I have wondered for a while the reason why the original Khawarij were regarded as so detestable, despite the fact that they had the following immensely praiseworthy qualities:
1) They were unmatched in their exertions in worship and sacrifices for the Deen.
2) They were unmatched in their love for fighting in the path of Allah.
3) Their pure Ikhlaas – their sole intention was to elevate the word of Allah (azza wa jal)
4) Their dependable honesty – as demonstrated by the validity of their testimony and the authenticity of any isnaad containing them.
5) Their words were the most attractive and powerful. They had the best of speech.
The fact that they were extreme in their takfeer and extreme in their propensity to resort to bloodshed should not have affected their Aqeedah and their being part of Ahlus Sunnah – unlike their closest modern-day counterparts who hold anthropomorphic beliefs regarding Allah (azza wa jal) such as ascribing to Him a direction (Nauthubillah).
So what is it exactly about the various Khawarij groups that made them so despicable, and be even branded by the Ahadith as the “Dogs of Hell-fire”?
Wa `Alaykumus Salaamu wa Rahmatullaahi Ta`aalaa wa Barakaatuh.
Bismillaahir Rahmaanir Raheem.
Al-Jawaab, bi-`Ownil Wahhaab, Allaahumma Hidaayat-al-Haqqi was Sawaab:
There are various reasons, habeebi:
1) They would take those Aayaat of the Qur’aan Kareem which referrers to the Kuffaar and apply them to the Muslimeen.
2) Rather than follow the Manhaaj of the Salaf-is-Saaliheen, they and their old leaders, such as Dhul Khuwaysirah and `Abdur Rahmaan ibn Muljim, chose to follow a path of their own making. Rather than trying to understand the Qur’aan and the Ahaadeeth as Rasoolullaah (Sallallaahu `Alayhi wa Sallam) and the Sahaabah-e-Kiraam (Ridhwaanullaahi `Alayhim Ajma`een) had understood them, they chose to understand them in their own Baatil way.
3) They hated Rasoolullaah (Sallallaahu `Alayhi wa Sallam) and the Sahaabah-e-Kiraam (Radhiyallaahu Ta`aalaa `Anhum). `Abdur Rahmaan ibn Muljim, who I mentioned earlier, is the killer of Hadhrat `Ali (Karramallaahu Wajhah), who later on boasted about it to the people. (May Allaah Rabbul `Izzah give him what he deserves.)
4) They regarded the person who commits a major sin to be a Kaafir, Mukhalladun fin Naar.
5) They believed in the permissibility of “women Imaams”. They were the first people to ever believe this; none had ever held this Baatil opinion before them.
6) The Khawaarij rejected Ijmaa`; for Ahlus Sunnah wal Jamaa`ah, Ijmaa` is one of the four methods used in Takhreej-ul-Ahkaam.
7) The Khawaarij believed in following the Qur’aan alone, similar to the “Qur’aaniyyoon” (so they were definitely not ‘Ahl-ul-Hadeeth/Ahle Hedees). They had, ‘reservations’, so to speak, when it came to utilising a Hadeeth for deriving a Hukm. [Abu’l A`laa Maududi: Khilaafat-o-Mulookiyat, p.214]
Let me elaborate a bit further, Inshaa’Allaah:
There are, or there have been, fifteen sects (Firaq) amongst those popurlarly known as “Khawaarij”. They were:
This group not only believed that the Murtakib-ul-Kabaa’ir (Perpetrator of a major sin) is a Kaafir, but even those who persist in what some people term ‘minor sins’ (though in reality there is no such things) were similarly Kuffaar. They followed a man by the name of `Abdullaah ibn Naasir.
These people also, like the rest of the Khawaarij, considered Murtakib-ul-Kabaa’ir to be a Kaafir. They also made Takfeer on two of the Sahaabah (Radhiyallaahu Ta`aalaa `Anhum), namely, Hadhrat `Amr ibn al-`Aas (Radhiyallaahu `Anhu) and Hadhrat Abu Musa al-Ash`ari (Radhiyallaahu `Anhu). They also believed that it is permissible to kill the children of the Mushrikeen (Awlaad-ul-Mushrikeen). They rejected Rajm (stoning to death of a married adulterer). They rejected the punishment of one who slanders a respectable Muslim man (Qaadhif-ul-Muhsan), but accepted the punishment of one who slanders a respectable Muslim woman (Qaadhif-ul-Muhsanah). What is meant by ‘slanering’ here is that they accuse the man/woman of having commited Zinaa, and this is a Major Sin (Gunah Kabeerah) in Islaam.
