Wahabis/Salafis Again

My initial post regarding the Wahabis touched very briefly on the topic. I have been thinking of blogging more on Wahabis as well as the different sects/schools of thought in Islam specifically as found in Pakistan. However, it is a tough task and work has interfered (this being the end of the semester and all.) In the meantime, a nice reader of mine, Ikram Saeed, had this to say in the comments section of the “Wahabis as born-again” post:

A lot of Wahabi (or, more accurately Salafi) bashing on the net. Let me offer an explanation of Salafism’s appeal (though not a defense).

With respect to “born-agains”:

Islam, as it is practiced in Pakistan and many other traditional areas is awfully backward. Illiterate mullahs and pirs leading an uneducated rabble.

A somewhat educated person (say 12 years of education) would be repulsed by the credulity and backwardness and (in Pakistan) Hinduness of this mullah Islam. Salafism, with its call to erase centuries of superstition, would be very appealing.

What’s more, he would right about the “modernizing” possibilities of Salafism. For example, the Salafi call to re-examine Hadith for authenticity is a modernizing impluse. (It so happens that the people re-examining are hyperconservatives, but it didn’t have to be that way.)

Salafism is very appealing to someone who is dissatisfied with traditional “village islam”, but is not swayed by western ideas. Salafism is a “modern’s” version of Islam.

With respect to converts:

Under Salafism, you don’t have to listen to preachy “born-Muslims” who tell you what to do based on their Madhab and national traditions. The convert gets to preach to the born-Muslim about the “true” Salafi Islam, as opposed to his corrupted Pakistani/African/Arab version.

I agree that Salafists are ultraconservative and rejectionist — but this is entirely compatible with being theologically modernizing (which they are). Salafis are the most successful of the many groups trying to re-interpret Islam. (Note that most Christian American commentators have it exactly backwards).

I expect that in the future, Wahabism will be seen as the beginning of an Islamic intellectual revival, ultimately leading to an Islam more compatible with modern life.

Consider that Calvin, while condemning the abuses and corruption of the catholic church (village Christianity) lauchned a profoundly bigoted and (in modern terms) conservative movement.

Five hundred years later, it resulted in Unitarians. (Though 500 years is a long time to wait)

Ikram expands on these ideas in comments (1, 2) to Aziz Poonawalla’s latest post on the silence of the media:

Excellent post Aziz. Let me first join you in mocking the ignorance of Den Beste (and other fools), then (in the following comment) offer a defence of Wahabism/Salafism. It just gets beat up too much on American web-sites.

Den Beste is a complete idiot. Your recent quotations of him make that clear. He argues for a more decentralized Islam (more “protestant”) , not realizing that Wahabism is extreme “protestantism”.

Wahbism is the reformation. Traditional Sunni Islam has four Madhabs (schools of thought), and the interpretation of religion is only permitted by religious scholars in that Madhab. To become a scholar requires many years of work, and an understanding of some 1400 years of religious thought and commentary. Traditional Sunni-ism is somewhat centralized and “Catholic” (though not nearly as mush as Shi’ism — “the fifth madhab?”).

Wahabis smash this hierarchy, and go extreme “protestant” They argue that the 1400 years of interpretation has clouded and distorted the original message of the Prophet. Muslims need to go back to the fundamentals, to Islam the way it was practiced at the time of the prophet. Each Muslim should read the Quran, and particularly the Hadiths, and reach his own, correct, understanding.

It so happens that Wahabis believe the correct understanding is one that, by the standards of America’s relaxed morality, is reactionary and repressive. Religious authority is being decentralized among hatemongers and fanatics.

And, for Christians who know their own religious history, this shouldn’t be surprising. Calvin was an intolerant religious bigot. And Luther has long been accused of being a grade ‘A’ anti-semite. Both Luther and Calvin launched Europe into 300 years of religious warfare (that still continues in N.Irelannd).

300 years of religious warfare — is that the reformation Den Beste wants? Idiot.

The Christian Reformation occurred as a reaction to corruption in the catholic church, not as a reaction to strict morals. If anthing, teetotalling moralistic protestants were more violent and more strict than Catholics. Similarly, Wahabis are more strict that “Madhabis” to coin a term.

(As an aside Aziz, why not do a post on how Wahabism is protestant, so that the dumb bloggers don’t keep raising the same issue again and again.)

I am tremendously frustrated by bloggers and pundits who propound “what needs to happen to Islam” without even knowing the vaguest thing about the religion, its history, or its followers. Idiots.

A defence of Wahabism:

It seems the American blogger and pundits has identified the enemy: Wahabism. They don’t know what it is (though a few have read Qutb), but the term sounds Arabic enough to make them feel knowledgable, and it allows them to hate Saudi Arabia.

Is there much else a blogger wants in life?

In this anti-Wahabi (or Salafi, to use the name they call themselves) fervour, they are joined by Shias, traditional (or ‘madhabi’) Sunnis, and “liberalizing” Muslims (I know that’s a term of abuse, but I can’t think of what else to call Khalid AbuFadl types). But these three groups have very different motivations, and I hope that in briefly discussing these motivations, it will become self evident that Salafism is quite a useful (and possibly good) development.

The Shia dislike is easy to explain. Salafis want to kill Shias. (Well, this may be an exxageration, though this happened in Afghanistan, and happens today in Pakistan). At minimum, Salafis see Shias as kaffirs. These extreme (and extremely violent) Sunnis generally persecute Shias where ever they can.

The Traditional Ulema (religious scholars) dislike of Salafi’s is also easy to understand. Salafi’s would put the current Ulema out of a job. Salafis see the Ulema as leading Muslims astray by placing a man (the founder of the Madhab) above the prophet. (Sunni Islam has four Madhabs — if you don’t know, go read a book and learn). Traditional Madrassas, which pride themselves on their historical links to the founder of the Madhab, are horrified by the Salafi desire to smash of religious hierarchy and discard more than a millenium of scholarship.

Liberalizing Muslim scholars (LMS?) also want to do this, but they dislike Salafis because, when Salafis smash tradition, they become more conservative, not less. LMS-ers who want to create a soft and fuzzy Islam, and participate in inter-faith councils without getting dirty looks, would probably agree with Salafi revisionist impulses, but not with Salafi outcomes (although there is a difference between Salafis and some LMS-ers desire to re-open the door to Ijtehad).

But LMS-ers, and those that agree with their intent, should be happy with Salafis. The fast growing (and intellectually appealing) Wahabism is paving the way for the LMS-ers, like the 30-years war paved the way for Unitarians. By smashing Sunni traditions from a conservative position, Salafi’s make it easier to smash Sunni traditions from a liberal perspective.

And the destruction of tradition is probably necessary. Islam, and Muslims, need to adjust to a world of mass literacy. Now that everyone can read, and mullahs are no longer the guardians of tradition, Sunni Muslims need a new way to deal with scholarship and religious practice. Salafism (or Wahabism) is one new way. There will be more.

Aziz has also posted Ikram’s comments as a post on his blog and an interesting discussion is taking place in that comment section.

I have some rudimentary knowledge of the Christian Reformation, but that is not the topic I am interested in here, so I’ll ignore Ikram’s comments about it except to note that there are some similarities with the current events in Islam and that he is simplifying the history of the Christian Reformation quite a bit.

Though I am inclined to believe that Wahabism is the Islamic Reformation, it is not the only effort to modernize/plebeian-ize (with an ultra-conservative bent) Islam. There are lesser known, less violent types as well each with a different balance of modernity and conservatism. Even some of the violent movements are not really Wahabi. We tend to simplify things a lot when our knowledge is limited.

I think this rise in religious conservatism while rejecting the traditional schools of thought is going to happen whether we like it or not. What we need to figure out is how to make it less violent and to keep it from destroying lots of lives of people everywhere.

Hopefully, I’ll write my thoughts on the matter in the next few days.

Author: Zack

Dad, gadget guy, bookworm, political animal, global nomad, cyclist, hiker, tennis player, photographer

9 thoughts on “Wahabis/Salafis Again”

  1. Dear Fellow Suspects and Doubters of “Unitarian Islam” of the Najd and the Sa’udi Royals,

    The proper way of writing the name of the brutal thought regime the bloggers here refer to as “Wahabism” is:


    Wahhabism is practiced by the


    who often mistakenly think they are obeying the letter of the writings of

    Muhammad ibn (or “b.”) ‘Abd al-Wahhab (d. 1703 Christian Era)

    If the web were more advanced we could get auto-translate Arabic-English and use a standard way of transliterating Arabic when we write in Roman characters.

