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On Salafi Islam [With New Video Lecture] | Dr. Yasir Qadhi


Shaykh Yasir Qadhi’s recent lecture Rethinking Salafism: Shifting Trends and Changing Typologies Post Arab Spring at Georgetown University. The lecture starts at 3:40.

This post will cover 4 topics:

  1. Definitions: What is Salafī Islam?
  2. Positive contributions of the Salafī trend
  3. Criticisms of Salafism
  4. Concluding remarks

1. Definitions: What is Salafī Islam?

What exactly is ‘Salafism’? In the absence of a unanimously agreed upon definition, I propose to elucidate the modern Salafī phenomena via an outline of its beginnings, an assessment of its particular characteristics, manifestations of it in various contemporary groups, and a discussion of its positive and not so positive contributions to Islam and our global society.

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Within the context of our modern World, or to be more precise over the last half a century, the term ‘Salafī’ has come to designate an Islamic methodology, the aspirational objective of which is the emulation of the Prophetic example via the practices and beliefs of the earliest generations of Islam. This is because the first three Islamic generations, in being closest to the era of Muḥammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) and the period of revelation, are understood to best embody the Prophetic Sunnah, and thus a pristine Islam.

Inasmuch as the term refers to a methodology, it would be fair to say that it does not specify any one particular or distinct community or group of believers. The generic nature of this term is further illustrated by the fact that more than a dozen distinct groups either identify themselves as Salafī, in that they believe themselves to be on the Salafī manhaj (methodology), or they do not object to the term being ascribed to them even if they themselves do not use it. Whilst saying this, however, it is worth noting that every one of these groups considers the correct application of the term exclusive to itself, alleging that all other claimants are not representative of ‘true Salafism’. This being the case, an outline of the various points of agreement and disagreement amongst the multiple strands of Salafī Islam is a prerequisite to a comprehensive understanding of ‘Salafism’.

1.1 Points of consensus among Salafī movements

There are some general characteristics that are present in all manifestations of Salafism, without exception. In particular:

1)    they consider themselves alone as correctly espousing the teachings and beliefs of the salaf al-ṣāliḥ. In particular, they affirm the theological creed that was narrated from them (typically called the ‘atharī’ creed’)

2)    they categorically reject any possibility of metaphoric or symbolic interpretation of the Divine Names and Attributes (tawḥīd al-asmāʾ wa’l-ṣifāt), a hallmark of the sects such as the Muʿtazilah and the Ashāʿirah

3)    they absolutely affirm God’s exclusive right to be worshipped (tawḥīd al-ulūhiyyah) and refute anything that may compromise this directly, or lead to its being compromised. Hence, syncretic practices of certain Sufīs (e.g., extreme saint veneration, intercession of the dead, etc.) are condemned.

4)     they oppose all reprehensible innovations (bidʿa) and dissociate from those who ascribe to them (ahl al-bidʿah). There is especially staunch opposition to Shīʿism, particularly because of the Shīʿite doctrine of dissociating from most of the Companions.

5)    they respect and take recourse to the legal and theological opinions of Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyya (d. 728/1328). It is important to note, however, that Ibn Taymiyya cannot, and is not, considered a progenitor for the modern Salafī movement, as they view themselves as having no one single founder after the Prophet Muḥammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him).

1.2 Points of contention among Salafī groups

While there is general agreement on the above, there are numerous issues in which disagreement abounds, and each point of contention is manifested in a spectrum of opinions. Foremost amongst these issues are:

  1. Position with respect to the validity and necessity of following one of the jurisprudential schools (madhāhib):

The numerous Salafī strands hold conflicting positions with regard to the ruling on adhering to a particular madhhab, so much so that it has been a source of tension amongst them.

a)  Impermissible: opposition to the canonization of the schools of law was historically a feature of the Ẓāhirī school (of Ibn Ḥazm, d. 456H). The modern revival of this ‘anti-madhhab’ trend can be traced back to Muḥammad Ḥayāt al-Sindhī (d. 1163) who influenced al-Ṣanʿānī (d. 1182), al-Shawkānī (d. 1250), Ṣiddīq Ḥasan Khān (d. 1307),[1] and, most recently, Nāṣir al-Dīn al-Albānī (d. 2000).  All of these individuals were decidedly anti-madhhabist.

b)  Discouraged but not invalid: some Salafī movements permit the lay person to follow a madhhab in times of necessity, obliging him to go with the dalīl (stronger evidence) when it is made known to him. [2]

c)  Permissible: By and large, Sunnī Islam has considered adherence to a madhhab recommended or obligatory for a lay Muslim, and this is also found in some strands of Salafī Islam. Muḥammad b. ʿAbd al-Wahhāb (d. 1206),[3] champion of the ‘Najdi da‘wah’ was influenced by al-Sindhī in theology but remained a committed follower of the Ḥanbalī school of law, considering the practice of Islam’s rites and rituals within the paradigm of a madhhab to be both valid and praiseworthy.

  1. Dissociation from ahl al-bidʿa.

Theoretically, all Salafīs dissociate from religious innovations and those who adhere to and propagate them. However, the scope and method of how this dissociation is implemented at the practical level varies from group to group and from scholar to scholar.

Those with the strictest stance on this issue inevitably cast a wide net of ‘guilt by association’: if person B associates with known deviant A, then person B is declared deviant. If person C then associates with deviant B, now he too becomes a deviant, ad infinitum, ad nauseum. The unfortunate, though predictable, product of such disaffiliation and judgment is the precipitation of further division and splintering within this brand of the Salafī community.

This methodology is the defining group of the ‘Madkhalīs’ (students of the Saudi Shaykh Rabīʿ bin Hādī al-Madkhalī), who legitimise this practice by considering it an extension of the science of alJarh wa’l-taʿdīl (the science of ‘ḥadīth criticism’ whereby Ḥadīth specialists deem narrators to be reliable or not). While in recent years the popularity of the Madkhalī strand has waned considerably, many non-Madkhalī Salafīs continue to adopt a hardline attitude on this point, refusing even to invite persons of different viewpoints to their conferences and gatherings.

However, some Salafī scholars and groups adopt a more lenient stance in this regard, and are willing to allow co-operation with some non-Salafī communities (for example, allowing cooperation with Deobandis, but not Shīʿīs).

  1. Theological position on ‘īmān (faith) and whether actions constitute a requisite part of īmān or are subsidiary to it.

The discussion of īmān and what it connotes is a relatively modern question, one that arose in the latter part of the 90s when Sh. al-Albānī stated that he did not consider actions to be a necessary part of īmān.[4] The standard Salafī position prior to this, and the explicit position of Ibn Taymiyya and the scholars affirming Atharī theology, was that certain actions are a necessary requirement of faith and the absence of such actions contradicted the presence of īmān.

  1. The level of allegiance and obedience toward an Islamic ruler (ṭāʿat walī al-amr), and the amount of political activism allowed.

This point is a vast and convoluted one, and perhaps the most obvious issue of disagreement to those outside of the movement. The levels of political activism and political dissent, and the necessity of allegiance and loyalty to the Muslim rulers, and the ‘Islam’ of an illegitimate ruler, are theological ‘grey’ areas that various Salafī scholars have attempted to negotiate in today’s ever-volatile political climate. The positions can be summarized as follows:

a)  Criticizing a legitimate ruling authority is doctrinally prohibited tantamount to sin and deviation. Some Salafīs, in particular the ‘mainstream’ Saudi Salafīs and Madkhalīs, are extremely pro-government.[5]

b)  Questioning and advising the ruling authority is an extension of al-amr bi’l-maʿrūf wa’l-nahy ʿan al-munkar (‘advising the good and forbidding evil’). Some Salafīs view voicing opposition to government policy as a legitimate and necessary extension of the Islamic notion of enjoining the good and forbidding the evil, and equate it with the Islamic principle of attempting to prevent an oppressor from committing his oppression. Examples of this are the Ṣaḥwa scholars of Saudi Arabia, who will be discussed below.

c)  Questioning the legitimacy of all rulers of Muslim lands. There are some Salafī groups who consider all the rulers of Muslim lands (or: only those who do not rule by the Sharīʿah), to be illegitimate and regard them as disbelievers, whose legitimacy should be contested, perhaps by force.[6]

  1. The issue of takfīr (deeming the belief of a Muslim to be invalid) and in particular takfīr of the rulers who don’t judge by the laws of the Sharīʿah (al-ḥukm bi ghayr mā anzal Allah).[7]

Once again, there is a spectrum of opinion[8]:

a)  rulers of Muslim lands who judge by secular laws are believers. Some scholars, such as the previous Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, Shaykh ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz b. Bāz (d. 1999) and Shaykh al-Albānī, held the view that a ruler who judged by secular laws is still a believer (unless certain conditions, difficult to verify, exist). They argued that this is a sin that does not in itself expel them from the fold of Islam.

b)  such rulers are treated as Muslim, and obeyed for the greater good of the community, but their action of ruling by other than Allah is major kufr. This is the view of many middle-of-the-road Salafīs, such as Shaykh Muḥammad b. Sāliḥ al-ʿUthaymīn (d. 2001).

c)  rulers of Muslim lands who rule by secular laws have fallen into kufr, and their rule is illegitimate and their belief negated; hence allegiance to them is null and void. This group consists of the hard-liners, represented by figures like Abū Muḥammad al-Maqdisī and Abū Musʿab al-Sūrī, whose writings inspire the jihadist-Salafī movements, which leads us to our next point.

  1. Position with respect to jihād. Whilst the majority of groups championing Salafism are pacifist, there are minority voices within the overall ‘Salafī movement’ who adopt a more ‘militarist’ position. They consider a military jihād a binding obligation, either on some segments of the Ummah, or on all eligible members of the Ummah. They focus on either or both of the following:

(i)  removing secular rulers from Muslim lands.

(ii)  maintaining perpetual conflict against non-Muslim governments that have militarily intervened in Muslim lands.

Typically, and understandably, the last three points (i.e., the question of ruling by other than Allah, challenging the belief of the Muslim non-Sharʿī ruler, and the issue of jihād) are intrinsically interconnected. Those holding the harshest views on the legitimacy and belief of a ruler who judges by other than the law of God inevitably adopt the most radical position in pronouncing takfīr and thus lay the foundations for necessitating military jihād.

1.3  Some prominent Salafī Groups[9]

  1. Mainstream Saudi Salafism. This is the largest and most prominent of the Salafī groups, as exemplified by the majority of Saudi clerics. These clerics typically adhere to a madhhab (almost always the Ḥanbalī one), are pacifist, and loyal to their rulers. This group, as represented by the Saudi scholarly community, avoids blanket takfīr, and remains vocally critical of extremist jihād groups.
  1. Shaykh al-Albānī’s Jordanian strand of Salafism. Another significant group in terms of adherents, they are extremely anti-madhhabist, and advocate for a strictly dalīl-based jurisprudence. Politically, they are quietest, actively avoiding anything to do with rulers or jihādist Salafīs, although perhaps their revocation of the latter is not as pronounced as that of the first group. This group also tends to be the most literalist in fiqh and strict in its application of the concept of bidʿa to practices that most other Salafīs would view as innocuous (for example, giving adhān inside the masjid, or having marked rows on the carpets, or having other than three steps on the minbar, and so forth).
  1. The Ṣaḥwa movement of Saudi Arabia has been involved in peaceful political reform, without calling for overthrowing the rulers. Clerics like Shaykh Salman al-Oadah, and Shaykh Safar al-Ḥawalī before him, are representative of this trend. For the most part, this group has proven to be politically savvy and extremely active on social media; as a result of this, they have garnered some measure of mass appeal amongst the more educated youth. Their concern for Muslims has been manifested in their active involvement in fighting the social problems in their societies.
  1. The Madkhalī trend is a smaller sub-sect of the Saudi Salafīs. They are a unique strand and more of an exception to the general Salafī trend. Their methodology is inherently the most divisive. This trend tends to almost exclusively concentrate on other individuals and whether those individuals are on the correct Salafī path or not. The Madkhlīs are continuously splintering amongst themselves, based on who in particular is currently ‘on’ or ‘off’ the manhaj. In terms of relevance, they are a dwindling community, as evidenced in the shrill desperation of their hysterical refutations and the minimal impact these refutations make.[10]
  1. Egyptian Salafism – also representing a wide spectrum of views – has, for the large part, been in some disarray since the Arab Spring. Typically, Egyptian Salafīs have been most influenced by the Jordanian-Albānī branch, and hence are extremely literalist in fiqh. There is also a Madhkhalī equivalent amongst Egyptian Salafīs. One also finds, as in all countries, that they have radically different political orientations. The most significant branch, the Noor Party, has adopted a staunchly pro-Sisi position, while others remain apolitical, and some have come out criticizing the current regime. We are currently witnessing a huge overhaul in Egyptian Salafism, and it is too early to fully assess the various positions being adopted and the nuances that will emerge.[11]
  1. Takfīri Salafīs: These typically emphasize takfīr issues, in particular making takfīr against non-Sharʿī rulers, but do not call for jihād against them since (from their perspective) the time is not right and the conditions are not appropriate. This group characteristically highlights the travesties of Western foreign policies against the Muslim people and their lands and the hypocritical positions of Muslim authorities. There is an overarching preoccupation with the notion of walāʾ wa-l-barāʾ (loyalty and disloyalty), which is manifested most in their defense of all Muslim groups who fight against the West, regardless of the legitimacy of their tactics. Their frequent and casual resort to takfīr has often resulted in their leveling the charge of hypocrisy (nifāq) and disbelief (kufr) on their critics. This group shares much with the Madkhalīs in terms of manners and harshness but remains staunchly opposed to them because of their difference of opinion on Muslim governments. Some contemporary personalities subscribing to this particular strand of Salafism include Abū Muḥammad al-Maqdisī and Abū Muṣʿab al-Sūrī; they have a small yet dedicated following in the West (primarily composed of young men[12] influenced by the American cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who was assassinated by a targeted US drone attack in 2012). While most members of this group do not actively engage in jihād themselves, their writings lay the foundations for the position of the next group.
  1. Radical jihādist Salafīs: Encompassing radical theological and political positions, this ‘strand’ of Salafism includes militant organizations like  al-Qaeda and ISIS. While I have differentiated between these last two categories, many would correctly point out that they are a continuum, without a clear dividing line separating them. It is worthy of mention, here, that though they may espouse some strain of the Salafī methodology in their theological positions, they are typically condemned by all other Salafīs on account of their militancy. Additionally, these groups emphasize issues that most others Salafīs don’t (such as their version of jihād) and ignore issues that mainstream Salafīs would discuss. (For the record, it should be noted that these groups originated from a union of splintered sub groups of the Muslim Brotherhood and Saudi Salafism in the early 1980s – hence, technically, they are not of ‘pure’ Salafī origin).

The cursory and incomplete list above demonstrates the problem in attributing the term ‘Salafī’ to any one of these designated groups. The existence of so much disagreement between the various strands of Salafīs highlights the very real problem of describing as ‘Salafī’ any of the above issues as one collective whole: none of these individual groups is representative of Salafism in its entirety.

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Sh. Dr. Yasir Qadhi is someone that believes that one's life should be judged by more than just academic degrees and scholastic accomplishments. Friends and foe alike acknowledge that one of his main weaknesses is ice-cream, which he seems to enjoy with a rather sinister passion. The highlight of his day is twirling his little girl (a.k.a. "my little princess") round and round in the air and watching her squeal with joy. A few tid-bits from his mundane life: Sh. Yasir has a Bachelors in Hadith and a Masters in Theology from Islamic University of Madinah, and a PhD in Islamic Studies from Yale University. He is an instructor and Dean of Academic Affairs at AlMaghrib, and the Resident Scholar of the Memphis Islamic Center.



  1. Mahmud

    April 22, 2014 at 2:48 AM

    Assalamualaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh

    I skimmed through it, but I skim pretty well.

    Hat’s of, this is the very best full explanation of Salafism I’ve ever come across.

    1)I would put in the article that siding with the enemies of Islam (Sisi) is a sign of nifaq and I would add some more criticism of the various groups, especially the Madkhalee followers and takfiri inclined types.

    2)I would also add a section on how Muslims should deal with certain types. For example, when it comes to the followers of Rabee al Madkhalee, a man whose evil has spread so far and wide it’s a joke he’s given any good title(like Sheikh or Imam of Jarh), I would advise Muslims on how to deal with them
    E.g. the way I deal with them is whenever I find them slandering a righteous man, I defend that Muslim so I’ve defended a Muslims honor in his absence and I also call their manhaj deviated and evil and make a public dua the Ummah is protected from such deviants like them. I call them deviants because I know it hits their psyche. They are deviants. They follow a manhaj of lies and slander.
    So while defending the Muslim they’ve just slandered, I call them out for being deviants and innovators(I should call them blind followers and partisans/hizbis the next time I confront them-both apply to them and I know it gets to them), I wait for the barrage of attacks to focus on me. I remember that their disgusting behavior is a burden to them and I’m happy that I focused their nastiness on to me and turned it away from another Muslim. Then I leave and praise Allah aza wa jal I’m not anywhere in close proximity to them.

    Another toxic group are the Khawaarij like takfiris who will say ‘YOU ARE SLANDERING THE MUJAHIDEEN, WHY DON’T YOU GO FIGHT YOU COWARD” when I try to tell them killing innocent people is unacceptable and so is suicide bombing.

    I hope you have some tips on how to deal with that group…….saying “you are just a bunch of young men” doesn’t really cut it. I’m a young man. I’m 20. That’s not the best criticism. I need a way to deal with those aggressive guys(and girls.)

    But all in all, a wonderful piece. The only BIG thing I feel missing is tips on how to deal with them, especially the Madkhali followers(both the followers and those who act like them) and the takfiri types.

    • Yasir Qadhi

      April 22, 2014 at 10:08 AM

      Thanks for your comments. This article wasn’t intended to address tips on how to deal with Salafis. And at this stage, I don’t foresee myself writing such an article. But feel free to do so yourself and insha Allah MM can look into publishing it.

      • aliyaimadudeen

        April 23, 2014 at 5:16 AM

        Assalamu Alaykum Shaykh,

        Yesterday I’ve read your posts about studying in Medina (, because I also have a target to get there, hopefully there can be a further article to discuss about it.

        Also want to ask, why did you choose Yale instead Oxford or Cambridge or continue doctoral in Medina?

        Thank you for the answer. :D

      • Abdul Hameed

        April 23, 2014 at 3:56 PM

        Yaser Qadhi.What ever good coming from you is due to MADINA association and what ever bad is coming to you is from PhD you did in the western university.There are thousands of salafi scholars who are more knowledgeable than you and not a single one would consider worth to comment against you.That is their greatness.There are enough ignorant who would fall in your trap but ultimately you will fail miserably.

        It is the time for you to pray sincerely this dua.Rabbana la tuzie kuloobana baeda Id hadytana Wa hablana minladunka rahma innaka antal wahhab.
        You are slipping and try to stand up before you fall flat on the ground.Allah gives chance for all to correct and cone back to truth.Put your best effort and dua for av speedy recovery.

        Abdul Hameed M H

        • Yasir Qadhi

          April 24, 2014 at 9:13 AM

          Whatever good has come from me, is due to Allah and solely to Allah. Whatever bad has come from me, is from the whisperings of Shaytan, and from my sins, and Allah and His Messenger are free of it.

      • Hassan

        April 28, 2014 at 1:03 AM

        Assalamu Shaykh Yasir
        I’d appreciate your thoughts on this. According to the Mardan fatwa by Ibn Taymiyyah he said it was permissible to use force to change rulers who arn’t ruling by the sharia.
        What is your opinion on this? Can the uprisings in Syria justified based on this fatwa or was Ibn Taymiyyah’s fatwa relevant only for his time?
        Please explain.