They were the followers of Naafi` ibn al-Azraq.
Not much is known of them, other than them being followers of a man by the name of Ibn Fudayk.
Again, like al-Fudakiyyah, the only thing we know about them is that they followed a man whose name was `Atiyyah ibn al-Aswad.
They believed in the permissibility for a man to marry his son’s daughters, as well as his daughters’ daughters, and his nieces as well. They believed that Soorah Yusuf was not part of the Qur’aan. They followed `Abdur Rahmaan ibn `Ajrad.
This group had gotten more involved with philosophy. They rejected the belief that the Af`aal of Allaah Ta`aalaa belong to Him in terms of creation, and that the ability to act is brought into being simultaneously with the act itself (Istitaa`a ma`al Fi`l). They believed that whoever does not know Allaah Ta`alaaa by His Asmaa (Names) is a Jaahil (ignorant person).
They believed that if the person atleast knows some of the Names of Allaah Ta`alaa, he will not be regarded as a Jaahil.
They believed that if a person has an infant (Na Baaligh) child at the time of accepting their Da`wah (becoming one of the Khawaarij), that child will not be regarded as a Muslim, until he/she becomes Baaligh, at which the child will be presented with Islaam, and if he/she accepts, only then will they be regarded as being from the Muslimeen.
They followed `Uthmaan ibn as-Salt.
They trace themselves to a man by the name of Al-Akhnas.
They believed that if a person has a slave, he can take all of the Zakaat due to the slave and only give him (the slave) a portion of it, whilst keeping the rest for himself.
Absolutely nothing is known about this group.
This group is supposed to be from the Khawaarij, but is the exact opposite of them.
They believed that as long as a person accepts and believes in Allaah, he can never be a Kaafir, even if he rejects all the other facets of Islaam such as belief in Rasoolullaah (Sallallaahu `Alayhi wa Sallam), the Kutub, Yowm-ul-Qiyaamah, Jannah, Jahannam, etc, and that he would remain a Muslim even if he were to commit every sin imaginable, and even if he were to regard Zinaa and murder as being permissible.
These are the Khawaarij who fought against Hadhrat `Ali (Radhiyallaahu `Anhu) at the battle of Nahrawan.
This is a famous group from amongst the Khawaarij, and hold a slightly different belief. According to them, commiting any of the Kabaa’ir sins is “Kufr-un-Ni`mah”, so the person will be commiting Kufr, but not such Kufr which takes him out of Islaam, so he (the perpetrator) remains a Muslim.
They believed that no person can be a Muslim until he knows everything which is Halaal and everything which is Haraam.
They followed a man whose name was Abu Bahnas.
They followed `Abdullaah ibn ash-Shimrakh, and believed that it is permissible to kill ones parents.
They are very similar to Al-Azaariqah, who have been mentioned previously. However, a belief peculiar to them was their rejection of Salaah. They believed that one should only perform two Raka`ats (Raka`tayn) in the morning and two Raka`ats in the evening. They did not believe in making Fajr, Zhuhr, `Asr, Maghrib and `Ishaa.
They also, like the Azaariqah, believed in the permissibility of Qatlu Awlaadil Mushrikeen (killing the infant children of the polytheists). They also made Takfeer of Hadhrat `Ali (Radhiyallaahu `Anhu) due to his resorting to arbitration (Tahkeem), and they also (like the rest of the Khawaarij) believed in Takfeer of a Murtakib-ul-Kabeerah (Perpetrator of a major sin).
Those are the fifteen sub-sects of the Khawaarij. You may know decide for yourself whether they are like the Salafis/Ahl-ul-Hadeeth of the present day or not.
Wallaahu Ta`aalaa A`lam wa `Ilmuhu Atamm wa Ahkam.