The 4 Caliphs

Introduction

Sayyiduna Abu Bakr, Sayyiduna Umar al Farooq, Sayyiduna Uthman Gani and Sayyiduna Ali (Radhi Allahu ‘anhu – May Allah be pleased with him) were the consecutive successors of Sayyiduna Rasulullah (Sallal laahu alaihi wasallam.)

These four Khulafaa (plural for Caliph) are called the ‘Khulafaa-e-Rashidun” or the “Rightly Guided Caliphs.” Together, these four Khulafaa ruled the Islamic state for about 29 years. They are renowned “Rightly Guided” because they ruled the people of that time exactly according to the Holy Quran and commands of Ssyyiduna Rasulullah (Sallal laahu alaihi wasallam).

Quotation:
Sayyiduna Abdullah ibn Umar (radi Allahu anhu) has said: “Those who are desirous of following anyone, should follow the Sahaba who were the best of community, whose hearts were pure, whose wisdom was profound and who did not believe in the exhibition of outer life. They were a people whom Allah had selected His Nabi (Sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) and who extended His religion to the world. Therefore

Hadhrat Abu Bakr (Radhi Allahu 'anhu - May Allah be pleased with him)

Sayyiduna Abu Bakr (radi Allahu anhu’s) real name was Abdullah, and he was given the title of “As Siddique” or “Testifier to the Truth.” His father, ‘Uthman, was known as Abu Quhafah and his mother, Salma, was known as Ummul Khair. He was two and a half years younger than Sayyiduna Rasoolullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam).He was the first among the Sahaba to accept Islam. He accompanied Sayyiduna Rasoolullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) during the Hijrah to Madinatul Munawwarah. Sayyiduna Abu Bakr (radi Allahu anhu) was a merchant. He freed many slaves, including Sayyiduna Bilal (radi Allahu anhu) and Sayyiduna Umayyah bin Qahaf (radi Allahu anhu). He participated in all the battles in which Sayyiduna Rasoolullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) had to fight the Kuffar.

Sayyiduna Abu Bakr (radi Allahu anhu) loved his faith more than anything else. At the Battle of Badr, his son, Sayyiduna Abdur Rahman (radi Allahu anhu), was fighting on the side of the Kuffar. After accepting Islam, Sayyiduna Abdur Rahman (radi Allahu anhu) said to his father, “O Father, at Badr, you were twice under my sword, but my love for you held my hand back.” To this, Sayyiduna Abu Bakr (radi Allahu anhu) replied, “Son, if I had you only once under my sword, you would have been no more.” He was so uncompromising in his faith.

At the time of the Battle of Tabuk, he donated all his wealth to the war effort, and when Sayyiduna Rasoolullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) asked him, “What have you left for your family,?” he replied, “Allah and His Rasool (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam).”

Sayyiduna Abu Bakr (radi Allahu anhu) fell ill at this time and passed away on the 21st of Jamadi-ul-Aakhir 13 A.H. (22 August 634). His rule lasted 2 years and 3 months. He was 63 years old.

One of the many contributions of Sayyiduna Abu Bakr (radi Allahu anhu) was the collection and compilation of the Holy Quran

He lived a very simple, pious and upright life. He was a true servant of Almighty Allah and a meticulous follower of Sayyiduna Rasoolullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam).He wore ordinary clothes and his meals were very simple. He attended to house-hold work and would go out at night and seek the poor and destitute. Humility and modesty were the keynotes of his character. He felt embarrassed when people showered praises on him or showed him immense respect. He often fasted during the day and spent the whole night in Salaah and meditation. He was a great orator and a master of genealogy (one who can trace a person’s family line). In personal life, he was a Saint. He used all his powers to promote the interest of Islam and the good of people.

Sayings of Abu Bakr (Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anhu)

  • Always fear Allah as He knows what is in your hearts
  • Be kind to those who are obedient to you and treat them well
  • Give brief orders as long speeches are likely to be forgotten
  • Improve your own behaviour before demanding others to improve theirs
  • Always speak the truth so that you may attain the right advice
  • Be sincere to all those whom you deal with
  • Refrain from cowardice and lies
  • Remain far from bad company

Hadhrat Umar (Radhi Allahu 'anhu - May Allah be pleased with him)

Before he passed away, Sayyiduna Abu Bakr (radi Allahu anhu) consulted the senior Sahaba and elected Sayyiduna Umar (radi Allahu anhu) as the second Caliph of the Muslims.

He was the son of Khattab and is famous in Islamic history as “Al Farooq” or “One who Distinguishes between Right and Wrong.” His acceptance of Islam is also very famous.

Sayyiduna Umar (radi Allahu anhu) was a very brave and straight-forward person. He was tough and uncompromising in Islamic principles. He was a great and talented ruler. During his Khilaafat, vast areas of the Roman and Persian empires and the whole of Egypt were brought under Islamic rule. He was also a gifted orator. He was very concerned for the welfare of the Muslims. He left a honourable legacy for Muslims after him. The Holy Quran was given to him by Sayyiduna Abu Bakr (radi Allahu anhu) for safe-keeping.

