List of Caliphs

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Caliph of the Faithful
Imperial Standard of the Caliph of the Faithful (1922–1924).svg
Abdülmecid II
Style His Imperial Majesty[1]
Residence Dolmabahçe Palace
Appointer Hereditary
Formation 8 June 632
First holder Abu Bakr
Final holder Abdülmecid II
Abolished 3 March 1924

This is a List of Caliphs. All years are according to the Common Era.

Rashidun Caliphs (632–661)[edit]

Rashidun Caliphate (dark green) at its peak in 654, including its vassal states (light green).

The first four are accepted by Sunni Muslims as rightly guided caliphs (Khalifas)[2][3]

Umayyad Caliphs (661–750/1031)[edit]

Caliphs of Damascus (661–750)[edit]

Umayyad Caliphate (green) at its greatest extent, c. 750.


Emirs of Córdoba (756–929)[edit]

Caliphs of Córdoba (929–1031)[edit]

Caliphate of Córdoba (green), c. 1000.

(Not universally accepted; actual authority confined to Spain and parts of Maghreb)[6][7]

Abd Allah ibn al-Zubayr (684-692)[edit]

Abbasid Caliphs (750–1258/1517)[edit]

Caliphs of Baghdad (750–1258)[edit]

Abbasid Caliphate (green) at its greatest extent, c. 850.

(Not accepted by the Muslim dominions in the Iberian peninsula and parts of North Africa).[8][9]

(During the latter period of Abbasid rule, Muslim rulers began using other titles, such as Sultan).

Caliphs of Cairo (1261–1517)[edit]

(The Cairo Abbasids were largely ceremonial Caliphs under the patronage of the Mamluk Sultanate that existed after the takeover of the Ayyubid Caliphate)[10][11]

Other Caliphates (909–1269)[edit]

Fatimid Caliphs (909–1171)[edit]

The Fatimid Caliphate (green) at its peak, c. 969.

(The Fatimids belonged to the Ismaili branch of Shia Islam and hence are not recognized by the majority of Sunnis, whether subjects in their dominions, or from neighboring states).[12][13]

Almohad Caliphs (1145–1269)[edit]

The Almohad dynasty (green) at its greatest extent, c. 1200.

(Not widely accepted, actual dominions were parts of North Africa and Iberia)[14][15]

Caliphs under the Ottoman Empire (1517–1922)[edit]

The Ottoman Empire at its greatest extent, 1683.

Originally the secular, conquering dynasty was just entitled Sultan, soon it started accumulating titles assumed from subjected peoples.[16][17]

From 1908 onwards the Ottoman Sultan was considered the equivalent of a constitutional monarch without executive powers, with the Parliament consisting of chosen representatives.

Caliph under the Republic of Turkey (1922–1924)[edit]

The Office of the Caliphate was transferred to the Grand National Assembly of Turkey which dissolved the office on March 3, 1924, in keeping with the policies of secularism that were adopted in the early years of the Republic of Turkey. The current pretender to the Imperial House of Osman is Bayezid Osman.

After the dissolution of the Office of the Caliphate, the Grand National Assembly of Turkey founded the Presidency of Religious Affairs as the new highest Islamic religious authority in the country.

Sharifian Caliphate (1924)[edit]

Map with the kingdom in green and the current region in red.

A last attempt at restoring the caliphal office and style with ecumenical recognition was made by al-Husayn ibn `Ali al-Hashimi, King of Hejaz and Sharif of Mecca, who assumed both on 11 March 1924 and held them until 3 October 1924, when he passed the kingship to his son `Ali ibn al-Husayn al-Hashimi, who did not adopt the caliphal office and style.[18]

Ahmadi Caliphate (1908–present)[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Bence-Jones, Mark (1980). "The Turkish Monarchy" (snippet view). In Montgomery-Massingberd, Hugh. Burke's Royal Families of the World. Volume II: Africa & the Middle East. London: Burke's Peerage. p. 236. ISBN 978-0-85011-029-6. OCLC 18496936. Retrieved 2010-07-14. "Though his position as a Caliph with no power beholden to a republican and secularist regime was full of anomaly, Abdülmecid II was styled "Imperial Majesty" and surrounded by a considerable degree of regal pomp" 
  2. ^ a b Lane-Poole 2004, p. 9
  3. ^ Bosworth 2004, p. 1
  4. ^ According to a hadith of the Islamic prophet Muhammad the Rashidun Caliphate will last thirty years after him. The total period of the first four Caliphs amounts to twenty nine years and six months. It is there for now recognized by scholars that Hasan ibn Ali's six months of Caliphate completes the thirty year prediction and hence he is also among the Rashidun Caliph.[citation needed]
  5. ^ Bosworth 2004, p. 4
  6. ^ Lane-Poole 2004, p. 21
  7. ^ Bosworth 2004, p. 11
  8. ^ Lane-Poole 2004, pp. 12–13
  9. ^ Bosworth 2004, pp. 6–7
  10. ^ Bosworth 2004, p. 7
  11. ^ Houtsma & Wensinck 1993, p. 3
  12. ^ Lane-Poole 2004, p. 71
  13. ^ Bosworth 2004, p. 63
  14. ^ Lane-Poole 2004, p. 47
  15. ^ Bosworth 2004, p. 39
  16. ^ Lane-Poole 2004, p. 195
  17. ^ Bosworth 2004, pp. 239–240
  18. ^ Bosworth 2004, p. 118