The Ibadi Stance on Ali bin Abi Talib

“Wherever you are ˹O Prophet˺, turn your face towards the Sacred Mosque. And wherever you ˹believers˺ are, face towards it, so that people will have no argument against you, except the wrongdoers among them. Do not fear them; fear Me, so that I may ˹continue to˺ perfect My favour upon you and so you may be ˹rightly˺ guided.” (Qur’an 2:150)

In his book ‘Opposing the Imam: The Legacy of the Nawasib in Islamic Literature’ by Nebil Husayn he says of the Muhakkimah: Those who opposed Ali’s decision for arbitration.

“From this survey of Ibadi literature, it is apparent that condemnation of Ali was not at all tied to his identity or political aspirations as a Hashimid. Ibadi’s criticized Ali’s conduct as a rule and, in particular, his handling of arbitration and the Muhakkima without regard for his status as a close relative or Companion of the Prophet. It is clear that the Khariji-Ibadi tradition considered all Muslims equal before God. Those who piously represented their strict sense of justice included notable Companions and kinsmen of the Prophet from the tribe of Qurasysh. They also included non-Arabs and late converts who had not been among the Muhajirun and the Ansar. To best understand the animus between Uthmanis’ Umayyads and pro-Alids one must tie claims to religious and political authority to the powerful clans that made them. Abu Bakr, Ali, and Muawiya were not simply charismatic leaders. They were the heads of families and political factions that continued to make claims to authority long after their deaths. Members of these factions transmitted narratives about the past that sought to exalt their own leaders and deprecate their rivals. While the Ibadi’s certainly did the same in their tales, there was less of a tendency to exalt characters by means of long hagiographical backstories. What would be the point of dwelling on the many years that a person served as the Prophet’s Companion if it was possible for such a person to die as an enemy of God and the community? The Khariji-Ibadi tradition was chillingly pragmatic. Individuals were lauded only for their deeds and their commitment to justice. Nothing else guaranteed a person’s righteousness.” (pg. 287-288)

Shaykh Massoud bin Muhammed Al Miqbali (hafidullah) gives the range of the Ibadi view regarding Ali bin Abi Talib. May Allah (swt) continue to bless our brother Assad for the sub titles!

There are two things in the video a person should take away.

“Firstly, the difference in the types of kufr according to the Ibadi classification, which has Quranic support through the evidences presented. And kufr ni’ma doesn’t put the person out of the fold of Islam.” -Leondro Peres

“Secondly, that those which have the knowledge about something may have a particular opinion on it but those who do not may refrain from having any opinion on it. Hence the meaning of the word ‘stop’ used in the video.” -Leondro Peres.

So basically to sum it up the Muslims, The People of the Truth and Steadfastness, are of three views regarding Ali Ibn Abi Talib.

The fact that he went against the Qur’an based ruling at Siffin and killed the Muslims at Nahrawan put him in the state of kufr ni’ma (which doesn’t take the person out of Islam). However, that person would still need to repent of their kufr before they died. In the case of Ali he committed major sins.

  1. One view is that Ali Ibn Abi Talib did not repent of his sins and therefore his ending was doom.
  2. The other view is that Ali Ibn Abi Talib, possibly after seeing that Muaviya indeed was not sincere in arbitration, and seeing the world crumble around him and possibly at the prompting of Ibn Abbas he repented to Allah (swt) and therefore his ending was a good ending.
  3. Those like myself (the one writing this post) who are ambivalent as we just do not have enough data to give a conclusive answer. We hold our tongues regarding companions like Ali Ibn Abi Talib. We do not say radhiallahu anhu for those who are possibly under Allah’s wrath. Nor do we say this one met doom when they may have repented for their sins and met a good end.

Thus, in the Ibadi community you will find the following:

Scholars who when they mention the name of Ali they will say, “karamallahu wajhah” meaning May Allah exalt his face. Or they will say when mentioning his name radhiallahu anhu” meaning may Allah be pleased with him.

Scholars who do not mention anything after the name of Ali because they are in category a 3, meaning they are ambivalent or those few scholars in our books who put Ali in category 1.

Ali Ibn Abi Talib is used as a transmitter of hadith in the Musnad Al- Imam Ar-Rabee’

What amazes me are those among the Muslims who think that the blood of the sahabah that Ali shed at Nahrawan is cheap where as the blood of Ali is expensive. This is a most repulsive proposition.

“We take the truth even from a man of hatred and we reject falsehood even from a chosen friend. We have no respect for a man, however exalted, If from the truth he has deflected.”-Shaykh Abdullah bin Humeid Al Salmy

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