Are the Islamic State Khāwārij?

By Abu Ismael

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In the name of Allah, all praise be to Allah, and may prayers and peace be upon the Messenger of Allah, his family, his companions, and those who followed him. This is a concise reply to the common allegations brought up by some of the Muslims who claim that the Islamic State are khāwārij. In Sha Allah this will be of benefit to many Muslims & I ask Allah to guide them to the truth through this article.

May Allah make this article sincerely for Him alone. Any mistakes herein are from myself or Shaytān & anything correct is from Allah ‘Azza Wa Jal.

To come to the correct answer, we first have to define the term ‘khawarij’. The reason we start with this is because, many Muslims around the world throw this word around without knowing its true meaning. The singular of the word khāwārij  is khārijī & the main traits of the khāwārij are as follows:

1. Takfīr on major sins

Al-Shahrastānī may Allah have mercy on him ( A Shāfi’ī scholar of Ahlus Sunnah from Shahrastān, in current day Iran d.548 Hijri) said:
“And they ( i.e. the khawarij) make takfīr on major sins, meaning; whoever falls into a major sin such as Zina (fornication), drinking alcohol, or stealing is made takfīr on (by them) & has left the fold of Islam & is in hellfire for eternity with the rest of the kuffar” [Al-Milal Wal Nahl p106:]

He, may Allah forgive him, also said: “They say that you should rebel against a ruler if he contradicts the sunnah (even though he has not commited kufr) & they see this as a wājib (obligation)”

Ibn Hazm said: “And whoever agrees with the khāwārij in denying the governmental ruling, making takfīr on those who commit major sins, rebelling against an unjust(but Muslim) ruler, that ashāb al-kabā’ir (those who commit major sins) are in hellfire for eternity and that the Imam (Khalifah) can be other than a Quraishī, then this person is a khārijī ” [Al-Fasl 113/2]

2. Takfīr on anyone who disagrees with them.

Imam Shafe‘e said that these bid`a groups make takfir on you if you dont agree with them, whereas Ahlus Sunnah accept that you can disagree with them, but do not make takfir on you for that. However, this would depend on what you are  disagreeing on though, if the issue is one that takes a person out of Islam, then they (Ahlus Sunnah) would make takfir on you, such as someone claiming that the prophet Muhammad (SAW) is not the last of the prophets.

3. Rebelling against a Muslim ruler

It is haraam to revolt against a Muslim ruler however much he oppresses the Muslims. But the Khawarij do rebel against the Muslim rulers and this is their hallmark. They did this with Ali(ra).

Ubadah bin al-Samet(ra) said:
“…we pledged allegiance to him (Rasulullah) which obligated us not to contest the authority with its people unless we see obvious kufr for which we have evidence from Allah.” [Agreed upon].

Also in the authenticated book of Ahmad and the Sunnah of Ibn Abi Asim, (they said do not compete against the rulers) “so long as they do not order you to (commit) a clear transgression.”

It should however be known that if the Muslim ruler becomes an apostate as is the case with the current Arab rulers, it becomes a must on the Muslims to revolt and depose him by force.

Al Qadi Ayyadh, may Allah have mercy on him, said:
“If he(i.e. the ruler) came to commit kufr, or a change to the Shari’a he loses the authority of the state and obedience to him is nullified. The Muslims must rise up against him and remove him and install a just leader”

Imam al-Nawawi in his explanation of sahih Muslim said that Qadi Ayyadh said:

“The ulema are in agreement that the leadership cannot be entrusted to a kaffir and if he came to commit kufr he should be dismissed.”

Secondary traits (which don’t necessarily have to be present for one to be a khārijī) include:

i.) rejecting/denying the prophet’s fountain, the punishment of the grave, the intercession, seeing Allah Azza Wa Jal, the Sirāt
ii.) shaving the head bald
iii.) rejecting ahadeeth which “contradict” the apparent meaning of the Qur’an (not the actual meaning said by the mufasirīn) hence denying the Hadd punishment of Al-Rajm (stoning).
The Islamic State has none of the above characteristics.

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[The Islamic State stone an adulterer in Wilaayat Nainawa, unlike the khāwārij who deny the Hadd punishment of stoning.]

