Originally Posted by Bhabha
Yes, not all Caliphs are rightly-guided, and the ''caliphs'' after the time of the four rightly guided caliphs are more likely to be called ''Sultans'' or ''Kings'', because they just heired the position of a caliph, which is not possible, because caliphs need to be choosen by the majority of a council, consisting of scholars and influence-possessing pepole, or being appointed by the procceeding caliph. If we look at how the four caliphs came to power (suming up):
1- Abu Bakr -ra- was choosen by the Sahaba, without (nearly) any real disagreement, only some people didn't agree, because of personal reasons
2- Umar -ra- was appointed by Abu Bakr -ra- to be the next caliph, because he saw him the most suitable person.
3- Uthman -ra- was choosen by a council, consisting of 7 sahabi (companions), the majority chosed Uthman -ra-
4- Ali -ra- became caliph in a time of chaos, because there was a conflict between muslims after the death of Uthman -ra-, so some of the sahaba came to him and offered him/recommended him or supported him to be the caliph, because it was an urgent situation, a caliph/leader was needed to solve the conflict and bring stability
There were still just muslim rulers in the history of islam, but they aren't considered real caliphs, because of the way they got to power. For example Yusuf Ibn Tashfin and his son Ali Ibn Yusuf, Nuraddin al Zanki, Salahaddin al-Ayyubi, Suleiman the Magnificent etc. were some of the most-just muslim rulers, who listened to the scholars. Umar Ibn Abdilaziz (like written before) was called the fifth rightly guided caliph.
Scholars do not always say who is rightly guided or not, they narrate their mistakes and their good deeds, and sometimes add their own opinion at the end. But for sure they were better than todays rulers :)