Chapter Three makes the case for the lack of a tangible Khārijite identity in early Islamic historiography. It focuses primarily on two case studies: the use of Khārijite language by non-Khārijite Muslims, many of them directly opposed to the rebels; and the replication of events and narrative content associated with the Khārijites. The analysis shows that literary Khārijism is defined by a series of constantly reiterated stock phrases that are often not unique to the rebels. The replication of certain events, such as the appointment of Khārijite leaders, according to particular narrative conventions further illustrates the distinctly rhetorical character of such accounts. The chapter thus highlights the challenges inherent in reconstructing Khārijite (and early Islamic) history without comprehensive historiographical analysis.
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