The Signs Of Ahlus-Sunnah – The People Of The Sunnah

Imaam Abu ‘Uthmaan Ismaa’eel ibn ‘AbdurRahmaan as-Saaboonee [d.449AH]
Taken From His Great Book ‘Aqeedatus-Salaf As.Haabul-Hadeeth
Published By: Masjid Ibnu Taymeeyah

157. One of the signs of AhlusSunnah is their love for the Aa’immah (Imaams) of the Sunnah, the scholars, its friends and allies. They show enmity to the leaders of Bid’ah, who are calling to Hell and leading its followers to the place of failure. Indeed Allaah, The One free from all deficiencies, has adorned the hearts of AhlusSunnah and enlightened them by instilling a love for the scholars as a favor from Him, The Most Majestic.
158. Al-Haakim Aboo ‘Abdullaah al-Haafidh, may Allaah house him and us in Paradise together, informed me from Muhammad ibn Ibraaheem ibn al-Fadl al-Muzakkee, who related from Ahmad ibn Salamah, who related that Aboo Rajaa Qutaibah ibn Sa’eed read to us from his book al-Eemaan. (It was written at the end of the book):

“If you observe a man loving Sufyaan ath-Thawree (d.161), Maalik bin Anas (d.179), al-Awzaa’ee (d.157), Shu’bah (d.160), Ibn al-Mubaarak (d.181), Aboo al-Ahwas (d.179), Shareek (d.177), Wakee’ (d.197), Yahya ibn Sa’eed (d.145) and ‘Abdur-Rahmaan ibn Mahdee (d.198) then know that he is from AhlusSunnah.”

Ahmad ibn Salamah, raheemahullaah, said: “With my own writing I added to the list: Yahya ibn Yahya (d.226), Ahmad ibn Hanbal (d.241), and Ishaaq ibn Raahawaih (d.238). When we had completed this list, the People of Neesaaboor looked at us and they said that those people dislike Yahya ibn Yahya. So we said, ‘O Aboo Rajaa! What about Yahya ibn Yahya?’ He replied, ‘A righteous man and an Imaam of the Muslims.’ Ishaaq ibn Raahawaih is an Imaam and Ahmad ibn Hanbal is the greatest of those I have named.”

159. I also attach to this list the following which Qutaibah, raheemahullaah, has mentioned. For whoever loves them is a companion of the Sunnah. They are the scholars of hadeeth who are imitated and with their guidance people are rightly guided. From their group and party are others who are counted amongst them and those whose narrations are followed. You will find another group, more than what has just been mentioned. They are:

Muhammad ibn Idrees ash-Shaafi’ee (d.204) and Sa’eed ibn Jubair (d.95), az-Zuhree (d.124), ash-Sha’bee (d.103) and at-Taimee (d.143). Those after them are:

Laith ibn Sa’d al-Misree (d.175), al-Awzaa’ee (d.157), ath-Thawree (d.161), Sufyaan ibn ‘Uyainah (d.198), Hammaad ibn Salamah (d.167), Hammaad ibn Zaid (d.179), Yoonus ibn ‘Ubaid (d.139), Ayyoob as-Sakhtiyaanee (d.131), Ibn ‘Awn (d.150) and those after them like:

Yazeed ibn Haaroon al-Wasitee (d.206), ‘Abdur-Razzaq ibn Hammaam as-San’aanee (d.211), Jareer ibn ‘Abdul-Hameed ad-Dubee (d.188) and those after them like:

Muhammad ibn Yahya adhDhulee (d.258), Muhammad ibn Ismaa’eel al-Bukhaaree (d.256), Muslim ibn al-Hajjaaj al-Qushayree (d.261), Aboo Dawood as-Sijjistaanee (d.275), Aboo Zur’ah ar-Raazee (d.264), Aboo Haatim ar-Raazee (d.277), Ibn Abee Haatim (d.328), Muhammad ibn Muslim ibn Warah (d.270), Muhammad ibn Aslam at-Toosee (d.242), Aboo Sa’eed ‘Uthmaan ibn Sa’eed ad-Daarimee (d.280), Muhammad ibn Ishaaq ibn Khuzaimah (d.311) who was called the Imaam of the scholars. In my lifetime he is indeed the Imaam of the scholars in his era and time. Aboo Ya’qoob Ishaaq ibn Ismaa’eel al-Bustee (d.303) and al-Hasan ibn Sufyaan an-Nasawee (d.303).

