By Imtiaz Thaha/Daily FT
There are glaring differences between Wahhabism and Islam. They are diametrically opposed to each other. They are different to each other as night and day. Islam is not of Wahhabism and Wahhabism is not of Islam. One can never be the other. They are enemies of each other. The Wahhabi teachings in a summary are as follows and are totally opposed to the teachings of Islam:
1. Allah is a material being. He has hands, a face, and directions. He has a long white beard and is seated on the throne. The throne is too small for Him and his thighs are too big, so they overlap on the throne. He comes down from His throne to the world below. Ibn Taymiyyah illustrated this point by coming down the pulpit and saying that “Allah Almighty descends exactly the way I am descending below. When Allah Almighty leaves one place He makes it empty of Himself and fills up the later place in which He is present.” See reference below:
The Sufi Muslims believe that Allah Almighty is One and that there is no existence, but His Existence. They believe that He is everywhere and has no partner or child and that He is the Creator of All the Worlds. They believe that He has no shape or form and is totally beyond the grasp of the limited human mind. They believe that He is absolute and that there is none like unto Him.
2. The Wahhabis, interpret Quran Al Karim according to their own understanding. They take the literal meaning of the Quran and use it strictly, even if it is out of context. This gives a very strict interpretation of the Quran. Certain verses that were meant to be applied during the battlefield was taken in general and made into a law by itself. For example, “kill them, wherever you see them in the battlefield during the time of war,” was taken to mean as “kill them anywhere you see them even during peaceful times.”
Earlier the scholars interpreted the Quran according to the intention that the Prophet (Sal) wanted to be conveyed and which the Sahabas practiced and which was established as the correct view. Wahhabism changed all that and took the literal meaning, out of context, to make their beliefs a reality.
The Prophet (Sal) said that he who interprets the Quran according to his own mind shall take his place in hell. Interpretation of the Quran was only given to few of the most learned Scholars who had themselves learned from their masters and received permission to preach the Quran. These students had to sometimes learn under their master, all the nuances of interpreting Quran for over a period of 30 years (keeping to the strict rules of Ijthihad) to give a new opinion or ruling based on many Islamic sciences) before such permission was granted. But for the Wahhabi anyone may read, literally, any verse of the Quran and execute it as law, if found to be in keeping with the teachings of Wahhabism. No questions were to be asked.
3. The Wahhabis reject the facts reported by the Holy Sahabas – companions of the Prophet (Sal). This too is vital when interpreting Quran and Hadith. If this is not kept to, then the interpretation would be a false one, not in keeping with the intention of Allah Almighty when He revealed the relevant verses of the Quran or the Hadith concerned.
4. The Wahhabis reject the facts reported by Scholars. The Scholars after much deep study and consensus amongst themselves, after careful consideration gave fatwas (rulings) for the betterment of the community on their learned interpretation of the Quran and Hadith based on these facts. This was done after much study and thought and was almost always in keeping with the intention of Allah Almighty in revealing that particular verse or Hadith. The Wahhabi would only take the facts reported by their peers, who are the Wahhabi scholars and reject everything other than that.
5. The Wahhabis say a person who imitates one of the Four Mazhabs, (the Four Schools of Islamic Thought) is a disbeliever. The mainstream Muslims followed the practice of the four Great Imams namely, Imam Abu Hanifa, Imam Shafi, Imam Hanbali and Imam Maliki, the Wahhabis do not follow these practices and consider those who follow them to be disbelievers.
6. The Wahhabis say all non-Wahhabis are disbelievers; Killing disbelievers is of course according to them, a meritorious act. They say that the Christians, the Jews and all other non-Muslims including Hindus, Buddhist, Zoroastrians, etc. are all unclean and therefore can be killed to gain merit.
They went even so far as to say that any Muslim who did not accept the way of the Wahhabis could also be meted out the death penalty for going against Wahhabism. So, we see that there is zero tolerance of other beliefs and creeds where the Wahhabis are concerned.
Islam of course says that there is no compulsion in religion and that none can be forced to accept another’s belief by force. Furthermore, according to the Quran, it is not only wrong to kill a person unjustly but to kill one person unjustly would be to kill the whole of humanity.
Islam says: “There is no Compulsion in Religion” (Quran, 2:256)
“Whoever kills a person [unjustly] it is as though he has killed all mankind. And whoever saves a life, it is as though he had saved all mankind.” (Quran, 5:32)
The Wahhabi believes that drugs and narcotics can be sold to disbelievers as they are impure and do not come under the category of humans and thus we see the trade in narcotics and drugs are also freely bought and sold targeting the non-Muslims without any guilt to their conscience.
7. Wahhabism says that a person who prays by making the Prophet (Sal) and Awliya intermediaries (between himself and Allah Almighty), will become a disbeliever; the Wahhabis rejected any type of sainthood in Islam and also looked down upon spirituality or the concept of knowing Allah through spiritual practices.
The Sufis and the mainstream Muslims believed that the Prophet (Sal) and the Saints were Power Stations from whom blessings and guidance could be obtained by the Ummah (the Muslim community). They were considered to be the means to the approach, to the Nearness and Union with Allah Almighty.
Like the Prophet Muhammad (Sal) was considered to be a guide during the time of the Sahabas so were the Saints considered to be light giving lamps during subsequent times. They were referred to as the Successors and Inheritors of the Prophet (Sal), as the Hadith said,” After me follow my Inheritors.” Sufi Schools were built around these personalities and Tariqas or Sufi ways began to be formed for the spiritual guidance of the Ummah.
8. The Wahhabis say that it is haram (forbidden), to visit the Prophet’s (Sal) grave or those of the Awliya (Saints). The traditional Muslims and the Sufis consider visiting the grave of the Prophet (Sal) and the graves of the Saints of Allah, bring huge spiritual benefits to them. They also believe that the Prophet (Sal) and the Saints are alive and do hear all their supplications made at the grave sites. They also believe that spiritual power and exchange of love could be transmitted from the Prophet (Sal), and the Saints to them on their visitation. They do not worship the Prophets nor the Saints. They come in order to respect them and to seek blessings from them.
9. No tolerance of other religions. The Wahhabis do not believe in respecting other religions. They believe that all religions other than Wahhabism (including mainstream Islam or Sufi Islam) are impure and that they should be done away with. They believe that the believers of other religions including true Islamic followers who are against Wahhabism, are disbelievers, they could even be killed, and their women and children can be taken into slavery and their properties also confiscated.
Therefore, the ideology of Wahhabism is very dangerous in the world we live in because their idea is to always destroy and annihilate, all those who disbelieve in their doctrine of Wahhabism. Due to this erroneous reasoning the world is being terrorised and made into a battlefield in order to establish their intentions.
10. The Wahhabis do not celebrate the birthday of the Prophet (Sal). Birthday celebrations of the Prophet (Sal) and other noteworthy people are prohibited.
Also, the recitation of prayers or mawlid on the Prophet (Sal) and the Saints are Shirk/actions of creating partnership with God. They believe that this should be abolished and have taken strict steps to have people even beat up pilgrims, when they visit the grave of the Prophet (Sal) in Medina and have appointed special police to do so. This aspect of Wahhabism has completely treated all those who have passed away as having no power or influence in the spiritual world. They consider them to be dead and useless.
They do not believe in the meetings that the Prophet (Sal) has with his Saints in the spiritual worlds, nor do they believe that the Prophet (Sal) can hear their salawats or blessings sent on the Prophet (Sal). Islam gives pride of place to blessings recited on the Prophet (Sal) or salawats as they are called. The Quran exhorts the believers to recite blessings on the Prophet (Sal) and to intensify it. It also says that Allah Almighty and the angels do so. All this is utterly lost in the Wahhabi.
11. The Wahhabis do not respect the family or progeny of the Prophet (Sal). The Ahlal Bayt or the family of the Prophet (Sal) need not be specially respected. As most of the Wahhabi rulers in Saudi Arabia and the other Wahhabi states are not from the direct bloodline of the Prophet (Sal), they are not eligible to rule Mecca and Medina. So, it is a part of their propaganda to disrespect the Prophet (Sal) as a person, along with his descendants. The Wahhabis say that all are equal and the Prophet’s (Sal) progeny do not have a speciality. In fact, they harass and humiliate, kill and chase out the family of the Prophet (Sal) to protect their own interest.
