On the Origins of Wahhabism

MICHAEL C O O K At some time towards the middle of the twelfth/eighteenth century, the young NajdT scholar Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab (1115-1206/1703^-92) experienced something like a conversion.1 From that point on, his understanding of monotheism seems to have been such that he considered most of the professed Muslims of his day to be polytheists who should be fought till they accepted Islam. The first WahhabT state (1158-1233/1745^1818) was the product of the fusion of this radical vision with the political fortunes of the Al Sa'ud, until then the petty chiefs of the NajdT oasis of Dir'iyya. What then was the source of the Shaykh's doctrinal insight, if such it was ?2 Could it be something he came by on his travels in search of learning ? Was it a result of reading books, as was suggested by the Baghdad! Haydarl (d. 13 00/18 82), who regarded the career of the Shaykh as an object-lesson in the dangers of reading too much without talking to other scholars ?3 Or was it an intuition the origin of which it would be fruitless to pursue ? My primary concern here is to analyse the conflicting accounts of the travels which the Shaykh undertook prior to the inception of his political career. I shall then attempt a brief survey of the writers who are likely to have influenced him. This will not resolve the issue of the source of the Shaykh's inspiration, but it may help to narrow it somewhat. The WahhabT sources give a sober and restrained account of the Shaykh's itinerary. He visits the Hijaz, especially Medina; he returns, then visits Iraq, specifically Basra; and he comes home by way of al-Ahsa'.4 There is little variation within the WahhabT sources
1 A draft of this paper was presented at the Mellon Seminar on "New approaches to the study of pre-modern Islamic history" in Princeton in February 1991, and a summary at the annual meeting of the American Oriental Society in Berkeley the following month. I am grateful for the comments I received on both these occasions, and particularly to Nimrod Hurvitz and Khaled Abou El Fadl. I am also indebted to Frank Stewart for reading and commenting on a draft, to Jerome Clinton for philological advice, and to Hedi BenAicha for help in locating a source. 2 I should make it clear that, while generally aware of the purport of the Shaykh's doctrine of shirk, and of the hostility it encountered, 1 am unable to identify the precise respects in which it differed from the views of his predecessors and contemporaries. I have not found the existing secondary literature helpful on this score, and a thorough study of the relevant sources by someone qualified to undertake it would considerably advance our understanding of early Wahhabism. 3 Ibrahim FasTh ibn Sibghat Allah al-HaydarT al-BaghdadT, 'Urnvan al-majd jt bayan ahwctl Baghdad wa'l-Basra wa-Najd (Baghdad, 1962), p. 228.14. 4 The clearest account is that of Ibn Bishr (d. 1290/1873) {'Unwan al-majd flta'nkh Najd (Beirut, n.d.), pp. I7f; hence Mahmud ShukrT al-AlusT, Ta'nkh Najd (Cairo, 1347), pp. 1121). Ibn Ghannam (d. i225/i8io£) states that the Shaykh visited the Hijaz and Basra several times, and went to al-Ahsa" (Rawdat al-ajkar (Bombay, 1337), i, p. 31.4; he also refers to a pilgrimage to the Hijaz soon after puberty (ibid., p. 30.21)). Ibn Ghannam's account

JRAS, Series 3, 2, 2 (1992), pp. 191-202

7 Ibn Ghannam.11 is the basis of those given by 'Abd al-Latif ibn 'Abd al-Rahman ibn Hasan (d. 1125/1713. Ph. his account seems to derive from Ibn Ghannam's). if not very active ones. 1285/1869). 677bf (H. 10 lima ha'ulS'i mutabbamn ma hum fthi wa-bStilun ma kanii ya'maliin ( Q 7 : 139) (Ibn Bishr. S.). p.). see H. "Ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab". iii.d. B. are pictured as reformists.' AIT al-Taghistam (born c. 'Unwan al-majd. i. p. Rentz.5). vi). al'Uthaymin. Muhammad ibn 'Abd al. 'Unwan al-majd. His son IbrahTm died in Ii89/i775f (Ibn 'Isa. ii. "Muhammad Hayya [sic] al-SindT and Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab: an analysis of an intellectual group in eighteenth-century MadTna". p. 34. then returned to his native land. 1344). the ascription and date of this work would bear investigation).16. p. XIII (1978)). ibid.5 One late WahhabT source has him visit Baghdad. art. n. iii. then Medina (Kayfa kana zuhiir shaykh al-lslam Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab. 1346—9). then to al-Ahsa" and the Haramayn" (so an epistle of his apud Ibn Bishr. S. on this work see 'A. to this he replied by quoting Moses's denunciation of the idolatrous tribe whom the Israelites wished to emulate. Mengin. "WahhabTya". TaimTya (Cairo. 264.11). 6 Sulayman ibn Sahman.d. "Kayfa kana zuhur al-Shaykh Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab". 1948). 1984). cf. 162. then decided to visit Medina and Mecca. f. 11 Other scholars with whom the Shaykh is said to have had contact in the Hijaz are Shaykh 'AIT AfandT alDaghistanT (Sulayman ibn 'Abdallah. p. Me'moire sur les trois plusfameuses sectes du Musulmanisme (Paris. 17.14. 380. al-Jasir (Riyad. and to al-Ahsa' (Majmii'at al-rasd'il wa'l-masa'il at-Najdiyya (Cairo.8 Ibn Sayf is recounted to have shown Ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab a collection of books which he described as "weapons I have prepared for Majma'a" (his home-town in Najd). note 1). Laoust. 5O7f (despite the major contribution made by Laoust to Hanbalite and WahhabT studies. p.20). sf. presumably this is 'Abd al-Rahman ibn Hasan (d. al-'Arab. first edition (Leyden and London.10 Both..7. 7.5. pp. 378): he went to Basra to continue his studies. iv. p. 1301). 5 So the WahhabT chronicle rendered in F. ed. An anonymous. 147.718. Ibn Bishr. 1343). p. i960. pp. 1163/1750). G. H. Rawda. Histoire de I'Egypte sous le gouvernement de Mohammed-Aly (Paris. probably Syrian.19) and Sulayman ibn Sahman (d. 17. second edition (Leyden and London. 1818). p.5. J. but neither is clearly identified as the source of Ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab's doctrine. 8 Ibn Bishr. al-'UthaymTn. 6. This chronicle is ascribed to a grandson of the Shaykh named "le cheykh Abderrahman el-Oguyeh" (ibid. 27). Tawdih. 'Abdallah ibn Ibrahim ibn Sayf. 6a.6. Essai sur les doctrines sociales et politiques de TakT-d-DTn Ahmad b.6 His two main teachers in Medina were a NajdT. 85. it is the Shaykh who delivers himself of this judgement (Or. n. On him see J. p. 93—5). 1349/1930) in two of his works (al-Diya' al-shariq (Cairo.6. pp. pp. 24-33.). 25. and is not reliable in detail). For secondary accounts of the WahhabT itinerary. 'Unwan al-majd. except in the matter of order. Silk al-durar (Bulaq. 1983). p. p. 'Unwan al-majd. d. 1984). p. this account is based on late sources. but pro-WahhabT source has the Shaykh visit Basra.Wahhab (1703/04—1792) and the Beginnings of Unitarian Empire in Arabia (University of California. pp.10).7 and an Indian. 1939). his stay in the Hijaz was prior to his settlement in Damascus in 1150 (MuradT.192 Michael Cook except in the matter of order: some sources have him visit Basra before the Hijaz. Rousseau]. Sulayman ibn 'AbdallJh. and a French rendering of an account of WahhabT history ascribed to him says explicitly that the Shaykh went first to Basra.p. and Shaykh Muhammad ibn Sulayman al-KurdT al-Shafi'T (Ahmad ibn ZaynT Dahlan. then to Mecca ([}. L. 'Unwan al-majd. which implies a date of birth of 1126-7/1714—15.. 85. p. 1913-38). cols. Elsewhere the latter states that the Shaykh "travelled to Basra. Ta'rikh al-mamlaka al'Arabiyya al-Su'udiyya (n. S. 17. In the text of the British Library manuscript of the work. Muhammad ibn Sulayman al-KurdT was younger still: he died in 1194/1780 at the age of 67 (ibid. 25. 215. also unreliable in detail).. 32f. 1823). p. col. then. 'A. Tabri'at al-Shaykhayn (Cairo. ed. 1086a). S.1. noted in 'A.18. p. D.). 449 (and cf. Tawdtl). n. 9 Ibn Bishr. Ta'rikh ba'd al-hawadith al-waqi'ajt Najd.9 The Shaykh is reported to have asked Muhammad Hayat his opinion of those who came to intercede {yad'una wa-yasta'Tthuna) at the tomb of the Prophet. . Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies. The Encyclopaedia of Islam. 25.16. pp. Voll. 46. p. al-'UthaymTn (Riyad. p. pp. A tarjama of the Shaykh by 'Abd al-Rahman ibn Hasan's son 'Abd al-LatTf mentions visits to Basra and the Hijaz (more than once). p.8). XXXVIII (1975). 1293/1876) (Misbdh al-zalam (Bombay. 17. Kashf ghayahib al-zalam (Bombay. art.6.16. S.D. 1966).. Laoust. p. 31. i.9. 1199/1785) was in fact younger than the Shaykh. 1233/1818) states that the Shaykh visited "Basra and the Hijaz" (see his al-Tawdih 'an tawlnd al-khalldq (Riyad. The Shaykh's grandson Sulayman ibn 'Abdallah (d. 112.d. 64. Margoliouth in The Encyclopaedia of Islam. i. al-Durar al-saniyya ft 'l-radd 'ala 'l-Wahhabiyya (Cairo. Muhammad Hayat al-Sindl (d.6).

