Some Misconceptions About The Salafees
Abu Imraan Abdur-Rahmaan Al-Sharkasi
Source: Al-Burhaan Islamic Educational Newsletter Issue 3
There are a great number of misconceptions, misrepresentations and blatant lies about the Salafees. You only need to open a newspaper after some event where some Muslims are implicated as the perpetrators, which these days is almost every week, and you see some journalist pretending to be an expert saying that “there is a possible link between the Salafists (that is how some of them put it) and this particular event.” Some of them even go as far as to accuse the Salafees of being Jihadis (i.e. those who think that killing innocent people unlawfully in a Pizza Hut or a McDonalds is true Jihad!). So let me take this opportunity to make it very clear to everyone:
The Salafees have not, are not and will not support any terrorists or their activities, wherever that may be.
That is not the way of the Qur’aan and the Sunnah according to the understanding of the Pious Predecessors and our scholars have been warning about the likes of Osama bin Laden and Abu Hamzah for decades, long before 9/11 or 7/7.
This, of course, may not please everyone, especially those who want to portray all the Muslims as the modern-day versions of Frankenstein and Count Dracula put together. But our job is to please Allaah, not the people. Also, it is not enough to get some information from the internet in a matter of minutes to become an “expert” on anything, let alone Islam.
Another very popular and almost equally inaccurate accusation is that the Salafees do not have any manners! While this may be true in relation to some of them, I would like to say this:
The Salafee way emphasises the importance of good Islamic manners the same way as it emphasises the importance of our correct creed and correct methodology.
These are the cornerstones of the way of the People of the Sunnah: correct ‘Aqeedah (creed, belief), correct Manhaj (methodology, the implementation of that correct belief) and correct manners. Anyone who claims to be a Salafee must conform to them, and not pick’n’mix as some do. And if someone is accused of having bad manners just because he/she is defending the Sunnah and the people of the Sunnah, then that shows that the accuser has not really learnt the true meaning of correct Islamic manners.
And look at the so-called manners of the people who say Allaah is everywhere, for example! If I said his mother was everywhere, he would not be best-pleased, to say the least! But he himself does not feel shy to say that about Allaah, who told us in many places in the Qur’aan that He is above His Throne. And look at their “manners” with the Sunnah, when they reject clear authentic ahaadeeth and in their place take the sayings of people who are not Prophets! So let us be fair and watch what we say and utter!
Yet some others accuse the Salafees of not loving our Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) and some scholars of Islam, particularly Imam Abu Haneefah (rahimahullaah). As for the first accusation, then nothing could be further from the truth. How can people who protect and preserve the Sunnah be accused of not loving the one who legislated it (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam)?
How can someone accuse those who choose to follow the ahaadeeth above the sayings of any human, however important that human may be, of not loving Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam)?
It is but a blatant lie that is refuted by history and reality before the Qur’aan and the Sunnah.
As for the second accusation, then it is part of our ‘Aqeedah (creed) that we must love and respect anyone who loves and respects the Sunnah, let alone those who preserve it and teach it from the scholars of Islam and propagators of it. Hence, Imaam Abu Haneefah (rahimahullaah) is one of those great scholars of Islam whom we must love and respect, the same way as we must love and respect other great Imams of the Sunnah, starting from Abu Bakr As-Siddeeq all the way down to our time, when we were fortunate to witness and live with the likes of Shaykh Ibn Baaz, Shaykh Al-Albaani, Shaykh Ibnul-Uthaymeen and others. But when we say we must love and respect them, that does not mean that we are allowed to put them above the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) in following what they said even if that contradicts the Sunnah. No, not at all. It means we must follow them in what agrees with the Sunnah, not in everything they say.
And, of course, if we were to say that everything the scholars of Islam say is right that would mean that they do not make mistakes in the religion, which is the prerogative of only the Prophets (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam). And the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) summed it all up very well when he said in a hadeeth reported by Bukhari and Muslim:
“Obedience is only in Ma’roof (what agrees with the Sharee’ah).”
And if you were to read some of what the Imams have said regarding the prohibition to follow them in everything they said, you would understand the position of the Salafees on the issue. I would refer you to the foreword of the translation of “The Prophet’s (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) Prayer Described” by Shaykh Al-Albaani (rahimahullaah) for more details.