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The Advice of Imām Wahb Ibn Munabbih to a Man Affected by the Way of the Khawārij

An excellent book containing the narration of Wahb Ibn Munabbih (d.110H), along with the checking of Shaykh ʿAbd-al-Salām Ibn Burjiss.

By Allāh the Khawārij were never a jamāʿah (united body), except that Allāh split them up into their worse condition. Nor has anyone of them opened his mouth except that Allāh smote him on his neck. Never has the Ummah united under a man from the Khawārij.


All praise is to Allāh. And may Allāh bless and send peace upon His Messenger, and upon his family, and upon his Companions, and he whom He has befriended.

Verily the Khawārij 1 are evil people, advocates of fitnah (trials/tribulations) and the standards of division. If the Muslim affairs had been settled, and they were organized collectively, the duty left to the Khawārij is to rupture that progress and spoil what had been accomplished.

Ever since they appeared they never ceased. There has never been a time free from them, the last of them will be with the Dajjāl (Anti-Christ). The narrations concerning them from the Prophet ﷺ are multiple. Warning from them, making known their characteristics, and the verdict of Allāh the Exalted regarding them.

As that was understood, the Companions of the Messenger and those after them of the scholars fought the Khawārij, as time went on in Islām. No one is safe from their slander, not ʿAlī nor Muʿāwiyah, they even plotted against ’Uthmān (raḍī Allāhu ʿanhum). Even the Caliph ʿUmar Ibn ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz was not safe from them; they also revolted against him.

So they are actually enemies to the people of Islām. Nor are they pleased with the verdict of any of the Muslims, despite what good may be intended by it. Even the Messenger of Allāh himself wasn’t safe from their slander.  In which their Imām, Dhul-Khuwaysirah said: ‘Oh Muḥammad, be fair!’ So he defamed the fairness and judgment of the Messenger of Allāh ﷺ.

In every time and place, among the Khawārij, is a certain resemblance. Their hearts, tongues and deeds all have similarities.  And in this writing, which I retrieved from the biography of Wahb Ibn Munabbih (raḥimahullāh) is what illustrates this image exactly clearly and plainly. Since it was they who raised various well-known issues. Such as:

a) Treating the payment of zakāt (charity) to those disposed of with the affairs of the Muslims as not being permissible. Supported by their opinion of them being disbelievers (kuffār), and their claim that they do not render the zakāt to those deserving it.

b) They’re deeming that seeking forgiveness for those who do not agree with their views as not being permissible. Their opinion of them being kuffār supported this view.

So these notions affected whomever they affected, from the people who lacked knowledge. And they were also deceived by the strict devoutness, which they displayed. And from among those who the Khawārij had an impact on was a man, both rich and elderly, from Yemen, and when Allāh desired to bestow upon him some good, he led him to Imām Wahb Ibn Munabbih. And the Imām advised him concerning his situation clearly, with proofs, understood by people who think. Convincing him about the corruption of the views held by the Khawārij, and the danger they are to a man’s Religion and worldly life (dunyā).  By reading carefully, you can see that the notions and opinions of Khawārij then, are the same today. Recall the saying of Allāh:

“…Their hearts are alike, We have made clear the signs for a people who believe with certainty.”
[Sūrah al-Baqarah 2:118]

A Biography of Imām Wahb Ibn Munabbih

His name is Wahb Ibn Munabbih Ibn Kāmil Ibn Siraajud-Dīn Dhee Kibār, Abū ʿAbdullāh al-Yamānee as-San’aanee. His father came to Yemen from Haraah, Khurasaan (Persia).  He was born 34H, during the Caliphate of ’Uthmān Ibn ’Affaan.

He narrated from numerous Companions, among them: Anas Ibn Mālik, Jābir Ibn ʿAbdullāh, ʿAbdullāh Ibn ʿAbbās, ʿAbdullāh Ibn ʿUmar, Abū Hurayrah, and Abū Saʿīd al-Khudrī. He also narrated from Ṭāwūs Ibn Kayaan, ’Amr Ibn Dīnār, ’Amr Ibn Shuʿayb, and his own brother Hammaam Ibn Munabbih, and others.

Imām Aḥmad said: ‘…He was a man of Persian decent.’

And he said, ‘Anyone from Yemen and has ‘Dhee’ in his name, then his lineage is noble. It is said: So and so has Dhee and so and so has no Dhee.’2

Al-’Ijlee said: ‘He was a trustworthy Tābi’ī, and the judge over San’aa.3

Abū Zur’ah, an-Nisa‘ee and others attested to his trustworthiness.

