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Rulership and Justice

Islamic Period

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The Delegation of Caliphal Authority

The Delegation of Caliphal Authority

During the period of the Rāshidūn caliphate, executive authority was concentrated primarily in the hands of the caliph-imām, and he served the community as the chief administrator, military commander, and jurist. However, as the state grew, the maintenance of a large bureaucratic system required the caliph-imām to transfer these responsibilities to trusted deputies through a process of delegation. Supporting the Umayyad caliph-imāms and their dynastic successors, the Abbasids, in executing administrative, military, and judicial tasks were three specific classes of state officials: 1) wazīrs, bureaucrats who served as ministers of state and caliphal advisers; 2) amīrs, field commanders who organized and led military expeditions and governed conquered territories; and 3) qādīs, judges and magistrates appointed by the caliph-imām and charged with rendering binding legal decisions in accordance with Islamic law.

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