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    * Salafi movement *


    (Wikipedia) - Salafi movement Not to be confused with Salaf. Salafi movement Central figures Organizations Groups Individuals Related ideologies
    • Ibn Taymiyyah
    • Ibn Qayyim Al-Jawziyya
    • Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab
    • Muhammad ibn al Uthaymeen
    • Al-Nour Party
    • Authenticity Party
    • People Party
    • Takfir wal-Hijra
    • Madkhalism · Qutbism · Salafi Jihadism
    • Muhammad Nasiruddin al-Albani
    • Muhammad Abduh
    • Jamal al-Din al-Afghani
    • Rashid Rida
    • Abd al-Aziz ibn Abd Allah ibn Baaz
    • v
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    The Salafist movement, also known as the Salafi movement, is a movement within Islam that references the Salafist doctrine known as Salafism. It takes its name from the term salaf ("predecessors", "ancestors") used to identify the earliest Muslims, who, its adherents believe, provide the epitome of Islamic practice. A hadith which quotes Muhammad saying "The people of my own generation are the best, then those who come after them, and then those of the next generation," is seen as a call to Muslims to follow the example of those first three generations, the salaf.

    Many Muslims in Qatar, UAE and Saudi Arabia are Salafists. 46.87% of Qataris and 44.8% of Emiratis are Salafis. 5.7% of Bahrainis are Salafis and 2.17% of Kuwaitis are Salafis.

    Salafis are the "dominant minority" in Saudi Arabia. There are 4 million Saudi Salafis, with that country''s population being described as 22.9% Salafis while most of the rest as a separate "Wahhabi" category. The Salafi movement is often described as synonymous with Wahhabism, but Salafists consider the term "Wahhabi" derogatory. Observers differ over whether Salafi are the same as Wahhabis or not. At other times, Salafism has been deemed a hybrid of Wahhabism and other post-1960s movements. Salafism has become associated with literalist, strict and puritanical approaches to Islam – and, particularly in the West, with the Salafi Jihadis who espouse offensive jihad against those they deem to be enemies of Islam as a legitimate expression of Islam.

    Academics and historians have used the term "Salafism" to denote "a school of thought which surfaced in the second half of the 19th century as a reaction to the spread of European ideas" and "sought to expose the roots of modernity within Muslim civilization." However contemporary Salafis follow "literal, traditional ... injunctions of the sacred texts", looking to Ibn Taymiyyah rather than the "somewhat freewheeling interpretation" of 19th century figures Muhammad Abduh, Jamal al-Din al-Afghani, and Rashid Rida. The Muslim Brotherhood is often differentiated from Salafi, although the group did include the term in the "About Us" section of its website.

    It is often reported from various sources, including the German domestic intelligence service, that Salafism is the fastest-growing Islamic movement in the world.

    In legal matters, Salafis are divided between those who, in the name of independent legal judgement (ijtihad), reject strict adherence (taqlid) to the four schools of law (madhahib) and others who remain faithful to these.



    A hadith that quotes Muhammad saying "The people of my own generation are the best, then those who come after them, and then those of the next generation," is seen as a call to Muslims to follow the example of those first three generations, known collectively as the salaf or "pious Predecessors" (as-Salaf as-Saleh). They include the "Companions" (Sahabah), the "Followers" (Tabi‘un) and the "Followers of the Followers" (Tabi‘ al-Tabi‘in). There a number of records of the hadith it is narrated in the Sahih al-Bukhari of `Abd Allah ibn `Umar (a companion of Muhammad)

    These have been revered in Islamic orthodoxy and by Sunni theologians since the fifth Muslim generation or earlier used their example to understand the texts and tenets of Islam, sometimes to differentiate the creed of the first Muslims from subsequent variations in creed and methodology (see Madhab), to oppose religious innovation (bid‘ah) and, conversely, to defend particular views and practices.


    According to at least one scholar, "temporal proximity to the Prophet Muhammad is associated with the truest form of Islam" among many Sunni Muslims

    The terms Salafi, Ahl-as-Sunnah ("People of the Sunnah") and Ahl al-Hadith ("People of the Tradition") are all considered to bear the same or similar connotation and Muslim scholars have used them interchangeably throughout the ages. Ahl al-Hadeeth is possibly the oldest recorded term for these earliest adherents, while Ahl as-Sunnah is overwhelmingly used by Muslim scholars, including Salafi scholars, such as the Ash''ari sect, leading to a narrower use of the term "Salafi".

