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Early Islamic World

Caliphate

History for Kids >> Early Islamic World

What is the Caliphate?

The Caliphate is the name of the Muslim government that ruled the Islamic Empire during the Middle Ages. For a long period of time, the Caliphate controlled Western Asia, North Africa, and parts of Europe. Its culture and trade influenced much of the civilized world spreading the religion of Islam and introducing advances in science, education, and technology.

Who was the leader of the Caliphate?

The Caliphate was led by a ruler called the "caliph", which means "successor." The caliph was considered the successor to the Prophet Muhammad and was both the religious and political leader of the Muslim world.


Map of the Islamic Empire
When did it begin?

The Caliphate began after the death of Muhammad in 632 CE. The first successor to Muhammad was Caliph Abu Bakr. Today, historians call the first Caliphate the Rashidun Caliphate.

The First Four Caliphs

The Rashidun Caliphate consisted of the First Four Caliphs of the Islamic Empire. Rashidun means "rightly guided." These first four caliphs were called "rightly guided" because they were all companions of the Prophet Muhammad and learned the ways of Islam directly from Muhammad.

The Rashidun Caliphate lasted for 30 years from 632 CE to 661 CE. The First Four Caliphs included Abu Bakr, Umar Ibn al-Khattab, Uthman ibn Affan, and Ali ibn Abi Talib.

Major Caliphates Fall of the Caliphate

Historians differ on when the Islamic Caliphate came to an end. Many put the end of the Caliphate at 1258 CE, when the Mongols defeated the Abbasids at Baghdad. Others put the end at 1924 when the country of Turkey was established.

Shia and Sunni Muslims

One of the major divisions in the Islam religion is between Shia and Sunni Muslims. This division began very early in the history of Islam with the selection of the first Caliph. The Shia believed that the Caliph should be a descendant of the Prophet Muhammad, while the Sunni thought that the Caliph should be elected.

Interesting Facts about the Caliphate of the Islamic Empire Activities

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More on the Early Islamic World:

Timeline and Events
Timeline of the Islamic Empire
Caliphate
First Four Caliphs
Umayyad Caliphate
Abbasid Caliphate
Ottoman Empire
Crusades

People
Scholars and Scientists
Ibn Battuta
Saladin
Suleiman the Magnificent
Culture
Daily Life
Islam
Trade and Commerce
Art
Architecture
Science and Technology
Calendar and Festivals
Mosques

Other
Islamic Spain
Islam in North Africa
Important Cities
Glossary and Terms


Works Cited

History for Kids >> Early Islamic World

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