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Intellectual Movements in Opposition to Ottoman Caliphate

Muhammad b. `Abd al-Wahhab was a strict Hanbalite who embarked on his political and missionary campaign in the early second half of the 12th century AH; one that involved a revival of Salafite beliefs, including those of Ibn Taymiyyah. Like his Salafite ancestors, he harbored a deep-seated enmity towards the Ithna `Ashari (Twelver) Shi`ites, in addition to being opposed to many of the beliefs held by other Sunni sects such the Hanafites and Shafi`ites.

On the political front, Muhammad was opposed to the caliphate of the Ottomans and thus entered into a pact with Saudi rulers. The support given to Muhammad by the Saudi family together with the struggle for independence led to the spread of Wahhabi religion in the Arabian Peninsula. In fact, Wahhabism has remained the official religion of the kingdom to this very day.

Among the ardent enemies of the Ottoman rule in north Africa was Mahdi Sudani. He proclaimed himself as messiah in the later part of 13th/19th century and found a great following in Sudan. Mahdi embarked on an armed struggle against the instruments of Ottoman rule in Egypt which led to Sudan’s independence. He held peculiar views which somewhat diverged from those of the Sunnis and which bordered on those of extremist Sufis. His followers held him in high reverence and carried on his cause. In fact, his movement survived his death and only came to a close as a result of colonialist domination.

source: Jalali moghadam , Masood " Islam Entry" The Great Islamic Encyclopedia. Ed. Kazem Musavi Bojnourdi.Tehran: The Center of Great Islamic Encyclopaedia , 1989-, V.8 , pp.438

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