Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, “There will appear at the end of time a people who are young of age, foolish-minded. They will speak with the best (and most-alluring) of speech (that is spoken) by people and will recite the Qur’an but it will not go beyond their throats. They will pass out of Islam as the arrow passes through its game. Whoever meets them, let him kill them, for there is a reward for whoever kills them.”
The Prophet’s Companion, Abu Umamah al-Bahili (radhiyallahu anhu) said of the Khārijites, “The Dogs of the people of Hellfire, they used to be Muslims but turned disbelievers.” When Abu Umamah was asked whether this was his own speech or something he heard from the Prophet, he said, “Rather, I heard it from the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam).”
Ibn Taymiyyah (d. 728H, 14th century CE) said, “For they [the Khārijites] strived to kill every Muslim who did not agree with their view, declaring the blood of the Muslims, their wealth, and the slaying of their children to be lawful, while excommunicating them. And they considered this to be worship, due to their ignorance and their innovation which caused [them] to stray.”
All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the worlds and may He make good mention of His Prophet in the highest company and grant him safety.
As prophesized by the Prophet Muḥammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), the Khārijites (extremist renegades) were the first sect to break off from the main body of the Muslims and they appeared in two waves. First, as the revolutionary Saba’ite movement against the third caliph ʿUthman (radhiyallahu anhu) and thereafter, as the Khārijites proper against the fourth caliph ʿAli (radhiyallahu anhu). They expel Muslims from Islam on account of major sins. They are mostly young in age, appear as pious worshippers, have not acquired knowledge from the scholars of Islam, make use of secrecy, come to the people under the guise of enjoining the good and prohibiting the evil and employ faulty interpretations of Islamic texts due largely to their ignorance. The Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) also explicitly stated that they will never cease to appear until the Dajjāl (the Anti-Christ) appears in the midst of their armies. This indicates that the Muslim will always be plagued by this disease throughout the passage of time and that their war is fundamentally a war against the people of Islām.
Speaking about the relative ability amongst the people to recognize opposition to the Sunnah (Prophetic tradition), Ibn Taymiyyah said, “Some factions are greater in their opposition to the Messenger than others, and others are more apparent in their opposition [than others]. However, the apparentness [of such opposition] is a relative matter. The opposition of the one who opposes the Sunnah will be clear to the one who knows the Sunnah. In some cases, the opposition of some of them to the Sunnah is apparent to some of the people due to their knowledge of the Sunnah as opposed to others who do not know of [the Sunnah] what those people know. And sometimes the Sunnah in that matter is known to all of the ummah and thus the opposition of the one who opposed it is readily apparent – just as the opposition of the Rafiḍah [Shi’ites] to the Sunnah has become apparent to the majority. In the view of the majority, they are opposers to the Sunnah, and thus it is said, ‘Are you a Sunni or a Raafidhi?’ Likewise the Kharijites, when they were people of the sword and of fighting, their opposition to the jama’ah became apparent when they would fight against the people, but as for today, most people do not recognize them.” [Kitāb al-Nubuwwāt (Aḍwāʾ al-Salaf, 1420H) 1/564].
The last statement of Ibn Taymiyyah about the Kharijites and the fact that most people do not recognize them or their ideology is reflective of another wider reality, which is that most people do not understand the reality of the creed and methodology of the Righteous Salaf and what opposes it. Many of the contemporary Kharijite movements nowadays make an ascription to the way of the Salaf when they are the furthest away from it in their statements, actions and methodologies of reform. This should not be surprising since the very first Kharijites considered themselves to be superior to the Prophet’s Companions, considering themselves to be the actual Salaf and the true representatives of Islam. This leads to three affairs:
Firstly, many naive, ill-informed, emotive Muslims who see oppression, bloodshed and war in Muslim lands are emotionally manipulated into believing that the loud, rhetorical voice of the Kharijites and their use of lofty slogans of “Shari’ah”, “Jihad”, “Judging by Allah’s Law”, “Enjoining Good and Forbidding Evil” are contextually valid, evidence-based, authentic voices when in reality they are nothing but the rantings of ignoramuses, ignorant of the basics of the Islamic creed and ignorant of Allah’s laws in His creation. This is evidenced by their gross misdiagnosis of the causes of affliction (which they always return back to the rulers) but whose true roots are more foundational and lie elsewhere.
Secondly, it allows those with enmity from the non-Muslims to malign the religion of Islam and its noble, revered Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam).
Thirdly and fallaciously, the modern-day Kharijites are Salafis. In partial explanation of this development, many of these Kharijite groups have realized that in order to gain legitimacy, acquire a wider following and to spread their doubts more easily, they ought to make an ascription to the way of the Salaf and identify as Salafīs. Further, identifying with “Salafiyyah,” represented a manhaj (methodology) that stood in stark contrast to true Salafus Saliheen. Many of the ideological figureheads behind the Kharijite movements were averse to the label of Salafiyyah and saw it as a barrier to recruitment. For that reason, some of them invented principles to undermine ascription to Salafiyyah and to incorporate other groups and orientations into a wider umbrella of “Ahl al-Sunnah wal-Jamāʿah” so they could draw from a larger recruitment base to help fulfil their agendas. It also allowed them to deflect criticism from themselves as a readily identifiable extremist Salafiyyah and its adherents, thereby achieving more than one objective through this already extremist Wahhabi stuff.
What follows in this article is a small effort in attempting to uncover the foundations of modern Kharijite groups such as the Ibn Saud, ISIS and similar Kharijite groups whose ideologies and aspirations are behind the extremism and terrorism being witnessed today and oppressively ascribed to Islam. The historical events behind the emergence of the very first Kharijites, the Prophetic traditions regarding them, the statements of scholars throughout history against them and the nature of their activities are presented in what is to follow.
The Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) informed of a group that would appear shortly after his death who would put the Muslims, their leaders and their societies to trial and tribulation. They are famously known as the Kharijites (extremist renegades). These Kharijite renegades came in two waves. The first were known as the Sabaiyyah and they assassinated the third caliph Uthman (radhiyallahu anhu) in the year 35H. They were behind the events that led to the appearance of the second wave who abandoned the fourth caliph, ʿAli (radhiyallahu anhu) during a period of civil strife, and he was eventually killed by them in the year 40H. When this group appeared, the Companions of the Prophet saw that numerous verses of the Qur’an applied to them. These verses include the saying of Allah, “Say: Shall we inform you of the greatest losers as to [their] deeds? Those whose efforts have been wasted in this life while they thought that they were acquiring good by their deeds!” (18:103-104). Imam al-Tabari relates this application of the verse to the Kharijites from ʿAli bin Abi Talib (radhiyallahu anhu) in his exegesis. Also, the saying of Allah, “Some faces, that Day, will be humiliated. Labouring (hard in the worldly life), weary (in the Hereafter with humility and disgrace).” (88:2-3). Also the saying of Allah, “And when they deviated, Allah caused their hearts to deviate.” (61:8). And also, “Those who break Allah’s Covenant after ratifying it, and sever what Allah has ordered to be joined and do mischief on earth, it is they who are the losers.” (2:27).
It is common knowledge to the scholars of the Muslims and their students that ISIS, Boko Ḥaram and others are simply another manifestation of the recurring appearance of this group that was explicitly mentioned by the Prophet of Islam. They have killed exponentially more Muslims in the past 1400 years than they have killed non-Muslims in the past 20 years. In fact, if we were to say this the other way around, that they have killed more Muslims in the past 20 years than they have killed non-Muslims in the past 1400 years it would not be an exaggeration at all. This is because the Kharijites revolt against Muslim Ummah and create fitnah. Their activities are primarily directed towards them and not non-Muslims in principle. Their appearance was prophesized by the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) in a large number of traditions and they indeed appeared less than 30 years after him in 36H, around the year 657CE. Because this faction was intended as a trial and tribulation for Muslims in various times and ages, the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) spoke extensively about them, their traits, activities and their great danger upon Islam and the Muslims. The traditions in this regard are well-known and famous and have come through large-scale transmission right from the dawn of Islam.
THEIR PRIMARY MOTIVATION LIES IN MATTERS OF THE WORLD AND THEY USE RELIGION AS A COVER
The primary motivations driving Kharijite extremists return back to worldly matters including wealth and how Muslim rulers dispose of it. They desire that wealth should come to them upon their belief that giving it to the rulers is unlawful because they do not distribute it justly and do not use it for its designated purposes. This is revealed in a letter of advice given by the great Islamic scholar, Wahb bin Munabbih (rahimahullah d.110H, early 8th century CE) to a man affected by the ideology of the Kharijites, A group of Kharijites came to this man from San’a in Yemen and said to him that his zakah (obligatory charity) given to the rulers does not fulfil his obligation because it is misused and thus, his wealth should be given directly to the Kharijites who will give it to the poor and needy as well as establishing the prescribed punishments. These are the same activities of the Kharijites of ISIS today whereby they collect wealth under the same pretences whilst using it to fortify their own position and power. Refer to Munabahah Wahb bin Munabbih (taḥqīq al-Burjis, 1423H), p. 19. In other words, affairs pertaining to misuse of state capital and social, political and economic injustice. For this reason, there are strong parallels between the Kharijites who departed from Islam and the Jacobinist, Marxist, Bolshevik, Communist, Socialist movements originating in Europe and the fitnah of the Middle East such as the rebellion against the Ottoman Empire by Kharijite al-Saud, Sharif Hussain and Ataturk which paved way for the formation of illegitimate state of Israel which was the direct consequence of the extreme ideology of Kharijites, under the very same banners of social and economic injustice, launched an era of war and permanent revolution.
And this revolutionary ideology [of the modern Kharijites], we do not say it is ‘influenced by the ideology of the Kharijites’ but we say that it is influenced by the Communist, nationalist and secularist revolutions before it is influenced by the ideology of the Kharijites.
These (demonstrations and revolutions) are from the methodology of Marx and Lenin and their likes, they are not from the methodologies of Islam. Revolutionism, shedding blood, tribulations, difficulties (all of this) is the way of Marx and Lenin. They combined it with the way of the Kharijites and they said ‘It is Islam’… Jihad itself has its subject areas and has its conditions and fiqhi rulings and it is not these Marxist methods which they clothe with the garment of Islam. They have taken revolutionism, Socialism from Marx and Lenin. In an article titled, “How Marx Became Muslim” John Gray writes, “Islamic fundamentalism is not an indigenous growth. It is an exotic hybrid, bred from the encounter of sections of the Islamic intelligentsia with radical western ideologies. In A Fury for God, Malise Ruthven shows that Sayyid Qutb, an Egyptian executed after imprisonment in 1966 and arguably the most influential ideologue of radical Islam, incorporated many elements derived from European ideology into his thinking. For example, the idea of a revolutionary vanguard of militant believers does not have an Islamic pedigree. It is ‘a concept imported from Europe, through a lineage that stretches back to the Jacobins, through the Bolsheviks and latter-day Marxist guerrillas such as the Baader-Meinhof gang.’ In a brilliantly illuminating and arrestingly readable analysis, Ruthven demonstrates the close affinities between radical Islamist thought and the vanguard of modernist and postmodern thinking in the West. The inspiration for Quṭb’s thought is not so much the Koran, but the current of western philosophy embodied in thinkers such as Nietzsche, Kierkegaard and Heidegger. Quṭb’s thought – the blueprint for all subsequent radical Islamist political theology – is as much a response to 20th-century Europe’s experience of ‘the death of God’ as to anything in the Islamic tradition. Quṭbism is in no way traditional. Like all fundamentalist ideology, it is unmistakeably modern.” The Independent Newspaper (UK), 27th July 2002.
The aims behind the instigation of these social revolutionary movements revolve around ten core objectives and they are: One: Abolition of all private property which is achieved through imposing a debt burden through heavy, punishing taxation. Gradually, property is confiscated through this method until it remains in the hands of the beneficiaries of this system. Two: Heavy progressive or graduated income tax to keep everyone at relatively similar levels of wealth and prevent any potential competing power that could challenge the system and its beneficiaries. Three: Abolition of all rights of inheritance to allow the beneficiaries of this system to gradually own all wealth and property. Four: Confiscation of property of all emigrants and rebels which refers to what happens when debts or taxes are not paid. Five: Centralization of all credit through a central bank which is fundamental to the running of the system and its core engine. Six: Centralization of the means of communication and transport to enable the monitoring and control of the activity of all subjects. Seven: Extension of factories and instruments of production which refers to taking lands from farmers and giving them to private corporations. This amounts to confiscation and privatization of land. Eight: Equal liability to labour, which means everyone must work in this collectivist system. Nine: Manufacturing and agriculture blended together whereby conglomerates and corporates take over farming and agriculture and city and country are blended together which effectively amounts to population control, moving all people out of rural areas into towns and cities. Ten: Free education for all children in public schools which means compulsory indoctrination of children to be good citizens within this collectivist system. These are the ten planks of Communism laid out by Karl Marx which were a refinement of the ideology of the Jacobins involved in the French Revolution in the late 18th century. Today, many aspects of this system can be readily identified in developed nations.
The ideological grandfather of all Kharijite renegade movements in Islamic history is a man known as Dhul-Khuwaisarah al-Tamimi. The Qur’an judged this individual to be from the disbelieving hypocrites, “Amongst them (the Hypocrites) is one who criticizes you concerning the [distribution of] charities. If they are given from them, they approve but if they are not given from them, at once they become angry.” (9:58). This man and his few followers challenged the integrity of the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) in a famous incident which is documented in numerous Prophetic traditions. As the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) was distributing wealth to a number of tribes for certain benefits he had in mind for them, this man appeared and said, “Be just O Muḥammad” and “We are more worthy of this than them” and also, “This is a division by which the pleasure of Allah is not sought.” [al-Bukhārī (nos. 3610 and 4351)]. The Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) had to prevent his Companions from striking this audacious man and as the man walked away, the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, “From this man will appear a people who recite the Qur’an but it will not go beyond their throats.” He went to describe in other reports that they will separate from the main body of Muslims, turn against them and fight them. He also prophesized that they would be killed and “Amongst them will be a black man on whose upper arm will appear [a feature] as if like the breast of a woman.” (Muslim (no. 1066). The hadith was reported by Hadhrat Abu Sa’id al-Khudri (radhiyallahu anhu) who also bore witness that he was present when this man was identified at al Nahrawan where Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) fought and killed the Kharijites) This incident is evidence that the entire issue with the Khariijtes is a worldly one. Religion is merely used as a cloak to legitimize their activities and serve as a means of recruiting the ignorant and unsuspecting. Thereafter, it is used as a vehicle to help them attain their worldly objectives. Ibn Kathir, the Qur’an commentator said, “For the first innovation to occur in Islam was the tribulation of the Kharijites and their (ideological) starting point was due to [a matter] of the world.” [Tafsīr al-Qurʾān al-Adheem (2/10)] The matter being referred to was the distribution of wealth, they consider the ruling authorities to be unjust and astray in their disposal of wealth. Ibn Taymiyyah said, “The foundation of the misguidance of these [Kharijites] is their belief regarding the leaders of guidance and the body of the Muslims that they have departed from justice and are misguided.” [Majmuʿal-Fatawa (28/497)]. As we shall see in what follows, the Kharijites employed texts of the Qur’an which they did not understand and built their ideology upon gross misinterpretations. By revolting against the Ummah they create civil strife and bring chaos, ruin and destruction. One can see here the parallels between the ideology of the Kharijites and the Marxist, Communist movements calling for social justice. Refer to the section at the end of this article which connects Sayyid Qutb, founder of 20th century takfiri jihadi movements with Leninist methodology. Not a single Companion of the Prophet was amongst the Kharijites which demonstrates their departure from Islam, its scholarly tradition and its main body.
KHARIJITES FIRST APPEARED IN IRAQ DURING A PERIOD OF CIVIL STRIFE
The Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) prophesized that this group would appear during a period of conflict and splitting between the Muslims. The Companion Abu Sa’id al-Khudri (radhiyallahu anhu) relates that the Prophet said, “They [the Khārijites] will depart from the religion like an arrow passes through its game … and they will appear during a period wherein the people will be in a state of division.” [(Muslim (no. 1064)] In another tradition related by Abu Sa’id al-Khudri (radhiyallahu anhu), the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, “There will appear a people from the East, they will recite the Qur’an and it will not pass beyond their throats…” [Bukhari (no. 7652)] And in the tradition related by Yasir bin ‘Amr who said that he asked Sahl bin Hunayf, “Did you hear the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) say anything about the Khārijites?” Sahl said that he heard the Prophet saying – and whilst narrating, Sahl pointed his hand towards Iraq – “There will appear from there a people who recite the Qur’an, it will not pass beyond their throats, and they will depart from Islam like the arrow passes through the game.” [al-Bukharī (no. 6934)] We find another prophecy in the tradition related by Abu Sa’id al-Khudri (radhiyallahu anhu) who said that he heard the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, “My nation will split into two parties and from their midst there will depart a renegade group, the closest of the two parties to the truth will kill them.” [Muslim (no.1064)] This was mentioned by the Prophet at least two and a half decades before it actually happened. It is worthwile therefore, to look in some detail into the background and circumstances leading to the emergence of this group as it contains many lessons and benefits. One can refer to the works of famous historians such as Ibn Kathir’s al-Bidayah wal-Nihayah, al-Tabari’s Tarikh and Ibn ʿAsakir’s Tarikh Dimashq during the events of 34H-38H for a detailed elaboration on these events. A condensed summary of the main events follows below.
THE HISTORICAL EVENTS PRECEDING THE APPEARANCE OF THE KHARIJITE REVOLUTIONARY TERRORISTS IN THE LANDS OF IRAQ AND SYRIA
The appearance of the first two sects in Islam, the Kharijites and the Rafidites (Shi’ites) is tightly interwoven and cannot be separated from each other. The activities of a particular subversive movement known as the Saba’iyyah led to the creation of these two sects. The Companion Hudhayfah bin al-Yaman (radhiyallahu anhu) used to ask the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) about evil out of fear that it may befall him and he would be in gatherings in which the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) mentioned the various tribulations to befall the Muslim nation following his death. Ḥudhayfah (radhiyallahu anhu) stated, “By Allah, I am the most-knowledgeable amongst the people of every tribulation to occur between my presence and the Final Hour.” [Imam Muslim (no. 2891)] Ibn Kathir, the famous historian and Qur’anic commentator, relates the statement of Hudhayfah (radhiyallahu anhu), “The first of the tribulations is the killing of ʿUthman (radhiyallahu anhu) and the last of them is the appearance of the Dajjal (Anti-Christ).” [Al-Bidayah wal-Nihayah (Dar Hajar, 1418H) 10/330]. Thus, the first significant event having major consequences for the Muslim nation was the revolution against the third caliph, Uthman (radhiyallahu anhu) which culminated in his assassination. This was executed by a group of renegade hypocrites led by a man known as Abdullah bin Saba [His existence, presence and subversive activities are documented and reported by dozens of Sunni and Shi’ite scholarly authorities right until the end of the 19th century. After that some of the Orientalists, followed by Muslim ‘thinkers,’ began to propagate the claim that ʿAbdullah bin Sabaʾ is a figment of the imagination and that he was invented in order to malign the Shi’ites. The following is a brief list of works accepted by Shi’ite authorities affirming his existence, activities and doctrines: Risalah al-Irjaʿ by al-Hasan bin Muhammad bin al-Hanafiyyah (d. 100H) – who is a grandson of ʿAli bin Abi Talib (radhiyallahu anhu). This small treatise was written by him and was read out openly in Kufah. It covered the tribulations that had taken place, and a statement of deferment (suspension) about his position regarding ʿUthman (radhiyallahu anhu) and his grandfather Ali (radhiyallahu anhu). He also announced his clear allegiance to Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu anhu). He also spoke of the tribulations which had occurred and spoke of the Saba’ites (followers of Abdullah bin Saba) and their doctrines. The Irjāʿ (deferment) referred to here is not the doctrine of the well-known Murji’ite sect who expelled actions from faith. Kitab al-Gharat of Abu Ishaq Ibrahim bin Muhammad Sa’id bin Hial al-Thaqafi al-Isfahānī (d. 283H), this book has been published in Iran. Kitab al-Maqalaat wal-Firaq of Sa’d bin Abdullāh al-Ash’ari al-Qummi (d. 301H), this book was also published in Iran in 1963CE. Kitab Firaq al-Shi’ah of Abu Muhammad al-Hasan bin Musa al-Nawbakhti (d. before 300H). This has been published numerous times and has an Orientalist print which was done in Istanbul in 1931CE. This contains a good section on ʿAbdullah bin Sabaʿ and his doctrines. Rijal al-Kashi of Abu Amr Muḥammad bin Umar bin Abd al-ʿAziz al-Kashi, (d. 370H). This book has been published in Karbala, Iraq. Rijal al-Tusi by their shaykh, Abu Ja’far Muhammad bin al-Hasan al-Tusi (d. 460H). First edition published in al-Najaf in 1961CE distributed by Muhammad Kadhim al-Kutbi. Sharh Ibn Abi al-Ḥadid li Najh al-Balaghah of Abi Hamid Abd al-Hamid bin Hibatullah al-Mada’ini known as Ibn Abi al-Ḥadid, (d. 656H). First edition published in 1326H. Al-Rijal by al-Hasan bin Yusuf al-Ḥilli (d. 726H), printed in Tehran (1311H) and al-Najaf (1961CE). Rawdat al-Jannat of Muhammad Baqir al-Khawansari (d. 1315H), it was published in Iran (1307H). Tanqih al-Maqal Fee Ahwal al-Rijal by Abdullah al-Mamqani (d.1351H), printed in al-Najaf (1350H). Qamus al-Rijal of Muhammad Taqi al-Tustari, printed in Tehran (1382H). Rawdat al-Safa, a book of history relied upon by the Shi’ah in Persian (2/292), printed in Tehran. Al-Kuna wal-Alqab of Abbas bin Muhammad Rida al-Qummi (d.1359H), printed in 1359H]. His followers became known as the Saba’iyyah and they had been recruited and mobilized against Uthman (radhiyallahu anhu) on alleged grounds of social injustice, class separation and despotism in addition to a range of what were claimed to be erroneous mistakes in jurisprudence and personal conduct. [The Maliki jurist, Muhammad bin Abdullah, Abu Bakr bin al-Arabi (d.543H, 12th century CE) wrote his famous work titled, al-ʿAwasim min al-Qawasim, which contains a powerful and robust response to each and every allegation raised against Uthman (radhiyallahu anhu)] Their slogan against Uthman (radhiyallahu anhu) was the same as the slogan of the hypocrite, Dhul Khuwaysarah al-Tamimi against the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) – the absence of social justice in matters of wealth – the same slogan of Marxist, Communist and the Arab revolutionary movements of the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. This is a crucial point to note as it helps to explain the circumstances behind the emergence of the Kharijite terrorists during both the dawn of Islam and modern history in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. Four figures are of special note here. Muhammad bin al-Saud the Jew-sympathizer & Jamal al-Din al-Afghani, a concealed Shi’ite revolutionary who the founder of modern Salafism. He was the first to revive and spread this claim in the modern era. He launched a Marxist, Communist diatrabe against class separation. Uthman (radhiyallahu anhu), accusing him of hoarding capital, nepotism, despotism and After him Sayyid Qutb developed this poison in more detail in a number of his writings dealing with social justice and capitalism and he also praised the revolution of ʿAbdullah bin Sabaʾ against ʿUthman and maligned Mu’awiyah (radhiyallahu anhu), his parents and the Banu Umayyah in the severest of ways, even negating their Islam. At the end of his life spread doctrines of excommunication and hatred against all contemporary Muslim societies whom he charged with apostasy just like Ibn Saud had done to attack Ahlus Sunnah of Arabia.
Abu A’la Mawdudi also made insinuations against Uthman (radhiyallahu anhu) and Mu’awiyah (radhiyallahu anhu). In his book ‘Khilafat wa Mulukiyat’ (written in 1386/1966CE) lays charges of nepotism against ʿUthman (radhiyallahu anhu) and of transforming the nature and structure of the khilafah into a kingship. He also attacks Mu’awiyah (radhiyallahu anhu) and the Banu Umayyah in general. This is the foundation of Saba’ite and Shi’ite revolutionary poison against the Companions. It should come as no surprise that Mawdudi was an extremely close friend of the kafir and mushrik, “Ayatollah” al-Khomeini and described his 1979 revolution as a genuine “Islamic revolution” which should be supported by Muslims, groups and movements from all over the world.
It is important from the beginning for us to understand that anyone who wished to speak ill of the Companions by concealment did so, not by attacking them directly, but by attacking Mu’awiyah (radhiyallahu anhu) who was the first of the kings of Islam. Mu’awiyah bin Abi Sufyaan (radhiyallahu anhu) was amongst the Muslims who accepted Islam prior to the conquest of Makkah but concealed his faith from his father, Abu Sufyan (radhiyallahu anhu). Ibn Asakir relates the saying of Mu’awiyah (radhiyallahu anhu), “I accepted Islam on the day of the affair [referring to events surrrounding the treaty of Ḥudaybiyyah in 7AH] but concealed my faith out of the fear of my father” [Tarikh Dimashq, (5/19)]. He participated in the battle of Hunayn with the Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam). Ibn Taymiyyah mentions in al-Fatawa (4/458) that he and others such as Suhayl bin ʿAmr, al-Harith bin Hisham were from those upon whom Allah sent down tranquiilty (sakinah) during the battle, as occurs in the verse, “He is the one who sent down His tranquility upon His Messenger and upon the Believers…” (9:26). Likewise the verse (Ḥadid 57:10) which promises goodness for those who spent and fought after the conquest of Makkah includes Mu’awiyah as also indicated by Ibn Taymiyyah in al-Fatawa (4/459). Further, the Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) made supplication for him, “O Allāh make him a guide (for others), guided (in himself) and guides others through him.” [Sahih Sunan al-Tirmidhī]. Likewise in al-Bukhari, from the hadith of Umm Haram (radhiyallahu anha) that she heard the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) say, “[Paradise, forgiveness] will become obligatory for the first army from my ummah to makes a sea expedition..” So Umm Haram (radhiyallahu anha) said, “O Messenger of Allah, am I from them?” He said, “You are from them.” Mu’awiyah (radhiyallahu anhu) was the first to make a sea expedition to Cyprus. Mu’awiyah (radhiyallahu anhu) was also a writer of revelation, Ibn Taymiyyah said, “For it has been established through large-scale transmission that the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) commanded him as he commanded others, and he made jihad alongside him and he was trustworthy to him, writing the revelation for him, the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) did not suspect him at all in the writing of revelation.” [Al-Fatawa (4/472)]. Mu’awiyah (radhiyallahu anhu) also related 163 hadiths from the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) some of which are found in al-Bukhari and Muslim. Mu’awiyah (radhiyallahu anhu) is also “the Uncle of the Believers” because he is the brother of Umm Habibah bint Abu Sufyan (radhiyallahu anha), who is the Prophet’s wife. As for his rulership, then he was appointed by ʿUmar bin al-Khattab (radhiyallahu anhu) to rule over Sham, and Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) was most knowledgeable and informed about men and would only appoint them due to his trust in them and his knowledge of their capabilities. He became the first king of Islam as he said, “I am the first of the kings of Islam” as related in the Musannaf of Ibn Abi Shaybah (6/207). The Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) explained that after the Prophetic Khilafah there would be a kingship of mercy, and this was another praise of the rule of Mu’awiyah (radhiyallahu anhu). He (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, “The first of this affair (of Islām) is nubuwwah (prophethood) and mercy. Then there will be khilafah (succession) and mercy. Then there will be mulk (kingship) and mercy.” [Reported by al-Tayalisi and Ahmad]. Ibn Abi alʿIzz said, “Mu’awiyah (radhiyallahu anhu) is the first of the kings of the Muslims and he is the best of the kings of the Muslims.” [Sharh al-Tahawiyyah (p. 722)]. Ibn Taymiyyah said, “The scholars are agreed that Mu’awiyah (radhiyallahu anhu) is the best of the kings of this ummah. For the four that were before him were the caliphs of nubuwwah (prophethood) and he was the first of the kings, his kingship was one of mercy as has come in the ḥadīth… and there was in his kingship such mercy, gentleness and benefit for the Muslims that nothing better was known about the kingship of others besides him.” [Majmuʿal-Fatawa (4/478)]. Al-Khallal relates that Mu’afī bin ʿImran was asked whether Mu’awiyah (radhiyallahu anhu) or Umar binʿAbd al-Aziz (rahimahullah) was superior and he replied “Mu’awiyah (radhiyallahu anhu) was six-hundred times the likes of ʿUmar bin ʿAbd al-Aziz.” [As-Sunnah (2/435)]. Under his authority, the Muslims conquered vast regions of the Earth and he was also the first to launch a successful sea expedition. Thus, anyone who desired to attack Islam and its people but desired to conceal their hatred towards its carriers and conveyers (the Companions) would target speech towards Mu’awiyah (radhiyallahu anhu) in particular. This was simply another approach in their ideology which intended harm for Islam and its people. However, the Righteous Salaf, wise to this, on the basis of what they understood from revealed texts, consolidated and protected the fortress of Islam by making it clear that Mu’awiyah (radhiyallahu anhu) is the veil, the cover for the rest of the Companions, and that whoever attacked Mu’awiyah (radhiyallahu anhu) has lifted that veil and made the rest of the Companions vulnerable to attack and thus intends evil for Islam and its adherents. Ibn Kathir (rahimahullah) brings the following statement of al-Rabiʿ bin Nafiʿal-Halabi, “Mu’awiyah (radhiyallahu anhu) is the veil (covering) for the Companions of Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam). So when a man removes the covering he will transgress against what lies beyond it (meaning the Companions).” [al-Bidayah wal-Nihayah (8/139)]
And Ibn Kathir (rahimahullah) also brings the statement of Abdullah bin al-Mubarak (rahimahullah), “Mu’awiyah (radhiyallahu anhu) is a test (trial) for us. Whomever we see looking at him suspiciously then we suspect him in relation to those people (the Companions).” What we learn from these statements is that Mu’awiyah (radhiyallahu anhu) has been made a fitnah (trial) and mihnah (test, examination). A person’s attitude towards the Companions and his intentions towards them is known from his intentions and attitude towards Mu’awiyah (radhiyallahu anhu). For this reason when the Salaf saw a man belittling Mu’awiyah (radhiyallahu anhu) they suspected him of harbouring ill-will and malice towards the Companions as a whole, and hence to Islam itself. Ibn Kathir relates from al-Fadl bin Ziyad who said, “I heard Abu ʿAbdullah (Imam Ahmad) being asked about a man who reviled Mu’awiyah and ʿAmr bin al-‘As (radhiyallahu anhum) and whether he should be labelled a Raafidhi and he said, ‘He did not venture into transgressing against them except that he was secretly harbouring evil. No one ever belittled any of the Companions except that he has an evil intent’.” [al-Bidāyah wal-Nihāyah (8/148)].
It should come as no surprise that the writings and ideas of these thinkers (al-Afghani, Ibn Saud, Sayyid Qutb, Mawdudi) became the inspiration behind the ideologies of excommunication (takfir) and revolution, leading to hatred and desertion of Muslim societies, eventually culminating in terrorism. Thus, The foundations of 20th century extremism and terrorism lie with Salafis inspired by European revolutionary movements.
The “Marxist” Social Revolution Against ʿUthman (radhiyallahu anhu)
Al-Tabari, the historian and Qur’anic commentator, relates that in the year 30H (around 652CE) ʿAbdullah bin Sabaʾ travelled to Syria where he met the Companion Abu Dharr al-Ghifari (radhiyallahu anhu) . He began to complain against Mu’awiyah (radhiyallahu anhu), the govenor of Syria appointed by Uthman (radhiyallahu anhu), saying, “O Abu Dharr, are you not surprised at Mu’awiyah? He says that wealth is Allah’s wealth, but everything belongs to Allah, as if he wishes to hoard it exclusive to the Muslims and to remove the name of the Muslims from this [wealth].” This is the ideology of Marxist Socialism and Communism, a full 1200 years before the Communist Manifesto was written by Marx and Engels. From 1848 onwards, this ideology coincided with a spate of revolutions against monarchies and governments in Europe and beyond. These revolutions were intended to overturn the existing order in those nations for the benefit of private interests.
Attempting to arouse discontent, he went to another Companion, Abu al-Darda (radhiyallahu anhu) ʾand also began to hang around ʿUbadah bin al-Samit (radhiyallahu anhu), though he was unsuccessful in these endeavours. [Tarikh al-Ṭabari (4/283)]. This was part of a wider strategy since his presence is also documented in the Hijaz (the Arabian peninsula), Basrah, Kufah (Iraq) and finally Egypt from where the revolutionary activities were planned during 34H (655CE) through written correspondence between supporters in Egypt, Basrah and Kufah. [Ibn Asakir’s Tarikh Dimashq and Ibn al-Jawzi’s al-Muntazam fil-Tarikh for further details]. In the month of Shawwal of 35H (656CE) the revolutionaries descended into Madinah from the various townships and surrounded the house of ʿUthman (radhiyallahu anhu). Due to their large numbers, they effectively controlled the city and were unchallenged. The siege had been planned to coincide with the Hajj season in the month of Dhul-Hijjah 35H (around June 656CE) with their knowledge that the major Companions would have travelled to Makkah. After forty days they burst into the house of ʿUthman (radhiyallahu anhu), an eighty-year old frail man who was fasting and reciting the Qur’an. They attempted to pull off his shirt and repeatedly and violently stabbed him to death. After the assassination, the main leaders of this large group of around two thousand people kept a low profile and concealed themselves within the army of ʿAli bin Abi Talib (radhiyallahu anhu). Some of them had escaped to Basrah. Meanwhile, Mu’awiyah (radhiyallahu anhu) who was the appointed ruler of Syria demanded that the killers of ʿUthman (radhiyallahu anhu) be apprehended before the new caliph is chosen. ButʿAli (radhiyallahu anhu) had by then became the fourth caliph by agreement of the major Companions who held authority and standing. Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) was resolved to pursue and identify the perpetrators and bring them to justice, however his immediate goal was to establish political stability and unify the Muslims following this great calamity and the immediate danger posed by the large number of revolutionaries.
The Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) had informed ʿUthman (radhiyallahu anhu) that a group of hypocrites would attempt to pull off his shirt and that he would be killed unjustly. This related in the hadith of ʿ’Abdullah bin ʿUmar (radhiyallahu anhu) who said that the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said “A tribulation will occur in which this man” – and ʿUthman (radhiyallahu anhu) passed by – “will be killed unjustly on that day.” Related by al-Tirmidhi, Ahmad. And in the hadith related by A’ishah (radhiyallahu anha) that the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) summoned ʿUthman (radhiyallahu anhu) to speak to him and when he finished, he struck his shoulder and said, “O Uthman, perhaps Allāh will clothe you with a shirt and if the hypocrites attempt to remove it from you, do not remove it until you meet me (in the Hereafter).” [Related by Imam Ahmad, al-Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah and others] and Shaykh Muqbil bin Hadi said, “This tradition is authentic upon the requirements of al-Bukhari and Muslim.” Refer to Sahih al-Musnad (5/501-502). And Abu Bakr al-Khallal also narrated that Imam Ahmad (d. 241H) used this tradition as evidence and said, “They (the hypocrites who killed him) indeed desired to do that.” Al-Sunnah of al-Khallal (no. 407). These traditions provide two of many, abundant examples of foreknowledge indicating the veracity of the prophethood of Nabi Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wadallam).
Activities of the Revolutionaries Post-Assassination
The Saba’iyyah who had descended upon Madinah outnumbered the inhabitants of Madinah rendering ‘Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) powerless and having to tread with care.
For this very same reason, a group of those from the clan of Uthman (radhiyallahu anhu), the Banu Umayyah, departed to Makkah to the wives of the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) to inform them of what had transpired and to discuss the next steps to seek justice. In a gathering of the senior Companions and the wives of the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), ʿA’ishah (radhiyallahu anha) encouraged them to establish justice for the murder of ʿUthman (radhiyallahu anhu) before settling the issue of leadership. The people responded to her call and some of them said that they should proceed to Madinah to demand the killers and others said they should go to Basrah to make military preparations to pursue the perpetrators some of whom had alighted there. They eventually decided to go to al-Basrah. [al-Bidayah wal-Nihayah (10/432-433)].
Prior to reaching Basrah, the party of ʿA’ishah (radhiyallahu anhu) was attacked by a band led by Hukaym bin Jablah al-‘Abdi who was from the Saba’iyyah and their intent was to prevent the reconciliation that was about to take place between Ali and A’ishah (radhiyallahu anhuma). He was a leader of one of the four factions that came from Basrah to al-Madinah which led to the siege and assassination of ʿUthman (radhiyallahu anhu). [Refer to alʿAwasim min al-Qawasim of Ibn al-Arabi al-Maliki (Maktabah al-Sunnah, 1412H) p. 124]. However, they were successfully repelled. [Tarikh al-Tabari (4/466)]. This indicates the extent to which the Saba’iyyah were resolved to prevent unity amongst the Companions. As the journey to Basrah continued, an incident took place which changed the mind of A’ishah (radhiyallahu anha) and she expressed her desire to return back to Makkah. On the journey to Basrah, they passed by an oasis called al-Hawab whereupon some dogs began to bark at them. When A’ishah (radhiyallahu anha) heard this she asked, “What is the name of this oasis?” When she was told it was called al-Hawab, she struck one hand with the other and said, “To Allah we belong and to Him shall we return. I do not see except that I should turn back.” When asked why, she said that she had heard the Prophet say to his wives, “If only I knew which one of you will be barked at by the dogs of al-Hawab.” [Related by Ahmad in al-Musnad (6/52)]. This became a fulfilled prophecy of the Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)]. However, news reached that the army of ʿAli (radhiyallahu anhu) had reached Basrah before them so they made their way to Basrah with the intent of catching the perpetrators and resolving the matter with ʿ’Ali (radhiyallahu anhu), who had also arrived at Basrah for reconciliation. [Tarikh al-Tabari (4/505)] Neither party had any intention of fighting with each other.
The Saba’ites and the Battle of the Jamal (Camel)
Upon arrival of both parties at Basrah, discussions took place between Ali and A’ishah (radhiyallahu anhuma) through a messenger. Eventually, a truce was reached and it was agreed that both parties would disengage peacefully and return to their homes. This was unwelcome to the Saba’iyyah concealed within Ali’s (radhiyallahu anhu) army. [Tarikh al-Tabari (4/513)]. Whilst it was known they were present and lurking around, their specific identities were not which made it difficult for Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) to take the appropriate course of action. Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) ordered his people to depart and return. Similarly, the party of A’ishah , Talhah and al-Zubayr (radhiyallahu anhuma) also made plans to depart. Fearing that they were soon to be apprehended due to the combined efforts of both parties who had come to an agreement, the Saba’iyyah conspired with each other for their survival. Al-Tabari relates that after discussing their options, their leader, ʿAbdullah bin Saba, suggested that they split into two parties, with each party positioning itself in strategic positions on the side of Ali and ʿA’ishah (radhiyallahu anhuma). Then at the appropriate time during the night, they would both initiate an attack to make it appear to each side that the other party had acted treacherously and initiated war despite the truce. [al-Kamil Fil-Tarikh of Ibn al-Athir (3/125)]. They implemented their evil plot and each party fought as the aggrieved oppressed party, believing it their religious duty to establish justice. The resulting turmoil led to the death of ten thousand Muslims. This sad event took place in 36H (November 656CE) and after it, both parties were remorseful at what had taken place of chaos and loss of life which had in fact been instigated by subversive Saba’iyyah element within their ranks. None of the Companions involved in this incident had any intention to fight against each other at all.
The Battle of Siffin
Six months later and still resolved to achieve political unity,ʿAli (radhiyallahu anhu) turned to address Mu’awiyah (radhiyallahu anhu) in Syria who had not yet come under the authority of ʿAli’s (radhiyallahu anhu) leadership and demanded vengeance for ʿUthman (radhiyallahu anhu). But ʿAli (radhiyallahu anhu) insisted on unity and for everyone to come under his authority before pursuing justice for ʿUthman (radhiyallahu anhu). What complicated matters was that it was known that the perpetrators had taken cover within the ranks of ʿAli (radhiyallahu anhu). This was to the consternation of Mu’awiyah (radhiyallahu anhu) and those with him who demanded the perpetrators be turned over. However,ʿAli’s (radhiyallahu anhu) position (of establishing leadership and stability) was judged by the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) to be closer to the truth in his prophecy that civil war would break out between two parties and the one that was closer to the truth would fight and kill the Kharijite renegades when they appeared, and that was Ali (radhiyallahu anhu). Abu Sa’id al-Khudri (radhiyallahu anhu) reported that the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, “My nation will split into two parties and from their midst will split a renegade group, the closest of the two parties to the truth will kill them.” [Related by Muslim (no. 1064)]. Despite sustained diplomatic efforts to come to a resolution, the armies of the two parties met at a place called Siffin near the Euphrates (present-day Raqqah in Syria). This was in Dhul-Hijjah, the last month of the Islamic calendar, in the year 36H (May 657CE) Fighting broke out, and continued for just over two months and very large numbers were killed. Abu Hurayrah related that the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, “The Final Hour will not come to pass until two great armies fight and great killing will take place between them, whilst the claim of both is one [and the same].” [Bukhari no. 3609]. Both parties claimed to be upon the truth, [Fath al-Bari (6/616)] and there were tens of thousands of casualties on both sides. The Companion Ammar bin Yasir (radhiyallahu anhu) who was on the side of ʿAli (radhiyallahu anhu) was killed in this battle. Just prior to his death, he took a drink of milk, fulfilling two more prophecies. Abu Sa’id al-Khudri (radhiyallahu anhu) related that during the Battle of the Trench in 5AH (627CE), whilst ʿAmmar bin Yasir (radhiyallahu anhu) was participating in digging, the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said to him, “A transgressing faction will kill you.” Reported by Muslim (no. 2915). This is evidence that ʿAlī was correct in his position and that the other party had erred and Ibn Kathir (rahimahullah) indicated that this prophecy is from the evidences for the prophethood of Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam). Abu al-Bukhtari relates that some milk was brought to ʿ’Ammar (radhiyallahu anhu) (in the Battle of Siffin before he died) and he laughed and said, “The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said to me, ‘The last drink you will have when you die will be a drink of milk’.” [Musnad Ahmad (4/319)]. Over the passing of time,ʿAli (radhiyallahu anhu) gained the upper hand and the army of Mu’awiyah (radhiyallahu anhu) began to signal their desire for arbitration by placing copies of the Qur’an on their spears and raising them up.
The Saba’ites, Arbitration and Separation of the Kharijite Movement
The faction of the Saba’iyyah in the army of Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) coerced him to accept an arbitration and even threatened to kill him. One of them, Zayd bin Husayn al-Ta’i, said, “If you do not accept [arbitration] we will kill you just as we killed ʿUthman (radhiyallahu anhu), for when he abandoned acting by the Book of Allah we killed him and by Allah we will do to you what we did to him.” [al-Bidayah wal-Nihayah 10/546]. And Imam al-Dhahabi said, “And from the heads of the Kharijites was Zayd bin Husayn…” [Al-Siyar (2/536)]. This is evidence of the link between the Saba’ites and the Kharijites. The peak of the heirarchy of both movements were made up of the same instigators which is why any study of the emergence of the first two sects in Islam cannot be separated. ʿAli (radhiyallahu anhu) was not happy with accepting an arbitration because he saw it as a mere tactic of war by the opposing faction to avoid impending defeat. Under pressure and threat of assassination by the Saba’iyyah who had managed to maneuvre themselves into a position of strength within his army he unwillingly accepted the request. An arbitration ensued with each side delegating a representative to settle the matter and end hostilities. However, no sooner had the arbitration taken place and reconciliation made between the two warring parties of Muslims but objections began to be raised. It is related that the first who raised the issue of the arbitration was ʿAbdullah bin Wahb al-Rasibi. [al-Bidayah wal-Nihayah 10/560] Then some of the Qur’anic reciters who were associates of Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) took this saying and began to chant, in their compound ignorance, “The judgement is for none but Allah.” This was the beginning of the emergence of the Kharijite renegades mentioned in the Prophetic traditions. The army ofʿAli (radhiyallahu anhu) returned to Kufah in early 37H (July 657CE). As they approached the city, twelve-thousand men separated from him and refused to inhabit the city with him. They settled in a place called Harura. This is why they were also labelled the Harurites (Haruriyyah). It appears that the Saba’ite faction stirred up discontentment towards Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) during the return journey and a large number had been affected. They raised a number of objections against ʿAli’s (radhiyallahu anhu) conduct so he sent Ibn ‘Abbas (radhiyallahu anhu), the scholar of the Qur’an, to debate them on those issues. Ibnʿ’Abbas (radhiyallahu anhu) refuted their arguments and a third of them returned from their error but the remainder persisted upon their misguidance. [al-Bidayah wal-Nihayah 10/567]. They claimed ʿAli (radhiyallahu anhu) had disobeyed Allah, that the truce was unlawful and that everyone who accepted the arbitration had become disbelievers including ʿAli, Mu’awiyah and both of their armies.
These were the Kharijite renegades intended by the saying of the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), “A renegade faction will appear during an era of civil strife amongst the Muslims and the closest of the two [contending] parties will kill them.” [Bukhari and Muslim]. In this tradition is a clear judgement that despite the contention and war between the two parties of ʿAli and Mu’awiyah (radhiyallahu anhum), both remained Muslims. One was correct (‘Ali) in his decision that political unity and stability was the first priority and the other (Mu’awiyah) had erred in his judgement of demanding that ʿUthman (radhiyallahu anhu) should be avenged beforeʿAli (radhiyallahu anhu) took power. This is the belief of orthodox Muslims and it is prohibited to harbour any ill-feeling towards the Companions who had been put to trial with each party pursuing what they knew to be truth and justice.
The Breakaway “Islamic State” of the Kharijites and “Enjoining the Good and Forbidding the Evil”
When the Kharijites split away from the Muslims, they began to entice each other to ‘enjoin the good and forbid the evil’ [ Refer to the statements of the Saba’ite Kharijites later in this article in this regard after they had broken away and set up their own state – point 8 in the section which relates to their activities and methods] and to rectify the people because they had become misguided in their view. This was the very same foundation upon which Hasan al-Banna founded his Brotherhood (al-Ikhwan al-Muslimun, a salafi sub-group). They saw themselves as an elite band who stood to enjoin good and prohibit evil and whoever did not join them was deficient if not suspect in his faith. Similarly, the present-day kharijis largely operates upon the claim of enjoining good and forbidding evil. To them, it is practically encompassed in mobilizing people against the people whom they consider disbelievers and apostates and as the root of all problems faced by Muslims. Islam and the Shari’ah did not come with revolutions and coups, these are the ways of the disbelievers under whose influence the 20th century political ‘terrorists’ appeared, founded upon hizbiyyah (partisanship and loyalty to the party and its goals). From Harura, the Kharijites made their way to a place called al-Nahrawan, twelve miles from Baghdad. This became their ‘Islamic State’ which they considered the abode of Islam upon the belief that the rest of the Muslims had forsaken Islam and their lands were lands of disbelief and war. This was in early 37H (July 657CE) and over the next two years, the Kharijite ideology began to develop more fully and take shape. They also began recruiting people and obliging them to emigrate to their alleged Islamic state so that they could launch jihad against the Muslims as is explicit in their words. (These are documented in a later section on the activities of the Saba’iyyah and Kharijites during this entire four year period, until they assassinated Ali). They also began to take the ambiguous verses of the Qur’an and interpret them with false interpretations, using them against the Muslims. As a result, the learned scholars of the Qur’an of the time such as Qatādah (d. 118H, early 8th century CE), a direct student of the Prophet’s Companions, commented on the Qur’anic verse, “As for those in whose hearts is a disease, they pursue what is ambiguous therein, seeking tribulation…” (3:7) by saying, “If they are not the Haruriyah [Kharijites] or the Sabaʾites, then I do not know who they are.” [Tafsir al-Tabari]. The first leader of the Kharijites was ʿAbdullah bin Wahb al-Rasibi and he and some of the main instigators with him have been identified as Saba’iyyah, followers of ʿAbdullah bin Sabaʾ. He had strong marks of prostration on his forehead due to striving hard in worship which indicates that outward piety does not equate to guidance and doctrinal authenticity. Regarding this appellation (al-Sabaʾ, referring to the region in Yemen) the historian known as al-Sam’ani (d. 562H) wrote, “And Abdullah bin Wahb al-Saba’i, leader of the Kharijites, and it is my belief that this Ibn Wahb is ascribed to Abdullah bin Saba, for he (the latter) is from the Raafidah [Shi’ites], and a group amongst them ascribe to him and they are called Saba’ites.” [ Al-Ansab (Dar al-Janan, 1408H) p.209]. Imam al-Dhahabi, the famous encyclopedic biographer, wrote, “In this year [38H, 659CE] was the occurrence of al-Nahrawan between Ali and the Kharijites. The head of the Kharijites, ʿAbdullah bin Wahb [al-Rasibi] al-Saba’i was killed and most of his associates were killed.” Al-Dhahabi also said, “And from the heads of the Kharijites was Zayd bin Huṣayn al-Ta’i…” [Al-Siyar (2/536)] and he was the individual who said to ʿAli (radhiyallahu anhu) that unless he accepts the arbitration with Mu’awiyah (radhiyallahu anhu), they will kill him as they killed Uthman (radhiyallahu anhu). Those who later revolted against the leaders of Bani Umayyah, the first ruling dynasty after the four righteous Caliphs, were also from the Saba’iyyah. The poet al-A’sha (d. 84H) said about the revolutionary, al-Mukhtar bin Abi Ubayd al-Thaqafi and his followers, “I bear witness against you, that you are Saba’iyyah and that I am acquainted with you O agents of disbelief.” Refer to al-A’sha’s Diwan (p.148) and Tarikh al-Tabari (Dar al-Ma’arif, 2nd edition) 6/83.
