Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab

Muḥammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhāb ibn Sulaimān at-Tamīmī (/wəˈhɑːb/; Arabic: مُحَمَّدُ بنُ عَبْدِ الوَهَّابِ بنِ سُلَيْمَانَ التَّمِيْمِيُّ‎; 1703 – 22 June 1792) was a religious leader,[3] reformer,[22] scholar and theologian[1][2][4][23] from Najd in central Arabia, attributed as the founder of the Islamic doctrine and movement known as Wahhabism.[1][2][4][13][24][25][26][27][28][29] His prominent students included Hussayn ibn Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab, Ibrahim ibn Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab, 'Abdur-Rahman bin Hasan, Hammad ibn Nasir ibn Muamar, Hussayn al-Ghannam and Abdul Aziz ibn Muhammad ibn Saud.[30]

Muḥammad bin ʿAbd al-Wahhāb bin Sulaimān bin ʿAlī bin Muḥammad bin Aḥmad at-Tamīmī
محمد بن عبد الوهاب.png
Muḥammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhāb's name in Islāmic calligraphy
TitleShaykh
Personal
Born1703 (1115 A.H)
Died22 June 1792 (1206 AH) (aged 88-89)
ReligionIslām
Children
List
  • ‘Alī (first)
  • Ḥasan
  • Ḥusain
  • Ibrāhīm
  • Abdullāh
  • ‘Alī
  • Fāṭimah
  • ‘Abdulazīz
DenominationSunni
JurisprudenceḤanbalī, [1][2][3][4][5]Ahlul Hadith/Independent[6][7][8][9]
CreedAtharī[10]
MovementWahhābism[1][2][3][11][12][13][14]
Salafīyya [1][3][14][15][16][17]
Main interest(s)‘Aqīdah (Islamic theology)
Notable work(s)Kitāb at-Tawḥīd (Arabic: كتاب التوحيد‎; "The Book of Oneness")[3][18][19]
Senior posting
Arabic name
Personal (Ism)Muḥammad
Patronymic (Nasab)ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhāb ibn Sulaimān ibn ‘Alī ibn Muḥammad ibn Aḥmad ibn Rāshid
Teknonymic (Kunya)Abū al-Ḥasan[20]
Epithet (Laqab)an-Najdī
Toponymic (Nisba)at-Tamīmī[21]

The name "Wahhabi" is not claimed by his followers but rather employed in criticism.[31] Born to a family of jurists,[4] Ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhab's early education consisted of learning a fairly standard curriculum of orthodox jurisprudence according to the Hanbali school of Islamic law, which was the school most prevalent in his area of birth.[4] He promoted strict adherence to traditional Islamic Law, proclaiming the necessity of returning directly to the Quran and hadith, rather than relying on medieval interpretations and insisted that every Muslim – male and female – personally read and study the Qur'an.[32] He opposed taqlid (blind following) and called for the use of ijtihad (independent legal reasoning through research of scripture).[33][34] He had initial rudimentary training in classical Sunni Muslim tradition, Ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhab gradually became opposed to many popular, yet contested, religious practices such as the visitation to and veneration of the shrines and tombs of Muslim saints,[2][4][13][27] which he felt amounted to heretical religious innovation or even idolatry.[4][13][14][27][35] His call for social reform in society was based on the key doctrine of Tawhid (oneness of God).[36][37] Despite his teachings being rejected and opposed by many of the most notable Sunni Muslim scholars of the period,[1][4][35] including his own father and brother,[1][4][35] Ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhab charted a religio-political pact with Muhammad bin Saud to help him to establish the Emirate of Diriyah, the first Saudi state,[2][38] and began a dynastic alliance and power-sharing arrangement between their families which continues to the present day in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.[2][3][39] The Al ash-Sheikh, Saudi Arabia's leading religious family, are the descendants of Ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhab,[3][39] and have historically led the ulama in the Saudi state,[39][40] dominating the state's clerical institutions.[39][41]

The Austro-Hungarian born Muslim scholar Muhammad Asad noted that all modern Islamic Renaissance movements took inspiration from the spiritual impetus set in motion in 18th-century by Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahhab.[42]

Early yearsEdit

Ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhab is generally acknowledged[Note 1] to have been born in 1703[4][43] into the sedentary and impoverished Arab clan of Banu Tamim[44][45][46] in 'Uyayna, a village in the Najd region of central Arabia.[43][47] Before the emergence of Wahhabism there was a very limited history of Islamic education in the area.[46][48] For this reason, Ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhab had modest access to Islamic education during his youth.[46] Despite this,[46][49][50][51] the area had nevertheless produced several notable jurists of the Hanbali school of orthodox Sunni jurisprudence, which was the school of law most prominently practiced in the area.[4] In fact, Ibn ʿAbd-al-Wahhab's own family "had produced several doctors of the school,"[4] with his father, Sulaymān b. Muḥammad, having been the Hanbali jurisconsult of the Najd and his grandfather, ʿAbd al-Wahhāb, having been a judge of Hanbali law.[4]

