34-Muhammad In Islam

Muhammad in Islam

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Muhammad (also spelled Muhammed or Mohammed), is considered the last prophet of Islam by most Muslims. He was born in 570 in Mecca.[1]

Lineage of six prominent prophets according to Islamic tradition

Adem (Adam)


Nuh (Noah)


Ibrahim (Abraham)


Is’haq (Isaac)

Musa (Moses)


Maryam (Mary)


Isa (Jesus)


Abdul Muttalib



Dotted lines indicate multiple generations


Muslims believe that Muhammad is a messenger and prophet of God. He is also acknowledged as the last of Islam’s prophets, including Adam, Noah, Abraham, David, Moses, Jesus, and others. Some Islamic scholars argue that Muhammad was foretold in the Bible.[2]

Although Western scholars regard Muhammad as the founder of Islam,[3] Muslims believe that monotheistic faith was not created by a human but was revealed by God.

Muslims do not worship Muhammad, due to the belief in the Oneness of God as stated in the Shahada; they see him simply as a human being.

Divine Revelation

According to Islamic tradition, when the angel Gabriel appeared to him at the Cave of Hira, the Quran, began to be revealed to him. His wife, Khadijah bint Khuwaylid, encouraged him to describe the events that happened in the cave.

In addition to the Quran, the hadith (narrations originating from the words and deeds of Muhammad) are an important part of Islam. Muslims do not regard the hadith as divine revelation, but as Mohammad’s teachings.


The Qur’an does not overtly describe Muhammad performing miracles, and the supreme miracle of Muhammad is finally identified with the Qur’an itself.[4] However, Muslim tradition credits Muhammad with several supernatural events.[5] For example, many Muslim commentators and some western scholars have interpreted the Sura 54:1-2 to refer to Muhammad splitting the Moon in view of the Quraysh when they had begun to persecute his followers.[4][6]

The Isra and Mi’raj are the two parts of a “Night Journey” that, according to Islamic tradition, Muhammad took during a single night around the year 621. It has been described as both a physical and spiritual journey.[7] A brief sketch of the story is in Sura (chapter) 17 Al-Isra of the Qur’an,[8] and other details come from the hadith. In the journey, Muhammad travels on Buraq to “the farthest mosque” where he leads other prophets in prayer. He then ascends to heaven where he speaks to God, who gives Muhammad instructions to take back to the faithful regarding the details of prayer.

According to traditions, the Journey is associated with the Lailat al Miraj, as one of the most significant events in the Islamic calendar.[9]


During his lifetime Muhammad married 10 free women, 2 slaves, and took a child bride. These were: Khadijah bint Khuwaylid, Sawda bint Zama, Aisha bint Abu Bakr, Hafsa bint Umar, Zaynab bint Khuzayma, Umm Salama Hind bint Abi Umayya, Rayhāna bint Zayd ibn ʿAmr, Zaynab bint Jahsh, Juwayriya bint al-Harith, Ramlah bint Abi Sufyan, Safiyya bint Huyayy, Maymuna bint al-Harith and Maria al-Qibtiyya. Muslims often refer to the wives of Muhammad as Mothers of the Believers.

Death of Muhammad

Muhammad died on 8 June 632. He was buried in Medina in his house, now the Al-Masjid al-Nabawi (Prophet’s Mosque).

Names and Titles of Praise

When speaking or writing, Muhammad’s name is often followed by the phrase “peace be upon him,” (in English often abbreviated to PBUH or simply “(p)”), since Muhammad is so esteemed by Muslims.[10]

Muhammad is often referenced with these titles of praise or epithet:

an-Nâbî, “the Prophet” ar-Rasûl, “the Messenger” al-Habeeb, “the beloved” al-Muṣṭafā, “the chosen one”[11] al-Amîn, “the trustworthy”[12] as-Sadîq, “the honest”[13] al-Haq, “the truthful”[14] ar-Rauf, “the kind”[15] al-Uswa-e-Hasana, “the model of conduct”[16] al-Insān al-Kāmil, “the perfect man”[17] al-Khairul Bashar, “the best of mankind”[18] al-Khātim an-Nâbîyīn, “the seal of the prophets[19] ar-Rahmatul lil ‘alameen, “the beneficent and mercy of all the worlds personified”[20] as-Shaheed, “the witness”[21] al-Mubashshir, “the bearer of good tidings”[22] an-Nathir, “the warner”[22] al-Mudhakkir, “the reminder”[23] ad-Dā‘ī, “the one who calls [unto God]”[24] al-Bashir, “the announcer”[25] an-Noor, “the light personified”[26] as-Siraj-un-Munir, “the light-giving lamp”[27] al-Kareem, “the noble”[28] an-Nimatullah, “the divine favour”[29] al-Muzzammil, “the wrapped”[30] al-Muddathir, “the shrouded”[31] al-‘Aqib, “the last [prophet]”[32][33] al-Mutawakkil, “the one who puts his trust [in God]”[34] al-Kuthâm, “the generous one” al-Mahi, “the eraser [of disbelief]”[35] al-Muqaffi, “the one who followed [all other prophets]” an-Nâbîyyu at-Tawbah, “the prophet of penitence” al-Fatih, “the opener” al-Hashir, “the gatherer (the first to be resurrected) on the day of judgement”[33] as-Shafe’e, “the intercessor”[36][37] al-Mushaffaun, “the one whose intercession shall be granted”[38]

He also has these names:

Abu’l-Qasim, “father of Qasim” Ahmad, “the chosen one”[39] Hamid, “praiser” Mahmood, “praiseworthy” `Abd-Allah, “servant of Allah”[40]

In Turkey, he is often called Hz. Muhammed or “Peygamber Efendimiz”. [41]

Different views of Madhahib (Schools of Thought in Islam)

Sufi views

Sufis believe that Muhammad is alive with the power of invisibility; his spirit pervades the world and can be reached by true seekers.[42][43]

Sunni beliefs

Sunnis believe in the prophethood of Muhammad like all Muslims.

Shia beliefs

In Shia Islam, Muhammad is believed to be free from sins as the doctrine of sinlessness called “ismah” (Arabic: عِصْمَة, Persian: ِعصمت) states. This doctrine literally means ‘protection’ and is generally translated as “sinlessness”. Protection is believed to be of three types of “Protection from mistake in receiving the revelation from Allah”, “Protection from mistake in conveying the revelation of Allah” and “Protection from sins.” It is believed that all the prophets in Islam, as well as Fatima and the twelve descendants of Muhammad through Fatima are sinless.[44]

The Twelver branch, calling them The Fourteen Infallibles teaches that they were purified by God in the Event of the Cloak. Although Satan tempted them to sin, it is believed that they were helped by God to overcome the temptations.

Punishment of Criticism

Criticism of Muhammad is often equated with blasphemy, which is punishable by death in some Islamic states.

Pakistan is frequently in the news for prosecutions under its blasphemy law. If the courts decline to act, angry crowds have been known to lynch the suspected blasphemer.[45]

In 2005 a Danish newspaper, Jyllands-Posten, printed some controversial cartoons, a few of which were interpreted as insulting Muhammad and Islam. Some countries — Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Iraq among them—protested the Danish government for not taking action against the newspaper. The Danish government responded by asserting that it does not control the media.

Visual Representation

While much of Islam was aniconistic during most of its history, there are rich traditions of visual representation of Muhammad, mainly in the form of paintings and illustrations in religious or hagiographical texts. Religious figures rarely have their face shown. Such figures are often shown with their head veiled in sheets embroidered with Quranic text.


1.       ^ Quran 33:40

2.       ^ Muhammad foretold in the Bible: An Introduction, by Abdus Sattar Ghauri, retrieved July 03, 2010

3.       ^ Catholic Encyclopedia, Mohammed and Mohammedanism, retrieved July 03, 2010

4.       ^ a b Denis Gril, Miracles, Encyclopedia of the Qur’an

5.       ^ A.J. Wensinck, Muʿd̲j̲iza, Encyclopedia of Islam

6.       ^ Encyclopedia of the Qur’an, Moon

7.       ^ Richard C. Martin, Said Amir Arjomand, Marcia Hermansen, Abdulkader Tayob, Rochelle Davis, John Obert Voll, ed. (December 2, 2003). Encyclopedia of Islam and the Muslim World. Macmillan Reference USA. p. 482. ISBN 978-0-02-865603-8.

8.       ^ Quran 17:1 (Translated by Yusuf Ali)

9.       ^ Bradlow, Khadija (August 18, 2007). “A night journey through Jerusalem”. Times Online. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/faith/article2279985.ece. Retrieved March 27, 2011.

10.    ^ Islam / Muslim, retrieved July 03, 2010

11.    ^ Quran 22:75

12.    ^ Sahih al-Bukhari, 4:52:237

13.    ^ Quran 33:22

14.    ^ Quran 10:08

15.    ^ Quran 9:128

16.    ^ Quran 68:4

17.    ^ Ibn al-‘Arabi, Muhyi al-Din (1164-1240), The ‘perfect human’ and the Muhammadan reality

18.    ^ Quran 33:21

19.    ^ Quran 33:40

20.    ^ Quran 21:107

21.    ^ Quran 33:45

22.    ^ a b Quran 11:2

23.    ^ Quran 88:21

24.    ^ Quran 12:108

25.    ^ Quran 2:119

26.    ^ Quran 05:15

27.    ^ Quran 33:46

28.    ^ Quran 69:40

29.    ^ Quran 16:83

30.    ^ Quran 73:01

31.    ^ Quran 74:01

32.    ^ Sahih Muslim, 4:1859

33.    ^ a b Sahih al-Bukhari, 4:56:732

34.    ^ Quran 9:129

35.    ^ Sahih al-Bukhari, 4:56:732

36.    ^ Sahih al-Bukhari, 9:93:601

37.    ^ Quran 3:159Quran 4:64Quran 60:12

38.    ^ Quran 19:87Quran 20:109

39.    ^ Quran 61:06

40.    ^ Quran 25:1

41.    ^ Schimmel, Annemarie (1990). Islamic Names: An Introduction (Islamic Surveys). Edinburgh University Press. p. 30. ISBN 978-0-85224-563-7.

42.    ^ ShaikhSiddiqui Barelvi

43.    ^ Major sects in Islam – YaNabi.com

44.    ^ Are Prophets of Allah not Sinless?, by Ali A. Khalfan, May 07, 2005, retrieved March 27, 2006

45.    ^ Man ‘declared infidel’ killed by mob -DAWN – Top Stories; 21 April 2005

33-Early Social Changes Under Islam

Early Social Changes under Islam

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Many social changes took place under Islam between 610 and 661, including the period of Muhammad‘s mission and the rule of his four immediate successors who established the Rashidun Caliphate.

According to William Montgomery Watt, for Muhammad, religion was not a private and individual matter but rather “the total response of his personality to the total situation in which he found himself. He was responding [not only]… to the religious and intellectual aspects of the situation but also the economic, social, and political pressures to which contemporary Mecca was subject.”[1]

Bernard Lewis says that there are two important political traditions in Islam – one that views Muhammad as a statesman in Medina, and another that views him as a rebel in Mecca. He sees Islam itself as a type of revolution that greatly changed the societies into which the new religion was brought.[2]

Historians generally agree that changes in areas such as social security, family structure, slavery and the rights of women improved on what was present in existing Arab society.[2][3][4][5][6][7] For example, according to Lewis, Islam “from the first denounced aristocratic privilege, rejected hierarchy, and adopted a formula of the career open to the talents.”[2]

Advent of Islam

Bernard Lewis believes that the advent of Islam was a revolution which only partially succeeded due to tensions between the new religion and very old societies that the Muslims conquered. He thinks that one such area of tension was a consequence of what he sees as the egalitarian nature of Islamic doctrine. Islam from the first denounced aristocratic privilege, rejected hierarchy, and adopted a formula of the career open to the talents. Lewis however notes that the equality in Islam was restricted to free adult male Muslims, but even that “represented a very considerable advance on the practice of both the Greco-Roman and the ancient Iranian world.”[2]

Bernard Lewis writes about the significance of Muhammad’s achievements:[8]

He had achieved a great deal. To the pagan peoples of western Arabia he had brought a new religion which, with its monotheism and its ethical doctrines, stood on an incomparably higher level than the paganism it replaced. He had provided that religion with a revelation which was to become in the centuries to follow the guide to thought and count of countless millions of Believers. But he had done more than that; he had established a community and a well organized and armed state, the power and prestige of which made it a dominant factor in Arabia

Constitution of Medina

The Constitution of Medina, also known as the Charter of Medina, was drafted by Muhammad in 622. It constituted a formal agreement between Muhammad and all of the significant tribes and families of Yathrib (later known as Medina), including Muslims, Jews, and pagans.[9][10] The document was drawn up with the explicit concern of bringing to an end the bitter inter tribal fighting between the clans of the Aws (Banu Aus) and Banu Khazraj within Medina. To this effect it instituted a number of rights and responsibilities for the Muslim, Jewish, and pagan communities of Medina bringing them within the fold of one community-the Ummah.[11]

The precise dating of the Constitution of Medina remains debated but generally scholars agree it was written shortly after the hijra (622).[12] It effectively established the first Islamic state. The Constitution established: the security of the community, religious freedoms, the role of Medina as a haram or sacred place (barring all violence and weapons), the security of women, stable tribal relations within Medina, a tax system for supporting the community in time of conflict, parameters for exogenous political alliances, a system for granting protection of individuals, a judicial system for resolving disputes, and also regulated the paying of blood-wite (the payment between families or tribes for the slaying of an individual in lieu of lex talionis).

Social Changes

Muhammad preached against what he saw as the social evils of his day, Encyclopedia of World History states.[13]


John Esposito sees Muhammad as a reformer who condemned practices of the pagan Arabs such as female infanticide, exploitation of the poor, usury, murder, false contracts, fornication, adultery, and theft.[14] He states that Muhammad’s “insistence that each person was personally accountable not to tribal customary law but to an overriding divine law shook the very foundations of Arabian society… Muhammad proclaimed a sweeping program of religious and social reform that affected religious belief and practices, business contracts and practices, male-female and family relations”.[15] Esposito holds that the Qur’an‘s reforms consist of “regulations or moral guidance that limit or redefine rather than prohibit or replace existing practices.” He cites slavery and women’s status as two examples.

According to some scholars, Muhammad’s condemnation of infanticide was the key aspect of his attempts to raise the status of women.[7] Regarding the prevalence of this practice, we know it was “common enough among the pre-Islamic Arabs to be assigned a specific term, waʾd[16] A much cited verse the Qur’an that addresses this practice is: “When the sun shall be darkened, when the stars shall be thrown down, when the mountains shall be set moving, when the pregnant camels shall be neglected, when the savage beasts shall be mustered, when the seas shall be set boiling, when the souls shall be coupled, when the buried infant shall be asked for what sin she was slain, when the scrolls shall be unrolled…”[Quran81:1][7]

Social security

William Montgomery Watt states that Muhammad was both a social and moral reformer. He asserts that Muhammad created a “new system of social security and a new family structure, both of which were a vast improvement on what went before. By taking what was best in the morality of the nomad and adapting it for settled communities, he established a religious and social framework for the life of many races of men.”[17]

In pre-Islamic Arabia, upon capture, those captives not executed, were made to beg for their subsistence. During his life, Muhammad changed this custom and made it the responsibility of the Islamic government to provide food and clothing, on a reasonable basis, to captives, regardless of their religion. If the prisoners were in the custody of a person, then the responsibility was on the individual.[18]



A slave market in Islamic Yemen.

The Qur’an makes numerous references to slavery ([Quran2:178], [Quran16:75], [Quran30:28]), regulating but thereby also implicitly accepting this already existing institution. Lewis states that Islam brought two major changes to ancient slavery which were to have far-reaching consequences. “One of these was the presumption of freedom; the other, the ban on the enslavement of free persons except in strictly defined circumstances,” Lewis continues. The position of the Arabian slave was “enormously improved”: the Arabian slave “was now no longer merely a chattel but was also a human being with a certain religious and hence a social status and with certain quasi-legal rights.”[19]

Lewis states that in Muslim lands slaves had a certain legal status and had obligations as well as rights to the slave owner, an improvement over slavery in the ancient world.[19][20] Due to these reforms the practice of slavery in the Islamic empire represented a “vast improvement on that inherited from antiquity, from Rome, and from Byzantium.”[19]

Although there are many common features between the institution of slavery in the Qur’an and that of neighboring cultures, however the Qur’anic institution had some unique new features.[21] According to Jonathan Brockopp, professor of History and Religious Studies, the idea of using alms for the manumission of slaves appears to be unique to the Qur’an (assuming the traditional interpretation of verses [Quran2:177] and [Quran9:60]). Similarly, the practice of freeing slaves in atonement for certain sins appears to be introduced by the Qur’an.[21] Brockopp adds that: “Other cultures limit a master’s right to harm a slave but few exhort masters to treat their slaves kindly, and the placement of slaves in the same category as other weak members of society who deserve protection is unknown outside the Qur’an. The unique contribution of the Qur’an, then, is to be found in its emphasis on the place of slaves in society and society’s responsibility toward the slave, perhaps the most progressive legislation on slavery in its time.”[21]

Women’s rights

To evaluate the effect of Islam on the status of women, many writers have discussed the status of women in pre-Islamic Arabia, and their findings have been mixed.[22] Some writers have argued that women before Islam were more liberated drawing most often on the first marriage of Muhammad and that of Muhammad’s parents, but also on other points such as worship of female idols at Mecca.[22] Other writers, on the contrary, have argued that women’s status in pre-Islamic Arabia was poor, citing practices of female infanticide, unlimited polygyny, patrilineal marriage and others.[22]

Valentine Moghadam analyzes the situation of women from a Marxist theoretical framework and argues that the position of women are mostly influenced by the extent of urbanization, industrialization, poletarization and political ploys of the state managers rather than culture or intrinsic properties of Islam; Islam, Moghadam argues, is neither more nor less patriarchal than other world religions especially Hinduism, Christianity and Judaism.[23][24]

Majid Khadduri writes that under the Arabian pre-Islamic law of status, women had virtually no rights. Sharia (Islamic law), however, provided women with a number of rights.[25] John Esposito states that the reforms affected marriage, divorce, and inheritance.[14] Women were not accorded with such legal status in other cultures, including the West, until centuries later.[26] The Oxford Dictionary of Islam states that the general improvement of the status of Arab women included prohibition of female infanticide, and recognizing women’s full personhood.[27] Gerhard Endress states: “The social system … build up a new system of marriage, family and inheritance; this system treated women as an individual too and guaranteed social security to her as well as to her children. Legally controlled polygamy was an important advance on the various loosely defined arrangements which had previously been both possible and current; it was only by this provision (backed up by severe punishment for adultery), that the family, the core of any sedentary society could be placed on a firm footing.”[28] Muhammad also emphasised the importance of the mother figure and it is reported in many Hadiths in which Muhammad has stated the mother is of very high status. One hadith records that Abu Huraira reported that a person said: Allah’s Messenger, who amongst the people is most deserving of my good treatment? He said: Your mother, again your mother, again your mother, then your father, then your nearest relatives according to the order (of nearness).[29]


Under the Arabian pre-Islamic law, no limitations were set on men’s rights to marry or to obtain a divorce.[25] Islamic law, however, restricted polygamy ([Quran4:3])[14] The institution of marriage, characterized by unquestioned male superiority in the pre-Islamic law of status, was redefined and changed into one in which the woman was somewhat of an interested partner. ‘For example, the dowry, previously regarded as a bride-price paid to the father, became a nuptial gift retained by the wife as part of her personal property’[14][25] Under Islamic law, marriage was no longer viewed as a “status” but rather as a “contract”. The essential elements of the marriage contract were now an offer by the man, an acceptance by the woman, and the performance of such conditions as the payment of dowry. The woman’s consent was imperative. Furthermore, the offer and acceptance had to be made in the presence of at least two witnesses.[14][25][27] A man was not allowed to leave his wife and marry someone else just because the other women pleased him more.(quran). A married woman also had rights over the husband as stated by Muhammad that “You have your rights upon your wives and they have their rights upon you. Your right is that they shall not allow anyone you dislike, to trample your bed and do not permit those whom you dislike to enter your home. Their right is that you should treat them well in the matter of food and clothing.” [30]

Inheritance and wealth

‘Women were given inheritance rights in a patriarchal society that had previously restricted inheritance to male relatives.’[14] Annemarie Schimmel states that “Compared to the pre-Islamic position of women, Islamic legislation meant an enormous progress; the woman has the right, at least according to the letter of the law, to administer the wealth she has brought into the family or has earned by her own work”[31] According to The Oxford Dictionary of Islam, women were also granted the right to live in the matrimonial home and receive financial maintenance during marriage and a waiting period following the death and divorce.[27]

The status of women

Watt states that Islam is still, in many ways, a man’s religion. However, he states that Muhammad, in the historical context of his time, can be seen as a figure who testified on behalf of women’s rights and improved things considerably. Watt explains the historical context surrounding women’s rights at the time of Muhammad: “It appears that in some parts of Arabia, notably in Mecca, a matrilineal system was in the process of being replaced by a patrilineal one at the time of Muhammad. Growing prosperity caused by a shifting of trade routes was accompanied by a growth in individualism. Men were amassing considerable personal wealth and wanted to be sure that this would be inherited by their own actual sons, and not simply by an extended family of their sisters’ sons. This led to a deterioration in the rights of women. At the time Islam began, the conditions of women were terrible – they had no right to own property, were supposed to be the property of the man, and if the man died everything went to his sons.” Muhammad, however, by “instituting rights of property ownership, inheritance, education and divorce, gave women certain basic safeguards.”[32]

“In the earliest centuries of Islam, the position of women was not bad at all. Only over the course of centuries was she increasingly confined to the house and was forced to veil herself.”[31] The Quran and Muhammad’s example were more favorable to the security and status of women than history and later Muslim practice might suggest. For example, the Qur’an does not require women to wear veils; rather, it was a social habit picked up with the expansion of Islam. In fact, since it was impractical for working women to wear veils, “A veiled woman silently announced that her husband was rich enough to keep her idle.”[33][34]

Haddad and Esposito state that ‘although Islam is often criticized for the low status it has ascribed to women, many scholars believe that it was primarily the interpretation of jurists, local traditions, and social trends which brought about a decline in the status of Muslim women. In this view Muhammad granted women rights and privileges in the sphere of family life, marriage, education, and economic endeavors, rights that help improve women’s status in society.’ However, ‘the Arab Bedouins were dedicated to custom and tradition and resisted changes brought by the new religion.’ Haddad and Esposito state that in this view ‘the inequality of Muslim women happened because of the preexisting habits of the people among whom Islam took root. The economics of these early Muslim societies were not favorable to comfortable life for women. More important, during Islam’s second and third centuries the interpretation of the Qur’an was in the hands of deeply conservative scholars, whose decisions are not easy to challenge today. The Qur’an is more favorable to women than is generally realized. In principle, except for a verse or two, the Qur’an grants women equality. For example, Eve was not the delayed product of Adam‘s rib (as in the tradition for Christians and Jews); the two were born from a single soul. It was Adam, not Eve, who let the devil convince them to eat the forbidden fruit. Muslim women are instructed to be modest in their dress, but only in general terms. Men are also told to be modest. Many Muslims believe the veiling and seclusion are later male inventions, social habits picked up with the conquest of the Byzantine and Persian Empires.’[35]


The Qur’an rejected the pre-Islamic idea of children as their fathers’ property and abolished the pre-Islamic custom of adoption.[36]

A. Giladi holds that Quran’s rejection of the idea of children as their fathers’ property was a Judeo-Christian influence and was a response to the challenge of structural changes in tribal society.[36]

The Quran also replaced the pre-Islamic custom of adoption (assimilation of an adopted child into another family in a legal sense) by the recommendation that “believers treat children of unknown origin as their brothers in the faith and clients [Quran33:4-5], [Quran33:37-40]. Adoption was viewed “as a lie, as an artificial tie between adults and children, devoid of any real emotional relationship, as a cause of confusion where lineage was concerned and thus a possible source of problems regarding marriage between members of the same family and regarding inheritance.But a child that was not born into a family can still be raised by a foster family but the child must retain his identity, such as his last name and lineage. The prophet has stated that a person who assists and aids an orphan, is on the same footing in heaven to the prophet himself. “[36]

Sociological changes

Sociologist Robert N. Bellah (Beyond Belief) argues that Islam in its 7th century origins was, for its time and place, “remarkably modern…in the high degree of commitment, involvement, and participation expected from the rank-and-file members of the community.” This because, he argues, that Islam emphasized on the equality of all Muslims. Leadership positions were open to all. However, there were restraints on the early Muslim community that kept it from exemplifying these principles, primarily from the “stagnant localisms” of tribe and kinship. Dale Eickelman writes that Bellah suggests “the early Islamic community placed a particular value on individuals, as opposed to collective or group responsibility.”[37]

The Islamic idea of community (that of ummah), established by Muhammad, is flexible in social, religious, and political terms and includes a diversity of Muslims who share a general sense of common cause and consensus concerning beliefs and individual and communal actions.[38]

Moral Changes

Muslims believe that Muhammad, like other prophets in Islam, was sent by God to remind human beings of their moral responsibility, and challenge those ideas in society which opposed submission to God. According to Kelsay, this challenge was directed against five main characteristics of pre-Islamic Arabia:[39]

taqwa (Islamic piety), an “ummah;” The acceptance of the worship of a multitude of deities besides Allah – a view challenged by strict Tawhid (Islamic monotheism), which dictates that Allah has no partner in worship nor any equal; The trait of muruwwa (manliness), which Islam discouraged, instead emphasizing on the traits of humility and piety; The focus on achieving fame or establishing a legacy, which was replaced by the concept that mankind would be called to account before God on the Qiyamah (day of resurrection); The reverence of and compliance with ancestral traditions, a practice challenged by Islam — which instead assigned primacy to submitting to God and following revelation.

