What was the Khilafat Movement?

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 14th, 2023

The Khilafat Movement was a political movement in India that was launched by the Indian Muslim community in 1919 to protest against the proposed abolition of the Ottoman Caliphate by the Allied Powers after World War I. The movement was led by two prominent Muslim leaders, the Ali Brothers – Maulana Mohammad Ali and Maulana Shaukat Ali. The movement was also supported by Mahatma Gandhi and the Indian National Congress.

Khilafat Movement

The Khilafat Movement aimed to unite Muslims in India and worldwide in supporting the Ottoman Caliphate. It was a movement that cut across social, economic, and religious boundaries, as it was not just limited to Muslim religious leaders but also had the support of many Hindu leaders, including Mahatma Gandhi. The movement was a response to the Treaty of Versailles, which abolished the Ottoman Caliphate and placed the region under British and French control.

In 1919, the Khilafat movement began, and it lasted until 1924. The Treaty of Sevres, which divided the Ottoman Empire and dissolved the Caliphate, was signed in August 1920, and it gave the movement an additional boost. Many Indian Muslims who saw the Ottoman Caliph as the spiritual head of the entire Muslim community and believed that the Western powers were undermining his authority backed the campaign.

The Khilafat Movement was not merely concerned with the Caliphate issue. It also aimed to solve other issues that the Indian Muslim minority had, such as the lack of political representation and involvement in the administration of India. In addition to numerous rallies, strikes, and demonstrations around India, there were also isolated incidents of civil disobedience and violence.

Causes of the Khilafat Movement

The Khilafat Movement was an early 20th-century political movement organized by Indian Muslims in response to the Treaty of Versailles, which put an end to World War I and led to the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, the dominant force of the Islamic Caliphate. Factors impacting Indian Muslims on a religious and political level were the main forces behind the Khilafat Movement. Some of the causes that led to the Khilafat Movement include:

  • The End of the Ottoman Caliphate: The end of the Ottoman Empire following World War I marked the end of the Islamic Caliphate, which was a significant event for Muslims worldwide. Indian Muslims, who formed a significant minority in India, were deeply attached to the Caliphate and felt that its authority was being undermined.
  • Political representation: Indian Muslims were also concerned about their political representation in the Indian National Congress and the British government. They believed that their interests were not being adequately represented and that they needed a separate political platform to voice their concerns.
  • Non-Cooperation Movement: The Khilafat Movement also grew in the context of the Non-Cooperation Movement led by Mahatma Gandhi, which called for the boycott of British goods and institutions. The movement provided Indian Muslims with an opportunity to express their political demands and join the broader Indian Independence movement.
  • Socio-economic issues: Indian Muslims faced several socio-economic issues, such as poverty, illiteracy, and unemployment. The Khilafat Movement sought to address these issues and improve the condition of Indian Muslims.
  • Collaboration with the Indian National Congress: The Khilafat Movement leaders collaborated with the Indian National Congress and participated in the Non-Cooperation Movement led by Mahatma Gandhi. They believed that a joint struggle with Congress could help achieve their demands and gain independence from British rule.


What was the Khilafat Movement?

The Khilafat Movement was a political movement in India that started in 1919 after the end of World War I. It was a movement to support the cause of the Ottoman Empire and the Caliphate, which was being threatened by the British Empire after the end of World War I. The Khilafat Movement was mainly led by Muslim leaders in India, such as the Ali brothers, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, and others.

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