Ibāḍīyah or Ibāḍism is an Islamic sect that is an offshoot of Khawārij. It is one of the earlier Islamic sects, and the only remaining branch of Khawārij. The school derives its name from its first leader: ‘Abd Allah b. Ibāḍ Tamīmī.
Ibāḍīyah is distinct from the Sunni and Shi’a denominations. It is a very important movement from historical viewpoint; however, the population is very low in comparison with Sunnis and Shi’as.
Ibāḍīyah call their sect al-Da‘wah (the invitation), Madhhab al-Ḥaāq (right religion), Firqah al-Muḥiqqah (right sect), and Firqah al-Nājīyah (rescued sect). They regard it the nearest religion to the time of Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W), and the adjoining one to the soul of Islam. Ibāḍīyah is moderate than other Khawārij, so, it is the closest sect of Khawārij to Sunnis.
Ibāḍīs deny any relation to Khawārij. Their famous historians as Barrādī in his book Jawāhir al-Muntaqāt and Shamākhī in the book Kitāb al-Sayr; claim that Ibāḍīyah was founded before the appearance of Khawārij, and at the time of Uthmān. However, in their point of view, the people have rebilled against Imam Ali (A.S.) are not regarded as Khawārij, but, they are the people who have denied Islam and have turned apostate. They believe that an apostate is a person who refuses any essential precept, or performs an act that is in counter with the articles of faith that are clearly mentioned in the text. Nevertheless, history bears witness to the fact that Ibāḍīyah was emerged from the movement of Khawārij, and then became an independent sect. Abū Balāl Mirdās b. Udayyah and his thoughts paved the way for this division, and Ibāḍīyah was detached from other extremist branches of Khawārij like Azāriqah, by following his way.
Distinguished historians and scholars of heresiography believe that the sect was founded by ‘Abd Allah b. Ibāḍ Tamīmī. His exact date of born and death is doubtful, but the famous report is that he was born in the early parts or before the time of Mu‘āwīyah, and was alive until the later parts of ‘Abd Allah Marwān’s reign (65-86 A.H.).
Some Ibāḍī researchers, without denying its ascription to ‘Abd Allah b. Ibāḍ, prefer to ascribe the sect to Jāber b. Zayd (Abū al-Sha‘thā’). They believe that ‘Abd Allah b. Ibāḍ used to follow Jāber’s fatwas in his ideas and practices.
Some other researchers believe that Ibāḍīyah, actually, has two founders: ‘Abd Allah b. Ibāḍ, as the political leader of Ibāḍīyah, and Jāber b. Zayd as the theoretical and juridical leader of it. The writer of Dirāsah fī al-Fikr al-Ibāḍī, after mentioning it, adds: at the beginning, Ibāḍīyah government was not a theological movement, but rather, it was a religious and political movement formed after the event of arbitration, which was hostile towards Umawī government. ‘Abd Allah b. Ibāḍ, for being a notable political and religious character of the time, assumed the leadership of the movement. On the other hand, Jāber b. Zayd was only a theologically famous person, but not a political figure. When the movement appeared in the shape of a sect, Jāber confirmed the political way of ‘Abd Allah, and was recognized as a religious leader of Ibāḍīyah.