John C. Wilkinson

in Ibâḍism

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

Series: Oxford Oriental Monographs


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This chapter examines the final stages in Ibâḍism developing as a madhhab. In Oman it was essentially the work of 'Awtabi who finalized the process of conforming to the criteria of the Shâfi'i-Ash'ari school, but avoiding the Sunni criteria of hadîth scholarship by formalizing a chain of Ibâḍi hamalat al–'ilm, whose âthâr provide the equivalent of the Sunni isnâd chains. A comparison is made between developments in Oman and the Maghrib where two trends evolved — one introspective, aimed at ensuring the survival of true values in the small communities like the Mzab; the other to establish oneself as the true firqa and go out and do battle with the others. The latter approach prevailed in Oman, but in a 5–6/11–12th century revivalist movement in the Maghrib it went to the extent of Abû Ya'qûb al–Warjlâni ‘Arranging (Tartîb)’ a hadîth collection, supposedly essentially transmitted by al–Rabî' b. Habîb from Abû 'Ubayda and back through Jâbir b. Zayd to Ibn 'Abbâs and the first Muslims. The origins of this work (along with other important Mashriqi material preserved in the Maghrib, notably the Mudawwana) is examined and shown to be a manipulation that has done great disservice to the Ibâḍis, leading them to be called the ‘Fifthers’ in the Maghrib. At the same time, the Maghribis rationalized the early history of Ibâḍism with a line of Imams in kitmân in Basra, exaggerating the role of Abû 'Ubayda and eliminating the key role played by other proto-Ibâḍis. It was only really with the development of an Ibâḍi renaissance from the 17th century onwards and yet further conformism of the madhhab to Sunni norms that this hadîth collection found nominal acceptance in Oman along with the Maghribi model of Ibâḍi origins.

Keywords: madhabization; 'Awtabi; Shâfi'i; Oman; Maghrib; Ibâḍi origins; Ibâḍism; Mudawwana; hadîth

Chapter.  12178 words. 

Subjects: Islam

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