SAUDI ARABIA WAS founded through an alliance of the Al-Saud and Al-Wahhab families. The former has been the temporal power and the latter the spiritual power. Wahhabism, or Muwahhidun, as it is called in Saudi Arabia, is a puritanical version of Islam. The theology of Muhammad Abd al-Wahhab (1703–92) presented in his book Tawhid stresses the oneness of Allah. His teachings were partly derived from ibn Taymiyah (1263–1303). He taught that Islamic theology could develop but rejected many practices that could be viewed as human. These included celebrating the Prophet Muhammad's birthday, Sufi practices such as pilgrimages to the tombs of saints, performing or listening to music, and dancing.

Abdul Al-Aziz ibn Saud (1880–1953), the founder of the modern state of Saudi Arabia, used Wahhabism ...

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