These changes lay in the reorientation of society as regards to identity, world view, and the hierarchy of values. From the viewpoint of subsequent generations, this caused a great transformation in the society and moral order of life in the Arabian Peninsula. For Muhammad, although pre-Islamic Arabia exemplified “heedlessness,” it was not entirely without merit. Muhammad approved and exhorted certain aspects of the Arab pre-Islamic tradition, such as the care for one’s near kin, for widows, orphans, and others in need and for the establishment of justice. However, these values would be re-ordered in importance and placed in the context of strict monotheism.[39]

Although Muhammad’s preaching produced a “radical change in moral values based on the sanctions of the new religion, and fear of God and of the Last Judgment”, the pre-Islamic tribal practices of the Arabs by no means completely died out.[40]

Economic Changes

Michael Bonner writes on poverty and economics in the Qur’an that the Qur’an provided a blueprint for a new order in society, in which the poor would be treated more fairly than before. This “economy of poverty” prevailed in Islamic theory and practice up until the 13th and 14th centuries. At its heart was a notion of property circulated and purified, in part, through charity, which illustrates a distinctively Islamic way of conceptualizing charity, generosity, and poverty markedly different from “the Christian notion of perennial reciprocity between rich and poor and the ideal of charity as an expression of community love.” The Qur’an prohibits bad kind of circulation (riba, often understood as usury or interest) and asks for good circulation (zakat [legal alms giving]). Some of the recipients of charity appear only once in the Qur’an, and others—such as orphans, parents, and beggars—reappear constantly. Most common is the triad of kinsfolk, poor, and travelers.[41]

Unlike pre-Islamic Arabian society, the Qur’anic idea of economic circulation as a return of goods and obligations was for everyone, whether donors and recipients know each other or not, in which goods move, and society does what it is supposed to do. The Qur’an’s distinctive set of economic and social arrangements, in which poverty and the poor have important roles, show signs of newness. The Qur’an told that the guidance comes to a community that regulates its flow of money and goods in the right direction (from top down) and practices generosity as reciprocation for God’s bounty. In a broad sense, the narrative underlying the Qur’an is that of a tribal society becoming urbanized. Many scholars have characterized both the Qur’an and Islam as highly favorable to commerce and to the highly mobile type of society that emerged in the medieval Near East. Muslim tradition (both hadith and historiography) maintains that Muhammad did not permit the construction of any buildings in the market of Medina other than mere tents; nor did he permit any tax or rent to be taken there. This expression of a “free market“—involving the circulation of goods within a single space without payment of fees, taxes, or rent, without the construction of permanent buildings, and without any profiting on the part of the caliphal authority (indeed, of the Caliph himself)—was rooted in the term sadaqa, “voluntary alms.” This coherent and highly appealing view of the economic universe had much to do with Islam’s early and lasting success. Since the poor were at the heart of this economic universe, the teachings of the Qur’an on poverty had a considerable, even a transforming effect in Arabia, the Near East, and beyond.[41]

Civil changes

Social welfare in Islam started in the form of the construction and purchase of wells. Upon his hijra to Medina, Muhammad found only one well to be used. The Muslims bought that well, and consequently it was used by the general public. After Muhammad’s declaration that “water” was a better form of sadaqah (charity), many of his companions sponsored the digging of new wells. During the Caliphate, the Muslims repaired many of the aging wells in the lands they conquered.[42]

In addition to wells, the Muslims built many tanks and canals. Many canals were purchased, and new ones constructed. While some canals were excluded for the use of monks (such as a spring purchased by Talhah), and the needy, most canals were open to general public use. Some canals were constructed between settlements, such as the Saad canal that provided water to Anbar, and the Abi Musa Canal to providing water to Basra.[43]

During a famine, Umar (Umar ibn al-Khattab) ordered the construction of a canal in Egypt to connect the Nile with the Red Sea. The purpose of the canal was to facilitate the transport of grain to Arabia through a sea-route, hitherto transported only by land. The canal was constructed within a year by ‘Amr ibn al-‘As, and Abdus Salam Nadiv writes, Arabia was rid of famine for all the times to come.”[44]

Political Changes


Islam began in Arabia in the 7th century under the leadership of Muhammad, who eventually united many of the independent nomadic tribes of Arabia under Islamic law.[45][46] There were also some Jewish and Christian tribes in Arabia. Initially a pact was made with the Jewish tribes of Medina and they were offered protection and friendship by Muhammed. However, during the battle of Badr – in which Meccan non-Muslims attacked the Muslims of Medina, the Jewish tribes chose not help the Muslims and instead chose to help the Meccan attackers. After this incident tensions started arising between Muhammad and the Jews of Medina which soon intensified after the Jewish tribes repeated this in two more battles. Muhammad accused the Jews of Medina of treason and expelled some of them from Medina and wiped out some others who he deemed to be traitors.[47]

Middle East

The pre-Islamic Middle East was dominated by the Byzantine and Sassanian empires. The Roman–Persian Wars between the two had devastated the inhabitants, making the empires unpopular amongst the local tribes. The Byzantines persecuted Jews as well as Christians they deemed “heretic“.

During the early Islamic conquests, the Rashidun army, mostly led by Khalid ibn al-Walid and ‘Amr ibn al-‘As, defeated both empires, making the Islamic state the dominant power in the region.[48] Within only a decade, Muslims conquered Mesopotamia and Persia during the Muslim conquest of Persia and Roman Syria and Roman Egypt during the early Byzantine–Arab Wars.[49]

According to Francis Edwards Peters:

The conquests destroyed little: what they did suppress were imperial rivalries and sectarian bloodletting among the newly subjected population. The Muslims tolerated Christianity, but they disestablished it; henceforward Christian life and liturgy, its endowments, politics and theology, would be a private and not a public affair. By an exquisite irony, Islam reduced the status of Christians to that which the Christians had earlier thrust upon the Jews, with one difference. The reduction in Christian status was merely judicial; it was unaccompanied by either systematic persecution or a blood lust, and generally, though not elsewhere and at all times, unmarred by vexatious behavior.

The Islamic conquest lowered taxes, and provided greater local autonomy and religious freedom for Jews and as well as most of the Christian Churches in the conquered areas (such as Nestorians, Monophysites, Jacobites and Copts who were deemed heretic by Christian Orthodoxy).[50] Bernard Lewis wrote:

Some even among the Christians of Syria and Egypt preferred the rule of Islam to that of Byzantines… The people of the conquered provinces did not confine themselves to simply accepting the new regime, but in some cases actively assisted in its establishment. In Palestine the Samaritans, according to tradition, gave such effective aid to the Arab invaders that they were for some time exempted from certain taxes, and there are many other reports in the early chronicles of local Jewish and Christian assistance.

Other Changes

Islam reduced the devastating effect of blood feuds, which was common among Arabs, by encouraging compensation in money rather than blood. In case the aggrieved party insisted on blood, unlike the pre-Islamic Arab tradition in which any male relative could be slain, only the culprit himself could be executed.[28][51]

The Cambridge History of Islam states that the nomadic structure of pre-Islamic Arabia had the serious moral problem of the care of the poor and the unfortunate. “Not merely did the Qur’an urge men to show care and concern for the needy, but in its teaching about the Last day it asserted the existence of a sanction applicable to men as individuals in matters where their selfishness was no longer restrained by nomadic ideas of dishonour.”[52]

Islam teaches support for the poor and the oppressed.[53] In an effort to protect and help the poor and orphans, regular almsgiving — zakat — was made obligatory for Muslims. This regular alms-giving developed into a form of income tax to be used exclusively for welfare.[54]


1.       ^ Cambridge History of Islam (1970), p.30

2.       ^ a b c d Lewis, Bernard (1998-01-21). “Islamic Revolution”. The New York Review of Books. http://www.nybooks.com/articles/4557.

3.       ^ Watt (1974), p.234

4.       ^ Robinson (2004) p.21

5.       ^ Esposito (1998), p. 98

6.       ^ “Ak̲h̲lāḳ”, Encyclopaedia of Islam Online

7.       ^ a b c Nancy Gallagher, Encyclopedia of Women & Islamic Cultures, Infanticide and Abandonment of Female Children

8.       ^ Bernard Lewis, Arabs in History, p.45-46

9.       ^ See:

§  Firestone (1999) p. 118;

§  “Muhammad”, Encyclopaedia of Islam Online

10.    ^ Watt. Muhammad at Medina and R. B. Serjeant “The Constitution of Medina.” Islamic Quarterly 8 (1964) p.4.

11.    ^ R. B. Serjeant, The Sunnah Jami’ah, pacts with the Yathrib Jews, and the Tahrim of Yathrib: Analysis and translation of the documents comprised in the so-called “Constitution of Medina.” Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, Vol. 41, No. 1. 1978), page 4.

12.    ^ Watt. Muhammad at Medina. pp. 227-228 Watt argues that the initial agreement was shortly after the hijra and the document was amended at a later date specifically after the battle of Badr. Serjeant argues that the constitution is in fact 8 different treaties which can be dated according to events as they transpired in Medina with the first treaty being written shortly after Muhammad’s arrival. R. B. Serjeant. “The Sunnah Jâmi’ah, Pacts with the Yathrib Jews, and the Tahrîm of Yathrib: Analysis and Translation of the Documents Comprised in the so called ‘Constitution of Medina’.” in The Life of Muhammad: The Formation of the Classical Islamic World: Volume iv. Ed. Uri Rubin. Brookfield: Ashgate, 1998, p. 151 and see same article in BSOAS 41 (1978): 18 ff. See also Caetani. Annali dell’Islam, Volume I. Milano: Hoepli, 1905, p. 393. Julius Wellhausen. Skizzen und Vorabeiten, IV, Berlin: Reimer, 1889, p 82f who argue that the document is a single treaty agreed upon shortly after the hijra. Wellhausen argues that it belongs to the first year of Muhammad’s residence in Medina, before the battle of Badr in 2/624. Wellhausen bases this judgement on three considerations; first Muhammad is very diffident about his own position, he accepts the pagan tribes within the Ummah, and maintains the Jewish clans as clients of the Ansars see Wellhausen, Excursus, p. 158. Even Moshe Gil a skeptic of Islamic history argues that it was written within 5 months of Muhammad’s arrival in Medina. Moshe Gil. “The Constitution of Medina: A Reconsideration.” Israel Oriental Studies 4 (1974): p. 45.

13.    ^ Encyclopedia of World History (1998), p.452, Oxford University Press

14.    ^ a b c d e f John Esposito, Islam: The Straight Path p. 79

15.    ^ Esposito, John (2002). Unholy War: Terror in the Name of Islam. Oxford University Press. p. 30. ISBN 0-19-515435-5.

16.    ^ Donna Lee Bowen, Encyclopaedia of the Qur’an, Infanticide

17.    ^ Watt (1961), p. 229

18.    ^ Maududi (1967), Introduction of Ad-Dahr, “Period of revelation”, pg. 159

19.    ^ a b c Bernard Lewis, Race and Slavery in the Middle East, Oxford Univ Press 1994, chapter 1

20.    ^ Bernard Lewis, (1992), pp. 78-79

21.    ^ a b c Encyclopaedia of the Qur’an, Slaves and Slavery

22.    ^ a b c Turner, Brian S. Islam (ISBN 041512347X). Routledge: 2003, p77-78.

23.    ^ Unni Wikan, review of Modernizing Women: Gender and Social Change in the Middle East, American Ethnologist, Vol. 22, No. 4 (Nov., 1995), pp. 1078-1079

24.    ^ Valentine M. Moghadam. Modernizing Women: Gender and Social Change in the Middle East. (Lynne Rienner Publishers, USA, 1993) p. 5

25.    ^ a b c d Majid Khadduri, Marriage in Islamic Law: The Modernist Viewpoints, American Journal of Comparative Law, Vol. 26, No. 2, pp. 213-218

26.    ^ Encyclopedia of Religion, second edition, Lindsay Jones, p.6224, ISBN 0-02-865742-X

27.    ^ a b c The Oxford Dictionary of Islam (2003), p.339

28.    ^ a b Gerhard Endress, Islam: An Introduction to Islam, Columbia University Press, 1988, p.31

29.    ^ http://www.searchtruth.com/book_display.php?book=32&translator=2

30.    ^ http://muttaqun.com/marriage.html

31.    ^ a b Annemarie Schimmel, Islam-: An Introduction, p.65, SUNY Press, 1992

32.    ^ Interview: William Montgomery Watt, by Bashir Maan & Alastair McIntosh (1999). A paper using the material on this interview was published in The Coracle, the Iona Community, summer 2000, issue 3:51, pp. 8-11.

33.    ^ Bloom and Blair (2002) p.46-47

34.    ^ Michael J. Perry, The Idea of Human Rights: Four Inquiries, p.78, Oxford University Press US

35.    ^ Yvonne Yazbeck Haddad, John L. Esposito, Islam, Gender, and Social Change, Oxford University Press US, 2004, p.163

36.    ^ a b c Encyclopaedia of Islam, saghir

37.    ^ “Social Sciences and the Qur’an,” in Encyclopaedia of the Qur’an, vol. 5, ed. Jane Dammen McAuliffe. Leiden: Brill, pp. 66-76.

38.    ^ “Community and Society in the Qur’an,” in Encyclopaedia of the Qur’an, vol. 1, ed. Jane Dammen McAuliffe. Leiden: Brill, pp. 385.

39.    ^ a b Islamic ethics, Encyclopedia of Ethics

40.    ^ Encyclopaedia of Islam Online, Akhlaq

41.    ^ a b Michael Bonner, “Poverty and Economics in the Qur’an”, Journal of Interdisciplinary History, xxxv:3 (Winter, 2005), 391–406

42.    ^ Nadvi (2000), pg. 403-4

43.    ^ Nadvi (2000), pg. 405-6

44.    ^ Nadvi (2000), pg. 407-8

45.    ^ Cambridge History of Islam, Vol. 1A (1977), p.57

46.    ^ Hourani (2003), p.22

47.    ^ Esposito (1998), pp.10-11

48.    ^ Sonn, pg.24-6

49.    ^ Esposito, Islam: The Straight Path, extended edition, p.35

50.    ^ Esposito, Islam: The Straight Path, extended edition, p.36

51.    ^ Bloom and Blair (2002) p.46

52.    ^ The Cambridge History of Islam (1970), p. 34

53.    ^ Nasr (2004), The Heart of Islam: Enduring Values for Humanity, p. 104, ISBN 0-06-073064-1.

54.    ^ Minou Reeves (2000), Muhammad in Europe, New York University Press, p. 42.


Muhammad: A Short Biography. Oxford: Oneworld. ISBN 1-85168-131-0. Lewis, Bernard (1984). The Jews of Islam. US: Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-05419-3. P.J. Bearman, Th. Bianquis, C.E. Bosworth, E. van Donzel and W.P. Heinrichs (Ed.), Encyclopaedia of Islam Online. Brill Academic Publishers. ISSN 1573-3912. Watt, William Montgomery (1974). Muhammad: Prophet and Statesman. United Kingdom: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-881078-4. Jonathan M. Bloom, Sheila S. Blair (1974). Islam: A Thousand Years of Faith and Power. Yale University Press. ISBN 0-300-09422-1. Manning, Patrick (1990). Slavery and African Life: Occidental, Oriental, and African Slave Trades. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-34867-6. Nadvi, Abdus Salam (2000). The ways of the Sahabah. Karachi: Darul Ishaat. Translated by Muhammad Yunus Qureshi. Schimmel, Annemarie (1992). Islam: An Introduction. US: SUNY Press. ISBN 0-7914-1327-6. Sonn, Tamara (2004). A Brief History of Islam. Blackwell Publishing. ISBN 1-4051-0900-9.

32-Shia Islam

Shia Islam

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


The Imam Husayn Shrine in Karbala, Iraq is a holy site for Shia Muslims

Shia Islam (Arabic: شيعة‎, Shīʿah) is the second largest denomination of Islam. Adherents of Shia Islam are called Shi’is [ˈshē-ēz], Shi’ites, or Shias. “Shia” is the short form of the historic phrase Shīʻatu ʻAlī (شيعة علي), meaning “followers of Ali“, “faction of Ali”, or “party of Ali”.[1][2][3][4][5]

Shī‘a terms

Shi’a Islam Moderate Shi’a Real Shi’a Shi’a of Ali Shi’a of Uthman Shi’a of Mauwiyah

Like other schools of thought in Islam, Shia Islam is based on the teachings of the Quran and the message of the Islamic prophet Muhammad.[6][7] In contrast to other schools of thought, the Shia believe that only God has the right to choose a representative to safeguard Islam, the Quran and sharia (based upon verses in the Quran which stipulate this according to the Shia).[8] For this reason, the Shias look to Ali, whom they consider divinely appointed, as the rightful successor to Muhammad, and the first imam. The Shia believe that there are numerous narrations where Muhammad selected Ali as his successor.[9][10]

Shias believe that Muhammad’s family, the Ahl al-Bayt (“the People of the House”), and certain individuals among his descendants, who are known as Imams, have special spiritual and political authority over the community. Therefore, Shias prefer hadith attributed to the Ahl al-Bayt and close associates, and have their own separate collection of hadiths.[11][12] All Shias agree on the succession of Hassan and Hussein after Ali, but they may differ after Hussein.[13][14] Hassan and Hussein are described by Shias as “leaders of all youths in Paradise“, and believe that these sons of Ali were the true leaders and caliphs of the Muslims.[15][16] Shias regard Ali as the successor of Muhammad not only ruling over the community in justice, but also interpreting Islamic practices and its esoteric meaning. Hence he was regarded as being free from error and sin (infallible), and appointed by God by divine decree (nass) to be the first Imam.[17] Ali is known as “perfect man” (al-insan al-kamil) similar to Muhammad, according to Shia viewpoint.[18]



Shia in Arabic

The word Shia (Classical Arabic: شيعة shīʻah /ˈʃiːʕa/) means follower[19] and is the short form of the historic phrase shīʻatu ʻAlī (شيعة علي /ˈʃiːʕatu ˈʕaliː/), meaning “followers of Ali”, “faction of Ali”, or “party of Ali”.[1][3][4][5] The term has widely appeared in hadith and is repeated four times in the Quran;[2] for example verse 37:83[20] mentions Abraham as a Shia (follower) of Noah.[21] Shi’ite, Shiite, Shia, and Shiism are alternative terms.


The position of Ali is supported by numerous hadith, including Hadith of the pond of Khumm, Hadith of the two weighty things, Hadith of the pen and paper, Hadith of the invitation of the close families, and Hadith of the Twelve Successors. In particular, the Hadith of the Cloak is often quoted to illustrate Muhammad’s feeling towards Ali and his family by both Sunni and Shia scholars. Therefore, Shias use hadiths narrated by the Ahl al-Bayt and close associates to understand the Quran.

Although there were several Shia branches through history, modern Shia Islam is divided into three main branches.[22] The largest Shia sect in the early 21st century is the Ithna ashariyya,[23] commonly referred to in English as the Twelvers, while smaller branches include the Ismaili and Zaidi.[24]

The Shia Islamic faith is vast and inclusive of many different groups.[1] Shia theological beliefs, and religious practises such as prayers slightly differ from the Sunnis. While all Muslims pray five times daily, Shias have the option of always combining Dhuhr with Asr and Maghrib with Isha’, as there are three distinct times mentioned in the Quran. The Sunnis tend to combine only under certain circumstances.[25][26] Shia Islam embodies a completely independent system of religious interpretation and political authority in the Muslim world.[27][28] The Shia identity emerged during the lifetime of Muhammad,[29] and Shia theology was formulated in the 2nd century AH, or after Hijra (8th century CE).[30] The first Shia governments and societies were established by the end of the 3rd century AH/9th century CE. The 4th century AH /10th century CE has been referred to by Louis Massignon as ‘the Shiite Ismaili century in the history of Islam’.[31]

Twelver Shia Muslims believe that Imam Mahdi (the twelfth imam, Muhammad al-Mahdi) is already on earth and is currently hidden (into occultation, Minor Occultation 874–941, Major Occultation began 941 and is believed to continue until a time decided by Allah) and will return at the end of time, whereas Sunnis believe the Mahdi will appear sometime in the future.[32]


Succession of Ali


The Investiture of Ali at Ghadir Khumm (MS Arab 161, fol. 162r, AD 1309/8 Ilkhanid manuscript illustration)

Shia Muslims believe that just as a prophet is appointed by God alone, only God has the prerogative to appoint the successor to his prophet. Ali was his first caliph. They believe that God chose Ali to be the successor, infallible and divinely chosen. Thus, they say that Muhammad, before his death, appointed Ali as his successor.

Ali was Muhammad’s first cousin and closest living male relative as well as his son-in-law, having married his daughter Fatimah.[1][33][34] ‘Ali would eventually become the fourth Muslim caliph.[35]

Shia Muslims believe that after the last pilgrimage, Muhammad ordered the gathering of Muslims at the pond of Khumm and it was there that Muhammad nominated Ali to be his successor. The hadith of the pond of Khumm (Arabic: غدير خم‎) refers to the saying (i.e., Hadith) about a historical event of appointment, crucial to Islamic history. This event took place on 18th of Dhu al-Hijjah of 10 AH in the Islamic calendar (March 10, 632 AD) at a place called Ghadir Khumm, which is located near the city of al-Juhfah, Saudi Arabia.[36]

Shia Muslims believe it to be an appointment of Ali by Muhammad as his successor, while Sunni Muslims believe it to be a simple defense of Ali in the face of unjust criticism.[33]

Shia Muslims further believe that the wording of the sermon delivered by Muhammad was as follows:

Oh people! Reflect on the Quran and comprehend its verses. Look into its clear verses and do not follow its ambiguous parts, for by Allah, none shall be able to explain to you its warnings and its mysteries, nor shall anyone clarify its interpretation, other than the one that I have grasped his hand, brought up beside myself, [and lifted his arm,] the one about whom I inform you that whomever I am his master (Mawla), this Ali is his master (Mawla); and he is Ali Ibn Abi Talib, my brother, the executor of my will (Wasiyyi), whose appointment as your guardian and leader has been sent down to me from Allah, the mighty and the majestic.

Muhammad, ‘The Farewell Sermon[37]

When Muhammad died, Ali and Muhammad’s closest relatives made the funeral arrangements. While they were preparing his body, Abu Bakr, Umar, and Abu Ubaidah ibn al Jarrah (Abu ‘Ubayda) met with the leaders of Medina and elected Abu Bakr as khalifa (“caliph”). Ali and his family were dismayed, but accepted the appointment for the sake of unity in the early Muslim community.[33]

It was not until the murder of the third khalifa, Uthman, that the Muslims in Medina invited ‘Ali to become the fourth khalifa.[33]

While Ali was caliph, his capital was in Kufah, in present-day Iraq.[1]

Ali’s rule over the early Muslim community was often contested, to the extent that wars were waged against him. As a result, he had to struggle to maintain his power against the groups who broke away after giving him allegiance, or those who wished to take his position. After Ali’s murder in 661 CE, his main rival, Muawiyah, claimed the caliphate.[38] While the rebels who accused Uthman of nepotism affirmed Ali’s khilafa, they later turned against him and fought him.[33]

Ali ruled from 656 CE to 661 CE,[33] when he was assassinated.[34] while prostrating (sujud) in prayer. Shia add “و عليٌ وليُّ الله” “and Ali is the wali (chosen one) of God” (wa-‘Aliyun waliyu l-Lāh), to the adhan and Shahada but this is not obligatory.[39] Ali is regarded as the foremost authority on the Tafsir and hadith.[40]



Imam Ali Mosque in Najaf, Iraq, where Ali is buried.