33. "The provenance of the Lam' al-shihabftsxrat Muhammad ibn ' Abd al-Wahhab". 18. but does not name any of them . Lam' al-shihSb ft sTrat Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab. i. He would seem to have passed a total of six years in the city.16. 15-22. 20 Ibid. together with a p r o m i n e n t scholar. Bash A'yan . where he vaguely refers to him as sahib al-Basra). any birthdate m u c h earlier than 1115 is implausible. 'Unwan al-majd. Ibn Bishr. probably for a British official.Origins of Wahhabism 193 Only one teacher is mentioned in the context of the Shaykh's stay in Basra: a certain Muhammad al-Majmu'T. but he was not unsympathetic to the Saudi cause.15 At this point. Rawda. 14 HaydarT. and Persia (London.14 Majmu'a at least was real. Shaykh Anas. p. and suffers for it.. Here and below. 18 On this source see M. in the WahhabT accounts. 18.22 He then lived for five years in Baghdad. I a m unable t o identify most o f the persons mentioned in this narrative. 16 p. Its author was clearly not a WahhabT. where he would sit incognito in the mosque of the Majmu'a quarter (there is no mention of Muhammad al-Majmu'T). 61. facing south-south-east (]. 79..9). ibid. and t w o successive qadh. 'Unwan al-majd. only repeats Ibn Bishr's account (HaydarT. i. p. Here an extensive and colourful itinerary appears in a rich if unreliable source. and of the attempts of local polytheists to confute him (Rawda. Cook.21 this would have been in 1152/1739^) He went to Basra.1). 18. Majmu'T approves of his initiative. Journal of Turkish Studies. p. Since the Shaykh died in 1206/1792. p . p. the Shaykh wished to proceed from Zubayr. it was completed in 1233/1817. Buckingham. T h e account mentions the names o f t w o successive governors. This was after 23 years o f study with t w o Najdr teachers. who ought to know. p. The mosque of Majmu'a is listed in an Ottoman provincial gazetteer (Basra vilayeti salnamesi (Basra. whither he had fled.Abu Hakima (Beirut. 21 Ibn G h a n n a m . pp. p..11. 22 Lam' al-shihdb. 'Unwan al-majd. 16 Buckingham. who visited Basra in 1817. ii. describes the " Bab-el-Meejmooah " as one of the five gates of the city. i. Travels in Assyria. 1967).5. 953/15461) (see 'A.19 the Shaykh set out on his travels at the age of 37.5 (and cf. he adds that it was in Basra that he stayed longest to study (Rawda. ' U m a r Aqa and Jirjis Aqa. Sulayman ibn 'Abdallah speaks of 'Abd al-LatTf al-AhsaT al-'AfaliqT and Muhammad al-'Afaliql al-Ahsa'T (Tawdih. Ibn Ghannam tells us of the Shaykh's propaganda for monotheism (tawhtd). Rawda.. " Viz. According to this account. pp. in due course he attracted the patronage of the governor and the wary interest of the qadT. The Shaykh subsequently recalls their meeting in a polemical epistle addressed to him (Ibn Ghannam. of the reproofs he administered in his circle. we also have some action. 'Unwan al-majd. ed. the major academic centre of the Hanbalite world. 416. pp.17 We can now turn to the non-WahhabT sources. p.3). 15.13 Unfortunately. 30. to Damascus. 1308). and adds a report on the authority of a scholar whose pupil he had been on the high standing enjoyed by this Muhammad's descendants in their locality (ibid. 229. A. 32. and was thus constrained to return home.17. 25.19). for the first time. 18.3).K a w w a z (d. 'AbdallSh ibn Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Latif al-Shafi'T al-AhsaT (ibid. S. 18. p.ls This is an account of WahhabT history written somewhere in the region of the Persian Gulf.20 (Assuming the birthdate of ni5/i7O3f given by the WahhabT sources.2. 15-17.23). 19 Anon.. Ibn 'Abd alWahhab denounces polytheism in the city. and is drummed out of town.23 12 Ibn Bishr. the anonymous Lam' al-shihab fi sTrat Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab. p . 85. 18. but he says nothing of the circumstances in which the Shaykh left town. X (1986). 13 Ibn Bishr. T h e latter might be the Shaykh Anas Bash A'yan al-Basra w h o in 1140/1727f reconstructed the d o m e over the t o m b o f the ShadhilT Shaykh M u h a m m a d A m l n a l . p. where he stayed with a Shafi'ite scholar. But he lacked the means to do so. Shaykh ' A b d al-Rahman ibn A h m a d o f Burayda and Shaykh Hassan al-TamTmT o f the QasTm. Media. i. no one seems to have identified this scholar in any non-WahhabT source.16 His route took him through al-Ahsa'. 1830). Ibn Bishr. p.10). Ibn Ghannam states that the Shaykh studied with a large number of scholars in Basra. 'Unwan al-majd.M.6. 130).11. Shihab al-D!n and Husayn al-IslambulT.12 Here. p. p.8). Ibn Bishr explains that Majmu'a is a village of Basra.

