What is a Caliphate?

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria group announced the establishment of a caliphate on June 29, 2014. The group named its leader Abu Bakar Al Baghdadi as the caliph of the new Islamic State. The State of Iraq and the Levant or the State of Iraq and the Levant was changed to simply ‘The Islamic State’.

According to the group’s spokesman Abu Muhammad Al Adnani the decision of restoring the caliphate was made during a meeting of the groups Shura council. The group gained strength after capturing large territories in northern and western Iraq. The group is known for its strict implementation of Islamic Laws and deals ruthless with any opposition be it from civilians or any other rival group. The ISIS has also killed a large number of Shias. The group initially wanted to establish a caliphate in only the Sunni majority areas of Iraq but as ISIS gained strength it also expanded into Syria.

What is a caliphate?

A caliphate is basically an Islamic State. A caliphate is not just a country it is in fact something that covers every Muslim in the world. The last true caliphate ended centuries ago. Abu Bakar who was the close friend of Prophet Muhammad who founded Islam was the first caliph in the world. Abu Bakar Al Baghdadi the ISIS leader has also borrowed his name from Abu Bakar the first caliph of Islam. Abu Bakar’s Islamic state which he took over from Prophet Muhammad was called the caliphate. The last real caliphate that existed was the Abbasid Caliphate which ruled. It was the last real caliphate in the sense that it ruled a large Muslim community.

ISIS’s Caliphate

The declaration of a caliphate by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria group means that the self proclaimed Caliph Abu Bakar al Baghdadi believes that he is representing all the Muslims in the world and is fighting on their behalf. However Baghdadi doesn’t consider the Shia faction as Muslims. The new Islamic state also desires to conquer all the Muslim majority areas in the world in the long term.

In early July this year Al Baghdadi declared that he plan to conquer Rome in an attempt to establish an Islamic State that stretches from Europe to Middle East and South Asia. He also spoke of his desire to conquer Spain; which was once ruled by Muslims.

The declaration by the ISIS regarding the establishment of a Caliphate was criticized across the Muslim world especially by the Governments in Middle East. Apart from Government almost all the major Sunni historians criticized this step by ISIS. The step is also deemed as against Sharia.

Present Status

The capital of the Islamic State is Mosul but it has not being recognized by any country. In fact not a single country has supported this step let alone recognizing it. The official language of the unrecognized Islamic State is Arabic. Caliph Ibrahim as he likes to call himself has also asked Muslims around the world to migrate to the newly founded state as it is their duty according to Islamic teachings.