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Does the Ummah Need a Caliph.in the 21st Century, to be united? by Ahmed Elyas Hussein

07-02-2014, 10:24 AM
احمد الياس حسين
<aاحمد الياس حسين
Registered: 02-28-2014
Total Posts: 118






Does the Ummah Need a Caliph.in the 21st Century, to be united? by Ahmed Elyas Hussein

    Department of History, Faculty of Education, University of Khartoum

















    Does the Ummah need a Caliph, in the 21st Century, to be united?
    “No centralized empire is likely to come about” Mahatir Mohammad

    Abstract

    This paper aims to prove the hypothesis that the Ummah was united through out its long history of fourteen centuries. It attempts to answer some questions such as: Did the political and spiritual power of the Caliph directly affect the unity of the Ummah? How was the Ummah united under more than one Caliph? How did the Ummah maintain unity under a large number of Islamic states during these fourteen centuries? Does the unity of the Ummah need to be a political unity? In other words, what is the relationship between the Unity and the Political unity of the Ummah?

    The study discusses the experience of our Islamic states throughout their history, highlights briefly the situation of the Ummah after the end of the Caliphate in 1342 AH/1924 CE, the de facto nation state and what we may need to the unite the Ummah.

    Introduction
    The Islamic caliphate lasted for about fourteen centuries during which four Pious Caliphs occupied the post of caliph first, their capital was al-Madand#299;na. After that, three families occupied the post of the Caliph: the Umayyads in Damascus and Cordoba, the Abbasids in Baghdad and Cairo, and the Ottomans in Istanbul.

    The authority of the Caliphs and the structure of their government was not the same throughout these fourteen centuries. While the early Caliphs were able to maintain strong political and spiritual power, the later Caliphs lost all their political power and almost all their spiritual power as well. We may divide the history of the Caliphate, according to the authority of the Caliphs, into four parts as follows:
    1. Strong political and spiritual authority: 1 – 2 century AH (7 - 8 CE).
    2. Strong spiritual and week political authority: 3 – 7 century AH (9 -13 CE).
    3. Week spiritual and political authority: 8 – 12 century AH (14 – 18 CE).
    4. Attempts to revive the spiritual authority: 13–14 century AH (19-20 CE).
    Throughout the span of the fourteen centuries, the history of the Caliphate, the Caliphs maintained political and spiritual authority only for a little over two centuries.

    Part 1: Strong political and spiritual authority: 1–232 AH (622–847 CE)
    This period comprises the rule of: the four Pious Caliphs (11–40 AH/632-660 CE), the Umayyads (40–132 AH/660–750 CE) and the first nine Abbasid Caliphs (132–232 AH/750–847 CE). This period witnessed, in the first century, the gradual expansion of the territories of the Caliphate and the finalization of the central system of administration.

    As the territories of the caliphate expanded, it was divided into several wilayat (states). In the beginning, the system of administration was central, where the central government maintained strong power over all caliphate territories. The central government consisted of: the Caliph - who was the president and the head of the government, the wazand#299;r (vice-president), ######### of Dawand#257;wand#299;n (Ministries) and wuland#257;t (governors of wilayat).

    There were no fixed specifications for the posts of wazand#299;r and wand#257;land#299; (governor). The Caliph determined their authority; it fluctuated between strong and weak, depending on the terms of their appointment. The Dawand#257;wand#299;n were running the affairs of the caliphate, such as: Dand#299;wand#257;n al-Kharand#257;j (taxs), Baytul-Mand#257;l (treasury), Dand#299;wand#257;n al-Qada’ (judges, police), Dand#299;wand#257;n al-Jund (the army) and Dand#299;wand#257;n al-Barand#299;d (correspondence and intelligence).

    In the beginning of the second century AH, the central governments of the pious Caliphs, in al-Madand#299;na and that of the Ummayads in Damascus, began to encounter some difficulties in the administration of the remote parts of the caliphate. To solve these problems, the central governments tried to improve the system of communication to strengthen their power in those areas. Taking into consideration that the means of communication at that time was through the use of animals, it was very difficult to maintain a strong hold on such remote distances.

    It became clear that it was very difficult to maintain strong central authority over the vast territories of the caliphate, which extended between the Sind in the east and the Andalusia in the west. Both the Roman and Persian Empires tried to maintain strong authority over all the territories but they failed and the central system of administration proved to be unsuccessful mainly because of the lack of efficient communication systems.

    On the western territories of the caliphate, the opposition parties, namely the Iband#257;diyyah and the Shand#299;‘ah, intensified their movements against the central government of the Abbasids in Baghdad and were able to establish independent local ruling families in North Africa. The Rustumid family founded an Iband#257;diyyah state in the present day Algeria, it became known as the Rustumid State while the Idrand#299;sand#299; Shand#299;‘ah family founded the Idrand#299;sid State in present day Morocco.

