The great debate of Ibn ‘Abbas -radiAllaah anhu- with the Khawaarij

The great debate of Ibn ‘Abbas -radiAllaah anhu- with the Khawaarij

Translated By

Abbas Abu Yahya

When the Hurooreeyah rebelled, they isolated themselves in a place. There were 6000 of them and they were united in rebelling against ‘Alee. Continuously people would come to ‘Alee and say: O Ameer ul-Mu’mineen! Verily these people are rebelling against you.

He said: ‘Leave them, verily I will not fight them until they fight me and [they will fight me] that’s what they will do.’

So when it came to that day, I came to ‘Alee before the Zuhr prayer and I said to him: ‘O Ameer ul-Mu’mineen! Delay the prayer until it is cooler perhaps I will speak to these people.

He said: ‘Verily, I fear for you.’

I said: ‘Never! I used to be known as a man of good manners, I never harmed anyone.’

He gave me permission to go. So, I put on a very nice garment, the best of what one could get from Yemen and I combed my hair. Then, I visited them at midday whilst they were eating.

I had entered upon a people, the likes of whom I had never seen with regards to their exertion in worship. Their foreheads were wounded due to Sujood (prostration) and their hands had become rough like camels’ feet, wearing recently washed, untidy shirts with very high, raised clothing with tired and worn out faces [due to not caring for themselves].

So, I gave salaams to them and they said, ‘Welcome O Son of Abbas! And what is this cloak you are wearing?’

I said, ‘what deficiency do you see from me? Indeed, I saw the Messenger of Allaah sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam dressed in the best of what you can find in Yemeni clothing, then I recited this verse

<<Say, who has forbidden the adornment given by Allaah, which He has produced for His slaves, and the good things He has provided>>[1]

Then they said, ‘What has brought you here?’

I said to them, ‘I have come to you from amongst the Companions of the Prophet sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam the Muhaajiroon and the Ansaar and from the son of the uncle of the Prophet sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam (‘Alee), who is his son-in-law – and upon them descended the Qur’aan; and they are more knowledgeable about it than you and there is not one of them amongst you. I have come to convey to you what they say, and to convey to them, what you say.

A group amongst them said, ‘Do not debate with the Quraysh because verily Allaah, Azza wa Jaal, says

<<Nay! But they are a quarrelsome people>>[2],’

Then a group of them turned towards me and two or three of them said: ‘Verily, we will speak to him.’

So I said, ‘come forward, what is the grudge you have against the Companions of the Messenger of Allaah – and the son of his uncle (‘Alee).’

They said ‘three points’.

I said, ‘And what are they?’

They said: ‘Then one of the points is that he (‘Alee) had men judge in a matter of Allaah whilst Allaah said

<<The judgment is for none but Allaah>>[3]

What have men got to do with the Hukm?’

I said, ‘This is one point.’

They said, ‘As for the second point; then he fought and he did not take captives nor did he take the war booty, if they were Kuffaar, then their captives are permissible for us and if they were believers then their captives are not permissible to take nor was it allowed to fight them.’

I said, ‘This is the second point, and what is the third point?’ Or he said something similar.

They said: ‘He should remove the title of Ameer ul-Mu’mineen and if he is not the Ameer ul-Mu’mineen then he is the Ameer ul-Kaafireen.’

I said, ‘Do you have any points other than this?’

They said: ‘This is sufficient for us.’

I said to them: ‘Do you understand, that if I read to you from the Book of Allaah, Jalla wa thanaa’ahu, and from the Sunnah of His Prophet – SallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam – that which refutes what you say; will you return (back)?’

They said: ‘Yes.’

I said: “As for your statement That ‘Alee had men judge in a matter that was for Allaah; then I will read to you from the Book of Allaah, where Allaah has delegated His Hukm to men regarding the eighth of a quarter of a dirham. Allaah, Tabaraka wa Ta’aala, commanded the people to judge in this matter.

Do you not understand the saying of Allaah, Tabaraka wa Ta’aala:

<<O you who believe, do not kill the game while you are in a state of ihram, and whosoever of you kills it intentionally, then the penalty is an offering equivalent to the one he killed, as adjudged by two just men among you.>>[4]

And it is from the Hukm of Allaah that He delegated men to judge in this matter, if Allaah willed, He could have judged in this matter, but He allowed men to judge.

