After the Islamic conquest, the Mozabites became Muslims of the Mu'tazili school. After the fall of the Rostemid state, the Rostemid royal family with some of their citizens chose the Mzab Valley as their refuge. However, the Rostemids were Ibāḍī and sent a preacher (Abu Bakr an-Nafusi) who successfully converted the indigenous Mozabites.
There are five qsur "walled villages" (ksour) located on rocky outcrops along the Wəd Mzab collectively known as the Pentapolis. They are Ghardaïa Tagherdayt, the principal settlement today; Beni Isguen At Isjen; Melika At Mlishet; Bounoura At Bunur; and El-Ateuf Tajnint. Adding the more recent settlements of Bérianne and El Guerara, the Mzab Heptapolis is completed.
The combination of the functional purism of the Ibāḍī faith with the oasian way of life led to a strict organization of land and space. Each citadel has a fortress-like mosque, whose minaret served as a watchtower. Houses of standard size and type were constructed in concentric circles around the mosque. The architecture of the M'zab settlements was designed for egalitarian communal living, with respect for family privacy.
In the summer, the Mzabites migrated to 'summer citadels' centred around palm grove oases. This is one of the major oasis groups of the Sahara Desert, and is bounded by arid country known as chebka, crossed by dry river beds.
Numerous details of Ibāḍiyya social life are ruled by this Islamic government, such as the weight of gold given as a dowry to a woman (maximum 60 grams) to the length of wedding celebrations (three days). The council makes decisions on details such as dowries, celebrations, dress. It used to impose punishments including exile, and a form of tabriyya "quarantine", where the offender may not interact with his fellow citizens. However, with economic, social and political integration to Algeria, these sanctions are less effective, and tend to have more impact on women.