Short of two years later, Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) finally fought against the Kharijites at al-Nahrawan in 38H (659CE), fulfilling the prophecy in the speech of the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), “A renegade faction will appear during a time of civil strife and the closest of the two parties to the truth will kill them.” Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) was closer to the truth than Mu’awiyah (radhiyallahu anhu) in this tribulation and he fought and killed the Kharijites. When Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) defeated them at al-Nahrawan, he ordered that the black man mentioned by the Prophet on whose upper arm would be a mark should be looked for. After a few attempts, he was finally found on the battlefield and identified with a mark exactly as the Prophet mentioned. Al-Haytham bin Adi (d. 207H) in his work titled “al-Khawarij” relates through Nafiʾ bin Maslamah who said, “The man who was (found), Dhul-Thudayyah (possessor of the breast-like mark on his upper arm) was from Uraynah, from Bajilah, and he was intensely black in complexion. He had a vile stench that was known within the army and [during the battle] he would be in our proximity. He would fight us and we would fight him.” [al-Bidayah (10/590)]. When his lacerated body was found and came to the attention of Ali (radhiyallahu anhu), he prostrated for a lengthy time, recognizing the fulfilment of the prophecy made by the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam). [Ibid] Following the defeat of the Kharijites the people began to say to Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) , “All praise is due to Allah, O chief of the believers, who has cut them off.” ʿAli (radhiyallahu anhu) responded, “No by Allah, they remain in the loins of men and wombs of women and when they appear, hardly do they fight anyone except that they overwhelm him.” [al-Bidayah 10/590-591]. Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) knew that the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) had prophesized their continued appearance till the end of time and that they will not go extinct after their defeat at al-Nahrawan. Once this historical background has been put in place, we can now look in more detail about the traits of the Kharijites mentioned in the Prophetic traditions, some of their early terrorist activities, how the Muslim scholars spoke of them through every generation and the nature of their activities during the time they broke of from Ali’s (radhiyallahu anhu) army and were eventually fought and killed by him almost two years later.
THE ACTIVITIES AND TECHNIQUES OF THE SABA’ITE AND KHARIJITE TERRORISTS
Many of the ideas and activities of this early subversive current which put Islam and the Muslims to trial can be found today amongst the Kharijite terrorists of ISIS in the land of Shām (Syria) and Iraq – the very place from which the Prophet of Islam indicated, over 1400 years ago, that these people would first emerge and then continue to emerge. The famous historian and Qur’an commentator, Isma’eel Ibn Kathir (d.774H, 14th century CE), compiled the activities of the early Saba’ites and Kharijites in some detail and it is worthwhile to mention them here to see the striking parallels between them and the Kharijites of today in the form of ISIS, Boko Haram and others. When the statements of the leaders and spokesmen of ISIS and videos of the activities of their members are compared with those of the first Kharijites, it becomes clear with absolute certainty that they are the Kharijite Dogs of Hellfire intended in the Prophetic traditions. This prophecy about the Kharijites is one of many serving as proof for the truthfulness of the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam).
1. Forging documents against the Companions. The Saba’ite Kharijite terrorists distributed a document in the name of Uthman (radhiyallahu anhu) in which there was a command authorizing the killing of the conspirators behind the planned uprising against Uthman (radhiyallahu anhu) during 35H (656CE). They had forged this document and the seal of ʿUthman (radhiyallahu anhu) with which they stamped the document to give it the appearance of authenticity. ʿUthman (radhiyallahu anhu) would have had no knowledge about these conspirators and their intentions at the time and he expressly denied he wrote this document. [Al-Bidayah wal-Nihayah 10/280-281].
They also fabricated documents against the Companions such as ʿAli, Talhah and Zubayr (radhiyallahu anhum) in which they allegedly called the people to fight against Uthman (radhiyallahu anhu) in order to aid the religion, and they wrote in these fabricated documents that fighting againstʿUthman (radhiyallahu anhu) was the greatest form of jihad and support of the religion. [Al-Bidayah wal-Nihayah:10/277]. In a like fashion, the Kharijites Ibn Saud claimed and now the ISIS claim that killing people is the greatest form of jihad and they fabricate statements upon the scholars of the Muslims such as Muhammad Ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhab and Ibn Taymiyyah, ascribing to them and their statements what they did not say or intend. This is to deceive the people to make it appear that they are justified and supported in their evil activities when the reality is that in the speech of those scholars is the very opposite and what acually condemns them, their ideology and their activities. They also fabricated a document against ʿA’ishah (radhiyallahu anha) in which she allegedly called the people to revolt against ʿUthman (radhiyallahu anhu). After mentioning narrations from Masruq and al-A’mash in this regard, Ibn Kathir (rahimahullah) comments, “And in this and its likes is plain evidence that those Kharijites, may Allah disfigure them, would fabricate documents upon the tongues of the Companions and spread them in the horizons, inciting the people to fight against ʿUthman.” [Al-Bidayah wal-Nihayah 10/339-340].
2. Addressing the rulers with Jewish or Christian names. The Kharijite terrorists would address ʿUthman (radhiyallahu anhu) with names of Jewish and Christian leaders to imply he was somehow working for them or aligned with them or like them [Al-Bidayah wal-Nihayah 10/282] and they would refer to ʿAli (radhiyallahu anhu) with derogatory names such as jahid (denier, rejector). [Al-Bidayah wal-Nihayah 10/591]. ʿAbdullāh bin Wahb al-Rasibi would refuse to call ʿAli (radhiyallahu anhu) with any name or title except this one, jahid (denier, rejector)] During their revolt against ʿUthman (radhiyallahu anhu) in Madinah, one of them stood up whilst Uthman (radhiyallahu anhu) was delivering a sermon and said to him, “Stand O Na’thal and come down from this pulpit.” Na’thal was the name of one of the Jewish leaders in Madinah. And when the murderers eventually broke into his house they said to him, “Which religion are you upon O Na’thal?” ʿUthman (radhiyallahu anhu) replied, “Upon the religion of Islam and I am not Na’thal, but I am the Chief of the Believers (amir al-mu’minin).”
3. Stealing property and wealth. The first Kharijite terrorists would steal the property and possessions of the People whom they declared apostates as they did with Uthman (radhiyallahu anhu) after killing him. They left nothing in his house and took all of his possessions. [al-Bidayah 10/307].
4. Spilling blood and cutting off routes of travel. The Kharijite terrorists who opposed ʿAli (radhiyallahu anhu) would shed blood, cut off the routes of travel and would violate the inviolable [al-Bidayah, 10/584], such as their murder of ʿAbdullah bin al-Khabbab and killing women and even an unborn child. [The Kharijites of ISIS and Boko Haraam slaughter men, women and children without distinction as they were doing in the streets and mosques of Baghdad years ago with horrendous bombings – terrorizing the people and cutting off the routes of travel, also needs mention of Muhammad ibn Saud’s slaughtering and looting of innocent people of Ta’if and Karbala]
5. Motivated by personal reasons. The Kharijite terrorists of old made it clear that they were motivated primarily for personal, worldly reasons. One of the assassins of ʿUthman (radhiyallahu anhu) called ʿAmr bin al-Hamiq sat on his chest after he had already been stabbed by another and proceeded to stab him nine times in the chest, after which he said, “Three of them were for Allah and six of them were for what I held in my chest.” [al-Bidayah, 10/309]. In a like fashion, the Kharijites in all their varying factions today, whether those engaged in unneeded violence or those who just support the underlying ideology, they all have grievances against the Muslim people in matters of wealth and employment] In reality, none of them were for Allah at all, for these individuals were disbelieving hypocrites by judgement of the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) they kill Muslims in their services to their U.S-Israeli Masters who have installed them to kill Muslims.
6. Divided in their pursuit of overall leadership. Ibn Kathir (rahimahullah) writes, “So when they revolted in the era of Uthman (radhiyallahu anhu), the people rallied behind them [the Kharijites], and everyone had an associate [leading them in the revolution], and each group of people desired that their associate would take the overall leadership after ʿUthman (radhiyallahu anhu).” [ al-Bidayah, 10/397]. In a like fashion, the Kharijites of today are divided into factions (al-Nusrah, ISIS and Saud dynasty), each of them desiring that they will be the ones to take over general leadership. This has led them to fight and kill each other and declare each other apostates indicating the nature and extent of their misguidance, founded upon matters of the world]. Many factions came to Madinah from the various cities and each had a leader. Their anticipation would be that following the removal of ʿUthman (radhiyallahu anhu), their leader would be the one to take power. This undercurrent of rivalry and pursuit of ultimate authority expresses itself today in the rivalry between the factions of ISIS, al-Nusrah.
7. Recruitment by stealth and encouraging emigration from Muslim lands. After splitting from the main body of Muslims under the leadership of ʿAli (radhiyallahu anhu), ʿAbdullah bin Wahb al-Rasibi – who was the first leader of the Kharijites and member of the Saba’iyyah subversive movement – began to meet with his associates and started recruiting people by encouraging them to abandon their families and to travel to them by stealth. He said, “Come out with us O our brothers from this city whose inhabitants are oppressive to this outskirt near the mountainous rural district or to some of these cities, upon your rejection of these oppressive rulings.” [al-Bidayah, 10/578. Similarly, the Kharijites of ISIS use propaganda via social media to entice the young, ignorant and foolish to abandon their families and travel to them in the lands occupied by them] Similarly, Zayd bin Husayn al-Ta’i – the one who threatened to kill Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) just as his group had previously killed ʿUthman (radhiyallahu anhu) – advised those who were upon this Kharijite ideology in various cities. He informed them when they desire to leave Kufah to come to their meeting place, they should not leave in groups, but in isolation so as not to create suspicion. They would write letters to their followers in Basrah and other locations giving them advice on how and where to meet. Youths began to leave, abandoning their mothers, fathers, aunties and uncles and all other relatives. Ibn Kathir (rahimahullah) commented, “Due to their ignorance and paucity of knowledge and intellect, they thought this matter pleases the Lord of the Heavens and Earth. They did not know that it is from the greatest of major sins, vices, destructive affairs, mighty transgressions and errors and that it is from what Iblis (Satan) has beautified for them and for their souls which command them with evil.” [al-Bidayah, 10/581].
8. Waging jihad against Muslims and encouraging their slaughter. These Kharijites considered the Muslims to have strayed and abandoned Islam, despairing of bringing them back and thus they enjoined jihad against them. When the heads of this movement gathered in a house, each one of them of was presented with leadership and they all refused except ʿAbdullah bin Wahb al-Rasibi who said, “By Allah, I do not accept [leadership] desiring the world and nor do I abandon it out of aversion of death.” When he had been made leader, they gathered together in the house of Zayd bin Husayn al-Ta’i who gave them a sermon. He encouraged them to enjoin the good and forbid the evil and he recited verses from the Qur’an to them such as, “O Dawud, we have made you the vicegerent upon the Earth, so judge between the people with truth and do not follow desire lest it misguide you from Allah’s path.” (38:26) and also “And whoever does not judge by what Allah revealed, they are the disbelievers.” (5:44) and “…they are the oppressors.” (5:45) and “… they are the sinners.” (5:47). Then he said, “So bear witness against the people subjected to our call from the people of our qiblah (direction of prayer) that they followed desire, shunned the judgement of the Book, have transgressed in speech and deed and that waging jihād against them is a duty upon the believers.” Then he encouraged them to attack the people and in his speech he said, “Strike their faces and foreheads with swords until the Most-Gracious, Most Merciful (al-Rahman, al-Rahim) is obeyed.” Ibn Kathir (rahimahullah) commented upon this, “These type of people are from the strangest of species amongst the offspring of Adam, and sublime is Allah who created variations in His creation as He desired… The intent here is that they are misguided ignoramuses, wretched (despicable) in both statements and deeds.” [al-Bidayah, 10/578-581]. [In a like fashion today, the Kharijites of ISIS, Boko Haram and others wage so-called jihad against Muslims after first excommunicating those who do not agree with them, or criticize them. The Kharijite ideology is clothed with lofty slogans such as “Shar’ah” and “Khilafah” and “social justice” and the claim of “enjoining the good and forbidding the evil” and what is similar to that]. One should note that though the Kharijites split and became into many sects, acquiring other deviant beliefs, what is common between them and unites them all is the issue of takfir in relation to justice and judgement by Allah’s law. This is the foundational basis of all revolutionary political movements taking form in the innovated “Islamic political jama’ah.”
9. Judging Muslims with disbelief on account of matters that do not constitute it. The ignorant Kharijites excommunicated Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) and accused him of being a polytheist because he deferred judgement to men, a reference to the arbitration between ʿAli and Mu’awiyah (radhiyallahu anhu) during the battle at Siffin. They said, “O Ali (radhiyallahu anhu), you have ascribed partners to Allah in His religion, judgement belongs only to Allah.” [al-Bidayah, 10/570]. This is despite the fact that arbitration – such as in marital disputes and in reconciliation between to contending or warring parties – is permitted in the Qur’an, and this is how Ibn ‘Abbas (radhiyallahu anhu), the Qur’anic scholar, refuted those Kharijites. Thus, they accuse Muslims with disbelief through matters that are not even considered sins in the Islamic Shari’ah, let alone disbelief itself, but rather commended.
10. Their opponents condemned to Hellfire if killed by them. The Kharijites of old also believed that whomever was killed by them was automatically in the Hellfire. The companion of the Prophet, Abu Ayyub al-Ansari (radhiyallahu anhu) said, “I pushed a spear into a man from the Kharijites and pushed it through till it came out from his back and I said to him, ‘Glad tidings O enemy of Allah of the Fire.’ So he replied, ‘You will soon come to know which of us is more worthy of being burned therein’.” [al-Bidayah, 10/588. Today, the Kharijites of ISIS claim that anyone who fights them and is killed by them is automatically an apostate and is condemned to the Hellfire – as can be seen in numerous videos that have been surfacing over the last couple of years]. This is keeping in mind that the Companions of the Prophet are guaranteed Paradise by the testimony of the Qur’an and the Kharijite dogs are condemned to the Hellfire by testimony of the Qur’an and the Prophetic traditions.
11. Claiming Paradise for their dead. When ʿAli (radhiyallahu anhu) came to them at al-Nahrawan, admonished them and warned them severely and they intended battle, they began chanting, “Judgement is for Allah, departure, departure to Paradise!” [al-Bidayah, 10/587]. Thus, they claimed automatic entry to Paradise for their dead, whereas the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) had judged them Kharijite dogs of Hellfire who exit from Islqm as an arrow passes through its game. [The same rhetoric is found today with the Kharijite dogs of ISIS and others, their slogans being, “The judgement is for Allah alone,” and their enticement to the ignorant and foolish to seek Paradise through martyrdom and slaughtering other Muslims].
11. Violating the rights of the people under protection. The Khsrijites violate the rights of the non-Muslims who are under guarantee of protection from the Muslims. ʿAli (radhiyallahu anhu) had sent Ibn ‘Abbas (radhiyallahu anhu), the most knowledgeable companion of the Prophet of the Qur’an, to debate the Kharijites and as a result one third of them returned. [It is said they numbered six thousand and it is also said twelve thousand]. To the remaining two-thirds Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) announced that there is “an agreement between us and you that you will not spill inviolable blood, you will not cut off the pathways and you will not oppress [the non-Muslims] under protection.” Later, when ʿAli (radhiyallahu anhu) had fought them, A’ishah (radhiyallahu anha) said to Ibn Shaddad, “He killed them” and he replied, “By Allah, he did not dispatch [his army] to them until they cut off the pathways, spilled blood and made lawful [the killing] of the [non-Muslims] under guarantee of protection.” [al-Bidayah, 10/588]. In a similar way, the treacherous Kharijites of ISIS violate the sanctity of the Shari’ah by taking lives which the Shari’ah has protected].
12. They comprised the ruffians, hooligans, the dregs of society and the young and foolish of age. Those who were mobilized against Uthman (radhiyallahu anhu) by the Saba’iyyah were the dregs of society and the young and foolish. [al-Kamil of Ibn al-Athīr (3/101)]. Just the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) described them, “young of age, foolish-mind.” Historians Ibn Sa’d, al-Dhahabi, Ibn Kathir and others recount from earlier authorities that those the revolutionaries mobilized against ʿUthman (radhiyallahu anhu) were the dregs of society, ruffians, brainless savages and that the Kharijites comprised of ignorant masses. [Similarly today, the young and foolish who know hardly a thing about the foundations and principles of Islam are recruited by ISIS, and many of them have barely left street-life thuggery, drugs or a teenage life engrossed in pop- culture and music, and then all of a sudden, they are off to the alleged Islamic state to wage jihad. This phenomenon is not new and it is not surprising to those who know history and understand the reality of the religion of the Kharijites, it was the very same thing taking place between 36H and 38H when the first Kharijites set up their alleged Islamic state in al-Nahrawan and began to use propaganda to recruit the young and foolish to their cause].
13. Find fault with scholars in irrelevant matters. When ʿAli (radhiyallahu anhu) sent Ibn Abbas (radhiyallahu anhu) to debate with the Kharijites after they abandoned his army and camped at Harura, he was wearing a fine garment. They began to debate with him about it and he replied with the Qur’an, “Say: Who has forbidden the adornment [of clothing] given by Allah which He has produced for His servants and the good lawful things of provision?” (7:32). This indicates their resentment against both the rulers and the scholars for the good things Allah has bestowed upon them and that these underlying currents of jealousy are what drive the instigators amongst them. [ Similarly the Khariji Muhammad ibn Saud rebelled against the Ottoman Caliphate, of late, ISIS and others resent what they see of affluence with the rulers of the Muslims, despite the fact that the Prophet informed and taught his nation that there will come leaders who will give preference to their own interests above and beyond those of the subjects and that some of them would not follow his guidance and would have the hearts of devils in the bodies of men, but despite that, he enjoined patience upon the subjects even if oppressed.
14. Fault-picking against the rulers and twisting everyting that they do in their statements, activities and decisions. During the 2 year period between 36H and 38H before Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) eventually fought the Kharijites, they would find fault with Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) in every issue possible, criticize him and twist his words to present them in the worst possible light. Ibn Kathir relates through al-Tabari that the Kharijites, “began to confront him regarding his statements, make him hear their slurs (revilements) and making all sorts of interpretations of his statements.” [ al-Bidayah, 10/569]. Similarly, ʿUthman (radhiyallahu anhu) made some personal judgements in matters of jurisprudence and these issues were raised against him by the Saba’iyyah as part of a wider agenda to stir up revolution. Likewise, when they fabricated a letter upon ʿUthman (radhiyallahu anhu) in which he allegedly gave orders to have them killed andʿUthman (radhiyallahu anhu) stated his complete innocence, they responded by saying, “If you did write it you are treacherous and if you did not write it, it shows you are powerless and the likes of you therefore are not fit for leadership due to either treachery or incapacity.” [ al-Bidayah, 10/311].
15. Complaining and supplicating for change despite living in relative affluence and safety. From their ungratefulness is that despite living in sufficiency, affluence and safety, they supplicate for change. In the reign of ʿUthman (radhiyallahu anhu) , people would come to the Bayt al-Mal (the state treasury), take their portion, and then supplicate for a change in their circumstances for the better. [al-Bidayah, 10/336.] [Just like al-Saud did with the rebellion against Ottomans, despite living in security and peace under them, This indicates the nature of the heart residing in the body of a Kharijite, vile and putrid, ungrateful and filled with scorn].
16. Doctrines of prominent early Kharijite sects. The heresiographers specializing in documenting the ideas and practices of the deviant sects note the following about the very early Khariijte splinter groups: The Azariqites declared killing the wives and children of Muslims they considered apostates to be lawful. Some of them also made it lawful to violate contracts. They also held that whoever resides in the lands of disbelief is a disbeliever, keeping in mind that a land of disbelief is any land other than theirs. The Najadites made it lawful to kill non-Muslims under covenant with the Muslims and to take their wealth. Some of them also believe that dissimulation (taqiyah) in speech and deed is permissible even in killing people. The Bahaisites asserted that when the ruler becomes a disbeliever (according to them), all of his subjects also become disbelievers. Another group, the ʿAjaridites make secret assassinations lawful and they also make it permissible to enslave women and kill the children of the disbelievers (that includes Muslims). [lawful and they also make it permissible to enslave women and kill the children of the disbelievers (that includes Muslims)].
From the above, which is but a glimpse of their activities one can clearly determine that these people are at war with Islam, its lands and its inhabitants, rulers and ruled. Anyone who equates the ideology of the modern Kharijites from the Qutbists, al-Nusrah, ISIS and others with the Islam brought by Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) or with the scholars of madh-habs who have always been at the forefront of fighting against the Kharijites is a rank ignoramus or a paid shill who prostitutes his services for silver coins or a resentful hater and it is not impossible for him to be all three at the same time. This brings to question many of the “terrorism experts” that have appeared over the past decade or so to take advantage of the monetary rewards available in the terrorism industry, the goal of which is to maintain a particular perception towards the average Muslim living in non-Muslim countries who wishes to preserve his faith from erosion. Well funded anti-Islamic-hate networks operate to spew propaganda against Islam, its Prophet and the Muslims at large.
THE PROPHET’S DESCRIPTIONS OF THE KHARIJITE TERRORISTS
From the well-known, authentically related statements of the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) about this group include his saying, “They depart from the religion (Islam) like an arrow passes through its game and they do not return back to it until the arrow returns back to its bow-string” [This indicates that the Kharijites rarely abandon their misguidance and do not return back to the truth due to a combination of ignorance about the rulings of Islam and strong religious fervour founded upon such ignorance]. and “Their faith does not pass beyond their throats” and “They recite the Qur’an but it does not go beyond their collar-bones,” indicating ignorance and false scholarship. He (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) also said, “They speak with the best speech of the creation,” meaning, beautified, alluring speech, and “(They are) young of age, foolish of mind” and “Their speech is beautiful, alluring yet their actions are evil” and “They are the most evil of the creation” and “They call to the Book of Allāh, yet they have nothing to do with it.” The Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) went further and also said “They are the most evil of those killed beneath the canopy of the sky” and “They are the Dogs of Hellfire.” [These reports can be found in the hadith collections of al-Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawud, Ibn Majah and others and are well known and famous to the Scholars of the Muslims, the students of knowledge and many of the common folk. It is great oppression therefore, that the actions of these terrorists are ascribed to Islam and its noble Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)]. These very severe and harsh descriptions of the Kharijite extremists came alongside a mention of their devotion which would surpass and excel that of the Prophet’s Companions themselves. Despite this, the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) signalled his intent to kill them should he have reached them. [For documentation of these traditions refer to Jamiʾal-Usul Fi Aḥadith al-Rasul of Ibn al-Athīr (10/76-92) under the heading of “The Kharijites.”].
THE TRAITS AND CHARACTERISTICS OF THE KHARIJITES
On the basis of the Prophetic traditions and the activities of the Kharijites, the scholars have detailed their traits and characteristics, which are summarized below:
1. They display fake piety (wara’ʾ). A type of piety that led them to major innovations and deviation. Ibn Taymiyyah said, “This (display of overt) piety can lead a person to major innovations, for the (overt) piety (displayed) by the Kharijites, Rafidites and Mu’tazilites is of this type. They avoided oppression and from what they believed to be oppression from mixing with the oppressors as they claimed until they abandoned the major obligations such as performing the jumu’ah (Friday) prayer and congregrational prayers (with the Muslims), and Hajj and giving advice to the Muslims and showing mercy to them. The people of this type of piety were shown rejection by the leading imams, such as the Four Imams, and this condition (of overt, fake piety) began to be mentioned amongst the (issues) within the doctrine of Ahl al-Sunnah wal-Jama’ah.” [ Majmuʿal-Fatawa (20.140)]. An illustration of their fake piety is that when they took the Prophet’s companion ʿAbdullah bin Khabbab (radhiyallahu anhu) captive and led him to his eventual slaughter, they passed by some date-palm trees owned by a Christian and one of them took a date and ate it. So they said to him, “You have (unlawfully) taken a date which belongs to the people of the covenant.” Another killed a pig that belonged to a Christian and they ordered him to pay compensation. Whilst observing these actions, ʿAbdullah said to them, “Shall I not tell you who is a greater right upon you than this?” They said, “Who” and he replied, “Me, I have not abandoned a prayer nor have abandoned this nor that (form of worship).” However, they killed him. [Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaybah (7/560)]. So they showed overt piety and fear of Allah in taking a date unlawfully and killing a pig which was the property of a Christian, however, it was a fake type of piety, because they paid no regard to human life, that of the Prophet’s companion, whom they slaughtered by the banks of a river until his blood flowed into it.
2. They abandon the main body of the Muslims. Ibn Taymiyyah said, “The foundation of the misguidance of these [Kharijites] is their belief regarding the leaders of guidance and the body of the Muslims that they have departed from justice and are misguided.” [Majmu al-Fatawa (28/497)].
3. They consider themselves to be more righteous and superior to the people of knowledge. Ibn Taymiyyah said, “The first of those who went astray in this regard are the renegade Kharijites when they judged that they (alone) are holding fast to the Book of Allah and His (Prophet’s) Sunnah.” [ Al-Istiqamah (1/13)]. Considering that the Kharijites have no genuine scholars amongst them, it is clear that they consider themselves more learned and supeior to the scholars.
4. Treating what is not a sin to be a sin. Ibn Taymiyyah said, “They have two well-known traits by which they departed from the main body of the Muslims and their rulers. The first of them is their departure from the Sunnah and making what is not a sin to be a sin or what is not a good deed to be a good deed.” [Majmuʿ al-Fatawa (19/72)].
5. They declare Muslims disbelievers on account of sins and subsequently legalize their murder. Ibn Taymiyyah said, “[The second of their two well-known traits] that they declare Musilms to be disbelievers on account of sins and evils and built upon this takfīr they make lawful the shedding of the blood of the Muslims and taking their wealth and claim that the land of Islām is a land of war and that the land inhabited by them (alone) is a land of faith.” [ Majmu al-Fatawa (19/73)].
6. They follow ambiguous passages of the Qur’an. Ibn Taymiyyah said, “Likewise, [Imam] Ahmad would explain (correctly) the ambiguous verses and ḥadīths which the deviants would utilize from amongst the Kharijites and others.” [Majmuʿal-Fatawa (17/414)].
7. Their raising the sword of violence and slaughter with the pretext of enjoining good and forbidding evil. Ibn al-Qayyim said, “The Kharijites appeared fighting against the rulers, revolting against them with the sword with the pretext of enjoining the good and forbidding the evil.” [Ighathat al-Lahafan (2/81)].
8. Considering something to be from the religion when it is alien to the religion. Ibn Taymiyyah said, “For the people of religiosity amongst those desire the attainment of what they consider to be religion but they err from two angles. The first is that what they consider to be religion is not religion, such as the view of the Kharijites and other than them from the people of desires. For they believe and opinion which is erroneous and innovation and then fight the people over it. Rather, they declare their opponents to be disbelievers. Thus, they err in their view and in fighting those who oppose them or in declaring them disbelievers and cursing them. This is condition of the generality of the people of desires.” [Minhaj al-Sunnah (4/536)].
9. Their gross ignorance of the religion and absence of scholars amongst them. This is manifest when Ibn ‘Abbas (radhiyallahu anhu) was sent to debate with them and to repel their doubts. It became clear that amongst the twelve or so thousand of them, there was not a single companion of the Prophet. In their debate they demonstrate their ignorance of the Qur’an and its interpretation. They do not have the ability to make istidlal (infer and deduce from the texts) and they rely upon generalizations and absolutions. Imam al-Shatibi said, “From following ambiguities is to take unqualified absolutions before looking at their qualifications and taking generalizations without reflecting as to whether they have specifications or not. Likewise, the opposite, to take a text which has been restricted and to generalize it.” [Al-I’tisam (1/245)]. There are no scholars to be found with the Kharijite terrorists of al-Nusrah and ISIS and certainly they are diagnosed with the satanism due to them abandoning the madh-habs of khair ul khuroon and following the whims and desires of deviant modern-day salafi scholars, they were nurtured upon the books of Sayyid Qutb and Mawdudi and the books of ideology (fikr) and harakah (political activism) that are circulated amongst the Qutbiyyah, Sururiyyah, Ḥaddqdiyyah – all factions of Takfiris who came from the direction of the Salafiyyah Muslim Brotherhood (al-Ikhwan).
10. They subject the Qur’an and Sunnah to faulty analogies and interpretations. Ibn al-Qayyim said, “Whoever subjected the Qur’an and the Sunnah with a form of interpretation such as the use of one’s own opinion (dhawq) or emotional state (hal) then he has a resemblance to the Kharijites, the followers of Dhul Khuwaysarah.” [ Al-Sawa’iq al-Mursalah (1/308)]. Ibn Taymiyyah said, “The very first innovations such as the innovation of the Kharijites arose due to their evil understanding of the Qur’an. They did not deliberately intend to oppose it, but they understood from it what it did not indicate.” [Majmuʿal-Fatawa (13/30)].
11. Severity and exaggeration in worship. The Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) informed his companions, as occurs in a narration collected by al-Bukhari, that, “A people will depart from you and you will belittle your prayer compared to their prayer and your fasting compared to their fasting.”
12. They split into groups, declare each other astray and make takfir of each other. Ibn Taymiyyah said, “From the blameworthy characteristics of the people of innovation is that they make takfir of each other.” [Minhaj al-Sunnah (5/251)].
13. If they gained power, they would behave with the Muslims as the leaders of Persia and Rome. ʿAli bin Abi Talib (radhiyallahu anhu) said in a sermon to the Muslims prior to fighting the Kharijites, “Fear Allāh and fight those who contend with Allah and attempt to extinguish the light of Allah, fight the erroneous, misguided, oppressive criminals. Those who are not (truly) reciters of the Qur’an, nor jurists in religion, nor scholars in interpretation, nor do they have any precedence in worthiness in this affair within Islam. By Allah, if they were appointed with authority over you, they have would have done with you the deeds of Chosroes and Heraclius.” [Tarikh al-Tabari (5/78)].
14. When they gain strength they slaughter Muslims primarily and leave alone non-Muslims. Ibn Hajar said, “When the Kharijites judge with disbelief those (Muslims) who oppose them, they make lawful the shedding of their blood whilst leaving alone the people of the covenant. They say, ‘We shall fulfill their covenant with them.’ [As indicated elsewhere in this work, the Kharijites do not withhold from killing the people of the covenant either, even if they do not subject them to the same type of slaughter they unleash upon Muslims]. And they abandon fighting the pagans and preoccupy themselves with fighting the Muslims. All of this is from the effects of the worship of the ignoramuses whose hearts have not been expanded with the light of knowledge. They did not hold fast to any firm rope of knowledge. Sufficient it is that their leader showed rejection against the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) and accused him of oppression, we ask Allah for safety.” [Fath al-Bari (12/301)]. This observation is true today when we see that the vast majority of those killed by the ISIS Kharijite terrorists, once they gained power, are Muslims. Likewise, the overwhelming majority of those killed by terrorist attacks are Muslims. [Refer to The New Jihadism, A Global Snapshot by Peter R. Neumann, International Centre for the Study of Radicalization at King’s College London. p. 14. Peter Neumann, the author of the report states, “This report, therefore, tells the story of a movement in the middle of a transformation – one whose final outcome is impossible to predict. The immediate focus, however, is jihadism’s human cost: with, on average, more than 20 attacks and nearly 170 deaths per day, jihadist groups destroy countless lives – most of them Muslim – in the name of an ideology that the vast majority of Muslims reject.” And he notes in the conclusion, “In just one month, jihadist groups killed 5,042 people – the equivalent of three attacks on the scale of the London bombings in July 2005 each day. Contrary to the often articulated complaint that jihadism is overreported and that groups like the Islamic State get too much coverage, our survey seems to suggest that most of the victims receive practically no attention. Hardly any of the attacks that formed the basis for our analysis were reported in the Western media. Indeed, even the suicide bombings – of which there were – made virtually no headlines except in the countries in which they took place. Yet most of the victims of jihadist violence continue to be non-combatants, and the vast majority is Muslim.” (p. 21). Refer also to a 2009 report by the Combating Terrorism Center (US) titled “Deadly Vanguards: A Study of al-Qa’ida’s Violence Against Muslims” by Scott Helfstein and others].
15. They are the worst of those killed beneath the canopy of the sky. This is textually stated in the Prophetic tradition related by Ibn Majah, “They are the most evil of those killed beneath the canopy of the sky.” [Ibn Majah no.176]
THEIR CONTINUED APPEARANCE THROUGHOUT TIME
The Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) indicated that they will not cease to appear in every age and era by saying, “There will emerge a people from my nation from the East who recite the Qur’an but it does not go beyond their throats. Every time a faction amongst them emerges it will be cut off. Every time a faction amongst them emerges it will be cut off,” until he said this ten times, (and then he said) “Every time a faction amongst them emerges it will be cut off, until the Dajjal (Anti-Christ) appears amongst their (later) remnants.” [Related by Ibn Majah]. In another more explicit narration, the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, “They will not cease to emerge until the last of them emerge with the Dajjal.” [Majmaʾ al-Zawa’id of al-Haythami (6/246)]. An indication that the Kharijites, from their beginning to their end, are at war with the people of Islam.
