A sister came across someone insulting another Muslim and she asked the man why he is doing this, the man answered because he is “Salafi/Wahhabi, they are the poison of the Ummah.” The sister asked me “We all follow the salaf right?! but when is someone a salafi in their eyes? can you explain to me why they use this word n a negative way”. I decided to write a post answering her question.
First of all, the term Salafi or Wahhabi often used for those who are following the ways of Prophet Mohammed (Peace Be Upon Him) and his companions perfectly, they don’t add to Prophet’s Mohammed ways anything from their own, they follow without questioning the way of Prophet Mohammed. Meaning: Prophet Mohammed had a long beard a Salafi or Wahhabi according to their term will have long beard. If Prophet Mohammed said Pagans are non-believers so they will say the same thing. You will not a find a beardless Muslim with makeups on his face like those in the media to be referred as Salafi.
The problem is when some Muslims see a group of People judging other Muslims they consider this act is wrong because they think Muslims shouldn’t judge human beings. You will find many times some Salafis/Wahhabi according to them say: “This act is Kufr or this is innovation in the religion” the normal non-learned Muslims feel that they are extremists they shouldn’t judge others, additionally because of the great influence of the Media against “Salafi/Wahhabi” they start giving them titles like extremist, poison of the Islamic Nation…etc It’s very important to mention that the real Salafi/Wahhabi as you call them never judge another beings without knowledge, what they usually do is for example if they did read in the Quran Allah said the Jews are going to Hell, a Salafi/Wahhabi would say they are going to Hell so they are not actually judging from their own but repeating what Allah said in the Quran. If they found in a Hadith that Prophet Mohammed (Peace Be Upon Him) said that Alcohols are not allowed, what a Salafi/Wahhabi would do they would say Alcohols are not allowed, they are just repeating what Prophet Mohammed (Peace Be Upon Him) said. That it means it’s wrong and unfair to say that a Salafi/Wahhabi is judging other people.
The term Salafi originally means those people who follow the ways of the Salaf (Old) meaning following the Prophet Mohammed’s way by the understanding of the Prophet Mohammed’s companions and the companions of the companions. You might ask: “Why they are following the ways of the companions?” Well because in some topics we don’t have an answer from Prophet Mohammed (Peace Be Upon Him) and because the companion of Prophet Mohammed (Peace Be Upon Him) for sure knew him more than us, they knew his behaviors, his eating, walking habits, they saw him in action…etc so their understandings of Prophet’s Way is better than those who came after thousand year from the death of Prophet Mohammed. Another reason is because Allah said in the Quran that he is pleased by the companions of Prophet Mohammed (Peace Be Upon Him) in many different places in the Quran, please Prophet Mohammed (Peace Be Upon Him) asked us to follow their ways after his death because in fact when they follow their ways they are actually following the way of Prophet Mohammed (Peace Be Upon Him) because it’s only one way, the way leading to the only Truth.
While the term Wahhabi, is used to refer to someone who is following the footsteps of (Mohammed Ibn AbdulWahab), a great a scholar who renewed the religion of Islam in Saudi Arabia, when I say renewed I mean he didn’t invent anything new in the religion but he raised what was forgotten of Islam back then. What he was doing is reminding the people of the ways of Prophet Mohammed and his companions. He was telling the people what Prophet Mohammed (Peace Be Upon Him) liked and what he disliked. Now anyone doing the same from Saudi usually is referred as Wahabi while in fact they shouldn’t be named Wahhabi after Mohammed Ibn AbdulWahab because Mohammed Ibn AbdulWahab was following the way of Prophet Mohammed (Peace Be Upon Him) and his companions.
Now why people think the Salafis/Wahhabis are extremist and poison to the ummah. Well simply my answer is because they are people who are standing like a wall between man and achieving his evil desires. For example, there are countless Muslims now singing and dancing, sometimes you find men wearing make-up and moving their bodies in a very “Unmanly” ways or crying on the stage singing. When a Salafi/Wahabi say this is wrong and it’s not allowed in Islam, they will consider them extremist for many reasons, one of them is because they see the whole world almost dancing and singing. Another reason is because they see a lot of non-learned Muslims are doing the same, so how come the whole world dancing and singing but only few people are not dancing and singing there must be something wrong about them! That’s why they can’t accept or hate that group. However, the Salafi/Wahabi arguments is very simple, any Muslim can accept it. When they see someone dancing and singing they ask them: “Did Prophet Mohammed (Peace Be Upon Him) or his companions ever dancing and singed like what you guys are doing!?” of course the answer will be NO! In fact no sane Muslim can imagine his beloved Prophet Mohammed (Peace Be Upon Him) dancing and singing. I ask you now, can you imagine Omar Ibn Al-Khattab with his long beard holding a microphone singing and dancing on stage!
My answer to our sister’s question, we are all Muslims but not all of us are truly following the “Salaf” the way of the great companions. It’s not that words that count but words & acts together, claims alone are not enough. Many Muslims claim they love Prophet Mohammed but we all know that logically if someone loves someone greatly he will do his best to follow his loved one and would do his best to please his loved one. If you were in honest in your love for Prophet Mohammed then follow the way of Prophet Mohammed, do what he did and say what he said. Sadly today we are claiming we love Prophet Mohammed but we follow the way of Michael Jackson or Tom Cruise or other public figures. I admit I am someone who is not perfectly following Prophet Mohammed (Peace Be Upon Him) so I can’t claim I truly perfectly love him but at least I don’t make fun of those who really perfectly following Prophet Mohammed (Peace Be Upon Him) in every detail.
Oh my dear sister, don’t be sad when you hear people calling great Muslims who are obeying God’s orders and following the way of Prophet Mohammed (Peace Be Upon Him) Salafi or Wahhabi. It’s when someone’s cloth is so bright and beautiful they will try their best to find a black dot. Don’t be sad because it’s always the way of losers, when they can’t defeat the truth with their arguments they would try to give them bad titles. Like when the disbelievers did to Prophet Mohammed (Peace Be Upon Him) they called him Insane, Merciless, Liar…etc they couldn’t prove Prophet Mohammed (Peace Be Upon Him) wrong so they started giving him such titles. Don’t be sad because Allah is putting you under trial to see if you will have tolerance against the ignorance of other people. Remember my sister, just because the number of ignorance is more than the number of the wise we shouldn’t give up… Isn’t the amount of salt in the sea far more than the sweet water? Finally I will remind you of what Allah said in the Quran:
))وَإِنْ تُطِعْ أَكْثَرَ مَنْ فِي الأَرْضِ يُضِلُّوكَ عَنْ سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ إِنْ يَتَّبِعُونَ إِلَّا الظَّنَّ وَإِنْ هُمْ إِلَّا يَخْرُصُونَ* إِنَّ رَبَّكَ هُوَ أَعْلَمُ مَن يَضِلُّ عَن سَبِيلِهِ وَهُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِالْمُهْتَدِينَ ((
سورة الأنعام من الآية 116 إلى الآية 117
“Wert thou to follow the common run of those on earth, they will lead thee away from the Way of God. They follow nothing but conjecture: they do nothing but lie. Thy Lord knoweth best who strayeth from His way: He knoweth best who they are that receive His guidance.”
Holy Quran (Chapter 6 Verses 116-117)