This collaborative time-line accounts for the historical scope of the course "World Cultures: Middle East" at New York University's McGhee Division. All members of the course are requested to add key dates (with descriptions/details/images/links) as we progress through the course readings.
Created by WCMESP09 on Jan 20, 2009
Last updated: 03/11/10 at 01:36 PM
A religious cleric, born in Iran in 1930 and thought to be one of the several prominent marji's in Iraq. He holds the title of the highest ranking religious scholar in Iraq. Successor to the Grand Auatollah Khoei in 1992 following his predecessor's death. Sistani was selected as Khoei's successor through the recognition of his scholarship. Sistani is the leader of the Hawza of Najaf He has encouraged the Iraqi people to get more involved in politics and has contributed to establishing the transitional government. Sistani criticizes the American plans for the Iraqi government stating that it is not democratic enough (wikipedia)
Starting in the late '80s as a traditional Shabee dance band, this Moroccan quintet became one of the few North African acts to successfully merge traditional and modern sounds and technology on their electrifying 1990 debut. In addition to haunting violins, mandolins, guitars, and mesmerizing Arabic vocals and chanting, the album utilized electronic tinkering and turntable DJing. The group is named after a spirit from the Moroccan mythology. Aisha Kandisha is a figure in the form of a woman. A Mass Psychosis. Paul Bowles said that she was married 25 years ago to 35,000 men in Morocco.
The Shiite Muslims were usually considered the weakest religious group in Lebanon until the Amal movement that followed the Islamic revolution in Shiite Iran in 1979 and the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982. After the 1982 invasion, the Hezbollah became a militia as well as a political party with a goal of driving Israeli out of Lebanon and establishing an Islamic state. Hezbollah is based in Shiite areas such as the Biqa Valley, southern Lebanon and southern Beirut.
Also known as Hassan Nasrallah. He is the current and third secretary general of the Lebanese Islamic party and the paramilitary group called Hezbollah. Nasrallah became the leader in 1992 after the assassination of the leader.
Founded in 1954 Algeria's FLN, National Liberation Front, was created in the quest for Algerian independence from France. As a merger of other smaller groups, the FLN was created by the Revolutionary Committee of Unity and Action which urged all warring factions of the nationalist movement to unite. Political and militarial in its organization, they led the war for liberation against France until March 1962 when the French government signed a cease-fire agreement with the FLN. From 1962 to 1989 in independent Algeria they were the sole legally recognized party.
Adb al-Halim Hafiz was a well know Egyptian singer in Egypt and throughout the Middle East. His style was considered unique and described as "atafiyya", which when translated means emotional. In the reading, his style is described by Martin Stokes as "sentimental". His fans gave him the nickname "Mr. Tape Recorder".
Farhat Abbas was a photojournalist who was Irainian and went to paris and deditcated photographic work to political and social nations of the south. Since 1970 his photographs were published in world magazines such as: Biafra, Bangladesh, Ulster, Vietnam, the Middle East, Chili, Cuba, and South Africa. He has also written a book called iranDiary. He photographed and wrote it himself.
Fatema Mernissi is a Feminist writer who wrote Beyond the Veil along with many other books. She was born in Fez in 1940. She manly focus's on Islam and woman's roles in the Islamic society. Mernissi has recieved a degree in political science from Muhammad V University. Then went on to study sociology where she earned a degree from Sorbonne in Paris. She is currently a professor at Muhammad V University.
Saad Eddin Ibrahim did an in depth study of the family background and social mobility of thirty four Egyptian Islamic military recruits. He compared them to their fathers' education and occupations. Ibrahim's studies showed that about two-thirds of the fathers were government employees. About 56% of the fathers had intermediate education (ranging from secondary school to less than four year of college). Ibrahim found that the education and occupational achievements of the militants were higher than that of the parents, with 29 out of 34 having a college education.
Edward Said was born in Jerusalem on November 1, 1935. Edward Said was a Palestinian American literary theorist, cultural critic, and an outspoken advocate for Palestinian rights. He was also a University Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. He was a founding figure in postcolonial theory and during his lifetime was referred to as Palestine's "most powerful political voice."
