Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date

2015

Department

History

Language

English

Publication Title

Saudi Arabia in Transition: Insights on Social, Political, Economic and Religious Change

Abstract

Naming the doctrine preached by Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab has never been a simple matter. Early foes classified it as a Kharijite sectarian heresy. The name that stuck, Wahhabi, stigmatized the doctrine as the ravings of a misguided preacher. Naturally, Ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab and his disciples preferred other names for themselves and their movement: at first, the folk who profess God’s unity (ahl al-tawhid and al-muwahhidun), later, the Najdi call (al-da ‘wa al-najdiyya). Naming, then, is part of arguments over Ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab’s doctrine. If the doctrine is known as Wahhabi, it cannot claim to represent correct belief. The tendency to refer to it as Salafi is a recent development that first emerged among Wahhabism’s defenders outside Arabia well before Wahhabis themselves adopted the term.

Comments

This published version is made available on Dickinson Scholar with the permission of the publisher. For more information on the published version, visit Cambridge University Press's Website.

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