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Islam and Sectarianism ( 9 Dec 2012, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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A Sunni-Salafi View of Themselves as God’s Chosen People, the Only ‘Saved Sect’, saved from hell fire


Salafis alone i.e. those who follow the Qur’an & Sunnah without adding or subtracting, will be saved from hell fire


Question: Salam alaykum! Im confused by the whole Salafi thing, Everyone claims they are the “saved sect”. I think the whole idea of sects is an innovation, I can’t tell due to that last post and a a post a couple of days ago that said ascribing oneself to salafi-ness is bidah and negative. I honestly have seen the behavior of people on here and in real life that claim such things, and it’s terrible, it turned me off immediately from the idea, what are your thoughts?

Walaikum Assalaam wa rahmatullah,

I hope you’re in the best of health and iman.

I’m not aware of which sects have claimed that they are the saved sect, however know that Ahl-us-Sunnah wa’al Jamaa’ah (i.e. Sunni/Salafi/those who are following the Qur’an & Sunnah without adding or subtracting) is the only group that will be saved from the hell fire. This is based on the following Hadith of the Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam):

“And this Ummah will divide into seventy-three sects all of which except one will go to Hell and they (i.e. the Saved Sect) are those who are upon what I and My Companions are upon (i.e. those who follow My Way and the Way of my Companions.)”

[Reported by At-Tirmidhi - Hasan]

Hence the term ‘saved sect’ because this is the group that will be saved from Jahannam, as authentically reported.

To begin, Salafi = Sunni. Both terms are one and the same. Every Salafi is a Sunni, however not every Sunni is a Salafi, and this is because during current times, specific groups of Sunnis have innovated into the religion to such an extent that distinguishing innovations from what is truly part of the Qur’an & Sunnah can be near impossible (ex. celebrating the birth of the Prophet sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, Sufism taking religion to extremes, the Khawarij stating suicide bombings are permissible, and numerous others).

Secondly, the word Salaf refers to the first three generations of Muslims, Salaf-us-Saalih is the full term meaning, Pious Predecessors. By stating one is Salafi, they are simply adding ‘of’ denoting identification with the Salafi manhaj (way).

Salafi - Means “of the salaf”. The “i” (sounds like “ee”) on the end of the word means “of the”, “of” and/or “are”. Using correct arabic grammar, the word “salafi” can only be used in association with words that are of that which is truly from the far past. In order to be a salaf, you had to exist generations prior to the current one.

Referring to oneself as a salafi* is permissible in Islam so long as the intention is for identification with the salafi minhaj (salafi methodology) and this identification does not replace your identification as being Muslim, as Muslim is what Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala has commanded us in The Qur’an to call ourselves.

While it is important, as many scholars have said, to distinguish ourselves from the innovators, we first do this in our actions (i.e. do not sit with the people of innovation, engage the sunnah in our daily lives, etc.), and to do so in speech, we can best do so by clearly stating that we are followers of the pious predecessors (“Ana a-taaba as-salaf as-saalih”).

“And this Ummah will divide into seventy-three sects all of which except one will go to Hell and they (i.e. the Saved Sect) are those who are upon what I and My Companions are upon (i.e. those who follow My Way and the Way of my Companions.)”

[Reported by at-Tirmidhee - Hasan]

“Verily those before you from among the People of the Book split into seventy-two sects and verily this religion…”, and in another narration, “…this Ummah will split into seventy-three sects: seventy-two will be in the Fire and one in Paradise and that is the Jamaa’ah.”

[Reported by Abu Daawood - Sahih]

When questioned by his Companions about those who will be saved from the Fire, the Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam) replied: “They are those who are upon what I and my companions are upon.”

[Reported by at-Tirmidhee from Amr ibn al-Aas - Classified as Hasan.]

The manhaj (methodology) of the Salaf is to adhere to the Qur’aan and the authentic Sunnah as understood by the Salaf as-Saalih. The word Salaf is a shortened version of the word ‘Salaf as-Saalih’, which means the ‘Righteous Predecessors’.

It refers specifically to the first three generations of Islam in which the Prophet Muhammad (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) described as being the best generations of Muslims. The first, the Prophet (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and his Sahaabah (companions). The second, the Taabi’een (the followers of the companions). The third, the Tabaa’at-Taabi’een (the followers of the followers of the companions).