Ali La Pointe was one of the leaders of the four cells that initiated the battle for independence in Algiers. La Pointe was a lowly criminal when he was recruited by Hassan Jaffar to aid him. La Pointe was the last of the four heads to be killed in his home. It was thought that when Ali was killed the the independence movement would die with him. In the movie the Battle of Algiers we see how La Pointe joins with Jaffar to unite the people of Algiers. Although La Pointe and Jaffar differ in opinion as to how to win independence they manage to work together to win the hearts of the people which would ultimately lead to the people being able to fight for independence despite the loss of their leaders.
Saadi Yacef was born in Algiers in January 20, 1928 and lived a politically charged life. He joined several nationalist parties throughout his youth and went on to become most well-known for his role as a leader of the Algerian National Liberation Front (FLN) in 1954, when the Algerian war began. He was captured and sentenced to death by the French in 1957 and wrote journals of his memories and experiences of the war while awaiting his execution. Yacef was pardoned and released by the French government when Charles de Gaulle returned to power in 1958. Yacef’s memoirs titled “Souvernirs de la Bataille d’Alger” were published in 1962 and inspired Gillo Pontecorvo’s film “The Battle of Algiers," which Yacef helped produce and starred as himself as the character named Jaffar. Saadi Yacef is currently a senator in Algeria’s People’s National Assembly. (Wikipedia)
Argued to be the document that catalyzed the establishment of a homeland for the Jewish people in the lands of Palestine. The document was penned by a British official, Arthur Balfour on to the British representative of the Jewish people, Lord Rothschild.
Balfour was the foremost influential authority on imperial affairs in Britain's control of Egypt in 1882. On June 13, 1910 he delivered a speech to the English parliament to justify continuing their occupation at a time when defending their presence in Egypt was becoming increasingly difficult to defend; Egyptian nationalism was on the rise. Said's book "Orientalism" reveals that Balfour's dominant themes to justify the need for British occupation were those of "knowledge and power." Balfour felt that the British "knowledge" of the Egyptian people and of the land gave them the "power" to dominate it. Since "they" had not formed the Western equivalent of "self-government" it was therefore necessary to deny Egypt autonomy. Balfour proceeded to state authoritatively that through colonial rule, it was the British "duty" to establish a "working government" for Egyptians' sake. Balfour's system of beliefs gives evidence of how pervasive and streamlined one school of thought had become at a time when colonial power was performed under the guise of a moral imperative.
In the film “Battle of Algiers”, Colonel Mathieu is based on General Jacques Massu, who was in charge of ending the Algerian rebellion. General Massu used torture in order to obtain information about the FLN’s leaders. General Massu’s system is shown as somewhat successful as he arrested many FLN members but he never got the real leaders. General Massu likened the FLN organization to a tapeworm. The tapeworm reproduces itself as long as the head exists and the French objective was to get to the leader of the FLN. General Massu helped bring about the Fifth Republic under General Charles de Gaulle. Because he believed that the government of the French Fourth Republic wanted to give Algeria independence, he, along with the army, seized power in Algeria. They then put pressure on France to put Charles de Gaulle in power. Massau had fought with de Gaulle in the Free French during World War II. General de Gaulle then took power and formed the Fifth Republic, which is still in power in France. However de Gaulle did give the Algerians independence. "Jacques Massu -." Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 03 Mar. 2009 .
Feud Shihab was born in 1902 to Maronite Christian family of noble ancestry. He became commander of the Lebanese Army in 1945, after Lebanon gained its independence and upon the ending of the French mandate and military presence. Shihab rule was a delicate balancing act to maintain harmony between the nations Christians and Muslim poplulation. He followed the path and principles of dialogue and moderation(absoluteastronomy.com). "After a brief civil war in 1958, the new president, Shihab, began a program of nationwide development and "modernization"--known as Shihabism---seeking to raise the standards of the rural infrastructure to those of Beirut. At that time, transportation routes were built tying villages into the road network, and schools were established in rural areas"(Deeb,73). President Feud Shihab died in Beruit in April 1973 at the age of 71.
