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Muslims, Scholars, Soldiers

Kimberly Rae Connor, University oI San Francisco
A Publication Series oI
The American Academy oI Religion
OxIord University Press
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SelI and Community at the Cross
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The Multiethnic Church on a Mission
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Traumatic Intrusions on Grace and
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Michael P. Murphy
Embodied Limits and Constructive
Deborah Beth Creamer
Christ, the Cross, and the Feminist
ArnIridur Gudmundsdottir
The Origin and Elaboration oI the Ibd
Immate Traditions
Adam R. Gaiser
Muslims, Scholars,
The Origin and Elaboration of the
Ibd Immate Traditions
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Library oI Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Gaiser, Adam R., 1971
Muslims, scholars, soldiers: the origin and elaboration oI the Ibadi imamate traditions /
Adam R. Gaiser.
p. cm.
Includes bibliographical reIerences and index.
ISBN 978-0-19-973893-9
1. IbaditesHistory. 2. ImamateHistory. I. Title.
BP195.I3G35 2010
297.833dc22 2009042620
9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
Printed in the United States oI America
on acid-Iree paper
For Shirley Russell
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Many have assisted me with my research, and deserve thanks. I would
like to express gratitude to my advisor at the University oI Virginia,
Abdulaziz Sachedina, and to Cynthia Hoehler-Fatton, Elizabeth
Thompson, and Robert Wilken, Ior their guidance, patience, and eIIorts
on my behalI. Thanks to Dr. Romanella Ior his part in the completion oI
this work. I also thank Gordon and Robin Gaiser, and Shirley Russell
Ior their encouragement and support. At Florida State University, John
Kelsay read several draIts oI this manuscript and oIIered his comments
and guidance. Similarly, John Corrigan pointed me in the right direc-
tion too many times to count. My thanks go to the both oI them Ior their
leadership and wise counsel, and also to my colleagues at FSU who
oIIered constant encouragement. I am grateIul to Kim Conner Ior her
steadIast work on my behalI, and to the anonymous readers oI the man-
uscript Ior their comments. Finally, my thanks to Cynthia Read and the
editorial board at the AAR/OxIord University Academy Series Ior their
suggestions, and Ior seeing the work through.
The original research Ior this manuscript began in Amman, Jordan,
with a Fulbright-Hays doctoral dissertation Iellowship; my gratitude
goes to Alain McNamara and the staII at the Fulbright Commission
Ior their assistance. Many other scholars helped me during my year oI
research in Jordan; oI special mention are Abd al-Azz al-Dr and
Muhammad Khrayst oI the University oI Jordan History Department,
and Farq Umar Fawz oI the Omani Studies Department at l al-Bayt
University. My appreciation goes to Ahmad Obeidat, Islam Dayeh, and
Nihad Khedair, my research assistants at the time (and now accomplished schol-
ars oI their own), Ior our many hours spent together in translation and discus-
sion. I also thank the Omani Student Union in Amman, l al-Bayt University, and
the University oI Jordan, all oI whom granted me unlimited use oI their library
and access to their manuscript collections. Further research took me to Muscat,
Oman; thanks to Michael Bos, Shaykh Abd al-Rahmn al-Slim, Shaykh Kahln
b. Nahbn al-Khars, Shaykh Mahmd b. Zhir al-Hin`, Dr. KhalIn al-Madr,
Ahmad al-Siyb, Shaykh Ziyd b. Tlib al-Mawal oI the Mahad al-Ulm al-
Shariyya, and to the students who shared their research and excitement.
And Iinally, thanks go to Carolina Gonzalez Ior accompanying me on
the way.
Abbreviations, xi
Note on Transliteration, Dates, and Qurnic Citations, xiii
Introduction, 3
1. Imm al-Zuhr, 19
2. Imm al-Kitmn, 49
3. The Shr Imm, 79
4. Imm al-DiI, Imm al-DaI, and Community, 111
Conclusion, 139
Notes, 147
Bibliography, 179
Index, 193
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BSOAS Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies
EI2 Encyclopedia of Islam, second edition
IJMES International Journal of Middle Eastern Studies
JAOS Journal of the American Oriental Society
SI Studia Islamica
WTQwTh Wizrat al-Turth al-Qawm wa al-Thaqfa
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Transliterations Irom Arabic Iollow the IJMES system, which has
become the standard system in the United States. I dispense in my
chapters with diacritical marks over commonly used words or names
(i.e., Sunni, Shia, Muhammad), but keep them in the bibliography.
Dates are given as hijri year or century Iirst, Iollowed by a slash and
then common-era year or century. For Qur`nic citations, I use the 1923
Egyptian printed recension oI HaIs Irom Asim, which has also become
the standard.
Note on Transliteration, Dates,
and Qur`nic Citations
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Muslims, Scholars, Soldiers
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In their ascendancy during the late Iirst/seventh through the early
Iourth/tenth centuries, the khawrij (sing. khrij, also known by its
Anglicized Iorm, the Khrijites) represented a third column in Islamic
history, an interpretation oI Islam as promising as the proto-Sunni and
pro-Alid groupings that survived into the modern era as Sunni and
Shia Muslims. Islamic history, written in large part by the victorious
Sunnis, remembers them chieIly as lawless brigands, theological
deviants, and opponents oI the rightIul Caliphsthose who numbered
among the seventy-two erring sects Ior whom the Prophet predicted
However, the distribution oI Khrijite subsects throughout
the Islamic worldIrom Spain to AIghanistantestiIies to their
widespread popularity in early Islamic history. Likewise, the longevity
oI the Khrijite sects conIirms their long-lasting appeal in the early
Islamic world. Despite the rapid demise oI the extremist Khrijites,
as a result oI their militancy, quietist Khrijite subsects persisted until
the sixth/twelIth century beIore Ialling into obscurity. One group, the
Ibdiyya, successIully established political dynasties in Oman and
North AIrica and survive to the present day in Oman, the Mzab region
oI Algeria, the Jabal NaIsa area oI Libya, Tunisia, and the east coast oI
As the sole remaining Khrijite subsect, the Ibdiyya are the last
representatives oI the opposition movement that was Khrijism, and
the inheritors oI its narrative and legal traditions. When compared with
other Islamic sects such as the Mutazilites or Murjiites, the endurance
oI Khrijism in its Ibd Iorm, even in the small numbers in which they survive, is a
testament to their resourceIulness, and to the resilience oI Ibd thought. Although
the connection between the Ibdiyya and the early Khrijites should not be over-
statedcenturies oI change have transIormed the modern Ibdiyya into a unique
Islamic sectnevertheless, they remain irrevocably linked to the early Khrijites.
Just as certain species oI modern birds are related to their evolutionary ancestors,
the dinosaurs, so the religious thought oI the Ibdiyya reveals a unique connection
with classical Khrijism.
OI the subjects that comprise the religious thought oI the Ibdiyya, no issue
illustrates their relationship with early Khrijism more than the notion oI authority
as it was institutionalized in the Ibd immathe institution oI the Imm. The
distinctive Ieatures oI the Ibd immate are an inheritance Irom the Khrijite era,
and one that diIIerentiates the Ibdiyya Irom their Sunni and Shia counterparts
in the Islamic world. This is not surprising, Ior as Madelung rightly observes, no
event in history has divided Islam more proIoundly and durably than the succes-
sion to Muhammad.
From the death oI the Prophet, embryonic schisms involv-
ing the nature oI legitimate succession existed within the Islamic community, and
eventually Iragmented the umma into sects. These diIIerent views toward legiti-
mate authority became permanently embedded in the institutions oI leadership that
developed around the nascent Islamic sectarian groups. The Ibd imma, as heir
to the Khrijite understanding oI rightIul succession, retained much oI the uniquely
Khrijite interpretation oI authority.
At the same time, the Ibd imma, as it is preserved in the North AIrican
and Omani Ibd legal and historical corpus, is an elaborate institution, and
one that continued to develop long aIter the demise oI other Khrijite subsects.
Nevertheless, given the Ibd relationship to Khrijism, the complexity oI immate
structures suggests an intricate debt to Khrijite notions oI legitimate authority,
which were themselves rooted in early Islamic conceptions oI leadership. It is the
aim oI the present study to illuminate the Ioundations and subsequent elaboration
oI the Ibd immate institutions by investigating their inheritance Irom Khrijite,
early Islamic, and pre-Islamic traditions.
The Present Study: Scope and Methodology
Whereas scholarscontemporary and medieval alikecommonly associate the
Ibdiyya with the constellation oI groups collectively known as the Khrijites,
and oIten posit continuity between them, it is less common to consider connec-
tions between the Khrijites and other near contemporaries, such as the early
Islamic state as it existed under the so-called rshidn (rightly guided) Caliphs,
the Umayyads, or members oI what has been called the pious opposition.
Indeed, it is more oIten the case that treatments oI the Khrijites isolate them as
exceptional cases in early Islamic history. Although there are several reasons Ior
such an approachranging Irom textual to scholarly prejudicesthe perceived
uniqueness oI the Khrijites obscures the ways that the early Khrijites received
traditions oI religious and political authority, manipulated them according to their
needs in speciIic historical conditions, and thus made them available to those who
survived them, such as the Ibdiyya. Consequently, the intellectual continuity oI
the Ibd imma has not been suIIiciently appreciated due, in part, to scholarly
Iailure in considering the continuity oI the Khrijite immate structures with non-
Khrijite institutions and models oI authority.
There are several reasons Ior such a Iailure. To begin with, until recently
most researchers did not have suIIicient access to Ibd texts, and were thereIore
unable, Iirst, to adequately assess the history and development oI the Ibdite sect
in relation to the Khrijites, and second, to use Ibd sources as a means to illumi-
nate early Islamic history Irom a quasi-Khrijite viewpoint.
Fortunately, recent
publications by the Omani Ministry oI Heritage and Culture (Wizarat al-Turth
al-Qawm wa al-Thaqfa) oI much oI the Ibd historical and legal corpus have
made hundreds oI works accessible to the researcher. In addition, the Libyan
scholar Amr Ennami collected and published several rare North AIrican legal
and theological works beIore his death,
while Crone and Zimmerman, working
Irom a document provided by Ennami, completed a translation oI an Ibd man-
uscriptthe epistle oI Slim Ibn Dhakwnthat dates Irom the second/eighth
These edited texts oIIer an important new resource Ior studies oI the
Ibdiyya, as well as, by extension, the Khrijites, and they have only just begun
to be appreciated.
A second hurdle Iacing scholarship on the Ibdiyya and the Khrijites is the
way that some scholars read and interpret the texts that they possess. One problem
plaguing the study oI the Ibdiyya and Khrijites is the uncritical reliance on either
Sunni or Ibd sources Ior historical narratives. Such an approach ignores the Iact
that these accounts were, to varying degrees, tailored to serve the polemical and
selI-serving interests oI the sect.
Similarly, this same uncritical reliance on prin-
cipally Sunni texts has directed other researchers to oversimpliIied and distorted
conclusions about the Khrijites, in spite oI caveats Irom scholars such as Watt and
Lewinstein on the overall limitations oI historical and heresiographical sources.

A common example oI this mistake is to attribute to all Khrijite subsects the late
Najdite belieI that under certain circumstances the community did not require an
However, such a generalization, while appropriate to later maniIestations
oI the Najdt Khrijite subsect, cannot be applied to all Khrijite groups uniIormly.
It certainly cannot be applied to the Ibdiyya.
Yet another Ilawed method oI viewing the Khrijites is to interpret their activ-
ities through the lens oI their most extreme or militant subsects. It is not uncom-
mon to Iind, Ior example, a Iocus on the Azriqa (or Najdt), whose core activities
lasted a mere Iourteen years, as representatives oI the original Khrijite position.

This statement grossly overestimates the importance oI the Azraqite subsect to the
general history oI Khrijism, and relegates the Ibdiyya, who have survived Ior
thirteen centuries (and, incidentally, opposed the Azriqa Irom the outset) to an
undeserved historical Iootnote that does not reIlect their longevity. Such distor-
tions prevent an accurate appreciation oI the role oI Khrijite thought in shaping
the Ibdiyya.
Neglect oI or overreliance on Ibd and Sunni sources, overgeneralization,
and a misguided telescopic Iocus on one Khrijite subsect or sects represent some
oI the more general Iailings oI studies on the Khrijites and Ibdiyya.
misconceptions impede the overall appreciation oI sectarian development, and
complicate any attempt to understand the connections between Khrijite sectarian
groups with other Muslims oI their era. Although these Iallacies represent broad
Iailings in scholarship, there also exist several speciIically misguided concepts
about Khrijite notions oI leadership. One oI the most common impediments Iac-
ing any attempt to contextualize the Ibd immate is that many treatments oI the
Khrijite imma dismiss its Islamic and pre-Islamic precedents, thus eIIectively
cutting oII inquiry into the possible connections between Khrijites, Ibdites, and
others. Such scholarship has two main methods oI explaining the conceptual his-
tory oI the Khrijite immate (and, oIten by implication, the Ibd immate): the
Iirst posits no historical precedents Ior the Khrijite immate, while the other
Iinds parallels mainly in the pre-Islamic history oI the Arabs. The Iirst type oI
treatment remains problematic because it automatically precludes the possibility
oI continuity by deIining the Khrijites as sui generis groups that appear seem-
ingly out oI nowhere. This exceptionalism is not only antihistorical but also relies
too heavily on polemical sources that wish to show the Khrijites as disconnected
to any acceptable Iorm oI Islam.
The second conceptualization oI Khrijite and Ibdite immate history locates
the roots oI the Khrijite institutions oI authority in the pre-Islamic era. This
approach Iinds a spirit oI nomadic egalitarianism, akin to the original desert ethos
oI the Arabs beIore Islam, which pervades the Khrijite notion oI leadership. In
attempting to reconstruct the tribal groups with which they had been Iamiliar in
the desert, the Khrijites imported the desert (that is, tribal) ideal oI leadership.
Thus, it is argued, the authority oI the Khrijite Imm becomes primus inter
pares like the Arab sayyid.
While scholars who subscribe to this thesis acknowl-
edge the importance oI Islamic justiIications to the Khrijite immate (that is, its
Islamic basis), this theory ultimately posits the source oI the Khrijite imma in
the pre-Islamic heritage oI the Arabs and does not comment on how the Khrijite
process oI Islamicizing pre-Islamic norms oI authority diIIered signiIicantly
Irom the ways that the early Caliphs justiIied and envisioned caliphal authority.
And although this treatment oI the Khrijite precedents Ior the immate remains
slightly less anti-historical than the Iirst method oI ignoring historical precedent
altogether, both theses ultimately dismiss the possibility that the Khrijites and
Ibdiyya Iound justiIications Ior their particular views toward leadership in the
Qurn or early traditions oI the Caliphs.
The implications oI an exceptionalist view oI the Khrijite immate traditions
may readily be seen in the scholarship on the Khrijite Imm. In assuming little or
no continuity with earlier Islamic or pre-Islamic institutions oI authority, several
scholars imagine the Khrijites as inherently unstable, even anarchist. These schol-
ars see a clash between the authority oI the Imm and that oI the Khrijite commu-
nity, with the Imm ultimately bowing to the community, his role and importance
thereby reduced. Khrijite institutions oI authority appear contradictory. On the
one hand, historical texts emphasize the military struggle oI the various Khrijite
subsects with the dominant Islamic powers. Such struggles required strong leader-
ship, and accordingly, scholarly studies portray the Khrijite Imms as Iigures oI
limited authority. On the other hand, theological sources accentuate the Khrijite
practice oI excluding sinners Irom the Islamic community by treating them as
kuffr (unbelievers). This practice (known as takfr), according to the heresiog-
raphers, extended also to the leaders oI the Khrijites, who could be deposed Ior
committing an inIraction oI the divine law. Thus, it is argued, the Khrijite com-
munity enjoyed Iinal authority by reserving the right to depose their leader. For
some scholars, positing the Khrijite community as the true authority solves the
apparent contradiction between the existence oI an authority Iigure, the Khrijite
Imm, and the possession oI actual authority by the community. By so doing, these
scholars envisioned the Khrijite political system as inherently antiauthoritarian, a
type oI theocratic anarchism or democratic puritanism.
Conceiving the Khrijite political system as overbalanced in Iavor oI the power
oI the community drastically reduced the importance oI the Khrijite Imm in the
eyes oI scholars. Nevertheless, these scholars explain the existence oI the Khrijite
Imms, and the nature oI their authority, by citing the practical need oI the
Khrijite community Ior leadership.
Others rely on the democratization oI legit-
imacy, whereby the communitys recognition oI the Imm became the basis oI his
legitimacy, rather than the consequence oI his legitimacy.
As a corollary to this conceptualization oI the Khrijite imma whereby
the Imms practical authority was overshadowed by the ultimate authority oI
the Khrijite community, some scholars postulate an inherent instability in Khrijite
institutions oI authority.
According to these scholars, it is the nature oI the
Khrijite approach to authority that, lacking meaningIul connection to any previ-
ous system oI authority, allows the puritanical urges oI the Khrijites to run amok,
destabilize the sect, and make impossible the establishment oI a lasting institution
oI authority. Absent Irom such treatments oI early Khrijite (and Ibdite) history
is any connection to earlier conceptions oI Islamic political organization. Equally
absent is the notion that the relentless pursuit, incarceration, killing, and general
persecution oI every Khrijite subsect by the Umayyads, and later Abbasidsnot
an inherent instability oI Khrijite political thought itselImight have contributed
to their political volatility.
The unwillingness to view Khrijite institutions oI political authority as a con-
tinuation oI certain earlier modes oI religious and political authority impedes the
appreciation oI the roots oI the Ibd immate institution. Not only have many
scholars underestimated the importance oI diIIerent types oI legitimate authority
in Khrijite Islamic thought, but they have consequently misrepresented the history
and composition oI Khrijite institutions oI authority. This general misunderstand-
ing, combined with the general lack oI critical scholarship on the Ibdiyya, has led
to an impoverished view oI the history oI Ibd political thought in relation to its
Khrijite and pre-Khrijite predecessors.
Not all scholars oI the Khrijites subscribe to the thesis that views the Khrijites
as separated Irom earlier trends in Islamic history. Crones recent publications
on the Khrijites and Ibdites, in addition to advancing the study oI Khrijism
immensely, represent a scholarly reassessment oI the nature oI Khrijite authority
that challenges an antihistorical treatment oI the nature oI their authority. Crone
argues that the Khrijites viewed eligibility Ior the immate in terms oI merit, with
the criterions oI a meritorious leader being piety and knowledge.
she argues, the Imm was envisioned as a political leader and religious guide.
Crone rightly notes how the Ibdiyya attempted to mitigate the power oI the Ibd
community (represented by the scholars) by requiring absolute obedience to the
Imma situation undermined by the Iact that Ibd ulam retained the right
to install and depose him. In addition, Crone observes that the Khrijites believed
they were systematizing the principles behind the early caliphate in Medina.
The brevity oI Crones observation leaves much work to be done. A reexami-
nation oI the Ibd immate structure in light oI its historical precedents presents an
opportunity to challenge the antihistorical view oI Khrijite institutions oI author-
ity, and to trace how the institutions oI the Ibd immate came into being. This
study takes up Crones insight into the early Islamic roots oI Khrijite notions
oI authority and traces them to the Iormulation and systematization oI the Ibd
As a starting point Irom which to work back to the connections between the
Ibd imma and its intellectual predecessors, it will be instructive to provide
a brieI overview oI the Ibd immate. This is, however, no mean Ieat, as the
medieval Ibd immate ideal as it was preserved in the Ibd legal and historical
corpus oI the seventh/eleventh through eleventh/IiIteenth centuries presents itselI
as a highly complex institution. It consists oI diIIerent subinstitutions oI authority,
which were believed to be appropriate to certain contexts (called maslik al-dn,
stages oI religion), and thereby to supply a suitable type oI leader Ior the distinct
situations in which the Ibd community Iound itselI. In other words, diIIerent
conditions oI the community required diIIerent types oI authority and thereIore
necessitated diIIerent kinds oI leaders. Each institution oI authority possesses a
unique history stretching back, in many cases, to the pre-Islamic era. An evalu-
ation oI the diIIerent institutions comprising the Ibd imma will show that the
particularities oI each institution is based on precedents located in earlier Khrijite,
early Islamic, and pre-Islamic institutions oI authority. As a historical study, the
chapters will elucidate, Ior each piece oI the immate under consideration, a pro-
gression oI development that begins with conceptual and institutional precedents
in the pre-Islamic era and ends with speciIic conIigurations in the medieval Ibd
theory oI the imma.
In the interests oI historical accuracy, a distinction will be maintained between
the medieval Ibd institution oI the Imm and its early or Iormative predeces-
sor. That is, the medieval Ibd imma will be deIined as the imma as it appears
in the (predominantly legal) tradition that postdates the dissolution oI the initial
Ibd immates oI Oman and North AIricaaIter the mid-third/ninth to Iourth/
tenth century up to the eighth/Iourteenth century. The Iormative Ibd imma will
be deIined as the institution that developed Irom the era oI the Iirst political leader
oI the Basran Ibdiyya (Ab Ubayda Muslim b. Ab Karma, d. mid-second/eighth
century) up to and including the Iounders oI the Ibd dynasties in North AIrica
(Abd al-Rahmn b. Rustum, d. 171/788) and Oman (al-Writh b. Kab al-Khrs,
d. 193/808). In other words, the Iormative and medieval Ibd immates will be
deIined by a temporal distinction based upon the existence or nonexistence oI a
Iormal Ibd politya premodern state. This distinction can be justiIied with reIer-
ence to the Iact that the absence oI a state made it unlikely that the process oI insti-
tutionalization was completed during the Iormative imma. Indeed, some oI the
early Imms Iunctioned as precedents Ior certain aspects oI the medieval immate
structure. In addition, the Iew Ibd sources that survive Irom the early Ibd era
contain unique interpretations oI the role oI the Immdescriptions that obviously
Iunctioned as precedents Ior certain aspects oI the later medieval immate. For
these reasons, the Iormative period oI the immate will be kept distinct Irom the
medieval immate so that the early precedents may be investigated.
Another reality that signiIicantly complicates the attempt to locate historical
precedents Ior the Ibd imma is that diIIerences do exist between the ways in
which the medieval North AIrican and Omani Ibd communities conIigured and
described their immate institutions. These diIIerences can be attributed to the
divergent historical paths oI these two communities; the Ibds in North AIrica
and Oman began to pursue dissimilar solutions to the question oI leadership aIter
the establishment oI their respective polities. The North AIrican Ibdiyya modi-
Iied their immate tradition aIter the death oI the Iirst Rustumid Imm, Abd
al-Rahmn b. Rustum. His son, Abd al-Wahhb b. Abd al-Rahmn, while Ior-
mally acknowledging the Ibd immate ideal, established a hereditary dynasty
based upon his absolute authority.
AIter the dissolution oI the Rustumid dynasty
in 296/909, North AIrican Ibdism, while preserving the original ideal oI the
immate, eventually established communal councils (called h alqa, and later
azzba) oI ulam to oversee the aIIairs oI the community in the permanent
absence oI their Imm. While the oIIicial structure oI the immate was preserved
in theory, in reality the North AIrican Ibdiyya Iunctioned without an Imm. They
continue to do so up to the present day.
Omani Ibds also modiIied the institution oI the Imm aIter the establish-
ment oI their Ibd polity in Nizwa in 180/796. In particular, tribal alliances and
the realities oI political authority necessitated certain adaptations to the immate
as it was practically implemented. Some oI these changes were Iormally ratio-
nalized into the medieval Ibd imma, while others remained implicit in its
Unlike their North AIrican cousins, however, the Omani Ibdiyya
maintained an operative immate tradition aIter the dissolution oI the Iirst Omani
Ibd state in 280/893, and periodically reestablished Ibd immates throughout
their history. The last Omani Ibd Imm, Ior example, ruled in the interior oI
Oman until his expulsion in 1958, when Sultan Sad b. Taymur uniIied Muscat
and Oman with help Irom the British.
Both the theoretical character oI the North AIrican Ibd immate tradi-
tions and the practical nature oI the Omani imma lent distinctive qualities to
their respective immate traditions. Medieval North AIrican Ibd theories oI the
immate postulated Iour possible types oI recognized Imms who corresponded
with Iour situations (that is, the stages oI religion, maslik al-dn) in which the Ibd
community existed. These collective situations, in turn, were based upon reiIied
historical conditions in which the Ibd community (imagined as an unchanged
entity stretching back to the era oI the early Khrijites) Iound (or imagined) itselI.
The Iirst systematic statement oI the Iour stages is attributed to the Maghrib Ibd
scholar Ab Zakariyya:
The stages oI religion are Iour: Secrecy (al-kitmn), and this was
the previous state oI the Prophet when he was in Makka; then
ManiIestation (al-zuhr), like when he was in Madna, and then |the
Prophet| ordered the jihd; then DeIense (al-dif) like the deIense oI
the people oI Nahrawn against those who were satisIied with the arbi-
tration oI Ibn al-s and Abdullh b. Qays; then Selling |ones soul to
God in order to Iight| (al-shir), like Ab Bill, may God be pleased
with him.
This North AIrican conIiguration oI the immate represents a theoretical arrange-
ment oI the immate that does not correspond to a temporal North AIrican institu-
tion oI authority. The North AIrican Ibdiyya created the Iour stages oI religion
and their equivalent Imms to create the Iiction oI an unbroken chain oI Imms
stretching back to the Prophet Muhammad, and to link the transmission oI knowl-
edge (ilm) and authority to the earliest periods oI Islam.
The Omani Ibdiyya, on the other hand, did not conceive oI the stages oI
religion or their Imms in the same manner as their North AIrican counterparts
until aIter the Ibd renaissance oI the tenth/sixteenth century. Prior to this time,
there were only two stages oI religion: zuhr and kitmn.
Likewise, Omani Ibd
jurists recognized two types oI Imms, the shr (the Imm who sells his soul in
order to Iight) and dif (deIensive) Imms, respectively.
These Imms did not
necessarily correspond (as they did in North AIrica) to the stages oI the commu-
nity: both shr and dif Imms could rule during the state oI zuhr. Moreover,
Omani jurisprudence recognized no distinct type oI Imm appropriate to the state
oI kitmn, but later associated an Imm dubbed the muhtasib Imm with that
Finally, both shr and dif Imms could be Iurther classed as weak
(daf ) Imms iI they did not possess suIIicient knowledge.
This conIigura-
tion oI the Omani imma reIlects the practical considerations oI the Omani Ibd
ulam, who attempted to create a working institution oI the Imm that remained
relevant to their needs.
While acknowledging the important diIIerences between the North AIrican
and Omani immate traditions, a central assumption oI this study is that Ibd
institutions oI authority preserve reIerences to a conceptual past as a means oI
bolstering their claims to legitimacy because they are themselves the products oI
a conceptual heritage that is conceived as legitimate. That is, the Ibd immate
as it is preserved in the medieval legal-theological corpus was proIoundly shaped
by their Iormative experiences in Basra, the memory oI the early Khrijites and
the earliest Caliphs, all oI whom the Ibdiyya regard as pious Iorerunners. As
WolI notes, legitimacy is oI paramount importance to institutions oI authority:
iI |authority| is not perceived as legitimate by the object oI authority, then there
is little chance oI the authority being exercised eIIectively.
Wansbrough char-
acterizes legitimate authority in Islamic thought as apostolic; that is, as based
upon the belieI in an unbroken line oI transmission reaching back to the original
sources oI authority.
Indeed, the Ibdiyya viewed themselves as the unchanging
and unchanged successors to the Prophet Muhammad, and the preservers oI the
authentic Iorm oI Islam. A conceptual history oI the medieval Ibd institutions
oI authority beneIits Irom this need Ior legitimacy insoIar as the Ibd imma
traditions were believed to reIlect the institutions that composed the apostolic
sources oI transmissionespecially, but not limited to, the Qurn, the Prophet
Muhammad, the early Madnan caliphate, the early Khrijites, and the earliest
Ibds; the pre-Islamic era presents another important, yet unacknowledged, prec-
edent. The Ibd immate tradition, thereIore, must be viewed as the accumula-
tion oI such inIluences, whichin each speciIic time and place where Ibds Iind
themselvesare put to the task oI articulating a legitimate structure oI authority.
Thus, despite the diIIerences between the North AIrican and Omani conceptions
oI the immate, medieval North AIrican and Omani traditions common origin
in the Iormative Ibd immate oI Basra provided them with a core conceptual
vocabulary and practice oI the imma.
The advantage oI tracing a line oI development Irom the earliest sources oI
Islamic legitimacy to the Ibdiyya lies in its ability to supply continuity between
distinct institutions oI authority across a wide swath oI history and allow Ior
the discovery oI Iamily resemblances between classical Ibd, early Ibd,
Khrijite and pre-Khrijite institutions in doctrines, practices, technical vocab-
ularies, or shared interpretations oI history. A potential hazard oI this method
is contained in its presentation oI conceptual progression. A conceptual his-
tory necessarily searches Ior similarities between institutions through time; it
is a technique that can make the succession oI institutions appear static and
unaIIected by historical Iorces. Yet the process oI institutional development
was dynamic precisely because historical changes motivated Islamic groups to
constantly reinterpret the institutional norms oI earlier systems in terms oI the
novel circumstances in which they Iound themselves. Thus, Ior example, the
experience oI the Iirst Islamic fitna prompted the early Khrijites to incorporate
particular aspects oI the early Madnan caliphate oI Ab Bakr and Umar (itselI
an original interpretationdriven by the death oI the Prophet MuhammadoI
certain Islamic and pre-Islamic notions oI legitimate authority) into the early
Khrijite institutions oI authority. In order to preserve an accurate perspective
oI the conceptual development oI institutions oI authority, reIerence must con-
stantly be made to the particular historical contexts in which these institutions
The Iour stages oI religion and the Imms who properly govern the Ibd
community during those respective conditions will provide an organizing principle
Ior this study and a means to investigate the conceptual and institutional history
oI the medieval Ibd immate. Indeed, although their usages diIIer slightly, the
notions oI zuhr, dif, kitmn, and shir remain common to both Ibd immate
traditions and possess signiIicant institutional similarities. This shared institutional
terminology oI the immate will Iunction as the starting point Ior tracing the shared
institutional precedents oI authority in the medieval Ibd immate.
Chapter 1 begins with the notion oI zuhr, Ior oI the Iour medieval Ibd
Imm-types, the imm al-zuhr most resembled the Sunni Caliph in Iunction.
The state oI zuhr denoted an independent Ibd immate, with a leader capable
oI IulIilling the duties incumbent upon him. The imm al-zuhr, as the head oI
the sect believed to be the truest expression oI Islam, epitomized the just and
righteous leader (al-imm al-dil). Ibd historiography, Ior example, posited
Ab Bakr and Umar as examples oI Imms oI zuhr. During their reigns, the
righteous Islamic (that is, Ibd) community was held to openly exist and prop-
erly Iunction. Piety and moral probity, encompassing the notions oI justice (adl),
asceticism (zuhd), and religiosity(war), were the salient (though not the only)
legitimating characteristics oI the Ibd imm al-zuhr. The so-called rshidn
Caliphs, especially Ab Bakr and Umar, as well as being the pre-Islamic models
upon which the Iirst two rightly-guided Caliphs modeled their own caliphates,
serve as the conceptual precursor, via the early Khrijites, to Ibd notion oI the
zuhr Imm. Likewise, the Caliphs Uthmn and Al Iunction in Ibd literature
as negative models Ior the immate.
Chapter 2 takes up the notion oI kitmn and the institution oI the imm
al-kitmn (the Imm oI secrecy). This Imm ruled when the Ibd community
could not openly proclaim an immate. Although no comparable institution
existed in medieval Oman, Omani Ibd texts identiIy as Imms the same indi-
viduals who in North AIrican texts are labeled Imms oI kitmn while simul-
taneously describing the state oI the community during their reigns as one oI
secrecy (kitmn) and prudent concealment (taqiyya). In reality, it seems that the
imm al-kitmn was a theoretical construct established in order to retroactively
create Imms out oI the ulam who led the early quietist Khrijite movement
in Basra (and who eventually established the Ibdiyya as a distinct Khrijite
Nevertheless, the hypothetical institution oI the imm al-kitmn
illustrates how the predominant trait oI authority Ior the imm al-kitmn was
knowledge (ilm). The Iormative period in Basra thus serves as a starting point
Ior the investigation oI the imm al-kitmn, as well as setting the stage Ior
the importance oI the community in regulating the Imms who did not possess
Chapter 3 deals with the shr Imm, or the Imm who exchanges or
sells his soul to God Ior the promise oI the aIterliIe, and Iights Ior the estab-
lishment oI the Ibd state. Although the concept oI the imm al-shr existed
in both Oman and North AIrican immate theories, the conception oI the shr
Imm diIIered slightly in the two regions. In North AIrica, the imm al-shr
was a purely theoretical institution. He was conceived as a military leader
whose sole purpose was to expand or establish the Ibd dr al-islm or per-
ish in the attempt. Hypothetically, he could exist simultaneously with other
Imms so long as he prosecuted the struggle (shir) against the enemies oI the
Ibdiyya, although technically he had to either become the Imm or step down
iI he succeeded.
In Oman, the imm al-shr remained a practical institution:
a shr Imm was an Imm with Iull powersan Imm who possessed all the
necessary traits oI leadershipwhose primary responsibility lay in Iighting to
establish or maintain a condition oI zuhr. In both North AIrica and Oman, the
operative characteristic oI the shr Imms authority was his bravery and will-
ingness to sacriIice himselI Ior the good oI the secta concept known to the
early Khrijites and and Ibdites as shir. Stories oI the early Khrijite heroes
thus present the basis upon which the immate oI shir was Iounded, while the
later history oI Ibdism transIormed the concept oI shir into an institution oI
The last chapter addresses the role oI the community, using the example oI
the deIensive Imm. As a distinguishing Ieature oI the medieval Ibd imma,
the Iormal role established Ior the community (represented by the ulam) in
choosing, monitoring, and deposing the Imm remained common responsibil-
ities to both North AIrican and Omani immate traditions. In Iact, the North
AIican Ibd ulam assumed Iull control oI the Ibd community aIter the dis-
solution oI the Rustumid dynasty. However, they maintained the immate ideal
in their literature. In Oman, the institutional Ieatures oI the imm al-dif (the
Imm oI deIense, also known as the imm al al-dif or the imm al-mudfi)
and the Omani concept oI the weak (daf ) Imm illustrate the authority oI
the community in relation to their leader. The dif Imm could be required
to consult with the ulam beIore making any decisions, and to relinquish the
oIIice oI Imm aIter an appointed time. Moreover, shr and dif Imms who
did not possess knowledge were simultaneously known in Omani legal texts as
weak (daf ) Imms, though the exact usage oI this term in oIten obscure.

As a result oI their deIiciency in knowledge, the ulam could impose certain
conditions (shurt) upon their rule. Thus, in addition to the duties oI selecting,
monitoring, and deposing the Imm, the Omani Ibd community occasionally
assumed extra responsibilities in relation to their Imm. These Ieatures oI the
Ibd immate make it appropriate to speak oI the Ibd community as an inte-
gral aspect oI the immaa dependent institution with its own rules governing
how it should operate. This authority is likewise rooted in the early Islamic
period oI the rshidn Caliphs.
Examining the conceptual precedents oI the Ibd imma will require sources
that can provide the Iamily resemblances among various historical institutions
oI authority Irom the diIIerent historical eras under consideration. SpeciIically,
the doctrines, practices, technical vocabularies, interpretations oI events, and
biographies will provide the textual discussions in which historical portraits oI
institutions are preserved. A variety oI genres oI texts Irom both the mainstream
Islamic and Ibd traditions are used here. They include the standard histories,
biographical works (sra) on the Prophet and his early Companions, as well as in
innumerable other shorter works that have become the customary reIerences Ior
early Islamic history. Many oI these texts date Irom several decades to several
centuries aIter the events and personalities they describe, but preserve reports
Irom earlier sources within them. In addition, the Qurn and the hadth corpus,
insoIar as they are historically based texts, also serve as resources oI inIormation
on the early Islamic institutions oI authority.
One type oI textheresiographydeserves special mention as a source oI
inIormation on the early Khrijites. Heresiography is a genre dedicated to promot-
ing a certain sects claim to authenticity through the explication oI the heretical
belieIs and practices oI other groups. As such, the heresiographical tradition pres-
ents a rich, but polemical, source Ior inIormation on the Khrijites and Ibdites.
Although heresiographers quote and utilize the works oI earlier authors in their
texts, their works date Irom many years aIter the Iormative period oI the Khrijite
subsects. Caution should thereIore be exercised when dealing with heresiographi-
cal texts, as the predilections oI their authors, the structure oI their texts, and reli-
ability oI their inIormation are not always clear.
Although relevant primary and secondary source materials will be evalu-
ated in their appropriate chapters, certain general comments should be made, by
way oI overview, regarding Ibd sources. These sources are not well known,
even to scholars oI Islamic studies. The Ibd textual corpus is a massive body
oI works that span the thirteen centuries oI Ibd presence in Oman, Basra,
H ad ramawt, and North and East AIrica. Ibd authors pursued the same genres
as their non-Ibd Muslim counterparts: histories, biographical dictionaries
(t abaqt), legal works (fiqh), theological works (ilm al-kalm), and heresio-
However, in general, North AIrican texts relevant to the immate tend
to be histories and biographical dictionaries, while Omani sources on the imma
incline toward the legal genre. Although exceptions to this rule abound, this
situation reIlects the historical particularity oI the North AIrican and Omani
communities, respectively: the North AIrican community existed without an
Imm, and so the texts relating to the Imm are primarily historical in nature.
The Omani Ibd s, on the other hand, maintained the immate as a living tra-
dition, and thus their sources are legalreIlecting the practical concerns oI a
Iunctioning immate.
A chronological list oI the major Ibd sources, along with a brieI descrip-
tion oI their signiIicance to this study, will help the reader to navigate the grand
and oIten conIusing textual geography oI the Ibdiyya. The chronology oI Ibd
sources may be broken down into early (that is, Iormative) works that date Irom
beIore the establishment oI Ibd states, early medieval works (Irom the period oI
the Iirst Ibd states), and later medieval works (Irom the late-third/ninth centuries
and aIter).
Like the other Islamic sources mentioned above, most oI the Ibd
works date Irom the late-third/ninth century or later, that is, aIter the dissolution
oI the original Ibd states in North AIrica and Oman. Very little material survives
Irom the Iormative Ibd era: these sources include some early legal opinions and
letters oI Jbir b. Zayd (d. 94 or 104/712 or 722);
the (probably late-second/
eighth century) epistle oI Slim b. Dhakwn; a collection oI Ibd hadth attrib-
uted to the Basran Imm al-Rab b. Habb al-Farhid (d. 170/786);
a letter on
zakt attributed to Ab Ubayda Muslim b. Ab Karma (d. mid-second/eighth
and two early (probably early-second/eighth century) epistles attrib-
uted to the postulated Iounder oI Ibdism, Ibn Ibd.
OI this material, the epistle
oI Slim b. Dhakwn remains important as an example oI early heresiography and
Iormative Ibd doctrine. Similarly, the letters oI Ibn Ibd and select hadth Irom
the collection oI al-Rab represent early examples oI Ibd doctrines during the
Iormative period oI Ibd thought.
Examples oI Ibd sources Irom the early medieval period (that is, Irom the
era oI the Ibd states) are slightly less rare. The early biographical work oI Ab
SuIyn Mahbb b. al-Rahl (d. second/eighth century) survives in quotations in
the later North AIrican biographical sources oI al-Shammkh, al-Darjn, and the
histories oI al-Barrd and Ab Zakariyya. Ab SuIyns quotations provide an
important glimpse into the development oI the early biographical traditions oI the
Ibd sect. Likewise, the early epistle (sra) Irom Shabb b. Atyya (d. late-second/
eighth century) contains some relevant reIerences to the immate.
The epistle oI
Munr b. al-Nayyar al-Jaln (d. second/eighth century), a Basran bearer oI learn-
ing (hmil al-ilm) in Oman, to the second Omani Imm Ghassn b. Abdullh
al-Yahmad (d. 208/823) provides an invaluable perspective on the early person-
alities oI the Ibd movement as well as the concept oI shir.
Likewise, the
epistle oI the Omani scholar Ab Abdullh Muhammad b. Mahbb (d. 260/873)
provides a similar view on the early medieval Omani Ibd immate.
An excep-
tion to the usual silence oI North AIrican texts on the early immate tradition
comes Irom the epistle oI an unknown Ab Ubayda al-Maghrib to the Rustumid
Imm Abd al-Wahhb b. Abd al-Rahmn b. Rustum (r. 168188/785804). In
addition, two historical works Irom North AIricaIbn Salms Kitb Ibn Salm
(written aIter 273/886)
and Ibn al-Saghrs (d. late-third/ninth century) Kitb
Akhbr al-imma al-RustumiyynoIIer late-third/ninth century views on the
Ibd Rustumid dynasty in North AIrica.
The transition Irom the early to the later medieval periods in Oman is repre-
sented by two Omani scholars who witnessed and wrote about the dissolution oI
the Iirst Omani Ibd immate: Ab Muthir al-Salt b. Khams (d. late-third/ninth
century) and Ab Qahtn Khlid b. Qahtn (d. early-Iourth/tenth century). OI
particular interest to this study are their epistles (siyar), which mention some oI
the early Basran personalities associated with the Ibd movement.
Later classi-
cal Omani Ibd thought on the immate comes primarily Irom jurists; Ab Jbir
Muhammad Ibn JaIar (d. third/ninth century) and Ab al-Hawr Muhammad b.
al-Hawr (d. early-Iourth/tenth century) wrote important early compendiums oI
legal opinions, although their thought on the immate survived primarily in the
Iorm oI quotations in later Omani legal sources. Ab Sad Muhammad b. Sad
al-Kudams (d. Iourth/tenth century) worksal-Mutabar, al-Istiqma, and
al-Jmi al-Mufd min Ahkm Ab Sadcontain chapters on diIIerent aspects
oI the immate, as well as quotations Irom earlier Ibd thinkers. The IiIth/elev-
enth century Hadramawt Ibd scholar Ab Ishq Ibrhm b. Qayss digest oI
legal opinions (Mukhtasar al-Khisl) likewise provides valuable inIormation
on the legal aspects oI the immate, as do the opinions (preserved primarily
in quotations located in other works) oI the two IiIth/eleventh century jurists
Ab Muhammad Abdullh b. Muhammad Ibn Baraka and Ab al-Hasan Al b.
Muhammad al-Bisyn (sometimes given as al-Bisyaw).
The IiIth/eleventh century in Oman witnessed the compilation oI the mul-
tivolume legal compendium known as the Bayn al-Shar oI Muhammad b.
Ibrhm al-Kind. This enormous work collected numerous legal opinions on a
variety oI subjects, including the immate and the early personalities oI Ibdism.
Similarly, the sixth/twelIth-century legal scholar (and relative oI Muhammad
al-Kind), Ab Bakr Ahmad b. Abdullh b. Ms al-Kind (d. 558/1162) created
a legal compendium, known as the Musannaf, and devoted an entire volume to
questions surrounding the immate. This source, along with al-Kinds shorter
works the Kitb al-Ihtid and the al-Jawhar al-Muqtasir, present the range oI
legal opinions regarding the immate, and remain invaluable sources Ior the study
oI the medieval Ibd imma. Finally, the eleventh/seventeenth-century Omani
historical tract the Kashf al-Ghumma al-Jmi Akhbr al-imma, attributed to
the Omani historian Sirhn b. Sad al-Izkaw (d. eleventh/seventeenth century),
contains important historical inIormation regarding the early Imms oI Oman, as
does Nr al-Dn Abdullh al-Slims (d. 1333/1914) Tuhfat al-Ayn b-Sirat Ahl
Umn. Although both oI these works date Irom well aIter the medieval era, they
quote sources Irom earlier periods.
In North AIrica, the IiIth/eleventh and sixth/twelIth centuries produced
numerous historians and theologians oI note. Yahya b. Ab Bakr al-Warjln (Ab
Zakariyya) (d. 472/1079) wrote his Kitb al-Sra wa Akhbr al-imma concern-
ing the Rustumid immate and its dissolution; and Tabghurn b. Dawd b. s
al-Malsht (d. early-sixth/twelIth century) composed his Kitb Usl al-Dn on
the theological underpinnings oI Ibd religious thought. Likewise, Ab Ammr
Abd al-KI b. Ab Yaqb al-Tanwts (d. mid-sixth/twelIth century) al-Mjaz,
Ab Yaqb al-Warjlns (d. 570/1174) al-Dall wa al-Burhn, and his al-Adl
wa al-Insf, became important theological works that dealt, in part, with the
question oI the immate. The eighth/Iourteenth-century theological-legal tract
Kitb Qawid al-Islm, by Ab Thir Isml b. Ms al-Jitl (d. 750/1349),
contains scattered reIerences to the immate, as does Ab Sulaymn b. Dawd b.
Ibrhm al-Taltis (d. 968/1560) commentary (sharh) on Ab al-Abbs Ahmad
b. Ab Uthmn Sad al-Shammkhs (d. 928/1521) Muqaddimat al-Tawhd.
Al-Shammkh also wrote an important biographical dictionary, the Kitb al-
Siyar, which, along with Ab al-Abbs Ahmad b. Sad al-Darjns (d. 670/1271)
biographical dictionary the Kitb Tabaqt al-Mashyikh b al-Maghrib and Ab
al-Fadl b. Ibrhm al-Barrds (d. early to mid-ninth/IiIteenth century) historical
work the Kitb al-Jawhir, constitute the primary historical works oI the later
North AIrican Ibd period.
Imm al-Zuhr
One oI the institutions constituting the medieval Ibd imma was the
Imm known in North AIrica as the imm al-zuhr, and in Oman sim-
ply as the Imm who reigned when the Ibdiyya Iully controlled the
territory in which they were located; this was a state called alniyya
(openness) or zuhr (maniIestation).
This condition oI zuhr repre-
sented the most Iavorable state Ior the community, Ior in these cir-
cumstances the Ibdiyya openly practiced their Iorm oI Islam without
Iear oI persecution. In it, a competent Imm ruled without conditions
placed upon him by the ulam, and perIormed all duties incumbent
upon the oIIice oI the Imm.
According to the medieval Ibdiyya,
alniyya was the state oI aIIairs bequeathed to the Islamic commu-
nity aIter the death oI the Prophet Muhammad, and sustained by Ab
Bakr and Umar.
Zuhr thus illustrated the representative state oI
aIIairs Ior the Ibd community, and the state to which the Ibdiyya
Just as the state oI zuhr symbolized the optimal conditions Ior the
Ibd community, the imm al-zuhr epitomized the ideal leader oI the
Ibdiyya. In North AIrica, the imm al-zuhr represented the proto-
typical Imm: the Imm who ruled during ordinary conditions (that
is, not during a state oI deIense, expansion, or secrecy). In Oman, the
term imm al-zuhr was not used; Imms were either dif Imms or
shr Imms, or simply Imms who, it was implied, ruled during a state
oI zuhr.
Nevertheless, a typical Imm was one who was not weak
(daf ), not contracted Ior a speciIied period oI time or Ior a speciIic
purpose (like some kinds oI dif Imms), and not necessarily exceptional like an
imm al-shr.
As the prototypical Imm, the characteristics oI the z uhr Imm exem-
pliIied the traits that the Ibd iyya expected oI leaders during the ideal state
oI aIIairs. Conceptually, what epitomized the medieval Ibd Imm oI z uhr
was his demonstrated moral qualitieswhat may be summarized as merit in
the Iorm oI pietyas the paramount legitimating quality oI the his authority.

The Ibd Imm was, Ioremost, a moral Imm, and the Ibd iyya incorpo-
rated this quality into the institution that became the imm al-zuhr. Piety,
conceived as justice (adl), asceticism (zuhd), or religiosity (war), Iormed
a common denominator among the z uhr Imms in the medieval immate.
This concern Ior moral rectitude in leadership made the institution oI the
Ibd immate unique in three ways: in the level to which it preIerred piety
over other legitimate qualities oI leadership, in the exclusion on the basis oI
piety oI characteristics accepted as legitimate traits oI leadership by other
Islamic groups, and in the extent to which the Ibd iyya Iormalized the rules
Ior enIorcing piety among their leaders. These institutional traits embodied
the Ibd conception oI piety as legitimate authority in institutional Iorms.
This concern with piety as a demonstrated moral quality oI leaders, and the
subsequent institutionalization oI piety in certain structures oI the classical
Ibd imma, reIlect the conceptual and historical heritage oI the Ibd iyya
Irom their many predecessors, pre-Islamic and otherwise. That is, the dis-
tinctive Ieatures oI the Ibd institution oI the zuhr Imm developed Irom
a systematization oI the principles oI moral rectitude and piety (variously
appreciated) insoIar as they animated earlier institutions oI authority: spe-
ciIically, the pre-Islamic sayyid, the Prophet, the early caliphate, the Iirst
Imms oI the Muh akkima, and the early Khrijite leaders, including the early
Ibd leaders in Basra.
It should be noted that the Islamic concepts oI piety and moral rectitude were
not Iixed types oI authority, and the Qurnic elevation oI piety as the marker oI
authority and excellence among human beings did not easily replace pre-Islamic
attitudes toward legitimate political authority. Although Islam made strong univer-
sal claims on its Iollowers, the Iirst Muslims maintained a complex relationship
with the pre-Islamic milieu into which they were born. Consequently, what might
be called early Islamic norms oI authority simultaneously mixed with, replaced,
and were sometimes superceded by pre-Islamic notions oI authority. Concurrent
with this process, the notion oI what constituted Islamic behavior and virtue devel-
oped as the Muslim experience grew, and as the Muslims conquered and assimi-
lated new peoples.
The Authority oI the Pre-Islamic Sayyid
Although the Ibdiyya do not acknowledge the pre-Islamic era as a genuine source
Ior their religious and political thought, the jhiliyya provided the initial context
Irom which Islam sprung. Certain aspects oI pre-Islamic thought were inevitably
reinterpreted and incorporated into early Islamic patterns oI reasoning, so that
they became integrated with it. Accordingly, the personal characteristics valued
in the pre-Islamic institution oI the sayyid Iunction as an unacknowledged prec-
edentvia the early Islamic Caliphs and then the KhrijitesIor the later Ibd
conviction in demonstrated personal qualities (merit) as the paramount legitimat-
ing Iactor oI authority. Failure to appreciate some oI the underlying principles
oI pre-Islamic Arabian authority, which led in early Islamic history to the ascen-
dancy oI the Quraysh and the pretensions oI Arab superiority, has resulted in a
misunderstanding oI the pre-Islamic antecedents to Khrijite modes oI authority.
While it is true that the Khrijites absolutely rejected the exclusive claims oI the
Quraysh (and the Arabs in general) to the candidacy oI leadership, they did not
reject the principle on which Quraysh excellence was Iounded. Personal merit,
even iI expressed within the Iramework oI a tribal system that gloriIied ancestral
deeds over the achievements oI an individual, nonetheless legitimized leadership
within the sphere oI those considered noble on the basis oI personal qualities.
Thus, the pre-Islamic oIIice oI the sayyid oIIers a partial, iI abstract, precedent
Ior the Ibd elevation oI piety as the meritorious quality that legitimated political
Piety, as such, did not belong to the pre-Islamic vocabulary, and was not
a recognized category oI thought in the pre-Islamic era. However, personal qual-
ities relevant to leadershipwhat might be considered the equivalent oI moral
virtues in pre-Islamic Arabiadid exist. The personal qualities admired by the
Arabs have been categorized under the rubric oI murwwa (manliness), which
included the traits oI bravery, patience, the willingness to exact revenge, protect
the weak, and deIy the strong.
To these might also be added generosity and hos-
pitality (karam), and loyalty to ones tribe (al-asabiyya). In particular, the pre-
Islamic term karm was an important concept denoting nobility oI lineage, which
had secondarily acquired the notion oI extravagant generosity. Generosity
remained a visible means by which a pre-Islamic Arab might show his nobility
and quality.
Especially relevant to the moral virtues oI leaders in pre-Islamic
Arabia was the quality oI hilm (selI-restrained authority). Hilm originally denoted
control over ones passions, the ability to calmly assess a situation and remain
As such, it remained one oI the most essential qualities oI an Arab
tribal chieI, as it allowed the chieI to govern other people through cool tact and
skillIul manipulation. Such qualities (especially hilm) constituted the core traits
acknowledged in pre-Islamic leaders.
However, the Arabs did not believe noble qualities, and thus leadership,
to be generally obtainable exclusively on the basis oI their demonstration. As
important as the maniIestation oI the ability to lead was the notion that noble
qualitiesincluding the qualities oI leadershipwere passed down genetically
Irom the tribal ancestors through certain Iamilies.
Thus, the Arabs judged the
relative nobility (sharaf ) oI a tribe according to the accumulated deeds oI their
ancestors and gauged the relative superiority oI tribes with reIerence to genealogy
No honor was accorded to those without honorable ancestors. Among
the Arabian tribes, a type oI loose aristocracy developed out oI the system oI honor
and ancestry. Within tribes, a particular clan claimed greater glory, and thereby
greater right to leadership, iI its line oI ancestors was more distinguished by their
achievements than other clans oI the same tribe.
Inherited tribal qualities limited the weight oI personal achievements Ior
those without honor, while simultaneously imposing on those who claimed exalted
ancestry a duty to demonstrate their noble qualities. As JaIri claims:
the Arabs made a clear distinction between inherited nobility and
nobility claimed only on account oI personal merit, the Iormer being a
source oI great social prestige while the latter was oI little consequence.
In other words, personal Iame and merit counted Ior little in securing
Ior oneselI an exalted position: it was inherited Iame and inherited merit
which conIirmed proper estimation in society.
For those who possessed hasab (honor based upon genealogy) strong incentive
existed to emulate the glorious deeds oI their ancestors. The tribal system required
the demonstration oI personal merits Irom those claiming nobility oI ancestry, but
held personal merit to be the result oI that ancestry.
The choice oI a leader (sayyid or shaykh) in pre-Islamic Arabia reIlected the
Arabs esteem Ior inherited traits oI nobility, and the leader was chosen in part Ior
his genealogy and in part Ior his leadership qualities. The death oI a tribal chieI
instigated a succession oI leadership to the most qualiIied person within those clans
already considered noble.
The Arabs maintained their practical attitude toward
leadership to the extent that the authority oI the sayyid was not guaranteed by his
status as such. The ability to command, as measured by the perceived wisdom oI
the sayyids command, determined whether or not the sayyids opinion would be
consulted and respected.
Such demonstrated virtues oI leadership, even when understood as the conse-
quence oI inherited traits restricted to certain noble tribes, determined the lead-
ership oI the Quraysh within the political system oI sixth-century Makka. That the
Quraysh may have enjoyed preeminence as leaders in Makka, and perhaps in the
whole oI the Arabian Peninsula, must be attributed to socioeconomic Iactors pecu-
liar to Makka at that time. Although Makka stood oII oI the north-south (Syria-
Yemen) and east-west (Abyssinia-Iraq, India) trade routes, it has recently been
argued that the leather trade may have connected Makka to the wider economic
geography oI the Arabian Peninsula.
Compounding the importance oI Makka
as an economic center Ior leather production were the disastrous wars between
the Ssnian and Byzantine empires, whose armies required an enormous amount
oI raw leather Ior their outIitting. In addition, disruption oI the regular trade
routes through the northern Middle East diverted more commerce to the Arabian
Peninsula, indirectly beneIiting the Quraysh in Makka.
The existence oI the kaba in Makka would have Iurther added to the posi-
tion oI the Quraysh in Arabia. Pilgrims converged on the sacred precinct, bringing
business and animals Ior sacriIice with them. In addition to the accommodation
oI merchants, the Quraysh set up diIIerent idols in the kaba to attract pilgrims
Irom all over Arabia. The prospect oI mutual beneIits Irom the economic prosper-
ity oI Makka attracted tribes to Iorm relationships oI conIederacy (hilf ) with the
Quraysh. ConIederates (hulaf) meant greater military strength and the ability to
protect themselves and their clients, and to exact revengetraits that would have
contributed to the Iame oI the Quraysh in the whole oI Arabia.
Although inIluence within the Quraysh tribe depended, as it did throughout
Arabia, on the qualiIications oI clan and demonstrated ability, the accumulation oI
wealth had begun to challenge this system. Prosperity became a means to power
that supplanted, to a certain extent, the traits oI inherited nobility. By the time oI
Muhammad, the wealthy clans oI Abd Shams and Makhzm dominated Makkan
politics, while Muhammads clan oI Hshim occupied a relatively modest posi-
tion. Although the Ban Hshim enjoyed status as caretakers oI the kaba, the
real power oI Abd Shams and Makhzm was demonstrated by their ability to
organize the boycott oI the Hshimites during the early years oI the Prophets mis-
sion in Makka. Nevertheless, personal qualities were oI paramount importance
to the acceptance oI a leader within the Quraysh, as shown by the example oI
Ab SuIyn, whose Iinancial acumen, diplomatic skill, and ability to lead insured
that he would remain a powerIul Iigure among the Makkans.
Additionally, the
Quraysh as a whole were Iamous Ior their hilm, that is, their ability to gain control
over their neighbors through patient statesmanship. Although hilm was thought to
be an inherited trait, neither hereditary qualities nor wealth could ever replace the
practical importance oI demonstrated ability to the leadership oI the Quraysh.
As the Arabs recognized conIirmed traits oI leadership within those tribes
known Ior their noble ancestry, they generally mistrusted other Iorms oI leader-
ship that did not involve a hereditary notion oI veriIiable tribal virtues. Dynastic
succession, or kingship, was not alien to the pre-Islamic Arabs, and the pre-Is-
lamic kingdoms oI al-Hra, the Ban Ghassn, and al-Kinda were well known
among them. Kingship (mulk) originated as a metaphor oI space and possession.
Ibn Sad wrote oI kings who presented giIts to the Prophet: they were called
kings because each oI them was in possession oI a valley and everything therein.

Likewise, the Arabs would have known oI the concept oI divine kingship Irom trad-
ing with their Ssnian and Byzantine neighbors. The Ssnian notion oI authority
revolved around the notion oI a divinely appointed king, the shh, whose legiti-
macy and authority were unquestioned and absolute. However, divine kingship
and the kingly metaphor oI space and possession remained alien to the Arabs, who
valued personal qualities and breeding in their leaders. This aversion to kingship
is reIlected in early Islamic literature. The Qurn describes the Queen oI Sheba
telling her council (mal): kings, when they enter a township, ruin it and make
the honor oI its people shame.
This attitude may have reIlected the Arab attitude
toward kingship in general.
Moral Authority in the Qurn and the Example oI
the Prophet Muhammad
The second historical precedent Ior the Khrijites particular interpretation oI piety as
the Iundamental aspect oI legitimate authority comes Irom the Qurn and the exam-
ple oI the Prophet Muhammad, insoIar as his example can be reconstructed with any
certainty. With the advent oI the Qurn and the leadership oI the Prophet Muhammad,
Islamic piety was deIined as a desirable personal quality that distinguished excellence
in human beings, and the example oI the Prophet Muhammad as a moral-political
authority quickly became embedded in the religious thought oI the Muslims.
In the Islamic context, the Qurn conceptualized the notion oI morality
and thereby provided a basis Ior the Khrijite and Ibd ite equation oI piety
and leadership. The Qurn connects the principles oI right and wrong, and
the impetuous Ior human beings to act in a moral manner, to the nature oI God
and to Gods purpose Ior humanity. Among the numerous adjectives describing
God, several reIer to speciIically moral attributes: merciIul, compassionate,

and just,
to name but a Iew. These theological attributes oI God
have deIinite consequences Ior human beings. As a moral Being, God cre-
ates the universe with a moral purpose, and places humanity on earth so that
they may perIect their personalities and create a just social order. The Qurn
describes human beings role in the creation oI such an order as that oI vice-
regency (khilfa) on earth, stemming Irom a primordial covenant established
between God and humankind.
Because human beings accepted a primordial
trust (amna), God entrusted them to be the caretakers or vice-regents
(khalfa) oI His creation.
The primordial trust has several important consequences Ior human beings.
By consenting to the responsibility Ior being Gods vice-regents on earth, human
beings accept accountability Ior the realization oI Gods moral plan. Consequently,
they accept that they will be judged according to their success or Iailure in achiev-
ing Gods purpose. At the most Iundamental level, then, human beings have a
reason to be moral, iI only to escape the dire punishment that God promises Ior
However, the weakness and ignorance oI human beings Irustrates the IulIill-
ment oI their duty to God. The Qurn describes the human being as a tyrant
(zalm) and a Iool (jahl);
they have hearts but cannot understand, they have
eyes but cannot see, they have ears but cannot hear.
These basic human weak-
nesses are, in some respects, the consequence oI a dual human nature that endows
them with the capacity to understand and pursue both good and evil: Surely We
created man oI the best constitution, but then We reduced him to the lowest oI the
|I swear by| the soul and by that whereby it was Iormed, and God has
inspired it |with consciousness oI| what is right and what is wrong.
the devil, Ibls, tempts human beings to sin, luring them away Irom their duties
toward God.
Thus, despite the capacity Ior human beings to do good, their weak
and sinIul natures and the predations oI the Devil make them largely unable to dis-
charge their responsibilities toward God.
Without some Iorm oI assistance, human beings remain morally enIeebled
and incapable oI creating a just society on earth. For this reason, God sends His
Prophets to bear divine guidance, which will steer human beings toward the path
oI moral and social perIection: And We have revealed the scripture (al-kitb) to
you only that you may explain to them that wherein they diIIer, and |as| as guid-
ance and mercy (hudan wa rahmatan) Ior a people who believe.
This guidance
is a Iundamentally moral guidance, whose aim is to create a just society whereby
good will be commanded, and evil prohibited.
Being moral involves active participation in the normative system oI action
implied in and demanded by the Iundamental act oI islm (submission oI the
individual will to the will oI God). The term in the Qurn Ior morality, or more
accurately piety, is taqw.
Notoriously diIIicult to translate, taqw is deIined
by Izutsu as an awareness oI the absolute earnestness oI liIe that comes Irom
the consciousness oI the impending Day oI Judgment.
Similarly, Rahman sees
taqw as a type oI active awareness in action: when people are Iully aware oI
the consequences oI their actions, they conduct themselves with true taqw.

