A Brief History Of Islam – Part 4: The The Caliphate of Abu Bakr and Umar
With Muhammad’s death, the Muslim community has been confronted with the issue of succession. Who would be its leader? There were four men clearly indicated for direction: Abu Bakr al-Siddeeq, who’d not just accompanied Muhammad to Medina ten decades earlier, but was appointed to take the place of their Prophet as chief of people prayer throughout Muhammad’s final illness; Umar ibn al-Khattab, a capable and reliable Companion of the Prophet; Uthman ibn ‘Affan, a revered ancient convert; and ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib, Muhammad’s cousin and son-in-law. Capability to regulate the affairs of the nation and their piousness was uniformly excellence. In a meeting held to pick the direction, Abu Bakr’s hand was grasped by Umar and gave his allegiance to him the indication of comprehension of a leader. Everyone agreed, and Abu Bakr was known since the khalifah of Muhammad. Khaleefah – anglicized as caliph – is a phrase meaning “successor,” but additionally indicating what his historic function is: to govern based on the Quran and the tradition of the Prophet.
The caliphate of Abu Bakr was brief but significant. A leader, he lived has been sympathetic and available to his folks, and assiduously fulfilled his duties. When renounced it in the aftermath of the Prophet’s 26, but he stood firm. In what was a significant accomplishment, they were disciplined by Abu Bakr. He funneled their energies against the Byzantines in Syria, Palestine, and Egypt and the empires of the East: the Sassanians in Persia and consolidated the support of the tribes. In summary, he demonstrated the viability of the state.
The second caliph – appointed by Abu Bakr – continued to demonstrate that viability. Adopting Commander of the Believers or the title Ameer al-Mumineen, Umar extended the temporal rule over Syria, Egypt, Iraq, and Persia of Islam in what were victories. Within four years after the Prophet end, the Muslim state had extended its sway over all Syria and had, at a famous battle fought during a sandstorm near the River Yarmuk, blunted the power of the Byzantines – whose ruler, Heraclius, had shortly before refused the call to accept Islam.
The state administered the territories with a tolerance unheard of in that age, even more astonishingly. At Damascus, as an Example, the Muslim leader, Khalid Ibn al-Walid, signed a treaty which read as follows:
This is if he enters therein what Khalid Ibn al-Walid would grant to the inhabitants of Damascus: he promises to give them security for churches, property, and their lives. Their city wall shall not be demolished. Thereunto we give them God’s pact and the protection of the caliphs, His Prophet, and the believers. As long as they pay the poll tax, nothing shall befall them.
This tolerance was typical of Islam. Umar, in the camp of al-Jabiyah on the Golan Heights, received word that the Byzantines were prepared to surrender Jerusalem A year. He rode there to take the surrender in person. According to one account, he clad in a cloak and entered the city, astounding a populace accustomed to court ceremonials of Persians and the Byzantines and the garb. He astounded them still further when he set their fears at rest by negotiating a generous treaty in which he told them: “In the name of God … you have complete security for your churches, which shall not be occupied by the Muslims or destroyed.”
This policy was to prove successful. As an instance, in Syria, a lot of Christians who had been involved in theological disputes with authorities – and persecuted for it – welcomed the coming of Islam. And in Egypt, which Amr Ibn al-As took after a march across the Sinai Peninsula from the Byzantines, the Arabs were welcomed by the Christians but assisted them.