Khomeini was the Shi'i religious and political leader of the Islamic Revolution which overthrew the late Shah (Mohammed Rehza Pahlavi) of Iran. Following a national referendum Khomeini was appointed Supreme Leader which constitutionally made him the highest authority on political and religious laws governing the nation. Through this victory he acquired the title Ayatollah (outside of Iran) and Imam (within Iran [Wikipedia]). Lara Deeb's ethnography "An Enchanted Modern" reveals how Khomeini "gave rise to the oppressed" and inspired Iranian Shi'is to adopt Muslim religious practices through "spiritual and material progress." The popularity and success of this (Iranian) model spread rapidly throughout Lebanon where Khomeini's power and influence further gathered momentum. Deeb adds that this was a time when many Lebanese muslims had lost faith in many of its political leaders for not "securing greater rights for the poor" nor "protecting southern Lebanon from invasion by Israel in 1982 (p. 80). Among Khomeini's many religious and political contributions to the Shi'i sect was reforming the religious practice of piety, which distinguished being "traditional" (implying blindly following Muslim practices) from being "religious" (expressing an awareness of one's faith and it's practices.) Such self-improvement campaigns included (but was not limited to) acts of public piety exemplified by women proudly adopting the hijab (head covering [p.116]), which not only made Muslims more "authentic" but also "modern."
"Egyptian Coptic prose writer and intellectual. Known primarly for his early studies on Socialism and Fabianism, Salama Musa supported the liberal movement in Arabic literature. After studying in England, he published a concise study of Socialism (1912), in which he reflected his experiences with the Fabian Society, whose philosophy he adopted"(EAL 554-555). In 1920, with Husni al-Arabi and others, he founded the first socialist party in the Arab world. Salama Musa was a staunch modernizer and a popularizer of Western culture and science among the Arabs, expressing his views in numerous articles and books. His outspokenness on womens issues was shown in many of his works"(Encyclopedia of Arabic Literature pg. 554-555). According to Mernissi, Salama Musa was one considered the liberation of women as a condition sine qua non for the liberation of Arab-Muslim society for humiliating hegemony of the West"(pg.13). The paragraph continues to state that Musa's "Woman Is Not the Plaything of Man" published in 1955, says he dismissed the Western example of women's liberation as particularly misleading because it did not according to him elevate the women from the status os a human being. He urged his society to turn instead towards China and other Asian nations as better models of liberation"(pg.13). I am now starting to understand better the relationship of Orientalism to the Muslim cultures we have been discussing the past weeks and the major influences of the Orient and Western cultures.
Qasim Amin was one of Egypt's leading reformers of the late nineteenth century to initiate debates focusing on subject matter concerning the status of women in Egypt. His life's interests were shaped by his experiencing political control (by the Ottomans then Western colonialism) and the negative writing about his country by Western intellectuals. Westerners' writing expressed strong disapproval for Middle Eastern culture and religion, which they believed contributed to their "backwardness," specifically pointing to the low status of women. The foremost intellectuals of Egypt in the second half of the nineteenth century believed education to be the primary means for liberating women from their "backwardness," but Amin distinguished himself by altering the debate. He extended understanding women's liberation by exploring issues concerning marriage, polygamy, and divorce. In Amin's view, ultimately, women's emancipation would liberate all Egyptians from its "inferior position" under Western colonialism. Qasim Amin's best known book "The Liberation of Women," is still considered controversial for giving prominence and advocating the need for women's emancipation. (Source: "The Liberation of Women": Translator's Introduction)
The Suez Canal, connected the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea going through eastern Egypt. The canal made it possible to cut the needed to get from Europe to Asia and Eastern Africa by a great amount. It was built by a French company headed by Ferdinand de Lesseps. According to Edward Said in Orientalism, the canal had great cultural and historical effects as well. He writes that the East and Asia once meant "distance and alienation". First this distance and alienation was overcome by scholars who unearthed the history and languages of the Orient. However, it was the Suez Canal that brought Europe and Asia physically together into "one world". According to Said, Suez canal had destroyed the "Orient's geographical identity" by making the Orient part of the West.
