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Four Rightly Guided Caliphs

The Rashidun Caliphs (Rightly Guided Caliphs; Arabic: الخلفاء الراشدون‎‎ al-Khulafāʾu ar-Rāshidūn), often simply called, collectively, "the Rashidun", is a term used in Sunni Islam to refer to the 30-year reign of the first four caliphs (successors) following the death of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, namely: Abu Bakr, ‘Umar, ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan, and ‘Ali of the Rashidun Caliphate, the first caliphate, at least. The concept of "Rightly Guided Caliphs" originated with the later Abbasid Caliphate based in Baghdad. It is a reference to the Sunni imperative "Hold firmly to my example (sunnah) and that of the Rightly Guided Caliphs" (Ibn Majah, Abu Dawood).

The first four Caliphs who ruled after the death of Muhammad are often described as the "Khulafāʾ Rāshidūn". 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 Rāshidūn were:

In addition to this, there are several views regarding additional rashidun. Al-Hasan, the eldest grandson of Muhammad, briefly succeeded ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib as caliph in 661 CE, and is recognized by several historians as being a part of the Rashidun. Al-Hasan abdicated his right to the caliphate in favour of Mu‘awiyah I in order to end the potential for ruinous civil war. ‘Umar ibn ‘Abdul-‘Aziz (‘Umar ІІ), who was one of the Umayyad caliphs, has often been regarded by Sunni historians as one of the Rashidun, as quoted by Taftazani. More rarely, the Ottoman caliph Fatih Sultan Mehmed (Mehmed II) is also sometimes regarded to be among the rightly guided caliphs. In the Ibadi tradition however, only the first two caliphs, Abu Bakr and ‘Umar are considered to be the "Two Rightly Guided Caliphs". Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani also includes the Abbasid caliphs, including Harun al-Rashid, in his enumeration.



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