Taken From SLF010004 @ SalafiPublications.Com (A Reply to the Doubts of the Qutubiyyah On Ascription to Sunnah and Salafiyyah). If you find this beneficial then please make reference to the above article, when quoting.
There are numerous doubts often spread about naming with Salafiyyah and the
word "Salafi", some of them coming from sincere people, based upon what they
have experienced and other times coming from the devils amongst men, who wish to
pass judgement upon the da’wah of truth, see it fall, and have it replaced with
their own innovatory ejaculations and hallucinations of the mind. To
1) Labelling With Salafiyyah is an Innovation
The word "Salafiyyah" was not applied during the time of the Prophet
(sallallahu alaihi wasallam) and his companions – this being due to the fact
that the Muslims were upon the correct Islaam and there was no need for a word
such as "Salafiyyah" at that time. However, when the tribulations occurred and
the sects increased and the Ummah split the Ulamaa of the Ummaah stood to
distinguish those upon the truth from those upon falsehood and hence they stated
"Ahl ul-Hadeeth" and "as-Salaf".
Abu Haneefah (d. 150H) (rahimahullaah) said: "Adhere to the athar
(narration) and the tareeqah (way) of the Salaf (Pious Predecessors) and beware
of newly invented matters for all of it is innovation." (Reported by
As-Suyootee in Sawn al Mantaq wal-Kalaam p.32)
Based upon this "as-Salafiyyah" is distinguished from all the various Islamic
factions due to their ascription to what guarantees for them the correct and
true Islaam, which is adherence to what the Messenger (sallallaahu alaihi
wasallam) and his companions were upon, as occurs in the authentic hadeeths.
In addition to that, the word "Salaf" was used by the Prophet (sallallaahu
alaihi wasallam) himself. He said to Faatimah, "How excellent a Salaf I
am for you." (Muslim, no. 2450).
Imaam Muslim brings in his Muqaddimah to his Saheeh (p.16) the saying of
Abdullaah ibn al-Mubaarak – which he would say in front of all the people,
"Abandon the hadeeths of Amr bin Thaabit, for he used to abuse the Salaf".
Shaikh Saalih al-Fawzaan said, "And how can making one’s madhhab that of
the Salaf be an innovation, an astray innovation?! And how can it be an
innovation when it is but the following of the madhhab of the Salaf, and
following their madhhab is obligatory by the Book and the Sunnah, and truth and
guidance?!" (al-Bayaan p. 156).
Hence, ascribing oneself to the Salaf, which is but Salafiyyah is not an
innovation, rather it is obligatory upon every Muslim to subscribe to the manhaj
and aqidah of the Salaf. It can be said, "If labelling with Salafiyyah is an
innovation, then so is labelling with Ahl us-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah". And the
objective behind using the term "Ahl us-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah" is not hidden or
unknown. Unfortunately, Ahl us-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah is no longer sufficient to
distinguish between the people of falsehood and the people of truth. Until even
the word "Salafi" does not distinguish between the true Salafi, who is actually
Salafi in his aqidah and manhaj and between the hizbi (partisan) who wears the
gown of Salafiyyah, claiming to be Salafi. His aqidah may be Salafi but his way
of thinking is adulterated with Qutubi or Hizbi principles, ideas and modes of
thought and behaviour. He will show enmity to the Salafis, mock their
Mashaayikh, and yet claim to be upon their way. Yet the viewpoints they take and
the positions they hold and their loyalty and disownment indicate otherwise.
This is why true Salafis give great importance to learning and knowledge so that
the truth is apparent to them and the ignorant pretenders cannot befool
2) Allaah Has Named us Muslims, So Why Ascribe Ourselves to the Salaf
This doubt was very beatifully answered by Imaam al-Albaani in his discussion
with someone on this subject, recorded on the cassette entitled, "I am Salafi",
and here is a presentation of the vital parts of it:
Shaikh al-Albaani: "When it is said to you, ‘What is your madhhab’, what
is your reply?"
Questioner: "A Muslim".
Shaikh al-Albaani: "This is not sufficient!".
Questioner: "Allaah has named us Muslims" and he recited the saying of
Allaah Most High, "He is the one who has called you Muslims beforehand."
Shaikh al-Albaani: "This would be a correct answer if we were in the very
first times (of Islaam) before the sects had appeared and spread. But if we were
to ask, now, any Muslim from any of these sects with which we differ on account
of aqeedah, his answer would not be any different to this word. All of them –
the Shi’ite Rafidi, the Khaariji, the Nusayri Alawi – would say, "I am a
Muslim". Hence, this is not sufficient in these days."
Questioner: "In that case I say, I am a Muslim upon the Book and the
Shaikh al-Albaani: "This is not sufficient either".