A caliph is the supreme religious and political leader of an Islamic state known as the caliphate.[1][2] Caliphs led the Muslim Ummah as political successors to the Islamic prophet Muhammad,[3] and widely-recognised caliphates have existed in various forms for most of Islamic history.[4]

خَليفة (khalīfah)
StyleAmir al-Mu'minin
ResidenceMajor caliphates

Parallel regional caliphates

AppointerHereditary (since 661)
Formation8 June 632
First holderAbu Bakr
Final holderHussein bin Ali
Abolished3 March 1924 (as political office in Turkey)
19 December 1925 (conquest of the Sharifian Caliphate by the Sultanate of Nejd)
4 June 1931 (death of Hussein bin Ali)

The first caliphate, the Rashidun Caliphate, was ruled by the four Rashidun caliphs (Arabic: الخلفاء الراشدون, lit.'Rightly Guided Caliphs'), Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman and Ali, who are considered by Sunni Muslims to have been the most virtuous and pure caliphs. They were chosen by popular acclamation or by a small committee, in contrast with the following caliphates, which were mostly hereditary.[5] On the other hand, Shiites only recognise Ali and consider the first three caliphs to be usurpers.

The Rashidun caliphate ended with the First Fitna, which transferred authority to the Umayyad dynasty that presided over the Umayyad Caliphate, the largest caliphate and the last one to actively rule the entire Muslim world.[6]

The Abbasid Revolution overthrew the Ummayads and instituted the Abbasid dynasty which ruled over the Abbasid Caliphate.[7] The Abbassid Caliphate was initially strong and united, but gradually fractured into several states whose rulers only paid lip service to the caliph in Baghdad. There were also rivals to the Abbasids who claimed the caliphates for themselves, such as the Isma'ili Shia Fatimids, the Sunni Ummayyads in Córdoba and the Almohads, who followed their own doctrine. When Baghdad fell to the Mongols, the Abbassid family relocated to Cairo, where they continued to claim caliphal authority but had no political power, and actual authority was in the hands of the Mamluk Sultanate.

After the Ottoman conquest of Egypt, the Abbasid caliph Al-Mutawakkil III was taken to Constantinople, where he surrendered the caliphate to the Ottoman Sultan Selim I. The caliphate then remained in the House of Osman until after the First World War. The Ottoman Sultanate was abolished in 1922 by the Grand National Assembly of Turkey. The head of the House of Osman, Abdulmejid II, retained the title of caliph for two more years, after which the caliphate was abolished in 1924.

In March 1924, when the Ottoman Caliphate was abolished, Hussein bin Ali, King of Hejaz proclaimed himself Caliph. In October 1924, facing defeat by Ibn Saud, he abdicated and was succeeded as king by his eldest son Ali. After Hejaz was subsequently completely invaded by the Ibn Saud-Wahhabi armies of the Ikhwan, on 23 December 1925, Hussein surrendered to the Saudis, bringing the Kingdom of Hejaz, the Sharifate of Mecca and the Sharifian Caliphate to an end.[nb 1][8]

Rashidun Caliphate (632–661)

Calligraphic name Name (in Arabic) Born (CE) Reigned from (CE) Reigned until (CE) Died Relationship with Muhammad House
Abu Bakr
(أبو بكر الصديق)
573 8 June 632 22 August 634

Father of Aisha, Muhammad's wife

Banu Taim
(عمر بن الخطاب)
584 23 August 634 3 November 644
(assassinated by Abu Lu'lu'a Firuz)

Father of Hafsa, Muhammad's wife

Banu Adi
(عثمان بن عفان)
579 11 November 644 20 June 656
(assassinated at the end of a siege upon his house; see First Fitna)

Husband of Muhammad's daughters, Ruqayya and later Umm Kulthum, and grandson of Muhammad's paternal aunt

Banu Ummaya
(علي بن أبي طالب)
601 20 June 656 29 January 661
(assassinated while praying in the Mosque of Kufa; see First Fitna)

Muhammad's cousin, and husband of Fatimah, Muhammad's daughter, and Umamah bint Zainab, Muhammad's granddaughter

Banu Hashim

Umayyad Caliphate (661–750)

Image/Coin Name Born Reigned from Reigned until Died Relation with predecessor
  Mu'awiya I 602 661 29 April or 1 May 680

