The History of Wahhabism

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Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab was born

1702 - 1703

Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab creates Wahhabism

1737

Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab establishes an austere form of Islam that preaches a literal reading of the Qur'an. He joins forces with a local ruler, Muhammad bin Saud, to conquer Arabia and excise looser interpretations of Islam.

Muhammad ibn Sa'ud dies

1765

succeeded by his son

Ibn Abd al-Wahhabi Withdraws from public life

1773

He even gave up the title of imam, or prayer leader, devoting his last years to prayer, reflection, teaching, and the study of religious texts

Abdul-Aziz bin Muhammad declares war for the first time

1791

Abdul-Aziz bin Muhammad declares war for the first time (based on the principles of Wahhabism) against the amir of Mecca, Sharif Ghalib Effendi. Previously, those following Wahhabism would attack nonbelievers in secret.

Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab dies

1792

Wahhabi Army marches to Karbala

1801

the Wahhabi army marched to Karbala with a force of 10,000 men and 6,000 camels. Upon reaching Karbala, they mercilessly and indiscriminately attacked its inhabitants for eight hours, massacring about 5,000 people. Moreover, they severely damaged Imam Hussein’s mosque, looted the city, and left the carnage-laden city with its treasures on 200 camels.

The Wahhabis take control of Mecca

1803

The Wahhabis take control of Mecca, challenging the Ottoman sultan's claim to the guardianship of the holy sites. They capture Medina the following year.

Turks overthrow the Wahhabis

1811

The Turks dispatch Egyptian ruler Muhammad Ali to overthrow the Wahhabis and reinstate Ottoman sovereignty. He succeeds

Tarkee ibn 'Abdullah becomes the chief of the Wahhabis

1824

Muhammad ibn Sa'ud's son is assassinated

1830

Mashshari ibn Sa'ud kills Tarkee and takes over Wahabbis

1833

Faysal, Tarkee's son, murdered Mashshari to succeed him in leading the Wahhabis

1838

Ibn Saud recaptures Riyadh

1901

With Wahhabi help, Ibn Saud recaptures Riyadh

Wahhabism enters Central Asia

1912

Wahhabism entered Central Asia in around 1912 with Sayed Shari Muhammed, but it did not take hold until after the Afghan War when the Saudi royal family adopted it (after a oil boom).

Modern Saudi Arabia if founded

1932

Modern Saudi Arabia is founded. Wahhabism is the official religion.

Extremists us Wahhabist ideals to justify acts of violence

1981

Islamic extremists use Wahhabist ideals to justify acts of violence like the assassination of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat.