In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

Wahhabi or 'abd al-Wahhaab!

 The article was collected by Ummu Mariam.




Verily, all praises and thanks are due to Allah, we praise Him, seek His help and His forgiveness. We seek refuge with Allah from the evils of our souls and evils of our deeds. One whom Allah guides none can lead him astray, and one whom He misguides, none can guide him. I bear witness that there is no god but Allah, and I bear witness that Muhammad (SAAS) is His servant and His messenger.

"O you who believe! Fear Allah (by doing all that He has ordered and by abstaining from all that He has forbidden) as He should be feared. (Obey Him, be thankful to Him, and remember Him always), and die not except in a state of Islam [as Muslims (with complete submission to Allah)]." (Al-Qur‘aan 3:102 - interpretation of the meaning)

"O mankind! Be dutiful to your Lord, Who created you from a single person (Adam), and from him (Adam) He created his wife (Eve), and from them both He created many men and women and fear Allah through Whom you demand your mutual (rights), and (do not cut the relations of) the wombs (kinship). Surely, Allah is Ever an All-Watcher over you." (Al-Qur‘aan 4:1 - interpretation of the meaning)

"O you who believe! Keep your duty to Allah and fear Him, and speak (always) the truth. He will direct you to do righteous good deeds and will forgive you your sins. And whosoever obeys Allah and His Messenger (SAAS) he has indeed achieved a great achievement (i.e. he will be saved from the Hell-fire and made to enter Paradise)." (Al-Qur‘aan 33:70-71 - interpretation of the meaning)

Ammaa ba'd (as for what follows), the best of speech is the speech of Allah that is the Book of Allah. The best of guidance is the guidance of Muhammad (SAAS). Of all matters, the worst are innovations; and everything new is an innovation, and every innovation is a deviation, and every deviation leads to Hell-fire.



The following questions and answers concerning Sheikh Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Wahhaab rahimahullaah were taken from:


Question #12932:

I have heard some really bad stories about 'Abd al-Wahhaab and how he disgraced the religion of Islam? What is your opinion on this?


All praises and thanks are due to Allah.

With regard to the 'Abd al-Wahhaab mentioned in the question, perhaps what is meant is Sheikh Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Wahhaab rahimahullaah. If we want to know more about him, we cannot find anyone who can describe the man better than himself, because when there is a man concerning whom people's opinions vary greatly, with some praising him and some condemning him, we should look at what he says in his writings and his books, and at what is correctly attributed to him, then weigh that against al-Qur‘aan and as-Sunnah. What Sheikh Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Wahhaab said, describing himself, was: "I tell you that– all praises and thanks are due to Allah – my belief and my religion, according to which I worship Allah, is the way of Ahl-us-Sunnah wal-Jamaa'ah, which was the way of the imams of the Muslims, such as the four imams and their followers until the Day of Resurrection. But I explain to people that they must devote their worship sincerely to Allah (ikhlaas). I forbid them to call upon the Prophets and the dead among the righteous and others, and from associating them with Allah in any act of worship that should be done for Allah alone, such as offering sacrifices, making vows, putting one's trust, prostrating and other actions which are due to Allah and in which no one should be associated with Him, not any angel who is close to Him or any Prophet who was sent. This is the Message which was proclaimed by all the Messengers, from the first of them to the last of them, and this is the way of Ahl-us-Sunnah wal-Jamaa'ah. I hold a high position in my village and people listen to me. Some of the leaders denounced that because it goes against the customs they grew up with. I also obliged those who are under me to perform regular prayer, pay zakaah and fulfil other Islamic duties, and I forbade them to deal with ribaa (usury), drink intoxicants and other kinds of forbidden things. The leaders could not criticize that or find fault with it, because it is something that is liked by the common folk, so they directed their criticism and enmity against that which I enjoin of tauhiid and that which I forbid of shirk, and they confused the common folk by saying that this goes against what everyone is doing, and they caused a great deal of fitnah…" (Ad-Durar as-Sunniyyah, 1/64-65, 79-80)

Any fair-minded person who studies the books of this man will know that he is one of those who call people to Allah with sure knowledge, and that he bore many difficulties and hardships in order to restore Islam to its pure form, when it had been altered a great deal at his time, and that was because of his opposition to the whims and desires of the leaders, who stirred up the ignorant masses of the common people against him, so that they could continue to enjoy their positions of worldly leadership and wealth.

I urge you not to be easily influenced by others with regard to what you listen to and believe. Rather you should be a seeker of truth, defending it no matter who is promoting it, and I urge you to avoid falsehood and error no matter who is promoting it. So if you look at any of the books by this sheikh – and I recommend you to read Kitaab-ut-Tauhiid Alladhi Huwa Haqq Allah 'alaa al-'Abeed [Kitaab-ut-Tauhiid is available in English translation] – you will find out how great the Sheikh's knowledge was, and how important his call is, and the extent to which his words have been twisted and accusations have been made against him.

…More importantly, I urge you to ponder al-Qur‘aan and as-Sunnah and to ask trustworthy scholars about matters concerning which you are confused. Beware of those who follow their whims and desires, and of shirk in all its forms. If you do that, then the question of whether Sheikh Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Wahhaab rahimahullaah was right or wrong becomes irrelevant. Moreover you should realize that it is haraam (prohibited) to violate the honour and reputation of Muslims by saying things about them in such a manner as to undermine their position, even if what is said is true – so how about if it is false?

May Allah help us and you to follow true guidance and the religion of truth, and to do that which pleases Him.

And Allah knows best.


Question # 9243:

Some people talk very bad about Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Wahhaab rahimahullah. They accuse him, that he fought against the Ottoman Islamic empire and against the caliph, so he was an enemy of the Muslims. This is their argument. Is this right? How could one fight against the ruler of the Muslims, even if the caliph prayed, gave his zakaah and so on? They say also that he made a contract with the British army and fought with them against the Muslims. Can you give me a detailed answer to this historical event and show me the truth? Whom should we believe?


All praises and thanks are due to Allah.

There is never a man who brings some goodness to this world but he has enemies among mankind and the jinn. Even the Prophets of Allah were not safe from that.

The enmity of people was directed against the scholars in the past, especially the proponents of the true call (of Islam). They were met with intense hostility from the people. An example of that is Sheikh-ul-Islam ibn Taymiyah rahimahullah; some of those who were jealous of him regarded it as permissible to shed his blood, others accused him of being misguided and of going beyond the pale of Islam and becoming an apostate.

Sheikh Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Wahhaab was simply another of these wronged scholars who were falsely accused by people, in an attempt to cause trouble (fitnah). People's only motives for doing that were jealousy and hatred, along with the fact that bid'ah (innovation) was so firmly entrenched in their hearts, or they were ignorant and were blindly imitating the people of whims and desires.

We will mention some of the false accusations that were made against the Sheikh, and will refute them.

Sheikh 'Abd al-'Azeez al-'Abd al-Lateef said: Some opponents of the Salafi da'wah claim that Imam Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Wahhaab rebelled against the Ottoman Caliphate, thus splitting the jamaa'ah (main body of the Muslims) and refusing to hear and obey (the ruler). (Da'aawaa al-Munaawi‘een li Da'wat ash-Sheikh Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Wahhaab, p. 233)

He said: 'Abd al-Qadiim Zalluum claims that the emergence of the Wahhabis and their call was a cause of the fall of the Caliphate. It was said that the Wahhabis formed a state within the Islamic state, under the leadership of Muhammad ibn Sa'ud and subsequently his son 'Abd al-'Azeez, which was supplied with weapons and money by the British, and they set out to gain control of other lands that were under the rule of Caliphate, motivated by the urge to spread their beliefs, i.e., they raised their swords against the Caliph and fought the Muslim army, the army of the Ameer al-mu‘mineen, with the encouragement and support of the British. (Kayfa Huddimat al-Khilaafah, p. 10)

Before we respond to the false accusation that Sheikh Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Wahhaab rebelled against the Caliphate, we should mention the fact that the Sheikh believed that hearing and obeying the imams (leaders) of the Muslims was obligatory, whether they are righteous or immoral, so long as they did not enjoin disobedience towards Allah, because obedience is only with regard to what is right and proper.

The Sheikh said in his letter to the people of al-Qaseem: "I believe that it is obligatory to hear and obey the leaders of the Muslims, whether they are righteous or immoral, so long as they do not enjoin disobedience towards Allah. Whoever has become caliph and the people have given him their support and accepted him, even if he has gained the position of caliph by force, is to be obeyed and it is haraam (prohibited) to rebel against him." (Majmuu'at Mu‘allafaat ash-Sheikh, 5/11)

And he also said: "One of the main principles of unity is to hear and obey whoever is appointed over us even if he is an Abyssinian slave…" (Majmuu'at Mu‘allafaat ash-Sheikh, 1/394; quoted in Da'aawaa al-Munaawi‘een, 233-234.)

And Sheikh 'Abd al-'Azeez al-'Abd al-Lateef said: After stating these facts which explain that the Sheikh believed it was obligatory to hear and obey the leaders of the Muslims, whether they are righteous or immoral, so long as they do not enjoin disobedience towards Allah, we may refer to an important issue in response to that false accusation. There is an important question which is: Was Najd, where this call originated and first developed, under the sovereignty of the Ottoman state?

Dr Saaleh al-'Abuud answered this by saying: Najd never came under Ottoman rule, because the rule of the Ottoman state never reached that far, no Ottoman governor was appointed over that region and the Turkish soldiers never marched through its land during the period that preceded the emergence of the call of Sheikh Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Wahhaab rahimahullaah. This fact is indicated by the fact that the Ottoman state was divided into administrative provinces. This is known from a Turkish document entitled Qawaaneen Aal 'Uthman Fiimaa Yatadammanuh Daftar ad-Diiwaan (Laws of the Ottomans concerning what is contained in the Legislation), which was written by Yameen 'Ali Effendi who was in charge of the Constitution in 1018 A.H./1609 CE. This document indicates that from the beginning of the eleventh century A.H. the Ottoman state was divided into 23 provinces, of which 14 were Arabic provinces, and the land of Najd was not one of them, with the except of al-Ihsaa‘, if we count al-Ihsaa‘ as part of Najd. ['Aqeedat ash-Sheikh Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Wahhaab wa Atharoha fil-'Aalam al-Islaami (unpublished), 1/27]

And Dr 'Abdullah al-'Utheimeen said: Whatever the case, Najd never experienced direct Ottoman rule before the call of Sheikh Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Wahhaab emerged, just as it never experienced any strong influence that could have an impact on events inside Najd. No one had any such influence, and the influence of Bani Jabr or Bani Khalid in some parts, or the Ashraaf in other parts, was limited. None of them were able to bring about political stability, so wars between the various regions of Najd continued and there were ongoing violent conflicts between its various tribes. (Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Wahhaab Hayaatuhu wa Fikrohu, p. 11; quoted in Da'aawaa al-Munaawi‘een, 234-235)

We will complete this discussion by quoting what Sheikh 'Abd al-'Azeez ibn 'Abdullah ibn Baaz said in response to this false accusation. He rahimahullaah said: Sheikh Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Wahhaab did not rebel against the Ottoman Caliphate as far as I know, because there was no area in Najd that was under Turkish rule. Rather Najd consisted of small emirates and scattered villages, and each town or village, no matter how small, was ruled by an independent emir. These were emirates between which there were fighting, wars and disputes. So Sheikh Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Wahhaab did not rebel against the Ottoman state, rather he rebelled against the corrupt situation in his own land, and he strove in jihad for the sake of Allah and persisted until the light of this call spread to other lands… (Conversation recorded on tape; quoted in Da'aawaa al-Munaawi‘een, p. 237)

Dr. 'Ajeel an-Nashmi said: …The Caliphate did not react in any way and did not show any discontent or resentment during the life of the Sheikh, even though there were four Ottoman sultans during his lifetime… (Majallat al-Mujtama', issue #510)

If the above is a reflection of the Sheikh's attitude towards the Caliphate, how did the Caliphate view the call of Sheikh Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Wahhaab?

Dr. an-Nashmi said, answering this question: The view that the Caliphate had of the movement of Sheikh Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Wahhaab was very distorted and confused, because the Caliphate was only informed by those who were hostile towards the movement of Sheikh Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Wahhaab, whether that was via reports sent by their governors in the Hejaz, Baghdad and elsewhere, or via some individuals who reached Istanbul bearing news. (Al-Mujtama', issue #504; quoted in Da'aawaa al-Munaawi‘een, p. 238-239)

With regard to Zalluum's claims that the Sheikh's call was one of the reasons for the fall of the Caliphate and that the British helped the Wahhabis to topple it, Mahmoud Mahdi al-Istanbuli says concerning this ridiculous claim: This writer should be expected to produce proof and evidence for his opinion. Long ago the poet said:

If claims are not supported by proof,
they are used only by the fools as evidence.

We should also note that history tells us that the British were opposed to this call from the outset, fearing that it might wake the Muslim world up. (Ash-Sheikh Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Wahhaab fii Mir‘aat ash-Sharq wal-Gharb, p. 240)

And he says: The ironic fact is that this professor accuses the movement of Sheikh Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Wahhaab of being one of the factors that led to the destruction of the Ottoman Caliphate, even though this movement began in 1811 CE and the Caliphate was abolished in 1922 CE. (Op. cit., p. 64)

What indicates that the British were opposed to the Wahhabi movement is the fact that they sent Captain Foster Sadler to congratulate Ibrahim Pasha on his success against the Wahhabis – during the war of Ibrahim Pasha in ad-Dar'iyyah – and also to find out to what extent he was prepared to cooperate with the British authorities to reduce what they called Wahhabi piracy in the Arabian Gulf.

Indeed, this message clearly expressed a desire to establish an agreement between the British government and Ibrahim Pasha with the aim of destroying the Wahhabis completely.

Sheikh Muhammad ibn Mandhoor an-Nu'maani said: The British made the most of the hostility that existed in India towards Sheikh Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Wahhaab and they accused everyone who opposed them and stood in their way, or whom they regarded as dangerous, of being Wahhabi … Similarly the British called the scholars of Deoband – in India – Wahhabis, because of their blunt opposition to the British and their putting pressure on them. (Di'aayaat Mukaththafah Dedd ash-Sheikh Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Wahhaab, p. 105-106)

From these various quotations we can see the falseness of these flawed arguments when compared to the clear academic proofs in the essays and books of the Sheikh; that falseness is also obvious when compared to the historical facts which are recorded by fair-minded writers. (Da'aawaa al-Munaawi‘een, 239, 240)

Finally, we advise everyone who has slandered the Sheikh to restrain his tongue and to fear Allah with regard to him. Perhaps Allah will accept their repentance and guide them to the Straight path.

And Allah knows best.


Question # 36616:

Why is so much of what is said about Sheikh-ul-Islam Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Wahhaab so hostile, and why his followers are called Wahhabis?


All praises and thanks are due to Allah.

You should note that one of the ways in which Allah deals with His chosen servants is to test them according to the level of their faith, to show who is sincere and who is not. Allah says (interpretation of the meaning): "Alif-laam-miim [These letters are one of the miracles of al-Qur‘aan, and none but Allah (Alone) knows their meanings.] Do people think that they will be left alone because they say: 'We believe,' and will not be tested? And We indeed tested those who were before them. And Allah will certainly make (it) known (the truth of) those who are true, and will certainly make (it) known (the falsehood of) those who are liars, (although Allah knows all that before putting them to test)." (Al-Qur‘aan 29:1-3)

Those who are most severely tested are the Prophets, then the next best and the next best, as it says in the sahiih hadiith of the Prophet (SAAS).

If you study as-siirah (biography) of Allah's Messenger (SAAS), you will see that he went through severe tests; he was even accused of being a liar, a sorcerer and a madman; garbage and filth were thrown on his back; he was expelled from Mecca; and his feet bled in at-Ta‘if. This was the situation of all the Prophets who were rejected before him (SAAS).

Sheikh-ul-Islam Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Wahhaab rahimahullaah suffered the same as other sincere scholars and du'aat, but in the end the message of truth that he brought prevailed. How could it be otherwise? How could the light of truth be extinguished? Think about this man and how Allah helped him to sow the seeds of tauhiid throughout the Arabian Peninsula and put an end to all kinds of shirk. If this indicates anything, it indicates that he was sincere in his call and made sacrifices for that cause as far as we can tell, and of course his efforts were supported and helped by Allah.

But the enemies of this call have spared no effort to make false accusations concerning it. They claimed – falsely – that the Sheikh claimed to be a prophet, and that he did not respect Allah's Messenger (SAAS) properly, and that he condemned all the ummah as kuffaar… and other fabrications and lies that were told about him. Anyone who examines these claims will realize for sure that they are all lies and fabrications. The books of the Sheikh which are widely circulated bear the greatest witness to that, and his followers who answered his call never mentioned anything to that effect. If the matter were as they claim, his followers would have conveyed the same ideas, otherwise they would have been disloyal to him. If you want to know more details about this and to clarify the matter, you should read the book Da'aawaa al-Munaawi‘een li Da'wah ash-Sheikh Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Wahhaab by Dr 'Abd al-'Azeez al-'Abd al-Lateef, which will answer all your questions, if Allah wills.

With regard to calling his followers Wahhabis, this is just another in a long series of fabrications made up by the enemies of his call, to divert people away from the call of truth and to place a barrier between his call and the people so that the call will not reach them. If you study the story of how at-Tofayl ibn 'Amr ad-Dawsi (RAA) became Muslim, you will see the parallels with what happened in the case of Imam Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Wahhaab.

Ibn Hisham narrated in his Siirah (1/394) that at-Tofayl set out towards Mecca, but Quraish intercepted him at the gates of the city and warned him against listening to Muhammad (SAAS). They made him think that he was a sorcerer who could cause division between man and wife… they kept on at him until he took some cotton and put it in his ears. Then when he saw the Prophet (SAAS), he thought to himself that he would take out the cotton and listen to him, and if what he said was true then he would accept it from him, and if he what he said was false and abhorrent, he would reject it. When he listened to him, all he could do was become Muslim on the spot.