My forefathers from Aboo Sa’eed Yahya ibn Mansoor az-Zaahid al-Harwee (d.292), ‘Adee ibn Hamdawaih as-Saaboonee and his two sons, the two swords of the Sunnah Aboo ‘Abdullaah as-Saaboonee and Aboo ‘Abdur-Rahmaan as-Saaboonee and many other Aa’immah who adhered to the Sunnah, supporting it, calling to it and following it.
160. The total sum of what has been established in this book is the Creed of all of them. None of them opposed each other in this. On the contrary they were all united upon it and there is nothing established from any of them that they approved of anything which opposed it.
161. They were agreed upon subduing Ahlul-Bid’ah by debasing them, degrading them, keeping them afar, being distant from them, never accompanying them or living with them, and upon seeking a nearness to Allaah, The Most Mighty and The Most Majestic, by avoiding and abandoning them.
162. By the blessings of Allaah, The Most Mighty and The Most Majestic, I am following their narrations seeking enlightenment by their lights. I advise my brothers and companions that they do not be far from their rays and do not follow anything other than their sayings. Do not get involved in these newly invented matters from the Bid’ah which have spread between the Muslims and all other evil matters which have appeared. If one of these innovations appeared on the tongues of one of them in the time of those Aa’immah, they would have abandoned them, accused them of heresy and lies and developed hatred for them.

Do not be misled my brothers, may Allaah preserve you, by the numbers of Ahlul-Bid’ah, their size and the number of their groups. Indeed the large groups of falsehood and few in number from the people of the truth is one of the signs of the Day of Judgement, as the Messenger of Allaah, (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi was-sallam), said:

“Indeed one of the signs of the last hour coming closer, is the diminishing of knowledge and the spreading of ignorance.” [1]
164. Knowledge is Sunnah and ignorance is Bid’ah.
165. He, (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi was-sallam), said:

“Indeed, Eemaan will be driven back into al-Madeenah just as a snake returns to its hole.” [2]

166 He, (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi was-sallam), said:

“The last hour will not arrive until there remains no one on the earth saying, Allaah.” [3]
167. One who adheres to the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allaah, (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi was-sallam), today, acting on it, being firm on it and calling to it, his reward would be more than the one who did this in the beginning of Islaam, as the Messenger of Allaah, (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi was-sallam), said:
“He will have the reward of fifty.”
They the Companions asked, ‘Fifty of them?’ He replied:
“Rather of you.” [4]
168. He, (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi was-sallam), stated that about one who acts according to the Sunnah when the Ummah gets corrupted.

169. I found in a book written by my grandfather, Aboo ‘Abdullaah Muhammad ibn ‘Adee ibn Hamadawaih as-Saaboonee, raheemahullaah, it said he heard from Aboo al-‘Abbaas al-Hasan ibn Sufyaan an-Nasawee, who related from al-‘Abbaas ibn Sabeeh, who related from ‘Abdul-Jabbaar ibn Taahir, who related from Ma’mar ibn Raashid, who related from Ibn Shihaab az-Zuhree, who said:

“Studying of the Sunnah is better than performing worship for two hundred years.”
170. Aboo Bakr Muhammad ibn ‘Abdullaah ibn Muhammad ibn Zakariyyah ash-Shaybaanee informed me from Aboo al-‘Abbaas Muhammad ibn ‘Abdur-Rahmaan ad-Daghoolee, who heard from Muhammad ibn Haatim al-Mudhfaree, who heard from ‘Amr ibn Muhammad who said: Aboo Mu’aawiyyah ad-Dareer related a story to Haaroon ur-Rasheed, wherein he mentioned the hadeeth of Aboo Hurairah: “…Aadam and Moosa disputed.” [5] So ‘Alee ibn Ja’far said: ‘How is it that they disputed?! What was between them?’ Haaroon jumped up and said:
“A hadeeth is narrated to you from the Prophet, (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi was-sallam), and you turn away and ask how?”
He kept on saying that until his anger abated. [6]
171. This is the way a person must glorify the narrations of the Messenger of Allaah, (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi was-sallam), accepting them with submission, approval and belief in it. Anyone who treads a path other than the one Haaroon ur-Rasheed trod should be opposed strongly. As an authentic hadeeth which one hears and questions it by saying “how” in a rejective manner [7], is distancing oneself from the hadeeth and not accepting it. It is an obligation to accept all that is reported from the Messenger of Allaah, (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi was-sallam).
172. I hope that Allaah, The One free from all deficiencies, has included us amongst those who listen to advice and follow it’s best/uppermost part and adhere to the Religion during the period of their life in this world with the Qur’aan and Sunnah. I hope that He keeps us away from our misguided whims, meager opinions and from a humiliating calamity, by His Blessings and Bounties.

