This article is about the Muslim head of state. For other meanings of "Caliph", see Caliph (disambiguation).
Caliph of the Faithful
Term length Life tenure Inaugural holder Abu Bakr Formation 8 June 632 Final holder Abdülmecid II Abolished 3 March 1924 Succession Electoral during Rashidun Caliphate, later hereditary
(Succession to Muhammad)
This article is part of the series: Islam
The Caliph (Arabic: خليفة ḫalīfah/khalīfah) is the head of state in a Caliphate, and the title for the ruler of the Islamic Ummah, an Islamic community ruled by the Shari'ah. It is a transcribed version of the Arabic word خليفة Khalīfah (help·info) which means "successor" or "representative". Following Muhammad's death in 632, the early leaders of the Muslim nation were called "Khalifat Rasul Allah", the political successors to the messenger of God (referring to Muhammad). Some academics prefer to transliterate the term as Khalīfah.
Caliphs were often also referred to as Amīr al-Mu'minīn (أمير المؤمنين) "Commander of the Faithful", Imam al-Ummah, Imam al-Mu'minīn (إمام المؤمنين), or more colloquially, leader of the Muslims. After the first four caliphs (Abu Bakr, Umar ibn al-Khattab, Uthman ibn Affan, and Ali ibn Abi Talib), the title was claimed by the Umayyads, the Abbasids, the Fatimids, and the Ottomans, and at times, by competing dynasties in Spain, Northern Africa, and Egypt. Most historical Muslim governors were called sultans or emirs, and gave allegiance to a caliph, but this caliph at times had very little real authority. The title has been defunct since the Republic of Turkey abolished the Ottoman Caliphate in 1924, although some individuals and groups have called for its restoration. (Hussein bin Ali, Sharif of Mecca and King of Hejaz, claimed the title briefly in 1924, and the Imams of Yemen had been using the title for centuries and continued to use the title until 1962.)
Succession to MuhammadMain article: Succession to Muhammad
In his book The Early Islamic Conquests (1981), Fred Donner argues that the standard Arabian practice at the time was for the prominent men of a kinship group, or tribe, to gather after a leader's death and elect a leader from amongst themselves. There was no specified procedure for this shura or consultation. Candidates were usually, but not necessarily, from the same lineage as the deceased leader. Capable men who would lead well were preferred over an ineffectual heir.
Sunni Muslims believe and confirm that Muhammad's father-in-law Abu Bakr was chosen by the community and that this was the proper procedure. Sunnis further argue that a caliph should ideally be chosen by election or community consensus.
Shi'a Muslims believe that Ali, the son-in-law and cousin of Muhammad, should have replaced Muhammad as Caliph and that Caliphs were to assume authority through appointment by God rather than being chosen by the people.
A third branch of Islam, the Ibadi Kharijites, believes that the caliphate rightly belongs to the greatest spiritual leader among Muslims, regardless of his lineage. They are currently an extremely small sect, found mainly in Oman.
Caliph is translated from the Arabic word khalifa (خليفة ḫalīfah/khalīfah) meaning "successor", "substitute", or "lieutenant". It is used in the Qur'an to establish Adam's role as representative of Allah on earth. Kalifa is also used to describe the belief that man's role, in his real nature, is as khalifa or viceroy to Allah. The word is also most commonly used for the Islamic leader of the Ummah; starting with Muhammad and his line of successors.
The precise meaning of Khalifa is "representative". The first four Caliphs: Abu Bakr as-Siddiq, Umar ibn al-Khattab, Uthman ibn Affan, and Ali ibn Abi Talib are commonly known by Sunnis, mainly, as the Khulafā’ur-Rāshideen ("rightly guided successors") Caliphs. Each Caliph was a close companion of Muhammad during his prophethood.
Succession and Recognition
Sunni and Shi'a Muslims differ on the legitimacy of the reigns of the Khulfa-e-Rashideen, the first four Caliphs. The Sunnis follow the Caliphates of all four, while the Shi'ites recognize only the Caliphate of Ali and the short Caliphate of his son Hasan. This schism occurred following the death of Muhammad.
According to Sunni beliefs, Muhammad gave no specific directions as to the choosing of his successor when he died. At this time there were two customary means of selecting a leader: having a hereditary leader for general purposes, and choosing someone with good qualities in times of crisis or opportunities for action.