        • Yasir Qadhi

          April 28, 2014 at 9:58 AM


          Such fatwas are useful references, but we can’t and shouldn’t just cut/paste fatwas and re-apply them in our times. Scholars can and should benefits from such fatwas, but they also need to see what is the same and what is different in our times.

          Let each region’s scholars decide what is best for their peoples. As someone who has no experience living in Syria, I don’t feel qualified telling the Syrian people what exactly they should do.

          On the other hand, you don’t need any experience in Syria to state that the current non-Muslim anti-religious Pharoanic regime is one of the worst and most evil and brutal dictatorships the world has seen.


          • Muhammad

            April 28, 2014 at 2:33 PM

            Dear Brother Yassir, I read your article on Salafism and I must admit that it is one of the most comprehensive I’ve read, That said. I don’t share your view on Syria, The Government of Syria is not an, anti-religious regime. Syria has 0ver 5,500 years of religious Historical Artifacts that the Nifaq-Taqfiris Jihadi/Zionist have destroyed. The Al-Bath Party of Syria are made up of a diverse group of multi sect Muslims, Christians, and minorities. the Al-bath protects the Minorities from dangerous extremist. While it has committed unspeakable crimes , and needs to be reformed, it did not deserve the violent calamity that was wrought upon it, nor did the Syrian People, deserve such wicked and hateful Barbarism. And
            If this is all the the Muslim World has to look forward to, in the Future then I’ll pass. The crimes that are being committed by, these Nihilist Takfiri “Convert to Islam or die” Mad men Ulimah of Saudi is to say the least, frightening and Archaic in Nature. What is to
            become of the Islamic Ummah, by Allowing such sick and dangerous Infantile behavior to persist. Moreover allowing outside Zionist influence to cause Civil War and Fratricide among Muslims. The Prophet(SAW) would not be proud of us today, Allowing Anglo-Christian/Zionist to come in to the land of Islam and foment decent and destruction in Muslim Lands.
            And it would help if learned Men like you, spoke out on such matters. If such Turmoil and Chaos continue to persist throughout the Muslim World, Hypocrisy, Fratricide, and oppression will rule, Humanity will suffer and Mankind will loose hope in Islam! Islam is supposed to be the Hope and light of the world. Our Enemies are rejoicing! They’ve found away to destroy Muslims and defame Islam!

          • Mahmud

            April 28, 2014 at 8:16 PM

            Muhammad-secularists are kuffar, and these secularists of yours don’t judge by Allah’s law. The mujahideen aren’t Zionist, no matter how much you slander them, they are Muslim. Yes, some like ISIL are Khaawarij and are spreading fasad but that is no excuse to support the secularists who are disbelievers and the Rafidhi Shia.

            And if by extremist you mean ISIL, well unfortunately all they have going for them is some sweet propaganda, some good looking buildings, slogans, dawah handouts but there are some very bloodthirsty Khaawarij among them. There were sincere Mujahideen among them who abandoned them(I think even judges, Kurds and so on) once they realized they were on the wrong side.

            And it’s the MUJAHIDEEN who are fighting these extremist Khaawarij-NOT Asad. Asad and these Khaaawarij don’t fight each other, they fight Muslims. They know if one of them goes, the full force of the mujahideen will be against them.

            And yes, even among the mujahideen we find some wrong actions like suicide bombing and we may find some mistakes. But even the Sahaba RA committed mistakes in war.

          • Hassan

            April 29, 2014 at 3:04 AM

            Assalamu Alaikum Shaykh Yasir
            Jazakallah khair for your input, in fact I was reading the Mardan fatwa and it was said the word Ibn Taymiyya used was misquoted instead of ” should be fought” he implied ” should be treated” and the original manuscript can be found in the Azhariya Library in Cairo.
            What is your opinion on this? Please explain and keep up the good work.

      • Arif Ahmad

        August 6, 2014 at 4:23 PM

        No, Mr. Qadhi, mainstream Sunni Islam, Ashari and Maturidi, has not “fallen into shirk” like the Wahabis have claimed. As for your saying that the Wahabis have been guarded themselves by not seeking the help of others than Allah, this is a lie:

        Saud and the scholars of the Saud dynasty have not only asked for madad from the kufaar, but they have allowed them to stay in the Hijaz, as their protectors. They have asked for madam from Britain when they fought the Caliphate as well.

        Tell me, then, Mr. Qadhi, is tawassul thought our Prophet, saw, “haram”, and the waseela of USA jaiz?

      • Adem

        August 11, 2014 at 1:06 AM

        Aw brother Yasir ,yuo are commiting mistakes. Even if they are (salafists) making mistakes this is not the way to correct them. Your aim must be correcting the mistakes not insalting or propagation. I advice you to study sira and to understand the righteuos islam. Yuo should know tha Islam is devin religion you are not allowed to teach only by your opinion .
        My brothet yasir our in religion is to get jenah not supriority .
        Your brother Adem (theologist )

      • OUSMANE

        October 18, 2014 at 4:35 PM

        oh my brother and dear Doctor Yasir,
        what can we say if not to say Alhamdulillah, may ALLAH rewards you immensely , we need people like you who help the Ummah who seem to be lost in the middle of all these movements.
        Allah called us muslims,that should be enough for us.
        Jazakallah khairan Dr

      • Ismail

        December 26, 2014 at 7:06 PM

        Salaams shaik Yasir

        I met you earlier this evening in makkah. I told you that I’m from South Africa. If I can meet you again I would love to.

        Please advise.


      • Sebih

        March 31, 2015 at 5:20 PM

        MashaAllah respectful Şeyh
        A wonderful and very beneficial article. We would really be happy to see you writing same articles about each presence movements in Umme.
        Jezakallahu Ğayr.

      • Mohammad Hammad ullah

        April 27, 2015 at 12:32 PM

        This article surely was an eye opener. I did have some misconceptions that have got cleared.
        Ya Allah guide us all and accept us to be your loyal servants. And make us of those who help one another in guidance rather than just pointing out the errors. Amin.

      • ghazzali isah

        October 4, 2015 at 4:05 PM

        all praise due to Allah who has given us life free of charge just to warshipp Him alone
        shaikh yasr qadhi May Allah continue help u in what u do and give long life protect u and ur whole family

        indeed i very happy to get this access becouse i tok long time want tok with theres no access bt now Alhamdulillah thank alot

      • Jason Hoelzel

        July 4, 2016 at 11:44 PM

        Hi Yasir! I am a New Yorker reading this article and your work for the first time. I don’t know anything about you, but I just want to say I appreciate the work you are doing and I want to encourage you! Thanks for an insightful read!

      • Mumtaz Lakhani

        August 27, 2016 at 10:50 AM

        Why did you leave salafi Slam? Which group did you belong to in past and what do you follow now.m

      • Sunny Mullick

        December 22, 2016 at 11:09 AM

        Brother are you planning to start any face to face/postal/offline educational venture in India, more specifically Kolkata?
        I hope you will do so in near future..
        If there is any such venture already please let me know..
        Jazak Allah

      • Yusuf

        July 4, 2018 at 11:21 AM

        An interesting point to note is how Yasir Qadhi thinks he’s a scholar, refuting Salafism, as if he has knowledge of the Deen. Just because he went to Madinah doesn’t mean he’s a scholar. Anyone can get misguided. For example, picture taking is haraam, as agreed by Ibn Baz, Al Albaanee and the Ahadeeth prohibiting Taswir. He also made lies against Al Albanee, Abdul Wahhaab and many other lies. The Salafis are not extremists, neither are they Takfiris.

      • yusuf

        July 4, 2018 at 11:23 AM

        An interesting point to note is how Yasir Qadhi thinks he’s a scholar, refuting Salafism, as if he has knowledge of the Deen. Just because he went to Madinah doesn’t mean he’s a scholar. Anyone can get misguided.

    • Edward Kefas

      April 25, 2014 at 1:48 PM

      It doesn’t take much courage to attack the traditionalists / salafees at Yale or elsewhere, especially as it is a waning movement, whereas criticizing modern gender rights issues could cost you your ph.d or job. I’d like to see the YQs put their pensive pose repeatedly next to an article on the shariah ruling for the LGBTs.

      Loud Condemning of the murder of thousands of beardless MB youth peaceful protestors in egypt would also be a good move for the Bowering-Griffel mystics at Yale, and for the sheikhs at al azar.

      God willing.

      it seems Pharasaic Scholasticism marks the decline of the Islamic Civilization.The companions were men of action, not bookworms debating how many angels can fit on the end of a pin.

      But what do I know , I didn’t study at medina, nor could I have. I only wish to approach, get closer to, the teachings of an illiterate prophet.

    • Kev

      August 4, 2014 at 10:33 AM

      :159 Those who have divided their system and become sects, you are not with them in anything. Their matter will be with God, then He will inform them of what they had done.
      Good luck to so called Muslims,most of you have strayed from the path,Keep reading your beloved Hadiths and stay separated.

      • Ben The Moor

        August 12, 2014 at 8:57 AM

        @Kev ,at last just comment that made full sense ,, good job. praise be to God

    • Umm Abdullaah

      August 9, 2014 at 7:22 AM

      Just a reminder: Based on the following statement “Rabee al Madkhalee, a man whose evil has spread so far and wide it’s a joke he’s given any good title(like Sheikh or Imam of Jarh),” The flesh of the scholar is poison…and Allaah (exposing) removing the cover from the one who belittles the scholar, this is well known. And talking about them in a manner in which they are innocent is a tremendous (horrendous) affair. And to eat of their honor with lies is a matter that is shameful. It is known that Allaah causes the heart (of the one who does this) to die before their body dies.

      And they only harm themselves, and they acquire humiliation, because Truly, Allaah defends those who believe. (Al-Hajj, ayah 38) And Allaah will not allow any good to come from the actions of the evil doers.

    • Malhar Zawahir

      April 18, 2015 at 1:47 PM

      Asalamu alaikom, always good to watch this video,
      Baarak Allahu feek, as it was one of the first things I saw – and had a tremendous effect on me, Alhumdulilah

  2. Abu Turab

    April 22, 2014 at 3:03 AM

    Wow! That’s a lot to digest. Finished reading once. Will need to read many times again :) Jazak-Allaah Sheikh for taking the initiative to document your views on the subject. May Allaah make us benefit from all the good in this, and protect us from the evil of what we might otherwise lead ourselves to.

    • Yasir Qadhi

      April 22, 2014 at 10:33 AM

      Ameen ya Aba Turab!

      • Hassan

        April 24, 2014 at 6:02 AM

        Assalamu Alaikum Dear Shaykh
        Could you please tell me if Ibn Taymiyyah was an Arab,Kurd or Turkish? Please shed some light on this?

        • Anon

          April 26, 2014 at 2:51 PM

          Does it matter?

          • Hassan

            April 27, 2014 at 4:09 AM

            No it doesn’t matter I am a great admirer of Ibn Taymiyyah and I have been researching his materials.
            It was only out of curiosity and not for any other purpose.

      • Anti Yasir Qadhi

        July 4, 2018 at 11:13 AM

        This fool has got refuted! By the way, taswir [photo taking] is haraam!

  3. ibnmasood

    April 22, 2014 at 3:17 AM

    I find this statement extremely unsettling as representative of the athari creed: “they categorically reject any possibility of metaphoric or symbolic interpretation of the Divine Names and Attributes”…I did read the entire article hoping you would clarify that the position is more clearly that they do not say beyond what is mentioned in the text, rather than accepting a *literal* interpretation with the caveat of “in a manner befitting God” which is hardly befitting at all and leads to many contradictions.

    Your example helps to illustrate my point. If you take verses such as Quran 7:54 to mean that God has literally established Himself upon the Throne “in a manner befitting to Him,” then you must take a different approach when reading 2:115 and 50:16 in order to avoid contradiction. There is simply no consistency in this sort of interpretative method.

    • Yasir Qadhi

      April 22, 2014 at 10:11 AM

      This is not the place to elaborate on Athari versus Ashari versus Mutazili understandings of the Divine Attributes. Such discussions have occurred and continue to occur, and I beleive not much new can be added to those classical writings. The verses that you referenced have been discussed in detail by all of these groups.

      • ibnmasood

        April 22, 2014 at 11:45 AM

        Well, I do believe you are appropriating/misrepresenting the athari position, and that was my only contention. You seem to ignore or fail to highlight the differences amongst the salafis on the Attributes, which would not be the case if the position of the atharis was better represented as “not going beyond the text” rather than literalism.

        I’ll just leave this here:

        • Yasir Qadhi

          April 22, 2014 at 3:23 PM

          Oh I see what you are saying now, I didn’t understand your initial comment.

          Well you have raised another tangent, and it is very essential, but for this article I really do want to stick to the main thrust, which is a discussion of Salafism. It is true there was a spectrum of opinion, but from my reading its not as vast as what you might be implying.

      • Silvia Ferreira Noor Farira

        August 31, 2014 at 8:10 PM

        I am not satisfied with the article, in order to understand whether you like or dislike the e’importante Salafismo.Isso because I think one of the great scholars of our time

        The experience I have of Salafism is here in Brazil where I see the reversed giving d on account of Salafist Islam approach

  4. aliyaimadudeen

    April 22, 2014 at 3:26 AM

    Alhamdulillah, this is not taboo after all. ;)

  5. Muhammad Faisal

    April 22, 2014 at 4:12 AM

    Asalaamu alaikum,

    @Shaikh Yasir Qadhi

    As a Salafi I agree with some of your point (even some of the criticisms) and disagree with some.

    On an academic level I do see a flaw in your representation of the Salafi movement as “modern”. Isn’t the salafi movement an extension of the Ahlul Hadeeth movement which has been around since the time of the Taba’een?

    I also noticed that you left out the Salafi/Ahlul Hadeeth of Subcontinent- even though they have made major contributions in Hadtith sciences especially.

    Can you kindly address these two points?

    Jazakhullah khair

    • Yasir Qadhi

      April 22, 2014 at 10:15 AM

      The Salafi movement is a modern manifestation of the classical Ahl al-Hadith (aka Athari) movement. It is causally linked, meaning that yes, it does have precedents in early Islam. Imagine a series of dominoes falling – the one that is currently falling is the ‘Salafi’ movement, but before it were other, different dominoes going all the way back to the Athari/Ahl al-Hadith movement of early Islam.

      Don’t confuse the last domino for the first one.

      So, as I mention in the article:
      1) the term ‘salafi’ is a modern one as a proper noun. Even the Najdi dawah did not use it for itself until al-Albani introduced it in the late 60s.
      2) it is impossible to claim the Salafi position on a modern issue as being the salafi position on a modern issue. (Read my article again if you didn’t understand this line).

      • Muhammad Faisal

        April 22, 2014 at 3:51 PM

        I don’t understand your differentiation between salafis and ahlul hadith. Here in Pakistan for example, Ahlul Hadith have been around for ages. The scholars and the regular people use the terms ahlul hadith and salafi synonymously. Surely the adoption of the term salafi is a semantic change rather than an ideological one.

      • muadhkhan

        April 22, 2014 at 5:40 PM

        Ya Shaykh, first the analogy for human evolution, now this- is dominoes a game you particularly like? :)

        • Yasir Qadhi

          April 22, 2014 at 7:40 PM

          No, but it is one that everyone understands :)

      • Syed Muhammed

        November 12, 2014 at 2:17 AM

        Good Answer & Research. Salafi Follower should know the history of salafism before criticsizing others group

      • Ehsan

        October 5, 2015 at 3:26 PM

        Assalamualaikum wa rahmatUllahi wa barakatuh,

        Although I do agree with you in most criticisms and understand there are grave issues faced by the community which need addressing. I still don’t get how not calling yourself a Salafi change anything. A crude example, because there exist bad Muslims ,I’m going to stop calling myself one.
        What about the fact that the term Salafi was indeed used by scholars of the past.

        For instance Imam Ad Dhahabee (D.748H) said:

        “It is authentically related from ad-Daaraqutnee that he said: There is nothing more despised by me than ‘ilmul-kalaam (innovated speech and theological rhetoric). I say: No person should ever enter into ‘ilmul–kalaam, nor argumentation. Rather, he should be SALAFI”.[1]

        Adh-Dhahabee also said concerning the biography of Muhammad Ibn Muhammad al-Bahraanee, “He was a good SALAFI with respect to the Religion.”[2]

        He also said about Imaam Abul-Abbaas bin Majd al-Maqdisi, “He was reliable and trustworthy, intelligent, SALAFI and pious…”[3]

        [1] Siyar 16/457]

        [2] Mu’jamush-Shuyookh (2/280)]

        [3] Siyar 23/118]
        Taken from the website
        Could you please respond to that ?
        JazakAllahu khairan.

    • uzairzubairi

      December 2, 2014 at 12:26 AM

      what kind of salafi are you, reading the garbage of yasir qadhi! They salaf were completely against listening to ahlulbidah. Imam sufian al thawri said the one who lends his hearing to ahlulbidah, goes out from the protection of allah and is entrusted to himself.
      By the way, just in case you are wondering, I didnt read his article, infact Im being careful not to even read the comments written by him.

      • Abdulwaheed

        December 6, 2016 at 11:56 AM

        that is blind followership and indoctrination of the highest order.

  6. Umm Ayoub

    April 22, 2014 at 4:30 AM

    Assalamou alaykoum

    Very nice article jazakoum Allahu khrair to Sheikh Qadhi.

    I would add in the section of the critism of salafism, critics about the takfiris who claim that killing of innocent peoples is allowed and make apology of terrorism. This is very far from the Sunnah of the Prophet (SAWS) and the Salafs.

    You criticized the Salafis to be too much obedient and to stay silent in front of the bad ruler, i agree with this, but what is the correct solution? How to behave? The Salafi mouvement did not answered this question yet, except the Tafiris and it is a very extremist stand, and I think, we should really think about theses problems and issues, especially in Egypt, where I live, where peoples are killed in peaceful demonstrations, and where some bombs have explodes also. What is the middle way ?

    Jazakoum Allahu khrair
    Umm Ayoub

  7. dawahtweet

    April 22, 2014 at 5:24 AM

    As a Student of knowledge studying under Salafi Sheikhs from Madina,As a person who starting practicing because of the help of Salafi brothers/duats/scholars…I find this article really balanced and academic.It resonates with my current viewpoint to a great extent(although i mat disagree with some points).
    Many of the the points that Sh.Yasir made,I have come to realise throughout my journey as a student of knowledge(I’m still taking baby steps :) )
    Great article,
    May Allah bless each and everyone of us.Ameen

    • Yasir Qadhi

      April 22, 2014 at 10:16 AM

      More and more intelligent students of knowledge, in Madinah and elsewhere, are realizing this. One of the goals of the article was to make them feel that they are not alone, and take active measures to correct these mistakes.

      • Ibrahim

        May 7, 2014 at 9:57 AM

        “More and more intelligent students of knowledge …” So those who don’t agree with you are not so intelligent or perhaps they are stupid. (No comments… though I’m tempted!!!)

