Khawarij: Has the Destructive Ideology Reincarnated? Part-1

This is a Pakpotpourri Exclusive                                                                                                                                                                                          By:Ahmed Raza

Pakistan in its 63 years of existence has gone through many natural and far more than that, men made disasters (Wars). One of which Pakistan is still fighting- has no designated battle field-enemy has no uniform- Complete country is a battle ground now. We have lost more than 15000 Pakistanis in this war of unknown killing zone. Is this not the time to ponder and study the roots of this horrifying enemy? One, who has transformed us in a society of chauvinistic and psychologically depressed human beings, yes, We are very late to respond but nations do commit mistakes-we all did it-it’s time to react to the realized fact. Rebirth of Khawarijs (The Deviators) on this planet is the case in discussion here, especially when they are now entrenched against us in the silhouette of terrorist organizations like TTP (Tehrik e Taliban Pakistan). For analytical assessment of their agenda it’s always better to refer history.

It was 1st Muharram of 1400th Islamic year (20th November 1979)-Mecca was praying as usual in the Grand mosque Kaaba-as the Imam finished his prayers some young Arabs equipped with automatic weapons entered the arena. All the gates were closed leading to the inner part of the mosque Mataf. Juhayman ibn Muhammad ibn Sayf al-Otaibi presented a young man aged approx 25 years, Muhammad bin Abdullah as Mahdi – the crowd was stunned-they took over the control of the Grand mosque within minutes as professional trained soldiers…………………….

One of the most horrendous events in the Islamic history had happened, the Holiest Grand Mosque of Muslims the Kaaba was attacked and sieged by a fake Mahdi supported by Juhayman ibn Muhammad ibn Sayf al-Otaibi. It shook the very foundation of Al Saud Kingdom, Mecca’s bloody siege lasted two weeks, causing hundreds of deaths and inflaming human rage all around the globe.

To understand the reasons leading to this horrific episode, it is imperative to look into annuls of recent history of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, with emphasis on the ruling family of Al Saud. 

…………..The Al Saud family that today rules the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a member of the Anizah, a Northern Arabian or Adnani, tribal confederation historically located in the Najd, or Central Arabian Peninsula. The family derives its name from its 18th Century ancestor, Muhammad bin Saud, who joined forces with an austere Islamic reformer, Muhammad bin Abd al-Wahhab, in a military religious alliance for control over Central Arabia. Muhammad bin Saud was defeated by the Egyptian Army, which moved to Arabia for protecting Hejaz on the orders of the Ottoman Caliph. 

The left job was taken over after a century by Abdul Aziz Bin Saud, who captured Najd and eastern coast of Arabia by 1912. In 1925 the forces of Ibn Saud captured the holy city of Mecca from Sharif Hussein bin Ali, ending 700 years of Hashemite rule. On 21 April 1925 the Saudis destroyed some of the most holy places of Islam, Jannat-ul-Baqi and Jannat-ul-Mualla, hence completing the agenda of military-religious alliance of Ibn Saud with Wahabbis.  On 10 January 1926, Ibn Saud proclaimed himself King of the Hejaz in the Great Mosque at Mecca. On 20 May 1927, the British government signed the Treaty of Jeddah, which abolished the Darin protection agreement and recognized the independence of the Hejaz and Najd with Ibn Saud as its ruler.

What happened in 1927 was triggered during The First World War which changed the political dynamics of the heartland of the Muslim world, abolition of Ottoman Caliphate brought western concept of state and nation hood. The concept of Euro Christians with sovereignty rests with the people prevailed in the center of Islamic civilization. Role of British diplomacy and created fervor of Saudi nationalism (courtesy British unprecedented help) paved the way for the first Monarch of Hejaz the Saud Family.

 The said diplomacy of British in Arabian Peninsula was multi-dimensional but highly integrated.

