The Rightly Guided Caliphs


Hazrat Ali

Hazrat Usman

Hazrat Abu Bakr

Source book : Islamiyat ( Farkhanda Noor Muhammad )

          Caliphate of Hazrat Umar Farooq

Hazrat Umar: His life before becoming a caliph and his character

Hazrat Umar belonged to the Quraishi family of Banu Adi.
His father’s name was Khattab bin Nufail.
The ancestry of Hazrat Umar coincided with the Holy Prophet (PBUH) in eighth generation.
The name of Hazrat Umar’s mother Hantamah bint Hisham bin Mughairah.
He was born in the Year of the Elephant (about 40 years before migration). He was thus 12-13 years younger than the Holy Prophet (PBUH).
Hazrat Umar was born in an educated and well-off family. He too was personally eduated by his father.
In his youth, Hazrat Umar acquired the skills of geneology, fighting, wrestling and oratory. 
Before his acceptance of Islam, Hazrat Umar was appointed to the ambassadorial post by the Quraish.
He was well-established in trade.
Hazrat Umar was 27 years old when the Holy Prophet (PBUH) was given the charge of Messengership.
In the sixth year of Prophethood, Hazrat Umar accepted Islam in Arqam’s house in Makkah, which at that time was the centre of Prophet’s preaching.
After his conversion to Islam, Muslims performed prayer for the first time in Ka’bah.
He was thirty three years old when he embraced Islam.
He was given the title Farooq i.e. one who can distinguish between right and wrong by the Holy Prophet (PBUH) after he converted to Islam.
He migrated to Madina and took part in all major battles, i.e. Badr, Uhad, Ditch, Khyber and Hunain.
His daughter Hazrat Hafsah was Holy Prophet (PBUH)’s wife.
He gave half his wealth at the time of the Tabuk Expedition.

Main attributes of his personality:

Simplicity, kindness, full commitment, dedication and devotion to his duty as Caliph, good judge of men, able to discern truth from falsehood, high moral standards, tough as administrator, possessed the qualities of foresight and far-sightedness, quick and sharp in decision-making and ensuring its implementation.

Election of Hazrat Umar as the second caliph

24 August 634 AD.
Hazrat Abu Bakr nominated Hazrat Umar as the next Caliph.
After Hazrat Abu Bakr’s death, most of the eminent Companions of Muhammad (PBUH) swore allegiance to Hazrat Umar. 

Wars with Persia

Battle of Namarraq (October, 634 AD):

Because the Muslims had captured Hira under the caliphate of Abu Bakr, the infuriated Persian Emperor sent a large force under a famous general.
The two armies met 10 miles from Hira.
Persians were defeated and put to flight.

Battle of Jar/Battle of the Bridge (October, 634 AD):

Alarmed by the Muslim victory, the Persian Emperor dispatched a large army, commanded by Bahman.
The Muslim army was led by Hazrat Abu Ubaydah.
Before this mighty force, the Arabs fell back and re-crossed the Euphrates.
The Persian commander challenged Hazrat Abu Ubaydah to cross the river again or allow him to come to the Arab side.
Acting rashly and against his advisors’ warnings, Hazrat Abu Ubaydah ordered the Muslim army to build a bridge of boats and cross the river.
Once on the opposite side, the Muslims found themselves in an alarming situation. They were hemmed in between the Persian war-elephants in their front and the swift river Euphrates on their backs.
The Arabs and their animals had never seen elephants before and were terrified by these fierce and gigantic beasts. These elephants routed the Muslim cavalry.
Hazrat Abu Ubaida ordered the cavalry to dismount and fight on foot.
Although the Muslims fought bravely and brought down many elephants, they were trampled in large numbers under the beasts’ feet.
Hazrat Abu Ubaida himself was martyred by one of the elephants. His brother succeeded him, but one by one, the Muslim commanders were martyred.
A Muslim had cut the boat-bridge so that the Muslim army would not lose heart and retreat easily.
However, the routed soldiers jumped into the river and many lost their lives.
The new Muslim commander, Hazrat Musanna, ordered the bridge to be rebuilt. He and a small detachment held back the Persians while the survivors crossed over to the Arab side.
Out of the original Muslim force of 9,000 men, approximately:       I) 3000 survived.    II) 2,000 fell fighting.    III) 2,000 drowned in the river.     IV) 2,000 fled to Madina and elsewhere.