    Salafis view the Salaf as an eternal model for all succeeding Muslim generations in their beliefs, exegesis, method of worship, mannerisms, morality, piety and conduct: the Islam they practiced is seen as pure, unadulterated and, therefore, the ultimate authority for the interpretation of the Sunnah. This is not interpreted as an imitation of cultural norms or trends that are not part of the legislated worship of Islam but rather as an adherence to Islamic theology. Salafis reject speculative philosophy (kalam) that involves discourse and debate in the development of the Islamic creed. They consider this process a foreign import from Greek philosophy, alien to the original practice of Islam. The Imam Al-Dhahabi (died 748H / 1348) said:

    It is authentically related from ad-Daaraqutnee that he said: There is nothing more despised by me than kalam. I say: He never entered into kalam nor argumentation. Rather, he was a Salafi.

    Salafis believe that the Qur''an, the Hadith and the consensus (ijma) of approved scholarship (ulama) along with the understanding of the Salaf us-salih as being sufficient guidance for the Muslim. As the Salafi da''wa is a methodology and not a madh''hab in fiqh (jurisprudence) as commonly misunderstood, Salafis can come from the Maliki, Shafi''i, Hanbali or the Hanafi schools of Sunni fiqh and accept teaching of all four if supported by clear and authenticated evidence from the Sunnah. In the face of clear evidence, be it from Qur''an or Hadeeth, they support scholars'' engagement in ijtihad – if they are qualified – as opposed to total blind imitation (taqlid). Their theological views are based on the Athari creed as opposed to kalam, dialectics or any form of philosophy deemed speculative.

    Salafis condemn certain common practices as polytheism (shirk) and tawassul of religious figures, such as venerating the graves of Islamic prophets and saints or using amulets to seek protection. They maintain that such practices are bid‘ah (heretical innovations) that are not permissible and should not be taught or practiced. Salafis believe that Islam declined after the early generations because of religious innovations and an abandoning of what they consider to be pure Islamic teachings; and that an Islamic revival will only result through emulation of early generations of Muslims and purging of foreign influences.

    Salafis place great emphasis on following acts in accordance with the known sunnah, not only in prayer but in every activity in daily life. For instance, many are careful always to use three fingers when eating, drink water in three pauses with the right hand while sitting, and make sure their jellabiya or other garment does not extend below the ankle, thereby following the example recorded by Muhammad and his companions.

    Views on Taqlid (scholarly authority)

    In legal matters, Salafis are divided between those who, in the name of independent legal judgement (ijtihad), reject strict adherence (taqlid) to the four schools of law (madhahib) and others who remain faithful to these. Salafi scholars from Saudi Arabia are generally bound by Hanbali fiqh and advocate following an Imam rather than understanding scripture oneself. These include Bin Baz, Salih al-Uthaymeen, Salih al-Fawzaan, Saud bin Shuraim and al-Sudais. Other Salafi scholars however hold that taqlid is unlawful since from their perspective, following a madhab without searching for direct evidence leads Muslims astray. These scholars include Rashid Rida, al-Khajnadee, Muhammad Abduh, Saleem al-Hilali and Nasir al-Din al-Albani.

    At the very end of the spectrum, some Salafis hold taqlid to be an act of polytheism.

    Opposition to the use of kalam

    Salafi scholars are in staunch opposition to the use of kalam, dialectics or speculative philosophy in theology. This is because it is seen as a heretical innovation in Islam which opposes the primordial aspiration to follow the original methodology of the Salaf us-salih with regards to Aqidah. Statements of the early Imams of the early Muslims are in corroboration with this such as Abu Hanifa who prohibited his students from engaging in kalam, stating that those who practice it are of the "regressing ones". Malik ibn Anas referred to kalam in the Islamic religion as being "detested", and that whoever "seeks the religion through kalam will deviate". In addition, Shafi''i said that no knowledge of Islam can be gained from books of kalam, as kalam "is not from knowledge" and that "It is better for a man to spend his whole life doing whatever Allah has prohibited – besides shirk with Allah – rather than spending his whole life involved in kalam." Ahmad ibn Hanbal also spoke strongly against kalam, stating his view that no-one looks into kalam unless there is "corruption in his heart" and even went so far as to prohibit sitting with people practicing kalam even if they were defending the Sunnah, and instructing his students to warn against any person they saw practicing kalam.


    Landmarks claimed in the history of Salafi da''wah are Ahmad ibn Hanbal (died 240 AH / 855 AD), known among Salafis as Imam Ahl al-Sunnah and one of the three scholars commonly titled with the honorific Sheikh ul-Islam, namely, Taqi ad-Deen Ibn Taymiyyah (died 728 AH / 1328 AD) and Ibn al-Qayyim (died 751 AH / 1350).

