Life of Muhammed Ibnu Abdul Wahab
Muhammed Ibn Abdul Wahab is a great religious reformer or “Mujaddid” of the eighteeth century. He founded the Salafi movement otherwise known as Mujahid movement , which is based on the teachings of holy Quran and the sayings and actions of prophet Mohammed (S.A) The basic principle of the movement was “Tauhid”(Islamic monotheism).He held that one should have absolute faith in the unity of God. All practices which promoted the purpose of “Thauhid” should be adopted, while all such practices which were repugnant to the concept of Tauhid should be discarded. Because of his emphasis on the doctrine of “tauhid’ he called his followers “Muwahideen”, ie.those who believed in the unity of god .Those who were critical of the movement referred to his followers as “wahabis”.he stood for the restoration of Islam to its original purity by purging it of the innovations that had crept in , in the practice of Islam, on account of the vicissitudes of history. He emphasized that non was to be worshiped except Allah.He was critical of Sufi practice of regarding the ‘pir” or preceptor as super man. He held that there was to be no intercession between man and God. He strongly criticized all such practices which amounted to ‘shirk”- partnership with god.He condemned the ornamentation of Tombs, and was against the visitation of Tombs for invoking the blessings of the dead. He stressed that no knowledge was to be professed which was not based on the Quran.He insisted that the commandment of the Quran should be followed in letters as well as in spirit. He held that offering of the “salat” (prayer) is obligatory, and there should be no compromise on that account. he condemned luxurious living , and advocated simplicity and austerity. He maintained that he was carrying forward the mission initiated by imam Ibn Thaymiyya about five hundred years earlier. Writings of Ibnu-Taymiyya (1263-1328) had greatly influenced his thoughts.Sheik Muhammed Ibnu Abdul Wahab was born in 1703 in a family of Hambali scholars in Uyayna near Najd in modern Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.His father Abdul wahab Ibnu sulaiman and uncle Ibrahim Ibnu sulaiman were distinguished scholars of the time.
Abdul wahab was intelligent and fond of knowledge, right from his childhood. His father was his first teacher and he had a photographic memory. He learned Quran by heart at a tender age of 10. After studying what was available at his home town, he left for a series of journeys in search of knowledge. He went to Mecca for pilgrimage and dissatisfied with what he learned there. In Medina he studied under Abdullah Ibnu Ibrahim Najdi, who was a supporter of Ibnu Thaymiyyah. He then went to Basra, Bagdad where he married a wealthy woman and remained there for five years. Then he visited Damascus and Cairo in search of knowledge. He learned much from the great scholars of the time, like Sheik Abdulla bin Ibrahim Majmai, Sheik Muhammed Hayath Sindhi, and Mohammed Ibnu sulaiman Kurdi Etc. He returned to Arabia, wrote a treatise on the unity of God. He started preaching his reformist messages against the veneration of saints and other innovations,(Bid’ah).Some of the local Arabian Shite scholars became alarmed at his preaching ,and he moved to the town of Dariyyah ,near present day Riyad , and secured the support and protection of the Amir ,Mohammed Ibnu Saud..His reformist ideology attracted the Amir and his associates. It was the beginning of Mujahid movement which invited the Muslims to its original doctrines based on holy Quran and teaching of the Prophet .His was an effort to purify Islam from innovations and superstitions which had mislead Muslims from the true path of Islam. He took up the mission to eradicate bid’ah (innovations) and shirk (Polythesm) practiced by Muslims, in the name of Islam. He stressed that all kinds of worships must be confined to Allah ,Almighty alone. It was not easy to put immorality of centauries to right and bring about reforms in the society besmeared with the filth of of a long period. Gradually the heart of the natives began to turn towards his mission. With the help of the Amir, the sheik demolished many centers of bid’at.Even the trees were worshipped as deities and worshiping of graves was rampant. Every body had the superstitions that those touching the trees would be annihilated. But the eyes of the superstitious persons opened when those trees were cut down without incurring any loss or harm. The common people then came to know that those trees and graves had no divine power at all. He was active in writing and preaching until his death in1792.The movement he started took the doctrines of Ibnu thymiyya to new light .He was opposed to all survivals among the Beduins of pre- Islamic practices, to any form of Sufism and any kind of reliance on “Taqlid” – the adherence of a person to a doctrine because of the authority of other .This meant ,also, that he was opposed to Shii doctrines as well, which naturally relied on the authority of Ali Ibn Abithalib and the line of Imams .On both religious and personal grounds he was opposed to the ottoman Empire.
By the time of his death practically whole of Arabia had accepted the new creed .after his death his mission was carried forward by his deciples .The creed progressively spread to other Muslim lands.Many reformers in other muslim lands during thenineteenth were inspired by the teachings of Muhammed Ibn abdul wahab .The famous reformers , like the founder of “Faraizi”movement Haji Shereeathullah of Bengal (1781-1840),great revolutionary and freedom fighter Syed Ahamed shaheed Barelvi wer e afew of his indian disciples.late,K.M.moulavi,vakkom.abdul kader Moulavi,veteral congress leader and freedom fighter Mohammed abdurahiman sahib, Sanahulla Makthi Thangal, muslim league leadrs like Seethe sahib( speaker Keral legislative assembly),M.K.haji,K.umer moulavi and others were for runners in propagating this movement in Kerla .Now this movement runs numerous educational and other institutions in kerala.In other parts of India this movement is known as Ahle Hadis.Now the adherents of this movement can be seen in any nook and corner of the world,they work in different names and styles.