f o o t n o t e s
1. It is related from Anas from the Prophet, (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi was-sallam): “Amongst the signs of the last hour is the lifting up of knowledge and the appearance of ignorance.” Related by al-Bukhaaree (81,5577,6808), Muslim (2671), at-Tirmidhee (2315) and Ibn Maajah (4045).
2. by al-Bukhaaree (1876), Muslim (147) and Ibn Maajah (3111).
3. Related by Muslim (148), at-Tirmidhee (2317).
4. Related by Aboo Daawood (4341), at-Tirmidhee (3058), Ibn Maajah (4015) and at-Tabaraanee al-Kabeer (17:289). Its isnaad is Saheeh with the wording: “Indeed days of patience are to come. The adherents in that time will be upon that which you are upon and they will get the reward of fifty of you.”
5. Related by Ahmad (2.398), at-Tirmidhee (2134) and Ibn Abee ‘Aasim (140). The hadeeth has a Saheeh isnaad.
6. It has a Saheeh isnaad. See Taareekh Baghdaad (5:243).
7. TRANSLATORS NOTE – This does not include, the one who asks “how” in order to understand something which is not clear to him, but believing that there is no contradiction or error in that which is authentically reported from the Messenger (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi was-sallam).

The Salafi Da’wah with Respect to Other Jamaa’ahs

I will say a true word after which no Muslim can argue after the truth appears to him.Firstly, the Salafee da’wah is an ascription to what? ‘Salafee’ is an ascription to the ‘Salaf’ (pious predecessors), so we have to know who the Salaf are and then what this ascription means and its importance as regards its meaning and implication.

The Salaf are the people of the first three generations whom the Messenger of Allaah (S) declared to be good in the authentic and mutawaatir hadeeth recorded in al- Bukhaaree and Muslim and others from a group of the Companions that he said: “The best of people is my generation, then those who come after them, then those who come after them.”, i.e the first three generations. So the Salafees attach themselves to the Salaf, and if we know the meaning of ‘Salaf’ and ‘Salafee’ then we should bear two things in mind.

That this attachment is not to a single person or persons, as is the case with other Jamaa’ahs present in the Muslim world. This is not an attachment to a person or even tens of people, but to that which will not err, since it is impossible that the Salaf would unite upon error, as opposed to the people of later times, since with regard to the later generations, there is no text speaking in their favour. Rather, in general, they are spoken ill of in the end of the previous hadeeth: “Then there will come a people who give witness and their witness is not asked for…”, and in other ahaadeeth there occurs: “A group of my Ummah will not cease to be upon the truth…”

So this is a praise for them but a censure of the rest since the praise is for a particular small group. Linguistically, ‘Taa’ifah’ is used to refer to a single person or more.

Thus if we understand this meaning of the ‘Salafees’ and that they attach themselves to the Salaf- and that if the Muslim clings to that which the Salaf were upon – then here we come to the second matter:

That after this is understood, it is not possible for any Muslim but to be a Salafee, since we have understood that in attaching oneself to the Salaf one has attached himself to that which cannot err. This is taken from the hadeeth: “My Ummah will not unite upon error,” and it is not correct to refer this to the people of later ages; those present today.

In addition to that is the ahaadeeth referring to what happened to the previous peoples – the Jews and the Christians – and what will befall the Muslims, regarding splitting into sects, saying: “The Jews split into seventy-one sects and the Christians into seventy-two, and my Ummah will split into seventy-three sects. All of them are in the Fire except one.” The Companions said, “Who are they, O Messenger of (S)?” He (S) replied “They are the Jamaa’ah.” This shows who is meant in the previous hadeeth “My Ummah will not unite upon error” since they are the saved sect, along with those who have their outlook and follow them.

Those Salafus-Saaliheen are those whom Allaah has warned us against opposing them or against following a way other than theirs, saying:

If anyone contend with the Messenger even after guidance has been plainly conveyed to him, and follows a path other than that becoming to men of faith, We shall leave him in the path he has chosen, and land him in Hell – what an evil refuge! [Sooratun-Nisaa aayah 115]

I have many times pointed out to our brothers the wisdom of our Lord’s attaching in this aayah ‘the following of a way other than that of the believers’ to ‘the opposing of the Messenger’, what is the wisdom in that, since even if the aayah did not contain the part about following a way other than that of the believers, then the first part about opposing the Messenger (S) would have been enough to earn the person the evil end mentioned. However, it is not possible that the second part has no relevance, and we seek Allaah’s refuge from such a thing. Its wisdom is shown by Imaam Ash-Shaafi’ee’s using it as a proof of Ijmaa’ – meaning: ‘He who takes a way other than that of the Companions’- who are unerring – and they and those who follow them are the Jamaa’ah whom the Messenger of Allaah (S) declared to be the saved sect.

