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
- 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.
"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 -
- 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
- 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).
"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,
- 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
- 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
- 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
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].