Wahhabism was a popular revivalist movement instigated by an eighteenth century theologian, Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab (1703–1792) from Najd, Saudi Arabia… Ibn Abd Al-Wahhab advocated a popular purging of the widespread practices by Muslims being what he considered to be impurities and innovations in Islam. ..
Indeed, it is an Islamic doctrine which is based on the historical alliance between the political and financial power represented by Ibn Saud and the religious authority represented by Abd Al-Wahhab. The writer El Khabar Ousbouî suggests the popularity of the Wahhabi movement is in part due to this alliance and its funding of several religious channels.
The first ones to oppose this new trend within Islam, as introduced by Muhammad Ibn Abd al-Wahhab, were his father Abd al-Wahhab, his brother Salman Ibn Abd al-Wahhab, who was an Islamic scholar, and a qadi, who wrote a book in refutation of his brothers’ new teachings.
Some Muslims, such as one of the most renowned Sunni scholar of Islam, Dr. Muhammad Sa’id Ramadan al-Buti as well as Islamic Supreme Council of America, Abdul Hadi Palazzi, and Sheikh Aboobacker Ahmed (Kanthapuram A. P. Aboobacker Musalyar), General Secretary of All-India Jamiyyathul Ulama, the organisation Muslim scholars in India, classify Wahhabbism as extremist and heretical mainly based on Wahhabbism’s rejection of traditional Sunni scholars and interpretation as followed by 96% of the World’s Muslim population.[
Editor’s Note: The Prophet warned of a great evil that would arise from the region known as the Najd. I happen to hold the opinion that Wahhabism is this evil.
38 – When the ‘ulama’ of Ahl as-Sunnat silenced the Wahhabis in 1210 A.H. (1796), the ‘ulama’ of Mecca prepared and signed a declaration containing the ayats and hadiths which showed that Wahhabism was a path different from Islam, a trap insidiously set up by the enemies of Islam to demolish Islam from the inside. The three Wahhabis who repented of their beliefs ratified this document. The copies of the declaration were then sent to all Muslim countries.
Some Meccan Wahhabis went to ‘Abd al-‘Aziz, the ruler in Dar’iyya, and told him that the representatives could not refute the Meccan ‘ulama’ and that a declaration stating that their system of beliefs was hostility against Islam was sent to every country. ‘Abd al-‘Aziz ibn Muhammad ibn Sa’ud and his followers bitterly resented the Ahl as-Sunnat and attacked Mecca in 1215. The Amir of Mecca, Sharif Ghalib ibn Musa’id ibn Said Effendi, resisted them. Much blood was shed on both sides. Sharif Ghalib Effendi did not allow them to enter Mecca, but the Arab tribes around Mecca accepted Wahhabism. Between the two ‘eeds of the same year, Sa’ud sent an army to the town of Ta’if. They oppressed and massacred Ta’ifian Muslim women and children. [For the details of this oppression and massacre which is unbearable to the heart, see Ahmad ibn Zaini Dahlan’s Khulasat al-kalam (reprint, Istanbul, 1395/1975) and Ayyub Sabri Pasha’s Tarikh-i Wahhabiyyan, Istanbul, 1296 A.H. (1879).]
The torture of the inhabitants of Ta’if, including women and children, was committed by the order of an enemy of Islam, a ferocious brigand named ‘Uthman al-Mudayiqi. This man and Muhsin had been sent by Sharif Ghalib Effendi to Dar’iyya. They were supposed to negotiate about the renewal of the earlier treaty in order to prevent the Wahhabis from besieging Medina and oppressing Muslims. But this hypocrite was a spy near Sharif Ghalib Effendi. He deceived his companion, Muhsin, on their way to Dar’iyya by promising him many advantages. The two disclosed their thoughts to Sa’ud ibn ‘Abd al-’Aziz in Dar’iyya. Sa’ud, seeing that they were his faithful slaves, put his looters under their command. They went to a place named Abila near Ta’if and sent a letter to Sharif Ghalib Effendi writing that Sa’ud and they, the two traitors, disregarded the validity of the former treaty and that Sa’ud was preparing to besiege Mecca. Sharif Ghalib Effendi wrote answers advising them with soft words, but ‘Uthman the ferocious, who was an enemy of Islam, tore up the letters. He attacked the Muslims sent by the Amir and defeated them. Sharif Ghalib Effendi retreated into the Ta’if fortress and took measures for defense. This ferocious Wahhabi encamped his army at Malis near Ta’if at the end of Shawwal in 1217 A.H. (1802). He also asked help from the vile amir of Beesha, Salim ibn Shakban, who had a much harder, stony heart that was full of enmity towards Islam. There were about twenty desert shaikhs and each shaikh had about five hundred Wahhabite brigands in addition to one thousand under Salim’s own command.
Led by Sharif Ghalib Effendi (rahmat-Allahi ‘alaih), the people of Ta’if bravely attacked the brigands at Malis. He put fifteen hundred looters of Salim ibn Shakban to the sword. Salim and those with him fled Malis. But they rallied together again and raided Malis. They looted the town. Sharif Ghalib Effendi went to Jidda to obtain military help. Most Ta’ifians fled and secretly escaped with their household. Although those Ta’ifians who took refuge in the fortress defeated the packs of Wahhabis coming one after the other, they hoisted the white flag of truce, because the enemy continually received aid. They agreed to surrender under the condition that their lives and chastity would be safe. Though the enemy, too, had become weak for many of them had died or fled, the Ta’ifian messenger, who was a base villain, though he saw the Wahhabis flee, shouted after them, “Sharif Ghalib fled from fear! And the Ta’ifians do not have the power to resist you! They sent me to communicate that they will surrender the fortress, and they ask you to forgive them. I like the Wahhabis. Come back! You have shed much blood! It is not right to go back without capturing Ta’if. I swear that the Ta’ifians will immediately surrender the fortress. They will accept whatever you want.” It was Sharif Ghalib Effendi’s fault that Ta’if was lost in vain. If he had stayed in Ta’if, Muslims would not have suffered that doom. Since “Traitors are cowards,” the Wahhabis did not believe that the Ta’ifians would surrender readily. But, seeing the flag of truce on the fortress, they sent an envoy to the fortress to investigate the situation. The Ta’ifians, pulled the envoy up to the fortress with a rope. “Gather all your goods here and surrender if you want to save your lives,” said the envoy. All their possessions were gathered with the effort of a Muslim named Ibrahim. “This is not enough!” said the envoy, “We cannot forgive you for this much. You should bring more!” He gave them a notebook and said, “List the names of those who do not give! The men are free to go wherever they wish. The women and children will be put in chains.” Although they begged him to be a little bit softer, he increased his aggression and harshness. Ibrahim, unable to be patient any more, hit him on the chest with a stone and killed him. During this confusion, the Wahhabis attacked the fortress, thus they escaped from being hit by cannon balls and bullets. They broke the gates and entered the fortress. They killed every woman, man and child they saw, cutting even the babies in cradles. The streets turned into floods of blood. They raided the houses and plundered everywhere, attacking outrageously and madly till sunset. They could not capture the stone houses in the eastern part of the fortress, so they besieged and put those houses under a shower of bullets. a Wahhabite scoundrel shouted: “We forgive you! You may go wherever you want with your wives and children,” but they did not yield. Meanwhile, the Wahhabis gathered the people, who had set out to migrate, on a hill and encircled those pure Muslim families, who had grown up amid fondling and affection and most of whom were women and children, and held them to die of hunger and thirst for twelve days, and tortured them by slandering, stoning and cudgeling. The Wahhabis called them one by one and beat them and said, “Tell us where you hid your possessions!” and howled, “Your day of death is coming!” to those who begged for mercy.
Ibn Shakban, after pressing the stone houses violently for twelve days and being unable to make them yield, promised that those who would come out of the houses and give up arms would be forgiven. Muslims believed him and came out, but, with their hands tied behind their backs, they were drawn by Ibn Shakban to the hill where the other Muslims were encircled. Three hundred and sixty-seven men, together with women and children, were put to the sword on the hill (rahmat-Allahi ‘alaihim ajmain). They made animals trample on the bodies of the martyrs and left them unburied to be eaten by beasts and birds of prey for sixteen days. They plundered Muslims’ houses and gathered all they took into a big heap in front of the gateway of the fortress and sent one fifth of the goods and the money they collected to Sa’ud, sharing the remainder among themselves. The traitors and torrential rains swept away uncountable money and invaluable goods, and there remained little, only forty thousand gold rials, in the hands of Ahl as-Sunnat; ten thousand rials were distributed to the women and children, and the goods were sold very cheaply.
