A Concise Introduction to the Khawaarij

Original Title: _.,i|, .|¸.}| _.| _. ·...-|, ·..i| _.| _·¸.
Author: Dr. Ibrāhīm al-Ruḥaylī
Translator: Harrison

A Concise Introduction to the Khawaarij

The word - ¸ ¸ ¸| _ “Khawārij” is the plural form of the singular word, - ¸ ¸. , · “Khārijah” (from
the Arabic root verb: “kharaja” meaning to go out or leave)
. They are called that because
of their leaving the (fundamentals of the) religion and for their opposing the best Muslims
(the companions of the prophet ( ,.., ·,.. &| _.. ).
And the first opposition and insurgency
from them occurred against the leader of the believers, ‘Alī Ibn Abī Tālib ( ·.. &| _.¸ )
when the issue of who has the right to pass rulings was debated. The Khawārij gathered
at a place called Harūrā
near Kufa (in Iraq). There, ‘Alī ( ·.. &| _.¸ ) fought fiercely with
them at a place called al-Nahrawān but only after advising and debating with them and
clearly establishing the evidences against them. In that battle, less than ten of the
Khawārij remained and less than ten Muslims were killed. After the Khawārij’s defeat, two
of them fled to Oman, two to Karmāan (near Khorasan in Iran and Sijistān), two to
Sijistān (Seistan), two to the Arabian Peninsula, and one fled to Yemen.

The scholar al-Shahrastānī said, “The innovated beliefs and methods of the Khawārij
appeared in these places from them (the nine people who were defeated and fled) and
they’ve remained ever since up until today.”

Selected excerpts taken from the book: “Mawqi’ Ahlis-Sunnah wal-Jamā’ah min Ahl al-Aḥwā wal-
Bid’a” by Dr. Ibrāhīm Ar-Ruḥaylī (pgs. 137-140).
The Khawārij are often called “Kharijites” in English. This label of theirs may be translated as
separatists, insurgents, rebels, nonconformist, etc. [Translator’s Note]
See “Fatḥ al-Bārī” (vol. 12, pg. 283).
Harūrā was a village said to be about two miles outside of Kufa (in Iraq). The Khawārij are also
sometimes referred to as “Hārūriyyah” because they chose that place to gather. See “Mu’jam al-
Buldān” from Yāqoot Al-Hamawī (vol. 2, pg. 245).
See “al-Milal wal-Nihal” by al-Shahrastānee (vol. 1 pgs. 115-117) and “al-Farq bayna al-Firaq” by
al-Baghdādee (pg. 75).
“al-Milal wal-Niḥal” by al-Shahrastānī (vol. 1 pgs. 117).

The Khawārij are known by other (Arabic) names such as “al-Hārūriyyah,” “al-Shurāh,”
“al-Māriqah,” and “al-Muḥakkimah”. They don’t mind these labels except for “al-


The Khawārij collectively agreed that both ‘Uthmān and later ‘Alee (the 3
and 4
of Islam) were in fact disbelievers as were the other companions...And they think
revolting against the leaders and governments is permissible.

They also believe that any major sin is an act of disbelief…

Many authentic ḥadīth from the prophet ( ,.., ·,.. &| _.. ) condemning them have come in
ten different forms of narration like what al-Khalāl narrated from Imam Ahmad that he
said, “The Khawārij are wicked people, and I don’t know of any people on earth more evil
than they.” And he said, “The prophet’s ( ,.., ·,.. &| _.. ) ḥadīth about them are authentic
in ten different forms.”

The famous scholar of Islam, Ibn Taymiyyah,
mentioned that Muslim recorded some of
them in his authentic collection as did al-Bukhārī.

And the scholars unanimously agree to the permissibility to fight the Khawārij whenever
they begin challenging and revolting against the leader, opposing the mainstream
community of Muslims, and renouncing obedience – but after they’ve been warned. This
has been mentioned by al-Nawawī
and Ibn Taymiyyah.

