The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary






Muhammad ibn Abd al Wahhab

Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab (b. 1703 'Uyyainah العوينة, Najd, Arabia - d. 1792 al-Dir'yah ) is the most famous scholar of the fundamentalist movement within Islam known as the Wahhabi movement and after whom the movement is named. He considered this movement an effort to purify Islam by returning all Muslims to what he believed were the original principles of Islam, as typified by the as-salaf as-saliheen, the earliest converts to Islam, by rejecting what he regarded as corruptions introduced by Bida (innovation,reformation) and Shirk (idolatry).

He also revived interest in the works of Ibn Taymiya; those who follow the "revival" that he advocated are often referred to as Salafis.



Ibn Abd Al-Wahhab was educated in Medina (part of modern Saudi Arabia), and travelled in Iraq and later, Iran. It was in Iran that he began preaching against the Sufi Muslims then predominant in the region.

After his return to Medina he wrote his Kitab at-tawhid[1] (Arabic, "Book of Monotheism", 1736), which became a reference text for the Wahhabi sect of Islam. His teachings led to a controversy which resulted in him being expelled; he moved onto the city of Ad-Dir'iyah.

Alliance with Ibn Saud

An alliance between Ibn Abd al-Wahhab and Muhammad bin Saud caused Wahhabbism to spread in areas that Ibn Saud conquered.

Beliefs and Practices

See Wahhabism for details.

Influence and Legacy

Ibn Abd al-Wahhab is viewed as a reformer by those who follow the Wahhabi sect of Islam. Saudi Arabia's official religion is Islam according to Ibn Abd al-Wahhab's interpretation. Ibn Abd al-Wahhab's writings have also influenced the fundamentalist ideology of Takfir wal-Hijra.

He is referred to as a Hadith-Rejector by most scholars of the four main maddhabs, and his teachings denouncing all other forms of Islam as Shirk and Bidat have led to a violent and intolerant stream of Islam streaming, in particular, out of Saudi Arabia.

Some Critics, such as Ibn Dawud, have referred to him as "The Father of Islamic terrorism".

External Links

See also: Islam, Islamist, Wahhabism

Last updated: 08-14-2005 20:04:26
Last updated: 09-12-2005 02:39:13