To paraphrase an aphorism coined by a 20th century philosopher,those who fail to learn the lessons of history are condemned to repeat them until they learn them.
The earliest strain of extremism in Islamic history emerged in the late 7th century with the Kharijites, a sect that scholars have said will continue until the end of the Ummah’s time. In other words, as long as there are Muslims, the pathology of extreme sectarianism and anathematization of fellow Muslims will persist in segments of the community.
It is imperative that the Muslim community, especially the youth, be made aware of the dangers inherent in extremism. To do this, we must understand the mentality of extremist sectarianism, its etiology, and its outward signs and symptoms, which will help us to counter it when confronted by it.
The most problematic aspect of the Kharijites and their ilkis that they are often cloaked in religiosity and may even exhibit intense devotional practices, especially prayer, Qur’an memorization, and its recitation. This display of puritanical piety often leads many Muslims to deem them rightly guided.
Below is a translation of a narration given by Imam al-Dhahabi, in his magisterial Biographies of Noble Notables (Siyar A’lam al-Nubala’), concerning Wahab b. Munabbih’s insights into the pathology of sectarianism and its degenerative effects if left unchecked.
Wahab b. Munabbih was a Yemeni scholar and transmitter of hadith. He is sometimes described in the biographical literature as a Jewish convert to Islam due to his vast knowledge of the Torah and Talmudic stories, but other scholars mention that he was actually of mixed descent, his father being a Persian aristocrat and his mother a Himyarite Yemeni, though not Jewish. In any case, he was born during the Caliph ‘Uthman’s reign, in year 34 after Hijrah.
Wahab b. Munabbih was a student of several notable companions, including Ibn ‘Abbas and Jabir b. ‘Abd Allah, from whom he narrates one of the earliest hadith collections.
The vast majority of hadith scholars considered Wahab b. Munabbih a sound narrator: both imams al-Bukhari and Muslim narrate his transmissions. Imam al-Nasa’i, who has some of the strictest requisites for narrating hadith, considers him absolutely reliable.
Ibn Hajar said that Wahab b. Munabbih was “trustworthy” (thiqah). Unfortunately of late, he has come under attack from some modern redactors of Islam because he narrated what are known as Isra’iliyat or Jewish stories, and they accuse him of introducing unsound Jewish traditions into Qur’anic exegesis (tafsir).
These attacks are in spite of the Prophet’s permission to “Relate the stories of the people of the Bible, but neither assert nor negate their veracity.” (It is permitted to use our own sources to assert or negate them; scholars negate them if they clearly contradict our sources, especially those narrations that put prophets in a bad light, such as the story of Bathsheba and Uriah with David, or that of Noah and his daughters).
The following story illustrates the dangers of sectarian pathology in the social body of Islam and why it is imperative that scholars and advanced students of knowledge warn simple believers, especially those among the youth who may fall prey to such seductively simplistic yet ultimately destructive distortions of Islam.
Imam al-Dhahabi relates the following in his section on Wahab b. Munabbih in his work, Biographies of Noble Notables (Siyar A’lam al-Nubala’):
Dawud ibn Qays narrates the following story about Wahab b. Munabbih:
It is worth pondering the lesson of this story from the early years of Islamic history, given that history does indeed repeat itself, and once again we are faced with a strain of extremism first embodied by the Kharijites.
Wahab b. Munabbih’s remarkable concluding statement should be a reminder to many modern Muslims, especially the extremists, who have lost sight of this truth: “Dominion is Allah’s alone. It is in His Hand, and He gives it to whomever He pleases.”
When Muslims prove themselves worthy of being caretakers of power through moral rectitude, Allah will restore once again our glory, but as long as we are in the inglorious condition that we find ourselves in, the destructive and corrupting danger of power is best kept from us. Many of the Prophets in the Qur’an were oppressed, but they were always exemplary in their response to oppression.
Imam al-Ghazali, who witnessed the collapse of the Seljuk state and the advent of civil strife during that period after the assassination of Malikshah, knew that states collapse but that the righteous man, if purified and protected, does not collapse. Politics invariably fails us, but piety never fails us. “And whoever is pious, Allah will prepare for him a way out and provide for him from where he least expects.”
Imam al-Ghazali then set out to record a roadmap for the traveller who lives in this world of instability and uncertainty. That roadmap is always available – in times of light and in times of darkness. It begins with knowledge and ends with death.
- The Haruris were Kharijites from Harura’ near Kufa in Iraq. They are the very first innovators in Islamic tradition, and this was their base. When they opposed Imam ‘Ali, their headquarters was inHarura’, and so they came to be known as Haruriyyah. It is essentially synonymous with Kharijite or extremist. In a sound hadith, ‘A’ishah was asked why women have to make up fasting from menstruation but not prayers. She replied, “Are you a Haruriyyah?” It is interesting to note that upon merely hearing his cryptic phrase “the striking of necks,” Dawud b. Qays suspected that it was from the Kharijites.
- Wahab knew the man’s name without previously knowing him or being told his name, which frightened the man leaving him unable to speak. This is known as kashf and can occur among the deeply righteous whereby they know something that is not possible for them to know by ordinary means. Usually the righteous hide this gift, but sometimes it is necessary for them to reveal it, as it can help their words to penetrate the heart of the one they are trying to guide. I have witnessed this many times with my own teachers, so it does not strike me as contrived, which is generally how orientalists, unfamiliar with this phenomenon, view such narrations. Kashf can also occur without the one at whose hands it occurs being aware of it, but the one hearing it will know clearly that Allah inspired that person. This is due to the veil that many of the righteous have concerning their own state with Allah.
- Wahab knew this man was a man of Qur’an, so he quoted only the first part of the story. The verses are in the chapter entitled “The Poets.” The disbelievers challenged Noah, peace be upon him, concerning those who followed him, saying they were lowly and insignificant people, so why should they, in their stature, follow along with these lowly ones? Noah’s reply is what Wahab is telling this man to follow – that it is not our business to judge people who follow or claim to follow prophets. Allah will judge them. In judging them ourselves, we will end up driving away true believers, which is exactly what the Kharijites and their ilk amongfanatical and sectarian Muslims do to other Muslims: they drive them out of Islam.
- Siyar A’lam al-Nubala’, Volume 4, 554-557.
(Edited by ADHM)
Ibn Asakir reported: Wahb ibn Munabbih said, “I knew the early period of Islam. By Allah, the Kharijites never had a group except that Allah caused it to split due to their evil condition.
Never did one of them proclaim his opinion except that Allah caused his neck to be struck.
Never did the Muslim nation unite upon a man from the Kharijites.
If Allah had allowed the opinion of the Kharijites to take root, the earth would have been corrupted, the roadways would have been cut off, the Hajj pilgrimage to the sacred house of Allah would have been cut off, and the affair of Islam would have returned to ignorance until the people would seek refuge in the mountains as they had done in the time of ignorance.
If there were to arise among them ten or twenty men, there would not be a man among them except that he would claim the Caliphate for himself.
With each man among them would be ten thousand others, all of them fighting each other and charging each other with unbelief until even the believer would fear for himself, his religion, his life, his family, his wealth, and he would not know where to travel or with whom he should be.” Source: [Ta’reekh Dimshaq, 69290]
عن ابن عساكر قال وهب بن منبه أني قد أدركت صدر الإسلام فوالله ما كانت للخوارج جماعة قط إلا فرقها اللَّه على شر حالاتهم وما أظهر أحد منهم رأيه قط إلا ضرب اللَّه عنقه وما اجتمعت الأمة على رجل قط من الخوارج ولو أمكن اللَّه الخوارج من رأيهم لفسدت الأرض وقطعت السبل وقطع الحج من بيت اللَّه الحرام وإذا لعاد أمر الإسلام جاهلية حتى يعود الناس يستغيثون برءوس الجبال كما كانوا في الجاهلية وإذا لقام أكثر من عشرة أو عشرين رجلا ليس منهم رجل إلا وهو يدعو إلى نفسه بالخلافة ومع كل رجل منهم أكثر من عشرة آلاف يقاتل بعضهم بعضا ويشهد بعضهم على بعض بالكفر حتى يصبح الرجل المؤمن خائفا على نفسه ودينه ودمه وأهله وماله لا يدري أين يسلك أو مع من يكون
69290 تاريخ دمشق لابن عساكر حرف الواو ذكر من اسمه وهب
Abdullah ibn Amr reported: I heard the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, say, “Verily, the majority of hypocrites in my nation are among its reciters.”
Source: Musnad Ahmad 27909- Grade: Hasan (fair) according to Al-Haythami
عَنْ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ عَمْرِو بْنِ الْعَاصِي قَالَ سَمِعْتُ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ يَقُولُ إِنَّ أَكْثَرَ مُنَافِقِي أُمَّتِي قُرَّاؤُهَا
27909 مسند أحمد مُسْنَدُ الْمُكْثِرِينَ مِنَ الصَّحَابَةِ إن أكثر منافقي أمتي قراؤها
المحدث الهيثمي خلاصة حكم المحدث أحد أسانيد أحمد ثقات أثبات
Hazrat Abdullah ibn Umar رضي الله تعالیٰ عنه narrates The Holy Prophet صلى الله تعالیٰ عليه وآله و سلم said: “People will appear who recite the Quran but it will not go beyond their throats. Every time a faction emerges it will be cut off (Killed) I heard the Beloved Prophet صلى اللهتعالیٰ عليه وآله و سلم say this more than ten times until he said “Dajjal will appear in their midst
Sunan ibn Majah, Kitab ul Fitn, Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal, Fil Musnad and others
Adi’ Al-Kindi reported: I heard the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, say, “Verily, Allah the Exalted will not punish a community for the sins of a few unless they see evil appear among themselves and they are able to condemn it but they do not. If they do that, then Allah will punish the community along with the sinners.”
Source: Musnad Ahmad 17627
عن عدي الكندي سَمِعْتُ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ يَقُولُ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ لَا يُعَذِّبُ الْعَامَّةَ بِعَمَلِ الْخَاصَّةِ حَتَّى يَرَوْا الْمُنْكَرَ بَيْنَ ظَهْرَانَيْهِمْ وَهُمْ قَادِرُونَ عَلَى أَنْ يُنْكِرُوهُ فَلَا يُنْكِرُوهُ فَإِذَا فَعَلُوا ذَلِكَ عَذَّبَ اللَّهُ الْخَاصَّةَ وَالْعَامَّةَ
17627 مسند أحمد مُسْنَدُ الشَّامِيِّينَ إن الله عز وجل لا يعذب العامة بعمل الخاصة حتى يروا المنكر بين ظهرانيهم وهم قادرون على أن ينكروه فلا ينكروه
المحدث ابن حجر العسقلاني خلاصة حكم المحدث إسناده حسن وله شاهد
Abu Sa’eed Al-Khudri reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said,
“There will come a people from the east who recite the Quran but it does not go beyond their throats. They will go out of the religion just as an arrow pierces its target and they will not return to it just as the arrow does not return to the bow.” It was said, “What will be their sign?” The Prophet said, “Their sign is shaving.” Or he said, “It is shearing.”
