Not in my name – ISIS is the opposite of Islam – but is ISIS Khariji?

Dear readers,
Today we would like to introduce an interesting historical analysis of the Khariji women and their military, political and social involvement in early Islam. The reason why we are writing about this matter has to do with the fact that many people of these days are convinced that ISIS is the revival of Khariji Islam. They justify their position by saying that in ISIS there is a clear revival of kharijism and its ideology of takfir.
khariji 1
ProMosaik e.V. is not of this opinion, because ISIS seems to be more a US-invention looking for connections with the school books of the regime of Ibn Saud to manipulate ignorant people to let Israel exempt from punishment for its violations against human rights, and to help Assad to stay in power.
I am convinced that ISIS is so anti-Islamic that nobody in an authentic Muslim environment could ever have created it.

khariji 2

Thank you for your feedback
Dr. phil. Milena Rampoldi
Editorial Team of ProMosaik e.V.   
khariji 3 




The most significant social characteristics:

 The status of Khariji woman

Khariji Islam was shaped during political conditions that forced its representatives to oppose prevailing opinions. This situation led them to employ all their capabilities to support their party during rivalry with the balance of power and to help their ongoing efforts to achieve their military and cultural targets. The group could never be successful in employing its effective capabilities unless it adopted some of the social values that minimize the weakness and passivism suffered by socially marginalized groups at this time. In this context, we care for women. Indeed, the unstable state of affairs the group suffers from, as well as the type of critical principles it adopts in all its choices, made woman’s uniqueness, a very effective uniqueness at both a practical and intellectual level, one of the most significant anthropological characteristics for Khariji Islam.
In this section, we will try to examine this characteristic through the historical stages of the group in the east and west (i.e. northern Africa). Among them, we will chose issues relating to women’s military participation in upheavals and wars, through the stages of Khariji conflict with the Umayyad and the Abbasid authorities in the East. We will choose issues relating to their scientific participation and the excellence of their social status, through the periods of stability this movement enjoyed in northern Africa, in times of publicity or secrecy.
Continual military upheaval was the dominant characteristic of the Khariji movement in east, during the period of the Umayyad the subsequent Abbasid regimes. Therefore, the practical formula of the effectiveness of social bodies shaping the group used to emerge from the extent of participation in these military movements. Thus, we can understand the effective role of Khariji women in this aspect. This effectiveness reached to the extent of giving her imamate in some Khariji groups; i.e. Ash-Shabibiyah (attributed to Shabib bin Yazid Ash-Shaybani, a branch of the As-Sufairyah group). Furthermore, this experience reached the degree of theorization; Ash-Shabibiyah sees the possibility of giving imamate to one of their women.
As for their military role, the history books recorded different forms of women’s participation, starting from the rows of fighters under the leadership of specific commanders reaching to actual participation in leadership. Hereinafter, we will mention examples indicating the significance of this participation.
Khariji movements became strong in the era of Ziad bin Abih (i.e. Ziad son of his father), because of his injustice and exemplary punishments of the individuals of the movement, whether fighters or peaceful individuals. This is what he did with a woman (a Mujtahid woman of Kharijits) called Al-Baljaa, according to Al-Mubrd, because she opposed his unjust policy. He cut her hands and legs threw her in the market place. Therefore, the reaction of the Khariji people became stronger because of this policy. Indeed, women had a significant role in that issue, as proven by the morally violent reaction; i.e. putting off the clothes of the killed Khariji women. Thereupon, women did not participate in fighting the Ziad anymore. Whenever they were called to fight him, they would say, “Unless nude, we would get out to fight him”. Among what was spread among people about killing Khariji women is the saying of Umar bin Abu Rabiah:
قتل حسناء غادة عطبول
إن من أعظم الكبائر عندي
إن لله درها من قتيل
قُتلَت باطلاً على غير ذنب
وعلى المحصنات جر الذيول[1]
كُتِبَ القتل والقتال علينا
The Sunni speech devoted these conservative meanings to housewives by circulating some rulings and Fatawa that exempt women from fighting. These include “Women are not obliged to fight” and “She should stay where women stay.”
