What is Salafiyyah ?
The Salafi Da’wah is that of the Qur’aan and the Sunnah. It is the Religion of Islam – pure and free from any additions, deletions or alterations. It is to adhere to the Path of the Messenger (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) and of the True Believers (As-Salafus-Saalih). As-Salaf is a collective term referring to the Pious Pioneers in Islam and all those who follow in their footsteps in belief, actions and morals.
Allah has said (what means):
Whoever contends with and contradicts the Messenger after guidance has been clearly conveyed to him, and follows a path other than that of the Faithful Believers, We shall leave him in the Path he has chosen and land him in Hell, what an evil destination! [An Nisa 4:115]
Shaikhul-lslam ibn Taymiyyah (rahimahullah) commented on this ayah:
“All who contradict and oppose the Messenger (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam), after the right path has been clearly shown to them, have followed other than the Path of the Believers. And all who follow other than the Path of the Believers have contradicted and opposed the Messenger (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam). If one thinks that he is mistaken in following the Path of the Faithful Believers, he is in the same position as one who thinks that he is mistaken in following the Messenger (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam).”
As-Salafus-Saalih (or briefly: the Salaf) refers to the first and best three generations of Muslims. They are the Companions (Sahabah) of the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam), their immediate followers (Tabi`oon), and the followers of the Tabi’een. These were praised by the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam): The best of people is my generation, then those who come after them, then those who come after them [Bukhari and Muslim]. The term Salaf applies also to the Scholars of Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah after the first three blessed generations who followed their way in belief and practices.
Allah (ta`aalaa) said (what means):
The first to embrace Islam of the Muhajirin (those who migrated from Makkah to al-Madinah in obedience to Allah) and the Ansar (the citizens of al-Madinah who gave aid to the Muhajirin), and also those who follow them in the best way; Allah is well pleased with them, and they are with Him [At-Tawbah 9:100]
Among these scholars are (the number following the name is the Hijri year of death): Aboo Haneefah (150), Al-Awzaa`ee (157), Ath-Thawn (161), Al-Laith bin Sad (175), Maalik bin Anas (179). Abdullah bin Al-Mubaarak (181), Sufyaan bin ‘Uyainah (198), Ash-Shafi’i (204), Is’haq (238), Ahmad bin Hanbal (241), Al-Bukhari (256), Muslim (261), Aboo Dawood (275), Ibn Taymiyyah (728), Adh-Dhahabee (748), Ibnul-Qayyim (751), Ibn Katheer (774), Muhammad bin ‘Abdil Wahhab (1206) and his many students, and, in our time: ‘Abdul-’Azeez bin Baaz, Muhammad Naasirud-Deen Al-Albanee and others.
The description “Salafi” applies to one who truly attaches himself to the Salaf. This attachment is not to an arbitrary single person or group of people. It is an attachment to that which will never err – to the guidance of Muhammad (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam), his Sahaabah, and their true followers. Likewise, Salafiyyah (the Salafi Da’wah) is not blind following of any particular Shaikh or Imaam. It is adherence to the Qur’aan and Sunnah as understood and practiced collectively by As-Salaf As-Saalih.
A true Salafi values Tawheed, singling out Allah in all acts of worship: in supplication, in seeking aid, in seeking refuge in times of ease and hardship, in sacrifice, in making vows, in fearing and hoping and total reliance, and so on. A true Salafi actively seeks to remove shirk (polytheism) with all his capacity. He knows that victory is not possible without true Tawheed, and that shirk cannot be fought with the likes of it (i.e., with another form of shirk). A true Salafi adheres to the Sunnah of the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) and of his companions after him.
