The Preaching of Muhammad

Abdou Filali-Ansary and Sikeena Karmali Ahmed

in Islam

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print September 2009 | ISBN: 9780748639670
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748653188 | DOI:
The Preaching of Muhammad

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This chapter discusses the transitional period after the death of the Prophet. In this chapter, the focus is on the Prophet's successors, with particular emphasis on Abu Bakr's designation as the successor of the Prophet. In this chapter, two remarks are considered: first, that religious considerations were either completely absent or of secondary importance in the designation of Abū Bakr to succeed the Prophet. Claims that he was the preferred candidate because he was the first convert to Islam or because he led the community in prayer while the Prophet was ill were made a posteriori in order to confer legitimacy on this choice. Second, that the designation of Abu Bakr to this post, along with caliphs, kings, amirs, and sultans was of no concern to the overwhelming majority of Muslims. The only people concerned were leaders and those who had some influence over them, and whom the literature of the governmental statutes (al-ahkām al-sultāniyya) described as ‘those who have the power to bind and loose’. Power could not be exercised by the governor except with their support or approval, or at least with their acceptance of his authority. This means that soon after the Prophet's death there was a drift away from a spirit of equality between Muslims.

Keywords: Abu Bakr; successor; Prophet's death; al-ahkām al-sultāniyya

Chapter.  4665 words. 

Subjects: Society and Culture

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