The word “caliphate” causes controversy. Learn exactly what it means

A few days ago, watchers of Internet trends noted a sudden peak in searches for the word “caliphate.” The source of interest turns out to be a reference made by Glenn Beck on his February 1st TV show. In speaking about the unfolding crisis in Egypt, Beck offered his view that a result could be “a Muslim caliphate that controls the Mideast and parts of Europe.”

Dictionary.com exists to help you learn about words. Our mission is to make sure you have the right word at the right time and we have no interest in the merits of any opinion. Whether you agree with Glenn Beck or not, the purpose here is to provide accurate meaning of an old and out-of-use word. While Egypt captivates world media, here’s a bit of background on the word caliphate.

The definition of caliphate is “government under a caliph.” A caliph is a spiritual leader of Islam who claims succession from Muhammad. The word stems from the Arabic khalifa meaning “successor.”

Historically, caliphates are governance under Islamic law, which calls for election of leadership under Sunni practice and selection from a group of imams in the Shia tradition. The rule of law by Islamic ethics is a common thread to the governance under of a caliphate. Caliphate rule was largely symbolic, the power of local sultans and rulers handling the day-to-day operations of government.

The Ottomans, rulers of an empire centered in what is now Turkey, used the symbolism of the caliph to expand their rule in Arab countries, but it wasn’t until the late 18th century that the role of the caliph referred to political rather than spiritual leadership. When the Ottoman Empire came to an end with the establishment of the Turkish Republic in 1923, it was the end of the caliphate.

We’ve written about a number of words associated with Islam in order to help shed light during controversies. Read about the literal meanings of mosque, temple, and church, here. And you can get some background on Ramadan, here.

Are there other words in the news you would like us to tackle? Let us know, below.

California’s Web Site Overwhelmed by Visitors Downloading Tax Forms.

Daily News (Los Angeles, CA) April 16, 2003 Byline: Rachel Uranga Apr. 16–Last-minute tax filers trying to download California tax forms overwhelmed the state’s Web site Tuesday, blocking access for hours as procrastinators facing a midnight deadline fumed.

Despite the online shutdowns, the state won’t be waiving any penalties for those who owe tax and file late.

“There is no ‘my dog ate my tax return, I couldn’t download the form,”‘ said Denise Azimi, spokeswoman for the California Franchise Tax Board.

Forms were available at regional tax offices as well as print shops and some libraries, she said. Those awaiting refunds would not face penalties, she said. see here california tax forms

On Monday the site had 2.7 million visitors, with 2.2 million of them downloading forms without a glitch. That’s more than double the amount of visitors during the same time last year.

Tuesday, the Web site hit its capacity.

“Today is knocking our socks off,” Azimi said, unable to give an estimate of how many Californians used the site but noting that an estimated 5 million taxpayers had yet to file by Tuesday.

Missing the filing deadline can result in penalties ranging from 5 percent to 25 percent of your tax liability, tax experts said.

Victor Omelczenko, a spokesman for the Internal Revenue Service in Los Angeles, said the IRS did not face similar problems.

Anxious taxpayers wandered into the Van Nuys branch of the Los Angeles Public Library on Tuesday hoping to download California’s standard tax form along with a slew of other forms from the stalled site, said senior librarian Lupe Canales.

“It had been working fine for the past two weeks and then it went out,” Canales said. this web site california tax forms

Explaining the situation to a few of the patrons, Canales said some became frustrated.

“We gave them the Web site so they could try later,” she said. “I am sorry to say that some don’t have computers so I don’t know what they are going to do.” The “e-services” address, through which Californians can pay taxes online, operated without problems Tuesday, Azima said. Only downloading tax forms gave online users difficulty, she said.

“We will be looking at this, why we have this bubble and what we can do,” Azimi said.

Already, the board has doubled its traffic capacity.

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  1. Doug Driver -  June 26, 2015 - 1:13 pm

    Can a country be a caliphate or can a caliphate be a country? Wha’s the difference in terms of borders and legitimacy?

  2. james porch -  April 4, 2015 - 4:05 pm

    Glen has it right again

  3. Carl -  February 8, 2011 - 11:07 pm

    Funny that truthseeker calls themself “truthseeker”, and discusses faith-based beliefs as if they were truths.