    And it is – pardon my manners and format; I am a new bloggette – not nitpicking to insist on proper, universal English spellings of Arabic words and names. Think what would happen if one person decided that “ooohrdooh” were the proper way to write “Urdu” – what a pickle we would all have to eat!

    umm alexandra

  2. umm alexandra: Transliteration from one language to another is often not quite correct. While I know how to pronounce “Wahhab” in Urdu (my native language) or Arabic (my mom’s first language), the fact remains that it is usually written as “Wahab” in English.

  3. Wahabism and Reformation again

    Bill Allison does not agree with Ikram Saeed that Wahabism is the Reformation for Islam. Superficially, the comparison seems apt. Like Luther and Calvin and Tyndale, al-Wahhab demanded fidelity to the text, to a return to the revelation as it…

  4. Salam Alaykom Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuh,

    The modernist Muslims are not the Wahabis…they are actually the Shias and Traditional Sunnis. The Shias are the number 1 candidate, because they have had “Ijtihad” from the beginning and never stopped. The Traditional Sunnis are now getting into Ijtihad. The Wahabis do not agree with Ijtihad. What is Ijtihad? It is the reinterpretation of Islamic Law (Fiqh) Quran (Words of God) and Sunnah (Prophet’s Sayings & Tradition).

    Non-Wahabi Sunnis:




  5. Salams;

    I just wanted to clarify one thing;
    The term Wahhabi is erroneous. The correct “label” for these people, besides Muslim, would be Salafi. They follow the first three generations of Muslims, since there is a hadith which states that the first three generations of Muslims will be the best.

    The reject the idea of strictley adhering to a madhab, since the four great scholars are not the only great scholars, nor are they more important than the Prophet himself. Therefor, Salafi’s try to emulate the Qur’an and Sunna. In cases of dispute, they generally follow the majority of legitimate scholars. (AKA: NOT Hamza Yousef)

    By the way, the Salafi approach to Jihad is probably the less violent, since they do not believe in “Political Activism” and such. Sayeed Qutb, Hassan Al Banah, Osama Bin Laden, are NOT Salafi, and if you read more into what Salafi is, and what they are for/against, you will realize that what everyone thinks Salafi is—is wrong.

    Hope this clears up some things.


  6. Assalamu Aieliekum

    Muhammad ibn Abd-al-Wahhab was not responsible for the name which has been placed on Salafi Muslims. They aren’t “Wahabbis”. That’s a derogative term that is used to label the saved sect, and Ahlus Sunnah Wa Jumah.

    Most of you folks don’t even understand the Salafi dawah? If you could get passed you blind following of Methabs, and your slanders that are based off of ignorance, you would come to the conclusion that the Salafi has nothing to do with extremism and the likes.

    The people of innovation and shirk are quick to bash the people of the Sunnah.

    Bismillah Hir Rahman Ir Rahim^

    What is the Salafi Dawah and who exactly are the Salafees/Salafis?
    The Salafi Da’wah is that of the Qur’an 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-Salaf us-Salih). 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].

    Shaikh ul-lslam ibn Taymiyyah (rahimahullah) commented on this ayah: “All who contradict and oppose the Messenger (salallahu alayhi wa salaam), 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 (salallahu alayhi wa salaam). 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 (salallahu alayhi wa salaam).”

    Who are the “Salaf?”
    As-Salaf us-Salih (or briefly: the Salaf) refers to the first and best three generations of Muslims. They are the Companions (Sahabah) of the Prophet (S), their immediate followers (Tabiun), and the followers of the Tabi’in. These were praised by the Prophet (S): 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 Ahl us-Sunnah wal-Jama’ah after the first three blessed generations who followed their way in belief and practices.

    Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) 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): Abu Hanifah (150), al-Awzai (157), ath-Thawn (161), al-Laith bin Sad (175), Malik bin Anas (179). Abdullah bin al-Mubarak (181), Sufyan bin ‘Uyainah (198), ash-Shafi’i (204), Is’haq (238), Ahmad bin Hanbal (241), al-Bukhari (256), Muslim (261), Abu Dawud (275), Ibn Taymiyyah (728), adth-Dthahabi (748), Ibn ul-Qayyim (751), Ibn Kathir (774), Muhammad bin ‘Abdil Wahhab (1206) and his many students, and, in our time: ‘Abd ul-‘Aziz bin Baz, Muhammad Nasir ud-Din al-Albani and others.

    Who are the “Salafis/Salafees?”
    The description “Salafi” (also spelled Salafee) 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 (S), his Sahabai, and their true followers. Likewise, Salafiyyah (the Salafi Da’wah) is not blind following of any particular Shaikh or Imam. It is adherence to the Qur’an and Sunnah as understood and practiced collectively by as-Salaf as-Salih. A true Salafi values Tawhid, 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 Tawhid, 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 (S) and of his companions after him.

    The Prophet (S) 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 Abu Dawud and at-Tirmidthi. Whenever there is a difference of opinion, a true Salafi refers matters to Allah and His Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa salaam), acting in accordance with the ayah: 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-Nisa 4:59].

    He gives precedence to the Word of Allah and of His Prophet (S) over the opinion of anyone else, in according with the ayah: 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-Hujurat 49:1].

    A true Salafi revives the Sunnah of the Prophet (S) in his worship and behavior. This makes him a stranger among people, as the Prophet (S) 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 (S) 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-Albani’s as-Silsilat us-Sahihah 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 Imran 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): Call upon Him, with Fear and Hope. [Al-Araf 7:56]. And He says (what means): There are people who take [for worship] alleged rivals to Allah, loving them as only Allah should be loved. But the Believers love Allah more than all else. [Al-Baqarah 2:165].

    A true Salafi is not of the Khawarij (those who cast the muslims our of Islaam) who consider most Muslims to be kafirs (disbelievers) because of committing sins. He is not of the Shiah who revile the Sahabah, who claim that the Qur’an 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 murjiah who claim that iman 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 Muqallidun who insist that every Muslim should adhere to the Madth’hab (understanding) of a particular imam or shaikh, even when that madth’hab conflicts with the clear texts of the Qur’an or authentic Sunnah.

    Thus the true Salafs are Ahl us-Sunnati wal-Jamaah. They are at-Ta’ifat ul-Mansurah (the Aided, Victorious Group) and al-Firqat un-Najiyah (the Saved Party) which have been described in several hadiths. The Messenger (S) 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 (S) 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 Abu Dawud, at-Tirmidthi, and others]. In one report he (S) described this Saved Party as: … except for one party, which is the Jama’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 Fundamental Principles of the Salafi Da’wah:

    The Salafi Da’wah stands upon the principles of Tawheed and Tazkiyah.

    Tawheed means to accept and believe in the oneness of Allah (T) and in the uniqueness of His Message. It means to worship Allah (T) alone, and to worship Him in accordance with His legislation.

    • Tawhid encompasses the following principles:
    • To believe in Allah’s existance and ownership of the creation, which is sometimes referred to as the Tawheed of Rububiyyah (Allah’s being the only True Lord or Rabb). Allah (T) says (what means): Praise be to Allah (T) the Lord of the Worlds. [Al-Fatihah 1:2]. And He says (what means): Allah is the Creater of all things, and He is in charge of all things. [Ash-Shura 42:11].
    • 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 Tawhid of Asma’ and Sifaat (Names and Attributes).

    Allah (T) 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-Ikhlas 112:1-4]. And Allah also says (what means): There is nothing like unto Him, and He is the All-Hearer, the All-Seer. [Ash-Shuirai 42:1 1 ].

    • To believe that Allah is the only one worthy of worship and full obedience, which is sometimes referred to as the Tawhid of ‘Ubudiyyah or ‘Ibadah (worship), or of llahiyyah or Uluhiyyah (state of being the only True God or Ilah). Allah says (what means): And the Mosques are for Allah (alone) so do not invoke anyone along with Allah. [Al-Jinn 72:18]. and He says: Whoever looks forward to meeting his Lord, let him do righteous deeds, and let him not ascribe unto anyone a share in the worship due to his Lord [alone]. [Al-Kahf 18:110].
    • To believe in the uniqueness of Prophet Muhammad’s (S) Message and in the obligation to follow him exclusively. This is sometimes referred to as the Tawheed of Ittiba (adherence). Allah (T) said (what means): Say [Mubammad]: If you really do love Allah then follow me, Allah will love you and forgive you your sins. Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. [Al-Imran 3:31].

    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 ilaiha illa ‘Llah, Muhammadun Rasulu ‘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 Ittiba’ because of the general tendency among many Muslims to neglect it. Thus it emphasizes the following items.

