Since their emergence in the Islamic state – the second Abbasid era – the Sultans of the Othman family took great steps at a fast pace in order to control the rule of the Islamic world as a different component of political events. Then, growing their powers led to the variety of the titles granted to them during their assumption of power, including the position of (Commander of the Emirs). One of the reasons for its emergence was the military conditions that the situation of the Islamic state devolved into, up to the rise of the Ottoman Empire on the ruins of the Abbasid Caliphate, so the title “Caliph” to the Emirs and then the Sultans of the State was not normally used.
the Ghaznavids, the Buyids, the Hamdanids, the Seljuks, the Ikhshidids, the Zengids, the Ayyubids, and the Mamluks
The rule of the parts of Islamic world had spread, including, to name a few, those who belong to the Arab race and others, such as the Ghaznavids, the Buyids, the Hamdanids, the Seljuks, the Ikhshidids, the Zengids, the Ayyubids, and the Mamluks. However, they did not dare to assume the title of caliphs or to use it as rulers and sultans due to the formal position of the caliphs of the Abbasid state; even if it was nominal. Thus, a question with historical necessity has been raised, which is: How did the Ottomans – who are Turks like most of the sultanates had been mentioned – adopt the titles of caliphs rather than sultans?
After Sultan Selim I, had conquered Egypt, the correspondence congratulating him for this victory did not mention the title of caliph, unlike what the Abbasid caliphs had; we find the Mufti of Bursa at that time, who was its judge, sent to Sultan Selim a congratulatory letter that did not include the title of caliph, but the traditional titles of the Ottoman state which is “Sultan”. It had been prevalent since the authority of the Ottomans changed from an emirate to a sultanate. Likewise, his son Suleiman was a crown prince who did not use the title of “caliph” for his father according to the tradition prevailing in their empire as they preferred their country to be called an empire to compete with the neighboring empires in Europe.
Some historians have consistently preceded the name of each sultan with his title, for example, the imam of the time, Sultan bin Sultan bin Sultan, Sultan Suleiman bin Salim Khan; the title of Khan was one of the titles associated with the names of Ottomans, meaning the king. Among of the titles that had documented the history of the sultans of the Ottoman Empire through their writings are the king of the Romans, his Excellency Sultan, the great Khagan, and other titles reflect luxury and supremacy.
Moreover, Al-Mutawakkil, the last of the Abbasid caliphs, who was taken by Sultan Selim I with him to Istanbul, and Ibn Al-Ghouri was with him after his departure from Egypt, was forced to waive his rights through the caliphate, on top of which was the euphoria of victory after what he had done on his way to the Levant, followed by Egypt and his conversation with Sultan Al-Ghuri. Therefore, the Sultans of the Ottoman Empire, since that time, bore the title of Caliph, and only some of those who wrote about the history of the Ottoman Empire at the beginning of the twentieth century AD used the title of Caliph to confer the title of Amir al-Mu’minin (Commander of the Faithful) to Sultan Abdul Hamid II in order to gain Islamic sympathy and support. In addition, it referred to the Islamic world unity against colonialism during that historical period, then the Ottoman Sultans’ names were preceded by the title of Caliph, and it became a followed tradition in writing.
Some mentioned that they are entitled to take the title of “caliph” based on the succession and reconstruction of man by Allah the Almighty on the earth. Therefore, everyone who wields power over the nations has the right to be called a “caliph”.
We are all successors…