So the Ashāʿirah for example, say, ‘We are Ahl al-Sunnah wa-al-Jamāʿah,’ yet this is not correct because that which they are upon is other than the manhaj of Ahl al-Sunnah wa-al-Jamāʿah.
What is Salafīyyah? Is it obligatory to traverse its manhaj (methodology) and to hold onto it?
Salafīyyah is to traverse upon the methodology of the Salaf from the Companions, the tābiʿīn and the virtuous generations in ʿaqīdah, understanding and manners. It is obligatory upon the Muslims to traverse this manhaj (methodology).2 Allāh the Exalted said,
وَالسَّابِقُونَ الْأَوَّلُونَ مِنَ الْمُهَاجِرِينَ وَالْأَنصَارِ وَالَّذِينَ اتَّبَعُوهُم بِإِحْسَانٍ رَّضِيَ اللَّـهُ عَنْهُمْ وَرَضُوا عَنْهُ وَأَعَدَّ لَهُمْ جَنَّاتٍ تَجْرِي تَحْتَهَا الْأَنْهَارُ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا أَبَدًا ۚ ذَٰلِكَ الْفَوْزُ الْعَظِيمُ ﴿١٠٠﴾
“And the foremost from amongst the emigrants (muhājirīn) and the helpers (anṣār), and those who followed them in goodness. Allāh is pleased with them and they are pleased with Him.”
And Allāh the Exalted said,
وَالَّذِينَ جَاءُوا مِن بَعْدِهِمْ يَقُولُونَ رَبَّنَا اغْفِرْ لَنَا وَلِإِخْوَانِنَا الَّذِينَ سَبَقُونَا بِالْإِيمَانِ وَلَا تَجْعَلْ فِي قُلُوبِنَا غِلًّا لِّلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا رَبَّنَا إِنَّكَ رَءُوفٌ رَّحِيمٌ ﴿١٠﴾
“And those who came after them saying, ‘Our Lord, forgive us and our brothers who proceeded us in faith. And do not place enmity in our hearts for the Believers.”
And the Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Hold firmly to my Sunnah and the Sunnah of the Rightly-Guided Caliphs after me. Hold onto it with your molar teeth. And beware of newly invented affairs, since every newly invented affair is an innovation, and every innovation is misguidance and every innovation is in the Fire.”3
Is a person who calls himself Salafī to be referred to as a ḥizbī (bigoted partisan)?
If calling oneself Salafī is done truthfully, then there is no harm.4 As for when it is just a claim, then it is not permissible to ascribe oneself to Salafīyyah whilst he is upon other than the manhaj of the Salaf. So the Ashāʿirah for example, say, ‘We are Ahl al-Sunnah wa-al-Jamāʿah,’ yet this is not correct because that which they are upon is other than the manhaj of Ahl al-Sunnah wa-al-Jamāʿah. Likewise, the Muʾtazilah call themselves Muwahhidīn (people of Tawḥīd).
‘Everyone ascribes themselves to Laylā;
Yet Laylā does not affirm that for anyone.’
So the one who claims that he is upon the manhaj of Ahl al-Sunnah wa-al-Jamāʿah must follow the way of Ahl al-Sunnah wa-al-Jamāʿah and leave off its opponents. As for the one who wishes to ‘combine between the lizard and the fish,’ as they say; then that is to say, the one who does not differentiate between the land and the sea. So it is not possible to combine between water and fire. So the madh′hab of Ahl al-Sunnah wa-al-Jamāʿah cannot be combined with the madh′hab of those who oppose them, such as the Khawārij, the Muʾtazilah and the Ḥizbiyyīn from amongst those who call themselves ‘modern Muslims.’ They are those who wish to unite the misguidance of the people of this age with the manhaj of Salaf. So, ‘the latter part of this Ummah will not be corrected, except by that which corrected its former part.’5 So the outcome is that it is inevitable to distinguish the affairs and clarify them.
