The Kharijites and Their Impact on Contemporary Islam 2

After this lengthy discourse most of the Kharajites – 8,000 of them – capitulated and returned to the ranks of Sayyidina `Ali. 4,000 of them – including Hurqus ibn Zuhair and `Abdullah al-Rasibi – remained committed to their cause. This is a story of the integrity of Sayyidina `Ali. And that integrity, as told in the narration of al-Baghdadi, continues where he records that Sayyidna Ali ordered the 8,000 who capitulated not to join them in the battle. He had come with 4,000 and with 4,000 he would fight. On that day too, he swore that no more than ten on his side would die and no more than ten on their side would survive. That is precisely what happened. Amongst those who survived was Hurqus ibn Zuhair.

The intractable Hurqus confronted Sayyidina `Ali and said, “O son of Abi Talib, I fight you not except for the sake of Allah, and for my reward in the afterlife.”

Sayyidina `Ali retorted, “Your kind, Hurqus, is the kind that Allahu Ta`ala refers to in the Quran where He states, ‘Say: Shall We tell you of those who lose most in respect of their deeds? Those whose efforts have been wasted in this life, while they imagined that they were acquiring good by their works‘ (18: 103). Amongst these – and I swear by this in the name of the Lord of the Ka`ba – are you Hurqus!”

Hurqus met his end and was killed.

Perhaps Hurqus would see the worth of his “good” deeds in the afterlife. But the roots of internecine hatred they left behind were firmly sunk in the soil of this world. Nevertheless, the story, if it needs to be told, need not be for the sake of the legacy the Kharajites left behind. If there is ever a need for the story to be told, then it is for the lessons to be learnt from Sayyidina `Ali’s attitude and approach to them during his short reign as Khalifa. Not only is he a model of justice and integrity, but, like his three great predecessors, is a model of how Muslim leaders, governors and communities ought to behave and conduct themselves.

In the next series we shall look at some of these instances.

Part 3

Peace and Blessings upon the Prophet, his Family, and his Companions

© 2012 As-Sunnah Foundation of America

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