As for considering the Khawārij to be disbelievers themselves, some scholars differ about
this. There are two different narrations from Ahmad about this, mentioned by Ibn

See “Maqālāt Al-Islāmiyyīn” by al-Ash’arī (vol. 1, pgs. 206, 207).
al-Māriqah happens to be the name taken from the Hadeeth when the prophet ( ) described
them as those who “maraqa” or “go through” or “pass in and out” of the religion. [T.N.]
“al-Sunnah” by al-Khalāal (vol. 1, 145, no. 110).
See “Majmū’ al-Fatāwá” (vol. 3, pg. 279).
See “Muslim” (vol. 2, pgs. 740-750) and “Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī” with “Fatḥ al-Bārī” (vol. 12, pgs. 282,
283, 390).
See al-Nawawī’s explanation of “Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim” (vol. 7, pg. 170).
See “Majmū’ al-Fatāwá” (vol. 3, pg. 282).

And Ibn Hajar went into detail about the issue in “Fatḥ al-Bārī” by
mentioning the various opinions of the scholars and their evidences.

However, the more correct opinion is not to consider them disbelievers because Ibn
Taymiyyah mentioned that no narrations from the Companions have been recorded
mentioning they were disbelievers. None of the Companions used to declare them to be
disbelievers, neither ‘Alee nor any other Companion. Instead, they judged them as
oppressive Muslim transgressors.

See “Majmū’ al-Fatāwá” (vol. 28, pg. 500).
See “Fatḥ al-Bārī” (vol. 12, pgs. 299-301).
See “Majmū’ al-Fatāwá” (vol. 3, pg. 282; vol. 5, pg. 247; vol. 7, pg. 217).
www.answering-extremism.com 1

Are the Terrorists of Today the Khawārij?

Original Title: _¸|¸- ,,.| ±: . _¸,,.!| ..¸.
Author: Ṣāliḥ al-Fawzān
Translator: Abu Az-Zubayr Harrison

Are the Terrorists of Today the Khawārij?

Question: The questioner asks about this group that has today left the Muslims and
opposed them. They carry out bombings and terrorize people who once felt safe. Are
these people truly part of the Khawārij or are they disbelievers?

Answer: This group that has left the Muslims, rebelling against them – this is the result of
disassociating oneself from the scholars. I mentioned the consequences of this during the
last part of the (previous) lecture. They broke away from the scholars, broke away from
the Muslim leaders, and the disbelievers and hypocrites put these ideologies into their
heads. So, they have become outcasts in Muslim societies.

They are Khawārij, no doubt. This act of theirs is the act of the Khawārij. Rather, they are
even more violent and extreme than the (original) Khawārij. The (past) Khawārij did not
use to destroy buildings and residents. The Khawārij used to show up face-to-face on the
battlefield. They used to fight on the battlefield despite what they were upon of ignorance.
But they did not used to collapse buildings on everyone inside them – women, children,
the innocent, those at peace with Muslims, people with whom Muslims have a treaty, and
other people guaranteed safety. The Khawārij used not to do this. This is worse and more
violent than the actions of the (original) Khawārij. This is more like the actions of the
Qarāmiṭah (a severely violent, misguided sect). They are more like the Qarāmiṭah
because the actions of the Qarāmiṭah are secret, based on secrecy and
underhandedness and what these people today do is also based on secrecy. The

This question was answered by Ṣāliḥ al-Fawzān verbally and the audio clip can be found at:
http://www.fatwa1.com/anti-erhab/Irhabion/Irhabion.html. This particular audio clip is no. 20 in the
list and contains three questions answered by the Shaykh – this is the first one.
www.answering-extremism.com 2

(former) Khawārij – their actions were not kept hidden and secret; they would make
themselves and their objectives known, publicly announcing them. So, these people are
even worse than Khawārij.
Are the Khawārij Those Who Only Revolt Against a Just Ruler?
Original Title: .i| _,.. _,:.i
Author: Rabī’ Ibn Hādī Al-Madkhalī
Source: http://www.rabee.net/show_fatwa.aspx?id=160
Translator: A. Harrison

Are the Khawārij Those Who Only Revolt against a Just

Question: What is your view of someone who says, “The Khawārij are the people who
revolt only against a legitimate and just ruler. As for someone who revolts against an
actual oppressive ruler, then he is not one of the Khawārij”?

