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The Khulafa- ur- Rashiduun
(The Rightly Guided Caliphs)

"My companions are like the stars: whichever of them you follow, you will be guided."(Al-Hadith) 


This page presents the life history of the early companions of the Prophet Muhammad [pbuh], from the rightly Guided Khalifah: Abubakar, Umar, Uthman and Ali [Whom Allah be pleased with], to the contemporary Prominent Muslim Scholars and Leaders in the glimpse of World history.

Their-selves devotions and sacrifices have become the pride and best example to the new generation in the fulfilment of their sacred and devinely responsibility as the vicegerent of Allah on the Earth.

Abu Bakar
Umar
Uthman
Ali

The First Caliph,Abu Bakr (632-634 A.C.)

"If the iman (faith) of Abu Bakr was weighed against the iman of all the people of the 
earth, the former would outweigh the latter."(Hadith) 

Election of the Caliphate

Upon the death of the prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him)the Prophet's closest Companion, Abu Bakr, was not present when the Holy Prophet (peace be on him) breathed his last in the apartment of his beloved wife of later years, Aisha, Abu Bakr's daughter. When he came to know of the Prophet's passing, Abu Bakr hurried to the house of sorrow.

"How blessed was your life and how beatific is your death,"

he whispered as he kissed the cheek of his beloved friend and master who now was no more.When Abu Bakr came out of the Prophet's apartment and broke the news, disbelief and dismay gripped the community ofMuslims in Medina. Muhammad (peace be on him) had been the leader, the guide and the bearer of Divine revelation through whom they had been brought from idolatry and barbarism into the way of God. How could he die? Even Umar, one of the bravest and strongest of the Prophet's Companions, lost his composure and drew his sword and threatened to kill anyone who said that the Prophet was dead. Abu Bakr gently pushed him aside, ascended the steps of the lectern in the mosque and addressed the people, saying

"O people, verily whoever worshipped Muhammad, behold! Muhammad is indeed dead. But whoever worships God, behold!God is alive and will never die."

And then he concluded with a verse from the Qur'an:

"And Muhammad is but a Messenger. Many Messengers have gone before him; if then he dies or is killed, will you turn back upon your heels?" [Qur'an 3:144]

On hearing these words, the people were consoled. Despondency gave place to confidence and tranquility. This critical moment had passed. But the Muslim community was now faced with an extremely serious problem: that of choosing a leader.

In the appointment of Abu Bakr some Muslims had debated in the courtyard of Bani Sa'ida; the nominees were Sa'd bin Ubada, Abu Ubayda , Umar and Abu Bakr, and as a result of the debate Abu Bakr was given the bay'ah.

Let's read part of what happened in the courtyard of Bani Sa'ida as narrated in Al-Bukhari on the authority of Ibn Abas in Kitab Al-Hudood (see Fath Al-Bari vol.12) that Umar said in a Jum'a speech (Friday speech):

"... And no doubt after the death of the Prophet we were informed that the Ansar did not gather with us and gathered in the shed of Bani Sa'da. 'Ali and Zubair and whoever was with them, did not come with us, while the emigrants gathered with Abu Bakr. I said to Abu Bakr, 'Let's go to these Ansari brothers of ours.' So we set out seeking them, and when we approached them, two pious men of theirs met us and informed us of the final decision of the Ansar, and said, 'O group of Muhajirin (emigrants)! Where are you going?' We replied, 'We are going to these Ansari brothers of ours.' They said to us, 'You shouldn't go near them. Carry out whatever we have already decided.' I said, 'By Allah, we will go to them.' And so we proceeded until we reached them at the shed of Bani Sa'da. Behold! There was a man sitting amongst them and wrapped in something. I asked, 'Who is that man?' They said, 'He is Sa'd bin 'Ubada.' I asked, 'What is wrong with him?' They said, 'He is sick.' 

