The 'Wahabi' Empire?
The Muslim Weekly
This week has seen another media furore ...
Abualrub's book on Muhammad ibn AbdulWahhaab noted that the British began using
the in India. He notes the research of Dr....
London, Birmingham etc.) have led to some very serious allegations being levelled at the
followers of the Salafi way where...
underhanded Muslims who have attempted to undermine the Salafi way from the very
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The Wahabi Empire


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The Wahabi Empire

  1. 1. The 'Wahabi' Empire? 10-11-07 The Muslim Weekly _________________________________ This week has seen another media furore over King Abdullah's visit to the UK which led to a barrage of criticism and pompous articles that were filled with venom against Saudi Arabia and anything even remotely connected to it. Issues related to torture, capital punishment, financing terrorism and allegations of oppressing women were all brought to the fore, matters which also take place within the good ole US of A! But when Bush Jnr visits the UK nothing is mentioned in the liberal press about human rights abuses and the like, only the barbaric Arabs are seen as those who need to be kept in check in this regard. It was also rather pathetic to see all manner of resentful elements within the UK form an unholy alliance which saw the likes of Muhammad Mehbooob Husain, extremist protesters outside the Saudi embassy, neo-con think tanks such as Policy Exchange and liberal journalists all rise to the occasion to condemn Saudi Arabia and by extension include the Salafi (Wahhabi) methodology in all of this, as we shall observe. What was also arrogant was that some quarters had the audacity to make statements such as how dare he [King Abdullah] lecture us on terrorism, as if he had totally condemned the UK. When a figure head of outward conservatism, and success in the world, without embracing the evils of Western secular liberal principles turns up and hits them with the reality that he is doing a better job of protecting civilisation than they are, they flip out and see that as being automatically incorrect. The first area to look at is this idea of Wahhabism, which although dealt with before still manages to reel off the lips of the uninformed. It would thus be of use to look at how the term became popularised during the colonial era by the British. W.W. Hunter in his book The Indian Musalmans noted that during the Indian Mutiny of 1857 CE the British feared uprising from the "Wahhabi" Muslims who were revolting against the British. Hunter stated in his book that: "There is no fear to the British in India except from the Wahhabis, for they are causing disturbances against them, and agitating the people under the name of jihaad to throw away the yoke of disobedience to the British and their authority." During this time in Bengal, many Muslims, including the old, young and women, were all categorised "Wahhabis" and "revolters" against the British empire and were hanged from 1863-1865. Those who were imprisoned in the Andaman Islands and tortured were scholars of the Salafi-Ahl ul-Hadeeth community including Shaykh Ja'far Thanesary, ShaykhYahyaa, Alee (1828-1868 CE), Shaykh Ahmad, Abdullaah (1808-1881 CE), Shaykh Nadheer Husayn ad-Dehlawee. Jalal Abualrub has compiled some superb research in this area based on studies conducted by other academics that are found within the Arabic language.
  2. 2. Abualrub's book on Muhammad ibn AbdulWahhaab noted that the British began using the in India. He notes the research of Dr. Nasir Tuwaim said: Earlier Orientalists used the terms, Wahhabiyyah, Wahhabi, Wahhabis in their articles and books to refer to the movement and followers of Shaykh Muhammad Ibn Abdul Wahhab. Some of them went to the extent of inserting this term into the titles of their books such as Burckhardt, Brydges and Cooper or in their articles such as Wilfrid Blunt Margoliouth Samuel Zwemer, Thomas Patrick Hughes Samalley and George Rentz. They did this even though some of them admitted that the enemies of the Da'wah used this term to describe it and that followers of Shaikh Muhammad Ibn Abdul Wahhab do not refer to themselves by this term. As a result, it is unfortunate that even the journalist Robert Fisk, who is asserted as an expert on Middle-East affairs, mentioned in an article entitled King Abdullah flies in to lecture us on terrorism (The Independent, Tuesday 30th October 2007) that the states religion of Saudi Arabi is "Wahhabism". When in fact, it doesn't take even a student of the Middle-East to tell you that in actual fact the state religion of Saudi Arabia is Islam! As for the New Labour and neo-con "ex-radical" Husain, his absolute acceptance of all things Eurocentric, Orientalist and Blairite is becoming an utter travesty. He had the gall to claim, in his usual manner of placating to Western audiences, that not every