Battle of Buwayb (November, 634 AD):

Acting wisely and calmly after the disastrous Battle of Jasr, Umar rallied his allies to fight against the Persian Empire.
When the Persians came to know of this, they sent a large force under the command of Mehran, an expert in Arabian warfare techniques.
The Muslim army was commanded by Hazrat Musanna.
Like the Battle of Jasr, the Persian army camped on the eastern side of the Euphrates.
This time, however, the Muslims allowed the Persians to cross over to the Arabian side.
The next day, the two armies engaged in a fierce battle at Buwayb.
Even though the Persian force was many times larger than the Muslim army, they were put to rout when Mehran was killed.
The Muslim force destroyed the bridge over the Euphrates when the Persians tried to fall back. Persians were killed in large numbers and their army was almost completely destroyed.

Hazrat Umar resolves to conquer Iraq:

Hazrat Umar realized that if Hira was to be held by the Muslims, Madain, the Persian capital of the Iraqi province, must be captured.
Hazrat Umar called for Holy War on Persia and wrote letters to his allies and rallied them under his banner.
Finally, an army of 20,000 men was mustered and was placed under Hazrat Saad bin Abi Waqqas.

Battle of Qadisiya:

Hazrat Saad was ordered to march to Qadisiya, a little fortress on the western bank of the Ateeq (a branch of the Euphrates).
From here, Hazrat Saad sent an envoy to the court of Yazdgard, the Persian Emperor, with the message of Islam.
The Persian Emperor insulted the envoy and turned him out of his court.
To teach the Muslims a lesson, he dispatched a large army of 120,000 men, including 300 war-elephants. This army was commanded by Rustum.
The Muslim army now numbered 30,000, including 1400 of Muhammad (PBUH)’s Companions and 99 veterans of Badr. The soldiers had also brought their families along, as they intended to settle on the conquered land.
Rustum encamped with his army on the opposite bank of the river. He intended to tire out the Muslims or make them short of supplies before attacking.
Arab raiding parties, which attacked the fertile Persian fields, forced the Emperor to order Rustum to commence fighting.
Rustum and his army crossed the river in the secrecy of the night by building a dam to check the flow of the water.
The battle that ensued was very fierce and lasted for 3 days and 4 nights.
Hazrat Saad directed his forces from his sick bed.
Eventually, the Persians lost and were killed in large numbers.
Rustum was killed as he tried to flee the battlefield.
Losses:      I) Muslims --- 8500 men.                    II) Persians --- 30,000 to 40,000 men.
Booty:       I) 6,000 pieces to every soldier.     II) 70,000 pieces from the jewels stripped from the body of Rustum.      III) 100,000 pieces from the Persian banner made from panther’s skin.
Consequences:       I) Put an end to the military might of the Persian Empire.      II) Arab tribes no longer hesitated to fight against Persia and the enemies of Islam.      III) Way to Madain opened.

Siege and capture of Madain:

After resting his troops , Hazrat Saad marched on Madain with the intention of capturing it.
The army defending the city fell back before the Muslim assault, fled into the city and closed the gates.
The Muslims captured the city after a siege and a brave assault by the troops.
Booty:       I) Vessels and statues of gold and silver.  II) Stores of precious stones.  III) Luxurious wardrobes.  IV) Thousands of prisoners of war.  V) Each soldier received 12,000 dirhams.

Battle of Jalula:

The Persian king, fleeing from Madain, took refuge in Hulwan.
As a result, his remaining army occupied Jalula, a place in the neighborhood of Madain.
This army made great preparations for battle; the entire town was converted into a fortress and a deep ditch was dug around the town.
Hazrat Saad, with Hazrat Umar’s permission, sent a strong army to Jalula under the command of Qaka.
The siege of Jalula stretched over 7 months.
Eventually, the Persians decided to counterattack and drive out the Muslims.
The Muslim commander pulled back his army so that the whole of the Persian army could come into the field.
Fierce fighting ensued.
Eventually, a fierce storm started blowing into the Persians’ faces and they fell back and were killed in large numbers.
The residents of Jalula surrendered on the usual terms of Jizya.

Battle of Nahawand:

After the Battle of Jalula, Hazrat Umar stopped further conquest and sought to consolidate Muslim rule in the lands already occupied.
Towards this end, a peace treaty was signed with the Persians.
However, the Persians soon broke the treaty and marched with 60,000 men against the 30,000 Muslims.
The two armies fought at Nahawand for 2 days. On the 3rd day, the Persians took refuge in their forts.
By a clever strategy, the enemy was coaxed out of hiding and hand-to-hand fighting took place.
The Persian might was shattered forever and their emperor fled to Isfahan.
This battle was a decisive one for the whole world, as it signaled the end of Persian power and the rise of Muslims. 

Wars with the Byzantine Empire

The Eastern Roman Empire consisting of Syria, Jerusalem and Egypt was called the Byzantine Empire.
Although relations between the two parties had been cordial when Muhammad (PBUH) sent his envoy to Heraclius, things had begun to cool down.
The Christian prince of Syria had murdered Muhammad (PBUH)’s envoy at Mu’tah. This led to an increase in the hostility.


Rebellion of the Bedouin tribes on the Syrian border against Muslim rule on instigation of the Byzantine Empire.
Bedouin tribes in the Byzantine Empire on the Syrian border rendered help to their kinsmen in Arabia to raid Muslim territory.
Natural expansive need of Arabia as it was not very rich in resources as compared to its neighbours.

Conquest of Syria

Battle of Yarmouk:

During the time of Hazrat Abu Bakr, Muslims had defeated the Romans on the Syrian front.
During the reign of Hazrat Umar, Hazrat Khalid bin Walid had now added Damascus, Jordan and Emmessa to the Muslim State.
In retaliation, the Byzantine Emperor sent 260,000 men, who camped in the valley of Yarmouk.
Hazrat Abu Ubaydah rallied 40,000 men under the banner of Islam.
The Byzantines offered to pay the Muslims a large sum of money if they left Syria.
Hazrat Abu Ubaydah offered them the usual:    I) Accept Islam.  II) Pay Jizya.  III) Prepare for battle.
The battle lasted for 6 days.
By the afternoon of the 6th day, only 1/3 of the Byzantine army remained.
Meanwhile, a storm broke out and the fleeing Byzantines were cut down in large numbers.
With this battle, the Byzantines lost Syria and Muslim rule was ushered in.

Fall of Jerusalem:

After the Battle of Yarmouk, Muslim forces spread out in all directions in Jordan and captured key areas to pave the way to Jerusalem.
The city of Jerusalem, held sacred by Jews and Christians, was strongly fortified and was protected on all sides by deep valleys.
Muslims laid siege to Jerusalem in the severe winter.
Hazrat Amr bin Aas, the Muslim commander, wrote to Hazrat Abu Ubaydah for reinforcements.
When the reinforcements arrived, the citizens of the city lost heart and offered surrender if the Caliph himself would come and receive the keys of the city.
Leaving Hazrat Ali as his deputy, Hazrat Umar left for Jerusalem with a slave, taking turns to ride the camel.
When he arrived, a treaty with the citizens was drawn up, guaranteeing security of life, safety of churches and other religious buildings etc. The citizens were required to pay Jizya. Those who wouldn’t do so were asked to leave the city.
When Hazrat Umar asked the Patriarch of the city where he could offer the prayer of thanksgiving, he was led to a church.
Hazrat Umar declined to pray in the church because he feared that he would set an example for Muslims to convert churches to mosques.
He was then led to a place where Prophet David used to pray.
Staying in Jerusalem for a few days, he reorganized the administration and built the Mosque of Hazrat Umar.

Conquest of Egypt:

I) The Muslim navy was extremely weak and Alexandria was a strong naval base of the      Byzantines. From there, they could launch a devastating attack.
II) Egypt was the ‘granary of the Empire’, and its capture would debilitate the food system of the   Byzantine Empire.
III) The conquest of Egypt would open the way to large parts of Africa
IV) The Copts of Egypt lived in miserable conditions under their Byzantine masters; Hazrat Amr knew that these people would welcome and support the Muslims.
With  the  permission  of the  Caliph,  Hazrat  Amr  bin  Aas  set out for Egypt with 4,000 men, in 639 AD.
After attacking small towns, he laid siege to the fort of Fustat, which lasted for 7 months. This fort was captured.
Alarmed by the Muslim advance, the Egyptian king sent a large army to hold Alexandria.
When the Muslims reached Alexandria, they found it heavily fortified and manned by 50,000 soldiers.
At this time, the Muslims strength was only 12,000.
Whenever the Muslims tried to get close to the city, the enemy rained boulders on them.
Also, Alexandria was a major port and help could come from sea any time.
When the Byzantines tried to fight the Muslims in the open, they were beaten back.
When Emperor Heraclius died, a wave of disappointment went over the besieged city as they knew that no one would now come to their help anymore.
Finally, the city capitulated and Muslims became the masters of Egypt.

Death of Hazrat Umar:

After the Battle of Nahawand, many Persian men, women and children were sold as slaves.
One of these was Abu Lulu, also known as Firoz.
He was purchased by the Governor of Basra.
In Zil Haj, 23, Hazrat Umar was leading the morning prayers when Firoz attacked him with a dagger and inflicted several wounds.
Hazrat Umar survived for some days and nominated his successors, asking them to choose the caliph from among themselves:
I) Hazrat Ali    II) Hazrat Usman     III) Hazrat Zubair bin Awwam     IV) Hazrat Abdur Rehman bin Auf     V) Hazrat Talha     VI) Hazrat Saad bin Abi Waqqas
With the permission of Hazrat Ayesha, Hazrat Umar was buried next to Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH).

Administration of Hazrat Umar:

He remained as a model for administrators and rulers to come.
Following the example of Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) and Hazrat Abu Bakr, Hazrat Umar formed the constitution of the State on the basis of democracy.
He established a Majlis-e-Shoora, consisting of both the Ansar and the Muhajirin. It included prominent Companions of Muhammad (PBUH) and he always consulted this body before making any important decision.
He also established the Majlis-e-Aam, consisting of the Muhajirin, Ansar and representatives of various tribes. This body was called into session on special occasions.
Each province was placed under a Wali, and each district was placed under an Amil.
These officers had to report to Makkah on occasion of the Hajj, where the caliph could hear complaints against them and make decisions.
These officers also had to keep a record of their assets and property. On their retirement, their accounts would be checked to see if they had been honest or not.
Qazis were entrusted with judicial duties and were completely independent of the Wali.
He was the first one to establish the Departments of Military, Education, Jails and Police etc.
The department of Dewan was responsible for collection of all types of revenue, from the center as well as from the provinces.
New taxes like Ushr (1/10th of the income of big lands) and Zakat on ownership of horses, were imposed.
A new system of distribution of money from the Bait-ul-Maal was established.
Soldiers were well looked after, but were not allowed to buy lands in the conquered territories or live with the settled people; they could only live in cantonments.
Farmers were cared for as well. In conquered territories, they were allowed to retain their lands.
He himself patrolled the streets of Madina at night to look for people who needed help.
Introduced the Muslims Hijri calendar, old-age pension system and census of the population.
Patronized female education.

Services to Islam:

Great boost to early Islam in Makkah.
Played an important part in getting Abu Bakr elected as the first caliph.                              
Held back the Persian and Byzantine hordes who were bent on attacking Arabia.
Overpowered the Persian and Byzantine empires and conquered their large tracts of land.
Consolidated the conquered territories.
Left an efficient administrative system for his successors.

Hadis: “He who hates Umar, hates me, he who loves Umar, loves me.”


Caliphate of Hazrat Usman

Hazrat Usman: His life before becoming a caliph and his character:

Hazrat Usman belonged to Banu Ummayya family of the Quraish.
His father’s name was Affan.
He was born in Makkah in the 6th year of the Elephant.
His mother’s name was Arwah.
His ancestry coincided with the Holy Prophet (PBUH) in fifth generation on Abd Munaf.
In the ignorance Period, his by-name was Abu Amr.
After embracing Islam, his by-name was Abu Abdullah.
Hazrat Usman’s father was one of the richest men in Makkah.
Hazrat Usman was educated and loved learning.
He lived a chaste life, even during the Jahiliya Period, and never drank, gambled or worshipped idols.
When he accepted Islam at the hands of Hazrat Abu Bakr, his family started torturing him.
Hazrat Usman was one of the first Arabs to accept Islam.
Muhammad (PBUH) gave Hazrat Usman his second daughter, Hazrat Ruqayya, in marriage.
Hazrat Usman migrated to Abbysinia with his wife, where he flourished as a trader.
He  returned  to  Makka  when a rumor spread among the emigrants that the Quraish had accepted Islam.
Instead of returning to Abbysinia, he stayed back at Makkah with the Prophet (PBUH).
Here, he spent freely in the way of Allah and liberated quite a few Muslim slaves.
Migrated to Madina where Hazrat Aus bin Sabit was his host.
After the Battle of Badr, Hazrat Ruqayya fell ill and passed away.
Muhammad (PBUH) gave his third daughter, Hazrat Kulsum, in marriage to Hazrat Usman.
Thus, Hazrat Usman is known as Zun-Nurain, or “the possessor of two lights”.
Barely 6 years after her marriage, Hazrat Kulsum also fell ill and died.
In Madina, Hazrat Usman worked hard as a trader and became one of the richest men of the city.
He used to spend freely in the way of Allah, and earned the title of Ghani.
Took part in all important battles, except Badr, when he was nursing his dying wife, Hazrat Ruqayya.
Second person after Hazrat Umar to offer allegiance to Hazrat Abu Bakr as the first caliph.

Main attributes of his pesonality:

Eloquence and dignity, forgiveness even when able to wreak vengeance, generosity, modesty and nobility; sincerity in friendship and giving advice, kindness and compassion to all people, zeal for his faith, fear of the Lord and his devotion in Allah’s worship.

Election as Caliph:

Hazrat Umar told the following people to choose the next caliph from among themselves:
I) Hazrat Ali               II) Hazrat Usman             III) Hazrat Zubair bin Awwam             IV) Hazrat Abdur Rehman bin Auf       V) Hazrat Talha              VI) Hazrat Saad bin Abi Waqqas
Hazrat Abdur Rehman bin Auf was not willing to shoulder the responsibilities of being a caliph and Hazrat Talha was not in Madina at the time of Hazrat Umar’s death.
Hazrat Abdur Rehman bin Auf agreed to act as a judge in the choosing of the next caliph.
After having consulted with the contestants, prominent Companions and the populace, he determined that the majority favored Hazrat Usman.
Hazrat Abdur Rehman bin Auf and all the other contestants took the Bayt at the hands of Hazrat Usman. Thus, Hazrat Usman was selected as the 3rd Caliph on 4 Muharram, 24 AH.
Conquests in the East and West:

Most foreign rulers thought that it would be easy to wrest control of territories from the kind-hearted Hazrat Usman.
There were several serious uprisings in Persia in the East and Byzantine in the West.
Within the 1st year of his caliphate, he swiftly crushed these rebellions.
During his reign, the whole of North Africa was conquered, including the present countries of Libya, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco.
The island of Cyprus was also captured.
Thus, by Hazrat Usman’s reign, the Muslim Empire stretched from Morocco to Kabul.

Causes of the revolt against Hazrat Usman:

The Islamic State contained many tribes and nationalities which had been subjugated. Although some of them had accepted Islam, they still grudged their defeat and Islam had not imbibed their hearts.
The Jews who had lost their religious and social importance conspired against Islam.
When Hazrat Usman learnt of the activities of these conspirators, he expelled them from Kufa and Basra. These conspirators widened their sphere of activity. Especially in Egypt, where a number of Jews who had only outwardly accepted Islam joined hands with them One of these Jews, Abdullah bin Saba, instigated Muslims in the name of Hazrat Ali in Kufa, Basra, Madina and Egypt and sowed the seeds of dissension amongst them.
Rivalry in the Quraish themselves, i.e. between the Hashimites and Umayyads weakened the power of Hazrat Usman. Old tribal jealousies began to raise their head.
Hazrat Usman’s leniency encouraged his enemies. 