On the other hand, there are many Hadith (sayings of the Prophet Muhammad, (Sal), which state that the Prophet’s (Sal) family is not like any other and that blessings and guidance can be sought from them and that they should be highly respected because of the fact that they are from the bloodline of the Prophet (Sal).
12. The Wahhabis believe that suicide bombers in the Wahhabi cause shall go to paradise. In mainstream Islam, committing suicide is a deadly sin for which one is put into hell. It is mentioned that a person who commits suicide by whichever action that he chose to commit suicide by, that particular action will take place over and over again, as a form of punishment in the grave.
If for instance, a person kills himself by jumping off a mountain, the act of jumping off the mountain, shall continuously happen to him as his punishment for committing suicide.
“The Prophet (Sal) said, “He who commits suicide by throttling shall keep on throttling himself in the Hell Fire (forever) and he who commits suicide by stabbing himself shall keep on stabbing himself in the Hell-Fire.” – Hadith
13. The rights of the women and their dresses are severely curtailed and restricted, so is their freedom of movement and right to work almost taken away. They have even been forbidden to drive cars till of late and after much protest, it was allowed in Saudi Arabia.
The Wahhabis believe that their women should be covered from head to toe and cover their faces, hands and feet so that almost no skin can be seen. They generally dress up in full black attire, covering even their eyes with veils. This is not Islamic and has become a target for laughter. They believe piety is when no men apart from their husbands can see them. They are made to believe only to serve their husbands and to obey and support him fully in whatever he does.
Their social activities are limited and they do not mix with other people as their sole aim is to cover, pray and obey only their husbands. I am not saying here that they should disobey their husbands; obedience is certainly a virtue but to obey one’s husband which takes them away from the established Islamic way should be stopped. In the matter of faith, one can disobey the husband. If the husband pulls the wife into Wahhabism, then the wife can go against him to save her faith and eternity, this is her absolute right according to Islam. She can even leave him or divorce him.
Also, there is a new trend for their women in recent years to go for Quran classes, which are usually free of charge and funded by the Saudi institutions. This is where they go and learn the Wahhabi interpretation of the Quran and this is certainly not helping the situation as the Quran cannot be interpreted so easily by just surface reading and kindergarten type studying of the Quran as mentioned in this article elsewhere. It is absolutely important to have an in-depth knowledge of the Arabic language and various other Islamic sciences in order to be able to understand the Quran, let alone teach it.
14. Spirituality has no place in their system and the internal teachings of Islam – Marifatullah, has no place here. Sufism as we know it, which is an integral part of Islam, is considered a deviation.
“The first thing in Islam is Marifathullah – Knowledge of Allah.” (Hadith)
The Sufi Muslims believe that the creation of man was due to the fact that Allah Almighty wanted Himself to be known. To know Him, meant to open up oneself spiritually and to travel to the presence of God Himself. We come from God and we return to God. We are born into this world so that we become the Viceregents of Allah on earth. This is what the Holy Quran says, on what man has been created for.
“I was A Hidden Treasure and I created Man so that he may love to know Me.” (Hadith Qudsi)
This spiritual journey in Sufism is known as Suluk, or the pilgrim’s journey of ascent. Various stages of spirituality are encountered till one attains to the lofty station of Union with Allah Almighty. All things in Islam are the means whereby mankind is to attain to this goal.
Wahhabism does not recognise this. There are no spiritual stations in Wahhabism nor are there spiritual ranks. The opening of the internal eye through which all things could be comprehended may as well be blind as far as Wahhabism is concerned. The Holy Quran says that it is not the physical eyes that is blind but the eye of the heart that is blind, of the one who has not spiritually opened up.
Mainstream and Sufi Muslims believe that they should go to a spiritual teacher or a Sheikh belonging to one of the traditional 41 Spiritual Ways in order to go on this blessed spiritual journey. This was the reason for the establishment of Tariqas (paths) in Islam.
“He whom Allah guides is rightly guided, but he whom Allah leaves astray, for him you will not find a guiding Saint to guide him to the right way.” (Quran, 18:17)
All of the above is deviation and anathema to the Wahhabis who are openly materialistic. So where is spirituality going to be in their doctrine of Wahhabism? The Great Saints like Jalaluddin Rumi (ral) who is today considered the largest selling modern poet, is one the chief deviants from Islam according to the Wahhabis. Khawaja Mohiuddin Chishti (ral) who is a celebrated Saint in India, uses music as a part of spiritual training, Wahhabis even look down upon him with scorn.
Sultan ul Awliya Sheikh Muhiyuddin Abdul Qadir Jailani (ral), one of the greatest Sufis the world has ever seen, has succeeded in this day and age of Wahhabism to get together around him, millions of people who are now on the Sufi way. The Wahhabis have specially-paid people set up to attack this Holy Saint.
The Pope talks about the greatness of Jalaluddin Rumi (ral) but the Wahhabi insults and humiliates him as a disbeliever. Such is the state of affairs today and Wahhabism is the cause of all this.
What can be more subtle and more beautiful than the spiritual journey? This is the essence in Islam, that when man attains to the achievements of the Sufi ideal of Union, he becomes the representative of Allah on Earth. Knowing and seeing all things as the Hadith states. To the materialistic and blood thirsty Wahhabi, these are tall tales with no reality and pure deviation from Islam.
15. They believe that the literal meaning of the Quran and the Wahhabi teachings supersede all other sources. No freedom of thought is allowed. In Sufi Islam the pursuit of knowledge is encouraged. During the great Islamic empires this was fully encouraged by the Caliphas, and Bukhara, Samarkand, and Baghdad became great seats of learning where all types of knowledge was encouraged and activated.
“Go even unto China in search of Knowledge” – Hadith
Everyone got interested in other religions and healthy debates were performed so that people increase in their knowledge. Intellectual knowledge was encouraged to the very height where everyone had the freedom of thought to talk of all shades of esoteric knowledge so that progress could be made in spiritual attainments.
“Seek Knowledge from the cradle to the grave” (Hadith)
Many were the debates and talks, many were the writing of books with the Quran and the Hadith as their source, and many were the schools of thought on law and mysticism. Wahhabism stifled all this and burnt all the precious books available on all types of knowledge. They said that only the Quran and the Hadith should be used and that too strictly on the theory of the Wahhabis doctrine. All other knowledge and traditions, including the spiritual and esoteric were to be disdained and were to be rejected. You could even be killed for holding such opinions. Indeed, many worthy people were put to death for holding and practicing such beliefs.
16. The Wahhabi Doctrine says that they should rule the world and all others should serve them. This is the ultimate goal of the Wahhabis. They want to set up their Islamic State in which they would be the rulers. Anyone and everyone were to be used, if they had beliefs which were different from theirs. Their properties could be taken over, and their women enslaved. Such is the state that is envisaged by the demented Wahhabis and for this purpose all the terror that could be imagined were to be unleashed upon the world. This is the way this new state would be born.
17. They believe that the graves or shrines of all the Prophets of old, the Saints and the respected Scholars should be razed to the ground so that none of them can be identified. With this end in mind the Wahhabis are formulating a plan to get at the Holy Grave of the Prophet (Sal). This will be their final disgrace to be meted out to the holy Prophet (Sal) who founded Islam. Many are the articles which have been written about this dastardly act being planned by the Wahhabis.
The politicians in Arabia belonging to the royal family have come out openly to state that this is their aim and it will surely be fulfilled. They tried this earlier, and due to a miracle, the people who were sent numbering about 20, were killed when the ground below them opened and swallowed them up, just close to the Prophet’s (Sal) shrine. They were killed instantly and buried by the ground under them giving way and burying them alive. This incident was recorded and put some fear into the Wahhabis hearts. But they still wait patiently for a time that they have picked in the future, to destroy the Holy Shrine of the Prophet (Sal) and to have him buried elsewhere. See article: https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/world-news/Saudi-arabias-proposal-to-destroy-prophet-mohammeds-tomb-and-move-remains-to-anonymous-grave-risks-new-Muslim-division-30557589.html. They destroyed and razed the graves of the Sahaba in Jennathul Baqi to the horror of the Muslims. Today, we only see the grave site.
(The featured image at the top shows the Lal Shabaz Qalandar shrine in Pakistan)