Wahhabism, Wahabism, Wahabbism)
is a Orthodox Islamic movement, named after Muhammad ibn Abd al Wahhab (1703–1792). It is the dominant form of Islam in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and recently Western Iraq.
The term "Wahhabi" is rarely used by members of
this group today, although the Saudis did sometimes use it in the past. The currently preferred term is "Salafism". From at least 1914, they usually called themselves the Ikhwan, the Brethren. The term Wahhabism was originally bestowed
by their opponents.
The Wahhabis claim to hold to the way of the "Salaf as-Salih",
the "pious predecessors" as earlier propagated mainly by Ibn Taymiyya, his students Ibn Al Qayyim, and later by Muhammad ibn
Abdul Wahab and his followers. Almost all members of Al Qaeda are adherents of Wahhabi.
Wahhabism accepts the Qur'an and hadith as fundamental texts, interpreted upon the understanding
of the first three generations of Islam. It also accepts various commentaries including Ibn Abd al-Wahhab's book called Kitab
al-Tawhid ("Book of Monotheism"), and the works of the earlier scholar Ibn Taymiyya (1263–1328).
Wahhabis do not follow any specific madhhab (method or school of jurisprudence), but claim to interpret
the words of the prophet Muhammad (Salalah-Aleyhi-Wa-Alehi-Wassalam) directly, using the
four maddhabs for reference. However, they are often associated with the Hanbali maddhab. Wahhabi theology advocates a puritanical and legalistic
stance in matters of faith and religious practice.
Wahhabis see their role as a movement to restore Islam from what they perceive to be innovations, superstitions,
deviances, heresies and idolatries. There are many practices that they believe are contrary to Islam, such as:
- Listening to music or watching television
- Photographs or drawings of human beings or other living things which
contain a soul
- Praying at tombs (praying at Mohammed (Salalah-Alehi-Wa-Alehi-Wassalam's) tomb
, the prophet of Islam, is also considered "shirk (polytheism)")
- Invoking any prophet, Sufi saint, or angel in prayer,
other than God alone (Wahhabis believe these practices are polytheistic in nature)
- Following or strictly adhering (taqlid) to one of the
four madhabs of Islamic jurisprudence
- Celebrating annual feasts for Sufi saints
- Wearing of charms, and believing in their healing power
- Practicing magic, or going to sorcerers or witches to seek healing
- Innovation in matters of religion (e.g. new methods
It is as a result of these and several other beliefs
that Wahabbis may brand people fromSunni sects and particularly those of the Shia sect as heretics. This has led many to associate Wahabbis
Modern spread of Wahhabism
In 1924 the Wahhabi al-Saud dynasty conquered Mecca and Medina, the Muslim holy cities. This gave them control of the
Hajj, the annual pilgrimage, and the opportunity to preach their
version of Islam to the assembled pilgrims. However, Wahhabism was a minor current within Islam until the discovery of oil in Arabia, in 1938. Vast oil revenues gave an immense impetus
to the spread of Wahhabism. Saudi laypeople, government officials and clerics have donated many tens of millions of US dollars
to create religious schools, newspapers and outreach organizations.
Salafism and Qutbism
Hassan al-Banna, the Egyptian founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, is said to have been influenced by the Wahhabis. The Muslim
Brotherhood also claimed to be purifying and restoring original Islam. When the Muslim Brotherhood was banned in various Middle
Eastern countries, Saudi Arabia gave refuge to Brotherhood exiles. Some Wahhabis, or Salafis, rejected what they call Qutbism, as a deviation from true Salafism.