Download Caliphate: The History of an Idea by Hugh Kennedy PDF

By Hugh Kennedy

ISBN-10: 0465094384

ISBN-13: 9780465094387

In Caliphate, Islamic historian Hugh Kennedy dissects the belief of the caliphate and its historical past, and explores the way it grew to become used and abused this day. opposite to well known trust, there isn't any one enduring definition of a caliph; fairly, the assumption of the caliph has been the topic of continuous debate and transformation through the years. Kennedy bargains a grand background of the caliphate because the starting of Islam to its sleek incarnations. Originating within the tumultuous years following the loss of life of the Mohammad in 632, the caliphate, a politico-religious method, flourished within the nice days of the Umayyads of Damascus and the Abbasids of Baghdad. From the seventh-century Orthodox caliphs to the nineteenth-century Ottomans, Kennedy explores the tolerant rule of Umar, recounts the irritating homicide of the caliph Uthman, dubbed a tyrant via many, and revels within the flourishing arts of the golden eras of Abbasid Baghdad and Moorish Andalucía. Kennedy additionally examines the fashionable destiny of the caliphate, unraveling the British political schemes to spur dissent opposed to the Ottomans and the ominous efforts of Islamists, together with ISIS, to reinvent the historical past of the caliphate for his or her personal malevolent political ends.

In exploring and explaining the good number of caliphs who've governed through the a while, Kennedy demanding situations the very slender perspectives of the caliphate propagated via extremist teams this present day. An authoritative new account of the dynasties of Arab leaders in the course of the Islamic Golden Age, Caliphate lines the history—and misappropriations—of one of many world's such a lot effective political ideas.

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Additional resources for Caliphate: The History of an Idea

Sample text

After the death of Muhammad in 632, the Muslim community was confronted with an unprecedented situation. There were no guidelines to be sought in the past for the mission of Muhammad, and his reception by the Muslims had made the pre-Islamic past irrelevant anyway, except as an awful warning of how not to behave and order society. Equally the practices of the great Roman and Persian monarchies could not be adduced because they had rejected the teachings of the Prophet and been defeated and, in the case of the Persian monarchy, destroyed by the Muslims with God’s support.

Some people, however, disagreed, arguing that the full title was always, and should be, ‘successor of the Messenger of God’ (khalīfat rasūl Allah), which must mean successor of Muhammad. This difference mattered, and still does. If the caliph was deputy of God he had a quasi-divine status and authority which all Muslims should support and respect. If, on the other hand, he was simply the successor to Muhammad, that carried much less weight. He could not be a prophet, since Muhammad had been the last of those, so he must be an ordinary man who fulfilled some of the secular and administrative functions that the Messenger of God had performed in his lifetime.

None of the sources spell this out. No one at this early stage explained exactly what they had in mind in writing. Instead we have to deduce and infer from the evidence presented in the reports we find in later chronicles, records of public discussions, always polemical, letters and poetry. Of these, the poetry is in some ways the most valuable. This is because it probably adheres most closely to the usages of the time. While it is possible to edit both narratives and letters to reflect later language, it is hard to do so within the strict and formal metres of classical Arabic poetry without doing obvious violence to the text.

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Caliphate: The History of an Idea by Hugh Kennedy

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