While Sunni and Shia Islam differ sharply on the conduct of a caliph and the right relations between a leader and a community, they do not differ on the underlying theory of stewardship. Both abhor waste of natural resources in particular to show off or demonstrate power.
In the initial stages the latter way of choosing leadership prevailed among the leading companions of Muhammad. Abu Bakr was elected as the first caliph or successor to Muhammad, with the other companions of Muhammad giving an oath of allegiance to him. Those opposing this method thought that Ali, Muhammad's nearest relative, should have succeeded him. However the appointment of the next two caliphs varied from the election of Abu Bakr. On his deathbed, Abu Bakr appointed Umar as his successor without an election by the community of Believers. The oath, approving the appointment of Umar, was taken only by the Companions present in Medina at the time. This led to certain groups disputing the authority of Umar. Umar also altered the way his successor would be found. Before he was assassinated, Umar decided that his successor would come from a group of six. This group included Ali and Uthman another companion of Muhammad. These six would have to establish from among themselves Umar's successor. Ultimately Uthman was chosen as Umar successor, becoming the third Caliph. After the assassination of Uthman, Ali was elected as the fourth Caliph.
Ali's Caliphate and the Rise of the Ummayyad Dynasty
Ali's reign as Caliph was plagued by great turmoil and internal strife. Ali was faced with multiple rebellions and insurrections. The primary one coming from Mu'awiyah a relative of Uthman and Governor of Damascus. Mu'awiyah attacked Ali at the Battle of Siffin. The battle lasted several months resulting in a stalemate. In order to avoid further bloodshed, Ali agreed to negotiate with Mu'waiyah. This caused a faction of some 4,000 strict traditionalists, known as Kharijites ("Seceders"), to abandon the fight. After defeating the Kharijites at the Battle of Nahrawan, Ali would later be assassinated by the Kharijite Ibn Muljam. Ali's son Hasan was elected as the fifth Caliph only to concede his title to Mu'awiyah a few months later. Mu'awiyah became the sixth Caliph, establishing the Ummayyad Dynasty.
UmayyadsMain article: Umayyad Caliphate
Under the Umayyads, the Muslim empire grew rapidly. To the West, Muslim rule expanded across North Africa and into Spain. To the East, it expanded through Iran and ultimately to India. This made it one of the largest empires in the history of West Eurasia, extending its entire breadth.
However, the Umayyad dynasty was not universally supported within Islam itself. Some Muslims supported prominent early Muslims like az-Zubayr; others felt that only members of Muhammad's clan, the Banū Hashim, or his own lineage, the descendants of ʻAlī, should rule. There were numerous rebellions against the Umayyads, as well as splits within the Umayyad ranks (notably, the rivalry between Yaman and Qays). Eventually, supporters of the Banu Hisham and Alid claims united to bring down the Umayyads in 750. However, the Shiʻat ʻAlī, "the Party of ʻAlī", were again disappointed when the Abbasid dynasty took power, as the Abbasids were descended from Muhammad's uncle, Abbas ibn Abd al-Muttalib and not from ʻAlī. Following this disappointment, the Shiʻat ʻAlī finally split from the majority Sunni Muslims and formed what are today the several Shiʻa denominations.
AbbasidsMain article: Abbasid Caliphate
The Abbasids would provide an unbroken line of caliphs for over three centuries, consolidating Islamic rule and cultivating great intellectual and cultural developments in the Middle East. But by 940 the power of the caliphate under the Abbasids was waning as non-Arabs, particularly the Turkish (and later the Mamluks in Egypt in the latter half of the 13th century), gained influence, and sultans and emirs became increasingly independent. However, the caliphate endured as both a symbolic position and a unifying entity for the Islamic world.
During the period of the Abbasid dynasty, Abbasid claims to the caliphate did not go unchallenged. The Shiʻa Said ibn Husayn of the Fatimid dynasty, which claimed descendancy of Muhammad through his daughter, claimed the title of Caliph in 909, creating a separate line of caliphs in North Africa. Initially covering Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Libya, the Fatimid caliphs extended their rule for the next 150 years, taking Egypt and Palestine, before the Abbasid dynasty was able to turn the tide, limiting Fatimid rule to Egypt. The Fatimid dynasty finally ended in 1171. The Umayyad dynasty, which had survived and come to rule over the Muslim provinces of Spain, reclaimed the title of Caliph in 929, lasting until it was overthrown in 1031.