    Belief that the revelation to the Prophet (S) is the final revelation, and that it is composed of two complementary and inseparable parts: the Qur’an and the Sunnah. The Prophet (S) said: I have indeed been given the Quran and, along with it, something similar to it. [Authentic; recorded by Abu Dawud and ad-Darimi]. And he (S) 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-Hakim].

    Belief that obedience to the Messenger must be absolute, and that his position is unapproachable by anyone else among humanity. The Prophet (S) is alone to be obeyed and followed. All beliefs, statements, deeds and morals which conflict with his teachings are to be rejected and avoided. Believers! Obey Allah and His Messenger and do not turn away from him when you hear (his Message). [Al-Anfal 8:20].

    Directing perfect love to Prophet Muhammad (S), which should be exhibited in adherence to his commands, swiftness in obeying him, putting his statements above and ahead of all others, studying his Sirah, and studying and implementing his Sunnah in everyday life. The Prophet (S) 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 (S) 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 hadiths among Muslims.
    • The spread of many bid’ahs (innovations) among Muslims.
    • Blind following of a specific madth’hab (Taqlid).
    • Delivering Islamic verdicts without knowledge or evidence.
    • Ceasing to implement the Shari’ah (Islamic laws) throughout the lands of Islam and replacing it by the ways and laws of the Kuffar (disbelievers).

    Tazkiyah, on the other hand, means to be purified or to purify oneself by adhering to Allah’s commands. In its best form, it would be to worship Him with complete surrender, submission, and devotion. This is a great favor that Allah (T) bestowed on this Urnmah. Allah did confer a great favor upon the believers when He sent a Messenger (i.e., Muhammad (S)) 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. [Al ‘Imran 3:164]. The following points should help clarify the true meaning of Tazkiyah.

    The Qur’an and Sunnah are the only sources for Tazkiyah.
    The Prophet (S) is the purest of mankind in his soul. His character reflected the teachings of the Qur’an. 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-Ahzab 33:21].

    The Prophet’s Companions and the rest of the Salaf are, as a group, a fine model to be followed in Tazkiyah.
    There is no way of drawing closer to Allah except by adhering to what Prophet Muharnmad (S) came with. The Prophet (S) has said: If anyone introduces into this affair of ours (i.e., the religion of Islam) anything which does not belong to it, it will be rejected from him. [Recorded by Muslim].

    There is no way to attain Tazkiyah but through the teachings of Islam.

    Allah says (what means): 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]. Thus there can be no Tazkiyah through deviant approaches of various groups, such as the Sufis who have corrupted the beliefs and practices of the Muslims.

    The Salafi Manhaj represents the true exemplification of piety.
    It is Iman without hypocrisy, purity without corruption.

    The Aims and Objectives of the Salafi Da’wah

    • The Salafi Da’wah is not a political party or a new madth’hab. Rather, the Salafi da’wah is that of Islam in its totality, addressing all humanity irrespective of culture, race, or color. It is the complete and perfect methodology of understanding Islam and acting according to its teachings.
    • Consequently, the aims of the Salafi Da’wah are no different than those of the Da’wah of Islam. Therefore those who adhere to the salafee dawah 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. [Adth-Dthariyat 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 Din 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 Tawhid 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:
    • Return to the sublime Qur’an 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 (T) 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-Nisa 4:115]. And: So if they believe as you believe (the companions of the Messenger (S)), they are indeed on the right path. [Al-Baqarah 2:137].
    • 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 (T) enjoined upon us: Help you one another in righteousness and piety, but do not help one another in sinning and transgression. [Al-Maidah 5:2].
    • 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 (S): 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].
    • Educate Muslims and urge them to comply with the true Din, 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].
    • Strive to revive Islamic thought within the boundaries of Islamic principles, and oppose stubborn adherence to madth’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. [Al ‘Imran 3:103]. And by His Messenger (S): Be, worshippers of Allah, one brethren. [Al Bukhari and Muslim].
    • Present realistic Islamic solutions to contemporary problems, and strive to resume a true Islamic way of life and to establish a true Islamic society governed by Allah’s law. Allah (T) said: Hence, judge between them in accordance with what Allah has revealed, and do not follow their errant views. [Al-Maidah 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 (T) 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]

    Misconceptions about the Salafi Da’wah
    The following are is a number of misconceptions about the Salafi Da’wah:

