Who Started the Wahhabi Movement and Why?

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 9th, 2023

The Wahhabi Movement was started by Syed Ahmed Barelvi in the early 1820s. He was a socio-religious reformer from Rae Bareli. The Wahhabi movement was an Islamic revivalist movement centered in Patna, Bihar, and aimed to restore the original spirit of Islam. The movement also lays emphasis on condemning the deviations of Islam. However, the Wahhabi movement was suppressed by the British army.

Leader of the Wahhabi Movement

This Patna-based Islamic revivalist movement emphasized condemning any changes to the original Islam and returning to its true spirit.

  • The Wahhabi Movement was founded with the goal of overthrowing the British in Bengal and the Sikhs in Punjab.
  • It aimed to restore Islamic power in the country.
  • Abdul Wahab’s (1703-1792) followers founded the Movement in order to free the Arab bedouin from the influence of Sufism.
  • Eventually, the Wahhabi movement took the form of a revolt similar to the revolt of 1857 and turned into an armed struggle against the British army. As a result, the British army carried out extensive military operations against it.
  • The British military suppressed the movement by 1870, seeing the flames of revolution among them.
  • It was a Sunni Islamic revivalist and fundamentalist movement associated with the reformist doctrines of Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab. He was an 18th-century Arabic Islamic scholar, theologian, preacher, and activist.

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