Islamic Caliphate Hstory
A caliphate (from the Arabic خلافة or khilāfa) is an Islamic state led by a supreme religious as well as political leader known as a caliph (meaning literally a successor, i.e. a successor to Islamic prophet Muhammad). The term caliphate is often applied to successions of Muslim empires that have existed in the Middle East and Southwest Asia. Conceptually the caliphate represents the political unity of the entire community of Muslim faithful (the ummah) ruled by a single caliph. In theory, the organization of a caliphate should be a constitutional theocracy (the Constitution being the Constitution of Medina), which means that the head of state, the Caliph, and other officials are representatives of the people and of Islam and must govern according to constitutional and religious law (Sharia). In its early days, the first caliphate resembled elements of direct democracy (see shura) and an elective monarchy.
It was initially led by Muhammad's disciples as a continuation of the leaders and religious system the prophet established, known as the 'Rashidun caliphates'. A "caliphate" is also a state which implements such a governmental system.
Sunni Islam stipulates that the head of state, the caliph, should be elected by Shura – elected by Muslims or their representatives. Followers of Shia Islam believe the caliph should be an imam chosen by God from the Ahl al-Bayt (Muhammad's purified progeny). From the end of the Rashidun period until 1924, caliphates, sometimes two at a single time, real and illusory, were ruled by dynasties. The first dynasty was the Umayyad. This was followed by the Abbasid, the Fatimid (not recognized by Muslims outside the Fatimid domain), and finally the Ottoman Dynasty.
The caliphate was "the core leader concept of Sunni Islam, by the consensus of the Muslim majority in the early centuries."
The caliph was often known as Amir al-Mu'minin (أمير المؤمنين) "Commander of the Believers". Muhammad established his capital in Medina, and after he died it remained the capital for the Rashidun period. At times in Muslim history there have been rival claimant caliphs in different parts of the Islamic world, and divisions between the Shi'a and Sunni communities.
According to Sunni Muslims, the first caliph to be called Amir al-Mu'minin was Abu Bakr Siddique, followed by Umar ibn al-Khattāb, the second of the Four Rightly Guided Caliphs. Usman ibn Affan and Ali ibn Abi Talib also were called by the same title, while the Shi'a consider Ali to have been the only truly legitimate caliph.
The rulers preceding these first four did not receive this title by consensus, and as it was turned into a monarchy thereafter.
After the first four caliphs, the Caliphate was claimed by dynasties such as the Umayyads, the Abbasids, and the Ottomans, and for relatively short periods by other, competing dynasties in al-Andalus, North Africa, and Egypt. After the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk officially abolished the system of Caliphate in Islam (the Ottoman Empire) and founded the Republic of Turkey, in 1923. The Kings of Morocco still label themselves with the title Amir al-Mu'minin for the Moroccans, but lay no claim to the Caliphate.
Some Muslim countries, including Somalia, Indonesia and Malaysia, were never subject to the authority of a Caliphate, with the exception of Aceh, which briefly acknowledged Ottoman suzerainty. Consequently these countries had their own, local, sultans or rulers who did not fully accept the authority of the Caliph.
Rashidun, 632–661 
Main articles: Rashidun and Rashidun Caliphate
See also: Muslim conquests
Rashidun Caliphate at its greatest extent
Abu Bakr, the first successor of Muhammad, nominated Umar as his successor on his deathbed, and there was consensus in the Muslim community to his choice. Umar Ibn Khattab, the second caliph, was killed by a Persian named Firoz. His successor, Uthman Ibn Affan, was elected by a council of electors (Majlis), but was soon perceived by some to be ruling as a "king" rather than an elected leader. Uthman was killed by members of a disaffected group. Ali then took control but was not universally accepted as caliph by the governors of Egypt, and later by some of his own guard. He faced two major rebellions and was assassinated after a tumultuous rule of only five years. This period is known as the Fitna, or the first Islamic civil war. Under the Rashidun each region (Sultanate, Wilayah, or Emirate) of the Caliphate had its own governor (Sultan, Wāli or Emir).
Muawiyah, a relative of Uthman and governor (Wali) of Syria, became one of Ali's challengers and after Ali's death managed to overcome the other claimants to the Caliphate. Muawiyah transformed the caliphate into a hereditary office, thus founding the Umayyad dynasty.