They are those whom it is not permissible to oppose – for one who wishes to be saved from Allaah’s punishment on the Day of Resurrection. Therefore the Muslims have to be aware today, who are the Muslims mentioned in this aayah? And then, what is the wisdom in Allaah’s intending the Salafus-Saalih and those who follow them? The answer has preceeded and is, in brief, that they are the Companions who were present when the revelation came down, and who took it direct from the mouth of the Messenger (S). They saw the Messenger (S) living among them following the revealed rulings of the Qur’aan, many of whom were explained by his (S) sayings. However, the later peoples do not have this excellence – that they heard the Qur’aan and the Sunnah direct from his mouth – nor did they see how he (S) followed the texts of the Qur’aan and the Sunnah his practice, and from the wisdom is his (S) saying: “Being informed is not like seeing for yourself.”

So those who did not see him are not like his Companions who saw him and heard his words directly and saw how he acted. Today there is a very nice saying which some people are distinguished by – but it would be nicer if put into practice. They say in their speeches and lectures, “that it is upon us to make Islaam take practical shape upon the earth.” However, if we do not understand Islaam, and understand it according to the understanding of the Salafus-Saalih, then we cannot put this saying into practice. But those who were able to do that were the Companions of the Messenger (S) due to the two reasons that we have mentioned:

a) That they heard his words directly and therefore their retention of it is better than ours;
b) Then there are affairs which need explanation through his (S) action, and they saw that.

I will give you a very clear example. There are some aayaahs in the Qur’aan which a Muslim cannot understand unless he knows the Sunnah, which explains the Noble Qur’aan, as Allaah ta’aalaa says:

WA ANZALNAA ILAIKADH-DHIKRA LITUBAYYINA LINNAASI MAA NUILA ILAYHIM (We have revealed the Reminder to you in order that you may explain to the people what has been revealed to them).

Allaah ta’aala’s saying:

AS-SAARIQU WAS SAARIQATU FAAQTA’OO AIDEEHIMAA. (The male and the female thief: Cut off their hands).

Let us produce the Seebawaih (a great scholar of the ‘Arabic language of early times) of this age and let him explain this aayah. Language wise he will not be able to define the ‘saariq’ (thief) nor the ‘yad’ (hand). Who is the thief whose ‘yad’ is to be cut? What is the ‘yad’ that should be cut? He cannot answer! In the language anyone who steals even an egg is a thief, and the ‘yad’ goes right up to the shoulder. The answer lies in the aayah mentioned previously : WA ANZALNAA ILAIKADH-DHIKRA. The answer is found in the explanation of the Messenger (S) for the Qur’aan. That explanation is found in the practice – for this and for many other aayaahs. He who reads the ‘science of Usool’ finds that there is ‘General and Particular’, ‘Unrestricted and Restricted’ and ‘Abrogating and Abrogated’ texts – comprehensive words under which come tens if not hundreds of texts, general texts restricted by the Sunnah – and I will not prolong this further in order to answer the rest of the questions.

A Brief Introduction to the Salafi Dawah

The Salafi Da’wah (da’wah literally means “call”, and in this sense it refers to calling to the truth, preaching and propagation) is that of the Qur’an and the Sunnah (i.e. the Religion of Islam – pure and free from any and all additions, deletions and alterations). It means adherence to the Path of the Messenger, may the peace of Allah upon him, and the Faithful Believers, namely the Pious Forefathers (i.e. As-Salaf as-Saalih) of the Islamic Community of Believers and all those who follow in their footsteps in belief, actions and morals.

Allah has said: And whoever contends with and contradicts the Messenger after guidance has been clearly conveyed to him and chooses 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 refuge! [Surah al-Nisaa’ 4:115]

Shaikh-ul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah commented on this verse: “All who contradict and oppose the Messenger 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 after the right Path has been shown to them. If one thinks that he is following the Path of the Faithful Believers and is mistaken, he is in the same position as one who thinks he is following the Messenger and is mistaken.”

Who are the Salaf and who are the Salafis?

The Pious Forefathers (i.e. As-Salaf as-Saalih) of the Islamic Community of Believers are the Companions of the Prophet, peace be upon him, their Followers (the Taabi’een and the Taabi Taabi’een (i.e. the first three generations of Muslims) and the Scholars of the Ahl-us-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah after them who followed their way in belief and deed. Among them are :

Imam Abu Hanifah (150 AH), Al-Awzai (157 AH), Ath-Thawri (161AH), Al Laith ibn Saad (175 AH), Imam Malik (179 AH), Abdullah ibn al-Mubarak (181 AH), Sufyan ibn Uyainah (198 AH), Imam Ash-Shafi’i (204 AH), Ishaq (238 AH), Imam Ahmed bin Hanbal (241 AH), Al-Bukhari (256 AH), Muslim (261 AH), Abu Dawood (275 AH) and others.