21. A m m . 18.5. 28 he reached Qumm. p.. See also 'A. Brockelmann. pp. C . From Isfahan he set out for Rayy. which 1 a m unable to identify. 22. 22. M. H e studied at the Azhar with Shaykh M u h a m m a d Zayn al-DTn Abu 'Abdallah al-Maghribi. and oscillates between revealing and 35 concealing what he was about (ibid. commentator on the Sharh al-Tajrid (the reference is to the Tajrid of NasTr al-DTn al-TusT) (ibid. col. w h o makes hostile references to this t o m b cult in his epistles (Ibn Ghannam. 1086a.32 On the other hand. 28 At this point he is accompanied b y a Baghdad! disciple named 'Air al-Qazzaz. see H. 1305). ii. 2if.15.24 His next destination was Iran. 31 Ibid. 207.. Barrasitia-yi tdrikhi. T h e a u t h o r professes that he is b o u n d t o relate only w h a t he has heard and verified (ibid.18).) 37 See particularly Rentz. 19. Rentz rejects the account on g r o u n d s of chronology.3). p. p. 23 Lam' al-shihab.194 Michael Cook after which he spent a year travelling through Kurdistan. p. I o w e this reference to Michael Bonner). but this hardly seems appropriate company for the Shaykh. 81). In Mecca he m e t the mufti Shaykh 'Abd al-GhanT al-Shafi'T. his presence there leads many to convert from Hanafism to Hanbalism. Here he is taken t o the city of " A b u Libas". written or oral — in some Persian works of the Qajar period. Ibid. he mastered Peripatetic philosophy. second edition ([Cairo]. Shaykh 'Abd al-RahTm al-Kurdr. supplementary volumes (Leyden. . the editor's footnote. p. Rawda. this was in the days of Sharif Surur. 36 For example. ZiriklT. which as we saw was not later than 1148/1736 !)33 His activities along his route are marked by a colourfulness34 to which my prosaic summary does less than justice. two months in Jerusalem. Mudarrisi TabatabaX " Ravabit-i Iran ba hukumat-i mustaqill-i Najd (1208-1233 hijn qamarT)". 27 His teacher was MTrza Jan al-Isfaham. after an unfortunate experience in a village on the route. whence he shortly moved on to Anatolia (al-Rum). 29 Lam' al-shihab. 21.38 neither the picaresque character of the account nor its impossible chronology inspire confidence. A. 4 (1976).7). Khulasat al-kalam jt bayan umara al-balad al-haram (Cairo.21). he proceeded to Isfahan.31 (Surur ruled from 1186/1773 to 1202/1788. 39 For these works. I7f. FaqThI.. pp. Wahhabiyan (Tehran.. 34 and note 1. note 1. i s . it was quoted (without reference to its source) b y A h m a d AmTn as literal truth (A. 18. O u r author is thinking of the tenth/sixteenth-century scholar HabTb Allah MTrzajan al-ShTrazT (cf. where his arrival coincided with the end of Safavid rule and the beginning of that of Nadir Shah. The essence of this account also appears — doubtless from parallel sources. 79f..23.35 this account has become well-known in the secondary literature. 29 He then spent six months in Aleppo. p. XI. ii. p.. 167a). 38 Lam' al-shihab.25.37 It has generally.27 and cultivated Ishraqism and Sufism. p. 33 N o r could it be any earlier than ten years after 1148/1736 . 208. 32 Dahlan. 32. p. A'lam (Beirut. pp. al-Basrajt adwariha al-ta'rikhiyya (Baghdad. ('Abd al-RahTm categorically rejects the account for four reasons. and rightly. 1979). and considers it "excessively romantic" and "utterly at variance with what is known of the Shaikh's character". 139. p . pp. been treated with some scepticism. 10. while the third and fourth are based on faulty premises.7. p.8). 594. in both the Middle East 36 and the West. 19-21. 'A. K. a year in Damascus..26 (This could not be later than 1148/1736. Since the Lam1 al-shihab was used by Margoliouth in his article on the Wahhabiyya for the first edition of The Encyclopaedia of Islam. 'Abd al-RahTm.25 After two years in Hamadan. 1937-42). Zu'ama" al-islahjt'l-'asr al-hadith (Cairo.17. pp. p.39 Writing in the 1250s or 1260S/1830S or al-'Abbasi. T h e relevant passage is at col. 24 2S 26 Ibid. the year in which Nadir assumed the title of Shah!) In his seven years in Isfahan. al-Dawla al-Su'iidiyya al-iila. 30 Ibid. p. Ibid. 1948). p. Geschichte der Arabischeti Litteratur.. 19.3. i. pp.4. Despite its occasional references to specific but anonymous sources. 4 . on the figures given. and two years in Cairo. the Shaykh's return home could be not much more than eleven years after his arrival in Isfahan. Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab. of which the first (the lack of any indication that the Shaykh knew Persian) and the second (the absence of any trace in his writings of the ideas he might have assimilated on such travels) carry some weight. 19. 'A. 224. i. pp. 1961). which would imply a return n o earlier than 1176/1762^ 34 N o t e h o w he changes his name at every stage (Lam' al-shihab. 19.which takes us at least to the birth of the first Saudi state! N o t e also that o u r source indicates the Shaykh to have spent at least 24 years on his travels. 18. 1975). Mention is made of a Shafi'ite scholar. 30 Finally he returned home by way of the Hijaz. no. 926.

p p . al-'Arab. p. p . proceeded to Isfahan.). M . p. printed with MTrkhwand. p p .14.48 who wrote in I2i8/i8o3f. al-Shahrastam.W a h h a b i y y a durusahu ft Isfahan?".8).) 48 Storey. p .49 MTrza Abu Talib has the further detail that the Shaykh's travels extended to Khurasan and the frontier of Ghazna. 152-4. 46 For this w o r k and its appendix. Ma'athir-i sultauiyya (Tehran.]). 144-6. 2 3 . p p . and he is k n o w n to have arrived in Najaf in 1174/I76of (MudarrisT Tatataba'T. ix. doubtless from the French translation.8 . 50 C . But this is not the end of it. i.4 4 ( w h e r e t h e account o f t h e Lam' al40 shihab is also discussed).20 ( = C . after studying in Najd. Again. T5rikh-i rawdat al-saja ( Q u m m . 18).45 A yet earlier source is the Tuhfat al-'alam of 'Abd al-LatTf ShushtarT (d. 49 MTrza A b u Talib Khan IsfahanT. Muhammad TaqT Sipihr (d. 1351 sh. Stewart (trans. In his account of the "new religion" which had appeared in Najd. Wahhabiydn. See C . p .i.W a h h a b " . his return home is placed not later than about H7i/i757f. Niebuhr describes how its future founder. M u v a h h i d (Tehran. iii. n o . pp. i. 3). i243/i827f). 4 (1975). al-'lrfan. 1561. " H a l talaqqa m u b d i ' a l . w h o energetically rebutted it in his " J a w a n i b m i n hayat al-Shaykh M u h a m m a d ibn ' A b d a l . 267f. and also travelled to Baghdad and Persia.11. apparently. 1220/1806) . 123 1/18151)43 wrote about a year before his death a letter to Fath-'AlT Shah (ruled 1212-50/1797-1834) in which he recollected that. p . H . 255. X . 41 M u h a m m a d TaqT Sipihr. T h e date of composition is given as I 2 i 8 / i 8 o 3 f b y the a u t h o r (Persian text. 1814). Cf. ed. p . 1297/1880)40 states that 'Abd al-Wahhab (sic). 191). 1344 sh. N i e b u h r . 47 This account in turn closely parallels that of MTrza Abu Talib Khan Isfahan! (d. 2 5 4 . 1363 [sh. ii. . 9 3 9 . I22o/i8o5f). 47 ' A b d al-LatTf ShushtarT. these accounts do not inspire much confidence. u n d e r the title " a l . p . Two sources attest the currency of reports of an Iranian connection at a much earlier date. 1352 sh. especially p p . 144—6. i68f). the w o r k is a history of Fath-'AlT Shah to 1229/1814. 45 I k n o w the contents of this letter only from the citation in FaqThT. p p . 118. One is the German traveller Carsten Niebuhr. 4 2 6 . 4 . n o .).50 Niebuhr was in Arabia in A. (MTrza-yi Q u m m T . k n o w s that the WahhabTs are Hanbalites.13. X . see Storey. 