In areas which were previously under Sassanid Persian or Byzantine rule, the Caliphs lowered taxes, provided greater local autonomy (to their delegated governors), greater religious freedom for Jews, and some indigenous Christians, and brought peace to peoples demoralized and disaffected by the casualties and heavy taxation that resulted from the decades of Byzantine-Persian warfare.
Umayyads, 7th–8th centuries 
Main article: Umayyad Caliphate
The Caliphate, 622–750
Expansion under Muhammad, 622–632
Expansion during the Rashidun Caliphs, 632–661
Expansion during the Umayyad Caliphate, 661–750
Under the Umayyads, the Caliphate grew rapidly in territory. Islamic rule expanded westward across North Africa and into Hispania and eastward through Persia and ultimately to the ancient lands of Indus Valley, in modern day Pakistan. This made it one of the largest unitary states in history and one of the few states to ever extend direct rule over three continents (Africa, Europe, and Asia). Although not ruling all of the Sahara, homage was paid to the Caliph by Saharan Africa, usually via various nomad Berber tribes. However, it should be noted that, although these vast areas may have recognised the supremacy of the Caliph, de facto power was in the hands of local sultans and emirs.
For a variety of reasons, including that they were not elected via Shura and suggestions of impious behaviour, the Umayyad dynasty was not universally supported within the Muslim community. Some supported prominent early Muslims like Al-Zubayr; others felt that only members of Muhammad's clan, the Banu Hashim, or his own lineage, the descendants of Ali, 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 Hashim and the supporters of the lineage of Ali united to bring down the Umayyads in 750. However, the Shiʻat ʻAlī, "the Party of Ali", 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 Ali.
The Caliphate in Hispania 
Main articles: Caliphate of Córdoba and Almohad dynasty
During the Umayyad dynasty, Hispania was an integral province of the Umayyad Caliphate ruled from Damascus. When the Caliphate was seized by the Abbasids, Al-Andalus (the Arab name for Hispania) split from the Abbasid Caliph in Baghdad to form their own caliphate. The Caliphate of Córdoba (خليفة قرطبة) ruled most of the Iberian Peninsula from the city of Córdoba from 929 to 1031. This period was characterized by a remarkable flourishing in technology, trade and culture; many of the masterpieces of Spain were constructed in this period, including the Great Mosque of Córdoba. The title Caliph (خليفة) was claimed by Abd-ar-Rahman III on 16 January 929; he was previously known as the Emir of Córdoba (أمير قرطبة).
All Caliphs of Córdoba were members of the Umayyad dynasty; the same dynasty had held the title Emir of Córdoba and ruled over roughly the same territory since 756. The rule of the Caliphate is considered as the heyday of Muslim presence in the Iberian peninsula, before it fragmented into various taifas in the 11th century.
Abbasids, 8th–13th centuries 
Main articles: Abbasid Caliphate and Fatimid Caliphate
See also: Islamic Golden Age and Muslim Agricultural Revolution
Mustansiriya University in Baghdad
The Umayyad dynasty was overthrown by another family of Meccan origin, the Abbasids, in 750. The Abbasids had an unbroken line of Caliphs for over three centuries, consolidating Islamic rule and cultivating great intellectual and cultural developments in the Middle East. By 940, however, the power of the Caliphate under the Abbasids was waning as non-Arabs, particularly the Berbers of the Maghreb, the Turks, and later, in the latter half of the 13th century, the Mamluks in Egypt, gained influence, and the various subordinate sultans and emirs became increasingly independent.
However, the Caliphate endured as a symbolic position. During the period of the Abbasid dynasty, Abbasid claims to the caliphate did not go unchallenged. The Shiʻa Ubayd Allah al-Mahdi Billah of the Fatimid dynasty, which claimed descent from Muhammad through his daughter, claimed the title of Caliph in 909, creating a separate line of caliphs in North Africa.
Initially controlling 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 Al-Andalus, reclaimed the title of Caliph in 929, lasting until it was overthrown in 1031.
