Sālim ibn Ḥammūd ibn Shāmis al-Siyābī (1908−93) was an Omani scholar, poet, historian, and judge. He was born in Ghāla, in the state of Bawshār in eastern Oman. A self-taught scholar, al-Siyābī memorized the Qur’an at age seven and went on to study Arabic language classics, including Ibn Malik’s Alfiyah, a 1,000-line poem about Arabic grammar rules. Al-Siyābī was also a prolific writer, and was the author of as many as 84 works, according to Sultān ibn Mubārak al-Shaybānī, who categorized al-Siyābī’s body of work into prose and treatises, poetry and versified writings, and research and correspondence. This manuscript was copied by Yūsuf ibn Sāʿid al-Zakwānī in 1386 AH (1966). It is in black ink with rubrication only of the headings, and comprises two works by al-Siyābī. The first part is a treatise defending Ibadism against the slander of other Muslim scholars. The second part of the manuscript, entitled wahb al-samā fī aḥkām al-dimā (The gift from heaven on the judgment of shedding blood), is mostly in verse, and deals with the jurisprudence of bodily injuries. It is divided into groups of a few lines, each rendering the judgment regarding injury of a particular body part. In the first work, Aṣdaq almanāhij fī tamyīz al-ibāḍiyya min al-khawārij (The most truthful method of distinguishing the Ibadites from the Kharijites), al-Siyābī laments the prejudices other scholars hold against the Ibadites, arguing in a question-and-answer fashion that the Ibadites are Sunnis, not Kharijites. He states in the introduction that he wrote the treatise after reading “tens by tens of Muslim doctrinal books,” in which “some of the scholars … are outraged … because they espouse the opinion that [the Ibadites] killed ʻAlī after having killed ʻUthmān.” The reference here is to the fourth and third caliphs of Islam, whose reigns (644−61) marked the split of the Muslim community into Sunnis and Shiʻa. The khawārij, or Kharijites, were historically followers of ʻAlī, but they declared him unfit as a caliph because they believed that he compromised his legitimacy by agreeing to arbitration during the conflict that pitted him against ʻUthmān’s supporter Mu'āwiyah. By rebelling against both Muslim camps and later declaring the Muslim majority rule illegitimate, these rebels came to be known as khawārij, or “the rogue ones.” A later schism within the Kharijites over what means to use to bring about legitimate political change resulted in the emergence of the Ibadites. Today’s adherents of Ibadism are found primarily in Oman, in addition to other communities in North and East Africa.
Scribe: Zakwānī, Yūsuf ibn Sāʿid
References: Fahd ibn ʻAlī ibn Hāshil Saʻdī, Muʻjam al-fuqahā wa-al-mutakallimīn al-Ibāḍīyah, qism al-mashriq: min al-qarn al-awwal al-Hijrī ilá bidāyat al-qarn al-khāmis ʻasharal-Hijrī (Masqaṭ: Maktabat al-Jīl al-Wāʻid, 2007).
Place: Middle East and North Africa; Oman; Masqat; Ghalā
Institution: Sultan Qaboos University Library
Physical description: 72 pages ; 22 centimeters