How West Perceived the ‘End of the Caliphate’ in 1924

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(Following is the reproduction of an article published in ‘The Sentinel’, published from Toronto, in August, 1924. The author saw abolition of Caliphate as an end to Islam as political force and hoped that the Pope would soon be dethroned.) 


Four dangerous autocrats plotted and precipitated the World War. The power of three of them is now annihilated. Only the autocrat of the papal world remains. His vast ecclesiastical despotism still exploits and menaces civilisation.

Centuries before the Kaisers of the German Empire and the Austro-Hungarian monarchy appeared in Europe, two politico-ecclesiastical despotisms controlled ‘a third of the population of the earth and extended their sway by the most revolting policy of massacre and extermination ever inflicted on the mankind.’

Those despotisms were the Papacy (Pope) and the Caliphate (Turkish ruler). The autocrats of the former claimed lineal succession from the Apostle Peter; those of the latter from Mohammad. Both claims were made out of whole cloth to overawe the people and sustain the cruel and blighting dospotisms.

Convert negotiations and intrigue of Berlin and Vienna with Rome and Constantinople had been busy for a generation preparing for the stupendous cataclysm, that engulfed tho world in 1914. The public was not permitted to know or even to suspect the infamy and extent of that intrigue.

Many documentary proofs of tho intrigue have been dragged to light in the last half-dozen years, but a controlled press and cringing politicians have prevented their becoming generally known. Trained a thousand years in censorship and suppression, papal cunning will keep them out of newspapers and magazines and out of history texts.

At the close of the World War the imperial autocrats of Vienna, and Berlin were justly deposed and banished, and menaced for a time with the possibility of the capital punishment they so richly deserved. But the autocrats of Rome and Constantinople, pretending religion and practising vicious politics, were spared.

The autocrat of Constantinople had few subjects and little influence among the great western powers. But the autocrat of Rome had millions of subjects and hundreds of enthroned princes and infinite secret influence in Italy, France, England and the United States.

The hand of the peace conference was stayed. No serious steps were taken against Constantinople, and none at all against Papal Rome. Instantly the latter began preying upon the wreckage of devastated Europe. In the last six years the diplomatic sway of, the Papacy has been doubled.

But the modern world has outgrown the cruel regimes of darkness and oppression that sprang up in Rome and Constantinople during the Middle Ages. That fact is now dominantly recognised at Constantinpole, but deception and intrigue of the mighty papal machine delays and turns aside its recognition at Rome.

The Caliphate has been for centuries held by the reigning Sultan of Turkey, like ,the Pope, that autocrat usurped and exercised both ecclesiastical and political functions. But several months ago selfishness of the ambitious adventurers now in control of Turkey did what the peace conference lacked courage and integrity to do. It deposed and banished the Sultan.

In November, 1922, Prince Abdul Mejid was invested with the caliphate in order to hold together the vast Mohammedan world extending from Western Africa to continental and insular lands in the Far East. But his functions were only religious. He was denied any pretence of political authority.

But Mustapha Kemal Pasha, as autocrat of the Turkish Government at Angora, has now deposed him with approval of the National Assembly, and has banished him and all his relatives and pretenders. A step so unexpected and so revolutionary has naturally astounded and perplexed the politicians of Europe.

Whether it means the passing of Mohammedanism as one of the political forces that have so long blighted the world is difficult to foretell. Many astute politicians and diplomats believe that it will shatter and disintegrate the followers of the False Prophet.

But the author of the Apocalypse clearly foresaw both the Papacy and the Caliphate. As the Beast and the False Prophet they were equally assigned by him to the fate of wicked malefactors. The day of their judgment may be nearer than is generally supposed.

The inspired penman described their doom in this bold and characteristic figure:

“And the Beast was taken, and with him the False Prophet that wrought the signs is his sight, wherewith he deceived them that had received the mark of the Beast, and them that worshipped his image—they twain were cast alive into the lake of fire that burned with brimstone.”

  • Rev. 19: 20.

It appears doubtful whether Mohammedanism, with its three hundred million adherents, can retain its political sway and fanaticism in the face of the heavy blow now delivered by the ambitious dictator into whose hands military power has temporarily committed its destiny.

King Husein of the Hejaz, the infinitesimal monarchy that emerged into tangible existence in the World War, has assumed the title of Caliph. His petty kingdom is in Arabia. For that reason it appears impossible that he should ever be accepted by the Turks, though both Mecca and Medina, the birthplace and burial place of Mohammed, are in his petty dominions.

He is in his sixty-ninth year and has vigorous sons ruling important sections of Arabia. His Caliphate may be accepted generally, by the Arabs, but , rivals are springing up in Egypt and other Muslim lands. Present indications are that Mohammedism as a united political establishment has ended its career.

The fate of the Papacy is not so manifest. But the ferment of international intrigue with which it is blighting Europe makes the future of that continent extremely difficult to forecast. Neither the Papacy nor the Caliphate has any legitimate place in this enlightened age. Too long have the Holy See and tho Sublime Porte plundered and debauched and butchered helpless peoples. The cup of their crimes is full to overflowing. Judgment may be nearer to both than the public is aware.

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Saquib Salim

Saquib Salim is a well known historian under whose supervision various museums (Red Fort, National Library, IFFI, Jallianwala Bagh etc.) were researched. To his credit Mr. Salim has more than 400 published articles on history, politics, culture and literature in English and Hindi. Before pursuing his research and masters in modern Indian History from JNU, he was an electrical engineering student at AMU. Presently, he works as a freelance/ independent history researcher, writer and works at