Second cousin of Uthman

  Yazid I 647 680 11 November 683

Son of Mu'awiya I

  Mu'awiya II 664 November 683 684

Son of Yazid I

  Marwan I 623–626 684 7 May 685

First cousin of Uthman

  Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan 646 685 8 October 705

Son of Marwan I

  Al-Walid I 668 October 705 23 February 715

Son of Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan

  Sulayman ibn Abd al-Malik 674 February 715 22 September 717

Son of Abd al-Malik

Brother of al-Walid I

  Umar II 2 November 682 September 717 February 720

Nephew of Abd al-Malik

First cousin of Al-Walid I and Sulayman

Great-grandson of Umar through a maternal line

  Yazid II 687 10 February 720 26 January 724

Son of Abd al-Malik

Brother of al-Walid I and Sulayman

  Hisham ibn Abd al-Malik 691 26 January 724 6 February 743

Son of Abd al-Malik

Brother of al-Walid I, Sulayman and Yazid II

  Al-Walid II 709 6 February 743 17 April 744 (assassinated)

Son of Yazid II

  Yazid III 701 17 April 744 3/4 October 744

Son of Al-Walid I

  Ibrahim ibn al-Walid 744 (few weeks) 25 January 750

Son of Al-Walid I

  Marwan II 691 744 6 August 750

Nephew of Abd al-Malik

Cousin of Al-Walid I, Sulayman, Umar II, Yazid II and Hisham.

Abbasid Caliphate (750–1258)

Coin Regnal name Personal name Born Reigned from Reigned until Died Parents
  Al-Sāffaḥ Abul-'Abbās 'Abdallah 721 25 January 750 10 June 754
  Al-Mansur Abu Ja'far 'Abdallah 714 10 June 754 775
  Al-Mahdi Abu 'Abdallah Muhammad 744/745 775 4 August 785
  Al-Hadi Abu Muhammad Musa 764 August 785 14 September 786
  Al-Rashid Harun 763/766 14 September 786 24 March 809
  Al-Amin Muhammad 787 March 809 24/25 September 813
  Al-Ma'mun Abu al-Abbas 'Abdallah 13/14 September 786 September 813 9 August 833
  Al-Mu'tasim Abū Ishaq Muhammad October 796 9 August 833 5 January 842
  Al-Wathiq Abu Ja'far Harun 811–813 5 January 842 10 August 847
  Al-Mutawakkil Ja'far February/March 822 10 August 847 11 December 861
  Al-Muntasir Abu Ja'far Muhammad November 837 861 7 or 8 June 862
  Al-Musta'in Ahmad 836 862 866 (executed)
  Al-Mu'tazz Abū ʿAbd allāh Muhammad 847 866 869
  Al-Muhtadi Abū Isḥāq Muḥammad 869 21 June 870
  • Al-Wathiq, Abbasid Caliph
  • Qurb (greek concubine)
  Al-Mu'tamid Abu’l-ʿAbbās Aḥmad 842 21 June 870 15 October 892
  Al-Mu'tadid Abu'l-'Abbas Ahmad 854/861 October 892 5 April 902
  • Al-Muwaffaq, Abbasid prince and Commander-in-chief
  • Dirar
  Al-Muktafi Abu Muhammad ʿAlî 877/878 5 April 902 13 August 908
  Al-Muqtadir Abu al-Fadl Ja'far 895 13 August 908 929 31 October 932
  Al-Qahir Abu Mansur Muhammad 899 929 950
  Al-Muqtadir Abu al-Fadl Ja'far 895 929 31 October 932
  Al-Qahir Abu Mansur Muhammad 899 31 October 932 934 950
  Al-Radi Abu al-'Abbas Muhammad December 909 934 23 December 940
  Al-Muttaqi Abu Ishaq Ibrahim 908 940 944 July 968
  Al-Mustakfi Abu’l-Qasim 'Abdallah 905 September 944 January 946 September/October 949
  Al-Muti Abu al-Qasim al-Faḍl 914 January 946 5 August 974 12 October 974
  Al-Ta'i' Abd al-Karīm 932 974 991 3 August 1003
  • Al-Muti, Abbasid Caliph
  • Utb (Greek concubine)
  Al-Qadir Abu'l-Abbas Ahmad ibn Ishaq ibn al-Muqtadir 947 1 November 991 29 November 1031
  Al-Qa'im Abu Ja'far Abdallah 1001 29 November 1031 2 April 1075
  • Al-Qadir, Abbasid Caliph
  • Badr al-Dija also known as Qatr al-Nida
  Al-Muqtadi Abū'l-Qāsim ʿAbd Allāh ibn Muhammad ibn al-Qa'im 1056 2 April 1075 February 1094
  Al-Mustazhir Abū l-ʿAbbās Ahmad April/May 1078 February 1094 6 August 1118
  • Al-Muqtadi, Abbasid Caliph
  • Taif al-Afwah (Egyptian)
Al-Mustarshid Abū'l-Manṣūr al-Faḍl April/May 1092 6 August 1118 29 August 1135
Al-Rashid Billah Abu Jaʿfar Manṣūr 1109 29 August 1135 1136 6 June 1138
(killed by Hashshashins)
  Al-Muqtafi Abū ʿAbd Allāh Muḥammad 9 March 1096 1136 12 March 1160
  Al-Mustanjid Abū'l-Muẓaffar Yūsuf 1124 12 March 1160 20 December 1170
  Al-Mustadi Hassan 1142 20 December 1170 30 March 1180
  Al-Nasir Abu'l-ʿAbbās Ahmad 6 August 1158 2 March 1180 4 October 1225
  Al-Zahir Abu Nasr Muhammad 1176 5 October 1225 11 July 1226
  Al-Mustansir Abû Ja`far al-Manṣūr 17 February 1192 11 July 1226 2 December 1242
  Al-Musta'sim Abu Ahmad Abdallah 1213 2 December 1242 20 February 1258

During the later period of Abbasid rule, Muslim rulers began using other titles, such as Amir al-umara and Sultan.

Mamluk Abbasid dynasty (1261–1517)


The Cairo Abbasids were largely ceremonial Caliphs under the patronage of the Mamluk Sultanate that existed after the takeover of the Ayyubid dynasty.[9][10]

Regnal name Personal name Reign Parents
Al-Mustansir Abu al-Qasim Ahmad 13 June 1261 – 28 November 1261
Al-Hakim I Abu 'Abdullah Muhammad 16 November 1262 – 19 January 1302
  • Abu 'Ali al-Hasan
Al-Mustakfi I Abu ar-Rabi' Sulaiman 20 January 1302 – February 1340
Al-Wathiq I Abu Ishaq Ibrahim February 1340 – 17 June 1341
Al-Hakim II Abu al-'Abbas Ahmad 1341–1352
Al-Mu'tadid I Abu Bakr 1352–1362
Al-Mutawakkil I Abu 'Abdillah Muhammad 1362–1377
Al-Musta’sim Abu Yahya Zakariya 1377
Al-Mutawakkil I Abu 'Abdillah Muhammad 1377–1383
Al-Wathiq II 'Umar September 1383 – 13 November 1386
Al-Musta'sim Abu Yahya Zakariya 1386–1389
Al-Mutawakkil I Abu 'Abdillah Muhammad 1389 – 9 January 1406
Al-Musta'in Abu al-Fadl al-'Abbas 22 January 1406 – 9 March 1414
Al-Mu'tadid II Abu al-Fath Dawud 1414–1441
Al-Mustakfi II Abu ar-Rabi' Sulayman 1441 – 29 January 1451
Al-Qa'im Abu Al-Baqa Hamzah 1451–1455
Al-Mustanjid Abu al-Mahasin Yusuf 1455 – 7 April 1479
Al-Mutawakkil II Abu al-'Izz 'Abdul 'Aziz 5 April 1479 – 27 September 1497
Al-Mustamsik Abu as-Sabr 1497–1508
Al-Mutawakkil III Muhammad 1508–1516
Al-Mustamsik Abu as-Sabr 1516–1517
Al-Mutawakkil III Muhammad 1517

Ottoman Caliphate (1517–1924)


The head of the Ottoman dynasty was just entitled Sultan originally, but soon it started accumulating titles assumed from subjected peoples.[11][12] Murad I (reigned 1362–1389) was the first Ottoman claimant to the title of Caliph; claimed the title after conquering Edirne.[13]

