The Saudi Solution

The modern mainstream Muslim fundamentalist doctrine known as Wahhabism is a product of the mind and the energetic religious commitment of the revered and reviled Islamic scholar Muhammad Ibn Abd al-Whahhab (1703-1792).

Abd al-Whahhab blamed what he perceived as a general decline in morals in Arabian society on innovations in the practice of Islam; innovations which included distorting Allah’s precise and clear instructions to justify what he considered unacceptable behaviour. An example is the Verse of the Sword, verse 9:5 which is said to supersede all other verses on the subject of war and peace.

9:5 Then, when the Sacred Months (these are the four months during which war was prohibited in pre-Islamic times) are over, kill the idolaters wherever you find them, take them [as captives], besiege them, and lie in wait for them at every point of observation. If they repent afterwards, perform the prayer and pay the alms then release them. Allah is truly All-Forgiving, Merciful.

For Abd al-Whahhab and his followers the Verse of the Sword is a declaration of war, a universal war, a holy war, a jihad against all unbelievers. The real bloody deadly thing, not a metaphor for a jihad of the spirit! The Saudi Arabian flag with a sabre underneath the Muslim declaration of faith underscores this understanding.

The Encyclopedia of Islam supports al-Whahhab interpretation of jihad:

In law, according to general doctrine and in historical tradition, the jihad consists of military action with the object of the expansion of Islam and, if need be, of its defence.

As does the following revealed truths i.e. an immutable facts communicated to a mortal by a god. In revelation 4:76 Allah does not divide humanity into believers and unbelievers who fight make-believe battles of the spirit, but real battles where real blood is shed, revelation 47:4.

4:76 Those who believe fight for the Cause of Allah, and those who disbelieve fight on behalf of the Devil. Fight then the followers of the Devil. Surely the guile of the Devil is weak.

47:4 So when you meet the unbelievers, strike their necks till you have bloodied them, then fasten the shackles ...

In Mohsin Khan's Saudi-funded translation of the Koran there is no ambiguity as to the meaning of “strike their necks” i.e. cut off their heads.

47:4 So, when you meet (in fight - Jihad in Allah's Cause) those who disbelieve, smite (their) necks till when you have killed and wounded many of them, then bind a bond firmly (on them, i.e. take them as captives) ...

What Muhammad Ibn Abd al-Whahhab preached became known as Wahhabism. 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, and the Koran for guidance.

48:28 It is He Who sent forth His Messenger with the guidance and the religion of truth, that He may exalt it above every other religion. Allah suffices as Witness.

Wahhabi theology demands a non-stop active campaign to make Islam triumphant everywhere. The believers are not expected to give up the fight until not a single unbeliever lives and breaths, with the possible exception of Christians and Jews who agree to meekly pay the right-to-live tax (the jizya).

9:29 Fight those among the People of the Book who do not believe in Allah and the Last Day, do not forbid what Allah and His Messenger have forbidden and do not profess the true religion, till they pay the poll-tax out of hand and submissively.

The relentless campaign to rid the world of those who will not debase themselves before the superior believers, or submit to the Will of Allah i.e. become Muslims can take two forms. A believer can campaign in person and kill and die for Allah, or use his wealth to advance the Cause.

61:11 Believe in Allah and His Messenger and struggle in the Cause of Allah with your possessions (wealth) and yourselves. That is far better for you, if only you knew.

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.

The Ottoman Empire, in 1818, put a stop to Saudi ambitions to spread their fundamentalist version of Islam via the sword.

Saudi Arabia today does not have the military might – Al Qaeda and Islamic State notwithstanding – to spread its puritanical, backward-looking version of Islam by force, but it does have the money, and spending your money (wealth) in furtherance of Allah and His Messenger's dream of an uncontested master religion gets you a free pass into heaven, all is forgiven.

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. This Islamic country is too poor to fund its own school system and must accept Saudi money and the conditions that come with it, even if it means more Taliban.

To paraphrase Lenin, who is quoted as saying that “the capitalists will sell us the rope with which we will hang them", "the West, with its dependence on Saudi oil, is paying for its own destruction." Lenin's boast remained an unfulfilled promised because of a determined, intelligent, mostly honest leadership and an informed citizenry that understood what was at stake and was willing to make the necessary sacrifices.

After 9/11, it was discovered that nineteen of the twenty hijackers were from Saudi Arabia*; merciless young men raised on a steady diet of Wahhabism.

After 9/11, the Americans were in a perfect position to demand reforms from the Saudi Princes, including stopping the export of an ideology committed to their destruction. Instead, immediately after the identity of the psychopaths was confirmed, they spirited Saudi Princes on American soil to safety and attacked Saudi Arabia’s nemesis, Iraq, a country which had nothing to do with the horrific death of three thousands innocent men, women and children; making their deaths and the tens of thousands that came during and after the invasion pointless; adding insult to injury.

When a country watches thousands of its citizens brutally murdered and looks the other way for fear of offending a country on which, because of its short-sightedness and lack of imagination, its economy is dependent, what hope is there that Wahhabism, under Saudi Arabia's surreptitious encouragement, will not ultimately triumph.


* President Obama, in a 2016 visit with the Saudi King, threatened to reveal more detail of the Kingdom's complicity in the massacre.

Bernard Payeur