Answer: ‘Abd al-Mālik Ibn Marwān used to be an oppressive ruler. He killed (the
companion) ‘Abd Allāh Ibn Az-Zubayr and one of Ibn Marwān’s delegates even destroyed
the Ka’bah. Still, (the companion) ‘Abd Allāh Ibn ‘Umar maintained allegiance and
obedience to him after all this, and the remaining companions did the same. By Allāh, he
was oppressive, may Allāh have mercy on him. He did have good qualities, he did good
deeds, he had victorious conquests, and he performed (legitimate) Jihād. Yet, by Allāh,
he was an oppressor, he was unjust. The messenger ( ,.., ·,.. &| _.. ) taught time and
time again about these circumstances, and these texts are in the two authentic ḥadīth
collections (Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim & Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī) and in other collections. For example, he
said (about the rulers):
| ¸ . ´ , ´ - ´ ¸ ´ . _ , . | . · ´ .. ´ ¸ ¸ · | ´ , : ´ , ´ .i| .·
“Obey them as long as they establish the prayer among you.”
And he said:
. ´ - ¸ , · ´ ¸ , , ´ . ´ . ¸ : ´ , ´ , ¸ ,
“(You will see things from them) that you know (to be right) and things you dislike.”
And when asked, “Should we oppose them with our swords?” he said:
. , . . . . ´ ¸ |
“No, not as long as they pray.”

These texts were regarding unjust rulers and still the messenger ( ,.., ·,.. &| _.. )
instructed (the people) to have patience with them. He did not allow rebelling and
opposing them. The one who revolts and renounces allegiance to them (the leaders),
then he does so against all the Muslims. In this case, such a person should be killed
(legitimately – by capital punishment), even if the ruler he opposed was indeed
This understanding is from the Khawārij themselves – they say, “Someone is not
considered to be one of the Khawārij unless the ruler he revolts against is a just leader.”
By this, they mean that ‘Alī ( ·.. &| _.¸ ) was unjust and Uthmān ( ·.. &| _.¸ ) was

Also, those people who glorify Sayyid Qutb view ‘Uthmān as not being a just leader even
if they conceal it. Otherwise, why would they glorify Sayyid Qutb who criticizes the justice
of ‘Uthmān and nullifies and discredits his leadership? And the leadership (of a ruler) is
not to be discredited except in the case of clear disbelief, yet he (Sayyid Qutb) does so
because he is a Takfīrī (someone who wrongfully and indiscriminately criticizes people of
having committed disbelief). He is the chief of Takfīrīs! He was unable to openly proclaim
‘Uthmān’s disbelief and that of the Rawāfiḍ (the extreme Shīas who curse the
companions) at the same time. He actually combined between the Khawārij and Rawāfiḍ
ideologies. He carried the banner of the Khawārij and that of the Rawāfiḍ, along with
other banners. He made ‘Uthmān ( ·.. &| _.¸ ) out to be a tyrant so we could legitimately
rebel against them, and he considered ‘Alī too as an oppressor so we could revolt against
him as well and likewise (is the pattern).

And Dhū al-Khuwaysarah – you saw how he discredited even the justice of the
messenger ( ,.., ·,.. &| _.. ). So the issue reaches a point to which there is no limit or
real criterion to judge it. Someone who you may consider just is not considered to be just
by the one who rebels against him!

