With the beginning of the uprisings in the Arab world some scholars now and again issued fatawa against the revolutionaries and the groups active in the uprisings and declared it haram to rebel against the rulers, some even termed them as "Khawarij". This article will discuss the "Khawarij" and its meaning and its application in detail and reality and the ruling of rebelling against the ruler and whether those who protest/rebel are be considered as "Khawarij".
Who are the Khawarij ?
As the word "Khawarij" denotes, It is a group that is involved in the disruption of the unity of the Muslims, so they rebel against the Khaleefah who has been given the Bai'ah (pledge of allegiance) by the people of power (ahlul halli wal aqd) and has been appointed as the Imam for the Muslims.
قال الشهرستاني في كتابه الملل والنحل : كلّ من خرج على الإمام الحقّ الذي اتّفقت الجماعة عليه يُسَمّى خارجيّاً سواء كان الخروج في أيّام الصحابة على الأئمة الراشدين أو ( من) كان بعدهم على التابعين لهم بإحسان والأئمة في كلّ زمان
Shahrastani says in his book "al malal wan nahal": "Everyone who rebels against the right Imam who has been appointed by the Muslims is called "Khariji" "rebel" , be it the rebellion against the righteous Khulafaa during the era of the companions or the tabieen or those who succeeded them" [Vol 1/page 144]
وزاد عليه ابن حزم رحمه الله في كتابه الفصل في الملل والنحل : ويلحق بهم مَن شايعهم على أفكارهم أو شاركهم في آرائهم في أيّ زمان
Ibn Hazm adds on to the definition in his book "al Fasal fil malal wan nahal" : And those who adhere to their thought and hold their opinions are also part of them i.e "the Khawarij".
As for when did the "Khawarij" came into existence, their origin was during the time of the prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم, it is reported in a hadith in Bukhari:
Narrated by Abu Sa'id: While the Prophet was distributing something, 'Abdullah bin Dhil Khawaisira At-Tamimi came and said, "Be Just, O Allah's Apostle!" The Prophet said, "Woe to you ! Who would BE JUST if I were not?" 'Umar bin Al-Khattab said, "Allow me to cut off his neck ! " The Prophet said, "Leave him, for he has companions, and if you compare your prayers with their prayers and your fasting with theirs, you will look down upon your prayers and fasting, in comparison to theirs. Yet they will go out of the religion as an arrow darts through the game's body in which case, if the Qudhadh of the arrow is examined, nothing will be found on it, and when its Nasl is examined, nothing will be found on it; and then its Nadiyi is examined, nothing will be found on it. The arrow has been too fast to be smeared by dung and blood. The sign by which these people will be recognized will be a man whose one hand (or breast) will be like the breast of a woman (or like a moving piece of flesh). These people will appear when there will be differences among the people (Muslims)." Abu Sa'id added: I testify that I heard this from the Prophet and also testify that 'Ali killed those people while I was with him. The man with the description given by the Prophet was brought to 'Ali. The following Verses were revealed in connection with that very person (i.e., 'Abdullah bin Dhil-Khawaisira At-Tarnimi): '
وَمِنْهُمْ مَنْ يَلْمِزُكَ فِي الصَّدَقَاتِ
"And among them are men who accuse you (O Muhammad) in the matter of (the distribution of) the alms.'"(9.58)
As for their formation as a group with specific ideas and opinions, this happened after the matter of arbitration which they had requested that occurred between Ali (Ra) and Muawiyah (Ra), they were in the army of Ali (ra) and they had requested him to accept the arbitration upon which they rebelled saying that Ali (ra) had accepted the rule of man instead that of Allah سبحانه وتعالى by accepting arbitration.
With time they divided into groups and only a few exist today who follow their views.
