Oman, nation occupying the southeastern corner of the Arabian Peninsula (see Arabia). Oman is a desert country in which high mountain peaks gaze down on dazzling white sand beaches. It is the principal home of the Ibadis, a minority Islamic sect distinct from both Sunni and Shia Islam (see Islam). For centuries a hub of Indian Ocean trade, Oman was an imperial power from the 17th through the 19th century. Oman is ruled by a monarch called a sultan, and the country’s official name is the Sultanate of Oman.