History is pivotal in understanding why Hijāz with its people changed so much.
We must understand how Wahhabism spread in the Hijaz and Najd (modern Saudi Arabia) during and after the time of Muhammad Ibn ‘Abdul Wahhab al Najdi, how they martyred the Hanabilah and how they took the name of the Hanabilah.
The ‘Ulama from the Hanafiyyah, the Malikiyya and the Shafi’iyyah are well known amongst the people, however, the great Hanbali luminaries are known less, the most noticeable reason for this is because the Hanbali madhhab is the smallest madhhab with the least followers.
But it is also important to know that due to the Wahhabi genocide in Hijaz the Hanbali ‘ulama were martyred and the madhhab lost its authenticity in most of those regions.
The founder of the madhhab is Imam Ahlussunnah Abu ‘Abdullah Ahmad Ibn Hanbal al Shaybani, born in 164 after Hijri.
Imam Ahmad was from the Salaf, he was from amongst the greatest Muhaddithin and Mujtahidin, he was a Mujtahid Mutlaq and had memorised 1 million ahadith.
Imam Ahmad and his students were massive scholars and they were upon the creed of the Salaf, they were Sunni in ‘Aqidah and Fiqh.
Imam Ahmad along the three other Imams are accepted by consensus in the Ummah as the greatest scholars.
Historically some Hanabilah have been affected by Tajsīm as the Ahnāf were by I’tizāl, but no sane individual would discard a school of Ahlussunnah because of some deviant adherents, majority have been upon the right path and Ijma’ remains on four schools.
The Hanbalis in fiqh always remained among the Ahlussunnah, and the ‘Aqidah of the Hanbalis was that of the Ash’aris.
The madhhab took its main blow during the crusades of Muhammad Ibn ‘Abdul Wahhab al Najdi, a khārijī who emerged to “cleanse” the world of muslim apostates. This khariji with his cult, and later the Muwahhidun as well, brutally murdered many believers, and they dessimated the Hanbali madhhab and killed the Hanbali ‘ulama of Hijaz and Najd.
Muhammad Ibn ‘Abdul Wahhab al Najdi (1703-1792) was a Khariji and a deviant individual. The ‘Ulama of Ahlussunnah already warned against him before his crusades.
He declared every believer on earth and every believer 600 years prior to his crusades as kuffar.
He spent many years in al Diriyyah and after he gained alliances and power, he then started with his 51 years long crusade against the muslims.
He declared every single muslim on earth to be a disbeliever, except those that followed his religion, and brutally massacred thousands of people, he along his descendants.
In his lifetime he was declared as a Murtad and Kafir by his older brother and the Hanbali Authority of the time, Imam Sulayman Ibn ‘Abdul Wahhab, may Allah be pleased with him.
Once the Wahhabis grew in number, along the progeny of Ibn ‘Abdul Wahhab, they killed many people beyond belief, commiting horrible murders by emptying cities and other unimaginable atrocities.
To the extent that he even murdered his own brother Imam Sulayman.
Besides killing the believers, they dessimated the graves of the Salaf, their houses, the wells they had built, even the trees that were planted by the Prophet ﷺ and his Companions.
They destroyed old relics, artifacts and so much more, all under the pretext of “protecting people against Shirk”, which was an absurd claim, rather, it was to erase Islam completely by the order of the West.
After the death of Ibn ‘Abdul Wahhab his sons continued their crusades against Islam.
The Ottomans were the ones who declared war upon the Wahhabi Khawarij, between the years 1811-1818 the Ottoman army at the time, which was led by Muhammad ‘Ali Pasha aided the muslims against them.
Do you know what the Ottomans did to the Wahhabi cult?
They waged war against them and dessimated the Wahhabi cult.
Many Wahhabis ran away, some of them who fled to Egypt, and those that were captured were imprisoned, their main leaders and followers received the death penalty.
To the extent that the son of Muhammad Ibn ‘Abdul Wahhab was shot to death, by a thousand bullets.
This shows the people what evil atrocities this cult committed.
Because of the Ottomans the Wahhabis were pushed back and removed from power.
But unfortunately after the fall of the Ottoman Khilafah, the Wahhabis rose again due to their alliance with the Sa’ud family and the British Empire.
They spread their Wahabi religion in Hijaz and changed the name to ‘Saudi Arabia’, and finally proclaimed the Dawla (state) of the Wahabiyya, and the rest is history.
Due to this, the people in this age are Wahhabiyyun, I do not state that every single individual is a Wahhabi because there are still some Sunni ‘ulama in those regions.
But the Hanbali madhhab from Hijaz and Najd was infected by them, so that is why so many of them claim the madhhab today.
THE WAHHABI ‘AQIDAH
The Wahhabis claimed to be “Athari” in ‘Aqidah, but their beliefs were false and not in line with ‘Aqidah of the true Atharis or Ahlussunnah. They were Khawarij and shared many beliefs of the Mu’tazilah and the Shi’ah.
They claimed that Allah ﷻ is in a place, that Allah ﷻ is in a direction, that Allah ﷻ sits, that Allah ﷻ resembles his creation. Far from that is our Exalted Lord ﷻ!
The Wahhabi creed is based upon the teachings of Muhammad Amir al San’ani, Ibn Abdul Wahhab al Najdi, al Shawkani, Muhammad ‘Abduh, Jamaluddin al Afghani, Bin Baz, al Albani, Ibnul Uthaymin, and along the rejected opinions of Ibn Taymiyyah.
Their fathers (Amir al San’ani and Ibn Abdul Wahhab) revolted against the ummah and went against the consensus of Ahlussunnah.
They left and rejected the classical teachings of the Hanbali/Athari ‘aqidah, the ‘aqidah of Imam Ahmad, Sayyiduna ‘Abdul Qadir al Jilani, Muwaffaq al Din Ibn Qudamah, Imam al Saffarini, Imam Ibn Badran, al Shatti, and Imam Ibn Balban.
True Hanbali ‘Aqidah is what is found in Lum’atul I’tiqad, Qala’idul Iqyan, Nihayatul Mubtadi’in, Al ‘Ayn wal Athar, Manhaj al Ahmad, Lawami’ul Anwar, only ‘aqidah literature authored by classic Sunni Hanabilah.
And the Madhhab we take from men like ‘Abdul Qadir al Jilani, Ibn Qudamah, ‘Abdul Ghani al Maqdisi, Majd al Din, ‘Ala al Din al Mardawi, Ibn Rajab, al Buhuti, Musa al Hajjawi, al Futuhi, Mar’i al Karmi, al Ba’li, Ibn Badran, Ibn Balban,..
It was a revivement of the Khariji and Mu’tazilah cults. They were declared as disbelievers by the Hanbali authorities.
May Allah ﷻ make Ahlussunnati Wal Jama’ah victorious again.