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As a caliph, Abu Bakr was not a monarch and never claimed such a title; nor did any of his three successors.

Rather, their election and leadership were based upon merit.

These caliphs are collectively known in Sunni Islam as the Rashidun, or "Rightly Guided" caliphs ( The Rashidun Caliphate is characterized by a twenty-five year period of rapid military expansion, followed by a five-year period of internal strife.

The Rashidun Army at its peak numbered more than 100,000 men.

The first incident of apostasy was fought and concluded while Muhammad still lived; a supposed prophet Aswad Ansi arose and invaded South Arabia; who arose before Muhammad's death; other centers of the rebels were in the Najd, Eastern Arabia (known then as al-Bahrayn) and South Arabia (known as al-Yaman and including the Mahra). The strongest corps, and the primary force of the Muslims, was the corps of Khalid ibn al-Walid.

Many tribes claimed that they had submitted to Muhammad and that with Muhammad's death, their allegiance was ended. This corps was used to fight the most powerful of the rebel forces.

After a series of successful campaigns Khalid ibn Walid defeated Musaylimah in the Battle of Yamama.

It was ruled by the first four successive caliphs (successors) of Muhammad after his death in 632 CE (AH 11).

The war was primarily between those who supported Uthman's cousin and governor of the Levant Muawiyah, and those who supported the caliph Ali.

The civil war permanently consolidated the divide between Sunni and Shia Muslims, with Shia Muslims believing Ali to be the first rightful caliph and Imam after Muhammad.

A new circumstance had formed a new, untried political formation: the caliphate.

Troubles emerged soon after Muhammad's death, threatening the unity and stability of the new community and state.

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