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Kharijites (Arab., kharaja, ‘go out’). Early schismatics in the Muslim community (ʾumma). The details of their origin are obscure, but are connected by Muslim historians with the arbitration at the battle of Siffin (see ʿALĪ B. ABĪ TĀLIB). Protesting that ‘judgement belongs to God alone’ (lā ḥukma illā li-ʾllāhi), they rejected both ʿAlī and Muʿawīyya, and began a fierce and often brutal rebellion. Defeated by ʿAlī at Nahrawān in 658 (AH 38), they nevertheless persisted into the ʿAbbāsid caliphate (and down to the present day as the ʿIbādiyya, a religious movement). Holding a strict view that a Muslim who sins grievously has become murtadd (apostate), they reject all (so-called) caliphs (khalīfa) except Abu Bakr and ʿUmar (and the first six years of Uthmān), and believe that any Muslim recognized as irreproachable can become Imām, known as Amīr al-Muʾminīn, ‘Leader of the Faithful’.

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