    On the other hand, Caliph Hand#257;rand#363;n Al-Rashand#299;d (170-193 AH/786-809 CE) encouraged the Aghlabid family to establish a state in the present day Tunisia as a buffer state between the Rustumid and Idrand#299;sand#299; states and the Abbasid territories. Thus the central government in Baghdad lost its control over the majority of the North African territories, in addition to Andalusia which was taken by an Umayyad family where they founded an Umayyad state since 138 AH (755 CE). The Iband#257;diyyah also succeeded in establishing the ‘Iband#257;diyyah Imamate’ in Oman while the Shand#299;‘ah established a state in Yemen and another in the present north Iran.

    The central government in Baghdad also encountered some problems in the east led by strong local families and ambitious leaders. Their movements, which were aimed to establish local administration, were known as Shu‘and#363;biyyah movements. Some of these were the Rand#257;wandand#299;yah, the Khurramiyah and al-Muqann‘ movements.

    The Caliphs exerted strong efforts to suppress these movements and to maintain their authority, yet the policy of some of them such as Caliph Ma’mand#363;n (198–218 AH/813-833 CE) contributed in weakening the power of the central government. He gave the rule of most of the eastern territories of the caliphate to the General of the Army, Tand#257;hir Ibn al-Hussain, who established a local state known as Tand#257;hirid State.

    Thus, from the end of the second century AH (8th CE), Caliphs started loosing their political power. This weakness may be attributed to either competing parties like the Iband#257;diyyah and Shand#299;‘ah who established their own states and did not recognize, both, political and spiritual authority of the Abbasid Caliphs, or to the families who established their states by the support of the Abbasid Caliphs. These latter states, although independent in their administration form the government of the Caliph, recognized the political and spiritual authority of the Caliphs in Baghdad.

    Judging from the general situation of the Ummah in this period, till the beginning of the 3rd century AH/9th CE, we can safely say that:
    and#61549; The Caliphs enjoyed strong political and spiritual power with the exception of the states of the Shand#299;‘ah and the Iband#257;diyyah.
    and#61549; The Ummah was united under one central government in al-Madand#299;na, Demascus and Baghdad. Local governments, with the exceptions of the Shand#299;‘ah and Iband#257;diyyah states, recognized the political and spiritual power of the Caliphs.

    Part 2: Strong spiritual and week political authority: 232 – 656 AH (846-1258 CE).
    This part briefly covers the political history of the caliphate until the attack of the Mongols and the fall of Baghdad in 656 AH. In the beginning of this period, the Caliphs lost their political authority, which led to radical changes in the authority of the central government and the administration of the territories of the Caliphate. Due to these drastic changes and the long stretch of this part, it will be divided into two periods:
    and#61549; Period one covers the process of the decline of the political authority of the Caliphs until the beginning of the fourth century AH (10CE).
    and#61549; Period two highlights the Ummah and the Caliphate in the 4th-7th centuries AH (10-13 CE).

    Period One – Decline of Caliphs’ political authority (232-334 AH/846-945 CE)
    As was mentioned above, maintaining strong central administration throughout the territories of the caliphate proved to be a difficulty, in addition to that, a new problem emerged, which was the Turkish army leaders (the Generals). Before the rule of Caliph al-Ma’mand#363;n (198-218 AH/813-833 CE), the soldiers were mainly Arabs. After the struggle between the Caliph Al-Ma’mand#363;n and his brother Caliph al-Amand#299;n (193-198 AH/809-813 CE), the victorious Persian soldiers, the supporters of al-Ma’mand#363;n, formed a second army beside the Arabs. This army became very strong and influential during the rule of al-Ma’mand#363;n.

    When al-Mu‘tasim (218–227 AH/833-841 CE) became a Caliph, he planned to weaken the growing power of the Persian soldiers. He formed a new army of Turkish soldiers and moved with them from Baghdad to Sand#257;marra, which he had founded for his resident and his soldiers. The new Turkish army gained power over the Persian army.

    Two decades later, the Turkish generals became very strong and interfered in the policies and administration of the caliphate. Caliph al-Mutwakkil (232-247AH/846-861CE), the grandson of al-Mu‘tasim, decided to minimize their power; he planned to kill some of their leaders and confiscate their wealth. His plans led the Turkish generals to assassinate him with the help of his son, al-Muntasir, who became Caliph in 247AH.

    Since then, the Turkish generals became very influential and had a wide authority in the affairs of the Caliphate and the palaces of the Caliphs. They began to select the Caliphs, from the Abbasid family, and used their influence in the appointment of the high officials of the state. Thus, the generals usurped the authority of the Caliphs and with support from some leading ladies in the Caliphs’ palace directed the policies of the Caliphate. For example, the slave-mother of Caliph al-Musta‘and#299;n (248-252 AH/862-866 CE) shared with two Turkish generals the supreme power of Sand#257;marra.

    The Caliphs became prisoners of the military regime in Sand#257;marra, which was the seat of Caliphs and the centre of the Turkish generals. Some Caliphs tried to return the seat of the caliphate to Baghdad but they were not successful. Caliph al-Musta‘and#299;n (248-252 AH/862-866 CE) left for Baghdad to seek help from the Arab soldiers, the Turkish Generals then appointed a new Caliph in Sand#257;marra, sacked Baghdad and killed al-Musta‘and#299;n.

