Iba¿is are a minority Muslim group whose history goes back to the early period of Islam. Today they mainly live in Oman, Zanzibar, and some parts of North Africa (Algeria, Tunisia and Libya). A long-lasting cliché that associates Iba¿is with early Kharijites (puritans and fanatics) creates a great impediment in understanding this group. Although in recent years literature about the origins, socio-economic, political, theological and intellectual history of the Iba¿is has been growing rapidly, there are very few studies on their history of Qur'an exegesis.
This study by Ismail Albayrak analyzes various approaches to Iba¿i exegetical tradition to find an answer to the following questions: How different are Iba¿i exegeses compared to mainstream Muslim exegetical tradition? Can one talk about particular Iba¿i exegetical methodologies? Why Iba¿is have produced so little in this genre? How diverse is the Iba¿i exegetical tradition with special reference to the notion of 'return of Jesus'? Using the main and updated Iba¿i sources, the book contributes not only to the exegetical and theological understanding of Iba¿ism but also to its history, politics, culture, geography, sociology, folklore and anthropology. Beyond that, the study shows that Iba¿i groups were not immune to the pressures of modernity and reacted in a similar manner as other Muslim communities regarding many issues.