Fatimids, 10th–12th centuries 
Main article: Fatimid Caliphate
Map of the Fatimid Caliphate also showing cities
The Fatimid Islamic Caliphate or al-Fāṭimiyyūn (Arabic الفاطميون) was an Isma'ili Shi'a Muslim caliphate that spanned a vast area of the Arab world, from the Red Sea in the east to the Atlantic Ocean in the west. Originally based in Tunisia, the Fatimid dynasty extended their rule across the Mediterranean coast of Africa, and ultimately made Egypt the centre of their caliphate. At its height, in addition to Egypt, the caliphate included varying areas of the Maghreb, Sudan, Sicily, the Levant, Yemen and Hijaz.
The Fatimids established the Tunisian city of Mahdia and made it their capital city, before conquering Egypt, and building the city of Cairo in 969. Thereafter, Cairo became the capital of the caliphate, with Egypt becoming the political, cultural, and religious centre of the state. The 4th century AH /10th century CE has been called by Louis Massignon ‘the Ismaili century in the history of Islam’.
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 some Muslims. Therefore, this constitutes a rare period in history in which the descendants of Ali (hence the name Fatimid, referring to Ali's wife Fatima) and the Caliphate were united to any degree, excepting the final period of the Rashidun Caliphate under Ali himself.
The caliphate was reputed to exercise a degree of religious tolerance towards non-Ismaili sects of Islam as well as towards Jews, Maltese Christians, and Coptic Christians.
Mamluk rule, 13th–16th centuries 
1258 saw the conquest of Baghdad, the execution of Abbasid caliph al-Musta'sim by Mongol forces under Hulagu Khan and essentially the end of the caliphate up to that point. A surviving member of the Abbasid house was installed as caliph at Cairo under the patronage of the newly formed Mamluk Sultanate three years later; however, this line of caliphs had generally little authority although some Abbasid rulers had the actual rule over the Mamluk Sultans.
Ottomans, 16th–20th century 
Private local stamps issued for the Liannos City Post of Constantinople in 1865.
Main article: Ottoman Caliphate
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Ottoman Sultans, also known and referred to by the title of Padishah used the title of Caliph only sporadically, before 1517. The title "Caliph" was used symbolically on occasions before, however, the Ottoman rulers began to claim Caliphal authority only after the Ottoman Empire defeated the Mamluk Sultanate in 1517 and took control of most Arab lands, during the reign of Selim I. The last Abbasid Caliph at Cairo, al-Mutawakkil III, was taken into custody and was transported to Constantinople, where he reportedly delivered the symbols of Caliphate to Selim I. 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, when the Empire retained moral authority on territory whose sovereignty was ceded to the Russian Empire.
The outcome of Russo-Turkish War of 1768-1774 war was disastrous for the Ottomans. Large territories, including those with large Muslim populations, such as Crimea, were lost to the Russian Empire. However, the Ottomans under Abdul Hamid I claimed a diplomatic victory by being allowed to remain the religious leader of Muslims in the now-independent Crimea as part of the peace treaty: in return Russia became the official protector of Christians in Ottoman territory.
Around 1880 Sultan Abdul Hamid II reasserted the title as a way of countering Russian expansion into 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 relative to Europe, represented the largest and most powerful independent Islamic political entity. The sultan also enjoyed some authority beyond the borders of his shrinking empire as caliph of Muslims in Egypt, India and Central Asia.
Sokoto, 19th century 
Main article: Sokoto Caliphate
The Sokoto Caliphate was an Islamic spiritual community in Nigeria, led by the, Shehu Uthman Dan Fodio. Founded during the Fulani Jihad in the early 19th century, it was one of the most powerful empires in sub-Saharan Africa prior to European conquest and colonization. The caliphate remained extant through the colonial period and afterwards, though with reduced power.
Ahmadiyya Caliphate, 1908-Present 
Main article: Khalifatul Masih
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community a messianic movement in Islam, believe that the Ahmadiyya Caliphate established after the passing of the community's founder Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, is the re-establishment of the Rashdin Caliphate, as prophesized by Muhammad. The current successor to Mirza Ghulam Ahmad is Khalifatul Masih V, Mirza Masroor Ahmad residing in London, England.
