Who was Khalifa?

By Devyani Singh|Updated : August 5th, 2022

Khalifa or Khalifah is a term used in various Islamic religious groups for the title of a successor or a ruler 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. The Khalifa’s powers were effectively stripped away after the decline and eventual defeat of the Ottoman Empire in the First World War. 

Who is Khalifa?

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. 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. 

In the historical context, there were multiple caliphates, unlike the single body we came to know them as. These were state polities that were based on Islamic principles that eventually developed into multi-ethnic and trans-national empires.

The first known Khalifa was Abu Bakr of the Rashidun Caliphate from 632 AD to 634 AD. the final Khalifa was Abdulmejid II of the Ottoman Dynasty. The fall of the Ottomans ended the reign of the Khalifa. This downfall of a spiritual entity led to a lot of backlash from the followers of Islam across the globe. In India, the Khilafat movement was launched that aimed to restore the Ottoman Khalifa as a political authority.

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FAQs about Who was Khalifa?

  • A Khalifa was the political head of the caliphate and was also believed to be the spiritual and political successor of Prophet Mohammad.

  • The first Khalifa was Abu Bakr from the Rashidun Caliphate (632-634AD)

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