Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Al Khawarej

To Aisha (Aicha) bashers I say: “Cut it out”

I have stated many times that I am not religious and refuse to be carried away with abstract notions that have generated genocides, persecutions, hatred, and mass scale wars…

One god, several gods, interested god, class gods, one and only god, trinity god…god made of spirit, of stones, of flesh…Single sacred book, several sacred books, original sacred book, tampered with sacred books…All these teaching won’t teach you anything but plain ignorance, bigotry, misogyny

There are sects that spread hatred among their members for other people in other religious sects based on historical myths, and that is true for all sects in all kind of religion.

This post is targeting certain Moslem Shia sects that take advantage of religious events (Ashoura) to bash Aicha (the most beloved wife of the Prophet Muhammad, and bash the second Calif Omar ibn al Khattab) for false reasons not validated in history…

First, Aicha lead the “first civil war in Islam” against the fourth Calif Ali (called the Battle of the Camel) and was defeated.  Ali forgave Aicha and she was sent back to Medina with all the honors and respect.  If Ali could forgive, why his “followers”, centuries later, refuse to let go? I say to the bashers of Aicha: “Cut it out“.

Second, Aicha spent her life in confronting the false “hadith” (stories on Muhammad’s life) that were mainly misogynistic in nature, and Aicha managed to safeguard the full rights of women and to liberate women for another century.  Aicha was the leading Faqih (the most learned person in Islamic laws) of her period and was respected by all.  I say to Aicha’s bashers: “Cut it out”.

Third, during the battle of the Camel, the supporters of Aicha were actually the Shia of the period, and the allies of Ali were the Sunnis: The Sunnis always supported the power-to-be. I say to the Shia bashers of Aicha:”Cut it out”.

Fourth, maybe the second Calif Omar was a little misogynistic, but he was the greatest Calif of all time and managed to ward off the reactions of the Islamist vanquisher against the other religious groups and ethnic minorities, particularly the Christians in Syria and Egypt.

Omar punished all governors who mistreated the Christians and other religious groups.  Omar refused to enter the Christian church in Jerusalem so that the Moslems would not take it as an excuse to replace the church with a Mosque…I say to the bashers of Omar: “Cut it out”

The Arab World is being squeezed by giant forces and powers in the East and the West, and this is no time for wallowing on stupid historical differences that will not make us more learned, more reflective, more developed, and more ready to future challenges for survival. I say:”Cut it out” now.

For the readers who don’t have much comprehension of the historical stories on Islam, maybe this short post will clarify the issues.

Under Abu Bakr (first Calif and father of Aicha), Aicha, aided by Zayd ibn Thabit, got the huge responsibility of gathering and collecting all the parchments and written verses and the early oral verses of the Koran and then sorting them, verifying their authenticity, correcting and compiling them. Aichi was not even twenty years old.

Abu Bakr died within two years and was also buried in Aicha’s bedroom next to the Prophet.  At the time of his death, Khaled ibn Al Walid had vanquished the Byzantine Emperor at Yarmuk and was advancing toward Damascus.

Omar was selected by Abu Bakr to be the next Caliph. Omar extended Islam to Persia by a victory in Qadissiya and toward Egypt.  Omar was assassinated by a Christian slave while praying in the Mosque in Medina; Omar also asked permission of Aicha to be buried in her bedroom.  By then, Aicha was the ultimate interpreter of the Koran and had issued 2,210 Hadiths and was the expert in women’s legal right or “Fiqh Al Nissa2″.

The dying Omar appointed a Council of 5 Companions from the tribes of Quraich to elect the next Caliph.  Uthman ibn Affan was selected and Aicha had misgivings on how he might manipulate the masses of documents collected on the verses of Islam.  Omar left the documents with his daughter Afsa to hand over to the next Caliph.

Uthman ended up exercising nepotism and appointing relatives as governors and civil servants in high offices and he built a palace and lived luxuriously with 500 serfs maintaining the palace and organizing the feasts.

The new Caliph destroyed the documents related to the Koran that he didn’t like and Aicha came out of her house carrying the sandals and shirts and hair of the prophet and shouted at the caliph: “The Prophet’s belongings had not had time to deteriorate and you started to turn your back on his teachings”.

Aicha had a copy of all the documents and she rewrote her version of the Koran. A large dissatisfied mob of Moslems, who were manipulated by extremists in Basra (Iraq), marched on Medina. Aicha had premonition that the arriving mob is bad news and got permission from Uthman to leave for pilgrimage with the harem.  The mob entered the palace of Uthman, burned it asunder, and stabbed and beat the Caliph to death.

