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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 ?
These, he writes are so important to the Wahhabists that we can undercut their motivation.
Unlike the Wahhabists, however, the Brotherhood was not concerned with implementing a particular theology.
Ehrenreich, Barbara: Christian Wahhabists, Jan 12; A
Over the past few years, we have witnessed attacks from few Islamophobic centers and in this way we unmasked those people and revealed their hatred towards the Islamic religion as a whole and not towards groups that they wish to call radical extremists and wahhabists," Halimi said.
They sent aid to the victims' families; they bought up books on Islam and learned to distinguish between Arabs and Muslims, moderates and fundamentalists, Sufis and Wahhabists.
One of the security officials in Iraq's Southern city of Najaf, where Ayatollah Sistani lives, told Adyan news that security measures have intensified outside the Shiite leader's home, and said, "All people should be confident that the dirty hands of Wahhabists will never reach our Great religious leader.
BDI leader Ali Ahmeti fiercely criticized the wahhabists in Macedonia and stated that BDI is not in favor of "escalation" of the Islam.
Additionally, the EIASC expressed concern over the prospect of Wahhabists gaining seats on the council.
While Sufists are depicted as peace lovers, tolerant and ready to embrace other faiths and communities, Wahhabists are described as violent, fanatical, narrow-minded and intolerant.
Yes, the Puritans screwed American traditions and values from the get-go ("Christian Wahhabists," Barbara Ehrenreich, January issue).
Suspected Boko Haram Wahhabists on Tuesday opened fire on a student hostel at a secondary school in Nigeria's troubled Northeastern Yobe state, the military said.
This is the reason why they proved themselves as successful in their intention to preserve the socialism from the danger of "irredentism and the Albanian nationalism" up to today when they are defending Macedonia from the wahhabists.