        Alhamdulillah for my “stupidity”!!!!
        “Allah umma uhshurni fee zumrat al masakeen” ” O’ Allah join me with the group of maskeens, on the day of judgment”

      • Yasir Qadhi

        July 4, 2018 at 11:12 AM

        WOW. This so called Shaykh can try to correct us. This photo taker who has gone against numerous Ahadeeth which prohibit Tasweer and the sayings of the scholars can “advise” the salafis. The Salafis didn’t make such mistakes. This is based upon ignorance! Shaykh Al Albanee didn’t start the term Salafi you ignorant fool! Neither do Salafis only know the deviants. That’s what you assume about the Salafis. I am a Salafi. I have seen numerous Salafis, actual ones – not the fake one you were! They all know about the Deen, the Sahaba. None of them made Takfeer of them. Guidance has reached you numerous times Oh Yasir! Yet, you ignore it, you block it away so as to misguide more people as mentioned by the actual Shaykhs.

  8. Ibn Ya'qûb An Naijiree

    April 22, 2014 at 5:47 AM

    Baarak Allaahu Feek Abu Ammar Yasir Qadhi…You have been able to comprehensively put into pen arguments for and against Salafiyah. While we recognise that there may be flaws in the attitudes and behaviours of those of us who have an attachment to Salafiyah, but to completely say the term Salafiyah is a new term for this age isn’t correct, to mildly put too critical of you and probably laughable. I feel very reluctant to feel that the Term “Athari” isn’t synonymous with Salafi. While some advocates of Salafiyah may have glaring faults which clearly show they are fallible, Salafiyah itself is free from errors and it is the Pristine Islaam. We can all claim to be Salafis which will only be a claim if we do not follow the Manhaj of the Salaf. No doubt you have advanced some points which can’t easily be dismissed in all fairness but remember our affairs cannot be rectified by any means except the means which rectified the affairs of those before us. The Manhaj of the Sahaabah and those who came after them is inevitable in this Contemporary Dilemma and to attempt to say these times are different from theirs and so their should be completely new rulings might not entirely be the best to say, Scholars can derive rulings on Issues especially as the world advances in many fields and sometimes they are correct and other times they may be wrong, and these rulings are in consonance with texts from the Kitaab and Sunnah based on their understanding, and Fatwahs may change based on the needs of the time but to completely compromise our beliefs and methodologies because of the times we are in sound ridiculous and of course extremely liberal. May Allaah guide us all and grant us Istiqaamah. Assalaamu ‘alaikum. Ibn Ya’qûb An Naijiree, Republic of Uganda.

    • Jakub Maciagowski

      April 23, 2014 at 4:25 PM

      Assalaamu ‘alaykum. “Salafiyah itself is free from errors”. No, only Islaam itself is free of error. We are far from perfection, but salafies will not came out of their errors, unless they will be open minded and critical in their approach – unless Allah wills otherwise. This additude: take only from those and abandon these, even if there is benefit in their teachings will leave them where they are – unless Allaah wills otherwise. If you want to be like the sahabah, then treat scholars and even the sahabah as means to the goal, not as the ultimate goal, because only Allaah is the ultimate goal.

      • O H

        April 26, 2014 at 1:29 AM

        Salafiyyah is the way of the righteous predecessors which has been prescribed by the Prophet (peace be upon him)-not a cult movement which few people have a right to. The approach of Salafiyyah is the way of the Sunnah & Islam. However the current implementation of the people claiming to follow salafiyyah is obviously not free from errors as highlighted in the article.

        “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

        This above hadeeth is what salafiyyah refers to. Salafiyyah is not the same as the statements,actions of modern day salafis.

  9. ummAda

    April 22, 2014 at 6:17 AM

    Subhan Allah, amazing article, someone needed to say all this! Jazak Allah khair!

  10. Abdullah

    April 22, 2014 at 6:24 AM

    How did Muḥammad Ḥayāt al-Sindhī (d. 1163) influence al-Sanani, Shawkani ? Was Muhammad Hayat Sindi anti-madhhab like Ghumari brothers ?

    Thank you.

  11. Ummyahyaa

    April 22, 2014 at 7:51 AM

    Salams Jzk khayran for the article sheikh Yasir, May Allah ta aala guide us all onto the right path the path to Him alone and to His beloved prophet Muhammed saas Aameen

  12. Ismail Kamdar

    April 22, 2014 at 8:07 AM

    As Salaam Alaikum Wa Rahmatullah Wa Barakatuhu

    Firstly, I would like to thank you for writing this comprehensive piece which in many ways mirrors my own spiritual experience.

    To understand my comments and questions, please keep my background in mind:
    Until the age of 19 I was a hardcore Deobandi Sufi completing my Alim course. I then became a hardcore Salafi and remained so until I was around 23 years old. At that age, I spent two months in the company of staunch Ahl-Hadith members in India and got completely put off sectarianism. Since then, I do hold to the Salafi Aqeedah and the belief that revival of Ijtihad is necessary for dealing with contemporary issues but I have become averse to the sect/box-like mentality and prefer working with all Muslims in areas of mutual agreement, and staying away from labels.

    I am really happy that you raised the issue of Tazkiyya An-Nafs. When I first switched from Sufism to Salafism, I was really confused by the attitude I saw towards Tazkiyya. I never understood why Salafis are so distanced from Tazkiyya when it is clearly part of the Sunnah and the way of the Salaf.

    I noticed that whenever I talk about spirituality, getting closer to Allah, increasing Taqwa, etc. Many Salafis ask me if I’m a Sufi? What’s that got to do with Sufism! Many of my lectures and classes revolve around connecting with Allah the Sunnah Way, and I believe that is the way of the Salaf.

    Another issue I strongly agree with is the unity issue, and this is why I tell my History students:

    If Salahudeen Ayoubi was alive today leading the liberation of Palestine, how many Salafis would join, and how many instead would write refutations of him being an Ash’ari Shafi’ee, and miss the bigger picture.

    One issue I disagree with is the treatment of women. Coming from an ultra-conservative Deobandi background where women are banned from Masjids and hidden way, the Salafis in my community are far better in their treatment of women. But then again, that’s probably just the case in my country/culture.

    Overall, I agree with your list of positives and negatives and this is why I teach my students to stick to the understand of the first three generations in terms of Aqeedah and Usool, but without becoming a sect, group, gang or alternative math’hab. Rather, remain active members of your communities and be good to all of Allah’s Creation.

    • Yasir Qadhi

      April 22, 2014 at 10:18 AM

      Jazak Allah Ismail. While we have never met, I always feel a camaraderie with you and appreciate your writings.

      • Taha Ali

        April 23, 2014 at 7:08 PM

        Salaam Alaykum Shaikh !
        Jazak Allaah for the article !…very informative
        Could you please explain a bit
        #1 who are the deobandis ?
        Are they the same as Tableeghi ?
        #2 I have heard some Tableeghi call themselves Hanafi….
        So then…who are Tableeghi ?
        #3 Also…some Deobandis refuse that Deobandi is a sect…they say that it is only a label for those who graduate from Deoband University in India

        It would really be helpful if you could shed some light on these few issues or provide me a link where you have already answered this,
        Jazak Allah Khair
        wa Salaam !!

        • mahmoud

          April 24, 2014 at 8:54 PM

          1. Deoband is a city in India, which is famous for a school that was established there in 1866. It is one of the oldest and most prestigious islamic institutions extant today. After the establishment of the madrasa, many of its graduates went on to establish their own schools and madaris, all of which followed a similar methodology to the original school. Almost all of the madaris in Pakistan, Bangladesh, and India are Deobandi in methodology (there is a small minority of Brelvi and ahl-e-hadith madrasas as well). This methodology involves: (1) a call to tawhid as opposed to the shirk that was being practiced in India at the time, (2) a move towards a more pristine practicing of Islam the way Rasulullah and his Sahaba and Tabi’in practiced it. (3) A revival of academic Islamic knowledge, particularly in hadith which was lacking in India at the time.

          It is this last point that distinguishes Deobandis and tablighis. Most Tablighis are Deobandis, but not all Deobandis are Tablighis since it was the ulama of Deoband (Maulana Ilyas Kandahlawi, Maulana Zakariyya Kandahlawi, etc) who popularized it, but tablighi jamat is a mass movement for laypeople, and does not encourage studying Islamic academia at all. Instead it teaches salah and siyam and basic ibadat. Deoband is an academic movement of ulama, unlike the tablighi movement which actually discourages excessive academic endeavors in lieu of more spirituality. That the two are tied is undeniable, though, but there has been some recent tension between the two.

          2. None of the purposes of the Deoband madrasa was to propagate Hanafi fiqh exclusively. Due to the predominance of the Hanafi maddhab in the Indian subcontinent, they adopted that for historical reasons. But there have always been non-Hanafi Deobandis, such as Maulana Taha Karan and his father, who is arguably one of the top five Shafi’i scholars living today. They are strictly pro-maddhab, though, and though the Nadawi movement (which stemmed from the Deobandis as well) has some Ahl al-hadith members within it, Deoband has come to exemplify the strand of strict pro-maddhabism that most Salafis oppose.

          3. Are the Deobandis a sect? They like to think that they follow “true” Islam, and are not a sect, but every group likes to think that. It is your perspective as to what you call them. The Brelvis call them Wahhabis, since they oppose bidah, and the salafis call them sufis for their adherence to maddhabs and refusal to denounce all forms of tawarruk and tawassul. They are really quite in the middle of those two groups.

          Pros: (1) Deoband as a movement really brought forth the best of the hadith scholarship of the subcontinent in a massive effort to defend the Hanafi maddhab against the ahl al-hadith. (the 18 volume Awjaz al masalik, a commentary on Imam Malik’s Muwatta, the 21 volume I’la as sunan, the 16 volume Badhl al-majhud, a commentary on Sunan Abi Dawud, Ma’arif as sunan sharh jami at tirmidhi, the countless works of Anwar Shah Kashmiri, and the list goes one. (I wish that these works were popularized so that the idea of the Deobandis having a lack of intellectual and academic prowess could be abolished, because they really are incredibly sophisticated, and demonstrate the ocean of knowledge these people had) (2) their wiping out many forms of bid’ah and shirk and movements like the Ahmadiyah and Quraniyyun (3) their popularizing the tabligh movement and opposition of secularism and materialism, and bringing their proponents back towards Islam

          Cons: (1) politics: have always remained on the fringe of Indian and Pakistani politics, and like the Salafis, have been tainted by it and marred by charges of corruption, (2) violence: many of the violent takfiri groups stemmed from the deobandis, (3) intolerance: varies amongst different Deobandis, but for the most part are very strongly opposed to doctrines that may actually be similar to theirs but do not match theirs exactly such as the jamat-e-islami (4) focus on minor issues similar to the Salafis, such as length of beard, etc. to an excessive point.

          For more on Deoband, read Muhammad Qasim Zaman of Princeton University’s excellent books The Ulama in Contemporary Islam, and Modern Islamic Thought in a Radical Age.

          • Abu Dajana

            June 18, 2014 at 1:48 AM


            “but tablighi jamat is a mass movement for laypeople, and does not encourage studying Islamic academia at all”

            Hmmm. How do you know this for certainty. I got to start ascribing myself to salafiya through a salafi shaykh I met and learnt from Though the shaykh grew up in a sufi background, he was introduced to salafiya and the study of hadeeth through a tablighi scholar from India who was also his math teacher. During lessons, the teacher would use examples from the sunnah to illustrate math principles. He also gave his student- my scholar- a book as a gift. Guess what- that book was the first edition of sifaat salat nabiyy. By Shaykh Albaanee. It is tantamount to sheer arrogance by salafees and salafee-like elements to make absolute claims like “not encourage studying Islamic academia at all”. Do you have all-encompassing knowledge? I know tablighi brothers who purposely sent their children to the Islamic University in Madeenah. It is arrogance like this that makes what is called salafiyya and salafees a turn off. And what makes you think that Islamic academia, as it is today, is something praiseworthy? Seeking knowledge for the sake of Allah and only for the sake of Allah is not necessarily synonymous with the western-education backboned academic Islam we have in our times. In some respects, today’s academic Islam may not be too far from the way of the Xtians and Jews who study their former books but do not practice what it contains or even oppose it. As far back as the time of Bilal Philips in the Islamic University in Madina, students were cheating in their exams just to get a certificate. Now tell me where is the practical manifestation of the ikhlas and tawheed they learnt academically.

      • Taha Ali

        April 23, 2014 at 7:13 PM

        Sorry to bother you again :p
        If you could also please give me a link on your lecture you gave in UK on Shiism Theology…
        I was interested to learn more about it after listening to your lecture on Massacre of Karbala…where you explained a little bit on how Theological Shias differ from Political Shiism
        Thank You once again !!
        Jazak Allaah Khair
        Barak Allaah Feekum !!

      • Basha

        September 7, 2015 at 6:10 AM

        Most of the Muslims are with you brother……..Yes…….As long as you are with this balanced view.Don’t worry about the arab rulers!
        May Allah Overthrow them!!!!

    • Abu Yunus

      April 24, 2014 at 12:04 AM

      The three constants (Thawaabit) of Salafiyyah ARE:

      1. Tawheed;
      2. Ittibaa’;
      3. Tazkiyyah.

      So, I am not sure how one can say that Salafiyyah does not emphasize Tazkiyyat-un-Nafs.

      Contrary to what Yasir Qadhi said that the term Salafi wasn’t used in earlier history of Islam, al-Sam’aanee used the term “Salafi” in 562 AH (circa 1166 CE).

      • Yasir Qadhi

        April 24, 2014 at 9:16 AM

        Actions speak louder than words.

        Also I never claimed that the term ‘Salafi’ was never used in early Islam; be precise in your quotations. The term ‘Salafi’ was not in vogue, nor used as a proper noun. Yes, if one uses a fine-tooth comb, one finds one reference in al-Samani, one or two in al-Dhahabi, and a handful in Ibn Taymiyya’s writings, where the term is used as an adjective. But it was not in vogue, and you will never find al-Samani, or al-Dhahabi, or Ibn Taymiyya saying ‘I am a Salafi’. You will find al-Albani, and many modern Salafis, saying this.

        • Mohammad

          April 25, 2014 at 3:19 PM

          I was just following some of Dr. Qadhi’s responses in this blog. Not sure what message he actually tried to convey by making these two contradictory comments in the very same blog.

          “You will find al-Albani, and many modern Salafis, saying this” (I am a Salafi)

          “In fact al-Albani has comments about him that he wasn’t fully salafi because he clung to a madhhab.”

          • Yasir Qadhi

            April 28, 2014 at 10:01 AM

            You misunderstood those quotes.
            Al-Albani was the first Muslim scholar ever, in the history of Islam, to claim that it is wajib to call yourself a Salafi.

            Al-Albani, on some audio cassettes that I myself listened to, also claimed that Muhammad b. Abd al-Wahhab was a great reformer but wasn’t fully salafi because he followed a madhhab (note: I don’t remember the exact words he used but the gist of the verdict was what I said).

        • abu Yunus

          April 26, 2014 at 1:58 AM

          How is this any different than a man saying, “I am Salafi”

          Imaam adh-Dhahabee (d.748H) – rahimahullaah – said: “It is authentically related from ad-Daaraqutnee that he said: There is nothing more despised by me than ‘ilm-ul-kalaam (theological rhetoric). I say: He never entered into ‘ilm-ul-kalaam, nor argumentation. Rather, was a Salafi (a follower of the Salaf).”[Siyar A’laam an-Nubalaa’ 16/457]

          • abu Yunus

            April 26, 2014 at 9:49 PM

            Ibn Taymiyyah (rahimahullah) said,

            “And there is combined in those who turn away from the Prophetic Salafi Way (الطريقة النبوية السلفية) both this and this, following the alluring desires and misguiding tribulations, thus there is misguidance and allurement within them to the extent of their departure from the way Allaah sent His Messenger with.” (Daar al-Ta’aarud, 1/166).

            Likewise, he said,

            “So everyone who turned away from the Divine, Legislated, Prophetic, Salafi Way (الطريقة السلفية النبوية الشرعية الالهية), then he will (by necessity) go astray and contradict (himself) and remain in ignorance, simple or compound.” (Daar al-Ta’aarud 5/356).

            Ibn al-Qayyim said in al-Safadiyyah (p. 168):

            “And whoever traverses the Salafi Prophetic paths (الطرق النبوية السلفية) will know that sound intellect agrees with authentic text…”

            Ibn Taymiyyah refers to 3rd, 4th and 5th century (hijri) scholars as “Salafis” and he actually uses the word “Salafiyyah” to indicate a faction often in his writings, he says, (وهو قول السلفية), “It is the saying of the Salafis” (Majmu’ 6/51).

            Someone might object by saying that he used “Salafiyyah” not “Salafiyoon”. However, this is similar to Hanaabilah which refers to Hanbalees not necessarily Hanbalism. The following two statements of Ibn Taymiyyah will clarify this fact,

            (وأما السلفية فعلى ما حكاه الخطابى وأبو بكر الخطيب وغيرهما), “As for the Salafis, then they are upon what is cited by al-Khattaabi and Abu Bakr al-Khateeb” (Majmu’ 33/177) and (السلفية الذين يقولون إنه فوق العرش), “… the Salafis, who say He is above the Throne.” (Bayan Talbis al-Jahmiyyah, 2 vols, 1/122).

          • Shahab

            April 27, 2014 at 3:21 PM

            Salam Bro:

            With all due respects, your responses just demonstrate the problem with salafism today from an academic point of view (I won’t even bother wasting my time discussing the adaabi aspects of the movement).

            This is what is SO wrong with the “Salafi manhaj” (which in itself a gross aberration of the term as it used to be). You take quotes and show them completely out of context. When Ibn Taymiyyah, Ibn Qayyim et al use the word “Salafiyyah” or “Salafi” then the are not referring to a distinct group of Muslims. Rather, the term is used to mean “Predecessors”, period! This group includes the Hanabilah, Maliki, Shafi’i, Hanafi and all the other madhahib that form part of the Ahlus sunnah wal jama’ah (there were many schools like those of Imam Awza’i and Imam At-Tabari that didn’t continue past the 5th century AH).

            Similarly, when Ibn Taymiyyah speaks of the “manhaj as-Salafiyyah” then he is speaking of ALL the different madhhahib that the previous scholars adhered to (before and after the crystallization of fiqh). You take a quote from Siy’ar A’lam An-Nubala’ of Imam Dhahabi and base an entire argument on it not knowing the context of it. For example, when Imam Dhahabi refers to someone as a “salafi” in Tadhkirah Al-Huffaz or even in Siy’ar then he is simply referring to the persons proclivity to stay away completely from wranglings of kalam. For example, Ibn Qudamah Al-Maqdisi and Ibn As-Salah are 2 person that Imam Adh-Dhahhabi terms as “salafi”. However, he also states the madhahib that they followed (Hanbali for the former and Shafi’i for the latter). So, clearly, you have either not read the entire entry of Imam Dhahhabi or choose to not show those aspects that obviously weaken your claim.

            In fact, if only “Salafis” of today could be honest enough then you still have the manuscripts of Ibn Taymiyyah in tact today where you can CLEARLY see how he refers to himself as a HANBALI. That alone is enough to rubbish this claim that “Salafi” was a group distinct from the other madhahib at the time.

            Sp, to reiterate, every salaf had a madhhab; each madhhab has its own unique manhaj. Furthermore, the all the salaf who belong to a particular madhhab followed a particular school of ‘aqidah. The Shafi’is, for example, pre-dominantly followed the Ash’ari school. However, there were some of within the madhdhab who followed other schools of ‘aqidah. Suyuti, Nawawi, ibn Asakir, Al-‘Asqalani are examples of Shafi’i scholars who followed the Ash’ari school of ‘aqidah. Ibn As-Salah is one of the few examples of the Shafi’i you will find who didn’t indulge in kalam.

