The Kharijites and their Successors


By Tauheed Qadiri


In order to know the good among the people, one must first examine the history of heresy in Islam. Only by understanding false teachings and their supporters will we appreciate the importance of the people of  good (Ahl ul-khayr).


The heresy of the Departers [Kharajites] was the first group of people who deviated from the pure and sublime faith of Islam. The first and worst of those who departed from the Sunni path was the Kharijī known as the Dhul-Khuwaisarah. The Companion Abu Sa`īd al-Khudrī (r) related, “Once Sayyidina `Alī (r) sent some gold ore wrapped in dyed leather from Yemen to the Prophet of Allah (s), and he divided it among four people: Zaid al-Khalīl, al-Aqra ibn Hābis, Unaiyna ibn Hisn and Alqamah ibn Ulāthah.


A person among the Companions remarked that they had a better claim to the wealth than these people. When this remark reached the Prophet (s), He said, “Will you not trust me whom the One above the heavens has trusted? Information comes to me from the heavens morning and evening.”


Then a man with sunken eyes, high check bones, protruding forehead, thick beard and a shaven head, stood up and said, “Muhammad! Fear Allah!”  The Prophet (s) turned to him and replied, “Woe be to you, am I not the person who fears Allah (s.w) the most?” The man than walked away and Khālid ibn al-Walīd (r) jumped up and said, “Perhaps one who observes prayer says with his tongue what is not in his heart.” The Prophet (s) said, “I was not commanded to pierce the hearts of the people or slit open their bellies.”

He (s) glanced at the man who was walking away and said, “There will arise a people from among the progeny of this man who will recite the Qur'an but it will not go beyond their throats. They will pass through the religion as an arrow passes through its target.”


Khālid ibn al-Walīd (r) asked the Prophet (s), “O Prophet of Allah (s) this man has all the [athar] effects of sunnah, his eyes are red due to crying, his face has two scars of tears on his checks, his feet are swollen due to standing the whole night in [tahajjud] night vigil, he has a thick beard …” The Prophet (s) replied, “The meaning of this Verse [qul in kuntum tuhib'būna allāh fat'tabiunī] say if you love Allah follow me.” He asked, “How O Prophet of Allah (s)?' He (s) replied, 'Be kind like me, be compassionate, love the poor and the destitute, be gentle, care and love your brothers and be protective.’”


The cursed man was called Dhul-Khuwaisarah at-Tamīmī and he is considered the first of the Kharijī to arise in Islam. The root of his sickness was that he preferred his own opinion above that of the Prophet (s). If he had waited to hear what the Prophet (s) had to say, he would have realized that no opinion can be given precedence over that of The Prophet (s), and it was his individual's tribe men who later rose in arms against the fourth Khalipha Sayyidina `Alī ibn Abi Talib (r).


Muhammad ibn Sad reported from his teachers that three Kharijites--Abdur-Rahman ibn Muljam, al-Burak ibn Abdilaah and and Amr ibn Bakr at-Tamīmī--gathered in Makkah and pledged to kill Sayyidina `Alī (r) on a Friday morning on the seventeenth day of Ramadhan, the three envious conspirators went to the main masjid of Kufa just before the break of dawn, there they took their position in the narrow passage leading to the prayer hall. A little later, Hadrat `Alī (r) the Beloved of Sayyiduna Muhammad (s) and the “Door of Knowledge” came to the masjid, when it was still dark and their was no one else in the masjid. Ibn Muljam struck Sayyidina `Alī (r) a vicious blow on the forehead which penetrated to his blessed brain. Sayyidina `Alī (r) cried out to the people not to let him escape and they caught him.


[CORRECTION TO NOTE that incorrectly stated: “Abdurrahman Ibnu Muljam, the assassin of Imam `Alī, was the most important muhaddith (narrator of Hadith) in his generation of Tabi'een.”


IN FACT, “Ibn Muljam is known as a "la riwayata lahu" i.e. not a single hadith is narrated through him.” Hajj Gibril Haddad]


When Umm Kulthūm screamed at him, “O enemy of Allah! [ `aduwullah], you have killed the Amīril Mu'minīn wrongly,” the cursed one replied, “Then cry!” He then went on to say , “I poisoned my sword, so if he survives me, I pray that Allah (swt) banishes him and destroys him.”


After Sayyidina `Alī (r) was martyred, Ibn Muljam was brought out to be executed. It was observed that the skin of his forehead was brown from the effects of constant prostration in prayer.


When Sayyidina Imam Hassan ibn `Alī (r) wanted to make a peace settlement with Mu`awiyah, a Kharijite by the name of al-Jarrah ibn Sinān revolted against him. Al-Jarrah said to him, “You have committed shirk as your father did,” then stabbed him in his upper thigh.


The Kharijites continued to raise confusion within and against the Muslim state, massacring innocent Muslim men, women and children during both the Ummayad and Abbassid dynasties. Later on they were all but eradicated by the Ahlu Sunnah Wal Jama`ah.


Muhammad ibn `Abdul Wahhāb at-Tamīmī of Najd, a descendant of Dhul-Khuwaisarah, revived the Kharijite sect, some of whom call themselves Wahabis and others who call themselves Salafis. He spread their evil thought amongst the Bedouins of Najd, encouraging them to revolt against the Ottoman caliphate, with the help of the British, just as their forebears had revolted against the early caliphs.


Imam Abu Zahra on the Wahabis

The Kharijites and their impact on Contemporary Islam - Shaykh Seraj Hendricks