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Imagined Wahhabis: Disentangling British and Indian Representations of Wahhabism in Colonial India
Throughout the nineteenth century, the British in India feared a vast conspiracy of “Wahhabi” Muslim fanatics that threatened their imperial interests. While the British discourse on so-called Indian Wahhabis has received significant attention from academics, the same is not true of an Indian Muslim discourse on Wahhabis. A closer analysis of the latter not only helps explain why the British used the specific term “Wahhabi” to refer to potential rebels, but also reveals that Indian Muslim concerns about Wahhabis were tied to intra-Muslim debates about how to define Islam.
Mohsin Ali is a PhD student in Islamic Studies. His interests include modern intellectual history an scholarly networks between South Asia and the Middle East.