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 Islam and the Wahhabi interpretation of it. , In 1901, Abdulaziz Ibn Saud, a fifth generation descendant of Muhammad ibn Saud, 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.  The primary Wahhabi doctrine is affirmation of the uniqueness and unity of God (Tawhid), and opposition to shirk (violation of tawhid – "the one unforgivable sin", according to Ibn Abd Al-Wahhab). Ottoman loyalists gather against the Arab Revolt. They emphasize reliance on the literal meaning of the Quran and hadith, rejecting rationalistic theology (kalam). alleges that a British agent named Hempher was responsible for the creation of Wahhabism.  He started a reform movement in the remote, sparsely populated region of Najd, advocating a purging of such widespread Sunni practices as the veneration of saints and the visiting of their tombs and shrines, that were practiced all over the Islamic world, but which he considered idolatrous impurities and innovations in Islam (bid'ah). Yet public opinion of ISIS in the kingdom remains very empathetic. , According to Robert Lacey "the Wahhabis have always disliked the name customarily given to them" and preferred to be called Muwahhidun (Unitarians). " Qatar has reportedly sent Jewish professors back to America, and students attending American universities in Qatar are reportedly required to dress in a manner respectful to Wahhabism.  , In the West, the end of the Cold War and the anti-communist alliance with conservative, religious Saudi Arabia, and the 9/11 attacks created enormous distrust towards the kingdom and especially its official religion.  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. , The February 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran challenged Saudi Wahhabism in a number of ways on a number of fronts.  The head of Al-Ahbash, Abdullah al-Harari says Wahhabis offer anthropomorphic descriptions of God thereby imitate polytheists. to preach his new interpretation of Islam for the purpose of sowing dissension and disunity among Muslims so that "We, the English people ... may live in welfare and luxury.". , The Sufi Islamic Supreme Council of America founded by the Naqshbandi Sufi Shaykh Hisham Kabbani classify Wahhabism as being extremist and heretical based on Wahhabism's role as a terrorist ideology and labelling of other Muslims, especially Sufis as polytheists, a practice known as takfir. Al-Baqi' before the demolition by king Ibn Saud in 1925.. Abd al-Rahman ibn Hasan (1780–1869) was head of the religious estate in the. However, in the vigor to expose strains of extremism, we must not forget that open discussion is the best tool to debunk the extremist literature rather than a suppression of First Amendment rights guaranteed by the U.S.  Its leader (Ruhollah Khomeini) preached that monarchy was against Islam and America was Islam's enemy, and called for the overthrow of al-Saud family. However, Rida had some liberal religious ideas and after his death his works were banned in Saudi Arabia. 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." , 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." , By the 1880s, at least among townsmen if not Bedouin, Wahhabi strict monotheistic doctrine had become the native religious culture of the Najd. , The largest Sunni organization in the world, Indonesia's Nahdlatul Ulama, opposes Wahhabism, referring to as a fanatical and innovative movement within the tradition of Sunnism. What made them pagans whose blood could be shed and wealth plundered was that "they sacrificed animals to other beings; they sought the help of other beings; they swore vows by other beings." Islam Nusantara was developed in Nusantara (Indonesian archipelago) at least since the 16th century, defined as an interpretation of Islam that takes into account local Indonesian customs in forming its fiqh. ", Munich Forum for Islam (MFI), also known as the Center for Islam in Europe-Munich (ZIEM), was another controversial initiative largely financed by the Wahhabi Gulf country of Qatar.  To propagate Islam and "repel inimical trends and dogmas", the League opened branch offices around the globe. ", "The Saga of "Hempher", Purported British Spy", Saudi schools promoting hatred and violence on non-believers — BBC.co.uk, Saudi Arabia's religious police 'contains extremists', "A special day for mothers: Difference of opinion", "Many celebrate Valentine's Day in secret", A Saudi Woman Is Threatened After Tweeting About Beards, "The Wahhabi war against 'infidels' and flowers", "An Unprecedented Uproar Over Saudi Religious Police", "Wahhabism vs. Wahhabism: Qatar Challenges Saudi Arabia", "Wahhabism: Is it a Factor in the Spread of Global Terrorism? , 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 – 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.  During this time, Wahhabism attained what Gilles Kepel called a "preeminent position of strength in the global expression of Islam".  