Charges against Hazrat Usman:


It was alleged that Hazrat Usman appointed his inefficient relatives as governors in four provinces out of the twelve in the Muslim State, i.e. Egypt, Syria, Kufa and Basra.

Governor                          Province                 Relation with Usman                 Remarks

Muawiya                            Syria                      relative                                      Able ruler and excellent administrator.

Abdullah bin Saad             Egypt                     foster brother                             N. Africa conquered under his rule
Walid bin Uqba                  Kufa                      Close relation                            Replaced Saad bin Abi Waqqas when he could                   
                                                                                                                            not control the situation. Conducted successful
                                                                                                                            campaigns in Armenia and Azerbaijan. Was
                                                                                                                           deposed at public agitation,  in public interest.

Abdullah bin Amir           Basra                     Cousin                                   Replaced Abu Musa Ashari at the demand of the                                                         
                                                                                                                           people of Basra. Conquered Fars,Seestan and


It is also alleged that Hazrat Usman was weak and did not exercise a check on his governors.
Actually, he had his governors in confidence and they enjoyed much independence from the center.
He did not wish to interfere in their day-to-day affairs.

Burning of old copies of the Holy Quran:

Rebels raised hue and cry that Hazrat Usman had maliciously burnt copies of the Quran.
Hazrat Usman answered each and every one of the rebels’ charges in the presence of Hazrat Ali and some Companions; they were satisfied.
The rebels stuck to their point-of-view and prepared to march on Madina from Egypt, Kufa and Basra, with a contingent of 1,000 men coming from each region.
Finding the people of Madina ready to defend their city disappointed the rebels.
Hazrat Ali tried to argue with them and they finally agreed to turn back if Hazrat Usman would appoint Muhammad bin Abu Bakr as governor of Egypt in place of Abdullah bin Saad.

Martyrdom of Hazrat Usman:

The rebels returned 4 days later, shouting for revenge.
They claimed that they had intercepted an order of Hazrat Usman to the governor of Egypt to kill Muhammad bin Abu Bakr and his companions upon their arrival.
Hazrat Usman swore that he had sent no such order.
The rebels told Hazrat Usman to abdicate or he would be disposed.
When Hazrat Usman refused, they besieged his house and cut off all supplies of food and water.
Hazrat Ali and Hazrat Zubair deputed their sons to protect Hazrat Usman and bring him food and water.
Hazrat Usman refused all offers of military help as he did not want to shed Muslim blood.
The siege lasted for 50 days.
Some rebels scaled the back walls of Hazrat Usman’s house, jumped in and mercilessly killed him while he was reading the Holy Quran.
When Hazrat Usman’s wife, Naila, tried to save him, she was pushed away and her fingers were cut off.
This tragic event took place on 18 Zil-Haj, 35 AH.
Hazrat Usman’s martyrdom shattered Muslim unity and serious differences arose between the Muslims who were now divided into two parties – the Hashimites and the Umayyads.


Followed the Sunnah of Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH)
Relaxed the strict laws of Hazrat Umar.
Allowed Arabs to acquire lands in conquered areas.
Made extensions to the Masjid-e-Nabwi and constructed new mosques.
Ordered construction of inns, border-outposts and guesthouses.
Made arrangement to supply travelers with water by having wells dug near roads.
Built dam to protect Madina from floods coming from the side of Khyber.
Raised the salaries of officers and the armed forces.
Rendered great service to Islam by standardizing the Quran.


