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Rendering Muḥammad Human Again: The Prophetology of Muḥammad b. ʿAbd al-Wahhāb (1703–1792)

In: Numen
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  • 1 University of Aarhus Institute for Culture and Society, Jens Chr. Skous Vej 7 8000 Aarhus C, Denmark
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Abstract

Muḥammad b. ʿAbd al-Wahhāb (1703–1792), the founder of the puritan Wahhābī movement in Islam, has written a biography of the prophet that differs markedly from other later works of this genre. He passes over many episodes that are supposed to elevate the status of Muḥammad beyond that of an ordinary human, whereas he includes episodes that show him as human, or even fallible, such as the controversial “Satanic verses.” The purpose of this selection is to demonstrate that apart from events specifically related to revelation, Muḥammad was a human being whose actions can be imitated. However, the scope of Muḥammad’s actions is reduced to the eradication of unbelief and idolatry. This is supposed to suggest that Muḥammad b. ʿAbd al-Wahhāb himself is completing what Muḥammad has begun and to legitimize the warfare of followers against the “idolaters.”

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