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Aqeedah and Fiqh

Al-Salafiyyah: The Methodology of the Pious Predecessors

Sh. Waleed Basyouni

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All praises and thanks are due to Allāh, and may the blessings and prayers be upon the Messenger of Allāh, his family, his companions, and all those who follow in their footsteps until the Day of Judgment.

Al-Islam is a collection of rules and articles of faith, of knowledge and action, of things we should know and things we should do. The theoretical part is the theology aspect of the religion, and the rules are either related to dealing with Allāh (and this is known as Ibaadah, or acts of worship) or related to dealing with other humans and creations. Therefore, the religion is made up of Aqidah, Fiqh and Sulook (etiquettes and socializing). The details related to all of these areas have been addressed in the Qurʾān and Sunnah.

During the time of Umar’s Khilafah, raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) one of his companions came back from al-Shaam (Syria/Palestine) and told Umar the good news of how many people had started reading the Qurʾān and memorizing it in this new land of Islam and by the new generation of Muslims. This sounded like very good news, but it did not satisfy Ibn ‘Abbas raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) who was asked by Umar raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him), “What you think?” Ibn ‘raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) said, “O Prince of the Believers, the Jews and Christians had their books, but it did not save them from becoming divided and fighting one another. I wish they did not do that without understanding it first. I worry that they will be divided over the Qurʾān, and they will fight one another like the people of the Book did.” Umar agreed with Ibn ‘Abbas raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) and his wisdom. This narration is on the mark in describing how this Ummah will be divided.

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The verses of the Qurʾān and the statements of the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) are the sources of our religion, but how do we practice them and what methods should be used to understand them? The companions (Sahabah) took directly from the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) by watching him as a practical example in front of them. ‘A’ishah raḍyAllāhu 'anhum (may Allāh be pleased with them) said, “The Qurʾān was his character,” and the Sahabah witnessed the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) living the Qurʾān in his daily life. The Qurʾān was revealed in the language of the Sahabah, and it was revealed within their cultural setting. Add to this their trustworthiness which is referenced in the Qurʾān, and this gives them an instant advantage over everyone else. Any person, who comes after the Sahabah, must go through a lengthy process before he/she can derive any rulings from a hadith, for example. He must look at the authenticity of the narration, study the culture of the time, familiarize himself with the history of the text, evaluate what scholars have said about it, and look at it through the principles of Usool before arriving at any ruling(s), but as for the Sahabah, they did not need any of these steps. Because of that, the Sahabah have become the role models for the Muslim Ummah, and following them is the means of following the Qurʾān and Sunnah. They had no Imam or Madh-hab or source other than the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) himself. They are our predecessors (Salaf), and they are an example for all others. Ibn Mas’oud raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) said, “They (the companions) possessed the most pious hearts of this Ummah. They were the most profound in knowledge and had the least constraint. They were a people whom Allāh chose for the companionship of His Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him), so emulate their character and way, for by the Lord of the Ka’bah, they are upon the straight path.” [As-Shari`ah by Al-Aajurri]

Not too long after what Ibn ‘Abbas raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) said to Umar raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him), his fear became a reality. Muslims began using the Qura’n and Sunnah to support their own ideas, and they interpreted them a different way other than the way of the Sahabah. The most famous examples in Islamic history are those of the Khawarij and the Shi’ah, who opposed the way of the companions and even considered most of the Sahabah to be Kuffar (disbelievers). The Khawarij, for example, took up arms against the Khalifah Ali Ibn Abi Talib raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him), based on their faulty understanding of the verse that says, “Allāh is the Only Judge.” They understood that to mean that mediation is not allowed, and they considered arbitration as an act of disbelief. When Ibn Abbas raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) debated them on this opinion, he said, “I do not see any one of the companions with you.” In other words, he was saying that no one among the Sahabah understood what the Khawarij understood from this verse and that the understanding of the Sahabah was the criterion.