عَنْ أَبِي سَعِيدٍ الْخُدْرِيِّ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ عَنْ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَالَ يَخْرُجُ نَاسٌ مِنْ قِبَلِ الْمَشْرِقِ وَيَقْرَءُونَ الْقُرْآنَ لَا يُجَاوِزُ تَرَاقِيَهُمْ يَمْرُقُونَ مِنْ الدِّينِ كَمَا يَمْرُقُ السَّهْمُ مِنْ الرَّمِيَّةِ ثُمَّ لَا يَعُودُونَ فِيهِ حَتَّى يَعُودَ السَّهْمُ إِلَى فُوقِهِ قِيلَ مَا سِيمَاهُمْ قَالَ سِيمَاهُمْ التَّحْلِيقُ أَوْ قَالَ التَّسْبِيدُ
7123 صحيح البخاري كِتَاب التَّوْحِيدِ تلك الكلمة من الحق يخطفها الجني فيقرقرها في أذن وليه
Hudhaifa reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Verily, I fear for you that a man will recite the Quran until his delight is seen and he takes Islam as a cloak. Then, he changes to whatever Allah wills for him, such that it is stripped from him and he throws it behind his back, assaulting his neighbor with the sword and accusing him of idolatry.” I said, “O Prophet of Allah, which one is closer to idolatry? The accused or the accuser?” The Prophet said, “Rather it is the accuser.” Source: Sahih Ibn Hibban 81
عن حذيفة قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى الِلَّهِ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ إِنَّ مَا أَتَخَوَّفُ عَلَيْكُمْ رَجُلٌ قَرَأَ الْقُرْآنَ حَتَّى رُئِيَتْ بَهْجَتُهُ عَلَيْهِ وَكَانَ رِدْئًا لِلإِسْلامِ غَيَّرَهُ إِلَى مَا شَاءَ الِلَّهِ فَانْسَلَخَ مِنْهُ وَنَبَذَهُ وَرَاءَ ظَهْرِهِ وَسَعَى عَلَى جَارِهِ بِالسَّيْفِ وَرَمَاهُ بِالشِّرْكِ قَالَ قُلْتُ يَا نَبِيَّ اللَّهِ أَيُّهُمَا أَوْلَى بِالشِّرْكِ الْمَرْمِيُّ أَمِ الرَّامِي قَالَ بَلِ الرَّامِي
81 صحيح ابن حبان كتاب العلم باب الزجر عن كتبة المرء السنن
المحدث ابن كثير خلاصة حكم المحدث إسناده جيد
Aisha (RA) reported: A man came to the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, and he said, “O Messenger of Allah, by Allah I love you more than myself. I love you more than my family and wealth. You are more beloved to me than my children. I would be in my house and I would remember you until I cannot be patient until I meet you. When I remember my death and your death, I know you will enter Paradise with the status of the prophets, but if I enterParadise I am afraid I will not see you.” The Prophet did not answer him until Gabriel, peace be upon him, was sent with the verse, “Whoever obeys Allah and the Messenger, they will be with those whom Allah has blessed among the prophets, the truthful, the martyrs, and the righteous.” (4:69)
Source: Mu’jam As-Sagheer 51
عَنْ عَائِشَةَ قَالَتْ جَاءَ رَجُلٌ إِلَى النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ فَقَالَ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ وَاللَّهِ إِنَّكَ لَأَحَبُّ إِلَيَّ مِنْ نَفْسِي وَإِنَّكَ لَأَحَبُّ إِلَيَّ مِنْ أَهْلِي وَمَالِي وَأَحَبُّ إِلَيَّ مِنْ وَلَدِي وَإِنِّي لَأَكُونُ فِي الْبَيْتِ فَأَذْكُرُكَ فَمَا أَصْبِرُ حَتَّى آتِيَكَ فَأَنْظُرَ إِلَيْكَ وَإِذَا ذَكَرْتُ مَوْتِي وَمَوْتَكَ عَرَفْتُ أَنَّكَ إِذَا دَخَلْتَ الْجَنَّةَ رُفِعَتْ مَعَ النَّبِيِّينَ وَإِنِّي إِذَا دَخَلْتُ الْجَنَّةَ خَشِيتُ أَنْ لَا أَرَاكَ فَلَمْ يَرُدَّ عَلَيْهِ النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ شَيْئًا حَتَّى نَزَلَ جِبْرِيلُ عَلَيْهِ السَّلَامُ بِهَذِهِ الْآيَةِ وَمَنْ يُطِعِ اللَّهَ وَالرَّسُولَ فَأُولَئِكَ مَعَ الَّذِينَ أَنْعَمَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِمْ مِنَ النَّبِيِّينَ وَالصِّدِّيقِينَ وَالشُّهَدَاءِ وَالصَّالِحِينَ
51 المعجم الصغير للطبراني باب الألف من اسمه أحمد
المحدث أحمد شاكر خلاصة حكم المحدث صحيح لغيره
source: Salafi Aqeeda