Sunni schools of theology
Rashidun Caliphs (Rightly Guided Caliphs; Arabic: الخلفاء
الراشدون al-Khulafāʾu ar-Rāshidūn), often simply
called, collectively, "the Rashidun", is a term used in Sunni
refer to the 30-year reign of the first four caliphs (successors)
following the death of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, namely: Abu Bakr,
Uthman ibn Affan, and
Ali of the
Rashidun Caliphate, the first
caliphate. The concept of "Rightly Guided Caliphs" originated with the
Caliphate based in Baghdad. It is a reference to the
Sunni imperative "Hold firmly to my example (sunnah) and that of the
Rightly Guided Caliphs" (Ibn Majah, Abu Dawood).
1.1 Abu Bakr
Umar ibn al-Khattab
Uthman ibn Affan
Ali ibn Abi Talib
2 Military expansion
3 Social policies
3.1 Civil activities
4 Muslim views
4.1 Sunni perspectives
4.2 Shi'ite tradition
6 See also
8 External links
The names of the first four caliphs inscribed at the dome of Yeni
Mosque in Eminönü, Istanbul. Construction was begun during the
Safiye Sultan and completed by Turhan Hatice Valide Sultan,
the mother of Sultan Mehmed IV.
The first four Caliphs who ruled after the death of
Muhammad are often
described as the "Khulafāʾ Rāshidūn". The
Rashidun were either
elected by a council (see the election of
Uthman and Islamic
democracy) or chosen based on the wishes of their predecessor. In the
order of succession, the Rāshidūn were:
Abu Bakr (632–634 CE).
Umar ibn al-Khattab, (
Umar І, 634–644 CE) –
Umar is often spelled
Omar in some Western scholarship.
Uthman ibn Affan (644–656 CE) –
Uthman is often spelled Othman (or
Osman) in some non-Arabic scholarship.
Ali ibn Abi Talib (656–661 CE) – During this period however,
Muawiyah ibn Abi Sufyan
Muawiyah ibn Abi Sufyan (Muawiyah I) controlled the
Levant and Egypt
regions independently of Ali.
In addition to this, there are several views regarding additional
Ali ibn Abi Talib, who was the eldest son of
daughter of Muhammad, briefly succeeded his father
Ali as caliph in
661 CE and is recognized by several historians as part of the
Rashidun. Hasan ibn
Ali abdicated his right to the caliphate in
Muawiyah I in order to end the potential for ruinous civil
Umar ibn `Abdul-`Aziz, who was one of the Umayyad caliphs, has often
been regarded by Sunni historians as one of the Rashidun, as quoted by
Taftazani. More rarely, the Ottoman caliph Fatih Sultan Mehmed (Mehmed
II) is also sometimes regarded to be among the rightly guided caliphs.
Ibadi tradition however, only the first two caliphs, Abu Bakr
Umar are considered to be the "Two Rightly Guided Caliphs".
Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani also includes the
Abbassid caliphs, including
Harun al-Rashid, in his enumeration.
Main article: Abu Bakr
Abu Bakr (Abdullah ibn Abi Qahafa, (Arabic: عبد الله ابن
أبي قحافة, translit. `Abdullāh bin Abī Quhāfah), c.
573 CE unknown exact date 634/13 AH) was a senior companion (Sahabi)
and the father-in-law of Muhammad. He ruled over the Rashidun
Caliphate from 632-634 CE when he became the first Muslim Caliph
following Muhammad's death. As caliph,
Abu Bakr succeeded to the
political and administrative functions previously exercised by
Muhammad, since the religious function and authority of prophethood
ended with Muhammad's death according to Islam.
Abu Bakr was called
As-Siddiq (Arabic: اَلـصِّـدِّيْـق, "The
Truthful"), and was known by that title among later generations of
Muslims. He prevented the recently converted Muslims from dispersing,
kept the community united, and consolidated Islamic grip on the region
by containing the Ridda, while extending the Dar Al
Islam all the way
to the Red Sea.
Umar ibn al-Khattab
Main article: Umar
Family tree of Umar
Umm Kulthum bint
Sunni view of Umar
Ten Promised Paradise
Shi'a view of Umar
Succession to Muhammad
Succession to Abu Bakr
Reforms (Pact of Umar)
Umar (Arabic: عمر ابن الخطاب, translit. `
al-Khattāb, c. 586–590 – 644:685) c. 2 Nov. (
Dhu al-Hijjah 26,
23 Hijri) was a leading companion and adviser to Muhammad. His
daughter Hafsa bint
Umar was married to
Muhammad thus he became
Muhammad's father-in-law. He became the second Muslim caliph after
Muhammad's death and ruled for 10 years. He succeeded
Abu Bakr on
23 August 634 as the second caliph, and played a significant role in
Umar the Islamic empire expanded at an unprecedented rate
ruling the whole Sassanid Persian Empire and more than two thirds of
the Eastern Roman Empire. His legislative abilities, his firm
political and administrative control over a rapidly expanding empire
and his brilliantly coordinated multi-prong attacks against the
Sassanid Persian Empire that resulted in the conquest of the Persian
empire in less than two years, marked his reputation as a great
political and military leader. Among his conquests are Jerusalem,
Damascus, and Egypt. He was killed by a Persian captive.
Uthman ibn Affan
Uthman ibn Affan
The Generous – (Al Ghani)
Family tree of Uthman
Siege of Uthman
Military campaigns under
Uthman (Arabic: عثمان ابن عفان,
translit. `Uthmān ibn `Affān) (c. 579 – 17 July 656) was one
of the companions and son in law of Muhammad.Two of Muhammad's
daughters Ruqayyah bint
Muhammad and Umm Kulthum bint
married to him one after another.
Uthman was born into the Umayyad
clan of Mecca, a powerful family of the Quraysh tribe. He became
caliph at the age of 70. Under his leadership, the empire expanded
into Fars (present-day Iran) in 650 and some areas of Khorasan
(present-day Afghanistan) in 651, and the conquest of
begun in the 640s. His rule ended when he was assassinated.
Uthman is perhaps best known for forming the committee which compiled
the basic text of the
Quran as it exists today, based on text that
had been gathered separately on parchment, bones and rocks during the
Muhammad and also on a copy of the
Quran that had been
Abu Bakr and left with Muhammad's widow after Abu Bakr's
death. The committee members were also reciters of the
Quran and had
memorised the entire text during the lifetime of Muhammad. This work
was undertaken due to the vast expansion of
Islam under Uthman's rule,
which encountered many different dialects and languages. This had led
to variant readings of the
Quran for those converts who were not
familiar with the language. After clarifying any possible errors in
pronunciation or dialects,
Uthman sent copies of the sacred text to
each of the Muslim cities and garrison towns, and destroyed variant
Ali ibn Abi Talib
Caliph and First Fitna
Part of a series on
Sunni view of Ali
Shi'a view of Ali
Timeline of Ali's life
Hadith of the pond of Khumm
Ghurar al-Hikam wa Durar al-Kalim
Military career of Ali
Ali as Caliph
The Fourteen Infallibles
Imam (The Twelve Imams)
Ali in the Qur'an
Succession to Muhammad
Ali (Arabic: علي ابن أبي طالب, translit. `Alī
ibn Abī Ṭālib) was a cousin of Muhammad. He was the second
Muhammad after Khadijah to accept Islam. He was only 10
years old at the time of his conversion. At the age of 21, he married
Fatimah, Muhammed's youngest daughter by Khadijah bint Khuwaylid, and
became a son-in-law of Muhammed. He had three sons (Hasan, Husayn, and
Muhsin) and two daughters (Umm Kulthum and Zaynab) with Fatimah. He
was a scribe of the Quran, who kept a written copy of it, and
memorized its verses as soon as they were revealed. During the
Khilafat (Arabic: خِـلَافَـة, Caliphate) of Uthman, Umar
and Abu Bakr, he was part of the Majlis ash-Shura (Arabic:
مَـجْـلِـس الـشُّـوْرَى) and took care of
Medina in their absence.
After the death of Uthman,
Medina was in political chaos for a number
of days. After four days, when the rebels who assassinated
that it was necessary that a new Khalifa should be elected before they
left Medina, Many of the companions approached
Ali to take the role of
caliph, which he refused to do initially. The rebels
then offered Khilafat to
Talha and Zubair, who also refused. The
Ansars also declined their offer to choose a new Khalifah. Thus, the
rebels threatened to take drastic measures if a new Khalifah was not
chosen within 24 hours. To resolve the issue, all Muslim leaders
gathered at the mosque of the Prophet. They all agreed that the best
person who fit all the qualities of a
Caliph was Ali. Therefore, Ali
was persuaded into taking the post.
Talha and Zubair and some others
Bayʿah (Arabic: بَـيْـعَـة, Oath of
allegiance, literally a "sale" or "commercial transaction") at Ali's
hand, followed by a general
Bayʿah on 25th of Dhil-Hijjah, 656 CE.
After his appointment as caliph,
Ali dismissed several provincial
governors, some of whom were relatives of Uthman, and replaced them
with trusted aides such as Malik al-Ashtar.
Ali then transferred his
Medina to Kufa, the Muslim garrison city in what is now
Iraq. The capital of the province of Syria, that is Damascus, was
governed by Mu'awiyah, who was a kinsman of Uthman, Ali's slain
His caliphate coincided with the
First Fitna (civil war when Muslims
were divided over who had the legitimate right to occupy the
caliphate). and which was ended, on the whole, by Mu'awiyah's
assumption of the caliphate.