FatimidsMain article: Fatimid Caliphate
The Fatimid Caliphate or al-Fātimiyyūn (Arabic الفاطميون) was a Berber Shi'a dynasty that ruled over varying areas of the Maghreb, Egypt, Sicily, Malta and the Levant from 5 January 909 to 1171. The caliphate was ruled by the Fatimids, who established the Egyptian city of Cairo as their capital. The term Fatimite is sometimes used to refer to the citizens of this caliphate. The ruling elite of the state belonged to the Ismaili branch of Shi'ism. The leaders of the dynasty were also Shia Ismaili Imams, hence, they had a religious significance to Ismaili Muslims. They are also part of the chain of holders of the office of Caliph, as recognized by most Muslims. Therefore, this constitutes a rare period in history in which some form of the Shia Imamate and the Caliphate were united to any degree, excepting the Caliphate of Ali himself. The Fatimids, however, are not recognized and counted by all Sunnis as a caliphate.
With exceptions, the Fatimids were reputed to exercise a degree of religious tolerance towards non-Ismaili sects of Islam as well as towards Jews, Maltese Christians and Coptic Christians.
1258 saw the conquest of Baghdad and the execution of Abassid caliph al-Musta'sim by Mongol forces under Hulagu Khan. A surviving member of the Abbasid House was installed as Caliph at Cairo under the patronage of the Mamluk Sultanate three years later. However, the authority of this line of Caliphs was confined to ceremonial and religious matters, and later Muslim historians referred to it as a "shadow" caliphate.
OttomansMain article: Ottoman Caliphate
As the Ottoman Empire grew in size and strength, Ottoman rulers beginning with Mehmed II began to claim caliphal authority. Their claim was strengthened when the Ottoman Empire defeated the Mamluk Sultanate in 1517 and took control of most Arab lands. The last Abbasid Caliph at Cairo, al-Mutawakkil III, was taken into custody and was transported to Istanbul, where he surrendered the Caliphate to Selim I.
Ottoman rulers were known primarily by the title of Sultan.
According to Barthold, the first time the title of caliph was used as a political instead of symbolic religious title by the Ottomans was the peace treaty with Russia in 1774. The outcome of this war was disastrous for the Ottomans. Large territories, including those with large Muslim populations such as Crimea, were lost to the Christian Russian Empire. However, the Ottomans under Abdulhamid I claimed a diplomatic victory, the recognition of themselves as protectors of Muslims in Russia as part of the peace treaty. This was the first time the Ottoman caliph was acknowledged as having political significance outside of Ottoman borders by a European power. As a consequence of this diplomatic victory, as the Ottoman borders were shrinking, the powers of the Ottoman caliph increased.
Around 1880 Sultan Abdulhamid II reasserted the title as a way of countering creeping European colonialism in Muslim lands. His claim was most fervently accepted by the Muslims of British India. By the eve of the First World War, the Ottoman state, despite its weakness vis-à-vis Europe, represented the largest and most powerful independent Islamic political entity. But the sultan also enjoyed some authority beyond the borders of his shrinking empire as caliph of Muslims in Egypt, India and Central Asia.
Abolition of the institutionMain articles: Turkish War of Independence and Atatürk's Reforms
On 3 March 1924, the Turkish Grand National Assembly, on the initiative of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, dissolved the institution of the Caliphate, transferring its powers to the Turkish Grand National Assembly. Although it is widely believed that the Caliphate has been abolished, this is not the case. The powers have been vested in the Turkish Parliament, which in turn has delegated its authority to various Turkish government institutions. Should the Republic of Turkey decide to reinstate the caliphate, it has the legislative power and also the religious authority to do so. The religious authority is derived from its possession of the Islamic relics. These Islamic Relics are housed in the Topkapi Palace compound and housed in specially designed bomb proof vaults.
Occasional demonstrations have been held calling for the reestablishment of the Caliphate.
