|Doctrines|| ||Wahabbiyyah is not a new
sect within Islam but a movement whose purpose is to purify Islam of
perceived heretical accretions. The Wahhabis claim to base their
doctrines on the teachings of the fourteenth century scholar Ibn Taymiyya
and the rulings of the Hanbali school of law, the strictest of the four
recognised in the Sunni consensus. They believe that all objects of
worship other than Allah are false, and anyone who worships in this way
deserves to be put to death. To introduce the name of a prophet, saint or
angel into a prayer, or to seek intercession from anyone but Allah
constitutes a form of polytheism. Attendance at public prayer is
compulsory, and the shaving of the beard and smoking are forbidden.
Mosques should be architecturally simple, not luxurious or ornate.
Prohibited are the celebration of the Prophet's birthday, making offerings
at the tomb of saints, and playing music. The injunctions of the Qur'an
are to be taken literally. |
|History|| ||Wahhabiyyah emerged in the
middle of the 18th century in Arabia as both a religious and political
movement responding to the decline of the Ottoman empire and the
increasing strength of Shi'a in Iran. Its founder, Ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab
(1703-92), had witnessed many examples of laxity, superstition, and blind
allegiance to Walis (Sufi saints) during his travels through Iraq and
The political character of the movement took the form of opposition to the ruling Ottoman empire. In 1744 Ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab formed an alliance with a local chieftain, Muhammad Ibn Sa'ud (1765), who accepted his doctrine and undertook its defence and propagation. The demolition of shrines, tombstones and the capture of Mecca caused alarm in the Ottoman government which despatched an army to crush the movement. The decisive defeat of the bedouin troops in 1818 brought to an end the first Sa'udi-Wahhabi venture.
A remnant of the Wahhabi movement survived in a pocket of Central Arabia. In 1902 Abd al-Aziz Ibn Sa'ud, who was from the Sa'udi family and a follower of the bedouin faith of the Wahhabiyyah, took Riyadh, an event which led to his gradual conquest of the interior of the Arabian peninsula. In 1927 Sa'ud signed a treaty with the British (who at that time were controlling parts of the Arabian peninsula) which gave him full independence in exchange for his recognition of British suzerainty over the Gulf sheikdoms. Finally in 1932 he named his state the kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Wahhabiyyah then became the official doctrine of the state. Today the Saudi state remains firmly rooted in the Wahhabi creed.
|Symbols|| ||The movement has no
distinctive symbol system.|
|Adherents|| ||Wahhabiyyah is the
official ideology of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. There are no official
statistics for the number of Muslims who follow the doctrines of
movement has no headquarters. |