The Wahhabi movement led by Muhammad ibn Abd Al-Wahhab in the eighteenth century Najd was inspired by Ibn Taimiyah. Ibn Abd al-Wahhab hailed Ibn Taimiya as a pioneer of Salafism which means following the salaf, the first three generations of Islam. Being a follower of the salaf, Ibn Taimiyah and his followers freed themselves from blindly following the fiqhi schools of thought which evolved in the second and third Islamic centuries.
Ahmad ibn Abd al-Halim, commonly known as "Ibn Taimiyah" (1263-1328), a jurist, philosopher, teacher and social reformer of the fourteenth century, remained for centuries an obscure figure until he was suddenly discovered some three decades ago by militant Islamic movements in the Middle East which were basically fighting against corrupt pro-West rulers in their countries. Until then, Ibn Taimiyah was popular only among the Hanbalis of the Arabian Peninsula. One reason which led to this sudden popularity may be that in the 1960s and thereafter, Saudis printed millions of copies of books by 'Salafi' scholars like Muhammad ibn Abd Al-Wahhab, Ibn Taimiyah and Ibn Al-Qayyim, in Arabic and other languages and spread them all over the Muslim World.
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