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Wahhabism (Arabic: الوهابية, romanizedal-Wahhābyyah, lit.'Wahhabism') is a term used to refer to the Islamic revivalist and fundamentalist movement within Sunni Islam which is associated with the Hanbali reformist doctrines of the Arabian scholar Muhammad ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhab (1703-1792).[a][1][2][3][4] It has been variously described as "orthodox",[5] "puritan(ical)";[6][7] and as an Islamic "reform movement" to restore "pure monotheistic worship" by devotees.[8][9] The term "Wahhabism" was not used by Ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab himself, but it is chiefly used by outsiders polemically as an exonym and adherents reject its use, preferring to be called "Salafi" (a term used by followers of other Islamic reform movements as well),[7][10] and view themselves as Muwahhid (meaning "monotheistic"),[11][12][13] to emphasize the principle of Tawhid[14] (oneness of God).[15] The term has also been described as a Sunniphobic slur.[16][17][18][19] It adheres to the Athari school of Islamic theology.

Wahhabism is named after the 18th-century Islamic scholar, theologian, preacher, and activist Muhammad ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhab (1703–1792).[8][20][21][22][23] He started a reform movement in the region of Najd in central Arabia,[8][24] advocating a purging of practices which he considered to be idolatrous impurities and religious innovations (bidʻah); such as veneration of Muslim saints, pilgrimages to their tombs and shrines, etc. that were widespread amongst the people of Najd.[8][15][25] Ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhab and his followers were highly inspired by the influential thirteenth-century Hanbali scholar Ibn Taymiyyah (1263 - 1328 C.E/ 661 - 728 A.H) who called for a return to the purity of the first three generations (Salaf) to rid Muslims of inauthentic outgrowths (bidʻah), and regarded his works as core scholarly references in theology.[26][27][28]

Eventually, Ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhab formed a pact with a local leader, Muhammad bin Saud, offering political allegiance and promising that protection and propagation of the Wahhabi movement meant "power and glory" and rule of "lands and men".[29] The alliance between followers of Ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhab and Muhammad bin Saud's successors (the House of Saud) proved to be a durable one. The House of Saud continued to maintain its politico-religious alliance with the Wahhabi sect through the waxing and waning of its own political fortunes over the next 150 years, through to its eventual proclamation of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 1932, and then afterwards, on into modern times. For more than two centuries, Ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhab's teachings had been the official, state-sponsored form of Islam and the dominant creed[30][31] in Saudi Arabia.[32] As of 2017, changes to Saudi religious policy by Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman have led some to suggest that "Islamists throughout the world will have to follow suit or risk winding up on the wrong side of orthodoxy".[33] In 2018 Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, denied that anyone "can define this Wahhabism" or even that it exists.[34] By 2021, the waning power of the religious clerics brought forth by the social, religious, economic, political changes and a new educational policy asserting a "Saudi national identity" that emphasize non-Islamic components; have led to what has been described by some as the "post-Wahhabi era" of Saudi Arabia.[35][36][37][38][39][40][41]

The "boundaries" of Wahhabism have been called "difficult to pinpoint",[42] but in contemporary usage, the terms Wahhabi and Salafi are sometimes used interchangeably, and they are considered to be movements with different roots that have merged since the 1960s.[43][b] However, Wahhabism is generally considered as "a particular orientation within Salafism",[45] or as a conservative, Gulf branch of Salafism.[46][47]

Definitions and etymology[edit]


Some definitions or uses of the term Wahhabi Islam include:

  • "a corpus of doctrines", and "a set of attitudes and behavior, derived from the teachings of a particularly severe religious reformist who lived in central Arabia in the mid-eighteenth century" (Gilles Kepel)[48]
  • "pure Islam" (David Commins, paraphrasing supporters' definition),[49] that does not deviate from Sharia (Islamic law) in any way and should be called Islam and not Wahhabism. ( Salman bin Abdul Aziz, King of Saudi Arabia)[50]
  • "a misguided creed that fosters intolerance, promotes simplistic theology, and restricts Islam's capacity for adaption to diverse and shifting circumstances" (David Commins, paraphrasing opponents' definition)[49]
  • "a conservative reform movement ... the creed upon which the kingdom of Saudi Arabia was founded, and [which] has influenced Islamic movements worldwide" (Encyclopedia of Islam and the Muslim world)[51]
  • "a sect dominant in Saudi Arabia and Qatar" with footholds in "India, Africa, and elsewhere", with a "steadfastly fundamentalist interpretation of Islam in the tradition of Ibn Hanbal" (Cyril Glasse)[14]
  • an "eighteenth-century reformist/revivalist movement for sociomoral reconstruction of society", "founded by Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab" (Oxford Dictionary of Islam).[52]
  • A movement that sought "a return to the pristine message of the Prophet" and attempted to free Islam from all "the superimposed doctrines" and "superstitions that have obscured its message". Its spiritual meaning of "striving after an inner renewal of Muslim society", got corrupted when "its outer goal – the attainment of social and political power – was realised" (Muhammad Asad)[53]
  • "a political trend" within Islam that "has been adopted for power-sharing purposes", but cannot be called a sect because "It has no special practices, nor special rites, and no special interpretation of religion that differ from the main body of Sunni Islam" (Abdallah Al Obeid, the former dean of the Islamic University of Medina and member of the Saudi Consultative Council)[42]
  • "the true salafist movement". Starting out as a theological reform movement, it had "the goal of calling (da'wa) people to restore the 'real' meaning of tawhid (oneness of God or monotheism) and to disregard and deconstruct 'traditional' disciplines and practices that evolved in Islamic history such as theology and jurisprudence and the traditions of visiting tombs and shrines of venerated individuals." (Ahmad Moussalli)[54]
  • a term used by opponents of Salafism in hopes of besmirching that movement by suggesting foreign influence and "conjuring up images of Saudi Arabia". The term is "most frequently used in countries where Salafis are a small minority" of the Muslim community but "have made recent inroads" in "converting" the local population to Salafism. (Quintan Wiktorowicz)[12]
  • a blanket term used inaccurately to refer to "any Islamic movement that has an apparent tendency toward misogyny, militantism, extremism, or strict and literal interpretation of the Qur'an and hadith" (Natana J. DeLong-Bas)[55]
  • "No one can define Wahhabism. There is no Wahhabism. We don't believe we have Wahhabism." (Mohammed bin Salman, Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia)[56]
  • According to Doctor of Philosophy at RMIT University,[57] Rohan Davis:

    "..Wahhabism does not have a natural or objective reality... This view holds that a real thing exists in some external reality and corresponds with the concept in human thought to which the linguistic word refers... It was Saussure who pointed out that it is impossible for definitions of concepts to exist independently of or outside a specific language system. Concepts like Wahhabism cannot exist without humans naming and attaching meaning to it."



Since the colonial period, the label "Wahhabi" had been used to discredit any reformist or politically active Islamic group.[59] According to Saudi writer Abdul Aziz Qassim and others, it was the Ottomans who "first labelled Abdul Wahhab's school of Islam in Saudi Arabia as Wahhabism". The British also adopted it and influence the term's usage in the Middle East.[c] The term Wahhabi should not be confused to Wahbi which is the dominant creed within Ibadism.[61]

Algerian scholar Muhammad El Hajjoui states that it was Ottomans who first attached the label of "Wahhabism" to the Sunni Hanbalis of Najd, hiring "Muslim scholars in all countries to compose, write and lie about the Hanbalis of Najd" for political purposes.[62][63]

The labelling of the term "Wahhabism" has historically been expansive beyond the doctrinal followers of Muhammad ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhab; all of whom tend to reject the label. Hence the term remains a controversial as well as a contested category. During the colonial era, the British empire had commonly employed the term to refer to those Muslim scholars and thinkers seen as obstructive to their imperial interests; punishing them under various pretexts. Many Muslim rebels inspired by Sufi Awliyaa (saints) and mystical orders, were targeted by the British Raj as part of a wider "Wahhabi" conspiracy which was portrayed as extending from Bengal to Punjab. Despite sharing little resemblance with the doctrines of Ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhab, outside observers of the Muslim world have frequently traced various religious purification campaigns across the Islamic World to Wahhabi influence.[64][65][66][67] According to Qeyamuddin Ahmed:

"In the eyes of the British Government, the word Wahabi was synonymous with 'traitor' and 'rebel'... The epithet became a term of religio-political abuse."

Indian Ahl-i Hadith leader Nawab Sīddïq Hasān Khán (1832–1890 C.E) strongly objected to the usage of the term “Wahhabi”; viewing it as a restrictive regional term primarily rooted in geography and also considered the term to be politically manipulative. According to him, labelling the exponents of Tawhid as "Wahhabi" was wrong since it symbolised a form of regionalism that went against Islamic universalism. Khan argues that the term has different, unrelated and narrow localised connotations across different parts of the World. According to him, the term had become a political and pejorative phrase that borrowed the name as well as the damaging connotation of the culturally exclusivist movement of Ibn 'Abd-al-Wahhab of Najd, and falsely applied it to a wide range of anti-colonial Islamic reform movements. He distanced himself as well as the Indian Muslim public from this label, writing:[69][70]

"To call those Indian Muhammadans who do not worship tombs and pirs and prohibit people from unlawful acts by the name wahabi is entirely false for several reasons: In the first place they do not represent themselves as such, on the contrary they call themselves Sunnis.. if there was anything of wahabeeism in their creed they would call themselves by that name and should not resent the epithet... Those who worship one God object to being called wahabis in the Ibn Abd al-Wahhab kind of way not only because of his belonging to a different nation and all its politics, but because they consider God as the ruler and protector of the whole world and this [universalist] stance is blunted if they are said to be followers of a territorially rooted Abd al-Wahhab."


Contemporary usage[edit]

In contemporary discourse, the post-Soviet states widely employ the term "Wahhabism" to denote any manifestation of Islamic assertion in neighbouring Muslim countries.[66] During the Soviet-era, the Muslim dissidents were usually labelled with terms such as "Sufi" and "fanatic" employing Islamophobic vocabulary that conjured up fears of underground religious conspiracies. By the late 1990s, the "Wahhabi" label would become the most common term to refer to the "Islamic Menace", while "Sufism" was invoked as a "moderate" force that balanced the "radicalism" of Wahhabis. The old-guard of the post-Soviet states found the label useful to depict all opposition as extremists, thereby bolstering their strongman credentials. In short, any Muslim critical of the religious or political status quo, came at risk of being labelled "Wahhabi".[73]

According to M. Reza Pirbhai, Associate Professor of History in Georgetown University, notions of a "Wahhabi Conspiracy" against the West have in recent times resurfaced in various sections of the Western media; employing the term as a catch-all phrase to frame an official narrative that erases the concerns of broad and disparate disenchanted groups pursuing redress for local discontentment caused by neo-colonialism. The earliest mention of "Wahhabism" in The New York Times had appeared in a 1931 editorial which described it as a "traditional" movement; without associating it with "militant" or "anti-Western" trends. Between 1931 and 2007, The New York Times published eighty-six articles that mentioned the word "Wahhabism", out of which six articles had appeared before September 2001, while the rest were published since. During the 1990s, it began to be described as "militant", but not yet as a hostile force. By the 2000s, the 19th century terminology of "Wahhabism" had resurfaced, reprising its role as the " 'fanatical' and ‘despotic’ antithesis of a Civilized World". Reza Pirbhai asserts that this usage is deployed to manufacture an official narrative that assists imperial motives; by depicting a coherent and coordinated International network of ideological revolutionaries.[74] Common Liberal depictions of Wahhabism define it as a collection of restrictive dogmas, particularly for women, while neo-conservative depictions portray "Wahhabis" as "Savages" or "fanatics".[75]

Naming controversy and confusion[edit]

Wahhabis do not like – or at least did not like – the term. Ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhab was averse to the elevation of scholars and other individuals, including using a person's name to label an Islamic school (madhhab).[12][76][77] According to Robert Lacey "the Wahhabis have always disliked the name customarily given to them" and preferred to be called Muwahhidun (Unitarians).[78] Another preferred term was simply "Muslims", since they considered their creed to be the "pure Islam".[79] However, critics complain these terms imply that non-Wahhabi Muslims are either not monotheists or not Muslims.[79][80] Additionally, the terms Muwahhidun and Unitarians are associated with other sects, both extant and extinct.[81]

Other terms Wahhabis have been said to use and/or prefer include Ahl al-Hadith ("People of the Hadith"), Salafi dawah ("Salafi preaching"), or al-da'wa ila al-tawhid[82]("preaching of monotheism" for the school rather than the adherents) or Ahl ul-Sunna wal Jama'a ("people of the tradition of Muhammad and the consensus of the Ummah"),[45] Ahl al-Sunnah ("People of the Sunnah"),[83] or "the reform or Salafi movement of the Sheikh" (the sheikh being Ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhab).[d] The self-designation as "People of the Sunnah" was important for Wahhabism's authenticity, because during the Ottoman period only Sunnism was the legitimate doctrine.[85]

Other writers such as Quinton Wiktorowicz, urge use of the term "Salafi", maintaining that "one would be hard pressed to find individuals who refer to themselves as Wahhabis or organizations that use 'Wahhabi' in their title, or refer to their ideology in this manner (unless they are speaking to a Western audience that is unfamiliar with Islamic terminology, and even then usage is limited and often appears as 'Salafi/Wahhabi')".[12] A New York Times journalist writes that Saudis "abhor" the term Wahhabism, "feeling it sets them apart and contradicts the notion that Islam is a monolithic faith".[86] Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud for example has attacked the term as "a doctrine that doesn't exist here (Saudi Arabia)" and challenged users of the term to locate any "deviance of the form of Islam practiced in Saudi Arabia from the teachings of the Quran and Prophetic Hadiths".[87][88] Ingrid Mattson argues that "'Wahhbism' is not a sect. It is a social movement that began 200 years ago to rid Islam of rigid cultural practices that had (been) acquired over the centuries."[89]

On the other hand, according to authors at Global Security and Library of Congress the term is now commonplace and used even by Wahhabi scholars in the Najd,[25][90] a region often called the "heartland" of Wahhabism.[91] Journalist Karen House calls 'Salafi' "a more politically correct term" for 'Wahhabi'.[92] In any case, according to Lacey, none of the other terms have caught on, and so like the Christian Quakers, Wahhabis have "remained known by the name first assigned to them by their detractors".[78] However, the confusion is further aggravated due to the common practice of various authoritarian governments broadly using the label "Wahhabi extremists" for all opposition, legitimate and illegitimate, to justify massive repressions on any dissident.[93]

(Another movement, whose adherents are also called "Wahhabi" but whom were Ibaadi Kharijites, has caused some confusion in North and sub-Saharan Africa, where the movement's leader – Abd al-Wahhab ibn Abd al-Rahman – lived and preached in the Eighth Century C.E. Muhammad al-Shuwair was visiting Mauritania in 1408 A.H/1987 C.E, when he met with Muslim leaders told him they like the Saudis but wished they would give up the "Wahhabi" school that divides the Muslims. Upon asking them what their source for their views was, they referred to rulings given by scholars of North Africa, such as al-Wanshireesi, who lived long before Muhammad ibn Abdul-Wahhab. Al-Shuwair had to explain to them that those "Wahhabis" had nothing to do with Ibn Abd al-Wahhab.)[94]

Wahhabis and Salafis[edit]

Salafiyya movement (term derived from "Salaf al-Salih", meaning "pious predecessors of the first three generations") refers to a wide range of reform movements within Sunni Islam across the world, that campaigns for the return of "pure" Islam, revival of the prophetic Sunnah, and the practices of the early generations of Islamic scholars. According to Saudi scholar Abd al-Aziz Bin Baz:

The Salafi call is the call to what God have sent by His Prophet Muhammad, may peace and blessings be upon him, it is the call to adhere to the Quran and the Sunnah, this call to Salafism is the call to follow the practices that the Messenger used to follow in Mecca, then Medina. From teaching dawa to Muslims, to directing people to do good, teaching them what God sent by His Prophet on the oneness of God (monotheism), loyalty to him, and faith in His Messenger Muhammad, may peace and blessings be upon him.[95]

Many scholars and critics distinguish between Wahhabi and Salafi. According to analyst Christopher M. Blanchard, Wahhabism refers to "a conservative Islamic creed centered in and emanating from Saudi Arabia", while Salafiyya is "a more general puritanical Islamic movement that has developed independently at various times and in various places in the Islamic world".[96]

However, many view Wahhabism as the Salafism native to Arabia.[97] Wahhabism is the Arabian version of Salafism, according to Mark Durie, who states Saudi leaders "are active and diligent" in using their considerable financial resources "in funding and promoting Salafism all around the world".[98] Ahmad Moussalli tends to agree Wahhabism is a subset of Salafism, saying "As a rule, all Wahhabis are salafists, but not all salafists are Wahhabis."[54] Quintan Wiktorowicz aserts modern Salafists consider the 18th-century scholar Muhammed bin 'Abd al-Wahhab and many of his students to have been Salafis.[99]

According to Joas Wagemakers, associate professor of Islamic and Arabic Studies at Utrecht University, Salafism consists of broad movements of Muslims across the world who aspire to live according to the precedents of the Salaf al-Salih; whereas "Wahhabism" - a term rejected by its adherents - refers to the specific brand of reformation (islah) campaign that was initiated by the 18th-century scholar Muhammad ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhab and evolved through his subsequent disciples in the central Arabian region of Najd. Despite their relations with Wahhabi Muslims of Najd; other Salafis have often differed theologically with the Wahhabis and hence do not identify with them. These included significant contentions with Wahhabis over their unduly harsh enforcement of their beliefs, their lack of tolerance towards other Muslims and their deficient commitment to their stated opposition to taqlid and advocacy of ijtihad.[100]

In doctrines of 'Aqida (creed), Wahhabis and Salafis resemble each other; particularly in their focus on Tawhid. However, the Muwahidun movement historically were concerned primarily about Tawhid al-Rububiyya (Oneness of Lordship) and Tawhid al-Uloohiyya (Oneness of Worship) while the Salafiyya movement placed an additional emphasis on Tawhid al-Asma wa Sifat (Oneness of Divine Names and Attributes); with a literal understanding of God's Names and Attributes.[101]


The Wahhabi mission started as a revivalist and reform movement in the remote, arid region of Najd during the 18th century.[5][8][24] Its leader, Muhammad ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhab, advocated a purging of widespread practices such as veneration of stones, trees, and caves; praying to saints; and pilgrimages to their tombs and shrines that were practiced by the people of Najd, but which he considered idolatrous impurities and innovations in Islam (bid'ah).[8][15][25] The movement emphasized adherence to the Quran and hadith, and advocated the use of ijtihad.[5] Eventually, he formed a pact with a local leader, Muhammad bin Saud, offering political obedience and promising that protection and propagation of the Wahhabi movement meant "power and glory" and rule of "lands and men".[29] With the collapse of the Ottoman Empire after World War I, the Al-Saud dynasty, and with it Wahhabism, spread to the holy cities of Mecca and Medina. After the discovery of petroleum near the Persian Gulf in 1939, it had access to oil export revenues, revenue that grew to billions of dollars. This money – spent on books, media, schools, universities, mosques, scholarships, fellowships, lucrative jobs for journalists, academics and Islamic scholars – gave Wahhabism a "preeminent position of strength" in Islam around the world.[102]

In the country of Wahhabism's founding – and by far the largest and most powerful country where it is the state religion – Wahhabi ulama gained control over education, law, public morality and religious institutions in the 20th century, while permitting as a "trade-off" new material developments such as the import of modern technology and communications, and dealings with non-Muslims, for the sake of the consolidation of the power of its political guardian, the Al Saud dynasty.[103]

However, in the last couple of decades of the twentieth century several crises worked to erode Wahhabi "credibility" in Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Muslim world – the November 1979 seizure of the Grand Mosque by militants; the deployment of US troops in Saudi Arabia during the 1991 Gulf War against Iraq; and the 9/11 2001 al-Qaeda attacks on New York and Washington.[104]

In each case the Wahhabi ulama were called on to support the dynasty's efforts to suppress religious dissent – and in each case it did[104] – exposing its dependence on the Saudi dynasty and its often unpopular policies.[105][106] In the West, with the end of the Cold War and the obsoleted anti-communist alliance with conservative, religious Saudi Arabia; the 9/11 attacks created enormous distrust towards the kingdom and especially its official religion.[107]

Muhammad ibn 'Abd-al-Wahhab[edit]

The patronym of Wahhabism, Muhammad ibn ʿAbd-al Wahhab, was born around 1702–03 in the small oasis town of 'Uyayna in the Najd region, in what is now central Saudi Arabia.[108] He studied in Basra,[109] in what is now Iraq, and in Mecca and Medina while there to perform Hajj, before returning to his hometown in 1740. There he worked to spread the call (dawah) for what he believed was a restoration of true monotheistic worship (Tawhid).[110] He also believed that any act or statement that involves worship to any being other than God and associates other creatures with God's power is tantamount to idolatry (shirk). The core of the controversy between him and his adversaries was over the scope of these acts. According to Ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhab, those who made acts of devotion such as seeking aid (istigatha) from objects, tombs of dead Muslim saints (Awliyaa), etc. were heretics guilty of bidʻah (religious innovation) and shirk (polytheism).[111]

Ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhab was particularly noted for adopting a radical approach to takfīr (excommunication), whereby he declared other Muslims to be either infidels (kuffār) or false Muslims (munāfiḳūn), and therefore deemed them worthy of death for their perceived apostasy (ridda).[112][113] Those Muslims that he accused to be heretics or infidels would not be killed outright; first, they would be given a chance to repent. If they repented their repentance was accepted, but if they didn't repent after the clarification of proofs they were executed under the Islamic death penalty as apostates (murtaddin).[114] With the support of the ruler of the town – Uthman ibn Mu'ammar – he carried out some of his religious reforms in 'Uyayna, including the demolition of the tomb of Zayd ibn al-Khattab, one of the Sahaba (companions) of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, and the stoning to death of an adulterous woman. However, a more powerful chief (Sulaiman ibn Muhammad ibn Ghurayr) pressured Uthman ibn Mu'ammar to expel him from 'Uyayna.[115]

When Muhammad ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhab began preaching his dawah in the Ottoman-ruled Hejaz, where the veneration of Muslim saints and superstitions he perceived as prevalent among Muslims, he was initially rejected and called a "deviant".[112][113][116] Later, however, his call to dawah became increasingly popular.[117] The doctrines of Ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhab were criticized by a number of Islamic scholars during his lifetime, accusing him of disregarding Islamic history, monuments, traditions and the sanctity of Muslim life.[118] His critics were mainly ulama from his homeland, the Najd region of central Arabia, which was directly affected by the growth of the Wahhabi movement,[116] based in the cities of Basra, Mecca, and Medina.[116] The early critics of Ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhab classified his doctrine as a "Kharijite sectarian heresy".[119] By contrast, Ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhab profoundly despised the "decorous, arty tobacco-smoking, music happy, drum pounding, Egyptian and Ottoman nobility who traveled across Arabia to pray at Mecca each year",[120] and intended to either subjugate them to his doctrine or overthrow them.[120]

Alliance with the House of Saud[edit]

The First Saudi state (1744–1818)

The ruler of a nearby town, Muhammad ibn Saud, invited Ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhab to join him, and in 1744 a pact was made between the two.[121] Ibn Saud would protect and propagate the doctrines of the Wahhabi mission, while Ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhab "would support the ruler, supplying him with 'glory and power'". Whoever championed his message, Ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhab promised, "will, by means of it, rule the lands and men".[29] Ibn Saud would abandon non-shari'i practices such as taxations of local harvests, and in return God might compensate him with booty from conquest and sharia compliant taxes that would exceed what he gave up.[122] The alliance between the Wahhabi mission and Al Saud family has "endured for more than two and half centuries", surviving defeat and collapse.[121][123] The two families have intermarried multiple times over the years, and in today's Saudi Arabia the minister of religion is always a member of the Al ash-Sheikh family, i.e. a descendant of Ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhab.[124]

According to Natana J. DeLong-Bas, Ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhab was restrained in urging fighting with perceived unbelievers, preferring to preach and persuade rather than attack.[e] Ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhab followed a non-interference policy in Ibn Saud's state consolidation project. While Ibn Saud was in charge of political and military issues, he promised to uphold Ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhab's religious teachings. However, the military campaigns of Ibn Saud weren't necessarily met with approval by Ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhab. Delineating the specific roles of Amir (political leader) and Imam (religious leader), Ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhab stipulated that only the imam (religious leader) could declare the military campaign as jihad after meeting the legal religious stipulations.[126] Ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhab had only authorized jihad when the Wahhabi community were attacked first, as a defensive measure.[f] His main objective was religious reformation of Muslim beliefs and practices through a gradual educational process. With those who differed with his reformist ideals, Ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhab called for dialogue and sending invitations to religious discussions and debates, rather than a "convert or die" approach. Military resort was a last-case option; and when engaged in rarely, it abided by the strict Islamic legal codes.[128] However, after the death of Muhammad ibn Saud in 1765, his son and successor, Abdulaziz bin Muhammad, began military exploits to extend Saudi power and expand their wealth, abandoning the educational programmes of the reform movement and setting aside Islamic religious constraints on war. Due to disagreements, Ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhab would resign his position as imam and withdrew from active political and financial life in 1773. He abstained from legitimising Saudi military campaigns and devoted himself to learning, teaching, and worship until his death in 1792. Upon his death, Ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhab left behind four sons and many students who became eminent religious scholars.[129]

Meanwhile, Abdulaziz continued with his expansionist vision beyond the confines of Najd.[130] Conquest expanded through the Arabian Peninsula until it conquered Mecca and Medina in the early 19th century.[131][132] It was at this time that Wahhabis began directly reviving the ideas of Ibn Taymiyyah; which declared self-professed Muslims who do not follow Islamic law to be non-Muslims – to justify their warring and conquering the Muslim Sharifs of Hijaz.[133] One of their most noteworthy and controversial attacks was on the Shia-majority city of Karbala in 1802. According to Wahhabi chronicler 'Uthman b. 'Abdullah b. Bishr the Saudi armies killed many of its inhabitants, plundered its wealth and distributed amongst the populace.[134]

The Second Saudi state in 1850

By 1805, the Saudi armies had taken control of Mecca and Medina.[135] The Saudi Emir, Saud bin Abdulaziz bin Muhammad bin Saud, denounced the Ottoman sultan and called into question the validity of his claim to be Khalifa and guardian of the sanctuaries of the Hejaz.[136] The Ottoman Empire, suspicious of the ambitious Muhammad Ali of Egypt, instructed him to fight the Wahhabis, as the defeat of either would be beneficial to them.[137] Tensions between Muhammad Ali and his troops also prompted him to send them to Arabia and fight against the Emirate of Diriyah where many were massacred. This led to the Ottoman-Saudi War.[138] Ottoman Egypt, led by Ibrahim Pasha, was eventually successful in defeating the Saudis in a campaign starting from 1811.[139] In 1818 they defeated Al Saud, leveling the capital Diriyah, slaughtering its inhabitants, executing the Al-Saud emir and exiling the emirate's political and religious leadership,[123][140] and unsuccessfully attempted to stamp out not just the House of Saud but the Wahhabi mission as well.[141] The British Empire welcomed Ibrahim Pasha's destruction of Diriyah with the goal of promoting trade interests in the region. Captain George Forster Sadleir, an officer of the British Army in India was dispatched from Bombay to consult with Ibrahim Pasha in Diriyah.[142]

A second, smaller Saudi state, the Emirate of Nejd, lasted from 1819 to 1891. Its borders being within Najd, Wahhabism was protected from further Ottoman or Egyptian campaigns by the Najd's isolation, lack of valuable resources, and that era's limited communication and transportation.[143] By the 1880s, at least amongst the townsmen if not Arabian Bedouins, Wahhabism had become the predominant religious culture of the Najd.[144]

'Abd Al Aziz Ibn Saud[edit]

Ibn Saud, the first king of Saudi Arabia

In 1901, 'Abd Al-aziz Ibn Saud, a fifth generation descendant of Muhammad ibn Saud,[145] began a military campaign that led to the conquest of much of the Arabian peninsula and the founding of present-day Saudi Arabia, after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire.[146] Under the reign of Abdulaziz, "political considerations trumped religious idealism" favored by pious Wahhabis. His political and military success gave the Wahhabi ulama control over religious institutions with jurisdiction over considerable territory, and in later years Wahhabi ideas formed the basis of the rules and laws concerning social affairs, and shaped the kingdom's judicial and educational policies.[147] But protests from Wahhabi ulama were overridden when it came to consolidating power in Hijaz and al-Hasa, maintaining a positive relationship with the British government, adopting modern technology, establishing a simple governmental administrative framework, or signing an oil concession with the U.S.[148] The Wahhabi ulama also issued a fatwa affirming that "only the ruler could declare a jihad" (a violation of Ibn Abd al-Wahhab's teaching, according to DeLong-Bas).[126][149]

As the realm of Wahhabism expanded under Ibn Saud into Shiite areas (al-Hasa, conquered in 1913) and Hejaz (conquered in 1924–25), radical factions amongst Wahhabis such as the Ikhwan pressed for forced conversion of Shia and an eradication of (what they saw as) idolatry. Ibn Saud sought "a more relaxed approach".[150] In al-Hasa, efforts to stop the observance of Shia religious holidays and replace teaching and preaching duties of Shia clerics with Wahhabi, lasted only a year.[151] In Mecca and Jeddah (in Hejaz) prohibition of tobacco, alcohol, playing cards and listening to music on the phonograph was looser than in Najd. Over the objections of Wahhabi ulama, Ibn Saud permitted both the driving of automobiles and the attendance of Shia at hajj.[152] Enforcement of the commanding right and forbidding wrong, such as enforcing prayer observance, Islamic sex-segregation guidelines, etc. developed a prominent place during the Third Saudi emirate, and in 1926 a formal committee for enforcement was founded in Mecca.[14][153][154]

