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4 Caliphs

There were 4 caliphs in the history of Islam. In chronological

order they were Hazrat Abu Bakr, Hazrat Umar, Hazrat Usman, and
Hazrat Ali. Hazrat Abu Bakr served for 2 years in total. Hazrat Umar
served for 10 years. Hazrat Usman served for 2 years and Hazrat Ali
was caliph for 5 years. All of these caliphs were good and honest
men. They served Islam well and did what they thought was right for
Islam. They fought many wars in the name of Islam.

Hazrat Abu Bakr was born in a noble and respectable Quraish

family. He was born in Makkah in the year 573 A.D. His birth name
was Abdullah. He was a cloth merchant by trade. He was a friend of
the prophets since childhood. He played with the young ones of the
camels after which he earned the name of Abu Bakr. This means
father of the foal of the camel. Although he didn't receive any formal
education before he accepted Islam he never drank wine nor
gambled. He led a pious and chaste life. Hazrat Abu Bakr was one of
the first free males to accept Islam. Hazrat Abu Bakrs personality is
one of the most highly regarded in Islam. He led Islam when it was
in a state of disunity. The foundations were being uprooted. He
came in and set them right. He got rid of apostasy and the tribes
who refused to pay Zakat. He kept Islam intact. As a person he was
great too. He looked after the distressed and the destitute. He set
slaves free by purchasing them. One example is when he freed Bilal,

the first Muezzin in Islamic history. He was general, humble, truthful,

and faithful. Hazrat Abu Bakrs greatest achievements were the
eradication of the refusal to pay zakat and the eradication of the
apostasy movement. Firstly, some tribes treated islam as political
ties and as soon as the Prophet passed away they said that they
would stay on friendly terms if they were relieved of the obligation
of Zakat. After Hazrat Abu Bakr denied these outrageous demands,
the tribes waged war. Hazrat Abu Bakrs army easily beat them and
thereafter these tribes offered allegiance and paid Zakat. After the
death of the Prophet another inconceivable movement was started.
This was called the Apostacy movement in which some people
rebelled against Madinah and renounced or apostatized Islam. In
other words they started to declare them as Prophets and gathered
a large amount of backing. Among these men were different people
like Aswad Ansi, Tulayha, Musailma, and Sajjah. The Prophet first
invited these revolting tribes to Islam, then instructed the
commanders to wage war if they didn't comply. Those who didn't
comply were beaten and Abu Bakr successfully eradicated Apostasy.

Hazrat Umar bin Khattab was born in Makkah twelve or

thirteen years after the birth of the Holy Prophet. His father who was
an educated and good merchant of Makkah taught Hazrat Umar
reading and writing. Hazrat Umar was very learned, intelligent, and
studious. He was a poet and a very good orator. He was strong and
powerful. He visited many countries because of his business. Hazrat

Umar came to know about Islam when Hazrat Muhammad declared

that he was the Prophet of Allah. Hazrat Umar and his father were
idol-worshippers. He became the Prophets enemy after the
Prophets declaration. Hazrat Umar embraced Islam because the
Prophet prayed to Allah that he come to his side. Allah then helped
his sister convert to Islam in turn converting him to Islam. The
Prophet wanted Umar to join Islam, because he was very powerful
and influential. He knew that his conversion would be of great value
to Islam. When he converted he encouraged many Muslims to pray
openly in Makkah. He was nominated to Khilafat when Hazrat Abu
Bakr died. Hazrat Abu Bakr elected him in his will before dying. After
being elected Khalifa he became known as Ameer-ul-Momineen or
leader of the Muslims. Hazrat Umar did some great services to Islam
while he was Khalifa. Hazrat Umar fought against the Persians and
the Romans who wanted to destroy the State of Islam. It was due to
his ability and wisdom that Muslims overpowered the Byzantine
Empire. He selflessly devoted all his time and energy to the interest
of Islam. Hazrat Umars biggest achievements were the amount of
land he conquered for Islam and how many people he showed the
way to Islam by conquering these states. He overcame enormous
states such as Persia and Byzantine. Hazrat Umar had a great
character. It was so great that the Prophet said of him that if there
was a Prophet that would come after Hazrat Muhammad it would
have been Hazrat Umar. He led a simple and ordinary Islamic life
despite being ruler of such a vast empire. He was kind to the needy

and poor and never wore clothes that were really extravagant. He
even divided the Islamic Empire into an effective way of
administration. After the Battle of Nahwand against the Persians
many of them were take as captives. They were sold as slaves. One
of these was Abu Lulu, A.K.A Firoz. In Zil Haj 23 A.H Hazrat Umar was
leading the morning prayers while FIroz attacked him with a dagger.
The Khalifa fell on the prayer mat. He stayed alive for six days.
During these days he appointed a panel of six people to choose who
would become Khalifa. He asked Hazrat Aisha to be buried next to
the Prophet. Then three days later he succumbed to his wounds and
was buried next to the Prophet.
Hazrat Usman ib Affan was born in Makkah and he was five
years younger than the Holy Prophet. He belonged to the Ummayad
tribe. He was one of the richest men of the Quraish and was one of
the few men in Islam who could read and write. Even before
accepting Islam he led a very chaste life. He never drank, gambled,
or worshipped idols. He was given the tidings of Paradise in his
lifetime. He was elected as Caliph when Hazrat Umar selected six
possible successors. One of them was Hazrat Usman. Out of all of
the six people it came down to a vote between Hazrat Ali and
Usman. Hazrat Usman was elected. Hazrat Usman was a great army
commander and he held campaigns in the east and the west. He
also had many services for Islam. He made dams, roads, new
buildings, and compiled the Holy Quran. That is why he was given
the name of Jami-ul-Quran. He standardized the text of the Quran.

The greatest achievement of Hazrat Usman was that he established

naval forces for the first time in Islamic history. The causes for revolt
against Hazrat Usman were that he burned the Holy Quran. He was
accused of appointment of inefficient administrators. He was also
accused of leniency towards governors and spending public money
for private uses. His style of leadership was that he was lenient, but
visionary. He divided the Islamic empire into twelve provinces too.
He had a very strong moral character, he was modest, generous and
he was simply adorable. Rebels killed him after a siege.
The fourth Khalifa, Hazrat Ali was a first cousin of the Prophet.
The Holy Prophet suggested his name and he took him under his
care at a very early age. The previous three Khalifas always held
Hazrat Ali in high regard and asked him for advice in religious and
political matters. Hazrat Ali was elected as Khalifa after two other
people declined. Hazrat Ali. After he was elected he changed almost
all of the governors set by Hazrat Usman. He even removed
Muawiyah, the governer of Syria. The ruler he appointed had to
come back to Madinah because he couldn't take charge. When
Hazrat Ali sent another person an army of the Syrians refused to let
him past. This caused a rift in the Islamic empire early.
Shura is the Arabic word for consultation. The Quran and
Hazrat Muhammad encouraged Muslims to decide their affairs in
consultation with those who will be affected by the decision. This
was true in the case of the Khalifa. There were elections in the

process of selecting of the next Khalifa which meant that the people
being affected could choose which leader they wanted.