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The Fundamentals and Principles of Salafiyyah

AL-ʿAllāmah ʿUbayd ibn ʿAbdullāh al-Jābirī

Our Shaykh al-ʿAllāmah ʿUbayd al-Jābirī (hafiẓahullāh taʿāla) gives a tremendous explanation, that is translated by our brother Ḥasan al-Sūmālī, concerning the uṣūl (fundamentals) and qawāʾid (principles) of the salafī manhaj (methodology).

The Shaykh (hafiẓahullāh ta’āla) begins by explaining that in every time and in every place that Allāh (subhānahu wa ta’āla) will bring forth those who will aid his religion. The number of those who adhere to the truth may find that those in opposition are greater in number. The Shaykh outlines that this should not make them feel lonely rather he outlines three matters that can console and bring comfort to them.

The first matter is that his companions upon this path of truth and guidance are four types of people mentioned in the āyah and they were the Prophets, the siddiqūn, the martyrs, and the righteous.
وَمَن يُطِعِ اللَّـهَ وَالرَّسُولَ فَأُولَـٰئِكَ مَعَ الَّذِينَ أَنْعَمَ اللَّـهُ عَلَيْهِم مِّنَ النَّبِيِّينَ وَالصِّدِّيقِينَ وَالشُّهَدَاءِ وَالصَّالِحِينَ وَحَسُنَ أُولَـٰئِكَ رَفِيقًا ﴿٦٩
“And whoever obeys Allāh and the Messenger then they will be in the company of those upon whom Allāh has bestowed His Grace, from the Prophets and the siddiqūn, the martyrs, and the righteous and how excellent these companions are.”
When one realises that his companions are those mentioned then this loneliness will disappear, and he will have firm determination. He will be energetic and courageous, not fearing the blame of the blamers and the large numbers of the opponents and the small number of those who are with him, his trust and determination to stick to this path will not weaver. So the one whose companion is from the best of mankind will not become lonely rather he will increase in firmness, patience, certainty and strength. 
The second matter which should comfort and console those who are feeling lonely. It is narrated upon Ibn ʿAbbās (raḍī Allāhu ta’āla ʿanhuma) in the Sahīhain, meaning in al-Bukhārī and Muslim where the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam) said,
“I saw a Prophet with a small group with him, and a Prophet with two people and a Prophet with one, and a Prophet with none.”
The Shaykh (hafiẓahullāh) said this ḥadīth is a clear proof to establish that the crucial factor does not lie in huge numbers, meaning the majority, rather the crucial factor is in attaining the truth. Those who attest to the truth, those who follow the truth, those who aid the truth, are the truthful and they are the ones who will be successful and enter Jannah (Paradise).
The Shaykh mentioned the third matter based on that which is authentically narrated upon the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam).This narration is the statement of the Prophet (ʿalayhi al-sʿalátu wa salām),
“That the trustworthy ones from every generation will carry this ilm (knowledge). They will remove the distortions of the extremists and the tales of the liars and the interpretation of the ignorant.”
So, the crucial factor and the true scale is in following the Messenger (ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam). Because Allāh never made any one, an example to be followed in their essence, in themselves, except him, the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam). As Allāh (subhānahu wa ta’āla) said, (with the explanation)
“Indeed in the Messenger of Allāh you have a good example, to follow for him who hopes in meeting with Allāh (subhānahu wa ta’āla), and the Last Day and remembers Allāh much.”
Then after this introduction, the Shaykh continued by explaining the principles of the Salafī Manhaj.
