Analyzing the Hadith: Khawarij are the dogs of hellfire.

“Indeed, they who disbelieved among the People of the Scripture and the polytheists will be in the fire of Hell, abiding eternally in that. Those are the worst of creatures.” (Qur’an 98:6)

This is an analysis of the hadith that are attributed to the Blessed Messenger (saw), in terms of their chains of narration and analysis of the transmitters and the text being transmitted.

Ibn Sirin said:

“Nobody used to ask about the isnad (chain of narration), but when the fitna occurred (infighting among the companions), they would question others by asking: “Tell us the names of your men?” After this they were cautious about every narrator, and they would take narrations from those who were known to be scrupulous in following the Sunnah, and leave (or reject) the narrations of those who were known as innovators in religion.”

Source: (Muslim Volume 1 P. 15)

Hadith: Khawarij are the dogs of hellfire.

This huge statement attributed to the Blessed Messenger (saw) comes to us by way of two companions.

The first is by way of Abdullah Ibn Abi Awfa.

‘Abdullah Ibn Abi Awfa

It was narrated that Ibn Awfa said:

“The Messenger of Allah said: ‘The Khawarij are the dogs of Hell.'”

Source: (Sunan Ibn Majah 173 The Book of Sunnah)

The chain for this hadith is: Abu Bakr bin Abi Shayba narrates from Ishaq bin Yusuf bin Mrdas narrating from Sulaiman bin Mahran al-Ahmash narrating from Abdullah Ibn Abi Awfa.

  1. al-Ahmash is known as a Mudallas.

A Mudallas (“concealed”) in hadith is one which is weak due to the uncertainty caused by tadlis. Tadlis (concealing) refers to an isnad where a reporter has concealed the identity of his Shaykh.

Tadlis al-Isnad. A person reports from his Shaykh whom he met, what he did not hear from him, or from a contemporary of his whom he did not meet, in such a way as to create the impression that he heard the hadith in person. A mudallis (one who practices tadlis) here usually uses the mode (“on the authority of”) or (“he said”) to conceal the truth about the isnad.

Next we will look at this hadith as it comes to us by way of Abu Umamah Al Bahili

Abu Ghalib narrated that Abu Umamah said:

“(The Khawarij) are the worst of the slain who are killed under heaven, and the best of the slain are those who were killed by them. Those (Khawarij) are the dogs of Hell. Those people were Muslims but they became disbelievers.” I said: “O Abu Umamah, is that your opinion?” He said: “Rather I heard IT from the Messenger of Allah (saw).”

Source: (Sunan Ibn Majah 176. The Book of the Sunnah)


Notice that to Abu Ghalib this is not some common knowledge or something well known.  Also, note that he asked Abu Umamah if that was his opinion or rather he heard IT from the Blessed Messenger (saw).   Another point of consideration is that the ‘it‘ is not qualified.   What part of his statement is he actually saying he heard from the Blessed Messenger (saw)? Notice the statement of takfir  “They used to be Muslims but they became disbelievers.”   The very thing they accuse the so called ‘Khawarij’ of doing!

Narrated Abu Ghalib:

“Abu Umamah saw heads (of the Khawarij) hanging on the streets of Damascus. He said: ‘The dogs of the Fire and the worst dead people under the canopy of the heavens. The best dead men are those whom these have killed.’ He then recited: On the Day when some faces will become white and some faces will become black… (3:106) until the end of the Ayah. I said to Abu Umamah: ‘Did you hear IT from the Messenger of Allah (saw)?’ He said: ‘If I had not heard IT but one time, or two times, or three times, or four times – until he reached seven – I would not have narrated it to you.'”

Source: (Jami` at-Tirmidhi 3000 Chapters on Tafsir)


Notice that to Abu Ghalib this is not some common knowledge or something well known. Also note that he asked Abu Umamah if that was his opinion or rather he heard IT from the Blessed Messenger (saw).  Another point of consideration is that the ‘IT’ is not qualified.  Also notice how apparently this individual takes an ayat of the Qur’an that is used to describe unbelievers and arguably applies the text to believers (or former believers).  Again, something they accuse the so called ‘Khawarij’ of doing! Lastly, this text differs remarkably from the first one. Unless someone wants to make the spacious argument that Abu Ghalib is relating two different instances. That makes the matter worse because it makes Abu Ghalib question Abu Umamah’s statement as being truthful on two different occasions!

These hadith is coming via Abu Umamah al Bahili are by four ways and they are all da’if. Insh’Allah we will update this article in the near future with a chart to demonstrate this.  Also, is telling to note that Abu Umamah al Bahili was in the battle of Siffin on the side of Ali, even after the events.


The Blessed Messenger (saw) never call people dogs. The strongest condemnation of unbelievers and those who reject the message of truth comes from Allah (swt) in the Qur’an:  “Those are the worst of creatures.” (Qur’an 98:6).  Allah (swt) never called anyone dogs, let alone the Blessed Messenger (saw)

Considering this statement: “dogs of hellfire” coming from the lips of the Blessed Messenger (saw) it should have more context and more background to it and it simply doesn’t.

It just gives the impression that the Blessed Messenger (saw) was walking around during the brisk afternoon and stated: “The Khawarij are the dogs of Hell.”   Really?  Just like that?  No context?

The three hadith quoted above give you absolutely no context.   Now what Ahl Sunnah does is that they take these hadith and juxtapose them besides other hadith to paint a picture.  However, these hadith quoted above give no picture, no context and no clue to the situation that has given rise to the very  strong words used by the Blessed Messenger (saw).

This is a huge statement of the Blessed Messenger (saw). Only two of the companions narrate this?

The other point is that the word ‘Khawarij’ was not in use in the time of 640 Hijra. This is a tell tale sign itself.

Now if we want to talk about a hadith that talks about rebels or those who do khurooj. Why not talk about a hadith that has no ambiguity in the text or in its chain of transmission? Then we can know who these ‘khawarij’ are.

Narrated `Ikrima:

“That Ibn `Abbas told him and `Ali bin `Abdullah to go to Abu Sa`id and listen to some of his narrations; So they both went (and saw) Abu Sa`id and his brother irrigating a garden belonging to them. When he saw them, he came up to them and sat down with his legs drawn up and wrapped in his garment and said, “(During the construction of the mosque of the Prophet) we carried the adobe of the mosque, one brick at a time while `Ammar used to carry two at a time. The Prophet (saw) passed by `Ammar and removed the dust off his head and said, “May Allah be merciful to `Ammar. He will be killed by a rebellious aggressive group. `Ammar will invite them to (obey) Allah and they will invite him to the (Hell) fire.”

Source: (al-Bukhari 2812 Book 56, Hadith 28)

Now this presents a clear dilemma for Ahl Sunnah and the Pro Alid camp. They are in a pickle. However, it does not present a dilemma for truth seekers.  

Are we to believe that Ikrima whom is an impeccable narrator, and whom narrated the above hadith about Ammar that is used by the pro Alid camp to attack the Ummayad’s was among the dogs of the hellfire?  


Is it more likely given the ambiguity of the ‘dogs of the hell fire’ text quoted above, no context for such a tremendous statement of the Blessed Messenger (saw), and the issues surrounding the chains of transmission that they are indeed fabrications with malevolent intent? May Allah (swt) open your hearts and your eyes dear readers.

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