What is Salafiyyah and who are ‘the Salafees’?

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bamalli:
What is Salafiyyah and who are ‘the Salafees’?

Al-Imaam Muhammad Naasirudeen Al-Albaanee stated:

“Salafiyyah is the attribution to the Salaf, therefore we must know who the Salaf are according to the Muslim scholars:

The Salaf are the people of the first three generations whom the Prophet - صلى الله عليه وسلم - bore witness to their virtue in the Hadeeth: “The most virtuous people are of my generation, then those who come after them, then those who come after them.” These three generations are the Salaf.

So now that we know the meaning of ‘Salaf’ and ‘Salafiyyah’ we must be aware of two important issues:

The First: That Salafiyyah is neither an attribution to a person nor a group of people as is the case with many Islaamic organizations. It is an attribution to infallibility, and that is because it is impossible for the Salaf as-Saaleh to collectively agree upon misguidance…”[3]

Shaykh Saaleh Al-Fawzaan stated:

“...Thus Salafiyyah is following the salaf from the Companions (Sahabah), the Successors (Tabi’een), their students (Atbaa’ at-Tabi’een), and the virtuous generations; this is Salafiyyah. It is not permissible for anyone to monopolize it. Each and every individual that follows the methodology of the Salaf is Salafee. Salafiyyah is not specific to any group or individual, rather it is for anyone who truly embodies it.”[4]

Salafi Publications have fallen into this exact self destructive misconception that Al-Albaani (rahimahullah) and Al-Fawzaan (hafidhahullah) have alluded to here. They are exclusively attributing this term ‘the salafees’ or ‘the salafiyyoon’ to themselves and their organization specifically, as only they were criticized, not the Salafees at large, yet according to them ‘the Salafiyyoon’ seem to be ‘under attack’.

Al-Imaam Ibn Baaz stated:

“The Salaf are the people of the first three virtuous generations, so whoever follows their path and methodology is a Salafee…”[5]

Al-Imaam Ibn ‘Uthaymeen stated:

“…so whoever comes after them and follows their methodology is like them upon the methodology of the Salaf, even if he comes much later than them, because Salafiyyah is the Manhaj that the Salaf as-Saaleh followed, may Allaah be pleased with them…”[6]

Al-Lajnah Ad-Daa’imah stated:

“…and Salafees is the plural of Salafee, which is an attribution to the Salaf, the explanation of which has preceded. They are those who follow the methodology of the Salaf; the followers of the Book and the Sunnah, those who call to it and act upon it, and for this they are Ahlus Sunnah wal Jamaa’ah…”[7]

Now that it is clear who ‘the Salafees’ are, the following questions arise:

Were any of the aforementioned ‘attacked’ by Madeenah.com?

Were any of the first three generations, or the scholars of Salafiyyah past and present ‘attacked’ by the site?

Were any of those who adhere to the Salafee methodology in their respective communities around the world - whether they be in Saudi Arabia, Yemen, the Middle East, Asia, Europe or elsewhere attacked by Madeenah.com?

Absolutely not!

Rather, on Madeenah.com there are a few translated articles that address some of Salafi Publications’ errors. This scholarly criticism directed towards them was made by some of the people of knowledge from Saudi Arabia who know them, have advised them privately, and exercised patience with them before finally resorting to using a public platform to clarify their errors. These articles have been unjustly propagated as (1) an attack (2) against ‘the salafees’, a patently false and misguided notion which Salafi Publications have been dangerously cultivating their audience upon.

Promoting a select number of individuals in a certain locale and labeling them as ‘the Salafees’, deeming knowledge-based criticism towards them to be an ‘attack upon the Salafees’, (as though criticizing them equates to criticizing the Salafees as a whole) is tantamount to the loathsome Hizbiyyah that sadly continues to plague some of the Salafees of the West in the guise of different individuals or organizations. This will never be accepted or left unchecked, as the Manhaj of the Salaf has not, and will never accept any form of partisanship, no matter where it emanates from.

This understanding is unprecedented amongst the Salafee scholars, past and present. We have never come across a recognised scholar, no matter how well known he is for serving the Sunnah, being criticized by other Salafee scholars, then wailing that ‘the Salafees’ are being ‘attacked’.[8]

If someone is criticized because of his adherence to Salafiyyah, then this is clearly another matter. In this case, however, some Salafees (Salafi Publications) were criticized in detail by other Salafees from amongst the people of knowledge - namely Shaykh Waseeullaah ‘Abbaas[9] and Shaykh Khaalid ar-Raddaadee - for their errors, and then they claim ‘the Salafees are being attacked’ by Madeenah.com! Where is the sensibility in this feeble cry? Why do they unrelentingly refuse to acknowledge that their criticizers are Mashayikh who are well known for their Salafiyyah? Madeenah.com is merely a platform these Mashayikh have used to publish their very own opinions. In addition, it is well known that the People of the Sunnah welcome the clarification of one another’s mistakes without it leading to blameworthy discord.

Shaykh Rabee’ ibn Haadee stated:

“The Deen of Allaah and the Manhaj of the Salaf is not on this level that a lot of the youth believe it to be: That differing, enmity and disruption occur for the most trivial reasons. Amongst these reasons is that one individual speaks about another, and so a group of brothers strongly and stubbornly defend one brother and another group likewise defends the other. Then the conflicts and battles between the two (or more) groups begin. Allaah and His Messenger and the Deen of Islaam are free from this type of behavior, as it is from the handiwork of Shaytaan, who wants splitting, differing, enmity and hatred between the Muslims for the most trivial of reasons. Just as it is the way of the people of desires, innovations and Hizbiyyah, those who are far from the Manhaj of the Salaf”[10]

Salafi Publications’ behavior mirrors precisely what the Shaykh warns against here. After scholarly criticism about them was published , they took the liberty of irresponsibly and unjustly targeting false accusations at Madeenah.com, falsely claiming that it is ‘attacking the salafees’ and rallying their audience against it, while its translators abstained from responding as previously mentioned. This type of unwarranted behaviour can only lead to ‘splitting, differing, enmity and hatred’ as stated in the previous quote by Shaykh Rabee’.

This method of claiming that the Salafees as a whole, or the Muslims altogether are being attacked when only a select number of individuals are being criticized is well known amongst various Da’wah organizations that have fallen into Hizbiyyah; organizations that believe criticizing one or more individuals from amongst them is an ‘attack’ – as they would put it – upon them as a whole. Whoever criticizes them is against them, whether they use the term Ahlus Sunnah, Salafiyoon, the Salafees, Muslims, Muslim brotherhood or otherwise. This is exactly why Abu Muslimah was criticized for his khutbah “Enemies of Ahlus Sunnah”, where he clearly refers to himself and his supporters as ‘the people of the Sunnah’ and attempts to rally them against his criticizers.

It would be somewhat understandable, but still not acceptable, if a group of scholars such as Al-Lajnah Ad-Daa’imah (The Permanent Committee of some of the Senior Scholars in Saudi Arabia) were to make such a claim, but even they have never claimed that ‘the salafees are being attacked’ when criticized. As a matter of fact, when Salafi Publications aligned themselves with “The Shaykh, The Muhaddith, Al-Allaamah ‘Ali Hasan Al-Halabi The Eminent student of Shaykhul-Islam Al-Albaanee ” - according to the title they themselves had given him[11] - and translated his response criticizing the Lajnah, who at that time consisted of the Shaykhs Abdul-Azeez Aal Ash-Shaykh, Saaleh Al-Fawzaan, ‘Abdullaah Al-Ghudayaan, Bakr Abu Zayd and other prominent senior scholars. Salafi Publications actually had the audacity to say, “We wait for the lajnah to correct its mistake!”[12]

Compare this to a recent post wherein they stated, ‘Ali Hasan bin Ali bin Abdul-Hameed al-Halabi is from Jordan. He first came to the UK in 1993. He was lauded as a student of the Imaam, the Muhaddith Muhammad Naasir ad-Deen al-Albaanee (rahimahullaah).’[13] Written as though they had nothing to do with him being “lauded” and promoted in the face of criticism by Al-Lajnah Ad-Daa’imah! And the issue of the likes of these games being played with the Da’wah will be addressed in the future insha Allaah, if time permits.

Salafi Publications’ disregard for senior religious authority, as in the case of the Lajnah, not to mention the sheer disrespect with which they propagated their open proclamation of “wait[ing] for the lajnah to correct its mistake”, is indicative of their desperate need to humble themselves to seeking knowledge at the feet of the scholars of Ahlus-Sunnah. Why was Salafi Publications’ criticism of the Lajnah not considered to be an attack on ‘the Salafees’, yet when they are at the receiving end of criticism by the people of knowledge ‘the salafees are under attack’?!

What makes their claim that ‘the Salafees are being attacked’ a particularly bitter pill to swallow, is the fact that ‘the Salafees’ being referred to here are a few brothers living in a non-Muslim land, while their ‘attackers’ are Salafee scholars living in Saudi Arabia; teaching in some of the world’s most respected Islamic institutions.

There is much more that can be said about this feeble claim of theirs, but their is, insha Allaah, sufficiency in what has preceded, and the issue of applying the term ‘attack’ when scholarly criticism is directed to them will be addressed in the second part of this response insha Allaah.

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