khawarij spiritual features

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The spirit of the Khawarij is a very special one. They were a mixture of the ugly and the beautiful, and, as a whole, were such as to take their place in the end among the enemies of `Ali. 'Ali's personality "repulsed" them, it did not "attract" them.

We shall mention both the positive and beautiful aspects and the negative and ugly aspects of their spirit which, when combined, made them dangerous and even horrifying.

1. They had the spirit of struggle and self-sacrifice, and they strived valiantly in the way of their beliefs and ideas. In the history of the Khawarij, we find completely altruistic men who have few equals in the history of mankind, and their altruism and self-sacrifice was the life of their bravery and their power.

~Ibn Abdu Rabbih~ said about them: "Among all the sects, none were more convinced or exerted more effort than the Khawarij, and also none could be found more ready to die than them. One of them was once hit by a spear and the spear had gone deep into him. Even then, he rushed towards his killer saying: O God! I am hurrying towards you so that you may be pleased. "

~Muawiyah~ sent a man after his son who was a Khawarij so as to bring him back, but the father was unable to make his son change his mind. In the end, he said: "My son, I will go and bring your infant child that the sight of him together with your fatherly instincts may bring you to your senses and force you to give this up." The son replied: "I swear by God, I am more eager for sword-thrusts than for my son!"

2. They were people of worship and devotion, they spent their nights in prayer and were without any desire for the world and its charms. When Ali sent ~Ibn Abbas~ to admonish the people of the battle of Nahrawan, he came back and described them as twelve thousand men whose foreheads had been calloused by an excess of prostration, whose hands had become hard like camels' feet from being so frequently pressed to the dry, burning ground and from striking the dust before their Lord, whose shirts were tattered and worn down to their skins, but who were unwavering and determined.

3. The Khawarij were ignorant and unknowing people, and because of their ignorance and lack of knowledge they could not understand realities, and wrongly interpreted events. Gradually this warped understanding of things took the form of a religion or faith in the process of establishing which they exerted themselves to their greatest self-sacrifices. In the beginning, the Islamic precept of forbidding evil shaped them into the form of a party whose only aim was to revive an Islamic practice.

4. They were narrow-minded and short-sighted people, whose thought evolved below very inferior horizons; they enclosed Islam and the Muslims within the four walls of their own limited ideas. Like all other narrow-minded people they claimed that everyone else had misunderstood, or had not understood at all; all had taken the wrong way and were destined for Hell. The first thing that this kind of narrowminded person does is that he gives his narrow-mindedness the form of a religious belief; he restricts God's mercy, make Him sit forever on a throne of wrath, waiting for his slave to make some error so that He may cast him into eternal punishment. One of the fundamental beliefs of the Khawarij was that the perpetrator of any ~great sin~, for example ~lying~, ~backbiting~ or ~drinking alcohol~, was a disbeliever (kafir) and was beyond the pale of Islam, eternalled condemned to the Fire. Thus, apart from a very limited number of people, everyone was condemned to the Fire.


attraction and repulsion of Imam Ali p.b.u.h- pages: 134to136


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