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Member of a Muslim puritan movement founded in the 18th century by Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab. Members call themselves al-Muwahhidun, a name derived from their emphasis on the absolute oneness of God. They reject all acts implying polytheism, including the veneration of saints, and advocate a return to the original teachings of Islam as found in the Qu'ran and the Hadith. They supported the establishment of a Muslim state based on Islamic canon law. Adopted by the ruling Saudi family in 1744, the movement controlled all of Nejd by the end of the 18th century. It was assured of dominance on the Arabian Peninsula with the creation of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 1932, and in the 20th centurysupported by Saudi wealthit engaged in widespread missionary work throughout the Islamic world.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Wahhabi, visit Britannica.com.