Wahhabism is a term used to describe a movement of Islamic reform based on the teachings of Muhammad ibn Abd al Wahhab (1703–1792). The term "Wahhabi" (Wahhābīya) is rarely used by members of this group. The term they use to describe themselves is "muwahhidun", translating as "unitarians." Wahhabism accepts the Qur'an and hadith as fundamental texts, interpreted upon the ("Book of Monotheism"), and the works of the earlier scholar Ibn Taymiyya (1263–1328). The Wahhabis see their role as a movement to restore Islam due to innovations, deviations, heresies and idolatries.
There are many practices that they believe are contrary to Islam, such as:
- Praying at tombs (see mawlid and urs)
- Invoking any prophet, Sufi saint, or angel in prayer, other than God alone
- Celebrating annual feasts for the birth of Muhammad or Sufi saints (see mawlid and urs)
- Wearing charms, and believing in their healing power
- Innovation in matters of religion (e.g. new methods of worship) - Bid‘ah
In 1811 their was a Wahhabi uprising in Arabia during which the extremist Wahhabis destroyed anything they considered idols, up to and including the tombs of sufi saints. They only did not destroy the tomb of the prophet himself. They continue to act as the conservative core of Islam.