SERMON 126 | Nahj Al Balagha Sermons
About the Kharijites
If you do not stop believing that I have gone wrong and been misled, why do you consider that the common men among the followers of the Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h.a.h.p.) have gone astray like me, and accuse them with my wrong, and hold them unbelievers on account of my sins.
You are holding your swords on your shoulders and using them right and wrong. You are confusing those who have committed sins with those who have not.
You know that the Prophet (PBUH) stoned the protected (married) adulterer, then he also said his burial prayer and allowed his successors to inherit from him. He killed the murderer and allowed his successors to inherit from him. He amputated (the hand of) the thief and whipped the unprotected (unmarried) adulterer, but thereafter allowed their shares from the booty, and they married Muslim women.
Thus the Prophet (PBUH) took them to ask for their sins and also abided by Allah's commands about them, but did not disallow them their rights created by Islam, nor did he remove their names from its followers.
Certainly you are the most evil of all persons and are those whom Satan has put on his lines and thrown out into his wayless land. With regard to me, two categories of people will be ruined, namely he who loves me too much and the love takes him away from rightfulness, and he who hates me too much and the hatred takes him away from rightfulness.
The best man with regard to me is he who is on the middle course. So be with him and be with the great majority (of Muslims) because Allah's hand (of protection) is on keeping unity. You should beware of division because the one isolated from the group is (a prey) to Satan just as the one isolated from the flock of sheep is (a prey) to the wolf.
Beware; whoever calls to this course, kill him, even though he may be under this headband of mine. Certainly the two arbitrators were appointed to revive what the Qur'an revives and to destroy what the Qur'an destroys. Revival means to unite on it (in a matter) and destruction means to divide on a matter.
If the Qur'an drives us to them we should follow them, and if it drives them to us they should follow up. May you have no father! (Woe to you), I did not cause you any misfortune, nor have I deceived you in any matter, nor created any confusion.
Your own group had unanimously suggested in favour of these two men and we bound them that they would not exceed the Qur'an but they deviated from it and abandoned the right although both of them were conversant with it.
This wrong-doing was the dictate of their hearts and so they trod upon it, although we had stipulated that in arbitrating with justice and sticking to rightfulness they would avoid the evil of their own views and the mischief of their own verdict (but since this has happened the award is not acceptable to us).