John C. Wilkinson

Published in print September 2010 | ISBN: 9780199588268
Published online January 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191595400 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Oriental Monographs


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Ibâḍism represents a branch of the third great division in Islam, that of the Khawârij. It survives in some isolated communities in North Africa, but manifested itself periodically in Oman as a full Imamate well into the 20th century. Using early material recorded in Basran and Omani sources, this book deconstructs the standard account of origins, showing that Ibâḍism's evolution into a madhhab (school) can only be understood in a wider historical perspective of the tribal and regional dimensions. Its activation among the Yamani tribes of Iraq requires reappraising what the Yaman-Nizâr division represented in the Umayyad period, and the opening chapters demonstrate that there was a real split in pre-Islamic times between northern and southern Arabs that was reflected in the great revolts of Ibn al–As'ath al–Kindi and Yazid b. al–Muhallab al–Azdi. The nascent Ibâdi movement in Basra, whose solidarity was enshrined in walâya, the spiritual and physical cement binding the community to God, exploited the resulting resentment to establish Imamates in southern Arabia, followed by North Africa. Study of the earliest sources throws considerable light not only on Ibâḍi origins, but also the early emergence of Islamic kalâm and fiqh and the influence of contemporary theological debate.

Keywords: Ibâḍism; Imamates; Islam; Khawârij; kalâm; fiqh; Ibâḍi movement; North Africa; Oman; Iraq

Book.  512 pages.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Islam

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Table of Contents

Law and Order in Ibâḍism


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