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Abū Bakr (Arabic: ‫( )ابو بكر الصصديق‬c.

573–August 23, 634/13 AH)[1] was an early


convert to Islam and a senior Sahaba (companion) of the Islamic prophet Muhammad.
Throughout his life, Abu Bakr remained the closest friend and confidant of
Muhammad. Upon Muhammad's death he became the first Muslim ruler (632–634),
regarded by Sunni Islam as the first of the Rashidun (four righteously guided
Caliphs).[2] His caliphate lasted two years and three months, during which time he
consolidated the Muslim state. Upon the death of the Prophet, some tribes rebelled,
and in return he fought the Ridda wars against these Arab tribes to establish the rule
of law and peace over all of Arabia. He also conquered the lands of Syria and Iraq.[3]

Early life
Abu Bakr was born at Mecca some time in the year 573 CE, in the Banu Taym branch
of the Quraysh tribe. By all standards he was beautiful, and for his beauty he earned
the nickname of Atiq. He was born in a rich family. He spent his early childhood like
other Arab children of the time among the Bedouins who called themselves Ahl-i-
Ba'eer- the people of the camel, he developed a particular fondness for camels.

In his early years he played with the camel foals, and his love for camels earned him
the nickname of Abu Bakr, the father of the foal of the camel. [4] It is said that he
didn't worship idols since his youth. When Abu Bakr was 10 years old he went to
Syria along with his father with the merchants' caravan. Muhammad who was 12
years old at the time, was also with the caravan. Like other Arab children of the time
he was illiterate but developed a fondness for poetry. He used to attend the annual fair
at Ukaz, and participate in poetical symposia. He had a very good memory. In 591 at
the age of 18, Abu Bakr went into trade and adopted the profession of a cloth
merchant which was the family's business. In the coming years Abu Bakr traveled
extensively with caravans. Business trips took him to Yemen, Syria, and elsewhere.
These travels brought him wealth and added to his experience. His business flourished
and he rose in the scale of social importance. Though his father Uthman Abu Qahafa
was still alive, he become to be recognized as chief of his tribe. Abu Bakr was
assigned the office of awarding blood money in cases of murder. His office was
something like the office of an honorary magistrate.[5] Abu Bakr was an expert in
genealogical lore and he knew intimately who was who in Mecca, and what his
ancestry was.

During Muhammad's era


When Muhammad married Khadijah bint Khuwaylid and moved to her house, he
became a neighbor of Abu Bakr who lived in the same locality. That was the quarter
of Meccan aristocracy. Like the house of Khadija, the house of Abu Bakr was double
storied and palatial in structure.

As neighbors, Muhammad and Abu Bakr came in contact with each other. Both of
them were of the same age, traders and good managers.
Conversion to Islam

On his return from a business trip from Yemen, he was informed by some of his
friends that in his absence Muhammad had declared himself as the Messenger of God,
and proclaimed a new religion. Abu Bakr converted to Islam.[6] He was fourth person
to accept Islam, and was the first person outside the family of Muhammad to become
a Muslim. Abu Bakr was a rich merchant, and his business depended on the goodwill
of the people around him. His conversion to the new faith made him unpopular with
people around him, and that adversely affected his business. According to a Sunni
tradition, Muhammad once said:

Whenever I offered Islam to any one, he always showed some reluctance


“ and hesitation and tried to enter into an argument.[7] Abu Bakr was one of
the few persons who accepted Islam without any reluctance or hesitation,
and without any argument ”
After conversion to Islam

His birth name Abdul Kaaba was changed to Abdullah, because the former was
indicative of paganism. His wife Qutaylah bint Abd-al-Uzza did not accept Islam and
he divorced her. His other wife, Um Ruman, became a Muslim at his insistence. All
his children except ‘Abd ar-Rahman ibn Abi Bakr accepted Islam, and Abu Bakr
separated from his son Abdur Rahman.

