Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab (1703-1792) aroused great controversy in his lifetime. More than two centuries after his death he still elicits strong views. For some he is the model of a pious religious activist who fought to establish a regime of Islamic godliness in the least promising of environments. For others, especially Muslims associated with mystic orders or who belong to the Shi'i branch of Islam, he is a hate figure. Few would contest that he shaped the Muslim world. For over two hundred and fifty years the Wahhabi religious movement has rested on the twin pillars of a clear, compelling credo and an indissoluble alliance with temporal power in Arabia. Absolutist, uncompromising theology and political and religious ambition combined to make it the dominant force there, turning its champions, the Al Sa'ud clan, from petty rulers of a middle-sized settlement with a talent for balancing interests, into the guardians of Islam's Holy Places, disposing of the earth's greatest identified oil reserves. This thought-provoking and incisive biography, which charts the relationship between religious doctrine, political power and events on the ground, is ideal for readers interested in uncovering the life and convictions of the man who founded the Wahhabi movement and a dynastic alliance between his clerical descendants and Saudi princes that has lasted to the present day.