Ibn Taymiyyah (728 AH), and his students: Adh-Dhahabi (748 AH), Ibn al-Qayyim (751 AH), Ibn Katheer (774 AH) and others.

Muhammed bin ‘Abd al-Wahhab (1206 AH) and many of his students.

And in our time: Abdul Aziz bin Baz, Muhammed bin Saalih Uthaimeen, Muhammed Naasir-ud-Deen al-Albaani.

The Salafis are the Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah. They are the Taaifatul- Mansoorah (the Aided, Victorious Group) and the Firqatun-Naajiyyah (the Saved Sect) which have been mentioned in the following statements of the Messenger, peace be upon him:

“There shall not cease to remain a single group from my community upon the Truth, victorious; they are unharmed by those who abandon them and those who oppose them. They will remain (in my community and in such a state) until they fight the liar (i.e. the Anti-Christ (Dajjal).” [Reported in Sahih Muslim]

“Verily those before you from among the People of the Book split into seventy-two sects and verily this religion . . . ”

and in another narration

” . . . this Ummah will split into seventy-three sects: seventy-two will be in the Fire and one in Paradise and that is the Jamaa’ah.” [Reported by Abu Daawood – Sahih]

“And this Ummah will divide into seventy-three sects all of which except one will go to Hell and they (i.e. the Saved Sect) are those who are upon what I and My Companions are upon (i.e. those who follow My Way and the Way of my Companions.)” [Reported by at-Tirmidhee – Hasan]

Why do we call ourselves Salafis?

The name Salafi refers to the one who attaches himself to that group of people about whom the Prophet , peace be upon him, said: “The best of people is my generation, then those who come after them, then those who come after them (i.e. the first three generations of Muslims).” [Reported by Bukhari and Muslim – Mutawaatir]. This attachment is not to a single person or persons (i.e. scholars), which is the case of many groups present today. It is not an attachment to a person or even tens of people, but to that which will not err, since it is impossible that the Salaf would unite upon error or misguidance. So in his subscribtion to the way of the Salaf, the Salafi has attached himself to that which cannot go wrong. This is taken from the hadith: “My Ummah will not unite upon error.” [Reported by at-Tirmidhee and Haakim – Sahih], and it is not correct that this hadith refers to the people of later ages, since it was only in the era of the Prophet, peace be upon him, and his Companions that the Ummah was free from widespread division and deviation. The deviant sects separated themselves from the Jamaa’ah after them, and from that time onwards their was disunity. The previous ahaadeeth about the Taaifat- ul-Mansoorah (the Aided Group) and the Firqat-un-Naajiyah (the Saved Sect) show who is meant in this hadith, i.e. those who have the outlook and follow the way of the original guided and united group, the first three generations of Muslims: As-Salaf as- Saalih.

The word Salafi is an abridgement for a long definition. Someone who is a Salafi means:

He is not of the sects of the Khawaarij who consider the Muslims to be Kaafirs (nonbelievers) due to their commiting major sins, and make lawful the taking of their wealth and blood.

He is not of the sects of the Shi’ah (Shi’ites) who hate and curse the Prophet’s Companions and claim them to be apostates, claim that the Qur’an has been altered, reject the authentic Sunnah and worship the Prophet’s Family, peace be upon them.

He is not of the Qadariyyah who deny Qadr (the Divine Decree).

He is not of the Murjiah who claim Imaan (Faith) to be only in words and not in deed.

He is not of the Asharriyah who deny Allah’s Attributes.

He is not of the Sufis who worship graves, saints and claim Divine incarnation.

He is not of the Muqallidoon who necessitate that every Muslim adhere to the Madhhab (School of Thought) of a particular Imam or Shaikh, even when that madhhab differs with the clear verses of the Qur’an and authentic hadiths of the Prophet, peace be upon him.

He values Tawheed (the Unity of Allah), singling out Allah in his worship, supplication, seeking aid, seeking refuge in times of ease and hardship, sacrifice, vow-making, placing total reliance in Him and in judging by what Allah has revealed as well as all other forms of worship. This is the foundation he strives to build without which there is no true Islamic Governance.