  • First of all, the objective of snatching control of the Hejaz the holy lands (Mecca and Madina) from the Caliph.
  • Secondly Britain wanted a friendly regime in control of the Hejaz so that it could better be able to manipulate the politics of the peninsula.
  • Finally, the politics of the peninsula and the defeat of the Ottomans were strategically linked to Zionism’s efforts to build a diabolical consensus with Britain in the pursuit of the creation of a Jewish National Home in Palestine.

Fall of Caliphate lead to non-existence of Dar al Islam. Nowhere in the world, it exists now, as it has never existed.

A little about Dar al-Islam,

While the Hejaz was Dar al-Islam every Muslim had the right to enter that territory.

  • He did not need a visa.
  • There was no such thing as Saudi sovereignty.
  • There was no such thing as Saudi citizenship.
  • The right of entry into any part of Dar al-Islam was one of several rights which Muslims had, such as the right to reside in Dar al-Islam,
  • They did not need residence permits, the right to seek livelihood in any part of Dar al-Islam, they did not need a work permits etc.

The birth of the State of Saudi Arabia resulted in the denial and eventual elimination of all these rights of Muslims as Ummah.

What made present Saudi Arabia and especially Al Saud Family win over the confidence of the complete Muslim world? It was through an exceptional support of British to Al Saud family, after the fall of Caliphate, which did this magic for them. On the other hand to gain all possible control over the Hejaz, the Saud family also enforced very strict brand of Islam(Wahabbism) in the new born state. The century old military-alliance between Al Saud and Muhammad bin Abd al-Wahhab was best achieved now, with Muslims strictly following Wahabbi sect (the purest form of Islam) as they claim, right in the heart-land of Islam-the Hejaz.

Every sect of Islam has its own effects on the minds of the people; the Wahabi perception is also not alien to this effect. The fanatical chapter of Wahabbi ideology of Islam gave rebirth to Takhfiri concept of Islam associated with Kharijites.

Aḥmad, Muslim, and Ibn Mājah recorded a Ḥadīth from Abū Dharr who narrated that, Allah’s messenger said:

“There will definitely be a people after me from my nation who will recite the Quran yet it will not even reach beyond their throats. They will pass through the religion as an arrow passes through a target, then they will not return back to it. They are the worst of people, the worst of all creatures”.

The origin of Kharijism lies in the first Islamic civil war, the struggle for political supremacy over the Muslim community in the years following the death of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). After the third caliph (Uthman ibn Affan), a struggle for succession ensued between Caliph Ali and Muʿāwiyah, the governor of Syria and cousin of Uthman.

According to the concept of Kharijites the caliphate of Abu Bakr and Umar were rightly guided but believed that Uthman ibn Affan had deviated from the path of justice and truth in the last days of his caliphate, and hence was liable to be killed or displaced. They also believed that Ali ibn Abi Talib committed a grave sin whence he agreed on the arbitration. In the Battle of Siffin, Ali acceded to Muʿāwiyah’s suggestion to stop the fighting and refuge to negotiation. A large portion of Ali’s troops (who later became the first Kharijites) refused to concede to that agreement, and they considered that Ali has breached a Qur’anic verse which states that The decision is only for Allah (Qur’an 6:57), and hence the Kharijites thought that the outcome of a conflict can only be decided in battle (by God) and not in negotiations (by human beings). Later on, Abu lo lo feroze majoose a renowned Khawarij killed the Fourth Caliph of Islam “Ali”.

Al-Bukhārī, Muslim, and Abū Dāwūd recorded a narration in which ‘Alī said:

“There will come towards the end of time a people who will be young in age, having reckless and deficient intellects. They will speak with the statements of the best of creation, yet they will pass through Islam just as an arrow passes through a target. Their faith will not even reach beyond their throats. Wherever you find them, kill them, for whoever kills them will have a reward on the Day of Resurrection”.

Coming back to the events of Kaaba 1979, what was immediately required for Saudi Army to operate with conviction to end the fiasco, was a Fatwa by the highest religious council of the country. As fighting in the holy land was completely prohibited by the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), any defaulter in this regard was to be executed without fail. The Juhayaman and his men along with The Fake Mahdi were to be executed on the authority of that fatwa, as they breached the order of Prophet in the Holy Kaaba.

Bin Baaz, the religious head of the Saudi Government was a prominent Wahabbi scholar, who was to act promptly to end this embarrassment of highest order. He, on the other hand has been ignoring the wrongful deeds of Juhayaman in the past, to an extent, that about a year back he got him released from Governments custody on the charges of suspicious activities against the state. It is imperative here to mention that Juhayaman was a staunch practicing Wahabbi and this fact was very well known to Bin Baaz.

 It took more than three days to get the appropriate Fatwa from Bin Baaz and his council. Even convergence of all 22 ulemas in Ryiadh to frame the required Fatwa was not achieved after 48 hours of the catastrophe.

All is well that ends well, Saudi troops acted promptly after the initiation of Fatwa, which clearly declared Juhayaman and his men as Kharijites (deviators). The perpetrators were executed as per the law, but the ridiculous khariji ideology was born yet again.

In the next article I will make an endeavour to crystallize the happenings leading to transportation of this re-born Khariji ideology to Pakistan and what role US and India played in it.                                                                                                              (The writer is a Senior Citizen based in Abbotabad. He is a masters in History. This is is first article).

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  • siddiqui my  On April 23, 2011 at 11:03 am

    A very interesting article. Hopefully future articles will also be objective ,factual and unbiased…….utmost objectivity and neutral unbiased assessment of historical facts is the halmark of scholarship and I am sure these standards will be kept by a scholar like Raza sb
    One certainly looks forward to Raza sb articles which will be educative for most of us.

    I am by no means critical of the article but unfortunately most of our historians of present and immediate past have been biased and influnced unduly by western scholars.

  • M. A. Hameed  On April 23, 2011 at 12:34 pm

    The writer did not explain clearly what was wrong with the Kharji beliefs. That was necessary before condemning them.

  • TMH  On April 23, 2011 at 2:06 pm

    It is an effort to devide the Ummah further, in his first article
    he is creating a controversy, which without solid evidence
    must be avoided, at this time.
    Why is he writing on such a important issue, as his first article.
    What is his back ground, what reseach papers he have written
    so far?


  • Peter Chamberlain  On April 23, 2011 at 2:07 pm

    Thanks. Can’t wait for part 2.
    Khawarij: Has the Destructive Ideology Reincarnated? Part-1

  • Tanvir Ahmed Siddiqui  On April 23, 2011 at 3:16 pm

    Opinion of the author is respected but I dont quite agree waht the author is trying to say and do good for nothing by creating yet another controversy especially when UMMA is already divided and facing so many challenges of anti-islamic forces.

  • K. Bajwa, USA  On April 23, 2011 at 3:37 pm

    I wish the author elaborated the focal issue, i.e., Khawarijis in deatail. Also their link with the Taliban movement without ambigous words/terms.

  • siddiqui my  On April 23, 2011 at 5:33 pm

    I politely indicated Raza sb is on a turning wicket ??
    Most historians make the mistake of judging events of the past gone by in the light of modren and contemporary conditions; events,actions and decisions MUST be analysed and described in the milue of their OWN times and not according to our own days and times ………..
    At this early stage I am not critical of Raza sb; may be he will be objective…all history as well as the muslim history has been distorted by Arab – Persian and Egyptian schools of thought……… Quranic rules and Laws have been mutilated and distortrd by various schools of Fiqah and today even simplest of Quranic laws have been violated

    I have no position on Kharjis or any other political or any particular school of thought…… Taliban are product of a particular situation due to the Russian intrusion into Afghanistan which got distorted and violent due to USA’s mishandling…this is a contemporary problem……… has no nexus with Kharjis………Often human reactions to certain actions are similiar; that should not necessarily be linked with an accident that took place 500 years back ?