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community was founded in 1889 by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian, India, who first claimed to be Mahdi, then the Promised Messiah and eventually claimed prophethood. After his demise in 1908, his first successor, Maulvi Hakeem Noor-ud-Din became head of the community and assumed the title of Khalifatul Masih (Caliph). The line of successors continues to this day to Khalifatul Masih V Mirza Masroor Ahmad, residing in London, England. From its outset, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community has been viewed as heretical by mainstream Muslim groups due to the founder's claim to prophethood. Muslims have always held the strong view that Muhammad was the final prophet and no apostle can come after him. Any negation to this has always been taken as blasphemy to Muhammad and calling his teachings insufficient. Ahmadis consider themselves Muslims and practice Islam in a form that is based solely on the preachings of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad.
The Ahmadiyya Caliphate is not recognized by mainstream Islam because of their differences in Islamic practices. The community continues to operate under this structure, with the Khalifa having overall authority for all religious and organizational matters. According to Ahmadis, it is not essential for a Khalifa to be the head of a state, rather the spiritual and religious significance of the Khalifatul Masih is emphasized. Ahmadis believe that the Ahmadiyya Caliphate is the re-establishment of the Rashidun Caliphate (The Rightly Guided Caliphs).
Khilafat Movement, 1920 
Main article: Khilafat Movement
See also: Partitioning of the Ottoman Empire
In the 1920s, the Khilafat Movement, a movement to defend the Ottoman Caliphate, spread throughout the British colonial territories. It was particularly strong in British India, where it formed a rallying point for some Indian Muslims as one of many anti-British Indian political movements. Its leaders included Maulana Mohammad Ali, his brother Shawkat Ali, and Abul Kalam Azad, Mukhtar Ahmed Ansari, and Barrister Muhammad Jan Abbasi. For a time it worked in alliance with Hindu communities and was supported by Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, who was a member of the Central Khilafat Committee. However, the movement lost its momentum after the arrest or flight of its leaders, and a series of offshoots splintered off from the main organization.
End of the Caliphate, 1924 
Further information: Atatürk's Reforms
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On March 3, 1924, the first President of the Turkish Republic, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, as part of his reforms, constitutionally abolished the institution of the Caliphate. Its powers within Turkey were transferred to the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, the parliament of the newly formed Turkish Republic. The title was then claimed by King Hussein bin Ali of Hejaz, leader of the Arab Revolt, but his kingdom was defeated and annexed by Ibn Saud in 1925. The title has since been inactive.
Turkish influence on other nations, such as in India, may have also been lost due to its ending of caliphate
A summit was convened at Cairo in 1926 to discuss the revival of the Caliphate, but most Muslim countries did not participate and no action was taken to implement the summit's resolutions.
Though the title Ameer al-Mumineen was adopted by the King of Morocco and by Mullah Mohammed Omar, former head of the Taliban regime of Afghanistan, neither claimed any legal standing or authority over Muslims outside the borders of their respective countries.
Religious basis 
Further information: Political aspects of Islam and Divisions of the world in Islam
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The following excerpt from the Qur'an, known as the 'Istikhlaf Verse', is used by some to argue for a Quranic basis for Caliphate:
God has promised those of you who have attained to faith and do righteous deeds that, of a certainty, He will make them Khulifa on earth, even as He caused [some of] those who lived before them to become Khulifa; and that, of a certainty, He will firmly establish for them the religion which He has been pleased to bestow on them; and that, of a certainty, He will cause their erstwhile state of fear to be replaced by a sense of security [seeing that] they worship Me [alone], not ascribing divine powers to aught beside Me. But all who, after [having understood] this, choose to deny the truth – it is they, they who are truly iniquitous!" [24:55] (Surah Al-Nur, Verse 55)
In the above verse the word Khulifa (the plural of Khalifa) has been variously translated as "successors" and "ones who accede to power".
Small subsections of Sunni Islamism argue that to govern a state by Islamic law (Shariah) is, by definition, to rule via the Caliphate, and use the following verses to sustain their claim.
So govern between the people by that which God has revealed (Islam), and follow not their vain desires, beware of them in case they seduce you from just some part of that which God has revealed to you
O you who believe! Obey God, and obey the messenger and then those among you who are in authority; and if you have a dispute concerning any matter, refer it to God and the messenger's rulings, if you are (in truth) believers in God and the Last Day. That is better and more seemly in the end.
