What is a Caliphate

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The office or jurisdiction of a caliph. The last caliphate was held by Ottoman Turkish sultans until it was abolished by Kemal Atatürk in 1924. http://www.thefreedictionary.com/caliphate

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) and all the Prophets of Islam. 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 (under 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.[1]

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.[2] 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" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caliphate

Caliphate, the political-religious state comprising the Muslim community and the lands and peoples under its dominion in the centuries following the death (ad 632) of the Prophet Muḥammad. Ruled by a caliph (Arabic khalīfah, “successor”), who held temporal and sometimes a degree of spiritual authority, the empire of the Caliphate grew rapidly through conquest during its first two centuries to include most of Southwest Asia, North Africa, and Spain. Dynastic struggles later brought about the Caliphate’s decline, and it ceased to exist with the Mongol destruction of Baghdad in 1258.

The urgent need for a successor to Muḥammad as political leader of the Muslim community was met by a group of Muslim elders in Medina who designated Abū Bakr, the Prophet’s father-in-law, as caliph. Several precedents were set in the selection of Abū Bakr, including that of choosing as caliph a member of the Quraysh tribe. The first four caliphs—Abū Bakr, Umar I, Uthmān, and Alī—whose reigns constituted what later generations of Muslims would often remember as a golden age of pure Islām, largely established the administrative and judicial organization of the Muslim community and forwarded the policy begun by Muḥammad of expanding the Islāmic religion into new territories. During the 630s, Syria, Jordan, Palestine, and Iraq were conquered; Egypt was taken from Byzantine control in 645; and frequent raids were launched into North Africa, Armenia, and Persia.

The assassination of Uthmān and the ineffectual caliphate of Alī that followed sparked the first sectarian split in the Muslim community. By 661 Alī’s rival Muāwiyah I, a fellow member of Uthmān’s Umayyad clan, had wrested away the Caliphate, and his rule established the Umayyad caliphate that lasted until 750. Despite the largely successful reign of Muāwiyah, tribal and sectarian disputes erupted after his death. There were three caliphs between 680 and 685, and only by nearly 20 years of military campaigning did the next one, Abd al-Malik, succeed in reestablishing the authority of the Umayyad capital of Damascus. Abd al-Malik is also remembered for building the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem. Under his son al-Walīd (705–715), Muslim forces took permanent possession of North Africa, converted the native Berbers to Islām, and overran most of the Iberian Peninsula as the Visigothic kingdom there collapsed. Progress was also made in the east with settlement in the Indus River valley. Umayyad power had never been firmly seated, however, and the Caliphate disintegrated rapidly after the long reign of Hishām (724– 743). A serious rebellion broke out against the Umayyads in 747, and in 750 the last Umayyad caliph, Marwān II, was defeated in the Battle of Great Zab by the followers of the Abbāsid family.

The Abbāsids, descendants of an uncle of Muḥammad, owed the success of their revolt in large part to their appeal to various pietistic, extremist, or merely disgruntled groups and in particular to the aid of the Shīites, a major dissident party that held that the Caliphate belonged by right to the descendants of Alī. That the Abbāsids disappointed the expectations of the Shīites by taking the Caliphate for themselves left the Shīites to evolve into a sect, permanently hostile to the orthodox Sunnite majority, that would periodically threaten the established government by revolt. The first Abbāsid caliph, as-Saffāḥ (749–754), ordered the elimination of the entire Umayyad clan; the only Umayyad of note who escaped was Abd ar-Raḥman, who made his way to Spain and established an Umayyad dynasty that lasted until 1031.

The period 786–861, and especially the caliphates of Hārūn (786–809) and al-Mamūn (813–833), is accounted the height of Abbāsid rule. (See the Map.) The eastward orientation of the dynasty was demonstrated by al-Manṣūr’s removal of the capital to Baghdad in 762–763 and by the later caliphs’ policy of marrying non-Arabs and recruiting Turks, Slavs, and other non-Arabs as palace guards. Under al-Mamūn, the intellectual and artistic heritage of Iran (Persia) was cultivated, and Persian administrators assumed important posts in the Caliphate’s administration. After 861, anarchy and rebellion shook the empire. Tunisia and eastern Iran came under the control of hereditary governors who made token acknowledgment of Baghdad’s suzerainty. Other provinces became less reliable sources of revenue. Shīite and similar groups, including the Qarmaṭians in Syria and the Fāṭimids in North Africa, challenged Abbāsid rule on religious as well as political grounds. 