Abu Bakr's missionary efforts brought many people to Islam. He persuaded his
intimate friends to convert to Islam. [8] He presented Islam to others in such a way that
many of his friends opted for Islam. Those who converted to Islam at the instance of
Abu Bakr were:

 Uthman Ibn Affan (who would became the 3rd Caliph)


 Al-Zubayr (part of the Muslim conquest of Egypt)
 Talhah

Abu Bakr's conversion proved to be a milestone in Muhammad's mission. Slavery was


common in Mecca, and many slaves converted to Islam. When an ordinary free man
converted to Islam, despite opposition, he would enjoy the protection of his tribe. For
slaves however, there was no such protection, and the converts were subjected to
persecution. Abu Bakr felt for these slaves, so he purchased them and set them free.
Abu Bakr purchased the freedom of eight slaves, four men and four women.

Most of the slaves liberated by Abu Bakr were either women or old and frail men. [9]
The father of Abu Bakr asked him to for why doesn't he liberate strong and
young slaves who could be a source of strength for him, Abu Bakr replied that
he was freeing the slaves for the sake of God, and not for his own sake. [edit]

Persecution of the Quraysh


For three years after the advent of Islam, Muslims kept secret their faith, and prayed
in secret. In 613 Muhammad received a revelation to call people to Islam openly. The
first public address inviting people to offer allegiance to Muhammad was delivered by
Abu Bakr. In a fit of fury the young men of the Quraysh tribe rushed at Abu Bakr, and
beat him mercilessly till he lost consciousness. [10] Following this incident Abu Bakr's
mother converted to Islam. Abu Bakr was persecuted many times by the Quraysh.

Last years in Mecca

In 617, the Quraysh enforced a boycott against the Banu Hashim. Muhammad along
with his supporters from Banu Hashim, were shut up in a pass away from Mecca. All
social relations with the Banu Hashim were cut off and their state was that of
imprisonment. Before it many Muslims migrated to Abyssinia (now Ethiopia). Abu
Bakr, feeling distress, set out for Yemen and then to Abyssinia from there. He met a
friend of his named Ad-Dughna (chief of the Qarah tribe) outside Mecca, who invited
Abu Bakr to seek his protection against the Quraysh. Abu Bakr went back to Mecca, it
was a relief for him, but soon due to the pressure of Quraysh, Ad-Dughna was forced
to renounce his protection. Once again the Quraysh were free to persecute Abu Bakr.
In the year 620 Muhammad's wife and uncle died. Abu Bakr's daughter Aisha was
engaged to Muhammad, however it was decided that the actual marriage ceremony
would be held later. In the year 620 Abu Bakr was the first person to testify to
Muhammad's Isra and Mi'raj (night Journey).[11] According to Sunni traditions, he was
given title al-Siddîq, meaning "the truthful," "the upright," or "the one who counts
true," due to his immediate belief of the journey. During the Roman-Persian Wars, the
sympathies of the Quraysh of Mecca was with the Persians who were polytheists. The
Muslims on the other hand had their sympathies for the Byzantines who were
Christians and were the People of the Book with a belief in God. After the Persian
victories over Byzantine, verses of the Qur'an revealed of Surah rum with the
prophesy that Byzantine (Romans) will regain what they lost and the Persians will be
defeated within few years. Over this Abu Bakr had a wager with Ubaiy bin Khalf, it
was decided that one who lost the wager will pay one hundred camels. With a decisive
Byzantine victory in 627 against the Persians, Abu Bakr won the wager, though Ubaiy
bin Khalf was not alive but his heirs honored the agreement and gave Abu Bakr one
hundred camels. Abu Bakr gave away all the camels as charity.

Migration to Medina
In 622 on the invitation of the Muslims of Medina, Muhammad ordered Muslims to
migrate to Medina. The migration began in batches. Abu Bakr accompanied
Muhammad in his migration for Medina. Due to the danger of the Quraysh, they did
not take the road to Medina. They moved in the opposite direction, and took refuge in
a cave in Mount Thaur some five miles south of Mecca. `Abdullah ibn Abi Bakr the
son of Abu Bakr would listen to the plans and talks of the Quraysh, and at night he
would carry the news to the fugitives in the cave. Asma bint Abi Bakr the daughter of
Abu Bakr brought them meals every day.[12] Aamir a servant of Abu Bakr would bring
a flock of goats to the mouth of the cave every night where they were milked. The
Quraysh sent search parties in all directions. One party came close to the entrance to
the cave, but was unable to sight them. After staying at the cave for three days and
three nights, Abu Bakr and Muhammad proceed to Medina, staying for some time at
Quba, a suburb of Medina.

Life in Medina

In Medina, Muhammad decided to construct a mosque. A piece of land was chosen


and the price of the land was paid for by Abu Bakr. Muslims constructed a mosque
named Al-Masjid al-Nabawi at the site and Abu Bakr also took part in construction.
Abu Bakr was paired with Khaarij ah bin Zaid Ansari as a brother in faith. Abu Bakr's
relationship with his brother-in-Islam was most cordial, which was further
strengthened when Abu Bakr married Habiba, a daughter of Khaarijah.

Khaarij ah bin Zaid Ansari used to live at Sukh, a suburb of Medina, and Abu Bakr
also settled there. After Abu Bakr's family arrived in Medina he bought another house
near Muhammad's.[13]

The climate of Mecca was dry, but the climate of Medina was damp and this
adversely affected the health of the immigrants, so that on arrival most of them fell
sick. Abu Bakr also suffered from fever for several days and during this time he was
attended to by Khaarijah and his family. At Mecca, Abu Bakr was a trader in cloth and
he started the same business in Medina. He was a wholesaler, and had his store at
Sukh, and from there cloth was supplied to the market at Medina. Soon his business
flourished at Medina. Early in 623, Abu Bakr's daughter Aisha, who was already
engaged to Muhammad, was handed over to Muhammad in a simple marriage
ceremony, and this further strengthen the relation between Abu Bakr and Muhammad.

In 624 Abu Bakr participated in the first battle between the Muslims and the Quraysh
of Mecca known as the Battle of Badr. In 625 he participated in the Battle of Uhud.
Before the battle begun, Abu Bakr's son ‘Abd ar-Rahman ibn Abi Bakr who was still
non-Muslim and was fighting from the side of the Quraysh, came forward and threw
down a challenge for a duel. Abu Bakr accepted the challenge but was stopped by
Muhammad. His son later converted to Islam and gained fame during the Muslim
conquest of Syria as a fierce warrior. Later in the year Abu Bakr was a part of
campaign again the Jewish tribe of Banu Nadir.

Later, in 627 he participated in the Battle of the Trench and also in the Battle of Banu
Qurayza.[14].In 628 he participated in Treaty of Hudaybiyyah and was made one of the
witness over the pact.[14]

In the year 628 he was a part of the Muslim campaign to Khaybar. In 629 Muhammad
sent 'Amr ibn al-'As to Zaat-ul-Sallasal from where he called for reinforcements and
Muhammad sent Abu Ubaidah ibn al-Jarrah. Commanding an army under him were
Abu Bakr and Umar and they attacked and defeated the enemy.[15].

In 630 when Muslim armies rushed for the Conquest of Mecca, Abu Bakr was a part
of the army. Before the conquest of Mecca his father Uthman Abu Qahafa converted
to Islam. In 630 he was part of Battle of Hunayn and Siege of Ta'if. He was part of the
Muslim army in the campaign of Tabuk under Muhammad's command and he was
reported to have given all his wealth for the preparation of this expedition.
In 631, Muhammad sent from Medina a delegation of three hundred Muslims to
perform the Hajj according to the new Islamic way. Abu Bakr was appointed as the
leader of the delegates. Abu Bakr had thus the honor of being the first Amir-ul-Haj in
the history of Islam. In the year 632 Abu Bakr followed Muhammad to Mecca for the
farewell Hajj.

