History Muhammad (570-632 CE)
The Companion of the Prophets
•Dispute centered on whether Islam should be led by a
•close relative of Muhammad or by an early convert,
•particularly the ones who had worked closely with him
during the years in Mecca.
•These people were known as “companions” of the
•prophet. They were supported by a community calledSunni
•(85% of Islam) who chose to elect members of
•A smaller group,Shiites wanted somebody in
•Muhammad's family (he had no son though). People were
•satisfied witAli(Muhammad's cousin & son-in-law), who
•married his daughter, Fatima)
•Shiites also wanted the family of Ali to hold the
•office of caliph, every valid caliph (called imams) would be empowered with the same spirit that
•Sunni: the caliph was the upholder of the tradition; he had no power to innovate.
•Another problem: with either choice, leadership would be the decision of the people whose
tribal roots were in Mecca. (cut out people of Medina).
Successors: (all 4 were originally from Mecca)
•During this turbulent period under the leadership, much of the eastern Mediterranean &
Mesopotamian areas fell under Muslim control.