We say that Abu Bakr and those with him who preceded Imam ‘Ali, upon him be peace, in the caliphate were mistaken. This is because, in spite of clearly hearing the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him and his progeny, designate Imam ‘Ali as his successor, they willfully violated this command. Abu Bakr was also in error when he seized the hamlet of Fadak from Sayyida Fâŧima, the daughter of the Messenger, upon her be peace.
Their actions are judged as disobedience and not disbelief. This is because although they disobeyed the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him and his progeny, they did not openly display signs of disbelief.
Regarding the gravity of their disobedience and whether it will earn them eternal damnation, we leave the matter for Allah to judge.