The Establishment of the Ibadi School
The Ibadi School is considered as one of the oldest, most grounded and distinguished Islamic schools in the history of Ummah [Islamic Nation] as the other Islamic schools could not establish their own principles until later. The founder of the Ibadi school is Jabir bin Zayed A1 Azdi (18 - 93 H). In his youth, he emigrated from Nizwa (the interior of Oman) to Basra (Iraq) in order to seek knowledge. He was taught in Makkah and Madinah by many of the Prophet’s Companions. However, he learnt mostly from Abdullah bin Abbas (the Prophet’s cousin) and A’ishah bint Abu-Bakr (the Mother of the Believers and wife of the Prophet).
Jabir bin Zayed excelled in religious sciences and jurisprudence to the extent that Abdullah bin Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “Ask Jabir bin Zayed. If people of the East and West asked him, his knowledge would encompass them” l After Zayed’s death, Malik bin Anas (A Prophet’s Companion) said: “The most knowledgeable person on earth has died”2. This distinction achieved by Jabir bin Zayed obliged the Azd tribe and people from Iraq to appoint him as their juristic reference. This view shifted as Bani Umayyad took over the Caliphate and changed it into succession. As a result, a political school was constituted and attracted critics and opponents of Umayyad politics. The leader and referent of this school was Jabir bin Zayed. This school, then, progressed. After that, the remnants of Muslims, Whom Imam Ali bin Abi Talib (the Prophet’s cousin and the Fourth Caliphate) fought in the famous battle Annahrawan, joined after they dethroned Ali bin Abi Talib as he accepted the arbitration trick. Abdullah bin Ibad and Naﬁ’bin Al Azraq were supporters of Annahrawan; but Néﬁ’ bin Al Azraq was then to establish his own group which was infamous for accusing the opponents of blasphemy and killing them with no right. The movement of Naﬁ’ bin Al Azraq (Al Azariqah) was known as nonconformists (Kharijites or Khawarij). It was supported by those who undertook expiation and allowed killing Muslims who disagreed with them.3
Jabir bin Zayed’s movement was secretive until a political character like Abdullah bin Ibad, who ﬁrst enhanced the intelligence agencies of Umayyad to spy on and closely examine the Ibadi movement, joined. The Umayyad named Zayed’s school as Ibadiya for two reasons. First, calling Zayed’s school by this name might attract more people from Azd and other tribes to join in. Secondly, Abdullah bin Ibad is a renowned military character and attributing this school to a soldier (worrier) consequently makes people fear its plans and missions especially after the Islamic Ummah [Islamic Nation] has gone through wars and riots4.
Jabir bin Zayed had many supporters from the Prophet’s followers such as Abi Bilal Mirdas bin Hudayr and his brother ‘rwah, Ja‘fer bin Assamak Al ‘bdi, Salim bin Zakwan Al Hilali, Suhar Al ‘bdi and others.
Many scholars were educated by Jabir bin Zayed. They carried knowledge after his death. Among these are Abu Obaydeh Muslim bin Abi Karimah, Dhmam bin Al-Sabbab, Abu Nuh Saleh Al-Dahan, Abu Obaydeh Abdullah bin Al Qasim. Imam Rabi’ bin Habib Al Azdi, Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, Wa’il bin Ayub Al Hadhrami, Abu Al Mu’arikh, Abu Ghasan Makhled bin Al Mu’arad, Abdu As- Salam bin Abdulqudus, Talib Al Haqq Abdullah bin Yahya Al Kindi, Abu Hamza Almukhtar bin Awf Al Shari, Abu Alkhatab abd Ala ‘la bin Al Samah Al Mughafri, Abdulrahman bin Rustum Al Farsi, Asim Al Sadrati, and Isma’il bin Darrar Al Ghadmasi who learnt from all of these scholars.
Mahbub bin Al Rahil and Munir bin A1-Nayer Al Ja’lani, Musa bin Abi Jabir, Basher bin Al Mundhir, Hisham bin Al Muhajer, Hashim bin Ghilan Al Omani, Abdulwahab bin Abdulrahman bin Rustum, Aﬂah bin Abdulwahab, Abu Mirdas bin Muhaser Al Sadrati took knowledge from these above-mentioned scho1ars5.
Places where Ibadiya spread
Ibadiya people spread largely in the Sultanate of Oman, East and Central Africa, Northern Africa in Nufusa Mount of Libya, the Island of Jirba in Tunisia, and Wadi Mizab in Algeria. There are also communities of Ibadiya existing extensively in different parts of the world especially in France.
The reason for the spread of Ibadiya in Oman, Yemen, South Africa and the East Coast of Africa is the establishment of Ibadiya communities in these areas. You can read about these communities in their relevant historical and biographical books6.
Ibadiya form their political principles in the light of a number of holistic standards derived from the Holy Qur’an and the authentic traditions of the Prophet. These principles go along with the conventions and reality which constantly changes as time and place shift. These are:
First Principle: The Ruler of Muslims Must Be a Muslim
Allah says: “O ye who believe! Obey Allah and obey the Messenger and those charged with authority among you.” (4: 59).
Allah also says: “When there comes to them some matter touching (public) safety or fear, they divulge. If they had only referred it to the Messenger or to those charged with authority among them, the proper investigators would have understood it from them (direct)” (4: 83).
This principle indicates the necessity for the ruler of Muslims to be a Muslim. However, this does not entail that he should be more pious and ascetic than his people. It only emphasizes that he must be characterized as a believer which is deﬁned as not committing sins and wrong deeds. Abu Al Mu’thir (an Ibadi scholar; lived in the third century. He was a distinguished scholar with whom other scholars consulted. He has a number of publications) says: “He who deserves imamate should be pious, God-fearing, aware of guardianship and exculpation and strong in implementing justice7”.
Second Principle: The importance of Knowledge and Having Physical Ability to Rule.
Allah says: “And their Prophet (Samuel) said to them, “Indeed Allah hath appointed Talut (Saul) as a king over you.” They said, “How can he exercise authority over us when we are ﬁtter than he to exercise authority, and he is not even gifted, with wealth in abundance?” He said: “Verily Allah hath chosen him above you and hath gifted him abundantly with knowledge and bodily powers.” (2: 247)
The Islamic world has gone through difficult stages when ruled by ignorant and physically weak people. Abu Al- Mu’thir says: “If a ruler is not able to give people their rights, implement punishments as prescribed by Allah and defeat enemies and if his disability becomes a cause for nullifying rules, abolishing punishments and showing injustice, he has broken laws of Allah and he should be dethroned. A more suitable ruler who could bring matters to righteousness should be appointed instead.”8
Third Principle: People Can Equally Be Rulers
Allah says: “O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other (not that ye may despise each other). Verily, the most honored of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you. And Allah has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things)” (49: 13).
This principle stresses the fact that all Muslims are equal. Thus, it abolishes all bases of “discrimination” which widely existed in pre-Islamic paganism based on tribal, ﬁnancial and familial bases. All Muslims are equal. An Arab is no better than a non-Arab except by his piety and adoption of Islamic morals and manners. Based on this, familial, ﬁnancial, and tribal superiority have no base in Islam. Islam associates this type of preference to Satan (Iblis) who acknowledges his reasons for his disobedience to Allah. Satan (Iblis) considers the basis of his creation to be superior to that of Adam. He says, as stated in the Qur’an, “Iblis said: “I’m better than he (Adam): Thou didst create me from ﬁre and him from clay” (7: 12). Allah also says abolishing any tribal preference amongst human beings “Muhammad - pbuh - is not the father of any your men, but he is the Messenger of Allah and the Seal of the Prophets: and Allah has full knowledge of all things” (33:40). Being related to the Prophet does not prevent Allah’s punishment but it might cause chaos in life. If it were advantageous, it would have helped Nuh’s wife and his son, Lut’s wife and prevented Abu Lahab (The Prophet’s uncle) from Allah’s Fire. When Allah reveals “And admonish thy nearest kinsmen” (26: 214), Prophet Muhammad called his relatives one by one for Islam until he reached Bani Abdu Al Mutalib (his own tribe) and said.
