The conception of the Khalifate still exercises a fascinating influence, regarded in the light of a central point of union against the unfaithful. Apart from the 'amils, Mohammed's agents amongst the Arabian tribes, the Khalifate was the only political institution which arose out of the necessity of the Moslim community, without foreign influence.
After the great conquests, the governors of provinces of the Moslim Empire, who often exercised a despotic power, were called by the same title of 'amils. The agents of Mohammed, however, did not possess such unlimited authority.
He sent 'amils, i.e., agents, to the conquered tribes or villages, who had to see that, in the first place, the most important regulations of the Qoran were followed, and, secondly, that the tax into which the duty of almsgiving had been converted was promptly paid, and that the portion of it intended for the central fund at Medina was duly delivered.