Four Rightly Guided Caliphs Essay

1227 words 5 pages
Evaluate the role of the Four Rightly Guided Caliphs in the development of Islam, accounting for the emergence of the Sunni and Shi'ite schism

Muhammad's mission, like many other prophets, was to call people to the worship and submission of the one true God. After his death this mission was left to those whom followed his teachings. Those who truly followed in the Prophet's foot steps were proclaimed The Rightly Guided Caliphs. They were Abu Bakr, 'Umar, Uthman and Ali, and were the Four Rightly Guided Caliphs, all of which were amongst the earliest and closest companions of the Prophet Muhammad. Each of these Caliphs contributed greatly to the development of Islam as well as the contradictory emergence of the Sunni and Shi'ite schism.
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Uthman became the Third Rightly Guided Caliph in 644 A.C. From all the Caliphs he was the one more interest in religion than politics. During his Caliphate he completed the compilation of the Qur'an that still remains till today. Uthman ruled for twelve years, the first six years were marked to have been filled with peace and tranquility. The second half of his rule took a brutal turn. Rebellion rose, the Jews and the Magians were taking advantage of the whispers that were passing among the people and began conspiring against Uthman. Although with the size of his army he could have stopped all of them, he remembered the words of
Muhammad,
"Once the sword is unsheathed among my followers, it will not be sheathed until the Last Day."
Uthman didn't want to be the first of the Caliphs to spill the blood of Muslims, so instead he tried to reason with them. This hardly did him any good and after a long battle the rebels broke into his home and murdered him. The last words Uthman spoke were that of the Qur'an 2:137, which speaks of God being all hearing and all knowing. He took his last breath on the Friday afternoon of June 656 A.C

Ali, the cousin of the Prophet Muhammad himself was the final Caliph. At first he was very much reluctant to take the position but after he was urged by the other companions of the Prophet he accepted. Ali was responsible for the tradition of scholarship,

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