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The Battle of Nahrawan (Arabic: معركة النهروان‎, translit. Ma'rakat an-Nahrawān) was a battle between Ali ibn Abi Talib (the first Shi'ah Imam and the fourth Sunni Caliph) and the Kharijites (followers of the extremist Khawarij sect of Islam) commanded by Abdullah ibn Wahb al-Rasibi, near Nahrawan, twelve miles from Baghdad.[2] The battle ended in a total defeat of the Kharijites.

Battle of Nahrawan
Part of the First Fitna
Date 659 AD
Location Nahrawan, Iraq
Result Rashidun Caliphate victory
Black flag.svg Rashidun Caliphate Khawarij (Kharijites)
Commanders and leaders
Imamah Flag.png Ali ibn Abu Talib
Imamah Flag.png Hassan ibn Ali
Imamah Flag.png Al-Ashath ibn Qays al-Kindi[1]
Abdullah ibn Wahb al-Rasibi
Abdullah ibn Ibad
Harqus bin Zuhair
Abdullah bin Shajara


When Ali was told that the Kharijites had been killed, he replied: "By Allah! No, not yet. They still exist in the loins of men and wombs of women. Whenever a chief would appear from among them, he would be cut down till the last of them would turn thieves and robbers."[3][4][5][6] Three years later, Ali was assassinated by a Kharijite called Abd-al-Rahman ibn Muljam.[7]

The Kharijites that survived the battle against Ali managed to flee to Basrah, Sistan, Khurasan, Oman, Yemen, Tell Mozan, and elsewhere, where they had their offspring, spread their beliefs and recruited more followers. Today Ibadis of Oman (and parts of Africa) are known as their descendants and followers.[8]


  1. ^
  2. ^ Ludwig W. Adamec (2009), Historical Dictionary of Islam, p.235. Scarecrow Press. ISBN 0810861615.
  3. ^ Al-Bayhaqi, al-Mahasin, 385
  4. ^ al-Mas`udi, Muruj, II, 416
  5. ^ al-Mubarrad, al-Kamil, II, 120
  6. ^ Nahj Al-Balaghah, Sermon 60
  7. ^ Al-Islam. "The Life of the Commander of the Faithful Ali Ibn Abu Talib (as)". Retrieved 6 December 2015. 
  8. ^ Kashf Al-Maghmah, Vol. 1 Pg. 267 Ch. 51, About the Actions of the Khawarij, H. 267

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