Ibn ʿAbd-al-Wahhab's early education was taught by his father and[52] consisted of learning the Quran by heart and studying a rudimentary level of Hanbali jurisprudence and Islamic theology as outlined in the works of Ibn Qudamah (d. 1223), one of the most influential medieval representatives of the Hanbali school, whose works were regarded "as having great authority" in the Najd.[4] As the veneration of Muslim saints and the belief in their ability to perform miracles by the grace of God had become one of the most omnipresent and established aspects of Sunni Muslim practice throughout the Islamic world, being an agreed-upon tenet of the faith by the vast majority of the classical scholars,[53][54][55][56][57][58][59] it was not long before Ibn ʿAbd-al-Wahhab began to encounter the omnipresence of saint-veneration in his area as well; and he probably chose to leave Najd and look elsewhere for studies to see if the honoring of saints was as popular in the neighboring places of the Muslim world or the possibility that his home town offered inadequate educational resources. Even today, the reasoning for why he left Najd is unclear.[4][52]

After leaving 'Uyayna, Ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhab performed the Greater Pilgrimage in Mecca, where the scholars appear to have held opinions and espoused teachings that were unpalatable to him.[4] After this, he went to Medina, the stay at which seems to have been "decisive in shaping the later direction of his thought."[4] In Medina, he met a Hanbali theologian from Najd named ʿAbd Allāh b. Ibrāhīm al-Najdī, who had been a supporter of the neo-Hanbali works of Ibn Taymiyyah (d. 1328), the controversial medieval scholar whose teachings had been considered heterodox and misguided on several important points by the vast majority of Sunni Muslim scholars up to that point in history.[60][61][62][63]

Ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhab's teacher, Abdallah ibn Ibrahim ibn Sayf, introduced the relatively young man to Mohammad Hayyat Al-Sindhi in Medina, who belonged to the Naqshbandi order (tariqa) of Sufism,[64][65] and recommended him as a student.[66][67][68] Muhammad Ibn ʿAbd-al-Wahhab and al-Sindhi became very close, and Ibn ʿAbd-al-Wahhab stayed with him for some time.[66] Muhammad Hayya also taught Muhammad Ibn ʿAbd-al-Wahhab to reject popular religious practices associated with walis and their tombs that resemble later Wahhabi teachings.[66][better source needed] Following his early education in Medina, Ibn ʿAbd-al-Wahhab traveled outside of the Arabian Peninsula, venturing first to Basra[49][69] which was still an active center of Islamic culture.[52][better source needed]

Early preachingEdit

His leave from Basra marked the end of his education and as he returned home, Ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhab began to attract followers, including the ruler of 'Uyayna, Uthman ibn Mu'ammar. Once returned to Huraymila, where his father had settled, Ibn 'And al-Wahhab wrote his first work on the Unity of god.[52] With Ibn Mu'ammar, Ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhab agreed to support Ibn Mu'ammar's political ambitions to expand his rule "over Najd and possibly beyond", in exchange for the ruler's support for Ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhab's religious teachings. Ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhab began to implement some of his ideas for reform. First, he persuaded Ibn Mu'ammar to help him level the grave of Zayd ibn al-Khattab, a companion of Muhammad, whose grave was revered by locals. Secondly, he ordered the cutting down of trees considered sacred by locals, cutting down "the most glorified of all of the trees" himself. Third, he organized the stoning of a woman who confessed to having committed adultery.[70][71]

These actions gained the attention of Sulaiman ibn Muhammad ibn Ghurayr of the tribe of Bani Khalid, the chief of Al-Hasa and Qatif, who held substantial influence in Najd. Ibn Ghurayr threatened Ibn Mu'ammar by denying him the ability to collect a land tax for some properties that Ibn Mu'ammar owned in Al-Hasa if he did not kill or drive away from Ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhab. Consequently, Ibn Mu'ammar forced Ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhab to leave.[71][72]

Emergence of Saudi stateEdit

Pact with Muhammad bin SaudEdit

 
First Saudi State (1744–1818)

Upon his expulsion from 'Uyayna, Ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhab was invited to settle in neighboring Diriyah by its ruler Muhammad bin Saud. After some time in Diriyah, Muhammad ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhab concluded his second and more successful agreement with a ruler.[73] Ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhab and Muhammad bin Saud agreed that, together, they would bring the Arabs of the peninsula back to the "true" principles of Islam as they saw it. According to one source, when they first met, bin Saud declared:

This oasis is yours, do not fear your enemies. By the name of God, if all Nejd was summoned to throw you out, we will never agree to expel you.

— Madawi al-Rasheed, A History of Saudi Arabia: 16

Muhammad ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhab replied:

You are the settlement's chief and wise man. I want you to grant me an oath that you will perform jihad against the unbelievers. In return, you will be imam, leader of the Muslim community and I will be leader in religious matters.