Image Tughra Name Reign Parents
Tughra of Selim I
Selim I 1517 – 21 September 1520
Tughra of Suleiman I
Suleiman I 30 September 1520 – 6 or 7 September 1566
Tughra of Selim II
Selim II 29 September 1566 – 21 December 1574
Tughra of Murad III
Murad III 22 December 1574 – 16 January 1595
Tughra of Mehmed III
Mehmed III 27 January 1595 – 20 or 21 December 1603
Tughra of Ahmed I
Ahmed I 21 December 1603 – 22 November 1617
Tughra of Mustafa I
Mustafa I 22 November 1617 – 26 February 1618
Tughra of Osman II
Osman II 26 February 1618 – 19 May 1622
Tughra of Mustafa I
Mustafa I 20 May 1622 – 10 September 1623
Tughra of Murad IV
Murad IV 10 September 1623 – 8 or 9 February 1640
Tughra of Ibrahim
Ibrahim 9 February 1640 – 8 August 1648
Tughra of Mehmed IV
Mehmed IV 8 August 1648 – 8 November 1687
Tughra of Suleiman II
Suleiman II 8 November 1687 – 22 June 1691
Tughra of Ahmed II
Ahmed II 22 June 1691 – 6 February 1695
Tughra of Mustafa II
Mustafa II 6 February 1695 – 22 August 1703
Tughra of Ahmed III
Ahmed III 22 August 1703 – 1 or 2 October 1730
Tughra of Mahmud I
Mahmud I 2 October 1730 – 13 December 1754
Tughra of Osman III
Osman III 13 December 1754 – 29 or 30 October 1757
Tughra of Mustafa III
Mustafa III 30 October 1757 – 21 January 1774
Tughra of Abdülhamid I
Abdul Hamid I 21 January 1774 – 6 or 7 April 1789
Tughra of Selim III
Selim III 7 April 1789 – 29 May 1807
Tughra of Mustafa IV
Mustafa IV 29 May 1807 – 28 July 1808
Tughra of Mahmud II
Mahmud II 28 July 1808 – 1 July 1839
Tughra of Abdülmecid I
Abdulmejid I 1 July 1839 – 25 June 1861
Tughra of Abdulaziz
Abdulaziz 25 June 1861 – 30 May 1876
Tughra of Murad V
Murad V 30 May 1876 – 31 August 1876
Tughra of Abdülhamid II
Abdul Hamid II 31 August 1876 – 27 April 1909
Tughra of Mehmed V
Mehmed V 27 April 1909 – 3 July 1918
Tughra of Mehmed VI
Mehmed VI 4 July 1918 – 1 November 1922

[nb 2]
Abdulmejid II 18 November 1922 – 3 March 1924

The Office of the Ottoman Caliphate was transferred to the Grand National Assembly of Turkey which dissolved the office on March 3, 1924, in keeping with the policies of secularism that were adopted in the early years of the Republic of Turkey by its President Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.

After the abolition of the Caliphate, the Grand National Assembly of Turkey founded the Presidency of Religious Affairs as the new highest Islamic religious authority in the country.

Sharifian Caliphate (1924–1925)

Map with the kingdom in green and the current region in red.

A last attempt at restoring the caliphal office and style with ecumenical recognition was made by Hussein bin Ali, King of Hejaz and Sharif of Mecca, who assumed both on 11 March 1924 and held them until 3 October 1924, when he passed the kingship to his son `Ali ibn al-Husayn al-Hashimi, who did not adopted the caliphal office and style.[15] Like the Fatimid caliphs, he was a descendant of Muhammad through a grandson of Hasan ibn Ali. Hussein's claim for caliphate was not accepted by the Wahhabi and Salafi movements, and in 1925 he was driven from Hejaz by the forces of Ibn Saud as an outcome of the Second Saudi-Hashemite War. He continued to use the title of caliph during his remaining life in exile, until his death in 1931.

Image Name Reign Parents
Hussein bin Ali 3 March 1924 – 19 December 1925 (as reigning caliph)/4 June 1931 (as titular caliph in the exile)
  • Ali bin Muhammad
  • Salah Bani-Shahar

Other caliphates


Hasan ibn Ali's Caliphate (661)


After Ali was killed, the governor of Syria Mu'awiya led his army toward Kufa, where Ali's son Hasan ibn Ali had been nominated as Ali's successor.[16][17] Mu'awiya successfully bribed Ubayd Allah ibn Abbas, the commander of Hasan's vanguard, to desert his post, and sent envoys to negotiate with Hasan.[18] In return for a financial settlement, Hasan abdicated and Mu'awiya entered Kufa in July or September 661 and was recognized as caliph. This year is considered by a number of the early Muslim sources as 'the year of unity' and is generally regarded as the start of Mu'awiya's caliphate.[19][20] Hasan abdicated as caliph after ruling for six or seven months.

Calligraphic/Coin Name (and titles) Birth Reigned from Reigned until Death Relationship with Muhammad (or previous Caliph) Parents House
Hasan ibn Ali
(حسن بن علي)

Ahl al-Bayt
624 661 (six or seven months) 670
  • Grandson of Muhammad
  • Son of 'Ali ibn Abi Talib
Banu Hashim

Abd Allah ibn al-Zubayr's Caliphate (684–692)


Abd Allah ibn al-Zubayr, the nephew of Aisha, the third wife of Muhammad, led a rebellion against the Umayyad Caliphate in 684 AD. He was proclaimed caliph in Mecca but was defeated and killed there in 692 AD after a six-month siege by general Al-Hajjaj ibn Yusuf.[21]

Coin Name (and titles) Birth Reigned from Reigned until Death Parents House
  Abd Allah ibn al-Zubayr
(عبد الله ابن الزبير)
May, 624 AD November 683 AD November 692 AD November 692 AD Banu Asad

Talib al-Haqq (747–748)

Calligraphic/Coin Name (and titles) Birth Reigned from Reigned until Death Parents House
Talib al-Haqq
(طالب الحق)
709 745 748 749

Fatimid Caliphate (909–1171)

Caliphate of Fatimid dynasty
Image/Coin Regnal name Personal name Born Reigned from Reigned until Died Parents
  al-Mahdi Billah Abū Muḥammad ʿAbd Allāh ibn al-Ḥusayn 874 27 August 909 4 March 934
  al-Qāʾim bi-Amr Allāh Abū al-Qāsim Muḥammad ibn ʿAbd Allāh 893 4 March 934 17 May 946
  al-Mansur Billah Abu Tahir Isma'il 914 17 May 946 18 March 953
  al-Mu'izz li-Din Allah Abu Tamim Ma'ad al-Muizz li-Din Allah 931 19 March 953 21 December 975
  al-Aziz Billah Abu al-Mansur Nizar 955 18 December 975 13 October 996
  al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah Abū ʿAlī al-Manṣūr 985 14 October 996 13 February 1021
  al-Zahir li-I'zaz Din Allah Abū al-Ḥasan ʿAlī ibn al-Ḥākim 1005 28 March 1021 13 June 1036
  al-Mustansir Billah Abū Tamīm Maʿad al-Mustanṣir biʾllāh 1029 13 June 1036 29 December 1094
  al-Musta'li Billah Abū al-Qāsim Aḥmad ibn al-Mustanṣir 1074 29/30 December 1094 11/12 December 1101
  al-Amir bi-Ahkam Allah Abū ʿAlī al-Manṣūr ibn al-Mustaʿlī 1096 11 December 1101 7 October 1130
  al-Hafiz li-Din Allah Abūʾl-Maymūn ʿAbd al-Majīd ibn Muḥammad ibn al-Mustanṣir 1074/5 or 1075/6 23 January 1132 10 October 1149
  • Abu'l-Qasim Muhammad ibn al-Mustansir Billah
al-Ẓāfir bi-Aʿdāʾ Allāh Abū al-Manṣūr Ismāʿīl ibn al-Ḥāfiẓ 1133 10 October 1149 1 or 15 April 1154
al-Fa'iz bi-Nasr Allah Abūʾl-Qāsim ʿĪsā ibn al-Ẓāfir 1149 16 April 1154 22 July 1160
al-ʿĀḍid li-Dīn Allāh Abū Muḥammad ʿAbd Allāh ibn Yūsuf 1151 23 July 1160 13 September 1171
  • Yusuf ibn al-Hafiz li-Din Allah