With regards to the opinion of the companions (ra) regarding them,
وكان إبن عمر رضي الله عنهما يَراهم شِرارخلق الله، وقال: "إنطلقوا إلى آيات نزلت في الكفار فجعلوها على المؤمنين
Ibn Umar (ra) would call the "Khawarij" as the evilest of the creatures of Allah سبحانه وتعالى and he said that "they studied the ayaat that Allah revealed regarding the disbelievers and they applied them on the believer"
عن علي بن أبي طالب رضي الله عنه، أنه قال: سمعت رسول الله صلّى الله عليه وسلّم يقول: سيخرج قوم في آخر الزمان، أحداث الأسنان سفهاء الأحلام، يقولون من خير قول البريّة لا يجاوز إيمانهم حناجرهم، يمرقون من الدّين كما يمرق السّهم من الرّمية، فأينما لقيتموهم فاقتلوهم فإن في قتلهم أجراً لمن قتلهم يوم القيامة
Imam Bukhari reports in his isnad from Ali ibn Abi Talib (ra) that he said "I heard the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم say : There would arise at the end of the age a people who would be young in age and immature in thought, but they would talk (in such a manner) as if their words are the best among the creatures. They would recite the Qur'an, but it would not go beyond their throats, and they would pass through the religion as an arrow goes through the prey. So when you meet them, kill them, for in their killing you would get a reward with Allah on the Day of Judgment."
From this it is evident that the term Khawarij applied on those individuals and the group of people who rebelled and disobeyed the Khaleefah of the Muslims.
Obligation of obeying the ruler
The obedience of the Khaleefah or the Ameer is an important matter. The Shari'ah obliges the obedience of the legitimately appointed ruler through Bai'ah and that is the Khaleefah.
Muslim narrated from 'Abdullah Ibnu 'Amru Ibnul A'as that the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم said: "Whoever gave Bai'ah to an Imam giving him the clasp of his hand and the fruit of his heart shall obey him as long as he can. If another comes to dispute with him, you must strike the neck of that man."
Naf'i said 'Abdullah Ibnu 'Umar told me: I heard the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم say: "Whoever takes off his hand from allegiance (Bai'ah) to Allah, he will meet Allah on the Resurrection Day without having any proof to show for himself; and whoever dies while having no allegiance (Bai'ah) on his neck he dies the death of the days of ignorance (Jahiliyyah)", narrated by Muslim.
Ibnu 'Abbas reported that the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم said: "If anyone sees in his Ameer something that displeases him let him remain patient, for behold! He who separates himself from the Sultan (authority of Islam) by even so much as a hand span and dies thereupon, he has died the death of Jahiliyyah", narrated by Muslim.
Abu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم said: "The Prophets ruled over the children of Israel. Whenever a Prophet died, another Prophet succeeded him, but there will be no Prophet after me. There will soon be Khulafa'a'a, and they will number many." They asked: 'What then do you order us ?' He صلى الله عليه وسلم said: "Fulfil (Bai'ah) allegiance to them one after the other, and give them their dues, for verily Allah will ask them about what He entrusted them with", narrated by Muslim.
These 'Ahadith demonstrate two important matters, first that the Khaleefah only takes the authority by this Bai'ah, second that Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم has commanded his obedience: "Whoever pledged allegiance to an Imam ... shall obey him." So, he is appointed Khaleefah through the Bai'ah, and his obedience becomes compulsory because he is a pledged Khaleefah. Thus he took the authority from the Ummah by giving her Bai'ah and her obedience to the one whom she pledged to i.e. to the one who has a Bai'ah on her neck.
The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم forbade the Muslims from disobeying the Khaleefah and considered disobedience similar to rebellion.
He صلى الله عليه وسلم said: "If anyone sees in his Ameer something that displeases him, let him remain patient, for behold! He who separates himself from the Sultan (authority of Islam) by even so much as a hand span and dies thereupon he has died the death of Jahiliyyah."
Therefore it is clear from the text that it is not allowed for the Muslim to rebel against the Khaleefah. This brings us to another question and that is what is the limit of obedience? Is the Muslim obliged to obey the ruler even in the case he is an oppressor or does not rule by the Qur'an and the sunnah.
Al-Bukhari narrated on the authority of Junada b. abi Umayyah who said: We went to 'Ubadah b. as-Samit when he was sick and we said: May Allah سبحانه وتعالى guide you. Inform us of a Hadith from the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم so Allah may benefit you from it. He said, the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم called upon us and we gave him the Bai'ah, and he said, of that which he had taken from us, that we should give him the pledge to listen and obey, in what we like and dislike, in our hardship and ease, and that we should not dispute the authority of its people unless we saw open Kufr (kufr buwah) upon which we had a proof (burhan) from Allah.
The hadith was reported by At-Tabarani as "kufran Surahan (open kufr)", and as "unless the disobedience of Allah is bawahan". It was also reported by Ahmad as "unless they order you of ithmin bawahan (open sin)".