The scholars do not call anyone a Khariji except that he fits in all the 3 characteristics. However, the main traits are number 1 and 2, as there were some classical scholars who believed that you can rebel against an unjust ruler with conditions of course. The stronger opinion is that you don’t revolt against him even if he is a fornicator or an alcoholic, as long as he is still a Muslim.

Now In Shā’ Allah we will go into some of the arguments raised about the Islamic State by some muslims to ‘justify’ that they are khawarij:

First argument: The Islamic State make takfīr on all the Muslims in Iraq & Sham and make their blood halal.

“Glory be to You (Our Lord) This is a great slander” ,An-Noor 16}.

We ask those who say this to substantiate their claim as Allah says;

“Bring your proof if you are truthful” {Al Baqarah 111}

We know that if an accusation is wrongly thrown at a person or a group, the task of the group is to declare barā’a (innocence) from this accusation openly which Alhamdulillah the Islamic State did very well.

The official spokesman of the Islamic State, Al-Shaykh Al-Mujahid Abu Muhammad Al-Adnānī Al- Shāmī(HA), said:

“We would like to clarify here a misconception that has always been raised in this campaign, the claim that; ‘the asl (general ruling) of people is kufr’,this is from the bid’ah of the khāwārij of our time & the Islamic State is innocent from this saying. And in its aqeedah and methodology and what it believes in before Allah is that the Ahlu sunnah in Iraq and Al-Sham in general are Muslims, we do not make takfīr on anyone of them unless we confirm his apostasy with Shar’ī evidence of peremptory indication and peremptory proof. And whomever we find from the soldiers of the Islamic State saying this bid’ah, we educate him and explain to him, if he doesn’t refrain, we berate him and if he still doesn’t refrain, we expell him from our ranks & declare disavowal towards him and we have done this several times with the muhājirīn & the Ansār.” [Click here to listen]

This is a blatant calumny & this is exactly what their likes accused Shaykh Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahhab of, who said:

“As for the saying that we make takfīr on the general public, this is from the slandering of the enemies who use this statement to delude people from this religion & we say Exalted are You, [O Allah]; this is a great slander” [Al-Rasā’il Al-Shakhsīyah 15/101]

And Al-Allāmah Abdul Latīf ibn Abdur Rahmān said:

“They said about Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahhāb that he is from the khāwārij, and they also accused him of making permissible the blood & wealth (of Muslims)” [Al-Rasā’il Al-Najdīyyah 77/3]

Second argument: The Islamic State make takfīr on major sins & see that you should rebel against an oppressive(Muslim) ruler

This is also a lie without any evidence and the true understanding of the Islamic State regarding this matter is the same as Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jamā’ah which is: That it is impermissible to rebel against an unjust oppressive ruler as long as his oppression does not reach clear kufr. And the evidence is hadith of ‘Ubadah ibn as-Sāmit in Bukhari & Muslim which says:

“… And not to dispute about rule with those in power, except in case of evident infidelity regarding which there is a proof from Allah.”

This pledge of allegiance is given by many Islamic State leaders, soldiers, civilians & even tribes.

The Islamic State follow the opinion of Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jamā’ah which is in the saying of Al-Hāfidh Ibn Hajar who said: “If the ruler falls into clear kufr, then it is not permissible to obey in his orders, rather it is wājib (obligatory) to wage Jihād upon him for those who are able”

The rulers of Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Egypt & other countries with Islamic State presence have all fallen into the kufr of ruling by other than Allah’s law, allying with kuffār & others. For example, Bashar Assad has fallen into the kufr of ruling by other than Allah’s law & is a Nusayri which, by ijmā’ (scholarly consensus), are kuffār & the scholars of Ahlus Sunnah further say that the Nusayri’s have fallen into all 10 nullifiers of Islam. [Listen to what our scholars say about the kufr of ruling by other than Allah’s law here: Shaykh Ibn Uthaymeen: , Shaykh Sulaymān Al-‘Alwān: ]

Third argument: The Islamic State kill Muslims & abandon  the idol worshippers

This claim emanates from this hadeeth: Abu Sa’īd Al-Khudri narrated that the prophet Muhammad may peace and blessings be upon him described the khāwārij as: “They(khawarij) will kill the people of Islam (Ahlul Islam) and leave the worshippers of Idols (Ahlul Awthan) alone” [Bukhari & Muslim]

a) The Islamic State kill the people of Islam (Ahlul Islam)

The Islamic State control provinces and wide areas in Iraq & Sham bigger than Britain which has approximately 10 million Muslims living under it. They have not killed them nor have they threatened to do so, rather they give them their due rights & provide them security.