He assumed the judiciary over San’aa under the Caliph ʿUmar Ibn ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz. His narrations have been recorded in the Ṣaḥīḥayn4 (al-Bukhārī and Muslim). He had much knowledge regarding the people of the Book, and was counted among the pious and God-fearing, who was occupied with worship.

He died 110H in San’aa at the beginning of the Caliphate of Hishaam Ibn ʿAbd al-Mālik. It is also said that he died 114H. Yaqoot agreed with the latter in his book, Mu’jamul-Udabaa.

The Origins of this Writing

This writing comes in the biography of Wahb Ibn Munabbih, in each of the following books:

Taareekhud-Dimashq (18/. . ./alif 483)by Ibn ’ʿAsākir.

The abridgement of Taareekhud-Dimashq (26/388) by Ibn Mandhoor.

Tahdhīb al-Kamāl by al-Mizzee (31/150 the published version) I had checked it with the manuscript (3/1481).

Siyar Aʿlām al-Nubʿalāʾ(4/557) by al-Dhahabī.

What I Did in this Book

I used the wording of the narration found in Tahdhīb al-Kamāl as the basis. I then referred it to the other wordings of the remaining texts previously mentioned. And from there I established the proper wordings. Just as I denoted brief endnotes where it was necessary.

I beseech Allāh for his success and aid, and may He shower upon our Prophet Muḥammad, His blessings, and upon his family and his all of his Companions.

ʿAbd al-Salām Ibn Burjiss Āl-ʿAbd al-Karīm


The Text

ʿAlī Ibn al-Madīnee said, “Hishaam Ibn Yūsuf, Abū ’Abdur-Raḥmān, the Judge of San’aa said that Dāwūd Ibn Qays informed us saying,

‘I had a friend of Khawlān, from Hadoor, called Abū Shaamir Dhoo Khawlān. I left San’aa headed towards his village, and as I approached I found a letter with a seal on the back reading: “To Abī Shamir Dhee Khawlān”.

So I went to him, and discovered him franticly sad. I asked why he was in that state. He said, ‘A messenger from San’aa came and he mentioned that some friends of mine wrote to me, but the messenger had lost it. So I sent with him a servant of mine, someone who could search for it. To search between our village and San’aa, But they did not come up with it. So I have become sorrowful due to that.’

I said: ‘I have found this letter.’

He said: ‘The praise is due to Allāh who facilitated you to find it!’ He opened it.

I said: ‘Read it to me.’

He said: ‘I will introduce you to something as if you were a child.’

I asked: ‘What is it?” ‘A smote on their necks’, he replied.

I said: ‘Perhaps it was written to you by some of the Harooraa 5, about the Zakāh (charity).’

He said: ‘From where do you know these people?’

I said, ‘My friends and I, we sit with Wahb Ibn Munabbih, and he tells, “O you inexperienced ones, beware of the Harooraa. Do not allow them to submit you to their devious views. For verily, they are scabies of this Ummah”.’

So he handed me the letter and I read it. This is what it said:

“With the Name of Allāh, the Merciful, the Bestower of Mercy. To Abī Shaamir Dhee Khawlān, may peace be upon you. We praise Allāh for you. The one whom there is nothing worthy of worship besides him. And we commend you to have taqwá (fear/reverence) of Allāh alone He has no partners. For verily, the Religion of Allāh is sensible and guidance in this world, and rescue and success in the Hereafter. The Religion of Allāh is obedience to Allāh and indifference to those who deviate from the Sunnah of His Prophet and his Sharīʿah (legislation). So if this writing of ours reaches you then consider that you give – if Allāh wills – what Allāh has made obligatory upon you from his rights. Deserving from that the friendship of Allāh, and the friendship of Allāh friends, and may the peace be upon you and the mercy of Allāh”

I said, ‘I prohibit you from them’.

He said: ‘How can I take your advice, and leave the advice of one older than you?’

I said: ‘Would you like me to take you to visit Wahb Ibn Munabbih, so that you can hear him yourself and he can tell you about them exactly?’ He said, ‘Yes.’

So I went to San’aa and he came with me. We left early so as to bring him to see Wahb

Ibn Munabbih and Masʿūd Ibn ’Awf, a governor over Yemen, under ’Urwah Ibn Muḥammad.”

