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IbâḍismOrigins and Early Development in Oman$
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John C. Wilkinson

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199588268

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199588268.001.0001

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The Ibâḍi Ethos

The Ibâḍi Ethos

Chapter:
(p.304) 10 The Ibâḍi Ethos
Source:
Ibâḍism
Author(s):

John C. Wilkinson

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199588268.003.0010

This chapter describes the underlying ethos in Ibâḍism of equality before God, and illustrates this with particular reference to the protection of the rights of the peasants and other producing classes. It shows the ability of Ibâḍi law to adapt to the needs of an agricultural economy in two entirely different environments — that of Oman based on an ancient pre-Islamic falaj irrigation system, and that of colonization de novo in the Mzab. As barriers between the indigenous village population and the Arab tribesmen broke down, the majûs converted and a remarkable assimilation of the villagers and tribesmen occurred that is not characteristic of neighbouring regions. Nevertheless, the concern for protecting the little man from illegal seizure in an agricultural economy now based on privately owned mulk small holdings, led to a sterilization of vast areas of former production, when land that fell into the hands of jabâbira (tyrants) reverted to Ibâḍi rule, while a tax system that failed to recognize inputs other than labour as a factor of production did not encourage reinvesting in expensive irrigation reconstruction.

Keywords:   Ibâḍism, Oman, Mzab, agricultural economy, irrigation, colonization, peasants

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