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Religion Library: Wahhabi Islam
Formed1740 CE
Adherents15,000,000
DeityAllah
Sacred TextQur'an, Sunnah
OriginArabia
HeadquartersSaudi Arabia

Wahhabi Islam is a movement within Islam that was founded in the 18th century CE by Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab in central Arabia. It emphasizes the oneness and uniqueness of God (tawhid) and advocates a return to the rituals and practices of what the movement sees as the original teachings of Islam. The Wahhabis claim the majority of Muslims have abandoned faith in One God and have perverted the faith through innovations (bid'a). They thus reject the practices or innovations that they see as polytheistic, such as venerating saints and visiting shrines and tombs. Wahhabi doctrine teaches a literal belief and interpretation of the sacred texts and calls for the establishment of a unified, truly Muslim state determined by Islamic law. They forbid any luxury in life and reject any cultural importation from other societies. They claim that all others who do not accept their position are heretics, especially Shi'a Muslims. Essential to the history of Wahhabi Islam is its partnership with the Sa'ud family in 1744, an alliance that allowed for the territorial expansion throughout most of the Arabian Peninsula including the capture of Karbala (a Shi'ite holy city), Mecca, and Medina. In 1932 the establishment of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia gave religious and political control of the region to the Wahhabis, including the introduction of the mutawwi'un, a form of private religious police that monitors both public and private conformity to Islam.

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