Wahhabism is dangerous for other cultures
Though Islam has originated from Semitic, if you will go through the history, where it was a social reform movement in the early stage, it turned into a purely political movement after the demise of its founder Muhammad Sahab, where Muslim groups were fighting amongst themselves for power. All the battles that Rashidun Caliphate, Umayyad, Abbasid, Fatimid or the Ottoman Empire fought and conquered princely states were aimed to achieve power and not to do the religious propaganda… But in spite of this, there were a large number of conversions and large populations got converted into Islamic structure.
But the point to understand here is that the definition of Islam that was created in the light of the Hadiths and Quran was appropriate for a certain geographical area but it was not suitable to integrate all the cultures outside of Arabia those embraced Islam but also maintained their own existences. You can understand this better by keeping your own country as a model rather than understanding this through any other region.
People in India were largely Hindus but were divided into castes/sub-castes and many of their customs were there since ages. They did adopt Islam, but still did not abandon those customs, traditions and brought them into Islam itself. You can find many traditions in Jat, Rajput Muslim societies that have no connection with Islam. Those who believed in the tradition of the gurus started following pirs… Those who had the habit of bowing before the idols started worshipping mausoleums.
This happened in almost all countries with their own cultural identity. They incorporated their cultural identity, their customs, traditions into Islam and it got a distinct identity as Sufi Islam. It was a series connecting human with human, which had a rapid impact from Turkey, Arab, Iran to India… The rituals associated with it were due to the integration of other cultures where people linked their ancestral traditions with Islam.
Whatever bloodshed by the Muslims in that period was done, was a result of power hunger but it had got nothing to do with that Islamic fundamentalism, perverted form of which we now see as extremism or terrorism. There was also an era when the Arabic language was dominated, Baghdad was called the centre of knowledge. The supremacy of the Arabic world over the knowledge was similar to that of the West today.
The tenth-century vizier Ibn Abbad had more than a lac books when there were not so many books in all libraries across Europe. Baghdad alone had thirty major research centres of scientific knowledge. In addition to Baghdad, Alexandria, Jerusalem, Aleppo, Damascus, Mosul, Tous and Nishapur were major centres of learning in the Arabic world and Islam was established in a different form.
In India, at that time the Quran was confined to the Arabic language, which people used to read from the perspective of sawab, and the Hadiths had absolutely nothing to do much with ordinary people. Few Hadiths with good messages were sometimes used to be recited in mosques on Fridays or on Shab e Qadr… or there used to be events like ijtema and Milad among women where they used to recite some good Hadiths.
That is, the issues like shirk, biddat, etc. were on a very small and almost negligible scale and the majority of the Muslim population was living unaware of these in their own way. Integrating different cultures and traditions, Muslims had many faiths like Shia, Hanafi, Maliki, Saifi, Jafari, Baqaria, Basharia, Khalafia, Hanbali, Zahiri, Ashri, Muntazili, Murzia, Matroodi, Ismaili, Bohra, Ahmadiyya, etc. keeping their own identity while Deobandis, who claim purity, were also accepting this cultural diversity despite living with the identity of that ideology.
Concept of pure Arabic Islam
This pure Arabic Islam was conceptualized by Muhammad ibn Abd al Wahhab (1703–1792) who started destroying the beautiful and progressive traditions that were developing within Islam. All those rituals, customs, traditions first began to be recognized as shirk and biddat in the light of the Quran and Hadiths and Islam was given such a narrow form that there should be no scope for any kind of freedom, openness and communion.
Abd al Wahhab, taking the initiative to eliminate whatever is outside the purview of the Quran and Hadith, declared the killing of every mushrik and plundering their property as halal and for this, he prepared an army of 600 people and deployed them in the name of jihad everywhere. He started killing people of all types of Islamic beliefs. He only kept propagating his ideology and whosoever refused to accept him was killed and their property was robbed. He personally attacked the tomb of the famous Islamic thinker Zaid ibn al Khattab and demolished it himself.
He started attacking the Mazars and targeted Sufism. During this time he entered into an agreement with Muhammad bin Saud. Muhammad bin Saud was the ruler of Diriyyah and possessed both wealth and army. Together, both of them started using swords as well as modern weapons. The agreement of these two made it easy to reach out to remote areas to impose their ideology and destroy other faiths.
