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"Wahhabis and Saudi Arabia 1744-1810" Topic

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370 hits since 25 Dec 2017
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Tango0125 Dec 2017 11:25 a.m. PST

"Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab was born at ‘Uyayna in 1703, the son of a judge (qadi). The boy memorized the Qur'an by the time he was ten and studied the hadith, the sayings of Muhammad. He was educated in Medina, traveled, and taught for four years in Basra. He married a wealthy woman in Baghdad and inherited her property. When his father died in 1740, he replaced him as judge in Huraimala. He published his Book of Unity (Kitab al-Tawhid) and began preaching a strict monotheism; but his denouncing of debauchery provoked threats, and he fled to ‘Uyayna.

Ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab taught that any innovation (bid‘a) beyond the Qur'an or accepted hadith was the worst sin and found support for this in the Hanbali legal doctrine. He criticized magic, sorcery, fortune-telling, invocations, amulets, talismans, and even the shrines of local saints. Others called his followers Wahhabis, but they considered themselves the true Muslims or unitarians (al-muwahhidun). He taught that the zakat (alms-tax) was mandatory rather than voluntary. He denounced greed and usury, believing that the poor are blessed. Al-Wahhab taught equality and objected to servile hand-kissing. His ethical values included keeping promises, being patient, not lying, not slandering, not gossiping, not being indiscreet, and helping the blind. He particularly condemned meanness, envy, perjury, and cowardice. In his Book of Marriage he wrote that a daughter cannot be forced to marry against her will and that a woman has the right to divorce her husband. He believed that women have a right to be educated, and he condemned marriage before puberty. Women do not have to hide their face in public as long as they cover their hair. He wrote that a man who has sex with a servant or slave violates his marriage.

Al-Wahhab was rather intolerant of Muslims who did not agree with him and considered them infidels, treating them worse than Jews or Christians. He criticized Christians for worshipping Jesus as the Son of God and Jews for claiming they are the chosen people, but he allowed them to practice their religion inside their homes as long as they paid taxes. His followers destroyed the gravestones and monuments to saints, cut down sacred trees, and burned the books of their adversaries. He banned all pilgrimages except to the Ka‘ba in Mecca. Al-Wahhab forbade the use of tobacco, hashish, rosaries, music, and dancing even as practiced in devotion by the Sufis. He rejected the Hanafi doctrine of the Ottoman Sunnis and promoted Arabian nationalism against the Turks. He criticized the Shi'a for being idolaters…."
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