    Early examples of usage Muhammad ibn Abd-al-Wahhab Main article: Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab

    Many Salafists today consider Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab as the first figure in the modern era to push for a return to the religious practices of the salaf as-salih. His evangelizing in the Arabian Peninsula during the 18th century was a call to return to the practices of the early Muslims. His works, especially Kitab at-Tawhid, are still widely read by Salafis around the world today and the majority of Salafi scholars still cite them frequently. After his death, his views flourished under his descendants (the Al ash-Sheikh) and the generous financing of the House of Saud, initiating the current worldwide Salafi movement.

    The vast majority of Salafis reject the label "Wahhabi" because they consider it unfounded and an object of controversy, holding that Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab did not establish a new school of thought but restored the Islam practiced by the earliest generations of Muslims. Followers of Salafiyyah consider it wrong to be called "Wahhabis" as the 17th Name of God is al-Wahhab ("the Bestower"), so to be called a "Wahhabi" denotes the following of a person other than what is meant to be followed in the Qur''an and Sunnah. Wahhabism has been called a "belittling" and derogatory term for Salafi, while another source defines it as "a particular orientation within Salafism," an orientation some consider strongly apolitical, and yet another describes it as a formerly separate current of Islamic thought that appropriated "language and symbolism of Salafism" until the two became "practically indistinguishable" in the 1970s. Critics of Wahhabiyya, Hamid Algar and Khaled Abou El Fadl, argue that while the two interpretations had distinct differences, they effectively merged in the 1970s and early 1980s when Saudi oil-export funding "co-opted" Salafism, and "melded" their ideologies.

    Trevor Stanley states that while the origins of the terms Wahhabism and Salafism "were quite distinct" – "Wahhabism was a pared-down Islam that rejected modern influences, while Salafism sought to reconcile Islam with modernism" – they both shared a rejection of "traditional" teachings on Islam in favor of a direct, more puritan interpretation. Stéphane Lacroix, a fellow and lecturer at Sciences Po in Paris, also affirmed a distinction between the two: "As opposed to Wahhabism, Salafism refers here to all the hybridations that have taken place since the 1960s between the teachings of Muhammad bin ‘Abd al-Wahhab and other Islamic schools of thought. Al-Albani’s discourse can therefore be a form of Salafism, while being critical of Wahhabism."

    The migration of Muslim Brotherhood members from Egypt to Saudi Arabia and Saudi King Faisal''s "embrace of Salafi pan-Islamism resulted in cross-pollination between Muhammad ibn Abd-al-Wahhab''s teachings on tawhid, shirk and bid‘ah and Salafi interpretations of the sayings of Muhammad.

    Contemporary Salafism

    Salafism is attractive to its adherents because it underscores Islam''s universality. It insists on affirmation of the literal truth as understood by its apparent meaning of Qur''anic scripture and Hadeeth, yet may challenge secularism by appropriating secularism''s traditional role of defending the socially and politically weak against the powerful. There have been several Salafi movements attempting to challenge the stereotypes widely adopted by societies that often lead to profiling and discriminating against those who embrace the Salafi belief and lifestyle. Costa Salafis founded in 2011 by Mohammad Tolba is one of the groups that aim at bridging gaps with others from different backgrounds and beliefs and is increasingly becoming a media favorite in Egypt.

    Views on extremism

    In recent years, Salafi methodology has come to be associated with the jihad of extremist groups that advocate the killing of innocent civilians. The Saudi scholar, Muhammad ibn al Uthaymeen considered suicide bombing to be unlawful and the scholar Abdul Muhsin al-Abbad wrote a treatise entitled: According to which intellect and Religion is Suicide bombings and destruction considered Jihad?. Muhammad Nasiruddin al-Albani stated that "History repeats itself. Everybody claims that the Prophet is their role model. Our Prophet spent the first half of his message making dawah, and he did not start it with jihad".

    Some Salafi scholars appear to support extremism and acts of violence. The Egyptian Salafi cleric Mahmoud Shaaban "appeared on a religious television channel calling for the deaths of main opposition figures Mohammed ElBaradei – a Nobel peace prize laureate – and former presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabahi." The popular salafi preacher Zakir Naik speaking of Osama bin Laden, said that he would not criticise bin Laden because he had not met him and did not know him personally. He added that, "If bin Laden is fighting enemies of Islam, I am for him," and that "If he is terrorizing America – the terrorist, biggest terrorist – I am with him. Every Muslim should be a terrorist. The thing is that if he is terrorizing the terrorist, he is following Islam. Whether he is or not, I don’t know, but you as Muslims know that, without checking up, laying allegations is also wrong."

