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Encyclopedia > Wahhabism

Wahhabism (Arabic: Al-Wahhābīyya الوهابية) or Wahabism is a conservative 18th century reform movement of Sunni Islam founded by Muhammad ibn Abd-al-Wahhab, after whom the movement is named.[1] Wahhabism formed the creed upon which the kingdom of Saudi Arabia was founded[1] and is the dominant form of Islam found in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar, as well as some pockets of Somalia, Algeria and Mauritania. It is now often referred to as a "sect"[2] or "branch"[3] of Islam. Image File history File links This is a lossless scalable vector image. ... Arabic redirects here. ... Sunni Islam (Arabic سنّة) is the largest denomination of Islam. ... Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab at-Tamimi (1703AD – 1792AD) (Arabic:محمد بن عبد الوهاب التميمي) was an Arab theologian born in Najd, in present-day Saudi Arabia and an influential scholar among modern Salafis; it is from him that the term Wahhabism is derived. ...

The primary doctrine of Wahhabism is Tawhid, or the uniqueness and unity of God.[4] Ibn Abdul Wahhab was influenced by the writings of scholars such as Ibn Taymiyya and rejected medieval interpretations of Islam, relying on Quran and hadith.[5] He preached against a "perceived moral decline and political weakness" in the Arabian penninsula and strongly disapproved of idolatry, the popular cult of saints, and shrine and tomb visitation.[6] He introduced Islamic law in Arabia as well.[citation needed] This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Abu al-Abbas Taqi al-Din Ahmad ibn Abd al-Salaam ibn Abdullah ibn Taymiya al-Harrani, was a jurist, reformer, preacher, scholar, exegete of Islam. ... This article is about Islamic religious law. ...

The term "Wahhabi" (Wahhābīya) was first used by opponents of ibn Abdul Wahhab and is considered derogatory and rarely used by the people it is used to describe, who prefer to be called "unitarians" (Muwahiddun). [7] [8] The term Wahhabism and Salafism are often used interchangeably, but Wahhabism has also been called "a particular orientation within Salafism,"[9] an orientation some consider ultra-conservative. [10][11] This article is on an Islamic movement. ...

Wahhabism gained substantial influence thanks to its adherents' control of the Mecca and Medina, and large sums of money made possible from Saudi oil exports which have been used for the propagation of the sect's interpretation of Islam. This article is about the city in Saudi Arabia. ... This article is about the city in Saudi Arabia. ...


Wahhabism and Salafism

Among those who criticize the use of the term Wahhabi is Social Scientist Quintan Wiktorowicz In a footnote of his report, Anatomy of the Salafi Movement,[12] he comments:

Opponents of Salafism frequently affix the “Wahhabi” designator to denote foreign influence. It is intended to signify followers of Abd al-Wahhab and 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 the movement ideology. In these countries, local religious authorities have responded to the growing influence of Salafi thought by describing Salafis as Wahhabis, a term that for most non-Salafis conjures up images of Saudi Arabia. The foreign nature of the “Wahhabis” is juxtaposed to locally authentic forms of indigenous Islam. In this manner, opponents of Salafism inject nationalism into religious discourse by raising the specter of foreign influence. The Salafi movement itself, however, never uses this term. In fact, 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”). This article is on an Islamic movement. ... This article is on an Islamic movement. ... This article is on the beliefs of the followers of the Salaf. ...

While Dr Natana De Long Bas states: [13]

The global jihad espoused by Osama bin Laden and other contemporary extremists is clearly rooted in contemporary issues and interpretations of Islam. It owes little to the Wahhabi tradition, outside of the nineteenth-century incorporation of the teachings of Ibn Taymiyya and the Ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziyyah into the Wahhabi worldview as Wahhabism moved beyond the confines of Najd and into the broader Muslim world. The differences between the worldviews of bin Laden and Ibn Abd al-Wahhab are numerous. Bin Laden preaches jihad; Ibn Abd al-Wahhab preached monotheism. Bin Laden preaches a global jihad of cosmic importance that recognizes no compromise; Ibn Abd al-Wahhab's jihad was narrow in geographic focus, of localized importance, and had engagement in a treaty relationship between the fighting parties as a goal. Bin Laden preaches war against Christians and Jews; Ibn Abd al-Wahhab called for treaty relationships with them. Bin Laden's jihad proclaims an ideology of the necessity of war in the face of unbelief; Ibn Abd al-Wahhab preached the benefits of peaceful coexistence, social order, and business relationships. Bin Laden calls for the killing of all infidels and the destruction of their money and property; Ibn Abd al-Wahhab restricted killing and the destruction of property... The militant Islam of Osama bin Laden does not have its origins in the teachings of Ibn Abd al-Wahhab and is not representative of Wahhabi Islam as it is practiced in contemporary Saudi Arabia, yet for the media it has come to define Wahabbi Islam in the contemporary era. However, "unrepresentative" bin Laden's global jihad of Islam in general and Wahhabi Islam in particular, its prominence in headline news has taken Wahhabi Islam across the spectrum from revival and reform to global jihad.”


Wahhabi theology treats the Qur'an and Hadith as fundamental texts, interpreted upon the understanding of the first three generations of Islam and further explained by many various commentaries including that of Muhammad ibn Abd-al-Wahhab. His book Kitab al-Tawhid ("Book of Monotheism"), and the works of the earlier scholar Ibn Taymiyya are fundamental to Wahabism. The Qur’ān [1] (Arabic: , literally the recitation; also sometimes transliterated as Quran, Koran, or Al-Quran) is the central religious text of Islam. ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab at-Tamimi (1703AD – 1792AD) (Arabic:محمد بن عبد الوهاب التميمي) was an Arab theologian born in Najd, in present-day Saudi Arabia and an influential scholar among modern Salafis; it is from him that the term Wahhabism is derived. ...

