Is ISIS neo-Kharijite?

The Kharijites were a faction inside of early Islam that heavily invested in the concept of takfir (excommunication) and had other differences with both Sunni and Shia to the point where they were themselves considered no longer muslim and ended up mostly being killed off. ISIS, by its extreme actions, seems to have some significant points of congruence with the Kharijites. Foremost among them seems to be this shared belief in takfirism. It is not a perfect fit, ISIS’ ideology includes the idea that the Caliph should be a Quryash tribe member, something the ancient Kharijites rejected at the time.

Not having a dividing line between those who want to kill us in the name of Islam and those who we can live with underneath the big tent of american tolerance makes war difficult. Is neo-kharjitism a dividing criteria that would work both within Islam and without? It’s something to keep an eye on and a great tool if it can be relied on.

16 thoughts on “Is ISIS neo-Kharijite?”

  1. ” those who we can live with underneath the big tent of american tolerance makes war difficult.”

    I’m kind of with Sarah Palin on this one. Kill them all and let God sort them out. And I’m agnostic. Paul Ehrlich was half right. Too many mouths to feed in the Muslim world.

    Too many “Sudden Jihad Syndromes.”

  2. Vxxc2014 – Takfiri is an activity, sometimes acceptable in muslim affairs. Kharijites were a group, tossed out long ago from Islam for a number of reasons, one of the largest being their excessive use of Takfiri. It seems they were also viewed as excessively celebrating the institution of slavery.

    Mike K – The problem of sudden jihad syndrome is, at heart, one of insufficient in-house cleanup capacity. ISIS is less of a problem in this respect as they seem to be concentrating on killing other muslims. Let God sort them out strikes me as fundamentally lazy. Paul Ehrlich was not right. The problem of the muslim world is the same problem everywhere else has where it looks like there are too many mouths to feed. There are barriers to economic activity in the muslim world that keep the GDP down and the people in poverty and misery which is why when you remove them from those societies, they seem to adapt to a high productivity economy just fine.

    Sudden Jihad Syndrome only looks sudden if you aren’t watching for it. The machinery to watch for it and fix it before it goes violent remains tragically underdeveloped.

  3. “Let God sort them out strikes me as fundamentally lazy.”

    Agreed but it is a lot of work to try to sort out Muslims who want modern life from the rest.

    “There are barriers to economic activity in the muslim world that keep the GDP down and the people in poverty and misery which is why when you remove them from those societies, they seem to adapt to a high productivity economy just fine.”

    That must be why so many terrorists and would be terrorists are doctor and engineers.

    For example.

    But in fact Osama bin Laden is more the rule than the exception. Take Mohamed Atta, the son of an Egyptian lawyer, who had worked on a doctorate in, of all things, urban preservation at a German university and who led the 9/11 attacks. Or the present leader of al Qaeda, Ayman al Zawahiri, a surgeon who comes from a leading Egyptian family that counts ambassadors, politicians and prominent clerics amongst its ranks.

    Let’s also add to the mix Faisal Shahzad, who tried to blow up a bomb-laden SUV in Times Square on May 1, 2010. He had obtained an MBA in the United States and had worked as a financial analyst for the Elizabeth Arden cosmetics company. His father was one of the top officers in the Pakistani military.

    Sorry, but I am with Sarah on this one.

  4. Mike K – Please, no moving goalposts. I was talking about your assertion that there are too many mouths in muslim lands. There’s no special disability. Christians are just as economically hobbled under similar rules. If you disagree on that point, we should discuss further.

    Ultimately the sorting work is properly assigned to the muslims themselves. Better than 90% of the modern explod-a-dope brigade are fellow muslims so they should be motivated to sort this out. But it would help if we didn’t engage in the soft bigotry of low expectations. It is because I think that muslims are fundamentally equal that I expect them to clean their own house and not dump their problems on me to do it.

    Educated with advanced degrees does not mean compassionate or theologically sane. These are things that are independent variables. If you hold theologically insane views, have little compassion for others and are not very well educated, you might take a sharp object and go on a spree in the street. Education only makes your violence more effective and your ability to evade capture rise.

  5. I’m kidding about “too many mouths to feed” although the way that world is structured is an invitation to chaos. China has he opposite, yet similar problem. There are not enough girls. The Muslims assign all the girls to old men and the young men are left frustrated.

    In Teheran after the revolution, there were young girls from good families who were arrested because they were swimming in family pools in bathing suits. Young angry men could see them with telescopes from tall buildings and the girl were arrested for “tempting” those young men. What is more weird than that ?

    “Educated with advanced degrees does not mean compassionate or theologically sane.”

    The trend in Muslim society is that the more education, the more insanity. They are victims of a rage at modern life that does not conform to their deeply held religious (and social) beliefs. Islam is an entire life system, not just a religion that one can adapt as needed or wished. The more educated, the more the disconnect drives them to violent rage and acting out, as our psychiatrist brothers say.

