What is a Wahhabi?

You may have been challenged to  define the term Wahhabi only to hear the response from the questioner that the Wahhabiyyah do not exist, and is just some “mythological bogeyman invented in the imagination of paranoid Sufis”, or even invented by the Kuffar to “divide the Muslims”, or you may even hear the response that somehow and you are sinful because  you are “distorting the name of Allah” by giving the name Wahhabi to a misguided group of Muslims.

It is most unfortunate at this moment of discussion, that your generous effort of giving the enquirer the charity of explanation with a sensible answer only gets washed down the drain as you realize that the debater already had his conclusion in mind, and was not asking the question to seek knowledge, but rather waste your precious time dictating to you with his endless argumentation. In such a conversation there is no point in continuing with the poor soul, as he has an earful of hard concrete wax and a mouth full of hot lava. He is not going to listen, bit will only continue speaking down to you like he is your teacher, and he do nothing but argue until he feels that you have submitted to his false-hood

“Deaf dumb and blind they will not return” 

Whether you warn them or not

Allah has set a seal on their hearts

We can only hope that we are speaking to people of sincere research and  people that are in true disparity over the issues of who is who? I only write this article for those who intend of finding the successful group, i.e. the Ahl us-sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah, and I do not really have no time for the many false-hoods that the distorters of truth have to bring forth. Thus I have compiled this article for a special readership, a readership that I have prayed to Allah to bless them with the sight, intellect to be able to heed this advice and know what a Wahhabi is and the many dangers that the false ideology of Wahhabism poses not only to Muslims, but the rest of humanity.

Let us now proceed to answer this all important question: What is a Wahhabi? What is Wahhabism?

In simple terms, a Wahhabi is defined as one who follows the creed of methodology of its’ founder, Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahhab. This defintition is not only accepted by most Muslims worldwide, but is also a documented fact in the many books of Western Academia. For example the Encyclopedia Britanica does well to inform us that:

“Wahhabiyah, the Muslim ‘puritan’ movement founded by Muhammad Ibn ‘Abdul Wahhab in the 18th century in Najd, central ‘Arabia…” [see footnote 1]

Simply put, a Wahhabi is anybody who follows the movement and life mission of  Muhammad Ibn ‘Abdul Wahhab, by supporting his doctrine in any form or fashion.Wahhabis, however, object to being called Wahhabis under the pretext that al-Wahhab is one of many of Allah’s most beautiful Attributes and that such a beautiful term should not be used as a label. This argument proves to be fallacious due to the fact that there have been numerous sects named after their leaders who also possessed one of Allah’s Attributes as a name. For example al-Karaam is one of Allah’s beautiful Attribiutes, but then we have the Karaamiyah who were named after their leader Muhammad Bin Karaam. [see footnote 2] Deviant groups were also named after something they may have denied from the creed. For example the Qadriyah were named so because they denied al-Qadr, destiny and fate the good and bad from it. Yet its derivative al-Qaadir is also one of Allah’s many attributes.

What about the Jabbariyyah? The Jabbariyyah are a sect that denies that man has any free will and alleges that Allah forced His creation to do actions. The Jabbariyyah have been mentioned by numerous scholars, even Wahhabi Shaykhs such as Shaykh Ibn Jibreen, Shaykh Uthaymeen and others in the ‘Aqeedah texts, yet,  al-Jabbar is one of Allah’s names!!! Whats the difference between using the term Wahhabiyyah to describe a sect and Jabarriyah? Do do Wahhabis like Shaykh Yusuf Estes and the younger, Abu Musab suggest one is a sin, but not the other? Such double standards cannot be easily swept under-neath the rug. Please carefully consider the following:

Allah’s name: Al-Jabbar - The name of the sect al-Jabbariyyah – the active participle for one who follows the sect Jabbari

compare with

Allah’s name Al-Wahhab - The name of the sect al-Wahhabiyyah – the active participle for one who follows the sect Wahhabi

You will notice that both names  and their derivatives are on the same templates. why then  -according to such Wahhabi scholars that argue it is haraam to say Wahhabi – would one be a sin and not the other? We can only conclude that their fatawaa is another crazy quack from the Sa’udi Fatawaa factory.

