The Wahhabi Ideology

Wahhabi doctrine promoted by the Arabia, Distorts Islam

Fr. Seán McDonagh, SSC.

On May 23rd 2017, at Marawi City in the southern Philippines , Muslim jihadist fighters who have pledged loyalty to ISIS began their rebellion. Hundreds have been killed, the vast majority of Marawi Muslims, have fled the city and the fighting is still going on. On the jihadist websites, the rebels have written: “If you can’t reach Syria, go to the Philippines!”[1] All of these rebels were inspired by the sectarian forms of Sunni Islam called Wahhabism.

Wahhabism is named after an eighteenth-century preacher and activist, Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab (1703–1792). He was born near Riyadh and began a puritan reform movement in Islam in the remote, sparsely populated region of Najd. He trained as a holy man and was constantly torn between a puritan interpretation of the Qu’ran and a more tolerant inclusive version of Islam.

Al- Wahhab thought that women who committed adultery should be beheaded. He challenged the widespread practices found among Sunni Muslims of the veneration of saints and visiting their tombs. These practices Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab considered idolatry (shirk). and a betrayal of true Islam.. According to his teachings the pious Muslim must totally focused on Allah.

Eventually he formed a pact with a local leader, Muhammad bin Saud. Abd al-Wahhab offered political obedience to Muhammad bin Saud who, in turn, promised him protection and support for the Wahhabi movement. Today Ibn Al-Wahhab’s teachings are the official, state-sponsored form of Sunni Islam in Saudi Arabia. With the help of funding from Saudi petroleum exports, the movement has spread right across the Muslim world, from Boko Haram in Nigeria to Abu Abu Sayyaf in the Philippines According to the teaching of Abd al Wahhab, those who do not follow this way, Muslims, such as Shiite or Sufi, or Christians “should be killed, their wives and daughters violated and their possessions confiscated”

The Irish journalist, David McWilliams claims that “when you follow the money all radical (Islamist) roads lead back to Saudi Arabia. “From the majority of the 9/11 hijackers, Bin Laden, his al-Qa’ida chief lieutenants and now ISISs each of these extremist organisations are the offspring of Muhammad Abd al Wahhab, the cleric who came out of the desert in the 1730s and the institution he allied with in 1745: the House of Saud”[2]

There is huge money involved. For 70 years now, Saudi Arabia have paid for the construction of mosques and religious buildings worldwide, and, in the process, enabled the spread of Wahhabism. This sectarian doctrine fuels and inspires Sunni extremism in the Middle East, Asia, United States and Europe.

The following are some examples of what is going on. In April 2017, Bangladesh approved the construction on its territory of 560 new mosques. The project is financed by the Saudi government to the tune of over a billion dollars. According to Rezaul Haq Chandpuri, a member of a federation of Sufi Muslims, the Saudi financing is worrying,” as {they} “could use their money to promote Wahhabism”. [3]

British historian Charles Allen, one of the few academics to study the economic aspect of Saudi religious diplomacy, believes that Saudi Arabia has reportedly spent more than 70 billion dollars (about 65 billion euro) since 1979 to finance such projects abroad. These projects include mosques, schools and Islamist cultural centres throughout the world – from Brussels to Yvelines, from Kosovo to China, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Afghanistan or Africa.[4]

A system of scholarships was also set up, enabling preachers from various parts of the world to go and study for many months in Saudi Arabia. When they return to their own country these imams spread the strict vision of the Qu’ran that they were taught.

Pierra Conesa, a senior French Defence Ministry official, said in an interview with Le Point magazine in September that according to his figures, 30,000 people have been trained in these Saudi Islamic universities,”  They are then found in the entire Sahelian strip, in Mali, Niger, Central African Republic.[5]

In recent times Saudi Arabia has accused Qatar of sponsoring “terrorism,” This might be the time for the world community to insist that the Riyadh government stop promoting its Wahhabi ideology which has led pain, destruction and death recently in the city of Marawi City where I spent five of the happiest years of my life.



[1] Renaud Girar, “ Philippines To Indonesia, Wahhabism Is Spreading In Asia,” LE FIGARO August 15th 2017.

[2] David McWilliams, “Follow the money and all radical Islamist roads lead back to Saudi Arabia,” The Irish Independent, November 18th 2015, page 26.

[3] Malo Tresca,”How Saudi Arabia exports Wahhabism,” August 22nd 2017.


[5] Ibid

Similar Posts

One Comment

Join the Discussion

Keep the following in mind when writing a comment

  • Your comment must include your full name, and email. (email will not be published). You may be contacted by email, and it is possible you might be requested to supply your postal address to verify your identity.
  • Be respectful. Do not attack the writer. Take on the idea, not the messenger. Comments containing vulgarities, personalised insults, slanders or accusations shall be deleted.
  • Keep to the point. Deliberate digressions don't aid the discussion.
  • Including multiple links or coding in your comment will increase the chances of it being automati cally marked as spam.
  • Posts that are merely links to other sites or lengthy quotes may not be published.
  • Brevity. Like homilies keep you comments as short as possible; continued repetitions of a point over various threads will not be published.
  • The decision to publish or not publish a comment is made by the site editor. It will not be possible to reply individually to those whose comments are not published.