What is a Muslim Caliphate?

The Internet and many other printed publications highlight atrocities caused by a group known as the ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) who are ravaging parts of Syria and Iraq. Most recently they are also called ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant). Levant territory covers Syria, Iraq, parts of Turkey and Iran. Their brutal actions are captured on cameras and shown on TV for the whole world to see. They are apparently fighting for an Islamic Caliphate in the region. What is an Islamic Caliphate?

In the Islamic world khilafa is meant to describe succession. The group is trying to establish an Islamic state led by a supreme leader known as caliph and the territory governed by Islamic law known as Sharia. The succession here is to the Muhammad. They believe that a Caliphate existed this part of the Muslim world many years ago. They believe that the first Caliphate was led by Muhammad’s immediate disciples soon after his death and it was mainly based on his teachings. Shia Muslims believes that caliph to be a direct descendant of Muhammad and therefore, chosen and sent by Allah to govern over his disciples. Sunni Muslims on the other hand believe that caliphate is based on strong leader elected by the majority Muslims.