So, the solution is that as long as the ruler is within the circle of Islam – and the
messenger ( ,.., ·,.. &| _.. ) clearly defined it – then even if such a ruler were wicked
and oppressive; as long as he is within Islam, as long as he establishes prayer, then it is
impermissible to oppose and revolt against him. Have you all understood this? This is the
ruling of Allāh and the ruling of the messenger ( ,.., ·,.. &| _.. ), not the ruling of the
ignorant people.


Disobeying the Rulers & Abandoning the Scholars
Original Title: ·¸,.-i| .¸...i| _ ·,.,:i| _,...i|
Author: Abd al-Azz li-Shaykh
Translator: Harrison

‘Abdul-‘Azīz Āli-Shaykh
on Disobeying the Rulers &
Abandoning the Scholars

Question: Some biased and questionable people these days are promoting by way of
the internet and calling the youth of this country to disregard obedience to the
leaders/government of the country and to instead oppose them. They also call the youth
not to listen to the scholars in this regard. So, we ask for your counsel and comments on

Answer: We seek refuge with Allāh from such evil circumstances. These are the
hypocrites. They are astray and in their hearts is a disease. They envy Islam and its
people. Whoever calls to opposing and rebelling against the leader, whoever calls to
insurgence against the authorities, and whoever calls to chaos, then there’s hypocrisy in
his heart and a disease. May Allāh suppress and disgrace such a person.

This person is, and we seek help from Allāh, one of the callers to evil and wickedness
and of those who cause distress to a nation. He’s one of those who have a sickness of
envy in their hearts towards Islam and its adherents. They love to spread chaos and
anarchy among Muslim societies.

It is required for every Muslim to have insight and to fully comprehend all that he hears.
No doubt, the internet is one of the most technological advances in communication.
However, unfortunately it sometimes contains websites and allows access to the
promotion of criminal, misleading, and hypocritical information which takes others away

‘Abd al-‘Azīz Āli-Shaykh: The current Grand Mufti of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. (born 1362
Hijrah / 1941). – T.N.
This fatwā was taken from a book called “al-Fatāwā al-Shar’iyyah fī al-Qadhāyā Al-‘Asriyyah,” a
collection of various rulings by Muhammad Ibn Fahd al-Ḥusayn.

from Allāh. These are politically sectarian people causing nothing but corruption. Allāh
() says:

 | .¸ ¸ , _,¸ · ´ ,´ , i ¸ _´ ¸ }| _¸ · |,´ .¸ . .´ . . ,¸´ -¸ .´ .´ . ´ _´ - . . .´ .¸ ¸ |¸ i. · ´ ,´ . ´ ,´ ,´ .¸ ¸ . |
,,´ .¸ . .´ . i| ,,´ ,´ -´ : ¸ . ´ _¸ : i , 
And when it is said to them, “Do not cause corruption on earth,” they say,
“We are only trying to rectify and better the situation.” For sure, they are
the corruptors but they don’t perceive it.
[Sūrah al-Baqarah, 2:11-12]

Anyone who invites another person to oppose and rebel against the obedience of those
in leadership and not to listen to them, then assume the worst of such a person in that
he’s a hypocrite and a wicked sinner. He has no allegiance, no religion, and no loyalty.
This is so because, and we seek refuge with Allāh, these types of incitements promote
chaos, bloodshed, the plundering of property, and the violation of people’s rights. Our
society, thanks to Allāh, is a Muslim society under Muslim leadership. There are men in
its service working for the well-being of the country, defending it, some working
throughout the entire night safeguarding it in order to protect it in every possible way.
They sacrifice their time and money for the establishment of this society. Whenever any
ways leading to evil arise, Allāh repels them from this country by means of what it
contains of good, rectifications, legislative rulings, and good intentions from those in
positions of authority in the country. May Allāh grant them success and guide them to all
that’s good.