As they were the first of our Ummah to precede us, following the companions became known as following the “Salaf” (predecessors), and their way of understanding the religion and practicing it became known as the methodology of the Salaf.  Al-Imam al-Awza`i (d. 157 H.) said, “Patiently restrict yourself upon the Sunnah, stop where the people (i.e. the companions) stopped, say what they say and refrain from that which they refrained. Traverse upon the path of your Salaf as-Salih (righteous predecessors), for indeed what was sufficient for them is sufficient for you.” He also said, “Hold fast to the Athar (narrations) of the Salaf, even if people abandon you. Beware of the opinions of men, no matter how much they beautify it with their speech, for indeed the matter will become manifest whilst you will be upon the correct straight path concerning it.” [Sharh Usool I`tiqad Ahl-Assunnah wal-Jama’ah by AL-Lalaka’i]

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is Vice President of AlMaghrib Institute and Director of Clear Lake Islamic Center (CLIC). He is a frequent guest speaker at Universities, Conventions, Radio Talk Shows, Television, Interfaith meetings, and community centers nationally and internationally. He is also a member of the North American Imam Federation (NAIF), Assembly of Muslim Jurists in America (AMJA)-Fatwa and Research Committee, Director of Texas Dawah Convention, and Advisor to numerous Islamic Societies/Organizations around the US. Shaykh Waleed Basyouni graduated with a Bachelors in Islamic Sciences from Al-Imam Muhammad University, KSA; did his Masters in Islamic Theology, World Religions and Modern Religious Sects from Al-Imam Muhammad University; and acquired a Doctorate in Theology. He is also an instructor at the American Open University in Alexandria, VA, USA, and serves as, the Imam of Clear Lake Islamic Center, Houston, TX, USA. Shaykh Waleed has Ijaazahs in reciting the Holy Quran and in several books of Hadeeth, awarded by various scholars. He studied with great scholars time such as Shaykh Ibn Baz, Abdul-Razzaq Afify and others.

36 Comments

36 Comments

  1. Avatar

    gunal

    June 17, 2014 at 5:57 AM

    According to my understanding of it this article it is a little contradictory. I am glad it is short so that we can fill in the length ourselves at our own leisure but somehow the conclusion does not reflect the 4th paragraph, (which I totally agree and support), where it said;
    “Any person, who comes after the Sahabah, must go through a lengthy process before he/she can derive any rulings from a hadith, for example. He must look at the authenticity of the narration, study the culture of the time, familiarize himself with the history of the text, evaluate what scholars have said about it, and look at it through the principles of Usool before arriving at any ruling(s),….” I would add to this by suggesting considerations of the other 3 Holy Books too to this process.

    By the way, usool is kind of sets of etiquettes (way of attitudes and behavior towards any given situation)? Am I right?

    And in the concluding paragraph quoted something which is totally opposite to what is said in the 4th paragraph:
    ”Al-imām al-Awza`i (d. 157 H.) said, “Patiently restrict yourself upon the Sunnah, stop where the people (i.e. the companions) stopped, say what they say and refrain from that which they refrained. Traverse upon the path of your Salaf as-Salih (righteous predecessors), for indeed what was sufficient for them is sufficient for you.””

    Have I misunderstood it? Nevertheless, I don’t agree that what was sufficient then is going to be sufficient now. There is a scripture I have read and it is just making sense to me now what teaching it may have meant by it. Scripture says (sorry, I will attempt to recall) along the lines: 3 men are given by God 1 precious gem each. 1 of them spends it all on himself. 2nd man buries it. 3rd man invests and makes the gem multiply abundantly. When it is time when God asks each men for the return of the gems He gave each men, He was most pleased with the man who worked the market and multiplied his gem in abundance. What this suggests is just sitting on the gem once was given is not very fruitful for many reasons (I won’t go in detail how it restricts fruitfulness, will rather leave it to you to fill in the gaps). I know it is hard work and it is easier to just sit back and get your loved ones guided by the gems of the past but I doubt you will get much return from them.

    • Avatar

      p4rv3zkh4n

      December 19, 2014 at 4:45 PM

      regarding the statement in 4th paragraph:
      ”Al-imām al-Awza`i (d. 157 H.) said, “Patiently restrict yourself upon the Sunnah, stop where the people (i.e. the companions) stopped, say what they say and refrain from that which they refrained. Traverse upon the path of your Salaf as-Salih (righteous predecessors), for indeed what was sufficient for them is sufficient for you.”

      It seems that the statement refers to Aqeeda and Ibadah. The Quran, Sunnah and the understanding of the Sahabas are sufficient in those two matters.

    • Avatar

      huda

      June 30, 2015 at 9:20 PM

      Bismillah.

      Actually, the 4th paragraph and the concluding paragraph do not contradict at all. In fact, the latter only reiterates the former. The 4th paragraph addresses us as fatwa-giving wannabes: that ruling is an enormous responsibility which has the power to affect the entire worldwide Ummah for generations, and thus a strict process of obtaining sound knowledge is required before any legislation can be done. It is similar to how researchers are required to quote their references when writing papers or lawyers to go by the codes when convicting someone in order to be legitimate. It MUST lead back to the correct source. And in this case – Allah and His Messenger (salallahu alayhi wasallam).

