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The Ibadis are part of an Islamic sect known as the Ibadi movement, Ibadism, or Ibadiyya. Founded around 650 CE, Ibadiyya is older than both the Sunni and Shia denominations.

After the death of the Prophet Muhammad, a Muslim faction, known as the Kharijites, took the view that any Muslim, even a slave, could serve as Imam as long as he had community support. They also demanded that any Imam who has been found guilty of sin be deposed. They withdrew from the larger Islamic community, and waged war against their Islamic opposition.

Ibadiyya formed as a moderate branch of the Kharijites. Followers of Abd Allah ibn Ibad, the Ibadis formed settlements in North Africa, East Africa, Yemen, and Oman, and their descendants still exist in North Africa and Oman, where Ibadiyya is the official state religion.

Today, the Obadi object strongly to being classified as a faction of the Kharijites.

Ibadiyya theology was formed in Basra, Iraq. The Ibadis opposed the rule of Uthman ibn Affan as the third Caliph, but they parted with the Kharijites in that they opposed the murder of Uthman, as well as the Kharijite position that all Muslims holding differing viewpoints were infidels. They were among the more moderate of the Muslim groups that opposed the fourth Caliph, Ali.

In the 740s, the Ibadis attempted an armed rebellion against the Umayyad Caliphate. The Umayyads had the upper hand in battle, but problems at home in Syria prompted them to sign a peace agreement with the Ibadis.

In the 8th century, the Ibadis established an imamate in Oman. The Ibadi Imam was elected, in contrast to the Sunni and Shia dynasties, whose leadership was inherited. The Ibadi Imam held spiritual, political, and military power.

Ibadi theology and practice is not well understood by Islamic scholars outside of the movement. Ibadi spokespeople have complained that, while they read the works of Sunni and Shia scholars, the Ibadi works are rarely studied by anyone outside of the Ibadi community, and that misinformation is often spread as fact.

Ibadiyya theology differs from other Muslim denominations on several points.

They differ from the Sunnis, but share with the Shias a belief that God will not show himself to Muslims on the Day of Judgment. Also, like the Shias, they view anthropomorphic references to God in the Quran to be symbolic rather than literal.

The Ibadi hold that it isn't necessary to have one leader for the entire Islamic world and that Muslim communities can rule themselves if no single leader is fit for the job. This differs from both the Sunni and Shia, who also differ from one another.

Like the Twelvers, they believe that it is permissible to conceal one's beliefs under certain circumstances.

The Ibadis hold that absolute authority is given to the Quran and Hadith, although they accept as authentic far fewer Hadith than do the Sunnis.

Today, approximately 75% of the population of Oman are Ibadis. Oman is the only country in which the Ibadis are in the majority. There are small populations of Ibadi in the North African countries of Algeria, Libya, and Tunisia, as well as in the East African country of Zanzibar. There is also a group of Salafis in the Maldives who have converted to Ibadiyya.

The focus of this category is on the Muslim sect known as Ibadiyya, whose adherents are known as the Ibadis. The sect is sometimes known as the Ibadi movement or Ibadism, as well. Websites whose content is focused on Ibadiyya or the Ibadis are appropriate for this category.



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