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Ibaziyah: An Introduction to Islamic Jurisprudential Sects

3- Famous personages

–         Abū Bilāl Mirdās b. Ḥudayr: he was a nexus between mainstream movement of Khawārij and moderate groups. Abū Bilāl’s revolt at the time of Mu‘āwīyah, holds an important place among many other Khārijī revolts raised after the martyrdom of Imam Ali (A.S.).

Abū Bilāl’s views present the first steps of forming Khawārij’s beliefs. His views are very close to Ibāḍīyah beliefs, and are far from the beliefs of extremist Khawārij, whether before or after him. However, because of his great personality all Khawārij appreciate him, and count him among themselves. (Mubarrad, 2/181; Ibn Athīr, 3/518) Ṣafarīyah and Ibāḍīyah are the closest Khārijī groups to Abū Bilāl’s way and thoughts. Ṣafarīyah regard themselves the initial followers of Muḥakkimah (Khawārij), and call Abū Bilāl Mirdās their Imam after ‘Abd Allah b. Wahab Rāsibī and Ḥarqūṣ b. Zuhayr. (Baghdādī, al-Firaq, 55) The great Ibāḍī scholar, Jīṭālī, mentions Jāber b. Zayd, Abū Bilāl Mirdās, and Abū ‘Ubaydah Muslim b. Abī Karīmah along with each other and regarding them of the same grade. He counts them the great personalities who are qualified to follow.

–         Jāber b. Zayd, Abū al-Sha‘thā’: a learned and traditionist Successor, from Oman. He was born in 18 after Hijrah, in environs of Nazwa, the capital of Oman, and died in 93 A.H. in Basra. He studied under many Companions of the Prophet (S.A.W), and wrote a great book about jurisprudence named as Dīwān Jābir, but it has become extinct. He also authored a Musnad (a book contains ḥadiths arranged in order of Companions name who have narrated it) in which he narrated from Ali b. Abī Ṭālib, Ibn ‘Abbās, Abū Sa‘īd khidrī, ‘Āyishah, ‘Abd Allah b. ‘Umar, Abū Hurayrah, Anas b. Mālik, and some other Companions; however, most traditions are narrated from Ibn ‘Abbās and ‘Āyishah. Ibāḍīs regard Jāber b. Zayd as their first Imam. However, earlier non-Ibāḍī scholars, as Bukhārī and Abū Na‘īm Isfahānī, consider him as a Sunni Imam who was a companion of Ibn ‘Abbās, and say that any word which shows his relation with Ibāḍīyah is not reported.

–         Farasṭā’ī Nafūsī (d. 504 A.H.): Ahmad b. Muhammad b. Bakr with a surname Abū al-‘Abbās, was born in the city of Farasṭā, Nafusah Mountains, Libya. He grew up in a learned family. He was a famous Ibāḍī scholar of 6th century that 25 books are enumerated as his work, from which following titles are published:

·        Al-Jāmi‘ fī al-Frū‘, on subject of jurisprudence of Islamic rituals. (2 valumes)

·        Kitāb al-Qismah wa Uṣūl al-Arāḍīn, it is published containing a verification by Dr. Muhammad Nāṣir and Sheikh bi-al-Ḥājj Bakīr Bāsh‘ādil, in 1414 A.H. in eight volumes.

·        Al-Sīrah fī al-Dimā’.

–         Abū ‘Ubaydah Muslim b. Abī Karīmah Tamīmī: he was Jābir’s student, an Ibāḍī Imam, and a scholar of first half of the second century. He apparently was alive until 160 A.H. According to Abū al-Faraj Isfahānī his name was Kūdīn, and Jāḥiẓ calls him Muslim b. Kurzīn, which shows that allegedly he was originally from Iran, and a freedman of Banī Tamīm. Darjīnī mentions him on the top of the third category of Ibāḍī scholars. Jāḥiẓ counts him of Khārijī scholars and (tradition) transmitters. Abū ‘Ubaydah Muslim, who is considered as the greatest Ibāḍī leader and mujtahid after ‘Abd Allah b. Ibāḍ, studied under Jāber b. Zayd and, as it is reported, achieved the high level of knowledge. Nevertheless, Ibn Abī ḥātam calls him unknown, and Ibn Jawzī regards him a weak and ignored person. Only Ibn Ḥibān has counted him of trustworthy. It seems that Abū ‘Ubaydah was trying to conceal his situation, and his name is rarely cited in biographical dictionaries. Darjīnī says he kept his sect (Ibāḍīyah) undercover, until it was revealed by Ḥamalah al-‘Ilm (bearers of learning), al-Khamsah al-Yamāmīn.

