“Indeed in the Messenger of Allaah there is an excellent example for those who seek Allaah and the Last Day and remember Allaah much”
And Allaah says:
“And what the Messenger gives you then take it and what he prohibits you from then abstain from it”
Then after the Messenger of Allaah (صلى الله عليه وسلم) it is an obligation to follow the methodology of the righteous predecessors (Salaf as-Saalih – سلف الصالح) and at the heads of them, the Companions and those who followed them and then those who followed them with righteousness, those whom Allaah said about them:
“And the first to embrace Islaam of the Muhaajiroon (those who migrated from Makkah to Al-Madeenah) and the Ansaar (the citizens of Al-Madeenah who helped and gave aid to the Muhaajiroon) and also those who followed them exactly (in Faith), Allaah is pleased with them and they are pleased with Him”
And following them is that you tread upon their methodology as well as their beliefs because protection is specific to the Messengers (عليهم الصلاة والسلام) and that anyone other than them are not infallible, rather they are subject to mistakes and correctness. However the salaf of this Ummah are not subject to that which came from those came after that, so they are the closest people, rather they are those who desire the most in aspiring to follow the prophetic methodology in statements and details and speech and action and belief. For that, being guided by their guidance and treading their methodology then this is what is required. Allaah says after mentioning some of the Prophets addressing the Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم):
“They are those whom Allaah has guided so follow their guidance”
And for this the Companions and those who followed them and those who came after them from the predecessors of the rightly guided Imaams did not have an expression in the noble generations, they are those who it is an obligation to follow and tread upon their methodology and that as-Salafiyyah is a methodology upright upon the guidance of the Book and the Sunnah.
And I believe that the word, “salafiyyah” or “Ahlus Sunnah” and “Ahlus Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah” or “Firqatun Naajiyyah” (The saved sect), or “at-Taa’ifatul Mansoorah” (the victorious group), or “Ahlul Haqq” (the people of the Truth), then these words are all synonymous and contain one meaning. And it is not that Salafiyyah is an innovation as it is claimed but rather it is a synonymn for these words that I mentioned and it meaning it to take from the Salaf, those who came before. So the intent of the Salaf or the Salaf as-Saalih are those who came foremost from the Imaams of guidance and the religion and those who tread their path of success from the covenant of the Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم) to those who came from our scholars in our time. So it is not that salafiyyah is an innovation and it is not that this word is a new word.
And for that we find in the books of the Salaf, and from them Shaykh al-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah and Ibn al-Qayyim and and from before them the guided Imaams, all of them used the word Salaf and followed the salaf and the methodology of the salaf and said “as-Salaf”, and this is the general statement of the Salaf. And this is the statement of the salaf all together and similar to that from the pronunciations that are evident upon the understanding of Salafiyyah. So the meaning of “salafiyyah” is following the the methodology of the Salaf as-Saalih from the Companions and those who followed them and those who followed them in faith, so therefore it is not an innovation and it is not a group from the groups that are formed upon themselves and if they differ with the Book and the Sunnah as it is the care with most of the groups which are found in our time. Therefore the word “as-Sunnah” and “Ahlus Sunnah”, so those who say that the word “Salafiyyah” is an innovation and use as a proof that the word “Salafiyyah” was not present in the time of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) then we say to him that the word “Ahlus Sunnah” in this wording which is used by some of these groups was not present with this wording in the prophetic time, but that which was presented was “Sunnah” and “Jamaa’ah”, these wordings were present in the time of the Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم) and what the salaf made clear after that was that these wordings are synonymous with them and they carry the same meaning.
Therefore the statement of the one who says that it is an innovation then there is no doubt that it is merely out of prejudice. We say that if the intent of a person with the word Salafiyyah is to sectify which we find in our time with the groups or calls to that which is not like the Manhaj of the Salaf, then we do not agree with him nor do we accept from him this naming because he wears the garment and he’s not from it. Just as many of the old groups of innovators, many of them saw that they are from Ahlus Sunnah. The Ashaa’irah say that they are Ahlus Sunnah and the Mu’tazilah say that they are Ahlus Sunnah, it is only the Raafidah who say that they do not adopt the word Sunnah and Ahlus Sunnah, but as for the other groups then all of them claim that they are from Ahlus Sunnah. And in conclusion, all these wordings are synonymous in meaning and they all imply one meaning and imply one clear methodology and that is following the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) and his companions without excessiveness and negligence and extremism and laxity in speech and action and beliefs, and the intent is not to sanctify personalities and it is not a problem of personality sanctification in Salafiyyah because the Men are known by way of the Truth and it is not that the Truth is known by way of Men. And Allaah guides to the best path.))
Shaykh Saleh as-Suhaymee
Translated by Akram an-Najdee