Rashidun Caliphs

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The Rashidun Caliphs (الخلفاء الراشدون; lit. "The Rightly Guided Caliphs") are the four caliphs who followed in the leadership of the ummah following the death of the prophet Muhammad, Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman, and Ali. Sunni jurists consider them "rightly guided by Allah" and see their reign and religious ordinances as a basis for the practice of Islam. Shi'ites, however, consider the first three to be usurpers, with only Ali and his family having the right to sit on the throne. Sunni jurists, although seeing their laws and ordinances as a source of divine guidance for the ummah, never the less consider the sunnah of the prophet to be pre-eminent over the caliphs in terms of religious authority. It seems that contemporary believers and the caliphs themselves, tho, did not share this view.

Institution of the Caliphate

Abu Bakr

Umar

Uthman

Ali

Shi'ites and the Claims of Ahl-al-Bayt

Religious Authority in the Rashidun Caliphate