Khawaarij: A deviant sect that arose in the time of the Companions of the Prophet (salallaahu ‘alaihi wassallam). They declared Muslims to be unbelievers based upon the commission of sins. They also held it permissible to rebel against the sinful Muslim ruler.
Takfeer: To declare a person to be a disbeliever (kaafir) in Allaah, His Messenger and the Revelation.
Shaikh Khaalid Abdur-Rahmaan (may Allaah preserve him) said:
Shaikhul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah (d. 728H) and other than him from the Scholars have made it clear whilst discussing the sects of the Khawaarij that from the Khawaarij are those who do not make takfeer based upon each and every major sin, and that they make takfeer based upon some of the major sins to the exclusion of others.
Many of the people say, “O brother! Those people do not make takfeer due to fornication now, nor due to drinking of intoxicants, or upon the one deals in usury – they do not make takfeer of them. So how is it that you label them as Khawaarij?”
This doubt has deceived many of the people because they do not know that from the Khawaarij are those who make takfeer due to a major sin – and from them are those who do not make takfeer due to a major sin. For this reason, there is a group from the Khawaarij who make takfeer upon the rulers – So now, “judging by other than that which Allaah has revealed” is a sin from the various sins – therefore if you do not make takfeer of the fornicator or the one who consumes intoxicants, or you do not make takfeer of the one who does not pay the Zakaat, or the one who does not Fast, then “to judge by other than the what Allaah has revealed” is [also] a sin from the sins, and [likewise] takfeer is not to be made due to it. And if you were to make takfeer upon the one who does not judge by that which Allaah has revealed, then you have spoken with the doctrine of the Khawaarij – and that is sect from the sects of the Khawaarij that makes takfeer based upon some of the major sins. And this affair is one upon which the Khawaarij have agreed – the sin upon which all of the Khawaarij agree upon, which they all make takfeer based upon is: “Judging by other than that which Allaah has revealed.”
For this reason Shaikhul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah (d. 728H, rahimahullaah) said concerning the verse, “And whomsoever does not judge by that which Allaah has revealed, such are the disbelievers.” He said: “No one understands this verse in an unrestricted manner except for the Khawaarij (i.e. only the Khawaarij make outright takfeer based upon this verse).” It is for this reason Shaikh Ibn Baaz (rahimahullaah) said: “One who removes his obedience from the ruler, and exits from the Jamaa’ah, then he is a Khaarijee.” Imaam al-Barbahaaree (died 329H): “The one who exits the obedience [of the ruler] then he is Khaarijee.”
So it is not a condition that a man makes takfeer upon each and every major sins before he is considered a Khaarijee.
Question: It is said that ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Sham) or “DAESH” (The Khaarijee group in Iraq and Syria) is establishing the Religion, and they do not make takfeer upon the major sins. So what is the response to the one who is affected by them?
Answer: Firstly, it is upon the Muslims to return their affairs to the ones who are capable. Allaah, the Most High, stated:
وَإِذَا جَاءَهُمْ أَمْرٌ مِّنَ الْأَمْنِ أَوِ الْخَوْفِ أَذَاعُوا بِهِ ۖ وَلَوْ رَدُّوهُ إِلَى الرَّسُولِ وَإِلَىٰ أُولِي الْأَمْرِ مِنْهُمْ لَعَلِمَهُ الَّذِينَ يَسْتَنبِطُونَهُ مِنْهُمْ ۗ وَلَوْلَا فَضْلُ اللَّهِ عَلَيْكُمْ وَرَحْمَتُهُ لَاتَّبَعْتُمُ الشَّيْطَانَ إِلَّا قَلِيلًا
“And when there comes to them information about [public] security or fear, they spread it around. But if they had referred it back to the Messenger or to those of authority among them, then the ones who [can] draw correct conclusions from it would have known about it. And if not for the favor of Allah upon you and His mercy, you would have followed Satan, except for a few.” (an-Nisaa: 83)
So if there comes to the Muslim tribulation, and there comes to him an affair of security or fear, then we return back to the Scholars. Imaam Al-Fawzaan, the ‘Allaamah, the Faqeeh, Al-Fawzaan and other than him from the Scholars, what do they say concerning this group ISIS? They consider them to be Khawaarij and people of Fitnah, and wicked people. They slaughter the Muslims and they believe that whomsoever does not accept the leadership of their leader, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdaadee, then he is a kaafir.
So how can you say, “They do not make takfeer on the basis of a major sin”? Anyone who does not accept the leadership of this Baghdaadee is an unbeliever according to ISIS. They declare the rulers to be unbelievers. They declare all of the rulers, from the furthest ends of the earth to the nearest to be kuffaar – this is the doctrine of ISIS. They make permissible the spilling of blood, and the slaughter people, and they do not consider anyone a believer except one who accepts them.
So if they are not Khawaarij, who then are the Khawaarij?! They say whoever does not see that allegiance (bai’ah) is to be given to their leader, Baghdaadee, then he is a kaafir (an unbeliever) who must be killed, and all of the rulers of the Muslims are unbelievers. And if this is not the very root and origin of the Khawaarij – then I do not know a khaarijee upon the face of the earth!
For this reason, upon you is to stick to the People of Knowledge, the Scholars, and especially the youth. Upon the youth is to seek knowledge so that they are not taken and led by emotions. As for that which is apparent to us of establishment of the Prescribed Punishments and veneration of the Sharee’ah with ISIS, then that affair is well-known from the Khawaarij. The Prophet (salallaahu ‘alaihi wassallam) stated, as reported by al-Bukhaaree and Muslim:
“You will consider your Prayer insignificant compared to their Prayer, likewise your Fasting compared to their Fasting.”
So they make apparent their veneration of the Sharee’ah with respect to the Salaah, the Zakaah, and the establishment of the Prescribed Punishments (the Hudood), yet they are upon a false and corrupt belief.
For this reason it is necessary that one is not deceived by what they display of veneration of the Sharee’ah. The first of the Khawaarij: For what reason were they fought against by the Companions of the Prophet (salallaahu ‘alaihi wassallam), whilst they announced their veneration of the Sharee’ah – they said: “There is no judgement but the Judgement of Allaah.” So leader of the believers and Companion, ‘Alee (radiyallaahu ‘anhu) said:
“A word of truth by which they intend falsehood.”
So they made apparent veneration of the Sharee’ah and establishing the Prescribed Punishments of the Sharee’ah, yet they made permissible the spilling of the blood of the Companions (radiyallaahu ‘anhum). They declared the Companions of the Prophet to be unbelievers, and they killed them. They made permissible the spilling of their blood in the name of the veneration of the Sharee’ah saying, “There is no judgement but for Allaah,” yet ‘Alee (radiyallaahu ‘anhu) said: “A word of truth by which they intend falsehood.” So this is the path of the Khawaarij from olden times, so it is obligatory to beware and to take note of this – and to be ardent upon [seeking] knowledge and have a connection to the Scholars and Jurists of the Sunnah and Hadeeth, the Jurists (Fuqahaa), the People of Hadeeth and Athar (Narrations), so that a person does not fall into the traps of these Dajjaals (liars and falsifiers of the truth).
(Slightly edited for clarity)
Note: The roots of ISIS or DAESH go back to 2004 under the leadership of Abu Mus’ab az-Zarqaawee, a ruthless insurgent khaarijee who swore allegiance to Usamah bin Laden. The group was also known as Al-Qaeda in Iraq. It took responsibility for numerous terrorist attacks against Iraqi civilians as well as videoed beheadings.