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

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IV. Conclusion

Rashid Rida (d. 1935) was the first scholar to popularize the term ‘Salafī’ to describe a particular movement that he spearheaded. That movement sought to reject the ossification of the madhhabs, and rethink through the standard issues of fiqh and modernity, at times in very liberal ways. A young, budding scholar by the name of al-Albānī read an article by Rida, and then took this term and used it to describe another, completely different movement. Ironically, the movement that Rida spearheaded eventually became Modernist Islam and dropped the ‘Salafī’ label, and the legal methodology that al-Albānī championed – with a very minimal overlap with Rida’s vision of Islam – retained the appellation ‘Salafī’. Eventually, al-Albānī’s label was adopted by the Najdī daʿwah as well, until it spread in all trends of the movement. Otherwise, before this century, the term ‘Salafī’ was not used as a common label and proper noun.[21] Therefore, the term ‘Salafī’ is a modern term that has attached itself to an age-old school of theology, the Atharī school.

I believe that the Salafī movement is a human movement, like all other movements of Islam. That is because Allah did not reveal the ‘Salafī movement’; rather He revealed the Qur’an, and sent us a Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him). The Salafī movement is as human as the people who are a part of it are, which means its mistakes will be the mistakes of humans.  This also explains why there is no ‘one’ Salafī movement, but rather a collection of miscellaneous movements that all can be gathered under the rubric of Salafism. I believe that no one movement can claim to be the exact understanding of Islam, and while some no doubt are closer to the truth in some matters than others, every movement is human and fallible. I do not believe any one sect, group or theology has a monopoly of the truth.

The Salafī movement as a whole has some noble ideals that it strives to achieve, but one cannot ignore its many faults as well. Someone might ask, “Is it not possible to divest Salafism of these negatives, retain its positive elements, and redirect it in a better course?” Indeed, that is what many within the movement seek to do, and in all honesty, I support such efforts, in Salafism and in all trends in Islam. However, the question becomes: when so many methodological mistakes and negativities are associated with a label, and the label itself no longer reflects what it originally aspired to, then why continue to identify oneself with it? This is especially the case when one realizes that this label has no intrinsic religious value and was in fact popularized only very recently in Islamic history.

Because of this, I no longer view myself as being a part of any of these Salafī trends discussed in the earlier section. For those who still wish to identify with the label, I pray that you recognize the faults listed above and work to rectify them. Those who choose to abandon such a label have every right and excuse to do so as well. Islam is broader than any one label.

While after more than two decades of continuous research, I do subscribe to the Atharī creed, and view it to be the safest and most authentic creed, Islam is more than just a bullet-point of beliefs, and my ultimate loyalty will not be to a humanly-derived creed, but to Allah and His Messenger, and then to people of genuine īmān and taqwa. Hence, I feel more of an affinity and brotherhood with a moderate Deobandi Tablighi Maturidi, who might differ with me on some issues of fiqh and theology and methodology, but whose religiosity and concern for the Ummah I can relate to, than I do with a hard-core Salafī whose only concern is the length of my pants and my lack of quoting from the ‘Kibār’ that he looks up to. Such a moderate Sufī, as well, will see me as a fellow believer in Allah and His Messenger, with trivial differences, whereas the standard hard-line Salafī will have already pigeonholed and classified me based on his pre-conceived perceptions, and his only concern will be to ‘warn against me’. And while I might agree with the hard-core Salafī that Allah has indeed istawā ‘alā al-arsh (risen over the Throne) in a manner that befits Him, his myopic narrow-mindedness of the problems facing the Ummah, and self-righteous arrogance, and his cultish mentality, will be major turn-offs for me personally, and harmful to the Ummah as a whole. Hence, I do feel more of an affinity with a moderate Sufī who reads more Qur’an than I do and is more conscious of his earnings being ḥalāl than I am, than I do with a fanatic Salafī from whom no religiosity is seen other than quoting creeds and refuting ‘deviants’.  That doesn’t make the Sufī ‘right’ in his theology; it is merely is an indication that Islam, and Islamic allegiances, are broader than some issues.

One last point, and an important disclaimer.

Those who have long held grudges against the Salafīs will, understandably, use this article to cast further aspersions against the movement. That, in essence, translates into all other trends in Islam: from the progressives and modernists to the Shīʿites and Sufīs and Ashʿarīs. The fact that someone like myself, who was for a time associated with the movement, is pointing out mistakes that these other groups verbalized will naturally cause them to rejoice. For all of those who wish to exult, realize that my theology is still the same as it was two decades ago, and that your movements are just as human as Salafism.