— Madawi al-Rasheed, A History of Saudi Arabia: 16

The agreement was confirmed with a mutual oath of loyalty (bay'ah) in 1744.[74][better source needed] Ibn Abd al-Wahhab would be responsible for religious matters and Ibn Saud in charge of political and military issues.[73] This agreement became a "mutual support pact"[75][76] and power-sharing arrangement[77] between the Al Saud family, and the Al ash-Sheikh and followers of Ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhab, which has remained in place for nearly 300 years,[78] providing the ideological impetus to Saudi expansion.[79]

Emirate of Diriyah (First Saudi State)Edit

The 1744 pact between Muhammad bin Saud and Muhammad ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhab marked the emergence of the first Saudi state, the Emirate of Diriyah. By offering the Al Saud a clearly defined religious mission, the alliance provided the ideological impetus to Saudi expansion.[41] First conquering Najd, Al Saud's forces expanded the Salafi influence to most of the present-day territory of Saudi Arabia,[41] eradicating various popular practices they viewed as akin to polytheism and propagating the doctrines of ʿAbd al-Wahhab.[41][80]

FamilyEdit

According to academic publications such as the Encyclopædia Britannica while in Baghdad, Ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhab married an affluent woman. When she died, he inherited her property and wealth.[81][82] Muhammad ibn 'Abd Al-Wahhab had six sons; Hussain (died 1809), Abdullah (1751–1829), Hassan, Ali (died 1829), Ibrahim and Abdulaziz[83] who died in his youth. Four of his sons, Hussain, Abdullah, Ali and Ibrahim, established religious schools close to their home in Diriyah and taught the young students from Yemen, Oman, Najd and other parts of Arabia at their majlis.[83] One of their pupils was Husayn Ibn Abu Bakr Ibn Ghannam, a well-known Hanbali scholar.[83]

The descendants of Ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhab, the Al ash-Sheikh, have historically led the ulama in the Saudi state,[40] dominating the state's religious institutions.[41] Within Saudi Arabia, the family is held in prestige similar to the Saudi royal family, with whom they share power, and has included several religious scholars and officials.[84] The arrangement between the two families is based on the Al Saud maintaining the Al ash-Sheikh's authority in religious matters and upholding and propagating Salafi doctrine. In return, the Al ash-Sheikh support the Al Saud's political authority[85] thereby using its religious-moral authority to legitimize the royal family's rule.[86]

TeachingsEdit

Ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhab considered his movement an effort to purify Islam by returning Muslims to what, he believed, were the original principles of that religion. His works were generally short, full of quotations from the Qur'an and hadiths and wrote the book Kitab al-Tawhid.[52] He taught that the primary doctrine of Islam was the uniqueness and oneness of God (Tawhid)[87][88] and denounced popular beliefs of polytheism (shirk).

The "core" of Ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhab's teaching is found in Kitab al-Tawhid, a short essay which draws from material in the Quran and the recorded doings and sayings (hadith) of the Islamic prophet Muhammad.[89] It preaches that worship in Islam includes conventional acts of worship such as the five daily prayers (salat); fasting (sawm); supplication (Dua); seeking protection or refuge (Istia'dha); seeking help (Ist'ana and Istighatha) of Allah.[90][page needed][non-primary source needed]

Ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhab was keen on emphasizing that other acts, such as making dua or calling upon/supplication to or seeking help, protection or intercession from anyone or anything other than Allah, are acts of shirk and contradict the tenets of tawhid and that those who tried would never be forgiven.[90][page needed][non-primary source needed][91][page needed]

Traditionally, most Muslims throughout history have held the view that declaring the testimony of faith is sufficient in becoming a Muslim.[92] Ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab did not agree with this. He held the view that an individual who believed that there could be intercessors with God was actually performing shirk. This was the major difference between him and his opponents[93] and led him to declare Muslims who engaged in shirk to be apostates (takfir) and idolators (mushrikin).[94]

Ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab's movement is today often known as Wahhabism. Contrary to popular belief, the name itself is derived from his father's name 'Abd al-Wahhab (servant of the Bestower of gifts) rather than Muhammad's own name. Many adherents consider the term Wahhabism as a derogatory term coined by his opponents, and prefer it to be known as the Salafi movement.[95][96][97] Scholars point out that Salafism is a term applied to several forms of puritanical Islam in various parts of the world, while Wahhabism refers to the specific Saudi school, which is seen as a more strict form of Salafism.

