Caliphate in the Ideological Dialogue of the Islamic World: The Case of Pan-Islamic Congress in Cairo (1926)

Cover Page

Cite item


The article analyses the historical role and typological features of the movements for defense of the Caliphate that arose in various parts of the Muslim world as a result of the collapse of the Ottoman Empire and the abolition of the Caliphate. The liquidation of the Ottoman Caliphate in 1924 by the Republican leadership of Turkey put again on the agenda the question of the Muslim unity and transregional cooperation. The authors focus on the new round of socio-political discussions about the unity of the Ummah and the future fate of the Caliphate. The extensive dialogue of the defenders of the idea of Caliphate and supporters of its restoration from different Islamic countries led to the emergence of various ideological approaches to this issue which reflected regional specifics in the interpretation of the essence of this institution in the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia. Using the vivid example of the Pan-Islamic Congress for the Caliphate in Cairo (1926), the article examines the reasons for disagreements in the political, religious and philosophical matters among the advocates of Caliphate from the main Islamic regions. The article focuses on the difficulties faced by the Islamic thinkers - supporters of the Caliphate in the drastically changed conditions of world geopolitics and the wide spread of ideas of secular statehood. The article investigates the historical and cultural origins of interest in the concepts of the Caliphate among Muslims in various parts of the Islamic world. The article also explores various types of reactions of Muslims in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia to the repudiation of the Caliphate by the Republican Turkey.

About the authors

Svetlana A. Kirillina

Institute of Asian and African Studies, Lomonosov State University

Author for correspondence.

D.Sc. (History), Professor, Head of Department of Middle and Near East History

11/1 Mokhovaya St., Moscow, 125009, Russia

Alexandra L. Safronova

Institute of Asian and African Studies, Lomonosov State University


D.Sc. (History), Professor, Head of Department of South Asian History

11/1 Mokhovaya St., Moscow, 125009, Russia

Vladimir V. Orlov

Institute of Asian and African Studies, Lomonosov State University; Institute of Oriental Studies Russian Academy of Sciences


D.Sc. (History), Professor, Department of Middle and Near East History, Institute of Asian and African Studies, Lomonosov Moscow State University; Senior Research Fellow, Centre of Arab and Islamic Studies, Institute of Oriental Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences

11/1 Mokhovaya St., Moscow, 125009, Russia; 12 Rozhdestvenka St., Moscow, 107031, Russia


  1. Sékaly A. Le Congrès du Khalifat (Le Caire, 13–19 mai 1926) et le Congrès du Monde Musulman (la Mekke, 7 juin – 5 juillet 1926). Paris: Leroux; 1926.
  2. Kedourie E. Egypt and the Caliphate 1915–1946. Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland. 1963;(3/4):208–248.
  3. Hajrutdinov A.G. Poslednij tatarskij bogoslov. Zhizn’ i nasledie Musy Dzharullaha Bigieva [The Last Tatar Theologian. The Life and Legacy of Musa Jarullah Bigiev]. Kazan: Iman; 1999. (In Russ.).
  4. Islam i sovetskoe gosudarstvo. Vyp. 1: (po materialam Vostochnogo otd. OGPU. 1926 g.) [Islam and the Soviet State. Issue 1: (based on the Materials of the Eastern Department of OGPU. 1926)]. Introductory article, comp. and comments by DY Arapov and GG Kosach. Moscow: Mardjani Publishing House; 2010. (In Russ.).
  5. Kramer M. Islam Assembled. The Advent of the Muslim Congresses. New York: Columbia University Press; 1986.
  6. Rida Rashid. Mudhakkirat mu’tamar al-khilafa al-islamiyya [Proceedings of the Islamic Caliphate Congress]. Al-Manar. 1926 June 11; 1926 July 10; 1926 August 18; 1926 September 7. (In Arab.).
  7. Vatikiotis P.J. The History of Modern Egypt from Muhammad Ali to Mubarak. 4th ed. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press; 1991.
  8. Arslan Shakib. Al-Sayyid Rashid Rida aw ikha’ arba’in sanah [Sayyid Rashid Rida, or Forty-Year Friendship]. Damascus: Ibn Zaydun Publishing House; 1937. (In Arab.).
  9. Rida Muhammad Rashid. Al-Khilafa aw al-Imama al-’Uzma [The Caliphate, or Great Imamate]. Cairo: New Publishing House; 1975. (In Arab.).
  10. Kerr M.H. Islamic Reform. The Political and Legal Theories of Muhammad Abduh and Rashid Rida. Berkeley–Los Angeles: University of California Press; 1966.
  11. ‘Abd al-Raziq ‘Ali. Al-Islam wa usul al-hukm: bahth fi al-khilafa wa al-hukuma fi al-Islam [Islam and Principles of Rule: A Study on the Caliphate and Government in Islam]. Cairo: Misr Publishing House; 1925. (In Arab.).
  12. Hourani A. Arabic Thought in the Liberal Age, 1798–1939. 2nd ed., reissued. Cambridge–London–New York: Cambridge University Press; 1983.
  13. Syukiyaynen LR. Islamskaya kontseptsiya halifata: ishodnye nachala i sovremennaya interpretatsiya [Islamic Concept of the Caliphate: Fundamentals and Contemporary Interpretation]. Islam v sovremennom mire. 2016;12(3):139–154. (In Russ.).
  14. Enayat H. Modern Islamic Political Thought. Austin: University of Texas Press; 1982.
  15. Levin ZI. Razvitie obshhestvennoj mysli na Vostoke. Kolonial’nyj period. XIX–XX vv. [Evolution of the Social Thought in the East. Colonial Period. XIX–XX vv.]. Moscow: Nauka. Oriental Literature Publishing House; 1993. (In Russ.).
  16. Alavi H. Ironies of History: Contradictions of Khilafat Movement. Our World). Available from: URL: [Accessed 26.11.2019].
  17. Minault G. The Khilafat Movement: Religious Symbolism and Political Mobilization in India. Delhi: Columbia University Press; 1982.
  18. Hasan Mushirul. Maulana Abul Kalam Azad: The Odd Secularist. India Today: 100 people Who Shaped India. A Special Issue. Delhi; 1999, р. 33–37.
  19. Wasti Syed Tanvir. The Circles of Maulana Mohamed Ali. Middle Eastern Studies. 2002;38(4):51–62.
  20. Jain MS. Mohamed Ali and the Khilafat Committee, 1925–1926. Communal and Pan-Islamic Trends in Colonial India. Ed. by M. Hasan. New Delhi: Manohar; 1985, р. 164–169.
  21. Rahman Hakim Syed Zillur. Hakim Ajmal Khan. Government of India. New Delhi: National Book Trust; 2004.
  22. Regionalizing Pan-Islamism: Documents on the Khilafat Movement. Ed. by M. Hasan and M. Pernau. New Delhi: Manohar; 2005.
  23. Wasti Syed Tanvir. The Indian Red Crescent Mission to the Balkan Wars. Middle Eastern Studies. 2009;45(3):393–406.
  24. Malik MA. Allama Inayatullah Mashraqi: A Political Biography. Delhi: Oxford University Press; 2000.
  25. De Amalendu. History of the Khaksar Movement in India, 1931–1947. Kolkata: Parul Prakashani; 2009.
  26. Zubrzycki J. The Last Nizam. The Rise and Fall of India’s Greatest Princely State. Sydney: Picador; 2006.

Copyright (c) 2022 Kirillina S.A., Safronova A.L., Orlov V.V.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

This website uses cookies

You consent to our cookies if you continue to use our website.

About Cookies