Abbāsid power ended in 945, when the Būyids, a family of rough tribesmen from northwestern Iran, took Baghdad under their rule. They retained the Abbāsid caliphs as figureheads. The Sāmānid dynasty that arose in Khorāsān and Transoxania and the Ghaznavids in Central Asia and the Ganges River basin similarly acknowledged the Abbāsid caliphs as spiritual leaders of Sunnī Islām. On the other hand, the Fāṭimids proclaimed a new caliphate in 920 in their capital of al-Mahdīyah in Tunisia and castigated the Abbāsids as usurpers; the Umayyad ruler in Spain, Abd ar-Raḥmān III, adopted the title of caliph in 928 in opposition to both the Abbāsids and the Fāṭimids. Nominal Abbāsid authority was restored to Egypt by Saladin in 1171. By that time, the Abbāsids had begun to regain some semblance of their former power, as the Seljuq dynasty of sultans in Baghdad, which had replaced the Būyids in 1055, itself began to decay. The caliph an-Nāṣir (1180– 1225) achieved a certain success in dealing diplomatically with various threats from the East, but al-Mustaṣim (1242–58) had no such success and was murdered in the Mongol sack of Baghdad that ended the Abbāsid line in that city. A scion of the family was invited a few years later to establish a puppet caliphate in Cairo that lasted until 1517, but it exercised no power whatever. http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/89739/Caliphate

Āishah (wife of Muḥammad)
The third and most favoured wife of the Prophet Muḥammad (the founder of Islām), who played a role of some political importance after the Prophet’s death.

Abd al-Malik (Umayyad caliph)
Fifth caliph (685–705) of the Umayyad Arab dynasty centred in Damascus.

Abū al-Abbās as-Saffāḥ (Abbāsid caliph)
Islāmic caliph (reigned 749–754), first of the Abbāsid dynasty, which was to rule over eastern Islām for approximately the next 500 years. Abū Bakr (Muslim caliph)

Muhammad ’s closest companion and adviser, who succeeded to the Prophet’s political and administrative functions, thereby initiating the office of the caliphate.

al-Amīn (Abbāsid caliph)
Sixth caliph of the Abbāsid dynasty.

al-Balādhurī (Arab historian)
Arabic historian best known for his history of the formation of the Arab Muslim empire.

al-Hādī (Abbāsid caliph)
Fourth caliph of the Abbāsid dynasty (reigned 785–786). al-Mamūn (Abbāsid caliph)

Seventh Abbāsid caliph (813–833), known for his attempts to end sectarian rivalry in Islām and to impose upon his subjects a rationalist Muslim creed.

al-Manṣūr (Abbāsid caliph)
The second caliph of the Abbāsid dynasty (754–775), generally regarded as the real founder of the Abbāsid caliphate. al-Mutaḍid (Abbāsid caliph [died 902])

One of the greatest of the Abbāsid caliphs (reigned 892–902), known especially for his ruthless skill in dealing with competing provincial dynasties, sects, and factions.

al-Mutaṣim (Abbāsid caliph)
Eighth Abbāsid caliph, a younger son of Hārūn ar-Rashīd. al-Muhallab ibn Abī Ṣufrā (Arabian general)

Arab general in the service of the Umayyad caliphate and an important participant in the political developments of his time. al-Muktafī (Abbāsid caliph)

Abbāsid caliph (reigned 902–908) who prosecuted wars on several fronts vigorously in a period of disintegration of the Islamic empire. al-Muqtafī (Abbāsid caliph)

Abbāsid caliph during the later years of Seljuq influence in Iraq. al-Mustaṣim (Abbāsid caliph)

The last Abbāsid caliph in Baghdad (reigned 1242–58).

al-Mutawakkil (Abbāsid caliph)
Abbāsid caliph who, as a young man, held no political or military positions of importance but took a keen interest in religious debates that had far-reaching political importance.

al-Nāṣir (Abbāsid caliph)
34th Abbāsid caliph (reigned 1180–1225), the last powerful Abbāsid caliph before the destruction of the dynasty by the Mongols. al-Walīd (Umayyad caliph)

Sixth caliph (reigned 705–715) of the Umayyad Arab dynasty, who is best known for the mosques constructed during his reign. al-Walīd ibn Yazīd (Umayyad caliph) Caliph (reigned 743–744) of the Umayyad dynasty.