          • Only a Muslim

            May 3, 2014 at 3:36 PM

            Dear Brother Abu Yunus,
            Regarding the above references to the word ‘salafiyya,’e.g: “And there is combined in those who turn away from the Prophetic Salafi Way (الطريقة النبوية السلفية)”
            Please consider the following:
            1. Logical: Shouldn’t the movement then be called the ‘an noubouwiyya as salafiyya’
            2. Arabic: I would read the term as salafiyya as an adjective (sifat) of the term at tariqa (mawsoof), and not a possessor (moodaaf ilaih). Else it would have been tariqaa -as-salafiyyati (tariqaa in undefined form). It means here ‘the prophetic ancestral way’ instead of ‘the prophetic way of the salafi’.
            3. Worst case scenario: Yet those scholars did not embody a complete movement and ascribed it to the name ‘salafi’
            4. Usool: The statement of a scholars does not have enough weight to be binding on the whole Ummah as Quran and Sunnah. [This reminds me of Sheik Yasir sentence “Salafīs take statements of the salaf regarding treatment of heretical groups as they would the Qur’an and Sunnah.”] Therefore should such a movement be binding on the Ummah, it would have been legislated clearly by the Qur’an and Sunnah, and explained by the salafs clearly. We would not need to go with microscope to look for some statements of respected scholars and take them out of context or mistranslate them to justify an entire movement.

        • Musa Hoda

          April 26, 2014 at 6:40 PM

          What do you guys think of this clarification by Sh. Rabee’?

          • Hassan

            April 27, 2014 at 7:44 PM

            Wow first time I am hearing him, how can people hate this guy?

    • Muna Ga'al

      July 16, 2014 at 5:38 AM

      that really angers me, why do some people see the need to stop women studying the deen and banning them form the masjid isn’t the knowledge for them too

    • Shahzad Alam

      September 17, 2014 at 7:46 AM

      I totally agree with your points bro, the present and coming generation must have to understand the pristine Aqeedah without having any association with sects or groups existing today. I personally found your comment almost similar to mine.

  13. Nabil Salik

    April 22, 2014 at 8:43 AM

    When do we get to lay our hands on your dissertation? I have been waiting since eons :)

    • Yasir Qadhi

      April 22, 2014 at 10:36 AM

      Email me, introduce yourself, and insha Allah I’ll send you a PDF of it.

      • Saad

        April 22, 2014 at 11:26 AM

        Salam Sheikh,
        Thank you for this great article. I have always admired you for keeping to the middle. Where would we find your email? I would very much like to read it too.

      • Abdul Hakeem

        April 22, 2014 at 2:27 PM

        I’d love to take you up on that offer (assuming it’s extended to me as well), except that I don’t have you email address.

        Will you oblige to sharing it here? If not, where/how can I get it?

      • ibn Ahmed

        April 23, 2014 at 10:39 PM

        Asalamu alaikum warahamatullahi wabaraktuhu Shaykh,

        Would you really send a copy of your PhD dissertation out? I’ve been trying to get my hands on it for a couple of weeks, and even tried requesting it through my university, but apparently it isn’t in circulation. Could I get a copy as well? JazakAllahu khairun!

      • Nabil Salik

        April 24, 2014 at 3:32 PM

        Sent you an email on the address mentioned on your facebook page.

      • Hilm

        May 6, 2014 at 1:28 PM

        can you explain this statement of yours: ‘the unfounded veneration of saints’

        in what way is the veneration of great Saliheen unfounded? your use of the word ‘saints’ throws many readers off. but what we are talking about is having huge respect for the Saliheen. why is this unfounded?
        also, your point 7 in your critique shows that Salafis are just like some Sufis in their veneration and total obedience to their Teachers.

      • Hamza Sanussi

        January 1, 2015 at 4:05 PM

        Assalaamu alaykum……. Alhamdulilah we benefitted from your article is it possible to have a copy of your dissertation?

  14. loveprophet

    April 22, 2014 at 9:04 AM

    What is “True Islam” and does it need to be modernised? This is answered per the Hadith below:

  15. Arif Kabir

    April 22, 2014 at 9:32 AM

    Masha’Allah, a lot of important points mentioned.

    I do genuinely hope though, that with this disassociation with Salafism, that there is thoughtful understanding of how you move forward.

    If a list of common words were generated from your recent discourses, Orthodoxy, Cleric, and other Christian terms come up much. There is historical baggage in using Christian terms that must be understood in a context beyond the ivory towers of Yale. When we let ourselves be defined by terms that do not completely reflect what our terms mean, we are letting an orientalist point of view dictate the way we may come to see our own selves.

    It also does seem rather problematic that Ibn Taymiyyah is almost exclusively mentioned by you, and that there still seems to be a disregard for non-Western ulama to have anything to do with the west in any manner. If left unchecked, we may see another clique developing where the most senior scholars that are deemed to be acceptable in the West are in their early adulthood (40s).

    I mention all this because nobody exists in a theoretical vacuum. Your words, both in choice and content, will have its own repercussions that I hope you are able to deal with.

    • Yasir Qadhi

      April 22, 2014 at 10:24 AM

      Some very valid points Arif. And time will tell. And I pray that Allah guides me to that which He loves.

      BTW, my ‘solution’ to the lack of senior scholars in the West is that the the not-so-senior scholars of the West

      1) reach out to those senior scholars who are more culturally aware and in touch with differences in the world. Not all ‘senior scholars’ are disconnected from Western realities!

      2) congregate together and try to pass ideas around and within and amongst their own ranks (ie., the students of knowledge/scholars from the West should come together as much as possible and form ideas together).

  16. Hyde

    April 22, 2014 at 9:44 AM

    Mashallsha! An catharsis at last. Excellent pieace.

  17. um rayan

    April 22, 2014 at 10:05 AM

    I am wondering what the author has to say about very balanced scholars like Muhammad Hassan of Egypt and his brothers from the TV channel al-rahma. Verily they do not teach except that which reforms the character of muslims and improves it so that muslims can be become true representative of virtue wherever they are (in egypt, in the west, and everywhere). Yes they have had to take various stands in the context of political turmoil in their country but that is not to be held against them. What would we have done in a similar context? We would have taken whatever position we deem appropriate. It remains that these scholars call people to coming closer to Allah. I have never seen them preoccupied with refuting anyone. So if their methodology is called salafiya, then what a beautiful and beneficial methodology.

    • Sara

      April 23, 2014 at 6:39 PM

      Jazaki allahu khayra. My Allah bless you. 100% right. I preferred your reply to the whole article!

  18. Yasir Qadhi

    April 22, 2014 at 10:07 AM

    Before I begin answering some of the questions, has NO ONE noticed/commented on the irony of this article itself being available as a PDF ?!?!?


    • Mahmud

      April 22, 2014 at 10:13 AM

      Title it with something really dramatic.

      I didn’t notice the irony lol.

    • Umar

      April 22, 2014 at 10:27 AM

      Assalamu alaikum Sheikh pls put “print” option on every article you make so that I can take it home for reading, I don’t have laptop and I love reading while I’m on a bus. Jazakhalahu khairan. :)

    • Abu Milk Sheikh (@AbuMilkSheikh)

      April 23, 2014 at 4:27 AM

      It is proof that you can take a Salafi out’the hizb but you can’t take the hizb out’the Salafi. ;)

    • SC

      April 23, 2014 at 6:27 AM

      Yes the irony of it all – a pdf by yasir qhadi and not the more common pdf refuting yasir qadhi.

  19. Hassan

    April 22, 2014 at 10:12 AM

    Salaam, surprisingly the negatives you mentioned also have presence in other groups. It may have to do with culture rather than Islam itself. For example a very dear brother (Pakistani, strict deobandi/tableeghi) objected to a sister name on the masjid big LCD for her class. He said, should have used Umm ABC etc. I (Pakistani, salafi), politely mentioned the hadith of Amr Ibn Al Aas where he asked prophet Muhammad PBUH whom he loved most, and he used his wife first name (Ayesha).

    And lack of spirituality is quite astonishing surprising criticism. When I was turning religious, the first thing I did was to go on jamaat (tableeghi) for 3 days, and came back with still spiritual voidness. Then your friend (and mine) Amad Shaikh invited me to TX Dawah conference in Austin, and it was huge emaan boast. Frankly I attend all al-maghrib classes (and never take notes, nor exams), just for emaan boast. I became salafi for tazkiyah-nafs and spirituality. So saying salafism lacks spirituality is something new to me.

    • Yasir Qadhi

      April 22, 2014 at 10:32 AM

      You are right that in that many of these negatives do exist in other movements. That doesn’t justify their existence in Salafism!

      Also, TDC and al-Maghrib are two organization that have sprung from an initial salafi methodology, but have recognized the faults of the movement and actively worked to change them. Whether you wish to call them ‘salafi’ or not is up to you. I know for a fact that neither applies the label to itself.

      • Hassan

        April 22, 2014 at 10:48 AM

        Salaam. So perhaps it is safe to say true knowledge is the right methodology. There is nothing more emaan boasting that knowledge (which includes knowing Allah in right way and His messenger). This is what attracts me to salafi or the organizations that we mentioned whether they call themselves anything else.

      • Arif Kabir

        April 22, 2014 at 11:47 AM

        Sh. Yasir, it may be a good idea to mention these organizations as a category that do not call themselves by the Salafi term, but may represent moderate ‘Salafism’ (“If it looks like a duck…”) in that they are politically and civically active, give respect to women, and work with Muslims of other interpretations.

        One AlMaghrib instructor had mentioned to me how it was his opinion there was a need decades before to call oneself Salafi, but how that has changed. To me that was indicative of how the movement itself is evolving, and how that should be documented too. Umar Lee made good mention of this evolution in his own series of Salafism, and I think this is a big enough movement now to be mentioned.

        • Saad

          April 22, 2014 at 12:29 PM

          Salam all,
          Would not ibn Uthaymeen and a great deal of the first category of Saudi salafis fall underneath this category too. They don’t identify themselves with the label salafi either.

  20. dawahtweet

    April 22, 2014 at 10:35 AM

    PDF download available….i was thinking it was deliberate…..and Sh Yasir confirmed it.
    Lool the irony!!

  21. hasnain

    April 22, 2014 at 10:48 AM

    salam shaykh Yasir,

    for the benefit of the ummah, i believe this article would have been better received if titled in the correct format. here is a suggestion:

    33 points on the correct understanding of salafism


    :) seriously though, JAK for bringing clarity to these titles/ seems that us muslims in the west create our identities, many times, in reflection to our ummah in the east–without really knowing the context/history that lead to them.

  22. Nihal Khan

    April 22, 2014 at 11:03 AM

    Enjoyed this thoroughly Shaykh sahab!

    Perhaps a series of articles highlighting the various known groups among the Sunni schools would be a good article series for MM? Just a thought.

    Nihal Khan

    • Yasir Qadhi

      April 22, 2014 at 11:41 AM

      I actually do have that in mind.

      • Anum Hashmi

        April 22, 2014 at 11:54 AM

        Are you still working on a course on this material?

      • Tadar Jihad Wazir

        June 23, 2014 at 12:08 PM

        As-Salaam-u alaikum, Sheikh Yasir jQadhi.

        When you research the info for these series of articles please include info on Bro. Imam W. Deen Mohammed (a.) who was guided by Allah to start the answer to His promise to Prophet Ibrahim a.k.a. Abram (a.) in the Bible: Genesis 15. According to the Bible in English it was Abram (a.) whose name Allah changed, just before promising Abram the birth of “another” son, to Abraham (Ibrahim, in Arabic) (a.) who is the father of Isma’il (Ishmael) (a.).

        His progeny are promised to be enslaved for 400 years and then to be brought out with great sustenance.

        Bro. Imam W. Deen Mohammed (a.) stressed individual scholarship based on The Qur’an and the Uswah of Prophet Muhammad (s.) which includes his sunnah. And he condemned the establishment of any madhdhab proclaiming him as its founder. He encouraged us to follow the laws of nature by following the fiqh of any madhdhab decision that would be best for us in our situation at the time. And he only insisted on us being known as Muslims, which is what Allah (h.) and Prophet Ibrahim (a.) calls and named us.

        In reading your article it dawned on me that a lot of what you say pertaining to what is a Salafi pertains to us. We were taught that words have meanings and it is in the application of the meaning that makes what it is, what it is.

        It is reported that almost 1/3 of the slaves brought to America were Muslims. This was due to the first few hundred years of the American Slave Trade the Christians refused to have any Christian to be a slave. That is part of the reason why the slaves were not allowed to have religious practices.

        Greed caused a change in the last hundred years so that a persons faith had no bearing on whether one could be a slave.

        May Allah’s Will, Word, and Way prove true during our lifetime? Ameen.


  23. Abu Turab

    April 22, 2014 at 11:44 AM

    Shaykh I have a few abstract queries with regards to your personal position. Please feel free to ignore any/all if you deem them inappropiate.

    From a taxonomic perspective does your dissociation with the Salafi movement (capital S), put you in another contemporary group of likeminded individuals? If yes then what is this group, what is their history and how are they represented using contemporary nomenclature. I know you have identified with the Athari creed and Imam Ibn Taymiyya, but to use your analogy what latter domino does that represent? Or is it a new domino altogether?

    Can you verify whether with respect to the points of consensus amidst the Salafis as you have outlined, do you also agree with all the points?

    Can you verify with respect to the points of contention, where does your personal position lie on each of the individual points?

    Finally, is your personal position a combination of the various opinions on the points of contention amidst the Salafis. In other words, does your position represent a unique combination of the opinions on the points of contention, yet still draws from the existing set of opinions? As an extension to this query if a Yasir Qadhi clone were to academically classify Yasir Qadhi, then would he be putting Yasir Qadhi I as belonging to a new and refreshing Salafi group, or to a group that is not Salafi?

    • Yasir Qadhi

      April 22, 2014 at 7:46 PM

      This is a complicated question.

      If a cynic were to say ‘Yasir Qadhi has dissociated from the Salafi movement but in reality he is spearheading reform within the movement’ there would be an element of truth to this. Labels at some point are meaningless, and at other points are useful.

      I do admire the positives of Salafism, by and large. But some of those positives are not the priorities of the Ummah, and hence they don’t necessarily make my own list of priorities. It just make more sense to me, taxonomically, to merely break away from the movement, given all of the negatives that are associated with it and that I strongly object to, and given that its list of priorities does not mirror my own.

      As for my own views on the points of contention, I am speaking about them here and there in my lectures, and will continue to do so. They are too many to list here! Also, (and note how un-Salafi what I am about to say is!), THERE IS GREAT BENEFIT IN HAVING A SPECTRUM OF OPINION ABOUT GREY AREAS OF ISLAM, and there isn’t necessarily ‘one right opinion’ about how to proceed forward. It is healthy for the Ummah that people engage with politics in slightly different ways, for example. So, my opinion on any one issue is just that: my opinion!

  24. Musa Hoda

    April 22, 2014 at 12:24 PM

    The “Fiqh al-Waaqi’” Scam Revived

    In reality, this is just another modern rehashing of the Qutbi fanaticism (ghuluw) regarding “Fiqh al-Waaqi’” (the Fiqh of current affairs). Over the last few decades, it has been a tool by which aspiring political activists would gain popularity with the people, speaking about matters that are in today’s newspapers and TV news reports. While the real scholars of Islaam were taking careful steps to verify and investigate news reports before speaking, the opportunistic political activists (the likes of Salman al-’Owdah, one of Yasir’s “forward-thinking” shaykhs) would use that period of time to blame the senior scholars for neglecting the needs of the people, and claim they were forced to speak since the scholars were silent, leaving the people in the dark, as they would twist it.

    Honest everyday people were tricked into thinking their scholars were not concerned with the current state of the Ummah, and the only ones who really care are those who (recklessly) speak about today’s headlines!

      • Yasir Qadhi

        April 22, 2014 at 3:28 PM

        Salam Musa,

        Thank you for exemplifying Madkhalism. We still need people like you so that others can see and judge for themselves.



        • Abdul Baasit Sullivan

          April 22, 2014 at 10:17 PM

          SubhanAllah, just looking at your profile pic Yasir is like a bad joke. It’s almost like, “Hey, look I’m so well learned…did you get that Mr. Cameraman? Honestly, I don’t know how you fool the masses of psuedo-intellectuals and hipster Muslims into following you. Sigr bayyan indeed. All I need to know is that you learned Islamic studies from Non-Muslims, Sufis, Shi’ites etc. and THAT is something you can never bring proof for in the Qur’an and Sunnah. It’s amazing how the love of fame will debase people and cause others to be debased as well….Tony Blair is your chain of narration. SubhanAllah.

          • Abu Zayd

            April 23, 2014 at 2:37 PM

            Let’s count the fallacies in that post:
            1) 2 Ad Hominem attacks (Attacking his profile pic, and accusing him of having love of fame. I will quote the prophet SAW and say “Did you open up his heart and see what is inside??”)
            2) 1 Red Herring (What does his pHD education at Yale have to do with the points he raised in his article?) – As well, even though your point was a red herring, it is a false premiss. In the Quran it says “Fas’aloo ahl dhikr in kuntum laa ta’lamoon” (Surah Nahl: 43). Ask ‘ahl dhikr’ if you do not know. Who does ahl dhikr refer to? Mujaahid and Ibn Abbas were both reported to ahve said it refers to the scholars of the ahl ul kitaab (Za’d al-Maseer, Ibn Jawzi). So there seems to be some proof from the nusoos.
            3) 1 Strawman Fallacy (LOL, you can’t be serious that you think Tony blair was relating Hadith to him and teaching him about Islam…sighhh )

            4 separate fallacies in 4 Sentences…impressive!

          • Mahmud

            April 23, 2014 at 2:51 PM

            “All I need to know is that you learned Islamic studies from Non-Muslims, Sufis, Shi’ites etc. and THAT is something you can never bring proof for in the Qur’an and Sunnah. ”


            1) You have no proof against it

            2) A Sahabi learned ayatul Kursi is a protection from Shaytan…….from IBLIS himself

            Yaneeeee, you deviation has been exposed to all and you are upon the manhaj of straying. May Allah protect the Ummah from you, Madkhali, and all your ilk. It’s is clear what you are upon!

          • Sameel

            April 23, 2014 at 2:56 PM

            I guess you forgot to mention the fact that he has a undergraduate and graduate degree in islamic studies from the University of Medina part! And your etiquette or lack thereof is typical of you pious people claiming to follow our prophet.

  25. Daarul Aman

    April 22, 2014 at 12:28 PM

    Aslalamualikum Warahmatullah,

    I must say, a very compelling and thought provoking piece but at the same time i find a part of it Incoherent and over-simplified

    1) While you rightly pointed out that the traditional Salafist scholarship has shown a passive approach towards understanding and grappling with contemporary ideologies and theories like Secularism, Darwinism, Feminism. I felt a certain disregard and trivializing of the Issues of creed. While I agree that there needs to be an earnest effort made to tackle the former issues, at the same time i certainly do feel it necessary to properly emphasize on the latter and make them the primary concern.

    2)Hasn’t the rejectionist approach been one of the reasons why Salafis have relatively remained immune to major heresies and Innovations (Eg. The Strict position against learning Kalaam)?

    3)Re Sh Albani’s anti Madhab stance, you mentioned it was a relatively new call, but his call already has a Precedence in the Ahlal Hadith, which is a very old movement, in fact one of the earliest.