Death of Muhammad
A short time after returning from the farewell pilgrimage, Muhammad fell sick. When
the fever became violent, Muhammad directed Abu Bakr to lead the prayers in the Al-
Masjid al-Nabawi during his illness. On 8 June 632 Muhammad died. The news
reached Abu Bakr while he was in his home at Sukh. Muslims gathered in Al-Masjid
al-Nabawi and there were suppressed sobs and sighs. Many Sahaba were in a state of
disbelief that Muhammad was dead. Abu Bakr came to the mosque and addressed the
people, saying:

Whoever amongst you worshipped Muhammad — Muhammad is dead. But


“ whoever worshipped Allah — Allah is alive and will never die. ”
Election of Abu Bakr as a Caliph
After Muhammad's death, previously dormant tensions between the Meccan
immigrants, the Muhajirun, and the Medinan converts, the Ansar, threatened to break
out and split the Ummah. The Ansar, the leaders of the tribes of Medina, met in a hall
or house called saqifah, to discuss whom they would support as their new leader.
When Abu Bakr was informed of the meeting, he, Umar, Abu Ubaidah ibn al-Jarrah
and a few others rushed to prevent the Ansar from making a premature decision.
Accounts of this meeting vary greatly. All agree that during the meeting Umar
declared that Abu Bakr should be the new leader, and declared his allegiance to Abu
Bakr, followed by Abu Ubaidah ibn al-Jarrah and Abu Bakr became the first Muslim
caliph with the title Khalifa-tul-Rasool (Successor of messenger of Allah).

After the meeting at saqifah, the Muslims who were not present were asked to submit
to Abu Bakr, to give their pledge of allegiance. Most accounts agree that Ali and his
supporters initially refused to submit. After a period of time, whose duration is
disputed, the dissidents gave their bay'ah. Whether or not the process involved
violence and intimidation, and whether or not Ali willingly swore allegiance to Abu
Bakr have remained enduring controversies.
The Shi'a believe that Muhammad divinely ordained his cousin and son-in-law, Ali, in
accordance with God's command, making Ali and his descendants Muhammad's true
successors. The largest denomination in Islam, the Sunnis, hold that Abu Bakr and all
caliphs should be chosen by community consensus, that this method of choosing or
electing leaders (Shura) is endorsed by the Qur'an.

Reign as a Caliph
After assuming the office of Caliphate Abu Bakr's first address was as follow:
"I have been given the authority over you, and I am not the best of you. If I
“ do well, help me; and if I do wrong, set me right. Sincere regard for truth is
loyalty and disregard for truth is treachery. The weak amongst you shall be
strong with me until I have secured his rights, if God will; and the strong
amongst you shall be weak with me until I have wrested from him the rights
of others, if God will. Obey me so long as I obey God and His Messenger.
But if I disobey God and His Messenger, ye owe me no obedience. Arise for
your prayer, God have mercy upon you." ”
Abu Bakr's Caliphate lasted for 27 months, during which he crushed the rebellion of
the Arab tribes throughout Arabia in the successful campaign against Apostasy. He
launched campaigns against the Sassanid Empire and the Eastern Roman Empire
(Byzantine Empire) and thus set in motion a historical trajectory that in just a few
short decades would lead to one of the largest empires in history. He had little time to
pay attention to the administration of state, though state affairs remained stable during
his Caliphate. On the advise of Umar and Abu Ubaidah ibn al-Jarrah he agreed to
have a salary from state treasury and abolish his cloth trade.