In addition, the term Salaf itself is not a new one, but one the Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) used for himself.

The Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said to his daughter Fatimah (may Allah be pleased with her),

“Indeed, I am for you a blessed Salaf.”

[Al-Bukhaaree, number. 2652 and in Muslim]

Lastly, know that ill manners, name calling, and condemning others by calling them a Kafir without reason is not the way of the Salaf, nor how any Salafi should be behaving. Just as a Muslim may act wrongly, does not mean a Salafi is exempt from the same. The Salafi brothers and sisters whom I know of on Tumblr are kind, genuine, and really nice people, MashaAllah. This however, does not mean that we are not harsh. It’s true that we are harsh, and will remain harsh against any type of innovation; using personal interpretations of the Qur’an & Sunnah, making incorrect statements about the deen, and twisting the words of Allah or way of the Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), innovators, and those who lie upon the Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and/or his noble companions. Unfortunately, often times in defending the Qur’an & Sunnah one is labeled as arrogant, which is not the case at all.

I would highly advise you to read common misconceptions about Salafiyyah here. Also, if you could please send me the link for the article that stated that ascribing oneself to the way of the Salaf is bid’ah, then that would be great.

For further information on Salafi/Salafiyyah and who the Salaf are I would encourage everyone to read the following:

1.         Explanation of the Hadith about the 73 Sects

2.         Statements of the Salaf on ascribing oneself to the Salaf

3.         The Companions are the Foundation of the Jamaa’ah

I apologize for the extremely lengthy answer, but In shaa’ Allah the above was clear. If you still have questions, then please see my Salafiyyah tag, or check out the following Salafi Tumblrs. Any mistakes in this answer are from myself and myself alone, and all good is from Allah.


The meaning of the Hadith, ‘My Ummah will be divided into 73 sects.’


Question: What is the meaning of the following hadeeth:

“My Ummah will be divided into 73 sects. All of them will be in the Hell-Fire except for one sect.”

Who is that sect? And will the seventy-two sects live forever in Fire, as the Mushrik will or not? And does the term ‘Ummah of the Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam)’ apply to those who follow him as well as to those who do not, or is it to the former only?

What is meant by the term’ Ummah’ in this hadeeth is the Ummah of response which shall be divided into seventy-three sects; seventy-two of which are deviant who practice innovated religious practices that do not constitute apostasy. Each shall be tortured in accordance to its innovations, and deviation, except for those whom Allaah pardons, and forgives. Their final abode will be Paradise. The only sect that will be safe is Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jama’ah, who adhere to the Sunnah of the Prophet (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), and hold fast to what he and his Companionship, may Allaah be pleased with them, were holding. It is they about whom the Prophet (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said:

“A group of my Ummah shall remain steadfast, on the truth, victorious, unharmed by those who oppose them, and do not support them, until death or until the Day of Resurrection.”

[Al-Bukhaari nos.71, 3641 no.1920]

As for those whose innovation casts them out of Islaam, they belong to the Ummah of invitation (mankind at large) not the Ummah of response. They shall remain in Hell-Fire forever, and this is the most valid opinion.

It is also said that the term ‘Ummah’ in this hadeeth means the Ummah of invitation, which is a general term including all those to whom the Prophet (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) was sent (i.e. mankind) those who believe and those who do not believe. Whereas the term the ‘safe sect’ is the Ummah of response, which strictly applies to those who believe in the Prophet (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), trustfully, and die on this condition. This is the sect that will be safe from Fire; either by prior punishment or without prior punishment and their final abode will be Paradise.

As for the seventy-two sects (in the second opinion) they are all, excluding the saved sect, disbelievers who will live forever in Fire. Hence, it is clear that the Ummah of Da’wah, is more general in connotation than the Ummah of response. That is to say, whoever belongs to the Ummah of response, belongs to the Ummah of invitation, while not everyone of the Ummah of invitation belongs to the Ummah of response.

— The Permanent Committee for Research and Verdicts

[Fatawa Islamiyah, vol.1, p.20, Darussalaam]



Statements from the Salaf on Ascribing to the Salaf


Imaam al-Asbahaanee (d.535H) - rahimahullaah - said: “The sign of Ahlus-Sunnah is that they follow the Salafus-Saalih and abandon all that is innovated and newly introduced into the Deen.”