      Caliphate of Hazrat Ali 

·         Ali's Caliphate (an Overview)

·         Ali accepted the caliphate very reluctantly. Usman’s murder and the events surrounding it were a symptom, and also became a cause, of civil strife on a large scale. Ali felt that the tragic situation was mainly due to inept governors. He therefore dismissed all the governors who had been appointed by Usman and appointed new ones. All the governors excepting Muawiya, the governor of Syria, submitted to his orders. Muawiya declined to obey until Usman’s blood was avenged.
·         The Prophet's widow 'Aaishah also took the position that Ali should first bring the murderers to trial. Due to the chaotic conditions during the last days of Usman it was very difficult to establish the identity of the murderers, and Ali refused to punish anyone whose guilt was not lawfully proved. Thus a battle between the army of Ali and the supporters of 'Aaishah took place. 'Aaishah later realized her error of judgment and never forgave herself for it.
·         The situation in Hijaz (the part of Arabia in which Mecca andMedina are located) became so troubled that Ali moved his capital to Iraq. Muawiya now openly rebelled against Ali and a fierce battle was fought between their armies. This battle was inconclusive, and Ali had to accept the de facto government of Muawiya in Syria.
·         However, even though the era of Ali's caliphate was marred by civil strife, he nevertheless introduced a number of reforms, particularly in the levying and collecting of revenues.
·         It was the fortieth year of Hijra. A fanatical group called Kharijites, consisting of people who had broken away from Ali due to his compromise with Muawiya, claimed that neither Ali, the Caliph, nor Muawiya, the ruler of Syria, nor Amr bin al-Aas, the ruler of Egypt, were worthy of rule. In fact, they went so far as to say that the true caliphate came to an end with 'Umar and that Muslims should live without any ruler over them except God. They vowed to kill all three rulers, and assassins were dispatched in three directions.
·         The assassins who were deputed to kill Muawiya and Amr did not succeed and were captured and executed, but Ibn-e-Muljim, the assassin who was commissioned to kill Ali, accomplished his task. One morning when Ali was absorbed in prayer in a mosque, Ibn-e-Muljim stabbed him with a poisoned sword. On the 20th of Ramadan, 40 A.H. died the last of the Rightly Guided Caliphs of Islam. May God Most High be pleased with them and grant to them His eternal reward.

With the death of Ali, the first and most notable phase in the history of Muslim peoples came to an end. All through this period it had been the Book of God and the practices of His Messenger - that is, the Qur'an and the Sunnah - which had guided the leaders and the led, set the standards of their moral conduct and inspired their actions. It was the time when the ruler and the ruled, the rich and the poor, the powerful and the weak, were uniformly subject to the Divine Law. It was an epoch of freedom and equality, of God-consciousness and humility, of social justice which recognized no privileges, and of an impartial law which accepted no pressure groups or vested interests.
After Ali, Muawiya assumed the caliphate and thereafter the caliphate became hereditary, passing from one king to another.

Some important points of the Khilafat of Hazrat Ali

The revolt in Ali army

The exhortations of Ali had no effect. About 20,000 men of Iraqlet by Zaid b Hasan, and Mustur bin Fidki openly revolted and laid down their arms. The rebels approached Ali, and calling him no longer their Caliph, but simply Ali, declared "Ali you are appealing to the sword, and they are appealing to the Quran. Let the issue of the caliphate be deferred to the judgment of God's Book". They adopted a hostile attitude, and warned Ali that if he did not submit to their demand, he would meet the same fate as had befallen his predecessor, Usman.  
Heartbroken at the treachery of his men, Ali exclaimed with great grief, "Alas, you are deserting me at the critical time of need. Go and join the Syrian coalition against God and His Apostle." The rebels did not rest content with their own revolt. A large section of the army under Ashtar was still fighting, and they were having an upper hand. The rebels demanded that orders should be issued recalling Ashtar from the battlefield. The rebels went to the extent of reproaching Ali. He was accused of being an accomplice in the murder of Usman. He was accused of fighting against the Syrians to quench his thirst for self-aggrandizement. Ali threatened them with grave consequences and they threatened him in turn. The pressure of the rebels increased and Ali feeling helpless had to recall Ashtar from the front. Ashtar returned reluctantly. Ashtar upbraided them as traitors, hypocrites and villains. In return they reviled him. Because of this revolt in his army, Ali had to suspend action against the Syrians, and thus the victory which was in immediate sight, evaded him. Henceforward misfortune was to stalk the steps of Ali.  