THE COMMAND TO FIGHT AND KILL THEM
The Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) encouraged the Muslim rulers to fight them whenever they appear with their turmoil and bloodshed. He said, “Wherever you meet them, kill them, for there is a reward on the Day of Judgement for whoever kills them.” And he also said, “If I was to reach them, I would slaughter them, like the slaughtering of Ad (a destroyed nation of the past),” meaning, every last one of them until not one of them remains as explained by the classical Scholar, Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani in his commentary on this tradition. [Fath al-Bari (6/435)]. For this reason, the Muslim rulers from the time of the fourth righteous Caliph ‘Ali bin Abi Talib (radhiyallahu anhu) have never ceased to fight against them. When they appeared, the Companions of the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) applied the folllowing Qur’anic verses upon them: “Say: Shall we inform you of the greatest losers as to [their] deeds? Those whose efforts have been wasted in this life while they thought that they were acquiring good by their deeds!” (18:103-104). [Imam al-Tabari relates this application of the verse to the Khārijites from Ali bin Abi Talib (radhiyallahu anhu) in his exegesis]. Also, the saying of Allah: “Some faces, that Day, will be humiliated. Labouring (hard in the worldly life), weary (in the Hereafter with humility and disgrace).” (88:2-3). [This application of the verse is mentioned by Imam al-Qurtubi in his exegesis and he relates it from ʿAli (radhiyallahu anhu)] Also the saying of Allah “And when they deviated, Allah caused their hearts to deviate.” (61:8). [al-I’tisam of al-Shatibi (1/89)] And also, “Those who break Allah’s Covenant after ratifying it, and sever what Allah has ordered to be joined and do mischief on earth, it is they who are the losers.” (2:27). [Refer to al-I’tisam of al-Shatibi (1/90)]. Misguided in this life and losers in the next because their deeds were vain whilst they deceived themselves into thinking they were doing good; toiling hard in this life, but weary and in humiliation in the next; their hearts caused to deviate because they chose deviation by breaking the covenant and causing mischief upon the Earth.
TERRORISM AGAINST THE PROPHET’S COMPANIONS
The first wave of Kharijites terrorists, the Saba’iyyah, revolted against the third caliph, ʿUthman (radhiyallahu anhu), and assassinated him in his own home whilst he was fasting and reciting the Qur’an. This incident in the year 35H (around June 656CE) led to a series of events which brought about the circumstances for the emergence of the larger body of the Kharijites in the time of ʿAli bin Abi Talib (radhiyallahu anhu) as has preceded. After they broke off from the army of ʿAli (radhiyallahu anhu) , their first act of terrorism was against the Companion of the Prophet called ʿAbdullah bin Khabbab (radhiyallahu anhu) near Basrah in Iraq in the year 37H after they had split from ʿAli’s (radhiyallahu anhu) army and set up their own state in al-Nahrawan.
Despite giving him ʿAbdullah (radhiyallahu anhu) an assurance of safety at the first encounter, they acted treacherously towards him. Because he did not agree with them that ʿAli (radhiyallahu anhu) , the fourth caliph, was an apostate (Na’audhubillah), they excommunicated him. Thereafter, they laid him on the ground and slaughtered him whilst his blood flowed into the nearby water stream. Then they murdered his woman who was at the peak of pregnancy. She pleaded for her life and that of her unborn child, but they sliced her open and spared not even her child. Then they killed numerous others who were present in his caravan. [This incident is related by numerous historians such as al-Tabari and Ibn al Athir and others]. It was here that the cousin and son-in-law of the Prophet, Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) followed the Prophetic traditions ordering this group to be fought and killed. [It should be noted that groups such as ISIS, Boko Haram etc are the ideological descendants of those very first Kharijite terrorist renegades and had the noble, esteemed, lofty, honourable, merciful Prophet of Islam (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) been alive to reach them and their likes, he would have slaughtered them until not a single one of the savages remained. The Kharijite terrorists are a trial for the Muslims before they are a trial for anyone else].
THEY MURDERED THE PROPHET’S COUSIN AND SON-IN-LAW
The Kharijites extremists accusedʿAli bin Abi Talib (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) of becoming an apostate because he agreed to an arbitration by which reconciliation was intended between himself and Mu’awiyah (radhiyallahu anhu). Due to their severe ignorance and the absence of a single scholar amongst them, the Kharijites held this arbitration to be an act of disbelief because in their misguided view it entailed judging by other than Allah’s law. Hence, they excommunicated the Companions and split away from the main body of Muslims. It was only after their murder of ʿAbdullah bin Khabbab (radhiyallahu anhu) that Ali bin Abi Talib (radhiyallahu anhu) recognized these were the very people spoken of by the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) decades earlier and mobilized himself to fight them. A number of years after battling them, one of the extremist Kharijites called ‘Abd al-Rahman bin Muljam plotted to assassinate Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) and attained his evil objective in the year 40H (661CE). This was one of three assassination plots but the only one that was successful. The Kharijites had desired to kill the main leaders of the Muslim nation following their defeat at al-Nahrawan. Abd al-Rahman bin Muljam agreed to assassinate Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) in Kufah, al-Barrak bin ʿAbdullah al-Tamimi agreed to assassinate Mu’awiyah (radhiyallahu anhu) in Syria and ʿ’Amr bin Bakr agreed to assassinate ʿ’Amr bin al-‘Aas (radhiyallahu anhu) in Egypt. The latter two failed in their mission. One can see that the Kharijites were intending to destroy the Muslim nation by assassinating its rulers in the three major capital regions of the Islamic caliphate after having split away from the main body of Muslims and established their own mini-state in al-Nahrawan close to Baghdad. [This is identical to what ISIS have done today in which they claim to have established an ‘Islamic state’, which to them is the land of Islam and all lands inhabited by Muslims are lands of disbelief and war because their rulers are apostates whose removal is of the most urgent priority, so they butcher everyone mercilessly].
This is the way of these people throughout the ages until this day of ours: To pursue wealth and power by undermining the Islamic authorities and bringing chaos, destruction and bloodshed through murder, assassination, terror and chaos. In the Prophetic traditions, the Muslim rulers are commanded to fight these Kharijites whenever they appear because their evil ideology and terrorist mindset is the first of enemies to the religion of Islam and runs contrary to it from every angle. The leaders amongst them are motivated by wealth, land, power and politics and simply use Islam as a hijacked vehicle or a donned, beautified garment through which they pursue their interests. Through beautified speech, they recruit the young, ignorant and foolish. Whilst the noble, just, Prophet of Islam, Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) commanded that these evil and most harmful of people to Islam and its adherents be fought, killed and cut off we see on the other hand that they are most beneficial in serving the purposes of those who oppressively ascribe their destructive activities to the Prophet of Islam (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) and satirize him upon falsehood. This is despite the historical record showing that the Prophet of Islam (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) was challenged by their ideological grandfather, Dhul Khuwaysarah, that his Companions were slaughtered and murdered by them and that the Islamic tradition throughout history is squarely against them. Despite being defeated by Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) at al-Nahrawan, many of them escaped to various Islamic lands and continued to sow the seeds for the Kharijite ideology which has continued to this day.
THE SECT OF THE AZARIQAH: FORERUNNERS OF ISIS
Many early Islamic scholars from the 3rd, 4th and 5th centuries of Islam who specialized in the study of deviant sects (heresiography) documented the beliefs and actions of one of the most extreme sects of the Kharijite terrorists known as the Azariqah. ISIS are reminiscent of this group. [al-Milal wal-Nihal of al-Shahrastani (1/112)]. Their founder was Abu Rashid Nafiʿ bin Azraq (d. 65H around 685CE). The Azariqah split off from the Kharijites and made their way to Basrah, taking control over it and other areas in Persia. Their evil doctrines included the belief that the excommunication of Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) was valid and correct and that ‘Ali’s (radhiyallahu anhu) assassin, Ibn Muljam, was correct and praiseworthy in his action. In their view, all sinful Muslims are apostates who will reside in Hellfire for eternity should they die without having repented from their sins. [This clashes with the belief of orthodox Muslims who hold that the sinful amongst the Muslims who die without repentance will be eventually delivered due to their pure monotheism]. Whoever opposed their opinion was considered a polytheist and they threw the children of such people alongside them – all of them were considered disbelievers whom it was permissible to fight and kill. The land inhabited by those outside their group was considered to be land of war (dar al-harb) and whatever was permitted with respect to a land of war was permitted to them against the Muslims inhabiting such a land. Anyone who did not join them by emigrating to them even if he held their view was considered a polytheist. They also held the necessity of eliminating every “disbeliever” from the Earth, and by “disbeliever” they mean every Muslim who does not agree with them. They would interrogate Muslims on their views towards the rulers and whoever did not agree with their excommunication of the Muslim rulers of the time would be killed. They would lie in wait for Muslims, slaughter them and also slaughter their children mercilessly, on the flimsiest of grounds until they instilled terror in the hearts of civilians who would be scared to leave their homes or embark on journeys.
THE CENTRAL FOCUS OF ALL KHARIJITE MOVEMENTS IS THE ISSUE OF JUDGING BY ALLAH’S LAW AND EXCOMMUNICATION (TAKFIR) OF THE RULERS
From what has preceded, it is clear that the central focus of the Kharijites is around the issue of rulership and judgement by Allah’s law. [It is not the case that every group or sect of the Kharijites excommunicates Muslims on the basis of major sins – and that is not what unites them in doctrine. This is because some Kharijites make takfīr on the basis of all major sins, others only on the basis of some as opposed to others. However, what unites them all is the issue of rulership and juding by Allah’s law, they make unrestricted, generalized, unqualified takfir in relation to this matter and it was on this very basis that their movement began]. Their ignorance in this regard became manifest when they treated something permissible in the Shari’ah – namely, arbitration between two warring parties as a means of conciliation – to be major disbelief. This same compound ignorance remains a trait with them to this day and indeed the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) characterized them as “youthful” and “foolish-minded” and stated that “the Qur’an does not go beyond their throats,” meaning, that whilst they recite it, they do not grasp and understand it. Today, the Kharijite movements, parties, groups and sects show their ignorance in this matter in their interpretation of the verses related to judgement and rulership in order to elicit generalized takfir of the rulers without any detail or elaboration. This in turn allows them to justify their revolutionary methodology clothed with the lofty slogan of “enjoining the good and forbidding the evil” thereby mimicking the speech and action of the heads of the Saba’ite Kharijites such as Zayd bin Husayn al-Ta’i (see below). This is after our knowledge that due to their compound ignorance they have grossly misdiagnosed the actual causes of decline and deterioration in Muslim societies and nations which are not restricted just to the rulers alone. As for the centrality of their focus around this issue, Abu al-Muzaffar al-Sam’ani (d. 489H) said, “Know that the Kharijites seek evidence through this verse and say that whoever does not judge by what Allah has revealed is a disbeliever, but Ahl al Sunnah do not make takfīr on account of abandonment of judging alone.” [Tafsir al-Qur’ann of al-Sam’ani (Dar al-Watan, 1418H) 2/42]. And Ibn Taymiyyah said regarding the verse, “But no by your Lord, they do not have faith until they make you a judge in all disputes between them…” (4:65), “This verse is from that which the Kharijites use to make takfir of the rulers who do not judge by what Allah has revealed.” [Minhaj al-Sunnah (5/131)]. And Ibn Abd al-Barr said, “And a faction of the people of innovation from the Kharijites and Mu’tazilites have strayed in this field and used as proof verses which are not to be taken apparently, such as His saying, the Mighty and Majestic, ‘And whosoever does not judge by what Allah has revealed, they are the disbelievers.’ (5:44).” [Al-Tamhid of Ibn ʿAbd al-Barr (16/17)]. Ibn Taymiyyah said, “They (the Kharijites) said that ʿUthman and ʿAli (radhiyallahu anhum) and whoever allied with them had judged by other than what Allah revealed, ‘And whosoever does not judge by what Allāh has revealed, they are the disbelievers.’ (5:44). Thus, they declared Muslims to be disbelievers on account of this and other than it.” [Majmuʿal-Fatawa (13/208)].
The misguided and ignorant Kharijites treat matters pertaining to upon generalization and absolution. Upon that basis, they stir up socieities, thereby causing instability, which in turn facilitates the beneficial interests of hostile enemies of Islam from the outside (just like what the ISIS are doing by killing people of Oraq & Syria thereby helping Israel and allies!). In all these subject matters there are details and elaborations in the statements of the people of knowledge from the Companions and scholars, right until this day of ours – all of which the Kharijites either feign ignorance of or are ignorant of because they have no genuine scholars amongst them.
MAKING TAKFIR OF MUSLIMS DUE TO MAJOR SINS IS NOT A CONDITION FOR BEING A KHĀRIJITE
Worthy of mention at this point is that there are to be found today ignoramuses who sympathize with the Kharijite terrorists, making excuses for them and stipulating such conditions for considering someone to be a Kharijite that would exclude even the very first Kharijites mentioned by the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) from being Kharijites. The most common doubt in this regard is the claim that expelling a person from Islam on account of a major sin (such as lying, stealing, fornicating, drinking, gambling and the likes) is what identifies a Kharijite. This is incorrect because from the very first Kharijites, in fact from the heads of the very first Kharijites were those who would not expel a Muslim from Islam due to these actions. In Maqalat al-Islamiyyin, a famous early book on heresiography (dealing with deviant sects), Abu al-Hasan al-Ash’ari (rahimahullah) writes, “And they (the Kharijites) were upon agreement that every major sin constitutes disbelief except the Najadites for they do not speak with that. They were also agreed that Allah will punish the major sinners with eternal punishment except the Najadites, the associates of Najdah (bin ʿAmir).” [Refer to Minhaj al-Sunnah of Ibn Taymiyyah (3/461)]. Thus, it is clear that not all of the factions of the Kharijites make takfir by way of major sins. That which unites all the Kharijites is the issue of rulership and judging by what Allah has revealed, utilizing that to make takfīr of the rulers and to contend with them for power, raising the sword and breaking off from the main body of the Muslims. The Kharijites, in their foundations, are two groups. Abu Bakr Ibn alʿArabi (rahimahullah) explains that the first are those who claimed ʿUthman, ʿAli, those participating in the Battle of the Camel and those pleased with the arbitration between ʿAli and Mu’awiyah (radhiyallahu anhum) are disbelievers. The second are those who claimed that whoever committed a sin will be in the Hellfire eternally. [Aridat al-Ahwadhi (9/38-39)] There are many differences between this group on this point and it is not something upon which they are united.
Abu Mansur al-Baghdadi writes in al-Farq bayn al-Firaq, “Our Shaykh, Abu al-Hasan said, ‘That which unites (all the sects of the Khārijites) is imputing disbelief to ʿAli and Uthman, those who participated in the Battle of the Camel, those who partook in the arbitration and those who were pleased with the arbitration and considered the two arbitrating parties to be correct (in their action) or just one of them, and revolting against the ruler.’ And he (Abu al-Hasan) was not pleased with what al-Ka’bi cited that they were united upon excommunicating the perpetrators of major sins. That which is correct is what our Shaykh Abu al-Hasan has cited from them (the Kharijites). Al-Ka’bi erred in his claim of their being a consensus of the Kharijites upon excommunicating the perpetrators of major sins. This is because the Najadites amongst the Kharijites do not expel from Islam those amongst them who commit major sins which have prescribed punishments associated with them.” [Refer to al-Farq bayn al-Firaq (Maktabah Ibn Sinah, Cairo) pp. 72-73]. Shaykh Abd al-Razzaq al-Afifi wrote, “And also from their doctrines is to make takfīr on account of major sins. Thus, whoever committed a major sin is a disbeliever. They would consider the major sinnner to be in the Hellfire eternally except the Najadites in these last two points.” [Mudhakkarah al-Tawhid (p. 121)]. Shaykh ʿAbd al-Latif, the great grandson of Muḥammad bin ʿAbd al-Wahhab wrote, after mentioning the story of the emergence of the Kharijites, “This is a summary of their affair and you have come to know their misconception on account of which they firmly held the disbelief of ʿAli (radhiyallahu anhu) and his party and Mu’awiyah (radhiyallahu anhu) and his party. This belief remained present amongst those who had dispersed after this event. Thereafter, the extremists amongst them began to make takfīr by way of major sins. Then they gained strength and [acquired a] state after which they were fought by al-Mihlab bin Abi Sufrah, al-Hajjaj bin Yusuf. And before that, they were fought by Ibn al-Zubayr (radhiyallahu anhu) during the era of his brother, ʿAbdullah. It was then spread about them, that they make takfir by way of sins, meaning those which are less than shirk.” [Al-Durar al-Saniyyah (9/229)].
From the above it is clear that expelling Muslims from Islam due to major sins was a later development in the doctrine of the Kharijites and even then, it is not the case that all factions of the Kharijites impute major disbelief to Muslims on account of major sins, there is considerable disagreement between them and a variety of sayings and elaborations. But that which all Kharijites are united upon is contending with the rulers upon the claims of injustice and judging by other than Allah’s law.
