Māriqūn (Arabic:المارقون) literally means a number of people who have abandoned a group. In Shiite terminology, it refers to Khawarij who fought against Imam 'Ali (a) in the Battle of Nahrawan. At the beginning of the Battle of Siffin, these people were in the army of Imam 'Ali (a), but the story of arbitration led them to revolt against Imam 'Ali (a) and establish a third group that opposed both sides. Imam 'Ali (a) had to fight this group in an area called Nahrawan and defeated them.
Meaning of "Mariqun"
The word "mariq" (Arabic:المارق) comes from the Arabic root, "m-r-q" (م-ر-ق). It originally means to go out of something, like an arrow that goes out of the bow. Khawarij are called "Mariqun" because they went out of the Muslim community.
According to al-Zubaydi, the word, "muruq", (Arabic:مروق) means to go out, and Khawarij came to be called "Mariqun" because they went out of the religion and revolted against Imam 'Ali (a).
Instances of Mariqun
It seems that the only instances of Mariqun are a group of Khawarij who fought Imam 'Ali (a) in the Battle of Nahrawan. So it does not apply to all Khawarij and their survivors after Imam 'Ali (a).
The formation of the term, "Mariqun", has its origin in Imam 'Ali's (a) own words: "I present proofs to Mariqun [people who went out of the religion]".
Moreover, in his al-Shiqshiqiyya Sermon, Imam 'Ali (a) refers to three groups of his enemies who fought against him, one of which is Mariqun, and of them he says: "Another group went out of the religion (maraqa)".5 This refers to a group of Khawarij who attended the Battle of Nahrawan.
Here are the most prominent figures of Khawarij who count as Mariqun:
- Hurqus b. Zuhayr al-Tamimi
- Shurayh b. Awfa al-'Abasi
- 'Abd Allah b. Shajara al-Sulami
- Hamza b. Sinan al-Asadi
- 'Abd Allah b. Wahb al-Rasibi
There are some people, such as Farwa b. Nawfal al-Ashja'i, who joined Mariqun at first, but they abandoned the group at the beginning of the Battle of Nahrawan.
The Fate of Mariqun
When Khawarij strongly voiced their objections to Imam 'Ali (a) after the Battle of Siffin, the Imam (a) sent 'Abd Allah b. 'Abbas and Sa'sa'a b. Sawhan to negotiate with them. But their negotiations were not successful. After this, Imam 'Ali (a) wrote a letter to the heads of Khawarij and called them to return to people, but they rejected the invitation. When Imam 'Ali (a) was disappointed of their surrender, he prepared an army of 14000 soldiers to fight them, and thus the battle began. Before the battle, when Imam 'Ali (a) gave a general amnesty to Khawarij, some of them abandoned the group and joined Imam 'Ali (a). According to historical sources, of the 4000 members of Khawarij, only 1800 cavalries and 1500 infantries remained in the group.
When the battle began, all members of Khawarij were soon killed or injured. 400 injured people were handed over to their families. But in Imam 'Ali's (a) army, about 10 people were killed. About 10 members of Khawarij fled the battlefield, one of whom was 'Abd al-Rahman b. Muljam al-Muradi, the murderer of Imam 'Ali (a).
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