The four Caliphs of Islam

Abu Bakr Al-Siddiq

 

One of the closest companions of the Prophet (sws), Abu Bakr (RA) has been mentioned in the Qu’ran:

“If you help him (Muhammad) not (it does not matter), for Allah did indeed help him when the disbelievers drove him out, the second of the two; when they (Muhammad and Abu Bakr) were in the cave, he said to his companion (Abu Bakr): “Be not sad (or afraid), surely, Allah is with us.” Then Allah sent down his divine peace upon him, and strengthened him with forces (angels) which saw you not, and made the word of those who disbelieved the lowermost, while it was the word of Allah that became the uppermost; and Allah is All-Mighty, All wise” Qu’ran 9:40

But who was Abu Bakr (RA), and why was he one the greatest companions. Why is he still remembered today by so many Muslims around the world?

Abu Bakr was born in Makkah and was two years younger than the prophet Muhammad (SWS); his real name was Abdullah Ibn Abi Quhafah. He was one of the closest friends of the Prophet (SWS) even before the Prophet (SWS) received messenger hood.

He was the first man to accept Islam. He earned the title Al-Siddiq (true believing person) because of his unfaltering faith in the Prophet (SWS). One example would be after the Prophet (SWS) night journey from Makkah to Jerusalem to the ascension to the heaven. When some of the Muslims doubted the Prophet (SWS), Abu Bakr (RA) faith never faltered. When the Prophet (SWS) told the pagans of his journey, they mocked him. Some of the pagans went and told Abu Bakr (RA), when Abu Bakr asked them if their statement is true, they confirmed it, and Abu Bakr (RA) said ‘If he had so I believe him, for I am believing him in matters and reports he brings from the heaven, and doubt him not in such an affair!’ When the Prophet (SWS) heard this statement he was the given the name As-Siddiq.

Some characteristics of Abu Bakr Al- Siddiq

 

Abu Bakr (RA) was known for his generosity. When the Prophet (SWS) whilst in Medina was asking for means for jihad, it was reported that Abu Bakr (RA) donated all of his wealth, when the Prophet (SWS) asked him what he had left behind for his family he replied ‘Allah’

He was also known to be very softhearted, but he was also strict and firm.

Abu Bakr (RA) firmness was shown when the Prophet (SWS) passed away. Some of the Muslims didn’t want believe that the Prophet (SWS) had died and one of these Muslims was Umar Ibn Khattab who was holding a sword in his hand and going around saying he will chop the head of anyone who says that the Prophet (SWS) is dead. On seeing this situation Abu Bakr stood and recited this verse:

“Muhammad is no more than a messenger; an indeed many a messenger has passed away before him. So what if he dies or is killed! Will you then turn your back on your heels (as disbelievers)? And he who turns back on his heels will not do the least harm to Allah. And Allah give reward to those who are grateful.” (Qu’ran 3: 144)

 He went to say ‘whoever worshipped Muhammad let him know that Muhammad is dead. Whoever worshipped Allah, he should know that Allah is Alive forever’

Abu Bakr (RA) was made the first caliph after the Prophet (SWS) passed away. He was caliph for two years before passing away. He is buried beside the Prophet (SWS) in the Prophet’s mosque in Medina.

 

Umar Ibn Khattab

 

Umar Ibn Khattab was also mentioned in the Qu’ran:

“O Allah! Bring support to Islam through the conversions to Islam either one of the two ‘Umars, ‘Umar Ibn Al-Khattab or Amr Ibn Hisham.”

The Prophet (SAW) “Taa Haa. We have not sent down the Qur’an to you (O Muhammad) to cause you distress. But only as a reminder to those who fear Allah. A revelation from him (Allah) who created the earth and the high heavens. The most Gracious (Allah) rose over the throne (In a manner that suits his Majesty). Whatever is in the heavens and the earth and in between them, belongs to him, as whatever lies under the earth…” Qur’an 20:1-6 

Umar (RA) was nicknamed Al-Farooq. He was twelve years younger than the Prophet (SWS). Umar (RA) was a staunch enemy of Islam before accepting it. The famous story of how he accepted Islam is well known.

Umar (RA) wanted to kill the Prophet (SWS) one day, one of the believers saw him, this believer was hiding his faith, when he asked Umar (RA) where he was going, he replied that he was going to go and kill Muhammad (SWS), on hearing this the believer replied ‘that you better take care of your own’ when he was asked what he meant, he told Umar (RA) that his brother in law and sister have accepted Islam. On hearing this he changed directions and headed toward his sister’s house. When he reached there he heard his brother in law and sister reciting the Qu’ran. One of the companions Khabbab Ibn Al-Aratt was teaching them the beginning of Chapter 20  (Taa Haa). When his sister heard him approaching she told her teacher to hide and she hid the pages of the Qu’ran. When Umar (RA) entered the house he started beating his brother in law and when his sister tried to stop him, she was hurt in the process, on seeing the blood on his sister forehead he felt remorse, when he calmed down, he asked his sister if he could read the Qu’ran she was reading, she told him he was impure and that he would have to cleanse himself, after he had a bath, he was handed the Qu’ran, after reading it, he took the shahadah and embraced Islam.

Some of the Characteristics of Umar (RA) was his toughness and courageous.

He was to become the second caliph of Islam after the death of Abu Bakr (RA); he would be caliph for ten years after being assassinated by a Christian slave.

Umar (RA) was known for many achievements during his rule. Not only did he conquer many nations, he opened Jerusalem, he paved roads for Muslims in Medina and he was also known to start the Islamic calendar during his rule. 

Umar (RA) is buried beside the Prophet (SWS) in the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina.

Uthman Ibn Affan (RA)

 

Uthman (RA) was born in Makkah and was six years younger the Prophet Muhammad (SWS). He was the fifth person to accept Islam.

He was given the nickname Dhu-Nnoorayn (‘the man with two lights’) the reason for this nickname was because Uthman was married to two daughters of the Prophet (SWS) the first being Ruqayya, and when she passed away the Prophet’s second daughter Omm Kulthoom was married to him.

 Uthman (RA) will be famously remembered by the Muslims for his generosity. Uthman was a wealthy merchant and would be spend a lot of his wealth in the way of Allah and his Prophet (SWS).

He isn’t just known for his generosity, he was also known to be modest, charitable and also kind hearted.  

One famous story of Uthman (RA) generosity I would like to mention. It was for the battle of Tabuk, During this time things were not well for some of the believers as most of them were suffering from poverty, and the Prophet Muhammad (SWS) wanted to launch an attack against the Arab vassals of the Roman empire, the reason for this was because the Prophet had heard that the Romans were preparing to wage war against the Muslims so the Prophet (SWS) wanted to deter them. Due to the poverty many Muslims could not join the exhibitions. So in order to help, Uthman (RA) gave 10,000 gold dinars, three hundred full-equipped camels, and fifty horses, and he also supplied three hundred learned companions of the Prophet (SWS) with full provisions to accompany the army. Due to this the Prophet (SWS) said ‘Nothing will hurt Uthman after this day’ and the Prophet also prayed, ‘O Allah, be pleased with Uthman, for I am pleased with him’

Another reason the Muslims would remember him would be for Al-Mus-haf Al-Uthmani (Uthman’s Mus-haf) which is considered to the mastered copy of the Holy Qur’an. During the time of his Caliph, Uthman (RA) heard disputes rising amongst the Muslim Ummah in the correct version of the Holy Qur’an, in which Muslims were claiming to have the correct copy, in order to settle the matter, Uthman (RA) decided to make a copy of the Qur’an. A point to be made here, the Muslims weren’t disputing about the actual Qur’an, they were disputing about the correct dialect of the Qur’an, for the Qur’an is preserved and can never be changed. He entrusted this task to one of the famous Scholar of the holy Qur’an, Zaid Ibn Thabit. The Qur’an was re-written in the dialect of the Quraysh for it was Dialect of the Prophet (SWS), when the completion of the Qur’an was complete and approved by Uthman (RA) who was also an authority on the subject of the holy Qur’an, he then ordered for four copies to be made from the original, and they were then distributed around the Islamic World, he also ordered the other copies to be destroyed. In doing all this Uthman (RA) prevented a dispute arising amongst the Muslims about the holy Qur’an. Around the world, one version of the Qur’an is recited.

During the caliphate of Uthman (RA) rose argumentation amongst the Muslims, thus causing the assisination of Uthman (RA). During the conflicts between the Muslims, Uthman (RA) was confined to his house, with the protections of Muslims surrounding his house, however at night some of the misguided insurgents climbed over the wall of Uthman (RA) house and assignated him, Uthman (RA) was reciting the Qur’an at the time, and his blood was spilled over his Mushaf. Uthman (RA) was over Eighty years old by then. Uthman (RA) was also one of the ten companions given the glad tidings of Paradise by the Prophet (SWS)

Ali Ibn Abi Talib

 

Ali (RA) was the cousin and son in law of the Prophet (SWS) and is also known to be the first child to accept Islam; he was also the fourth Caliph.

He was brought up in the household of the Prophet (SWS); he was the son of the uncle of the Prophet Muhammad (SWS). His father name was Abu Talib. When the Prophet (SWS) started preaching Islam, Ali (RA) was the first to accept Islam after the wife of the Prophet (SWS) Khadijah (RA). Ali (RA) was married to the favourite daughter of the Prophet (SWS), Fatima (RA); he had two sons and one daughter from her.

Ali (RA) would probably be known and famous for his bravery, he was a great soldier of Islam, one story of his bravery would be when he slept in the bed of the Prophet (SWS) at the time of the Prophet’s Hijrah to Medina. The pagans had ordered all the youths to wait outside the house of the Prophet (SWS) and to kill him, Ali (RA) was made to sleep in the bed of the Prophet, while the Prophet (SWS) and Abu Bakr (RA) left the house from the back. In this process the pagan youths could have accidentally killed Ali (RA). 

Besides being known for his braveness he was also known for his humility and otherworldliness. He was known to wear clothes of simplicity. Ali (RA) was made Caliph after the assassination of Uthman (RA), however the appointment angered some Muslims and some of them repelled against him, one of the main reasons for their anger of his appointment was because they wanted Ali (RA) to take avenge of Uthman (RA) death. The main group, which opposed him, was the ummayed clan to which Uthman (RA) belonged to, and the one in charge of  opposing Ali (RA) was Muawiya (RA) who belonged to the same clan and who was a relative of Uthman (RA).

Muawiya (RA) was a man of wisdom and integrity and the only reason he opposed Ali (RA) caliphate was because he wanted to avenge Uthman (RA) murder and he felt that Ali (RA) wasn’t doing that, also there false rumours about Ali (RA) which spreading in the Muslim Ummah.

One of the people in charge of spreading these false rumours was the Jew Abdullah Ibn Saba. Letters were forged in the name of some of the companions of the Prophet (SWS), which doubted the caliphate of Ali (RA), and they also doubted the Character of Ali (RA), this caused more confusion within the Muslim Ummah.

However Ali (RA) was the Caliphate for five years even with the conflicts going on. His Caliphate would also end in tragedy when he would be assignated.

Three conspirators got together and decided to murder Ali (RA), Muawiyah (RA) and Amr Ibn Al-As (RA). Abdur – Rahman Ibn Al-As who was one of the conspirators was the one who pulled the sword at Ali (RA) while he was on his way to the Mosque for his Fajr prayer. Ali (RA) would die a couple days later from his wounds.

Ali (RA) was also of the ten given the glad tidings of Paradise by the Prophet (SWS). 

Ali Ibn Abi Talib

 

Ali (RA) was the cousin and son in law of the Prophet (SWS) and is also known to be the first child to accept Islam; he was also the fourth Caliph.

 

He was brought up in the household of the Prophet (SWS); he was the son of the uncle of the Prophet Muhammad (SWS). His father name was Abu Talib. When the Prophet (SWS) started preaching Islam, Ali (RA) was the first to accept Islam after the wife of the Prophet (SWS) Khadijah (RA). Ali (RA) was married to the favourite daughter of the Prophet (SWS), Fatima (RA); he had two sons and one daughter from her.

 

Ali (RA) would probably be known and famous for his bravery, he was a great soldier of Islam, one story of his bravery would be when he slept in the bed of the Prophet (SWS) at the time of the Prophet’s Hijrah to Medina. The pagans had ordered all the youths to wait outside the house of the Prophet (SWS) and to kill him, Ali (RA) was made to sleep in the bed of the Prophet, while the Prophet (SWS) and Abu Bakr (RA) left the house from the back. In this process the pagan youths could have accidentally killed Ali (RA). 

 

Besides being known for his braveness he was also known for his humility and otherworldliness. He was known to wear clothes of simplicity. Ali (RA) was made Caliph after the assassination of Uthman (RA), however the appointment angered some Muslims and some of them repelled against him, one of the main reasons for their anger of his appointment was because they wanted Ali (RA) to take avenge of Uthman (RA) death. The main group, which opposed him, was the ummayed clan to which Uthman (RA) belonged to, and the one in charge of  opposing Ali (RA) was Muawiya (RA) who belonged to the same clan and who was a relative of Uthman (RA).

 

Muawiya (RA) was a man of wisdom and integrity and the only reason he opposed Ali (RA) caliphate was because he wanted to avenge Uthman (RA) murder and he felt that Ali (RA) wasn’t doing that, also there false rumours about Ali (RA) which spreading in the Muslim Ummah.

 

One of the people in charge of spreading these false rumours was the Jew Abdullah Ibn Saba. Letters were forged in the name of some of the companions of the Prophet (SWS), which doubted the caliphate of Ali (RA), and they also doubted the Character of Ali (RA), this caused more confusion within the Muslim Ummah.

 

However Ali (RA) was the Caliphate for five years even with the conflicts going on. His Caliphate would also end in tragedy when he would be assignated.

 

Three conspirators got together and decided to murder Ali (RA), Muawiyah (RA) and Amr Ibn Al-As (RA). Abdur – Rahman Ibn Al-As who was one of the conspirators was the one who pulled the sword at Ali (RA) while he was on his way to the Mosque for his Fajr prayer. Ali (RA) would die a couple days later from his wounds.

 

Ali (RA) was also of the ten given the glad tidings of Paradise by the Prophet (SWS).

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