'Awf Ibnu Malik Al-Ashja'i said: "I heard the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم say: 'The best of your Imams are those whom you love and they love you and whom you pray for and they pray for you, and the worst of your Imams are those whom you hate and they hate you and you curse them and they curse you.' We asked: 'O Messenger of Allah, shall we not then declare war on them?' He said: 'No, as long as they establish the prayer among you', [Muslim]
Muslim reported on the authority of Umm Salama that the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم said: "Ameers will be appointed over you, you recognise some of what they do and you disown some. Whoever recognised he is absolved from blame. Whoever disapproved (of their bad deeds) he is safe, but whoever consented and followed them (he is doomed.)" They said: "Should we not fight against them?" He صلى الله عليه وسلم replied: "No, as long as they prayed."
What is meant by establishing the prayer is to rule by Islam, that is to implement the rules of Shari'ah . This is because the whole of Islam is denoted here by naming part of it. This is common in Arabic, for instance Allah سبحانه وتعالى says: "To free a neck" [4:92] which means to free the slave i.e. all of him and not just his neck. In this Hadith he صلى الله عليه وسلم said: "As long as they establish the prayer among you." This means the establishment of all the rules not just the prayer and is a figurative form (kinayah) where basically the part is mentioned to refer to the whole.
Also in another hadith the prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said, Al-Bukhari and Muslim narrated from Aiesha (r.a.) that the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم said: "Whoever inserted anything in this our matter (Deen) that is not part of it, it is rejected.", this text is general its address and includes every person including the amir of an area, a Khaleefah, the head of a family and so on.
Sayyiduna Abd Allah ibn Umar (Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said: "It is necessary upon a Muslim to listen to and obey the ruler in things he likes and dislikes, as long as he is not ordered to carry out a sin. If he is commanded to commit a sin, then there is no adherence and obedience." (Sunan Tirmidhi)
So a ruler who rules by other than what Allah has revealed or a ruler who becomes an apostate is illegitimate. In that case a Muslim should not obey him rather he is obliged to work to remove him.
What is a legitimate authority in Sharī'ah?
A state becomes Islamic when its rules and policies derive from the Islamic 'Aqīdah (creed) i.e. when their basis is the Qur'ān and Sunnah; meaning the sovereignty lies with the Sharī'ah. That is why obedience to the rulers is restricted and not unqualified. Allāh سبحانه وتعالى says:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا أَطِيعُوا اللَّهَ وَأَطِيعُوا الرَّسُولَ وَأُولِي الْأَمْرِ مِنْكُمْ ۖ فَإِنْ تَنَازَعْتُمْ فِي شَيْءٍ فَرُدُّوهُ إِلَى اللَّهِ وَالرَّسُولِ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ تُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ خَيْرٌ وَأَحْسَنُ تَأْوِيلًا
"O you who believe! Obey Allāh, Obey His Messenger and those in authority from amongst you; and if you differ, then refer it to Allāh and His Messenger, if you believe in Allāh and the Last Day. That is the best thing to do and gives the best result." [Al-Nisā: 4:59]
This noble verse in Surah al-Nisā comes after verse 58, which focused on the rulers when they were enjoined to rule by justice – which is nothing other than what Allāh سبحانه وتعالى has revealed (i.e. the Qur'ān and the Sunnah). In this verse, the focus is on the Muslims under the authority of the rulers, and their responsibility. In this respect the message of this ayah is addressed to the Ummah at large and we can learn from it the following matters:
The āyah (verse) begins with the imperative (command) form verb atī'ū ('obey'): the subject of obedience (i.e. those who obey) is in plural form, meaning 'ALL those who believe in Islām'; and the object of obedience (i.e. the one who is obeyed) is Allāh سبحانه وتعالى. The verse then repeats the command atī'ū (obey) and this time the object of obedience is the Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم. The repetition of the word 'obey' and the order indicates the two basic reference points that Muslims have: the Qur'ān and Sunnah. Therefore anything in contravention of Qur'ān and Sunnah must be disobeyed, and anything from the Qur'ān and Sunnah must be obeyed. This is the principle upon which Muslims are told to live by and this is the principle on which Muslims are instructed to view their rulers. Here the word for rulers, or those in authority, is ūlul- amr (literal translation: 'the people of Command'). It is not restricted to the Khalīfah, but also includes the wāli's (governors), wazīrs (assistants) and all those who have authority, especially since the word has been used in the plural form (ūlul-amr and not the singular waliyul-amr).