The Shia regard Hussein ibn Ali as an imam (which is considered a divine spiritual leader appointed by God) and a martyr. He is believed to be the third of the imams from the Ahl al-Bayt, who are supposed to succeed Muhammad, and that he set out on his path in order to save the religion of Islam and the Islamic nation from annihilation at the hands of Yazid I. He is notable for being the last imam following Ali whom all Shia sub-branches agree on.[41]

Imamate of the Ahl al-Bayt

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/b/b2/Dhulfiqar.png/220px-Dhulfiqar.pngA fictional representation of the Sword of Ali, the Zulfiqar, two swords were captured from the temple of the pagan polytheist God Manat during the Raid of Sa’d ibn Zaid al-Ashhali. Muhammad gave them to Ali, saying that one of them was Al-Dhulfiqar, which became the famous sword of Ali and a symbol of the Shia Islam[42]

Most of the early Shia as well as Zaydis differed only marginally from mainstream Sunnis in their views on political leadership, but it is possible in this sect to see a refinement of Shia doctrine. Early Sunnis traditionally held that the political leader must come from the tribe of Muhammad—namely, the Quraysh. The Zaydis narrowed the political claims of the Ali’s supporters, claiming that not just any descendant of Ali would be eligible to lead the Muslim community (ummah) but only those males directly descended from Muhammad through the union of Ali and Fatimah. But during the Abbasid revolts, other Shia, who came to be known as Imamiyyah (followers of the imams), followed the theological school of Ja’far al-Sadiq. They asserted a more exalted religious role for imams and insisted that, at any given time, whether in power or not, a single male descendant of Ali and Fatimah was the divinely appointed imam and the sole authority, in his time, on all matters of faith and law. To those Shia, love of the imams and of their persecuted cause became as important as belief in God’s oneness and the mission of Muhammad.[23]

Later most of Shia, including Twelver and Ismaili, became Imamis. Imami Shia believe that Imams are the spiritual and political successors to Muhammad.[23] Imams are human individuals who not only rule over the community with justice, but also are able to keep and interpret the divine law and its esoteric meaning. The words and deeds of Muhammad and the imams are a guide and model for the community to follow; as a result, they must be free from error and sin, and must be chosen by divine decree, or nass, through Muhammad.[43][44]

According to this view, there is always an Imam of the Age, who is the divinely appointed authority on all matters of faith and law in the Muslim community. Ali was the first imam of this line, the rightful successor to Muhammad, followed by male descendants of Muhammad through his daughter Fatimah.[23]


Kalema at Qibla of the Mosque of Ibn Tulun in Cairo, Egypt with phrase “Ali-un-Waliullah”

This difference between following either the Ahl al-Bayt (Muhammad’s family and descendants) or Caliph Abu Bakr has shaped Shia and non-Shia views on some of the Quran, the hadith (narrations from Muhammad) and other areas of Islam. For instance, the collection of Hadith venerated by Shia Muslims is centered on narrations by members of the Ahl al-Bayt and their supporters, while some Hadith by narrators not belonging to or supporting the Ahl al-Bayt are not included (those of Abu Hurairah, for example). According to Sunnis, Ali was the fourth successor to Abu Bakr, while the Shia maintain that Ali was the first divinely sanctioned “Imam,” or successor of Muhammad. The seminal event in Shia history is the martyrdom in 680 CE at the Battle of Karbala of Ali’s son Hussein ibn Ali, who led a non-allegiance movement against the defiant caliph (71 of Hussein’s followers were killed as well). Hussein came to symbolize resistance to tyranny.

It is believed in Twelver and Ismaili Shia Islam that ‘aql, divine wisdom, was the source of the souls of the prophets and imams and gave them esoteric knowledge called ḥikmah and that their sufferings were a means of divine grace to their devotees.[23][45][46] Although the Imam was not the recipient of a divine revelation, he had a close relationship with God, through which God guides him, and the imam in turn guides the people. Imamate, or belief in the divine guide, is a fundamental belief in the Twelver and Ismaili Shia branches and is based on the concept that God would not leave humanity without access to divine guidance.[47]

In Shia Islam, there is a third phrase of the Shahada, Ali-un-waliullah, which depicts the importance of the Imamate.[48]

– The fundamental first phrase La- ilaha-ill-al-lah is the foundation stone of Islam, the belief that “there is no god but Allah”. This is the confession of Tawhid.

– The second phrase, Mohammad-ur –rasul-al-lah, says “Mohammad is God’s Rasul, Nabi, the Messenger, Apostle”. This is the acceptance of the “Nabuwat“, or prophethood, of Muhammad.

– According to Shia Islam, Muhammad declared Ali bin Abu Talib as his successor and said that “for whoever I am a Moula of them, Ali is his Moula”. Hence, they say the Kalema required further confession of the third phrase Ali-un- wali-ul-lah, meaning “Ali is his (Muhammad’s) Wali”, its caretaker, stressing the need that for continuation of faith there is a requirement of Wali, the imams who are the real caretakers of Islam.

The Shahada thus includes three Islamic teachings, Tawhid, Nabuwat and Imamate. In this belief, the Nabi, Muhammad and the imams are so linked together that these cannot be viewed separately. One leads to the other and finally to God, “God”, the Almighty.

In one of the Qibla of Ma’ad al-Mustansir Billah of the Fatimid Caliphate, the Mosque of Ibn Tulun, was engraved his name and the phrase kalema‐tut‐sahadat (see image above left), giving specific importance to the third phrase, Ali –un‐ wali ‐ ul –lah, hence to the Imamate.



After Muhammad, Ali is credited as the first male to accept Islam

Ismah is the concept of infallibility or “divinely bestowed freedom from error and sin” in Islam.[49] Muslims believe that Muhammad and other prophets in Islam possessed ismah. Twelver and Ismaili Shia Muslims also attribute the quality to Imams as well as to Fatimah, daughter of Muhammad, in contrast to the Zaidi, who do not attribute ‘ismah to the Imams.

According to Shia theologians, infallibility is considered a rational necessary precondition for spiritual and religious guidance. They argue that since God has commanded absolute obedience from these figures they must only order that which is right. The state of infallibility is based on the Shia interpretation of the verse of purification.[50][51] Thus, they are the most pure ones, the only immaculate ones preserved from, and immune to, all uncleanness.[52] It does not mean that supernatural powers prevent them from committing a sin, but due to the fact that they have an absolute belief in God, that they find themselves in the presence of God.[53]

They also have a complete knowledge of God’s will. They are in possession of all knowledge brought by the angels to the prophets (nabi) and the messengers (Rasul). Their knowledge encompasses the totality of all times. They thus act without fault in religious matters.[54]


Tawassul (Arabic: توسل‎) is an Islamic religious practice in which a Muslim seeks nearness to God. A rough translation would be: “To draw near to what one seeks after and to approach that which one desires.” The exact definition and method of tawassul is a matter of some dispute within the Muslim community.

Muslims who practice tawassul point to the Quran, Islam’s holy book, as the origin of the practice. Many Muslims believe it is a commandment upon them to “draw near” to God.[55] Amongst Sufi and Barelvi Muslims within Sunni Islam, as well as Twelver Shia Muslims, it refers to the act of supplicating to God through a prophet, imam or Sufi saint, whether dead or alive.[56]

The Occultation

The Occultation in Shia Islam refers to a belief that the messianic figure, the Mahdi, is an Imam who has disappeared and will one day return alongside Jesus and fill the world with justice. According to the Twelver Shia, the main goal of the Mahdi will be to establish an Islamic state and to apply Islamic laws that were revealed to the Prophet of Islam.[57]

Some Shia, such as the Zaidi and Nizari Ismaili, do not believe in the idea of the Occultation. The groups which do believe in it differ upon which lineage of the Imamate is valid, and therefore which individual has gone into occultation. They believe there are many signs that will indicate the time of his return.


Graph of notable figures

Adem (Adam) – 1



Nuh (Noah) – 2





Ibrahim (Abraham) – 3





Ismail (Ishmael)

Ishaq (Isaac)





Yaqub (Jacob)





Abdul Muttalib

Isa (Jesus) – 5

Musa (Moses) – 4




Abd Allah ibn Abd al Muttalib (died 570 AD)

Abu Talib ibn ‘Abd al-Muttalib (died 620 AD)





Muhammad (died 632 AD) – 6





Fatimah (died 11 AH)

Ali (died 661 AD)





Hasan ibn Ali (died 669AD)

Hussein ibn Ali (died 680AD)



Origin of the Shia

According to Encyclopædia Britannica and others,[58] the Shia are believed to have started as a political party and developed into a religious movement, influencing Sunnis and producing a number of important sects.

Early in the history of Islam, the Shīʿites were a political faction (Arabic shīʿat ʿAlī, “party of ʿAlī”) that supported the power of ʿAlī ibn Abī Ṭālib (the fourth caliph [khalīfah, successor of Muhammad]) and, later, of his descendants.[23]

Hossein Nasr disagrees with this and writes:

Shi’ism was not brought into existence only by the question of the political succession to Muhammad as so many Western works claim (although this question was of course of great importance). The problem of political succession may be said to be the element that crystallized the Shi’ites into a distinct group, and political suppression in later periods, especially the martyrdom of Imam Husayn-upon whom be peace-only accentuated this tendency of the Shi’ites to see themselves as a separate community within the Islamic world. The principal cause of the coming into being of Shi’ism, however, lies in the fact that this possibility existed within the Islamic revelation itself and so had to be realized. Inasmuch as there were exoteric [Zaheri] and esoteric [Bateni] interpretations from the very beginning, from which developed the schools (madh’hab) of the Sharia and Sufism in the Sunni world, there also had to be an interpretation of Islam, which would combine these elements in a single whole. This possibility was realized in Shi’ism, for which the Imam is the person in whom these two aspects of traditional authority are united and in whom the religious life is marked by a sense of tragedy and martyrdom… Hence the question which arose was not so much who should be the successor of Muhammad as what the function and qualifications of such a person would be.[59]

Western scholarship that views Shi’ism as a political movement is factually incorrect. The concept of separation of church and state did not yet exist in the Muslim community in the 6th century AD. S.H.M Jafri, the author of The Origin and Early Development of Shi’a Islam, writes:

Those who thus emphasize the political nature of Shi’ism are perhaps too eager to project the modern Western notion of the separation of church and state back into seventh century Arabian society, where such a notion would be not only foreign, but completely unintelligible. Such an approach also implies the spontaneous appearance of Shi’ism rather than its gradual emergence and development within Islamic society.[60]


Disagreement broke out over who would succeed Muhammad as leader of the Muslim community. While the Sunnis followed the companions of Muhammad, the Shia followed Ali. This dispute eventually led to the First Fitna, which was the first major civil war within the Islamic Caliphate. The Fitna began as a series of revolts fought against the first Imam, Ali ibn Abi Talib, caused by the assassination of his political predecessor, Uthman ibn Affan. It lasted for the entirety of Ali’s reign, and its end is marked by Muawiyah’s assumption of the caliphate (founding the Umayyad dynasty), and the subsequent recorded peace treaty between him and Hasan ibn Ali.

The Second Fitna was when the first Umayyad Caliph Muawiya I was succeeded upon his death in 680 by his son, Yazid I. Yazid’s first opposition came from supporters of Hussein ibn Ali, who was the grandson of Muhammad and the son of the former Caliph Ali ibn Abi Talib, who had been assassinated. Husayn and many of his closest supporters were martyrd by Yazid’s troops at the Battle of Karbala. This battle is often cited as the definitive break between the Shia and Sunni sects of Islam, and until this day it has been commemorated each year by Shia Muslims on the Day of Ashura.

Fatimid rule (909–1171)

One of the earliest nations where the rulers were Shia (Ismaili) Muslims was the Fatamid Caliphate, which controlled much of North Africa, the Levant, parts of Arabia and Mecca and Medina.

Būyid rule

The founders of the Būyid confederation were ‘Imad al-Daula and his two younger brothers, Rukn al-Dawla and Mu’izz al-Daula.

Safavid rule (1501–1736)

A major turning point in Shia history was the Safavid dynasty in Persia.

Mongol conquests onwards and the resurgence of antagonism between the two groups. The beginning of the emergence of an independent body of ulama capable of taking a political stand different from the policies of the state. The growth in importance of Iranian centers of religious learning and change from Twelver Shiaism being a predominantly Arab phenomenon.[61] The growth of the Akhbari School which preached that only the Quran, hadith are to be bases for verdicts, rejecting the use of reasoning.

With the fall of the Safavids, the state in Persia – including the state system of courts with government-appointed judges (qadis) – became much weaker. This gave the Sharia courts of mujtahids an opportunity to fill in the slack and enabled “the ulama to assert their judicial authority.” The Usuli School also increased in strength at this time.[62]

Shia Rule


Extent of Shia rule under the Fatimids


Extent of Shia rule under the Buyids


Extent of Shia rule under the Safavid dynasty

Akhbaris versus Usulis

The Akhbari movement “crystalized” as a “separate movement” with the writings of Muhammad Amin al-Astarabadi (died 1627 AD). It rejected the use of reasoning in deriving verdicts and believed that only the Quran, hadith, (prophetic sayings and recorded opinions of the Imams) and consensus should be used as sources to derive verdicts (fatāwā). Unlike Usulis, Akhbari did and do not follow marjas who practice ijtihad.[63]

It achieved its greatest influence in the late Safavid and early post-Safavid era, when it dominated Twelver Shia Islam.[64] However, shortly thereafter Muhammad Baqir Behbahani (died 1792), along with other Usuli mujtahids, crushed the Akhbari movement.[65] It remains only a small minority in the Shia Muslim world. One result of the resolution of this conflict was the rise in importance of the concept of ijtihad and the position of the mujtahid (as opposed to other ulama) in the 18th and early 19th centuries. It was from this time that the division of the Shia world into mujtahid (those who could follow their own independent judgment) and muqallid (those who had to follow the rulings of a mujtahid) took place. According to author Moojan Momen, “up to the middle of the 19th century there were very few mujtahids (three or four) anywhere at any one time,” but “several hundred existed by the end of the 19th century.”[66]

Allamah Majlisi

Muhammad Baqir Majlisi, commonly referenced to using the title Allamah, was a highly influential scholar during the 17th century (Safavid era). Majlisi’s works emphasized his desire to purge Twelver Shi`ism of the influences of mysticism and philosophy, and to propagate an ideal of strict adherence to the Islamic law (sharia).[67] Majlisi promoted specifically Shia rituals such as mourning for Hussein ibn Ali and visitation (ziyarat) of the tombs of the Imams and Imamzadas, stressing “the concept of the Imams as mediators and intercessors for man with God.”[68]




The Shia majority countries are Iran, Iraq, Azerbaijan, and Bahrain; all are coloured in red.



Distribution of Sunni and Shia branches of Islam

It is variously estimated that 10–20%[69][70][71][72] of the world’s Muslims are Shia. They may number up to 200 million as of 2009.[70] The Shia majority countries are Iran, Iraq, Azerbaijan and Bahrain.[73] They also constitute 36.3% of entire local population and 38.6% of the local Muslim population of the Middle East.[74]

Shia Muslims constitute over 35% of the population in Lebanon,[75] over 45% of the population in Yemen,[76] 20-40% of the population in Kuwait[70][77], over 20% in Turkey,[70][78] 10–20% of the population in Pakistan,[70] and 10-19% of Afghanistan‘s population.[79][80]

Saudi Arabia hosts a number of distinct Shia communities, including the Twelver Baharna in the Eastern Province, the Nakhawila of Medina, and the Ismaili Sulaymani and Zaidiyyah of Najran. Estimations put the number of Shiite citizens at 2-4 million, accounting for roughly 15% of the local population.[81]

Significant Shia communities exist in the coastal regions of West Sumatra and Aceh in Indonesia (see Tabuik). The Shia presence is negligible elsewhere in Southeast Asia, where Muslims are predominantly Shafi’i Sunnis.

A significant Shia minority is present in Nigeria, centered around Kano State (see Shi’a Islam in Nigeria). East Africa holds several populations of Ismaili Shia, primarily descendants of immigrants from South Asia during the colonial period, such as the Khoja.

According to Shia Muslims, one of the lingering problems in estimating Shia population is that unless Shia form a significant minority in a Muslim country, the entire population is often listed as Sunni. The reverse, however, has not held true, which may contribute to imprecise estimates of the size of each sect. For example, the 1926 rise of the House of Saud in Arabia brought official discrimination against Shia.[82]

List of nations with Shia population

Figures indicated in the first three columns below are based on the October 2009 demographic study by the Pew Research Center report, Mapping the Global Muslim Population.[70][71]

Nations with over 100,000 Shia[70][71]


Shia population[70][71]

Percent of Muslim population that is Shia[70][71]

Percent of global Shia population[70][71]

Minimum estimate/claim

Maximum estimate/claim


&6600066,000,000 – 70,000,000




&1900019,000,000 – 22,000,000




17,000,000 – 26,000,000



43,250,000[83] – 57,666,666[84][85]


&1600016,000,000 – 24,000,000



40,000,000[86] – 50,000,000.[87]


&080008,000,000 – 10,000,000




&070007,000,000 – 11,000,000




&050005,000,000 – 7,000,000



85% of total population[88]


&50005,000,000 – 6,000,000





&030003,000,000 – 4,000,000



15–19% of total population[79]


&030003,000,000 – 4,000,000







5-10 million[89]

Saudi Arabia

&020003,000,000 – 4,000,000




&010001,000,000 – 1,600,000[90]



Estimated, no official census.[94]






&00100700,000 – 900,000





&00500500,000 – 700,000



35–40% of total population[77]


&00400400,000 – 600,000




&00400375,000 – 400,000



375,000 (66%[96] of citizen population)

400,000 (70%[97] of citizen population)





United Arab Emirates

&00300300,000 – 400,000



United States

&00200200,000 – 400,000



United Kingdom

&00100100,000 – 300,000












The dispute over the right successor to Muhammad resulted in the formation of two main sects, the Sunni and the Shia. The Sunni, or “followers of the way,” followed the caliphate and maintained the premise that any devout Muslim could potentially become the successor to Muhammad if accepted by his peers. The Shia, however, maintain that only the person selected by God and announced by the Prophet could become his successor; thus, Ali became the religious authority for the Shia people. Militarily established and holding control over the Umayyad government, many Sunni rulers perceived the Shia as a threat – both to their political and religious authority.[98]

The Sunni rulers under the Umayyads sought to marginalize the Shia minority, and later the Abbasids turned on their Shia allies and imprisoned, persecuted, and killed them. The persecution of the Shia throughout history by Sunni co-religionists has often been characterized by brutal and genocidal acts. Comprising only about 10–15% of the entire Muslim population, the Shia remain a marginalized community to this day in many Sunni Arab dominant countries without the rights to practice their religion and organize.[99]

At various times Shia groups have faced persecution.[100][101][102][103][104][105] In 1514 the Ottoman sultan, Selim I, ordered the massacre of 40,000 Anatolian Shia.[106] According to Jalal Al-e-Ahmad, “Sultan Selim I carried things so far that he announced that the killing of one Shiite had as much otherworldly reward as killing 70 Christians.”[107] In 1801 the Al Saud-Wahhabi armies attacked and sacked Karbala, the Shia shrine in eastern Iraq that commemorates the death of Husayn.[108]

In March 2011, the Malaysian government declared the Shia a ‘deviant’ sect and banned them from promoting their faith to other Muslims, but left them free to practise it themselves.[109]



Shia Muslims in Bahrain hitting their chests during the time of Muharram in remembrance of the hardships Hussein ibn Ali went through.

Both Sunni and Shia, celebrate the following annual holidays:

Eid ul-Fitr, which marks the end of fasting during the month of Ramadan Eid al-Adha, which marks the end of the Hajj or pilgrimage to Mecca

The following days are some of the most important holidays observed by Shia Muslims:

Eid al-Ghadeer, which is the anniversary of the Ghadir Khum, the occasion when Muhammad announced Ali’s Imamate before a multitude of Muslims.[110] Eid al-Ghadeer is held on the 18th of Dhu al-Hijjah. The Mourning of Muharram and the Day of Ashura for Shia commemorates Hussein ibn Ali’s martyrdom. Imam Husayn was a grandson of Muhammad who was killed by Yazid ibn Muawiyah. Ashurah is a day of deep mourning which occurs on the 10th of Muharram. Arba’een commemorates the suffering of the women and children of Hussein ibn Ali’s household. After Hussein was killed, they were marched over the desert, from Karbala (central Iraq) to Shaam (Damascus, Syria). Many children (some of whom were direct descendants of Muhammad) died of thirst and exposure along the route. Arba’een occurs on the 20th of Safar, 40 days after Ashurah. Mawlid, Muhammad’s birth date. Unlike Sunni Muslims, who celebrate 12th of Rabi’ al-awwal as Muhammad’s birthday, Shia Muslims celebrate the 17th of the month, which also coincides with the birth date of the sixth imam, Ja’far al-Sadiq.[111] Note that, not all Sunni Muslims celebrate Muhammad’s birthday, stating it as a bid’ah. Fatimah‘s birthday on 20th of Jumada al-Thani. It’s also considered as the “Women and Mothers’ day”. Ali‘s birthday on 13th of Rajab. It’s also considered as the “Men and Fathers’ day”. Mid-Sha’ban is the birth date of the 12th and final Imam of Twelvers, Muhammad al-Mahdi. It is celebrated by Shia Muslims on the 15th of Sha’aban. Laylat al-Qadr, anniversary of the night of the revelation of the Quran. Eid al-Mubahila celebrates a meeting between the Ahl al-Bayt (household of Muhammad) and a Christian deputation from Najran. Al-Mubahila is held on the 24th of Dhu al-Hijjah.

Holy Sites


Imam Husayn Shrine in Karbala. Two tall minarets of the Al Abbas Mosque are also seen in the picture.

The holiest sites common to all Muslims are Mecca and Medina. For Shias, the Imam Husayn Shrine, Al Abbas Mosque in Karbala, and Imam Ali Mosque in Najaf are highly revered too.

Additionally, other venerated sites include Wadi-us-Salaam cemetery in Najaf, Al-Baqi’ cemetery in Medina, Imam Reza shrine in Mashhad, Kadhimiya Mosque in Kadhimiya, Al-Askari Mosque in Samarra, Sahla Mosque and Great Mosque of Kufa in Kufa and several other sites in the cities of Qom, Susa and Damascus.

Most of the holy Islamic sites in today’s Saudi Arabia have been destroyed by Wahhabis and the Saudi royal family, the most notable being the shrines and tombs in the Al-Baqi’ cemetery in 1925.[112] In 2006, a bombing resulted in the destruction of the shrine of Al-Askari Mosque.[113]



Shia branches

The Shia faith throughout its history split over the issue of the Imamate. The largest branch are the Twelvers, followed by the Zaidi and Ismaili. All three groups follow a different line of Imamate.


Twelver Shia or the Ithnā’ashariyyah’ is the largest branch of Shia Islam, and the term Shia Muslim usually refers to Twelver Shia Muslims only. The term Twelver is derived from the doctrine of believing in twelve divinely ordained leaders, known as The Twelve Imams. Twelver Shia are also known as Imami or Ja’fari, originated from the name of the 6th Imam, Ja’far al-Sadiq, who elaborated the twelver jurisprudence.[114]

Twelvers constitute the majority of the population in Iran (90%),[115] Azerbaijan (85%),[1][88] Bahrain (70%), Iraq (65%) and Lebanon (65% of Muslims).[116][117][118]


Twelver doctrine is based on five principles.[119] These five principles known as Usul ad-Din are as follow:[120][121]

Monotheism, God is one and unique. Justice, the concept of moral rightness based on ethics, fairness, and equity, along with the punishment of the breach of said ethics. Last Judgment, God’s final assessment of humanity. Prophethood, the institution by which God sends emissaries, or prophets, to guide mankind. Leadership, a divine institution which succeeded the institution of Prophethood. Its appointees (imams) are divinely appointed.

More specifically, these principles are known as Usul al-Madhhab (principles of the Shia sect) according to Twelver Shias which differ from Daruriyat al-Din (Necessities of Religion) which are principles in order for one to be a Muslim. The Necessities of Religion do not include Leadership (Imamah) as it is not a requirement in order for one to be recognized as a Muslim. However, this category, according to Twelver scholars like Ayatollah al-Khoei, does include belief in God, Prophethood, the Day of Resurrection and other “necessities” (like belief in angels). In this regard, Twelver Shias draw a distinction in terms of believing in the main principles of Islam on the one hand, and specifically Shia doctrines like Imamah on the other.

The Twelve Imams

The Twelve Imams are the spiritual and political successors to Muhammad for the Twelvers.[23] According to the theology of Twelvers, the successor of Muhammad is an infallible human individual who not only rules over the community with justice but also is able to keep and interpret the divine law and its esoteric meaning. The words and deeds of Muhammad and the imams are a guide and model for the community to follow; as a result, they must be free from error and sin, and Imams must be chosen by divine decree, or nass, through Muhammad.[43][44] Each Imam was the son of the previous Imam, with the exception of Hussein ibn Ali, who was the brother of Hasan ibn Ali.[23] The twelfth and final Imam is Muhammad al-Mahdi, who is believed by the Twelvers to be currently alive and in occultation.[47]

List of Twelve Imams



600 – 661

ʿAlī ibn Abī Ṭālib , also known as Amīr al-Muʾminīn


Hasan ibn Ali

625 – 669

Ḥasan ibn ʿAlī , also known as al-Ḥasan al-Mujtaba


Hussein ibn Ali

626 – 680

Ḥusayn ibn ʿAlī , also known as al-Ḥusayn al-Shahīd


Zayn al-‘Ābidīn

658 – 713

ʿAlī ibn al-Ḥusayn , also known as ʿAli Zayn al-ʿAbidīn


Muhammad al-Baqir

676 – 743

Muḥammad ibn ʿAlī , also known as Muḥammad al-Bāqir


Ja’far al-Sadiq

703 – 765

Jaʿfar ibn Muḥammad , also known as Jaʿfar al-Ṣādiq


Musa al-Kazim

745 – 799

Mūsā ibn Jaʿfar , also known as Mūsā al-Kāẓim


Ali al-Rida

765 – 818

ʿAlī ibn Mūsā , also known as ʿAli al-Riḍā


Muhammad al-Taqi

810 – 835

Muḥammad ibn ʿAlī , also known as Muḥammad al-Jawād and Muḥammad al-Taqī


Ali al-Hadi

827 – 868

ʿAlī ibn Muḥammad , also known as ʿAlī al-Hādī and ʿAlī al-Naqī


Hasan al-Askari

846 – 874

Ḥasan ibn ʿAlī , also known as Ḥasan al-ʿAskarī


Muhammad al-Mahdi

869 – In occultation

Muḥammad ibn al-Ḥasan , also known as al-Ḥujjat ibn al-Ḥasan, Imam al-Mahdī, Imam al-Aṣr, al-Qāʾim, etc.