The Shaykh began with a definition of al-Salafīyyah. It is clear from the aspect of the language, that it is an ascription to those who have preceded us. So those who have passed before us, are referred to as al-Salaf. So, the Shaykh (hafiẓahullāh) said, know May Allāh bless all of you that al-Salafīyyah was not founded from anyone of mankind in any time or any place. Rather al-Salafīyyah it came from Allāh (subhānahu wa ta’āla). And the Prophets and Messengers of Allāh (subhānahu wa ta’āla) conveyed it from Allāh (subhānahu wa ta’āla) that he wanted the legislation to be conveyed. Then, after them, the callers to Allāh (subhānahu wa ta’āla) call in accordance with this message. Salafīyyah does not rely upon anything except a text, meaning the Book and the Sunnah and ijmā’ah (consensus). So the speech and action of the whole of mankind with us are weighed by two things, the text, and ijmā’ah. So that which agrees with a text or a consensus then that is accepted by him and that which is in opposition to a text or a consensus then this speech or action is rejected, no matter, who it may be (from). Then if it is found that the one who is in opposition to the truth has the fundamentals of the Sunnah, then his mistake is rejected and he is not pursued any further due to this mistake and his honour and standing are preserved with us.
But, if we were to find that the one is in opposition to the truth he is, was an innovator and he does not give any importance to the Sunnah, or its due weight, and his foundations are built upon the foundations or fundamentals of the people of innovation of misguidance. Then he is refuted just like the other misguided innovators are refuted and he is met with harshness and he is scolded and he is warned against if this does not result in greater evil.
Salafī Methodology
As for the Salafī Methodology (Manhaj), then it is following everything that comes from Allāh (subhānahu wa ta’āla) and His Messenger (ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam) and holding onto them in both speech and action. This is the Salafī Methodology, and this is the Salafī path. This is the way of Ahl us-Sunnah wal Jamā’ah because Salafīyyah has various names and there is no difference between them in their meaning; they are the Saved Sect, they are the Victorious group, they are Ahl al-Ḥadīth, they are Ahl Sunnahti wal Jamā’ah.
Principles of the Salafī Manhaj.
Then the Shaykh presented some of the Qawā’id (principles) of the Salafī Manhaj (methodology) of Daʿwah al-Salafīyyah.
1.The first principle is an ascription to al-Salafīyyah. there comes in the aḥadīth of the Messenger (ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam) that which establishes this, from them is the saying of the Prophet (ʿalayhi wa al-sʿalátu wa salām) to his daughter Fātimah (raḍī Allāhu ʿanhā)
“What an excellent Salaf I am for you.”
Secondly, this ascription is not something new rather it is from the time of the companions. So, it is said about them that they are the Salaf, and the word Salaf is something common with the Imāms of the religion and the people of the Sunnah and the Jamā’ah and this is  clarified further by the ijmā’ah (consensus) upon the correctness of ascribing to Salafīyyah and that there is no objection to this. Shaykh al-Islām Ibn Taymīyyah (rahimahullāh) said,
“There is no criticism for the one who proclaims the way of the Salaf, who attaches himself to it, and refers to it, rather it is obligatory to accept that, with unanimous agreement, to the end of his statement.”
The way of the Salaf is nothing but the truth. The Shaykh (hafiẓahullāh) said, return to it, if you desire, Page 149, from the fourth volume of Majmūʿal-Fatāwā’ of Ibn al-Qāsim.
So, the Shaykh (hafiẓahullāh) proceeded by saying, oh youth of Islām specifically, and oh Muslim generally, do not let there be any dislike in your chest in ascribing to Salafīyyah rather raise your heads by this and with this and openly proclaim it and do not let the blame of the blamers overtake you.
I will add one more thing Shaykh al-Islām Ibn Taymīyyah (rahimahullah wa ta ala), in the previous reference point, he said, I think page 115, he said, from the signs of the people of innovation is that they leave off ascribing themselves to the Salaf. He said you will not find al-khalaf, especially those linked to the newly founded Islamic groups which are present at this time, those who are at war with ahl us-Sunnah except that they hate al-Salafīyyah and they hate ascribing to Salafīyyah because Salafīyyah is not only an ascription rather Salafīyyah is directing totally ones ikhlās (sincerity) to Allāh, and singling out the (Prophet ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam)  to be followed alone.
2. The second principle is that,
“The men are known by the truth and the truth is not known by the men,”
And the meaning of this principle is that a man is described as being firm, and from ahl us-Sunnah and that he is upon the truth, which is not blemished by any type of innovation or deviance, if he is upon the truth.
3. The third principle is ‘Loving and Hating’ (for the sake of Allāh). For verily, many of those who claim that they are callers to Allāh (subhānahu wa ta’āla) have injustice and have strayed in this issue of loving and hating.