It is significant that the āyah does not repeat the verb atī'ū when it comes to the Rulers, as it did in respect to Allāh and His Messenger; this is an additional indication alongside the clear verses and hadīth that state that rulers must obey Allāh and His Messenger in their ruling and exercise of authority. For example the Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم said: 'There is no obedience (when this results) in disobedience of the Creator.' [Sahīh Bukhārī]
Here the mantūq (directly apparent meaning) is an absolute prohibition of following an order that goes against the order of Allāh سبحانه وتعالى – whosoever makes that order. This hadīth came specifically in the context of authority and ruling. Its mafhūm (implied meaning) indicates that just as the person cannot obey a ruler who commanded disobedience to Allāh سبحانه وتعالى; so in the same way, a ruler or amīr cannot order, enact laws or rule by anything that is in violation of what Allāh سبحانه وتعالى has ordered.
Consider for example the following hadīth: It has been reported that 'Alī (ra) said, "The Messenger of Allāh sent a troop under the command of a man from Al-Ansār. When they left, he became angry with them for some reason, and said to them, 'Has not the Messenger of Allāh commanded you to obey me?' They said, 'Yes.' He said, 'Collect some wood,' and then he started a fire with the wood, saying, 'I command you to enter the fire.' The people almost entered the fire, but a young man among them said, 'You ran away from the Fire to Allāh's Messenger. Therefore, do not rush until you go back to Allāh's Messenger, and if he commands you to enter it, then enter it.' When they went back to Allāh's Messenger, they told him what had happened, and the Messenger said, 'Had you entered it, you would never have departed from it. Obedience is only in righteousness.'" (Reported by Bukhārī volume 9, book 91, number 363). Here the Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم stated that obedience is only in the 'ma'rūf' (good) and not in the 'munkar' (evil).
So the one in authority cannot command anything but ma'rūf, and people cannot obey anything but ma'rūf. What is ma'rūf is what Islām has defined as good, and munkar is what Islām has defined as evil. It is not left to the discretion of man to decide these matters.
The verse also obliges the obedience to the command of the Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم and links that to the rulers. As long as the rulers or those in authority obey the Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم then there is the obedience to him, otherwise there is no obedience. It is ludicrous after saying that there is no obedience in the disobedience to the Creator, that there can be obedience in the disobedience to the Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم as the āyah obliges obedience to Allāh and His Messenger. That is why the Messenger of Allāh, may Allāh bless him and grant him peace, said in a ḥadīth reported by Abū Hurayrah, 'Whoever obeys me has obeyed Allāh and whoever disobeys me has disobeyed Allāh. Whoever obeys the amīr has obeyed me and whoever disobeys the amīr has disobeyed me' [Agreed upon].
As for the statement:
'whoever obeys the amīr has obeyed me and whoever disobeys the amīr has disobeyed me'
In the above hadīth or the following one: 'Anyone who dislikes something from his amīr should be patient. Anyone who abandons obedience to the amīr for even a short time dies the death of the Jāhiliyyah (ignorance)' [Agreed upon]:
This does not mean absolute obedience to the rulers. These ahādīth are about not rebelling against the rulers due to their misappropriation of the people's rights, but not about obeying the rulers in the matters which are a clear violation of the Sharī'ah. Rather, when the ruler commands a clear munkar, the Muslim must disobey that command and cannot say he was following orders.
The verse then concludes that if there is a dispute over a matter, between the Muslims and their rulers, then the final arbiter must be Allāh and His Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم. It states:
فَإِنْ تَنَازَعْتُمْ فِي شَيْءٍ فَرُدُّوهُ إِلَى اللَّهِ وَالرَّسُولِ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ تُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ
"If you differ, then refer it to Allāh and His Messenger, if you believe in Allāh and the Last Day."
Just as the young man in the above hadīth disputed with his amīr when he commanded them to enter the fire, and referred the matter to the Messenger; we are also obliged to refer to the Islamic reference point i.e. the Qur'ān and Sunnah when there is a dispute. The last words of the āyah enjoin on the believers the importance of referring to Allāh and His Messenger in ruling, by drawing attention to the fact that not to do so is a negation of imān; hence it says: '...if you believe in Allāh and the Last Day."
