I have often come across those wahabis on internet who ask:"who are Wahabis'? Or What does that term mean? It acts as litums test to confirm that most of the people asking this question are REAL WAHABIS.
I have also met those Wahabis who deny that nothing like"Wahabism" exist. And a few among them say that this term was coined by the British and muslims should not use it!
The truth of the matter is that the term Wahabis was used by many Islamic scholars. The Ahlus sunnah scholars like Shaykh Dahlan (rh) wrote books like Fitnatul Wahabiya. When Ibn Abdul Wahab Najdi started his adventure of killing sunni muslims , many scholars of the Indian subcontinent refuted his belief. In fact one of the earliest book refuting Ibn Abdul Wahab Najdi was published from India. History is witness that many sunni scholars wrote books refuting 'Wahabism' and many book titles contain this word' Wahabism/ wahabiyyah 'etc.
One of the names of Allahu ta'ala is Al Wahab. The definite article 'Al' ( The) makes it different from Wahab. So the name of Allahu ta'ala is Al Wahab and not Wahab.
Calling some one as Wahabi has nothing to do with the name of Allahu ta'ala. The word wahabi is used for followers and supporters of Ibn Abdal wahab al najadi al tamimi. His name was Mohammed, but the sunni scholars have always used Ibn Abdal Wahab for him , which means son of Abdal al wahab.
Shaykh Abdal wahab was a sunni scholar and was aware of the deviant beleif of his son.
The scholars from Ahlus sunnah wal jamah have written numerous books refuting wahabis with the word" wahabi" conatined in it. This usage by scholars of Ahlus sunnah is a proof that it is accepted to call these wahabis as wahabis and reminding geneartion after generation that they are followers of Ibn Abdal Wahab al najdi at tamimi.
The wahabis from subcontinent even published a book for their sect with the name "Tohfa al wahabiyya" , a gift for wahabis !
Imam Ibn Abideen Shami [ Rh] has called these heretics as wahabi. Allama Sawi Al Maliki [Rh]has called these people with the same name wahabi in his tafsir.
Scholars have written many book on this sect:
Shaykh al-Islam Dawud ibn Sulayman al-Baghdadi al-Hanafi (1815-1881 CE): al-Minha al-Wahbiyya fi radd al-Wahhabiyya ["The Divine Dispensation Concerning the Wahhabi Deviation"]; Ashadd al-Jihad fi Ibtal Da`wa al-Ijtihad ["The Most Violent Jihad in Proving False Those Who Falsely Claim Ijtihad"].
Khazbek, Shaykh Hasan: Al-maqalat al-wafiyyat fi al-radd `ala al-wahhabiyyah["Complete Treatise in Refuting the Wahhabis"].
Al-Qazwini, Muhammad Hasan, (d. 1825). Al-Barahin al-jaliyyah fi raf` tashkikat al-Wahhabiyah ["The Plain Demonstrations That Dispel the Aspersions of the Wahhabis"]. Ed. Muhammad Munir al-Husayni al-Milani. 1st ed. Beirut: Mu'assasat al-Wafa', 1987
Al-Samnudi al-Mansuri, al-`Allama al-Shaykh Ibrahim: Sa`adat al-darayn fi al-radd `ala al-firqatayn al-wahhabiyya wa muqallidat al-zahiriyyah ["Bliss in the Two Abodes: Refutation of the Two Sects, Wahhabis and Zahiri Followers"].
Al-Shatti al-Athari al-Hanbali, al-Sayyid Mustafa ibn Ahmad ibn Hasan, Mufti of Syria: al-Nuqul al-shar'iyyah fi al-radd 'ala al-Wahhabiyya ["The Legal Proofs in Answering the Wahhabis"]
The general population of Indian Subcontient started using this term for those who showed dis respect to prophet, were againt Mawild , those who propogated LA MADHABI view , those who were against the life of prophet in grave etc. Only in the recent years the general population of the indian subcontinet has come to know the wahabi Mujassima belief.
If we look at those books which were written during the rise and spread of wahabism in India , we find that normal population was very much using this word'Wahabis". So we find a question in Fatawa Rashidiya" Who are Wahabis" and what are their beleif? Also in Ahlus sunnah books like Fatawa ridhwiyah we have many questions dealing with Wahabis/ Najdis.
The Wahabis were looked down by the sunni population of the subcontinent and till present time this word is used for those who show dis respect to prophet. In As shabus Thaqib , Mawlana Hussein Tandvee writes that" Wahabis consider A STICK TO BE MORE BENIFICIAL than prophet and they say" what can prophet do to us?
Over the period of time , when Wahabi fitnah was clear , every one started hating wahabis. The Wahabis realised that this term has become very common and it is used in a dis respectful way . So the Indian Wahabi scholar , Mawlana Batalvee wrote a letter to the Britih Colonial power that , this word Wahabi should not be used in official usage and the term" Ahle hadith' should be used.
This request was accepted officialy by the British government. But it is of no use! The whole sunni population uses this word" WAHABIS" , reminding them that they are the true followers of Ibn Abdul Wahab al Najdi al Tamimi.
Here is the historical letter which was written by the Wahabis to the British government.