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Ibāḍīs

IBĀḌĪS

The Ibāḍiyya is a moderate branch of the Khārijī sect, that broke with mainstream Islam in 657 on the question of who was entitled to the caliphate. From their first center in *Basra, missionaries were sent to propagate the Ibāḍī teaching. As a result Ibāḍī communities appeared in a number of Muslim provinces, particularly in Oman, which towards the end of the eighth century replaced Basra as their spiritual center, and among some Berber tribes in North Africa. From the middle of the 8th to the beginning of the 10th century the North African Ibāḍīs succeeded in establishing political control over parts of the Maghrib, in Tripolitania, in Sijilmasa (where another moderate Khārijī sect – the Ṣufriyya – took root), and particularly in the central Maghrib, where the Rustamid state, with its capital in Tāhart (Tahert, today Tagdemt), united under its rule all the Berber Ibāḍī tribes in North Africa. At the beginning of the 10th century the Fāṭimids destroyed all these states and their remnants, and the Ibāḍīs withdrew to remote regions. Adherents of the Ibāḍiyya are found today in Oman, where Ibāḍiyya is the predominant religious doctrine, in Zanzibar, in the island of Djerba, in Tripolitania – in Jabal Nafūsa (Nefousa and Zuagha) Zouara – and in the remote south of Algeria, in Wārjilan (Wargla, Ouargla) and particularly in the Mzāb valley. In the Mzāb they established five settlements in the 11th century, two additional ones in the 17th century, and some further settlements in the 20thcentury. In these settlements the Ibāḍīs secured virtual independence and preserved their particular puritan way of life, governed by their religious law, as well as by special rules and regulations, established by their leadership. Modernization, as well as the demographic and urban expansion of the region, in the course of the second half of the 20th century, may threaten their religious and organizational cohesion. The population of this region has been increasing spectacularly, the Ibāḍīs comprising no more than 60% of the present population. The largest settlement is Ghardāya (Ghardaïa), with a population of over 62,000 according to the 1987 census. There is some evidence of Jewish communities living among the Ibāḍīs throughout the centuries, enjoying the Ibāḍī basically tolerant attitude to non-Muslims. Thus, Tāhart was the home of R. Judah *Ibn Quraysh, a pioneer linguist. Some Jews lived in Sijilmāsa under Ṣufrī rule. In the Mzāb, Jews, as well as Europeans, Arabs, and other foreign elements, were allowed in Ghardaya only. Even there, they were not admitted within the city walls. The Jews lived in a separate neighborhood beyond the ramparts, in the southeastern part of the Ghardāya. The Mzābi Jews, as well as the large majority of the Algerian Jews, left Algeria toward the end of French rule in the country.

bibliography:

s.v.Khāridjites, al-Ibāḍiyya, Sidjilmāsa, Midrār, Mzāb in eis2; Hirschberg, Afrikah, 1 (1965), 68; M. Hoexter, "Effects of the Transition from the Turkish to the French Regime in Algiers – The Case of the Mzabi Ṭalaba (Tolba)," in: Asian and African Studies, 17 (1983), 121–137 and bibliography there; F. Brown and B. Tahar, "Comparative Analysis of Mzabite and Other Berber Domestic Spaces," at: http://undertow.arch.gatech.edu/homepages/.

[Miriam Hoexter (2nd ed.)]

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