Ridda Wars

Troubles emerged soon after Abu Bakr's succession, threatening the unity and stability
of the new community and state. The chief cause of the apostasy was lack of true
faith. Most of the tribes, converted in the ninth and tenth years of the Hijri calendar,
had taken to Islam for political reasons. The apostasy had become so general that it
affected every tribe in Arabia with the exception of the people in Mecca and Medina
and the tribe of Thaqeef at Ta’if. In some cases the entire tribe apostatised. In other
cases part of the tribe apostatised while parts continued to follow the true faith; and
among those who remained Muslims, many had to pay with their lives for their faith.
Some withheld the zakat (tithing and alms), though they did not otherwise challenge
Islam. Many tribal leaders made claims to prophethood, most prominent was
Musaylimah. The tribes claimed that they had submitted to Muhammad, and that with
Muhammad's death, their allegiance was ended. Abu Bakr insisted that they had not
just submitted to a leader but joined the Muslim religious community, of which he
was the new head. Apostasy is a capital offense under traditional interpretations of
Sharia (Islamic law), and Abu Bakr declared war on the rebels. This was the start of
the Ridda wars (Arabic for the Wars of Apostasy). The apostasy of central Arabia was
led by self-proclaimed prophet Musaylimah, while the other centers were to the south
and east in Bahrain, Oman, Mahra Sultanate and Yemen. Abu Bakr planned his
strategy accordingly and formed the Muslim army into 11 corps. The strongest corps,
and this was the main punch of the Muslim army, was that of Khalid ibn al-Walid and
was used to fight the most powerful of the rebel forces. Other corps were given areas
of secondary importance in which to bring the less dangerous apostate tribes. Abu
Bakr's plan was first to clear the area of west and central Arabia (the area nearest
Medina), then tackle Malik ibn Nuwayrah, and finally concentrate against the most
dangerous enemy Musaylimah. After series of successful campaigns, Khalid ibn al-
Walid finally defeated Musaylimah in the Battle of Yamama[16]. The Campaign of the
Apostasy was fought and completed during the eleventh year of the Hijri. The year 12
Hijri dawned, on March 18, 633, with Arabia united under the central authority of the
Caliph at Medina.
Shia view

The Shi'a Muslims believe that, although there were some people that took the
opportunity to proclaim themselves as prophets, the majority of people who battled
against Abu Bakr were people who expected Ali to be the next Caliph,[citation needed] since
they claimed to have heard Muhammad express this wish at the Hadith of the two
weighty things. According to Shi'a views Abu Bakr sent Khalid ibn al-Walid to kill,
loot and slaughter the partisans of Ali.[17]. and thus claim that Abu Bakr violated
Muhammad's direct orders and orchestrated a coup d'état.

The Qur'an - Preservation

Abu Bakr was instrumental in preserving the Qur'an in written form. It is said that
after the hard-won victory over Musaylimah in the Battle of Yamama fought in 632,
Umar (the later Caliph Umar), saw that many of the Muslims who had memorized the
Qur'an had died in battle. Fearing that the Qur'an may be lost or corrupted, Umar
requested the Caliph Abu Bakr to authorize the compilation and preservation of the
Book in written format. After initial hesitation, Abu Bakr made a committee headed
by Zayd ibn Thabit which included the memorizers of the Qur'an and Umar and to
collect all verses of the Book. After collecting all Qur'anic verses from texts in the
possession of various sahaba, Zayd ibn Thabit and members of his committee verfied
the reading by comparing with those who had memorized the Qur'an. After they were
satisfied that they had not missed out any verse or made any mistakes in reading or
writing it down, the text was written down as one single manuscript and presented in a
book form to the Caliph Abu Bakr. This process happened within one year of the
death of Muhammad when most of his sahaba (companions) were still alive, ensuring
that the text would not be corrupted in any form.