    We won’t know of those truths until Christ returns 11 years ago. Errr, 10 years ago. Errr, uhhh…

    I don’t mean to bash his faith because it’s a good thing. Believe your beliefs, be faithful to your faith, but don’t call it truth until God himself (via his voice, not King James’) tells you so.

  4. gamma -  February 7, 2011 - 9:59 pm

    Just ask Bill Kristol how crazy Glenn Beck is. Finally, a conservative is stepping up to the plate to debunk the the looney toon.

    • dg -  June 22, 2014 - 5:35 pm

      Looks like Beck will be proven correct.

  5. Elizabeth Munroz -  February 5, 2011 - 1:28 pm

    I love this site!

    Not only do I learn vocabulary, but see the freedom of speech at work while people discuss one word backed by history, politics, religion, sociology, and the personal opinion.

    I love this site!

  6. Meaghetti and Spatballs -  February 5, 2011 - 12:45 pm

    P.S. if you’re looking for a proofreader, I’m looking for a job.

  7. Meaghetti and Spatballs -  February 5, 2011 - 12:44 pm

    And I’m sick of a site supposedly devoted to clarifying the meaning of words constantly misusing them. Fourth paragraph, two mistakes: “Historically, caliphates are governance under Islamic law…” is wrong, maybe it should read “are governed under”? Later in the same paragraph, “The rule of law by Islamic ethics is a common thread to the governance under of a caliphate” is also wrong. “…to governance under a caliphate…” or “in governments of caliphates” would be easier to understand.

    @Queen Sardonic if they meant to then why didn’t they? I thought they were supposed to know how to use words.

    I don’t mean to be harsh or overly critical, but grammatical mistakes on a website about words is unacceptable, notwithstanding that grammar has effectively been flushed down the toilet on the internet.
    Who is your proofreader? Please don’t tell me you use an automated spelling and grammar checker. That doesn’t cut the mustard.

    • Cheri Leas -  June 16, 2014 - 9:49 pm

      Good for you, Meaghetti and Spatballs! I completely agree! Grammatical mistakes are way too commonplace on the internet, and usually make for a difficult, if not incomprehensible read. I understand that not everyone is a grammar expert, but those writing articles should have at least a basic understanding of grammatical concepts!

  8. Isabella -  February 5, 2011 - 12:00 pm

    And what does it all matter? There is only one God. All we have to do is to love him, and to care for one another. We are not really equipped to do anything else. Dogmatism leaves us fighting, and leaving love, and caring, and God himself out of the picture. The God of Love cannot be thought of as condoning any sort of hatred.

    • Ezra Kifle -  August 30, 2014 - 1:52 am

      Thank you now someone is thinking straight you are right I agree with you

  9. Isabella -  February 5, 2011 - 11:37 am

    I remember at school learning the difference between connotation and denotation. I couldn’t care less about the denotation of “caliph” or “caliphate”. The connotation for me is firmly entrenched in the Arabian Nights. I want to leave it there. There’s lots of sand in that desert. Think I’ll go and bury my head in it.

  10. Kevin -  February 5, 2011 - 10:53 am

    To the Author: Thank you for attempting to shed light on the word and its background.
    To the Background Contributors: Thank you all for adding more details.
    Request: Could all contributing please add some source references? This would help those of us who want to learn more.
    To Those Who Are Visibly Upset: This is called “Dictionary.com”, not “Not Mass Riot.com”. Will anyone be persuaded to you opinion when you rant? This is just a place to LEARN. So, please learn to contribute in a rational manner and whenever possible, back up with sources and then LET IT GO! It’s just a dictionary for Pete’s sake! And try the de-cafe.

  11. DIVVIE -  February 5, 2011 - 8:22 am

    >Bryan H. Allen: Phew!! Well, I am truly impressed with your erudition. I had enormous difficulty understanding your linguistic elaboration. So as to better educate the rest of us, could you re-state it?

  12. Junfan Mantovani -  February 5, 2011 - 7:10 am

    Are you advocating asassination Boo Boo?

  13. truthseeker -  February 5, 2011 - 6:28 am

    Many interesting comments. As for the information given by Dictionary.com, I appreciate your input to help the public as one resource. In your article above, it was stated that Glenn Beck said the outcome “could be” a muslim caliphate. This is his personal concern. I have heard his comments, and he encouraged his hearers to do their own research. In other words, don’t ignore what it happening in the world, but keep up with events and seek to understand the possibilites based on fact and history. Many of us are apathetic about what is happening, like in the days of Noah “people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away.”

