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Unformatted text preview: IdVRiN. " FA7/(# C':ILAMic EaPe ALBERT Ii J"OI l/s': tf ap4 Pce. CHAPTER 2 h Formion o n mir THE SUCCESSION TO MUHaMMaD: THE CONQUEsT OF aN EMpIRE When Muhammad died, there was a moment of confusion among his followers. One of their leaders, Abu Bakr, proclaimed to the community: 0 men, if You worship Muhammad, Muhammad is dead; if You worship God, God is alive' Beneath God there was still a role to be Flled that of arbiter of disputes and maker of decisions within the community There were three main groups among the followers of Muhammad the earlY companions who had made the hjra with him, a group linked bY intermar- riage the prominent men of Madina who had made the compact with him there and the members of the leading Meccan families, mainlY of recent conversion At a meeting of close associates and leaders, it was one of the Frst group who was chosen as the Prophets successor (khlf, hence the word caliph) Abu Bakr, a follower of the Frst hour, whose daughter Aisha was wife to the Prophet The caliph was not a prophet Leader of the community, but nt in anY sense a messenger of God, he could not claim to be the spokesman of (ontinuing Revelations but an aura of holiness and divine choice still lingered around the person and ofFce of the earlY caliphs, and theY did Caim to have some kind of religious authority Abu Bakr and his successors soon found themselves called upon to exercise leadership ove a wider range than the Pophet There waS a universalism implicit in Muhammads teaching and actions he claimed universal auoritY, the hram which he established had no natural limits in his last Years military expeditions had been sent against the BYzantine frontier lands, and he is supposed to haVe sent EIsares to the rulers of the great states, calling on them to acknowledge his message When he died, the alliances he had made with tribal chiefs threatened to dissolve; some of them now rejected his prophetic THE FORMaTION Of aN EMpIRE claims, or at least the political control of Madina aced with this challenge, the community under Abu Bakr afFrmed its authority bY militarY action the wars of the rdda); in the process an armY was created, and the momentum of action carried it into the frntier regions of the great empires and then, as resistance proved weak, int their hearts BY the end f the rein f the secnd caliph, Uar ibn alKhattab 63444, he whle of rabia, part of the asanian pire and the Yrian and Yptian prVinces f he BYzantine mpire had been cnquered the rest of the asanian lands were occupied son afterwards n the space of a few Years, then, the political frontiers f the Near ast had been changed and the centre of political life had moVed from the rich and populous lands of the ertile rescent to a small town lYing on the edge of the wod of high culture and wealth The change was so sudden...
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