Answering the doubts of the New Yasir Qadhi – Part 3: The different stages of the Da’wah of Sh. Mohammed ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhâb

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In the MadMamluk podcast, Yasir Qadhi keeps emphasizing his ‘three-wave theory’ about the Najdi Da’wah. This is the backbone of his entire new framework, in this article we will answers the claims he made in this podcast.

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In the MadMamluk podcast, Yasir Qadhi keeps emphasizing his ‘three-wave theory’ about the Najdi Da’wah. This is the backbone of his entire new framework, and because of this so-called ‘discovery’ of his, he is no longer a follower of MIAW and the Nadji da’wah, and so now he claims to be an Athari and not a Salafi.[1]

The problem with Yasir’s newfound ‘three-wave theory, is that he remains unable to define it with a logical and coherent framework. What differentiates the first wave from the second wave? What are its theological demarcations? He manages to stay very vague on these kinds of important qualities that are needed to make distinctions in the first place.

This style of convincing his audiences with big claims, presenting “facts” by way of a pick and choose methodology in source material without detailed examples, seems to be Yasir’s new way of da’wah.

We will try to go into his claims and show the readers that Yasir:

– did not come with anything new that has not been claimed before him, so no ground-breaking research on Yasir’s part, unfortunately (for him).

– never really understood the da’wah of MIAW and the Imaams after him, only on a superficial level. He stayed at the level of Kashf as-Shubuhât and Kitâb at-Tawḥîd and then went into overdrive, teaching and writing, to feed his unquenchable thirst for recognition from the people.

– builds his framework on historical and theological misconceptions, and mixes them up into a forged biriyani rice dish which he then feeds to his audience.

The following claims are Yasir’s Garam Massala he uses for his distasteful Biriyani rice-dish[2]:

  • There are three waves of the Najdi da’wah
  • The first wave goes against all mainstream Muslim strands of Islam, this is the radical phase that wants to conquer the world, and wage Jihad on the entire Muslim Ummah because they have all fallen into shirk and kufr. This wave according to YQ, is still represented by Abu Muhammed al-Maqdisi and Abu Mus’ab as-Sûrî
  • The second wave is almost the same as the first wave but got tamed down by King ‘Abd al-‘Azîz, and this wave is represented by the former Mufti Muhammed bin Ibrahim âl– Shaykh
  • The third wave is what we see now and is represented by the famous scholars of this generation, the scholars after Mohammed ibn Ibrahim âl-Shaykh
  • the first wave and the third wave are radically different from one another and MIAW has doctrines and ideologies that the third wave disassociates from

In this article and in the articles that will follow in the future, we will try to answer all the claims that Yasir Qadhi made in the MadMamluk Podcast.

Yasir’s background and former stance

Yasir is quite fond of speaking about himself and his level of research and accomplishments, in almost every lecture he has the urge to enumerate this. So at the beginning of the podcast, Yasir says: “Throughout my Medina years I was very much committed to the Athari creed and to, overall, the da’wah of Muhammed bin ‘Abdul-Wahaab which I will call the Najdi da’wah”.

 Here Yasir is already building a premise, so he’s trying to say ‘Well I was very much (adding emphasis!) committed to the Athari creed’. In other words: ‘I was more an Athari from the get-go, and yeah, I had a kind of overall (de-emphasizing!) interest in the da’wah of MIAW’. These kinds of tactics are used by Yasir throughout his speeches, so Yasir is even trying to retroactively distance himself from the Najdi da’wah as if he wasn’t ever really into it.

But, as is the case with all liars, he contradicts himself a lot if you listen sharply. So after emphasizing his so-called Athari orientation and downplaying his commitment to the da’wah of MIAW, he says a few seconds later (watch the plurals!):

“as you know, Mahin in particular, and others, you know I wrote books (plural) on this and gave lectures, I taught lectures on this: Kitâb at-Tawhîd, Kashf as-Shubuhât, Qawâ’id al-Arb’ah, dare I say, to this day: Nothing has been written in the English language that is more of an advanced defense of the Najdi da’wah than my critical analyses of shirk which is still available in the English language”

 So what is it Yasir? If you were ‘very much’ committed to the Athari creed, then where are your works on this? Where are your books? Lectures? O wait a second, all your previous works are ALL centered on Najdi da’wah! But we thought you were ‘very much’ committed to the Athari creed??

What is also important to pay attention to, is that Yasir is trying to depict himself as a great researcher, and a specialist in Nadji da’wah, because, you know, he taught lectures, and wrote books, he even wrote ‘the most advanced defense of the Najdi da’wah that is available in the English language!!’. Wow, Yasir must be incredible!

Unfortunately for Yasir, he only scratched the surface of the da’wah of MIAW, Qawâ’id al-Arba’ah, Kash ash-Shubuhaat, Kitaab at-Tawḥîd, are works of a basic and intermediary level, so in fact, he’s not that special, he just reached a basic level and received the keys to the Islamic library, unfortunately, he threw the keys away and went to the western library at Yale.

When it comes to advanced written defenses in the English language on the Nadji da’wah, there are many books, that are far more advanced than Yasir’s works.

To name just a few:

The Life, Teachings, and Influence of Muhammad ibn Abdul-Wahhaab, by Jamâluddin Zarabozo

– The Wahhabi Myth, by Haneef Oliver

– The Call of Shaykh Muhammad bin ‘Abdal-Wahhab and the Three Sa’udi states , by Sultan al-Qu’aiti
Biography And Mission Of Muhammad Ibn Abdul Wahhab, by Jalal Abualrub

First Saudi State & the Story of Ad-Dir’iyyah: A Historical Analysis of the Reform Movement in Arabia Between the Years 1157-1233H (1744-1818CE)

But even then, when Yasir was active on an intermediate level, at least he wrote these books using linguistic, theological, and intellectual proofs that showed that the ones who were opposing the Mujaddid, opposed the basic meaning of Laa ilâha illa Allâh.

Here’s a small snippet of Yasir’s former work:

So now Yasir is opposing the very core of his former arguments and is leveling all this criticism at the Mujaddid and his da’wah, but at the same time waters down the deviations in the call of Shaykh Muhammed ‘Alâwi al-Mâlikî who opposes everything he called to back then! Is ‘Alâwî upon the Athari creed? We thought Yasir was ‘very much’ committed to the Athari creed….

In the podcast Yasir is referring to the Najdi da’wah as a ‘geographical phenomenon’, this is a way to make it sound as if the da’wah was kind of detached from a broader framework of Hanbali creed (which is the real Athari creed). By these framing tactics, Yasir is building the stage for his audience, in order to hoodwink the audience into his new way of thinking. In his opposition, he even brings other scholars who (1)  lived in other geographical areas, (2) lived in different historical contexts, and (3) even had a different understanding of at-Tawḥîd and ash-Shirk and were NOT Athari in creed!? But we will elaborate further on this issue in following articles.

All this demonstrates that Yasir’s claimed “academic research” isn’t academic to begin with, because he comes up with a lot of assumptions and makes many unsubstantiated claims, if one looks deeper into these claims it will become quite clear that he didn’t study these issues in-depth, and never exceeded his intermediate level. That’s why, when he left for Yale, Yasir had a ‘boy meets world’ experience that unfortunately did not end well for him. Would he have stayed with the adults, i.e. the scholars of the da’wah, maybe he would have been spared from all these figments of his mind.

The scholars of the Kingdom, the likes of al-Ghunaymân, Sâlih âl-Shaykh, ‘Abdul-‘Aziz ar-Rajihî, Sâlih al-Fawzaan, and many many others, know the da’wah of the Mujaddid way better than Yasir does and were researching it when Yasir was still a toddler. But as they say, may Allâh have mercy for the person who knows his level.

Yasir’s ‘three-wave theory’ of the Najdi Da’wah

In the podcast, Yasir describes the first wave/phase as follows:

“What I didn’t know at the time was the following: that the Najdi da’wah can easily be viewed to have gone through three phases. You have the first phase, the original phase, which is the phase of MIAW and is immediate sons and grandsons and the original, you know, da’wah that started and that da’wah, …. We will get to that. […]

I realized that the first phase and the third phase are radically different from one another and MIAW has doctrines and ideologies that the third phase disassociates from. The third phase says, “no, no, he didn’t really say that, he couldn’t have said that”. There’s this, this, this tension that the third phase has with the first phase. And you even see this in my book ‘a critical study of Shirk’, where there are things that he says and then I say in the bottom; “Oh, he couldn’t actually have meant this and that’s what my teachers are teaching, don’t take it at face value”.

 I’ll give you some simple examples. Even IAW fought decades of jihad in his lifetime, he and his group and army fought other people, conquered lands, expanded their lands under the name of jihad, not under the name of political war, under the name of jihad! Who is he fighting? He was fighting fellow Muslims! Who did he consider these people to be? Kuffar and infidels! He never once raised his sword against the British, against the Dutch, against any colonialist powers!? His view was that the Ottoman Empire in its totality was a pagan Empire, Dawlah Mushrika Kaafirah, and that anybody who supported the Ottoman Empire, Ipso facto automatically became a Murtad and a Kaafir. And in his view therefore anyone who supported the Ottomans against him, anyone, in fact, his famous ten principles,  an-Nawaqidh al-‘Asharah, one of them is very clear: “Men lam yukkaffir al-Kaafir aw shakka fie kufrihi fa huwa kafir”. Whoever doesn’t consider the kafir to be a kafir, or doubts if the kafir is a kafir, that person is a kafir.”

