This chapter provides an overview of the main actors and events of early Khārijite history from their origins at the Battle of Ṣiffīn in 657 CE until the death of the Umayyad caliph ʿAbd al-Malik in 705 CE. It situates Khārijite history in the broader context of the reign of the last ‘rightly-guided’ caliph, ʿAlī b. Abī Ṭālib, and of early Umayyad rule, including the second civil war (fitna). The chapter gives background information on the main Khārijite factions of this period, the Azāriqa and Najdiyya, and looks at well-known Khārijites like Abū Bilāl Mirdās b. Udayya and Shabīb b. Yazīd. The survey is intended to guide readers as they progress through the subsequent chapters.
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