From Chieftaincy to Suzerainty: The Hashimite Vision of the Post-Ottoman Order

In the latter years of the nineteenth and the first years of this century, Arab nationalists began to articulate their vision of a polity that would eventually replace the Ottoman framework. By the time Sharif Husayn ibn Ali alHashimi assumed the mantle of the Sharifate in Mecca in 1908, three ideas were in circulation which would have an impact on Husayn’s vision of the post-Ottoman order. These were: the idea of a spiritual Sharifian or Arabian Caliphate; the importance of the Arabs, and of the Arabs of the Arabian Peninsula in particular in an Islamic revival; and the important role the Hijaz should play in a post-Ottoman polity. While the polity that Husayn envisaged borrowed from previous formulations, it included ideas developed from his own experience as the leader of an Arabian chieftaincy. Husayn’s vision was of a suzerainty, a ri’asah.

Full Text: “From Chieftaincy to Suzerainty: The Hashimite Vision of the Post-Ottoman Order,” Middle Eastern Studies, Vol. 34 (January 1998), pp. 103-122.