Who are Khawarij?

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Among one of the minor signs of the Hour is the emergence and appearance of Khawarij (people who go out of Islam as an arrow passes out of the prey because of their rigid beliefs, wrong point of view about certain companions including Ali R.A and Mu’aawiyah R.A). There is an ongoing discussion among the general Muslims regarding Khawarij; their historical emergence, their beliefs, their signs, whether they are right people to follow or not, what will they do to the religion of Islam? I shall explain all of these factors one by one below.

Beliefs of Khawarij

1. They regard anyone who commits a major sin (such as adultery or drinking alcohol) as a disbeliever who will remain in Hell forever. This is obvious misguidance [on their part]. The reality is that a Muslim who commits these major sins does not become a disbeliever, but becomes a disobedient evildoer who has to repent and abandon his sin.

2. They regard ‘Ali, Mu‘aawiyah (may Allah be pleased with them both), and many of the Companions who approved of the arbitration as disbelievers.

3. Rebelling against unjust rulers concerning whom there is no proof that they have fallen into disbelief.

One of them was Dhu’l-Khuwaysirah of whom the Prophet of Allah (Peace Be Upon Him) said,

“They will pass out of Islam as the arrow passes out of the prey.”

Narrated that ‘Abd-Allah ibn Mas’ood said: The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said,

“At the end of time there will emerge a people who will be young in age and foolish; they will recite the Qur’an but it will go no further than their collarbones. They will quote the words of the best of mankind, but they will pass out of Islam as the arrow passes out of the prey.”

First Emergence of Khawarij

Khawarij first appeared in the caliphate of Ali R.A after the conclusion of Battle of Siffeen. The Khawarij misunderstood some of the decisions and interpretations made by Ali R.A as a caliph and as a result they decided to revolt against the head of Islamic state. Their major objections with Ali R.A were 3 which they told to the representative (Ibn e Abbas R.A) of Ali R.A whom he sent to meet the khawarij and see why they are standing against me:

  1. The first is that he left the issue of judgement to men concerning a matter of religion, and Allah says, ‘The decision is only for Allah.’ [Al-An’am 6:57] What does man have to do with ruling when Allah has said this?”
  1. Second, he fought and killed but did not take captive the women of his opponents or take any booty. If they are believers, why is it permissible for us to fight them and kill them but not permissible for us to take captive their women?
  1. Thirdly, He (Ali R.A) has erased his title of Ameer Al-Mu’mineen; if he is not Ameer Al-Mu’mineen then he must be Ameer Al-Kaafireen (Leader of the Disbelievers).

Once they told all the disagreements with Ali R.A to Ibn e Abbas, then Ibn e Abbas replied to all of the 3 allegations which is worth listening to:

  1. The reply to the first allegation was “As for your saying that he left the issue of judgement to men concerning a matter of religion, I shall recite to you from the Book of Allah that which contradicts this, and if it contradicts what you say, will you recant?” They said, “Yes.” I said, “Allah delegated His ruling to men with regard to something worth one quarter of a Dirham, which is the price of a rabbit. And he recited the Verse:

‘Kill not the game while you are in a state of Ihraam [for Hajj or ‘Umrah (pilgrimage)], and whosoever of you kills it intentionally, the penalty is an offering, brought to the Ka‘bah, of an eatable animal (i.e. sheep, goat, cow) equivalent to the one he killed, as adjudged by two just men among you.’ [Al-Maa’idah 5:95]

Moreover, with regard to a woman and her husband, [Allah says],

‘If you fear a breach between them twain (the man and his wife), appoint (two) arbitrators, one from his family and the other from hers.’ [Al-Nisa’ 4:35]

I adjure you by Allah, is the ruling of men with regard to reconciling between people and sparing their blood more important than the ruling on a rabbit or a case of marriage? Which one do you think is more important?” They said, “This is more important.””

