In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful

Twelve years ago, the book, Tahlili Nu bar 'Aqa'id Wahhabiyyan {A New Analysis of Wahhabi Doctrines}, was written and it has been so far printed three times by the Publication Center of the Islamic Propagation Office of the Islamic Seminary in Qum.
With the help of God, a review of its content was undertaken for its fourth printing and new chapters and issues were added.

The distinctive features of this book

This book examines Wahhabi beliefs in the light of the beliefs of the Ahl as-Sunnah and the Shi`ah.1 It endeavors to discuss their main ideological issues. The quotations in this book are cited from books published in the holy cities of Mecca and Medina such as the following:

1. Fath al-Majid written by Shaykh Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab, one of the prominent figures of this movement, with a commentary by Shaykh 'Abd ar-Rahman ibn al-Hasan al ash-Shaykh and footnotes by 'Abd Allah ibn Baz.

2. Al-As'ilah wal-Ajwibah al-Usuliyyah written by 'Abd al-'Aziz Muhammad Sultan.

3. At-Tawhid bi'l-Lughah al-Farisiyyah (No. 27) published by the Saudi Ministry of Islamic Guidance and Endowments in 1374 AHS (circa 1995) and distributed freely to Iranian pilgrims.

In addition to these references, other sources written by Sunni and Shi`ah Imami 'ulama' in general, and Wahhabis in particular, are cited in the footnotes.

This book contains an examination of the views and outlook of the Wahhabis regarding the Shi`ah and the infallible Imams ('a).2 Be that as it may, it does not mean that intellectually, ideologically, and even politically and socially, the Wahhabis have no clash with the Ahl as-Sunnah. In this book, we will also deal with this point.

Is Wahhabism a movement?

Many socio-religious reforms and movements have already emerged among Muslims. Some of them are purely political such as those involved in changing the types of governments regardless of whether or not a preference for a particular type of government exists. Some others are purely religious and their concern is only reform in religious and ideological content. Yet, others have been religious and socio-political such as the Islamic Revolution in Iran. These types of movements cannot be regarded as mere reformist movements as they have affected all aspects of life—religious, personal, social, etc. Indeed, the very word “revolution” is the best label for these kinds of movements.

In reply to the question being posed, it must be said that the truth of the matter is that Wahhabism is merely a political movement that emerged within a religious-ideological framework, and it has brought about a particular social outcome. Of course, the final view must be expressed by social and political scientists.

Explanation of some points

Wahhabism has been labeled with many various names among which is the appellation, ”Salafiyyah”. This name is used because they believe that for the reformation of their religion and beliefs, the present Muslims must go back to the early period of Islam (”salaf” means the past or preceding one). Ibn Taymiyyah has introduced the issue of ”salaf” and his statements are a source of Wahhabi doctrines.

By “Wahhabism” it means that Shaykh Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab must be followed in socio-political and religious issues because he has taught his followers the way to reform religion and society. The members of these two sects, Wahhabism and Salafism, are followers of the madhhab {school of thought} of Ahmad ibn Hanbal. This group can also be called the ”Zahiriyyah” because in interpreting the passages of the Qur'an and traditions, they content themselves with the outward {zahir} content of the texts. For example, when the Qur'an says:

﴿وَجَاءَ رَبُّك وَالْمَلَك صفًّا صفًّا﴾

And Your Lord and the angels arrive in ranks,3

They interpret it as saying that God will also arrive on the Day of Resurrection in such a way that the people can see Him!

This writing contains subjects that explain the above headings and expresses the Shi`ah Imami beliefs regarding those subjects. At any rate, I will try to make it simple, easy-to-read and devoid of complex reasoning. It is hoped that this work will be acceptable to God, the Exalted, and approved by Hadrat Sahib al-Amr {His Holiness Master of the Affair} (Imam al-Mahdi) ('a).

Muhammad Husayn Ibrahimi
Islamic Seminary of Qum
1379 AHS (Circa 2000)

  • 1. In this volume, I have used the word “Shi‘ah” to refer to both the group (single collective unit) and the individuals constituting the group (plural). [Trans.]
  • 2. The abbreviation, “‘a” stands for the Arabic invocative phrase, ‘alayhis-salam, ‘alayhimus-salam, or ‘alayhas-salam [may peace be upon him/them/her], which is used after the names of the prophets, angels, Imams from the Prophet’s progeny, and saints (‘a). [Trans.]
  • 3. Surat al-Fajr 89:22. In this volume, the translation of Qur’anic passages is adapted from Sayyid ‘Ali Quli Qara’i, The Qur’an with a Phrase-by-Phrase English Translation (London: Islamic College for Advanced Studies Press, 2004). [Trans.]