The following Hadith from Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal can be understood to prophesy two eras of Caliphate (both on the lines/precepts of prophethood).
Hadhrat Huzaifa narrated that the Messenger of Allah said: Prophethood will remain among you as long as Allah wills. Then Caliphate (Khilafah) on the lines of Prophethood shall commence, and remain as long as Allah wills. Then corrupt/erosive monarchy would take place, and it will remain as long as Allah wills. After that, despotic kingship would emerge, and it will remain as long as Allah wills. Then, the Caliphate (Khilafah) shall come once again based on the precept of Prophethood.[page needed]
In the above Hadith the first era of Caliphate is commonly accepted by the Muslims as that of the Rashidun Caliphate.
Nafi'a reported saying:
It has been reported on the authority of Nafi, that 'Abdullah b. Umar paid a visit to Abdullah b. Muti' in the days (when atrocities were perpetrated on the People Of Medina) at Harra in the time of Yazid b. Mu'awiya. Ibn Muti' said: Place a pillow for Abu 'Abd al-Rahman (family name of 'Abdullah b. 'Umar). But the latter said: I have not come to sit with you. I have come to you to tell you a tradition I heard from the Messenger of Allah. I heard him say: One who withdraws his band from obedience (to the Amir) will find no argument (in his defence) when he stands before Allah on the Day of Judgment, and one who dies without having bound himself by an oath of allegiance (to an Amir) will die the death of one belonging to the days of Jahiliyyah. – Sahih Muslim, Book 020, Hadith 4562.
Hisham ibn Urwah reported on the authority of Abu Saleh on the authority of Abu Hurairah that Muhammad said:
Leaders will take charge of you after me, where the pious (one) will lead you with his piety and the impious (one) with his impiety, so only listen to them and obey them in everything which conforms with the truth (Islam). If they act rightly it is for your credit, and if they acted wrongly it is counted for you and against them.
Muslim narrated on the authority of al-A'araj, on the authority of Abu Hurairah, that Muhammad said:
Behold, the Imam (Caliph) is but a shield from behind whom the people fight and by whom they defend themselves.
Muslim reported on the authority of Abdel Aziz al-Muqrin, who said,
I accompanied Abu Hurairah for five years and heard him talking of Muhammd's saying: The Prophets ruled over the children of Israel, whenever a Prophet died another Prophet succeeded him, but there will be no Prophet after me. There will be Khalifahs and they will number many. They asked: What then do you order us? He said: Fulfil the baya'a to them one after the other and give them their due. Surely God will ask them about what He entrusted them with.
The Sahaba of Muhammad 
Al-Habbab Ibn ul-Munthir said, when the Sahaba met in the wake of the death of Muhammad, (at the thaqifa hall) of Bani Sa’ida:
Let there be one Amir from us and one Amir from you (meaning one from the Ansar and one from the Mohajireen).
Upon this Abu Bakr replied:
It is forbidden for Muslims to have two Amirs (rulers)...
Then he got up and addressed the Muslims.[page needed]
It has additionally been reported that Abu Bakr went on to say on the day of Al-Saqifa:
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.
The Sahaba agreed to this and selected Abu Bakr as their first Khaleef. Habbab ibn Mundhir who suggested the idea of two Ameers corrected himself and was the first to give Abu Bakr the Bay'ah. This indicates an Ijma as-Sahaba of all of the Sahaba. Ali ibni abi Talib, who was attending the body of Muhammad at the time, also consented to this.
Imam Ali whom the Shia revere said:
People must have an Amir...where the believer works under his Imara (rule) and under which the unbeliever would also benefit, until his rule ended by the end of his life (ajal), the booty (fay’i) would be gathered, the enemy would be fought, the routes would be made safe, the strong one will return what he took from the weak till the tyrant would be contained, and not bother anyone.
The sayings of Islamic scholars 
It is forbidden for the Ummah (Muslim world) to have two leaders at the same time.
Yahya ibn Sharaf al-Nawawi (Al-Nawawi) says:
It is forbidden to give an oath to two leaders or more, even in different parts of the world and even if they are far apart.
