By: Shaykh Abdul-Aziz bin Abdullah ibn Baaz
In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
All praise is to Allah, Lord of the worlds. Peace and blessings of Allah be upon his slave and Messenger and the best of Creation, our leader and guide, Muhammad Bin Abdullah, and upon his family, Companions and followers.
Dear brothers and children! I would like to present this lecture with a view to enlightening your thoughts, clarifying some facts, showing goodwill towards Allah and people, and fulfilling part of my duty towards the personality about whom I am going to speak. And the topic of this lecture is: Imam Muhammad Bin Abdul Wahhab - his life and mission.
When we talk about reformers, revivers and preachers, recalling their circumstances, good qualities and meritorious activities and describing their truthfulness and sincerity in their personal life as well as preaching, men of good spirits would eagerly listen to it with comfort and contentment. Whoever is attached to Islam and desirous of reformation and preaching cannot help hearing such talks.
I would like to talk about a great man, an outstanding reformer and a zealous preacher who appeared in the Arabian peninsula in the twelfth century A.H - Imam Sheikh Muhammad Bin Abdul Wahhab Bin Sulaiman Bin Ali Al-Tamimi Al-Hanbali Al-Najdi. He is wellknown to the people, particularly to the scholars, leaders, elders and high officials within and without the Peninsula. Many authors have written about him. And many others have mentioned him privately in their writings. Even the orientalists have dealt with him. Many others appraised and praised him in their writings about the reformers and history.
The unprejudiced described the Sheikh as a great reformer and reviver of Islam, and admitted that he had been on the Path and Light shone by his Lord. It is difficult to mention all the writers, but a few of them deserve reference. Among them was the great author, Abu Bakr Sheikh Husain Bin Gannam Al-Ahsae. He wrote well about the Sheikh and his mission and benefited many. In his book he has elaborately explained the life and campaigns of the Sheikh as well as his preaching and deduction from the Qur'an.
Another author was Sheikh Imam Uthman Bin Bishr who in his work, The Banner of Glory, wrote about the Sheikh's life, preaching, campaigns and jihad.
Among other authors from outside the Peninsula was Dr. Ahmad Amin who appraised him in his book entitled 'The Great Leaders of Islamic Reformation'. Another great scholar was Masood Alam Nadvi who wrote a book about him under the title 'The Persecuted Reformer', one of the well-written biographies of the Imam. The great scholar Muhammad Bin Ismael San'ani was a contemporary of the Imam, and he had preached Islam in his own capacity. When he heard about the Imam's activities, he thanked Allah with delight. Similarly, Allama Sheikh Muhammad Bin Ali Showkani, the author of Nailul A utar, had written about the Imam. He also lamented his demise in a grand elegy. And there are many others who had written about the Imam, and they are well-known to the readers and scholars.
Since many people seem to know little about the life and preaching of the Imam, I think I should explain his faithful life and sincere mission and struggle. Then whoever has ambiguity about the life and preaching of the Imam may understand the truth.
Muhammad Bin Abdul Wahhab was born in 1115 A.H though some are of the opinion that it was in 1111 A.H, which is not popular.
He was educated by his father at Oyayna, his homeland. It was a village located at Yamama in Najd, northwest of the city of Riyadh.
He lived there a pious life. He learnt to read the Qur'an very early. He exerted himself in his studies and advanced learning at the hands of his father, Sheikh Abdul Wahhab Bin Sulaiman, who was a great jurisprudent and the Judge of Oyayna.
Having attained puberty, the Sheikh went to the Sacred Mosque at Makkah to perform Hajj as well as to learn from the learned personalities of Makkah. From Makkah he went to Madinah.
During his stay there, he met two great scholars of Madinah. One of them was Sheikh Abdullah Bin Ibrahim Bin Sayf Al-Najdi, the father of Sheikh Ibrahim Bin
Abdullah who authored 'An Appreciation of the Law of Inheritance'. The other was Sheikh Muhammad Hayat Al-Sindi. The, Imam might have learnt from other scholars as well.
Then he travelled to Iraq to seek after knowledge. He reached Basara, met with the scholars therein and learnt from them.
It was in Iraq that he started his mission. There he called the people to Tawhid (Oneness of Allah) and the Sunnah of the Prophet [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam]. He announced that it was the duty of every Muslim to follow his or her religion (Islam) strictly in accordance with the Qur'an and Sunnah. He also engaged some scholars in discussions and debates. Thus he became famous among his teachers. He had a debate with one of the outstanding scholars, Sheikh Muhammad Al-Majmuei.
However, some characterless scholars rebelled against him. He and his teacher even received some harms and persecutions from them. Therefore, he left Basara. Although his intention was to go to Syriya, he gave up the idea due to paucity of money and travelled to Azzubair. He then headed towards Al-Ahsa. There he met some scholars and engaged them in discussions on the fundamentals of Islam.
Then he moved to Huraymela. It was in the fifth decade of the twelfth century A.H. While his father was the Judge of Oyayna, a dispute arose between the prince of Oyayna and his father. He therefore left Oyayna for Huraymela in 1139 A.H. That was why the Sheikh moved to Huraymela. His arrival there was in 1140 or so.
There he continued his activities in the fields of learning, teaching and preaching until his father died in 1153. There he had to face much suffering at the hands of the wicked. Some of them even attempted on his life. It is said that some persons climbed up the wall of his house, but ran away when some others knew about it.
In the circumstances, the Sheikh had to leave Huraymela. Why those mean people were hostile to him was that he enjoined the good and forbade the evil. He also persuaded the rulers to punish the criminals severely. Among them were those people known as "Abeed". They were used to stealing, plundering and violation of others' rights. As soon as they knew that the Sheikh was against their actions and interests, they tried to assassinate him. But Allah saved his life.
Then he moved to Oyayna which was then governed by Prince Uthman Bin Muhammad Bin Muammar. The Prince welcomed the Sheikh with hospitality. He persuaded him to start calling the people to Islam and promised him all support and help. He showed him kindness, goodwill and sympathy. Thus the Sheikh continued his activities in teaching and guiding the people, and calling them to the Path of Allah. He guided the people to piety, righteousness and love in the cause of Allah.
Gradually, Sheikh Muhammad Bin Abdul Wahhab became famous in and around Oyayna. People came to Oyayna to meet him from the neighbouring areas and villages. One day the Sheikh told the Prince: 'let us demolish the dome at the grave of Zaid Bin Al-Khattab [radhiallaahu anhu]. It is erected on deviation. Allah would not accept it. And the Prophet [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam], had forbidden building domes or mosques on the graves. Moreover, this dome has enthralled the people and replaced their creed with polytheism. So it must be demolished.' The Prince acceded to his suggestion. Then the Sheikh remarked that he was afraid that the people of Al-Jubaila would revolt against this action. Al-Jubaila was a village close to the grave. Uthman then mobilized an army of six hundred soldiers and marched towards the grave in order to destroy the dome. The army was accompanied by the Sheikh.
As soon as they approached the dome, the people of AlJubaila came forward to defend the dome. But when they saw the Prince with his army, they changed their decision and withdrew. Then the Sheikh took the action of demolishing and removing the dome. Allah removed it by his hands.
Let us now consider the condition of Najd before the arrival of the Sheikh and the reasons for his preaching.
The people of Najd had lived in a condition that could not be approved of by any believer. Polytheism had appeared there and spread widely. People worshipped domes, trees, rocks, caves or any persons who claimed to be Auliya (saints) though they might be insane and idiotic. Magic and soothsaying also had spread there, and the belief therein was popular. No one had showed disapproval of them except a very few. And the people were preoccupied with worldly goods and pleasures.
There were few to rise up for the sake of Allah and support His Religion. Same was the situation in Makkah and Madinah as well as Yemen where building domes on the graves, invoking the saints for their help and other forms of polytheism were predominant. But in Najd polytheistic beliefs and practices were all the more intense.
In Najd people had worshipped different objects ranging from the graves, caves and trees to the obsessed and mad men who were called saints. Among others popular in Najd were praying to the demons asking for their help, sacrificing animals for them and placing them at the corners of the houses hoping for their protection and fearing their harms.
When the Sheikh saw that polytheism was dominating the people and that no one showed any disapproval of it or no one was ready to call the people back to Allah, he decided to labour singly and patiently in the field. He knew that nothing could be achieved without jihad (holy fighting), patience and suffering. So he exerted himself in teaching, orientation and guidance. Also he wrote to the scholars requesting their support and reminding them of their task of helping Allah's Religion and fighting against polytheism as well as superstitions. Many scholars from Najd, Makkah and Madinah acceded to his request. Also the scholars in Yemen and other countries agreed upon him and sent him their approval. However, some scholars who disagreed with him; they reproached his mission, condemned him and kept away from him.
Now the Sheikh and those with him were in between two types of people. One group consisted of the ignorant and the idiots who knew nothing about Islam or Tawhid. What they knew all about was nothing but polytheism, ignorance, deviation, innovations, superstitions etc. which their forefathers had upheld. The Qur'an reported on such people:
"We found our fathers following a certain way and religion and we will indeed follow their footsteps." (43:23)
The second group, on the other hand, was related to knowledge. They responded to the Sheikh negatively because of their envy and inferiority complex. They were ashamed of the people. They were afraid that the people would question their integrity: 'why did you keep silent without warning us against such and such evils until Ibn Abdul Wahhab appeared?' In choosing the worldly materials, they followed the Jews.
But as for the Sheikh, he carried on patiently. Many scholars and officials of high position from within and without the Peninsula persuaded him. And he was determined and resolute. He also sought help of Allah in all matters. He strove in studying the Qur'an and reading up the useful books. He had a special skill of interpreting the Qur'an and deducing from it. He also worked hard in studying the life of the Prophet [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam] and the lives of his Companions [radhiallaahu anhum] with deep insight till he got inspiration and firmness of faith from them by the grace of Allah.
The Sheikh became all the more determined and continued his mission of calling people to Islam and correspondence with the rulers and scholars. Allah materialized his virtuous desires, spread the preaching and strengthened the truth by him. Allah also provided him with supporters and helpers till Islam and Tawhid gained the upperhand.
The Sheikh went on teaching and preaching. Gradually, he exerted himself on action and practically removing polytheism when he noticed that his call to Islam had no effect on some. Thus he undertook the task of practically removing what was available and possible to be removed from the traces of polytheism. It was against this background that he said to Prince Uthman that the dome of the grave of Zaid should be demolished.
Zaid Bin Al-Khattab [radhiallaahu anhu], was the brother of Umar Bin Al-Khattab [radhiallaahu anhu]. He was one of the martyrs who died in their fighting against Musailamah Al-Kaddhab in 12 A.H. He was buried there and later on a dome was built over the grave said to be his grave.
Prince Uthman readily accepted the Sheikh's demand, as said before, and the dome was demolished. And thank Allah none of its traces remains now.
There were other graves such as the one said to be of Derar Bin Awzar [radhiallaahu anhu]. It had once a dome which was then demolished. There were also other signs which were removed by the grace of Allah. There were caves and trees which were worshipped besides Allah, but they were all destroyed and removed. Also the people were warned against them.
The Sheikh thus continued his mission by words and action. One day a woman came to him and confessed that she had committed adultery. She repeated the confession without any hesitation or external compulsion. After he realized that she was sane and married, he gave orders that she should be punished by stoning to death. His order could be soon implemented as he had by then become the Judge of Oyayna.
After this incident, the Sheikh became more famous. He had already become well-known for his earlier actions such as demolishing the domes and calling people to Tawhid. Immigration of people to Oyayna from the neighbouring places has also made him famous.
Meanwhile, the Prince of Al-Ahsa and the surrounding villages, who was of Banu Khalid Sulaiman Bin Orayer Al-Khalidi, came to know about the mission of the Sheikh and his actions such as the demolition of the domes and implementation of Islamic punishments. He took it as a menace. Since it was usual for the nomads with a few exceptions to commit wrong, robbery, murder and violation of the inviolable, the nomad prince was naturally afraid that the Sheikh's position would grow greater and that his political power would be taken away from his hands. Therefore, he wrote to Prince Uthman threatening him and demanding him to kill the Sheikh who was living with him in Oyayna. He also threatened that he would cut off the tax due to Uthman if his demand was not accepted. Uthman, who had to receive his due of gold from this nomad ruler, took the message seriously. He was afraid that the nomad ruler would cut off his taxes or attack him if he disobeyed him. Hence he reported that to the Sheikh: 'the nomad prince has sent me a message to do so and so. We never wish to kill you, but we are afraid of that prince and we are unable to fight him. So if you think, you may leave us'.
Then the Sheikh replied: `I am simply calling the people to Islam and to the fulfilment of the testimony of Faith that there is no God except Allah and Muhammad is Allah's Messenger. Whoever holds fast to Islam and upholds it truthfully, Allah will help him and make him ruler of his enemies' countries. And if you endure and be righteous and accept this Religion, then be glad that Allah will help you and protect you from that nomad prince and others. Allah will also give you power over his country and his kinsfolk'.
But Uthman said: `O Sheikh! but we cannot fight him nor can we stand his opposition'.
In the circumstances, the Sheikh had to leave Oyayna for Dareyya. He set out from Oyayna on foot at the beginning of the day and reached his destination at the end of the day. He travelled on foot because Uthman did not provide him with any means of transportation.
On reaching Dareyya, the Sheikh came to a man who was of the best personalities living in the upper city. His name was Muhammad Bin Suwailim Al-Orayni. The Sheikh stayed in his house. It is said that this man was afraid of Muhammad Bin Saud, the Prince of Dareyya. But the Sheikh reassured him and said: `be glad and hope for the best. I am simply calling the people to Allah's Religion, and He will undoubtedly make it victorious'.
The news about Sheikh Muhammad Bin Abdul Wahhab reached Muhammad Bin Saud as well. It is said that it was his wife who first informed him of the Sheikh. Some pious persons approached her and requested her to let her husband know about the Sheikh and encourage him to accept the Sheikh's mission and support it.
She was a kind, pious lady. When Muhammad Bin Saud came to her, she said to him: `here is a great fortune sent to you by Allah. A man who is calling the people to Islam, calling to the Qur'an and the Sunnah of the Prophet [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam]. What a good fortune! Rush to him and support him. Never resist him or stop him from that'.
Prince Muhammad Bin Saud accepted her advice, but hesitated a little whether to go to the Sheikh personally or to invite him to his presence. It is said that his wife along with a group of pious persons advised him thus: `it is not proper for you to invite him to you; you would rather go to his house to meet him personally in recognition to his knowledge and preaching'.
He accepted their advice, as it was destined by Allah to be his happiness in this world and the Hereafter. Then he went to the house of Ibn Suwailem, greeted the Sheikh and talked with him. He said: `O Sheikh Muhammad! I am glad to promise you all help, security and assistance'.
The Sheikh responded thus: `you too have glad tidings of help, power and a good end. This is Islam - the Religion of Allah. He will surely help those who help His Religion, and He will support those who support it. You would soon see its effects'.
Then the Prince said: `O Sheikh! I will make a contract with you on the Religion of Allah, His Messenger and jihad in the cause of Allah. However, I fear that, after we help and support you and Allah makes you victorious over your enemies, you may prefer another country and leave us'.
The Sheikh replied: `I will not make a contract on these matters. But the contract will be on blood for blood and destruction for destruction. I shall never leave your country'.
Then a contract was made to the effect that Sheikh Muhammad Bin Abdul Wahhab would remain in Dareyya and help Prince Muhammad Bin Saud who would in turn help the Sheikh and struggle with him in the cause of Allah till Islam gets the upperhand. Thus the contract was completed.
The Sheikh now settled at Dareyya. People started to come to Dareyya from every place - from Oyayna, Irqa, Manfooha, Riyadh and other neighbouring places. It continued to be a place of immigration. As soon as the people heard about the news of the Sheikh, his lectures at Dareyya and calling to Allah, they came to him individually and in groups.
Respected, loved and supported by the people, the Sheikh arranged the lectures on various topics such as Islamic Creed, the Holy Qur'an, the Qur'anic Commentaries, Islamic Jurisprudence and its Principles, the Hadith and its Terminology, Linguistics of Arabic, Studies on History and other useful disciplines.
People from many places came to him for learning; both the young and the old attended his classes. He arranged classes for the public as well as for the selected persons. Thus he disseminated knowledge in Dareyya and continued his activities in preaching.
Then the Sheikh turned to jihad. He wrote to the people to enter the field of jihad and remove polytheism which existed in their countries. First of all, he wrote to the rulers and scholars of Najd. He wrote to the scholars of Riyadh and its Prince Deham Bin Dawwas. He also sent messages to the scholars and rulers of Al-Kharj, and to the scholars of the south, Qassim, Hael, Washim, Sedir etc. Similarly, he wrote to the scholars of Al-Ahsa as well as Makkah and Madinah. Then he sent letters to the scholars of Egypt, Iraq, India, Yemen etc.
He continued his mission of writing letters. He wrote to the people establishing his arguments and warning them against polytheism and innovation into which the majority of mankind has fallen. But it does not mean that there have been no supporters of Islam. It cannot be so because Allah has given guaranty to the Religion that there would be always a group in this Ummah on the true path, receiving Divine Help, as the Prophet [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam] said. And there have been helpers of truth in many parts of the world.
But our concern at present is about Najd where evil, corruption, polytheism and superstitions in immeasurable quantity were rampant. Although there were pious scholars, they were unable to shoulder the task of preaching in its proper method. There were several preachers and helpers of Islam in Yemen and other countries, who were well-aware of these various kinds of polytheism and superstitions. But Allah did not grant them success and victory as He granted to the preaching of Sheikh Ibn Abdul Wahhab for several reasons. First, these preachers had no supporting force. Secondly, most of them could not presevere and withstand persecutions in the way of Allah. Thirdly, some of them were ill-informed with regard to the orientation of the people through proper methods, expressions, and advice and wisdom. There might be other reasons as well.
Because of his correspondence with scholars and rulers and his struggling in the cause of Allah, the Sheikh became famous. His preaching spread far and wide; his letters reached the scholars within and without the Peninsula.
His preaching had its impact on the people of the Indian subcontinent, Indonesia, Afghanistan, Africa, Morocco, Egypt, Syria and Iraq. There were many knowledgeable preachers in these countries. When they learnt about the Sheikh's mission, they became more active and their activities got wider recognition.
The Sheikh's mission continued and spread all over the Islamic world and other countries. Then in recent times his books and letters - as well as the works of his sons and grandsons, supporters and helpers from the scholars within and without the Peninsula - were printed and published. Also the works on his life and mission and on the lives of his helpers have been published; and they have become popular throughout the world.
It is a known fact that every favour has its envier as every preacher has his enemies. Allah the Exalted said:
"And so We have appointed to every Prophet an enemy - devils among rnen and jinn - inspiring to each other adorned speech as a delusion. And had your Lord willed, they could not have done it. So leave them alone to their fabrication." (6:112)
When the Sheikh became famous for his preaching and letters, and his writings received wide popularity among the people, many envious groups emerged as his opponents. Many other enemies also emerged.
These opponents and enemies can be grouped into two. One group opposed him in the name of religion, while the other opposed him in the name of politics though they hid under the cover of knowledge and religion and exploited the enmity of those scholars who had hated him and accused him of deviation.
Meanwhile the Sheikh continued his mission, removing the doubts of the people with the support of proofs and guiding them to the facts based on the Qur'an and Sunnah.
Sometimes his opponents argued that he belonged to the Khawarij. Sometimes they said that he tore apart the Consensus (of the scholars) and claimed the authority for absolute Ijtihad (independent judgement in a legal or theological question), without considering any scholar or jurisprudent before him. At times some criticised him out of their lack of proper knowledge. Another group hated him because of their imitation of and reliance on others. Still another group feared that they would lose their positions and therefore hated him politically under the cover of Islam and religion, relying on the words of the superstitious and misguided people.
In fact, there were three groups of the Sheikh's opponents. The first group consisted of the characterless scholars who saw the truth as falsehood and the falsehood as truth. They believed that building domes and mosques over the graves and invoking those in the graves for help and the like were right and pertaining to Islam. They also thought that whoever was against such things hated the righteous and the saints and that jihad against him was compulsory.
The second group was associated with knowledge; but they were ignorant of the reality of the Sheikh's mission. They knew nothing about the truth to which he was calling the people; they simply followed others and believed whatever was said by the characterless, superstitious scholars. Consequently, they even believed that he had hated the prophets and saints and denied their miracles. Therefore, they condemned him and kept aloof from him.
The third group feared the removal of their positions and ranks. They showed him hostility so that the supporters of the Islamic mission might not reach them and remove their positions and take over their lands.
Thus the fighting with words - arguments and debates between the Sheikh and his opponents - continued. He argued with them - he would write to them and they would reply to him, and he would refute them and they would reply to him. As a result, numerous questions and answers were accumulated and compiled into volumes. And thank Allah most of them have been published. The Sheikh carried on his mission of preaching and fighting with the help and support of Prince Muhammad Bin Saud, the ruler of Dareyya and later the founder of the Saudi Dynasty.