“O Qurash people! (or he said a similar word) Buy yourselves! I can not save you from Allah (if you disobey Him) O Bani Abu Manaf! I can not save you from Allah (if you disobey Him). O ‘Abbas! The son of ‘Abdul Mutalib! I can not save you from Allah (if you disobey Him) O Saﬁya, (the aunt of Allah's Apostle) I can not save you from Allah (if you disobey Him). O Fatma, the daughter of Muhammad! Ask what you wish from my property, but I can not save you from Allah (if you disobey Him).”9
Principle Four: Consultation is the Basis for Choosing the Ruler and Managing Matters of Government
Abu Al-Mu’thir says: “Part of the Muslims’ belief is to assign a ruler on whom people have consensus”10. This rule is based on the following verses:
“Those who respond to their Lord [i.e. to believe that He is the only One Lord (Allah), and to worship none but Him alone], and establish regular prayer, who (conduct) their affairs by mutual consultation and who spend out of what We bestow on them for Sustenance” (42: 38)
“So pass over (their faults), and ask (Allah’s) forgiveness for them and consult them in the affairs (of moment), then when thou hast taken a decision, put thy trust (in Him)” (3: 159)
This principle is holistic and not restricted to previous human practices. However, it is established to ﬁt the nature of the Islamic society, be it cultural or social, and which can change by time and place. It might be contained in a certain group of speciﬁc characteristics such as education, piety and wisdom as seen in Umar bin Al-Khattab’s candidacy to only the six honored characters in the Islamic country. Moreover, this principle is carried out by Parliaments or Committees representing the wisest and most knowledgeable of Ummah. It can also be open as is the case in the general election to choose the best person to be a president. This is obvious in Allah’s order “Hold to forgiveness, command what is right, but turn away from the ignorant” (7: 199)
Principle Five: Justice is the Basis for Ruling
Allah says: “Allah doth command you to render back your Trusts to those, to whom they are due; and when you judge between people that you judge with justice” (4: 58)
Allah also says: “O you who believe! Stand out firmly for Allah as witness to fair dealing; and let not the hatred of others make you swerve to wrong and depart from justice. Be just: that is next to piety” (5: 8)
Allah says: “Allah commands justice, the doing of good and giving to kith and kin, and He forbids all indecent deeds, and evil and rebellion: He instructs you, that ye may receive admonition.” (16: 90)
Allah says: “Now then, for that (reason), call (them to the Faith) and stand steadfast as you are commanded, nor you follow their vain desires.” (42: 15).
Principle Six: Abolishing Injustice
Allah, the Divine, warns: “Generations before you We destroyed when they did wrong” (10: 13) He also says: “The blame is only against those who oppress men with wrong-doing and insolently transgress beyond bounds through the land, defying right and justice: for such there will be a chastisement grievous” (42: 42)
Principle Seven: The Obligation of Implementing Allah’s Legislation
Allah commands: “...So, judge between them by what Allah has revealed, and follow not their vain desires, diverging from the Truth that has come to thee. To each among you, We have prescribed a law and an Open Way...” (5: 48)
He adds: “...And so judge you between them by what Allah has revealed and follow not their vain desires, but beware of them lest they beguile thee from any of that (teaching) you which Allah has sent down to you...” (5: 49)
He says: “Therefore, fear not men but fear Me (O Jews) and sell not My Signs for a miserable price. If any do fail to judge by what Allah has revealed, they are Unbelievers” (5:44)
“. . .And We ordained therein for them: Life for life, eye for eye, nose for nose, ear for ear, tooth for tooth, and wounds equal for equal. But if anyone remits the retaliation by way of charity, it is an act of atonement for himself. And if any fail to judge by what Allah has revealed, they are wrongdoers” (5: 45)
“Let the people of the Injeel (Gospel) judge by what Allah has revealed therein. And if any do fail to judge by what Allah has revealed, they are those who rebel” (5: 47)
Ibadiya have incorporated these principles into their lives and considered them as part of their identity. This has caused the world intellectuals to stand in awe and appreciation to this outstanding and unique accomplishment in the history of humans. Ibadiya have individually implemented and taken pride in their fruitful outcomes. This has caused these intellectuals to admire the Ibadiya and take after their step.
Dr. Hassan al-Turabi says: “After this terminological treatment of “democracy” and its core usage in Arabic and in relation to Ruling in Islam, we can reconsider the word “consultation”. The recent political Islamic literature has advertised this word and added value and essence to it, after it was overlooked and devalued in the old books. That is because the “consultation” political practice was not as pervasive in the Islamic history.11
The absence of the “consultation” practice in the late history of the Ummah is stated with sadness and regrets. Dr. al-Turabi says: “Islamic history totally lacks the application of consultation in appointing governors. What is done recently does not have freedom, satisfaction and precision that Islam prescribes. However, the satisfactory Sunnah of “consultation” is sometimes known especially in places where Kharijites reside. The Imam of Ibadiya in the interior of Oman is chosen in a way very close to the “consultation” practice which Islam dictates. When their Imam dies, a group of leaders and intellectuals meet to choose another. They investigate candidates of Caliphate and decide on a stronger and more suitable ruler. They present him (the elected) to the majority of the people, and if the majority agrees, they appoint him as a ruler. The ways most related to the Islamic political practice are summarized as follows: appointment of a ruler, Caliphate succession and dethroning of an unjust leader” l2
Dr. Hussein Obayd Ghabash says: “In Islamic history, we ﬁnd the “consultation” practice is not fully implemented. On the other hand, Omanis have implemented it on the level of Imamate, general matters of the country and society and at all levels for 12 decades. If we presuppose that the full application of the “consultation” practice and open election are the core of democracy, the Imamate of Ibadiya in Oman is considered to have the longest democratic experience in the history of humans.”13
How Ibadi Theology Deals with Injustice
Ibadiya allow dethroning leaders who kill people. They base this on a number of many Qur’anic verses such as “...And if any fail to judge by what Allah hath revealed, they are wrongdoers” (5: 45) and “And incline not to those who do wrong, or the Fire will touch you, and you have no protectors other than Allah, nor shall you be helped” (11: 113).
“...Help you one another righteousness and piety; but help you one another in sin and rancor” (5: 2) and “. . .except such as have Faith, and do righteous deeds and (join together) in the mutual teaching of Truth, and of Patience and Constancy.” (103: 3)
Dethroning of existing leadership should not be a random process. If it can not take place in a peaceful way, then a military solution may be imperative. However, the military choice compels the revolutionary side have half the number of soldiers and weapons of the corrupt regime. Ibn Barakah says: “Muslims are obliged to ﬁght their enemies if they become half their number”14 They quote this from the verse “For the present, Allah hath lightened your (burden), for He knoweth that there is a weak spot in you. But (even so), if there are a hundred of you, patient and preserving, they will vanquish two hundred, and if a thousand, they will vanquish two thousand, with the leave of Allah. For Allah is with those who persevere” (8: 66). Provision of this number is obtained when the majority of Muslims are convinced of the importance of ﬁghting all types of wrong deeds. The military choice according to the Ibadi intellectuals resembles a harmless, weaponless revolution so that we prevent the Islamic Ummah from the consequences of sins and internal wars.
Theology is “the study of religion and religious ideas and beliefs.” (Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English, 1990: 1100). The theology of man is regarded as the driving force behind his 1ife’s spheres. Because theology is important, Ibadiya people place considerable importance in basing their theological vision on solid evidence which doubt, or fault can never shroud. Ibadiya people depend for structuring their theology only on the Holy Qur’an because the Qur’an is the absolute truth and secured from being tempered with15. This is of course not true for the traditions of the Prophet - pbuh - as the level of trust of the narrators of the Prophet’s traditions varies. Among the holistic principles based on the Qur’anic verses, on which Ibadiya depend in forming their theology, are:
Banishing Embodiment and Resemblance
The structure of the Ibadi theology is centered on purifying the concept of Allah from resembling any creatures. This is based on a number of holistic principles derived from the Holy Qur’an, unanimously agreed-upon Prophet’s traditions and evidence pulled from the thoughtful and contemplating mind.
These principles are:
First principle: Allah does not Resemble creatures.
1. “Say “He is Allah, the (One). Allah the External, the Absolute. He begetteth not, nor was He begotten. And there is none like unto Him.” (112: 1 - 4)
2. “Then set not up rivals unto Allah while ye know the Truth” (2: 22)
3. “There is nothing whatever like unto Him, and He is One that hears and sees” (42; 11)
4. “knowest thou of any who is worthy of the same Name as He?” (19: 65)
These verses deny resemblance of Allah to any creatures in all characteristics and deeds including the need for a place and time. This is because things except Allah are creatures and do need place and time. Allah, on the other hand, is the Creator and resembles none of His creatures in any aspect or form. Place and time are created by Allah who is present before their creation. Allah says in the Qur’an: “Allah is the Creator of all things.” (39: 62). Then, how can Allah need them if they are His creatures?
Allah says: “To Him belongs all that is in the heavens and on the earth: for verily Allah, - He is Free of all wants, worthy of all praise.” (22: 64).
Second principle: Allah is not Described by the Four Directions.
1. “Whithersoever ye turn, there is Allah’s Face” (2: 115)
2. “He is the First and the Last, the Evident and the Hidden: and He has full knowledge of all things”. (57: 3)
Allah has proven through these verses that all sides for Him are just one and He does not reside in a particular side.
Third principle: Allah is Intimate to His Worshipers Through His Knowledge and Protection.
1. “Nay! Heed Him not: but prostrate in adoration, and bring thyself closer (to Him)” (96: 19)
2. “It was We Who created man, and We know what dark suggestions his soul makes to him: for We are nearer to him than his jugular vein” (50: 16)
3. “But We are nearer to him than ye, and yet see not, - ” (56: 85)
Fourth principle: Allah the Most High is with His Creatures through His Knowledge and Protection.
1. “. . .And He is with you wheresoever ye may be. And Allah sees well what ye do” (57: 4)
2. “...There is no a secret consultation between three but He is the fourth of them - nor between ﬁve but He is the sixth - nor between fewer or more but He is with them wheresoever they be” (58: 7)
Thus, those who claim that Allah is above us physically can also say that Allah is with us physically and this is wrong. Therefore, it is prohibited to describe Allah by a deﬁnite direction.
Fifth principle: Ideological Evidence does not Allow Describing Allah by Place and Direction.
1. Allah has created place. It is common sense; thus, to assume that the Creator preceded creatures in existence. If Allah resides in a particular place, then it is logical to assume that place existed ﬁrst. This calls for another creator and this is absolutely wrong. It may also assume that the proposed creator be old. Thus, the old exist and this is again absolutely wrong.
2. If Allah resides in a particular place, then it is possible to ﬁnd the place surrounding Him from at least one direction. This will limit and corner Allah. Impossible!
3. If Allah resides in a particular place, then the place should be stronger than Him as place accommodates Him. Allah is the strongest.
4. Place is a description for bodies. Allah is not a body or shape.
5. The placed needs a place while place does not need the placed. This means Allah needs a place which in turn does not need Him.
6. If Allah is in a place, then He can either be at a speciﬁc side or at all sides. This is impossible because on the ﬁrst hand, regarding sides as equal and relating them to Allah is illogical. On the other hand, this entitles mingling the Creator with worldly matters16.
7. Each sided person relates to his side. This gives the possibility of his being either mobile or immobile. These incidental characteristics relate to humans and not the Creator17.
8. He who is sitting on a chair should have his right side different from his left side. In other words, he should be compound. This entitles a builder and founder; that is impossible.
9. If Allah is High as a result of place, then His height can be either from above or from other sides. If He is High from above, then it is a common sense to propose that the above side is higher than Allah. This is refuted by the concrete evidence Allah has put forth to us.
10.The earth is a circle. When was it like that? If so, then we expect the bottom side of the earth to be a higher side for another bottom side. This entitles randomness in sides. So, it means that for those who claim that Allah is in the ‘above’ direction that he is in the ‘bottom’ direction for the people in the opposite side of the earth.
Sixth Principle: Theological Evidence Prohibits Describing Allah by Human’s Features and Senses.
If Allah has a hand, eye, or leg, then the hand needs the eye because the hand can not see alone. Moreover, the eye needs the hand as the eye can not give or take. Thus, each and everybody part requires the other. Saying that Allah has these parts means that Allah is composed of bodily parts which need one another. Impossible!
Allah can Never be Seen
Ibadiya believe that Allah can never be seen. This has been established based on a number of holistic principles:
First principle: The seen has to have the following features:
A. The seen should be in a corner as it (the seen) is limited. Allah is not limited.
B. The seen can be either small so it (the seen) can be all seen or big so only parts of it will be seen.
C. The seen should be of a certain distance from the eye so it ﬁts the limitation of our sight.
D. The seen has to be dense as delicacy can not be clearly seen. Density relates to body and bodies are built and created.
E. The seen has to be lighted either by itself or by other external light. If lighted by another, then it is incomplete and if by it is own, and then it is radiant. Radiance can vanish or stay as in the black holes of Galaxies.
F. The seen should not be too close as it prevents seeing like eyebrows which prevent the pupil from clear sight. Also, it should not be too far away as great distance hinders clarity in observation if the seen is too huge or too small.
G. The seen is sensed and touched as it is related to the sense of sight.
It can be deduced from the above that these are not Allah's characteristics because they indicate that Allah is incomplete. This is contradictory to the evidence laid out in the verse (I12) above.
Second principle: Allah does not Resemble Creatures.
1. “...Say “He is Allah, the (One). Allah the External, the Absolute. He begetteth not, nor was He begotten. And there is none like unto Him” (112: 1-4)
2. “Then set not up rivals unto Allah while ye know the Truth” (2: 22)
3. “There is nothing whatever like unto Him, and He is One that hears and sees” (42: 11)
4. “knowest thou of any who is worthy of the same Name as He?” (19: 65)
The above verses prove dissimilarity of Allah to any of His creatures, neither in a feature nor in a deed. Creatures can be seen by bare eyes. Since Allah does not resemble His creatures, He can not be seen.
Third Principle: Allah never Belongs to a Direction:
1. “Whithersoever ye turn, there is Allah’s Face” (2: 115)
2. “He is the First and the Last, the Evident and the Hidden: and He has full knowledge of all things”. (57: 3)
Fourth Principle: No vision can Grasp Allah
1. “No vision can grasp Him, but His grasp is over all vision. He is Subtle well aware” (6: l03)
This verse negates completely the ability of creatures to see the Creator. Masruq narrated: I said to A’isha (may Allah be pleased with her), “Oh Mother! Did the Prophet Muhammed (the blessing and peace of Allah be upon him) see his Lord?” A’isha said: ‘What you have said makes my hair stand on end!’ Know that if somebody tells you one of the following three things, he is a liar: Whoever tells you that Muhammed (the blessing and peace of Allah be upon him) saw his Lord, is a liar” Then, she recited the verse “No vision can grasp Him, but His grasp is over all vision. He is the Most Courteous: Well acquainted with all things.” (6: 103). It is not ﬁtting for a human being that Allah should speak to him except by inspiration or from behind a veil”. A’isha further said “And whoever tells you that the Prophet (the blessing and peace of Allah be upon him) knows what is going to happen tomorrow, is a liar. She then recites: “No soul can know what it will earn tomorrow” (42: 51). She added: “And whoever tells you that he concealed (some of Allah’s orders), is a liar” Then, she recites: “O Apostle! Proclaim (the Message) which has been sent down to you from your Lord...” (5: 70). A’isha added: “But the Prophet the blessing and peace of Allah be upon him) saw Gabriel in his true form twice.” (A1- Boukhari # 4855).
Having used these verses, ‘Aisha – may Allah be pleased with her - teaches the Ummah the necessity of checking these claims against the Qur’anic verses which deﬁnitely abolishes seeing Allah.
2. Allah says: “...And when Moses came to the place appointed by Us, and his Lord (Allah) addressed him; he said: “Oh my Lord! Show Thyself to me that I may look upon thee.” Allah said: “By no means canst thou see Me” (7: l43)
If seeing Allah is permitted in the Hereafter, then Moses should be able to see Allah as a matter of miracle. But Allah’s response was so deﬁnite, clear and blunt.
Some Muslims believe that Allah can be seen in the Hereafter. However, many of the learned have refuted this claim (Refer to “Al Balsam Al Shaﬁ for further details).
Attitude Towards Similar Verses
Readers might question how the school of Ibadiya deals with verses whose surface understanding shows resemblance of Allah to His creatures such as “But construct an Ark under our eyes” (11: 37), “Allah said: “Oh Iblis (Satan)! What prevents thee from prostrating thyself to one Whom I have created with My hands.” (38: 75) and “The Most Gracious is ﬁrmly established on the Throne” (20: 5)
Ibadiya urge checking these verses against other verses to clear out the doubt as ordained by Allah in the verse “He it is Who has sent down to thee the book [this Qur’an]. In it are verses that are basic or clear (in meaning), they are the foundation of the Book: others are not entirely clear. But those in whose hearts is perversity follow the part thereof that is not entirely clear. Seeking discord and searching for its interpretation, but no one knows its true meaning except Allah. And those who are ﬁrmly grounded in knowledge say: “we believe in it; the whole of it is from are from our Lord. And none will grasp the Message except men of understanding.” (3: 7).
The Holy Qur’an has been revealed in the Arabic language which is full of ﬁgurative images (metaphors). Allah says: “...thus We have sent this down- an Arabic Qur’an, and explained therein in detail some of the warnings, in order that they may fear Allah, or that it may cause their remembrance of Him” (20: 113). The Qur’an uses ﬁgurative images to illustrate and explain meanings to humans in simple, brief and miraculous language. Allah says: “Shame is pitched over them (like a tent) wherever they are found, except When under covenant [of protection] from Allah, and from men” (3: 112) in which “promise” is expressed by the word “rope”. Allah says: “And hold fast, all together, to the rope which Allah stretches for you” (3: 103) in which Islam is expressed by the word rope. Allah also says: “In her neck is a twisted rope of masad [palm ﬁber]” (112: 5) wherein rope is expressed by its well-known meaning. The word (rope) is basically the same but its meaning varies depending on the context. This is called ﬁgurative meaning or metaphor.
Words such as (hand, eye, face, leg and body) take other ﬁgurative meanings: hand can mean power, eye means protection, face means essence and so on. All these meanings are gleaned by the contextual clues in which such words occur.
The Ibadi intellectualism places importance of establishing the concept of “vicegerent on earth” amongst its followers. Accordingly, Ibadhis have set a number of principles to ensure success to the human societies and ability of carrying out their duties. The establishment of these principles stems from a number of holistic rules excerpted from the Holy Qur’an and Prophet’s traditions. These are:
Whoever Insists on Great Sins is Eternally in Hell
Humans are fallible; they constantly commit sins. However, small sins are automatically forgiven as long as one avoids great sins is met. Allah, the Greatest, says: “If ye but eschew the most heinous of all things which ye are forbidden to do, We shall remit your evil deeds and admit you to a Gate of great honor” (4: 31). This verse excludes small sins from punishment. As for the great sins which Allah has warned us from, anybody who commits them and never repents will be severely punished18. Sins such as killing, adultery and theft are considered so great.
First Principle: Whoever insists on most dreadful sins is eternally in Hell
This is revealed in the following verses:
1. “And those who invoke not, with Allah, any other god, nor slay such life as Allah has made sacred, except for just cause, nor commit fornication, and any that does this not only meets punishment. But the Penalty on the Day of Judgment will be doubled to him, and he Will dwell therein in ignominy” (25: 68-69).
2. “If a man kills a believer intentionally, his recompense is Hell to abide therein forever; and the wrath and curse of Allah are upon him, and a dreadful Penalty is prepared for him” (4: 93).
3. “Those are the limits set by Allah: those who obey Allah and His Messenger will be admitted to Gardens with rivers ﬂowing beneath, to abide therein (forever), and that will be the Supreme Achievement. But those who disobey Allah and His Messenger and transgresses His limits will be admitted to a Fire, to abide therein forever, and they shall have a humiliating punishment” (4; 13-14)
4. “Unless I deliver what I receive from Allah and His Messages: for any that disobeys Allah and His Messenger- for them is Hell, they shall dwell therein forever.” (72: 23)
5. “Know they not that for those who oppose Allah and His Messenger, is the Fire of Hell?- wherein they shall dwell. That is the supreme disgrace.” (9: 63)
6. “(Namely) those whose lives the angels take in a state of wrong doing to their own soul.” Then would they offer submission (with the pretence): “We did no evil (knowingly).” (The angels will reply): “Nay! But Verily, Allah Knoweth all that ye did.” (16: 28)
7. “And those who followed would say “If only we had one more chance, we would clear ourselves of them, as they have cleared themselves of us.” (2: 166). “Thus, will Allah show them (the fruits of) their deeds as (nothing but) regrets. Nor will there be a way for them out of the Fire.” (2: 167)
8. “And thou wilt see them brought forward to the (Penalty) abject in humbleness (and) looking with stealthy glance. And the believers will say: “those are indeed in loss who lose themselves and their families on the Day of Judgment. Behold! Truly the wrong-doers are in a lasting Chastisement.” (42: 45).
9. “The sinners will be in the Punishment of Hell to dwell therein...” (43: 74)
Quotes from the Prophet’s traditions19 are:
1. “Gays/ homosexuals and unfaithful wives will not enter Paradise.”
2. Whosoever kills a person who is granted the pledge of protection by the Muslims shall not smell the fragrance of Paradise though its fragrance can be smelt at a distance of forty years of (traveling). (A1- Boukhiri # 6914)
3. A slanderer will not enter Paradise.
4. Whosoever does not serve the bond of kinship will not enter Paradise.
5. Whosoever harms his neighbors will not enter Paradise.
6. Whosoever is pompous will not enter Paradise.
7. Whoever kills himself with an iron weapon will be carrying the weapon in his hand and stabbing his abdomen with it in the (Hell) Fire wherein he will abide eternally”.
Second Principles: The concept of “rescuing people who insist on great sins from Hell” is Israeli in origin (Jewish) and from which Allah warns:
1. Allah says narrating the story of Jews: “And they (Jews) say, “The Fire shall not touch us but for a few numbered days.” Say “Have ye taken a promise from Allah, for he never breaks His promise? Or is it that ye say of Allah what you do not know?” (2: 80)
2. Allah says warning Muslims from adopting the belief of the People of the Book “Not your desires (Muslims), nor those of the People of Book (can prevail) whoever works evil, will be required accordingly. Nor will he ﬁnd, besides Allah, any protector or helper.” (4: 123)
3. Allah also says warning Muslims from taking on the path of sons of Israel who were induced into doing evil “And verily, We shall recount their whole story with knowledge, for We were never absent (at any time or place” (7: 169)
Third Principle: Allah’s knowledge is inﬁnite and His words are unchangeable.
1. “Allah will say: “Dispute not with each other in the presence of Me, I had already in advance sent you Warning. The word changes not with Me, and I do not the least injustice to My servants. The Day We will ask Hell: “Art thou ﬁlled to the full?” It will say: “Are there any more (to come)?” (50: 28-30)
2. “...There is none that can alter the Words (Decrees) of Allah. . .” (6: 34)
3. “...No change can there be in the Words of Allah. This is indeed the supreme Triumph.” (10: 64)
4. “...The Word of thy Lord doth ﬁnd its fulﬁllment in truth and in justice. None can change His Words: for He is the one who Heareth and Knoweth all.” (6: 115)
5. “And recite (and teach) what has been revealed to thee of the Book of thy Lord. None can change His Words, and none wilt thou ﬁnd as a refuge other than Him.” (18: 27)
Fourth Principle: intercession is granted to the pious (virtuous & devout)
1. “And they offer no intercession except for those with whom He is well-pleased” (21: 28)
2. “None shall have the power of intercession, but such a one as has received permission or promise from the Most Gracious” (19: 87)
Some Islamic sects believe that intercession might rescue sinners from Hell. However, this belief has been studied and refuted.
Dissociation from sinners is obligatory
Ibadiya believe that shunning and dissociating from sinners is a war against social depravity because the sinner feels isolated and thus, he might repent from his sins. This principle is built upon a number of holistic rules excerpted from the Qur’anic verses and Prophet’s traditions. These are:
A: Dissociation is a Qur’anic concept.
1. “And Abraham prayed for his father’s forgiveness only because of a promise he had made to him. But when it became clear to him that he was an enemy to Allah, he dissociated himself from him: for Abraham was most tender hearted, forbearing” (9: 114)
2. “And lower thy wing to the believers who follow thee. Then if they disobey thee, say: “I am free (of responsibility) from what ye do” (26: 215- 216)
B: Dissociation from sinners is obligatory
1. “Your (real) friends are no less than Allah, His Messenger, and the believers - those who establish regular prayers and pay Zakat and they bow down humbly (in worship)” (5: 55). This verse mentions the traits of those you should befriend.
2. “Those who believed and emigrated and fought for the Faith with their property and their lives in the Cause of Allah as well as those who gave them asylum and aid - these are (all) friends and protectors one of another. As to those who believed but did not emigrate, ye owe no duty of protection to them until they emigrate...” (8: 72). Allah forbids giving duty of protection to those who did not adopt migration. What about sinners?
3. “Thou wilt not ﬁnd any people who believe in Allah and the Last Day, loving those who oppose Allah and His Messenger even though they were their fathers or their sons or their brothers or their kindred” (58: 22)
4. “(He turned in mercy also) to the three who were left behind; (they felt guilty) to such a degree that the earth seemed constrained to them, for all its speciousness, their (very) souls seemed strained to them,- and they perceived that there is no ﬂeeing from Allah and rno refuge but to Himself, then He turned to them, that they might repent: for Allah is oft-Returning, Most Merciful.” (9: 118). This verse is revealed to the Prophet concerning the three men who refrained from participating in the battle of Tabuk.
5. The Prophet says: “Whosoever approaches a fortune-teller and believes in what he says, has disbelieved in what was revealed to Muhammad”
C: Disloyalty towards sinners does not entail cursing and calling bad names.
Abu A1 Hassan says: “disloyalty means that you do not commit wrong deed and isolate yourself from the sinner”.
Abu Qahtan says: “we are able to curse and use bad names. However, this is not part of our religion. Our job is to show the truth”
D: Disloyalty is an earthly matter and Muslims should not think that a sinner will deﬁnitely go to Hell because he might repent without our knowledge
Muhammad Ruh bin Arabi (an Ibadi scholar) says: “Never be deﬁnite that a sinner goes to Hell.”
Nasser bin Ja’id Al Kharousi (an Ibadi scholar) says: “disloyalty is only from the sinner. It does not entail regarding him to go to hell nor considering him as an enemy to Allah.”
Allah classiﬁes people into three types: the ﬁrst type is shown to be good and you should be loyal to, the second type is shown to be bad and you should be disloyal to, and the third type you are not sure to which kind they more belong and you should thus stop thinking about their destiny. Whosoever Allah asks us to befriend in the Qur’an, we should consider him/her happy and assume will go to Heaven. And whosoever Allah asks us to be disloyal to in the Qur’an, we should consider him/her miserable and assume will go to Hell. Scholars have deﬁned this type as the true dissociation and befriending.
Ibadi’s Attitude Towards Suﬁsm
Suﬁsm is divided into two parts: The ﬁrst part means abstinence from life and wearing Suf (wool). It is because of this that the name Suﬁsm has come about. The Ibadiya school has some reservations about this as Islam does not preach completely abandoning life and ridiculous abstinence. However, Islam asks Muslims to enjoy their share of 1ife’s pleasures. Allah says: “But seek, with that (wealth) which Allah has bestowed on thee, the home of the Hereafter, nor forget thy portion in this world” (28: 77). He also says: “O children of Adam! Wear your beautiful apparel at every time and place of prayer: eat and drink but waste not by excess, for Allah loveth not the wasters.” (7: 31). Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) used to wear the new clothes given to him as a gift. The Prophet saw a man wearing torn up gowns and asked, “Does not he have other clothing?” Jabir bin Abdullah said: “He is got new clothing; I gave some to him”. The Prophet responded: “Call him and let him wear it”. Abu Obaida Muslim bin Abi Karimah said commenting on this “The Prophet encourages the believers to take care of their appearance and wear decent clothing.” Ibn Barakah said: “This refutes the claim that life is more like death; you should not enjoy anything in it as what is lawful is mixed with haram (the unlawful). It also refutes those who preach abstinence in life and claim that you should not save for tomorrow.”
The second part of Suﬁsm is based on the claim that excessive worship and remembrance of Allah are the only ways to gain the religious sciences and capture the understanding of life. Therefore, the Sheikh of Suﬁsm is dubbed “the knowledgeable” and their scholar as “the most knowledgeable”. Ibadi school does not accept such ideas which spread ignorance and kills the spirit of hard work, diligence and seeking of knowledge. Despite this, some Ibadiya are affected by the thoughts of Suﬁsm but with no excessiveness in abstinence from life enjoyment nor seeking of knowledge from its sources.
Fate and Destiny in the Ibadi Thought
Ibadiya base their attitude to fate and destiny on a set of holistic rules taken from the Qur’an and Prophet’s traditions.
A: Allah knows your deeds and destiny before creating you.
Allah says: “Allah knows what is before or after or behind them: but they shall comprehend Him not...” (20: 110)
He also says: “But if they were returned (to the world), they would certainly relapse to the things they were forbidden: for they are indeed liars” (6: 28)
B: Whatsoever takes place is by Allah’s command
“And the Command of Allah is a decree determined” (33: 38)
A1lah’s command is of two types: fate and destiny.
Fate expresses matters that humans have control over and could change and decide whether they should happen or not. For example, humans can decide whether to do good or bad, what to eat, drink or where to live. They also can decide their friends and spouses. However, they are accountable for their choices.
As for destiny, it expresses the inﬁnite knowledge of Allah. It includes the unknown which humans have no control over and their understanding can not encompass such as their future. Allah says: “The spirit is of the command of my Lord of knowledge, it is only a little that is communicated to you, (O men)” (17: 85). Therefore, humans should not talk about the unknown as this is an attribute of Allah. He knows the predetermined20.
C: Humans are accountable for their choice
Allah says: “On no soul doth Allah place a burden greater than it can bear. It gets every good that it earns” (2: 286)
Allah also says: “At length will be said to the wrong-doers: ‘taste the enduring punishment! You get but the recompense of what ye earned!” (10: 52)
He says: “eschew all sin, open or secret: those who earn sin will get due recompense for their ‘earnings’.” (6: 120)
Humans are accountable for what they have control over (fate); as for matters that humans can not change (destiny), then they are not accountable for these.
To sum up, Ibadiya are moderate; they take a moderate position between those who claim that humans are forced and have no choice, and others who think that humans have control over everything. Whoever belongs to this sect feels the importance of working and worshipping Allah21.
Some Fiqh [Jurisprudential] Characteristics
Ibadiya are different in some of the partial (minor) jurisprudential characteristics from other Islamic sects. These are:
First: wiping over the socks or shoes while taking wudu’ is unlawful22
Ismail Al Jitali says: “with respect to wiping over the socks, people are divided in their opinions among three sects: scholars of different sects consider it lawful in both travel and residence, other scholars consider it lawful only in travel, as for the Ibadiya scholars they forbid it in both cases.”
Ibadiya scholars quote verses from the Holy Qur’an which legislate the necessity of washing feet in wudu’. Allah says: “Oh ye who believe! When you prepare for prayer, wash your faces and your hands up to the elbows, rub your heads [with water], and wash your feet to the ankle” (5: 6). Moreover, the companions from which Jabir bin Zayed took knowledge such as A'aysha, the Mother of the Believers and Abdullah bin Abbas have never wiped over their socks or shoes. If they had done so, then Jabir and some of the followers would not have hidden this information especially considering that wudu’ is performed ﬁve times a day. A'aysha, the Mother of the believers, - may Allah be pleased with her - says: “I never saw the Prophet wiping over his shoes. I would prefer that the man should cut his feet from the ankles or tear the shoes rather than wipe over them”.
Jabir bin Zayid says: “I came across a group of the Prophet’s Companions and asked them “Does the Prophet wipe over his shoes when taking wudu’?” They said: “No”. How can a man wipe then if Allah asks us to wash our feet up to the ankle with water?
Second: raising and holding hands to the chest is unlawful in Salat.
Salamah Al Otbi (an Ibadi scholar) says: “our followers agree not to raise their hands in salat for clear evidence.”
Ibadiya did not see the Prophet’s Companions and followers raising their hands in Salat. The Umayyad have innovated this afterwards. Whatever has been narrated on this matter is falsiﬁed. Those who believe these narrations are themselves confused and have accused each other of imitating the People of the Book. Assarkhasi (Hanaﬁ scholar; Hanaﬁya is a sect that belongs to the Sunni school of thought) says: “holding the hands under the belly button does not resemble the people of the Book and urges hiding the lower parts.”
Ibadiya have another piece of evidence which is the Prophet’s saying that “After my death comes people who raise their hands when praying resembling the tails of Shams horses.” Ibadiya have presented evidence on this matter in a number of their books.
Third: Qunut [type of prayer] is unlawful while performing Salat.
Qunut is the du’aa [prayer] made after kneeling because it is not proven to be said by Jabir bin Zayid and his followers from whom Ibadiya Muslims take knowledge. Also, none of the Prophet’s Companions made Qunut in his prayer. Qunut can be a verse of the Qur’an. Reciting the Qur’an takes place after reciting Al Fatiha [the opening] in the overt salat. Furthermore, Qunut can be people’s words. The Prophet’s says: “Salat is not accepted when having people’s words included.”
Abu Ghanim Al Kharasani (an Ibadi scholar) says: “I asked Aba Al Mo’rikh: Is there Qunut in As-Salat?” He says: “Abu Obaida asked Jabir about that and Jabir responded: “As-Salat is all Qunut”. Allah says “Is one who is obedient to Allah, prostrating himself or standing [in prayer] during the hours of the night, fearing the Hereafter and hoping for the Mercy of his Lord? Say: “Are those equal, those who know and those who do not know?” It is only men of understanding who will remember” (39: 9). Abu Ghanim Al Kharasani says: Oh Aba Ash’tha! I’m not asking you about this. I am wondering about the du’aa made after kneeling. Abu Ash’tha says: “this is heresy; we know not of and have not heard about before.”
Fourth: A man and woman who commit adultery together can not get married.
This is because the goal of marriage is to build a house full of love, trust and care. Allah says: “And among his signs is this that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that ye may dwell in tranquility with them, and He has put love and mercy between your (hearts): Verily, in that are signs for those who reﬂect” (30: 21). A woman who commits adultery can not be trusted by her man. If she has committed it with her husband, what could prevent her from doing it with someone else? A house built on distrust can not continue. Allah says: “The adulterer can not have sexual relations with any but an adulteress or an idolatress, and the adulteress, none can have sexual relations with her but an adulterer or an idolater, to the believers such a thing is forbidden.” (24: 3)
Ibadiya’s Perspective of the Christ’s descent, Anti-Christ, Mahdi, the Scale and Path
Some legends and crises are depicted in a number of Hadiths by some Islamic schools of thought. These show that the Prophet knows the unknown and he tells about some events and phenomena that will take place right before the Hereafter. Some of these events are Christ’s descent and the Anti-Christ’s appearance.
The Ibadiya’s perspective is that, these contradict the Qur’an. The Qur’an and Hadiths are complementary, not contradictory.
First: Such Hadiths contradict the Qur’an since they describe the Hereafter as if the Prophet knows exactly the period when the Day of Resurrection comes. The Qur’an tells us that this Day will come suddenly and neither the Prophet nor anyone else knows about when it comes. Allah says: “They ask you about the (ﬁnal) Hour ‘When will be its appointed time?’ Say: ‘The knowledge thereof is with my Lord [Alone]. None but He can reveal when it will occur. Heavy were its burden through the heaven and earth. Only, all of a sudden will it come to you.’ They ask thee as if thou wert eager in search thereof say: Say: ‘The knowledge thereof with Allah [Alone], but most men know not.’ (7: 187)
Second: These Hadiths give exact numbers of the dates of these crises. For example, the Prophet (pbuh) when asked, “How much will the anti-Christ stay on earth?” He answered, “forty days; each day is like a year, each day is like a month and each day is like a week. The rest of it is like your days” Sahih Muslim. The Qur’an, however, does not present these numbers with such events. Allah, when promised victory to Muslims, does not specify a period of time for such victory to happen. Allah says: “It is He Who hath sent His Messenger with guidance and the religion of truth [Islam] to cause it to prevail over all religion, even though the pagans may detest (it)” (9: 33). The promise of victory in the Qur’an is not linked to a speciﬁc period. Allah says: “The Romans have been defeated. In a land close by: but they, (even) after (this) defeat of theirs, will be victorious. Within a few years, with Allah is the Command in the Past and in the Future: on that day, the believers will rejoice.” (30: 2-4)
Third: These Hadiths assume change of natural laws before the Hereafter. The Hadith mentioned above talks about altering the length of the day from 24 hours to a week or month or year. This length requires slowing down the rotation of earth which, in effect, would cause the earth to freeze, destabilize, and would cause scarcity of life on earth. The same goes for Hadiths by Abu Hurairah professing the sun to rise from the west as a sign of the Hereafter (Al- Boukhari # 4635). This entails that the earth will rotate in an opposite direction which also would cause slowing down the earth’s movement, then it might stop. It seems that those who innovated and created such stories did not know that the earth is round, and it rotates around itself. They thought that the sun rotates around the earth which led them to think that the sun could rise from the west. They did not realize that for the sun to rise from the west, it should stop rising from the east ﬁrst. This is of course if we assumed that the atmosphere acts normally after all these tremendously notorious changes. Allah says: “(Such has been) the practice of Allah already in the past. No change wilt thou ﬁnd in the practice of Allah.” (48: 23)
Fourth: These Hadiths are geographically restricted as they talk about places of the sons of Israel. They mention Damascus, Iraq, Jerusalem, Constantine and Ibn Sina’ as if events will only be restricted and connected to the geography of those who have changed the Bible and Torah.
Fifth: These Hadiths talk about primitive weapons such as swords and arrows. Such weapons relate to the second century of Hijra [the time when Hadiths were recorded]. They are so primitive compared to the most basic new weapons of this century. How about the coming centuries?! This contradicts the precision of the place, time and characteristics of legendries.
Sixth: These Hadiths profess the opening of Constantine when the anti-Christ appears, and the Christ descends. Ibn Al Hajaj speciﬁes a chapter in his book, the title of which is “The Chapter of Constantine’s Opening, Appearance of anti-Christ and Descend of Christ”. Abu Hurairah reported that Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) said: “The Last Hour would not come until the Romans would land at al- A‘maq or in Dabiq. An army consisting of the best (soldiers) of the people of the earth at that time will come from Madinah (to counteract them)...And as they would be busy in distributing the spoils of war (amongst themselves) after hanging their swords by the olive trees, the Satan would cry: The Dajjal has taken your place among your family. They would then come out. ....then Jesus (pbuh), the son of Mary, would descend and would lead them in prayer. When the enemy of Allah would see him, it would (disappear) just as the salt dissolves itself in water and if he (Jesus) were not to confront them at all, even then it would dissolve completely, but Allah would kill them by his hand and he would show them their blood on his lance (the lance of Jesus Christ)”. In reality, Constantine was opened in 1453 by Muslims and nothing of this sort happened at that time.
Seventh: These Hadiths talk about legends as if they are signs of the Hereafter. Whosoever recites the Qur’an ﬁnds that the signs of the Hereafter have already taken place. Allah says: “Do they then only wait for the Hour that it should come on them of a sudden? But already come some tokens thereof, and when it comes to them, how shall they have their reminder?” (47: 18). The most important portents are sending the Prophets and Messengers. Allah says about Moses: “And [Jesus] shall be a sign for (the coming of) the Hour (of judgment): therefore, have no doubt about the (Hour). And follow ye Me” (43; 61). Allah also says about sending Muhammad as a Messenger:
“This is a Warner of the series of the Warners of old. The (hour) ever approaches draws nigh” (53: 56-57). He also says: “Or some created thing that is yet greater in your breasts. Then they will say: “Who shall bring us back [to life]?” Say: “He Who created you ﬁrst!” Then they will shake their heads at you and say: “When will that be?” Say: “Maybe it will be quite soon” (17: 51).
The Prophet says: “I and the Last Hour have been sent like this and (he while saying it) joined the foreﬁnger with the middle ﬁnger.” (Al- Boukhari# 5301)
Eight: These Hadiths describe the Hereafter in exact words and give a lot of numbers and details about that period. A person who lives until that time will not ﬁnd it hard to realize its arrival. This of course contradicts “sudden” on which the Qur’an insists. Allah says: “Do they then wait for the Hour that it should come on them of a sudden?” (47: 18).
Ninth: The Ummah does not agree on the validity of these narrations. There is, thus, no doubt that this news has spread from the People of the Book.
Sheikh Abdullah As Salmi (an Ibadi scholar) says: “Let it be known that the Prophet has no Prophet after him. What people narrate that Christ will descend has not been heard before.”
Sheikh Nasser bin Abi Nabhan (an Ibadi scholar) says: “Some people narrate that Allah sends the Mahdi and Anti-Christ appears. They also believe that Christ descends. All of this is far a cry from the Truth. What we know is that Jesus is dead.”
Abu Al Hassan asks about whosoever claim that there is a Day of Resurrection before the actual Hereafter in which those who were dead will be killed and those who were killed will die. He is answered, “lie!” Allah says: “Say: “It is Who Allah gives you life, then gives you death, then He will gather you together for the Day of Judgment about which there is no doubt” (45: 26). He also says: “And if ye die or are slain, lo, it is unto Allah that ye are brought together” (3: 158). Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) says: “Me and the Hour are sent together. It is about to be faster than me”. Therefore, it is not acceptable to have such claims about the Hereafter.
Jesus (pbuh) descends
Ibadhiya believe that Jesus (pbuh) has died just like any other human being. Their evidence for this belief is:
1. “Behold! Allah said: “O [Jesus]! I will take you23 and rise you to Myself and clear thee (of the falsehoods) of those who blaspheme, and I will make those who follow thee superior to those who reject Faith, to the Day of Resurrection, then shall you return unto Me and I will judge between you in the matters wherein you dispute.” (3: 55). This proves that Jesus has died. It also proves that those who believed in what Jesus preached will gain victory over the Jews till the Day of Resurrection. This is what happened when Constantine accepted Christianity as a formal religion of the Roman Emperor. Then, Islam came and instilled Monotheism which Jesus and all the other Prophets have been sent with. Jesus, as mentioned in the Qur’an, proved his death “Never did I say to them aught except what You [Allah] did command me to say: “Worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord.” And I was a witness over them whilst I dwelt amongst them, when you didst take me up24 you wast the Watcher over them” (5: 117). Until today, the Jews are living in scattered areas.
2. The idea of Jesus descending contradicts the concept of mortality stressed in the Quran. Allah says: “And we granted not to any man before you permanent life (here): if then you shouldst die, would they live permanently?” (21: 43). It also contradicts the verse “Before you, also, the Messengers We sent were but men, to whom we granted inspiration: if you know this not, ask of those who possess the Message. Nor did We give them bodies that ate no food, no were they immortals.” (21: 7-8) which proves the death of all the Prophets including Jesus (pbuh). Allah’s way on earth that humans die after a while. Jesus’ immortality refutes Allah’s way, and this can not be believable. Allah says: “(Such was) the practice (approved) of Allah among those who lived Aforetime: no change will you ﬁnd in the practice of Allah.” (48: 23). Noah, however, lived for such a long time as mentioned in the Qur’an.
3. It contradicts the verse “Get you down, with enmity between yourselves. On earth will be your dwelling - place and your means of livelihood- for a time. Allah said: “Therein shall you live, and therein shall you die, but from it shall you be taken out” (7: 24-25). This idea testiﬁes that Jesus is living in Heaven above us!!
4. The idea also contradicts the Qur’anic verses by saying that tax (Jizyah) is exempted from the people of the Book. In a narration, “Jesus (the son of Mary) will descend amongst you as a Just Ruler, he will break the Cross and kill the pigs and there will be no tax [Jizyah] and put money until no one accepts it” (Al- Boukhari #3448). As known, tax is an obligatory payment by the people of the Book as mentioned in the verse “Fight those who believe not in Allah, nor in the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which has been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of truth from among the People of the Book until they pay Jizyah with willing submission.” (9: 29)
So, these narrations establish the idea that Jesus will descend with a new law that exempts Jizyah. As known, the Islamic law is eternal and will not be altered because Muhammad (pbuh) is the last Messenger. Allah says: “Mohammed (pbuh) is not the father of any of your men, but he is the Messenger of Allah and the seal of the Prophets. And Allah has full knowledge of all things.” (33: 40). These narrations, however, propose that Jesus is the seal of the Prophets since he will come at the end of the world.
Anti-Christ and the Awaited Mahdi
Many Muslims believe that there is a man with an uncanny ability who will appear at the end of life. This man, the awaited Mahdi, spreads justice after injustice has pervasively spread. Because this belief contradicts the Qur’anic verses which promise Muslims victory if they follow Allah’s orders, Ibadiya do not believe in it. Moreover, such beliefs might discourage hard work and the concept of striving to succeed. The concept of Mahdi has Torah roots as it in reality promises the coming of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).
As for the Anti-Christ Which such hadiths ascribe to, does not appear in the Ibadi sect because miracles are attributed to Prophets and Messengers. Assigning these miracles to imposters negates the Messages of Prophets. That was exactly what happened with Jews who created and supported imposters to deny their Prophet’s warnings. Allah says: “Allah has heard the taunt of those who say: “Truly, Allah is indigent, and we are rich!” We shall certainly record their word and the act of their slaying the prophets in deﬁance of right” (3: 181). Ibadiya consider any person who ﬁghts Allah with bad deeds to be an imposter. Currently, the number of imposters has increased. Imam Abu Al Hassan Al Basiwi (ref. Aljami’. Ministry of Heritage and Culture, Oman) is asked: “What do you think about the imposter? Do they have a speciﬁc feature?” He says: “All wrong doers are imposters. I do not know the ‘particular’ imposter to whom you are referring.”
Ibadiya believe that the scale mentioned in the verse “those whose scale will be heavy, will prosper” (7: 8) is not a material scale [the meaning of scale is not literal] which is composed of two sides and a pillar. They base this belief on a number of holistic principles excerpted from the Qur’anic verses and logical reasoning. These are:
First Principle: The Scale refers to the Truth and Justice
Allah says: “the balance that day will be true (to a nicety): those whose scale will be heavy, will prosper” (7: 8)
Allah also says: “And we shall set up scales of justice for the Day of Judgment, not a soul will be dealt with unjustly in the least” (21: 47)
Second Principle: Allah is omniscient and does not need a material scale to distinguish the happy from the miserable.
Allah says: “And Allah is well acquainted with all things” (2: 282)
Third Principle: Deeds are not concrete material to be weighed. They are matters of no weighing.
Therefore, Ibadiya believe that the ﬁnal testing is constituted of presenting the human’s deeds and evaluating them. Numbers are thus of no importance.
Some people believe that the path mentioned in the Qur’an refers to a bridge built above Hell. This bridge is passed by people at various speed based on their good deeds. While passing it, people are so scared from falling in Hell. This materialistic meaning of the path is denied by Ibadiya. They base their understanding of this path on a number of holistic principles:
First Principle: The path refers to the Truth worshippers should follow in this life.
Allah says: “Show us the straight Way” (1: 6). He also says: “Say: “Verily, my Lord hath guided me to a Way that is straight, a religion of right, the Path (trod) of Abraham, the true in Faith and he certainly joined not gods with Allah” (6: 161)
He says: “That Allah may forgive you your sins of the past and future, and complete His Favor on you, and guide you on the Straight Path” (47: 2)
Second Principle: Believers do not fear the Hereafter
Allah says: “if any do good, he will have better than it. And they will be secure from terror that day” (27: 89)
The path, according to the Ibadi sect, is a metaphor. It refers to the religion of Islam and the Straight Path. Believers are secure of fear. They are not scared of falling from the bridge to Hell. They never doubt Allah’s promise to enter Paradise.
The Ibadi sect is considered to be the oldest Islamic sect, founded by Jabir bin Zayed in 93H.
Political Principles: Judgment is based on consultation, justice, equality and resisting tyranny.
Theological Principles: Theology is based on believing that Allah resembles none of His creatures and can not be seen or limited to a particular place.
Social Principles: There is evidence that sinners will eternally reside in Hell; thus, it is obligatory to dissociate from them (be disloyal to them). Balance between and belief in fate and destiny are emphasized in this Islamic sect.
Fiqh Characteristics: Ibadiya believe that wiping on socks or shoes when taking wudu’ is not permitted. They also do not raise their hands when praying.
Ibadiya believe that Jesus (pbuh) has died. They do not believe that the Anti-Christ and Mahdi will descend. Moreover, they ascertain that the Ummah [Islamic Nation] should take into account the causes of success and act according to Allah’s laws.
1 Al- Darjini, “Tabaqat Al- Mashayakh”, V.2, p. 205
3 Many people associate Ibadi people with the Khawarij. Many researchers have refuted this Association. Refer to Itfish, I. (1993). ‘Ifarq bayn Ibadiya wa ‘Khawarij. Ahmed Soud Al Siyabi (ed.). Dhamri Bookshop, Oman.
4 Many historians reject the association of Jabir bin Zayed with Ibadiya . ‘mru Al - Nami in “Studies on Ibadiya" (2001. 1st edition. Islamic Dar Algharb, Beirut) and Ali Al -Hajri in “Ibadiya and Research Methodology” responded to these claims.
5 Al- Darjini. “Tabaqt Al- Mashayakh”, V. l, p. 7-8
6 Look at Al- Darjini, “Tabaqt al- Mashayakh”, and “Tuhfat AI-A’yan Fi Sirat Ahl Oman” by Noor A ddin As- Salmi. Nur ‘din AsSilmi Bookshop, Oman.
7 Abu Al-Mu’thir “As Siyar wa Al-Jawabat”, V. 2, p. 316.
8 Abu Al-Mu’thir “As Siyar wa Al-Jawabat”, V. 2, p. 299.
9 Al-Rabi’ bin Habib # 1005
10 Abu Al-Mu’thir “As Siyar and Al-Jawabat”, V. 2, p. 298.
11 Hassan al-Turabi (2003). “Islamists and Political Affairs”, p. 20.
12 Relating Ibadi people with Kharijites is a consequence of Historians’ and article writers’ mistakes. Ibadi doctrine is totally different intellectually from that of Kharijets’.
I3 Hussein Obayd Ghabash, (1997) “Oman: The Islamic Democracy” p. l9-20.
14 Ibn Barakah “Al-Jami”’, V. 2, p. 490
15 Refer to “A Study on the Ibadi theological Method” by Khamis Al ‘dawi. (2005).
16 Abdullah As Salmi “Mashariq Anwar Al ‘qul”, p. 213 &p. l6
17 Abu Hamid Al Ghazali “Ihya’ ‘lum Adin” 1/ 127
18 Harun bin Al Yaman “As Siyar wa Al Jawabat“ V. l , 333
19 Unreferenced Prophet’s sayings are my own translation.
20 Refer to Imam Al Rabi’s book # 796 – 811
21 Refer to the ﬁrst chapter of “Al Jami”, Abu Al Hassan Al Basyawi
22 This means that washing feet when taking wudu is obligatory.
23 The translation by Ali Yusuf is affected by his belief. The term used in Arabic is “mutawafeeka” means “make you die”. However, Yusuf belongs to a school of thought which believes that Jesus is not dead. Therefore, he mistranslated the word into what accords with his belief (the author).
24 Same mistranslation! The Arabic word is “tawafaytani” which means “made me dead" (the author).
Ibadiya: History, Methodology & Principles; by Zakariya Al Muharrmi; translated by Khalsa Al Aghbari.
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