A Muslim sect popular among Berbers in the first centuries of the Arab conquest of North Africa. It is a religious movement rooted in the conflict between `Ali Ibn Talib (the fourth caliph) and Mu`awiyya when, based on a dispute over succession to the caliphate, `Ali agreed to arbitration with Mu`awiyya in the battle of Siffin (657) and a number of his followers left (kharaja or those who seceded) in protest over his agreeing to submit to human arbitration. Kharijism developed as a revolutionary doctrine. The Kharijites stress the equality of all believers, believe that they were obligated to denounce as illegitimate and overthrow unjust leaders, and assert that the leadership of the Islamic community should be open to the most pious regardless of racial and tribal affiliations. This meant that descent from the Prophet was irrelevant, and they insisted that faith is justified only by good works and practices. Radical versions of Kharijism at times went so far as to consider non-Kharijites as infidel-ingrates (takfir) who should be killed.
   An offshoot of this movement is the Ibadithe Islamic sect founded in the first half of the seventh century. The sect took its name from Abdullah Ibn Ibadh, one of its architects and early theologians. Although scholars of Islam include Ibadhiyyah within the Khariji doctrine, the Ibadithes themselves reject such an affiliation. The Ibadithes, believed to represent the most moderate variant of those who split from the fourth caliph's camp, are found today in Oman, East Africa, and small communities of Mzab in Algeria, Jerba in Tunisia, and Jabal Nafusa and Zuwarrah in Libya. The Ibadithe sect's approach to Islam is not radically different from the Sunnis. Ibadithe interpretations and practices of Islam are slightly different from the dominant Malekite School of law. Some of these differences have to do with the contested notions of the creation of the Qur'an and the possibility of seeing God in person in the afterlife.
   In North Africa, social and political discrimination against Berbers by the Umayyad Dynasty (661-750) sparked revolts embodied in Kharijite ideology, such as the Sufrite rebellion in Tanger (739-740) and the conversion of the Zanata Berbers to Ibadithe dogma and practices in the mid-eighth century. Two major Ibadithe states emerged in the western part of North Africa: the Sufrite city-states of the Banu Midrar in Sijilmassa and that of the Rustamid Ibadithe in Tahart. After fleeing from Tanger, the Banu Midrar settled in Tafilalet and built the trade entrepôt of Sijilmassa. The Banu Midrar fell to the Umayyad proxy, the Maghrawa, in 976, although Sijilmassa was briefly controlled by the Fatimids in 909, 922, and 966. To the north, Tahart controlled the northern trans-Saharan trade routes until they were conquered by the Fatimids in 909 and the Ibadithes were forced south into the isolated desert areas of Mzab and Ouargla. The rise of Shorfa dynasties from the 16th century on, who based their claims to power on descent from the Prophet Muhammad, spelled the end to any remaining significant Kharijite or Ibadithe beliefs in North Africa.
   Major scholars on the Ibadithe sect are E. Masqueray, who edited and translated the Sirah of Abu Zakariya al-Warijlani into French (1879) and authored Formations des cités chez les populations sédentaires de l'Algérie (1886). A. de C. Motylinski compiled a set of bibliographies on the Ibadithe sheikhs (Sirah of Abu Zakariya, Tabaqat of al-Darjini, al-Jawahir of al-Barradi, and Siyyar of al-Shamaakhi, also known as Les Livres de la secte abadhite, 1885), edited and translated into French the history of Ibn al-Saghir al-Maliki on the Rustamid imams, and authored Guerrara depuis sa foundation (1885) and the Djebel Nefousa (1898). M. Mercier wrote La civilization urbaine au Mzab (1922). There is also the work of A. M. Goichon, La vie féminine au Mzab (1927), and also that of L. Milliot, Receuil des delibérations des djema'a du Mzab (1939), in which the position of women and Ibadithe jurisprudence are dealt with. Ibadithe scholars include Suleiman Basha al-Baruni, a native of Jabal Nafusa in Libya who established a printing press and issued his newspaper al-Asad al-Isalmi and authored several works on the Ibadithes. Ali Mua`ammar of Jabal Nafusa also published a number of volumes under the title al-ibadhiya fi mawkib al tarikh (Ibadhiyya through History). In Algeria, the scholar Abu Ishaq Ibrahim Atfaiyish issued his journal, al-Minhaj, and published the works of Mohammed Ibn Yusuf Atfaiyish and the Omani scholar al-Salim. Abu al-Yaqzan Ibrahim published about eight newspapers during the French rule, and Sheikh Baiyud Ibrahim Ibn `Umar was responsible for the modern reformist movement in Mzab and for bringing it closer to the Sunni Jam`iyat al-`Ulama. Muhammad Ali Dabbuz of al-Quarrarah, Mzab, rewrote the history of the Maghrib from the Ibadhi point of view, and he also authored several volumes on modern Algeria under the title Thawrat al-Jaza'ir wa nahdatuha al-mubarakah (Algerian Revolution and Its Blessed Renaissance). In Tunisia, there was the work of Mohammed al-Tammimi, originally from Mzab, who published works on the Ibadhite literature, and there was also Sheikh Suleiman al-Jadawi, editor of the newspaper Murshid al-Ummah.
   See also Mozabites.

Historical Dictionary of the Berbers (Imazighen) . . 2014.

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