CALIPHATE: The History of an Idea

CALIPHATE: The History of an Idea

HUGH KENNEDY    Book Number: 83889    Product format: Hardback

Here prominent Islamic historian Professor Hugh Kennedy dissects the idea of the caliphate and its history and explores how it became used and abused today. The system came into existence in the tumultuous years that followed the death of Mohammed in 632. The caliph was defined as the religious successor to the Prophet and leader of the entire Muslim community. He was therefore ruler of a politico-religious system that transcended state and ethnic boundaries. The first caliphate existed between 632 and 661 and was known as the Rashidun. It ended in civil war and there followed the Umayyad (661-750) which was in turn succeeded by the Abbasid (750-1258) then the Ottoman. The leaders of the Ottoman Empire assumed caliphate powers right up until the empire was effectively ended after WWI and Ataturk constitutionally abolished the institution of the caliphate in 1924. There were also smaller self-proclaimed caliphates in Spain, Morocco and northwest Africa and all these are examined alongside the four great states in fascinating detail. We meet all the caliphs, from the tolerant Umar to the tyrannical Uthman and Kennedy revels in the flourishing arts in the golden eras of Abbasid Baghdad and Moorish Andalucía. He explores how the British, in particular, engaged in political schemes to destabilise the Ottomans and how modern-day extreme Islamists have tried to re-invent the history of the caliphate, distorting its history for their malevolent political ends. An authoritative account of the dynasties of Arab leaders throughout the Islamic Golden Age and the modern-day repercussions of one the world's most potent political ideas. 309pp.
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ISBN 9780465094387
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