Yes, he became Muslim after putting cotton in his ears. Those who oppose the call of Sheikh Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Wahhaab fabricated lies the same way Quraish did. Quraish understood full well that the call of Muhammad (SAAS) had the power to reach people's hearts and minds, so they exaggerated in their lies about Allah's Messenger (SAAS) in an attempt to stop the truth reaching people. Similarly we see that those who speak against Sheikh Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Wahhaab and his followers repeat the same lies that were told against the original call.

You should – if you follow the truth – not pay any attention to these lies and fabrications. You should look for the truth of the matter by reading the books of Sheikh Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Wahhaab, for his books are the greatest proof that these people are lying, all praises and thanks are due to Allah.

There is another subtle point that should be noted, which is that the Sheikh's name was Muhammad, the attributive of which is Muhammadi. The word Wahhabi is the attributive derived from al-Wahhaab (the Bestower), who is Allah, as He says (interpretation of the meaning): "(The believers say): 'Our Lord! Let not our hearts deviate (from the truth) after You have guided us, and grant us mercy from You. Truly, You are the Bestower (al-Wahhaab).'" (Al-Qur‘aan 3:8)

As al-Zajjaaj said in Ishtiqaaq Asmaa‘ Allah, p. 126, al-Wahhaab "is the One Who gives a great deal. This form (fa'aal) in Arabic is indicative of something that is done to a great extent. Allah is al-Wahhaab (the Bestower) Who gives to His slaves one after another."

Undoubtedly the path of al-Wahhaab is the path of truth in which there is no crookedness or fabrication, and His party is the one that will prevail. Allah says (interpretation of the meaning): "And whosoever takes Allah, His Messenger (SAAS), and those who have believed, as Protectors, then the party of Allah will be the victorious." (Al-Qur‘aan 5:56)

"…They are the party of Allah. Verily, it is the party of Allah that will be the successful." (Al-Qur‘aan 58:22 - interpretation of the meaning)

Long ago they accused ash-Shafi'i of being a Raafidee (a follower of a sect within Shia) and he refuted them by saying:

"If being a Raafidee means loving the family of Muhammad,
then let the two races (of mankind and the jinn) bear witness that I am a Raafidee."

We refute the claims of those who accuse us of being Wahhabis by quoting the words of Sheikh Mullah 'Imraan who was a Shiite but Allah guided him to as-Sunnah. He said:

"If the follower of Ahmad [the Prophet (SAAS)] is a Wahhabi,
then I affirm that I am a Wahhabi.
I reject the association of any other with Allah,
for I have no Lord except the Unique, the Bestower (al-Wahhaab).
Those who were called by the Prophet fled,
as they accused him of being a sorcerer and a liar."

(See: Manhaaj al-Firqah an-Naajiyah by Sheikh Muhammad Jamil Zeno, p. 142-143)

And Allah knows best.


The movement of Sheikh Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Wahhaab

Correcting some mistaken notions about the movement of Sheikh Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Wahhaab in some non-Arabic sources.

The movement of Sheikh Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Wahhaab (1115-1206 A.H./1703-1792 CE) in the Arabian Peninsula was destined to abide and be well-accepted. It was the starting-point of a rightly-guided government which took it upon itself to apply the Islamic sharee'ah in totality and to seek the guidance of al-Qur‘aan and as-Sunnah in all its dealings, so Allah granted it support and victory. From its first founding two centuries ago this government continued to remain strong in the face of opposing trends at both the sectarian and political levels. The call of the Sheikh went beyond the borders of the Arabian Peninsula and bore fruit in a number of Muslim lands, at the hands of rightly-guided callers and sincere sheikhs who were guided by its light. The movement was blessed, like a good tree whose roots are firm and whose branches reach the sky. Like any other reform movement, the sheikh's movement was not spared attacks made against the personality, 'aqeedah (beliefs) and books of the founder of this movement, starting with the label of "Wahhabism" – which soon became known far and wide and became a label by which the movement was known, even though it was not acceptable to its founder and followers – and ending with attacks against the state itself, with criticism which indicates hatred and the wish for evil on the part of the critics.

The number of books produced by the lovers of bid'ah and myths increased, and were confronted by scholars in all Muslim lands who refuted every lie with definitive proof and clear evidence so that the doubts of the stubborn became like dust in the air (were reduced to naught).

Because most of these books – for or against the movement – were written in Arabic, there is no need to quote them here. The author of this article is interested in looking at what has been written in English or Urdu, in order to quote relevant material whilst refuting all the doubts that are mentioned therein, in the light of what has been written by Sheikh Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Wahhaab himself or by sheikhs in the Kingdom [Saudi Arabia] and people of virtue and knowledge in other Muslim lands who wrote in his defence.

It is not possible in this short article to discuss the topic from all aspects. I hope that readers will accept my apologies if they find any unintentional mistakes in this effort, and that they will pray for me to be granted strength and steadfastness if they gain any benefits from reading it. And Allah is the Guide to the Straight Path.

Firstly: what was written in the Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics, which is counted as one of the oldest and most comprehensive encyclopaedias of religion and sects in the English language, under the heading of "Wahhabism": that their differences with Ahl-us-Sunnah wal-Jamaa'ah (the Sunnis) are limited to ten things. The author of this article was the famous Orientalist Margoliouth, who said:

  1. They affirm that Allah has physical attributes, such as His Face, two Hands, etc.

  2. Reason plays no role in religious matters, which must be resolved in the light of the ahaadiith.

  3. They do not accept ijmaa' (scholarly consensus).

  4. They reject qiyaas (analogy).

  5. They believe that the opinions of al-madhaahib are not evidence, and that those who follow them are not Muslims.

  6. They think that everyone who does not join their group is a kaafir (disbeliever).

  7. They think that it is not permissible to seek the intercession of the Prophet or of a wali ("saint").

  8. Visiting tombs and shrines is haraam in their view.

  9. Swearing by anything other than Allah is haraam.

  10. Making vows to anything other than Allah and offering sacrifices to the auliyaa‘ ("saints") at their tombs is haraam.

He was not sure about attributing the fifth point to them, because the Wahhabis are followers of Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal, one of the four Imams. At the end of his article he mentions that as-Sayyid Ahmad ibn 'Irfaan ash-Shaheed (d. 1831 CE) brought the idea of Wahhabism back [to India] when he went to Hajj in 1824 CE and brought it from Mecca al-Mukarramah. (James Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics, ed. by Hastings, Edinburgh, 12:660-661)

Margoliouth, the author of this article, is held in high esteem by the orientalists. It is very strange indeed that he lists the views of the opponents of Sheikh Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Wahhaab rahimahullaah and of the Wahhabis in general, but he does not find any of them to be false apart from the fifth point!

Let us look at these doubts one by one and comment briefly on each of them:

  1. The belief of Sheikh Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Wahhaab rahimahullaah concerning the attributes of Allah is like the belief of the Salaf in all respects. They affirm that Allah has all the attributes with which He describes Himself, whether they are attributes which refer to His Essence, such as His Face, Hand or Eye, or attributes which refer to His actions, such as His pleasure, anger, coming down (to the first heaven) or rising above (the Throne), without asking how, denying any attributes or likening them to human attributes. Their evidence with regard to this matter is the aayah (interpretation of the meaning): "…There is nothing like Him, and He is the All-Hearer, the All-Seer." (Al-Qur‘aan 42:11)

  2. Their view concerning the attributes of Allah is like their view concerning the Essence of Allah, which does not resemble the essence of His created beings.

  3. Their notion that the followers of Sheikh Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Wahhaab lend no weight to reason is not correct. They (the followers of Sheikh Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Wahhaab) say that reason should operate in the light of the Revelation, just as the eye needs light to work; for the eye cannot do its job unless there is also light from outside, whether it is the light of the sun, moon or stars, or artificial light. Similarly, reason needs and depends upon the light of Divine Revelation; if Revelation is not there, then it becomes confused in the darkness. For this reason, the mind of the thinker is different from the mind of the philosopher, and the mind of the historian is different from the mind of the mathematician.

  4. Attributing rejection of ijmaa' (scholarly consensus) to them is not correct either. Imam Ahmad considered the ijmaa' of the sahaabah (RAA) to be true ijmaa', because their time is known from beginning to end; they witnessed the Revelation and learned the guidance of the Prophet (SAAS) directly from him.

  5. As Imam Muhammad Abu Zahrah mentioned, ijmaa' is of two types: consensus on the basic obligatory duties, which is accepted by all, and consensus on other rulings, such as their consensus that apostates should be fought, etc. In the second case, there are different reports narrated from Ahmad, hence some of the scholars narrated that he said: "Whoever claims that there is consensus is a liar."

    Ibn al-Qayyim rahimahullaah said: The one who claims that there is consensus is lying, and it is not right to give ijmaa' priority over proven hadiith. 'Abdullah ibn Ahmad ibn Hanbal said: I heard my father say: "Whoever claims that there is consensus is a liar. The people may have differed. How does he know that there was no one who expressed an opposing view? Let him say, we do not know of any opposing view." From this we may conclude that Imam Ahmad did not deny the principle of ijmaa', but he denied the certainty of ijmaa' taking place after the time of as-sahaabah (RAA). (Taareekh al-Madhaahib al-Islamiyyah by Muhammad Abu Zahrah, p. 532)

  6. His comment that they reject qiyaas (analogy) is also not correct. Sheikh Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Wahhaab rahimahullaah held the same view as the Hanbalis with regard to qiyaas.

  7. Abu Zahrah said: "It was narrated that Ahmad said that we cannot do without qiyaas, and that the sahaabah (RAA) used it. Because Ahmad had stated the principle of accepting qiyaas, the Hanbalis paid a great deal of attention to it and used it a great deal whenever they came across issues concerning which there was no report narrated of any ruling from the Prophet (SAAS) or his companions (RAA)." (Taareekh al-Madhaahib al-Islamiyyah by Muhammad Abu Zahrah, p. 532)

  8. With regard to his notion that the opinions of al-madhaahib are not evidence and that those who follow them are not Muslims…

  9. …and his view that those who do not join them (the Wahhabis) are kuffaar (disbelievers). This is also an obvious lie. Sheikh 'Abdullah ibn Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Wahhaab said, in a letter that he wrote when he joined al-Ameer Sa'ud ibn 'Abd al-'Azeez, when he took over Mecca on Saturday 8 Muharram 1218 A.H.: "Our madhhab with regard to the basic principles of religion is the madhhab of Ahl-us-Sunnah wal-Jamaa'ah. Our way is the way of the Salaf, and with regard to minor issues our madhhab is that of Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal. We do not denounce those who follow any of the four imams in exclusion to others, because al-madhaahib of the others have not been codified."

  10. Then he said: "Lies are told about us to conceal the truth and confuse the people, so that they will think that we want to undermine the status of our Prophet Muhammad (SAAS), and (that we say) that he has no power of intercession and that it is not recommended to visit him (his grave), and that we do not lend any weight to the views of the scholars, and that we denounce all people as kuffaar, and that we forbid sending blessings upon the Prophet (SAAS), and that we do not respect the rights of ahl-ul-bayt (the members of the Prophet's household). Our response to all of that is: Glory be to You, this is a grave lie! Whoever attributes anything of this sort to us is telling lies and uttering fabrications against us." ('Ulamaa‘ Najd Khilaal Sittat Qoroon by 'Abdullah ibn 'Abdurrahman ibn Saaleh al-Bassaam, 1/51)

  11. His comment that they believe it is not permitted to seek the intercession of the Prophet (SAAS) or of a wali ("saint") shows that he did not know the difference between the kind of intercession which the Sheikh rejected, which contains elements of shirk, and that which he acknowledged, which is the kind of intercession which will only happen with permission from Allah on the Day of Resurrection, where no intercession will be accepted except intercession made for those with whom He is pleased. (Kitaab-ut-Tauhiid by Sheikh Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Wahhaab, Baab ash-Shafaa'ah)

  12. If what the critic meant was tawassul (seeking to draw closer to Allah) by means of the Prophets and auliyaa‘, the fact is that many people are unaware of the view of Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal on this matter, and they attribute to him and to Sheikh Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Wahhaab things that they did not say.

    Imam ibn Taymiyah rahimahullaah said: "There was narrated from Ahmad ibn Hanbal in Mansik al-Marwadhi a report which indicated tawassul by means of the Prophet (SAAS) in his du'aa‘, but other scholars forbade that. If what is meant is tawassul (drawing close to Allah) by believing in him, loving him, being loyal to him and obeying him, then there is no dispute between the two sides on this point. But if what is meant is tawassul by means of the person of the Prophet (SAAS), then there is a dispute here, and what they dispute about should be referred to Allah and His Messenger." (Majmuu' Fataawaa Sheikh-ul-Islam, 1/264)

  13. With regard to visiting tombs and shrines, we will discuss this matter below when we comment on the writings of Goldziher.