    One logical truth is that one’s personal pursuasion, politically and/or spiritually, will inflluence what one believes as true. No one person has a corner on truth, but God Himself and He will reveal what it true as He has determined the timetable by His Sovereignty. Do a study of the propehcy in the book of Daniel and then note that at the end of the book in chapter 12:8-10 Daniel writes, “I heard, but I did not understand. So I asked, “My lord, what will the outcome of all this be?” He replied, “Go your way, Daniel, because the words are closed up and sealed until the time of the end. Many will be purified, made spotless and refined, but the wicked will continue to be wicked. None of the wicked will understand, but those who are wise will understand.”
    Jesus said in John 16:13-15, “When he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will bring glory to me by taking what is mine and making it known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you.”

    So, how will you spend your time?

  14. Mike -  February 5, 2011 - 5:53 am

    It’s Just beck shooting off his mouth, AGAIN, for HIS followers

  15. FB -  February 5, 2011 - 4:54 am

    I’m a premium subscriber who wants dictionary.com to be just a dictionary/thesaurus –a tool for writing, not a news and gossip service. I especially dislike the Daily Beast that sometimes shows up like a ghost in the words/synonyms side of the screen. If I want news/gossip, I’ll go to Google News. You’ve got a good thing, dictionary.com; don’t ruin it.

  16. Vo0rheez -  February 5, 2011 - 4:38 am

    Glenn Beck is a genious.

  17. Orangutan. -  February 5, 2011 - 3:32 am

    How about the terms “Thermite” “Nano-Thermite” “Thermate” etc associated with the 9/11 Truth Movement.

    The term “False Flag Terrorism” or “False Flag Event” might be good to get a handle on as well here.


    • Val -  July 10, 2014 - 6:25 pm

      Yes please!

  18. Ray -  February 5, 2011 - 3:02 am

    Oh, people are going nuts again, lol.
    No, it is not the word “caliphate” that causes controversy as it is neither here no there. The magic word that splits nations again is “Muslim”.

    Old same, old same …

    • Val -  July 10, 2014 - 6:37 pm

      I have an 8,000+ book library and consider myself fairly well read, but I had to look it up, and it appears that Glenn Beck used it correctly. Each existing mosque has a caliphate. Maybe you need to read that which you are pooh pooing as harmless. Do you even know what the Koran says? There is one in my library. Come by and read it.

  19. Zeke -  February 5, 2011 - 1:29 am

    I worry about our generation. Maybe I’m weird, maybe I read too much… but I knew what a caliphate was right off the proverbial bat. People rushing to look it up? Scary.

    I also enjoyed the grammatical brilliance employed by all the Glenn Beck haters. Y’all ain’t gonna be fooled, are ya? You know the truth, no conspiracy theories for you! Eh. Get your heads checked out.


  20. Serenity -  February 5, 2011 - 1:07 am

    I beg to differ with “Muhammad Razwan Ghumman” – the concept of Kingdom does not exist in Islam. The entry by “Student” appears to be extremely accurate.

  21. Doom -  February 5, 2011 - 12:20 am

    Perhaps this may be of interest to some of you:

    The Ottoman sultans assumed the Caliphate and the right to guardianship of the holy cities after the Mamluk Sultanate was conquered. Until the 18th century sultans hardly ever exercised their power as Caliph. After the Treaty of Kucuk Kaynarca in 1774, the Russian Empire was given the right to protect the interests of Orthodox Christians in the Ottoman Empire. In turn, the Ottomans began to emphasize the Caliphate and insisted on their right to be the protectors of Muslims in the Crimea. Given the decrepit state of the Empire, the title did not amount to much in the following years. During the First World War, the German Empire and its Kaiser were enthusiastic about the Caliph declaring a Jihad on the British Empire, which they believed would have led Britain to evacuate Egypt and India. That whole affair did not end well for the Germans.

    In 1922, the Turkish Revolutionaries separated the titles of Sultan and Caliph, and abolished the former. A relative of the Sultan was given the title and allowed to remain in Turkey. In 1924, the Caliphate was also abolished.

    I wonder who will become Caliph. Perhaps Glenn Beck knows. lol

  22. Steve -  February 4, 2011 - 11:53 pm

    Can’t even imagine folks that read this website would listen to Glenn Beck.

