ibn abd al-wahab’s Position on Qasidat al-Burda
Today, many people attribute views to muhammad ibn abd al-wahhab that are contrary to what he actually taught. This was the case even in his own lifetime, as is evident in the letters he wrote to muslim leaders and scholars of Iraq and Quhaym. He explained to them that he was never against tawassul, nor against praising the Prophet salalahu alayhi wa salam, nor against Dalail al-khayrat (a book of invocations of blessings on the Prophet salalahu alayhi wa salam)), nor against Muhyiddin ibn arabi and ibn al-farid, nor against visits to the grave of the Prophet salalahu alayhi wa salam, but that he accepted all these and never said they were shirk or haram. The following is excerpted from one such letter: (From the eight-volume, 1980 edition of ibn abd al-wahhab’s complete works as published by the islamic university of muhammad ibn saud on the occasion of the “Shaykh Muhammad ibn abdul wahhab week”. This text was also qouted by shaykh muhammad al-maliki in his book Mafahim yajib an tusahhah.)
As you know, I heard that sulayman ibn suhaym’s letter has reached you, and that some of your scholars have accepted it and given it credence, and Allah knows that that man has claimed things,concerning me, which I never said, and most of which never came to my mind.
Among them are his claim that I reject the major schools; and I say that people have been in ignorance for the past 600 years (i.e. since the time of ibn taymiyya) and that I claim ijtihad (the capacity to interpret Quran and sunna independently); and that I am exempt of taqlid (following qualified opinion); and that I say differences among the ulama are a curse (a reversal of the sharia principle that such differences are a blessing); and that I call kafir those who seek tawassul from the pious, and that I call al-busiri kafir for saying (about the Prophet salalahu alayhi wa salam “O most honored of creation;” and that I say if I could destroy the dome of the Prophet salalahu alayhi wa salam I would destroy it (this was attempted by the wahhabis in 1804); and that if I could suppress the (golden) drainage pipe of the kabah and replace it with a wooden one I would; and that I forbid the visit of the Prophet’s salalahu alayhi wa salam tomb, and those of one’s parents and others; and that I call kafir whomever swears by other than Allah; and that I call ibn al-farid and (muhyiddin) ibn arabi disbelievers (kafir); and that I burn Dalail al-khayrat and Rawh al-rayyahin (books of invocations of blessings on the Prophet salalahu alayhi wa salam); and that i call it Rawh al-shayatin.
My answer to these matters is: “Glory be to Thee (Allah), this is a most serious slander!” (24:16) (Muallafat al-shaykh imam muhammad ibn abd al-wahhab, ed. abd al aziz ibn zayd al-rumi, muhammad bultaji, and sayyid hijab, 8 vols. in 12 (Riyadh: s.n., 1980) 5:11-12, 61,64)