Caliphate of Córdoba (929–1031)


(Not universally accepted; actual authority confined to Spain and parts of Maghreb)[22][23]

Name Reign Parents
Abd-ar-Rahman III 929–961
Al-Hakam II 961–976
Hisham II al-Hakam 976–1009
Muhammad II 1009
Sulayman ibn al-Hakam 1009–1010
Hisham II al-Hakam 1010–1013
Sulayman ibn al-Hakam 1013–1016
Abd ar-Rahman IV 1021–1022
Abd ar-Rahman V 1022–1023
Muhammad III 1023–1024
  • Abd ar-Rahman bin Ubayd Allah bin Abd ar-Rahman III, grandson of Abd ar-Rahman III
  • Hawra
Hisham III 1027–1031
  • Muhammad bin 'Abd al-Malik bin Abd ar-Rahman III, grandson of Abd ar-Rahman III
  • 'Ateb

Almohad Caliphate (1145–1269)


(Not widely accepted, actual dominions were parts of North Africa and Iberia)[24][25]

The Almohad Empire at its greatest extent (c. 1200)
Almohad family tree
Ali al-Kumi
Abd al-Mu'min
MuhammadAbu Yaqub Yusuf I
Abu al-Hassan AliAbu Zayd Abd al-RahmanAbu Zakariya Abd al-RahmanAbu Abd al-Rahman YaqubAbu Ibrahim IsmailAbu Said UthmanAbu Ali al-HusseinAbu Muhammad Abd AllahAbu Musa IsaAbu Ishaq IbrahimAbu al-Rabi SulaymanAbu Imran MusaAbu Hafs Umar
Abu Yusuf Yaqub 'al-Mansur'
Abu al-Ula Idris
the Old
Abu YahyaAbu Ishaq IbrahimAbu Hafs Umar 'al-Rashid'Abu Zayd MuhammadAbu Muhammad Abd al-Wahid I 'al-Makhlu'
Abu Ibrahim Ishaq
Abu Zayd Abd al-RahmanAbu Zakariya YahyaAbu al-Hassan AliAbu Yusuf YaqubAbu al-Rabi SulaymanAbu Abd Allah Muhammad
Muhammad al-Nasir
Abdallah al-Adil
Abu Muhammad SaidAbu MusaIbrahimAbu SaidAbu al-Ala Idris I 'al-Ma'mun'
Abu Hafs Umar 'al-Murtada'
Abu ZaydAbu IshaqAbu Dabbus Idris II 'al-Wathiq'
Abu AliAbd Allah 'al-Bayyansi'Abu Zayd
Yahya 'al'Mutasim'
MusaZakariyaAliYusuf II 'al'Mustansir'
Abu al-Hassan Ali 'al-Said'
Abu Muhammad Abd al-Wahid II 'al-Rashid'

Bornu and Songhai Empires (15th/16th century)

The Bornu Empire at its greatest extent (c. 1750)
Songhai Empire at its greatest extent (c. 1500)

Several rulers of West Africa adopted the title of Caliph. Mai Ali Ghaji ibn Dunama was the first ruler of Bornu Empire to assume the title. Askia Mohammad I of Songhai Empire also assumed the title around the same time.[26]

Indian caliphates (late medieval/early modern)


Since the 12th century, despite the South Asian domination of numerous Muslim empires, kingdoms and sultanates, Islamic caliphates were not fully attempted to be established across the Indian subcontinent. However, under the sharia based reigns of Sunni emperors such as Alauddin Khalji, Mughal Empire's Aurangzeb, and Mysore's rulers Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan, absolute forms of caliphates were clearly to have appeared. These largely impacted the French-Italian emperor Napoleone Bonaparte and soldiers of the British Empire.[27][28][29][30]

Sokoto Caliphate (1804–1903)

The Sokoto Caliphate (pink) at its greatest extent (c. 1800)

(Not widely accepted, actual dominions were parts of West Africa)

Established by Tariqa Islamic scholar and religious leader Usman dan Fodio through the Fulani War (alternatively known as the Fulani Jihad), which sought to reduce the influence of pre-Islamic religious practices and spread a more vigorous form of Islam through the auspices of a Caliphate.

