Depending on the group of Muslims, Abu Bakr is regarded very differently. Some groups of Sufis, like the Naqshibandis, regard him as a central religious personage, and a spiritual authority. Sunnis consider him affectionately because he is the first Muslim leader after Muhammad passed away. The Shi'is object generally to any Caliph except Ali, but Abu Bakr is one of those they tolerate most. Still, they consider him to be a symbol of profound injustice, because his rule is a human one and not divinely guided, hence illegitimate and tyrannical.
Abu Bakr's early days, he is supposed to have been of the same age as Muhammad, and he was either the first or second male to covert to Islam
Abu Bakr was born in Mecca, a Quraishi of the Banu Taim clan. According to early Muslim historians, he was a merchant, and highly esteemed as a judge, as an interpreter of dreams, and as one learned in Meccan traditions. He was one of the last people anyone would have expected to convert to the faith preached by his kinsman Muhammad. Yet he was one of the first converts to Islam (see below) and instrumental in converting many of the Quraish and the residents of Mecca. Originally called Abd-ul-Ka'ba ("servant of the house of God"), on his conversion he assumed the name of Abd-Allah (servant of God). However, he is usually styled Abu Bakr (from the Arabic word bakr, meaning a young camel) due to his interest in raising camels. Sunni Muslims also honor him as Al-Siddiq ("the truthful", or "upright"). His full name was Abd-Allah ibn Abi Quhaafah. He was one of Muhammad's constant companions. When Muhammad fled from Mecca in the hijra of 622, Abu Bakr alone accompanied him. Abu Bakr was also linked to Muhammad by marriage: Abu Bakr's daughter Aisha married Muhammad soon after the migration to Medina. Once a wealthy man, he was known to have impoverished himself by purchasing the freedom of several Muslim slaves from polytheist masters.
During the prophet's last illness, it is...
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