According to Edward Said, Cromer was the quintessential Orientalist, who made his career in, described and governed the East, depicting it in authoritative writings in ways that bore little resemblance to any actual reality.
He was a British statesman, diplomat and colonial administrator. A loyal son of Empire, Lord Cromer served in India and Egypt and became one of the most well known colonial officials of his time. He was an able and benevolent administrator, who did much to develop modern infrastructure and institutions for the peoples in his charge. He ruled Egypt for 24 years as British Consul (1883–1907), one of the longest colonial administrations in British history. Nevertheless, his attitude of effortless cultural superiority helped define eurocentrism and runs counter to modern respect for cultural diversity and the dignity of all people.
Lord Cromer was one of the most experienced and famous colonial administrators, perhaps second only to Lord Curzon in terms of his public reputation. He was considered to be an authority on how to rule subject peoples, about whom he claimed considerable expertise. His attitudes about the inability of non-Europeans to govern themselves informed colonial policy as well as imperial politics, including the way in which the Paris Peace Conference of 1919 divided up much of the world as trusteeships under European authority. He assumed that non-Europeans would take a long time before they could rule themselves, if indeed they would ever be sufficiently mature. Cromer's attitudes, through his writing, became widespread in European and North American writing about the religious and cultural Other.
Literally meaning "black foot," this is a term referring to the population in North Africa, specifically Algeria, with European descent. They included mostly the French and Jews. By Algeria's independence, they made up 10% of the population. They were expelled after the independence in 1962. Famous Pied-Noir include Yves Saint Laurent and Albert Camus.
Abd al-Qadir is an Algerian Islamic scholar. He led the struggle against the French invasion. In 1830 when the French invaded Algeria, with the help of a number of tribes, began to rebel against the French. He is known as an Algerian hero.
Edward William Lane was and English Arabic Scholar. In the reading Oriantalisim he was mentioned many times for the book that he wrote An Account of The Manners and Customs of the Modern Egyptians. He spent many years studying and analyzing the Egyptian culture. He also translated Araibian Nights with notes and pictures to make it seem like an Encyclopedia of Eastern ways.
From the first moment that the Armee d'Egypte appeared on the Egyptian horizon, every effort was made to convince the Muslims that "nous sommes les vrais musulmans," as Bona- parte's proclamation of July 2, 1798, put it to the people of Alexandria. Equipped with a team of Orientalists (and sitting on board a flagship called the Orient), Napoleon used Egyptian enmity towards the Mamelukes and appeals to the revolutionary idea of equal opportunity for all to wage a uniquely benign and selective war against Islam. (Said pg 82). Napoleon used the Caliphs of Egypt to interpret the Koran in his favor to convince the people of Egypt that he was on their side. Napoleon used the knowledge that he had gathered in Egypt to take advantage of the Arab people. By manipulating the interpretation of the Koran he was able to gain familiarity with the native people and manipulate them. Napoleon set out with a group of Orientalists to study everything there was to know about the Orient and especially Egypt. Egypt was considered a link between Asian and Africa and held its importance it that aspect. Description 'L Egypte was a 23 volume collection that recorded everything that was collected about the Orient. These volumes were written between 1803-1823. Napoleon sought to open up the Orient to the Europeans. By opening up the Orient and knowing more about them especially their language and their religion it made it easier for him to manipulate the local population. He wanted to make himself look like the "Mohamet of the Occident" so that when it was time for the people to take sides they would side with him, thinking that he had their best interests in mind.