162 (1 J a n u a r y 1970). Khadivjam (Tehran. and 1385). MudarrisT pronounces in favour of the historicity of the Shaykh's j o u r n e y to Iran on the g r o u n d s that the Persian sources confirm the testimony of the Lam' al-shihab. by contrast.18. i. Nasikh al-tavarikh: salatm-i Qajariyya (Tehran. 173. 380. ed. while in Najaf in his early twenties (sc.42 The distinguished scholar Mirza-yi QummT (d.e. Persian Literature (London. A. BarrasTha-yi Tarikln. Travels o/Mirza Abu Taleb Khan (London. 'Abd al-Razzaq Maftun DunbulT (d. 1338-9 sh. 82. p . lived for some years in Basra. n o . he says: zahir iu-ast ki ba-'lraq-i 'Ajam ham amada bud (ibid. MudarrisT TabatabaT. Tuhfat al-'alam. 3 3 4 ^ n o . Persian Literature.46 in an appendix to this account of his travels. 44 His date of birth is given as 1 1 5 1 / I738T (Agha B u z u r g al-TihranT. and his study with distinguished scholars there. 409. ii. in the early 117os/late 1750s). i. H23f.41 This account in turn is identical in substance with that given by an earlier historian. p. n o .. 1792).). Beschreibung von Arabien ( C o p e n h a g e n . p . LVII (1969). that centre of the Greek philosophical tradition (Yiinankada). T h e Shaykh's b a c k g r o u n d is presented as HanafT. " P a n j n a m a az Fath-'AlT Shah-i Qajar ba-MTrzayi Q u m m T " . 1404). n o . this was b r o u g h t to the attention of H a m a d al-Jasir.). p . English translation.S h a y k h M u h a m m a d ibn ' A b d a l . Persian Literature. p p .8). 1762-3 and (briefly) 1765 . 262-79. see H . ( T h e English translation (Travels through Arabia and Other Countries in the East (Edinburgh. after studying with a certain Muhammad in Basra. Masir-i Talibi. written in 1219/1804^ he too mentions the visit of Shaykh 'Abd al-Wahhab (sic) to Isfahan. in the 1364 [sh. p p . " P a n j n a m a " .W a h h a b wa-dirasatuhu ft Isfahan". i. p .]). Persian Iraq. Persian Literature. 52. These studies supersede that of S.44 he had heard of one Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab from 'Uyayna who visited Arab Iraq (including the holy cities) and. W i t h regard to the Shaykh's visit to Iran. 43 For his life and w o r k s . 42 ' A b d al-Razzaq Maftun D u n b u l r . p p . S. where he pursued various sciences. n o t e 37). For this a u t h o r see Storey. Tarikh-i rawdat al-safa-yi Nasiri. ShahrastanT's article also appeared in an Arabic magazine published in T e h r a n (al-Ikha'. Tabaqat a'lam al-shfa (Mashhad. part 1. also Rida-QulT Khan Hidayat (d. 1927-). Storey. 131. 346. i. 1772).Origins of Wahhabism 195 1840s. N o t e that this is the only o n e of these Iranian sources in w h i c h the Shaykh's n a m e is given correctly.D. 477. 1288/1871). 267. IV (1970).

p. " a l . in that edition the text of the tarjama of the Shaykh (pp. 1773).. p. "Djirdjls" (B. G / 2 9 / 2 5 . ii (1978). in C . Badia y Leyblich]. Waring. and Mosul. and through Persia".D. 178). Khattab. 55 M . 148. in December of A. C o o k . L.57 With this is to be compared an account of the Shaykh's stay in Mosul given by Sir Harford Jones. pp. p . The Islamic World from Classical to Modern Times: Essays in Honor of Bernard Lewis (Princeton. 1830). 194. art. " A diplomat's report o n Wahhabism of Arabia". pp. T h e passage translated here from the same page of the chronicle makes n o mention o f Mosul. 41-4. Burckhardt. 1982).e. fF. p. p. ii.e. Carra de Vaux). Khan. after which he returned h o m e .J."58 A "short stay at Mousul" is also mentioned by Waring. Damascus. Ta'rikh. Majallat Kulliyyat al-'ulum al-ijtima'iyya (Riyad). and Beirut. 34 (under the year 1208/17931) (not seen). doubtless underplayed by Khattab in deference to his Saudi hosts.I m a m M u h a m m a d ibn ' A b d al-Wahhab ft madinat al-Mawsil". the Shaykh again states that his enemies maintain that his doctrine comes from Khurasan {za'amtum annahu la yakhruju ilia min Khurasan. Notes on the Bedouins and Wahdbys (London. though less legible. 58 YasTn ibn Khayr Allah al-'Umari.I m a m M u h a m m a d ibn ' A b d al-Wahhab fi" madinat al-Mawsil". relates that the Shaykh had visited that city and studied under Mulla Ahmad al-JumaylT (d. 1307/1890). He tells us in an epistle to 'Abdallah ibn Suhaym. 79-84. Khattab. a cleric of Majma'a. p. .196 Michael Cook later 1170s. For 'UmarT's hostility towards the WahhabTs.24).the earliest of all. though by no means so early. he could have been present in the city during a heated controversy over the local cult of the alleged prophet St George. i. (ed.14). 1359).4 . second edition. 67 Khattab. 128.). is also less corrupt). 1798 (i. Mosul is not included in the elaborate itinerary of the Lam' al-shihdb. 129. 42. This report has been published from another copy in M . 119. p p . though unfortunately less explicit . the British Resident at Baghdad. A.. Baghdad. 75.) Burckhardt. Description de I'Arabic (Copenhagen. 1983). 673-5. 1989). 1807). iii. i. SiddTq Hasan Khan al-Qannawjf (d. Ghara'ib al-athar (Mosul.59 Curiously. and refers t o a j o u r n e y t o the Yemen (ibid. for the date. p. see P. 68 India Office. al-'Uthaymln ("NTbur wa-da'wat al-Shaykh M u h a m m a d ibn ' A b d a l . S. 1816). p . S. Abjad al-'ulum (Damascus. 63 Ibn Bishr. 51 As indicated b y 'A. ibid. T h e Shaykh's itinerary is given here as Basra. and these were esteemed so dangerous by the Ecclesiastics and Men of the Law there that he was compelled to leave Mousul. pp. 298) speaks of " several journeys to Bagdad.52 This testimony cannot be later than 1175/1761^ since both 'Abdallah ibn Suhaym and Ibn al-Muways died in the epidemic which raged in Sudayr in that year. " a l . p.W a h h a b " .55 the historian of Mosul. 438b-439a. 1802 (i. after 1232/1816). In another epistle to 'Abdallah ibn Suhaym. Travels of AH Bey (London. that his arch-enemy Ibn al-Muways had written to the people of Washm (also in Najd) mocking his doctrine as an innovation from Khurasan. 1395). N. his testimony thus antedates all accounts so far considered by several decades. p. S. 59 E.D.51 The other early source ..10. and cf p. Rawda.. 438a. and cf. see M . by contrast. K e m p .9 (this work was first published in Bhopal in 1295-6.22 (and cf. 1213): "During his residence at Mousul. 1170/1757) . Territoires d'lslam: le monde vu de Mossoul au XVIlIe siecle (Paris. p.56 if this is true. a phrasing which m a y indicate that Jones and W a r i n g are not fully independent sources. and orthodoxy of his tenets". 'Unwan al-majd. Markaz al-buhuth. 1978. 111. Ibn Tsa. For the background to these polemics. Bosworth et al. In Mosul the Shaykh "publicly supported the purity. 8 2 . he had likewise been obliged to flee from Damascus for his dangerous opinions. 79).is the Shaykh himself. Buhiith usbu" al-Shaykh Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab (Riyad. p. in Jami'at al-Imam M u h a m m a d ibn Sa'ud al-Islami. says merely that he " h a d visited various schools of the principal cities in the East" (J. 62 Kataba li-ahl al-Washm yastahzi'u bi'l-tawhid wa-yaz'umu annahu bid'a wa-annahu kharaja min Khurasan (Ibn Ghannam. 12161). but the German original says only that he "reisete auch nach Bagdad u n d Persien". 274). are worth taking into consideration. E. Islamic Studies. The Encyclopaedia of Islam. excellence. YasTn al-'UmarT (d. S. A Tour to Sheeraz (London. 871-7).53 There are some further attestations of non-canonical journeys which. Moollah Mohammed openly announced as orthodox the doctrines which he held. see ibid. 129. f. VII (1968). 54 There are also sources which k n o w only his studies in Medina: [D.5). Waring's tour took place in A.54 According to the Iraqi scholar M. " T h e expansion of the first Saudi state: the case of Washm ". p .