Prior to his death, Abu Bakr gave this authorized copy of the Qur'an to Umar - his
successor. It remained with him throughout his tenure as Caliph (10 years). Prior to
his death, Umar gave this Book to his daughter Hafsa bint Umar, who was one of the
wives of Muhammad. Umar did not nominate his successor on his deathbed, and thus
preferred to leave this copy with Hafsa so as not to indicate his personal preference of
who would be the next caliph. Later on, it became the basis of Uthman Ibn Affan's
definitive text of the Qur'an which was published far and wide merely 18 years after
the death of the Prophet. Later historians give Uthman Ibn Affan the principal credit
for re-verification and publishing the Qur'an. Shi'as strongly refute the idea that Abu
Bakr or Umar were instrumental in the collection or preservation of the Qur'an. [18]

Military expansion

Once the rebellions had been put down, Abu Bakr began a war of conquest. Whether
or not he intended a full-out imperial conquest is hard to say; he did, however, set in
motion a historical trajectory that in just a few short decades would lead to one of the
largest empires in history. Abu Bakr began with Iraq, the richest province of Persian
Empire. He sent his most brilliant general Khalid ibn al-Walid to invade the Sassanid
Empire.

Death
On 8 August 634, Abu Bakr fell sick, and never recovered. There are two accounts
about the sickness of Abu Bakr. One account is that the 8 August 634 was a cold day
and when Abu Bakr took a bath, he caught a chill. Another account is that about a year
before, along with some other companions, Harith bin Kaladah, and Attab bin Usaid,
he had eaten some food which was poisoned, and which was not to affect him for a
year.

Abu Bakr developed high fever, and was confined to bed. His illness was prolonged,
and when his condition worsened, he felt that his end was near.

Realizing that his end was drawing near, Abu Bakr felt that he should nominate his
successor so that the issue should not be a cause of dissension among the Muslims fter
his death.[20]

He appointed Umar as his successor after discussing with some companions. Some of
them favored the nomination and others disliked it, due to the tough nature of Umar.

Abu Bakr thus dictated the testament to Uthman Ibn Affan in the following terms:

"In the name of Most Merciful God. This is the last will and testament of
“ Abu Bakr bin Abu Qahafa, when he is in the last hour of the world, and the
first of the next; an hour in which the infidel must believe, the wicked be
convinced of their evil ways, I nominate Umar bin al Khattab as my
successor. Therefore, hear to him and obey him. If he acts right, confirm his
actions. My intentions are good, but I cannot see the future results. However,
those who do ill shall render themselves liable to severe account hereafter.
Fare you well. May you be ever attended by the Divine favor of blessing." ”
Abu Bakr next asked Aisha as to how many pieces of cloth were used for
Muhammad's coffin. Aisha said that three pieces had been used. Abu Bakr thereupon
desired that for his coffin as well, three pieces should be used. On Monday 23 August
634 Abu Bakr died. The funeral prayer was led by Umar. He was buried the same
night by the side of Muhammad's grave in Al-Masjid al-Nabawi.

Family

 From his wife Qutaylah bint Abd-al-Uzza he had a daughter, Asma bint Abi
Bakr the wife of Al-Zubayr, and a son `Abdullah ibn Abi Bakr
 From his wife Um Ruman he had a daughter, Aisha and a son, ‘Abd ar-
Rahman ibn Abi Bakr
 From his wife Asma bint Umays he had a daughter, Umm Kulthum bint Abi
Bakr and a son, Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr -after the death of Abu Bakr, Asma
bint Umais married Ali and moved to his household with her son and daughter.
 From his wife Habeebah bint Khaarijah, He also had a son named Qasim
ibn Abu Bakr.

Today, there are so many families which are believed to be descents of Abu Bakr.
Most of them are known by the name Siddiqi which was a title given to Abu Bakr by
Muhammad. But they are also known by some other names in different localities. For
example, In East Ethiopia, Siddiqis are usually called Qallu which is to mean people
of the religion, as they are the first to bring Islam to this area. In Somalia, they are
commonly known as Sheekhaal and they are highly celebrated by other Somali clans.

Legacy
Abu Bakr became the Caliph on the 8 June 632 C.E. and he died on 23 August 634
C.E. Though the period of his caliphate covers two years, two months and fifteen days
only, his achievements were remarkable. His glorious triumph in Ridda Wars and
successful invasions of the two most powerful empires of the time the Sassanid
Empire and Byzantine Empire.

