Ali (ra) Tricking, Deceiving The Enemy (Khawarij)?
Chapter: Killing Al-Khawarij and Al-Mulhidun
Narrated `Ali: Whenever I tell you a narration from Allah’s Messenger, by Allah, I would rather fall down from the sky than ascribe a false statement to him, but if I tell you something between me and you (not a Hadith) then it was indeed a trick .
No doubt I heard Allah’s Apostle saying, “During the last days there will appear some young foolish people who will say the best words but their faith will not go beyond their throats (i.e. they will have no faith) and will go out from (leave) their religion as an arrow goes out of the game. So, where-ever you find them, kill them, for who-ever kills them shall have reward on the Day of Resurrection.” (Sahih al-Bukhari volume, 9, Book 84, Hadith 64)
Critics have a problem with the above Hadith because Ali (ra) ‘tricks’ his enemies in war. Does any military in the world ever tell their enemies what they are going to do, or when they are going to attack?
Moreover, the title of the chapter for this is related to the khawarij. The Khawarij were a fanatical and violent group which emerged during the time when Caliphate Ali was alive, 1400 years ago. They were radical and had extreme beliefs which was at odds with the majority of the Muslims and the companions of the Prophet (p).
They declared that anyone who sins is a kaffir (a disbeliever) and they ordered the person be killed, which was at odds with main Islamic theology. Someone cannot be declared a disbeliever unless he/she openly declares their disbelief. But their extreme beliefs were opposite of Islam.
In short, Ali (ra) (the cousin of Prophet Muhammed) fought against those extremists. I have no objection with Ali (ra) tricking his enemy in war. Every military from every era has done the same to get the upper hand on to the enemy.