Ahmad al-Qalqashandi says:
It is forbidden to appoint two leaders at the same time.
Ibnu Hazm says:
It is permitted to have only one leader (of the Muslims) in the whole of the world.
It is forbidden for Muslims to have in the whole world and at the same time two leaders whether in agreement or discord.
Al-Qadhi Abdul-Jabbar (he is a Mu’tazela scholar), says:
It is forbidden to give the oath to more than one.
The Imams (scholars of the four schools of thought)- may Allah have mercy on them- agree that the Caliphate is an obligation, and that the Muslims must appoint a leader who would implement the injunctions of the religion, and give the oppressed justice against the oppressors. It is forbidden for Muslims to have two leaders in the world whether in agreement or discord.
The Shia schools of thought and others expressed the same opinion about this However, the Shia school of thought believe that the leader (Imam) must not be appointed by the Islamic ummah, but must be appointed by God.
Al-Qurtubi said in his Tafsir of the verse, "Indeed, man is made upon this earth a Caliph" that:
This Ayah is a source in the selection of an Imaam, and a Khaleef, he is listened to and he is obeyed, for the word is united through him, and the Ahkam (laws) of the Caliph are implemented through him, and there is no difference regarding the obligation of that between the Ummah, nor between the Imams except what is narrated about al-Asam, the Mu'tazzili ...
Al-Qurtubi also said:
The Khilafah is the pillar upon which other pillars rest
(The scholars) consented that it is an obligation upon the Muslims to select a Khalif
Al-Ghazali when writing of the potential consequences of losing the Caliphate said:
The judges will be suspeneded, the Wilayaat (provinces) will be nullified, ... the decrees of those in authority will not be executed and all the people will be on the verge of Haraam
Ibn Taymiyyah said[page needed]:
It is obligatory to know that the office in charge of commanding over the people (ie: the post of the Khaleefah) is one of the greatest obligations of the Deen. In fact, there is no establishment of the Deen except by it....this is the opinion of the salaf, such as al-Fadl ibn 'Iyaad, Ahmad ibn Hanbal and others
Re-establishment of the Caliphate 
Main article: Pan-Islamism
Further information: Islamism and Islamic revival
Once the subject of intense conflict and rivalry amongst Muslim rulers, the caliphate has lain dormant and largely unclaimed since the 1920s. For the vast majority of Muslims the caliph as leader of the ummah, "is cherished both as memory and ideal" as a time when Muslims "enjoyed scientific and military superiority globally."
Prophethood will remain with you for as long as Allah wills it to remain, then Allah will raise it up wherever he wills to raise it up. Afterwards, there will be a Caliphate that follows the guidance of Prophethood remaining with you for as long as Allah wills it to remain. Then, He will raise it up whenever He wills to raise it up. Afterwards, there will be a reign of violently oppressive rule and it will remain with you for as long as Allah wills it to remain. Then, there will be a reign of tyrannical rule and it will remain for as long as Allah wills it to remain. Then, Allah will raise it up whenever He wills to raise it up. Then, there will be a Caliphate that follows the guidance of Prophethood.
— As-Silsilah As-Sahihah, vol. 1, no. 5
Ahmadiyya View 
Further information: Khalifatul Masih
The members of the Ahmadiyya community believe that the Ahmadiyya Caliphate (Arabic: Khilāfah) is the continuation of the Islamic Caliphate, first being the Rashidun (rightly guided) Caliphate (of Righteous Caliphs). This is believed to have been suspended with Ali, the son-in-law of Muhammad and re-established with the appearance of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (the founder of the movement) whom Ahmadis believe was the Promised Messiah and Mahdi. Ahmadi Muslims believe that God has assured them that this Caliphate will endure to the end of time, depending on their righteousness and faith in God. The Khalifa provides unity, security and progress for the community. It is required that the Khalifa carry out his duties through consultation and taking into consideration the views of the members of the Shura (consultative body). However, it is not incumbent upon him to always accept the views and recommendations of the members. The Khalifatul Masih has overall authority for all religious and organisational matters and is bound to decide and act in accordance with the Qur'an and Hadith. According to Ahmadiyya thought, it is not essential for a Khalifa to be the head of a state, rather the spiritual and religious significance of the Khilāfah is emphasised.
