Islamic History, Part 8: The Caliphate of Abu Bakr (632-634)

Islamic History Series Muhammad's death in 632 seems to have caught his followers by surprise, because the sources describe a period of effective chaos right after he died and I think this is one area in which the sources can be mostly trusted. Yes, the sources are late and unreliable, but if they were doctored … Continue reading Islamic History, Part 8: The Caliphate of Abu Bakr (632-634)

Islamic History, Part 9: The Caliphate of Umar b. al-Khattab (634-644)

Islamic History Series The reign of Umar b. al-Khattab, or Umar I as he is sometimes known, was one of the most important periods in early Islamic history. While Abu Bakr's caliphate was really an exercise in succession and consolidation, establishing that the community founded by Muhammad would live on past his death and expending … Continue reading Islamic History, Part 9: The Caliphate of Umar b. al-Khattab (634-644)

Islamic History, Part 10: the Caliphate of Uthman b. Affan (644-656), and the Seeds of Civil War

Islamic History Series When Muhammad became the ruler of his own polity after relocating to Medina and eventually conquering Mecca, he naturally wanted to conduct diplomacy with other rulers around him. Any ruler worth his salt back then had to stamp his diplomatic correspondence with his own personal seal in order to verify his identity, … Continue reading Islamic History, Part 10: the Caliphate of Uthman b. Affan (644-656), and the Seeds of Civil War

Islamic History, Part 12: Ali’s Accession to the Caliphate (656)

Islamic History Series Well it's been quite a while since I did one of these, and I apologize for that. I enjoy writing these long historical pieces but they are not fast and real life often intervenes. Also, this particular bit of our tale is really important, and I wanted to be very careful as … Continue reading Islamic History, Part 12: Ali’s Accession to the Caliphate (656)

Islamic History, Part 13: Ali’s Caliphate (656-661) and the First Fitna

Islamic History Series Before you read this one, please read part 12 of the series, on Ali and his accession to the Caliphate. Ali's record as Caliph is incomplete, to say the least. He reigned for a mere 5 years, and most of that time was occupied by answering the many direct challenges that were … Continue reading Islamic History, Part 13: Ali’s Caliphate (656-661) and the First Fitna