The Fitnah of Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

As recorded in Swahih al-Bukhari, ibn ‘Umar (r.a.) narrated that the Prophet (s.a.w.) said, “O Allah!  Bestow Your Blessings on our Sham!  O Allah!  Bestow Your Blessings on our Yemen.”

Some of the people present said, “And also on our Najd.”

The Prophet (s.a.w.) said again, “O Allah!  Bestow Your Blessings on our Sham!  O Allah!  Bestow Your Blessings on our Yemen.”

The people said, “O Allah's Apostle!  And also on our Najd.”

ibn ‘Umar (r.a.) said, “I think the third time, the Prophet (s.a.w.) said, ‘There,’ referring to the Najd, ‘is the place of earthquakes and afflictions and from there comes out the side of the head of Satan.’”

The accursed Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab an-Najdi is credited with founding the Salafi movement, whose pact with Muhammad ibn Sa’ud helped to establish the first Saudi state and began a dynastic alliance and power-sharing arrangement between their families which continues to the present day.  The descendants of ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab, the Al ash-Shaykh, have historically dominated the state's clerical institutions.

ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab is generally acknowledged to have been born in 1703 into the Arab tribe of Banu Tamim in ‘Uyaynah, a village in the Najd region of the modern Saudi Arabia, the very land of fitnah, the Prophet (s.a.w.) warned against.  He was thought to have started studying Islam at an early age, primarily with his father, Shaykh ‘Abd al-Wahhab (r.a.) as his family was from a line of scholars of the Hanbali madzhab.  ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab was educated in the Najd, Basra and Damascus.  Although, his brothers and parents were of the ‘aqidah of the Ahl as-Sunnah wa al-Jama’ah, through reading selected works of Shaykh ibn Taymiyyah (r.a.), he chose to differ in belief with the rest of his family, who were not pleased with him.  His brother, Shaykh Sulayman ibn ‘Ab al-Wahhab (r.a.), wrote a book against him, Sawa’iq al-Ilahiyyah fi Radd ‘ala al-Wahabiyyah, a, in which he refutes all his brother’s innovations and heresy.

In Makkah, the Hanbali mufti, Imam ibn Humaydi (r.a.), perceived ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab to be a poor student, arrogant and defiant with his teachers.  He was known to be lacking in adab.  This upset his father greatly.  Consequently, ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab did not complete his studies.  It was likely he was expelled or dropped out.  In Madina, he studied under Muhammad Hayyat as-Sindi.  His heretical ideas were formulated while living in Basra.  He returned to 'Uyayna in 1740.

After his return home, ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab began to attract followers, including the ruler of ‘Uyaynah, ‘Utsman ibn Mu’ammar.  With ibn Mu’ammar’s support, ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab began to implement some of his heresy.  First, citing Islamic teachings forbidding grave worship, he persuaded ibn Mu’ammar to level the maqam of Zayd ibn al-Khaththab (r.a.).  Secondly, he ordered that all adulterers be stoned to death, a practice that had become uncommon in the area.  He personally organised the stoning of a woman who confessed that she had committed adultery.  This is not in line with the teachings of the Prophet (s.a.w.).  Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab considered his movement an effort to purify Islam by returning Muslims to what he believed were the original principles of that religion, as typified by the Salaf and rejecting what he regarded as corruptions introduced by bid’ah and shirk.  In this, he was the originator of the greatest bid’ah, the entire Salafi movement.

ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab was criticised for disregarding Islamic history, monuments, traditions and the sanctity of Muslim life.  His father disowned him.  His own brother, Shaykh Sulayman (r.a.), was particularly critical, claiming he was ill-educated and intolerant, classing ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab's views as fringe and fanatical.  Shaykh Sulayman ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab (r.a.) rightly pointed out that his brother was selective with the juristic predecessors, to the point of being ignorantly dismissive towards some and treating others as divinely infallible.  Both Shaykh Sulayman (r.a.) and ibn Shaykh Humaydi (r.a.) showed that ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab was even selective with the works of Shaykh ibn Taymiyyah (r.a.), whose views otherwise closely influenced the Salafi.

The Wahhabi sect is named after Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab.  It is often believed, that ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab started the Wahhabi movement.  He merely began its latest incarnation.  In reality, it began in the time of ‘Ali (k.w.).  Throughout history, there have been different names for this sect, but in the eighth century, one of their leaders used to call himself, Salafi.  Today, this sect has many names and incarnations all over the world.  Where once they were called the Khawarij, now, they know themselves as the Salafi, the Wahhabi, the Najdi, Muhammadiyyah, Ghayr Muqallidin and even Ahl Hadits.  They are not the Salaf of the Prophet (s.a.w.) since they follow a different ‘aqidah.  The false prophet, Musaylimah al-Kadzab was also born in Najd.

Hafizh ibn Katsir (r.a.) wrote in Tarikh ibn Katsir, when the kuffar of Makkah had a meeting concerning the Prophet (s.a.w.), Shaythan came in the form of a Najdi shaykh.  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 (s.a.w.), throughout the meeting.

It is recorded by Imam al-Bukhari (r.a.) in Kitab al-Fitnah, the Prophet (s.a.w.) stated, “I fear from the Najdi.”  Imam al-Bukhari (r.a.) also recorded that the Prophet (s.a.w.) stated, “The fitnah will emerge from the east.”

The brother of the heretic, Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab an-Najdi, Shaykh Sulayman (r.a.), said about his brother, “The horn of Shaythan which the Prophet (s.a.w.) referred to is you.”  This was recorded in Sawa’iq al-Ilahiyyah, meaning that ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab had left the fold of Islam.

Muhammad Hasni wrote in Tarikh Ahl as-Sa'ud, that ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab said, “When I went to study in Basra, mushrikin would ask me questions and I would leave them very surprised with my answers.”

Shaykh Juri (r.a.) stated, “Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab an-Najdi called the Ahl as-Sunnah wa al-Jama’ah, kafir and mushrik apart from himself and his blind followers.”  The proof for this is he himself said that about the ‘mushrikin’ in Basra asking him questions.  These people were Muslims and, thus, ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab was guilty of takfir.  It is the disease of the entire movement until today.

ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab was quoted in Kashf ash-Shubhat that people who ask for intercession from the Prophet (s.a.w.) and make du’a through the wasilah of awliyato become closer to Allah (s.w.t.), are guilty of shirk.  Thus, it is permitted to kill them and to take their possessions.  Shaykh ‘Aththar (r.a.) wrote that the Najdi heretic said, “I declare war on these people as the Prophet declared war on the kuffar of Makkah, against those people with corrupt beliefs.”

Just like the Khawarij, he considered all other Muslims to be kafir.  The Khawarj were people who consider all other Muslims to be kafir.  They believe any person who has committed a major sin a non-believer.  They called the swahabah kafir and killed or tried to kill them, as they did with ‘Utsman (r.a.), Thalhah (r.a.), and ibn az-Zubayr (r.a.).  They killed ‘Ali (k.w.).  The Khawarij only took the literal meaning of the Qur’an.  This is also the trait of the Wahhabi.

The greatest crime of the Wahhabi is still their attack on the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) in their supposed defense of Islam.  ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab used to insult the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) in various ways because he believed that this was the best method to safeguard his flawed interpretation of tawhid.  The following are a few examples of his appalling disrespect and insolence towards the exalted person of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.).  He referred to the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) as ‘tarish’, which in Najdi speech means a lowly messenger boy or a mere postman.  He used to say that the incident at Hudaybiyyah is full of lies and rejected the bay’ah.  Hence, when his followers and acolytes used to speak against the incident, he felt pleased with them.  One of his blind followers once remarked in his presence that his walking stick is better than Muhammad (s.a.w.) because his stick can still be used for killing a snake or such reptiles while Muhammad (s.a.w.) is not beneficial any more.  He was just a messenger boy who is no more.  That follower is blind in dunya and akhirah.

ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab hated the recitation of swalawat upon the Prophet (s.a.w.).  He also felt upset to hear the swalawat was recited in the mosque.  The followers of the heretic are resentful of the recitation by visitors to Jannat al-Baqi in Madina even today.  He also opposed the recitation of swalawat on Friday eve and especially from the minarets of the mosques.  If he found someone reciting it loudly and publicly, he used to punish him.  He used to often say that recitation of swalawat from the minarets of the mosques is by far a graver sin than a prostitute playing musical instruments in her bordello.  He used to tell his followers that this will protect monotheism.  Clearly this was a man who did not love the Prophet (s.a.w.) and worshipped his nafs.

He destroyed the Dala'il al-Khayrat and many other books of swalawat by setting them ablaze.  His followers trampled the unburnt portions underfoot, notwithstanding the fact they held the Names of Allah (s.w.t.) and His Messenger (s.a.w.).  He also destroyed the books of fiqh, hadits and tafsir penned by renowned and authentic Muslim scholars of the Ahl as-Sunnah wa al-Jama’ah.  These included the works of Imam al-Ghazali (r.a.) and Shaykh ‘Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani (q.s.) amongst others.

He had clearly allowed his companions to interpret the verses of Qur'an as per their whims and fancies.  They always took the literalist interpretation, going so far as to ascribe anthropomorphism to Allah (s.w.t.).  He used to ascribe to Muslims those verses of the Qur’an that were Revealed about the munafiqin and the mushrikin.  The Khawarij also followed the same modus operandi.  In effect, they were the Khawarij reborn.

ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab used to instruct his officers to do ijtihad in matters of religion and issue the ahkam of shari’ah according to their personal opinion without regard to the precedence of the pious predecessors.  He also stopped them from referring to religious books saying that these contain right and wrong both.  As a matter of fact, all his officers were absolutely ignorant of religious laws.  The ignorance of the inner dimensions of Islam is the hallmark of the movement.

Those scholars and pious people who did not embrace his newly-innovated religion were immediately put to sword.  He was a murderer and a thief.  A desecrator of the maqam of the swahabah and awliya’.  His followers attacked Makkah and Madina and almost burnt the Ka’bah.  They killed hundreds of pilgrims and desecrated Masjid an-Nabawi.  Whatever booty he recovered after looting Muslims was distributed as zakat to his followers.

The followers of Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab do not follow any of the madzhab of fiqh or ‘aqidah.  They pride themselves in being called as Ghayr Muqallidin.  To deceive foolish Muslims, they claim to follow the Hanbali madzhab.

He used to instruct people against supplications after swalah, justifying it by asking, “Do you expect wages of worship from Allah?”  This, from a man who knows nothing of Allah (s.w.t.).

In short, he is the enemy of Allah (s.w.t.) and His Messenger (s.a.w.).  Were it not for the fact that his followers control the Haramayn, they would be considered apostates of Islam.  As it is, they have declared war on the Ahl as-Sunnah wa al-Jama’ah and the awliya’.

Abu Hurayrah (r.a.) narrated that the Prophet (s.a.w.) said in a hadits qudsi, “Whoever harms any of My Deputies, I shall Declare war on him.  The striving of my Servant to Please Me does not receive a reward greater than that of fulfilling what I have Commanded him to do.  My servant volunteers in his perseverance, offering supererogatory devotion to please Me and to earn My Love.  Once I Cast My Love upon him, I Become his Hearing with which he Hears, his Sight with which he Sees, his Hand with which he Exacts Justice, and his Foot that Carries him.  Should My Servant pray for something, I will Answer his prayers and should he Seek Refuge in Me, I will Protect him.  Indeed, there is nothing that I have Decreed, which I hesitate to Do for the sake of a believer except causing him to experience death.  He dislikes it, and I hate to displease him, but I have thus Ordained.”

We have no reliable data on how Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab died.  We only know that he passed on in 1792 CE.  We can only curse this infidel and hope he suffered.


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