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It was at this time, according to De Long-Bas, that Wahhabis embraced the ideas of Ibn Taymiyya, which allow self-professed Muslims who do not follow Islamic law to be declared non-Muslims – to justify their warring and conquering the Muslim Sharifs of Hijaz.
The alliance between followers of ibn Abd al-Wahhab and Muhammad bin Saud's successors (the House of Saud) proved to be a durable one.
The House of Saud continued to maintain its politico-religious alliance with the Wahhabi sect through the waxing and waning of its own political fortunes over the next 150 years, through to its eventual proclamation of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 1932, and then afterwards, on into modern times.
The result that safeguarded the vision of Islam-based on the tenets of Islam as preached by Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab was not bloodless, as 40,000 public executions and 350,000 amputations were carried out during its course, according to some estimates.
Under the reign of Abdul-Aziz, "political considerations trumped religious idealism" favored by pious Wahhabis.
According to most sources, Ibn Abd al-Wahhab declared jihad against neighboring tribes, whose practices of asking saints for their intercession, making pilgrimages to tombs and special mosques, he believed to be the work of idolaters/unbelievers.
It was only after the death of Muhammad bin Saud in 1765 that, according to De Long-Bas, Muhammad bin Saud's son and successor, Abdul-Aziz bin Muhammad, used a "convert or die" approach to expand his domain, However, various scholars, including Simon Ross Valentine, have strongly rejected such a view of Wahhab, arguing that "the image of Abd’al-Wahhab presented by De Long-Bas is to be seen for what it is, namely a re-writing of history that flies in the face of historical fact".
Estimates of the number of adherents to Wahhabism vary, with one source (Mehrdad Izady) giving a figure of fewer than 5 million Wahhabis in the Persian Gulf region (compared to 28.5 million Sunnis and 89 million Shia).
According to Saudi writer Abdul Aziz Qassim and others, it was the Ottomans who "first labelled Abdul Wahhab's school of Islam in Saudi Arabia as Wahhabism".
This money – spent on books, media, schools, universities, mosques, scholarships, fellowships, lucrative jobs for journalists, academics and Islamic scholars – gave Wahhabism a "preeminent position of strength" in Islam around the world.