Alī (Muslim caliph)
Cousin and son-in-law of Muhammad, the Prophet of Islam, and fourth of the “rightly guided” (rāshidūn) caliphs, as the first four successors of Muhammad are called. Amr ibn al-Āṣ (Arab general) The Arab conqueror of Egypt.

Hārūn al-Rashīd (Abbāsid caliph)
Fifth caliph of the Abbāsid dynasty (786–809), who ruled Islam at the zenith of its empire with a luxury in Baghdad memorialized in The Thousand and One Nights (The Arabian Nights Entertainment). Hishām ibn Abd al-Malik (Umayyad caliph)The tenth caliph, who reigned during the final period of prosperity and glory of the Umayyads.

Ibn al-Ashath (Arab general)
Umayyad general who became celebrated as leader of a revolt (ad 699– 701) against the governor of Iraq, al- Ḥajjāj.Ibn Muqlah (Islamic calligrapher)

One of the foremost calligraphers of the Abbāsid Age (750–1258), reputed inventor of the first cursive style of Arabic lettering, the naskhī script, which replaced the angular Kūfic as the standard... Khālid ibn al-Walīd (Arab Muslim general)

One of the two generals (with Amr ibn al-Āṣ) of the enormously successful Islamic expansion under the Prophet Muhammad and his immediate successors, Abū Bakr and Umar. Marwān I ibn al-Hakam (Umayyad caliph) First of the Marwānid caliphs of the Umayyad dynasty (reigned 684– 685).

Marwān II (Umayyad caliph)
Last of the Umayyad caliphs (reigned 744–750).

Muāwiyah I (Umayyad caliph)
Early Islamic leader and founder of the great Umayyad dynasty of caliphs.

Qutaybah ibn Muslim (Arab general)
Arab general under the caliphs Abd al-Malik and Abd al-Walīd I whose conquests in Afghanistan and Central Asia helped bring the Umayyad caliphate to the height of its power. Ṭāriq ibn Ziyād (Muslim general)

General who led the Muslim conquest of Spain. Umar I (Muslim caliph)

The second Muslim caliph (from 634), under whom Arab armies conquered Mesopotamia and Syria and began the conquest of Iran and Egypt. Umar II (Umayyad caliph)

Pious and respected caliph who attempted to preserve the integrity of the Muslim Umayyad caliphate (661–750) by emphasizing religion and a return to the original principles of the Islamic faith. Uthmān ibn Affān (Muslim caliph)

Third caliph to rule after the death of the Prophet.

Yazīd I (Umayyad caliph)
Second Umayyad caliph (680–683), particularly noted for his suppression of a rebellion led by Ḥusayn, the son of Alī.

UJFA is a global grassroots pro-Israel pro-freedom and justice advocacy movement. UJFA's mission is promoting the maintenance of United Jerusalem,  as the exclusive undivided Capital of the State of Israel.

  • Conquering Jerusalem is the central strategic goal of the global Islamic Supremacist Movement (GISM). Their desired goal is re-establishing an Islamic Caliphate (Muslim Empire) ruled under Sharia law (Islamic law) and is the mission of the ongoing Jihad. 
  • Understanding the Jihadists call for "millions of martyrs to march on Jerusalem", in order to "liberate it" and making it the Capital of their Sharia Compliant Caliphate is essential knowledge in defeating the ideology that promotes Islamism.
  • Allah has delivered Temple Mount and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher Judaism's and Christendom's holiest places in our hands, is the last message we who are free want to hear broadcast from every Mosque in the world. After all in order to show domination over the Judeo/Christian free world it is a necessity for the Jihadists to control the non-Muslim holiest places. 
  • Understanding the strategic goal of those that are waging war against us who live in freedom, is vital in understanding why the status of Jerusalem is so critical, and why it must remain United, exclusively under Israel’s sovereignty.
  • The refusal by the Nations of the free world to recognize Israel’s sovereign rights in her United Jerusalem is the greatest inspiration for the Islamic Jihad. The time to remove the inspiration is now, we must stop empowering and emboldening the enemies of peace and freedom and stand with Israel's exclusive right to remain sovereign over her United Jerusalem.
  • Terrorism is a tactic, one can not defeat a tactic, we need to defeat the ideology that creates the terrorists.