Q. I want to know why Muslim brothers who call themselves Salaf-us-Saliheen aka Salafi have the tendencies to argue and criticize brothers who are involved with Tablighi Jamaat, which I know brothers who go out in Jamaat don’t like to refer to themselves as Tablighi Jamaat. These brothers constantly say everything the Tabligh brothers do is Bidah. The brothers who called themselves Salafi have gone as far as to not give salaams to the brothers who participate in the Tablighi Jamaat, stand up in the middle of bayan and literally criticize the brothers for delivering a speech to encourage oneself to strengthen his iman, criticize the Ulama Rabbani who isn’t part of the Salaf Minhaj as being innovators and some saying that the Muslims who are not like them (Salafi) their blood is “HALAL” to spill due to some supposed fatwa given to them by a maashaik. aoouthu billahi, if this is true. Also can they (Salaf) really give themselves this title because according to my limited understanding and knowledge isn’t this title solely and approriate for the first three generations, Sahabas, Tabi’een, Tabut Tabi’een?
A. What you have stated is exactly what Muslims throughout the world are encountering from some of the people of this group.
Among these brothers/sisters, there are very good ones who continue to relate with all Muslims in a beautiful manner. They possess excellent traits and characteristics and are really sincere and beautiful Muslims. May Allah bless them.
However, there are also a number of them who erroneously use the word ‘Salaf’ and are extremely severe and harsh. They have fallen in the deep pits of ignorance and arrogance.
Due to the darkness which has covered both their hearts and eyes, they see those who are not upon their path as Kafirs (unbelievers), Mushriks (polytheists) or Mubtadi’een (innovators).
Some of them have publicly and privately condemned and criticized great scholars throughout the Islamic world. With their ‘limited knowledge’ or ‘no knowledge’, they have considered themselves to be great in knowledge and understanding and by doing so, have fallen in the brinks of pride and haughtiness.
The conduct of some of these individuals have reached to such an extent that those whom they claim to follow have themselves condemned them for their behaviour.
In this regard, the great scholar and late Mufti of the Holy lands (Makka & Madina), Sheikh Abdul Azeez Ibn Abdullah Ibn Baaz (May Allah have Mercy on him) has written the following while answering a question which was posed to him. This is taken from ‘Majmo’o Fatawa wa Maqaalat Mutanawwi’ah Vol. 7 Pg. 311. It states:
‘Question: In recent days there has been a lot of slander against those who call people to Islam (daa’iyahs) and dividing them into groups and categories. What is your opinion on that?
Answer: In these days it has become very common that people who claim to have knowledge and to be calling people to good slander many of their brothers among the well-known daa’iyahs, and they talk about the seekers of knowledge, daa’iyahs and lecturers. They do that in secret in their own gatherings, but it may be recorded on tapes that are distributed among the people, and they may do it openly in public lectures in the mosques. This behaviour goes against the commands of Allah and His Messenger in several ways.
It is a transgression against the rights of the Muslims, and against the elite of the people, namely the seekers of knowledge and daa’iyahs who are striving to make the people aware and to teach them and correct their beliefs and practices, and to organize lessons and lectures, and to write beneficial books.
It splits the Muslims and causes division in their ranks. They are the most in need of unity and they need to keep away from division, discord and too much gossip amongst themselves, especially when the daa’iyahs who are being slandered are from among the Ahl al Sunnah Wal Jamaa’ah who are well known for their opposition to bid’ah (innovation) and myth, and for standing up against those who promote such things, and for exposing their plots and tricks. We see no benefit to be gained by such actions, except for the enemies who lie in wait for opportunities to harm the Muslims, such as the kafirs, hypocrites and followers of bid’ah and misguidance.
This spreads corrupt ideas in the hearts and minds of the common folk and elite; it spreads and propagates lies and false rumours, and causes a great deal of backbiting and slander. It leaves the door wide open to evil people who persist in spreading doubts and stirring up fitnah, and who are keen to cause harm to the believers by accusing them of things that they did not do.
The advice I offer to these brothers who have fallen into the sin of slandering the daa’iyahs is to repent to Allah for the things that they have written or said that may have corrupted the hearts of some youth and filled them with hatred and grudges, and kept them from seeking beneficial knowledge or from calling people to Allah by making them preoccupied with gossip and talking about this one and that one, and seeking out faults for which they could criticize people, and going to extremes in doing that.