- In 19th century Sudan, Mohammed Ahmed "the Mahdi" was succeeded by Abdallahi ibn Muhammad "the Khalifa".
- In the Ahmadiyya sect, khalifatul Masih is the title of the successors of its founding Messiah, except in the break-away Lahore branch, which is led by its own Emirs.
In Morocco, the Sherifian Monarch awarded the title Khalifa or Chaliphe, here meaning 'Viceroy', to royal princes (styled Moulay), including future Sultans, who represented the crown in a part of the sultanate:
- especially in the former royal capitals Marrakesh, Fes and Meknes
- also in other mayor cities, e.g. in Shawiya, Casablanca, Tafilalt, Tadla, Tiznit Tindouf, in the valley of the Draa River and in Tetouan.
- but also, in the 20th century, as irrevocably fully mandated Representative of the Sultan in the Spanish Zone, known after him in Spanish as el Jalifato (note the definite article; although the Spanish word can also be applied to other deputies of various Moroccan officials), besides the Alto comisario (de facto governing 'High Commissioner') of the colonial 'protector' Spain, which called his office el Jalifa (not Califa, the word for any 'imperial' Caliph, ruling a califato):
- 19 April 1913 - 9 November 1923 Mulay al-Mahdi bin Isma'il bin Muhammad (d. 1923)
- 9 November 1923 - 9 November 1925 Vacant
- 9 November 1925 - 16 March 1941 Mulay Hassan bin al-Mahdi (1st time) (born 1912)
- 16 March 1941 - October 1945 Vacant
- October 1945 - 7 April 1956 Mulay Hassan bin al-Mahdi (2nd time)
Khalifa can have a definition, be a first name, or family or tribe name. Like many titles, Khalifa also occurs in many names.
It is the family name of the Al Khalifa dynasty, rulers of the peninsular Arab nation of Bahrain, who are descended from the Bani Utub tribe.
Authority of the successor
The question of who should succeed Muhammad was not the only issue that faced the early Muslims; they also had to clarify the extent of the leader's powers. Muhammad, during his lifetime, was not only the Muslim political leader, but the Islamic prophet. All law and spiritual practice proceeded from Muhammad. Nobody claimed that his successor would be a prophet; succession referred to political authority. The uncertainty centered on the extent of that authority. Muhammad's revelations, supposedly directly from God, were soon codified and written down as the Qur'an, which was accepted as a supreme authority, limiting what a caliph could legitimately command.
However, there is some evidence that some early caliphs did believe that they had authority to rule in matters not specified in the Qur'an. They believed themselves to be temporal and spiritual leaders even in issues not commanded in the Quran, and insisted that implicit obedience to the caliph in all things not contradicting the Quran, was the hallmark of the good Muslim. The modern scholars Patricia Crone and Martin Hinds, in their book God's Caliph, outline the evidence for an early, expansive view of the caliph's importance and authority. They argue that this view of the caliph was eventually nullified (in Sunni Islam, at least) by the rising power of the ulema, or Islamic lawyers, judges, scholars, and religious specialists. The ulema insisted on their right to determine what was legal and orthodox. The proper Muslim leader, in the ulema's opinion, was the leader who enforced the rulings of the ulema, rather than making rulings of his own, unless he himself was qualified in Islamic law. Conflict between caliph and ulema, akin to a modern judiciary, was a recurring theme in early Islamic history, and ended in the victory of the ulema. The caliph was henceforth limited to temporal rule only. He would be considered a righteous caliph if he were guided by the ulema. Crone and Hinds argue that Shi'a Muslims, with their expansive view of the powers of the imamate, have preserved some of the beliefs of the early Ummayad dynasty which ironically, they despise. Crone and Hinds' thesis is not accepted by some scholars.
Most Sunni Muslims now believe that the caliph has always been a merely temporal ruler, and that the ulema has always been responsible for adjudicating orthodoxy and Islamic law (shari'a). The first four caliphs are called the Rashidun, the Rightly Guided Caliphs, because they are believed to have followed the Qur'an and the way or sunnah of Muhammad in all things. This formulation itself presumes the Sunni ulema's view historically.