Wahhabi is a terrorist but every terrorist is a Wahhabi. One convoluted article by Paul Vallely even managed to connect the Jamaican preacher Abdullah el-Faisal to Saudi Arabia!? It is well-known that he made takfeer (excommunication) of Saudi Arabia and slandered its scholars. The second arena to look at is the nature of the Salafi methodology and the assertions that it in some way fosters extremism and radicalisation. In the articles by Paul Vallely (Wahhabism: A deadly scripture� in The Independent, 1 November 2007) and Kevin Toolis (The Savage House of Saud, in The Daily Mirror, 30 October 2007) it was asserted that the 7/7 bombers were Salafi First of all, the 7/7 bombers were known to members of the community and I personally know someone who knew Germaine Lindsay very well and it is thus evident that Lindsay was not Salafi but rather a Jihadi. This is just the same as the total lie mentioned in the press after 7/7 that Germaine Lindsay frequented Brixton Mosque just because he was of African-Caribbean origin even though he was from outside of London and not known to anyone from the Brixton Mosque. The two are not the same as they neither have the same emphasis nor the same beliefs in many issues such as: the justification of suicide bombing, issues related to rebelling against the Muslim ruler, concepts regarding leadership in Islam and a whole host of areas that Salafi scholars have very clear views on. These misunderstandings borne out of a lack of communication with Salafi communities of the UK (such as the ones in Luton, Brixton, Cranford, East
  3. 3. London, Birmingham etc.) have led to some very serious allegations being levelled at the followers of the Salafi way wherein Salafi Islam is linked to terrorist beliefs. Earlier this year a research paper was written by two analysts for the NYPD wherein Salafi Islam was equated with being the ideology of al-Qaeda. A detailed research paper was produced in light of this entitled Is the Salafi Methodology an Indicator of Terrorism, Political Violence and Radicalisation, which can be found at One quote in Paul Vallely's article even stated that an Imam of the Salafi influence had caused such a climate of suspicion that when teaching classical texts he had to leave out everything that could not be traced explicitly back to the Qur'an and the accepted sayings of the Prophet the hadith. So then what on earth is this Imam teaching then if he's not teaching what is explicitly in the Qur'an and hadeeth? This in itself is no different to what the extremists do! Teach that which cannot be traced back in the name of teaching a classical traditional text while those who ascribe to the Salafi methodology teach that which can be traced back. They usually seem to link the strictness of the Salafis with acts of terrorism, as if they were inseparable. These are nothing but secular liberal half-truths, used to promote the more 'westernised' groups who generally have no problem remaining ignorant of Islam. They are quick to point out that the Jihadis are Salafi but you never find them admitting that without Saudi Arabia being as opposed to the Jihadi methodology (manhaj) as it is the extremist Jihadis would probably be running riot. To date Saudi Arabia has consistently implemented strategies to oppose extremism like no other state. Hence, it seems as though terrorism is being used to attack the 'strictness' loathed by these people, which are basic beliefs and practices of Islam that most Muslims believe in anyway since it is rooted in the Qur'an and Sunnah (Prophetic tradition). So their intent with this approach is to paint the false picture that it is Salafis who have a monopoly on exclusivism and intolerance, when quite clearly this is untrue. Then there is the oft-repeated claim that Saudi Arabia is supporting a type of Islam that is deliberately attempting to subvert Islam in Britain - a claim boldly asserted by some elements. No one is denying that there are have been some errors in judgment regarding certain issues; however the reality which many of us witnessed in the mid-1990s before the 'war on terror' context was, as I have stated on more than one occasion, that the main extremists in the UK all had total enmity towards Saudi Arabia. Abu Hamza, Abu Qatada, Abdullah Faisal, Omar Bakri, Muhammad al-Mas'ari et al. are characterised by this feature. Indeed, they were supported by the UK which gave them safe-haven and refuge. So it is folly to now try and lay the blame at the feet of Saudi Arabia for the problems of radicalisation the contemporary world is facing. Everyone who's jumped on this Saudi/ Wahhabi/ Salafi attack bandwagon has their own, often not immediately apparent, agenda that they are trying to push. The press because they want to sell papers and push modern Western secular liberal principles, and those
  4. 4. underhanded Muslims who have attempted to undermine the Salafi way from the very beginning.