Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab and the Wahabis
The reason why this sect are often called Wahhabis boils down to the name of one of their main leaders: Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab. It is often believed that ‘Abd al-Wahhab started the “crusade” against the Sunni Muslims but in reality he did not start this; it was started in the time of ‘Ali (may Allah be pleased with him). Throughout history there have been different names for this sect but in the eighth century, one of their leaders use to call himself “Salafi”.Even today, this sect has four names: Salafi, Wahhabi, Najdi and Ahl al-Hadith. It is generally known that today they prefer to call themselves Salafi.
This sect would not have been as famous as it is if it were not for the state sponsorship of Saudi Arabia.Even today if a person, or a number of people, were to petition the country of Saudia Arabia, they would receive funds or grants if they promise that a Mosque or Madrassa would be built to teach the Wahhabi cirriculum. Another common method is for magazine publications to receive funds to help increase circulation on condition of propagating Wahhabi beliefs. It is in this way, and by currently owning large, well equipt publishing houses, that the Wahhabis have been able to mass distribute and mass circulate misinformation about the Ahl as-Sunna wa’l-Jama’a and propogate their own beliefs – passing them under the guise of “Salafi” Islam.Many, if not all, of their publications are beautifully designed, but this cannot hide the fact that they are continually trying to break Sunni Muslims from a scholarship this has flourished for over 1400 years.The head office of this “organisation” is in the Najd region and that is where Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab was born.
‘Abd al-Wahhab was born at the beginning of the 12th century AH, in Jazeerat al-Arab (the name given by the Prophet [may Allah bless him and grant him peace] and which was changed by the Saudi Royal Family to that of their grandfathers to Saudi Arabia). He was born in Najd so that is why often he was referred to as Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab an-Najdi in his time.
Shaytan Came in the Form of the Najdi Shaykh
Hafiz Ibn Kathir writes:
“When the kuffar of Makka had a meeting concerning the Prophet (may Allah bless him and give him peace), an old man came claiming: “I am a Najdi – whatever you want to know, I will be helpful.” This Najdi Shaykh then gave his view against the Prophet throughout the meeting”
[Ta’rikh Ibn Kathir, Volume 4]
The Prophet (may Allahbless him and grant him peace) stated: “I fear from the Najdis” [Bukhari, Chapter on Jihad]
The Prophet (may Allahbless him and grant him peace) stated: “The fitna will emerge from the east” [Bukhari, Kitab al-Fitna]
‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Umar narrates:
“The Prophet (may Allahbless him and grant him peace) made du’a for Syria and Yemen. Some people asked him: “Ya Rasulu’llah pray for Najd!”The Prophet (may Allahbless him and grant him peace) again repeated his du’a only for Syria and Yemen. They again requested for Najd. Upon the third time, the Prophet (may Allahbless him and grant him peace) said: “There will be earthquakes there, tribulations will emerge there and the horn of Shaytan will emerge from there”
[Bukhari, Kitab al-Fitan]
The brother of Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab an-Najdi, Shaykh Sulayman ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab, said about his brother, “The horn of Shaytan, which the Prophet(may Allahbless him and grant him peace) referred to, is you” [Sawa’iq al-Ilahiya]
The false Prophet, Musaylima Kazzab, was also born in Najd. After reading the history of Najd you will see that this is a place of Shayatin. Secondly, the Prophet (may Allahbless him and grant him peace) predicted earthquakes and tribulations for this place and indeed there occurred such an earthquake that we can still hear its bang over two centuries later.
Many people say that the Najd is high land and that the du’a was not made regarding the high land. However, in this hadith the Prophet (may Allahbless him and grant him peace) mentioned specific places/ regions like Syria and Yemen and not the type of land. Therefore, the word “Najd” in this hadith refers to the place, Najd itself, which is in Saudi Arabia and not in Iraq.
Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahab’s Education
He was educated in the Najd, Basra and Damascus. His brothers and parents were of the ‘aqida of Ahl as-Sunna but, through reading Ibn Taymiyya’s books, he chose to differ in belief with the rest of his family, who were not pleased with him. His brother Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab Sulayman wrote a book against him called Sawa’iq al-Ilahiya in which he gives answers to all Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab’s objections.
Shaykh ‘Uthman ibn Bashir and Shaykh Juhri took all the information we will provide here from Ta’rikh an-Najd and the book on Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab.Some Najdis says that Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab Sulayman, during his lifetime, converted to Wahhabism; however, there is no evidence to prove this.
Wahabis in History
As previously mentioned, there are four names by which Wahhabis are famous: Wahhabis, Najdi, Salafi and Ahl al-Hadith.Initially, at the time when the British were ruling in India, the followers of Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab an-Najdi were called Wahhabis but Maulana Muhammad Husayn Batalvi made an application to the viceroy of India that they be called Ahl al-Hadith rather than Wahhabi – this application was granted. That is the reason why Maulana Muhammad Husayn wrote: “It is haram to perform jihad against the British [Iqtisad fi Masail Jihad]
In his book, Hayyat at-Taybiyya, Mirza Hayrat of Delhi writes that Moulana Ismail of Delhi, a founder of Wahhabism in India, said in his speech in Calcutta: “It is haram to do jihad against the British.” These people are so loyal to the British so how could the British not accept their application.
Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab an-Najdi influenced the spouse of the Amir of Dur’iyya, Muhammad ibn Sa’ud, to his movement and later the Amir also followed. Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab an-Najdi asked him to aid his movement with his power. Muhammad ibn Sa’ud assisted with spreading their reign over boundaries beyond Dur’i’yya. Lawrence of Arabia was a spy for the British in Arabia and pretended to be a Muslim. He promoted Arab Nationalism and always said to the people: “O Arabs! Islam started in Arabia, so to rule is your right. Why do you live under the ‘Uthmani Khilafat?” This brainwashing worked well and helped in destroying the Uthmani (Ottomon) Khilafat. Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab an-Najdi and Muhammad ibn Sa’ud were attracted to this nationalistic movement. Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab an-Najdi labelled this to be Jihad and said: “In Hijaz, the people are worshipping other than Allah” [‘Uthman ibn Bashir, Ta’rikh an-Najd]
Muhammad Hasni wrote:
“Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab an-Najdi said: ‘When I went to study in Basra, mushriks would ask me questions and I would leave them very surprised with my answers’
Shaykh Juhri states:
“Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab an-Najdi called all Ahl as-Sunna Muslims, Kafirs and Mushriks – apart from himself and his (blind) followers.”
The proof for this is that Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab himself said that in Basra, Mushriks would come and ask him questions. These people were Muslims and thus Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab only considers himself and his followers to be Muslims.
Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab wrote:
“Those people who ask for intercession from Prophets and angels and make du’a through their wasila to come closer to Allah, are commiting sins.Due to this crime it is permitted to kill them and to take their possessions”
Shaykh Attar wrote that Shaykh an-Najdi said: “I declare war on these people as the Prophet (may Allahbless him and grant him peace) declared war on the Kuffar of Makka, – against those people with corrupt beliefs.”Corrupt beliefs refers to those people who seek intercession from Anbiya, or awliya and they make their du’a through them (wasila) and those people who travelled to the Prophet ‘s(may Allahbless him and grant him peace) grave with the intention to seek help other than Allah’s
[Ta’rikh an-Najd, Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab, page.55]
Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab said: “The people who leave their corrupt beliefs and join us, then their blood will be saved. And those people who do not repent or pay jizya [tribute paid by non-Muslims] get ready to do battle….To spread the good is in Islam as to do jihad. Who can refuse this?”
[Ta’rikh an-Najd, Shaykh Ahmed Attar]
Mas’ud Alam Nadwi wrote that Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab an-Najdi has called only those Muslims kafir who make du’a with the wasila of Prophets and Awliya’, and he made jihad against them
[Ta’rikh an-Najd, Mas’ud Alam Nadwi]
All these statements prove that Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab an-Najdi’s jihad was not against kafirs but against those Muslims who held the ‘aqa’id of Ahl as-Sunna. Like the Khawarij, he considered all other Muslims to be kafirs.
The Khawarij (or Kharijites) are those people who consider all other Muslims to be non-believers apart from themselves.They are supposed to kill people who have trust in pious people, as they did with Khabab for saying that he loved ‘Ali (may Allah be pleased with him).They also would call any person who has committed a major sin a non-believer.Even for anything small they would call the Sahabas non-believers, as they did with ‘Uthman, Talha, and Zubayr (may Allah be pleased with them).
The Khawarij would only take the literal meaning of the Holy Qur’an and would take it no further. They would call the sahih (rigourously authenticated) hadith fabricated, such as Hadith Rajm (stoning the adulteror to death). They would label their opponents non-believers and consider it right to take their belongings and their wives as slave girls. When the Khawarij spoke they would try to refer to the Qur’an or the hadith as much as possible.
It has been said by ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) that Khawarij are so mischievous that they fit those Qur’anic verses that were revealed about the non-believers [Bukhari, al-Murtadin]
For further details please consult books by Ibn Hazam Sharastani, Abu Mansur Maturdi,Abu Zahra Misri and Mazhabe Islamiyya.Despite this it seems that ‘Abd al-Wahhab’s blind followers could not digest the fact that their activities were mirroring that of the Khawarij. Shaykh Juhri wrote: “I think that, apart from himself and his followers, Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab an-Najdi has labelled all other Muslims as kafir; this is despite the fact thast not all Muslims have worshipped graves and especially not the ‘Ulema. At the time no Muslims worshipped graves but that was an excuse by Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab an-Najdi so that he could kill the Muslims.” [Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab, page 36]
Shaykh Juhri says: “I cannot find any reason why they should all have been labelled kafirs.” Juhri was a strong follower of Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab but even he was surprised at this action by Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab.
