Introduction; 1. Abu Bakr: the successor of the Messenger of God and the caliphate of Quraysh; 2. 'Umar: Commander of the Faithful, Islamic meritocracy, consultation and Arab empire; 3. 'Uthman: the Viceregent of God and the reign of 'Abd Shams; 4. 'Ali: the counter-caliphate of Hashim; Conclusion: Restoration of the community and despotic kingship.
In a convincing reinterpretation of early Islamic history, Wilferd Madelung examines the conflict which developed after the death of Muhammad for control of the Muslim community.
'Never before have the first thirty years in the life of the Muslim community been more meaningfuly interpreted. All students of Islam will want to keep this book within arm's reach.' Choice