I also advise them to offer expiation for the things that they have done by writing and other means that they think they should not have done, and to remove from people’s minds the wrong ideas they may have given them. They should focus on fruitful actions which will bring them closer to Allah and will be beneficial to people, and they should beware of being too hasty to accuse people of kufr, fisq and bid’ah without any clear evidence or proof. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Whoever says to his brother ‘0 kafir!’ one of them will be deserving of that description.” (Saheeh, agreed upon). (End Quote’).
Similarly, Sheikh Muhammad Naasiruddeen Al Albanee has written about these youths who slander and condemn others. In Silsilatul Hudaa Wan Noor, dated 9/12/93, he has stated:
‘Listen my brother. I sincerely advise you and other youths like you, who stand upon a type of deviation as it seems to us, and Allah knows best – that do not waste your time in refuting each other, saying that such and such has this in him, and such and such has that in him. This is because; firstly: there is no knowledge at all in this, and secondly: this mannerism only breeds enmity and hatred in the hearts, and causes contempt and rancour to develop in the hearts. So it is upon you to seek knowledge. It is knowledge that will make clear to you the reality of the speech which is in praise of a particular person having many mistakes, and whether he is (deserving of being labeled as an innovator). Yet why do we wish to enter into such issues. Indeed I advise you not to delve into such issues’.
‘What has become common in this age, is that many of those who ascribe themselves to knowledge and calling to good, fall into belittling many of their brothers who are well-known daa’ees, and speaking against the honour of the students of knowledge and the daa’ees. This is done sometimes secretly in their circles, sometimes on cassettes which are then circulated amongst the people, or sometimes publicly mentioned in their gatherings in the mosques. And this matter opposes the command of Allah and His Messenger from a number of angles … So I sincerely advise those brothers who have fallen into slandering and maligning the daa’ees, that they should repent to Allah, the Most High, for what they have written with their own hands, and what they have said with their own tongues; which may have been a cause for corrupting the hearts of some of the youths; filling their hearts with hatred and malice, and pre-occupying them away from acquiring beneficial knowledge and calling to Allah, because of being pre-occupied with qeel and qaal (gossiping and rumour mongering); and with speech about this person and that person; and with hunting for the mistakes of people, and burdening them with this. Likewise, I sincerely advise them that they should redress whatever they have done, and declare themselves free from the likes of these actions, through writing: or methods other than this. They should remove whatever may have entered the minds and thoughts of those who listened to them, and they should take to doing those fruitful actions that will draw them closer to Allah, and which will be of benefit to the worshippers. They should beware of being hasty in pronouncing takfeer, tafseeq or tabdee upon people, without the truth being explained, and without the proofs being established. The Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam said: Whosoever says to his brother: O unbeliever then it will return to one of them. The authenticity of this Hadeeth has been agreed upon’. (End Quote)
In a like manner, Sheikh Abdullah Al Ghumaymaan has mentioned about this Fitna. In Al Hawaa Wa Atharuhu Fil Khilaaf, he has stated:
‘Amongst the consequences of the actions of these individuals is that they have confused the thoughts of many of the youth. Thus, as a result, some youths have strayed from the path of guidance and have begun to follow what those – who criticize others, and who have stood in the path of dawah and blocked the path of Allah – have drawn up for them. Some of the youth, as a result of those individuals who criticize others, now sense a great gap between them and the Scholars, and now harbor great misgivings, causing them to stay away from the Scholars. Some have begun to categorize people according to what he hears from these people, saying:
‘So and so is from the Ikhwan, because he talks, visits or sits with a person from the Ikhwaan; or that such and such is from the Suroorees; or such and such is from the profiterors [ those who wish to please everybody, even at the expense of the truth], etc. The amazing thing is that these people imagine that by doing so, they are applying the methodology of al-jarh wat tadeel. However, they have adopted in this action, ignorant leaders who are misguided and who misguide others. Thus, it is upon the Muslim to fear Allah regarding himself and those poor souls who are not even a quarter, or a tenth of the learned’. (End Quote).
Sheikh Muhammad bin Saalih Al Uthaymeen has further stated, ‘There is no doubt that it is a grave matter for a person in his Deen that he accuses another of kufr while in actuality he is free from it. Whoever accuses someone of kufr and he is free from it, it comes back to him, and refuge is sought in Allah from that. It may be that he is made to have an evil ending and dies a kaafir, because the matter of takfeer is not a light matter… it is not a light matter. The matter of takfeer is very great. It is not left for us to decide what is kufr or not, but only for Allah and His Messenger. And it is not at all permissible for us to judge anyone with kufr except if we have evidence from the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of the Messenger’.
