Critacal Essay

AuthorHamid Algar
CountryUnited Kingdom
PublisherIslamic Publications International

Publication date

1 March 2002 (2002-03-01)
Media typePrint

Wahhabism: A Critical Essay is 2002 a book by scholar Hamid Algar, published by Islamic Publications International. It is about the rise of Wahhabism.


Wahhabism is about the rise of Wahhabism in Saudi Arabia by distorting the funduumental teachings of Islam and functioned for decades as the ideological mainstay of Saudi regime.[1]

The book depicts the founder of Wahhabism, Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab, as an intellectual lightweight. With their iconoclasm and condemnation as infidels of Muslims who do not accept their radical Wahhabi doctrines.[2] The Wahhabi movement vilified Sunni and Shia Muslims, exacerbating divisions and causing throughout Asia and Europe. The book discusses how the Wahhabi movement made it possible to justify the shedding of blood of those who did not adhere to its brand of Islamic purit.[2]

Critical reception[edit]

L. Carl Brown of Foreign Affairs said the book "...offers a caustic critique of Wahhabism, the Saudi state, and even the United Kingdom and the United States, which, he charges, have backed their Arabian Peninsula "client" over the years."[2]

Alex Alexiev of Air University said "For a critique of radical Islam as exemplified by Wahhabism from the point of view of traditional Muslim scholarship."[3]

Sadik H. Kassim of Islam Daily said, "Although well written, the work suffers from several major flaws. Algar omits or barely covers key historical events in the development of Wahhabism, does little to put the subject within a relevant modern context, and most importantly, underestimates the ubiquity of Wahhabi thoughts and practices in the Muslim world today."[4]


  1. ^Moore, R. Kelvin (October 14, 2004). "Journal of Church and State". 46 (4). Oxford Journals. pp. 890–891. Retrieved September 1, 2017. 
  2. ^ abcBrown, L. Carl (September 1, 2002). "Wahhabism: A Critical Essay" (September/October 2002). Foreign Affairs. Retrieved September 1, 2017. 
  3. ^Alexiev, Alex (June 26, 2003). "Wahhabism: State-Sponsored Extremism Worldwide"(PDF). The Air University. Retrieved September 1, 2017. 
  4. ^Kassim, Sadik H. (October 14, 2004). "Wahhabism and the Illusion of a Golden Age". Islam Daily. Retrieved September 1, 2017. 
Using Short Quotations: One of the most useful skills you can develop is to learn how to embed short quotations within the body of your own text, weaving seamlessly between your argument and the material to which you are referring. The following example might serve as some sort of a model for this practice:

Venus and Adonis, published by Richard Field in 1593 and addressed to "the Right Honourable Henry Wriothesly, Earl of Southampton," begins by immediately invoking its own Ovidian context through an epigraph from the Amores: "Let base-conceited wits admire vile things, / Fair Phoebus lead me to Castilian springs" (Roe, 78). While hymning the classical Muses remains a conventional enough way to begin a poem, John Roe has suggested that one might well interpret Shakespeare's tag as a conscious "signalling [of] the rarefied eroticism that is to follow" (Roe, 78).

Editing Quotations: Sometimes it is necessary to emend or edit quotations. When this is the case, use square brackets to signal the changes you have made. The only exception to this rule is with ellipses. The following example should make things clearer:

According to William Bradford, "[Morton] employed some of [the Indians] to hunt and fowl for him . . . [But] when they saw the execution a piece would do, and the benefit that might come by the same, they became mad . . . . accounting their bows and arrows but baubles in comparison of them" (Bradford, 189).

In this extract the words replaced by those in square brackets are "he," "them" and "So as when." The writer has altered these terms in order to make the quote fit the context of her argument (where the identity of those represented by these pronouns is not certain) and to alter the sense so as to prevent the cuts signalled by her ellipses from making Bradford's prose incoherent. The ellipses let the reader know that some text has been omitted at this point. Use three dots (. . .) to signal a cut within a single sentence and four (. . . .) to signal that the cut runs over a period in the original text. If your ellipsis starts at the end of a complete sentence, use the following procedure: "The instructor's lecture on the Enlightenment was boring. . . . and I didn't understand what he meant by tabula rasa." In this example, the original sentence finished after "boring" and an edit was made after the period and before "and." The three dots signal that "and I didn't understand . . ." is part of the next full sentence after "boring."

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