Principles from the Lives of the Four Rightly-Guided Caliphs.
The most exceptional era in human history in terms of virtue, justice, altruism, and ethics was the era of the golden age of Islam. It is called a golden age because Prophet Muhammad r, whose inward spirit many Muslims understand as the original cause of creation, was alive in the world during that time. The spiritual power of the Prophet shaped the era in which he lived. And it was then possible for great numbers of ordinary people to encounter him regularly and to get to know him well.
The people of that honored age emerged out of the darkness of violent ignorance and made their way to the civilization of peaceful virtue. Then they climbed the peaks of knowledge of Allah. Members of this community are therefore called the Venerable Companions of the Prophet. They were faithful to the Prophet in all matters.
Thus, the Companions are a unique generation. They witnessed the acts and words of the Prophet and passed indications from him onward to all the generations that followed.
Among the Companions of the Prophet, the four successive leaders who guided the community after him came to be known as the Rightly-Guided Caliphs. They were pioneers in the formation of an Islamic identity shaped by the characteristic virtues of the Prophet. They were in love with the Prophet, and so they internalized his qualities of character and his ethics. In this way their hearts became sacred places where divine love could be found. And their acts and words became good examples for all Muslims.
Prophet Muhammad r said about the value of the era of the Rightly-Guided Caliphs, “The age of true caliphate after me is thirty years.”1 The Prophet, by these words, pointed out that the political life of Muslims would deteriorate after that time.
Before deterioration began there was a time of peace and harmony. And the first caliph, Abu Bakr, played a great role in this.