Before we discuss the tragic events of the first civil wars in Islam that were triggered by the assassination of the caliph ‘Uthman, several remarks are in order. We should keep in mind that after the death of the Prophet, his followers found themselves at a loss as how to proceed and who should be their rightful leader in religious and sociopolitical actions. As we saw, ‘Umar’s decisions regarding civil, administrative, military, and religious matters rested on his personal prestige and his intimate knowledge of the Prophet’s ways. However, the boundaries of what was religiously correct or incorrect, as well as the notions of Islamic legitimacy (for instance, of the Muslim ruler) at that time, were still in flux and shifted with the perspective of the individual viewer. The terms “heresy” and “orthodoxy” that are being frequently invoked in relation to early Christianity can be misleading when applied to the fledgling Muslim community in the postprophetic epoch. From the outset, in church councils, Christianity had a relatively efficient mechanism of separating those in the right from those in the wrong. No such structure existed in early Islam, which has no church in the first place. This is not to say that early Muslims did not denounce each other as “deviators” from what they considered to be the correct Islam of the Qur’an and the Prophet. In fact, their disagreements were almost always couched in religious terminology, since religion was the dominant, if not the only, expressive idiom of the age. What was different from Christianity was the absence of one uniformly acknowledged center of religious authority.