While Wahhabi warriors swore loyalty to monarchs of Al Saud, there was one major rebellion. King Abd al-Azez put down rebelling Ikhwan – nomadic tribesmen turned Wahhabi warriors who opposed his "introducing such innovations as telephones, automobiles, and the telegraph" and his "sending his son to a country of unbelievers (Egypt)".[155] Britain had warned Abd al-aziz when the Ikhwan attacked the British protectorates of Transjordan, Iraq and Kuwait, as a continuation of jihad to expand the Wahhabist realm.[156] Ikhwan were mostly Bedouin tribesmen who believed they were entitled to free-lance Jihad, raiding, etc. without permission of the Amir and they had conflicts with both Wahhabi ulema and Saudi rulers. They also objected to Saudi taxations on nomadic tribes. After their raids against Saudi townsmen, Ibn Saud went for a final showdown against the Ikhwan with the backing of the Wahhabi ulema in 1929. The Ikhwan was decisively defeated and sought the backing of foreign rulers of Kuwait and British Empire. In January 1930, the main body of Ikhwan surrendered to the British near the Saudi-Kuwaiti border. The Wahhabi movement was perceived as a movement of settled populations of Arabian Peninsula against the nomadic domination of trade-routes, taxes as well as their jahiliyya customs. Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab had criticized the nomadic tribes and the Wahhabi chroniclers praised Saudi rulers for taming the Bedouins.[157]

Connection with the outside world[edit]

Before Abdulaziz, during most of the second half of the 19th century, there was a strong aversion to mixing with "idolaters" (including most of the inhabitants of the Muslim world) in Wahhabi lands. At the very least, voluntary contact was considered sinful by Wahhabi clerics, and if one enjoyed the company of idolaters, and "approved of their religion", it was considered an act of unbelief.[158] Travel outside the pale of Najd to the Ottoman lands "was tightly controlled, if not prohibited altogether".[159]

Over the course of its history, however, Wahhabism has become more accommodating towards the outside world.[159] In the late 1800s, Wahhabis found Muslims with at least similar beliefs – first with Ahl-i Hadith in India,[160] and later with Islamic revivalists in Arab states (one being Mahmud Sahiri al-Alusi in Baghdad).[161] The revivalists and Wahhabis shared a common interest in Ibn Taymiyyah's thought, the permissibility of ijtihad, and the need to purify worship practices of innovation.[162] In the 1920s, Sayyid Rashid Rida, a pioneer Arab Salafist whose periodical al-Manar was widely read in the Muslim world, published an "anthology of Wahhabi treatises", and a work praising the Ibn Saud as "the savior of the Haramayn [the two holy cities] and a practitioner of authentic Islamic rule".[163][164]

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia after unification in 1932

In a bid "to join the Muslim mainstream and to erase the reputation of extreme sectarianism associated with the Ikhwan", in 1926 Ibn Saud convened a Muslim congress of representatives of Muslim governments and popular associations.[165] By the early 1950s, the "pressures" on Ibn Saud of controlling the regions of Hejaz and al-Hasa – "outside the Wahhabi heartland" – and of "navigating the currents of regional politics" "punctured the seal" between the Wahhabi heartland and the "land of idolatry" outside.[166][167]

A major current in regional politics at that time was secular nationalism, which, with Gamal Abdel Nasser, was sweeping the Arab world. To combat it, Wahhabi missionary outreach worked closely with Saudi foreign policy initiatives. In May 1962, a conference in Mecca organized by Saudis discussed ways to combat secularism and socialism. In its wake, the World Muslim League was established.[168] To propagate Islam and "repel inimical trends and dogmas", the League opened branch offices around the globe.[169] It developed closer association between Wahhabis and leading Salafis, and made common cause with the Islamic revivalist Muslim Brotherhood, Ahl-i Hadith and the Jamaat-i Islami, combating Sufism and "innovative" popular religious practices[168] and rejecting the West and Western "ways which were so deleterious of Muslim piety and values".[170] Missionaries were sent to West Africa, where the League funded schools, distributed religious literature, and gave scholarships to attend Saudi religious universities. One result was the Izala Society which fought Sufism in Nigeria, Chad, Niger, and Cameroon.[171]

An event that had a great effect on Wahhabism in Saudi Arabia[172] was the "infiltration of the transnationalist revival movement" in the form of thousands of pious, Islamist Arab Muslim Brotherhood refugees from Egypt following Nasser's clampdown on the Brotherhood[173] (and also from similar nationalist clampdowns in Iraq[174] and Syria[175]), to help staff the new school system of the (largely illiterate) Kingdom.[176]

The Brotherhood's Islamist ideology differed from the more conservative Wahhabism which preached loyal obedience to the king. The Brotherhood dealt in what one author (Robert Lacey) called "change-promoting concepts" like social justice and anticolonialism, and gave "a radical, but still apparently safe, religious twist" to the Wahhabi values Saudi students "had absorbed in childhood". With the Brotherhood's "hands-on, radical Islam", jihad became a "practical possibility today", not just part of history.[177]

The Brotherood were ordered by the Saudi clergy and government not to attempt to proselytize or otherwise get involved in religious doctrinal matters within the Kingdom, but nonetheless "took control of Saudi Arabia's intellectual life" by publishing books and participating in discussion circles and salons held by princes.[178] In time they took leading roles in key governmental ministries,[179] and had influence on education curriculum.[180] An Islamic university in Medina created in 1961 to train – mostly non-Saudi – proselytizers to Wahhabism[181] became "a haven" for Muslim Brother refugees from Egypt.[182] The Brothers' ideas eventually spread throughout the kingdom and had great effect on Wahhabism – although observers differ as to whether this was by "undermining" it[172][183] or "blending" with it.[184][185]


In the 1950s and 1960s within Saudi Arabia, the Wahhabi ulama maintained their hold on shari'i courts, and presided over the creation of Islamic universities and a public school system which gave students "a heavy dose of religious instruction".[186] Outside of Saudi the Wahhabi ulama became "less combative" toward the rest of the Muslim world. In confronting the challenge of the West, Wahhabi doctrine "served well" for many Muslims as a "platform" and "gained converts beyond the peninsula".[186][187]

A number of reasons have been given for this success: the growth in popularity and strength of both Arab nationalism (although Wahhabis opposed any form of nationalism as an ideology, Saudis were Arabs, and their enemy the Ottoman caliphate was ethnically Turkish),[188] and Islamic reform (specifically reform by following the example of those first three generations of Muslims known as the Salaf);[188] the destruction of the Ottoman Empire which sponsored their most effective critics;[189] the destruction of another rival, the Khilafa in Hejaz, in 1925.[188] Not least in importance was the money Saudi Arabia earned from exporting oil.[102]

Petroleum export era[edit]

The pumping and export of oil from Saudi Arabia started during World War II, and its earnings helped fund religious activities in the 1950s and 60s. But it was the 1973 oil crisis and quadrupling in the price of oil that both increased the kingdom's wealth astronomically and enhanced its prestige by demonstrating its international power as a leader of OPEC. With the help of funding from Saudi petroleum exports[190] (and other factors[188]), the movement underwent "explosive growth" beginning in the 1970s and now has worldwide influence.[30] The US State Department has estimated that from about 1976 to 2016 state and private entities in Riyadh have directed at least $10bn (£6bn) to select charitable foundations toward the erosion of local Islamic practices by Wahhabism.[191] By 1980, Saudi Arabia was earning every three days the income from oil it had taken a year to earn before the embargo.[192] Tens of billions of US dollars of this money were spent on books, media, schools, scholarships for students (from primary to post-graduate), fellowships and subsidies to reward journalists, academics and Islamic scholars, the building of hundreds of Islamic centers and universities, and over one thousand schools and one thousand mosques.[193][194][195] During this time, Wahhabism attained what Gilles Kepel called a "preeminent position of strength in the global expression of Islam".[102]

Jihad in Afghanistan[edit]

The "apex of cooperation" between Wahhabis and Muslim revivalist groups was the Afghan jihad.[196] In December 1979, the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan. Shortly thereafter, Abdullah Yusuf Azzam, a Muslim Brother cleric with ties to Saudi religious institutions,[g] issued a fatwa[h] declaring defensive jihad in Afghanistan against the atheist Soviet Union, "fard ayn", a personal (or individual) obligation for all Muslims. The edict was supported by Saudi Arabia's Grand Mufti (highest religious scholar), Abd al-Aziz ibn Baz, among others.[197][198]

Between 1982 and 1992 an estimated 35,000 individual Muslim volunteers went to Afghanistan to fight the Soviets and their Afghan regime. Thousands more attended frontier schools teeming with former and future fighters. Somewhere between 12,000 and 25,000 of these volunteers came from Saudi Arabia.[199] Saudi Arabia and the other conservative Gulf monarchies also provided considerable financial support to the jihad – $600 million a year by 1982.[200] By 1989, Soviet troops had withdrawn and within a few years the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul had collapsed.[citation needed]

This Saudi/Wahhabi religious triumph further stood out in the Muslim world because many Muslim-majority states (and the PLO) were allied with the Soviet Union and did not support the Afghan jihad.[201] But many jihad volunteers (most famously Osama bin Laden) returning home to Saudi Arabia and elsewhere were often radicalized by Islamic militants who were "much more extreme than their Saudi sponsors".[201]

"Erosion" of Wahhabism[edit]

Islamic Revolution in Iran[edit]

The February 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran challenged Saudi Wahhabism in a number of ways on a number of fronts. It was a revolution of Shia Muslims, not Sunnis, and Wahhabism held that Shias were not truly Muslims. Nonetheless, its massive popularity in Iran and its overthrow of a pro-American secular monarchy generated enormous enthusiasm among pious Sunnis, not just Shia Muslims around the world.[202] The Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, preached that monarchy was against Islam and America was Islam's enemy, and called for the overthrow of al-Saud family. (In 1987 public address Khomeini declared that "these vile and ungodly Wahhabis are like daggers which have always pierced the heart of the Muslims from the back", and announced that Mecca was in the hands of "a band of heretics".[203])[204] All this spurred Saudi Arabia – a kingdom allied with America – to "redouble their efforts to counter Iran and spread Wahhabism around the world", and reversed any moves by Saudi leaders to distance itself from Wahhabism or "soften" its ideology.[205]

Siege of Mecca in 1979[edit]

In 1979, 400–500 Islamist insurgents, using smuggled weapons and supplies, took over the Grand mosque in Mecca, called for an overthrow of the monarchy, denounced the Wahhabi ulama as royal puppets, and announced the arrival of the Mahdi of "end time". The insurgents deviated from Wahhabi doctrine in significant details,[206] but were also associated with leading Wahhabi ulama (Abd al-Aziz ibn Baz knew the insurgent's leader, Juhayman al-Otaybi).[207] Their seizure of Islam's holiest site, the taking hostage of hundreds of hajj pilgrims, and the deaths of hundreds of militants, security forces and hostages caught in crossfire during the two-week-long retaking of the mosque, all shocked the Islamic world[208] and did not enhance the prestige of Al Saud as "custodians" of the mosque.

The incident also damaged the prestige of the Wahhabi establishment. Saudi leadership sought and received Wahhabi fatawa to approve the military removal of the insurgents and after that to execute them,[209] but Wahhabi clerics also fell under suspicion for involvement with the insurgents.[210] In part as a consequence, Sahwa clerics influenced by Brethren's ideas were given freer rein. Their ideology was also thought more likely to compete with the recent Islamic revolutionism/third-worldism of the Iranian Revolution.[210]

Although the insurgents were motivated by religious puritanism, the incident was not followed by a crackdown on other religious purists, but by giving greater power to the ulama and religious conservatives to more strictly enforce Islamic codes in myriad ways[211] – from the banning of women's images in the media to adding even more hours of Islamic studies in school and giving more power and money to the religious police to enforce conservative rules of behaviour.[212][213][214]

1990 Gulf War[edit]

In August 1990 Iraq invaded and annexed Kuwait. Concerned that Saddam Hussein might push south and seize its own oil fields, Saudis requested military support from the US and allowed tens of thousands of US troops to be based in the Kingdom to fight Iraq.[215] But what "amounted to seeking infidels' assistance against a Muslim power" was difficult to justify in terms of Wahhabi doctrine.[216][217]

Again Saudi authorities sought and received a fatwa from leading Wahhabi ulama supporting their action. The fatwa failed to persuade many conservative Muslims and ulama who strongly opposed US presence, including the Muslim Brotherhood-supported Sahwah "Awakening" movement that began pushing for political change in the kingdom.[218] Outside the kingdom, Islamist revival groups that had long received aid from Saudi and had ties with Wahhabis (Arab jihadists, Pakistani and Afghan Islamists) supported Iraq, not Saudi.[219]

During this time and later, many in the Wahhabi/Salafi movement (such as Osama bin Laden) not only no longer looked to the Saudi monarch as an emir of Islam, but supported his overthrow, focusing on jihad against the US and (what they believe are) other enemies of Islam.[220][221] (This movement is sometimes called neo-Wahhabi or neo-salafi.[54][222])

After 9/11[edit]

Attacking Saudi's putative ally (killing almost three thousand people and causing at least $10 billion in property and infrastructure damage[223]) was assumed by many, at least outside the kingdom, to be "an expression of Wahhabism" since the al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and most of the hijackers were Saudi nationals.[224] A backlash in the formerly hospitable US against the kingdom focused on its official religion, which some came to consider "a doctrine of terrorism and hate".[107]

Inside the kingdom, Crown Prince Abdullah addressed the country's religious, tribal, business and media leadership following the attacks in a series of televised gatherings calling for a strategy to correct what had gone wrong. According to Robert Lacey, the gatherings and later articles and replies by a top cleric, Abdullah Turki, and two top Al Saud princes, Prince Turki Al-Faisal and Prince Talal bin Abdul Aziz, served as an occasion to sort out who had the ultimate power in the kingdom: not the ulama, but rather the Al Saud dynasty. They declared that Muslim rulers were meant to exercise power, while religious scholars were meant to advise.[225]

In 2003–2004, Saudi Arabia saw a wave of al-Qaeda-related suicide bombings, attacks on Non-Muslim foreigners (about 80% of those employed in the Saudi private sector are foreign workers[226] and constitute about 30% of the country's population),[227] and gun battles between Saudi security forces and militants. One reaction to the attacks was a trimming back of the Wahhabi establishment's domination of religion and society. "National Dialogues" were held that included "Shiites, Sufis, liberal reformers, and professional women".[228] In 2008, then-prince Salman ibn 'Abd al-Aziz asserted:

"there is no such thing as Wahhabism. They attack us using this term. We are Sunni Muslims who respect the four schools of thought. We follow Islam’s Prophet (Muhammad, peace be upon him), and not anyone else.... Imam Muhammad bin Abdel-Wahab was a prominent jurist and a man of knowledge, but he did not introduce anything new. The first Saudi state did not establish a new school of thought... The Islamic thought, which rules in Saudi Arabia, stands against extremism.... We have grown tired of being described as Wahhabis. This is incorrect and unacceptable.”


In 2009, as part of what some called an effort to "take on the ulama and reform the clerical establishment", King 'Abdullah issued a decree that only "officially approved" religious scholars would be allowed to issue fatwas in Saudi Arabia. The king also expanded the Council of Senior Scholars (containing officially approved religious scholars) to include scholars from Sunni schools of Islamic jurisprudence other than the Hanbali madh'hab – Shafi'i, Hanafi and Maliki schools.[230] Relations with the Muslim Brotherhood have since deteriorated steadily. After 9/11, the then interior minister Prince Nayef blamed the Brotherhood for extremism in the kingdom,[231] and he declared it guilty of "betrayal of pledges and ingratitude" and "the source of all problems in the Islamic world", after it was elected to power in Egypt.[232] In March 2014 the Saudi government designated the Brotherhood as a "terrorist organization".[215]

In April 2016, Saudi Arabia stripped its religious police, who enforce Islamic law on the society and are known as the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, from their power to follow, chase, stop, question, verify identification, or arrest any suspected persons when carrying out duties. They were told to report suspicious behaviour to regular police and anti-drug units, who would decide whether to take the matter further.[233][234]

"Post-Wahhabi" Era[edit]

Muhammad bin Salman (2017-Present)[edit]

Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman

Reformist actions on religious policy taken by Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman (MBS) in 2017 have led some to question the future of Wahhabi conservatism. In an October 2017 interview with The Guardian newspaper, MbS stated

What happened in the last 30 years is not Saudi Arabia. What happened in the region in the last 30 years is not the Middle East. After the Iranian revolution in 1979, people wanted to copy this model in different countries, one of them is Saudi Arabia. We didn't know how to deal with it. And the problem spread all over the world. Now is the time to get rid of it.[235]

MBS has ruled in favor of allowing women to drive and enter sport stadiums, eventually reopening cinemas. According to Kamel Daoud, MBS is "above all ... putting pressure on the clergy and announcing the review and certification of the great canons of Muslim orthodoxy, including the hadiths, the collection of the Prophet Muhammad's sayings".[33] By 2021, the waning power of the religious clerics brought forth by new social, religious, economic, political changes and a new educational policy asserting a "Saudi national identity" that emphasize non-Islamic components; have led to what has been described by some as the "post-Wahhabi era" of Saudi Arabia.[35][36][37][38][39][40][41]

The 2016 international conference on Sunni Islam in Grozny (a Sufi conference funded by the government of the United Arab Emirates) where "200 Muslim scholars from Egypt, Russia, Syria, Sudan, Jordan, and Europe reject[ed] Saudi Arabia's doctrine",[236] has been described by the Huffington Post as a "frontal assault on Wahhabism" (as well as an assault on other conservative "interpretations of Islam, such as Salafism and Deobandism").[237][238]

In a landmark interview in May 2021 explaining Vision 2030, MBS defended Muhammad ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhab and signalled future religious reforms, stating:

"If Sheikh Muhammad bin Abdulwahhab were with us today and he found us committed blindly to his texts and closing our minds to interpretation and jurisprudence while deifying and sanctifying him he would be the first to object to this. There are no fixed schools of thought and there is no infallible person. We should engage in continuous interpretation of Quranic texts and the same goes for the sunnah of the Prophet...."[239][240][241]

Defending Saudi policies against extremist groups, MBS stated that extremist thinking is contrary to Islamic religion and culture, and that progress cannot be made in an extremist culture. MBS defined moderation as abiding by "the Qur'an, Sunnah, and basic governance system" and its implementation in a broad sense that is tolerant of various schools of thought. In addition, the Crown Prince defended the Basic Law of Saudi Arabia, stating:

".. Saudi constitution, which is the Quran, the Sunnah, and our basic governance system.. will continue to be so forever. ... So, ultimately our reference is the Quran and the Sunnah of the Prophet(peace be upon him) ... Our role is to make sure all the laws passed in Saudi Arabia reflect the following: One, that they do not violate the Quran and the Sunnah.. that they preserve the security and interests of citizens, and that they help in the development and prosperity of the country."[239][240][242]

MBS' pronouncements rejecting Saudi Arabia as a "Wahhabi state", promotion of ijtihad, and encouraging tolerance to other schools (while re-affirming the non-existence of a "Wahhabi school") was received with praise across the Arab media and liberal columnists. It also echoed the calls of Egyptian President 'Abd Al-Fattah Al-Sisi for a "religious revolution" in 2018. Suggesting a possible coordination between the two nations on religious reforms, few days after the interview of MBS, Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Ahmed el-Tayeb called for a "religious renewal", stating:

"Constant renewal ensures that Islam remain a vital and dynamic religion that spreads justice and equality among people. The call to sanctify the jurisprudential heritage and treat it as equal to the Islamic shari'a [itself] leads to stagnation... due to elements that insist on adhering, in a literal manner, to old rulings which were considered innovative in their day."[243]

Memoirs of Mr. Hempher[edit]

A widely circulated but discredited apocryphal description of the founding of Wahhabism[244][245] known as Memoirs of Mr. Hempher, The British Spy to the Middle East (other titles have been used)[246] alleges that a British agent named Hempher was responsible for the creation of Wahhabism.[246][247] The book has been criticized as "an Anglophobic variation on The Protocols of the Elders of Zion".[245]

Relations with other Islamic reform movements[edit]


The Wahhabi movement was part of the overall current of various Islamic revivalist trends in the 18th century. It would be influenced by and in turn, influence many other Islamic reform-revivalist movements across the globe. Ahl-i-Hadith movement of subcontinent was a Sunni revivalist movement inspired by the thoughts of Shah Waliullah Dehlawi, al-Shawkani, and Syed Ahmad Barelvi. They fully condemn taqlid and advocate for ijtihad based on scriptures.[248] Founded in the mid-19th century in Bhopal, it places great emphasis on hadith studies and condemns imitation to the canonical law schools. They identify with the early school of Ahl al-Hadith. During the late 19th century, Wahhabi scholars would establish contacts with Ahl-i-Hadith and many Wahhabi students would study under the Ahl-i-Hadith ulama, and later became prominent scholars in the Arabian Wahhabi establishment.[249][250]

Both the Wahhabis and Ahl-i-Hadith shared a common creed, opposed Sufi practices such as visiting shrines, seeking aid (istigatha) from dead 'Awliya (Islamic saints), etc. Both the movements revived the teachings of the medieval Sunni theologian and jurist, Ibn Taymiyya, whom they considered as "Shaykh al-Islam". With the resources of Muslim principality of Bhopal at his disposal, Muhaddith Nawab Siddiq Hasan Khan became a strong advocate the Ahl-i-Hadith cause in India. Suffering from the instabilities of 19th-century Arabia, many Wahhabi ulema would make their way to India and study under Ahl-i-Hadith patronage. Prominent Saudi scholars like Hamad Ibn 'Atiq would make correspondence with Siddiq Hasan Khan; requesting him to send various classical works, due to scarcity of classical treatises amongst the 19th-century Najdi scholars. He would send his eldest son, Sa'd ibn Atiq, to India to study under Siddiq Hasan Khan as well as Sayyid Nazir Hussain for over nine years. Sa'd Ibn Atiq would become a major scholarly authority in the Third Saudi State. He was appointed by Ibn Saud as the qadi of Riyadh as well as the Imam of Grand Mosque of Riyad giving him great influence in the educational system. Amongst his students was Abd al Aziz Ibn Baz, who was highly influenced by the Indian Ahl-i-Hadith. Another son of Sa'd Ibn Atiq as well as other prominent Najdi scholars from Aal Ash-Shaykh would study with the Indian Ahl-i-Hadith during the 19th and early 20th centuries.[249][251]

In 1931, an Indian Ahl-i-Hadith scholar, Shaykh Ahmad ibn Muhammad Al Dehlawi, founded the Dar-ul-Hadith institute, which would later be attached to the Islamic University of Medina. It would encourage the study of Hadith across Hejaz and also pave the way for Albani and his Muhaddith factions in the 1960s, with the support of Ibn Baz, culminating in the consolidation of the contemporary Salafi Manhaj. Ibn Baz, who was highly influenced by Ahl-i-Hadith, shared the passion for revival of Hadith sciences. After the establishment of third Saudi state and oil boom, the Saudi Sheikhs would repay their debts by supporting Ahl-i-Hadith through finances as well as mass publications. Mufti Muhammad ibn Ibrahim's teachers also included students of Ahl-i-Hadith scholars and he too made efforts to support the Indian Ahl-i-Hadith cause. After Mufti Muhammad, Ibn Baz as the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia would highly support the movement. Prominent Ahl-i-Hadith scholars such as Shaykh Abdul Ghaffar Khan would be appointed to teach in Saudi Universities. His famous students included Safar al Hawali and Muqbil bin Hadi al Wadi. With Saudi patronage, a vast Ahl-i-Hadith network was developed. Ahl-i-Hadith seminaries underwent a phenomenal increase from 134 in 1988 to 310 in 2000 (131 percent) and currently number around 500. According to Pakistani estimates 34,000 students studied under Ahl-i-Hadith madrassas in 2006 compared to 18,800 in 1996 (as opposed to 200,000 Deobandi students and 190,000 Barelvi students in 2006). Ahl-i-Hadith has had remarkable success in converting Muslims from other schools of thought.[252][253]

Salafiyya movement[edit]

During the early 19th century, Egyptian Muslim scholar Abd al Rahman al Jabarti had defended the Wahhabi movement. From the 19th century, prominent Arab Salafiyya reformers would maintain correspondence with Wahhabis and defend them against Sufi attacks. These included Shihab al Din al Alusi, Abd al Hamid al Zahrawi, Abd al Qadir al Jabarti, Abd al Hakim al Afghani, Nu'man Khayr al-Din Al-Alusi, Mahmud Shukri Al Alusi and his disciple Muhammad Bahjat Al-Athari, Jamal al Din al Qasimi, Tahir al Jaza'iri, Muhibb al Din al Khatib, Muhammad Hamid al Fiqi and most notably, Muhammad Rasheed Rida who was considered as the "leader of Salafis". All these scholars would correspond with Arabian and Indian Ahl-i-Hadith scholars and champion the reformist thought. They shared a common interest in opposing various Sufi practices, denouncing blind following and reviving correct theology and Hadith sciences. They also opened Zahiriyya library, Salafiyya library, Al Manar Library, etc., propagating Salafi thought as well as promoting scholars like Ibn Taymiyya and Ibn Hazm. Rashid Rida would succeed in his efforts to rehabilitate Wahhabis in the Islamic World and would attain the friendship of many Najdi scholars. With the support of the Third Saudi State by the 1920s, a concept of "Salafiyya" emerged on a global scale claiming heritage to the thought of 18th-century Islamic reform movements and the pious predecessors(Salaf). Many of Rida's disciples would be assigned to various posts in Saudi Arabia and some of them would remain in Saudi Arabia. Others would spread the Salafi da'wa to their respective countries. Prominent amongst these disciples were the Syrian Muhammad Bahjat al-Bitar (1894–1976), Egyptian Muhammad Hamid al-Fiqi (1892–1959) and the Moroccan Taqi al-Din al-Hilali(1894–1987).[254][255][256][257]

Syrian scholar Muhammad Nasiruddin al-Albani, an avid reader of Al-Manar and a student of Muhammad Bahjat al Bitar (disciple of Rida and Al-Qasimi) would fully adhere to the Salafiyya methodology. Encouraged by their call for hadith re-evaluation and revival, he would invest himself in Hadith studies, becoming a renowned Muhaddith. He followed in the footsteps of the ancient Ahl al-Hadith school and took the call of Ahl-i-Hadith. In the 1960s, he would teach in Saudi Arabia making a profound influence therein. By the 1970s, Albani's thoughts would gain popularity and the notion of "Salafi Manhaj" was consolidated.[258]


As a religious revivalist movement that works to bring Muslims back from what it considers as foreign accretions that have corrupted Islam,[259] and believes that Islam is a complete way of life which has prescriptions for all aspects of life, Wahhabism is quite strict in what it considers Islamic behavior. The Muwahhidun movement has been described by The Economist as the "strictest form of Sunni Islam".[260] On the other hand, religious critics assert that Wahhabism is not strict, castigating it as a distorted version of Islam that deviates from traditional Shari'a law, and argue that their practices are neither typical nor mired in the roots of Islam.[261][262] Unlike other schools of Sunnism, Wahhabis admonishes to ground Islamic principles solely on the Qur'an and Hadith,[263] rejecting much material derived within Islamic culture.