This is how the Sahābah (ra) understood this matter and nothing shows this more clearly than the speech of Abū Bakr al-Siddīq when he assumed the post of Khalīfah: "Help me if I am in the right; set me right if I am in the wrong. The weak among you shall be strong with me until Allāh willing, his rights have been vindicated. The strong among you shall be weak with me until, if Allāh wills, I have taken what is due from him. Obey me as long as I obey Allāh and His Prophet; when I disobey Him and his Prophet, obey me not."
The conclusion therefore is that a ruler becomes legitimate only when he bases his rule on the Kitāb and Sunnah, ie sovereignty is for the Sharī'ah, and it is for this reason that obedience becomes obligatory. We are not asked by the ahādīth to give 'our backs and property' for no reason, i.e. if a ruler oppresses people, but rules by Islām, we are still obliged to obey such rulers, and not obey them in a sin; while at the same time accounting and advising them to stop their injustice. (The obligation to obey and not rebel against a ruler who commits oppression whilst accounting him will be clarified in detail in a separate article inshā Allāh.)
However, when we look to the case of the Saudi regime, we find that the basis of its rule is not the Sharī'ah, as indicated by its persistent and constant explicit contravention of the Sharī'ah; here are a few examples:
• Permission of usury (ribā) and banks trading in usury, which is category prohibited in Islām
• Submission to man-made international law as members of the UN and other international bodies, whose charters and rules are not in accordance with Islām
• The flagrant and persistent violation of Sharī'ah by the Saudi regime, even after having been accounted by the 'ulamā and the da'wah carriers means that the above constitute explicit kufr (kufr buwāh).
Consequently, their rule is not legitimate and they need to be removed by the people of power (nusrah) and a just ruler appointed in their place.
So to claim that demonstrations against the Saudi rulers is prohibited, is misplaced as the Saudi regime does not enjoy any legitimacy whatsoever from the Sharī'ah perspective. Holding on to the rope of Allāh, and unity of the Jamā'ah arises only when Muslims gather under the leadership of a ruler who rules by the book of Allāh and Sunnah of the Messenger, not under the leadership of those who betray the interests of the Ummah and are only interested in being the khādims (servants) of America. A more detailed discussion on the issue of 'Sharī'ah rules regarding legitimacy of Rulers' will occur in a separate article inshā Allāh
Again, it is important not to confuse the issue of legitimacy, with the issue of accounting the rulers, since that is an independent obligation in Islām. Suffice to say, as the following section will show; if public accounting was permitted in the time of our Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم and the Khulafā Rāshidah (the rightly-guided Caliphs), who represent the pinnacle of legitimacy and just Islamic leadership, then by greater reasoning (min bāb al-awlā) such accounting is needed in the time oppressive and corrupt rulers, whether they are legitimate or illegitimate.
Evidences for permissibility of demonstrations and protests
As for the proofs (adillah) for the permissibility of demonstration, there are both general and specific:
A demonstration or protest is a public display of opinion, and it is usually carried out by a group, though an individual can demonstrate or protest. So the manāt (reality) of protests and demonstrations is the public display of opinions. The general evidences which allow people to meet and express opinions would permit people to demonstrate their opinions, as long as the opinions expressed are permitted by Islām. As such protests and demonstrations are merely a permissible style, which takes its hukm (ruling) dependent on the reasons and aims of the demonstrations; thus these must be assessed before a hukm can be given for how can a style be labeled harām without consideration of its aims and purpose? For example, if Muslims come out on a demonstration calling for the legalisation of ribā, such a demonstration would not be halāl (permissible), as it calls for something that is harām. However, if people come out to account the rulers for their oppression, and neglecting the people's legitimate rights (given by Islām); then such a demand – whether via a letter, meeting or demonstration – is ḥalāl, because it is regarding a matter that is not only permitted, but obliged by the Sharī'ah.
Another form of general evidences are the 'umūmāt (generality) and unrestricted (mutlaq) import of the multitude of āyāt and aḥādīth that enjoin Muslims to speak the Ḥaqq (truth), enjoin the good and forbid the evil. For example:
Hudhayfah reported that the Prophet, may Allāh bless him and grant him peace, said, 'By the One in whose hand is my soul, you shall command the right and forbid the wrong, or else Allāh may send His punishment on you; then you will call on Him and He will not answer you.' [Muslim]
Or consider the following ayah:
وَلْتَكُنْ مِنْكُمْ أُمَّةٌ يَدْعُونَ إِلَى الْخَيْرِ وَيَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَيَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنْكَرِ ۚ وَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُونَ
"Let there arise out of you a group of people inviting to all that is good (Islām), enjoining Al-Ma'rūf (good) and forbidding Al-Munkar (evil); and it is they who are the successful." (Āli 'Imrān: 104)
This ayah even includes the permissibility of collective action to forbid a munkar as it is a group that is commanded to enjoin the good and forbid the evil. This means if a group can forbid amunkar as a group and then there is no restriction on collectively accounting the rulers ie forbidding the munkar in the form of a demonstration. Thus these examples, due to the umūmāt (generality) and unrestricted form (mutlaq) of their meaning, allow the option of any style (for accounting) that the Sharī'ah has not expressly forbidden.
