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CALIPH. The Arabic word khalifah (vicegerent, deputy, or successor) is one of the titles-others included imam (leader, particularly of prayer) and amir almu'minin (commander of the faithful)-given to those who succeeded the prophet Muhammad as real or nominal rulers of the Islamic world. The full title is khalifah rasul Allah (caliph of the messenger of God). Some later rulers, at a time when pre-Islamic Persian concepts of absolute monarchy were infiltrating the more democratic practices of the ...more

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