Eugene Delacroix was considered one of the greatest French Romantic painter of his time. He was born in a town near Paris, France. It was rumored to believe that his father, Charles Delacroix, was infertile at the time of Eugene's conception and that his real father was Talleyrand, who was friend of the family and successor of C. Delacroix as minister of the foreign affairs, and whom the adult Eugene resembled in appearance and character(eugendelacroix.org). Delacroix began his studies in Bordeaux and was destined for a musical career but that changed in 1805, and he went to Paris France to attend the Lycee Louis-le-Grand where he received the standard clasical education says dropbears.com. Delacroix showed some of his sketches to one of his unlcle and who encouraged him to study art with Guerin and then go on to the Beaux-Arts. Delacroix soon became dissatisfied with the academic training, was encouraged by the early success of his friend and fellow student Gericault(dropbears.com). Through his later years as a artist he won many awards for his talents and commission to do many paintings in churchs and public buildings in Paris, France. "He managed to sketch some women secretly in Algiers, as in the painting "Women of Algiers in their Apartment(1834), but generlly he encountered difficulty in finding Moslem women to pose for him because of Muslims rules requiring that women be covered"(eugenedelacroix.org). Eugene Delacroix died in 1863. He created over 850 oil paintings and more than 2000 drawings and water colors. Among his works were many with religious subjects, tempting some to consider this worldly Parisian the most important religious artist of the 19th century(artbible.info).
The Battle of Lepanto was a naval battle fought between the Turks and Christians off the coasts of Greece. The Holy League, an alliance of Spain, Venice, and Papal States, was formed by Pope Pius V to protect European Christianity from the Ottoman Empire. The battle was the first major victory of the Christians against the Turks. The win allowed them to protect Rome from invasion and Ottoman advancement into Europe.
IBN KHALDUN had a lot to do with sociology, and history. He helped give a better understanding of civilization. He was always searching to learn more and expand his horizons. IBN KHALDUN is a very famous figure in Muslim history.
Orientalism is considered to have formaly began when the Church Council of Vienne decided to set up chairs in Arabic, Greek, Hebrew, and Syriac at five universities, including Oxford.
A scholar who reasserted the middle path of Hanibalis: uncompromising in affirmation of the principles of revealed truth, but tolerant of diversity within the community of those who accepted that truth; God was one and many: one in his essence, many in his attributes, which should be accepted just as the Quran described them. He believed in strict adherence to the Quran and authentic practices of Muhammad for salvation.
A mamluk was a slave soldier who converted to Islam and served the Muslim caliphs and the Ayyubid sultans. They began as servants, but siezed power for themselves and rulled over Egypt and Syria from 1250-1517.
Ibn Arabi was born on July 28,1165 an Arab of Andalus. Influenced by his Hajj to Mecca he became aware of the Ka'ba as being the point where the ultimate reality impinges upon the visible world. His vision lead him to write al- Futuahat al- makkiyya (The Meccan Revelation) which is thought to be the greatest of his many works. At the age of 76 Ibn Arbi died on November 10,1240 in Damascus where he resided for the last seventeen years of his life. Today his tomb in Damascus is still an important place of pilgrimage.
A major scholar and philosopher from Andalus, Ibn Rushd developed a more metaphorical approach to interperating the Koran. This approach grew from the conflict that arose when the literal meaning of the Koran conflicted with the truths philosophers arrived at through using reason. Known more for his impact on western Christian philosophy, Ibn Rushd did not have lasting impact on future Islamic thought. Yet overall religious and philosophical thought owes much to his work.
All religions seem to have a mystical sect. With the Jews, it is the Kabbalists and Chistians, as well, have a mystical sect. The Sufi's are the mystics of Islam. During the MIddle Ages, there was an attempt to combine monotheism with Greek and Roman Philosophy. One of the main men to do this in the Islamic faith was Avicenna. Ghazali was mystical. He believed in music and his followers today dance as a part of their belief. He turned Islam away from classical philosophy and toward emotion. HIs philosophy helped to impede the development of science in the Muslim world. Until his time, the Muslim world led the West in science. In "Beyond the Veil" Ghazili believes that men and women have the same kind of sexuality. He goes on to say that women have sperm just as men do. A child is born when the sperm from the woman meets the sperm of the man. However, the woman is the determining factor. He also believes that the male reaches his climax before the woman and thus when he is satisfied, she is not. However, sex is not a battlefield as it is for Freud. Ghazali believes that men and women can cooperate in a satisfying sexual relationship.