In other words, I believe that each and every movement of Islam is a human one, with positives and negatives, and while some movements are closer than others to the Prophet’s Sunnah in some areas, no one movement with its human scholars can ever claim to be the representative of our Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him), and officially represent the religion of Allah, on earth. Amongst all the movements, the Salafīs do have some great contributions in the area of creed, but that does not make them the champions of truth in each and every area of Islam. We should take the good from them, and correct their mistakes whenever possible, in a wise and gentle manner. And whoever wishes to reform the movement from within, my prayers and thoughts are with him, but we all have our niche, and I find myself more useful and enthused benefitting the broader Ummah.

As for the disclaimer: I shall always retain respect for a movement that has shaped me immensely, and whose scholars I benefitted from and genuinely admire, even if I disagree with some methodological issues. Therefore, if anyone feels that there is undue harshness at places in this article, I do sincerely apologize for that, for it is not my intention to insult or malign. Perhaps, if harshness is felt, it may be attributed to the fact that I expected better from a movement that claims to follow the salaf of this Ummah, but that I feel falls far short of that noble goal. It is my earnest desire that the Salafī movement in particular, and in fact all movements of Islam in general, live up to the pure ideals that our religion calls for, and our Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) demonstrated.

In the end, the best speech is the Speech of Allah, and the best guidance is the guidance of His Messenger; and all righteous and sincere Muslims, Salafīs and non-Salafīs, are attempting our best to understand and implement, to the best of our abilities, the best of all Speech, and the best of all guidance.

A note to my detractors: It is un-Islamic to quote one sentence from this article and portray it as representative of my entire opinion. Context is crucial, otherwise even the Qur’an and Sunnah can easily be misunderstood. Feel free to differ, but please link to the entire article, and let educated readers decide my views for themselves as they read the complete article, and see my praise alongside my criticisms of the movement, and the disclaimers in the end.

Download PDF of On Salafi Islam by Dr. Yasir Qadhi.


[1] Ṣiddīq H. Khan was the inspiration for the Ahl-e-Hadees movement of the Indian subcontinent.

[2] This can have the rather unfortunate effect of thrusting such lay individuals into the arena of adjudicating religious verdicts (tarjīḥ) while lacking even the most rudimentary tools necessary to engage in such an endeavor.

[3] The term ‘Wahhābī’ is a label that is sometimes used by the detractors of the movement. It is considered to be derogatory and is used as a slur, hence it is avoided in this article. Additionally, it is not befitting for Muslims to coin a derogatory term from one of the names of Allah (viz., al-Wahhāb).

[4] This issue became highly controversial, especially after a refutation was written against al-Albānī by the ‘Ṣaḥwa’ scholar Shaykh Safar al-Hawali, entitled Dhahirat al-Irjāʿ, in which he charged al-Albānī with inclining towards the heretical position of the Murjiʿa (a theological sect of early Islam that excluded actions from the definition of faith). This caused a huge rift in two strands of Salafism in the late 90s: the mainstream Saudi strand and the Jordanian-Albānī strand, headed by Shaykh al-Albānī. This rift has still not fully healed, although it is not as significant as it was a decade ago.

The term Ṣaḥwa comes from a word that denotes ‘activism’, and is used to describe a more politically active strand of Saudi Salafism that emerged after the contentious political events of the early 1990s and the first Gulf War. Ṣaḥwa scholars strongly opposed the War and the intervention of the Americans, thus causing a rift between the mainstream Saudi clerics who wished to follow the ruler’s decision to invite the troops.
The Madkhalīs are at opposite ends of the Saudi Salafī spectrum to the Ṣaḥwa scholars, and derogatorily label this group as ‘Qutbis’, in reference to the political thought of Syed Qutb, and his brother Muhammad Qutb, who was an advisor to Safar al-Ḥawalī (someone who can perhaps be viewed as the ‘founder’ of the Ṣaḥwa).

[5] Many outsiders don’t understand the rationale behind this and claim that this is because the Saudi government ‘funds’ them. While funding no doubt played a role, most of the non-Saudi Salafīs who follow this position have not benefited from Saudi oil money. Hence, to be fair to this movement (and with the disclaimer that I find this view religiously untenably and morally repugnant), this view is based on the classical Sunnī doctrine of ‘obeying the legitimate ruler’. This doctrine has been extrapolated to implicate even criticizing a legitimate ruler in public. Additionally, there is an overt sentiment present in most group members that despite all of its flaws, the Saudi monarchy in particular ‘protects tawḥīd and defends the Sunnah’ and hence all other faults should be overlooked in the face of attacks against it.  Hence, critics of the government are taken to be critics of protectors of tawḥīd.