Ahmadiyya Caliphate (1908–present)

Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Flag.

The Khalīfatul Masīh (Arabic: خليفة المسيح; Urdu: خلیفہ المسیح; English: Successor of the Messiah), sometimes simply referred to as Khalifah (i.e. Caliph, successor), is the elected spiritual and organizational leader of the worldwide Ahmadiyya Muslim Community and is the successor of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, who had taken the titles of Mahdi and Messiah of Islam.[nb 3] The Caliph is believed to be divinely guided and is also referred to by members of current Khalifatul Masih is Mirza Masroor Ahmad.

After the death of Ghulam Ahmad, his successors directed the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community from Qadian in Punjab, British India, which remained the headquarters of the community until 1947 with the independence of Pakistan. From this time on, the headquarters moved to and remained in Rabwah, a town built on land bought in Pakistan by the community in 1948. In 1984, Ordinance XX was promulgated by the government of Pakistan which rendered the Khalifatul Masih unable to perform his duties and put the very institution in jeopardy. Due to these circumstances, Khalifatul Masih IV left Pakistan and migrated to London, England, provisionally moving the headquarters to the Fazl Mosque.[34]

Islamic State (2014–present)


On 29 June 2014, the Islamic State proclaimed the return of the Islamic caliphate, with its first caliph as Amir al-Mu'minin Abu Bakr Ibrahim bin Awwad Al-Badri Al-Husaini Al-Hashimi Al-Quraishi As-sammera'i al-Baghdadi.[35][36] The caliphate's claimed territory at its peak controlled 12 million people. At its height, Islamic State ruled territories in various countries including Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Nigeria, Libya, the Philippines, Afghanistan, Congo, Yemen, and the Sinai region in Egypt, in addition to running guerrilla cells in many other countries.[37][38][failed verification]

In 2014–15, dozens of Salafi Jihadi groups[39] and scholars[40] around the world pledged allegiance to ISIL-claimed Caliphate.

On 10 April 2018, during a rally of U.S. President Donald Trump in Elkhart, Indiana in support of Mike Braun’s bid for the US Senate, Vice President Mike Pence referred to ISIS as a Caliphate, claiming "ISIS is on the run, their Caliphate has crumbled, and we will soon drive them out of existence once and for all."[41]

The Islamic State of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, the militant jihadist organization prescribed by many states as a terrorist organization, and the founding organization of the Islamic State caliphate. Were severely degraded in operational capability, subscribers and territorial control during the military intervention in Iraq and Syria by the U.S.-led Global Coalition to Defeat Daesh, and in Syria by the Russian military intervention.[42]

As of early, 2022 Islamic State occupies some territory in Nigeria and has 3 million people under its rule;[43] and also it continues to maintain control over some rural uninhabited areas in both Iraq and Syria[44][45]

No. Image Caliph Date of birth Reigned from Reigned until
1   Abu-Bakr Ibrahim bin Awwad al-Baghdadi 28 July 1971 29 June 2014 27 October 2019
2   Abu-Ibrahim Al-Hashimi Al-Quraishi October 1976 31 October 2019 3 February 2022
3 Abu al-Hasan al-Hashimi al-Qurashi Unknown 10 March 2022 15 October 2022
4   Abu al-Hussein al-Husseini al-Qurashi Unknown 30 November 2022 29 April 2023
5   Abu Hafs al-Hashimi al-Qurashi Unknown 3 August 2023 Present

See also



  1. ^ The legitimacy of his Caliphate is disputed; however, the date of end can be assigned to his loss of the Harayman, in 1925 or to his death, in 1931. Both interpretations can be found in sources.
  2. ^ Abdulmejid II, the last Ottoman Caliph, lacked a tughra of his own, since he did not serve as head of state (that position being held by Mustafa Kemal, President of the newly founded Republic of Turkey) but as a religious and royal figurehead.
  3. ^ Mirza Ghulam Ahmad is the founder of the Ahmadiyya sect of Islam. The Sunni mainstream and the majority of Muslims reject the sect as it believes in prophethood after Muhammad;[31][32][33] see also Persecution of Ahmadis on this topic.


  1. ^ Jazeera, Al. "The Caliph". interactive.aljazeera.com. Retrieved 2023-04-06.
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