The History of the Four Caliphs
Itmam al-Wafa fi Sirat al-Khulafa
The History of The Four Caliphs This book is a concise and immensely satisfying historical account of the first four caliphs of Islam, Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman and Ali, who because of their rectitude, became known as the “Rightly Guided Caliphs” (may Allah be pleased with them). The author provides a clear and fast-paced account of the battles and internal struggles of the four caliphs, as well as that of the fifth, Hasan ibn Ali.
The History of The Four Caliphs This book is a concise and immensely satisfying historical account of the first four caliphs of Islam, Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman and Ali, who because of their rectitude, became known as the “Rightly Guided Caliphs” (may Allah be pleased with them). The author provides a clear and fast-paced account of the battles and internal struggles of the four caliphs, as well as that of the fifth, Hasan ibn Ali. He avoids long excursions into the technical intricacies and obscure historical detail found in longer books. However, he refreshingly puts forward a balanced and convincing analysis of the contentious issues involving the four caliphs, such as Ali ibn Abi Talibs .delay in giving the pledge, the insurgency against Uthman, the battles of the Camel and Siffin, and the disputes between Ali and Muawiya. (may Allah be pleased with them all). The author’s analysis leaves the reader with a clear understanding and helps to increase the love and respect for the Prophet of Allah and his Companions. This book will surely satisfy your curiosity about the immediate period after the Prophet’s (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) departure from this world. It will relieve your heart of any confusion you feel about the events of that time. This is a book written for readers of any age, hence an inspiring read for the young and old alike.
Shaykh Muhammad al-Khudari Bak al-Bajuri
He is Muhammad ibn Afifi al-Bajuri, popularly known as Shaykh Khudari Bak. He was a scholar of Shariah, literature and Islamic history. He was born in Egypt in 1289/1872 and lived in Zaytun, a suburb of Cairo. He graduated from Madrasah Dar al-Ulum and surpassed his contemporaries as a scholar, researcher, orator, educator and reformer. During the course of his life he was an Islamic judge in Khartoum, an educator in the Islamic Judicial School in Cairo for a period of twelve years, a Professor in Islamic history at the University of Egypt (now named The University of Cairo), the Deputy-Head of the Islamic judicial school and an inspector for the Ministry of Education.
The translation is easy to follow and the content is far from dense. Sometimes, the book can be heavily focused towards the battles that took place and who was involved, which may be of interest to some readers, but not a personal preference of mine. This could also just be a product of that period.
The author nicely brings together all of the minor details to give a bigger picture view of how each caliph ruled. I found some of the letters and speeches which Abu Baker r.a. and Umar r.a. delivered to be particularly interesting. Additionally, the footnotes are a welcome addition to the text, providing nuggets of context to the decisions and actions taken during the periods discussed. The author does a great job critically engaging and explaining events that took place.
Overall, I would recommend this book to anyone with an interest in Islamic history or if you are looking to derive lessons from the actions of these great individuals from our past.