Monday, April 21, 2008


As I sat on a sofa during a class-break, I wondered about me being here experiencing the so-called 'Wahabbism' first hand.

I wondered why people back home or outside Saudi are worried about it. Is it true, that it is the source of extremism, cause for terrorism, backwardness in modernity and cause for disunity among the Muslim Ummah, as what have been pointed out by Liberal Islam and some conservative groups?

The fact is that there is nothing of that sort and only Allah knows what their motives are behind such thwarted facts.

What is mainly taught here is about the importance of Monotheism and to be aware about anything that may jeopardise it, to stay away from innovation in religion and to embrace innovation that is allowed according to Islam i.e. Modernity, progress and advancement in science and technolgy etc.. and to live with the guidance of the Qur'an the Sunnah and the values and way of life shown by the Prophet's companions and scholars who lived shortly after.

Islam is simple and should not be made harder than it is or interpreted excessively and should be left as it is understood by the 'salafussoleh' as they have the best understanding of it. This is also the way that our Prophet (peace be upon him) recommended and the understanding of many other scholars even the four main Muslim scholars.

This way, Muslims will then have more time and energy to focus on other important issues in life on earth and to practice Islam moderately as recommended; to be able to strike a good balance between life for here and the hereafter.

If this way of understanding is practiced, the Ummah will be stronger and possibly, insya Allah, will lead a successful life.

Now the question is, why then, aren't many of those who are practicing this form of understanding, which can be termed as 'salafism'(following the ways of Prophet's companions and scholars who lived shortly after), especially here in Saudi, do not portray excellence or a progressive way of life?

There are many factors to this and they all point to the same reason of not applying what they are representing as a whole i.e. Salafis who portray values that don't reflect the sunnah or in other words, not practicing what they have learnt, in all aspects of life..They may excel at some good attributes but sorely lack in others.

For instance, a lack of success or progress in science and technology, poor work ethics, being backward in most industries and business is not due to Salafism and what it teaches, but due to humans and their imperfections..

A country with citizens having a negative mindset, poor work ethics and habits will never improve even with a correct understanding of Islam without applying it. If the people themselves won't change and the government generally neglects their part in trying harder to act on it and improve, then they will never change.

We can't blame Salafism and what it teaches if people go around accusing others of apostasy, show bad manners, live backwardly, hold an extreme view towards anything that is against or towards it and decided to terrorize others!

These are all negative values that are disliked and condemned in Islam.

Here, condemnation against terrorism and poor, unhealthy values, to always live up to the sunnah and to practice moderation at all times, is always propagated in schools, newspapers etc.

Now where is the consistency in the reports and views that 'Liberal Islam' groups or some conservatives claimed which are totally opposite?

They even made use of the misgivings of some 'black sheeps' in Salafism and propagated as if that is truly what it stands for.

It is a fact that even Saudis themselves are puzzled as to how the term 'Wahabbism' have been plastered on them!? The term is somewhat negative and history shows that it was formerly a term used for a group of 'Khawaarij' muslims (a devient sect which holds extreme views and have a dark history) which have no links whatsoever to thier stand and creed.

It is also important to note that many who accuse Salafism as negative are plainly ignorant about it. We may have found out a little about it through people or sources that hold similar views as us, but if we only find out from a one-sided point of view, how much of it is actually true? What do we know of the history behind all of this? What was the situation then, that started it in Saudi? What does it stand for? How and when did the term Wahabbism came up? Does all the negative points that are said to happen in Saudi or propagated by Salafis true?

If all these are taken into context and extent research is done on views from both sides, only then, a fair judgement can be made and whether you agree with any sides or not after that, then that will be your own choice and not a blind one, following others' perceptions.

So, I'm inviting all to keep an open mind and research if whatever that i've stated here have some truth in it. It's not about sparking off a debate or to say 'hey, i'm right!' but for all, to seek a clear view and truth for ourselves towards gaining a better understanding of Islam, to be sure in our choices and hopefully, to eventually practice Islam the way Allah would like us to..insya Allah.

May we all be guided to the right path, Ameen, insya Allah.

And Allah Almighty knows best.


cerebrator said...

I think for most of us in south-east-asia, the problem actually lies in the fact that protagonists of "wahabbism" are too quick to break traditions and call them innovations.

Allah knows best.

redtide said...

Salam bro, kheif hal?

Syukran for the comment..

Hm, for me, the term 'wahabbi' is a misinterpretation.. I'd rather call them 'salafi'.

What you said is true. Especially with traditions that have been practiced for generations and suddenly, one day, someone came and say this is an innovation in Islam. Worse, if the person saying does it disrespectfully.

Put it from a salafi's point of view.

He is aware and have learnt about the dangers of innovation, backed by the dalil from hadiths and Qur'an that he holds strongly to.

It is his duty to remind, when he sees something that is not part of Islam being practiced as if it is part of Islam.

How does he know? He follows the views of prophets' companions and scholars who lived shortly after, in their islamic practices, as to him, they are the best followers and examples in the practice of Islam.

So, to him, if the innovated 'islamic traditions' are truly part of Islam, the companions would have preceded us in its practice.

What more if there is a historical evidence, (for e.g. from the period shortly after our Prophet's (peace be upon him) death), about an innovated practice that was already highlighted by the companians then, found being practiced now.

But in the end you can only remind as everyone have the liberty to make their own choices.

More importantly, akhlaq and sikap plays a big part. If a muslim goes around accusing others of differing practice as an apostate or being disrespectful and bad mannered, clearly that is not right, not even islamic or sunnah at all.

And Allah knows best.

cerebrator said...

Waalaikumsalam. Doing good and hope all's well for you too.

Anyway, yeh.... I can't agree more.

madame blossom said...

salam redtide,

I think for most issues, we are on the same wavelength :)

i've had someone come to me telling me a person is 'wahabi' I asked, 'do you know what a wahabi is?
'Dont know.. but just be careful'

I think this is the same in most cases - people labelling people but they don't even understand what it means. :(

redtide said...

Wassalaam wr. wb.

Yep, exactly mdm blossom, they heard from others, believed blindly, don't know anything, don't even want to find out and start spreading it to others.

Then there's those who did find out but only from views that backed what they have heard w/o researching the opposites' point of view..

Things are made more complicated by the presence of muslims who call themselves 'salafi' but portray themselves differently, they easily accuse others of apostasy, being bad mannered and disrespectful, saying arrogantly and proudly that they are the 'only ones in the right path' and others are totally wrong! They would even go to the extent of accusing muslim scholars of past and present as apostate. This is an extreme and negative view and should be distinguished differently.

However, with the 'salafi' term that this extreme group call themselves, many just assume that they fall under the same banner of Salafism.