THE KHARIJITE TERRORISTS HAVE BEEN CONTINUOUSLY REFUTED AND CONDEMNED BY ISLAMIC SCHOLARSHIP FOR 1400 YEARS
The righteous caliph,ʿUmar bin ʿAbd al-Aziz (rahimahullah d.101H, 8th century CE), the great grandson of the second caliph, Umar bin al-Khattab (radhiyallahu anhu), wrote an admonition to the Kharijite terrorists of his time, warning them of the consequences of their transgressions and making clear to them that he would not hesitate to terminate them if they did not cease and desist from their anti-Islamic activities.
Since that time, the written Islamic tradition of refuting the Kharijite terrorists and waging war against them has been continued by Islamic scholars and rulers. Islamic historians have documented the beliefs and activities of this vile group in great detail. Whenever the Muslims adhered to the way of the upright orthodox scholars who held fast to the unadulterated Islam of the Prophet’s Companions, they remained protected from the poison of the Kharijites. But when they became distant from such scholars, they were no longer able to recognize the poisonous ideology of the Kharijites. Ibn Taymiyyah said, “Likewise the Kharijites, when they were people of the sword and of fighting, their opposition to the jama’ah (body of Muslims united behind their ruler) became apparent, when they would fight against the people. But as for today, most people do not recognize [Sirah ʿUmar bin ʿAbd al-ʿAziz byʿAbd Allah bin ʿAbd al-Hakam, pp. 75-76]. From this insightful statement one will recognize that the very them.” First strategic action of the Kharijites is to undermine the orthodox scholars who the greatest barrier to their evil so that they can gain a foothold in the minds of the youth.
ISLAMIC TRADITIONS AND SCHOLARLY AUTHORITIES ON THE KHARIJITES THROUGHOUT THE AGES
In another tradition, the Prophet Muḥammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, “There will appear at the end of time [The various Prophetic traditions about them indicate that they were to appear shortly after the death of the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallan) and would continue to appear through the passing of time, putting the Muslims to trial], a people who are young of age, foolish-minded. They will speak with the best (and most-alluring) of speech (that is spoken) by people and will recite the Qur’an but it will not go beyond their throats. They will pass out of Islam as the arrow passes through its game. Whoever meets them, let him kill them, for there is a reward for whoever kills them.” [Ibn Majah (no. 167)].
The Prophet’s Companion, Abū Umamah al-Bahili (radhiyallahu anhu) said of the Kharijites, “The Dogs of the people of Hellfire, they used to be Muslims but turned disbelievers.” When Abu Umamah was asked whether this was his own speech or something he heard from the Prophet, he said, “Rather, I heard it from the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam).” [Reported by Ibn Majah (no. 175)]
Abu al-‘Aliyah (d. 90H, 8th century CE), a famous student of the Prophet’s Companions, said: “Allah has bestowed two favours upon me, I do not know which of them is superior. That Allah guided me to Islam or that He did not make me a Haruri (Kharijite).” [Shu’ab al-Iman of al-Bayhaqi (4/212)]
Qatadah (d.118H, 8th century CE), the famous Qur’anic commentator, said about them as cited by Imam al-Tabari, “The Kharijites emerged whilst the Companions of Allah’s Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) were plentiful in al-Madinah, Sham and ʿIraq, and his wives were still alive. By Allah, none of them (the Companions), male or female, came out as a [Kharijite] ever, and they were not pleased with what they were upon, nor did they support them in that. Rather, they used to convey the criticism by Allah’s Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) of them and the descriptions with which he described them. They used to hate them with their hearts and would show enmity towards them with their tongues. By Allah, their hands would be severe against them whenever they came across them.” [Tafsir al-Tabari, Dar Ihya al-Turath al-Arabi, 1421H, 3/209]
This proves that Islam has always been in one direction and the Kharijite terrorists have been in an altogether different direction. There was not a single Companion of the Prophet with them, showing that they departed completely from the main body of Islam.
Imam al-Tabari (d. 310H, 10th century CE) said, “The Kharijites would meet each other and remember the location (of battle) of their brothers [of old] at al-Nahrawan. They held that remaining stationary amounted to cheating and weakness and that in [the activity of] making jihad against the Muslims (ahl al-qiblah) lay excellence and reward.” [Tarikh al-Tabari (5/174)].
Imam al-Ajurri (d. 360H, 10th century CE) said in his book entitled The Shari’ah, “It is not permissible for the one who sees the uprising of a Khārijite who has revolted against the leader, whether [the leader] is just or oppressive – so this person has revolted and gathered a group behind him, has pulled out his sword and has made lawful the killing of Muslims – it is not fitting for the one who sees this, that he becomes deceived by this person’s recitation of the Qur’an, the length of his standing in prayer, nor his constant fasting, nor his good and excellent words in knowledge when it is clear to him that this person’s way and methodology is that of the Kharijites.” [Al-Shari’ah (p. 28)]. This speech of this insightful scholar is not heeded today by the ignorant and youthful who are deceived by the apparent display of what is really fake piety by the Kharijites of ISIS and rush to join them in their evil.
Ibn Hazm al-Andalusi (d. 456H, 11th century CE) said, “And they do not cease to strive in overturning the orderly affairs of the Muslims (to chaos) and splitting the word of the believers. They draw the sword against the people of religion and strive upon the Earth as corrupters. As for the Kharijites and Shi’ah, their affair in this regard is more famous than that one should be burdened in mentioning.” [Al-Fasl Fil-Milal al-Ahwa wal-Nihal (5/98)].
Ibn Taymiyyah (d. 728H, 14th century CE) said, “For they [the Kharijites] strived to kill every Muslim who did not agree with their view, declaring the blood of the Muslims, their wealth, and the slaying of their children to be lawful, while excommunicating them. And they considered this to be worship, due to their ignorance and their innovation which caused [them] to stray.” [Minhaj us-Sunnah (5/248)]. He also said, “The people knowledgeable of the affairs are agreed that the greatest swords unsheathed upon the people of the qiblah (the Muslims) from those who ascribe to it and the greatest mischief that has occurred to the Muslims from those who ascribe to the people of the qiblah is from the factions ascribing to them (the Muslims), for they are most harmful upon the religion and its adherents.” [ Majmuʿ al-Fatawa (28/479)].
Ibn Kathir, the famous Qur’an commentator, (d.774H, 14th century CE) said, “If these [Kharijites] were to acquire strength, they would corrupt the entire earth in Iraq and Sham (Syria) and they would not leave a male or female child nor a man or woman (alive). This is because in their view the people (Muslims) have become corrupt in a way that nothing will rectify their (situation) except mass murder.” [Al-Bidayah wal-Nihayah (10/585)].
EXCOMMUNICATION (TAKFIR) OF THE KHARIJITES
Many highly-regarded scholarly authorities throughout Islamic history have considered the Kharijite renegades and terrorists to be disbelievers and not Muslims. Ibn Hajar al-ʿAsqalani (d. 852H, 15th century CE), one of the highly respected scholars who wrote a monumental explanation of the collection of Prophetic traditions by Imam al-Bukhari, writes, after explaining that the Kharijites are to be fought when they spill blood or take wealth unlawfully after they have been advised and the proof has been established against them, “This was indicated by al-Bukhari in his heading for the aforementioned [Qur’anic] verse, and those who excommunicated the Kharijites [from Islam] used it as a proof, [this view] is necessitated by what al-Bukhari did whereby he put them [the Kharijites] alongside the disbelievers [in his chapter heading] whereas he separated [them] from those who [err by] making a faulty interpretation by putting them into a separate chapter heading. [Indicating that the most famous authority in the collection, compilation and arrangement of the Prophet traditions in Islam, Imam al-Bukhari, inclined to the view of the Kharijites being disbelievers.]
This [same view] was also stated explicitly by al-Qadi Abi Bakr Ibn alʿArabi in his explanation of al-Tirmidhi wherein he said, ‘That which is correct is that they [the Kharijites] are disbelievers due to his (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) saying, ‘They exit from Islam’ and his saying, ‘I would slaughter them like the slaughtering of [the people of] ʿĀd’ and in a wording, ‘[the people of] Thamud’ and both of these nations were destroyed due to their disbelief. Also due to his saying, ‘They are the most hated of creation to Allah, the Exalted’ and due to their judgement upon everyone who opposed their belief with disbelief and eternity in the Hellfire, [and because of this], they [the Kharijites] were more worthy of this label [of disbelief] than them.’ [End of quote from Ibn al-ʿArabi].” [Aridat al-Ahwadhi (9/38) and refer also to Fath al-Bari (12/299)] Then Ibn Ḥajar continues, “And from those who inclined towards this orientation is [Imam] al-Tabari [ Imam Ibn Jarir al-Tabari (d. 310H, 10th century CE) wrote one of the most rigorous and extensive explanations (tafsir) of the Qur’an based upon the statements of the Companions of the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) and their students]. in his [work], ‘Tahdhib’ wherein he said, after citing the traditions in this topic [relating to the Kharijites], ‘Within this is a refutation of the one who said that no one can [ever] leave Islam from the people who turn to the direction [of Makkah for prayer] after he deserves this ruling unless he knowingly intended to leave Islam. Such a person [holding] this view is invalidating this tradition [about the Kharijites] that ‘they speak the truth and recite the Qur’an but they exit from Islam and have nothing to do with it.’ And it is known that they [the Kharijites] did not make lawful the spilling of the blood of the Muslims and taking their wealth except erroneously on account of what they interpreted wrongly from the verses of the Qur’an with what was not intended by it’.” [Fath al-Bari (12/300)]. After citing from these scholars, Ibn Hajar says, “And what supports their excommunication [takfir] is the example mentioned in the tradition of Abu Sa’id al-Khudri (radhiyallahu anhu), meaning the one that is yet to come in the chapter which follows. That which is apparently intended by it is that they exit from Islam and no longer have any connection to it, just as the arrow passes right through its game due to the speed and strength of its propulsion, in that it has no connection to the game at all [after passing through it].” [Fath al-Bari (12/300)]. A page later, Ibn Hajar mentions the position of Imam al-Qurṭubi, the famous exegete of the Qur’an, “And the statement of excommunication (takfir) [of the Kharijites] is most apparent from the [Prophetic] tradition.” Ibn Hajar also states “Upon the view of their excommunication, they are to be fought against and killed, and their wealth is to be taken, and this is the saying of a group of the people of Prophetic traditions regarding the wealth of the Kharijites.” [Fath al-Bari (12/301)].
WHO ARE THE IDEOLOGICAL LEADERS AND GROUPS OF THE MODERN DAY KHARIJITES AND SUBVERSIVE MOVEMENTS?
At the head of them is the Iranian Shi’ite, Jamal al-Din, pretending to be “al-Afghani.” His dubious and sinister movements across Egypt, Iran and Turkey in the 19th century were attempts at altering the forms of government in those lands to facilitate foreign exploitation. He was the inspiration behind Hasan al-Banna’, setting up the Muslim Brotherhood, an instrument of destabilization in Muslim lands. Al-Banna’ also called to nearness and unity with the Shi’ites. Abu A’la Mawdudi propounded the Kharijite revolutionary methodology in his writings, claiming that the primary goal of the Prophets was toppling the tyrannical rulers. He was a close friend of the mushrik, kafir, al-Khomeini. Finally, the ideological grandfather, who made explicit what those before him concealed, Sayyid Qutb, He propounded the Kharijite, takfiri doctrine with full expression and added to it a distorted conception of jihad.
Following the failed attempts to assassinate Jamal ‘Abd al-Nasser in Egypt, many of those upon the doctrines of Sayyid Qutb fled to Saudi Arabia, seeking sanctuary and refuge, which they were graciously given. They repaid the favour by working sedition and spreading their takfiri poison – giving birth to the Qutbiyyah and Sururiyyah movements prominent in the 1990s. It is due to them that extremism and terrorism is associated with Arabia. In reality it is the infiltration of the Muslim Brotherhood (al-Ikhwan al-Muslimun) within Arabian educational institutions that led to the emergence of Kharijites such as Safar al-Hawali, Salman al-Awdah and others who carried the poison of Sayyid Qutb].
A common theme in the writings of these figureheads is the revilement of Uthman (radhiyallahu anhu) and Mu’awiyah (radhiyallahu anhu), accusing them of nepotism and mismanagement of capital and the absence of social and economic justice in their rule. This type of commotion led to revolution against Uthman (radhiyallahu anhu) and his eventual assassination and the subversive group behind this, the Saba’ites, were the seed group from which both the Kharijites and the Rafidah Shi’ites emerged following the civil strife between Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) and Mu’awiyah (radhiyallahu anhu) which they instigated. It should come as no suprise then, that all of those mentioned, al-Afghani, al-Banna, Mawdudi and Qutb have in their works, the poison of the Shi’ites or calls to nearness with the Shi’ites. All contemporary takfiri movements have their ideas traced back to these thinkers and writers. Their primary focus is around the rulers and revolutionary activity.
The seeds of this ideology in the 20th century were laid by Abu A’la Mawdudi during the 1940s within his writings within which he distorted the message of Islam, giving it a political interpretation and representing Islam as just a political ideology concerned primarily with wrestling power from the ruling authorities who assert legislative and executive power over laws that govern the lives of their subjects. He portrayed the message of all the Prophets, from Nuh (alayhissalaam) to Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) as one in which political power and authority was the essential meaning of the declaration, “la ilaha illallah.” [There are evidences to suggest that Mawdudi was a crypto-Raafidhi. First his ideology resembles the Imamah ideology of the Raafidhi Shi’ites who make it from the greatest pillars of the religion. Secondly, he criticised Uthman (radhiyallahu anhu). Thirdly, he spoke ill of Mu’awiyah (radhiyallahu anhu). Fourthly, he was a close friend of “Ayatollah” Khomeini and praised the Iranian Revolution]. Mawdudi preceded Sayyid Quṭb in this concept and Qutb himself took it from Mawdudi and also recommended the writings of Mawdudi to his own followers. Upon this basis, the Messengers were sent to establish a political infrastructure. Since all current rulers govern the lives of their subjects, they have usurped the right of Allah to rule (Hakimiyyah) and have thus, revoked Islam. On that basis, establishing Islam requires an overturning of this situation through revolutions. Whilst Mawdudi was the original expounder of these ideas, they remained an ideology and were not implemented practically until Sayyid Qutb took them to the next level.
SAYYID QUTB AND 20TH CENTURY TAKFIRI KHARIJISM
In his book al-Adalah al-Ijtima’iyyah Fi al-Islam (Social Justice in Islam) and Kutub wa Shakhsiyat (Books and Personalities), Sayyid Quṭb interpreted early Islamic history through a Marxist, Socialist, Communist lenses, reviled the third Caliph Uthman (radhiyallahu anhu) and excommunicated Mu’awiyah (radhiyallahu anhu), his parents and ʿ’Amr bin al- ‘Aas (radhiyallahu anhu) and the rulers of Banu Umayyah, accusing them of mismanagement, hoarding capital and creating class separation. He praised the revolution initiated and led by ʿAbdullah bin Saba al-Yahudiʾ [The 1906 edition of the Jewish Encyclopedia has an entry for Abdullah bin Sabaʾ as follows, “A Jew of Yemen, Arabia, of the seventh century, who settled in Medina and embraced Islam. Having adversely criticized Calif Othman’s administration, he was banished from the town. Thence he went to Egypt, where he founded an antiothmanian sect, to promote the interests of Ali. On account of his learning he obtained great influence there, and formulated the doctrine that, just as every prophet had an assistant who afterward succeeded him, Mohammed’s vizier was Ali, who had therefore been kept out of the califate by deceit. Othman had no legal claim whatever to the califate; and the general dissatisfaction with his government greatly contributed to the spread of Abdallah’s teachings. Tradition relates that when Ali had assumed power, Abdallah ascribed divine honors to him by addressing him with the words, ‘Thou art Thou!’ Thereupon Ali banished him to Madain. After Ali’s assassination Abdallah is said to have taught that Ali was not dead but alive, and had never been killed; that a part of the Deity was hidden in him; and that after a certain time he would return to fill the earth with justice. Till then the divine character of Ali was to remain hidden in the imams, who temporarily filled his place. It is easy to see that the whole idea rests on that of the Messiah in combination with the legend of Elijah the prophet.” End of quote. This entry indicates the origins of the Shi’ite sect] which led to the assassination of ʿUthman (radhiyallahu anhu) and described it as a manifestation of the “true Islamic spirit.”