    Some other Islamic groups, particularly some Sufis, have also complained about extremism among some Salafi. It has been noted that the Western association of Salafi ideology with violence stems from writings "through the prism of security studies" that were published in the late 20th century and that continue to persist.

    Trends sometimes associated with Salafism

    According to at least one observer, Salafism can be divided into three trends, one focusing on education and missionary work to solidify the tawhid prior to any political movement (sometimes called Madkhalism); another focusing on re-establishing a caliphate through the means of evolution, but not violence (sometimes called Salafist activism); and a third sharing similar political goals as the second group, but engaging in violent Jihad (sometimes called Salafi jihadism and/or Qutbism).

    Purists, Madkhalism

    "Purists" are Salafists who focus on non-violent da''wah, education, and "purification of religious beliefs and practices". They dismiss politics as "a diversion or even innovation that leads people away from Islam".

    Madkhalism is a term typically referring to the strain of Salafists viewed as supportive of authoritarian regimes in the Middle East. Taking its name from the controversial Saudi Arabian cleric Rabee Al-Madkhali, the movement lost its support in Saudi Arabia proper when several members of the Permanent Committee (the country''s clerical body) denounced Madkhali personally. Influence of both the movement and its figureheads have waned so much within the Muslim world that analysts have declared it to be a largely European phenomenon.

    Salafist activism

    It has sometimes been described as a third strain of the global movement, being different from the Salafist Jihadists by eschewing violence and from the Salafist Madkhalists by engaging in modern political processes. Due to numerical superiority, the movement has been referred to the mainstream of the Salafist movement at times. This trend, sometimes called "politicos", see politics as "yet another field in which the Salafi creed has to be applied" in order to safeguard justice and "guarantee that the political rule is based upon the Shari''a".

    "It’s very simple. We want sharia. Sharia in economy, in politics, in judiciary, in our borders and our foreign relations."

    —Mohammed Abdel-Rahman, the son of Omar Abdel-Rahman, Time magazine. October 8, 2012Salafist jihadism Main article: Salafi jihadism

    "Salafi Jihadism" was a term coined by Gilles Kepel to describe those self-claiming Salafi groups who began developing an interest in jihad during the mid-1990s. Practitioners are often referred to as "Salafi jihadis" or "Salafi jihadists". Journalist Bruce Livesey estimates Salafi jihadists constitute less than 0.5 percent of the world''s 1.9 billion Muslims (i.e., less than 10 million). However, those who take their actions beyond the limits of the shari''ah (such as terrorist attacks against civilians) are seen as deviant and not true Salafis.

    Another definition of Salafi jihadism, offered by Mohammed M. Hafez, is an "extreme form of Sunni Islamism that rejects democracy and Shia rule." Hafez distinguished them from apolitical and conservative Salafi scholars (such as Muhammad Nasiruddin al-Albani, Muhammad ibn al Uthaymeen, Abd al-Aziz ibn Abd Allah ibn Baaz and Abdul-Azeez ibn Abdullaah Aal ash-Shaikh), but also from the sahwa movement associated with Salman al-Ouda or Safar Al-Hawali.

    An analysis of the Caucasus Emirate, a Salafi jihadist group was made in 2014 by Darion Rhodes. It analyzes the group''s strict observance of tawhid and its rejection of shirk, taqlid, ijtihad, and bid''ah, while believing that jihad is the only way to advance the cause of Allah on the earth.


    Qutbism is a movement which has, at times, been described both as a strain of Salafism and an opposing movement, providing the foil to Madkhalism in that the movement is typically found in radical opposition to the ruling regimes of the Middle East. Qutbism has, at times, been associated with the above-mentioned Salafist Jihadist trend.

    Despite some similarities, the different contemporary self-proclaimed Salafist groups often strongly disapprove of one another and deny the other''s Islamic character.

    Comparison with other movements Main article: Islamism

    Some Salafi Muslims often preach disengagement from Western activities and advocate an apolitical stance opposed to any form of extremism, "even by giving them an Islamic slant".

    Arab Spring

    Salafi have been notable following insurrections in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya. In the 2011–12 Egypt parliamentary elections, the Islamist Bloc led by the Al-Nour Party managed to receive 27.8% of the vote despite only "a few months of party politicking experience", gaining 127 of the 498 parliamentary seats contested and forming the second-largest bloc in the parliament. According to Ammar Ali Hassan of al-Ahram, while Salafis and the Muslim Brotherhood agree on many issues such as the need to "Islamize" society and restricting private property rights by legally requiring all Muslims to give alms, the former has nevertheless rejected the flexibility of the latter on the issue of whether women and Christians should be entitled to serve in high office, as well as its relatively tolerant attitude towards Shia Iran.