Then in 1158 A.H jihad with sword was started. It is wellknown that if the preacher who calls people to Allah does not have any force to support him and maintain the truth, then his mission will soon subside and his reputation will be extinguished, and consequently the number of his supporters will decrease. The importance of weapon and power is well-known for their effectiveness in spreading the preaching, subduing the opponents and falsehood and supporting the truth. Allah the Exalted said:
"Indeed we have sent Our Messengers with clear proofs, and revealed with them the Scripture and the Balance (justice) that mankind may keep up justice. And we brought forth iron wherein is mighty power (in matters of war) as well as many benefits for mankind, that Allah may test who it is that will help Him (His Religion) and His Messengers in the unseen. Verily Allah is All-Strong, All-Mighty." (57:25)
In the above verse, Allah points out that He sent the Messengers with clear proofs. These were arguments by which they clarified the truth and pushed back the falsehood. He also revealed to the Messengers the Book that contained guidance as well as clear explanation. He also revealed the Balance. It is justice which protects the oppressed from the oppressor, maintains the truth and spreads the guidance; it is in the light of justice that people treat one another with truth and fairness. Allah also brought forth iron of mighty power.
That is, it is force, deterrence and suppression against those who oppose the truth. So the use of iron is for those in whom proofs and explanation do not work. Hence it is adherent to the truth and suppressor of the falsehood.
Any intelligent man with a common sense will benefit from clear proof and accept the truth with its evidence. But the oppressor or the wrong-doer who follows his lusts cannot be deterred except without a sword.
The Sheikh thus strove in his preaching and jihad for fifty years from 1158 A.H. until he died in 1206 A.H. He resorted to all the methods in his mission - jihad, preaching, resistance, debates and arguments, elucidation of the Qur'an and Sunnah and guidance towards the legal ways shown by the Prophet [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam] - until people adhered to obedience, entered the Religion of Allah, demolished the domes and mosques built by them on the graves and agreed to run their affairs in accordance with Islamic Law, discarding all rules and laws which had been applied by their fathers and forefathers.
Thus mosques became active with prayers and study circles. Zakat (obligatory charity) was regularly paid. People fasted in the month of Ramadan as prescribed by Allah. The good was enjoined and the evil was forbidden. Peace and security reigned in villages and towns, and highways and desert areas. The Bedouins were stopped to their limits; and they entered the fold of Islam and accepted the truth. The Sheikh disseminated his message among them.
Then the Sheikh sent the guides and preachers to the desert areas and suburbs. He also sent instructors, advisors and judges to the towns and villages. This great blessing and straight path spread all over Najd; the truth and Allah's Religion prevailed there.
Then after the death of the Sheikh, his sons, grandsons, pupils and supporters continued his mission and struggle in the cause of Allah. At the head of his sons was the famous Sheikh Imam Abdullah Bin Muhammad; and the other sons were Sheikh Husain Bin Muhammad, Sheikh All Bin Muhammad and Sheikh Ibrahim Bin Muhammad. And his grandsons were Sheikh Abdurrahman Bin Hasan, Sheikh All Bin IluSain and Sheikh Sulaiman Bin Abdullah Bin Muhamrnad. And among his pupils were Sheikh Hamad Bin Nasir Bin I.VIuammar and many other scholars of Dareyya.
They all carried on the task of preaching and jihad and spread the Religion of Allah through correspondence and writing books as well as fighting the enemies of Islam. The only hostility between these preachers and their opponents was that the former called the people to Tawhid, to the worship of Allah alone with uprightness and demolition of domes and mosques erected on the graves, to the establishment of Islamic government and implementation of Islamic punishments, and to enjoining the good and forbidding the evil. And nothing else.
In short, the preachers guided the people to the Oneness of the worship of Allah, warned them against the different forms and ways of polytheism and made Islamic Law incumbent upon them. It was also ordained that whoever rejected the message of Tawhid and insisted on polytheism, even after the truth was explained to him on the basis of proofs and arguments, should be fought against until he and his people surrendered to the truth. The preachers also warned the people against the innovations and superstitions which were not prescribed by Allah, as building domes on the graves, seeking decision of false gods or un-Islamic rulers, seeking help of sorcerers and soothsayers and believing them and the like. But Allah removed all such things by the hands of the Sheikh and his supporters.
Mosques became active by the teaching of the Qur'an and Sunnah, Islamic history and other useful Arabic studies. People became interested in learning, knowledge, guidance, preaching and teaching. Some, on the other hand, took to agriculture and commerce; they combined both work and knowledge, the world and the religion. Thus a person learnt and referred to books, but at the same time worked in his farm or factory as well. In other words, he worked simultaneously for his religion and worldly interests; he called people and guided them to the Path of Allah, but indulged himself in various trades and industries which are beneficial to himself as well as his country.
Having accomplished their mission in Najd, the preachers and the Al-Saud extended their preaching to Makkah and Madinah and the south of the Peninsula. They had written to the scholars of the Two Holy Cities several times. But the preaching had no effect and the people therein continued their polytheistic actions like building domes on the graves, venerating the domes and seeking help of those who are buried in the graves.
After eleven years of the death of Sheikh Ibn Abdul Wahhab, Imam Saud Bin Abdul Aziz Bin Muhammad set out to Hijaz. He clashed with the people of Taif on his way to Makkah. Prince Uthman Bin Abdurrahman Al-Madaefi had already fought against them with an army - including the people of Najd; etc. - dispatched by the prince of Dareyya, Imam Saud Bin Abdul Aziz Bin Muhammad. They assisted him until he occupied Taif and expelled its sherief. There he established the calling to Allah, guided the people to the truth and forbade polytheism and the worship of Ibn Abbas [radhiallaahu anhuma], and others who were worshipped by the ignorant idiots of Taif.
Then Imam Saud set out to Makkah by order of his father, Abdul Aziz. The army sieged Makkah, and when its sherief came to know about this he fled to Jeddah. Then Saud along with his Muslim army entered the country and conquered Makkah without fighting in the early morning of Muharram 1 st in 1218 A.H. In Makkah they established the calling to Allah and demolished all the domes built over the graves of Khadija and others. They also appointed there scholars, teachers and guides for teaching and guiding the people, as well as judges for passing judgements according to Islamic Law.
Then after a short term, Madinah was conquered by AlSaud in 1220 A.H. (The Two Holy Cities have continued to be under the rule of Al-Saud). In Madinah also teachers and guides were appointed, and justice and Islamic rule were established. They showed benevolence to its people, especially the poor and the needy. They gave them financial aid, showed them sympathy, taught them the Qur'an and guided them to the good. They also respected the scholars there and encouraged them to teach and guide the people.
This condition continued till 1226 A.H when the combine of the Egyptian and Turkish armies moved towards Hijaz to fight against Al-Saud and expel them from the Two Holy Cities. It had several reasons. As mentioned earlier, the enemies were enviers and idiots who had no insight. Some politicians wanted to suppress this movEment because they feared that their positions and interests would be destroyed. Therefore, they charged false allegations against the Sheikh and his followers: they propagated that he and his followers hated the Prophet
[sallallaahu alayhi wasallam], and saints, and denied the miracles. Some ignorant and biased people took such allegations to be true and encouraged the Egyptians and Turks to fight against the followers of the Sheikh.
Consequently, affliction and war created havoc in the country. And a great war was fought between the forces of Turkey and Egypt on one side and those of Al-Saud from Najd and Hijaz on the other side. The war lasted for a long time (1226 -1233 A.H). It was a fierce battle fought between the forces of falsehood and truth.
Imam Sheikh Muhammad Bin Abdul Wahhab simply stood for the victory of Islam, guidance of the people to Tawhid, rejection of all the superstitions and innovations that have crept into the body of Islam, imposition of truth and deterrence of falsehood, and enjoining the good and forbidding the evil.
His creed was that of the Pious Predecessors: he believed in Allah and His Names and Attributes, in His angels, in His Messengers and Books, in the Last Day and in Fate, in its being good or bad. He was on the path of the Imams of the Ummah in his understanding and beliefs with regard to Tawhid and devotion of the acts of worship to Allah alone, belief in the Names and Attributes of Allah in a way that suits the Divine Majesty and without denying or comparing them with those of the creations. He also believed in the Resurrection, Reckoning, Reward of Heaven and Hell etc. strictly in accordance with the belief of the Predecessors. Concerning belief, he, like the Predecessors, believed that it increases and decreases - increases through submission to Allah and decreases through sins. In all these, the Sheikh meticulously followed the Pious Predecessors, both theoretically and practically. He never deviated from their path nor had he his own special doctrines other than those of the Pious Predecessors and the Companions of the Prophet [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam].
The Sheikh exerted himself in his mission of calling the people to the above creed and path, preaching and fighting, till the Religion of Allah got the upperhand.
When he called people to Allah or enjoined the good and forbade the evil, he was in fact fulfilling his duty as a Muslim. And Allah removed the innovations and superstitions from Najd and paved the way for Tawhid and Islamic preaching in the Muslim world by his hands.
Hence the reasons for the conflicts between the Sheikh and his opponents were clear, as mentioned earlier:
l. His rejection of polytheism and his calling to the pure and absolute Tawhid.[/b]
2. His refutation of innovations and superstitions such as building domes or mosques over the graves, celebration of birth anniversary and other "methods" invented by the sufis (mystics).
3. He enjoined the good on the people and imposed it on them. Whoever refused and rejected the good, he would use force against him and punish him. He also forbade the evil to them and implemented the punitive measures prescribed by Allah. He obliged the people to associate with the truth and avoid the falsehood. Consequently, the truth prevailed and the falsehood vanished.'The conduct and character of the people changed considerably; they treated mutually with fair and upright manners in the mosques, markets and in all conditions. Polytheism, innovations and all such vices were no more among them. Whoever noticed this condition would immediately recall the life conditions during the times of the Pious Predecessors and the Companions of the Prophet [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam].
The Sheikh and the followers followed the footsteps of the Pious Predecessors. They endured patiently and struggled vigorously in the cause of Allah. But after the death of the Sheikh and most of his sons and supporters, in the long run, certain changes occurred in the above conditions the result of which was a series of afflictions at the hands of Turkey and Egypt, in confirmation to what Allah the Exalted has stated in the Qur'an:
"Verily Allah will not change the (good) condition of a people as long as they do not change their state (of goodness) themselves." (13:11)
May Allah wipe out the sins that have befallen them and elevate their martydom!
The mission of ibn Abdul Wahhab has continued till this date. Within a short period after the destruction and killings let loose by the Egyptian army, his mission raised up again and spread far and wide. The revival was by the hands of Imam Turkey Bin Abdullah Bin Muhammad Bin Saud. He spread the preaching in and around Najd; and scholars were seen everywhere in Najd. He expelled all the Turks and Egyptians from Najd and the surrounding villages. It was in 1240 A.H.
Whereas the destruction of Dareyya and termination of the Al-Saud government were in 1233 A.H. The people of Najd remained in a state of riots and killing for about five years. Then in 1240 A.H the Muslims in Najd were reunited by Imam Turkey Bin Abdullah Bin Muhammad Bin Saud. The truth reappeared and the scholars started sending messages and letters to different parts of the country. They called the people to Islam. And very soon the afflictions occurred in the society were extinguished.
Again the Religion of Allah reigned in Najd. The people worked on education, guidance and preaching till everything fell in its proper place. They returned to their normal life which they were used to during the life of the Sheikh, his sons and his supporters.
By the grace of Allah, from 1240 A.H till this day, the Al-Saud has continued to govern the country, and the Al-Sheikh has continued to lead and guide the people through preaching and fighting in the cause of Allah.
But as for the Two Holy Cities, they remained separate from the Saudi rule for a long time till they returned to the Saudi authority in 1343 A.H. The Two Holy Cities were occupied by Imam Abdul Aziz Bin Abdurrahman Bin Faisal Bin Turkey Bin Abdullah Bin Muhammad Bin Saud. By the grace of Allah, Makkah and Madinah have continued to be under the Saudi rule till now.
May Allah guide the rest of the Al-Saud and Al-Sheikh as well as all the scholars in this country to the right! May He grant them all success in whatever is approved of by Him! May He guide all the scholars in all Muslim countries to the right and make them support the truth as a whole and abandon the falsehood altogether! May He grant all the preachers of truth success, and guide them as well as us to the right! May He preserve the Two Holy Mosques and its annexes! May He guide all the Muslim countries to the right and the true Religion! May He grant all Muslims good fortune to uphold the Qur'an and Sunnah, to learn them deeply, to live them with fortitude and perseverance and to make them judge in their affairs till their death! Allah is All-Powerful and Responsive.
All that I said is what I could easily explain to you about the life and mission of the Sheikh and his supporters and the activities of his opponents. We seek Allah's help and put our trust in Him. There is no power and might except with Allah. Peace and blessings of Allah be upon His slave and Messenger, our Prophet and leader, Muhammad, and upon his family and Companions and all who have entered his right path! All praise is to Allah, Lord of the worlds.