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Wahabis ,Ibn Saud ,Oil, 1945

Wahabis ,Ibn Saud ,Oil, 1945

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Categories:Types, Research, History
Published by: Mohammad Shahid Khan on Feb 01, 2011
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06/20/2013

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Ibn Saud, Wahhabis, and Oil, to 1945
 King Saud, 1927, at fifty-one.
Wahhabism and the Saud Family
In the 1700s, a Sunni Muslim named Muhammad Wahhab (1703-1791) traveled about the OttomanEmpire, comparing what he saw with what Islam was supposed to be according to the Koran. Hebegan a new movement that denounced all influences in Islam that had developed after the writing ofthe Koran: luxurious living, Sufi influence, rationalism, visiting the tombs of saints and askingintercession of the Prophet or the Imams. Wahhab viewed the granting of godly powers toMuhammad and others as a violation of Islam's strict monotheism. Wahhab's movement labeled allother Muslims as polytheist. They called themselves "Unitarians," or simply Muslims. Others calledthem the Wahhabi (Wahabi).Wahhab was forced to flee fromMedina,and in a more rural inland area -- in theNejd-- he was adopted by the Saud family. With a combination of camel riding warrior power and Wahhabi religiouszeal, the Saud regime spread across Arabia. In 1802 an army of 12,000 Wahhabi warriors attackedthe Shi'a in the city of Karbala, slaying 4,000 of the city's inhabitants and smashing Shi'a holy sites. In1803 they attacked Mecca and, aware of the slaughter in Kabala, the Meccans opened their town toSaud rule. Against images, the Wahhabi warriors smashed opulent graves, and they forbadesmoking. After taking power in Medina they smashed grave-sites again, including the tomb of theProphet Mohammed. In 1813, the Ottoman sultan sent expeditions against Wahhabism. The defeatedhead of the Saud family was taken in a cage to Istanbul and beheaded.By the late 1800s the Saud family members were refugees in Kuwait. In late 1901, a twenty-year-oldmember of the Saud family, Abd al-Aziz ibn Saud was without a kingdom in Kuwait but with allies. Atthe age of 28 he rode from Kuwait with from 40 to 60 relatives and retainers, ready for combat. On amoonless night, January 15-16, ibn Saud and some of his men went over the wall of the compound atRiyadh and prepared for an assault at the main gate at dawn. Ibn Saud and his men killed defendersof the compound. The Rashid family, which had driven out the Sauds and killed the brother of hisfather, no longer were in possession of Riyadh. Ibn Saud was now in possession of his place of birth -- a kingdom that measured 700 by 700 yards.
 
Ibn Saud was allied with Wahhabi warriors, with Bedouins called the
Ikhwan 
-- in Arabic theBrotherhood. Mounted on camels they helped Ibn Saud secure his position at Riyadh. Ibn Saud wasan impressive figure and strong. There was security in alliances, contrary to what the Hebrew prophetIsaiah had claimed. Marriages helped in making alliances, and Ibn Saud made alliances.In 1914, before the war, Ibn Saud allied himself with the Turks, agreeing that he should have relationswith no other foreign power and be committed to joining Turkish forces in resisting any aggression.When war came Saud opted for neutrality and kept his options open. Then he allied himself with theBritish, who offered recognition of the middle of the Arabian Peninsula (namely the Nejd and Hasa) ashis and that of his father before him and his descendants after him -- with the proviso that he and hisheirs not be antagonistic toward Britain. Ibn Saud agreed not to enter into relations with anotherforeign power and promised to come to the aid of Ibn Saud should he be the victim of aggression.Britain lent Ibn Saud £20,000, 1,000 weapons and 200,000 rounds of ammunition. Added to this wasa subsidy of £5,000 per month. This strengthened Saud against a territorial rival, the Hashim(Hashimite) family, which in 1915 was allied with Britain's enemy, Turkey.Matters became more complicated for Saud in 1916, when the Hashim family broke with the Turksand went over to the side of the British -- what became known as the Arab revolt. Britain beganlooking after the interests of both ibn Saud and his enemy, and the British would draw territorial linesthat were not to his liking -- especially regarding Kuwait. The Rashid family, however, remained alliedwith Turkey and supplied by Turkey and the dominant power on the Arabian Peninsula. In May 1919and in 1920, Ibn Saud marched against the Rashids. He defeated them in November 1921, showedthem clemency and reconciled with them, marrying the widow of their now dead ruler. His territorynow extended north to territory that the British had given to the Hashemite brothers whom they hadmade kings of Transjordan and Iraq. The
Ikhwan 
(Brethren), a photo probably from the 1920sThe British responded to a raid by the Ikhwan into Transjordan with a ground and air attack thatkilled all but 8 of 1,500 Ikhwan. Ibn Saud kept his cool and submitted to a British decision regardingborders. The British gave him a free hand in the Hejaz and the Nejd. In 1924-25, Ibn Saud and hisWahhabi warriors drove Sharif Hussein ibn Ali, the father of the Hashimite brothers in Iraq andTransjordan, from the holy cities of Mecca and Medina. With the end of the caliphate in Turkey,Hussein had wanted recognition as caliph of all Muslims, his family, the Hashim, claiming to bedescendants of the Prophet Muhammad, But on January 8, 1926, ibn Saud was proclaimed King ofthe Hejaz and Sultan of Nejd. Hussein fled to Cyprus and then went to Transjordan where his sonwas king.
 
The shrines in Mecca and Medina provided ibn Saud with a modest income. In 1926 he called aconference in Mecca, and delegations of Muslims from various areas of the Muslim world came. Heintroduced the delegates to his Wahhabi ulama. He charmed the delegates, and, thereafter,pilgrimages to Mecca were regular and grew in size.The Saud family restored the allegiance of surrounding tribes through marriages. To keep his newkingdom united, he married a daughter from every tribe as well as from the influential clerical families-- more than twenty wives, although never more than four at one time. Meanwhile, the Ikhwanwarriors wanted to extend their Wahhabism beyond Arabia, and ibn Saud saw this as trouble andtried to restrain them. The Ikhwan were unhappy with ibn Saud. They believed that they had beeninsufficiently rewarded for their contribution to ibn Saud's conquests. No Ikhwan had been made agovernor in any Hejaz city. Ikhwan raids across ibn Saud's frontiers had embarrassed ibn Saud, and
King Abdul Aziz (Ibn Saud) attending official dinner with Sir WinstonChurchill, Lake Qaroun, Egypt, 17 Feb 1945
 the British responded again with their air force, pursuing the Ikhwan back into ibn Saud's territory.The Ikhwan had created a disturbance at Mecca. They disliked ibn Saud's association with theChristian English and his importation of devilish devices like the telephone. In 1929, Ikhwan revolted.The ulama exercised their moral authority and sided with Saud rather than the Ikhwan, whom theydeclared to be in violation of Islamic principals. Ibn Saud crushed Ikhwan resistance and built aNational Guard.In 1932 ibn Saud gave his name to the regions in Arabia that he had unified, calling it Saudi Arabia,and he declared himself King of Saudi Arabia. Wahhabism remained a state sanctioned doctrine, and,because of Mecca, Wahhabism gained influence from India and Sumatra to North Africa and theSudan. The Wahhabi (or
Salifi 
as they prefer to be called) continued to adhere to simple, shortprayers, undecorated mosques, and the uprooting of gravestones in order to prevent what they saw

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