  23. GrimReaper -  February 4, 2011 - 11:24 pm

    Did dictionary.com (a website that I felt was prestigious and an advocate of intellectualism) just mention Glenn Beck?! I’d advise dictionary.com to convert its domain name to disappointment.com.

  24. Cyberquill -  February 4, 2011 - 10:35 pm

    The idea of the global Islamic caliphate has been around since Islam was invented. Glenn Beck didn’t come up with it.

    What intrigues me more is the obvious relationship between caliphate and California.

  25. agkcrbs -  February 4, 2011 - 10:23 pm

    I started reading this article certain I would find it the opinion of another idiot liberal pseudo-intellectual trying to hog-tie literary creativity by restricting word usage to whatever useless, narrow, but “historical” semantic value they personally wanted to peg the word to, merely to slander their political counterparts. (For the record, “refudiate” was an obvious mistake that was never worth the disproportionate and contemptful publicity piled on it, while “blood-libel” as well as this “caliphate” were contextually apt, and also not deserving of media attention.)

    I’m relieved to have seen no such attempt at defamation here, boosting this site’s reliability somewhat in my mind. What will help even more next time will be to omit the assumption of controversy, that weird line about “whether you agree or not” with somebody very highly esteemed by tens of millions of people, many of whom use this web-site — unless you’re willing to apply the same unusual disclaimer across the political board. If you say your real purpose is lexical scholarship, then simply don’t take sides.

  26. Bearie -  February 4, 2011 - 9:45 pm

    Interesting read, and I must say I have always enjoyed this site.

  27. Derrick -  February 4, 2011 - 9:27 pm

    I found this thread by searching for the word “grammatically”. The word “caliphate” showed up, and i clicked to feed my word search. I appreciate the read, and the knowledge gained.

    I don’t think, however, that Glenn Beck’s name, nor any personal opinions should be spilled all over this site. I was searching for a factual spelling. Facts are just as important as words. Typing is not so important, assuming the thoughts were formulated.

  28. mel -  February 4, 2011 - 9:16 pm

    Anyone who thinks Glenn Beck is spewing hatred or lies obviously does not watch his program. If you do, then you know that everything he says is thoroughly researched and he even says not to trust him…look it up for yourself! I am glad to see so many people doing just that!

  29. Mike M -  February 4, 2011 - 7:50 pm

    Quick correction (at least from what I’ve learned about the history of Islam), until about 849, the Caliphs had a lot to do with issues of law and religion. Their influence gradually waned after that point until about 1150. Unfortunately for them, they tried to push their agenda too hard and the people rejected their claim to rule.

  30. tb -  February 4, 2011 - 7:47 pm

    I’m Turkish yes Turkey was Established on April 23rd, 1920 and great Mustafa Kemal Ataturk devoted this day to the children In Turkey and now we celebrate this day every year as “Children’s Day” it’s a big beautiful day (very important day) for kids and adults all over the country.

  31. al -  February 4, 2011 - 7:15 pm

    excuse me, *embarrassment*

    buncha spelling nazis

  32. al -  February 4, 2011 - 7:12 pm

    screw Glenn Beck.
    he’s an embarrasment to broadcast journalism in north america.

  33. boo boo : ) -  February 4, 2011 - 6:50 pm

    Daniel is right. I am sick of Glenn Beck spewing his stupid, and sometimes dangerous conspiracy theories. He reminds me of a bumbling cartoon character.

  34. Gray Shirt -  February 4, 2011 - 6:20 pm

    Well, while we are defining words used by Glenn Beck I would like to know what the following terms mean: Socialist, Communist, Terrorist, Chaos, and Muslim. Because he seems to use them in contradictory ways.

  35. Tammy D -  February 4, 2011 - 5:32 pm

    Glenn Beck is spewing unrealistic conspiracy theories once againg. Turn the channel ASAP!

  36. jb -  February 4, 2011 - 4:45 pm

    get your facts westerniman get your facts.. just make a google search to find it out..it is not a shame not to know, but not to learn…

  37. John Grabowski -  February 4, 2011 - 4:45 pm

    Was Dictionary.com trying to refudiate Glenn Beck?

  38. CALIPHATE | BLOGCHI@mayopia.com -  February 4, 2011 - 4:38 pm

    [...] needs “questioning of authority” when trickled down from some God or Prophet to some Caliphate using leverage or luck. — Freedom of religion, of expression and of speech — Careful [...]

