The Meaning of ‘Salafiyyah’
The Shaykh (may Allaah have mercy on him) was asked: What is Salafiyyah? He answered:
‘As-‐Salafiyyah is following the manhaj (way, methodology) of the Prophet and his companions.
Because they are our salaf who preceded us, so to follow them is ‘Salafiyyah’.
As for taking As-‐Salafiyyah as a specific manhaj by which a person individualizes himself besides others, and he considers anyone from the Muslims who opposes him to be astray – even though he may be upon the truth; Then without any doubt this is the opposite of As-‐Salafiyyah.
So, all of the Salaf called to Al‐Islaam and to unifying around the Sunnah of the Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) and they did not consider one who differ from them in some alternative interpretation to be astray – except in matters related to creed – then they would view one who opposes them in these matters (core issues of creed) as being astray.
However in our time, some of those who ascribe themselves to the manhaj of As-‐ Salafiyyah have begun declaring those who differ from them to be astray, even though the truth may be with them. And some of them have taken a partisan manhaj (a sect) just like the manhaj of the other sects which divide Al-‐Islaam. And this is that which is disapproved of and it is not possible to allow it.
It is said: ‘Look at the way of the pious salaf, what they would do in their unique way, and in the vastness of their hearts with regards to differing views which ijtihaad was feasible in. So much so that they would differ even in big issues, and in (subtle) issues of creed and issues of knowledge – then you will find some of them, for example, rejecting that the Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wa salaam) saw his Lord, whilst some of them say that he did. And some of them say that it is the deeds (of a person) which will be weighed on the Day of Judgement, whilst others say that it will be the books of the deeds which will be weighed. You will also see that they would differ in jurisprudence, the rules of marriage, inheritance, figures, trade and other things. And despite all of this, they would not declare each other to be astray.
So, As-‐Salafiyyah with the meaning of it being a partisan (sect) manhaj, with specific characteristics, whose members declare other than them to be astray – then such people have nothing of As-‐Salafiyyah.
And as for As-‐Salafiyyah which (is taken to mean) the following of the manhaj of the salaf in creed, speech, action, differing, agreement, compassion, mutual respect – Just as the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) said ‘The example of the believers in their mutual love, their compassion and kindness is like one body. If one part of the body undergoes difficulty then the entire body shares the fever and sleeplessness’ (Muslim – 6258). Then this is the true As-Salafiyyah.’
Taken from Liqaa-ul-‐Baab-ul-Maftooh – Question No. 1322
“Make things easy and do not make things difficult. Give glad tidings and do not repel people..”
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