Ali was assassinated, and died on the 21st of Ramadan in the city of
Kufa (Iraq) in 661 CE by Abd-al-Rahman ibn Muljam, a
Kharijite who was
later pardoned and left by Ali's son and successor, Hasan, according
to Ali's will.
Caliphate § Military expansion
Further information: Arab–Byzantine wars
Caliphate greatly expanded
Islam beyond Arabia,
conquering all of Persia, besides Syria (637),
Armenia (639), Egypt
(639) and Cyprus (654).
During his reign,
Abu Bakr established the Bayt al-Mal (state
Umar expanded the treasury and established a government
building to administer the state finances.
Upon conquest, in almost all cases, the caliphs were burdened with the
maintenance and construction of roads and bridges in return for the
conquered nation's political loyalty.
Civil welfare in
Islam started in the form of the construction and
purchase of wells. During the caliphate, the Muslims repaired many of
the aging wells in the lands they conquered.
In addition to wells, the Muslims built many tanks and canals. Many
canals were purchased, and new ones constructed. While some canals
were excluded for the use of monks (such as a spring purchased by
Talhah), and the needy, most canals were open to general public use.
Some canals were constructed between settlements, such as the Saad
canal that provided water to Anbar, and the Abi Musa
Canal to provide
water to Basra.
During a famine,
Umar ibn al-Khattab ordered the construction of a
Egypt connecting the
Nile with the sea. The purpose of the
canal was to facilitate the transport of grain to Arabia through a
sea-route, hitherto transported only by land. The canal was
constructed within a year by 'Amr ibn al-'As, and Abdus Salam Nadiv
writes that "Arabia was rid of famine for all the times to come."
After four floods hit
Mecca after Muhammad's death,
Umar ordered the
construction of two dams to protect the Kaaba. He also constructed a
Medina to protect its fountains from flooding.
The area of
Basra was very sparsely populated when it was conquered by
the Muslims. During the reign of Umar, the Muslim army found it a
suitable place to construct a base. Later the area was settled and a
mosque was erected.
Upon the conquest of Madyan, it was settled by Muslims. However, soon
the environment was considered harsh, and
Umar ordered the
resettlement of the 40,000 settlers to Kufa. The new buildings were
constructed from mud bricks instead of reeds, a material that was
popular in the region, but caught fire easily.
During the conquest of
Egypt the area of
Fustat was used by the Muslim
army as a base. Upon the conquest of Alexandria, the Muslims returned
and settled in the same area. Initially the land was primarily used
for pasture, but later buildings were constructed.
Other already populated areas were greatly expanded. At Mosul, Arfaja
al-Bariqi, at the command of Umar, constructed a fort, a few churches,
a mosque and a locality for the Jewish population.
The first four caliphs are particularly significant to modern
intra-Islamic debates: for Sunni Muslims, they are models of righteous
rule; for Shia Muslims, the first three of the four were usurpers. It
is prudent to note here that accepted traditions of both Sunni and
Shia Muslims detail disagreements and tensions between the four
rightly guided caliphs.
They were called the "Rightly-Guided" because they have been seen as
model Muslim leaders by Sunni Muslims. This terminology came into a
general use around the world, since Sunni
Islam has been the dominant
Islamic tradition, and for a long time it has been considered the most
authoritative source of information about
Islam in the Western
They were all close companions of Muhammad, and his relatives: the
Abu Bakr and
Aisha and Hafsa bint
were married to Muhammad, and three of Muhammad's daughters[citation
needed] Ruqayyah bint
Muhammad , Umm Kulthum bint
Fatimah to Ali. Likewise, their succession was
not hereditary, something that would become the custom after them,
beginning with the subsequent Umayyad Caliphate. Council decision or
caliph's choice determined the successor originally.
Sunnis have long viewed the period of the
Rashidun as exemplary and a
system of governance—based upon Islamic righteousness and
merit—they seek to emulate. Sunnis also equate this system with the
worldly success that was promised by Allah, in the
Quran and hadith,
to those Muslims who pursued His pleasure; this spectacular success
has further added to the emulatory appeal of the Rashidun
According to Shi'ite Islam, the first caliph should have been Ali,
followed by other Shi'ite Imams, like his sons Hasan and Husayn.
Shi'te Muslims support this claim with ahadith like those of Ghadir
Khumm (Arabic: غَـدِيْـر خُـمّ Pond of Khumm), his
Muhammad being similar to that between Hārūn
(Arabic: هَـارُوْن, Aaron) and Mūsā (Arabic:
Note that a caliph's succession does not necessarily occur on the
first day of the new year.
Hadith of the ten promised paradise
The Four Companions
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