Al-Ghazali on the desired character traits for administration
Al Ghazali wrote the "Nasihat al-Muluk" or "Advice for Kings" to a Seljuq Sultan in which he gave ten different ethics of royal administration:
- The ruler should understand the importance and danger of the authority entrusted to him. In authority there is great blessing, since he who exercises it righteously obtained unsurpassed happiness but if any ruler fails to do so he incurs torment surpassed only by the torment for unbelief.
- The ruler should always be thirsting to meet devout religious scholars and ask them for advice.
- The ruler should understand that he must not covet the wives of other men and be content with personally refraining from injustice, but must discipline his slave-troops, servants, and officers and never tolerate unjust conduct by them; for he will be interrogated not only about his own unjust deeds but also about those of his staff.
- The ruler should not be dominated by pride; for pride gives rise to the dominance of anger, and will impel him to revenge. Anger is the evil genius and blight of the intellect. If anger is becoming dominant it will be necessary for the ruler in all his affairs to bend his inclinations in the direction of forgiveness and make a habit of generosity and forbearance unless he is to be like the wild beasts.
- In every situation that arises, the ruler should figure that he is the subject and the other person is the holder of authority. He should not sanction for others anything that he would not sanction for himself. For if he would do so he would be making fraudulent and treasonable use of the authority entrusted to him.
- The ruler should not disregard the attendance of petitioners at his court and should beware of the danger of so doing. He should solve the grievances of the Muslims.
- The ruler should not form a habit of indulging the passions. Although he might dress more finely or eat more sumptuously, he should be content with all that he has; for without contentment, just conduct will not be possible.
- The ruler should make the utmost effort to behave gently and avoid governing harshly.
- The ruler should endeavor to keep all the subjects pleased with him. The ruler should not let himself be so deluded by the praise he gets from any who approach him as to believe that all the subjects are pleased with him. On the contrary, such praise is entirely due to fear. He must therefore appoint trustworthy persons to carry on espionage and inquire about his standing among the people, so that he may be able to learn his faults from men's tongues.
- The ruler should not give satisfaction to any person if a contravention of God's law would be required to please him for no harm will come from such a person's displeasure.
Single Caliph for the Muslim World
It has been recorded that Muhammad has said:
"The children of Israel have been governed by Prophets; whenever a Prophet died another Prophet succeeded him; but there will be no prophet after me. There will be caliphs and they will number many (in one time); they asked: What then do you order us? He said: Fulfil bayah to them, only the first of them, the first of them, and give them their dues; for verily Allah will ask them about what he entrusted them with"
"When the oath of allegiance has been taken for two Caliphs, kill the latter of them".
Abu-Bakr Muhammad's primary disciple is reported to have said:
"It is forbidden for Muslims to have two Amirs for this would cause differences in their affairs and concepts, their unity would be divided and disputes would break out amongst them. The Sunnah would then be abandoned, the bida'a (innovations) would spread and Fitna would grow, and that is in no one's interests".
Umar bin Al-Khattab another disciple of Muhammad is reported to have said: "There is no way for two (leaders) together at any one time"
Ibn Khaldun the famous 14th century Muslim scholar, economist and historian said: "It is not possible to appoint two men to the position (of caliph) at the same time. Religious scholars generally are of this opinion, on the basis of certain hadith(recorded statements) of Muhammad. Those hadith are found in the book entitled, "On Leadership (imarah)," in Sahih Muslim. They expressly indicate that this is so."
The 10th century Sunni scholar Imam of al-Haramayn (i.e. Makkah and Medinah) al-Juwayni wrote:
"Our (scholarly) associates agree on precluding the investing of two different individuals with the imamate at either end of the world. But, they add: If it should happen that two different persons were invested with the imamate, that would be analogous to the situation of two guardians contracting a marriage for the same woman to two different suitors without either being aware of the other's contract. The decision in the matter rests on the application of jurisprudence. My opinion on this issue is that investiture of two individuals with the imamate in a single locality within relatively restricted boundaries and limited provinces is not permitted and the investiture should be in accord with a consensus. But, when the distances are great and the two Imams quite remote from each other, there is room to allow it, although this cannot be established conclusively."