      And the last paragraph addresses us as followers: that we should follow none but those same original sources. Do not blindly follow what you heard of so-and-so’s opinion, whilst that person has not been confirmed Paradise by Allah Himself, unlike the Prophets (alayhi salam) and some of the Companions (radiallahu anhu). Who’s methods and advice do you trust more – your peers whose fate/results remain unknown or your seniors who graduated with flying colours? It is clear to see. If you still do not agree that was was sufficient for them is sufficient for you, then to you be your deeds and to us be ours. May Allah guide all of us to the Truth. Ameen.

  2. Avatar

    Ibn Ya'qûb An Naijiree

    June 17, 2014 at 10:50 AM

    I’m sure this is a refutation of the thesis put forth by Yasir Qadhi of the same institute, I’m sure you will also send him a copy of this so that he begins to realise how he allowed sheer emotions to cloud his Fitrah and how grossly deviated his article on “Salafism” was. I’m only worried about the numbers that relied on his ignorant display and how much he allowed the common muslims to wallow upon error and misguidance…May Allaah guide him and us all. Baarak Allaahu Feek!

  3. Avatar

    zaara

    June 17, 2014 at 12:22 PM

    Jazaakallahu khayran katheera for this. Very precise, simple and clear.

  4. Avatar

    Yusuf Abdulle

    June 17, 2014 at 12:42 PM

    Dr. Yasir Qadi’s self proposal about Salafis.

    I have read the article of Dr. Yasir Qadi thoroughly and carefully, and I found out that it was very much articulate, scholarly, and many times accurate in his analysis. However, like all humans he erred in some important conclusions.

    The distinction of some level of salifs was not accurate. For instance, departing between what he called the main stream Saudi scholars and Sahwa scholars is not accurate at all; as the so Sahwa scholars ( The word Sahwa means awakening which the Dr. Yasir misinterpreted into a non corresponding word) like sheikh Safar Ibn Abdurrahman Alhawali, Salman bin Fahad Alawda, Aid Alqarni, and others are not different from what author called the mainstream scholars like Sheikh Ibn Baz and Sheikh Uthaimeen.
    In fact these latter scholars are teachers and mentors of the Sahwa scholars and they publicly embrace each other. For example, sheikh Uthaimeen advised students of knowledge to read the book of sheikh Safar Alhawali about Asharia he particularly called his book the best to be written so far about this sect. And vise versa and even more on the side of the Sahwa scholars embracing their mentors and teachers in numerous occasions and events. Yes there was few political differences between the two but not to a level that they were to be categorized as differing Salifs.

    The same goes with sheikh Albani and what author called Jordanian group. Sheikh Albani was not deferent from the said sheikhs accept of few Fiqh issues like ruling regarding if the veil of women is obligatory or not but never in matters that are serious and related to Aqeedah.

    The other point is that which says One would have chosen Dubandis over a person whose creed is according to the Quran and Sunnah although that person may have some other shortcomings or misunderstanding of Fiqh, Usulul Fiqh or Fiqh of Dawa, is sort of mixing the priorities.

    Dubandis have the believes of Maturidiya and Asha’riya as their creed in the matters of Iman and it’s names and fundamentals of Deen. Also, some of them do have the believe of Ghulat Assufiya (the extreme Sufis ) like Hallaj and Ibn Arabi. So, indicating such group is closer than the New Salifs is an extreme understanding.

    It is definitive that everyone’s words and actions are either rejected or accepted based on their deviation from aQuran and Sunnah or their adherence to both. The only one whose all words and actions are right is Rasuulullah may the peace and blessing of Allah be upon him.

    However, to follow the consensus of the Salaf Assalih is an obligatory and no one has the right to deviate from it, because their consensus was clearly manifested in the Quran and the Hadith.

    Finally, after I wrote this response I saw Sheikh Waleed Basyouni’s article which deserves to be written with pure gold water. He laid out the foundations of this matter and cleared the air from any misunderstanding and misperception. Salafia is not group but rather the faith of Islam in its original cover, pure and uninterrupted.
    Wassalamu Alaikum ww
    Yusuf Abdulle,

    • Avatar

      Ikbal

      June 17, 2014 at 6:14 PM

      “pure gold water”???

      oye oye oye…where can I find some of that stuff

      Im only joking of course

  5. Avatar

    dawahtweet

    June 17, 2014 at 12:48 PM

    Pristine clear definition of As-Salafiyyah which is really different from the modern day “salafi”.
    Really helpful mashaAllah.

