Friday, December 26, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Successors to the prophet: Islam’s caliphates

By
From page D4 | July 06, 2014 |

CAIRO — By declaring the establishment of an Islamic caliphate, the extremist group that controls large swaths of Syria and Iraq is claiming to be the successor of the political and religious community established by the Prophet Muhammad.

The caliphate is a powerful ideal — the concept of a nation of Muslims worldwide ruled by Shariah law under a caliph who holds both spiritual and secular authority. There have been multiple caliphates over Islam’s 1,400-year history, with the greatest Muslim empires ruling from Morocco to Central Asia.

The caliphate as an institution lost its authority centuries ago, becoming just a tool of secular rulers to give themselves religious backing. It was formally abolished in 1920 by Turkey’s secular founder Mustafa Kamal Ataturk. And while many Muslims long for the unified community of the prophet’s era, only a radical fringe are likely to see the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant as its heir.

Here is a look at the history of the caliphate.

THE RIGHTLY GUIDED CALIPHS: The term caliphate comes from the Arabic word meaning succession, and the caliph is the title of those who assume the mantle of Muhammad as Muslims’ spiritual and political leader. The first four leaders of the community who followed Muhammad in the 7th century are considered the purest expression of the caliphate — Abu Bakr, Omar, Othman and Ali.

Chosen by “shura” — or consultation among Muslims — they led the community in its dramatic expansion from the Arabian Peninsula to rule over North Africa and the Middle East.

But the succession also carried the seeds of dispute. Shiites believe Ali should have directly succeeded Muhammad and leadership should have stayed in his line of the family. The wars that resulted — eventually leading to Ali’s death in 661— solidified the Sunni-Shiite split that is now being violently played out in parts of the Mideast.

UMAYYADS AND ABBASIDS: After Ali’s death, the caliphate moved to the Umayyad dynasty ruling from Damascus, which turnedd the caliph into a hereditary position. The dynasty ruled for nearly 100 years until it was defeated by the Abbasids, who claimed descent from an uncle of Muhammad.

The Abbasid caliphs, ruling from Baghdad, presided over Islam’s golden age, patronizing scientists, Islamic scholars, philosophers and poets — some of whom celebrated drinking, romance and other courtly pursuits in verses that would be brutally punished by today’s ultraconservative Islamic State. But as the dynasty declined, often the caliph was reduced to a religious figurehead as other warring clans grabbed secular power.

Finally, the Mongols sacked Baghdad in 1258, ending the Abbasid dynasty. They are said to have killed the caliph at the time, al-Mustasim, by rolling him up in a carpet and trampling him with their horses.

It was a shattering blow to the already dwindling claim of a universal caliphate leading all Muslims. His heirs fled to Cairo, and while they kept the title of caliph, they were reduced to pawns of Egypt’s Mamluk rulers.

OTTOMANS: As the Ottoman Empire became the pre-eminent Islamic power in the 15th and 16th centuries, its sultans claimed leadership of the entire Muslim world, eventually taking on the title of caliph, which was enshrined in the constitution in 1876. However, many Sunni scholars disputed their claim, arguing that the caliph must come from Muhammad’s Arab tribe.

The Ottoman Empire was dismembered after World War I. Ataturk abolished the caliphate in 1924, removing the last caliph Abdulmecid II.

MODERN DREAMS: Nearly all Sunni political Islamist movements dream of the eventual resurrection of the caliphate, most by political means, though jihadi groups call for establishing it by violence. It has been the ultimate ambition of al-Qaida, but while its late leader Osama bin Laden could once claim leadership of the international jihadi movement, he never went so far as to declare himself caliph.

The Islamic State is hoping to rally extremists to its side. But even the militant camp is divided. Al-Qaida ejected the Islamic State from its network. Islamic militants in Syria have been battling the Islamic State since January, accusing it of hijacking the uprising against President Bashar Assad for its own transnational purposes.

 

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • Recent Articles

  • Enter your email address to subscribe and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • .

    Solano News

    Area churches bring joy, toys to children

    By Susan Winlow | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Rear ends, reunions define 2014 in music

    By Nick DeCicco | From Page: B1

    Santa spreads Christmas cheer at Bridge to Life

    By Susan Winlow | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Word of Mouth ready to ring in 2015 at Dimitri’s

    By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

    Solano’s 2014 art scene: A year in review

    By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

     
    Get your blues on – for a musical cause

    By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

    ‘America’s Got Talent’ auditions Feb. 7 in Bay Area

    By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B2

     
    A look back at 2014 Back in the Day columns

    By Tony Wade | From Page: A2

     
    Fairfield police log: Dec. 24, 2014

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

    Weather for Friday, Dec. 26, 2014

    By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B12

     
    Suisun City police log: Dec. 24, 2014

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

    .

    US / World

    Mother uses grief to help murder victims’ families

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

     
    San Francisco creates court only for veterans

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

    California plane crash victims were father and son

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A3

     
    Man shot with stun gun dies at border crossing

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A3

    California officials issue caramel apple warning

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A3

     
    Christmas brings California cooler weather, gusty winds

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A3

    Audit highlights state employee wrongdoing

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A3

     
    US traveler released from East Timor jail

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

    Obama personal chef to hang up apron after 6 years

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

     
    More protests sparked after shooting near Ferguson

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

    Nevada goats help eat, recycle Christmas trees

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

     
    Hundreds of theaters begin screening ‘The Interview’

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

    Streaming release of ‘Interview’ test for industry

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

     
    Militants attack AU Somalia base, at least 5 dead

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

    Monkey gives first aid to electrocuted friend

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

     
    Saudi women drivers referred to terrorism court

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A10 | Gallery

    Police and fire officials save California family’s Christmas

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

     
    .

    Opinion

    Vermont’s lessons for fans of single-payer system

    By Megan Mcardle | From Page: A11

     
    Need to support police officers

    By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 1 Comment

     
    Top 10 anger-inducing people of 2014

    By Bud Stevenson | From Page: A11

    .

    Living

    Today in History: Dec. 26, 2014

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Community calendar: Dec. 26, 2014

    By Glen Faison | From Page: A2

    Sister’s angry outbursts may be a medical issue

    By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A9

     
    Horoscopes: Dec. 26, 2014

    By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

    .

    Entertainment

    Week in Preview Dec. 26, 2014 – Jan. 1, 2015

    By Susan Winlow | From Page: B1

     
    ‘Frozen’ is named top entertainer of the year by AP

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Entertainment calendar Dec. 26, 2014

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: B4

    Warsaw’s lost architecture portrayed in miniature

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

     
    Review: ‘Unbroken’ is beautiful, but impersonal

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

    Angelina Jolie’s latest incarnation: filmmaker

    By Maureen Fissolo | From Page: B6

     
    TVGrid

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B11

    .

    Sports

    James hears plenty of cheers in return to Miami

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

     
    2014 sports quirks: In year of odd bounces, reality bites at World Cup

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

     
    Colin Kaepernick weighing his offseason approach

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

    Former TE Ben Utecht delivers musical message

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

     
    K-State’s Snyder still penning old-school notes

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

    Fresno State pushed around in in Hawaii Bowl

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

     
    Arians reportedly to go back to Lindley as starter

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

     
    This date in sports history for Friday, Dec. 26, 2014

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

    Former NBA All-Star Marbury fan favorite in China

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B10 | Gallery

     
    Signups for Friday, Dec. 26, 2014

    By Paul Farmer | From Page: B10

    D-I’s youngest coach also has inexperienced team

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

     
    No. 17 Wisconsin hopes program back on steady ground

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

    Rookie Martin makes quick impression in Dallas

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

     
    Eagles have quarterback questions going into 2015

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

    New OT rule in minor-league hockey generating buzz

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

     
    To reduce elitism, British horse racing educating spectators

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

    Bad news for Balotelli as Liverpool alters system

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

     
    LeBron James, Steph Curry lead NBA All-Star voting

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

    .

    Business

    After 19 years, Alfa Romeo is back in US

    By Ann M. Job | From Page: C1

     
    Bad Santa? 5 tips to tackle your holiday gift returns

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

    .

    Obituaries

    Thomas A. O’Neill

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

     
    .

    Comics

    For Better or Worse

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Beetle Bailey

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Dilbert

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Rose is Rose

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    B.C.

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Garfield

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Get Fuzzy

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Peanuts

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Wizard of Id

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Frank and Ernest

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Zits

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Sally Forth

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Pickles

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Blondie

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Baldo

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Baby Blues

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Sudoku

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

     
    Crossword

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

    Word Sleuth

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

     
    Bridge

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

    Cryptoquote

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9