Mumbai: A section of media, including those in Turkey and the Indian subcontinent who are openly part of the Iranian agenda of hate, since last two days are twisting Mohammed bin Salman's statement about "Wahhabism" in order to hide their own crimes unleashed in the Muslim world to fulfill their expansionist ideological interests.
Whatever Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said while talking to The Atlantic was a clear rebuttal of unfounded, propagandist and false attribution to Wahhabism. But, while a leading Turkish daily not only called it a “historic confession” but also associated totally false, misleading and unfounded beliefs with the Hanbali Muslims of Saudi Arabia. Interestingly, those in the Indian sub-continent lapped it up without realizing the distortion the Turkish daily was spreading just to score a point or two over Saudi Arabia.
During the long interview with Mohammed bin Salman, Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic while linking “Wahhabism” with extremism, which the Trukish daily twisted to terrorism, asked, “Isn’t it true, though, that after 1979, but before 1979 as well, the more conservative factions in Saudi Arabia were taking oil money and using it to export a more intolerant, extremist version of Islam, Wahhabist ideology, which could be understood as a kind of companion ideology to Muslim Brotherhood thinking?”
Mohammed bin Salman quickly realized the real intention behind the question. Hence he without wasting a second retorted, “First of all, this Wahhabism—please define it for us. We’re not familiar with it. We don’t know about it.”
To this, Goldberg asked “What do you mean you don’t know about it?”
Mohammed bin Salman remained unfazed and asked again, “What is Wahhabism?” and said “No one can define this Wahhabism”.
When Goldberg again said, “It’s a movement founded by Ibn abd al-Wahhab in the 1700s, very fundamentalist in nature, an austere Salafist-style interpretation”, what Mohammed bin Salman said in his reply was enough to expose the propaganda spread for decades against the faith Saudis are known to be associated with.
“No one can define Wahhabism. There is no Wahhabism. We don’t believe we have Wahhabism. We believe we have, in Saudi Arabia, Sunni and Shiite. We believe we have within Sunni Islam four schools of thought, and we have the ulema [the religious authorities] and the Board of Fatwas [which issues religious rulings]. Yes, in Saudi Arabia it’s clear that our laws are coming from Islam and the Quran, but we have the four schools—Hanbali, Hanafi, Shafi’i, Maliki—and they argue about interpretation”, Mohammed bin Salman said.
“The first Saudi state, why was it established? After Prophet Muhammad and the first four caliphs, the people of the Arabian Peninsula went back to fighting each other like they did for thousands of years. But our family, 600 years ago, established a town from scratch called Diriyah, and with this town came the first Saudi state. It became the most powerful economic part of the peninsula. They helped change reality. Most other towns, they fought over trade, hijacked trade, but our family said to two other tribes, ‘Instead of attacking the trade routes, why don’t we hire you as guards for this area?’ So trade grew, and the town grew. This was the method. Three hundred years later, this is still the way. The thought was always that you need all the great brains of the Arabian Peninsula—the generals, the tribal leaders, the scholars—working with you. One of them was Muhammad ibn abd al-Wahhab”, he added.
Mohammed bin Salman’s statement explained in length what actually their “Wahhabism” is. At the same time he also hinted at how they had thwarted the Turkish rule from the Arabian Peninsula and established peaceful and flourishing rule of Arab’s own. This is perhaps why, and to hide this fact, the Turkish daily distorted Mohammed bin Salman’s statement which is still easily accessible in the public domain.
By saying that their belief is totally in line with the Quran and Sunnah of the Prophet (peace be upon him) no further explanation was needed. Yet, the Turkish daily wrongly associated Saudis and the Muslims who call them “Salafi” with a sect, which according to it, “is a mixture of the heretical movement Mujassimah (Anthropomorphism – which is the belief that God is similar to humans), and the Khawarij”.
Wahhabism in the Indian Subcontinent
Historians have recorded that the first time this term was used in the Indian subcontinent was by the British. As the British famously used different tactics to divide Hindus and Muslims, likewise they also used the term “Wahhabis” to demonize the Muslims who were at the forefront against their rule, actually leading the first war of India’s independence in 1857.
Iran, Israel and Palestine
The other issues highlighted in Mohammed bin Salman's interview were about the states of Palestine and Israel, and Iran’s meddling in the Middle East. In reply to a question Mohammed bin Salman said that they don’t have any problem with Jews and Christians giving example that they lived in peace in the Arabian Peninsula for centuries, and even during the lifetime of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).
In reply to a question, the Saudi Crown Prince said, “I believe that each people, anywhere, has a right to live in their peaceful nation. I believe the Palestinians and the Israelis have the right to have their own land. But we have to have a peace agreement to assure the stability for everyone and to have normal relations.”
“We have religious concerns about the fate of the holy mosque in Jerusalem and about the rights of the Palestinian people. This is what we have. We don’t have any objection against any other people”, he added.
During the course of his interview he did not mince words and bluntly described how the Iranian regime is funding terrorists in the region, at the same time adding that they have no problem with common Shiites.
Stating that he believed that “the Iranian supreme leader makes Hitler look good”, he said, “The Shiites are living normally in Saudi Arabia. We have no problem with the Shiites. We have a problem with the ideology of the Iranian regime. Our problem is, we don’t think they have the right to interfere with our affair.”
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