Modern Day Khawarij

Thursday Reflections (Dec 03/15): Modern Day Khawarij

Many of us Muslims are frustrated and continuously concerned by the growing number of barbaric killing acts of innocent civilians in the name of our religion. The entire world is hearing and watching all kinds of perpetrated evil done by people who claim to be of the same faith as us. This growing phenomenon is distracting the entire world from the real issues and the many serious matters that need to be resolved whether locally or internationally. It is indeed a Fitnah!
Muslims, scholars and students, rulers and citizens, professors and professionals, farmers and laborers, parents and children have no choice but to disassociate themselves completely and in a loud and clear voice from ideologies of hate, division and terrorism and the people who use them in the name of Islam. Why do we believe ISIL/Daesh, Boko Haram, AQ, lone wolves and the likes to be the modern day Khawarij?

Khawarij/Kharijites (secessionists) were a group that chose to break away from the Ummah and rebel against the Caliph Imam Ali b. Abi Taleb (May God Honor his face and shower his blessings on him) in the year 657 CE after they opposed his decision to accept arbitration with his rival Mu’awiya b. Abi Sufyan over the Caliphate. They repeated their famous statement that was incorrectly used: “La hukma illa lillah!” which means, “there is no rule but for God!” to which Imam Ali responded saying: “kalimatu haqqin ureeda biha Batil!” which means, “A word of truth by which is intended falsehood.” Rather they believed that God is the only one who can judge and decide who would be the Caliph by giving him victory in the war not by arbitration, which is based on human decision. They made Takfir (excommunicating people out of Islam) even for someone who commits a sin because for them sinning was equivalent to disbelief, which was a strange innovation after the Prophet (S) and his companions. They considered Imam Ali as a sinner and they assassinated him as well as many other Muslim leaders. They also believed that citizens have the right to revolt against any ruler or government who does not agree with their interpretation of Islam and the concept of Bay’ah (pledge of allegiance to the ruler) can be broken. Imam Ali’s cousin Abdullah b. ‘Abbas (r) did bring many of them back to Islam through his argumentation with them using the counter narrative arguments.

Basically, they were the first group who made Takfir, the first to break away from the Ummah through rebellion and assassination of rulers and the first to justify killing Muslims and innocent people. They had no regard for the sanctity of life. Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) prophesized about their advent and warned his companions from such dangerous perversion of Islam and its teachings. A follower asked Sahl bin Hunaif (a companion of the Prophet), “Did you hear the Prophet saying anything about al-Khawarij?” He said, “I heard him saying while pointing his hand towards Iraq “There will appear in it (i.e. Iraq) some people who will recite the Quran but it will not go beyond their throats, and they will leave Islam as an arrow darts through the game’s body.’ (Bukhari)

In another narration the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said, “There will come a time when a group of people will leave our ranks. They will recite the Quran with eagerness and passion but its spirit will not go beyond their throats. They will leave our ranks in the manner of an arrow when it shoots from its bow”(Bukhari)
He described them in some other narrations saying, In the last days, there will be young people with irrational/unrealistic dreams. They will say the best of words in creation but they will pass through Islam just as an arrow passes through its game. Their faith will not go beyond their throats.” Agreed upon by Bukhari & Muslim. He also said, “They are the worst of the creation.”

Modern day Khawarij are doing the following things:
(1) They break the laws of the countries where they live or visit and they rebel and fight against legitimate governments, which are chosen by the people.
(2) They kill innocent Muslim and non-Muslim people since according to them “goals justify the means”. The latter is a Satanic Machiavellian rule that I have discussed in my book “Terrorism: An Islamic Perspective” in 1999 arguing how Islam can never accept it or condone it.
(3) They consider many Muslims disbelievers because they are sinners and they call people who have faith in God disbelievers or Kuffar ignoring the fact that they are themselves committing the worse sins on earth. They have no regard for sanctity of life, places of worship, graves, homes, hospitals and schools. They betray their countries or obtain visas to enter countries but break the conditions of those visas, which are in the eyes of God and Islam covenants of peace as I mentioned in my book Terrorism: An Islamic Perspective.

Please learn your Deen and be careful from extremism and rigidity. We do not believe in killing, injuring or harming innocent people. We remain law-abiding to our legitimate governments and contribute in the societies where we live. Let us all be vigilant, patient and calm and do not lose faith and do not act hastily. The Prophet (S) said: “There will be tribulations during which a sitting person will be better than the one standing. The one standing will be better than the one walking. The one walking will be better than the one running. Whoever exposes himself to these tribulations will be destroyed, so whoever finds a place of protection or refuge should take shelter in it.” Agreed upon.

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