Many people today have heard about the Wahhabi movement in Islam, but few have any actual information about the history and ideology of this puritanical movement.

Many have a sense that these teachings, emanating from Saudi Arabia, are responsible for much of the extremist teachings around the world, but have a hard time figuring out why and how the Wahhabis are engaged in displacing indigenous and local Islamic practices and interpretations worldwide.

In order to answer these questions, I recently offered a lecture, along with a slide show of relevant images.  In it, I examine the ways in which the Wahhabi ideology, linked with the Saudi royal linkage, is responsible for demolishing, destroying, and bulldozing over 90% of Islamic monuments in Mecca and Medina.

The powerpoint slideshow and the talk on history of Wahhabi movement can be accessed and downloaded here.    Feel free to share.


Categories: Beliefs


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Omid Safi

Omid Safi

Omid Safi is a Professor of Islamic Studies at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, specializing in contemporary Islamic thought and classical Islam. He leads educational tours to Turkey every summer, through Illuminated Tours:


  1. Edgar Francis

    Thank you for posting your slides and lecture. I intend to share these materials with my students in my “Islam in the Modern World” course–with all due credit to the author, of course!

  2. JStraithhairne

    So, you cast aspersions on the entire bin Laden family because of the actions of one man, Usama? That is perhaps one of the worst examples of imbalance in this lecture. It is also incredibly misleading, to say the least.

  3. May i recommend this as a read, perhaps it will really open up the reality of that region in terms of the application and the effects of the Wahhabi doctrine.
    Written by the Shafi’i Scholar, Sayyid Yusuf ibn Al-Sayyid Hashim al-Rifa’i:

  4. Dear Dr. Safi, your article on the Wahabi movement was referenced yesterday in Cathy Lynn Grossman’s article “‘Own it!’ Terrorism is an Islamic issue, say some Muslims” on RNS, dated 12/4/15. But now your lecture notes and slides have been removed from their location in Dropbox!

    Can you tell us where else to find them?

    Thank you!

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