The Wahhabis tore up the copies of the Qur’an al-karim and books of tafsir, hadith and other Islamic books they took from libraries, masjids and houses, and threw them down on the ground. They made sandals from the gold-gilded leather covers of the Qur’an copies and other books and wore them on their filthy feet. There were ayats and other sacred writings on those leather covers. The leaves of those valuable books thrown around were so numerous that there was no space to step in the streets of Ta’if. Although Ibn Shakban had ordered the looters not to tear up the copies of the Qur’an al-karim, the Wahhabite bandits, who were gathered from the deserts for looting and who did not know the Qur’an al-karim, tore up all the copies they found and stamped on them. Only three copies of the Qur’an al-karim and one copy of the Sahih of al-Bukhari were saved from plunder in the big town of Ta’if.
a mujiza: The weather was calm during the plunder of Ta’if. There was no wind. a storm broke out after the bandits went away, and the wind lifted up all the leaves of the Qur’an al-karim and Islamic books and swept them away. soon there was no piece of paper left on the ground. Nobody knew where they were taken.
Under the hot sun, the corpses of the martyrs decayed on the hill in sixteen days. The atmosphere became fetid. Muslims begged, wept and lamented in front of Ibn Shakban to permit them to bury their dead relatives. At last he agreed, and they dug two big hollows, put all the decayed corpses of their fathers, grandfathers, relatives and children into the hollows and covered them with soil. There was no corpse that could be recognized; some of them were only one half or one fourth of a body, for other parts were scattered around by birds and beasts of prey. They were permitted to collect and bury these pieces of flesh because the bad smell bothered the Wahhabis, too. Muslims searched all around and collected and buried them, too, in the two hollows.
It was also for the purpose of insulting and taking revenge on the dead Muslims that the bandits kept the martyrs unburied until they decayed. But, as said in a couplet.
‘It will bring ascent, do not grieve that you have fallen,
A building is not restored before it turns to a ruin.’
The status of martyrs (rahmat-Allahi ‘alaihim ajmain) in Allah’s esteem increases when their corpses are left unburied to decay and to be prey for birds and beasts.
The bandits completely ruined the shrines of as-Sahabat al-kiram, awliya’ and ‘ulama’ after putting the Muslims of Ta’if to the sword and dividing up the loot and the money. When they attempted to dig a grave with a view to take out and burn the corpse of Hadrat ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas, who was one of our Prophet’s most beloved companions, they were frightened by the pleasant scent that came out when the first pickaxe hit the ground. They said, “There is a great Satan in this grave. We should blow it up with dynamite instead of losing time by digging.” Although they put much powder and tried hard, the powder misfired and they went away in astonishment. The grave was left level with the ground for a few years. Later, Sayyid Yasin Effendi put a very nice sarcophagus on it and protected that blessed grave from being forgotten.
The bandits also tried to dig up the graves of Sayyid ‘Abd al-Hadi Effendi and many other awliya’, but they were prevented by a karama at each grave. Facing extraordinary difficulties in carrying out this vile intention of theirs, they gave it up.
‘Uthman al-Mudayiqi and Ibn Shakban also ordered that the mosques and madrasas should be demolished together with the shrines. Yasin Effendi, a great scholar of Ahl as-Sunnat, said, “Why do you want to demolish mosques, which are built for the purpose of performing salat in congregation? If you want to ruin this mosque because the grave of ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas (radi-Allahu ‘anhuma) is here, I tell you, his grave is in the shrine outside the big mosque. Therefore, it is not necessary to demolish the mosque.” ‘Uthman al-Mudayiqi and Ibn Shakban could not make any rejoinder. But, Matu, a zindiq among them, made a ridiculous statement: “Anything doubtful should be annihilated.” Then, Yasin Effendi asked, “Is there anything doubtful about mosques?” and the demagogue was silent. After a long silence, ‘Uthman al-Budayiqi said, “I do not agree with either of you,” and ordered, “Do not touch the mosque, demolish the shrine!”