He is Sheikh Muhammad bn AbdilWahhaab bn Sulaiman bn Alee bn Muhammad bn Ahmad bn Raashid bn Mushrif At-Tameemee An-Najdee.
He was born in the city of ‘Uyanah, Najd in the year 1115 AH (1703 AD).
His first teacher was his father; he learnt fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) from him and read books of tafseer (exegeses of the Qur’an), hadeeth and works of scholars on Aqeedah (Islamic creed).
He was intelligent, quick in memorisation and writing. He had memorised the Quran before reaching ten years of age.
He travelled in search of knowledge and studied from Sheikh AbduLLaah bn Ibraahim bn Seif An-Najdee, Sheikh Muhammad Hayaah As-Sanadee Al-Madanee.
Then he travelled to Basrah (in Iraq) and studied Hadith, Fiqh and Arabic language from many scholars. One of them is Sheikh Muhammad Al-Majmooo‘ee.
He criticised some of the innovations and acts of disbelief that the people of Basrah used to do. So they gathered against him, harmed him and expelled him.
He wished to travel to Shaam (now Jordan, Syria, Palestine and Lebanon) but he was not able to due to shortage of funds. So he travelled to Ahissaa’ (a city in Saudi Arabia today) and from there to Huraymilaa.
He continued to study from his father at Huraymilaa and renounced the innovations and Shirk (idolatory) that some of the ignoramuses engage in. This caused some issue between him and his father.
His father, AbdulWahhaab, died in the year 1153 AH. Then the Sheikh proclaimed Da‘wah, renunciation, calling to good and forbidding evil. His news soon spread around Najd and the people gathered around him and learnt Tawheed from him. It was in this period that he wrote “The Book of Tawheed”.
There was a death attempt on the Sheikh by some who hated what the Sheikh called to but Allaah made their plans fruitless and saved the Sheikh.
Then the Sheikh moved to ‘Uyaynah and it was a home for the Sheikh. The Ameer of ‘Uyanyah, ‘Uthmaan bn Hamd bn Mu‘ammar, gave him a warm reception and honoured him. The Sheikh got married to Jawharah bint AbdiLLaah bn Mu‘ammar in ‘Uyaynah.
He called the Ameer of ‘Uyaynah to Tawheed and gave him hope of Allaaah’s help if he assists the Da’wah. So ‘Uthmaan bn Mu‘ammar helped him in his da‘wah.
Then the Sheikh cut down trees that the people revered in the area and he demolished the tombs that the people venerate. He also continuously wrote to the Scholars of Ahissaa who criticised him and he convinced them with clear proofs and evidences. Their arguments couldn’t stand his formidable proofs so they resulted to plotting and politics. They incited the leader of Ahissaa, Sulaiman bn Muhammad bn Ghareer Al-Humaydee, against the Sheikh.
Then Sulaiman wrote to ‘Uthmaan and threatened to cut his allocation that he receives if he does not get rid of the Sheikh.
‘Uthmaan informed the Sheikh of what the leader of Ahissaa said. The Sheikh told him that what he was doing was nothing but calling people to the pristine creed of Islam, caling to good and forbidding evil and that if he – ‘Uthmaan- was patient Allaah would give him success and he would even rule over the lands of Sulaiman. ‘Uthmaan bn Mu’ammar was shy of the Sheikh so he left him.
Then Ibn Mu’ammar sent to the Sheikh after that and commanded him to leave saying:
Sulaiman has ordered us to kill you and we are not able to contain his anger or go against his order because we can’t stand war against him, and it is not befitting for us to kill you.
Then the Sheikh migrated to Dir‘iyyah, and went to stay with Muhammad bn Suwaylim but Muhammad was afraid of Muhammad bn Sa‘uud who was the ruler. So the Sheikh calmed him and said to him:
Allaah will make a solution and way-out for us and you
Some people got to know of the Sheikh’s presence so they visited him but they dared not to not menton the Sheikh’s presence to Muhammd bn Sa‘uud. So they went to his wife, Muudi bint wattbaan and she was a wise and intelligent woman, and informed her of the Sheikh’s abode and what he preached. Her heart was attached to Tawheed and Allaah put the love of the Sheikh’s teachings in her heart so she informed her Husband and said to him:
This man is a free guft that Allaah has given you so be generous to him, honour him and help him for your sake.
He accepted and Allaah put the love of Sheikh Muhammad bn AbdilWahhaab in his heart.
Muhammad bn Sa‘uud went to Sheikh Muhammad bn AbdilWahhaab in the house of Suwaylim and welcomed him saying:
Receive glad tidings of a land better than your lands, and receive glad-tidings of honour and protection.
Then the sheikh explained the teachings of tawheed and said to him:
Receive glad-tidings of honour and establishment…
Muhammad bn Sa‘uud and Sheikh Muhammad bn Abdilwahhab entered an agreement to help the Religion (of Islam) and fight whoever goes against Tawheed but King Muhammad bn Sa‘uud made two conditions:
- That the Sheikh should not leave him for another place after they conquer lands
- That the sheikh should not prevent the ruler from taking his share of tributaries that he used to take from the people of Dir‘iyyah.
The sheikh agreed to the first and said about the second:
Perhaps Allaah will grant you conquests and give you spoils that are better than that…
Then Sheikh Muhammad, after establishing himself in Dir‘iyyah, began his strategic war through his classes that he gives to his students and students who visit from different places. And also through his advices and counsels in the politics of Dir‘iyyah. He was also incharge of preparing the army, organising battle roasters and fixing conventions.
During the reign of King AbdulAzeez bn Sa‘uud, when the da‘wah had been well established and the pillars of the Dir‘iyyah territory had been established, the Sheikh retreated from politics and stayed in his house. Despite that, King AbdulAzeez continued to seek his counsel in all of his affairs and nothing was done without the knowledge of the Sheikh.
On the last Monday of Shawwaal 1296 AH (1791AD) and almost 92 years of age, Sheikh Muhammad bn AbdilWahhab died. He was buried in Dir‘iyyah cementary. May Allaah have mercy on Sheikh Muhammad bn AbdilWahhaab.
He was a devout worshipper, he spent his night in prayer, he was always patient in giving verdicts, he was largehearted and generous , he was contented and ascetic.
He didn’t have any wealth after his death for his inheritors, rather he had a lot of debts.
The most popular of Sheikh Muhammad bn AbdilWahhaab’s books are:
- Kitaab Tawheed The book of tawheed
- Kashfu Shubuhaat Exposing the interpolations
- Thalaathatul Usuul Three fundamentals
- Mukhtasar Seerah Abridged seerah
- Naseehatul Muslimeen Sincere advice to the Muslims
- Kitaabul Kabaaer The book of major sins
- Usoolul Eemaan The fundamentals of Faith
- Masaailul Jaahiliyyah Issues of pre-Islamic Ignorance
- Mukhtasar Zaadul Ma‘aad Abridgement of Zaadul Ma‘aad
- Ahaadeethul Fitan The hadiths of trials and tribulations
- And many other treatises which are mostly about Tawheed.