5.5 Abu Bakr Enters Islam
The first man Mohamed approached on the subject of Islam was Abu Bakr ibn Abi Quhafa. Abu Bakr was a well-known merchant in a city where merchants were the ruling aristocracy. He came from the honorable tribe of Taym, a clan of Quraysh. He was thirty-eight years old, but he was already head of his tribe and had much power and influence in Quraysh as a whole. It is said that he was the man who knew most about the genealogy of Quraysh and other Arab tribes, their descent and their connections.
He was rich, of pleasant features, and possessed a graceful, light frame. He was kind and debonair, affectionate to his family, and gracious and easy in his manner to both acquaintances and strangers. He was considered one of the leading intellects of Quraysh, a man of judgment who was often sought out for advice. Refined and sensitive, he cared little for the customs of Quraysh and even less for their religion. He neither participated in their nighttime revelries nor sacrificed to their idols. He lived in the same district as Khadija and Mohamed, the place where many successful merchants lived. Mohamed and Abu Bakr knew and respected each other. If anyone could transcend the narrow vision of the Quraysh, it was Abu Bakr; nevertheless what Mohamed had to say was very strange and new. Abu Bakr listened carefully until he had finished, then he professed his belief in Allah and in Mohamed as His Messenger. He neither doubted nor hesitated for, to the pure of heart, truth proclaims its own truth. In later years Mohamed used to say,
"I have never approached a man who did not hesitate and feel a little reluctance at first except Abu Bakr. His faith was immediate without doubt or hesitation."
There sprang a warm friendship between the two men which grew and mellowed with the years into the noblest and greatest bond that friendship could offer. More than once did Abu Bakr risk his life to save Mohamed's.