Most of us have heard of the radical Wahabi ideology.
We will cover the following aspects in this article.
- First, what is Wahhabism and how it is different from a “so called moderate” ideology like Zakir Naik’s ideology.
- Second, who was the founder and the background behind the foundation?
- Third, What political and economic scenarios resulted to the growth of the ideology.
- Fourth, what is the plausible future of the ideology.
First, what is Wahhabism and how it is different from a “relatively moderate” ideology like say Zakir Naik’s ideology.
Lets keep it simple. Who is a Muslim per Zakir Naik? As per him, the criteria is simple: Any person who accepts Allah and no other God and Muhammad (pbuh) as His messenger is a Muslim (and rest are all Kafirs who could be slaughtered). Say the Muslim commits a sin say drinks or doesn’t offer Nawaz, then (s)he is a non-practicing Muslim and will be Punished by Allah. In other worlds Zakir Naik divides the world in to
- Practicing Muslims
- Non-Practicing Muslims
Where as in Wahabi ideology, any person who doesn’t obey instructions from Holy Quran even if is a Muslim is a Kafir. Say a Muslim who drinks or doesn’t do Namaz or even breaks a single rule of Islam is a Kafir and could be punished even with death.
In other words (in contrast to Zakir Naik’s ideology)Wahhabism divides the world in to
Wahhabism brackets Muslims who even break a single rule of Holy Quran as Kafirs who could be slaughtered and is a holy duty.
Second, who was the founder and the background behind the foundation.
Wahhabism is a Sunni Islamic fundamentalist movement associated with the reformist doctrines of the 18th-century Arabian Islamic scholar, theologian, preacher, and activist Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab (1703–1792). He even opposed revering the tomb of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) as un-Islamic.
It is said that Abd al-Wahhab had memorized the entire Quran at the age of seven. Due to his radical views his fellow villagers banished him from his village.
Third, What political and economic scenarios resulted to the growth of the ideology.
In 1727, the Emirate of Diriyah established in the area around Riyadh rapidly expanded and briefly controlled most of the present-day territory of Saudi Arabia.
In 1744, Al-Wahhab formed a pact with a local leader, Muhammad bin Saud, a politico-religious alliance that continued for the next 150 years, culminating politically with the proclamation of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 1932 with the Saud dynasty as the rulers.
The question is: why did the politically active Saud dynasty align with Al-Wahhab?
The reason: For a long period Saudi Arabia and the riches of Mecca and Medina were controlled by the Turkish Ottoman empire. Around 18th century Ottomans had become weak. Hence, the Saud dynasty saw an opportunity to grab political power. But Islam prohibits Muslims from killing other Muslims. Hence the Saud dynasty needed religious sanction for killing other Muslims for grabbing power. By declaring even the Muslims as Kafirs (for even a slight deviation from Holy Quran) the Wahabi ideology provided the Saud dynasty the religious sanction to kill fellow Muslims and grab power.
On top of that Oil was discovered in early 1900s. That eventually resulted to growth of absolute dictators in middle-east. And since the Wahabi permits Muslims to be killed even for a small violation of Holy Quran, the ideology was loved by the dictatorial regimes to strengthen their grip on power.
Fourth, what is the plausible future of the ideology.
Had there been no Oil in middle-east there would have been no Wahabi ideology. The ideology grew simple because the ideology suited the dictatorial regimes of middle-east to cement their hold on power by repressing any form of dissent.
Over few decades time we will surely find a much cheaper alternative to Oil. Once that happens all dictatorial regimes of middle-east will collapse.
And with that the Wahabi ideology would also collapse.
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