Is Really Saudi Arabia On The Verge Of Ending Wahhabism?

Crowned Prince Salmaan trying his efforts to modernize Saudi Arabia but facing the biggest challenge from Wahhabism establishment.


Saudi Arabia is undergoing the big change with great acceleration by trying to end Wahhabism since the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salmaan took over the Saudi biggest chair. For making his plan, ideas and ambitions in action, he is facing various challenges both internally and externally. But despite these challenges he doing efforts to make Saudi Arabia a 21st century modern nation. And he positioned very well himself as the biggest Champion of Modernization.

His several initiatives which tell about his modern way of looking and shaping Saudi Arabia are openly talking about the moderate Islam, allowing women to drive, reopening of cinema and most important his break the historic pact between House of Saud and Wahhabi religious establishment.

.If we look in the historical traces of Wahhabism then it was movement in 18th century by the theologian and preacher Muhammad ibn-al; Wahhab, he advocated narrow reading of Holy Quran and Hadith, Saud embraced him and his teachings and people do not support or try to ignore the Wahhabism were excluded from Islam and considered Jihad is the only way to bring them back into right path.


With the support of Wahhabism ideology Saud was successful in forming the state called Saudi Arabia in the 20th century. In this state all the political and military control action were handed over to the Monarchy and all other religious, legal and all other social institutions are taken over by Wahhabi clergy.

Although it very unlikely that Prince Mohammad would break and pull away from the all powers from the people of the Wahhabi establishment because this establishment always showed its faith and honest in keeping and supporting royal family and always resilient towards the power.

There are past attempts in the Saudi Monarchy to weaken the influence of the clergy, like when Kind Abd al-aziz the founder of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was felt need to reform in the Islamic world and thought about the broader aspect of Arab Muslim world for that he advocated the moderate Wahhabism.

Then in the post-oil period, around 1950 to 1970s, under the rule of Abd;al-Aziz and then King Faisal bin Abd al; Aziz felt the need that they had to modernize very quickly. Because that was the period when old structures were too rigid, anarchic and personal and seem effective to handle growing heterogenous population, keeping the territory intact due to deal this situation their created new kind legitimacy and to contain the hegemonic claims of the pan- Arabist regimes.

By observing all this Whabbism establishment also understood the need to re-structure and re-build themselves and keep their presence and influence alive in the state because they felt some kind of felt the threat from the modern view of Monarchy. But they didn’t object to the modern view completely like allowing girls to school, introduction of television and cinema,instead they took the found another way to hit back and took the full advantage of  the Saudi conflict with pan Arabism and asked state to use of huge revenue from oil-reserves to create Islamic courts ,media organizations and pan-Islamic organisation like Muslim world league this all helped Religious establishment to keep their huge Presence within the people of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Then several global events around also helped religious establishment interest like Islamic revolution in Iran, Soviet Union Invasion in Afghanistan and attack on Grand Mosque in Mecca.

All events made made Saudi Monarchy to prove their credibility by showing attachment to Islam by applying very rigid and serious Sharia laws like death penalty ,imposing gender segregation in public,also shutting down the cinemas and providing full support to religious establishment by proving funds and financial aid jihadist groups in Afghanistan and all other Sunni-Islamist movement all around. In return, the clerics supported the House of Saud in every front.

The relationship between clerics and religious establishment triggers again when 9/11 attacked happened and put Saudi establishment in a difficult time because of the mastermind Osama bin Laden to all other hijackers were Saudi citizens. This created huge external pressure on the state through internationally they were slammed for supporting radical Islam and Sunni-Wahhabism ideology this made Monarchy criticize religious establishment openly and keep on ignored and sidelined themselves from any direct connection with the radical establishments in the state

By understanding the situation clerics also preserved their open interest by condemning jihadism through publishing articles issuing fatwas, even coming on the news channel to denying their any role in the attacks.

But again 2011 when Arab spring on the rise the Monarchy needed the help and support of Religious establishment and did they helped them too but in return, they asked to strengthen their presence in the state by increasing budgets for their institutions and big repression if someone tried to breach Sharia law in public.

All this shows Whabbiism establishment much likely to remain one of the pillars in the King of Saudi Arabia, now if Prince Mohammad really want to break this pact he first needs the find the alternative social project which can be popular among masses of nation-state, otherwise breaking approaching without calculating future implications will be destructive for nation.

 Prince Salmaan view of Modern day Saudi Arabia needs more future planning and structure which can work both ways in terms of Politically and socially. And right now how good the modern viewpoint of Prince Salmaan but he doesn’t have structure and planning to really completely reform and transform the theological state of Saudi Arabia into the modern 21st state where human rights, religious tolerance means secularism and gender equality will exist.







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