On SufismEdit

Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahhab praised Tasawwuf. He stated the popular saying: “From among the wonders is to find a Sufi who is a faqih and a scholar who is an ascetic (zahid).”[98] He describes Tasawwuf as "the science of the deeds of the heart, which is known as the science of Suluk" and considered it as an important branch of religious sciences.[99][100]

At the end of his treatise, Al-Hadiyyah al-Suniyyah, Ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhab's son 'Abd Allah speaks positively on the practice of tazkiah (purification of the inner self).[101][102]

Abd Allah ibn Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab ends his treatise saying:

We do not negate the way of the Sufis and the purification of the inner self from the vices of those sins connected to the heart and the limbs as long as the individual firmly adheres to the rules of Shari‘ah and the correct and observed way. However, we will not take it on ourselves to allegorically interpret (ta’wil) his speech and his actions. We only place our reliance on, seek help from, beseech aid from and place our confidence in all our dealings in Allah Most High. He is enough for us, the best trustee, the best mawla and the best helper. May Allah send peace on our master Muhammad, his family and companions.

[103][104]

On non-MuslimsEdit

According to the political scientist Dore Gold,[105] Muhammad ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhab presented a strong anti-Christian and anti-Judaic stance in Kitab al-Tawhid,[105] describing followers of both the Christian and Jewish faiths as sorcerers[105] who believed in devil-worship,[105] and cited a hadith attributed to the Islamic prophet Muhammad[Note 2] stating that punishment for the sorcerer is "that he be struck with the sword".[105][106] Wahhab asserted that both religions had improperly made the graves of their prophet into places of worship and warned Muslims not to imitate this practice.[105][107] Wahhab concluded that "The ways of the people of the book are condemned as those of polytheists."[105][108]

However, the scholar Natana J. DeLong-Bas defended Muhammad ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhab, stating that

despite his at times vehement denunciations of other religious groups for their supposedly heretical beliefs, Ibn Abd al Wahhab never called for their destruction or death … he assumed that these people would be punished in the Afterlife …"[109]

According to Vahid Hussein Ranjbar, "Muhammad ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhab saw it as his mission to restore a more purer and original form of the faith of Islam." In accordance with the Salafi theology which upheld a strict doctrine of Tawhid (montheism), Ibn Abd al Wahhab condemned veneration of any personality other than God and sought the demolition of tombs of saints (awliya). Those who didn't adhere to the Salafi interpretation of monotheism were considered disbeleiving polytheists (including Sufi and Shia Muslims), Christians and other non-Muslims. He also advocated for a literalist interpretation of the Quran and its laws.[110]

On saintsEdit

Ibn Wahhab strongly condemned the worship of Saints, labeling it as shirk, or associating divinity to beings other than God.[111] Despite his great aversion to venerating the saints after their earthly passing and seeking their intercession, it should nevertheless be noted that Muhammad ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhab did not deny the existence of saints as such; on the contrary, he acknowledged that "the miracles of saints (karāmāt al-awliyāʾ) are not to be denied, and their right guidance by God is acknowledged" when they acted properly during their life.[112]

ReceptionEdit

By contemporariesEdit

Ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhab's teachings were criticized by a number of Islamic scholars during his life for disregarding Islamic history, monuments, traditions and the sanctity of Muslim life.[113] A handful of Arabian Hanbalis participated on the Ottoman side of the controversy. Muhammad ibn Abdullah ibn Humayd's 19th century biographical dictionary sheds light on those Hanbali scholars.[114] However the reliability of his biography itself is disputed for its inherent biases, which portrays Ibn Abdul Wahhab and his followers as heretics. It also misrepresents many Najdi Hanbali scholars as on the side of Ottoman Hanbalis.[115] Ibn Humayd’s maternal lineage, Al Turki, was of some local renown for its religious scholars, including two men who opposed the Wahhabism. One of them, named Ibn Muhammad compared Ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab with Musaylimah.[116] He also accused Ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab of wrongly declaring the Muslims to be infidels based on a misguided reading of Qur'anic passages and Prophetic traditions[116] and of wrongly declaring all scholars as infidels who did not agree with his "deviant innovation". In contrast to this anti-Wahhabi family tradition, Ibn Humayd's early education included extensive studies under two Wahhabi Shaykhs, both praised in his biographical dictionary. He then travelled to Damascus and Mecca wherein he attended lessons of men known for strong anti-Wahhabi convictions. Ibn Humayd's compatibility with Ottoman religious outlook made him eligible for the post of Ottoman Mufti in Mecca.[116]

Another Hanbali scholar whom Ibn Humayd portrays as a central figure in rejecting Ibn Abdul Wahhab was Ibn Fayruz Al-Tamimi al-Ahsai(1729/30 – 1801/2). Ibn Fayruz publicly repudiated Ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab's teachings when he sent an envoy to him. Ibn Fayruz then wrote to Sultan Abdul Hamid I and requested Ottoman assistance to subjugate Ibn Abdul Wahhab's followers whom he referred to as the "seditious Kharijites" of Najd. The Wahhabis, in turn, came to view him as one of their worst enemies and an exemplar of idolatry.[117]

