Caliphate (kal-fit `IFAT), the domination of Islam;

Caliph (kal 'If'), the leading spiritual and temporal leader of the Islamic state. In principle, Islam is theocratic: when Muhammad died, a [caliph. Arabic] = successor has been chosen to rule in his place. The caliph had temporal and spiritual power, but was not permitted prophetic power, which was reserved for Muhammad. Caliph could not exercise its authority on religious doctrine. The first Caliph Abu Bakr was. He was replaced by Omar, Othman and Ali. Sunni Muslims recognize these first four or Rashidun (rightly guided), caliphs. Shiites, however, recognize Ali as the first caliph. After the death of Ali, Muawiya became caliph and founded the Umayyad dynasty (661-750), mainly by force of arms. The capital was Damascus. In 750 the Abbasid family, descendants of the Prophet's uncle, led a coalition that defeated (749-50), the Umayyad family. The Abbasid dynasty (749-1258) is sometimes called the caliphate of Baghdad.
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