At this point, ʿAlī Ibn al-Madīnee6 said: “’Urwah Ibn Muḥammad Ibn ’Atiyyah as-Saʿdī was our governor in Yemen; appointed by Sa’d Ibn Huwaazin.”7

He continued: “So we entered and discovered there were already some people in his company. Some of them asked me: ‘Who is the Shaykh?’ I told them, ‘This is Abū Shaamir Dhoo Khawlān of Hadoor. He has a special request for Abī ʿAbdullāh.’

They asked, ‘Won’t he say it, please?’

I said, ‘It is a request that he would like to consult with him about some personal matters.’ So the people left.

Wahb said: ‘What is it you need, O Dhoo Khawlān?’ So he stuttered and refrained.

So Wahb went on saying to me, ‘Speak for this Shaykh of yours.’

I said, ‘Okay, Abū ʿAbdullāh, verily Dhoo Khawlān is from the people of the Qurʾān and goodwill, as far as I know, and Allāh knows best about that which is hidden. He told me that he made acquaintances with some Harooraa of San’aa, and they have said to him, “The zakāt you pay the leaders, goes un-rewarded. As far as what is between you and Allāh, because they don’t put it in its proper place. So render it to us, and we will see that it gets where it should, by distributing it among the needy Muslims, and establish the bounds.”

‘So I felt, O Abū ʿAbdullāh, that your speech would be more healing than mine. He has informed of how he gives them a fruit for every one hundred firaq[8], for his cattle, and how he sends it to them with his servant.’

Wahb said unto him, ‘O Dhoo Khawlān, do you want to be from the Harooraa in your old age now, declaring that those who are better than you are lost? What will you say tomorrow when Allāh takes you?

‘He who you testified against, Allāh has attested to the faith of, he who you attested to his disbelief. And Allāh has witnessed the guidance of he who you have witnessed his deviance, so where do you fall if your opinions and testimonies are contrary to Allāh’s Decree and Testimony?

‘Tell me, Dhoo Khawlān, what do they say to you?’ He spoke at that muʿmīnt.

He said to Wahb, ‘They order me not to be charitable to anyone who doesn’t agree with them, nor seek forgiveness for them.’

Wahb said, ‘You are right, this is their phony love.’

‘As for their remark about charity, it has reached me that the Messenger of Allāh (ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam) once mentioned that a woman from Yemen entered the fire because of a kitten. She didn’t give it food, nor did she leave it to eat the dirt off the ground. [9] Isn’t a man who worships Allāh and designates him alone, and doesn’t take any partners with him in worship, more beloved to Allāh than feeding from hunger, or a kitten? Allāh says in his book:

“And they give food, in spite of their love for Him, to the poor, the orphan, and the captive. Saying, ‘We feed you seeking Allāh’s Face only. We don’t wish from you any reward or thanks. Verily we fear from our Lord a day hard and distressful, which will make the face look horrible (from extreme dislike).’”
[Sūrah al-Insān 76:8-10]

‘He says, a day difficult and harsh upon the people who sinned to incur his anger:

“So Allāh saved them from the evil of that day and gave them a light of beauty and joy. And their recompense shall be Paradise, and silken garments because they were patient. Reclining therein on raised thrones, they will see there neither the excessive heat of the sun, nor the excessive bitter cold. And the shade thereof is close to them and the bunches of fruit will hang low within their reach. And amongst them will be passed round vessels of silver and cups of crystal, crystal clear, made of silver. They will determine the measure thereof as they wish. And they will be given to drink a cup of wine mixed with ginger, A spring there is called Salsabeel. And round about them will serve boys of everlasting youth. If you see them you would think they are scattered pearls. And when you look at Paradise you will see a delight and a great dominion. Their garments will be of fine green silk and gold embroidery. They will be adorned with bracelets of silver, and their Lord will give them a pure drink.”
[Sūrah al-Insān 76:11-22]

Wahb continued, ‘Nor will Allāh cease to disburse these attributes which He prepared for them of the bounty in Paradise.

‘As for their saying, “Don’t seek forgiveness those who disagree with us.” Are they better than the Angels are? Allāh says in Sūrah Haa-Mīm ’Ayn-Seen-Qaaf: “Nearly the heavens might be rent asunder from above them (by His Majesty), and the angels glorify the praises of their Lord, and ask forgiveness for those on the earth. Verily Allāh is al-Ghafoor al-Raḥīm 10.”
[Sūrah al-Shūrá 42:5]

‘I swear by Allāh, the Angels were not given the choice to do that, nor do they do it until they had been commanded to do so, because Allāh says:

“They speak not until He has spoken, and they act on His command.”
[Sūrah al-Anbiyāʾ‘ 21:27]

