Al-Qa’idah, ISIS, An-Nusrah, Ash-Shabab, Boko Haram: Are They Salafi?

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Comparisons and Contrasts (5)

Al-Qa’idah, ISIS, An-Nusrah, Ash-Shabab, Boko Haram: Are They Salafi?

Jalal Abualrub of www.IslamLife.com wrote: We previously explained the terms, Salaf, Salafiyyah, Salafis, and mentioned unequivocal proofs and evidences that clearly establish the necessity of following the Quran and Sunnah, but only according to the way of the Salaf, who learned the entire two sources from the Prophet of Allah, Muhammad, peace be on him. An important question remains pertaining to jihadi groups, such as Al-Qa’idah, ISIS (or IS), An-Nusrah, Ash-Shabab, Boko Haram, Ansar Ash-Shari’ah, and similar jihadi groups, if they are Salafi or not, and if not Salafi, what are they?

Presently, many sects and groups, including Al-Qa’idah and the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), claim that they ascribe to the way of the Salaf. They realize the status of the Salaf among Muslims and the profound impact their respective group will have on Muslims, especially the youth, if their stated mission is about resurrecting the Salaf’s way. These groups also know that since the time of the Salaf, there was always a group of scholars and individuals who made it their mission to preserve the legacy of the Salaf in practice, statement and creed.

Current jihadi groups had to devise a strategy that will, firstly, allow them to ascribe to the way of the Salaf to attract Muslims, especially the youth, and, secondly, drive people away from the Salafis. The Salafis represent a troubling dilemma for today’s jihadi groups. Everywhere the jihadis have a presence or desire to have a presence, they find a strong group of Sunnah scholars who do not only teach, practice, and profess the way of the Salaf, but they, along with their numerous students and followers, are also known in their areas as being, ‘THE Salafis.’ To confront this dilemma, jihadi groups invented two strategies.

First jihadi strategy: Attack the integrity of the Salafis in general, and in specific, such as by denouncing Salafi scholars, many times by name, as being collaborators with corrupt rulers, who sell corrupt fatwa decrees to the rulers for money or position, who discourage the youth from rising against corrupt rulers and from jihad, whose main concern is explaining the law pertaining to women’s menses and giving fatwas about the beard and short dresses for men, and so forth. By doing this, jihadis seek to give the impression that the terrible state Muslims live in, the corruption, the tyranny, the defeats Muslims suffer from, the lack of jihad, are a direct result of the stance taken by Salafi scholars, who according to jihadis, align themselves with corrupt rulers who do not rule by what Allah has revealed.

The jihadis aim to separate the youth from the scholars, by creating mistrust, frustration, and hatred in the hearts of Muslim youth towards scholars of the Sunnah. Then, jihadi ‘scholars’ will be the only ones left to give fatwa decrees, including calling on Muslim youth to rise against their rulers and communities, flock to areas of conflict, start armed rebellion, resurrect their brand of jihad, and other violent ideas and practices. Jihadi ‘scholars’ can, then, convince the youth that all other Muslims are collaborators with corrupt rulers and are also agents for the disbelievers; consequently, their blood and honor is allowed for them. The result is as indiscriminate as it is clear: bloodshed, bombings, committing suicide with explosive belts among civilian gatherings, killing men, women, and children, etc., all directed at Muslims who are not jihadis, or even at other jihadi groups.

Salafiyyah Jihadiyyah vs. Salafiyyah `Ilmiyyah

Second jihadi strategy: Knowing the continuing appeal of the Salafi movement and its scholars, and hoping to attract the masses to their cause, various ‘scholars’ and leaders of jihadi movements have recently started to claim that they are Salafis. However, since scholars and followers of the Salafi movement, universally known to Muslim masses as being, ‘the Salafis,’ do not support the methods or ideas of the jihadis, the jihadis started a new, interesting theme. They divided Salafiyyah into two sectors, Salafiyyah Jihadiyyah, and, Salafiyyah `Ilmiyyah.

Salafiyyah Jihadiyyah: This is the jihadi sector of Salafiyyah, the brand of Salafiyyah that, according to the jihadis, follows the way of the Salaf by resurrecting jihad.

Salafiyyah `Ilmiyyah: It is the traditional brand of Salafiyyah dedicated to knowledge, books, and generally calling on Muslims to abide by the Quran and Sunnah according to the way of the Salaf. This is the knowledge-based sector of Salafiyyah.