    This paragraph is really interesting(First time im hearing someone saying As-Salafiyyah as the default state of a Muslim)
    “Considering Al-Salafiyyah as a methodology, not a group, necessitates that by default all Muslims are followers of Al-Salafiyyah, being that every Muslim is required to follow Islam based on evidence and according to the methodology of the companions of the Prophet ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him). Al-Salafiyyah as such becomes the default state of all Muslims and any deviation from it becomes the exception.”

    Small note:
    “Just as merely labeling oneself “a Salafi” does not automatically make one a follower of “Al- Salafiyyah”, it is also true that one who does not label himself “a Salafi” is thus removed out of “Al-Salafiyyah”

    According to the last sentence of the above para,it seems that if a person does not wish to label himself salafi, is removed from salafiyyah.
    Is it a mistake or the sheikh really meant this.
    Please clarify
    Jazakallau khairan

    • Avatar

      Hassan

      June 17, 2014 at 1:19 PM

      No, it does not mean that. It means whether you call yourself salafi or not, does not matter, it is what your methodology is and what you practice. This is what I understood.

    • Waleed

      Waleed

      June 25, 2014 at 12:08 PM

      Good point and I never meant that, what is meant is the one who refuse the name because he or she do not believe in the way of Alsalaf is Mubtad’.

  6. Avatar

    Ibrahim

    June 17, 2014 at 12:59 PM

    Great article! I was waiting for some reputable scholar like Sheikh Waleed Basyouni hafithahu Allah (May Allah protect him and keep him firm on the Straight path) to write on this subject to clear the ambiguity that in my opinion not only students of knowledge need to read but also other “scholars”.

  7. Avatar

    Ibn Masood

    June 17, 2014 at 1:28 PM

    The main problem with the movement of Salafiyyah has never been its core principles. Everyone even mainstream Sufis understand the importance of following the Salaf in Aqidah, fiqh and suluk. The problem instead was for some reason a choice to break off from the educational methodology used by the scholars of the past. This resulted in tons of students going through a curriculum of intense Aqeedah followed by learning foundational fiqh in a way that left them unable to ever progress to being able to participate in legitimate and effective ijtihaad.

    Recently though in my humble observation as a student here, this has been improving a lot, as many ‘Salafis’ in Saudi Arabia have been paying closer attention to usool and books of fiqh and realizing that Ijtihaad has requirements that need to be fulfilled before one embarks on it, and there are steps to follow before one is able to become an independent Islamic scholar. This is the main reason why I think many Saudi ulema are now better able to deal with modern issues than before although of course the issue is deeper than that.

  8. Avatar

    Hyde

    June 17, 2014 at 3:28 PM

    Modern Salafis are the most active ones so I think Dr. Sh Yasir Qadhi exemplary eradication of the same movement he adhered too was certainly better than any historical attachment. The modern movement is intellectually dishonest, seemingly hypocritical, and seems to serve the same purpose of purporting that Nejdi farce. The disenchantment that most Muslims, especially the youth have from the scholars is conspicuous. With the augmented rise of secularism, atheism and just the sadden atmosphere, the burnout from this movement is going to be apparent and severe.

    • Avatar

      O H

      June 19, 2014 at 8:10 PM

      Some rash generalisations which can only stem from an ignorance with regards to the concerned subject matter. Clearly you did not have a comprehensive experience of the various ‘salafi’ groups and their diversity-or else you wouldn’t be making such misleading, false claims.

      • Avatar

        Hyde

        June 24, 2014 at 9:41 PM

        Let me write it again in case you did not read my first two words: “Modern Day”.
        The prognosis is as follows: Communists, Salafis, Secularists, Atheists. .

  9. Avatar

    ibnKatheer

    June 17, 2014 at 3:51 PM

    Merely acknowledging the manhaj of the salaf vs the manahaaj of deviation is just that; an acknowledgment. If you put these fundamentals and principles from the methodology of the salaf into practice you wouldn’t be promoting/lecturing alongside the people who openly attack/oppose the manhaj of the salaf such as Qardhawi, Yasir Qadhi, and those whom you signed a “pledge” with that include grave worshippers and callers to innovation.

