/ What is the Caliphate: Definition. The feudal Arab-Muslim state from antiquity to our times

What is the caliphate: the definition. The feudal Arab-Muslim state from antiquity to our times

The formation of the caliphate occurred after deathMuhammad. Initially, the community chose by election the military leaders who were in the immediate circle of the prophet. From that moment the state began to expand its territory. Let us further consider what is the caliphate.

what is the caliphate definition


As was said above, the governmenttook over the military leaders. They were called caliphs. Hence the name of the state. The most successful is Omar. During his years in power, Islam and the Arab Caliphate were widely developed in the surrounding territories. The influence of religion under him spread to almost the entire Middle East. Almost all of the neighbors soon after Omar's acceptance of power learned what the caliphate was. The definition directly indicates the nature of government leadership. Since military leaders came to power, accordingly, their main goal was the seizure of territories. So, with Omar, Egypt, Syria, Palestine were conquered. These lands used to belong to the Christian world. The closest enemy of the state was Byzantium. However, despite her former power, she also had to find out what the caliphate was. The definition of strategy in the conquests for Omar did not seem to be anything complicated. This was especially true of Byzantium. A long war with the Persians, numerous internal contradictions seriously undermined its power. This allowed Omar to select several territories and defeat the Byzantine army in a number of battles.

Military achievements of the caliphate

In a sense, the warriors were doomed totheir campaigns. First of all, we should note the mobility of the army. It was provided at the expense of light cavalry, which had a considerable advantage over the heavy cavalry and infantry of the enemies. In addition, after the seizure of territories, the Arabs strictly observed the commandments of their religion. They took the property only from the rich, and the poor conquerors did not touch. This, of course, evoked sympathy for them among the local population. The Arabs allowed freedom of religion among the conquered peoples. As for their own religion, the treatment in it was more economic in nature. After the conquest, the Arabs imposed tax on the population. Those who accepted their faith were freed from a large part of it.

how the Arab caliphate was governed

First internal contradictions

Most of the population perceived the invadersas liberators. The entrenched people as a whole had a positive idea of ​​what a caliphate is. The definition of the invaders as liberators was also conditioned by the fact that the conquerors retained political independence for the people in a number of issues. On the conquered territories, they created semi-military settlements. The Arabs led a closed way of life, being in their patriarchal-patrimonial world. However, this state of affairs did not last long. Notable Arabs who lived in the rich cities of Syria, Egypt gradually adopted the habits of the local nobility. This caused the first split in their society. Adherents of traditions, patriarchal foundations could not reconcile with the behavior of those who decided to abandon the customs of the fathers.

Split in the nobility

The first disintegration of the Arab caliphate occurred in 661year. The conflict between supporters of the new way and traditionalists tried to weaken Muhammad's son-in-law, - Ali. But all his attempts were fruitless. As a result, the conspirators of the traditionalist group killed Ali. In his place came the emir of Mu'awiyah. At that time in Syria, he was the head of the Arab community. Muawiya immediately broke off relations with supporters of traditionalism. The palace of the Caliph was transferred to Damascus. Over the subsequent time, the state significantly expanded its limits.

Activities of Mu'awiyah

By the 8th century, the state had subordinated the NorthernAfrica. In 771, the offensive began on European territory. The fact that in three years managed to capture the entire Iberian Peninsula, speaks of the power that the Arab caliphate possessed. The empire at Mu'awiyah reached such power that history did not yet know. The possessions of Macedon, Rome did not extend as widely as the state of the Umayyads. Since the Arab caliphate was governed by adherents of the new system, he finally lost his previous patriarchal-tribal features. For example, earlier the religious head was selected by a common vote. Muavia established the hereditary transfer of the title. The palace of the Caliph acquired secular features.

the disintegration of the Arab caliphate

Tax system

Three main collections were introduced.Previously, the tithe went to the income of the community. Now this tax went to the treasury of the Caliph. Also, all residents had to pay land tax. The third gathering was Jizia. Previously, this tax was levied only on non-Muslims who lived on the territory. Numerous officials followed the collection. The state itself became more and more like the despotism of an ancient era.

