The Saudi Solution
John L. Esposito author of Unholy War; Terror in the Name of Islam (Oxford University Press) describes Wahhabism this way:
Wahhabi theology sees the world in white and black categories—Muslim and non-Muslim, belief and unbelief, the realm of Islam and that of warfare. They [Wahhabi believers] regard all Muslims who [do] not agree with them as unbelievers to be subdued (that is, fought and killed) in the name of Islam.
One of the first to embrace Wahhabi theology was Muhammad Ibn Saud (d. 1765) a local Arab tribal chief. Ibn Saud used the ultra-conservative Wahhabi movement, still according to Esposito, “to legitimate (sic) his jihad to subdue and unite the tribes of Arabia, converting them to this puritanical version of Islam.”
Ibn Saud still serves as an example for the current rulers of Saudi Arabia who, like their honoured ancestor, look to the teachings of Ibn Abd al-Whahhab for guidance.
Wahhabi theologians have interpreted verse 9:5, The Verse of the Sword, as a command from Allah’s to wage a non-stop active campaign to establish His Kingdom on earth.
The Ottoman Empire, in 1818, put a stop to Saudi ambitions to spread their fundamentalist version of Islam by the sword forcing a change in tactics. The war against the unbelievers can also be fought with your wealth.
61:11 Believe in Allah and His Messenger and struggle in the Cause of Allah with your possessions and yourselves. That is far better for you, if only you knew.
While Saudi Arabia today does not have the military might, Al Qaeda notwithstanding, to spread its puritanical, backward-looking version of Islam by force, it does have the money, and the Koran does say that spending your money i.e. possessions to spread Islam gets you a free pass into heaven – all is forgiven.
61:12 He will then forgive your sins and admit you into the Gardens, beneath which rivers flow, and into fine dwellings in the Gardens of Eden. That is the great triumph.
With the discovery of oil and the wealth that came with it, the House that Muhammad Ibn Saud built has been able to spread the Word far and wide by funding Islamic schools on the Wahhabi model, the most notorious being in Pakistan.