The Jihadis Admit That They Do Not Have Knowledge

By dividing the Salafi Da’wah (call, mission) into Salafiyyah Jihadiyyah, which the jihadis –naturally- claim for them-selves, and, Salafiyyah `Ilmiyyah, which the jihadis say is dedicated to knowledge but does not practice the jihadis’ type of jihad, the jihadis admit that do not have knowledge!

It is the jihadis who state that knowledge resides with the Salafiyyah `Ilmiyyah sector of Salafiyyah. Consequently, the jihadis’ jihad is NOT based on knowledge of the Salaf.

It is the jihadis’ own terminology; they devised it; they are the ones who ascribed them-selves to jihad and ascribed knowledge to the other sector of Salafiyyah.

There is only one way that follows the path of the Salaf, and it is entirely based on knowledge. It is not possible, nor is it allowed, for a sincere Muslim to have a creed, make a statement, or practice any aspect of religion, without gaining knowledge that Allah and His Messenger have indeed legislated it for them. Otherwise, how can they know it is truly from Islam? Allah says, {And follow not (say not, do not, witness not) that of which you have no knowledge; Verily, the hearing, and the sight, and the heart of each of those ones will be questioned (by Allâh)} (17:36); {So know (O, Muhammad) that Lâ ilâha illallâh (none has the right to be worshipped but Allâh), and ask forgiveness for your sin, and also for (the sin of) believing men and believing women} (47:19). Ayah 47:19 clearly commands having knowledge, before action.

One can never follow the way of the Salaf, without gaining knowledge in the way of the Salaf. Knowledge cannot be separated from practice; the latter totally depends on the former.

The jihadis know that it was the Salaf, the first three generations of Islam, who established all aspects of Islam in knowledge, creed, statement, action, and indeed, jihad. The Salaf generations are the ones who gave humankind the most humane, efficient, righteous, and successful jihad. However, the Salaf first received knowledge, then, acted on the knowledge they received.

The very notion that Salafiyyah is divided into two sectors, one that does jihad while the other does knowledge, is contradictory, to say the least. The Salaf did not have a group among them that had knowledge, but did no jihad, and another group that did jihad, but without knowledge. The Salaf, by definition, had both, knowledge and practice.

If, according to modern-day jihadis, knowledge of the Salaf resides with the sector of Salafiyyah they call, Salafiyyah `Ilmiyyah, then surely, knowledge of the true methods and practices of jihad according to the way of the Salaf, also reside with Salafiyyah `Ilmiyyah.

If, according to modern-day jihadis, knowledge resides with Salafiyyah `Ilmiyyah, then, jihadis should listen to the knowledge-based Salafiyyah `Ilmiyyah scholars when they inform today’s jihadis that their jihad is defective and contradictory to the Salaf’s  jihad.

All this proves the hypocrisy of modern-day jihadis. They are intent on acting without knowledge and against the objections of the scholars of what jihadis themselves call, Salafiyyah `Ilmiyyah. Current jihadi groups know that the knowledge and actions of the Salaf totally contradict their ways and methods, and indeed, their brand of jihad.

Modern-day jihadis cannot distance themselves from the Salaf generations, for if they do, they will be announcing to the world that they are deviant. Instead, jihadi ‘scholars’ came up with this silly notion which allocates knowledge in the way of the Salaf, to the true Salafis and their scholars, and allocates ignorance to them-selves, i.e., the jihadis.

Scholars of the so-called, Salafiyyah `Ilmiyyah, where knowledge resides according to jihadis, have been clearly stating that the so-called, Salafiyyah Jihadiyyah, invented by the jihadis, does not exist. It is simply modern-day Khawarij trying to legitimatize their deviant sects, ideas, and practices, by ascribing all this to the Salaf.

There is no Salafiyyah Jihadiyyah or Salafiyyah `Ilmiyyah. There is only one Salafiyyah and it follows the path, knowledge, methodology, and practices of the Salaf, including the correct ways and methods of jihad.

The Salafis should know all these aspects. After all, it is the jihadi ‘scholars’ who state that the Salafis are the group (sector; section) of Salafiyyah that has the knowledge.

Maybe, after reading this article, the jihadis would suggest to their leaders and ‘scholars’ to forget about the notion of dividing Salafiyyah into Salafiyyah Jihadiyyah and Salafiyyah `Ilmiyyah, and instead, just call themselves, ‘Salafis,’ and call the Salafis, ‘Khawarij.’ We live in a strange world. Would it be that stranger if the Khawarij are called Salafis and the Salafis are called Khawarij?

Jalal Abualrub (www.IslamLife.com)

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