CSSIslamic Studies

Q.4 How were the Rightly-guided Caliphs elected? To what extent their system of government be regarded as democratic? 2017

The Rightly-guided Caliphs were the first four Caliphs who succeeded Prophet Muhammad and led the Islamic community during the period from 632-661 CE. They were elected through a system of consultation, known as Shura, which involved the prominent members of the community deliberating and selecting a leader based on their qualifications and merit.

The first Caliph, Abu Bakr, was elected by the community after an open discussion and consultation with various tribes and clans. The second Caliph, Umar, was chosen by a council of six prominent companions of the Prophet, while the third Caliph, Uthman, was elected by a council of prominent leaders from among the Prophet’s companions. The fourth Caliph, Ali, was elected through a council of representatives from different regions.

The system of government during the Rightly-guided Caliphs can be regarded as democratic to some extent, as it involved consultation, deliberation, and the participation of the community in the election of their leaders. However, it was not a fully democratic system as we know it today, as only certain segments of society, such as the prominent companions of the Prophet and tribal leaders, were involved in the selection process.

Nonetheless, the system of government under the Rightly-guided Caliphs was based on the principles of consultation, justice, and accountability, which are fundamental aspects of democracy. It also emphasized the importance of selecting leaders based on their qualifications and merit, rather than on wealth or family status.

Overall, the system of government under the Rightly-guided Caliphs represented an important milestone in the development of Islamic political thought and governance, and it continues to influence Islamic political and social institutions today.

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