    4) You refrained from delving on the Implications of figures like Sayyid Qutb, Mawdudi and Muhammad Suroor.had on shaping the Political ideology of some of the Modern Salafis particularly the Sahwists Preachers like Salman al Awdah. Safar al Hawwali, Mansur al Nuqaydan.and Jihadists like Al Maqdisi, Abu Qatadah, Zawahiri, Suri, Azzam etc, You describe the Sahwists as moderate while they spent efforts in courting Radical Shuaibi preachers like Sulaiman al Ulwaan, Ali al Khuzairi, Nasir al Fahd and became a spring board for Al Qaeda in Arabian Peninsula.

    • Yasir Qadhi

      April 22, 2014 at 7:51 PM

      When you have such a wide-encompassing article, it is bound to be over-simplified at places. I agree with this judgment! To make it detailed would require a few dissertations; what I have accomplished in this one piece was, in itself insha Allah, a good survey.

      1) It was not my intention to trivialize aqeedah. And if you know me personally or have ever attending any course/class of mine, you would know this first-hand. But even something necessary/useful can be misused and abused: drinking too much water will eventually kill you!

      2) Yes, but that is not the solution. By merely being narrow-minded and intolerant of any change, that doesn’t make it the best way forward. Rather, it will lead to its own problems, such as ossification of thought.

      3) No I didn’t mention it was new; I said he ‘revived’ it in Arab Salafism. The Ahl-e-hadees are NOT an old phenomenon; they only go back around a hundred years in India.

      4) Surely you can’t seriously expect me to tackle all of these thinkers in this article!? Perhaps at another time and place.

      • Daarul Aman

        April 23, 2014 at 5:05 AM

        Jazak’Allah for replying. No. i haven’t had a first hand experience of conversing with you. I came to know you through Peace Tv which is a popular channel here in Indian administered Kashmir.

        1) Building on the previous comments, i think Salafis have had a constructive impact on Muslim women by encouraging religious awareness and progression, particularly in South Asia. The Predominant Deobandis and Barelwis tend to be regressive in that regard

        2) Concerning the anti-madhab attitude of the Ahl-Hadith, One needs to understand it in the proper Context. The attitude was a response to the fanatical blind following and an ultra static approach towards Fiqh by Muslims in South Asia who overwhelmingly followed Hanafi Fiqh. In case of Albani and Shawkani, they encountered a similar situation in Syria and Yemen respectively. The Ahl Hadith movement has always intended an evidence based and comparative understanding of Fiqh

        3) While modern philosophies and contemporary issues need to be tackled, at the same time utmost caution must be exercised. Otherwise, these same ideologies might overwhelm those who are grappling with them like it happened with many individuals and groups before. This trend is very evident in Politically Inclined groups like the Ikhwan-ul-Muslimoon and Jamaat-e-Islmai in the Arab world and South Asia respectively. Most contemporary Modernist preachers like Ameen Eslahi, Javid Ghamidi and Wahid ud din Khan have come from the JeI

        4) Salafi/ Ahl Hadith/ Athari is an attributive name. Don’t see any harm in using it in that sense

        5) Regarding the quietist and subservient approach of Saudi Salafis,towards the ruling family, it is an enduring legacy of the second state of Saudi Arabia and also has a strong Islamic background(Obedience to the Ruler)

  26. Tauqir

    April 22, 2014 at 12:30 PM

    Assalam alykum, although you make great points I just had to point out a few things; as someone who grew up in Saudi Arabia never hearing the word ‘salafi’, it’s only in India that I was exposed to this ideology. Salafis are the best thing which happened to women in India, firstly not only did they teach them the right aqeedah but they are the only ones who let them come into masajids for salah and to listen to khateebs and learn Islam. They run a number of institutions for young urban educated women, the type the other schools of thoughts have neglected. The whole repression of women’s rights (aka driving and such) is more a Saudi cultural phenomenon rather than a religious one . The Salafis generally tend to have a more evidence based approach and are much more open to being questioned, something the Muslims of India, especially the youth desperately needed as Islam there is treated more like unquestionable inheritance rather than a way of life.

    • dawahtweet

      April 22, 2014 at 2:23 PM

      This is really true.As an Indian what i find is that the institutions that promote islamic education for women and allowing them greater participation in the masjid,most of the time are salafi or salafi minded institutions.
      In India the salafi masajid were the first to break the ‘NO women in the MOSQUE’ thing

    • Yasir Qadhi

      April 22, 2014 at 8:13 PM


      Yes these are valid points. Compared to Indian Deobandism, Salafism has indeed benefited women immensely. Also, in the Indian/Pakistani environment, where shirk and bida are far more rampant, no doubt it is necessary to start any Islamic activism with tawheed and an emphasis on the Sunnah.

      • dude

        April 23, 2014 at 11:50 AM

        have not tableeghis done much to help combat shirk and bidaa in the subcontinent.

  27. Ismail Kamdar

    April 22, 2014 at 12:33 PM

    Wa iyaak, Shaykh.

    Actually, we did meet. A long time back and very briefly.

    Remember your trip to Durban, South Africa in 2009? I was the young Maulana who you told to carry your bag when you made wudhu once during that conference. :P

    Your lecture on the hadith of the 73 sects at that conference changed my understanding of Islam, and I’ve been following your works closely ever since.

    • Yasir Qadhi

      April 22, 2014 at 3:43 PM

      Wow… I actually remember that. Subhan Allah, yes thank you for reminding me :)
      But I didn’t ‘command’ you to carry my bag, I politely requested you as I needed to refresh my wudhu :)

      • Ismail Kamdar

        April 22, 2014 at 11:48 PM

        Wow! I’m surprised you remembered as it was such a brief meeting so many years ago. Alhamdulillah!

        Your politeness was noted, Shaykh. It was your Adab that drew me to you, more than your lectures. :)

    • Seeker

      August 15, 2014 at 6:35 PM

      Is there a recording of this lecture?

  28. Sameer

    April 22, 2014 at 12:41 PM

    Jzk Sheikh Yasir. I think this is an excellent piece of work, and whilst there are numerous issues which consistently chip away at the morale of the Muslim living in the West, it seems that there is a revival of scholarship in the English language. I applaud you for your efforts, and pray that Allah rewards you immensely for putting this together.

    Obviously being a theologian yourself, you have grappled with this topic from that viewpoint. However, I would be really interested in reading a critique of the salafi movement from the eyes of someone who is a specialist in Islamic legal theory, focusing on the good/bad that they have bought to the field of Islamic jurisprudence, and their application of fiqh in various contexts (eg comparing their application of fiqh in Muslim majority countries vs muslim minorities). I am sure such a discussion would be equally as lengthy and as rich as the one you have provided.

    • Yasir Qadhi

      April 22, 2014 at 3:31 PM

      There is no such thing as ‘Salafi fiqh’. It is a myth propagated by the hard-core Jordanian branch of Salafism.

      The Salafi attitude towards fiqh has really damaged its reputation and opened up a can of worms that has still not been solved.

      No doubt, blind adherence to one of the four madhhabs has its issues, but it is patently clear that the dangers of opening up fiqh to anyone and everyone (‘salafi fiqh’) causes far more tangible damage and brings chaos to the people. Between the two, I would say ‘Stick to a madhhab’ any day.

      • Sameer Mallick

        April 22, 2014 at 8:32 PM

        Jzk Sheikh for your response, and I think everyone commenting should really appreciate the fact that you are taking the time out to respond to as many of us as you can.

        Obviously the term ‘Salafi Fiqh’ is a myth as you mention. But would you say that Salafism has actually had a detrimental effect on how the Hanbali Madhab is viewed in modern times? Because many Salafis study fiqh from Hanbali books, it is almost as if the two entities have become synonymous with one another, and as a result the Hanbali madhab has unfairly gained a reputation of being a very simplistic madhab which lacks the intellectual rigour of the other madhahib?

        • Yasir Qadhi

          April 23, 2014 at 3:48 PM

          Completely agree with you. Even the Hanbali madhhab, one of the most sophisticated and rigorous madhhabs, has suffered as a result of the negatives of the modern Salafi movement.

      • Abu al-Harith

        April 22, 2014 at 9:11 PM

        I agree that there is no such thing as ‘Salafi fiqh.’ However, I would say that what is commonly termed as such is more an exposition of the strongest opinion according to a particular scholar on a particular issue (tarjīḥ) than it is an attempt at founding a new mathhab explicitly referred to as salafī. I say this thinking more of al-Shawkānī, al-Qinawijī or al-Ṣanā`nī, for example, than al-Albānī.

  29. Mobeen

    April 22, 2014 at 12:45 PM

    Excellent article Shaykh Yasir. A small point I would add is that almost every popular manifestation of Islam is, like Salafism, a byproduct of post-modern reform movements. Deoband/Darul Uloom, Tabligh Jamaat, the Ikhwan, Jamaatul Islam, etc. Even contemporary Traditionalists practice an Islam that has been deeply influenced by modernity and only vaguely resembles its traditionalist antecedents. I say this because historicizing these movements, though important, should not become an immediate cause for dismissal. At the risk of stating the obvious, Islam is and has always been impacted by the vicissitudes of time, place, and circumstance, and I know this is something that scholars such as yourself have made a point of emphasizing and embracing over the past several years.

    This fact only becomes problematic for groups that refuse to acknowledge it, insofar as they try to appropriate an exclusive preserve to authentically held tradition, and I think the Salafi movement certainly constitutes one of these groups. Jazak Allah khayr again for the detailed write up.

    • Yasir Qadhi

      April 22, 2014 at 3:33 PM

      Jazak Allah Mobeen.

      And everything that you have written is what I firmly believe and have been, subtly at times and overtly at others, preaching and teaching, as you very well know :)

      • Maghazine

        December 26, 2014 at 8:31 AM

        Assalamualykum Shaikh,
        I very academic article not intended for a baby like me! Ahamdulillah!
        When you refer to the positive aspects, did you think about the Ahle Hadith movement in the Indian subcontinent? Would you kindly discuss (if its your choosing) the effects of the so-called “Wahhabi movement” on the independence movements of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh? Would you credit personalities like Ahmad Sirhindi and Haji Shariatullah?

  30. um rayan

    April 22, 2014 at 12:59 PM

    So if salafiya as a methodology is superior to any other one, the article is criticizing some misuse of the methodology. Is it the author’s position that this methodology in its “pure” form is to be favored and espoused over any other methodology? I have trouble understanding how being of the athari creed is different from using the salafi methodology? What does being of the athari creed entail specifically that is at odd with the salafi methodology? Note that I am talking about the methodology not particular uses that various groups make of it.

    • Hassan

      April 22, 2014 at 1:58 PM

      So from article, it seems that all groups that uses salafi label have common aqeedah of athari, but then they have many differences. Similarly a person who does not call himself anything (infact may not know even what is athari vs ashari), by default may just have athari aqeeda without knowing the name,

  31. mogreen88

    April 22, 2014 at 1:19 PM

    Asalam mu alaikum wr wb. Jazak Allahu khairan. Shaykh I would also like a copy of your dissertation, please forward me your email.

  32. Waleed Ahmed

    April 22, 2014 at 1:20 PM

    Salamalaykum shaykh yasir. Nice to see a wonderful article from you on MM after a long time!

    I agree with your analysis overall, but would add one criticism which personally affected me the most. This would be the lack of a coherent or canonical presentation of Fiqh. Most salafees I’ve encountered indulge in some degree of tarjeeh in fiqh as apposed to sticking to one school. I personally found this quite confusing as I could never get a straight answer to a simple question. I would get the ‘most correct opinion’ response and, as it turns out, the ‘most correct opinion’ is different according to different shaykhs. This left me quite confused and I only got clarity once I studied a proper matn according to one school and followed it in my daily practices.

    • Yasir Qadhi

      April 22, 2014 at 3:36 PM

      I wrote this for a comment above:
      “There is no such thing as ‘Salafi fiqh’. It is a myth propagated by the hard-core Jordanian branch of Salafism.

      The Salafi attitude towards fiqh has really damaged its reputation and opened up a can of worms that has still not been solved.

      No doubt, blind adherence to one of the four madhhabs has its issues, but it is patently clear that the dangers of opening up fiqh to anyone and everyone (‘salafi fiqh’) causes far more tangible damage and brings chaos to the people. Between the two, I would say ‘Stick to a madhhab’ any day.”

      And I’ll add here: what happened was the creation of multiple madhhabs (of al-Albani, or others of that background), and the presumption that an average student of knowledge was qualified to break away from agreed upon opinions.

      It is safer and better for an average Muslim to follow one of the accepted historic madhhabs. And this has been the standard methodology of the Ummah for most of its history.

      • Chaplain Zain

        April 24, 2014 at 11:53 AM

        Many of my college friends who used to listen to you but are now madkhalis or still identify with salafism would liek to disagree and will say you changed your opinion.

        But I am glad to finally know where YOU stand.

      • O H

        April 26, 2014 at 7:22 PM

        Assalamalaykum Shaykh

        I do agree with you regarding both extremes of blind following of a madhab and the danger of leaving opening up fiqh to anyone and everyone (‘salafi fiqh’). However I personally support the approach of ‘salafi’ scholars like Saalih al Uthaymeen, Salih al Munajjid, etc in not giving fatawa solely from a particular madhab which appeals to many people and appears to be a more comprehensive and more rounded approach. It’s not a perfect approach but it is perceived to not be as narrow as following one specific madhab. I am aware many of these scholars have studied a particular madhab (Hanbali for the salafi saudi scholars) and may have a slight tendency to lean towards it but it’s perceived to incorporate multiple schools of thought in a sense, not necessarily shunning all of the madhabs as some misunderstand. Obviously Taqleed is involved in both cases of a person following a madhab or following a salafi scholar they trust.

  33. Basel

    April 22, 2014 at 1:44 PM

    This is monumental. Arguably a prerequisite for authentic North American scholarship and strong genuine independent authority for the North American Muslim body. It’s a post-Salafi era.

    • Yasir Qadhi

      April 22, 2014 at 3:36 PM

      The article is meant to push us forward, yes.

  34. Siraaj

    April 22, 2014 at 1:54 PM

    Salaam alaykum Shaykh Yasir,

    Jazakallah khayr for writing up this paper, I think the community has been looking forward to a fair and objective presentation of this material for some time now, that recognizes both the good and the bad within the movement and humanizes all personalities involved. I believe another paper like this is in order about other influential movements in the community which covers both their good and their places for improvement.

    I continue to find the principles of remaining as close to the practice of the Prophet (SAW) and the Companions and the later generations what most resonates with me, as well the ability to continually critically evaluate what is stated from what has come from past scholars as well as present, not necessarily as a scholar would, but in terms of deciding eventually, as all people must do, what I will incorporate into my practice since, no matter how anyone frames it, even the layperson must make a choices eventually about who and what they will follow.

    Some questions for you:

    1. Do you find yourself more aligned with the sahwa strand in thought? Do you differ with them in any way?

    2. What are your thoughts about the place of AMJA within the continuum of salafi thought you’ve outlined as it relates to Western Muslim scholarship? Would you say this group of scholars more closely resemble the type of thought leader you see yourself to be now or in the future?

    3. Do you think there ought to be a mea culpa of sorts from Muslim teachers who led people previously down the path of avoiding certain groups and personalities and were harsh towards those personalities? I don’t mean owning up to the people maligned, but owning up to the students and hand-holding them through the thought process that brought about change?

    I ask because I find myself increasingly in the corner of laymuslims rather than muslim scholars or teachers because I find that they take the brunt of the stereotyped criticism of being shallow and without manners when it’s the case that they had teachers which took them down this path, teachers who may evolve and mature with time, but who have left behind them students who don’t understand how a person who passionately and stridently argued for one thing is now calling for it’s opposite. It’s something I see among our madinah brothers, quite a lot from our azhari brothers who seem to think differences of opinion are legitimate only when it’s convenient, and the same from our “theological cousins”, as you like to say ;)

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone take responsibility for these mistakes, only fingerpointing at followers.

    4. I do see a lot of “salafi” Muslims quietly stepping away from the label salafi and discarding the manners that are stereotypically associated with the group in favor of tazkiyyat an-nafs minus the eccentricities of the various tasawwuf movements. I think this is a positive development as well, and insha’Allah a part of the reform that needs to take place.

    Jazakallah khayr again for all that you’ve done and benefited us =)


    • Yasir Qadhi

      April 22, 2014 at 3:40 PM

      1) Yes…but they are obviously too Saudi-centric!

      2) AMJA has some great pros and cons…this is not the place to elaborate on them. I really wish that they were more English/Western friendly, and that Western Muslims were more aware of them.

      3) Yes. And I have been guilty of some of this in my earlier phases, and I believe it is essential that teachers acknowledge their mistakes as they move on.

      4) I agree!

  35. Tariq Ahmed

    April 22, 2014 at 1:56 PM

    Reading this article was beneficial as well as unsettling. May Allah make those who rejoice in the divisions of the Ummah repent for or rue their laughter.

    I pray your work will help heal misunderstandings and encourage self-scrutiny. I pray that one result will be an emphasis on self-improvement in Islam over criticism of anyone else. That said, I also pray for you that Allah helps you to forgive those among the Muslims who have been unjust to you, and to deal with them mercifully. May Allah forgive me, you, and all the Muslims.

  36. Abdullah

    April 22, 2014 at 2:37 PM

    Assalamu ‘alaykum Sh Yasir,

    Firstly, thank you for a balanced article on Salafism, which is a valuable contribution to the academic discussion on this movement.

    Secondly, I have a few questions which I hope you could shed some light on:

    1. Do you agree that the mindset that leads to quick and unjustified tabdee’ is the same as the mindset that leads to quick and unjustified takfeer. We see the followers of Rabee’ Al-Madkhali doing tabdee’ of practically everyone outside their narrow group, whereas we see takfeer from the likes of ISIS of other Syrian resistance groups (one of the excuses they used for takfeer was that one of the rebel groups “sat” with John McCain!).

    I feel that this tabdee’/takfeer mindset that afflicts the fringes of the Salafi movement actually at its core comes from parts of the Najdi da’wah. It is said that some of the scions of the Najdi da’wah made takfeer of the Ottomans, and Al-Maqdisi in his videos himself says that he studied the works of the Najdi scholars whilst in Madeenah. The fact that Al-Maqdisi is not a scholar or has any qualifications is altogether different matter, yet he bases his extreme brand of takfeer on the works of the Najdi da’wah with some justification.

    2. Ibn Taymiyyah (rahimahullah) is a giant among scholars whose virtue I’ve seen affirmed by Salafis and non-Salafis alike. Even those who disagree with him in points of theology duly respect him for this intellectually towering writings and his contributions to Islamic thought. I’m afraid the same cannot be said of Muhammad ibn Abdilwahhab (rahimahullah). Whilst the latter undoubtedly fought shirk and bid’ah, do you agree that the extreme tendencies in his movement alienated large sectors of the Ummah, who have used the false label “Wahhabi” to tar anyone who calls to tawheed.

    3. Sh Al-Albani rejected madhhabs but what we see in reality is that he has founded a madhhab himself, where his followers blindly follow his every opinion and engage in the same issues that they condemned the classical madhhabs and their followers for. The same extremism is rampant in the Ahl-e-Hadeeth movement in the subcontinent, to the point that they will fight among themselves over fiqhi issues. A friend relates how two groups of Salafis in India disgreed over moonsighting fataawa and the matter came to blows inside a masjid wallahul musta’aan.

    4. And finally, and this is a crucial point, since you yourself have disavowed the Salafi label, do you agree that the latter part of this Ummah cannot be reformed except by that which reformed the earlier part. I feel like there need to be major academic revisions carried out by sincere scholars affiliated with the movement, including explaining the mistakes in the Najdi scholars’ writings, mistakes in some of the works of Sayyid Qutb (rahimahullah) and a disavowal of the disease of tabdee’ and takfeer that tears communities apart. There is bid’ah and there is kufr but the application of these serious labels should be limited to senior scholars who get consensus on this, just like an Islamic court needs proof before pronouncing someone guilty and does not base its decisions on PDFs!