The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) said, “Adhere very closely to my Sunnah and the Sunnah of the rightly guided successors after me; bite on to it with your molar teeth, and beware of the newly invented matters.” [Authentic; recorded by Aboo Dawood and At-Tirmidhee]
Whenever there is a difference of opinion, a true Salafi refers matters to Allah and His Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam), acting in accordance with the aayah:
If you differ in anything among yourselves, refer it to Allah and His Messenger if you do believe in Allah and the Last Day, that is better and more suitable for final determination. [An-Nisaa` 4:59]
He gives precedence to the Word of Allah and of His Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) over the opinion of anyone else, in according with the aayah:
Believers! Do not put your opinions forward ahead of Allah and His Messenger, and fear Allah. Verily Allah is All-Hearing and All-Knowing. [Al-Hujuraat 49:1]
A true Salafi revives the Sunnah of the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) in his worship and behavior. This makes him a stranger among people, as the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) has described:
“Islam began as a stranger, and it will revert to being a stranger just as it began. So give glad tidings to the strangers.” [Recorded by Muslim]
And he (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) said in another narration:
“So give glad tidings to the few, those who purify and correct what the people have corrupted of my Sunnah.” [Authentic; Al-Albaanee’s As-Silsilatus-Saheehah, number 1273]
A true Salafi enjoins the good and forbids the evil. He warns people, out of deep concern, about shirk, innovations, misguided ways, and of deviant, destructive groups:
Let there arise out of you a band of people inviting to all that is good, enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong. [Aal `Imraan 3:104]
A true Salafi constantly seeks Allah’s forgiveness, makes true repentance, remembers Allah abundantly, and rushes to perform the righteous deeds in order to purify his soul. Thus he attempts to follow the ayah:
Truly he succeeds who purifies it (i.e., the soul). [Ash-Shams 91:8]
A true Salafi worships Allah out of a combination of Fear, Hope and Love. Allah says (what means):
And He says (what means):
A true Salafi is not of the Khawaarij who consider most Muslims to be kuffaar (disbelievers) because of committing sins. He is not of the Shee`ah who revile the Sahaabah, who claim that the Qur’aan has been altered, who reject the authentic Sunnah, and who worship the Prophet’s Family. He is not of the Qadariyyah who deny qadar (the Divine Decree). He is not of the Murji`ah who claim that eemaan is only words without deeds. He is not of the Mu’attilah who deny Allah’s Attributes. He is not of the Sufis who worship graves and claim Divine incarnation. He is not of the Muqallidoon who insist that every Muslim should adhere to the Madh’hab (understanding) of a particular imaam or shaikh, even when that madh’hab conflicts with the clear texts of the Qur’aan or authentic Sunnah.
Thus the true Salafis are Ahlus-Sunnati wal-Jamaa`ah. They are At-Taa’ifatul-Mansoorah (the Aided, Victorious Group) and Al-Firqatun-Naajiyah (the Saved Party) which have been described in several ahaadeeth. The Messenger (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) said:
“A group from my Ummah (nation or community) will always be aided with victory as they continue to persevere upon the Truth; they will not be harmed by those who abandon them or those who oppose them.” [Recorded by Muslim]
And he (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) said:
“This Ummah will split into seventy-three parties, all of which will go to Hell – except for one party: the one which will follow the same path as what I and my companions are following today.” [Authentic; recorded by Aboo Dawood, At-Tirmidhee, and others].
In one report he (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) described this Saved Party as:
“…except for one party, which is the Jamaa’ah.”
Upon comprehending this, a Muslim has no option but to be Salafi. In doing so he attaches himself to that group which has been guaranteed success, victory, salvation and safety from the Fire.
The Salafi Da’wah stands upon the principles of Tawheed and Tazkiyyah.
Tawheed means to accept and believe in the oneness of Allah (ta`aalaa) and in the uniqueness of His Message. It means to worship Allah (ta`aalaa) alone, and to worship Him in accordance with His legislation. Tawheed encompasses the following principles:
1. To believe in Allah’s existance and Ownership of the creation, which is sometimes referred to as the Tawheed of Ruboobiyyah (Allah’s being the only True Lord or Rabb). Allah (ta`aalaa) says (what means):
And He says (what means):
2. To believe that Allah possesses the attributes of perfection and the Most Excellent Names, as mentioned in the Qur’an and authentic Sunnah, and in accordance to their literal Arabic meanings without denial of these attributes or likening them to the attributes of His creation. This is sometimes referred to as the Tawheed of Asmaa’ and Sifaat (Names and Attributes). Allah (ta`aalaa) says (what means):
Say: He is Allah the One, Allah the Self Sufficient Master (whom all creatures need). He begets not, nor was He begotten. And there is nothing comparable to Him. [Al-Ikhlaas 112:1-4]