In the writings of Qutb there is to be found an ideological framework identical to the ideology of the Kharijites and of socialist, communist movements who operate under the banner of social justice and equal distribution of wealth. Thus, in this period Qutb started writing about Islam from a doctrinal angle, unlike his previous phrase, in which his interest was purely artistic and literary. [Qutb’s early writings were simply artistic and literary discussions of the style of the Qur’an and were not studies on Islamic subjects]. This ideological framework is greatly reminiscent of the slogan of “social justice” raised by Dhul Khuwaysarah al-Tamimi, the father of the Kharijites who accused the Prophet Muḥammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) of being unjust in the distribution of wealth and from whose descendants, the Prophet informed, would come the Kharijites who would depart from Islam and, motivated by other than Islqm, would fight and kill the Muslims. In 1952, Qutb had some involvement in the socialist coup of Jamal Abd al-Nasir. For some reason, he fell out with the Free Officers in 1953 and was given a prominent position by the then supreme guide and leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hasan al-Hudaybi. It was in this decade, within Nasserite Egypt, that Qutb’s extremist doctrines began to take shape more fully. In this period, his hatred of all Islamic societies, his excommunication of them (judging them with apostasy) and instigating violent jihad against them began to develop in his writings. He explicitly negated the Islam of all contemporary Muslim societies and conveyed the idea that there has been no Islamic society in existence since the time of Banu Umayyah, the first ruling dynasty after the four righteous caliphs.
Sayyid Qutb said, “The whole of mankind, including those who repeat from the minarets, in the eastern and western parts of the world, the words ‘Lā ilāha illallāha’, without any [consideration of] meaning or reality, then they are the most sinful of people and will be the most severely punished on the day of Judgement because they have apostatised by turning to the worship of the servants (of Allāh).” [ In al-Dhilal (2/1057)] Qutb also wrote, “Today we are in Jahiliyyah (pre-Islamic ignorance), like that which was prevalent at the dawn of Islam, in fact more oppressive (i.e. severe). Everything around us is Jahiliyyah…” which we live is not a Muslim society.” [Ma’alim Fi al-Tariq, 17th edition, 1991 (p.21)]. And also “This society in which we live is not a Muslim society” [In al-Dhilal (4/2009)] He also said, “The Ummah (of Islam) has ceased to be in existence (ghabat al-ummah) and has not been perceivable for a very long time.” [Ibid. (p. 8)]. After Qutb announced his hatred and excommunication (takfīr) of all Muslim societies without exception, he continued, in a hateful, thunderous tone and advocated violent revolutions against them. [This is acknowledged by many prominent figures amongst the Muslim Brotherhood (al-Ikhwan). FaridʿAbd al-Khaliq, former leader amongst the Ikhwan, writes, “We have pointed out in what has preceded that the spread of the ideology of takfir occurred amongst the youth of the Ikhwan who were imprisoned in the late fifties and early sixties, and that they were influenced by the ideology of … Sayyid Quṭb and his writings. They derived from these writings that the society had fallen into the disbelief of pre-Islāmic ignorance, and that he had performed takfir of the rulers who had rejected the hakimiyyah of Allqh by not ruling by what Allah has revealed, and also takfir of those ruled over (civilians), when they became satisfied with this.” And he also said, “The adherents of this ideology, even if their jamāʿāt (groups) are numerous, believe in the kufr (disbelief) of all the present Islamic societies and that their jāhiliyyah is like the jāhiliyyah of the disbelievers before they entered into Islām during the era of the Messenger. Then they built Sharīʿah rulings in relation to them (these societies) upon this foundation and defined their relationships with individuals from these societies in implementation of that. They judged the society with disbelief because it did not apply the legislation of Allah, and nor adhere to His commands and prohibitions.” [Ikhwan al-Muslimun Fi Mizan al-Haqq, (p.115, 118)].
Sayyid Qutb wrote, “And this important duty, the duty of instigating a Islamic revolution is general, it is not restricted to one region exclusive to another. Rather, it is what Islam desires, and places it in front of its vision, that it should instigate a comprehensive revolution in all inhabited places. This is its greatest objective and its loftiest goal to which it turns its vision, except that it is absolutely mandatory for the Muslims or members of any Islamic party to immediately embark upon their duty by instigating the urgent revolution, and striving to alter the structure of rule in their lands in which they live.” [Fi Dhilal al-Qur’an (9th edition, 1980, 3/1451)].
Once takfir had been made of all societies and destructive revolutions announced against them, the only thing left was the practical methodology of launching the proposed revolutions. And it is here that Qutb plagiarizes the essential idea of “What is To Be Done?,” a tract written by Vladimir Lenin between 1901 and 1902. It constituted a skeleton plan for the revolution and was later refined and republished in 1907. Qutb’s book “Ma’alim Fi al-Ṭariq” (Milestones) formed the basis of a new, innovated understanding of jihad in the 20th century. These particular writings of Qutb were strongly influenced by Marxist, Communist revolutionary movements. In addition to the notion of social justice, Qutb’s ideology took shape around a number of other concepts such as Jahiliyyah and Hakimiyyah [In this concept Sayyid Qutb was influenced by the French Philosopher, Alexis Carrell and his book, “Man, the Unknown” in which the idea of “barbarism” of modern societies is developed]. The first alludes to all contemporary Muslim societies reverting to the pre-Islamic days of ignorance through which they are judged apostates. The second alludes to the sole right of Allah alone to judge which Qutb alleged to have been usurped by all rulers and governments. Within this framework, Sayyid Qutb redefined the notion of jihad and took it away from its noble and honorable status to one involving chaos, treachery, perfidy, slaughtering of civilians and everything that opposes the spirit of Islam. Thus, all contemporary takfiri movements are operating upon the philosophy and thought (fikr) of Sayyid Qutb and not the Islam Prophet of Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) and his Companions which is based upon revelation (wahi).
Paul Berman wrote in an article published in the New York Times, 23rd March 2003, “The few had to gather themselves together into what Qutb in ‘Milestones’ called a vanguard – a term that he must have borrowed from Lenin.”
Rod Dreher wrote, “What is to be done? Lenin famously asked about Czarist Russia. Qutb’s answer to the same question about the West was, in part, ‘Milestones,’ a Leninist-style tract advocating worldwide Islamic revolution.” [In the Dallas Morning News (27th August 2006)].
Phil Paine wrote, “The first thing one notices about Qutb’s ideological thought is how little it has to do with traditions of Islam, or the needs of people in Islamic countries. It is profoundly European in inspiration, and it’s chief models are Hitler, Marx and Lenin… Lenin is by far the strongest influence. Whole passages look like they were simply copied out from his works and then a pseudo-Islamic terminology inserted, ‘revolutionary vanguard’ becoming ‘Islamic vanguard’, and so on… As Marxist mumbojumbo justified the telling of any lie, the betrayal of any value, the commitment of any atrocity, in the name of an implacable destiny, so too, does Milestones.” [In his review article, The Ideology of Sayyid Qutb (22nd August 2006)]
Lawrence Wright observed about the book ‘Milestones,’ that “Its ringing apocalyptic tone may be compared with Rousseau’s ‘Social Contract’ and Lenin’s ‘What Is to Be Done?’ – with similar bloody consequences.” [Cited by Daniel Martin in Sayyid Qutb]
From these citations, we can see and insight about these renegades: And this revolutionary ideology [of the modern Kharijites], we do not say it is ‘influenced by the ideology of the Kharijites’ but we say that it is influenced by the Communist, nationalist and secularist revolutions before it is influenced by the ideology of the Kharijites.”
WHAT IS THE RULE OF ALLAH IN HIS CREATION AND WHY ARE THERE SINFUL, TYRANNICAL RULERS?
These realities are unknown to the Kharijites because they have no understanding in the religion. It is clearly established in the Qur’an and the Sunnah that the nature of the rulers and their rule is directly tied to the actions of the servants. The Messenger (sallallaahu alayji wasallam), explained “And never do a people cheat in the weights and measures except that they are taken by years (of hardship), scarcity of resources and the tyranny of the ruler upon them.” [Sahih Ibn Majah (no. 4019) from ʿAbdullah bin ʿUmar (radhiyallahu anhu)].
Elaborating upon the same principle, Ibn al-Qayyim said: “And reflect in His, the Most High’s wisdom in making the kings of the servants, their leaders and their rulers to be of the same species as the actions [of the servants]. Rather, it is as if their actions became manifest in the appearances of their rulers and kings. If they remain upright, then their kings will remain upright, and if they turn away (from uprightness), then they (the kings) too will turn away from uprightness. [In the hadith of Ibn ʿUmar (radhiyallahu anhu) the Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, “And never do a people cheat in the weights and measures except that they are taken by years (of hardship), scarcity of resources and the tyranny of the ruler.” [Sahih Ibn Majah (4019)]. When this is for cheating in the weights and measures, then what about shirk with the Lord of the worlds, the greatest of all injustices, that is found widespread in the majority of Muslim lands?] And if they (the servants) oppress [each other], then their kings and rulers will oppress [them]. And if plotting and deception appears from them, their rulers will [be made to] behave likewise (towards them), and if they (the servants) withhold the rights of Allah that are between themselves and become miserly with respect to them, then their kings and their rulers will withhold the right that they (the servants) have upon them and will become miserly with respect to them. And if they take from the one who is considered weak what they do not deserve to take from him in their dealings, then the kings will take from them (the servants) what they do not deserve to take (from them) and will inflict them with taxes. And everything that they (the servants) take away from the weak person (unjustly), the kings will take away from them with power, force. So their actions (those of the servants) become manifest in their actions (those of the kings and rulers). And it is not from the Divine wisdom that the evil-doers and the sinners are made to be ruled over [by anyone] except by one who is of their like. And when the very first band (of Islām) was the best of the generations, and the most pious of them, then their rulers were likewise. And when they (the people) became corrupt, the Rulers were made corrupt over them. Thus, the wisdom of Allah refuses that the likes of Mu’awiyah (radhiyallahu anhu), and ʿUmar bin ʿAbd al-ʿAziz (rahimahullah) are put in authority over us in the likes of these times [the 8th Century Hijrah], let alone the likes of Abū Bakr and ʿUmar. Rather, our rulers are in accordance with our (nature) and the rulers of those before us were in accordance with their (nature).” [Miftah Dar al-Sa’adah, (Dar Ibn Affan, 2/177)].
Ibn al-Qayyim also said, “For every people, Allah, the Sublime, with His wisdom (hikmah) and justice (‘adl) makes the (consequences) of the actions of the servants to appear to them in forms (suwaar) that are appropriate to (their actions). So sometimes it is in the form of a drought or barrenness (of land). Other times it is by way of an enemy. Other times by way of tyrannical rulers. Other times by way of general diseases (that spread). Other times it is by anxiety, grief and worry that reside in their souls and do not leave them. Other times it is by preventing the blessings from the sky and the Earth from them. Other times it is by unleashing the devils upon them to incite them to the causes of their destruction, so that His word can be established upon them and so that each of them arrives at the outcome destined for him. The intelligent (aqil) traverses with his insight (baseerah) in all regions of the world and witnesses this, and he sees the occurrence (of these instances) of Allah’s justice and wisdom taking place.” [Zad al-Ma’ad (4/363)].
These statements of Ibn al-Qayyim are in effect, an insight into the statement of Mu’adh bin Jabal (radhiyallahu anhu), who said, “The ruler is from the affair of Allah whoever reviled the ruler is in reality reviling the affair of Allah.” [Related by Abu Amr al-Dani in al-Sunan al-Waridah fil-Fitan]. The ruler is from the placement of Allah, He places rulers in accordance with what the subjects deserve, as a direct expression of the actions of the servants themselves, a law in Allah’s creation. Thus, when the modern Kharijites revile and attack the oppressive rulers who do not judge by Allah’s law with respect to their subjects, attempting to remove them and acquire power, they are corrupters of an already corrupted situation. The situation was corrupted by the people due to their deeds, their shirk (associationism), bid’ah (innovation), ma’siyah (disobedience), as result of which Allah punished them from a way amongst the ways at His disposal, which includes tyrannical rulers who do not judge by Allah’s law and do not implement justice to the detriment of the subjects. Ibn Taymiyyah said, “Indeed, the affair [of rule] being destined for the kings and their deputies from the rulers, judges and leaders is not due to the deficiency in them alone, but due to the deficiency in both the shepherd and the flock together, for ‘As you yourselves behave, you will be ruled over (in a like manner)’ and Allāh, the Exalted has said, ‘Thus do we turn some of the oppressors against others on account of (the deeds) they earn.’ (6:129).” [Majmu al-Fatawa (35/20-21)]. And Abu Bakr Muhammad al-Ṭurtushi said, “I never ceased hearing the people saying, ‘Your actions are your workers, as you yourselves behave, you will be ruled over (in a like manner)’ until I grasped this meaning from the Qur’an, Allāh, the Exalted said, ‘Thus do we turn some of the oppressors against others on account of (the deeds) they earn’. (6:129). And it used to be said, ‘Whatever you show rejection against in your time, then it is your own deed that has corrupted that for you.’ And ʿAbd al Malik bin Marwan said, ‘O subjects, you have not dealt justly with us. You want from us the sirah (way, approach, behaviour) of Abu Bakr and ʿUmar (radhiyallahu anhu) but you do yourselves do not behave with respect to us or yourselves with their behaviour’.” [Siraj al-Muluk (2/467-468)].
Thus, modern-day Kharijite movements are further corrupters of already corrupt situations and this is from their ignorance and their inability to grasp the ʿaqidah of Ahl al-Sunnah in these great and mighty affairs of alqada wal-qadar, the actions of the servants, the rule of Allah in His creation and the purpose, justice and wisdom in Allah’s actions and His legislations – and from that is the famous hadith related by Hudhayfah (radhiyallahu anhi), which is a stake in the heart of every brain-dead Kharijite, that the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, “There will be after me rulers who do not guide themselves by my guidance nor follow my Sunnah and their will appear amongst you men whose hearts are the hearts of devils in the bodies of men.” Hudhayfah (radhiyallahu anhu) said, “What shall I do if I reach that (time)?” He (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, “Hear and obey the ruler, even if your back is beaten and your wealth is confiscated.” [Related by Muslim in his Sahih]. And this is only after we accept that the rulers targeted by the Kharijites are as evil as they are made out to be, for most of what the Kharijites allege is from their own evil understanding or complete lack of undestanding of the rulings of the Shari’ah, treating things permitted in the Shari’ah to be disbelief – just as the very first Kharijites treated the matter of arbitration to be disbelief.
The Shari’ah of Islam judged the Khariijtes to have departed and exited from Islam just as an arrow passes through its game. The following citation will help us to grasp one of the angles from which this is indeed the case. Muhammad bin ʿAbd al-Wahhab said, in demonstrating the contrast between the way in which the Shari’ah treats the sinners and the heretical innovators, “Chapter: What has come [to show] that innovation is more severe than major sins due to His saying, “Indeed, Allah does not forgive association with Him, but He forgives what is less than that for whom He wills.” (4:116) and his saying, the Most High, “That they may bear their own burdens in full on the Day of Resurrection and some of the burdens of those whom they misguide without knowledge. Unquestionably, evil is that which they bear.” (16:25) [Fadl al-Islam within the Majmuʾ Mu’allafat (6/1156)]. And in the Sahih [of al-Bukhari] that he (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said about the Kharijites, ‘Wherever you find them, slaughter them’ and within [the Sahih] is that he prohibited from fighting the tyrannical rulers, so long as they pray.”
He cited the first verse (4:116) to show that no matter what level of sin is committed (by the sinners, rulers included) it can be forgiven, unless it is shirk. And the second verse (16:25) is about the innovators who will bear their burden and that of all those whom they misguided. In the first hadith he indicated how the Kharijites (despite their outward piety and alluring speech about the religion and Allah’s right to judge and so on) are to be slaughtered wherever they are found [This is for the rulers to pursue and not for the subjects]. and in the second hadith he indicated how the sinful, tyrannical rulers must not be fought so long as they pray. This is an indication of how the Shari’ah of Islam preserves both the worldly and religious interests in contrast to what the intellects and opinions of men may surmise. It came with rulings and injunctions that actualize the greater benefit and repel the greater harm. Unlike atheistic, materialist philosophies which came with social revolutionary movements to topple monarchies and governments (under the guise of establishing social, economic and political justice) leading to mass murder, chaos, civil strife, destruction of infrastructure and whose beneficiaries are not the masses but an elite few, the Shari’ah of Islam came with the opposite: The preservation of peace and security despite the presence of tyranny and social and economic injustice. It came with patience upon the tyranny, injustice and self-preference of the rulers, despite their sinfulness and injustice, alongside strong incitations to slaughter and kill the revolutionary renegades (Kharijites) who revolt against the authorities and create more evil and harm than which is found from the rulers alone. And this is despite the apparent great piety of these Kharijites in their abundant beautified speech, their prayer and fasting.
And all praise is due to Allah and may peace and blessings be upon His Prophet and Messenger, Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam).