Are the Terrorists (Khawarij) Muslims? -By Murtadha Gusau

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In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Bestower of Mercy

The opinion of the majority of traditional jurists regarding the infamous Khawarij is that it is a legal obligation to fight them, without deeming them disbelievers. They consider them misguided and disobedient to Allah Almighty and to His Messenger (Pbuh).

Imam Abu Bakr al-Ajurri said:

“None of the scholars, in either past or recent times, ever disagreed that the Khawarij are an evil group, disobedient to Allah Almighty and to His Messenger (Pbuh). Even if they pray, fast, or strive in worship, it does not benefit them, and even if they openly enjoin good and forbid evil it does not benefit them, as they are a people who interpret the Quran according to their desire.” (See Kitab al-Shari’ah by Abu Bakr Muhammad bin al-Hasan al-Ajurri. Edited by Abdullah al-Damiji, 2nd edition, Riyadh, Dar al-Watn, 1420 AH. Vol. 1 page 325).

I was raised amongst scholars who would not dare hasten in anathematising anybody, and I constantly repeat my noble father’s statement to my students, “To keep a thousand men within the fold of Islam by a slight chance is more beloved to us than to expel a single man from the fold of Islam by suspicion.” However, a number of senior jurists in the past and in recent times have unequivocally passed judgement on the disbelief of the Khawarij.

Whoever looks at the extremism of the followers of ISIS, Al Qaeda, Taliban, Al Shabab, Boko Haram etc in their beliefs and sees their audacity in declaring those who oppose them to be disbelievers, their persistence in shedding the blood of innocent people and their deeming unlawful things lawful, would hardly doubt the validity of this ruling and its application to them in this time.

Abu Bakr Ibn al-Arabi adopted this opinion and said:

“The correct opinion is that they are disbelievers due to the words of the Prophet (Pbuh), ‘They shall pass out of the religion’, and his words, ‘I shall truly kill them as Ad were killed.’ In another narration, the nation of Thamud is mentioned, both of whom perished due to disbelief. Likewise, his words, ‘They are the worst of creation’, which are not ascribed to any except disbelievers, and his words, ‘Truly they are the most hated of creation by Allah Almighty.’ Furthermore, due to their passing the judgement of disbelief on all who oppose them and declaring their eternal damnation in Hell, they (Khawarij) are far more deserving of this name than them.” (See Arida al-Ahwazi Sharh Sunan al-Tirmidhi vol. 9 page 38, by Qadi Abubakar Ibn al-Arabi al-Maliki).

Imam al-Qurtubi al Maliki inclined to this opinion, as he said when commenting on the prophetic saying, “They shall pass out of the religion…”

“The meaning of this simile is that this group shall leave the religion of Islam without having any association with it.” “Hence, our scholars have clung to the apparent meaning of this simile in declaring them disbelievers. Many scholars hesitated in declaring them disbelievers because of Prophet (Pbuh) words, ‘There is quarrelling regarding the nock,’ implying doubt regarding them. However, it seems that the first opinion, the opinion that they are already disbelievers, is more evident from the hadith.” (See al-Mufhim Lima Ashkala min Talkhis Kitab Muslim. Vol. 3 page 110. By Imam Al-Qurtubi).

Shaykh Abdal-Aziz Ibn Baz issued a fatwa in which he declared the Khawarij disbelievers, saying:

“The majority of Islamic Scholars are of the opinion that they are disobedient misguided innovators, though they do not deem them disbelievers. However, the correct opinion is that they are disbelievers.” (See Man Hum al-Khawarij. By Shaykh Abdul Aziz Ibn Baz)

O Allah! Bless us with awe of you and piety. Fill our hearts with what pleases you. Enable us to act with knowledge and to conduct ourselves with patience, for truly you are the All-Hearing.

O Allah! Help your oppressed servants. Make us your inheritors and use us to guide humanity, speak the truth, and aid the troubled.

O Allah! Bestow your mercy upon us and upon our martyrs. Cure us and heal our injured. Grace us with your kindness and alleviate the sadness that afflicts us.

O Allah! Amend our situation, put our affairs in order, and unite us.

O Allah! Return the people of North-East (in Nigeria), people of Syria and all the people in IDPs camps to their homes, free us from these depraved criminals, the terrorists, and spread peace and security in our lands. Ameen.

O Most Merciful! You are most generous.

To conclude, all praise belongs to Allah, Lord of the Worlds.

Wassalamu Alaikum

Imam Murtadha Muhammad Gusau, writes from Okene Kogi State, Nigeria. He can be reached through: +2348038289761.