    • Yasir Qadhi

      April 22, 2014 at 3:48 PM

      Salam Abdullah. Some very wise points ma sha Allah.

      1) Yes, I agree 100 %. This ‘aberration’ actually stems from standard modern Salafi dynamics of being obsesses with categorizing other people based on arcane beliefs.

      2) Yes.

      3) True; by rejecting the madhhabs he and his Salafism were forced to found their own.

      4) Hmmm…this requires more elaboration It is a cliche with some truth to say ‘the latter part of the Ummah will not be corrected except how the earlier part was.’ It is true in terms of rituals and theology and spirituality. But what does that cliche mean when it comes to an actual path forward? Politics? Palestine and Syria and Kashmir? Colonialism? American foreign policy? Darwinism and hedonism? And on and on. At some point, Salafis need to realize that being salafi is more than just talking about issues the salaf talking about. Had the salaf been alive now, their discourse would be about modern issues.

  37. Abu Bilal (Swiss)

    April 22, 2014 at 2:52 PM

    In the beginning I would like to thank the author for this balanced article which is both, conclusive and very informative. As a student of knowledge who also studied at the prestigious Islamic University of Al-Madinah I would personally agree with most of the points mentioned in this essay. I particularly like the nuanced way of dealing with a very complex issue at hand and the reference to matters of tazkiyah.

    Certainly, the last couple of paragraphs may irritate a good number of fellow “salafi” students and du’at as it could be understood (if not read properly) as a blank endorsement of the “other” movements and groups. Hence it would have been helpful, in this respect, to further clarify the level of co-operation one should consider with fellow Muslims who may hold an intrinsically different creed or methodology (i.e. that working for the common good of the Muslim ummah, is not an option but a religious obligation; whilst at the same time, discussing and debating abstract issues still remains something which Muslim scholars, academics and students of knowledge should be engaged in, albeit whilst upholding Islamic adāb). To be fair, the author has elaborated on this issue in various talks and previous articles.

    Further, it would have been interesting to remark that the term “salaf” obviously predates Rashid Rida and was used in many classical Islamic texts. This fact was vaguely alluded to in the footnotes but should have, nevertheless, taken a more prominent description as it may have helped to clarify certain misconceptions many some practicing Muslims hold in that regard. It is true that Muslim scholar in the past have used the term “salaf” in order to refer to a methodology (i.e. how to follow the best of all generations in the way they have understood and applied the noble Qur’an and the sunnah) and not to define a particular group or sect. Nevertheless, I believe that whilst the student of knowledge is well aware of the term “salaf” others may need a more detailed linguistic and contextualized explanation of the term. In may humble opinion it would have completed this article and made it even more holistic. In the same way the author could have expanded on the term “athari” and explain that, ever since the formative period of Islam, many scholars who ascribed to the creed mentioned in the article have had a range of different denotations (e.g. At-Tāifah Al-Mansūrah, Ahlul-Ḥadīth, etc. but many of these terms have subsequently been high jacked). It is therefore vital that Muslims study the essence of creed and don’t lose sight of imān as an indispensable connecting factor between people pertaining to the same Islamic faith. Insofar, every attempt to label the highlighted pure creed with a “new” term (be it “orthodox” or other labels) will inevitably by misused and history repeats itself. It would be much more productive to academically demonstrate that the described creed and methodology was, in fact, the normative position of the early Muslim scholars and thence establish a productive dialogue with members of the Muslim community who may disagree with such a position.

    Finally, as an educator myself, I would like to point out that the original idea of establishing the madhāhib might have well been in order to establish a set pedagogical and academic curriculum to ease the learning of fiqh for the Muslim layman. Such is the job of most teachers and policymakers in education anyway and I would like to look at the Imāms of our ummah as our role-models in tarbiyyah and eructation. I personal believe that Muslims should start to look at (or choose) a particular “madhab” in order to follow a well-established curriculum in fiqh whilst being open-minded and receptive to other (established) opinions, especially if they seem closer to the way of the Prophet sall-Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam. In the end of the day we will all be held responsible for the decision we make in this world!

    I pray to Allah ta’ala to make us realize the truth and thus guide us on the straight path so we can follow it.

    • Yasir Qadhi

      April 22, 2014 at 4:08 PM


      Read some of my previous comments where I deal with some of your issues.

      The issue of cooperation with other groups is not as complicated as Salafis typically portray it. Every student of knowledge and da’i has the right to judge pros and cons, and decide accordingly. As I said, Islam does not in itself preach guilt by association.

      I agree with you about the necessity of pure creed. But just be careful that you don’t mix the forest for the trees: true iman transcends a list of bulleted points.

      Once again, thanks for your comments. BTW were you in Madinah at my time?

      • Abu Bilal (Swiss)

        April 22, 2014 at 4:21 PM

        We went together to some of the local shuyukh and I was among the “German group”. We met recently in the UK – Barak Allahu feek!

        • Yasir Qadhi

          April 22, 2014 at 8:16 PM

          Aah… I didn’t recognize your kunya. Yes of course. Keep in touch akhi!

  38. گنهگار

    April 22, 2014 at 3:01 PM

    Salaam Aleykum Shaykh Yasir Qadhi,

    In our University whenever there is a talk by a guest speaker/scholar during the Q/A time the sisters can not use the mic to ask questions but they are told to write their questions on the piece of paper and a brother will read it.

    I ask is this really Islamic?

    I read the Seerah of the Prophet (saw) and his Companions (ra) and Tabi’een women in their time would ask questions in the Masjid or in other places. The Question is are we more ‘religious’ than the early Muslims who knew more about the religion than us? Why are we acting more ‘pious’ and ‘religious’ than the Companions? Isn’t this going to extremes?

    Note: What I wrote above is not about any group because I don’t even know whether the bros who organize the events are Salafi or non-Salafi. I am just asking a question.

  39. Fatima

    April 22, 2014 at 3:18 PM

    Couldn’t agree with you more . Awesome job!

    • Yasir Qadhi

      April 22, 2014 at 7:51 PM

      Couldn’t agree with your comment more. Awesome comment!

  40. Abu Aadilaa Abdur Razzaq

    April 22, 2014 at 3:30 PM

    As-salaamu Alaikum brother Yasir, your conclusion of the article is in fact defeat to the purpose of being 1 ummah, how else do you think that Muslim will unite, by following diff madhab and not on the foot step of our salafs, subbhan-Allaah, grow up and do a proper historical research on when and where salaf begin, its not by Sheikh Rida, and come on ‘Salafism is a human method’, of course is a human method and so is all madhab and sects, however following the authentic salaf practices with their understanding is what salafee teaches. Your first page itself was so badly researched and documented that i skipped to read the rest and saw your conclusion, which gives an open hand to create more fitna. May Allaah correct your affairs and may he give you more emaan to understand our salaf.

    • Yasir Qadhi

      April 22, 2014 at 4:10 PM

      Well.. ameen to your duas, and may you as well be blessed with the same :)

  41. zahoor basha

    April 22, 2014 at 3:37 PM

    Assalamualaikum wa rahmatullahi wabarakatuhu
    This zahoor basha often writes queries to you , I hope many such queries has come to especially at this era of internet and technology it is difficult for a working individual to access knowedge just 1/2 hour Friday which he is busy with work schedule in the back of his mind.Indivdual like me who don’t have time to sit with scholar neither the scholars are like that in the east who teach us outside the 5 daily prayers.We learn a lot when we come to Saudi Arabia about aqeeda and basic practice of reliegions and from the books of standard publiations like darusalaam and iiph. But then in our free time in home we learn islam from internet. I hear lot of speeches and then come across your seerah which is very beneficial to our ummah you will not imagine inshallah what Ajar ALLAH will give you with sadaqa of knowledge you give people like us our imaan gets boost often my mind shakes feeling I am in that century. Alhamdirullah then we listen to other scholars like mufti menk good talking about present evil problems and scholar which affect the heart and then we strenght our knowledge in dawah with zakir bhai and we have nouman who explain some details of language of Arabic and often it goes above the head and sometime understandable and then we come across scholars of ahlul hadith of india teaching the importance of hadith and what I learn nowadays from site who are first category of pro government scholars put a long list of deviants including your name, zakir , dr israar who ideas of reforming islam and global thinking was very good disputed because some issue contradict with aqeedah that is correct what they say and then they carry on not to listen at all which is very difficult to live like that.i was totally confused when they criticize you on some matters of your thinking cannot able to understand and their only doing the job of criticizing nothing they have done to spread islam in India and third world country only people who work there will have acces to such knowledge. They criticize peace tv I asked why did u not brought before one such do they don’t have money to open a channel there are late and backward in present muslim problems in the world as u correctly pinpointed.At last I feel we can take the creed and practice of worship on the pillars of islam can be taken and other points are diversified in different scholars of around the globe each having some speciality we can take help of that and not only sticking everything to what they say-Jazhakhallah kahiran u have said what a common man can understand also.

  42. Saiful Islam

    April 22, 2014 at 4:15 PM

    According to the Asharites, Tafweed is the mainstream Sunni position when it comes to the attributes of God.

    • Yasir Qadhi

      April 22, 2014 at 4:17 PM

      You are absolutely correct….’according to Asharites’.

      Whether that assessment actually lives up to reality is another question :)

  43. Behar

    April 22, 2014 at 5:05 PM

    Salaam Alaykum,
    Why do you consider Takfeerees & Jihadists to be among salafis knowing that All of the shayks you mentioned above refuted them: Albanee, Bin Bazi, Uthaymin, Abdul Muhsin Al Abadi?
    Are they not from groups of Haawaareej?

    • Yasir Qadhi

      April 22, 2014 at 7:23 PM

      Who gets to decide? You? Or them?

      As I wrote, each of the sub-sects views itself and itself alone as being ‘the correct Salafi group’. The group you criticized would view themselves as being ‘the correct Salafi group’. And you as well view yourself in the same way. Precisely my point.

      • Ismail Kamdar

        April 22, 2014 at 11:56 PM

        Wa Alaikum Salaam

        I can add to this that 90% of the Takfeeris and Jihadists I interact with identify themselves as Salafi so listing them as a sub-sect of Salafism is quite legit.

      • Behar

        April 23, 2014 at 4:26 AM

        Do you know any sect that don’t consider themselves as not calling in the methodology of salafusalih?
        The point that i’m trying to emphasise is that, when you proceed to explain the positive aspect of the Salafis, one might think that you see All of them as salafis, including Hawarij; and all of them have good/bad things.
        now another question; when in the history of islam Umah benefited from hawarij? it is not one of their misbeliefs that they don’t try understand the ayas of quran as sahabas understod? hence they deviated?
        this is definition of salafism as you explained

        Also if you listen to some tapes of Sheikh Albanee (even in albanian, in my mothers language) you’ll see that he expresses love for Everyone that tries to benefit ummah including Hasan Al Bana, Said Qutbi, even if he does not agree with their manhaj and he criticised Rabi al Madkhali for his book on Said Qutbi.

        I think that Sheikh Albanee was an ahlu sunnah doesn’t matter if he considered himself as salfi or not, and in his time happend things that never happend before but he trated those things with wisdom. But as you said none is free from error, saying this, yet you speak alot for errors of past that schoolars made.

  44. Abu Yunus

    April 22, 2014 at 5:09 PM

    The article, despite attempting to assess Salafiyyah, is still devoid of any reference to many of the significant observations which have be leveled against Dr Yasir Qadhi by adherents of the Salafi tradition.

    There have been a number of valid criticisms against Dr Qadhi’s theories (such as his void assertion that the modern Salafi scholars “disorientated” the view of Ibn Taymiyyah in regards to ruling by other than what Allah has revealed and thus invented istihlal) yet these are all treated with either academic snobbery or a flagrant intellectual denial. For one operating in the field of academia Dr Qadhi has to take criticisms seriously and dispassionately otherwise his credibility as an impartial academic will always be questioned by those of the Salafi tradition.

    Let us take the issue of Istihlal, which Dr Qadhi has asserted was an invention and concoction of ‘the modern salafi scholars’ and nothing to do with Ibn Taymiyyah. The concept of istihlal is replete within the writings of Shaykh ul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah, yet Dr Qadhi, instead of having the academic impartiality to rethink his 2009 paper, he has not even discussed it and neatly swept the matter under the carpet.

    Moreover, Dr Qadhi has been criticised for his apparent disgust of, and antipathy towards, Imam al-Albani and also, during his time at Madeenah University, asserting that Albani had “mistakes in the issue of eemaan”. This is to the extent that Dr Qadhi even holds, as noted in the poorly researched article above, that Imam al-Albani does not even hold actions to be from eemaan?! This is a blatant distortion of the creed of Imam al-Albani for which Qadhi provides no evidence for from the writings of Imam al-Albani whatsoever. This is an inappropriate method for an academic.

    Here are some matters regarding Imam al-Albani and the issue of eemaan, which Dr Yasir Qadhi would do well to ponder on:

    According to Imam al-Albani: eemaan is statement, action and belief. Righteous actions are from the reality of eemaan. See adh-Dhib ul-Ahmad, pp.23-33. Also according to Imam al-Albani: Actions are a foundational pillar of eemaan. See Muqaddimah Sharh ul-’Aqeedah at-Tahawiyyah, p.58. According to Imam al-Albani: Kufr can be with the tongue, heart and limbs. It is committed via takdheeb (denial), juhood (rejection), ’inaad (arrogance), nifaaq (hypocrisy), I’raad (turning away) and shakk (doubt). See at-Tahreer li-Masaa’il it-Takfeer and also as-Silsilah as-Saheehah, vol.7, p.134.

    According to Imam al-Albani: Ruling by other than what Allaah has revealed is kufr however it could either be minor kufr which does not expel the doer out of the religion (meaning it is fisq) if it is done as an action; or it could be major kufr which expels one from the religion when one makes it lawful with his heart and the likes. See at-Tahdheer min Fitnat-Takfeer and Silsilah as-Saheehah, vol.7, p.134.

    Therefore, Imam al-Albani (rahimahullah) accurately noted that the difference between Ahl us-Sunnah and the Murji’at ul-Fuquhaa is real, it is neither imaginary nor hypothetical. See Sharh ’Aqeedat ut-Tahawiyyah, pp.62-3.

    How Dr Yasir Qadhi can deny all of this, not only reeks of intellectual denial and academic snobbery, but is also unbecoming on one who is operating in the field of academia, this is not a matter in which Dr Qadhi can seriously expect people to follow what he says uncritically.

    It is for this reason that the criticisms leveled against some of the theories of Dr Qadhi are tangible and very serious, such as what has been documented here for instance:

    denial of them does not do Qadhi any favours.

    • Yasir Qadhi

      April 22, 2014 at 7:31 PM

      Mr ‘Abu Yunus’.

      What reeks of intellectual arrogance and cowardice is the fact that you choose to attack me and single me out as if I am the one propagating such views. Why not take your anger out on the ‘kibar’ of the Kingdom who actually were the ones who went back and forth with al-Albani and Halabi et. al. on these issues? I was in Saudi in the late 90’s as a student in Madinah, and we followed each fatwa back and forth in explicit detail.

      At this stage of my life, I truly cannot be bothered to care about this issue enough to write about it in detail. Nonetheless, the position that I wrote above and which you so vehemently disagree with is the analysis of a whole cadre of Saudi ‘kibar’, from the current Mufti to Bakr Abu Zayd and so many others whom you would otherwise look up to. Don’t be selective in your anger and channel it only at me, go ahead and smear all of them as well, so as to be consistent.

      I might have my disagreements with the ‘kibar’, but I also recognize that they know Athari theology better than the Jordanian branch ever did. Shaykh al-Albani is someone whom I admire greatly (regardless of what you say) but he was human and had his errors, and theology was not his speciality. Clearly, he contradicted himself in a number of statements regarding this issue and he didn’t understand Ibn Taymiyya’s position. This is not *just* my analysis, this is the analysis of my own theology teachers at Madinah (in the Masters program!) and of the ‘Kibar’ of the Kingdom.

      In any case, this is all I will write about this issue, as the arguments for this are well-known and documented for those who care about this issue.

      • Abu Yunus

        April 23, 2014 at 1:53 AM

        Again, utter sidetracking of the core issue. Your erroneous argument which you presented in your 2009 paper is again swept under the carpet and not addressed.

        The reason why you, Dr Qadhi, have been “singled-out”, as you argue, is not due to any personal agenda against yourself which is another strategy which is used by people in order to deflect valid criticisms.

        Rather Dr Qadhi, we have not seen the sources which support what you assert. Moreover we have not yet observed the citations wherein Shaykh Bakr Abu Zayd or the current Mufti of Saudi Arabia Shaykh ABdulAzeez Aal Shaykh have ever asserted what you proposed in your 2009 paper and in your statement above, namely:
        a. That Albani, Bin Baz and Uthaymeen emphasised Istihlal in the issue of ruling by other than God’s law and that this is contrary to the stance of Ibn Taymiyyah in the issue

        b. That Imam al-Albani had such errors in eemaan to render him as not even deeming actions to be from eemaan (!?).

        c. That Ibn Taymiyyah did not discuss istihlal in regards to the matter of ruing by other than God’s law

        The only one to make such venomous accusations against Albani, which may indicate your actual academic sources, was Safar al-Hawali. If this is your main citation for your theories about Imam al-Albani, and for your promotion that Albani was from the Murji’ah (another of the risible positions held by Dr Qadhi for which he has received justified critique) you would do well to clearly state that instead of trying to impute the Mufti Abdul’Azeez Ali Shaykh to that position.

        For an academic, not to mention one who is supposedly specialised in Islamic theology, Dr Qadhi is often lax in regards to source-referencing, and has not even addressed the Istihlal error which you asserted in 2009 at the University of Edinburgh. It would be the honorable thing to merely admit that what you hypothesised is absolutely incorrect.

        • Mohammad

          April 25, 2014 at 11:06 PM

          I was just following some of Dr. Qadhi’s responses in this blog. Not sure what message he actually tried to convey by making these contradictory comments in the very same blog.

          “You will find al-Albani, and many modern Salafis, saying this” (I am a Salafi)

          “In fact al-Albani has comments about him that he wasn’t fully salafi because he clung to a madhhab.”

          Moreover, he has strongly agreed to the commentators here who said that al-Albani created (unconsciously) a new ‘madhhab’ (his blind followers) by not following one of the traditional madhhabs. It seems to me that he’s using al-Albani for both approving and disapproving his current stance. Honestly, I couldn’t believe when I heard one of the Salafi preachers called him a ‘liar’. After reading this article as well as his double-faced responses to the reader’s comments, I have started to believe so.

    • Hassan

      April 22, 2014 at 9:35 PM

      May I ask the obsession of PDF format? I am not commenting on matter you described, I am just curious on excessive usage of PDF. I think HTML5 can be a good moving forward, it can be rendered easily on desktops/laptops and smart devices alike.

      • themodernmuslimman

        April 22, 2014 at 10:09 PM

        HTML5 is off the manhaj brother

      • Mahmud

        April 22, 2014 at 11:54 PM

        They are known for their PDF refutations and so that is the significance. It seems like they make refuting other Muslims 90% of their deen.

      • Imran Kokar

        April 23, 2014 at 6:54 AM

        Is that all you have to say, “obsession of PDF”?! Seriously! The truth is the truth. Let that be your criterion, not whether it’s published as a PDF or not.

