Arab5008m muslim Intellectual Encounter with Contemporary Thought Module summary

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2.7 Ibadi

The Ibāḍī movement, Ibadism or Ibāḍiyya (Arabic: الاباضية al-Ibāḍiyyah) is a form of Islam distinct from the Sunni and Shia denominations. It is the dominant form of Islam in Oman and Zanzibar. Ibadis can also be found in parts of Algeria, Tunisia, as well as Libya.

Believed to be an off-shoot of one of the earliest schools, Khawarij, it is said to have been founded less than 50 years after the death of the prophet Muhammad. Historians as well as mainstream Muslims believe that the denomination is a reformed Islamic sect, formally known as the Khawarij or Kharijites. However, Ibadis continue to deny any relation to the Kharijites (Khawarij).

2.7.1 Origin

The school derives its name from Abdullah ibn Ibadh at-Tamīmī. Followers of this sect, however, claim its true founder was Jabir ibn Zaid al-'Azdi from Nizwa, Oman.


Ibadi communities are generally regarded as conservative, for example Ibadiyya rejects the practice of qunut or supplications while standing in prayer.

Their views assimilate that of the Ibadin, in which they believe that the attitude of a true believer to others is expressed in three religious obligations:

  • walāyah: friendship and unity with the practicing true believers, and with the Ibadi Imams.

  • barā'ah: dissociation (but not hostility) towards unbelievers and sinners, and those destined for Hell.

  • wuqūf: reservation towards those whose status is unclear.

The only noticeable difference between the Ibadi and traditional Kharijites is that the Ibadi have abandoned labelling other Muslims as Kafir, although they still dissociate themselves from the Non-Muslims. Doctrinal differences with Sunni Islam

Ibadis also have several doctrinal differences with orthodox Sunni Islam, chief among them:

  • Muslims will not see God on the Day of Judgment. This is derived from the Qur'an where Musa (Moses) is told upon asking to see God, "You shall not see me." This is contrary to the mainstream Sunni belief that Muslims will see God with their eyes on the day of Judgment.[1] This matches the beliefs of Shia Muslims. The Imam Ali said in Nahj al-Balagha: "Eyes cannot see Him, but he can be seen by the realities of faith".

  • Whosoever enters the Hellfire, will live therein forever. This is contrary to the Sunni belief that those Muslims who enter the Hellfire will live therein for a fixed amount of time, to purify them of their shortcomings, after which they will enter Paradise. Sunnis also believe, however, that unbelievers in "One God" (Ahad-Allah, meaning the oneness of God, without association of others with God) will be in the Hellfire forever. (This may be compared to the differing Christian opinions on purgatory.)

  • The Qur'an was created by God at a certain point in time. The Sunni community holds that the Qur'an is the speech of Allah, as exemplified by the suffering of Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal during the Mihna. Much of the Shi'a community also holds that the Qur'an was created, one of many theological beliefs that they share with the Mu'tazilah. Views on Islamic history and caliphate

Ibadis agree with Sunnis in approving of Abu Bakr and Umar ibn al-Khattab, whom they regard as the two rightly-guided Caliphs. They regard Uthman ibn Affan as having introduced bid'ah "innovations" into Islam, and approve of the revolt which overthrew him. They also approve of the first part of Ali's caliphate, and, like Shi'as, disapprove of Aisha's rebellion against him and also disapprove of Muawiya's revolt. However, they regard Ali's acceptance of arbitration at the Battle of Siffin against Muawiya's rebels as un-Islamic and as rendering him unfit for the Imamate, and they condemn Ali for killing the Muslims of an-Nahr in the Battle of Nahrawan.

In their belief, the fifth legitimate Caliph was Abdullah ibn Wahb al-Rasibi. All Caliphs from Muawiya onwards are regarded as tyrants except Umar ibn Abdul Aziz, on whom opinions differ. However, various later Ibadi leaders are recognized as true imams, including Abdullah ibn Yahya al-Kindi of South Arabia and the imams of the Rustamid dynasty in North Africa. View of hadith

Ibadis accept as authentic far fewer hadith than do Sunnis, and some hadith accepted by Ibadis are rejected by Sunnis. Ibadi jurisprudence, naturally, is based only on the hadith accepted by Ibadis. Several of Ibadism's founding figures – in particular Jabir ibn Zayd – were noted for their hadith research, and Jabir ibn Zayd is accepted as a reliable narrator by Sunni scholars as well as by Ibadi ones.

The principal hadith collection accepted by Ibadis is al-Jami'i al-Sahih[dead link], also called Musnad al-Rabii ibn Habib, as rearranged by Abu Ya'qub Yusuf b. Ibrahim al-Warijlani. Ibadi jurists use the rules set by Abu Ya'qub al-Warijlani to determine the reliability of a hadith. These are largely similar to those used by Sunnis.

Ibadi jurists, however, criticize some of Muhammad's companions, believing that some were corrupted after the reign of the first two caliphs. Still, they accept hadith narrating the words of the companions as a third basis for legal rulings, alongside the Qur'an and hadith relating Muhammad's words.

2.7.3 Demographics

Ibadi Muslims make up a majority (roughly 75%) of the population in Oman.[2] They are also found in the Nafusa Mountains in Libya, M'zab, Aures in Algeria,Zanzibar islands of Pemba Island and Unguja and Djerba Island in Tunisia. The early medieval Rustamid dynasty in Algeria was Ibadi, and refugees from its capital Tahert founded the North African Ibadi communities which exist today in the Mozabite Valley.

2.7.4 References

    1. ^ Muhammad ibn Adam al-Kawthari. "Seeing God in dreams, waking, and the afterlife.".

    2. ^

2.7.5 External links

  • Ibadi Islam: an introduction (

  • A Concise History of al-Ibadiyyah (

  • Ibn-Ibad and the Ibadi School of Islamic Law (

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