How was the election of the first caliph? How was the first caliph elected? When was the first caliph elected? Why was abu bakr elected as the first caliph?
After our Prophet (pbuh) died, the most important issue was who was going to be the Caliph of the Muslim community (or the head of the state). Even before the completion of the services related to the funeral ceremony of our Prophet (pbuh), some of members of the Ansar (helpers) gathered and wanted to elect one of them as the head of state. While Muslims were essentially in unity and solidarity, they seemed to have gathered around four different views under the circumstances of the day:
- Muhajirs (Emigrants) who had migrated to Medina together with Muhammad (pbuh) and shared a common fate with him since the early days of Islam, and most of whom were from the Quraish tribe.
- Ansar (Helpers) with whom the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) became friends, by migrating to their land after the circumstances in Mecca had become very difficult for him,
- Those who wanted someone from Muhammad’s (pbuh) lineage to be his successor,
- The group that had had political and economic prestige since the earlier times in Mecca. Umayyad family, the tribe of Abu Sufyan, was the leading one in this group.
The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) didn’t directly point out who was going to be elected as caliph after himself in his lifetime. In a way he wanted Muslims to elect their leaders on their own. After all, Muslims paid attention to the characteristics of the caliph whom they would elect, not to the basis of kinship. They elected Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him) who had seniority, intelligence and maturity, piety, prestige and to whom the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) trusted and was his friend throughout his life as the caliph. After Abu Bakr successively Umar, Uthman and Ali became the head of the Muslims. This era that lasted about thirty year is called The Era of Four Rightly Guided Caliphs (Al-Khulafa Al-Rashidun). These caliphs came to office through election.