After we sat for a while, the Ansar's speaker said, 'None has the right to be worshipped but Allah,' and praising Allah as He deserved, he added, 'To proceed, we are Allah's Ansar (helpers) and the majority of the Muslim army, while you, the emigrants, are a small group and some people among you came with the intention of preventing us from practising this matter (of caliphate) and depriving us of it.' 

When the speaker had finished, I intended to speak as I had prepared a speech which I liked and which I wanted to deliver in the presence of Abu Bakr, and I used to avoid provoking him. So, when I wanted to speak, Abu Bakr said, 'Wait a while.' I disliked to make him angry. So Abu Bakr himself gave a speech, and he was wiser and more patient than I. By Allah, he never missed a sentence that I liked in my own prepared speech, but he said the like of it or better than it spontaneously. After a pause he said, 'O Ansar! You deserve all the qualities that you have attributed to yourselves, but this question (of Caliphate) is only for the Quraish as they are the best of the Arabs as regards descent and home, and I am pleased to suggest that you choose either of these two men, so take the oath of allegiance to either of them as you wish. And then Abu Bakr held my hand and Abu Ubada bin Abdullah's hand who was sitting amongst us. I hated nothingof what he had said except that proposal, for by Allah, I would rather have my neck chopped off as expiator for a sin than become the ruler of a nation, one of whose members is Abu Bakr, unless at the time of my death my own-self suggests something I don't feel at present.'And then one of the Ansar said, 'I am the pillar on which the camel with a skin disease (eczema) rubs itself to satisfy the itching (i.e., I am a noble), and I am as a high class palm tree! O Quraish. There should be one ruler from us and one from you.' 

Then there was a huge and cry among the gathering and their voices rose so that I was afraid there might be great disagreement, so I said, 'O Abu Bakr! Hold your hand out.' He held his hand out and I pledged allegiance to him, and then all the emigrants gave the Pledge of allegiance and so did the Ansar afterwards. And so we became victorious over Sa'd bin Ubada. One of the Ansar said, 'You have killed Sa'd bin Ubada.' I replied, 'Allah has killed Sa'd bin Ubada.' Umar added, "By Allah, apart from the great tragedy that had happened to us (i.e. the death of the Prophet), there was no greater problem than the allegiance pledged to Abu Bakr because we were afraid that if we left the people, they might give the Pledge of allegiance after us to one of their men, in which case we would have given them our consent for something against our real wish or would have opposed them and caused great trouble. So if any person gives the Pledge of allegiance to somebody (to become a Khalifah); without consulting the other Muslims, then the one he has selected should not be granted allegiance, lest both of them should be killed." Al-Bukhari reported on the authority of Aisha in Kitab Fadha'il Al-Sahabah (see Fath Al-Bari vol. 7) 
"...the Ansar were assembled with Sa'd bin 'Ubada in the courtyard of Bani Saida. They said (to the igrants) "There should be one 'Amir from us and one from you." Then Abu Bakr, Umar bin Al-Khattab and Abu Ubaida bin Al-Jarrah went to them. Umar wanted to speak but Abu Bakr stopped him. Umar later on used to say, "By Allah, I intended only to say something that appealed to me and I was afraid that Abu Bakr would not speak so well. 

Then Abu Bakr spoke and his speech was very eloquent. He said in his statement, "We are the rulers and you (Ansars) are the ministers (i.e. advisers)," Hubab bin Al-Mundhir said, "No, by Allah we won't accept this. But there must be a ruler from us and a ruler from you." Abu Bakr said, "No, we will be the rulers and you will be the ministers ... you should; elect either 'Umar or Abu 'Ubaida bin Al-Jarrah as your ruler." 'Umar said (to Abu Bakr), "No but we elect you, for you are our chief and the best amongst us and the most beloved of all of us to Allah's Apostle." So 'Umar took Abu Bakr's hand and gave the pledge of allegiance and the people too gave the pledge of allegiance to Abu Bakr. 

