Wahhabism is a movement of Islam named after Muhammad ibn Abd al Wahhab (1703–1792). It has become an object of increased interest because it is the major sect of the government and society of Saudi Arabia. Some will claim that Wahabis are the most extreme of Muslims (also known as Salafism). Wahhabis differentiate themselves from orthodox Sunnis by labeling themselves Salafis, which refers to the word salaf – the time period in which the early Muslims lived in the first 300 years after the Hijra, or emigration, of Prophet Muhammad from Mecca to Medina in 622.
It is said that the Wahabis are anti-Sunni and anti-Shi’a. Wahabis have been religiously criticized for labeling many major Muslim groups, such as Sufi and Shi’a Muslims, as apostates. They also take stances against the the graves of saints, and the practice of Tawassul which consists of asking the saints for prayer on their behalf.