Al-Adnānī, the official spokesman, said:

“The Islamic State doesn’t make permissible the blood of a muslim, rather we do not target nor kill anyone except the combatant kuffār, and every one of you knows this very well, even though we are accused of this in the western media. If we wanted to target civilians and innocents, then the roads (we are in control of) are full of them and the markets are crowded (with them) but we are the most careful in terms of protecting the Muslim blood. If you support us & help us in our fight against the crusaders with your tongue & limbs we will support you & protect you, however if you stand in the camp of our enemies against us then what are you waiting for from us (other than fighting you)?

Another lie that is thrown at us by the supporters of the tawāghīt, is that the Islamic State fight any kāffir or mushrik rather anyone who goes against it, and they have lied! The fight of the mujāhidīn is a fight of guidance, Allah said after the ayah of the sword:

“And if any one of the polytheists seeks your protection, then grant him protection so that he may hear the words of Allah . Then deliver him to his place of safety.” {At-Tawbah 6}

For the Mushrikeen who do not fight against the Muslims, Islam has given them protection and security among the Muslims and Allah has ordered us to grant them protection so that they may hear the words of Allah. Islam wants any heart to be guided because it is the manhaj(methodology) of Mercy & guidance and not the manhaj of enemity & eradication, however we wage jihad with the sword to get rid of oppresive forces which stop the people from hearing the words of Allah and hence stop them from being guided and cause them to ultimately worship other than Allah. So whoever understands this well, would know that the Islamic state fights the combatant kāfir who is opressive and tries to stop the spread of this guidance” [Listen]

Shaykh Al-Adnānī also said:

“Being brought forth and our heads struck one by one, is more beloved to us than the intentional killing of one Muslim. For by Allah, it was for them that we went forth & for the protection of their blood, money & possessions that we are here & we will continue to love them even if they dislike us & we will continue to give them victory even if they want our loss, we want them to live, even if they want us to die” [click here to get this]

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[Christians living under the Islamic State tell the world who the true Islamic State are.]

b) The Islamic State leave the idol worshippers alone

The argument they use for this is that the Islamic State left Deir Ezzor(now wilayatul Khayr) where the Nusayri mushrikīn were stationed & went to Halab(Aleppo) to fight the “mujāhidīn” such as the Free Syrian Army, Liwa Tawhid, Syrian Revolutionists Front and other other sahawat. This can be explained very simply, the Islamic State have always put the Nusayris & Rafidhīs as a priority on their list, that is why they were in Dier Ezzor frontline fighting Bashar before they were backstabbed by these apostates on 3rd January 2014. Even if we agree with those that claim FSA and these other apostate groups are Mujahideen, is it not permissible to defend yourself from a transgressing Muslim? By Allah anyone who knows the happenings in sham knows that The Islamic state never started fighting any group rather it is these groups that started fighting them. On January 3rd, these sahawat attacked the lightly guarded centers of the Islamic state in Allepo and killed so many muhajireen just because they were muhajireen and raped some of the muhajireen sisters that were there. So The Islamic State had to quit their offensive in the frontline against Bashar and come back to Allepo and defend their people against these Murtadeen backstabbers. Thereafter, the Islamic State went back to fight in Deir Ezzor against Bashar’s soldiers & were victorious, and are now in control of most of the city. As for the claim that the Islamic State do not fight Nusayris & Rafidhīs, the evidences to refute this claim are plenty. How did the Islamic State capture Division 17, Minnegh airbase, Brigade 93 or Tabqah airbase? These were all military points under the control of Bashār Assad for many years & the Islamic State captured them all after killing & capturing hundreds of Nusayri’s. add to this the recent  victories in Hims(HOMS) in capturing Sukhna and Tadmur from Bashar.