According to Ibn Humayd, Ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab's father criticized his son for his unwillingness to specialize in jurisprudence and disagreed with his doctrine and declared that he would be the cause of wickedness.[118] Similarly his brother, Suleyman ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab wrote one of the first treatises' refuting Wahhabi doctrine[118] claiming he was ill-educated and intolerant and classing Ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhab's views as fringe and fanatical.[113] Later reports claim that Sulayman eventually repented from his errors, and joined the cause of his brother.[119] However, there is a difference of opinion concerning his repentance. Ibn Ghannam, the earliest Najdi chronicler, specifically states that he repented from his previous position and joined his brother in Diriyyah. Ibn Bishr simply states that he moved to al-Diriyyah with his family and remained there while receiving a stipend, which may or may not be a sign that he had changed his views. A letter attributed to Sulayman states that he repented from his earlier views.[120]

The Shafi'i mufti of Mecca, Ahmed ibn Zayni Dehlan, wrote an anti-Wahhabi treatise, the bulk of which consists incorrect arguments and out of context proof to uphold the validity of practices the Najdi Hanbalis considered idolatrous: Visiting the tombs of Muhammad, seeking the intercession of saints, venerating Muhammad and obtaining the blessings of saints.[121] He also accused Ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab of not adhering to the Hanbali school and that he was deficient in learning.[121] However, Ibn Abdul Wahhab himself considered visiting the grave of the Prophet as a righteous deed, referring to it as "among the best of deeds" while condemning its excesses.[122][123] On the other hand, Allegedly Ibn Taymiyya considered visiting the Prophet's grave to be forbidden.[124][125]

In response, the Indian Ahl-i-Hadeeth scholar Muhammad Bashir Sahsawani(1834-1908) wrote the treatise Sayaanah al-Insaan an Waswaswah al-Shaikh Dahlaan refuting Dehlan. Sahsawani stated that he met more than one scholar of the followers of ibn Abdul Wahhab and he read many of their books and he did not find any evidence for the false claim that they declared “non-Wahhabis” disbelievers.[126][127]

Islamic scholar Muhammad Rashid Rida, in his introduction to al-Sahsawani’s refutation of Dahlan, described ibn Abdul Wahhab as a mujaddid repelling the innovations and deviations in Muslim life. Through his Al-Manar magazine, Rashid Rida greatly contributed to the spread of ibn Abdul Wahhab’s teachings in the Islamic world. He was a strong supporter of Ibn Taymiyya and scholars of Najd, publishing works in his magazine entitled Majmooah al-Rasaail wa al-Masaail al-Najdiyyah and al-Wahhaabiyoon wa al-Hijaaz.[128]

Rashid Rida notes that given Dehlan's position in Mecca, and availability there of the works of Ibn Abdul Wahhab, he must have simply chosen to write otherwise. Rida also argued that Dehlan simply wrote what he heard from people and criticised him for not verifying reports and seeking out the writings of Ibn Abdul Wahhab. He condemned Ahmed Zayni Dehlan for his ignorance and his sanctioning of acts of kufr and shirk based on his reinterpretation of Islamic texts.[129]

Ali Bey Al Abbasi a Spanish explorer who was in Mecca in 1803, shortly after the Wahhabi conquest of Hejaz, presented a starkly different view of Wahhabis. He was surprised to find that they were fairly moderate, reasonable and civilized. He further observed that, rather than engaging in rampant violence and destruction, the Wahhabis were actually quite orderly and peaceful. Puzzled by the contradiction between popular image and reality, Ali Bey examined the historical record for clues. He found an important difference between the reign of Muhammad Ibn Saud, when Ibn Abd al-Wahhab was active in political life, and that of his son, Abd al-Aziz Ibn Muhammad Ibn Saud, when Ibn Abd al-Wahhab withdrew from active political activity. Ali Bey noted that Muhammad Ibn Saud had supported the teachings of Ibn Abd al-Wahhab but did not use a “convert or die” approach to gaining adherents. This practice was used only during the reign of Abd al-Aziz, who made selective use of Ibn Abd al-Wahhab’s teachings for the purpose of acquiring wealth and property for state consolidation—a contention supported by Ibn Bishr’s chronicle.Ali Bey declared that he "discovered much reason and moderation among the Wahhabites to whom I spoke, and from whom I obtained the greater part of the information which I have given concerning their nation."[130]

British diplomat Harford Jones-Brydges, who was stationed in Basra in 1784 attributed the popular hysteria about Wahhabis to a different cause. Unlike Ottoman depictions, Brydges believed that Ibn Abdul Wahhab's doctrine was in keeping with the teachings of Qur'an, was "perfectly orthodox", "consonant to the purest and best interpretations of that volume" and that Ottomans feared its spread precisely on that basis.[131]

