"Taking Back" the Caliphate: Sh arīf Husayn Ibn 'Alī, Mustafa Kemal and the Ottoman Caliphate

To read the full-text of this research, you can request a copy directly from the author.


It has been established elsewhere that gaining the Caliphate for the H¸shimite family was a consuming interest for the Sharºf of Mecca, Ýusayn b. {Alº, and his son {Abdall¸h.1 The desire to take the Caliphate played a cardinal role in his decision to revolt against the Ottomans. As Ýusayn would have it, he was revolting not to establish a kingdom in the Ýidj¸z, and not simply a large Arab state, but to establish a replacement Islamic polity, in which the Arabs, led by the H¸shimites, would take their rightful place.

No full-text available

Request Full-text Paper PDF

To read the full-text of this research,
you can request a copy directly from the author.

... Ottoman model of world government can be implemented by the appointment of a caliph for the Muslim world. The institution of caliphate was abolished by Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the Turkish republic (Güvenç, 1997;Teitelbaum, 2000). Attempts to reinstate it (also known as 'al-Khilafat' in Arabic and 'Islamic viceregency' in English) is visible among various strands of Islamic politicians (cf. ...
... Attempts to reinstate it (also known as 'al-Khilafat' in Arabic and 'Islamic viceregency' in English) is visible among various strands of Islamic politicians (cf. Kramer, 1980;Teitelbaum, 2000). While Catholics, the argument goes, have a Pope, Muslims have no caliph (but this argument forgets that Christians are widely divided and Protestants have no Pope for example). ...
... Various Islamic thinkers and politicians propose that the reinstatement of the caliphate would be the first step for return to a new 'Golden Age' of Islam (cf. Kramer, 1980;Teitelbaum, 2000) which was the case during Prophet's time, Umayyad and Abbasid Caliphates as well as Ottoman Empire which was the last bearer of the caliphate. By 16th century Ottoman conquest of Egypt and Arabia, Ottoman sultans simultaneously became caliph of Islam (Hess, 1973). ...
Full-text available
In this article, we develop and reflect on a thought experiment in futurology: 12 models of world government are presented and discussed with regard to world peace. These 12 models consist of 3 overarching categories: Present-oriented models which correspond to the U.S. model, the Chinese model, the EU model and the Russian model; past-oriented models which comprise the Soviet Union model, the British Commonwealth model, the Ottoman model, and the Genghis Khan model; and future-oriented ones such as the workers' international model, the communist model, the science fiction model and the electronic model. It is argued that all these forms are likely for the far future if not for the near future, however globizen's (i.e. global citizen's) welfare will widely differ under various forms of government.
... He sought to have the caliphate passed to him, either by Mehmet Vahdettin VI, the sultan-caliph in Istanbul who succeeded in July 1918 and fled after the Turkish Grand National Assembly abolished the Sultanate in 1922, or by Mustafa Kemal himself. In 1924, after the Turkish government abolished the caliphate as well, and removed the shari'a as the basis of law, he did have himself proclaimed, but found few followers (Teitelbaum 2000). The claim of King Fuad of Egypt, which was widely canvassed, found no resonance outside Egypt, and even there it was very contested, because Fuad had no intention of applying the shari'a (Keddourie 1963, especially 220;Pankhurst 2013, 59). ...
This article examines the use of the title amīr al-mu'minīn in the modern jihadist movement and sets it in the context of the history of how it was used extensively in northern Africa before colonialism. The use of the title did not necessarily signify a claim to caliphate as it is usually taken to be, but described a certain form of activist leadership which may have been attached to a caliph but also could signify a level of authority beneath that. In the modern armed jihad, the declaration of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi first as amīr al-mu'minīn and then as caliph was a staged promotion that separated his authority from that of al-Qa‘ida.11 This article uses some material from a conference paper given in Melbourne Australia in 1982 and reproduced in cyclostyled form in C.R. Pennell, ‘Amir al-Mu'minin, a Title and a Political Reality', in 2nd Conference of the Australasian Middle East Studies Association, ed. I. Herrman (Melbourne: Australasian Middle East Studies Association, 1983). Copies are available in the libraries of the University of Melbourne, La Trobe University and the State Library of Victoria.View all notes
... 95 Sharif Husayn's proclamation of the assumption of the office in March 1924 was an empty gesture with little external recognition. 96 It is not surprising that powerful monarchs such as the Ottoman Sultan saw the Caliphate as a means of reinforcing their (waning) power and authority, with 19 th century scholars such as Abu'l-Huda and Jamal al-din al-Afghani supporting the idea of absolute obedience to the Caliph. 97 Thus, for a short time, there was a linkage between pan-Turkic and pan-Islamic ideals, but this could not be sustained in the face of nationalist and modernising trends in Turkey and the Arabic world. ...
Full-text available
Extract:Islamic politics has become entangled with problematic issues such as Middle Eastern tensions, energy resource access, migration and refugees, international terrorism, and human rights issues. This intertwining of problems and partial solutions remains deeply challenging, even for modernising and democratising states such as Turkey and Indonesia, both of which suffer from complex demands that are not just national, but engage wider, multi-regional perspectives. In this setting, an ideological battle has emerged in which historical institutions such as the Caliphate have been mobilised, often in an ahistorical way that does not lead to substantial notions of Islamic governance, nor realistic paths for governmental responses to the real needs of Islamic communities.
This book offers an alternative vision of Islamic governance through the history and promise of The Hijaz, the first state of Islam. The Hijaz, in the west of present-day Saudi Arabia, was the first Islamic state in Mecca and Medina. This new interpretative international legal history examines two formative historical passages, a millennium apart, of Islamic statehood during the 7th century and, the other, goes back to the origins of Arab Self-Determination in the aftermath of the 1916 Arab Revolt where The Hijaz enjoyed autonomy as well as founding membership of the League of Nations. Book argues for Islamic institutionalization in The Hijaz and integrative internationalization as a positive force for political reform and integration in the Middle East and beyond. Applying key Islamic principles of public good to contemporary life, in addition to deliberative democracy, the book challenges two dominant narratives. It reclaims the development of Islamic statecraft as the wellspring of collective identity and statesmanship in the Arab world, simultaneously influenced and disrupted by Westphalian statehood models and Enlightenment notions of self-determination. It equally rejects the appropriation of Islamic governance and the Caliphate concept by both the post-modern, non-territorial Al-Qaeda and the neo-medievalist ISIS into a “negative space”. Celebrating the history and untapped potential of a region where institutions and laws built the ideological foundations of an emerging polity, The Hijaz is a compelling alternative analysis, “a positive space”, of governance in the Arabian Peninsula and the global Islamic community, and of its interaction with the wider world.
Full-text available
Egypt and Iraq display contrasting policies in the relationship between state and religion. Egypt's nationalist officer corps has subordinated political Islam, stigmatized the Muslim Brotherhood, and bended clerics to its will. While Arab Iraq presents two models, both hold a similar stance on religion: one an elected, parliamentary government dominated by political Islam and Shiite clerics; the other a theocratic Sunni caliphate of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. Egypt and Iraq are heirs to two differing Ottoman solutions to the problem of religion-state relations, the legacy of which is often overlooked. The most prevalent model subordinates clergy and religion to the state in the tradition of Mehmet I. This model is