  14. With regard to their saying that swearing by anything other than Allah is haraam, the Sheikh also believes that, as stated in the sahiih hadiith narrated by 'Umar ibn al-Khattab (RAA), according to which Allah's Messenger (SAAS) said: "Whoever swears by anything other than Allah has committed an act of kufr or shirk." (Narrated and classed as hasan by at-Tirmidhi; classed as sahiih by al-Haakim). Ibn Mas'ud (RAA) said: "Swearing falsely by Allah is more liked by me than swearing sincerely by anything other than Allah." (Kitaab-ut-Tauhiid, Baabu Qaulullaahi ta'aalaa "Falaa taj'aluu Lillaahi andaadan wa antum ta'lamuun")

  15. They attribute to the Sheikh the view that it is haraam to make vows to anyone other than Allah or to offer sacrifices to the auliyaa‘ ("saints") at their tombs. Undoubtedly this view is the religion of Allah which is followed by every Muslim who believes in Allah and His Messenger. Sheikh Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Wahhaab rahimahullaah included in his great book Kitaab-ut-Tauhiid a chapter entitled Laa Yudhbah Lillaahi Bimakaanin Yudhbah fiihi Lighayr Allah (Sacrifices should not be offered to Allah in places where sacrifices are offered to anyone other than Allah). The following chapter is entitled Mina ash-Shirk an-Nadhro Lighayr Allah (It is shirk to make vows to anyone other than Allah). In these two chapters he quotes the evidence from al-Qur‘aan and as-Sunnah to prove that these two actions are invalid.

This book (Muslim Studies) was published in two volumes, in German, in 1889/1890 CE, then it was translated into Arabic in 1967 CE. The author (Ignaz Goldziher) wrote an entire chapter, 96 pages long, entitled "Veneration of the 'saints' in Islam", in which he discussed in detail the extremes to which the Muslims had gone in attributing miracles to the 'saints', both living and dead. He also quoted examples, from Islamic books and the actions of the masses, of the veneration of tombs and shrines, intending to show that there was no difference between Muslims and Christians in the matter of venerating saints. He also quoted aayaat (verses) and ahaadiith which denounced and opposed this action.

The author said: After this, there is no need to provide further proof that there is no room in the true Islamic religion for venerating 'saints', because this is a matter which was innovated and introduced later on. Al-Qur‘aan denounces the veneration of saints and glorifying them to the extent of believing in rabbis and monks as lords besides Allah.

Then he quotes the comment of Carl Heis about the idea of auliyaa‘ being an attempt to fulfil the need for shirk within the religion of tauhiid, in order to fill the huge gap between the people and their God. (Ignaz Goldziher, Muslim Studies, p. 259)

After giving dozens of examples of how the masses venerated the saints and visited their tombs and shrines in order to fulfil their needs, the author lists examples of people who denounced any manifestation of shirk in the Muslims' actions. Then he mentions the strict stance which ibn Taymiyah took concerning the matter of tawassul and journeying to visit any mosques (for the sake of worship) apart from the three mosques [in Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem].

Then he said: "All of this indicates that there were precedents to the Wahhabis with regard to this issue, and that the open demonstration of their belief was in fact an echo of the beliefs of Muslims in the past. In this regard it may be useful – in order to write the cultural and religious history of Islam – to compile a list of all phenomena and events which had come down from the times of jaahiliyyah or had come in from the outside prior to the emergence of Wahhabism, which is considered to be a tauhiidi (an Islamic Monotheistic) reaction against the manifestations of idolatry, and connect them to the societies in which they emerged."

Then he mentioned an incident which occurred in 1711 CE, before the emergence of Wahhabism, in the Mosque of al-Mu‘ayyad in Cairo, where a young man stood up one night in Ramadan and fiercely denounced those who venerated the saints and called for the destruction of the shrines which were build over the graves of the auliyaa‘ and for an end to the Maulawiyyah (an order of dervish) and Bakhsiyyah traditions. He also called upon the dervishes to learn instead of dancing. This young man made this call for a number of nights, then he disappeared. The author of this report, the poet Hasan al-Hijaazi (d. 1131 A.H.) said: "The preacher fled, or it was said that he was killed." (Ignaz Goldziher, Muslim Studies, p. 334-335)

The point is that this German orientalist has saved us the job of refuting the accusations made against the Wahhabis that they destroyed the domes on the shrines and stopped people from visiting graves to call upon the dead for help. Islam as brought by Muhammad (SAAS) does not allow either of these things.

(The article in this paragraph was published in ad-Da'wah magazine, issue #1754, pp. 60-61 and was taken from:

In the following link there are two books of Sheikh Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Wahhaab translated into English:

Finally, we ask Allah to guide us to the path of truth, to help us and to make things easy for us. Allah is the Guide to the Straight Path.

Published on Tuesday the 22nd of Jumaadaa al-Aakhirah, 1427/the 18th of July, 2006

Download the article

Callers and individuals