  39. Bryan H. Allen -  February 4, 2011 - 4:29 pm

    My Arabic-English dictionary is miles from where I sit, and I cannot consult it to verify all of “reader”’s cognates. However, of what I recognize in what he wrote, I agree with the factual content.

    Note that the Arabic word, خَلِيفَةٌ, is also transcribed “khalīfah” (≈ “khalîfah”). As pronounced in pre-pausal position (at a sentence’ end or in isolation), the tā’un marbūṭah (≈ tâ’un marbûţah), in Arabic ة، تَاءٌ مَرْبُوطَةٌ, is reduced to ه, hâ’ or nothing. (The symbol ة is a artificial composite of ه and the pair of dots in ت.) In a “construct phrase” or “annexion”, the ت continues to be pronounced and transcribed, e.g., خَلِيفَةٌ ٱلنَّبِي, “khalîfatu n-nabiyy”, the prophet’s successor. Though formally grammatically of the feminine gender, whenever referent to a person, it serves as a masculine-gender noun, as only a man may hold that office in ’Islâm.

    The IPA allophonic transcription is [xɑˡliːfæ] or [xɑˡliːfæh]. The IPA x is not pronounced “ks” but as the voiceless, fortis, dorsal-velar fricative, i.e., a single sound in the back of the mouth, not the throat, and the back of the tongue never closes the flow of breath. The German „ch‟ and the Spanish «j» are similar (good enough for your approximation).

    A commonplace overcorrection in English to pronounce the Arabic “a” as ɑ, the vowel in “far”. Most often, it is pronounced æ, the vowel in “apple”. That /vowel/ difference never changes a literary Arabic word’s meaning, but in English, it imposes concomitant /consonant/ changes which /do/ change the Arabic word’s meaning—please just trust me. Likewise, in literary Arabic, the position of the stress never changes the word’s meaning, but the second syllable in khalîfah receives the modest stress, i.e., the “lee”.

    Note that the pivotal doctrinal difference between the Shi‘ah and the baytu s-Sunnah (house of the tradition: Sunnî-s) is that the Shi‘ah hold that only a descendant of the Prophet Muḥammad may be a valid successor, i.e., they accept only hereditary succession. They call such a hereditary successor an ’imâm, while amongst the Sunniyyîm (بَيْنَ ٱلسُّنِّيِّيِم), that word means merely the leader of prayer in the mosque. Some Shi‘ah also differ in the number of valid holders of that office. The majority hold that twelve are valid, that the disappeared 12th is really in occultation (الْغَيْبَة).

    (Remember, I report what I have read.)

    They believe that he will reëmerge at the end of history as al-Qâ’imu l-Mahdiyy (the one divinely guided aright, the Mahdî. (مَهْدٍ or مَهْدِيّ, mahdiyy means “guided”.) He is expected to convert everyone worldwide to ’Islâm and to destroy them who refuse.

    I hasten to add, ما أنا مسلم, Mâ ’anâ muslim, I am NOT a Muslim. As a non-Muslim, Sunnî or Shî‘î, I opine that the eschatological Mahdî myth, in either its Sunnî or Shî‘î forms, is the world’s circumstantially most dangerous myth, more dangerous than any of the vaguely reminiscent “end-times” myths held by many Christians (not by me). In its Shî‘î form, it is focused upon southern al-‘Irâq, in one of the ‘Irâqân (pair of ‘Irâq-s in the ’Umayyad empire).

    Research it for yourselves, please, and kindly post any /factual/ errors you may discover in my fallible assertions here. Thank you, readers, for your calm, kind, wisdom and intellect.

