Ibadi Religion

The Ibadi Religion is the third most prevalent Islam faith following Shia and Sunni denominations. It is the largest Islamic group in Oman and also has adherents in Algeria, Tunisia, East Africa and Libya.

Believed to be one of the earliest faiths, it is said to have been founded less than 50 years after the death of the prophet Muhammad. Some historians think that the denomination developed out of the seventh-century Islamic sect known as the Khawarij or Kharijites.

The Ibadi Religion takes 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.

The religion has three religious beliefs:

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 Ibadi have abandoned the practice of not associating with other Muslims.

Ibadis also have several doctrinal differences with orthodox Sunni and Shia Islam:

  • Muslims will not see God on the Day of Judgement. 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. This matches the beliefs of Shia Muslims. Imam Ali "Eyes cannot see Him, but he can be seen by the realities of faith" Nahj al-Balagha.

    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 will be in the Hellfire forever.

    The Qur'an was created by God at a certain point in time. The Sunni community holds that the Qur'an is uncreated, 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.

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