What is Salafism? A Statement and Explanation

Followed by Quotations and Legal Rulings from those Blessed with Knowledge and Exemplary Conduct

Quoted in this Pamphlet:

  • Imam al-Awza’i (may God have mercy on him)
  • Imam al-Safarini (may God have mercy on him)
  • Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyya (may God have mercy on him)
  • The Eminent Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Aziz ibn Baz (may God have mercy on him), the official jurist of Saudi lands
  • The Eminent Shaykh and Hadith Scholar Muhammad Nasir al-Din al-Albani (may God have mercy on him)
  • The Eminent Shaykh Muhammad ibn ‘Uthaymin (may God have mercy on him)
  • The Eminent Shaykh and Hadith Scholar Muqbil ibn Hadi al-Wad’i (may God have mercy on him)
  • The Eminent Shaykh Bakr Abu Zayd (may God have mercy on him)


In the name of God, the All-Merciful, the Compassionate

All praise is due to God, and may prayers and peace be upon His Messenger (upon whom and whose family may God grant blessings and peace)

Almighty God says: “Cooperate in piety and God-consciousness, and don’t cooperate in sin and animosity, and fear God, for indeed God’s punishment is severe.” (Qur’an 5:2)

The Noble Prophet (may God grant him blessings and peace) said, while interlacing his fingers together, “Muslims are to one another like a building, one part of it strengthening another.” (Al-Bukhari)

My beloved brothers within beloved Egypt and abroad: these are strange times full of strange people. In these days, I have found many non-Muslims and Muslims—reporters, party members, lawyers, and some from al-Azhar—to be ignorant of the greatest call to faith on earth: the Salafi call. And who are the Salafis????

We have oppressors and others wrongfully accused of oppression, we have the argument that it’s all “terrorism and extremism,” and we have people who are either envious of this blessed call or despise it. I’ve implored God, the One, the Alone, for help in explaining the meaning of Salafism, and have quoted the words of the imams and stars of this community from among the Salaf, our righteous predecessors in Islam. I’ve abridged their statements significantly, since this is intended to be a statement and explanation, not a detailed description, focusing on how to define Salafism and what it means to belong to this group. Also addressed: who the Salaf are, what the fundamentals of Salafism are, why we must follow the Salaf, and that Salafism isn’t a vain political party or type of partisanship, which is detestable…nor is it a ground for extremism or whatever other accusations we hear so much of these days…

First of all, Islam has no factions or sects. Rather, it is one unified group, one team, called the People of Prophetic Example and Majority Opinion (Ahl al-Sunna wa-l-Jama’a), the People of Hadith, the Righteous Predecessors… so all the scattered initiatives, political parties, and factions we see today don’t have anything to do with Islam.

Almighty God has said, “Hold fast, all of you, to the rope of God and do not let differences come between you.” (Qur’an 3:103)

God (may He be exalted) has said, “He legislated for you in your way of life what He counciled Noah to do, what We have revealed to you, what we counciled Abraham, Moses, and Jesus to do: establish this way of life, this religion, and don’t let differences come between you regarding it.” (Qur’an 42:13)

It’s reported that Anas ibn Malik said that the Messenger of God (may God bless him and grant him peace) said, “The Israelites broke into 71 sects, and my community will break into 73 sects, all of which are in the Hellfire except one: the community of Majority Opinion” (in Abu Dawud). In another narration he said it was “what my Companions and I are upon.” The hadith is authoritative, as established by al-Albani (may God have mercy on him).