Outside of Saudi the Wahhabi ulama became "less combative" toward the rest of the Muslim world. In 2012, Saudi Arabia’s own intelligence chief Bandar Bin Sultan was formally sent to Syria to round up and organize Sunni militants for the opposition movement. 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. This money – spent on books, media, schools, universities, mosques, scholarships, fellowships, lucrative jobs for journalists, academic… 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. , Estimates of Saudi spending on religious causes abroad include "upward of $100 billion"; between $2 and 3 billion per year since 1975 (compared to the annual Soviet propaganda budget of $1 billion/year); Under the reign of Abdulaziz, "political considerations trumped religious idealism" favored by pious Wahhabis. ", The prominent Kuwaiti Sunni 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. " The mosque in Education City has hosted extremist Anti-Semitic Wahhabi preachers speaking against "Zionist aggressors" in their sermons, and calling upon Allah "to count them in number and kill them completely, do not spare a [single] one of them. The group circulates images of Wahhabi religious textbooks from Saudi Arabia in the schools it controls. It is the largest mosque in its region in France.  (This strict obedience can become problematic if a dynastic dispute arises and someone rebelling against the ruler succeeds and becomes the ruler, as happened in the late 19th century at the end of the second al-Saud state.  The revivalists and Wahhabis shared a common interest in Ibn Taymiyya's thought, the permissibility of ijtihad, and the need to purify worship practices of innovation. The prayers and lectures were held at Education City's new lavish mosque in Doha. ", "Online Education Targets Saudi Arabia's Labor Problem, Starting With Women", "Census shows Kingdom's population at more than 27 million", "Saudi Fatwa Restrictions and the State-Clerical Relationship", "In Search of Friends Among The Foes U.S. Hopes to Work With Diverse Group", "Saudi Arabia's religious police ordered to be 'gentle, "Saudi Arabia strips religious police of arrest powers", "I will return Saudi Arabia to moderate Islam, says crown prince", "Conference in Grozny: Wahhabism exclusion from the Sunni community provokes Riyadh's wrath", "Crown Prince Mohammed's Vow To Moderate Saudi Islam: Easier Said Than Done", 25–27 August 2016 Islamic conference in Grozny, "Caught in the Crossfire: Will moderate Iraqis embrace democracy or Islamist radicalism? in Saudi Arabia – the one country founded with the help of Wahhabi warriors and whose scholars and pious citizens dominate many aspects of the Kingdom's life. Abd al-Latif ibn Abd al-Rahman (1810–1876) Head of religious estate in 1860 and early 1870s. Shortly after 9/11 this history became quite relevant to US intelligence analysts. Documents reveal the groups explicitly stated goals of, “establishing the religion and dissemination monotheism, which is the purpose and calling of Islam,” — this is the same rhetoric in Abdul-Wahab’s interpretations of Islam. King Abdulaziz 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)". , The "pivotal idea" of Ibn Abd al-Wahhab's teaching was that people who called themselves Muslims but who participated in alleged innovations were not just misguided or committing a sin, but were "outside the pale of Islam altogether", as were Muslims who disagreed with his definition.  In 1818 they defeated Al-Saud, leveling the capital Diriyah, executing the Al-Saud emir and exiling the emirate's political and religious leadership, and otherwise unsuccessfully attempted to stamp out not just the House of Saud but the Wahhabi mission as well. Obama’s Flawed Islamic State Strategy: From Saudi Arabia with Love, How the ‘Clash of Civilizations’ Explains Turkey-US Relations, Intelligence reports delivered right to your inbox, Analysis from our global network of experts. The country sponsors a film festival, has "world-class art museums", hosts Al Jazeera news service, will hold the 2022 football World Cup, and has no religious force that polices public morality. , 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), and Islamic reform (specifically reform by following the example of those first three generations of Muslims known as the Salaf); the destruction of the Ottoman Empire which sponsored their most effective critics; the destruction of another rival, the Khilafa in Hejaz, in 1925. Saudi leadership sought and received Wahhabi fatawa to approve the military removal of the insurgents and after that to execute them, but Wahhabi clerics also fell under suspicion for involvement with the insurgents. Little did they realize that the events that followed would set a precedent for the future of the region. Prayer attendance, which was once enforced by flogging, is no longer.. Firstly, ISIS is effectively using social media campaigns to recruit new members from all over the globe.  A backlash in the formerly hospitable US against the kingdom focused on its official religion that came to be considered by some "a doctrine of terrorism and hate".  