Who was Khalifa?

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 14th, 2023

Khalifa or Khalifah is a term used in various Islamic religious groups for the title of a successor or a ruler. It is a term used for any of the aforementioned titles. Most commonly, It is used to refer to the leader of a ‘Caliphate.’ The Khalifa of the Ottoman Empire was perceived as the spiritual leader of Islam by a great Muslim population spread across the world.

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Khalifa Ruler

A Caliphate is an institution or public office that governs the territory under Islamic rule. The person who heads this office is called the Khalifa or the Calipha. Khalifa’s powers were effectively stripped away after the decline and eventual defeat of the Ottoman Empire in the First World War.

He acts as the institutional head of the Caliphate and is revered as the political and religious successor of Prophet Mohammad. He is the leader of the Ummah, the entire Muslim world.

  • Contrary to the singular body we came to know them as there were several caliphates in the historical setting.
  • Islamic principles served as the foundation for these state policies, which eventually grew into a multiethnic, global empire.
  • Abu Bakr, ruler of the Rashidun Caliphate from 632 to 634 AD, is regarded as the first known Khalifa.
  • The Ottoman dynasty’s Abdulmejid II served as the final Khalifa.
  • Khalifa’s rule came to an end with the Ottomans’ defeat.
  • The destruction of a spiritual being sparked strong opposition from Muslims all over the world.
  • The Khilafat movement, which sought to reinstate the Ottoman Khalifa as a political figure, was started in India.

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