Wahabees a modern Mohammedan sect founded by sheik Mohammed, the son of Abd-el-Wahab, for whom they were named. They preach no new doctrine, but have for their distinctive principle a desire to abolish the idolatrous practices which have connected themselves with the religion of Islam. They reject the worship of Mohammed as gross idolatry, and adhere strictly to the Koran; otherwise they observe all the rites and ceremonies of the Mohammedans — the number of the prayers, the genuflections, the fast of the Rama'dan (q.v.), and abstinence from wine and all spirituous liquors. Abd-el-Wahab, during his whole life, sought to gain converts by peaceable means, but his successors followed the example of Mohammed in disseminating their principles by the sword, and political interests were united with religious reform. They originated in the small tribe of Nedshi, in Yemen; but their founder undertook an expedition into Syria and the regions bordering-on the Euphrates, and having collected a number of tribes from the Arabian desert, who became converts to his views, he formed them into a distinct nation, under the control of Eben Send as their civil governor, and himself as their imam, or spiritual ruler. This appears to have taken place soon after the middle of the last century; but no measures were taken against the Wahabees by the Porte until the year 1798, when they were attacked by the pasha of Bagdad, but without effect, which emboldened them to leave the desert; and in 1801-2 they met with signal success, took great booty from the neighboring Mohammedans, and captured Mecca itself, where they established their power in lieu of that of the grand sultan, in virtue of which he had hitherto been regarded as the head and protector of the faithful. The residence of Send was now fixed at Dreich, where he had a palace, and lived in all the pomp and splendor of an Eastern prince. In 1803-4 he made unsuccessful attacks on Bagdad and Bussorah, but took Medina in 1804, and in 1805 Jidda, which had formerly baffled all his attempts to subdue it. The Porte was now obliged to pay a heavy tribute for permission to send an escort from Damascus with the caravans of pilgrims that annually proceeded to Mecca; and these caravans were no longer allowed to have weapons, flags, or music, or to enter the holy city on carpets, as formerly. In 1807 the Wahabees stood in the zenith of their power, since which time they have been repeatedly repulsed, especially in 1818, when their sheik Abdallah, the great-grandson of Saud, the friend and protector of Abd-el-Wahab, was compelled to surrender to Ibrahim Pasha, the son of Mehemet Ali, and was taken to Constantinople and executed. The sect still exists, and is paramount in Central Arabia, where the dominions of the sultan of the Wahabees embrace not only Neded proper, but the adjacent provinces, and include 316 towns or villages, with a population (in 1863) of 1, 219, 000. They are a great annoyance to the Turkish government, and a terror to the pilgrims who proceed from all parts of the East to visit the tomb of the prophet. See Palgrave, Central and Eastern Arabia (Lond. 1869); Histoire des Wahabites depuis leur Origine jusqua l'An 1809 (Paris, 1810); Burckhardt, Notes on the Bedouins and Wahabys: (Lond. 1830). SEE MOHAMMEDANISM.

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