it must by now be obvious that the various narratives of the Shaykh's travels do not provide us with 60 As noted.61 Woolly French accounts have the Shaykh travel in Mesopotamia and Syria. In a later w o r k Jones names only Damascus a m o n g the "various schools. 61 See ' A . p . 236. and Philby in his earlier works.3).60 The Yemeni historian Lutfullah ibn Ahmad (d. p . of which there is a manuscript in Hyderabad. the date was 1155/1742 (see 'A. Abaza (Damascus. B. 209. An Account of the Transactions of His Majesty's Mission to the Court of Persia. supplementary volumes. p. p. Corancez. these testimonies leave the question of the Shaykh's travels in some confusion. Ibn Ghannam. W a r i n g . 336. and some of what they say could have its origin in anti-WahhabT polemic (or rumour). on the other hand. Lapidus has the Shaykh study in Damascus (I. that the work was written in 1157/1744.63 Several secondary sources mention Damascus. Rawda. no. 673). 32. 63 A h m a d i b n Khalid al-NasirT. Who are we to believe? The WahhabTsources are privileged. Ta'rikh al-'lraq bayn ihtilalayn (Baghdad. p. both Damascus and Baghdad figure in the account o f the Lam' al-shihab. VII (1972). b u t he later substituted a canonical account o f the travels o f the Shaykh (see H .66 Moreover.65 Taken together. whose history covers the years Ii89-i224/i775f-i8o9f. 1834). ii. i. Perhaps the best that can be said is that the Shaykh almost certainly spent some time in Basra: it is already named by Niebuhr. 1982). Brockelmann states. al-'Arab. 2).62 The Moroccan chronicler NasirT (d. At the same time these sources are notably threadbare. Baghdad is also included by Jones. al-'Azzawi. 64 Philby in his earlier w o r k s stated o r suggested that the Shaykh had studied in Baghdad and Damascus (see the references given in Rentz. 1954-6). this w o r k was d r a w n t o m y attention by Malcolm Yapp). ed.18. 1315/1897) states that he visited Syria. writing in 1286/1869^ states that Ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab had come to Baghdad and studied with his ancestor Sibghat Allah al-Haydarl. p. p. ii. M . M . and cf. 1988). Burrell). p . A History of Islamic Societies ( C a m b r i d g e . Sa'udi Arabia (London. and colleges of the East" visited b y the Shaykh (Sir Harford Jones Brydges. No source is contemporary with the events. M . 9 (I owe my knowledge of this work to R. 1809). inasmuch as they transmit to us the tradition of the WahhabTs themselves. 336). suffering rejection in Damascus and expulsion from Baghdad and Basra. Rousseau]. al-Hafiz and N . viii. Description du Pachalik de Bagdad (Paris. and appears prominently in both the WahhabT and the non-WahhabT sources. so that one can hardly rely on their completeness. Geschichte. S. A. and in the form in which we have them. they are no earlier than the non-WahhabT sources. 35f). without the authority of the Hyderabad catalogue. M.64 The Baghdad! HaydarT. al-lstiqfa" li-akhbar duwal al-Maghrib al-aqsa (Casablanca. 1810). Damascus and Baghdad are also named. see Brockelmann. Philby. For this tract. L. 66 Possibly the anti-WahhabT tract of the Basran QabbanT may have something to contribute on the Shaykh's visit to Basra. 35.such as a Shfite connection. A statement that Ibn ' A b d a l . J.Origins of Wahhdbism 197 In addition to Mosul. as also b y W a r i n g ( w h o has the Shaykh flee from the alarmed " p r i e s t s " o f Damascus). . 1955). 7. 1935—56). M . according to 'Azzawl. they include Niebuhr. 1243/18271). vi. his Me'moire sur les trots plus fameuses sectes du Musulmanisme. in the Years 1807-u (London. p . referring to "the volume (mujallad) composed by QabbanT". reports that Ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab had studied in Damascus following his stay in Medina and prior to his visit to Basra. and even the reference of Ibn alMuways to an innovation from Khurasan is likely enough to have been penned only after the passing of a generation. Histoire des Wahabis (Paris. 119. note 1). they are also. p. al-Hibshl. 'Unwan al-majd. the oldest explicit source we have. p. 62 |J. p. 7 . Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab. L. The non-WahhabT sources contain much that is demonstrably false. of course. " T a ' r l k h al-da'wa al-Wahhabiyya m i n m a k h t u t YamanT". 66 HaydarT. 532.16. As w e have seen.9. unlikely to transmit anything the Shaykh did not want posterity to know . p p . 131 (and cf. p.W a h h a b visited Syria appears in a tarjama interpolated b y the editors into the biographical dictionary of Kamal al-DTn al-GhazzT (al-Na't al-akmal li-ashab al-imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal. both are included b y Jones.18. Lapidus.

al-Fiql (Cairo..2. Contrast the hawqala and other expressions of editorial outrage in Fiql's 7i Cf. ed. for example.15. Rawda. in a long epistle of I i 6 7 / i 7 5 3 f to the people o f ' U y a y n a (ibid. but when you learn from your books what the Prophet said. pp. see Cook..25. The pattern is nevertheless unmistakable. 526/1131) shows no embarrassment in his references to tomb cults and similar practices. " E x p a n s i o n " . p.19.68 I exclude Koran and hadtth. p. and take nothing from what I say.597/1201).198 Michael Cook a clear source for his doctrine. n. 1398). It is in line with this that the Hanbalite biographer Ibn Abl Ya'la (d. 382. Ighathat al-lahfan. 156. 72 There is one passage (ibid. 6731). Characteristically.17.10. We can best begin with a series of negative points.6. i. of course. Ibn Ghannam. the passage is found at Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya. i. As will become clear. 1952). The first is the dearth of reference to the views of Hanbalite scholars prior to the late seventh/thirteenth century. 70 Laoust states in his article " I b n 'Abd a l .74 There is one Hanbalite scholar of this epoch whom the Shaykh cites for a strong condemnation of the veneration of tombs: Abu'1-Wafa' ibn'AqTl (d. pp.9. pp. 1939). 'A. p . Z . 388. i. and I have accordingly attempted to survey the authorities to which the Shaykh most frequently refers in his more relevant writings.7). 123. I say to t h e m : ' Y o u have the books. follow it even if most people g o against i t " (Ibn Ghannam. Rawda. M . for this epistle.. the older Hanbalite authorities had doctrinal concerns very different from those of the WahhabTs. 16. and to read the Shaykh's works and the rest of the early polemical literature against that background. 123^7) in which the Shaykh refers repeatedly to the substantive doctrine of Ibn Hanbal. rather he calls them to God and the sunna of His Prophet (ibid. ii. 71 There are. as we have seen. pp. 75 Ibn Ghannam. for all that they suggest contact with scholars who may have shared some of his views. the table of contents of Ibn al-JawzT.72 and they were notorious for a religiosity which others regarded as steeped in superstition.13. 140.75 Ibn Bishr. 68 67 .3) —a domain as central to early Hanbalism as it was peripheral to Wahhabism. i. 69 As he puts it in an epistle to a Syrian beduin chief: " I tell those w h o oppose m e that what people have to do is to follow what the Prophet enjoined upon his community.10. 