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Khulafa-e-Rashideen
(The Rightly Guided Successors)

Majeed A. Mian
Al-Nahl, Spring 1995

The four Khulafa of the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, are known as the Khulafa-e-Rashideen, or the rightly guided successors. The following article is a brief account of the lives and achievements of those Khulafa, may Allah be pleased with them.

Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiq

The personal name of Hazrat Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him, was Abdullah, but in respect of his fatherhood he was known as Abu Bakr. His father was known as Abu Qahaafah and his mother as Ummul-Khair Salma. His lineage can be traced back to the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, in the sixth generation before him.

He was born to a subtribe of Quraish, in 572 AD in Mecca and was raised there. When he came of age, he became a cloth merchant. He was a close friend of the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him. He was the first among men to confirm truth of the claim of the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, and thus he earned the title Siddeeq. Throughout his life, he remained fully devoted to the service of Islam.

He held fast to the company of the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, and remained by his side whether it was peace or war. The Holy Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, sought his wise counsel in almost every matter when advice was needed. He was in the company of the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, during his migratory journey (Hijra) from Mecca to Medina. He was the only companion of the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, in the Cave Thaur, where they both took refuge during this journey. The Holy Quran mentions this in chapter 9 verse 40 (Al-Taubah).

He always tried to surpass others in financial sacrifices. Once, for the Battle of Mauta, the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, was in urgent need of financial contribution. Hazrat Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, presented half of all his belongings, while Hazrat Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him, brought all that he had in his house, to the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him.

The Holy Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, married his daughter, Hazrat Ayesha, may Allah be pleased with her. Also, following the Hajjatul-Widaa or the Last Pilgrimage, when the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, fell ill seriously, he instructed Hazrat Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him, to lead the daily prayers. He was one of the ten blessed ones to whom the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, had given the glad tidings that they had been rewarded the Paradise.

After the sad demise of the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, Hazrat Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him, was elected as the first Khalifa. He had to deal with an extremely difficult situation developed due to the sudden demise of the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him.

The first problem was that some of the tribes renounced Islam, simply because their tribal chiefs did not feel necessary to remain loyal to the successor of the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him. Not only that but they started preparing to attack Medina to end the newly established institution of Khilafat. Hazrat Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him, after knowing their intentions, sent troops and succeeded in suppressing their rebellion.

The second major problem faced by Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiq, may Allah be pleased with him, was that many people refused to pay the Zakat, which was essential for fulfilling the needs of the Islamic state and care for the poor. Hazrat Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him, vowed to collect Zakat from everyone and took all necessary measures to achieve this goal.

The most dangerous of all the problems was that a number of ambitious persons pretending to be prophets, started planning a rebellion against the Islamic state. Masailma and Aswad Ansi, raised large armies and captured some of the Muslim territory. Hazrat Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him, was prompt to fight back these rebellious false prophets. Despite meager resources, Allah granted him victory against the mischief mongers.

After successfully dealing with the internal disorders, Hazrat Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him, turned to the external enemies threatening the security of the Islamic state. The Muslim army, under the command of Khalid Bin Waleed, may Allah be pleased with him, crushed a rebellion in Bahrain. Then the Persians was defeated, who had supported the rebels of Bahrain. The Muslim army also defeated the Roman army in the battles of Ajnadan and Yarmuk, and thus the whole of Syria fell under the control of the Islamic state.

Another great achievement of his Khilafat was the collection of the Holy Quran at one place. Although the writing and arrangement of the Holy Quran was done under the supervision of the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, himself, yet it was written on various pieces of skin, leaves and slate. Hazrat Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him, collected all these pieces of writings in one place, and re-organized the Hufaaz, or those who committed it to memory, in a systematic way, for the preservation of the Quran.

Hazrat Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him, passed away on August 23, 634 AD, after remaining ill for fifteen days. He remained Khalifa for a little over two years. During his Khilafat, Hazrat Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him, successfully secured the integrity of the Islamic state against all the internal disorders and the external enemies. Also, he successfully united the Muslims under the system of Khilafat.

Hazrat Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him, loved the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, so dearly that even after the demise of the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, Hazrat Abu Bakr took extreme care to carry out his wishes. During the last days of his life, the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, had raised an army to be sent against the Romans who had made some incursions into the Northern borders. This army was still in Medina when the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, passed away. As Hazrat Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him, became the Khalifah, the law and order situation within and outside Medina became very delicate. In view of this grave danger, many Companions of the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, advised him not to send the army against the Romans. But Hazrat Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him, replied forcefully, "What authority has the Son of Abu Qahaafa, to stop that which was started by the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him."

Hazrat Umar Farooq

His personal name was Umar, Farooq was his title, and Ibn-ul-Khattaab, his family name. He was born in 581 AD in Mecca, and belonged to a noble family of the Quraish. He was a renowned businessman and used to lead trade delegations to Syria and Iraq.

When the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, announced his claim to prophethood, he became a fierce opponent of Islam. So much so, that one day he took up his sword and left his house with the intention to kill the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him. On his way, someone told him to first deal with his own sister and brother-in-law, who had already accepted Islam. He went straight to them and knocked at their door, he could hear the Holy Quran being recited in the house. This made him furious and he started beating his brother-in-law, and wounded hi sister who tried to protect her husband. His wounded sister said in a resolute voice, "Umar! You may beat us as much as you like, but we are not going to give up our faith." This made him calm down, and he asked them to recite a portion of the Holy Quran for him. He was so moved by the Quranic verses that his eyes filled with tears. He went straight to the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, and accepted Islam at his hands. As he was a strong, fearless and influential man of Mecca, he proved to be a source of strength for the Muslims. This miraculous change in Hazrat Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, was in fact the result of the Holy Prophet's prayers for him.

Hazrat Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, sacrificed his wealth and dedicated his life for the cause of Islam. He was an intelligent and God-fearing person. He participated in almost all the battles along with the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, who used to consult him in many important matters. He was one of the ten blessed ones to whom the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, had given the glad tidings that they had been rewarded the Paradise.

Hazrat Umar Bin Khattab was the second successor of the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him. During the ten years of his Khilafat, the Islamic state expanded and progressed extensively. Peace and prosperity prevailed everywhere in the state.

During the period of his Khilafat, the Muslims had to fight a number of battles against Iran, Iraq, Syria and Egypt. As a result of this, vast areas of these countries came under the Muslim rule. When the city of Jerusalem in Palestine was conquered by the Muslims in 17 Hijri, Hazrat Umar himself visited the city on the request of the Romans, and signed a treaty between the Muslims and the people of Jerusalem.

Apart from the conquest of vast areas, Hazrat Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, paid full attention to the welfare of his people. He was able to establish a splendid system of administration for the Islamic state and his Khilafat marked a golden period in the history of Islam. Some of his main achievements in this field are:

  1. Establishment of Majlis Shura, a consultative body of advisors to the Khalifa.
  2. Division of the whole Islamic state into provinces to faciliate administration.
  3. Establishment of a finance department, and building of schools and mosques in different parts of the state.
  4. Introduction of Islamic Calendar of Hijra.
Hazrat Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, may Allah be pleased with him, was a pious, kind and farsighted man. He possessed the fine qualities of bravery, honesty and simplicity. He was so anxious about the welfare of his people that he used to go around in disguise, in the city of Medina at night, to see for himself if anyone was in need of help. Once, during his patrol at night, he observed a woman cooking something in a pot while her children were crying around her. He found out from the woman that her children were hungry for two days and the pot was put on fire just to console them. Hazrat Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, immediately went to the treasury, and himself brought all the necessary food items to the woman. On his way, one of his servants offered to carry the load but he stopped him saying: "On the Day of Judgment you will not carry my load." The woman, who had not seen Hazrat Umar before, was so pleased that she prayed aloud for him saying, "May Allah make you the Khalifa in place of Umar." On hearing this, Hazrat Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, started crying and without saying a word left the place.

In the year 644 AD, Hazrat Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, was stabbed by a Persian slave, while he was offering his prayers in the mosque. This proved fatal and he passed away at the age of sixty-three. He was a truly great Khalifa whose period of Khilafat was undoubtedly a golden period in the history of Islam.

Hazrat Uthman Ghani

Hazrat Uthman Ghani, may Allah be pleased with him, was elected the third Khalifa by the council appointed by Hazrat Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, shortly before his death. He belonged to the well known family, Banu Umayya of the Quraish. His lineage can be traced back to the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, in the fifth generation before him. His generosity for the poor was so well known that he earned the title Ghani.

Hazrat Uthman, may Allah be pleased with him, embraced Islam through the preaching of his close friend, Hazrat Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him. He was the fourth person to embrace Islam, but he faced much hardships as his uncle started persecuting him. He migrated twice, first to Abyssinia and then to Medina.

The Holy Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, held him in great esteem, and married his daughter, Ruqayyah to him. On her death, he married his second daughter, Umme Kulthoom to him. Thus Hazrat Uthman was called Zun-Noorain, meaning the one with two lights.

He spent a lot of his wealth for the cause of Islam. Once, he purchased an expensive well of good quality drinking water from a Jew for the benefit of the Muslims. To meet the expenses of the battle of Tabook, he offered 10,000 dinars, 1,000 camels and seventy horses loaded with necessary goods. He was one of the ten blessed ones to whom the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, had given the glad tidings that they had been rewarded the Paradise.

During the Khalifat of Hazrat Uthman, may Allah be pleased with him, the Islamic Empire expanded still further. A rebellion in Iran was crushed. In the north, the Romans were once again defeated by the Muslim forces led by Hazrat Ameer Muawiah. Then the Romans came by the sea to invade Egypt, but were once again repelled by the Muslim forces. As a result of these battles, the whole of Iran, Asia Minor and Egypt came under the Muslim control. It was during his Khilafat that a navy and an Islamic fleet were established.

During the first six years of his Khilafat, the Islamic Empire not only expanded, but also its people enjoyed peace and prosperity. Standard copies of the Holy Quran were prepared from the ones compiled by Hazrat Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him, and sent to all the provinces of the state. This was certainly his most important deed. The Holy Quran, as we see it today, was compiled during his Khilafat and under his direct supervision. The last six years of his Khilafat, however, passed in chaos and conflicts due to the conspiracies of certain groups including that of Abdullah Bin Sabah, a Jew who had become a Muslim with an intention to weaken the Islamic state.

As a result of this, some people from various groups started laying unjustified charges against Hazrat Uthman, may Allah be pleased with him, whose sincere explanations seemed to go unheeded. Also, due to his extremely kind and gentle character, these rebellious people increased in their mischief. In this dangerous situation, Hazrat Uthman, may Allah be pleased with him, showed great tolerance and utmost patience to avoid the bloodshed of innocent Muslims.

Towards the end of his Khilafat, various groups who wanted to depose Hazrat Uthman, may Allah be pleased with him, entered Medina. He refused to fight them, as he did not want to shed the blood of fellow Muslims. His house was surrounded by the rebels who demanded that he step down, but Hazrat Uthman, may Allah be pleased with him, refused to step down from the God-given position of Khilafat because of his just and firm belief that a Khalifa was made by God and not by people.

Hazrat Uthman, may Allah be pleased with him, was then martyred on June 17, 656 AD, at the age of eighty-two, while he was reciting the Holy Quran. He certainly sacrificed his life for the integrity of Khilafat and in the best interest of Islam.

Hazrat Ali Bin Abi Talib

Hazrat Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, was the son of the Holy Prophet's uncle, Abu Talib. He was born in Mecca about twenty years after the birth of the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him. His father, Abu Talib and mother, Fatima were two persons who took care of the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, in his early childhood.

When Hazrat Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, was born, the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, himself became his guardian, as his father's financial position was very weak.

Hazrat Ali stayed in the bed of the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, the night when the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, left Mecca for Medina. The Meccan leaders had planned to arrest and kill the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him. Next morning, they were enraged when they found Hazrat Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, in the bed, instead of the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him.

The Meccan leaders could not get any information from Hazrat Ali about the whereabouts of the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, in spite of their threatening attitude. Thus all their plans to kill the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, were frustrated.

