by Khaled Hamoud Alshareef
The Ottoman’s quickly learned how foolish they were to underestimate the power of the calling…
The Historical Roots
The grass roots movement of Imam Muhammad bin Abdul Wahab started in the eighteenth century C.E. as a movement calling to the return to the monolithic teachings of Islam in abiding to the Quran and Sunnah.
Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab calling adapted the Hanbali teachings of jurisprudence, and he denounced many fascist extremist teachings, practices and heresies among Muslims, he sought to return the belief of Muslims to its roots and remove the Clergymen control of faith and organized religious practices forced onto the people through more than 200 years of Ottoman occupation that resulted in closing schools of thought and adapt to teachings based on myths and innovated devotional practices that spread in the Arabian Peninsula.
Seeing the level of intellectual decay of the nation and the effects of the Ottoman imposed track of clergy loyal to the Ottomans that resulted in the decline of the education and culture in the Arabian Peninsula bringing it to a complete cessation collapse. Imam Mohammed called for monotheism rejecting the clergymen control of faith and collection of tribute, and devoted himself to purifying the religion and ridding it off what was imposed on the people, as he moved between the towns of Yamama until he settled in the Al-Dir’iyya.
The Imams meet and a nation is born
After the expulsion of the Imam Muhammad by Emir of the Oyiena, Ibn Muammar, for fear of the Ottoman regent the governor of Al-Ahsa, who vowed to cut trade with the Oyiena if Muhammad bin Abdul Wahhab was not exiled.
Imam Muhammad bin Saud (Emir of Diriyah) was a religious man who answered to the call of Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdul Wahhab and wanted to restore the Arabian Peninsula to its past glory and to bring back the Islamic roots back in the region.
He was the founder of the first Saudi state and the 16th Emir of Dra’iyya. Muhammad bin Abdul Wahab arrived to Diriyah, and called on its people to reject all that was foreign to the religion of God and return to the monolithic teachings of Islam in Quran and Sunnah.
Al-Dir’iyya became a center for spreading the reformist call of Muhammad bin Abdul-Wahhab, schools were slowly popping up in villages, towns and cities across the Arabian Peninsula. The Ottoman regents, clergymen and Rouge Shiekhs started targeting the preachers and teachers.
The news of the calling spread and very few science students who later became supporters of the call and the state from Levant came to it, and the Sheikh Ibn Abdul-Wahab began sending his messages to the neighboring country regents and tribal leaders, calling for a revival of religion.
The lands were lawless and dangerous, so the Sheikh began to help Prince Muhammad bin Saud, to organize troops with very primitive weapons to enforce the basic laws in Diriyah to the neighboring towns, villages and cities, and allow preachers to spread the call and establish its pillars in the region and outside it.
The Sheikh was supervising himself to prepare men, equipping armies, and sending companies, and continuing with writing lesson, teaching people writing and reading, welcoming guests, and delegations.
Battles against warlords and raiders continued and with every village, town freed from the state of lawlessness more supporters of Da`wah joined and more people were slowly started learning the basics of reading and writing.
The year is 1178 AH / 1773 C.E., Riyadh was liberated under the leadership of Prince Abdulaziz bin Muhammad bin Saud, and its former ruler, Daham bin Dawas, fled from it.
At the time of Saud bin Abdul Aziz, the state reached the apogee from a political point of view, as it reached Karbala in Iraq, and to Houran in the Levant, and the entire island was subjected to it except Yemen.
The Saudis abolished the tribute law that forced the weak to pay huge sums and the fees paid to war lords upon traveling, and Zakat was restored to the house of the Money House or Baitul-Maal. Might was no longer the rule in disputes between people as Judges were appointed.
War of the Ottoman’s and the Saudi State
The Ottoman Empire’s perception of the Saudi state varied according to the place it stretches to. The Ottoman’s viewed the Saudi state and its calling as a minor threat, a local uprising unworthy of the Empire’s direct attention.
The Ottoman’s quickly learned how foolish they were to underestimate the power of the calling. Although the Ottoman Empire felt that the calling and the Saudi state were a religious, cultural and political challenge to the Ottomans.
Khaled Homoud Alshareef holds PhD in Business and he earned Masters in Philosophy. He often writes about Islamism, Islamist factions and modern Terrorism. He tweets under @0khalodi0.