The Twelver jurisprudence is called Ja’fari jurisprudence. In this jurisprudence Sunnah is considered to be the oral traditions of Muhammad and their implementation and interpretation by the twelve Imams. There are three schools of Ja’fari jurisprudence: Usuli, Akhbari, and Shaykhi. The Usuli school is by far the largest of the three. Twelver groups that do not follow Ja’fari jurisprudence include the Alawi, Alevi, Bektashi, and Qizilbash.

In Ja’fari jurisprudence, there are ten ancillary pillars, known as Furu’ ad-Din, which are as follows:[122]

Prayer Fasting Pilgrimage Alms giving Struggle Directing others towards good Directing others away from evil Alms giving (One Fifth) (20% tax on yearly earnings after deduction of household and commercial expenses.) Love those who are in God’s path Disassociation with those who oppose God

According to Twelvers, defining and interpretation of Islamic jurisprudence is the responsibility of Muhammad and the twelve Imams. As the 12th Imam is in occultation, it is the duty of clerics to refer to the Islamic literature such as the Quran and hadith and identify legal decisions within the confines of Islamic law to provide means to deal with current issues from an Islamic perspective. In other words, Twelver clerics provide Guardianship of the Islamic Jurisprudence, which was defined by Muhammad and his twelve successors. This process is known as Ijtihad and the clerics are known as Marja’, meaning reference. The labels Allamah and Ayatollah are in use for Twelver clerics.


The Ismaili are the second largest part of the Shia community after the Twelvers. They get their name from their acceptance of Isma’il ibn Jafar as the divinely appointed spiritual successor (Imam) to Ja’far al-Sadiq, wherein they differ from the Twelvers, who accept Musa al-Kadhim, younger brother of Isma’il, as the true Imam.

After the death or Occultation of Muhammad ibn Ismaill in the 8th century, the teachings of Ismailism further transformed into the belief system as it is known today, with an explicit concentration on the deeper, esoteric meaning (bāṭin) of the faith. With the eventual development of Twelverism into the more literalistic (zahir) oriented Akhbari and later Usuli schools of thought, Shiaism developed in two separate directions: the metaphorical Ismailli group focusing on the mystical path and nature of God and the divine manifestation in the personage of the “Imam of the Time” as the “Face of God”, with the more literalistic Twelver group focusing on divine law (sharī’ah) and the deeds and sayings (sunnah) of Muhammad and his successors (the Ahlu l-Bayt), who as A’immah were guides and a light to God.[123]

Though there are several sub-groupings within the Ismailis, the term in today’s vernacular generally refers to the Nizari community, who are followers of the Aga Khan and the largest group among the Ismailiyyah. Another famous community which falls under the Isma’il’s are the Dawoodi Bohras, whose religious leader is Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin. While there are many other branches with extremely differing exterior practices, much of the spiritual theology has remained the same since the days of the faith’s early Imams. In recent centuries Ismailis have largely been an Indo-Iranian community,[124] but they are found in India, Pakistan, Syria, Palestine, Saudi Arabia,[125] Yemen, China,[126] Jordan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, East Africa and South Africa, and have in recent years emigrated to Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and North America.[127]

Ismaili Imams

After the death of Isma’il ibn Jafar, many Ismailis believed the line of Imamate ended and that one day the messianic Mahdi, whom they believed to be Muhammad ibn Ismail, would return and establish an age of justice. One group included the violent Qarmatians, who had a stronghold in Bahrain. In contrast, some Ismailis believed the Imamate did continue, and that the Imams were in occultation and still communicated and taught their followers through a network of dawah “Missionaries”.

In 909, Ubayd Allah al-Mahdi Billah, a claimant to the Ismaili Imamate, established the Fatimid Caliphate. During this period, three lineages of imams formed. The first branch, known today as the Druze, began with Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah. Born in 386 AH (985), he ascended as ruler at the age of eleven. The typical religiously tolerant Fatimid Empire saw much persecution under his reign. When in 411 AH (1021) his mule returned without him, soaked in blood, a religious group that was forming in his lifetime broke off from mainstream Ismailism and did not acknowledge his successor. Later to be known as the Druze, they believe al-Hakim to be the incarnation of God and the prophesied Mahdi who would one day return and bring justice to the world.[128] The faith further split from Ismailism as it developed very unusual doctrines which often class it separately from both Ismailiyyah and Islam.

The second split occurred following the death of Ma’ad al-Mustansir Billah in 487 AH (1094). His rule was the longest of any caliph in any Islamic empire. Upon his passing away, his sons, Nizar the older, and Al-Musta’li, the younger, fought for political and spiritual control of the dynasty. Nizar was defeated and jailed, but according to Nizari tradition, his son escaped to Alamut, where the Iranian Ismaili had accepted his claim.[129] From here on, the Nizari Ismaili community has continued with a present, living Imam.

The Mustaali line split again between the Taiyabi (Dawoodi Bohra is its main branch) and the Hafizi, the former claiming that At-Tayyib Abi l-Qasim (son of Al-Amir bi-Ahkami l-Lah) and the imams following him went into a period of anonymity (Dawr-e-Satr) and appointed a Da’i al-Mutlaq to guide the community, in a similar manner as the Ismaili had lived after the death of Muhammad ibn Ismail. The latter (Hafizi) claimed that the ruling Fatimid Caliph was the Imam, and they died out with the fall of the Fatimid Empire.


Ismailis have categorized their practices which are known as seven pillars. They are as follow:

[39] Walayah (Guardianship) Salah (Prayer) Zakāt (Charity) Sawm (Fasting) Hajj (Pilgrimage) Jihad (Struggle)

Contemporary leadership

For Nizaris, there has been importance placed on a scholarly institution because of the existence of a present Imam. The Imam of the Age defines the jurisprudence, and his guidance may differ with Imams previous to him because of different times and circumstances. For Nizari Ismailis, the Imam is His Highness Karim al-Husayni Aga Khan IV. The Nizari line of Imams has continued to this day as an unending line.

Divine leadership has continued in the Bohra branch through the institution of the “Unrestricted Missionary” Dai. According to Bohra tradition, before the last Imam, At-Tayyib Abi l-Qasim, went into seclusion, his father, the 20th Imam Al-Amir bi-Ahkami l-Lah, had instructed Al-Hurra Al-Malika the Malika (Queen consort) in Yemen to appoint a vicegerent after the seclusion – the Unrestricted Missionary, who as the Imam’s vicegerent has full authority to govern the community in all matters both spiritual and temporal while the lineage of Mustaali-Tayyibi Imams remains in seclusion (Dawr-e-Satr). The three branches of the Mustaali, the Alavi Bohra, Sulaimani Bohra and Dawoodi Bohra, differ on who the current Unrestricted Missionary is.


Zaidiyya, Zaidism or Zaydi is a Shia school named after Zayd ibn Ali. Followers of the Zaidi fiqh are called Zaidis (or occasionally Fivers). However, there is also a group called Zaidi Wasītīs who are Twelvers (see below). Zaidis constitute roughly 40–45% of the population of Yemen.[130]


The Zaydis, Twelvers and Ismailis recognize the same first four Imams; however, the Zaidis recognise Zayd ibn Ali as the fifth. After the time of Zayd ibn Ali, the Zaidis recognized that any descendant of Hasan ibn Ali or Hussein ibn Ali could be Imam after fulfilling certain conditions.[131] Other well-known Zaidi Imams in history were Yahya ibn Zayd, Muhammad al-Nafs az-Zakiyah and Ibrahim ibn Abdullah. In matters of Islamic jurisprudence, the Zaydis follow Zayd ibn Ali’s teachings which are documented in his book Majmu’l Fiqh (in Arabic: مجموع الفِقه). Al-Hadi ila’l-Haqq Yahya, founder of the Zaydi state in Yemen, instituted elements of the jurisprudential tradition of the Sunni Muslim jurist Abū Ḥanīfa, and as a result, Zaydi jurisprudence today continues somewhat parallel to that of the Hanafis.[citation needed]

The Zaidi doctrine of Imamah does not presuppose the infallibility of the Imam nor that the Imams receive divine guidance. Zaidis also do not believe that the Imamate must pass from father to son but believe it can be held by any Sayyid descended from either Hasan ibn Ali or Hussein ibn Ali (as was the case after the death of Hasan ibn Ali). Historically, Zaidis held that Zayd was the rightful successor of the 4th Imam since he led a rebellion against the Umayyads in protest of their tyranny and corruption. Muhammad al-Baqir did not engage in political action, and the followers of Zayd believed that a true Imam must fight against corrupt rulers.[citation needed]


The Idrisids (Arabic: الأدارسة‎) were Arab[132] Zaydi Shia[133][134][135][136][137][138] dynasty in the western Maghreb ruling from 788 to 985 C.E., named after its first sultan, Idris I.

A Zaydi state was established in Gilan, Deylaman and Tabaristan (northern Iran) in 864 C.E. by the Alavids;[139] it lasted until the death of its leader at the hand of the Samanids in 928 C.E. Roughly forty years later the state was revived in Gilan and survived under Hasanid leaders until 1126 C.E. Afterwards, from the 12th to 13th centuries, the Zaydis of Deylaman, Gilan and Tabaristan then acknowledged the Zaydi Imams of Yemen or rival Zaydi Imams within Iran.[140]

The Buyids were initially Zaidi[141] as well as the Banu Ukhaidhir rulers of al-Yamama in the 9th and 10th centuries.[142] The leader of the Zaydi community took the title of Caliph. As such, the ruler of Yemen was known as the Caliph, al-Hadi Yahya bin al-Hussain bin al-Qasim ar-Rassi Rassids (a descendant of Hasan ibn Ali the son of Ali) who, at Sa’dah, in 893-7 CE, founded the Zaydi Imamate, and this system continued until the middle of the 20th century, when the revolution of 1962 CE deposed the Zaydi Imam. The founding Zaidism of Yemen was of the Jarudiyya group; however, with increasing interaction with Hanafi and Shafi’i rites of Sunni Islam, there was a shift from the Jarudiyya group to the Sulaimaniyya, Tabiriyya, Butriyya or Salihiyya groups.[143] Zaidis form the second dominant religious group in Yemen. Currently, they constitute about 40–45% of the population in Yemen. Ja’faris and Isma’ilis are 2–5%.[144] In Saudi Arabia, it is estimated that there are over 1 million Zaydis (primarily in the western provinces).[citation needed]

Currently the most prominent Zaydi movement is Houthis movement, known by the name of Shabab Al Mu’mineen (Believing Youth). They have been the subject of an ongoing campaign against them by the Yemeni Government in which the army has lost 743 men, and thousands of innocent civilians have been killed or displaced by government forces causing a grave humanitarian crisis in north Yemen.[145]


1.       ^ a b c d e f The New Encyclopædia Britannica, Jacob E. Safra, Chairman of the Board, 15th Edition, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 1998, ISBN 0-85229-663-0, Vol 10, p. 738

2.       ^ a b “The Term “Shia” in Quran and Hadith”. Al-islam.org. http://www.al-islam.org/encyclopedia/chapter1b/13.html. Retrieved 2011-05-04.

3.       ^ a b “Central Intelligence Agency”. Cia.gov. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/fields/2122.html. Retrieved 2011-05-04.

4.       ^ a b “Encyclopedia – Britannica Online Encyclopedia”. Britannica.com. http://www.britannica.com/bps/search?query=Sh%C4%AB%CA%BFite&blacklist=540503. Retrieved 2011-05-04.

5.       ^ a b “Major Branches of Religions”. Adherents.com. http://www.adherents.com/adh_branches.html#Islam. Retrieved 2011-05-04.

6.       ^ “Esposito, John. “What Everyone Needs to Know about Islam.” Oxford University Press, 2002 | ISBN 978-0-19-515713-0. p. 40

7.       ^ “From the article on Shii Islam in Oxford Islamic Studies Online”. Oxfordislamicstudies.com. http://www.oxfordislamicstudies.com/article/opr/t125/e2189?_hi=26&_pos=238. Retrieved 2011-05-04.

8.       ^ Quran 2:30. “”I will create a vicegerent on earth.””, Quran 38:26. “”O David! We did indeed make thee a vicegerent on earth””, Quran 28:68. “”Thy Lord does create and choose as He pleases: no choice have they (in the matter)””

9.       ^ Sahih al-Bukhari, “”The Prophet Muhammad said to ‘Ali, “Will you not be pleased from this that you are to me like Aaron was to Moses?”” 5:57:56, Quran 19:53. “And, out of Our Mercy, We gave him his brother Aaron, (also) a prophet.”

10.    ^ Tarikh at-Tabari, vol. 2, pp. 62-63; Tarikh al-Kamil, vol. 2, pp. 40-41; Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal, vol. 1, p. 111; Ibn Abi’l-Hadid, Sharh Nahj al-Balaghah, vol. 13, pp. 210-212, “(Prophet Muhammad said) Verily, he (‘Ali) is my brother, the executor of my will and my successor among you. So, listen to him and obey him.”

11.    ^ “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to World Religions,” Brandon Toropov, Father Luke Buckles, Alpha; 3rd edition, 2004, ISBN 978-1-59257-222-9, p. 135

12.    ^ “Shi’ite Islam” by Allamah Sayyid Muhammad Husayn Tabataba’i (1979), pp. 41–44

13.    ^ Sunan ibn Majah, Hadith No.118, It was narrated that ibn Umar said: The Messenger of God (s.w.s) said; “Hasan and Husain will be the leaders of the youth of Paradise,and their father is better than them”

14.    ^ Musnad Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, v1, pp 62,82, v3, pp 3,64, v5, p391

15.    ^ Usool Kafi; Muhammad bin Yaqoob Kulaini; Vol. 1 Tradition 525

16.    ^ Baqar Qarshi, ‘Hayat al Imam al Hasan bin Ali’, Najaf, Matba’ al Adaab, 1973, vol.1, p.103

17.    ^ Motahhari, Perfect man, Chapter 1

18.    ^ How do Sunnis and Shi’as differ theologically? Last updated 2009-08-19, BBC religions

19.    ^ Duncan S. Ferguson, (2010), Exploring the Spirituality of the World Religions, p.192

20.    ^ Quran 37:83

21.    ^ The Term “Shia” in Quran and Hadith

22.    ^ “Esposito, John. “What Everyone Needs to Know about Islam” Oxford University Press, 2002. ISBN 978-0-19-515713-0. p.40

23.    ^ a b c d e f g h “Shīʿite”. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 2010. http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/540503/Shiite. Retrieved 2010-08-25.

24.    ^ Tabataba’i (1979), p. 76

25.    ^ “Learn to do Shia Prayer – Islamic Prayer – Shia Salat”. Revertmuslims.com. http://www.revertmuslims.com/sala.html. Retrieved 2011-05-04.

26.    ^ “Joining Prayers and Other related Issues”. Al-islam.org. http://www.al-islam.org/encyclopedia/chapter7/5.html. Retrieved 2011-05-04.

27.    ^ “Druze and Islam”. American Druze.com. http://americandruze.com/Druze%20And%20Islam.html. Retrieved 2010-08-12.

28.    ^ “Ijtihad in Islam”. AlQazwini.org. http://alqazwini.org/qazwini_org/articles/by_articles/ijtihad.htm. Retrieved 2010-08-12.

29.    ^ “Shi’ite Islam,” by Allamah Sayyid Muhammad Husayn Tabataba’i, translated by Sayyid Husayn Nasr, State University of New York Press, 1975, p. 24

30.    ^ Dakake (2008), pp. 1 and 2

31.    ^ In his “Mutanabbi devant le siècle ismaëlien de l’Islam”, in Mém. de l’Inst Français de Damas, 1935, p.

32.    ^ “Comparison of Shias and Sunnis”. Religionfacts.com. http://www.religionfacts.com/islam/comparison_charts/islamic_sects.htm. Retrieved 2011-05-04.

33.    ^ a b c d e f Merriam-Webster’s Encyclopedia of World Religions, Wendy Doniger, Consulting Editor, Merriam-Webster, Incorporated, Springfield, MA 1999, ISBN 0-87779-044-2, LoC: BL31.M47 1999, p. 525

34.    ^ a b “Esposito, John. “What Everyone Needs to Know about Islam” Oxford University Press, 2002. ISBN 978-0-19-515713-0. p. 46

35.    ^ The New Encyclopædia Britannica, Jacob E. Safra, Chairman of the Board, 15th Edition, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 1998, ISBN 0-85229-663-0, Vol 22, p. 17.

36.    ^ “Event of Ghadir Khumm”. Al-islam.org. http://www.al-islam.org/ghadir/incident.htm. Retrieved 2011-05-04.

37.    ^ The Last Sermon of Muhammad by Shia Accounts

38.    ^ The New Encyclopædia Britannica, Jacob E. Safra, Chairman of the Board, 15th Edition, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 1998, ISBN 0-85229-663-0, Vol 10, p. tid738

39.    ^ a b “Encyclopedia of the Middle East”. Mideastweb.org. 2008-11-14. http://www.mideastweb.org/Middle-East-Encyclopedia/shahada.htm. Retrieved 2011-05-04.

40.    ^ Designation of Ali as successor to Muhammad www.al-islam.org

41.    ^ Discovering Islam: making sense of Muslim history and society (2002) Akbar S. Ahmed

42.    ^ Religious trends in pre-Islamic Arabic poetry, By Ghulam Mustafa (Hafiz.), Pg 11, Author writes: Similarly, swords were also placed on the Idols, as it is related that Harith b. Abi Shamir, the Ghassanid king, had presented his two swords, called Mikhdham and Rasub, to the image of the goddess, Manat….to note that the famous sword of ‘Ali, the fourth caliph, called Dhu-al-Fiqar, was one of these two swords

43.    ^ a b Nasr (1979), p.10

44.    ^ a b Momen (1985), p. 174

45.    ^ Corbin 1993, pp. 45-51

46.    ^ Nasr (1979), p. 15

47.    ^ a b Gleave,Robert. “Imamate”. Encyclopaedia of Islam and the Muslim world; vol.1. MacMillan. ISBN 0-02-865604-0.

48.    ^ KALMA, Encyclopaedia of Ismailism, by Mumtaz Ali Tajddin.

49.    ^ Dabashi, Theology of Discontent, p.463

50.    ^ Quran 33:33

51.    ^ Momen (1985), p. 155

52.    ^ Corbin (1993), pp. 48 and 49

53.    ^ Dabashi (2006), p. 463

54.    ^ Corbin (1993), p. 48

55.    ^ Sunni Hanbali Position from Islam Tomorrow

56.    ^ “Tawassul through the awliyah”. Islamic.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk. http://www.islamic.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/Fiqh/tawassul.htm. Retrieved 2011-05-04.

57.    ^ Nasr, Sayyed Hossein. “Expectation of the Millennium : Shiìsm in History,”, State University of New York Press, 1989, p. 19, ISBN 978-0-88706-843-0

58.    ^ See:

§  Lapidus p. 47

§  Holt p. 72

59.    ^ Nasr, Shi’ite Islam, preface, pp. 9 and 10

60.    ^ Jafri, S.H Mohammad. “The Origin and Early Development of Shi’a Islam,”, Oxford University Press, 2002, p. 6, ISBN 978-0-19-579387-1

61.    ^ Momen, Moojan, An Introduction to Shi’i Islam, Yale University Press, 1985, p.123

62.    ^ Momen, Moojan, An Introduction to Shi’i Islam, Yale University Press, 1985, p.191, 130

63.    ^ Nasr, Vali (2006). The Shia revival : how conflicts within Islam will shape the future. New York: Norton. p. 69. ISBN 978-0-393-06211-3

64.    ^ Momen, Moojan (1985). An introduction to Shi’i Islam : the history and doctrines of Twelver Shi’ism. Oxford: G. Ronald. p. 127. ISBN 0-85398-201-5

65.    ^ Momen, Moojan (1985). An introduction to Shi’i Islam : the history and doctrines of Twelver Shi’ism. Oxford: G. Ronald. p. 222. ISBN 0-85398-201-5

66.    ^ Momen, Moojan (1985). An introduction to Shi’i Islam : the history and doctrines of Twelver Shi’ism. Oxford: G. Ronald. p. 204. ISBN 0-85398-201-5

67.    ^ Momen, Moojan (1985). An introduction to Shi’i Islam : the history and doctrines of Twelver Shi’ism. Oxford: G. Ronald. p. 115. ISBN 0-85398-201-5

68.    ^ Momen, Moojan (1985). An introduction to Shi’i Islam : the history and doctrines of Twelver Shi’ism. Oxford: G. Ronald. p. 116. ISBN 0-85398-201-5

69.    ^ “Shīʿite”. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 2010. http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/540503/Shiite. Retrieved 2010-08-25.

70.    ^ a b c d e f g h i j “Mapping the Global Muslim Population: A Report on the Size and Distribution of the World’s Muslim Population”. Pew Research Center. October 7, 2009. http://pewforum.org/Muslim/Mapping-the-Global-Muslim-Population%286%29.aspx. Retrieved 2010-08-25.

71.    ^ a b c d e f Miller, Tracy, ed. (10 2009) (PDF). Mapping the Global Muslim Population: A Report on the Size and Distribution of the World’s Muslim Population. Pew Research Center. http://pewforum.org/newassets/images/reports/Muslimpopulation/Muslimpopulation.pdf. Retrieved 2009-10-08.

72.    ^ “Religions”. CIA. The World Factbook. 2010. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/fields/2122.html. Retrieved 2010-08-25.

73.    ^ “Quick guide: Sunnis and Shias”. BBC News. 2006-12-11. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/6213248.stm.

74.    ^ Atlas of the Middle East (Second ed.). Washington D.C: National Geographic. 2008 (published 15 April). pp. 80–81. ISBN 978-1-4262-0221-6

75.    ^ “New York Times: Religious Distribution in Lebanon”. Nytimes.com. 2006-07-19. http://www.nytimes.com/packages/khtml/2006/07/19/world/middleeast/20060719_MIDEAST_GRAPHIC.html. Retrieved 2011-05-04.

76.    ^ “How many Shia?”. Islamicweb.com. http://islamicweb.com/beliefs/cults/shia_population.htm. Retrieved 2011-05-04.

77.    ^ a b “The actual percentage of Kuwaiti Shiites is 40 percent”. ArabTimesOnline. http://www.arabtimesonline.com/NewsDetails/tabid/96/smid/414/ArticleID/144073/reftab/69/Default.aspx. Retrieved 2010-07-19.

78.    ^ Shankland, David (2003). The Alevis in Turkey: The Emergence of a Secular Islamic Tradition. Routledge (UK). ISBN 0-7007-1606-8. http://books.google.com/?id=lFFRzTqLp6AC&pg=PP1&lpg=PP1&dq=Religion+in+Turkey.

79.    ^ a b “Shia women too can initiate divorce”. Library of Congress Country Studies on Afghanistan. August 2008. http://lcweb2.loc.gov/frd/cs/profiles/Afghanistan.pdf. Retrieved 2010-08-27. “Religion: Virtually the entire population is Muslim. Between 80 and 85 percent of Muslims are Sunni and 15 to 19 percent, Shia.

80.    ^ “Afghanistan”. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The World Factbook on Afghanistan. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/fields/2122.html?countryName=Afghanistan&countryCode=af&regionCode=sas&#af. Retrieved 2010-08-27. “Religions: Sunni Muslim 80%, Shia Muslim 19%, other 1%”

81.    ^ al-Qudaihi, Anees (2009-03-24). “Saudi Arabia’s Shia press for rights”. BBC Arabic Service. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/7959531.stm. Retrieved 24 March 2009.

82.    ^ “Discrimination towards Shia in Saudi Arabia”. Wsws.org. 2001-10-08. http://www.wsws.org/articles/2001/oct2001/saud-o08.shtml. Retrieved 2011-05-04.

83.    ^ “CIA – The World Factbook”. Cia.gov. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/pk.html. Retrieved 2011-05-04.

84.    ^ “Violence Against Pakistani Shias Continues Unnoticed | International News”. Islamic Insights. http://www.islamicinsights.com/news/international-news/violence-against-pakistani-shias-continues-unnoticed.html. Retrieved 2011-05-04.

85.    ^ Taliban kills Shia school children in Pakistan

86.    ^ “Shia women too can initiate divorce”. The Times of India. November 6, 2006. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/lucknow/Shia-women-too-can-initiate-divorce/articleshow/334804.cms. Retrieved 2010-06-21.

