The caliphate was a key political institution of early Islam that withered over the centuries and by the 940s ce had become a vestige of its former self. For the next near-millennium, the institution continued in an attenuated form, eventually becoming one title among many for the Mamluk and Ottoman rulers. In 1924, Kemal Atatürk abolished even that remnant. The umma lacked a khalifa until 2014, when the self-declared Islamic State came to existence with a Caliph Ibrahim at its head, reviving an ancient and moribund institution.
I have covered several aspects of this topic in my writings, listed here in chronological order.
- Review of David J. Wasserstein, The Caliphate in the West: An Islamic Political Institution in the Iberian Peninsula (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993), Choice, Nov. 1993.
- "What Do the Terrorists Want? [A Caliphate and Shari'a]." New York Sun, July 26, 2005. The title explains the argument.
- "The Caliphate: Updates," DanielPipes.org, Dec. 12, 2005. A blog tracing caliphate-related developments over the period of a year.
- "Monitoring the Caliphates' Spread," DanielPipes.org, Aug. 6, 2014. Who else, after ISIS revived the institution, has ambitions of becoming caliph.
- "The Caliphate Brings Trauma," Aydınlık Daily (Turkey), Aug. 25, 2014. Seven forecasts about the caliphate.
- "What Do Jihadis Want? The Caliphate," chapter in Global Terrorism: Challenges and Policy Options, ed. by Dhruv C. Katoch and Shakti Sinha (New Delhi: Pentagon Press, 2017), pp..88-91. Explains the role of the caliphate for violent jihadis.
(April 1, 2017)