Islamic call 
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A number of Islamist political parties and mujahideen have called for the restoration of the caliphate by uniting Muslim nations, either through political action (e.g., Hizb ut-Tahrir), or through force (e.g., al-Qaeda). Various Islamist movements have gained momentum in recent years with the ultimate aim of establishing a Caliphate; however, they differ in their methodology and approach. Some[who?] are locally oriented, mainstream political parties that have no apparent transnational objectives.
Abul Ala Maududi believed the caliph was not just an individual ruler who had to be restored, but was man's representation of God's authority on earth:
Khilafa means representative. Man, according to Islam is the representative of "people", His (God's) viceregent; that is to say, by virtue of the powers delegated to him, and within the limits prescribed by the Qu'ran and the teaching of the prophet, the caliph is required to exercise Divine authority.
The Muslim Brotherhood advocates pan-Islamic unity and implementing Islamic law. Founder Hassan al-Banna wrote about the restoration of the Caliphate. See also: Muslim Brotherhood Influence Operations
One transnational group whose ideology is based specifically on restoring the caliphate as a pan-Islamic state is Hizb ut-Tahrir (literally: "party of liberation"). It is particularly strong in Central Asia and Europe and is growing in strength in the Arab world. It is based on the claim that Muslims can prove that God exists and that the Qur'an is the word of God. Hizb-Ut-Tahrir's stated strategy is a non-violent political and intellectual struggle.
In South-East Asia, groups such as Jemaah Islamiyah aim to establish a Caliphate across Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei, and parts of Thailand, the Philippines and Cambodia..
Views of al-Qaeda 
Main article: al-Qaeda
Al-Qaeda has as one of its clearly stated goals the re-establishment of a caliphate. The late al-Qaeda leader, Osama Bin Laden, called for Muslims to "establish the righteous caliphate of our umma." Al-Qaeda chiefs released a statement in 2005, under which, in what they call "Phase five" there will be "an Islamic state, or caliphate". Al Qaeda has named its Internet newscast from Iraq "The Voice of the Caliphate." According to author Lawrence Wright, an Egyptian native, Ayman al-Zawahiri (Bin Laden's mentor and al-Qaeda second-in-command until 2011), once "sought to restore the caliphate...which had formally ended in 1924 following the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire but which had not exercised real power since the thirteenth century." Once the caliphate is re-established, Zawahiri believes, Egypt would become a rallying point for the rest of the Islamic world, leading the jihad against the West. "Then history would make a new turn, God willing," Zawahiri later wrote, "in the opposite direction against the empire of the United States and the world's Jewish government."
Scholar Olivier Roy writes that "early on, Islamists replace the concept of the caliphate ... with that of the amir." There were a number of reasons including "that according to the classical authors, a caliph must be a member of the tribe of the Prophet (the Quraysh) ... moreover, caliphs ruled societies that the Islamists do not consider to have been Islamic (the Ottoman Empire)." This is not the view of the majority of Islamist groups, as both the Muslim Brotherhood (the largest) and Hizb ut-Tahrir view the Ottoman state as a caliphate.
Leader system 
Electing or appointing a Caliph 
In his book The Early Islamic Conquests (1981), Fred Donner argues that the standard Arabian practice during the early Caliphates 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, although there was no specified procedure for this shura, or consultative assembly. Candidates were usually from the same lineage as the deceased leader, but they were not necessarily his sons. Capable men who would lead well were preferred over an ineffectual direct heir, as there was no basis in the majority Sunni view that the head of state or governor should be chosen based on lineage alone.
This argument is advanced by Sunni Muslims, who believe that Muhammad's companion Abu Bakr was elected by the community and that this was the proper procedure. They further argue that a caliph is ideally chosen by election or community consensus, even though the caliphate soon became a hereditary office, or the prize of the strongest general.
Traditionally, Sunni Muslim schools of law all agreed that a caliph must be a descendant of the Quraysh tribe. Abu Bakr Al-Baqillani has said that the leader of the Muslims simply should be from the majority. The founder of the biggest Sunni legal school, Abu Hanifa, also wrote that the Caliph must be chosen by the majority.