Are they so blind to their own texts? Even the Wahhabi Shaykh  Abdul Azeez Abdullah Bin Baz uses the term Wahhabi to refer to his own group:

“The Wahhabiyyah are not new in rejecting all such innovations. Their creed is to hold fast to the book of Allah and the Sunnah of His Messenger sal Allahu alayhi wasallam, and to follow his footsteps, and those of his rightly guided successors…The Wahhabiyyah believe in them, the way they reported without any alteration. The creed of the Wahhabiyyah is based upon fulfilment of witnessing that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah and completely abandoning all innovations. This is the foundation of the Sa’udi regeime and this is the view held by the scholars of Sa’udi Arabia. The hard attitude shown by the Sa’udi government is directed only against the superstitions and innovations in contradiction with Islam”

Plus see the Arabic book for this online, its clearly there!!

… وليست الوهابية حسب تعبير الكاتب بدعاً في إنكار مثل هذه الأمور البدعية، بل عقيدة الوهابية: هي التمسك بكتاب الله وسنة رسوله صلى الله عليه وسلم

pgs. 12-13, Indispensable Implication of the Sunnah and Caution Against Innovation by Abdul Azeez Abdullah Bin Baz, printed by Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Sa’udi publication no. 385

It then amazes me to find the Wahhabi crying out loud “haraam” whenever you describe their deviant sect as Wahhabis, or al-Wahhabiyah. They complain that this is a derogatory word intended for insult, and “your playing with Allah’s name, fear Allah” but this is simply not the case.

In Islam, any group whether praiseworthy or blameworthy are named after their founders, or their unique quality, or an action they do or have done, or even something from the creed they have denied. Therefore, it cannot be deemed a personal insult, derogatory statement, an ad-hominem to use the term Wahhabi for the followers of Shaykh Muhammad Ibn ‘Abdul Wahhab.

Furthermore, to hammer this point home, the very first people to use the term Wahhabi were in-fact that scholars that lived in his time and in the time of his son. Those who witnessed first hand the Wahhabi invasions and refute refutations upon the Wahhabiyyah

NO WE ARE SALAFIS! [they say]

Wahhabis insist to be called Salafis in claim that they only follow the first three generations, however the scholars of the Ahl us-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah have many times laid this claim to rest by proving that they vie against the Salaf in many areas, therefore, it is a crime against the truth of Islam to title them as Salalfis. This is especially given the fact that they only take from Sa’udi approved scholars, and very rarely quote from any scholar that predates Imaam Ibn Taymiyah.

For this reason we call them Wahhabis as opposed to the pure claim that they are Salafis, i.e. people who follow the first three generations. Moreover, since the time of the Salaf, i.e. the first three generations up until the Sa’udi invasions on the Hijaaz, no scholar from the Ahl us-Sunnah [or any other sect for that matter] coined themselves with the title as-Salafi [the Salafi]. This is a new and strange practice which has appeared after Shaykh Muhammad Ibn ‘Abdul Wahhab.

Infact, what we do find is that the scholars of Muslim orthodoxy in most cases titled themselves after the name of the founder of a specific madh-hab. For example Imaam Rajab al-Hanbali called himself such to identify himself with the madh-hab of Imaam Ahmad Bin Hanbal. Nobody ever censured this practice, moreover Imaam Ibn Rajab al Hanbali even wrote a book entitled ar-Radd ‘alaa man itabi’ ghayr ul-Madh-haahib ul-Arba’ah, i.e. The Refutation to those whom follow other than the Four Madh-habs.

With this said a question should come to mind! Why do Wahhabi’s insist they are called Salafis? As seen from many “Salafi” publications, they deem the orthodox tradition of following one of the four madh-habs as blind following [taqleed] and some even imply that following a madh-hab is shirk. Never the less, they deem the following of a specific madh-hab as bid’ah, i.e. innovation and upon this premise claim that they do not follow the four Imaam’s or any other scholar but they strictly follow the Salaf. i.e. the first three generations, however this claim is bogus, as the four Imaams are from the first three generations and so is the methodology they used to derive rulings from the Qur’an and the Sunnah. Thus, it is correct that we call the blind followers of Shaykh Muhammad Ibn ‘Abdul Wahhab the Wahhabis, after their true founder, and reviver of the end of times Khawaarij.

23 thoughts on “What is a Wahhabi?

  1. Assalaamualikum warahmathullahi wabarakathuhu,
    Its very true that the Wahhabi ideology is posing a great threat to our Muslim Ummah. Its very sad that its growth is spreading wide too fast. Infact the very Spirit of dheen is being destroyed by them. As its said above, they lack respect to all Great Scholars and reduce the great islamic Knowledge to each one’s personal thinking. Another grievious thing is that they even go futher attempting to distort many Hadiths to suit their ideology and reject many hadiths by grading it as weak and fabricated.

    My advice to those who are real seekers for truth is that Seek Allah’s Protection and Guidance sincerely from the bottom of your heart in your Duas and try to learn objectively from an expert Ustad [instructor] or a Qualified Sheikh of Tareeqat rather than learning only by reading books. It has always been in the Divine Scheme of things that perfection cannot be attained without the companionship of an expert. Nobody can become a doctor or a carpenter or a tailor or anything else just by reading Books. Same is applicable in case of religious studies.

  2. Assalamualaikum,

    I saw film screening last night titled “fez:city of saints”. basically it is about Habib Umar global tour and in this movie, it is especially recorded in Morocco, as one of the countries that he will tour later on.

    I don’t want to by hypocrite but i listen a lot to salaf scholars and i don’t know much about sufism. I am giving my chance here to listen to sufi’s point of views although my experience from seeing the movie is not really that good (to be honest). it is more into seeing historical places of islam and a lot.. A LOT of going to grave sites and doing du’as.

    i just want to say this, keep doing and maintaining this blog as i believe there will be a lot of readers including me that interested to know what you are writing. there are many columns that are still empty especially column on sunni scholars. please add to that and i look forward to read your blog.

    Jazakallah khayr.

  3. Assalaam alaikum alaikum. Are you sure you understood the words of Sh.Ibn Baaz regarding ‘Wahhabiyyah’ correctly Abu Muhammad?

    [I asked this question elsewhere by mistake. Continue here please]

    • Wa alaykum as-Salam the words of Sh. Ibn Baz can be seen in Arabic in which he clearly states that the Wahhabiyyah are those who follow the Qur’an and the Sunnah… heres the quote

      عقيدة الوهابية: هي التمسك بكتاب الله وسنة رسوله صلى الله عليه وسلم

      The Aqeedah of the Wahhabiyyah is sticking to the Qur’an and the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah

      The word الوهابية is clearly used

      • Faisals post lost in quick edit reply and updating not realizing i was in edit mode

        yet the message was along the lines

        Thats why I asked

        Sh. Bin Baz did not mean to call himself a Wahhabi or his way the Wahhabiyyah but was merely saying it because he was accused of being one.

        You missed out the context “as the writer tends to put it”

        • What you must be on about is this

          وليست الوهابية حسب تعبير الكاتب

          Which means “Al-Wahhabiyyah [in the estimation of the author]

          This is something that has been inserted into the text by an editor and is simply what is a known as a Jumlah Mu’taridah [parenthetical sentence] which was put there by an editor and not Sh. Bin Baz himself.

          Al-Kaatib is none other the Sh. Bin Baz himself.

          The full context of the sentence is [and you will see I did quote ALL of it in the above article]

          وليست الوهابية حسب تعبير الكاتب بدعاً في إنكار مثل هذه الأمور البدعية، بل عقيدة الوهابية: هي التمسك بكتاب الله وسنة رسوله صلى الله عليه وسلم

          Which translates as

          Which means “Al-Wahhabiyyah [in the estimation of the author Bin Baz] are not new in rejecting all such innovations. Their creed is to hold fast to the book of Allah and the Sunnah of His Messenger sal Allahu alayhi wasallam, and to follow his footsteps, and those of his rightly guided successors…

          One of the skills required for a precise translation is to recognize when the author is speaking, and when the editor is speaking. Since there are no brackets used in classical Arabic, and especially in Balaagha, then you will have to distinguish where and when a Jumlah Mu’taridah [parenthetical sentence] is happening.

          Here is an example

          The Prophet – sal Allahu alayhi wasallam – said ….

          You have to notice that sal Allahu alayhi wasallam has no relevance to the actual sentence

          Likewise, Faisal – as-Salafi – commented on this blog, but I accidently deleted his message…

          as-Salafi is a Mu’taridah [parenthetical sentence]


          “The Wahhabiyyah [however the author intended it] are not new in rejecting innovations …

          accept or reject this information as you like, however the real pressing matters are

          1, Anybody who remotely follows and takes from Muhammad Ibn Abdul Wahhab is deemed a Wahhabi
          2, it is permissable to use the term Wahhabi, Wahhabiyyah just as the Ulemaa have used the term Jabbari, Jabbariyyah or Ahmadi, Ahmadiyyah
          3, Sh. Bin Baz acknowledged that he was a Wahhabi despite how he intended the usage of the word

          May Allah forgive those Ulemaa that have misled you, and may Allah give you the ability to actually start looking deeply into these matters without any allegiance to Saudi approved scholars. They are not the standard. They are not the bearers of truth, no reviver passed down the torch of Islam to them.

          The Deen you are following was estabalsihed with help of the British, warfare on Muslims with British weapons. Take special care in studying the history of Ibn Sa’ud and the Wahhabi cult and how they came into control of the hijaaz. Even your own sources will give you a clear picture of history, whether you choose to justify it or not, just know that the Messenger of Allah sal Allahu alayhi wasallam said: Those who take up weapons against us, are not from us”.


    • I have never seen such a unprofessional attempt at absolute speaking bollocks in my life.

      there is no credibility or point to the video.

      The sounds effects sound like a toilet flushing over and over, I cannot make out what is written and the conclusion is absolute crap.

      I am not wasting any more of my time with pussy footing around such posts, its a staright up trash can job for next time

  5. Although discussion and open debate like these are very informative and exposes some aspects of certain groups, I personally think its not the time for the insightment of hatred between the Muslims. The differences between us should create more love and bond us together, rather than distance us in to different sects and create the friction and misunderstanding noted above.

  6. When did over 1400 years of traditional Islamic scholarship, with a countless number of traditional Muslim scholars coming from as far east as China, and going as far west as Andalusia, have been reduced to 7 individuals? These Wahabis/Salafi imams cannot mention the commentaries on Quran and prophetic tradition of anyone else but Imam Ibn Taymiyyah, Imam Ibn Katheer, Imam Ibn Al Qayyiem, Shaykh Ibn Uthaymeen, Shaykh Bin Baz, and Shaykh Al Albani (may God have mercy on all of them)
    The best of generations are mine, then the one that follows us, then the one after them
    The question is if these people who claim that they are on the way of the salaf are indeed true in their claim, why are the scholars they always mention NOT from the salaf?
    The oldest one of them, Imam Ibn Taymiyyah, is from the 7th Islamic century. Shaykh Ibn Uthaymeen, Shaykh Bin Bazz, and Shaykh Al Albani are all from within this century.
    The above mentioned scholars, none of which are from the salaf representing a minority among Muslim scholars, and somehow they’re the bringers of “ true or pure ” Islam.
    It would seem that before the 7th Islamic century and the advent of Imam Ibn Taymiyyah, the entire Muslim ummah was lost and he was the only saviour .Then after him the whole Muslim world was lost again until Shaykh Bin Bazz, Shaykh Ibn Uthaymeen, and Shaykh Al Albani showed up to save the lost muslims from stupidity and ignorance due to the all other misguided scholars.
    This type of attitude can only be described as a negative assumption of God. To assume that God will leave all of the Muslims wandering in darkness for all these periods is blasphemous. Then there is the claim to be bringing people back to the truth and fixing the wrong and fighting innovation, all to purify Islam from all the ignorance that has taken it over:
    It’s a very interesting claim indeed to make. Why don’t these people reflect on the verse from the Quran that says:
    And when it is said to them, Do not make mischief in the land, they say: we are but peace-makers. Now surely they themselves are the mischief makers, but they do not perceive – Al Baqara (2:11-12)
    The true practical test of Islam being a religion of truth is not restricted in one’s appearance and how intense they are in their devotional activities. It’s in how Islam is reflected in their lives and character. If Islam is truly the path of truth, and as some of these so-called wahabi/salafi Muslims claim it to be “The Solution” to mankind’s problems, then what they have to offer has to be much better than any other way of living.
    Their character would be the best of character, and how they carry themselves in this world should on its own be a testament and attract people to want to be like them. They don’t even need to preach Islam using their tongues because it would be drowned by how loud their actions are. A historical example of that is in Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia, where they have the greatest concentration of Muslims. Muslim merchants, mainly from Yemen, through their travels were the main cause behind the mass conversion of people in those lands to Islam, and the single most commonly cited reason was due to the character of these Muslim merchants and how they carried themselves. It is in this context Hazrat Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti went to India and conquered the hearts and minds of the people
    From my own personal observation, the majority of so-called wahabis/salafis that I’ve come across have reduced Islam to an intellectual discourse, where they try to intellectually convince others because when it comes to the character, behaviour and personal conduct and interaction most of these so called wahabis/salafis are pathetic. They even lack respect which is evident today in Libya and Timbuktu were they are desecrating graves of pious companions and friends of Allah.
    They emphase on following the Qur’an and the Sunnah of the Prophet directly. While this sounds good on the surface, it’s an emotional plea that has no intellectual foundation. This has resulted in what many of the Muslim scholars today call “al fawda ad’deenya”, i.e. religious chaos.
    Even if we assume that every Muslim is well versed in the Islamic sciences to the same level of the great scholars of the past, they will still not arrive at similar conclusions from reading the same texts.While there are certain rigorous requirements and rules guiding how the tradition is approached, the simple possession of the tools is not a guarantee of arriving to the same conclusions on certain matters. If anyone thinks otherwise they can only be described as delusional
    Need proof?
    Look at the great Imams in the Islamic tradition who have the 4 jurisprudential schools named after them; Imaan Abu Hanifa, Malik, Shafi’i, and Ibn Hanbal. They all achieved the highest level attainable in Islamic scholarship, and yet they arrived to different positions and disagreed in many of their religious rulings. Not only that, scholars from within each school had their own disagreements. In fact, Al Azhar scholars from Egypt went through and counted the number of jurisprudential rulings where there are differences in opinion amongst the scholars, and the final tally was one million two hundred thousand issues (1,200,000)!
    What does this mean? It means that you can almost guarantee yourself, outside of clear-cut matters that are not open to any interpretation, if you think a certain matter is settled in jurisprudence, you’re simply ignorant of other opinions. The problem arises when you believe that what you think is the only way and the only right one. Since the so-called salafis assume that everyone can just look through the Qur’an and Sunnah of our Prophet, upon Him peace and blessings directly, without reference to establish scholars then result of this is the constant argumentation about religious issues
    This eventually reflects in poor character and manners as everyone feels they’re an authority onto everyone else. As Dr. Umar Faruq Abd-Allah had put it during the 2011 Deen Intensive Rihla in Turkey:
    The crisis of the Muslim community is a crisis of adab, i.e. a crisis of character and manners
    I don’t have a problem with following the Qur’an and the Sunnah of our Prophet (upon Him peace and blessings). The issue I have is: based on whose understanding?
    Based on yours? The delusional Wahabis/Salafis
    Based on mine?
    I don’t have the tools to approach the tradition and arrive to sound conclusions on my own, so I’ll constantly go back and refer to scholars and see what they said. Unlike the modern day so-called salafis I don’t rely on a single individual scholar or only a handful of them no matter how scholarly they are. I take an unbroken chain of school that is over 1300 years old, which started with an actual salaf imam (Imaam Abu Hanifa), and has had that many years of formation and examination by a countless number of scholars, which got it to arrive to the rulings in jurisprudence that it has nowadays.
    So what do these so-called wahabis/salafis have to offer when it comes to jurisprudence.
    I’m making a point that the Beloved peace be upon him recited most of the time in one style and only sometimes in the others. If the so-called salafi truly wants to emulate the Prophet, peace be upon him, why don’t they start with the Quran? I say this because I’ve yet to meet one so-called salafi who recites in any other recitation other than Hafs from Asim.
    Typically, and this is my own conclusions to this matter here, those who spend their time trying to get everyone to do things their way are doing so out of insecurity. It’s narrated that a man came to Imam Malik and was trying to argue about a certain matter. Imam Malik quickly responded with:
    As for me, I’m in a state of certainty from my Lord about what I’m doing. As for you, you’re in doubt, so go find someone else in doubt like yourself to argue with
    To the so-called wahabi/salafi ,the majority of Muslims follow the 4 imaams and thousands of pious and intellectual traditional scholars that have established a unbroken chain that can be traced back to the companions.
    All in all, may Allah, Almighty have mercy on the souls of Imam Ibn Taymiyya, Shaykh Bin Baz, Shaykh Ibn Uthaymeen, and Shaykh Al Albani, and elevate their status but THESE great SCHOLARS are not from the salaf that our Prophet, peace be upon him talked about in the Hadith despite how high of a status they achieved in knowledge and piety, and the Salafi/Wahabi most certainly need to let go of trying to change the respectful majority and make them like you.