The Egyptian historian and Azhari Islamic scholar Abdul-Rahmaan al-Jabarti (1753–1825) was very influenced and impressed by ibn Abdul Wahhab and his movement. He spread his thoughts in Egypt and saw in them the greatest potential to revive the Muslim world.[132] Jabarti encountered scholars of Wahhabis in Egypt in 1814, and despite all the negative things heard in popular discourse, he was highly impressed by them. He found them to be friendly and articulate, knowledgeable and well versed in historical events and curiosities. Al Jabarti stated that Wahhabis were "modest men of good morals, well trained in oratory, in the principles of religion, the branches of fiqh, and the disagreements of the Schools of Law. In all this they were extraordinary.”[133] He described Ibn Abdul Wahhab as a man who "summoned men to Quran and the Prophet’s Sunna, bidding them to abandon innovations in worship". On doctrinal matters, Al Jabarti emphasized that the beliefs of Muhammad Ibn Abdul Wahhab were part of Orthodox Sunni Islam and stated that Wahhabis did not bring anything new.[134][135]

Yemeni Salafi scholars Imam Al-Shawkani and his student Al-San'aani were known to have praised Ibn 'Abd Al Wahhab. Al-Shawkani says '“Some people believe that Sahib (ruler) of Najd (Ameer Abdul Aziz bin Muhammad bin Saud) upholds Khariji(extremist) beliefs, but I do not believe it to be correct as these people (the followers of Ibn Abdil Wahaab) follow the way of Muhammad ibn AbdilWahab and he was from Hanbali Madhab, he learned Hadith from Shuyukh of Madeenah and returned to Najd where he acted upon the Ijtihadat of late Hanbalis scholars such as Ibn Taymiyyah, Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya and others, and these people were among most severe against those who have (false) belief in dead.” [alBadr at-tali 1/500]

The following view was endorsed by the Indian Ahl-i Hadith scholar and reformer Siddiq Hasan Khan in AtTaj wal Mukallal p 334.[136]

Modern receptionEdit

Ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhab is accepted by Salafi scholars as an authority and source of reference. Salafi scholars Rashid Rida and Abdul Aziz ibn Baz considered him a Mujaddid.[137] 20th century Albanian scholar Nasiruddin Albani refers to Ibn Abdul Wahhab's activism as "Najdi da'wah."[138][better source needed]

Rashid Ahmed Gangohi, the founder of Deobandi movement also praised Ibn Abdul Wahhab.[139] Hence, the contemporary ulema of Deoband mostly respect him while being critical of the Salafi movement.[140][141]

A list of scholars with opposing views, along with names of their books and related information, was compiled by the Islamic scholar Muhammad Hisham.[142]

In 2010, Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz at the time serving as the governor of Riyadh said that the teaching of Muhammad Ibn Abdul-Wahab was pure Islam, and said regarding his works, "I dare anyone to bring a single alphabetical letter from the Sheikh's books that goes against the book of Allah and the teachings of his prophet, Muhammad."[143]

According to some sources, Al-Qaeda is said to have been influenced by the Wahhabi movement. However, other academicians note that the ideology of Al-Qaeda is not Wahhabi. Other scholars note that its ideology is neo-Salafi/Salafi-Jihadist that emerged as a marriage of Qutbist doctrines with Salafism. Taliban movement in Afghanistan, often conflated with Wahhabis in early 2000s, emerged from the Sufi Deobandi school.[144] Before a 2003 Senate hearing, when the FBI considered Al-Qaeda as "the number one terrorist threat to the United States", journalist Stephen Schwartz and U.S Senator Jon Kyle alleged that Wahhabism is a source of extremist ideology.[145] However, according to other sources, Salafis are fundamentally opposed to the ideology of Al-Qaeda.[146]

Contemporary recognitionEdit

The national mosque of Qatar is named after him.[147] The "Imam Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab Mosque" was opened in 2011, with the Emir of Qatar presiding over the occasion.[148] The mosque can hold a congregation of 30,000 people.[149] In 2017 there has been a request published on the Saudi Arabian newspaper Okaz signed by 200 descendants of Ibn Abd al-Wahhab that the name of the mosque be changed, because according to their statement "it does not carry its true Salafi path", even though most Qataris adhere to Wahhabism.[150]

Despite Wahhabi destruction of many Islamic, cultural, and historical sites[151] associated with the early history of Islam and the first generation of Muslims (Muhammad's family and his companions),[151] the Saudi government undertook a large-scale development of Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab's domain, Diriyah, turning it into a major tourist attraction.[152][153] Other features in the area include the Sheikh Muhammad bin Abdul Wahab Foundation, which is planned to include a light and sound presentation[154] located near the Mosque of Sheikh Mohammad bin Abdulwahab.[155]

WorksEdit

  • Risālah Aslu Dīn Al-Islām wa Qā'idatuhu
  • Kitab al-Quran (The book of Allah)
  • Kitab at-Tawhid (The Book of the Oneness of God)
  • Kashf ush-Shubuhaat (Clarification of the Doubts)
  • Al-Usool-uth-Thalaatha (The Three Fundamental Principles)
  • Al Qawaaid Al 'Arbaa (The Four Foundations)
  • Al-Usool us Sittah (The Six Fundamental Principles)
  • Nawaaqid al Islaam (Nullifiers of Islam)
  • Adab al-Mashy Ila as-Salaa (Manners of Walking to the Prayer)
  • Usul al-Iman (Foundations of Faith)
  • Fada'il al-Islam (Excellent Virtues of Islam)
  • Fada'il al-Qur'an (Excellent Virtues of the Qur'an)
  • Majmu'a al-Hadith 'Ala Abwab al-Fiqh (Compendium of the Hadith on the Main Topics of the Fiqh)
  • Mukhtasar al-Iman (Abridgement of the Faith; i.e. the summarised version of a work on Faith)
  • Mukhtasar al-Insaf wa'l-Sharh al-Kabir (Abridgement of the Equity and the Great Explanation)
  • Mukhtasar Seerat ar-Rasul (Summarised Biography of the Prophet)
  • Kitaabu l-Kabaair (The Book of Great Sins)
  • Kitabu l-Imaan (The Book of Trust)
  • Al-Radd 'ala al-Rafida (The Refutation of the Rejectionists)

See alsoEdit

SourcesEdit

There are two contemporary histories of Muhammed ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhab and his religious movement from the point of view of his supporters: Ibn Ghannam's Rawdhat al-Afkar wal-Afham or Tarikh Najd (History of Najd) and Ibn Bishr's Unwan al-Majd fi Tarikh Najd. Husain ibn Ghannam (d. 1811), an alim from al-Hasa was the only historian to have observed the beginnings of Ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhab's movement first-hand. His chronicle ends at the year 1797.[156][157] Ibn Bishr's chronicle, which stops at the year 1854, was written a generation later than Ibn Ghannam's but is considered valuable partly because Ibn Bishr was a native of Najd and because he adds many details to Ibn Ghannam's account.[156]

A third account, dating from around 1817 is Lam' al-Shihab, written by an anonymous Sunni author who respectfully disapproved of Ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhab's movement, regarding it as a bid'ah. It is also commonly cited because it is considered to be a relatively objective contemporary treatment of the subject. However, unlike Ibn Ghannam and Ibn Bishr, its author did not live in Najd and his work is believed to contain some apocryphal and legendary material concerning the details of Ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhab's life.[51][158]

NotesEdit

  1. ^ While there is some consensus over these details, the opinion is not unanimous over the specifics in regard to his place and date of birth. Seemingly his recognition with the Banu Tamim tribe thought is in line with the justification by some scholars of being the inheritor of the teachings of Ibn Taymiyyah.
  2. ^ The attribution of this hadith is disputed; according to other sources it should be attributed to 'Umar ibn al-Khattab, companion of the Islamic prophet Muhammad and second caliph of the Rashidun Caliphate.