      • salafimanhajadmin

        April 23, 2014 at 8:30 AM

        It’s my website. I have no “obsession” with PDF’s. We publish many PDFs for free, so this is to try and prevent people from easily copying the work and making a profit by selling it and re-branding it with their own details.

        Sorry if it’s an inconvenience for anyone.

        If enough people complain, I will consider making text only articles, in-sha Allah.

  45. Sarah

    April 22, 2014 at 6:25 PM

    Assalamu alaykum!

    I am a young Muslim active on some social media and blogging sites such as Tumblr – and I was extremely shocked when I found that the ‘madkhali’ group of Salafis are very much ‘coming back to life’. They are quite influential over convert Muslims, or those who do not want to adhere to ‘blind’ Islam; basically, those who rely on the Internet for their learning due to not having reliable scholars or family members to rely on. What ended up warning me away from them was that I realized that they and those who hate Islam seem agree beautifully on what our religion is!

    I would love if you could clarify some of the points that they use as a form of ‘intellectual terrorism’ to scare people into joining them. For example, jarh wa ta3deel, and their repeated insistence that you cannot in any way, shape, or form learn from someone who has made a ‘problematic’ statement. For people who have access to Islamic knowledge, points such as ‘We distinguish between an incorrect statement, and the person who makes it’ would obviously warn away from such groups, and allow a person to understand the context of many scholarly statements. But to those who are new and learning, these online-madkhalis can be damning!


    • Yasir Qadhi

      April 22, 2014 at 6:59 PM

      Salam Sr. Sarah,

      I have first-hand experience with Madkhalis for the last 15 years. My experiences with them have shown me one simple fact: those with sincerity and intelligence amongst them eventually leave that understanding and move on to that which is more beneficial to the Ummah.

      So…you continue being productive and useful to the Ummah, and always, always be better than them in your manners and in your sincerity. As I said, those who are sincere and intelligent will move on. Those who are not sincere … well, they have bigger problems than this. And those who are not intelligent, inshaAllah Allah will forgive them for them misguided overzealousness.

      • Mahmud

        April 22, 2014 at 11:47 PM

        “So…you continue being productive and useful to the Ummah, and always, always be better than them in your manners and in your sincerity. As I said, those who are sincere and intelligent will move on. Those who are not sincere … well, they have bigger problems than this. And those who are not intelligent, inshaAllah Allah will forgive them for them misguided overzealousness.”

        JazzakAllahu khair

        If we know what we are dealing with, we are better equipped to handle the situation.

    • O H

      May 2, 2014 at 4:24 PM

      Madhkhalis have by far caused the biggest dent to the image of modern salafiyyah so much so that people assume Salafis=Madhkhalis. A clear distinction should be made between them so as to not harm those trying to adhere to the path of the salaf/righteous predecessors or those who are making these baseless accusations or incorrectly assuming such, hence being put off from salafi scholars upon the haqq.

      The Ummah has much to gain from the works of giants such as Ibn Baaz, Ibn Uthaymeen, Abdullah Ibn Jibreen, Saalih al Fawzaan who have vast knowledge of the Qur’an & Sunnah and strict adherence to it in their conduct and books/verdicts. A lot of credit goes to the salafi scholars who have taught Shaykh Yasir Qadhi and other western based Shuyookh enabling them to share the knowledge among the Muslims in the West. We owe them respect and fair judgement. Whatever criticisms & issues there are of modern day salafiyyah are dwarfed by the issues relating to scholars from Al Azhar (Egypt),Deobandi school of thought, Brelvies etc who have far more negative issues, both in terms of number and severity. I rather learn from a close minded salafi with proper ilm of aqeedah than a well mannered Deobandi scholar with an aqeedah understanding corrupted with bidah and shirk. Ideally I would learn from someone like the late Shaykh Saalih Ibn Uthaymeen, who in my opinion, was both knowledgeable and fair in his verdicts and views.

      Note: By the way I am not saying all deobandis hold views which may constitute shirk but a significant section of them do as per my experience as a person from a subcontinent background.

  46. Maryam

    April 22, 2014 at 6:54 PM

    Interesting article, but I personally have problems with most of the cons you mentioned.
    My question is, alhamdulilah you still claim to adhere to the athari creed (which in my opinion is the same as the Ahlu hadith or what we call salafiyah today), but what was disturbing is seeing you on youtube stand next to a shia that insult Uthman in his old lectures. Was that a mistake?,and what are your limitations in terms of associating with individuals that are known innovators and defenders of their innovations?(as someone who still claims to follow the salaf of this ummah)

    • Yasir Qadhi

      April 22, 2014 at 8:23 PM

      I wonder if you actually read the article carefully?

      This is actually one of my main criticisms of the movement: the ‘guilt-by-association’ syndrome that the movement instills.

      I have never supported Shi’ism or Shi’ite theology. I find it unpalatable and insulting. But merely by standing on a public stage, in a public forum with a large group of clerics, one of whom is Shi’ite is in no way, fashion or form endorsing Shi’ite theology. The whole notion of ‘associating with deviants’ needs to be re-looked at and re-taught in light of…wait for it… the Quran and Sunnah, and not JUST in light of specific statements of the salaf themselves.

      You have every right to disagree with me ‘standing next to’ someone whom you disapprove of, but your opinion and stance is not obligatory on me to follow, and even if you are correct, my opinion doesn’t make me an innovator. I might find there to be a specific benefit in ‘standing next to’ someone (even a non-Muslim!) for a greater need of the Ummah. Merely standing next to, or even cooperating on one project, or multiple projects, does not in itself imply tacit approval. What would be actual deviation is (god forbid) for someone to say that cursing the Companions is permissible or laudatory. I believe that cursing the Companions is a sign of hypocrisy; yet, at times and in certain places, I will indeed stand next to someone who does so, even as I hate the theology that this person is propagating. The Prophet salla Allah alayhi wa sallam cooperated with pagans for the greater good of the Ummah; surely Muslims of other sects are more worthy of such cooperation if the need calls for it?

      Again, this mindset is one of my main criticisms of the movement.

      • Nafs Zakiya

        May 13, 2014 at 10:41 PM

        Salam, as a western Muslim it has been quite a joy to to witness your continued maturation of understanding–or to put it succinctly–your hikma. I do not mean this condescendingly, but out of respect

        One small note when speaking of shi’ism, as a scholar I’d request you be a bit more precise, it is 12vrs or Jaafari who engage in cursing, but others such as Zaidiya do not. I realize this seems like splitting hairs, but I feel it may be helpful for others to know this.

        Apologies in advance for giving your critics more fuel to denounce you by having a follower of Zaidiya say some kind words :-)

      • b.s

        June 26, 2016 at 7:55 AM

        And do not incline towards the wrong doers lest the fire touches you.(Al Quran )

  47. Imran Kokar

    April 22, 2014 at 6:57 PM

    Yasir, why are you being selective in what you allow and what you delete. Why are you deleting the detailed responses left by Salafis? Fine. Be prepared for a detailed response published very soon insha’Allaah.

    • Yasir Qadhi

      April 22, 2014 at 7:04 PM

      As far as I know no comments are being deleted, but I will check and make sure that is not happening.

      As for refutations…make sure it is in PDF so that you are still ‘on the manhaj’ ;)


  48. Jakub Maciagowski

    April 22, 2014 at 7:07 PM

    Assalaamu ‘alaykum. I haven’t read it yet, but I am excited and will print it insha’Allah.
    In my view salafies imitate jews in some ways (I don’t mean all of them!) :
    1. They appear to always look for the most literal interpretations (in my belief sometimes less literal and more rational posiotions in fiqh are better) and this leads to strickness and hardships.
    2. They don’t touch statements of previous scholars that they choose for themselves and are opposed to do that. In my belief sometimes statements of scholars could be slightly wrong or could be right but not completely right for a different time and place, that’s why I see no problem in modifying or expanding them – if there is a need and only if it’s done with sincerity.
    3. They isolate themselves from others and try to raise themselves above others. And one can do this by constantly attacking and insulting others or by constantly praising their own group and then just adding that they are the ones who belong to it.
    4. Some of them resemble even in their appearance…
    May Allaah the Most High guide them and all of us here and save us from the fire. ameen.

    • Jakub Maciagowski

      April 22, 2014 at 7:51 PM

      There is an interesting PDF available on the topic of the saved sect:

      • Jakub Maciagowski

        April 23, 2014 at 5:04 PM

        hehe, it’s funny how many dislikes I got. In point 4 I mean their behavior and appearance bear resemblance… and I don’t mean the beard itself because that is a great command from our Prophet (may peace and blessings be upon him)

  49. jay

    April 22, 2014 at 7:25 PM

    Yasir, whatever praise for the salafis you feel you have portrayed doesn’t really matter at the end cause the theme of this article is criticism for salafis. Somehow, you’ve succeeded in creating waswas in the hearts of most people regarding the salafis, and the next time a salafi would advise such persons to for example, ask about the authenticity of hadiths, that advice and whatever else advice they give wouldn’t be taken so easily. Your saying you left the salafi movement at the end comes down to indirectly asking people to do same. And as you are knowledgeable enough to take some of their creed and methodology/theology which you see as justified, know that not everyone would understand that and take what’s good from them. Muslims make mistakes, that shouldn’t make people leave islam. Salifis are fallible, what they call to isn’t. They might have left some aspects lacking, but saying their views on the importance of proper understanding of Tawheed or where Allah is or aqeedah is over exaggerated is just bad. “Sects are parts and parcel of Islaam, and the one who denies that is deeply wallowing in Ignorance, Didn’t the Rasul Sallallaahu ‘alayh wa Salaam say ” The Jews and Christians have decided their religion into 72 Sects and you Muslims will divide yours into 73, but all these go to Jahannam except one”(Saheeh Bukhari)”. May Allah guide you and us brother. Maybe next you’ll take grave worshippers and people that ask help from their Shaykhs and say Glory be to those Shaykhs as your brothers all in the name of love and unity. Please next time don’t generalise your western world muslim challenges as that of the entire Ummah, where I come from, problems amongst the muslim youths and Ummah here don’t arise from temptations of secularism and materialism, the hearts and general beliefs of people are shaped by their aqeedah, manhaj n understanding of tawheed which you consider trivial. Bever underestimate the powers of thoughts or words, be more careful with them.

    • Asdren Zajmi

      April 23, 2014 at 8:05 AM

      How can you claim yourself to be from the followers of salaf who did not debate neither call for good and prevent from the evil under fake names?

  50. Haarith

    April 22, 2014 at 7:48 PM

    Salam ‘alaykum wa rahmatullah

    Thank you for this article, which has been written in lucid and engaging manner.

    If I then may advance a few brief questions for your attention please:

    1) it was stated in the article that salafism was promoted and popularised by Shk. Albani, and thereafter by the Nejdi counterparts.

    I am curious, how you came to this conclusion – and if we have any *academic* references to substantiate this claim? If so if you could furnish us with it, and may Allah reward you.

    2) Is it not the case that some, at the head of the movement, ironically, did not promote it as a group but with a more encompassing and indeed emancipating outlook?

    I am thinking of the likes of Shk B. ‘Uthaymin – who herein said that the ‘saved sect’ is not the Salafi sect – though they may be the closest in doctrine, but embracing the overarching way of the earliest generations in terms of statement, deeds, piety and conduct. Presumably what you would in general terms agree with fully today?

    3) Following on from #2) above:

    Given we ought to accept certain sizeable sections of the salafi movement actually agree already with what has preceded in the paper, would you thus agree that factually there may be little/no difference in methodology between yourself and a sizeable portion of salafis almost letter-for-letter, even after your ‘exiting’ from salafism?

    4) In terms of reforming salafism, would you accept that doing so from within the movement would usually be expedient?

    5) Lastly, in your experience from days in the Islamic University of Medina – a predominantly Salafi university, instrumental in promulgation of salafi teachings – was you experience that teachers and lecturers from other continents and countries were brought over to the University to lecture in their given field of expertise?

    It seems in the article the implication is that scholarship was limited to one country.

    As a follow on from this, were this to be accepted for the sake of argument, that this is the case, then would you agree that at least from the point of scholars within a given country, it is fairly natural to sign post other students to scholars whom one is familiar with – who in a time of little internet access, is more likely than not to be local, rather than remote? This seems particular instinctive when it comes to recommending a scholar to one’s students for tarbiyyah (holistic Islamic development and nurturing).

    My apologies for the length of this communique and look forward to hearing your thoughts.

    Jazakum Allah khayran


    • Yasir Qadhi

      April 22, 2014 at 8:42 PM

      1) I am not aware of any academic references; however, the Najdi Dawah did not call itself ‘Salafi’ for the bulk of its existence. It is historically undeniable that the term was introduced by Rida, adopted by Albani, and then propagated by the Najdis as well. I would be interested if you can find evidence to the contrary!

      2) Yes. I had the great honor and privilege of sitting at the feet of Sh Ibn Uthaymeen the summer before he passed away, during his intensive summer program. I feel his understanding of ‘Salafism’ is far more in line with this article’s!

      3) To a certain extent, yes.

      4) For some. Not for me; as I said, I feel more comfortable concentrating on the broader Ummah. This article, while no doubt will cause some reform (insha Allah) is not meant to do that directly.

      5) I studied with over one hundred scholars at the University during my ten years there. Of these, exactly two were non-Saudis; Egyptians to be precise. One was an Indian naturalized-Saudi (Sh. Adhami). I also studied with a few outside the University – some of them were non -Saudis (Sh. Safi al-Rahman al-Mubarakfuri, for example). But by and large, the entire University during my time was Saudi, and from what I understand still predominantly remains so. This was not the case throughout the 60s, 70s, and 80s.

  51. Haarith

    April 22, 2014 at 8:39 PM

    To add to the above, therefore: within the Western context, to what extent would you say the same holds true of Salafi *scholarship* with reference to not seeking to address issues relevant to the day?

  52. p4rv3zkh4n

    April 22, 2014 at 8:39 PM

    Salam Sheikh Yasir Qadhi.

    Thank you for the informative article about Salafis.

    Is it possible for you or another Scholar to type an article about deobandis and barelvis?

    Since my family is from bangladesh, I want to know more about these two “groups”.


    • Hassan

      April 23, 2014 at 11:46 AM

      This is one disagreement I have with muslimmatters in general, they will not criticize anyone other than salafis for sake of unity of ummah etc.

      Of course Sh. Yasir is more aware of salafis, so he could critique them. But you will not get any article on any other movement from anyone on muslimmatters. You will only hear nice things about them.

      • Umm.Esa

        April 23, 2014 at 10:50 PM

        I think enough of PDFs are available critiquing other groups :)

        • Hassan

          April 24, 2014 at 8:31 AM

          Enough of salafi criticism is available over the internet as well, question is will muslimmatters single out salafis for criticism or they will have similar academic level article on other groups. I doubt though.

      • Amad

        April 24, 2014 at 8:55 AM

        Charity starts from home :)

        • Hassan

          April 24, 2014 at 10:29 PM

          What home? this is muslimmatters not salafimatters (as someone said many years ago). BTW it is interesting that you have articles in muslimmatters by deobandis and sufis (scholar level people who admit to being one), while you do not have any articles from people who claim to be salafis. It seems they are being kicked out from sunni or muslim umbrella.

      • p4rv3zkh4n

        November 21, 2014 at 5:40 PM

      • Khalil al-Puerto Rikani

        August 2, 2016 at 5:05 PM

        Bro. Hassan,

        Thank you are stating this. I have found this to be the case with many camps of Muslim in the USA that call for unity. It seems that they are aways saying how we should be united and not criticize other Muslims. However, when it comes to Salafis it is open session and they are always criticism. This to me smells like a type of partisanship of the very type that these groups claim to be staying away from. SubhanAllah.

  53. Shahnawaz Baig

    April 22, 2014 at 9:09 PM

    Assallamu Alaikum ya Shiekh. JazaKAllah Khairun for this brilliant investigative and academic article on the evolution and current status of “Salafism” – Who’s Who and What is What and most importantly How did we come to this. I feel an immense form of brotherhood when I read your thought-provoking journey and how you arrived in your understanding through honesty, truth and fair justice – which I feel is a much bigger character trait than be smitten by being scholarly or philosophical about things. I understand that it would’ve been impossible to ask more of you as a contributing element to this article but as I was reaching the end I was gasping in anticipation that perhaps my “Dream” question is about to be answered. Wallahi, I would have loved and appreciated you and the article even more (for the sake of Allah) IF I had just a few more specifics spelled out. Although my knowledge was increased many folds Alhumdullilah of things which were a bit hazy and concepts/information where I was confused about. I understand and appreciate that perhaps there could be some Hikma’h of you withholding the “Creme de le Creme” Specifics (which I so much desired). A Wisdom which I cannot presently see.

    Whilst growing up when any Muslim gathers “Shao’or” – Consciousness of his / her deen – they are told to follow the Qura’an and Sunn’ah and implement the teachings in their daily lives and live by it. There have been many interpretations of the Qura’an in many Languages and perhaps many authentic Ahadeeth do provide an excellent interpretation or the best examples on how to implement that particular directive in the Qura’an. But where things are not that clear and when a practice or a ritual comes under questioning, we find conflicting interpretations (extracted wisdom) which seems to condone or condemn a practice, ritual, obedience, an action which are sometimes done with vested interests and sometimes regardless of the outcomes – politically, economically, egotistically – simply honestly. But Behold! These are carried out by Scholars who again proclaim to be on the right Manhaj. I say this because I haven’t met any scholar yet, who doesn’t proclaim so, or isn’t more confident of where he / she is heading / following.

    But for a Layman Muslim like me, the scholarly discussion about the existence of “Schisms” isn’t as important as the outstanding Question, which is, When we know that the Middle path of moderation needs to be applied – that we need to gain our knowledge from those scholars who are on the middle path, but how does one identify them? In Essence How much Middle is Middle anyway. What I am genuinely trying to ascertain is what if we, the layman Muslims (not the scholars) get it wrong in our selection process? And if we ask a Scholar – he definitely would invite us to what he understands in the best group or sect that is on the Middle and Moderate path based on his / her research. Is it even possible to clearly disembark the norm of being generalistic and specify exactly who today are the moderate and correct Scholars belonging to a certain methodology or a Tanzeem / group / sect of this day and age – where their internal differences of opinions are dwindling between the definition of “Schisms” or even worse their actual manifestations – Looking at this article, I cannot escape from the idea that it was a Minor difference of Opinion and then it’s gradual expounding (thanks to Shayta’n) that has led to the current state of dissensions that we find ourselves in today.

    This was my “Dream” question- about understanding those correct moderate Muslims and scholars of this day and age (constituting that sect, group, manhaj)- how do I identify them- who are they – what are they- How are they – where are they- and then knowing I am sure without causing any Fitna. Because this would make it so much easier for Muslims like me to unite and follow that one banner – Maybe unrealistic, romantic, naive, fairy-tale thinking (as the ultra-liberals and the ultra-orthodox would say) and not very scholarly of me or perhaps it is just too late in the day for Muslims where we need to simply have that patience and perseverance where we rely on our un-scholarly senses which Allah (swt) has given us to chose the best from that talk, baya’n, literary work, tafsir, article that scholar or sect or group or Manhaj has given. But then again, how do we know if we are even extracting the best?

    JazaKAllah Khair,Shk Yasir Qadhi (or anyone else)- if you do manage to find time in reading this comment this far. Please do a sequel to this article where there is some connection of dot’s, some coming together of art and science to identify if you are unable to specifically mention names, a gist of your Thumb-rules approach in the identification process, a gist of your own thought-process in your own journey, which still is on-going, but Alhumdullillah has reached a much more mature state of better realization of this wonderful Deen of Islam. I believe that our success in being good Muslims and having a fighting chance against the injustices and atrocities of this world, unleashed upon us, lies in a united Ummah which struggles with this question. I sincerely hope you understood my distressful question because Wallahi I must confess that I have fallen short of clearly articulating it (but it is the best I can do) and I sincerely hope that you will oblige, someday pretty soon, Insha-Allah!

    May Allah (swt) always keeps inspiring you to guide us correctly to the best of your abilities and May HE accepts our deeds and intentions and forgives our shortcomings- Ameen

  54. Shameen Taj

    April 22, 2014 at 10:58 PM

    Dear Shayk Yasir Qadhi
    Thanks for the immense knowledge of the article at correct time. After reading the article and comments below feel happy and pity.You have already said the Aqeeda and Pros of Saudi Salfism is enough to prove what you believe. Now the ummah is required of action there is no voice of ummah we are like scum in the sea.This the time of Technology and information everyone understand the creed of Salafi Saudi is authentic but in the actions there are backward feeling pain that the ummah is not united.Even there is no khilafah for which we all work for including Qadhi I think but to establish that atleast we should unite to form a union to raise our voices to the goverments when our muslim brother are hurt or when some calamity happens.We muslim should have a body of club in every city and country and then all together should raise the voice for any human injusctice today what I see the top clerics may pass on the road and if someone urine on the road he will not advice them also after he finish that please don’t do here but he thinks his job is over if he has refuted a scholar and wrote a big artice what a normal individual will not understand also common what this U have made ISLAM as something theory and not practical.
    Jazhakhallahu khairan –

  55. Pingback: On Salafi Islam | Dr. Yasir Qadhi | | Follow the quran

  56. Isa

    April 23, 2014 at 2:15 AM

    The Asharis (of today) often maintain that there are some differences between Salafi and Athari aqidah. For example, they will endorse the aqidah texts of Ibn Quddamah (as authentic Athari aqidah) but not accept the aqidah texts of Ibn Tayymiyyah (who will be likened to Salafi aqidah). Any thought on that dear shaykh?

    • Yasir Qadhi

      April 23, 2014 at 12:52 PM

      I have a lot to say on this…but this is not the article to comment on intra-Athari disputes. Very succinctly: there is a narrow spectrum of opinion within the Athari creed. Ibn Qudama is ‘center-right’, not quite on one extreme. Perhaps Ibn al-Jawzi would represent that extreme. On the other extreme you have Abu Ya’la, and one shade less than him Ibn Khuzayma. Ibn Taymiyya is center but different, as he explains what his centrist position is in a manner that is unprecedented.

      Bottom line: to cling to one Hanbalite and ignore all other Athari specialists isn’t very academic.

      • Isa

        April 23, 2014 at 10:58 PM

        Thank you Dr. Qadhi. I look forward to reading that article one day insha Allah.

      • p4rv3zkh4n

        May 1, 2014 at 7:34 PM

        Salam Sheikh Yasir Qadhi,

        Is it possible for you to explain briefly the difference between ibn jawzi and abu ya’la ‘s creed?

        since you mentioned the word “extreme” and “centre” within the athari creed.

        thank you

  57. The Salafi Feminist

    April 23, 2014 at 2:28 AM

    I would venture to say that one common issue amongst *many* Salafis is the lack of recognition regarding the importance of social work and grassroots activism… not merely holding duroos or teaching the masses about Tawheed, but in addressing social issues in a wise and relevant manner that still adheres to the Qur’an and Sunnah.

    So much time is spent on theology, fiqh, and politics that the struggles of the average (and even not-so-average) person are completely overlooked… leaving behind entire communities that are brow-beaten into listening only to the ‘kibaar al ‘Ulamaa’ and watching out for ‘deviance’, but are unable to function as holistic Muslims on even the most basic of levels – as individuals and within their own families.

    As a result, societal issues which are easily written off as ‘kaafir problems’ (domestic violence, sexual abuse, toxic marriages, bullying, and so on) fester even more amongst these groups, thus effectively destroying themselves and generations to come.

    • Abu Yusuf

      April 23, 2014 at 7:42 AM

      Very well said Salafi Feminist, and this is an area where direction and leadership is lacking among many Salafi communities, especially in the west today. As a member of one such community, the negative effects of this social neglect has began to affect the next generation who, while cognisant of the correct aqeedah and all it entails (which is foundational and the first step) they are ill equipped to actualise it in social spheres.

  58. shamreez

    April 23, 2014 at 3:11 AM

    Assalamu alaikum. Just wanted to bring one point, don’t you think there may be places where tawheed is the most important issue. There are places which are indulged in shirk and bidaa and therefore they paying attention to that could very well be justified. Allahu aalam. Informative article. Jazakumullahu khairan. May Allah guide us all. Ameen

  59. Bahader from Sweden

    April 23, 2014 at 3:34 AM

    @YasirQadhi – SubbhanaAllah amazing article and what a deep insight. Ma sha Allah tabarakAllah.

    Although I wish that this article had been published few years earlier to save our youths from becoming zombies who lives in parallell society.

    As a former “salafi” myself I realized early on that this movement suits the rulers perfect in safeguarding their chair and oppose no threat at all to the political arena in the society, because it turns you into a quoting zombie with zero influence in the very same society your living in.

    I still have some friends that are stuck in this movement and when I look at them I feel sadness because they are physically living in west but their mentality is as if they’re living in Saudi. This movement have turned some of the most intellectual and brightest youth to zombies.

    Alhamdolilah I realized this early due to Ali AtTamimis lectures and due to the fact that my father is a politician himself.

    But I must say that I am still struggling with agree to disagree manners and as you said the spirituality concept because of the prints this movement made on my personality.

  60. Abu Jibreel

    April 23, 2014 at 4:12 AM

    BarakAllahu Feeka Shaykh Yasir Qadhi. I would just like to add/modify the following points:

    (1) The maximum number of divisions within Salafiyyah are 3 or 4. They are: Moderate Salafi, Jihadi Salafi, Madkhali Salafi, and Conservative Salafi. This categorization is based off how many Salafi groups believe themselves to be the TRUE and ONLY Salafis. I believe the maximum there are is 3, and certainly no more than 4.

    (2) Like any other movement, be it the Deobandi movement, or Ikhwani movement, Salafiyyah is an EVOLVING movement, so I do believe it may have a positive future and positive reformation. And with all due respect (or praise, however you see it), I still consider you to be part of the Salafi movement. You’re a favorable type of Salafi.

    (3) I’m glad you mentioned the positives of the movement and its approach/methodology. Just picking up Kitab At-Tawhid by Sh. Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahhab yesterday, I felt it to be a classical book, though written only a few hundred years ago. If I’m not mistaken, Deobandis and Ikhwanis have praised the Shaykh (rahimullah). I’d like to add that the Salafi approach (with or without its label), I find it more traditional and classical than some of the neo-Sufi groups we see today, who sadly, have sometimes a very secular-liberal or pluralistic view of things.

    (4) And lastly, please stay focused on benefitting the Ummah, specifically two items:

    (a) Provoking Muslims to question their relationship with Allah subhana wa t’ala, and the state of our Ibadah

    (b) Ensuring that Muslims are more productive, effective, and efficient when it comes to contributing to the Ummah and Community

    (5) Finally, I’d like to see more cooperation between Deobandis, Ikhwanis, Tablighis, Salafis, etc. At the end of the day, we are Muslims, Ahlus Sunnah (in-sha-Allah), and these labels are nothing but descriptions for efforts/movements and methods of revival. We may be Salafi or Deobandi when it comes to scholarship, but we are partisan and Muslim when it comes to brotherhood and sisterhood and cooperating for the greater good and our priorities. And Allah knows best.

    JazakAllahu Khayr

    • Abu Jibreel

      April 23, 2014 at 4:48 AM

      *Sorry, as for point #5 I meant: “we are non-partisan and Muslim”

    • Yasir Qadhi

      April 23, 2014 at 12:47 PM

      1) Labels and categorizations are all subjective. You have the right to your own, and yes it does have some basis to it.

      2) Same as part (1) and also I’ve addressed this in other comments.

      3) No doubt, other movements have their fair share of problems as well. Some of them are worse than Salafis’ problems.

      4) That is what I’ve been doing for the last few years and hope to continue to do for as long as I live insha Allah.

      5) Again, I hope my own methodology is indicative of this as well.

  61. Abu Milk Sheikh (@AbuMilkSheikh)

    April 23, 2014 at 4:20 AM

    Assalamu alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh. Jazakumullahu khairan.

    I’m still going through the comments so I apolgize if this has been asked already. How would you deal with the fact that from the perspective of non-Salafis (particularly if they are anti-Salafi) you are still ‘Salafi’ in your ‘manhaj’, even if you say ‘I’m not a Salafi’?

    Yes the attitude is reductionist but it exists, even among the moderate Salafis who still identify with the label/idea. You’d be considered more of a liberal-leaning adherent of ‘salafiyyah ilmiyyah’ (academic salafism).

    • Yasir Qadhi

      April 23, 2014 at 12:07 PM

      Labels, at some point, become meaningless. What others call me is of little concern to me, and yes, I do understand the cynicism of someone assuming that I’m just a more moderate/liberal Salafi.

      For me, Salafism was about emphasizing the Athari creed above and beyond anything else, including religiosity and iman itself! I am opposed to this misuse and exaggeration of aqidah, even if I subscribe to the Athari creed. Islam is more than just aqidah.

      From my perspective, I have a different set of priorities than Salafis, and a different vision of the Muslim world. If someone wishes to categorize me as a ‘liberal Salafi’, that’s his categorization, not mine.

  62. Farrukh

    April 23, 2014 at 5:44 AM

    After reading your article, i’m bit afraid, there are two types of sunni in our country, first brailve, and 2nd deobandi.
    brailvi are on one extreme of polytheism, I was a brailvi when I was a child, but soon I realized their bid’at and left them.
    others are deobandi/wahabi who seem to have good Islamic believes but they have killed more than 50,000 people in Pakistan for enforcement of Islamic Law. in different masaajid of debandi, they ask for support for enforcement of Islamic law.
    As Dr. Zakir Naik often says there is no sunni shia thing in Islam, Quran teaches us to call ourselves Muslims, then why we label each and every Muslim with some sect? why can’t we call ourselves Muslims?
    why you used the word ‘Deobandi Tablighi Maturidi’ instead of Muslims?

    • Mahmud

      April 23, 2014 at 2:55 PM

      I don’t agree with killing innocent people, but as a Muslim you must support Islamic law!

    • Dr Haroon

      November 30, 2014 at 5:08 PM

      Those who killed 50,000 or more are Takfiri / Khawariji NOT wahabi or salafi. Please research and stop spreading lies and disinformation just because you heard on Foxnews that they were wahabi. There is nothing in salafi or wahabi or any other mainstream group’s ideology which asks for killing of innocent people, even if they are on different “madhab.”

      Good portion of that 50,000 is result of US intervention in Afghanistan and the illegal drone attacks.

      Watch and learn (this is salafi/wahabi scholar out of Saudi):

  63. Maria_Rus

    April 23, 2014 at 6:18 AM

    Assalamu alaikum.
    First of all, I would like to thank Shaikh for speaking out about the current situation of Salafism as many people of knowledge do feel the same but seem to be afraid to acknowledge their thoughts in public as they will be immediately blacklisted. May Allah reward you for speaking the truth as it is one of the biggest struggle of all. Also, after reading your article I felt a great relief as lots of questions and issues I had are finally answered.

    I would like to add few more issues I have personally encountered following modern Salafism myself. Being a European convert for more than 8 years now, I found mainstream Salafism quite ‘Saudisised’ especially when it comes to their fatwas regarding everyday life affairs. Certain way of life they propagate I find inapplicable, for instance, in Europe and their scholarship don’t seem to be concerned about it. Some people are literally confused after following some fatwas while living in the West i.e. to drive or not to drive; to study in universities or not and so on. There doesn’t seem much of understanding different of cultures, mentality and situations in their literature in overall.

    Secondly, I found that mainstream Salafism almost ignores the Islamic history and its relevance to current affairs. There is a lack of good historical literature with a profound analysis of certain historical events. Furthermore, certain historical facts seem to be even skewed and misrepresented (probably in order to match an ideology). To sum up, while reading the Saudi salafi literature sometimes I feel I have been placed into a bubble without links neither to the past nor present where I feel literally intellectually suffocated.

    May Allah forgive me if I said anything wrong while expressing what’s on my heart and mind.

    • Yasir Qadhi

      April 23, 2014 at 12:22 PM

      It was precisely for people such as yourself that this article was written. You are not alone, my dear sister, and your concerns and fears were felt by many people, including myself in an earlier phase of my life.

  64. abuhasna

    April 23, 2014 at 7:56 AM

    Jazakullah Sh. Yasir for your article. I was an active member of Islamic Societies at various UK Universities in the late Eighties & early Nineties. The Salafi group(s) in my experience only ever brought Fitna , Fire among the Muslims. They were self-declared Aqeedah policemen, suspicious of everyone & everything, and were always questioning everyone. They created a very nasty atmosphere on campus (-they were not alone in this, the Khilafa boys have a lot to answer for). For example they declared groups Kufr such as the Ikhwan, people who followed Mathab (-the Shia were to be burnt alive! Not Joking). My own position was always to look for excuses to bring Muslims together, including the Shia. The Salafi methodology was to look for excuses to break the JAMA, UNITY of Muslims EVERYWHERE. They made an utter, utter mockery of the noble institution of marriage (-it was merely a means to an end), and ironically made the Shia concept of Mutah appear as a veritable Island of Honour!. They never accepted our appointed Imams during Salat and many prayed in their own Jamah. I have also seen Burnout. Many decades have gone by, but they (including ex members) still carry a strong air of suspicion. In a recent DAWA event for non-muslims, a local Salafi visited us, he wanted to debate with us: Not help us. I personally advice my friends, relatives to keep well clear of them & their institutions: It need not have been like this-so much wasted energy. The Muslims lands are in a terrible state, we do not need (or ever needed in my opinion) more Fiqh, Aqeedah; what is needed is 99% humanity with !% Aqeedah. May Allah bless the Ulema to heal the Islamic Nation. And Muslims have to accept that the ISLAMIC nation is very, very, very diverse- and was ever thus.

  65. sam

    April 23, 2014 at 8:01 AM

    Salam sheikh..very detailed article amidst an overwhelming reaction of debates….for the muslim layperson like myself who does not have the same amount of knowledge….there is a sea out there and its very daunting to get a grip of all the different mahabs and their historical perspectives….I sincerely pray that whatever form of Islam one connects to let it be…connection with Almighty and to follow in the way of our beloved prophet should prevail in the hearts of us Muslims…let us leave that judgement with Allah swt.
    It was a good read….please write about the status of women in islam…until we engage with women…and all the differences fiqh..adab…what women can or cannot do…our ummah will never make progress to engage them in the dawah and community.

  66. farasat

    April 23, 2014 at 9:53 AM

    Regarding the issue of Sh Albanee, and whether he considered actions to be a necessary part of eemaan.

    Shaikh Albanee divided kufr into two types; kufr of belief and kufr of action. But he further divided kufr of action into: those actions which negate eemaan, and those actions that do not negate eemaan. As for the former he said; “among those actions are those on account of which a person actually disbelieves with the kufr of belief” (and he gave the example of intentionally kicking the Quran) {Fitnah of Takfeer, p72)

    Elsewhere Shaikh Albanee stated that “actions are a condition for the completeness of eemaan and not a condition for its existence”. (tape, Tah’reer li Usool at Takfeer, February 1996)

    So brother Yasir’s contention that Sh. Albanee did not consider actions to be a necessary part of eemaan is mistaken.

  67. Ibn Masood

    April 23, 2014 at 10:35 AM


    JazakAllah khair for the amazing article. I only have one point which I found difficult to accept: That from among the positive aspects of Salafism is this:

    “A general and more comprehensive awareness of the branches of academic Islam. An average Salafī would be cognizant of the role of uṣūl al-fiqh, the importance of muṣtalaḥ al-ḥadīth, the basic structure and scope of ʿulūm al-Qurʾān, and so forth. It is safe to say that an average follower of Salafism is more aware of the academic disciplines underpinning Islam than an average follower of any other tradition.”

    Being a student also, I find this point quite contentious. I have found in general that Salafis are very weak when it comes to usul ul fiqh (which may be explained more the fact that most of them are Hanbali).

    Rather, fuqahaa from all spectrums of islam and all madhhaaib are usually very strong in usul ul fiqh, regardless of ideology.

    There are also quite a fair share of Ash’ari/’Sufi’ scholars who are very strong in hadeeth and its sciences.

    • Hidayath

      April 23, 2014 at 11:01 AM

      Wa`alaikum ussalam warahmatullah

      The shaykh is talking about the “average” Salafi – not the scholar. Of course the actual scholars from all traditions will be stronger in usul, hadith, etc.

      • Yasir Qadhi

        April 23, 2014 at 12:08 PM

        Thank you for clarifying that Hidayath!

  68. Abu Abu

    April 23, 2014 at 11:46 AM

    “Its relegation of theology to the mainly abstract and theoretical doctrines tangential to the message of Islam, to the point that abstract theology and man-made creeds eclipse each and every other aspect of Islam.”

    This is probably the most verbose and arcane sentence that I’ve read in years. There are at least a dozen ways of re-writing this in a more easy-to-digest manner. A good writer always writes to the level of their general audience.

    • Yasir Qadhi

      April 23, 2014 at 12:17 PM

      Abu Abu (interesting kunya there!)

      It might be arcane and verbose, but it’s definitely not the most arcane that I’ve read in years! Try reading some Homi Bhabha and then tell me that my sentences are that bad!

      But feel free to suggest alternative wordings for our readers. :)

    • O H

      April 27, 2014 at 12:14 AM

      Sorry to be naive but can someone tell me what that quote means :).

  69. Khala Hurse

    April 23, 2014 at 11:51 AM

    Alhamdulillah, Sheikh Muhammad bin Hadee has refuted you. Na’am.

    • Larry Barry

      April 23, 2014 at 12:08 PM

      Alhamdulillah. May Allah preserve Sheikh Muhammad bin Hadee! Yasir Qadhi is the definition of Baatil. Misguiding the masses. #AhlulAhwa

      • Sarah

        April 24, 2014 at 2:04 AM

        Wow, my friend. If Yasir Qadhi is the definition of Baatil, misguiding the masses, and ‘ahlulahwa’, let’s ask God to save the 5 billion Muslims worldwide who live their lives in almost precisely the same manner and practice as Yasir Qadhi and many of those at Muslimmatters do!

        Extremism is first identified by how it sits on the fringes of society – you are so arrogant as to believe that you and your friends are the only saved sect in the entirety of the world, yet Allah would mislead all of the other Muslims? Think again, go back to the sunnah, and see what it says about the majority of the Muslims never agreeing on an error!

        • Khala

          April 25, 2014 at 11:45 AM

          Think you need to go back to the sunnah mate!

    • Yasir Qadhi

      April 23, 2014 at 12:12 PM

      Shaykh Muhammad b. Hadi al-Madkhali is a teacher whom I benefitted from in Madinah. I pray that Allah blesses him to benefit the Ummah in the best way possible. If you do ever actually get in touch with him, you may inform him that I have nothing but the highest regard for his knowledge.

      May Allah guide him, and me, to all that He loves. Ay Na’am.