So, these types of calls and invitations on the internet and by other means originate from
envious people and misguided hypocrites. They cannot come from a Muslim who fears
Allāh and remains conscious of Him. A Muslim is someone who fears Allāh
conscientiously, calls to that which Allāh calls to of listening to and obeying the leaders in
obedience to Allāh, and supports them by cooperation, especially in these recent times of
dangers and tribulations that threaten all Muslim societies. So, alliance, cooperation,
mutual support, and the unity of hearts and goals, and of the ranks of the people – this is

what’s obligated upon us and required from every individual among us. The Prophet ()

·´ ,¸ .¸ .. , · .´ , . ´ ·´ . .´ , . , ´ .´ ¸´ . ¸ ´ ·´ .¸ , · . · -´ , , ¸·¸ .´ .´ . _¸ · _´ , i , &| _¸ . i ´ _ .
“Whoever meets Allāh (dies) with no allegiance of obedience upon him, then he
dies a death in a state of Jāhiliyyah (pre-Islamic state of ignorance).”

Whoever has within his heart envy and enmity towards the country and belittles
obedience and social order, he lives a wretched life and dies the death of Jāhiliyyah.

A Muslim should love the good for other Muslims. He should love that they are united and
that their hearts and ranks are one. It’s well-known that these enemies desire only chaos
and disorder and not unity.

This country is envied because of its religion, its safety, its leadership, affluence and rich
resources, and its unity and uniformity. So, we ask Allāh for His protection from these
misguiding propagations. Every Muslim is required, when hearing such evil, to pay no
attention to it, reject it, and make it known that it originates from people with hearts full of
envy and animosity, of deviance and evil – from those waging war against Allāh and his
messenger ( ,.., ·,.. &| _.. ).

May Allāh protect our Muslim lands from every evil. We ask Allāh to preserve for us our
religion, our safety, and our leadership. May He unite us on obedience to Him and may
He prevent the plots of the treacherous and the hatred of the envious.

Recorded by Muslim (no 4770).
Taken from the casette, Aḥdāf al-Ḥamalāt al-‘Ilāmiyyah Ḍid Wulāh wa ‘Ulamā’ Bilād al-

The Khawārij Ideology

Original Title: ·¸,.-i| .¸...i| _ ·,.,:i| _,...i|
Author: Ṣāliḥ al-Fawzān
Translator: Abu Az-Zubayr Harrison

The Khawārij Ideology

Question: Are there present today those who have the same ideologies of the Khawārij?

Answer: All of this that is prevalent today – is it not from the actions of the Khawārij?!
Making Takfīr
of Muslims and even worse – killing fellow Muslims and hating them? This
is the exact methodology of the Khawārij. It includes three things:

1. Making Takfīr of other Muslims.
2. Renouncing obedience to the leader or government.
3. Declaring the blood of other Muslims lawful to spill.

This is precisely the methodology of the Khawārij. Even if a person were only to believe
any of these things with his heart, yet he may not actually speak or do anything of them,
he is still one of the Khawārij in his baseless belief and opinions.

This Fatwá was taken from a book called “al-Fatāwá al-Shar’iyyah fī al-Qadhāyā al-‘Asriyyah,” a
collection of various rulings by Muḥammad Ibn Fahd al-Ḥuṣayn.
Takfīr: The indiscriminate declaring of people to be disbelievers regardless if they declare belief
or not. [T.N.]
Taken from the cassette: Fatāwá al-‘Ulamā’ fī al-Aḥdāth al-Rāhinah allatī Ḥadathat bisharq
Madīnah ar-Riyādh.(1424 Hijrah / 2004).
Page 1 of 2

Are the Khawārij Sincere in Worship?
Original Title: _,:.i _,...i|
Author: Rabī’ Ibn Hādī Al-Madkhalī
Source: http://www.rabee.net/show_fatwa.aspx?id=157
Translator: Harrison

Are the Khawārij Sincere in Worship?

