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Oman: Religion
Country Study > Chapter 3 > Society > Religion

RELIGION


The majority of Omanis are Ibadi Muslims, followers of Abd Allah ibn Ibad minority live along the Al Batinah coast in the Muscat-Matrah region. This minority includes the Khojas, the Baharina of Iraqi or Iranian descent, and the Ajam, of vague origin but generally considered to originate in Iran.

Ibadism is an outgrowth of the Kharijite movement, a variant form of Islam practiced by descendants of a sect that seceded from the principal Muslim body after the death of the Prophet Muhammad in A.D. 632. Kharijites reject primogeniture succession of the Quraysh, the tribe of Muhammad, and assert that leadership of Islam, the caliphate, should be designated by an imam elected by the community from candidates who possess spiritual and personal qualities. Ibadi leadership is vested in an imam, who is regarded as the sole legitimate leader and combines religious and political authority. The imam is elected by a council of prominent laymen or shaykhs. Adherence to Ibadism accounts in part for Oman's historical isolation. Considered a heretical form of Islam by the majority Sunni Muslims, Ibadis were not inclined to integrate with their neighbors.

Data as of January 1993




Last Updated: January 1993


Editor's Note: Country Studies included here were published between 1988 and 1998. The Country study for Oman was first published in 1993. Where available, the data has been updated through 2008. The date at the bottom of each section will indicate the time period of the data. Information on some countries may no longer be up to date. See the "Research Completed" date at the beginning of each study on the Title Page or the "Data as of" date at the end of each section of text. This information is included due to its comprehensiveness and for historical purposes.

Note that current information from the CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State Background Notes, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Country Briefs, the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Country Profiles, and the World Bank can be found on Factba.se.

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