Thursday, 3 May 2018

Mutazilite and Kharijite (Najdat) Denial of Necessity of Imamate


بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

والصلاة والسلام على رسوله الكريم

والعاقبة للمتقين

Here I shall examine some of the deviated sects which denied the necessity of the institution of Imamate. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him & his family) proclaimed:
مَنْ مَاتَ بِغَيْرِ إِمَامٍ مَاتَ مِيتَةً جَاهِلِيَّةً
“Whoever died without an Imam died a death of jahiliyya” (Musnad Ahmad)
Major Mu’tazilite theologians such as Abu Bakr al-Assam, Hisham al-Fuwati, al-Nazzam, Abbad b. Sulayman and others all apparently denied the necessity of the Imamate. (Studia Islamica, no. 88 (1998), pp. 55-76)
Perhaps the most prominent deniers of the necessity of the Imamate were a Kharijite faction known as the Najadat or Najdiya, attributed to Najda b. Amir al-Hanafi: “Ka’bi says of the Najdat that they permitted dissimulation in everything said and done, even in the matter of homicide. He adds that the Najdat unanimously asserted that men have no need whatever for an imam: all that is required of them is to show mutual justice and fairness. If they should find that this cannot be achieved without the authority of an imam, and, accordingly, appoint one, this would be lawful.” (Kitab al-Milal wa ‘l-Nihal, p. 105) One clearly sees elements of political anarchism in the idealogy of the early Khawarij, especially subsects like the Najdiya. Their view that “the Umma does not need an imam or anyone else, and that they and people (in general) are only obliged to uphold the Book of God in their dealings with one another” directly contradicts the guidance of the Prophet (peace be upon him & his family) who emphasized the necessity of having an Imam.

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