Ali was elected Caliph but refrained to give priority for the revenge for the murder of the Caliph Uthman. This lukewarm behavior prompted Aicha to action and she started delivering speeches in Meca to the effect that the punishment of the leaders of assassins should be carried out first thing first.  Her brother-in-law Zobair and another Companion Talhat excited Aicha to leading a contingent of 3,000 fighters to Basra.

Ali was on his way to Damascus to fight Moawiya, the governor of Syria, and stopped at Kufa to recruit more fighters. Ali had to challenge Aicha before resuming his campaign.  Aicha, Zobair and Talhat managed to recruit an army of 30,000 men against 20,000 with Ali.  The battle of the “Camel”, the first among the Moslems, left 15,000 victims and injured among the Moslem fighters which affected Aicha for the remainder of her life. Talhat and Zobair died in the battle.

Aicha was riding hidden in a palanquins and exhorting her army to fight.

Ali ordered his officer to cut the hand of the “camel guides” so that the camel could be moved from the center of the battle field; guides took the relay and 72 camel guides left theirs hands on the rope before the camel’s hamstrings were cut and was brought down. The symbol of “The Mother of the Believer” finally relinquishing its effect on the troops.

Ali permitted Aicha to return to her home in Medina and she was escorted as a Queen. One of Moawiya’s delegates told Aicha that they wished she died in the battle so that the allies of Moawiya would have had an excellent excuse to fight Ali.

Aicha spent the remaining of her life in her house, receiving scholars and students who regarded her as the main resource for correct interpretations of the religious verses and taking notes of her experiences. Aicha was the only virgin in the harem and whatever she knew of love-making was the invention and initiation of Muhammad.

A specific revelation forbade Muhammad’s wives to remarry and to remain in their homes and to be covered completely and wear the “nikab” on their face when stepping outside their doors or meeting males.

The effects of the assassination of Uthman didn’t end up there.  Muawiya raised the same reason of avenging Uthman to engage Ali in a terrible battle at Seffine in Syria: the bloodied shirt of Uthman hanging in the Mosque of Madina demanded retribution and the Arabs coined the dictum “the Shirt of Uthman” to convey the meaning that the reason offered is but an excuse for the power struggle.

There were no victors in this battle Seffine and a large contingent of Ali’s army dissented because Ali agreed to arbitrage.  These dissenters were labeled Al Khawarej and were led by Abdulah ibn Wahab (the actual Saudi Monarchy is Wahabi in affiliation); they went on assassination rampage against the leading followers of both Ali and Muawiya.

The Khawarej failed to assassinate Muawiya but killed Ali in Kufa.

Ali refused to name anyone to succeed him as Caliph and said to his followers that he would not disagree with anyone they select; Aicha was to say “this is typical Ali’s ambiguity” as she forecasted the worst to the unity of the “Umma” or Nation of Islam.

Muawiya was elected Caliph and the power became hereditary and the period is known as the Omayyad (the most powerful tribe of Quraich) reign in Damascus, which lasted for over a century before the Abbaseed (The house of Abbass, the Uncle of Muhammad) succeeded in taking power in Baghdad for two centuries.

The Central Asian tribes converted to Sunni (mostly relying on the Hadith) were to dominate the political and religious landscape for over ten centuries.  Muawiya sent assassins to achieve any potential leaders related to the Prophet.

Aicha lived to experience the death of many of her male family members.  Hassan, the son of Ali, was assassinated by his wife who offered her husband a poisoned dress delivered by Muawiya.  Moawiya then slaughtered Hassan’s wife to hide his schemes with her.

Note 1:

Note 2:

  1. The Prophet had two sons who died before the age of two.  Ali, his nephew who married his youngest daughter Fatima, was the only male in his “House”.  Muhammad appointed Ali to read the religious messages in meetings where the Prophet could not be present.  Ali and Abu Bakr were the most learned males, among the early Companions, on Islam but Aicha was the best and she was present during many revelations of Archangel Gabriel in her house.
  2. Ali was the most qualified to be the Imam of Islam but since there was yet no separation between the political and religious functions then Ali had to seek power as Caliph.  Ali lacked the political acumen and the qualities of a government leader because he was constantly plagued with ambiguities as a result of his vast religious knowledge and his apprehension to err in his decisions. Schism developed during his short five years reign and the Shi’aa sect (the followers of Ali’s second son Hussein) emerged as a counterpart to the Sunni sect representing the legitimate Moslems.
  3. Muhammad was mortally sick for at least two weeks and he knew his days were counted because Gabriel gave him a choice between this world and the Other World and the Prophet opted for the Other World.  Muhammad had time to think about the succession of power and the appropriate processes, but no “revelations” were forthcoming.  The tribal spirit was to dominate the political landscape, the same spirit that Muhammad intended to re-direct toward a Unique God and unite the “Umma”.  The Arab and Moslem World were tribal in structure and ended up with a caste system when the Central Asian tribes overpowered the Quraichi tribal rights for leadership.
  4. The Prophet Muhammad was highly literate

“Islamic Feminists” singing out of the Pack?