    You would spread the refutations of the scholars who truthfully ascribe themselves to the manhaj of the salaf. Specifically with regards to Qardhawi for example. Shaykh Muqbil refuted Qardhawi in a book called “Silencing the Hounding Dog” for his SEVERE mistakes yet you quote from him? Similarly in that book, shaykh Uthaymeen was said that he should be killed as an apostate if he didn’t repent. So can you still take from Qardhawi, a caller to the manhaj of al ikhwan al muslimeen as you take from shaykh Uthaymeen who was a caller to the manhaj of the salaf? Makes no sense. Don’t talk about the scholars from the manhaj of the salaf then turn around and quote those who arent.

    Your companions constantly rebuke the esteemed senior scholars of Islam yet you sit quietly and watch?? Yasir Qadhi praising Hasan al Banna, Qardhawi and Syyed Qutb yet you don’t correct them and free yourself from them. Where from the fundamentals and principles from the salaf did you get this mentality from?

    Your companionship are those people and others who openly are against the manhaj of the salaf. Not to mention how you almost went to that Dubai conference just recently which had juhaal such as Yusef Estes and others, but you were sick and expressed your sorrow for not being able to attend. The fact that you are not in connection with the Salafi scholars alive today and their students that are recommended explains your companionship clearly.

    “A man is upon the deen of his khaleel, so each one of you should look to see whom he takes as a khaleel.” (Abu Dawood 13/179, at-Tirmidhee 4/589; Ahmad 2/303; al-Haakim 4/171)

    —Ibn Abdul Barr said: “The meaning of this and Allah knows best is that a person accustoms himself to the actions he views from those he accompanies and the (meaning of ) deen is habitude. As such, he ordered one to only accompany the person who is seen to have (manners) that re graceful and beautiful, since goodness is mannerism.

    —Al-‘Amash related: “They (i.e., the Salaf) did not ask about a person after (having ascertained) three (things): whom he used to walk with, whom he used to enter with and whom his acquaintances were among the people.”

    —‘Adee ibn Zayd said: About the person, do not question, but ask about his companion. Since every companion emulates the one he associates with.

    —Abee al-‘Itaahiyyah said: Who could (still) remain unknown to you if you were to look at his companion?

    —Aboo Sulayman al-Khattaabee said: “His saying, ‘A man is upon the deen of his khaleel means: do not take as an intimate companion anyone other than one whose deen and trustworthiness you are pleased with, because when you do take one as an intimate companion, he will lead you to his deen and way. Do not endanger your deen or take a risk with your soul by taking as an intimate companion one whose deen and way is not pleasing.”

    —Ibn Mas’ood said: “Assess the people by their intimates, for a person only befriends one whom appeals to him and whom he admires.”

    —Sufyaan said: “There is nothing more influential upon the corruption or rectification of an individual than a companion.”

    —Qataadah said: Indeed, By Allaah, we have not witnessed a person accompany except one who is like him and of his own manner, so accompany the righteous from the slaves of Allah, you may then be with them or like them.”

    —Al-Fudayl said: “It is not for the believer to sit with anyone he desires…”