He actively tries to remove Shirk (asscociating partners with Allah) which is present in all the Muslim lands, as removing it is a requirement of Tawheed. He knows victory is not possible without Tawheed and that Shirk cannot be fought with the likes of it (i.e. another form of Shirk). So he follows the way of all the Prophets and the example of our Noble Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, and he renounces those who, whilst claiming to be the true reformers, compromise with the proponents of Shirk within the Muslim Ummah.

He adheres to the Prophet’s , peace be upon him, way in his life and the way of his Companions after him. The Prophet , peace be upon him, said: “I am leaving you two things and you will never go astray as long as you cling to them — they are the Book of Allah and my Sunnah.” [Reported by Al- Haakim – Sahih].

He returns to the Word of Allah and His Prophet, peace be upon him, whenever there is disagreement or difference of opinion, acting in accordance with the saying of Allah: “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 more better and more suitable for final determination.” [Surah al-Nisaa’ 4:59]

He gives precedence to the Word of Allah and His Prophet, peace be upon him, above the words of anybody else, according to the speech of Allah: “O you who believe! Do not put yourselves forward in the presence of Allah and His Prophet and fear Allah. Verily Allah is All-Hearing and All-Knowing.” [Surah al-Hujuraat 49:1].

He revives the Sunnah of the Prophet, peace be upon him, in his worship and behaviour and thus his behaviour and his life become a stranger among the people as the Prophet, peace be upon him, has mentioned in his saying: “Islam began as a stranger and shall return as a stranger as it began. So give glad tidings to the strangers.” [Reported by Muslim – Sahih]. And in another narration: “So give glad tidings to the few, those who purify, correct what the people have corrupted of my Sunnah.” [Al-Silsilah of Shaikh al-Albaani – Sahih].

He enjoins the good (calls to Tawheed, obedience to Allah and imitation of the Prophet , peace be upon him, ) and forbids the evil (warns against Shirk, disobedience to Allah and turning away from the Prophet’s, peace be upon him, Sunnah). Thus he warns the people, out of deep concern, about the innovations, misguided ways and of the deviant, destructive groups who only invite the people for worldly gain, rule and authority in the land and not for the establishment of Tawheed or the removal of Shirk.

He acts in accordance with speech of Allah: “Truly he succeeds who purifies it (i.e. the soul)”. [Surah as-Shams 91:8], so he seeks constant forgiveness, makes true repentance, brings Allah to mind abundantly, and rushes to perform the righteous deeds in order to purify his soul.

He worships Allah out of a combination of Fear, Hope and Love. Allah says in the Qur’an: ” . . . Call upon Him, with Fear and Hope. [Surah A’raaf 7:56], and He says: “Their limbs do forsake their beds the while they call upon their Lord out of Fear and Hope and they spend (in charity) out of the sustenance which We have bestowed upon them.” [Surah as-Sajdah 32:16] and He says: “Yet there are men who take (for worship) others besides Allah: as equal (with Allah). They love them as they should love Allah. But the Believers are overflowing in their love for Allah.” [Surah al-Baqarah 2:165]. The Salaf used to say: “Whoever worships Allah with Love only is indeed a Zindeeq (Heretic) and whoever worships Him with Hope only is indeed a Murji (one who believes that sins impart no harm as long there is Faith) and he who worships Him with Fear only is indeed a Haruri (one of those who deserted from the army of ‘Ali and fought against him). But he who worships Him with Love, Fear and Hope is indeed a believing Muwahhid (i.e. one clinging to the Tawheed of Allah.)”

The word Salafi is an abridgement of that long definition. Furthermore, Salafiyyah is not the blind following of any particular Shaikh or Imaam. It is only adherence to the Qur’an and Sunnah as understood by the Pious Forefathers (i.e. As-Salaf as-Saalih) of the Islamic Community of Believers (Ummah).

Therefore, upon comprehending this, a Muslim has no option but to become a Salafi; since in doing so he attaches to that group which has been guaranteed success, victory, salvation and safety from the Fire by the Prophet, peace be upon him, Sahih (Authentic) hadiths, and he dissociates himself from that which has deviated and separated from the Firqatun- Naajiyah (the Saved Sect.).

What are the Knowledge-Based Fundamentals of the Salafi Da’wah?

The belief that Allah exists and is the Creator of all things, and all other aspects of Tawheed.