This does not mean, however, that all adherents agree on what is required or forbidden, or that rules have not varied by area or changed over time. In Saudi Arabia, the strict religious atmosphere of Wahhabi doctrines were visible as late as the 1990s; such as the conformity in dress, public deportment, public prayers.[264] It's presence was visible by the wide freedom of action of the "religious police", clerics in mosques, teachers in schools, and Qadis (i.e judges who are religious legal scholars) in Saudi courts.[265]

The "boundaries" of Wahhabism have been called "difficult to pinpoint",[42] but in contemporary usage, the terms "Wahhabi" and "Salafi" are sometimes used interchangeably, and they are considered to be movements with different roots that have merged since the 1960s.[43][266][b] However, Wahhabism is generally recognised as "a particular orientation within Salafism",[45] or an ultra-conservative, Saudi brand of Salafism.[46][47] Estimates of the number of adherents to Wahhabism vary. One source ( by the Iranologist Mehrdad Izady) gives a figure of fewer than five million Wahhabis in the Persian Gulf region (compared to 28.5 million Sunnis and 89 million Shia).[32][i]

Commanding right and forbidding wrong[edit]

Wahhabism is noted for its policy of "compelling its own followers and other Muslims strictly to observe the religious duties of Islam, such as the five prayers", and for "enforcement of public morals to a degree not found elsewhere".[270] According to the American journalist Lawrence Wright, due to Wahhabi emphasis on the "purification of Islam"; the teaching becomes very repressive to the followers.[271]

While other Muslims might urge abstention from alcohol, modest dress, and salat prayer, for Wahhabis, prayer "that is punctual, ritually correct, and communally performed not only is urged but publicly required of men." Not only is wine forbidden, but so are "all intoxicating drinks and other stimulants, including tobacco". Not only is modest dress prescribed, but the type of clothing that should be worn, especially by women (a black abaya, covering all but the eyes and hands) is specified.[90]

Following the preaching and practice of ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab that coercion should be used to enforce following of sharia (Islamic law), an official committee was empowered to "Command the Good and Forbid the Evil" (the so-called "religious police")[270][272] in Saudi Arabia – the one country founded with the help of Wahhabi warriors and whose scholars and pious citizens dominated many aspects of the Kingdom's life. Committee "field officers" enforce strict closing of shops at prayer time, segregation of the sexes, prohibition of the sale and consumption of alcohol, driving of motor vehicles by women, and other social restrictions.[273]

A large number of practices was reported to be forbidden by Saudi Wahhabi officials, preachers or religious police. Practices that have been forbidden as Bid'a (innovation) or shirk (polytheism) and sometimes "punished by flogging" during Wahhabi history include performing or listening to music, dancing, fortune telling, amulets, television programs (unless religious), smoking, playing backgammon, chess, or cards, drawing human or animal figures, acting in a play or writing fiction (both are considered forms of lying), dissecting cadavers (even in criminal investigations and for the purposes of medical research), recorded music played over telephones on hold or the sending of flowers to friends or relatives who are in the hospital.[274][275][276][277][278][279] Common Muslim practices Wahhabis believe are contrary to Islam include listening to music in praise of Muhammad, praying to God while visiting tombs (including the tomb of Muhammad), celebrating mawlid (birthday of the Prophet),[280] the use of ornamentation on or in mosques, all of which is considered orthodoxy in the rest of the Islamic world.[281] Until 2018, driving of motor vehicles by women was allowed in every country except the Wahhabi-dominated Saudi Arabia.[282] Certain forms of Dream interpretation, practiced by the famously strict Taliban, is sometimes discouraged by Wahhabis.[283]

Wahhabism also emphasizes "Thaqafah Islamiyyah" or Islamic culture and the importance of avoiding non-Islamic cultural practices and non-Muslim friendship no matter how innocent these may appear,[284][285] on the grounds that the Sunnah forbids imitating non-Muslims.[286] Foreign practices sometimes punished and sometimes simply condemned by Wahhabi preachers as un-Islamic, include celebrating foreign days (such as Valentine's Day[287] or Mothers Day[284][286]) shaving, cutting or trimming of beards,[288] giving of flowers,[289] standing up in honor of someone, celebrating birthdays (including the Prophet's), keeping or petting dogs.[278] Some Wahhabi activists have warned against taking non-Muslims as friends, smiling at or wishing them well on their holidays.[86]

Wahhabis are not in unanimous agreement on what is forbidden as sin. Some Wahhabi preachers or activists go further than the official Saudi Arabian Council of Senior Scholars in forbidding (what they believe to be) sin. Juhayman al Utaybi declared football forbidden for a variety of reasons including it is a non-Muslim, foreign practice, because of the revealing uniforms and because of the foreign non-Muslim language used in matches.[290][291] In response, the Saudi Grand Mufti rebuked such fatwas and called on the religious police to prosecute its author.[292]

According to senior Saudi scholars, Islam forbids the traveling or working outside the home by a woman without their husband's permission – permission which may be revoked at any time – on the grounds that the different physiological structures and biological functions of the two sexes mean that each is assigned a distinctive role to play in the family.[293] Sexual intercourse out of wedlock may be punished with flogging,[294] although sex out of wedlock was permissible with a female slave until the practice of Islamic slavery was banned in 1962 (Prince Bandar bin Sultan was the product of "a brief encounter" between his father Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz – the Saudi defense minister for many years – and "his slave, a black servingwoman").[295][296]

Despite this strictness, throughout these years senior Saudi scholars in the kingdom made exceptions in ruling on what is haram (forbidden). Foreign non-Muslim troops are forbidden in Arabia, except when the king needed them to confront Saddam Hussein in 1990; gender mixing of men and women is forbidden, and fraternization with non-Muslims is discouraged, but not at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST). Movie theaters and driving by women are forbidden, except at the ARAMCO compound in eastern Saudi, populated by workers for the company that provides almost all the government's revenue. The exceptions made at KAUST were also in effect at ARAMCO.[297]

More general rules of permissiveness changed over time. Abdulaziz Ibn Saud imposed Wahhabi doctrines and practices "in a progressively gentler form" as his early 20th-century conquests expanded his state into urban areas, especially the Hejaz.[298] After vigorous debate Wahhabi religious authorities in Saudi Arabia allowed the use of paper money (in 1951), the abolition of slavery (in 1962), education of females (1964), and use of television (1965).[296] Music, the sound of which once might have led to summary execution, is now commonly heard on Saudi radios.[298] Minarets for mosques and use of funeral markers, which were once forbidden, are now allowed. Prayer attendance, which was once enforced by flogging, is no longer.[299]


The uniformity of dress among men and women in Saudi Arabia (compared to other Muslim countries in the Middle East) has been called by Arthur G Sharp as a "striking example of Wahhabism's outward influence on Saudi society", and an example of the Wahhabi belief that "outward appearances and expressions are directly connected to one's inward state."[281]

A "badge" of a particularly pious Wahhabi man is a robe too short to cover the ankle, an untrimmed beard,[300] and no cord (Agal) to hold the head scarf in place.[301] The warriors of the Wahhabi Ikhwan religious militia wore a white turban in place of an agal.[302]

Wahhabiyya mission[edit]

Wahhabi mission, or Da'wah Wahhabiyya, is the idea of spreading Wahhabism throughout the world.[303] Tens of billions of dollars have been spent by the Saudi government and charities on mosques, schools, education materials, scholarships, throughout the world to promote the Wahhabi influences. Tens of thousands of volunteers[199] and several billion dollars also went in support of the jihad against the atheist communist regime governing Afghanistan.[200]


Wahhabi movement was established from the Najd region, and its conservative practices have stronger support there; than in regions in the kingdom to the east or west of it.[j][308][309] Cyril Glasse credits the softening of some Wahhabi doctrines and practices on the conquest of the Hejaz region "with its more cosmopolitan traditions and the traffic of pilgrims which the new rulers could not afford to alienate".[298]

The only other country "whose native population is Wahhabi and that adheres to the Wahhabi creed", is the small gulf monarchy of Qatar,[k][310] whose version of Wahhabism is notably less strict. Unlike Saudi Arabia, Qatar made significant changes in the 1990s. Women are now allowed to drive and travel independently; non-Muslims are permitted to consume alcohol and pork. The country sponsors a film festival, has "world-class art museums", hosts Al Jazeera news service, will hold the 2022 FIFA World Cup, and has no religious force that polices public morality. Qataris attribute its different interpretation of Islam to the absence of an indigenous clerical class and autonomous bureaucracy (religious affairs authority, endowments, Grand Mufti), the fact that Qatari rulers do not derive their legitimacy from such a class.[310][311]


Adherents to the Wahhabi movement identify as Sunni Muslims.[312] The primary Wahhabi doctrine is affirmation of the uniqueness and unity of God (Tawhid),[15][313] and opposition to shirk (violation of tawhid – "the one unforgivable sin", according to Ibn Abd Al-Wahhab).[314] They call for adherence to the beliefs and practices of the salaf (exemplary early Muslims). They strongly oppose what they consider to be heterodox doctrines, particularly those held by the Sufi and Shiite Muslims,[315] and practices such as the veneration of Prophets and saints in the Islamic tradition. They emphasize reliance on the literal meaning of the Quran and hadith, rejecting rationalistic theology (kalam). Wahhabism has been associated with the practice of takfir (labeling Muslims who disagree with their doctrines as apostates). Adherents of Wahhabism are favourable to derivation of new legal rulings (ijtihad) so long as it is true to the essence of the Quran, Sunnah and understanding of the salaf, and they do not regard this as bid'ah (innovation).[316]

The movement is heavily influenced by the works of thirteenth-century Hanbali theologian Ibn Taymiyya who rejected Kalam theology; and his disciple Ibn Qayyim who elaborated Ibn Taymiyya's ideals. Ibn Taymiyya's priority of ethics and worship over metaphysics, in particular, is readily accepted by Wahhäbis.[317][318] Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab was a dedicated reader and student of Ibn Taymiyya's works, such as Al-Aqidah Al-Wasitiyya, Al-Siyasa Al-Shar'iyya, Minhaj al-Sunna and his various treatises attacking the cult of saints and certain forms of Sufism. Expressing great respect and admiration for Ibn Taymiyya; Ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab wrote:

"I know of no one, who stands ahead of Ibn Taymiyya, after the Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal in the science of interpretation and the hadith"



In theology, Wahhabism is closely aligned with the Athari (literal) school which represents the prevalent theological position of the Hanbali school of law.[320][321] Athari theology is characterized by reliance on the zahir (apparent or literal) meaning of the Qur'an and hadith, and opposition to the rational argumentation in matters of 'Aqidah (creed) favored by Ash'arite and Maturidite theologies.[322][323] However, Wahhabis diverged in some points of theology from other Athari movements.[324] These include a zealous tendency toward takfir (excommunicating alleged apostates), which bears some resemblance to the Kharijites.[324][325] Additionally, the early Wahhabis had not elucidated the details of Athari theology such as Divine Attributes and other creedal doctrines. Influenced by the scholars of the Salafiyya movement, the later Wahhabis would revive Athari theological polemics beginning from the mid-twentieth century; which lead to charges of anthropomorphism against them by opponents such as Al-Kawthari. By contrast, the creedal treatises of early Wahhabis were mostly restricted to upholding Tawhid and condemning various practices of saint veneration which they considered as shirk (polytheism).[326] They also staunchly opposed Taqlid and advocated for Ijtihad.[327]

Hammad Ibn 'Atiq (d. 1883/ 1301 A.H) was one of the first Wahhabi scholars who seriously concerned himself with the question of God’s Names and Attributes; a topic largely neglected by the previous Wahhabi scholars whose primary focus was limited to condemning idolatry and necrolatry. Ibn 'Atiq established correspondence with Athari scholars like Siddiq Hasan Khan, an influential scholar of the Ahl al-Hadith movement in the Islamic principality of Bhopal. In his letters, Ibn 'Atiq praised Nayl al-Maram, Khan's Salafi commentary on Qur'an, which was published via prints in Cairo. He solicited Khan to accept his son as his disciple and requested Khan to produce and send more commentaries on the various treatises of Ibn Taymiyya and Ibn Qayyim. Khan accepted his request and embarked on a detailed study of the treatises of both the scholars. Hammad's son Sa'd ibn Atiq would study under Khan and various traditionalist theologians in India. Thus, various Wahhabi scholars began making efforts to appropriate Ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab's legacy into mainstream Sunni Islam by appropriating them to the broader traditionalist scholarship active across the Indian subcontinent, Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Yemen, etc.[328]

Hanafite scholar Ibn Abi al-Izz's sharh (explanation) on Al-Tahawi's creedal treatise Al-Aqida al-Tahawiyya proved popular with the later adherents of the Muwahidun movement; who regarded it as a true representation of the work, free from Maturidi influences and as a standard theological reference for the Athari creed. A number of Salafi and Wahhabi scholars have produced super-commentaries and annotations on the sharh, including Abd al-Aziz ibn Baz, Muhammad Nasiruddin al-Albani, Saleh al-Fawzan, etc and is taught as a standard text at the Islamic University of Madinah.[329]

On Tawhid[edit]

David Commins describes the "pivotal idea" in Ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab's teaching as being that "Muslims who disagreed with his definition of monotheism were not ... misguided Muslims, but outside the pale of Islam altogether." This put Ibn Abd al-Wahhab's teaching at odds with that of those Muslims who argued that the "shahada" (i.e, the testimony of faith; "There is no god but God, Muhammad is his messenger") alone made one a Muslim, and that shortcomings in that person's behavior and performance of other obligatory rituals rendered them "a sinner", but "not an unbeliever."[330]

"Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab did not accept that view. He argued that the criterion for one's standing as either a Muslim or an unbeliever was correct worship as an expression of belief in one God ... any act or statement that indicates devotion to a being other than God is to associate another creature with God's power, and that is tantamount to idolatry (shirk). Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab included in the category of such acts popular religious practices that made holy men into intercessors with God. That was the core of the controversy between him and his adversaries, including his own brother."

In Ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab's major work, a small book called Kitab al-Tawhid, he states that ‘Ibādah (Worship) in Islam consists of conventional acts of devotion such as the five daily prayers (salat); fasting for the holy month of Ramadan (Sawm); Dua (supplication); Istia'dha (seeking protection or refuge); Isti'âna (seeking help), and Istigātha to Allah (seeking benefits and calling upon Allah alone). Directing these deeds beyond Allah – such as through du'a or Istigāthā to the dead - are acts of shirk and in violation of the tenets of Tawhid (monotheism).[331][332] Based on the doctrine of Tawhid espoused in Kitab al-Tawhid, the followers of Ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab referred themselves by the designation "Al-Muwahhidun" (Unitarians).[333][334] The essence of Ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab's justification for fighting his opponents in Arabia can be summed up as his belief that the original pagans fought by Prophet Muhammad "affirmed that God is the creator, the sustainer and the master of all affairs; they gave alms, they performed pilgrimage and they avoided forbidden things from fear of God". What made them pagans whose blood could be shed and wealth plundered was that they performed sacrifices, vows and supplications to other beings. According to Ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab, someone who perform such things even if their lives are otherwise exemplary; is not a Muslim but an unbeliever. Once such people have received the call to "true Islam", understood it and then rejected it, their blood and treasure are forfeit.[335][336] This disagreement between Wahhabis and their opponents over the definition of worship ('Ibadah) and monotheism (Tawhid) has remained much the same since 1740, according to David Commins:

"One of the peculiar features of the debate between Wahhabis and their adversaries is its apparently static nature ... the main points in the debate [have] stay[ed] the same [since 1740]."


According to another source, defining aspects of Wahhabism include a very literal interpretation of the Qur'an and Sunnah and a tendency to re-inforce local practices of the Najd.[337] Whether the teachings of Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab included the need for social renewal and "plans for socio-religious reform of society" in the Arabian Peninsula, rather than simply a return to "ritual correctness and moral purity", is disputed.[338][339]

On Mysticism[edit]

According to Jeffrey R. Halverson, the Muwahidun movement was characterised by a strong opposition to mysticism.[324] Although this feature is typically attributed to the influence of the classical theologian Ibn Taymiyyah, Jeffry Halverson states that Ibn Taymiyyah only opposed what he saw as Sufi excesses and never mysticism in itself, being himself a member of the Qadiriyyah Sufi order.[324] DeLong-Bas writes that Ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab did not denounce Sufism or Sufis as a group, but rather attacked specific practices which he saw as inconsistent with the Qur'an and hadith.[340]

Other scholars like Esther Peskes point to the cordial relations between the Muwahidun movement and the Sufi Shaykh Ahmad Ibn Idris and his followers in Mecca during the beginning of 19th century; to aver that notions of absolute incompatibility between Sufism and Wahhabism are misleading. The early Wahhabi historiography had documented no mention that suggested any direct confrontations between Ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab and contemporary Sufis nor did it indicate that his activism was directed specifically against Sufism. Ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab's reforms were not aimed against socio-religious orientations such as Sufism; but were directed against the status quo prevelant in Islamic societies. Thus his efforts attempted a general transformation of Islamic societies, including Sufis and non-Sufis; the elite as well as the commoners. This resulted in the wide-spread desecralization of the public sphere that heralded the advent of a new socio-political model in Arabia.[341]

When he was asked on a religious matter, Ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab praised the pious Sufis, stating:

"Let it be known — may Allah guide you — that Allah Most High sent Muhammad (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) with guidance, which is known as the beneficial knowledge, and true religion, which are virtuous actions.... among those who affiliate themselves to religion, there are those who focus on knowledge and fiqh and speak regarding it, such as the jurists, and those who focus on worship and the quest for the hereafter, such as the Sufis."


On Shi'ism[edit]

Ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab considered some beliefs and practices of the Shia to violate the doctrine of monotheism.[343] DeLong-Bas maintains that when Ibn Abd al-Wahhab denounced the Rafidah, he was not using a derogatory name for Shia but denouncing "an extremist sect" within Shiism who call themselves Rafidah. He criticized them for assigning greater authority to their current leaders than to Muhammad in interpreting the Qur'an and sharia, and for denying the validity of the consensus ('Ijma) of the early Muslim community.[343] In his treatise "Risalah fi al-radd ala al-Rafidah" (Treatise/Letter on the Denial/Rejection Pertaining to the Rafidah), Ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab addressed thirty-two topics on points of both theology and law refuting the Raafida. In doing so, Ibn Abdul Wahhab spoke as a scholar who had studied Shi'i scholarly works, outlining a broad and systematic perspective of the Shi'i worldview and theology. He also believed that the Shia doctrine of infallibility of the imams constituted associationism with God.[343] However, at no point did Ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab "suggest that violence of any sort should be used against the Rafidah or Shi'is". Rather, he implored his followers to peacefully clarify their own legal teachings. He instructed that this procedure of education and debate should be carried out with the support of truthful ulama, hadith transmitters, and righteous people employing logic, rhetoric, examination of the primary texts and scholarly debates.[344]

On Taqlid and Ijtihad[edit]

The Wahhabi scholars upheld the right of qualified scholars to perform Ijtihad on legal questions and condemned Taqleed of Mujtahids. This stance pitted them against the Ottoman Sufi ulema who shunned Ijtihad and obligated Taqleed. The Arab Salafiyya reformers of 19th and 20th centuries would defend the Wahhabis on the Ijtihad issue as well as join forces with Wahhabis to condemn various Sufi practices and orders (tariqats) which they considered to be reprehensible Bid'ah (innovations). Prominent amongst those Salafiyya ulema who backed Wahhabism included Khayr al-Din al-Alusi, Tahir al-Jaza'iri, Muhammad Rashid Rida, Jamal al-Din al-Qasimi, Mahmud Shukri Al-Alusi, etc.[345]

Condemning the doctrine of blind-following (Taqlid); Sulāyman ibn Ābd-Allah Aal-Shaykh ( 1785-1818 C.E / 1199-1233 A.H) wrote:

"... what the believer must do, if the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of His Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) have reached him and he understands them with regard to any matter, is to act in accordance with them, no matter who he may be disagreeing with. This is what our Lord and our Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) have enjoined upon us, and all the scholars are unanimously agreed on that, apart from the ignorant blind followers and the hard-hearted. Such people are not scholars."[346]

The Wahhabis furthermore rejected the idea of closure of Ijtihad as an innovated principle. Although they professed adherence to Hanbali school, they refrained from taking its precepts as final. Since the issue of Ijtihad and Taqlid was amongst their principle concerns, Wahhabis developed a set of juristic procedures to solve legal questions. These included referencing Qur'an and Hadith as the primary sources of legislation. In case the solution was not accessible from the Scriptures, the principle of 'Ijma (consensus) was employed. Ijma was restricted to Ahl al-Sunnah and consisted of consensus of Companions of the Prophet, Salaf as-Salih and the consensus of scholars. If any Hanbali interpretations were proven wrong through these principles, they must be abandoned. Defending their pro-Ijtihad stance, Wahhabis quoted Qur'anic verses which implied that only Qur'an and Hadith constituted the bases of sharia (Islamic law).[347][348] Prominent Wahhabi Qadi of the Second Saudi State, 'Abd al-Rahman ibn Hasan Aal-Al Shaykh (1196-1285 A.H / 1782-1868 C.E) strongly condemned the practice of Taqlid as a form of shirk (polytheism) in his treatises, writing:

".. One who asks for a religious verdict concerning an issue, he should examine the sayings and opinions of the Imams and scholars and take only what complies with Allah's Rulings and the teachings of His Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). Allah, the Almighty says, {O you who believe! Obey Allah and obey the Messenger.. and those of you (Muslims) who are in authority. (And) if you differ in anything amongst yourselves, refer it to Allah and His Messenger...}. (Surah An-Nisa': 59) Thus, it is forbidden to prefer the opinion of any of Allah's creatures over the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) and this is because to do so is an act of Shirk (polytheism); since it constitutes obedience to other than Allah (Glorified be He)."[349]

The Wahhabis also advocated a principle in Islamic legal theory often referred to as "the rule against Ijtihad reversal". This principle allows overturning a scholar's fatwa (legal judgement) when he bases it on personal Ijtihad (personal legal reasoning), rather than a clear textual source from Qur'an and Hadith. In effect, this allowed the Wahhabi qadis to remain autonomous. Opponents of Wahhabi movement harshly rebuked them for advocating Ijtihad and not recognising the finality of mad'habs (law schools).[350]

Jurisprudence (fiqh)[edit]

Of the four major sources in Sunni Fiqh – the Qur'an, the Sunna, 'Ijma (juristic consensus) and Qiyas (analogical reasoning) – Ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab's writings emphasized the Qur'an and Sunna. He used 'ijma only "in conjunction with its corroboration of the Qur'an and hadith"[351] (and giving preference to the ijma of Muhammad's companions rather than the ijma of legal specialists after his time), and qiyas only in cases of extreme necessity.[352] He rejected deference to past juridical opinion (taqlid) in favor of independent reasoning (ijtihad), and opposed using local customs.[353] He urged his followers to "return to the primary sources" of Islam in order "to determine how the Qur'an and Muhammad dealt with specific situations" without considering interpretations of previous Islamic scholarship,[354] when employing ijtihad. According to Edward Mortimer, it was imitation of past judicial opinion in the face of clear contradictory evidence from hadith or Qur'anic text that Ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab condemned.[355] According to Ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab and his followers, God's commandments to obey Him alone and follow the Prophetic teachings, necessitated a complete adherence to Qur'an and Hadith. This entailed a rejection of all interpretations offered by the four legal schools - including the Muwahhidun’s own Hanbali school - wherein they contradict the two primary sources.[356][357]

Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab asserted that every Muslim laymen, even one without modest educational credentials, could interpret the Qur'an and the Sunnah. Regional rivals castigated him as a self-taught "ignorant" since "knowledge could come only from being taught by shaykhs" and not by treating the Scriptures as one’s teacher. Although the issue of ijtihad and rejection of taqlid were central themes of his doctrines, Ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab did not lay down his approach to Usul-al Fiqh (Principles of Jurisprudence) comprehensively. Rather, that was left to his son-in-law and pupil Hamad ibn Nasir who would explicate a clarified Wahhabi position on Usul al-Fiqh, after Ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab. Moreover, in his writings , Ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab relied primarily only on hadith (Prophetic traditions) rather than opinions of early Hanbali jurists. This stance arose uncertainty over his formal affiliation to the Hanbali mad'hab and would lead many local Hanbalite detractors to accuse him of undermining classical Fiqh in general. Despite their conceptual doctrine based on repudiation of Taqlid (emulating legal precedent) to a legal school and jettisoning the juristic super-structure that developed after the Islamic fourth century; in-order to lower clerical resistance to their campaign; Wahhabis sustained the local juristic tradition of Najd, which was based on Hanbalism.[358]

According to an expert on law in Saudi Arabia (Frank Vogel), Ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab himself "produced no unprecedented opinions". The "Wahhabis' bitter differences with other Muslims were not over Fiqh rules at all, but over 'Aqida, or theological positions".[359] Professor of history at Dickinson College, David Commins also states that early disputes with other Muslims did not center on fiqh, and that the belief that the distinctive character of Wahhabism stems from Hanbali legal thought is a "myth".[360]

Some scholars are ambivalent as to whether Wahhabis belong to the Hanbali legal school. The Encyclopedia of Islam and the Muslim World maintains Wahhabis "rejected all jurisprudence that in their opinion did not adhere strictly to the letter of the Qur'an and the hadith".[361] Cyril Glasse's The New Encyclopedia of Islam states that "strictly speaking", Wahhabis "do not see themselves as belonging to any school",[362] and that in doing so they correspond to the ideal aimed at by Ibn Hanbal, and thus they can be said to be of his 'school'.[355][363] According to DeLong-Bas, Ibn Abd al-Wahhab never directly claimed to be a Hanbali jurist, warned his followers about the dangers of adhering unquestionably to Fiqh, and did not consider "the opinion of any law school to be binding". In the absence of a hadith, he encouraged following the examples of Prophet's companions rather than following a law school.[364] He did, however, follow the Hanbali methodology of judging everything not explicitly forbidden to be permissible, avoiding the use of Qiyas (analogical reasoning), and taking Maslaha (public interest) and 'Adl (justice) into consideration.[365]

Despite the main methodolgy of Wahhabi movement followers are derived from Hanbalite Ahl al Hadith, Salafi scholars also as long as they are used other Madhhab rulings, as long it was from verified Hadith and traditions or Sunnah authenticated by Sahabah themselves (Qaul Sahabiyyah according to modern contemporary Muslim scholars[366]), as Muhammad ibn al-Uthaymeen deriving the Fiqh of Shafiite in his commentary towards The Meadows of the Righteous book authored by al-Nawawi, Ijtihad (reasoning) of Abu Hurairah were taken by al-Nawawi for the rulings of Wudu (ablution ritual).[367]

Loyalty and disassociation[edit]

According to various sources – scholars,[368][369][370][371][372][373] former Saudi students,[374] Arabic-speaking/reading teachers who have had access to Saudi text books,[375] and journalists[376] – Ibn `Abd al Wahhab preached and his successors preach that theirs is the one true form of Islam. According to a doctrine known as al-wala` wa al-bara` (literally, "loyalty and disassociation"), Abd al-Wahhab argued that it was "imperative for Muslims not to befriend, ally themselves with, or imitate non-Muslims or heretical Muslims", and that this "enmity and hostility of Muslims toward non-Muslims and heretical had to be visible and unequivocal".[377][378] Even as late as 2003, entire pages in Saudi textbooks were devoted to explaining to undergraduates that all forms of Islam except Wahhabism were deviation,[375] although, according to one source (Hamid Algar) Wahhabis have "discreetly concealed" this view from other Muslims outside Saudi Arabia "over the years".[370][379]

In reply, the Saudi Arabian government "has strenuously denied the above allegations", including that "their government exports religious or cultural extremism or supports extremist religious education."[380]

Social Reforms[edit]

Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab concerned himself with the social reformation of his people. In line with his methodology, Ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab denounced the practice of instant triple talaq, counting it as only a single talaq (regardless of the number of pronouncements). The outlawing of triple talaq has been considered to be one of the most significant reforms in the Islamic World in the 20th and 21st centuries. As an 18th-century reformer, Muhammad ibn Abd al Wahhab advocated for Ijtihad of qualified scholars in accordance with the teachings of Qur'an and Hadeeth. His thoughts reflected the major trends apparent in the 18th-century Islamic reform movements. Numerous significant socio-economic reforms would be advocated by the Imam during his lifetime. After his death, his followers continued his legacy. Notable jurists like Ibn Mu'ammar (1160-1225 A.H/ 1747-1810 C.E) would issue ground-breaking fatwas (legal verdicts) on contemporary issues such as authorization of small-pox vaccinations; at a time when opposition to small-pox vaccinations was widespread among the scientific and political elites of Europe. However, the destruction of the Emirate of Diriyah in the Wahhabi Wars of 1818, subsequent persecution of Salafis and other Islamic reformers, etc. would result in a halt to the social reforms implemented by the Wahhabi jurists and their suspicions towards the outside world would linger throughout the 19th century.[381][382]

With the resurgence of rising reform currents of Salafiyya across the Muslim world from the late 19th century, the Wahhabis of Najd too underwent a rejuvenation. After the establishment of the Third Saudi State and Unification of Saudi Arabia, a Salafiyya Global movement would crystallise with the backing of a state. Ibn Saud's reforms would get criticism from zealots amongst some of his Wahhabi clergy-men; reminiscent of the 19th-century harshness. However, other ulema would allow them, eventually paving way for gradual reforms in KSA. Thus, new education policies would be approved that taught foreign languages, sciences, geography, etc. Overruling the objections of Ikhwan, the Wahhabi ulema would permit the introduction of telegraph and other wireless communication systems. Soon after, oil industries would be developed with the discovery of petroleum. Influential clerics such as Mufti Muhammad ibn Ibrahim Aal ash-Shaykh would endorse female education.[383]


According to ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab; there are three objectives for Islamic government and society: "to believe in Allah, enjoin good behavior, and forbid wrongdoing". This doctrine has been sustained in missionary literature, sermons, fatwa rulings, and explications of religious doctrine by Wahhabis since the death of ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab.[90] Ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab saw a role for the Imam, "responsible for religious matters", and the Amir, "in charge of political and military issues".[384] Despite this, in Saudi history; the Imam had not been a religious preacher or scholar, but Muhammad ibn Saud and the subsequent Saudi dynastic rulers.[82][385][386]

He also believed that the Muslim ruler is owed unquestioned allegiance as a religious obligation from his subjects; so long as he leads the community according to the laws of God (Shari'ah). A Muslim must present a bay'ah (oath of allegiance) to a Muslim ruler during his lifetime to ensure his redemption after death.[90][387] Any counsel given to a ruler from community leaders or ulama should be private, not through public acts such as petitions, demonstrations, etc.[388][389] This principle arosed confusion during the dynastic disputes of the Second Saudi State during the late 19th-century; when rebels succeeded in overthrowing the monarch, to become the ruler.[390][391] While it gave the king a wide range of power, respecting shari'a does impose limits, such as giving qadi (Islamic judges) independence. This meant non-interference in their deliberations, as well as not codifying laws, following precedents or establishing a uniform system of law courts – both of which violate the qadi's independence.[392]

Wahhabis have traditionally given their allegiance to the House of Saud, but a movement of "Salafi jihadis" has emerged in the contemporary among those who believe that Al-Saud has abandoned the laws of God.[220][221] According to Zubair Qamar, while the "standard view" is that "Wahhabis are apolitical and do not oppose the State", there is another "strain" of Wahhabism that "found prominence among a group of Wahhabis after the fall of the second Saudi State in the 1800s", and post 9/11 is associated with Jordanian/Palestinian scholar Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi and "Wahhabi scholars of the 'Shu’aybi' school".[393]

Wahhabis share the belief of Islamists such as the Muslim Brotherhood in Islamic dominion over politics and government and the importance of da'wah (proselytizing or preaching of Islam) not just towards non-Muslims but towards erroring Muslims. However Wahhabi preachers are conservative and do not deal with concepts such as social justice, anticolonialism, or economic equality, expounded upon by Islamist Muslims.[394] Ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab's original pact promised whoever championed his message, 'will, by means of it, rule and lands and men'."[29]

Notable leaders[edit]

There has traditionally been a recognized head of the Wahhabi "religious estate", often a member of Al ash-Sheikh (a descendant of Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab) or related to another religious head. For example, Abd al-Latif was the son of Abd al-Rahman ibn Hasan.

In more recent times, two Wahhabi clerics have risen to prominence with no relation to Ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab.

