FOR more than two centuries and a half, thirteen other members of the same family held the shadowy office of Khallfah in Cairo. They were brought out with great pomp and ceremony to instal each successive Mamluk Sultan who rose to power, often after the assassination of his predecessor, and (as will be seen) other Muslim princes made use of them to give a show of legitimacy to their rule. But the presence in Cairo of the theoretical source of all authority in the Muslim world made the lVlamluk ruler claim for himself a higher status than that of any other Muhammadan ruler and deny to any of his rivals the right to assume the title of Sultan, for on him alone was it conferred by the Caliph in accordance with the prescriptions of the Holy Law. l

The position of the Abbasid Caliphs in Cairo was a very humiliating one, and contemporary historians have not hesitated to speak freely about their dependent condition. One of the greatest of the Mamluk Sultans, Qala'un (1279-1290), never even condescended to ask the Caliph to invest him with authority. A later Sultan-about the middle of the fourteenth century-Na~ir Mul;tammad, deprived the Caliph, Wathiq bi'llahi

factions and was elected Sultan of Egypt in 1412, only to find that he was as much a prisoner as before and that all actual power was in the hands of others; six months later he was-compelled to resign his office into the hands of the man whose tool he had been, who now had himself proclaimed Sultan as aI-Malik al-Mu'ayyad. 5

Still the theorists could look upon the Caliph in Cairo as ruler over all Muslim territories and as head of the Muslim community. Khalil ibn Shahin a~-~ahiri (1410-1468), who wrote a book on the organization of the Mamluk state, describes the Amir ul-Mu'minin as follows: 'He is the Khalifah of God on His earth, cousin of His apostle, the chief of the apostles, and has inherited the Khilafat from him (the Prophet). God Almighty has made him (the Khalifah) ruler over the whole land of Islam. None of the kings of the East or the West can hold the title of Sultan, unless there be a covenant between him and the

In the fifteenth century we have a description of the Ca.liph accompanying the Mamluk Sultan, Barsbay (1422-1438), on a campaign, as riding before him and acting as his chamberlain, while all dignity and honour were reserved for the Sultan, the Caliph appearing merely as one of the nobles in the Sultan's suite. 8

In spite of such conditions of humiliation, there were other Muslim princes besides the Mamluks, who found the Abbasid Caliph in Cairo useful, as giving a title to the possession of dominions acquired by fraud or force. The founder of the Muzaffarid dynasty, which ruled in southern Persia for eighty years (1313-1393), Mubariz ud-Din Mul:tammad ibn Mu~affar, threw off his

There are circumstances of special interest connected with the recognition of the faineant Caliph of Cairo by the Turkish Sultans of Delhi. In 1325 Mul).ammad ibn Tughlaq came to the throne by murdering his father under circumstances of peculiar treachery. He had had a temporary wooden structure erected for -his father's accommodation, and arranged that during a parade of the state elephants, they should collide with the building, so that it buried in its fall the Sultan and his favourite son, while Mul).ammad took care that assistance should be delayed until it was too late. The new monarch was one of the most remarkable figures in the history of Muhammadan India. His oppressive government ruined the country and drove his subjects into rebellion; whereupon he massacred them without mercy; even in normal times he appears to have had a lust for blood and a passion for savage executions. He indulged in wild schemes of administration and conquest that resulted in widespread misery; one of his mad ideas was to change the capital from

'The greatest and best of honours that I obtained through God's mercy was, that by my obedience and piety, and friendliness and submission to the Khalifah, the representative of the holy Prophet, my authority was confirmed; for it is by his sanction that the power of kings is assured, and no king is secure until he has submitted himself to the Khalifah and has received a confirmation from the sacred throne. A diploma was sent to me fully confirming my authority as deputy of the Khilafat, and the leader of the faithful was graciously pleased to honour me with the title of Sayyid us-Salatino He also bestowed upon me robes, a banner, a sword, a ring, and a foot-print as badges of honour and distinction.' 13

In Transoxiana also it was felt that the Abbasid Caliph in Cairo might be made use of for dynastic purposes. Timnr had nominated his grandson, Pir Mul).ammad, as his heir, but when the conqueror died in 1404 there was at once a scramble for the possession of his vast empire, and Pir