Destruction by the Wahabis
Now returning to the movement of Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab An-Najdi. With the help of the Amir of Dur’iyya, ‘Abd al-Wahhab destroyed the shrines (graves) of Companions who were buried in the Najd. He killed those people who were leaders of the Ahl as-Sunna and took their properties and possessions. With the support of those Arabs that were nationalist they continued increasing their reign, coming out of Najd until Hijaz was taken by them and they managed to win control over the whole of Jazirat al-Arab.
During this time the Ottoman Khilafa was busy engaged in international battles and was therefore unable to respond in a swift manner. On the 22 June 1792 Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab an-Najdi died, upon which Qadi Shawkani wrote a poem, one sentence of which was: “Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab was that son with whose nur the Hijaz and its surrounding places became enlightened.” See how the person who sought help from the kuffar is being praised!
For some time after the rule was in the hands of Ahl as-Saud. It was during this time, during the reign of the son of Muhammad ibn Saud, that the Ottomans sent Muhammad Ali Pasha against him. Ali Pasha defeated him and finished their influence and reign.Once again Jazirat al-Arab became part of the Islamic Caliphate and the Royal Family fled to Kuwait.
Some time later, the Ahl as-Saud managed to regain control over Jazirat al-Arab and changed its name to Saudi Arabia. Grants were given from abroad to spread Wahhabism. Initially it was spread by the sword but now it is through money.The Saudis came to Europe and spent the wealth from the Bait al-Mal as though it was their fathers’ wealth. In front of the guilty Saudi ‘Ulema all this haram and bid’a goes on but they say nothing, and yet will still give fatwas against Milad an-Nabi.
An Interesting Story
When Shaykh Faisal was deputy prime minister of Saudi Arabia, he toured India and put flowers upon Mahatma Gandhi’s grave [[News (Pakistani Daily), 11th May 1955]. Similarly, in 1957 Shah Sa’ud went on a tour to America and with him was the Defence Minister Fahd ibn Sa’ud, who put flowers on the grave of George Washington[Kohstan (Pakistani Daily) , 2nd February 1957]
When Saudi shaykhs go to Muslim countries they do not place flowers on any of the graves of the awliya’ because it may dent their ‘aqida, but do they think by placing flowers upon the graves of Mahatma Gandhi and George Washington theywill strengthen their ‘aqida?
Shah Sa’ud whilst on tour in India said, “I am satisfied that the Indian government are treating the Muslims with justice.” This was at the time when Muslims were being sacrificed in Kashmir. Shah Sa’ud invited the Indian prime minister, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru to tour Saudi Arabia. When he arrived, the newspaper Al-Balad Sa’udia Makka reported thus:
“When Nehru arrived in Riyadh the Indian national anthem was played and the women of the Royal Family left their homes and cars to welcome him.”Everything we have written about Nehru is taken from Ta’rikh Najd wa Hijaz by Allama Ghulam Rasul Sa’idi and Safar Nama by Muhammad Asim an-Najdi, who was with Maududi when he toured in 1960.
Al-Balad Sa’udia then wrote an article including the lines: “We welcome Nehru as he is a peaceful and sensible person, and it is our prayer that he lives thousands of years. Shah Sa’ud said: “Mr Nehru’s soft voice has more effect than the bang of guns” and called him the “angel of Asia” and also called him a “Rasul”. Our assumption is that he did not mean Prophet but messenger, just as many Muslims use the name ‘Abd al-Mustafa, meaning not a worshipper but a follower.
When they received Nehru, they called him Aman ar-Rasul. He toured a school where the rulers studied and where the Gita was sung. We have a right to askwhy do the Saudi ‘Ulema not say that these things are haram: to sing Gita, for Muslim women to come out of their homes to welcome kafir rulers, to put flowers on the graves of kuffar, to call the person who slaughtered uncountable Muslims in India a messenger of peace (Aman)? Oh those who ask for authentic proof for Milad an-Nabi, by Allah show us even a da’if (weak) hadith to justify these actions!
When they welcomed Nehru in such a way, back in India and Pakistan marches and rallies were organised in protest. The King was sent a telegram in 1960 by Sayyid Mawdudi, who came to Saudi for Hajj and was invited on Royal order to Riyadh. Delivering his speech he said:”If we were to invite the Prime Minister of Israel to Pakistan and welcome him like you welcomed Nehru, how would you feel? You called the enemy of Muslims the Messenger of Peace.” The whole world criticised them for this, but no Saudi ‘alim made any objection.
In the West people do dhikr in mosques, and do Na’at Khanni once a month; or they read the Qur’anand convey the reward to Muslims who have parted from this world, especially Shaykh ‘Abd al-Qadir Jilani. The Najdi students who come to the West write piles of books against this and ask for authentic proofs but when reminded that the people and leaders of their own countries put flowers on the graves of kuffar they quietly digest it.