Religious trends

During the Umayyad years, special attention was paid toformation of a single state. For this, Arabic was introduced as the main language. A key role in this period was assigned to the Koran. He imagined a collection of sayings from the Prophet, which were written down by his first disciples. After Mohammed died, several additions were made, with the help of which the Sunnah book was created. On the basis of these two Talmuds, officials ruled the court. The Qur'an identified the most important issues relating to the life of the population. The people recognized this book unconditionally. As for the Sunnah, the attitude of the religious communities to it was different. This line was followed by another split in the society.


The Umayyads lasted 90 years.In 750 Abul Abbas, considered a distant relative of Muhammad, destroyed the last caliph and all heirs, declaring himself the head of state. The Abbasids proved to be a stronger dynasty than the Umayyads. It lasted until 1055. Abbas was from Mesopotamia. He did not want to remain in touch with the Syrian rulers and transferred the caliph's palace to Baghdad.

The New Order

Структура государства при Аббасидах была во much like the Persian despotism. When the caliph was the vizier - the first minister. The whole state was divided into provinces, led by emirs. For each official, a specific sphere of activity was fixed. Under the Abbasids, the number of departments has sharply increased. At first it contributed to the management of a large country. Mesopotamian influence affected one of the key economic sectors - agriculture. Irrigation was widespread everywhere. Officials from the special department had to control the construction of dams and canals, monitor the state of the entire system.

the rise of the Arab caliphate

What are the achievements of the Arab caliphate?

First of all, it should be said about the increasedmilitary power of the state. The regular army consisted of 150 thousand people. Among them were mercenaries from barbarian tribes. The caliph had his own guard. Warriors for her were trained from an early age. By the end of his tenure in power, Abbas received the title of "Bloody" for his tough measures, used to restore order to the conquered territories. However, largely thanks to them, the Arab caliphate flourished. First of all, it should be noted the active development of agriculture. This was facilitated by a consistent and thoughtful policy of power. The territory of the country was in different climatic conditions. This allowed us to fully provide the country with the necessary products. At the same time, much attention was paid to floriculture and gardening.


Speaking of what achievements are knownthe Arab caliphate, one can not fail to note the competent leadership of the Abbasid dynasty. They managed not to allow excessive empire independence and other high-ranking officials. In Europe, the land that was given to the local nobility for service, almost always remained in hereditary ownership. The Arabs adhered to the ancient Egyptian order in this matter. All lands belonged to the head of state by law. He had the right to allocate to his subjects allotments for their service. However, after their death, the land again returned to the Caliph. Only he could decide whether to leave the heirs or not. In the era of the early Middle Ages, most conflicts arose because of the power that the earls and barons took to themselves on the lands handed to them by the king. The ruler could only dispose of his own territories. Some of the subjects of the king possessed more extensive lands than he himself.


Under the Abbasids, the Arab world became one of the keyindustrial centers. Conquering a lot of peoples who had ancient craft traditions, the conquerors enriched and developed them. In the era of the Abbasids, high-quality steel began to trade. Damascus blades were very valued in the West. The Arabs not only fought, but also traded with the Christian world. Brave merchants or small caravans went far to the west and north from the borders of the state. Items that were manufactured in the 9th-10th centuries. under the Abbasids, were found even on the lands of the Slavic and Germanic tribes, near the Baltic Sea. The Muslim rulers have long been fighting against Byzantium. It was caused not only by the desire to seize new territories. Byzantium had long-established trade connections around the world. Because of this, it was the main competitor of the merchants.

how the Arabian Caliphate was administered under Harun

Public unrest

Despite the well-being, full of tranquility inthe state has never been. The peoples of the conquered countries always tried to regain their independence. They constantly raised riots against the invaders. In addition, the emirs in the provinces were also dissatisfied. They did not want to be dependent on the head of the country in all administrative matters. The collapse of the Arab caliphate began almost immediately after its formation. The Moors separated first. These North African Arabs conquered the Pyrenees. In the middle of the 10th century the Cordoba Emirate separated. He officially consolidated his sovereignty. Moor managed to maintain his independence for quite some time. Despite the wars with the Europeans, as well as the powerful attacks of the Reconquista, when virtually all of Spain returned to the Christian world, until the middle of the 15th century the Pyrenees had a Moorish state. As a result, it declined to the Granada Caliphate. This small area around the eponymous Spanish city is considered the pearl of the Arab world. She shakes her magnificence with her neighbors-Europeans.

Uprising in the eastern territories

They occurred from the second half of the 8th to the end of the 9thcentury. The uprisings were predominantly national in character and were directed against the rule of the Arabs. As an ideological shell, the teaching of the Khurramites was advocated. They were also called Mazdakites, after the Zoroastrian priest Mazdak. The largest uprising occurred in the second half of the 8th century under al-Mahdi. After the execution of Abu Muslim in 754, many preachers sought to become his heirs. Among them, in particular, was Hashim ibn Hakim. In the past, he was an associate of Abu Muslim. Hashima was also called al-Mukanna. He covered his face to, as the followers said, to protect the Companions from their radiance. Opponents of Hashim said that he used a veil to hide his ugly appearance. Al-Mukanna was the old enemy of the Abbasid dynasty. At one time he was captured and imprisoned in a Baghdad prison, from where he fled.

what achievements is known the Arab caliphate

The new struggle for the throne

After the death of al-Mahdi, in 785, in his placeclaimed two sons. One was Musa al-Hadi, he was the head of Jurjan, the second was Harun al-Rashid, he ruled Azerbaijan and Armenia. Each of the successors had its own administration and advisers. Al-Mahdi, realizing that after his death an internecine war could begin, went to al-Hadi to persuade him to abandon the throne in favor of Harun. However, on the way, he suddenly died. As a result, Musa took his place.

Change of power

Despite the fact that Harun voluntarily recognizedthe rule of al-Hadi, there were rumors that he wants to kill the Caliph. Then their mother, Hajuran, intervened in the situation. She considered that the Arab caliphate under Harun would be more developed. As a result, she poisoned al-Hadi. During his years of power, he managed to become famous as the perpetrator of the massacre of the Alid leaders in the Mecca region in 786. Probably, this was one of the main reasons why Hajuran decided that the country should not be in the same state as it was governed. The Arab Caliphate under Harun experienced a consolidation of the former and the formation of new ethnic communities. With the advent of the second heir, Hajuran gained a huge influence on the political life of the state. She used it until the very last days.

Strengthening the monarchy

Policy aimed at strengthening the centralpower and the formation of statehood according to the Sassanid example was started even under the Umayyads. It was successfully continued by the Abbasids. In fact, the country developed as it was managed. The Arab Caliphate under Harun successfully implemented this policy. In connection with the fact that the Abbasids gained power with the support of the Iranian military, the role of their ideology in the army and the state became dominant. The main nucleus was formed by persian-khorasantsami. They were accepted into the Abbasid family as "sons." They succeeded in eliminating the constant pressure of the Arab-Bedouin formations on the Caliph power.

 Arab Caliphate Empire

Reducing the impact

Since the middle of the 9th century the disintegration of the monarchy of the Abbasidshas become irreversible. The North African provinces began to separate, followed by Central Asia. Inside the Arab world, the confrontation between Shiites and Sunnis has intensified. By the middle of the 10th century Baghdad was the first to capture. After this invasion, they for a long time became rulers of the remnants of the mighty Caliphate of Arabia. Under their authority there were also small territories in Mesopotamia. Since that moment, the Islamic world has lost its unity. In 1055 the state was conquered by the Seljuk Turks. Saracens became established in the Middle East. In the 11th century, Sicily was conquered by them, but subsequently they were ousted from there by the Normans. Turks from their territories in Asia Minor went to Byzantine lands. For several hundred years they were able to conquer the entire Balkan Peninsula. At the same time they brutally oppressed the Slavic peoples who inhabited these territories. In 1453 the Ottoman Empire completely captured Byzantium. As a result, the city received a new name - Istanbul - and became the capital of the state.