1. The following is taken from al-Ajwibāt al-Mufīdah (p. 103-105); Shaykh Ṣāliḥ ibn Fawzān said on (p. E) of this book, “The praise is for Allāh, and may Prayers and Peace be upon our Prophet, Muḥammad, and upon his Family and his Companions. To Proceed: So I approve the publishing of al-Ajwibah al-Mufīdah ʿan As‘ilat al-Manāijil-Jadīdah which contains my answers and notes from the brother, Jamāl Ibn Farīhān al-Ḥārithī. And I hope that it is of benefit in explaining aspects of the truth which have been hidden from some of the people today. And may the Prayers and Peace of Allāh be upon our Prophet, Muḥammad, his Family and his Companions. Signed: Ṣāliḥ Iin Fawzān Ibn ʿAbdullāh al-Fawzān 18/4/1417.”
2. Salafīyyah is not a ḥizb (party) from the ahzaab (parties) as some think and propagate. Rather, it is an ascription to the Salaf al-Ṣāliḥ and following their manhaj, as the Shaykh – may Allāh preserve him – has stated. This is because they – that is, the Companions – are as Ibn Masʿūd described them in his statement, “Whoever wishes to follow someone, then let him follow one who has already died. Since those that are living are not safe from the fitnah (trial, discord). These are the Companions of the Messenger of Allāh (ﷺ), the people with the most righteous of hearts, and the most earnest of them in knowledge, and the least of them in hypocrisy,” may Allāh be pleased with them. Refer to Jāmiʿ Bayān al-ʿIlm wa Faḍlihi (p. 49), Mishkāt al-Masābīḥ (no. 193) and al-Hilyah (1/305) of Abū Nuʿaym.
3. Ṣaḥīḥ: It has been authenticated due to its numerous routes. It is related by Aḥmad (4/126), al-Tirmidhī (no. 2676), al-Ḥākim (1/96) and by al-Baghawī in Sharḥ al-Sunnah (1/105).
4. Shaykh al-Islām Ibn Taymīyyah (d.728 AH) – raḥimahullāh – said in al-Fatāwá (4/149), “There is no blame upon the one who makes apparent the manhaj of the Salaf and affiliates himself with it and ascribes himself to it. Rather, it is obligatory to accept that from him by agreement. Since the madh′hab of the Salaf is nothing, except the truth.” I say, reflect – dear reader – upon the speech of Shaykh al-Islām which took place eight generations ago. It is as if he were refuting one of the modern day people to whom knowledge is attributed; and he says, ‘Whosoever makes it obligatory upon the people that he must be either an Ikhwānī, Salafī, Tableeghee, or Surūrī, then he must seek repentance. And if he does not do so, then he must be killed.’ He (’Aa‘id al-Qarnee) said it in a cassette that is widely spread amongst the youth, under the title, Firra min al-Ḥizbiyyah Firāraka min al-Asad.
[Note: After completing this book, some papers containing some of the recantations of ʿAaʾid al-Qarnī reached me. So I found amongst his recantations that he recanted from this error. So it is due to justice and fairness that we mention this recantation from him. So he says, “Fourteen: Indeed, I said in a cassette, Firra min al-Ḥizbiyyah Firāraka min al-Asad, “Whosoever makes it obligatory upon the people that he must be either an Ikhwānī, Salafī, Tablīghī, or Surūrī, then he must seek repentance. And if he does not do so, then he must be killed.” So this was an error in expression from me, and I seek refuge in Allāh from it. I meant that whosoever does that, then he has legislated into the Religion of Allāh. However, it was incorrect whatever the case may be, and I excuse myself from it. And I believe that the madh′hab of the Salaf is the correct madh′hab which it is obligatory to follow and be guided by and to traverse.” End of quote from the papers.]
So I say, how free is Allāh from all imperfections! How he has granted himself the privilege of gathering the true Salafī methodology along with these methodologies and innovated, false and astray sects! Our question to this one who lives in the country of Tawḥīd is – and he holds a Masters degree in Ḥadīth – that if you are not Salafī, then what are you? Indeed, al-ʿAllāmah ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz Ibn ʿAbdullāh Ibn Bāz – the Muftī of Saudi al-ʿArabīa – was asked, ‘What do you say about the one who calls himself ‘as-Salafī’ and al-Atharī,’ is this a term of commendation?’ So his eminence – may Allāh preserve him – replied, “If he is truthful in saying that he is Atharī or Salafī, then there is no problem. This is like what the Salaf used to say, ‘So and so is Salafī, or so and so is Atharī.’ This is a term of commendation from which there is no escape, rather it is a term of commendation that is obligatory.” From the lecture entitled, Ḥaqq al-Muslim which took place on 1/16/1413H in Ṭāʾif.
And Shaykh Bakr Abū Zayd says, “If it is said, ‘Salaf’ or ‘Salafīyyūn’ or ‘upon the path of Salafīyyah,’ then this is an ascription to the Salaf al-Ṣāliḥ: all of the Companions – raḍī Allāhu ʿanhum. So whosoever follows them in goodness, not those who were led astray by desires, and those who are firmly established upon the minhāj (methodology) of Prophet-hood; they are attributed to their Salaf al-Ṣāliḥ in that. So it is said about them, ‘al-Salaf’ and ‘al-Salafīyyūn’ and their term of affiliation is ‘Salafī.’ So this term Salaf refers to the Salaf al-Ṣāliḥ. So this is a term that generally refers to anyone who follows the way of the Companions – raḍī Allāhu ʿanhum – even if he is in our age, and so on. And this is how the people of knowledge have understood this term. Therefore, this is an ascription that does not have any aspect that departs from the requirements of the Book and the Sunnah. It is a term of affiliation that does not separate from the first generation for one muʿmīnt. Rather, it is from them and to them. As for the one who opposes them with a particular name or custom, then no, even if he lived amongst them and in their time.” End of quote from the book, Hukm al-Intimāʾ (p. 36). I say, this term has occurred continuously in the books of biography. So Imām al-Dhahabī (d.748H) said concerning the biography of Muḥammad Ibn Muḥammad al-Bahrānī, “He was a good Salafī with respect to the Religion.” Mu’jam al-Shuyūkh (2/280). And he said in the biography of Aḥmad Ibn Niʿmah al-Maqdisī, “He was upon the ʿaqīdah of the Salaf.” Mu’jam al-Shuyūkh (1/34). So the ascription to the Salaf is an ascription from which there is no escape, until the true Salafī is distinguished, and until the affair is no longer covered up for anyone who wishes to follow them. So the deviant madhāhib are many and the partisan groups that are misguided and misguiding others. So the people of the truth openly announce their affiliation to the Salaf in order to free themselves from those who oppose them. And Allāh the Exalted says about His Prophet and the Believers,
وَمَنْ أَحْسَنُ قَوْلًا مِّمَّن دَعَا إِلَى اللَّـهِ وَعَمِلَ صَالِحًا وَقَالَ إِنَّنِي مِنَ الْمُسْلِمِينَ ﴿٣٣﴾
“And who is better in speech than the one who calls to Allāh, does righteous deeds and says, ‘I am from amongst the Muslims.’”
5. Translator’s Note: This statement is derived from the Imām of Dār al-Ḥijrah, Mālik Ibn Anas (d.159H) – raḥimahullāh – when he said, “Whosoever introduces into Islām an innovation, and holds it to be something good, has indeed alleged that Muḥammad (ﷺ) has betrayed his message. Read the saying of Allāh – the Most Blessed, the Most High:
الْيَوْمَ أَكْمَلْتُ لَكُمْ دِينَكُمْ وَأَتْمَمْتُ عَلَيْكُمْ نِعْمَتِي وَرَضِيتُ لَكُمُ الْإِسْلَامَ دِينًا ۚ ﴿٣﴾
“This day I have perfected your Religion for you, completed My favour upon you and I have chosen for you Islām as your Religion.”
So that which was not part of the Religion at that time, cannot be part of the Religion today. And the last part of this Ummah cannot be rectified, except by that which rectified its first part.”
Prepared by Jamāl Ibn Farīhān al-Ḥārithī
Translated by Maaz Qureshi