In the books of Al-fasil-fil Milal by Ibnu Hazim, Tarikh of Al-tabari, Al-A'kd Al-Farid of Al-Waqidi, Al-Sira of Ibnu Kathir, Al-Sunan Al-Kubra of Bayhaqi and Siratu Ibn Hisham, that Al-Habbab Ibnu Al-Munthir said when the Sahaba met in the wake of the death of the Prophet (SWA) at the saqifa (hall) of Bani sa'ida: One Amir from us and one Amir from you (meaning one from the Ansar and one from the Mohajireen). Upon this Abu Bakr replied: "It is forbidden for Muslims to have two Amirs (rulers)..." Then he got up and addressed the Muslims. And it has been reported in the Sirah of Ibnu Ishaq that Abu Bakr said on the day of Saqifa: "It is forbidden for Muslims to have two Amirs for this would cause differences in their affairs and concepts, their unity would be divided and disputes would break out amongst them. The Sunnah would then be abandoned, the bida'a (innovations) would spread and Fitna would grow, and that is in no one's interest." 

Therefore Abu Bakr delivered the Sharia verdict on the unity of the Khilafah, stressing that it is forbidden for the Muslim Ummah to have more than one Amir. The Sahabah heard him and approved and consented, no one disputed the verdict, but submitted to it and accepted it as a law (indication of evidence from the Sunnah). The Ansar then conceded their claim to the Khilafah, and Al-Habbab Ibnu Al-Munthir (who is from the Ansar)was the first to give the pledge of allegiance to Abu Bakr (RA The public bay'ah took place next day in the mosque. Al-Bukhari reported on the authority of Anas bin Malik: That he heard 'Umar's second speech he delivered when he sat on the pulpit on the day following the death of the Prophet 'Umar recited the Tashahhud while Abu Bakr as silent. 'Umar said, "I wish that Allah's Apostle had outlived all of us, i.e., had beenthe last (to die). But if Muhammad is dead, Allah nevertheless has kept the light amongst you from which you can receive the same guidance as Allah guided Muhammad with that. And Abu Bakr is the companion of Allah's Apostle He is the second of the two in the cave. He is the most entitled person among the Muslims to manage your affairs. Therefore get up and swear allegiance to him." Some people had already taken the oath of allegiance to him in the shed of Bani Sa'ida but the oath of allegiance taken by the public was taken at the pulpit."

After some discussion among the Companions of the Prophet who had assembled in order to select a leader, it became apparent that no one was better suited for this responsibility than Abu Bakr. A portion of the speech the First Caliph gave after his election has already been quoted in the introduction.

Abu Bakr's Life

Abu Bakr ('The Owner of Camels') was not his real name. He acquired this name later in life because of his great interest inraising camels. His real name was Abdul Ka'aba ('Slave of Ka'aba'), which Muhammad (peace be on him) later changed toAbdullah ('Slave of God'). The Prophet also gave him the title of 'Siddiq' - 'The Testifier to the Truth.'

Abu Bakr was a fairly wealthy merchant, and before he embraced Islam, was a respected citizen of Mecca. He was three years younger than Muhammad (peace be on him) and some natural affinity drew them together from earliest child hood. He remained the closest Companion of the Prophet all through the Prophet's life. When Muhammad first invited his closest friends and relatives to Islam, Abu Bakr was among the earliest to accept it. He also persuaded Uthman and Bilal to accept Islam. 

In the early days of the Prophet's mission, when the handful of Muslims were subjected to relentless persecution and torture, AbuBakr bore his full share of hardship. Finally when God's permission came to emigrate from Mecca, he was the one chosen by the Prophet to accompany him on the dangerous journey to Medina. In the numerous battles which took place during the life of the Prophet, Abu Bakr was always by his side. Once, he brought all his belongings to the Prophet, who was raising money for the defense of Medina. The Prophet asked "Abu Bakr, what did you leave for your family?" The reply came: "God and HisProphet."

Even before Islam, Abu Bakr was known to be a man of upright character and amiable and compassionate nature. All through his life he was sensitive to human suffering and kind to the poor and helpless. Even though he was wealthy, he lived very simply and spent his money for charity, for freeing slaves and for the cause of Islam. He often spent part of the night in supplication and prayer. He shared with his family a cheerful and affectionate home life.

