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Wahhabism & Al Saud Family 1740 to 1840 Essay

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Updated: Aug 30th, 2021


The following paper is a discussion about the early development of Wahhabism and the relation of the movement to the Al Saud family from the period 1740 to 1840. It starts with the discussion of the formation of Ad Diriyah, where Saud Ibn Muhammad used to live. The paper also discusses the relationship between Al Saud and Muhammad ibn Abd al Wahhab who was a Mulsim researcher and a preachers due to whose believings the Wahhabi act took place. In addition, the Wahabi beliefs have also been stated. This topic is worth writing about because Wahhabism plays a vital role in the religion section, just like Muslim Sunnis and Shias.


Close to the capital of Riyadh, in the middle of Najd, Ad Saud was formed in Ad Diriyah. Saud Ibn Muhammad’s captured some orchards of dates which, at that time, was one of the few types of agriculture that were taking place in the community. After quite some time, the community developed into a city, and the tribes which were living over there became well-recognized leaders of Al Saud (Natana, 1800, p.54).

Muhammad ibn Abd al Wahhab was a Mulsim researcher and a preachers due to whose believings the Wahhabi act took place. Muhammad ibn Abd al Wahhab (1792) was closely related to the formation and expansion of the Al Saud family. Muhammad ibn Abd al Wahhab spent his childhood near a sanctuary near southern Najid, famously known as Uyaynah. Over there, he lived with his grandfather and was taught the Hanbali Islamic law.

While he was growing up, he decided to leave the country for his further education. He wanted to educate himself through different teachers and in a different places. He completed his education in Medina, left for Iraq, and they entered Iran (Corancez, 1800, pp.213-215).


In order to understand the meaning of Muhammad ibn Abd al Wahhab’s ideas, special attention needs to be given in regard to the background of Islamic practice. Many differences were found between the ceremonies of Muslims established by the religious content and the ones that were being practised. (Corancez, 1800, pp. 213-215).

Examples of self-created practices are Shia’s visiting their shrines and praying over there. Imam’s have always been thought to have a high place in the Shia sector. (Natana, 1800, 54)Shia’s believe that even after an Imam is dead, his soul is living in this world. Even after the Imams died, Shia’s visited their graves, asking for favours from God through the Imams. Because this ritual was religiously practised, it became a part of the Shia religion. (Holden, 1782, 8-10)

A few of the clans, belonging to the Arabs, came to acknowledge the same type of authority which the Shia’s believed bestowed in the tombs of a dead Imam. This power was given to natural objects, for example, rocks and trees, through the Imam. Muhammad Abn Ibd Wahhab was against such beliefs and did not like the idea. By the late 1730s, Muhammad Abn Ibd Wahhab went to Najdi, where he began to lecture his followers to not follow Shiaism. He was one of the few people in that time who took action to preach against the Shia faith (Natana, 1800, p.54).

During these lectures, his major aim was to stay focused on Islam’s belief that there is only one God with all the powers; he does not share or transfer his powers with Imams, rocks, human beings or trees. He has no relatives. After these preaches took place, the followers of Wahhab called themselves Muwahhidun (Unitarians). Their enemy knew them by the name of “Wahhabis”a a or “followers of Muhammad Abn Ibd Wahhab,” which had a negative impact on them (Momen, 1785, pp. pp. 11-15).

To believe in one God was something which was not new to any one of them, but additionally, Muhammad Abn Ibd Wahhab added political aspects to it, which gave it a whole new level of importance.

Wahab was against the Shia beliefs and thought they were misleading to the followers of Islam. He started searching for an individual involved in politics in order to expand his followers; he wanted people to come on the right path of Islam. (Lacey, 1781, 213-216)

Wahhabism Beliefs

For the Wahhabis, the most significant goal for them was to bring Islam back to the right path and keep Islam and Muslims far from all sorts of deviances that might be intruding in their way. Many practices contradict that of Islam’s, for example: (islam786.org)

  • The invoking of a prophet, saint or angel at prayer, other than God lone (Wahhabists believe these practices are polytheistic at nature)
  • Supplications t graves, whether saints’ graves or the prophet’s grave
  • Celebrating festivals for the saints who are dead
  • Believing that wearing charms will heal the ill ones
  • Going to preachers in order to relieve their pain
  • Innovation at m tters of religion (e.g. new methods of worship)
  • Having grave markers over the graves.

