Like, almost every other major religion, Islam ultimately got divided into two major stream of thoughts, Sufism or spiritualists and Shariites or political Islam. While Sufi believes that human connection to God starkly depends on purity of heart and strength of character that a person builds through his or her very own spiritual practices, Muslims who believe in political Islam hold the view that all the evils in this world flow out of corruption of governments and only way to change that is to establish a global Islamic Caliphate. Apparently, the main focus of the two groups is entirely opposite to each other. One focuses on individual and other on global control.
These are the reasons why Sufi spreads the message of Islam with preaching and by setting up a practical example of strong character, political Islam relies on sword to bring people under its dominance. Various Muslim scholars have estimated that by the end of First World War 98% of Muslims believed and practiced, at least up to some extent, the spiritual Islam. Remaining 2% were mostly who were directly or indirectly benefited by caliphate. Sufism kept evolving and growing. Many Sufis even entirely denied the official religious structure like five times offering of prayer, fasting, wealth Tax and pilgrimage to Mecca.
In many schools of Sufism the relationship between creator and creation was completely private and personal, and depended solely on the methods devised by individuals themselves until and unless the universal principles of truth like respect for life and property, honest living, no lying, no breaking of promises, no cheating were upheld by those individuals. Sufis often denied all commitments to material world, including marriage, and declared their lovers as the portals to divinity and God. Many considered selflessness, under the influence of narcotics, as a powerful weapon against human selfishness.
This scenario changed drastically after World War One. After the defeat of Turkey in War, Muslim caliphate was divided into small states, many of whom were colonized by Western countries. This became a burning issue for political Islam. They came out with full force and said that non-Muslims are enormously increasing their political power and control while Sufis are leading us into dark ages of slavery. Political Islamist maintained and strongly propagated the point of view that the only way for Muslims to get out of slavery of non-Muslims is by striving for building their own political body and strength. The revival of global caliphate was deemed absolutely necessary for Islamic Renaissance.
Most Muslims were, of course not happy with colonization under West. So, Sufis were commonly got blamed, very much like Anarchists in West, for all the encroachments from West, over the Muslim world. The notion Islamic renaissance became rapidly popular, especially among youth. When eventually those colonized and divided countries gained independence from Western colonists, mostly after World War two, many of the ruling regimes in those countries were dictatorial and oppressive, and were frequently labeled as the agents of West. Phrases like “British left, but, dropped their bastards on us” became common.
While most oppressive and corrupt regimes apparently seemed to have their policies dictated and supported by West, the slogan of Islamic revolution got increasingly popular and Sufis were progressively cornered, especially among the youth. This state of affairs led power hungry regimes to take a new turn. Almost none of those was ready to give up power and control. So, many started to take anti-West stance and built alternative alliances with Soviet Union and China. Many of those, so called pro-Soviet and anti-West regimes and leaderships, got very powerful and popular. To the extent that many became a serious threat to U.S. and Western interests.
With increasing popularity these anti-West regimes, the political Islam was receding giving its way, again, to spiritual Islam. Unity of Islamic Ummah (Nation) was becoming a common topic of everyday discussions. Ever increasing co-operation between Muslim countries was creating a very powerful, third, global block. For western powers it was becoming increasingly important to keep Muslims divided. It was perceived that only a powerful, internal and divisive force can keep Muslims divided. Salafi or Wahhabi faction was known for its extreme views and intolerance, even for all the other factions of Islam. It was extremely unlikely that Muslims can ever unite under such an extreme and intolerant philosophy.
Empowering an extreme and intolerant faction within Muslims could have be very good way to keep them divided. But, the problem was, how to grant them a powerful and destabilizing position withing Muslim World. This search and puzzle was finally solved by an influential Saudi family. They strongly believed in extreme and intolerant Wahhabi school of thought and were located in heartland of Muslim world, Arabia. CIA took this task and was finally successful in helping this family to establish an extreme and intolerant Wahhabi dictatorship in Arabia.
Saudi royal family has lived to their task ever since. They hate Shiites and, as a matter of fact, all the other Muslims and human beings. They strongly believe in complete global dominance of Wahhabi Islam. They have consistently financed extremist political Islam around the world, mainly in Muslim countries. Muslim Brotherhood, Al-Qaeda, Taliban, Hamas and Fatah, and Syrian rebels, all have their money trails tracking down to Saudis. To Muslims they show the face of biggest resistance to Western influence and to West, especially United States, they are the biggest dividers among Muslims.
Many Americans wonder, why our government and politicians cannot see the serious human rights violations in Saudi Arabia, while we keep attacking one country after the other for same reasons. Many think, it is oil. No doubt that oil is a very big factor in Saudi Arabia enjoying the status of our ally. So is the value of personal and business relationships of powerful business and political families with Saudis. But, the biggest policy matter in this regard is that without the extremist and intolerant Saudi regime, our vision of intermingling with Muslim world is totally lost. They have been the biggest and most effective factor in destabilizing Muslim countries and in keeping them under our hood.