The first four successors of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) are known to be ‘The Rightly Guided Caliphs’.

Hazrat Abu Bakr, Hazrat Umar, Hazrat Usman, and Hazrat Ali are the successors of the Prophet (SAW) that are said to be, ‘rightly guided’. 

Why were they called Rightly Guided?

The first four caliphs were the people who were very close to the Prophet (SAW).

These were among those whom the Prophet (PBUH) had promised paradise in their lifetime. The first four caliphs ruled the Muslim empire according to the Quran and Sunnah of the Prophet (SAW). 

These were the people who followed the right path. The path taught in the Quran and ahadith. Moreover, the first four caliphs took Muhammad (PBUH) as their role model and tried their level best to abide by his directions. 

Hazrat Abu Bakr: 

He was the first caliph of Islam and a prominent companion of Prophet (PBUH) selected according to democracy. But how? 

The Rightly Guided Caliphs
Logo Showing Abu Bakr in Urdu

Elections of Hazrat Abu Bakr:  

Immediately, after the demise of the Prophet (PBUH), the Muslims were thrown into the utmost confusion. They could not believe that their leader was not with them. At this stage, prominent companions such as Hazrat Umar could not resist the sadness.

Hazrat Abu Bakr consoled the entire Muslims Ummah by reciting the Quranic Injunction: 

“And Muhammad is no more than a messenger. There were messengers before him. So if he dies, or is slain, will you turn back on your heels?” (3:144 Al-e-Imran)

He further said that he who worshipped Muhammad (PBUH), let it be known to him that Muhammad being a mortal is dead but he who worships the Allah of Muhammad, let him know that Allah never dies. 

Meanwhile, Hazrat Abu Bakr and Hazrat Umar went to Thaqifa Bani Saida (an extended exterior of the house of Saad bin Ubaidah) where the Ansars had gathered to nominate the Khalifa from amongst them. Hazrat Abu Ubaida told the Ansars (helpers) that Quraish would not allow this privilege to be taken by anyone else. He said:

“You were the first to uphold Islam. Do not be the first to sow the seeds of dissension in it”. 

At this critical stage, Hazrat Umar raised the hand of Hazrat Abu Bakr and performed Bayyat on his hand (oath of allegiance). This was followed by others and Hazrat Abu Bakr became the first caliph of Islam. 

Services of Hazrat Abu Bakr:

Wars against False Prophets
⇨ Expedition to Syria
⇨ Fight against apostate tribes (Refusal to pay Zakat)

Among the false Prophets that arose, Aswad Ansi was the first one who came to Yemen. He used to hide to face to cover his ugliness and create an aura of mystery. Hazrat Abu Bakr sent a force to meet the challenge and Aswad Ansi along with his followers was killed.

Tullaya was also a false Prophet. He came from the Banu Asad tribe of Northern Arabia. An army under Khalid bin Walid was sent to punish him. He fled but later accepted Islam and fought with Hazrat Umar in his caliphate.

Mussailma was also one of the false Prophets. He claimed Prophethood in the life of Prophet (SAW) but before he could punish him, he passed away. The Prophet (SAW) termed Mussailma as a lier. 

He freed his followers from certain religious obligations. Ikrima and Shurabil were defeated by Mussailma. However, Khalid bin Walid defeated his force and killed him. This was also known as the battle of the Garden of Death. 

Sajjah was a Christian woman who also claimed prophethood. She belonged to the Banu Tamim tribe and gained influence due to her mother. She married Mussailma but it reduced her popularity. 

She later embraced Islam with the people of her tribe.

Thus, in this way, Hazrat Abu Bakr resolved the issue of the false Prophets. 

After assuming the caliphate, the first issue that Hazrat Abu Bakr faced was whether to send the expedition to Syria or not. 

This was because, before the demise of Prophet (SAW), he had commanded to do so but the circumstances altered following his death. 

At this stage, he was recommended not to do so but he still sent the expedition under Usamah who returned victoriously. 

The apostasy Movement: 

Various tribes apostatized against the authorities of Islam. To meet the challenge, Hazrat Abu Bakr divided his army into eleven battalions and placed each under an experienced commander. 

He asked them to first invite them to Islam but if they refused, the action was to be taken.

