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Islamic Ideology ( 19 Dec 2021, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Refuting The Modern Day Khawarij is Essential in Obedience To The Companions of the Holy Prophet

By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi, New Age Islam

20 December 2021

We Can Prevent Extremists and Neo- Khawarij If We Adopt Hazrat Ibn Abbas' Methods

Main Points:

1.                  The Khawarij have a history of performing takfir on Muslims and accusing them of polytheism.

2.                  The Holy Prophet cautioned His Ummah about Khawarij and Its Methodology

3.                  Moderation in all things is a well-known feature of Islam, and when the Khawarij deviate from this road, it shows they have no connection to Islam.

4.                  It would be in obedience to the holy companions to refute the modern-day khawarij.

5.                  Hazrat Ibn Abbas’s debate with Khawarij


A group of persons split away from the Muslim community during Hazrat Ali's caliphate (may Allah be pleased with him) and accused Muslims and Caliph Ali of unbelief. They murdered innocent Muslims, battled the Muslim army, and smeared the Muslim community. This is the group known as Khawarij. The Khawarij have a history of performing takfir on Muslims and accusing them of polytheism. The intellects of Khawarij have gotten deviated from understanding the Qur'an, and the experts believe that the main reason for this is because they have not followed the way of interpreting the revelation used by Salaf-e-Salihin [pious predecessors].

The Prophet (peace be upon him) also cautioned his ummah about this takfiri group and its methodology, as related by Hazrat Hudhaifa that the Holy Prophet said, “Verily, I dread for you that a man will recite the Quran until his delight is visible and he adopts Islam as a cover. Then, he changes to whatever Allah wills for him, such that it is stripped from him and he throws it behind his back, assaulting his neighbour with the sword and accusing him of idolatry.” I said, “O Prophet of Allah, which one is closer to idolatry? The accused or the accuser?” The Prophet said, “Rather it is the accuser.” [Ṣaḥīḥ Ibn Ḥibbān, Hadith 81, Grade: Sahih (authentic) according to Ibn Kathir]

Considering this hadith, the following symptoms appear. This group will have a strong bond with the Qur'an and will serve it, and as a result, people will have positive perceptions of them. They will benefit from the enlightenment of the Quran, and consequently, people will be happier. They will be fervent believers who will support and defend religion. Despite this, they will undergo a bizarre transformation that will cause uncertainty among the public. They will deviate from the inherited meanings of the Qur'an and interpret it separately due to their lack of expertise with the method of thinking and inference. As a result, they will label their neighbour a kaafir and mushrik, but they will not be satisfied with that; they will take up arms against him and commit bloodshed and massacre.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) expressed his concern in the above-mentioned hadith for those who pretend to be religiously pious but are actually hazardous to the faith. In whatever situation, the Holy Prophet despised radicalism and extremism. This can be seen in the following event described in the Ahadith literature. Hazrat Muaaz once led the Isha prayer and recited a long Surah, which caused several people to leave. When the Holy Prophet learned of it, he said to Muaaz, “You are putting the people on trial,” and commanded him to recite short surahs. [See Hadith 701 in Sahih Bukhari]

We might assume from this experience that the Holy Prophet taught his companions moderation in their acts of worship. When moderation is essential in acts of worship, it is unquestionably required in non-worship activities. Moderation in all things is a well-known feature of Islam, and when the Khawarij deviate from this road, it shows they have no connection to Islam.

Extremist groups that follow in the footsteps of the Khawarij can still be found all over the world today. The Khawarij also use the Holy Qur'an to support their acts, however, the general public needs to be aware that the Kharijite interpretation style is corrupt, resulting in their being unable to comprehend the intended meaning of the Quran. The Companions of the Prophet learned the Qur'an from the Holy Prophet, thus they were correct in its interpretation. But the Khawarij attempted to interpret the Qur'an in such a way that there were violations. So the Companions refuted the Khawarij in every way imaginable.

The following is the narrative of the debate between Ibn Abbas and the Khawarij in order for scholars to be inspired to come forward and refute the modern-day Khawarij who are involved in extremist activities day and night while putting an end to the practice of cultivating misconceptions about the Muslim community.

Hazrat Ibn Abbas’s Debate With Khawarij

Abdullah b. Abbas obtained permission from Hazrat Ali, the Caliph, and travelled to the gathering of Khawarij to convince them of their erroneous interpretation of Islam.

In Ibn Abbas’ own words, the debate went like this:

"I have come to you from the Muhajirun and the Ansar, the companions of Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him), to inform you of what they say. The Qur'an was revealed to them. And they know more about the revelation than you do because it was revealed among them. And there aren't any of them among you. [Ibn Abbas noted that there was not a single Companion among the Khawarij.]

"Let us interact with him and see what he says," some of them [of Khawarij] remarked.

I said, “Inform me of that which you harbour against the son of the uncle of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) and his son-in-law (Ali), the Muhajirun and the Ansar.”