  10. Avatar

    Said Hasan

    June 17, 2014 at 8:14 PM

    Sheikh waleed has done a wonderful job. There is nothing to be gained in refutation exept division and hatred.
    It is also selfish to want to paradise for oneself and to curse others with helfire.
    Alhamdulillah! I am a Muslim, Ahlus-Sunnah wal-jamaa’ah by Manhaj or salafi by methodology and aqidah. I ethically disagree with others in an effort to maintain the brotherhood and love that should exist between Muslims.
    Some of the open-minded reliable (and perhaps authentic scholars because only the prophet is 100 %authentic) are:
    1. Aid al-qarni.
    2. Sheikh Umar S. Al-Ashqar.
    3. Sheikh Moutasem al-Hameedi (Jordanian).
    4. Sheikh Waleed Basyouni.
    5. Sheikh Mustafa (Somali).
    6. Cpt (rtd) Yahya M. A. Odingo (Kenyan).
    7. Wael Hamza ( I don’t know if He is a Salafi or not but his “Laws of Victory” shows that he is promising wise Ahlus-Sunnah wal-jamaa’ah scholar.
    The message the above scholars and their likes give is love, hope, support, wisdom, advancement, unity and The message the above scholars and their likes give is love, hope, support, wisdom, advancement, unity and The message the above scholars and their likes give is love, hope, support, wisdom, advancement, unity and The message the above scholars and their likes give is love, hope, support, wisdom, advancement, unity and The message the above scholars and their likes give is love, hope, support, wisdom, advancement, unity and The message the above scholars and their likes give is love, hope, support, wisdom, advancement, unity and The message the above scholars and their likes give is love, hope, support, wisdom, advancement, unity and The message the above scholars and their likes give is love, hope, support, wisdom, advancement, unity and The message the above scholars and their likes give is love, hope, support, wisdom, advancement, unity and The message the above scholars and their likes give is love, hope, support, wisdom, advancement, unity and The message the above scholars and their likes give is love, hope, support, wisdom, advancement, unity and The message the above scholars and their likes give is love, hope, support, wisdom, advancement, unity and The message the above scholars and their likes give is love, hope, support, wisdom, advancement, unity and The message the above scholars and their likes give is love, hope, support, wisdom, advancement, unity and The message the above scholars and their likes give is love, hope, support, wisdom, advancement, unity and The message the above scholars and their likes give is love, hope, support, wisdom, advancement, unity and success.
    You will never see them appearing appologetic, refutationists, extremists, blind-followers and bid’ah founders.
    A typical example is Dr. Umar S. Al-Ashqar.
    Though he was a student of Sheikh Ibn Baz (rh), he spread his knowledge by gaining insights from the works of Sayyid Qutb Though he was a student of Sheikh Ibn Baz (rh), he spread his knowledge by gaining insights from the works of Sayyid Qutb Though he was a student of Sheikh Ibn Baz (rh), he spread his knowledge by gaining insights from the works of Sayyid Qutb Though he was a student of Sheikh Ibn Baz (rh), he Though he was a student of Sheikh Ibn Baz (rh), he spread his knowledge by gaining insights from the works of Sayyid Qutb Though he was a student of Sheikh Ibn Baz (rh), he spread his knowledge by gaining insights from the works of Sayyid Qutb Though he was a student of Sheikh Ibn Baz (rh), he spread his knowledge by gaining insights from the works of Sayyid Qutb Though he was a student of Shei

    • Avatar

      Said Hasan

      June 17, 2014 at 9:31 PM

      There is unnecessary repetition and some text missing in my comment.
      May be the problem is the old phone I’m using.
      Or the credit exhausted in the midst of loading because I just topped up now to have this follow up comment.
      Can anybody tell me what caused it?

  11. Avatar

    Al Juwayni

    June 18, 2014 at 1:45 AM

    It’s simplistic arguments like the one given in this article that truly lead me to the conclusion that modern Muslims have no idea how important the legal schools are. It’s almost impossible to produce any work of substance on the methodology of derivation of Islam without mentioning the 4 schools. As is so usual of inadequately trained “scholars”, the article is plagued with over generalizations, lacks any sort of nuance, and simply is a piece of archaic propaganda, with an intent to bring back the “deviant” soul to “true” Islam; an Islam that happens to fit perfectly in Mekkah, but has no true substance outside the blessed land. Although, I believe the only reason this article probably passed through the filters of Muslim Matters’s quality control, and was published , is simply due to the name on the paper ( if we can call it a paper), perhaps this website should take a hard look at its relevance and contribution to the intellectual movement of Muslims in America. This paper certainly casts Muslim Matters out of the hub of relevance and into the sewers of ideological blogs that simply seek to defend their artificial bubble.

    • Avatar

      Sami dean

      June 20, 2014 at 4:44 PM

      It’s sad when someone with such ‘repute’ uses such vague over generalizations.

      For example, his statement: “About a hundred years ago the Muslim nation drifted far away from the way of the Salaf and surely from the Sunnah of the Prophet Muḥammad ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) in all areas..”

      Really the entire “muslim nation”, and in “all matters of religion”?! What usul did he use to come up with that statistic?

      • Waleed

        Waleed

        June 25, 2014 at 12:03 PM

        What is the area that you think our Ummah did not drifted away from the way of Alsalaf? There will be some on the Sunnah all the time but we talking in genera and if you know any basics of Usool or Froo’ you will understand that

    • Avatar

      p4rv3zkh4n

      December 19, 2014 at 5:27 PM

      Shaykh Waleed Basyouni gave an excellent summary of why we should follow the Ahle hadith methodology.

      You mentioned about the four madhabs, but the methodology is to consider all of these madhab’s position and see which position has the strongest proof.

      its a misconection to claim that every “lay” Muslim should follow one of the four madhabs. Muslims are obliged to follow the divine sources (Quran and Sunnah). But the madhabs (legal schools) are human endeavour and they are not the objectives. If a legal opinion contradicts the Quran or Sunnah then Muslims are obliged to reject such opinion.
      We need to evaluate the evidences and follow what was correct.