Causes of the helplessness of Ali

The accounts of what happened at Siffin which have come down to us give no clue as to what was the cause of rebellion against Ali when victory was almost in sight. It is not plausible that this sudden development took place at the display of the leaves of the Holy Quran on their lances by the Syrians. Obviously it was the culmination of some deep set conspiracy. The exact extent of such conspiracy remains a mystery, but it appears that the treachery of most of the army chiefs of Ali was because of the bribery by Muawiyah. The army that Ali had brought to Siffin was more a motley crowd than a disciplined force, and this lack of discipline was its greatest weakness. It also appears that there was a good deal of jealousy among the Generals of the army of Ali. When Ali appointed Ashas as a General his appointment was opposed by Malik Ashtar who was the Commander-in-Chief of the forces of Ali, and these differences between the two Generals persisted during the course of the war. Ali believed in the truth of his cause to such an extent that he did not sponsor any propaganda to support such cause. On the other hand Muawiyah was a past master in making propaganda, and in this respect he outwitted Ali.


Ali's reaction to the Arbitration decision

The arbitration decision came as a great shock to Ali. Ali had hoped that as the umpires were to take the decision in accordance with the injunctions of the Holy Quran, they would act with a due sense of justice and fair play. The decision that was taken was neither just nor fair. It was taken in the spirit of the old Arab traditions of the age of Ignorance and was repugnant to Islamic values. The umpires were supposed to judge the relative merits of Ali and Muawiyah in the light of Islamic values and then choose one out of the two. The umpires did nothing of the sort. Abu Musa the umpire of Ali had some bias against Ali because Ali had deposed him from the governorship of Kufa, and hence wittingly or unwittingly he acted against the interests of Ali. Ali had been duly elected as the Caliph by the authorized electorate and Abu Musa had no authority to depose Ali. 'Amr b Al-6Aas the umpire of Muawiyah was a clever man, and taking advantage of the weakness in the stand of Abu Musa, he manipulated victory for Muawiyah. Ali could not accept the decision, and the only option left with him was to renew the war against Muawiyah who had manipulated to win power through underhand means. Ali accordingly gave call for arms and exhorted the people to join the war for the vindication of the truth and the suppression of falsehood. The people responded enthusiastically to the call, and soon an army of 65,000 strong was assembled.

The Kharijites

After the Battle of Siffin the Kharijites had separated from the community and camped at Harura a few miles from Kufa. Their stand was that Ali had made a mistake in accepting the arbitration of men Ali was asked by them to lead them to war against Muawiyah. Ali had tried to conciliate them, and assured of them that he would lead them to war in case the decision of the umpires was against the injunctions of Islam. Some sort of conciliation was brought about between Ali and the Kharijites, and most of the Kharijites returned to Kufa. The Kharijites were a restive and over sensitive people of the extremist type. The Kharijites slipped from Kufa one by one, established a settlement at Nahrawan, a few miles to the east of the Tigrisnear Madain. The Kharijites from Basra and elsewhere in Iraqalso migrated to Nahrawan Here the Kharijites gathered in strength. They elected an Amir of their own. They were very meticulous in observing prayers and following other injunctions of Islam. They aspired to live sinless lives. They declared that they were not interested in the affairs of this world, and that they had sold their lives to win paradise in the next world. Where a Kharijite picked up a date under a date tree and ate it he subsequently cut his right hand himself on the ground that the eating of the date without purchasing it from the owner amounted to a theft. On the other hand when any Muslim indulged in any controversy with them, they invariably killed him. They held that no one except themselves was a Muslim, and it devolved on them to get rid of such people who did not agree with them. They let loose a reign of terror in the countryside and created a problem of law and order for the administration. When the Kharijites of Basra migrated to Nahrawan they met in the way some Muslims including Abdullah the son of an eminent companion Khabab. The Kharijites killed him as well as the woman who accompanied him. 

by, Sir Ali Asad