There is a lot of ignorance and misconception about the term “Wahhabi" isn’t there? I find it truly sad that a lot, and I mean a lot, of Muslims just blindly mimic what they see and hear without even making the slightest effort to find out for themselves what the truth actually is.
There is no such thing as a sect or group of Muslims who call themselves Wahhabis. Who are they? What are their beliefs? Their legislations? There are none. It’s just an offensive term used as an insult. It is only a lame mockery about one of the greatest scholars of Islam; Muhammad ibn Abdul-Wahhab رحمه الله.
This name, "Wahhabi" is based upon the misconception that Muhammad ibn Abdul-Wahhab had come with a new religion or a new form of Islam which opposed the accepted norms of the religion. But do you actually know who Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahhab رحمه الله was? Do you know who this man was, what exactly he called towards, and what he wrote about?
Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahhab رحمه الله was a scholar of Islam who was born on the Arabian Peninsula about 200 years ago, at a time when the religious practices of the people therein contained polytheism, superstitions and sanctification of the saints and graves, all of which are in clear opposition to the Islamic texts.
When writing his works and in giving his da’wah, he concentrated on bringing the people back to the correct Tawheed and adherence to the following of the Sunnah. As he was reviving the message of the Prophets, he faced many obstacles and hardships and was severely opposed for bringing about this call.
Muhammad ibn Abdul-Wahhab رحمه الله was a scholar who called towards Tawheed and the Sunnah, just like the thousands who had already preceded him upon goodness. His creed was the same as theirs, exactly as that of the Four Imaams and others of the righteous Salaf.
He only became famous for his defense of this creed because he came at a time when these false practices were so widespread that he was essentially alone in his defense of the truth.
To this day, he is seen in many parts of the Muslim world as a deviant who had aimed to alter the religion of Islam. This is a baseless lie, as can be seen if you would read his books, which are well documented and widely available, even in the English language. Most of his books are compilations of texts from the Qur’an and Sunnah with a minimal amount of his own wording between them.
The Messenger of Allaah صلى الله عليه وسلم said, ”This knowledge will be carried by the trustworthy ones of every generation; they will expel from it the alterations made by those going beyond bounds, the false claims of the liars and the false interpretations of the ignorant.” [Authenticated by Shaykh al-Albaani in al-Mishkaat - (no. 248)]
Shaykh ul-Islam Muhammd ibn Abdul-Wahhab رحمه الله was but a reformer of the religion who aided the deen of Allaah and purified Islam from unauthentic elements.
And do you know something else?
I personally find it extremely idiotic of the people who coined the term "Wahhabi" because Al-Wahhab is one of the lofty Names of Allaah عز و جل. Al-Wahhab means The Bestower and Abdul-Wahhab means Slave of The Bestower.
And to use this Name in a derogatory term against a person and a people who only establish Tawheed? It’s like cutting off your nose to spite your own face. Because you’re mocking a people with the Names of Allaah عز و جل. How foolish is that?
Reference: The “Wahhabi” Myth by Haneef James Oliver
*See my Study Guide page for some of the most important books of 'aqeedah by Shaykh ul-Islam Muhammd ibn Abdul-Wahhab رحمه الله.