  40. Westernimam -  February 4, 2011 - 4:07 pm

    The actual formation of the Turkish Republic was done in 1924. 1923, this was the time when they began the reforms and writing of the constitution. Get your facts straight

  41. Student -  February 4, 2011 - 3:53 pm

    First of all, i appreciate every one commenting and correcting..
    Secondly, we must keep in mind, that we are logged on to a dictionary website and not an encyclopedic website.. so the dates 1923 or 1924 does not matter to much extent so as to overshadow the real “Caliph” word’s understanding (however, its good to be factual while mentioning dates etc)
    Last but not Least.. As readers above have rightly mentioned, the word Caliph refers to a Muslim ruler which is elected by the Muslim community with consensus.. Succession from the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) has nothing to do with the “Caliph’s rule regarding his regime..
    Succession is only referred to the 4 immediate Caliphs after the death of Holy Prophet Muhammad-Peace Be Upon Him-(Abu Bakr, Umar, Usman adn Ali)

  42. DANIEL -  February 4, 2011 - 3:45 pm

    true or not ,at least someone tried to bring some light to the filth glen baeck hes been spewing for such a long time

  43. jb -  February 4, 2011 - 3:44 pm

    Great Editors!! i appreciate your action to correct the mistake.

  44. Queen Sardonic -  February 4, 2011 - 3:34 pm

    @ag Haha, I get it…
    @Elizabeth You’re right, “under of” isn’t correct in that context. I think they meant to say “under”.
    Very informative article!

  45. Ars -  February 4, 2011 - 3:31 pm

    I remember learning about the caliphate a few years ago in ancient civs. If they teach it in school, isn’t it common knowledge?

  46. That's easy, bake oven -  February 4, 2011 - 3:30 pm

    Sounds as if Glenn Beck is becoming one of those ‘Ivy-league elitists’ he seems to abhor. :))))

  47. Elizabeth -  February 4, 2011 - 3:29 pm

    Good article! Just a doubt: Is it correct to say “under of”? (fourth paragraph)

  48. reader3 -  February 4, 2011 - 3:19 pm

    It appears that the last caliphate ended in 1924. Is it correct there has not been a caliphate anywhere since then? Also, have there been any indications that the arab world desires to establish another?

  49. jb -  February 4, 2011 - 3:16 pm

    That is an interesting article. However, there is a vital mistake here to correct. Republic of Turkey was founded in 1923 not in 1924.

  50. ag -  February 4, 2011 - 2:46 pm

    nice =) I am number 4

  51. uha1 -  February 4, 2011 - 2:45 pm

    ops. I dont think the date (1924) referring to the establishment of the Turkish Republic is right. It should be 1923. Its a quite big mistake.

  52. Muhammad Razwan Ghumman -  February 4, 2011 - 2:42 pm

    The article is not well researched at all. It says “A caliph is a spiritual leader of Islam who claims succession from Muhammad.”

    Now where we get that from ? Caliphate is an Islamic system of Government. And Calipha is a kind of King for an Islamic state. He does not have to claim succession from Prophet Muhammad. Instead Prophet Muhammad told Muslims in numerous agreed upon narrations that Tyrant and most corrupt leaders are going to rule Muslims . so where does that spirituality comes from?

  53. riri -  February 4, 2011 - 2:36 pm

    How great this website is ! what is the meaning of ‘velvet’

  54. FellatioAbuser -  February 4, 2011 - 2:16 pm

    Very interesting read.

  55. reader2 -  February 4, 2011 - 2:14 pm

    I’m not sure why the above reader feels this article isn’t well researched. He/she is basically repeating what was already explained except adds additional details that would have bogged down the point of the original article. One doesn’t need to expound every detail in order to make a point.

    Seems to me that “reader” is demonstrating intellectual snobbery.

  56. reader -  February 4, 2011 - 1:28 pm

    Khalifa comes from the Arabic root word ‘khalafa’ meaning ‘to come after’ or ‘to succeed’, in reference to position or time. ‘Khalf is the noun and means ‘behind’ or ‘back’. A khalifa is a person who succeeds another person, in this case managing the affairs of the Muslim community. The plural is khulafaa and the process is khelafah.

    The 4 Guided Successors for Muslims are Abu Bakr Assedeek, Omar ibn Alkhattab, Othman Ibn Affan, and Aly ibn aby Taleb. They managed Muslim affairs following the death of the prophet Mohammad one after the other. Shia Muslims consider Aly the only khalifa worth noting (political conflicts). After Aly’s death, the world of Islam had wider boundaries and some of the rulers were referred to as Ameer, meaning ‘prince’.

    This might be of no linguistic value, but it is probably worth mentioning that in one of his sayings, Prophet Mohammad had predicted that the Muslims would be ruled by a series of kholafaa, followed by a series of ‘tyrant rulers’ that are consequently followed by a khilafa as the world nears its end.

    It is also worth mentioning, as an opinion, that this site’s article seems to be not well researched.


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