chapter  8
17 Pages

Wahhabism in the United Kingdom

Manifestations and reactions
WithJonathan Birt

Academic discussion has long speculated on the nature of the relationship between the Al Sa‘ud and the Wahhabi ‘ulama’ (religious scholars) in terms of state formation and maintenance, but rather less attention has been given to the implications of that association for the export of Wahhabism abroad.2 It is possible to see the relationship between Wahhabism and its exterior – political and ideational – in purely instrumental terms. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, early Wahhabi thought rationalized conquest, plunder and subjugation of others on the part of a particular tribal power group (‘asabiyyah) in terms of an exclusive theology.