Ibn Taymiyyah, the Takfiri Kharijites and the Issue of Rebellion
By IslamAgainstExtremism, Editor
There Was Not in Any Revolt Any Rectification or Benefit for the Religion
Shaykh ul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah continues:
And for this reason, when al-Husayn (radiallaahu anhu) desired to go out to the people of Iraq when they wrote many letters to him, many of the people of knowledge, such as Ibn 'Umar, Ibn 'Abbaas, 'Abu Bakr bin Abdur-Rahmaan bin al-Haarith bin Hishaam hinted to him that he should not go out, and their overwhelming belief was that he would be killed... and they were actually desiring to give sincere advice to him, and were seeking what was beneficial and better for him, and for the Muslims in general(a), and Allaah and His Messenger, verily, they only command with rectitude, not with corruption. However, opinion can sometimes be correct and can sometimes be wrong.
So it has become clear that the correct affair was what they had said, and there was not to be found in the revolt any rectification or benefit for the deen and nor for the dunyaa. Rather, those oppressive wrongdoers were able to overcome the grandson of the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu alaihi wasallam) until they killed him as one oppressed, a martyr. And there was in his revolt and in his killing such corruption and mischief that would not have occurred had he sat and remained in his own town.
For whatever he intended of the attainment of good and repelling of evil, then nothing from it occurred. Rather, only evil increased by his revolt and his killing, and the goodness diminished on account of that. And that was also the cause of a great deal of evil, and the killing of Husayn itself was what brought about the tribulations, just as the killing of 'Uthmaan was from that which brought about tribulations (5).
And all of this is what explains that whatever the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) has commanded of patience towards the tyranny of the rulers and abandonment of fighting against them and revolting against them, that this is of the most beneficial and rectifying of affairs, in both this life and the next, and that whoever opposes this deliberately, or due to an error, then no rectification is attained by his action, rather only corruption.
And for this reason the Prophet (sallallaahu alaihi wasallam) praised al-Hasan with his saying, "Verily, this son of mine is a leader (sayyid) and Allaah will bring about reconciliation through him between two great factions from amongst the Muslims", but he did not praise anyone on account of fighting in the time of tribulation, and nor on account of revolting against the leaders, and nor on account of withholding from obedience, or separating from the Jamaa'ah.
And the ahaadeeth of the Prophet (sallallaahu alaihi wasallam) that are established in the Saheeh, all of them indicate this... and this explains that the reconciliation between the two parties was praised and was loved by Allaah and His Messenger, and that what was done by al-Hasan in bringing this about was from the greatest of his excellencies and his stations, on account of which the Prophet (sallallaahu alaihi wasallam) praised him. And if fighting had been obligatory or reccommended - and the Prophet (sallallaahu alaihi wasallam) never praised anyone for the abandonment of that which is obligatory or reccommended - and for this reason the Prophet (sallallaahu alaihi wasallam) did not praise anyone on account of what happened of fighting on the Day of the Camel, and Siffeen, let alone what occurred in Madinah on the Day of Harrah, and whatever happened in Makkah in the besieging of Ibn az-Zubayr, and what happened in the fitnah of Ibn al-Ash'at and Ibn al-Mihlab and other such tribulations (6)
(a) Editor's note: The major companions such as Ibn Abbaas, and Ibn Umar gave the pledge of allegiance and came under Yazeed's authority, voluntarily, without being forced. Al-Husayn remained firm upon his view, and the Shi'ites of Kufah were writing to al-Husayn when he was in Makkah where they were encouraging him to come and stating that that they would support him and give him the pledge of allegiance. When he confirmed that this was the case by sending a representative to Kufah to verify matters, he then set out and travelled to them, with the anticipation that he will win their support and pledge of allegiance, (which in the end did not occur, they did not give him that support they had initially indicated with zeal when they saw the army sent by Yazeed). The senior companions such as Ibn Abbaas, Abu Sa'eed al-Khudree, Jaabir bin Abd Allaah and others advised him against this. In the ensuing turmoil (left out for brevity's sake), when he resisted the offer of Ubday Allaah bin Ziyad (army leader of Yazeed) of taking him as captive, he died in the fighting that took place, as one oppressed - although Yazeed never intended or wanted him killed - this was the act of the oppressors and cursed ones who committed this crime from those in his army. For the purpose of this article, the word "revolt" (in English) may be used to refer to withdrawal of obedience, loyalty and allegiance or to armed uprising, rebellion and it is not the case that "khurooj" ("revolt") can only refer to an armed uprising. Ibn Taymiyyah in this entire section is speaking of revolt against authority which comprises either withdrawl of allegiance or armed rebellion (the latter comprising the former by necessity). Ibn Taymiyyah clarifies a little later (4/535) the objection raised by somebody that al-Husayn only abandoned fighting right at the very end of the affair because of incapability, because he had no helpers willing to aid him, by saying, "This is the very wisdom that the legislator (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) aimed to accomplish by prohibiting revolt against the rulers, and he commended abandonment of fighting in times of tribulation, even if those who did it held that there objective was to command good and prohibit evil..." In short Husayn (radiallaahu anhu) made an erroneous ijtihaad to go to the people of Kufah as part of his broader opposition to Yazeed's authority, and in the turmoil of the entire situation, it led to his killing and tribulation. And his actions are not treated like those of the Khawaarij, since he was not killed whilst seeking authority, rather, he was killed whilst abandoning the pursuit of leadership in Kufah, he was killed whilst wanting to return to the Hijaaz, and was killed in defence of his own self, not for the pursuit of leadership.