I can recollect from my early childhood when my grandfather used to yell at my brothers and cousins, “You the sons of Wahabi” whenever they would arouse his ire for their childhood peccadilloes. People at that time used to associate a murderer, a thief or an aggressor against the weaker with what they called “sons of Wahabi”.
From the grandparents it was an acceptable slang, but it would lead to a scuffle if used by a neighbor, a class-fellow or a playmate. In the good old days it stood for someone with a ruthless heart. Then suddenly a portrait flooded almost every small and big city in late 1970s. A heavily built jallad with a stream of blood dripping from his sword as he stood by a human head severed from his body.
This was the portrait of the nephew of then king of Saudi Arabia, Shah Faisal. The guy, Prince Faisal bin Musaed, shot dead the king in March 1975 and was decapitated in June the same year for committing regicide.
Muslims in Pakistan and perhaps in the rest of the Muslim world were buying the sketch, showing the beheaded prince, like a hot cake. That was the first time I got a glimpse of the Wahabi justice of Saudi Arabia which inspired men and women in our and every village.
The demo of the Wahabi justice system in the portrait was followed by stories of Pakistanis coming from Saudi Arabia after years long hard jobs in cities of Makkah, Madina, Jeddah and Riyadh. I remember the early batch of Pakistani daily wagers returning from Saudi Arabia telling tales of the Saudi justice system. “Every Friday, shurtha (Saudi police) brings in criminals to a ground. A sword-brandishing Jallad runs from a distance and with a single blow cuts the head of the criminal whose hands and legs are tied. Women found guilty of adultery are stoned to death.” Such stories travelled by the word of mouth from village to town and locals used to show approval for it.
Then Peshawar saw its walls splattered with graffiti like “Mujahid-e-Akbar, Sheikh Jameel-ur-Rehman”. Activists of Islami Jamiat Talaba (IJT)—student wing of the Jama’at-e-Islami (JI)—would tell that Sheikh Jameel-ur-Rehman was from Kunar province, an Afghan Wahabi and fighting against the former Soviet troops in eastern Afghanistan.
Then came in names like Sheikh Abdullah Azzam and Osama bin Laden. The story was then common that Pakistan’s intelligence agency ISI was planning together with the Arabs and Afghans to push the Red army back across the River Oxus aka the Amu Darya separating Afghanistan from the then Soviet Union.
But the story did not stop there. The Taliban emerged in Afghanistan in mid 1990s. Under the influence of their Arab guests, they imposed the Wahabi legal system. Pakistan’s pro-Taliban media published stories of the Taliban shooting men and women on charges of murder, cutting hands of alleged thieves, stoning women to death and flogging men and women for committing adultery.
And finally they fell back on Pakistan. Taliban and their associates introduced the House of Saud- sponsored Wahabi agenda in tribal regions of Pakistan and Swat valley of Pakhtunkhwa. Beheading dissidents is the name of the game now in the military’s abandoned regions under the Taliban. The lunacy is spilling over into the Punjab from Waziristan with the tacit, nay public, support of Sharifs—the ruling brothers. Love for Taliban’s justice system of the two brothers is on record and their loyalty for the House of Saud is well-known.
The story tells how the Taliban and their bedfellows in Afghanistan and Pakistan have tampered the overwhelmingly dominant Hanafi school of thought in South Asia. They would not use the term Wahabism for extending their religious agenda, but the funds coming from the Arab peninsula are to be used to render our women as a commodity for sale, our freedom as blasphemy, our dress as anti-Islam, we all as brothers of Satan and condemned to the Wahhabi sword of Jallad. Keep watch on them!