The Wahhabis and the Muslim Brothers: From Alliance to Alienation. Regional and Global Implications


Author: Vasiliev A.
Journal: Journal of Globalization Studies. Volume 11, Number 2 / November 2020

DOI: https://doi.org/10.30884/jogs/2020.02.04

For decades, the Wahhabis and the Muslim Brothers were allies both in ideology and in political practices. They were united by their attitude to Western culture as to corruption and debauchery, a negative perception of the Western system of values, and the desire to mold society based on the models of the Koran, Sunnah, and Sharia. Their common enemies were secular nationalist regimes and communism. The points of disagreement – the condemnation by the Brothers of the hereditary monarchies, then the direct call to overthrow the pro-Western rulers – were simply glossed over. For Saudi Arabia's Salafi Wahhabis, loyalty to the Saudi monarchy was an axiom. The peak of cooperation was achieved when both Brothers and Wahhabis participated in the jihad in Afghanistan against the Soviet troops and the pro-communist government. In joint camps, future extremist jihadists were brought up. The watershed was the war against Saddam Hussein's Iraqi troops, which occupied Kuwait. The deployment of a huge American army, as well as its European allies, in the territory of Saudi Arabia, where two main Muslim shrines are located, was considered sacrilege by the Muslim Brothers, as was the invitation of infidel troops to war against a Muslim state, albeit with a dictatorial secular regime. However, the leadership of the Saudi ulama issued a fatwa approving the actions of the rulers of the Kingdom. Over the years, the disagreements were voiced louder and louder, and the culmination was the rupture between the Wahhabis and the Brothers, which had substantial regional and global implications.

Keywords: the Muslim Brothers, the Wahhabis, Western culture, Saudi Arabia, the Saudi ulama. 

Alexei Vasiliev, Institute for African Studies of the RAS more