  • 'Abd al-Azeez ibn Baz (1910–1999) has been called "the most prominent proponent" of Wahhabism during his time.[398]
  • Muhammad ibn al-Uthaymeen (1925–2001) is another "giant". According to David Dean Commins, no one "has emerged" with the same "degree of authority in the Saudi religious establishment" since their deaths.[398]

International influence and propagation[edit]

Explanation for influence[edit]

Khaled Abou El Fadl listed four major factors that contributed to expansion of Wahhabi ideas across the Islamic World:

  • The appeal of Arab nationalism, which considered the Ottoman Empire to be a foreign occupying power and took a powerful precedent from the Wahhabi rebellion against the Ottomans
  • Wahhabi calls for a return to the pristine Islam of the Salaf al-Salih (righteous predecessors) which rejected much of the classical legal precedents; instead deriving directly from Qur'an, Hadith and the sayings of the Salaf; through Ijtihad. This also appealed to the Islamic reformers who pushed for a revival of ijtihad, and a direct return to the original sources for interpreting the Qur'an and Sunnah, to seek solutions to the present day problems.
  • Control of Mecca and Medina, which allowed the King of Saudi Arabia to take the mantle of "Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques". This enabled the Wahhabis to exert great influence on Islamic culture and thinking;
  • Saudi Oil industry, especially after its boom during the 1970s energy crisis, allowed Saudi Arabia to successfully promote their interpretations of Islam throughout the Islamic World.[399]

Scholar Gilles Kepel, agrees that the tripling in the price of oil in the mid-1970s and the progressive takeover of Saudi Aramco in the 1974–1980 period, provided the source of much influence of Wahhabism in the Islamic World.

... the financial clout of Saudi Arabia had been amply demonstrated during the oil embargo against the United States, following the Arab-Israeli war of 1973. This show of international power, along with the nation's astronomical increase in wealth, allowed Saudi Arabia's puritanical, conservative Wahhabite faction to attain a preeminent position of strength in the global expression of Islam. Saudi Arabia's impact on Muslims throughout the world was less visible than that of Khomeini's Iran, but the effect was deeper and more enduring ... it reorganized the religious landscape by promoting those associations and ulamas who followed its lead, and then, by injecting substantial amounts of money into Islamic interests of all sorts, it won over many more converts. Above all, the Saudis raised a new standard – the virtuous Islamic civilization – as foil for the corrupting influence of the West.[102]


Estimates of Saudi spending on religious causes abroad include "upward of $100 billion";[400] $2–3 billion per year since 1975 (compared to the annual Soviet propaganda budget of $1 billion/year);[401] and "at least $87 billion" from 1987 to 2007.[402]

Its largesse funded an estimated "90% of the expenses of the entire faith", throughout the Muslim World, according to journalist Dawood al-Shirian.[403] It extended to young and old, from children's madrasas to high-level scholarship.[404] "Books, scholarships, fellowships, mosques" (for example, "more than 1,500 mosques were built from Saudi public funds over the last 50 years") were paid for.[193] It rewarded journalists and academics, who followed it and built satellite campuses around Egypt for Al Azhar, the oldest and most influential Islamic university.[194] Yahya Birt counts spending on "1,500 mosques, 210 Islamic centres and dozens of Muslim academies and schools".[401][405]

This financial aid has done much to overwhelm less strict local interpretations of Islam, according to observers like Dawood al-Shirian and Lee Kuan Yew,[403] arguing that it caused the Saudi interpretation (sometimes called "petro-Islam"[406]) to be perceived as the correct interpretation – or the "gold standard" of Islam – in many Muslims' minds.[407][408]

Militant and Political Islam[edit]

According to counter-terrorism scholar Thomas F. Lynch III, Sunni extremists perpetrated about 700 terror attacks killing roughly 7,000 people from 1981 to 2006.[409] What connection there is between Wahhabism proper and the ideology of Salafi jihadists such as al-Qaeda who carry out these attacks, is disputed.[410] The Yemeni background of Bin Laden points to a non-Wahhabi background. According to many Islamists, Bin Laden and his followers did not identify themselves as Wahhabists. Moreover, the Wahhabi ulema of Saudi Arabia had ruled the illegality of all forms of suicide bombings, including in Israel. The doctrine of suicide bombings which was justified by Zawahiri in his legal treatises were rejected as heretical by the Wahhabi scholars.[411]

Presenting an alternative view that argued for Wahhabi connections to Al-Qaeda, was the US journalist Lulu Schwartz, then known by the name Stephen Schwartz.[412] In June 2003, when the FBI had listed al-Qaeda as "the number one terrorist threat to the United States", American journalist Lulu Schwartz and former U.S. Republican Senator and lobbyist Senator Jon Kyl had accused before the Subcommittee on Terrorism, Technology, and Homeland Security of the U.S. Senate that "Wahhabism is the source of the overwhelming majority of terrorist atrocities in today's world". Presenting their case, they argued:[413]

Nearly 22 months have passed since the atrocity of September 11th. Since then, many questions have been asked about the role in that day's terrible events and in other challenges we face in the war against terror of Saudi Arabia and its official sect, a separatist, exclusionary and violent form of Islam known as Wahhabism. It is widely recognized that all of the 19 suicide pilots were Wahhabi followers. In addition, 15 of the 19 were Saudi subjects. Journalists and experts, as well as spokespeople of the world, have said that Wahhabism is the source of the overwhelming majority of terrorist atrocities in today's world, from Morocco to Indonesia, via Israel, Saudi Arabia, Chechnya. In addition, Saudi media sources have identified Wahhabi agents from Saudi Arabia as being responsible for terrorist attacks on U.S. troops in Iraq. The Washington Post has confirmed Wahhabi involvement in attacks against U.S. forces in Fallujah. To examine the role of Wahhabism and terrorism is not to label all Muslims as extremists. Indeed, I want to make this point very, very clear. It is the exact opposite. Analyzing Wahhabism means identifying the extreme element that, although enjoying immense political and financial resources, thanks to support by a sector of the Saudi state, seeks to globally hijack Islam [...] The problem we are looking at today is the State-sponsored doctrine and funding of an extremist ideology that provides the recruiting grounds, support infrastructure and monetary life blood of today's international terrorists. The extremist ideology is Wahhabism, a major force behind terrorist groups, like al Qaeda, a group that, according to the FBI, and I am quoting, is the "number one terrorist threat to the U.S. today".[413]

American scholar Natana J. DeLong-Bas, senior research assistant at the Prince Alwaleed Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University, argues:

The militant Islam of Osama bin Laden did not have its origins in the teachings of Ibn Abd-al-Wahhab and was not representative of Wahhabi Islam as it is practiced in contemporary Saudi Arabia, yet for the media it came to define Wahhabi Islam during the later years of bin Laden's lifetime. However "unrepresentative" bin Laden's global jihad was of Islam in general and Wahhabi Islam in particular, its prominence in headline news took Wahhabi Islam across the spectrum from revival and reform to global jihad.[414]

American academic and author Noah Feldman distinguishes between what he calls the "deeply conservative" Wahhabis and what he calls the "followers of political Islam in the 1980s and 1990s", such as Egyptian Islamic Jihad and later al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri. While Saudi Wahhabis were "the largest funders of local Muslim Brotherhood chapters and other hard-line Islamists" during this time, they opposed jihadi resistance to Muslim governments and assassination of Muslim leaders because of their belief that "the decision to wage jihad lay with the ruler, not the individual believer".[415]

In 2005, British author and religion academic Karen Armstrong declared that "Bin Laden was not inspired by Wahhabism but by the writings of the Egyptian ideologue Sayyid Qutb, who was executed by President Nasser in 1966. Almost every fundamentalist movement in Sunni Islam has been strongly influenced by Qutb, so there is a good case for calling the violence that some of his followers commit "Qutbian terrorism"."[416] However, in 2014, regarding the ideology of ISIL/ISIS/IS/Daesh, Armstrong remarked that "IS is certainly an Islamic movement [...] because its roots are in Wahhabism, a form of Islam practised in Saudi Arabia that developed only in the 18th century".[417]

More recently, the self-declared "Islamic State" in Iraq and Syria headed by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has been described as both more violent than al-Qaeda and more closely aligned with Wahhabism,[417][418][419] alongside Salafism and Salafi jihadism.[420][421]

For their guiding principles, the leaders of the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, are open and clear about their almost exclusive commitment to the Wahhabi movement of Sunni Islam. The group circulates images of Wahhabi religious textbooks from Saudi Arabia in the schools it controls. Videos from the group's territory have shown Wahhabi texts plastered on the sides of an official missionary van.[422]

According to the American historian of Islam Bernard Haykel, "for Al Qaeda, violence is a means to an ends; for ISIS, it is an end in itself." Wahhabism is the Islamic State's "closest religious cognate". ISIL borrowed two elements of Qutbism and 20th-century Islamism into its Wahhabi tradition. While Wahhabism shuns violent rebellion against earthly rulers, ISIL embraces political call to revolutions. While historically Wahhabis were not champions of a caliphate, ISIL borrowed the idea of restoration of a global caliphate.[422]

According to the American scholar Cole Bunzel, Arabist and historian specialized in Near Eastern studies, "The religious character of the Islamic State is, without doubt, overwhelmingly Wahhabi, but the group does depart from Wahhabi tradition in four critical respects: dynastic alliance, the caliphate, violence, and apocalyptic fervor".[423] However, ISIL's apocalyptic dimension lacks a mainstream Wahhabi precedent.[423]

ISIL did not follow the pattern of the first three Saudi-Wahhabi states in allying the religious mission of Wahhabism with the House of Saud, rather they consider them apostates. The pan-Islamist call for a global caliphate is another departure from Wahhabism. The Khilafah (Caliphate), understood in Shari'ah (Islamic law) as the ideal Islamic polity uniting all Muslim territories, does not figure much in traditional Wahhabi writings. Ironically, Wahhabism emerged as an anti-caliphate movement.[423]

Although religious violence was not absent in the Emirate of Diriyah, the first Saudi state, ISIL's gut-wrenching displays of beheading, immolation, and other forms of extreme violence aimed at inspiring fear are no throwback to Wahhabi practices. They were introduced by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, al-Qaeda member and former leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq, who took inspiration from the writings of Abu Abdullah al-Muhajir, an Egyptian Jihadist theoretician and ideologue identified as the key theorist and ideologue behind modern jihadist violence.[424][425][426] It was the Al-Muhajir's legal manual on violence, popularly known as Fiqh al-Dima (The Jurisprudence of Jihad or The Jurisprudence of Blood),[423][424][425][426][427] that is ISIL's standard reference for justifying its extraordinary acts of violence.[423][424][425][426] The book has been described by counter-terrorism scholar Orwa Ajjoub as rationalizing and justifying "suicide operations, the mutilation of corpses, beheading, and the killing of children and non-combatants".[426] His theological and legal justifications influenced ISIL,[424][425][426] al-Qaeda,[424] and Boko Haram,[425] as well as several other jihadi terrorist groups.[424]

Criticism and support[edit]

Criticism by other Muslims[edit]

Among the criticism, or comments made by critics, of the Wahhabi movement are:

  • That it is not so much strict and uncompromising as aberrant,[428] going beyond the bounds of Islam in its restricted definition of Tawhid (Islamic monotheistic tenets), and much too willing to commit Takfir (Excommunicate) Muslims found in violation of Wahhabi doctrines.[429] According to some sources, during the second Wahhabi-Saudi conquest of the Arabian peninsula, an estimated 400,000 were killed or wounded according to some estimates.[274][430][431][432] However, the validity of the 400,000 casualty count is contentious and seen as an exaggerated figure by many scholars, who trace it as a fabrication that emerged during the 1990s. More reliable tallies estimate the number of killed and wounded somewhere between 10,000 and 25,000.[433]
  • That the Wahhabi stances that reject Taqlid (imitation of juristic precedent) and advocate opening of Ijtihad (independent legal judgement) would result in the formulation of various ideological pretensions that could "erode the very essence of Islam". Sufi traditionalists strongly emphasize the necessity of taqlid to the four major madhhabs (legal schools) and invoke the teachings and legacy of its founders to defend the madh'hab-based legal system.[434]
  • That Muhammad bin Saud's agreement to wage Jihad to spread Ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab's teachings had more to do with traditional Najdi practice of raiding – "instinctive fight for survival and appetite for lucre" – than with religion;[435]
  • That its rejection of the "orthodox" belief in saints, a belief which had become a cardinal doctrine in Sunni Islam very early on,[436][437][438] represents a departure from something which has been an "integral part of Islam ... for over a millennium."[439][440] In this connection, some Sunni scholars also critique the Wahhabi citing of Ibn Taymiyyah as an authority when Ibn Taymiyyah himself adhered to the belief in the existence of saints;[441]
  • That its use of Ibn Hanbal, Ibn al-Qayyim, and even Ibn Taymiyyah's name to support its stance is inappropriate, as it is historically known that all three of these men revered many aspects of Tasawwuf (Sufism), save that the latter two critiqued certain practices among the Sufis of their time. Those who criticize this aspect of Wahhabism often refer to the group's use of Ibn Hanbal's name to be a particularly egregious error, arguing that the jurist's love for the relics of Muhammad, for the intercession of the Prophet, and for the Sufis of his time is well established in Islamic tradition.[440]

Initial opposition[edit]

It has been reported that Ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab's father was critical of his son. The dispute arose when Ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab began his public da'wa activities in Huraymila. However, none of the sources state the exact nature of this disagreement. Salafi scholar Ibn Uthaymin notes that it probably was not concerning an issue of 'Aqidah (beliefs) as Ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab, "did not lend any support to the saint-cults and other false practices". It is speculated that they disputed over payment of judges in solving disputes and in the manner of giving da'wa, spreading Islamic teachings. Until his father's death in 1153 A.H; Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab was not overly active and public in his da'wah efforts.[442]

Ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab's brother wrote a book in refutation of his brother's new teachings, called: "The Final Word from the Qur'an, the Hadith, and the Sayings of the Scholars Concerning the School of Ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab", also known as: "Al-Sawa`iq al-Ilahiyya fi Madhhab al-Wahhabiyya" ("The Divine Thunderbolts Concerning the Wahhabi School").[443] It has been reported that his brother repented and eventually returned to his call.[444][445]

In "The Refutation of Wahhabism in Arabic Sources, 1745–1932",[443] Hamadi Redissi provides original references to the description of Wahhabis as a divisive sect (firqa) and outliers (Kharijites) in communications between Ottomans and Egyptian Khedive Muhammad Ali. Redissi details refutations of Wahhabis by scholars (muftis); among them Ahmed Barakat Tandatawin, who in 1743 describes Wahhabism as ignorance (Jahala).

Sunni opposition[edit]

Wahhabism has been vehemently criticized by many Sunni Muslims and continues to be condemned by various Sunni scholars in the strongest terms as a "new faction,a vile sect".[446]

Regarding Wahhabism, the Azharite Sunni scholar and intellectual Muhammad Abu Zahra said:

"The Wahhabis exaggerated [and bowdlerized] Ibn Taymiyya's positions ... The Wahhabis did not restrain themselves to proselytism only, but resorted to warmongering against whoever disagreed with them on the grounds that they were fighting innovation (bid`a), and innovations are an evil that must be fought ... Whenever they were able to seize a town or city they would come to the tombs and turn them into ruins and destruction ... and they would destroy whatever mosques were with the tombs also ... Their brutality did not stop there but they also came to whatever graves were visible and destroyed them also. And when the ruler of the Hijaz regions caved in to them they destroyed all the graves of the Companions and razed them to the ground ... In fact, it has been noticed that the Ulama of the Wahhabis consider their own opinions correct and not possibly wrong, while they consider the opinions of others wrong and not possibly correct. More than that, they consider what others than themselves do in the way of erecting tombs and circumambulating them, as near to idolatry ... In this respect they are near the Khawarij who used to declare those who dissented with them apostate and fight them as we already mentioned."[447]

In the 18th century, prominent Ottoman Hanafi scholar Ibn 'Abidin Al-Shami declared the Wahhabi movement of Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab to be a modern-day manifestation of the Kharijites.[448][449] He said:

In our time Ibn Abdal Wahhab Najdi appeared, and attacked the two noble sanctuaries (Makkah and Madinah). He claimed to be a Hanbali, but his thinking was such that only he alone was a Muslim, and everyone else was a polytheist! Under this guise, he said that killing the Ahl as-Sunnah was permissible, until Allah destroyed them (Wahhabi's) in the year 1233 AH by way of the Muslim army. [450]

The followers of Muhammad Ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab considered the ideas of the Hanbali theologian Ahmad Ibn Taymiyya (d.1328) highly attractive and made him their central classical scholarly reference. However, for centuries Ibn Taymiyya’s thoughts were mostly ignored by those who constituted the scholarly mainstream; who would accuse the Wahhabis for over-emphasizing the scholarly works of Ibn Taymiyya. It was only during the 19th century that Ibn Taymiyya came to exercise prominent scholarly influence over Muslim youth and by the 20th century he would be a major reference for Islamic revolutionaries.[451] On the other hand, Ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab would deny that he had bias towards Ibn Taymiyya; and states in Hadiyya al-Thaniyya:

“Ibn Qayyim and his illustrious teacher Ibn Taymiyyah were both righteous leaders according to the Sunni school of thought and their writings are dear to my heart, but I do not follow them rigidly in all matters.”[348]

Another early rebuttal of Wahhabism came from the Sunni Sufi jurist Ibn Jirjis, who argued that supplicating the saints is permitted to whomever "declares that there is no god but God and prays toward Mecca" for, according to him, supplicating the saints is not a form of worship but merely calling out to them, and that worship at graves is not idolatry unless the supplicant believes that buried saints have the power to determine the course of events. These arguments were specifically rejected as heretical by the Wahhabi leader at the time.[452]


The Sunni jurist and son of the Moroccan scholar Abdullah al-Ghumari, Abu'l-Fayd Ahmad, staunchly condemned Wahhabism and attacked it for straying away from classical tradition, stating: "And nothing has emerged ... to bring about earthquakes and discord in the religion like Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab, who was astray and led others astray. Hence he was the Devil's Horn foretold by the Messenger (upon him be blessings and peace), and he abstained from offering prayer for Najd because of him, and because of the dissensions which would flow from his demonic preaching."[453]


The Kuwaiti Sunni Sufi Shafi'i jurist Yusuf ibn al-Sayyid Hashim al-Rifa`i (1932–1999) remained a severe critic of Wahhabism throughout his scholarly life, and penned a famous fifty-seven-point critique of the movement, titled Advice to the Scholars of Najd. He criticized the followers of the movement for allegedly labeling all other Sunnis "pagans", "innovators" and "deviants".[454]


The leader of the Gulen movement movement Fethullah Gülen accuses Arabs of conspiring against the Ottoman empire as well as reducing Islam strictly to Wahhabism and Arab norms.[455]


Malaysia's largest Islamic body, the National Fatwa Council, has described Wahhabism as being against Sunni teachings, Dr Abdul Shukor Husin, chairman of the National Fatwa Council, was quoted as saying that Wahhabis "view every practice that was not performed by Prophet Muhammad as bid’ah, a departure from Islam, not in accordance with the sunnah." However, the fatwa by the National Fatwa Council has been criticised by the permanent chairman of the ulama wing of PAS, Dr Hamdan Muhammad, who was quoted as saying that the state authority was hasty in issuing its decree.[456]

South Asia[edit]

Opposition to Wahabism emerged in South Asia during the early 19th century; which was led by prominent Islamic scholar and theologian Fazl-e-Haq Khairabadi (1796-1861). By the late 19th century, the anti-Wahhabi campaign in South Asia was led by Ahmed Raza Khan (1856-1921) and his disciples, who engaged in extensive written refutations and polemics against Wahabism. His movement became known as the Barelvi movement and was defined by rejection of Wahhabi beliefs.[457] According to Barelvi scholars, Wahhabis preach violence as opposed to Barelvis who promote peace. In 2016 Barelvis banned Wahhabis from their mosques nationwide.[458] The founder of the movement Ahmed Raza Khan said Wahhabis are not Muslims, and any Muslim who has difficulty understanding this, has also left Islam.[459]


The Somalia based paramilitary group Ahlu Sunna Waljama'a actively battles Salafi-Jihadi militants to prevent imposition of Wahhabi ideology.[460]


The transnational Lebanon-based Al-Ahbash movement uses takfir against Wahhabi and Salafi leaders.[461][462] The head of Al-Ahbash, Abdullah al-Harari accuses Wahhabis of falling into anthropomorphic descriptions of God and imitating polytheists.[463]

United States[edit]

The Sufi Islamic Supreme Council of America founded by the Naqshbandi Sufi Shaykh Hisham Kabbani condemn Wahhabism as "extremist" and "heretical"; accusing it of being a terrorist ideology that labels other Muslims, especially Sufis as polytheists, a practice known as takfir.[464][465][466][467]

2016 Chechnya conference controversy[edit]

In late 2016, at a conference of over a hundred Sunni scholars in Chechnya, Al-Azhar's current dean, Ahmed el-Tayeb was said to have taken an uncompromising stand against Wahhabism by defining orthodox Sunnism as "the Ash'arites and Muturidis (adherents of the theological systems of Imam Abu Mansur al-Maturidi and Imam Abul Hasan al-Ash'ari) ... followers of any of the four schools of thought (Hanafi, Shafi'i, Maliki or Hanbali) and ... also the followers of the Sufism of Imam Junaid al-Baghdadi in doctrines, manners and [spiritual] purification."[468] Having said that, Sheikh Ahmad al-Tayeb allegedly excluded the "Salafists" from the term of Ahl al-Sunna (Sunnis) stating that Salafists – also known as Wahhabis – are not from among the Sunnis.[469]

However, Yusuf al-Qaradawi and Ahmad al Tayeb would later release separate press conference in Al-Azhar University after the congress to clarify their formal views. Qaradawi condemned the Chechnya congress, alleging that the congress resolutions were "stirred by Rafidhi Shiite". According to Al-Tayeb and Al-Qaradawi, the Salafi and Wahhabi movements are part of the "Ahl al-Hadith" school, and within Ahl al-Sunnah Wal Jama'ah; along with Ash'arite and Maturidite schools, despite their differences.[470] Al-Qaradawi and Ahmad blamed the congress of Chechnya were manipulated and the truth of the conference was distorted by the media.[470]

Qaradawi likened the Chechnya conference with Diraar Mosque, which was built by the hypocrites "to sow discord among Muslims and split the Ummah".[470]

Non-religious motivations[edit]

According to French political scientist Gilles Kepel, the alliance between Ibn 'Abd-al Wahhab and the tribal chief Muhammad ibn Saud to wage jihad on neighboring allegedly ignorant Muslims, was a "consecration" by Ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab since he renamed the Saudi tribe's long-standing raids as Jihad. Part of the Najd's "Hobbesian state of perpetual war pitted Bedouin tribes against one another for control of the scarce resources that could stave off starvation." And a case of substituting fath, "the 'opening' or conquest of a vast territory through religious zeal", for the "instinctive fight for survival and appetite for lucre".[435]


Pakistani poet Muhammad Iqbal praised the movement as an influential endeavour of Islamic Renaissance that campaigned to put an end to the general stagnation of Muslims,[471][472] while observing that

The essential thing to note is the spirit of freedom manifested in it, though inwardly this movement, too, is conservative in its own fashion. While it rises in revolt against the finality of the schools, and vigorously asserts the right of private judgement, its vision of the past is wholly uncritical, and in matters of law it mainly falls back on the traditions of the Prophet.[473]

Islamic scholar Bilal Philips stated that the label "Wahhabi" is the most commonly used epithet to describe those who dare to deny the infallibility of all the four mad'habs as innovators and apostates.[474] He also supported the Najdi movement, noting that:

"It is interesting to note that separate places of prayer for each of the Madh-habs remained around the Ka’bah until the first quarter of the twentieth century when ‘Abdul-‘Azeez ibn Sa’oud and his army conquered Makkah (October 1924) and united all worshippers behind a single Imaam regardless of his or their Madh-habs"[475]

Syrian-Egyptian Islamic revivalist scholar Muhammad Rashid Rida was one of the most influential supporters of the Wahhabi movement during the 20th century. Rida had developed favourable views towards the Wahhabis as early as his arrival in Egypt during the 1890s; after reading about the movement in the histories of Al-Jabartī and Al-Nāṣiri.[476] Rida asserted that the social and military expansion of the Wahhabi movement could successfully launch an authentic Islamic revival throughout the Islamic World.[477] Rida believed that the decline of Muslims was a result of the stagnation caused by the excesses of Sufism; which had distorted the pristine message of Islam. As a leading figure of the Salafiyya movement,[478] Rida launched his project of re-habilitating Wahhabism[479][480] and would popularise Najdi scholarly treatises across the Muslim World through his Al-Manar printing press.[481]

Sukarno, the first president of Indonesia, had openly expressed his view in his book "dibawah bendera revolusi", that the progressive "Tajdid" movement by Wahhabis were essential and have positive influence towards Muslims world in global scale, particularly to the rising nation which struggled to gain their independence, such as Indonesia.[482] Sukarno also appreciated the "wisdom of Ibn Saud to support Wahhabi scholars in their effort to reject various one thousand one kind of Bidʻah".[482] It is argued by some that Sukarno was also influenced by Islamist figures such as Ahmad Khatib al-Minangkabawi, Agus Salim, and particularly Hamka, his elementary teacher.

Comparison with other Salafiyya movements[edit]

The Wahhabi movement sprang up amongst a number of Islamic revivalist movements of the 18th and 19th centuries; such as the Mahdist movement in 19th century Sudan, Senussi movement in Libya, Fulani movement of Uthman Dan Fodio in Nigeria, Faraizi movement of Haji Shariatullah (1784 - 1840) in Bengal, the Indian Mujahidin movement of Sayyid Ahmed Barelvi (1786 - 1831) and the Padri movement (1803 - 1837) in Indonesia, all of which are considered precursors to the Arab Salafiyya movement of late nineteenth century. These movements sought an Islamic Reform, renewal and socio-moral re-generation of the society through a direct return to the fundamental Islamic sources (Qur'an and Hadith) and responded to the military, economic, social, moral, cultural stagnation stagnations of the Islamic World. The cause of decline was identified as the departure of Muslims from true Islamic values brought about by the infiltration and assimilation of local, indigenous, un-Islamic beliefs and practices. The prescribed cure was the purification of Muslim societies through a return to "true Islam". The key programmes of these revival movements included:

  • Islam is the only solution;
  • A direct return to the Quran and the Sunnah;
  • Implementation of Sharia is the objective;
  • Those who opposed the reform efforts were enemies of God.
  • Members of the movement, like the early Muslims during the era of the Salaf, were trained in piety and military skills. These movements waged their reformist efforts through preaching and Jihad.[483]

Classical Wahhabiyya: 19th-Century Era of Isolation[edit]

Although the Wahhabi movement shared the core doctrinal themes of other Salafi and proto-Salafi movements, it would later diverge with them in certain points of theology.[324] These included a zealous tendency toward takfir , i.e., excommunication of Muslims who disagreed with their beliefs.[324] This hardening of dogmatism dates as early as 1773, when Muhammad Ibn `Abd al-Wahhab withdrew from public life due to his dispute with 'Abd al-aziz, son and successor of Emir Muhammad Ibn Saud (1727 - 1765), over his ambitions to expand territorial conquests and his need to religiously justify these state activities as Jihad. For Ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab, state formation and aggressive expansionism were not the central themes of his revivalist and reformist efforts. The Saudi-Wahhabi power had reached its peak between 1792 and 1814, after Ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab's death in 1792. During this period, the Wahhabi clerics, Ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab's descendants, had become a tool of Saudi state expansionist policies and had heavily began to incorporate the political doctrines of Hanbali theologian Ibn Taymiyya. This shift in outlook would lead to brutal events like the Wahhabi sack of Karbala in 1802/1803 and bitter conquests of the early nineteenth century. After the destruction of Emirate of Diriyah in 1818, the Saudis would lead a decades-long insurgency in Najd against the Ottomans, and the Wahhabi ulema adopted certain legal views on migration (hijra), excommunication (takfir), and religious warfare (jihad) as core theological doctrines, to justify it. This was in stark contrast to Ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab's writings, to whom Jihad played a limited role in-line with the classical Islamic military jurisprudence, which stipulated the limitations of military engagement. The classical Wahhabi emphasize on Takfir, Jihad, Hijra, etc. would lead to homogenisation of religious thought and practices in the Saudi territories throughout the nineteenth century.[484]

Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab and his followers were subject to criticism, not only by Sufis, but also by fellow 18th century Islamic reformers like the Palestinian Hanbali reformer al-Saffārīnī (d. 1188/1774), and also reportedly by Yemeni reformer Muḥammad ibn Ismāʿīl al-Amīr al Ṣanʿānī (d. 1182/1768), etc. for the actions of the Saudi state and his extremism in Takfir. Although the influential Yemeni reformer Al-Shawkani praised Ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab and his works, after his death, Shawkani would criticise Ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab's later followers for their harshness in takfir. After the destruction of First Saudi State in 1223/1818, Wahhabi movement was characterised by manifesting hostility to non-Wahhābī Muslims. This phase of the movement between 1820s to 1930, is generally known as "Classical Wahhabism". Classical Wahhabis themselves were divided between moderate scholars of Northern Najd like Muhammad Ibn Ibrahim Ibn Ajlan, Ibrāhīm ibn Ḥamad ibn Jāsir (d. 1338/1919), ʿAbdallāh ibn ʿAlī ibn ʿAmr (d. 1326/1908) etc. who were more open to outsiders and doctrinarian Wahhabis of Southern regions like 'Abd al-Latif ibn Abd Al-Rahman Hassan, Hamad ibn 'Atiq, Sulayman ibn Sihman, etc. who were more harsh in Takfir. To the moderate factions, conservative Wahhabis were extremists in takfir and therefore a dangerous threat to the Muslim Ummah. The two factions engaged in fierce debates, and due to political power-struggles, the hardline factions were able to gain dominance. In Syria, until the late nineteenth century emergence of Salafiyya, Wahhabi calls were met with hostility from the ulema due to doctrinal and political reasons.[485][486][487] Although the Ahl-i Hadith ulema of the Indian subcontinent had associated with Arab Wahhabi scholars and taught them, in their reports to the British, they officially denied any Wahhabi influence.[488]

Early Ahl-i Hadith criticism[edit]

The precursor of the South Asian 19th century Ahl-i Hadith movement, Ṭarīqa-i Muḥammadiyya was already denounced by its Sufi opponents as "Wahhabi"; a designation readily adopted by the British. Throughout their treatises, the Ahl-i Hadith scholars of South Asia denied the accusations of them being "Wahhabi". Siddīq Hăsán Khān (1832–1890), a prominent leader of Ahl-i Hadith wrote the treatise Tarjumān al-wahhābiyya (Interpreter of the Wahhabiyya), distinguishing themselves from the Wahhabis, since they “followed the school of Aḥmad b. Ḥanbal, whereas the Ahl-i Ḥadīth did not practice taqlīd”. While hailing Ibn Taymiyya as a Mujaddid and Mujtahid, these early Ahl-i Hadith scholars nonetheless criticised Wahhabis as Muqallīdîn (blind-followers) of Ibn Taymiyya. While the leading ulema of the early Ahl-i Ḥadīth like Ṣiddīq Ḥasan Khān, Muḥammad Ḥusayn Batʾālwī (1840–1920), Thanāʾ Allāh Amritsarī (1867–1948), etc., officially denied any relations with followers of Ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab until 1920s, other Ahl-i Hadith figures like ʿAbd al-Wāḥid, ʿAbd al-Raḥīm Ghaznawī , Bashīr Aḥmad Sahaswānī (d. 1908), etc., would stress their affinities with the Wahhabis.[489] In his treatise Tarjuman-i-Wahabiyah ("Interpreter of the Wahhabiyya"), Khan defended himself from being labelled as "Wahhabi" and would criticise the usage of the term, due to its narrow, localised connotations. He began the treatise by fiercely criticisng the Najdi Wahhabis for stamping out Islamic Universalism with territorial localism. According to Khan, Najdis pulled Muslims back to constraints of geographic identitarianism and rigid norms and resented their territorial marker. He cited the discomfort of the Prophet to any type of regionalisation of Islam. He also cited the famous Hadith of Najd as a rebuttal of Najdis. According to Siddīq Hăsán Khān, Prophet Muhammad refused to bless Najd because:

“This [would] only create strife and raise unnecessary issue[s] and [would] offer an ideal playing field for the Satan [to create strife in the Muslim world]."