87.    ^ “Talaq rights proposed for Shia women”. Daily News and Analysis, www.dnaindia.com. 5 November 2006. http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report_talaq-rights-proposed-for-shia-women_1062327. Retrieved 2010-06-21.

88.    ^ a b Administrative Department of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan – Presidential Library – Religion

89.    ^ Nigeria: ‘No Settlement With Iran Yet’, Paul Ohia, allAfrica – This Day, 16 November 2010

90.    ^ Hazran, Yusri. The Shiite Community in Lebanon: From Marginalization to Ascendancy, Brandeis University

91.    ^ Hassan, Farzana. Prophecy and the Fundamentalist Quest, page 158

92.    ^ Corstange, Daniel M. Institutions and Ethnic politics in Lebanon and Yemen, page 53

93.    ^ Dagher, Carole H. Bring Down the Walls: Lebanon’s Post-War Challenge, page 70

94.    ^ Growth of the world’s urban and rural population:n1920-2000, Page 81. United Nations. Dept. of Economic and Social Affairs

95.    ^ Top 15 Countries with Highest Proportion of Shiites in the Population, 7 July 1999

96.    ^ “UK FCO”. UK FCO. http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/travel-and-living-abroad/travel-advice-by-country/country-profile/middle-east-north-africa/bahrain/. Retrieved 3 March 2012.

97.    ^ “Why Bahrain blew up”. New York Post. 2011-02-17. http://www.nypost.com/p/news/opinion/opedcolumnists/why_bahrain_blew_up_NkYx4h4E1m80WGe2tXfsrI. Retrieved 2011-02-22.

98.    ^ “The Origins of the Sunni/Shia split in Islam”. Islamfortoday.com. http://www.islamfortoday.com/shia.htm. Retrieved 2011-05-04.

99.    ^ Nasr,Vali (2006). The Shia Revival: How Conflicts Within Islam Will Shape the Future. W.W. Norton & Company Inc. ISBN 978-0-393-06211-3 p. 52-53

100.^ (Ya’qubi; vol.lll, pp. 91–96, and Tarikh Abul Fida‘, vol. I, p. 212.)

101.^ The Psychologies in Religion, E. Thomas Dowd and Stevan Lars Nielsen, chapter 14. Books.google.com. 2006-02-22. ISBN 978-0-8261-2856-0. http://books.google.com/?id=PcKBtc8bymoC&pg=PA237&dq=shia+persecution. Retrieved 2011-05-04.

102.^ “Basra handover completed”. Inthenews.co.uk. http://www.inthenews.co.uk/news/autocodes/countries/iraq/basra-handover-completed-$1179488.htm. Retrieved 2011-05-04.

103.^ Maddox, Bronwen (2006-12-30). “Hanging will bring only more bloodshed”. The Times (London). http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,30809-2523714,00.html. Retrieved 2010-05-23.

104.^ “Al-Ahram Weekly | Region | Shi’ism or schism”. Weekly.ahram.org.eg. 2004-03-17. http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2004/681/re2.htm. Retrieved 2011-05-04.

105.^ The Shia, Ted Thornton, NMH, Northfield Mount Hermon[dead link]

106.^ George C. Kohn (2007.) Dictionary of Wars. Infobase Publishing. p.385. ISBN 0-8160-6577-2

107.^ Al-e Ahmad, Jalal. Plagued by the West (Gharbzadegi), translated by Paul Sprachman. Delmor, NY: Center for Iranian Studies, Columbia University, 1982.

108.^Saudi Arabia – The Saud Family and Wahhabi Islam“. Library of Congress Country Studies.

109.^ Malaysia bans Shias for promoting their faith

110.^ Paula Sanders (1994), Ritual, politics, and the city in Fatimid Cairo, p.121

111.^ Bernard Trawicky, Ruth Wilhelme Gregory, (2002), Anniversaries and holidays, p.233

112.^ Laurence Louėr (2008), Transnational Shia politics: religious and political networks in the Gulf, p.22

113.^ Karen Dabrowska, Geoff Hann, (2008), Iraq Then and Now: A Guide to the Country and Its People, p.239

114.^ Vincent J. Cornell (2007), Voices of Islam: Voices of tradition, p.237

115.^ “Esposito, John. “What Everyone Needs to Know about Islam” Oxford University Press, 2002. ISBN 978-0-19-515713-0. p. 45.

116.^ Esposito, John. “What Everyone Needs to Know about Islam” Oxford University Press, 2002. ISBN 978-0-19-515713-0. p. 45

117.^ Religion in Bahrain

118.^ Challenges For Saudi Arabia Amidst Protests In The Gulf – Analysis

119.^ Shiite doctrine Encyclopedia Iranica Retrieved 2011-07-08

120.^ Joanne Richter, (2006), Iran the Culture, p.7]

121.^ Mulla Bashir Rahim, An Introduction to Islam, by Ahlul Bayt Digital Islamic Library Project

122.^ Iran the Culture Joanne Richter (2007), p.7

123.^ “Shaykh Ahmad al-Ahsa’i”. http://www-personal.umich.edu/~jrcole/ahsai1.htm. Retrieved 2007-04-25.

124.^ Nasr, Vali, The Shia Revival, Norton, (2006), p. 76

125.^ “Congressional Human Rights Caucus Testimony – NAJRAN, The Untold Story”. http://lantos.house.gov/HoR/CA12/Human+Rights+Caucus/Briefing+Testimonies/107/TESTIMONY+OF+ALI+H.+ALYAMI.htm. Retrieved 2007-01-08.

126.^ “News Summary: China; Latvia”. http://jmm.aaa.net.au/articles/11253.htm. Retrieved 2007-06-01.

127.^ Daftary, Farhad (1998). A Short History of the Ismailis. Edinburgh, UK: Edinburgh University Press. pp. 1–4. ISBN 0-7486-0687-4.

128.^ “al-Hakim bi Amr Allah: Fatimid Caliph of Egypt”. http://baheyeldin.com/history/al-hakim-bi-amr-allah-fatimid-caliph-of-egypt.html. Retrieved 2007-04-24.

129.^ Daftary, Farhad (1998). A Short History of the Ismailis. Edinburgh, UK: Edinburgh University Press. pp. 106–108. ISBN 0-7486-0687-4.

130.^ http://www.yemenincanada.ca/map.php[dead link], http://www.library.uu.nl/wesp/populstat/Asia/yemeng.htm[dead link]

131.^ Sunni-Shi’i Schism: Less There Than Meets the Eye 1991 Page 24

132.^ Hodgson, Marshall (1961). Venture of Islam. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. pp. 262

133.^ Ibn Abī Zarʻ al-Fāsī, ʻAlī ibn ʻAbd Allāh (1340). Rawḍ al-Qirṭās: Anīs al-Muṭrib bi-Rawd al-Qirṭās fī Akhbār Mulūk al-Maghrib wa-Tārīkh Madīnat Fās. ar-Rabāṭ: Dār al-Manṣūr (published 1972). pp. 38

134.^ “http://hespress.com/?browser=view&EgyxpID=5116”. http://hespress.com/?browser=view&EgyxpID=5116

135.^ Introduction to Islamic theology and law, By Ignác Goldziher, Bernard Lewis, pg.218

136.^ Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, Part 24, By James Hastings, pg.844

137.^ The Idrisids

138.^ Shi’ah tenets concerning the question of the imamate

139.^ Article by Sayyid ‘Ali ibn ‘Ali Al-Zaidi, A short History of the Yemenite Shi‘ites (2005) Referencing: Iranian Influence on Moslem Literature

140.^ Article by Sayyid ‘Ali ibn ‘Ali Al-Zaidi, A short History of the Yemenite Shi‘ites (2005) Referencing: Encyclopedia Iranica

141.^ Walker, Paul Ernest (1999). written at London ; New York. Hamid Al-Din Al-Kirmani: Ismaili Thought in the Age of Al-Hakim. Ismaili Heritage Series. 3. I.B. Tauris in association with the Institute of Ismaili Studies.. pp. 13. ISBN 1-86064-321-3

142.^ Madelung, W. “al-Uk̲h̲ayḍir.” Encyclopaedia of Islam. Edited by: P. Bearman, Th. Bianquis, C.E. Bosworth, E. van Donzel and W.P. Heinrichs. Brill, 2007. Brill Online. 07 December 2007 (Registration required)

143.^ Article by Sayyid ‘Ali ibn ‘Ali Al-Zaidi, A short History of the Yemenite Shi’ites (2005)

144.^ “Universiteit Utrecht Universiteitsbibliotheek”. Library.uu.nl. http://www.library.uu.nl/wesp/populstat/Asia/yemeng.htm. Retrieved 2011-05-04.

145.                      ^ Shia Population of the Middle East

31-Succession To Muhammad

Succession to Muhammad

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Succession to Muhammad concerns the various aspects of successorship of Muhammad after his death, comprising who might be considered as his successor to lead the Muslims, how that person should be elected, the conditions of legitimacy, and the role of successor. Different answers to these questions have led to emerging several divisions in Muslim community since the first century of Muslim history; the most important of them are Sunnis, Shias and Kharijites.


A modern ambigram where the name Muhammad محمد in Arabic script is read as `Ali علي when rotated through 180°, and vice versa.

From a historic viewpoint, with Muhammad’s death in AD 632, disagreement broke out over who should succeed him as leader of the Muslim community. Umar (Umar ibn al-Khattab), a prominent companion of Muhammad, nominated Abu Bakr. Others added their support and Abu Bakr was made the first caliph. This choice was disputed by some of Muhammad’s companions, who held that Ali (Ali ibn Abi Talib), his cousin and son-in-law, had been designated his successor.[1] None of Muhammad’s sons survived into adulthood, therefore direct hereditary succession was never an option. Later, during the First Fitna and the Second Fitna the community divided into several sects and groups, each of which had its own idea about successorship. Finally, after the Rashidun caliphate turned into Monarchies and Sultanates, while in most of the areas during Muslim history Sunnis have held power and Shias have emerged as their opposition.

From a religious viewpoint, Muslims later split into two groups, Sunni and Shia. Sunnis assert that even though Muhammad never appointed a successor, Abu Bakr was elected first caliph by the Muslim community. The Sunnis recognize the first four caliphs as Muhammad’s rightful successors. Shias believe that Muhammad explicitly named his successor Ali at Ghadir Khumm and Muslim leadership belonged to him who had been determined by divine order.[2][3]

The two groups also disagree on Ali’s attitude towards Abu Bakr, and the two caliphs who succeeded him: Umar and Uthman ibn Affan. Sunnis tend to stress Ali’s acceptance and support of their rule, while the Shia claim that he distanced himself from them, and that he was being kept from fulfilling the religious duty that Muhammad had appointed to him. Sunnis maintain that if Ali was the rightful successor as ordained by God, then it would have been his duty as leader of the Muslim nation to make war with these people (Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthman) until Ali established the decree. Shias contend that Ali did not fight Abu Bakr, Umar or Uthman, because he was foretold by Prophet Muhammad about how the political tide will turn against Ali after his demise and was advised not to wage war against the political oppressors. Also, he did not have the military strength nor the willingness to wage a civil war amongst the Muslims.[4] Ali also believed that he could fulfil his role of Imamate without this fighting .[5]


Most of the Islamic history seems to have been primarily transmitted orally until after the rise of the Abbasid Caliphate.[6]

The historical works by later Muslim writers include the traditional Muslim biographies of Muhammad and quotes attributed to him (the sira and hadith literature), which provide further information on Muhammad’s life.[7] The earliest surviving written sira (biographies of Muhammad and quotes attributed to him) is Sirah Rasul Allah (Life of God’s Messenger) by Ibn Ishaq (d. 761 or 767 CE[8]). Although the original work is lost, portions of it survive in the recensions of Ibn Hisham (d. 833 CE) and Al-Tabari (d. 923 CE).[9] Many, but not all, scholars accept the accuracy of these biographies, though their accuracy is unascertainable.[10] Studies by J. Schacht and Goldziher has led scholars to distinguish between the traditions touching legal matters and the purely historical ones. According to William Montgomery Watt, in the legal sphere it would seem that sheer invention could have very well happened. In the historical sphere however, aside from exceptional cases, the material may have been subject to “tendential shaping” rather than being made out of whole cloth.[11]

Modern Western scholars are much less likely than Sunni Islamic scholars to trust the work of the Abbasid historians. Western historians approach the classic Islamic histories with varying degrees of circumspection.

Hadith compilations are records of the traditions or sayings of Muhammad. It might be defined as the biography of Muhammad perpetuated by the long memory of his community for their exemplification and obedience. The development of hadith is a vital element during the first three centuries of Islamic history.[12] There had been a common tendency among the earlier western scholars against these narrations and reports gathered in later periods; such scholars regarding them as later fabrications. Leone Caetani considered the attribution of historical reports to `Abd Allah ibn `Abbas and Aisha as mostly fictitious while proffering accounts reported without isnad by the early compilers of history like Ibn Ishaq. Wilferd Madelung has rejected the stance of indiscriminately dismissing everything not included in “early sources” and in this approach tendentious alone is no evidence for late origin. Madelung and some later historians do not reject the narrations which have been complied in later periods and try to judge them in the context of history and on the basis of their compatibility with the events and figures.[13]

The only contemporary source is The Book of Sulaym ibn Qays or Kitab al-Saqifah which is written by Sulaym ibn Qays (death: 75-95 AH (694-714)). This is a collection of hadith and historical reports from 1st century of the Islamic calendar and narrates the events which relate to the succession in detail.[14]

Succession to Muhammad from Historical Viewpoint

Election of Abu Bakr

After uniting the Arabian tribes into a single Muslim religious polity in the last years of his life, Muhammad’s death in 632 signalled disagreement over who would succeed him as leader of the Muslim community.[15] At a gathering attended by a small group of Muslims at Saqifah a companion of Muhammad named Abu Bakr was nominated for the leadership of the community. Others added their support and Abu Bakr was made the first caliph. The choice of Abu Bakr disputed by some of Muhammad’s companions, who held that Ali had been designated his successor by Muhammad himself.[3][16] However Sunnis allege that Ali accepted Abu Bakr, Omar and Uthman’s subsequent leadership.[17]

Following his election to the caliphate, Abu Bakr and Umar with a few other companions headed to Fatimah’s house to obtain homage from Ali and his supporters who had gathered there. Then Umar threatened to set the house on fire unless they came out and swore allegiance with Abu Bakr.[18] Although the event of Umar setting fire to Fatima’s house is widely recorded in many Sunni and all Shi’ite histories, there is a disagreement among the sources about what happened next. Some sources say upon seeing them, Ali came out with his sword drawn but was disarmed by Umar and their companions. Shi’ite sources narrate that Umar set fire to the door of Fatima’s house and then kicked the door open, crushing Fatima who was standing behind the door trying to keep the door shut. This crushing blow caused Mohsin, the son Fatima was pregnant with, to die in her womb and broke her ribs (the same blow later caused Fatima’s death as well). Ali, who was under Prophet Muhammad’s orders not to fight back had to be patient to avoid bloodshed and was captured in chains. When Abu Bakr’s selection to the caliphate was presented as a fait accompli, Ali withheld his oaths of allegiance until after the death of Fatimah. Ali did not actively assert his own right because he did not want to throw the nascent Muslim community into strife.[19] It is recorded by both Sunni and Shi’ite sources that Fatima remained angry at Abu Bakr and Umar for what they had done until the day she died. Fatima was buried in the night by Ali without any of Abu Bakr’s supporters present and the location of her grave is still disputed.

Ali himself was firmly convinced of his legitimacy for caliphate based on his close kinship with Muhammad, his intimate association and his knowledge of Islam and his merits in serving its cause. He told Abu Bakr that his delay in pledging allegiance (bay’ah) as caliph was based on his belief of his own prior title. Ali did not change his mind when he finally pledged allegiance to Abu Bakr and then to Umar and to Uthman but had done so for the sake of the unity of Islam, at a time when it was clear that the Muslims had turned away from him.[3][20]

According to a sermon attributed by shi’as to Ali, he maintained his right to the caliphate and said:

By Allah the son of Abu Quhafah (Abu Bakr) dressed himself with it (the caliphate) and he certainly knew that my position in relation to it was the same as the position of the axis in relation to the hand-mill…I put a curtain against the caliphate and kept myself detached from it… I watched the plundering of my inheritance till the first one went his way but handed over the Caliphate to Ibn al-Khattab after himself.[21]

This matter of election of Abu Bakar is still disputed in shia sect of Islam.

The Sunni view of the Succession

Sunni Muslims relate various hadith, or oral traditions, in which Muhammad is said to have recommended shura, elections or consultation, as the best method for making community decisions. In this view of the succession, he did not nominate a successor because he expected that the community themselves would choose the new leader — as was the custom in Arabia at the time. Some Sunnis argue that Muhammad had indicated his reliance upon Abu Bakr as second in command in many ways; he had called upon Abu Bakr to lead prayers and to make rulings in his (Muhammad’s) absence. There are some hadiths asserting that Muhammad said that some would be desirous of power but he knew that God (and the Muslims) would make Abu Bakr the next leader (see Hadith of the succession of Abu Bakr). Sunnis point to the fact that the majority of the people accepted Abu-Bakr as their leader as proof that his selection was wise and just.

A narration by Mousa Ibn ‘Aoqbah in the book Siyar a`lam al-nubala (Arabic: سير أعلام النبلاء‎) by Al-Dhahabi[22]:

…Then Ali and Al-Zobair said: we see that Abu Bakr is more worthier to be the rightful successor of the prophet than anyone else…

Shi’ites maintain that any narrations stating Ali agreed to Abu Bakr’s selection are fabricated.

Ghadir Khumm

There is one hadith in the collection known as the Musnad which affirms that Muhammad made a speech at Ghadir Khumm, in which he said, “Of whomsoever I am the mawla, Ali is his mawla”. For the Shi’ites this was the clearest message by the Prophet confirming Ali would be the successor after him. It is also recorded in books from both sides that Umar ibn Khattab was the first person to congratulate Ali on becoming the successor and took allegiance at his hand among all the others present.

The word mawla has many meanings in Arabic. While the Shi’ites take the meaning ‘master’ or ‘ruler’, some Sunni scholars say that Muhammad was merely saying that anyone who was his friend should also befriend Ali. This was a response to some Yemeni soldiers who had complained about Ali.[23] A similar incident is described in Ibn Ishaq’s Sirah; there Muhammad is reputed to have said, “Do not blame Ali, for he is too scrupulous in the things of God, or the way of God, to be blamed.” (Guillaume p. 650). The Sunnis argue that it is a mistake to interpret an expression of friendship and support as the appointment of a successor. The fact that there even was a dispute over the leadership after Muhammad’s death is sufficient proof that no one had interpreted his words as a binding appointment. On the other hand, the Shias regard the disputers to have blatantly disregarding the Hidith of Ghadir and ussurped Ali’s right to Caliphate.

In another Sunni version, Ibn – Abbas narrates that when Muhammad was commanded by Allah to declare Ali’s Caliphate (at Ghadir Khumm), he was a bit apprehensive because the people would think that Muhammad is enforcing his family’s rule over them. But Allah ordered him that if this task was not executed, divine wrath would be the consequence[24][25][26][27]

Muhammad’s last illness

Muhammad asked permission from his wives to spend his last days with Aisha. Reportedly, before he died, Muhammad made a gesture of enormous trust in Abubakr by asking him to lead the prayers in the mosque as Imam — a highly visible role virtually always undertaken, when possible, by Muhammad himself. Historically, the Imam of a mosque has always been a leader in his local Muslim community.

The events at Saqifah

The original Medinan Muslims, the Ansar, held a meeting to discuss choosing a new leader among themselves, to rule their part of the community. When the news of the meeting spread, Abu Bakr, Umar, and Abu Ubaidah ibn al Jarrah rushed to the scene. Abu Bakr argued that if the Ansar chose a leader, to lead the Ansar only, the Muslim community would split. The new leader must come from the Quraysh, Muhammad’s clan; any other choice would destroy the community. Sa’d ibn Ubadah agreed to this. Abu Bakr suggested to the gathering that the people should choose either Umar or Abu Ubayda, as both were capable men of the Quraysh. Umar immediately grabbed Abu Bakr’s hand and gave him bay’ah (declared his allegiance; an Arabian custom) causing the rest of the men at the gathering to also give their bay’ah. Umar later described this process as a falta, a rushed and hasty decision. However, this decision would not have been binding upon the rest of the Muslims unless they themselves chose to give their bay’ah, which all save the supporters of Ali did. According to the Sunni, this is the proof that the decision was the right one. The Shi’ites however maintain bitter narrations of Muslims being forced to accept Abu Bakr as their ruler and a widespread bloodshed was unleashed on those that opposed or tried to remain neutral. Khalid bin Waleed’s role as having led this bloodshed on Abu Bakr’s behalf is widely condemned by Shias and a disagreement between Umar and Abu Bakr on Khalid’s killings has also been recorded in both Sunni and Shi’ite sources.

Ali’s attitude towards Abu Bakr and Umar

Sunni accounts say that after a period during which he withdrew from public affairs, Ali eventually decided to cooperate with Abu Bakr and give his public submission. One version of the story is found in an oral tradition collected by Muhammad al-Bukhari.[28] Ali’s cooperation is evident from the fact that he assisted all his three predecessors in making official decisions.

Shi’ite accounts regarding Ali’s attitude toward the Caliphs differs from these Sunni views. They maintain that in order to avoid a civil war and bringing down the fledgling Islamic empire, Ali refrained from fighting for his usurped right to the Caliphate. He remained secluded for the first few months after the demise of the Prophet and collected and documented the Quran. He never accepted any of the Caliphs as explicitly mentioned in many of his writings and sayings (now compiled as Nehjul Balagha). However, he did support them in making several critical government decisions in the wider interests of the community. Umar ibn Khattab is reported to have said “If it were not for Ali, Umar would not have survived.”

Sunni attitude towards Ali

Sunni Muslims consider Ali as one of the prominent companions of Muhammad, among the ten, including Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthman, who were informed with the gift of paradise. They also consider Ali among the righteous caliphs and accept the hadiths narrated by him. They reject the Shia view that Ali considered Abu Bakr’s succession undeserved.

The Shia view of the succession

The Shia believe that just as a prophet is appointed by God alone, only God has the prerogative to appoint the successor to his prophet. They believe that God chose Ali to be the successor, infallible and divinely chosen. Thus they say that Muhammad, before his death, appointed Ali as his successor.

Life of Ali

Ali was a leader in battle, and often entrusted with command. He was left in charge of the community at Medina when Muhammad led a raid on Tabuk. Ali was also his cousin, and the husband of his daughter Fatimah, and the father of his beloved grandchildren Hasan and Husayn. Ali’s father was Abu Talib ibn ‘Abd al-Muttalib, Muhammad’s uncle, foster father, and powerful protector. As a member of Abu Talib’s family, Muhammad had in fact played the role of an elder brother and guardian to Ali — and Ali had, as a youth, been among the first to accept Islam. He was now a charismatic defender of the faith in his own right, and it was perhaps inevitable that some in the Muslim community assumed that Ali would claim a leadership position following Muhammad’s death. In the end, however, it was Abu Bakr who assumed control of the Muslim community.

The Qur’an

The Shia refer to three verses from sura Al-Ma’ida to make their argument on Qur’anic grounds: 5:55,[29] 5:3,[30] 5:67.[31] They say that the verses refer to Ali, and the last two verses were revealed at Ghadir Khumm.[32]


The Shia point to a number of hadith that, they believe, show that Muhammad had left specific instructions as to his successor. These hadith have been given names: the pond of Khumm, Safinah, Thaqalayn, Haqq, position, warning, and others.

Many of these oral traditions are also accepted by Sunni Muslims. However, the Sunni do not accept the Shia interpretation of these hadith.

The following two hadith are most often referred to by the Shia, when arguing for the explicit appointment of Ali by Muhammad.

Da‘wat dhul-‘Ashīrah – Summoning the Family

Islam began when Muhammad became thirty-seven years old. Initially, the mission was kept a secret. Then three years after the advent of Islam, he was ordered to commence the open declaration of his message. This was the occasion when God revealed the verse “And warn your nearest relations,”.[33]

When this verse was revealed, Muhammad organized a feast that is known in history as “Summoning the Family — Da‘wat dhul-‘Ashīra”. He invited around forty men from the Banu Hashim and asked Ali to make arrangements for the dinner. After having served his guests with food and drinks, when he wanted to speak to them about Islam, Abu Lahab ibn ‘Abdul Muttalib forestalled him and said, “Your host has long since bewitched you.” All the guests dispersed before Muhammad could present his message to them.

