In the Statement of Omar ibn Al-Khattab - may Allah be pleased with him - that the Messenger of Allah - peace be upon him - said to Aisha: (O Aisha! As for those who divide their religion and break up into sects, you have no part in them in the least; they are the people of heresy and the people of whims, they have no repentance. Lo! I am clear of them and they are clear of me) (1)
Heresy, following whims, non-conformity to and abiding by the rule of Allah and His Messenger, has been the evil that disturbed the purity of this nation, and caused rifts between her sons; the starting point had been the heresy of the Kharijites. The first to start it in the era of the Prophet - peace be upon him -: was an ignorant and arrogant Bedouin, who stood between the hands of the Messenger of Allah - peace be upon him - objecting to his rule in the apportionment of money, which came from Yemen. The Companions have described to us that man, saying: (a man with sunken eyes, protruding cheeks, prominent forehead, thick beard, shaved head and of short garment). He had said to the Prophet - peace be upon him – with the tone of the commander who pretends knowing after the apportionment of the Prophet - peace be upon him – of the money: (Fear Allah!). The prophet, peace be upon him, said to him: (Woe to you! Do I not deserve most to fear Allah amongst the people of the earth?).
When he returned, the messenger of Allah - peace be upon him - looked at him and said: (From this very person's posterity, there would arise people who would recite the Quran glibly, but it would not go beyond their throats; they would glance through the teachings of Islam so hurriedly just as the arrow passes through the pray) (2).
The Arch scholar of Islam, Ibn Taymiyyah, said: (the first of heresies to appear in Islam and the most manifestly invective in the Sunan and the Trails, is the heresy of the rogue Harooris (3). The first one of them said to the Prophet - peace be upon him - to his face: Do justice, O Mohammed! For you have not done justice. The prophet - peace upon him - ordered to kill them and fight them. The Companions of the Prophet - peace be upon him - fought them with the Commander of the Faithful Ali bin Abu Taalib, may Allah be pleased with him) (4).
But the heresy of the Kharijites was soon extinguished, and people lived throughout the life of the Prophet - peace be upon him - and throughout the succession of the two Arch Successors (Abu Bakr and Omar), following the book of their Lord and treading in the steps of the Sunnah of their Prophet - peace be upon him. Heresies do not know a way to them, nor do indulgence and deepening find a way to their inner selves, apart from individual cases, which are eliminated in their infancy. By the end of the era of Uthman - may Allah be pleased with him - when the Islamic conquest spread to many countries, some of those whose hearts Islam did not conquer, due to them being new to it, and their lack of understanding thereof, embraced Islam. Also those who did not originally want Islam, but embraced it hypocritically in order to plot against Islam and its people, lurked among these. The results of that was the emergence of an armed revolution against Uthman - may Allah be pleased with him - at the hands of a band of ragtag and insolents, led by a wicked malicious Jewish person, who is Abdullah bin Saba’ Al-Humairi, which ended with the murder of the rightly-guided Successor Uthman bin ‘Affan - may Allah be pleased with him - wrongfully at the hands of these. This was the first weakness.
Then came the era of Ali - may Allah be pleased with him - where the sedition of the murder of Uthman bin ‘Affan - may Allah be pleased with him - and the subsequent wars for two heresies facing each other: the heresy of the expiatory Kharijites towards Ali - may Allah be pleased with him - and some of the Companions - may Allah be pleased with them - and the heresy of the Rafidhah (the rejecters) who claim his clerical leadership and infallibility, or his prophethood or divinity, then the egression of the groups followed in succession after that:
At the end of the era of the Companions - may Allah be pleased with them - during the succession of Abdul Malik bin Marwan - the heresy of the Marjanah and the Qadaria occurred. At the beginning of the era of the Followers- at the end of the Umayyad Caliphate - the heresy of the Jahamis and the Mushabbihah mutilators occurred (5).
Ibn Katheer said: (The first heresy to take place in Islam was that of the Kharijites. Their instauration was because of worldly gains, when the Prophet - peace be upon him – distributed the spoils of Huneyn, as if they saw in their rotten minds that he did not do justice in his distribution!
They surprised him with this statement. Their skeptic, who is the owner of the small loin, may Allah disembowel his waist, said: do justice, for you did not do justice! The Messenger of Allah - peace be upon him - said to him: (A hopeless and a loser, you are! Does He trust me over the people of the world and you do not trust me?! When the man finished, Omar bin Al-Khattab - may Allah be pleased him -, and in another narration: Khalid bin Al Waleed, sought permission to kill him. He - peace be upon him -said: (Let him! From this very person's posterity (his type) there would emerge a people, and you would hold insignificant your prayers as compared with their prayers, your fasting compared to theirs and your recitation compared to theirs. They would glance through the teachings of Islam so hurriedly just as the arrow passes through the pray. So when you meet them, kill them, for in their killing you would get a reward for the one who kills them) (6). Then was their emergence during the days of Ali bin Abu Taalib - may Allah be pleased with him - who annihilated them at Nahrawan. Out of these, peoples and tribes then branched, views and passions, articles and many widespread doctrines. Then the Qadaria emerged, followed by Al-Mu’tazilah, then the Jahamis and other heresies about whom the Truthful and Trustworthy- peace be upon him – informed in his saying: (this nation would split into seventy-three sects, all of which are in the fire except one). They said: Who are they, O Messenger of Allah? He said: (those who follow that which my Companions and I follow) (7).
(1) Narrated by Al-Bayhaqi in the Ramifications of Faith (5/449-450), Abu Na’eem in Adornments (4/138) and At-Tabaraani in As-Sagheer (1/303) from the statement of Abu Hurayrah. Al Haythami said in Al Mujamma’ (7/22, 23). The Isnad of At-Tabaraani in As-Sagheer is good.
(2) Narrated by Muslim, The Book of Zakat, the chapter pertaining to the mention of Kharijites and their attributes (2452).
(3) The Harooris: they are the Kharijites, so named for their adherence to a place known as: Haroora’.
(4) Madjmu’ Al Fataawa (19/72).
(5) See: the book: Minhaaj As-Sunnah (6/230-233) and As-Sawaa’iq Al-Murslah (1/147 151).
(6) See: the Kharijites and their attributes in Sahih Muslim, Book of Zakat, the chapter pertaining to the mention of Kharijites and their attributes (2449-2456) and Al Musnad (616) and Ibn Hibbaan (24).
(7) ‘Umdatut-Tafseer (1/353) and the Statement is narrated by At-Tirmidhi, Book of Faith, the chapter pertaining to what came in the split of this nation (2641) and said: This Hadith is Hasan Ghareeb, and has been interpreted. We do not know it like this apart from this side.