Islam after the death of the Prophet (PBUH)

MV: Here is another piece of Islamic history as someone asked me to post more Islamic history content. This covers after His death and the start of the Ummayad Dynasty.

I got this from here

Upon Muhammed’s death, a hastily collected group of prominent Muslim leaders elected Muhammed’s father in law, Abu Bakr, to be the secular head of Islam. However, ‘Ali, Muhammed’s son-in-law and cousin, was not part of this committee nor were other members of Muhammed’s immediate family, and many believed that Muhammed had designated ‘Ali as a successor, for the Traditions had Muhammed naming him as both his brother and his successor. ‘Ali had been raised with Muhammed and was the second person (after Muhammed’s wife Khadija) to recognize Muhammed’s role as a prophet; he was the first of Muhammed’s tribe to declare himself an apostle (rasul ). But the Meccan and Medinan leaders, with no members of Muhammed’s house present, gave their allegiance to Abu Bakr as CalipH and attempted through force of arms to coerce ‘Ali into acknowledging Abu Bakr as well. However, during the Caliphates of Abu Bakr and his successor, ‘Umar, not only did ‘Ali not advance any claims to the Caliphate, he even participated in the government of ‘Umar. It was not until the Caliphate passed to ‘Uthman, who ruled somewhat degenerately and was a member of the Umayya family, which had fiercely fought against Muhammed during his lifetime, that ‘Ali was provoked into accepting the Caliphate. ‘Uthman placed members of his family in charge of various provinces and they ruled disgracefully; various rebel factions, seeing their grievances unredressed, attacked ‘Uthman’s house and assassinated him. The prominent families of Medina and other areas persuaded ‘Ali to become Caliph, which he did in 656; ‘Ali had become the fourth Caliph of Islam and the last of the Patriarchal caliphs.

The Umayyads in charge of the various governments would not accept this arrangement and rose up in rebellion and named Mu’awiyya caliph. Eventually, ‘Ali would be forced to flee Medina and settle in Kufa in Iraq. ‘Ali would eventually have to contend with dissension in his own army while fighting the Umayyads; after defeating these dissenters in battle, he would be assassinated a few years later by one of them in revenge for this defeat.

From this point onwards, authority was divided in the Islamic world. The Umayyads continued to pass the Caliphate down through the ages among their family; but their now existed in Iraq a separate Islamic community that did not recognize the authority of the Umayyad Caliphs. Rather they recognized only the successors to ‘Ali as authorities, and they gave these successors the title Imam, or spiritual leader of Islam, both to differentiate their leaders from the more worldly and secular Umayyads and because Abu Muhammed Hasan ibn ‘Ali, the second Imam, ceded the Caliphate to the Umayyads. A grand total of ten Imams succeeded ‘Ali, passing the Imamate down to their sons in hereditary succession. However, the eleventh Imam, Hasan al-Askari, died without a son, and the Shi’ites were thrown into disarray. Shi’a Islam divided into several different sects, the most important of which was the Qat’iyya (“those who are certain”). The Qat’iyya believed that Hasan al-Askari did indeed have a son, Muhammed al-Mahdi; one of the Qat’iyya sects believed that Muhammed al-Mahdi, the twelfth Imam, had hidden himself and remained in hiding. This sect was called Ithna-‘Ashari (Twelver) or Imami (Imam) Shi’a, and was the form of Shi’a that eventually came to exclusively represent Shi’ism.

4 thoughts on “Islam after the death of the Prophet (PBUH)

  1. I see, thanks Saad. When Islam refers to apostles, does that simply mean “sent one?” Is there a distinction between apostles and prophets?

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