Some of the western writers have paid glowing tributes to Abu Bakr. The assessments made by non-Muslim writers give objective view of the greatness of Abu Bakr.
Encyclopaedia of Islam.
In the Encyclopaedia of Islam, it is stated about Abu Bakr: “His was a gentle character. During recitation of the Quran he shed tears, a thing that made great impression on many, but especially on the women; and as his daughter related, he wept with joy at the news that he would accompany Muhammad as companion on emigration. No sacrifice was too great in his eyes for the sake of the new faith. Thus it came about that of his considerable fortune estimated at 40,000 dirhams, he brought to Madina the small sum of 5,OOO dirhams”.
In his book The Orient under the Caliphs, Yon Kremer says: “Abu Bakr the successor and representative of the Prophet in the highest affairs of the Muslim community was a simple man of the old Arabian fashion, and when summoned to the caliphate he was changed in no respect…His household remained as unpretentious as ever. He had only one slave who after finishing the domestic work, made himself useful by cleaning the swords of the faithful.”
H. G. Wells.
In his History of the World, H. G. Wells writes: “…There can be little doubt that if Muhammad was the mind and imagination of primitive mind. Abu Bakr was its conscience and its will. Throughout their life together it was Muhammad who said the thing, but it was Abu Bakr who believed the thing.”
Sir William Muir.
In his book The Caliphate, its Rise, Decline and Fall, Sir William Muir has made the following assessment of the character of Abu Bakr: “Abu Bakr had no thought of personal aggrandizement. Endowed with the sovereign and irresponsible power, he used it simply for the interests of Islam, and the people’s good.
But the grand secret of his strength was faith in Muhammad. “Call me not the Caliph of Allah” he would say, “I am but the Caliph of the Prophet of Allah”. The question with him ever was what did Muhammad command, or what now would he have done? From this he never swerved a hair’s breadth. And so it was that he crushed apostasy and laid secure the foundations of Islam. His reign was short, but after Muhammad himself there is no one to whom the faith is more beholden.”
In his book Studies in a Mosque, Stanley Lanepole observed: “Abu Bakr’s calm judgment and quick sagacity joined to a gentle and compassionate heart, were of incalculable service to the faith of Islam.”
About the qualities of Abu Bakr, Andre Servier has observed as follows in his book, lslam and the Psychology of the Mussalmans: “He was a man of simple manners and in spite of his unexpected elevation lived in poverty, when he died, he left behind a worn out garment, a slave, and a camel. A true patriarch, after Madina’s own heart, he had one great quality-energy. He possessed what had given victory to Muhammad and what was lacking in his enemies, an unshakable conviction. He was the right man in the right place.”
In his work A History of the Islamic Peoples, Dr. Weil writes as follows: “Abu’s Bakr’s private life was as irreproachable as was his public life. He used the treasures which his Generals sent to him out of the booty for the purposes of the State and State alone. He himself remained as poor as before. He was kind, simple and pious.
As the first collector of the Quran, to him belonged the credit of its complete preservation. As a law giver he set an excellent example for his successor, for in cases unprovided for in the Quran and the traditions of the Prophet, he gave decisions in consultation with the jurists, decisions which with few exceptions became binding authorities.”
In his History of the Saracens, Edward Gibbon writes: “When Abu Bakr assumed the office of the Caliph, he enjoined on his daughter Ayesha to take a strict account of his patrimony. That it might be evident whether he were enriched or impoverished by three pieces of gold only, but on the Friday of each week, he distributed the residue of his own and the public money first to the most worthy, and then to the most indigent of the Muslims. The remains of his wealth, a coarse garment and five pieces of gold were delivered to his successor, who lamented with a modest sigh of his own inability to equal such an admirable model.”
In his book History of Saracens, Simon Ockley writes: “He never saved any money in the public treasury, but every Friday night distributed what there was among persons of merit. His chastity, temperance, and neglect of the things of this life was exemplary.
He desired Ayesha to take an account of all that he had gotten since he was Caliph, and distributed it among the Mussalmans, being resolved not to be enriched by his preferment. His whole inventory amounted to no more than five dirhams which when Umar heard, he said that Abu Bakr had left his successor a hard pattern.”