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Title: Omani Ibadism: transitions in modernity, encounters with Salafism
Authors: Goshey, Emily
Advisors: Zaman, Muhammad Qasim
Contributors: Religion Department
Keywords: Gulf
Subjects: Islamic studies
Near Eastern studies
Middle Eastern studies
Issue Date: 2019
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: This dissertation analyzes the ongoing attempts of Omani Ibadis to re-envision Islamic identity in the modern era. Arguably Islam’s oldest distinct sect, Ibadism has offered alternative formulations of Islamic belief and jurisprudence that never claimed the adherence of a majority of Muslims, but thrived in enclaves in Arabia and North and East Africa. Omani Ibadis’ encounter with modernity began around the turn of the 19th century and accelerated after 1970 under Sultan Qaboos. Like Muslims across the globe, the Ibadis of Oman have navigated the transformations of modernity, striving for coherence between their sectarian identity and the evolving world around them. A mixed methodological approach combines textual analysis and fieldwork to examine the modern religious discourse of Ibadi ʿulamāʾ primarily, and of lay Ibadis secondarily. Interviews with 58 diverse individuals offer a window into the reality of public religious life in Oman. The survey of the works of contemporary ʿulamāʾ encompasses books, articles, pamphlets, video lectures, and social media postings. The study of these resources enables a set of observations about the engagements of modern Ibadis with their textual tradition. The modern state’s control over public religious life, the centrality of fear as a recognized and valued tool for inspiring positive behavior, and the concern with presenting Ibadi identity in a way that appeals to a broad Sunni audience are important themes that recur throughout the chapters. Additionally, the language of tolerance emerges as a ubiquitous idiom in contemporary Omani Ibadi discourse, and scholars and lay believers alike express their sect’s distinctiveness in terms of positive relations with religious others. I argue that the spread of Saudi Salafism presents an enduring challenge to Ibadism’s place within the international umma. Here, a study of Salafi scholars’ opinions on Ibadism informs a subsequent exploration of contemporary Ibadis’ responses to those opinions as well as their own discourse on Salafism. Finally, this dissertation documents the recent emergence of the tayyār ʿaqlānī (rationalist stream) of Ibadism, a movement that challenges the state-affiliated Ibadi mainstream and advocates for internal criticism in order to better integrate Ibadism into modernity.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog:
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Religion

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