uprising of khawarij

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In the beginning, the Khawarij were peaceable, and contented themselves with merely criticising and speaking openly. `Ali's behaviour with them was also just as we noted before, namely, he never caused them any trouble, not even cutting off their wages from the treasury (baitu 'l-mal). However, as they began to despair of ~Ali~ ever repenting, their activities gradually changed. They decided to bring about a revolution, so they gathered in the house of one of their brethren, who gave an aggressive and provocative speech in which he invited his friends to rise up in the name of "~bidding to good and forbidding evil~." He said (after praise to God)

I swear by God that it is not worthy of a group which has faith in a Merciful God and which adheres to the command of the Qur'an that the world should seem dearer to them than "bidding to good and forbidding evil" and speaking the truth, even though these (activities) may bring loss and involve danger; for everyone who incurs loss and danger in this world will be rewarded on the Day of the Resurrection with the felicity of God and the eternity of Paradise. O brothers! Le us go out from this city where injustice dwells (and go) to mountainous places or some other towns so that we can take a stand against these misguided innovations and put a stop to them.

With this morale-raising and fiery speech, they became even more fiery and went out form that place to try to bring about an uprising and a revolution. They threatened the security of the highways and took to marauding and sedition. Their aim was to weaken the government by this means, and to bring down the then existent rule.

Now it was no longer the time to leave them at liberty, for it was not a matter of the expression of beliefs, but of sabotage against public security and an armed uprising against the legal government. Thus Ali pursued them and met them face to face on the banks of the ~Nahrawan~. He made a speech in which he advised them and gave them an incontrovertible proof. Then he put the flag of true faith into the hands of ~Abu Ayyub al-Ansari~ as a sign that everyone who gathered round it was a true believer. Out of twelve thousand men, eight thousand turned back from Khawarijism while the remainder showed their obstinacy. They were severely beaten, and apart from a very small band none remained.

Sources

attraction and repulsion of Imam Ali p.b.u.h- pages: 132to133

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