What was the cause of the decline of the caliphate?

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The supremacy of the Abbasid Caliphate came to an end in 1258 with the Mongol invasion and destruction of Baghdad. Al-Musta'sim, the last reigning caliph and a direct descendant of the uncle of Muhammad, was executed by the Mongols by being wrapped in a carpet and trampled to death by...

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The supremacy of the Abbasid Caliphate came to an end in 1258 with the Mongol invasion and destruction of Baghdad. Al-Musta'sim, the last reigning caliph and a direct descendant of the uncle of Muhammad, was executed by the Mongols by being wrapped in a carpet and trampled to death by horses.

For the next three centuries, the caliphate continued to rule from Cairo but in a greatly weakened state. The caliphs in Cairo served a purely religious and ceremonial role under the rule of the Mamluks.

The Ottomans claimed to be a continuation of the caliphate, which lasted from 1517 until 1924. It was first claimed by Sultan Murad I and continued through the line of Ottoman sultans over the next four centuries. When the Ottoman Empire was partitioned by the League of Nations following the empire's defeat in World War I, the caliphs lost all political influence. The last caliph, Abdulmecid II, retained his position until the secular reforms of Turkey under Mustafa Kemal in 1924.

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The Caliphate began as a series of Successors to the Prophet Muhammad. After the first four "Rightly Guided" Caliphs, the Umayyad Dynasty established the Caliphate in Damascus, until the Abbassid Dynasty moved the capitol of the Caliphate to Baghdad. In 1258 the Mongols attacked Baghdad, thus ending this dynasty. This is the main reason for the decline of the Caliphate.

After the conquest of Baghdad, the Caliphate continued under the Mongols in a weakened form. In the succeeding centuries what had once been a unified Islamic Empire was split into three: the Ottoman Empire centered on modern day Turkey, the Safavid Empire centered in modern Iran, and the Mughal Empire in India. The Ottomans claimed to revive and continue the Caliphate until the last Caliph died in 1924.

 

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