Ibn Sina was born in 980 in Avicenna (Iran) and went on to become one of the most influential philosohers of his time. After receiving a solid education in a variety of sciences, he went on to explore Islamic truths via Aristotle's logic of human reason. He re-conceptualized how the universe was created, the creation of the human soul, and the importance of human intellect inside and outside of religion. His philosophy wen on to stir up "the most famous controversy in Islamic history" (against Ghazali) because his thoughts ran counter to Qur'anic content (when taken literally.)
"The Fatimids were a political and religious dynasty that dominated an empire in North Africa and subsequently in the Middle East from Ad 909 to 1171 and tried unsuccessfully to outst the Abbasid Caliphs as leaders of the Islamic World. It took its name from Fatimah, the daughter of the Prophet Muhammad, from whom the Fatimids claimed descent"(Encyclopedia Britannica.com).
the second caliphate came long after the first four Caliphs ruled after Muhammad's death. the first caliphate lasted from 632-750. Caliphs were believed to hold authority over the people because of their relation to the Prophet. The Caliphs exercised military power and the functions of the government. The power of the Caliphs in Baghdad fell to Mongol power in 1258 (Hourani p)
Abū Nasr Muhammad ibn al-Farakh al-Fārābi was a Muslim polymath and one of the greatest scientists and philosophers of Persia and the Islamic world in his time. He was also a cosmologist, logician, musician, psychologist and sociologist. The existing variations in the basic accounts of al-Farabi's origins and pedigree indicate that they were not recorded during his lifetime or soon thereafter by anyone with concrete information, but were based on hearsay or guesses (as is the case with other contemporaries of al-Farabi). But what is known with certainty is that after finishing his early school years in Farab and Bukhara, Farabi moved to Baghdad in 901 to pursue higher studies. He studied under a Nestorian Christian cleric Yuhanna ibn-Haylan in Harran who abandoned lay interests and engaged in his ecclesiastical duties, and he remained in Baghdad for more than 40 years and acquired mastery over several languages and fields of knowledge. As a philosopher, Al-Farabi was a founder of his own school of early Islamic philosophy known as "Farabism" or "Alfarabism", though it was later overshadowed by Avicennism.
Shiite Muslims believe that the Caliphate should have been passed through the line of his son- in-law Ali, who was married to his daughter Fatima. Husayn was Ali's son and thus he was Muhammed's grandson. He claimed the Caliphate and went to battle against Yazid I,who was the Umayyad Caliph. Husayn lost and he and all of his sons except one were killed in the Battle of Karbala in 680. Karbala is in present day Iraq. Shiites believe that Ali's family represent a purer version of Islam. They call the descendents of Ali iman or rightful Caliph.The commeration of the Battle of Karbala is celebrated in the Shiite version of Islam as Ashura.
Maria the Copt or otherwise known as Maria al-Qibtiyya was a Coptic Christian slave who was given as a gift to Muhammad from a Byzantine official in 628. It is in debate whether she was Muhammad's wife or concubine. Either way, she was the only woman other than Khadija to give him children. Maria's son died in infancy. If she was married to Muhammad, she did not marry again after he died and she herself died five years later.
Also known as the Peace of Hudaybiyya. This was a peace treaty that was signed between Muhammad and Mecca about two years before the fall of the city and "ended a promising Muslim expedition against it without a fight." Muhammad and his army which consisted of 700 to 1,400 sedentary followers had no intent on starting a war, they were more like an army of preachers that would recruit or atempt to recruit the Arabs during their pilgrimage and will participate with them in glorifying mecca's haram.
The Battle of Badr is the first military victory for Muhammad against the Quraish for control of Mecca. Muhammad won despite being outnumbered. This victory established the Muslims as a credible power and was the most important among the battles of Destiny.
