English translation from French by Mevlana Sheikh Nazim’s Staff

 Ummah Photo






Copyright 1993 Nadine Sultana d'Osman Han


To understand and appreciate this spiritual and temporal office with often intangible powers, it is necessary to turn to historiography and even, we could say, Islamic anthropocentrism.  In the limited context of this article, it is not possible to analyze all the earthly and divine facets that contributed to the creation of the Khalifat.  Moreover, any divine essence reflects nebulous truths, often incomprehensible to most people.  So incorrect assumptions are often made.  The mystery surrounding the "apparent" absence of orders from Prophet Hz Muhammad and the appointment of Abu Bakr (the Prophet's choice) appear to be contradictory, and is the source of confusion about the protocol of the Khalifat, resulting in division within Islam. Human beings tend to look for the least excuse to fuel feelings of jealousy toward others, even if such jealousy is not expressed. 

Our limited understanding nonetheless perceives, in our subconscious, the truth of a universal "Spirit" or "Soul" that controls the cosmic influences through which each being must search for his particular destiny, but refuses to admit the importance of the unseen.  If the invisibility of the universal Soul were to become manifest within the confines of our human mentality, it would lose its divine value through being articulated.  To explain the divine manifestation of Allah to his Prophets (retransmitted by the Prophets to their representatives through the Khalifat), think of the sun and the moon.  The sun gives light, and the moon reflects light.  The moon has no power of its own.  It is the mirror of the sun. As such, the moon duplicates the light it receives and transmits the light in a diffuse receptive manner. 
Since the Qu'ran is the word of Allah and transcends time, the law and its orders are sketched out rather than specific, to accommodate the progression of mankind.  This progression is inevitable and must be understood in its full value.  The Qu'ran does not dictate, or even suggest, the stagnation of mankind, for that would assume that humanity has reached the highest degree of civilization and purity, i.e. total perfection unable to be surpassed.  The interpretation of the Qu'ran must therefore follow the evolution of time with wisdom and justice for all, without ulterior motive but with total impartiality, because Allah is JUSTICE itself.
Islam is by definition total submission of mankind to Allah, so there cannot be religious mediation between the individual human conscience and Allah. Due to this fact, Islam theoretically does not have a clergy with a human legislative function, as Allah alone is the Judge of consciences.
This being said, the Holy Law which is perfect, cannot commit the error of forgetting very human needs that require a wise guide (and not a dictator) to resolve practical questions facing mankind on earth.  Allah is the Lord of the universe, the Creator of everything, the All-Knowing. Allah alone chooses the successors on earth (and their status), a choice that transcends everything, for the word of Allah transcends time.  Given this truth, there is no mystery concerning the succession of the "representatives" of the Prophet!  The representatives (Khalifs) had already been determined before the coming of Prophet Hz Muhammad, by divine law. The Prophet, as messenger of Allah, could not have neglected such a responsibility, and he did not, for this truth was not his mission, although the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) gave an indication by appointing Abu Bakr as "Imam" shortly before his death.  This "truth," which therefore already existed, has its source in the past. 
The past is the compass of time. It guides our steps in the present toward the future. Without a past we are lost, blindly seeking our reason for being. 
The promulgation of the Divine Law is transmitted not only by the Prophets and the Qu'ran (and other holy books), but also from time to time by certain revelations that marked centuries, with very specific signs.  This is particularly true with regard to the Khalifat.  Let us not forget that our ancestors hold the key to our destiny on earth through genetic memory (of divine origin).  Thus, tribes, clans, etc., were named after a common ancestor who had exceptional qualities, and thus was the destiny of their descendants decided.  When the balance of this order established by divine decree becomes unstable due to human rebellion, chaos is inevitable.  This divine ancestral genealogy is found in Prophet Hz Muhammad.  Although poor due to circumstances at the time of his marriage with Khadija, Muhammad came from a powerful tribe (Quraysh) that had conquered Mecca in the 5th century.  The name of the tribe was acquired through its founder "Qusay," a descendant of Abraham and Ismael.*  With the passage of the centuries, every tribe becomes too big in number and eventually has to divide. Inevitably, the best branch of the genealogical tree is directly attached to the ancestral roots for its continuity in the divine plan. This was the case for Hz Muhammad. 
The Quraysh tribe was divided into several groups, two of which predominated under Hashim and Umayya.  Hashim was a rich merchant and a philanthropist.  Ummaya was a nephew of Hashim and was jealous of his uncle's superiority.  After the death of Hashim, his son Abd al-Muttabid was to succeed him as one of the chiefs of Mecca.  In 568, the son of Abd al-Muttabid, Abdallah, married Amena who was herself a descendant of Qusay.*  The destiny of Hz Muhammad was thus already traced in the lineage of his ancestors.  The financial wealth of Muhammad had gone (until his marriage with Khadija), but only moral qualities form ongoing wealth.  It was the latter kind of wealth that finally determined the continuity of the historical ancestry and his mission on earth.