Rather this fundamental encompasses much more. It means:

  • Belief in Allah’s Names and Attributes mentioned in the Qur’an and authentic Sunnah, in accordance to their literal Arabic meanings without denial of these attributes or likening them to the attributes of His Creation. This principle is known as Tawheed-ul-Asmaa’ was-Sifaat (Unity of Names and Attributes). Allah says in the Qur’an: “Say, (O Muhammed): 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.” [Surah al-Ikhlaas 112]. And Allah also says: “There is nothing like unto Him, and He is the All-Hearer, the All-Seer.” [Surah ash-Shoora 42:11]
  • To single out Allah in all acts of worship. This principle is known as Tawheed-ul-Ibaadah (Unity of Worship). Allah says in the Qur’an: “And the Mosques are for Allah (alone) so do not invoke anyone along with Allah.” [Surah al-Jinn 72:18]. And He says: “Whoever has hopes in the meeting with his Lord, let him work righteous actions and in the worship of his Lord admit no one as partner.” [Surah al-Kahf 18:110]
  • To single out Allah in His Ruboobiyyah (Lordship). This principle is known as Tawheed-uRuboobiyyah (Unity of Lordship)

The Salafi Minhaaj (i.e. methodology of beliefs) maintains that these three aforementioned principles of Tawheed are inseparable from one another because they are the pillars of the meaning of the testimony: “Laa ilaaha illallaah” (There is nothing which has the right to be worshipped except Allah). Under these principles lie many issues which the scholars among the Salaf have expounded upon in their books throughout the centuries. The Salafi constantly directs his attention to learn and apply these issues so that he may actualize and perfect his Tawheed.

Ittiba’a (Following)

“Say: If you (men) really do love Allah then follow me, Allah will love you and forgive you your sins. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” [Surah Aali Imraan 3:31] After the Salafi has learnt Tawheed in accordance with its aforementioned principles, it is incumbent upon him to adhere to the way of the Prophet Muhammed, peace be upon him. This is the actualization of his declaration that: “Muhammed ar-Rasoolullaah” (Muhammed is the Messenger of Allah). This fundamental does not only mean that Muhammed ibn ‘Abdullah is the last Prophet and Messenger, rather this fundamental is incomplete except with the following:

  • Belief that the Prophet , peace be upon him, came with two revelations: the Qur’an and the Sunnah. The Prophet, peace be upon him, has said: “I have indeed been given the Qur’an and something along with it.” [Reported by Abu Daawood and Daarimee – Sahih]. And he, peace be upon him, has said: “As long as you hold fast to two things which I have left among you, you will never go astray: Allah’s Book (i.e. the Qur’an) and the Sunnah of His Messenger.” [Reported by Al-Haakim – Sahih].
  • Belief that obedience to the Messenger is absolute and that his position is unapproachable by anyone else among mankind. Therefore, the Prophet , peace be upon him, is alone to be obeyed and followed. All beliefs, statements, deeds and morals which are against his are to be rejected and annihilated.
  • Adherence to the Way of the Prophet Muhammed, peace be upon him, is never complete except with the perfection of love towards him. What assists in developing this love is constant adherence to his commands, haste in obeying him, placing forward his statements above all others, the study of his Seerah (life and biographical accounts) and the study and practical implementation of his Sunnah in everyday life. The Prophet, peace be upon him, said: “None of you believes until I become more beloved to him than his father, child and all mankind.” [Reported by Muslim – Sahih].

It is unfortunate that true adherence to the Way of the Prophet , peace be upon him, has weakened in the Ummah and true love for him has all but disappeared. This is due to many reasons among which are:

  • The abandoning of the Sunnah of our Prophet, peace be upon him, its removal from our daily lives, belittling it and the attitude of pride and arrogance towards it.
  • The spread of numerous unsubstantiated and fabricated hadiths throughout the Ummah, which are the among the sources of difference and disunity.
  • The spread of many innovated practices among the Ummah.
  • The requiring of each Muslim to blindly adhere to a particular madhhab (i.e. taqleed: literally “blind following”).
  • The deliverance of religious verdicts without knowledge or evidence.
  • The cessation of the implementation of the Sharee’ah (Islamic Law) throughout the lands of Islam and its replacement by the ways and laws of the Kuffaar (disbelievers).

Tazkiyah (Purification) “Allah did confer a great favour upon the believers when He sent a Messenger from amongst themselves reciting unto them His verses (i.e. the Qur’an) and purifying them (from sins and pagan ignorance by their adoption of his way) and instructing them in the Book (i.e the Qur’an) and the Wisdom (i.e. the Sunnah) while before they had been in manifest error.” [Surah Aali Imraan 3:164]

