What Is Caliphate? | Journey Of Caliphate
After the death of Prophet Muhammad in 632 AD, the Muslim community was headed by four “Rightly Guided ” Caliphas. Khalifa means a successor to Prophet Muhammad. Caliphate was the institution that symbolised the collective unity of the Muslim community and its historical continuity. As Muslim monarchies were set up later, the Caliphate became hereditary but continued to be signed up to the destruction of the Abbasid Caliphate by Mongols in 1258.
With the emergence of several Muslim kingdoms, the Caliphate ceased to have any significance. The enterprising Turkish leaders, in order to reinforce their own positions, exhibited the Caliph’s sovereignty over the territories they conquered by including his name in the Khutba on their coins. This enhanced their prestige as sultans and legalized their rule in the eyes of the orthodox.
However, throughout the period of colonialism, there were sentimental references to the Caliphate as an office. There was a belief that the Caliphate would free the Muslims from western domination and would give them the possibility of rejuvenation and victory as it had done in Islam’s early history.
Radical Arab intellectuals in the last century had an added reason to seek the revival of the Caliphate. For the radical intellectuals, the Caliphate stood for the unity of the Arab lands that had been arbitrarily divided into independent states after the First World War by the Sykes-Picot agreement. The Skype-Picot agreement was secretly worked out between Britain and France during the war itself.
The Khilafat movement also known as the Indian Muslim movement took place between 1919-24. It was a pan-Islamist political protest campaign launched by Muslims of British India led by Shaukat Ali and others to restore the Calipha of the Ottoman Caliphate. The Ottoman Caliphate was considered the leader of Sunni Muslims as an effective political authority. It was a protest against the sanction placed on the Caliph of the Ottoman Empire, after the First World War by the Treaty of Sevres.
To conclude, in 2014, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria called itself a Caliphate and claimed religious authority over all Muslims.