‘This verse is affirmed in Sūrahh-Shūrah and explained in Sūrah Ghāfir; he says: “Those who bear the throne of Allāh with those around it glorify the praise of their Lord, believing in Him, and asking forgiveness for those who believe saying,

“Our Lord You comprehend all things in mercy and knowledge, so forgive those who repent and follow Your way, and save them from the torment of the blazing fire! Our Lord, and make them enter the ’Adn, Paradise, which you have promised them – and to the righteous among the fathers, their wives, and offspring! Verily you are al-ʿAzīz, al-Ḥakīm.11 And save them from the evil deeds, and whomsoever You save from the evil deeds that day, then You have had mercy upon him. And that is the supreme success.”
[Sūrah al-Ghāfir 40:7-9]

Don’t you see, O Dhoo Khawlān, that I have arrived at the heart of Islām?

By Allāh the Khawārij were never a jamāʿah (united body), except that Allāh split them up into their worse condition. Nor has anyone of them opened his mouth except that Allāh smote him on his neck. Never has the Ummah united under a man from the Khawārij.

If Allāh had given the Khawārij authority then the world have certainly been corrupted, the roads would be closed, thus the Pilgrimage (ḥajj) would cease. Then what was once Islām would end as jāhilīyyah (ignorance). Until the people would wind up beseeching the mountaintops as they did in the time of Jāhiliyyah. And at that time there would arise more than ten or twenty men, where would not be one among them, except he would claim to be the Caliph. Each one of them would possess ten thousand fighting men, fighting each other, attesting to one another’s disbelief.  A believing man will become fearful for himself, his Religion, blood, family, and money; not knowing where he will be, or with whom he is with.

Except that Allāh, out of His Wisdom, Knowledge, and Mercy, looked at this Ummah and made good His consideration of it. So he gathered them and united them in their hearts under one man, not of the Khawārij. So Allāh injected him in their blood, covered them and their children with him, gathered their sects together with him, secured their roads with him, fought the enemy with him with the Muslim Cavalry, established with him the legal boundaries, was just to their oppressed with him, and opposed their oppressors with him. As mercy from Allāh he was merciful to them with him. He said in his book:

“…And if Allāh did not check one set of people by means of another the earth would indeed be full of mischief, but Allāh is full of bounty to all that exists.”
[Sūrah al-Baqarah 2:251]

“And hold fast to the rope of Allāh together, and don’t divide among yourselves. And remember Allāh’s favor upon you, for you were enemies of one another, but he joined your hearts together, so that by his grace you became brethren, and you were on the brink of a pit of fire, and he saved you from it. Thus Allāh makes clear His signs to you, that you may be guided.”
[Sūrah Āl ʿImrān 3:103]

And Allāh said:

“Verily we will indeed make victorious our Messengers and those who believe, in this world’s life and on the day when the witness will stand forth.”
[Sūrah al-Ghāfir 40:51]

So where are they in the light of this statement? If they were true believers, they would have triumphed, and He said:

“And verily, Our word has gone forth of old for Our slaves, the Messengers, That they verily would be made triumphant, and that Our hosts! They verily would be victors.”
[Sūrah al-Ṣāffāt 37:171-173]

So if they were the soldiers of Allāh, they would have triumphed, even if it were just once in Islām. Allāh says:

“And indeed we did send Messengers before you to their own peoples. They came to them with clear proofs, then, We took vengeance on those who committed crimes, and as for the believers it was incumbent upon us to help them.”
[Sūrah al-Rūm, 30:47]

If they were true believers, they would have been triumphant. And He said:

“Allāh has promised those among you who believe and do righteous good deeds, that He will certainly grant them succession to the present rulers in the land. As he will grant them the authority to practice the religion which he has chosen for them (i.e. Islām). And he will surely, give them in exchange a safe security after their fear, provided that they worship me and do not associate anything with me…”
[Sūrah al-Nūr 24:55]

‘So where are they in the light of this statement? Has anyone of them ever been more informed of Islām with no Caliph, nor jamāʿah, nor nadhr12 from the days of ʿUmar Ibn al-Khaṭṭāb, and Allāh said:

“It is he who sent His Messenger with guidance and the religion of truth to make it superior over all religions…”
[Sūrah al-Tawbah 9:33]

And I bare witness that Allāh already bestowed upon them what He had promised them of success and triumph over their enemies and those who deviated from the way of the jamāʿah.