Ibn Abdul-Wahhab went so far as to declare jihad against all other Muslims who practiced so-called acts of polytheism. Ibn Abdul-Wahhab's views were opposed to those of the mainstream Muslim scholars of Mecca and Medina of that time. For example, he called intermediation of Muhammad an act of polytheism. For other uses, see Jihad (disambiguation). ... Polytheism is belief in or worship of multiple gods or deities. ...

Wahhabism also denounces the practice of blind adherence to the interpretations of scholars and the blind acceptance of practices that were passed on within the family or tribe. Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab believed in the responsibility of the individual Muslim to learn and obey the divine commands as they were revealed in the Quran and the Sunnah."[14] Sunnah(t) () literally means “trodden path”, and therefore, the sunnah of the prophet means “the way of the prophet”. Terminologically, the word ‘Sunnah’ in Sunni Islam means those religious actions that were instituted by Muhammad(PBUH) during the 23 years of his ministry and which Muslims initially received through consensus...

Wahhabist books and pamphlets teach that Muslims should reject absolutely any non-Muslim ideas and practices, including political ones. In its harshest form it preached that Muslims should not only "always oppose" infidels "in every way," but "hate them for their religion ... for Allah's sake," that democracy "is responsible for all the horrible wars of the 20th century," that Shia and other non-Wahhabi Muslims were infidels, etc.[15] Shiʻa Islam (Arabic شيعى follower; English has traditionally used Shiite) makes up the second largest sect of believers in Islam, constituting about 30%–35% of all Muslim. ... Apostasy in Islam (Arabic: ارتداد, irtidād or ridda) is commonly defined as the rejection of Islam in word or deed by a person who has been a Muslim. ...


Wahhabism gained considerable influence in the Muslim world following a tripling in the price of oil in the mid-1970s.[16]

The financial power of Wahhabism, according to observers like Dawood al-Shirian and Lee Kuan Yew, has done much to overwhelm less strict local interpretations of Islam[17] and set the Saudi-interpretation as the "gold standard" of religion in many Muslims' minds. [18]


  • David Holden & Richard Johns, The House of Saud, Pan, 1982, 0-330-26834-1
  • Hamid Algar, Wahhabism : A Critical Essay, Islamic Publications International, ISBN 1-889999-13-X
  • Natana J. Delong-Bas, Wahhabi Islam: From Revival and Reform to Global Jihad, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-516991-3
  • Madawi Al-Rasheed, A History of Saudi Arabia, Cambridge University Press, 2002, ISBN 0-521-64412-7
  • Gerald De Gaury, Freya Stark, Arabia Phoenix, Kegan Paul International Limited, ISBN 0-7103-0677-6, ISBN-13, 9780710306777
  • Haneef James Oliver, "The 'Wahhabi' Myth", T.R.O.I.D. Publications, February 2004, ISBN 0-9689058-5-4
  • Quist, B. Wayne and Drake, David F., "Winning the War on Terror: A Triumph of American Values," iUniverse, 2005, ISBN 595357768

There are very few or no other articles that link to this one. ... Dr Madawi Al-Rasheed is a Saudi-Arabian-born professor of Social Anthropology at the department of Theology and Religious Studies in Kings College London since 1994. ... Freya Madeleine Stark (1893-1993) was famous for writing of her travels in the Middle East. ...


  1. ^ a b Encyclopedia of Islam and the Muslim World, Macmillan Reference USA, (2004), p.727
  2. ^ Glasse, Cyril, The New Encyclopedia of Islam, Rowan & Littlefield, (2001), pp.469-472
  3. ^ http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/gulf/wahhabi.htm
  4. ^ Esposito, John, The Oxford Dictionary of Islam, OUP, 2003, p.333
  5. ^ Esposito, John, The Oxford Dictionary of Islam, OUP, 2003, p.333
  6. ^ Esposito, John, The Oxford Dictionary of Islam, OUP, 2003, p.333
  7. ^ Hardy, Roger. Analysis: Inside Wahhabi Islam. BBC News
  8. ^ http://muslimmatters.org/2007/04/01/the-wahhabi-myth-debunking-the-bogeyman/
  9. ^ GlobalSecurity.org Salafi Islam
  10. ^ http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/09/04/AR2006090401107_2.html
  11. ^ John L. Esposito, What Everyone Needs to Know About Islam, p.50
  12. ^ Wiktorowicz, Quintan. “Anatomy of the Salafi Movement” in Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, Vol. 29 (2006): p.235.
  13. ^ Natana DeLong Bas, Wahhabi Islam: From Revival and Reform to Global Jihad (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004), pp.278-279.
  14. ^ Cleveland, William L. A History of the Modern Middle East. Third Edition. Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press, 2004. Page.123.
  15. ^ Saudi Publications on Hate Ideology
  16. ^ Kepel, Gilles, Jihad: on the Trail of Political Islam, Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2002, p.69-75
  17. ^ Dawood al-Shirian, `What Is Saudi Arabia Going to Do?` Al-Hayat, May 19, 2003
  18. ^ An interview with Minister Mentor of Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew

External links

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  • The 'Wahhabi' Nemesis: Exposing those responsible for causing terror
  • Wahabi Way
  • Definitive Wahhabi Profile
  • Refutation of Wahabism

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