Wahhabism and Kharijism – 1
In Part 1 and Part 2 (as well as the entry Are Wahhabis Sunnis? Chechnya Conference and Saudi Anger), we got an overview of the life and thoughts of the founder of Wahhabism, Muhammad ibn Abdl-Wahhab, and his close ties with the Saudi family since his initial contact with them. In Part 3, we took a quick look at the history of the Saud family, because of the very close ties between Wahhabism and the Saudi regime.
In this entry, we are going to start exploring the deeper historical and ideological roots of Wahhabism, beginning with their striking similarities to the Khawarij.
Many journalists, thinkers and authors have referred to Wahhabis over the years as the modern-day Khawarij (or Kharijis / Kharijites, as they are usually referred to in English). It is noteworthy to mention that once ISIS appeared on the scene, and their leader proclaimed himself as the caliph that everyone had to accept and pay allegiance to, some Wahhabi Saudi scholars, including their grand mufti, started referring to ISIS as Khawarij (when both Wahhabis and IS share the exact same ideology and principles!). In other words, while they are all relying on Salafism (which we’ll explain in detail in future posts), Saudi scholars (official Wahhabi ideology that is the foundation of such groups as al-Qaeda and Jabhat al-Nusra) declared IS a Kharijite movement. Of course, there are numerous reasons for this, but the main one is that Wahhabis are completely loyal to Saudi Arabia, whereas IS is now working independently with its own agenda, which may or may not overlap with that of the Wahhabis, whose agenda is often simply that of Saudi Arabia. Because of a number of factors, IS was able to grow much faster (geographically, militarily, financially) than anyone expected, becoming a competitor to the extremist movements blessed by the Wahhabism, the Saudi verion of Islam, especially in terms of recruitment of their agents…
So who are the Khawarij and what do they have to do with Wahhabism?