caliph

noun
ca·​liph | \ ˈkā-ləf How to pronounce caliph (audio) , ˈka-ləf \
variants: or less commonly calif

Definition of caliph

: a successor of Muhammad as temporal (see temporal entry 1 sense 1c) and spiritual head of Islam used as a title

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Other Words from caliph

caliphal \ ˈkā-​lə-​fəl How to pronounce caliphal (audio) , ˈka-​ \ adjective

Examples of caliph in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Hussain had been invited by the inhabitants of Kufa, which was a garrison town near Najaf, to come and lead them in a revolt against the Umayyad caliph in Damascus. Edith Szanto, The Conversation, "The largest contemporary Muslim pilgrimage isn’t the hajj to Mecca, it’s the Shiite pilgrimage to Karbala in Iraq," 9 Sep. 2020 Hussain had been invited by the inhabitants of Kufa, which was a garrison town near Najaf, to come and lead them in a revolt against the Umayyad caliph in Damascus. Edith Szanto, chicagotribune.com, "Largest contemporary Muslim pilgrimage faces coronavirus challenges," 9 Sep. 2020 For example, Mutawakkil, a caliph of the Abbasid dynasty, which ruled over a vast Islamic empire from the eighth to the 13th century, feared that the rituals inflamed anti-regime fervor. Edith Szanto, The Conversation, "The largest contemporary Muslim pilgrimage isn’t the hajj to Mecca, it’s the Shiite pilgrimage to Karbala in Iraq," 9 Sep. 2020 For example, Mutawakkil, a caliph of the Abbasid dynasty, which ruled over a vast Islamic empire from the eighth to the 13th century, feared that the rituals inflamed anti-regime fervor. Edith Szanto, chicagotribune.com, "Largest contemporary Muslim pilgrimage faces coronavirus challenges," 9 Sep. 2020 The meaning of the new nom de guerre was not lost on his future followers: Abu Bakr was the first caliph after the Prophet Muhammad’s death in ancient Arabia and is credited with the wave of Islamic expansion that followed. Rukmini Callimachi, New York Times, "Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, ISIS Leader Known for His Brutality, Is Dead at 48," 27 Oct. 2019 That lineage became even more important after 2014, when ISIS declared its caliphate and appointed a caliph. Rukmini Callimachi, New York Times, "Death of Hamza bin Laden Seen as Blow to Al Qaeda’s Future," 1 Aug. 2019 Eventually, Ali did assume leadership of the Muslim community, becoming Islam’s fourth caliph. Washington Post, "Killing of Soleimani evokes dark history of political assassinations in the formative days of Shiite Islam," 10 Jan. 2020 Eventually, Ali did assume leadership of the Muslim community, becoming Islam’s fourth caliph. Deina Abdelkader, The Conversation, "Killing of Soleimani evokes dark history of political assassinations in the formative days of Shiite Islam," 10 Jan. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'caliph.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of caliph

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for caliph

Middle English caliphe, from Middle French calife, from Arabic khalīfa successor

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Time Traveler for caliph

Time Traveler

The first known use of caliph was in the 14th century

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Statistics for caliph

Last Updated

20 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Caliph.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/caliph. Accessed 24 Nov. 2020.

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More Definitions for caliph

caliph

noun
ca·​liph
variants: or calif \ ˈkā-​ləf \

Kids Definition of caliph

: an important Muslim political and religious leader

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More from Merriam-Webster on caliph

Nglish: Translation of caliph for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of caliph for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about caliph

Comments on caliph

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