    • Assalamu ‘alaykum

      Wonderful comment.

      If ANYONE ponders/reflect on the SINGLE line that you mentioned (“I don’t have a problem with following the Qur’an and the Sunnah … …jurisprudence that it has nowadays”)
      and Allah guides the very ANYONE, the ANYONE will come to the straight path (from Wahhabiyya to the Ahle Sunnah wal jam’ah), inshaaAllah.

      Please mention your blog, I want to get benefited more from you

      May Allah bless you and the people behind thewahhabithreat.com and the people who go through these articles and reflect and ponder.


  7. Dear respected brother, Salamun ‘alaykum. I do not really have anything you have said, as I have covered everything above, and you have not bought anything to debunk anything above. Please read and re-consider your position

    • Brother, sheikh mohammad bin abdulwahhab was abandoning innovations that contradicted with islam.
      You said “some even imply that following a madh-hab is shirk”, give examples of what u mean by madhab here pls :) And btw each islamic country sheikhs follow one of the four imams , respecting thte other 3.

      • Dear respected brother, salamun ‘alaykum

        please see chapter 6 of kitaab ut-Tawheed where the Shaykh compares the jews and the christians following their rabbis and the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wasallam saying they worshipped their rabbis due to this and then look how he compares this to the following of madh-habs, its not that hard to see whats going on.

        Also please note that an absence or a Salam violates the Muslims rights, unless you actually consider me a Kaafir, you do not consider me a Kaafir do you? I do hope our Islam can unite us further on the right path, on the way of the truth, so please be nice

      • I’ve never considered any muslim a kafir, i swear, and If so, I wouldnt have called you brother :(
        To prove:
        Salam Alaykum brother

        I’ll come back later to continue discussion since i’m busy nowadays, and I hope you don’t hate me just because we don’t agree , still we both are Muslims Inshallah

You are welcome to comment and ask a valid questions, however there are a few guidelines and conditions to your comments being approved. Messages like "your a heretic, you do not know what you are talking about, you have no knowledge, you are an enemy of Islam, stupid Sufi" are usually rejected. Consider your words carefully..

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s