Abu Bakr had the distinction of being the first Caliph in the history of Islam. He was
the first Caliph to nominate a successor. He was the only Caliph in the history of
Islam who refunded to the state treasury at the time of his death the entire amount of
the allowance that he had drawn during the period of his caliphate.

He was the first Muslim ruler to establish Bayt al-mal. He was the first Muslim ruler
to establish crown pasture. He was the first Muslim ruler to establish 'Ijtihad'.

He has the distinction of purchasing the land for Al-Masjid al-Nabawi. According to
Sunni Muslims, in the matter of virtue, Abu Bakr excelled all other Sahaba.

Both Abu Bakr and Uthman ibn Affan had relinquished drinking wine even in the
time before Islam. He was the foremost genealogist of the Quraysh and the best of
them at interpreting dreams after Muhammad according to Ibn Sirin.

Sunni view

Sunni Muslims also consider Abu Bakr as one of the ten Sahaba (companions) for
whom Muhammad had testified that they were destined for Paradise. He is regarded
as Khalifa Rasulullah The successor of Messenger of Allah, and first of the Rightly
Guided Caliphs - i.e. Rashidun and being the rightful successor to Muhammad. Abu
Bakr had always been the closest friend and confidant of Muhammad throughout his
life. He was always there beside the Prophet at every major event. It was Abu Bakr's
wisdom that the Prophet always honoured and would always consult him before
anyone else. During the last few weeks of his life, the Prophet preferred Abu Bakr to
lead the Muslims in prayer while he was ill. Upon the Prophet's death, it was Abu
Bakr who demonstrated sagacity to keep the ranks of the Muslims together.
Muhammad had not left behind a clear will on who would succeed him. There was
dissension between the two original tribes of Madinah, namely Aws and Khazraj
regarding who would become the ruler over the Muslims after the Prophet. This even
led to drawing of swords between them. Abu Bakr, Umar and Abu Ubaidah ibn al-
Jarrah rushed to the spot where the dispute almost turned bloody, and delivered his
famous speech to show the path of unity between the Muslims and declared that Umar
should become the first caliph. In turn, Umar declared his allegiance to Abu Bakr
saying that there is no better man amongst the Muslims after the Prophet. Majority of
the sahaba (companions of the Prophet) assembled there followed suit and pledged
their allegiance to Abu Bakr. Sunnis point out this fact of avoiding bloodshed between
Muslims and preserving the unity of the state as of paramount importance, or it would
have led to self-destruction of the new state.

Shia view

The Shia have a very unfavorable view of Abu Bakr. They believe he and Umar
conspired to take over power in the Muslim nation after Muhammad's death – a coup
d'état against Ali. The Shia do not view Abu Bakr's being with Muhammad in the cave
as a meritorious act. The Shi'a criticize Abu Bakr for an apparent dispute between him
and Muhammad's daughter Fatimah that ended with her becoming angry with Abu
Bakr and refusing to talk with him for the rest of her life, she died six months later.
Abu Bakr had refused to grant her a claim to property, saying that:

I heared Prophet saying that: what the messangers of Allah have no heir,
“ what they left is charity ”
The Shi'a believe that Abu Bakr sent Khalid ibn Walid to crush those who were in
favour of Ali's caliphate. The Shi'a strongly refute the idea that Abu Bakr or Umar
were instrumental in the collection or preservation of the Qur'an, claiming that they
should have accepted the copy of the holy book in the possession of Ali, and also
claim that they removed some parts of Quran which talk about Ali.[22]

Non-Muslims view

Edward Gibbon wrote about Abu Bakr as:

"The moderation, and the veracity of Abu Bakr confirmed the new religion,
“ [23]
and furnished an example for invitation. ”
William Montgomery Watt writes:

"From 622 to 632 he (Abu Bakr) was Mohammed's chief adviser, but had no
“ prominent public functions except that he conducted the pilgrimage to Mecca in
631, and led the public prayers in Medina during Mohammed's last illness." [25