      Imam Abu hanifa said ”It is not permitted for anyone to accept our views if they do not know from where we got them from.”

      Imam Abdul Malik said Indeed I am only a human: I make mistakes (sometimes) and I am correct (sometimes). Therefore, look into my opinions: all that agrees with the Book and the Sunnah accept it; and all that does not agree with the Book and the Sunnah, ignore it.’

      Imam Shafi’ said ”In every issue where the people of narration find a report from the Messenger of Allah ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) to be sahih which is contrary to what I have said, then I take my saying back, whether during my life or after my death.’

      Imam Ahmad said ” Do not follow my opinion; neither follow the opinion of Abu Hanifah, Malik, nor Shafi’i, nor Awza’i, nor Thawri, but take from where they took.’

      In conclusion the Ahle Hadith methodology is most consistant to what the pious salaf followed.

      • Avatar

        funda

        January 4, 2016 at 1:24 AM

        That comment was directed at other scholars of Islam, it was not directed to those average followers of Islam.
        Do you really expect every muslim to become hadith scholars, read every single hadith on a subject and come up with their own ruling based on the hadith they read? Dream on!

  12. Avatar

    K Nisar Ahmed

    June 18, 2014 at 3:26 AM

    Jazaakallaahu Khairan Shaikh…

  13. Avatar

    Haji Abdul Kareem

    June 18, 2014 at 7:47 AM

    We need more similar discussion to empower ourselves from the various misunderstanding views spread with the so called media freedom.

  14. Avatar

    No real disagreement...

    June 18, 2014 at 1:27 PM

    As Salamu Alaikum,

    There is lots of discussion about how this article contradicts the recent article by Dr. Qadhi.

    I didn’t see it that way.

    As far as I see, Dr. Basyouni laid out the principles, lets say, the ideal, or salafism: ie, that one should follow the way of the Prophet (s) and his companions. In his article, Dr. Qadhi did not refute the need for doing so.

    Rather, Dr. Qadhi talked about how salafism has played out in reality. He focused on the mistakes made by those who call them salafi – how in many aspects, they actually did not really follow the way of the Prophet (s) and his companions in totality, in a holistic manner. (They focused to an extreme on this aspect or that, while ignoring other critical important aspects).

    An interesting fact is that Dr. Qadhi has decided no longer to call himself a ‘salafi.’ Here, I agree with Dr. Qadhi. The Quran named us Muslims, the Prophet (s) and his companions called themselves Muslims, so lets just stick with that term.

    Let others who deviate from truly submitting to Allah come up with other names to distinguish themselves…

    • Avatar

      Ibrahim

      June 19, 2014 at 12:50 PM

      There is a difference between a person who goes around calling himself salafi or ahlu al sunnah wa l jama’h yet his behavior and stances are not of al Salaf and someone who behaves and stands on issues based on the methodology of al Salaf. The shiekh in his article did not say that you should flash the word salafi and drop it on people everywhere you go. It is actually only used when people do not know what the truth is and where we should start especially at the time of fitna. That is why he brought the example of the people calling themselves “hanbali” (after Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal) right after the fitna of the mu’tazielah, because they want to distinguish themselves as those who follow Imam Ahmad on the issue of khalqu al Quran and Allah’s attributes, though they did not follow Imam Ahmad on his fiqh.

      I see a big difference between a scholar who uses the word salafi to show the correct methodology as opposed to the deviated groups and a “scholar” who shuns the word salafi because of those groups who used it and did not follow the methodology of al Salaf. You don’t shun the term that had been used for centuries to recognize the sunnah of the Prophet (saws) and his companions because some people misused it, just like you don’t stop calling yourself a Muslim just because some Muslims are now called terrorists.

  15. Avatar

    Noha

    June 18, 2014 at 5:49 PM

    Thank you for clarifying this issue as its pretty confusing for large number of muslims around the world due to the many names invented lately for political parties and religious parties and the people who has political parties under religious names …..
    I hope we can distinguish between this and that and understand the profound meaning of Salafyyah as you had explained … Jazakom allah khairan

  16. Avatar

    Razan

    June 18, 2014 at 8:49 PM

    Assalamu alaykum,

    Thank you very much for your article, sir. I would like to respectfully ask that you re-emphasize even more, the fact that ALL Muslims are automatically upon ‘salafiyya’ in that all M€uslims understand that Islam must be understood as the Salaf practiced it, because the definition that you’ve provided seems to imply that they don’t! The ‘Salafi’ movement simply re-emphasized this fact, because the madhabs had gotten to a point of being convoluted – they were so deep into their studies that they forgot the original point!

