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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 (2015 est. pop. 27,752,000), 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.

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References in periodicals archive ?
Although many young Saudis--who represent a sizeable and growing portion of the population--are interested in engaging with the West at a commercial level, the nation as a whole remains committed to its Wahhabist religio-cultural roots.
Whereas high- and mid-level civil servants are monogamous in many Muslim countries--and this was also the case in Niger in the 1980s and 1990s--nowadays almost all the members of the administrative and political elite in Niger have at least two wives (this may be a consequence of the Wahhabist wave sweeping through West Africa).
(12) Saudi Arabia's track record of promoting Wahhabist and other Salafist belief systems throughout the broader Middle East and Islamic world has represented a pillar of its foreign policy and a means by which to project its influence, especially in the context of its rivalry with Iran, and has also contributed to Shi'a misgivings regarding the kingdom's intentions.
Usmani is reported to be a leading figure in the Deobandi brand of Islam--a mixture of Sufism and Wahhabist doctrine.
Ibn Taymiyya's views had little influence during Caliphate times, as they would have challenged the governing codes and practices of most "caliphates." However, Salifiyyist thought has enjoyed a modern rebirth, in part because of its interpretation by Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahab, whose writings inspired the movement contemporarily known as "Wahhabist" Sunni Islam.
Extremists--extreme even by Wahhabist standards--have somehow gained control of the covert-action arm of Saudi intelligence.
For example, in strict Wahhabist Saudi Arabia women are (http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/articles/516992/20131025/saudi-arabia-women-driving-campaign-government-warns.htm) not allowed to drive , travel without permission from a male guardian, and are barred from certain jobs.
But after their clan fell out with other insurgents inspired by the radical Wahhabist ideology, the elder Kadyrov headed Chechnya's pro-Kremlin government in the early 2000s and was instrumental in largely putting down the rebel movement there.
Though the United States is Saudi Arabia's most important foreign partner--a relationship the House of Saud would like to preserve--the interests of Saudi Arabia in Afghanistan are often in conflict with those of the United States; Saudi Arabia was one of just three countries to recognize the Taliban government when it took power in Afghanistan, so it is no surprise that the Saudis would like to see in Afghanistan an Islamist state focused on the "domestic propagation of religion and enforcing moral strictures within the country," much like their own Wahhabist (Salafist) state.
Radical Islam first made contact with the region in the 1950s, when a small number of Muslims returned after studying under Wahhabist teachers at Egypt's Al-Azhar University.
There is precedent for alternative, if not competing, interpretations of Islam in Afghanistan--Sufism is pervasive, as well as the Deobandist and Wahhabist reform movements, and Islamists (espousing political Islam) are gaining traction (ii) (Mendoza, 2008, p.
But he dismissed such fears, saying the Brotherhood's pragmatism had less appeal to Saudi society than Salafis, whose yearning for a return to early Islamic teachings lies at the heart of the kingdom's Wahhabist creed.