The military movements of the Azariqa were known for their strength and epic incidents. In addition, women had a role whose significance can be understood from various references, which mention that bin Al-Azraq inclined to violence in dealing with his opponents based on the whims and orders of his wife. What is significant in this is not only that it was possible; rather it is significant because it attests to the fame of Khariji women in general concerning their effectiveness compared to women of other groups, morally and in practical terms. Among the strangest rulings in Azraqi (i.e. attributed to Nafi bin Al-Azraq) jurisprudence is that a woman is impure during menstruation and that she must perform the obligatory prayer and fasting. On the level of military moves, women used to participate in the rows of solders, whether they were old or young. A fighter woman, i.e. Um Hakim, became a symbol, amongst else, of courage. A narrator said, “She was one of the most courageous, beautiful and faithful persons. Many of her people proposed to her, but she refused. Then, I was told by someone who met her that she used to attack people while poetizing:
وقد مللت دهنه وغسله
أحمل رأسًا قد سئمت حمله
ألا فتى يحمل عني ثقله[2]
“They were ready to give their fathers and mothers as ransom for her.” The narrator added, “I had never seen anyone like her before or after her.”
The participation of Azraqi women became one of the best known characteristics of Azraqi people. For example, a commander used to urge his solders to break the siege, which Azraqi people made around them, by reminding them that if they continued to be lazy, the person among them will not be able to defend himself from an Azraqi woman, not to mention men.
Women were also present in the moves of Kharijits led by Shabib. Indeed, the most prominent presence mentioned by historians was of his wife, Ghazala. She had great courage and chivalry. Moreover, history books recorded the incident of challenging Al-Hajaj, when she vowed to pray in Kufa mosque while this was under his authority, and then fulfilled her vow. She delivered a speech on the pulpit of the Kufa mosque, after it was dominated by Shabib. Then, she took leadership after Shabib was murdered. Furthermore, some references state that Al-Hajaj ran away from Ghazala during a battle; therefore, a poet reproached him by saying:
فتخاء تنفر من صفير الصافر
أسدٌ علي وفي الحروب نعامةٌ
بل كان قلبك في جناحي طائر[3]
هلا برزت إلى غزالة في الوغى
Women participated in the movements of As-Sufairyah that were led by Ad-Dahhak. For example, in a battle, almost the same number of men and women Khariji fighters were killed (fourteen knights and thirteen women). Moreover, the Umayyad commander, Mansour bin Jamhour, was defeated by a veiled knight, who was discovered to be a woman, Um Anbar. Later, after he joined the Kharijits, he declared that he admired her greatly. Al- Mubrd mentioned an incident showing that the presence of Khariji women in fight caused serious embarrassment to the fighters of the Umayyad army. He talked about swordplay between an Umayyad commander and a Khariji knight later discovered to be a woman, “The other one attacked him and embraced him till they both fell on the ground. Then Qais Al-Khashni shouted, ‘Kill us both’. The horses of both sides approached and separated them. Thus, they discovered that the knight was a woman. Qais stood up feeling embarrassed. Yazid said, ‘As for you, you encountered her in duel thinking that she was a man.’ However, he replied, ‘What if I was killed, would not people say that a woman killed me?’
Abadi women participated also in the large military operations the Abadiis engaged in during the last days of the Umayyad state, during the taking of southern Arabia and the Hejaz area. Maryam, the wife of Abu Hamza the commander used to fight on his side against the Umayyad armies. Then, she was martyred with him in the same battle in the outskirt of Mecca. The poetry dedicated to her includes:
من سال عن اسمي فاسمي مريم
أنا الجعيداء بنت الأعلم
بعت سواري بسيف مخذّم[4]
Whether attributing these words to her is right or not, their meanings are significant from the aspect of showing the kind of affairs attracting the Khariji women in the period of work to empower Dawah. They are affairs summarized under the concept of “sword” away from the affairs of the housewife, summarized in the word “bracelet”. Moreover, Abadi jurisprudence accepts the possibility of women’s participation in the stage of “buy”; i.e. the stage based on the military operations for establishing Dawah. The condition of buy is to have a number of Kharijits of forty. They can complete the number by adding one woman.
Furthermore, when the Kharijits rebelled against Ar-Rashid in the peninsula, their rows included men and women. Al-Walid bin Turaif, and then his sister Layla, after his murder, led this movement.


[1] (Literal translation of the poetry)
Among the gravest sins in my opinion
Is to kill a pretty nice woman
She gets killed unjustly for no sin
What a kind of murdered person
Indeed, killing and fighting is ours
While the chaste women should draw the tails of their dresses
[2] (Literal translation of the poetry)
I am bearing a head I am bored of bearing it
And I got bored of washing and putting oil on it
Is not there a young man (able to) carry its weight instead of me?
[3] (Literal translation of the poetry)
You look like a lion when you meet me while you are like an ostrich in war
You flee when you hear the voice of declaring war
Did you meet Ghazala in the battle?
No, your heart was in wings of a bird.
[4] (Literal translation of the poetry)
I am the pretty woman and the daughter of the greatest scholar
For who would like to ask my name, it is Maryam
I sold my bracelet for a sharp sword
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