I ask you, for the sake of Allaah! Are men judging in reconciling in disputes and in preventing bloodshed or judging regarding hunting a rabbit better?”

They said: ‘Of course, this is better.’

‘And regarding a woman and her husband:

<< If you fear a breach between the husband and wife, appoint two arbitrators, one from his family and the other from hers >>[5]

Is not men judging in reconciling disputes and in the prevention of bloodshed better than men judging regarding the private parts of a woman?

Have we finished with this point?’

They said, ‘Yes.’

I said: ‘As for your statement, He fought but did not take captives and did not take war booty, then would you take your mother, Aa’ishah, as a captive, making her permissible for yourselves for that which you make permissible from other than her whilst she is your mother? If you say: “We make Halaal from her that which we make Halaal from other than her,” then you have made/committed Kufr. And if you say that, “she is not our mother,” then you have also made Kufr: <<The Prophet is closer to the believers than their own selves, and his wives are their mothers >>[6] and so you are between the two ill judgments. So, which of them do you want to take?

Have we finished with this point?’

They said: ‘Yes.’

‘As for ‘Alee removing the title of Ameer ul-Mu’mineen, then I will give you something that will please you: Verily, the Prophet of Allaah – made an agreement/contract with the Mushrikeen on the Day of Hudaybeeyah, and the Prophet sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam said to ‘Alee: “Write, O ‘Alee! This is what Muhammad, the Messenger of Allaah, sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam agrees with.”

They, the Mushrikeen, said, “If we knew you to be the Messenger of Allaah, we would not have fought you.” So, the Messenger of Allaah sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam said: ‘Erase it, O ‘Alee! O Allaah, Indeed You know that I am the Messenger of Allaah, erase it O ‘Alee! And write this, “This is what Muhammad ibn Abdullaah sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam makes an agreement/contract upon.”’

I swear by Allaah, that the Messenger of Allaah sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam is better than ‘Alee and even he erased his own name and erasing his name does not erase his Prophet hood.

Have we finished with this point?’

They said: ‘Yes.’

‘2000 of them came back while the rest of them rebelled and fought, based upon their misguidance, and the Muhaajiroon and Ansaar fought them.[7]

The Takreej for this narration:

Narrated by ad-Darmi in his ‘Sunnan’ (1/68-69) & by Bahshal in ‘Tareekh Wasit’ this narration is reported on the authority of ‘Amr bin Salma. Authenticated by al-Albani.

There are other narrations of this story. It has been narrated by Abdullaah bin Ahmad in ‘Zawaid az-Zuhud’ (p.428) & by Abu Na’eem in ‘Hileeyat al-Awwleeyah’ (4/380-381). Also by Tabraani in ‘Kabeer’ (9/125-126), by AbdurRazaq in ‘al-Mussannaf’ (5409). Al-Haythamee narrated it in ‘Mua’jam az-Zawaid’ (1/181).

As for the narration of AbdurRazaq & Tabraani which has been authenticated by al-Haythamee in ‘mua’jam az-Zawaid’ (1/181).

The narration of Abu Na’eem in ‘al-Hileeyah’ was reported on the authority of Abu Za’raa.

This story has many other narrations, in ‘al-Kabeer’ and some of them were authenticated by al-Haythamee.

Taken from ‘Silsilah as-Saheehah’ (5/12-13), & ‘Moonazaraat ‘aimmat as-Salaf’ p.89-91


[1] Soorah Al-A’raf :32

[2] Soorah az-Zukhruf :58

[3] Soorah an-Anaam : 57 and Soorah Yusuf : 40 & 67

[4] Soorah al-Ma’idah : 95

[5] Soorah an-Nisa : 35

[6] Soorah al-Ahzab : 6

[7] Narrated by Abdur-Razzaq in his book ‘al-Musannaf’(18678), Ahmad (1/243), al-Haakim (2/150-152), Ibn Abdul Barr in his Jama’ Bayaan Uloom (2/962-964/ 1834) and others.

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