Sayyiduna Umar (radi Allahu anu) was a strong disciplinarian. He noticed the tremendous popularity of Sayyiduna Khalid bin Walid (radi Allahu anhu). He felt that people will lose trust in Almighty Allah and put all their trust in Sayyiduna Khalid bin Walid (radi Allahu anhu). He feared that the people may think too highly of him, thereby possibly increasing the self-esteem of Sayyiduna Khalid bin Walid (radi Allahu anhu) which would also breed arrogance, so he removed Sayyiduna Khalid (radi Allahu anhu) and appointed Sayyiduna Abu Ubaidah bin Jarrah (radi Allahu anhu) as the Commander in Chief of the Muslim army.

Sayyiduna Khalid bin Walid (radi Allahu anhu) happily accepted the orders of Sayyiduna Umar (radi Allahu anhu) and then served as an ordinary soldier. This is an example of the Islamic teachings of obedience to leadership!

A Persian non-Muslim, named Firoz and nicknamed “Abu Lulu,” complained to Sayyiduna Umar (radi Allahu anhu) about his master, Sayyiduna Mughirah bin Shuba (radi Allahu anhu), who imposed tax on him. Sayyiduna Umar (radi Allahu anhu) told Firoz that the tax was reasonable. This made Firoz angry.

The next day, during the Fajr Salaah, he stabbed Sayyiduna Umar (radi Allahu anhu) 6 times in the back, severely wounding the Caliph. Sayyiduna Umar (radi Allahu anhu) passed away 3 days later in 23 A.H. He was 63 years old. He ruled the Islamic State for 10 years, 6 months and 4 days.

Simplicity and devotion were the main characters of Sayyiduna Umar (radi Allahu anhu). He used to wear clothes that had many patches and yet received Governors, convoys and diplomats. He took just enough allowance from the State to have a simple meal and wear simple clothes. At times he was very poor. He used to visit the old people and sick and even do their house work. He used to visit the houses of the soldiers and inquire about their families. He stayed awake at night in Salaah and often kept Fast. He always supported and upheld the cause of Islam, with his wisdom, energy, dynamism, bravery and little wealth.

Sayings of Umar (Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anhu)

  • Do not be mislead by a persons reputation
  • Do not estimate a person by his performance of outward actions but look at his truthfulness and wisdom
  • Do not leave your work for tomorrow
  • He who does not recognise evil can easily fall into its trap
  • Judge a persons intelligence by the question he asks
  • It is easier not to commit sins rather being sorry for them afterwards
  • Be grateful to the one who points out your defects

Hadhrat Uthman (Radhi Allahu 'anhu - May Allah be pleased with him)

Before he passed away, Sayyiduna Umar (radi Allahu anhu) appointed a six-man Committee to elect his successor from among themselves. After long discussions and consultation, they elected Sayyiduna ‘Uthman bin Affan (radi Allahu anhu) as the third Caliph of Islam.

Sayyiduna ‘Uthman (radi Allahu anhu) belonged to the Ummayah tribe of the Quraish. He was a very rich cloth merchant. He was known as “Al Ghani” or “The Generous.” His father’s name was Affan and his mother was Urwa.

He accepted Islam at the invitation of Sayyiduna Abu Bakr (radi Allahu anhu) and migrated to Abyssinia with his wife, Sayyadah Ruqayyah (radi Allahu anha), who was also the daughter of Sayyiduna Rasoolullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam).

After she passed away, he married Sayyadah Umme Kulthum (radi Allahu anha), another daughter of Sayyiduna Rasoolullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam). Because of this, he earned the title “Zun Noorain” or “Possessor of Two Lights.” He took part in all the battles with Sayyiduna Rasoolullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) except the Battle of Badr.

The Governors of the provinces, appointed by Sayyiduna Umar (radi Allahu anhu), were removed and replaced by members of the new Caliph’s clan. The majority of the new governors were inspired by worldly means rather than by piety and interests of their subjects. People started to demand the removal of these Governors, but the Caliph did not respond to their appeals. Delegates mainly from Iraq and Egypt, submitted their demands to the Caliph. The situation, however got out of control. In the turmoil, Sayyiduna ‘Uthman (radi Allahu anhu) himself was made Shaheed by rebels while he was reading the Holy Quran inside his house. This happened on Friday, the 17th of Zil Hajj in 35 A.H.. He was 84 years old.

Sayyiduna ‘Uthman (radi Allah anhu) was a very simple and very kind person. His simplicity and kindness did not alow him to take strong action against the trouble makers and rioters. Above all, because of his simple-mindedness, his administration was not as disciplined as it had been during the Khilaafat of Sayyiduna Umar (radi Allahu anhu).Sayyiduna ‘Uthman (radi Allahu anhu) was a generous man. He used to spend a lot of money for Islam and to free the slaves. He was a great and pious man who feared and loved Almighty Allah and Sayyiduna Rasoolullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) above everything else. Although he was very rich, his living was very simple. He did not indulge in luxury. He was ever mindful of death. Major parts of the night were spent in Salaah. He also fasted every second or third day.

