By Hugh Kennedy
In exploring and explaining the good number of caliphs who've governed in the course of the a while, Kennedy demanding situations the very slender perspectives of the caliphate propagated via extremist teams this day. An authoritative new account of the dynasties of Arab leaders during the Islamic Golden Age, Caliphate strains the history—and misappropriations—of one of many world's such a lot powerful political ideas.
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Additional resources for Caliphate: The History of an Idea
In doing so, Abū Bakr and Umar had established a new principle: there was no going back on acceptance of Islam. The rejectionist, or apostate (Arabic murtadd), could and should be killed by any righteous Muslim. The ridda also led to the emergence of a new class of Muslims. If the muhājirūn and Quraysh more generally were the elite of the community with the ansār in a subordinate but still important position, the rejectionists who had been brought back to the community in the wars were third-class citizens.
Al-Khattāb (634–44), Uthmān b. Affān (644–56) and Alī b. Abī Tālib (656–61), are described in the Arabic sources as Rāshidūn, usually translated into English as ‘Orthodox’. This is a usage dating from the time when most Sunni Muslims could agree that these four were righteous and God-guided rulers, even if things had started to go wrong under their Umayyad and later successors. The term serves as a convenient and widely accepted way of designating the four unrelated and very different rulers. The historical sources provide a huge variety of information about the four men because the events of these early years had significant and lasting consequences for the development of the Islamic community: crucially, they laid the basis of the division between Sunni and Shiite Muslims, which was to grow in the next four centuries.
Khalīfa, as has already been pointed out, can mean either deputy or successor: but which was it? And who was the caliph deputy or successor of? Two views emerge in early Muslim debates on this issue. One is that it means the deputy of God—we often find the phrase ‘deputy of God on his earth’ (khalīfat Allah fi ardihi). There is no ambiguity here because, as we have seen, God cannot have a successor. Some people, however, disagreed, arguing that the full title was always, and should be, ‘successor of the Messenger of God’ (khalīfat rasūl Allah), which must mean successor of Muhammad.
Caliphate: The History of an Idea by Hugh Kennedy