ReferencesEdit

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  7. ^ see also Mortimer, Edward, Faith and Power: The Politics of Islam, Vintage Books, 1982, p. 61
  8. ^ DeLong-Bas, Natana J. (2004). Wahhabi Islam: From Revival and Reform to Global Jihad. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-516991-3. 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. line feed character in |quote= at position 51 (help)
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  126. ^ al-Din M. Zarabozo, Jamaal (2005). The Life, Teachings and Influence of Muhammad ibn Abdul-Wahhaab. Riyadh: The Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Endowments, Dawah and Guidance The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. pp. 218, 234. ISBN 9960-29-500-1. Muhammad Basheer ibn Muhammad al-Sahsawaani from India (1250-1326 A.H.). He was a scholar from India who went to Makkah and met with and debated Dahlaan. Later he wrote a large volume refuting the false claims and misinterpretations of Dahlaan, entitled Sayaanah al-Insaan an Waswasah al-Shaikh Dahlaan.".. "Similarly, al-Sahsawaani stated that he met more than one scholar of the followers of ibn Abdul-Wahhaab and he read many of their books and he did not find any evidence for the false claim that they declared “non-Wahhabis” disbelievers
  127. ^ "[Biography] – Allamah Muhammad Bashir Sehsawani [1326H]". Salafi Research Institute. Archived from the original on 25 January 2019.
  128. ^ al-Din M. Zarabozo, Jamaal (2005). The Life, Teachings and Influence of Muhammad ibn Abdul-Wahhaab. Riyadh: The Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Endowments, Dawah and Guidance The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. pp. 172–173. ISBN 9960-29-500-1. He was a strong supporter of ibn Taimiyyah—publishing his works—as well as of the scholars of Najd—publishing their works in his magazine and in a separate anthology entitled Majmooah al-Rasaail wa al-Masaail al-Najdiyyah. In his introduction to al-Sahwasaani’s refutation of Dahlaan, Ridha, in a lengthy passage, described ibn Abdul-Wahhaab as a mujaddid (“religious revivalist”), repelling the innovations and deviations in Muslim life. Through his magazine, al-Manaar, Muhammad Rasheed Ridha greatly contributed to the spread of ibn Abdul-Wahhaab’s teachings in the whole Muslim world. In fact, he published some of his articles from that magazine in a work entitled al-Wahhaabiyoon wa al-Hijaaz (“The Wahhabis and the Hijaz”). His magazine was unique in its thought and popularity.
  129. ^ Al Din M.Zarabazo, Jamal (2005). The Life, Teachings and Influence of Muhammad ibn Abdul-Wahhaab. Riyadh: The Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Endowments, Dawah and Guidance The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. pp. 213, 242–243. ISBN 9960-29-500-1. "Muhammad Rasheed Ridha notes that given Dahlaan’s position in Makkah and the availability there of works about the call, it is hard to believe that Dahlaan was not aware of the truth about the teachings of ibn Abdul Wahhab and his followers. He must have simply chosen to write otherwise. He further argues that even if he did not see such writings and he relied simply on what he heard from people, it would have been incumbent upon him to verify those reports and to seek out ibn Abdul Wahhab’s writings to see if such reports could possibly have been true." ... "Muhammad Rasheed Ridha described the situation best when he wrote, “From the amazing aspects of the ignorance of Dahlaan and others similar to him is that they think that what Allah describes concerning the falsehood of the shirk of the polytheists applies only to them [that is, the polytheists at the time of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him)]. They think that such are not proofs against anyone who does similar to what they did. It is as if it is permissible for a Muslim to commit shirk due to his Islamic citizenship, even if he commits every type of associating of partners with Allah enumerated in the Quran. Based on that, he cannot conceive of any kind of apostasy from Islam because anyone who is called a Muslim must also have his kufr and shirk called Islamic [kufr and shirk]. Or it is considered permissible for him or, at the very least, forbidden. Indeed, they considered it sanctioned based on a reinterpretation of the texts.” Rasheed Ridha, footnotes to Siyaanah al-Insaan, pp. 479-480
  130. ^ J. Delong-Bas, Natana (2004). Wahhabi Islam:From Revival and Reform to Global Jihad. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 244–245. ISBN 0-19-516991-3.
  131. ^ J. Delong-Bas, Natana (2004). Wahhabi Islam: From Revival and Reform to Global Jihad. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 245–246. ISBN 0-19-516991-3.
  132. ^ al-Din M. Zarabozo, Jamaal (2003). The Life, Teachings and Influence of Muhammad ibn Abdul-Wahhaab. Riyadh: The Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Endowments, Dawah and Guidance: The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. p. 171. ISBN 9960-29-500-1. The historian and Azhari scholar Abdul-Rahmaan al-Jabarti (1167-1237 A.H.) was very influenced and impressed by the followers of ibn Abdul-Wahhaab and he spread their thoughts in Egypt. He saw in them the greatest potential to revive the Muslim world.
  133. ^ J. Delong-Bas, Natana (2004). Wahhabi Islam: From Revival and Reform to Global Jihad. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 245. ISBN 0-19-516991-3. "The Egyptian historian Abd al-Rahman al-Jabarti, who encountered Wahhabis in Egypt ten years later, in 1814, was similarly impressed by the knowledge of the Wahhabi scholars he encountered, despite all of the negative things he had heard about them. The two Wahhabis with whom al-Jabarti met had come to Egypt in search of hadith collections and Hanbali exegetical discussions of the Quran (tafsir) and jurisprudence (fiqh): “I myself met with the two Wahhabis twice and found them to be friendly and articulate, knowledgeable and well versed in historical events and curiosities. They were modest men of good morals, well trained in oratory, in the principles of religion, the branches of fiqh, and the disagreements of the Schools of Law. In all this they were extraordinary.”
  134. ^ Commins, David (2006). The Wahhabi Mission and Saudi Arabia. London: I.B Tauris. p. 31. ISBN 1-84511-080-3. Whereas Ottoman writers disparaged Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab, the Egyptian author described him as a man who summoned men to God’s book and the Prophet’s Sunna, bidding them to abandon innovations in worship. To the Wahhabis’ discredit, al-Jabarti reported the 1803 massacre at Ta’if, where Wahhabi forces slaughtered the men and enslaved the women and children. But when it came to doctrinal matters, he reproduced an epistle that the Wahhabis had sent to the religious leader of a Moroccan pilgrim caravan. The epistle set forth their views on idolatry, intercession, festooning the graves of holy men and adhering to the Sunni mainstream. It emphasized that the Wahhabis did not bring anything new but followed classical authorities
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  145. ^ "Terrorism: Growing Wahhabi Influence in the United States". www.govinfo.gov. Retrieved 2 March 2021. .. 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.
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