The two families have intermarried multiple times over the years and in today's Saudi Arabia, the minister of religion is always a member of the Al ash-Sheikh family, i.e., a descendent of Ibn Abdul Wahhab.
According to most sources, Ibn Abd al-Wahhab declared jihad against neighboring tribes, whose practices of asking saints for their intercession, making pilgrimages to tombs and special mosques, he believed to be the work of idolaters/unbelievers.
In the country of Wahhabism's founding – and by far the largest and most powerful country where it is the state religion – Wahhabi ulama gained control over education, law, public morality and religious institutions in the 20th century, while permitting as a "trade-off" doctrinally objectionable actions such as the import of modern technology and communications, and dealings with non-Muslims, for the sake of the consolidation of the power of its political guardian, the Al Saud dynasty.
However, in the last couple of decades of the twentieth century several crises worked to erode Wahhabi "credibility" in Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Muslim world – the November 1979 seizure of the Grand Mosque by militants; the deployment of US troops in Saudi during the 1991 Gulf War against Iraq; and the 9/11 2001 al-Qaeda attacks on New York and Washington.
Wahhabis do not like – or at least did not like – the term.
Ibn Abd-Al-Wahhab was averse to the elevation of scholars and other individuals, including using a person's name to label an Islamic school.
Today Ibn Abd Al-Wahhab's teachings are the official, state-sponsored form of Sunni Islam The US State Department has estimated that over the past four decades the capital Riyadh has invested more than $10bn (£6bn) into charitable foundations in an attempt to replace mainstream Sunni Islam with the harsher, intolerant Wahhabism.
Estimates of the number of adherents to Wahhabism vary, with one source (Mehrdad Izady) giving a figure of fewer than 5 million Wahhabis in the Persian Gulf region (compared to 28.5 million Sunnis and 89 million Shia).
Wahhabism refers to "a conservative Islamic creed centered in and emanating from Saudi Arabia," while Salafiyya is "a more general puritanical Islamic movement that has developed independently at various times and in various places in the Islamic world." Wahhabism is the Saudi version of Salafism, according to Mark Durie, who states Saudi leaders "are active and diligent" in using their considerable financial resources "in funding and promoting Salafism all around the world." Hamid Algar and another critic, Khaled Abou El Fadl, argue Saudi oil-export funding "co-opted" the "symbolism and language of Salafism", during the 1960s and 70s, making them practically indistinguishable by the 1970s, The Wahhabi mission started as a revivalist movement in the remote, arid region of Najd.
With the collapse of the Ottoman Empire after World War I, the Al Saud dynasty, and with it Wahhabism, spread to the holy cities of Mecca and Medina.
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