From Academic Kids

Template:IslamWahhabism (sometimes spelled Wahabbism or Wahabism) is a movement of Islam named after Muhammad ibn Abd al Wahhab (17031792). It has become an object of increased interest because it is the major sect of the government and society of Saudi Arabia. Wahhabism is an offending synonym for one form of Salafism.


Origin of the term "Wahhabi"

The term "Wahhab" (Wahhābīya) is in reference to the movement's founder Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahab.

Many Wahhabi Muslims do not approve of this name. Historically, members of this movement call themselves al-Muwahhiddun, ("the monotheists"). (The name al-Muwahhidun should not be confused with the 12th century al-Muwahhidun movement and dynasty of Morocco.)

The Wahhabis claim to call to the way of the "Salaf as-Salih", the 'rightly guided or pious predecessors' as recently propogated mainly by Ibn Taimiyya and later by Muhammed ibn Abdul Wahab and his followers.

They are also known as Salafis, i.e. people who are upon the way of the pious predecessors.

Wahhabis do not follow any specific maddhab(school of jurisprudence), but claim to follow the Prophet Muhammad directly, using the four main schools of thought for reference. They are often associated however with the Hanbali maddhab. Wahhabis hold some sects such as Sufism and Shiism to follow innovated practices which can place them outside the fold of Islam.


Wahhabism follows Islam, so the Qur'an and the ahadith are its basic text. It uses explanations of Qur'an and Hadiths from the Companions of Prophet Muhammad and the scholars who were upon their way throughout the ages. Such as Ibn Abd al-Wahhab, from such books as Kitab al-Tawhid (Arabic, "Book of Monotheism"), and works of scholars before him such as Ibn Taymiyya (1263–1328).


Wahhabi theology advocates a fundamentalist, puritanical and legalistic stance in matters of faith and religious practice.

Wahhabists see their role as a movement to restore Islam from what they perceive to be innovations, superstitions, deviances, heresies and idolatries. During the time of Mohammed Ibn Abdul Wahhab, whose prominence gave name to this movement, there were many practices that they believed were contrary to Islam, such as:

  • That invoking any prophet, saint or angel in prayer, other than God alone, is polytheism
  • Grave worship, whether to saints' graves, or the prophet's grave
  • Celebrating annual feasts for dead saints
  • Wearing of charms, and believing in their healing power
  • Practicing magic, or going to sorcerers or witches seeking healing
  • Innovation in matters of religion (e.g. new methods of worship)
  • Erecting elaborate monuments over any grave

The opponents argue that these practices have adequate proofs from the Qur'an and Sunnah and have been accepted by Sunni scholars since the early days of Islam. They also see grave worship as intermediation (tawassul), and claim this is accepted and called for practice in Islam.

Wahhabism is often maligned and attacked by adherents of the Ash'ari and Maturidis as being anthropomorphist.

Early history of Wahhabism

Wahhabism in Saudi Arabia began with a surge of reformers seeking to reclaim orthodox Islam from innovation by various sects of Sunni Muslims. In the 18th century, it spread in Najd along with the expansion of the First Saudi State under Muhammad bin Saud and his successors.

Modern spread of Wahhabism

Wahhabism is the official form of Islam in Saudi Arabia. In 1924 the Wahhabi al-Saud dynasty conquered Mecca and Medina, cities holy to Muslims, creating the Saudi state. The spread of Wahhabi Islam has been facilitated by Saudi oil revenues; Saudi laypeople, government officials and clerics have donated many tens of millions of dollars to create Wahhabi-oriented religious schools, newspapers and outreach organizations.

Some Wahhabis believe that many Muslim Brotherhood scholars — Sayyed Qutb and Yusuf al-Qaradawi are sometimes cited — are corrupted due to their innovations in Islam, and their call to revolution and rebellion against the rulers of Muslim countries. For the same reason, they hold that Osama bin Laden is not a Wahhabi, but a Qutbee (follower of Sayyed Qutb), due to his rebellion against the rulers of Saudi Arabia.

Wahhabis ban pictures, photographs, musical instruments, singing, video, suicide bombings (not to suggest that any strand of Islam condones it), and celebrating Muhammad's birthday, among many other things, based on their interpretation of the ahadith (classical collections of sayings and traditions of Muhammad).

Many contend that Wahhabism is or has become a dominant form of Islam through proselytization driven by Saudi funding; others contend that its influence is less widespread and that the practice and observance of Wahhabism and the political manifestations that flow therefrom are more nuanced than its most doctrinaire interpretations.

"Salafi" vs. "Wahabi" vs. "Qutbi"

See Note on Salafi vs. Wahabi vs. Qutubi at Salafi as well as the article on Qutbism.

External links

See also

da:Wahabiter de:Wahhabiten fr:Wahhabisme ia:Wahhabismo he:והאביזם ja:ワッハーブ派 nl:Wahabisme pl:Wahhabizm pt:Wahhabismo sv:Wahabism


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