Who is the Caliph?

Caliph is the term or title for the Islamic leader of the Ummah, or community of Islam. It is an Anglicized/Latinized version of the Arabic word خليفة or Khalīfah which means “successor”, in this case, successor to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). The Caliph has often been referred to as Ameer al-Mumineen (أمير المؤمنين), or ‘Prince of the Faithful,’ where ‘Prince’ is used in the context of ‘commander.’

The title of Caliph has been defunct since March 3, 1924, at the end of the First World War, when the secular, Turkish military commander Kemal Atatürk abolished the institution of the Caliphate. Historically the Caliph had been selected by committee. The holder of the title of Caliph claims temporal and spiritual authority over all Muslims, but is not regarded as a possessor of a prophetic mission, since Muhammad (peace be upon him) is regarded in Islam as the final prophet.

Modern understandings of the title of Caliph are varied. Many modern Islamic movements have emphasized the role of Caliph as rendering stewardship from an understanding of the term ‘khalifa’ that equates roughly to the responsibility of acting as a vicegerent or representative of God (Allah) on Earth.

Many Islamist movements have argued for the necessity of re-establishing the institution of a Caliph, as successor to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), who would possess clear political, military, and legal standing as the global leader of all Muslims. The absence of a single Muslim head of the Islamic state is considered by some Muslims to be a violation of the Islamic legal code, the Shariah.

Assuming there was a Caliph in the world today what might he say? This Islamic blog offers the Caliph an opportunity to speak to the world’s Muslims. Come back regularly and find out what the Caliph has to say!

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