The History of The Khalifahs Who took the right way

Jalal ad-Din as-Suyuti

Translated by ‘Abdassamad Clarke

Published by Ta-Ha Publishers Ltd., London, 1998


This book is a 212-paged extravaganza about the Successors of the Prophet Muhammad (upon whom be peace and blessings from Allah), the Khulafa’ ar-Rashidun.

The book is a translation of the chapters on al-Khulafa’ ar-Rashidun from Tarikh al-Khulafa’ of Shaykh Jalal ad-Din As-Suyuti.  The book continues beyond the first four khulafa’ to include Sayyiduna al-Hasan ibn ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib, may Allah be pleased with him, because the Shaykh saw him as the fifth of the Khulafa’.  It was he who legitimately transferred the khilafah to Hadhrat Mu’awiyah, may Allah be pleased with him.  Translator ‘Abdassamad Clarke has tended to a literal translation of the original Arabic, however the book is quite readable and well edited.  The book provides a look at historical events as well as the spirituality of these leaders.

From the book’s back cover we learn the author’s full name was Abul’l-Fadl ‘Abd ar-Rahman Jalal ad-Din as-Suyuti.  He lived from 849 A.H. (1445 C.E.) to 911 A.H. (1505 C.E.).  Shaykh As-Suyuti mastered most of the traditional studies of his day, particularly those relating to knowledge of hadith, and was the author of more than five hundred works of Qur’an, Sunnah, hadith, fiqh, seerah, and medicine.  He is best remembered for his completion of the Tafsir of Qur’an known as the Jalalayn, which had been left incomplete on the death of Shaykh Jalal ad-Din al-Mahalli.

The physical description of some of the Khulafa’ are provided in The History of The Khalifas.  As well, the book offers accounts of the passing of all five.  Each chapter has anecdotes offering a glimpse into the personalities and the times.  Interspersed throughout the work are speeches, Jumu’a Addresses, and prayers said by these great Imams.  Companions who died in the days of the Khulafa’ (may Allah be pleased with them) conclude three of the five chapters.  The love for the Khulafa’ ar-Rashidun by the author and the translator is apparent throughout.  I greatly enjoyed reading this book.


From History of The Khalifahs Who took the right way:


“Mu’awiyah, may Allah be pleased with him, said: As for Abu Bakr, he did not want the world and it did not want him.  As for ‘Umar, the world wanted him but he did not want it.  As for us, we have rolled over in it (like an animal in the dust).”

“Ja’far ibn Muhammad related from his father that he said: ‘Ali said, ‘People of Kufah, do not marry (your women-folk) to al-Hasan because he is a man much given to divorce.’  A man from Hamadan said, ‘By Allah, we will marry him (to our women-folk).  Whosoever pleases him he can keep, and whosoever displeases him he can divorce.”

“Usamah ibn Zaid said: The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, sent me to ‘Uthman’s house with a dish in which was meat.  I went in, and there was Ruqayyah, may Allah be pleased with her, seated.  I began to look at the face of Ruqayyah one time and another time at the face of ‘Uthman.  When I returned, the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, questioned me and asked me, ‘Did you go in to them?’  I said, ‘Yes.’  He said, ‘Have you seen a couple more beautiful than them?’  I said, ‘No, Messenger of Allah.’”

“Ibn Mas’ud, may Allah be pleased with him, related that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, ‘Looking at Ali is an act of worship.’  It has also been narrated in hadith of ‘Imran ibn Husayn, Abu Bakr as-Siddiq, ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan, Mu’adh ibn Jabal, Anas, Thawban, Jabir ibn ‘Abdullah and A’ishah, may Allah be pleased with them.”


Excerpts are taken from Pages 117, 200, 153-4, and 179 of History of The Khalifas


presented by Abul Arifin Zeshan Syed

Toronto 2002