And Allah also says (what means):
3. To believe that Allah is the only one worthy of worship and full obedience, which is sometimes referred to as the Tawheed of ‘Uboodiyyah or ‘Ibaadah (worship), or of Ilaahiyyah or Uloohiyyah (state of being the only True God or Ilaah). Allah says (what means):
And He says:
4. To believe in the uniqueness of Prophet Muhammad’s (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) Message and in the obligation to follow him exclusively. This is sometimes referred to as the Tawheed of Ittibaa` (adherence). Allah (ta`aalaa) said (what means):
The Salafi Manhaj (methodology) maintains that these forms of Tawheed are inseparable from one another. They are the essence of the meaning of the testimony: “La ilaaha illa ‘Llah, Muhammadun Rasoolu ‘Llah” (There is none worthy of being worshipped except Allah, and Muhammad is Allah’s Messenger). The Salafi methodology places special emphasis on the Tawheed of Ittibaa’ because of the general tendency among many Muslims to neglect it. Thus it emphasizes the following items:
1. Belief that the revelation to the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) is the final revelation, and that it is composed of two complementary and inseparable parts: the Qur’aan and the Sunnah. The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) said:
“I have indeed been given the Qur’aan and, along with it, something similar to it.” [Authentic; recorded by Aboo Daawood and Ad-Daarimee]
And he (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) said:
“As long as you hold fast to two things which I have left among you, you will never go astray: Allah’s Book and my Sunnah.” [Authentic; recorded by Al-Haakim]
2. Belief that obedience to the Messenger must be absolute, and that his position is unapproachable by anyone else among humanity. The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) is alone to be obeyed and followed. All beliefs, statements, deeds and morals which conflict with his teachings are to be rejected and avoided.
3. Directing perfect love to Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam), which should be exhibited in adherence to his commands, swiftness in obeying him, putting his statements above and ahead of all others, studying his Seerah, and studying and implementing his Sunnah in everyday life. The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) has said:
“None of you believes until I become more beloved to him than his father, child and all mankind.” [Recorded by Muslim]
It is unfortunate that true adherence to the Way of the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) has weakened in the Ummah and true love for him has all but disappeared because of:
- Abandoning his Sunnah and removing it from our daily lives, belittling it, and developing an attitude of pride and arrogance toward it.
- The spread of numerous unsubstantiated and fabricated ahaadeeth among Muslims.
- The spread of many bid’ahs (innovations) among Muslims.
- Blind following of a specific madh’hab (Taqleed).
- Delivering Islamic verdicts without knowledge or evidence.
- Ceasing to implement the Sharee’ah (Islamic laws) throughout the lands of Islam and replacing it by the ways and laws of the Kuffaar (disbelievers).
Allah did confer a great favor upon the believers when He sent a Messenger (i.e., Muhammad (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam)) from amongst themselves reciting unto them His signs (i.e., the Quran) and purifying them (from sins and ignorance by adopting his way) and instructing them in the Book (the Quran) and Wisdom (the Sunnah) while before they had been in manifest error. [Aal ‘Imraan 3:164].
2. The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) is the purest of mankind in his soul. His character reflected the teachings of the Qur’aan. Therefore, he is our model for Tazkiyah. Allah says (what means):
Indeed in the Messenger of Allah is a beautiful pattern of conduct to follow for anyone whose hopes lie in Allah and the Last Day and who remembers Allah abundantly. [Al-Ahzaab 33:21]
O you who believe! Enter into Islam wholeheartedly (i.e., obey all the regulations of Allah and His Messenger) and follow not the footsteps of Shaytan. Verily! He is to you an open enemy. [Al-Baqarah 2:208]
6. The Salafi Manhaj represents the true exemplification of piety. It is Eemaan without hypocrisy, purity without corruption.
Consequently, the aims of the Salafi Da’wah are no different than those of the Da’wah of Islam. Therefore the Salafis remain distinct from the various sects and groups in the way and methodology of their Da’wah. They call to Islam as a whole – to its correct understanding and implementation. Misguided groups and deviant sects emphasize and call to particular aspects of Islam, thereby neglecting its other aspects to suit their own needs, as well as losing sight of the purpose and perspective for which they have been created; which is, as Allah has stated (meaning):
I have not created Jinn and people except (for this purpose): that they may worship Me. [Adh-Dhaariyaat 51:56]
And He has said (what means):
And they were not commanded except with this: that they should worship Allah (alone), being sincere in His Deen and being Hanifs (upright, true and conscientiously turning away from Shirk). [Al-Bayyinah 98:5].