The term “Islamic Feminism” was coined in 1992 by Shahla Sherkat. Shehla published a weekly magazine in Tehran (Iran) called Zanan (women) and women contributed with articles and papers.

Prior to that date, many Turkish women authors have used similar term. For example, the authors Yasmin Arat, Farida Akar, and Wanilo Fargoul. In 1999, the Arabic American Margo Dadran grabbed the term and ran with it: Margo liked “Islamic Feminism” as opposed to Western feminism.

A world conference was held in Barcelona in 2005. The conference discussed the Islamic women trends and many papers were submitted.  The main outcome was this statement: “The culprit is not Islam for the persistent persecution of Islamic women: It is the malicious and willful misinterpretations engaged my male chauvinist of the verses and hadith of sacred books…” 

In 2006, the UNESCO, a UN organization, organized another world conference in Paris. Many secular and Islamic women participated.  These two conferences contributed in establishing the term “Islamic Feminists” as a movement, which spread in Arabic and Islamic countries and communities.

The “Islamic Feminists” movement was preceded by many women movements since 1920 that started in Egypt and encouraged women to drop the veil and reclaim the civil rights on equal terms with male gender in education, positions, marriage, voting, and inheritance…

In the last two decades, many women authors confronted the rigid interpretations of the fundamental Islamic religious political parties.  For example, Fatima Mernissi published “Political Harem: The Prophet and Islam”.  Fatima tried to figure out the causes and historical circumstances that alienated and pushed women aside from participating in the political scenes and decision-making…Fatima came to the conclusion that it was basically willful and sustained historical misinterpretations of the Prophet message by patriarchal Arab/Islamic societies.

For example, Fatima described in details how powerful women in early Islam defied the Califs and Imams pronouncements and managed to get their ways.  Um Samat (one of the Prophet wives), Aicha (the most beloved wife), Sakinat bint Al Hassan (daughter of Hassan the first grandson of the Prophet)…and many others refused to wear the veil, insisted on their rights to discuss in gatherings and in public, and wrote their own wedding contracts… 

A group of 70 women congregated in the presence of the Prophet Muhammad to complain of husbands beating them and the Prophet was pressured to voice verses on that critical issue…

The Afro-American Amina Wadoud was appointed Imam of the mosque in New York City in 2005 and then Imam at Oxford.  It is not the first time that women were elected Imam: In early Islam, a religious Islamic sect called Al Khawarej, appointed Shabibyah as Imam.

Amina claims that it is not necessary for Islamic women to transit through secular movements in order to impose their equal rights among men.  She suggest a vigorous mental “Jihad” to counter discrimination through the re-interpretation of Islamic religious culture.

Asmaa Perlas, Pakistani women by origin, published “The women believers in Islam” and demonstrated the basis of total equality between the genders.

Rifaat Hassan, originally from Pakistan, teaches religious cultures and humanities at the Univ. of Louisville (Kentucky).  Rifaat opened up the question: “What made Islam males believe that women are inferior?”  The breast bone story is not included in the Koran…

There are currently other women movements in the Arab/Islamic communities. Many of them want none to do with reverting to religious texts in order to reclaim their rightful equality in societies: They think these re-interpretations of sacred books are futile undertakings. These movements are opposed to the entire religious culture and prefer to be labelled “Angry, indignant Islamic women”.

How about “Indignant women”. Period.

I have published countless articles on women and reviewed many books on women and Islamic women.  You may find 9 articles “Women in Islam…”, specifically dealing with the verses and their interpretations related to women rights in the Koran and Hadith… You may start with women movement in Egypt of the 20’s

Note 1:  This article was inspired of a book review “Out of the pack: Study on the opposition of Islamic Feminists and the lure of Liberty” by Fahmi Jadaan. The reviewer, Haitham Mazahen, published his piece in the Lebanese/Arabic daily Al Nahar (Oct. 18, 2011)

Note 2:  You may read


Curious how Syria upheaval will unfold? Know history of Syria between 7th and 11th centuries

Syria, known as “Bilad el Sham” during the Arabic Empire, was mainly divided into 3 major provinces. The northern, middle and southern provinces.

Labeling Syria as Bilad el Sham (country to the left, or the western side of the Arabic Peninsula) by the Arabic Empire stems from being located in the other direction to Yemen (on the right side).  You can figure a tribe leader standing in Mecca and gesticulating, facing north and pointing his left hand toward Syria and his right hand toward Yemen.

The northern region included the southern region of current Turkey, all the way to the seashore, the western part of the Euphrates River, Aleppo, Hama and Homs. The Al Assy River was a major source of water for the  flourishing agricultural diversity.  The province situated in north-east Aleppo was called the Kannasrine province.

Homs was the most important city in economy, trade, and population concentration. Invading man-of-war Empires had to capture Homs first for supply route before setting siege to Aleppo.  Aleppo was usually the de-facto Capital of the province, its  administrative center (basically where the prince and his entourage resided) and a strategic military location.

From Aleppo, almost all invading Empire extended their possessions toward Turkey, Mosul, and ultimately toward Damascus and Palestine.

This norther region assembled most of the religious sects, which were upset with any religious central power during all foreign occupations. It had the heaviest concentration of “heretic” Christian sects, and “heretic” non-Sunni Islamic sects such as the 4 varieties of Moslem Shias. The Shias sect of the 12th Imam was most of time governing Aleppo, though they were allied to the Caliphs in Damascus or Bagdad.  The Sunni sect at the time didn’t view this sect as a main threat religiously. (Read explanation in note #2)

The main “Arabic” tribe, meaning the tribe that immigrated from a region in the Arabic Peninsula, was named Kilab.  I was a relatively newly arrived tribe and consequently, had strong connections with its related tribes and clans in the Peninsula, and could expect support in man-of war contingents in time of military crises.

By the middle of the 10th century, successive and steady streams of immigrant tribes and clans converged toward the norther province of Syria.  These tribes were from Christian Armenia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan… (regions in southeast the Lake of Kazwin). Why now? (Read note #3)

The warrying “Arab” tribes and leaders in Aleppo, Homs, and Hama demanded support from these newly arriving “foreign” tribes. By the end of the 11th century, Arab tribes in northern Syria didn’t constitute any weight in current political affairs.

(It is to be noted that the new converted tribes to Islam in the Caucasus region and central Asia were staunch Sunnis and refused any interpretation of the Coran.  Arab/Islam Empire in the East diverged from rational thinking, but resumed in Andalusia (Spain till the 15th century).

Middle Syria province was constituted of Damascus, Baalbak, Houran, Golan Heights, all the way to Tiberias (Tabaraya) and Akka on the current Palestinian sea-shore.  Damascus (formerly the Capital of the Arabic Omayyad Empire) was mostly Sunni Moslems.  The sedentary Sunnis in Damascus seek stability and paid allegiance to the reigning Sunni Caliph, regardless of location of the capital of the Empire, or the main power behind the Caliph.  Thus, Damascus was the main thorn toward the expansion of so-called “Heretic Moslem sects” of Ismaili or Karamita. (Read more on these two sects in note 2)

The southern Syria province included all of current Jordan and Palestine.  The city of Ramleh (close to current Tel Aviv) was the capital of the region.  This province had the most strategic trade and military location in all of Syria, (for example the Nabatean Empire with Capital Petra): What used to be known as the Decapolis region was the crossroad to most land trade and caravans and ships crisscrossing the Red Sea.

Gaza and Eshklan were mostly ruled by the power in Egypt.  The main Arab tribe was Tayy: it was newly established and had still strong connection to its clans and branches in the Arabic Peninsula, and could rely on man-of-war supply in critical crisis. (Might expand in later articles)

When the European crusaders invaded Syria, most of the cities with majority “heretic” sects (both Christians and Moslems) facilitated the occupation of their cities by the crusaders.  Aleppo and Damascus (mostly of sunni sect at the time) remained outside the crusaders’ dominion.  It is from these two cities that the counter attacks were concentraded and kicked the occupiers out, a century later.

What’s happening in Syria now?

The people in Homs have been virulent and demonstrating nightly against the regime. Why?

During late Hafez Assad, the socialist central government invested and funneled money into this major City. In the last five years, and the spread of liberal capitalism that pressured Syria to revise its economic and financial laws, the insiders in the central government and Bashar Assad clan opted to invest outside Syria, in Damascus, and Aleppo. Government funding for Homs disappeared.

Hama is virulent for two major reason:

First, Hama has been punished for over 3 decades from serious government investment related to the 1982 mass uprising. Hafez Assad decreed that: “Every Syrian who is found to be a member of Syria Moslem Brotherhood Party will be executed“.  Hafez was very consistent in his position and many Syrians were persecuted and hanged.

