WHEN Ibn Sa’ud’s illiterate tribesmen, the half-naked Bedouin ikhwan, butchered 4,000 inhabitants of Taif in the 18th century and ransacked its libraries, they used the leather covers of the vandalised holy books to make sandals.
Whipped up by the angry theology of the Najdi cleric, Ibn ‘Abd ul-Wahhab, Ibn Sa’ud’s warriors had been brainwashed into thinking that the fellow Muslims they were fighting were infidels and polytheists.
They would also try to dynamite the tomb of Ibn ‘Abbas, a cousin of the Prophet [SAW]. It is related that when a smell of musk emanated from the grave, and the explosives refused to ignite, the superstitious tribesmen scattered in terror.
Ibn Sa’ud’s men would then march on Karbala in Iraq. There they would smash the tomb of Sayyidina Hussein – the nephew of the Prophet [SAW] – and slaughter thousands of the Shi’ah; a sect whom they’d been told were unbelievers, and whose blood it was halal to shed.
After the Wahhabis had swarmed into Syria and Yemen and prevented people from performing the Hajj, the alarmed Ottoman Caliph, Mahmud II, sent troops from Egypt in 1811 to quell them.
In 1923 the Wahhabis would be emboldened by the demise of the Ottoman Caliphate, and under Abd ul-‘Aziz ibn Sa’ud would besiege the Prophet’s city of Madinah.
They would destroy Jannat ul-Baqi’, Islam’s most historic burial site, and demolish the tomb of the Prophet’s uncle, Hamzah, at Uhud – the graveyard the Prophet [SAW] used to visit annually, and where he’d told his Companions that they could visit the dead.
Moving on to Makkah, Islam’s most sacred city, the Wahhabis would set the Ka’bah alight. They would flatten the Jannat ul-Mu’ala housing the mausoleum of Khadijah, the wife of the Prophet [SAW]. The Makkan Sharifs, descendants of the Prophet [SAW] who’d ruled Hijaz for centuries, would be deposed.
By 1925 the Wahhabis had conquered most of the Arabian Peninsula, most history books omitting to mention that it took 40,000 beheadings and 350,000 amputations to stamp their authority. Saudi Arabia (formerly the Hijaz) became a self-declared monarchy. The kingdom aligned itself with Britain and then after the discovery of oil, the USA.
Saudi Arabia’s toxic faith, as Time Magazine called it, was tolerated almost unquestioningly by the major powers because of the country’s oil wealth until 9/11 – and the sober realisation that the al-Qaedah-Salafi phenomenon haunting the west was, in fact, a Saudi Arabian export.
This export – flat-earth extremism – is seen today in the Middle East and North Africa where posses of religious gangsters have been destroying centuries’ old tombs and madrasahs from Misrata to Mali.
The Saudi footprint is everywhere. Sources in Tripoli have confirmed that Saudi clerics have been egging on their Libyan protégés to break down the Sufi shrines and – in a move unprecedented in the history of Islam – to dispose of the bodies.
This shocking development is made even more shocking by the Salafi-Wahhabi’s disrespect for Hadith. Prophetic tradition states that the dead should be accorded the same honour as the living.
As I’ve already said, these grave bashers have either been brainwashed at Saudi seminaries, or have been seduced by the missionary work of the Saudi establishment, an establishment that has lavished billions of petro-dollars on the project of “Wahhabising” the Muslim world.
That the young vandals call themselves “Salafis” – in deference to the pious era after the death of the Prophet [SAW] – is richly ironical and an insult to the name. Many of the graves destroyed by these armed groups are, in fact, of the true Salafis.
Admittedly, the Salafi-Wahhabis – as I prefer to call these people – might be sincere. But surely that should not mean we have to condone their misguided devoutness and compounded ignorance?
“Tacitire et consente” goes the Latin maxim that says “silence is consent”. And by keeping quiet as it appears to do, our community not only reinforces all the unpleasant stereotypes of mainstream Sunni Islam, but also gives undeserving credibility to the fanatical fringes of the Muslim world.
There’s a baffling lack of perspective on the issue. For if a Zionist swats an Arab fly there’s an uproar, but let a Salafi-Wahhabi blow up an Islamic historical monument, and there’s hardly a whisper. Indeed, why have our leading organisations been so mum?
Somebody needs to speak out. For how much longer can we allow ourselves to be held to ransom by an extremist fringe acting in our name? For how much longer can we tolerate our heritage being smashed to pieces?
The Salafi-Wahhabis, who deceitfully claim to be the Sunni mainstream, have a historical pedigree that leads directly to the bloodthirsty mischief of the hyper-literalist Khawarij. This is a 7th century extremist sect that broke away from Sayyidina ‘Ali (the fourth Righteous Caliph) and murdered him.
There also needs to be some honesty about that the fact that the Prophet [SAW] expressly refused to bless the Najd, the region where Wahhabism originated, saying that from it would emerge great tribulation.
We have to remember that the false prophet, Musailimah al-Kadhab, who tried to institute a rival Shari’ah to the Prophet [SAW], hailed from the Najd – as did Ibn Abd ul-Wahhab, who felt that the Islam of his era was so wayward it needed “reforming”.
He was obsessed with tawhid – the theological oneness of Allah – in spite of the Prophet [SAW] having said that polytheism would never trouble the Muslims. Ibn Abd ul-Wahhab even wrote a manifesto on the topic, which was littered with allusions to unbelief and, of course, polytheism.
He felt that Islam had to go back to its roots. But his “reform” of Islam did not see an enrichment of it, but rather a clumsy literalistic reduction, as well as the high-handed discarding of classical views that did not suit his own. He even declared intellectual giants such as Imam al-Ghazali and Ibn Arabi as being kafir.
Apart from spurning the four schools of legal thought (or madh-haib) he declared, in stark contradiction to mainstream Sunni thought, that visiting graves was polytheistic. This is where today’s cultural genocide in Somalia, Libya and Egypt – as well as many other parts of the Muslim world – stems from.
It reflects an arrogance that is breathtaking in its scope – the patronising assumption that our faith is as weak as the Wahhabis, who so abjectly fear that they’ll become polytheists if they say Fatihah over the dead, or commemorate birthdays.
But Ibn Abd ul-Wahhab’s most sinister contribution to Islam was his notion of takfir, declaring unbelief on others not agreeing with him, and mischievously deeming that they were infidels who could be punished if they did so.
Space does not permit further elaboration on the theological innovations of Ibn Abd ul-Wahhab, a specious fraud, who has poisoned the vein of the Islamic world for the past 200 years. Suffice it to say that when he started preaching his obscurantist ideas, Ibn Abd ul-Wahhab’s teacher Shaikh Suleiman al-Kurdi, and his own father and brother, condemned him.
He was even chased out of his home by angry villagers. Only when Ibn Sa’ud took him under his wing, did the Najdi cleric prosper. For the wily and ambitious tribal chieftain there were huge political benefits in declaring unbelief against those who disagreed with him.
In this way he could justify bloody and vengeful “jihad” against his rivals. Furthermore, Ibn Abd ul-Wahhab’s simplistic canons could be harnessed to create unity amongst the fractious Bedouin tribes. This ideological pact – Ibn Sa’ud looking after power and Ibn Abd ul-Wahhab faith – was sealed with the marriage of Ibn Abd ul-Wahhab to Ibn Sa’ud’s daughter.
To this day, the mufti of Saudi Arabia hails from the line of Ibn Abd ul-Wahhab. It is this “agreement” that all society needs to know about. Salafi-Wahhabism has as little to do with faith as Zionism has to do with Orthodox Judaism. It is a subterfuge for a crude totalitarian political agenda that is consuming all of us, from the Cape to Cairo, like a cancer.