    But I am sure Raza sb’s discourse will be educative and add to our understanding of the Umma’s woes and problems

    I certainly look forward to his follow up article


  • Adil Rashidi  On April 24, 2011 at 5:46 am

    Hi Yasmeen,

    The article is detailed – a good effort. One important point missed
    out. however, is the fact that Abd al-Aziz began his takeover of what
    was then the Eastern and Central Arabian lands in 1908. His warriors –
    the Ikhwan – were of course filled with religious zeal as well as
    lust for booty. They were hardy warriors and knew nothing but
    fighting. By the time he expanded towards the Hijaz proper – that is
    Husayn ibn Ali’s domains – the First World War had begun and Sherif
    Husayn was committed towards the British inspired Arab revolt. He
    therefore could not withstand the Saudi expansion – also his troops
    were militarily no match for the Ikhwan. Abdullah ibn Husayn, who
    later became the first king of Jordan was alsomost killed in an Ikhwan
    attack which wiped out his own army.

    Anyway, the British were preoccupied with the war to give too much
    attention to Abd-elAziz and recognized his authority on Arabia as he
    had become a prominent power in the region. To win his independence he
    made a treaty with the British to abide by their geopolitical rules.
    The important point here to note is that the British did not make any
    effort to control him – like other Arab entities – because they did
    not believe Arabia had oil – the Saudi region – It was only much after
    this phenomenon became apparent. Thus by default and British ignorance
    the Saudi state was allowed to be an independent entity while is
    neighbors suffered under European rule. That is the actual fact – not
    Zionist policy, which was focused on Palestine.

    This is just to set the record straight.


    Adil Rashdi

  • Firdaus Ahmed  On April 24, 2011 at 5:47 am

    I wonder if the updates may interest you –

  • siddiqui my  On April 24, 2011 at 10:24 am

    Dear Adil,
    There is slight misunderstanding by you….the British were very mindful of the reaction of the Indian muslims…sub continent was the Jewel in the Crown and the Saudis ruled/occupied the twin Holy cities ie Mecca & Medina;theBrits did not want to rock the boat, There was already very serious reaction by the Indian muslims reg the destruction of Ottoman empire……..
    The british were well aware of the oil potential in the region and they have been mapping there thro various male/female spies in the guise of explorers
    Infact after 1914 the Brits were the dominent power and they made ALL the decisions….Only French were given some morsels like craetion of Lebanon…………..
    Soon after the II WW the americans ousted the British from SaudiArabia and a treaty was signed between King Saud and Roosevelt on board a US battleship….it is still valid and going on !!
    I hope i have my facts correct ?

  • Tan  On April 25, 2011 at 12:29 am

    Very educative, looking forward to Part-2

  • women health  On May 20, 2011 at 3:00 am

    I was suggested this web site by my cousin. I am not sure whether this post is written by him as no one else know such detailed about my difficulty. You’re wonderful! Thanks!

  • xmewnls  On August 31, 2012 at 1:23 pm

    info: khwarjites was the first offshoot sect from the muslims. They were extremely steadfast in praying and fasting, yet they were enemies of the family of RasuulAllah (sallalahu alaehe wasalam). They person who attaceked and made Hazrat Ali (karmamAllah wajhahu) shaheed was also a Kharji.

  • Naeem  On August 31, 2012 at 3:38 pm

    I think in part II he ll try to prove that the US war on terrorism against the muslim whether in Afghanistan or in Pakistan is a true Jehad and those who die on the US side no matter they are muslims or christains are martyred and those who are called terrorist reaches direct to hell when they die, no matter if people call them mulla or molana. Now lets see what is in the next part.

  • usman saif  On May 18, 2013 at 9:45 am

    Eagerly waiting for the next part. Excellent work and research.

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