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Muslims after Muhammed’s Death

Buy custom Muslims after Muhammed’s Death essay

Buy custom Muslims after Muhammed’s Death essay

When a community elects its leader, the freedom of choice is challenged by electorate’s selfishness and cowardice, which proves an impediment for making right decisions. The situation in the Muslim community reflected this order of things, and the history of caliphs’ election embraces the examples of selfishness, fair and betrayal, as well as the examples of courage, responsibility and virtue. This paper discusses the way in which the four Rashidun caliphs, Abu Bakr, Umar ibn al-Khattab, Uthman ibn Affan and Ali ibn Abi Talib were elected and how it affected the wellbeing of the Muslims.

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Undeniably, Muhammed has caused a variety of positive social, political and cultural changes among Muslims. As Islam was spread on Arabian Peninsula and the quantity of the Muslims was growing, there was a need in a good ruler after Mohammed’s death in 632 CE, when Muslims united by common law were left without a leader. The prophet has not named his successor and has not taught his followers how to choose a ruler. As a result, panic broke out in the Muslim community, which led to its disintegration: some people started to declare themselves prophets, others refused to pay taxes, and some clans started to confront the Muslims. Thus, there was no agreement within the community regarding the requirements, tasks and aims of a new leader, who could unite the society again (Lapidus 31). Becoming a caliph required being righteous, and the common requirement for all the caliphs was to follow the Muslim Orthodoxy. This system of beliefs implies general requirements for the caliph’s position, which is called the expression of humanity on earth created by God, who must rule with justice. Caliph must be a sane, mature Muslim man of Quraish, righteous and knowledgeable, wise, courageous, fair, having strong and healthy body and no extreme desire to take this position.

There was a gathering in Saqifah, at which Mohammed’s friend and companion was nominated on leaderrsquo;s position in the community. His name was Abu Bakr, he was a wealthy and diligent father of Mohammed’s youngest wife. He was a close friend of the prophet and the election committee respected him. I think that the glory of Abu Bakr has made both panel members and Muslims acknowledge him for his wisdom, honesty and dignity, which allows to conclude that the authority of Abu Bakr was not questioned.  After he was elected as a caliph, which means ‘successor’, he faced the task of restoring stability in the Muslim community. This process of restoration has led to deaths of numerous Muslims, as mentioned in Quran. Though deaths of these people have sawn panic within the community, the society that trusted Abu Bakr has followed his rules and policy. Therefore, the impossibility of Quran’s proper restoration could cause a crisis and, in order to avoid it, Abu Bark decided to find a written tradition of Quran.

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Though Abu-Bakr’s caliphate lasted for 27 months and ended with his death because of an illness, he managed to bring positive transformations to Muslim community. To realize how the average Muslims treated him, it is worth mentioning the Sunni, who considered him to be the greatest among all Mohammed’s companions. In general, Abu Bakr was supported by the Muslim people during elections and the periods of panic, as he managed to restore the law and order. It was obvious that he was the most suitable candidate, so that serious disagreement and rivalry did not take place.

Umar ibn al-Khattab was the second caliph who acknowledged Mohammed as a messenger of God. The history of his election is quite simple and short: when Abu Bakr realized that he was dying and the next leader should be selected, he consulted with the panel members to decide who would be the most appropriate. Though Umar was believed to be a strong-willed person who could resist the opinion of advisers (which was not always good for the system), he was selected as a result of debates and agreeement. This decision seems to be essential because there was nobody who would rule the state better than Umar. However, Umar was a difficult person that made some of the Muslims mistrust him at the beginning of his ruling. It is worth discussing the principal changes that took place during his caliphate.

Before Umar ibn al-Khattab was elected a caliph, the Muslim community was fighting in Syria and Iraq against the Persians. Thus, after coming to reign, Umar ibn al-Khattab appointed a new supreme commander and dismissed the old one. Umar’s caliphate is marked with similar transformations of the Muslim forces during numerous conquests. He was spreading Islam in Kirman, Suria, Seistan, Iran, Khurasan, Egypt, Palestine, Azerbaijan and Jordan (Razwy n.p.). At the same time, Umar’s caliphate was challenged by famine and the first outbreak of plague that killed around 25 thousand people (Razwy n.p.). However, even in these conditions the caliph managed to build the empire successfully. As the size of his empire has increased considerably, it was necessary to establish an advanced administrative system. Since Arabs had no experience and knowledge of administrations, Umar did not change the local administration system in conquered territories. This caliph viewed Arabs as ruling and fighting class; they were not allowed to become farmers, buy land and settle down in the territories conquered by Umar’s army. He appointed new people for ruling in different provinces in order to establish a united law on the entire territory of the empire.

According to Bodley’s depiction of the process of caliphs’ changing, after Umar’s death the caliphate was offered to Ali ibn Abi Talib. However, there were three conditions he had to accept, while Ali agreed to follow only two of them, namely, to follow the Quran’s tradition and to maintain the regulations of Abu Bakr. However, he refused to follow Umar’s principles of ruling and regulations, so the offer was withdrawn.

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