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(wähä`bē), reform movement in IslamIslam
, [Arab.,=submission to God], world religion founded by the Prophet Muhammad. Founded in the 7th cent., Islam is the youngest of the three monotheistic world religions (with Judaism and Christianity). An adherent to Islam is a Muslim [Arab.,=one who submits].
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, originating in Arabia; adherents of the movement usually refer to themselves as Muwahhidun [unitarians]. It was founded by Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahab (c.1703–1791), who was influenced by Ibn TaymiyyaIbn Taymiyya, Taqiyy ad-Din Ahmad
, 1263–1328, Muslim theologian and jurist. He lived in Damascus after the collapse of the central caliphate to the Mongol invasion from the East, and during the continuous threat of Christendom from the North and West.
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 and taught that all accretions to Islam after the 3d cent. of the Muslim era—i.e., after c.950—were spurious and must be expunged. This view, involving essentially a purification of the Sunni sect, regarded the veneration of saints, ostentation in worship, and luxurious living as the chief evils. Accordingly, Wahhabi mosques are simple and without minarets, and the adherents dress plainly and do not smoke tobacco or hashish.

Driven from Medina for his preaching, the founder of the Wahhabi sect went into the NE Nejd and converted the Saud tribe. The Saudi sheik, convinced that it was his religious mission to wage holy war (jihad) against all other forms of Islam, began the conquest of his neighbors in c.1763. By 1811 the Wahhabis ruled all Arabia, except Yemen, from their capital at Riyadh. The Ottoman sultan, nominally suzerain over Arabia, had vainly sent out expeditions to crush them. Only when the sultan called on Muhammad AliMuhammad Ali,
1769?–1849, pasha of Egypt after 1805. He was a common soldier who rose to leadership by his military skill and political acumen. In 1799 he commanded a Turkish army in an unsuccessful attempt to drive Napoleon from Egypt.
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 of Egypt for aid did he meet success; by 1818 the Wahhabis were driven into the desert.

In the Nejd the Wahhabis collected their power again and from 1821 to 1833 gained control over the Persian Gulf coast of Arabia. The domain thereafter steadily weakened; Riyadh was lost in 1884, and in 1889 the Saud family fled for refuge into the neighboring state of Kuwait. The Wahhabi movement was to enjoy its third triumph when Ibn SaudIbn Saud
(Abd al-Aziz ibn Saud) , c.1880–1953, founder of Saudi Arabia and its first king. His family, with its regular seat at Riyadh in the Nejd, were the traditional leaders of the ultraorthodox Wahhabi movement in Islam.
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 advanced from his capture of Riyadh in 1902 to the reconstitution in 1932 of nearly all his ancestral domain under the name Saudi ArabiaSaudi Arabia
, officially Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, kingdom (2005 est. pop. 26,419,000), 829,995 sq mi (2,149,690 sq km), comprising most of the Arabian peninsula. It is bounded on the west by the Gulf of Aqaba and the Red Sea; on the east by the Persian Gulf, Qatar, and the
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, where it remains dominant. Wahhabism served as an inspiration to other Islamic reform movements from India and Sumatra to North Africa and Sudan, and during the 20th cent. has influenced the Taliban of Aghanistan and Islamist movements elsewhere.

References in periodicals archive ?
By understanding the Muslim Brotherhood and Wahhabism not as two similar manifestations of a single movement but as two separate movements, US policy makers can address each group separately, forming distinct policies for each.
They say President Ali Abdullah Saleh's close ties to Riyadh have led him to allow Wahhabism to have too much sway in the country.
In Pankisi, the term Wahhabism emerged in the public discourse in the context of the Chechen wars.
Before delving into current issues, however, it is first necessary to define differences between Wahhabism and the Muslim Brotherhood.
Wahhabism also inspires the Ahl-i-Hadith and Deobandi movements, which have had a profound influence on Sunni Islam in South Asia, inspiring resistance to all forms of Western imperialism.
Wahhabism (5) began as a small sect in the Arabian peninsular in the 18th century under the leadership of Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab (1703-1792) who deployed the principle of ijtihad ("independent analysis") to call for Islamic revival based on a rigorous monotheism, a strict orthopraxy (correct practice) and a vision of extreme doctrinal purity and social order that he believed characterised Islam in the age of the Prophet.
And, as Kepel describes, al-Qaeda became the "offspring" of "the marriage between local Wahhabism and international Islamic activism, facilitated by the complicit mediation of the United States and Saudi Arabia" (p.
Frequently mentioned in association with Osama bin Laden, Wahhabism is inaccurately portrayed by the media and public officials as an intolerant, puritanical, militant interpretation of Islam that calls for the wholesale destruction of the West in a jihad of global proportions.
Into that vacuum roared a fundamentalist reaction led by brilliant but aberrant amateurs like Egypt's Sayyid Qutb, the founding philosopher of Ayman Zawahiri's brand of Islamic radicalism who was hanged by al-Nasser, and later, Osama bin Laden, who grew up infected by the Saudis' extreme version of Wahhabism.
Wahhabism and other similar trends, according to Abou el Fadl, abuse the theological texts of Islam in their attempts to quantify the implementation of God's word.
He said a definition of this caliphate, however, was "left deliberately vague owing to deep religious and geo-political differences" between the mainstream Sunnis of the triangle in Iraq and the Wahhabis of Bin Laden's Qaeda, the latter being an offshoot of and still inspired by the Jihadists of Saudi Arabia's Wahhabism.