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The Caliphs are tired after you, O Abu Bakr!

Updated: Aug 5, 2022

What is the secret behind the popularity of this phrase and who said it?

In the age of the Rightly Guided Caliphs, may Allah be please with them, the companions of Allah's messenger ﷺ and their followers used to compete for good deeds, helped the needy, supported the oppressed. Abu Bakr Al-Siddiq and Omar Ibn Al-Khattab (رضي الله عنهما) were each other’s toughest rivals and sought to strengthen the reward for good deeds with determination.

The events of this story took place during the caliphate of Abu Bakr Al-Siddiq. Umar Ibn Al-Khattab used to follow the deeds of Abu Bakr Al-Siddiq and he always tried to do twice as much as Abu Bakr to attain higher virtues and to reach the highest levels of Paradise before him.

One day, Omar Ibn Al-Khattab drew attention to the fact that Abu Bakr always used to go out to the outskirts of Medina after the fajr prayer, where he entered a small house for hours and then returned to his own home. Omar knew everything that Abu Bakr was doing except for the secret of this house.

Days have passed and the Caliph of the Believers is still visiting this house. Omar still did not know
what Abu Bakr was doing inside, so Omar decided to enter the house after Abu Bakr left. So that he
can see with his eyes what is inside, and know what Abu Bakr does after every Fajr prayer.

When Omar entered this little house, he found an old woman who could not move and had no one to help her, and he notices that she was also blind. Ibn Al-Khattab was surprised by what he saw. He wanted to know is the secret of Abu Bakr’s relationship with this blind old woman, so he asked her:

“What does this man do here in your house?”
(Meaning Abu Bakr Al-Siddiq)

The old woman answered: “By Allah, I do not know, my son.

This man comes every morning and cleans and sweeps the house for me. Then he prepares food for me, and he leaves without talking to me.”

When Abu Bakr died, Omar completed the care of the blind old woman. She said to him: “Did your friend die?” He said: “How did you know?” She said: “You brought me dates, and you did not remove the seeds from them.” Omar bin Al-Khattab crouched on his knees and his eyes filled with tears and said his famous phrase:

لقد أتعبت الخلفاء من بعدك يا أبا بكر

“The Caliphs are tired after you, O Abu Bakr.”


Tarikh Dimashq, 30/322 (The History of Damascus, Ibn ‘Asākir; 1105–1175)

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