Lets deal with the claim that Muhammad Ibn Abdul Wahhab was a reviver of the deen. Now before we look into this claim, it is important we understand a few ahaadeeth that has been passed down to us.
The first hadeeth is the following hadeeth of the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wasallam in which he said:
"The best of generations is my generation, then the one after that, then the one after that. After them will appear untrustworthy people"
[Saheeh al-Bukhaari, The book of the Merits of the companions of the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wasallam, Volume 5, hadeeth no. 2 and 3, also of simular import in Saheeh al-Bukhari, The Book of Witnesses, Volume 3, Number 820; Volume 8, The Book of ar-Riqaaq, Number 437 and more. ]
We know from this that the best of generations in knowledge of Sunnah are the Prophet's companions, those that followed the companions and then those that followed the students of the companions. In otherwords the first three generations which ended at 400AH. 400 years after the Hijrah the era of the Salaf had finished and the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wassalam warned that from this period would arrise scholars that lie. Untrustworthy people, but before we think we cannot trust anybody, read the next hadeeth:
The holy Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wasallam said
"This knowledge will be carried by the trustworthy ones of every generation - they will expel from it the alterations made by those going beyond bounds, the false claims of the liars, and the false interpretations of the ignorant"
[Mishkaat ul-Masaabeeh, hadeeth no. 248 and classified as authentic ]
The Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wassallam is telling us that there will be trustworthy scholars that confirm the Sunnah and refute the people of bid'ah, likewise read the next hadeeth:
The Holy Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wasallam said:
“At the head of every one hundred years, Allah will send to this nation one who will reviver for it its Religion. "
[Sunan Abu Dawuud, Kitaab ul-Malaaham, hadeeth no. 4291 and even the Wahhabi scholar Albaani has classified this hadeeth as Saheeh in his Silsilah as-Saheehah 2/148, hadeeth no. 599. ]
The import of this hadeeth is crucial to understand, as the word in Arabic for reviver is mujaddid, meaning somebody who renews the religion by enjoining the Sunnah and forbidding the bid'ah. Also notice how the Messenger of Allah sal Allahu alayhi wasallam said that Allah would send a mujaddid every hundred years!
This has to mean that any reviver that comes must affirm the message of the reviviers that have gone before. This means that they would have enjoined the Sunnah and refuted the innovations of each age. Here lays the challenge to the very claim of Muhammad Ibn 'Abdul Wahhab being a reviver, because for him to be a reviver, the Wahabis have to present a reviver from each century that came with the very same message as Muhammad Ibn Abdul Wahhab, and what was the message of Muhammad Ibn Abdul Wahhab?
1. He claimed that the mushrikeen of Makkah were upon tawheed ur-Rabubiyyah and that their tawheed would have been perfect had they of not called upon others besides Allah.
2. He also taught that the Muslims have declined from the 4th century onwards and fell into idolatry and that idoltry was rapamt in Makkah and Madinah
3. He also taught that the Muslims of his age were in the depth of kufr and shirk even more than that of the Musrikeen of Makkah
4. He taught that it is permissable to spill their blood and loot their property and that their testimony of faith [recitation of the kalimah] was invalid
5. He taught that the four madh-habs were shirk as the Muslims were worshipping the Imaams as the Jews and the Christians worshipped their priests and Rabbis
6. He taught that the annual celebration of Milaad un-Nabi was shirk because the people who do so were raising the Prophet to the level of god-hood as the Christians did with Jesus
The problems that the Wahhabiyyah have, is producing such revivers of each century who came foward and preached the same message of Muhammad Ibn Abdul Wahhab.
Wahhabis cannot ever produce any revivers of each century who said the same things as Muhammad Ibn Abdul Wahhab and ultimately their claim of Islamic purity falls to the ground.
Thus, we can then safely conclude that it is Muhammad Ibn Abdul Wahhab is an innovator and that he bought something new that was unknown to the previous revivers.
by Andrew Sanders
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