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Sunni Islam


Doctrines Wahabbiyyah is not a new sect within Islam but a movement whose purpose is to purify Islam of perceived heretical accretions. The Wahhabis claim to base their doctrines on the teachings of the fourteenth century scholar Ibn Taymiyya and the rulings of the Hanbali school of law, the strictest of the four recognised in the Sunni consensus. They believe that all objects of worship other than Allah are false, and anyone who worships in this way deserves to be put to death. To introduce the name of a prophet, saint or angel into a prayer, or to seek intercession from anyone but Allah constitutes a form of polytheism. Attendance at public prayer is compulsory, and the shaving of the beard and smoking are forbidden. Mosques should be architecturally simple, not luxurious or ornate. Prohibited are the celebration of the Prophet's birthday, making offerings at the tomb of saints, and playing music. The injunctions of the Qur'an are to be taken literally.

History Wahhabiyyah emerged in the middle of the 18th century in Arabia as both a religious and political movement responding to the decline of the Ottoman empire and the increasing strength of Shi'a in Iran. Its founder, Ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab (1703-92), had witnessed many examples of laxity, superstition, and blind allegiance to Walis (Sufi saints) during his travels through Iraq and Arabia.
The political character of the movement took the form of opposition to the ruling Ottoman empire. In 1744 Ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab formed an alliance with a local chieftain, Muhammad Ibn Sa'ud (1765), who accepted his doctrine and undertook its defence and propagation. The demolition of shrines, tombstones and the capture of Mecca caused alarm in the Ottoman government which despatched an army to crush the movement. The decisive defeat of the bedouin troops in 1818 brought to an end the first Sa'udi-Wahhabi venture.
A remnant of the Wahhabi movement survived in a pocket of Central Arabia. In 1902 Abd al-Aziz Ibn Sa'ud, who was from the Sa'udi family and a follower of the bedouin faith of the Wahhabiyyah, took Riyadh, an event which led to his gradual conquest of the interior of the Arabian peninsula. In 1927 Sa'ud signed a treaty with the British (who at that time were controlling parts of the Arabian peninsula) which gave him full independence in exchange for his recognition of British suzerainty over the Gulf sheikdoms. Finally in 1932 he named his state the kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Wahhabiyyah then became the official doctrine of the state. Today the Saudi state remains firmly rooted in the Wahhabi creed.

Symbols The movement has no distinctive symbol system.

Adherents Wahhabiyyah is the official ideology of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. There are no official statistics for the number of Muslims who follow the doctrines of Wahhabiyyah.

Main Centre
 The movement has no headquarters.