    • 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’an 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.
    • Thinking or claiming that the Salafs are followers of a fifth madth’hab which is attributed to Ibn Taymiyyah or Ibn Baz or al-Albani. This is a grave misconception. As stated above, the Salaf sources are the Qur an, the Sunnah, and the methodology of as-Salaf: If these scholars rely in their ijtihad 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 ijtihad. The same applies to all scholars throughout the ages. We take from them all what conforms with the Qur’an and the Sunnah and we reject what does not.
    • The Salaf Da’wah is against all forms of ‘asabiyyah and hizbiyyah (baseless allegiance for parties, factions, races, nations, etc). The only allowed allegiance is to Allah and His Messenger and to what stems from it. The leader of all Salafis is Muhammad (S). Anyone else will be respected and obeyed in as much as he obeys Allah and His Messenger. Claiming that the Salafi Da’wah calls its followers to be disorganized and chaotic in their behavior is another misconception. Work has to be organized and orderly, as was taught by the Messenger (S) on many occasions, but it should avoid the hizbiyyah disease described above.
    • The Salafi Da’wah puts a strong emphasis on tarbiyah (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 Din and who practice it in the best possible way.

    We ask Allah (ta’ala) to guide us to the truth, to steady our feet, and to forgive our shortcomings.

    Ascribing oneself to Salafiyyah

    Imaam al-Albaanee – rahimahullaah – said:

    “However, there are some who claim knowledge who deny this ascription, claiming that it has no foundation, saying: “It is not permissible for a Muslim to say: I am Salafi.” And it is as if he is saying: “It is not permissible for me to say: l am following the Salafus-Saalih (Righteous Predecessors, ie. the companions of the Prophet and the early generations that followed them) in what they were upon in ‘aqeedah, worship and manners!” And there is no doubt that the likes of this denial – if that is what is meant – implies that he is disassociating himself from the correct Islaam that the Salafus-Saalih were upon … Thus it is not permissible for a Muslim to disassociates himself from being ascribed to the Salafus-Saalih.

    If, however, he freed himself from any other nisbah ( ascription ), then none of the people of knowledge could accuse him of disbelief or sinfulness. However, the one who refuses calling himself with this name Salafi/Salafee, then it should be inquired, “does he attribute himself to a particular madhhab – whether in matters of ‘aqeedah or fiqh”? So perhaps he will call himself an Ash’aree or a Maatureedee, or he may be from Ahlul-Hadeeth, or a Hanafee, Maalikee, Shaafi’ee or Hanbalee – from those matters which enter into the term Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah. Despite that fact that the one who ascribes himself to the Ash’aree madhhab, or the four well-known madhhabs, then he has ascribed himself to those who are not protected from making mistakes as individuals – even though there are from them Scholars that attain what is correct.

    So why do they not reject the likes of these ascriptions to individuals who are not protected from mistakes? However, as for the one who ascribes himself to the Salafus-Saalih collectively – then he ascribes himself to that which is protected from mistakes.” [Al-Asaalah Magazine 9/87]

  7. Peace Be Unto You my brothers in Islam,

    In the Name Of God the most Gracious and The Most Merciful.

    A Hadith states: “Abdullah b-Amr reported that the Messenger of Allah said: There will certainly come over my people what came to the children of Israil [sic] as closely as one sandal resembles another, so that if there was any of them who committed fornication with his mother openly, there will appear someone among my people who will commit that. The Israilites were divided into 72 sects and my people will be divided into 73 sects. Each of them will remain in the fire except one sect. They enquired: O Messenger of Allah! which is that? He said, That one on which I and my companions stand”.


    Meaning: “The follower of Abd’ul Wahhabi”

    Abd’ul Wahhabi was born 1691 AD. He was a diligent scholar of Islam in Mecca, Basra and Baghdad and became a reformer in Islam, rejecting omens, all auguries (divination by omens), sacred shrines and tombs, intoxicating drugs (smoking), as well as the silk and satin clothing of the wealthy. He tried to return to the original Islam. Although he had a good following, he was opposed by the rulers. Asylum was granted to him by Muhammed-ibn-Sa’ud, an influential chief. What could not be accomplished by eloquence was done by the sword. Sa’ud married Wahhabi’s daughter, and their son, Abd-ul-Aziz, led the Wahhabi army to victory over Arabia. However, he was murdered while praying, and his son Sa’ud continued to lead the Wahhabi to prominence, threatening the whole Turkish Empire. His aim was the conversion of the whole world to Islam. The battle cry of the Wahhabi was “Kill and strangle all infidels, which give companions to Allah” (i.e. a Son).