The burning of all books related to other faiths became a passion for Muhammad ibn Abd al Wahhab. Along with this, he issued another disgusting order to demolish all the Sufi Mazars, mausoleums or tombs and make urinals there. Saudi Arabia, a nation based on the Wahhabi faith apparently, continued the tradition of Muhammad ibn Abd al Wahhab and for that reason the burial cemetery with the nabi and his family there was also destroyed. Al-Mukarramah, a part of the Kaaba was also demolished for the same reason…
The distorted form of jihad that we see today is originated of this concept. And it was not only started forcibly but also started as a mass awareness campaign where those Quranic verses and the Hadiths were widely disseminated with meanings that could be used to separate all those things as shirk and biddat from Islam, that were not related to the original form of Islam. Gradually, this ideology began to engulf all Muslim countries that were leading happy lives with their mixed cultures.
You can see the changes under Erdogan’s leadership in Turkey. You can understand the changing form of Bangladesh living with a Hindu-Bengali culture from the writings of Taslima Nasrin. In Pakistan, Jinnah and Iqbal, who used to be considered as Pakistan’s builders and respectable figures, are being targeted by the new generation of Pakistanis because of things like Ahmadiyya, Khoja, pork, wine in the same way in which Gandhi is to new nationalists in India. To see this change in India look around, look at the Jat, Rajput Muslim societies of Western UP, Haryana, Rajasthan.
Wahhabism has been playing with the history of Islam, beliefs, mutual harmony and co-existence of identities. Hitler adopted the idea of racial purity as one identity, one type of people, one kind of thinking, one book from Wahhabism itself. Expelling firqas other than Wahhabism from Islam and their slaughter was justified. People of other religions were even declared wajib-ul-qatl (mandatory to kill) and the plunder of their property and the conversion of their women was justified. Pakistan and Bangladesh became their favourite playgrounds.
How this idea of oneness is fatal to an inclusive and diverse society, you can understand it from the model of the Sangh, that wants to impose their ‘model of Hindutva’ equally on the whole of India with diverse cultures… Can tribals of Northeast, other tribal societies and Hindu societies of the south reconcile with the model in which ‘Rama’ is an ideal and superior God? Can the Ram Mandir movement of Hindi belt inspire the whole country? Can a cow be revered as the mother of all Indian people? If not, then is it reasonable to impose this on them…? Wahhabism also has the same track.
The Sangh has one or two countries with a Hindu population but the Wahhabis have a large number of countries as well as countries like Saudi promoting this ideology have huge money and scholars like Zakir Nayak as their brand ambassadors. The thinking of a new nationalist Indian about Gandhi and a newly nationalist Pakistani about Jinnah and Iqbal is the same, that they do not match their ‘model’.
Maulana Maududi and Jamaat-e-Islami
The interpretation of Islam that was made by Ibn Taymiyya in the fourteenth century was later turned into a comprehensive campaign in the eighteenth century by Abd al Wahhab and despite disagreements on some points, Maulana Maududi, the founder of the Jamaat-e-Islami spread it in the Indian territory in his own way.
There were mainly four firqas in Islam as Hanafi, Hanbali, Shafi and Maliki that were formed following the Imams, having many firqas within them but Sunni from all over India (pre-independence British India) belong to Hanafi firqa those got divided into Deobandi and Barelvi firqas in the nineteenth century following Ashraf Ali Thanwi and Ahmed Raza Khan.
The Arabs place themselves in the Hanbali firqa, while the people of the Middle East and Africa belong to the Shafi and Maliki firqas, but all of them are Sunnis (Shias are completely different from them) and have three ideologies as Salafi, Wahhabi and Ahl e Hadith prevalent among them… In terms of bigotry, you can place Ahl e Hadith, Wahhabi and Salafi from bottom to top. Salafi and Wahhabi don’t even consider other followers of Islam as Muslims.
Maududi had spread this ideology in the Indian territory, and growing rapidly that has now reached the stage where you can see this change around you in the educated, modern-day Muslim (Deobandi) youths in the form of ankle-length pyjamas, beard, etc. Barelvi society is against all this.
There are two faces of this ideology… The one that has created a variety of organizations and has waged a war in the name of ‘jihad’ that will last until the whole world is coloured as they like and the other face that cleverly defends all those things with logic, on the basis of which these jihadi groups are flourishing.
It is an art of changing oneself, defending one’s evils and flaws… The same way as the Sangh, that considers the concept of a Hindu nation as an ideal, has transformed itself into a cultural organization that makes the temple of Lord Rama in north India an issue to bring the BJP to the power, on the other hand, it teams up with the Periyar supporters in the south who curse Rama, at the same time it gets moulded to convince Lingayats who abuse the deity gods of north India.
It can also support mob lynching in the name of cow slaughter in north India and converts itself in some way to stand with the population eating it in the northeast or south. Flexibility is necessary for the spread of any ideology and they also know this. Therefore, to fit that which cannot be adjusted with the original idea, other ancillary organisations or armies are formed, that may look different from the outer side but have the same roots and from integrating the opposing idea to ‘shoot’ or ‘blast’, they do all the jobs well.