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Some notes on Wahhabism

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BismiAllah al-Rahman al-Rahim

Some notes on Wahhabism

The below is an overview about the modern bid’a of wahhabism (”salafism”), presenting itself under the guise of ”Quran and Sunna”: How it originated, how it works, and how to avoid falling a victim to it. It was originally written as a piece of personal advice to some dear friends, and maybe it can also serve as an eye-opener to a wider audience.


Wahhabism is a modern phenomenon, it is a bid’a that began in Saudiarabia some 200 years ago – it it did not exist before that. It was started by a rebellious leader called Muhamamd ibn Abd al-Wahhab. He was a son of a scholar, but was not able to study, since he opposed and quarreled with every teacher he visited. So he ended up as a misguided person, misguiding others – his own father and brother testified to this. He started a ”jihad” against Muslims. Specifically he promoted fanatic traits such as

  • calling Muslims kafirs, so as to justify war against them;
  • destroying tombs, alluding that Muslims are ”worshipping saints” – thereby barring love for great people of Islam in in the past;;
  • disdain of the Prophet (salla Allah ’aleihi wa sallam), alluding that Muslims are worshipping the Prophet – thereby erasing the element of Mercy in the Ummah;
  • forbidding dhikr and other spiritual practices, construing that it is against the Sunna – thereby denying access to the spiritual dimension of Islam;

He and his followers sieged and destroyed the holy cities of Makka and Madina, until they were victorious and inserted their tribesmen, the Sa’udi tribal leaders from Najd, as rulers over the holy cities.

The original wahhabi movement was finally subdued by the Egyptian Sultan Muhammad ´Ali, at the orders of the ottoman caliph. This happened in the first years of the 19th century – and it would have been forgotten today, where it not  revived again by Brittish intelligence at the beginning of the 20th century. The British strategy was to arouse Arab nationalism against the Ottoman caliphate in order to destroy it, and this was successful, to the detriment of the Ummah. They succeded in strengthening the colonial grip over Arab lands, and retained the ”protectorate” over Palestine, until finally handing it over to the Jews after WW2. The Caliphate had to cede for the secular regime of Attaturk in Turkey. So today we have no calif, and wahhabism is causing fitna in Muslim communities all over the world under the slogan of alleged ”Quran and Sunna”, and Muslims lands are torn in internal strife under the flag of so-called ”Jihad”.

[Note: authentic documents about the birth and development of wahhabism have been preserved in Turkey and are open to the public reader who wants to inform himself about this dark chapter of Islamic history.]

Wahhabism continues to be influential today, because Allah chose to test the Muslim Ummah by placing a lot of money and power in their hands. Even though Saudi clerics today make public statements against ”jihadi”  movements, the fact is that the wahhabi / ”salafi” da’wa is drawing their funds from the same rich saudi families who are also arming the ”al-qa’ida”. With one hand  they flood the world with books attributing kufr to Muslims, turning Ayat that were revealed about the enemies of Islam against Muslims; with the other hand they arm terrorist movements to fight and throw bombs at other Muslims, destroy shrines of great people of Allah, and impose their cruel tyranny under the name of ”Shari’a”, mocking every true Shari’ i concept.

The moment the flow of petrodollars stops, and the Western powers have no more use for Saudiarabia as their military ally, the entire movement will collapse, since it has no substance or strength in itself.

This has happened before in history. The Mu’tazili movement (an early deviation in Islam) was quite successful in the first centuries of Islam, due to the backing of the early abbaside caliphs. They had all the resources at their hands. They built madrasas to promote the mu’tazili ideology, while Sunni scholars were tortured and killed. Yet, as soon as the support was withdrawn, the mu’tazli movement vanished and left only few traces in the Islamic history. Ahl al-Sunna scholars maintained authentic Islam and brought true knowledge to flourish again, and Iraq became a center of thriving Sunni scholarship for many centuries. – The same thing in Egypt, which after a period of Fatimide (shi’ite) dominance was brought back under Sunni rule by Salahud-Din al-Ayyubi, and became the most flourishing stronghold of Sunni Islam for many hundred years. The fatimids are forgotten now, while Egypt and Sham became the cradle of the the greatest scholars at the zenith of the Islamic culture.

In the same way Wahhabism is likely to be a parenthesis in history. Their power is based on money and politics, so they will fall down as soon as these means are withdrawn from their hands, since their is no substance beyond that. Our job as Sunnis is to busy ourselves with real knowledge and maintain our Sunni values until – by the leave of Allah – authentic Sunni Islam regains the upper hand.


Modern wahhabi da’wa appeals to pple in three types of conditions:

  • communities that were religiously deprived due to take-over of secular / communist regimes (e.g. Somalia, Balkan)
  • countries afflicted by war (Afghanistan, many parts of the Middle East today)
  • new Muslims, and Muslim communities in the West who are cut off from their roots of sound scholarship

Under such conditions, people lack a firm basis or Islam, when they see the need for Islam they quickly grab what seems to be the quickest way to get back on track. But since they lack sound criteria, they become an easy prey for the simplistic da’wa of the wahhabis, simply due to naivety and the lack of proper knowledge.

Wahhabism quickly finds its way to ignorant Muslims’ minds, empties their hearts of spirituality and love of the Prophet (salla Allah ’aleihi wa sallam) and leaves a dead shell inclined to extremism and disputation. Wahhabis train their followers to dispute and enmity towards any Muslims, rather than to dhikr, good manners, love and compassion. They teach pple they can construe religion on their own, by just reading Quran and Hadith and drawing their own conclusions – as if scholars thorugh 1400 years, the Imams of the Sunni madhhabs, the Imams of our Aqida had labored in vain to provide the Ummah with safe guidance…!

The reality is that the unlearned Muslim does not have the option to follow ”Quran and Sunna” on his own, he does not know how to extract the ahkam of wudu and salat, let alone tenets of faith or ethical teachings from basic texts. What happens is that he ends up following either his own desires and whims, or someone else’s interpretation, and if the person he listens to is misguided, he will be misguided. We find him echoing wahhabi arguments – often without being aware -, quoting or linking to of Saudi preachers or ”Quran and Sunna” hompages set up by their followers, often anonymously so that only an expert eye can spot that this is wahhabi propaganda. This Muslim wanted a shortcut, and he is probably sincere in his endeavor, he wanted to be free to make his own judgments, but he fell into the trap of the worst type of taqlid (blind following) !! May Allah protect us and and our children.


Wahhabi teachings are is partly based on the Hanbali madhhab, mixed with a fanatic streak coming from their founder figure, Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab.

Modern teachers of the wahhabi school of thought are limited to a few names such as Ibn al-’Uthaymin amd Bin Baz, who have now passed away, and their students al-Munajjid, al-Muqbil etc, in Saudi Arabia. Add to this some popular figures trained for wahhabi da’wa in the West, e.g. as Bilal Philips, Zahir Naik, Yusuf Estes, who can not be called scholars in any real sense.

The figure of al-Albani is symptomatic. He was from Albania in the Balkan, of Hanafi background. He went to Syria pretending to study hadith. He spent several years there yet did not sit with any scholar or obtain any ijaza. You may ask any ”salafi”, they can not produce any substantial credentials from any Syrian Muhaddith, except a general statement which does not amount to an ijaza to teach hadith. Then al-Albani came to Saudiarabia and was drawn into the inner circles of wahhabism. He showed loyalty to them, and they raised him above the skies, fabricated credentials and claimed that al-Albani is the the greatest hadith scholar in the world. People in Damascus know this is false. The Damascene Sunni Scholar Sh. al-Bouti wrote several books several against him, dismantling the falsehood of his claims. Sunni scholars over the world have written volumes pointing out mistakes and outrageous statements in al-Albani’s books – they are an insult to any serious scholar.

So these are the pple behind the ”Quran and Sunna” slogan, who are fooling ignorant Muslims today. No real Ahl al-Sunnah scholar today – except those few who have allied themselves with the US/Saudi empire – give them support. It is the uninformed public who lend their ears to their teachings and are deluded by their claims to knowledge.


The so-called ”salafis” have effectively cut themselves off from the body of traditional Sunni teachings by showing contempt and hatred to Sunni scholars – and we know that love of the scholars is not only a condition for spiritual guidance but the door to any kind of knowledge. How can anyone in such a condition hope to be given any useful knowledge at all?

We hear them discrediting great Islamic luminaries such as Imam al-Suyuti, Imam al-Nawawi, Imam al-Ghazali, Sayyiduna al-Sheikh Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani, Imam Abul-Hasan al-Ash´ari, even Tabi´in like Sayyiduna Imam al-Hasan al-Basri and Imam Abu Hanifa – mayAllah be pleased with them all.

The Wahhabis try to tell us they are more knowledgeable in fiqh than the four Imams beginning with ”al-Imam al-A´zham”, the father of Fiqh and founder of all Islamic sciences, the first and greatest Imam of both Fiqh and ´Aqida, Imam Abu Hanifa – radiya Allah ’anhu. They say they know more hadith and have a better understanding of Islam today than Imam Abu Hanifa, who was a salaf from the tabi´in. They quote one or two lines from his books, which happen to suit their agenda, and then discard the rest of the book.

The so-called ”salafis” are infact distorting the teachings of the salaf. They are falsifying the books of Sunni scholars, cutting out entire chapters that are not to their liking, compiling quotes pulled out of context, distorting and mistranslating their meanings. One can not trust a book published by a ”salafi” Publishing house to actually contain what it says on its cover – examples of misinterpretation and falsification are countless.


The Imams of ´Aqida of Ahl al-Sunna wal Jama’a: Imam Abul Mansur al-Maturidi from the Hanafi tradition, and Imam Abul Hasan al-Ash´ari who defeated the Mu´tazila ideology and established the Creed of Ahl al-Sunnah in Baghdad in the 3rd century Hijri – these are true salafs, may Allah be pleased with them.

Wahhbis / ”salafis” bread systematic hatred against these Imams, dedicating entire websites only do distort and slander them.

As Sunni Muslims we need to understand that the teachings of these two great luminaries **is** the ’Aqida of Ahl al-Sunna. Anyone who does not subscribe to their creed is not a Sunni. All Maliki and Shafi´i scholars throughout history were Ash’arites, and all Hanafi scholars where Maturidis – there is not exception to this – except that some Hanafis were also Ash’arites. Anyone who tries to discredit Ash´arism is placing himself outside the concensus of Islamic scholarship, proving himself to be misguided and outside the embrace of Ahl al-Sunna wal-Jama´a.


Wahhabism is likely to collaps – probably within own lifetime. So where do we stand on that day?

Did we spend our lives disputing, refusing to accept proper teaching, deprived by our own ridiculous attempts to reinvent the wheel / reconstruct the Sunna? Or did we make use of the resources offered, did we bring knowledge, dhikr, ethics and love for the Prophet (salla Allha ’aleihi wa sallam) to life in our hearts?

The means to protect ourselves and our families and community from the wahhabi bid’a is to uphold a level of solid Sunni knowledge by teaching a reliable Ahl al-Sunna curriculum, starting with the Aqida of Ahl al-Sunna wal Jama’a. We need to seek the advice from real Ahl al Sunnah scholars, give guidance to youth, send them to acknowledged Alim courses, set up a curriculum to teach the basics of Islam  in the communities, and if possible bring in reliable Sunni teachers. Also, we need to know how to navigate the internet, where to find sites where correct Ahl al-Sunna fatwas and other religious information is offered, and warn youth from from roaming around freely on internet listening to every hue and cry.

In all this, an experienced eye and informed advice from acknowledged Sunni scholars is needed, to weed out pseudo-knowledge and false claims, to be sure we are standing on safe ground.

This is our Jihad today – the jihad of knowledge. We need to arm ourselves and our communities with a proper perspective and true Sunni knowledge. Everything is there, Sunni books and courses are available, more and more authentic classical books of good standard are being translated. We need to send our yongsters to sit at their feet and learn. If we have the opportunity to visit them, we should not miss it, and we should pray that Allah may push away the Hour by keeping them amongst us. We need their advice, we need to get proper orientation from them to avoid wasting time and efforts. If we follow their advice, we will be safe – with the permission and tawfiq from Allah and the pleasure of His beloved Prophet, salla Allah ’aliehi wa Aleihi wa sallam.

May Allah respond to the du’ as of His Beloved (salla Allah ’ aleihi wa sallam) and have mercy upon his Ummah. Amin.

More reading:

History of British Sponsored Al Saud & their Association with Wahabi Ideology

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