Abu-Bakr's Caliphate

After giving praise and thanks to Allah (The One True God), Abu Bakr (ra) addressed the Muslims gathered at the Prophetís mosque:"I have been given the authority over you, and I am not the best of you. If I do well, help me; and if I do wrong, set me right. 

Sincere regard for truth is loyalty and disregard for truth is treachery. The weak amongst you shall be strong with me until I have secured his rights, if God will; and the strong amongst you shall be weak with me until I have wrested from him the rights of others, if God will. Obey me so long as I obey God and His Messenger (Muhammad, pbuh). But if I disobey God and His Messenger, ye owe me no obedience. Arise for your prayer, God have mercy upon you." 

Such, then, was the man upon whom the burden of leadership fell at the most sensitive period in the history of the Muslims.As the news of the Prophet's death spread, a number of tribes rebelled and refused to pay Zakat (poor-due), saying that this was due only to the Prophet (peace be on him). At the same time a number of impostors claimed that the prophethood had passed to them after Muhammad and they raised the standard of revolt. To add to all this, two powerful empires, the Eastern Roman and the Persian, also threatened the new-born Islamic state at Medina.Under these circumstances, many Companions of the Prophet, including Umar, advised Abu Bakr to make concessions to the Zakat evaders, at least for a time. The new Caliph disagreed. He insisted that the Divine Law cannot be divided, that there is nodistinction between the obligations of Zakat and Salat (prayer), and that any compromise with the injunctions of God wouldeventually erode the foundations of Islam. Umar and others were quick to realize their error of judgment. The revolting tribes attacked Medina but the Muslims were prepared. Abu Bakr himself led the charge, forcing them to retreat. He then made arelentless war on the false claimants to prophethood, most of whom submitted and again professed lslam.

The threat from the Roman Empire had actually arisen earlier, during the Prophet's lifetime. The Prophet had organized an armyunder the command of Usama, the son of a freed slave. The army had not gone far when the Prophet had fallen ill so they stopped. After the death of the Prophet the question was raised whether the army should be sent again or should remain for the defence of Medina. Again Abu Bakr showed a firm determination. He said, "I shall send Usama's army on its way as orderedby the Prophet, even if I am left alone."

The final instructions he gave to Usama prescribed a code of conduct in war which remains unsurpassed to this day. Part of his instructions to the Muslim army were:

"Do not be deserters, nor be guilty of disobedience. Do not kill an old man, a woman or a child. Do not injure date palms and do not cut down fruit trees. Do not slaughter any sheep or cows or camels except for food. You will encounter persons who spend their lives in monasteries. Leave them alone and do not molest them."

Khalid bin Waleed had been chosen by the Prophet (peace be on him) on several occasions to lead Muslim armies. A man of supreme courage and a born leader, his military genius came to full flower during the Caliphate of Abu Bakr. Throughout Abu Bakr's reign Khalid led his troops from one victory to another against the attacking Romans.

The Death of Abu Bakar

Another contribution of Abu Bakr to the cause of Islam was the collection and compilation of the verses of the Qur'an. Abu Bakr died on 21 Jamadi-al Akhir, 13 A.H. (23 August 634 A.C.), at the age of sixty-three, and was buried by the side of the Holy Prophet (peace be on him). His caliphate had been of a mere twenty-seven months duration. In this brief span,however, Abu Bakr had managed, by the Grace of God, to strengthen and consolidate his community and the state, and to secure the Muslims against the perils which had threatened their existence.

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KHALIFAH HOME Our Paper on the Concept of Khalifah
The Covenant Definition of
the Khalifah/Caliph
Chronology of
The Khilafah/Caliphate
Khilafah/Caliphate
Muslim Sultanate
in South-East Asia
Muslim Nation-States
(20th C. till Present)
Related Articles on
Khalifah/ Caliph
Important Links


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