Yasir Qadhi tosses up all sorts of things, and he provides little or no specific examples based on sound arguments or historical data, so most of them are just claims, and it’s as the Arabic poet says:

والدعاوى ما لم تقيموا عليها ***** بيناتٍ أبناؤها أدعياءُ

Claims, unless supported with evidence… claimants thereof shall be just allegers

There are several things that Yasir claims here, so he says: “I realized that the first phase and the third phase are radically different from one another and MIAW has doctrines and ideologies that the third phase disassociates from”. Who realized this outside of Yasir?  Why do we see none of this reflected in the generations of Najdi scholars after MIAW? If Yasir knows Najdi scholars who realized what he has realized then let him bring these scholars, and show us what have they disassociated from? Yasir Qadhi brings no proof whatsoever, he doesn’t give specific examples where the so-called third-wave scholars are distancing themselves from? If it’s ‘so radically different then where are the examples? According to Yasir’s subdivision it where the third-wave scholars who compiled most of the books, letters, fatâwâ of the ‘first-wave’ Najdi scholars, the famous compilation ‘ad-Durar as-Saniyyah’ was compiled in 1950!? Where is the claimed ‘disassociation’ of the third wave scholars?? Also look at the usage of words that Yasir deliberately chooses, terms such as “doctrines” and “ideologies”, trying to make it sound as un-Islamic as possible.

Let’s look at the examples Yasir does give, he says: “I’ll give you some simple examples. Even IAW fought decades of jihad in his lifetime, he and his group and army fought other people, conquered lands, expanded their lands under the name of jihad, not under the name of political war, under the name of jihad! Who is he fighting? He was fighting fellow Muslims! Who did he consider these people to be? Kuffar and infidels!

So since when is Jihad not a political endeavor? The asl (basic premise) is that Jihad is an affair of the state, so it involves politics. But this attempt of Yasir in creating a false dichotomy between Jihad and state affairs is exactly the problem. Nowhere in his speeches and anti-Wahhâbi rants does Yasir mention the political situation and historical context in which MIAW operated. If one wants to make an honest and academic assessment of MIAW’s theological views and how he applied them in practice, mentioning the political and historical context, is incredibly important. When one does take the context into consideration when looking at the da’wah of MIAW, a very different picture will emerge than the one Yasir is trying to portray. It would be too comprehensive an article if we had to place everything here, just a few examples will do the job.

The real First phase of the Da’wah during the life of Imaam MIAW

Let’s begin to outlay the beginning of the situation; one of the first refutations (6th of Muharram 1156/1743) that appeared against Shaykh MIAW and his da’wah, was written by an Azhari scholar from Mecca of Egyptian descent, As-Shaykh ‘Abd al-Wahhâb ibn Amad Barakât al-Shâfi’î al-Azharî al-Ṭandatâwî, he belonged to the Sûfî Aḥmadî Ṭarîqah. This was when the da’wah of MIAW was still in an early stage in ‘Uyaynah. This rebuttal was presented to ten other Meccan scholars, all of whom wrote an introduction of approval (taqrîdh). Subsequently, this work was copied and distributed to other places such as al-Basra in Iraq, one of the bastions of opposition to Shaykh MIAW. This refutation, which is one of the earliest responses to MIAW’s da’wah, was called ‘Kitâb Rad’ al-alâlah wa Qam’ al-Djahâlah’.

In ‘An Early refutation’ researcher Samer Traboulsi, a PhD. Professor of History at Princeton University says the following:

he was among the forerunners in confronting the rising Wahhâbî da’wah. The Nadjdi historian Ibn Turki (13th/19th cent.) considers him to be among the four most prolific refuters of Wahhabism[3]

Thus, in addition to being one of the earliest responses to MIAW’s da’wah, this rebuttal also contained the core of the criticisms leveled against MIAW, almost all subsequent criticisms written after this, revolve around the same points. S. Traboulsi says in ‘An Early Refutation’:

The arguments brought up by al-Tandatawiyy in his epistle are not exceptional. They are found in practically all refutations of the Wahhâbi movement in a more detailed form.”.

So what were these arguments against Shaykh MIAW? They all revolve around the following allegations about his da’wah:

1- People, especially scholars and the pious, are not living according to the rules of the sharî’ah. They are therefore outside the community of Islam. (!?)

2- People are not allowed to ask the Prophet, his family, or his Companions for intercession.

3- People should not visit the tombs of the Companions buried in al-Yamâma, and the local chiefs should take the land tax (‘ushûr) from the inhabitants.

4- People do not need to imitate previous ‘ulamâ` such as the founders of the four legal schools. Each person should refer to the Quran and the Sunna.[4]

It’s very clear for anyone to see that these arguments consist of (1) a clear defense on acts of shirk and bid’ah, (2)  misconceptions about the da’wah of MIAW. Shaykh MIAW in many epistles and books refuted these false allegations and misconceptions. S.Traboulsi says:

The arguments brought up in the epistle attest also to the fact that the author’s knowledge of Ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhâb’s ideas is not elaborate and does not seem to be based on any writings of his.[5]

It is clear from the epistle that al-Ṭandatâwî got his information through oral reports, and not from MIAW’s writings, and this is a recurring feature we see regularly among those who criticized the da’wah of MIAW. In following articles we will discuss this phenomenon when it comes to certain criticisms of ash-Shawkânî and al-San’âni leveled at MIAW, which were also based on oral reports and not the writings of the Shaykh. We also see in point one of the criticism, that MIAW is falsely accused of making takfir on the community of Islam. Exactly what Yasir keeps repeating without any valid arguments.

Dr. ‘Abdullah al-Matû’ mentions the stages of da’wah which the Mujadid Shaykh MIAW went through during his life.[6]

  • First stage: The da’wah he did while seeking knowledge.
  • Second stage: His da’wah in Huraymilaa.
  • Third stage: His da’wah in al-‘Uyanah.
  • Fourth stage: His da’wah in ad-Dir’iyyah.

When we look closer at the stages of da’wah we will see that in the first two stages the Shaykh was already heavily opposed by his adversaries and was threatened with his life! For what? Calling to Laa Illâha Illa Allâh and following the Religion of All^h! He had to flee from al-Basrah and al-Huraymilâ because he was heavily opposed and this while having no power or support from authority. Yasir nowhere mentions this and we will give some detail to show how Yasir mispresents these historical events.

How did the situation turn into armed conflict? How did Shaykh MIAW start his Jihâd? Was it as Yasir would like it to appear? That MIAW immediately turned to takfir and then fought everybody because they disagreed with his da’wah? Did MIAW consider them all unbelievers and infidels? Let’s see what the historical sources say…

The da’wah in Ḥuraymilah

After Shaykh MIAW traveled in search of knowledge he returned back to his father in Ḥuraymilah. His father moved from their native village in ‘Uyaynah to Ḥuraymilah in 1139H (1726) following the outbreak of a severe plague. He stayed at his father’s side, benefiting from his knowledge and assisting him in his duty as the Qâdhi of Ḥuraymilah, until his death in 1153H (1739). It was after his father’s death that Shaykh MIAW started his call, by way of sending out preachers and letters in which he explained the essence of his call to Tawḥîd. He sent them to chiefs of neighboring settlements and towns but also to the common people. In his letters, he warned against the dangers of Shirk and emphasized the importance of Tawḥîd,  and warned them of a severe calamity and punishment from Allâh if they neglected this message. There’s a difference of opinion among historians on his famous book ‘Kitâb at-Tawhîd’, if it was written while he was still in Ḥuraymilah or after he moved to ‘Uyaynah, or according to one report it was written during the Imaam’s stay in al-Basrah, where he also combated shirk and innovations and also had to flee!

 David Commins in his work ‘The Wahhabi Mission and Saudi Arabia’ writes the following:

It seems that his father sharply disagreed with him: the Wahhabi sources mention a dispute between them and add that Sheikh Muhammad kept silent until his father’s death in 1740. At that point, he launched his public mission, ‘forbidding people from depending on any being but God, whether they are saints, holy men, trees, or idols’. He soon attracted a following in Huraymila and from nearby towns in the district known as al-Arid. He gave instruction on his treatise on God’s unity, copies of which then spread. But once again he encountered political interference. The chronicles provide more detail on events and circumstances in Huraymila than in Basra. The town was divided between two clans from the same tribe. One of the clans was renowned for its immorality and plotted to murder the sheikh because of his campaign to ‘forbid wrong and command right’. The clan’s supporters made an attempt on his life one night but he escaped. Shortly thereafter, he moved on to al-Uyayna.”[7]

So it’s quite clear that the Mujaddid received a lot of hostility and persecution, even attempts on his life! While his da’wah to Tawhîd in this phase was peaceful and non-violent, still he had to endure al this hostility against him and his call. Even though the Shaykh attained a following in Huraymilah, he did not entice them against the leaders of Huraymilah, instead, the Shaykh chose to make hijra to ‘Uyaynah.

The real new (third) phase of the da’wah – ‘Uyaynah

It was in ‘Uyaynah, his native village, where the Shaykh, for the first time, received political support in his da’wah from the amîr of ‘Uyaynah. Historian Sulṭân Ghâlib al-Qu’aiti in his unique ground-breaking book “The Call of Shaykh Muhammad bin ‘Abd al-Wahhâb and the Three Sa’ûdî states” mentions the following:

“As may well be imagined, with this addition to Shaykh Muhammad bin ‘Abdal-Wahhāb’s activities, some of those in authority in Huraymilā’ and their henchmen had correspondingly started to turn increasingly hostile towards him and his teachings. For example, after his father’s death, they had already hinted at this disapproval of theirs by appointing his brother Shaykh Sulaymãn bin Abdal-Wahhāb as Qādi instead of him in their late father’s place. Then after a presence of some four years in their midst, when they felt they could suffer him no longer and decided to go so far as to scheme to kill him quietly in bed at night in a manner resembling the Quraysh’s plot to kill the Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh), he decided to flee back to his native al-Uyaynah. There, luckily for him and as he was aware, his friend ‘Uthmăn bin Hamad Ibn Mu’ammar had become the ruler as already mentioned. Hence, upon his arrival, he was received with extreme courtesy and warmth by his friend the new Amīr, who, to cement the cordiality of their relationship further, was to offer Shaykh Muhammad bin `Abdal-Wahhāb the hand of his aunt, al-Jauharah bint ‘AbdAllāh. It is related in the Najdi historical sources that Shaykh Muhammad bin ‘Abdal-Wahhab had sought the support of Uthmān Ibn Mu’ammar by appealing to him thus: “I hope and pray that you rise and support the Formula (of the Faith) ’there is no God save Allāh’. If you were to do so, then God will elevate your status and you will possess Najd and its tribes”.”[8]

So after having been active for over 20 years in da’wah and 4 years of da’wah to Tawḥîd and Sunnah in Ḥuraymilah, and after going through hostility and persecution because of it, Allâh blessed the Shaykh with the help of the amîr of ‘Uyaynah ‘Uthmân bin Ḥamad ibn Mu’ammar. The shaykh was now no longer just a preacher, but now he also had political support to reinforce his da’wah, so it is here where we can really speak of a new phase in the da’wah, the phase in which the Shaykh, for the first time, received support from the leadership in that area. The Shaykh, logically, used this political support and started to battle ash-Shirk with the hand and not just with the tongue. As clarified earlier in Part 2 the religious situation in Najd was in a dire state, shirk was rampant, there were trees that were considered sacred and people would hang all kinds of objects in it and they took oaths, there were tombs of aḥâbah where the people performed all kinds of acts of worship and they were frequently visited. This is confirmed by Western non-Muslim historians as well as Muslim historians, any serious academic work on the situation of Arabia during that period mentions this situation, and so it is not just a Wahhabist fairy tale invented to make MIAW look like a hero. This was the dire situation MIAW faced, and now that he had gained political support he was finally able to make rigorous changes to this situation.

David Commins mentions in his book ‘The Wahhabi Mission’ :

“With support from the town’s chief, the reformer resumed his mission of combating popular veneration of trees, stones, tombs, shrines erected over the graves of Companions and holy men, and places where folk slaughtered animals to seek good fortune. Amir Uthman supported a campaign to eliminate physical structures associated with intercessionary practices.”

So was MIAW combating actions that were accepted in all strands of Islam? Or was he combating shirk and bid’ah that are rejected in all of the 4 Madhhab’s of Islam? Even if we would go with Yasir’s new Madhhab, for argument’s sake, according to Yasir’s new madhhab these actions are ‘clearly harâm’, ‘bid’ah’, ‘stepping stones to shirk’. So what was MIAW supposed to do? Leave ‘Uyaynah in this dire state, while having the authority and the political power to change it? According to Yasir, this was the first wave of Najdi da’wah, so was MIAW killing and slaughtering the people in ‘Uyaynah? May Allah rectify Yasir and guide him to His straight path.

So it was these kinds of actions MIAW committed that caused the emergence of reactions from Mecca and Basra and other cities, including the aforementioned response from al-Ṭandatâwî. The people in power did not like a da’wah advocating the removal of such places of Shirk. These places did not just fulfill a religious function but were also a source of income for the power structures. In fact, this was one of the arguments al-Ṭandatâwî cited in his rebuttal to MIAW, in defense of the – in his view – logical use of taking oaths at these sacred trees. When the people took oaths at these trees, they donated property and sacrificed sheep.

In “An Early refutation” researcher Samer Traboulsi, a PhD. Professor of History at Princeton University says the following:

“Al-Ṭandatâwî’s last method of argumentation is of a logical nature. He shows that, in addition to their religious benefits, vows are useful in preserving the shrines by providing for the costs of their maintenance.

So this shows the gravity of the situation at that time, that scholars made such despicable arguments to reject the da’wah to Tawḥîd and defend Shirk and Bid’ah. How much this resembles the behavior of the mushrikîn of al-Quraysh, who had also made a revenue model around the shirk scenes, wa Allâhu l-Musta’ân. 

It even went so far that they threatened the Amir of ‘Uyaynah, ‘Uthmân ibn Mu’ammar, to stop supporting MIAW. If he refused to do so, they would turn to political and economic repercussions against ‘Uyaynah. The Amîr of al-Hasa, Sulayman ibn Uray’ar from the Banû Khâlid tribe, compelled ‘Uthmân ibn Mu’ammar to get rid of MIAW, some sources even mention that he was ordered with the killing of MIAW, which ‘Uthmân ibn Mu’ammar refused and so he let MIAW escape from ‘Uyaynah. Al-Hasa consisted mostly of a Shî’ah community where shirk was rampant and the Amîr of al-Hasa benefitted immensely from the yearly influx of Shi’ite travelers from neighboring Iraq who went for the Hajj. He also benefited from the many taxes that were collected on the people and the trade caravans, the da’wah of MIAW, and his call to reinstate the collection of Zakât posed a threat to these irreligious taxes. Also, MIAW’s da’wah against the Shî’ah religious doctrines and practices were seen as a threat to Hasa’s status quo. So there were many reasons for the Amîr of al-Hasa to oppose the da’wah of MIAW.[9]

So after reading these examples – and there are many more – it becomes clear to any honest researcher that Shaykh MIAW was calling to Tawḥîd, was denouncing all these practices of Shirk and Bid’ah and subsequently was attacked for it, received a great deal of hostility and was persecuted for it. If one would read the different refutations that we’re directed to him, it would become quite clear that it all revolved around legitimizing the venerations of tombs, calling upon the dead, seeking barakah from trees, seeking intercession from different deities, seeking blessings from other then Allâh, directing acts of worship to others then Allâh, and preserving these places of worship.

Dir’iyyah and the emergence of the first Saudi state

Shaykh MIAW fled to the oasis settlement Dir’iyyah in 1744, one of his students invited him after his expulsion from ‘Uyaynah. After staying a while with the student’s family the Shaykh got introduced to the Amîr of ad-Dir’iyyah Ibn Sa’ûd. The latter promised him support and protection, the historian al-‘Uthaymîn relates the following about this historical moment:

“Ibn Saud told him, “Have glad tidings of a land better than your land. Have glad tidings of honor and  strength.” Ibn Abdul-Wahhaab replied to him, “And I give you glad tidings of honor and being established in the land. As for the statement, ‘There is none worthy of worship except Allah,’ whoever adheres to it, abides by it and supports it will then have authority over the land and the people.” At that point, ibn Abdul-Wahhaab  explained to the Ameer the principles of his teachings. He explained to him what the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and his Companions were following, that every heresy is misguidance, that  Allah honored the believers through jihad and that much of what the people of Najd were following at that time was nothing but shirk, heresies, oppression, and wrongdoing. The two agreed to work together to spread those noble principles.”[10]

Out of this pact, the First Saudi state emerged, and many surrounding settlements started to accept the da’wah. The situation in ad-Dir’iyyah and the surrounding settlements that came under the leadership of Bin Sa’ûd improved drastically, az-Zarabozo relates:

“The law of Islam was the law of the land. People had a new-found respect for the Quran and  Sunnah. The prayers were attended, zakat was given, and so forth. In fact, Muhammad ibn  Abdul-Wahhaab recognized that establishing such a society was part of his responsibility as a  person whose words and directives were listened to. After stating that he is a person whose instructions are heeded, he wrote in a letter, “I oblige those under my authority to establish the prayers, give the zakat and perform the other obligations toward Allah. And I forbid them  riba (interest), alcohol, and other forbidden acts.”[11]

 Al-Madâwi Rashîd (not at all a pro-Saudi writer) relates:

“The spread of the Wahhabi da’wa (call), the purification of Arabia of unorthodox forms of religiosity, and the enforcement of the Sharî’ah among Arabian society were fundamental demands of the Wahhabi movement. The Amîr of Dir’iyyah took the Wahhabi reformer, recently expelled from ‘Uyaynah, under his wing, and accepted these demands”[12]

 Now we’re not pretending that the spread of the call was purely by way of preaching only, even though this was consistently the starting point of the Mujaddid who never started any battle without first extensively trying to convince the people of his call, it was also by way of Jihâd. This is not strange when we take into consideration the amount of hostility that was present against his Call to Tawḥîd and implementing the Sharî’ah. Power structures in neighboring towns wanted to preserve the status quo for many reasons, but not one of them was for Islamic reasons and those who claimed so did not bring correct arguments from the Islamic sources, and the polemics between them and the Mujaddid proof this point. It was all about protecting the shirk, heresies, oppression, and wrongdoing.

D.Commins writes:

“Under the canopy of expanding Saudi power, Wahhabism became the dominant religious doctrine in Najd. Converting the region was a gradual process with a deep impact on the ulama. When Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab settled in al-Dir’iyya, he sent epistles and copies of treatises to various Najdi towns in a campaign to persuade their ulama to embrace his call.  This effort apparently had some effect, for when a settlement entered the Saudi fold, some of its ulama declared their allegiance. In several instances, however, most of the ulama refused and emigrated under pressure. In addition to fostering a new doctrinal orientation, the mission created a new focus of religious authority in the person of Muhammad ibn Abd al- Wahhab, who transmitted his standing to his descendants.”

One should also take into consideration the time period and cultural practices that were dominant in the region. Raids and plunder were very common between tribes and settlements, and there were many conflicts between the different tribes. Even the political relationship between powerful Arab tribes and the Shariffs of Mecca was one of rivalry and domination, they were both rivaling each other for dominance in Arabia.

D.Commins writes:

Local Arabian powers west and east of Najd played a more active role in its political affairs.  In Hijaz, the sharifs of Mecca, who acknowledged the Ottoman sultan as sovereign, had complex relations with the tribes and settlements of Najd. The sharifs tried to develop stable alliances with powerful tribes and extracted tribute from settlements; such arrangements,  however, were rarely durable because of the tribes’ view of alliances as temporary opportunities. In al-Hasa, the Banu Khalid tribe was dominant and vied with Meccan sharifs  for influence over Najd.”[13]

 So expansion by conquest and raids was not at all uncommon in Arabia, in his ‘History of Saudi Arabia’ Alexei Vassiliev writes:

“Taking advantage of the lack of a strong centralized power, the Bedouin regularly raided their neighbours. Their most frequent target was livestock, but they did not disdain camp equipment, utensils, arms, and slaves, and carried off goods from merchants and agricultural produce and utensils from settled people. There was a distinction between a ghazu (raid) and a genuine war for pastures and wells, but both kinds of hostilities were regularly interwoven. According to Burckhardt:

The Arab tribes are in a state of almost perpetual war against each other; it seldom happens that a tribe enjoys a moment of general peace with all its neighbours, yet the war between two tribes is scarcely ever of long duration; peace is easily made, but again broken upon the slightest pretence. The Arab warfare is that of partisans; general battles are rarely fought: to surprise the enemy by a sudden attack, and to plunder a camp, are chief objects of both parties. This is the reason why their wars are bloodless; the enemy is generally attacked by superior numbers, and he gives way without fighting, in hopes of retaliating on a weak encampment of the other party. The dreaded effects of ‘blood-revenge, which shall be hereafter noticed, prevent many sanguinary conflicts.57

Volney also wrote about the Bedouin raids:

Being a plunderer rather than a fighter, an Arab does not strive for bloodshed: he attacks just to plunder and when resistance is offered, he considers that a scanty plunder is not worth the risk of being killed. To embitter him, one needs to shed his blood, but then he becomes as much stubborn in revenge as cautious in evading dangers. The Arabs were often reproached for their inclination to plunder, but, without any intention to justify it, I’d like to call attention to the overlooked fact that their striving for plunder is spearheaded only against a stranger whom they consider an enemy. Therefore such a striving is based on the public law of most nations.58

Raiding was considered the most noble occupation, and the dream of plunder constantly excited the Bedouin’s imagination. Participation in the ghazu was voluntary, but in practice, the Bedouin, especially the young men, could not decline an invitation. A man who evaded taking part in a raid would be branded a coward, one who did not deserve the respect of his relatives and tribesmen.

According to Niebuhr, ‘I heard that a young man is not permitted to marry before he accomplishes some feats.’59 The names of successful raiders were on everyone’s lips and were celebrated by poets. Even twentieth-century writers sing of these glorious heroes with their Bedouin daring {furusiya)”[14]

Taking these historical facts into consideration, it’s very strange that people try to frame MIAW into a warmongering individual that acted very different from its cultural environment and its contemporaries, and was just waging Jihad against everyone. The opposite was the case, for centuries Arabia was filled with rivaling tribes, fighting each other for worldly purposes, divided among themselves with no central authority. Shirk, Bid’ah, and un-Islamic laws and rulings were rampant, and no one tried to change this status quo. Not the Shariffs in Mecca, not the Ottoman state, not the powerful tribes in the region. Instead, they were the ones who opposed the uniting call of MIAW, who spread Tawḥîd in the region, united the tribes under one banner, implemented Shari’ah laws.

So all these historical facts, most of them we  – deliberately – took from non-Wahhabi sources,[15] are ignored – also deliberately – by Yasir Qadhi. All he is trying to do is to paint a distorted picture of Shaykh MIAW and his Call to Tawḥîd, while claiming to be an academic researcher. But alḥamdulillâh history is a witness against him, as well as the true believers and honest people. So on the Day of Judgement – if he doesn’t repent – Yasir can call upon all his awliyâ to testify for him, but they will not answer his call and will not come to his aid.

(إِذۡ تَبَرَّأَ ٱلَّذِینَ ٱتُّبِعُوا۟ مِنَ ٱلَّذِینَ ٱتَّبَعُوا۟ وَرَأَوُا۟ ٱلۡعَذَابَ وَتَقَطَّعَتۡ بِهِمُ ٱلۡأَسۡبَابُ)

˹Consider the Day˺ when those who misled others will disown their followers – when they face the torment – and the bonds that united them will be cut off.

In part 4 we will answer the remaining of Yasir’s claims like his claim that the so called ‘First Wave Najdi’ da’wah is like the da’wah of Abu Muhammed al-Maqdisi and Abu Mus’ab as-Sûrî, his claim that he is upon the opinion of ash-Shawkâni and as-San’âni, his claims about unconditional takfîr by MIAW, and other claims

May Allaah help us, guide us and aid us in this endeavor. 

[1] It has become a new phenomenon to strictly use the name ‘Athari’ instead of ‘Salafi’. There are several reasons for this, one of them is because of the activity of extreme groups within the Muslim community that call themselves ‘Salafi’ and claim ‘as-Salafiyyah’. These groups have smeared the noble name of ‘as-Salafiyyah’ which caused Muslims, who do follow the Salafi manhaj, to use other alternatives, like ‘Athari’. Another reason to use ‘Athari’ instead of ‘Salafi’ comes from a completely different direction, namely the direction of the Kalâmi sects like the Ash’aris and the Maturidis. They consistently shy away from using the title ‘Salafi creed’ and instead use ‘Athari creed’. By which they in reality mean the Mufawwidh creed, which they falsely ascribe to al-Imâm Ahmad and the Salaf. Anyway, both ascriptions point to the same Creed and Methodology, there are different names and descriptions that all point to the same creed and the same jamâ’ah, like Ahl as-Sunnah, Ahl al-Athar, as-Salafiyyah, al-Firqatu n-Nâjiyyah, at-Tâ`ifah al-Mansurah, Ahl al-Hadîth.

[2] Blaspheming by this the pure and original Biriyani recipes of the Salaf!

[3] ‘An early refutation’, Traboulsi.S, Die Welt des Islams 42, 3, 2002. P.381

[4] Ibid. p.381

[5] Ibid. p.384

[6] Taken from: Ad-da’wah al Islahiyyah fi al bilad An Najd ‘ala jad al Imaam Muhammad bin ‘Abdel-Wahaab wa A’laamihi Mien ba’dihi. By dr. ‘Abd Allaah al Motoo’  dar at Tadmuriyyah Ar-Riyaad, tenth print1432-2011 pages 162-169.

[7] The Wahhabi Mission, Commins.D, p.17

[8] The Call of Muhammad bin ‘Abd al-Wahhâb and the Three Sa’ûdî states, al-Qu’aiti. S.G., p. 49,50

[9] He was supported in this by Shaykh Ibn ‘Afaaliq whom Yasir refers to as a Hanbali Scholar…….More on this later in sha Allaah!

[10]The life teachings and Influence of Muhammad ibn Abdul-Wahhaab, Zarabozo.J, p.38.39

[11] The life teachings and Influence of Muhammad ibn Abdul-Wahhaab, Zarabozo.J, p.41

[12] A History of Saudi Arabia, al-Rasheed.M, p.18,19

[13] The Wahhabi Mission, Commins.D, p.8

[14] The History of Saudi Arabia, Vassiliev.A, p.45,46

[15] So the partisan critics cannot claim that this is all Wahhabi propaganda!

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