The 11th century Sunni jurist Al-Mawardi wrote:
"The investment of two rulers in two different cities is invalid in both cases, for the ummah may not have two rulers simultaneously, even though there are some dissenting voices who would make that permissible. Jurists are disagreed regarding which one of the two should be sovereign. One party take him to be the one elected in the city where the previous leader died, because its residents are more entitled to make the choice, the rest of the Community in other districts delegating the task to them... Others have suggested that each one of the two must give up the office in favour of his opponent, thus allowing the elections to opt for one or the other.."
Imam Al-Nawawi a 12th century authority of the Sunni Shafi'i madhhab said: "It is forbidden to give an oath to two caliphs or more, even in different parts of the world and even if they are far apart"
Imam Al-Juzairi, a more modern expert on the Fiqh of the four Sunni madhhabs said regarding the opinion of the four Imams, "...It is forbidden for Muslims to have two Imams in the world whether in agreement or discord."
Notable CaliphsMain article: List of Caliphs
- Abu Bakr: First rightly guided caliph. Subdued rebel tribes in the Ridda Wars.
- Umar ibn al-Khattab: Second rightly guided caliph. During his reign, the Islamic empire expanded to include Egypt, Jerusalem, and Persia.
- Uthman ibn Affan: Third rightly guided caliph. The Qur'an was compiled under his direction. Killed by rebels.
- Ali ibn Abu Talib: Fourth and last rightly guided caliph, and considered the first imam by Shi'a Muslims. His reign was fraught with internal conflict.
- Muawiya I: First caliph of the Umayyad Dynasty. Muawiya instituted dynastic rule by appointing his son Yazid as his successor, a trend that would continue through subsequent caliphates.
- Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan - Fifth caliph of Ummayad Dynasty, translated important records into Arabic, established an Islamic currency system, led additional wars against the Byzantines and ordered construction of the Dome of the Rock.
- Umar ibn Abd al-Aziz: Umayyad caliph considered by some (mainly Sunnis) to be a fifth rightly guided caliph.
- Harun al-Rashid: Abbasid caliph during whose reign Baghdad became the world's preeminent center of trade, learning, and culture. Harun is the subject of many stories in the famous work 1001 Arabian Nights.
- Al-Mustansir Billah: Fatimid Caliph who led the Shi'a Caliphate to its zenith; Cairo was a center of trade and intellectual activity during his reign.
- Selim I the Brave: First Caliph of the Ottoman Empire with the conquest of Egypt and the Holy Cities. Defeated the powerful Shia Safavid Empire.
- Suleiman the Magnificent: Early Ottoman Sultan during whose reign the Ottoman Empire reached its zenith.
- Abdul Mejid II: Last Caliph of the Ottoman Dynasty, the 101st Caliph in line from Caliph Abu Bakr. On August 23, 1944, Abdul Mejid II died at his house in the Boulevard Suchet, Paris XVIe, France. He was buried at Medina, Saudi Arabia.
Several Arabic surnames found throughout the Middle East are derived from the word khalifa. These include: Khalif, Khalifa, Khillif, Kalif, Kalaf, Khalaf, and Kaylif. The usage of this title as a surname is comparable to the existence of surnames such as King, Duke, and Noble in the English language.
The more important dynasties include:
- The Umayyad dynasty in Damascus (661–750), followed by:
- The Abbasid dynasty in Baghdad (750–1258), and later in Cairo (under Mameluk control) (1260–1517).
- The Shi'ite Fatimid dynasty in North Africa and Egypt (909–1171). Not universally accepted and not currently included in the list here.
- The Rahmanids, a surviving branch of the Damascus Umayyads, established "in exile" as emirs of Córdoba, Spain, declared themselves Caliphs (known as the Caliphs of Cordoba; not universally accepted; 929–1031).
- The Almohad dynasty in North Africa and Spain (not universally accepted; 1145–1269). Traced their descent not from Muhammad, but from a puritanic reformer in Morocco who claimed to be the Mahdi (a puritanic reformer in Morocco, bringing down the "decadent" Almoravid emirate) whose son established a sultanate and claimed to be a caliph.
- The Ottomans (1517–1924; main title Padishah, also known as Great Sultan etc.), assumed the title after defeating the Mamluk Sultanate and used it sporadically between the 16th and early 20th centuries.
