The following is a response to the article on Revisitingthesalaf.org entitled: Khawarij Wal-Jammah, which was published on the 27th of April, 2012, and can be found here.
RTS, in this article starts off by attempting to give evidence that the Khawarij are Kuffar. Then, starts to quote statements by scholars of Ahl Al-Sunnah in which they praise of the reliability of Khariji narrators. RTS argues:
Unknown to many the connection with the Khawarij is more closer to home for the so called ‘Ahl Sunnah’. So much so they have in fact have taken their Prophetic teachings from them even though the Prophet (saw) declared them out of the folds of Islam!
The evidence that RTS shares about the Kufur of the Khawarif is the following narration:
Narrated Alee: I relate the traditions of Allah’s Apostle to you for I would rather fall from the sky than attribute something to him falsely. But when I tell you a thing which is between you and me, then no doubt, war is guile. I heard Allah’s Apostle saying, “In the last days of this world there will appear some young foolish people who will use (in their claim) the best speech of all people (i.e. the Qur’aan) and they will abandon Islam as an arrow going through the game. Their belief will not go beyond their throats (i.e. they will have practically no belief), so wherever you meet them, kill them, for he who kills them shall get a reward on the Day of Resurrection!.”
Source: Saheeh Bukhari. Pg. 888, H. # 3211.
RTS also quotes the opinion of Ibn Hajar:
The apostates were the people of Al-Nahrawan (i.e. the Khawarij) due to the establishment of the authentic report about them that “They will apostasies from the religion as the arrow leaves the bow.”
Source: Talkhis Al-Habir fīiAhadith Raafi’i Al-Kabir. Vol. 4, Pg. # 44.
Firstly, RTS’ translation is more of an interpretation, since Ibn Hajar does not even include the word “apostate” in his statement. The word he uses is Al-Mariqeen المارقين: Those that cut through the religion like an arrow through its target. Al-Murooq, means to cut through something. RTS incorrectly translates the term Ramiyya as “bow” as well. (Al-Nihaya, p. 866, Dar Ibn Al-Jawzi, 1427, 4th edition)
Furthermore, the narration of the Messenger (pbuh) in which he orders the killing of the Mariqeen does not suggest that they are Kuffar. The death penalty is also applied to adulterers and those that commit homicide, and yet, they are considered Muslims as well.
Truthfully, the narration of the Messenger (pbuh) is open to interpretation, and since it is, those that follow the school of Ahl Al-Sunnah return to the opinions of the companions regarding their status.
In Musanaf Ibn Abi Shaybah 7/562 we find that Ali was asked about the people of the river (Nahrawan):
حدثنا يحيى بن آدم ثنا معضل بن مهلهل عن الشيباني عن قيس بن مسلم عن طارق بن شهاب قال : كنت عند علي ، فسئل عن أهل النهر أهم مشركون ؟ قال : من الشرك فروا ، قيل : فمنافقون هم ؟ قال : إن المنافقين لا يذكرون الله إلا قليلا ، قيل له : فما هم ؟ قال : قوم بغوا علينا .
Are they Mushrik? He said: From Shirk they turned away. Are they hypocrites? He replied: The hypocrites rarely mention Allah (in praise). They said: So what are they? He said: A group that wronged us. (Dar Al-Kutub Al-Ilmiyah, 1416, first edition)
The chain is authentic, and معضل بن مهلهل should be مفضل بن مهلهل instead.
In another narration in Sunan Al-Bayhaqi 8/215, we find Shaqeeq bin Salama testifying that Ali did not take female captives from the Kharijites. The special treatment implies that they were not Kuffar in his eyes.
Carrying on, RTS continues by quoting the names of a small group of Khariji narrators and showing evidences that they are reliable in the eyes of Ahl Al-Sunnah, implying that Ahl Al-Sunnah accept the narrations of Kuffar.
However, as we have established above, the Khawarij are not Kuffar in the eyes of Ahl Al-Sunnah, based on the position of Ali. Ahl Al-Sunnah, however, would not accept the narrations of the Khawarij if they believed that their innovation takes them outside the fold of Islam.
Yet, this is contrary to the Shia view. Ayatollah Al-Khoei in Al-Mu’jam, as seen here says about Al-Sajjadah, the cursed Shia narrator:
أقول: الرجل وإن وثقه علي بن إبراهيم، لوقوعه في اسناد تفسيره إلا أنه مع ذلك لا يمكن الاعتماد على رواياته لشهادة النجاشي بأن الأصحاب ضعفوه، وكذلك ضعفه ابن الغضائري.
نعم لو لم يكن في البين تضعيف، لأمكننا الحكم بوثاقته، مع فساد عقيدته، بل مع كفره أيضا.
I (Al-Khoei) say: The man, even with the claim of reliability by Ali bin Ibrahim, for being in a chain of his Tafseer, cannot be relied upon since Al-Najashi testified that the companions have weakened him, as well as Ibn Al-Ghada’iree. Yes, if there wasn’t a clear weakening, we could have accepted him as trustworthy, even with a corrupt ideology, not only that, but even with his Kufr.
As we can see here, the Shias have no qualms with accepting narrations from Kuffar, as long as they are reliable in hadith. Therefore, the arguments brought by RTS are meaningless since this position is adopted by Al-Khoei.