As mentioned before, Wahhabism also forbids the driving of motor vehicles by women.  Scholar David Cummings 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". Redissi details refutations of Wahhabis by scholars (muftis); among them Ahmed Barakat Tandatawin, who in 1743 describes Wahhabism as ignorance (Jahala).  It rewarded journalists and academics, who followed it and built satellite campuses around Egypt for Al Azhar, the oldest and most influential Islamic university.  Control of Mecca and Medina, which gave Wahhabis great influence on Muslim culture and thinking; Oil, which after 1975 allowed Wahhabis to promote their interpretations of Islam using billions from oil export revenue. CNN Interview", "Saudi Arabia, Elephant in the Living Room", "For Conservative Muslims, Goal of Isolation a Challenge", "Islam and the West: A Conversation with Bernard Lewis (transcript)", "Imam Muhammad bin Abdul Wahhab, Ibn Saud information resource", "The First Ikhwan Rebellion 1927–1928. 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".  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.  Additionally, the terms Muwahhidun and Unitarians are associated with other sects, both extant and extinct. , Many scholars and critics distinguish between Wahhabi and Salafi. , It follows the theology of Ibn Taymiyyah and the Hanbali school of jurisprudence, although a small minority of Hanbali leaders renounced ibn Abd al-Wahhab's views due to Ottoman influence. While the conduct of Wahhabism in Saudi Arabia is not at the same level of brutality that ISIS displays by leaving beheaded bodies mounted in the streets, enslaving women and girls of different religions, or massacring towns and villages at point-blank range, the fundamental ideas behind the importance of living by the Koran and ruling by the sword still pertain to both sides — this is evidenced by public opinion polls and support for the groups across internet platforms. They strongly oppose what they consider to be heterodox doctrines, particularly those held by the vast majority of Sunnis and Shiites, and practices such as the veneration of Prophets and saints in the Islamic tradition. The opinions, beliefs, and viewpoints expressed by the authors are theirs alone and don’t reflect any official position of Geopoliticalmonitor.com. 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. Voluntary contact was considered by Wahhabi clerics to be at least a sin, and if one enjoyed the company of idolaters, and "approved of their religion", an act of unbelief.  The result that safeguarded the vision of Islam-based on the tenets of Islam as preached by Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab was not bloodless, as 40,000 public executions and 350,000 amputations were carried out during its course, according to some estimates..  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. It is a social movement that began 200 years ago to rid Islam of rigid cultural practices that had (been) acquired over the centuries. , Some of the initiatives of the Cultural Islamic Center Sesto San Giovanni in Italy, funded by Qatar Charity, have also raised concerns due to its ties to Wahhabbism. 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."  Another preferred term was simply "Muslims" since their creed is "pure Islam". , In general, mainstream Sunni Muslims condemn Wahhabism for being a major factor behind the rise of such groups as al-Qaeda, ISIS, and Boko Haram, while also inspiring movements such as the Taliban. (. Moving forward, expect to see any rise of religious fanaticism inside the Kingdom suppressed while extremist groups outside of the Kingdom’s grasp, particularly in neighboring countries, continue to emulate the Wahhabi doctrine that Saudi Arabia has lived under since its founding.  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. In time they took leading roles in key governmental ministries, and had influence on education curriculum. Herein lies the paradox behind the Saudi state: without the House of Shaykh using the Wahhabi ideology to legitimatize the religious duty of the House of Saud to rule, the royal family will no longer have a substantial claim for political power over the kingdom.  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).  The self-designation as "People of the Sunna" was important for Wahhabisms authencity, because during the Ottoman period only Sunnism was the legitimate doctrine. Ibn Taymiyyah’s belief that, “misguided Muslims who do not abide by his interpretation of Shari’ah law should be fought as if they were infidels,” is a foundational principle of Al-Qaeda and ISIS alike. " "pure Islam" (David Commins, paraphrasing supporters' definition), "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), "a conservative reform movement ... the creed upon which the kingdom of Saudi Arabia was founded, and [which] has influenced Islamic movements worldwide" (, "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). The continued kidnapping of foreigners and reporters will serve as possible additional funding from European and Asian governments due to their willingness to negotiate with terrorist organizations.  "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. Information about your device and internet connection, including your IP address, Browsing and search activity while using Verizon Media websites and apps. and journalists , However, many call Wahhabism a more strict, Saudi form of Salafi.  CATF notes that Qatar Charity "was named as a major financial conduit for al-Qaeda in judicial proceedings following the attacks on the U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania", supported al-Qaeda operatives in Northern Mali, and was "heavily involved in Syria. Khaled Abou El Fadl attributed the appeal of Wahhabism to some Muslims as stemming from.  He also believed that the Shia doctrine of infallibility of the imams constituted associationism with God.  The leader of the movement Fethullah Gülen denounces Arabs for conspiring against the Ottoman state as well as interpreting Islam strictly by their Arabian culture and Wahhabism. , However, various scholars, including Simon Ross Valentine, have strongly rejected such a view of Wahhab, arguing that "the image of Abd’al-Wahhab presented by DeLong-Bas is to be seen for what it is, namely a re-writing of history that flies in the face of historical fact". 2014 population estimate of 2 million, compared to 30 million for Saudi Arabia. Wahhabism refers to the Islamic doctrine founded by Muhammad Ibn’ Abdul-Wahhab. , The majority of Sunni and Shia Muslims worldwide disagree with the interpretation of Wahhabism, and many Muslims denounce them as a faction or a "vile sect". 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. However, Egyptian forces acting under the Ottoman Empire and led by Ibrahim Pasha, were eventually successful in counterattacking in a campaign starting from 1811.  However, critics point out that no Muslims venerate buildings or tombs as it is a shirk. In 2016, the citizens of Brussels, Belgium overturned a 2015 decision to build a 600-person mosque next to the Qatari embassy. Islam for Today - What Is a Salafi And Is Their Approach Valid?  With the help of funding from Saudi petroleum exports (and other factors), the movement underwent "explosive growth" beginning in the 1970s and now has worldwide influence.  Early Salafis referred to themselves simply as "Muslims", believing the neighboring Ottoman Caliphate was al-dawlah al-kufriyya (a heretical nation) and its self-professed Muslim inhabitants actually non-Muslim. – Ibn 'Abd al Wahhab and his successors preach that theirs is the one true form of Islam. The plan for the Saudi-backed AQI to enter Syria became botched when Hezbollah and Iran began funneling cash, arms, and personnel into Syria to combat the overthrow, creating a rift between AQI, Al-Qaeda leadership, and Saudi leadership on a plan of action. '", One of the more detailed estimates of religious population in the Persian Gulf is by Mehrdad Izady who estimates, "using cultural and not confessional criteria", approximately 4.56 million Wahhabis in the Persian Gulf region, about 4 million from Saudi Arabia, (mostly the Najd), and the rest coming overwhelmingly from the Emirates and Qatar. 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... "ISIS' Harsh Brand of Islam Is Rooted in Austere Saudi Creed", The Destruction of Holy Sites in Mecca and Medina, "Mohammad Javad Zarif: Let Us Rid the World of Wahhabism", "September 11 in History: A Watershed Moment? Every Saudi ruler since Bin Sa’ud has followed his predecessor’s domestic policy by ensuring that the religious establishment remains in significant control of public affairs. His rulings and fatwas range from: disputing the landing on the moon — the banning of pictures, statues and relics — the banning of prayer behind a man wearing a suit and tie — rejection of the rotation of the earth — the banning of singing and music — banning women from driving — and declaring Muslims who do not believe the stories of the Prophet as infidels. , By 1989, Soviet troops had withdrawn and within a few years the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul had collapsed. Some Wahhabi preachers or activists go further than the official Saudi Arabian Council of Senior Scholars in forbidding (what they believe to be) sin.  He studied in Basra, in what is now Iraq, and possibly Mecca and Medina while there to perform Hajj, before returning to his home town of 'Uyayna in 1740. The British also adopted it and expanded its use in the Middle East. and "at least $87 billion" from 1987 to 2007. , 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, and has caused the Saudi interpretation (sometimes called "petro-Islam") to be perceived as the correct interpretation—or the "gold standard" of Islam—in many Muslims' minds.. 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.
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