A major achievement of Sayyiduna ‘Uthman (radi Allahu anhu) was the duplication of the Holy Quran from the records kept by Sayyiduna Abu Bakr (radi Allahu anhu), who handed it to Sayyiduna Umar (radi Allahu anhu), who then handed it to his daughter, Sayyadah Hafsa (radi Allahu anha), the wife of Sayyiduna Rasoolullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam).Sayyiduna ‘Uthman (radi Allahu anhu) made copies of the Holy Quran from the original and sent it to capitals such as Kufa, Damascus, Makkatul Mukarramah and Basrah, each accompanied by a Sahabi for the guidance of the readers.

Hadhrat Ali (Radhi Allahu 'anhu - May Allah be pleased with him)

After Sayyiduna ‘Uthman (radi Allahu anhu) passed away, Sayyiduna Ali (radi Allahu anhu) was elected as the fourth Caliph by the Muslims. During the period of the first three Caliphs, Madinatul Munawwarah continued to be the capital of the Muslim world, but Sayyiduna Ali (radi Allahu anhu) transferred the Islamic capital to Kufah in Iraq.

Sayyiduna Ali (radi Allahu anhu) was the son of Abu Taalib, an uncle of Sayyiduna Rasulullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam). Sayyiduna Ali (radi Allahu anhu) was married to Sayyadah Bibi Fathima (radi Allahu anha), the daughter of Sayyiduna Rasulullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam). They had 3 sons, Sayyiduna Hassan, Sayyiduna Hussain and Sayyiduna Mohsin (radi Allahu anhumul ajma’in).Sayyiduna Ali (radi Allahu anhu) took part in the battle of Badr, Khandaq and Khaibar. At Khaibar, it was Sayyiduna Ali (radi Allahu anhu) who subdued the Jews with his furious assault. He also held many important positions during the time of Sayyiduna Rasulullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) and the first 3 Caliphs before him.

He had a love for learning and was a great and learned person himself. He had been given the title of “Baabul I’lm” or “Gate of Learning” by Sayyiduna Rasulullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam). He was also called “Asaadullah” or “Lion of Allah.”

The situation in Madinatul Munawwarah after the murder (Shahaadah) of Sayyiduna ‘Uthman (radi Allahu anhu) was serious. Sayyiduna Ali (radi Allahu anhu’s) first task was to rid Madinatul Munawwarah of the rebels and to return the situation to normal.

Sayyiduna Ali (radi Allahu anhu) was able to force the rebels to withdraw from Madinatul Munawwarah and to establish peace and order in the city. The powerful governor of Syria, Sayyiduna Mu’awiyah (radi Allahu anhu), challenged Sayyiduna Ali (radi Allahu anhu) and refused to pay homage to him. Sayyiduna Mu’awiyah (radi Allahu anhu) insisted that Sayyiduna Ali (radi Allahu anhu) arrest the murderers of Sayyiduna ‘Uthman (radi Allahu anhu) and hand them over to him.

Sayyiduna Ali (radi Allahu anhu) was a man with a deep sense of justice and did not want to accuse the wrong people. He needed a peaceful period to trace the culprits. But, Sayyiduna Mu’awiyah (radi Allahu anhu) began accusing him of protecting the murderers, and in this way the old enmity between the two families were revived.

On the 17th of July 659 A.C., Sayyiduna Ali (radi Allahu anhu) overcame the Khaarijees in a battle near Nahrawan, in which, it is said, that 40 000 lives were lost.

In the early morning of the 24th of January 661 A.C., Abdul Rahman bin Muljim, a Khaariji fanatic lay in ambush in the Masjid of Kufah and stabbed Sayyiduna Ali (radi Allahu anhu) when he entered the musjid. He passed away from the wound. He was 63 years old.

Sayyiduna Ali (radi allahu anhu) lived a simple life. He refused any luxury food and wore simple clothes thinking of the poor. He should sleep on the ground and even sit on the floor. He repaired his own clothes and shoes and even did manual labour. He spent nights in Salaah and should fast for three days in a row. Honesty, piety, justice and love of truth were the main marks of his character.

Sayings of Ali (Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anhu)

  • One who recognises himself, recognises his Creator
  • If you love Allah, tear out the love of the world from your heart
  • Fear of Allah makes one feel secure
  • The best person is the one who is most helpful to his fellow men
  • One who thinks himself as the best is the worst
  • One who is proud of his worldly possessions is this short life is ignorant
  • Learned men live even after death whilst ignorant men are dead although alive
  • A hypocrite’s tongue is clean but sickness lies in his heart
  • The sign of a stupid person is his frequent change of opinions
  • Better alone than in bad company