ‘What about my company [with you]?’ He said, ‘The company as well has been allowed’. By Allah, I didn’t know before that time that people also weep out of joy. I realised that only when I saw Abu Bakr weeping [out of joy].
Then he requested, ‘O Prophet of Allah, these are the two she-camels who have been prepared only for this purpose.’ Afterwards, they hired Abdullah ibn Arqad, a man belonging to Bani Du’il ibn Bakr tribe, who was an idolater, to show the way [to Madinah]. Abu Bakr gave him the two she-camels with the promise that he will tend them until the time they called him to accompany them.’ *
The hadith of Asmaa bint Abi Bakr [raadi Allahu ‘anha] adds:
“Abu Bakr said, ‘I have two she-camels which have been tended by me for such and such time, only in wait for this moment. [Please] take any one of them,’ The Messenger of Allah said, ‘O Abu Bakr, I want to buy her [i.e. the she-camel]‘ Abu Bakr, ‘May my parents be sacrificed for you, if you want so, then purchase her.’ Then we prepared for them meals for the journey. Afterwards I divided my belt into two pieces and tied the tiffin carrier with that. Then they left and went to the cave of Mount Thaur, where they had stayed [before migration to Madinah]. When they reached the cave, first of all Abu Bakr entered there and checked all the holes with the help of his finger, lest any of them had a poisonous reptile or worm.
When the Quraish came to know that they had disappeared they started to search for them. They declared a reward of one hundred she-camels to arrest them. They searched all the mountains in Mecca. When they came to the mount in which they hid them, Abu Bakr informed the Messenger of Allah about the person who was just at the mouth of the cave. He said, ‘O Messenger of Allah! He will see us!’ The Holy Prophet said, ‘Not at all! The angels will hide us with their wings!’ That man sat down at the mouth of the cave to urinate. The Messenger of Allah told Abu Bakr, ‘If he saw us, he [would] not urinate in this manner.’
The Journey from the Cave to Madinah:
Afterwards [ie. after three days] both of them came out of the cave and travelled through the route of sea-shore. Abu Bakr ordinarily was in front of the Holy Prophet but whenever he sensed some danger in the back, he came in the back. He did so all the way. Abu Bakr was well known among the people: Whenever somebody met him in the way and asked about the Holy Prophet, he told him that the Holy Prophet guides him in the way and by ‘the way,’ he [Abu Bakr] meant the religion; but that person considered him [the Prophet] as a guide [due to the peculiar words of Abu Bakr.]
Some people talked with each other during the Caliphate of Umar [raadi Allahu ‘anhu] and considered him more excellent than Abu Bakr. Umar was informed about that. On hearing that he remarked, “By Allah, one night of Abu Bakr is better than all the life of Umar’s family; and one day of Abu Bakr is better than all the life of Umar’s family. The day which is better than the life of Umar’s family is the day when the Messenger of Allah went to the Cave with Abu Bakr.
At the time, Abu Bakr was walking for some distance in front of him and for some distance toward his back. When the Messenger of Allah realized that he asked, ‘O Abu Bakr! What has happened to you?
Sometime you walk in front of me, while sometime you walk behind me.’ Abu Bakr replied, ‘O Messenger of Allah! When I think about the people who are searching for you, I walk in front of you, but when I think about those who are lying in wait for you [to assassinate you], I start walking behind you.’
The Holy Prophet said, ‘O Abu Bakr! Do you prefer yourself over me to face any incident that may occur!’ Abu Bakr replied, ‘By the One who has sent you with the Truth, it is a fact.’
Afterwards when they reached the cave, Abu Bakr requested, ‘O Messenger of Allah! Please stay outside for a while so that I would clean it for you.’ Then he entered the cave and cleaned it. When he came out of that he remembered that one of the holes was not checked and cleaned. Therefore he again requested, ‘Please again stay outside for a little while. Let me clean it.’ He again entered the cave and cleaned that. Then he said, ‘O Messenger of Allah. Please enter now.’ Then the Holy Prophet entered the cave and said, ‘I swear by the One who hold my life in His Hand, this night of Abu Bakr is more excellent and virtous than the life of Umar’s family.’ **
may Allah unite us in al firdous with both of them.. ameen
* transmitted by ibn ishaaq.
** transmitted by Baihaqi on the authority of ibn Sirin, as given in al Bidayah, volume 3 page 180. Also transmitted by Hakim as given in Muntakhab Kanzul Ummal, volume 4 page 348. Al bghwi has also transmitted it on the authority of Ibn Malikah in a mursal hadith. Ibn Katheer says, ‘This mursal hadith is good and acceptable, as given in Kanzul Ummal volume 3 page 335.’