382.22). the Shaykh knows Ibn 'Aqil's condemnation of tomb-cults only through a citation by Ibn al-Qayyim (as noted by the editor to the printing of the epistle in Muallajat al-Shaykh al-imam Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab. 234.73 just as latter-day shirk is not a prominent theme even in the TalbTs Iblis of the Hanbalite preacher Ibn al-JawzT (d. pp.8. 36.W a h h 5 b " in the second edition of The Encyclopaedia of Islam (col. pp. the view of HaydarT. p. Rawda. Elsewhere he states that he does not call men to the way of any Soft. p. p. 196. ed. al-Fiqi (Cairo.67 This possibility is clearly worth pursuing.71 This will not surprise anyone familiar with early Hanbalism. 241/855) himself plays no real part in the establishment of the central doctrines of Wahhabism. note 1. 63. TalbTs Iblis (Beirut. 513/1119). p. 226. ed.70 Even Ibn Hanbal (d. 302. H . Despite their common heritage. this is misleading. 679a) that the Shaykh's doctrine is most closely linked to early Hanbalite formulations.). footnotes to these passages. Tabaqat al-Hanabila. i. i. at a time when he was reading widely.d. This is n o m o r e than a first approach. H . ii. al-RumTef al. B u t this is in response to allegations of his enemy Ibn al-Muways in the domain of what he calls 'Urn al-asma" wa'l-sifat (ibid. alongside Ibn Taymiyya and Ibn alQ a y y i m . (Riyad. Incidentally. 195. see Ibn AbT Ya'la. qism 1. Ibn 'Aqil is also cited prominently. for all that these are the only authorities which the Shaykh himself holds to be indefeasible. 'Unwan al-majd. or theologian.. 241. 73 For examples. in an epistle to M u h a m m a d ibn 'Id (d. 62. the occasional references to Ibn Hanbal that might be expected of a Hanbalite scholar (see. a good many of the Shaykh's citations from earlier scholars might then be shown to have reached h i m only through their works. there is a dissertation to be written by a student w h o is prepared t o take the time to become thoroughly familiar with the relevant works of Ibn Taymiyya and Ibn Q a y y i m al-Jawziyya. pp. What then of the other possibilities set out at the beginning of this article? That the sources of the Shaykh's doctrine were literary was. M . It is also suggested by Ibn Bishr's statement that he came by his insight before he went on his travels. consult them. legist. 1180/17661) (ibid. 17. 68.69 and I make no claim to be comprehensive. 24-52) which is particularly rich in citations.3).17..17).

297-308).. see G. 80 Ibn G h a n n a m . pp. ji'/wrf against t h e perpetrators o f shirk (ibid. see ibid. he cites SuyutT's Awa'il in an epistle t o Sulayman ibn S u h a y m (Ibn G h a n n a m . Many of the references are to HujawT's discussion of apostasy (Iqna'. m o r e violent in their attacks on shirk (ibid. 38. 852/1449). alSubkT (Cairo. Rawda. p p . 227. Ibn Q u t l u b u g h a (d. 'A. 879/1474). Rawda. ed.. actual or hypothetical. 157. "Nouveaux details sur I'affaire d'lbn 'AqTl". i. There is only one exception worth noting: the Shaykh makes frequent reference to a standard work of Hanbalite law dating from the tenth/sixteenth century. [as for] the MalikT. upon whom they rely". 67. the Iqna' of HujawT (d. i. Rawda. 81 F o r example.7. 67. is to a passage in which HujawT prescribes the destruction of domes built over graves (Iqna'. p .15. M. An epistle addressed to Sulayman ibn Suhaym (ibid. 968/1560). 39. 1005/1596). p p . and t h e distinction between uluhiyya a n d rububiyya (ibid.3-180. and in particular m o r e zealous in their fanaticism against d o m e d t o m b s (ibid. 529). 202. 1351). DhahabT (d. As for the Shafi'ites.4 (in the epistle o f n 6 7 / i 7 5 3 f t o t h e people o f ' U y a y n a ) . p. 520/1126) and Q a d i 'Iyad (d. in Melanges Louis Massignon (Damascus. ii.. 79 Ibn G h a n n a m .5. p p . As for the MalikT view.9). pp. 150. 218. i. 128.4 (in a letter t o 'Abdallah ibn S u h a y m ) . For similar surveys. i...14 (in an epistle t o M u h a m m a d i b n Sultan).. ibid. p. 62. 122. pp. and the Shafi'ites A b u Shama (d. M. c o m p a r e Mu'allafat. here he displays a particularly high regard for the great traditionalist Shafi'ites of eighth/fourteenthcentury Damascus.10. 1200/1786)).2 (in a letter to ' A b d a l . p . i. that at Ibn Ghannam. Rawda.14-154. p .6). we may cite a little from the much they have said. 223.) 78 Ibid. 214. 530). 9iff. p. 529). As for the HanafT view. Rawda. 203. 186. 748/1348) and Ibn KathTr (d. pp. 1579. p . Rawda. 144.W a h h a b " in t h e second edition o f The Encyclopaedia of Islam (col. p. 827/1424). p . 78 Thus he provides surveys of the non-Hanbalite schools adducing appropriate authors from each: "As for the views of the followers of other imams regarding takjtr.8. iii. 60—73) t n e Shaykh makes extensive reference t o Shafi'ite (and other) authorities. 151. As he explains it himself: "I dispute with a HanafT by [adducing] the views of the later Hanafts. 525).25. " See. b u t he also suggests that t h e Shaykh a n d his followers w e r e quicker t o declare people infidels (ibid... pp.81 The upshot of the Shaykh is to confirm on the two what great in essence we already knew : 8 2 the Hanbalite scholars of dependence eighth/fourteenth-century 76 For this episode. i. 199. T h e scholars adduced include t h e Hanafts BazzazT (d. of course. 82 Cf.8.Origins of Wahhabism 199 Ironically.. his attitude may owe more to his youthful flirtation with Mu'tazilism76 than to his lifelong allegiance to Hanbalism. 177.3. 665/1267) and Ibn Hajar (d. p. 774/1373). 218. i.2 (in an open letter t o t h e scholars o f Islam). p. Mu'allafat. 233.. In t h e first o f these epistles (ibid.5. a n d t h e y o u n g e r Ibn N u j a y m (d. 519). I a m indebted t o Hossein Modarressi for assistance with the identification o f the HanafT authors cited b y t h e Shaykh. concerned with the Shaykh's references to Hanbalite lawbooks in more n a r r o w l y legal contexts.. qism 5. qism 5. . " 7 9 Sometimes his concern is specifically with the Shafi'ites. 679a). (I am not. 531). t h e MalikTs T u r t u s h ! ( d . 5 4 4 / 1 1 4 9 ) . for example. Laoust emphasises the strength o f the links with regard t o the intercession of the Prophet (ibid... see Ibn Ghannam.14 (in an epistle t o 'Abdallah ibn M u h a m m a d i b n ' A b d al-LatTf alA h s a i ) . 1922.80 References to non-Hanbalite scholars outside such contexts are rare.6.3. 506-40)..25 (in an epistle to the Iraqi scholar Ibn al-SuwaydT (d. p p . this is in fact a quotation from Ibn alQayyim). p. pp.77 The third point is that non-Hanbalite scholars tend not to be cited unless the Shaykh is addressing himself to a non-Hanbalite audience.16. pp. I dispute with each of them by [adducing] the books of the later scholars among them. 38. i. Laoust's formulation in his article " I b n ' A b d a l .. Makdisi.. iv. while at t h e same time seeking t o subvert t h e very idea o f adherence to scholarly authority.W a h h a b ibn 'Abdallah ibn 'Tsa). References to other Hanbalite lawbooks are rare (for a couple of instances.1. The second point is the lack of citation of Hanbalite scholars who lived subsequent to the late eighth/fourteenth century.9. the Shafi'ite and the Hanbalite. 1957). 151.16.. Ibn Ghannam. 178-88) contains no less than ten references to this text. A law-school is clearly envisaged here as being at the same time a theological c o m m u n i t y . In his analysis o f the relationship b e t w e e n Ibn T a y m i y y a and W a h h a b i s m in his m o n o g r a p h on Ibn T a y m i y y a (Essai.