Second, Hama want revenge!

Why Damascus is not currently that excited for reform change?

As usual and historically, Sunnis in Damascus give priority to stability and security. Second, merchant class in Damascus is still reaping the advantages of being resident of the Capital.  When the regime shows definite weaknesses, you can be sure that Damascus will take over and lead the “revolution”: They have to maintain and protect their interest, economically and politically.

The people in Aleppo wish that what is taking place is actually a terrible bad dream: They will wake up from just a nightmarish dream. Aleppo is in a situation of “No Win”, regardless of which side to take.  If it sides with the government, Aleppo will suffer the most from a civil war because it is in the middle of the Sunni Kurds in the north and Sunni “Arabs” in the south.

Note 1: Information on the geopolitical structure of ancient Syria was extracted mostly from the book “Bilad el Sham during Arab Empire till the 10th century” by the late historian Kamal Salibi (he died two months ago).  It was written and published in English in 1982.  I am reading the Arabic version.

Note 2: As the Prophet Mohammad died in 631, many tribes opted to revert to paganism. The first Caliph Abu Bakr, and the second Caliph Omar needed 4 years of skirmishes before bringing back the hostile tribes into Islam.  The third Calif Othman was also from the Quraich tribe, the main powerful tribe of Mecca, from which the Prophet and Ali are from. Othman was assassinated in Medina.  Ali was next in line to be appointed caliph, and he was perceived as reluctant to prosecuting the assassins. The governor of Damascus, Muawiyah, was from the same clan of Othman and claimed the right for the position of Caliph and Imam of the Moslems.

Muaweya begged to differ. Ali was the husband of one of Muhammad daughters (Fatima who died 6 months after Mohammad) and whose two sons are consequently direct descendent from the Prophet. At a critical battle where the troops of Ali had ascendency after three days of war, Muaweyah raised the bloody shirt of Caliph Othman and asked Ali for negotiation by putting their hands on the Coran. Ali accepted a third-party decision for avoiding a civil war.

Two groups of Ali’s followers dissented.  The first group was called the Shias, and the second group Al Khawarej. The Shia said: “We didn’t fight with Ali to having a second opinion on his legitimacy as a descendent of the Prophet.”  The Khawarej said: “Enough is enough. We already had four caliph from the Quraich tribe. We don’t care anymore that a Caliph must necessarily be from the Quraich tribe.”  This extremist group constituted the worst anti-Quraich hegemony and received the worst and most sustained persecution. A member of Khawarej assassinated Ali five years later in Koufa. The same day, another member attempted to assassinate Muawiyah.  Muawiyah was wounded but didn’t succumb to his wounds.

The Shia sects are of four kinds.  Two sects are main and two others are branches. You have the Shia believing that the 12th Imam will return on earth to spread everlasting peace, and those who claim it is the 6th Imam known as the Ismailia sect.  The 12th sect is the predominant sect in Iran, Lebanon, and Aleppo region in north Syria. The 6th sect was predominant in North Africa and was called Fatimid when they conquered Egypt in the 9th century; they are currently dominant in India.

The Druze sect is a branch from the Ismailia sect and majority in the Chouf and west Bekaa Valley in Lebanon, and in Houran and Golan Heights in Syria. The Alawi or Nussairi sect are also a branch of the 6th Imam and mostly a majority in the western region of Syria (this sect claim that Jesus is the one to return to earth and he didn’t die on the cross…)

Historically, the Karamita were a branch of the 6th Imam but would not suffer a centralized religious system in Cairo during the Fatimid dynasty. The Karamita established their headquarter in Al Ihsaa in East Arabic Peninsula, and expanded their territory to all the Arabic Peninsula, Yemen, Palestine and attempted several times to threaten Egypt.  They are still majority in that eastern part of Saudi Arabia.

Note 3: First, Byzantium Empire was re-expanding, and recapturing lost territories, and the strategy was to empty the re-conquered provinces and send the turbulent tribes toward “enemy territories” to forming a buffer zone.

Second, the newly established Seljuk Empire in Iran, which covered its legitimacy by recognizing the Caliph of Bagdad as Islam (Sunni) religious Imam, prohibited the immigrating tribes to settle on the Iranian borders, and encouraged them to move toward north Syria: A strategy meant for these tribes to becoming the front line for future expansion toward all of Syria. The Seljuk Empire managed to conquer Aleppo and Damascus, a couple of decades before the Crusaders waves started.

Note 4: You may read the differences between the rural and sedentary Islam sects




June 2023

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