Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Revisiting Words, Swords and Gold

In this post we will talk about a sect which has used all instruments at its disposal, the Sword, the Word and Gold to achieve its dominance over other lines of thought.

In the year 1740, the ruler of a small town in Arabia and an Islamic scholar, both of whom were ambitious and visionary, entered into a pact. The ruler undertook to support and promulgate the vision of the scholar, while the scholar undertook to accept the ruler and his descendants as temporal leaders of the movement.

This partnership has been one of the most fruitful of all times for both parties concerned. It has impacted the lives of people in every part of the globe and changed the course of history as well as the nature of society and culture in many parts of the world.

The partnership endured and after quite a few ups and downs, by the early 20th century, most of Arabia was under the control of the Saud family with the help of the Wahhabis. The Wahhabi movement in turn was provided with a state and assumed power to dictate religious behavior in the kingdom.

With the discovery of oil wealth and the influx of itinerant workers in the region, the movement found itself with a source of funding as well as a pool of people to influence and convert to its way of thinking. The converts, when they returned, further influenced and converted their communities back home by constructing madrassas and mosques with their newly acquired wealth, preaching their new doctrine. With time this movement came to dominate the Muslim communities of the subcontinent.

I would like to end this post by quoting Iqbal :

cheen o arab hamaraa, hindostaaN hamaara,
muslim hain hum, watan hai saara jahaaN hamaara


tayghon key saaye meiN hum, pal kar jawaaN huwey haiN,
khanjar hilaal kaa hai, qawmi nishaaN hamaara


Anonymous said...

heyy, i quite like this series. thanks for putting it in a compact and digestable form. definitely interesting!! and new info for me.

Vinod_Sharma said...

Very informative. This must be one of the few such alliances that have survived and expanded for so long.

hitch writer said...

Interesting ! I know very little bout this.

Bones said...

I think Wahhabism's rigidity (its insistance on a literal interpretation of the Koran)has led to the resurgence of Jihad today eg. Osama-bin-laden and the Taliban...It encourages hatred...Followers believe that non believers of Wahhabism should be hated, persecuted and even killed...This kind of belief only causes chaos...Saudi Arabia condemned bin laden after the 9/11 attacks but did not condemn his message...The message is still being taught in Saudi schools...The following is an extract from a Saudi school text book:
Teachings of the Hadith

1/ It's fate decided by Allah that the Muslims and Jews will fight till the end of the world.

2/ The Hadith predicts for the Muslims God's victory over the Jews.

3/ The victory for the Muslims because they are right, and who ever is right is always victorious, even though most people are against him.

4/ God grants victory to the Muslims if they have a true will, if they unite, hold on to God's sharia, if they go by God's ruling, if they are patient.

5/ The material strength won't be enough to warrant victory, it is necessary to invoke God seek his support.

6/ Who ever is with God, God is with him; no matter what hardships and ordeals one would undergo what counts is the final result.

7/ Jews and Christians are the enemies of believers they will never approve of the Muslims, beware of them.


All religions should be dynamic i.e. they should change with times...Wahhabism is not dynamic...Its followers don't realize that what was acceptable and needed in the 7th. is not acceptable or needed in the 21st. ...This is what is causing all the problems in the world today...

Vinod_Sharma said...

Bones, that was quite a shocker for many who want to live in a make-believe world and pretend that a problem does not exist.

Change is the only constant. This is a fact that has been known to man. This the most fundamental rule without which survival and growth is impossible in the long run, as history has shown time and again. Change will always be opposed. Sometimes the opposition will be fierce, particularly if the name of God is mistakenly invoked for the purpose.

But, no matter how long or bitter the struggle, change will win. That is the rule of nature. That is the will of 'God'!

Bones said...

P.S. Sagarone:
Your previous post about Pakistani Muslims needing to sign a declaration stating that they are true Muslims is a result of the spread of Wahhabism...Unfortunately, India has to pay for it...

Sagarone said...

@everyone, thanks for your comments but please remember that this is just a sect, it has still not been able to obliterate alternate viewpoints in either the subcontinent or the world at large. The onus is on the Muslims to find ways to reform or counter its ideology and spread.

1conoclast said...

Where's my comment Chief?

Smitha said...

@Sagarone - As usual, very informative and Bones has added to it! I had read a little about Wahabbism. I had heard this from my relatives in Kerala that Wahabs from Arab countries have pumped in so much money in Kerala for the spread of Wahabbism that Muslims in Kerala are getting more and more influenced by this - Not sure how much of this is true though.. But quite a revelation, as all your posts are!

Sagarone said...

@1con, what comment?

Sagarone said...

Sorry 1con, I messed up! Here it is:

Originally posted by 1conoclast:


Great post again.

Wahabbism probably originated in opposition to Shia thought.
It's a virulent form of religious thought, and it's unfortunate that it's managed to find so many takers.
THAT's the bloody problem with saying Yes to violence!

Anyway... In India too it has tried to influence certain sects, but fortunately not found many takers. Hopefully the Indian ulema are doing something to counter the spread of what is also referred to as "petro-islam".

I don't know if you remember seeing a BBC link about a few Turkish men who're teaching in Afghanistan/pakistan about the true peaceful, tolerant message of Islam?

The movement against petro-islam has taken root. God Willing, it will triumph!

Smitha said...

@Sagarone - I think my comment has gone missing too :( Had commented earlier today..

Indyeah said...

I agree with Roopscoop,This is very interesting and eminently readable and easy to understand..
Thanks for going the extra mile to make it so..:)

One can only hope Wahabbism does not spread roots in India..
But ultimately you put it very precisely when you say that the onus is on the 'muslims to find ways to reform or counter its ideology and spread.' which I think should also be a point to ponder for all religions..as well...

Sagarone said...

@Smitha and Indyeah, thanks. If anyone else has a problem with missing comments, please let me know.

1conoclast said...

Isn't it a pity what happened to Iqbal...?

Anonymous said...

Unbiased article...

But as portayed in some comments,wahabism is a small sector followed bys mall sector of people in a small region in comaprion of total number of muslims in this world..Saudi acts like America,they pretend that they are custodians fo muslim world.Holy crap,let them all burn in hell ..

Anonymous said...

To add,as 1conoclast said,the fight agasinst their wrong and sick interperetation of islam has been growing more and more day by day and more and more people are realizing how manmade hadiths have been manipulated well enough to meet personal,political and cultural motives..People are realizing the truth and the conspiracy of people witiin the communtiy..Lets hope the change takes place soon..

Sagarone said...

@1con, Yes it is a pity.
@Nimmy, Welcome :)

Sagarone said...

A really good read: