Devil’s Advocate

He was engaged by his client to conduct research on a topic that was very alien to him at first, and inherently ideologically divergent after 4 hours of secondary research. However, he had trained himself to play a devil’s advocate on any topic. So, he dug his heels into the topic, reached out to any who could even remotely help him build his perspective, and tried to truly understand the issue. The issue of ‘Wahhabi’ influence on Indian Muslims.

For the uninitiated, like he was before 3 days of research, a general consensus among the scholars is that ‘Wahhabi’ is an ultra-conservative branch of Sunni Islam, propagated in India through petro-dollars from Saudi Arabia. Although many scholars appreciate the work done by Wahhabi preachers for social ascendance of Indian Muslims, many analysts warn that they are feeding on the frustration of Muslims and indoctrinating them in radical Islam.

However, his research suggested that Wahhabi has different meaning to different people. Deobandis call the Ahl-Hadith Wahhabis, and in turn Braelwis call Deobandis Wahhabis. And to top it off, the Western neo-cons or the progressives call all of them Wahhabis! He posited that with an origin so inaccurate, with usage so incoherent, and with connotations so divisive and slanderous, is it not time to bury this term, once and for all. The client loved his perspective.

He had always believed that it is very hard to truly love or truly hate something after you truly understand it. His belief was reinforced.


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