Hijra is the "migration" made by Muhammad and his followers from Mecca, where his messages were not well-received, to Yathrib (later to become Medina [Saudi Arabia]). Muhammad's prophecies had previously been disseminated by a band of Khazrijites from Yathrib, thereby establishing an already Islamicized audience prior to his arrival. Bamyeh attributes Muhammad's and his followers' welcomed emigration to a variety of factors incuding the presence of neighboring Jewish tribes' belief in an abstract God, and that (unlike Medina) Yathrib was not a city centered on heavy trading or pilgrimage-namely that of pagan worship. The impact of this mass migration was so critical to solidifying Muhammad's experience as a prophet of Islam that it marked the beginning of the Islamic calendar in the year 622 of the Common Era.
Hanifism was the original monotheistic religion. According to Muslim tradition, there were Hanufa (plural of Hanifist) who lived in Mecca at the time of Muhammed. Some Hanifists believed that Abraham was a Hanifist and that he built the Kaaba and that he placed idols in it which he called "the daughters of Allah". According to Bamyeh in "The Social Origins of Islam", the difference between Islam and Hanifism is that Mohammed founded a religion with a complete social order and a body of laws. He founded a community, whereas the Hanafists were isolated. Hanifism was not really a religion but rather a belief that some individuals had. A second difference is that Islam is completely monotheistic and thus it had no place for idols as Hanifism did.
Umar (Arabic: عمر بن الخطاب; Transliteration: `Umar ibn al-Khattāb, c. 581-83 CE – 7 November 644), also known as Umar the Great or Omar the Great was a Muslim from the Banu Adi clan of the Quraysh tribe, and a sahaba (righteous companion) of Muhammad. He became the second Caliph (634 – 644) following the death of Abu Bakr, and is thus regarded by Sunni Muslims as one of the Rashidun (four righteously guided Caliphs). Umer, Umar, Omer, or Omar is an Arabic word which is directly corresponding to the English word "life", thus Umer means "who live longer" `Umar ibn al khataab is also referred to as `Umar al-Farūq (meaning: Umar the Distinguisher [between Truth and Falsehood]). He is regarded by Sunni Muslims as the second of the four Khulafā' ar-Rashīdīn (meaning: rightfully-guided caliphs). In English, his name has also been spelled as Omar or Omer. REF. Ahmed, Nazeer, Islam in Global History: From the Death of Prophet Muhammad to the First World War, American Institute of Islamic History and Cul, 2001, p. 34. ISBN 073885963X. REF. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Umar
"Uthman Ibn Affan was the third Caliph of the Ummah(community or nation of Islam), and is regarded by the majority Sunni Muslims as on of the "Four Righously Guided Caliphs. He governed from 644-until 656. Sunni's hold Uthman in high regard. Although he is not exempt from criticism for favoring his relatives, Sunni's nonetheless believe that, on balance, he was loyal to the principle that God, not any human authority, was sovereign and ruled according to the Qur'an and prophetic tradition(Sunni), rather than his own interest. Uthman is especially important for overseeing the process by which the official recession of the Qur'an was completed. He was son-in-law of Muhammad. He was born into the wealthy Umayyad clan of the Quranish tribe in Mecca, a few years after Muhammad. He was an early convert to Islam and was well known for using his wealth to benit charities. This put him into opposition to his powerful clan, which was Muhammad's greatest enemy. He frequently served as Muhammad's secretary"(The New World Encyclopedia.com)
Muhammad was the last messenger of God, in the Islamic religion. He received many revelations from God at various occasions, to enlighten and to guide the confused Muslim society towards Islam, as they worshiping idols, stones, animals and objects. Muhammad's first revelation was received to him at the cave of mount Hira. His major supporters were his wife Khadija and his uncle Abu Talib. Muhammad, went through many obstacles, torture and misery to deliver God's message. He fought major battles, lost his loved ones and went though a tough life, to achieve his purpose. He succeeded his mission, and God rewarded him. He is an example created by God for mankind to follow and live through his experiences and follow what God has commanded.