    Salafism has been recently criticized by Khaled Abou El Fadl of the UCLA School of Law. El Fadl argues that the Salafi methodology "drifted into stifling apologetics" by the mid-20th century, a reaction against "anxiety" to "render Islam compatible with modernity," by its leaders earlier in the century. He attacks those who state "any meritorious or worthwhile modern institutions were first invented and realized by Muslims". He argues the result was that "an artificial sense of confidence and an intellectual lethargy" developed, according to Abou El Fadl, "that took neither the Islamic tradition nor" the challenges of the modern world "very seriously."

    According to the As-Sunnah Foundation of America, the Salafi and Wahhabi movements are strongly opposed by a long list of Sunni scholars. The Saudi government has been criticised for damaging Islamic heritage of thousands of years in Saudi Arabia. Though Salafis when told about this were as opposed to it as other Muslims. The Salafi movement has been linked by Marc Sageman to some terrorists group around the world.

    Salafism in China

    Salafism is opposed by a number of Hui Muslims Sects in China such as by the Gedimu, Sufi Khafiya and Jahriyya, to the extent that even the fundamentalist Yihewani (Ikhwan) Chinese sect, founded by Ma Wanfu after Salafi inspiration, condemned Ma Debao and Ma Zhengqing as heretics when they attempted to introduce Salafism as the main form of Islam. Ma Debao established a Salafi school, called the Sailaifengye (Salafi) menhuan in Lanzhou and Linxia. It is completely separate from other Muslim sects in China. Muslim Hui avoid Salafis, even if they are family members. The number of Salafis in China are not included on percentage lists of Muslim sects in China. The Kuomintang Sufi Muslim General Ma Bufang, who backed the Yihewani (Ikhwan) Muslims, persecuted the Salafis and forced them into hiding. They were not allowed to move or worship openly. The Yihewani had become secular and Chinese nationalists; they considered the Salafiyya to be "heterodox" (xie jiao) and people who followed foreigners'' teachings (waidao). After the Communists took power, Salafis were allowed to worship openly again.

    German government''s statement on Salafism

    German government officials have stated that Salafism has a strong link to terrorism but have clarified that not all Salafists are terrorists. The statements by German government officials criticizing Salafism were televised by Deutsche Welle during April 2012.

    Prominent Salafi scholars by country
    This section does not cite any references or sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (November 2014)
    Albania  Muhammad Nasiruddin al-Albani Algeria  Abdelhamid Ben Badis Afghanistan 
    • Mawlawi Afzal
    • Muhammad Muhsin Khan
    Bosnia and Herzegovina  Bilal Bosnić Egypt 
    • Abu Ishaq Al Heweny
    • Hazem Salah Abu Ismail
    • Mohammed Hassan
    • Muhammad Hussein Yacoub
    • Safwat Al-Shwadfy
    Jamaica  Bilal Philips Jordan  Umar Sulaiman Al-Ashqar Morocco  Muhammad Taqi-ud-Din al-Hilali Pakistan 
    • Ehsan Elahi Zaheer
    • Abdul-Ghaffar Hasan Al-Hindi
    Saudi Arabia 
    • Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab
    • Abd Allah ibn Abd al-Latif Al ash-Sheikh
    • Muhammad ibn Ibrahim Al ash-Sheikh
    • Abd ar-Rahman ibn Nasir as-Sa''di
    • Ali Jaber
    • Abd al-Aziz ibn Abd Allah ibn Baaz
    • Muhammad ibn al Uthaymeen
    • Saud Al-Shuraim
    • Saleh Al-Fawzan
    • Rabee Al-Madkhali
    • Abdul-Azeez ibn Abdullaah Aal ash-Shaikh
    • Saleh bin Abdul-Aziz Al ash-Sheikh
    • Salih Al-Talib
    • Usaama bin Abdullah al Khayyat
    • Ibn Humaid
    • Salih bin Abdullah al Humaid
    • Maher Al Mueaqly
    Somalia  Muhammad Al-Sumaalee Syria 
    • Muhammad bin Jamil Zeno
    • Muhammad Nasiruddin al-Albani
    • Abdul Qader Arnaoot
    United Kingdom 
    • Haitham al-Haddad
    • Dawud Burbank
    Yemen  Muqbil bin Hadi al-Wadi''i

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