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The Rise of the Khawaarij

By
Shaykh ‘Abdul-Muhsin Ibn Naasir Aali-‘Ubaykaan

An excerpt from our publication: The Khawaarij & Their Recurring Ideologies

Translated by: Abu Zubayr Harrison


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The Khawaarij appeared as soon as there occurred among the Muslims splitting and
division which confirms what the Prophet () informed of when he said:

 
 
 
  

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“The sign of them will be a black man; one of his upper-arms will resemble a woman’s breast
or a piece of hanging flesh. They will rise when the people divide.” 1

Zayd Ibn Wahb al-Juhanee 2 narrated that he was among the army under the command of
‘Alee () that went out to fight the Khawaarij. ‘Alee said:

O people, indeed I heard Allaah’s Messenger () saying:

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“There will arise a people from my nation, those who will recite the Qur’aan; your recitation
is nothing (insignificant) compared to theirs, your prayer is nothing compared to theirs, and
your fasting is nothing compared to theirs. They recite the Qur’aan believing it is an evidence
in support of them yet it is actually against them. Their prayers will not even go beyond their
throats (mere reading only). They will pass through and out of Islaam just as an arrow
passes out of a target.”

‘Alee continued: “If the army that is to encounter them were to know what
(rewards) have been promised to them upon the tongue of their Prophet (), then
they would almost rely solely upon that deed.

Their (the Khawaarij) distinctive mark is that there will be among them a man with
one upper-arm having no forearm. Its end will resemble a breast (of a woman) and
there will be white hair upon it.

1
Recorded by al-Bukhaaree (al-Fath: 6/714, no. 3610) and Muslim (no. 1064).
2
Adh-Dhahabee said in “Siyar ‘Alaam an-Nubalaa” (4/196): “Zayd Ibn Wahb al-Juhanee al-Koofee was one who
lived through both periods, Jaahiliyyah and Islaam. He journeyed to meet the Prophet () hoping to remain
in his companionship. However, he () died while Zayd was still on his way traveling. He (Zayd) died around
83 Hijrah.”
You will march towards Mu’aawiyah and the people of ash-Shaam, leaving them
(the Khawaarij) behind with your children and wealth! By Allaah, I hope that these
are those people (that the Prophet informed of), for they have shed blood that was
inviolable and have raided livestock. So go in the name of Allaah.”
Salamah Ibn Kuheel 3 said:

Zayd Ibn Wahb was with me at every point until we came to the bridge. That day,
‘Abdullaah Ibn Wahb ar-Raasibee4 was at the head of the Khawaarij when we
encountered them. He (‘Abdullaah) said to his army, “Throw your spears and draw
your swords from your sheaths, for I fear that they will confront you in the way they
did on the Day of Harooraa.” 5 So they went back, let loose their spears and drew
their swords. The people fought against them with spears, stabbing them and
killing them one after another. And no one was killed that day (from ‘Alee’s army)
except two men. ‘Alee said,

“Search among them (the casualties) for the deformed one.”

So, the people searched but did not find him. ‘Alee then stood and began searching
himself until he came to a group of people who had been killed. He said,

“Search everyone of these to the last (of them).”


So they found him at the bottom, on the ground. ‘Alee said:

“Allaah is the greatest! Allaah told the Truth and His Messenger () conveyed it.”

‘Abeedah as-Salmaanee 6 stood before him and asked, “O Chief of the Believers, by
Allaah other than Whom there is no god, did you in fact hear this Hadeeth from
Allaah’s Messenger ()?” He replied,

3
Adh-Dhahabee said in “Siyar ‘Alaam an-Nubalaa” (5/298): “Salamah Ibn Kuheel Ibn Husayn Aboo Yahyaa al-
Hadhramee, al-Tan’ee, al-Koofee. Yahyaa Ibn Salamah said, ‘My father was born in the year 47 (Hijrah) and
died on the Day of ‘Ashooraa in the year 121.’”
4
Az-Zarkalee said in “al-‘Alaam” (4/288): “He was from the most famous of the leaders of the Khawaarij for
asceticism. He was a person of knowledge, intellect, eloquence of speech, and bravery. He was amazing in
his worship.”
5
Yaaqoot al-Hamawee said in “Mu’jam al-Buldaan” (2/283): “It is said that this is a village near al-Koofah (in
Iraq) and it has also been said that it is a place branching off from it. The Khawaarij who rebelled against
‘Alee Ibn Abee Taalib () camped there so they have since been attributed to that place.”
6
Adh-Dhahabee said in “Siyar ‘Alaam an-Nubalaa” (4/40): “‘Abeedah Ibn ‘Amr as-Salmaanee al-Faqeeh, al-
Maraadee, al-Koofee. He was one of the chiefs. He accepted Islaam in Yemen during the year of the
conquest of Mecca, yet he did not actually accompany the Prophet (). He learned from ‘Alee, Ibn Mas’ood,
“Yes, by Allaah other than Whom there is no god.”

He (‘Abeedah) asked him (‘Alee) to swear three times in which he did.7

This Hadeeth is recorded by Muslim.

and others. He excelled in the knowledge of Fiqh and he is trustworthy in his Hadeth narrations. He died in
the year 72 Hijrah.”
7
Recorded by Muslim (no. 1066).