Islam in Oman
|Islam by country|
Islam in Oman has a has a high following. Islam is the state-religion in Oman. There are about 95% Muslims in Oman. 45% of the Muslim population of Oman follow both Sunni Islam and the Ibadi branch of the sect Kharijite. Islam spread to Oman in the early years.
Christians and Jews have historically been able to practice their own religions openly in Oman. The society is tolerant, though social hierarchies do exist. In Ibadi communities, the traditional Arab coffee is served to Muslims first, with Christians being served after the poor Muslims; in Sunni communities, Christian guests may actually be served even before the respected Muslim leaders and clerics.
Many people[who?] believe that Ibadism is an outgrowth of the Kharijites movement, a variant form of Islam practiced by descendants of a sect that seceded from the principal Muslim body after the death of Muhammad in 632. Ibadies, however, deny this notion considering themselves an outgrowth [led by?] the follower (tabe'e) Jābir ibn Zayd. Ibadies reject primogeniture succession of the Quraysh, the tribe of Muhammad, and assert that leadership of Islam should be designated by an imam elected by the community from candidates who possess the appropriate spiritual and personal qualities. Ibadhi 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. Ibadis were not inclined to integrate with their neighbours, as the majority of Sunni Muslims regard Ibadism as a heretical faith.
The austere, puritanical nature of Ibadism has affected the practice of Islam in the country. Omani mosques are very simple, with almost no decoration except around the windows and often lack the minarets common in other Muslim countries. Moroccan explorer Ibn Battuta described the cleanliness of Omani mosques, despite the fact that the entire community would congregate to eat inside, each person bringing their own food. The denomination frowns upon singing and dancing.
- This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain. Country Studies. Federal Research Division.
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