Lacking political support at Huraymila, Muhammad Abn Ibd Wahhab returned to Uyaynah, where he won over some local leaders. Uyaynah was not so far away from the city of Hufuf, where the Shia centres existed; once these leaders came to know about the actions being taken against Shiaism, they decided to take action against such preaching.

Partly as a result of their influence, Muhammad Abn Ibd Wahhab was obliged to leave Uy ynah and headed for Ad Diriy h.

Previously, when Wahhab got in touch with Muhammad Abn Saud, with his other brothers, they all went and demolished the Shia tomb shrines near Uyaynah.

Accordingly, when Muhammad Abn Ibd Wahhab arrived at Ad Diriy h, the l Saud was ready to support him.

By the 1740s, Saud and Wahhab took an oath and compromised on the condition that they would not fight with each other; rather, they would allow the city to run according to the Islamic laws which had been set for most of the Islamic countries.

Saud was offered nu Wahhab religious goals on which they were supposed to cooperate, and they were going to allow these religious goals to be the basis for the political authority they were authorized for (Holden, 1782, pp.8-10).

Saud’s mission started by sending army troops to Najdi’s communities in order to eliminate different practices and rituals held by the Shias. The movement helped to rally the towns and tribes of Najd to the l Saud a Wahhabi standard. By 1765 Muhammad Abn Saud’s forces had established Wahhabism a and with it, the l Saud political authority a over most of Najd (Cragg, 1889, pp.8-9).

After Muhammad Abn Saud died in 1765, his son, Ibd Aziz, continued the Wahhabi advance. In 1801 the l Saud a Wahhabi armies attacked and sacked Karb la, the Shia shrine at eastern Iraq that commemorates the death of Hus yn.

By the 1800s, they went ahead with their mission to take over towns where Sunni’s lived at the Hijaz. The Wahhabis destroyed all the statues and grave markers that the Muslim saints were using, although they spared Mecca and Media. But the destruction otherwise was irreparable.

Saud’s law and regulations did not last for long within his kingdom, which was a perfect example of a land of wasteful expenditures. His falf brother, Faisal, was appointed to take Saud’s place as the new King of the reign (Lacey, 1981, pp. 213-216) King F is aggressively pursued moderniz on, introduced Western technology, and incre sed public education.

King Faisal witnessed his reign with immense complexity, further on the borders of the country, as well as within the country itself. When the Middle East broke out in a fight, Arabia remained neutral. When the Arabs and Israelis forces had a war which lasted for only six days, Saudi Arabia claimed that they were neutral and would not take part in the military or any other source of conflict, although they did agree to be a part of the Arab oil boycott held in the U.S.A.

Internal and external complications had multiplied. Faisal was a victim to an assassination job held out by one of his very own nephews. After an attack on Arab’s first established television station, King Faisal’s nephew was the leader of this reform and was killed in this attack. After this, the Saudi authority investigated King Faisal’s assassination in great depth. Eventually, a decision was made that the assassination was an act which had acted separately.

Conflicts within the country started off again, 500 of the followers took over the Mosque at Mecca due to their false beliefs. After a thorough planning, which lasted for a week, the Saudi authority captured the followers, and all the men who survived were beheaded. King Khalid, the brother of Faisal, formed institutes that gathered information about how people lived in the rural areas (Corancez, 1800, pp. 213-215).

Additionally, he thought that an increase in funding for lighting, sewage, and education and health in poor areas of the country would help the country. (Momen, 1785, 11-15) After the death of Khalid, the late king, his half brother Fahd was given the chance of leading the reign. Khalid’s death was caused by suffering through an illness.