Muhammad then invited them the next day. After the feast, he spoke to them, saying:

O Sons of ‘Abdul-Muttalib! By Allāh, I do not know of any person among the Arabs who has come to his people with better than what I have brought to you. I have brought to you the good of this world and the next, and I have been commanded by the Lord to call you unto Him. Therefore, who amongst you will support me in this matter so that he may be my brother (akhhī), my successor (wasiyyī) and my caliph (khalifatī) among you?[34]

This was the first time that Muhammad openly and publicly called the relations to accept him as the Messenger and Prophet of God, as well as being the first time that he called for a person who would aid him in his mission. At the time, no one but the youngest of them — Ali, stood up and said, “I will be your helper, O Prophet of God.”[34]

Muhammad then put his hand on the back of Ali’s neck and said:

Inna hadhã akhhí wa wasiyyí wa khalífatí fíkum, fasma‘û lahu wa atí‘û — Verily this is my brother, my successor, and my caliph amongst you; therefore, listen to him and obey.[34]

Ghadir Khumm

In 632 CE, Muhammad made his last pilgrimage to the Kaaba in Mecca. Some early accounts say that after finishing his pilgrimage, on his return to Medina, he and his followers stopped at a spring and waypoint called Ghadir Khumm. Muhammad delivered a speech to his assembled followers, in which the traditions state that Muhammad said:

…for whoever I am his mawla, Ali is his mawla…

According to the Shia, this hadith, the hadith of the pond of Khumm, indicated the intent of Muhammad. They note that the translation of the word mawla as “friend” is highly unlikely and therefore misleading because: a) the word sadeeq is an appropriate, unambiguous and completely accurate translation of the word “friend”. b) the connotations of the word mawla nearly always have an implication of a superior-inferior relationship. Hence, mawla can be taken to mean a variety of words in this context, such as master, commander or even slave, but friend is inaccurate.[citation needed] The Shia say that there were 120,000 witnesses to this declaration, including Umar and Abu Bakr.

Muhammad’s last illness

Soon after returning from the Farewell Pilgrimage, Muhammad fell ill. He was nursed in the apartment of his wife Aisha, the daughter of Abu Bakr.

The Shia claim that most of the prominent men among the Muslims, expecting Muhammad’s death and an ensuing struggle for power, disobeyed his orders to join a military expedition bound for Syria. They stayed in Medina, waiting for Muhammad’s death and their chance to seize power.

According to `Abd Allah ibn `Abbas (cousin of Muhammad) Book 13 Hadith No. 4016, the dying Muhammad said that he wished to write a letter — or wished to have a letter written — detailing his wishes for his community. According to Sahih Muslim ibn `Abbas narrated that:

Ibn Abbas reported: When Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) was about to leave this world, there were persons (around him) in his house, ‘Umar b. al-Kbattab being one of them. Allah’s Apostle (may peace be upon him) said: Come, I may write for you a document; you would not go astray after that. Thereupon Umar said: Verily Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) is deeply afflicted with pain. You have the Qur’an with you. The Book of Allah is sufficient for us. Those who were present in the house differed. Some of them said: Bring him (the writing material) so that Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) may write a document for you and you would never go astray after him And some among them said what ‘Umar had (already) said. When they indulged in nonsense and began to dispute in the presence of Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him), he said: Get up (and go away) ‘Ubaidullah said: Ibn Abbas used to say: There was a heavy loss, indeed a heavy loss, that, due to their dispute and noise. Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) could not write (or dictate) the document for them.

Muslim ibn al-Hajjaj, Sahih Muslim[35]

When Muhammad died, Umar denied his death stating rather that he would return back, and threatening to behead anyone who acceded to his death. Abu Bakr, upon his return to Medina, spoke to Umar and only then Umar did admit that Muhammad had died, this all was perceived by the Shia as a ploy on Umar’s part to delay the funeral and thus give Abu Bakr (who was outside the city) time to return to Medina.

The events at Saqifah

When Muhammad died, his closest relatives, Ali and Fatimah, took charge of the body. While they were engaged in washing the body and preparing it for burial, a secret meeting, of which Ali and the Muhajirun weren’t told, was taking place at Saqifah, which ended with Abu Bakr being chosen as the new leader.

Shī‘at of ‘Alī

Just as Ali had refused to give his allegiance (bay’ah) to Abu Bakr, many of the Muslims of Medina had also refused, thus they were known as: “Shī‘at ‘Alī” (the “Party of Ali”). It took six months of threat and pressure to force the refusers to submit to Abu Bakr.[36] However, upon his refusal to give allegiance, Ali had his house surrounded by an armed force led by Abu Bakr and Umar.[37]

In Madinah, Umar took charge of securing the pledge of allegiance of all residents. He dominated the streets with the help first of the Aslam and then the Abd Al-Ashhal of Aws, who in contrast to the majority of Khazraj, quickly became vigorous champions of the new regime. The sources mention the actual use of force only with respect to Companion Al-Zubayr who had been together with some others of the Muhajirun in the house of Fatimah. Supposedly, Umar threatened to set the house on fire unless they came out and swore allegiance to Abu Bakr.[38]

Umar pushed his way into the house; Fatimah, who was pregnant, was crushed behind the door. She miscarried her unborn son, whom the Shia mourn as Muhsin ibn Ali. She had been injured by Umar and soon died. Ali buried her at night, secretly, as he did not wish Abu Bakr or Umar, whom he blamed for her death, to attend her funeral. The Shia thus blame Abu Bakr and Umar for the death of Muhammad’s daughter and grandson.[39]

Ali submits for the sake of his followers

Some Shia believe that Ali took pity upon the sufferings of his devoted followers and gave his submission, his bay’ah, to Abu Bakr, only after Fatimah, Ali’s wife and daughter of Muhammad who was angry with Abu Bakr when he refused to give her right to the inheritance of the garden of Fadak.[40] It may be because of the sake of unity that he might have helped them in matters of jurisprudence and administration but could never admit his obedience to them.

Other Shia say that Ali did not give his allegiance, but only refrained from pressing his claims. Whatever happened, superficial unity was restored.

Western Academic views

Many contemporary scholars who have sifted through the early Muslim historical writings are proposing narratives that are closer to the received versions. In most cases, this has meant a swing back towards the Sunni version of events. However, one recent publication, The Succession to Muhammad written by Institute for Ismaili Studies in London’s researcher Wilfred Madelung,[41] ex Laudian Professor of Arabic at the University of Oxford, examines the course of events from 632, and the death of Muhammad, through the rise of the Umayyads — and rehabilitates some of the Shia narratives. On the right of Muhammad’s household to succeed him, for instance, Madelung observes that:

In the Qur’an, the descendants and close kin of the prophets are their heirs also in respect to kingship (mulk), rule (hukm), wisdom (hikma), the book and the imamate. The Sunnite concept of the true caliphate itself defines it as a succession of the prophet in every respect except his prophethood. Why should Muhammad not be succeeded in it by any of his family like the earlier prophets? If God really wanted to indicate that he should not be succeeded by any of them why did He not let his grandsons and other kin die like his sons? There is thus a good reason to doubt that Muhammad failed to appoint a successor because he realized that the divine design excluded hereditary succession of his family and that he wanted the Muslims to choose their head by Shura. The Qur’an advises the faithful to settle some matters by consultation, but not the succession to prophets. That, according to the Qur’an, is settled by divine election, God usually chooses their successors, whether they become prophets or not from their own kin[42]

Madelung writes on the basis of the hadith of the pond of Khumm Ali later insisted on his religious authority superior to that of Abu Bakr and Umar.[43]


1.       ^ See:

§  Holt (1977a), p.57

§  Lapidus (2002), p.32

§  Madelung (1996), p.43

§  Tabatabaei (1979), p.30–50

2.       ^ “Sunnite”. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.. http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-9070378/Sunnite. Retrieved 2007-04-11.

3.       ^ a b c Diana, Steigerwald. “Ali ibn Abi Talib”. Encyclopaedia of Islam and the Muslim world; vol.1. MacMillan. ISBN 0028656040.

4.       ^ Sahih Bukhari 5.57.50

5.       ^ Chirri (1982)

6.       ^ A consideration of oral transmissions in general with some specific early Islamic reference is Jan Vansina’s Oral Tradition as History.

7.       ^ Reeves (2003), pp. 6–7

8.       ^ Robinson (2003), p. xv

9.       ^ Donner (1998), p. 132

10.    ^ Islam, S. A. Nigosian, p. 6 , Indiana University Press

11.    ^ William Montgomery Watt, Muhammad in Mecca, p.xv

12.    ^ Cragg, Albert Kenneth. “Hadith”. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.. http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-9105855/Hadith. Retrieved 2008-03-30.

13.    ^ Madelung (1997), pp.xi, 19 and 20

14.    ^ See:

§  Sachedina (1981), pp. 54-55

§  Landolt (2005), p. 59

§  Modarressi (2003), pp 82-88

§  Dakake (2007), p.270

15.    ^ Lapidus (2002), p.31 and 32

16.    ^ See:

§  Holt (1970), p.57

§  Madelung (1996), pp.26-27, 30-43 and 356-360

17.    ^ See:

§  explanation of Nahj al-Balagha, Mohammed Abdah, 3/ 07.

§  the biography of the Imam Ali, 139 – 144.

§  explanation of An-Nawawi, Kitab al-Ḥodod 11\216.

18.    ^ Madelung, 1997, p. 43

19.    ^ “Ali ibn Abitalib”. Encyclopedia Iranica. http://www.iranica.com/newsite/articles/v1f8/v1f8a043.html. Retrieved 2007-10-25.

20.    ^ See:

§  Madelung (1996), pp.141 and 270

§  Ashraf (2005), pp. 99 and 100

21.    ^ See:

§  Nahj al-Balagha Nahj Al-Balagha Sermon 3

§  For Isnad of this sermon and the name of the names of scholars who narrates it see Nahjul Balagha, Mohammad Askari Jafery (1984), pp. 108-112

22.    ^ Siyar a`lam al-nubala

23.    ^ The Event of Ghadir Khumm in the Qur’an, Hadith, History By Mohammad Manzoor Nomani

24.    ^ Kanz al-Ummal, Vol 6, Pg. 153

25.    ^ Taareekhul Khulafa of Suyuti, pg 114

26.    ^ Manazelul Abrar of Badakhshaani, Pg 20

27.    ^ Tafseer-e-Durrul Mansoor, Vol 2, Page 298

28.    ^ Sahih al-Bukhari, 5:59:546

29.    ^ Quran 5:55

30.    ^ Quran 5:3

31.    ^ Quran 5:67

32.    ^ Chapter VII On the Knowledge of the Imam (Imamology) (part-1):The Meaning of Imam

33.    ^ Quran 26:214

34.    ^ a b c Sunni sources:

§  at-Tabari, at-Ta’ríkh, vol. 1 (Leiden, 1980 offset of the 1789 edition) pp. 171-173.

§  Ibn al-Athír, al-Kãmil, vol. 5 (Beirut, 1965) pp. 62-63.

§  Abu ’l-Fidã’, al-Mukhtasar fi Ta’ríkhi ’l-Bashar, vol. 1 (Beirut, n.d.) pp. 116-117.

§  al-Khãzin, at-Tafsír, vol. 4 (Cairo, 1955) p. 127.

§  al-Baghawi, at-Tafsír (Ma‘ãlimu ’t-Tanzíl), vol. 6 (Riyadh: Dar Tayyiba, 1993) p. 131.

§  al-Bayhaqi, Dalã’ilu ’n-Nubuwwa, vol. 1 (Cairo, 1969) pp. 428-430.

§  as-Suyuti, ad-Durru ’l-Manthûr, vol. 5 (Beirut, n.d.) p. 97.

§  Muttaqi al-Hindi, Kanzu ’l-‘Ummãl, vol. 15 (Hyderabad, 1968) pp. 100, 113, 115.

Shia sources:

§  ‘Abdu ’l-Husayn al-Aminí, al-Ghadír, vol. 2 (Beirut, 1967) pp. 278-289.

35.    ^ Sahih Muslim, 13:4016

36.    ^ Tabari, I, 1825. Madelung. The Succession to Muhammad. p.43.

37.    ^ Ansab Ashraf, by al-Baladhuri in his , v1, pp 582-586; Tarikh Ya’qubi, v2, p116; al-Imamah wal-Siyasah, by Ibn Qutaybah, v1, pp 19-20)

38.    ^ (Tabari, I p 1818. Wilferd Madelung, The Succession To Muhammad, p 43.)

39.    ^ Shi’ite Encyclopedia, Chapter 4

40.    ^ Sahih al-Bukhari, 4:53:325

41.    ^ Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Ismaili Studies in London

42.    ^ The Succession to Muhammad, Wilferd Madelung, p 17

43.  ^ Madelong, 1997 p.253

30-Muslim Conquests

Muslim Conquests

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia



Age of the Caliphs

Expansion under Muhammad, 622–632/A.H. 1-11

Expansion during the Rashidun Caliphate, 632–661/A.H. 11-40

Expansion during the Umayyad Caliphate, 661–750/A.H. 40-129

Muslim conquests (Arabic: الغزوات‎, al-Ġazawāt or Arabic: الفتوحات الإسلامية‎, al-Fatūḥāt al-Islāmiyya) also referred to as the Islamic conquests or Arab conquests,[1] began with the Islamic prophet Muhammad. He established a new unified polity in the Arabian Peninsula which under the subsequent Rashidun (The Rightly Guided Caliphs) and Umayyad Caliphates saw a century of rapid expansion of Muslim power.

They grew well beyond the Arabian Peninsula in the form of a Muslim Empire with an area of influence that stretched from the borders of China and the Indian subcontinent, across Central Asia, the Middle East, North Africa, Sicily, and the Iberian Peninsula, to the Pyrenees. Edward Gibbon writes in The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire:

Under the last of the Umayyad, the Arabian empire extended two hundred days’ journey from east to west, from the confines of Tartary and India to the shores of the Atlantic Ocean. And if we retrench the sleeve of the robe, as it is styled by their writers, the long and narrow province of march of a caravan. We should vainly seek the indissoluble union and easy obedience that pervaded the government of Augustus and the Antonines; but the progress of Islam diffused over this ample space a general resemblance of manners and opinions. The language and laws of the Quran were studied with equal devotion at Samarcand and Seville: the Moor and the Indian embraced as countrymen and brothers in the pilgrimage of Mecca; and the Arabian language was adopted as the popular idiom in all the provinces to the westward of the Tigris.

The Muslim conquests brought about the collapse of the Sassanid Empire and a great territorial loss for the Byzantine Empire. The reasons for the Muslim success are hard to reconstruct in hindsight, primarily because only fragmentary sources from the period have survived. Most historians agree that the Sassanid Persian and Byzantine Roman empires were militarily and economically exhausted from decades of fighting one another. The rapid fall of Visigothic Spain remains less easily explicable.

Jews and Christians in Persia and Jews and Monophysites in Syria were dissatisfied and sometimes even welcomed the Muslim forces, largely because of religious conflict in both empires.[2] In the case of Byzantine Egypt, Palestine and Syria, these lands had only a few years before been reacquired from the Persians, and had not been ruled by the Byzantines for over 25 years.

Fred McGraw Donner, however, suggests that formation of a state in the peninsula and ideological (i.e. religious) coherence and mobilization was a primary reason why the Muslim armies in the space of a hundred years were able to establish the largest pre-modern empire until that time. The estimates for the size of the Islamic Caliphate suggest it was more than thirteen million square kilometers (five million square miles), making it larger than all current states except the Russian Federation.[3]


The individual Muslim conquests, together with their beginning and ending dates, are as follows:

Byzantine–Arab Wars: 634–750

Wars were between the Byzantine Empire and at first the Rashidun and then the Umayyad caliphates and resulted in the conquest of the Greater Syria, Egypt, North Africa and Armania (Byzantine Armenia and Sassanid Armenia).

Under the Rashidun

The conquest of Syria, 637 The conquest of Armenia, 639 The conquest of Egypt, 639 The conquest of North Africa, 652 The conquest of Cyprus, 654

Under the Umayyads

The conquest of North Africa, 665 The first Arab siege of Constantinople, 674–678 The second Arab siege of Constantinople, 717–718 Conquest of Hispania, 711–718 The conquest of Georgia, 736

Later conquests

The conquest of Crete, 820 The conquest of southern Italy, 827

Frontier warfare continued in the form of cross border raids between the Ummayyads and the Byzantine Isaurian dynasty allied with the Khazars across Asia Minor. Byzantine naval dominance and Greek fire resulted in a major victory at the Battle of Akroinon (739); one of a series of military failures of the Caliph Hisham ibn Abd al-Malik across the empire that checked the expansion of the Umayyads and hastened their fall.


Conquests of Muhammad and the Rashidun

Conquest of Persia and Iraq: 633–651

In the reign of Yazdgerd III, the last Sassanid ruler of the Persian Empire, a Muslim army secured the conquest of Persia after their decisive defeats of the Sassanid army at the Battle of Walaja in 633 and Battle of al-Qādisiyyah in 636, but the final military victory didn’t come until 642 when the Persian army was destroyed at the Battle of Nahāvand. Then, in 651, Yazdgerd III was murdered at Merv, ending the dynasty. His son Peroz II escaped through the Pamir Mountains in what is now Tajikistan and arrived in Tang China.

Conquest of Transoxiana: 662–751

Following the First Fitna, the Umayyads resumed the push to capture Sassanid lands and began to move towards the conquest of lands east and north of the plateau towards Greater Khorasan and the Silk Road along Transoxiana. Following the collapse of the Sassanids, these regions had fallen under the sway of local Iranian and Turkic tribes as well as the Tang Dynasty. The conquest of Transoxiana (Ar. Ma wara’ al-nahr) was chiefly the work of Qutayba ibn Muslim, who between 705 and 715 expanded Muslim control over Sogdiana, Khwarezm and the Jaxartes valley up to Ferghana. Following Qutayba’s death in 715, local revolts and the defeats at the hands of the Chinese-sponsored Turgesh (chiefly the “Day of Thirst” in 724 and the Battle of the Defile in 731) led to a gradual loss of the province: by 738, the Turgesh and their Sogdian allies were raiding Khurasan south of the Oxus. However, the murder of the Turgesh khagan, Su-lu, and the conciliatory policies of Nasr ibn Sayyar towards the native population opened the way for a swift, albeit not total, restoration of Muslim control over Transoxiana in 739–741. Muslim control over the region was consolidated with the defeat of the armies of Tang China in the Battle of Talas in 751..

Conquest of Sindh: 664–712

During the period of early Rajput supremacy in north India (7th century), the first Muslim invasions were carried out simultaneously with the expansion towards Central Asia. In 664, forces led by Al Muhallab ibn Abi Suffrah began launching raids from Persia, striking Multan in the southern Punjab, in what is today Pakistan.

In 711, an expedition led by Muhammad bin Qasim defeated Raja Dahir at what is now Hyderabad in Sindh, and established the Umayyad domination in the area by 712.

The west of Indian sub-continent was then divided into many states. Their relation between each other were very weak. Al-Ḥajjāj ibn Yūsuf the ruler of Iraq knew this and waited for the best moment to strike.

As Muslim Empire and Dahir’s kingdom were contiguous to each other, frequent border clashes took place. As a result relation between the two got worse.

The King of Ceylon, the present Srilanka sent many 8 ships full of gifts for the Calipf Al-Walid and the ruler of present Iraq, Hajjaj. But the pirates plundered the ships at the Debal of Sindh, which is now known as “Karachi”. Hajjaj demanded compensation from Dahir. But Dahir denied to take responsibility for the crimes committed by the pirates.

For all these reasons. Hajjaj sent soldiers against Dahir. But first two expeditions failed. Then in 712 CE Hajjaj sent the third expedition. The commander-in-chief of this expedition was Muhammad bin Qasim Al-Thaqafi the nephew and son-in-law of Hajjaj.

Qasim subdued the whole of what is modern Pakistan, from Karachi to Kashmir, reaching the borders of Kashmir within three years. After his recall, however, the region devolved into the semi-independent states of Mansura and Multan ruled by local Muslim converts. The Arabs were effectively driven out after the defeats inflicted on them by the Gurjara Pratiharas. The emir of Sindh paid tribute to the Rashtrakuta king of Southern India.

Conquest of Hispania (711–718) and Septimania (719–720)

The conquest of the Iberian Peninsula and Septimania commenced when the Moors (Black Africans, Berbers and Arabs) invaded Visigothic Christian Iberia (modern Spain, Portugal, Gibraltar, Andorra, Septimania) in the year 711.[4] Under their Moorish leader, Tariq ibn Ziyad, they landed at Gibraltar on April 30 and worked their way northward.[5] Tariq’s forces were joined the next year by those of his superior, Musa bin Nusair. During the eight-year campaign most of the Iberian Peninsula was brought under Islamic rule—save for small areas in the northwest (Asturias) and largely Basque regions in the Pyrenees.

This territory, under the Arab name Al-Andalus, became first an Emirate and then an independent Umayyad Caliphate, the Caliphate of Córdoba, after the overthrowing of the dynasty in Damascus by the Abbasids. When the Caliphate dissolved in 1031, the territory split into small Taifas, and gradually the Christian kingdoms started the Reconquest up to 1492, when Granada, the last kingdom of Al-Andalus fell under the Catholic Monarchs.

Conquest of the Caucasus: 711–750

End of the Umayyad conquests: 718–750

The success of the Bulgarian Empire and the Byzantine Empire in dispelling the second Umayyad siege of Constantinople halted further conquests of Asia Minor in 718. After their success in overrunning the Iberian peninsula, the Umayyads had moved northeast over the Pyrenees where they were defeated in 721 at the Battle of Toulouse and then at the Battle of Covadonga. A second invasion was stopped by the Frankish king Charles Martel at the Battle of Tours in 732 and then at the Battle of the River Berre checking the Umayyad expansion at Narbonne.

The Türgesh Kaganate, a Turkic dynasty of the 700s, saw significant initial success fighting against the Umayyads. In 717, the Kara Turgesh elected Suluk as their Khaghan. The new ruler moved his capital to Balasagun in the Chu valley, receiving the homage of several chieftains formerly bond to the service of Bilge Khaghan of the Türküt. Suluk acted as a bulwark against further Umayyad encroachment from the south: the Arabs had indeed become a major player in recent times, despite the fact that Islam had yet to make many converts in central Asia. Suluk’s aim was to reconquer all of Transoxiana from the Arab invaders – his series of conquests was paralleled to the west by the activity of the Khazar empire. In 721 Turgesh forces, led by Kül Chor, defated the Caliphal army commanded by Sa’id ibn Abdu’l-Aziz near Samarkand. Sa’id’s successor, Al-Kharashi, massacred Turks and Sogdian refugees in Khujand, causing an influx of refugees towards the Turgesh. In 724 Caliph Hisham sent a new governor to Khorasan, Muslim ibn Sa’id, with orders to crush the “Turks” once and for all. Confronted by Suluk on the way, however, Muslim reached Samarkand with only a handful of survivors, and the Turgesh were enabled to raid freely. A string of subsequent appointees of Hisham were soundly defeated by Suluk, who in 728 even managed to take Bukhara and later on destroyed a large part of the Caliphate’s army in Khurasan, discrediting Umayyad rule and maybe putting the foundations for the Abbasid revolution. The Turgesh state was at its apex of glory, controlling Sogdiana, the Ferghana Valley. It was only in 732, that two powerful Arab expeditions to Samarkand managed, if with embarrassing losses, to reestablish Caliphal authority in the area; Suluk renounced his ambitions over Samarkand and abandoned Bukhara, withdrawing north. In 734 an early Abbasid follower, al-Harith ibn Surayj, rose in revolt against Umayyad rule and took Balkh and Marv before defecting to the Turgesh three years later, defeated. In 738 Suluk, along with his allies Ibn Surayj, Gurak (a Turco-Sogdian leader) and men from Usrushana, Tashkent and Khuttal to launch a final offensive. He entered Jowzjan but was defeated by the Umayyad governor Asad at the Battle of Sa’n or Kharistan.

In 738, the Umayyad armies were defeated by the Indian Hindu Rajputs at the Battle of Rajasthan, checking the eastern expansion of the empire. In 740, the Berber Revolt weakened Umayyad ability to launch any further expeditions and, after the Abbasid overthrow in 756 at Cordoba, a separate Arab state was established on the Iberian peninsula, even as the Muhallabids were unable to keep Ifriqiya from political fragmentation.

In the east, internal revolts and local dissent led to the downfall of the Umayyad dynasty. The Khariji and Zaidi revolts coupled with mawali dissatisfaction as second class citizens in respect to Arabs created the support base necessary for the Abbasid revolt in 748. The Abbasids were soon involved in numerous Shia revolts and the breakaway of Ifriqiya from the Caliph‘s authority completely in the case of the Idrisids and Rustamids and nominally under the Aghlabids, under whom Muslim rule was extended temporarily to Sicily and mainland Italy before being overrun by the competing Fatimids.

The Abbasid caliph, even as he competed for authority with the Fatimid Caliph, also had to devolve greater power to the increasing power of regional rulers. This began the process of fragmentation that soon gave rise to numerous local ruling dynasties who would contend for territory with each other and eventually establish kingdoms and empires and push the boundaries of the Muslim world on their own authority, giving rise to Mamluk and Turkic dynasties such as the Seljuks, Khwarezmshahs and the Ayyubids who fought the crusades, as well as the Ghaznavids and Ghorids who conquered India.

In Iberia, Charles Martel’s son, Pippin the Younger, retook Narbonne, and his grandson Charlemagne actually established the Marca Hispanica across the Pyrenees in part of what today is Catalonia, reconquering Girona in 785 and Barcelona in 801. This formed a permanent buffer zone against Muslims, with Frankish strongholds in Iberia (the Carolingian Empire Spanish Marches), which became the basis, along with the King of Asturias for the Reconquista, spanning 700 years which after the fall of the Caliphate of Córdoba contested with both the successor taifas as well as the African-based Muslim empires, such as the Almoravids and Almohads, until all of the Muslims were expelled from the Iberian peninsula.