[6] This theological position logically results in takfīr, the next point of contention.

[7] I delivered an academic paper that expounds on this point in some detail. It is available online here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RZoAzlnpIgk

[8] Each of these views (and scholars) has nuances and caveats for the positions that they champion. I am well aware of these nuances and have not intentionally left them out; however, this article is not a dissertation and hence is not the place to go into conditions and details and exceptions. The goal here is to present a simplistic overview; interested readers are asked to look into the nuances of each of these views.

[9] A disclaimer here is necessary: these groups, and their positions, are not completely distinct or isolated; there can be some overlap between these positions, and a particular person or scholar can exhibit characteristics from multiple sub-groups.

[10] The Madkhalī strand of Salafism has waned considerably due to a number of factors: Firstly, their brand of Salafism proved so intolerable and caused such tangible damage to the entire Salafī movement that most other Salafiī clerics not associated with the movement (and even some associated with it) were forced to clarify the extremism inherent in it. Secondly, many who jumped on the Madkhalī bandwagon themselves left either this sub-movement, or Salafism, or even religiosity; this practice became so wide-spread that a term was coined to describe it: ‘Salafī burnout’.  Lastly, Madkhalism was, for a period of time, championed and promoted by the Saudi government (this was during the late 1990s and early 2000s), because of its strong pro-government stance. However, when the detrimental side-effects of the movement increased, the government itself subtly withdrew its promotion of the clerics of Madkhalism, and it eventually only remained alive and active in non-Saudi Western ethnicities, typically converts or non-practicing immigrant Muslims of lower educational backgrounds who found comfort in suddenly having the ‘power’ to challenge more reputable clerics.

[11] I have not listed other countries here and used Egypt as an example. A similar spectrum of movements can be found in almost all countries, including Western lands, where political stances of Eastern Salafīs become important for their Western counterparts. It is not uncommon to sometimes come across two American converts heatedly arguing over the correct theological stance to take regarding a Saudi political decision, for example.

[12] I have dealt with the angst of both the Madkhalīs and the takfīrī Salafīs personally; hence obviously I am not a neutral writer regarding these movements. Nonetheless, I do say to these Salafīs of the latter category: while as a rule you have more intelligence, and more īmān, than the Madkhalī strand, you lack wisdom in understanding the long-term effect of your actions and support, and you share with the Madkhalīs the quickness and harshness in judging others who happen to disagree with you. Just because a person disagrees with your tactics does not imply that he is siding with an enemy of Islam. Also, it would be wise for you to see the age, collective maturity, experience and wisdom of those in your own ranks. Why is it that one rarely finds older, more mature people in your movement – people in their 40s, 50s, and 60s who have dedicated their lives to Islam and whose faith and services cannot be doubted? Do you really believe that a teenager or a young man in his early twenties is more qualified to chart a course forward for the Muslims living in the West than those double or triple in age? Lastly, be careful of reading your prejudices and preconceived notions into other people and clerics, for it is very possible that you criticize in a person a flaw or opinion that does not actually exist and will have to answer to Allah for your false allegations. It is foolish to create enemies of people who are not your enemies, and it will be harmful to you in this world and possibly the next.

[13] In many says, Salafīs wish to do with Sufism and folk-Islam what the Protestant Reformation aimed to do with Catholicism (with obvious dissimilarities as well of course).

[14] This is the view of almost all non-Muslim academics who specialize in Islamic theology, from Ignaz Goldziher to Richard M. Frank, George Makdisi and Joseph van Ess. While it is true that most of these names are dismissive of the Atharī creed because they view it as being overtly simplistic, they acknowledge that this trend of proto-Sunnism pre-dates the kalām trend of Ashʿarism.

Some modern Ashʿarites, despite all evidence to the contrary, continue to paint an incorrect picture of this reality, in which it is alleged that Ibn Taymiyya ‘founded’ a new understanding of Islam. In my own personal library, as I write these lines, I can see around a dozen theological treatises in my bookshelf written before al-Ashʿarī, all of which affirm Allah’s Attributes completely and unconditionally, and refute kalām. One may disagree with Ibn Taymiyya, but one cannot historically deny that the general creed that Ibn Taymiyya preached pre-dates him by at least five centuries.