    Caliph Al-Muhtadand#299; (254-256 AH/868-869 CE), who unexpectedly turned out to be religious, courageous and firm, suffered a severe and humiliating experience and in the end he was killed. Turkish generals were very cruel, to preserve their own privilege, they disrespect the Islamic ethics and neglected the reverence of Caliphs as spiritual leaders of the Muslims.

    In the nine years that followed the assassination of Caliph Al-Mutwakkil (247 AH/851 CE), five caliphs were appointed in Sand#257;marra by the Turkish general, and they were all killed by them. Ibn Kathir described the caliphs as becoming very weak, and that the Turkish generals humiliated, degraded, subjugated them and profaned the caliphate.

    Caliph al-Mu‘tamid (256-279 AH/869-892 CE) was able to move the seat of the Caliph form Sand#257;marra to Baghdad. The seven Caliphs who ruled from Baghdad till the end of the military regime in 334 AH (945 CE) succeeded in restoring some of their power, but the Turkish generals were still strong. Two of these Caliphs were forced to abdicate, their eyes were gouged, and a third was killed.

    The usurpation of the power of the Caliphs during this period, the military regime 232-334 AH, led to the weakness of the central government. The authority of the wazir became very weak and he lost all of his respect and dignity. Thirteen wazirs were appointed during the rule of Caliph al-Muqtadir (295-320 AH /907-932 CE), one of them was killed and the wealth of some others was confiscated.

    These radical changes, the weakness of Caliphs and their central governments, resulted in major changes in the system of administration. Strong local families, local ambitious rulers and some Turkish generals began to strengthen their power in al-wiland#257;yand#257;t (states), which were previously under the central government. Thus states ruled by local families emerged. These states enjoyed full freedom in their administration. The Caliph no longer had any power over them. These local states were: the Tand#363;land#363;nid state in Egypt, Syria and Hijand#257;z, Banu Sand#257;j in north Iraq, Qarmand#257;tian state in the Arabian Gulf, Safand#257;rid state west of Sind, Haband#257;rid and Banu Sand#257;ma states in the Sind Valley and the Sand#257;mand#257;nid state in Teansoxiana, in central Asia. (See Map 1 in the appendices)

    Rulers of these states, with the exception of Ummayads in Andalus, Shand#299;‘ah and the Iband#257;diyyah states, were fully independent in running their administration and their military power was stronger than that of the Caliphs’ in Baghdad. These rulers considered themselves as part of the caliphate and had strong legal ties with the caliphs. They had to have the consent and recognition of the Caliph as rulers of their states, or their subjects would not consider them as legitimate rulers. These rulers had to make Du‘and#257;’ for the Caliph in their mosques and had to send to him an annual sum of money as a sign of recognizing the Caliph as the supreme leader of the Muslims.

    These state rulers and the Caliphs generally had good relations. They frequently sent gifts to the Caliphs, particularly in the festivals and special social occasions. They also provided military assistance upon request form the Caliph. The Caliph, however, didn’t have the authority to terminate their rule. For example, Caliph al-Mu‘tamid (256-279 AH/869-892 CE) issued a decree to dismiss al-Layth, the Safand#257;rid ruler and an army was sent against him, but al-Layth defeated the army and the Caliph was forced to accept him again.

    Thus, all the new system of administration (the decentralization) did not end the relations between these states and the Caliphate, they remained very strong. Rulers of these states recognized the Caliph as their supreme spiritual leader with some political power. The old system of the central authority of the caliphate was changed to a decentralized system. The caliphate did not disintegrate; it was still intact under the new system.

    Identity and Unity of Muslims
    In the present time, Muslims identify themselves with their nation states. The political borders of the nation state determined this identity regardless of history, ethnicity, language, religion, and culture. People who are of the same ethnicity and have a common language and history, such as the Arabs, are divided into more than eighteen nation states. If the borders of a nation state changed, the identity of people would change accordingly. Muslims are scattered among several Muslim nation states with several identities such as Iraqis, Iranians, Syrians, Egyptians, Saudi Arabians, Malaysians and Indonesians.

    The borders of the political state are very strong obstacles to the movement of Muslims. Muslims cannot pass freely from one country to another; they cannot stay, work, and make business unless they undergo complicated police and administrative procedures. They are not allowed to participate in political activities in a Muslim country other than theirs. Muslims are treated as foreigners in other Muslim states. In conclusion Muslims today have several identities and are disintegrated and disunited.

    What about the identity and the unity of people in the early Muslim states? Throughout Muslim history, before the colonial period, people did not identify themselves with their states. They recognized their local identity, some of them called themselves after their local regions or cities such as Al-Bukhand#257;ri or Al-Andalusand#299;. They were proud of that, but it was considered a minor identity. They related to the Ummah at large as their supreme identity.

