In order to guarantee his reign caliph Othman appointed family members and friends to governmental positions. One of the rewarded family members was Mu`awiya, a descendant of the Umayyad family, who became governor of Syria in Damascus. Following Othman`s assassination during prayer (656 CE), `Ali, Muhammad's cousin and husband of his beloved daughter Fatima, ascended the throne. A fierce fighter for the Islamic cause and a scholar in the Suna (the traditions which served as the basis for the Islamic ways of life), `Ali's appointment marked the first usurp in the Islamic world. Opposing `Ali were the Quraysh magistrates and especially `Aisha, Muhammad's widow, as well as Mu`awiya. `Ali left Mecca and settled with his followers at Kufa in Iraq. The two wings of Islam crystallized in those fights: the Shi`a – `Ali`s supporters and the prophet's family and the Sunites – centered around Mu`awiya; between the two were the Harijiya, who had dropped out of `Ali`s camp.
In 658 Mu`awiya became the caliph. `Ali set out to fight his oppressors: the Umayyads and the Harijiyas. `Ali was assassinated in 661 at the entrance to the Mosque in Kufa by a Harijiya who was out to revenge his brother's death. This event closed the door on a period known in the Sunite tradition as 'the period of the four righteous caliphs'. Mu`awiya was now the pronounced caliph of the Umayyad kingdom.
The Rightly-Guided or patriarchal' or 'orthodox' caliphs
Bakr 'Atîq, Ibn Abî Quhâfa, al-Siddîq
Hafs 'Umar (I)b. al-Khattâb,
'Amr or Abû 'Abdallâh or Abû Laylâ 'Uthmân b. Affân, Dhu 'l-Nûrayn
'l-Hasan 'Alî Tâlib,