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Ibadism East of Mesopotamia. Early Islamic Iran, Central Asia and India

BI 51

BI 51

Author: Abdulrahman al-Salimi

Beirut, 2016


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Ibadism in Eastern Mesopotamia, Iran, Central Asia and India in the Early Islamic Period presents the edition and translation of three Ibadi siyar  (epistles) from the 4th and 5th centuries AH (11th and 12th centuries CE). Siyar are a literary form frequently found among Muslim groups during the early Islamic period. Best described as epistles or statements of faith and dialectics, they are a blend of history, literature and discourses on ethics from a theological and political angle. They constitute an important part of Oman’s Ibadi heritage.


The three siyar were recently discovered and are now published for the first time. The first addresses the people of Khwarazm (Sirah ila ahl Khwarazm), the second those of Khurasan (Sirah ila ahl Khurasan), and the third those of Mansurah in Sind (Sirat al-Imam Rashid bn Sa‘id al-Yahmadi ila ahl al-Mansurah bi-l-Sind). These texts provide a full and accurate picture of the creedal, fiqhi (jurisprudential) and intellectual debates that were taking place in the Ibadi school during the time they were written.


This new source material is used here to study the elusive history of the Ibadi communities in Eastern Mesopotamia, Khorasan, Central Asia and Sind during the period up to the 12th and 13th centuries [CE].  The epistles reflect the vibrant theological and intellectual debates of the day, and they provide information about contacts between local groups or, as in one case, between a local group and a ruling imam of Oman’s second imamate in the 5th century CE. They can be read as evidence of an Ibadi presence in these geographical areas that no longer exists today.


Abdulrahman al-Salimi, the author of the book, earned his Ph.D. from Durham University in 2001 with a dissertation on Omani siyar. He is the chief editor of the journal al-Tasamuh and has published several books and articles on related topics.