Monday, February 12, 2007

Deal with the Devil


(Source: Hatred's Kingdom, by Dore Gold, Copyright 2003 by Dore Gold, Published by Regnery Publishing, Inc. USA; ISBN 0-89526-135-9; numbers in brackets are page numbers.)

Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahhab was born sometime at the end of the 17th or beginning of the 18th century. He traveled extensively throughout the Islamic world at a time when Islamic military expansion had ground to a halt. After seeing various branches of Islam first hand in his travels, he decided that they had been corrupted by contact with other religions. [17-18]

Wahhab, like many of his predecessors in the Islamic world, decided that a struggle had to be waged against polytheism, so a renewed jihad was incubating. However, his definition of polytheism was new and improved. Now with a concept called takfir, he defined Muslims who had gotten away from true Islam -- as Wahhab saw it -- to be infidels or worse; anyone who proclaimed the shahada (the proclamation of Islamic faith) and later fell into takfir, could be legitimately killed and his possessions taken. Unlike traditional Islam, which allowed for dhimmification, Wahhabi Islam offered mankind only two choices: Wahhabism or death. [19-24]

In a time when other Muslim leaders considered stoning for adulteresses outmoded, Wahhab revived it. Objects of veneration, such as the tombs of the companions (first disciples) of the prophet were, in his eyes, polytheistic; he ordered them destroyed. His extreme views caused him trouble with those around him; he argued with his father, and with an emir, a leader in the Arab world. He finally found shelter with another Arab leader, Muhammad ibn Saud, near the center of the Arabian Peninsula. The two agreed that the house of Saud would shelter Wahhab, and promote his belief in sworn jihad against unbelievers. To consecrate their union, ibn Saud took Wahhab's daughter as a wife. [19-21]


Muhammad's vision fourteen centuries ago gave rise to Arab Imperialism, propagated under the religious banner of Islam. As Islam spread and non-Arab peoples were converted, Arab Imperialism lost some of its Arab flavor, and became Islamic Imperialism. Islamic Imperialism spread further, now gaining, now losing ground; but its tide was turned at Vienna in the 17th century, and the Islamic world was unable to regain the initiative against a technologically advanced Europe.

Shortly thereafter, Wahhab's extremist interpretation of Islamic fundamentals renovated Arab Imperialism under the banner of Islam. With the leadership of a small Arab state sworn to help spread Wahhab's ideas, the stage was set for an Arab reconquest of Islamic ideology.

Roughly two centuries later, the discovery of vast deposits of crude oil under the desert kingdom of the House of Saud brought incredible wealth to the Arab state sponsor of Wahhabism. With money to burn, the Saudis began again to make good on ibn Saud's promise to spread Wahhab's ideas. In the Saudi kingdom, Islamic universities where Wahhab's ideas were taught now had a budget and resources. Students were brought in from all around the globe. The Saudi royal family subsidized the construction of mosques all over the Islamic world, radicalizing worldwide Islam: mullahs trained in Medina and elsewhere in the Kingdom were sent to these mosques, preaching Wahhab's extreme views.

The activity was not confined to the Islamic world. With Saudi backing, mosques were established elsewhere, converting non-believers to Allah's faith -- as understood by Wahhab. Islam's Imperialism was brought back under the domination of Arab Imperialism, only this time, the Islamic Arab Imperialism would be initially an ideological expansion, at the expense of less well-funded ideologies.

As the hatred got spread around, the desire to put the ideas into practice grew. A radicalized Islamic regime came to power in Afghanistan. In previous conquests, Muslims had left some of the surrounding culture intact -- Egypt's Sphinx was unscathed when Islam first arrived at the Nile. Now, however, since one of Wahhab's basic beliefs was that Islam had been contaminated by other cultures, with Muslims being led astray from true Islam to idolatry and polytheism, this could no longer be allowed: surrounding cultures had to be replaced with Wahhabi Islam; ancient statues in Afghanistan were destroyed.

Swimming in generous support from their Saudi sponsors, the ardent followers of Wahhabi Islam are spreading their faith with missionary zeal; Wahhabism is flaring up around the globe. But, there is a backdraft: increasingly, the radical Muslims are viewing their Saudi sponsors as having fallen into the sin of takfir; the Saudi Kingdom and its royal family now run the very real risk of being roasted alive over their own fire.

Deal with the Devil....

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