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The reigns of Abu Bakr, Umar, and Uthman as the first three khalifas (caliphs/successors) of Muhammad instead of Ali are one of the main point of contention in the Sunni/Shia split.

I wonder if Ali gave allegiance to (or otherwise accepted the reigns of) these three caliphs? Did he do this freely or under duress? There wasn't any major conflict started by Ali during these reigns, and "the establishment" eventually elected Ali as the fourth caliph after Uthman, so it seems that he got along fine?

  • Is this a question that can be resolved through historical sourced & methods, or is it more appropriate on Islam:SE? – Mark C. Wallace Oct 3 '15 at 23:00
  • I mean, did he (historically) did the act of giving the allegiance or otherwise appear to accept the other Caliph? Not asking that whether according to Islam the first three caliphs are legitimate. I think it belongs in this SE? – user69715 Oct 4 '15 at 0:13
  • Main opinion upon Shia'a he didn't give it freely, main opinion upon sunni's he gave it freely a day after as he was concerned with the funeral of the Prophet Mohammad and among shia'a محمدحسین کاشف‌الغطاء Mohammad Hussain Kashif al Gita' and the Zaydi's agree with that! – Medi1Saif Nov 20 '15 at 10:01
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The accepted story is that he did (according to Al-Tabari, for example). Each time a Caliph was chosen, all top early Muslim commanders gathered during the crowning ceremony and swore allegiance to the new leader.

That said, there are a number of dissenting scholars who consider that the official Muslim accounts are unreliable to the point that the first three Caliphs might not be actual historical figures. See for example this book.

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