This, in essence, is the call of all the Prophets: calling to the Tawheed of Allah, to the annihilation of shirk, to sincerity in His worship, to obedience to His Messengers, and to adherence to their way. This is also the essence of the Salafi Da’wah. This can further be itemized into the following practical objectives:
1. Return to the sublime Qur’aan and to the Prophet’s authentic Sunnah, and comprehend them both in accordance with the understanding and practice of As-Salaf: This conforms with what Allah (ta`aalaa) said (what means):
If anyone contends with the Messenger even after the Guidance has been plainly conveyed to him, and follows a path other than that of the believers, We shall leave him in the path he has chosen, and land him in Hell: What an evil abode! [An-Nisaa` 4:115]
So if they believe as you believe (the companions of the Messenger (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam)), they are indeed on the right path.[Al-Baqarah 2:137]
2. Caution Muslims and exhort them to cleanse their lives of all forms of: shirk (polytheism), bid’ahs, and philosophy or other thoughts alien to the pure, essential tenets of Islam. This is a duty that Allah (ta`aalaa) enjoined upon us:
Help you one another in righteousness and piety, but do not help one another in sinning and transgression. [Al-Maa`idah 5:2]
3. Cleanse the Sunnah of the weak and fabricated narrations. The problems referred to in this and the previous point have marred the clarity of Islam and have prevented the progress of Muslims. This puts on us the responsibility referred to by the Messenger (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam):
“A trustworthy group from every generation will carry this knowledge, expelling from it the alterations made by those going beyond bounds, and the false claims of the liars, and the misinterpretations of the ignorant.” [Authentic recorded by Ibn Adiyy and others].
4. Educate Muslims and urge them to comply with the true Deen, to act according to its teachings, and to adorn themselves with its virtues and ethics. This will ensure Allah’s acceptance and will realize for them happiness and honor, as indicated in the following:
By the passing time, man is indeed in [a state of] loss, except those who attain to faith and do good deeds, and those who enjoin upon one another the keeping to truth, and enjoin upon one another patience in adversity. [Al-‘Asr 103:1-3]
5. Strive to revive Islamic thought within the boundaries of Islamic principles, and oppose stubborn adherence to madh’habs and prejudiced loyalty to parties. These problems have diverted Muslims from the pure original sources of Islam, and have deviated them from the honest Islamic brotherhood called to by Allah:
And hold fast all together, by the rope of Allah, and be not divided among yourselves. [Aal ‘Imraan 3:103].
And by His Messenger (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam): “Be, worshippers of Allah, one brethren.” [Al-Bukhaaree and Muslim]
Hence, judge between them in accordance with what Allah has revealed, and do not follow their errant views. [Al-Maa`idah 5:49]
We call upon all Muslims to support us in carrying out this noble trust which will surely elevate and honor them and spread the eternal message of Islam all over earth. Allah (ta`aalaa) has promised this, and His promise is surely true:
He it is who has sent forth His Messenger with [the task of spreading] guidance and the religion of truth, in order to make it prevail over all [false] religion, however hateful this may be to those who ascribe divinity to aught but Allah. [As-Saff 61:9]
The following are a number of misconceptions about the Salafi Da’wah:
1. Calling As-Salafiyyah a “movement” or “movements.” It should be clear to all that the Salafi Da’wah is Islam, no more and no less. It is the True Islam with all its teachings and implications. Anyone who talks about it as an outsider might as well talk about Islam as an outsider! It is the teachings of the Qur’aan and the authentic Sunnah in the light of practices and understanding of As-Salaf: A “movement” is meant to indicate something temporal or reactionary, whereas the Salafi Da’wah is the only true and constant and blessed Da’wah of the prophets.
2. Thinking or claiming that the Salafis are followers of a fifth madh’hab which is attributed to Ibn Taymiyyah or Ibn Baaz or Al-Albaani. This is a grave misconception. As stated above, the Salaf sources are the Qur`aan, the Sunnah, and the methodology of As-Salaf: If these scholars rely in their ijtihaad on these sources, then we take what they say, not because they said it, rather because Allah or His Messenger said it or called to it directly or indirectly through the known channels of ijtihaad. The same applies to all scholars throughout the ages. We take from them all what conforms with the Qur’aan and the Sunnah and we reject what does not.
4. The Salafi Da’wah puts a strong emphasis on tarbiyyah (education and cultivation). This is not a mere academic educational process; rather, it is a complete process which is meant to raise committed Muslims who understand their Deen and who practice it in the best possible way.
We ask Allah (ta`aalaa) to guide us to the truth, to steady our feet, and to forgive our shortcomings, aameen.
Source : notebookofbenefits