Caliphs

Topics: Islam, Sharia, Muhammad Pages: 6 (1941 words) Published: February 27, 2014


The period of Kalifa l-Rashidun is the best period in Islamic history as stated by Prophet Muhammad: the best of people is the people within my century, then the next century then the next century; and it is a requirement to follow the way of Kalifa l-Rashidun as they were upon the prophetic tradition. The period of the Kaliphate upon this Prophetic Tradition lasted thirty years after the death of Prophet Muhammad. The main achievements of the kalifa I-Rashidun which also changed societies include the spreading of Islam out Arabian Peninsula. The expansion of Islamic rule through the Kaliphate enhanced the fair treatment the people regardless of their religion and cultural background. This directly led to large numbers of people at the time into embracing Islam as their religion. The Kaliphate also introduced guidelines on the ownership and treatment of slaves, which resulted in elevated the position of slaves within society. In addition the Islamic shura system was established as a fair and just system to select the leadership of the kalifa. Welfare was also a major society changing achievement of the kalifa I-rashidun (El-Hibri 2010).

One of the significant achievements of the Kalifa l-Rashidun is that they spread Islam out of Arabian Peninsula taking people away from paganism and harsh cultural traditions. The first three Kalifas played a central role in ensuring the Islam and its way of life was instilled into populations that were conquered. The spread of Islam outside of the Arabian Peninsula started from the time of Abu Bakr and continued through Umar and Uthman’s time. During this period, Islam spread across vast areas, Islamic state became much bigger, including Syria, Iraq, Iran, Azerbaijan and a large area of the African continent. Lapidus (2002, p. 31) stated that “the conquest led to the formation of a new regime, to the migration and settlement of large number of Arabians in the cities and towns of the Middle East, and extensive urbanization and economic development”. The capitulation of these vast territories to the Islamic advance was assisted considerably by the corrupt and oppressive rulers in place at that time. According to Khan (2010, p. 1) “there were two superpowers in the world, namely the Holy Roman Empire (its eastern wing was known as the Byzantine Empire) and the Persian Empire”. In addition, in Roman people use to deal with interest, and the government demanded high taxes from the people, particularly the farmers which led them to sell their farms and migrate to the cities. Another issue facing the people of these territories was the ongoing conflicts and devastating wars between each other. In Persia, people were not equal in status and people were divided into layers of society. This unjust and bias system increased the troubles in that society. Moreover these empires were unable to curb theft, provide basic women’s rights, such as inheritance. As a result of Kaliphate spreading Islam, they established governing systems based upon justice, peace and the God-taught benefits of mankind. Islam removed differences between people in terms of status, colour, culture, sex and ethnic. They prohibited interest. The system gave money to the needy, both Muslims and non Muslims from the Kaliphate’s own treasury. Theft decreased due to the very harsh punishment for those found guilty of stealing. Women were honoured by giving them their rights of inheritance (Brockelmann 1944).

Following the spread of Islam out of Arabian Peninsula, Muslims conquered many new countries which were still non-muslim. Some of the conquered lands were populated with Christians and Jews. Under Islamic law Christians are considered ‘people of covenant’ which in turn meant they needed to pay the jizya Tax. The revenue from this tax is used to ensure that they are protected by the state from any harm and they do not have to do any military duty. Whilst they are citizens of the state, the jizya also ensures they...
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