Conquest of Nubia: 700–1606

After 2 attempts at military conquest of Nubia failed (see First Battle of Dongola), the Arab commander in Egypt concluded the first in a series of regularly renewed treaties known as AlBaqt (pactum) with the Nubians that governed relations between the two peoples for more than six hundred years. Therefore Islam progressed peacefully in the area through intermarriages with only a few Nubians in parts of northern and upper nubia and contacts with Arab merchants and settlers over a long period of time after the earlier attempts at conquering Nubia (in the 7th century)failed.

However, In 1171 AD the Nubians invaded Egypt, but they were defeated by the Muslim Ayyubids.[6] From 1172 – 1173 AD the Ayyubids fought and defeated another Nubian invasion force from Makuria which had penetrated Egypt. This time the Ayyubids not only repelled the invasion, but actually conquered some parts of northern Nubia in retaliation.[7]

In the late 13th century the Sultan of Egypt,Sultan Baybar, defeated and subjugated the kingdom of Makuria . Sultan Baybar made the Kingdom of Makuria a vassal state of Egypt.[7] Decades later In 1315 the Christian kingdom of Makuria was conquered by the Mamelukes, and a Muslim prince of Nubian royal blood was placed on the throne of Dongola as king.

During the 15th century, the Funj, an indigenous people appeared in southern Nubia and established the Kingdom of Sinnar, also known as As-Saltana az-Zarqa (the Blue Sultanate). The kingdom officially converted to Islam in 1523 and by 1606 it had supplanted the old Christian Nubian kingdom of Alwa (Alodia) and controlled an area spreading over the northern and central regions of modern day Sudan thereby becoming the first Islamic Kingdom in Sudan. Their kingdom lasted until 1821.

Incursions into southern Italy: 831–902

The Aghlabids rulers of Ifriqiya under the Abbasids, using present-day Tunisia as their launching pad conquered Palermo in 831, Messina in 842, Enna in 859, Syracuse in 878, Catania in 900 and the final Byzantine stronghold, the fortress of Taormina, in 902 setting up emirates in the Italian Peninsula. In 846 the Aghlabids sacked Rome.

Berber and Tulunid rebellions quickly led to the rise of the Fatimids taking over Aghlabid territory and Calabria was soon lost to the apanate of Italy. The Kalbid dynasty administered the Emirate of Sicily for the Fatimids by proxy from 948. By 1053 the dynasty died out in a dynastic struggle and interference from the Berber Zirids of Ifriqiya led to its breakdown into small fiefdoms which were captured by the Italo-Normans by 1091.

Conquest of Anatolia: 1060–1360

The Abbasid period saw initial expansion and the capture of Crete (840). The Abbasids soon shifted their attention towards the east. During the later fragmentation of the Abbasid rule and the rise of their Shiite rivals the Fatimids and Buyids, a resurgent Byzantium recaptured Crete and Cilicia in 961, Cyprus in 965, and pushed into the Levant by 975. The Byzantines successfully contested with the Fatimids for influence in the region until the arrival of the Seljuq Turks who first allied with the Abbasids and then ruled as the de facto rulers.

In 1068 Alp Arslan and allied Turkmen tribes recaptured many Abbasid lands and even invaded Byzantine regions, pushing further into eastern and central Anatolia after a major victory at the Battle of Manzikert in 1071. The disintegration of the Seljuk dynasty, the first unified Turkic dynasty, resulted in the rise of subsequent, smaller, rival Turkic kingdoms such as the Danishmends, the Sultanate of Rûm, and various Atabegs who contested the control of the region during the Crusades and incrementally expanded across Anatolia until the rise of the Ottoman Empire.

Byzantine-Ottoman Wars: 1299–1453

Further conquests: 1200–1800


Ottoman expansion until 1683

In Sub-Saharan Africa, the Sahelian kingdom expanded Muslim territories far from the coast. Muslim traders spread Islam to kingdoms across Zanj along the east African coast, and to Southeast Asia and the sultanates of Southeast Asia such as those of Mataram and Sulu.

After the Mongol Empire destroyed the Abbasid Caliphate, following the Battle of Baghdad (1258), they were stopped by Mamluks, Muslim army from Egypt in Battle of Ain Jalut in 1260, and soon they converted to Islam, beginning an era of Turkic and Mongol expansions of Muslim rule into Eastern Europe under the Golden Horde; across Central Asia under Timur, founder of the Timurid dynasty; and later into the Indian subcontinent under his descendant Babur, founder of the Mughal Empire. Meanwhile in the 17th century, Barbary corsairs were conducting raids into Western and Northern Europe, as far as the islands of Britain and Iceland.[8][9] Eastern Europe suffered a series of Tatar invasions, the goal of which was to loot, pillage and capture slaves into jasyr.[10]

The modern era saw the rise of three powerful Muslim empires: the Ottoman Empire of the Middle East and Europe, the Safavid Empire of Persia and Central Asia, and the Mughal Empire of India; along with their contest and fall to the rise of the colonial powers of Europe.

Decline and collapse: 1800–1924

The Mughal empire reached its golden age under the rule of Jalaluddin Akbar, who married a Hindu Rajput princess and abolished the Jizya tax on non-Muslims. Akbar’s grandson Shah Jehan built the famous Taj Mahal. Shah Jehan’s son Aurangzeb was a religious man who led to greater expansion of Mughal Empire. During his reign Mughal Empire reached its zenith.The Mughal Empire declined in 1707 after the death of Aurangzeb and was officially abolished by the British after the Indian Rebellion of 1857.

The Safavid Empire ended with the death of its last ruler Ismail III who ruled from 1750 until his death in 1760. The last surviving Muslim empire, the Ottoman Empire, collapsed in 1918 in the aftermath of World War I. On March 3, 1924, the institution of the Caliphate was abolished by President Mustafa Kemal Atatürk as part of his reforms in creating Turkey from the remnants of the collapsed Ottoman Empire.


1.       ^ Martin Sicker (2000), The Islamic World in Ascendancy: From the Arab Conquests to the Siege of Vienna, ‘Praeger.

2.       ^ Rosenwein, Barbara H. (2004). A Short History of the Middle Ages. Ontario. pp. 71–72. ISBN 1-55111-290-6.

3.       ^ Blankinship, Khalid Yahya (1994). The End of the Jihad State, the Reign of Hisham Ibn ‘Abd-al Malik and the collapse of the Umayyads. State University of New York Press. p. 37. ISBN 0-7914-1827-8. http://books.google.com/?id=Jz0Yy053WS4C&pg=PA37&dq=umayyad+caliphate+square+miles.

4.       ^ Medieval Sourcebook: Ibn Abd-el-Hakem: The Islamic Conquest of Spain

5.       ^ Spain The conquest, Encyclopædia Britannica

6.       ^ Lyons & Jackson 1982, pp. 60–62

7.       ^ a b The Nile: histories, cultures, myths By Ḥagai Erlikh, I. Gershoni

8.       ^ Bernard Lewis (1993), Islam and the West, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-509061-6.

9.       ^ Bernard Lewis (1990), “Europe and Islam”, The Tanner Lectures on Human Values, at Brasenose College, Oxford University.

10.   ^ Supply of Slaves


History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire Chapter 51 Fred Donner, The Early Islamic Conquests Chapter 6 Mark Graham, “How Islam Created the Modern World” (2006) ISBN 1-59008-043-2 Hugh Kennedy, The Great Arab Conquests: How the Spread of Islam Changed the World We Live in (2007) ISBN 0-306-81585-0



From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Bismillahir Rahmanir RahimThe Rightly Guided Caliphs or The Righteous Caliphs (الخلفاء الراشدون al-Khulafā’u r-Rāshidūn) is a term used in Sunni Islam to refer to the first four Caliphs who established the Rashidun Caliphate. The concept of “Rightly Guided Caliphs” originated with the Abbasid Dynasty. It is a reference to the Sunni tradition, “Hold firmly to my example (sunnah) and that of the Rightly Guided Caliphs” (Ibn Majah, Abu Dawood).[1]


The first four Caliphs who ruled after the death of Muhammad are often quoted as the Khulafah Rashidun.

The Rashidun were either elected by a council (see The election of Uthman and Islamic democracy) or chosen based on the wishes of their predecessor. In the order of succession, the rashidun were:

Abu Bakr (632-634 A.D.) Umar ibn al-Khattab, (Umar І) (634-644 A.D.) Uthman ibn Affan (644-656 A.D.) Ali ibn Abi Talib (656-661 A.D.)

Hasan ibn Ali was appointed as Caliph in 661 following the death of Ali and is also regarded as a righteous ruler by Sunni Muslims,[2] although he was recognized by only half of the Islamic state and his rule was challenged and eventually ended by the Governor of Syria, Muawiyah ibn Abi Sufyan.

In addition to this, there are several views regarding additional rashidun. Umar ibn Abdul Aziz (Umar ІІ), who was one of the Ummayyad caliphs, is sometimes regarded as one of the Rashidun and is quoted by Taftazani. In the Ibadhi tradition, only Abu Bakr and Umar are considered to be the Two Rightly Guided Caliphs. Suleiman the Magnificent and Abdul Hamid I of the Ottoman period are regarded by some to be amongst the rightly guided Caliphs.

Ibn Hajr al-Asqalani includes the Khulafah of the Bani Abbas (i.e., the Abbassids) in his enumeration.

Abu Bakr

Abu Bakr (Abdullah ibn Abi Qahafa) (Arabic: عبد الله بن أبي قحافة; Transliteration: ‘Abdullāh bin Abī Quhāfah, c. 573 CE unknown exact date 634/13 AH) was a senior companion (Sahabah) and the father-in-law of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad. He ruled over the Rashidun Caliphate from 632-634 CE when he became the first Muslim Caliph following Muhammad’s death.[3] As Caliph, Abu Bakr succeeded to the political and administrative functions previously exercised by the Prophet, since the religious function and authority of prophethood ended with Muhammad’s death according to Islam. Abu Bakr was called Al-Siddiq (The Truthful)[4] and was known by that title among later generations of Muslims.

Omar ibn al-Khattab

Umar (Arabic: عمر بن الخطاب; Transliteration: `Umar ibn al-Khattāb, c. 586–590 – 644[4]) c. 2 Nov. (Dhu al-Hijjah 26, 23 Hijri[5]) , was a leading companion and adviser to the Islamic prophet Muhammad, and became the second Muslim Khalifa after Muhammad’s death and ruled for 10 years.[6] He succeeded Caliph Abu Bakr on 23 August 634 as the second Caliph, and played a significant role in Islam. Under Umar the Islamic empire expanded at an unprecedented rate ruling the whole Sassanid Persian Empire and more than two thirds of the Eastern Roman Empire.[7] His legislative abilities, his firm political and administrative control over a rapidly expanding empire and his brilliantly coordinated multi-prong attacks against the Sassanid Persian Empire that resulted in the conquest of the Persian empire in less than two years, marked his reputation as a great political and military leader.[8] He was killed by a Persian captive.

Othman ibn Affan

Othman ibn `Affan (Arabic: عثمان بن عفان‎) (c. 579 – 17 July 656) was one of the companions of Islamic prophet, Muhammad. Othman was born into the Umayyad clan of Mecca, a powerful family of the Quraish tribe. He was a companion of Muhammad who became caliph at the age of 70. Under his leadership, the empire expanded into Fars in 650 (present-day Iran), some areas of Khorasan (present-day Afghanistan)in 651 and the conquest of Armenia was begun in the 640s.[9] His rule ended when he was assassinated.

Uthman is perhaps best known for forming the committee which compiled the basic text of the Qur’an as it exists today, based on text that had been gathered separately on parchment, bones and rocks during the life time of Muhammad and also on a copy of the Qur’an that had been collated by Abu Bakr and left with Muhammad’s widow after Abu Bakr’s death. The committee members were also reciters of the Qur’an and had memorised the entire text during the lifetime of Muhammad. This work was undertaken due to the vast expansion of Islam under Uthman’s rule, which encountered many different dialects and languages. This had led to variant readings of the Qur’an for those converts who were not familiar with the language. After clarifying any possible errors in pronunciation or dialects, Othman sent copies of the sacred text to each of the Muslim cities and garrison towns, and destroyed variant texts. It is also important to mention that this text was not questioned by any of the followers of Islam, even those who were alive during the time of Muhammad.

Ali ibn Abi Talib

After the death of Othman, Medina was in political chaos for a number of days. Many of the companions approached Ali to take the role of Caliph, which he refused to do initially.

After his appointment as caliph, Ali dismissed several provincial governors, some of whom were relatives of Othman, and replaced them with trusted aides such as Malik ibn Ashter . Ali then transferred his capital from Medina to Kufa, the Muslim garrison city in what is now Iraq. The capital of the province of Syria, Damascus, was held by Mu’awiyah, the governor of Syria and a kinsman of Othman, Ali’s slain predecessor.[10]

His caliphate coincided with the First Fitna or civil war when Muslims were divided over who had the legitimate right to occupy the caliphate.[11] and which was ended, on the whole, by Muawiyah‘s assumption of the caliphate.

He was assassinated, and died on the 21st of Ramadan in the city of Kufa (Iraq) in 661 CE.

Military Expansion

The Rashidun caliphate greatly expanded the sway of Islam beyond Arabia, conquering all of Persia, besides Syria (637), Armenia (639) Egypt (639) and Cyprus (654). In this, the Rashiduns profited from the devastating Byzantine–Sassanid War of 602–628 which left both the Roman and the Persian empires weaker than ever before.

Social Policies

During his reign, Abu Bakr established the Bayt al-Mal(state treasury). Umar expanded the treasury and established government building to administer the state finances.[12]

Upon conquest, in almost all cases, the caliphs were burdened with the maintenance and construction of roads and bridges in return for the conquered nation’s political loyalty.[13]

Civil activities

Civil welfare in Islam started in the form of the construction and purchase of wells. During the Caliphate, the Muslims repaired many of the aging wells in the lands they conquered.[14]

In addition to wells, the Muslims built many tanks and canals. Many canals were purchased, and new ones constructed. While some canals were excluded for the use of monks (such as a spring purchased by Talha), and the needy, most canals were open to general public use. Some canals were constructed between settlements, such as the Saad canal that provided water to Anbar, and the Abi Musa Canal to providing water to Basra.[15]

During a famine, Umar ibn al-Khattab ordered the construction of a canal in Egypt connecting the Nile with the sea. The purpose of the canal was to facilitate the transport of grain to Arabia through a sea-route, hitherto transported only by land. The canal was constructed within a year by Amr bin al Aas, and Abdus Salam Nadiv writes, Arabia was rid of famine for all the times to come.”[16]

After four floods hit Mecca after Muhammad’s death, Umar ordered the construction of two dams to protect the Kaaba. He also constructed a dam near Medina to protect its fountains from flooding.[13]


The area of Basra was very sparsely populated when it was conquered by the Muslims. During the reign of Umar, the Muslim army found it a suitable place to construct a base. Later the area was settled and a mosque was erected.

Upon the conquest of Madyan, it was settled by Muslims. However, soon the environment was considered harsh and Umar ordered the resettlement of the 40,000 settlers to Kufa. The new buildings were constructed from mud bricks, instead of reeds, a material that was popular in the region, but caught fire easily.

During the conquest of Egypt the area of Fustat was used by the Muslim army as a base. Upon the conquest of Alexandria, the Muslims returned and settled in the same area. Initially the land was primarily used for pasture, but later buildings were constructed.[17]

Other already populated areas were greatly expanded. At Mosul, Harthama Arfaja, at the command of Umar, constructed a fort, few churches, a mosque and a locality for the Jewish population.[18]

Muslim views

The first four caliphs are particularly significant to modern intra-Islamic debates: for Sunni Muslims, they are models of righteous rule; for Shia Muslims, the first three of the four were usurpers. It is prudent to note here that accepted traditions of both Sunni and Shi’a muslims detail disagreements and tensions between the four rightly guided caliphs.

Sunni perspectives

They are called so because they have been seen as model Muslim leaders by Sunni Muslims. This terminology came into a general use around the world, since Sunni Islam has been the dominant Islamic tradition, and for a long time it has been considered the most authoritative source of information about Islam in the Western world.

They were all close companions of Muhammad, and his relatives: the daughters of Abu Bakr and Omar were married to Muhammad, and three of Muhammad’s daughters were married to Othman and Ali. Likewise, their succession was not hereditary, something that would become the custom after them, beginning with the subsequent Umayyad Caliphate. Council decision or caliph’s choice determines the successor originally.

Shi’a tradition

According to Shi’a Islam, the first caliph should have been Ali followed by the Shi’a Imams. Shi’a Muslims support this claim with the Hadith of the pond of Khumm. Another reason for this support for Ali as the first caliph is because he had the same relationship to Muhammad as Aaron had to Moses. Starting with Muhammad to Ali to the grandsons of Muhammad, Hasan ibn Ali and Husayn ibn Ali (Muhammad had no surviving sons of his own) and so on.

The Shi’ites also argue that if all of these four caliphs were rightly guided, then there should not have been disagreements and differences between them with anything regarding religious jurisprudence and meanings.


Please note that the years of Caliphs succession do not necessarily fall on the first day of the new year. 29-Rashidunhttp://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/timeline/675f703723d5e1272f09c3060f46fc6e.png


1.       ^ Taraweeh: 8 or 20?

2.       ^ [1]

3.       ^ [2], from Encyclopædia Britannica

4.       ^ a b Juan Eduardo Campo, “Encyclopedia of Islam”, Infobase Publishing, 2009 [3]

5.       ^ Ibn Kathir, “al-Bidayah wa al-Nihayah”, part 7.

6.       ^ Ahmed, Nazeer, Islam in Global History: From the Death of Prophet Muhammad to the First World War, American Institute of Islamic History and Cul, 2001, p. 34. ISBN 073885963X.

7.       ^ Hourani, p. 23.

8.       ^ http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/History/Caliphate.html

9.       ^ Ochsenweld, William; Fisher, Sydney Nettleton (2004). The Middle East: a history (sixth ed.). New York: McGraw Hill. ISBN 0072442336.

10.   ^ Shi’a: ‘Ali

11.   ^ Ref:

§  Lapidus (2002), p.47

§  Holt (1977a), pp. 70-72

§  Tabatabaei (1979), pp.50-57

12.   ^ Nadvi (2000), pg. 411

13.   ^ a b Nadvi (2000), pg. 408

14.   ^ Nadvi (2000), pg. 403-4

15.   ^ Nadvi (2000), pg. 405-6

16.   ^ Nadvi (2000), pg. 407-8

17.   ^ Nadvi (2000), pg. 416-7

18.   ^ Nadvi (2000), pg. 418

28-The Farewell Pilgrimage

The Farewell Pilgrimage

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Farewell Pilgrimage (Arabic: Hujjat al-wada’) was the last and only Hajj pilgrimage the Islamic prophet Muhammad participated in, in 632 CE (10 AH).


Muhammad told his followers that the Angel Gabriel came to him every year to recite the Qur’an with him, but this year he came twice. Muhammad understood this to mean that his time was coming to an end, and thus told his close followers to call all people from various places to join him in his final pilgrimage to Mecca. This occasion marked the first time that Muslims of this number had gathered in one place in the presence of their leader. It has been reported that more than seventy thousand people followed him to Mecca and that on the fourth day of Dhu’l-Hijjah, more than one hundred thousand Muslims had entered Mecca to complete the rites of the Hajj.


Since Mecca had embraced Islam, and the Battle of Tabuk was ended, most of the Arabian Peninsula was under Muhammad’s leadership, and there was a record high attendance to the pilgrimage.


It was during this pilgrimage that Muhammad declared the validity of the Mut’ah of Hajj.

The Farewell Sermon

Muhammad led the pilgrims from Mecca through the Valley of Mina and up to the Mountain of Arafat and then stopped them in the Valley of Uranah. They stood in front of him silently as he sat on his camel and delivered his Farewell Sermon.


Shi’a Muslims claim that it was after the Hajj that the events of Ghadir Khumm took place where the hadith of the two weighty things and Hadith of the pond of Khumm were reported. These are a point of controversy among Sunni and Shi’a. According to the latter this is where Muhammad appointed his cousin and son-in-law Ali ibn Abi Talib as Imam and his successor and asked the present Muslims to pledge allegiance to the future Imam.


There is a controversy regarding when verse [Quran5:67] was revealed:

O Apostle! deliver what has been revealed to you from your Lord; and if you do it not, then you have not delivered His message, and Allah will protect you from the people; surely Allah will not guide the unbelieving people.

Some Muslims say this verse was revealed during the Farewell Pilgrimage, while some other’s opine it was revealed just prior to the Ghadir Khumm events.

27-Battle Of Tabouk

Battle of Tabouk

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Tabuk, Saudi Arabia

The Battle of Tabouk (also called the Battle of Tabuk) was a military expedition, which, according to Muslim biographies, was initiated by the Prophet Muhammad in October, AD 630. Muhammad led a force of as many as 30,000 north to Tabouk in present-day northwestern Saudi Arabia, with the intention of engaging the Byzantine army. Though not a battle in the typical sense, if historical the event would represent the opening conflict in the coming Byzantine-Arab wars. There is no contemporary Byzantine account of the events, and much of the details come from later Muslim sources. Noting this, as well as the fact that the armies never met, some Western scholars have questioned the authenticity of the details surrounding the event;[1] though in the Arab world it is widely held as historical.

Reasons for War

According to Ar-Rahīq al-Makhtum, a modern Islamic hagiography of Muhammad written by the Indian Muslim author Saif ur-Rahman Mubarakpuri, the reason for war against the Byzantine Empire, was that one of Muhammad’s ambassadors was killed by Sharhabeel bin ‘Amr Al-Ghassani (the governor of Al-Balqa). This immediately led to the Battle of Mutah. But Mubarakpuri also claims that event was one of the reasons of the Battle of Tabouk also. Mubarakpuri further mentions that the emperor of the Byzantine Empire, Heraclius was preparing a force to demolish the growing Muslim power in the region.[2]

The non Muslim scholar William Muir claims that one of the reasons Heraclius decided to go to War was that he wanted to prevent the recurrence of the Expedition of Ukasha bin Al-Mihsan against the Banu Udrah and military campaigns similar to it.[3] The Banu Udhrah was a Christian tribe that was aligned to the Byzantine Empire, before converting to Islam and aligning themselves to Muhammad.[4] The tribe converted to Islam after Khalid ibn Walid carried out a military campaign in the area, however there were some who were still disaffected, so another campaign was carried out in the area.[5]

Preparations for War

All the Muslims as well as allies of Muhammad, received an urgent call to join the campaign. But the Arab’s of the desert showed little interest. Many came up with excuses not to participate. Muhammad provided incentives to persuade the Arabs to join, and provided many with gifts.[5]

The Muslim scholar Ibn Kathir mentions in his tafsir that the Quran verse 9:49 was “revealed” about the people who make excuses not to participate in the Jihad. In this case Al-Jadd bin Qays made an excuse not participate in the Battle of Tabuk, and Ibn Kathir says that 9:49 verse was “revealed” because of his excuse. [6][7] The verse states:

Among them is (many) a man who says: “Grant me exemption and draw me not into trial.” Have they not fallen into trial already? and indeed Hell surrounds the Unbelievers (on all sides). [Quran9:49]

Many rumors of the danger threatening the Muslims was carried to Mecca by Nabateans who traded from Syria to Medina. They carried rumors of Heraclius’ preparations and the existence of an enormous army said to number anywhere from 40,000 to several 100,000 besides the Lakhm, Judham and other Arab tribes allied to the Byzantines.[2] Ibn Kathirstated that verse 9:81 was also “revealed” about the Battle of Tabuk, regarding those who made excuses[8][9]

Ibn Kathir also mentions that verse 9:29 which called for fighting against the people of the book till they pay Jizyah was “revealed” while Muhammad was preparing for the Battle of Tabuk, he wrote:

The Order to fight People of the Scriptures until They give the Jizyah

(Fight against those who believe not in Allah, nor in the Last Day, nor forbid that which has been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, and those who acknowledge not the religion of truth among the People of the Scripture,) This honorable Ayah was revealed with the order to fight the People of the Book, after the pagans were defeated, the people entered Allah’s religion in large numbers, and the Arabian Peninsula was secured under the Muslims’ control. Allah commanded His Messenger to fight the People of the Scriptures, Jews and Christians, on the ninth year of Hijrah, and he prepared his army to fight the Romans and called the people to Jihad announcing his intent and destination. The Messenger sent his intent to various Arab areas around Al-Madinah to gather forces, and he collected an army of thirty thousand. Some people from Al-Madinah and some hypocrites, in and around it, lagged behind, for that year was a year of drought and intense heat. The Messenger of Allah marched, heading towards Ash-Sham to fight the Romans until he reached Tabuk, where he set camp for about twenty days next to its water resources.