In another one of his works titled "Hidayat al Saa’il Ila Adillatil Masaa’il"; Khan elaborated that Sunni Muslims of Hindustan were different from the Najdis since they both belonged to different madhahib (legal schools). The Najdis where the followers of the madh'hab of Imam Ahmad, whereas in Hindustan; Hanafi school was dominant. Past scholars like Shah Waliullah Dehlawi, Shah Ismail, etc had reformed Hanafi doctrines from bid'ah (innovations) and held it tightly around Qur'an and Hadith. Articulating his pan-Islamic vision, Siddīq Hăsán Khān states that the broader scope of Hindustani ulema cannot be contained by adherence to a single leader like Muhammad Ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab who was territorially rooted and therefore was outside of the cultural and intellectual space of an organic vision of Muslim unity. By asserting that the Ahl-i Hadith reform movement could not be labelled "Wahabis" as the latter were ideologically and territorially rooted in the Najd; Khan delinked his followers from the Najdī associates. Despite this, British officials charged that Khan's literature lead to the spread of "Wahhabi intrusion" into the Indian military.[492][493] Ironically, both Tarjuman-i-Wahabiyah and Hidayat al Saa’il Ila Adillatil Masaa’il, which were critical of Najdi Wahhabis, would be labelled as "seditious" books and censured by the British administration.[494]

Tutelage under Ahl-i Hadith and Impact[edit]

Inspite of his officially critical stance on the Najdi movement, several Najdi Wahhabi religious students would travell to the state of Bhopal and study Hadith under Siddiq Hasan Khan's tutelage. Several Najdi Wahhabi treatises such as Fath al-Majid by Abdurrahman ibn Hasan Aal-Shaykh, various Hanbali works, Tathirul A'tekad by Ibn Ismāʿīl al-Amīr al-San'ani, etc had been brought to Siddiq Hasan Khan as early as 1881. The studies of Najdi religious students under Khan would make a profound impact on the Wahhabi approach to Fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence). After their studies under the Ahl-i Hadith ulema of India, Wahhabi scholars from Najd adopted the legal methodology of Ibn Taymiyya and Ibn Qayyim; and began extensively referring to their theological works, fatwas and legal treatises, which had not been available to them before.[495][496]

Rehabilitation of Wahhabism[edit]

According to David Commins, the 19th century classical Wahhabi ideology was at the radical pole of Islamic discourse; whose doctrinal extremism in takfir provoked hostile condemnations among the ʿulamaʾ and Sufi shaykhs in the Arabian Peninsula and the Fertile Crescent. While rejecting the doctrinal excesses of Wahhabis in takfir; Salafis of Syria, Iraq and Egypt emphasized their common struggles against innovations like scholastic taqlid practices, rituals of saint worship, etc. With the support of the late 19th century Salafi ʿulamaʾ in the Fertile Crescent and Egypt, led by Sayyid Rashid Rida, major elements of puritanical Wahhabi philosophy, such as ijtihad and jihad, became an integral part of Islamic revivalism. They presented Wahhabism as an authentic revivalist movement, rather than a Kharijite heresy outside the Sunni consensus, by softening the harsh Wahhabi stances and making it more palatable to Arab Muslims. This also paved way for cooperation between Salafi movements like the Muslim Brotherhood and the Wahhabis during the Interwar period, against the European threat and Western culture. Through this intellectual-political redefinition; Wahhabism was able to attain a global reach; and end its geographical and intellectual isolation by molding a receptive Salafi audience.[497]

The Rehabilitation of the Wahhabi movement was championed by the early Salafiyya under the leadership of Syrian-Egyptian Islamic scholar Muhammad Rashid Rida (d.1935) who campaigned vigorously to defend Muhammad Ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab and his ideas. Aligning themselves with Rida's campaign, Wahhabis also began using Salafi epithets and themes with increasing recurrence, viewing it more empowering than previous self-labels like "good Sunnis" or “Unitarians” (muwaḥḥidūn). Some of Rida's disciples like Muhammad Al-Amin Al-Shanqiti felt that the rehabilitation campaign had gone too far in its uncritical promotion of Wahhabiyya. However, Rida rebutted Al-Shanqiti, accusing him of unfair criticism; and focused on facing the rising British threat. By 1929, Abd Al 'Azeez Ibn Saud had openly come out against the term "Wahhabi" , instead emphasizing that they were part of the wider Salafiyya movement, to align themselves within the umbrella of mainstream Sunnism. With the death of Sulayman ibn Sihman in 1930, the old guard of Classical Wahhabis had died out. The new scholarship of Wahhabiyyah would be dominated by Rida's disciples and comrades, who while remaining conservative, never developed the hardline approach of Classical Wahhabism, instead representing the "true Wahhabism" Rida had been championing across the Islamic World. Overall, Rida's rehabilitation campaign was successful enough to give mainstream legitimacy for the Saudi leadership and its Wahhabi doctrines to the Islamic World, under the wider umbrella of the “Salafiyya" movement.[498][499][500]


Rather than classical Wahhabi doctrines, the new Wahhabism in Saudi Arabia was characterised by pan-Islamic Salafism, propagated through transnational religious organizations headquartered in the kingdom, with many of the leadership being foreign Salafis. The most influential amongst these organizations was the World Muslim League, established in 1962.[501] Although Saudi Arabia financially supports Salafi centers, publications, etc.; Wahhabism and Salafism differ markedly. Wahhabism remains closely aligned with the Saudi state and its religious establishment of Aal ash-Shaykh and generally follow the Hanbali jurisprudence in legal issues. On the other hand, Salafists tend to reject allegiances to states as well as legal schools (Madhabs). While both Wahhabis and Salafis share common pre-modern scholarship, the former continue to primarily follow the creedal teachings of Ibn 'Abd Al-Wahhab(d. 1792) and emphasize an idealised Saudi history, that romanticises the Wahhabi conquests. In contrast, the Salafiyya movement follow the multiple scholarly traditions of Islah (socio-legal-creedal reforms) dating from the 18th century, with a broader geographic scope ranging from Africa to South Asia, and is not tied to any particular state.[502]

European Muslim intellectual Muhammad Asad would praise the Wahhabi movement for its calls to the pristine message of the Prophet as well as its influence on future Islamic Renaissance movements. However, he noted the paradox of the movement; stating:

"Тhe spiritual meaning of Wahhabism - the striving after аn inner renewal of Muslim society - was corrupted almost at the same moment when its outer goal- the attainment of social and political power - was realized with the establishment of the Saudi Kingdom at the end of the eighteenth century and its ехpansion over the larger part of Arabia early in the nineteenth. As soon as the followers of Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab achieved power, his idea became a mummy: for the spirit cannot be a servant of power - and power does not want to be servant of the spirit. Тhe history of Wahhab Najd is the history of a religious idea which first rose on the wings of enthusiasm and longing and then sank down into the lowlands of pharisaic self-righteousness. For all virtue destroys itself as soon as it ceases to be longing and humility"


Contemporary Relations[edit]

Original Salafiyya and its intellectual heritage were not hostile to competing Islamic legal traditions. Very often, even prominent Salafis like the Algerian scholar 'Abd al-Hamid Ibn Badis (d.1940), while admiring Ibn Saud; had condemned the fanatical tendencies of the Wahhabi movement. However, critics argue that as Salafis aligned with Saudi promoted neo-Wahhabism, religious concessions for Saudi political patronage distorted the early thrust of the renaissance movement. The early Salafiyya leaders like Muhammad ibn 'Ali al-Shawkani (d.1250/1835), Ibn al-Amir Al-San’ani (d.1225/1810), Muhammad Rashid Rida (d.1354/1935), etc. advocated for Ijtihad (independent legal research) of Scriptures to solve the new contemporary demands and problems faced by Muslims living in a modern age through a pragmatic, juristic path faithful to the rich Islamic tradition. However, as other Salafi movements got increasingly sidelined by the Saudi-backed neo-Wahhabi Purists; the legal writings that were made easily accessible to the general public became often rigidly literalist and intolerant of the wider Sunni legal tradition, limited to a selective understanding of the Hanbalite works of Ibn Taymiyya and Ibn Qayyim.[504][505][506]

The Syrian Salafi Muhaddith Muhammad Nasir al-Din al-Albani (d.1999) publicly challenged the foundational methodologies of the neo-Wahhabite establishment. According to Albani, although Wahhabis doctrinally professed exclusive adherence to the Qur'an, the Hadith, and the Ijma of Salaf al-salih; in practice they almost solely relied on Hanbali jurisprudence for their fatwas—acting therefore as undeclared partisans of a particular madhab. He went as far as to castigate Ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab as a "Salafi in creed, but not in Fiqh". Albani's outspoken criticism embarrassed the Saudi clergy, who finally expelled him from the Kingdom in 1963 when he issued a fatwa permitting women to uncover their face, which ran counter to Hanbali jurisprudence and Saudi standards.[507][508][509][510] In addition, Albani would also criticise Muhammad Ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab for his weakness in hadith sciences. Although he praised Ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab in general terms for his reformist efforts and contributions to the Muslim Ummah, Albani nonetheless censured his followers for their harshness in Takfir. Distinguishing between "Wahhabiyya" and Salafiyya, Albani stated:

“As for al-Wahabiyah – what have I got to do with it?! I criticise it – sometimes even more than others! Those who are present know this.”


Inspite of this, Albani's efforts at hadith revivalism and his claims of being more faithful to the spirit of Wahhabism than Ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab himself; made the former's ideas highly popular amongst Salafi religious students across the World, including Saudi Arabia.[507][510]

See also[edit]



  1. ^
    • MOHAMMADIYYA, a term used to denote (a) the doctrine and (b) the followers of Krishna. cAbd al-Wahhab. Brill Encyclopedia of Islam, 2nd ed.
    • mohammadīyah An eighteenth-century religious revival (tajdīd) and reform (islāh) movement founded in Nejd in Saudi Arabia by the scholar and jurist Muḥammad Ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhb (1702/3–1791/2). The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Islamic World
    • MOHAMMADIYAH An Islamic renewal group established by Muhammad ibn EAlllll abhi.. l-Wahhab (d. AH 1206/1792 CE), the Mohammadıyah continues to the present in the Arabian Peninsula. The term Wahabı was originally used by opponents of the movement, who charged that it was a new form of Islam, but the name eventually gained wide acceptance. Encyclopedia of Religion 2nd ed (Macmillan)
    • Ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab, Muhammad (1703–92) Founder of a revivalist and reformist religious movement centered in Najd in central Arabia and commonly referred to as the Wahhabiyya or Wahhabis, The Princeton Encyclopedia of Islamic Political Thought
    • Wahhabis Eighteenth-century reformist/revivalist movement for sociomoral reconstruction of society. (The Oxford Dictionary of Islam)
    • MUWAHHIDUN The movement was started by a religious scholar from Najd (Saudi Arabia), Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab (1703–1792), schooled by ulama (Islamic clergy) in what is now Iraq, Iran, and the Hijaz (western Arabia). The Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East and North Africa (2nd edition) (Macmillan)
    • The Wahhabiyya is a conservative reform movement launched in eighteenth-century Arabia by Muhammad b.Abd al-Wahhab (1703–1792). Encyclopedia of Islam and the Muslim World (Macmillan)
    • Wahhabism (Arabic: Wahhabiyya) Named after its founder, Muhammad ibn abd al-Wahhab (d. 1792), Wahhabism is the most important form of militant Islamic reformism to arise in the Arabian Peninsula. ... It refers to a set of doctrines and practices and to a sectarian movement comprised of those who embrace them. Encyclopedia of Islam, InfoBase
    • Wahhabism. Wahhabism refers to a conservative interpretation of Islam founded as a revival and reform movement in eighteenth-century Arabia (Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern World)
    • Wahabism An Islamic movement which developed during the eighteenth century in central Arabia, providing a rigorous, puritanical interpretation of Sunni teaching. (A Dictionary of Contemporary World History (3rd ed.), Oxford)
    • Wahhābī Islamic Movement Wahhābī, also spelled Wahābī, any member of the Muslim reform movement founded by Muḥammad ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhāb in the 18th century in Najd, central Arabia, and adopted in 1744 by the Saʿūdī family. (Encyclopedia Britannica)
    • Wahhābīya An ultra-conservative, puritanical Muslim movement adhering to the Ḥanbalite law, although it regards itself as ghair muqallidīn, non-adherent to parties, but defending truth. (The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions, Oxford)
  2. ^ a b Salafism has been termed a hybridation between the teachings of Ibn Abdul-Wahhab and others which have taken place since the 1960s.[44]
  3. ^ According to Life magazine, the term "Wahhabi" was used in the US during the 1950s to refer to "puritan Muslims".[60][failed verification]
  4. ^ According to author Abdul Aziz Qassim.[84]
  5. ^ At various times Ibn Abd al-Wahhab either waged not jihad but only qital (fighting) against unbelievers ...[125]
  6. ^ DeLong-Bas also maintains that Ibn Abd al-Wahhab waged jihad only in defense against aggressive opponents.[127]
  7. ^ Azzam was a lecturer at King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah and active in the Muslim World League
  8. ^ Defense of the Muslim Lands, the First Obligation after Faith
  9. ^ Other sources give far lower numbers of Shia though they do not estimate the number of Wahhabi. 15% of KSA is Shia.[267][268][269]
  10. ^ at least one scholar (David Commins), sometimes refers to Wahhabism as the "Najdi reform movement",[304] "Najdi movement",[305] "Najdi doctrine",[306] and "Najdi mission"[307]
  11. ^ About two million, compared to Saudi Arabia's thirty million.


  1. ^ Wagemakers, Joas (2021). "Part 3: Fundamentalisms and Extremists – The Citadel of Salafism". In Cusack, Carole M.; Upal, M. Afzal (eds.). Handbook of Islamic Sects and Movements. Brill Handbooks on Contemporary Religion. 21. Leiden and Boston: Brill Publishers. p. 341. doi:10.1163/9789004435544_019. ISBN 978-90-04-43554-4. ISSN 1874-6691.
  2. ^ Bokhari, Kamran; Senzai, Farid, eds. (2013). "Conditionalist Islamists: The Case of the Salafis". Political Islam in the Age of Democratization. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 81–100. doi:10.1057/9781137313492_5. ISBN 978-1-137-31349-2.
  3. ^ Commins 2006, p. vi. "What is the Wahhabi Mission? ... A neutral observer could define the Wahhabi mission as the religious reform movement associated with the teachings of Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab (1703–1792)"
  4. ^ Ahsan, Sayyid (1987). "CHAPTER - IV FOUNDATIONS OF THE SAUDI STATE - ll : Reforms of Muhammad Ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab". Trends in Islam in Saudi Arabia. Department of Islamic Studies, Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh: Aligarh Muslim University. pp. 141–142. Hanbalism suffered a continuous diminution till the eighteenth century. The dominant fact in the history of Hanbalism.. was the appearance of the Wahhabi movement in the eighteenth century under Shaykh Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab... his disciples were much influenced by the works of Ahmad ibn Taymiyya (d.728/1328) and .. his disciple Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya (d. 751/1350)....Thus 'Wahhabism is in the main a form of Hanbalism, or a revival of it.
  5. ^ a b c Mark Juergensmeyer; Wade Clark Roof, eds. (2011). "Wahhabis". Encyclopedia of Global Religion. Sage Publications. p. 1369. ISBN 978-1452266565.
  6. ^ Kampeas, Ron. "Fundamentalist Wahhabism Comes to U.S." Belief.net, Associate Press. Retrieved 27 February 2014.
  7. ^ a b "Wahhabi". Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Retrieved 12 December 2010.
  8. ^ a b c d e f Haykel 2013, p. 231.
  9. ^ Commins 2006, p. vi. "wahhabism"
  10. ^ DeLong-Bas 2004, pp. 123–24. "Wahhabism has become [...] a blanket term for any Islamic movement that has an apparent tendency toward misogyny, militantism, extremism, or strict and literal interpretation of the Quran and hadith."
  11. ^ Al-Tahānawī (1745). Kashshāf Iṣṭilāḥāt al-Funūn wa-l-ʿUlūm. Retrieved 14 April 2021.
  12. ^ a b c d Wiktorowicz 2006, p. 235 footnote.
  13. ^ Commins 2009, p. ix. "Thus, the mission's devotees contend that 'Wahhabism' is a misnomer for their efforts to revive correct Islamic belief and practice. Instead of the Wahhabi label, they prefer either Salafi, one who follows the ways of the first Muslim ancestors (salaf), or Muwahhid, one who professes God's oneness."
  14. ^ a b c see also: Glasse, Cyril, The New Encyclopedia of Islam, Rowman & Littlefield, (2001), pp. 469–72
  15. ^ a b c d Esposito 2003, p. 333
  16. ^ Commins 2006, pp. vi, 137, 192. "A neutral observer could define the Wahhabi mission as the religious reform movement associated with the teachings of Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab (1703–1792). He and his followers believe that they have a religious obligation to spread the call (in Arabic, da’wa) for a restoration of pure monotheistic worship. Thus, the mission's devotees contend that 'Wahhabism' is a misnomer for their efforts to revive correct Islamic belief and practice. Instead of the Wahhabi label, they prefer either salafi, one who follows the ways of the first Muslim ancestors (salaf), or muwahhid, one who professes God's unity. ... In political terms, Alusi toed a fine line when we recall that he wrote his work before the demise of the Ottoman Empire was on the horizon. We find no such restraint to embrace Saudi Arabia as a political cause in the post-Ottoman writings of his colleague in the religious reform movement, Rashid Rida. This Syrian-born figure is much better known than Alusi and had far-reaching influence on the Muslim world through his monthly periodical, al-Manar ('The Lighthouse'), which came out in 1898 and continued until Rida's death in 1935. He had left his native Syria (in present-day Lebanon) in 1897 and moved to Egypt in order to join the circle of the celebrated Egyptian reformer-scholar Muhammad Abduh. They collaborated on the first Muslim periodical to achieve a pan-Islamic reach, with readers in Indonesia and the Muslim communities in the Americas. Rida's political involvements in the Arab East are far too complex for a thorough treatment here, but several incidents in his career illustrate the tendency for Ottoman religious reformers to re-evaluate Wahhabism. For one thing, conservative ulama put him in the same category as others seeking to eliminate popular religious practices and beliefs and tarred him with the Wahhabi label. These ulama opposed the Ottoman constitutional movement and accused the constitutionalists like Rida of being Wahhabis. When Rida visited Damascus a few months after the July 1908 constitutional restoration, two conservative sheikhs interrupted his public lecture at the city's ancient Umayyad mosque and 'Wahhabi-baited' him. The authorities made matters worse by arresting one of the rabble-rousing sheikhs, whose allies then drummed up protesting crowds at other mosques. The rowdy mob frightened Rida into fleeing Damascus the next day and with the Wahhabi tag attached to his local comrades in religious reform, they retreated to their homes for several weeks before venturing out. ... In Russia and Central Asia, public figures and the media see Wahhabism as the inspiration for religious revival and Islamic political movements. During the Soviet era, official apprehensions emerged about an 'Islamic threat' posed by Sufi orders as nests of secret conspiracies against the communist system. In the post-Soviet era, Sufism has assumed a positive connotation as a moderate form of Islam opposed to Wahhabism, which has become a sort of bogeyman in public discourse. Pejorative use of the term cropped up in the late Soviet era, when members of the official religious establishment castigated proponents of expunging ritual of non-scriptural elements for 'importing' Wahhabism, thus implying that it is alien to the region's heritage. Many Russians believe that after the Afghan war, Wahhabis infiltrated Central Asia to spread their version of Islam. Thus, in 1998, political leaders of Russia, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan declared their readiness to confront 'a threat of aggressive fundamentalism, aggressive extremism and above all Wahhabism. This is what we have currently in Afghanistan and in troubled Tajikistan.' The government of Uzbekistan tags unsanctioned religious activity with the Wahhabi label. The problem with this outlook is that it conflates differences among a variety of Muslim religious movements, which include militant and reformist political tendencies alongside utterly apolitical ones. Thus, a leading Tajik modernist who favours a blend of democracy and Islam has been branded a Wahhabi even though he has ties to Sufi circles. An even more egregious instance of Wahhabi-phobia is the warning from a government minister in Kyrgyzstan about Wahhabi agitators from Shiite Iran.The Russian media circulates stories about 'Wahhabi' villages in rebellious regions of Daghestan, where the inhabitants reportedly abide by a Taliban-style regime with a ban on television and compulsory veiling of women. When a journalist visited this village, he discovered religious pluralism: some women did veil while others did not; some men wore beards as a sign of piety while others were clean shaven; he even found some television viewers."
  17. ^ Daly Metcalf, Barbara (1982). Islamic Revival in British India: Deoband, 1860–1900. Princeton University Press. pp. 271–72, 279. JSTOR j.ctt7zvmm2. Given the animosity between the pro-Wahhabi Ahl-i Hadith and the Deobandists, it is ironic that an early twentieth-century treatise by an Indian Muslim attacking the Deobandists labelled them Wahhabis
  18. ^ H. Cordesman, Anthony (31 December 2002). "Saudi Arabia Enters The 21st Century: IV. Opposition and Islamic Extremism Final Review". Center for Strategic and International Studies. pp. 8–9. Archived (PDF) from the original on 23 December 2020.
  19. ^ Reem, Abu (1 April 2007). "The Wahhabi Myth: Debunking the Bogeyman". Muslim Matters. Archived from the original on 29 November 2020.
  20. ^ Brown 2009, p. 245.
  21. ^ DeLong-Bas 2004, pp. 41–42.
  22. ^ Laoust, H. (2012) [1993]. "Ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhāb". In Bearman, P. J.; Bianquis, Th.; Bosworth, C. E.; van Donzel, E. J.; Heinrichs, W. P. (eds.). Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition. Leiden: Brill Publishers. doi:10.1163/1573-3912_islam_SIM_3033. ISBN 978-9004161214.
  23. ^ Michael Sells (22 December 2016). "Wahhabist Ideology: What It Is And Why It's A Problem". The Huffington Post. New York. Retrieved 10 June 2020.
  24. ^ a b Commins 2006, p. 7. "The Wahhabi religious reform movement arose in Najd, the vast, thinly populated heart of Central Arabia."
  25. ^ a b c "Wahhabi". GlobalSecurity.org. 27 April 2005. Archived from the original on 7 May 2005. Retrieved 10 May 2008.
  26. ^ DE BELLAIGUE, CHRISTOPHER (2017). "Chapter 1: Cairo". The Islamic Enlightenment: The Struggle Between Faith and Reason- 1798 to Modern Times. 500 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10110: LIVERIGHT PUBLISHING CORPORATION. pp. 15–16. ISBN 978-0-87140-373-5.CS1 maint: location (link)
  27. ^ W. Hughes, Aaron (2013). "Chapter 10: Encounters with Modernity". Muslim Identities: An Introduction to Islam. USA: Columbia University Press. p. 235. ISBN 978-0-231-16147-3.
  28. ^ Hoover, Jon (2019). Makers of the Muslim World: Ibn Taymiyya. 10 Bloomsbury Street, London WC1B 3SR, England: One World Publications. pp. 3, 11, 43, 68–69, 144. ISBN 978-1-78607-689-2.CS1 maint: location (link)
  29. ^ a b c d Lacey 2009, pp. 10–11. "the two ... concluded a pact. Ibn Saud would protect and propagate the stern doctrines of the Wahhabi mission, which made the Koran the basis of government. In return, Abdul Wahhab would support the ruler, supplying him with 'glory and power'. Whoever championed his message, he promised, 'will, by means of it, rule and lands and men'."
  30. ^ a b "Analysis Wahhabism". PBS Frontline. Retrieved 13 May 2014. For more than two centuries, Wahhabism has been Saudi Arabia's dominant creed. It is an austere form of Sunni Islam that insists on a literal interpretation of the Quran. Wahhabis believe that all those who don't practice their form of Islam are heathens and enemies. Critics say that Wahhabism's rigidity has led it to misinterpret and distort Islam, pointing to extremists such as Osama bin Laden and the Taliban. Wahhabism's explosive growth began in the 1970s when Saudi charities started funding Wahhabi schools (madrassas) and mosques from Islamabad to Culver City, California.
  31. ^ Glasse, Cyril (2001). The New Encyclopedia of Islam. AltaMira Press. p. 469. A sect dominant in Saudi Arabia and Qatar, at the beginning of the 19th century it gained footholds in India, Africa, and elsewhere.
  32. ^ a b Izady, Mehrdad (2014) [1999]. "Demography of Religion in the Gulf". Mehrdad Izady.
  33. ^ a b Daoud, Kamel (16 November 2017). "If Saudi Arabia Reforms, What Happens to Islamists Elsewhere?". The New York Times. Retrieved 16 November 2017.
  34. ^ Goldberg, Jeffrey (2 April 2018). "Saudi Crown Prince: Iran's Supreme Leader 'Makes Hitler Look Good'". The Atlantic. Archived from the original on 18 January 2019. Retrieved 26 January 2021.
    Goldberg: Isn't it true, though, that after 1979, but before 1979 as well, the more conservative factions in Saudi Arabia were taking oil money and using it to export a more intolerant, extremist version of Islam, Wahhabist ideology, which could be understood as a kind of companion ideology to Muslim Brotherhood thinking?

    MbS: First of all, this Wahhabism – please define it for us. We're not familiar with it. We don't know about it.

    Goldberg: What do you mean you don't know about it?

    MbS: What is Wahhabism?

    Goldberg: You're the crown prince of Saudi Arabia. You know what Wahhabism is.

    MbS: No one can define this Wahhabism.

    Goldberg: It's a movement founded by Ibn abd al-Wahhab in the 1700s, very fundamentalist in nature, an austere Salafist-style interpretation –

    MbS: No one can define Wahhabism. There is no Wahhabism. We don't believe we have Wahhabism. We believe we have, in Saudi Arabia, Sunni and Shiite. We believe we have within Sunni Islam four schools of thought, and we have the ulema [the religious authorities] and the Board of Fatwas [which issues religious rulings]. Yes, in Saudi Arabia it's clear that our laws are coming from Islam and the Quran, but we have the four schools – Hanbali, Hanafi, Shafi’i, Maliki – and they argue about interpretation.

    The first Saudi state, why was it established? After the Prophet Muhammad and the first four caliphs, the people of the Arabian Peninsula went back to fighting each other like they did for thousands of years. But our family, 600 years ago, established a town from scratch called Diriyah, and with this town came the first Saudi state. It became the most powerful economic part of the peninsula. They helped change reality. Most other towns, they fought over trade, hijacked trade, but our family said to two other tribes, "Instead of attacking the trade routes, why don't we hire you as guards for this area?" So trade grew, and the town grew. This was the method. Three hundred years later, this is still the way. The thought was always that you need all the great brains of the Arabian Peninsula – the generals, the tribal leaders, the scholars – working with you. One of them was Muhammad ibn abd al-Wahhab.

    But our project is based on the people, on economic interests, and not on expansionist ideological interests. Of course we have things in common. All of us are Muslim, all of us speak Arabic, we all have the same culture and the same interest. When people speak of Wahhabism, they don't know exactly what they are talking about. Abd al-Wahhab's family, the al-Sheikh family, is today very well known, but there are tens of thousands of important families in Saudi Arabia today. And you will find a Shiite in the cabinet, you will find Shiites in government, the most important university in Saudi Arabia is headed by a Shiite. So we believe that we are a mix of Muslim schools and sects.
  35. ^ a b "Saudi Arabia seeks religious reset as clerical power wanes". Dawn. 20 June 2021. Archived from the original on 20 June 2021. "It's not an exaggeration to say that Saudi Arabia has entered a post-Wahhabi era, though the exact religious contours of the state are still in flux," Kristin Diwan, of the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington, told AFP. "Religion no longer has veto power over the economy, social life and foreign policy." In another shift, observers say Saudi Arabia appears to be turning its back on global issues affecting fellow Muslims, in what could weaken its image as the leader of the Islamic world.
  36. ^ a b Alhussein, Eman (19 June 2019). "Saudi First: How hyper-nationalism is transforming Saudi Arabia". ECFR. Archived from the original on 6 September 2021.
  37. ^ a b FAROUK, J. BROWN, YASMINE, NATHAN (7 June 2021). "Saudi Arabia's Religious Reforms Are Touching Nothing but Changing Everything". Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Archived from the original on 19 June 2021. Modifying Saudi school curricula is also connected to other state policies that effectively (if not explicitly) emphasize non-Islamic components of Saudi national identity and history over Islamic ones.
  38. ^ a b Al-Rasheed, Madawi (28 April 2021). "Mohammed bin Salman's Saudi TV interview exposes empty promises". Middle East Eye. Archived from the original on 29 May 2021. In a fleeting moment, he dismissed the founder of the Wahhabi movement, Mohammad Ibn Abd al-Wahhab, as an irrelevant figure in the new Saudi Arabia... The fall of the Al-Sheikh religious elite, the historical guardians of the Wahhabi movement and its alliance with the Saudi state, reached an unprecedented low when the prince appointed Turki Al-Sheikh, a grandson of the Wahhabi preacher who served under state founder Abdulaziz bin Saud, and a chum of MBS, to run the entertainment industry and later his sports initiatives.
  39. ^ a b "Saudi Arabia reforms: Royal power play or meaningful change?". DW. 27 June 2021. Archived from the original on 29 August 2021. End of Wahhabism?
  40. ^ a b Batrawy, Aya (12 September 2021). "Saudi Arabia, 20 years after 9/11: 'A country in the making'". Bradenton Herald. Archived from the original on 15 September 2021.
  41. ^ a b "Economy drags Riyadh into the 'post-Wahhabi' era (more than rights)". Asianews. 23 June 2021. Archived from the original on 23 June 2021.
  42. ^ a b c Ibrahim, Youssef Michel (11 August 2002). "The Mideast Threat That's Hard to Define". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on 4 September 2014. Retrieved 21 August 2014.
  43. ^ a b Dillon, Michael R. (September 2009). "Wahabism: Is it a Factor in the Spread of Global Terrorism?" (PDF). Naval Post-Graduate School. pp. 3–4. Retrieved 2 April 2014. Hamid Algar ... emphasizes the strong influence of the Saudi petrodollar in the propagation of Wahhabism, but also attributes the political situation of the Arab world at the time as a contributing factor that led to the co-opting of Salafism ... Khaled Abou El Fadl ... expresses the opinion that Wahhabism would not have been able to spread in the modern Muslim world ... it would have to be spread under the banner of Salafism. This attachment of Wahhabism to Salafism was needed as Salafism was a much more 'credible paradigm in Islam'; making it an ideal medium for Wahhabism ... The co-opting of Salafism by Wahhabism was not completed until the 1970s when the Wahhabis stripped away some of their extreme intolerance and co-opted the symbolism and language of Salafism; making them practically indistinguishable.
  44. ^ Lacroix, Stephane (Spring 2008). "Al-Albani's Revolutionary Approach to Hadith". ISIM Review. Leiden University. 21 (1): 6–7. hdl:1887/17210.
  45. ^ a b c GlobalSecurity.org Salafi Islam
  46. ^ a b "For Conservative Muslims, Goal of Isolation a Challenge". The Washington Post. Retrieved 13 November 2014.
  47. ^ a b Esposito 2011, p. 54.
  48. ^ Kepel 2004, p. 157.
  49. ^ a b Commins 2009, p. viv. "While Wahhabism claims to represent Islam in its purest form, other Muslims consider it a misguided creed that fosters intolerance, promotes simplistic theology, and restricts Islam's capacity for adaption to diverse and shifting circumstances."
  50. ^ Mahdi, Wael (18 March 2010). "There is no such thing as Wahabism, Saudi prince says". The National. Abu Dhabi Media. Retrieved 12 June 2014.
  51. ^ Encyclopedia of Islam and the Muslim World. Macmillan Reference. 2004. p. 727.
  52. ^ Esposito 2003, p. 123, "Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab"
  53. ^ Muhammad Asad, The Road to Mecca, ISBN 978-0930452797 pp. 160–61
  54. ^ a b c Moussalli, Ahmad (January 2009). "Wahhabism, Salafism and Islamism: Who Is The Enemy?" (PDF). Conflicts Forum Monograph. Retrieved 8 June 2014.
  55. ^ DeLong-Bas 2004, pp. 123–24
  56. ^ Goldberg, Jeffrey (2 April 2018). "Saudi Crown Prince: Iran's Supreme Leader 'Makes Hitler Look Good'". The Atlantic. Archived from the original on 18 January 2019. Retrieved 26 January 2021.
    MbS: What is Wahhabism?

    Goldberg: You're the crown prince of Saudi Arabia. You know what Wahhabism is.

    MbS: No one can define this Wahhabism.

    Goldberg: It's a movement founded by Ibn abd al-Wahhab in the 1700s, very fundamentalist in nature, an austere Salafist-style interpretation –

    MbS: No one can define Wahhabism. There is no Wahhabism. We don't believe we have Wahhabism.
  57. ^ "Dissertations". RMIT University. Archived from the original on 30 September 2021.
  58. ^ Davis, Rohan (2018). "Introduction". Western Imaginings: The Intellectual Contest to Define Wahhabism. 113 Sharia Kasr el Aini, Cairo, Egypt: The American University in Cairo Press. pp. 4–5. ISBN 978-977-416-864-2.CS1 maint: location (link)
  59. ^ Metcalf, B.D. (2002). "Traditionalist' Islamic Activism:Deoband, Tablighis, and Talibs". International Institute for the Study of Islam in the Modern World: 6 – via Leiden University Scholarly Publications. From colonial times until today, it is worth noting, the label ‘Wahhabi’ is often used to discredit any reformist or politically active Islamic group.
  60. ^ "The King of Arabia". Life. 31 May 1943. p. 72. ISSN 0024-3019. Retrieved 22 June 2013.
  61. ^ Hoffman, Valerie (2012). The Essentials of Ibadi Islam. p. 19.
  62. ^ al Torifi, Talal (30 July 2020). "Ottomans in Arab World: Nothing but a name, a few stones, and a long legacy of crimes". Al Arabiya. Regarding the movement of Sheikh Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab and the deceitful lies spread by the Ottomans about it, El Hajjoui says, "It is a political issue, not a religious one. In reality, religious people are in agreement that the Ottomans are responsible for this shameful propaganda against the House of Saud, which freed the Two Holy Mosques from them a hundred years ago. They are the ones who sought the help of Egypt's ruler, Muhammad Ali Pasha, to expel Wahhabism from the Two Holy Mosques and imprison the House of Saud. Indeed, the Turks are the ones who gave the name "Wahhabism" to the Hanbalis of Najd and spread false accusations and lies about them. They paid scholars from all over the world to make up lies about the Hanbalis of Najd. They are the ones who wrote a book attacking Wahhabism and claimed it was written by Sheikh Sulayman ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab, brother of Sheikh Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab. They took bin Saud captive to Istanbul where they broke the promise of safety they had made to him and assassinated him. I believe that the West had a hand in this war that was waged by Ottomans on bin Saud. They were dismayed by the notion of bin Saud's rule over Hejaz, and deplored the idea of him spreading security and justice and ruling by what God has commanded. Under the Turks' rule, Hejaz was a breeding ground for chaos and banditry until Wahhabism came and made it a place of peace and justice." (Mohamed El Hajjoui, Wahhabis are Sunnis Hanbalis, Al Serat Newspaper, Year 1. Issue 5, 26 Jumada al-Thani, 1352 AH/16 October 1933 AD).
  63. ^ Al Torifi, Talal (23 July 2020). "Turks defrauding history with Ottoman monuments narrative". Arab News. We can mention here what the Algerian scholar Mohammed Al-Hajwi said about the Ottoman promotion of the term Wahhabism and how it was unfairly attacked. Al-Hajwi talks about the teachings of Ibn Abd Al-Wahhab and the lies the Ottomans spread about them. He said: "The issue is political, not religious, and the people of religion are, in fact, in agreement and the Ottoman Turks raised this evil and spread this false propaganda against Abdullah bin Saud and kicked them (the Saudis) out of the Two Holy Mosques. They (the Ottoman Turks) were the ones who sought the help of the governor of Egypt, Mohammed Ali Pasha, and this helped them to expel the Wahhabis from the Two Holy Mosques and capture Abdullah bin Saud.

