This Monograph provides a realistic account of the achievements of Khulafa al-Rashidin. As Caliphs of an Islamic state they established a system of administration, which was genuinely based on Qur’anic injunctions and Traditions of the Prophet (saws). Thus piety, justice with equality, compassion, honesty, integrity, truth and human welfare constituted the key components of their administration. They adhered to these principles firmly and consistently and never deviated or compromised on basics even under most trying circumstances. They thus established a truly welfare state, the first of its kind, in the annals of political history of the world.  The Monograph offers a perceptive account of the social, political and military challenges faced by each of the Four Caliphs and the strategy they adopted to tackle them.

Abu Bakr (ra) exterminated apostasy, and crushed insurgency against the payment of Zakaat by some Arab tribes with resoluteness and determination. Umar (ra) inherited a stable state from his predecessor but faced the acute problem of external threats from the dominant imperial powers of Persia and Byzantine.  He completely eliminated their threats, expanded the frontiers of the Islamic domain, which emerged militarily the most powerful state in the region. This led to political stability and economic prosperity, and enabled Umar (ra) to establish a genuinely welfare Islamic state, ensuring the well being of all the people of the state. His administration was transparent, compassionate with firmness, just and without discrimination and free from corruption.

Uthman (ra) also inherited a stable, peaceful and economically prosperous state. This enabled him to further expand the territorial domain of Islam but territorial expansion created problems, which Khalifa Uthman (ra) could not anticipate. The latter part of his Caliphate was thus marked for laxity of administrative control, emergence of rebellious tendencies instigated by a crafty Jew, Ibn Sauda, who fanned factional rivalries among the Arab clans which eventually led to the tragic assassination of Uthman (ra). It set up a deplorable precedent that a legitimately elected Caliph could be removed from office by violent means.

The assassination of Uthman (ra) had adverse repercussion on the Caliphate of Ali (ra), which eventually led to a vertical split of the Caliphate between Ali (ra) and Muavia.  Consequently an acute struggle ensued between Ali (ra) and Muavia, in which the former fought to maintain the supremacy of principles evolved over a period of time on the election of Caliphs by the Muhajirin and Ansar electors of Madinah. Muavia on the other hand was craftily trying to establish a dynastic system of Caliphate. It was only after the martyrdom of Ali (ra) that Muavia could succeed in his machinations. The rise of the fanatic and extremist kharaji movement in the Kufa region complicated matters for Ali (ra), and considerably or: harmed his efforts to unite the Islamic domain and restore peace, tranquility and stability.

Author:Prof, Shah Manzoor Alam