O Dhoo Khawlān, aren’t the people of Tawḥīd, and the Qiblah, and those who affirm the Laws of Islām, its Sunnahs, and obligations more sufficient for you than what Nūḥ could handle of the idol worship and disbelievers of his time? As his people said to him:

“They said, “Shall we believe in you and the meanest of people follow you?” He said, “And what do I know of what they used to do? Their account is with my Lord if you only knew.”
[Sūrah al-Shuʿarāʾ 26:111-113]

Or don’t they suffice for you more than what Allāh’s Prophet and Beloved, Ibrāhīm, could take of the afflictions he suffered of idol worship. Allāh said,

“And remember when Ibrāhīm said, “O my Lord! Make this city one of peace and security, and keep me, and my offspring away from idol worship. O my Lord! They have indeed led many astray. But whoever follows me, then he is of me. And whoever disobeys me, then still You are Ghafoor, Raheem…”
[Sūrah Ibrāhīm 14:35-36]

“Or don’t they suffice more for you than what was enough for ʿĪsá of the disbelievers who took him as an object for worship without Allāh. Verily Allāh has been pleased with Nūḥ, Ibrāhīm, and ʿĪsá. Saying until the Day of Resurrection, the believers will hold fast to this statement: “If you punish them, then they are your slaves and if you forgive them, then verily, You, only You are al-ʿAzīz, al-Ḥakīm.”
[Sūrah al-Māʾidah 5:118]

And neither will they differ a saying, or the opinion held by the Prophets. So whom will he follow if he won’t follow the Book of Allāh, or the statement of His Prophets and the opinion they held?

And know that your visiting me has been a mercy for you, if you heard my advice and took it. If you abandon it and return to the Harooraa however, it will be a held against you in the future when you meet Allāh.’

Dhoo Khawlān said, ‘What do you order me to do?’

Wahb said unto him, “Consider the zakāt, which has been made upon you obligatory and give it to the one who Allāh has placed in authority over this Ummah. And unified the Ummah together, under him. For verily all sovereignty is from Allāh, and it is in His Hand alone. He bestows it to whom He wills and he takes it from whom He wills. So whomever Allāh has made sovereign, then none can take it from him except Allāh. So if you gave your zakātto the one in charge, then you have relieved yourself of this burden. If it is excess, then relatives, bondsmen, neighbors, those in need of it, or a man who may have hosted you, allow them to benefit.”

So Dhoo Khawlān arose to his feet, and said, ‘Bear witness that I have relinquished my dealings with the Harooraa. And have affirmed what you have said.’

After this Dhoo Khawlān didn’t live but a short while until he died.”


[1] Translators Note: The Khawārij: They are the people who revolted against the Leader of the Believers (Ameerul-Mu‘mineen), ʿAlī Ibn Abī Ṭālib (raḍī Allāhu ʿanhu) after the dispute of tahkeem (judgement). They are sects well spread out, they are united upon the takfīr of ʿAlī and ’Uthmān and the two judges (’Amr Ibn al-ʿĀs and Abū Mūsá al-Ashʿarī) and those who participated at the battle of al-Jaml. And they are united upon the disbelief of the one who has committed a major sin, and that he is in the fire eternally. And they are united upon the revolting of our leaders if they had been oppressive or committed an act of ill. Some of the names which they are known by are: al-Khawaarij, al-Harooriyyah, al-Qa’adiyyah, and al-’Ibaadiyyah. Refer to at-Tabseer fid-Dīn (p. 26); at-Tanbeeh war-Radd (p. 47); and Maqālātul-Islāmiyyeen(p. 86)
[2] al-’Illāl (2/52)
[3] Thiqaatul-’Ijlee (no. 476)
[4] Translators Note: Literally, ‘the two ṣaḥīḥs’.
[5] Translators Note: The singular form is ‘Harooree’ (A man from the Harooriyyah), see footnote (no. 1).
[6] Translators Note:The narrator of this story.
[7] The one who appointed him was the Caliph, Ameerul-Mu‘mineen (leader of the Believers), ʿUmar Ibn ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz (raḥimahullāh). Refer to at-Tabaqaat by Ibn Sa’d (5/341).
[8] It is said to be three handfuls. According Muslim’s narration on the authority of Sufyān Ibn ʿUyaynah.
[9] Related by al-Bukhārī (6/254), Muslim (no. 2242), upon the authority of Ibn ʿUmar, and Muslim related it upon the authority of Abū Hurayrah.
[10] Translators Note: Literally, ‘Oft Forgiving, the Most Merciful’.
[11] Translators Note: Literally, ‘All Mighty, All Wise’.
[12] Just like this in all of the texts, nor was I able to read the sentence accurately.

Published: June 30, 2007
Edited: August 15, 2022

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