  • The Qur’an and Sunnah are the only sources for Tazkiyah (i.e. purification, integrity, honesty, righteousness, justice, etc.).
  • The Prophet Muhammed , peace be upon him, is the purest of mankind in his soul, and his character was that of the Qur’an. There is none that comes close to him in this. For this reason he is the model for Tazkiyah. Allah says in the Qur’an: “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.” [Surah al-Ahzaab 33:21].
  • The Prophet’s Companions and the rest of the Salaf are also, as a whole, a fine model to follow in Tazkiyah.
  • There is no way of drawing closer to Allah except by adhering to what the Prophet Muhammed, peace be upon him, came with. The Prophet, peace be upon him, has said: “If anyone introduces into this affair of ours (i.e. the religion of Islam) anything which does not belong to it, he will have it rejected.” [Reported by Muslim – Sahih]. And he, peace be upon him, said: “Whoever does an action which we (Allah and His Messenger) have not commanded it will be rejected.” [Reported by Muslim – Sahih]
  • There does not exist any specific set of actions which lead to Tazkiyah, rather the whole of Islam leads to Tazkiyah (i.e. purification of the soul). Allah says: “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 Shaytaan. Verily! He is to you an open enemy.” [Surah al-Baqarah 2:208].
  • The farce referred to as Sufism has corrupted the beliefs, deeds and morals of the Muslims.
  • The Salafi Minhaaj (i.e. methodology or way) stands between the two extremes of mysticism (i.e. Sufism) and scholastic theology (i.e. the use of logical and rationale “proofs” to explain the teachings of Islam — such as the misguided Mu’tazilah).
  • The Salafi Minhaaj represents a true exemplification of piety. It is Imaan (Faith) and not Nifaaq (hypocrisy), purity and not filth.

The Aims of the Salafi Da’wah

The Salafi Da’wah is neither directed towards a specific belief nor a particular action. Likewise the Salafi Da’wah is neither a movement of social reform nor a political party. Rather the Salafi Da’wah is that of Islam in the total sense of the word. As Islam is the religion of Allah, it follows therefore, that it is neither the religion of a specific nation nor of a particular group of people. It is the religion intended for the whole earth and all of mankind. For this reason the Salafi Da’wah is neither one of a specific nation nor of a particular group of people; but it is the Minhaaj inclusive of understanding Islam and acting according to its teachings. Built upon this understanding is the realization that the aims of the Salafi Da’wah are the same as those of the Da’wah (Call) of Islam and not those of a particular religious sect or group, therefore the Salafis remain distinct from the various sects and groups in respect to the way and methodology of Da’wah (i.e. calling, propagating, preaching). They call to Islam as a whole, for its correct understanding and implementation. They do not call to particular aspects of Islam, unlike the many misguided groups who emphasize and call to a particular aspect of it, thereby playing fast and loose with its other aspects to suit their own needs. Thus this true call is, in essence, the call of all the Prophets; to the Tawheed of Allah, the annihilation of Shirk, sincerity in His worship, obedience to his Messengers and the following of their way; this is also the essence of the Salafi Da’wah.

Here are the aims of the Salafi Da’wah which are included in, and of themselves are, the aims of the Da’wah of Islam: To produce “true” Muslims.

  • To bring into existence a “true” Islamic Society. Allah says: “They (i.e. the Believers) are those who if We give them the authority in the land, establish the prayer, give the obligatory charity (i.e. Zakat) and enjoin what is good (i.e. to worship Allah in His Oneness and to obey all of His commandments) and to forbid wrong (i.e. to join others in worship with Allah and to disobey any of His orders). And with Allah rests the decisions of all affairs.” [Surah al-Hajj 22:41].
  • To establish the proofs of Allah against the Kuffaar and the deviant heretics and groups within the Ummah. Allah says in the Qur’an: “[We have sent] Messengers as bearers of good news and as warners, in order that mankind shall have no plea against Allah after the Messengers. And Allah is Ever-Powerful, All- Wise.” [Surah Aali Imraan 3:165].
  • To absolve ourselves with Allah by discharging the trust of Da’wah which He has made obligatory upon us. Allah says: “And when a community amongst them said: ‘Why do you preach to a people whom Allah is about to destroy and punish with a severe torment?’ The preachers said: ‘In order to be free from guilt before your Lord (i.e. Allah) and perhaps that they may fear Allah.'” [Surah Araaf 7:164].

The Distinguishing Characteristics of the Salafi Da’wah

Among the distinguishing characteristics of the Salafi Da’wah are:

  • Actualization of Tawheed in the beliefs, statements, and deeds of the Muslims. Allah says: “Worship Allah (alone) and join none with Him in worship.” [Surah al-Nisa’ 4:36].
  • Actualization of the unity of the Muslims through their strict adherence to the Sunnah. Allah says: “And hold fast all of you together to the Rope of Allah (i.e. the Qur’an) and be not divided among yourselves . . . ” [Surah Aali Imraan 3:103].