  1. With regard to your saying that he fought and did not take captive the women or take any booty, would you take your mother ‘Aa’ishah (May Allah be pleased with her) captive? By Allah, if you say that she is not our mother, you have gone out of Islam and by Allah if you were to say that you would take her captive and regard her as permissible like any other woman, you have gone out of Islam. Either way it is misguidance, because Allah says,

‘The Prophet is closer to the believers than their ownselves, and his wives are their (believers’) mothers (as regards respect and marriage).’ [Al-Ahzaab 33:6]

Have I answered this point?” They said, “Yes.”

  1. As for your saying that he has lost the title of Ameer Al-Mu’mineen, I shall quote something that you will accept: On the day of Al-Hudaybiyah, the Prophet made a treaty with the Mushrikeen, Abu Sufyaan ibn Harb and Suhayl ibn ‘Amr. He said to ‘Ali : ‘Write a document for them.’ So ‘Ali wrote, ‘This is what was agreed by Muhammad the Messenger of Allah.’ The Mushrikeen said, ‘By Allah, we do not know that you are the Messenger of Allah; if we knew that you were the Messenger of Allah, we would not have fought you.’ The Messenger of Allah (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) said, ‘O Allah, You know that I am Your Messenger. Erase it, ‘Ali, and write, “This is what was agreed by Muhammad ibn ‘Abd-Allah.”’ By Allah, the Messenger of Allah was better than ‘Ali and he erased his title himself.

Signs of Khawarij

Following are some of the signs of Khawarij collected from the sayings of Prophet Muhammad PBUH.

  1. They will be young in age

Ali (RA) said I heard the Prophet (PBUH) saying, “In the last days (of the world) there will appear young people with foolish thoughts and ideas.” (Al-Bukhari 5057)

  1. Angry and Foolish
  1. Arrogant and Boastful

Anas (RA) narrated that the Prophet (PBUH) said to me:

“… the people will be amazed by them and they will be proud of themselves, and they will go out of the religion (discard Islam) as an arrow goes out through the game.” (Musnad Ahmad).

  1. Abundant in worshipping

Anas (RA) narrated that the Prophet (PBUH) said to me:

“There will be among you a people who will struggle in worship of Allah, … and they will go out of the religion (discard Islam) as an arrow goes out through the game.” (Musnad Ahmad).

  1. Misinterpretation of the Quran

The Prophet (PBUH) said: “They will recite Quran but it will not go any further than their throats.” (Muslim 1066). And he (PBUH) said: “The will recite the Book of Allah fluently, but it will not go any further than their throats.” (Muslim 1064).

  1. Eloquent in speech

Ali (RA) narrated that I heard the Prophet (PBUH) saying: “There will emerge some people from my Ummah who will recite the Quran, your recitation would seem insignificant in comparison to theirs, and your prayer would seem insignificant in comparison to theirs, and your fasting would seem insignificant in comparison to theirs.” (Muslim 1066)

The Prophet (PBUH) said: “There will be people who will speak well but act badly.” (Sahih Abu Dawud, Albani 4765).

  1. Passing out Fatawas of disbelief against Muslims and considering their blood as lawful

The Prophet (PBUH) said: “They will kill the Muslims and leave the idolaters.” (Al-Bukhari 7432).

  1. Slandering the scholars

Should we follow Khawarij?

The answer to this is definitely No, as their beliefs are not certain and strong, they misinterpret Quran and Sunnah, they become angry unwantedly, they pass out Fatawas to kills Muslims and consider their blood as lawful.

How Beneficial are Khawarij to Islam?

With such strayed beliefs, misunderstanding of Quran and Sunnah, passing out Fatawas of disbelief against Muslims and disrespecting the scholars of Islam, leads towards Fitnah and chaotic situation in the Muslim society. Such chaos only helps and abet in weakening the strengths of Muslims and create a situation where Muslims shed blood all over. Unfortunately, this is the situation in most of the Muslim countries. I pray Allah SWT to safeguard the ummah from the Fitnah, trials and tribulations of Khawarijs.

Some very informative eBooks related to this topic are: The End of The World , The Concise Legacy.

Check out for more Islamic eBooks.

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