The Four Caliphs were the first four Muslim leaders to succeed Muhammad the Prophet. Also, they are called the “Rightly Guided” Caliphs, since each of them heard directly from Muhammad about Islam. They also acted as personal friends and advisors to Muhammad during Islam’s early years.
Historians call the period under the rule of the Four Caliphs the Rashidun Caliphate. Between 632 CE to 661 CE the Rashidun Caliphate lasted for 30 years. The Umayyad Caliphate went on. The city of Medina acted as the Caliphate’s first capital. Afterward, the capital was transferred to Kufa.
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1. Abu Bakr
Abu Bakr was the first caliph who ruled from 632-634 CE. Abu Bakrwas a senior companion (Sahabah) and the father-in-law of the Prophet Muhammad and an early convert to Islam. He became known as “The Truthful.” Abu Bakr put down rebellions by various Arab tribes after Muhammad died during his short reign as a caliph and founded the Caliphate as the dominant power in the region.
2. Umar Ibn-al-Khattab
Umar ibn al-Khattab became the second caliph. He is also known as Umar. From 634-644 CE Umar ruled for 10 years. The Islamic Empire grew greatly during this period. He took control of the Middle East including the defeat of Iraq’s Sassanids. He then seized charge of other neighboring areas including Egypt, Syria, North Africa, and others. Umar’s rule came to an end when a Persian slave assassinated him.
3. Uthman Ibn Affan
Uthman ibn Affan was the third caliph. He was a Caliph from 644-656 CE for 12 years. As with the other Four Caliphs, Uthman was Prophet Muhammad’s nearest companion.
Uthman is best known for having developed an official version of the Quran from one that Abu Bakr had originally put together. This version was then copied and used as a going-forward standard edition. Uthman had been killed in his home in 656 CE by rebels.
4. Ali Ibn Abi Talib
Ali ibn Abi Talib was the fourth Caliph. Ali was a cousin and son-in-law to Muhammad. He was married to Fatimah, Muhammad’s youngest daughter.
Some believe he is the first male convert to Islam. Ali controlled CE 656-. Ali was regarded as a wise king, who wrote many proverbs and speeches. He was assassinated while praying in the Great Kufa Mosque.
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IMPORTANT FACTS THE FOUR CALIPHS OF ISLAMIC EMPIRE
- In the above names, the “ibn” in Arabic means “son of.” So, Uthman ibn Affan means “Uthman son of Affan.”
- U mar has been known as Al-Farooq, meaning “the one who distinguishes between right and wrong.”
- Uthman was the son-in-law of Muhammad. But he married two daughters of Muhammad. After passing the first he married the second one.
- Fatima, the wife of Ali and the daughter of Muhammad, is an important and loved figure in the Islamic religion.
- Abu Bakr acted as the chief of the first Islamic pilgrimage (Hajj) to Mecca, under Muhammad.
- U mar was a big, physically strong man known as a great athlete and a wrestler.
- After Ali’s death, the Umayyad Caliphate took over.