Additionally, insoIar as piety is an awareness oI the consequences oI ones
actions and the Iear that comes Irom the knowledge oI the Judgment, taqw then
reIers to Iear oI God. Taqw, thus, appears as a type oI consciousnesseven
Iearthat enables a human being to become a more moral being.
As the moral aspect oI the Islamic system oI action, the concept oI taqw
involves the perIormance oI the obligations inherent in being a Muslim: Help
one another to righteousness and piety (al al-birri wa al-taqw); do not encour-
age one another to sin and transgression, but keep your duty to God (wa ittaq
Similarly, the Qurn deIines the muttaqn (those who have taqw) as
those who believe in the unseen, and establish worship, and spend oI that which
We have bestowed on them; and who believe in that which is revealed unto you
|Muhammad| and that which was revealed beIore you, and are certain oI the here-
aIter; who depend on guidance Irom their Lord.
As such, the deIinition oI the
muttaqn is nearly equivalent to that oI the muslimn (muslims) or muminn
(believers). Indeed, the concept oI taqw involves the perIormance oI the Islamic
duties as well as the moral consciousness that should simultaneously pervade the
perIormance oI these duties.
The Qurn unambiguously makes taqw, piety, the criterion oI excellence
between human beings: Surely the most noble among you (akramakum) is the
most pious (atqkum).
Here the Qurn employs the word karm (in the superla-
tive akram), which indicated in pre-Islamic times a nobility oI character. However,
the Qurn redeIines what it means to be noble by associating the concept oI
nobility with the moral concept oI taqw (also in the superlative Iorm atq). The
Qurnic use oI the superlative Iorms oI the adjectives Ior karam and taqw makes
it clear that the Qurnic concept oI taqw is to supercede all other means oI dis-
tinction between human beings. The moral qualities and actions oI a person (their
taqw) become the standard by which human beings may be distinguished.
Along with the revelation oI the Qurn came the concept oI prophecy.
Unsurprisingly, moral excellence was believed to be an essential aspect oI the
Prophetic oIIice. As the living embodiment oI the Prophetic institution, the Qurn
presents Muhammad as exempliIying to a very high degreeiI not to perIection
moral virtue: Surely in the messenger oI God you have a good example Ior him
who looks to God and the Last Day, and remembers God much.
moral traits were considered a Iundamental and integrated side oI his prophethood:
that is, the essentially moral message oI the Qurn presupposed an essentially
moral messenger. Another verse implies that Muhammad was guided away Irom
errant behavior toward proper action: Did |God| not Iind you erring (dlan) and
guide you (fa-had)?
This verse implies that moral behavior, conceived in terms
oI right guidance, was synonymous with the oIIice oI Prophet. Likewise, certain
hadth (probably oI later origin) express a conviction in the absence oI negative
moral traits in Muhammads character: when asked about the shaytn, the base
Iaculties oI the human personality, Muhammad commented: My shaytn has
submitted completely, and does only what I order him.
Although later writers
elevated the piety oI the Prophet Muhammad Ior their own purposes, the convic-
tion in the moral excellence oI the Prophet Muhammad echoes similar sentiments
in the Qurn and undoubtedly existed in some Iorm among early Muslims.
BelieI in the moral excellence oI the Prophetic oIIice became a standard Iea-
ture oI later Islamic literature. For example, the Sansiyya, a well known medieval
handbook oI Sunni doctrine, expresses the moral qualities that were considered
Iundamental to the institution oI the Prophet:
A Prophet has Iour necessary attributes: he must be truthIul (s idq) and
trustworthy (amna); he has deIinitely to proclaim the Divine word
(tablgh) and has to be sagacious and intelligent (fatna). It is impossible
that he should lie (kidhb), be Iaithless or treacherous (khiyna), should
conceal the Divine message (katmn) or be stupid (badla).
This later systematization oI Prophetic attributes reIlects what was implied in an
unsystematic Iashion in the Qurn and hadth literature.
Another later means oI expressing the moral excellence oI a Prophet was through
the doctrine oI isma. As a consequence oI his moral superiority, Muhammad was
believed to have the quality oI isma, a term deIined by Schimmel as protection
or Ireedom (Irom moral depravity).
However, there are no records oI the doc-
trine oI isma Irom the earliest sources, and later commentators are divided as to
the exact level oI the Prophets isma (whether, Ior example, he was perIectly Iree
oI moral deIects, or was prone to minor human weaknesses). Nevertheless, hadth
and sra literature, Ior example, mention an incident during the time beIore the
prophetic calling oI Muhammad, when supernatural beings miraculously opened
Muhammads chest, and cleansed his heart oI impurities and Satans part.

Similarly, there are accounts oI Muhammads wet nurse, Halma, being puriIied
so that her milk would be cleansed Ior Muhammad to drink.
Like the guidance
mentioned above, Muhammads moral preeminence was later believed to be the
consequence oI divine intervention: the quality oI isma was believed to be God-
given, and the opening and puriIication oI Muhammads breast completed by
angelic beings. These somewhat earlier convictions about the institution oI proph-
ethood as a moral institution preIigure the Iormal statement in the doctrine oI isma
about the moral protection oI the Prophets.
Another Iundamental aspect oI the oIIice oI Prophet included the Prophets
authority: concurrent with Muhammads possession oI a high level oI moral per-
Iection was his enjoyment oI comprehensive authority over his Iollowers. The
Qurn clearly established this authority in numerous verses: Say: obey God and
the Messenger;
And obey God and the messenger, that you may Iind mercy.

Just as the moral preeminence oI the Prophet was believed to be a divine giIt, so
Muhammads authority also resulted Irom his status as a Prophet. That is, as one
sent (rasl) by the ultimate source oI authority (that is, God), Muhammads
authority derived Irom his possession oI the Revelation (al-risla; literally that
which is sent). The contingency oI Muhammads authority on Gods authority,
and its connection with the notion oI messengership is made clear in 7:158:
Say |oh Muhammad|: Oh Mankind! I am the messenger oI God (rasl
Allh) to you all|the messenger oI Him| unto Whom belongs the
sovereignty oI the heavens and the earth. There is no God save Him.
He quickens and he gives death. So believe in God and His messenger
(rasluhu), the unlettered Prophet, and Iollow him that haply you may
be guided.
Thus, Muhammads authority was presented as an integral element oI the oIIice
oI Prophet.
InsoIar as the moral superiority and complete authority oI the Prophet
Muhammad were associated with the institution oI the Prophet, their speciIic Iorms
remained associated with Muhammad, and ceased with his death. However, the
exclusivity oI Muhammads prophetic traits must be understood with reIerence to
what aspects, exactly, remained restricted to Muhammad, and in what manner they
remained limited to him. As seal oI the Prophets, Muhammads status as rasl
quickly came to be unattainable to any other human being aIter him. His proph-
ethood, it was believed, remained exclusive in a way that precluded participation
in it. Similarly, the level oI Muhammads moral superioritythe character trait oI
being masmwas later thought to be unattainable to ordinary human beings.

However, moral excellence as such was not only possible but was encouraged by
Muhammad and the Qurn as an essential practice oI religion. Ordinary Muslims
were expected to develop their moral Iaculties as part oI the divine plan to establish
a just society on earth. The moral perIection oI the Prophet, while never accessible
to the average believer, could nonetheless be imitated, iI only in an imperIect way.
Thus, some oI the moral qualities oI the Prophet could be reproduced and shared
by the average believer.
It was precisely the accessibility and desirability oI moral development to the
essence oI the Islamic endeavor, combined with the Qurnic proclamation that
moral qualities were the sole basis Ior distinguishing excellence in human beings,
that provided the Khrijites with a precedent Ior making moral qualities the crite-
rion Ior political leadership. Moreover, the example oI Muhammad provided the
preeminent exemplar oI a moral-political leader, and it did not require a great leap
Ior the Khrijites to equate political leadership with the possession oI highly devel-
oped moral qualities. Indeed, the Muslim community never abandoned the idea
that religion and governance should reIlect one another, just as they had during the
exemplary era oI the Prophet Muhammad.
For the Khrijites and Ibdites, the
moral aspects oI the Prophetic oIIice only strengthened their belieI that an Islamic
government, as the heir to the Prophet, should be a moral government, necessarily
led by a moral leader.
Moral Authority in Islam aIter the Death oI the Prophet Muhammad
The early Madnan caliphate provided the third precedent Ior the Khrijites con-
ception oI legitimate authority as piety insoIar as the institutionalization oI a spe-
ciIic view toward legitimate succession was broad enough to accommodate what
later became systematized into the Khrijite and Ibdite interpretations oI legiti-
mate authority. The actual authority oI the Iirst Caliphs was only partially based
upon piety as the legitimating Iactor oI their leadership; other Iactors, such as
membership in the Quraysh tribe, also played a role in justiIying their authority.
However, although the partial reliance oI Ab Bakr and Umar on their Quraysh
credentials stood in tension with the spirit oI the Qurn, their demonstrated piety
kept the inherent tension between these two qualiIications oI authority in check.
The caliphate oI Uthmn brought these mutually antagonistic interpretations oI
legitimate authority to the Iore, and established a precedent whereby those who
became the Iirst Khrijites preIerred moral rectitude as the legitimating trait oI
authority above all other qualiIications.
The caliphate that arose in Madna aIter the death oI the Prophet Muhammad
provided a solution to the problem oI his succession insoIar as signiIicant por-
tions oI the Muslim community accepted the selection oI Ab Bakr as leader
(khalfaliterally successor) oI the umma, and later recognized Ab Bakrs
designation oI Umar.
However, the concepts oI legitimate authority underlying
the choice oI Ab Bakr and Umar as successors remained complex and, in cer-
tain respects, contradictory. The Iirst Caliphs and their supporters reintroduced
signiIicant pre-Islamic norms to the process oI establishing legitimate succes-
sion. SpeciIically, they established the precedent that the leader be an Arab, Irom
the Quraysh tribe, as a criterion Ior recruitment to the oIIice. This norm, based
on the actions oI Ab Bakr and Umar, became a standard Ieature oI the later
Sunni doctrine oI the Caliph.
The argument Ior Islamic unity made by Ab Bakr
and Umar on the porch (saqfa) oI the Ban Sida was based on the conviction
that the Quraysh tribe was the most noble oI the Arabian tribes, and thereIore no
other group would be able to assert dominance over the whole oI Arabia.
invoking pre-Islamic principles oI nobility and lineage, Ab Bakr aIIirmed the
primacy oI the Quraysh in Arab aIIairs, and established the precedent whereby
they maintained it.
At the same time, the exclusive right oI the Quraysh to lead the Muslims
existed in tension with the spirit oI Qurnic meritocracy, and the speciIically tribal
qualiIications oI Ab Bakr were not the qualities indicated by the Qurn as the
basis Ior determining excellence.
While Quraysh leadership, especially during
the time Iollowing the death oI the Prophet, insured the unity oI the Islamic com-
munity, its exclusivity challenged the Qurnic notion that the most noble among
the Muslims is the most pious. Furthermore, Muhammad reportedly ordered the
believers to obey even a mutilated Ethiopian slave . . . so long as he leads you in
accord with the Book oI God (according to Ibn Sads wording oI this hadth).

Although temporarily eclipsed by the need Ior unity in the Islamic polity, piety
(taqw), as measured by the visible adherence to the moral precepts oI Islam, ide-
ally superseded all tribal considerations as the norm oI human excellence. As such,
reliance on tribal credentials stood in direct contradiction to the implications oI
piety as the legitimate basis Ior political authority.
The potential Ior tension between the reemerging tribal norms oI leader-
ship and the Qurnic and Islamic standards Ior pious authority was apparently
resolved, at least temporarily, by the conduct oI Ab Bakr and Umar as Caliphs.
So Iar as the early sources can be trusted, Ab Bakr and Umar possessed all the
necessary Islamic and pre-Islamic qualiIications. In addition to the pre-Islamic
characteristics mentioned above, Ab Bakr was an early convert to Islam, and a
close Companion oI the Prophet. He was numbered among those Companions
who were promised paradise (al-mubshara).
His piety and earnest devotion to
the IulIillment oI the Qurnic message was beyond question. Similarly, although
Umar owed his position as Caliph to his membership in the Quraysh, Ab Bakrs
designation, and the backing oI the Makkan elite, Umars devotion to the moral
tenets oI the Qurn and the mission oI Muhammad were well known, and his
policies sought to establish an Arab-Islamic meritocracy. For example, Umar lim-
ited the power oI Makkan aristocracy by establishing the diwn, whereby Muslim
soldiers received their share oI the wealth Irom the conquests, on the principle oI
precedence (sbiqa) in the service oI Islam. Actions such as the establishment oI
the diwn demonstrated Umars commitment to the moral vision oI Islam, even
while his authority was partially based on his tribal qualiIications. Ab Bakr and
Umar thus embodied all the pre-Islamic and Islamic traits that made them eligi-
ble Ior leadership, and as long as the Muslim community enjoyed the headship oI
Caliphs like Ab Bakr and Umar, the tension inherent between the pre-Islamic and
Islamic norms oI authority was rendered invisible.
However, during the caliphate oI Uthmn, the tension between the require-
ment oI moral rectitude and the need Ior unity based upon an Arab-Quraysh monop-
oly on power materialized as the result oI Uthmns transgression oI the norms
oI Islamic conduct and consequent Iailure to meet, in the eyes oI many Muslims,
the criterion Ior eligibility Ior leadership. Following the precedent established
by Ab Bakr and Umar, Uthmn hailed Irom the circle oI Companions oI the
Prophet, and was a member oI the Quraysh. His credentials, by both Islamic and
pre-Islamic standards, were genuine, but not as impressive as other contemporary
candidates Ior the caliphate. For example, although Uthmn had been a wealthy
merchant beIore the advent oI Islam, and was credited with the virtue (fadl) oI
having selIlessly devoted his wealth to the Islamic cause, he lacked military abil-
ity and was Irequently excused Irom battle by the Prophet himselI.
enjoyed none oI the traits prized by the pre-Islamic Arabs in their leaders, and was
chosen, according to Madelung, with the strong backing oI the Makkan aristoc-
racy as the strong counter-candidate to Al.
Despite Uthmns credentials as an early convert to and supporter oI Islam,
his conduct as Caliph quickly turned many Muslims against him. His transgres-
sions (ahdth), which eventually led to his death at the hands oI Muslim rebels in
36/656, illuminate the nature oI the anti-Uthmn groups grievances.
In essence,
this group held that Uthmn had Iailed to live up to the standards oI piety and moral
rectitude, as deIined by adherence to the Book oI God, the sunna oI Muhammad,
and the actions oI Ab Bakr and Umar. For example, Uthmn bestowed money
and land Irom the IiIth oI the war spoils (khums) on his close relatives, arrogating
the Qurnic right reserved Ior the Iamily oI the Prophet to his own Iamily (Ab
Bakr and Umar had leIt the khums to the bayt al-ml, the treasury).
land policy, in which he allowed Iormer Byzantine and Ssnian crown lands
(sawf), previously regarded as communal property (fay), to go to his administra-
tors and to some Companions, provoked serious displeasure among pious Muslims
such as Al, who accused him oI appropriating money belonging to the Muslim
When the prominent Companion Ab Dharr al-GhiIr loudly criti-
cized Uthmns land policies, Uthmn had him exiled.
Similarly, Uthmn had
the Companion Ammr b. Ysir beaten unconscious Ior his part in censuring
Uthmns land policy.
Discontent with Uthmns nepotism was so high that a
comment by the KIan governor Sad b. al-s, to the eIIect that the cultivatable
land (sawd) was Ior the Quraysh, provoked a riot by the KIan Qurn readers
(qurr) who demanded the governors removal.
Uthmns reIusal to punish his
uterine brother al-Wald b. Uqba Ior his drunkenness or his dabbling in witchcraIt
(sihr) Iurther alienated pious Muslims.
Although later Sunni tradition regards Uthmn as one oI the rightly guided
Caliphs, and thereIore does not wish to accuse him oI sin, it is clear that many
Muslims oI the time regarded his actions as impious. Uthmns sermons in the
mosque were Irequently interrupted with calls Ior him to act in accordance
with the Book oI God.
Al was able, on one occasion, to persuade Uthmn
to publicly renounce his actions and to repent oI them, an action that clearly
demonstrates the depth to which piety was regarded as an inIormal requirement
Ior leadership oI the Islamic community.
Despite Uthmns qualiIications as a
member oI the Quraysh, and regardless oI the backing oI the Makkan aristocracy,
the issue oI Uthmns piety and moral rectitude ultimately decided his Iate as
leader oI the Muslims. Uthmns continued abuses led to widespread Irustration
with his actions, and ultimately provoked his murder. His actions induced a group
oI Egyptians to make the trip to Madna with the hope oI securing improvement.
Having received what they believed was assurance that Uthmn would reIorm
his behavior, the Egyptians intercepted on their return a messenger bearing note
with the Caliphs seal. The note contained instructions that their party should be
imprisoned upon their return. Incensed, the Egyptians returned to Madna, con-
Ironted Uthmn, and surrounded his residence. AIter a number oI days, the stand-
oII turned violent, and Uthmn was killed.
In the turmoil Iollowing Uthmns death, Al accepted in Madna the alle-
giance oI a portion oI the Islamic community. However, Als power was Iar Irom
secure, as isha, the youngest wiIe oI the Prophet, Talha b. Ubaydullh, and al-
Zubayr b. al-Awwm were planning to oppose him Irom Makka, and Muwiya b.
Ab SuIyn waited in Damascus Ior the proper time to assert his claims to author-
ity. This period later became known as the Islamic Iirst civil war: in Arabic, the
The caliphate oI Al presents a special case when it comes to the institution-
alization oI the Prophets authority, and the qualiIications Ior leadership as under-
stood by the later Sunnis, Shiites, Khrijs, and Ibds. Like Ab Bakr, Umar,
and Uthmn, Al was an early Companion oI the Prophet, and possessed the
necessary traits oI membership in the Quraysh and moral rectitude. Later Sunni
tradition regards Al as a rightly guided Caliph, and implicitly accepts him
on the basis oI these qualiIications. Al and his supporters (sha), however,
never relied on the same paradigm oI legitimacy that bolstered Ab Bakr, Umar,
and Uthmns claim to succession. Consequently, a diIIerent model oI legiti-
mate succession applies to their situation, as well as diIIerent norms and prooIs
oI eligibility Ior leadership. What became the Shiite answer to the problem oI
Muhammads succession authority combined two solutions. First, the supporters
oI Al accentuated the long-held belieI that character traits and qualities were
passed on to the oIIspring, and that thereIore certain Iamilies and tribes were
known to possess the qualities oI bravery, generosity, or leadership. Based on
this belieI, some Arabs held that the Iamily oI the Prophet (the ahl al-bayt)and
especially his cousin Alwere entitled to authority over the Muslim community
as a consequence oI their Iamilial relationship to Muhammad. Additionally, the
Qurn had shown the Iamilies oI Prophets as their inheritors and successors upon
their deaths. Thus, Hrn (Aaron) assumed the mantle oI prophethood aIter Ms
(Moses), and Sulaymn (Solomon) succeeded Dawd (David) as leaders oI their
respective communities.
An exclusively Shiite norm Ior leadership, thereby,
became descent Irom the Prophets clan oI Hshim, and piety and moral rectitude
were assumed as characteristics inherited genealogically Irom membership in the
Prophets Iamily.
Second, Als supporters came to believe in his designation (nass) as suc-
cessor by Muhammad. As prooI, the supporters oI Al evoked an instance during
the liIetime oI Muhammad when, at a well called Ghadr al-Khum, the Prophet
had said that to whomever he was a mawl, Al was also his mawl (man kuntu
mawlhu fa-hdha Alun mawlhu).
The term mawl (Irom the root w-l-y)
admits to many possible meanings; among them Iriend, leader and master.
To the supporters oI Al, the word denoted the designation oI political authority:
To whomever I am a leader, Al is his leader.
Thus, in the hadth oI Ghadr
al-Khum the supporters oI Al Iound a mandate Ior Als right to rule. Beyond the
Prophets designation oI Al as his successor, no Iurther prooI oI eligibility was
needed. However, as was the case with Ab Bakr and Umar, Als credentials as
a member oI the Quraysh, his companionship with the Prophet, and his obvious
piety made his legitimacy such that all parties (aside Irom those who accused Al
oI harboring Uthmns killers) were satisIied with him as leader oI the Muslims.
Among those who accepted the leadership oI Al were those who would become
the Iirst Khrijites.
In summary, although piety was not the only consideration Ior legitimacy
among early Islamic leaders, notions oI moral rectitude served as one among
other norms Ior determining genuine authority during the early caliphal period.
Piety Iunctioned to a certain extent to justiIy the reigns oI Ab Bakr, Umar, and
Al, just as the popular interpretation oI Uthmns actions (ahdth) in terms oI
sin illegitimated his rule in the eyes oI some Muslims. Nevertheless, it is entirely
possible, even likely, that certain individuals held piety as the paramount qual-
ity oI legitimate leadership even beIore such a position was Iully articulated by
the early Khrijites. The speed with which the Iirst Khrijitesbeginning with
the Muhakkimaarticulated their opposition to Al in terms oI impiety, and
established the counter-immate oI Abdullh b. Wahb al-Rsib along the lines
oI their own interpretation oI legitimacy in leadership suggests that those who
would become the Khrijites had previously attached a certain signiIicance to
the idea oI piety as the validating characteristic oI leadership. This added impor-
tance that was placed upon Qurnic means oI establishing human excellence may
have come Irom aIIiliation with a group oI individuals known as the qurr.

Although obscure, the term qurr may reIer to individuals who specialized in
reciting the Qurn Ior inspiration beIore the battle lines oI the Muslim armies.

These individuals, whose dedication to the Qurn lent them an air oI piety, may
have insisted on a more Islamic interpretation oI authority, that is, one that did
not necessarily rely on Quraysh or Hshimite credentials, and took demonstrated
piety as the legitimating Iactor oI leadership.
Moreover, the tribal aIIiliations oI the proto-Khrijites, many oI whom came
Irom the tribes oI Tamm, Bakr, HanIa, and Shaybn, suggests that those who
became the Iirst Khrijites were outsiders to the Makkan-Quraysh power struc-
ture. Although the majority oI Muslims tacitly accepted the Quraysh leadership
oI the Muslims, there is no evidence that they necessarily knew oI it as a require-
ment. Outside the circle oI those who chose the Caliphs (that is, the Companions
oI the Prophet) and their Makkan and Madnan aIIiliates, there was no need
Ior the average Muslim to ponder details oI leadership over which he had no
real inIluence in the Iirst place. In other words, recognition oI the Caliph by
the community did not necessarily imply that the community was aware oI the
norms and prooIs oI eligibility by which the Companions chose and designated
the Caliph (and indeed, they were not Iormalized until much later). As such,
the proto-Khrijites among the Muslim community could have accepted the
Caliphs according to their own understanding oI legitimate leadership. Similarly,
they could have accepted (and rejected) the Iirst Iour Caliphs on the basis oI their
demonstrated piety, without reIerence to hereditary traits, or membership in the
Quraysh tribe or the Hshimite clan.
Moral Authority in Khrijite Islamic Thought
That the convictions and actions oI the early Khrijites Iunctioned as a prec-
edent Ior later Khrijiteand by extension Ibditedoctrine and practice seems
obvious until it is recalled that over one hundred years separates the birth oI
the khawrij Irom their speciIic expression in the Ibdiyya at the beginning oI
the Iormative Ibd period. The Iirst Khrijitesknown as the Muhakkima aIter
their use oI the slogan l hukm ill li-lh, No judgment but Godsemerged
at the Battle oI SiIIn in 3536/656. The next major upsurge oI Khrijite activity
occurred during the second fitna in 61/680, and the Ibdiyya materialized as a
recognizable sect in the period 102124/720740. They established independent
political states only in the late halI oI the second/eighth century. Given the gap
oI time separating the Iirst Khrijites Irom their subsequent subsects and oII-
shoots, the changing historical contexts in which these groups operated inevi-
tably resulted in a wealth oI practical and doctrinal expressions oI Khrij and
Ibd religious thought.
At the same time, certain deeply held convictions provided continuity between
the Khrijite subsects throughout the evolution oI their history, and aIIorded an
underlying connection between diIIerent Khrijite groups. With the appearance
oI the Muhakkima aIter the Battle oI SiIIn, the pre-Islamic, Qurnic, and early
Madnan precedents Ior the notion oI piety as the underlying characteristic oI legit-
imate authority culminated in the way in which the Muhakkima seceded Irom Al
and then designated their Iirst leaders. These concrete expressions oI the concep-
tion oI legitimate authority among the Iirst Khrijites became paradigmatic Ior all
subsequent Khrijite subsects, as well as the Ibdiyya.
Due to the paucity oI sources and the inherent bias oI Sunni heresiographers,
much material on the Khrijite subsects is lost or unrelated to the question oI lead-
ership. Nonetheless, signiIicant evidence can be amassed Irom the mainstream
historical and heresiographical traditions to examine how the belieI in piety and
moral rectitude (with impiety/sin as its opposite) as the legitimating conception
oI authority shaped the actions oI the Muhakkima in relation to Al and the Iirst
Khrijite leaders. Among others, al-Tabar, al-Mubarrad, and al-Baldhur pre-
serve much material relevant to the Khrijites. Al-Tabar and al-Baldhur use the
work oI earlier authors, such as Ab MikhnaI and Wahb b. Jarr, in their presenta-
tion oI the Khrijites. Ab MikhnaI probably used some Khrijite sources Ior his
account, but this source is not acknowledged, and is mixed in with other materials.
Likewise, Wahb b. Jarr probably based his accounts on Khrijite sources, but does
not acknowledge those sources. Al-Mubarrads accounts likewise tend toward the
anonymous, though there are signiIicant exceptions to this rule.
Muslim historians and heresiographers date the genesis oI the Khrijites, dis-
tinguished Irom the later Khrijite subsects by the term Muhakkima, to the Battle oI
SiIIn and its aItermath.
The name Muhakkima is derived Irom those who voiced
the tahkm: that is, the phrase l hukm ill lil-lhNo judgment but Gods. This
slogan made its appearance in the context oI opposition to Als arbitration agree-
ment (hakam al-hkimayn, hukma) with Muwiya.
It became the catchphrase
oI the early Khrijites, and summed up their objection with the arbitration, and
with Als acceptance oI it.
Implicit in the tahkm was a complex view toward the limits oI human judg-
ment in relation to Gods judgment, and thereby oI the proper character oI human
authority in relation to the divine authority. On one level, the tahkm expressed a
belieI in the restrictions oI human judgment: the Qurn had declared, in a phrase
reminiscent oI the tahkm itselI: judgment rests only with God (inna al-hukma
ill lil-lhi).
The sense oI what exactly constituted these divine decisions diI-
Iered according to the diIIerent verses in which this phrase appeared. In 6:57, the
phrase inna al-hukma ill lil-lhi indicates the divine ability (and consequently,
the human inability) to decree the Final Judgment (that is, to decide when it
should happen and bring it about). In 12:40, the phrase inna al-hukma is used to
underscore Gods ability to command worship (that is, to decree whom human
beings should worship), just as its use in 12:67 highlights Gods ability to con-
trol the destiny oI human beings (that is, to arrange events to help or hinder their
actions). Simultaneously, these verses express the impropriety oI human beings
attempt to contravene the decree oI God: in 6:57, human beings do not have the
ability to bring about the Day oI Judgment, yet the verse ironically describes the
Makkans as impatient (tastajiln) Ior it. Similarly, in 12:40 the inn al-hukma
phrase is couched in a criticism oI polytheism as disobedience to the command
oI God. In other verses, the Qurn expressed the idea, using the word hukm, that
human beings were expected to observe Gods decrees: the Qurn commanded
Muhammad to wait Ior the decision oI your Lord, just as it ordered the believ-
ers to abide patiently by the decision (li-hukm) oI your Lord.
Obedience to
the judgments oI God, thereIore, became a mark oI submission to the divine
willan act oI islm and, thereIore, an act oI piety. Although the Qurn did not
oIIer a systematic exposition oI Gods decrees, it can be assumed by their con-
nection with the notions oI command and obedience that the decree oI God was
synonymous with the totality oI the speciIic content that made up the action oI
islm. Thus, the phrase inna al-hukm ill lil-lh in the Qurn expressed the limits
oI human ability in relation to Gods decrees, as well as the impropriety oI human
beings to go against (or to presume that they can go against) those decrees.
In the context oI the Battle oI SiIIn, the phrase l hukm ill lil-lh did not
express a belieI in the inability oI human beings to arbitrate the battle, but rather
a conviction in the impropriety oI human beings doing so. According to many
diIIerent sources, Urwa b. Udaya was credited with being the Iirst individual to
utter the tahkm.
Upon hearing oI the arbitration agreement, he exclaimed You
have set up men to judge Gods commands?! There is no judgment except Gods!
Implicit in Urwas statement was the idea that God had already made his com-
mand regarding Muwiyas army clear: they should be Iought, and it was there-
Iore improper Ior Al to allow human beings to arbitrate the outcome oI the battle.
A variant in al-Shahrastn credits Urwa with the words: Are the conditions
(shart) oI |any| one oI you more reliable (awthaq) than the conditions oI God?

Like the previous statement, Urwas words in al-Shahrastns account imply the
unseemliness oI the tahkm. In the words oI the early Ibd heresiographer Slim
b. Dhakwn, by accepting arbitration Al abandoned the path the Muslims Iol-
lowed in the past by making somebody other than God the judge in a case already
settled by God.
According the Khrijites, Als persistent acceptance oI the
arbitration violated a clear Qurnic verse ordering the Muslims to Iight.
For this
reason, two early Khrijites, Zura b. Burj al-T and Hurqs b. Zuhayr al-Saad,
approached Al demanding that he resume the Iight against Muwiya. When Al
reIused, Zura declared: |I swear| by God Oh Al! II you do not cease making
human beings judges over the Book oI God, I will Iight you!
Again, it is the
inappropriateness oI judging, not the inability to judge, that rankles the Khrijites.
Finally, in a version oI the verbal contest (munzara) at Harr between the
Khrijites and Ibn Abbs, the Muhakkima express the notion that God had made
his judgment on Muwiya clear, and it was thereIore unsuitable Ior human beings
to impose their judgment (in the Iorm oI arbitration) over that oI Gods: As Ior
what God has decreed, it is Iinal, and it is not Ior |His| servants to meddle in it; Ior
God has concluded his judgment oI Muwiya and his party such that they should
be killed or return |to obedience|.
BelieI in the impropriety oI the arbitration led the Muhakkima to declare
its acceptance a sin.
Arbitration, according to a report on the Khrijites in Ibn
Qutayba, would result in disunion, sin beIore God, and disgrace in this world.

Likewise, Hurqs b. Zuhayr al-Saad and Zura b. al-Burj al-T demanded that
Al repeal the arbitration and return to battle with Muwiya, ordering Al to
repent your sin (khatatak).
In some cases, the acceptance oI the arbitration is
described in terms oI unbelieI (kufr). When Al accused the Khrijites who gath-
ered at Harr
oI Iorcing him into arbitration, they replied to Al: you have
spoken the truthwe were as you recalled and we acted as you described; but that
was an act oI disbelieI (kufr) on our part, and we have repented to God Ior it.

Although diIIerent terms are employed Ior the concept oI sin (masiya, khata,
and kufr), a general consensus exists among the sources that the Muhakkima
regarded acceptance oI the arbitration with Muwiya as a transgression oI a clear
Qurnic decree to Iight.
Moreover, the conviction that Al had sinned by accepting the arbitration sub-
sequently resulted in the secession oI the Khrijites Irom Als army, and their
rejection oI his authority.
As the Muhakkima stated in a letter to Al: We cannot
take you as our Imm, Ior you have become an unbeliever (kfir).
the Muhakkima at Harr demanded oI Al: So repent as we have repented and
we will pledge allegiance to you, but iI not we will continue to oppose you.

Early Ibd sources simply state that the Khrijites deposed him (khalahu) aIter
Al made a mockery oI Gods judgment.
This rejection oI Al on the basis oI
his sin/disbelieI represents the initial maniIestation oI the Khrijite conception oI
legitimate authority as demonstrated merit, in its negative Iorm (that is, sin dis-
qualiIies). Their action illustrated the extent to which the belieI in piety as the legit-
imating issue oI leadership made the Muhakkima willing to abandon their Imm on
the basis oI demonstrated sin.
The Iirst expression in the positive sense oI the Khrijite notion oI piety as the
legitimating Iactor oI leadership came Irom the accounts oI the appointment oI the
Iirst Imm oI the Khrijites. Al-Tabar, using Ab MikhnaIs account, reports that
the Muhakkima, aIter becoming convinced oI Als illegitimacy as leader, gath-
ered in the house oI Abdullh b. Wahb al-Rsib and there agreed to Ilee KIa.

A man named Hamza b. Sinn al-Asad encouraged them to grant authority oI
your aIIairs to one among you, Ior you cannot do without a support, a prop, and a
banner around which you can rally and to which you can return. AIter those pres-
ent rejected the oIIer oI authority, Abdullh b. Wahb al-Rsib accepted the oath
oI allegiance (baya) and became the Iirst Imm oI the Khrijites. Upon receiving
the oath oI allegiance, al-Rsib reportedly stated, By God I do not take it wish-
ing |Ior reward| in this world (raghbatan f al-duny).
He was said to have the
nickname dh al-thafinthe oI the callusesbecause oI the calluses on his
Iorehead and hands Irom his excessive praying.
As these reports illustrate, the
outward signs oI al-Rsibs ascetic piety contributed to his candidacy Ior leader
insoIar as his piety was exceptional and exemplary.
Another aspect oI the appointment oI al-Rsib as the Imm oI the Muhakkima
involved characteristics that were rejected by the Muhakkima as legitimate traits oI
authority. SpeciIically, al-Rsib did not come Irom the Quraysh: thus his appoint-
ment as leader Ilouted the (probably not yet Iormally established) precedent that
the Imm be Irom this tribe.
Concurrently, his assumption oI power disregarded
the pro-Ald notions oI legitimacy based on designation or membership in the
Prophets clan oI Hshim. Although no comments oI the Muhakkima have been
preserved regarding their disregard Ior Quraysh credentials, their overt rejec-
tion oI proto-Shiite notions oI legitimacy are reiterated in a letter in which the
Muhakkima accused Al oI relying on his kinship (qarba) with the Prophet to
justiIy acceptance oI the arbitration: You |Al| thought, I have kinship with the
Prophet oI God . . . and thereIore the people will not place me on the same level
as Muwiya.
In addition, implicit criticism oI the notion oI hereditary author-
ity was echoed in the Muhakkimas criticism oI the pledge oI allegiance (baya)
oIIered by Als supporters aIter the desertion oI the Khrijites:
When Al approached KIa, and the Muh akkimaand they are the
Khrijiteshad deserted him, Als supporters rushed to him saying: We
are bound by your allegiance and we are Iriends oI those you beIriend,
and enemies oI your enemies. The Khrijites said: These people and the
people oI Syria are competing with one another in unbelieI (kufr) like
betting horses: The people oI Syria pledged allegiance to Muwiya
according to their likes and dislikes, and these people pledged allegiance
to Al on the condition that they will beIriend who he beIriends, and take
as enemies those he takes as enemies.
Thus, the Iirst Khrijites absolutely rejected allegiance to the person oI the leader,
no matter who that person happened to be. For them, legitimate authority depended
on the demonstrated piety oI a leader, regardless oI kinship ties or its implied
hereditary traits.
So Iormative were the events oI the Iirst fitna, and the reactions oI the Iirst
Muhakkima to it, that they became paradigmatic Ior all subsequent Khrijite sub-
sects. This debt to the Muhakkima can be seen in heresiographical deIinitions oI
what is common to all Khrijite subsects. Al-Shahrastn, Ior example, character-
ized a common tenet oI the Khrijites by explaining how all Khrijites declare
grave sinners to be unbelievers and view rising against an Imm who transgresses
the sunna as a required duty.
Other heresiographers make the connection
between the Muhakkima and later Khrijite groups more explicit: al-Baghdd
paraphrased al-Ashars deIinition oI what typiIies the Khrijites as the decla-
ration oI Al, Uthmn, the People oI the Camel |that is, those who participated
in the Battle oI the Camel|, the two arbiters, those who were satisIied with the
arbitration, or who sanctioned the two arbiters, or |those who sanctioned| one oI
them as inIidels; and rising (khurj) against an unjust ruler (al-sultn al-jir).

This pairing in heresiographical deIinitions oI Khrijism oI the Khrijite doctrine
oI sin as inIidelity and the necessity to resist an impious or unjust ruler is not acci-
dental or random, but rather represents the implications oI the Khrijites insis-
tence on piety and moral rectitude as the legitimating qualities oI a leader. In this
particular case, sin represents the demonstrated lack oI the virtues oI piety and
moral rectitude that legitimate leadership, and, thereIore, it debars an individual
Irom positions oI authority. This particular view toward sin and legitimate author-
ity owes an obvious debt to the Muhakkimas treatment oI Al on the basis oI his
acceptance oI the arbitration agreement.
The speciIic example oI the Muhakkimas attribution oI sin to Al as the
result oI his agreement to arbitrate the Battle oI SiIIn became the basis Ior
the general Khrijite belieI that sin makes a person an unbeliever (kfir)the
Khrijite doctrine oI sin. Although it is not explicitly stated in the sources, it is
saIe to assume that the attribution oI sin/inIidelity to an individual immediately
disqualiIied that person Irom a position oI authority over the Muslims, and thus,
the connection between sin and ineligibility in leadership can be generalized to all
Khrijite subsects. As a distinguishing mark oI Khrijism, all Khrijite subsects
upheld the doctrine oI the grave sinner to some degree. At the extreme end oI the
spectrum, the Azriqa and Najdt believed that anyone who did not make a hijra
their campany non-Khrijite Muslimwas an unbeliever (kfir) or polythe-
ist (mushrik) along with their wives and children, and could thereIore be legally
killed and plundered. In other words, all sinners were considered collectively
kfirn and mushrikn.
At the other end oI the spectrum, the early Ibdiyya,
as the most moderate development Irom the pre-Azraqite Khrijites, reserved
the term mushrik Ior those who denied Gods existence.
Although the Ibds
still reIerred to sinners as kuffr,
they considered them people oI the qibla,
monotheists (muwhidn), and members oI their qawm (a term that reIers to
non-Khrijite Muslims).
As such, sinners among the qawm were kuffr in the
sense oI hypocrites (munfiqn), rather than unbelievers (mushrikn).
given that the most moderate oI the early Khrijite subsects, the early Ibdiyya,
nonetheless considered a sinner a kfir-munfiq, and that a kfir is by deIinition
disqualiIied Irom positions oI authority over the Muslims, it is saIe to assume that
all Khrijite groupsIrom the moderate Ibdiyya to the extremist Azriqa and
Najdtshared similar views regarding the illegitimacy oI sinners as leaders as a
consequence oI the doctrine oI sin. Although this view is not explicitly stated in
either early Ibd literature or heresiographical materials, it is strongly implied by
the doctrine oI sin.
Certain evidence in heresiographical materials corroborates the application
oI the doctrine oI sin to the Khrijite Imms. It is reported, Ior example, that a
Iaction oI the Najdt Iorced their leader, Najda b. mir al-HanaI, to recant and
repent Ior his opinion that a person is excused Irom sin iI he is ignorant oI the Iact
that the action is a sin.
A smaller section oI the Najdt then decided that it was
not their place to question the ijtihd oI their Imm, and Iorced Najda to repent
his original repentancewhich Najda did. As a result oI this second repentance,
the majority oI the Najdt deposed (khalahu) Najda and Iorced him to choose
the next Imm.
Thus, Ior some early Najdites, the doctrine oI sin directly related
to the legitimacy or illegitimacy oI their leader. Despite the Iact that this is the
only clear instance oI the application oI the doctrine oI sin to a Khrij leader, the
potential nonetheless existed, as it was implied in the widely accepted Khrijite
doctrine oI sin.
The Khrijites, oI course, had no qualms in applying the doctrine oI sin,
and thereby the notion that sin disqualiIies an individual Irom ruling over the
Muslims, to the Umayyad Caliphs. Ab Hamza al-Khrij, a moderate Khrijite
associated with an Ibd-inspired rebellion oI Abdullh b. Yahy (known as Tlib
al-Haqq) in the Hijz that brieIly captured and controlled Makka and Madna in
129130/746747, expressly connected the sinIulness oI the Umayyads to the
justiIication Ior their removal.
In an oration (khutba) to the people oI Makka,
Ab Hamza characterizes the Umayyad Caliphs as a corrupt dynasty: Then there
took charge Muwiya b. Ab SuIyn, who was cursed by the Messenger oI God
and the son oI who so cursed. He made the servants oI God slaves (khawl), and
the property oI God something to be taken in turns, and His religion a cause oI
Ab Hamza likewise censures Yazd b. Muwiya and Yazd b.
Abd al-Malik as sinners (fsiq), and labels the Ban Umayya collectively as
the party oI misguidance (firqat al-dalla). Ab Hamzas examples, Irom which
he illustrates the impiety oI the Umayyad Caliphs, include: wine drinking, las-
civiousness, arbitrary arrests, Iailure to judge or punish crimes consistently, and
improper collection and distribution oI the alms. The implication oI Ab Hamzas
oration is that these sins have justiIied Ab Hamza and Tlib al-Haqqs rebellion
against the Umayyads. Ab Hamzas speech is thus an illustration oI the Khrijite
belieI in moral considerationsthe notion that legitimate authority was associ-
ated with pious behavioras the ultimate validation Ior authority. This pattern oI
thought is a direct continuation oI the Muhakkimas conviction that sin expressly
disqualiIies (and moral rectitude qualiIies) a leader Irom a position oI authority.
In light oI later juridical developments in Sunni Islam, the deposing oI a
Caliph on the grounds that he has sinned appears to be an aIIront to caliphal
authority. In general, Sunni Muslim jurists viewed a Caliph as legitimate iI he
was capable oI maintaining order and stability in the realm.
Substantive issues
oI justice or morality were practically irrelevant to the legitimacy oI the Caliph, so
long as his actions did not provoke fitna. For this reason, Sunni historians and her-
esiographers Iocused primarily on the Khrijite doctrine oI the grave sinner, and
the consequent notion that sin (as unbelieIkufr or shirk) disqualiIied an Imm
Irom rule as a means oI portraying the Khrijites as deviant or heretical. In other
words, Sunni historians were interested mainly in the negative connotations oI the
doctrine oI sin. However, a positive Ilipside to this Khrijite doctrine was implied,
but was not made explicit in the Sunni sources: namely, that the exceptionally
pious individual possessed an especially strong mandate to rule. Some evidence
Ior the positive expression oI piety as a legitimating Iactor oI leadership comes
Irom one line oI the early Ibd sra oI Slim b. Dhakwn. In general, Slims
epistle is heresiographical in nature, and thereIore preIers to describe hereti-
cal doctrines rather than directly speak oI Ibd (that is, correct) doctrine.
Nonetheless, Slim advises the Muslims to appoint to the command their most
excellent men, and those among them who understand |religion|.
the term fadl is not explicitly associated with moral excellence, Slim encour-
ages dissociation (bara) Irom the Imms oI wrongdoing (immat al-zulm).
The Ibd Imm would presumably be, thereby, an Imm oI correct action, or, a
pious Imm. Similarly, Ibn al-Jawz states: And oI the opinions oI the Khrijites
is that they do not give the immate to a person unless knowledge and asceticism
(zuhd) are combined in him.
In this case, piety, envisioned as ascetic qualities,
was essential to the Imm. Thus, while systematic evidence Ior the expression oI
the positive aspects oI the doctrine oI sin would have to wait until the medieval
Ibd imma, the implications oI this doctrine existed in earlier conceptions oI
the doctrine oI the grave sinner, as well as in the early Ibd epistle oI Slim b.
Dhakwn and others.
Just as the Muhakkimas rejection oI Al on the basis oI the sin oI accom-
modating the arbitration oI SiIIn Iormed the basis Ior later Khrijite doctrines
oI sin, so the acceptance oI Abdullh b. Wahb al-Rsib Iurther entrenched the
precedent whereby piety became the main criterion Ior legitimate leadership. This
straightIorward acceptance oI piety over the requirement Ior Quraysh descent is
borne out by early Ibd hadth, which are probably Irom the Iormative period
oI Ibdism. Although these hadth were preserved in an arrangement (tartb) oI
Ab Yaqb al-Warjln dating to the sixth/twelIth century, the entire collection
is attributed to the Iourth Basran Ibd Imm, al-Rab b. Habb al-Farhid, who
is said to have died in 170/786. In Iact, al-Warjln probably organized a wide
variety oI sources, including some materials Irom Jbir b. Zayd, al-Rab b. Habb
as well as the last Basran Imm, Ab SuIyn Mahbb b. al-Rhil (d. early-third/
ninth century), who edited some oI the materials.
Nevertheless, the ahadth oI
al-Warjlns collection that have a direct bearing on the issue oI the exclusive
claims oI the Quraysh or Hshimites to the leadership oI the Muslims bear the
isnd oI Jbir b. Zayd on the authority oI Ibn Abbs. Thus, they almost certainly
come Irom the strata oI materials taken Irom the athr oI Jbir b. Zayd, which are
likely to be some oI the earliest materials in the collection.
The hadth in question contain a straightIorward rejection oI Quraysh
claims to authority in Iavor oI piety as the Iinal legitimating criterion oI lead-
ership: the Quraysh will remain leaders oI the community as long as they
reIrain Irom reproachable deeds.
Another hadth warns against the tempta-
tions oI kingship (mulk) with the Iamiliar connotation that the Umayyads have
usurped legitimate leadership oI the Muslim community while simultaneously
transIorming it into kingship. By adding qualiIying conditions oI piety to the
leadership oI the Quraysh, their exclusive claim to rule is superseded by the
conditions oI moral probity expected oI the Imm. Moreover, another hadth
(worded diIIerently Irom Ibn Sads version above) commands the believers to
obey an Ethiopian slave with a mutilated nose so long as he upheld the book
oI God. This hadth expresses the contra-positive oI the others: so long as the
leader is pious, he can be anyone (including the most unlikely oI persons, an
Ethiopian slave).
The sentiment is echoed in the statement oI a Iollower oI Shabb al-Khrij,
MutarraI b. Mughra, who argued:
We do not see that the Quraysh have more right to this matter |the
caliphate| than any other Arab . . . Ior surely they know that the best
people in Gods sight are the most pious, and the most deserving oI them
Ior |the caliphate| is the one who is most pious and virtuous among
Shabbs rebellion began, according to the reports oI Ab MikhnaI in al-Tabar,
around 85/704. Al-Tabar records MutarraIs comments as being Irom the year
87/706. Thus, the conviction that piety outweighed all other considerations,
including Quraysh credentials, dates Irom the earliest period oI Khrijite activity,
and can be directly linked to the original actions oI the Muhakkima with regard to
their Iirst Imm, Abdullh b. Wahb al-Rsib.
Medieval Ibd Articulation oI Piety as Legitimate Authority
The medieval Ibd imma ideal, the direct inheritor oI the early Khrijite con-
cept oI demonstrated merit as the legitimating quality oI authority, succeeded to
earlier, pre-Khrijite (and even pre-Islamic) notions oI moral rectitude as legiti-
mate authority. As the Iinal inheritors oI Khrijite notions oI authority, the medi-
eval Ibd immate subsequently took the inspiration Ior its speciIic institutional
structure Irom the preceding institutions oI authority in pre-Islamic, Prophetic,
Madnan, and early Khrijite eras. This claim is strengthened by the existence oI
Ibd apostolic lines oI legitimacy that parallel the historical and conceptual lines
oI transmission Ior the notion oI piety as the legitimate mode oI authority.
These apostolic lines oI legitimacy exist in numerous Ibd sources. Their
purpose was to provide the sense oI legitimacy that comes Irom the belieI in
an unbroken chain oI authoritative transmitters oI Ibd doctrine and practice.
Al-Jitl, a eighth/Iourteenth-century North AIrican theologian and jurist, provides
a short list oI those Imms about whom ignorance is not possible; his list includes,
among others, Ab Bakr, Umar, the Iirst North AIrican Imm Abd al-Rahmn
b. Rustum, and his progeny. This North AIrican list oIIers, in brieI, a synopsis oI
the chains oI legitimacy accepted by North AIrican Ibds.
Omani lists tend to
be more extensive: al-Kudam states that those persons who maintain the ways oI
the people oI Nahrawnespecially those oI Abdullh b. Wahb al-Rsibare
the authoritative sources (al-hujja al-tma) oI the ways practiced by the Prophet,
Ab Bakr, Umar, and those who Iought against Uthmn, Talha, Zubayr, Al,
and Muwiya.
The implication, oI course, is that legitimacy derives Irom the
line oI persons extending Irom the Iirst Khrijites back to the Prophet, and illegit-
imacy resides with those who supported Uthmn, Al, and Muwiya. Likewise,
al-Kind traces the preservation oI the true religion to the Prophet Muhammad
through Ab Bakr, Umar, and Abdullh b. Wahb al-Rsib.
Muhammad b.
Ibrhm al-Kind, the IiIth/eleventh-century jurist, traces the genealogy oI Islam
(nasab al-islm) Irom Muhammad to Ab Bakr and Umar through Abdullh b.
Wahb al-Rsib to the Imms oI Oman.
Al-Slim, a Iourteenth/twentieth-cen-
tury scholar, quoting Ab Muthir, an early third/ninth-century jurist, adds Hurqs
b. Zuhayr al-Saad and Zayd b. Hisn al-T, two prominent early Muhakkima,
to the list.
While the parallels between the apostolic lines oI transmission and
the historical and conceptual precedents oI the Ibd imma reIlect the chronolog-
ical path oI development that led to the Iormation oI the medieval Ibdiyya, the
links oI transmission do not provide details as to the speciIic contributions oI each
individual link to Ibd religious thought as a whole. Moreover, the Ibd line oI
transmission noticeably rejects any link with the pre-Islamic era. Nonetheless, the
Prophetic, early Madnan caliphate, and the early Khrijite eras are all acknowl-
edged as predecessors to the medieval Ibdiyya, and the Iigures oI the Prophet,
Ab Bakr, Umar, Abdullh b. Wahb al-Rsib, Hurqs b. Zuhayr al-Saad, and
Zayd b. Hisn al-T are mentioned as individuals Irom whom the Ibds inherited
the true religion.
The debt oI the medieval Ibd imma to earlier conceptions and institutions
oI authority can also be seen in the distinctive Ieatures that make up the medieval
Ibd institution oI the Imm. In terms oI what the North AIrican Ibdiyya reIerred
to as the imm al-zuhr, the preIerence attached to the personal qualities oI piety
distinguishes the Ibdiyya Irom other Islamic groups. In Omani legal texts, the
moral trait oIten citied by Ibd legal texts as necessary Ior a leader is the quality oI
adla, justice, and Omani Ibd sources consistently note that the only legitimate
Iorm oI leadership is that oI the just leader (sultn or imm dil).
deIines the just Imm as one who obeys God and His messenger, and acts by
the Book oI God and the sunna oI His Prophet.
Al-Bisyn, a IiIth/eleventh-
century Omani jurist, quotes the Prophetic hadth that states: Do not disobey a
just ruler.
Justice thus Iorms one oI the primary attributes oI a legitimate leader.
As al-Kudam states, the main prooI (al-hujja al-qima) Ior the people regard-
ing their Imm and Ior their obedience to his authority is his just conduct (adl
sratihi) with his subjects. He continues: Likewise, the main prooI Ior the people
regarding the deposing oI the Imm is his unjust conduct (jawr sratihi) with his
So important was the quality oI justice to the legitimate authority oI
the Ibd Imm that al-Kind allows even a ruler who is not an Ibd to be tolerated
as Imm so long as he is just; obedience to such a leader is due in the same manner
as iI he were an Ibd.
Although paramount, the quality oI justice is not the only necessary char-
acteristic oI the Imm. Ab Ishq Ibrhm b. Qays, a IiIth/eleventh-century
Hadramawt jurist and Imm, wrote oI the necessary traits (khisl) Ior establish-
ing the immate, stipulating that the immate be given to the best oI |the Ibds|
in religion (dn), knowledge (ilm), and demonstrated religiosity (war).

Indeed, as al-Bisyn explains, the imm al-dif and the imm al-shr may lack
knowledge (ilm), but they cannot lack in religiosity (war);
piety, envisioned
as religiosity, thus Iorms the minimum requirement Ior all Omani (and Yemeni)
Ibd Imms.
As noted above, the North AIrican Ibdiyya tended not to preserve as detailed
a legal tradition as their Omani counterparts, due in part to the Iact that their
immate eIIectively ended aIter the Iall oI the Rustumid dynasty to the Ftimids.
Nevertheless, North AIrican Ibds preserved a rich biographical and histori-
cal tradition Irom which an idealized portrait oI leadership may be gleaned. In
North AIrican historical texts, the notion oI piety as the legitimating quality oI
the Imm is expressed in the idealization oI the Iirst North AIrican Ibd Imm,
Abd al-Rahmn b. Rustum, as the prototype oI the perIect Imm.
Savage notes
that historical reasons surround the creation oI this image Ior Abd al-Rahmn b.
Rustum, notably the need to bolster the credibility oI Abd al-Rahmns son Abd
al-Wahhb. Abd al-Wahhbs reign witnessed two major schisms: the Nukkriyya
and the KhalaIiyya. Both challenged the legitimacy oI Abd al-Wahhbs right to
succession, but the KhalaIyya claimed to be the direct descendents oI the Iirst
Ibd Imm oI Qayrawn, Ab al-Khattb. By idealizing the liIe and rule oI Abd
al-Rahmn, the authors diminished the importance oI Ab al-Khattb. For our pur-
poses, it is important to remember that the picture oI Abd al-Rahmn as the ideal
just ruler was ultimately motivated by political considerations.
Although ascetic piety and moral rectitude were by no means the only legiti-
mating Iactors oI Abd al-Rahmns immate, they nonetheless remained among
his most important qualities as an Imm.
In an anecdotal story related by Ab
Zakariyya and Ibn al-Saghr, when Ibd visitors Irom Basra called on the Imm
Abd al-Rahmn, they Iound him engaged in constructing a ceiling with his ser-
In the same story, Ibn al-Saghr describes Abd al-Rahmns house as sim-
ply Iurnished with only a leather mat, a pillow, sword, and lance.
Similarly, the
meal eaten by the visitors is described as simple.
Ibn al-Saghr and Ab Zakariyya
depict Abd al-Rahmns humility and ascetic practices (zuhd) as exceptional, and
his accentuated qualities are intended to bolster his claim to authority over the
Muslims by their uniqueness.
In addition to the personal qualities oI ascetic piety, Abd al-Rahmns oIIi-
cial actions as Imm are celebrated as just (dil). SpeciIically, Abd al-Rahmn
is described as always accessible to his people when sitting in his mosque.

Ab Zakariyya notes how no person Iound Iault with Abd al-Rahmn during his
reign as Imm,
and Ibn al-Saghr mentions that Abd al-Rahmns justice as
a legal judge was renowned, and his qds were also considered just.
his reign, the treasury was always Iull, the poor were Ied, and the police Iorce
(shurta) and military were well disciplined and eIIective.
As the public aspect
oI moral rectitude, the aspect most commonly associated with political power,
Abd al-Rahmns adla is presented as unusually grand, a quality that Iurther
justiIies his rule. Later North AIrican jurisprudence considered Abd al-Rahmn a
prime example oI the imm al-zuhr, and included the Omani Imms oI the Iirst
Omani dynasty along with him.
In such a way, the Iigure oI Abd al-Rahmn,
as the prototypical North AIrican Imm during the state oI zuhr, exempliIied the
qualities oI piety and moral rectitude.
Piety and moral rectitude in both Omani and North AIrican Ibd texts were
speciIically associated with the qualities oI religious piety (war), asceticism
(zuhd), and justice (adl), with the characteristic oI justice being Iavored above
the others. These personal qualities legitimated the authority oI the Ibd Imms
above all other qualities, even to the extent that moral rectitude (as adl) justiIied
the rule oI a non-Ibd. The opposite situation is also institutionalized in medieval
Ibd jurisprudence: namely, that sin and immoral behavior speciIically disqualiIy
a leader Irom rule. So widespread is this notion in Ibd thought that virtually every
Ibd legal text (both Omani and North AIrican) has a section devoted to dissocia-
tion (bara) Irom a sinning Imm.
However, an Imm who sinned or behaved
in a way that was improper did not immediately become an illegitimate Imm.
The Ibd community gave him the opportunity to repent and make amends, such
as the opportunity given to Uthmn beIore his killing.
II the Imm repented,
he regained his proper place as leader oI the Muslims. II he persisted in his sin-
Iul behavior, dissociation Irom him and active opposition to him then became a
The Ibdiyya openly trace the Iormalization oI the rules regarding a sin-
ning Imm to the actions oI Uthmn and Al. Ibd sources depict Uthmn as
a depraved sinner, portraying the proto-Ibdiyya as the very people who killed
Although there is no evidence that the Egyptians who killed Uthmn later
became Khrijites, there can be no doubt that the later Ibd portrayal oI Uthmn
as an unjust (zlim) ruler was part oI the Ibd inheritance Irom the Khrijites, and
speciIically justiIied the Ibd stance toward unjust rulers. Similarly, Ibd texts
depict Als acceptance oI the arbitration as a sin that disqualiIied him Irom rule
over the Muslims. According to the Ibds, God commanded the Muslims to Iight
Muwiyas army as the rebellious party (al-fia al-bghiya) that should return
to the command oI God.
There was, thereIore, no judgment but Gods in
the matter and consequently, no need Ior arbitration.
Ibd sources unequivo-
cally state that the sin oI arbitration disqualiIied Al Irom the position oI Imm:
by his sin he removed himselI (khl nafsahu) Irom rule.
Al thus became
another prototype Ior the medieval Ibd rules regarding the deposition oI a sin-
ning Imm.
Additionally, as was the case with the early Khrijites, the qualities oI piety
and moral rectitude legitimated the imma to the exclusion oI other characteristics
oI authority. Ibd jurisprudence speciIically rejected membership in the Quraysh,
relation with the Prophet, and designation (nass) as criterion Ior authority; the sixth/
twelIth-century Omani jurist and heresiographer al-Qalht explicitly disallows the
notion that the immate was designated Ior Al and his progeny.
al-Kind views the Prophets command to obey even a mutilated Ethiopian slave
iI he upholds the Book oI God and my sunna (according to the wording oI this
hadth in al-Kinds Musannaf ) as nulliIying the exclusive claim oI the Quraysh
to the caliphate.
In Iact, the Ibdiyya did not reject the notion oI Quraysh lead-
ership, but viewed the conditions oI piety as eclipsing the exclusive claim oI the
Quraysh to authority. ThereIore, al-Kind claims, the immate oI a Quraysh and
non-Quraysh are both valid, and the Iinal criterion Ior their legitimacy remained
the justice oI their decisions, the Iairness oI their decrees, and their perpetuation
oI the Book oI God and sunna oI the Prophet.
Conceptions oI piety and moral rectitude as the personal characteristics that legiti-
mated authority, and their institutionalization in the later Ibd legal and historical
corpus, became an integral aspect oI the Ibd immate, especially oI the immate in
a state oI zuhr. The unacknowledged debt oI Ibd thought to pre-Islamic notions
oI authority as personal traits, as well as the Qurnic concept oI piety (taqw) as
the demonstrated actions that come Irom an awareness oI human accountability
beIore God, both became precedents Ior the peculiar Ibd ideas about piety as a
type oI legitimate authority. In addition, the paradigm oI the Prophet Muhammad
as a moral-political leader, and the examples oI Ab Bakr, Umar, and the Imm
oI the MuhakkimaAbdullah b. Wahb al-Rsibprovided models Ior the insti-
tutionalization oI moral rectitude as the paramount and exclusive characteristic oI
leadership, just as Uthmn, Al, and the Umayyad Caliphs oIIered precedents
Ior the institutionalization oI the rules regarding the deposition oI or resistance to
sinning Imms. The medieval Ibd conception oI moral rectitude as a type oI legit-
imate authority, and its consequent institutionalization in the Ibd imma, thus
possessed a history in the preceding eras oI Islamic history.
However, piety and moral rectitude were not the only legitimate kinds oI
authority that were recognized and institutionalized by the Ibdiyya. The medi-
eval Ibd immate incorporated diIIerent kinds oI legitimate authority and
acknowledged other types oI Imms. Just as the notion oI piety in the medieval
Ibd imma was the product oI numerous precedents in pre-Islamic, Prophetic,
early Madnan, and early Khrijite history, so the other types oI authority, and
their speciIic institutional conIigurations in the Ibd immate, possessed their
own distinct history.
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Imm al-Kitmn
In addition to piety and moral rectitude, the medieval Ibdiyya val-
ued the possession oI knowledge (ilm) in their leaders, and made it an
integral aspect oI the Ibd imma.
Ilm in Islamic thought is a concept
with many nuances and synonyms, as well as a long linguistic history.
In the early Islamic period, the word denoted knowledge or learning
in the general sense oI the term, and speciIically reIerred to intuitive or
inIerential knowledge (that is, knowledge based on something beyond
itselI ). In contrast to marifa, ordinary knowledge,
or adab, knowledge
obtained Irom literature or proIessional training, ilm related to knowl-
edge oI a religious nature.
Another concept Ior knowledge, and an early
synonym Ior ilm, was hikma, which denoted that which prevents igno-
rant behavior, and came to mean wisdom and intellectual knowledge.
With the passage oI time, ilm as religious learning became associated
with specialized disciplines, such as theology (ilm al-kalm), philoso-
phy (falsafa), and law (fiqh). OI these disciplines, law and legal reason-
ing occupied a special place in early Islamic history. In Iact, the word
fiqh originally denoted understanding, and is thus very close to the
concept oI ilm itselI.
The possessors oI specialized religious knowledge (that is, ilm and
fiqh) came to be known as the ulam and fuqah. To a certain extent,
being an lim or a faqh involved holding a title (which is to say, being
in authority as well as being an authority), but this title remained
inIormal; it was earned by the demonstration oI the lims knowledge
rather than by any type oI oIIicial designation.
At the same time,
the early Islamic state created oIIicial roles Ior the ulam. The early Caliphs, and
later the Umayyads, assigned judges (qud) to the provincial towns to assist the
governors with the application oI Islamic law. These positions, however, were not
necessarily positions oI political authority.
This chapter examines the interplay between knowledgeable persons as
authorities and knowledgeable persons in authority as leaders to determine the
extent to which those in authority (that is, Imms) were expected to be authorities
(that is, ulam or fuqah), as well as how political authority devolved upon the
ulam in the absence oI an Imm. By examining the ways in which the relation-
ship between political and juristic institutions oI authority Iunctioned Irom the
pre-Islamic period through the early Islamic era, this chapter will illuminate the
precedents Ior ilm as an aspect oI the medieval Ibd institution oI the Imm, as
well as the precedents Ior the ulam as the advisors oI the Imm and as the dep-
uties oI the community during kitmn.
Like their Sunni counterparts, yet unlike the Shia, the medieval Ibdiyya
preIerred but did not require knowledge as a trait oI their Imms. II a prospective
leader lacked ilm, he could nonetheless become an Imm. In Oman, Ior exam-
ple, where the immate remained a living tradition aIter the dissolution oI the Iirst
Ibd state, Ibd jurisprudence accommodated Imms without knowledge: they
were called weak (daf ) Imms. Such Imms were permissible on the condition
(shart) oI consultation (mashwara) with the ulam.
Although Ibd jurispru-
dence did not oIIicially recognize the ulam as the deputies oI the daf Imm,
they Iunctioned as such by substituting their ilm Ior the Imms lack oI knowl-
edge. In this way, ilm remained an essential characteristic oI the medieval Ibd
imma through the ulam, even though it was not a trait oI the daf Imm him-
selI. Such a relationship points to a complex rapport between Imm and ulam,
and to a more Iormalized relationship between the two.
Moreover, during a state oI kitmn (secrecy), the partial deputyship oI the
Ibd ulam over the daf Imm gave way to a Iull deputyship in the absence oI
the Imm, and the ulam assumed all or most oI the Imms duties. The medi-
eval Ibdiyya conceived oI the state opposite that oI zuhr as that oI kitmn. As
the converse oI zuhr, kitmn represented the worst oI all possible situations Ior
the Ibd community. During it, the Ibdiyya were Iorced to hide their belieIs and
practices, and to dispense with the immate.
The unique historical situations oI
the North AIrican and Omani communities aIter the breakup oI their Iirst immates
resulted in diIIerent applications oI the rule oI the ulam during the condition oI
kitmn. The North AIrican Ibd community entered a state oI kitmn soon aIter
the Iall oI the Rustumid dynasty. They did not (even to the present day) estab-
lish another imma, but evolved local councils (halqa) oI ulam (also called
azzba, sing. azzb) that ruled in the place oI the Imm.
Although the state oI
kitmn and the suspension oI the immate was a dispensation (rukhsa) until such
time as the community attained the ability to reestablish an Imm, the rule oI the
halqa and the azzba eIIectively replaced the immate in North AIrica.
In this
manner, the North AIrican Ibd ulam became the leaders oI the community in
the absence oI the Imm, and ruled by virtue oI their ilm.
In Oman, the Ibd community did not enter a state oI kitmn, even aIter
their second immate split over the controversy surrounding the deposition oI
the Imm al-Salt b. Malik (d. 273/886). The modern Ibd historian al-Slim, in
a critique oI Ibn Battas claim that the Omani Khrijites (meaning the Ibds)
were not able to maniIest their sect, stated: we know oI no time in Oman when
the Ibdiyya have not been able to practice (izhr) their madhhab there, even
though outside rulers (malik min mulk al-fq) have established control over
parts oI the territory.
Nevertheless, medieval Ibd jurisprudence recognized
kitmn as a theoretical possibility, and recommended, in the absence oI an Imm,
that the ulam assume control oI the Iunctions oI the immate.
Thus, as in
North AIrica, the possession oI ilm qualiIied the ulam in Oman to assume
responsibility Ior the community in the event that the Omani Ibdiyya entered a
state oI kitmn.
Yet Ibd historiography complicates the tenet that there could be no Imm
during the state oI kitmn. Both North AIrican and Omani historical and legal tra-
dition recognized certain prominent leaders oI the early Basran quietist Khrijite
movementespecially Abdullh b. Ibd, Jbir b. Zayd, and Ab Ubayda Muslim
b. Ab Karmaas Ibd Imms during an early period oI kitmn in Basra.
Iact, these Imms oI kitmn remained a purely ideological aspect oI the medieval
Ibd institution oI the Imm: that is, the Ibdiyya retroactively claimed as Imms
certain early ulam Irom their Iormative period in Basra in order to establish an
unbroken line oI Imms (and a continuous line oI ilm transmission) reaching back
to the Prophet.
Nevertheless, these early Iigures were certainly leaders (though
not Imms in the political sense) and ulam; and Iurthermore, they existed dur-
ing a time later regarded as kitmn. In the case oI what would later become known
as the imm al-kitmn, then, a retroactively imagined institution oI authority, the
Iictive institution oI the imm al-kitmn provides another example oI the impor-
tance oI ilm to medieval Ibd institutions oI authority.
The concept oI ilm as an authoritative quality oI leadership, and its subse-
quent institutionalization in the medieval Ibd imma as a recommended trait oI
the Imm, are Ieatures oI the immate that the Ibdiyya share with their Sunni and
Shia counterparts. However, the medieval Ibd institutions oI the daf Imm,
the imagined institution oI the imm al-kitmn, and the (theoretical or actual)
structures oI authority that operated during the state oI kitmn remain unique
Ieatures oI the Ibd immate. In examining the concept oI ilm as a characteristic
oI legitimate authority, this chapter surveys its institutional maniIestations in the
pre-Islamic and early Islamic eras to show how preceding conceptions and institu-
tions oI ilm as a type oI legitimate authority Iunctioned as the precedents Ior the
Ibd conception and subsequent institutionalization oI ilm in the medieval Ibd
imma or, in the case oI North AIrican Ibdism, in the structures oI authority that
replaced the imma during its abeyance.
Ilm and Authority in the Pre-Islamic, Prophetic, and Early Caliphal Eras
During the pre-Islamic period, various authority Iigures possessed diIIerent types
oI knowledge that legitimated their leadership positions. Although no equivalent
to ilm as a speciIically religious type oI knowledge existed during the pre-Islamic
period, the Arabs oI this time believed that their soothsayers (khin) and poets
(shir) interacted with unseen spirits (jinn) and received inspiration Ior their
In Iact, the term shir denotes both knowledge (in the sense oI cogni-
zance or knowledge oI detail) and poetry. Poetry was held to be religious in
inspiration insoIar as it came Irom the unseen world (al-ghayb), as well as being
a type oI knowledge.
In a tradition attributed to Ibn Srn, Umar was reported
to have said that the ilm oI the pre-Islamic Bedouin consisted oI their poetry.

Likewise, Ibn Qutayba believed that pre-Islamic poetry was a treasure trove oI the
knowledge oI the Arabs (ilm al-arab), a book oI their wisdom (hikma), a record
oI their history (akhbr), a treasury oI their great days (aym), and a rampart that
protected their glorious deeds (mthir).
Thus, poetry condensed military, cul-
tural, social, and literary history, and the poets (or those who knew poetry) were
prized as the protectors oI and authorities on the tribal history and culture.
Although poets and soothsayers enjoyed a certain amount oI authority in
their tribe, the Iigure in authority oI the tribe in pre-Islamic Arabia was the sayyid.
As the spokesperson and orator Ior the tribe, many a sayyid knew and composed
poetry. In Iact, the roles oI khin, poet, and sayyid were oIten blended.
For exam-
ple, the Iamous poet oI the pre-Islamic period, Imru al-Qays oI the Kinda, was
also regarded as a sayyid.
Command oI poetry, however, was not the only type
oI knowledge hoped Ior in a sayyid: the Arabs also desired that the sayyid have
wisdom (hikma).
Additionally, some sayyids, such as Sad b. Ubda, the sayyid
oI the Khazrj in Yathrib (that is, Madna), knew how to read and write.
Moreover, iI the sayyid could not resolve a disagreement, pre-Islamic Arabs
could turn to another knowledgeable individual Ior arbitration. This person
(known as the h akam) settled disputes between members oI the same tribe and
between tribes.
Like the sayyids and the poets, the hakams required a certain
amount oI knowledgeespecially oI genealogy and poetryto IulIill their task.
Although persons possessing particular types oI knowledge (shir or hikma)
occupied positions oI political authority in pre-Islamic Arabia, in the inIormal set-
ting oI the pre-Islamic Arabian tribe, where authority devolved upon those who
demonstrated a propensity Ior exercising it, the possession oI knowledge was not
a Iormal requirement oI leadership. In Iact, iI the sayyids did not possess a suIIi-
cient command oI poetry, the tribes poets would advise them.
Thus those with
authority tended to become those in authority, but the oIIice oI sayyid did not
Iormally require knowledge (variously understood as shir or hikma), and other
individuals such as the hakam periodically assumed certain responsibilities in the
stead oI the sayyid, or, alternately, other authorities such as the shir Iunctioned
as advisors to the sayyid.
The advent oI Islam introduced the concept oI ilm as a type oI knowledge
ultimately connected to divine revelation, and established the oIIice oI Prophet
as an authority Iigure who possessed ilm. The coming oI Islam changed the con-
cept oI knowledge Irom jinn-inspired poetry to the knowledge given by God.
According to the Qurn, knowledge is a trait oI God. God is described as the
most knowledgeable (alm): And above every person oI knowledge, there is |He
who is most| knowledgeable.
He is also the Knower oI things unseen (allm
As the ultimate source oI knowledge, God teaches humankind and
gives them ilm. Verse 96:45 explains, Ior example, how God taught by the
pen; taught humankind what they knew not. The verb allama in this verse is the
verb to teach, and is related both linguistically and conceptually to the word Ior
The Qurn speaks oI Gods action oI teaching in connection
with the giIt oI revelation: the Compassionate, has made known (allama) the
|He is| the Knower (lim) oI the unseen, and He reveals to none his
secret, except to every Messenger whom He has chosen.
The Qurn instructed
Muhammad, in the context oI recitation oI the revelation, to say: My Lord,
increase me in knowledge.
Thus, the Qurn identiIies authentic knowledge
with revelation, and recognizes God as the ultimate source oI all knowledge.
As recipients oI the revelation, the Prophets possess divine knowledge,
and have taught that knowledge to humankind. In 2:129, Abraham prays: Our
Lord! Raise up in their midst a Messenger Irom among them who will recite
to them Your revelations, and will instruct them in the Scripture and in wisdom
(al-hikma). Moses asks the individual to whom God gave knowledgewho is
identiIied in Islamic tradition as the Prophet KhidriI he will teach me right
conduct Irom what you have been taught.
Likewise, 31:12 tells how God gave
wisdom (hikma) to Luqmn; Ibn Kathr clariIies the use oI the term hikma in
this verse by comparing it to knowledge (ilm) and understanding oI Islam (al-fiqh
f al-islm).
In these cases, those to whom God gave knowledge (usually identi-
Iied as the Prophets) became authorities thereby.
In addition to being an authority by having the revelation, the Prophet was in
authority over his Iollowers, and like the pre-Islamic sayyid, the oIIice oI Prophet
combined the possession oI knowledge and the exercise oI authority. However,
unlike the sayyid, the Prophet alone delivered the revelation. There was no question
oI anyone advising the Prophet on the revelations (whereas the tribes poets would
advise the sayyid iI he did not have suIIicient command oI poetry). Likewise, only
the Prophet possessed Iinal authority over his Iollowers and he, and no one else,
ultimately ruled the Islamic community.
AIter the Prophets death, belieI in the Iinality oI prophethoodin Muhammad
as the seal oI the Prophetsinsured that no Muslim would legitimately claim
to possess revelation, or be an authority (or in authority) in quite the same man-
ner as the Prophet.
Nevertheless, the possession oI ilm remained authoritative
during the early Islamic period, and Muslims believed Ab Bakr and Umar to be
knowledgeable. This conIlation oI ilm and authority represents a continuation oI
the association between knowledge and leadership that operated throughout the
pre-Islamic period, as well as during the Prophetic era.
During the early Islamic period, Muslims prized knowledge and believed it
to be a characteristic that made an individual an authority. The Qurn stated:
God will exalt those who believe among you, and those who have knowledge
(ut al-ilm) to high ranks.
Likewise, al-Bukhr, in the introduction to his tenth
chapter in his book on ilm, stated: The ulam are the heirs oI the Prophets;
who pass on ilm, and whoso takes |knowledge|, takes an abundant wealth (hazz
wfir); and whoso travels a road seeking |knowledge|, God will ease his path to
To have ilm meant to be an heir oI the Prophet, and an authority
on religion. Similarly, when Umar expressed surprise at his governor UsIns
choice to leave Ibn Ibz, a client (mawl) oI the Quraysh, in charge oI Makka
during the governors absence, UsIn justiIied his choice oI deputy by saying:
Oh Commander oI the FaithIul! He is |versed in| the recitation oI the Book (qri
lil-kitb), knowledgeable in the |Islamic| duties (lim bi al-farid), and able to
judge |according to Islamic law| (qdin).
As the example oI Ibn Ibz shows,
ilm qualiIied in the eyes oI Umar even a non-Arab (mawl) to assume the duties
oI governance.
OI the individuals who were considered knowledgeable during the early period
oI Islam, Muhammads close associates during his liIetime, the Companions oI
the Prophet (sahba), came to be considered as particularly well versed in ilm
due to their proximity to the Prophet. Al-Bukhr, Ior example, considers them
to be authoritative sources oI inIormation on the deeds, words, and instructions
oI the Prophet.
In addition, al-Bukhr holds the statements and actions oI the
sahba to be worthy oI imitation in their own right, especially with regards to
the Islamic rituals (that is, prayer, Iasting, hajj, and so on).
Likewise, the other
main Sunni hadth collectorsMuslim, Ibn Hanbal, al-Tirmidh, Ibn Mja, Ab
Dawd, and al-Nisconsider the Companions to be reliable transmitters oI the
Prophetic sunna, as well as sources oI it. Thus, in addition to being possessors
oI ilm on the liIe and deeds oI the Prophet, the Companions themselves became
sources oI sunna.
OI the Companions, Ab Bakr, Umar, Uthmn, and Al became Caliphs
and Imms in their own right.
Although these early leaders owed their positions
oI authority to traits in addition to their knowledge oI Islamespecially their
membership in the Quyash tribe or, in the case oI Al, relation to the Prophet
they simultaneously possessed ilm, and this possession became paradigmatic Ior
later Sunni and Shiite theories oI legitimate authority. Al-Mward, Ior example,
names ilm as one oI the characteristics required oI an Imm, so that the Imm
may exercise ijtihd.
In the Shiite tradition, the possession oI ilm became one
oI the most important qualities oI the Shiite Imm, and a prooI oI the Imms
As a result, Shiite sources preserve a wealth oI reports regarding
Als ilm. Ibn Abbs reported, Ior example, that the Prophet said: Al b. Ab
Tlib is the most learned oI my community and the most capable oI giving legal
decisions aIter me in |the matters in| which |people| diIIer.
In Iact, one oI
the most prominent oI early Shiite scholars, al-MuId, said oI the hadth that
addressed Als knowledge: examples oI such reports are |so many| that a book
would become |unduly| long in reporting them.
This incorporation oI ilm as a
legitimating quality oI leadership served as the precedent Ior the assimilation oI
the trait oI knowledge into both the later Sunni and Shiite theories oI legitimate
During the medieval era, however, the Sunni world accepted a practical dis-
tinction between leadership and learning. The ulam came to occupy an inter-
mediate position between rulers and ruled, maintaining their authority over the
shara and legitimating the power oI the Caliphs, wazrs, amrs, and sultns.
Al-Mward, Ior example, accepted the de Iacto rule oI an amr who seized power
by Iorce or usurpation.
Thus, although the Caliph, in theory, should be an lim,
in practice the Sunnis accepted leaders who were not qualiIied scholars and, Iol-
lowing al-Mward, classical Sunni legal theory posited no particular role Ior the
khalfa in Iormulating Islamic law. Similarly, the Prophetic sunna was generally
limited to the actions oI the Prophet and early Companions, some oI whom hap-
pened to be early Caliphs (Ab Bakr, Umar, and Uthmn Ior example), with
the exception oI Umar II, who was included due to the belieI in his exceptional
Nevertheless, the possession oI ilm by the Iirst Iour Caliphs rendered mean-
ingless the question, during the Madnan phase oI the caliphate, oI an Imm or
Caliph who did not possess ilm, and, as a result, no data exists Irom the earliest
period regarding the (then hypothetical) situation in which a leader did not have
suIIicient knowledge. Just as during the pre-Islamic era the poets or soothsayers
oI a tribe assisted the sayyid with their knowledge iI the sayyid did not possess
it, likewise, the learned members oI the umma assisted the Caliphs in the early
Islamic period, but such a situation was so widely accepted that the need to artic-
ulate a Iormal doctrine on it was not Ielt until much later.
To sum up, the idea that those in authority should possess knowledge as an
aspect oI their authority predated the emergence oI Islam. The coming oI Islam,
however, redeIined the concept oI authoritative knowledge as ilm, a knowledge
that was based in and upon revelation, and associated that knowledge with the
Prophets. AIter the death oI Muhammad, the early Caliphs who assumed control
oI the Islamic state were simultaneously regarded as knowledgeable. This asso-
ciation between leadership and knowledge among the early Caliphs Iunctioned as
a potent precedent Ior all subsequent theories oI legitimate leadership.
Ilm and Authority in Early Islamic History:
Umayyads, Shiites, and Khrijites
The pre-Islamic and early Islamic associations between knowledge and authority
persisted into the Umayyad period, and were adapted by the Umayyads, the early
Shiites, and the Khrijites. Although inIormation remains rare regarding the var-
ious Khrijite views toward authority and its relationship to ilm, the accounts
that survive show an attitude toward leadership and knowledge similar to that oI
the pre-Islamic and Madnan eras: leaders were also those who had knowledge,
and iI a leader did not possess knowledge, then those with ilm should assist
him with their ilm. This Khrijite attitude existed alongside oI the Umayyad
and early Shiite approaches toward leadership and knowledge. In the Umayyad
and Khrijite cases, the approach toward ilm and leadership resembled the pre-
Islamic (tribal) conception oI knowledge and authority: that is, the Khrijites
and Umayyads portrayed their leaders and possessors oI knowledge, but seem to
have simultaneously accepted the role oI the ulam as advisors to the Imm or
The early Immite Shiite conception oI the relationship between ilm and
authority, on the other hand, accorded authority to the Imm on the basis oI his
possession oI esoteric ilm. This knowledge was the sole possession oI the Shiite
Imms as the result oI their designation (nass) by the Prophet. Early Shiism, thus,
leaned toward a Prophetic (and thereIore exclusive) model oI ilm and authority.
The Iirst hints oI the Khrijite attitude toward ilm and legitimate authority
come Irom the Muhakkimas association with the qurr at the battle oI SiIIn.

The qurr, as those who recited (and thereIore knew) the Qurn, undoubtedly
enjoyed some authority thereby. As mentioned above, Umars governor justiIied
placing a mawl in charge oI Makka on the basis oI his knowledge, using the
phrase qri lil-kitb (able to recite the Qurn) to indicate his proIiciency in recita-
tion. Additionally, the qurr at the Battle oI SiIIn reportedly Iorced Al to accept
arbitration against his better judgment, which is itselI an indicator oI a certain
amount oI authority.
Although many sources preserve the Khrijite association with the qurr, Iew
associate the possession oI political authority with them.
Ibn Qutayba preserves
a report that identiIies Abdullh b. Wahb al-Rsib, the Imm oI the Muhakkima
at Nahrawn, as a qri.
While this association suggests an early aIIiliation with
the qurr, it does not oIIer prooI that the Iirst Khrijite Imm, Abdullah b. Wahb
al-Rsib, was chosen on the basis oI his ilm. Rather, it indicates that al-Rsib pos-
sessed the ilm associated with being proIicient in the recitation, and also became
the leader oI the Khrijites.
A report that is more suggestive oI the association between ilm and leadership
among the Khrijites comes Irom Ab MikhnaI, who recounts on the authority oI
JaIar b. HuthayIa al-T that in 42/662 (less than two years aIter the death oI
Al) several Khrijites gathered in KIa and agreed to rebel against Muwiya.

When they could not decide on whom to make their leader, Math b. Juwayn b.
Hisn al-T stated: Not everyone is Iit Ior leadership, so iI all oI |the candidates
Ior leadership| are equal in merit (f al-fadl), then the Muslims should select the
most experienced in war (absarahum f al-harb) and the most knowledgeable
in religion (afqahahum f al-dn). Thus, aIter merit, Math believed military
experience and the possession oI knowledge to be the most important criterion Ior
choosing a Khrijite leader.
Other reports on Khrijite leaders also indicate a correlation between lead-
ership and the possession oI ilm. A report in al-Baghdd mentions how a group
oI the Iollowers oI the Iirst Imm oI the Najdites, Najda b. Amr al-HanaI, aIter
Iorcing Najda to recant some oI his belieIs, repented their action and stated: you
are the Imm, and it is Ior you |to perIorm| ijtihd, and it was not Ior us to make
you recant.
Thus, among some oI the Najdites, a belieI in connection between
ilm as ijtihd and authority existed. Likewise, later Najdite doctrine, although
it expressly rejects the ijtihd oI the leader as any more valid than the ijtihd oI
each individual Najdite, nonetheless attributes the ability to perIorm ijtihd to the
Likewise, al-Mubarrad, on the authority oI Ab Ubayda Muammar
b. al-Muthann, preserves an exchange between the leader oI the Azriqa, NIi
b. al-Azraq, and Ibn Abbs in which NIi questions Ibn Abbs on the meanings
and usages oI Qurnic terms, as well as on the interpretation (tafsr) oI certain
II this report is accurate, it indicates that NIi pursued ilm. Neither al-
Mubarrad nor Ibn al-Muthann indicates the date oI the exchange, or iI NIi had
yet assumed leadership (which he did in 65/684) oI the Khrijite movement that
subsequently adopted his name. Nonetheless, NIi b. al-Azraq presents another
possible example oI a learned individual becoming (or being) a leader oI the
Like Najda and NIi, the early Khrijite leader Slih b. Musarrih was known
Ior his ilm. In a report by Ab MikhnaI, on the authority oI a contemporary oI
Slihs, Qabsa b. Abd al-Rahmn, describes how Slih taught his Iollowers the
recitation oI the Qurn and Islamic law.
Slih rebelled in 76/695 near Mosul
in the Jazra. He represents another example oI an lim assuming the responsi-
bilities oI leadership. Moreover, al-Baghdd reports that beIore Slih died, he
appointed Shabb b. Yazd al-Shaybn as his successor with the words: I have
made Shabb my successor over you, even though I know there are more learned
people among you; but he is a courageous man, and a scourge to your enemies,
so, thereIore let the knowledgeable (al-faqh) among you assist him with their
This report presents an example oI a pre-Islamic attitude toward
assisting a leader who is deIicient in knowledge being utilized in a Khrijite con-
text. Although it is not surprising that the Khrijites applied pre-Islamic/tribal
structures oI authority to their own organizations oI authority, this sentence by
Slih is the only evidence (beIore the Ibdiyya) oI the persistence oI such a prac-
tice among the Khrijites.
Finally, evidence Irom the early Ibd epistle oI Slim b. Dhakwn supports
the idea that the earliest Khrijites associated the possession oI knowledge with the
oIIice oI leadership. In a passage relating the Imm, Slim recommends that the
Ibdiyya appoint to the command oI the Muslims the most meritorious, and those
with the greatest understanding |oI religion| (afdilahum wa fuqahahum).
the early Ibd Slim equates the possession oI knowledge (as understanding
fiqh) with leadership over the Ibdiyya.
These examples oI the early Khrijite correlation between the possession oI
knowledge and the exercise oI authority match the association between ilm and
authority that operated during the early Madnan period, as well as during the
pre-Islamic period. Moreover, Slihs suggestion that the knowledgeable among
his community assist Shabb with their understanding oI religion (fiqh) is highly
suggestive oI the tribal system whereby those with knowledge helped those lead-
ers without such knowledge. Although these pieces oI evidence are Iragmentary,
and do not present a systematic exposition on the association between ilm and
authority in early Khrijite Islamic thought, they do indicate a continuation oI the
correlation between knowledge and authority that preceded the Iormation oI the
Like the early Khrijites, the Umayyad Caliphs were viewed by their support-
ers as possessors oI ilm, and their knowledge was considered an essential aspect
oI their caliphate.
A report oI Ms b. Isml in Ibn Sad explains how the Caliph
Marwn b. al-Hakam narrated traditions on the authority oI the Companions oI
the Prophet. This same report states that Marwn used to gather the Companions
together in Madna, and Iollow what they decided (by ijm) Ior him.
Muwiya described Abd al-Malik b. Marwn as a narrator oI traditions;
report explains how Abd al-Malik would sit with the fuqah and ulam and
memorize hadth Irom them.
These reports portray the Umayyad Caliphs as
acquiring knowledge Irom the ulam and Companions oI the Prophet, as being
ulam themselves, or as consulting with the ulam oI their time.
Other examples betray an implicit belieI in the possession oI ilm by the
Umayyad Caliphs by casting them as authoritative judges in Islamic law. Yazd III,
Ior example, in his letter to the people oI Iraq, explains how the Umayyad Caliphs
Iollowed one another as guardians oI His religion, judging in it according to
His decree.
This case illustrates how Yazd III tacitly acknowledged the ilm
oI the Umayyads by according them the right to judge (qd) in Gods religion.
Likewise, Umayyad poetry Ilatters the Caliphs by comparing them to judges: He
is the Caliph, so accept what he judges Ior you in truth.
Likewise, the Umayyad
Caliphs issued legal mandates, assuming the authority to do so: Muwiya
instructed his Madnan governor on the rules regarding stolen property;
Umar II
instructed his governor in Egypt on the treatment oI non-Arab converts to Islam;

and the governor oI Yemen wrote to Abd al-Malik questioning him on the proce-
dures to be Iollowed in a case oI Iornication.
These examples illustrate how the
Umayyad Caliphs assumed their authority to adjudicate in questions oI Islamic
law, and implied their possession oI the ilm that was required to issue legal man-
dates. In such a Iashion, the Umayyad Caliphs believed themselves to be (or were
Ilattered by poets as) the possessors oI knowledge; and at the same time they
enjoyed the authority oI being Caliphs. Although no early text systematized this
relationship between knowledge and authority as a requirement oI the Umayyad
caliphate, the connection is suggestive oI a necessary condition.
Among the supporters oI Al and his Iamily, the correlation between ilm
and imma became a cornerstone oI Shiism at an early date. Among the Immite
Shiites, the Imms Muhammad al-Bqir, JaIar al-S diq, and their disciples Iirst
systematized the ideas oI designation (nas s ) and esoteric knowledge (ilm) into a
coherent doctrine oI the immate.
Al-Bqir and al-S diq sought to exclude the
extremist (ghult) Shiites, as well as those who advocated jihd-based activism
as the only method oI establishing the rights oI the Iamily oI the Prophet.
oI al-S diqs prominent disciples, Hishm b. al-H akam (who immediately recog-
nized al-S diqs successor, Ms al-Kzim, aIter al-S diqs death), was a noted
theologian, and elaborated a theory oI the immate that remained the basis oI
Imm Shiite doctrine on the Imm.
According to the inIormation preserved
by al-Malat, Hishms theory rested on the principle that humankind required a
divinely guided leader (an Imm) who would act as their authoritative teacher in
all religious matters.
Hishm regarded belieI in the (Shiite) imma as a Iunda-
mental aspect oI religion, and held that the Imm was the legatee (was) oI the
Prophets. Muhammad had designated Al and his progeny as his legatees, and
successors (khalfa) by explicit appointment (nass). Hishm held Muhammads
statement, I am the city oI knowledge, and Al is its door, as evidence oI
Muhammads designation oI Al as his successor. Accordingly, Al, according
to Hishm, was the most knowledgeable and meritorious person oI the umma; he
was protected Irom error (masm) and unable to be ignorant or senile.
his designation, Al became the possessor oI exclusive and esoteric knowledge
oI religion (ilm), a knowledge that would be passed by designation to his succes-
sors. Similarly, al-Kashsh, an early Immite biographer, states on the authority
oI al-Bqir that authentic knowledge (knowledge oI the Qurn and hadth) could
only be obtained Irom the Imms.
In this way, early Immite thinkers argued
that the Imm represented the sole legitimate authority oI the age, and the only
source oI true guidance by his designation (nass) and knowledge (ilm). Thus,
in early Shiite (especially Immite) theories oI legitimate leadership the ilm oI
the Shiite Imm was Iundamental to his authority. Although the Immite Imms
(aIter Al) did not enjoy political power, they nevertheless remained in authority
over their Iollowers through their designation to the oIIice oI Imm, a designation
that brought with it ilm.
To summarize, the Shiite, Umayyad, and Khrijite correlation between
the possession oI knowledge and the possession oI an oIIice oI authority (that
is, being an authority and being in authority) represents, to a certain extent, the
continuation oI attitudes toward knowledge and authority that circulated during
the pre-Islamic and early Islamic eras: namely, that a sayyid, Prophet, Imm, or
Caliph should possess knowledge. Although the Immite Shiites made this con-
nection explicit in their theory oI the immate, among the Umayyads and early
Khrijites the relationship between knowledge and political authority remained
implicit until much later. Nevertheless, the inIormal Khrijite acknowledgement
oI the necessity oI ilm to political authority Iunctioned as the precedent Ior the
Iormal articulation oI the necessity Ior the Ibd Imm to possess knowledge in
the medieval Ibd theory oI the immate. Moreover, Slih b. Musarrihs sugges-
tion to his more knowledgeable Iollowers to assist Shabb al-Khrij with their
knowledge presents a continuation oI the pre-Islamic, tribal attitude toward ilm,
and simultaneously suggests a precedent Ior the advisory role adopted by the
medieval Ibd ulam in relation to a daf Imm.
Quietist Khrijite Ulam-leaders oI Basra and the Emergence
oI the Ibdiyya
Although the correlation between ilm and the Khrijite imma remained a gen-
eral Ieature oI all Khrijite groups who boasted an Imm (that is, who existed
in what the Ibdiyya would later call a state oI zuhr), certain Khrijiteswho
can be designated as the quietistsaccepted a situation whereby the Khrijite
community survived without an Imm, and entered a state oI secrecy (kitmn).
According to Islamic heresiographers and historians, the quietist Khrijites
(those who would become the Ibdiyya, SuIriyya, and Bayhasiyya) split Irom
the activist Khrijites (the Azriqa and Najdt) in Basra during the second fitna
(6165/680684) over the question oI secession (khurj), the issue oI separation
Irom the wider Islamic community (which Iell under the rubric oI hijra), and the
practice oI taqiyya.
That is, the quietist Khrijites reIused to secede Irom the
Islamic community, preIerring to remain among their Iellow Muslims by practic-
ing prudent concealment (taqiyya), hiding their belieIs and practices and/or deny-
ing them as a strategy Ior survival.
Although not stated explicitly in the texts,
practicing taqiyya and remaining in a state oI kitmn entailed living without an
independent Khrij Imm. However, in the state oI kitmn, inIormal (and oIten
secret) leadership oI the quietist Khrijite community devolved onto the ulam.
Moreover, when the early Ibd community emerged Irom the state oI kitmn, the
Ibd ulam retained their relationship to the imma either by becoming Imms
or by advising them.
Due to the complexity oI the early quietist Khrijite and early Ibdite period,
as well as the sectarian nature oI the sources involved in researching this era, sev-
eral terms need to be clariIied, and certain issues related to the sources oI early
Ibdite history need to be addressed. Although historical and heresiographical
texts categorize the quietist Khrijites by their sectarian namesespecially the
Ibdiyya, SuIriyya, and Bayhasiyyait is unlikely that sectarian distinctions such
as Ibd, SuIr, or Bayhas existed at the time oI the activist-quietist Khrijite
tafrq (split) in 65/684. In Iact, it is possible that they did not Iully materialize until
aIter 123/740, when the Ibd sect emerged under the leadership oI Ab Ubayda
Muslim b. Ab Karma. An Ibd source, Ab Zakariyya, reports that Salama b.
Sad, one oI the Iirst quietist Khrijite missionaries to AIrica, and Ikrima, the
mawla oI Ibn Abbs, rode to Qayrawn in 105/723 on the same camel.
Zakariyya labels Salama an Ibd and Ikrima a SuIr;
Ibn Hajar (a Sunni) also
preserves a report in which Ikrima is described as a SuIr.
Al-Ashar, on the
other hand, labels Ikrima as one oI the Ibd predecessors (salaf ).
This conIu-
sion over the sectarian aIIiliations oI these Iigures may indicate a lack oI Iixed
sectarian categories as late as 105/723. Wilkinson argues, convincingly, that the
early quietists Khrijites oI Basra should not be treated as separate sects, but
rather as a loose conIederation oI like-minded Khrijites who adapted their lives
so that they could blend with the wider Muslim population.
ThereIore, the term
quietist Khrijites will be used to reIer to the diIIuse and undeIined Khrijite
Muslim community that existed in Basra in a state oI kitmn Irom the period oI
65/684 to approximately 123/740. AIter 123/740, the term Ibdiyya is appropri-
ate, as it is during the time oI Ab Ubayda that the Ibdiyya most likely emerged
as a distinct sect.
The main (though not the only) sources Ior the history oI the Khrijite ulams
role in the emergence oI the Ibdiyya Irom the quietist Khrijite movement in
Basra are the medieval North AIrican Ibd biographical dictionaries (kutub al-
siyar). These sources tend to portray the early history oI the Ibdiyya according
to the needs oI the authors oI such texts, whose own concerns did not necessar-
ily reIlect those oI the early Ibdiyya about whom they wrote. SpeciIically, these
authors wrote in accordance with the belieI that the Ibd sect was the unchanged
and unchanging representative oI authentic Islam. Consequently, Ibd sources
assume the existence oI a Iully developed Ibd madhhab at the Khrijite split in
65/684, and a continuation oI this madhhab in Basra up until the dissolution oI the
Basran Ibd community in the late third/ninth century, by which time the North
AIrican and Omani Ibdiyya had assumed the mantle oI Ibd authority. As part
oI this narrative oI origins, Ibd sources retroactively claim certain members oI
the quietist Khrijite ulam as their leaders, and even as Imms. As Wilkinson
argues, this rationalization oI history by the Ibdiyya allowed them to claim an
unbroken chain oI ilm transmission reaching back, through the early ulam oI
Basra, to the Prophet.
In addition, the medieval Ibd inclination to promote the
early quietist Khrijite ulam to Iull Imms strengthened the story oI a continu-
ous line oI Ibd Imms, even though the earliest leaders claimed the Ibdiyya
cannot be properly called either Imms or Ibds.
Despite the penchant in medieval Ibd sources to create Ibd Imms out oI
early quietist Khrijite ulam, the Ibd biographical texts remain a valuable
resource Ior the study oI the ulam during the quietist Khrijite period,
as well
as the Iormative period oI Ibdism. The medieval Ibd transIormation oI the qui-
etist Khrijite ulam into Iull Ibd Imms was based upon the actual exercise
oI limited authority by the quietist Khrijite during the time oI kitmn. Although
these ulam did not Iunction as Imms per se, the sources illustrate how they
assumed partial political authority over the quietist Khrijite community.
In many ways, the maturity oI the ulam into a recognized category oI reli-
gious specialists with an independent religious authority Iacilitated the assump-
tion by the quietist Khrijite ulam oI limited positions oI political authority
over the quietist Khrijite community oI Basra during the state oI kitmn. In
concert with the continued evolution oI early Umayyad, Shiite, and Khrijite
views toward authority and ilm, the Umayyad era witnessed the development
oI the ulam into a separate institution oI religious authority. As Sachedina
notes, the authority oI the ulam was based upon the lims comprehension
oI Islamic revelation, and remained independent oI any temporal investiture;
individuals became ulam by demonstrating their knowledge, and having their
authority accepted by other Muslims.
Moreover, this authority remained oI a
religious nature, which is to say that the authority oI the ulam, Ior the most
part, involved the application oI the Qurn and sunna to practical ethico-legal
questions, and did not involve the direct enjoyment oI political power (unlike
the Umayyads, who, as shown above, held pretensions to scholarly authority in
addition to the real power they wielded as Caliphs).
Nevertheless, the exercise oI religious authority by the ulam represented an
institution oI religious authority parallel to that oI the Umayyad Caliphs. As an
independent institution oI authority, the ulam remained potential rivals to the
Caliphs in the realm oI religious law and doctrine, and their opinions could have
political ramiIications. For example, al-Hasan al-Basr endorsed oI the doctrine oI
Gods justice (whereby God, being just, demanded justice Irom His servants) and
aroused the suspicions oI the Umayyad Caliph Abd al-Malik. Although never
openly stated by al-Hasan al-Basr, the doctrine oI Gods justice could be taken
to imply that it was the duty oI Muslims to remove unjust rulers, a doctrine with
subversive implications Ior the Umayyads. When the Caliph wrote to al-Hasan,
expecting a disavowal oI the doctrine, al-Hasan openly aIIirmed his belieI in it,
and Abd al-Malik could not retaliate lest he provoke a rebellion in al-Hasans
name. Clearly, in some cases, the institution oI the ulam presented an insti-
tution oI religious authority with the capacity to challenge the authority oI the
Among the Khrijites, this institution oI religious authority became a de
Iacto institution oI semi-political authority. In the absence oI the Imm, the
quietist Khrijite ulam assumed certain leadership roles in the community.
Medieval North AIrican Ibd sources claim Jbir b. Zayd, also known by his
patronymic name Ab Shath, as the source (asl) oI their movement, and its
Iounder, viewing him as the individual who organized the movement during the
state oI kitmn.
Both medieval Ibd biographers al-Darjn and al-Shammkh
use similar phrases when describing Jbirs role to the Ibdiyya, and both cite as a
source Ior their inIormation the biographical text oI Ab SuIyn, which this early
Basran scholar prepared Ior the Rustumid Imm AIlah b. Abd al-Wahhb (who
ruled 209259/824872). As Wilkinson notes, Ab SuIyn probably used an ear-
lier biographical or anecdotal source in the preparation oI his work.
Thus, it is
saIe to conclude that al-Darjn and al-Shammkh probably preserve early Ibd
views toward Jbir as the organizer oI their sect. This supposition is supported
by a passage in al-Ashar that notes how the Ibdiyya claimed Jbir as one oI
their predecessors (salaf ).
Nevertheless, and in spite oI the medieval (and prob-
ably the early) Ibd claim that Jbir was the organizer oI their sect, Wilkinson
convincingly argues that he was probably only a leading Iigure oI the quietist
Khrijite movement in Basra.
Sunni sources maintain a diIIerent view oI Jbir. For example, Ibn Sad pre-
serves numerous reports in which Jbir denied belonging to the Ibdiyya at all.

This denial may be understood with reIerence to Jbirs role in Sunni historical
memory: Sunni sources also claim Jbir as a reliable source Ior hadth, and so
his name would have to be cleared oI any sectarian aIIiliations deemed oIIen-
Nevertheless, the sanitation oI Jbirs image was not absolute: certain Sunni
sources provide evidence oI Jbirs aIIiliation with the Khrijites despite an over-
all eIIort to present him as a jam-Sunni. Ibn Hajar, Ior example, reports on the
authority oI Yahy b. Man, that Jbir was, in Iact, an Ibd (that is, a quietist)
Little reliable inIormation exists on Jbirs birth and death dates, but it is
clear that he lived during the quietist Khrijite period (that is, beIore the recogni-
tion oI certain elements oI the quietist movement as Ibd). Ennami supposes
that Jbir was born in Farq, near Nizwa in Oman, around 18/639.
Jbirs Iamily
would have migrated to Basra along with members oI the Azd tribe during the
Muslim conquests. He died, according to Ennami, in Basra between 91/709 and
104/722. Thus, although Jbir cannot be viewed as the Iounder and organizer oI
the Ibdiyya in the way that later Ibd traditions presented him, it is clear that
he was a prominent Basran personality, highly respected by Khrijites and non-
Khrijites alike.
Both Ibd and Sunni sources portray Jbir as an lim and faqh; both
al-Shammkh and Ibn Hajar present Jbir as the student oI Ibn Masd, Abdullh
b. Umar, Anas b. Mlik, and Abdullh b. Abbs.
Jbir was especially close to
Ibn Abbs, with whom he enjoyed a Iriendship.
Ibn Abbs is reported as say-
ing, Should the people oI Basra turn to the knowledge (ilm) oI Ab Shath, he
would enrich them with understanding oI the Book oI God.
Ibn Abbs had such
a high opinion oI Jbir that he deIerred his judgments to him. When a man Irom
Basra asked Ibn Abbs Ior an opinion, he replied: How can you ask me when you
have Jbir b. Zayd among you?
To Iurther strengthen Jbirs credentials as a scholar, Ibd sources report that
Jbir acquired his learning Irom seventy Companions oI the Battle oI Badr
Irom his Iorty pilgrimages to Makka.
On one oI his journeys to Madna, Jbir is
reported to have spoken with isha about the habits oI the Prophet.
Likewise, it
was said that his knowledge surpassed that oI al-Hasan al-Basr.
Other reports on Jbir b. Zayd stress his simplicity and piety: both attributes
that were expected oI the ulam. He is said to have desired only a good wiIe, a
good riding camel, and bread to eat daily.
In addition, Ibn Sad reported that Jbir
wore the same shoes Ior sixty years.
Similarly, Ibd sources portray Jbir as
reIusing to compromise with the Umayyads; al-Darjn and al-Shammkh report
that when al-Hajjj oIIered Jbir the position oI qd in Basra, he reIused.
both Sunni and Ibd sources laud Jbirs knowledge, simplicity, and piety in the
highest terms, and associate Jbir with some oI the most important Iigures oI learn-
ing in early Islamic history. Clearly, he was a learned man, and respected as an
authority on Islamic law by both Khrijites and non-Khrijites.
Moreover, Ibd sources suggest that Jbir may have assumed some respon-
sibilities as a leader oI the early quietist Khrijite movement in Basra. Ibd
sources imply active missionary work by Jbir. Ab SuIyn reports that Jbir
beIriended a sister oI the Muhallabid governor Yazd, tika, who supported the
quietist Khrijites (who, as the sources say, reIerred to themselves at this time as
the jamat al-muslimn).
In addition, he wrote letters to the members oI the
Muhallab Iamily. Likewise, Jbir reportedly suggested the execution oI an individ-
ual named Khardala who had given away the names oI a group oI Khrijites, ulti-
mately getting them killed.
Likewise, Jbir hinted at giving bribes to Umayyad
oIIicials; when the persecution oI Khrijites reaching its peak under Ubaydullh
b. Ziyd, Jbir was quoted as saying, in that time, we Iound nothing more help-
Iul to us than bribery.
Although these activities do not make Jbir an Imm oI
the early Khrijite community, they do indicate some level oI leadership oI the
early Basran quietist Khrijites. This type oI authority was not overtly political,
and Jbir cannot be said to have been properly in authority. Nonetheless, among
the early quietist Khrijites (as well as among non-Khrijites), Jbir commanded
respect as a scholar, and was able to exert a certain amount oI inIluence because
oI his status as an lim. InsoIar as this authority could be considered political
authority, it consisted oI organizing missionary activity, oIIering bribes to protect
the community, and suggesting the assassination oI an inIormant. Although these
activities do not make Jbir into a Iull-Iledged Imm, they suggest an early correla-
tion between the quietist Khrijite ulam and the direction oI the quietist Khrij
community during the absence oI the Imm.
Other early Khrijite Iigures apparently IulIilled a similar role as scholars
and leaders to the early quietist Khrijite community oI Basra. Sunni tradition
posits Abdullh b. Ibd al-Murra al-Tamm instead oI Jbir b. Zayd as the
source oI the Ibd sect.
However, signiIicant evidence exists to doubt this
supposition. First, the biographical inIormation on Ibn Ibd is vague and oIten
contradictory. Al-Qalht suggests that he was born during the time oI Muwiya
and died during the reign oI Abd al-Malik (who ruled 6686/685705).

Likewise, al-Baghdd preserves a report that the Ibd subsect, the Hrithyya,
claimed Ibn Ibd as their Imm aIter Ab Bill Mirds b. Udayya (d. 61/680).

Al-Shahrastn, on the other hand, claims that he was a companion oI Abdullh
b. Yahy (Tlib al-Haqq) and was killed in the Battle oI al-Tabla (132/749).

Ibn Hazm implies that Ibds with whom he spoke in Andalusia were not even
Iamiliar with their supposed Iounder.
It has also been suggested that Ibn Ibd
did not exist at all, and that the name Ibdiyya derived Irom a color scheme
designed to diIIerentiate Khrijite sects by their degree oI radicalism.
the Azriqa (Irom azraqblue) are the most radical, SuIriyya (asfaryellow)
are in the middle, and Ibdiyya (abyadwhite) are the moderates. In Iact, the
term Ibdiyya itselI does not appear as a selI-designation in Ibd literature
until the North AIrican treatise oI Amrs b. Fath (d. 280/893), though the early
Ibd biographer Abu SuIyn places the term in the mouth oI the Abbasid Caliph
Madelung has recently argued, primarily on the basis oI a comment by the
adab scholar Ab Ubaydullh al-Marzubn in his biography oI the Sh poet al-
Sayyid al-Himyar, that Ibn Ibd might have been a contemporary and rival oI
Ab Ubayda. This theory is perhaps the most convincing, as it enables Madelung
to make sense oI much oI the heresiographical and historical comments on Ibn
Ibd. Madelung also argues that Ibn Ibds punishment at the hands oI the Caliph
al-Mansr may have caused al-Mansr to identiIy all oI these particular quiet-
ist Khrijite branchesincluding the Iollowers oI Ab Ubaydaas Ibdiyya.
AIter the Iollowers oI Ibn Ibd, led by al-Hrith al-Mazyad, disintegrated, the
majority school oI Ab Ubayda appropriated Ibn Ibd as one oI their own and
eventually assumed the name Ibdiyya as well.
Whatever the case, later Ibd tradition embraced Ibn Ibd and created a role
Ior him in the early history oI the movement as an advisor to the Iirst Ibd Imm,
Jbir b. Zayd, Irom whom the later tradition tell us he received his orders.
shown above, there is little historical evidence to prove Ibn Ibds connection
to the mainstream Ibd movement, and even his very existence is questionable.
Nonetheless, medieval Ibd heresiography states that he was a theologian who
reIuted the views oI the Qadarites, Mutazilites, Murjiites, Shiites, and extremist
OI the two letters attributed to him, one is addressed to the Caliph
Abd al-Malik b. Marwn with whom, the tradition claims, he had an extended
The other epistle is devoted to debate with an anonymous sup-
porter oI Al. Thus, regardless oI his historical existence, the Ibdiyya cast Ibn
Ibd primarily as an lim, and such a portrayal reveals the importance oI the
ulam to the early (albeit imagined) history oI Ibdism.
Later Ibd tradition generally moves Irom Jbir straight to the next Ibd
Imm, Ab Ubayda Muslim b. Ab Karma. However, other ulam existed
in the Basran quietist Khrijite circle through which we must trace the line oI
ulam leaders oI the Basran quietist Khrijite community beIore reaching Ab
Ubayda. Ibd biographical dictionaries mention JaIar b. al-Sammk and Suhr
al-Abd as teachers oI Ab Ubayda.
These men appear to be students oI Jbir
in Basra, and they excelled in their learning, asceticism, and piety. The sources
also mention some contemporaries oI Ab Ubayda, Dumm b. al-Sib and Ab
Nh Slih al-Dihhn, as sources oI Ab Ubaydas learning.
From the names oI
these early scholars, an idea oI the social classes oI some oI the early Khrijites
emerges. JaIar, Ior example, was a Iish seller (sammk) and Ab Nh a Iat mer-
chant (dihhn). None oI the sources mention their tribe, so it is saIe to assume
that they were clients (mawl) with no social status in Basra. Without standing
or tribe, it would have been their knowledge alone that distinguished them Irom
their contemporaries and earned them a place as leaders in the annals oI Ibd
The association between ulam and leadership oI the community dur-
ing a state oI kitmn becomes more obvious during the direction oI the quietist
Khrijite community under Ab Ubayda Muslim b. Ab Karma. Ab Ubayda
presents an example oI a quietist Khrijite lim who assumed signiIicant politi-
cal responsibilities: Ab Ubaydas systematization oI quietist Khrijite doctrine,
his organization oI the economic resources oI the Basran Khrijite community,
and his creation oI an active missionary institution (the hamalt al-ilm) permit-
ted the Ibdiyya to emerge Irom the mass oI quietist Khrijites as a recognizable
sect. These actions also enabled the Ibdiyya to ultimately move Irom the state oI
kitmn to a state oI zuhr. Although historical circumstances Iavored the mate-
rialization oI the Ibdiyya during Ab Ubaydas time, it was Ab Ubayda who
lead the community toward that end.
Ab Ubayda himselI came Irom humble origins; al-Shammkh reports that
Ab Ubadya was the client (mawla) oI the Tamm tribe, who studied under Jbir
and (more likely) Jbirs students.
An anecdote about Ab Ubayda states that he
spent Iorty years learning, and then Iorty years teaching.
Although anecdotal, it
illustrates the esteem in which the scholarly activities oI Ab Ubayda were held
by Ibd historians. Likewise al-Darjn describes Ab Ubayda as the greatest oI
Jbirs students, and as an lim with indiIIerence to |things| worldly (lim
ma al- zuhd f al-duny).
Anecdotes such as these, while their historical accu-
racy may be disputed, portray Ab Ubayda as a typical lim and faqh.
Stories Irom the biographical dictionaries regarding Ab Ubaydas orga-
nization oI the early Ibd ulam illustrate the initial weakness oI the Ibd
community during the state oI kitmn. Ibd sources mention the existence oI all-
night meetings (majlis) in the homes oI prominent quietist ulam; al-Darjn
and al-Shammkh mention majlis in the homes oI Ab Mawdd Hjib al-T,
Ab SuIyn Qanbar, Ab al-Hurr Al b. al-Husayn, and Abd al-Malik al-Tawl.

These majlis were kept secret Irom the Umayyad authorities, who sometimes
raided them looking Ior Khrijites to arrest.
The quietists disguised themselves
in order to attend the meetings: sometimes they dressed as women and went as Iar
as carrying water on their heads to complete the disguise. Other meeting places
included the caves around Basra. While the decentralized nature oI the majlis
lent itselI to the loose-knit and secretive nature oI quietist Khrijism in Basra dur-
ing the state oI kitmn, the need Ior secrecy and disguise demonstrates the power-
lessness oI the Ibd community at this time.
Due to this weakness, Ab Ubayda at Iirst counseled avoidance oI the
Umayyad rulers, and noninvolvement in politics. The situation oI the quietists
demanded tactIul relationships with the Umayyads, who were eager to be rid oI
the Khrijites. Persecution under the Umayyads was a real and persistent con-
cern: during the Umayyad governor Ubaydullh Ibn Ziyds general persecu-
tion oI Khrijites, Ab Ubayda himselI was jailed.
However, not all oI the
ulam agreed with Ab Ubaydas quietist tactics. During the rebellion oI Yazd
b. Muhallab in 102/720, Ab Nh al-Dahhn, a prominent Shaykh and conIidant
oI tika the Muhallabid, supported action against the Umayyads, whereas Ab
Ubayda reIused to allow direct involvement in the rebellion. Likewise, when
Ab Muhammad al-Nahd (a Iamous preacher, khtib, in Basra) called Ior open
rebellion against the Umayyad governor oI Iraq, the Ibdiyya did not participate.
Rather, it seems that the Ibdiyya under Ab Ubayda preIerred to work Irom
within the Umayyad system. Ibd sources mention that the Caliph Umar b. Abd
al-Azz, Ior example, appointed an Ibd, Iyys b. Muwiya al-Madn, to the
position oI qd oI Basra.
Despite Ab Ubaydas initial resistance to the idea oI activism, and perhaps
because oI the more activist wing oI the Ibdiyya, at some point between 105/723
and 123/740, Ab Ubayda began organizing the quietist Khrijites oI Basra by
establishing more Iormal missionary and economic institutions. UnIortunately, the
texts do not mention when, exactly, these activities began. Ibd sources reveal
the existence oI wealthy quietist Khrijite merchants whose Iunding supported the
movement. For example, al-Darjn notes that one such merchant, Ab Ubayda
Abdullh b. al-Qsim, engaged in trade as Iar as China.
Drawing on the con-
siderable wealth available to the quietist Khrijite community, Ab Ubayda
established a treasury (bayt al-ml) in Basra and appointed Hjib al-T as its
Al-Shammkh mentions the existence oI collectors, such as Ab
Thir, who gathered Iunds Irom the wealthy members oI the community.
In this
Iashion, Ab Ubayda amassed large sums oI money Ior the movement; according
to Ibd sources he raised ten thousand dirhams in one day Irom among those oI
middle Iortune (al-awsat).
In addition to establishing and overseeing the economic institutions oI the
quietists Khrijites, Ab Ubayda established a missionary institution known as
the Bearers oI Learning (hamalt al-ilm). This process may have begun as
early as 105/723, when Ab Ubayda sent Salama b. Sad to Qayrawn to promote
quietist Khrijite ideals and scout out possible students.
Ab Ubayda person-
ally trained the hamalt al-ilm in Basra Ior Iive years beIore sending them out
to the distant provinces oI the Islamic world.
A later Ibd source, al-Slim,
mentions Khursn, Oman, North AIrica, Hadramawt, and the Yemen as places
where the Bearers traveled.
The Iigure oI Ab Ubayda presents an example oI a quietist Khrijite lim
who assumed duties beyond those normally associated with the ulam, duties
that included managing the economic and missionary apparatus oI the Ibdiyya.
Ab Ubaydas actions represent the Iurther development oI the leadership oI the
Basran quietist Khrijites that began under Jbir b. Zayd, and they present a clear
case oI the assumption oI the responsibilities oI leadership by the prominent qui-
etist Khrijite ulam during the state oI kitmn.
The Iurther history oI the correlation between ilm and leadership among the
early Ibdiyya presents a complicated picture: Ab Ubaydas missionary activ-
ities initially gave rise to several unsuccessIul Ibd rebellions in North AIrica,
the Hijz, and Oman, but ultimately resulted in the establishment oI Ibd states
in North AIrica and Oman. In this way, the hamalt al-ilm were instrumental in
bringing the Ibd community out oI the state oI kitmn into zuhr by proclaim-
ing Ibd states under the direction oI Ibd Imms. With the transition into the
state oI zuhr, several oI the hamalt al-ilm assumed leadership oI their move-
ments as Imms. The revolt oI al-Julanda b. Masd in Oman represents one
signiIicant exception: al-Julanda was advised by the hamalt al-ilm, but was
not an lim himselI. However, this move Irom kitmn to zuhr did not apply to
Basra, where the Ibdiyya remained in a state oI kitmn under the direction oI the
ulam. The early Ibd period (aIter 123/740) thus represents a time when cer-
tain Ibd communities existed in kitmn under the direction oI the ulam, and
others began to emerge into zuhr under the leadership oI Imms. Nevertheless,
despite the complexity oI the early Ibd political situation, an underlying theme
pervaded each regional response to the question oI ilm and leadership; in all
cases, ilm remained associated in some capacity with the concept oI legitimate
political authority.
In Basra, the ulam continued to Iunction in a capacity oI authority aIter the
death oI Ab Ubayda. According to Ibd biographical sources, al-Rab b. Habb
al-Azd al-Farhid succeeded Ab Ubayda to the leadership oI the Basran com-
Although the inIormation surrounding the dates oI al-Rabs assump-
tion oI the authority and his death are muddled, al-Rab IulIilled a vital role in the
overall leadership oI the Ibd movement. Ibd sources testiIy to al-Rabs status
as an lim: he studied with Ab Ubayda, Dumm and Ab Nh, and was consid-
ered a muft during Ab Ubaydas liIetime.
Also, the collection oI Ibd hadth,
the al-Jmi al-Sahh, is credited to al-Rab.
In addition to these scholarly activi-
ties, al-Rab used his position to inIluence the course oI Ibd politics: he endorsed
the second Rustumid Imm, Abd al-Wahhb, when the Nukkr schism challenged
Abd al-Wahhbs validity as Imm. Likewise, al-Rab maintained the institution
oI the hamalt al-ilm and trained missionaries Ior the Omani Ibd community:
he sent the Iamous faqh al-Bashr b. al-Mundhir to Oman aIter training him as an
hmil al-ilm.
AIter al-Rab, the history oI the Basran ulam is one oI the gradual eclipse
oI their authority by the Omani and North AIrican Imms. Ab Ayyb Wil b.
Ayyb al-Hadram (d. approx. 190/805) assumed leadership oI the Basran Ibds
aIter al-Rab. At this time, the Basran ulam remained inIluential: Wil b.
Ayyb supported the actions oI the Omani Ibds when they deposed their Imm,
Muhammad b. Ab AIIn in 179/795, denouncing Ibn Ab AIIn as a tyrant
Nonetheless, by the time oI the last Basran lim-leader, Ab SuIyn
Mahbb b. al-Rahl (d. 210/825), the inIluence oI the Omani and North AIrican
Imms began to eclipse that oI the Basrans. The North AIrican Ibds considered
Ab SuIyn the most learned person in the east, and consulted with him when
the Iollowers oI KhalaI b. Samh reIused to recognize the Rustumid Imm Abd
However, Ab SuIyn submitted to the authority oI the Omani Imm
in his dispute with Hrn b. al-Yamn.
Ab SuIyns delegation oI authority to
the Omani Imms illustrates the declining inIluence oI the Basran ulam during
the early part oI the third/ninth century. By this time, the existence oI Imms in
Oman and North AIrican began to render the authority oI the Basran Ibd ulam
obsolete. Omani sources claim that Ab SuIyn migrated to Oman at the end oI
his liIe; one oI his sons, Ab Abdullh Muhammad b. Mahbb became qd
in Suhr.
With the departure oI Ab SuIyn, no other prominent ulam are
recorded in Basra; the Ibd community persisted, and presumably looked to Oman
Ior their leadership, until the Iinal destruction oI the Basran Ibd community in the
Zanj uprising oI 256/868869.
The example oI the Basran ulam illustrates the assumption oI limited
authority by the quietist Khrijite ulam during the absence oI an Imm, a case
that served as an obvious precedent Ior later medieval Ibd institutions and theo-
ries about proper leadership during the state oI kitmn. The quasi-political author-
ity oI the Basran ulam came as consequence oI the religious authority they
wielded as religious scholars. That is, the possession oI ilm, which during the
Umayyad era was already considered an inIormal institution oI religious authority
that Iunctioned parallel and sometimes in competition with the assumed religious
authority oI the Umayyad Caliphs, easily justiIied, among those Khrijites who
rejected the legitimacy oI the Umayyad leaders but could not establish their own
Immate, the assumption oI an authority approaching that oI an Imm by the
Outside oI Basra, the institution oI the hamalt al-ilm gave way to Iull-
Iledged Immates as the Ibd communities oI North AIrica, Hadramawt, and Oman
openly revolted against the Umayyads and Abbasids. A revolt signaled the end oI
kitmn (at least as long as the revolt lasted) and the subsequent establishment oI
an Imm. With the move toward zuhr, the Ibdiyya maintained the assumption
that ilm should be an essential aspect oI leadership, and they selected knowledge-
able people as Imms to lead their revolts. Thus, the correlation between ilm and
imma during the early Ibd period mimicked that which was established during
the Madnan caliphate, and by the early, non-quietist Khrijites: namely, that the
Imm should possess ilm as an aspect oI his legitimate authority.
Although little is recorded oI the Bearers oI Learning who initially arrived in
North AIrica aIter 123/740, their mission resulted in a small Ibd-inspired upris-
ing. Several Ibd Berber tribal leaders took part in the revolt oI 124/741; an Ibd
chieI (ras), Abdullh b. Masd al-Tujb, appears among the Hawwra Berber
tribe in the vicinity oI Tripoli.
AIter his execution at the hands oI the governor oI
Qayrawn, Ibn Habb, two other Ibd chieIs appeared in Libya: Abd al-Jabbr b.
Qays al-Murd and al-Hrith b. Tald al-Hadram. Both were Berbers, and clients
(mawl), and they conquered all oI Tripolitania. Unrecorded jealousies resulted
in their deaths: they were reportedly Iound dead with their swords in each other.
Another chieI, Isml b. Ziyd oI the NaIsa tribe, is mentioned aIter 133/750, but
he was killed shortly aIter becoming ras and laying siege to Gabes.
It is saIe
to assume, despite the paucity oI inIormation available, that these leaders claimed
authority on the basis oI their tribal aIIiliations, a supposition supported by the use
oI the tribal title ras to describe them. Nothing is recorded oI their possession oI
ilm, or oI the hamalt al-ilm who inspired their rebellion.
In 140/757 Ab Ubayda sent additional hamalt al-ilm to North AIrica,
under the leadership oI Ab al-Khattb Abd al-Al b. al-Samah al-MariI, who
was declared an Imm in that same year.
Although not able to hold Qayrawn,
Ab al-Khattb raised a revolt in Libya and shortly seized all oI Tunis and east-
ern Algeria.
AIter holding Qayrawn Ior a brieI time, he was killed in 144/761.
His successor, the Imm Ab Htim al-Malzz, maintained political control
over much oI Tripolitania until his death in 157/772.
When the immate oI
Ab Htim collapsed, Abd al-Rahmn Ibn Rustum, another hmil al-ilm, was
declared Imm in Tahert.
The basis oI Ibn Rustums claim to the immate rested
partially on his credentials as an hmil al-ilm, his Persian ancestry, and his ser-
vice as a judge under Ab al-Khattb. When considering Abd al-Rahmn b.
Rustum Ior the immate, the heads oI the Berber tribes declared: the Imm Ab
al-Khattb appointed Abd al-Rahmn as a judge (qd) and overseer (nzir) Ior
you, and you entrusted your aIIairs to him.
Thus, both Ab al-Khattb and Ibn
Rustum owed their authority, in some capacity, to their possession oI ilm.
In the Hadramawt in Arabia, initial Ibd revolts involved an Imm who was
simultaneously an lim: the Iirst large-scale Ibd revolt in the east took place
during end oI the Umayyad dynasty, under the direction oI the lim Abdullh b.
Yahya al-Kind, known as Tlib al-Haqq. Abdullh b. Yahya was the qd oI
Hadramawt on behalI oI the Umayyad governor.
He was described as a dili-
gent scholar (mujtahid) and pious (bid).
During the pilgrimage oI 129/746,
he met with the Basran Ibd scholars Ab Hamza al-Mukhtr b. AwI al-Azd
and Balj b. Ukba al-Azd. They persuaded Abdullh b. Yahya to revolt against
the Umayyads and extended him the oath oI allegiance (baya). In this Iash-
ion, Abdullh b. Yahya became the Imm with the support oI the Basran Ibd
scholars. However, the revolt oI Tlib al-Haqq did not last long. AIter taking
the Hadramawt, San, Makka, and Madna, the Ibds were beaten back by the
advancing Umayyad army. Both Abdullh b. Yahya and Ab Hamza were killed.
Nonetheless, Abdullh b. Yahya presents another case oI an early Ibd Imm
who came Irom the ranks oI the ulam.
The Iigure oI al-Julanda b. Masd, who revolted in Oman in 136/752, pres-
ents an exception to the rule oI lim-Imms in early Ibd history. Al-Julanda
was not an lim; rather, he was chosen on the basis oI his membership in the
traditional ruling tribe oI Oman, the Julanda.
The Ibds needed to utilize the
legitimacy oI the Julanda tribes reputation Ior leadership without accepting its
current leaders, who were loyal to the Abbasids (al-Julanda b. Masds accep-
tance oI the Ibd immate immediately caused a Ieud among his kinsmen).

Nevertheless, Ab Ubayda sent Bearers oI Learning to Oman to assist with the
revolt oI al-Julanda b. Masd, and al-Julanda consulted with these Omani ulam
during his brieI reign.
Al-Julanda b. Masd ruled Ior two years as Imm beIore
Ialling to Abbasid troops in 137/754.
While exceptional in that al-Julanda b.
Masd was not himselI an lim, his rebellion preIigured later developments
in Omani and North AIrican Ibd immate history when Imms consulted with
the ulam more oIten than hailing Irom their ranks. Such a development is not
especially surprising in a movement that was in the process oI developing into a
Iull-Iledged polity.
The early Basran quietist Khrijite period, and the emergence oI the
Ibdiyya Irom the quietist Khrijites during the early Ibd period, presented a
wealth oI precedents Ior the later medieval Ibd immate. On the one hand, the
assumption oI limited leadership by the ulam during the period oI kitmn in
Basra Iunctioned as a paradigm Ior the (theoretical or actual) rule oI the ulam
during the medieval period. Moreover, the examples oI Ab al-Khattb, Ibn
Rustum, and Abdullh b. Yahya illustrate the reemergence aIter the period oI
kitmn oI the paradigm oI the Ibd Imm who possessed ilm. This model oI
lim-Imms did not diIIer signiIicantly Irom the idealized paradigms oI knowl-
edgeable leadership that developed under the Madnan Caliphs or the pre-Is-
lamic periodnor did it deviate Irom the dominant notion oI ilm and legitimate
authority that operated during the Umayyad caliphate. In Iact, the reappear-
ance oI lim-Imms represented a logical continuity with earlier Islamic ideals.
This continuity resulted in the medieval Ibd association between ilm and the
Al-Julanda b. Masd, on the other hand, became the model Ior the medieval
Omani Ibd institution oI the daf Immthe Imm who ruled without the pos-
session oI ilm and with the assistance oI the ulam. Nevertheless, the correlation
between ilm and imma that has been sketched throughout this chapter continued
to Iunction in the case oI al-Julanda b. Masd, and the quality oI ilm continued
to be an essential aspect oI the Ibd imma even when, as in the case oI the daf
Imm, the ulam exercised it on behalI oI the Imm. This condition oI weak-
ness in the Imm represented an intermediate position between the correlation
oI ilm and authority that ideally resided in the Imm during a state oI zuhr, and
the connection between ilm and leadership that devolved on the ulam during a
state oI kitmn. The role oI the ulam in relation to the daf Imm thus presents a
logical development, given the underlying Ibd concern with ilm and the imma.
Moreover, the assistance rendered to al-Julanda b. Masd by the ulam suggests
continuity with pre-Islamic models oI authority wherein the knowledgeable mem-
bers oI the tribe aided a sayyid who did not possess knowledge. Unsurprisingly,
this pre-Islamic paradigm oI assistance to a non-lim Imm also became an aspect
oI the medieval Omani immate theory.
Ilm and the Medieval Ibd Immate
The intricate relationship between the possession oI ilm and the enjoyment oI
leadership that originated in the pre-Islamic period, and developed into a com-
plex institutional apparatus during the early quietist Khrijite and early Ibdite eras
in Basra, reached its culmination in medieval Ibd theories oI the immate. The
medieval Ibd conception oI ilm agreed with the general Islamic understanding
oI knowledge as based in and upon the religious: ilm, the tenth-century Omani
jurist al-Kudam argues, is entirely based upon the Qurn. That is to say that
ilm, as a Iorm oI knowledge that is speciIically religious knowledge, comes Irom
God primarily in the Iorm oI His book. Al-Kudam also accepts as valid sources
oI knowledge the Prophetic sunna, the actions oI previous Ibd Imms, and the
agreement (ijm) oI the scholarly Ibd community. He argues that rational prooI
(hujjat al-aql) and qualiIied opinions (al-ray) also constitute a valid Iorm oI reli-
gious knowledge as long as they are based upon the Qurn. Thus, all knowledge
that qualiIies as ilm comes ultimately Irom God.
In Iact, the pursuit oI ilm was not limited to the Imms and remained a
general obligation in Ibd Islamic thought; al-Kudam argued that each Muslim
should acquire ilm as part oI the duties oI religion (ibda).
The Imm, how-
ever, was expected to be exemplary in his attainment oI ilm. In his legal digest,
the IiIth/eleventh-century Hadramawt scholar Ab Ishq states that the Imm
must be chosen Irom among the people oI knowledge and piety (ahl al-ilm
wa al-war) and that the Imm must be among those most knowledgeable.

