19th Century Islamic Puritanism (Wahhabi, Sanusi, Mahdi)

The Wahhabi movement originated in modern day Saudi Arabia as a fundamentalist opposition to Sufism. It was started by Muhammad–ibn-abd-al-Wahhab in the 18th century in a bid to restore true monotheistic religion and moving away from practices of Sufism such as shrine visitations and making vows to so called “holy men”, which he considered idolatry. The main proclaimed goal of the Wahhabi movement is to eradicate polytheism (shirk) which is the only unforgivable sin according to wahhabism.

The Sanusi order was a tribe in Sudan who wanted to recreate the original community of the prophet Muhammad. They wanted to preserve the Islamic way of life and were worried about the decline of Muslims and Islamic thought. The tribe fought against the French who were trying to take over the Sahara. They also fought against the Italians who tried to take over Libya as well as fighting the British in World War 1. Their basic principles were to go back to the way of living of the prophet and to earn a living instead of relying on charity.

The Mahdia movement was started by Muhammad Ahmad ibn as sayyid Abdullah. He had a vision of expelling the Ottomans out of Sudan and establishing an Islamic state. After defeating the British, he took over Darfur and started governing it by imposing his modified version of Islam. He replaced some basic principles such as introducing Jihad as a replacement of obligatory pilgrimage to Mecca, which is known as Hajj. He also claimed to be the representative of the Prophet and that the modifications he made were communicated or revealed to him by the God.