    “and are not very well educated”

    Here, we just disagree. I think education informs them of how distorted and illogical their life system is. Major Hassan is a perfect example. He was a psychiatrist, for crissake !

    I think we will have to kill a lot of them and should consider it as mosquito abatement, ethically.

    A severe irony here is that the population most likely to be killed in a confrontation with modern society (probably Israel) is the Iranian in which 98% seem to have rejected Islam and are prisoners of a crazy elite.

  6. All this well intentioned discussion about guidelines, and distinctions, and how to make this or that fine judgement about this Islamic sect or that Islamic faction will be utterly meaningless as this conflict moves toward the inevitable endgame.

    Islam exists due to the forebearence of the west, period. The economies that sustain them, the lands they occupy, any modern aspect of their existence, from food to technology to medical care to education, to military supplies, is provided for them by exchanges of commodities the west has developed for them for the goods the west produces.

    Islam produces little or nothing the rest of the world wants or needs.

    It is the realization of this utter meaninglessness that drove their fundamentalist preachers in the 19th and 20th centuries into frustrated madness, as it demonstrated so clearly the delusional nature of their claims to moral and spiritual superiority.

    Now the lunacy of this death cult has spawned something called ISIS, among others, who are rampaging through the mid-east killing and enslaving anyone they decide is “not ISIS”, with the assistance of a supine west and a complicit US.

    At some point in the not so distant future, these lunatics, or their fellow millennial cultists in Iran and elsewhere, will manage what the similarly deluded fanatics of the major Axis powers accomplished, and turn a people suspicious of war into an united killing machine capable of violence beyond the imagination of even these fevered beheaders.

    The anniversary of the destruction of Dresden just passed. In August, there will be a few more anniversaries remembered, at least by those not deluded enough to have forgotten them.

    And someday in the future, and that future draws nearer with each new atrocity, we will commemorate the execution of the last identifiable member of a certain death cult, who went out crying that he wasn’t one of the bad guys, as if it mattered any longer.

    Of course there will be regrets, and self-recriminations, and all of the angst with which we regret our excesses, but by then it will all be only a postscript.

    The most ruthless, efficient, and utterly cold killing machine in human history will have done what it felt necessary to protect itself, and another foe will have had to accept the unacceptable, and endure the unendurable. All that will remain will be memories, remorse, and celebration of a job well done.

  7. It is pretty much illegal to proclaim the gospel without fear and without reservation in most of the muslim world. Doing so is a recipe either for jail or a knifing. Short of genocide, the Vatican idea of allowing christians to be first class citizens and to preach the gospel peacefully and to have converts not live in fear of their lives seems a much more attractive option of dealing with the problem of Islam to me. The Islam that is sane will tolerate the competition. The insane variety becomes a police matter long before it becomes a war matter.

  8. ” Takfiri is an activity.”

    Well that may be correct academically, what are the actual moderate Muslim’s -who Kill the immoderate ones- calling them on the Street?

    I don’t think they’re calling them Kharijites, although they’d understand the reference.

    What I usually hear these days is D’aesh.

    I hope I helped with a working definition of a moderate Muslim.

    This is their time tested proven solution to Kharijites. Kill Them.

    We can’t apply it because our politicians are whores paid to look the other way, and they’ll turn their heads forever until it’s their heads.

    That last task isn’t for non-American’s now is it?

  9. What exactly is the place of academics and moderate people in a contest where heads are being cut off for theater and every leader is a whore committing treason for money openly with the enemy?

    Perhaps the place of moderate people is to look at their defenders and say: whatever it takes and we’ll back you no matter WHAT YOU DO.

    No. Matter. What.

    And then be silent.

    Now the winner is the side that realizes this to the most effect first.

  10. “Islam exists due to the forebearence of the west, period. ”

    This is ignoring oil.

    “Islam produces little or nothing the rest of the world wants or needs.”

    Without oil, no one would care what Islam was doing.

    “It is the realization of this utter meaninglessness that drove their fundamentalist preachers in the 19th and 20th centuries into frustrated madness”

    That was true until the Royal Navy converted to oil from coal. That was about 1910. After that, the Arabs had a lever to move Europe.

    We were immune until quite recently, 50 years or less and, in spite of Obama, we are moving away from dependence.

    The Arabs, and the Iranian fanatics, are moving to acquire a foothold here and in Europe to facilitate their plans. There is still a lingering suspicion, and this drives the left crazy, that they had something to do with the rise of Obama.

    The Chinese could be the beneficiaries of all this but they may have done themselves in with the one child policy. Communism hasn’t helped as it has had an economic black thumb since invented.

  11. The oil in the Islamic lands was discovered and developed by the west, which had a use for petroleum products. If it had been left to the inhabitants of those areas, they would have walked around on it obliviously for another thousand years.

    In any other age, or if the positions of the developers/inhabitants were somehow reversed, the oil would have simply been taken, and the inhabitants eradicated or enslaved.

    It is only by the forebearence of the west, acting against its own interests, in many ways, that the crude theocracies of the Mideast still exist. Indeed, their own cannaballistic savagery does more to destroy them than anything we have ever done, including the 900 year old campaigns so beloved by our Dear Leader.

    To repeat, Islam and it’s adherents have nothing the west wants or needs, and the resources they squat on could be taken away as easily as we cut through the 4th largest army in the world a few years ago.

    I am not making a moral argument, nor advocating a course of action, but rather pointing out the desperate peril that Islamic fanatics are creating for the whole of their world and their faith.

    It is worth noting that the gravitational center of Christianity is shifting to Africa and Asia, as well as the South American home of the current Pope, areas not known for PC nuances. The timid leadership of the current metrosexual elites is on it’s last wobbly legs, and will not take much of a shock to collapse.

    It’s replacement might be considerably, and dangerously for our adversaries, more robust and belligerent.

  12. “History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme.” Mark Twain

    I think the similarities between the historic Kharijites and the modern jihadists is an example of this phenomenon. I doubt that the later studied the former and said that is what we should be. Remember the Kharijites lost and were suppressed.

    On the other hand, there is some inner logic discernible by the Arab mind when studying Islamic texts (mostly the Koran, the Kharijites disdained the hadith and knew nothing of later legists and other thinkers).

    Incidentally, the analogy between ISIS and the Kharijites has come up in a couple of places recently:

    Who Are The Kharijites and What do They Have to do With ISIS?” By Ali Mamouri, Columnist for Al-Monitor on Jan. 9, 2015

    Members of the Islamic State (IS) have often been described as modern-age Kharijites, in reference to the Muslims who rebelled against the ruling powers in early Islamic history.

    * * *

    Saudi Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al ash-Sheikh issued a statement in August 2014 calling IS an extension of the Kharijites who “believed that killing Muslims was not a crime, and we do not consider either of them Muslims.” Even al-Qaeda, which was, until recently, the most dangerous Salafist jihadist movement in the world, renounced IS for being Kharijites. Jabhat al-Nusra declared in December 2014 that it was waging a war of elimination against what it called “Kharijites,” indicating IS. In a voice recording, Jabhat al-Nusra’s spiritual leader, Sami al-Aridi, said, “The swords that God ordered us to use are many. One of these swords is the one pointed at Kharijites. This group [IS] has provided solid proof that it is Kharijite. Thus, killing them is a religious duty and there is no doubt about it. Whoever underestimates killing them, is underestimating the blood of Sunnis.”

    * * *

    The similarities between IS and the Kharijites have prompted some to compare the two. Such similarities include: condemning other Muslims, killing children and women, and clashing with other Salafist jihadist groups to secure an exclusive grip on power. IS has dedicated significant attention to fighting Jabhat al-Nusra and the Free Syrian Army, even though they all oppose the Syrian regime. However, in some ways, IS is completely different from the Kharijites. The latter never expressed hostility toward non-Muslims and they never oppressed minorities, as IS has done consistently.

    The Kharijites did not have Salafist tendencies. On the contrary, they refused to accept the arbitration of the first Muslims and the sahaba — the companions of Prophet Muhammad. The Kharijites did not consider the first Muslims to be holy, and they never prioritized their views in understanding and applying religion. They called for equality and expressed a desire to not distinguish between the first Muslims and later converts.

    * * *

    It has become an urgent need for the Saudi regime to dissociate itself from the acts and language of extremist Salafist movements. Salafist movements opposing IS use the term “modern-age Kharijites” in two ways: Official Saudi discourse labels all the Salafist jihadist movements that oppose it Kharijites, including al-Qaeda and IS; and al-Qaeda and its affiliated groups use this term to tarnish the name of IS among Salafist jihadists.

    * * *

    The Real Name for ISIS Should Be KIL: “The Kharijites of Iraq and the Levant” posted by Hesham A. Hassaballa:

    The barbarians of ISIS, like Al Qaeda and other extremists, are the Kharijites of our time. If you are not a Muslim like them, then you are an “apostate” who should be killed. The barbarians of ISIS – just as the Kharijites – divide the world into the dar al Islam (“realm of Islam”) and dar al harb (“realm of war,” i.e., nonbelievers). The barbarians of ISIS – just as the Kharijites – believe that a perpetual war must be fought to turn all areas into dar al Islam, and this can include murder against innocents.

    The term khawarij, Arabic for Kharijite, has a particularly negative connotation among Muslims across the world, as this history is well-known and well understood. If the prevailing perception of ISIS can be changed from “jihadi” to “khariji,” i.e., Kharijite, it would go a long way to poison their image and expose them for who they really are: violent extremists. Thus, rather than calling them ISIS, I will call them KIL


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