In view of this truth, we can better understand the eventual transmission of the Khalifat to the Ottoman Sultans.  This was not a caprice of the moment, but the divine plan written into genealogical memory.
Osman Gazi was a descendant of the tribe of Oghuz, whose name came from their ancestor Oghuz, grandson of Noah. Noah himself was the son of Lamech, descendant of Seth, son of Adam.**
Noah was born around 2948 before our era.  Despite the general corruption prevailing in his time, Noah remained just and good.  He was rewarded by a revelation from Allah ordering him to build an Ark before the worldwide flood.  Noah built the Ark amidst mockery from his neighbors.  Once the Ark was finished, he took inside farm animals and other provisions necessary for survival.  After that, he entered the Ark with his wife and his three sons, Sem, Cham and Japhet and their wives.  When the flood ended (after 40 days), Noah got off the Ark which came to rest on Mount Aras (Agri DAgi, 5,165 m), and he quickly offered a sacrifice to the Lord who blessed him and his posterity until the end of time.** 
Noah began to cultivate the earth and was the first to plant grape vines.  One day, he drank wine without knowing what the effects would be, and became drunk, causing his son Cham to laugh at him.  Cham told Sem and Japhet, who were more respectful (and especially more compassionate), and they covered their father with a coat.  When Noah awoke and learned what had happened, he cursed Cham and his descendants, and blessed his other two sons and their descendants.  The three sons of Noah had many children.  The descendants of Cham went to Africa.  The descendants of Japhet eventually moved to Europe, and the descendants of Sem stayed in Asia.**
Oghuz, son of Sem was the historical ancestor of Osman Gazi of the Ottomans.  Another mark of divine will concerns the very birth of Osman Gazi (for the Oghuz tribe became divided like the Quraysh), who although the youngest son of Ertogrul Gazi became, due to his constant courage, justice and compassion, the Sultan and founder of the Ottoman dynasty.  Osman Gazi was born in the year of the complete destruction of Baghdad, the Islamic centre of the Abassid dynasty, by the mongol Hulagu, in 1258.**
The Khalif Al-Musta'sim and his family were wiped out.  After the destruction of Baghdad in 1258 and the murder of the Khalif and his descendants, the Muslim world believed the Khalifat had ended,*** since it is a hereditary position or one that can be transferred only by the ruling Khalif.  It is a form of hereditary dynasty, while at the same time selective. 
However, against all hope, a prince of the Abassid dynasty (Abul-Abbas Ahmad) had survived the massacres.  He went to live in Egypt and although he had a much diminished role under the Mamluks of Egypte, he and his descendants were able to preserve the office of the Khalifat for two and a half centuries,*** before finally transmitting it legally to the Ottoman Sultans, for the revival of the Khalifat in its original function of creating total unity among Muslims and protecting them. We must not confuse unity with individual choice of rite for communicating with Allah. 
According to Constantine Moradgea d'Obsson in the "Tableau general de l'Empire Othman, 1787," the last Khalif, Mutawakkil al'Allah formally transferred the right of Khalifat to the Osman family in the person of Sultan Selim I in 1517.  The same year, Selim I received homage from the Cherif of Mecca, Mohammad Eb'ul Berekeath, whose son, Ebu-Noumy, presented him with the keys of the Keabe on a silver plate.  This full and complete occasion of the rights of the Imameth, made on the one side by an Abassid Khalif and on the other by a Cherif of Mecca, both of whom were descendants of Quraysh, one through the Hashim branch and the other through Aly, establishes the Ottoman Sultans, in the absence of the birth or extraction required by the law, the Qur'anic law whose principle requires that the Imam is from the Quraysh, to legitimately carry out the duties of the sacerdose. 
However, we must not forget that the Ottoman Sultans were descendants of Noah and, more importantly from Prophet Adam, thus completing the prophetic cycle which returns to its starting point.  The above observations reinforce the concept of the Divine Plan in the distribution of responsibilities throughout time according to a hierarchy determined since the beginning of mankind. 
–The planet Earth is a circular sphere,
Every point of departure is every point of arrival. 
–Life has a circular rhythm,
Everything returns to its starting point. 
–The seeds of nature grow from the Earth,
Give their leaves and fruits,
Then return to the Earth. 
–The animal earthly envelope
Composed of nutrients of the Earth,
Returns to the latter, to nourish the Earth itself. 
–The spiritual soul comes from the realm of purity of Allah,
And must return pure to the realm of Allah. 
–The Qur'an is the book of Heavens,
The first chapter
Opens with the first Prophet, Adam. 
The last chapter
Will end with the return of Adam's posterity. 
–The circle of Khalifat is reaching its end. 
Its last mission:
The unity of mankind
In universal beneficence. 
–The 21st century will be the point of arrival of the Universal Soul,
At its point of departure from the realm of Allah. 
The Earth itself must return to its cosmic origin. 
A new voyage is being drafted in the infinity of time. 
                                Nadine Sultana d’Osman Han
(As the Qu'ran is the last Holy Book, it contains the first Holy Books, beginning from the first Prophet). 
Allah! We beg your forgiveness for having betrayed the divine mission of our reason for being on earth. 
Allah! Rahman! Rahim!
*"The Age of Faith" by Will Durant, 1950, pp. 161 & 162. 
** Encyclopedie universelle du XXe siecle, under the direction of Alfred Mezieres, Paris, Librarie Nationale - M DCCCC VII. 
*** "A Short History of the Arab Peoples" by Sir John Glubb