36.4 Abu Bakr Leads Prayers
One day Abu Bakr was absent, so Umar ibn AI-Khattab led prayers instead. Mohamed, whose house was near the mosque, heard him and said,
"Where is Abu Bakr? Nay, Allah and the Muslims will resent this."
Mohamed led his people to what was good for them by example and suggestion and not by command. He knew how noble and true Abu Bakr was, and that he was the only man who could deal with the perilous circumstances that the nascent Muslim nation would have to face after his death. He was not deceived by Abu Bakr's gentle exterior and meek, conciliatory ways. He knew that behind that gentle exterior there was a will of steel, a deep brooding mind, and infinite faith. But Mohamed would not command them directly to let Abu Bakr be the Khalif after him (the Koran decrees that the affairs of Muslims are settled by consultation among themselves) but suggested it to them in different ways - by letting him lead prayers, by letting him head the pilgrims to Mecca, and by praising him as the best companion he ever had.