Note on the overlap of Umayyad and Abbasid Caliphates: After the massacre of the Umayyad clan by the Abbassids, one lone prince escaped and fled to North Africa, which remained loyal to the Umayyads. This was Abd-ar-rahman I. From there, he proceeded to Spain, where he overthrew and united the provinces conquered by previous Umayyad Caliphs (in 712 and 712). From 756 to 929, this Umayyad domain in Spain was an independent emirate, until Abd-ar-rahman III reclaimed the title of Caliph for his dynasty. The Umayyad Emirs of Spain are not listed in the summary below because they did not claim the caliphate until 929. For a full listing of all the Umayyad rulers in Spain see the Umayyad article.
Claims to the caliphate
Many local rulers in Islamic countries have claimed to be caliphs. Most claims were ignored outside their limited domains. In many cases, these claims were made by rebels against established authorities and ended when the rebellion was crushed. Notable claimants include:
- Abd-Allah ibn al-Zubayr, who held the Hijaz against the Ummayads. Certain scholars considered him a legitimate Caliph, being a close companion of Muhammad. His rebellion, centered in Makkah, was crushed by the Umayyad general Hajjaj. Hajjaj's attack caused some damage in Makkah, and necessitated the rebuilding of the Kaaba.
- Caliph of the Sudan, a Songhai king of the Sahel.
- The Zaydi Imams of Yemen used the title for centuries and continued to use the title till 1962.
- Hussein bin Ali, Sharif of Mecca, proclaimed himself Caliph on 3 March 1924, two days after the office was abolished by the Grand National Assembly of Turkey. (see Sharifian Caliphate) Hussein's claim was not accepted, and in 1925 he was driven from the Hijaz by the forces of Ibn Saud. He continued to use the title of Caliph during his remaining life in exile, until his death in 1931.
- Sunni view of the Sahaba
- Amir al-Mu'minin
- Khalifatul Masih
- List of Caliphs
- Sheikh ul-Islam
- Succession to Muhammad
- ^ a b Jay Tolson, "Caliph Wanted: Why An Old Islamic Institution Resonates With Many Muslims Today," U.S News & World Report 144.1 (January 14, 2008): 38-40.
- ^ From the article "Khalifah" in Oxford Islamic Studies Online
- ^ The Concise Encyclopedia of Islam. Cyril Glasse. pp. 39-41,318-319, 353-354
- ^ a b Sahih Muslim, Kitab al-Imarah (Book of Government)
- ^ a b "As-Sirah" of Ibn Ishaq; on the day of Thaqifa
- ^ Al-Muqaddimah by ibn Khaldun
- ^ Chapter On "Election, It's Characteristics, and How the Imamate is to Be Invested" paragraph "On investing the imamate in two individuals" in the book "A Guide to the Conclusive Proofs for the Principles of Belief" (Kitab al-irshad ila qawati' al-adilla fi usul al-i'tiqad) by al-Juwayni p 234
- ^ "The Ordinances of Government" (Al-Ahkam al-Sultaniyya w'al-Wilayat al-Diniyyya) pg. 7-8 by al-Mawardi
- ^ Mughni Al-Muhtaj, volume 4, page 132
- ^ 'Fiqh ul-Mathahib ul- Arba'a' (the fiqh of the four schools of thought), al-Juzairi, volume 5, p. 416
- Arnold, T. W. (1993). "Khalīfa". In Houtsma, M. Th. E.J. Brill's First Encyclopaedia of Islam, 1913–1936. Volume IV. Leiden: BRILL. pp. 881–885. ISBN 9789004097902. http://books.google.com/books?id=7CP7fYghBFQC&pg=PA881. Retrieved 2010-07-23.
- Crone, Patricia, and Martin Hinds. God's Caliph: Religious Authority in the First Centuries of Islam. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986. ISBN 0521321859.
- Donner, Fred. The Early Islamic Conquests. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1981. ISBN 0691053278.
- Ahmadiyya Muslim Caliphs
- Hizb-ut-tahrir UK website
- Khilafah.com official website
- Caliphate.eu official website
- Islam's World Kahifa Election
Timeline of the CaliphateCategories:
- Arabic words and phrases
- Gubernatorial titles
- Heads of state
- Islamic philosophy
- Religious leadership roles
- Noble titles
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