For nearly 30 years after the Prophet’s death (632 – 661 AD), four of his Companions or school of close followers, were put in charge of political leadership for the Muslim Ummah. But 58 years later, the Egyptian-born Umayyad Caliph, Omar-Ibn-Abdulaziz — who was Caliph in Damascus for only 30 months, 719-721 AD — was also considered a Rightly Guided One for his faithfulness in applying Qur’anic ideals during his brief rule.
If the year 1300 AD is accepted as the point of 100 per cent development of Islamic civilization, then I believe that the four Khulafa-ul-Rashidun who took up the Prophet’s cause during the first 29 years after his death managed to achieve a good 40 per cent of that progress. Had they been able to continue in the same vein, the peak of Islamic civilization would have been reached in only 72 years.
Unfortunately, the Umayyad Dynasty (661 – 750 AD) that ruled for nearly a century from Damascus were less committed to Qur’anic ideals in their governance and therefore reduced the rate of progress by a factor of 10, adding only 20 percent to the development of peak Islamic culture during their 89 years of influence.
But worse was yet to come. The rule of the Abbasid Dynasty (750 – 1258 AD), the subsequent fragmentation of the Ummah, the destructive and fanatical invasions of the Crusaders (1096 – 1250 AD), and the sacking of Baghdad by invading Mongols (1258 AD) all drastically slowed down the achievements of Islamic culture.
Yet for some 300 years after the 1300s, leaders of the Ottoman Dynasty strove to maintain the level of previous Muslim contributions to world civilization. And they achieved and preserved a great deal, but gradually it was not possible to sustain this gargantuan effort. Sadly, many Muslim leaders who came after their era of glory seemed to have forgotten the foundational Qur’anic ideals and how to put them into practice.