Religion Past and Present

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Caliph
(589 words)

[German Version]

Arabic ḫalīfa (“successor” or “deputy”), the leader of the Islamic community (Arab. umma) among the Sunnis (Sunna/Sunnis), and to a degree also among the Shiaites (Šīaa/Shiaites; see also →Islam: II). As prophet (Prophets and prophecy: V), Mu˙ammad could have no successor, for he was the last prophet, the “seal” of the prophets; he could, however, be succeeded as the leader of the community. After the four “rightly-guided caliphs” (al-ḫulafā' ar-rāšidūn) Abū Bakr, aUmar, aUtmān and aAlī, the Umayyads came to power in Damascus (III) in 661, followed in 750 by th…

Cite this page
Busse, Heribert, “Caliph”, in: Religion Past and Present. Consulted online on 19 November 2019 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/1877-5888_rpp_SIM_11205>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004146662, 2006-2013



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