    In al-Sind Valley, for example, people identified themselves with the Ummah; this was not changed after the rise and fall of states in that region. They did not identify with the Haband#257;rid and Banu Sand#257;ma states in the third century AH, nor the Ghaznavids in the fourth century AH. Thus, the identity was not related to political boarders; it was related to the Ummah.

    Political boarders, at that time, were not obstacles that hindered the movement of people from one state to another. People were free to move, reside, work, participate in political activities and establish business anywhere within the territory of the caliphate. All people in the caliphate were citizens and all enjoyed equal rights. Thus, people throughout the territories of the caliphate were integrated and united.

    In addition to these states, which were part of the territories of the caliphate, there were two other groups of states. The first group did not recognize the Abbasid Caliphs as supreme leaders of Muslims. They didn’t consider themselves as part of the Caliphate; these were the Shand#299;‘ah and the Iband#257;diyyah states.

    The second group contained the Muslim states in Sub-Saharan Africa namely: Kand#257;nim state in north of Lake Chad, Kuku state in the mid-Niger River and the states of Tirand#257;z along the coast of east Africa. These states did belong to neither Shand#299;‘ah nor Iband#257;diyyah, they did not consider themselves as part of the Caliphate like the Tand#363;land#363;nid or Safand#257;rid states, yet they recognized the Caliphs as leaders of the Ummah. People in these two groups enjoyed similar rights, throughout Muslim territories, as citizens of the Caliphate regardless of their political orientation.

    Muslim states, within the territories of the caliphate or outside these territories, had a developed economy and a strong military power. The military regime in Baghdad stood strong against the Byzantine Empire in East Anatolia. The Aghlabids, in present day Tunisia, and the Umayyads, in Andalus, were the dominant powers in the central and the western parts of the Mediterranean Sea. Islam spread widely in West Africa in the hands of the Rustumids and Idrand#299;sand#299;ds, and by the effort of the Sand#257;mand#257;nids in Turkistan. Muslim trade activities spread throughout the area between Andalus and West Africa in the West and China and South East Asia in the East. Muslims were the Super Power at that time.

    We can safely conclude that, all people, under all these different Muslim states were united. There was no political unity among all those Muslim states, yet, they were united, strong and had a developed economy. They were the world super power. Why is it very difficult, in the present time, to consider the unity of the Ummah without political unity?



    and#61549; Period Two – The Ummah and the Caliphate in the 4th-7th centuries AH (10-13 CE).
    In the beginning of the fourth century AH (10 CE) the military regime in Baghdad became weak and was replaced by the Buwayhids, a tolerant Shand#299;‘ah family who established their state in north Khurasand#257;n (323 AH/ 934 CE) and extended their power over the whole Khurasand#257;n region and Iraq. The Caliphs in Baghdad recognized them as rulers of that region, and remained powerless. Some of the Buwayhid rulers respected the Caliphs while others tortured them.

    Before the end of the military regime in Baghdad several local states, recognizing the Abbasid Caliph, emerged in north Iraq. These states took the responsibility of defending the Muslim borders against the Byzantine Empire and the crusaders after that. One of the earliest of these states was the Hamdand#257;nid state (293-381 AH / 605-991 CE) whose capital was Musil.

    In the north east territories, the Sand#257;mand#257;nid state, from its capital Bukhand#257;rand#257;, was still strong and represented the Abbasid Caliphs in central Asia. The Ghaznavids, who established their state in Ghazna (south of Kaband#363;l) in the middle of the fourth century AH, extended their power in the eastern part of Khurasan. They became the supreme power in the Sind and the pioneers in the spread of Islam in north India.

    In the western territories, significant changes took place on the map of the Ummah, the fanatic Ismand#257;‘and#299;liyyah Shand#299;‘ah founded their state in Maghrib ending the rule of the Idrand#299;sand#299;ds, Rustumids, Aghlabids and the Ikhshand#299;did states in North Africa. They took the title of Caliph and competed with the Abbasid Caliphs in Baghdad. They extended their territories over Syria and Hijand#257;z and succeeded in maintaining the Muslim power and supremacy in the central and eastern Mediterranean Sea. (See map 2 in the appendices)


    The Umayyads in Andalus, from the beginning of their rule (138 AH/755 CE), were content with the title of Amand#299;r, leaving the title of Caliph to the Abbasids. When the Abbasids became weak under the military regime and after the rise of the Shand#299;‘ah Caliphs in al-Maghrib, the Umayyads also took the title of Caliph in the fourth century AH (10 CE). Three Caliphs in addition to the Iband#257;di Imand#257;ms and other local state rulers then led Muslims.

    The remarkable changes in the fifth century AH (11th CE) were the end of the Umayyad rule in the west: the Buwayhid rule in the east and the beginning of the crusade wars. Al-Murand#257;bitand#363;n (Almoravides) established their state in the present day Mauritania and Morocco, in the middle of the fifth century AH (11th CE). They expanded in Andalus defeating all the petty rulers who succeeded the Umayyads, successfully defeated the Christian Spanish and restored Muslim power in Andalus. As successors of the Umayyad Caliphs in Andalus, Almoravides took the title of Amand#299;r Al-Mumnand#299;n , which is synonymous with Caliph.

