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Title: Manifest Enmity: The Origins, Development, and Persistence of Classical Wahhābism (1153-1351/1741-1932)
Authors: Bunzel, Cole Michael
Advisors: Haykel, Bernard A
Contributors: Near Eastern Studies Department
Keywords: Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya
Ibn Taymiyya
Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab
Saudi Arabia
Subjects: Middle Eastern history
Islamic studies
Issue Date: 2018
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: This dissertation presents a critical reexamination of Wahhābism (al-Wahhābiyya), the Islamic revivalist movement named for Muḥammad ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhāb (d. 1792), from its emergence in central Arabia in the mid-eighteenth century to the early twentieth century. Drawing on an array of new primary source material, including rare manuscripts gathered from around the world, this study provides a new account of the movement’s origins, development, and persistence over a nearly two-hundred-year span, namely, 1741-1932. Its main contention is that throughout this period Wahhābism was a fundamentally exclusivist and activist movement, one set on converting the nominal Islamic world to its version of the faith by coercive means, including violence. In addition to calling on Muslims to turn away from what it considered polytheism (shirk), Wahhābism adamantly required its adherents to manifest enmity (ʿadāwa) to those Muslims deemed polytheists. As is examined in detail, Ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhāb grounded his doctrine in the religious thought of Ibn Taymiyya (d. 1328) and Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya (d. 1350), two fourteenth-century Syrian Ḥanbalī scholars who stoked controversy in their own day for their views. Among other things, they held that the widespread practices associated with visiting the burial sites of saints and prophets constituted shirk. Following them, Ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhāb likewise deemed such practices to be shirk. Yet not only did he adopt these earlier scholars’ views, he adapted them in a more extremist direction. Furthermore, he launched a religio-political movement to eliminate shirk, following the example of the Prophet Muḥammad and the early Muslim community. For nearly two-hundred years, the exclusivist and activist spirit of classical Wahhābism persisted in the writings and activities of the leading Wahhābī scholars. It was only attenuated in the early decades of the third Saudi state (1902-present). From that point onward, while Wahhābī scholars continued to elaborate their doctrine as before, the hard-edged elements of the creed were less observed. Much later, beginning in the 1970s, the classical Wahhābī heritage was rediscovered and reappropriated by the emergent Jihādī Salafī movement, which found in the Wahhābī tradition ample justification, as well as inspiration, for a new form of Islamic activism.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog:
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Near Eastern Studies

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