The criterion of loving and hating with them, and so that we be straight with you and those who this message tape will reach, we say, loving and hating with them is based upon personalities themselves. And the people of truth have unanimously agreed that there is no love for anyone one from the creation due to their personality or their essence except the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam) because he is the one who conveys the message of Allāh and he is infallible in that which he conveys from his Lord. And surely, he conveyed it in the most clear fashion. And he (ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam) did not add or neglect anything that he had been commanded with and likewise the rest of the Prophets and Messengers from the time of Nūḥ (ʿalayhi wa sʿalátu wa salām).
As for Ahl al-Sunnah, then the criteria for Loving and Hating with them does not lie in personalities,rather it is for the sake of Allāh (subhānahu wa ta’āla). And there are authentic narrations (aḥadīth) which inform us that loving for the sake of Allāh, hating for the sake of Allāh, aiding for the sake of Allāh, and having enmity for the sake of Allāh, giving for the sake of Allāh, and preventing for the sake of Allāh.
These six characteristics, whoever perfects them and implements them when dealing with others, then he surely has completed the knots of ‘Īmān (faith).
4. The fourth principle is the refuting the mukhālif  (the one who is in opposition) to the truth, and he said, and if it is not hundreds, then tens of people are negligent with this aspect and believe that it causes separation and splitting of the ummah. Because the ummah as they claim needs to be united, mend their wrists and reunite. And other than this from what they always repeat and state.
And he said, and we say, this unity you want to establish and build, with what will you establish it with and the principles you are laying down with what will you use to lay them down with of which you call to them with various expressions? Is it purely for the sake of Allāh (subhānahu wa ta’āla), or for the sake of personalities, as that which is for personalities has no connection with us. But they claim they want to establish it for the sake of Allāh (subhānahu wa ta’āla).
Where do it’s foundations and principles derive from?
They derive from the text of the kitāb from the Book (Qurʾān) and the Sunnah and the ijmā of the Salaf al-Ṣāliḥ, the rightly guided predecessors. Its foundation is calling to al-Tawḥīd and forbidding and warning against Shirk, and then after this the rest of the obligatory actions from the Dīn.
Therefore the principle of that which Allāh (subhānahu wa ta’āla) is Pleased with for the slaves and the land and He is not Pleased with other than it can be gathered and restricted in two matters:
1a. Purifying the religion, this religion for Allāh (subhānahu wa ta’āla), and the foundation of this is the Tawḥīd of Allāh (subhānahu wa ta’āla), then the other obligatory actions of the dīn.
1b. At-Tahdīr, warning from everything which angers Allāh (subhānahu wa ta’āla). And the greatest thing which Allāh (subhānahu wa ta’āla) is disobeyed and the most detested thing to Allāh (subhānahu wa ta’āla) is shirk (is associating partners) with Allāh (subhānahu wa ta’āla). Then warning against major sins, and disobedience, and innovation, and misguidance, because this will, these matters, of which were mentioned will spoil al-‘Īmān, which will spoil and pollute al-‘Īmān and cause it to decrease. So the Shaykh (hafiẓahullāh) said this is firstly.
2) And secondly, the Muslims unite on a specific methodology.
His Messenger (ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam) said,
“The ummah would split into 73 sects all of them in the hellfire except for one.”
And the Companions asked, “Who are the Saved Sect, Oh Messenger of Allāh.” And he said, “al-Jamā’ah.”
The Jamā’ah, this Jamā’ah is al-Salafīyyah, the Saved Sect, the Victorious group, those who are upon that which the Prophet (ʿalayhi al-sʿalátu wa salām) and his companions were upon that day. Allāh (subhānahu wa ta’āla) refuses that mankind gathers upon other than this.
3) Thirdly we say, there has to be a distinction between truth and falsehood, whether it be in worship, whether it be in interactions, whether it be in the way one proceeds upon something, in everything it’s binding there has to be a distinction between truth and falsehood.
The Prophet (ʿalayhi al-sʿalátu wa salām) when he said,
“Whoever innovates something into this religion of ours then it is rejected.”
And this is reported in al-Sahīhayn in al-Bukhārī and Muslim and in a narration of Muslim it comes as
“Whoever does an action that is not in accordance with our religion it will be rejected.”
the statement of the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam) when he said,
“There will come a people that will inform you of that which neither you or your fathers have ever heard, so beware of them.”
And the Shaykh (hafiẓahullāh) said, listen thirdly to the part of the ḥadīth narrated upon Irbād Ibn Sāriyyah (raḍī Allāhu ʿanhu) which is authentic and well known, when he said,
“The Prophet (ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam)admonished us, and our hearts were filled with fear and our eyes were filled with tears and we said ‘Oh Messenger of Allāh (ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam)it is as if, it is a farewell sermon, so advise us, admonish us,’” and in one narration it comes as, “So, what do you advise us with.”
So the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam) said,
“I advise you to fear Allāh (subhānahu wa ta’āla), and to listen and obey even if an Ethiopian slave was a ruler over you. And beware of newly invented matters. And surely, the one who lives long from you will see much differing, so stick to my Sunnah and the Sunnah of the rightly guided khulāfah who come after me and hold onto it with your molar teeth.”
And the Shaykh continued (hafiẓahullāh) to say, this is some of the narrations from the Sunnah which show nothing is suitable for the people, and nothing would allow the people to unite and gather the people their rank except following the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam).
Then the Shaykh (hafiẓahullāh) proceeded to mention, that this can be clarified even further by that which Imām  Aḥmad reported upon ʿAbdullāh ibn Amr ibn al Aas (raḍī Allāhu ʿanhu) that the Messenger (ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam) said,
“There was not a Prophet before me except it was obligatory upon him to direct his ummah to all of the good of which he knew for them, and to warn them about all of the evil which he knew could afflict them. And verily your Ummah, your nations well being has been placed at its first part and calamities will afflict the later part, and matters which you will criticise and dislike.”
And this ḥadīth, oh my child, affirms that which was reported by Abū ʿUmar ibn ʿAbd al Barr in his book ‘al-Tamhīd’ with the chain to Imām Malik who said, Wahb ibn Qaysān (raḍī Allāhu ʿanhu ta’āla) use to sit amongst us, and he would not use to stand until he use to say,
“Know that verily the latter part of this Ummah will not be rectified except by that which rectified the first part.”
Then the Shaykh (hafiẓahullāh wa ta ʿāla) said, there are many narrations reported upon the companions of the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam) concerning the refutation of that which is in opposition to the Sunnah even if it is a matter which is not connected to innovation. And he said, I will mention some of those which are authentic, in shaa Allāh. He said, al- Farūq (raḍī Allāhu ta’āla ʿanhu) said,
“Beware of the people of opinion for verily they were unable to memorise the aḥadīth of the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam) so they spoke with opinion, therefore they were misguided and they misguided others.
And Ibn Masūd (raḍī Allāhu ʿanhu) he said,
“Follow and do not innovate, for verily it is sufficient for you.”
And ash-Shabi (raḍī Allāhu ʿanhu wa ta ala) said,
“Beware of opinion by By Him Who my soul is in His Hands if you were to practice al-qiyas (analogical deduction) you would make hʿalál-harām and harām-hʿalál. So that which comes to you from the companions of the Messenger (ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam) of Allāh then take it.”
And Awzā’ī (raḍī Allāhu ʿʿanhu) said,
“Have patience upon the Sunnah and speak with that which they spoke and refrain from that which the nation refrained from and proceed upon the path of your rightly guided predecessors for that which is sufficient for them is sufficient for you.”
So, the Shaykh (hafiẓahullāh) said, so with all of this meaning with the narrations which were mentioned it becomes clear that the companions of the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam) and those who came after them from the Tābi’ūn, and those who came after them, all of them unanimously agreed upon refuting everything that is in opposition to the Sunnah of the Prophet (ʿalayhi wa sʿalátu wasalām).
Then the Shaykh (hafiẓahullāh) continued, and their role model or example in this was your Prophet (ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam), for verily he refuted those matters of opposition, which were in opposition to the Sunnah in a strong manner and with a severe scolding which would cause the one who heard it, if he had a heart and understanding, to refrain from being in opposition to the Sunnah and opposition to the Dīn.
And when he (ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam) went to Thakeef and Awatif after the opening of Makkah, the passed by a tree, a lote tree, that the mushrikūn (the polytheists) use to hang their weapons upon called Dhat Anwat. So those who were new to the religion said,
“O Messenger of Allāh, make for us Dhat Anwat, a tree, like they have Dhat Anwat.”
Allāh’s Messenger (ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam) said,
“Allāhu Akbar (Allāh is Great), By the One Who holds my soul in His Hands, verily these were the ways of those who came before you. You have said the like of that which Banu Israel said to Mūsa. ‘Make for us a god just as their gods.’”
And the Shaykh (hafiẓahullāh) said, if we were to look at the actual contents of these statements and the time at which they were said, the most amazing thing would become apparent, and then the caller of Allāh (subhānahu wa ta’āla), upon knowledge would become strong and proceed upon that which he is calling to from the truth.
So firstly, from the aspect of wording, then there is a difference. The companions of Muḥammad (ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam) said “Oh Messenger of Allāh,” and the companions of Mūsa (ʿalayhis-salām) said, “Oh Mūsa.” So are not the two groups different due to the wording of which they used. The companions of Muḥammad (ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam) called upon him using the name of the ‘Message’ meaning saying “Oh Messenger of Allāh,” which shows extreme respect and politeness.
Whereas, companions of Mūsá (ʿalayhi al-salām) called him by his name which shows bad manners and rudeness. And the companions of Mohammad (ʿalayhis-salām) said, “Make for us a Dhat Anwat,” they never said, “Make for us a god.” The companions of Mūsa (ʿalayhis-salām) they clearly stated, “Make for us a god.”
And the Shaykh (hafiẓahullāh) said, after all of this, the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam) never differentiated between the two sayings because the result is one, which is worshipping other than Allāh (subhānahu wa ta’āla).
Secondly, as for the time. Then surely, the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam) was on his way to a battle. The ones who made that statement from approximately 2,000 or more from the army, from the soldiers. This never prevented the Prophet (ʿalayhi wa sʿalátu wasalām ) from making his scolding statement which was directed to them because if the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam) would have ignored their statement out of politeness, and he is far removed from this, but hypothetically, then they would have gone to the battle and in their nafs would have been something of Shirk, and if they went while holding this belief without removing this from their heart and if they were victorious their victory would not be a victory of al-Islām.
And the Shaykh (hafiẓahullāh) said and I mean, that number who made this statement, not all of the companions, or not all of those who were with the Messenger (ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam). And he said, and if those who made this statement would have died then he would have died upon disbelief. So, the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam) scolded them in this manner, for this, and this was in the manner, which totally removed and uprooted all traces of Shirk from their hearts.
And he did not say we are going to a battle or war with the enemy and they form a sixth of the army approximately. No, he never said this.
So it is necessary for at-tasfiyyah (purification) and at-tarbiyyah (cultivation). So there has to be leadership asiyyasah a leadership of al-Tawḥīd and asiyyasah of al-Tawḥīd. And it is a must that the seeds of Shirk be exterminated and uprooted from the heart so no trace remains.
So the Shaykh (hafiẓahullāh) said, there are many many narrations upon the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam), showing this matter, the matter of refuting al-mukhallif, the one who is in opposition to the Sunnah or opposition to the Dīn.
He (hafiẓahullāh) said, but that which we intended to clarify that al radd al-mukhallif-that the refutation of the one who is in opposition- is from the fundamentals of this Dīn and from the Qawā’id of this daʿwah, from the principles of this daʿwah to Allāh (subhānahu wa ta’āla) upon knowledge.
وصلى الله وسلم على نبينا محمد وعلى آله وصحبه وسلم
Wa ṣallallāhu wa-sallam ala Nabī Muḥammad wa ʿʿalá ālihi wa sahbihī wa sallām.
Transcribed Umm ʿAbd alRahmān Salīha Motala

Published: December 21, 2014
Edited: February 3, 2023


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