What does caliph mean?

Definitions for caliph
ˈkeɪ lɪf, ˈkæl ɪfcaliph

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word caliph.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. caliph, calif, kaliph, kalif, khalif, khalifahnoun

    the civil and religious leader of a Muslim state considered to be a representative of Allah on earth

    "many radical Muslims believe a Khalifah will unite all Islamic lands and people and subjugate the rest of the world"


  1. caliphnoun

    The political leader of the Muslim world, successor of Muhammad's political authority, not religious or spiritual

  2. Etymology: From (khalīfä).

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Calif, Caliphnoun

    A title assumed by the successors of Mahomet among the Saracens, who were vested with absolute power in affairs, both religious and civil.

    Etymology: khalifa, Arab. an heir or successor.


  1. caliph

    A caliphate or khilāfah (Arabic: خِلَافَة, Arabic pronunciation: [xi'laːfah]) is an institution or public office under the leadership of an Islamic steward with the title of caliph (; Arabic: خَلِيفَة Arabic pronunciation: [xæ'liː'fæh], pronunciation ), a person considered a political-religious successor to the Islamic prophet Muhammad and a leader of the entire Muslim world (ummah). Historically, the caliphates were polities based on Islam which developed into multi-ethnic trans-national empires. During the medieval period, three major caliphates succeeded each other: the Rashidun Caliphate (632–661), the Umayyad Caliphate (661–750), and the Abbasid Caliphate (750–1258). In the fourth major caliphate, the Ottoman Caliphate, the rulers of the Ottoman Empire claimed caliphal authority from 1517. Throughout the history of Islam, a few other Muslim states, almost all hereditary monarchies such as the Mamluk Sultanate (Cairo) and Ayyubid Caliphate, have claimed to be caliphates. The first caliphate, the Rashidun Caliphate, was established in 632 immediately after Muhammad's death. It was followed by the Umayyad Caliphate and the Abbasid Caliphate. The last caliphate, the Ottoman Caliphate, existed until it was abolished in 1924 by the Turkish Republic. Not all Muslim states have had caliphates, and only a minority of Muslims recognise any particular caliph as legitimate in the first place. The Sunni branch of Islam stipulates that, as a head of state, a caliph should be elected by Muslims or their representatives. Followers of Shia Islam, however, believe a caliph should be an Imam chosen by God from the Ahl al-Bayt (the "Household of the Prophet"). In the early 21st century, following the failure of the Arab Spring and related protests, some have argued for a return to the concept of a caliphate to better unify Muslims. The caliphate system was abolished in Turkey in 1924 during the secularisation of Turkey as part of Atatürk's Reforms.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Caliphnoun

    successor or vicar; -- a title of the successors of Mohammed both as temporal and spiritual rulers, now used by the sultans of Turkey

  2. Etymology: [OE. caliphe, califfe, F. calife (cf. Sp. califa), fr. Ar. khalfan successor, fr. khalafa to succed (i. e. a successor of Mohammed).]


  1. Caliph

    The Caliph is the head of state in a Caliphate, and the title for the ruler of the Islamic Ummah, an Islamic community ruled by the Shari'ah. The word derives from the Arabic خليفة Khalīfah, which means "successor" or "representative". Following Muhammad's death in 632, the early leaders of the Muslim nation were called Khalifat Rasul Allah, the political successors to the messenger of God. Some academics prefer to transliterate the term as Khalīfah. A Calipha is either a female caliph or the wife or widow of a caliph. There was one known instance in history that a calipha ruled a Caliphate: Sitt al-Mulk was regent of the Fatimid Caliphate from 1221 to 1223. Some caliphas, such as Zaynab an-Nafzawiyyah and Al-Khayzuran bint Atta, wielded great influence in the courts of their husbands.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Caliph

    Caliphate. See Calif.

The Nuttall Encyclopedia

  1. Caliph

    the title adopted by the successors of Mahomet, as supreme in both civil and religious matters. The principal caliphates are: (1) the Caliphate of the East, established by Abubekr at Mecca, transferred to Bagdad by the Abassides (632-1258); (2) the Caliphate of Cordova, established at Cordova by Abderrahman (756-1031); (3) the Caliphate of Egypt, established by the Fatimites (909-1171). It was at Bagdad that Moslem civilisation achieved its final development.

Etymology and Origins

  1. Caliph

    From the Arabic Khalifah, a successor.

Matched Categories

How to pronounce caliph?

How to say caliph in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of caliph in Chaldean Numerology is: 3

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of caliph in Pythagorean Numerology is: 4

Examples of caliph in a Sentence

  1. Abu Mohammad al-Adnani:

    Our caliph, God save him, has accepted the pledge of loyalty of our brothers of Boko Haram so we congratulate Muslims and our jihadi brothers in West Africa.

  2. Graeme Smith:

    The Taliban has a huge leadership problem at a critical political moment, another caliph has announced himself to the world, and the Taliban has been silent. And that is getting noticed by militants across South Asia.

  3. Ryan Mauro:

    ISIL's focus on justifying killing Shiites is because it is being pressed by Shiite forces in Iraq and Syria, iSIL is hoping to enlist Sunnis by framing its jihad as part of a prophetic battle where the Shiites and Jews eventually unite behind the Antichrist. Fanning the flames of the Sunni-Shia split, which dates to shortly after the death of Mohammad, benefits ISIS by helping it recruit Sunnis, Mauro said. And the terror group's leadership appears to believe a final battle has been prophecized. Worldwide, Sunnis make up about 85 percent of the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims. Sunnis, who believe the true lineage of Mohammad lies with those who most closely followed his teachings, control powerful Muslim nations including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Turkey and Pakistan. In addition, most Muslims in Africa are Sunnis. Shia Muslims are a relatively small minority of Shia Muslims, concentrated in Iran and Iraq. Shia Muslims believe bloodlines, not devotion, dictate the prophet’s line of successors. Throughout history, Shia Muslims have rejected the authority of Muslim leaders elected by the people, instead following a line of clerics Shia Muslims consider to have been appointed by Mohammad or Allah. The divide goes back to the period following Mohammad’s death in 632, when his close confidante Abu Bakr became the first Caliph of the Islamic nation. Shias believed the rightful heir was Mohammad’s cousin and son-in-law, Ali bin Abu Talib. Both sects have spawned more than their share of terrorists, though the terror organizations operate differently. Al Qaeda, ISIS, Al-Shebab and Boko Haram are Sunni organizations, while Iranian-sponsored terrorist groups, including Hezbollah, are Shia. The 13th issue of Dabiq, a copy of which was provided to FoxNews.com by the Middle East Media Research Institute( MEMRI), is titled The Rafidah : From Ibn Saba' To the Dajjal. The Rafidah is derogatory term for Shia Muslims that translates to.

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"caliph." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 24 Mar. 2023. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/caliph>.

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    fortification consisting of a low wall
    • A. reciprocal
    • B. germ
    • C. breastwork
    • D. lumberman

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