Memoirs of Mr. Hempher, The British Spy to the Middle East

Memoirs of Mr. Hempher, The British Spy to the Middle East (Arabic: مذكرات مستر همفر جاسوس بريطاني‎) or Confessions of a British Spy (Arabic: إعترافات جاسوس بريطاني‎) is a document purporting to be the account by an 18th-century British agent, Hempher, of his instrumental role in founding the conservative Islamic reform movement of Wahhabism, as part of a conspiracy to corrupt Islam. It first appeared in 1888, in Turkish, in the five-volume Mir'at al-Haramayn of Ayyub Sabri Pasha.[1] It has been described as "apocryphal",[2] and "an Anglophobic variation on The Protocols of the Elders of Zion".[2] It has been widely translated and disseminated, is available on the internet,[3][4][5][6] and still enjoys some currency among some individuals in the Middle East and beyond. In 2002, an Iraqi military intelligence officer, in a "top secret document", made many of the same assertions regarding Wahhabism as are found in the book.[1][7]

Confessions of a British Spy and British Enmity Against Islam
AuthorAyyub Sabri Pasha(?)
CountryOttoman Empire
PublisherWaqf Ikhlas Publications
Publication date
Published in English


Sabri Pasha, an Ottoman historian and writer, studied at the naval academy and earned the rank of naval officer, serving for a time in the Hijaz and Yemen. He wrote historical works on the Saudi dynasty and died in 1890. In The Beginning and Spread of Wahhabism, Ayyub Sabri Pasha recounts the story of Abdul Wahhab's association with Hempher the British spy, and their plot to create a new religion.[8]

An Iraqi intelligence report from 2002, during the government of Saddam Hussein, also asserts that British intelligence agents, the foremost of which was named Hempher, conspired to orchestrate the creation of a new religion in coordination with Donmeh crypto-Jews.[7] The intelligence report asserts that both Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahhab and Muhammad bin Saud were Donmeh crypto-Jews of Turkic origin who, with support from the British, created a new deviant sect of Islam and fought against the Ottoman empire and later Caliphate of Mecca and Medina.[7] It further elaborates the House of Saud's Donmeh origins, as Muhammad bin Saud's full lineage is Muhammad bin Saud bin Muhammad bin Muqrin bin Mardkhai (Mordecai), and that their forefather named Moshe, which is the Hebrew pronunciation of Moses, ultimately came from Turkey, then to Basrah and finally to Diriyah in Najd. The House of Saud then bribed Egyptian officials to fabricate a fraudulent lineage for Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahhab, who's real forefather is named Shulman and is from Turkey.[7] The entire report was captured after the 2003 invasion of Iraq and translated into English.

George Packer has characterised Hempher's Memoirs as "probably the labor of a Sunni Muslim author whose intent is to present Muslims as both too holy and too weak to organize anything as destructive as Wahhabism".[9] Bernard Haykel of Harvard's Olin Institute for Strategic Studies describes the document as an anti-Wahhabi forgery, "probably fabricated by one Ayyub Sabri Pasha".[1] In 1987, Ayatollah Hussein-Ali Montazeri called Wahhabis "a bunch of British agents from Najd."[10]

Scholar Muhammad Ali Mirza says it was published by Sufi Muslims just to defame Salafi Muslims and accuse them of "puritanical beliefs".[11][12]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c Anti-Wahhabism: a footnote, Middle East Strategy at Harvard, Bernard Haykel, March 27, 2008
  2. ^ a b Caught in the Crossfire by George Packer, The New Yorker, 17 May 2004
  3. ^ The Saga of "Hempher," Purported British Spy by Daniel Pipes, January 1996
  4. ^ CONFESSIONS of A BRITISH SPY and British Enmity Against Islam Archived 9 May 2015 at the Wayback Machine 8th edition, HAKIKAT KITABEVI, WAQF IKHLÂS
  5. ^ "Confessions of a British spy and British enmity against Islam, (part1-4)". Retrieved 20 August 2014.
  6. ^ "Continuation of the Memoirs Of Mr. Hempher, The British Spy To The Middle East (part 5-7)". Retrieved 20 August 2014.
  7. ^ a b c d Correspondence dated 24 Sep 2002, within the General Military Intelligence Directorate (GMID), regarding a research study titled, "The Emergence of AI-Wahhabiyyah Movement and its Historical Roots", by Col Al-'Amiri, Sa'id Mahmud Najm, Iraqi General Military Intelligence Directorate. Captured by USA, May 2003, and translated into English.
  8. ^ » The Beginning and Spread of Wahhabism
  9. ^ Packer, George (17 May 2004). "Caught in the Crossfire: Will moderate Iraqis embrace democracy-or Islamist radicalism?". The New Yorker. New York. ISSN 0028-792X. Retrieved 26 September 2014. Confessions of a British Spy reads like an Anglophobic variation on The Protocols of the Elders of Zion; it is probably the labor of a Sunni Muslim author whose intent is to present Muslims as both too holy and too weak to organize anything as destructive as Wahhabism [...].
  10. ^ Martin S. Kramer, "Islam's Enduring Feud" in Itamar Rabinovich and Hai Shaken, eds., Middle East Contemporary Survey: 1987 (Boulder Westview Press, 1989) 174
  11. ^ Muhammad Ibne Abdul Wahab MUJADDID ??? Humphrey kay Aitrafat BOOK ??? (Engineer Muhammad Ali Mirza), retrieved 19 May 2020
  12. ^ Oliver, Haneef James (2002). The Wahhabi Myth: Dispelling Prevalent Fallacies and the Fictitious Link with Bin Laden. Trafford Publishing. ISBN 978-1-55395-397-5.