Similarly, some tribes asked Hazrat Abu Bakr to release them from the obligation of paying Zakat because they considered Islam to be an agreement with the Prophet (PBUH). 

Hazrat Abu Bakr took a firm stance against them and he was successful in restoring law and order in only a year. 

Compilation of the Holy Quran:

The protection and preservation of the divine book, the Quran, was also a service of Hazrat Abu Bakr. On the insistence of Hazrat Umar, he appointed a committee under Zaid bin Thabit to compile the Quran. In this way, the Quran was preserved for the upcoming generations. 

He died at the age of 61 in 13 A.H on Tuesday. 

Hazrat Umar ibn al Khattab:

Hazrat Umar became the second caliph of Islam in accordance with the will of Hazrat Abu Bakr.

The Rashidun Caliphate
Logo showing Umar in Urdu

Important Battles during the Caliphate of Hazrat Umar:

➢ Battle of Jasr (Bridge): 

It was a battle between the Persians and the Muslims. The two forces met on the command of Bahman (an experienced commander). The Muslims numbered nine thousand in number against a larger force. 

The Euphrates river was between the two forces. The leader of the Muslims force, Abu Ubaidah decided to cross the river against the advice of his fellows.

When Muslims crossed the Euphrates, they found themselves at a disadvantage. The land was uneven and the Muslim force could not withstand the attacks of Persians who were be seated on Elephants. 

Meanwhile, Hazrat Abu Ubaidah got knocked out by an elephant and the command was taken by his brother. 

His brother was also martyred and the command was taken by the son of Abu Ubaidah who was also martyred. At this critical stage, Muslims tried to cross the Bridge but a man of Banu Thaqeef broke it.

Mussana took the command and ordered the rebuilding of the bridge. The Muslims suffered a great loss. Only three thousand soldiers survived. The rest were killed and some fled away. 

Fall of Jerusalem: 

The Muslims under Hazrat Umar conquered a lot of places and soon they reached Jerusalem that was strongly fortified and thus was protected by deep ditches.

The Muslim army of twenty thousand laid siege and due to the severity of winter, the commander of the opponent force escaped. 

The patriarch of Jerusalem decided to surrender peacefully and Hazrat Umar went to Jerusalem to sign the treaty. After this, he offered prayer where Prophet Daud used to pray. 

Conquest of Egypt: 

Amr bin Aas under the command of Hazrat Umar laid siege at Fustat with his four thousand troops and conquered it. The Muslims then advanced towards Alexandria where they met a force of fifty thousand. The Muslims laid siege accordingly. 

When the Roman emperor died, Muslims intensified their attacks and conquered Egypt because the Romans were deprived of reinforcements. 

Administration of Hazrat Umar:

⇨ Following the example of the Prophet (SAW) and Hazrat Abu Bakr of consulting the companions, Hazrat Umar established Majlis-e-Shoora, Majlis-e-Aam (a larger body) and Majlis-e-Khas (comprising only the emigrants) for the same purpose.

⇨ He made new laws, rules, and regulations in accordance with the Quran and the Sunnah. He divided the state into provinces (under a Wali) and further divided provinces into districts (under an Amil).

The selection for all posts was based upon consultation and the Wali’s and Amil’s were summoned if a complaint was received. Moreover, they were required to give an undertaking for their assets to check whether they have caused corruption or not. 

⇨ Hazrat Umar introduced new taxes such as on the ownership of horses and agricultural produce (Ushr). 

Similarly, he made new institutes such as for education, police, and others. The institute of finance was given the name, Dewan. After meeting the budget of the state, the excess money was distributed among the people.

⇨ Hazrat Umar was very concerned about the welfare of his troops. However, in the case of negligence in the work, he punished them. 

He ordered them to live away from busy areas, in cantonments

⇨ He sent teachers to various parts of the Islamic empire to teach them the Quran and Sunnah and introduced the concept of old-age pension.  

Death: Hazrat Umar was attacked with a poisonous dagger by Abu Lu Lu (Firoz). He managed to survive for some days. He was buried by the side of Prophet (SAW). 

