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As for Salafiyyah, its affair is clear. From the angle of the Arabic language it is an ascription to he who has proceeded, meaning he who has passed. So it is said about the one who has passed: He is Saalif (he has preceded). If man has precedence in anything, it is said that he has preceded it. And in the hadeeth:

 

"You have accepted Islaam with all the previous (aslafta) good you had practised" [1] - meaning that which has proceeded from before.

 

And in the religion, they are the specific group from the people of the Prophet, (Sallallaahu 'alayhi wa salam) and the purest of his followers. They are everyone that has passed after the Prophet, (Sallallaahu 'alayhi wa salam) upon his tracks from his companions, the Imaams of the Taabi’oon (the second generation after the companions), and those that came after them (i.e. the Taabi’u Taabi’een, the third generation after the companions).

 

So when the term As-Salafus-Saalih (righteous predecessors) is used in the unrestricted sense, then it only pertains to the first three favored generations and they are: The companions of the Prophet, (Sallallaahu 'alayhi wa salam) then the Taabi’oon (the second generation after the companions), and then the Taabi’u Taabi’een (the third generation after the companions). This is the meaning that the verifiers of the religion from the people of knowledge give to the hadeeth:

 

"The best of the people is my generation, then those that came after them, and then those that came after them." [2]

 

This is the meaning given to this hadeeth and all else from the authentic ahaadeeth of the Prophet, (Sallallaahu 'alayhi wa salam) that carries the same meaning. The Imaams of Salafiyyah after the companions of the Prophet, (Sallallaahu 'alayhi wa salam) from the Taabi’oon (the second generation after the companions) are the likes of: The two Sa’eeds, ash-Sha’bee, ‘Ikrimah, and Mujaahid. The Imaams of Salafiyyah from amongst the Taabi’u Taabi’een --the generation after the Taabi’oon -- are the likes of: The four Imaams (i.e. Ahmad bin Hanbal, Maalik bin Anas, Muhammad bin Idrees ash-Shaafi’ee, and Aboo Haneefah), al-Awzaa’ee, the two Hammaads, the two Sufyaans (i.e. Sufyaan ath-Thawree and Sufyaan bin ‘Uyainah), Layth bin Sa’d, Aboo ‘Ubaid al-Qaasim bin Sallaam, al-Bukhaaree, Muslim, and whoever was upon their way, then surely they are the Imaams of the Salafus-Saalih (righteous predecessors).

 

Know, may Allaah bless you, there is no one who has founded Salafiyyah in any time or place from amongst man. So it was not founded by Shaykh Muhammad bin ‘Abdul Wahhaab, the third major reviver of Salafiyyah, along with his brother, Imaam Muhammad bin Su’ood, the two revivers of Salafiyyah. Nor was it founded by those who came before them from the people of knowledge, the Imaams of the religion, and the callers to the truth that call to this pure religion of Tawheed (i.e. to single out Allaah alone in all worship) such as Shaykhul Islaam ibn Taymiyyah and his students. Nor was it founded by those who came before him such as the four Imaams (i.e. Ahmad bin Hanbal, Maalik bin Anas, Muhammad bin Idrees ash-Shaafi’ee, and Aboo Haneefah) and those who we have named from the Imaams (above).

 

Nor was it founded by the Taabi’oon (the second generation after the companions), nor by the companions of Muhammad, nor by Muhammad himself (Sallallaahu 'alayhi wa salam). Neither has it been founded by any Prophet or Messenger that has preceded him. Rather, it has come from Allaah. So the Prophets and the Messengers have conveyed from Allaah that which He desired of legislation, and those that came after them from the callers to Allaah are in accordance with this legislation. Due to this, it (i.e. the legislation) does not have any legal evidence outside of the text and the ijmaa’ (total consensus of the scholars).

 

So statements and actions, in entirety, are weighed on the scale of two things: The text and the ijmaa’ (total consensus of the scholars). Whoever is in agreement with the text or the ijmaa’ (total consensus of the scholars), then he is accepted from. Whoever is in contradiction to the text or the ijmaa’ (total consensus of the scholars), then that which he has done, either of statement or action, is to be refuted regardless of who he is.

 

Thereafter, if the one who is in contradiction has his foundations in the Sunnah (i.e. his foundation is Salafiyyah), his da’wah (call to Allaah) is the Sunnah (i.e. his call is the call to Salafiyyah), and everything that comes from him is Sunnah (i.e. Salafiyyah), then his mistake is refuted, he is not followed in his mistake, and his honor is upheld and preserved. If the one who is in contradiction is a misguided mubtadi’ (deviant) that the Sunnah (i.e. Salafiyyah) is not known from him, the Sunnah (i.e. Salafiyyah) is not the foundation and origin with him, and his foundations are misguidance, then he is to be refuted just as the misguided deviants are refuted. He is met with reprimanding, harshness and coarseness, and he is to be warned from so long as there is no greater harm in warning from him.

 

As for the Salafee manhaj (methodology), I hope that it has become clear to you due to this clarification: It is following everything that has come from Allaah and His Messenger (Sallallaahu 'alayhi wa salam) and having strong adherence to that in statement and action. This is the Salafee manhaj (methodology). This is the Salafee way, and it is the way that Ahlus Sunnah wal Jamaa’ah treads upon. That is because Salafiyyah has many names but there is no difference in meaning. So they are al-Firqatun Naajiyah (the Saved Sect), at-Taa’ifatul Mansoorah (the Victorious Group), Ahlul Hadeeth (the People of Hadeeth), and Ahlus Sunnah wal Jamaa’ah. 

Footnotes:

 

[1] Saheeh Muslim

[2] Saheeh al Bukharee

 

Source: Usool wa Qawaa’id fee al-Manhaj as-Salafee

This is a free Publication from Tarbiyyah Bookstore Publishing & Distribution. Permission is given to reproduce and distribute electronically or otherwise for Da’wah purposes only. But, no part of this publication may be changed by any means possible without the explicit written approval of Tarbiyyah Bookstore Publishing & Distribution.

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