To elaborate further, consider the following hadīth:
'The best struggle (jihād) is the word of truth spoken to a tyrant ruler.' (Al-Nasā'ī).
This hadīth encouraging political struggle does not specify the manner in which the truth should be spoken to the tyrant ruler, which means any style that has not been prohibited by another text is permitted. So whether by a letter, distribution of leaflets, publication of a book, article in a newspaper or speaking directly to the ruler, these are all permissible means of fulfilling the obligation. This is similar to the hadīth of the Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم when he said: 'Convey from me, even if it be one verse.' (Bukhārī) This hadīth enjoins on us to convey Islamic knowledge or carry da'wah to others, but nowhere in the language of this hadīth did the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم restrict it to any particular style or means. Therefore, it is permissible to impart knowledge via one to one teaching, group lessons or even via the internet. These are all permissible style as the command ballighū (convey) is unrestricted (mutlaq): so whatever action will realise this is permitted, as long as there is no specific nass (text) to the contrary.
The above hadīth for example says 'the best struggle (jihād)': this fits a reality where the accounting is done publicly, since that is truly a struggle, whereas it is easier to account privately. It is when the ruler is accounted in front of everyone that he is likely to kill or imprison the person accounting him. This is also the import (mafhūm) of the following hadīth:
"The tyrant ruler to advise him and was killed" (Reported by al-Hākim and declared sound (sahīh) by al-Albānī in hisSahīh al-Targhīb no. 2308)
The fact that ruler was accounted publicly is the most likely reason for the accounting-person being killed; and therefore such evidences can also be considered as specific evidences in their own right by their implicit meaning (mafhum).
Therefore, the uprisings against the oppressive rulers who have not been legitimately appointed by the Ummah and have been oppressing the ummah and ruling her by other than the Quran and the Sunnah is actually recommended for the Ummah rather than prohibited.
Application of the term "Khawarij" in today's reality
As for the applicability of the term Khawarij today, the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said in a hadith:
يقتلون أهل الإسلام ويدعون أهل الأوثان
"They will kill Muslims and spare Idol-worshippers."
Hafiz Ibn Hajr al Asqalani writes in his book "al fath"
أما الخوارج فهم جمعُ خَارجة أي طائفة، وهم قوم مُبتَدِعُون، سُمّوا بذلك لخروجهم عن الدّين، وخروجهم على خيار المسلمين
"As for the Khawarij this is the plural of the word 'kharija''rebel' and they are group of bida'a (innovation) and they have been called as such because of their inventions in the deen and their rebellion against the opinion of the Muslims"
He further writes in the same book:
وعَظُمَ البلاء بهم - أي الخوارج - وتوسّعوا في معتقدهم الفاسد، فأبطلوا رَجْمَ المحصن وقطعوا يد السارق من الإِبط
"And the biggest disaster due to the Khawarij is the expansion in their false beliefs, so they abolished the stoning of the adulterer and they cut the hand of the thief from the arm"
These characteristics truly apply to the rulers of the Muslim world today who came to power after killing thousands and still support the kuffar in butchering the Muslims as we have seen in Iraq & Afghanistan. Had it not been the support of the Arab countries like the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and others, the Americans would never have made the progress they made in occupying Iraq and Afghanistan during which they killed over 2 million innocent Muslims. It is clear that it is these rulers who are fulfilling the characteristic of killing their fellow Muslims and supporting the Kuffar as mentioned in the hadith.
It is clear as day and night that the rulers in the Muslim lands have abandoned the Quran and Sunnah and adopted the western secular laws and they should be called the "Khawarij" for they are the ones who are rebelling against the Ummah and its demand to rule by the Quran and Sunnah.
Maulana Abu Khalid al-Hejazi