    In the east, the Sunni Muslim Saljand#363;qs, who originally came from central Asia, founded a strong state and replaced the Buwayhids in the rule of Khurasan and Iraq. The Abbasid Caliphs, who were still weak, had no choice but to recognize them as the dominating power. The Saljand#363;qs won a decisive battle against the Byzantines in Anatolia at the end of the fifth century AH (11th CE), a victory which was the direct reason for the crusade wars. (See map 3)

    After the end of the Saljand#363;k rule at the end of the sixth century AH (12th CE) in Khurasan and Iraq, the Khuwarism state emerged in central Asia and inherited the rule of the Saljand#363;ks in the east. The rulers of Khuwarism did not expand into Iraq leaving the chance for the Abbasid Caliphs to restore their political power in Iraq, which lasted for over three centuries.

    North of Iraq, the Zangid state which emerged in 527 AH (1132 CE), recognized the Abbasid Caliphs and was part of the territories of the caliphate. It called for jihand#257;d and led successful wars against the crusade Christian states. Their efforts were completed by the Ayyand#363;bid state (565-648 AH/1169-1250 CE), who restored Syria and Egypt to the caliphate and ended the Fatimid rule. They also defeated the crusaders in several battles and freed Baytul-Maqdis.

    In the eastern part of the caliphate, the Ghand#363;rids who succeeded the Ghaznavids in India (543 AH/1148 CE) established a state taking Dehli as their capital. Like the Ghaznavids before them and the Khalgids after them, they recognized the Abbasid Caliphs and were part of their territories. The western territories of the Ummah were under the rule of the Muwahhid state, which succeeded Almoravides in al-Maghrib and Andalus in 539AH (1144 CE). The Muwahhid state was strong; it maintained the Muslim supremacy in the western part of the Mediterranean Sea. They took the title of Amand#299;r Al-Mumnand#299;n denying the recognition of the Abbasid Caliphs. (See map 4 in the appendices)

    In the first two centuries of this period (4th – 7th AH 10th – 13th CE), the Muslim territories that denied the recognition of the Abbasid Caliphs in Baghdad, expanded vastly between Andalus in the west and Syria and Hijaz in the East. Rulers of the central and eastern parts, such as the Hamdanids, Buwayhids, Saljand#363;ks, Samanids and Gaznavids were part of the caliphate.

    In the last two centuries of this period, territories that recognized the Abbasid Caliphs in Baghdad, expanded vastly between Egypt in the west and India in the East with the rise of the Zingid State, Ayyubid State, Khawarism state, Ghurid state and Khaljid State. Rulers of these states maintained strong relations with the Abbasid Caliphs recognizing the Caliphs as spiritual leaders and considered themselves as part of the caliphate. The most important part was the necessity of their recognition by the Caliph, for the legitimacy of their rule. (See table 1 in the appendices)
    Thus Muslims were under the leadership of three Caliphs in addition to other local state rulers, their identities did not belonged to their states, rather all members of the Ummah had equal rights throughout the territories of the Ummah. The Ummah was integrated and united.

    Although Western Europe began to build its power during this time, the Ummah was still strong in its eastern and western territories. In the central part of the Muslim territories the Fatimids became weak in the end of the fifth century AH (11th CE); the Muslims were defeated by the crusades who then established their Christian states. That was a short period of weakness that the Muslims recovered from early in the sixth century AH (12 CE).

    The majority of Historians and thinkers viewed this period as a remarkable period in the Islamic history and civilization of Islamic. Remarkable achievements of Muslims during this period took place, when the Ummah was led by several rulers, including three co-existing Caliphs; this shows the obvious absence of political unity. Therefore political unity in our history was not a condition for the unity or the development of the Ummah.

    Part 3: Weak political and spiritual authority: 7-12 AH (13-18 CE).
    In the beginning of the seventh century AH (13th century CE), the Mongols invaded the eastern territories of the Ummah. By the year 656 AH (1258 CE), they plundered Iraq, destroyed Baghdad and killed the Caliph ending the rule of the Abbasid Caliphs in Baghdad.

    Two years later, for first time after their attack, the Mongols were decisively defeated by the Mumland#363;ks of Egypt. The Mongols then settled down and founded their state, the and#298;lkhanid state, in Iraq and its eastern territories. By the end of the century, the Mongols adopted Islam, became part of the Ummah, and actively participated in strengthening the Muslim power in the eastern territories and the development of the Islamic civilization.
    Towards the end of the eighth century AH (14th CE), Tand#299;mand#363;r Lang invaded the whole eastern territories again. He established the Tand#299;mand#363;rid state, which ruled till the second half of the ninth century AH (15th CE). Both and#298;lkhand#257;nid and Tand#299;mand#363;rid rulers did not plan to take the title of Caliph or to revive the post after it was ended in Baghdad. Thus traditionally, from this time, states in these eastern territories, which had proclivities towards the Shand#299;‘ah, isolated themselves from the western parts of the Muslim territories and had no relations with their Sunni Caliphs.

    The Mumland#363;ks, who became very famous in the Muslim world after their defeat of the Mongols, established their state in Egypt, Syria and Hijand#257;z. They planned to revive the Muslim caliphate, which was ended in Baghdad. A Caliph continuously led Muslims since the rise the Caliphate, thus the majority of the Muslims believed that there should be a Caliph to lead the Ummah.

    The Mumland#363;ks, who were originally slave soldiers, did not think about taking the Caliph title themselves, they thought of appointing a member of the Abbasid family to the post. Reviving the post of the Caliph in Cairo would legalize the rule of the Mumland#363;ks in the eyes of their subjects. Three years after the end of the last Caliph in Baghdad, the Mumland#363;ks appointed a member of the Abbasid family as Caliph in Cairo.

    The Abbasid Caliphs in Cairo (659-923 AH/1261-1517 CE), who were chosen by the Mumland#363;k rulers, had no influence and had absolutely no power. They were hardly known in other parts of the Muslim territories; as we have already mentioned they were not recognized in the eastern Muslim territories. In the western territories of Egypt, in states such as the Almoravides and al-Muwahhids, the rulers used to take the title for themselves. The states in al-Maghrib after that followed the same policy of their predecessors. Thus, the Abbasid Caliphs in Cairo remained with neither political nor spiritual power. The title started to be forgotten in the Muslim world.

    Beside the Mongols and the Mumland#363;ks, the Ottomans state emerged in Anatolia in 687 AH (1288 CE). Although Tand#299;mand#363;r Lang defeated them, they were able to recover and become the supreme power in the eastern part of the Mediterranean Sea. They extended their territories into Eastern Europe and ended the rule of the Byzantine Empire in 857 AH (1453 CE). Constantinople became their capital and became known as Istand#257;nband#363;l.
    The Ottomans took control of Iraq after defeating the Safawid Shand#299;‘ah state that came to power after the Tand#299;mand#363;rids. They then defeated and ended the rule of the Mumland#363;ks in Egypt, Syria and Hijand#257;z. The Ottomans, unlike the Mumland#363;ks seem to have taken pride in themselves as conquerors of the Byzantine Empire. They took the title of Caliph after the abdication of the last Abbasid Caliph in 923 AH (1517 CE). They then moved the seat of the Caliph to Istand#257;nband#363;l and became the Caliphs of Muslims ending the Abbasid line of Caliphs.

    Although the Ottomans took the title of Caliph, it seems that by this time that the title had lost its meaning and significance among Muslims. The Ottomans were usually addressed as “al-Sultand#257;n al-Ghand#257;zand#299; … Khan”. Sometimes the title Caliph appeared at the end as “al-Sultand#257;n al-Ghand#257;zand#299; Khaland#299;fat al-Muslimand#299;n”. In his letter to the king of France, the Ottoman Sultand#257;n Sulaimand#257;n I (927-974 AH/1520-1566 CE) addressed himself as: “I, who am the sultan of sultand#257;ns, the sovereign of sovereigns… I, Sultand#257;n Sulaimand#257;n Khand#257;n…”. He did not state the title of Caliph in his message. It became clear that the Caliph title had lost its significance among rulers and the public at large.

    How was the situation of the Ummah when the Caliph title lost all its meaning and significance?

    The eastern territories of the Ummah, although invaded twice by the Mongols, were still strong. The Mongols in the and#298;lkhand#257;nid states and the Amand#299;rs of Dehli successfully developed the Islamic civilization and maintained Muslim power in these places. The Mumland#363;ks maintained their power in the eastern part of the Mediterranean Sea and Red Sea. They were able to decisively defeat the crusaders and end their states in the Muslim territories. They played an important role in trade activities between the India Ocean, the Red and Mediterranean Sea and maintained good relations with trading centers in southern Europe.
    In al-Maghrib local states such as Hafsids, Banand#363; Marin and Al-Sa‘diyyand#299;n were defending Muslim coasts against European invasion. In Andalus the state of Banand#363; al-Ahmar in the south, was the last Muslim power that struggled alone for two centuries before its final collapse in the end of the ninth century AH (15th century CE).

    The waters of the Mediterranean Sea became the area of pirates who were mainly led by the crusade knights who settled in some islands after their expulsion from their Christian states in the eastern Mediterranean Sea. After the rise of the Ottoman power and their expansion in Syria and Egypt, they restored Muslim power in the central and western parts of the Mediterranean Sea.

    During this time gradual radical socio-economic and political changes took place in Europe. Central and western Europe began their intense contacts with the outside world. Money economy began to replace the traditional agrarian economy.

    In the beginning of the 10th century AH (16th CE) long distant trade and business flourished. Portuguese navigators found their way to the Indian Ocean around Africa, and the Spanish crossed the Atlantic Ocean to the New World. These steps led to radical changes in world trade and the world order.

    The Mediterranean Sea began to loose its strategic location as the center of world trade. Centers and countries along the eastern coasts of the Mediterranean Sea, southern Europe and the Islamic states, entered a long period of trade stagnation which led to gradual decline of states in this region. At the same time Western Europe emerged as a new power because of the new activities in the Atlantic and Indian Ocean. Since then the balance of power shifted to the west.

    In the 11th century AH (17th CE) the golden age of the Ottomans, as a supreme power in Europe and the Mediterranean Sea, came to an end. Europe ended its long internal conflict of the religious wars in 1159 AH (1648 CE). The industrial revolution flourished, and the increasing demand of raw material and markets intensified the scramble of Western Europe overseas.

    We may say that, until the end of the ninth century AH (15th century CE), although the Ummah suffered rivalry between the ruling families - like Tand#299;murids, Safand#257;wids- Ottomans, and the rivalry among the members of the family, the leadership in economy and military power was still in the hands of the Ummah. Muslim states from the Malay world in the east till the Mediterranean Sea in the west had different political leaderships and orientations, yet they maintained their supremacy.

    Rise and fall of Muslim states did not lead to the disintegration of the Ummah; it remained intact, strong and united. Borders between the Muslim states continued to be like the administrative borders inside the nation state. Members of the Ummah were able to cross these borders without questioning or administrative procedures, just like when you cross from one state to another in Malaysia or in USA. In the early Muslim heritage, particularly in history, Haj journeys and traveler books offered a lot of Material about the unity and solidarity of the Ummah.

    We have good examples of Ibn Batand#363;ta who held the position of judge in India. The Mumland#363;ks, who mainly came from central Asia, ruled Egypt, Syria, Hijand#257;z and India for several centuries. Saland#257;h Al-Din Al-Ayyand#363;bi, originally from Kurdistan, ruled Egypt, Syria and Hijand#257;z. Muslims from different states joined the Zangid and Ayyand#363;bid States in their wars against crusaders as well as in Andalus against the Spanish.

    After the ninth century AH (15th CE) the Muslim world, in Africa and Asia, was the main target of the Europeans. The Dutch and Portuguese were already along the coasts of west and east Africa, as well as the coasts of the Indian Ocean and south East Asia. The English East Indian company extended its influence widely in the East. Muslims in sub-Saharan Africa, southern coasts of Arabia, India and the Malay World became victims of the expansion of Europe. At the same time the Russian Empire began to attack Muslim states in central Asia.

    Part 4: Attempts to revive the spiritual authority of Caliphs: 12–14 century AH (18-20 CE)

    Almost all Muslims in Asia and Africa, in this period, became either under the occupation or under the sphere of European influence. The Russian Empire emerged as a great power in North Asia. It extended its borders over Muslim territories in central Asia defeating the Ottomans and small Muslim states. By 1184 AH/1770 CE, Russian ships maneuvered in the Mediterranean Sea.

    In 12 AH/18 CE, Muslims along the coast of the Indian Ocean, Southeast Asia and India were under the British rule. Britain was looking cautiously at the growing influence of Russia in central Asia. France, after the Napoleon wars, began to compete with the British and the Dutch overseas. However, France cooperated with Britain to diminish Russian plans concerning their extension over Ottoman territories in Asia and Africa.

    The Ottomans, who lost their position as a strong power in the 11th century AH/17th CE, became surrounded by the three Big Powers; Britain, France and Russia. This situation led the Ottomans to search for the support of Muslims inside and outside their territories by using their title “Caliph of Muslims”. This strategy was used as early as 1188 AH/1774 CE in the treaty of Kushuk Kayranak between Turkey and Russia in the Crimean war. The Ottoman Sultan used the title of caliph, in this treaty, to assure his right in defending Muslim territories and at the same time to win the support of the Muslims who were not under his rule. Later on the Britain also used the name of the Ottoman Caliph to protect their influence in Tibet against Russia.

    This policy found good support, particularly in the Eastern part of the Muslim world. Some decades earlier Shand#257;h Waliyyulland#257;h (1703 AH/1762 CE) called for the unity of Muslims against the European invasion. The Afghani state acknowledged the Turkish sultan as Caliph of the Muslims.

    In Turkey and the Arab world there was struggle and rivalry between three parties; Turanism (Turkish nationalism), pan-Islam and pan-Arab (Arab nationalism). The pan-Islam party found the support of the Ottoman Sultans and some Turkish people, Arabs and leading scholars such as Gamand#257;l al-Din al-Afghand#257;nand#299;. Followers of this party believed that if Muslims wanted to be strong and be able to protect themselves against their enemies, they should be united under the Ottoman Caliph.

    The Ottoman sultan and caliph of the Muslims Abdul Hamand#299;d II, 1293-1327 AH/1876-1909 CE, who was under heavy pressure from Britain, France and Russia, took the pan-Islam party to be the most effective method against his European opponents. He encouraged and propagated it. He said:

    “The position of the title of Caliph should be higher than the title of the Ottoman Emperor. . . Muslims have no future without their unity. Being united means keeping Britain, France, Russia and Holland under our Influence. . . There are 85 million Muslims under British rule, 10 million under Russia and many others in Asia and Africa, the total of which is 250 million who are asking Allah (SWT) to protect them and looking forward to the help of the Caliph of Muslims.”

    Pan-Islam could not compete with Turanism in Turkey. Turanism called for a Turkish state comprised only of the original people of Turkey. They wanted the Turkish sultan to withdraw himself from all non-Turkish lands and to give up his title as Caliph of the Muslims. They established a strong front in Turkey and became strong before the First World War.

    In the 13th century AH/19th CE, most of the Arab world was directly or indirectly under the Turkish rule. The call for Turanism helped the spread of pan-Arab in Arab countries. They worked for freeing their countries from Turkish rule. They did not recognize the Ottoman sultan as Caliph of the Muslims.

    Pan-Islam, although it was supported by the Ottoman sultan and many elites in Turkey, Arab world, and India, could not withstand the strong current of nationalism in Turkey and the Arab countries. They remained only as small candles here and there while the Arab leaders, Britain and France defeated the Ottomans (Caliphs of Muslims) in the First World War. This defeat led to the end of the Islamic Caliphate and gave the colonial powers the upper hand in other Muslim territories.

    The Abolition of the Caliphate
    The Ottoman sultanate was ended in 1341 AH/1922 CE when the allied forces entered Istanbul. In 1432 AH/1923 CE, Turkey became a republic. Five months later the Grand National Assembly of Turkey abolished the Caliphate. The response of this decision, from the public in the Muslim states and among Muslims in general, was feeble. Maybe this was because the Caliphate really existed or lived only in their memories.

    Another response to the abolition of the Caliphate came from some Arab rulers and from some Muslim elites. The latter condemned the decision and considered it as a fatal blow to the unity and the cohesion of the Ummah. For example Mohammed Rashand#299;d Ridand#257;, who was living during this time, believed that the Caliph was the symbol of the Ummah, and that all problems of the Ummah could only be solved by reviving the Caliphate. Several Muslim thinkers regarded the revival of the Caliphate as a condition of the unity of the Ummah.

    While some other thinkers believed that in the present day, the Ummah doesn’t need the leadership of a Caliph for its unity. The Ummah can be united through federal or co federal systems or it could achieve its unity through organizations such as OIC or the League of Nations.

    One of the main ideas of Pan Arab, from its onset, was that the Caliph should be an Arab. Britain helped Arab rulers’ aspirations to acquire the post of the Caliphate in order to weaken the support given by Muslims to Turkey. One of the most ambitious Arab leaders to fill the post of Caliph was the Sharif of Mekkah.

    Conclusion
    The Ummah did not become weak because they lost their Caliphs after the weakness of the political power of the Caliph and the rise of the decentralized system of administration nor the rise of rival Caliphs and states to the Caliphate of Baghdad. The real reason for the weakness of the Ummah was not only the end of the rule of caliphs in Baghdad, or the weakness of the political and spiritual influence of Caliphs or their minor importance in Istanbul.

    There is no doubt that these factors reflected negatively on the Ummah in addition to some other internal problems, but the weakness of the Ummah came mainly from the from outside; the general changes in the world economy and world order. The world order during the last five centuries shifted from the Mediterranean Sea to Europe and the Atlantic Ocean. The Ummah lost its place in the world order throughout these five centuries.

    After the First World War, almost all Arab territories and other Muslim territories were under colonialism. The Caliphate, Pan Islam and the Muslim unity during this period were not the leading slogans in the struggle against the colonial powers, the priority was the independence. When the independence was achieved, Muslim nation-states emerged. Since then, the Ummah has been living under several nation-states in which they are legally separated from each other. Nation states give Muslims their identities and thus it has become almost impossible, under these circumstances, to think about the political unity of the Ummah under one Caliph.

    The present day western nation-states are the closest example of the early Muslim states. People do not find difficulties in crossing the borders of these states. The European Union is now even planning equal rights for all its member countries. These are the rights and privileges that Muslims enjoyed throughout their history; they were living a real unity under their states.

    This kind of unity within the system of nation-states should be our target. To achieve this target we need to:
    and#61549; Thoroughly study the experiences of our early Muslim states.
    and#61549; To underline that the unity of the Ummah throughout our history, with few exceptions, was not a political unity.
    and#61549; Benefit from the contemporary experiences such as the EU and otherinternational organizations
    and#61549; To weaken the strong attachments to nation states.

    We also need to address another important issue; that is the identity of the people. It is an obvious fact that the borders, particularly in Africa and Asia, were drawn by colonial powers according to their own interests and policies. These borders are known as false borders and in several places they are in the process of changing. Our problem is that these false borders give us our identity, so our identities are mostly a false identities. We need to weaken this strong attachment to the border identity and to look at our supreme identity, the Ummah.
                  

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