Caliphate is called the regime headed by a caliph. The territory and period governed by one of these Muslim leaders is also called caliphate.
To understand what a caliphate is, therefore, it is imperative to understand the notion of caliph. This term derives from the French caliph, although it has its etymological origin in a classical Arabic word that can be translated as “vicar”. Caliph is the title held by those considered delegates and successors of the prophet Muhammad, who had civil and religious authority in certain regions.
The caliphs led the Muslim people, but they were not taken as prophets. Its function was to establish and govern a model according to the precepts of Muhammad: the caliphate.
According to DigoPaul, the first caliphate was the so-called Orthodox Caliphate, which lasted between 632 and 661. In this caliphate there were four different caliphs, the first being Abu Bakr as-Siddiq, who was Muhammad’s successor.
The Orthodox Caliphate is the only one that recognizes both Shiism and Sunnism. Then there were other caliphates, but with different orientations. Sunnis include the Umayyad Caliphate, the Abbasid Caliphate, and the Ottoman Caliphate. The Shiites, for their part, had the Fatimid Caliphate.
Without a doubt, one of the most important caliphates in all of history was the Umayyad Caliphate of Córdoba, also known as the Caliphate of the West. This, as its name indicates, had its capital in Córdoba (Spain) and was proclaimed in the year 929 by Abderramán III and lasted until the year 1031.
Other interesting data about this caliphate were the following:
-Corresponded to the time of greatest splendor of Al-Andalus.
-Its economy was based both on the minting of the currency and on agriculture and handicrafts. The latter two fields that developed enormously, making a great difference to any other corner of the European continent.
-He bet on culture in a forceful way. So much so that in its capital a medical school, 70 libraries were launched, a university was founded and two schools for translators were created.
-In addition to Córdoba, which came to exceed 500,000 residents, other important cities of the caliphate were Toledo, Seville or Zaragoza.
-During the Umayyad Caliphate, it should also be noted that not only was the famous Mosque of Córdoba expanded, but the construction of the palatine city of Medina Azahara was carried out.
-Fundamental figures at the cultural and philosophical level of this caliphate are Maimonides or Averroes, among others.
-At a political level, the caliphate was so important that even kingdoms such as León and Navarra came to pay tribute to it. And so did counties like Barcelona, for example.
Today the concept of caliphate is often used in reference to the territories that Islamic terrorists dominate or intend to dominate. These extremist groups seek to establish governments governed by an interpretation of the Koran that endorses violence and the persecution of those who profess another religion.