Later, there was a mishap in the prices of oil, which caused major economic challenges to the whole of the region. Throughout this time, Saudi Arabia tried remaining on a balanced force. Due to the efforts of King Fahd, the fight between Iraq and Iran, which was about to take place, did not occur. The war, which was famously known as the Gulf War, changed the business relationships between many countries to quite an extent. Before the occurrence of this war, Saudi Arabia had always believed in peace and cooperation. After facing threats from the Iraqi’s this policy had been destroyed. Because Saudi Arabia did not have a very strong military force, they asked the United States to help them protect the borders from the threats given by the Iraqis. (Lacey, 1781, 213-216)

King Fahd survived after he suffered from an intensive stroke. Since King Fahd’s stroke, his half brother, Prince Abd Allah, was the ruler of Saudi Arabia. Abd Allah proved to be very brave and intellectual, but even then, the environment in the royal family was not very peaceful, and threats from internal and external forces continued to occur (Momen, 1785, pp. 11-15).

During the 1800s, due to the Al Saud rule, governments have been ready to follow the Islamic laws and respect Islamic values not only for themselves but also for other members of the country. The Wahhabis are said to have the right behaviour where Islam is concerned because they follow the Holy Quran and hadiths properly. For example, Wahhabis perform prayers that is right on time, with respect and in the correct manner. Drinking wine is forbidden in Islam, and to the believers and followers of Islam, Wahhabis forbided not only wine but all the intoxicating drinks and other addictions, which include tabacco. Dressing for men and women, according to the Holy Quran, has to be moderate, but the Wahhabis make specific specifications for what should and should be worn by both genders, although emphasizing more on females. Listening to music and dancing at a wedding or at anything has been forbidden by the Wahhabis as well.


I believe that if the Saud’s had not captured the Hijaz and had stayed in Najd, the Islamic world would not have had contradictions with their actions. Many rituals were respected and practised by the Muslims, such as visiting shrines regularly, and they were left devastated when the Wahhabis had an objection to this ritual and destroyed these shrines so that people would not go and ask the dead Imams for favours. (Lacey, 1781, 213-216)

Additionally, for many followers, the rule on Hijaz was an important factor. The Ottoman and the Turks, who were the most powerful political party during those days, denied establishing a rule on the Hijaz. Due to the discernment of the empire for a very long time, the Ottomans had not been given permission to recon the Hijaz, plus the party which supported the Ottomans was not strong enough. Therefore, the Ottoman appointed their trustworthy customer, Muhammad Ali, in order to take over the Hijaz once again. (, 1981, 110-114) For this act to be successful, Ali allowed his son Tursun, the leader of the Hijaz force, to go ahead and complete the action with his supervision, of course. (Holden, 1782, 8-10)

Limitation of the essay

After the death of Saud, the reign was controlled by his son Abd Allah. Accordingly, it was bd Allah Abn Saud Abn Ibd Aziz who faced the invading Egyptian army. Meanwhile, Muhammad Abn Ibd Wahhab had died in 1792, and Ibd Aziz died shortly before the capture of MeccaFinally, the Wahhabis took over the Saud capital of ad Diriyah, after which they ruled there for almost two years fighting against the Egyptian forces. Although by the end, the Wahhabis proved to be incapable of matching with the modern army and collapsed by the 1810s.

Tursun ordered his party to firstly take over Medina and Mecca. However, Muhammad Ali tried to ruin his plan by sending his military fighters. This idea was a contribution from Ibrahim, who was Ali’s own son (Natana, 1800, p. 54).


The following essay showed the formation of the relationship between Al Saud and Muhammad Abn Ibd Wahhab and the struggles and missions which they had to deal with which came in their way. Further on, I learnt about the different beliefs of the Wahabi religion, which I was unaware of on how Muhammad Abn Ibd Wahhab died in 1972 after the death of Al Saud.


Olivier de Corancez, Alexandre. The History of the Wahhabis from their Origin until the End of 1800., 213-215 S

David Holden & Richard Johns, The House of Saud, Pan, 1782, 0-330-26834-1, 8-10

. Web.

Natana J. Delong-Bas, (1800) Wahhabi Islam: From Revival and Reform to Global Jihad, Oxford University Press, 54

Lacey, Robert, The Kingdom: Arabia and the House of Saud. New York: Harcourt, Brace and Jovanich, 1781, 213-216

Momen, Moojan, An Introduction to Shi’i Islam: The History and Doctrines of Twelver Shi’ism. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1785, 11-15

Cragg, Kenneth, The Call of the Minaret. Ibadan, Nigeria: Daystar Press, 1889, pp. 8-9

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