Hazrat Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, was a brave and skilled warrior. He participated in almost all the battles along with the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him. He was an intelligent, very learned, and a pious companion of the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him. The Holy Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, once said, "I am the city of knowledge and Ali is its gate." Hazrat Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, was married to Hazrat Fatima, may Allah be pleased with her, who was the favorite daughter of the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him. He was one of the ten blessed ones to whom the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, had given the glad tidings that they had been rewarded the Paradise.

Hazrat Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, was chosen to be the fourth Khalifa on June 23, 656 AD, six days after the death of Hazrat Uthman, may Allah be pleased with him. In those days, there was no law and order in the city of Medina. Therefore, Hazrat Ali moved the capital from Medina to Kufa in Iraq.

After his election, he faced the popular demand of Muslims including the influential companions of the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, like Hazrat Talha, and Hazrat Zubair, may Allah be pleased with them both, to immediately punish the murderers of Hazrat Uthman, may Allah be pleased with him.

Hazrat Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, announced that his top priority was to restore law and order in the state, and only then he would be able to bring the assassins of Hazrat Uthman, may Allah be pleased with him, to justice. But Hazrat Talha and Hazrat Zubair did not agree with Hazrat Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, and started raising an army. Hazrat Ayesha, may Allah be pleased with her, who was not aware of the real situation, also joined Hazrat Talha and Hazrat Zubair, in effort to punish the assassins. The three led a small army towards Basra.

Hazrat Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, tried his best to avoid the fighting and bloodshed, but all his efforts failed. Unfortunately, a battle took place between his forces and the forces of Hazrat Ayesha, may Allah be pleased with her. Hazrat Talha, may Allah be pleased with him, and Hazrat Zubair, may Allah be pleased with him, left their forces even before the battle, and were killed by some other opponents. Hazrat Ayesha's forces were defeated, but Hazrat Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, gave her due respect and took care of her safety.

This battle was called the battle of Jamal (camel), because Hazrat Ayesha rode a camel during the battle. Later, Hazrat Ayesha, may Allah be pleased with her, was regretful throughout her life to have fought against Hazrat Ali, may Allah be pleased with him.

After the battle of Jamal, Hazrat Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, urged Ameer Muawia, who had not yet taken the ba'at of Hazrat Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, to submit him in the best interest of Islam. But Ameer Muawia refused to submit on the pretext that the blood of Hazrat Uthman, may Allah be pleased with him, who also belonged to the family of Umayyah, must be avenged first.

Ameer Muawiah, with the help of Amr Bin Aas, started raising an army. Hazrat Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, had no alternative but to advance towards Syria to fight Ameer Muawiah. In July, 567 AD, the two armies met in a battle at Saffain.

There were heavy casualties on both sides, but the battle ended in an accord that the matter be decided by an arbitration committee. This consisted of Abu Musa al-Ashari representing Hazrat Ali, and Amr Bin Aas representing Ameer Muawiah. Unfortunately, this arbitration ended in failure because Amr Bin deviated from the decision agreed upon with Abu Musa al-Ashari, may Allah be pleased with him.

A large group of people, who were basically against the proposal of arbitration, separated from Hazrat Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, and chose an independent Ameer for themselves. This group was called Khawaarij, meaning, `the outsiders.' At first, Hazrat Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, tried to persuade them to submit to him, but failed. This led to a fierce battle in which most of the Khawaarij were killed.

After their crushing defeat, the Khawaarij planned to assassinate Hazrat Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, Hazrat Ameer Muawiah, and Amr Bin Aas. The latter two escaped from the attempts on their lives. Hazrat Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, was fatally wounded by his attacker, while going to the mosque for Fajr prayers. Two days later, this courageous and pious Khalifa passed away. Undoubtedly, Hazrat Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, sacrificed his life for the integrity of Khilafat.

References

The following materials were used in preparing the above article:

  1. A Book of Religious Knowledge, compiled by Sheikh Abdul Hadi, and published by Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama'at, Canada.

  2. Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiq (Urdu), Published by Lajna Imaillah, Qadian.

  3. Hazrat Umar Farooq (Urdu), Published by Lajna Imaillah, Qadian.

  4. Hazrat Uthman Ghani (Urdu), Published by Lajna Imaillah, Qadian.

  5. Hazrat Ali (Urdu), Published by Lajna Imaillah, Qadian.

  6. Encyclopaedia Britannica



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