Question: Regarding the hadĪth of the prophet ( . . &| _ . . ´ , ¸ · , . . , ) about the Khawārij:

| . . ¸ _¸ .´ .¸ . ´ _¸ . ´ _´ ,´ - ¸ | · ¸ ´ ,| · . ´ , :´ . - | ´ ,¸ .´ - ¸ . _ . ´ · . · _ . ´ · .. ,¸ . , ´ ,¸ ,¸ .
´ ,¸ ,¸ .. ,¸ . ´ .i| ´ _´ ,´ . ¸ . . : ¸ _¸` .i| ´ _¸ . ,¸ ·´ ,´ . ¸ ¸ ·´ ,¸ .´ ,i| ´ _¸ . ´ ,´ ,
“There will appear from this man’s progeny people who one of you would belittle
his own prayer when compared with theirs, and his fasting compared to theirs.
(But) they will pass through the religion just as an arrow might pass through a

As for the wording, “One of you would belittle his own prayer when compared with theirs,
and his fasting compared to theirs…,” does this mean that he ( _ . . &| ¸ ·´ , . . , . . , ) described
the Khawārij as being people sincere in worship?

Answer: No, if they had anything of sincerity, they would follow the prophet’s guidance
( _ . . &| ¸ ·´ , . . , . . , ), but they don’t have sincerity, and Allaah knows best. They do, however,
possess hypocrisy and showing off, incorrect acts of worship, and extremism in worship.

Three people once came to the houses of the wives of the prophet ( _ . . &| ¸ ·´ , . . , . . , ), asking
how the prophet used to worship. When they were informed about it
, they belittled their
own worship and said, “What are we compared to the prophet ( _ . . &| ¸ ·´ , . . , . . , )? Allaah has
already forgiven all his past and previous sins.” So, one of them said, “As for me, I am

Recorded by al-Bukhārī (no. 3610, 6163, 6933) and Muslim (no. 1064).
i.e. That he did not use to be extreme in worship.
Page 2 of 2

going to pray all night, every night.” Another said, “And I will fast every day.” The third
said, “I am going to avoid women and never get married.” Later, the prophet ( _ . . &| ¸ ·´ , . .
, . . ,) came to them and said:

| . : , | . : ´ ,´ . . · _¸¸ . i| ´ ,´ .´ . | : } _` .¸ ¸ ¸ · .i| , . . | _` .¸ : i ´ · i ´ , :. .´ . | , ¸ · .¸ i ´ , :. :´ -
_` .¸ . _´ , . · _¸ .´ .´ . ´ _ . ,¸ . ¸ ´ _ . · .. .` .i| ´ _´ , , . |, ´ . ·´ ¸ | , _ . . | , ´ ,¸ L · | , ´ ,¸´ . |
“Are you the ones who said this and that? As for me, by Allāh, I am the most
fearing of Allaah among you. Still, I fast some days and not other days, I pray
sometimes and I sleep, and I marry women. Whoever isn’t satisfied with my way
then he’s not from me.”

As for the Khawārij, when they go to extremes in acts of worship and go beyond the
limits, they fall into extremism. This – may Allaah bless you – is misguidance and we
shouldn’t praise them for it. Instead, it’s disgraceful of them because they’ve fallen into

The companions (of the prophet _ . . &| ¸ ·´ , . . , . . , ) were the best of Allaah’s creation and
used to worship Allaah more than anyone else. Do these people (the Khawārij) pray more
than they did? Do they recite the Quran more than they did? These Khawārij recite the
Quran yet understand it in ways other than it is intended, other than what it really means.

Brother, I could read one text from the Sunnah in the way it’s to be understood according
to the prophet ( _ . . &| ¸ ·´ , . . , . . , ) and it’s better than (their) praying all night. This is nothing
but extremism in worship. They have left the prophet’s Sunnah ( _ . . &| ¸ ·´ , . . , . . , ), turned
away from it while being dissatisfied with it. They are people of misguidance. So, this
ḥadīth is neither in praise of them, nor is it commending them for being sincere.

Recorded by al-Bukhārī (no. 5063).