Little is known about Oman's pre-Islamic past but it is clear from recent archeological discoveries and research that early civilizations existed at least 5000 years ago.
Sumerian tablets refer to a country named "Magan" as a source of copper. It seems certain that they referred to Oman.Evidence from excavations near Sohar shows that the copper mining and smelting industry was well developed by the year 2000BC.
Frankincense from Dhofar, which was so important in the social religious life of ancient peoples also provides evidence of the existence of an early trading community. It is also clear that there were farming and fishing settlements from the earliest times.
The ancestors of present day Omanis are believed to have arrived in two waves of migration over a number of years, the first from Yemen and the second from northern Arabia at a time when various parts of the country were occupied by the Persians.
The call of the Prophet Mohammed to the Omanis to become Muslims altered the course of their history. It was in about 630 AD that Amr Ibn al-As arrived in Oman bearing a letter from the Prophet to Abd and Jaifar, the two sons of al-Julanda, who ruled Oman jointly. Having embraced Islam, they were instrumental in defeating the Persians.
The early Imamate in Oman arose out of a vision to create the true and ideal Muslim state. The first Ibadhi Imam, Julanda bin Mas'ud, was elected in 751 AD but he died in battle and it was not until 801 AD after a period of turmoil that Warith bin Kaab was elected. There then followed a period of peace, stability and prosperity lasting more than three hundred years.