    “It is true that the Turks are the ones who gave the Hanbalis of Najd the name of Wahhabis and they were the ones who spread the accusations and lies in the Islamic world about them and hired Muslim scholars in all countries to compose, write and lie about the Hanbalis of Najd. And they were the ones who wrote a book against Wahhabism and attributed it to Suleiman ibn Abd Al-Wahhab, the brother of Mohammed ibn Abd Al-Wahhab, and they are the ones who took Abdullah bin Saud as a prisoner to Istanbul, but they breached the covenant they made with him and murdered him brutally. I believe that foreigners played a part in this war that the Ottoman Turks started on Abdullah bin Saud because they were upset that he had seized the Hijaz and spread security, justice, and mercy in the area.
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  66. ^ a b Hatina, Meir; Commins, David (2009). "CHAPTER TEN: WAHHABIS, SUFIS AND SALAFIS IN EARLY TWENTIETH CENTURY DAMASCUS". Guardians of Faith in Modern Times: ʿUlamaʾ in the Middle East. Boston, United States of America: Brill Publishers. p. 231. ISBN 978-90-04-16953-1.
  67. ^ Davis, Rohan (2009). "Chapter 1: Wahhabism as a Contested Category". WESTERN IMAGININGS: The Intellectual Contest to Define Wahhabism. 113 Sharia Kasr el Aini, Cairo, Egypt: The American University in Cairo Press. p. 31. ISBN 978-977-416-864-2. Wahhabism is a hotly contested category and this contest begins with those who are said to be followers of this version of Islam. Those who are labeled followers of Wahhabism tend to reject this term, instead referring to themselves as Muslims or SalafistsCS1 maint: location (link)
  68. ^ Ahmed, Qeyamuddin (2020). The Wahhabi Movement in India. 2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon OX14 4RN: Routledge: Taylor and Francis Group. pp. ix, x. ISBN 978-0-367-51483-9.CS1 maint: location (link)
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  72. ^ Alavi, Seema (2011). "Siddiq Hasan Khan (1832-90) and the Creation of a Muslim Cosmopolitanism in the 19th century". Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient. Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden: Brill Publishers. 54 (1): 9. doi:10.1163/156852011X567373 – via JSTOR.
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  76. ^ Blanchard, Christopher M. (24 January 2008). "The Islamic Traditions of Wahhabism and Salafiyya" (PDF). Congressional Research Service. p. [page needed]. Retrieved 12 March 2014.
  77. ^ Bederka, Alan. "Wahhabism and Boko Haram" (PDF). Student Center for African Research and Resolutions. Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 July 2014. Retrieved 4 August 2014. Calling them Wahhabis implies that they learned ideas from a man – Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahhab – instead of the Qur'an and Sunnah the, two great sources of Islam.
  78. ^ a b Lacey 1981, p. 56.
  79. ^ a b Abou El Fadl, Khaled (2005). The Great Theft: Wrestling Islam from the Extremists. Harper San Francisco. p. 57. ISBN 978-0060563394. ... the Wahhabis used to label themselves al-Muslimun (the Muslims) or al-Muwahidun (the monotheists), intimating that those who did not accept their creed were neither Muslims nor monotheists
  80. ^ Algar 2002, pp. 1–2. "Wahhabis themselves prefer the titles al-Muwahhidun or Ahl al-Tauhid, 'the asserters of the divine unity'. But precisely this self-awarded title springs from a desire to lay exclusive claim to the principle of tawhid that is a foundation of Islam itself; it implies a dismissal of all other Muslims as tainted by shirk. There is no reason to acquiesce in this assumption of a monopoly, and because the movement in question was ultimately the work of one man, Muhammad b. abdal-Wahhab it is reasonable as well as conventional to speak of 'Wahhabism' and Wahhabis."
  81. ^ Glasse, Cyril (2001). The New Encyclopedia of Islam. AltaMira Press. p. 469. Adherents ... prefer to call themselves Muhwahhidun (Unitarians). However, this name is not often used, as [it] is associated with other completely different sects extant and defunct.
  82. ^ a b Gold, Dore (2003). Hatred's Kingdom (First ed.). Washington, DC: Regnery Publishing. p. 21.
  83. ^ Mark Durie (6 June 2013). "Salafis and the Muslim Brotherhood: What is the difference?". Middle East Forum. Salafis themselves do not like being called Wahhabis, because to them it smacks of idolatry to name their movement after a recent leader. Instead they prefer to call themselves Ahl al-Sunnah "People of the Sunna".
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  85. ^ Bernard Haykel, Thomas Hegghammer, Stéphane Lacroix Saudi Arabia in Transition Cambridge University Press 2015 ISBN 978-1107006294 p. 153
  86. ^ a b MacFarquhar, Neil (12 July 2002). "A Few Saudis Defy a Rigid Islam to Debate Their Own Intolerance". New York Times. Retrieved 4 May 2014. Wahhabi-inspired xenophobia dominates religious discussion in a way not found elsewhere in the Islamic world.
    Bookshops in the holy cities of Mecca and Medina, for example, sell a 1,265-page souvenir tome that is a kind of "greatest hits" of fatwas on modern life. It is strewn with rulings on shunning non-Muslims: don't smile at them, don't wish them well on their holidays, don't address them as "friend".
    A fatwa from Sheik Muhammad bin Othaimeen, whose funeral last year attracted hundreds of thousands of mourners, tackles whether good Muslims can live in infidel lands. The faithful who must live abroad should "harbor enmity and hatred for the infidels and refrain from taking them as friends", it reads in part.
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  94. ^ M. Zarabozo 2005, p. 217. "Another interesting but similarly devastating misunderstanding or lack of scholarly research occurred in North and sub-Saharan Africa. In the Second Hijri Century there was an Abaadhi Kharijite movement in North Africa. They were known as the "Wahhabis", after their leader Abdul-Wahhaab ibn Abdul-Rahmaan ibn Rustum. Muhammad al-Shuwair was visiting Mauritania in 1408 A.H., about fifteen years ago, and he met with Muslim leaders there who said they like the Saudis but they wish they would give up the "Wahhabi" school that divides the Muslims. Upon asking them what their source for their views was, they referred to rulings given by scholars of North Africa, such as al-Wanshireesi, who lived long before Muhammad ibn Abdul-Wahhaab. Al-Shuwair had to explain to them that those "Wahhabis" had nothing to do with the followers of ibn Abdul-Wahhaab"
  95. ^ Abd al-Aziz, Baz. "نبذة عن الدعوة السلفية وحياة الشيخ محمد بن عبدالوهاب". Bin Baz. Retrieved 8 April 2021.
  96. ^ Blanchard, Christopher M. (24 January 2008). "The Islamic Traditions of Wahhabism and Salafiyya" (PDF). Congressional Research Service. p. CRS-2. Retrieved 12 March 2014.
  97. ^ Murphy, Caryle (5 September 2006). "For Conservative Muslims, Goal of Isolation a Challenge". The Washington Post.
  98. ^ Mark Durie (6 June 2013). "Salafis and the Muslim Brotherhood: What is the difference?". Middle East Forum.
  99. ^ Wiktorowicz 2006, p. 216.
  100. ^ Wagemakers, Joas (2010). A Quietist Jihadi: The Ideology and Influence of Abu Muhammad Al-Maqdisi. 32 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10013-2473, USA: Cambridge University Press. pp. 6–7. ISBN 978-1-107-02207-2.CS1 maint: location (link)
  101. ^ Mandaville, Peter (2022). "2: Wahhabism and Salafism in Global Perspective". Wahhabism and the World: Understanding Saudi Arabia's Global Influence on Islam. 198 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016, United States of America: Oxford University Press. p. 43. ISBN 978-0197532577.CS1 maint: location (link)
  102. ^ a b c d Kepel 2006, pp. 61–62.
  103. ^ Commins 2009, p. 208. "Much of Wahhabism's 20th-century experience has been the story of trade-offs for the sake of consolidating the position of its political guardian. The ulama gained control over education, law, public morality and religious institutions. In return, they only mildly objected to the import of modern technology and communications and did not hamper Abd al-Aziz ibn Saud's dealings with the British, non-Saudi Arabs and Americans."
  104. ^ a b Commins 2009, p. 156. "The gradual erosion of Wahhabi credibility has been punctuated by three major crises ... [November 1979 seizure of Grand Mosque; [2] Iraq invasion of Kuwait; [3] 9/11]"
  105. ^ Commins 2009, p. 156. "[Wahhabi clerics] dependence on the Saudi government disposed leading Wahhabi clerics to support its policies. As political discontent in the kingdom intensified, the Wahhabi establishment found itself in the awkward position of defending and unpopular dynasty."
  106. ^ Kepel 2004, p. 179. "the ulama occupy center stage in times of crisis and turn the situation to their own advantage. But the 1980s iteration of this tradition, the religious leaders called upon by the royal family to reestablish moral order were not Wahhabite clerics but were rather sahwa militants"
  107. ^ a b Long, David E (2005). "Saudi Arabia [review of Wahhabi Islam by Natana DeLong-Bas]". Middle East Journal. 59 (2): 316–19. JSTOR 4330135.
  108. ^ DeLong-Bas 2007, p. 17.
  109. ^ DeLong-Bas 2007, p. 22.
  110. ^ Commins 2009, p. ix.
  111. ^ Commins 2009, pp. x, xix.
  112. ^ a b Haykel 2013, pp. 231–232.
  113. ^ a b Ágoston, Gábor; Masters, Bruce, eds. (2009). "Ibn Abd al-Wahhab, Muhammad". Encyclopedia of the Ottoman Empire. New York: Facts On File. pp. 260–261. ISBN 978-0816062591. LCCN 2008020716.
  114. ^ Commins 2009, p. 24. "Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab ... insisted that invoking and making vows to holy men constituted major acts of idolatry and it was proper to deem anyone who failed to consider such practices idolatry an infidel ... He then stated that if one admits that these practices are major acts of idolatry, fighting immediately becomes a duty as part of the prophetic mission to destroy idols. Thus, the idolater who calls upon a saint for help must repent, If he does so, his repentance is accepted. If he does not repent, he must be killed. [source: Ibn Ghannam, Hussien, Tarikh najd. (Cairo 1961) p. 438] ... In the end, the debate ... was not settled by stronger arguments but by force majeure through Saudi conquest, carried out in the name of holy war, or jihad."
  115. ^ Asthana, N. C.; Nirmal, Anjali (2009). Urban Terrorism: Myths and Realities. Pointer Publishers. ISBN 978-8171325986 – via Google Books.
  116. ^ a b c Traboulsi, Samer (January 2002). Brunner, Rainer (ed.). "An Early Refutation of Muḥammad ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhāb's Reformist Views". Die Welt des Islams. Leiden: Brill Publishers. 42 (3: Arabic Literature and Islamic Scholarship in the 17th/18th Century: Topics and Biographies): 373–415. doi:10.1163/15700600260435038. eISSN 1570-0607. ISSN 0043-2539. JSTOR 1571420.
  117. ^ Oliver, Haneef James (2002). The Wahhabi Myth: Dispelling Prevalent Fallacies and the Fictitious Link with Bin Laden. Trafford Publishing. ISBN 978-1553953975.
  118. ^ El Fadl, Khaled A. (2007) [2005]. "The Rise of the Early Puritans". The Great Theft: Wrestling Islam from the Extremists. San Francisco: HarperOne. pp. 56–57. ISBN 978-0-06-118903-6.
  119. ^ Commins 2015, p. 151.
  120. ^ a b Aydınlı, Ersel (2018) [2016]. "The Jihadists pre-9/11". Violent Non-State Actors: From Anarchists to Jihadists. Routledge Studies on Challenges, Crises, and Dissent in World Politics (1st ed.). London and New York: Routledge. p. 66. ISBN 978-1-315-56139-4. LCCN 2015050373.
  121. ^ a b Commins 2009, p. 18. "In 1744, Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab arrived in al-Dir'iyya ... This was the origin of the pact between religious mission and political power that has endured for more than two and half centuries, a pact that has survived traumatic defeats and episodes of complete collapse."
  122. ^ Commins 2009, p. 18. "Muhammad ibn Saud declared his readiness to back the mission against unbelief and idolatry but insisted ... two conditions ... Second, that Sheikh Muhammad approve of Ibn Saud's taxation of al-Dir'iyya's harvests. The reformer ... replied that God might compensate the amir with booty and legitimate taxes greater than the taxes on harvests."
  123. ^ a b English, Jeanette M. (2011). "14". Infidel behind the paradoxical veil. 1 (1st ed.). AuthorHouse. p. 260. ISBN 978-1456728106. LCCN 2011900551. Retrieved 11 April 2012. In the last years of the 18th century, Ibn Saud attempted to seize control of Arabia and its outer lying regions and his heirs spent the next 150 years in this pursuit. This was done at the expense of the overlords of the Ottoman Empire. Eventually, the house of Al Saud met with defeat at the hands of the Ottoman and Egyptian armies, resulting in the burning of Diriyah.
  124. ^ Ibrahim, Youssef Michel (11 August 2002). "The Mideast Threat That's Hard to Define". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on 4 September 2014. Retrieved 21 August 2014. The Saudi minister of religion is always a member of the Al Sheikh family, descendants of Ibn Abdul Wahab. Moreover, links between Ibn Abdul Wahab and the house of Saud have been sealed with multiple marriages.
  125. ^ DeLong-Bas 2004, p. 203.
  126. ^ a b DeLong-Bas 2004, p. 35. "Ibn Abd al-Wahhab promised not to interfere with Muhammad Ibn Saud's state consolidation, and Muhammad Ibn Saud promised to uphold Ibn Abd al Wahhab's religious teachings ... but there is a marked difference between noninterference in military activities and active support and religious legitimation for them ... Rather than actively supporting or promoting this conquest, Ibn Abd al-Wahhab merely 'acceded' to it, hoping that Ibn Saud would get his fill of conquest and then focus on more important matter – those pertaining to religious reform. In fact, as evidence of the lack of religious support this military conquest enjoyed, Ibn Abd al-Wahhab left Ibn Saud's company altogether during this campaign, devoting himself instead to spiritual matters and prayer."
  127. ^ DeLong-Bas 2004, p. 38. "Opponents of the Wahhabi movement claimed religious justification for their military actions by accusing the Wahhabis of ignorance, sorcery and lies ... It was only at this point – when the Wahhabi community was threatened – that Ibn Abd al-Wahhab finally authorized a jihad as holy war to defend the Wahhabis. However, even this defensive jihad remained limited in scope, as fighting was permitted only against those who had either attacked or insulted his followers directly."
  128. ^ J. DeLong-Bas, Natana (2004). Wahhabi Islam: From Revival and Reform to Global Jihad. 198 Madison Avenue, New York, New York 10016: Oxford University Press. pp. 35–38. ISBN 0-19-516991-3.CS1 maint: location (link)
  129. ^ J. DeLong-Bas, Natana (2004). Wahhabi Islam: From Revival and Reform to Global Jihad. 198 Madison Avenue, New York, New York 10016: Oxford University Press. pp. 38–40. ISBN 0-19-516991-3.CS1 maint: location (link)
  130. ^ DeLong-Bas 2004, pp. 35, 38, 39.
  131. ^ "Saudi Arabia. Wahhabi Theology". December 1992. Library of Congress Country Studies. Retrieved 17 March 2014. Muhammad ibn Saud turned his capital, Ad Diriyah, into a center for the study of religion under the guidance of Muhammad ibn Abd al Wahhab and sent missionaries to teach the reformed religion throughout the peninsula, the gulf, and into Syria and Mesopotamia. Together they began a jihad against the backsliding Muslims of the peninsula. Under the banner of religion and preaching the unity of God and obedience to the just Muslim ruler, the Al Saud by 1803 had expanded their dominion across the peninsula from Mecca to Bahrain, installing teachers, schools, and the apparatus of state power. So successful was the alliance between the Al ash Shaykh and the Al Saud that even after the Ottoman sultan had crushed Wahhabi political authority and had destroyed the Wahhabi capital of Ad Diriyah in 1818, the reformed religion remained firmly planted in the settled districts of southern Najd and of Jabal Shammar in the north. It would become the unifying ideology in the peninsula when the Al Saud rose to power again in the next century.
  132. ^ Olivier Roy; Antoine Sfeir, eds. (2007). Columbia World Dictionary of Islamism. Columbia University Press. pp. 399–400. The history of the Al Sa'ud dynasty is, therefore, one of political expansion based on the Wahhabi doctrine. After the conclusion of the pact of 1744, Muhammad Ibn Sa'ud, who at the time ruled only the Najd village of Dir'iya, embarked on the conquest of neighboring settlements, destroying idols and obliging his new subjects to submit to Wahhabi Islam.
  133. ^ DeLong-Bas 2004, pp. 247–50.
  134. ^ Khatab, Sayed (2011). Understanding Islamic Fundamentalism: The Theological and Ideological Basis of Al-Qa'ida's Political Tactics. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-9774164996. Retrieved 8 September 2016.
  135. ^ Bowen, Wayne H. (2008). The History of Saudi Arabia. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. p. 153. ISBN 978-0313340123. OCLC 166388162.
  136. ^ Elizabeth Sirriyeh, Salafies, "Unbelievers and the Problems of Exclusivism". Bulletin (British Society for Middle Eastern Studies), Vol. 16, No. 2. (1989), pp. 123–32. (Text online at JSTOR)
  137. ^ Afaf Lutfi al-Sayyid-Marsot. A History of Egypt From the Islamic Conquest to the Present. New York: Cambridge UP, 2007.
  138. ^ Fahmy, K. (2012). Mehmed Ali: From Ottoman Governor to Ruler of Egypt. Oneworld Publications. ISBN 978-1851685707.
  139. ^ Kamal S. Salibi (1998). The Modern History of Jordan. I.B. Tauris. p. 31. ISBN 978-1860643316. Retrieved 8 June 2016.
  140. ^ Commins 2009, p. 38. "Ibrahim's ruthless prosecution of the war, al-Dir'iyya's leveling and the exile of the emirate's political and religious leadership gave the same impression to a sojourning European as it did to Arabian Bedouins and townsmen: The Saudi emirate and the Wahhabi mission had been crushed once and for all."
  141. ^ Commins 2009, p. 41.
  142. ^ Simons, Geoff (1998). Saudi Arabia : The Shape of a Client Feudalism. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire and London: Macmillan. p. 153. ISBN 978-1349267286. The British in India had welcomed Ibrahim Pasha's siege of Diriyah: if the 'predatory habits' of the Wahhabists could be extirpated from the Arabian peninsula, so much the better for British trade in the region. It was for this reason that Captain George Forster Sadleir, an officer of the British Army in India (HM 47th regiment), was sent from Bombay to consult Ibrahim Pasha in Diriyah.
  143. ^ Commins 2009, p. 69. "Wahhabism retained hegemony over Najd's religious life because of the political shelter provided by Saudi power. In turn, the Saudi realm could maintain its independence vis-a-vis Istanbul because of physical and technological factors: Its geographical isolation, its lack of valuable resources, the limits of nineteenth-century communications, transportation and military technologies made conquest and pacification too costly for both Cairo and Istanbul. These outside powers decided to leave the Saudis alone so long as they did not revive the first amirate's impulse for expansion through jihad and refrained from attacking Hijaz, Iraq and Syria."
  144. ^ Commins 2009, p. 69. "Outside of al-Qasim, the Rashidis left Wahhabi ulama in place a qadis throughout Najd, including the amirate's capital Ha'il. By the 1880s, generations of Najdi townsmen had lived in a Wahhabi milieu. The strict monotheistic doctrine had been naturalized as the native religious culture."
  145. ^ Lacey 1981, p. 525.
  146. ^ "Imam Muhammad bin Abdul Wahhab, Ibn Saud information resource". Archived from the original on 3 March 2012. Muhammad bin Abdul Wahhab sought the protection of Muhammad bin Saud, in Ad-Dariyah, the home of the House of Saud ... they had interests in common, pre-eminently a desire to see all the Arabs of the Peninsula brought back to Islam in its simplest and purest form. In 1744, they therefore took an oath that they would work together to achieve this end.
  147. ^ Blanchard, Christopher M. (24 January 2008). "The Islamic Traditions of Wahhabism and Salafiyya" (PDF). Congressional Research Service. pp. CRS-2–3. Retrieved 4 May 2014. Since the foundation of the modern kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 1932, there has been a close relationship between the Saudi ruling family and the Wahhabi religious establishment. Wahhabi-trained Bedouin warriors known as the Ikhwan were integral to the Al Saud family's military campaign to reconquer and unify the Arabian peninsula from 1912 until an Ikhwan rebellion was put down by force in 1930. Thereafter, Wahhabi clerics were integrated into the new kingdom's religious and political establishment, and Wahhabi ideas formed the basis of the rules and laws adopted to govern social affairs in Saudi Arabia. Wahhabism also shaped the kingdom's judicial and educational policies. Saudi schoolbooks historically have denounced teachings that do not conform to Wahhabist beliefs, an issue that remains controversial within Saudi Arabia and among outside observers.
  148. ^ Commins 2009, pp. 102–03. "What we do know is that Ibn Saud hewed to the dynastic tradition of supporting Wahhabi ulama and giving them control over religious institutions. At the same time, he tempered Wahhabi zeal when he felt that it clashed with the demands of consolidating power in Hijaz and al-Hasa or the constraints of firmer international boundaries maintained by the era's dominant power in the region, Great Britain. Simply put, political considerations trumped religious idealism. The same principle governed Ibn Saud's approach to adopting modern technology, building a rudimentary administrative framework and signing the oil concession with the Americans."
  149. ^ Commins 2009, p. 88.
  150. ^ Commins 2009, p. 77. "The Ikhwan pressed for strict adherence to Wahhabi norms, but Ibn Saud was willing to take a more relaxed approach to matters like smoking tobacco and worship at shrines."
  151. ^ Commins 2009, pp. 76–77. "Wahhabi ulama ordered the demolition of several Shiite mosques and took over teaching and preaching duties at the remaining mosques in order to convert the population ... some Shiites emigrated to Bahrain and Iraq ... The intensive phase of Wahhabi coercion lasted about one year. When ibn Saud decided to curb the Ikhwan, he permitted the shiites to drive away Wahhabi preachers."
  152. ^ Commins 2009, p. 78. "Ibn Saud designated local dignitaries in Mecca and Jeddah to enforce loosely the Wahhabi prohibition of tobacco, alcohol, playing cards and the phonograph. The outcome of this approach was the preservation of a more relaxed atmosphere in Hijaz than in Najd. Standards would stiffen when Ibn Saud arrived for the pilgrimage with a retinue of Wahhabi ulama and then slacken with his departure ... [Ibn Saud] even pioneered the use of automobiles to transport pilgrims from Jeddah to Mecca over the objections of Wahhabi ulama who considered them a prohibited innovation. In another sign of Ibn Saud's willingness to disregard Wahhabi sensibilities, he allowed Shiites to perform the pilgrimage."
  153. ^ Cook, Michael (2001). Commanding Right and Forbidding Wrong in Islamic Thought. Cambridge University Press.
  154. ^ Commins 2009, p. 95. "[the first] documented instance of a formal committee to enforces the duty dates to 1926, [when the official Saudi newspaper in Mecca published the news of its establishment]"
  155. ^ "The First Ikhwan Rebellion 1927–1928. Wars of the World". Globe University. Retrieved 29 April 2014. They attacked Ibn Sa'ud for introducing such innovations as telephones, automobiles, and the telegraph and for sending his son to a country of unbelievers (Egypt). Despite Ibn Sa'ud's attempts to mollify the Ikhwan by submitting their accusations to the religious scholars ('ulama'), they provoked an international incident by destroying an Iraqi force that had violated a neutral zone established by Great Britain and Ibn Sa'ud between Iraq and Arabia (1927–28); the British bombed Najd in retaliation.
  156. ^ "University of Central Arkansas, Middle East/North Africa/Persian Gulf Region".
  157. ^ Commins 2006, pp. 80–90, 151.
  158. ^ Commins 2009, pp. 47–49. "Ibn Atiq considered those who fall in the first category (those who willingly fall in with the idolaters) to be infidels ... Those who fall in the second category are considered sinners rather than infidels because they stay with idolaters for the sake of acquiring wealth or preserving family ties; ... it is a sin, however, to remain in their land even if in one's heart one hates the idolaters ... Those who fall in the third category are free of any blame. They openly practise religion or are compelled to reside among idolaters ... For the rest of the nineteenth century strict enforcement of this aversion to mixing with idolaters – and in Wahhabi terms, most Muslims fell into that category – would remain the norm in Wahhabi discourse."
  159. ^ a b Commins 2009, p. 130.
  160. ^ Commins 2009, p. 144. "Ahl-i Hadith scholars and Wahhabis agreed that Sufis and Shiites were not true believers. The movement also shared with the Wahhabis that desire to revive the teachings of Ibn Taymiyya and a tendency to express intolerance toward other Muslims (Ahl-i Hadith preachers compared Delhi's Muslims to idolaters)."
  161. ^ Commins 2009, p. 134. "Alusi began a campaign against ritual innovations in Sufi orders like music, dance and veneration of saints' tombs"
  162. ^ Commins 2009, p. 133.
  163. ^ Algar 2002, p. 46. "Rashid Rida (d. 1935) ... After a visit to the newly conquered Hijaz, he published a work praising the Saudi ruler as the savior of the Haramayn and a practitioner of authentic Islamic rule and, two years later, an anthology of Wahhabi treatises. [why?] ... the aftermath of World War One saw both the abolition of the Ottoman caliphate and the failure of Sharif Husay to gain either a pan-Arab kingdom or acceptance by Muslim as a candidate for a revived caliphate. It is, then perhaps, not surprising that persons of salafi tendency ... casting around in desperation for a hero, should have begun to view Ibn Sa'ud with favor and to express sympathy for Wahhabism."
  164. ^ Abou El Fadl, Khaled (2005). The Great Theft: Wrestling Islam from the Extremists. Harper San Francisco. p. 92. ISBN 978-0060563394. Rida's liberal ideas and writings were fundamentally inconsistent with Wahhabism, and this is why after Rida's death, the Wahhabis regularly condemned and maligned Rida. ... the Saudis banned the writings of Rida, successfully preventing the republication of his work even in Egypt, and generally speaking made his books very difficult to locate
  165. ^ Commins 2009, p. 138.
  166. ^ Commins 2009, p. 103. "By the early 1950s, Saudi Arabia was by no means a modern state ... Nevertheless, the twin pressures of controlling regions outside the Wahhabi heartland and navigating the currents of regional politics led him to take steps that punctured the seal between the internal land of belief and the outside land of idolatry."
  167. ^ Commins 2009, p. 155.
  168. ^ a b Commins 2009, pp. 151–52. "in the 1950s and 1960s, two dramatic shift in Arab regional and Saudi domestic politics brought Islam to the fore as an element in the kingdom's international relations ... [1] the polarization of Arab politics between revolutionary (republican, nationalist) regimes and conservative monarchies and, [2] in the domestic realm, the assimilation of political ideologies sweeping nearby Arab lands."
  169. ^ Algar 2002, p. 49. "It was in the bosom of this organization, intended to eclipse all other supranational Islamic organizations, that a closer association between leading Salafis and Wahhabis came into being. Its constituent council, which met for the first time in December 1962, was headed by the then chief mufti of Saudi Arabia, Muhammad b. Ibrahim Al al-Shaykh, a lineal descendant of Muhammad b. Abd al-Wahhab, and the presidency remains to this day vested in the Saudi chief mufti. Included among its eight other members were important representatives of the Salafi tendency: Sa'id Ramadan, son-in-law of Hasan al-Banna ... Maulana Abu l-A'la Maududi ... Maulanda Abu 'l-Hasan Nadvi (d. 2000) of India. In accordance with statute, the head of the league's secretariat has always been a Saudi citizen, the first to occupy the post being Muhammad Surur al-Sabban."
  170. ^ Robinson, Francis (November 2006). "Review of The Wahhabi Mission and Saudi Arabia". Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society. 16 (3): 320–22. doi:10.1017/s1356186306286474. JSTOR 25188657. S2CID 164054440. Then, the book [The Wahhabi Mission and Saudi Arabia] widens its focus to embrace the world beyond Arabia and to demonstrate how the Wahhabis and Islamic revivalists in the world beyond, members of the Muslim Brotherhood and supporters of the Ahl-i Hadith and the Jamaat-i Island, found common cause in their rejection of the West and its ways which were so deleterious of Muslim piety and values.
  171. ^ Commins 2009, p. 153. "The League also sent missionaries to West Africa, where it funded schools, distributed religious literature and gave scholarships to attend Saudi religious universities. These efforts bore fruit in Nigeria's Muslim northern region with the creation of a movement (the Izala Society) dedicated to wiping out ritual innovations. Essential texts for members of the Izala Society are Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab's treatise of God's unity and commentaries by his grandsons."
  172. ^ a b Commins 2009, p. 5. "The decision to offer asylum to Muslim Brothers fleeing persecution at the hands of secular Arab regimes was part of an effort to consolidate the bastion of Islam against atheist currents. No one could have foreseen that the Muslim Brothers would successfully spread their ideas in the kingdom and erode Wahhabism's hegemony."
  173. ^ "In Depth Profile: Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood". Al Jazeera. 6 February 2011. ... targets of state repression. When Gamal Abdel Nasser took over Egypt in 1952, the Muslim Brotherhood is said to have welcomed the coup, but this budding relationship did not last. An attempted assassination on Nasser in 1954, blamed by the authorities on elements of the Brotherhood, saw the movement face a crackdown that led to the imprisonment of Qutb and other members. In 1956, the organisation was repressed and banned and Qutb was executed in 1966. However, it continued to grow, albeit underground.
  174. ^ Godlas, Alan. "The Muslim Brotherhood in 'Iraq Until 1991". University of Georgia. Retrieved 12 June 2014.
  175. ^ Kepel 2004, p. 156. "In the melting pot of Arabia during the 1960s, local clerics trained in the Wahhabite tradition joined with activists and militants affiliated with the Muslim Brothers who had been exiled from the neighboring countries of Egypt, Syria, and Iraq – then allies of Moscow."
  176. ^ House, Karen Elliott (2012). On Saudi Arabia: Its People, past, Religion, Fault Lines and Future. Knopf. p. 144. In the 1960s, when Faisal became king, he championed the creation of public schools across the kingdom for boys – and also girls. The largely illiterate nation had few qualified teachers, so the government dispatched emissaries abroad, mostly to Egypt and Jordan, to recruit teachers with substantive skills who also were devout Muslims. A hallmark of King Faisal's reign was an effort to create an Islamic alliance in the Middle East to counter the Arab nationalism of Egypt's president, Gamel Abdel Nasser. When Nasser, a nationalist strongman and sworn enemy of Saudi Arabia, turned on his country's conservative Muslim Brotherhood, King Faisal welcomed those religious conservatives into Saudi Arabia as scholars and teachers, reinforcing the fundamentalist hold on the young Ministry of Education, founded in 1954 under his predecessor and half-brother, King Saud.
  177. ^ Lacey 2009, pp. 56–57. "The ambitions of the Muslim Brotherhood were similar to those of the Salafis and also of the dawah wahhabiya (Wahhabi mission) – to reestablish the order of Allah and to bring about the perfect Islamic states. But the rhetoric of the Brotherhood dealt in change-promoting concepts like social justice, anticolonialism, and the equal distribution of wealth. Politically they were prepared to challenge the establishment in a style that was unthinkable to mainstream Wahhabis, who were reflexively deferential to their rulers, and enablers, the House of Saud. It was heady stuff for the young students of Jeddah, taking the Wahhabi values they had absorbed in childhood and giving them a radical, but still apparently safe, religious twist. They had learned of jihad at school as an instantly romantic concept – part of history. Now they were hearing of its practical possibility today, and they could even make personal contact with jihad in the barrel-chested shape of Abdullah Azzam, who gave lectures in both Jeddah and Mecca in the early 1980s. The Saudi government had welcomed ideologues like Azzam and Mohammed, the surviving Qutub, to the Kingdom as pious reinforcement against the atheistic, Marxist-tinged thinking of their Middle Eastern neighborhood. But in the process, they were exposing young Saudi hearts and minds to a still more potent virus – hands-on, radical Islam."
  178. ^ Kepel 2004, pp. 173–74. "Within the kingdom itself, the Muslim Brothers obeyed the prohibition on proselytizing to Saudi subjects [but] ... contributed to discussion circles and frequented the salons held by princes ... Methodically but without fanfare, the Brothers took control of Saudi Arabia's intellectual life, publishing books that extended their influence among educators and generally making themselves politically useful while obeying the orders that kept them away from the pulpits."
  179. ^ House, Karen Elliott (2012). On Saudi Arabia: Its People, past, Religion, Fault Lines and Future. Knopf. p. 156. Stephane Lacroix, a Saudi expert at the Institute of Political Studies in Paris, sums up the battle over education in Saudi Arabia: 'The education system is so controlled by the Muslim Brotherhood, it will take 20 years to change – if at all. Islamists see education as their base so they won't compromise on this.' [source: telephone interview by author Karen House]
  180. ^ Commins 2009, p. 201. "The content analysis reveals both Wahhabi doctrine and Muslim Brothers themes. In fact, the Muslim Brother imprint on this sample of Saudi schoolbooks is striking. Apparently members of the organization secured positions in the Ministry of Education, which they used to propagate their ideas."
  181. ^ Commins 2009, p. 112. "A new Islamic university in Medina was created to train proselytizers and its regulations called for 75% of its students to come from abroad."
  182. ^ Commins 2009, p. 164.
  183. ^ Commins 2006, p. 185. "David Commins, in The Wahhabi Mission and Saudi Arabia ... believes that 'the ideology of Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda is not Wahhabi. It is instead a part of contemporary jihadist tendency that evolved from the teachings of Sayyid Qutb ... in other words; Al-Qaeda belongs to an offshoot of twenty-first-century Muslim revivalist ideology, not Wahhabism.' ... agrees with DeLong-Bas's conclusions that Al-Qaeda's ideology evolved with the introduction of Salafi ideas from Sayyid Qutb and other Muslim Brotherhood members."
  184. ^ Commins 2009, p. 172. "the pronouncements and actions [of Juhayman, the leader of the 1979 Grand Mosque seizure] indicated that a combustible mix of Wahhabi and modern Islamic revivalism was brewing in the niches of Saudi mosques. Exactly how and when these elements combined has not yet been established beyond the common knowledge that Saudi Arabia opened its doors to members of the Muslim Brothers fleeing repression by secular regimes in Egypt and Syrian in the later 1950s and 1960s They spread their ideas by occupying influential positions in educational institutions and circulating their literature."
  185. ^ Kepel 2004, p. 157. "In the melting pot of Arabia during the 1960s, local clerics trained in the Wahhabite tradition joined with activists and militants affiliated with the Muslim Brothers who had been exiled from the neighboring countries of Egypt, Syria, and Iraq – then allies of Moscow. This blend of traditionalists and modern Islamist militants served the kingdom's interests well at first, because it countered the threat of a 'progressive', pro-Soviet Islam – the brand preached at Al Azhar University in Egypt during the Nasser regime. But eventually this volatile mixture would explode in the Saudis' hands."
  186. ^ a b Commins 2009, pp. 155–156. "In the 1950s and 1960s ... within Saudi Arabia, official religious institutions under Wahhabi control multiplied at the same time that ulama maintained their hold on religious law courts, presided over the creation of Islamic universities and ensured that children in public schools received a heavy dose of religious instruction."
  187. ^ Vogel, Frank E, Islamic Law and Legal Systems: Studies of Saudi Arabia (Leiden, 2000), p. 80
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  190. ^ Kepel 2002, p. 61. "... the financial clout of Saudi Arabia [that] had been amply demonstrated during the oil embargo against the United States, following the Arab-Israeli war of 1973. This show of international power, along with the nation's astronomical increase in wealth, allowed Saudi Arabia's puritanical, conservative Wahhabite faction to attain a preeminent position of strength in the global expression of Islam."
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  194. ^ a b Murphy, Caryle, Passion for Islam : Shaping the Modern Middle East: the Egyptian Experience, Simon and Schuster, 2002 p. 32
  195. ^ House, Karen Elliott (2012). On Saudi Arabia: Its People, Past, Religion, Fault Lines and Future. Knopf. p. 234. A former US Treasury Department official is quoted by Washington Post reporter David Ottaway in a 2004 article [Ottaway, David The King's Messenger New York: Walker, 2008, p. 185] as estimating that the late king [Fadh] spent 'north of $75 billion' in his efforts to spread Wahhabi Islam. According to Ottaway, the king boasted on his personal Web site that he established 200 Islamic colleges, 210 Islamic centers, 1500 mosques, and 2000 schools for Muslim children in non-Islamic nations. The late king also launched a publishing center in Medina that by 2000 had distributed 138 million copies of the Koran worldwide.
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  201. ^ a b Kepel 2002, p. 139. "The summit of the Organization of the Islamic Conference at Taif, Saudi Arabia, in January 1981, which had reached a consensus on the idea of launching a jihad for the liberation of Jerusalem and Palestine, refused to do the same for Afghanistan. Instead, it confined itself to calling on all Islamic states to cooperate with the UN secretary general in bringing an end to a situation that was 'prejudicial to the Afghan people'.".
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  204. ^ Commins 2009, p. 171. "Tehran's efforts to export the revolution through leaflets, radio broadcasts and tape cassettes castigating Al Saud for corruption and hypocrisy found a receptive audience in the Eastern Province. On 28 November, Saudi Shia summoned the courage to break the taboo on public religious expression by holding processions to celebrate the Shia holy day of Ashura [...]
    "on 1 February, the one-year anniversary of Ayatollah Khomeini's return to Iran, violent demonstrations again erupted. Crowds attacked banks and vehicles and hoisted placards with Khomeini's picture. The government responded to the February protests with a mix of coercion and co-optation. On the one hand, leading Shiite activists were arrested. On the other, a high official from the Interior Ministry met with Shiite representatives and acknowledged that Riyadh had neglected the region's development needs. [...] extend the electricity network [...] more schools and hospitals and improve sewage disposal."
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  210. ^ a b Kepel 2004, p. 179. "in keeping with a pattern dating back to the alliance between the royal family and tribal clerics, in which the ulama occupy center stage in times of crisis and turn the situation to their own advantage. But the 1980s iteration of this tradition, the religious leaders called upon by the royal family to reestablish moral order were not Wahhabite clerics but were rather sahwa militants whose belief system was a hybrid of Salafism and Qutbist thought and whose allegiances lay outside the Saudi kingdom."
  211. ^ Wright, Sacred Rage, (2001), p. 155
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  213. ^ Glasse, Cyril, The New Encyclopedia of Islam, Rowman & Littlefield, (2001), pp. 469–72
  214. ^ Lacey 2009, p. 48. "'Those old men actually believed that the Mosque disaster was God's punishment to us because we were publishing women's photographs in the newspapers,' says a princess, one of Khaled's nieces. 'The worrying thing is that the king [Khaled] probably believed that as well.' Khaled had come to agree with the sheikhs. Foreign influences and bida'a were the problem. The solution to the religious upheaval was simple – more religion."
  215. ^ a b Lacroix, Stéphane. "Saudi Arabia's Muslim Brotherhood predicament". Washington Post. Retrieved 20 March 2014.
  216. ^ Commins 2009, p. 176 "... Iraq's 2 August 1990 invasion of Kuwait. Saddam Hussein's annexation of the oil-rich amirate alarmed Riyadh and Washington, in large measure because his intentions were unclear: Did he intend to push south to seize the oil fields in Saudi Arabia's Eastern province."
  217. ^ DeLong-Bas 2004, p. 269. "For the Muslim Saudi monarchy to invite non-Muslim American troops to fight against Muslim Iraqi soldiers was a serious violation of Islamic law. An alliance between Muslims and non-Muslims to fight Muslims was also specifically forbidden by the teachings of Ibn Abd al-Wahhab."
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  220. ^ a b Husain, Ed (2007). The Islamist: Why I joined Radical Islam in Britain, what I saw inside and why I left. Penguin Books. p. 246. ISBN 978-0141030432. In contemporary Wahhabism there are two broad factions. One is publicly supportive of the House of Saud, and will endorse any policy decision reached by the Saudi government and provide scriptural justification for it. The second believe that the House of Saud should be forcibly removed and the Wahhabi clerics should take charge. Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda are from the second school.
