This book has taken an approach to the Islamic past that differs from that of the classical Sunni scholars in that it has sought to understand the caliphal accession and succession in its evolving historical context. The book has not taken a theological-juristic approach to the past, rather it has taken a historical-anthropological approach, which assumes that the ideas about power and authority change and evolve over time, and that diverse and competing claims to authority tended to be winnowed into established classical orthodoxies. The main obstacle in this approach is the nature of the source material. The evidence for the history of the first Muslim empire is late and often complied by scholars and jurists who built foundations upon which the classical jurists then constructed their interpretations of the past. However, a number of strategies have helped to escape the predominantly late, ‘traditionist’ perspective of the later sources. In this final chapter, the evolution of the rituals of Islamic monarchy is reviewed and re-examined. While the pledge of allegiance during the period of Muhammad was a fusion of prophetic and political leadership, this allegiance and caliphal ritual changed and transformed. The power of the caliphate in the latter times depended on the loyalty of the revolutionary army, the clients of the caliph and the bureaucracy of the scribes and lawyers. In addition, the nature of the Muslim polity was changing as well as the Arabian empire as a whole; the Arabian empire was becoming a more Muslim empire. The Muslim monarchy and the Islamic commonwealth are also discussed in this final chapter. It discusses the decline of the centralised power over the Muslim empire and its implication of the rituals of accession and succession, and the evolution of contract and vow signifying the process of assimilation and canonisation.
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