The Zafariyyah & the Hafswiyyah

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

The Zafariyyah are another group from the Khwarij of whom we do not have any actual information.  In this case, we are uncertain how they were named.  We know of them by their successor group, the Hafswiyyah.

The Hafswiyyah were a sectarian group that branched off from the Zafariyyah.  They maintained that as long as a person acknowledges Allah (s.w.t.), he cannot be considered guilty of shirk, even if he does not believe in anything else in the religion apart from Him.  In effect, according to them, such a person could theoretically reject the Messenger (s.a.w.), a Garden of Paradise and a Fire of Hell, and regard as lawful zina and other acts Proscribed in Islam, and despite all this, as long as he gives lip service that there is a God, he would be a Muslim to them.  According to them, a person can be considered guilty of shirk only if he is ignorant of Allah (s.w.t.) and refuses to recognise His Existence, and on no other grounds at all.

Paradoxically, actual Muslims who opposed them were considered kafirun.  They attributed the following verse, “wandering bewildered through the earth,” “hayran”, in the Qur’an, to ‘Ali (k.w.), and his party, as “his friends calling, ‘Come to us’, (vainly) guiding him to the Path?”


Say: “Shall we indeed call on others besides Allah ― things that can do us neither good nor harm ― and turn on our heels after receiving Guidance from Allah ― like one whom the evil ones have made into a fool, wandering bewildered through the earth, his friends calling, ‘Come to us’, (vainly) guiding him to the Path?”  Say: “Allah’s Guidance is the (only) Guidance, and we have been Directed to submit ourselves to the Lord of the Worlds.” (Surah al-An’am:71)

It was the Hafswiyyah who ‘Ali (k.w.) defeated and scattered at the Battle of Nahrawan.


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