Yesterday, I wrote about the difference between Shia, Sunnis and Wahhabism. Today, I will totally focus on Wahabi sect and why they are in news from last 15 to 20 years. As I told you earlier that there are many differences in their rituals of praying, marriage ceremonies, dresses etc. Wahabi Muslims have separate mosques and schools. Wahabi Muslims are followers of Mohammed ibn Abdul Wahab in the 18th century in Arabia, and his movement came up against a lot of opposition from the Indians Sunni Muslims. Members of the Wahab movement in Saudi Arabia believe their role as a restorer or reformer to free Islam from negative deviances, heresies, innovations, superstitions and idolatries.
In “Wahhabi” belief, faith is not necessarily an option; it is sometimes mandated by force. The origins of nearly all of the 20th century’s Islamic extremist movements lie in a new Islamic theology and ideology developed in the 18th and 19th centuries in tribal areas of the eastern Arabian Peninsula. The source of this new stream of thought was a Muslim scholar named Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahab, hence the name “Wahhabism.” Unfortunately, this narrow ideology has appeared and flourished in Islam, but not because of Islam. Previously, Islam was always presented in a peaceful and tolerant manner. The Prophet Muhammad (s) used to present his neighbours or friends that were not Muslim with gifts and flowers, never holding a sword against them, or ever instigating a struggle or a fight. There are many events in Muslim history where the Prophet made peace treaties with non-Muslims. Islam, despite its rapid spread in its first three centuries, never imposed its beliefs on anyone, as attested by the scrolls of history.
Today, throughout the world, there has been a wave of radical movements, which sometimes turn militant, whose source can be traced to the Wahabi movement. What is this movement and how did it spread throughout the Muslim world, and now in the Western world? What are its ideological differences with traditional Islam and how are these differences influencing and supporting modern day radical movements? What can be done to diminish the power of these movements in vulnerable states such as those in Central Asia and the Caucasus?
Wahabi is a radical Sunnis sect that was made pretty recently. Known as fundamentalism or “Wahhabism,” it poses a direct challenge to the ideal vision of a state that the newly founded nations of the region have embraced. In addition, the broader ideology name “Wahhabism” represents a serious challenge to the theology and practice of the mainstream Sunni Islam to which most of these nations’ populations adhere. Should this radicalised understanding of Islam continue to spread unchecked, radical interpretations could threaten social stability at the local, national, and regional levels and create serious geopolitical dangers to neighbouring powers, as well as the US and Europe, would have to react.
Traditional Islam views religion as a pact between man and God and therefore the domain of spirituality. In this belief, there can be no compulsion or force used in religion. From the time of the Prophet Muhammad (s), peace and tolerance were practiced between different religious groups, with respect to distinctions in belief. Contrary to this, the “Wahabi” ideology is built on the concept of political enforcement of religious beliefs, thus permitting no variances in faith whatever.
Under this modern ideological extremism, Islam’s essential principle of tolerance has been abolished. The Holy Qur’an declares constantly that there is no urge in religion and that all people are free to practice any religion they like. Those of the Wahabi ideology selectively apply verses of the Holy Qur’an to support their ideology, whose basis is to impose its beliefs upon everyone, Muslim and non-Muslim alike. It is very well known that certain networks have flourished in many countries throughout the world. Small but well-financed militant movements arise, coming against their government and the common people, instigating conflict. The danger lies when an outside government supports such extremist movements under the false impression that this constitutes preserving religious freedom. In contrast to Shia, Sunni religious teachers and leaders have historically come under state control.
The biggest threat to Islam is from these radicals like Wahabi, Deobandi, Tablighi, Salafi sects. Nowadays, they are calling themselves Sunnis to deceive gullible Muslims. But Allah-fearing ordinary Muslim, needs to make a new start, an important step that every Muslim needs to take to get rid of the Wahhabi/Deobandi/Tablighi Aqaa’id. There are many Muslims killed by Wahabis across the world. Even the recent shoot out in bus is suspected as an attack from Wahabi group.
The attack came a day after Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif visited Kabul and declared that enemies of Afghanistan are also enemies of Pakistan. However, he forgot to mention that the terrorist have no religion. If they claim that they are Muslims then their claims are false in itself because Prophet Muhammad(s) said, “Killing a single person is equal to killing the whole world. Violence was never appreciated by Islam. Nawaz Sharif must rethink that how he can save the democracy and Pakistan from these fundamentalists. The Muslim leaders and politicians should take initiatives to bring harmony between the Islam and its different sects; else in coming future, Islam would be warring within and will divide Allah also (Nausbillah).