[Tafsir ibn Kathir, on 9:29][6][10]


The Muhammad marched northwards to Tabouk, though the Byzantine army did not initiate any form of aggression against the Muslims. The army of 30,000 was a great one, when compared with the previous armies of Islam. Muslims had never marched with such a great number before.[2]

After arriving at Tabouk and camping there, the Muhammad’s army was prepared to face the Byzantines. However the Byzantines were not at Tabouk. They stayed there for a number of days and scouted the area but they never came.[2]

Nevertheless, this expedition brought, in itself, credit to the Muslim forces that had gained military reputation in the remote lands of the Arabian Peninsula.The strategic long term consequence of the battle was that many Arab tribes now abandoned the Byzantines and joined with Muhammad, enlarging the Muslim state.[2]

Immediate Aftermath

Letter to Christian princes

When Muslims arrived at Tabuk, they halted and took a rest, rumours of a Roman Byzantine Invasion had cooled down, and there was nothing to threaten Muhammad. Muhammad dispatched Khalidi ibn Walid on a military expedition to Duma.[11] Muhammad sent him to Dumatul Jandal with 400 men.[2] The Jewish and Christian tribes in the area where Muhammad was converted to Islam. According to William Muir, Muhammad sent a letter to the Christian Prince of Ayla/Aliah (called Yahna bin Rawbah[2]), threatening him to submit to Islam, or pay the Jizyah, if he did not want to be attacked.[12] The Letter stated:

To John ibn Rubah and the Chiefs of Ayla (or Acaba). Peace be on you! I praise God for you, beside whom there is no Lord.

I will not fight against you until I have written thus unto you. Believe, or else pay tribute. And be obedient unto the Lord and his Prophet (and the messengers of his Prophet). Honour them and clothe them with excellent vestments, not with inferior raiment. Specially clothe Zeid with excellent garments. As long as my messengers are pleased, so likewise am I. Ye know the tribute. If ye desire to have security by sea and by land, obey the Lord and his Apostle, and he will defend you from every demand whether by Arab or foreigner, saving the demand of the Lord and his Apostle. But if ye oppose and displease them, I will not accept from you a single thing, until I have fought against you and taken captive your little ones and slain the elder; for I am the Apostle of the Lord in truth.

Believe in the Lord and in his Prophets. And believe in the Messiah son of Mary; verily he is the word of God. Come then, before trouble reach you. I commend my messengers to you. Give to Harmala three measures of bailey ; and indeed Harmala hath interceded for you. As for me, if it were not for the Lord and for this (intercession of Harmala), I would not have sent any message at all unto you, until ye had seen the army. But now, if ye obey my messengers, God will be your protector, and Muhammad, and whosoever belongeth unto him. Now my messengers are Sharahbil, &c. Unto you is the guarantee of God and of Muhammad his Apostle, and peace be unto you if ye Submit.

[Letter of Muhammad to the Christian price of Aliah][12]

William Muir claims the letter is authentic and was retained by the chiefs of Ayla, as proof of the rights Muhammad gave to the people of Ayla for their conversion, he claims that it is authentic because in the letter Muhammad’s name is mentioned without affixes i.e. the phrase “Prayes and blessings be upon” him (and similar phrases) are missing, he suggests it would be forged if it did not have these affixes missing, as the affixes are added by later generation Muslims when mentioning Muhammad’s name. Muhammad also sent some letters to other tribes in the area, William Muir mentions that Waqidi copied the content of some of the other letters.[13]

The local tribes gave their allegiance to Muhammad and agreed to the payment of the jizyah protection tribute. The Muslim scholar, Saifur Rahman al Mubarakpuri mentions that Yahna bin Rawbah, came to Muhammad “and made peace with him, paying him the jizyah” and Muhammad in return gave each tribe a letter of guarantee, similar to Yahna’s. This letter especially guaranteed the Freedom to practice Religion.[2]

Return to Medina

After returning from Medina, some companions of Muhammad believed that there was no need to fight any longer, after looking around and seeing that there were no enemies remaining to threaten the Muslims, and after the Romans had left the Muslims alone. Muhammad’s followers began to sell their weapons, but Muhammad rebuked them, claiming there will always be a need to fight and revealed a new verse of the Quran.[14] Ibn Kathir mentions this event and the verse as follows:

(Until the war lays down its burden.) Mujahid said: “Until `Isa bin Maryam (peace be upon him) descends. It seems as if he derived this opinion from the Prophet’s saying, There will always be a group of my Ummah victorious upon the truth, until the last of them fight against Ad-Dajjal.) Imam Ahmad recorded from Jubayr bin Nufayr who reported from Salamah bin Nufayl that he went to the Messenger of Allah and said, “I have let my horse go, and thrown down my weapon, for the war has ended. There is no more fighting. Then the Prophet said to him, Now the time of fighting has come. There will always be a group of my Ummah dominant over others. Allah will turn the hearts of some people away (from the truth), so they (that group) will fight against them, and Allah will bestow on them (war spoils) from them (the enemies) [Tafsir ibn Kathir][15]

Islamic Primary Sources


According to Saif ur-Rahman Mubarakpuri, many verses of Surah Tawbah (chapter 9 of the Quran) are related to the Battle of Tabuk.[2] The Muslim scholar Ibn Kathir mentions that verses 9:42-48, 9:49,[6][7] 9:81,[8][9] and 9:29 are all related to the Battle of Tabuk or where “revealed” during the Battle of Tabuk.[6][10]


1.       ^ See, for example, Bowersock, Glen Warren, Peter Robert Lamont Brown and Oleg Grabar Late Antiquity: A Guide to the Postclassical World (1999, Harvard University Press) p. 597, which notes that many of the details surrounding Muhammad’s life as given in the biographies, are “problematic in certain respects, the most important of which is that they represent a tradition of living narrative that is likely to have developed orally for a considerable period before it was given even a relatively fixed written form. Ideally, one would like to be able to check such accounts against contemporary evidence… however, there is no relevant archaeological, epigraphic, or numismatic evidence dating from the time of Muhammad, nor are there any references to him in non-Muslim sources dating from the period before 632.” Also cf. El-Cheikh, Nadia Maria Byzantium Viewed by the Arabs (2004, Harvard University Press) p. 5, “One major challenge to examining initial contacts between Byzantium and the early Muslim umma arises from the controversy surrounding the traditional Islamic account… …sources are not contemporaneous with the events they purport to relate and sometimes were written many centuries later. These sources contain internal complexities, anachronisms, discrepancies, and contradictions. Moreover, many of them provide evidence of embellishment and invention that were introduced to serve the purposes of political or religious apologetic.”

2.       ^ a b c d e f g h i Rahman al-Mubarakpuri, Saifur (2005), The Sealed Nectar, Darussalam Publications, p. 272, http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=-ppPqzawIrIC&pg=PA272

3.       ^ William, William (10 August 2003). Life of Mahomet. Kessinger Publishing Co. p. 454. ISBN 978-0766177413. http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=QyIPouT4DqcC&pg=PA454.

4.       ^ R.L. Bidwell (editor), R. (Feb 1996). New Arabian studies, Volume 3. University of Exeter Press. p. 95. ISBN 978-0859894791. http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=VhturGtQIyAC&pg=PA95.

5.       ^ a b Muir, William (10 August 2003). Life of Mahomet. Kessinger Publishing Co. p. 454. ISBN 978-0766177413. http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=QyIPouT4DqcC&pg=PA454.

6.       ^ a b c d Saed Abdul-Rahman, Muhammad (29 October 2009). The Meaning And Explanation Of The Glorious Qur’an (Vol 4), Tafsir ibn Kathir. MSA Publication Ltd. p. 107. ISBN 978-1861796509. http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=O4LMAGogMjkC&pg=PA107.

7.       ^ a b Tafsir ibn Kathir,On 9:49, Text Version

8.       ^ a b Saed Abdul-Rahman, Muhammad (29 October 2009). The Meaning And Explanation Of The Glorious Qur’an (Vol 4), Tafsir ibn Kathir. MSA Publication Ltd. p. 137. ISBN 978-1861796509. http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=O4LMAGogMjkC&pg=PA137.

9.       ^ a b Tafsir ibn Kathir,On 9:81, Text Version

10.   ^ a b Tafsir ibn Kathir,On 9:29, Text Version

11.   ^ William, William (10 August 2003). Life of Mahomet. Kessinger Publishing Co. p. 456. ISBN 978-0766177413. http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=QyIPouT4DqcC&pg=PA456.

12.   ^ a b William, William (10 August 2003). Life of Mahomet. Kessinger Publishing Co. p. 457. ISBN 978-0766177413. http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=QyIPouT4DqcC&pg=PA457.

13.   ^ William, William (10 August 2003). Life of Mahomet. Kessinger Publishing Co. p. 458. ISBN 978-0766177413. http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=QyIPouT4DqcC&pg=PA458. See notes section

14.   ^ William, William (10 August 2003). Life of Mahomet. Kessinger Publishing Co. p. 463. ISBN 978-0766177413. http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=QyIPouT4DqcC&pg=PA463.

15.   ^ Tafsir ibn Kathir, Surah 9, qtafsir.com

26-Battle Of Hunayn

Battle of Hunain

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Battle of Hunayn


630 (8 AH)


Hunain, near [Saqif






Commanders and leaders


Malik ibn Awf al-Nasri




Casualties and losses


70 killed[2][3]

6,000 women and children taken prisoners[4].

The Battle of Hunain was fought between Muhammad and his followers against the Bedouin tribe of Hawazin and its subsection the Thaqif in 630 in a valley on one of the roads leading from Mecca to al-Ta’if. The battle ended in a decisive victory for the Muslims, who captured enormous spoils. The Battle of Hunayn is one of only two battles mentioned in the Qur’an by name, in Sura [Quran9:25].[5]



The conquest of Makkah astounded both the Arabs and other tribes, who realized that they were doomed and had to submit. Some of the fierce, powerful proud tribes did not submit to Islam and favoured resistance. Ahead of these were the septs of Hawazin and Thaqif. Nasr, Jashm and Sa‘d bin Bakr and people of Bani Hilal. According to the Muslim scholar Saifur Rahman al-Mubarakpuri “They thought that they were too mighty to admit or surrender to such a victory”. So they met Malik bin ‘Awf An-Nasri and made up their mind to proceed fighting against the Muslims. [6][7]


The Hawazin and their allies, the Thaqif, began mobilizing their forces when they learnt from their spies that Muhammad and his army had departed from Medina to begin an assault on Mecca. The confederates apparently hoped to attack the Muslim army while it besieged Mecca. Muhammad, however, uncovered their intentions through his own spies in the camp of the Hawazin, and marched against the Hawazin just two weeks[8][9][10] after the conquest of Mecca with a force of 12,000 men.[5] Only four weeks had elapsed since quitting Medina.[11]

The spies that Malik had already dispatched to spy Muslim forces, returned with their limbs cut off. “Woe unto you! What happened to you?” Said Malik. They said: “We have seen distinguished people on spotted horsebacks. What you see, would not have happened if we had been firmly together.”, according to the Muslim scholar, Saifur Rahman al-Mubarakuprui. [12][13]

Course of the Battle

On Wednesday night the tenth of Shawwal, the Muslim army arrived at Hunain. Malik bin ‘Awf, who had previously entered the valley by night, gave orders to his army to hide inside the valley and lurk for the Muslims on roads, entrances, narrow hiding places. His orders to his men were to hurl stones at Muslims whenever they caught sight of them and then to make a one-man attack against them.

When Muslims started camping, arrows began showering intensively at them, whereas the enemy’s battalions started a fierce attack against the Muslims, who had to retreat in disorder and utter confusion.

It is reported that only a few soldiers stayed behind and fought that included Ali bin Abu Talib who was the standard bearer, Abbas, Fazal bin Abbas, Usamah and Abi Sufyan bin Hirith[14][15]

“Come on, people! I am the Messenger of Allâh. I am Muhammad, the son of Abdullah.” Then Muhammad said “O, Allâh, send down Your Help!”, later Muslims’ returned to the Battlefield. Muhammad, then Picking up a handful of earth, he hurled it at their faces while saying: “May your faces be shameful.” Their eyes were thick with dust and the enemy began to retreat in utter confusion, according to the Muslim scholar Saifur Rahman al-Mubarakpuri[16][17]

Enemy Flees, 70 killed

After the enemy was defeated. About seventy men of Thaqif alone were killed, and the Muslims captured all their riding camels, weapons and cattle.

The Quran verse 9:25 was also revealed in this event according to Muslim scholars:

Assuredly Allah did help you in many battle-fields and on the day of Hunain: Behold! your great numbers elated you, but they availed you naught: the land, for all that it is wide, did constrain you, and ye turned back in retreat.

But Allah did pour His calm on the Messenger and on the Believers, and sent down forces which ye saw not: He punished the Unbelievers; thus doth He reward those without Faith. [Quran9:25]


Some of the enemies fled, and Muhammad chased after them. Similar battalions chased after other enemies, Rabi‘a bin Rafi‘ caught up with Duraid bin As-Simmah who was an old man, and killed him.[20] [21]. This is mentioned by the Muslim jurist Tabari as follows:

The Messenger of God’s cavalry followed those who went to Nakhlah, but not those who took to the narrow passes. Rabia b. Rufay’ b. Uhban b. Tha’labah b. Rabi’ah b. Yarbu’ b. Sammal119 b. ‘Awf b. Imr al- [1666] Qays, who was called Ibn Ladh’ah after his mother, overtook Durayd b. al-Simmah and seized his camel by its halter, thinking that he was a woman because he was in a howdah. But lo, it was a man. He made the camel kneel down beside him and [found that] the man was very old. He was Durayd b. al-Simmah, [but] the young man did not know him. Durayd asked him what he wanted to do with him. The young man replied that he wanted to kill him. Durayd asked him who he was, and he replied that he was Rabi’ah b. Rufaya al-Sulami.He then struck him with his sword, but to no effect. Thereupon Durayd said, “What a poor weapon your mother has armed you with! Take this sword of mind that is in the rear of the saddle Take this sword of mine that is at the rear of the saddle in the howdah and strike me with it above the spine but below the brain, for I used to slay men in that way. Then when you go to your mother and tell her you killed Durayd b. al-Simmah. By God, how many times i protected your women”.

[Tabari, The Last Years of the Prophet, Pg 16][22]


Because Malik ibn Awf al-Nasri had brought the families and flocks of the Hawazin along, the Muslims were able to capture huge spoils, consisting of 6,000 women and children were taken prisoners and 24,000 camels were captured. Some Bedouins fled, and split into two groups[23]. . One group went back, resulting in the Battle of Autas, while the larger group found refuge at al-Ta’if, where Muhammad besieged them.[24][25][5]

Muslims so fiercely pursued the enemy, that some of the Muslim intentionally killed some little children. After Muhammad heard of this, he strictly forbade this act, according to the Non Muslim scholar Sir William Muir. [26]

Islamic Primary Sources

The event is mentioned in the Sunni Hadith collection Sahih Bukhari as follows:

We set out in the company of Allah’s Apostle on the day (of the battle) of Hunain. When we faced the enemy, the Muslims retreated and I saw a pagan throwing himself over a Muslim. I turned around and came upon him from behind and hit him on the shoulder with the sword He (i.e. the pagan) came towards me and seized me so violently that I felt as if it were death itself, but death overtook him and he released me. I followed ‘Umar bin Al Khattab and asked (him), “What is wrong with the people (fleeing)?” He replied, “This is the Will of Allah,” After the people returned, the Prophet sat and said, “Anyone who has killed an enemy and has a proof of that, will possess his spoils.” I got up and said, “Who will be a witness for me?” and then sat down. The Prophet again said, “Anyone who has killed an enemy and has proof of that, will possess his spoils.” I (again) got up and said, “Who will be a witness for me?” and sat down. Then the Prophet said the same for the third time. I again got up, and Allah’s Apostle said, “O Abu Qatada! What is your story?” Then I narrated the whole story to him. A man (got up and) said, “O Allah’s Apostle! He is speaking the truth, and the spoils of the killed man are with me. So please compensate him on my behalf.” On that Abu Bakr As-Siddiq said, “No, by Allah, he (i.e. Allah’s Apostle ) will not agree to give you the spoils gained by one of Allah’s Lions who fights on the behalf of Allah and His Apostle.” The Prophet said, “Abu Bakr has spoken the truth.” So, Allah’s Apostle gave the spoils to me. I sold that armor (i.e. the spoils) and with its price I bought a garden at Bani Salima, and this was my first property which I gained after my conversion to Islam.

Sahih al-Bukhari, 4:53:370

The event is also in Imam Maliks Al-Muwatta as follows:

Yahya related to me from Malik from Ibn Shihab that al-Qasim ibn Muhammad said that he had heard a man asking ibn Abbas about booty. Ibn Abbas said, “Horses are part of the booty and personal effects are as well.” Then the man repeated his question, and Ibn Abbas repeated his answer. Then the man said, “What are the spoils which He, the Blessed, the Exalted, mentioned in His Book?” He kept on asking until Ibn Abbas was on the verge of being annoyed, then Ibn Abbas said, “Do you know who this man is like? Ibn Sabigh, who was beaten by Umar ibn al-Khattab because he was notorious for asking foolish questions.” Yahya said that Malik was asked whether someone who killed one of the enemy could keep the man’s effects without the permission of the Imam. He said, “No one can do that without the permission of the Imam. Only the Imam can make ijtihad. I have not heard that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, ever said, ‘Whoever kills someone can have his effects,’ on any other day than the day of Hunayn.” Al-Muwatta, 21 10.19


^ The life of Mahomet and history of Islam, Volume 4, By Sir William Muir, Pg 142 ^ The sealed nectar, By S.R. Al-Mubarakpuri, Pg259 ^ Battle of Hunayn, Witness-Pioneer.com ^ The life of Mahomet and history of Islam, Volume 4, By Sir William Muir, Pg 142 ^ a b c Lammens, H. and Abd al-Hafez Kamal.. “Hunayn”. In P.J. Bearman, Th. Bianquis, C.E. Bosworth, E. van Donzel and W.P. Heinrichs. Encyclopaedia of Islam Online Edition. Brill Academic Publishers. ISSN 1573-3912. ^ The sealed nectar, By S.R. Al-Mubarakpuri, Pg258 ^ Battle of Hunayn, Witness-Pioneer.com ^ The sealed nectar, By S.R. Al-Mubarakpuri, Pg259 ^ “Reconnoitering the Enemy’s Weapons”, Witness-Pioneer.com ^ Revelation and Empire ^ Muhammad: Victory ^ The sealed nectar, By S.R. Al-Mubarakpuri, Pg259 ^ Battle of Hunayn, Witness-Pioneer.com ^ Battle of Hunayn, Ezsoftech.com ^ ln Mughazi, vol. III, page 602 ^ The sealed nectar, By S.R. Al-Mubarakpuri, Pg259 ^ Battle of Hunayn, Witness-Pioneer.com ^ The sealed nectar, By S.R. Al-Mubarakpuri, Pg259 ^ Battle of Hunayn, Witness-Pioneer.com ^ Rahman al-Mubarakpuri, Saifur (2005), The Sealed Nectar, Darussalam Publications, p. 262, http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=-ppPqzawIrIC&pg=PA262 ^ Battle of Hunayn, Witness-Pioneer.com ^ Tabari, Al (25 Sep 1990), The last years of the Prophet (translated by Isma’il Qurban Husayn), State University of New York Press, p. 16, ISBN 978-0887066917, http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=XxG8BsHNw-MC&pg=PA16 ^ The life of Mahomet and history of Islam, Volume 4, By Sir William Muir, Pg 142 ^ The sealed nectar, By S.R. Al-Mubarakpuri, Pg259 ^ Battle of Hunayn, Witness-Pioneer.com ^ The life of Mahomet and history of Islam, Volume 4, By Sir William Muir, Pg 141

25-Muhammad After The Conquest Of Mecca

Muhammad after the conquest of Mecca

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The period of Muhammad after the conquest of Mecca started with the Conquest of Mecca in 630 and ended with his death in 632.


This period was preceded by the period of Muhammad in Medina.


Conquest of Mecca

The Muslim army entered and occupied Mecca in the year 630 A.D. In 628 the Meccan tribe of Quraish and the Muslim community in Medina signed a truce called the Treaty of Hudaybiyya. Despite improved relations between Mecca and Medina after the signing of the Treaty of Hudaybiyya, a 10 year peace was to be broken by Quraish who, with their allies, the tribe of Bakr, attacked the tribe of Khuza’ah who were allies of the Muslims. However, Muhammad considered the treaty broken.[citation needed]Abu Sufyan, the leader of the Quraish in Mecca, was aware that the balances were now tilted in Muhammad‘s favour, went to Medina to restore the treaty but Muhammad refused to accommodate him and Abu Sufyan returned to Mecca empty-handed. A Muslim army of 10,000 soldiers marched towards Mecca which soon surrendered. Muhammad acted generously to the Meccans, demanding only that the pagan idols around the Kaaba be destroyed. Abu Sufyan converted to Islam and Muhammad announced, “Who enters the house of Abu Sufyan will be safe, who lays down arms will be safe, who locks his door will be safe”.[citation needed]

Battle of Hunayn

The Battle of Hunain was fought between Muhammad and his followers against the Bedouin tribe of Hawazin and its subsection the Thaqif in 630 in a valley on one of the roads leading from Mecca to al-Ta’if. The battle ended in a decisive victory for the Muslims, who captured enormous spoils. The Battle of Hunayn is one of only two battles mentioned in the Qur’an by name, in Sura. The Hawazin and their allies, the Thaqif, began mobilizing their forces when they learnt from their spies that Muhammad and his army had departed from Medina to begin an assault on Mecca. The confederates apparently hoped to attack the Muslim army while it besieged Mecca. Muhammad, however, uncovered their intentions through his own spies in the camp of the Hawazin, and marched against the Hawazin just two weeks after the conquest of Mecca with a force of 12,000 men.[citation needed] Only four weeks had elapsed since quitting Medina. The Bedouin commander Malik ibn Awf al-Nasri ambushed the Muslims at a place where the road to al-Taif enters winding gorges; the Muslims, surprised by the assault of the Bedouin cavalry, who they thought were encamped at Awtas, began retreating in disarray. Modern historians have been unable to fully reconstruct the course of the battle from this point onwards because the different Muslim sources describing the battle give contradictory accounts.[citation needed] Because Malik ibn Awf al-Nasri had brought the families and flocks of the Hawazin along, the Muslims were able to capture huge spoils, consisting of 6,000 women and children and 24,000 camels. Some Bedouins fled, and split into two groups. One group went back, resulting in the Battle of Autas, while the larger group found refuge at al-Ta’if, where Muhammad besieged them.[citation needed]

Battle of Autas

Siege of Ta’if

The Siege of Taif took place in 630 CE, as the Muslims besieged the city of Taif after their victory in the Battle of Hunayn and Autas. However, the city did not succumb to the siege. One of their chieftains, Urwah ibn Mas’ud, was absent in Yemen during that siege.

9 AH

Hadith of Mubahela [1]


Battle of Tabouk

The Battle of Tabouk (also called the Battle of Tabuk) was a military expedition said to have been led by Muhammed in October, AD 630. According to Muslim biographies, Muhammed led a force of as many as 30,000 north to Tabouk in present-day northwestern Saudi Arabia, with the intention of engaging the Byzantine army. Though not a battle in the typical sense, if historical the event would represent the opening conflict in the coming Byzantine-Arab wars. There is no contemporary Byzantine account of the events, and much of the details come from later Muslim sources. Noting this, as well as the fact that the armies never met, some Western scholars have questioned the authenticity of the details surrounding the event; though in the Arab world it is widely held as historical.[citation needed]


The Ghassanids were a group of South Arabian Christian tribes that emigrated in the early 3rd century from Yemen to the Hauran in southern Syria, Jordan and the Holy Land where some intermarried[dubious – discuss] with Hellenized Roman settlers and Greek-speaking Early Christian communities. The term Ghassān refers to the kingdom of the Ghassanids.

Thaqif adopts Islam

Thaqif, the main tribe of the town of Ta’if adopted Islam in 631 or 632.


The Farewell Pilgrimage

Ghadir Khumm

Thursday, June 4 — Muhammad’s will

Muhammad became ill and his health took a serious turn on a Thursday. He summoned his companions and announced that he wanted to write a will, he asked for writing materials to write a statement that would “prevent the Muslim nation from going astray for ever”. The first person to reply was Umar, answering that there was no need for any will, arguing that Muhammad was ill and that Umar had the Qur’an which was sufficient for him.

Saturday , June 6 — Usama’s dispatchment

Muhammad had earlier sent an expedition against the Byzantine Empire (Roman) that resulted in what was known as the Battle of Mut’ah. The leader of that expedition was the dark colored Zayd ibn Haritha, Muhammad’s former adopted son. Zayd died during that expedition.

The Saturday before Muhammad died, Umar, Abu Bakr, Uthman and others were sent away with a military detachment heading against the Byzantine forces in Syria, under the command of an eighteen year old man – Usama ibn Zayd, the son of Zayd ibn Haritha.

Ali and many others from the Banu Hashim where ordered to stay in Medina. Umar protested to this decision, causing Muhammad to forbid them to abandon Zaid’s detachment. They left, but camped outside Medina and returned the next day.

Monday, June 8 — death

He died on Monday, June 8.


This period was followed by the period of the Succession to Muhammad.