[Al-Hujjah fee Bayaanil Mahajjah 1/364]

Abu Haneefah (d. 150H) (rahimahullaah) said: “Adhere to the athar (narration) and the tareeqah (way) of the Salaf (Pious Predecessors) and beware of newly invented matters for all of it is innovation” 

[Reported by As-Suyootee in Sawn al Mantaq wal-Kalaam p.32]

lbn Taymiyyah (d.728H) - rahimahullaah - said: “There is no criticism for the one who proclaims the way (madhdhab) of the Salaf, who attaches himself to it and refers to it. Rather, it is obligatory to accept that from him by unanimous agreement (Ittifaaq) because the way (madhdhab) of the Salaf is nothing but the Truth (Haqq).” 

[Majmoo al-Fataawaa 4:149]

Imaam adh-Dhahabee (d.748H) - rahimahullaah - said: “It is authentically related from ad-Daaraqutnee that he said: There is nothing more despised by me than ‘ilmul-kalaam (innovated speech and rhetorics). I say: He never entered into ‘ilmul-kalaam, nor argumentation. Rather, was a Salafee (a follower of the Salaf).”

[Siyar 16/457]

As-Sam’aanee (d.562H) said in al-lnsaab (3/273): “As-Salafi: this is an ascription to the Salaf and following their ways, in that which is related from them.”

lbn al-Atheer (d.630H) said in al-Lubaab fee Tahdheebul-lnsaab (2/162), commenting upon the previous saying of as-Sam’aanee: “And a group were known by this ascription.”

So the meaning is: that the term Salafi, and its ascription to them, was a matter known in the time of Imaam as-Sam’aanee, or before him.




The Companions Are The Foundation of the Jamaa’ah


Imaam al-Barbahaari (rahimahullaah) said:


 “The foundation upon which the Jamaa’ah is built is the Companions of Muhammad May Allaah’s Mercy be upon them all. They are Ahl us-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah,[1] so whoever does not take from them has gone astray and innovated[2] and every innovation is misguidance, and misguidance and its People are in the Fire.” [3]

[Sharh us-Sunnah (Explanation of the Creed), point 3, Translated by AbuTalhah Dawud Burbank.]


1. As is shown by the hadeeth of at-Tirmidhee (no. 2641): ‘Abdullaah ibn ‘Amr said: The Messenger of Allaah said, “What happened to the Children of lsraa’eel will happen with my Ummah, just as one shoe resembles the other, to the point that if one of them had intercourse with his mother openly, there would be someone who did that in my Ummah. The Children of Israa’eel split into seventy two sects and my Ummah will split into seventy three sects, all of which are in the Fire except one sect.” They asked, “Which is that one, 0 Messenger of Allaah?” He replied, “That which I and my Companions are upon.

[Declared hasan by Shaikh al-Albaanee.]

2. It is authentically reported that Allaah’s Messenger said, “Stick to my Sunnah and the Sunnah of the rightly guided Caliphs after me, cling to that with your molar teeth and beware of new matters, for every innovation is misguidance.”

[Reported by Ahmad, Abu Daawood (Eng. trans. 3/1294/no.4590), at-Tirmidhee (no. 2676), Ibn Maajah (no. 42), ad-Daarimee (no. 96) and Ibn Abee ‘Aasim in as-Sunnah (no. 54). Shaikh al-Albaanee declares, “Its isnaad is saheeh, its narrators reliable.”]

3. Jaabir, radiallaahu’anhu, reports that the Prophet would say in his khutbah, “… The most truthful speech is the Book of Allaah. The best way is the way of Muhammad. The worst of affairs are the novelties and every novelty is an innovation and every innovation is misguidance and every misguidance is in the Fire.”

[Reported by an-Nasaa’ee (3/188). It is declared saheeh by Shaikh al-Albaanee in SaheehSunan in-Nasaa’ee (no. 1487).]

Abu Shaamah (d.665H) said,”The order to stick to the Jamaa’ah means sticking to the truth and its followers; even if those who stick to the truth are few and those who oppose it are many; since the truth is that which the first Jamaa’ah from the time of the Prophet and his Companions, radiallaahu ‘anhum, were upon. No attention is given to the great number of the people of futility coming after them.” (Al-Baa’ith ‘alal-Bida’h wal-Huwaadith, p.19).

Taken from:

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