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History & Reign of Four Caliphs, Muslims Conquest and The Spread of Islam

11 January 2024

The Four Caliphs were the very first four Islamic leaders who followed the Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W). They are frequently referred to as “Rashidun” which means "Rightly Guided" Caliphs since they all learned Islam straight from Hazrat Muhammad (S.A.W). During the formative years of Islam, they were also Muhammad's (P.B.U.H) greatest companions and practitioners.

A caliphate, or “Khilafa” in Arabic, is a state controlled by an Islamic monarch identified as the caliph (Khalifah). A caliph's role was to give Muslims the most sought guidance in accordance with Allah Almighty's and Prophet Muhammad's commands. Hazrat Abu Bakar (R.A), Hazrat Umar (R.A), Hazrat Uthman (R.A), and Hazrat Ali (RA) were the first four Caliphs. They led humble and virtuous lives and worked tirelessly for Allah's religion (SWT). Their law was unbiased and they treated everyone with kindness and generosity. Their reign began with the demise of Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) in 632 CE. When Abu Bakr (R.A) acquired the status of Caliph – the Prophet's successor, but not a continuance of Prophethood itself (which, as per Muslims, ultimately concluded with Muhammad), and ceased with the killing of Caliph Ali in 661 CE. Throughout their rule, Islamic forces unified the Arabian Peninsula under the banner of Islam and later invaded areas of the Byzantine Empire (330-1453 CE) and the entire Sassanian Empire (224-651 CE). These speedy and everlasting victories were curtailed under the tenure of the last of these Rashidun Caliphs, Ali. He devoted the majority of his rule to the civil war and is regarded by Shia Muslims as Muhammad's (S.A.W) only rightful successor.

From 632 CE to 661 CE, the Rashidun Caliphate ruled for 30 years. It was succeeded by the Caliphate of the Umayyad’s. Medina was the Caliphate's first capital. Afterward, the capital was relocated to Kufa. The following are in-depth discussions on Islam's four rightly guided caliphs:

Hazrat Abu Bakar (R.A)

Our great Prophet Muhammad (SAW) passed away in Medina, and following his demise, the head of the Islamic community, the first caliph, was also chosen from Medina. The very first caliph appointed by the Muslims was Hazrat Abu Bakar (R.A), Prophet Muhammad's (SAW) greatest companion and father-in-law. He was nearly two years younger than our revered Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (S.A.W) and was born in 573 A.D. He (R.A) was Hazrat Muhammad's (P.B.U.H) dearest friend, and they shared numerous personality traits such as sincerity, integrity, and honesty. It is mentioned in a Hadith narrated by Ibn 'Umar:

Because of his strong beliefs in Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W), he (R.A) was also the first man to embrace Islam. He got the title Al-Siddiq, which signifies the genuinely believing individual. He (RA) was extremely considerate, gentle, sympathetic, loving, truthful, and sincere. Hazrat Abu Bakar (R.A) was a perfect demonstration of Shari’ah principles. Hazrat Abu Bakr (R.A) maintained the rule of law by bringing together Muslims who were at strife. He (R.A) also made significant contributions to the compilation and preservation of the Holy Quran. He (R.A) had become a medium of extending Islam beyond the Arabian Peninsula, in Syria, Palestine, and Iraq for the very first time.

He (R.A) liberated numerous Muslim slaves by spending large sums of money on the slave owners in terms of setting them free. His reign lasted for two years, ending when He (R.A) died in 634 A.D. and was cremated alongside the Prophet (P.B.U.H).

Hazrat Umar (R.A)

Hazrat Umar (R.A) was the second caliphate of Islam, born in 580 A.D., about ten years after the Holy Prophet (S.A.W). At the time, He (R.A) was one of Makah's couple of literate individuals. He (R.A) was a physically powerful young man who was regarded as a skilled wrestler. He (R.A) adopted Islam when he was about to assassinate (God forbid) Hazrat Muhammad (S.A.W), but after hearing Quranic Verses recited in his sister's house he admitted the Ayahs as real and joined Islam at the hands of Holy Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W). The Messenger of Allah (P.B.U.H) bestowed the title of Al-Farooq on him in recognition of his exceptional abilities to be just (the one who knows the difference between right and wrong). Hazrat Umar (R.A) lived a humble, genuine, and fair life. He (R.A) conquered several states, freed Jerusalem, and created roadways for Muslims in Medina throughout his reign.