[15] My doctoral dissertation at Yale, which was an analytical study of Ibn Taymiyya’s magnum opus entitled Averting the Conflict Between Reason and Revelation, began with an introductory chapter of around a hundred pages in which I documented the rise of the Asharite school. In it, I clearly demonstrate that the school began as a small, outcast movement, was initially persecuted by other movements, and due to historical reasons (which I delineate there in detail), eventually, manage to supplant the dominant Atharī creed and become the official creed of the Seljuqs and later Islamic dynasties. The claim of modern Ashʿarīs that they have always been the dominant understanding of Sunnism is historically untrue.

[16] It has been my contention that if Allah had not blessed the Atharī creed with someone of the caliber of Ibn Taymiyya as a defense lawyer and public advocate, it would have long dwindled into a minuscule movement. On a personal note, the towering personality and sharp insights of Ibn Taymiyya have had a profound impact on my own thought as well, and I consider him to be one of the greatest, if not the greatest, intellectual minds that our Ummah has ever seen. Sadly, almost all Salafīs suffice in reading Ibn Taymiyya (while they themselves are not qualified to understand some of his own writings, particular those sections that deal with Hellenistic thought and falsafa), but don’t dare follow Ibn Taymiyya’s footsteps. Had Ibn Taymiyya been alive today, he would not have written the works that he did; rather, he would have paid attention to the intellectual threats the Ummah is currently facing. Ibn Taymiyya wrote in response to the challenges of his day; modern Salafīs are, for the most part, unwilling to venture outside of the territories and ideas that Ibn Taymiyya wrote about seven hundred years ago and face the challenges of our day.

[17] I have spoken at length about the topic of understand the ḥadīth of the seventy-three groups, and explained that it has been misunderstood by many groups. You can find one such lecture here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6fDXifZ5jnY.

[18] I have spoken about this issue in more detail here.

[19] The odd and rare khuṭba here and there on these topics does not mitigate the fact that addressing such issues are not central to the Salafī call, despite the fact that these issues are rampant in those societies. This is not meant only as a criticism of Saudi clergy: the same goes for all other societies as well.

[20] This understanding of seemingly attempting to erase the very existence of women clearly has no precedent in the lives of the salaf:  the Companions, men and women, knew each other’s names very well and conversed with one another if there was a need to do so. Again, this is not to deny the very real Islamic etiquette that direct interactions between the opposite genders should be minimal, for a legitimate need, and with proper decorum. But once again, as with theology, Salafīs take a concept that might have some legitimacy and then pervert and distort it to an exaggerated level.

[21] Yes, it does exist in a handful of descriptions in classical and medieval Islam, but it is undeniable that the term was not in vogue, nor did it have the connotations it does now.

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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.

542 Comments

542 Comments

  1. Avatar

    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.

    • Avatar

      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.

      • Avatar

        aliyaimadudeen

        April 23, 2014 at 5:16 AM

        Assalamu Alaykum Shaykh,

        Yesterday I’ve read your posts about studying in Medina (http://on.fb.me/LfSnSP), 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

      • Avatar

        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
        Mangalore.India.

        • Avatar

          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.

      • Avatar

        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.

        • Avatar

          Yasir Qadhi

          April 28, 2014 at 9:58 AM

          Salam

          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.

          Yasir

          • Avatar

            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!

          • Avatar

            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.

          • Avatar

            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.

      • Avatar

        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?

      • Avatar

        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 )

      • Avatar

        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

      • Avatar

        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.

        Shukran

      • Avatar

        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.

      • Avatar

        Mohammad Hammad ullah

        April 27, 2015 at 12:32 PM

        Assalamoalaikum,
        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.

      • Avatar

        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

      • Avatar

        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!

      • Avatar

        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

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        Sunny Mullick

        December 22, 2016 at 11:09 AM

        Assalamoalaikum
        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

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        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.

        http://www.bakkah.net/en/shaykh-saalih-al-fowzaan-on-the-reality-of-yasir-qadhi.htm

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        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.

        http://www.bakkah.net/en/shaykh-saalih-al-fowzaan-on-the-reality-of-yasir-qadhi.htm

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      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.

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      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.

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        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

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      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.

