|Among the major branches of Muhakkimah, Azariqah and Najdiyyah disappeared before the close of the 1st century AH as a result of the decline in their political fortunes and the only ones which survived to engage in the theological discussions of the day were the Ibadiyyah, Sufriyyah, Bayahisah, and the two new groups of `Ajaridah and Tha`alibah. The theological views of these groups may be divided into two categories. The first includes issues relating to the status of those guilty of a grave sin, wilayah and bira’ah. These were topics which were specific to the sect, the discussions of which were confined to the internal dialogue among its various branches. The second group included subjects discussed by the entire community of Muslim theologians. The position adopted with regard to these theological issues by any member of the sect did not necessarily follow from his core Muhakkimite beliefs, a fact that gave free scope to Muhakkimite theologians in their elaboration of such subjects as qadar, the created-ness of the Quran, the divine attributes and the like. In the 2nd and 3rd centuries AH, there existed two distinct tendencies among Muhakkimite groups, the advocacy of social justice and loyalty to tradition. The reflection of these two views was especially in evidence in the positions they adopted with regards to the subject of qadar.
Basra was the seat of Ibadi leadership in the first half of the 2nd century AH. In spite of the city being known as a center of Qadarite belief, it was host to Abu `Ubaydah Muslim b. Abi Karimah, the Ibadi imam who along with his successors adhered to the non-deterministic position of the Traditionalists. However, we have evidence of the existence of a Qadarite minority in Kufah who included theologians like `Abd Allah b. Yazid, Hamzah Kufi and Harith b. Mazid. The 2nd century AH should be generally characterized as a period of consolidation for Ibadi theology. This is owing to the fact that the principles attributed to Ibadi theology by Abu al-Hasan Ash`ari in the early part of the 4th century are in evidence in later Ibadi works, up to the present. The outlines of this system of theology may be depicted as follows. With regards to the subject of tawhid, there is a tendency towards Mu`tazilite positions where there is a vehement denial of the possibility of beholding a vision (ru’yah) of God. On the topic of wa`d and wa`id (promise and threat), the performer of a grave sin (kabirah) who departs this world without having repented is believed to deserve eternal punishment in hell. In connection to the imamate of the Shaykhayn, while emphasizing the rights of Abu Bakr and `Umar to caliphate, the Ibadis consider the same right for `Uthman up to the time were he introduced his innovations, and for Imam `Ali (PBUH) up to the point were he conceded to the arbitration. As a comparison between the Ibadis in the eastern and those in the western parts of the Islamic world, it may be said that those in the west were, as a whole, more inclined towards Mu`tazilite views.
As regards the theological position of other major Muhakkimite groups, and in connection with the subject of qadar, reference may be made to Sufriyyah who were divided along a Mu`tazilite-Traditionalist line, with the Mu`tazilite tendency gaining ascendancy during the course of the 3rd century AH. Abu Bakr Barda`i who resided in Baghdad in the first half of the 4th century AH harbored views akin to those of the Mu`tazilites. It is quite likely that he belonged to the Sufriyyah who hailed from Barda`ah. For the period spanning the later part of the 3rd and the earlier part of the 4th centuries AH, Abu al-Qasim Balkhi, in addition to referring to the Sufrites of Iraq, Jazirah and Azerbaijan with Mu`tazilite tendencies, speaks of a Sufrite community in Maghrib who advocated ideas of social justice (`adl).
The Bayahisah were another group who mainly opposed the notion of qadar along the same lines as those of the Traditionalists. There was another branch of the sect which, contrary to the prevailing tendency, advocated the idea of social justice and was banished by the rest. For instance, the anti-deterministic spirit is clearly indicated in the titles of the works of the great Bayhasite scholar of the 2nd century AH Yamam b. Rabab. As regards the `Ajaridah, the great majority of them were of one voice with the Traditionalists on the subject of qadar. However, they did include groups such as the followers of Maymun b. Khalid and Hamzah b. Adharak who held quasi-Mu`tazilite views.