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By Hugh Kennedy

In Caliphate, Islamic historian Hugh Kennedy dissects the belief of the caliphate and its historical past, and explores the way it turned used and abused this present day. opposite to well known trust, there isn't any one enduring definition of a caliph; quite, the belief of the caliph has been the topic of continuing debate and transformation over the years. Kennedy bargains a grand heritage of the caliphate because the starting of Islam to its sleek incarnations. Originating within the tumultuous years following the loss of life of the Mohammad in 632, the caliphate, a politico-religious process, flourished within the nice days of the Umayyads of Damascus and the Abbasids of Baghdad. From the seventh-century Orthodox caliphs to the nineteenth-century Ottomans, Kennedy explores the tolerant rule of Umar, recounts the annoying homicide of the caliph Uthman, dubbed a tyrant by way of many, and revels within the flourishing arts of the golden eras of Abbasid Baghdad and Moorish Andalucía. Kennedy additionally examines the trendy destiny of the caliphate, unraveling the British political schemes to spur dissent opposed to the Ottomans and the ominous efforts of Islamists, together with ISIS, to reinvent the background of the caliphate for his or her personal malevolent political ends.

In exploring and explaining the good number of caliphs who've governed in the course of the a while, Kennedy demanding situations the very slender perspectives of the caliphate propagated by way of extremist teams this day. An authoritative new account of the dynasties of Arab leaders through the Islamic Golden Age, Caliphate lines the history—and misappropriations—of one of many world's such a lot powerful political ideas.

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Two views emerge in early Muslim debates on this issue. One is that it means the deputy of God—we often find the phrase ‘deputy of God on his earth’ (khalīfat Allah fi ardihi). There is no ambiguity here because, as we have seen, God cannot have a successor. Some people, however, disagreed, arguing that the full title was always, and should be, ‘successor of the Messenger of God’ (khalīfat rasūl Allah), which must mean successor of Muhammad. This difference mattered, and still does. If the caliph was deputy of God he had a quasi-divine status and authority which all Muslims should support and respect.

Three possible answers to this question emerged. The first option was that the caliph would be chosen by the Muslims themselves. This apparently simple idea, however, could be worked out in many different ways. Who were the choosers to be? Should there be many or could just one be enough? Was any sane and sound adult male (the idea of a female caliph being one which is never entertained in these historical debates) eligible for the office, an idea espoused by the Kharijites, or did the caliph have to be of a certain family or lineage; above all did they have to be of the Prophet’s tribe, Quraysh, for the Sunnis, or even his direct descendants through his daughter Fātima, his son-in-law Alī and their children, Hasan and Husayn, for the Shiites?

The ridda also led to the emergence of a new class of Muslims. If the muhājirūn and Quraysh more generally were the elite of the community with the ansār in a subordinate but still important position, the rejectionists who had been brought back to the community in the wars were third-class citizens. This became significant later with the division of assets and spoils which followed the great Arab conquests. Abū Bakr died peacefully in his old age. In his two-year reign he had accomplished a great deal.

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