In another place, he says, ‘So I warn my brothers, the youth, and the du’aat from speaking about each other. How long will we continue to speak? How long will people continue to rekindle the flames, every time they subdue whether they do so with good intent but lacking intellect and tact, or with bad intent? We seek refuge in Allah from this.
‘And do not be fooled thinking that every person who comes to you criticizing others has good intention.., never. You do not know.., he may very well be from your enemies and seeks to ignite fitnah between you so that you do not come together upon the Word of Allah’.
‘And what is quite disappointing is that some of the youth, those who may have a bit of knowledge, have taken advantage of this situation. They gather some of the youth around them in the masaajid or in their homes and cause division amongst them. They divide this great potential which could have a vibrant future, Inshaa Allah. You find them playing with the minds of these youth, speaking with a Hadeeth or two or the Tafseer of an ayah or two. So these youth who are less knowledgeable take him to be one with much knowledge. But he is like a mirage, the thirsty thinks it to be water, until he comes to it, he finds nothing’.
‘So be warned! If you truly want to give victory to the Deen of Allah and hope that He establishes you on the earth, be warned from dividing and differing amongst yourselves! And know for sure that this difference which takes place between you is more severe than the difference of our enemies’. (Until When Will We Differ – Shaikh Muhammad bin Saalih Al Uthaymeen).
It is very clear from these statements and writings that the approach adopted by some of the people of this group has been condemned by the great and reliable scholars. Their outright condemnation and wanting to turn to violence against other Muslims are all opposed to the teachings of Islam. ‘Considering the blood of a Muslim halal to spill’ is in reality the behaviour and actions of the Khawarij, a deviated sect in the early period of Islam. In this regard, there are scholars who have termed this group to be those who are propagating the doctrine of the Kharijites. As such, their claim to following the Salafus Saalih is bogus and counterfeit.
In this respect, Sheikh Ali At Tamimi has written the following, while refuting some of their articles and mischief.
‘Over the past few years, I have written in this forum on a few occasions in defense of the aqida of Ahl as-Sunna from the onslaught of this contemporary movement of Irja that disguises itself as Salafiya. (Indeed, the fatwa by the Permanent Council last year against the book written by Murad Shukri refers to this group espousing Irja’ as calling themselves the Salafis of Jordan.)
The “rabid” (in reference to the hadith of the 73 groups which describes the spreading of desires amongst them as a person bitten by a rabid dog penetrating every joint and vein.) followers of this group in the West – many of them not possessing either knowledge of Arabic or sharia sciences – have over the years claimed many things about me: from forging Sh. Ibn Baz’s signature to the Kuwaiti declaration (which I translated and read in the lecture entitled a Word of Advice to the Salafis of the UK) to more recently being an agent of the US government and an associate of Kabbani in fighting AhI as-Sunna.
And much, much more which I have decided not to mention out of consideration of this already lengthy e-mail as it is.
Truly this group is as they have been described:
They are Khawarij with regards to the du’at (preachers); Murji’a with regards to the rulers; Rafida with regards to the jamaaat (Islamic groups); and Qadariya with regards to the Jews, Christians, and infidels.
I ask my brothers and sisters who have fallen into this fitna that they reconsider some of their positions and repent from these astray beliefs. I also request of my brothers and sisters who have been preserved from this fitna not to rejoice at the error of their brethren, but rather to thank Allah for guiding them and use this opportunity to wisely and gently bring our brothers back to the truth. Let us not forget that the overwhelming majority of these brothers/sisters remain staunch supporters of tawhid and sunna who have been deluded into this fitna thinking that they are defending Allah’s religion. While in reality they are only defending a throne which cares less for them or their leaders. May Allah forgive us our transgressions and bring us to His Truth gently’. (End Quote).
This article was posted on Islamic Awakening.com on 24th February 2007 which is supervised by Sheikh Saalih Al Munajjid.
Truly, the approach of some of the people of this group has created a great amount of dissension and disharmony among Muslims throughout the globe. From the home circle to the entire family unit, and then to the level of the Jamaat/ Masjid, a great disunity among Muslims have been the result of the conduct of some of these people.
Seeing that many of the propagators of this group lack basic knowledge and understanding of Islam, they try to win followers by merely condemning, criticizing and calling others by names such as kafirs etc. It is really sad to see that they will stoop so low to get supporters and followers, however, whatever is based on falsehood will never stand the test of time and will definitely crash into pieces.
