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The term caliphate (from the Arabic خلافة or khilāfa, Turkish: Halife ) refers to the first system of government established in Islam, and represented the political unity of the Muslim Ummah (nation). In theory, it is a constitutional republic (see Constitution of Medina), meaning that the head of state (the Caliph) and other officials are representatives of the people and must govern according to Islamic law, which limits the government's power over citizens. It was initially led by Muhammad's disciples as a continuation of the political system the prophet established, known as the 'rashidun caliphates'. It represented the political unity, not the theological unity of Muslims as theology was a personal matter. It was the world's first major welfare state. (Although this is also claimed by the Mauryan Empire, 800 years earlier). A "caliphate" is also a state which implements such a governmental system.