They said, “Three issues.” I asked, “What are they?” They said, “As for the first of them, then he (Ali) has allowed men to judge in the affair of Allah, yet Allah said, ‘...The judgement is for none but Allah...’ (Qur’an, 12:40) So it is not for men to be judges.”

So I asked, “This is only one issue.”

They said, “As for the other matters, he battled his adversaries but did not seize any prisoners or war spoils. So, if the people he battled were unbelievers, their imprisonment and war booty were lawful. And if they were believers, it was not allowed to fight them.”

I said, “These are only two issues, so what is the third?”

They said, “Indeed, he removed the title, ‘Leader of the Believers’ [Amirul Muminin] for himself, so, therefore, he is the leader of the disbelievers.” I said, “Do you have anything besides this?” They said, “This is sufficient for us.”

“Do you believe you will comply if I recount to you from Allah's Book and the Sunnah of His Messenger (peace be upon him) that which refutes your statement?” I asked.

They said, “Yes!” So I said, “In response to your claim that he has delegated Allah's judgement to mankind, I will recite to you the evidence that Allah has delegated His judgement to men.

Allah the Mighty and Majestic has said concerning differences between the woman and her husband, “If you fear a breach between the twain (the man and his wife), appoint (two) arbitrators, one from his family and the other from hers; if they both wish for peace, Allah will cause their reconciliation. Indeed Allah is Ever All-¬Knower, Well¬-Acquainted with all things.” (Qur’an, 4:35)

So Allah made the judgement of the men a tradition to be believed in. So do you leave this (issue)?” They said, “Yes!”

Ibn Abbas continued, “As for your statement that he fought and he did not take prisoners, nor did he take war booty, and then do you revile your mother, Ayesha? Then you must declare her lawful in that which you have declared lawful with regards to other than her! So if you were to do that, then you would become disbelievers, as she is your mother. And if you were to say that she is not our mother, then you have disbelieved. Since Allah says, ‘The Prophet is closer to the Believers than their own selves, and his wives are their mothers...’ (Qur’an, 33:6)

“So you are revolving around two positions of misguidance. Regardless of which of them you adopt, you have adopted misguidance.”

So they began to look at each other. I said, “Do you recant this position?” They said, “Yes!”

“And as for your statement, that he removed the title of ‘Leader of the Believers’ from his name, then I shall come to you with one whom you are pleased with and I shall see you. Indeed, you have heard that on the day of Al-Hudaybiyyah, the Prophet (peace be upon him) made a treaty with Suhayl Bin Amr and Abu Sufyan Ibn Harb.

“So the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said to the Leader of the Believers (Ali), ‘Write, O Ali: These are the terms of peace agreed upon by Muhammad the Messenger of Allah.’ So the pagans said, ‘No, by Allah! Had we known that you were the Messenger of Allah, we would not have fought you.’

“So the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, ‘O Allah! You know that I am the Messenger of Allah. Write O Ali: These are the terms of peace agreed upon by Muhammad Bin Abdullah.’ (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

“So by Allah, the Messenger of Allah was better than Ali, yet he was not removed from Prophethood when he erased the title from his name.”

Abdullah Bin Abbas then said, “So two thousand of those people repented, and the rest were killed for misguidance.”

(This incident has been related in Musnad Ahmad (1/342), An-Nasa’i in Khasa’is Ali (no. 190), Al-Bayhaqi in Sunan Al-Kubra (8/179) and many others.)

Approximately 20,000 Khawarij retreated as a result of this debate, while approximately 4,000 remained in their positions. (Author: Imam Al-Hafiz Abu Nuaim Ahmad Bin Abdullah Al-Isfahani, book: Hilyat-ul-Awliya)

We must consider Hazrat Ibn Abbas' debate with the Khawarij, in which we are taught a few things: (1) Hazrat Abdullah bin Abbas personally went to the Khawarij and corrected them. (2) At the outset of the debate, Hazrat Ibn Abbas highlighted the virtues of his methodology and the shortcomings of the Kharijite methodology, stating that his methodology is backed by several groups of the Prophet's companions, but the Kharijites don’t have such backing. (3) During the debate, Ibn Abbas first listened attentively to all of their objections and questions before responding. (4) The notion of sovereignty [Hakimiyyat] was the initial issue for the Khawarij, and it remains the most crucial one for radical groups today. (5) The Khawarij received proper and appropriate responses, and Hazrat Ibn Abbas did not develop a new methodology or deny the Hadith corpus in order to combat the Kharijites.

A substantial number of Khawarij were reformed as a result of Ibn Abbas’ debate. This should serve as a reminder that the emergence of extremism and neo- Khawarij can be stifled if we follow Ibn Abbas' methods. As a result, scholars and Ulama must continue to fight to reform all extremist organisations and protect the people from future extremism, and victory will come from Allah Almighty.


A regular Columnist with, Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi Dehlvi is an Alim and Fazil (Classical Islamic scholar) with a Sufi background and English-Arabic-Urdu Translator.


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