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The Perceptions of Muhammad bin ʿAbd al-Wahhāb on Takfīr and Jihād
Abstract by Dr. Satoru Nakamura On Session IV-29  (Ritual and Faith)

On Friday, November 3 at 11:00 am

2023 Annual Meeting

This paper examines the Wahhabi perception of religious politics. Previous studies on Wahhabism in the West regarded it as a radical imitation of ibn Taymīya, but they did not examine the original texts authored by bin ʿAbd al-Wahhāb. Although modern Islamic studies in the Arab world evaluate Wahhabism as an “Islamic Moderation (Middle Way),” these studies fail to reveal the unique perceptions of the author in the original texts. Therefore, this paper aims to clarify bin ʿAbd al-Wahhāb’s perceptions on takfīr and jihād by examining a collection of his epistles and treatises in Ḥusayn bin Ghannām’s History of Najd. His texts will be compared with the “Islamic Moderation (Middle Way)” published in ‘Abd al-̒Azīz bin ‘Abd Allāh bin Muḥammad Āl al-Shaykh’s (al-Mushrif al-‘Āmm) Mawsū‘at al-Wasaṭīya (Khams al-Mujalladāt. Riyāḍ: Jāmi‘at al-Malik Su‘ūd, 2015). After examination, it was confirmed that bin ʿAbd al-Wahhāb’s perception of takfīr shared all the moderate and cautious elements of “Islamic Moderation.” In addition, it was confirmed that bin ʿAbd al-Wahhāb recognized that it was not he, but his religious opponents, who violated the tenets of tawḥīd and began labeling him a disbeliever (kufr) based on conjectures about him without correct knowledge of the tawḥīd, Qurān, and ḥadīth. Bin ʿAbd al-Wahhāb’s perception of jihād was complex. He cited Qurānic verses and confirmed that jihād must be mobilized with caution. His perception of jihād also shared elements of “Islamic Moderation” or defensive jihād. What was bin ʿAbd al-Wahhāb’s true reason for fighting battles against Muslims, which is prohibited in Islam? He recognized that it was his religious opponents who made the first violent strike against him. He also regarded his religious opponents as betrayers who failed to confess tawḥīd al-ulūḥīya, which made them deserving targets of jihād.
Religious Studies/Theology
Geographic Area
Arabian Peninsula
Sub Area