    In the early 19th century a forceful reform was undertaken in Mecca. All people were driven with whips to attend the five daily prayers. The mosques were filled, but Sa’ud’s son was taken prisoner by the Turks and executed in Istanbul. The Wahhabi influence is still strong in Arabia and Northern India.


    Meaning: “Followers”, i.e. of Ali

    They believe in the heredity succession of Khalifs. To them, Ali, the nephew and son-in-law of Muhammad was the first rightful Khalif, and his sons (one of whom was assassinated, and the other abdicated the throne) should have succeeded him. They base this claim on Surah 2:124:

    “He said: ‘I will make thee an Imam to the Nations’. He pleaded: ‘And also (Imams) from my offspring!’”.

    Many Hadith are quoted by the Shia to support their case. According to tradition, the twelfth in heredity line, Imam-al-Mahdi (a kind of Messiah), is still alive and hiding to appear before judgment. Among the many splinter group of the Shia the Ismailis play a very dominant role in East Africa and are decidedly less fanatical than the Iranian Shiah Muslims, but more devoted to philanthropic work. Their spiritual leader is the Agha Khan who has become a well respected international figure.

    The center of Shiite activity is not in Africa, but in Iran where the Ayatollah (lit. ‘sign of Allah’) Khomeini established a new base for a Shiite Islamic missionary thrust which is felt in almost every corner of Africa today. Even in a small island like Lamu, known as ‘the Mecca of East Africa’ Iranian Shiite influence and finance has gained control over one of the oldest and largest mosques on the island; a power struggle that is quite typical for many parts of Africa today.


    Meaning: “One of the Path”

    They are Muslims who acknowledge the first four Khalifs to have been rightful successors of Muhammad. They accept the Sihahu’s Sittah, or six authentic Hadith, and belong to one of four schools of jurisprudence (Abu Hanifa, ash-Shafi’i, Malik or Ahmad-ibn-Hanbal). This is by far the biggest group. Their spiritual centres are the al-Azar university in Cairo and the University of Medina. Their number makes up over 80% of all Muslims.

    Conclusion: Please read the following Surah.

    In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate

    Praise belongs to God, the Lord of all Being, the All-merciful, the All-compassionate, the Master of the Day of Doom. Thee only do we serve; to Thee alone we pray for succor. Guide us in the straight path, the path of those whom Thou hast blessed, not of those against whom Thou art wrathful, nor of those who are astray. Amien. [1:1-7]

  8. Assalam-O-Alaikum

    Suhan-Allah, I love the fact I found my brothers who hold the same intellectual understanding as mine. It is very hard to find muslims like that.
    The fact that all of the correct followers of Islam are calling themselves wahabis or salafis should stop that. I remember reading a hadith but I can’t remember which book it was so I will not mention it. But I’ll show the ayat for it
    “Then We evacuated the Mu’mins (believers) who were therein, but We found not therein any but one Muslim household. And We left therein a sign for those who fear painful chastisement.” [(51): 35-37]
    This is from the story of Lut (AS) that every Mumin is a Muslim but no every Muslim is a Mumin. So we are MUSLIM, people who say, “what are you?? Hanafi ??”. No, no, no, I’m a Muslim and that’s it. I don’t separate myself from my brothers and sisters. I’m not a hanafi, shia, sunni, sufi, ismaili, or bhai. I’m a Muslim, just a Muslim.
    Islam is submission. Submission to peace (Salaam). Asalaam is Allah(swt). Muslim is a person who submitted or surrendered to Allah and became is slave. Being just called a Muslim is enough. We shoudn’t show arrogancy by separating ourselves. Well, the righteous ones never do.
    An example of why we separate, you’re whole class is solving a math problem and they all got 73 different answers. They all used their own methods and understanding. Only one got the right answer because, he followed the correct rules. Now the other guys who want to correct it, shouldn’t ask around who don’t even know the answers themselves. They should GO BACK TO THE PROBLEM AND FIX THE ROOT. Easy, stop asking people for their ideas or advise when you have the book to solve your problems.
    Common sense, but somehow we become the real enemies. lol

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