A study of the origin and development of the Ibadi Imamate ideal into its medieval Arabian and North African articulations, this study traces the distinctive features of the Ibadi imama to precedents among the early Kharijites, Rashidun Caliphs and pre-Islamic Arabs. Using the four "states ofreligion" (masalik al-din) as an organizing principle for its chapters, the book examines the four associated Imam-types that are appropriate to such states - the Imam al-Zuhur (Imam of Manifestation), Imam al-Difa'a (Imam of Defense), Imam al-Shari (the "Seller" Imam who triumphed over his enemiesor "sold" himself to God in the attempt) and Imam al-Kitman (Imam of Secrecy) - and locates each Imam-type within a trajectory of Ibadi development. Some distinctive features of the Ibadi Imamate tradition, such as the shari Imam who selflessly fought for the establishment of the Ibadi polity, areshown to be rooted in the early Kharijite martyrdom narratives that were appropriated by the Ibadiyya and later transformed into systematic doctrines. Still others, such as the "weak" Imam who accepted provisional authority under the control of the 'ulama` hearken back to pre-Islamic patterns oflimited authority that subsequently found their way into early Islamic political norms. Working from a perspective that challenges the "exceptional" interpretation of Kharijite and Ibadite doctrine and practice, this study seeks to root much of Ibadi political theory in the same early traditions ofIslamic political practice that later provided legitimacy to Sunni Muslim political theorists. The result is a historically grounded and complex presentation of the development of political doctrine among the sole remaining relative of the early Kharijites.