characteristic of the empire in its glory years and would have been recognized by Suleyman the Magnificent. In the other model, the late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century Hamidian caliphate, the head of state claimed temporal and religious authority to combat colonial penetration. Neither Ottoman nor colonial norms of governance, nor nationalist states succeeding them, developed methods to deal with multiethnic states or avoid a tyranny of the majority. Unlike the modernizing Ottoman caliphate, however, the caliphates of Mulla Omar and Ibrahim al-Samarra'i display a literalist reading of sharia and a ruthless disregard of humane prohibitions in mainstream Islamic law against killing innocents. Of the two models, the likely victor is the state-centric subordination of religion because latter-day caliphates have flourished only briefly as radical and sectarian movements in rugged territories where power vacuums existed.
During the First World War, the Ottomans undertook a pan-Islamism propaganda campaign through the newspaper al-Sharq (published by Djemal Pasha in Damascus) to motivate its Arab subjects to support the Ottoman struggle against the Entente powers. To this end, many articles and news items appeared in al-Sharq to inspire Muslim unity around the figure of the caliph. Unity was presented as a crucial part of saving Muslims; disasters were predicted should the Ottoman Empire fall to the 'infidels'. Sharif Husayn and his followers were explicitly or implicitly accused of splitting the umma and rendering the Hijaz and the remainder of independent Muslim territories vulnerable to British and other European imperialists. In 1916, Sharif Husayn launched a revolt in Mecca against the Ottoman Caliph and established a periodical, al-Qibla, to target the same audience. In al-Qibla, Husayn presented the Committee of Union and Progress as amoral and irreligious usurpers of the caliph's authority, and therefore undeserving of allegiance. In this article I analyse the discourse of the two competing sides by examining their propaganda on issues such as loyalty to the caliph, the unity of the Muslims and the formation of alliances with the Great Powers. I argue that Islam shaped the propaganda battle between the Ottomans and the sharif to a greater extent than did Arabism or Turkism.
In the latter years of the nineteenth and the first years of this century, Arab nationalists began to articulate their vision of a polity that would eventually replace the Ottoman framework. By the time Sharif Husayn ibn Ali alHashimi assumed the mantle of the Sharifate in Mecca in 1908, three ideas were in circulation which would have an impact on Husayn's vision of the post-Ottoman order. These were: the idea of a spiritual Sharifian or Arabian Caliphate; the importance of the Arabs, and of the Arabs of the Arabian Peninsula in particular in an Islamic revival; and the important role the Hijaz should play in a post-Ottoman polity. While the polity that Husayn envisaged borrowed from previous formulations, it included ideas developed from his own experience as the leader of an Arabian chieftaincy. Husayn's vision was of a suzerainty, a ri'asah.
197-200; see also FO 371 Fuad El Khatib, Foreign Minister Hashemite Arabic Government (Shunneh , Amman) to FO, 13 March 1924. 39 FO 371
38 Ýusayn's Caliphate Proclamation, 11 March 1924, in {Abdall¸h bin al-Ýusayn, Mudhakkir¸tº (Jerusalem, 1945), pp. 197-200; see also FO 371/10212/E 2608, Fuad El Khatib, Foreign Minister Hashemite Arabic Government (Shunneh, Amman) to FO, 13 March 1924. 39 FO 371/10217/E 2286, clipping from the Manchester Guardian, 13 March 1924. Emphasis mine. 288.p65 9/22/00, 9:37 AM
For a collection of the hundreds of messages of congratulations received by the Sharºf, see Mu-¥ammad Y¢suf al-{Ab¸dº, Al-Ri¥la al-Mul¢kiyya min Makka al-Mukarrama il{ Amm¸n wa'l-Bay'a al-Kubr¸ bil-Khil¸fa lil-Sharºf al-Ýusayn b
  • Al-Qibla
Al-Qibla, No. 752, 7 January; No. 754, 14 January; No. 755, 17 January; No. 756, 21 January; No. 757, 24 January; No. 761, 7 February 1924. For a collection of the hundreds of messages of congratulations received by the Sharºf, see Mu-¥ammad Y¢suf al-{Ab¸dº, Al-Ri¥la al-Mul¢kiyya min Makka al-Mukarrama il{ Amm¸n wa'l-Bay'a al-Kubr¸ bil-Khil¸fa lil-Sharºf al-Ýusayn b. {Alº ({Amm¸n: Wiz¸rat al-Thaq¸fa, 1996).