Sunni belief 
Following the death of Muhammad, a meeting took place at Saqifah. At that meeting, Abu Bakr was elected caliph by the Muslim community. Sunni Muslims developed the belief that the caliph is a temporal political ruler, appointed to rule within the bounds of Islamic law (Sharia). The job of adjudicating orthodoxy and Islamic law was left to Islamic lawyers, judiciary, or specialists individually termed as Mujtahids and collectively named the Ulema. Many Muslims call the first four caliphs the Rashidun meaning the Rightly Guided Caliphs, because they are believed to have followed the Qur'an and the sunnah (example) of Muhammad.
Shi'a belief 
Main articles: Succession to Muhammad, Shia Islam, and Imamah (Shi'a doctrine)
Shia Muslims believe in the Imamate, in which the rulers are Imams divinely chosen, infallible, and sinless from Muhammad's family – Ahl al-Bayt literally "People of the House (of Muhammad)" regardless of majority opinion, shura or election. They claim that before his death, Muhammad had given many indications, in Ghadir Khumm particularly, that he considered Ali, his cousin and son-in-law, as his successor. As per Twelver/Ithna Ashery Shia, Ali and his eleven descendants, the twelve Imams, are believed to have been considered, even before their birth, as the only valid Islamic rulers appointed and decreed by God.
Main article: Hokumat-e Islami : Velayat-e faqih (book by Khomeini)
After these twelve Imams, the potential Caliphs, had passed, and in the absence of the possibility of a government headed by their Imams, some Shi'a believe it was necessary that a system of Shia Islamic government based on Vilayat-e Faqih be developed, due to the need for some form of government, where an Islamic jurist or faqih rules Muslims, suffices. However this idea, developed by the Marja (Ayatollah) Ruhollah Khomeini and established in Iran, is not universally accepted among Shi'as.
Shia group of Ismaili/ Fatimid/ Dawoodi Bohra believe in Imamate principle mentioned above, but they need not be ruler. To safe guard divine authority of Allah the "Din", from politics of World "Duniya" the 'external World', they have instituted office of Dai al-Mutlaq even from the era of their 21st Imam Tayyab (1130 AD), under jurisdiction of Suleyhid Queen, as Imam was under seclusion. In the twelver shia also many Imams were not ruler, and they sacrificed much to upheld "Din".
Majlis al-Shura: Parliament 
See also: Majlis al Shura (disambiguation), Shura, Majlis, and Majlis-ash-Shura
Traditional Sunni Islamic lawyers agree that shura, loosely translated as 'consultation of the people', is a function of the caliphate. The Majlis al Shura (literally consultative assembly) or parliament was a representation of this idea of consultative governance. The importance of this is premised by the following verses of the Qur'an:
“...those who answer the call of their Lord and establish the prayer, and who conduct their affairs by Shura. [are loved by God]”[42:38]
“...consult them (the people) in their affairs. Then when you have taken a decision (from them), put your trust in Allah”[3:159]
The majlis is also the means to elect a new caliph. Al-Mawardi has written that members of the majlis should satisfy three conditions: they must be just, have enough knowledge to distinguish a good caliph from a bad one, and have sufficient wisdom and judgment to select the best caliph. Al-Mawardi also said that in emergencies when there is no caliphate and no majlis, the people themselves should create a majlis and select a list of candidates for caliph; then the majlis should select a caliph from the list of candidates.
Some modern interpretations of the role of the Majlis al-Shura include those by Islamist author Sayyid Qutb and Taqiuddin al-Nabhani, the founder of a transnational political movement devoted to the revival of the Caliphate. In an analysis of the shura chapter of the Qur'an, Qutb argued that Islam requires only that the ruler consult with at least some of the ruled (usually their representatives) and govern within the general context of God-made laws. Taqiuddin al-Nabhani writes that Shura is an important part of "the ruling structure" of the Islamic caliphate "but not one of its pillars," meaning that its neglect would not make the Caliphate's rule unislamic, hence justifying rebellion. Non-Muslims may serve in the Majlis. Islamists from the Muslim Brotherhood, the largest Islamist movement and main opposition in Egypt, argue that in the modern age Shura is democracy and that Islam and the caliphate system is inherently democratic without any need to conform to western political notions.
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