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Would the real "Abd al-Wahhab please stand up?

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    NOTE: See yesterday s news for the original article under discussion. I think it is important to distinguish between the history of various Islamic political
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 7, 2004
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      NOTE: See yesterday's news for the original article under
      discussion. I think it is important to distinguish between the
      history of various Islamic political and philosophical movements and
      the American political use of the term "Wahhabi" to dehumanize
      certain groups of Muslims in order to justify their mass murder. The
      Wahhabi movement started a trend which brought millions of Muslims
      back into the religion after they had become secularized. Like most
      revival movements, it started out as a reactionary movement with
      exaggerated methods but in the modern day the original followers of
      this "Back to Islam" movement seem to be getting more moderate, as
      the Muslim masses figure out what level of religious observance they
      can sustain. Wahhabism was in many ways an Islamic form of Zionism
      that misled many sincere believers, and caused them to focus on the
      creation of an "Islamic State" instead of an Islamic inner state of
      consciousness. Many sincere believers are now realizing that the
      entire world belongs to Allah, and trying to refrain from sectarian
      rivalries. Imran Hosein has an interesting book about the history of
      the Wahhabi alliance with Saudi, British and later American
      imperialists. Wahhabism may have been used as an political tool for
      controlling the masses but the religious reform movement has taken
      on a life of its own. Wahhabis are certainly no more extreme than
      the 30% evangelical fundamentalist core of the American Republican
      Party. -WVNS

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      <rashid_kysia@...>


      Not very insightful on the author, Hassan Khaja's part. Much of the
      modern movements that now reject traditional consensus are based in
      part on the Wahhabi fitna. Obviously ibn AbdulWahhab didn't write a
      chapter in Kitab atTawhid on "the halal and haram of highjacking
      airplanes". What he did initiate is the opening for poor,
      unqualified judgement outside of the accepted norms of the only four
      Sunni madhahib. What followed were generations of more and more
      corrupt protestants, each interpreting law without ijaza from the
      scholars, allowing much of the stupidity we are witnessing today.

      ========================
      Would the real "Abd al-Wahhab please stand up?
      By Daanish Faruqi

      http://www.dailytargum.com/news/711389.html?mkey=618643

      The Daily Targum - Opinions
      Issue: 9/7/04


      Hassan Khaja's highly romanticized account of Muhammad bin 'Abd al-
      Wahhab, the 18th-century demagogue who founded the Wahhabi sect of
      Islam that dominates present-day Saudi Arabia, is both unconvincing
      and disappointing ("Breaking through Wahhabi myth" The Daily Targum,
      Sept. 2). It is unconvincing insofar as even the most rudimentary
      knowledge of Wahhab's life and message clearly exposes him as deeply
      intolerant, quick to incite violence and indeed a theological
      predecessor of contemporary Islamists like al-Qaida. More
      importantly, it is disappointing insofar as it demonstrates the
      prevalence of Muslim apologetics, whose sugar-coated
      characterizations of extremist thugs like Wahhab do little more than
      obscure the global atrocities committed by Islamists and, in the
      process, undermine critical discussion of Islam by Muslims
      themselves.

      Obsessed with Islamic purity, Muhammad bin 'Abd al-Wahhab and his
      creed sought to restore Islam in Arabia to its pristine state - as
      practiced in the seventh century - by ridding it of centuries of
      juristic and theological development. Central to his thinking was
      the concept of "tawhid," the oneness of God. Although a seemingly
      innocuous concept, Wahhab's understanding of the term was so insular
      that he considered all developments after Islam's first three
      centuries to be corruptive of its essential monotheism. As such, he
      sought to eliminate, by force if necessary, all such developments,
      which he dismissed as dangerous "innovation," or "bid'a." Such
      bid'a included art, music, poetry and all humanistic fields of
      study - particularly philosophy, which Wahhab considered "the
      science of the devil." More importantly, Wahhab was fanatically
      opposed to any sectarianism within Islam, such as Shi'ism and Sufi
      mysticism, which he considered aberrations to the true faith. With
      his narrow definition of orthodoxy, Wahhab considered Muslims who
      did not follow his brand of Islam - even those who openly profess
      the oneness of God - heretics who must be fought and killed. This
      was particularly true in the case of Shi'as, who to this day face
      persecution in Saudi Arabia.

      Speaking of Shi'as, Khaja really shoots himself in the foot toward
      the end of his article. In what appears to be a Freudian slip, he
      willfully acknowledges cooperation with Shi'a Muslims is "a concept
      students of bin Abdul-Wahhab's school of thought would never stand
      for." Funny, because that really contradicts his earlier suggestion
      that Wahhab's works were merely "beginner's books on theology with
      no reason for anyone who is not a Wahhabi to be intimidated." On the
      contrary: Shi'as, Sufis and Sunnis of the rationalist creed like
      myself all have serious reason to be intimidated by Wahhab's
      doctrine of hate. Wahhab's actions toward the Shi'as speak for
      themselves: In 1802, just 10 years after he died, his army sacked
      the holy Shi'a city of Karbala, nearly destroyed one of its most
      sacred shrines - the tomb of Husayn - and massacred thousands of
      Shi'a inhabitants. While that isn't necessarily analogous to flying
      two planes into the shrine, it certainly qualifies as terrorism.

      Khaja's mindless apologia for Muhammad Abd' al-Wahhab, and by
      extension for the hateful doctrine of Wahhabism, is sadly all too
      common today among American Muslims. While I certainly agree Islam
      cannot be reduced to such formulaic characterizations as that of
      Samuel Huntington's "Clash of Civilizations" - indeed, Islamist
      terrorism in my opinion is far better explained by political economy
      than by culture - I nevertheless realize Islamist theology is indeed
      a very serious problem and a reformation in the Muslim world is long
      overdue. In fact, the victims of extremist Islamic theology are
      predominantly Muslims themselves who live in despicable regimes such
      as Saudi Arabia, in which women are forbidden from driving, those
      who do not pray are publicly beaten and whose religious police in
      2002 decided it would rather let a group of girls trapped in a
      burning school burn to death than be seen without their Islamic
      covering by male firefighters. Even more frightening, the Saudi
      regime uses its oil wealth to spread its doctrine of hate around the
      world - remember, the Islamic madrassas that produced the Taliban
      were created by the Saudis. Given that, Khaja and other Muslim
      apologists would be better off opposing the Saudis and instead
      working toward fostering a critical dialogue of Islamism, thereby
      recovering the progressive tradition in Islam that now appears all
      but lost. If Khaja truly believes "reason can't be suspended in the
      quest to fight that ideology [of religious extremism]," it would be
      fitting that he stop whitewashing the actions of those who suppress
      reason as their raison d'etre.

      Daanish Faruqi is a Rutgers College student.

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