Similarly, Omani jurists require ilm oI the Imm: Ab Muthir stipulates that the
Imm be chosen Irom among the most learned (afqh);
al-Bisyn obliges the
Imm to accumulate knowledge in his mind.
Additionally, in North AIrican
historical texts, where the Imm ideal was preserved in narrative Iorm, the Iirst
Rustumid Imm Abd al-Rahmn b. Rustum was recognized as an lim Irom his
apprenticeship with Ab Ubayda.
Likewise, Ab Zakariyya praises the entire
Rustumid Iamily as knowledgeableparticularly as experts in the Iundamentals
oI religion (al-usl), law (al-fiqh), Qurnic interpretation (tafsr), the diversity oI
peoples (ilm ikhtilf al-ns), grammar, poetry, prose and astronomy.
Ab Zakariyyas praise is undoubtedly exaggerated, it nevertheless expresses the
ideal oI the Imm as a possessor oI knowledge. This correlation in the medieval
Ibd immate theory between the possession oI ilm and legitimate authority is
the obvious continuance oI the association between knowledge and leadership
that stretches back through the early Khrijite and early Islamic eras to the pre-
Islamic period.
Ideals, oI course, do not always match realities, and a telling anecdote about
the second Rustumid Imm, Abd al-Wahhb, illustrates the practical issues
that the Ibdiyya Iaced even as they held to the ideal oI an Imm-lim. Abd
al-Wahhb held the position oI Imm aIter the death oI his Iather Abd al-Rahmn
Ior nearly Iorty years until his own death in 208/823. The reign oI Abd al-Wahhb
was marked by the development oI extensive political and economic power, com-
bined with Abd al-Wahhbs absolute authority. Ibd sources rarely mention
Abd al-Wahhb in his capacity as a religious leader, and they make it clear that
Abd al-Wahhb was not, in Iact, an lim. Ab Zakariyya, Ior example, pre-
serves a story about the Imm in which Abd al-Wahhb was unable to Iollow
the thread oI a debate between Iive Ibd ulam Irom Jabal NaIsa and some
Assuming that the anecdote is historically accurate (and such can-
did criticism should hardly be otherwise), it serves as testimony to how Iar the
ideal oI the Imm as lim eclipsed the actual possession oI ilm during the reign
oI the Rustumid Imms.
Likewise, the medieval Omani ulam eventually institutionalized exceptions
to the general rule that the Imm be an lim. The sixth/twelIth-century Omani
qd Ibn s permitted the immate oI a non-lim Imm in the case where no
learned Imm could be Iound, and the Ibd community was threatened Irom with-
out with destruction.
Similarly, al-Kind allows the rule oI a non-lim Imm in
cases oI necessity (darra).
As mentioned above, Omani Ibd jurists identi-
Iied such Imms as weak (daf ) Imms, and considered them inIerior to Iull
Legal scholars stipulated as a condition (shart) oI their immate that the
daf Imm consult with the ulam on any major decision, though it seems that
the issue was not unanimously agreed upon. Ibn s also wrote a tract arguing
against some scholars oI our time who accept the contract oI the immate and the
entrusting oI the aIIairs oI the umma to an Imm whether he be knowledgeable or
not (lim aw ghayr lim).
Clearly some scholars saw no need Ior special con-
ditions Ior a non-lim Imm. Nevertheless, these exceptional cases became part
oI the medieval Omani Ibd immate tradition, so that the institution oI the daf
Imm was widely accepted by the late medieval period.
Like their North AIrican Ibd counterparts, the Omani institution oI the daf
Imm possesses signiIicant precedents in the pre-Islamic era insoIar as the tribal
conception oI knowledge and authority permitted those who had knowledge to
assist a leader who did not possess it. As shown above, certain early Khrijite
groups likewise encouraged their ulam to help a non-lim Imm. The institution
oI the daf Imm, thereIore, represents a systematization oI a tribal understand-
ing oI authority and knowledge that became part oI the medieval Ibd institution
oI the Imm via the early Khrijites and Caliphs.
In addition to the exceptional status oI the daf Imm, the Ibdiyya recog-
nized the possibility oI a situation in which there was no Imm. North AIrican and
Omani texts reIer to this state oI aIIairs as kitmn; the North AIrican Ibd histo-
rian al-Darjn states: kitmn is the pursuit oI aIIairs in secret (mulzamat al-amr
sirran) without an Imm.
Likewise, the Omani jurist al-Kind states: there is
no imma except in zuhr.
In Oman, where the state oI kitmn remained a the-
oretical possibility but not a reality, Ibd jurists recommended that the ulam
assume responsibility Ior the direction oI the community during the absence oI
the Imm. Al-Kind states: the Muslims have agreed that in the absence oI the
covenant oI the Imm, it is permitted to empower (wall) one oI the ulam oI
the Muslims to administer what it is permitted Ior the Imm to administer.

These duties included rendering judgments, protecting orphans and women, per-
Iorming marriages, and commanding the good and Iorbidding evil. Al-Kind
mentions a diIIerence oI opinions among jurists regarding the application oI the
Qurnic penalties (hudd): some jurist claim that only the just Imm may apply
the hudd, while others allow the community (al-jamameaning, in this case,
the ulam) to apply them.
In North AIrica, where the institution oI the Imm ended with the destruction
oI the Rustumid dynasty in the 297/909, councils (halqa) oI Ibd ulam rapidly
assumed leadership oI the North AIrican Ibd community.
Ab Zakariyya men-
tions the halqa oI Ab al-Qsim Yazd b. al-MakhlaI (d. late Iourth/tenth century)
and Ab Khazr Yaghl b. ZultI (d. late IiIth/tenth century) that these scholars
established in order to teach those who sought ilm, good behavior (al-adab),
and inIormation on the traditions oI the righteous (siyar al-slihn).
This halqa
operated during the mid-Iourth/tenth century. Although Ab Zakariyya does not
describe the political authority oI this halqa (iI, in Iact, it possessed any at this
time), it is suggestive that an institution consisting oI ulam called a halqa
existed during the IiIth/tenth century, and that shortly thereaIter (probably by the
sixth/twelIth century), the institution oI the halqa eIIectively ran the various Ibd
communities in North AIrica.
The authority oI these halqa clearly rested on the
ilm oI its members. Theoretically, the state oI kitmn in North AIrica represented
an exceptional situation, in which the Ibd community possessed a dispensa-
tion (rukhsa) to Iorego their Immate until such time as they accumulated the
strength oI numbers to reinstitute it.
In North AIrica, however, the halqa coun-
cils became permanent, and eIIectively replaced the immate. Thus, the actual
practice oI kitmn in North AIrica, and the hypothetical condition oI kitmn in
Omani jurisprudence, led jurists in both areas to stipulate that the Ibd ulam
should take control oI the aIIairs oI the Ibd umma during the absence oI the
Imm. In many ways, the North AIrican councils oI ulam and the postulated
rule oI the ulam in Omani jurisprudence recall the original situation oI quietist
Khrijism in Basra during the state oI kitmn. In such a way, the Basran period
oI quietist Khrijism provided a valuable precedent Ior the rule oI the ulam,
just as the early Islamic period and the rule oI the Madnan Caliphs (especially
Ab Bakr and Umar) provided a precedent Ior the rule oI a knowledgeable Imm
during the state oI zuhr.
Medieval Ibd historical texts, however, complicate the conception oI kitmn
as a state in which there is no Imm by casting the early leaders oI the Basran qui-
etist Khrijite community, who ruled during a time oI kitmn, as Ibd Imms.
The North AIrican jurist and theologian al-Warjln, Ior example, portrays Jbir
b. Zayd as an Imm (huwwa imm f maqm al-jama).
Likewise, other North
AIrican texts imply that Jbir and Ab Ubayda Iunctioned as leaders during the
time oI kitmn (although these texts do not use the word Imm to describe
Similarly, Omani texts depict the early Basran quietist Khrijite
ulam as Ibd Imms: al-Kind mentions the Imm oI the Muslims,
Abdullh b. Ibd;
Ab Muthir includes Abdullh b. Ibd, Jbir b. Zayd, Suhr
al-Abd, JaIar b. al-Sammk (who he calls al-Sammn), Ab Nh al-Dihhn,
and Ab Ubayda Muslim b. Ab Karma in his list oI Imms oI the Muslims
(immat al-muslimn).
Al-Qalht unambiguously identiIies Abdullh b. Ibd
as the Imm oI the Ibdiyya.
In this manner, medieval Ibd texts elevate the
early Basran ulam to the rank oI Iull Imms and create Ior them a position oI
Imm during the time oI kitmn.
In order to make sense oI the promotion oI the early Basran ulam to
Imms, reIerence must be made to the type oI textand the kind oI discoursein
which this discussion occurs. Ab Muthir and al-Kind speak oI the early Basran
ulam as Imms in the context oI tracing the line oI true Islam back to the
Prophet. Similarly, al-Qalhts identiIication oI Ibn Ibd as an Imm occurs in
his heresiography, that is, in a polemical text aimed at showing Ibdism as the
true version oI Islam. Likewise, al-Warjln (the only North AIrican author to
identiIy Jbir b. Zayd as an Imm) upheld the notion oI an unbroken chain oI ilm
transmitters reaching back directly to the Prophet: in Iact, al-Warjln compiled
the Iirst collection oI Ibd hadth and probably used the narrative oI the early
Basran Imms to make his isnds appear more plausible.
Thus, the institution
oI the Imm oI kitmn represents an institution that was imagined Ior the ideo-
logical purposes oI tracing the line oI true Islam (and a chain oI continuous ilm)
back to the Prophet Muhammad. This Iictive institution existed alongside oI the
legal descriptions oI kitmn as a state without an Imm. Apparently, the ideo-
logical value oI claiming the early Basran quietist ulam as Ibd Imms was
more important than the contradiction that arose Irom simultaneously portraying
kitmn as a condition with no Imm.
The theme underlying all oI the aIorementioned medieval Ibd institutions oI
authority is a concern Ior keeping ilm, in some capacity, associated with the
leadership oI the community. In the ideal situation, the Ibd Imm, ruling the
community in a condition oI zuhr, possessed knowledge. However, iI neces-
sity required the community to select an Imm without knowledge, they would
be able to do so as long as the ulam assisted him. Finally, in the unIortunate
circumstance oI the Ibd community entering a state oI kitmn and subsisting
without an Imm, the ulam assumed leadership oI the community. Likewise, in
the primarily imagined institution oI the Imm oI kitmn, the supposed Imms oI
this phase oI Ibd history were all primarily ulam, and their knowledge justi-
Iied their elevation to the rank oI Imm. This correlation between leadership and
knowledge that lies behind the medieval Ibd immate theory was based upon
earlier conceptions oI ilm as appropriate to leadership positions. The early role
oI knowledge and leadership in pre-Islamic Arabia, as well as the relationship
between ilm and the oIIice oI Prophet, and knowledge and the oIIice oI the early
caliphate, all set the precedent Ior the Ibd requirement Ior ilm in their Imm.
In addition, the assumption oI limited (and secret) political authority by the early
Basran quietist Khrijite ulamIrom whom the Ibdiyya emerged as a distinct
sectprovided a powerIul precedent Ior the rule oI the ulam during the state
oI kitmn.
According to the medieval Ibd immate ideal, the traits oI knowledge
remained an essential characteristic Ior all Ibd leaders, be they Imms or ulam
(ilm is, aIter all, the deIining characteristic oI the ulam). In Iact, though medi-
eval Omani Ibd jurisprudence does not explicitly mention piety as a necessary
trait Ior those who assume control oI the community during the state oI kitmn,
the characteristic oI piety also Iigured prominently in the portrayals oI the ulam
who led the community during kitmn.
These two traits comprised the essential
characteristics oI an Ibd leaderbe he an Imm or lim.
The Shr Imm
The type oI Imm known in North AIrica and Oman as the imm
al-shr (the Imm dedicated to the practice oI shir) presents a
unique case in Islamic political theory. No other sectarian group pos-
sesses this peculiar institution, or the conceptshirthat is associ-
ated with it. Shir and the imm al-shr, it seems, are an inheritance
oI the Ibdiyya exclusively Irom their early Khrijite predecessors,
though important Ioundations Ior the Khrijite notion oI shir may be
Iound in the Qurn and in the accounts oI martyrdom Irom the early
Islamic community. Tracing the lineage oI shir Irom its conceptual
roots, through its use by the early Khrijites, to its Iinal articulation
as an aspect oI the Ibd immate institution will be the Iocus oI this
The concept oI shir, and its subsequent use in early Khrijite and
Ibd thought, possesses a particularly complex history. The term shir
encompasses a range oI overlapping concepts; it literally means to give
Ior a price, to sell or to exchange; and the person who perIorms
the action oI shir is known as shr (pluralshurt).
The term occurs
in the Qurn in the context oI the believer who sells/exchanges
(shar) his soul to God by Iighting and dying Ior His cause: Let those
Iight in the way oI God who sell (yashrn) the liIe oI this world Ior the
other; And there is a type oI person who sells (yashr) his liIe to earn
the pleasure oI God, and God is Iull oI kindness to His devotees.
Khrijites applied the Qurnic metaphor oI shir to the action oI Iight-
ing and dying Ior Khrijism, a cause they identiIied with establishing
a just and moral social order on earth. Simultaneously, they regarded shir as the
quality oI pious bravado that made an individual a shr person, willing to sell his
liIe to Iurther Gods purposes. Moreover, the Khrijites employed the term shurt
to describe themselves as well as their movement.
In the Ibd context, Ibds
spoke oI the imm al-shr as possessing the characteristic oI shira cer-
tain reckless bravery, a desire to sell his liIe on behalI oI Islamthat inspired
him to pursue shir as the military expansion oI Ibd territory. These various
usages indicate that Ior both Khrijites and Ibdites, the concept oI shir came
to denote a characteristic oI an individual, as well as the actions associated with
that characteristic.
Ibd immate theory later associated shir with the qualities oI bravery and
heroism, and the imm al-shr personiIied these characteristics in a leader. Both
North AIrican and Omani conceptions oI the imm al-shr shared this underlying
correlation between shir and authority. Due to diIIerent historical situations oI
the North AIrican and Omani communities, however, the regional institutions oI
the imm al-shr diIIered slightly. In North AIrica, the imm al-shr remained
a largely theoretical institution; the North AIrican Ibd community recognized
the early Khrijite (that is, pre-Ibdite) heroes Qarb b. Murra, ZuhhI b. Zuhar
al-T, and Ab Bill Mirds b. Udaya as members oI the Iirst Ibd genera-
tion (tabaqa) and examples oI leaders who perIormed shir, but they did not
designate any oI the subsequent Rustumid Imms as shr Imms.
In Oman, on
the other hand, the ideal oI the imm al-shr remained a living tradition: Omani
historians considered many oI the early Omani Imms to be shr Imms,
unlike the North AIrican Ibds, the Omani Ibds did not so label Qarb, ZuhhI,
and Ab Bill. Rather, these individuals (among others) Iunctioned as Iorerunners
to the imm al-shr insoIar as they were portrayed as martyrs, heroes, and pious
Additionally, diIIerences in the conception oI shir as a supplementary or
separate institution oI authority existed between the North AIrican and Omani
Ibd communities. Omani Ibd jurists conceived oI shir as a supererogatory
practice that could be voluntarily adopted by a group oI qualiIied individuals, or by
an existing Imm. An Imm opted to take the contract (aqd) oI shir, and thereby
became an imm al-shr in addition to his being an Imm.
In North AIrica, jurists
conceived oI the state oI shir as separate Irom the states oI zuhr, kitmn, and
dif, implying that the imm al-shr was a distinct institution Irom the imm
al-zuhr, imm al-dif, and the imm al-kitmn.
Although the diIIerences between the medieval North AIrican and Omani
institutions remain signiIicant, the underlying conception oI the imm al-shr as
an institution oI authority associated with the quality oI shir as a particular kind
oI authority associated with bravery and selI-sacriIice link the medieval North
AIrican and Omani institutions oI the imm al-shr, and set oII the oIIice oI the
shr Imm Irom other types oI Imms. Omani jurists viewed the shr Imm as
the highest degree oI Imman Imm who possessed all oI the desirable qualities
oI an Imm. That is, in addition to the moral probity and knowledge expected oI
the zuhr Imm, the imm al-shr possessed the desire to perIorm shir.
Like the Omanis, North AIrican jurists distinguished the imm al-shr Irom
other Imms by the practice oI shir.
AIter the dissolution oI the Rustumid
dynasty, however, the imm al-shr remained a theoretical (and thereIore
unelaborated) institution in North AIrican Ibdism. Finally, both North AIrican
and Omani Ibdiyya recognized certain historical individuals (Qarb, ZuhhI, and
Ab Bill) as leaders in connection with the concept oI shir: in North AIrica as
shr Imms proper, and in Oman as heroes and martyrs. These commonalities
between the North AIrican and Omani notions oI shir and the imm al-shr
constitute the distinctive Ieatures oI both North AIrican and Omani conceptions
oI the imm al-shr, and illustrate its centrality to the medieval Ibd imma.
Despite the overall complexity oI the institution oI the imm al-shr in its dis-
tinctive North AIrican and Omani articulations, its underlying connection to the
concept oI shir anchors the process oI institutional development in earlier con-
ceptualizations oI legitimate violence and martyrdom.
Two points must be borne in mind when investigating how the medieval
Ibd institution oI the imm al-shr assimilated the early Khrijite phenome-
non oI shir, appropriated the Khrijite Iigures associated with the phenomenon
oI shir, and adapted the concept oI shir to a political institution oI authority.
First, prior to the medieval Ibd imma, the concept oI shir was not necessarily
associated with political authority, but rather with popular notions oI heroism and
martyrdom. The heroic deeds oI the early Khrijite shurt constituted an author-
ity oI sorts that was opposed to dominant political authorities oI the time. The
practice oI shir created, Ioremost, a heroic image that was captured by the pop-
ular imagination in the Iorm oI poetry and legend.
Second, as a consequence oI their Iormation in Basra, the Ibdiyya inher-
ited and assimilated Iraqi Khrijite shurt stories. Later, the Ibdiyya manipulated
the stories oI shurt so that the shurt individuals appeared as examples oI shr
Imms (in the North AIrican case), or as heroes and martyrs associated with the
concept oI shir (as in Oman), and thereby as Iorerunners to the imm al-shr. In
such a way, the Ibdiyya appropriated the authority oI the shurts heroic image,
but transIormed it into a type oI political authority (that is, the shurt became
Imms or models Ior Imms).
In tracing the process oI assimilation, appropriation, and adaptation that pro-
duced the medieval Ibd oIIice oI the shr Imm, it is helpIul to examine the
precedents Ior the Ibd conception oI shir in the Qurnic concepts oI jihd
and shahda (martyrdom). We shall look at examples oI martyrdom Irom the
Prophetic and early Islamic eras, including those oI some early Khrijite shurt.
The popular appeal oI shurt and the existence oI the inIormal institution oI
Khrijite martyrs and heroes served as precedents Ior the individuals in Ibd
texts who Iunctioned in North AIrica as the examples oI the imm al-shr, and in
Oman as the Iorerunners to the shr Imm. Finally, the medieval North AIrican
and Omani institutions oI the imm al-shr illustrate the transIormation oI shir
into a political institution (that is, an Imm).
The adaptation oI the concept oI shir into a political oIIice included lim-
iting the potentially destabilizing power oI the shurt. As inheritors oI the Iraqi
Khrijite shurt cycle, the Ibdiyya appropriated the image oI the early Khrij
rebels to bolster their claims to power, but deIused the destabilizing potential oI
shir by creating the oIIice oI the imm al-shr. In such a way, the concept oI
shir developed Irom an indigenous Khrijite expression oI pious bravado into
a cult oI the martyrs and heroes, and Iinally into the medieval Ibd institution oI
the shr Imm.
Militancy and Martyrdom in Early Islamic History
The Qurn presents the notion oI Iighting (the Qurn uses the terms jihd and
qitl in association with martial actions) as a one oI many types oI activities that
are potentially associated with piety. Although the militant aspect oI the concept
oI jihd was not the only way in which the Qurn speaks about jihd, it does pro-
vide a precedent Ior the Khrijite notion oI shir.
Likewise, the concentration
on shahda as martyrdom that bestowed divine reward and enhanced the physical
presence oI the martyrs body with extraordinary properties does not exhaust the
topic oI martyrdom in the Qurn or in early Islamic history, but these aspects
oI the notion oI martyrdom are oI prime importance to the Khrijite notion oI
As an indigenous Khrijite concept oI militancy and martyrdom, the idea oI
shir came Irom a Qurnic metaphor (later used in Khrijite poetry) oI those who
sell (shar) their soul to God, who buys (ashtar) the souls in exchange Ior
paradise. Verse 9:111 reads:
Lo! God has bought Irom the believers (ashtar min al-muminn)
their persons and their wealth because the Garden will be theirs: they
shall Iight in the way oI God (yuqtiln f sabl Allh) and shall slay
and be slain. It is a promise, which is binding on Him in the Torah and
the Gospel and the Qurn. Who IulIills his covenant better than God?
Rejoice then in your bargain that you have made, Ior that is the supreme
In 2:207, the believers sell themselves Ior the pleasure oI God, while 4:74 com-
mands: Let those Iight in the way oI God who sell (yashrn) the liIe oI this world
Ior the other. These verses explicitly connect the Qurnic metaphor oI selling
ones liIe to God (shir) in exchange Ior reward to the idea oI militancy.
Fighting, so long as it was conducted in Gods way, presented a means by
which Muslims could Iurther the cause oI Islam and, as such, became a method
associated with Islamic piety (taqw). The Qurn states: Have you not seen
those unto whom it was said: Withhold your hands, observe prayer and pay the
alms tax, but when Iighting (qitl) was prescribed Ior them, a group oI them Iear
people as much as they Iear oI God.
This verse associates Iighting with the
other cornerstones oI Islamic behavior (prayer and zakt). In addition, it makes
reIerence to Iighting as an aspect oI Islamic piety, insoIar as piety stems Irom a
Iear oI God.
The Qurn connects warIare with establishing a just social order on earth,
and thereby Iurther cements the association between piety and Iighting in Gods
way. In 4:75, the Qurn rhetorically asks: What is wrong with you that you
do not Iight in the way oI God when weak men, women, and children are crying:
Our Lord! Bring us out oI this town oI evil people and give us Irom Your pres-
ence a protector! Oh, give us a deIender. Similarly, 2:193 commands Muslims
to Iight until there is no more persecution (fitna) and the religion becomes Gods
(wayakn al-dn lil-lh).
In conjunction with Qurnic verses commanding the
Islamic community to establish justice, the prosecution oI warIare can primarily
be interpreted as a means to Iurther the creation oI a just social order on earth. The
qualiIying phrase in Gods way (f sabl Allh) speciIically distinguishes warIare
as advancing the cause oI Gods justice.
Hadth Irom the Prophet Muhammad Iurther strengthen the link between piety
and warIare. The Prophet was recorded as saying: I have been commanded to Iight
people until they say, There is no God but God, establish |regular| prayers, and
pay the alms tax.
This hadth establishes warIare as a means to institute Islamic
practices aimed at the betterment oI humanity. Likewise, the range oI meaning
covered by the concept oI jihd testiIies to an array oI pious activities associated
with jihd, one oI which is warIare proper. These activities, according to hadth,
distinguished the true believers:
Every Prophet sent by God to a people (umma) beIore me has had dis-
ciples and Iollowers who Iollowed his ways (sunna) and obeyed his com-
mands. But aIter them came successors who preached what they did not
practice and practiced what they were not commanded. Whoever strives
(jhada) against them with ones hand is a believer, whoever strives
against them with ones tongue is a believer, whoever strives against
them with ones heart is a believer.
In addition, the Prophet Muhammad was credited with saying: The best jihd is
|speaking| a word oI justice to a tyrannical ruler.
These associations between
pious activityoI which combat is includedand jihd establish warIare as a
Iorm oI pious action (that is, so long as it is conducted in the proper manner and
with righteous cause).
As the logical extension oI the concept oI jihd f sabl Allh, the Qurn
established the notion oI martyrdom (shahda) Ior those who died Iighting in the
way oI God. The Muslim martyrthe shahdis one Ior whom death becomes a
deIining moment. However, the shahd is also a witness, one who sees and who is
seen, and one who will testiIy to what has been seen.
The Qurn uses the same
terms Ior martyr and witness: thus We have appointed you a middle nation, that
you may be witnesses (shuhad) against humankind, and the messenger may be
a witness (shahd) against you;
And the witnesses/martyrs (shuhad) are with
their Lord.
Verse 3:140 clearly presents the term shahd/shuhad in the sense
oI martyr:
II you have received a blow, the |disbelieving| people have received a
blow the like thereoI. These are |only| the vicissitudes which We cause
to Iollow one another Ior humankind, to the end that God may know
those who believe and may choose shuhad Irom among you; and God
does not love the unjust.
As a testament, the martyrs death oIIered an authentication (shahda) oI the truth
oI the Islamic path.
As an act oI supreme witness to the validity oI Muhammads message, Muslim
martyrs were promised great reward in heaven. The Qurn, in 3:170, reIers to a
grand recompense Ior those slain Iighting in Gods way: Jubilant |are they| because
oI that which God has bestowed upon them oI His bounty, rejoicing Ior the sake oI
those who have not joined them but are leIt behind: that no Iear shall come upon
them neither shall they grieve. In 3:169 the Qurn states, think not oI those who
are slain in the way oI God as dead. Nothey are living! They have provision with
their Lord. Similarly, Islamic tradition describes the rewards awaiting the martyr:
all his sins will be Iorgiven, he will be protected Irom torment in the grave; he will
wear a crown oI glory on his head; he will marry seventy-two h ris (heavenly con-
sorts); his intercession will be accepted Ior his relatives.
So powerIul was the belieI in the eIIicacy oI martyrdom in early Islamic his-
tory that it became a desirable end in itselI. As a corollary to the soteriological
aspects oI martyrdom in Islam, the Iervor and Iaith oI the new religion saw indi-
viduals longing Ior shahdat, that is, desiring martyrdom. The early history oI
Islam presents numerous examples oI this phenomenon. A man named Amr b.
Jamuh was lame, but had seven sons who went to Iight at the Battle oI Uhud.
Amr himselI wanted to Iight, but his sons protested on the grounds that he was
not obligated due to his inIirmity. Amr approached the Prophet Muhammad and
asked Ior permission to Iight, which the Prophet granted. Amr was then killed in
the battle, along with one oI his sons.
Just as the martyrs were believed to be exalted in heaven, their bodies and
tombs were treated with special respect on earth. The bodies oI the shuhad were
thought to be especially puriIied and sanctiIied by their act oI martyrdom. This
special status is reIlected in the later codiIication oI law regarding the burial oI
certain martyrs. Later Sunni law made a distinction between those killed Iighting
Ior the deIense or propagation oI Islam, and those who died Ior their Iaith in other
ways: the Iormer were known as battleIield martyrs (shuhad al-maraka) while
the latter were subsumed under the general heading oI martyr.
The main diIIer-
ence between battleIield and other martyrs lie in the burial rites oI the battleIield
martyr; under normal circumstances, a dead body was washed and wrapped in a
white shroud aIter death. This process cleansed the body in preparation Ior its Iinal
meeting with God. In the case oI the battleIield martyr, the body was not washed,
nor was it covered in the traditional white shroud.
The blood oI the martyr and the
Iorce oI his act was enough to cleanse the body, and the garments that the martyr
wore at the time oI his act were believed to have been sanctiIied in the process.

Thus, just as the sincere utterance oI the proIession oI Iaith (shahda) wiped away
the Iormer sins oI the individual, the act oI martyrdom (also shahda) puriIied the
martyrs body.
Similarly, Islamic martyrs are set apart Irom Muslims who die a normal death
by the Iact that mourning is encouraged at their graves. This practice dates to the
death oI Hamza b. Abd al-Muttalib during the Prophet Muhammads liIetime.
Hamza lived alone, and at his death there was no one to lament his passing. The
Prophet commented on this Iact, and the women who had been lamenting their
sons and husbands went immediately to his house and began mourning. It became
a tradition that beIore anyone wept Ior their Iallen relatives they Iirst went to the
house oI Hamza and cried there. Although the Prophet discouraged weeping aIter
a death, lamenting the deaths oI the martyrs was encouraged.
In addition, the graves oI the martyrs (which are sometimes identical with
the site oI their martyrdom) were believed to emanate the same sanctity that
inIused the body oI the martyr. Mutahhar relates that Ftima gathered materi-
als Ior her prayer beads at the grave oI her uncle, the martyr Hamza b. Abd al-
Likewise, the earth oI Karbal, because oI its inherent sanctity Irom
the martyrdom oI al-Husayn, is still utilized today Ior the prayer stones oI the
Shia. The physical presence oI sanctity at the grave oI the martyrs is a reIlection
on the consecrated status oI the martyrs.
Practices such as veneration oI the grave sites oI the martyrs, lamentation at
their tombs, and belieI in the eIIicacy oI their bodies, in addition to the Qurnic
and Prophetic paradigms Ior martyrdom created a powerIul precedent during the
Iirst centuries oI Islam. Such examples Iorm the backdrop against which indig-
enous Khrijite notions oI militant activism undoubtedly Iormed. Although the
dating and reliability oI much, iI not most, oI the materials relating to the concept
oI martyrdom and jihd during the early period can be called into question, there
is no doubt that such ideas circulated in some Iorm in the earliest periods. It was
these early notions oI martyrdom and militancy that coalesced into the Khrijite
concept oI shir.
Shir: The Concept oI Militant Activism in
Early Khrijite Religious Thought
The Irequency oI violent Khrijite rebellions in early Islamic history testiIies to
the importance oI the concepts oI militancy among the early Khrijites; Islamic
heresiographers and historians mention some ten Khrijite military campaigns
against Al and Muwiya Iollowing the Battle oI Nahrawn.
In addition, the
recorded early Basran uprisings oI Sahm b. Ghlib, Qarb b. Murra, ZuhhI b.
Zuhar al-T, TawwI b. Alq, and Ab Bill Mirds b. Udaya occurred over a
mere twenty-three year period. Later rebellions, such as those oI Shabb al-Khrij
in the Jazra (northern Mesopotamia), Hamza b. dhrak al-Khrij in Sstn
(southeastern Iran), Tlib al-Haqq in the Hijz, and al-Julanda b. Masd in Oman
conIirm the continued magnitude oI Khrijite military activities. In part, these
large numbers oI Khrijite rebellions in the early Islamic period can be under-
stood with reIerence to the theme oI militant activismthe Khrij rebels zeal to
sell his soul to God in exchange Ior heaven (shir)that runs through them.
The early Khrijite rebels viewed themselves as Iighting injustice as a righteous
remnant oI true believers, and buying Paradise with their lives.
Accounts oI the early Khrijite rebellions, however, remain problematic. The
inevitable biases oI the Sunni authors toward treating the Khrijites as deviant
rebels, combined with the virtual extinction oI the Khrijites as a sectarian block
in Islam, resulted in the preservation oI very Iew unedited Khrijite texts Irom
which an accurate picture oI the Khrij interpretation oI shir may be developed.
Fortunately, a small but signiIicant amount oI early Khrijite poetry survived in
various historical and literary sources Irom which a picture oI the Khrijite attitude
toward acts oI violence can be drawn. This early Khrijite poetry illuminates how
the Khrijites adopted the Qurnic metaphor oI shir to describe indigenous
Khrijite conceptions oI jihd and shahda. The notion oI selling ones soul to
God in exchange Ior paradise was taken Irom the Qurn and applied to Khrijite
concepts oI militancy. For example, an early militant Khrijite, Madn b. Mlik
al-Iyd, employed the metaphor oI shir in connection with warIare: Greetings
to the one who God has bought as a shr; and not to those who are a party oI qui-
etists (hizb al-muqm);
an anonymous Khrijite begged God to grant him piety
(taqw), sincerity (sidq), and provision in the world until he could sell that which
is Ileeting (al-ladh yafn) Ior the hereaIter.
In addition, the Khrijites employed
other related metaphors, such as b (buying as a corollary to selling). These
terms collectively share what Wittgenstein would call a Iamily resemblance in
their reIerences to the concept oI militancy. In this manner, shir Iunctioned as the
general term Ior the concept oI Khrijite militancy and martyrdom, even though it
did not Iormally become a theological or legal term among the Khrijites.
Similar to the Qurnic and Prophetic notion oI militancy as a way oI IulIill-
ing ones religious duties, the Khrijites conceived oI shir as a method oI being
religious. Early reIerences to shir in Khrijite poetry testiIy to a commitment to
pious militancy Irom the beginning oI the Khrijite movement. Abdullh b. Wahb
al-Rsib, the Imm oI the Muhakkima, is credited on the day oI Nahrawn with
the verses:
I am Ibn Wahb al-Rsib the shr,
I strike among the enemy to take vengeance,
Until the state oI the evil ones (dawlat al-ashrr) may vanish,
And truth may return to the virtuous.
Al-Rsibs usage oI shir connects militancy with the removal oI evil rulers
and the return oI righteous government to power. Similarly, the early Khrijite
al-Ayzr b. al-Akhnas al-T recited: Do not spare any eIIort Ior piety (taqw)
and do not Iollow whims; Ior God will not Iorsake those who are shr.
al-Rsib, al-Ayzr associates piety with shir. Other verses, without explicitly
employing the notion oI shir, illustrate the nature oI the Khrijite commitment
to pious militancy. Ab Bill stated: Fear (taqw) oI God and Iear (khawf ) oI
the Fire sent me out (akhrajan); to sell my selI (b nafs) Ior that which has no
In this way, the Khrijites conceived oI shir as part oI the realm oI
religion: in particular, they considered shir a means to combat injustice, and an
essential aspect oI pious service to God (taqw). This particular understanding oI
shir enabled the Khrijites to ascribe an elevated status to those who engaged
in it: the shurt came to be regarded as exemplary because they were willing to
struggle in Gods way.
In addition, Khrijite poetry clearly shows that the Khrijites hoped Ior
divine reward as a result oI shir. For example, the mother oI Imrn b. al-Hrith
al-Rsib, in a lament to her son killed with NIi b. al-Azraq at the Battle oI Dlb,
speaks oI him as puriIied by God through death.
Kab b. Amra eulogized Ab
Bill stating: God has bought (shar) Ibn Hudayrs soul and he has embraced
Paradise with its many blessings.
Al-Rahn b. Sahm al-Murd eulogized several
early rebels, who he portrays as residents oI Paradise (firdaws).
The attainment oI
heaven came as the direct result oI shir Ior, indeed, the very metaphor oI shir
implied purchasing heaven with ones liIe. Thus, beyond its eIIicacy as an aspect
oI general Islamic piety, the act oI shir was believed to have potent soteriological
power, and the Khrijites clearly viewed their acts oI shir as synonymous with
martyrdom (shahda).
Similar to early Islamic conceptualizations oI martyrdom whereby the mar-
tyrs displayed a characteristic disregard Ior their own lives, the Khrijites actively
sought death through shir. For example, Thbit b. Wala al-Rsib pledged: I
will Iollow my brethren |that is, I will die like them| and drink oI their cup with a
cleaving, two edged, Indian sword in hand.
As death came to everyone at some
time, the Khrijites believed they should seek it through Iighting Ior Gods cause:
Death is a thing inevitable and true; whoever it does not greet by day, it comes to
by night.
Ab Bill asked:
What do we care iI our souls go out |oI our bodies|;
What good to you were bodies and limbs anyway?
We look Iorward to the Gardens |oI paradise|,
When our skulls lie |here| in the dust like rotten melons.
This disregard Ior death in Iavor oI the attainment oI paradise illuminates how the
Khrijite concept oI shir was believed to possess the same soteriological eIIect
as shahda, and can thereby be treated as synonymous with it.
Along with belieI in the divine reward Ior the practice oI shir, the Khrijites
considered the bodies and gravesites oI the shurt to be inIused with a kind oI
blessing. Evidence exists oI the belieI in the puriIication oI the bodies oI the slain
shurt, and oI the gravesites oI early Khrijite shurt being regarded as places oI
special power. Imrn b. al-Hrith al-Rsib, Ior example, was believed to have
been puriIied by God through his death.
The gravesite oI the Khrijite rebel
Slih b. Musarrih became a pilgrimage place Ior Khrijites beIore they made their
rebellions (khurj).
It is also reported that the people oI Basra Ieared that the
graves oI slain Khrijites would become pilgrimage sites.
From these examples,
it becomes clear that the Khrijites subscribed to the belieI in the purity oI the bod-
ies oI the shurt, as well as their ability to transmit this sanctity through the place
oI their burial.
From these examples oI the conIlation oI shir with the concepts oI jihd
and shahda, it has been shown that the early Khrijite notion oI shir combined
the concepts oI militancy and martyrdom as a pious pursuit Ior which God would
reward the practitioner. Much like the concepts oI jihd and shahda, shir repre-
sented a heroic and pious action insoIar as it involved a suspension oI the normal
rules oI human behavior in Iavor oI divinely sanctioned action (that is, the shr
sought death in the service oI God, whereas human beings usually sought liIe). As
such, the practice oI shir insured the practitioners place among the heavenly
elect, and conIerred a certain ineIIable power to the bodies and gravesites oI the
slain Khrijite shurt.
The practice oI shir, however, did more than simply insure the salvation oI
the shurt. For those who witnessed or heard oI the martyrs sacriIice, the power oI
the act resonated with the truth Ior which the shr had died, and endowed martyrs
with an authority that they did not possess beIore their death. This authority was
not necessarily political in nature, though the shurt were oIten regarded as poli-
tioreligious and military leaders during their lives. Rather, the stories and legends
oI the Khrijite shurt transIormed them into popular heroes and established their
heroic image, so that they became potent ideological symbols. As symbols, the
image oI the Khrijite shurt would be used to justiIy and bolster sectarian claims
to political and religious authority.
The Heroic Image: Early Khrijite Shurt Narratives
As much oI the latent power oI the shurt derives Irom their heroic image, it is
imperative to investigate the metamorphosis oI the Khrijite shurt into mythic
Iigures, heroes, and legends. Four Khrijite heroes Irom early Islamic history
Ab Bill Mirds b. Udaya, Slih b. Musarrih, Shabb al-Khrij and Hamza b.
dhrak al-KhrijexempliIy this transIormation. A relatively large amount oI
material exists Ior these Iour Iigures, which will establish the nature oI their leg-
ends, allow Ior a comparison oI their heroic images, and illustrate how the heroic
image oI the Khrij shurt became an inIormal and popular institution in early
Islamic history. Moreover, they illustrate how the anti-authoritarian characteristics
oI the early Khrij shurt myths are vital to understanding the subsequent use and
institutionalization oI the shurt Iigures.
It should be stressed that it is the stories, rather than actual historical events,
so Iar as they could be reconstructed Irom the sources, that will concern us here.
As such, the early Khrijite shurt appear in their accounts as semi-mythic, semi-
real characters. Certainly, the stories oI Ab Bill, Slih, Shabb, and Hamza were
based upon some actual events in their lives. Nevertheless, it is their legends
that survive them, just as it is their legends that inspired those who looked to
them as heroes. And as legendary heroes, Hobsbawms comment on the social
bandits status vis-a-vis those who preserve and revered their stories remains
important to the discussion. Hobsbawm states: The point about social bandits
is that they are peasant outlaws whom the lord and state regard as criminals, but
who remain within peasant society, and are considered by their people as heroes,
as champions, avengers, Iighters Ior justice, perhaps even leaders oI liberation,
and in any case men to be admired, helped and supported.
True to Hobsbawms
maxim, the Khrijites enjoyed a duality oI status in relation to the dominant
authorities and rural populations: the Umayyads and Abbasids regarded them
as rebels while the local populations Irequently rallied to their cause, regarding
them as heroes. They did not have a conscious revolutionary program; rather,
they restored things to the way they should be, righted wrongs, and avenged
injustices without constituting an organized movement.
Their appeal came
Irom their connection to the peasantry and to its values. As primitive rebels,
the Khrijite shurt captured the rebellious zeitgeist oI their eras and gave Iorm
to undercurrents oI resistance. In their own minds, the Khrijites undoubtedly
viewed themselves as reestablishing the original and authentic Islam while Iight-
ing against the injustices oI the dominant regimes. It was this connection to the
non-Arab majority, in conjunction with their resistance to the Umayyads and
Abbasids, which gave their movement a broad base oI popularity.
Mention should also be made oI the socioeconomic conditions that set the
stage Ior the early Khrijite heroes. Hobsbawm points out certain economic con-
ditions in which social banditry thrives: speciIically, among societies in transition
Irom tribal and kinship-based social organizations to capitalist and industrially
based societies, including the phases oI disintegrating kinship society and transi-
tion to agrarian capitalism.
In each case, class conIlict exists between the social
bandits, who Iight Ior the peasantry, and the dominant classes. In a somewhat
similar vein, Khrijism developed under economic conditions that approximate
Hobsbawms criteria Ior social banditry. The Umayyad era witnessed the devel-
opment oI an Arab ruling elite, consisting primarily oI old Makkan Iamilies, who
administered lands populated by large, non-Arab peoples. The old tribal system
oI social organization that had existed in the Arabian Peninsula slowly became
absorbed in the agrarian societies outside Arabia. At the same time, economies
Iounded upon jihd gave way to agrarian-based economies dependent on taxing
the peasantry.
These social and economic conditions paved the way Ior popular
support oI the Khrijites insoIar as they represented an attempted to reinstitute a
kinship-like Iorm oI social organization (replacing kinship with membership in
the Khrijite sect), incorporated non-Arabs into their movement, and Irequently
released the peasants Irom their tax obligations to the Islamic state. Hobsbawms
observations may be borne in mind when considering the context oI the early
Khrijite heroes.
Another preliminary consideration involves the variety oI sources in which
the narratives oI Ab Bill, Hamza, Slih, and Shabb are preserved. Due to the
widespread appeal oI Ab Bill, his cycle is preserved in both Sunni and Ibd
sourcesbut especially in the Ibd biographical dictionaries oI al-Shammkh
and al-Darjnand in the histories oI al-Tabar, al-Mubarrad, and al-Baldhur.
Likewise, the story oI Slih and Shabb is preserved in al-Tabar and Ibn Qutayba.
Hamzas narrative, on the other hand, comes exclusively Irom the Trkh-e Sistn.
While the similarities in the narratives oI Ab Bill, and to a certain extent, Slih
and Shabbs, across a variety oI sources points toward a possible common source
(or sources) Ior their stories, nothing indicates how the narratives came to have
their speciIic, semi-legendary Iorm.
Nevertheless, the preponderance oI eulogies
devoted to Ab Bill in Khrijite poetry suggests that his story was well known
among the Khrijites and their sympathizers.
Likewise, eulogies to Slih and
Shabb exist in Khrijite poetry, suggesting a similar popular Iamiliarity with their
It is entirely possible, even probable, that the semi-legendary Iorm
oI these narratives resulted Irom repeated tellings, which were eventually written
down and used by the authors and editors oI various historical works.
The narrative oI Ab Bill presents a Khrijite version oI a semi-legend-
ary hero. Sunni and Ibd sources report that Mirds b. Udaya, also known by
his patronymic Ab Bill, witnessed the battles oI SiIIn and Nahrawn.
brother Urwa was among the Iirst, iI not the Iirst, person to utter the Iamous
Khrijite slogan l hukm ill lil-lh.
Such credentials established Ab Bill as a
solid Khrijite and linked him to the very Iont oI Khrijism, the Battle oI SiIIn.
However, Ab Bill rejected the extremist tactics oI some Iellow Khrijite reb-
els, and his public disavowal oI extremism vindicated the harsh tactics employed
by the Basran governor Ziyd b. Abhi (governed 4056/660675) against the
extremist Khrijites in Basra.
Nonetheless, under Ziyds son, Ubayd Allh
(governed 5676/675695), Ab Bill and other Khrijites were imprisoned in
Basra Ior their views.
Ibd sources preserve an anecdote about Ab Bills prison stay that cap-
tures the legendary side oI his moral qualities. According to the myth, Ab Bill
was on good terms with his jailer, who allowed him to visit his home at night,
so long as he returned to his cell by the morning. On one oI his visits, Ab Bill
learned oI the impending execution oI all Khrijite prisoners, to include himselI.
Nonetheless, he returned to his cell to honor his word to his jailer. The jailer was
impressed by Ab Bills action, and mentioned the incident to the governor, who
then Ireed Ab Bill.
Although this is not the only occasion Ior which Ibd
authors laud Ab Bills moral traits, it is an example oI the type oI piety that was
esteemed by Muslims.
Although this story was undoubtedly exaggerated, the
attribution oI moral heroism to Ab Bill strengthened his appeal as a hero to the
average Muslim.
Ab Bills most celebrated act was his revolt against the Ubayd Allh in the
year 61/679. The governors cruelty in the execution oI a Khrij woman named
al-Balj roused Ab Bills anger and, gathering Iorty oI his companions, he led
his Iollowers away Irom Basra in open rebellion against the governor.
The story
presents Ab Bill as a champion who brings justice and rights wrongs, as the
execution oI the Khrij woman is presented, even in Sunni sources, as excessive:
Ubayd Allh cut oII her hands and Ieet and then displayed her dead body in the
Ab Bill, disgusted by this injustice, voiced his desire to escape
Irom the rule oI . . . tyrants.
In such a manner, Ab Bills rebellion became a
stance against the injustice oI Ubayd Allh, and Ab Bill became a champion oI
the weak and a righter oI wrongs. His mythical persona encapsulated the Islamic
hope Ior justice against injustice, and became a symbol oI resistance against the
hated Umayyads.
By all accounts, Ab Bill exercised moderation during his rebellion. Both
Sunni and Ibd sources preserve Ab Bills speeches in which he pledged to
deIend himselI only against those who attacked his band.
In addition, aIter cap-
turing the man carrying the Umayyad taxes and allotments (at), Ab Bill took
only his and his mens Iixed share and then returned the rest to the Umayyad carri-
This moderation earned him the lasting respect oI the Ibdiyya, who eulogized
Ab Bills rebellion as a paradigm Ior all just uprisings.
Like other heroes, Ab Bill is presented as invincible in the Iace oI impossi-
ble odds, and his military prowess became legendary.
According to the sources,
he and his Iorty men deIeated an Umayyad Iorce oI two thousand sent against
This victory, though probably exaggerated, highlighted Ab Bills role as
champion oI the Basrans and Khrijites. As the champion oI justice in the Iace oI
injustice, his myth showed that a small Iorce oI determined men could deIeat the
corrupt Umayyads. So humiliating was this deIeat Ior the Umayyad commander
Aslama b. Zura that Ubayd Allh oIIicially banned heckling Aslama in the mar-
Ab Bill also earned the love oI the populace through canceling their taxes,
an action that undoubtedly strengthened his connection with the general public.
As is common in stories oI noble heroes, their deaths occur not through weakness
or hubris (which they are not shown to possess), but through betrayal.
Ab Bill and his men died through the deceitIulness oI the Umayyad general, Abbd
b. Akhd ar al-Mzin.
Faced with an army oI Iour thousand, Ab Bill and his men
Iought until the time oI prayer. They then agreed with Abbd to cease Iighting, put
down their weapons and pray. Ab Bills men put down their weapons and began to
pray, but in between prostrations the Umayyad army Iell upon them and slaughtered
them where they sat.
This kind oI duplicity by the heroes enemies served to high-
light the righteous nature oI Ab Bill in contrast to his opponents: Ab Bills piety
is exaggerated by his murder during the prayer, in a state oI ritual consecration, while
his enemys treachery is all the more perIidious thereby.
Although the historical and mythical elements oI Ab Bills story are hope-
lessly intertwined, it is the image oI Ab Bill that survived and established his
popularity. This image even transcended sectarian boundaries; he was the hero oI
the Basran people, who cherished and preserved his memory and later made it part
oI their sectarian narratives. Both Ibd ites and S uIrites looked to him as one oI their
Iounding leaders.
In addition, Mutazilites and Shiites claimed him as one oI their
This widespread popularity across sectarian lines indicates the level oI Ab
Bills appeal as hero and martyr among the general Islamic population.
Like that oI Ab Bill, H amza al-Khrijs story contains obviously mythol-
ogized elements that reIlect H amzas status as a popular hero. H amza b. dhrak
al-Khrij began his career as a shr in 181/797 as the result oI an altercation with
a local administrator (amel) in his village oI Raven-va-Jul. Although the Trkh-e
Sistn only states that H amza leIt his village to begin a pilgrimage because the
administrator wanted to destroy him, it is clear that the author links H amzas career
as a Khrijite rebel with the injustice oI the administrator.
H amza returned Irom his
pilgrimage with a group oI supporters oI Qat ar b. al-Fuja al-Azraq, and became
the leader oI the Sistn Khrijites who seceded Irom the KhalaIiyya Khrijites in
During his tenure as Khrij military leader, H amza reportedly deIeated
all armies sent against him. At the same time, H amza was described as merciIul in his
dealings with the populace: upon arriving at the gates oI Sistn and preparing to lay
siege to the city, H amza heard the numerous prayer chants and calls to prayer ema-
nating Irom the city.
H amza, realizing that the sword cannot prevail against a city
that so esteems and praises God, reIused to wage war against the people oI the city,
but invited the Abbasid army to Iight outside oI the city gates. Likewise, in a show
oI mercy to the population oI Sistn, H amza abolished Abbasid taxation, ordering
the populace not to give another dirham in taxes and goods to the governor. As
the Islamic equivalent oI taking Irom the rich and giving to the poor, the actions oI
H amza portray him as an excellent example oI the heroic robber.
Just as Ab Bills heroic narrative revolves around his role as champion oI
justice, so Hamza is also presented as a champion oI justice. The Trkh-e Sistn
preserved a letter Irom Hamza, a response to the missive oI the Abbasid Caliph
Harn al-Rashd, in which Hamza explained his reason Ior Iighting as combating
injustice on the part oI the local oIIicials:
As Ior what has been related to you regarding my wars against your
governors, these wars did not take place because I disputed your
authority, nor because oI my desire Ior worldly gain, or prestige, or
Iame; nor did I begin hostilities with any oI the governors, although their
bad conduct is known to all. They have taken lives, conIiscated property,
and committed debauchery, and other acts which God prohibited man
Irom doing.
Hamzas selI-proclaimed motive Ior rebellion remained the establishment oI jus-
tice and the righting oI wrongs. In addition, the Trkh-e Sistn reports that beIore
Hamza leIt Sistn to Iight in India, he instructed his Iollowers not to permit tyrants
to oppress the weak.
Thus, Hamzas dedication to the principle oI justice made
him a prime example oI the hero in early Islamic history.
In contrast to Ab Bill and Hamza, the Iigures oI Slih b. Musarrih and
Shabb b. Yazd present a diIIerent type oI hero: what Hobsbawm calls the bandit
As Robinson notes, Muslim historians have taken liberties with the his-
torical text in an eIIort to present the rebellions oI Slih and Shabb as contiguous.

What in Iact were two consecutive and apparently nonrelated rebellions in the
Jazra have been transIormed into a seamless uprising. However, what is oI interest
is not the historical separateness oI Slih and Shabbs uprising, but their contrived
In the story as it is preserved, Shabb derives his legitimacy Irom his con-
nection to Slih b. Musarrih, who presented himselI (in his speeches) as some-
one who Iought against the impiety and tyranny oI the Umayyads. In these
renderings, Slih has something oI the champion about him. However, his
extreme views, iI we accept as authentic the accounts oI his speeches preserved
by Qabsa b. Abd al-Rahmn in the reports oI Ab MikhnaI, resembled those
oI the Azriqa and would not have endeared him to the majority oI Muslims
(unlike Ab Bill, who clearly enjoyed mass popularity even across sectarian
Nor were Slihs military exploits spectacular: he took riding animals
Irom the Umayyad authorities in 76/695, and raided the villages in the area oI
Nisibis, Dr, and Sinjr. Shortly thereaIter he was deIeated and killed by an
Umayyad army.
Slihs appeal lay, rather, in his piety and his ability to inspire his Iollowers,
even aIter his death. Al-Tabar reports, via Ab MikhnaI, that he was an ascetic
whose Iace became yellow (musaffar al-wajh) Irom excessive prayers.
speeches called on the Muslim tribesmen oI the Jazra to Iollow the example oI
the tribesmen oI the Prophets day and rise up against the unbelievers (by whom
Slih meant the Umayyads). Equally important to the story is the Iact that Slih
endorsed Shabb as his successor: I have chosen Shabb even though he is not
the most learned among you; he is, however, a courageous man (shuj) and a
scourge (muhb) to your enemy.
Slihs power reached its height aIter his death;
Ibn Qutayba mentions that no Jazran Kharijite would rebel without Iirst shaving
his head at the tomb oI Slih in Mosul.
This is precisely, according to the same
source, what Shabb did beIore launching his rebellion.
Shabbs rebellion, it seems, was more successIul than Slihs, and the stories
preserved about him contain the elements oI myth that transIormed him into a
hero. Shabb led his group oI Kharijites south through Nahrawn, al-Madin,
and KIa and then north to Khzistn. Facing ever-greater numbers oI Umayyad
Iorces, Shabb, rather than attempting to deIeat his opponents, engaged in military
activities to humiliate them. His exploits, none oI which were particularly noble,
portray Shabb as avenging the poor on their oppressors. As such, Shabbs image
rested on his ability to inspire terror and on his bravado. Shabbs myth is replete
with examples oI this type oI behavior. Among the more colorIul exploits was
his taking oI the mosque in KIa. Shabb beat on the door oI al-Hajjjs palace
in KIa, and then stormed the mosque to lead his group in prayers.
Such bra-
vado earned Shabb the title oI illustrious horseman and mighty champion in
an early Syriac Christian source.
Likewise, al-Tabar preserves a dialogue with
Shabb and the Christians oI al-Batt in which the Christians hail Shabb as their
hero. Shabbs justice is contrasted to the injustice oI the Umayyads, whom the
townspeople describe as tyrants; they will not be spoken to and will not accept
a plea (udhr).
Rather than speciIic acts oI nobility or restraint, Shabbs heroism and brav-
ery in the Iace oI superior Umayyad Iorces earned him the respect oI the Jazran
townspeople. Because Shabb deIied the Umayyads, the local population loved
him. His role was that oI symbolizing a collective discontent with the rulers Irom
Damascus. More than any speciIic act oI nobility or restraint, it was Shabbs lack
oI restraint and violent rebellion that earned him a place in the mythology oI the
early Khrijite shurt.
This examination oI the early Khrijite narratives about the shurt illuminates
certain aspects oI the Khrijite myth cycles: they were popular, and expressed a
primitive Iorm oI rebellion through their longing Ior justice. As myth cycles, the
shurt narratives perpetuated a heroic image associated with the pious bravado
and martyrdom (that is, the quality oI shir) oI these early Khrijite Iigures.
Although the institution oI shir in early Khrijite history remained one oI char-
ismatic individuals rather than political authorities, the value oI the Khrij shurt
legends as propaganda endowed them with a narrative authority; the heroic image
oI the Khrijite shurt could inspire Iurther acts oI shir or sway the sympathies
oI those who heard the narrative oI the shurt. It was precisely this popularity that
made such narratives ripe Ior appropriation by emerging sectarian groups.
The Iraqi Khrijite Shurt Cycle and Its Appropriation
A collection oI shurt narratives, similar to those outlined above, circulated in
Iraqi during the second/eighth century. This collection Iormed an indigenous Iraqi
Khrijite myth cycle that Iunctioned as a precedent Ior the Ibd notion oI shir
and the imm al-shr. Although the early Ibdiyya undoubtedly inherited this
Iraqi shurt cycle as the natural consequence oI their Iormation in Basra, no rec-
ord oI it exists in early ( Iormative) Ibd sources. Nevertheless, numerous other
sources attest to its existence, including early Khrijite poetry, Sunni texts, and
medieval Ibd sources. Moreover, the recurrence oI the same individuals across
various textual traditions proves that the Iraqi cycle concerned a relatively Iixed
set oI individuals and their narratives; the Iraqi shurt cycle consisted, Ior the
most part, oI stories oI individuals who were considered Khrij shurt. However,
one Iigure, Ammr b. Ysir, was claimed by the mainstream (both Sunni and
Shiite) traditions as well by the Khrijites. In addition, the Ibdiyya later added
two indigenous (and non-Iraqi) Ibd rebels, Abdullh b. Yahya and al-Julanda
b. Masd, to the cycle.
It should be noted that the charismatic appeal and propaganda value oI the
shurt narratives made them a battleground Ior competing sectarian groups. That
is, diIIerent sectarian groups appropriated the authority oI the early Khrijite Iig-
ures and put them to diIIerent uses. In the case oI Ammr b. Ysir, even his status
as a Khrijite or Shiite was contested. The divergence between Khrij, Shiite,
and mainstream Muslim appropriations oI the early Muslim heroes must be borne
in mind Ior two reasons. First, the dichotomy oI interpretation remains important
Ior an understanding oI the sources. Sunni texts portray the early Khrijite shurt
according to their perception oI them as rebels (bught), while the Khrijites and
Ibdites wished to portray the shurt as heroes and martyrs who engaged in the
pious practice oI shir. Second, this diIIerence in interpretation oI the role oI the
Khrijite rebels/shurt represents a conscious judgment with ideological ramiIica-
tions. By treating the early Khrijites as rebels (bught), Sunni authors wished
to dissociate the Khrijites Irom the laudable actions oI jihd and shahda.

Conversely, the Khrijites and Ibdites portrayed the shurt as mujhidn and
shuhad precisely because they wanted to associate them with the piety associ-
ated with these actions, and to appropriate these Iigures Ior their own ends.
The stories oI the shurt, as they are preserved in Sunni, Ibd, and early
Khrijite sources, exist in the Iorm oI Iictive truths. That is, the narratives oI
the heroic Iigures and martyrs have been appropriated and manipulated toward
sectarian ends by the various groups who preserved their stories. Fictive truths
are narratives that depict a signiIicant occurrence without being burdened by
strict application oI historical or Iactual accuracy. What is essential to the Iictive
truth is not the actual happening oI an event or the authentic existence oI a char-
acter, but rather the necessity oI conceiving, developing, and representing the
important incident. As such, its style oI language remains normative: it directs
its audience to see the truths it is trying to gloriIy.
The diIIerent sectarian appro-
priations oI the individuals who make up the early Iraqi shurt cycle must be
acknowledged so that the diIIerent sectarian interpretations oI their narratives
may be examined.
The existence oI an Iraqi shurt cycle will Iirst be established by a compar-
ison oI Sunni texts, early Khrijite poetry, and medieval Ibd sources. Attention
will be paid to the diIIerent ways in which these traditions adapted the image oI
the shurt, because the method oI appropriation will show how non-Khrijite
sources (that is, the Sunni and pro-Alid traditions) either claimed certain Iig-
ures Ior their own (as in the case oI Ammr b. Ysir or Ab Bill) or deni-
grated the shurt as rebels. The early Khrijite method oI adopting the shurt
will be the most diIIicult to establish due to a general lack oI sources Irom the
early Khrijites. Nevertheless, reIerences to the early Iraqi shurt survive in early
Khrijite poetry. In addition, the medieval Ibd appropriation oI the Iraqi shurt
cycle as a Iictive truth oIIers clues as to how the Ibdiyya transIormed the essen-
tially heroic image oI the shurt into a precedent Ior a political institution; the
Ibdiyya portrayed the early Iraqi shurt as Imms, or as the models Ior Imms.
Although this claim was surely ideological, it created a potent precedent Ior the
institution oI the imm al-shr.
It is important to remember that the medieval Ibd lists oI shurt include
several individuals who, historically speaking, existed long beIore the emergence
oI the Ibdiyya in Basra and, in the case oI Ammr b. Ysir, beIore the Iorma-
tion oI the Muhakkima at the Battle oI SiIIn. The stories surrounding the mar-
tyrdom oI Ammr b. Ysir illustrate the way in which a hero can be claimed
by Khrijites, Shiites, and Sunnis alike, and used to serve whatever sectarian
interest the editor oI their narrative might require. Ammrs example works par-
ticularly well in this respect. Due to his early association with the Prophet, and
his death at the Battle oI SiIIn, each sect group wanted to claim Ammr as their
partisan, and Iashioned their narratives accordingly.
The pro-Alid author Ab
MikhnaI portrays Ammr as an early Companion oI the Prophet Muhammad, and
uses his story to highlight the illegitimacy oI the Umayyad regime. The story, as
given in al-Tabar on the authority oI Ab MikhnaI, begins with anecdotes about
Ammr and the Prophet, speciIically the Prophets praise Ior Ammr and his
promise that he would see paradise. This narration tells how the Prophet Ioretold
that Ammr would be killed by a rebellious party (al-fia al-bghiya).
narrative provides the background necessary to cast Muwiya (and by associa-
tion the Umayyads) as the enemy oI Islam.
Abu MikhnaIs narrative portrays Ammr Iighting on the side oI Als
army at the Battle oI SiIIn; his death in the struggle against Muwiya identiIies
Muwiyas supporters as the rebellious party mentioned by the Prophet. The
martyrdom oI Ammr as it appears in this context is directly related to making
the Umayyads appear to have been condemned by the Prophet, an enterprise in
keeping with the pro-Alid concerns oI the Abbasid era. The death oI Ammr
thus directly challenges the legitimacy oI the Umayyads while portraying Ammr
as solidly within the pro-Alid tradition.
The story oI Ammr as it appears in Ibd sources is, not surprisingly, diI-
Ierent. The text contains the same stories that establish Ammr as a pious indi-
vidual to whom the Prophet promised paradise.
However, Ammr espouses the
Khrijite line that the enemies should be Iought until they return to the command
oI God or are totally deIeated.
Ammrs speech at SiIIn is a paraphrase oI
49:9, which is simultaneously the verse cited by the Ibdiyya as prooI against
the arbitration.
Moreover, Ammr, beIore his martyrdom, explicitly warns Al
against arbitration with Muwiya.
These acts cast Ammr as sympathetic to the
Khrijite interpretation oI the events at SiIIn, and thereby portray him as a proto-
Khrijite. His martyrdom challenges the Ioundation oI Umayyad authority, while
his association with the Khrijite interpretation oI the events oI SiIIn lends legiti-
macy to the Khrijite cause.
Although the dual interpretations oI Ammrs aIIiliation (Ammr the pro-
Alid and Ammr the proto-Khrijite) cannot both be historically accurate, they
share a core narrative that portrays Ammrs death as a discredit to the Umayyads.
It is this core narrative oI martyrdom that gives Ammrs story its power. Once
Ammr became a symbol oI legitimacy against the Umayyads, various protest
groups rushed to assert solidarity with him. In claiming Ammr as their own, they
Iashioned his story to IulIill their speciIic sectarian requirements. In addition to
using Ammrs story to bolster their own sectarian image, Omani Ibd jurists pre-
sent Ammr as one oI their early predecessors; al-Kind includes Ammr among
those he lists as one oI the preservers oI the true (that is, the Ibd) religion;
Muthir portrays Ammr as one oI the early Imms oI the Muslims (immat
Munr b. Nayyar al-Jaln presents Ammr as one oI the good
examples (uswa hasana) Ior the Muslims and their leaders.
In this manner, the
medieval Ibdiyya appropriated the image oI Ammr by including him among the
early supporters and Imms oI the sect.
The Iraqi shurt cycle also incorporated the Khrijites who were killed Iight-
ing Muwiya at Nukhayla, a small plain outside oI KIa. Al-Mubarrad, using an
account Irom Ab al-Abbs, reports that the People oI Nukhayla were those who
rejected the leadership oI Abdullh b. Wahb al-Rsib at Nahrawn by reIusing to
Iight against Al and abandoning the battleIield.
Al-Tabar, on the authority oI
Awna, mentions their number as Iive hundred, under the leadership oI Farwa b.
NawIal al-Ashja.
AIter the deIeat oI the Khrijites at Nahrawn, the remaining
Khrijites at Nukhayla prepared to Iight Muawiya as he camped in KIa.
According to Awnas report in al-Tabar, the remaining Khrijites decided
to attack Muwiya when he approached KIa. Although Muwiya sent a con-
tingent oI Syrian cavalry to meet them, his cavalry was deIeated. Exasperated,
Muwiya threatened the KIans, goading them to Iight the Khrijites. The
Khrijites attempted to dissuade the KIans Irom attacking them, claiming that
Muwiya was their mutual enemy, but the KIans insisted on Iighting. In a
Iinal dramatic Ilair, the narrative tells oI how the Khrijites repented oI leav-
ing their Iallen brethren at Nahrawn: They knew you better, Oh people oI
In the end oI this narrative, the KIans slaughtered the Khrijites oI
Nukhayla, implying that Muwiya and nameless KuIans were to blame Ior
the destruction oI the Nukhaylites. Their deaths simply underlined the abil-
ity oI Muwiya to bully others into Iighting Ior him. Al-Tabar achieves with
this narrative the denigration oI Muwiya as representative oI the Umayyad
regime. That is, al-Tabars portrayal oI the Umayyads must be understood in
the context oI the Abbasid era in which he wrote: Abbasid historians sought
to devalue the Iormative Iigures oI the Umayyads (such as Muwiya) in order
to make themselves appear justiIied in overthrowing them. Although writing
about Khrijites, al-Tabars manipulation oI the story achieves this objective oI
maligning the Umayyads.
From the early Khrijite and Ibdite perspective, the Basran Khrijite poet
Irmn b. Hittn (d. 84/703) preserved a line oI poetry in which he names the ahl
Nukhayla as shurt, and declares his approval oI them: I proIess that which the
shurt proIessed on the day oI Nukhayla.
Little else survives Irom the early
Khrijites regarding the ahl Nukhayla. Nevertheless, the story oI the martyrs oI
Nukhayla, as it appears in medieval Ibd sources, is presented in a slightly diI-
Ierent manner Irom Awnas report in al-Tabar. In al-Qalhts version, as in Ibn
Qahtns, the KIans were speciIied as Iollowers oI Als son al-Hasanin other
words, they are speciIically identiIied as partisans (sha) oI Al.
In the Ibd
version, al-Hasan surrendered his right to rule to Muwiya, and then rode to Iight
the people oI Nukhayla in solidarity with Muwiya. Al-Hasan reminded his Iol-
lowers that they pledged allegiance to him on the condition that they Iight whom
al-Hasan Iought, and make peace with those who made peace with al-Hasan. To
underscore al-Hasans unity with Muwiya, al-Hasan declared to his Iollowers, I
have made peace with Muwiya.
In the Ibd version, it is al-Hasans army that
slaughtered the Nukhaylites.
This version oI the martyrdom oI the Nukhaylites
leaves no doubt that Ibd authors wish the martyrdom to be understood as the
Iault oI Als supporters acting in collusion with the wishes oI Muwiya. Als
supporters and Muwiya are cast as equally responsible Ior the martyrdom oI the
This openly anti-Shiite line reIlects the later concerns oI the Ibd scholars
Ibn Qahtn and al-Qalht.
The scholar Ab Qahtn Khlid b. Qahtn lived in
Oman in the third/ninth century during the reign oI the Omani Imm al-Muhann b.
JayIar (reigned 227237/841851).
At this time, the North AIrican Ibd immate
was Iacing increased Isml activity in Tnis, as well as the Shiite Idrsids on
their western border. The Omani and Hadramawt Ibdiyya had contact with Zayd
Shiism through the Yemen. Although the Ibdiyya in Tahert were known Ior their
tolerance oI diIIerent sects, anti-Shiite propaganda was not below them when it
served their interests.
Similarly, Ab Sad Muhammad b. Sad al-Qalht was an Ibd scholar who
lived in Oman in the sixth/twelIth century. By al-Qalhts time, the Ftimids had
destroyed the Ibds oI Tahert, and anti-Shiite polemics had become a well-en-
trenched discipline among Ibds. Al-Qalht himselI devotes several pages oI his
heresiographical al-Kashf wa al-Bayn to anti-Shiite argumentation.
Among the other uses to which the medieval Ibdiyya put the story oI the
ahl Nukhayla, Ibd jurists unabashedly claim them as Ibd martyrs, Imms, and
aIIiliates (awliy) in religion. Ab Muthir describes Farwa b. NawIal al-Ashja
and Wad b. Hawthara al-Asad, along with those who were killed on the day
oI Nukhayla as martyrs.
Similarly, Munr b. Nayyar al-Jaln includes them
among the predecessors oI the Ibdiyya, and lists them along with the other good
models oI conduct Ior the Ibds.
Like Ammr and the ahl Nukhayla, other Iigures in early Khrijite history
became part oI the Iraqi Khrijite myth cycle. Al-Tabar, on the authority oI Ab
Zayd, names the Iirst Khrijites to rebel in Basra aIter the Battle oI Nahrawn as
Sahm b. Ghlib al-Tamm and Yazd b. Mlik al-Bhil, known as al-Khatm.

With seventy men, they raised their rebellion in 44/664, killing in the process a
man that they Iound near a bridge outside Basra. The governor, Ibn mir, par-
doned them aIter they surrendered, but they rebelled again during the reign oI
the governor Ziyd b. Abhi. Fleeing to the Ahwz (southwestern Iran), Sahm and
al-Khatm killed those who reIused to proIess Khrijism.
Nothing came oI this
rebellion, and Sahm returned to Basra abandoned by his companions. He surren-
dered to the governor, expecting clemency, but was cruciIied at the door oI the
governors palace. Al-Khatm was banished to Bahrain, but returned to Basra and
was placed under house arrest. The leader oI his tribe executed him when he broke
the conditions oI his arrest.
As is clear, the story oI Sahm and al-Khatm in Sunni
sources presents them as simple rebels.
Early Khrij poetry, on the other hand, suggests that the Khrijites revered
Sahm to a certain extent. A line oI anonymous Khrij poetry exists that praises
Sahm: II the parties will admit to cruciIying him, God will not abandon Sahm
b. Ghlib.
Evidence Ior the admiration oI Sahm and al-Khatm in medieval
Ibd sources is likewise scant. Nevertheless, Munr b. Nayyar al-Jaln lists the
Companions oI al-Khatm (ashb al-Khatm) as predecessors in religion.
acknowledgment oI obscure Khrij rebels in a medieval Ibd text lends credence
to the suggestion that the early Ibdiyya inherited an Iraqi shurt cycle and put it
to their own uses.
Among the more well-attested Basran Khrijite shurt were Qarb b. Murra
and ZuhhI b. Zuhar al-T. According to Wahb b. Jarrs account in al-Tabar,
they were the Iirst to rebel in Basra aIter Nahrawn (apparently al-Tabar Iorgot
that this honor was also bestowed on Sahm and al-Khatm).
Their rebellion
was short lived, and they were both killed Iighting around Basra in 50/670. The
sources mention that they killed a Shaykh who they mistook Ior the leader oI
Ziyd b. Abhis police Iorce. Al-Baghdd and al-Baldhr corroborate this accu-
sation with reports that Qarb and ZuhhI engaged in random killing (istird),

which earned them the condemnation oI Ab Bill.
Thus, the image oI Qarb and
ZuhhI in the Sunni sources is that oI two rebels who slaughtered those who did
not proIess Khrijism; so horrible was their rebellion that a Iellow Khrij, Ab
Bill, condemned them.
Only one poem Irom the early Khrijites preserves the memory oI Qarb
and ZuhhI: an anonymous Khrij poem that eulogizes ZuhhI as the humble
Medieval Ibd sources, however, revere Qarb and ZuhhI as pre-
decessors, martyrs, and leaders oI the shurt: al-Jln lists Qarb and ZuhhI
among those who Iunction as models Ior Ibd behavior;
Ab Muthir describes
them as martyrs;
and al-Darjn lists them among the Iirst generation (tabaqa)
oI Ibds.
Importantly, a North AIrican Ibd source describes them as leaders oI
shurt: al-Talt, in his commentary on al-Shammkhs Muqaddimat al-Tawhd,
includes Qarb and ZuhhI among those leaders who engaged in the practice oI
shir with no Iewer than Iorty persons.
From these examples, it is obvious
that Ibd sources unambiguously identiIy Qarb and ZuhhI with the shurt, and
appropriate their images so that they appear as models Ior Ibd behavior, or as
members oI the Iirst Ibd generation. These same traditions remember Qarb and
ZuhhI as martyrs and heroes, despite Ab Bills disapproval oI them, and the
Iact that their rebellion only served as an excuse Ior Ziyd to persecute the Basran
Khrijites. While it is possible that the medieval Ibd sources Ior inIormation on
Qarb and ZuhhI contained no inIormation on the details oI their uprising, it is
more plausible to believe that the heroic image oI Qarb and ZuhhI was more use-
Iul to the Ibdiyya as a means oI consolidating opposition against the Umayyads
than the brutality oI Qarb and ZuhhIs actions. II the Ibds coopted an already
extant Khrij tradition oI hero narratives in order to bolster their own sense oI
legitimacy and authenticity, it would be diIIicult to selectively renounce certain
individuals. Thus, the heroic image oI Qarb and ZuhhI as martyrs, purged oI its
potentially embarrassing details, persisted among the Ibdiyya.
The Iigure oI Ab Bill Mirds b. Udaya, his myth cycle, and popularity
among the early Khrijite poets have already been discussed above. What needs
to be mentioned here is that many oI the stories about Ab Bill in medieval Ibd
texts match those Iound in the Sunni materials, suggesting a common source Ior
Ab Bills narrative. For example, both Sunni and Ibd sources preserve the
stories about Ab Bill returning to his jail cell aIter being inIormed about the
impending execution oI the Khrijite prisoners; about the execution oI al-Balj
that prompted Ab Bills rebellion; and about the treachery oI Abbd b. Akhdar
al-Mzin that resulted in the slaughter oI Ab Bill and his Iollowers while they
Although the common source oI the Ab Bill cycle remains unnamed
and thereIore unknown, its existence illustrates Ab Bills widespread popularity,
and accounts Ior his place in the Iraqi shurt cycle.
In addition, medieval Ibd jurisprudence mentions Ab Bill as a martyr, pre-
decessor, and leader oI shurt: Ab Muthir includes Ab Bill in his list oI mar-
tyrs and Imms;
al-Jaln presents him as one oI the pious predecessors to the
al-Darjn includes him in the Iirst tabaqa (generation) oI Ibds;

and al-Talt describes him as a leader oI the shurt.
Likewise, the North AIrican
jurist Ab Zakariyya names Ab Bill as an example oI a leader during the stage
oI shir, thus explicitly connecting Ab Bill with the concept oI the imm
The diIIusion oI a similar set oI individuals across a wide and varied group
oI texts suggests the existence oI a Iixed tradition oI Iraqi heroes and martyrs.
Although no single source contains all oI their names, comparisons oI Sunni texts,
early Khrijite poetry, and Ibd sources yields a compelling correspondence
among the identities oI these Iraqi Khrijite individuals. Moreover, Khrijite
poetry and medieval Ibd jurisprudence identiIies these same individuals as mar-
tyrs, heroes, and persons who engaged in shir, implying the existence oI an Iraqi
shurt cycle.
In addition to the individuals who made up the Khrijite Iraqi shurt cycle,
medieval Ibd authors add two other Iigures to their list oI martyrs and heroes.
In their attempts to establish Ibd political entities in North AIrica, the Yemen,
and Oman, the Ibds engaged in military exploits aimed at establishing an Ibd
state. Many oI these attempts Iailed, but later came to be regarded as acts oI shir.
For example, Ab Muthir mentions among the Imms and martyrs oI the early
Ibdiyya the Imm Abdullh b. Yahya (Tlib al-Haqq) and his companion, Ab
Hamza al-Mukhtr b. AwI, as well as the Omani Imm al-Julanda b. Masd.

Like their earlier Basran counterparts, these Ibd shurt narratives possessed a
semi-legendary quality, and were used Ior the purpose oI Iocusing attention on the
righteousness oI the Ibd cause while simultaneously rallying and support Ior it.
As the addition oI the title Imm suggests, the heroic images oI Tlib al-Haqq and
al-Julanda b. Masd Ior Ibds centered on their attempts to establish political
entities, more so than on their roles as popular champions oI justice. Their heroic
exploits, to a certain extent, remained incidental to their Iunction as Iounders oI
political centers in Hadramawt and Oman. This shiIt away Irom the ideological
role oI the shurt (as champions oI justice or avengers) toward a political role (as
Imms) represents an important shiIt in the development oI the concept oI shir
under the Ibds. Shir became the attempt to establish an Ibd polity, and the
leaders oI the shurt thereby came to be regarded as political leaders (Imms).
Another critical diIIerence between the early Iraqi shurt and later Ibd shurt
lies in the Iact that the later Ibd rebels had a greater chance oI success. Early Iraqi
rebels were oIten outnumbered, and Iaced an organized and determined Umayyad
army. They knew their cause was hopeless, and their heroic image incorporated
their reckless pursuit oI death in the name oI Iighting injustice. The later Ibd reb-
els, on the other hand, operated with moderate chances oI success. This gave their
rebellions a political edge that the early Iraqi Khrijites only sporadically enjoyed.
Undoubtedly, it also contributed to their image as Imms.
The example oI Abdullh b. Yahya, who assumed the title oI Tlib al-Haqq,
illustrates the shiIt toward treating the Ibd shurt as political and administrative
Iigures. Tlib al-Haqq began his revolt in Hadramawt in 130/747 amid the degen-
eration oI the Umayyad caliphate. Seizing San, the seat oI the Umayyad gov-
ernor, Ibn Yahya sent Ab Hamza al-Mukhtr b. AwI north to capture Makka.

Ab Hamzas lieutenant, Balj b. Ukba al-Azd, also took Madna in 131/748. An
Umayyad army sent by Marwn II, however, halted the Ibd advance in the Hijz
and recaptured Makka and Madna. Ab Hamza was hung, while Abdullh b.
Yahya died in the battle with Umayyad Iorces north oI San.
The application oI the title martyr and shr to Abdullh b. Yahya
appears somewhat Iormal in comparison to the commemoration oI the exploits
oI heroes like Ab Bill. Tlib al-Haqq was primarily an administrator whose
main accomplishments were the establishment oI a short-lived Ibd polity in
San. Ibd sources praise him Ior equitably distributing the wealth oI San
among its ulam and insisting on the application oI shara punishments Ior
crimes such as theIt and adultery. Although undoubtedly pious and brave, Tlib
al-Haqqs exploits lack the popular heroics oI earlier Iraqi heroes. Nonetheless,
al-Darjn describes Abdullh b. Yahya, Ab Hamza, and their companions as
Similarly, the heroic narrative oI al-Julanda b. Masd Iocuses attention on the
deeds oI al-Julanda as an Imm, rather than as a champion oI justice or avenger
oI wrongs. One year aIter the destruction oI the Ibd polity in the Yemen, Ibd
ulam in Oman appointed al-Julanda b. Masd to lead an Ibd uprising against
the newly established Abbasid regime.
AIter successIully deIeating other mem-
bers oI the Julanda tribe who sought to limit his power, al-Julanda b. Masd
sent his lieutenants Hill b. Atyya al-Khurasn and Yahya b. Najh to meet a
Khrijite armyIbd sources call them SuIritesled by Shaybn al-Khrij.

Slaughtering their Khrijite brethren, al-Julanda claimed the sword and seal oI
Shaybn as his prize. Upon the request oI the Abbasid governor to Oman, Khzim
b. Khuzayma al-Khurasn, al-Julanda surrendered these items to the Abbasids.
However, despite this accommodating gesture to the Abbasids, they soon set out
to destroy the Ibd rebels with an army under Ibn Khuzayma. The Ibd Iorces,
led by al-Julanda, were deIeated by the Abbasids in 133/750. In an anecdotal story
related by al-Slim, the Abbasids killed all but al-Julanda b. Masd and Hill b.
Atyya. Al-Julanda then invited Hill to be the Iirst to die, but Hill replied, You
are my Imm, so be ahead oI me (inta imm fa-kun amm). Al-Julanda then
achieved his martyrdom, Iollowed by Hill.
Like Tlib al-Haqq, al-Julandas
martyrdom is a Iormality bestowed on a Iigure that is primarily remembered as an
Imm. Although al-Julandas martyrdom narrative retains the heroic quality oI ear-
lier martyrs, his importance lies in his role as Iounder oI the political Ibd entity in
Oman. Nevertheless, the Iigures oI Abdullh b. Yahya and al-Julanda b. Masd
became appended to the Ibd shurt cycle. Ibd use oI the title Imm in connec-
tion with their exploits suggests a move toward aIIiliation oI shir with temporal
Despite the implications oI the association between the notion oI shir and
the immate oI Abdullh b. Yahya and al-Julanda b. Masd, a general a lack oI
Khrijite and Ibdite sources Irom the early period makes it diIIicult to determine
how, iI at all, the notion oI shir (that is, martyrdom and heroism) was connected
to the idea oI religiopolitical authority during the early Khrijite era. Evidence
Irom the epistle oI Slim b. Dhakwn suggests that the early Ibdiyya actively
encouraged (during their Iormative period) the practice oI shir under the direc-
tion oI an Imm. Slims epistle describes the position oI leadership in the Ibd
community in terms reminiscent oI the imm al-shr, but Slim does not use the
terms shir or imm al-shr: We hold that a band oI Muslims should pay alle-
giance to the Imm only on |the condition that he will wage| jihd in the path oI
God and that they will obey him in what is approved (marf ), until they perish in
that pursuit or prevail over the enemy.
As one oI the earliest extant Ibd texts,
the epistle illustrates the early Ibd encouragement oI a practice that is the very
deIinition oI shir: jihd under an Imm who will lead the Ibd iyya to success, or
perish in its pursuit. Nevertheless, although Ibn Dhakwns epistle is suggestive oI
a link between the notion oI shir and the enjoyment oI temporal authority by an
Imm, undisputed evidence Ior the existence oI the temporal oIIice oI the imm
al-shr comes only Irom the later medieval era.
One possible early Ibd source Ior the medieval Ibd interpretation oI the
Basran shurt cycle is the now lost work oI the last Basran Imm, Ab SuIyn
Muhbb Ibn al-Rahl (d. mid-third/ninth century). Ab SuIyns work, which was
probably commissioned by the Rustumid Imm AIlah Ibn Abd al-Wahhb (ruled
250255/864868), was biographical in nature, and concerned with creating a line
oI development Irom the Khrijites who seceded at Nahrawn to the Ibdiyya oI
Ab SuIyns day.
Large portions oI the Kitb Ab Sufyn survive in the bio-
graphical works oI the North AIrican historians al-Darjn, al-Shammkh, Abu
Zakariyya, and al-Barrd. As Wilkinson observes, Ab SuIyn probably used
an earlier source (also lost), an anecdotal and biographical treatment oI the early
Khrijites by Ab Yazd al-Khwrzim (d. mid-second/eighth century), who was a
contemporary oI the Basran Imm Ab Ubayda.
While Ab SuIyns work sur-
vived primarily in North AIrican texts, the scattered reIerences to early Khrijite
martyrs and heroes in Omani texts may ultimately be the inIluence oI Ab Yazd.
Thus, the appropriation oI the early Iraqi shurt cycle by the North AIrican and
Omani Ibdiyya most likely commenced at a very early date, despite the lack oI
early Khrijite texts to prove this assertion.
The appropriation oI the Iraqi shurt cycle by the early Ibdiyya provided a
precedent Ior the concept oI shir and the creation, in the medieval Ibd immate
theory, oI the oIIice oI the shr Imm. By assimilating the popular myth cycle
oI heroes and martyrs, the Ibdiyya bolstered their own image by establishing an
association between their sect and the early shurt. In so doing, the Ibdiyya incor-
porated the concept oI shir into their religious discourse, and cast the early Iraqi
martyrs and heroes as predecessors and models Ior behavior. The perpetuation
and association oI the shurts heroic image with the Ibd sect continued into the
early Ibd period with early Ibd martyr-Imms Tlib al-Haqq and al-Julanda b.
Masd. In such a way, the notion oI shir began to be connected to the notion oI
political authority.
The Medieval Ibd Shr Imm
The practical application oI shir in the medieval Ibd era, as well as the concen-
tration oI the leadership oI the shurt in the imm al-shr represented a signiIicant
break with the practice oI shir in the early Khrijite era. Medieval Ibd jurists
adapted the practice oI shir to Iit the needs oI their political situations. That is,
they created rules to contain and govern what had originally been a spontaneous
and inIormal institution oI martyrs and heroes. While preserving the concept oI
shir as a type oI pious militancy, the medieval Ibd adaptation oI shir to the
oIIice oI the imm al-shr transIormed it into an aspect oI political authority.
Just as it does in the early Khrijite sources, the medieval Ibd concept oI
shir denotes a type oI pious militancy associated with martyrdom and heroism.
Al-Talt, a North AIrican jurist, deIines the concept oI shir as earning a reward
by sacriIicing ones selI and ones money in the way oI God.
Likewise, al-Kind
glosses the meaning oI shir as selling something (in this case, the selI ) Ior a
Ibd texts make it clear that shir involved militant actions to estab-
lish the rule oI the Ibdiyya. These actions were to be prosecuted until the shurt
achieved success or died in the process.
This notion oI shir matched the early
Khrijite conception oI shir as violent action Ior the purposes oI establishing jus-
tice, an action that usually resulted in the deaths oI the Khrijite shurt.
Although the medieval Ibd conception oI shir was substantially the same
as the early Khrijite notion oI shir, the medieval Ibdiyya adapted the practice
oI shir to the needs oI the Ibd state. With the establishment oI the Rustumid
dynasty in Tahert and the Iirst Ibd dynasty in Oman, the practice oI shir was
recognized to have potentially dangerous implications Ior the Ibd state; the inher-
ent danger oI shir lay in its latent ability to inspire rebellion in the name oI
Islamic justice. In an eIIort to diIIuse the potentially destabilizing eIIect oI shir,
the Ibd ulam developed the oIIice oI al-imm al-shr as the leader oI the
shurt. Likewise, the term shurt, which had once reIerred to the early Khrijite
heroes, became divorced Irom its original heroic connotations and came to speciIy
the volunteer Ibd soldiers who deIended the Ibd state against its enemies.
such a way, the practice oI shir was kept under the control oI the Ibd state. As
a result, the practice oI shir changed Irom being a spontaneous practice to being
a Iormal institution governed by social and legal regulations.
The practice oI shir as such could not be imposed, as it was conceived as
a voluntary action that was incumbent upon those who took it upon themselves.
As the medieval North AIrican jurist Ab Ammr put it: our ulam have not
made the condition oI shir a matter oI obligation (wujb) and duty (fard), as
they have made the condition oI zuhr and the state (dawla): whoever wishes, let
them sell their selI Ior the pleasure oI God, and whoever wishes, let them remain
hidden (muktatim) among their people.
However, once Muslims accepted the
duties oI shir, they became obliged to Iollow certain tenets. For example, the
Omani Ibd jurist al-Kind explains that a group oI persons who wish to perIorm
shir should pledge their allegiance to an Imm who would agree to lead them
in the practice oI shir.
The shurt were required to Iollow him in his capacity
as imm al-shr. This Imm, according to the Omani jurist al-Bisyn, should
possess all the characteristics oI a qualiIied Imm, in addition to his willingness
to perIorm shir.
Other regulations that were imposed on those who wished to practice shir
involved giving up their obligations to the world; the shurt were ideally required
to Iorego marriage, pay their debts, and renounce their homes in order to prepare
themselves Ior death in the way oI God. This vision oI the shurt is preserved in a
mytho-historical narrative attributed to Ab Bill, who addressed potential shurt
with the Iollowing advice:
You go out to Iight in the way oI God desiring His pleasure, not wanting
anything oI the goods oI the present world, nor have you any desire Ior
it, nor will you return to it. You are the ascetic and the hater oI this liIe,
desirous oI the world to come, trying with all in your power to obtain
it: going out to be killed and Ior nothing else. So know that you are
|already| killed and have no return to this liIe; you are going Iorward
and will not turn away Irom righteousness till you come to God. II such
is your concern, go back and Iinish up your needs and wishes Ior this
liIe, pay your debts, purchase yourselI, take leave oI your Iamily and tell
them that you will never return to them. When you have done so I will
accept your pledge.
Here, the practice oI shir became associated with ascetic conditions in addition
to the requirement to perIorm jihd under the direction oI an Imm. In a simi-
lar vein, the North AIrican commentator al-Talt explains that the shurt should
abandon Iixed residences.
Finally, Ibd jurists sought to control the practice oI shir by setting condi-
tions on how many persons were required Ior its instigation. Ab Ishq, the IiIth/
eleventh-century Hadramawt scholar, set the minimum number oI Iollowers
required to support a shr Imm at Iorty (Iollowing the model oI Ab Bill, who
rebelled with Iorty oI his Iollowers).
Likewise, al-Talt states that the minimum
number oI individuals required to prosecute shir at Iorty, adding that they should
Iight until there are three oI them remaining.
By imposing certain conditions oI
the practice oI shirespecially the condition that it be headed by an Imm who
would be recognized by the ulamthe Ibd ulam eIIectively brought the
potentially destabilizing eIIects oI shir under their control.
Despite the similarities between the North AIrican and Omani conception
oI shir, these communities conceptualized the shr Imms in diIIerent ways.
These diIIerences are the result oI the divergent histories oI the North AIrican
and Omani Ibd communities. In North AIrica, the institution oI al-imm al-shr
remained a purely theoretical aspect oI the North AIrican Ibd imma, a reIlec-
tion oI the Ibd inheritance oI the early Iraqi Khrijite shurt tradition, but no
longer a living tradition. Certain historical Iigures in early Ibd history, such as
Ab Bill, Qarb, and ZuhhI, were retroactively cast as shr Imms, but no new
leaders were acknowledged as such.
By appropriating the early Iraqi shurt, the
North AIrican Ibdiyya maintained the important narrative oI an unbroken chain oI
Imms stretching back to the era oI the Prophet. In this manner, the North AIrican
ulam reinIorced the legitimacy oI the North AIrican immate by presenting a
continuous line oI authoritative rule.
As a result oI the theoretical nature oI the shr Imm in North AIrica, the state
oI shir was conceived as a separate condition between that oI zuhr and kitmn.
Al-Tanwt explains:
II the Muslims do not have the capacity Ior the imma . . . it is better
Ior them to act as they do in the state oI kitmn, Ior that is permitted
to them; except Ior those who bring on |themselves| the condition oI
shir: shir is one oI the most beloved aIIairs oI God and the Muslims.
II they are not able to |bring about| zuhr and a state (dawla), then
|shir| is the closest stage (maslik) to zuhr.
This conception oI the stage oI shir separates it Irom the stage oI zuhr and
kitmn, and implies that the shr Imm was distinct Irom the Imms who ruled
during the stages oI zuhr and kitmn. UnIortunately, North AIrican jurists did not
develop the notion oI the shr Imm, and thereIore it remains a somewhat vague
institution: the state oI kitmn in North AIrican Ibdism, and the rule oI the North
AIrican Ibd community by their ulam, precluded the need Ior the develop-
ment oI the institution oI the shr Imm except as a theoretical counterpart to the
notions oI zuhr, kitmn, and dif.
In Oman, on the other hand, the institution oI the shr Imm developed into
a practical oIIice. Medieval Omani Ibd jurisprudence explicitly recognized the
Omani Imm al-Muhann b. JayIar as a shr Imm, and implied that the other
Omani Imms Iunctioned as shr Imms. For example, the lim Ab Abdullh
Muhammad b. Mahbb (d. 260/873) censured the Hadramawt Ibds Ior not hav-
ing shr Imms like the Omanis: It is our opinion that your path should be like
the path oI the people oI Oman, who have elected Ior shir (aqd al-shir) and
this is the higher level.
The shr Imm thus represented the Imm who pos-
sessed all the desirable traits oI an Imm, and symbolized the highest level oI
leadership in the Omani Ibd community.
Like the North AIrican Ibdiyya, the Omani Ibds appropriated the early
Khrijite shurt (especially Ab Bill) and requisitioned their images toward
their own ends. In Oman, Ibd historians employed the heroic image oI the early
Khrijite shurt as a model Ior the volunteer Omani soldiers who deIended Ibd
territory; and their leaders became models Ior the shr Imms. In addition, Ibd
historians portrayed the early Iraqi shurt as martyrs, heroes, and predecessors to
the Ibdiyya. In such a way, the early Iraqi shurt added an aura oI legitimacy to
the later Ibdiyya who presumed to inherit the mantle oI their authority.
The later history oI shir is dominated by the Ibd sect, who remained the only
Khrijite sect to survive and develop the notion oI shir. As inheritors oI the Iraqi
Khrijite traditions, the Ibdiyya incorporated the narratives oI the shurt into their
own sectarian identity, and embraced the notion oI shir as a valid method oI
Iighting injustice. During their Iormative period, the Ibds labeled several ulti-
mately unsuccessIul rebellions acts oI shir, and remembered their leaders as
shurt. With the establishment oI Ibd states in North AIrica and Oman, the desta-
bilizing potential oI shir was contained by institutionalizing shir in the Iigure
oI al-imm al-shr. The institution oI the shr Imm persisted in North AIrica as
a theoretical construct, and in Oman as a practical institution oI authority.
The shr Imm represents the third aspect oI the medieval Ibd immate that
the Ibdiyya inherited Irom their predecessors in earlier eras. Like the qualities oI
piety and knowledge, shir became embedded in the Ibd immate ideal. These
three characteristics describe the traits that an Imm may or may not possess; they
are three potential Iacets oI the Imms legitimate authority. There remains, how-
ever, another aspect oI the Ibd immate institution that corresponds to a diIIerent
type oI authority. This authority does not pertain to the Imm exclusively, but also
concerns the role oI the Ibd community in relation to the Imm.
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Imm al-DiI, Imm al-DaI,
and Community
This chapter tells the story oI the imm al-dif (the Imm oI deIense)
and, as sometimes appears in Omani works oI jurisprudence, the imm
al-daf (weak Imm). More precisely, it addresses the equilibrium oI
powers and responsibilities that are negotiated between these types
oI Imms and the symbolic Ibd community (umma) as concretely
represented by the ulam. Whereas the second chapter dealt with
knowledge and its role in legitimizing the rule oI the ulam, especially
during the state oI kitmn, this chapter examines the careIul balancing oI
authority between Imm and community.
As is apparent Irom the role oI the Ibd ulam in relation to
the various types oI Imms examined thus Iar, the Ibd community,
represented by their ulam, carried out a vital responsibility in the
medieval Ibd institution oI the Imm. In North AIrica, the ulam
administered the community in the absence oI the Imm aIter the
dissolution oI the Rustumid dynasty. Under the dispensation (rukhsa)
granted to them by the state oI kitmn, the ulam assumed the duties
oI the Imm, even while maintaining the Iormal principle oI the neces-
sity oI the Imm.
For this reason, in North AIrica the imm al-dif
was, like the shr Imm and the imm al-kitmn, a purely theoretical
In Oman, where the immate ideal remained a live tradition,
the ulam assumed an active role in the maintenance oI the Ibd
community. By the medieval period, medieval Omani jurisprudential
texts granted the ulam (on behalI oI the Ibd community) the
responsibility to choose, monitor, and depose the Imms, and to impose consulta-
tion on the imm al-dif and on weak (daf ) Imms. In this manner, the Omani
Ibd community (that is, the ulam) touched every aspect oI the imma, and
became thereby a Iacet oI the general Ibd institution oI authority.
Ultimately, what underlies the balance oI powers and responsibilities
between Imm and community is a belieI in the collective responsibility oI the
Ibdiyya to insure their success in both the world and the hereaIter. Such success,
it is believed, requires in part the insurance oI proper leadership. Ideally, Imm
and community exist in a state oI equilibrium, whereby the Imm retains certain
privileges while the ulam holds others. In such an ideal situation, both agents
work Ior the collective good oI the Ibd community. In medieval Ibd immate
theory, this equilibrium maniIests itselI in the expressions oI the necessity and
integrity oI the immate, balanced by the role granted to the ulam in monitor-
ing and deposing the Imms.
However, when the Ibdiyya Iind the well-being and success oI the com-
munity threatened Irom either within or withouta situation that became all too
common in medieval Omansuch circumstances might require the acceptance
oI provisional leaders, such as an imm al-dif or imm al-daf who would not
be acceptable under optimal conditions. In such a situation, the balance oI power
tipped toward the Ibd ulam, who assumed the responsibility to regulate the
Imm in the interest oI the overall success oI the community. Such a Iormally
regulated and situation-based approach to the question oI the immate is, to my
knowledge, unique to the Ibdiyya.
The Ibd balance oI powers between Imm and community as it is presented
in the medieval Ibd imma reIlects the conceptual and historical legacy oI the
Ibdiyya Irom their Iorerunners. In keeping with the historically grounded meth-
odology explored in previous chapters, this examination oI the precedents Ior
the balance oI authority between Imm and community will Iirst illuminate how
the unique relationship between the Ibd ulam and Imm developed Irom
earlier pre-Islamic, and Islamic (including early Khrijite) norms oI authority.
Comparisons between the early Umayyad attitude toward their Caliphs as reli-
gious guides and the early Khrijite (especially early Ibd) interpretation oI
the Imm will reveal a shared acceptance oI the notion oI the Imm as religious
guide Ior the community. However, diIIerent understandings oI the eIIicacy oI the
Imms guidance led to divergent interpretations oI the role oI the community in
relation to the Imm; early Ibd sources show a continuity with tribal and early
Islamic models oI leadership that encouraged as necessary communal structures
oI power in relation to the leader. The Umayyads, on the other hand, discour-
aged communal interIerence with their powers, tending more toward authoritar-
ian models oI rule (this tendency actually broke with the practices oI the Iirst
Caliphs). A Iurther comparison between early Khrijite and late Najdite notions
oI the need Ior an Imm will reveal that the necessity oI the Imm was implied Ior
the early Khrijites as well. It will show how the rejection oI the necessity oI the
Imm by some late Najdite Khrijites remained an anomaly, unique in the history
oI Khrijism. Finally, all oI these precedents will serve to illuminate how medie-
val Ibd immate theories preserved the stipulation oI the necessity and integrity
oI the Imm, but balanced the authority oI the Imm by granting the Ibd ulam
the authority to select, monitor, and depose the Imms, and to Iurther assume
added duties in relation to daf and dif Imms.
Tribal Models oI Authority in the Pre-Islamic and Early Islamic Eras
The belieI in the necessity and integrity oI the medieval Ibdite Imm, and the
subsequent balance oI powers between the Ibd community and Imm point to
unacknowledged precedents in the pre-Islamic sayyids signiIicance to the contin-
ued existence oI his tribe, as well as in the diIIusion oI authority to other Iigures
and institutions oI leadership in pre-Islamic Arabia. As Watt notes, the survival
oI the pre-Islamic Arabian tribe oIten depended on the eIIectiveness oI its lead-
Disputes between tribes, and stability within the tribe, required institu-
tions oI authority that could negotiate the customs that made up tribal law. Such
complex requirements on pre-Islamic institutions oI authority insured that those
institutions evolved elaborate methods Ior insuring their own success.
The oIIice oI the sayyid or shaykh partially IulIilled the need Ior eIIective
leadership in pre-Islamic Arabia. The sayyid directed the actions oI the tribe, and
so long as he IulIilled the duties incumbent upon him, his decisions remained
binding upon the tribes members. These duties included representing the inter-
ests oI the tribe in relation to other groups, as well as settling disputes within the
tribe on the basis oI custom or tradition. However, pre-Islamic tribes inIormally
limited the powers oI their shaykh by reserving the right to disregard his advice
should he prove incapable oI successIully completing his duties as leader. As Watt
notes: II the sayyids wisdom were respected, disputes between parties within
his tribe would be brought to him. In other cases, however, and where he was not
suIIiciently respected, recourse could be had to those men oI wisdom and integ-
rity who were widely accepted as arbiters (sing. hakam).
Thus, while the sayyid
was respected as an indispensable institution in pre-Islamic Arabia, the actual
authority oI the sayyid depended on his eIIectiveness. The tribe held a modicum
oI power in relation to their sayyid insoIar as they ultimately judged the eIIicacy
oI their leader, and could consult other sources oI authority iI the sayyid proved
Moreover, Arabian tribes retained a degree oI authority over their sayyid inso-
Iar as the selection and recognition oI a shaykh was usually conducted in consul-
tation (shr) with the leading personalities oI the tribe. The tribe expressed their
acceptance oI a sayyid through a symbolic handshake known as the baya. The
baya, thereIore, was both an acknowledgement oI the authority oI the sayyid and
a tacit recognition oI the source oI the sayyids authority, the tribes members.
Additionally, the distribution oI authority over multiple pre-Islamic institutions oI
authority eIIectively restricted the powers oI the pre-Islamic sayyid:
Leadership in war was usually given by a special decision, and might
be Ior a Iixed period only. Mostly, it would seem, it was not the sayyid
who was appointed as a war leader. In some tribes, again, beIore adopt-
ing some new plan the soothsayer (kahin) would be consulted, and this
would give some power to the soothsayer at the expense oI the sayyid.
Thus, the power oI the sayyids in pre-Islamic Arabia was limited by the structure oI
pre-Islamic authority, which diIIused the power oI leadership into various persons,
insuring that a sayyid never possessed total control.
In addition to the khin, hakam, and military leader, still other intuitions oI
authority existed in pre-Islamic Arabia. In pre-Islamic Makka, Ior example, a
grouping oI chieIs and clan leaders Iormed a council (mal).
Although each clan
Iunctioned independently, the mal was able to make semi-unanimous decisions
aIIecting the tribe as a whole; Ior example, the boycott oI the Hshimites during the
liIetime oI the Prophet was one oI the Makkan mals decisions.
The need Ior survival in pre-Islamic Arabia thus ensured that a balance and
distribution oI powers existed between the numerous Iigures and institutions oI
political authority. This balance oI power would later be tacitly incorporated into
the Islamic, and later the Khrijite and then Ibdite, conceptions and institutions oI
legitimate authority.
The Prophetic era provided another, diIIerent, precedent Ior medieval Ibd
communal structures oI authority insoIar as the advent oI Islam adapted the pre-
Islamic connections between communal structures oI authority and leadership to
an Islamic worldview. While Qurnic notions oI salvation, as well as the means oI
achieving salvation, diIIered in Iorm Irom their pre-Islamic precursors, an underly-
ing belieI in the need Ior eIIicacious leadership, and in the role oI the Islamic com-
munity in realizing their success or salvation, provided underlying themes running
throughout the Prophetic era. These themes provided a basis upon which an inter-
pretation oI an active role Ior the community in relation to their leaderjustiIied
in Islamic termscould be established.
Although the pre-Islamic Arabs were undoubtedly aware oI Christian,
Jewish, and Zoroastrian notions oI salvation or damnation in an aIterliIe, it was
the acceptance oI Islam that truly incorporated the idea oI the hereaIter into the
Arab consciousness.
In many ways, the Qurnic ideas about an aIterliIe build
upon pre-Islamic conceptions oI survival: the notion oI persisting in heaven was,
in some sense, the idea oI survival beyond the grave. Salvation was envisioned
in terms oI success (falh) in the world and in the aIterliIe (that is, success in the
aIterliIe meant going to heaven). Likewise, damnation was presented in terms
oI loss (khusrn).
The attainment oI salvation was based on the adherence oI
the individual as well as the community to which that individual belonged to a
divinely revealed standard oI behavior and belieI: to islm. Salvation, thereIore,
required proper guidance, which came in the Iorm oI prescriptive commands (the
Bookal-kitb), and also in the individuals who embodied the divine message,
the Prophets.
The Qurn thereby equated salvation (to a certain extent) with the acceptance
oI properly guided leaders. In 25:74, the term imm denotes a model Ior behavior,
or an example that can be Iollowed: And those who say: Our Lord! VouchsaIe
us comIort oI our wives and oI our oIIspring, and make us patterns (imman) Ior
those who ward oII evil. In other verses, these models have been given the abil-
ity to guide other human beings, and thus are identiIied as Prophets. A verse reIer-
ring to the Prophets Ishq (Isaac) and Yaqb (Jacob) states: And we made them
models (imma) who guide by Our command.
Likewise, certain interpretations
oI 17:71 associate proper leadership oI the community with the Iinal judgment on
the Day oI Judgment: On the day when We shall summon all people with their
leader (bi-immihim), whoever is given his book in his right handsuch will read
their book and will not be wronged a shred.
Ibn Kathr reports a variety oI interpretations oI the term imm in this verse;
on the one hand, certain commentators equate the term imm with the Prophets
Others, such as Ibn Abbs, interpret the phrase to reIer to the rec-
ord oI a persons actions (kitb amlihim). For those who interpreted the phrase to
indicate an individualespecially a Prophetthe verse seems to indicate that sal-
vation is associated with the Prophets in their capacities as guides Ior humanity.
Other Qurnic verses imply that the eIIicacy oI a leader is not guaranteed
simply by his being an imm. The acceptance oI human leadership can negatively
aIIect the salvation oI a community, in Iact, insoIar as an Imm can also lead a com-
munity to misguidance and damnation: And We made them examples (imma)
that invite unto the Fire, and on the day oI Resurrection they will not be helped.

Elsewhere, the Qurn provides the Pharaoh as an example oI the negative soteri-
ological implications oI leadership:
And We sent Moses with Our revelations and a clear warrant; Unto
Pharaoh and his chieIs (malihi), but they did Iollow the command oI
Pharaoh, and the command oI Pharaoh was no right guide; he will go
beIore his people on the Day oI Resurrection and will lead them into the
Fire, and woeIul will be the place where they are led.

The verse indicates that Pharaohs people will end up at a place oI damnation by
Iollowing himtheir choice oI leader will lead them to destruction. InsoIar as
individuals choose whom they will accept as a guide, they have a certain amount
oI control over their destiny. This choice was synonymous with the Iundamental
choice oI accepting the strictures oI Islam, becoming a Muslim, and accepting
Muhammad as a Prophet, and thus as an eIIicacious guide.
This Qurnic notion oI eIIicacious leadershipoI the Prophet who guided
his umma to earthly and heavenly successshares an aIIinity with the pre-Islamic
conception oI eIIective tribal headship, oI the pre-Islamic sayyid who worked Ior
the survival and success oI his tribe. Moreover, in both cases, success was not
guaranteed, but depended in part on the choice oI leader; just as tribal survival
depended on a competent sayyid, so proper guidance hinged on the acceptance oI
a proper guide, that is, a Prophet.
Beyond this identiIication oI the Prophets as divinely inspired guides Ior
humanity, and the consequent implications oI the acceptance oI their message Ior
the conduct oI human aIIairs, the Qurn does not advocate an authoritative role
Ior the Islamic community in relation to the Prophets. There is no need to monitor
the behavior oI the Prophets, as their divine sanction precluded any such necessity.
However, certain verses oI the Qurn, taken in conjunction with the concept oI
eIIicacious leadership, imply a more active role Ior the community in insuring their
own salvation by insuring proper leadership oI the community.
First, while the Qurn reserves agency Ior establishing and restricting the
authority oI the Prophets to God, it does not comment on the possible responsibil-
ity oI the Muslim community in monitoring non-Prophetic institutions oI author-
ity. The Qurnic requirements oI piety constrain the authority oI the Prophets in
their roles as Imms and Caliphs. For example, God makes Abraham an imm,
but promises authority only to those oI his progeny who reIrain Irom tyranny.

Similarly, the Prophets Ishq and Yaqb are described as imms who guide by
Our command,
and the Children oI Israel are described as becoming imms
aIter they believed in the signs oI God.
Likewise, the Qurn commands the
Prophet Dawd (David), as Caliph (khalfa): O Dawd! Lo! We have set you as a
viceroy (khalfa f al-ard) in the earth; thereIore judge aright between mankind.

In these verses, God limits valid leadership oI the Prophets to those who believe
in God and Iollow His commands, especially the command to establish justice
on earth. Thus, God sets and enIorces standards by which human beings become
Prophets. While God alone directs the Prophets, the Qurn, by avoiding comment
on temporal institutions oI authority, leaves open the possibility Ior communal
supervision oI the worldly oIIices oI the Caliphs and Imms.
Although the Qurn limits the authority oI the Prophets to the practice oI
justice, it actively encourages communal participation in realization oI its religio-
political goals, and thereby allocates to the umma an interest in the communitys
success. Just as the Prophets, in their roles as Imms and khalfas, are instructed to
establish justice, so the community oI believers was to serve God by establishing
His plan Ior humanity: This nation is one nation (umma), and I am your Lord, so
keep your duty to Me;
And oI those whom We created there is a nation who
guides with the truth and establishes justice therewith;
Oh you who believe,
be staunch in justice.
Responsibility Ior the ummas success rested equally on
every Muslim, and even on the Prophet: Thus We have appointed you a middle
nation, that you may be witnesses against mankind, and the messenger is a wit-
ness against you.
This equal accountability oI leader and community toward
the completion oI Gods will on earth connotes an equal eIIort in creating a just
society. In other words, the Qurn, by its insistence on the establishment oI a
just society, insured the Muslim community an active role in the moral-political
scheme Ior humanity.
InsoIar as the community is responsible Ior its own destiny, the Qurn can be
interpreted as empowering the community to check the authority oI their leaders
iI the actions oI the leader threatened the central mission oI establishing justice.
Although the Qurn speaks oI the umma as the best community that was raised
up Ior mankind, this does not insure the Muslim community paradise on the Day
oI Judgment.
God repeatedly warns the believers that they will be tested: Had
God willed He would have made you one communitybut that He might try you
by that which He gave you;
Do men imagine that they will be leIt |at ease|
because they say, We believe, and will not be tested with aIIliction? Lo! We tested
those who were beIore youthus, God knows who is sincere, and knows who is
Ultimate responsibility Ior the success oI the community thus resided
with the community itselI. Just as God does not change the condition oI a people
until they |Iirst| change what is in their hearts,
the umma must assume the duty
oI insuring its own destiny.
Thus, the verses constraining the authority oI the Prophets, taken in conjunc-
tion with the Muslim communitys responsibility Ior its own salvation, seem to
imply the duty oI the community to monitor the conduct oI leaders and, possibly,
to remove them iI they do not conIorm to the standards oI justice. OI course, this
must be inIerred Irom an interpretation oI the Qurn that accepts the association
oI communal success with human leadership, and posits a positive role Ior the
community in insuring its own triumph through insuring proper leadership. This
situation did not apply to the Qurnic era: the Qurn unambiguously instructs
the Muslims in 4:59 to Iollow the Prophet and those in authority over you. As a
Prophet, the eIIicacy oI Muhammads leadership was assumed, and his authority
unambiguously commanded by the Qurn. Questions oI communal responsibil-
ity to insure proper leadership were rendered meaningless by the divine sanction
oI the Prophet Muhammad. Thus, the import oI these Qurnic verses, and oI the
particular interpretation oI them that the Khrijite community assume responsibil-
ity Ior insuring its own success through insuring the legitimacy oI its own lead-
ership, did not become apparent until many years aIter the death oI the Prophet.
However, the essential elements oI the particular Khrijite interpretation oI com-
munal authority in relation to their leaders existed implicitly in the Qurn; com-
munal responsibility Ior its own destiny and the relation between such destiny and
communal leadership pointed toward an active role oI the Khrijite community
vis-a-vis their Imm.
Moreover, during the liIetime oI the Prophet, Muhammad incorporated the
Islamic community into the process oI governance, despite the absolute author-
ity granted him as Prophet oI God. For example, the principle oI consultation
(shr) was adopted, practiced, and encouraged by the Prophet Muhammad as
a legitimate Iorm oI sharing authority with the community. The Qurn advised
Muhammad to consult with the people oI Makka aIter its conquest: So pardon
them and ask Iorgiveness Ior them and consult with them upon the conduct oI
In another verse, the Qurn generalized Muhammads speciIic com-
mand to practice shr, encouraging all Muslims to employ consultation.
Prophetic hadth stated: Consultation (mushwara) is a Iortress against regret and
a saIeguard against blame.
Although the use oI consultation during the Prophetic
era cannot be described as equilibrium oI powers between the Prophet and the
community, it nonetheless granted some authority to the community. In this way,
the Qurnic and Prophetic sanctions oI consultation made it an important aspect
oI early Islamic governance.
In addition, the Prophets demeanor implied a certain selI-restraint in the
exercise oI his powers. That is, the nature oI Muhammad was such that author-
itarianism did not seem to suit him. By all available accounts, the Prophet was
merciIul in both his personal and political personas. For example, it is reported
that Muhammad Iorgave his Iormer enemies in Makka and acted leniently toward
the Bedouin tribes who converted to Islam. He Iavored consultation and persua-
sion over autocratic Iiat. II such accounts can be believed, then, in many ways,
Muhammad earned the love oI his Iollowers by not exercising his absolute author-
ity, and encouraging people to do good by his own example. Thus, while it is
inaccurate to say that Muhammads authority was constrained or dependent upon
his Iollowers, it is also inaccurate to claim that he relied on the absolute authority
that was granted him by divine appointment in the implementation oI his power.
In other words, the nature oI Muhammads authority was not legitimated or mon-
itored by the tribal norms that applied to a pre-Islamic sayyid, but it was also not
exercised in an authoritarian manner.
With the death oI Muhammad, the comprehensive leadership oI the Prophet
gave way, under the Iirst two Caliphs, to a structure oI authority that was deeply
rooted in the pre-Islamic pattern oI leadership. Although the Islamic era intro-
duced novel institutions oI leadership such as the Prophet to the Arabs, the nature
oI authority and conduct oI the Caliphs borrowed Irom institutions that operated
in the pre-Islamic period, such as the tribal sayyid. As such, the authority oI the
Iirst two Caliphs, Ab Bakr and Umar, was characterized by the adaptation oI the
tribal model oI leadership along Islamic lines, and the consequent acceptance oI
a restrictive inIluence oI the community on their authority that was much like the
inIluence the community had exercised during the pre-Islamic era.
The lack oI systematic treatises on the nature oI political authority Irom the era
immediately succeeding the Prophetic era translates into a general lack oI materi-
als on the underlying conceptions oI authority that animated the early caliphate.
Nonetheless, the historical accounts oI the early caliphate illuminate its nature as
a revision in Islamic terms oI tribal structures oI leadership. That the community
required an eIIicacious leader aIter the death oI the Prophet, one who would lead
them in accordance with the strictures oI Islam, and thus lead them to success in
this world and in the next, was almost selI-evident. The Qurn had ordered the
believers to Iollow God, the Prophet, and those in authority over you.
Thus, the
necessity oI leadership aIter the death oI the Prophet was assumed.
Due to the lack oI speciIic direction Irom Muhammad and the Qurn regard-
ing the issue oI succession, however, the exact qualities oI an eIIicacious Islamic
leader remained unclear. In what became the majority response to the question oI
eIIective leadership, Muhammads successor (khalfa) was envisioned (much like
Muhammad himselI ) as a supra-shaykh presiding over a supra-tribe, the Islamic
umma. As became apparent Irom the proceedings on the porch oI the Ban Sada,
as well as Irom the ridda wars, Ab Bakr explicitly rejected the call Ior separate
leadership Ior the various tribes who had submitted to Islam, and insisted on a
single leader Ior the Islamic community. As mentioned in previous chapters, Ab
Bakrs candidacy rested on a combination oI Islamic and pre-Islamic qualiIica-
tions: his Companionship with the Prophet, his early conversion to Islam, his
ability to deal with the tribal chieIs, and to be accepted by thema trait directly
related to his membership in the Quraysh.
Similarly, and in addition to the
explicit designation oI Ab Bakr, Umar possessed the necessary Islamic and pre-
Islamic credentials Ior leadership oI the community. Although Iar Irom univer-
sally accepted (among the Shia, all but the Zayd Shiite traditions, Ior example,
view Ab Bakr and Umar as usurpers oI Als rights to leadership oI the Islamic
community), later Islamic tradition recognized Ab Bakr and Umar as success-
Iul rulersrightly guided Caliphsand as sources oI salvation Ior the Islamic
community insoIar as Ab Bakr and Umar came to be regarded as sources oI
right practice (sunna). Thus, their eIIicacy as rulers depended on a combination
oI the Islamic characteristics (Companionship, early conversion, piety) and pre-
Islamic traits (knowledge oI genealogy, ability to inIluence other tribal leaders)
that were prized by the early Muslim Arabs.
In addition, Ab Bakr and Umars style oI rule resembled that oI a tribal
sayyid. That is, the size oI the umma, and the Iace-to-Iace setting oI Madna,
allowed Ab Bakr and Umar to personally address themselves to the duties oI
the caliphate. During their reigns, the caliphate Iunctioned less as an oIIice and
more as direct relationship with those they ruled. Like the Arab sayyid whose
powers rested on his abilities and rapport with his tribe, Ab Bakr and Umar Ielt
themselves personally beholden to the Islamic umma Ior the conduct oI their rule.
Umar, Ior example, despite being the leader oI the Muslim army and Caliph oI
an expanding empire, understood his powers to be limited by his responsibilities
to God and the Muslim community, and viewed himselI as accountable beIore the
umma Ior his actions as leader. An anecdote about the liIe oI Umar Irom al-Tabar
relates that Umar once compensated a man named Salama six hundred dirhams
Ior having struck him with his cane in the marketplace oI Madna a year earlier.
When Salama remarked that he did not remember the incident, Umar replied
that he had not been able to Iorget it.
Another anecdote recounts how Abdullh
b. Umayr came to Umar and demanded a stipend on behalI oI his Iather, who
was killed at the Battle oI Hunayn. When Umar ignored him, Abdullh jabbed
him with his walking stick to get his attention. Umar then ordered that the man
be given a stipend.
These two anecdotes illustrate how, according to the chroni-
clers, Umar Ielt both directly responsible Ior his actions as leader and ultimately
beholden to the Islamic community Ior his position.
Concurrent with the personal character oI the authority oI the early Caliphs,
and as a natural side eIIect oI the adaptation oI tribal models oI leadership along
Islamic lines, members oI the Islamic community reassumed their role in insur-
ing eIIective leadership. Although an actual demonstration oI communal author-
ity in relation to the Caliph would not materialize until the resistance to Uthmn,
evidence oI the Islamic community as an accepted check on the powers oI the
Caliph comes Irom the era oI Ab Bakr and Umar. For example, Ab Bakrs
speech, delivered in the mosque at Madna during the public pledge oI allegiance
(baya) to him as Caliph, oIIered the prime example oI the powers (theoretically)
granted to the early Islamic community. Ab Bakr is reported to have said to the
gathered community: I have been given authority over you, but I am not the
best oI you. II I do well, help me, and iI I do wrong, then put me right. . . . Obey
me as long as I obey God and His apostle, and iI I disobey them you owe me no
Ab Bakrs attitude toward his authority was contingent upon his
obedience to God and the Prophet, and he Ielt himselI accountable to the Muslim
community. These Iactors checked his powers as Caliph, but he encouraged these
limits as appropriate and necessary. Similarly, Umar is reported to have said:
those who Iear God should conduct their aIIairs in consultation.
Thus, the
authority oI the Islamic community in concert with, and sometimes over, that oI
the Caliphs reemerged during the time oI the Iirst Caliphs as a consequence oI
the supra-tribal character oI early Islamic umma.
What has been labeled the tribal model oI authority consisted oI a distribution
oI powers between a groups leader and his community whereby the community
assumed (or was symbolically granted) a certain amount oI authority in relation
to the leader. This institutional conIiguration oI authority rested on a belieI in the
connection between the leadership oI and the collective survival or success oI the
communal group. During the pre-Islamic and early Islamic eras, the size oI the
tribe or umma allowed Ior the balance oI powers to remain a matter inIormally
negotiated between persons. As a result, there were no oIIicial statutes that regu-
lated the relationship.
The latter part oI Umars reign witnessed the beginning oI the transIormation
oI the tribal model oI leadership. This process would not be completed until the Iall
oI the Umayyad dynasty nearly one hundred years later. Although tribal motiva-
tions and social structures continued to dominate early Islamic culture, the spec-
tacular success oI the conquests indelibly changed the character oI Islamic society
and with it the character oI its leadership. With the borders oI the Islamic empire
stretching Irom North AIrica to Central Asia, and the populations oI these territo-
ries comprising large numbers oI non-Arabs and non-Muslims, the personal style
oI leadership adopted by Ab Bakr and Umar became diIIicult, iI not impossible,
to emulate, as did maintaining the unity oI the Muslims strewn across the vastness
oI the empire. As Islamic society grew and became more complex, more Iormal-
ized prescriptions Ior the allocation oI powers between the Imm and his commu-
nity developed. It comes as no surprise that in the Iractious days oI the Umayyad
era, these notions were elaborated along sectarian lines.
Communal Authority in Umayyad and Early Khrijite Thought
The early Khrijite era provided another potent precedent Ior medieval Ibd
conceptions oI the role oI the community, insoIar as the early Khrijite view
toward guaranteeing the eIIectiveness oI their Imm was believed to be a con-
tinuation oI the principles that had animated the early caliphates oI Ab Bakr
and Umar, and a systematization oI the conception oI eIIicacious leadership
that was present in the Qurn (along with the role oI the community that this
conception implied). The Umayyad Caliphs also viewed their institutions oI
authority as an extension oI Qurnic and early Islamic conceptions and insti-
tutions oI authority. However, while the Khrijites and Umayyads shared a
belieI in the role oI the Imm in relation to his community, they had disparate
notions about the recognition oI an eIIicacious Imm. These diIIerences arose
Irom the dissimilar ways in which the Umayyads and Khrijites viewed how
an Imm was chosen: either by divine sanction or by communal veriIication oI
their eIIicacy. Consequently, the Khrijites and Umayyads instituted diIIerent
conventions regarding the nature oI the relationship between the community
and the Imm.
The Iirst Khrijite articulation oI communal success in connection with lead-
ership comes Irom early Ibd sources. As one oI the earliest Ibd texts, the Iirst
letter oI Ibn Ibd testiIies to an early Ibd expression oI the notion oI the impor-
tance oI the Imm to the community.
It mentions that there are but two types
oI Imms: the Imm oI guidance (imm al-hud) and the Imm oI misguidance
(imm al-dalla). The Imm oI guidance Iollows what has been revealed Irom
God and acts in accordance with the proper sunna.
The Imm oI misguidance
Iollows his whims (ahw) and the whims oI those who went beIore him. Ibn
Ibds letter makes it clear that the choice oI Imm aIIects the chooser: the Imm
that one Iollows remains ones Imm in this world and the next.
another early piece oI Ibd writing, the second/eighth-century epistle oI Slim b.
Dhakwn, discusses the ramiIications oI the choice oI an Imm.
Slim warns: it
is by their Imm that God will call His servants on the Day oI Resurrection,
then quotes 17:71 as prooI oI his statement. Slim immediately thereaIter admon-
ishes his readers to give their allegiance only to God-Iearing people (awliy) and
to avoid the allies oI Satan. Proper action leads to salvation in heaven, but Slim
advises many people have been led by their whims to go separate ways, which
took them to dead ends.
He states: it is Ior you to Iollow the good path and
the conduct (sra) approved in Islam.
Slims epistle makes it is clear that all
Muslims must choose their leader wisely, as the wrong choice has repercussions
in the aIterliIe.
In addition, al-Kind preserves a piece oI Ab Ubaydas Qurnic interpre-
tation oI 17:71, whereby Ab Ubayda takes the phrase with their Imm to
mean with those whom they Iollowed, and whom they made their model (bil-
ladh aqtad bihi wa jaalhu imman).
Although al-Kind acknowledges other
interpretations oI the phrase (Ior example, he comments that the phrase could also
indicate that human beings will be called according to the record oI their actions:
their book, bi-kitbihim), the import oI Ab Ubaydas interpretation clearly
indicates that some early Ibd scholars believed the Imm to be a guide by which
people would be judged on the Day oI Judgment.
As the only surviving subsect oI the khawrij, these Ibd sources provide
the most developed examples in early Khrijite literature oI the implications oI
the choice oI an Imm. However, evidence Irom other Khrij subsects exists that
likewise links the Imm to the community. The Muhakkima, Ior example, in their
attribution oI disbelieI (kufr) to Uthmn and Al implied that the choice oI leader
held consequences Ior the community. The term kufr carried strong connotations oI
damnation, as Qurn repeatedly promised perdition to the kuffr and mushrikn.
In a passage in al-Baldhur, Ab MikhnaI reports that the Muhakkima branded
Als Iollowers as kuffr Ior continuing to pay allegiance to Al aIter the arbitra-
tion agreement.
These associations between kufr and leadership strongly imply a
connection between damnation and the choice oI leader.
Likewise, Ibn Muljams assassination oI Al was believed to be an attempt
to remove an unjust leader who, in the eyes oI the Khrijites, threatened the well-
being oI the community.
According to the report oI al-Wqid, the conspiracy
oI Khrijites who resolved to murder Al, Muwiya and Amr b. al-s stated
their goal as that oI ridding the land oI the Imms oI misguidance (immat
and returning the caliphate to righteousness.
The sources simulta-
neously portray the attack as retaliation Ior the killing oI Ibn Muljams Iellow
tribesman at Nahrawn. Both tribal and religious motives are plausible and not,
ultimately, mutually exclusive. Al-Wqids report in al-Tabar mentions that Ibn
Muljam witnessed tribesmen oI the Taym b. Ribb remembering ten oI their mem-
bers who were slain at al-Nahrawn. Nevertheless, the use oI the term Imams
oI misguidance implied that Als sin involved guiding the community to error.
Because the Qurnic concept oI guidance was deeply connected to the notion oI
salvation, it is diIIicult to miss the correlation between misguidance, damnation,
and leadership.
In addition, al-Ashar mentions the belieI oI a subsect oI the Bayhasiyya
Khrijites in the eIIicacy oI their Imm: A group oI the Bayhasiyya believed that
iI the Imm becomes a disbeliever, his Iollowers become disbelievers (idh kafara
al-imm fa-qad kafarat al-raiyya).
This connection between the actions oI the
leader and the actions oI his Iollowers, coupled with the language oI disbelieI (the
verb kafara) indicated, Ior this subsect oI Bayhas Khrijites, a belieI in potential
Ior the Imm to lead his community to either success or damnation.
It thus seems as iI early Khrijite (especially early Ibdite) discussions oI the
eIIicacy oI the Imm eschew any notion oI divine sanction Ior the Imm, and
present the actions oI the Imm as the indicator oI his value to the community.
Consequently, the Khrijite community Iaced an important choice when it came to
their leader: they had to be sure that they Iollowed an Imm who had proven his
value. Otherwise, the community would be directed by an unqualiIied leader who
would (mis)guide them to their own doom.
Like the early Khrijites, the Umayyads and their supporters believed in the
salviIic role oI the Umayyad Caliph. However, the Umayyads cultivated a belieI
in the divine sanction oI their Caliphs that assumed their eIIicacy as leaders, and
precluded the idea oI a communal choice in leadership. This is not to imply that
the Umayyads abandoned the concepts oI leadership that they had inherited Irom
Ab Bakr and Umar. Rather, a subtle shiIt occurred, beginning with Uthmn and
becoming slowly more overt as the Umayyad era progressed. This shiIt involved
a more authoritarian style oI rule, bolstered by a belieI in the Caliphs as divinely
approved sources oI guidance and protection. This trend began with Uthmn;
whereas Ab Bakr instructed the community to disobey him iI he disobeyed God,
Uthmn viewed his caliphate as a divine endorsement that the community oI
Muslims should respect. When Iaced late in his tumultuous career as Caliph with
the prospect oI relinquishing the oIIice, Uthmn is reported to have stated: I
will not shed the cloak |oI the caliphate| in which God has clothed me.
Umayyad Caliphs likewise adopted a view toward their authority as divinely sanc-
tioned. Umayyad poets, Ior example, never tired oI recalling how the Caliphs were
sources oI guidance.
Like the poets, the Umayyad Caliphs believed themselves
to be sources oI divine guidance: the Caliph Abd al-Malik, Ior example, reIerred
to Ibn al-Zubayrs rebellion as directed against the Imms oI guidance (immat
As (presumed) sources oI guidance, the Caliphs led the Muslims to the
right path and thus became indispensable Ior the general welIare oI the Islamic
community. These descriptions oI the Umayyad Caliph match Ibn Ibds descrip-
tion oI the imm al-hud, and closely resemble Slim b. Dhakwns conception oI
the Imm as a model Ior behavior. However, the eIIicacy oI the Caliph in Umayyad
sources is assumed, whereas Ior Ibn Ibd and Ibn Dhakwn, an Imm could be an
imm al-hud or imm al-dalla, depending on his actions.
Similarly, the Umayyad Caliphs were compared to the rope oI God that is
mentioned in 3:98: And hold Iast to the rope oI God (habl Allh), together, and
do not scatter. Muwiya was described as a Iirm rope Ior humankind
and a
rope among the ropes oI God (habl min hibl Allh).
God had strengthened the
strands oI His rope through His Caliphs according to the epistle oI Wald II.
portraying the Umayyad Caliphs as identical to the rope oI God, the Umayyads
identiIied themselves as the instrument oI Gods guidance and will: they were the
sole connection between community and God, and the community thereIore had
an obligation to Iollow them.
Ibd use oI the rope oI God metaphor diIIers slightly, but importantly, Irom
the Umayyad conception oI the Caliph as the rope oI God. Ibn Ibd, in his Iirst let-
ter, claimed: the Book oI God is the rope oI God that the believers were ordered
to grasp. Ibn Ibd then instructs Abd al-Malik b. Marwn to take reIuge in the
rope oI God, oh Abd al-Malik, and take reIuge in God who will guide you to a
straight path.
Although employing the metaphor oI the rope oI God, Ibn Ibd
makes the Qurn, not the Imm, the rope. The Ibd Imm remains responsible
(along with each member oI his community) Ior Iollowing the dictates oI God
and the Qurn (that is, Ior grasping the rope oI God). Guidance, and by implica-
tion the eIIicacy oI the Ibd Imms leadership, was contingent upon the Imms
ability to Iollow the dictates oI Islam, not, as implied by the Umayyad use oI the
metaphor oI the rope oI God, coterminous with it.
Unlike the Khrijite Imms, the Umayyad Caliphs assumed their role vis-
a-vis the community by arrogating to themselves grand moral qualities. Some
Umayyad Caliphs regarded themselves as sources oI guidance because they saw
themselves as correctly guided (mahd) and as reIuges Irom error (isma and
Muwiya claimed, in a letter to Al, that Uthmn was a correctly guided
Caliph (khalfatan mahdyan).
Likewise, Umayyad court poets described the
Caliph Sulaymn as the mahd through whom God guides whoever is in Iear
oI going astray.
The Umayyad poet Jarr described Hishm as the correctly
guided one and the judge who Iollows the right path (al-mahd wa al-hakam
al-rashd), as well as the mahd in whom we seek reIuge when Irightened.

Although these reIerences to the Caliphs as mahd do not necessarily connote
the eschatological overtones that would later become more commonly associated
with the term mahd, they do portray the Caliphs as essential sources oI guid-
ance Ior the community due to their being correctly guided. Implied by this usage
oI the term mahd is the idea that the proper guidance oI the Umayyad Caliphs
(and thereby their legitimacy) was assured by Gods divine sanction. As cor-
rectly guided leaders, the Caliphs also became associated with justice. Umayyad
supporters described Uthmn and Muwiya as just Imms (imm dil), and
Abd al-Malik and Umar II received the title the just Caliph (khalfat al-adl).
Although these pretensions to justice come primarily Irom Umayyad court poets,
and may have little to do with the Ieelings oI the majority oI Muslims, they none-
theless establish the Umayyad selI-conception oI their rule. Regardless oI whether
the majority oI Muslims looked to their Caliphs as sources oI justice or guidance
(and there is evidence that a signiIicant portion oI the Muslim population did not),
the Caliphs regarded themselves as such and perpetuated this image.
Closely related to the Umayyad idea oI the Caliphs being correctly guided
and just was the notion that the Umayyad Caliph was a reIuge Irom error (isma).
Muwiya was told: God has made you a reIuge (isma) Ior His Iriends, and a
source oI injury Ior His enemies . . . through you, God, exalted be He, makes the
blind to see and guides the enemies |to the truth|.
A poet commented, through
|Muwiya| God protected (asama) humankind Irom perdition.
The Caliph
was also described as a Iortress (hisn),
and a cave in which you seek reIuge.

In this manner, the Umayyad Caliphs became regarded (by their supporters) as a
source oI salvation Ior the community because they shielded the community Irom
error and disunity. As with the other moral qualities claimed by the Umayyad
Caliphs, their eIIectiveness as reIuges Irom error was assumed. This notion oI
divine sanction and protection was absent Irom the Khrijite conception oI the
Imm. The Khrijites never assumed the eIIicacy oI their Imms as sources oI
communal salvation. For the Khrijites, the Imm possessed no guarantees oI
authority: only his actions proved his piety and moral rectitude, and thereby legiti-
mated his rule.
These respective positions regarding the eIIicacy oI the Imm entailed cer-
tain consequent stances regarding the role oI the community in relation to the
Imm. For the Khrijites, the need Ior the Imm to prove his eIIicacy implied
an activist stance oI the Khrijite community beyond simply choosing the right
Imm. The Khrijite community monitored the Imms actions and deposed the
Imm iI he did not IulIill the requirements oI piety. Heresiographical texts tes-
tiIy to the Khrijite obligation to depose an unjust ruler. Al-Shahrastn reports
that all Khrij subsects adhered to the view that it is an obligatory duty to rebel
against an Imm iI he contravenes the sunna.
Similarly, al-Ashar reports
that the Khrijites do not accept |the immate oI| an unjust Imm (l yarna
immat al-jir).
Likewise, early Khrijite poetry testiIied to the duty to depose
an unjust Imm: the Khrijite poet Ab al-Wzi al-Rsib reproached NIi b.
al-Azraq by singing: Your tongue does no harm to the enemy; you will only gain
salvation Irom distress by means oI your two hands; so struggle against people
who have Iought God, and persevere.
s b. Ftik al-Khatt intoned: You
obeyed the orders oI a stubborn tyrant (jabbr and), but no obedience is due to
Another early Khrijite poet, Ibn Ab Mayys al-Murd, reIerring
to Al, said: We have dissolved his kingship (mulk) . . . by the blow oI a sword,
since he had become haughty and was tyrannical.
As is clear Irom these quota-
tions, the Khrijite community assumed an activist posture toward Islamic lead-
ership Irom a very early period oI Khrijite history.
On the other hand, the Umayyads, concurrent with their belieI in the divine
sanction oI their rule, encouraged a passive role Ior the community. Although
the Umayyads embraced the notion that communal welIare required allegiance
to the Caliph, they opposed the concomitant idea that the umma was thereIore
required to insure the legitimacy oI the Caliph through resistance or rebellion.
This disconnect between the notion oI the success oI the community and caliphal
accountability to the community was achieved by encouraging Iatalism in the
Iace oI the excesses and indiscretions oI the leader.
Evidence Ior this view
toward the caliphate exists in the hadth corpus. However, due to the nature oI
hadth redaction, expressions oI Umayyad theology regarding the passive role oI
the community (and Umayyad expressions oI theology in general) are less com-
mon. The major collections oI hadth were edited during the Abbasid era, at a
time when even the mentioning oI Iormer Umayyad rulers was dangerous; the
Abbasid Caliph al-Mamn, Ior example, sent an announcer into the streets oI
Baghdd in order to publicize in the name oI the Caliph that he reIused his pro-
tection to anyone who mentioned Muwiya in a Iavorable manner.
many hadth related to the actions oI Muwiya probably existed during the
Umayyad era, al-Bukhr, one oI the two redactors oI hadth whose collection
is considered absolutely sound by the Sunnis, provides very Iew oI them. In
contrast, the Abbasids encouraged the collection oI hadth that deIamed the
Nevertheless, among the hadth that denigrate the Umayyads, a type oI hadth
exists that, even though it expresses the notion that the Umayyad Caliphs were
sinIul, exhorts Muslims to accept them as de Iacto rulers. Rebellion and disobe-
dience, in these hadth, are condemned as more sinIul than the sins oI the lead-
ers. Alternately, these hadth present the Umayyad rulers as a punishment Ior the
Muslim community. This kind oI hadth strives to teach that an immoral govern-
ment must nevertheless be obeyed and that it must be leIt to God to cause the
downIall oI rulers oI whom He disapproves. It must be noted that these hadth
Iundamentally accept the notion that the Umayyad Caliphs were chosen by God,
and that success in religion came Irom obeying them: He who disapproves oI his
rulers actions, let him bear this in patience, Ior he who leaves obedience by even a
span will die like a pagan;
He who leaves the community by the distance oI but
one span, has cast away the rope oI Islam (habl al-islm); Obey your superiors
and resist not, Ior to obey them is to obey God, and to rebel against them is to rebel
against God; He who despises Gods government (sultn Allh) on earth, God
will humble him; Al-Hajjj is a punishment sent by God; do not meet Gods pun-
ishment with the sword. Another hadth states:
Do not insult the regents because oI actions oI the representatives oI the
government which are against the sunna. II they are acting well they
deserve Gods reward and you must be grateIul; it they act badly the sin
rests with them and you must be patient; they are the whip with whom
God punishes those he wishes to punish. Do not receive the scourge
oI God with anger and annoyance, but receive it with humility and
These hadth ran counter to the spirit oI pious activism in the Qurn and turned the
notion oI communal responsibility Ior just leadership on its head through an inver-
sion oI communal duties toward government; the ummas primary duty became
obedience to a divinely sanctioned regime. Such a view obviously beneIited the
Umayyad Caliphs, and it is not diIIicult to see why they may have supported it.
At the same time, belieI in the divine endorsement oI the Umayyad Caliphs (and
the consequent pressure on the Islamic community to quietly accept the leaders
whom God had chosen) ran counter to the spirit oI accountability that animated the
caliphates oI Ab Bakr and Umar.
In addition, the Umayyad move away Irom the personal style oI leadership
can be gauged symbolically by inspecting the changes to the mosques and prayer
rituals. Because the Friday prayer service brought leader and community (at least
those present in Damascus) together into one physical location, it represented
a measure oI the relationship between the two entities. Although introduced by
Muwiya, the changes to the Friday prayers were adopted by all subsequent
Umayyad rulers and should be considered as symbolic oI the Umayyad concep-
tion oI their place in relation to the community: Muwiya was the Iirst Caliph to
have bodyguards that accompanied him wherever he went in public, including the
mosque. Muwiya also, out oI Iear oI assassination and in order to set himselI
oII Irom the common Muslims, commanded the construction oI separate boxes
(maqsra) in the mosque Ior himselI and his court.
He ordered that steps be
added to the minbar so that the ruler might be set oII Irom his subjects during the
Finally, the Umayyads changed the order oI the d prayers so that the
khutba preceded the salt; this change was so that the people would not disgrace
the dignity oI the Caliph by leaving beIore his khutba.
Thus, during prayers,
the Umayyads set themselves oII Irom the Islamic community, and took steps to
deprive the community oI the means to express their discontent with the regime.
These changes portray the Umayyad desire to separate themselves Irom the com-
munity, as well as to control it.
The diIIerences between the Umayyad and early Khrijite views toward the
eIIicacy oI the communitys leader can be partially explained with reIerence to
the size oI their respective communities. The Khrijites were able to maintain a
smaller, tribe-like social organization, and consequently they preserved more oI
a role Ior the community in assuring the eIIicacy oI their leaders. The tribal char-
acter oI many Khrijite groups was readily apparent. The Azriqa and Najdt,
Ior example, possessed a dominant aIIiliation with the HanIa tribe oI the Hijz,
and organized themselves into a separate camps (dr) that constituted the
IaithIul. These groups resembled independent tribes, but were organized on the
basis oI sectarian aIIiliation.
Similarly, Shabb b. Yazds roving Khrijite war
party bore a resemblance to a Bedouin raiding party, as did the smaller groups
oI Khrijite rebels led by Qarb, ZuhhI, and Mirds b. Udayya (Ab Bill). The
size oI Khrijite groups allowed them to maintain a more tribe-like structure, and
consequently to preserve more oI the constitution oI the early caliphate: that is,
Khrijite leadership was able to remain on a personal (and inIormal) level. The
Khrijite community, thereby, exercised checks on the authority oI their Imm
(insoIar as they monitored and deposed or resisted the Imm) that were simi-
lar to those implemented by the pre-Islamic tribe, and granted (in theory) to the
early Islamic community. The Umayyads, on the other hand, administered a large,
impersonal empire, and consequently were not able to maintain the personal style
oI authority. Instead, they driIted toward an authoritarian method oI leadership
that relied on conceptions oI divine sanction, and consequently required obedi-
ence Irom the community.
Necessity oI the Imm in Khrijite Religious Thought
Another consequence oI the belieI in the eIIicacy oI the Imm was that most
Khrijite subsects held an Imm to be necessary Ior the Iunctioning oI the Islamic
umma. While no systematic expression oI this belieI exists in early Khrijite
sources, the prevalence oI Imms in the early Khrijite subsects tacitly presup-
posed the need Ior a leader. Like the early Caliphs, the Umayyads and early
Khrijites selected and acknowledged leaders, thus implying their belieI in the
necessity oI the institution. However, not all Khrijite groups accepted the notion
that an Imm was required. Evidence Irom heresiographical sources explains that
certain groups oI Najdt rejected the obligatory nature oI the immate. However,
this belieI remained an exception applicable only to the later Najdt. Moreover, it
resulted Irom the unique historical circumstances oI the later Najdt, and cannot
be considered typical oI the Khrijites as a whole.
Sunni heresiography and histories conIirm a general Khrijite commitment
to acknowledgment oI Imms by pledge (baya). The Muhakkima Iirst employed
these concepts when they seceded Irom Als army to Harr. There they declared
their independence Irom Al and acknowledged Shabath b. Rib al-Tamm as
their leader in battle (amr al-qitl) and Abdullh b. al-Kuww al-Yashkr as
leader oI prayers (amr al-salt). The Muhakkima considered these leaders tem-
porary, and vowed to convene a council (shr) to establish a permanent leader.
Until such time as they could select a permanent Imm, they declared their alle-
giance to God (al-baya lil-lh) on the condition that every soldier command
the good and Iorbid evil.
Similarly, aIter their return to KIa and subsequent
disillusionment with Al, the Muhakkima gathered at the house oI Abdullh b.
Wahb al-Rsib and, aIter some consideration, pledged their allegiance to him
The Muhakkima, despite their rejection oI Als authority, called
upon themselves to elect a leader (amr) Irom among usIor there must be
|a person who is| a support, a prop and a banner around whom you can rally, and
to whom you can return.
This phrase represents one oI the Iew examples oI an
overt declaration oI the necessity oI an Imm.
Likewise, heresiographical and historical sources contain scattered reIerences
to the acknowledgment oI later Khrijite Imms by pledge (baya): a subsect oI
the Azriqa who Iollowed Abd Rabbih al-Kabr pledged their allegiance to him
as Caliph (fa-byahu bi al-khilfa); a diIIerent subsect oI Azriqa pledged alle-
giance (bya) to Qatar b. al-Fuja.
These Azraqite leaders adopted the title
amr al-mminn, and used the baya to conIirm their authority among their
Similarly, heresiographers report that Najda b. mir al-HanaI used
the title amr al-mminn
as well as Imm
and was elected using the baya;

Atiyya b. al-Aswad inIormed Ab Fudayk that he had pledged allegiance to him-
selI (that is, he declared himselI the Imm);
the Iollowers oI Slih b. Musarrih
pledged allegiance to Shabb b. Yazd aIter Slihs death;
and al-Dahhk b.
Qays received allegiance Irom 120,000 soldiers, and Irom some Qurayshs when
he entered KIa.
Among the Omani Ibds, an early example oI the use oI baya
comes Irom Ab Hamza, who swore allegiance to Abdullh b. Yahya (Tlib
al-Haqq) in 129/745746.
Moreover, succeeding leaders among the Azriqa
and Najdt oI Fars and Kirmn established their authority to the extent oI being
able to mint coins: the Najdite leader Atiyya b. al-Aswad al-HanaI minted coins
in his name between 7276/691695; and the Azraqite Imm Qatar b. Fuja
minted coins with the title Commander oI the FaithIul in Fars between the
years 69 and 75/688 and 694.
Finally, al-Baldhur reports that Iollowers oI the
early Khrijite rebels Qarb and ZuhhI reIused to Iight without an Imm.
reIusal, likewise, illustrates the belieI oI these early Khrijites in the necessity
Ior an Imm.
The exception to the conviction oI the necessity oI an Imm among the
Khrijites was a group oI the Najdt, who shared the doctrine oI the rejection oI
the obligatory nature oI the Imm with certain Mutazilites, especially al-Asam,
Hishm al-Fuwat, al-Nazzm, Abbd b. Sulaymn, and the Mutazilite Ascetics
(sfiyyt al-mutazila).
Islamic heresiographical sources clearly portray the
Najdt as rejecting the immate: Zurqn relates Irom the Najdt that they say
that they do not need an Imm and that they are only obliged to act by the book oI
God in their dealings with each other;
the Najdiyya oI the Khrijites say that
the umma does not need an Imm or anyone else, and that they and other people
are only obligated to uphold the book oI God in their dealings with one another;

as Ior what the Najdt oI the Khawrij hold regarding the people not needing an
Imm and only being obliged to uphold the book oI God in their dealings with one
another, that doctrine is worthless.
Crone convincingly argues that the Najdite rejection oI the obligatory nature
oI the Imm developed as a survival strategy among the later Najdt, who lived in
a state oI secrecy.
Citing al-Mubarrad and al-Baghdds statements to the eIIect
that Najdt existed in later eras, Crone proposes that existing Najdt modiIied
their doctrines aIter the demise oI their initial revolt; al-Mubarrad reIerred to the
Najdt with the comment that many oI them remain to this day;
broke the Najdt into Iour groups, one oI which, he claimed, are the Najdt
today, implying the existence oI Najdt in the IiIth/tenth century.
In addition,
other historical sources hint at the continued existence oI the Najdt; despite the
massacre oI original Najdites in the Hijz, Ibn al-Athr mentions a Khrijite revolt
in Bahrain and al-Yamma in 106/724 by Masd b. Ab Zaynab al-Abd, and by
his successor Hill b. Mudlij, a mere thirty years aIter the downIall oI the origi-
nal Najdt.
No other Ibd or Sunni source reIers to this revolt, which must be
assumed to have Najdite inspiration. Given that the early Najdt acknowledge
Najda b. Amr al-HanaI as Imm, the rejection oI the obligatory nature oI the
immate must have occurred among the later Najdt.
The Najdite argument against the obligatory nature oI the Imm Irom
al-Shahrastns Kitb Nihyat al-Iqdm makes clear that the Najdt based this
doctrine on a rejection oI ijm in Iavor oI individual ijtihd.
Each Najdite was
viewed as a mujtahid in his own right, capable and responsible Ior making the
decisions that ultimately aIIected his salvation. It Iollowed that no ijtihd should
have preIerence over another, including the ijtihd oI the Imm.
Moreover, as the
Najdt argued, the community had not reached consensus (ijm) on the imamate
oI Ab Bakr or any other Imm since Ab Bakrs time. Ab Bakr had certainly
been the most qualiIied person (al-afdal) to lead the Muslim community aIter the
death oI the Prophet, and yet the early community could not agree upon him. And
iI the early Companions could not agree on an Imm, it would be impossible Ior
the community to do so now.
Thus, underlying this conception oI authority was
the view that the Imm was someone whose maniIest superiority over others would
make his choice as Imm obvious. At the same time, the Najdites believed that
this type oI Imm could not exist and that he was nothing more than a utopian
ideal. Due to the impossibility oI the Imm, the Najdt contented themselves with
a quasi-Imam, or ras whose authority rested solely on the Najdite communitys
approval oI him.
The ras deIended the community, and maintained order in it,
but enjoyed no special status or power.
As such, the later Najdt presented something oI an anomaly in Khrijite
history; no other Khrijite groups blatantly rejected the obligatory nature oI the
immate, or the eIIicacy oI the Imm in Iavor oI the ijtihd oI each individual. As
shown above, most other Khrijite groups tacitly accepted the need Ior an Imm
by repeatedly designating Imms. In addition, the early Ibdiyya explicitly linked
the success oI the community with their leaders, a position that implied the need
Ior an Imm.
The historical situation oI the later Najdt can account to a certain extent Ior
the peculiar Najdite rejection oI the obligatory nature oI the Imm. First, it is pos-
sible that the Najdite dismissal oI the necessity oI the Imm reIlects a doctrinal
justiIication Ior the later Najdites existence in a state oI taqiyya, whereby an
Imm proper remained impossible.
The later Najdt did not establish political
entities such as those oI the Ibdiyya and SuIriyya in Basra, Oman, and North
AIrica. Thus, they were unable to declare an immate, and may have developed
their doctrine to justiIy this situation. Second, the small, homogeneous communi-
ties in which the Najdt undoubtedly persisted lent themselves to inIormal modes
oI leadership, such as the ras. This state oI aIIairs diIIered little Irom the con-
dition oI the quietist Khrijite communities in Basra, or the post-Rustumid Ibd
communities in North AIrica. In both situations, the Ibd community eIIectively
Iunctioned without an Imm; the scholars who ruled during the Iormative period
oI Ibdism in Basra were only later dubbed Imms, and the North AIrican Ibd
ulam never claimed to be Imms, only to rule by dispensation in the Imms
stead. Thus, the later Najdt may have simply made overt what other groups,
especially the Ibdiyya, took pains to explain as exceptions in legal texts.
The Balance oI Authority in the Medieval Ibd Immate
The medieval Ibd immate ideal, as it is preserved in both western and eastern
Ibd sources, institutionalized the balance oI powers between the Ibd Imm
and the community (that is, the ulam as the representatives oI the community)
that was based upon a conviction in the communal duty to insure the eIIicacy oI
the Ibd Imm. This balance oI powers comprised, on the one hand, the neces-
sity and integrity oI the Imm whereby an Imm was considered an absolutely
requirement Ior the proper Iunctioning oI the umma, and the community could
not curtail certain aspects oI his authority. On the other hand, the Ibd commu-
nity retained the duty to select an Imm, to monitor his behavior, and to depose
him iI he committed a major inIraction oI Islamic law. Under certain conditions,
the Ibd ulam assumed more powers in relation to the Imm: in Oman they
imposed consultation on weak and dif Imms and, as shown to be the case
in North AIrica, they assumed Iull control oI the community in the absence oI
an Imm.
The early Ibd belieI in the eIIicacious role oI the Imm became a stan-
dard Ieature oI later Ibd thought, and medieval Ibd jurisprudence preserved
the notion that the Imm Iunctioned as a guide Ior his Iollowers, and thereby
aIIected their collective welIare. Al-Kind provides the example oI the Prophet
Muhammad as the Imm oI all people (imm al-khaliq), because God had
sent him as a model Ior all to Iollow. The Prophet Muhammad thus became the
preeminent Imm and religious guide. Likewise, al-Kind quotes the Prophetic
hadth that states: He who dies and does not know the Imm oI his age dies a
death oI ignorance; and Seeing the just Imm is an act oI worship.
hadth imply the necessity oI an Imm Ior the success oI the Islamic community.
Similarly, al-Kudam notes: like |the Prophets|, the Imm has his recompense
(lahu ajrahu), and |there is| reward Ior those who pursue obedience to him . . . so
long as he is just.
Al-Kind notes that the Imm is called the Imm because he
is |a source oI| order to the people; he is a source oI imitation Ior them; he is a
pattern whose word they Iollow; they Iollow his example by his command.
is clear that these jurists regard the Imm as someone who aIIects the destiny oI
his Iollowers by the Iact that he provides a model Ior behavior, and that by virtue
oI his ability to command obedience and action, he aIIects the actions oI his Iol-
lowers. This is an obvious continuation oI the earlier Ibd notion oI the Imm as
source oI succor Ior the community.
The Ibd belieI in the eIIicacy oI the Imm was not simply a pious phrase
repeated by legal scholars in books; it possessed important ramiIications Ior the
subsequent institutional structure oI the medieval Ibd immate. Among the
consequences oI this belieI was the consequent conviction that the Ibd com-
munity required an Imm. Al-Kind, synthesizing the views oI earlier Ibd schol-
ars, declares that the acknowledgment oI an Imm is a duty (fard) incumbent
upon the Muslim community, and produces Qurnic verses as evidence Ior his
Similarly, al-Bisyn establishes the necessity oI the Imm on the
basis oI the book oI God, the sunna oI the Prophet, and the consensus (ijm) oI
the community.
As iI responding to the Najdite attack on the consensus over
Ab Bakrs caliphate, al-Kind notes that although the early community could
not agree upon who should properly assume the leadership oI the community,
there was no dissention over the Iact that the community should have an Imm.

Moreover, as prooI oI the necessity oI the immate, Ab Mundhir argues that
only the Imms can apply Islamic legal penalties (the hudd).
This reIerence
to the application oI hudd is not accidental; the executive powers oI the Imm
remained an essential element oI the establishment oI Islamic justice. Although
disputed, a majority oI Ibd jurists held that no just social order existed, theoret-
ically, without the enIorcement oI Islamic law by a qualiIied Imm. By enIorcing
the hudd, the Ibd Imm became an indispensable institution that rendered the
laws oI God applicable in the world, and executed the Islamic responsibility oI
creating the just society on earth.
The same conviction in the eIIicacy oI the Imm protected, to a certain
extent, the integrity oI his authority. The paramount necessity oI an Imm to
the Ibd community implied certain amount oI authority independent Irom the
community. The basic principles behind the integrity oI the powers oI the Imm
were laid down very early in Ibd history by the second Basran Imm al-Rab b.
Habb al-Farhid, who ruled as head oI the Ibd community during the second
halI oI the second/eighth century. Al-Farhid, who pronounced on questions sur-
rounding the election oI the second Rustumid Imm Abd al-Wahhb, adjudged
that there could be no conditions imposed on the Imm (l shart al al-imm):
It is not Iitting that the Imm should submit to conditions and act only in
accordance with a regular assembly. The immate is truth and condi-
tions are Ialsehood. To impose conditions on the Imm . . . is to impede
the |application oI| punishments, to suppress judgment, and to destroy
the truth. II the powers oI the jama are such that the Imm cannot
condemn a thieI and cut oII his hand without consulting them, nor have
a adulterer stoned or Ilogged without consulting them, or iI he can not
make war upon the enemy and put a stop to disorder, such a state is
Thus, the integrity oI the Imms authority was protected, to a certain extent, Irom
communal interIerence.
Nevertheless, al-Farhids prohibition oI the imposition oI conditions on the
Imm did not rule out the possibility that the Imm could voluntarily consult with
the Muslims. In Iact, consultation with the Muslims (especially with the Ibd
ulam) was a highly recommended practice Ior an Imm. Al-Kind, Ior example,
declares: It is appropriate Ior the Imm to consult with the people oI legal opinion
(ahl al-ray) in religion.
Among the North AIrican Ibdiyya, Abd al-Rahmn
b. Rustum, as the representation oI the ideal Imm, was portrayed as consulting
the Muslims over seemingly trivial matters; Ior example, Ibn al-Saghr and Ab
Zakariyya narrate how Abd al-Rahmn consulted his ulam as to whether he
should accept a monetary giIt Irom two Basran Ibd visitors.
Thus, while con-
sultation was not required oI the Imm, it was highly recommended.
Just as medieval Ibd jurisprudence protected the integrity oI the Imms
decision-making capabilities Irom interIerence Irom the Ibd community, so it
also shielded, to a certain extent, the integrity oI the Imms oIIice. According to
al-Kudam, as long as the Imm acted according to the standards oI justice, com-
munal obedience became a qualiIied duty: the people are required to obey the
just Imms insoIar as |the Imms| obey God and His messenger, and act by His
Book, and do not change its interpretation, and do not demand obedience to some-
thing sinIul.
Likewise, al-Sigh warns, the Iundamental principle involved
is that since the imma is a divine obligation, the Imm may not be deposed
or abdicate without good reason (udhr). The grounds Ior removal involve sin,
mental incapacity, or a reIusal to discharge the responsibilities incumbent upon
the Imm; in all other cases the Imm must be obeyed.
This type oI qualiIied
obedience allowed the Imm to operate, to a certain extent, independently Irom
the inIluence oI the community.
On the other hand, the Ibd ulam were granted limited powers in relation
to the Imm. These powers included the duty to choose, monitor and, possibly, to
depose the Imm. In the selection oI an Imm, the communal aspects oI author-
ity became apparent in the requirement Ior a council to pick an Imm, as well
as in the transIormation oI the practice oI baya into a qualiIied pledge. Among
the Ibdiyya, the practice oI shr is well documented, and became an essential
aspect oI the medieval institution oI the Imm. Ibd sources present Omani Ibd
Imms as elected by a council oI Ibd shaykhs. Regarding the election oI the Iirst
Omani leader, al-Writh b. Kab al-Khars, Ibn Qahtn reports, |the Muslims|
gathered and chose Ior themselves an Imm.
Likewise, al-Kind, Ab Muthir,
and Ibn Baraka hold consultation (mashwara) in the choice oI an Imm to be
required, even iI only two oI the ulam are present (six are preIerred, in emu-
lation oI the council established by the Caliph Umar to select his successor).

Ab Ishq requires at least six men oI knowledge to establish an Imm.
In North
AIrica, the Iirst Imm, Abd al-Rahmn b. Rustum, was elected by a council oI
Berber tribal leaders, aIter which leadership in the Rustumid dynasty became
The authority oI the community was symbolically acknowledged during the
pledge oI allegiance (baya) to the Imm. Al-Kind preserves examples oI the
ways in which the Iollowers oI the Imm might pledge their allegiance to him:
the pledge is qualiIied with the promise to Iollow obedience to God, and to
His Prophet Muhammad, to act by His Book, and by the sunna oI His Prophet
Muhammad, and to command the good and Iorbid evil.
Although generalized,
such conditions transIormed the baya into an instrument oI potential control on
behalI oI those pledging allegiance. The Iollowers oI the Imm claimed a right
against him to reIuse obedience and depose him iI he should Iail to uphold the
standards oI Islam. Such latent authority on behalI oI the Imms subjects clearly
demonstrated the limiting authority oI the Ibd community in the application oI
the baya.
Medieval Ibd jurisprudence Iurther institutionalized the activist commu-
nal posture oI the Ibdiyya by requiring the community to monitor and depose
an unjust ruler. Ibn Mahbb argues that the application oI the hudd becomes
meaningless unless the Imm is just; thereIore it is imperative Ior the Imm to be
Al-Kind, representing a general view among Ibd jurors, explains that an
unjust Imm, or an Imm who persists in sin, must be removed, by Iorce iI neces-
sary, Irom the position oI Imm unless he repents.
In resisting an unjust Imm,
al-Kind argues, the community is not required to establish another Imm beIore
rebelling, and is only compelled to rebel iI it has the capacity to succeed. Al-Kind
cites the example oI Uthmns killing to justiIy his ruling that the community
may depose a leader beIore establishing a new leader.
Likewise, al-Kudam
requires the community to depose an Imm iI he does not maintain the standards
oI Islamic behavior: II |the Imms| sin against God, then the people owe them
no obedienceon the contrary, the people are |then| required to depose them, and
Iight them until they return to the ruling oI the Book oI God, and the sunna oI His
Prophet Muhammad.
This activist stance oI the Ibd community in relation to
their leaders necessarily limited the authority oI Ibd leaders, making the scope oI
the Imms authority similar (at least in theory) to the restricted authority oI Ab
Bakr and Umar.
In actual Iact, the Ibdiyya rarely deposed their leaders on the basis oI sin.
In a third/ninth-century epistle, Ibn Qahtn gives a candid view oI some oI the
misdeeds oI the Imms. His description was meant to prove a point in the contro-
versy surrounding the replacement oI the Imm al-Salt b. Mlik by a rival Iaction
oI the Julanda tribe. Ibn Qahtn argues that although earlier Imms acted in a
manner that was inconsistent with the strict requirements oI justice, these Imms
nonetheless maintained their authority as Imms. As examples, Ibn Qahtn dis-
cusses the Imm Abd al-Mlik b. Humayd who went insane and had to be con-
Iined to his palace, yet was not deposed. Similarly, Ibn Qahtn relates how two
oI the most prominent Omani scholars secretly dissociated Irom the Omani Imm
al-Muhann b. JayIar because oI his tyrannical behavior, and yet he nevertheless
retained the position oI Imm.
Even so, medieval Ibd jurisprudence theoretically balanced the authority oI
the Ibd Imm with certain powers that it reserved Ior the Ibd community.
This need Ior an Imm who could exercise the responsibilities oI an Islamic leader
simultaneously guaranteed that the community did not interIere overmuch in the
immate, at least under ideal conditions. However, in extreme cases, the Ibd
community might have to Iorgo the requirement Ior an Imm iI the existence oI the
community was threatened. II, Ior example, the Ibdiyya did not possess the ability
to eIIectively resist an unjust Imm, the community entered a state oI concealment
(kitmn) and the immate became dispensable.
This state oI concealment and
consequent lack oI Imm remained a special dispensation (rukhsa), while the ulti-
mate duty to establish and support an Imm persisted.
Thus, while it is Iormally
correct to say that the Ibd Imm is dispensable, it is only so in exceptional situa-
tions involving the potential annihilation oI the Ibd community. In all other cases
the imma was required.
In North AIrica, the special conditions that allowed Ior the Ibd community to
enter a state oI kitmn and thereby to dispense with their Imm have persisted until
the present day, and the Ibds there have evolved novel institutions oI authority Ior
the state oI kitmn on the basis oI leadership by the Ibd ulam. Nevertheless,
the North AIrican Ibd ulam upheld the duty oI the community to possess an
Imm. Al-Malsht, a IiIth/eleventh century Berber Ibd theologian who lived
in southern Tunisia and al-Warjln (in present-day Algeria) during the time oI
kitmn, wrote: We consider the contract oI the Imm a duty (aqd al-imma
farda andan).
Thus, while the North AIrican Ibds have practically replaced
the institution oI the Imm with other Iorms oI communal governance, the neces-
sity oI an immate has remained as an ideal.
Medieval Ibd jurisprudence also recognized the possibility oI accepting a
restricted Imm, that is, Imms who governed either Ior a limited time or Ior the
purposes oI deIending the Ibd community. As we have seen, such an Imm
was called a deIensive Imm (al-imm al-dif or al-imm al al-dif), and
was allowable when the community entered into a deIensive posture vis-a-vis its
Although this institution remained hypothetical in North AIrica, the
Omani Ibdiyya developed it along practical lines: the Ibd community elected
the deIensive Imm on the provision that he could be removed aIter a Iixed time
or aIter the conclusion oI hostilities.
When the deIensive Imm was appointed
Ior a Iixed period oI time, he became, in the words oI al-Bisyn, like a trustee
(wakl) oI the community. Ibd scholars provide the example oI Abdullh b.
Wahb al-Rsib and the Imm Muhammad b. Ab AIIn (who brieIly ruled
in Oman in 178180/794796) as prototypes Ior the deIensive Imms.

