Ameer Ali: â€˜The Spirit of Islamâ€™
The author was a member of the Judicial Committee of His Majestyâ€™s Privy Council in the early 20 th Century, i.e. during the days of British colonial rule in India. He writes,
||â€˜In Najd, under the rule of the Wahabis, who have been called the Covenanters of Islam, laggards were whipped into the mosque. And today under Ibn Saud, his followers who designate themselves Ikhwan, or â€˜Brothers in faithâ€™, pursue the same method for enforcing the observance of religious rites. Prayers bil-jamaâ€™at as being obligatory (farzâ€™ain) naturally made the presence of the Imam obligatory.â€™  |
Discussing the Azariqa, a faction of the Khawarij, he says,
||â€˜Of these the Azarika are the most fanatical, exclusive, and narrow. According to them, every sect besides their own is doomed to perdition, and ought to be forcibly converted or ruthlessly destroyed. No mercy ought to be shown to any infidel or Mushrik (an expansive term, including Muslims, Christians and Jews). To them every sin is of the same degree: murder, fornication, intoxication, smoking, all are damning offences against religion. Whilst other Muslims, Shiah as well as Sunni, hold that every child is born into the world in the faith of Islam, and remains so until perverted by education, the Azraki declares that the child of an infidel is an infidel. The orthodox Christian maintains that every child who is not baptized is doomed to perdition: the Khariji, like the Christian, declares that every child who has not pronounced the formula of faith is beyond the pale of salvation. The Azarika were destroyed by Hajjaj ibn Yusuf; but their sanguinary, fierce, and merciless doctrines found expression nine centuries later in Wahabism.â€™  |
He then says,
||â€˜The Wahabis have been depicted in rather favourable colours by Mr. Palgrave, in his Travels in Central Arabia, but, in fact, they are the direct descendants of the Azarika, who after their defeat by Hajjaj ibn Yusuf, had taken refuge in the recesses of Central Arabia. Abdul Wahabâ€™s doctrines. bear the closest resemblance to those held so fiercely by the followers of Nafe ibn al-Azrak. Like them, the Wahabis designate all other Muslims as unbelievers, and permit their despoilment and enslavement. However commendable their revolt against the anthropolatrous usages in vogue among the modern Muslims, their views of religion and divine government, like those of the Ikhwan in the present day in Najd, are intensely morose and Calvinistic  , and in absolute conflict with progress and development.â€™  |
Our response to these claims is as follows:
- There is no disagreement among the different mazahib of Islam regarding obligatory prayers. But there are some minor differences regarding the duty of the man to offer these prayers in a Masjid. Some held that it is obligatory if he is in the vicinity of a Masjid and hears the adhan, but others held it as a confirmed Sunnah. Muslim societies in general took it for granted that their men would attend the Masjid for prayer after hearing the adhan, and it was only in very recent times that laxity developed among some people. Al Ikhwan introduced a disciplinary punishment for those who were lazy in attending congregational prayers in order to counteract the lethargy that was developing. But this punishment was never needed on a large scale; in Saudi Arabia today, for example, an observor will notice people flocking to the Masajid at times of prayer, despite the absence of any forms of punishment for not doing so.
- The treatise of Sheikh Hamad bin Naasir bin Uthman Maâ€™mari An Najdi (d. 1225 AH) gives permission to fight those who do not pray out of laziness. He reports the consensus of all the Imams except Az Zuhri. And this is the mazhab of the people known as Hanbalis. For the people of Najd, anyone who abandons prayer voluntarily is regarded a Kafir. 
- Ameer Aliâ€™s comments about the alleged resemblance between the Wahhabis and the Khawarij are not new. Zaini Dahlan also took all the ahadith pertaining to the Khawarij and applied them to the Wahhabis in his books â€˜Al Durrar al Sunniyaâ€™ and â€˜Al Futuhat al Islamiyyaâ€™. 
Ameer Aliâ€™s comments regarding the resemblance between the Wahhabis and the Khawarij, especially the Azariqa, shows his deep ignorance of the beliefs of Sheikh Ibn Abdul Wahhab, which were simply a renewal of the pure teachings of the Salaf. Let us hear the evidence of the mazhab of Sheikh Muhammad bin Abdul Wahhab.
i) The Khawarij declare any individual who commits a major sin to be a Kafir. The Sheikh will only declare someone to be a Kafir if the consensus of the entire Muslim ummah is that he is a Kafir, and if the evidence has been made clear to him. The Sheikh did not declare someone a Kafir if the evidence had not been presented to the wrongdoer. He says concerning people who commit the major sin of drinking alcohol,
â€˜If these people insist on declaring something which is haram to be halal, they are to be labelled Kuffar. But if they believe them to be haram but still partake of them, they are to be flogged. Our pious predecessors did not declare people to be Kuffar for taking the haram to be halal until the truth was made clear to these people. If they persisted despite the evidence, they could then be labelled Kuffar.â€™ 
ii) The Khawarij declared it halal to fight other factions if they had rebelled.The Sheikh said,
â€˜As far as fighting is concerned, we do not fight anyone except to defend our lives and honour. These people have invaded us in our own lands, and so have left no possible alternative. We may fight some of them for what they have done for us. The Qurâ€™an advises us, â€˜The recompense for an evil is a similar evil.â€™ And we can fight those who openly abuse the deen of our Prophet (SAS) after recognising it.â€™ 
iii) The Khawarij were known for their rebellion against Muslim leaders.
They killed Syyedina Ali, May Allah be pleased with him, one of the Rightly Guided Caliphs. In â€˜The Salafi beliefs of Sheikh Muhammad bin Abdul Wahhabâ€™, the author says,
â€˜He believes in the obligation to listen to and obey the Imams of the Muslims, whether they are sinful or pious, as long as they do not ask the people to disobey Allah. If a man takes the Caliphate and the people gather round him, or he dominates them with a sword until he becomes a Caliph, then obedience to him is incumbent and rebellion against him is haram.â€™ 
iv) One of the distinctive characteristics of the Azariqa is their belief that all the children of Kuffar are also Kuffar. For the belief of the Ahl us Sunnah wal Jamaâ€™ah and the followers of Sheikh Ibn Abdul Wahhab, we will record the religious verdict of the most prominent worker in daâ€™wah of our times, Allamah Sheikh Ibn Abdul Aziz bin Baz, may Allah have.18 Mercy upon him:
â€˜According to one saying of the scholars, The man to whom daâ€™wah did not reach, either because he was away from Islam and the Muslims, or because he attained majority when he was mad, or the children of Kuffar who die in childhood, all these people will be put to a trial on the Day of Judgement. Those who respond correctly to the trial will enter Al Jannah. Those who disobey will enter the Fire. And we seek safety from Allah, the Almighty.â€™
Because of the many authentic ahadith on this issue, the correct opinion regarding the children of Kuffar who die before coming of age is that they will be in paradise. 
v) Ameer Ali admits the revolt of Wahhabis against anthropomorphism.
He registers his displeasure with their displeasure with their rule, but does not explain why this is so. The Saudi Kingdom took upon its shoulders the duty of implementing the religion of Allah and Islamic Shariah. Among the blessings of this rule are the comfort, safety, security, peace and stability enjoyed in all areas under its rule. It has modernised and advanced in technology rapidly. Had Ameer Ali lived longer, he would have witnessed himself the falseness of his predictions for the end of the last century. And Allah is the Accounter.