Hazrat Usman:


On his death bed, Hazrat Umar appointed a panel of six people to choose a caliph from amongst them. The six people were:

  1. Hazrat Ali
  2. Hazrat Usman ibn Affan
  3. Hazrat Saad bin Abi Waqas
  4. Hazrat Abdul Rahman bin Auf
  5. Hazrat Talha
  6. Hazrat Zubair
The choice came to Hazrat Ali and Hazrat Usman. Hazrat Usman answered the questions of Hazrat Abd Rahman bin Auf (the arbitrator) in an affirmative tone as compared to Hazrat Ali.
Therefore, Hazrat Usman became the third caliph of Islam who made the Ummayad dynasty prosper! 
The Rightly Guided Caliphs
Hazrat Usman in Urdu


The opposition faced by Hazrat Usman:
He was accused of appointing his relatives as governors. This was untrue.
At that time, there were twelve provinces and Hazrat Usman had appointed his relatives in only four provinces. 
This was not because he wanted to give high posts to his relatives but because he wanted good administration of these provinces. 
His relatives were governors of Syria, Egypt, Kufa, and Basra. They conquered the whole of North Africa and conducted successful campaigns in Fars, Seestan, Armenia, and Azerbaijan. Thus, these obligations were false.
➪ Moreover, he was also accused of not having control over his governors.  
The truth was that he wanted his governors to enjoy the freedom and therefore, he did not adopt a strict attitude.
➪ Hazrat Usman burned copies of the Quran that had the wrong dialect and sent copies of the Quran that was prepared in the time of Hazrat Abu Bakr. Thus, he saved the Muslims from differences but the mischief-mongers accused him.
The rebels surrounded the house of Hazrat Usman and killed him while he was reading the Quran. 
Propaganda was set against Hazrat Usman that he had ordered the killing of Muhammad bin Abu Bakr. Hazrat Usman did not want to shed Muslim blood. Therefore, he did not take any action against the rebels. 
The Holy Prophet predicted his martyrdom. His first few drops of blood dropped on verse 137 of Surah Baqarah: 
And Allah will be sufficient for you against them; for He is all-hearing, all-knowing.” (2:137)
Hazrat Ali ibn Abi Talib: 


The Egyptian group favoured Hazrat Ali to be the caliph. The group from Kufa favoured Hazrat Talha bin Ubaidullah while the group from Basra favoured Hazrat Zubair. 

The Rashidun Caliphate
Rightly Guided Caliphs
After discussions and negotiations in the mosque of the Prophet (PBUH), Hazrat Ali was chosen as the caliph because he was brave, pious, honest and close to the Prophet (PBUH). 

Hazrat Ali promised to punish the assassins of Hazrat Usman but he knew that first, he had to establish himself as the ruler.

Battle of Camel (Jamal):

The prominent companions such as Hazrat Talha and Hazrat Zubair and the wife of Prophet (SAW), Hazrat Ayesha raised a force of 3000-5000 troops because they were not happy that Hazrat Ali was not taking actions against the assassins of Hazrat Usman.

Hazrat Ali raised a force of 10,000 troops but both sides tried to avoid war. However, the mischief-makers on both sides started the war.

Hazrat Ali came out victorious. Hazrat Talha and Hazrat Zubair were killed while Hazrat Ayesha was respectfully escorted home. 

Battle of Siffin:

It was fought between Hazrat Ali and Muawiya.

Muawiya raised a force of 65,000 against the force of 90,000 of Hazrat Ali. Muawiya condemned Hazrat Ali by displaying the blood-stained clothes of Hazrat Usman. 

Hazrat Ali fully tried to avoid the war but the war hastened. The side of Hazrat Ali took a clear advantage until Muawiya ordered his troops to tie the pages of the Quran on the lances. 

Due to this, the fighting was forced to stop on both sides. 

To conclude, Hazrat Ali spent most of the time in dealing with the problems inherited due to the caliphate of Hazrat Usman.


Hazrat Ali was attacked by Abdul Rahman ibn Muljim. Though Hazrat Ali managed to survive for some days but succumbed to wounds, he passed away in 661 A.D


With this, the article on the Rightly guided caliphs has come to an end. Leave questions and suggestions down below for improvements. 

Check out more articles on WG Blogs such as:

All about Zakat | Significance | Facts


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