Concurrently, Omani Ibd scholars established the notion oI the weak Imm
(al-imm al-daf ); iI the Ibd community Ieared it would not survive, a pow-
erIul but unqualiIied person may be given the oath oI a weak Imm on condition
that he consult with the Ibd ulam.
This consultation applied to the use oI
the treasury, appointing administrators (wal/awliy), raising an army, and judg-
ing in matters oI the shara. Weak Imms, according to al-Bisyn, may only be
elected during times oI dire necessity (darra).
Thus, the notion oI a deIen-
sive or weak Imm presents another case where the Ibd community claimed an
increased amount oI authority over the Imm beyond that already granted to them
in the case oI a strong Imm. As Wilkinson notes, deIensive and weak Imms
were limited to periods oI imperIect Ibd rule, especially during the collapse oI
the third Ibd immate in Oman (IiIth/eleventh through the sixth/twelIth cen-
turies), when the concepts oI the deIensive and weak Imm were increasingly
Thus, the Ibd imma presents a case whereby medieval Ibd
jurisprudence only recognized an expanded authority Ior the community when
the imma was threatened with annihilation. Although the potential Ior the Ibd
community to dominate the Imm increased with the establishment oI deIensive
or weak Imms, Ibd scholars took great pains to discourage the use oI weak and
deIensive Imms, stressing their contingent and limited natures.
The balance oI powers that ideally existed between the Ibd Imm and their com-
munity, as it is preserved in medieval Ibd legal and historical texts, established
the necessity oI the Imm, as well as the powers granted to the ulam in rela-
tion to selecting, monitoring, and deposing the Imm. This institutional structure
was based on an underlying conviction in the eIIicacy oI the Imm, and in the
need Ior the community to assure their own success by insuring that the Imm
perIormed in a manner beIitting his position. These institutional Ieatures oI the
medieval Ibd imma were based on earlier precedents: the powers assumed by
Arabian tribes in relation to the pre-Islamic sayyid, and the authority granted to the
community during the caliphates oI Ab Bakr and Umar. Likewise, the Qurn
implied a soteriological role Ior the Prophet as leader oI the community, and hinted
at a possible role Ior the community in monitoring temporal institutions oI author-
ity. Although the early Khrijites and Umayyads shared a belieI in the eIIicacy oI
their leaders, they reached diIIerent conclusions regarding the subsequent powers
oI the community in relation to the Imm. The early Khrijites maintained a bal-
ance oI powers much closer to what had existed during the pre-Islamic and early
Islamic era. The Umayyads, on the other hand, based their theory oI the leaders
eIIicacy on the divine sanction oI their Caliphs, and consequently tended toward
The pre-Islamic and early Islamic precedents Ior the balance oI authority
between Ibd Imm and Ibd ulam ultimately became incorporated into medi-
eval Ibd institutions oI authority in numerous institutional Iorms: on the one
hand, in the necessity oI the Imm, and in the protection oI certain oI his powers;
on the other hand, the authority oI the Ibd community to select, monitor, and
depose an Imm based upon the criterion oI righteousness. Moreover, the Ibd
community assumed extra authority in the case oI a daf or dif Imm, or in the
special case oI the state oI kitmn, when an Imm became dispensable. These spe-
cial conditions, however, did not overrule the belieI in the ultimate necessity oI the
Imm, or in the integrity oI the oIIice oI the Imm.
The importance oI the Ibdiyya Ior Islamic studies, and Ior the study oI
sectarianism in general, lies in their uniqueness as the only remaining
subsect oI a signiIicant sectarian grouping in early Islamic history, the
Khrijites. And although it is true that the Ibdiyya have developed well
beyond their early maniIestations in Basra, and only vaguely resemble
their cousins among the Khrijites, they nevertheless do represent a dis-
tinctivethe Ibds would say a truerinterpretation oI what it means
to be a Muslim. As such, the historical study oI the Ibdiyya oIIers a
means by which scholars can gain a Iresh perspective on the course oI
Islamic history by sidestepping the usual Sunni and Shiite accounts and
assumptions. This endeavor has been greatly Iacilitated by the recent
publications oI the Ibd textual corpus, which oIIers a wealth oI newly
available resources Ior the scholar.
Yet the uniqueness oI the Ibdiyyaand oI their distant relatives
the Khrijitesmust not be overstated. Sunni (and occasionally Shiite)
heresiographers, who mapped the sectarian geography oI their eras in
an attempt to establish the one true and saved Islamic sect, sepa-
rated all other groups as heretical by accentuating their doctrinal and
practical diIIerences. The isolation oI the Khrijite subsects was the
predictable result oI these polemics, whereby heresiographers treated
any group not deemed appropriately orthodox as exceptional. Likewise,
the well-known historical sources Ior early Islamic history accentuate
the tendency to view the Khrijites and their subsects as deviants Irom
the emerging Sunni norm. Not only did the compilers oI the great
Muslim annals live many decades aIter the events that their sources described but
they also inherited and contributed to a historical tradition that was rarely written
by Khrijites and oIten hostile to them.
In the near absence oI primary materials
Irom the Khrijites, modern scholars, Muslim and non-Muslim alike, have relied
heavily on heresiographical and historical texts Ior their inIormation on the Islamic
sects. These sources have bequeathed to scholarship on the Khrijites a tendency to
view them as exceptional, isolated, and unique.
Because the question oI Islamic sectarian identity is intimately tied to con-
ceptions oI proper politicoreligious authority, the development oI the Ibd
immate theory oIIers a means to reassess the uniqueness oI Ibd sectarian iden-
tity. This study has attempted to correct the common scholarly misperception oI
the Khrijites and Ibdiyya as anomalous cases in Islamic history by locating
historical precedents Ior the Ibd immate in the broader Islamic currents out oI
which they developed. A central assumption has been that the historical, regional,
and internal complexities oI the medieval Ibd immate suggest a correspond-
ingly complex evolutionary process that produced them. Such an assumption is
not uniquely appropriate to the Ibdiyya; al-Mward, Ior example, built upon,
systematized and expanded the views oI his predecessors regarding the caliphate,
exercising his judgment as required to adapt the inherited tradition oI the caliphate
to the circumstances oI his day.
In such a way, the Sunni caliphate. as articulated
by al-Mward became the product oI several diIIerent layers oI historical prec-
edent rationalized into a single vision oI the caliphate. Likewise, the medieval
Ibd immate ideal is the product oI multiple institutions oI authority that were
inherited Irom earlier eras via the early Basran Ibdiyya. Various historical con-
ceptions and institutions oI authority were passed on to the early Basran Ibds,
who uniIied them into a somewhat coherent theory oI authority Ior the Ibdiyya,
and then subsequently passed this theory on to the Ibdiyya in North AIrica and
Oman, where historical circumstances obliged scholars oI the immate traditions
to adapt the imma according to regional considerations. Thus the medieval North
AIrican immate ideal recognizes Iour distinct types oI Imm, which match up
with Iour diIIerent conditions oI the community, while the Omani immate theory
acknowledges Iour types oI Imms, who correspond to two diIIerent states oI the
community. This study has illustrated how the Ibd vision oI the immate, to the
extent that it can be reconstructed Irom a comparison oI later medieval Ibd the-
ories, built upon, systematized, and expanded the concepts and earlier institutions
oI authority that they inherited Irom the Iormative period oI Ibdism in Basra, the
early Khrijite era, the Madnan caliphate, the Qurn and the Prophetic model oI
leadership, and also the pre-Islamic era.
SpeciIically, it has shown how ideas oI personal merit shaped, to a certain
extent, the pre-Islamic institution oI the sayyid, but that the advent oI Islam redeIined
the merits appropriate to leaders along the lines oI Islamic piety. This conception oI
piety and moral rectitude as a legitimate aspect oI authority achieved, in the eyes
oI Muslims, its most perIect expression under the leadership oI the Prophet as the
ultimate example oI a moral leader; the examples oI Ab Bakr and Umar Iollow
in importance. Using the Prophet and early Islamic caliphates as their model, the
early Khrijites adopted notions oI piety and moral rectitude that were perceived
to be a part oI the early Madnan caliphate oI Ab Bakr and Umar, and incorpo-
rated these principles into their own institutions oI authority. The Ibdiyya, in turn,
adapted the Khrijite institutions oI authority to their own institution oI the zuhr
Imm: the type oI Imm who represented the optimal leader, and who ruled under
ideal conditions.
Yet the early Khrijites and Ibdiyya oIten Iound themselves in less than opti-
mal situations. In the most extreme cases, like that oI kitmn, where the very sur-
vival oI the sect seemed in jeopardy, the Ibds suspended the requirements oI the
immate while turning to the scholars oI their community Ior leadership and guid-
ance. In this condition, the possession oI knowledge, in addition to piety, legiti-
mated the ulams assumption oI authority. This situation also had its precedents,
Ior like piety, conceptions oI knowledge as a characteristic expected oI leaders
circulated during the pre-Islamic era, and continued into the Islamic era as the
belieI in divinely inspired knowledge as a Iundamental element oI the oIIice oI
Prophet. AIter the Prophet Muhammads death, the early Madnan Caliphs were
subsequently assumed to have ilm (deIined aIter the coming oI Islam as knowl-
edge oI religion), and the possession oI knowledge became a requirement Ior the
caliphate. The Khrijites systematized the trait oI knowledge, like the quality oI
piety, into their conception oI legitimate authority, and made the possession oI
knowledge a requirement Ior the immate. However, the experience oI living in
a state oI secrecy (kitmn), in which no Imm existed, thrust the inIormal leader-
ship oI the Khrijite community onto the ulam. In such a way, the possession
oI ilm became a requisite Ior the Imm, as well as Ior those who assumed limited
authority over the Khrijite community when the immate was limited or ren-
dered impossible. Later medieval Ibd institutions oI the imm al-dif, the imm
al-daf, and the largely Iictive institution oI the imm al-kitmn reIlect, in their
own ways, this concern Ior knowledgeable leaders as well as the ideological need
to create, in the case oI the imm al-kitmn, an institution that served to bolster
the Ibd claims to an unbroken line oI Imms (and their ilm) reaching back to
the Prophet Muhammad.
Next, this study turned to the shr Imm, a truly unique aspect oI Ibd
immate theory. Unlike piety and knowledge, the notion oI shir did not origi-
nate as a concept oI authority, nor did it necessarily originate in the pre-Islamic
era. Shir, under the earliest Khrijites, described an indigenous, Khrijite
interpretation oI the Qurnic and early Islamic concepts and institutions oI jihd
and martyrdom (shahda). In the early Islamic period, the practice oI shir cre-
ated a pantheon oI Khrijite heroes and martyrs (shurt), whose stories possessed
tremendous potential as propaganda. In such a way, the practice oI shir post-
humously conIerred an authority on the Khrijite shurt and created an inIormal
institution oI martyrs and heroes. The Basran Ibdiyya adopted the Iraqi narra-
tives oI the early Khrijite martyrs and heroes in order to assimilate their mantle
and bolster the popular appeal oI the Ibd sect. Furthermore, by posthumously
raising the early Iraqi heroes and martyrs to the status oI Imms, the Ibdiyya
established the precedent Ior the medieval Ibd institution oI the imm al-shir.
However, medieval Ibd jurists tempered the revolutionary potential oI this insti-
tution by encasing it in a set oI juridical regulations. In eIIect, the institutionali-
zation oI shir tamed its revolutionary potential, and brought it saIely under the
purview oI the scholars.
Finally, this study examined how a belieI in the eIIicaciousness oI the leader
empowered the Ibd community (represented by the ulam) with the duty to
select, monitor, and potentially depose the Imm. It argued that this conception
oI communal authority, balanced by the conviction in the necessity and ultimate
integrity oI the Imm, has precedents in the pre-Islamic conception oI tribal sur-
vival and communal authority; Iurthermore, it is implied by the Qurn, and by
the way in which the early Caliphs encouraged the tribal-Islamic model oI bal-
anced powers between leader and community during the Madnan period. While
the early Umayyad Caliphs moved toward a more authoritarian model oI author-
ity, the early Khrijites perpetuated the tribal-Islamic model oI communal author-
ity, a model that eventually provided the precedent Ior the role oI the community
in relation to the medieval Ibd Imm.
Having examined these Iour aspects oI medieval Ibd immate theory, it
should be noted that the deconstruction oI the immate institution into Iour diIIer-
ent institutions corresponding to Iour underlying aspects oI authority is a some-
what subjective exercise, even iI the institutions can be Iound in medieval Ibd
immate writings. In Iact, attention to piety, knowledge, bravery, and the need
Ior the community to insure that the Imm abides by all three are concerns that
permeate every aspect oI the North AIrican and Omani immate institutions to
some degree. Likewise, distinctions between the imm al-zuhr, imm al-shir,
imm al-dif, and imm al-kitmn are not nearly as clear as post-medieval Ibd
immate theorists (and the non-Ibd scholars who rely on them) would have us
believe. Nevertheless, it is a helpIul exercise to separate and Iocus on the diIIer-
ent Iacets oI the Imms authority in order to highlight the diIIerent institutional
Ieatures oI the immate across regional, sectarian, and historical boundaries. By
so doing, the deconstruction oI the Imms authority serves as a means to examine
the similarities underlying the various subinstitutions that comprise the North
AIrican and Omani theories oI the immate.
Moreover, by Iocusing on the constituent parts oI the Ibd immate, this
study has been able to illuminate its correspondences with earlier Islamic, that
is, proto-Sunni, as well as early Shiite and (non-Ibd) Khrijite, models oI
authority. Thus, analysis oI the historical precedents oI the Ibd immate ideal
highlights the importance oI the persistence oI tribal models oI authority into the
early Islamic period, and how these tribal understandings oI authority Iunctioned
as precedents Ior the early Khrijite, as well as the medieval Ibd institutions
oI authority. However, it must be stressed that so-called tribal paradigms oI
authority must be understood in relation to the whole oI Islamic societys develop-
ment, and not simply restricted to the pre-Islamic era. That is, the early Madnan
period oI Islamic history remained grounded in tribal models oI social structure
and authority insoIar as tribal ideals continued to animate the decisions oI those in
positions oI power, even when they were thoroughly anchored in the urban milieu
oI Makka and Madna. ThereIore, it is not enough to observe, as Watt does, that
the Khrijites attempted to reconstitute on an Islamic basis the small groups they
had been Iamiliar with in the desert.
Islamic society was already steeped in a
tribal ethos that shaped its conceptions oI legitimate authority; the Khrijites sim-
ply systematized (albeit selectively) tribal notions oI authority that underpinned
the Madnan caliphate itselI. Watts statement on the authority oI the Khrijite
Imm turns out to be partially helpIul, and partially misleading: the authority oI
the Khrijite Imm remained primus inter pares, like the Arab sayyid, but only
because the Khrijites modeled their institutions oI authority on Ab Bakr and
Umar, whose authority remained, like the Arab sayyid, the Iirst among equals.
In the Iinal analysis, the Khrijite political theories were no more or less tribal
than their proto-Sunni or Shiite counterparts, all oI which sprang Irom a similar
Arabian context. For this reason, the supposed exceptionalism oI the Khrijite
(and thereby Ibd) case must be viewed with caution.
By looking at the areas oI convergence between Ibd and non-Ibd concep-
tions oI leadership, a clearer idea oI what constitutes their diIIerences also arises.
Despite their emergence Irom and debt to the Arabian context Irom which they
developed, there is no denying that the Sunni, Shiite, and Ibd paths toward
their own understanding oI legitimate authority began to diverge at an early
period. Thus, though the proto-Sunnis, Khrijites, and Ibdiyya share a concern
Ior the moral probity oI their leaders, only the Khrijites and Ibdiyya clung to
and later incorporated this belieI into the very structure oI the immate insti-
tution. Likewise, while the Khrijites, Ibdiyya, and early Shiites Iound them-
selves arrayed against the Umayyads as part oI what has been called the pious
opposition, Khrijite, Ibd, and Shiite notions oI what constituted knowledge
Iundamentally diIIered. Further, only the Ibdiyya developed the particularly
Khrijite institution oI shir into the shr Imm, despite the popularity and pro-
liIeration oI Shiite martyrdom narratives. And only the Khrijites and Ibdiyya
maintain the Iormal role oI the community (via the ulam) as a stopgap against
the excesses oI their leaders, even though such a relationship exists inIormally
among the Sunni ulam, and aIter the disappearance oI the twelIth Imm, the
same could be said Ior the twelver Shiite ulam at certain points in their long
Finally, in tracing the internal developments oI the Ibd immate theory, this
study has oIIered a model Ior understanding how a religious institution develops,
even across geographical boundaries, into an integral aspect oI religious identity.
The Ibd institution oI the Imm, and its constituent parts, has been shown as a
complex institution with an equally multiIaceted history that stretches back to the
early periods oI Islamic history and beyond. Such a model Ior conceptualizing
institutions looks to several sources Ior mapping the accumulation oI historical
development. Most important, this model looks beyond sectarian deIinitions oI the
Ibdiyya (which were established aIter the Iormative period oI Ibdism) toward the
areas where Ibd, Khrijite, proto-Sunni, and proto-Shiite doctrines, practices,
and thereby identities comingled.
It is hoped that this study will serve as a stepping stone Ior Iurther investiga-
tion. Ibd studies remain very much in their inIancy, and plenty oI work remains
to be done. While this study Iocused on the processes and inIluences that worked
to shape the Ibdiyya Irom within the Islamic Iold, another inquiry should attend to
the inIluences oI non-Islamic contexts and sources on the Khrijites and Ibdiyya.
The Khrijites did, aIter all, emerge in Iraq into an era saturated with Christian,
Jewish, Zoroastrian, and pagan traditions. In particular, the time has come Ior a
reassessment oI Moronys insights into the Assyrian Christian inIluences on early
Mesopotamian Khrijites and other aspects oI Khrijite religious thought in light
oI now accessible Ibd texts.
While Ibd resources oIIer a glimpse into a world
oI religious ideas that exists parallel to the Sunni and Shia, they may also suggest
a means to cross the dividing line between Muslims, Christians, Jews, and other
religious groups oI the late antique to early medieval period.
In addition, much work remains to be done on the actual Iunctioning oI the
immate, especially as it was practiced in Oman at various times. This study has
concerned itselI with the immate ideal as it has been articulated primarily in legal
works and idealized histories. As such, the immate ideal presented in those works
and reIlected in this study does not necessarily correspond to how Ibd Imms
have, in reality, been selected, maintained, or deposed. It is hoped that this study
might provide a reIerence point Ior such research.
The increased availability oI Ibd materials, both early and medieval, has
enabled a reassessment oI the origins and development oI the Ibd immate ideal
and allowed a modiIication oI certain entrenched notions about the Khrijite atti-
tude toward authority in general. As the distant relative and, in some senses, the
sole remaining representative oI the movement that was known as Khrijism,
the Ibdiyya and their texts provide a rare opportunity Ior scholars oI Islam to
step outside oI the typical Sunni-Shiadominated Irames oI reIerence. Such per-
spective oIIers a welcome opportunity to view the history oI Islam Irom a Iresh
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1. According to a hadth (which survives in many variants), Muhammad is
reported to have said: the Jews are divided into seventy-one sects, and
the Christians into seventy-two, but my community will be divided into
seventy-three sects. Only one oI these sects would be the saved sect
(al-firqa al-njiyya), leaving seventy-two to be damned. See Abd al-Qhir
b. Thir al-Baghdd, al-Farq Bayn al-Firaq (Beirut: Dr al-AIq al-Jadda,
1987), 4.
2. WilIerd Madelung, The Succession to Muhammad (Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press, 1997), 1.
3. Wellhausen, Ior example, used the Sunni sources available to him in his
1901 work Die Religios-Politischen Oppositionsparteien im Alten Islam,
and accordingly he provides only the barest details about the Ibdiyya.
Relevant passages may be Iound in Julius Wellhausen, The Religio-
Political Factions in Early Islam (New York: American Elsevier, 1975),
45; 8588. Likewise, Salems treatment oI the Khrijite Immate relies
overwhelmingly on evidence Irom Sunni sources. He cites only the Ibd
authors available to him in 1956: al-Shammkh, Ab Zakariyya, Ibn Rziq,
and Ibn Saghr. See Elie Adib Salem, Political Theory and Institutions of
the Khawrij (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1956), 4767.
4. Ennamis edited Arabic texts may be Iound in his PhD dissertation,
published as Amr K. Ennami, Studies in Ibadism (Edition of Ibd texts)
(Tripoli, Libya: Publications oI the University oI Libya Faculty oI Arts,
5. Patricia Crone and Fritz Zimmerman, trs. and eds., The Epistle of Slim Ibn
Dhakwn (New York: OxIord University Press, 2001).
6. Lewicki, whose Iamiliarity with the Ibd manuscript collection in the Krakow library
and insights into the early Ibd immate oI Basra and North AIrica remain unsur-
passed, nevertheless accepts the portrayal oI Ibd history given in the texts them-
selves. Similar criticism may be leveled at Ennami and other modern Ibd historians
such as AtIayyish, al-Hrith, and Muammar, as well as the Jordanian scholar
KhulayIt and UAE scholar Ghubash.
7. Montgomery Watt, The Formative Period of Islamic Thought (OxIord: Oneworld,
1998), 16; Keith Lewinstein, The Azriqa in Islamic Heresiography, BSOAS 54
(1991); Lewinstein, Making and Unmaking a Sect: the Heresiographers and the
SuIriyya, SI 76 (1992); Lewinstein, Notes on Eastern HanaIite Heresiography,
JAOS 114 (1994).
8. Levy claims that the Khrijites disputed any need at all Ior any imm, or head oI
the State, as long as the divine law was carried out. See Reuben Levy, The Social
Structure of Islam (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1957), 279. Likewise,
Salem maintains: iI the people can, without any superior authority, exercise
|the application oI the shara|, then there is no need Ior an Imm. See Political
Theory, 51.
9. Hamid Dabashi, Authority in Islam (New Brunswick, N.J.: Transaction, 1989), 125.
10. For a discussion oI scholarship on the Khrijites, see Hussam S. Timani, Modern
Intellectual Readings of the Kharijites (New York: Peter Lang, 2008); Adam Gaiser,
Source Critical Methodologies in Recent Scholarship on the Khrijites, Historical
Compass 7/5 (2009): 13761390.
11. Watt, Formative Period, 3637.
12. Salem, Ior example, opts to describe the Khrijite political organization as a nomoc-
racya system ruled by the Word oI God (the Qurn) and enIorced by the Khrijite
community, which only grudgingly accepted a human authority out oI practical need
Ior a strong leader. See Political Theory, 4850. In a similar vein, Bernard Lewis
characterized the Khrijites as an aggressive anarchist opposition acknowledging no
authority but that oI a Caliph whom they themselves selected and whom they could,
and Irequently did, at any time reject. See The Arabs in History (New York: Harper
and Row, 1966), 7374. Likewise, Dabashi argues that the Khrijites substituted the
radical puritanism oI the Khrijite community as a surrogate Ior meaningIul govern-
ment. See Authority in Islam, 124.
13. Salem, Political Authority, 4950. Similarly, Watt acknowledges the importance
oI leadership to the Khrijite movement, but nevertheless locates soteriological
eIIicacy in the Khrijites supposed charismatic community. See Formative
Period, 37.
14. Dabashi writes: Political authority stripped oI any signiIicant sacred or metaphys-
ical signiIicance was the sole attribute oI any Muslim leader. See Authority in
Islam, 7.
15. Dabashi claims that the Khrijites radical democracy, along with the lack oI insti-
tutional order to regulate it made positions oI authority precarious. See Authority
in Islam, 128. Von Grunebaum Iinds that the moral absolutism oI the Khrijites
precluded the possibility oI building a state. See Gustav Von Grunebaum, Classical
Islam: A History 6001258 (New York: Barnes and Noble Books, 1970), 62. Lambton
views the arbitrariness oI the Khrijites methods oI deciding on the legitimacy oI their
Imm as an inherent aspect oI the Khrijite communitys willingness to depose their
Imm on moral grounds, and an indicator oI the Iailing oI the Imms authority. See
Ann Lambton, State and Government in Medieval Islam (OxIord: OxIord University
Press, 1981), 24. Wellhausen also believes that the Khrijites acted recklessly on
their duty to insure moral rectitude in leadership: their extreme observance oI the
principles oI Islam led them to depose their Imm over trivial indiscretions and
resulted in their splitting up into sects over minor diIIerences. See Religio-Political
Factions, 22.
16. Patricia Crone, Gods Rule: Government and Islam (New York: Columbia University
Press, 2004), 57.
17. Crone, Gods Rule, 59.
18. Elizabeth Savage, A Gateway to Hell, A Gateway to Paradise: The North African
Response to the Arab Conquest (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1997), 4361.
19. For a description oI some oI the adaptations to the Omani Ibd imma aIter its Iormal
establishment, see John C. Wilkinson, The Imamate Tradition of Oman (Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press, 1987), 149175.
20. Ab Zakariyya was a member oI the North AIrican Ibd generation (tabaqa) that
dates Irom the end oI the Iourth/tenth and beginning oI the IiIth/eleventh centuries.
His quote regarding the stages oI religion is the Iirst comprehensive statement on
the maslik al-dn. See Ab al-Abbs Ahmad b. Sad al-Darjn, Kitb Tabaqt
al-Mashyikh b al-Maghrib (Algiers: Alger-Constantine, n.d.), 2:364. For a medi-
eval North AIrican description oI the stages, see Ab Zakariyya Yahy Ibn Ab
Khayr al-Jannwan (d. sixth/twelIth century), Kitb al-Wad (Muscat: Maktabat
al-Istiqma, n.d.), 29.
21. al-Kind, al-Musannaf (Muscat: WTQwTh, 1984), 10:5354. Only since the revival oI
Ibdism in the tenth/sixteenth century have the Iour stages become a permanent Iix-
ture oI western/North AIrican and eastern/Omani Ibd descriptions oI the immate.
See Adam Gaiser, The Ibd Stages oI Religion Re-examined: Tracing the History
oI the Maslik al-Dn, BSOAS 73/2 (2010): 207222. For a description oI the mod-
ern Ibd imma, see Husayn Ubayd Ghnim Ghubsh, Umn: al-Dmuqrtiyya
al-Islmiyya Taqld al-Imma (Beirut: Dr al-Jadd, 1997), 68; Ghubash, Hussein,
OmanThe Islamic Democratic Tradition, tr. Mary Turton (New York: Routledge,
2006), 3335.
22. See the Iourth/tenth-century scholar Ab al-Hasan Al b. Muhammad al-Bisyn
(var. al-Bisyaw) in Ab Bakr Ahmad b. Abdullh b. Ms al-Kind, Kitb al-Ihtid
(Muscat: WTQwTh, 1985), 162; al-Kind, al-Musannaf, 10:85.
23. For a discussion oI the muhtasib Imm, see Wilkinson, Imamate Tradition, 162.
24. al-Kind, al-Musannaf, 10:61, 65, 69.
25. P. J. WolI, Authority: Delegation, in International Encyclopedia of the Social &
Behavioral Sciences, eds. Neil J. Smelser and Paul P. Baltes (New York: Elsevier,
2001), 973.
26. John Wansbrough, The Sectarian Milieu (OxIord: OxIord University Press, 1978), 70.
27. John Wilkinson, Early Development oI the Ibd Movement in Basra, in Studies
on the First Century of Islamic Society, ed. G.H.A. Juynboll (Carbondale: Southern
Illinois University Press, 1982), 125.
28. As Ennami observes, the state oI shir and kitmn may exist simultaneously, because
those who make a pact to sell themselves in service to God may exist separately
Irom those who choose to remain in hiding. See Amr Ennami, Studies in Ibadism
(al-Ibdyah) (Tripoli, Libya: Publications oI the University oI Libya Faculty oI Arts,
1972), 231.
29. al-Kind, al-Musannaf, 10:69.
30. For an example oI Ibd heresiography, see the relevant portions oI al-Qalhts al-
Kashf wa al-Bayn, published as: Ab Sad Muhammad b. Sad al-Azd al-Qalht,
al-Firaq al-Islmiyya min Khill al-Kashf wa al-Bayn, ed. Muhammad Ibn Abd
al-Khall, (Tunis: Markaz al-Dirast wa al-Abhth al-Iqtisdiyya wa al-Ijtimaiyya,
31. I will Iocus here on published works. However, much text still remains in manuscript
Iorm. For a helpIul list and analysis oI Omani epistles, Ior example, see al-Salimi,
Abdulrahman S., IdentiIying the Ibd/Omani Siyar, Journal of Semitic Studies
55/1 (2010); al-Salimi, Themes oI the Ibd/Omani Siyar, Journal of Seminitic
Studies 54/2 (2009).
32. Jbirs legal opinions (known as the Jawbt) and his Kitb al-Nikh have been
published in the arrangement oI the Omani scholar Sad b. KhalaI al-Khars: see Min
Jawbt al-Imm Jbir b. Zayd (Muscat: WTQwTh, 1992).
33. The sixth/twelIth-century Maghrib scholar Ab Yaqb YsuI b. Ibrhm
al-Wrjln arranged these ahdth into their present Iorm; they are published as
Ab Yaqb al-Wrjln, al-Jmi al-Sahh Musnad lil-Imm al-Rab b. Habb Ibn
Umar al-Azd al-Basr (Muscat: Maktabat Musqat, 1994); see also Wilkinsons
analysis and dating oI this material in Wilkinson, Ibd Hadth: An Essay in
Normalization, Der Islam 62/2 (1985).
34. Ab Ubayda Muslim Ibn Ab Karma, Rislat Ab Karma f al-Zakt (Muscat:
WTQwTh, 1982).
35. The Iirst letter oI Ibn Ibd (purportedly to the Caliph Abd al-Malik) is preserved
in two versions: the western (North AIrican) version in Ab al-Fadl b. Ibrahm
al-Barrd, Kitb al-Jawhir (Cairo: n.p.,1885), 156167; see also an edited ver-
sion in mir al-Najjr, al-Ibdiyya wa Mad Silatih bi al-Khawrij (Cairo: Dr
al-MariI, 1993), 129137 (hereaIter cited as Ibn Ibd); and the eastern (Omani)
version in Sayyida Isml KshiI, ed., al-Siyar wa al-Jawabt li-Ulam wa
immat Umn (Muscat: WTQwTh, 1989), 2:325345. The second letter (to an
unnamed Shiite) has recently been published in Sirhn b. Sad al-Izkaw (attrib.),
Kashf al-Ghumma al-Jmi li-Akhbr al-Umma (Beirut: Dr al-Brd, 2006),
1:600608. For a critical discussion oI these epistles, see Michael Cook, Early
Muslim Dogma: A Source-Critical Study (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,
1981). Cook argues, quite convincingly, that the Iirst letter might well come Irom
Jbir b. Zayd.
36. KshiI, al-Siyar, 2:346383.
37. KshiI, al-Siyar, 1:229249.
38. KshiI, al-Siyar, 2:223268.
39. Ibn Salm, Kitb Ibn Salm al-Ibd, ed. R. F. Schwartz and Slim b. Yaqb (Beirut:
Dr Iqra, 1985).
40. Ibn al-Saghr, Kitb Akhbr al-imma al-Rustumiyyn, ed. Muhammad Nsir and
Ibrhm Bihhz (Algiers: Dr al-Gharb al-Islm, 1986).
41. Ab Muthirs sra in KshiI, al-Siyar, 2:269319; Ibn Qahtns sra in KshiI, al-
Siyar, 1:81148.
1. In Oman, the terms alniyya and kitmn were employed inIormally and interchange-
ably. See, Ior example, the sra oI Ab Qahtn Khlid b. Qahtn in KshiI, al-Siyar,
1:92, 109, where zuhr (used in the verbal Iorm azhara dawatahu) and alniyya
are used. See also Ab Abdullh Muhammad b. Mahbbs sra in KshiI, al-Siyar,
2. The principle oI no conditions on the Imm was Iirst laid down by the Basran Imm
al-Rab b. Habb al-Farhid in a letter supporting the second Rustumid Imm, Abd
al-Wahhb b. Abd al-Rahmn b. Rustum: To impose conditions on the Imm is
to suppress justice, abolish authority, and destroy judgment and the law. See Ab
Zakariyya, Kitb Siyar al-imma wa Akhbrihim, 9091.
3. al-Jannwan, Kitb al-Wad, 29.
4. al-Kind, al-Musannaf, 10:63, 85.
5. An Imm who did not possess ilm was thereby considered a weak Imm who
should only be appointed out oI necessity (darra). See al-Kind, al-Musannaf, 10:69.
The Omani scholar Ibn Mahbb implies that the imm al-shr is oI a higher degree
than the mudfi Imm. See al-Kind, al-Musannaf, 10:8385.
6. The term piety serves here as a rough translation oI the Qurnic concept oI
taqw. Used in connection with the notion oI moral rectitude, this term will partially
remedy the deIiciency oI English to Iully capture the many nuances oI the notion oI
7. Ignaz Goldziher, Muslim Studies (Chicago: Aldine, 1967), 1:22; Watt, Muhammad at
Mecca (OxIord: OxIord University Press, 1953), 20.
8. Toshihiko Izutsu, God and Man in the Koran (Kuala Lumpur: Islamic Book Trust,
2002), 3940.
9. Izutsu, God and Man, 222231.
10. Montgomery Watt, Islamic Political Thought (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press,
1968), 35.
11. Syed Husein Mohammed JaIri, The Origins and Early Development of Shia Islam
(OxIord: OxIord University Press, 2000), 6.
12. JaIri, Origins and Early Development, 5.
13. Watt, Islamic Political Thought, 35.
14. Patricia Crone, Quraysh and the Roman Army: Making Sense oI the Meccan Leather
Trade, BSOAS 70/1 (2007): 63.
15. Watt, Muhammad at Mecca, 9.
16. Ab Abdullh Muhammad Ibn Sad, al-Tabaqt al-Kubr, ed. Edward Sachau
(Beirut: Dr Sdr, 1957), 5:7.
17. 27:34.
18. Each sra oI the Qurn (except the ninth, srat al-tawba) opens with the basmalla,
the verse: In the Name oI God the Compassionate, the MerciIul. Muslim exegetes
oIten explain this repetition as an indicator oI the extreme merciIulness and compassion
oI God. See, Ior example, Imd al-Dn Isml b. Umar Ibn Kathr, Tafsr al-Qurn
al-Az m, ed. H asan al-Jibl (Riyad: International Ideas Home, 1999), 2627.
19. 2:173, 182, 192, 199, 218, 225, 226, 235.
20. 16:90.
21. 2:30; 5:7; 6:165.
22. 33:72.
23. 7:179.
24. 95:56.
25. 91:78.
26. 22:52; 17:53. As Rahman notes, not even the prophets are immune Irom the tempta-
tions oI the devil. See Fazlur Rahman, Major Themes of the Qurn (Minneapolis:
Bibliotheca Islamica, 1994), 18.
27. 16:64.
28. 3:104, 110, 114; 7:157; 9:67, 71; 22:41.
29. 5:23; 40:9, 45; 52:27; 76:11.
30. Izutsu, God and Man, 258259.
31. Rahman, Major Themes, 2829.
32. 5:2.
33. 2:35.
34. 49:13.
35. 33:21.
36. 93:7.
37. Baduzzamn FurznIar, Ahdth-i Mathnaw (Tehran: University oI Tehran, 1955),
no. 459.
38. Quoted in Annemarie Schimmel, And Muhammad Is His Messenger (Chapel Hill:
University oI North Carolina Press, 1985), 57.
39. Schimmel, And Muhammad Is His Messenger, 56. Schimmels deIinition is preIerred
over inIallibility because it implies that the source oI Muhammads protection was
not intrinsic to him, but came Irom without (i.e., Irom God), as Muslims hold.
40. Abd al-Mlik Ibn Hishm, al-Sra al-Nabawiyya, ed. Ibrhm al-Abyr, MustaI
al-Saq, and Abd al-HaIz Shabal (Beirut: Dr al-Khayr, 1997), 1:132II. See also
Ab Nuaym al-Isbahn, Dalil al-Nubuwwa (Hyderabad: Dairatul MaariI, 1950),
117; AlIred Guillaume, The Life of Muhammad (London: OxIord University Press,
1970), 72.
41. Ab Nuaym, Dalil al-Nubuwwa, 175176.
42. 3:32.
43. 3:132.
44. Shiite Imms were believed to be, like the Prophet Muhammad, protected Irom error.
See Abdulaziz Sachedina, The Just Ruler in Shiite Islam (OxIord: OxIord University
Press, 1988), 98, 101. Also, certain SuIi writers believed that the practitioner oI the
SuIi path could attain a level or moral and spiritual perIection equal to the Prophet
Muhammad. See Annemarie Schimmel, Mystical Dimensions of Islam (Chapel Hill:
University oI North Carolina Press, 1975), 9899.
45. Sachedina, The Just Ruler, 95.
46. Sunni and Ibd sources preserve the well-known hadth in which the Prophet
ordered Ab Bakr to lead the prayers during his sickness. In the body oI the hadth,
isha protests that the people will not be able to hear Ab Bakr over the cries
oI lamentation, and that the Prophet should allow Umar to lead the prayers, but
the Prophet again orders Ab Bakr to lead the prayers. For an Ibd version oI this
well-known hadth, see al-Warjln, al-Jmi al-Sahh, 57 (no. 211). It was not
uncommon Ior the Prophet to deputize someone to lead the prayers in his absence,
but owing to his impending death, the selection oI Ab Bakr assumed added purpose
to those who regarded Ab Bakr as the legitimate successor to Muhammad. Some
sources make it clear that they regarded the choice oI Ab Bakr to lead prayers as
designation by Muhammad himselI, rather than as the result oI an election on the
porch oI the Ban Sida. See Madelung, Succession to Muhammad, 54.
47. Ab al-Hasan Al b. Muhammad b. Hajb al-Mward, Ahkm al-Sultniyya (Beirut:
Dr al-Kutub al-Ilmiyya, 1985), 6.
48. Ibn Hishm, al-Sra al-Nabawiyya, 4:230; Muhammad b. Jarr al-Tabar, Trkh al-
Rusul wa al-Mulk, ed. M. J. de Goeje (Leiden: Brill, 1879), 1:18371845; Madelung,
Succession to Muhammad, 44.
49. So inglorious was Ab Bakrs election that Umar later admitted it to be a rushed
and unexpected deal (falta). See Ibn Hishm, al-Sra al-Nabawiyya, 4:229; Madelung,
Succession to Muhammad, 33.
50. Ibn Sad, Tabaqt, 2:185. Crone argues that this tradition voices Sunn quietism,
not Khrijite egalitarianism. See Patricia Crone, Even an Ethiopian Slave: The
TransIormation oI a Sunni Tradition, BSOAS 57 (1994), 6061. While the tradition
may have been used to Ioster quietism, its import lies in placing merit, as measured by
ones piety, above descent.
51. Umar, Uthmn, and Al were also included in this group. See Ab al-Fadl Ibn
Hajar al-Asqaln, Fath al-Br bi-Sharh Sahh al-Bukhr (Riyad: International
Ideas Home, 1999), 2:1658; Ab Abdullh Muhammad b. Isml al-Bukhr, Kitb
al-Jmi al-Sahh (hereaIter Sahh), 62.5.3674; see also Martin Lings, Muhammad:
His Life Based on the Earliest Sources (Rochester: Inner Traditions International,
1983), 329.
52. al-Asqaln, Fath al-Br, 2:1672; al-Bukhr, Sahh, 62.5.3698. For a sympathetic
overview oI the liIe oI Uthmn, see Ab al-Qsim Al b. al-Hasan Ibn Askir,
Trkh Madnat Dimashq: Uthmn b. Affn, ed. Sukayna al-Shihb (Damascus:
Majma al-Lugha al-Arabiyya, 1984), 4570.
53. Madelung, Succession to Muhammad, 7879.
54. The khawrij and Ibd iyya unambiguously regard Uthmns ah dth as
sins (dhunb). See Ibn Ibd in al-Najjr, al-Ibd iyya wa Mad S ilatiha b
al-Khawrij, 129.
55. Ibn Sad, Tabaqt, 3:44.
56. Ahmad b. Yahya al-Baldhur, Ansb al-Ashrf, (Beirut: Dr al-Fikr, 1996), 6:173.
57. Ab Dharr also criticized then governor Muwiya b. Ab SuIyns extravagant spend-
ing on his palace in Damascus. See al-Baldhur, Ansb al-Ashrf, 6:166167.
58. al-Baldhur, Ansb al-Ashrf, 6:161.
59. Madelung, Succession to Muhammad, 84.
60. Ibn Ibd in al-Najjr, al-Ibdiyya wa Mad Silatiha b al-Khawrij, 131.
61. al-Tabar, Trkh, 1:2979.
62. al-Tabar, Trkh, 1:2977. Uthmns later repudiation oI this repentance occurred only
a Iew days beIore his death.
63. al-Baldhur, Ansb al-Ashrf, 5:173231; Madelung, Succession to Muhammad,
64. On the term fitna, see Abdulkader Tayob, Fitnah: The Ideology oI Conservative
Islam, Journal of Theology for Southern Africa 69 (1989), 6571.
65. For a discussion oI the Qurnic precedents to the Shiite conception oI legitimate suc-
cession, see Madelung, Succession to Muhammad, 1012.
66. Like the Prophet Muhammad, Ithn Ashar (twelver) Shiites considered their
Imms to be masm; see Sachedina, The Just Ruler, 98.
67. Imd al-Dn Isml b. Umar Ibn Kathr, al-Bidya wa al-Nihya (Cairo: Matbaat
al-Sada, 1932), 5:209.
68. For those who saw no exceptional claim Ior Als leadership, the term mawl merely
expressed close relation, or Iriendship without the connotations oI political authority:
Whoever is my Iriend, Al is their Iriend. This has become the standard Sunni inter-
pretation oI the hadth.
69. Ibn Qutayba (attrib.), al-Imma wa al-Siysa (Beirut: Dr Kutub al-Ilmiyya,
1997), 104.
70. Muwiyas army also had their qurr. Similarly, sources mention the quss, who
specialized in reciting the Qurnic stories oI the Prophets (qissa): see Hshim Jat,
al-Fitna (Beirut: Dr al-Tala, 1991), 97. On the term qurr, see T. Nagel, Kurr,
in EI2, ed. Bernard Lewis, Charles Pellat, and Joseph Schacht (Leiden: Brill, 1965),
499500; G.H.A.Juynboll, The Qurr in Early Islamic History, Journal of the
Economic and Social History of the Orient 26 (1973): 113129, and The Qurn
Reciter on the BattleIield and Concomitant Issues, Zeitschrift der Deuthschen
Morganlandischen Gesellschaft 125 (1975), 1127.
71. Wilkinson, Ibd Hadth, 250.
72. al-Shahrastn, al-Milal wa al-Nihal (Beirut: Dr al-Fikr, n.d.), 114118;
al-Baghdd, al-Farq Bayn al-Firaq, 5662; al-Hasan Ibn Ms al-Nawbakht,
Kitb Firaq al-Sha (Istanbul: Matbaat al-Dawla, 1931), 6; ShaIr Ibn Thir
al-IsIarin, al-Tabsr f al-Dn wa Tamyz al-Firqa al-Njiyya an al-Firaq
al-Hlikn (Cairo: Maktabat al-Azhar lil-Turth, 1940), 3842; Ab Husayn
Muhammad b. Ahmad al-Malat, al-Tanbh wa al-Radd al Ahl al-Ahw wa al-
Bida (Cairo: Maktabat al-Azhar lil-Turth, 1993), 4951; in early Ibd sources,
see Crone and Zimmerman, Epistle, 9499; al-Qalht, al-Firaq al-Islmiyya,
6673; in Western sources, see Watt, Formative Period, 1215; Wellhausen,
Religio-Political Parties, 12.
73. The arbitration itselI is sometimes reIerred to as the tah km, but in the interest oI reducing
conIusion the term tah km will only be used Ior the phrase l h ukm ill lil-lh.
74. 6:57; 12:40, 67.
75. 52:48; 68:48; 76:24.
76. al-Tabar, Trkh, 1:33383339; al-Baldhur, Ansb al-Ashrf, 3:110, 112; a variant
in al-Shahrastn credits al-Hajj b. Ubaydullh with the tahkm: Have you judged
over Gods religion?! There is no judgment but Gods! So let us judge by what God
decrees in the Qurn; al-Shahrastn, al-Milal wa al-Nihal, 117118.
77. al-Shahrastn, al-Milal wa al-Nihal, 118.
78. Crone and Zimmerman, Epistle, 9293.
79. Crone and Zimmerman, Epistle, 9697.
80. al-Tabar, Trkh, 1:33603361. Ab MikhnaIs account in al-Tabar matches
al-Zuhrs account in al-Baldhur, suggesting a similar source. See al-Baldhur,
Ansb al-Ashrf, 3:129.
81. Ab MikhnaIs report, whence this quote comes, synthesizes two divergent
accounts oI the munzara, one oI which likely incorporates some materials oI
Khrijite (possibly Ibd?) origin. The Khrijite material is set oII by its use oI
the words qlat al-khawrij: quln, the Khrijites said: we said . . . preceding
the quotation. Ab MikhnaIs other source simply uses qlat al-khawrij, the
Khrijites said. Comparison oI these two accounts yields diIIerent attitudes toward
the hakam al-hakamayn. In the Khrijite materials, the Khrijites are convinced
oI the impropriety oI the arbitration. In the other account, the Khrijites are not
assured oI their position; they ask Al, Do you think it Iair to establish human
beings as judges in |a matter| oI blood? To which Al replied: We have not set
up human beings to judge, but have set up the Qurn to judgebut it is a lined
piece oI parchment between two Ilaps, and it does not speak, but people speak Ior
it. Thus, in Ab MikhnaIs second account, Al answers a question about the
propriety oI human judgment with a statement oI the necessity oI human judgment.
The necessity oI human judgment was not the Khrijites concern, suggesting that
Ab MikhnaIs second account might have been written or edited by a pro-Ald
author. See al-Tabar, Trkh, 1:33503353.
82. al-Baldhur, Ansb al-Ashrf, 3:134. Most non-Ibd sources maintain that the
Khrijites initially Iorced Al to accept the arbitration, only to later renege and
demand that Al resume the Iight; al-Tabar, Trkh, 1:3330, 3353.
83. Ibn Qutayba, al-Imma wa al-Siysa, 104.
84. al-Tabar, Trkh, 1:3360; al-Baldhur, Ansb al-Ashrf, 3:129130; Jaml al-Dn
Abd al-Rahmn b. Al Ibn al-Jawz, Talbs Ibls, ed. Muhammad al-Sabbh (Beirut:
Manshurt Dr Maktabat al-Hayt, 1989), 137.
85. An area outside oI KIa; another term Ior the KhrijitesHrriyyacomes Irom
those who gathered at Harr. See Ab al-Hasan Al b. Isml al-Ashar, Kitb
Maqlt al-Islmiyyn (Beirut: Maktabat al-Asriyya, 1999), 1:207.
86. al-Tabar, Trkh, 1:3353 (on the authority oI Ab MikhnaI ); see variant in
al-Baldhur, Ansb al-Ashrf, 3:123 (also on the authority oI Ab MikhnaI ).
87. al-Ashar, Maqlt, 1:204.
88. al-Baldhur, Ansb al-Ashrf, 3:141.
89. al-Tabar, Trkh, 1:3353; see variants in al-Baldhur, Ansb al-Ashrf, 3:123;
Ab al-Abbs Muhammad b. Yazd al-Mubarrad, al-Kmil: Bb al-Khawrij
(Damascus: Dr al-Hikma, n.d.), 24.
90. Crone and Zimmerman, Epistle, 9697.
91. al-Tabar, Trkh, 1:33633365; al-Baldhur, Ansb al-Ashrf, 3:135; Ibn Qutayba,
al-Imma wa al-Siysa, 113114; al-Mubarrad, al-Kmil: Bb al-Khawrij, 7; Ibn
Qahtn in KshiI, al-Siyar, 1:107.
92. al-Tabar, Trkh, 1:3365.
93. al-Baldhur, Ansb al-Ashrf, 3:133; al-Tabar, Trkh, 1:3365; both al-Tabar and
al-Baldhur use Ab MikhnaIs account oI al-Rsibs appointment. Ibn Qutayba
identiIies al-Rsib as one oI the qurr, but is the only source to do so. See Ibn
Qutayba, al-Imma wa al-Siysa, 104.
94. Al-Shahrastn notes that one oI the identiIying characteristics oI the Muhakkima
was that they allowed the Imm to be Irom a tribe other than the Quraysh:
al-Shahrastn, al-Milal wa al-Nihal, 116; al-Ashar, Maqlt, 1:204.
95. al-Baldhur, Ansb al-Ashrf, 3:145.
96. al-Baldhur, Ansb al-Ashrf, 3:121122.
97. al-Shahrastn, al-Milal wa al-Nihal, 115.
98. al-Baghdd, al-Farq Bayn al-Firaq, 55; see also al-Ashar, Maqlt, 1:167, 204.
99. al-Ashar, Maqlt, 1:170, 174176; al-Baghdd, al-Farq Bayn al-Firaq, 6270;
al-Shahrastn, al-Milal wa al-Nihal, 118125.
100. al-Ashar, Maqlt, 1:184185; al-Shahrastn, al-Milal wa al-Nihal, 134; Crone
and Zimmerman, Epistle, 6869.
101. See Crone and Zimmerman, Epistle, 198203.
102. For a discussion oI the term qawm, see Crone and Zimmerman, Epistle, 34.
103. Ab Muthir in KshiI, al-Siyar, 2:292II., 308; al-Bisyn in KshiI, al-Siyar, 2:126;
epistles oI Mahbb b. al-Rahl and Hrn b. al-Yamn in KshiI, al-Siyar, 1:273
336; al-Jannwan, Kitb al-Wad, 1718.
104. al-Baghdd, al-Farq Bayn al-Firaq, 68.
105. al-Baghdd, al-Farq Bayn al-Firaq, 69; al-Shahrastn, al-Milal wa al-Nihal, 124.
106. On Ab Hamza, see Charles Pellat, al-Mukhtr b. AwI al-Azd, in EI2, ed.
Bernard Lewis, Charles Pellat, and Joseph Schacht (Leiden: Brill, 1965).
107. Ibn Qutayba, Uyn al-Akhbr, ed. YsuI Al Tawl (Beirut: Dr Kutub al-Ilmiyya,
1998), 2:271272; Ab Uthmn Amr b. Bahr al-Jhiz, al-Bayn wa al-Tabyn, ed.
MuwaIIaq Shahb al-Dn (Beirut: Dr Kutub al-Ilmiyya, 1998), 2:7982; Izz al-Dn
Abd al-Hamd Ibn Ab al-Hadd, Sharh Nahj al-Balgha, ed. M.A.F. Ibrhm (Cairo,
Is al-Bbi al-Halab, 1965), 5:117119; see also a translation in Patricia Crone
and Martin Hinds Gods Caliph: Religious Authority in the First Centuries of Islam
(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986), 129132.
108. For a discussion oI the necessity Ior obedience in Sunni Islamic thought, see Khaled
Abou El Fadl, Rebellion and Violence in Islamic Law (Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press, 2001), 239.
109. Crone and Zimmerman, Epistle, 140141.
110. Ibn al-Jawz, Talbs Ibls, 140.
111. For a discussion oI the sources oI Ibd hadth, see Wilkinson, Ibd Hadth.
112. al-Wrjln, al-Jmi al-Sahh, 1819 (nos. 4449); 205 (nos. 817820).
113. al-Tabar, Trkh, 2:986.
114. Ab Thir Isml b. Ms al-Jitl, Kitb Qawid al-Islm, ed. Balk Abd
al-Rahmn b. Umar (Muscat: Maktabat al-Istiqma, 1992), 1:6667.
115. Ab Sad Muhammad b. Sad al-Kudam, al-Istiqma (Muscat: WTQwTh, 1985),
116. al-Kind, al-Ihtid , 237; see also al-Kind, al-Jawhar al-Muqtasir (Muscat:
WTQwTh, 1983), 138.
117. al-Kind, Bayn al-Shar, 3:270271.
118. Nr al-Dn Abdullh b. Ahmad al-Slim, Tuhfat al-Ayn b-Srat Ahl Umn
(Cairo: Dr al-Kitb al-Arab, 1961), 1:85.
119. Ibn Qahtn speciIically reIers to Ab Bakr and Umar as just Imms (immat al-
adl); Ibn Qahtn in KshiI, al-Siyar, 1:93.
120. al-Kind, al-Musannaf, 10:55; Ior a North AIrican equivalent, see al-Shammkh,
Muqaddimat al-Tawhd, 98; al-Barrd, Kitb al-Jawhir (also known as al-Jawhar
al-Muntaqt), citing Ibn Baraka, 34.
121. al-Kudam, al-Istiqma, 2:119.
122. al-Bisyn, al-Jmi Ab al-Hasan al-Bisyn (Muscat: WTQwTh, 1984), 1:261.
123. al-Kudam, al-Mutabar (Muscat: WTQwTh, 1984), 2:161.
124. al-Kind, al-Musannaf, 10:55. Al-Kind cites the Umayyad Caliph Umar b.
Abd al-Azz as an example oI a just non-Ibd leader to whom limited obedi-
ence was due.
125. Ab Ishq Ibrhm Ibn Qays, Mukhtasar al-Khisl (Muscat: WTQwTh, 1983), 194.
126. al-Bisyn in al-Kind, al-Musannaf, 10:60, 72. Lane deIines war as piety and as
abstinence Irom unlawIul things: William Edward Lane, Arabic-English Lexicon
(London: Williams and Norgate, 1863), 8:3051.
127. Savage, Gateway to Hell, 50.
128. Great personal beauty is ascribed to Abd al-Rahman, such that Ab Ubayda was
Iorced to hang a curtain between himselI and his Iellow students lest they be dis-
tracted Irom their work. See Ab Zakariyya, Kitb Siyar al-imma, 56. Savage
speculates that this reIerence to Abd al-Rahmns personal beauty might be inserted
into the narrative as an allusion to his past royal heritage and Iuture role as Imm;
Savage, Gateway to Hell, 49. Ibd historians trace his heritage to the Ssnian
leader Rustum b. Bahrm b. Shbr b. Bbak Dh al-AktI, who was deIeated
by the Muslims at the Battle oI al-Qdisyya. See Ab al-Abbs Ahmad b. Sad
al-Shammkh, Kitb al-Siyar, ed. Ahmad b. Sad al-Siyb (Muscat: WTQwTh,
1987), 1:124; al-Darjn, Kitb Tabaqt al-Mashayikh, 1:1920; Ab Zakariyya,
Kitb Siyar al-imma, 54; al-Barrd, Kitb al-Jawhir, 174.
129. Ab Zakariyya, Kitb Siyar al-imma, 83; Ibn al-Saghr, Akhbr al-imma
al-Rustumiyyn, 29.
130. Ibn al-Saghr, Akhbr al-imma al-Rustumiyyn, 29.
131. Ab Zakariyya, Kitb Siyar al-imma, 84.
132. Ibn al-Saghr, Akhbr al-imma al-Rustumiyyn, 28. This reIerence to Abd
al-Rahmns ease oI access recalls the early caliphates oI Ab Bakr and Umar, who
also remained accessible to the people oI Madna. It might also be intended to con-
trast with the popular image oI the Umayyads as removed Irom their constituents by
their boxes (maqsra) in the mosque: see al-Tabar, Trkh, 2:70.
133. Ab Zakariyya, Kitb Siyar al-imma, 83.
134. Ibn al-Saghr, Akhbr al-imma al-Rustumiyyn, 28, 32.
135. Ibn al-Saghr, Akhbr al-imma al-Rustumiyyn, 28; Ab Zakariyya, Kitb Siyar
al-imma, 84.
136. al-Shammkh, Muqaddimat al-Tawhd, 6970.
137. For Omani examples, see al-Kind, al-Musannaf, 10:4448; Ab al-Hawr
Muhammad Ibn al-Hawr, Jmi Ab al-Hawr (Muscat: WTQwTh, 1985), 1:71,
73II.; al-Kudam, al-Istiqma, 1:213II.
138. Ibn Qahtn in KshiI, al-Siyar, 1:97.
139. Ibn Mahbb in KshiI, al-Siyar, 1:125.
140. Ab Muthir in KshiI, al-Siyar, 2:303.
141. al-Qalht, al-Firaq al-Islmiyya, 76.
142. Ibd tradition maintained that God made his judgment oI Muwiyas cause clear
in sra 49:9: And iI two parties Iall to Iighting, then make peace between them.
And iI one party does wrong to the other, Iight the one that does wrong until they
return to the command oI God; then, iI they return, make peace between them
justly and act Iairly. Surely God loves the equitable. See al-Qalht, al-Firaq
al-Islmiyya, 76.
143. al-Qalht, al-Firaq al-Islmiyya, 73, 82; al-Kudam, al-Istiqma, 1:5961.
144. While the actions oI Ab Bakr and Umar became sources oI sunna to the Ibdyya,
the actions oI Al did not. However, one notable exception to this rule concerns the
legal status and treatment oI rebels (bught). Although not explicitly stated, Ibd
jurisprudence is deeply indebted to Al Ior their ahkm al-bught. See Abou El Fadl,
Violence and Rebellion, 320.
145. al-Qalht, al-Firaq al-Islmiyya, 252.
146. al-Kind, al-Musannaf, 10:57; al-Bisyn, al-Jmi, 1:261.
147. In Iact, al-Kind preIers (but does not require) the rule oI a pure Quraysh over the
Ibd community; see al-Musannaf, 10:79.
1. Ab Zakariyya, Kitb Siyar al-imma, 82, 99 (on the ilm oI the Rustumids); Ab
Muthir in al-Kind, al-Musannaf, 10:63, (quoting al-Bisyn) 65.
2. The term marifa would later take on specialized meanings in the mystical traditions,
but in the early period it did not yet have those connotations.
3. D. MacDonald, Ilm, in EI2, ed. Bernard Lewis, V. L. Menage, Charles Pellat, and
Joseph Schacht (Leiden: Brill, 1968), 1133.
4. al-Rghib al-IsIahn, Mufradt Alfz al-Qurn (Damascus: Dr al-Qalam, 1997),
5. R. Stephen Humphreys, Islamic History: A Framework for Inquiry (Princeton:
Princeton University Press, 1991), 187. For the distinction between in authority and
an authority, see Richard E. Flathman, The Practice of Political Authority: Authority
and the Authoritative (Chicago: University oI Chicago Press, 1980).
6. al-Bisyn in al-Kind, al-Musannaf, 10:6061.
7. In medieval Omani texts, there are but two recognized states oI communal existence:
zuhr and kitmn. The medieval Omani Ibdiyya recognized shr and dif Imms,
but did not consider shir and dif to be modes oI being (that is, maslik al-dn)
Ior the Ibd community until, at the very earliest, the beginning oI the Ibd renais-
sance in the tenth/sixteenth century, and more likely in the thirteenth/nineteenth
century. See Gaiser, The Ibd Stages oI Religion Re-examined.
8. Tadeusz Lewicki, Halka, in EI2, ed. Bernard Lewis, V. L. Menage, Charles Pellat,
and Joseph Schacht (Leiden: Brill, 1971).
9. Ab Ammr Abd al-KI b. Ab Yaqb al-Tanwt, Ar al-Khawrij al-Kalmiyya:
Al-Mujaz li-Ab Ammr Abd al-Kf al-Ibd, ed. Ammr al-Tlib (Algiers:
Sharikat al-Wataniyya lil-Nashar wa al-Tawz, n.d.), 2:238.
10. al-Slim, Tuhfat al-Ayn, 1:362; Ibn Batta, Rihlat Ibn Batta (Beirut: Dr al-Kutub
al-Ilmiyya, 2002), 274.
11. al-Kind, al-Musannaf, 10:26. Later Ibd historical texts acknowledged a leader
dubbed the muhtasib Imm, who is described as an lim who led the community until
such time as they could select a permanent Imm. See al-Slim, Tuhfat al-Ayn,
1:104; Wilkinson, Imamate Tradition, 162.
12. For North AIrican examples, see al-Shammkh, Muqaddimat al-Tawhd, 74;
al-Jannwan, Kitb al-Wad, 29, and Ab Yaqb YsuI b. Ibrhm al-Warjln,
al-Dall wa al-Burhn (Muscat: WTQwTh, 1983), 3:200. For Omani examples, see
Ab Muthir in KshiI, al-Siyar, 2:314315; al-Kind, al-Ihtid, 237; and al-Kind,
Bayn al-Shar, 3:271.
13. Wilkinson, Imamate Tradition, 162.
14. Jawd Al, al-Mufassal f Trkh al-Arab Qabl al-Islm (Baghdad: Maktabat
al-Nahda, 1970), 5:312316.
15. For an early Islamic interpretation oI how the khin received inspiration, see
al-Bukhr, Sahh, 65.34.4800.
16. Muhammad Ibn Sallm al-Jumh, Tabaqt Fuhl al-Shuar, ed. Mahmd
Muhammad Shkir (Cairo: Matbaat al-Midan, 1973), 24.
17. Ibn Qutayba, Uyn al-Akhbr, 2:200.
18. T. Fahd, Shir, in EI2, ed. C. Bosworth, E. Van Donzel, W. P. Heinrichs, and
Charles Pellat (Leiden: Brill, 1995), 225.
19. al-Jumh, Tabaqt, 1:52, 71.
20. Bosworth, Sayyid, 115.
21. Ibn Sad, Tabaqt, 1:286.
22. E. Tyan, Hakam, in EI2, ed. Bernard Lewis, Charles Pellat, and Joseph Schacht
(Leiden: Brill, 1965).
23. Fahd, Shir, 225.
24. 12:76; also 8:60. See also Ibn Kathr, Tafsr, 896.
25. 5:109; 72:26.
26. al-Rghib al-IsIahn, Mufradt, 580.
27. 55:12.
28. 72:2627.
29. 20:114.
30. 18:6566. See Ibn Kathr, Tafsr, 1057.
31. Ibn Kathr, Tafsr, 1334.
32. On the Iinality oI prophethood, see, Ior example, al-Bukhr, Sahh, 61.18.3534 and
3535. Several Ialse prophets claiming to receive revelation did, in Iact, arise in the
Arabian Peninsula aIter the death oI the Prophet Muhammad.
33. 58:11.
34. al-Asqaln, al-Fath al-Br, 1:323; al-Bukhr, Sahh, 3.10.
35. Ahmad Ab Abdullh Ibn Hanbal, al-Musnad (Riyad: International Ideas Home,
1998), 1.35.232; Ibn Kathr, Tafsr, 1693.
36. al-Bukhr, Sahh, 62.1. He deIines the companions (sahba) as those who accompa-
nied (sahiba lahu suhba) the Prophet or saw him (rhu).
37. M. Muranyi, Sahba, in EI2, ed C. Bosworth, E. Van Donzel, W. P. Heinrichs, and
M. Lecompte (Leiden: Brill, 1995), 827.
38. Al-Bukhr considers al-Hasan and al-Husayn companions. See al-Bukhr, Sahh,
62.22.37463753; as well as Muwiya. See al-Bukhr, Sahh, 62.28.37643766.
39. al-Mward, Ahkm al-Sultniyya, 6; Crone, Gods Caliph, 48.
40. Sachedina, The Just Ruler, 32, 62.
41. Ab Abdullh Muhammad al-Hrith al-Baghdd al-MuId, Kitb al-Irshd, tr.
I.K.A. Howard (London: Balagha Books, 1981), 20.
42. al-MuId, al-Irshd, 22.
43. al-Mward, Ahkm al-Sultniyya, 7; Lambton, State and Government, 98.
44. Crone, Gods Caliph, 48.
45. For a discussion oI the qurr, see Juynboll, The Qurn Reciter on the BattleIield
and Concomitant Issues.
46. Ab MikhnaIs account in al-Tabar, Trkh, 1:3330.
47. Several other prominent early Khrijites supposedly belonged to the qurr: Ab
MikhnaI includes Zayd b. Hisn al-T and Misar b. Fadak al-Tamm among their
number. See al-Tabar Trkh, 1:3330; Ibn Qutayba mentions Abdullh b. Wahb
al-Rsib. See Ibn Qutayba, al-Imma wa al-Siysa, 104.
48. Ibn Qutayba, al-Imma wa al-Siysa, 104.
49. al-Tabar, Trkh, 2:2021.
50. al-Baghdd, al-Farq Bayn al-Firaq, 69; al-Ashar, Maqlt, 1:176 (does not have the
reIerence to ijtihd).
51. Abd al-Karm al-Shahrastn, Nihayat al-Iqdm f Ilm al-Kalm (Cairo: Maktabat
al-Mutanabb, 1980), 483; Crone and Zimmerman, Epistle, 206210.
52. al-Mubarrad, al-Kmil: Bb al-Khawrij, 5967.
53. al-Tabar, Trkh, 2:881.
54. al-Baghdd, al-Farq Bayn al-Firaq, 89; on the possible Iorgery oI the relationship
between Slih and Shabb, see Chase F. Robinson, Empire and Elites and Elites after
the Muslim Conquest (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), 117118.
55. Crone and Zimmerman, Epistle, 140141.
56. For a discussion oI the concept oI caliphal law during the Umayyad period, see Crone
and Hinds, Gods Caliph, 4357.
57. Ibn Sad, Tabaqt, 5:43.
58. Ibn Sad, Tabaqt, 5:224.
59. Ibn Sad, Tabaqt, 5:226.
60. al-Tabar, Trkh, 2:1843.
61. Jarr b. Atiyya b. al-KhataI, Diwn (Dr al-MariI b Masr, 1969), 390; see Crone
and Hinds, Gods Caliph, 44.
62. Abd al-Razzq b. Hammm al-Sann al-Himyar, al-Musannaf, ed. Habb
al-Rahmn al-Azam (Beirut: al-Majlas al-Ilm, 1970), 10:18829 (hereaIter cited as
Abd al-Razzq).
63. Ab al-Qsim Abd al-Rah mn b. Abdullh Ibn Abd al-H akam, Futh Mas r
wa Akhbruh, ed. Charles C. Torrey (New Haven: Yale University Press,
1920), 155.
64. Abd al-Razzq, 7:13385.
65. Sachedina, The Just Ruler, 3235.
66. JaIri, Origins and Early Development, 289291.
67. WilIred Madelung, Hishm b. al-H akam, in EI2, ed. Bernard Lewis, V.
L. Menage, Charles Pellat, and Joseph Schact (Leiden: Brill, 1971), 497;
al-Nawbakht, Kitb Firaq al-Sha, 66. According to al-Yamn b. Ribbs report
in al-Masd, Hishm shared a store in KIa with an Ibd , Abdullh b. Yazd.
See al-Masd, Murj al-Dhahab, 5:442445. It is unclear whether this Yazd
is the same Yazd who established the Ibd sect oI the Yazdiyya. On the Ibd
Yazdiyya, see al-Ashar, Maqlt, 1:184. On Hishm b. al-H akam, see also
al-Ashar, Maqlt, 1:106108, 116117; al-Baghdd, al-Farq Bayn al-Firaq,
4749; al-Shahrastn, al-Milal wa al-Nih al, 184185; Ibn Qutayba, Uyn
al-Akhbr, 2:166, 169.
68. al-Malat, Tanbh, 2425.
69. al-Malat, Tanbh, 25.
70. Ab Amr Umar b. Abd al-Azz Kashsh, Ikhtiyr Marifat al-Rijl (Mashhad:
Daneshgah-i-Mashhad, 1964), 209; Sachedina, The Just Ruler, 32.
71. al-Tabar, Trkh, 2:516520; al-Mubarrad, al-Kmil: Bb al-Khawrij, 105;
al-Shahrastn, al-Milal wa al-Nihal, 121122; al-Baghdd, al-Farq Bayn al-Firaq,
63; al-Ashar, Maqlt, 1:169170; see variant on the tafrq in al-Baldhur, Ansb
al-Ashrf, 3:114115.
72. The quietist Khrijites might have cited 9:122 to justiIy their disavowal oI khurj and
subsequent embrace oI quietism: Nor should the believers all go Iorth together: iI
a contingent Irom every expedition remained behind they could devote themselves
to studies in religion, and admonish the people when they return to them that thus
they |may learn| to guard themselves |against evil|. This verse, while oIIering an
eloquent justiIication Ior quietism, simultaneously reIers to the need Ior the study
oI religion. II the quietists oI Basra Iound inspiration Ior their quietism in this verse,
they may also have taken the reIerence to religious learning as a command. See
Savage, Gateway to Hell, 19.
73. Ab Zakariyya, Kitb Siyar al-imma, 4041.
74. As Lewinstein has shown, the term SuIr rarely reIers to a distinct Khrijite sect,
and caution must be exercised when the word is encountered in historical narratives.
See Keith Lewinstein, Making and Unmaking a Sect: the Heresiographers and the
SuIriyya, SI 76 (1992): 7596.
75. Ibn Hajar al-Asqaln, Tahdhb al-Tahdhb (Hyderabad: Majlis al-MariI
al-Nizmiyya al-Kina I al-Hind, 1907), 2:219.
76. al-Ashar, Maqlt, 1:188.
77. Wilkinson, Early Development, 132. Wilkinson reIers to these quietists as unitar-
ians on the basis oI their reIusal to break with the wider unity oI Muslims and their
use oI the term jamat al-muslimn to reIer to themselves.
78. Wilkinson, Imamate Tradition, 162.
79. Wilkinson labels this era the proto-Ibdite period. I preIer quietist Khrijite
period because it eschews any reIerence to Khrijite subsects. Wilkinson, Early
Development, 136.
80. Sachedina, The Just Ruler, 32; Humphreys, Islamic History, 187.
81. At the same time, the Umayyad state did appoint the ulam to oIIices oI authority,
such as the oIIice oI qd (judge); thus it is not completely accurate to say the ulam
were absolutely bereIt oI positions oI authority.
82. al-Jannwan, Kitb al-Wad, 29; al-Darjn, Kitb Tabaqt al-Mashyikh, 2:205;
al-Shammkh, al-Siyar, 1:67.
83. Wilkinson, Ibd Hadth, 252.
84. al-Ashar, Maqlt, 1:188.
85. Wilkinson, Early Development, 133134.
86. Ibn Sad, Tabaqt, 7:181182.
87. Ab Abdullh Shams al-Dn al-Dhahab, Kitb Tadhkirat al-Huffz (Hyderabad:
Matbaat Dirat al-MariI al-Nizmiyya, 1915), 1:72.
88. Ibn Hajar al-Asqaln, Tahdhb al-Tahdhb, 2:219.
89. Ennami, Studies in Ibadism (al-Ibdyah), 35.
90. Ibn Hajar al-Asqaln, Tahdhb al-Tahdhb, 2:61; al-Dhahab, Tadhkirat al-Huffz,
1:73; al-Shammkh, al-Siyar, 1:6768.
91. Ibd sources give Ibn Abbs credit Ior deIending the Muhakkima aIter verbally
sparring with them at Harr. According to al-Qalht, Ibn Abbs reIused to Iight
against the Muhakkima at Nahrawn and abandoned Al beIore the battle. See
al-Qalht, al-Firaq al-Islmiyya, 84. Later Ibd sources reIer to Ibn Abbs as habr
al-umma (the learned man oI the community) and al-bahr (the sea) because
oI his vast knowledge. This reconstruction oI Ibn Abbs in Ibd sources resulted
Irom the need to provide him with Ibd credentials. The student-teacher relation-
ship between Ibn Abbs and Jbir, combined with Jbirs place as Iounder oI the
sect, meant that the ilm transmission required the proper sectarian qualiIications.
By making Ibn Abbs sympathetic to the Khrijite/Ibdite cause his ilm became
acceptable as authoritative.
92. Ibn Sad, Tabaqt, 7:179180; al-Dhahab, Kitb Tadhkirat al-Huffz, 1:62; Ibn Hajar
al-Asqaln, Tahdhb al-Tahdhb, 2:38; al-Shammkh, al-Siyar, 1:67.
93. al-Dhahab, Kitb Tadhkirat al-Huffz, 1:73; variant in al-Shammkh, al-Siyar,
94. Ibn Midd in Ennami, Studies in Ibadism (al-Ibdyah), 36.
95. al-Baghtr in Ennami, Studies in Ibadism (al-Ibdyah), 36.
96. al-Darjn, Kitb Tabaqt al-Mashyikh, 2:206207; al-Shammkh, Siyar, 1:69.
97. al-Shammkh, Siyar, 1:6970.
98. Anonymous Ibd manuscript, quoted in Ennami, Studies in Ibadism
(al-Ibdyah), 38.
99. Ibn Sad, Tabaqt, 7:180.
100. al-Shammkh, Siyar, 1:70; al-Darjn, Kitb Tabaqt al-Mashyikh, 2:211.
Nevertheless, Jbir maintained a relationship with Yazd b. Ab Muslim, a secretary
(ktib) under al-Hajjj. See al-Shammkh, Siyar, 1:70.
101. al-Shammkh, Siyar, 1:71.
102. al-Shammkh, Siyar, 1:71.
103. Jbir b. Zayd in Ennami, Studies in Ibadism (al-Ibdyah), 45.
104. al-Baghdd, al-Farq Bayn al-Firaq, 82; al-Shahrastn, al-Milal wa al-Nihal, 134;
al-IsIarin, al-Tabsr f al-Dn, 48; al-Qalht, al-Firaq al-Islmiyya, 294; al-Malat,
Tanbh, 52 (some oI these sources give the name as Ibd b. Amr).
105. al-Qalht, al-Firaq al-Islmiyya, 294.
106. al-Baghdd, al-Farq Bayn al-Firaq, 84.
107. al-Shahrastn, al-Milal wa al-Nihal, 134.
108. Ab Muhammad Al b. Ahmad Ibn Hazm, Kitb al-Fisal f al-Milal wa al-Ahw wa
al-Nihal (Beirut: Dr al-Kutub al-Ilmiyya, 1999), 3:124.
109. Wilkinson, Early Development, 132.
110. Ibn Fath in Ennami, Studies in Ibadism (al-Ibdyah), 5; see also Cook, Early Muslim
Dogma, 182, n. 104.
111. WilIerd Madelung, Abd Allh Ibn Ibd and the Origins oI the Ibdiyya, in
Authority, Privacy and Public Order in Islam, ed. Barbara Michalak-Pikulska and
Andrzej Pikulski (Leuven: Dudley, 2006), 5157.
112. al-Darjn, Kitb Tabaqt al-Mashyikh, 2:214; al-Shammkh, Siyar, 1:7273. For a
modern rationalization oI the place oI Ibn Ibd in early Islamic history, see Ennami,
Studies in Ibadism (al-Ibdyah), 4.
113. al-Qalht, al-Firaq al-Islmiyya, 294.
114. For a critical assessment oI the letters oI Ibn Ibd, see Cook, Early Muslim Dogma,
115. al-Shammkh, Siyar, 1:7476; al-Darjn, Kitb Tabaqt al-Mashyikh, 2:232233.
116. al-Shammkh, Siyar, 1:8183; al-Darjn, Kitb Tabaqt al-Mashyikh, 2:246247.
117. For a description oI these early ulam as Imms, see Ab Muthir in KshiI,
al-Siyar, 2:314315; al-Shammkh mentions Suhr al-Abd as one oI the Imms
oI the Muslims: al-Siyar, 1:76.
118. al-Shammkh, Siyar, 1:78. Al-Jhiz reports that he was the mawla oI Urwa b.
Udaya, the brother oI Ab Bill. See al-Jhiz, al-Bayn wa al-Tabyn, 3:167.
119. al-Baghtr in Ennami, Studies in Ibadism (al-Ibdyah), 57.
120. al-Darjn, Kitb Tabaqt al-Mashyikh, 2:238.
121. al-Shammkh, Siyar, 1:84; al-Darjn, Kitb Tabaqt al-Mashyikh, 2:249250.
122. al-Darjn, Kitb Tabaqt al-Mashyikh, 2:250.
123. al-Shammkh, Siyar, 1:81; al-Darjn, Kitb Tabaqt al-Mashyikh, 2:247.
124. al-Darjn, Kitb Tabaqt al-Mashyikh, 2:236, 254255; Lewicki, The Ibdites in
Arabia, 70 (incorrectly gives the name Muwiya b. Iyys al-Muzan). On al-Nahd,
see al-Shammkh, Siyar, 1:8990; al-Darjn, Kitb Tabaqt al-Mashyikh,
125. al-Darjn, Kitb Tabaqt al-Mashyikh, 2:253; the sources also mention al-Nazar b.
Maymn. See al-Shammkh, Siyar, 1:87, 95.
126. al-Shammkh, Siyar, 1:86.
127. al-Shammkh, Siyar, 1:105.
128. al-Shammkh, Siyar, 1:105.
129. al-Shammkh, Siyar, 1:9091, 113; Ab Zakariyya, Kitb Siyar al-imma, 4142.
130. al-Shammkh, Siyar, 1:113114.
131. al-Slim, Tuhfat al-Ayn, 1:85.
132. al-Shammkh, Siyar, 1:95; al-Darjn, Kitb Tabaqt al-Mashyikh, 2:273II.
133. al-Darjn, Kitb Tabaqt al-Mashyikh, 2:273276.
134. On the role oI al-Rab in the collection oI Ibd ahadth, see Wilkinson, Ibdi
Hadth, 231II.
135. Sirhn b. Sad al-Izkaw (attrib.), Kashf al-Ghumma al-Jmi li-Akhbr al-Umma,
ed. Ahmad Ubaydal (Nicosia: Dilmun, 1985), 254; al-Slim, Tuhfat al-Ayn,
136. al-Slim, Tuhfat al-Ayn, 1:111112.
137. Ab Zakariyya, Kitb Siyar al-imma, 122.
138. Ab SuIyn Mahbb b. al-Rahl in KshiI, al-Siyar, 1:326; al-Slim, Tuhfat
al-Ayn, 1:122.
139. al-Slim, Tuhfat al-Ayn, 1:156.
140. Ibn Abd al-Hakam, Futh Masr, 224.
141. Ibn Abd al-Hakam, Futh Masr, 224225.
142. Ab Zakariyya, Kitb Siyar al-imma, 58.
143. Savage, Gateway to Hell, 54; Lewicki, The Ibadites in Arabia and AIrica, 89.
144. al-Shammkh, Siyar, 1:121.
145. al-Shammkh, Siyar, 1:124.
146. Ibn al-Saghr, Akhbr al-imma al-Rustumiyyn, 26.
147. al-Shammkh, Siyar, 1:91.
148. Ab al-Faraj Muhammad Ab al-Fadl Ibrhm al-IsIahn, Kitb al-Aghn (Beirut:
Dr Ihy al-Turth al-Arab, 1985), 23:223.
149. Wilkinson, Imamate Tradition, 205.
150. al-Slim, Tuhfat al-Ayn, 1:93.
151. For a list oI the Omani ulam during the time oI al-Julanda b. Masd, see
al-Slim, Tuhfat al-Ayn, 1:8889. For an example oI al-Julandas consultation with
the ulam, see al-Izkaw, Kashf al-Ghumma, 24951.
152. al-Izkaw, Kashf al-Ghumma, 250.
153. al-Kudam, al-Mutabar, 1:1314.
154. al-Kudam, al-Jmi al-Mufd min Ah km Ab Sad, (Muscat: WTQwTh, 1985), 1:56.
155. Ibn Qays, Mukhtasar al-Khisl, 194.
156. Ab Muthir in al-Kind, al-Musannaf, 10:63.
157. al-Bisyn in al-Kind, al-Musannaf, 10:65.
158. Ab Zakariyya, Kitb Siyar al-imma, 5456.
159. Ab Zakariyya, Kitb Siyar al-imma, 99.
160. Ab Zakariyya, Kitb Siyar al-imma, 104; Savage, Gateway to Hell, 60.
161. Ibn s in al-Kind, al-Musannaf, 10:69.
162. al-Kind, al-Musannaf, 10:69.
163. al-Bisyn in al-Kind, al-Musannaf, 10:6061.
164. Ibn s in KshiI, al-Siyar, 1:400; also al-Kind, al-Musannaf, 10:70.
165. al-Darjn, Kitb Tabaqt al-Mashyikh, 1:6.
166. al-Kind, al-Musannaf, 10:26.
167. al-Kind, al-Musannaf, 10:26.
168. For a discussion oI the role oI the halqa councils in the sociopolitical liIe oI the
North AIrican Ibd communities, see Awad KhulayIt, al-Nizm al-Ijtimaiyya wa
al-Tarbawiyya and al-Ibdiyya f Shaml Ifriqiyya f Marhalat al-Kitmn (Amman:
Jmaa al-Urduniyya, 1978).
169. Ab Zakariyya, Kitb Siyar al-imma, 206; Lewicki, Halka, 95.
170. Lewicki, Halka, 9798; Savage, Gateway to Hell, 140141.
171. al-Tanwt, Ar al-Khawrij al-Kalmiyya, 2:238.
172. al-Warjln, Kitb al-Dall wa al-Burhn, 3:200.
173. al-Jannwan, Kitb al-Wad, 29; al-Shammkh, Muqaddimat al-Tawhd, 74.
174. al-Kind, al-Ihtid, 237.
175. Ab Muthir in KshiI, al-Siyar, 2:314315.
176. al-Qalht, al-Firaq al-Islmiyya, 229, 294.
177. Wilkinson, Early Development, 134; Wilkinson, Imamate Tradition, 162.
Wilkinson (along with Savage, Gateway to Hell, 26, who cites Wilkinson as her
source) claims that the sixth/twelIth-century North AIrican theologian and jurist
al-Warjln is the source Ior the notion oI the imm al-kitmn. I have not been
able to Iind speciIic reIerences to such an institution in al-Warjlns al-Dall wa
al-Burhn, though it contains numerous reIerences to kitmn and, separately, to the
Imm. Moreover, Ab Muthir, an Omani jurist Irom the third/ninth century, clearly
precedes al-Warjln in his depiction oI the early Basran ulam as Imms. See Ab
Muthir in KshiI, al-Siyar, 2:314315.
178. For a description oI the ascetic practices oI the azzba, see the description oI Ab
Abdullh Ahmad b. Bakr in al-Darjn, Kitb Tabaqt al-Mashyikh, 2:377392;
Lewicki, Halka, 9598.
1. Lane, An Arabic-English Lexicon, 4:1544. Higgins notes that the verb shar-yashr
can be translated as either sell or exchange. She preIers exchange because the
English phrase he sold his soul has negative connotations (that is, oI selling ones
soul to the devil). This study will retain, Ior the most part, the only slightly more
Iamiliar translation oI selling. See Annie Higgins, Faces oI Exchangers, Facets oI
Exchange in Early Shurt (Khrij) Poetry, Bulletin of the Royal Institute for Inter-
Faith Studies 7/1 (2005): 3132 (In. 1).
2. 4:74; 2:207.
3. For examples oI the appellation shurt as a synonym Ior Khrijite, see al-Ashar,
Maqlt, 1:207; al-Malat, Tanbh, 47; and the Khrij poetry collected in Abbs,
Shir al-Khawrij, 31, 33, 51, 53 (has b nafs) , 59 (ab), 6162, 70.
4. al-Shammkh, Muqaddimat al-Tawhd, 73; al-Jannwan, Kitb al-Wad, 29;
al-Darjn, Kitb Tabaqt al-Mashyikh, 1:7.
5. For the example oI al-Muhann b. JayIar, see al-Kind, al-Musannaf, 10:84.
6. See Munr b. Nayyar al-Jalns sra to the second Omani Ibd Imm Ghassn b.
Abdullh al-Yahmad (r. 188208/803823), in KshiI, al-Siyar, 1:235236.
7. The separation oI the institution oI the Imm and oI the institution oI shir in
Omani jurisprudence is apparent in the diIIerent pledges (baya) Ior the imma and
Ior the practice oI shir. For examples, see al-Kind, al-Musannaf, 10:83. Ms
b. Ab Jbir reIused to make Muhammad al-Maal the Imm because he would
not take the pledge oI shir. See al-Kind, al-Musannaf, 10:84; al-Slim, Tuhfat
al-Ayn, 1:111.
8. al-Shammkh, Muqaddimat al-Tawhd, 73.
9. al-Shammkh, Muqaddimat al-Tawhd, 7374.
10. For a discussion oI the many aspects oI jihd in Qurnic and early Islamic thought,
see James Johnson and John Kelsay, eds., Cross, Crescent, and Sword (Westport,
Conn.: Greenwood, 1990).
11. 4:77. The reIerence to withholding ones hands apparently reIers to an early com-
mand to avoid hostilities with the pagan Makkans (Ibn Kathr, Tafsr, 445).
12. See also 8:39.
13. Ab al-Husayn Muslim b. al-Hajjj Muslim, Sahh Muslim (Beirut: Dr Ibn Hazm,
1997), 1.8.35.
14. Muslim, Sahh, 1.20.80.
15. Ab Dwud Sulaymn b. al-Ashath al-Sijistn, Sunan Ab Dawd (Riyad:
International Ideas Home, 2000), 36.17.4344.
16. Mehdi Abedi and Gary Legenhausen, eds., Jihd and Shahdat: Struggle and
Martyrdom in Islam (Houston: Institute Ior Research and Islamic Studies, 1986), 23.
17. 2:143.
18. 57:19.
19. al-Bukhr, Sahh, 56.2.2786, 2787; Muslim Sahh, 32.31.18841887; Ab Abdullh
Muhammad b. Yazd al-Qazwn Ibn Mja, Sunan Ibn Mja (Riyad: International
Ideas Home, n.d.), 24.16.27982802; E. Kohlburg, Shahd, in EI2, edited by
CliIIord Bosworth, Charles Pellat, and Joseph Schact (Leiden: Brill, 1997), 204.
20. Ibn Hishm, al-Sra al-Nabawiyya, 3:72.
21. Kohlburg, Shahd, 204.
22. al-Bukhr, Sahh, 23.74.1346, 64.26.4079; Ibn Hajar al-Asqaln, Fath al-Br,
23. Kohlburg, Shahd, 204; Ibn Hajar al-Asqaln, Fath al-Br, 2:18051806.
24. Abedi and Legenhausen, Jihd and Shahdat, 137.
25. Abedi and Legenhausen, Jihd and Shahdat, 143.
26. al-Baghdd, al-Farq Bayn al-Firaq, 6162.
27. Abbs, Shir al-Khawrij, 31. Many oI the translations oI Khrijite poems are here
adapted Irom Fred Donner, Piety and Eschatology in Early Kharijite Poetry, in F
Mihrb al-Marifah: Festschrift for Ihsn Abbs, ed. Ibrhm As-SaIin (Beirut: Dr
Sader, 1997), 1319.
28. Abbs, Shir al-Khawrij, 59.
29. Abbs, Shir al-Khawrij, 3132.
30. Abbs, Shir al-Khawrij, 33.
31. Abbs, Shir al-Khawrij, 51.
32. Abbs, Shir al-Khawrij, 73.
33. Abbs, Shir al-Khawrij, 61. Ab Bills Iather was Hudayr, his mother Udaya; his
name is more oIten given as Ibn Udaya, but sometimes Ibn Hudayr is employed.
34. Abbs, Shir al-Khawrij, 62.
35. Abbs, Shir al-Khawrij, 70.
36. Abbs, Shir al-Khawrij, 72.
37. Abbs, Shir al-Khawrij, 50.
38. Abbs, Shir al-Khawrij, 73.
39. Ibn Qutayba, al-Marif (Beirut: Dr al-Kutub al-Ilmiyya, 1987), 232.
40. al-Mubarrad, al-Kmil: Bb al-Khawrij, 107; Wellhausen, Religio-Political Factions,
41. Eric J. Hobsbawm, Bandits (New York: Pantheon, 1969), 17.
42. Hobsbawm, Bandits, 17.
43. Hobsbawm, Bandits, 18.
44. Marshall G. S. Hodgson, The Venture of Islam (Chicago: University oI Chicago Press,
1977), 1:227230; Khalid Yahya Blankinship, The End of the Jihd State (Albany:
State University oI New York Press, 1994), 111.
45. On the early sources Ior data on Islamic sects, see Watt, Formative Period, 12.
46. See, Ior example, the eulogies oI s b. Ftik in Abbs, Shir al-Khawrij, 54; Kab
b. Umayra, 61; al-Rahn b. Sahm al-Murd, 63; and Imrn b. Hattn, 140.
47. For eulogies to Slih, see the poetry oI al-Huwayrith al-Rsib in Abbs, Shir
al-Khawrij, 177; al-Jad b. Dumm al-Ds, 178; and al-Minhl al-Shaybn al-Basr,
180. For eulogies to Shabb, see the poetry oI Atbn b. Usayla al-Shaybn Abbs,
Shir al-Khawrij, 182; and Abd al-Whid al-Azd, 184.
48. al-Baldhur, Ansb al-Ashrf, 5:189.
49. For an account oI Urwas actions at the Battle oI SiIIn, see Ibn Qutayba, al-Marif,
231232; al-Shammkh, Siyar, 1:6465; al-Darjn, Kitb Tabaqt al-Mashyikh,
2:215216; Wellhausen, Religio-Political Factions, 41.
50. al-Baldhur, Ansb al-Ashrf, 5:189; Wellhausen, Religio-Political Factions, 40.
51. al-Darjn, Kitb Tabaqt al-Mashyikh, 2:217; al-Tabar, Trkh, 2:186187.
52. For descriptions oI Ab Bills piety see al-Darjn, Kitb Tabaqt al-Mashyikh,
2:214; al-Shammkh, Siyar, 1:64.
53. al-Baldhur, Ansb al-Ashrf, 5:189190; Wellhausen, Religio-Political Factions,
54. al-Mubarrad, al-Kmil: Bb al-Khawrij, 81; al-Shammkh, al-Siyar, 1:61
55. al-Mubarrad, al-Kmil: Bb al-Khawrij, 83.
56. al-Mubarrad, al-Kmil: Bb al-Khawrij, 83; al-Darjn, Kitb Tabaqt al-Mashyikh,
2:218219; al-Shammkh, Siyar, 1:64.
57. al-Baldhur, Ansb al-Ashrf, 5:191.
58. Hobsbawm, Bandits, 52.
59. al-Baldhur, Ansb al-Ashrf, 5:191192.
60. al-Mubarrad, al-Kmil: Bb al-Khawrij, 85.
61. Hobsbawm, Bandits, 50.
62. al-Baldhur, Ansb al-Ashrf, 5:192193.
63. See al-Mubarrad, al-Kmil: Bb al-Khawrij, 87; al-Baldhur, Ansb al-Ashrf,
5:193; al-Shammkh, al-Siyar, 1:63; al-Darjn, Kitb Tabaqt al-Mashyikh, 2:222.
64. al-IsIarin, al-Tabsr f al-Dn, 45; Ibn Qutayba, al-Marif, 232.
65. al-Mubarrad, al-Kmil: Bb al-Khawrij, 52.
66. Milton Gold, tr., The Trkh-e Sistn (Rome: Instituto Italiano per il Medil ed Estremo
Oriente, 1976), 123.
67. Gold, Trkh-e Sistn, 123.
68. Gold, Trkh-e Sistn, 124.
69. Gold, Trkh-e Sistn, 132133.
70. Gold, Trkh-e Sistn, 135.
71. Hobsbawm, Bandits, 58.
72. Robinson, Empire and Elites, 117.
73. al-Tabar, Trkh, 2:882.
74. al-Tabar, Trkh, 2:881.
75. al-Baghdd, al-Farq Bayn al-Firaq, 89.
76. Ibn Qutayba, al-Marif, 232.
77. al-Tabar, Trkh, 2:917.
78. Quoted in Robinson, Empire and Elites, 120.
79. al-Tabar, Trkh, 2:934.
80. Abou El Fadl, Violence and Rebellion, 32. Mahmd Shaltt clearly states that once
two groups oI Muslims resort to violence, one group among them must be considered
rebels. See Shaltt in Rudolph Peters, Jihad in Medieval and Modern Islam (Leiden:
Brill, 1977), 40.
81. Ali Rahnema, An Islamic Utopian: A Political Biography of Ali Shariati (New York:
I. B. Tauris, 1998), 161.
82. It is reported that Ammr was one oI Als earliest supporters (sha), and died
Iighting Ior Al at the Battle oI SiIIn: al-MuId, al-Irshd, 2, 189; also Ab JaIar
Muhammad b. al-Hasan al-Ts, Rijl al-Ts, ed. Muhammad Kzim (NajaI:
Maktabat al-Matbaa, 1961), 46.
83. al-Tabar, Trkh, 1:3317.
84. al-Qalht, al-Firaq al-Islmiyya, 66.
85. al-Qalht, al-Firaq al-Islmiyya, 68.
86. 49:9 reads: II two parties among the Believers Iall into a quarrel, then make peace
between them: but iI one oI them transgresses beyond bounds against the other, then
NOTES TO PAGES 98100 169
Iight against the one that transgresses until it complies with the command oI God; but
iI it complies, then make peace between them with justice, and be Iair: Ior God loves
those who are Iair.
87. al-Jaln in KshiI, al-Siyar, 1:235.
88. al-Kind, Bayn al-Shar, 3:271; al-Kind, Kitb al-Ihtid, 237.
89. Ab Muthir in KshiI, al-Siyar, 2:313.
90. al-Jaln in KshiI, al-Siyar, 1:235.
91. al-Mubarrad, al-Kmil: Bb al-Khawrij, 71. Abu al-Abbss account in al-
Mubarrad conIlates the events oI Nukhayla with those oI Harr, and presents the
Khrijites at Nukhayla as those who engaged in debate (munzara) with Ibn Abbs.
92. al-Tabar, Trkh, 2:910. Compare with al-Baldhur, who mentions also Abdullh
b. Ab Haws al-Kilb and Hawthara b. Wad al-Asad as leaders oI the ahl
Nukhayla. See al-Baldhur, Ansb al-Ashrf, 5:169172.
93. See also al-Baghdd, al-Farq Bayn al-Firaq, 62.
94. al-Tabar, Trkh, 2:10.
95. al-Mubarrad, al-Kmil: Bb al-Khawrij, 73. Al-Baldhur preserves the same line oI
poetry, but attributes it to an anonymous companion oI the Khrijite Shabb b. Bajra
al-Ashja. See al-Baldhur, Ansb al-Ashrf, 5:172.
96. al-Qalht, al-Firaq al-Islmiyya, 89; Ibn Qahtn in KshiI, al-Siyar, 1:109.
97. al-Qalht, al-Firaq al-Islmiyya, 89. Compare with the account in al-Baldhur,
where al-H asan says to Muwiya: II I preIerred to Iight anyone Irom the People oI
the Qibla |that is, the Muslims|, I would begin by Iighting you, but I have abandoned
that Ior the good oI the umma. See al-Baldhur, Ansb al-Ashrf, 5:169170.
98. Ibn Qahtn in KshiI, al-Siyar, 1:109.
99. As Thompson notes, sects in the Umayyad period worked in concert more oIten than
not, and only opposed one another when Iorced to do so by the Umayyad regime. See
William Thomson, Kharijitism and the Kharijites, in The MacDonald Presentation
Volume (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1933), 373389. Evidence survives
oI early collaboration and interaction between the Khrijites and other Islamic sects
and individuals. For example, al-Mubarrad preserves correspondence between
NIi b. al-Azraq and Najda b. Amr. See al-Mubarrad, al-Kmil: Bb al-Khawrij,
112115. Likewise, NIi and the (pro-Ald) Ibn Surad oI KIa seem to have aligned
themselves together against the Umayyads (mentioned in Thompson, Kharijitism
and the Kharijites, 382). The Thaliba Khrijites oI Khurasn became involved in
revolutionary activity there and, under the direction oI Shaybn b. Salama, raised
an army oI 30,000 consisting oI Khurasn and Basran Khrijites. Shaybn aligned
himselI, brieIly, with Ab Muslim al-Khurasn. See WilIerd Madelung, Religious
Trends in Early Islamic Iran (Albany: Bibliotheca Persica, 1988), 60. In addition, the
Omani jurist Ab Sad deals with the question oI a person who mistakes an Ibd Ior
a Shiite; such a mistake may be another indicator oI their closeness. See Ab Sad
Muhammad b. Sad al-Kudam, al-Jmi al-Mufd min Ahkm Ab Sad (Muscat:
WTQwTh, 1985), 1:3334.
100. KshiI, al-Siyar, 1:81, In 1.
101. See Ibn al-Saghr, Akhbr al-imma al-Rustumiyyn, 81.
170 NOTES TO PAGES 100103
102. al-Qalht, al-Firaq al-Islmiyya, 252275.
103. Ab Muthir in KshiI, al-Siyar, 2:314.
104. al-Jaln in KshiI, al-Siyar, 1:234.
105. al-Tabar, Trkh, 2:1516; al-Baldhurs account oI Sahm and al-Khatms rebellion
matches al-Tabars, suggesting a similar source. See al-Baldhur, Ansb al-Ashrf,
106. Ibn al-Athr, al-Kmil f al-Trkh, 3:350. Similarly, al-Baldhurs account claims
that Sahm and al-Khatm were the Iirst to apply the concept oI kufr to the Muslims.
See Ansb al-Ashrf, 5:179.
107. al-Tabar, Trkh, 2:7374.
108. Abbs, Shir al-Khawrij, 46; al-Baldhur, Ansb al-Ashrf, 5:180.
109. al-Jaln in KshiI, al-Siyar, 1:234235.
110. al-Tabar, Trkh, 2:9091. Their Iull names are given in al-Baghdd, al-Farq Bayn
al-Firaq, 62, and al-Baldhr, Ansb al-Ashrf, 5:182.
111. al-Baghdd, al-Farq Bayn al-Firaq, 62; al-Baldhr, Ansb al-Ashrf, 5:183.
112. al-Mubarrad, al-Kmil: Bb al-Khawrij, 79.
113. Abbs, Shir al-Khawrij, 60.
114. al-Jaln in KshiI, al-Siyar, 1:234.
115. Ab Muthir in KshiI, al-Siyar, 2:314.
116. al-Darjn, Kitb Tabaqt al-Mashyikh, 1:7.
117. al-Shammkh, Muqaddimat al-Tawhd, 73.
118. For the Sunni versions oI these narratives, see Wahb b. Jarrs account in al-Tabar,
Trkh, 2:187; al-Baldhru, Ansb al-Ashrf, 5:188195; Ab MikhnaIs account
in al-Tabar, Trkh, 2:391; Ibn al-Athr, al-Kmil f al-Trkh, 3:428; al-Mubarrad,
al-Kmil: Bb al-Khawrij, 8186. For the Ibd versions, see al-Darjn, Kitb
Tabaqt al-Mashyikh, 2:214226; al-Shammkh, Siyar, 1:6167.
119. Ab Muthir in KshiI, al-Siyar, 2:314.
120. al-Jaln in KshiI, al-Siyar, 1:234, 236.
121. al-Darjn, Kitb Tabaqt al-Mashyikh, 1:7.
122. al-Shammkh, Muqaddimat al-Tawhd, 73.
123. Ab Zakariyya in al-Darjn, Kitb Tabaqt al-Mashyikh, 2:364; al-Jannwan,
Kitb al-Wad, 29.
124. Ab Muthir in KshiI, al-Siyar, 2:315. In addition, al-Jaln includes Abdullh b.
Yahya, Ab Hamza al-Mukhtr b. AwI, and al-Julanda b. Masd among the good
examples oI early Ibdiyya to be Iollowed. See al-Jaln in KshiI, al-Siyar, 1:234,
236237; al-Kind, al-Ihtid, 237.
125. Ab Hamzas speeches in Makka and Madna have been preserved in Ibn Qutayba,
Uyn al-Akhbr, 2:271272; al-Jhiz, al-Bayn wa al-Tabyn, 2:7982; al-Darjn,
Kitb Tabaqt al-Mashyikh, 2:266269; Ior a translation, see Crone, Gods Caliph,
126. al-Darjn, Kitb Tabaqt al-Mashyikh, 2:258272. See also Mahd Tlib Hshim,
al-Haraka al-Ibdiyya f al-Mashriq al-Arab (London: Dr al-Hikma, 2001),
127. al-Darjn, Kitb Tabaqt al-Mashyikh, 2:258.
NOTES TO PAGES 104113 171
128. al-Slim, Tuhfat al-Ayn, 1:88; Wilkinson, Imamate Tradition, 153.
129. al-Slim, Tuhfat al-Ayn, 1:94.
130. al-Slim, Tuhfat al-Ayn, 1:9596.
131. Crone and Zimmerman, Epistle, 140141.
132. al-Darjn, Kitb Tabaqt al-Mashyikh, 2:478.
133. Wilkinson, Ibd Hadth, 250251.
134. al-Shammkh, Muqaddimat al-Tawhd, 73.
135. al-Kind, al-Musannaf, 10:83.
136. al-Shammkh, Muqaddimat al-Tawhd, 73; Ennami, Studies in Ibadism
(al-Ibdyah), 233.
137. al-Jaln in KshiI, al-Siyar, 1:238239; Ennami, Studies in Ibadism
(al-Ibdyah), 233.
138. al-Tanwt, Ar al-Khawrij al-Kalmiyya, 2:238.
139. al-Kind, al-Musannaf, 10:83.
140. al-Bisyn in al-Kind, al-Musannaf, 10:60.
141. al-Jaln in KshiI, al-Siyar, 1:236. As has been demonstrated, Ibd historians
portrayed Ab Bill as one oI the Iirst individuals to practice shir, and in many
ways Ab Bill became the prototype Ior the practice oI shir. This appropriation
oI the narrative oI Ab Bill, oI course, represents the creation oI a Iictive truth Ior
the purposes oI elucidating the practice oI shir. Ab Bill may not have used the
exact words, or conceived oI his actions in the way in which this Ibd historical
account oI his actions portray him as doing. Nevertheless, what is important is how
the words and actions oI Ab Bill as he appears in this account Iocused attention on
shir as it was meant to be practiced by the contemporaries oI the Ibd historians
who wrote about Ab Bill. Thus, when al-Jaln presents Ab Bills conditions Ior
the practice oI shir in the Iorm oI a speech that (al-Jaln claims) Ab Bill gave
to his prospective Iollowers, this speech must be taken as relevant to (and thereIore
addressed to) the contemporaries oI al-Jaln.
142. al-Shammkh, Muqaddimat al-Tawhd, 73.
143. Ibn Qays, Mukhtasar al-Khisl, 193.
144. al-Shammkh, Muqaddimat al-Tawhd, 73.
145. al-Shammkh, Muqaddimat al-Tawhd, 74.
146. al-Tanwt, Ar al-Khawrij al-Kalmiyya, 2:238.
147. al-Kind, al-Musannaf, 10:8384.
148. al-Bisyn in al-Kind, al-Musannaf, 10:60.
1. For example, the ulam accepted and distributed the zakt and alms (huqq) dur-
ing the condition oI kitmn, a responsibility reserved Ior the Imm during a state oI
zuhr. See al-Jitl, Qawid al-Islm, 2:428432.
2. See Tabghrn b. Dwd b. s al-Malshts Kitb Usl al-Dn in Ennami, Studies
in Ibadism (Edition of Ibd Texts), 37.
3. Watt, Islamic Political Thought, 35.
172 NOTES TO PAGES 113119
4. Watt, Islamic Political Thought, 41; see also Von Grunebaum, Classical Islam, 15.
5. Watt, Islamic Political Thought, 40.
6. Watt, Muhammad at Mecca, 8.
7. Ibn Hishm, Ior example, reports that the Prophet Muhammads uncle, Waraqa b.
NawIal, was a Christian; see Ibn Hishm, al-Sra al-Nabawiyya, 1:180.
8. 40:51 states: We do indeed help Our Messengers, and the believers, in this liIe
as well as on the Day when witnesses shall stand up. See also Rahman, Major
Themes, 63.
9. 21:73.
10. Ibn Kathr, Tafsr, 1025.
11. 28:41.
12. 11:9698. Most Qurn commentators take the term wird in verse 98 to indicate the
act oI entering the Fire: Ibn Abbs in al-Tabar, Ior example, reads wird as dukhl.
See al-Tabar, Tafsr al-Tabar (Beirut: Dr al-Kutub al-Ilmiyya, 2005), 7:108.
However, the word also indicates a watering hole, and the verb awrada (which is also
used in verse 98) can mean to lead to water. See al-Rghib al-IsIahn, Mufradt,
865. ThereIore the verse can be read as creating a metaphor whereby Pharaohs people
believe they are being led to a place oI water, only to be led to the Fire. This interpre-
tation is possible when the term wird in verse 98 is compared with 19:86: And We
shall drive the guilty to Hell, a weary herd, where those being led to Hell are com-
pared to herd animals being driven to their watering place.
13. 2:124.
14. 21:73.
15. 32:24.
16. 38:26. The phrase viceroy in the earth recalls the trust (amna) between God and
humankind that established human beings as Gods vice-regents on earth: And when
the Lord said to the angels, Lo! I am about to place a viceroy (khalfa) in the earth
(2:30); see also 6:165; 10:14, 73; 35:39; 5:69, 74; 27:62.
17. 23:52.
18. 7:181.
19. 4:135.
20. 2:143.
21. 3:110.
22. 5:48.
23. 29:23.
24. 13:11.
25. 3:159.
26. 42:38; 2:233.
27. al-Kind, al-Musannaf, 10:9.
28. 4:59.
29. As Madelung observes, a minority oI Muslim scholars held that Ab Bakr was explic-
itly chosen by Muhammad as his successor, and that it was probably during the time
oI Umar that the prevalent view that Muhammad had named no successor gained
prominence. See Madelung, Succession to Muhammad, 5455.
NOTES TO PAGES 120124 173
30. al-Tabar, Trkh, 1:27712772.
31. al-Tabar, Trkh, 1:27672768.
32. Ibn Hishm, al-Sra al-Nabawiyya, 4:232; Ibd variants oI this speech can be located
in al-Qalht, al-Firaq al-Islmiyya, 204; al-Kudam, al-Istiqma, 2:120; al-Mutabar,
33. al-Kind, al-Musannaf, 10:7.
34. Cook convincingly argues that this letter was probably written toward the early part oI
the Iirst halI oI the second/eighth century, but that the attribution to Ibn Ibd is spuri-
ous. See Cook, Early Muslim Dogma, 67.
35. Ibn Ibd, al-Ibdiyya wa Mad Silatiha b al-Khawrij, 136137; see also Muhammad
b. Mahbb in KshiI, al-Siyar, 2:259.
36. Ibn Ibd, al-Ibdiyya wa Mad Silatiha b al-Khawrij, 136.
37. Crone and Zimmerman, Epistle, 266.
38. Crone and Zimmerman, Epistle, 4849.
39. Crone and Zimmerman, Epistle, 5051.
40. Crone and Zimmerman, Epistle, 4849.
41. al-Kind, al-Musannaf, 10:59.
42. al-Baldhur, Ansb al-Ashrf, 3:121122. Similarly, Ab MikhnaI reports that
when one oI the Muhakkima, Shurayh b. AwI al-Abas, Iled KIa he recited 28:21,
explicitly comparing the people oI KIa to the wrongdoing Iolk (qawm al-zlimn)
mentioned in the verse. See al-Tabar, Trkh, 1:33653366; a variant in al-Baldhur,
Ansb al-Ashrf, 3:138, has Zayd b. Hisn instead oI Shurayh. 28:21 reads: So he
escaped Irom thence, tearing, vigilant. He said: My Lord! Deliver me Irom a wrongdo-
ing Iolk.
43. al-Tabar, Trkh, 1:3457. This report also includes a story oI Ibn Muljam resolving to
murder Al at the request oI a woman with whom he had Iallen in love. The woman, a
member oI the Taym b. Ribb, demands that Ibn Muljam kill Al in retaliation Ior her
Iather and brother, who were slain at the Battle oI Nahrawn, beIore she will marry
him. These stories lead the reader to understand that tribally based revenge is the
motive Ior the assassination oI Al. Similarly, the tribal concept oI blood revenge is
invoked by Al aIter he receives his wound: A liIe Ior a liIeiI I die, kill him as he
killed me. See al-Tabar, Trkh, 1:3461.
44. al-Tabar, Trkh, 1:3457.
45. al-Mubarrad, al-Kmil: Bb al-Khawrij, 36.
46. al-Ashar, Maqlt, 1:192; variant on 194.
47. al-Tabar, Trkh, 1:2994. For an overview oI Uthmns reign, see Madelung,
Succession to Muhammad, 8081.
48. Crone and Hinds, Gods Caliph, 3438.
49. al-Tabar, Trkh, 2:743.
50. Crone and Hinds, Gods Caliph, 39.
51. Ahmad b. Muhmmad Ibn Abd Rabbihi, Kitb al-Iqd al-Fard (Beirut: Dr al-Arqam,
1999), 4:93; Crone and Hinds, Gods Caliph, 39.
52. al-Tabar, Trkh, 2:1758; see also the translation oI the epistle oI Wald II in Crone
and Hinds, Gods Caliph, 120.
174 NOTES TO PAGES 125130
53. Ibn Ibd, al-Ibdiyya wa Mad Silatiha b al-Khawrij, 134.
54. Crone and Hinds, Gods Caliph, 3638.
55. al-Tabar, Trkh, 1:3277; Ab al-Fadl Nasar b. Muzhim b. Siyr al-Minqar,
Waqat Siffn, ed. Abd al-Salm Muhammad Hrn (Cairo: Muassisat al-Arabiyya
al-Hadtha, 1962), 200.
56. al-Farazdq, Diwn, 2:655.
57. Jarr, Diwn, 147.
58. Crone and Hinds, Gods Caliph, 37.
59. Crone and Hinds, Gods Caliph, 38.
60. al-IsIahn, al-Aghn, 6:312.
61. Ghiyth b. Ghawth al-Taghlb al-Akhtal, Dwn, ed. A. Salhn (Beirut: Imprimerie
Catholique, 1891), 185.
62. al-Tabar, Trkh, 2:75; Crone and Hinds, Gods Caliph, 38.
63. al-Shahrastn, al-Milal wa al-Nihal, 115.
64. al-Ashar, Maqlt, 1:204.
65. Abbs, Shir al-Khawrij, 69.
66. Abbs, Shir al-Khawrij, 55.
67. Abbs, Shir al-Khawrij, 35.
68. Goldziher, Muslim Studies, 2:9091; on the title khalfat Allh see Crone and Hinds,
Gods Caliph, 21.
69. Goldziher, Muslim Studies, 2:54.
70. al-Bukhr, Sahh, 92.2.7053.
71. Goldziher, Muslim Studies, 2:9495.
72. al-Tabar, Trkh, 2:70; Goldziher, Muslim Studies, 2:5051.
73. Ahmad b. Ab Yaqb al-Yaqb, Trkh, ed. M. T. Houtsma (Leiden: Brill, 1883),
74. al-Yaqb, Trkh, 2:265.
75. Though he overstates the case, Shaban claims: |the Azraqite and Najdite| so-called
Kharijite movement was in Iact a major revolt in Arabia itselI, led by a tribe with a
long tradition oI independence, which happened to be in alliance with the khawrij
Ior the purposes oI an Iraqi campaign. See M. A. Shaban, Islamic History: A New
Approach (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1971), 1:97.
76. al-Baldhur, Ansb al-Ashrf, 3:114; al-Tabar, Trkh, 1:33513354.
77. al-Tabar, Trkh, 1:3365.
78. al-Tabar, Trkh, 1:3365.
79. Patricia Crone, The Khrijites and the Caliphal Title, in Studies in Islamic and
Middle Eastern Texts and Traditions in Memory of Norman Calder, ed. G. R. Hawting,
J. A. Mojaddedi, and A. Samely (OxIord: OxIord University Press, 2000), 8591;
al-Baghdd, al-Farq Bayn al-Firaq, 65; Ibn Ab al-Hadd, Sharh Nahj al-Balgha,
4:130, 159.
80. al-Baghdd, al-Farq Bayn al-Firaq, 65; al-Shahrastn, al-Milal wa al-Nihal, 120;
al-Ashar, Maqlt, 1:170171. Al-Ashar uses the terms aqadat al-amr and
astakhlafa to describe the process oI succession among the Azriqa.
81. al-Shahrastn, al-Milal wa al-Nihal, 123.
NOTES TO PAGES 130134 175
82. al-Baghdd, al-Farq Bayn al-Firaq, 67.
83. al-Baghdd, al-Farq Bayn al-Firaq, 67; al-Shahrastn, al-Milal wa al-Nihal, 123;
al-Ashar, Maqlt, 1:174.
84. al-Ashar, Maqlt, 1:176.
85. al-Baghdd, al-Farq Bayn al-Firaq, 79; Ibn Ab al-Hadd, Sharh Nahj al-Balgha,
86. Ab Muhammad Al b. Ahmad Ibn Hazm, Jamharat Ansb al-Arab, ed. A. M.
Hrn (Cairo: Dr al-MariI, 1962), 322.
87. al-Tabar, Trkh, 2:1942; Ibn al-Athr, al-Kmil f al-Trkh, 5:267.
88. Madelung, Religious Trends, 57; Paul Walker, A Catalogue of the Arab-Sassanian
Coins (London: Trustees oI the British Museum, 1941), 111113.
89. al-Baldhur, Ansb al-Ashrf, 5:183.
90. Patricia Crone, A Statement by the Najdiyya Khrijites on the Dispensability
oI the Imamate, SI 88 (1998): 56; the Nukkr subsect oI the Ibdiyya also
reportedly adopted a belieI similar to that oI the Najdt: see al-Jannwun, Kitb
al-Wad, 23.
91. al-Ashar, Maqlt, 1:205; variant in al-Shahrastn, al-Milal wa al-Nihal, 124.
92. al-Nawbakht, Kitb Firaq al-Sha, 10.
93. al-Tanwt, Ar al-Khawrij al-Kalmiyya, 2:233.
94. Crone and Zimmerman, Epistle, 208.
95. al-Mubarrad, al-Kmil, 3:913.
96. al-Baghdd, al-Farq Bayn al-Firaq, 69.
97. Ibn al-Athr, al-Kmil f al-Trkh, 5:88.
98. al-Shahrastn, Kitb Nihyat al-Iqdm, 481II.; Crone, A Statement, 75. Although
the Najdite pieces oI the argument must be distinguished Irom its Mutazilite pieces,
the passage yields a coherent argument that was probably adapted Irom an original
Khrijite source. See Crone, A Statement, 66.
99. al-Shahrastn, Nihyat al-Iqdm, 482. There is evidence that a group oI Najdites
may have accorded Najdas ijtihd a higher priority over their own because oI his
status as Imm; see al-Baghdd, al-Farq Bayn al-Firaq, 69; see also al-Ashar,
Maqlt, 1:176 (without the reIerence to Najdas ijtihd).
100. al-Shahrastn, Nihyat al-Iqdm, 482.
101. al-Shahrastn, Nihyat al-Iqdm, 484; Crone, A Statement, 75.
102. Crone, A Statement, 7576.
103. al-Kind, al-Musannaf, 10:4.
104. al-Kudam in al-Kind, al-Musannaf, 10:6.
105. al-Kind, al-Musannaf, 10:59.
106. al-Kind, al-Musannaf, 10:2324; al-Kudam, al-Istiqma, 2:119; al-Bisyn in
KshiI, al-Siyar, 2:175; Wilkinson, The Ibd Imma, 535II.
107. al-Bisyn in KshiI, al-Siyar, 2:175.
108. al-Kind, al-Musannaf, 10:23.
109. Ab Mundhir in al-Kind, al-Ihtid, 159.
110. Ab Zakariyya, Kitb Siyar al-imma, 91. By the twelIth/eighteenth century,
Omani jurists had reasserted their authority over the Imm to the point where
176 NOTES TO PAGES 134140
they could require consultation as a duty: al-Sigh states in his bb al-imma:
Consultation is a duty and this may be imposed as an absolute duty (fard wjib), a
condition oI |the Imms| tenure oI oIIice; iI he Iails in this then his imma ceases
and obedience Irom his Ilock is no longer obligatory. See al-Sigh in Wilkinson,
The Ibd Imma, 539.
111. al-Kind, al-Musannaf, 10:159.
112. Ab Zakariyya, Kitb Siyar al-imma, 84; Ibn al-Saghr, Akhbr al-imma
al-Rustumiyyn, 3031.
113. al-Kudam, al-Mutabar, 2:159.
114. al-Sigh in Wilkinson, The Ibd Imma, 541.
115. Ibn Qahtn in al-Slim, Tuhfat al-Ayn, 1:114; varient in KshiI, al-Siyar, 1:115.
116. al-Kind, al-Ihtid, 165166; al-Musannaf, 10:814; Ab Muthir in al-Kind,
al-Musannaf, 10:101; Ibn Baraka in al-Kind, al-Musannaf, 10:100.
117. Ibn Qays, Mukhtasar al-Khisl, 193.
118. Ibn al-Saghr, Akhbr al-imma al-Rustumiyyn, 2627; Savage, Gateway to
Hell, 43.
119. al-Kind, al-Musannaf, 10:105.
120. Muhammad b. Mahbb in KshiI, al-Siyar, 1:125.
121. al-Kind, al-Musannaf, 10:127, 207208, 215, 218.
122. al-Kind, al-Musannaf, 10:4950.
123. al-Kudam, al-Mutabar, 2:159.
124. al-Kudam, al-Mutabar, 2:159; al-Istiqma, 2:120; al-Qalht, al-Firaq al-Islmiyya,
125. Ibn Qahtn in KshiI, al-Siyar, 1:115118.
126. al-Tanwt, Ar al-Khawrij al-Kalmiyya, 2:238; al-Darjn, Kitb Tabaqt
al-Mashyikh, 1:6; al-Kudam, al-Mutabar, 2:161; al-Shammkh, Muqaddimat
al-Tawhd, 74.
127. al-Kind, al-Musannaf, 10:2425.
128. al-Malsht in Ennami, Studies in Ibadism (Edition of Ibd Texts), 37.
129. al-Kind, al-Musannaf, 10:60; al-Shammkh, Muqaddiamt al-Tawhd, 70; al-Darjn,
Kitb Tabaqt al-Mashyikh, 1:6.
130. al-Kind, al-Musannaf, 10:61; al-Shammkh, Muqaddiamt al-Tawhd, 70.
131. al-Shammkh, Muqaddiamt al-Tawhd, 70; al-Darjn, Kitb Tabaqt al-Mashyikh,
2:364; al-Slim, Tuhfat al-Ayn, 1:111 (who also notes that he agreed to shir).
132. al-Bisyn in Kind, al-Musannaf, 10:80.
133. al-Bisyn in al-Kind, al-Musannaf, 10:69.
134. Wilkinson, Imamate Tradition, 159160.
1. Although it is true that heresiographers and later historians sometimes used Khrijite
or Ibd sources when compiling their works, they nevertheless edited the materials
in such a way as to make it diIIicult to decipher what materials come Irom what
NOTES TO PAGES 140144 177
sources. For an excellent discussion oI the problems oI heresiographical literature, see
Lewinstein, The Azriqa in Islamic Heresiography, 251268.
2. H.A.R. Gibb, Studies on the Civilization of Islam (Lahore: Islamic Book Service,
1987), 153.
3. Watt, Formative Period, 3637.
4. Michael Morony, Iraq After the Muslim Conquest (Piscataway, N.J.: Gorgias Press,
2005), 468478. Sizgorichs study on Christian and Muslim modes oI militant devotion
in the late antique period contains an interesting chapter on the Khrijites, and provides
a beginning Ior research in this direction. However, Sizgorich does not use Ibd
sources, and is not particularly interested in Iinding horizontal inIluences between
Christians and Khrijites. His main concern is to contextualize the particular Khrijite
modes oI militant piety within the larger Iramework oI Christian-Muslim articulations
oI violence and devotion. See Thomas Sizgorich, Violence and Belief in Late Antiquity,
(Philadelphia: University oI Pennsylvania Press, 2009), 196230.
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Aaron (prophet), 32
Abbd b. Akhdar al-Mzin, 92,
93, 102
Abbd b. Sulaymn, 130
deIamation oI Umayyads by, 99, 127
Ibdiyya named by, 66
Ibdiyya conIlicts with, 71, 72, 104
Khrijite conIlicts with, 8, 90, 93, 98
pro-Alid commitments oI, 98
Abd al-Jabbr b. Qays al-Murd, 71
Abd al-Karm al-Shahrastn, 36, 39,
66, 126, 131
Abd al-Mlik b. Humayd, 136
Abd al-Mlik b. Marwn, 59, 63, 65,
66, 124, 125
Abd al-Mlik al-Tawl, 68
Abd al-Qhir b. Thir al-Baghdd,
39, 57, 58, 66, 101, 131
Abd Rabbih al-Kabr, 130
Abd al-Rahmn b. Muljam
(Ibn Muljam), 123
Abd al-Rahmn b. Rustum,
consultation oI ulam by, 134
ilm oI, 71, 73, 74
piety oI, 45
rustimid immate Iounded by, 9, 10
selection as transmitter oI Ibd
tradition oI, 43,
shr election oI, 135
Abd al-Wahhb b. Abd al-Rahmn
b. Rustum, 10, 17, 45, 70, 74, 134
Abdullh b. Abbs (Ibn Abbas), 37,
42, 55, 57, 61, 64, 115
Abdullh b. Ibd al-Murra al-Tamm,
biography oI, 65, 66
Ibd portrayal oI, 51, 65, 77
Ibd sect named aIter, 65
letters oI, 16, 122, 124, 125
non-existence oI, 66
Abdullh b. al-Kuww
al-Yashkr, 129
Abdullh al-Mamn b. Harn
(al-Mamn), 127
Abdullh b. Masd (Ibn Masd), 64
Abdullh b. Masd al-Tujb, 71
Abdullh b. Muhammad al-Mansr
(al-Mansr), 66
Abdullh b. Umar, 64
Abdullh b. Umayr, 120
Abdullh b. Wahb al-Rsib,
ilm oI, 57
and imm al-dif, 137
Nukhaylite rejection oI, 98
piety oI, 33, 38, 41, 43, 47
selection as Imm oI Muhakkima
oI, 37, 38, 41, 43, 129
selection as transmitter oI Ibd
tradition oI, 43, 44, 47
on shir, 87
194 I NDEX
Abdullh b. Yahy al-Kind (Tlib
and baya, 130
Ibn Ibds companionship with, 66
ilm oI, 72, 73
rebellion oI, 40, 41, 72, 103
shurt narrtives oI, 96, 102105
Abdullh b. al-Zubayr
(Ibn al-Zubayr), 124
Abraham (prophet), 53, 116
Ab al-Abbs, 98
Ab al-Abbs Ahmad b. Ab Uthmn
Sad al-Shammkh,
on quietist Basran leadership, 6365,
67, 68
and shrt narratives, 91, 101
and sources oI Ibd history, 16, 18, 105
Ab al-Abbs Ahmad b. Sad al-Darjn,
on kitmn, 75
on quietist Basran leadership, 63, 65,
67, 68
and shrt narratives, 91, 10103, 105
and sources oI Ibd history, 16, 18, 105
Ab al-Abbs Muhammad b. Yazd
Khrijite history preserved by, 35
on the Najdt 57, 58, 131
and shrt narratives, 91, 98
Ab Abdullh Ikrima b. Abdullh
(Ikrima), 61
Ab Abdullh Muhammad al-Hrith
al-Baghdd al-MuId, 55
Ab Abdullh Muhammad b. Isml
al-Bukhr, 54, 127
Ab Abdullh Muhammad b. Mahbb
(Ibn Mahbb), 16, 70, 108, 135
Ab Abdullh Muhammad b. Sad
(Ibn Sad), 24, 30, 42, 59, 64, 65
Ab Abdullh Muhammad b. Yazd
al-Qazwn Ibn Mja (Ibn Mja), 55
Ab Ammr Abd al-KI b. Ab Yaqb
al-Tanwt, 18, 106, 108
Ab Amr Umar b. Abd al-Azz
al-Kashsh, 60
Ab Ayyb Wil b. Ayyb al-Hadram, 70
Ab Bakr Ahmad b. Abdullh b. Ms
on eIIicacious leadership, 122, 13336
on ilm, 7577
on the lineage oI Ibd Imms, 43, 44
necessity oI Quraysh leadership rejected
by, 46, 47
on shir, 106
and sources oI Ibd history, 17
Ab Bakr al-Asam, 130
Ab Bakr al-Siddq, 55,
election as Caliph oI, 131, 133
Ibd endorsement oI, 43, 44, 47, 76
ilm oI, 54, 55
imm al-zuhr exempliIied by, 13, 19, 76
Khrijite endorsement oI, 12,
piety oI, 29, 3033, 47, 141
tribal model oI leadership adopted by,
11922, 124, 128, 136, 138, 143
Ab Bill Mirds b. Udaya, 11, 66, 128
excessive violence condemned by, 101
non- Khrijite appropriation oI, 91, 94,
97, 102
as shr Imm, 102, 107
shrt narratives oI, 80, 81, 8689,
9194, 10103, 108
Ab Dawd, 55
Ab Dharr al-GhiIr, 31
Ab al-Fadl b. Ibrhm al-Barrd,
16, 18, 105
Ab al-Fadl b. Hajar al-Asqaln
(Ibn Hajar), 61, 64
Ab Fudayk, 130
Ab Hamza al-Khrij, 40, 41
Ab Hamza al-Mukhtr b. AwI al-Azd,
72, 102, 103, 130
Ab al-Hasan Al b. Isml al-Ashar,
39, 61, 64, 123, 126
Ab al-Hasan Al b. Muhammad
al-Bisyn, 17, 44, 74, 106, 133, 137
Ab al-Hasan Al b. Muhammad b. Hajb
al-Mward, 55, 140
Ab Htim al-Malzz, 71
Ab al-Hawr Muhammad b. al-Hawr, 17
Ab al-Hurr Al b. al-Husayn, 68
Ab Husayn Muhammad b. Ahmad
al-Malat, 60
Ab al-Husayn Muslim b. al-Hajjj
Muslim, 55
Ab Is Muhammad b. Is al-Tirmidhi, 55
Ab Ishq Ibrhm b. Qays, 17, 44, 74,
107, 135
Ab Jbir Muhammad Ibn JaIar, 17
Ab al-Khattb Abd al-Al b. al-Samah
al-MariI, 45, 7173
I NDEX 195
Ab Khazr Yaghl b. ZultI, 76
Ab al-Qsim Yazd b. al-MakhlaI, 76
Ab Mawdd Hjib al-T, 67, 68
Ab MikhnaI,
on Ammr b. Ysir, 97, 98
legitimacy oI ilm reported by, 57, 58
on the Muhakkima, 37, 123
on Slih b. Musarrih, 94
on Shabbs rebellion, 42
and sources oI Khrijism, 35,
Ab Muhammad Abdullh b. Muslim Ibn
Qutayba (Ibn Qutayba), 37, 52, 57,
91, 95
Ab Muhammad Abdullh b. Muhammad
Ibn Baraka, 17, 135
Ab Muhammad Al b. Ahmad Ibn Hazm
(Ibn Hazm), 66
Ab Muhammad al-Nahd, 68
Ab Muthir al-Salt b. Khams,
on hudd, 133
on Ibd martyrs, 10002
on ilm, 74
on the lineage oI Ibd Imms, 43, 77, 98
on shr, 135
transition Irom Iormative to medieval
immate marked by, 17
Ab Nh al-Dahhn, 68, 70
Ab Nh Slih al-Dihhn, 67, 77
Ab Qahtn Khlid b. Qahtn, 17, 99, 100,
135, 136
Ab Sad Muhammad b.Sad al-Kudam,
on ilm, 73, 74
on the lineage oI Ibd Imms, 43,
on piety, 44, 133, 134, 136
and sources oI Ibd history, 17
Ab Sad Muhammad b. Sad al-Azd al-
Qalht, 46, 65, 77, 99, 100
Ab Shath. See Jabir b. Zayd
Ab SuIyn b. Harb, 23
Ab SuIyn Mahbb b. al-Rahl,
on Jbir b. Zayd, 63, 65,
immate oI, 42, 70
migration to Oman oI, 70
and sources oI Ibd history, 16, 105
on the name Ibdiyya, 66
Ab SuIyn Qanbar, 68
Ab Sulaymn b. Dawd b. Ibrhm
al-Talt, 18, 101, 102, 106, 107
Ab Thir, 68
Ab Thir Ismal b. Ms al-Jitl, 18, 43
Ab Ubayda Abdullh b. al-Qsim, 68
Ab Ubayda al-Maghrib, 16
Ab Ubayda Muammar
b. al-Muthann, 57
Ab Ubayda Muslim b. Ab Karma, 74,
105, 122
Iormative Ibd immate begins with,
9, 61, 62
and Ibn Ibd, 66
imm al-kitmn exempliIied by, 76, 77
quietist leadership oI, 51, 6772
and sources oI Ibd history, 16
Ab Ubaydullh al-Marzubn, 66
Ab al-Wzi al-Rsib, 126
Ab Yaqb al-Warjln, 18, 42, 76, 77, 137
Ab Yazd al-Khwrzim, 105
Ab Zakariyya. See Yahya b. Ab Bakr
Ab Zayd 100
Adab, 49, 66, 76,
Adl/Adla (Justice)
Legitimating characteristic oI the Imm
13, 20, 4447
Property oI God, 63
AIlah b. Abd al-Wahhb, 63, 105
Ahl al-bayt, 32
Ahmad b. Hanbal (Ibn Hanbal), 55
Ahmad b. Shuayb al-Nis (al-Nis), 55
Ahmad b. Yahy al-Baldhur, 35, 91, 101,
123, 130
Ahwz, 100
isha bt. Ab Bakr, 32, 64
Alniyya. See Zuhr
Al b. Ab Talib, 66, 99, 119, 125
caliphate oI, 3133, 55
ilm oI, 55, 59, 60
Khrijite opposition to, 33, 3539, 41,
57, 86, 98, 123, 126, 129
legitimacy oI, 32, 33, 38, 46, 59, 60
as a negative model Ior the immate, 13,
43, 46, 47, 123, 129
Alids, 3, 38, 97, 98
Algeria, 3, 71, 137
Amr al-mminn, 130
Ammr b. Ysir, 31, 9698, 100
Amr b. al-s, 123
Amr b. Jamuh, 85
Amrs b. Fath, 66
Anas b. Mlik, 64
Andalusia, 66
196 I NDEX
al-Asabiyya, 21
Aslama b. Zura, 92
tika bt. Muhallab, 65, 68
Atiyya b. al-Aswad al-HanaI, 130
Awna, 99
al-Ayzr b. al-Akhnas al-T, 87
Azriqa, 6, 39, 40, 57, 61, 66, 94, 128, 130
Azd tribe, 64
Azzba. See Halqa
Badr, 64
Baghdd, 127
Bahrain, 100, 131
Bakr tribe, 34
Balj b. Ukba al-Azd, 72, 103
Bara, 41, 46
Basra, 15, 45, 132
Emergence oI Ibdiyya in 9, 11, 12,
6173, 139, 140
imm al-kitmn projected onto
leadership oI 13, 51, 76
imm al-zuhr based on leadership oI 20,
and Iraqi Khrijite shurt cycle 81, 88,
91, 92, 96, 97, 100, 101,
al-Batt, 95
Baya, 38, 72, 114, 120, 129, 130, 135
Bayhasiyya, 61, 123
Bedouin tribe, 118
Berbers, 71, 72, 135, 137
Byzantines, Byzantine Empire, 23, 24, 31
early Madnan caliphate, 8, 1114, 20,
21, 29, 30, 47, 54, 58, 76, 11922,
128, 131, 133, 135, 136, 138, 14043
see Abu Bakr al-Siddq, Umar b.
pre-Islamic inIluences, 2124, 11921
rightly guided caliphate, 4, 5, 13, 14,
2939, 50, 5456, 120, 124 see Abu
Bakr al-Siddq, Umar b. al-Khattab,
Uthman Ibn AIIan, Al b. Abu Talib
Sunni doctrine oI: development oI
doctrine, 55, 140
endorsement oI rightly guided caliphs 31,
32, 119, 120
knowledge not required oI Caliph, 50, 55
Qurash descent necessary, 2931, 34,
42, 46, 47
sinning caliph should be obeyed, 41, 42
Umayyad conception oI, 122, 12429,
Christians, Christianity, 95, 114, 144
Companions (sahba), 15, 119, 120, 131
ilm oI, 54, 55, 59,
inheritance oI Ibdes Irom, 64, 97
piety oI, 3034
Crone, Patricia, 5, 8, 130, 131
al-Dahhk b. Qays, 130
Daf, 19, 20, 60, 73, 137, 138, 141
deIinition oI, 11, 50
distinctive oI Omani Ibdiyya, 11, 14
institution oI tribal authority, 75
in medieval theory oI Ibd immate, 50,
51, 73, 75, 89, 11113
Damascus, 32, 95, 128
Dr al-Islm, 14
Dr, 94
David (prophet), 33, 116, 130
Dif, 13, 19, 20, 80, 108,
deIinition oI, 11, 14, 111, 112
and ilm, 14, 44, 141
in medieval theory oI Ibd immate, 14,
13238, 142
Omani and North AIrican conceptions,
14, 111, 112, 137
ulams regulation oI, 113, 132, 137, 138
Dlb, battle oI, 88
Dumm b. al-Sib, 67, 70
East AIrica, 3, 15
Ennami, Amr, 5, 64
Falsafa, 49
Farq, 64
Fars, 130
Farwa b. NawIal al-Ashja, 99, 100
Ftima bt. Al, 85
Ftimids, 44, 100
Fiqh, 15, 49, 53, 58, 74
Fuqah. See Ulam
Fitna, 41, 97
First fitna, 12, 32, 39
Second fitna, 34, 61
Gabes, 71
Ghadr al-Khum, 33
Ghassn b. Abdullhal-Yahmad, 16
Ghassn tribe, 24
I NDEX 197
Hadramawt, 15, 69, 71, 72, 103
al-Hajjj b. YsuI al-ThaqIi, 65, 95, 127
Hakam, 49, 52, 53, 113, 114
Halqa, 10, 50, 51, 76
Hamza b. Abd al-Muttalib, 85
Hamza b. dhrak al-Khrij, 86, 89, 91,
93, 94
Hamza b. Sinn al-Asad, 38
HanIa tirbe, 34, 128
al-Hrith al-Mazyad, 66
al-Hrith b. Tald al-Hadram, 71
Hrn al-Rashd, 93
Hrn b. al-Yamn, 70
Harr, 37, 129
al-Hasan al-Basr, 63, 64
Hasan b. Al b. Ab Talib, 99
Hashimites, 23, 33, 34, 38, 42, 114
Hamalt al-ilm, 16, 67, 6972
Hawwra tribe, 71
Hijz, 103, 131
Ibd rebellions in, 40, 69, 86, 103, 131
Hijra, 39, 61
Hikma, 49, 52, 53
Hill b. Atyya al-Khurasn, 104
Hill b. Mudlij, 131
Hilm, 2123
Hishm al-Fuwat, 130
Hishm b. al-Hakam, 59, 60, 125
Hobsbawm, Eric, 90, 91, 94
Hudd, 76, 103, 13335
Hunayn, battle oI, 120
Hurqs b. Zuhayr al-Saad, 36, 37, 43, 44
diIIerence between North AIrican and
Omani traditions oI, 920, 44, 45, 50,
51, 75, 76, 111, 112, 136, 137
endorsement oI early Madnan caliphate
by, 8, 1114, 43, 44, 47, 133, 135
establishment oI polities oI, 9, 7173
Iormative Ibd community oI, 34,
3942, 51, 58, 6173, 7677, 96, 105,
122, 123, 132
hadth oI, 42, 70, 77
inheritance Irom Khrijites by, 4, 11, 34,
35, 3944, 46, 60, 75, 79,
96105, 113, 12123, 129- 33,
lines oI traditional transmission oI, 11,
12, 43, 44, 77
medieval Ibd community oI, 4347,
7378, 10509, 13238
name oI, 65, 66
present geographical distribution oI, 3
quietist roots oI, 39, 40, 6173
rejection oI non-Khrijite models oI
legitimacy by: Shiite, 46, 50, 123;
Sunni, 46, 47
theory oI legitimate authority oI. See
Uthman and Al rejected by, 46, 136
Ibn Ab Mayys al-Murd, 126
Ibn mir, 100
Izz al-Dn b. al-Athr, (Ibn al-Athr), 131
Ibn s in al-Kind, 75
Ibn al-Saghr, 17, 45, 134
Ibn Salm, 17
Ibn Srn, 52
Ibrhm b. Sayyr al-Nazzm, 130
Idrsids, 100
Ijm, 59, 74, 131, 133
Ijtihd, 40, 55, 57, 131
Ilm, 11, 13, 44, 141
deIinition oI, 49
role in legitimacy: Iormative Ibd, 6774
Khrijite, 5658, 6067; medieval Ibd,
49, 5053, 7378
pre-Islamic, 52, 53, 56, 73; Qurnic,
53, 54
in rightly guided caliphate, 54, 55
Shiite, 50, 55, 56, 59, 60; Umayyad, 56,
59, 60
Ilm al-kalm, 15, 49
Immate. See also Daf, Difa, Kitmn,
Shir, Zuhr
early Madnan inIluences on, 8, 1114,
20, 21, 29, 30, 43, 44, 47, 54, 58,
76, 11922, 131, 133, 135, 136, 138,
Iormative Ibd, 916, 34, 42, 43, 51,
6174, 7678, 81, 96, 99, 104, 105,
109, 132, 140, 142, 144
illegitimacy oI sin Ior Imm, 41, 46, 123,
135, 136 (see also bara)
Khrijite inIluences on, 4, 3443, 5658,
6173, 86105, 138
knowledge not required oI Imm, 44, 50,
77 (see also ilm)
legitimating characteristics. See Piety,
Ilm, Adl, Zuhd, War
198 I NDEX
Immate. See also Daf, Difa, Kitmn,
Shir, Zuhr (Continued)
medieval Ibd, 914, 16, 19, 20, 41,
4347, 4952, 60, 6264, 66, 70,
7278, 8082, 97, 10509, 11114,
121, 13238, 14043
necessity oI, 5, 11113, 12932, 137, 138
pre-Islamic inIluences on, 12, 2024, 43,
47, 52, 53, 77, 138
prophetic inIluences on, 12, 2429, 43,
47, 53, 54, 56, 78, 8286, 11419, 138
sources oI, 1518
and the ulam, 8, 111, 112, 13538
Imd al-Dn Isml b. Umar b. Kathr
(Ibn Kathr), 53, 115
Imrn b. al-Hrith al-Rsib, 88
Imru al-Qays bin Hujr bin al-Hrith
al- Kind, 52
India, 23, 94
Iraq, 23, 59, 68, 144
Shrt cycle oI 96105
Irmn b. Hittn, 99
s b. Ftik al-Khatt, 126
Isaac (prophet), 115, 116
Isml b. Ziyd, 71
Iyys b. Muwiya al-Madn, 68
Jbir b. Zayd al-Azd,
Imm al-kitmn projected onto, 76, 77
quietist leadership oI, 51, 6367, 69
and sources oI Ibd history, 16, 42
Jabul NaIusa, 3, 74
Jacob (prophet), 115, 116
JaIar b. HuthayIa al-T, 57
JaIar al-Sdiq, 59
JaIar b. al-Sammk, 67, 77
JaIri, Syed Husein Mohammed, 22
Jaml al-Dn Abd al-Rahmn b. Al Ibn
al-Jawz, 41
Jarr b. Atiyya b. al-KhataI, 125
Jazra, 58, 86, 94, 95
al-Julanda b. Masd,
ilm lacking Ior, 69, 72,
precedent Ior imm al-daf set by, 73
revolt oI, 69, 72, 86
shrt narratives oI, 96, 10205
Julanda tribe, 72, 104, 136
Jhiliyya, 21, see also Pre-Islamic era
Jews, Judaism, 114, 144, 147
Jihd, 59, 142
prophet Muhammads waging oI, 11, 83
qurnic concept oI, 8183
and shir, 87, 89, 90, 96, 104, 107
Kab b. Amra, 88
Kaba, 23
Kfir-munfiq, 40
Khin, 52, 56, 114
Karam, 21, 26
Karbal, 85
KhalaI b. Samh, 70
KhalaIiyya, 45, 93
activist, 3, 6, 39, 40, 61, 66, 8587, 91,
94, 126 (see also Azriqa, Najdt)
activist-quietist split oI, 61
in contemporary scholarship, 48
doctrine oI sin Ior, 3941
emergence oI, 3438, 9091, 93
Madnan caliphate endorsed by,
13, 29, 141
non-Khrijite models oI legitimacy
rejected by: Shiite 4, 38
Sunni, 4, 38, 41, 42
poetry oI. See poetry
quietist, 3, 13, 39, 40, 51, 60, 6173,
7678, 87, 132
rebellions oI, 4042, 6872, 86, 88, 92,
94, 95, 10004
subsects oI, 34, 35, 61, 62 (see also
Azriqa, Bayhasiyya, Ibdiyya,
KhalaIiyya, Muhakkima, Najdt,
Nukhaylites, Sistn, SuIriyya)
tribal aIIiliations oI, 34, 128
Uthmn and Al rejected by, 33,
36, 123
Khzim b. Khuzayma al-Khurasn, 104
Khazrj tribe, 52
Khursn, 69, 93
Khutba, 128
Khzistn, 95
Kinda tribe, 24, 52
Kingship, 24, 42
Kirmn, 130
Kitmn, 10, 142
deIinition oI, 13, 50
Iormative Ibd precedents oI, 6173,
leadership oI ulam in stage oI, 111,
136, 137, 138, 141
I NDEX 199
in medieval theory oI Ibd immate, 10,
Omani and North AIrican conceptions
oI, 11, 13, 5052, 75, 76, 80, 108, 111
KIa, 95, 130
and the Muhakkima, 37, 38, 129,
and the Nuhkaylites, 57, 98, 99
Kufr, 3741, 123
Lewinstein, Keith, 5
Libya, 3, 71
Math b. Juwayn b.Hisn al-T, 57
al-Madin, 95
Madn b. Mlik al-Iyd, 87
Madelung, WilIerd, 4, 31, 66
Madna/Medina, 10, 52, 59
early caliphate oI, 8, 12, 29, 120, 143
Ibd rebellions in, 72, 103
Jbir b. Zayds journey to, 64
Khrijite rebellions in, 40
rebellion against Uthmn in, 32
Majlis, 67, 68
Makka, 10, 54, 57, 118, 143
Ibd rebellions in, 40, 72, 103
Jbir b. Zayds pilgrimages to, 64
opposition to Ali Irom, 32
pre-Islamic city oI, 22, 23, 114
Marwn b. al-Hakam, 59
Marwan b. Muhammad (Marwan II), 103
Maslik al-dn, 914. See also Daf, Difa,
Kitmn, Shir, Zuhr
Mashwara, 50, 135
Masd b. Ab Zaynab al-Abd, 131
Morony, Michael, 144
Moses (prophet), 32, 33, 115
Mosul, 58, 95
Muwiya b. Ab SuIyn, 59, 65
and the Iirst fitna, 32, 3538, 46
Ibd depiction oI, 40, 43, 97100
Khrijite rebellions against 57, 86,
Umayyad depiction oI 12328
Muhakkima, 20, 3335, 3739, 41, 43, 47,
56, 57, 87, 97, 123, 129
Muhammad b. Abdullh, (Prophet
Muhammad) 97, 116, 135, 136, 141
eIIicacious leadership oI, 11421
Ibd claim to, 10- 12, 19, 43, 47, 77,
132, 133
ilm oI, 5156, 141
jihd oI, 8286
in Makka, 23
moral authority oI, 2329, 36
succession to, 4, 19, 2934, 60, 131
Muhammad b. Ab AIIn, 70, 137
Muhammad b. Abdullh b. Batta (Ibn
Batta), 51
Muhammad al-Bqir, 59, 60
Muhammad b. Ibrhm al-Kind, 17, 43, 98
Muhammad b. Jarr al-Tabar, 120
on Ibn Muljam 123
Khrijite sources preserved by, 35, 91
on the Muhakkima, 37,
on the shrt, 42, 94, 95, 97101
Muhammad b. Umar al-Wqid, 123
al-Muhann b. JayIar, 100, 108, 136
Mujtahid, 72, 131
Munr b. al-Nayyar al-Jaln, 16, 98,
Murjiites, 3, 66
Murwwa, 21
Ms b. Isml, 59
Ms b. JaIar al-Kzim, 59
Mutahhar, Murtaza 85
MutarraI b. Mughra, 42
Mutazilites, 3, 66, 74, 93, 130
NIi b. al-Azraq, 57, 58, 88, 126
NaIsa tribe, 71
Nahrawn, 57, 95, 105, 123
battle oI, 86, 87, 91, 98101, 162 n. 91,
173 n. 43
and Ibn Muljam 123
precedent set by people oI, 11, 43
Najda b. mir al-HanaI, 40, 57, 58,
130, 131
Najdt, 5, 6, 39, 40, 57, 61, 113, 12833
Nasab, 22, 43
Nass, 33, 38, 46, 56, 59, 60
Nisibis, 94
Nizwa, 10, 64
North AIrica,
development oI Ibdi polity in, 3, 9, 10,
14, 16, 44, 45, 50, 62, 69, 7072, 102,
106, 109, 132 134, 135,
distinguishing characteristics oI Ibdi
tradition in, 1014, 15, 19, 43, 50, 80,
81, 107, 108, 136, 137, 140
legal and historical corpus oI, 4, 5,
1518, 44, 45, 51
200 I NDEX
North AIrica (Continued)
stages oI immate theoretical in, 10, 11,
13, 76, 80, 81, 10709, 111, 137
ulam leadership oI, 14, 5052, 72, 76,
111, 132, 136, 137
Nukhayla, battle oI 98, 99, 100
Nukhaylites, 98, 99, 100
Nukkriyya, 45, 70
Nr al-Dn Abdullh al-Slim, 17, 43, 51,
69, 104
Oman, 64
development oI Ibdi polity in, 3, 9, 10,
50, 6973, 100, 102, 103, 104, 109,
132, 135, 136, 137
distinguishing characteristics oI Ibdi
tradition in, 1014, 15, 19, 43, 50,
51, 80, 81, 107, 108, 111, 112, 136,
137, 140
legal and historical corpus oI, 4, 5,
1518, 51
stages oI immate theoretical in, 75, 76
Pharaoh, 115, 116
Piety, 13
and legitimacy: Iormative Ibd, 3943;
Khrijite, 3443; medieval Ibd,
20, 4347, 78; pre-Islamic, 2124;
Qurnic, 2429; in rightly guided
caliphate, 2934; Shiite, 3233;
Sunni, 41, 42;
Prayer, 38, 54, 83, 85, 86, 9295, 102,
128, 129
Pre-Islamic era,
inIluence on the immate (see immate)
poetry oI. (see poetry)
political leadership oI, 2124, 52, 53, 56,
73, 11321, 143
Khrijite, 81, 82, 8688, 91, 96, 97, 99,
10002, 126
pre-Islamic, 5254, 56
Umayyad, 59, 124, 125,
Qabsa b. Abd al-Rahmn, 58, 94
Qadarites, 66
Qd, 45, 50, 54, 65, 68, 7072, 75
Qarb b. Murra, 80, 81, 86, 101, 102, 107,
128, 130
Qatar b. al-Fuja al-Azraq, 93, 130
Qayrawn, 45, 61, 69, 71
Qitl, 82, 83
Quraysh, 22, 23, 31, 33, 54, 119
challenges to leadership oI, 38, 42,
46, 47
exclusive leadership rights claimed by,
21, 29, 30, 32, 34,
Khrijites supported by, 130
in pre-Islamic Makka, 22, 23
Qurr, 31, 33, 56, 57
al-Rab b. Habb al-Azd al-Farhid, 16,
42, 69, 70, 134
al-Rahn b. Sahm al-Murd, 88
Rais, 71, 131, 132
Raven-va-Jul, 93
Ray, 74, 134
Ridda wars, 119
Rightly guided/rashidun caliphs. See
Robinson, Chase, 94
Rukhsa, 51, 76, 111, 136
Rustumid dynasty, 43, 63
dissolution oI, 10, 44, 50, 76, 81, 111,
establishment oI, 9, 71, 72, 106
hereditary rule begins Ior, 10, 135
Ibd depiction oI, 17, 18, 73,
74, 80, 134
Ibd sects rebelled against, 45, 70, 134
Sachedina, Abdulaziz, 63
Sad b. Ubda, 52
Sahm b. Ghlib al-Tamm, 86, 100, 101
Sad b. al-s, 31
Sad b. Taymur, 10
Saida tribe, 29, 119
Salama b. Sad, 61, 69
Slih b. Musarrih, 130
ilm oI, 58, 60
rebellion oI, 58, 94
in shrt narratives, 89, 91, 94,
tomb oI, 88, 94, 95
Slim b. Dhakwn, 124
on choosing an Imm, 122
epistle oI, 5, 16,
on ilm, 58
and the Khrijite doctrine oI sin, 36, 41
on piety, 41
on shir, 104
I NDEX 201
Slim b. Sad al-Sigh, 134
al-Salt b. Mlik, 51, 136
and leadership, 114117, 120, 122, 123,
126, 131
oI shrt, 88, 89
San, 103
Sasanians, Sasanian Empire 23, 24, 31
Savage, Elizabeth, 45
Sayyid, 6, 60, 138, 140, 143
and eIIective leadership, 113, 114, 116,
119, 120
ilm oI, 5254, 56, 73
moral authority oI, 2022, 140
Sayyid al-Himyar, 66
Shabath b. Rib al-Tamm, 129
Shabb b. Atyya, 16
Shabb b. Yazd al-Shaybn (Shabb
al-Khrij), 86, 128
ilm not possessed by, 58, 60, 94, 95
on moral authority, 42
Slih b. Musarrih succeeded by, 58,
60, 130
in shurt narratives, 89, 91, 94, 95
Shaybn al-Khrij, 104
Shaybn tribe, 34
SiIIn, battle oI, 3439, 41, 46, 56, 57, 91,
97, 98, 123
disqualiIies ruler, 31, 33, 35, 37,
39, 46, 47
prooI oI unbelieI, 7, 37- 41
in the Qurn, 25, 26
Sinjr, 94
Sirhn b. Sad al-Izkaw, 17
Sstn, 86, 91, 93, 94
Sistn, 86, 93, 94
Shahda (martyrdom),
early Islamic account oI, 84, 85
Khrijite account oI, 82, 86102,
141, 142
medieval Ibd account oI, 82, 10206,
108, 109, 142
Qurnic account oI, 82, 84
Sunni account oI, 85, 93
Shiite account oI, 85, 86, 93, 144
Shir, 52, 53
conIlicts with Ibd groups, 99, 100
Ghulat, 59
immate, 56, 59, 60, 144
Isml, 44, 100
and martyrdom, 85, 86, 144
theory oI immate, 32, 33, 38,
50, 55, 56, 59, 60,
119, 120
Zayd, 100, 119
Shir, 16, 144
deIinition oI, 7980
in Iormative Ibd period, 81, 96, 99,
141, 142
in Khrijite myth, 86103
in medieval theory oI Ibd immate, 11,
7982, 10309, 142
Omani and North AIrican conceptions
oI, 13, 14, 7981
in the Qurn, 79, 8283
relation to jihad and martyrdom, 79,
8189, 141, 142
Shr (consultation), 114, 118, 135
Shurt, 79, 82, 87, 142
in Khrijite literature, 89102
as legendary heroes, 80, 81, 8997
in medieval Ibd sources, 99109
non-Khrijite appropriation oI shurt
narratives, 93, 96102
as rebels, 96, 97, 100, 101
as shr Imms, 81, 10208, 142
as soldiers, 10608
sources oI narratives oI, 91, 96,
97, 102, 105
tombs oI, 88, 89, 95
Soloman (prophet), 33
SuIriyya, 61, 66, 93, 104, 132
Suhr, 70
Suhr al-Abd, 67, 77
Sulaymn b. Abd al-Malik, 125
Sunna, 31, 39, 44, 46, 47, 55, 63,
74, 83, 120, 122, 126, 127,
133, 135, 136
Sunnis/Sunnism, 3, 32, 127, 143,
account oI martyrdom Ior, 85
Ibdiyya represented by, 5, 6, 35, 41,
6165, 86, 139
ilm in the doctrine oI, 50, 51, 55
shrt narratives preserved by,
91, 92, 96, 97, 100,
101, 102
theory oI legitimate authority oI. See
202 I NDEX
al-Tabla, battle oI, 66
Tabghurn b. Dawd b. s al-Malsht,
18, 137
Tahert, 71, 100, 106
Tahkm, 35, 36
Talha b. Ubaydullh, 32, 43
Tamm tribe, 34, 67
Taqiyya, 13, 61, 132
Taqw, 25, 26, 30, 47, 83, 87. See also
TawwI b. Alq, 86
Taym b. Ribb tribe, 123
Thbit b. Wala al-Rsib, 88
Tripoli, 71
Tunisia, 3, 71, 100, 137
Ubaydullh b. Ziyd, 65, 68, 91, 92
Uhud, battle oI, 85
institution oI, 6263
Imm chosen and deposed by, 8, 14, 104,
112, 113, 13238, 14244
Imm succeeded by, 10, 14, 50, 51, 61,
63, 67, 69, 70, 72, 73, 75, 76, 77, 78,
108, 111, 132, 136, 137, 141
described as Imms, 13, 62, 65,
76, 77, 132
Iormative Ibd community led by, 13,
51, 6173, 7678, 132
Imm advised by, 14, 50, 56, 60, 7275,
132, 134, 137
authority oI, 49, 50, 54, 63, 70, 71, 141
Omani and North AIrican roles oI, 50,
51, 72, 73, 76, 111, 136, 137
Sunni, 5456, 59, 63, 144
Caliph rivaled by, 63, 70, 71
Shir regulated by, 106, 107
Umar b. Abd al-Azz (Umar II), 55, 59,
68, 125
Umar b. al-Khattb,, 52
selection as Caliph oI, 29, 135
Ibd endorsement oI, 13, 19, 43, 44,
47, 76
ilm oI, 54, 55, 57,
imm al-zuhr exempliIied by, 13, 19
Khrijite endorsement oI, 12, 143
piety oI, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 141
tribal model oI leadership adopted by,
11922, 124, 128, 136, 138,
Umayyads, 5, 8, 138, 142, 143
Abbasid deIamation oI, 99, 127,
conception oI the caliphate Ior, 112, 122,
124, 125, 126, 127, 128
and ilm, 50, 56, 59, 60, 63, 70, 71, 73,
Khrijite rejection oI, 4042, 47, 65, 92,
94, 95,
persecution oI Khrijites, 8, 65, 68, 90,
rebellions against, 71, 72, 92, 97, 98,
101, 103, 143
tribal system oI social organization
ended by, 90, 121, 124, 128, 129, 142
Urwa b. Udaya, 36, 91
Uthman Ibn AIIan, 125
caliphate oI 29, 30, 31, 32, 124
ilm oI, 55,
legitimacy oI 2933,
as a negative model Ior the immate, 13,
43, 46, 47, 123, 136
misrule oI, 29, 39, 120
Wad b. Hawthara al-Asad, 100
Wahb b. Jarr, 35, 101
Wald b. Yazd (Wald II), 124
al-Wald b. Uqba, 31
Wansbrough, John, 11
War (religiosity), 13, 20, 44, 46, 74
al-Writh b. Kab al-Khrs, 9, 135
Watt, Montgomery, 5, 113, 143
Wilkinson, John, 6164, 105, 137
Wittgenstein, Ludwig, 87
WolI, P. J., 11
Yahya b. Ab Bakr al-Warjln (Ab
Zakariyya), 16,
on Khrijite sects, 61
on maslik al-dn, 10, 11
on North AIrican halqa, 76
on Rustumid dynasty, 45, 74, 134
on shurt, 102, 105
works oI, 18
Yazd b. Muhallab, 65, 68
Yahy b. Najh, 104
Yahy b. Man, 64
al-Yamma, 131
Yazd b. Mlik al-Bhil (al-Khatim
al-Bhil), 100, 101
Yazd b. Abd al-Malik, 40
Yazd b. Muwiya, 40
Yazd b. al-Walid (Yazd III), 59
Yemen, 44, 59, 69, 100, 102, 104
I NDEX 203
Zakt, 16, 83
Zayd b. Hisn al-T , 43, 44
Zimmerman, Fritz, 5
Zoroastrians, Zoroastrianism, 114, 144
Zanj uprising, 70
Ziyd b. Abhi, 91, 100, 101
al-Zubayr b. al-Awwm, 32, 43
Zuhd (asceticism), 13, 20, 41, 45, 46, 67
ZuhhI b. Zuhar al-T, 80, 81, 86, 101,
102, 107, 128, 130
Zuhr, 61, 75, 77, 141, 142
deIinition oI, 13, 19
early Medinan caliphate as precedent Ior,
13, 76
and moral authority, 13, 20,
4347, 81
Omani and North AIrican conceptions
oI, 11, 13, 14, 19, 20, 50,
80, 106, 108
in medieval theory oI Ibd immate,
10, 4347
emergence oI Ibdiyya into the state oI
zuhr, 6773
Zura b. Burj al-T, 36, 37