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Caliph

(974 words)

Author(s): Kadi, Wadad
In Arabic, khalīfa is the title adopted by the head of the Muslim polity (see community ¶ and society in the qurʾān ) ever since the death of the prophet Muḥammad in 11/632. The term occurs in the Qurʾān twice in the singular and seven times in the plural, as khalāʾif or khulafāʾ, and some of its verbal occurrences (particularly khalafa and istakhlafa) are semantically very closely connected with it. There is little in the qurʾānic occurrences of the term that prepares for its politically and theologically charged meaning. By far its most prevalent meaning in the …