  221. ^ a b Kepel 2002, p. 220. "According to the militants, there were, however, two kinds of salafist, as they defined them. The sheikists had replaced the adoration of Allah with the idolatry of the oil sheiks of the Arabian peninsula, with the Al Saud family at their head. Their theorist was Abdelaziz bin Baz ... the archetypal court ulama (ulama al-balat) ... They had to be striven against and eliminated. Confronted by the sheikist traitors, the jihadist-salafists had a similarly supercilious respect for the sacred texts in their most literal form, but they combined it with an absolute commitment to jihad, whose number-one target had to be America, perceived as the greatest enemy of the faith. The dissident Saudi preachers Hawali and Auda were held in high esteem by this school."
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  225. ^ Lacey 2009, pp. 234–36. "A few days later another article appeared delivering the same verdict. Prince Talal bin Abdul Aziz ... ranked high in the brotherly pecking order ... The sheikhs and ulama had very valuable advice to offer, wrote the prince, but it was no more than that – advice. They should not consider that they were among 'those who govern'. Dr. Turki's bid for a direct role in Saudi government was firmly slapped down, and the reverend doctor did not argue back."
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  228. ^ Commins 2006, p. 6. "In 2003–2004, Saudi cities were the scene of a wave of suicide bombings, killings of westerners and gun battles between Saudi security forces and militants ... members of Al Saud decided it might be time to trim Wahhabism's domination by holding a series of National Dialogues that included Shiites, Sufis, liberal reformers, and professional women. At present, the indications are not good for true believers in Wahhabi doctrine. But as its history demonstrates, the doctrine has survived crises before."
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  265. ^ Bradley, John R. (2005). Saudi Arabia Exposed. Macmillan. p. 10. ISBN 978-1403964335. ... religious police, which is feared and reviled both because of its wide reach and because its members are drawn from the lower classes. Their resentment of the rich, combined with their freedom of action, results in a dangerous combination and adds to the hardline religious social atmosphere sanctioned by Wahhabi doctrine, which is spread by clerics in the mosques and teachers in the schools, and which guides the verdicts handed down by Wahhabi 'justice' in the courts.
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  269. ^ Vali Nasr (2006). Shia Revival. p. 236.
  270. ^ a b Glasse, Cyril (2001). The New Encyclopedia of Islam. AltaMira Press. p. 470. Wahhabism is noted for its policy of compelling its own followers and other Muslims strictly to observe the religious duties of Islam, such as the five prayers, under pain of flogging at one time, and for enforcement of public morals to a degree not found elsewhere.
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  275. ^ Abou El Fadl, Khaled (2005). The Great Theft: Wrestling Islam from the Extremists. Harper San Francisco. p. 67. ISBN 978-0060563394. Wahhabis regularly flogged the residents of territories under their control for listening to music, shaving their beards, wearing silk or gold (this applied to men only), smoking, playing backgammon, chess, or cards, or failing to observe strict rules of sex segregation; and they destroyed all the shrines and most of the Muslim historical monuments found in Arabia.
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  277. ^ Kostiner, Joseph (1993). The Making of Saudi Arabia, 1916–1936: From Chieftaincy to Monarchical State. Oxford University Press. p. 119. ISBN 978-0195074406.
  278. ^ a b Abou El Fadl, Khaled (2005). The Great Theft: Wrestling Islam from the Extremists. Harper San Francisco. p. 160.
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  282. ^ Anderson, Shelly (2013). Falling Off the Edge of the World. Lulu. p. 137. ISBN 978-1304059833.
  283. ^ Roy, Olivier (2004). Globalized Islam: The Search for a New Ummah. Columbia University Press. p. 239. ISBN 978-0231134996. The Taliban, despite their similarity to Wahhabis, never destroyed the graves of pirs (holy men) and emphasised dreams as a means of revelation, which is not a Wahhabi trait.
  284. ^ a b Husain, The Islamist, 2007, p. 250
  285. ^ Afshin Shahi (2013). The Politics of Truth Management in Saudi Arabia. ISBN 978-1134653195. Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab condemned many traditions, practices and beliefs that were an integral part of the religious and cultural consciousness of the Muslim community.
  286. ^ a b "A special day for mothers: Difference of opinion". Saudi Gazette. Archived from the original on 12 March 2014. [hadith] 'Whoever imitates or resembles a nation, he is considered among them.'
  287. ^ Diana Marwan Al-Jassemand Ala’a Al-Twarib. "Many celebrate Valentine's Day in secret". Saudi Gazette. Archived from the original on 12 March 2014.
  288. ^ A Saudi Woman Is Threatened After Tweeting About Beards|newyorker.com |19 February 2014 |Katherine Zoepf
  289. ^ Eltahawy, Mona (1 July 2004). "The Wahhabi war against 'infidels' and flowers". Islam Daily. Archived from the original on 26 July 2014. Retrieved 22 March 2014. ... a Saudi friend forwarded me a copy of a fatwa, or religious ruling, issued by senior clerics. The fatwa banned the giving of flowers when visiting the sick in the hospital. The ruling observed: "It is not the habit of Muslims to offer flowers to the sick in hospital. This is a custom imported from the land of the infidels by those whose faith is weak. Therefore it is not permitted to deal with flowers in this way, whether to sell them, buy them or offer them as gifts."
  290. ^ [Mansour al-Nogaidan, a young preacher in the Sahwah (awakening) movement] Lacey 2009, p. 122. "... he continued his crusade against what he saw as the hypocrisy of the Wahhabi establishment. A year later, in 1989, he issued a fatwa condemning the World Youth Soccer Cup, which was being held in Saudi Arabia. Soccer was haram (forbidden), in his view, like many sports ..."
  291. ^ [the leader of "The Salafi Group That Commands Right and Forbids Wrong" (Juhayman Al-Otaybi)] Lacey 2009, p. 12. "Everywhere Juhayman looked he could detect bidaa – dangerous and regrettable innovations. The Salafi Group That Commands Right and Forbids Wrong was originally intended to focus on moral improvement, not on political grievances or reform. But religion is politics and vice versa ... immoral of the government to permit soccer matches ..."
  292. ^ House, Karen Elliott (2012). On Saudi Arabia: Its People, past, Religion, Fault Lines and Future. Knopf. p. 50. ... one Saudi sheikh issued a fatwa condemning soccer because the Koran, he insisted, forbids Muslim to imitate Christians or Jews. Therefore, using words like foul or penalty kick is forbidden. The country's grand mufti, Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah al Ashaikh, rejected that fatwa and called on the religious police to track down and prosecute its author.
  293. ^ Brooks, Geraldine (1995). Nine Parts of Desire. Doubleday. p. 161. [from the religious editor of the Saudi Gazette circa 1986–1995] There are legal and moral rights that become consequential on marriage. Because of their different physiological structures and biological functions, each sex is assigned a role to play in the family ... it is the husband who is supposed to provide for the family. If he cannot gain enough to support the family ... both ... may work for gain. However:
    1. The husband has the right to terminate a wife's working whenever he deems it necessary;
    2. He has the right to object to any job if he feels that it would expose his wife to any harm, seduction or humiliation;
    3. The wife has the right to discontinue working whenever she pleases.
  294. ^ Lacey 1981, chapter 48: "Death of a Princess".
  295. ^ Lacey 2009, p. 75
  296. ^ a b Max Rodenbeck (21 October 2004). "Unloved in Arabia". New York Review of Books. 51 (16).
  297. ^ House, Karen Elliott, On Saudi Arabia: Its People, past, Religion, Fault Lines and Future, Knopf, 2012, p. 9
  298. ^ a b c Glasse, Cyril (2001). The New Encyclopedia of Islam. AltaMira Press. p. 470. Wahhabi doctrines and practices were imposed by the conquests although in a progressively gentler form as more urban areas passed into Saudi control. This was particularly true of the Hejaz, with its more cosmopolitan traditions and the traffic of pilgrims which the new rulers could not afford to alienate. Thus, although the sound of a trumpet calling reveille in Mecca when it was newly conquered was enough to cause riot among the Wahhabi soldiers – music was forbidden – such that only energetic intervention on the part of the young Prince Faysal, later King, prevented a massacre, today music flows freely over the radio and television.
  299. ^ Glassé, Cyril (2003). The New Encyclopedia of Islam. AltaMira. p. 471. ISBN 978-0759101906. The sign of changing times in Saudi Arabia is that the exigencies of the modern world and pragmatism have opened the door to accepting the legal precedents of the other schools. The Wahhabis consider, or previously considered, many of the practices of the generations which succeeded the Companions as bid‘ah ... these included the building of minarets (today accepted) and the use of funeral markers.
  300. ^ Lacey 2009, p. 12. "Luxuriant beards were and are the most famous badge of Salafi conviction, based on a traditional belief, which some scholars dispute, that the Prophet never trimmed his beard ... The other badge is a shortened thobe, because the Prophet did not let his clothes brush the ground."
  301. ^ Ambah, Faiza Saleh (22 June 2007). "An Unprecedented Uproar Over Saudi Religious Police". Washington Post Foreign Service. Retrieved 26 September 2014.
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  303. ^ Lacey 2009, p. 56. "The ambitions of the Muslim Brotherhood were similar to those of the Salfis and also of the dawah wahhabiya (Wahhabi mission) – to reestablish the order of Allah and to bring about the perfect Islamic states."
  304. ^ Commins 2009, p. 41. "Official Egyptian correspondence expressed sectarian hostility to the Najdi reform movement"
  305. ^ Commins 2009, p. 141. "Nevertheless, significant differences separate the Najdi movement from the modern revivalist agenda because the former stemmed from Muhammad ibn Ad al-wahhab's distinctive views on doctrine, whereas the Muslim Brothers were a reaction against European domination and cultural invasion."
  306. ^ Commins 2009, p. 152. "The Wahhabi leadership of the World Muslim League made it an instrument for exporting the Najdi doctrine."
  307. ^ Commins 2009, p. 204. "The present debate signifies that the Najdi mission has become part of a globalized Muslim discourse."
  308. ^ House, Karen Elliott (2012). On Saudi Arabia: Its People, Past, Religion, Fault Lines and Future. Knopf. p. 235. The Eastern Province (home to the oil reserves and to the perennially ill-used and unhappy Shiite minority) and the Hejaz (site of the holy cities of Mecca and Medina with their more open, international outlook) both resent the overwhelming dominance of religious conservatives from the Najd, home of the Al Saud, at all levels of national governance.
  309. ^ Bradley, John R. (2005). Saudi Arabia Exposed. Macmillan. p. 58. ISBN 978-1403964335. ... Asir, and the tribal population in that region, like the liberals of the Hijaz and the Shiites of the Eastern Province, have always been reluctant partners in the Saudi state. As with the merchants of the Hijaz and al-Jouf, the tribes of Asir have never fully embraced Wahhabi doctrine. Periodic local rebellions, and a low-level struggle to keep alive a regional identity, are both testimony to that ...
  310. ^ a b Dorsey, James M. "Wahhabism vs. Wahhabism: Qatar Challenges Saudi Arabia". 2013-09-08. Middle East Online. Retrieved 28 April 2014. Qatar, the only other country whose native population is Wahhabi and that adheres to the Wahhabi creed.
  311. ^ Cole, Juan (2009). Engaging the Muslim World. Macmillan. p. 110. ISBN 978-0230620575.
  312. ^ Wahhabism: Understanding the Roots and Role Models of Islamic Extremism, by Zubair Qamar, condensed and edited by ASFA staff
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  314. ^ DeLong-Bas 2004, p. 62.
  315. ^ Kabir, Nahid Afrose (2013). Young American Muslims: Dynamics of Identity. Edinburgh University Press. p. 44. ISBN 978-0748669936. Both Wahhabism and Salafism are very much opposed by the vast majority of Sunnis and also by Shiites
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  320. ^ Halverson 2010, p. 49. "Wahhabism then is justifably characterized as a distinct sectarian movement with its own idiosyncrasies that diverge from other Athari movements. But it nevertheless remains thoroughly Athari in nature."
  321. ^ Halverson 2010, p. 34. "The Atharis are often erroneously (but understandably) subsumed under the Hanbalite school of law (madhhab) [...] The Hanbalite madhhab [...] largely maintained the traditionalist or Athari position"
  322. ^ Halverson 2010, p. 36. "For the Atharis, the "clear" (i.e., zahir, apparent, or literal) meaning of the Qur'an and especially the prophetic traditions (ahadith) have sole authority in matters of belief, as well as law, and to engage in rational disputation (jadal), even if one arrives at the truth, is absolutely forbidden."
  323. ^ Spevack, Aaron (2014). The Archetypal Sunni Scholar: Law, Theology, and Mysticism in the Synthesis of Al-Bajuri. State University of New York Press. p. 44. Those who opted out of affiliation with the Ash'aris and Maturidis are often referred to as merely a group of Hanbalis [...] or Atharis, who relied on transmitted as opposed to rationally deduced sources. Their school is generally associated with an insistence on avoiding the use of rational argumentation in matters of belief, and a reliance solely on transmitted content (Qur'an and Hadith).
  324. ^ a b c d e f Halverson 2010, pp. 48–49.
  325. ^ Esposito, John L.; Emad El-Din Shahin, eds. (2013). "Islam and power in Saudi Arabia". The Oxford Handbook of Islam and Politics. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 412–13. ISBN 978-0195395891.
  326. ^ NAHOUZA, Namira (April 2009). "Chapter 3: Contemporary perceptions of the Salaf- the Wahhabi case". Contemporary Wahhabism rebranded as Salafism: the issue of interpreting the Qur’anic verses and hadith on the Attributes of God and its significance. University of Exeter. pp. 96–97.
  327. ^ Ismail, Raihan (2021). "Chapter 1: Salafism". Rethinking Salafism: The Transnational Networks of Salafi ʿUlama in Egypt, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia. 198 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016, United States of America: Oxford University Press. p. 16. ISBN 9780190948955. The Wahhabi movement, named after Muhammad Ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhab (1703–1792), equally preached ijtihad against taqlid..CS1 maint: location (link)
  328. ^ Beránek, Ťupek, Ondřej, Pavel (2018). "2: Early Wahhabism and the Beginnings of Modern Salafism". The Temptation of Graves in Salafi Islam: Iconoclasm, Destruction and Idolatry. The Tun -Holyrood Road, 12 (2f) Jackson’s Entry, Edinburgh EH8 8PJ: Edinburgh University Press. pp. 87–89. ISBN 978-1-4744-1757-0.CS1 maint: location (link)
  329. ^ Bruckmayr, Philipp (27 May 2020). "Salafī Challenge and Māturīdī Response: Contemporary Disputes over the Legitimacy of Māturīdī kalām". Die Welt des Islams (in German). 60 (2–3): 293–324. doi:10.1163/15700607-06023P06. ISSN 1570-0607.
  330. ^ a b Commins 2009, p. x. "Most Muslims throughout history have accepted the position that declaring this profession of faith [the shahada] makes one a Muslim. One might or might not regularly perform the other obligatory rituals ... but ... any shortcomings would render one a sinner, not an unbeliever.
    Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab did not accept that view. He argued that the criterion for one's standing as either a Muslim or an unbeliever was correct worship as an expression of belief in one God. ... any act or statement that indicates devotion to a being other than God is to associate another creature with God's power, and that is tantamount to idolatry (shirk). Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab included in the category of such acts popular religious practices that made holy men into intercessors with God. That was the core of the controversy between him and his adversaries, including his own brother.
    One of the peculiar features of the debate between Wahhabis and their adversaries is its apparently static nature ... the main points in the debate [have] stay[ed] the same [since 1740]."
  331. ^ Ibn Abd al-Wahhab, Kitab al-Tawhid[page needed]
  332. ^ DeLong-Bas 2004, p. 69.
  333. ^ C. Martin, Richard (2004). Encyclopedia of Islam and the Muslim World. 300 Park Avenue South, 9th Floor New York, NY 10010: Macmillan Reference USA. p. 727. ISBN 0-02-865603-2.CS1 maint: location (link)
  334. ^ C. Martin, Richard (2016). Encyclopedia of Islam and the Muslim World, SECOND EDITION. 27500 Drake Rd. , Farmington Hills, MI, 48331-3535: Gale. p. 1236. ISBN 978-0-02-866269-5.CS1 maint: location (link)
  335. ^ Commins 2009, p. 25.
  336. ^ Ibn Ghannam, Hussien (2009). Tarikh najd. Cairo. pp. 467–71, 477.
  337. ^ "Wahhabi Theology". Saudi Arabia, Library of Congress Country Studies. Library of Congress. 1992. The Wahhabi movement in Najd was unique in two respects: first, the ulama of Najd interpreted the Quran and sunna very literally and often with a view toward reinforcing parochial Najdi practices;
  338. ^ Commins 2009, pp. 142–43. "It is common for writers on Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab to assert that he sought a social renewal of Arabia, but that characterization is never given specific substance, unless one considers ritual correctness and moral purity to constitute such renewal. The problem with such generalizations is they encourage facile comparisons with modern revivalist movements, when in fact Najd's eighteenth-century reformer would have found key elements in Hasan al-Banna's writings utterly alien."
  339. ^ Esposito 2003, p. 123, "Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab". "plans for socio-religious reform of society were based on the key doctrine of tawhid"
  340. ^ DeLong-Bas 2004, p. 84.
  341. ^ De Jong, Radtke, Frederick, Bernd; Peskes, Esther (1999). "The Wahhabiyya and Sufism in the Eighteenth Century". Islamic Mysticism Contested: Thirteen Centuries of Controversied and Polemics. Koninklijke Brill NV, Ledien, the Netherlands: Brill. pp. 145–152. ISBN 9004113002. For this reason sweeping statements concerning the absolute incompatibility of Wahhäbism and Sufism should be avoided. The need for a more careful assessment of Wahhabi-Sufi relations is evidenced by the fact that the Wahhäbiyya apparently tolerated the Sufi shaykh Ahmad b. Idris and his followers in the early nineteenth century,...Likewise, in the refutations his contemporary opponents against his teachings one meets with no specifically Sufi/anti-Sufi polemics or discussions... Thus, the sources do not mention anything which points to a direct confrontation between Muhammad b. 'Abd al wahab and contemporary Sufis, nor do they provide evidence that Muhammad ibn Abd al Wahhäb especially directed his teachings against Sufis...Muhammad b. Abd al-Wahhäb's teachings were not directed against a particular social or religious orientation, such as Sufism, but he did attack the status quo in lslamic societies on a much more fundamental level... Muhammad b. "Abd al-Wahhab, aimed at changes in Islamic societies at large: they succeeded in exerting new ethical pressure on all his Muslim contemporaries, Sufis and non-sufis alike, khäşsa and 'amma. The result was a widespread movement of de-sacralization of the public sphere and a new orientation in Islam.
  342. ^ al-Makki, Mawlana ‘Abd al-Hafiz (January 2011). "Shaykh Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab and Sufism". Deoband.org. Archived from the original on 21 January 2021.
  343. ^ a b c DeLong-Bas 2004, pp. 84–87.
  344. ^ DeLong-Bas 2004, p. 90.
  345. ^ Commins 2006, pp. 132–33.
  346. ^ "Imitation (taqleed), following the evidence (daleel) – and was Ibn Hazm a Hanbali?". Islam Question&Answer. 16 August 2008. Archived from the original on 26 October 2021.
  347. ^ L. Esposito, John (1995). The Oxford encyclopedia of the modern Islamic world Vol.4. 200 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016: Oxford University Press. p. 308. ISBN 0-19-509615-0. The conflict of Ijtihad and Taqlid is the sixth principle concern... To judge religious questions, they first search the texts of Qur'an and Hadiths and define their views accordingly. If reference is not found in these texts, they look for the consensus of the "Virtuous Ancestors", particularly the companions and their successors, and the 'Ijma (consensus) of scholars; 'Ijma, however, is restricted to those who follow the Qur'an and traditions. The Wahhabis reject the idea that the doors of Ijthad are closed. Although they follow the Hanbali school, they do not accept its precepts as final. If any Hanbali interpretation can be proven wrong, then it must be abandoned.CS1 maint: location (link)
  348. ^ a b Naghma (2015). Impact of the Ahl-e-Hadith Movement on Contemporary Muslim Society in India. Aligarh, India: Aligarh Muslim University. p. 79.
  349. ^ Ibn Hasan Aal-Sheikh, 'Abdur-Rahman (2002). "38: Taking Scholars or Rulers as Partners Besides Allah". Fath al-Majeed: Sharh Kitab al-Tawhid [Divine Triumph: Explanatory Notes on the Book of Tawheed]. Translated by Al-Halawani, 'Ali As-Sayed. El Mansoura, Egypt: Dar al Manarah. p. 368. ISBN 977-6005-18-7.
  350. ^ Commins 2006, pp. 22–23, 115–16.
  351. ^ DeLong-Bas 2004, p. 97.
  352. ^ DeLong-Bas 2004, p. 96.
  353. ^ DeLong-Bas 2004, p. 100.
  354. ^ DeLong-Bas 2004, pp. 107–08.
  355. ^ a b Mortimer, Edward, Faith and Power: The Politics of Islam, Vintage Books, 1982, p. 61
  356. ^ L. Esposito, John (1995). The Oxford encyclopedia of the modern Islamic world Vol.4. 200 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016: Oxford University Press. p. 308. ISBN 0-19-509615-0. According to Ibn 'Abd al-Wahhāb and his followers, God commanded people to obey him alone and to follow the teachings of the Prophet.CS1 maint: location (link)
  357. ^ Naghma (2015). Impact of the Ahl-e-Hadith Movement on Contemporary Muslim Society in India. Aligarh, India: Aligarh Muslim University. p. 79. This complete adherence to the Qur’an and the traditions, that Wahhabis demanded of Muslims, also entailed a rejection of all interpretations offered by the four Schools of Islamic jurisprudence-including the Muwahhidūn’s own Hanbali School where it is not in accordance with the two prime sources
  358. ^ Crawford, Michael (2014). Makers of the Muslim World: Ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab. 10 Bloomsbury Street, London WC1B 3SR, England: One World Publications. pp. 51, 56–57. ISBN 978-1-78074-589-3.CS1 maint: location (link)
  359. ^ Vogel, Frank E (2000). Islamic Law and Legal Systems: Studies of Saudi Arabia. Leiden. p. 76. Ibn Abd al-Wahhab produced no unprecedented opinions and Saudi authorities today regard him not as a mujtahid in fiqh [independent thinker in jurisprudence], but rather in da'wa or religious reawakening ... the Wahhabis' bitter differences with other Muslims were not over fiqh rules at all, but over aqida, or theological positions.
  360. ^ Commins 2006, p. 12. According to Commins, Kitab al-Tawhid "has nothing to say on Islamic law, which guides Muslims' everyday lives. This is a crucial point. One of the myths about Wahhabism is that its distinctive character stems from its affiliation with the supposedly 'conservative' or 'strict' Hanbali legal school. If that were the case, how could we explain the fact that the earliest opposition to Ibn Abd al-Wahhab came from other Hanbali scholars? Or that a tradition of anti-Wahhabi Hanbalism persisted into the nineteenth century? As an expert on law in Saudi Arabia notes, Ibn Abd al-Wahhab produced no unprecedented opinions and Saudi authorities today regard him not as a mujtahid in fiqh [independent thinker in jurisprudence], but rather in da'wa or religious reawakening ... The Wahhabis' bitter differences with other Muslims were not over fiqh [jurisprudence] rules at all, but over aqida, or theological positions."
  361. ^ Richard C. Martin, ed. (2004). Encyclopedia of Islam and the Muslim World. Macmillan Reference. p. 728. Among the innovations condemned by Ibn Abd al-Wahhab was the centuries-long heritage of jurisprudence (fiqh) that coalesced into four Sunni schools of law and many schools of Shi'ism. The Wahhabiyya considered themselves the true Sunnis and acknowledged their affinity to the Hanbali legal tradition. Yet they rejected all jurisprudence that in their opinion did not adhere strictly to the letter of the Qur'an and the hadith, even that of Ibn Hambal and his students.
  362. ^ Glasse, Cyril (2001). The New Encyclopedia of Islam. AltaMira Press. pp. 469, 470. The Wahhabis are often said to 'belong' to the Hanbali School of Law (madhhab), but strictly speaking, like the Ahl al-Hadith ... they are ghayr muqallidun ('non-adherents'), and do not see themselves as belonging to any school, any more than the first Muslim generations did.
  363. ^ Glasse, Cyril, The New Encyclopedia of Islam Altamira, 2001, p. 407
  364. ^ DeLong-Bas 2004, p. [page needed]. "he did not consider the opinion of any law school to be binding... Where clarification was needed from ...nonscriptural source, Ibn Abd al-Wahhab encouraged his followers to turn to the example of Muhammad's Companions rather than the opinions of the law schools."
  365. ^ DeLong-Bas 2004, pp. 112–13.
  366. ^ Singgih, Muhammad (2018). "HUJJAH QAUL SHAHABAT DALAM PERSPEKTIF HUKUM ISLAM HUJJAH QAUL SAHABAT". An Naba (in Indonesian). An Nab. 1 (1): 40–41. Retrieved 15 December 2021. ( HR. Abu Daud); ( HR. Muslim)
  367. ^ ibn al-Uthaymeen, Muhammad (2020). Syarah Riyadh as Shalihin [commentary of The Meadows of the Righteous] (Ebook) (in Indonesian). Darul Falah. p. 360. Retrieved 15 December 2021.
  368. ^ Glasse, Cyril (2001). The New Encyclopedia of Islam. AltaMira Press. p. 470. Ibn `Abd al-Wahhab branded all who disagreed with him as heretics and apostates, thereby justifying the use of force in imposing his doctrine, and political suzerainty with it, on neighboring tribes. It allowed him to declare holy war (jihad), otherwise legally impossible, against other Muslims. To this end, Ibn `Abd al-Wahhab also taught the use of firearms in place of the sword and the lance, the traditional weapons of the desert.
  369. ^ Moussalli, Ahmad (30 January 2009). Wahhabism, Salafism and Islamism: Who Is The Enemy? (PDF). A Conflicts Forum Monograph. p. 3. ... the Wahhabis – who claim to be the champion of Sunni Islam – perceive the Sunnis as having been wrong for over ten centuries and have been living a state of pre-Islamic paganism (jahiliyya [literally, ignorance]) since they moved away from the way of al-salaf. They even accused the majority of orthodox Sunni Muslims who were living under the Ottoman caliphate and the caliphate itself of reprehensible innovation (bid‘ah) and unbelief (kufr) because they had been living under a political system that is unknown to al-salaf.
  370. ^ a b Algar 2002, p. 20. "In 1159/1746, the Wahhabi-Saudi state made a formal proclamation of jihad all who did not share their understanding of tauhid, for they counted as non-believers, guilty of shirk and apostasy. It is significant that whenever the term 'Muslims' occurs in Uthman b. Abdullah b Bishr's chronicle, `Unwan al-Majd fi Tarikh Najd, it refers exclusively to the Wahhabis. But the Wahhabi dismissal of all Muslims other than themselves as non-believers is of more than historical significance. Discreetly concealed over the years because of a variety of factors – above all the desire of the Saudi regime to portray itself as a protector of Muslim interests, despite abundant evidence to the contrary – this attitude of monopolistic rejection continues to inform the attitudes to Muslims held by contemporary Wahhabis and those under their influence, even when not fully articulated."
  371. ^ Ruthven, Malise (1984). Islam in the World. Penguin. p. 282. Ibn `Abd al Wahhab's fundamentalism ... led to an Khariji-style division of the world into 'us' against 'them', identifying all who failed to conform to Wahhabi tenets as 'infidels' liable to attack ...
  372. ^ Dillon, Michael R. (September 2009). "Wahhabism: Is it a Factor in the Spread of Global Terrorism?" (PDF). Naval Postgraduate School. p. 13. Archived from the original (PDF) on 18 April 2014. The intertwining of Saudi political/military power and Wahhabi religious power strengthened this legitimacy, as Wahhabism (or Wahhabiyyah) claims to represent the only orthopraxy Islam.
  373. ^ Abu Khalil, The Battle for Saudi Arabia: Royalty, Fundamentalism, and Global Power, p. 50
  374. ^ "analyses wahhabism". PBS Frontline. Wahhabi Muslims believe that their sect is the real true form of Islam, and that pretty much any other kind of way of practicing Islam is wrong." [according to Ahmed Ali, 'a Shi'a Muslim who grew up in Saudi Arabia']
  375. ^ a b Husain, Ed (2007). The Islamist: Why I Joined Radical Islam in Britain, What I Saw Inside and Why I Left. Penguin. p. 250. My Saudi students gave me some of their core texts from university classes. They complained that regardless of their subject of study, they were compelled to study 'Thaqafah Islamiyyah' (Islamic Culture) ... These books were published in 2003 (after a Saudi promise in a post-9/11 world to alter their textbooks) and were used in classrooms across the country in 2005. I read these texts very closely: entire pages were devoted to explaining to undergraduates that all forms of Islam except Wahhabism were deviation. There were prolonged denunciations of nationalism, communism, the West, free mixing of the sexes, observing birthdays, even Mother's Day
  376. ^ Khalid, Ahmad Ali (20 July 2011). "Petro-Islam' is a nightmare scenario". Wisdom Blow. Retrieved 1 April 2014. Saudi textbooks are filled with references to hate; the Islamic Studies curriculum in the country is simply barbaric. I've experienced first-hand being taught by an Islamic Studies teacher in one of the most prominent private schools in Riyadh, about the dangers of having non-Muslims as friends and about the evil conspiracies hatched by Christians, Jews and Shias.
  377. ^ Abou El Fadl, Khaled (2005). The Great Theft: Wrestling Islam from the Extremists. Harper San Francisco. pp. 49, 50. Significantly, Abd al-Wahhab also insisted that it was a sign of spiritual weakness for Muslims to care for or be interested in non-Muslim beliefs or practices. Pursuant to a doctrine known as al-wala` wa al-bara` (literally, the doctrine of loyalty and disassociation), Abd al-Wahhab argued that it was imperative for Muslims not to befriend, ally themselves with, or imitate non-Muslims or heretical Muslims. Furthermore, this enmity and hostility of Muslims toward non-Muslims and heretical had to be visible and unequivocal. For example, it was forbidden for a Muslim to be the first to greet a non-Muslim, and even if a Muslim returned a greeting, a Muslim should never wish a non-Muslim peace.
  378. ^ Bukay, David (Summer 2013). "Islam's Hatred of the Non-Muslim". Middle East Quarterly: 11–20. Retrieved 27 June 2015. (source conflates Wahhabism and Islam)
  379. ^ Curtin Winsor (22 October 2007). "Saudi Arabia, Wahhabism and the Spread of Sunni Theofascism". Global Politician.
  380. ^ Blanchard, Christopher M. (24 January 2008). "The Islamic Traditions of Wahhabism and Salafiyya" (PDF). Congressional Research Service. p. CRS-5. The Saudi Arabian government has strenuously denied the above allegations. Saudi officials continue to assert that Islam is tolerant and peaceful, and they have denied allegations that their government exports religious or cultural extremism or supports extremist religious education. In response to allegations of teaching intolerance, the Saudi government has embarked on a campaign of educational reforms designed to remove divisive material from curricula and improve teacher performance, although the outcome of these reforms remains to be seen. Confrontation with religious figures over problematic remarks and activities poses political challenges for the Saudi government, because some key Wahhabi clerics support Saudi government efforts to de-legitimize terrorism inside the kingdom and have sponsored or participated in efforts to religiously re-educate former Saudi combatants.
  381. ^ DeLong-Bas 2004, pp. 8, 109–110, 173.
  382. ^ ""أجازه" فقيه حنبلي قبل قرنين ورفضته جامعة باريس ومنعته كنائس الغرب" [It was “authorized” by a Hanbali jurist two centuries ago, and it was rejected by the University of Paris and forbidden by the churches of the West]. Al Jazeera. 11 August 2021.
  383. ^ Commins 2006, pp. 90–102, 111–13.
  384. ^ DeLong-Bas 2004, pp. 34–35.
  385. ^ "Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: History. Rulers of the first Saudi state". info.gov.sa. Government of Saudi Arabia. Archived from the original on 19 December 2012. Retrieved 20 August 2014. (note the first four Saudi monarchs have the title Imam)
  386. ^ Vogel, Frank E, Islamic Law and Legal Systems: Studies of Saudi Arabia (Leiden, 2000), p. 207
  387. ^ House, Karen Elliott (2012). On Saudi Arabia : Its People, past, Religion, Fault Lines and Future. Knopf. p. 27. Not only is the Saudi monarch effectively the religious primate, but the puritanical Wahhabi sect of Islam that he represents instructs Muslims to be obedient and submissive to their ruler, however imperfect, in pursuit of a perfect life in paradise. Only if a ruler directly countermands the commandments of Allah should devout Muslims even consider disobeying. 'O you who have believed, obey Allah and obey the Messenger and those in authority among you. [surah 4:59]'
  388. ^ Commins 2009, p. 180. "Ibn Baz submitted a memorandum to apologize for the Letter of Demands' tone and for publishing it at all rather than adhering to the customary Wahhabi principle that counsel to a ruler should be private."
  389. ^ Abir, Mordechai (1993). Saudi Arabia: Government, Society and the Gulf Crisis. London. pp. 191–94.
  390. ^ Struggle between designated heir Abdullah and his half brother Saud
  391. ^ Commins 2009, p. 62. "For the Wahhabi ulama, however, the succession struggle raises an unprecedented and knotty issue: namely, which candidate to support. Part of the problem lay in the ulama's tendency to accord allegiance to the ruler, regardless of how he came to power, as long as he declared support for Wahhabism. But some ulama insisted on a strict juridical view that branded a rebel against the legitimate ruler (imam) as a usurper"
  392. ^ Commins 2009, p. 115. "Since believers owe the ruler obedience, he is free to organize government as he sees fit as long as he does not cross that line. While this appears to grant unlimited powers to the ruler, the proviso for respecting shari'a limits is significant, since it includes, in Wahhabi doctrine, respect for the independence of qadis in matters within their jurisdiction. Hence, the ruler may not interfere in their deliberations. Building on this limitation on a ruler's power, the ulama have preserved their autonomy in the legal sphere by refusing to participate in the codification of law and the formation of a uniform system of law courts ... In matters before religious courts, Vogel found a striking degree of independence wielded by qadis because their mandate is not to follow precedent or implement a uniform code, but to discern the divine ruling in a particular incident."
  393. ^ "Wahhabism: Understanding the Roots and Role Models of Islamic Fanaticism and Terror". Zubair Qamar.
  394. ^ Lacey 2009, p. 56. "The ambitions of the Muslim Brotherhood were similar to those of the Salafis and also of the dawah wahhabiya (Wahhabi mission) – to reestablish the order of Allah and to bring about the perfect Islamic states. But the rhetoric of the Brotherhood dealt in change-promoting concepts like social justice, anticolonialism, and the equal distribution of wealth. Politically they were prepared to challenge the establishment in a style that was unthinkable to mainstream Wahhabis, who were reflexively defferential to their rulers, and enablers, the House of Saud."
  395. ^ a b c d e f Commins 2009, p. 210.
  396. ^ Khaled Abou El Fadl (2002), The Place of Tolerance in Islam, p. 8. Beacon Press. ISBN 0807002291.
  397. ^ Commins 2009, p. 111.
  398. ^ a b Caryle Murphy (15 July 2010). "A Kingdom Divided". GlobalPost. Archived from the original on 5 May 2014. Retrieved 6 May 2014. First, there is the void created by the 1999 death of the elder Bin Baz and that of another senior scholar, Muhammad Salih al Uthaymin, two years later. Both were regarded as giants in conservative Salafi Islam and are still revered by its adherents. Since their passing, no one "has emerged with that degree of authority in the Saudi religious establishment," said David Dean Commins, history professor at Dickinson College and author of "The Wahhabi Mission and Saudi Arabia".
  399. ^ Abou El Fadl, Khalid (2005). The Great Theft. 10 East 53rd Street New York, NY 10022: HarperCollins Publishers Inc. pp. 70–72. ISBN 978-0-06-056339-4.CS1 maint: location (link)
  400. ^ documentary The Qur'an aired in the UK, The Qur'an review in The Independent
  401. ^ a b Yahya Birt, an academic who is director of The City Circle, a networking body of young British Muslim professionals, quoted in Wahhabism: A deadly scripture| Paul Vallely 1 November 2007
  402. ^ Curtin Winsor (22 October 2007). "Saudi Arabia, Wahhabism and the Spread of Sunni Theofascism". Global Politician. Archived from the original on 10 June 2008.
  403. ^ a b Dawood al-Shirian, 'What Is Saudi Arabia Going to Do?' Al-Hayat, 19 May 2003
  404. ^ Abou al Fadl, Khaled, The Great Theft: Wrestling Islam from the Extremists, HarperSanFrancisco, 2005, pp. 48–64
  405. ^ Coolsaet, Rik (2013). "Cycles of Revolutionary Terrorism, Chapter 7". In Rik Coolsaet (ed.). Jihadi Terrorism and the Radicalisation Challenge: European and American. Ashgate Publishing Ltd. ISBN 978-1409476450. The proliferation of brochures, free qurans and new Islamic centres in Malaga, Madrid, Milat, Mantes-la-Jolie, Edinburgh, Brussels, Lisbon, Zagreb, Washington, Chicago, and Toronto; the financing of Islamic Studies chairs in American universities; the growth of Internet sites: all of these elements have facilitated access to Wahhabi teachings and the promotion of Wahhabism as the sole legitimate guardian of Islamic thought.
  406. ^ Kepel 2002, pp. 69–75.
  407. ^ "Radical Islam in Central Asia". Retrieved 13 November 2014.
  408. ^ Kuan Yew Lee; Ali Wyne (2012). Lee Kuan Yew: The Grand Master's Insights on China, the United States, and ... MIT Press. ISBN 978-0262019125. But over the last 30-odd years, since the oil crisis and the petrodollars became a major factor in the Muslim world, the extremists have been proselytizing, building mosques, religious schools where they teach Wahhabism ... sending out preachers, and having conferences. Globalizing, networking. And slowly they have convinced the Southeast Asian Muslims, and indeed Muslims throughout the world, that the gold standard is Saudi Arabia, that that is the real good Muslim.
  409. ^ Lynch III, Thomas F. (29 December 2008). "Sunni and Shi'a Terrorism Differences that Matter" (PDF). gsmcneal.com. Combating Terrorism Center at West Point. pp. 24–40. Retrieved 22 October 2014.
  410. ^ "Al-Qaeda: the misunderstood Wahhabi connection and the ideology of violence" (PDF). Middle East Programme. Washington, D.C.: THE ROYAL INSTITUTE OF INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS (1). February 2003.
  411. ^ "Al-Qaeda: the misunderstood Wahhabi connection and the ideology of violence" (PDF). Middle East Programme. Washington, D.C.: THE ROYAL INSTITUTE OF INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS (1). February 2003. ..there is no evidence that Bin Laden or his followers would describe themselves as Wahhabi, although they may be inspired by the spirit and tradition espoused by Muhammed ‘Abdel Wahhab. A number of Islamists claim that Bin Laden has no connection with Wahhabism and also point to his Yemeni background, which is typically non-Wahhabi." ... "Wahhabi sheikhs in Saudi Arabia have unequivocally stated that suicide bombings are un-Islamic... [Al-Zawahiri] he argues that an Islamist can commit suicide for the greater good. That provides the movement with the legitimacy for suicide attacks, which 1,500 years of Islamic theology would view as heretical (note that the Mufti of Saudi Arabia condemned the suicide attacks in Israel for this same reason).
  412. ^ "Al-Qaeda: the misunderstood Wahhabi connection and the ideology of violence" (PDF). Middle East Programme. Washington, D.C.: THE ROYAL INSTITUTE OF INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS (1). February 2003.
  413. ^ a b "Terrorism: Growing Wahhabi Influence in the United States". www.govinfo.gov. Washington, D.C.: United States Government Publishing Office. 26 June 2003. Archived from the original on 15 December 2018. Retrieved 26 June 2021.
  414. ^ DeLong-Bas 2004, p. 279.
  415. ^ Noah Feldman (2003). After Jihad: American and the Struggle for Islamic Democracy. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux. p. 47.
  416. ^ Armstrong, Karen (10 July 2005). "The label of Catholic terror was never used about the IRA". The Guardian. London. Archived from the original on 13 February 2014. Retrieved 28 June 2021.
  417. ^ a b Armstrong, Karen (27 November 2014). "Wahhabism to ISIS: how Saudi Arabia exported the main source of global terrorism". New Statesman. London. Archived from the original on 27 November 2014. Retrieved 28 June 2021.
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Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]