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Start your own ‘free world’ caliphate kit

No one owns the caliphate idea. Since the current blueprints are offensive to the free world, let’s change the recipe.

Humanity in need
Nicolas Asfouri / AFP / Getty Images


  1. Displaced or lost people
  2. Sustainable location
  3. Sustainable economic model
  4. Leadership, i.e. caliph
  5. Free world ideals
  6. Supporters and hosts
  7. Concept of operations
  8. Operational architecture

What is a caliphate? In the Muslim world, it is an Islamic state. In the free world it is a pluralistic state. In the Muslim world, the organizing belief system is Islam. In the free world, the organizing belief system is a recipe for democratic representation in a government by the people that ensures certain inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. One is tied closely to religion, the other is linked more to broader based ideals for freedom of beliefs that are inclusive and tolerant of others.

The Muslim idea of a caliphate accommodated a dimension of democracy that is known as shura. Shura refers to consultation from something like a parliament that produces democratic votes. The issue about this notion in practice has to do with the degrees of freedom and constraint imposed on the process.

Caliph is the name of the head of a Muslim state. Calipha is “his” wife. Therein is a problem right off the bat. It has to do with the presumption that the leader must be a man. While a calipha had influence over the political system, historically, the system was inherently gender biased as is Islam today. That is one reason why Islam cannot be a foundation for government. Religions surely influence the values of people, but when it comes to governance in the free world, the overarching principle must be separation of religion from government.

Therefore, in building a caliphate for the free world, the foundation begins with freedom from religion.

What prompted this story today is news that there are 3 million refugees from the Syrian war. Displaced people and people who are stranded in the world without a sustainable system of governance and economy is the first ingredient for creating a new community.

This idea will be explored more in subsequent articles that address each ingredient.

The Caliphate

When Muhammad died in 632, he left a political organization that was entirely centered around him. He was a political and military leader and he was the source of revelation. When political or social difficulties came up, not only would they center on Muhammad, but sometimes through revelation be mediated by Allah himself.

The central role of Muhammad left the growing Islamic polity with several difficulties. The first was the status of revelation itself—this became settled with the establishment of the definitive Qur'an . A more serious problem, though, involved the political and military succession to Muhammad. The only working model was an individual leader, but that leader had the authority of God behind him.

No-one seems to have thought very much about the succession to Muhammad before his death. No-one regarded Muhammad as divine or immortal, but no-one really considered what would happen after his death. The solution was cobbled together by the most powerful followers of Muhammad. There was disagreement—in fact, violent disagreement—between the Meccan followers of Muhammad who had emigrated with him in 622 (the Muhajirun, or "Emigrants") and the Medinans who had become followers (the Ansar, or "Helpers"). In the end, however, Muhammad's father-in-law, Abu Bakr, was named the khalifa or "Successor" of Muhammad. A new religion and a new circumstance had formed a new, untried political formation: the caliphate.”

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