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[Islamic State soldiers target areas where the Nusayri regime are positioned, Al-Khayr province]

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[Islamic State Mujahid speaking in a video during the liberation of 93rd brigade millitary base in Raqqa]

“Listen up, O you who claim that the Islamic State doesn’t fight Bashar and doesn’t fight the shi’ah. I swear by Allah, we’re going to dispute with you in front of Allah. And the blood of our brothers here will be a witness. I swear by Allah, we’re going to dispute with you tomorrow on the Day of Judgment.”
Fourth argument: The Islamic State fight other Muslim factions in Sham

The Islamic State have not started a fight against any of the so called ‘Islamic’ factions in Sham, rather it is these same factions who declared war on the Islamic State in their statements & speeches. Many of these so called Muslim factions have received US backing to fight the Islamic State such FSA & Hazm movement & others have received backing by Arab tawāghīt such as Ahrar Sham ,evidence can be seen here said by a former soldier & the Islamic Front {well known for their alliance with FSA against the Islamic State in Syria & formed a coalition to fight the Islamic State named Burkān Al-Furāt which included YPG & IF & also the infamous coalition which was formed to fight the Islamic State in Deir Ezzor(Al Khayr) known as the Mishmish coalition which was backed by foreign tawāghīt & included other kuffār factions.

Also the accusation that is usually brought up in this context is that The Islamic state killed Abu Khalid As-Suri who was a veteran of the Afghani jihad and a close ally of the great jihadi leaders. Even if we were to agree for the sake of argument that The Islamic state indeed killed Abu Khalid As-Suri, will that qualify them to be khawarij? since when did killing one Muslim make a whole state Khawarij? Furthermore, the Islamic state shura council released a statement distancing themselves from his killing. So The Islamic state officially clarified having no hand in his killing.

Other groups such as Jabhat Al-Nusra also initiated the fight against the Islamic State last year in Deir Ezzor when Al-Joulānī gave the Islamic State a 5 day ultimatum to leave the province or he would expel them not only from sham, but also from Iraq. Actually Jabhat An-Nusrah bombed the Islamic state centers in Dier Ezor when The Islamic State went back to Allepo to defend themselves against the apostates that were killing the Muhajireen. So after this, would you expect the Islamic State to give them roses and candy in return?

The bottom line is that the Islamic state never started this war, and that they fought these groups because they were defending their lives, properties and honor.

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[From left: Abu Jāber (Emīr/leader of Ahrar Sham), Zahran Allūsh (Military chief/Emir of the Islamic Front) & Abu Esa (another one of the IF leaders who was formally Suqūr Al-Shām brigade leader) in Turkey 3 days before the US claims that it is training Syrian rebels in Turkey.]

Something important to mention is that the one who will call these factions Muslims is either a jāhil (unaware) of the wāqi’ (current situation) in Syria or is a jāhil of the nullifiers of Islam.

Also another important point is, if fighting happens between two Muslim factions it does not necessarily make one of them khawarij. During the time of ‘Alī (ra), he & Muāwiyyah (ra) fought each other upon a personal ijtihād (personal judgement according to the Quran & Sunnah) from each of them, now if we are to go by this crooked principle of branding one of the two Muslim groups who fight each other Khawarij, which group would be the khawarij? Ali’s group or Mu’awwiyah’s?
Allah says in the Qur’an: “And if two factions among the believers should fight, then make settlement between the two. But if one of them oppresses the other, then fight against the one that oppresses until it returns to the ordinance of Allah . And if it returns, then make settlement between them in justice and act justly. Indeed, Allah loves those who act justly.” {Hujrat 9}

Notice in this ayah Allah ‘Azza Wa Jal calls the two factions that fight each other both believers and none of them are khāwārij.

Shaykh Al-‘Adnānī said:

“The Islamic State did not start this fight against you (O crusaders & sahāwāt) like your media portrays to you”

Fifth argument: The Islamic State admit that they have takfīrī’s in their army

I have shown above that Shaykh Al-Adnānī said here, that they show any khāwārij takfīrī in their ranks the true Aqeedah of Ahlus Sunnah & if they stay upon their deviance, they warn them & then remove them from their ranks & make barā’a on them  if they insist on this bid’ah & this happened with many ghūlat before. It’s important, however, to note that having khawarij in your ranks doesn’t make the whole army or the group to be khawarij. Don’t you know of the famous hadith concerning the one who started the khawarij sect –  dhul Khuwaysarah? Don’t you know that he was in the ranks of The Messenger of Allah’s army? Don’t you know that Ali(ra) had the khawarij in his ranks? Does this make their groups Khawarij? Subhanalah! Nay They were not khawarij rather they had some khawarij in their midst and it doesn’t make them to be khawarij. Similarly, The Islamic state admitting to have khawarij in their ranks, does not mean that each and every one of their soldiers is a khārijī.

Sixth argument: Our scholars say that the Islamic State are khāwārij

This accusation was thrown at greater scholars than those of the Islamic state like Ibn al-Qayyim, Ibn Taymiyyah & Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahhāb (may Allah have mercy on them all) so it’s an old game.

Ibn al-Qayyim said in his long poem titled ‘Al-Kāfiyyah Al-Shāfiyyah’ in a section titled ‘Their lies & their accusing of Ahl al-Haq (the people of the truth) as khāwārij:

And from the strange things is that they say to those *** who take the Qur’an and Sunnah as a religion: “You are similar to the khāwārij who *** judged by the apparent of the text (Quran & Sunnah) and didn’t look into their (actual) meanings

A sign of the murji’ah & Jahmīyyah is that they throw accusations to Ahlus Sunnah and call them khāwārij

Shaykh Abdur Rahmān ibn Hassan ibn Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahhāb said in his reply to the Jahmī ‘Uthmān ibn Mansūr Al-Najdī, who slandered the da’wah of Shaykh Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahhāb in a message calling him a wahhābī & a khārijī:

“The apparent is that you wrote about the khāwārij & used Shaykh Ibn Taymiyyah’s statements in doing so, and the reality is that the problem of the ummah is greater than that: the problem includes worshipping idols & rejecting tawhīd” (Al-Durar Al-Sanīyyah 44/12)

Subhān Allāh! Look at the similarities between today & yesterday!

They accuse the Islamic State of being khāwārij in their bātil fatawā & messages & the reality of the problem is greater than this, the problem includes worshipping of idols, beautifying its worship, rejecting tawhīd, allying with kuffār, delaying in ruling by Allah’s law & ruling by other than His law!

Seventh argument: Our scholars are knowledgeable and trustworthy!

Shaykh Ibn ‘Ābidīn was a very knowledgeable scholar who gave trustworthy fatāwā to the public & still slandered Shaykh Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahhāb the same way many scholars today slander the Islamic state.

Shaykh Ibn ‘Ābidīn Al-Hanafī said: “They (Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahhāb & his followers) say that they are Muslims & that anyone who goes against their aqīdah is a mushrik & therefore they made permissible the killing of Ahlus Sunnah & the killing of their scholars”

Again, very similar to what they accuse the Islamic state of.

Eighth argument: We get trustworthy news from trustworthy sources in Syria that bear witness that the Islamic State are khāwārij

Very simple, they are the Islamic State’s enemies & the witness of a foe is not accepted in Sharī’ah, what you should instead do is listen from the Islamic State yourself & then judge them based on their statements & actions which they have claimed responsibility for.

“Why then, did not the believers, men and women, when you heard it (the slander), think good of their own people and say: ‘This (charge) is an obvious lie?’ ” {An-Noor 12}

Lastly, I bring the duā’ of Shaykh Abu Muhammad Al-Adnānī in his speech “This was never our manhaj and never will it be” , which In Shā’ Allah was accepted by Allah after seeing the effects it had on the current situation in Shām:

“O Allah if this State is a State of the Khawārij then break its back, kill its leaders, forgo its banner and guide its soldiers to the truth. O Allah if this an Islamic State, ruling by Your Book and the Sunnah of Your Prophet, fighting Your enemies, then keep it firm, honour it and grant it victory, and establish it upon the earth, and make it as the Khilāfah upon the Way of Prophethood. So say Āmīn O Muslims. O Allah, deal with all of those who split the ranks of the Mujāhidīn, and who divided the word of the Muslims, pleased the disbelievers, enraged the believers and delayed the Jihad by many years. O Allah expose their secrets and hidden intentions, and send upon them Your Anger and Your Curse and show us in them the Miracles of Your Power and Might. Say Āmīn O Muslims”

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I conclude this article by saying that many of the arguments that people come with are weightless statements with no solid evidence, therefore after showing these clear evidences & the true methodology of the Islamic State said by its spokesman, there is no room for personal desires.

{It is only those who believe not in Ayat (proofs,evidences,verses,etc.) of Allah, who fabricate falsehood, and it is they who are liars.” {Sūrat Al-Nahl ayah 105}

Penned by your brother in Islam:
Abu Ismael

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