Oman is the inheritor of a unique political tradition, the imama (imamate), and has a special place in the Arab Islamic world. From the 8th century and for more than a thousand years, the story of Oman was essentially a story of an original, minority, movement, the Ibadi. This long period was marked by the search for a just imama through the Ibadi model of the Islamic State.
The imama system was based on two principles: the free election of the imam leader, and the rigorous application of shura (consultation). Thus, the imama system, through its rich experience, has provided us with the only example of an Arab-Islamic democracy.
Hussein Ghubash's well-researched book takes the reader on a historical voyage through geography, politics, and culture of the region, from the sixteenth century to the present day. Oman has long-standing ties with East Africa as well as Europe; the first contact between Oman and European imperialist powers took place at the dawn of the 1500s with the arrival of the Portuguese, eventually followed by the Dutch, French and British.
Persuasive, thorough and drawing on Western as well as Islamic political theory, this book analyses the different historical and geopolitical roles of this strategic country. Thanks to its millennial tradition, Oman enjoys a solid national culture and a stable socio-political situation. Today, it is moving steadily towards a democratic future.
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