With respect to the Salafus Saalih, they are indeed the pious predecessors of the early period of Islam. Namely the first three generations of Islam, the Sahabahs, the Tabieen and the Tab’ut Tabieen.
These are the generations of the early Muslims who strove, struggled and sacrificed so that Islam may continue to the succeeding generations. It was the period where the greatest scholars in all sciences of Islam emerged and it was the period in which the documentation of these sciences became established far and wide. Scholars in every field became famous and well known and were respected for their great knowledge and ability. They possessed true knowledge and understanding of the deen of Islam and were thus accepted as true bearers and conveyers of the knowledge of the Holy Quran and the Sunnah of the beloved Messenger of Allah (S.A.S). While the Sahabahs disseminated the knowledge they possessed, those after them learnt from them after staying in the companionship of these illustrious personalities. This second generation documented their works and transmitted it to the succeeding generation. It is from among this glorious period the names of great scholars and Imams appeared whose works continued to be accepted and relied upon in the succeeding generations. Names like Imam Abu Hanifa, Imam Auzaa’i, Imam Malik, Sufyaan Thawri, Sufyaan bin Uyaina, Abdullah bin Mubarak, Aamir Ash Shabi, Hamaad, Imam Ahmad, Imam Shafi, the Imams of hadith, the Imams of Tafseer and many others became great names which continued to be accepted and relied upon in the matters of Islamic learning. It is these great scholars and Imams and hundreds of other pious souls that are referred to as the ‘Salafus Saaliheen’ (the pious predecessors). Those coming after them referred to them with this name and relied upon their opinions, fatawas, explanations and understanding of Islam.
This approach in the field of Islamic learning continued through the ages and the latter scholars always referred to the former scholars and great masters of learning as the ‘Salafus Saalih’ or the ‘Salaf’ (pious predecessors).
Due to the fact that Muslims depend upon the works done by the Muslims of this early period of Islam for their understanding of Islam and for the correct interpretation and application of the injunctions of the Holy Quran and the Sunnah, all are bound to accept the ‘Salafus Saaliheen’ (the pious predecessors). They have shown us the correct way and manner, as they have learnt from those before them and hence, must be followed and accepted.
As such, those who follow the Imams of fiqh like that of Imam Abu Hanifa, Imam Malik, Imam Shafi, Imam Ahmad and others are indeed following the ‘Salafus Saaliheen’ (the pious predecessors) since, they truly belonged to that period and they learnt Islam from the Sahabahs and the Tabieen.
However, while Muslims of the latter times continued to follow the true teachings of Islam, having accepted the method handed down by the Salafus Saalih, (whether connecting oneself to any specific person or not), none of them used the word ‘Salaf’ or ‘Salafi’ for themselves. Besides being used to refer to the scholars and Muslims of the early period of Islam, this word was never used for a group or sect of people through the early centuries of Islam. No one or group considered themselves to be ‘Salafis’. This name ‘Salafi’ was given to a reform movement in Egypt led by Muhammad Abduh at the turn of the twentieth century. (That is, thirteen centuries after the Prophet (S.A.S), approximately a hundred years ago).
It is based upon the fact that the name ‘Salafis’ referred to a group that was formed with their own ideals and thoughts that the great Sheikh of the Haram (Makka), Ibn Uthaymeen stated, ‘No doubt, it is obligatory for all Muslims to adopt the way of the Salaf (the pious predecessors) as their Madhhab (path), not affiliation to a specific party named, ‘The Salafis’. It is obligatory for the Islamic Ummah to adopt the way of the Salaf as Salih (the pious predecessors) as their Madhhab (path), not bigotry to those called ‘the Salafis’. Pay attention to the difference. There is the way of the Salaf, and there is a party called ‘the Salafis’. (This is the statement of the Mufti of the Haram, Ibn Uthaymeen (A.R.) which was posted on Islamic Awakening.com on Saturday 7th. Safar 1428 (24th February 2007) under the heading, ‘Ibn Uthaymeen warns Muslims from the Salafi group’. This site is supervised by Sheikh Saalih Al Munajjid.
As such, while some of those who use the word ‘Salafi’ may be sincere, and truly wish to adapt to the teachings and method of the Salafus Saaliheen (pious predecessors) without being connected to any specific group, there are many who may be connected to the above mentioned movement and are propagators of this group. Others may listen to them, thinking that they are inviting to that which is good, but may be totally unaware of their motives.
And Allah knows best.
Mufti Waseem Khan