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muhammad-bin-abdul-wahab In the late 1700’s, the House of Saud began an era of expansionism via the ideology of the Wahabbi Islamic movement. In 1744 Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab created an alliance with the House of Ibn Saud. This alliance was based on a fundamental form of Sunni belief of an older Salafiyya doctrine. Ibn Saud’s felt that by creating an army of holy warriors, driven by an idea rather than a person, he can expand his tribal empire across the Nadj and eventually into the Hejaz. Although not technically colonialism, it is a form of expansionism.

Colonialism can take the form of an ideology as well. In the 1950’s Gamal Abdel Nasser took control of Egypt. Nasser had a plan to rule the Arab world, not by force, but with his political views of Pan Arabism. Similar to the House of Saud and the Wahabbi movement, Nasser planned to unite the Arab countries under him with an ideology with Egypt as the core and the Arab peninsula as the center of a new Arab world. Although Nasser didn’t conquer any other lands, however, the ideals of Pan Arabism did influence the mind of Saddam Hussein.

Before the Ottoman Turks the Rashidun Caliphs and then the Umayyads, the Arabs rapidly expanded the territory under Muslim control outside of Arabia. Muslim colonialism expanded from the Arabian Peninsula, through Northern Africa to the Iberian Peninsula. Unlike the Saudi example or the example of Pan Arabism, the expansionist efforts of the Umayyads and the Rashidun Caliphs is a true form of colonialism. However, it may be that the ideology of Nasserism and Pan Arabism may continue to exist longer than these tow Caliphates.