ii. including the Iqlida' and his refutation of the mutakallimun. i.10.89 at one point offers a forthright view of the source of WahhabT doctrine: the books of Ibn al-Qayyim. for example. pp. 148. According to the Shaykh. Rawda. and that when the latter proclaimed it in afatwa. 227.3. see ShawkanT.477. QabbanT had stated that he opposed only Ibn Taymiyya. An epistle to Ahmad ibn ' A b d al-Kanm of al-Ahsa" (ibid.9. 673). pp.1).5).. i.13). the Ighathat al-lahfin. p. p. 'A. of course. C o m p a r e the Shaykh's epistle to A h m a d ibn 'Abd al-Karlm (also of al-Ahsa') responding to the doubts the latter had formed regarding the Shaykh's doctrine as a result of reading Ibn Taymiyya (Ibn Ghannam..87 We possess an abbreviated text of an epistle written not later than 1163/1750 by Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Rahman ibn 'Afaliq al-Ahsa'T to 'Uthman ibn Mu'ammar. f. Ahlwardt.10. 56a-73b (for this text. see C o o k . 68a. and cf.10.9. Ibn 'Abd al-Karlm had also mentioned a passage by Ibn al-Qayyim (ibid. however. p. 84 p. 127. MS. pp. i.9 (Ibn alQ a y y i m ) . ff. 211. 211. Rawda. p.92 Ibn al-AmTr. Ibn ' A b d al-Hadi (d. as we shall shortly see.6. Rawda. pp.6. ibid.8.8.9. pp.8.12). VII (1973).19. 87 A n obscure passage in o n e o f the Shaykh's epistles suggests that this t h e m e m a y also be found in QabbanT's polemic. al-Badr al-tali' (Cairo. 130. 16.often referred to as "the Shaykh al-Islam".. 1348). had initially approved of the activities of the Shaykh. misunderstood.2. 417.3.200 Michael Cook Damascus. 225. i. 154. H e had.10.83 Both are numbered by the Shaykh among the most outstanding of the "later scholars" (nxutdakhkhirun). this dependence provides the target for some of the earliest attacks on the doctrines of the Shaykh. Risala. T h e epistle of u 6 7 / i 7 5 3 f to the people o f ' U y a y n a likewise contains references to Ibn al-Qayyim (as ibid. 751/1350). or simply "the Shaykh " — appears frequently in the pages of our Shaykh's writings. who has occasion to make frequent reference to Ibn Taymiyya and Ibn al-Qayyim in the course of his polemic. Ibn Bishr.4.4. 27.23. Ibn al-Qayyim and ten others. the scholars of the day declared him an infidel and all hell broke loose against him (qamal 'alayhi '1-qiyama) (Ibn Ghannam. 150.19. "Mu'allafat M u h a m m a d ibn Isma'Tl al-AmTr al-San'anT".25. M .84 Ibn Taymiyya .91 A similar attack was launched in H7o/i756f by the Sunnising and militantly traditionalist ZaydT Ibn al-AmTr al-San'am (d. Ibn Taymiyya (d. ii. etc.). pp.85 So likewise does Ibn al-Qayyim. for example.88 Ibn 'Afaliq. 62. 1182/1768). 90 Ibn 'Afaliq.14).24. 38. for example. 226. 214. T h e Shaykh refers to Ibn Rajab (d. an<* cf. and al-Turuq al-lwkmiyya. p. ii.15. 56b. Verzeichniss der arabischen Handschriften der Koniglichen Bibliothek zu Berlin (Berlin. and from this he concluded that the Shaykh was an ill-educated man who had not studied with scholars who could have given 83 References to other Hanbalite scholars of this milieu are rare. p. p. 744/1343) is mentioned for his life of Ibn Taymiyya (ibid. 1887-99). T h e epistle can be dated not later than 1163/1750 since Ibn M u ' a m m a r was assassinated in that year (Ibn Ghannam.22. 209. 215.18. 64. the ruler of 'Uyayna. 150. p. 35. ibid.23. Rawda. H e explains that Ibn al-Qayyim had not declared the c o m m u n i t y at large to be unbelievers.19. T h e Shaykh's epistle of I i 6 7 / i 7 5 3 f to the people o f ' U y a y n a contains numerous references to Ibn Taymiyya (ibid. 201... Risala. 67. Berlin 2. 49. 86 See. Rawda. al-'Arab. the Wahhabls had mistaken this for a declaration of the infidelity of the community.90 Ibn 'Afaliq seems also to have targeted the Shaykh's dependence on Ibn Taymiyya. 150. see W . 57a. 226. of w h o m the Shaykh was the last (Ibn Ghannam. Ibn 'Afaliq. which the Shaykh and his followers have. ii. 214. 64b. pp. the Shaykh's doctrine) was the religion (dm) of Ibn Taymiyya. But in 117o/i756f he had had an opportunity to examine some of his works.86 What is more. 217. 30. 63. 67. 1175/17611). 140. for this epistle. n o . 227.16.). Ibid. A m o n g the works of Ibn al-Qayyim named are the I'lam al-muwaqqi'w. i. 214-21) contains several references to Ibn Taymiyya (ibid. Ibn Ghannam. 89 See. . 728/1328) and Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya (d. 88 Ibn 'Afaliq.. 224. etc. a cleric (mutawwa') of Tharmada'. 91 In an epistle to M u h a m m a d ibn 'Abbad (d. 30.15. 92 For accounts of his life and works. 795/1393) as one of the most outstanding of the "later scholars" (muta'akhkhirun) (Ibn Ghannam. al-Hibshi.. pp.25.1 (Ibn T a y m i y y a ) .4. i. Risala. i.14). ff. 'Unwin al-majd. 60b. 62. 62. 141. see.. pp.158. Several works of Ibn Taymiyya are explicitly mentioned in these epistles. " E x p a n s i o n " . 133-9. firmly condemned the views of a n u m b e r of pseudo-Muslim groups (such as antinomian SufTs and believers in incarnation) w h o are generally agreed to be infidels when they affirm their beliefs. I arn indebted to the Staatsbibliothek Preussischer Kulturbesitz for supplying m e with a microfilm).1.21. »> P. ff. 181.. 32. p. Rawda. 187.3. 211. 85 For reference to Ibn Taymiyya.8.17.3. the Shaykh refers to a letter in which Ibn 'Afaliq had maintained that tawlnd (sc. 218.

16). if the offenders are mushrikun. and see C. p.96 But the work which Ibn al-AmTr devoted to the issue of latter-day shirk91 was written not earlier than 1163/1749^ at a time when the Shaykh had already manifested his cause in Najd. and I know of none who could plausibly be suspected to be the source of his doctrine. a n d o f his v i e w that t h e M u s l i m s at large (al-umma al-Muhammadiyya) infidels (see t h e citations in SiddTq Hasan K h a n .. 687. and Ibn Bishr.20. 94 SiddTq Hasan K h a n . since it is on them that the Hanbalites rely.) 100 See I b n G h a n n a m .9.11. 197. XXII (1987). a n d it gains significance in t h e light o f Ibn al-AmTr's explanation o f his incipient d o u b t s r e g a r d i n g his s u p p o r t o f the S h a y k h : h e h a d heard o f the killing a n d p l u n d e r i n g w h i c h t h e S h a y k h practised in all lands w e r e against his o p p o n e n t s . 33. For the story of these poems.99 The lack of proximate inspiration is confirmed by two early polemical epistles. Abjad al-'uliim.37-17)... ii. pp. 433-5.19. Rawda.1. 3. B u t an element o f a m b i g u i t y remains.93 He states that he himself quoted extensively from Ibn Taymiyya and Ibn al-Qayyim in his rebuttal. and adopted their views in a naive and imperfect fashion. w r i t i n g at the instance o f S u l a y m a n Pasha. p . iii. 1894). SiddTq Hasan Khan. p . I b n al-AmTr replies that this is indeed t h e v i e w o f s o m e authorities (ta'ija min a'immat al-'ilm). 98 Ibn al-AmTr at o n e point quotes four verses from his p o e m in h o n o u r o f the Shaykh (ibid. 95 I b n G h a n n a m in his life o f the S h a y k h (Rawda. etc. 8 3 . 97 Ibn al-AmTr. 56—9) a n d Ibn Bishr in his tarjama o f Ibn al-AmTr ('Unwan al-majd. HibshT. This critique o f t h e S h a y k h appears elsewhere in t h e m o u t h o f a certain 'Abdallah AfandT al-RawT al-BaghdadT. It will be clear from this that the Shaykh acknowledges no near-contemporary scholar as an authority.112. p . p .16. A further contribution to the poetry of the early WahhabT controversy was made by the Basran sayyid YasTn ibn Ibrahim in 1168/1755. Abjad al-'uliim. p p . see Ibn G h a n n a m .2). p . w o u l d lead t o w a r (ibid. his work is a refutation of Ibn al-AmTr's first poem (British Library. 38. T h e absence o f a n y statement o f a c o n t r a r y v i e w .7. ia-5a (for the date. 118. " M u ' a l l a f a t " . 11).14).95 and that the latter was aware of this approval. 37. p p . p .98 and its position on the key issue of jihad is somewhat ambiguous. i.. and cf. pp. al-Jasir. Its leitmotiv is polemic against the qubiiriyyun (Tatlrir. 94. cf. 194). p . "al-Silat bayn San'a' wa'1-Dir'iyya".14. This Ibn S u h a y m w a s a p r o m i n e n t e n e m y o f the Shaykh (ibid.13). Tawdih. in which Ibn al-Amir retracted his support. 24.2).9 (cf.Origins of Wahhabism 201 him guidance. ibid. 5a. 197. al-'Arab. 435. w h o ruled B a g h d a d from 1194/1780 to 1217/1802 (see S u l a y m a n ibn 'Abdallah. . iii. Rieu. We know that Ibn al-Armr initially commended the efforts of the Shaykh.1). for the dating o f the epistle. 52. p . p . p . i. 42.). Supplement to the Catalogue of the Arabic Manuscripts in the British Museum (London. Abjad al-'uliim.12. 14.94 The centrality of Ibn Taymiyya and Ibn al-Qayyim is thus both evident in the works of the Shaykh and confirmed in the attacks of his enemies. it is o b l i g a t o r y t o wage jihad against t h e m . 24. 34. That he makes n o reference to his second thoughts o n the Shaykh perhaps suggests a date of composition not later than H70/i756f. p . Tabri'at alShaykhayn. 198. Rawda.. 96 T h e Shaykh quotes a verse from " t h e Y e m e n i ' s " p o e m in his epistle of u 6 7 / i 7 5 3 f to the people of ' U y a y n a (Ibn G h a n n a m . This w a s in Ii63/i749f. see f. T h e w o r k is noted b y Ibn Bishr in his tarjama of Ibn al-AmTr ('Unwan al-majd. Rawda. I97f. ii. Jasir. p p . Tathir al-i'tiqdd 'an adran al-ilhad (Cairo 1954). 32. 174.1). 28. p . suggest that this is also his o w n v i e w . iii. 36.5). 99 In o n e passage the hypothetical interlocutor observes that.13. i. Or. p . one written by an enemy of the Shaykh. 19. p p . n o . P. see H. 50-3) q u o t e t h e p o e m w h i c h t h e latter w r o t e in s u p p o r t o f the Shaykh's cause. " S i l a t " . p p . Abjad al-'uliim. iii. 52. p . o n this v i e w . Thus there is at one stage a striking similarity of views regarding the prevalence of shirk between the Shaykh and his older contemporary Ibn al-AmTr (born 1099/1688). 50. cf. p . a cleric (mutawwa') of Riyad. and the tone o f the passage as a w h o l e . 'Unwan al-majd.9). n o . p . ff.1. a n d proceeds t o spell o u t t h e escalation w h i c h . C D n S a h m a n w r o t e his w o r k t o p r o v e that Ibn al-AmTr could n o t h a v e written t h e offending p o e m . 35. 38. N o t e also his inclusion of Najd a m o n g the regions in which he had seen or heard of polytheism (ibid. The first is an open letter written by Sulayman ibn Muhammad ibn Suhaym.100 He reports that Ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab had sent a letter swearing that his doctrine {'Urn) had 93 SiddTq Hasan K h a n . 1 1 . and I b n S a h m a n . the other by the Shaykh himself. composed in Ii7o/i756f and accompanied by a commentary. 57. instead he had read some works of Ibn Taymiyya and Ibn al-Qayyim..13. ibid. a n d an incidental statement in a n o t h e r passage supports this (ibid.. Neither mentions the second poem.

1. p.102 The second epistle was written by the Shaykh not later than Ii58/i745f.. this statement is a remarkable one. leads people astray. . fabricates. ibid.103 and is perhaps the very letter referred to by Ibn Suhaym. before this blessing (khayr) which God vouchsafed to me. T h e qadi of Dir'iyya. before this time.19): he says that the greater part of his life had passed without his knowing what he n o w knew of the various forms (anwa") of shirk (ibid. . Ibn Suhaym then goes on to ask whether Ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab's doctrine was something he received by revelation. 678a) is erroneous (see Cook. or knew the meaning of Islam.W a h h a b " in the second edition of The Encyclopaedia of Islam that "there exists a dissertation by his father against the cult of saints" (col. Likewise not one among my teachers knew it. p. quoting (522:78). 189. apart from Whom there is no god. 102 Ibn Ghannam..17. I sought learning (talabtu 'l-'ilm).15). H e adds that all the people of the 'Arid witnessed this oath. 189. he lies. p. 188. p. i. note 157). and those who knew me believed that I had some. and that it had only n o w become apparent to him that jihad is mandatory against the followers of the infidel mystics Ibn ' A r a b ! (d. Unfortunately the Shaykh does not elaborate on the character of the divine blessing. i. .6). i. Elsewhere the Shaykh quotes Q 6 : 1 6 1 : " A s for me. 'Abdallah ibn 'Tsa ibn 'Abd al-Rahman. Rawda.101 or to the people of the 'Arid (the part of Najd in which he lived). and falsely praises himself. It may well be the oldest source we possess for the life of the Shaykh. 104 Ibid.. 101 Laoust's statement in his article " I b n 'Abd a l . or maintains that any of his teachers knew it. nor did I know the religion of Islam. appends an endorsement to this letter in which the same theme is stressed (cf. or in a dream. 632/1235) (ibid. By God.9).."104 In a culture which had scant regard for claims to originality in matters of faith.202 Michael Cook been unknown to his teachers (masha'ikh). p. or from the devil (al-shaytan) . m y Lord has guided m e to a straight p a t h .. 695. if any of the scholars of the 'Arid claims that he knew the meaning of'there is no god but God'. 103 Ibn Ghannam states that the epistle was written while the Shaykh was still in 'Uyayna (ibid. p. p. 143. to his own father.. 638/1240) and Ibn al-Farid (d. " E x p a n s i o n " . 62.12. yet at that time I did not know the meaning of'there is no god but God'. In it he confirms the essence of Ibn Suhaym's report: "I will tell you about myself. p. 194. 195. " (ibid. or the time and place of its bestowal.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful