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Sunday, September 01, 2013

How Sunni Islam has been affected by Wahabism and Selefism

This seems to be an insurmountable subject but like the latter group it is not as complex as it seems.

Modernist Roots

Both have separate roots but they have been nurtured by British foreign policy. The Selefi’s come from Egypt by the way of the students of Muhammad Abduh (1905). Abduh was a known freemason and did not deny this when he was accused of it. See Afghani and 'Abduh by Elie Kedourie. Abduh most known student was Rashid Rida (1935) and he wrote spreading much of the ideas of his teachers as well as adding his own.

Basically their premise was the result of foreign occupation was the failure of Islam. So if we reform it then we will attain victory. The passage of history has shown this is not true because political Islam has failed because it is not grounded in traditional roots. The growth of Rashid Rida’s idea was due to the support of British foreign policy to undermine the traditional Islamic scholars. And it worked because look at the mess we are in now as the ideas of opposing Sufism as ripe as there were then.

Eventually his idea’s influenced many in Egypt to remove Sufism from the public realm and forced it into the background. Sayyid Qutb was also indirectly influenced as he wrote forwarding these ideas as well as mutazilite ideas. He was described as the father of fundamentalism and he was instrumental in bring marxist ideas into the modern discourse.

Wahabi roots 

M. Abdul wahab (1792) was born in the Najd where the horn of satan was said to emerge. His father and brother were top Hanbali scholars and would later advise people not to follow him. The latter wrote the book word of advice translated by Abu Jafar Al-Hanbali.

He preached that grave worship had spread in the Ummah thus many were polytheists. Eventually he made a pact with M. Ibn Saud to propagate his ideas by the sword. So in a time where Muslims were killed all over Europe because of the rebellion against the Ottoman Empire as well as other occupations in Muslims lands. The Wahabi's went on a rampage killing the entire inhabitants of Mecca and Medinah.

Eventually the Ottoman Sultan ordered Muhammad Ali Pasha (1849) the present leader of Egypt to fight the Wahabi’s. The re-conquering of the sacred sites was completed in 1853.
The Wahabi’s retreated to Kuwait and laid in wait until the 1920’s when the Wahabi’s come back to Mecca and Medinah and massacred the inhabitants again as well as moving to Taif. (See History of Middle East by Peter Mansfield) One of the most disgusting massacres was the spilling of the blood of four thousand pilgrims. Women were taken as slaves and you can guess how they were treated. The Wahabi’s were the funded to the tune of 26,000 from the troves of the British. (Ibid)

Why? So they undermined the Ottoman state. So here traces the root of Wahabism. King Abdulaziz (1953) was the leader on whose actions made sure that no tribe in Arabia would rebel against him.

He married into every tribe so this affirmed their loyalty to him. Also thanks to petrol dollars they have been propagating their and the ideas of the Selefis since then. If Abdulaziz was concerned with Islam and Muslims why did he support the destruction of the Ottoman Empire and even the founding of Israel?

Islam is about following the sacred law of the Quran and the prophetic legacy and not following ones one opinion!
So the roots of these groups are different but they are mostly the same head of the same problem. They are both groups founded to rebel against the Ottoman state also these two groups are the most opposed to the West. So it seems the result of subverting Islam by the means of the British has affected themselves. They oppose their western masters and get all the press for hating the west! Well most people hate their employers!


There have been many refutations of the above groups. Some are better than others the two most recent translations that we found useful are, The Notions that need correcting by Sheikh Muhammad Alawi Al-Makki and the Realities of Sufism by Sheikh Abdulqadir Isa. Both titles are published by Sunni publications.

There are other publications but they are not useful and respond in a rhetoric that is not constructive as you cannot put out a fire by pouring petrol over it. A lot of refutations are written in a defensive and insulting manner.  


Both groups undermined the role of traditional Sunni scholars from everywhere. Why? They can undermine hundreds of years of Sunni scholarship. They attack scholars and they influence the common man by giving him ideas that he cannot refute easily. He (the average person) needs to know something so confuse them with things that they are not able to disagree like preaching that Muslims are grave worshiping but this was never the case. People who visit graves of the Awilyah do so to make a supplication to Allah (The Exalted). There is no grave worshiping going on at all!

They also wrongly portrayed the understanding of tawheed/the oneness of Allah. As well as innovation/bida’ is rampant in the Muslim Ummah. So they seek to reform using their ideas but it’s all futile as the only reason that we are talking about the Wahabi’s is petrol money. If they did not have this then they would have disappeared to where they came from, the desert! The strange thing is that they destroy religious sites yet build a wretched clock tower that overshadows the kaaba and claim they are its servants! This is not innovation? Its the greatest innovation of this group.

Here are two important points. Many are self appointed scholars who can give fatwa without having the need to study. If I would tell you that I could perform heart surgery because I have read a book would you trust me? No way so is religion more important than surgery or less? It’s more important so take your religion from those who are qualified. The second point is that they rebel against scholars, this a relevant point that you should all note.
Arguing and confusing people is their dhikr and it’s to put off Sunni’s from making Dhikr! They are Muslims who have extremely large beards that resemble the size of a beard that a Jew grows. If you think I am joking then take a peek at an unkempt beard of Jew and there are almost the same. I am not mocking I am just pointing it out because it’s very scary.
Their version of Islam is understood as two colours black and white. Yet they ignore the colours of Islam because they claim there are no colours of the rainbow.

Orientalist’s dream

The Orientalist’s dreamed up a figure of a Muslim a man who had insatiable appetite for murdering infidels and for women. The example of this could never be found until these groups came to the fore. It was also as if they were making a predication.


As we all know the four Madhabs of Sunni Islam are something that defines a Muslim and the above group rejects these outright. To reject these schools is nothing short of a disaster because they will never reach the standards of understanding the Arabic language. Nevermind trying to implement it a ruling from a language they do not understand!

You are not men like them because they were in the golden three generations and their teachers were companions. So if your teachers were taught by the companions maybe you are the same but following unqualified position that you have made up because you have your translation is nothing sort of misguidance. You are misguided and you will misguide anyone who asks you. Forget being taught all they need to give a ruling is the Quran and Sahih Bukhari – they do not even know Arabic language!

If someone says that the companions did not have Madhabs that’s true but if you are companions then I can accept the argument but if you are not then you do need a Madhabs. Follow the scholarship that the majority of Ummah has followed for around 1400 years. The companions did not look into Bukharis collection of hadith and make up a ruling! It was written over hundred years and fifty years later! Instead they studied with teachers unlike the Wahabis who do not study.

Sunni’s historically would not rebel against their leaders mostly because the leaders of yesterday are not like the leaders of today. Most, if not all, are puppet governments who take their begging bowls to wealth countries asking for money which goes into secret bank accounts.
The worst type of rebellion is the rebellion against scholars. This comes in form of questioning them to their face or posting in chat rooms and internet forums about how they made a mistake.

This is a normal for the Wahabi’s and Selefi’s as they think they are scholars. Yet they cannot recite the Quran properly but think they can give a ruling from it? How can you understand a book that you cannot even recite properly?                     

Treatment of scholars and respect

The Sunni's now treat many scholars with distain and frequently undermine them even their own spiritual masters. They chase up their ‘mistakes’ which is often a valid difference of opinion. But because one side knows only one side they do not back down.

Those with the least amount of knowledge are the worst trouble makers thinking that they know better than scholars. And this is nothing but a direct result of the effect of Wahabism and Selefism.
The respect for anyone goes out of the window as soon as they disagree with you. You attack them which the same vigor as you would an enemy.

Respect of the common Muslim has gone never mind any protracted respect for Ahl Al-Bayt which is non-existent now.


Intellectually the Wahabi’s and the Selefis lost their wheels because it was destroyed by English speaking scholars in late 90’s. It was then we saw a return to Sunni Islam for a lot of followers of these groups as well as the Ikhwani’s/ Muslim brotherhood. Even though their influence remains, it is in a much diminished state.

It should also be noted those speaking Urdu did not destroy the intellectual power of these groups; rather it was English speaking scholars. Do you understand the need for English speaking scholars?

Scholars such as Sheikh Hamza Yusuf, Abdul Hakim Murad, Sheikh Nuh Ha Mim Keller and Sheikh Muhammad Al-Yaqoubi as well as others. Whether you like it or not.


As we stand, some groups main purpose is to fight the Wahabi’s and Selefi’s and they have no other purpose.

This is not a good purpose because these groups are trying to do something practical by giving women access to the masjid and learning etc. This is something that women do not get in many traditional communities. Also they tackle real issues like the importance of prayer, hijab and drugs. Things that are not generally discussed by someone speaking Urdu because he does not know the environment that he has been implanted.

When we debate each other we swear, curse and disrespect each other. So do you think that someone will see your point when you insult them? Do you have the right to debate? It was permissible for scholars long ago but not now. Many scholarly debate is meant to win a debate with slander, insult, harshness and argumentation. There is no desire for the truth as it was before.

So what about now when you are an average person? You have no right to debate from which ever camp you come from. Causing hatred and animosity is prohibited. Neither should it be something that you involve yourself in.

When many fight what they perceive as evil their reaction is evil. So which of you are any better then? Because you are both doing evil! You cannot put a fire out with petrol!

He said it

This is when someone says something that you do not like or you wish you said it or you want to refute but cannot. So you curse or attack them in an unfair manner which leads to animosity.

Just because someone has said something that you do not like does not mean that you have to argue or disagree just let it pass and stop being so sensitive!


This happens on both sides of the fence. The Wahabi’s dislike that the Prophet (may Allah bestow peace and blessings be upon him) is praised so try to counteract this even to the extent of not showing the correct manners when his name is mentioned. By purposely leaving salutations out.

On the Sunni side you see people attack others for showing ‘disrespect’ to religious figures when no disrespect occurred! Many of the Sunni's consider those who do not do as they do as incorrect. This is partly due to the fact that we believe that we are only ones who can talk about him and no one else can.

This occurs because of bad opinion of our brothers and our own bad interpretation. So there may be several interpretations to someone’s speech but we use the single one that has a negative connotation.When a Muslim should be the opposite! He should make an excuse for his brother never mind someone known as a scholar.

This is just total fallacy and it sickens me every time I see and hear such repugnant behavior. There is not just one interpretation of Islam and whatever you say might be wrong or right as well as mine. But that does not give you the right to accuse your fellow brother of disrespect that he is innocent of.

Moving forward

If you are friends from opposite camps; what you agree about is more important than what you disagree about. So do not bring up points that cause dissension. We also need to note that Sunni Islam is being destroyed because people are not involving themselves in Knowledge or interested in attending lectures of sacred knowledge.

We must involve ourselves in trying to better our communities and come to an agreement to be in involved in projects that we affect our areas. In a positive manner and not in a destructive manner, like now.
We must give people the benefit of the doubt and not attack or curse people.
Sunni Islam must not focus all its energies trying to refute some groups as they must re-focus on setting up institutes of learning. The Sunni’s must co-operate with each other rather than undermine each other’s efforts.
We cannot remove each others groups so we must learn to live with each other because we will need each other in the future.

We must have a focus on seeking knowledge in our communities, without it we are merely a paper tiger. That can be blown over by another paper tiger but if we are a building then it cannot be blown over by a paper tiger.

Learning books about argumentation is like a naked man putting on a coat. It might keep him warm but he needs actual clothes and that is sacred knowledge. This is how you can stay strong.

The problem is that most Sunni’s are not bothered about knowledge and even if there is knowledge open for them then they do not access it. So many people are praying without valid wudu and if that’s invalid then you can forget about everything else. Going to general lectures is like being pumped with air! Its effect is gone by the time you put your shoes on, to go home.

Until we learn that knowledge is our way out we shall be stuck in this problem. As it’s from the Sunni’s that the most defections to other groups occur.

We wrote this out of genuine concern about the state of Muslims because need to wake up to the work we need to do.
If knowledge is not important then read this. Only a balanced Sunni revival can rescue the situation that we face. As no other groups will be given success unless the Sunni's are not doing what they should be. Then another group will be given support. This is something we see so clearly now.


  1. mashAllah, thank you for this lovely write-up Arfan. For this (and many other lovely things I have seen over the years on this site) there is a strong love and wholesomeness I feel when I see your site, work, and I wanted to write that out just now... Thank you. AlhamdulilLah love admiration and respect between brothers is what is (and has been) re-establishing itself in our times, much to the chagrin of the above mentioned groups who have for so long choked us and claimed to represent us. May we continue to respect and love one another as brothers in Islam and in humanity,
    peace and thanks again for the post, sorry for the rant,

  2. As salamu alaikum so what will be the position of the 5-schools of thought when IMAM MAHDI appear on NUBUWWA???