When you mention the word prophecy, some people immediately think of Indiana Jones in his Fedora and leather jacket, off on some unknown adventure with dramatic music playing in the background. But this is not that kind of Prophecy...
For many people, Osama Bin Laden invented Terrorism when the orchestrated attacks on the Twin Towers occurred on September 11, 2001, in New York City. The truth is that Terrorism and terrorist activities have existed for thousands of years before then, and atrocious acts were committed by people from every race, ethnicity and denomination. In Islam, we were actually warned against it by Prophet Muhammed SAW.
The Khawārij (the dissenters) belong to a sect of Islam that rose in their numbers circa 657AD - about 25 years after the Death of the Prophet Muhammed SAW.
Back in the day, there were studies conducted about them and it was found that the Khawārij were truthful and sincere and they never lied or fabricated the Hadith (sayings of the Prophet). But the major flaw in the characteristics of the Khawārij is extremism and the fact that they don't mind killing. They took the law set down for Muslims and twisted it to suit themselves... I'm sure many people are familiar with the concept of "Killing in the name of God"... "a Jihad" of some sort. Problem was, they were fighting a war against their own people, for no other reason other than they enjoyed it.
A few decades earlier, the Prophet Muhammed SAW was dividing the booty of war, when he first encountered the beginnings of the Khawārij in a man named Al-Khuwaysrah (sp?). This man, Al-Khuwaysrah, ordered The Prophet SAW with great arrogance and pride to "be just" in his distribution. Surprised, the Prophet SAW responded "Who could do justice if I did not? I would be a desperate loser if I did not do justice".
The Prophet's companion and friend who was at his side at the incident, Omar RA, immediately took offence and said "Let me chop off his head" but the Prophet SAW told him:
"Leave him alone. He will have followers, or descendants, whom you would see your prayers compared to theirs as insignificant. And your fasting compared to theirs as insignificant." They would worship Allah so much, that the Sahaba's (Prophets closest friends) Salaah compared to the Khawārij would be nothing. And the fasting of the Sahaba compared to theirs would be nothing. From the outside they seem to be very righteous, they pray so much and they fast so much"..."they read Quran but it doesn't go past their throats", meaning the Quran has NO application in their lives, it's just words that are coming out of their mouths. You'll hear the Quran but there's no Quran in their minds or in their hearts.
And then The Prophet Muhammed SAW said that they would leave Islam fast and swiftly, because of their extreme positions. "You'll see them praying and fasting and they're doing very well in their worship - but they've already left the religion a long time ago, and you didn't even know about it. They're so righteous on the outside but on the inside, they're rigid like a solid rock". And the Prophet SAW told Omar RA that the sources of the sect of The Khawārij, were people like Al-Khuwaysrah - those with pride, rudeness, arrogance and extremism of mind. [BUKHARI narrated by Al-Awliki]
The Khawārij caused much distress among the Muslims and were responsible for the execution or assassination of Uthman RA, one of the closest companions of the Prophet SAW and the third Caliph and leader of the Muslims after the Prophets death. They were responsible for the First Fitnah - the major war among the Muslims of that time. In fact, they were behind most of the wars fought amongst the Muslims after the Death of the Prophet Muhammed SAW. And when they saw peace among the Muslims, they didn't like it. It was only when they saw bloodshed did they participate and they wanted the bloodshed to continue. There was no reasoning with them and they did not leave their fellow Muslims alone. They brutally killed everyone who did not support their cause.
The Prophet SAW had said years earlier: "If I live until that time (the time the Khawārij would dominate), I would kill them like the people of A'ad were killed", meaning complete elimination because such a mentality could not be dealt with by reason. These are people you cannot reason with. They are bloodthirsty, they want bloodshed and will not settle for anything less. And the Prophet SAW warned that if you leave them alone, they will NOT leave you alone and therefore, the only way to get rid of them is by elimination of their fitnah. [BUKHARI narrated by Al-Awliki]
Contrary to popular secular belief, the Prophet SAW was not a violent man. Hundreds of historical accounts prove this. There's a well known Hadith (quote from the Prophet) saying: If you are angry and you're standing, then sit. And if you are sitting, lay down (i.e. change or alter your mood) because anger comes from the Devil. Hence, we are not encouraged to fight with the exception of severe circumstances. This belief was exemplified one day when the Prophet SAW was sitting in a mosque with his closest friends and companions when a man walked in and defiantly urinated in the mosque - in front of all of them. Almost immediately, the Prophet's companions got up and wanted to kill this man but the Prophet SAW stopped them. And after the man who urinated left, the Prophet SAW got up from his position and went to clean the mess up himself.
Now, the fitnah of The Khawārij was not limited to that era. The Prophet SAW said that their fitnah would continue... "whenever one generation of them leaves, another generation of them would come up again until the time of Dajjal (The Anti-Christ)". It's not a linear continuation where one generation is teaching the next. Because of their extremist nature, they inevitably disagree with each other and end up fighting against and killing each other or they are killed by outside forces. [BUKHARI narrated by Al-Awliki]
But extremism then comes up in the minds of different people, like a disease and a new generation comes about, until they fight and cause bloodshed and are eliminated and the cycle continues. That's the mentality they have, they have to make trouble and they have to fight even if there is no cause. They were considered the most evil of people. Their major characteristics also include the ease with which they accuse people of disbelief - accusing their fellow Muslim brothers and sisters in particular.
The greatest irony would be that the knowledge on Islam that the Khawārij possess can be considered immaculate in its nature - yet they are NOT considered Muslims under Islamic Law. In fact, their cause has nothing to do with religion and they use Islam as a mask to justify their actions. [BUKHARI narrated by Al-Awliki]
I'm sure this sounds very familiar to many people - especially to my fellow Muslim brothers and sisters. I've encountered people with these mentalities in varying degrees (some much less threatening and aggressive) but still quite fanatical. Many times, these people will give themselves titles to display an authority they don't have. And then there are other, lesser known people who follow these so-called fanatical leaders whose mentalities can either be attributed to ignorance or brainwashing.
Yes, brainwashing. I didn't know it existed either until a few years ago when I was caught off guard by this absolutely chilling post from my friend Tazeen in Pakistan who had interviewed several people with similar mindsets for a publication. And I can recall how that little boy, who was so fond of her at first, did not even blink when he told her he wouldn't hesitate to kill her if she didn't wear the headscarf.
More on the Khawārij here, here and here.
More on the Khawārij here, here and here.