Abū ‘Ubaydah, who evidently 40 years learned and 40 years taught, conveyed his knowledge to Abū ‘Amr Rabī‘ b. Ḥabīb (the head of Ibāḍī scholars after Abū ‘Ubaydah), more than everyone else. He elected Abū ‘Amr as his successor to guide people.

–          Rabī‘ b. Ḥabīb Farāhīdī: a creditable jurist and ḥāfiẓ (someone who knows whole the Qur’an by heart), and the writer of Jāmi‘ Ṣaḥīḥ that is Ibāḍīs’ famous Musnad. Ibāḍīyah believe in Musnad Rabī‘ to the extent that Sheikh ‘Abd Allah b. Ḥamīd Sālimī calls it “the most correct book of tradition from the viewpoint of authority and the best in transmission”, and regards it as the most true book after the Qur’an. After the death of Rabī‘, Abū Sufyān Maḥbūb b. Raḥīl became the head of Ahl al-Da‘wah (Khawārij) in the East.

Rest of Earlier Famous Ibāḍī Scholars

–         Abū Mawdūd Ḥājib al-Ṭā’ī,

–         Abū al-Ḥurr Ali b. al-Ḥiṣīn,

–         Abū Sufyān Maḥbūb b. al-Raḥīl,

–         Abū Ghānim al-Khurāsānī,

–         Sālim b. Dhakwān al-Hilālī,

Later Famous Ibāḍī Scholars

–         Jīṭālī: Abū Ṭāhir Ismā‘īl b. Mūsá al-Jīṭālī Nafūsī (d. 750 A.H.) was born and grew up in the city of Jīṭāl, Nafusah Mountains, Libya. He is regarded as an Ibāḍī great jurist and famous scientist in literature. He was thrown in jail of Tripoli, and died at Jirbah. He wrote some so valuable books that Shamākhī considers them as a reviver of Ibāḍīyah sect. some of them are as follows:

·        Qanāṭir al-Khayrāt: about fundamental principles of religion,

·        Qawā‘id al-Islam,

·        Al-Ḥisāb wa Qism al-Farā’iḍ,

·        Mā Jama‘a min Ajwabah al-A’immah, (3 volumes)

–         Thamīnī ‘Abd al-‘Azīz b. Ibrāhīm: entitled as Ḍiyā’ al-Dīn, and known as Muṣ‘abī, a famous Ibāḍī jurist and theologian of 12th and 13th century. He learned religious studies from Abū Zakarīya Yaḥyá b. Ṣāliḥ Afḍalī (a jurist and starter of reformative movement in Mīzāb, died at 1202 A.H.). His most important book is al-Nīl concerning ‘Ibādāt (religious practices) and mu‘āmalāt (worldly affairs). He named his book al-Nīl hoping that God makes it lucrative just like the Nile River. The preface of the book shows that the writer’s aim was compiling a concise and comprehensible set of fatwas of the famous Ibāḍī scholars for people of the time. The publishers of the book have named it as al-Nīl wa Shifā’ al-‘Alīl. Despite of being brief, al-Nīl is a considerable book of Ibāḍīyah jurisprudence. Therefore, many Ibāḍī scholars have written expositions and annotations on it, turned it into poetry, taught it, and even memorized the book.

–         Muhammad b. Yūsuf Aṭṭafayyash (d. 1303 A.H.): the writer of a commentary on al-Nīl entitled Sharḥ al-Nīl wa Shifā’ al-‘Alīl. Muhamad (b.) Ali Dabbūz says, Aṭṭafayyash wrote this commentary when he was informed that the French want to publish a magazine, al-Aḥkām al-Islāmīyah, and are attempting to write a book about Islamic jurisprudence. However, large amount of the book and long length of writing time rejects this idea. Actually, he explained al-Nīl so that all people can use it. This commentary contains the opinions of Islamic sects, and carries out the comparative analysis of different ideas. This commentary, which finished at 1300 A.H./1883 A.D., was the source of judgment for French appellate courts while invasion of Algeria. In addition, since 1303 A.H./1886 A.D. it became officially reference source for judges in Ibāḍīyah courts of Algeria. This commentary played an important role in introducing Ibāḍīyah jurisprudence to Islamic world. It has published many time in Egypt, Oman, and Saudi Arabia, and Muhammad b. Shāmis Baṭṭāshī turned it into poetry under the title of Salāsil al-Dhahab fī al-Uṣūl wa al-Furū‘ wa al-Adab.

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