Ibn Taimiyyah says: Some of the companions known for their bravery in the battlefield were Zubair, Hamzah, Miqdad, Abu Talhah, Buraa Ibn Maalik and others who also had slayed quite a few infidels.
If somebody asks Ibn Taimiyyah: Can you name a few infidels killed by Umar Ibn Khattaab?
He replies: Sometimes one kills with the sword like Ali (peace be on him) used to do and at other times, one slays with his supplications.
In his book Minhaaj al-Sunnah, he has elaborated that Umar killed a group of infidels with his supplications and there is no harm in believing it!!!
We ask him about the courage of Abu Bakr: Why is bravery the second condition of Imam? In his reply, without adding or deducting anything, he says:
If bravery is a preferred trait in leaders, it implies internal bravery and heartily courage (and not on the battlefield). Without doubt, the bravery of Abu Bakr was more than that of Umar, who was more courageous than Usman, Ali, Talhah and Zubair because Abu Bakr stayed with the Prophet (peace be on him and his progeny) in the pavilion during the Battle of Badr.
(Minhaaj al-Sunnah, vol. 4, p. 256)
Therefore, the bravery and courage of Abu Bakr was restricted and confined to his heart, which was used from the pavilion. His physical bravery was never displayed in the battlefields.
Hence, bravery has two meanings:
- Bravery in its literal meaning understood by one and all
- Bravery confined to the heart and Abu Bakr was a champion in it.
Yes, Ibn Taimiyyah has described the bravery of Abu Bakr and Umar in the above manner and his answer is such that it was not found in the earlier books and will never be available again in the future.
On the basis of the above, he considers Umar as a brave warrior but his power was not displayed through his arms and body. Rather, he expressed his courage through invocations with which he fought the infidels!!
About Ali (peace be on him), Ibn Taimiyyah says that Ali was brave ONLY in the battlefield but lacked the courage of the heart and invocation which Abu Bakr and Umar had!!
History has recorded several occasions – especially in the Battle of Ohod – when both Abu Bakr and Umar fled the battlefield and left their Master, the Seal of the Prophets (peace be on him and his progeny) alone to die and fend for himself. It was only Ali (peace be on him) who stood the ground all alone to defend Allah’s Prophet (peace be on him and his progeny). For details one can refer to:
Abu Dawood Tayaalesi in his Sunan, Ibn Sa’d in al-Tabaqaat al-Kubra, Abu Bakr Bazzaar, Tabaraani, Ibn Hebaan, Darqutni in his Sunan, Abu Noaim Isfahani, Ibn Asaakir, Zia Maqdesi, etc. have recorded these irrefutable historical facts in their tomes.
(Kanz al-Ummaal, Muttaqi Hindi, vol. 10, p. 424, H. 30025)
To conclude, ideas like that of Ibn Taimiyyah are fit only for comedy shows and should not be brought in research articles and academic circles!!