Lawrence of Arabia: Wahabi Islam is a “fanatical heresy”

“The Wahabis, followers of a fanatical Moslem heresy, had impressed their strict rules on easy and civilized Kasim. In Kasim there was but little coffee-hospitality, much prayer and fasting, no tobacco, no artistic dalliance with women, no silk clothes, no gold or silver head ropes or ornaments. Everything was forcibly pious or forcibly puritanical. It was a natural phenomenon, this periodic rise at internals of little more than a century, of ascetic creeds in Central Arabia. Always the votaries found their neighbor’s beliefs cluttered with inessential things, which had become impious in the hot imagination of their preachers. Again and again they had arisen, had taken possession, soul and body, of the tribes, and had dashed themselves to pieces on the urban Semites, merchants, and concupiscent men of the world. About their comfortable possessions the new creeds ebbed and flowed like the tides or the changing seasons, each movement with the seeds of early death in its excess of rightness. Doubtless they must recur so long as the causes — sun, moon, wind, acting in the emptiness of open spaces, weigh without check on the unhurried and unencumbered minds of the desert dwellers.”
–T.E. Lawrence, The Seven Pillars of Wisdom (1922)

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