Thursday, October 30, 2014

The more caliphates, the better

I would notice as interesting the fact that historically it was accepted that there could be more than one caliphate. Given the split and ensuing rivalry between ISIS and Al Qaeda and Al Nusra's latest fallout with other rebel groups in Idlib, it makes you wonder... Of course the chances that, by creating its cross border empire, ISIS is about to start a race of caliphates across the region are not very high. But it's an interesting possibility to consider nonetheless

What's the appeal of a caliphate? () {

By  = Edward Stourton 
Date = 25 October 2014 


"Seventy years after the Prophet's death, this Muslim world stretched from Spain and Morocco right the way to Central Asia and to the southern bits of Pakistan, so a huge empire that was all… under the control of a single Muslim leader," says historian Prof Hugh Kennedy. "And it's this Muslim unity, the extent of Muslim sovereignty, that people above all look back to."

Yet these dynasties extended their rule so far, and so fast, that it became increasingly difficult for any one lineage to control all Muslim lands. As power fragmented, it was not just a political dilemma for any particular dynasty, but also a theological challenge to the very idea of the caliphate. The power of unity was closely linked to the idea of a caliph - yet it only took just over a century of the Muslim faith for the world to see parallel - and even competing - caliphates emerge.

The Sunni theologian Sheikh Ruzwan Mohammed argues: "While you do have two caliphs on earth proclaiming that they're the representatives of the Muslim community at this point, and more deeply that they are the shadow of God on earth, Muslims at that point were very pragmatic, and they acknowledged the fact that there could be more than one caliph representing the benefits and the concerns of the Muslim community - and that was also understood and accepted by Muslim theologians."


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