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      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

      http://salaf-us-saalih.com/2014/10/01/this-is-our-call-the-way-of-the-salaf-imaam-al-albaanee/
      http://salaf-us-saalih.com/?s=This+is+our+call&submit=Search

  2. Avatar

    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.

    • Avatar

      Yasir Qadhi

      April 22, 2014 at 10:33 AM

      Ameen ya Aba Turab!

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        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?
        Jazakallah

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          Anon

          April 26, 2014 at 2:51 PM

          Does it matter?

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            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.

      • Avatar

        Anti Yasir Qadhi

        July 4, 2018 at 11:13 AM

        http://www.bakkah.net/en/shaykh-saalih-al-fowzaan-on-the-reality-of-yasir-qadhi.htm

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

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    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.

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      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.

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        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: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Athari#Athari_views_on_the_Attributes_of_God

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          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.

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        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

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    aliyaimadudeen

    April 22, 2014 at 3:26 AM

    Alhamdulillah, this is not taboo after all. ;)

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    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

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      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).

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        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.

      • Avatar

        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? :)

        • Avatar

          Yasir Qadhi

          April 22, 2014 at 7:40 PM

          No, but it is one that everyone understands :)

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        Syed Muhammed

        November 12, 2014 at 2:17 AM

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

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        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 https://abdulqadeerbaksh.wordpress.com/2013/06/05/is-the-word-salafi-a-modern-contemporary-term/
        Could you please respond to that ?
        JazakAllahu khairan.

    • Avatar

      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.

      • Avatar

        Abdulwaheed

        December 6, 2016 at 11:56 AM

        that is blind followership and indoctrination of the highest order.

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    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
    Wassalam
    Umm Ayoub

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    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

    • Avatar

      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.

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        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”

      • Avatar

        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.

        http://www.bakkah.net/en/shaykh-saalih-al-fowzaan-on-the-reality-of-yasir-qadhi.htm

  8. Avatar

    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.

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      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.

      • Avatar

        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. Avatar

    ummAda

    April 22, 2014 at 6:17 AM

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

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    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.

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    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

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    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.

    • Avatar

      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.

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        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 !!

        • Avatar

          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.

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            Abu Dajana

            June 18, 2014 at 1:48 AM

            Mahmoud

            “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.

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        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 !!
        :)

      • Avatar

        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!!!!

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      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).

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        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.

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          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.”

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            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).

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          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]

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            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).

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            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.

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            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.

        • Avatar

          Musa Hoda

          April 26, 2014 at 6:40 PM

          What do you guys think of this clarification by Sh. Rabee’? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OXd0bMrORO0

          • Avatar

            Hassan

            April 27, 2014 at 7:44 PM

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

    • Avatar

      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

    • Avatar

      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. Avatar

    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 :)

    • Avatar

      Yasir Qadhi

      April 22, 2014 at 10:36 AM

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

      • Avatar

        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.

      • Avatar

        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?

      • Avatar

        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!

      • Avatar

        Nabil Salik

        April 24, 2014 at 3:32 PM

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

      • Avatar

        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.

      • Avatar

        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. Avatar

    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:

    http://muslim-lion.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/what-is-true-islam-and-does-it-need-to.html

  15. Avatar

    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.

    • Avatar

      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. Avatar

    Hyde

    April 22, 2014 at 9:44 AM

    Mashallsha! An catharsis at last. Excellent pieace.

  17. Avatar

    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.

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      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. Avatar

    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 ?!?!?

    :)

    • Avatar

      Mahmud

      April 22, 2014 at 10:13 AM

      Title it with something really dramatic.

      I didn’t notice the irony lol.

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      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. :)

    • Avatar

      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. ;)

    • Avatar

      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. Avatar

    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.

    • Avatar

      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.

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        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.

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        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.

        • Avatar

          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. Avatar

    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. Avatar

    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

    wallahualem.

    :) seriously though, JAK for bringing clarity to these titles/movements.it 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. Avatar

    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

    • Avatar

      Yasir Qadhi

      April 22, 2014 at 11:41 AM

      I actually do have that in mind.

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        Anum Hashmi

        April 22, 2014 at 11:54 AM

        Are you still working on a course on this material?

      • Avatar

        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.

        Thanks!!!

  23. Avatar

    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?

    • Avatar

      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. Avatar

    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!

      • Avatar

        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.

        Peace.

        Yasir

        • Avatar

          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.

          • Avatar

            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!

          • Avatar

            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. ”

            Really?

            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!

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            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.

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    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.

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      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.

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        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)

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    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.

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      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

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