    There is a lot of space for pluralism within Islam, and within our legal traditions, and over-generalized definitions of ‘the salafis’ lead people to thinking that there isn’t, which leads to a lot of over-strictness and narrow-mindedness.

  17. Avatar

    Methodology?

    June 21, 2014 at 3:02 PM

    As a Muslima who knows ‘the basics’ of Islam but not too much more, reading this article raises the following questions:

    For the ‘average’ Muslim like me (ie, not a scholar), how should we determine rulings on issues? Its well enough to say that we should follow the Prophet (s) and his companions, but what does this mean in practice, when dealing with specific issues?

    I agree with the ‘Madhabis’ that its probably not the best idea for people like us (without much knowledge) just to skim through the Quran or hadith collections and come up with a ayat/hadith or 2 on a subject and decide that this is the final verdict on a matter, as there maybe other ayats/hadiths that state something quite different. We don’t have enough knowledge on how to reconcile the different texts in such cases.

    If the above is true, we need to look to scholars who will do the work for us. But how different is it really for us to base our opinion on a Salafi scholar (say, from Islamqa.com), and following a madhab? After all, aren’t the madhab rulings ultimately based verdicts of Quran/hadith/ijmaa/ijtihad (at least in the past?)

    For example, in Islamqa,com, i note that answers reference not only Quran/hadith, but also the rulings of famous Shayks (Bin Baz, Uthaimeen). Is this really that different than following say, Abu Hanifa, As-Shafee, etc?

    I’ve been wrestling these issues for awhile know, and would really appreciate thoughtful responses. Jazak Allahu Khayran for any insights provided!

    Maybe MuslimMatters could write a follow-up article addressing this issue.

    • Avatar

      p4rv3zkh4n

      December 18, 2014 at 6:31 PM

      regarding the question of “how different is it really for us to base our opinion on a Salafi scholar, and following a madhab?”

      Well the scholar of ahle hadith/salafi does not follow a group of sholars so strictly even at the cost of going against some authentic hadith?

      yes ahle hadith and the 4 madhabs follow the Quran then sunnah then sahabas and then do ijtihad. But sometimes the madhabs does not follow that method at all times.

      for example the maliki madhab gives precedence to the practise of the 2rd/3rd generations of Muslims in Madina over mashur and sahih ahad hadith.

      Also scholars of ahle hadith don’t have the problem of defending abu hanifa’s, adbul malik, shafi, ahmad’s position if it goes against the authentic hadith.

      Shaikh Abu Usama explains that the scholars are not the objectives, the objectives are following the Quran and sunnah.

  18. Avatar

    gunal

    June 25, 2014 at 9:52 AM

    Very nicely put Methodology? Indeed what is the difference from following a madhab.My suggestion is since everyone’s circumstances are different, we all must consult only the Qur’an with every situation in our lives. Only we can find the best solutions to our unique individual circumstances.

    • Waleed

      Waleed

      June 25, 2014 at 11:58 AM

      Gunal, you need to read one more time what was written, or at least the story of Ibn Abbas and Umar in the beginning of the article.

  19. Avatar

    Tamim

    June 25, 2014 at 6:43 PM

    Even scholars from within what many like to call “traditional” Islamic scholarship (meaning an understanding based quite strictly on the 4 mathaahib) recognize what Sh Basyouni mentioned in this article.

    Sh Abdullah bin Hamid Ali, a well known Maliki scholar in the US, mentions on his website

    “I also would agree with Dr. Bilal Philips [the answer was in response to a statement by Dr. Phillips] that prevailing understandings of madhhab principles can be a bit too rigid at times and very restrictive. I, however, do not agree with the view that this necessitates a relinquishing and mixing of all the principles of the historical schools with the aim of achieving uniformity.”

    I would say this is a sentiment that can be reconciled with Sh Basyouni’s criticism of the understanding of the different mathaahib that existed in the past century and a half. Indeed, many scholars from within that tradition are correcting the mistakes that were made in this regard by the scholars from that time period. We would hope those who follow our current ‘ulema do the same.

  20. Avatar

    p4rv3zkh4n

    December 22, 2014 at 3:31 PM

    Jazak Allahu khaira Shaykh Waleed. Excellent article about the methodology of the pious early Muslims.

    *This comment was edited by the MM Comments Team in order to comply with our Comments Policy*

  21. Avatar

    Mehran Umer

    January 14, 2016 at 3:27 PM

    Ma Sha ALLAH nice Information

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