RLG100Y1 Lecture Notes - Hanafi

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16 Feb 2011
World Religions November 1st, 2011.
Early Caliphate, Sectarian Divisions, Islamic law, Cultural Spheres
Reading: Ch. 4 “The Islamic Tradition,” pp. 217-257
Death of Muhammad (founder of Islam) 632 CE
Who will succeed Muhammad:
Some believed should be member of own family, recounted he had proposed his
son-in-law Ali as his successor
Others believed Ali was too young at the time and leadership was passed to
Muhammad’s good friend Abu Bakr
Abu Bakr begins institution of caliphate – first caliph (leader) of Muslim tradition
Secular authority, primarily, political and administrative head of community
Had very short period of leadership (2 years) before he died
Was able to contain community and expanded within Arabian Peninsula
Was succeeded by Omar
Omar lead community for 10 years
Made great many vital military and political decisions
Regarded as military genius
Expanded influence of Islam militarily, socially in quite significant ways: took
Persian Empire through strategizing and during his reign he was able to take the
areas of Syria, Palestine, Egypt, modern day Iraq
Adopted convention of dating Muslim history from date of Hijrah in 622 –
migration to Medina
The one who decided to adopt Hijery calendar as norm of Islam
Was assassinated
Succeeded by Uthman
His reign marked by corruption
Accuses of various types of abuse of authority
Accused of favouring family over others, favouring certain ethnicities over others
Therefore great deal of opposition to his rule
Also assassinated
Succeeded by Ali, son-in-law of Muhammad as well as his cousin
Together referred to as four Caliphs who are understood as having more or less,
close connection with Muhammad and guiding community correctly – Sunni
Others held that three first Caliphs were interlopers and didnt merit the leadership
of the Muslim community and should have gone to Ali in the first place, he was
by all standards the most worthy – Shia community
Sunni and Shia form two major denominations of Islam, originating from same
Sunni – hold four rights guided
Shia – Ali is the only legitimate heir or Imam of Muslim community and trace
their linage to Ali and hence have different understanding of legitimacy of other
leaders of Muslim community
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