Click to View



Chronological Chart
[see prior web page]



the other the different conflicting lines of Shi'ites, whose intricacies we shall soon have to face.

To return: in this first elective council the choice fell upon Abu Bakr. He was a man distinguished by his piety and his affection for and close intimacy with Muhammad. He was the father of Muhammad's favorite wife, A'isha, and was some two years younger than his son-in-law. He was, also, one of the earliest believers and it is evident that this, with his advanced age, always respected in Arabia, went far to secure his election. Yet his election did not pass off without a struggle in which the elements that later came to absolute schism and revolution are plainly visible. The scene, as it can be put together from Arabic historians, is curiously suggestive of the methods of modern politics. As soon as it was assured that the Prophet, the hand which had held together all those clashing interests, was really dead, a convention was called of the leaders of the people. There the strife ran so high between the Ansar, the Muhajirs and the Muslim aristocrats of the house of Umayya, that they almost came to blows. Suddenly in the tumult, Umar, a man of character and decision, "rushed the convention" by solemnly giving to Abu Bakr the hand-grasp of fealty. The accomplished fact was recognized—as it has always been in Islam—and on the next day the general mass of the people swore allegiance to the first Khalifa, literally Successor, of Muhammad.

On his death, in A.H. 13 (A.D. 634), there followed Umar. His election passed off quietly. He had been nominated by Abu Bakr and nothing remained

Click to View