The significant accomplishments of Hazrat Umar Farooq (R.A) are the establishment of justice and harmony in the Muslim community, the development of Baitul Maal for the upkeep and administration of funds, and the introduction of the Islamic calendar in his reign. He ruled as caliph for ten years until dying in 644 A.D. As per his request, Hazrat Umar (R.A) was also buried with Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W).

Hazrat Uthman (R.A)

When Hazrat Umar (R.A) was assassinated, people urged him to name his successor before he died, thus He (R.A) set up a panel made up of six of Prophet Muhammad's ten companions (S.A.W). This panel included Hazrat Ali (RA), Hazrat Uthman (RA), Abdul Rahman, Sa'ad, Al-Zubayr, and Talha, and the successor caliph must be appointed from among them. Following the discussion, Hazrat Uthman (R.A) was designated as Islam's third caliph. He (R.A) was born in 573 A.D., about two years after Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H). He (R.A) was one of the few competent persons in Makah at the time. When his great companion Hazrat Abu Bakr (R.A) informed him regarding Islam, Hazrat Uthman (R.A) embraced it quickly. He (R.A) had the wonderful privilege of marrying two of the Holy Prophet's virtuous daughters (S.A.W).

He (RA) was a rich man who spent the majority of his income in the actual service of Islam, such as purchasing a well from a Jew in Medina and providing its access to all Muslims, along with obtaining a part of the property to expand the size of Masjid e Nabwi. The replication of the Quran has been one of Hazrat Uthman's (R.A) most valuable contributions to Islam. In his tenure, a team was formed and the only version of the Quran was duplicated since some individuals spoke the Quran's passages differently owing to dialect differences. His caliphate lasted until 656 A.D. when he was killed by insurgents. He (RA) was laid to rest in Medina's Jannatul Baqi cemetery.

Hazrat Ali (R.A)

Hazrat Ali (R.A) is Prophet Muhammad's (S.A.W) first cousin, born in 600 A.D., was the youngest of the people to join Islam. He (R.A) was also Prophet Muhammad's (S.A.W) son-in-law, the husband of Prophet Muhammad's (S.A.W) adored daughter, Hazrat Fatima (R.A). He (R.A) was a renowned defender of Islam and is recognized for his courage. Because of his bravery, Hazrat Ali (R.A) was given the title Asadullah (The Lion of Allah). He (RA) led a really modest life, full of gratitude to the Merciful Lord. Because of his meekness and spirituality, he (R.A) was well-known. He was also renowned for wearing plain outfits. Following the killing of Hazrat Uthman (R.A), Hazrat Ali (RA) was appointed Caliph. As the fourth caliph of Islam, Hazrat Ali (R.A) did everything he could to unify Muslims and bring peace to the world, but the pushback from unbelievers was formidable. He (RA) battled them and defeated the majority of the revolt groups, conquering the Umayyad at the Battle of Nahrawan and instituting tax reforms.

About five years, Hazrat Ali (R.A) reigned as caliph. Hazrat Ali (RA) was 63 years old when he had been killed with a poisonous sword by one of the insurgents while praying Fajar Salah in the mosque on the 20th of Ramadan, 40 A.H. (661 A.D). He (R.A) was the last caliph of Islam.

Concluding Remarks

All four of these Rashidun caliphs did their best in the way of Islam. They followed the path of Hazrat Muhammad (S.A.W) and make struggles for the spread of Islam. In their reigns, they put maximum effort into Islam and did whatever they can for its maintenance without worrying about their lives. All of them were quite close to Hazrat Muhammad (S.A.W) and followed his teachings and guidelines even after his death. Many of them are also buried next to Him. Muslims really admire these caliphs and their struggles for Islam. They hold great importance in Islam as the successors of Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W).

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History & Reign of Four Caliphs, Muslims Conquest and The Spread of Islam

The Four Caliphs were the very first four Islamic leaders who followed the Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W). They are frequently referred to as “Rashidun” which means "Rightly Guided" Caliphs since they all learned Islam straight from Hazrat Muhammad (S.A.W). During the formative years of Islam, they were also Muhammad's (P.B.U.H) greatest companions and practitioners. A caliphate, or “Khilafa” in Arabic, is a state controlled by an Islamic monarch identified as the caliph...Read More

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