By Dr. Yasir Qadhi
02 September 2014
The Most Significant ‘Problems’ That The Salafī Movement Suffers From Are:
1. Its relegation of theology to the mainly abstract and theoretical doctrines tangential to the message of Islam, to the point that abstract theology and manmade creeds eclipse each and every other aspect of Islam.
Salafīs will regularly categorize other Muslims at the cost of far more important issues. The goal of the Atharī creed is to develop a strong relationship with Allah.
Tawḥīd of Allah’s Names and Attributes should not primarily be about debating whether Allah has a yad or what the nature of the Throne is – it is about increasing in our remembrance of Allah, glorifying Him more, worshipping Him correctly and sincerely, and focusing on the actions these beautiful Names and Attributes should inspire in us. Mere affirmation of the proper theoretical doctrine does not necessarily imply a more righteous Muslim. We would do well to remember that Allah will not question the lay-Muslim about abstract issues of theology, but He will take him to task for the obligatory actions of religiosity and levels of spirituality.
2. An unfounded hesitation in embracing Tazkiya Al-Nafs and little interest in spiritual development. It is an undeniable reality that, as a whole, the Salafī movement has failed to emphasize proper spirituality, or Tazkiya al-Nafs. Yet, this is a Qur’anic concept, one that has unanimously consensus over – for what exactly is Iḥsān in the famous Ḥadīth of Jibrīl except Tazkiya al-Nafs? The Salafī preoccupation with advanced sciences such as Jarḥ Wa-L-Tadīl over the basic need of spiritual purification explains the phenomenon of ‘Salafī-burnout’, an On Salafī Islam Dr. Yasir Qadhi 14 observable trend of Salafīs forsaking Salafism and either adopting another Islamic trend (typically Sufism, which shows what they were ‘missing’ from Salafism), or leaving practicing Islam altogether.
3. A characteristic harshness evidenced in its treatment of other, non-Salafī, Muslims.
Salafīs believe in their salvific exclusivity. Such an attitude clearly breeds a level of arrogance and conceit amongst lay-Salafīs, and is reminiscent of (but not identical to) religious conceit manifested in the Khārijīs.
This also explains the disproportionate focus on identifying deviants and deviation, which has lead to an absurd result of some Salafī laymen knowing more about deviant beliefs than correct ones. The Madkhalīs are the quintessential example of this: any recent convert to Islam from amongst them will be able to recite a list of names of scholars ‘on’ or ‘off’ the Salafī Manhaj, but will be hard-pressed to mention as many names of Companions; they will know the ‘ruling on greeting a deviant’ but remain ignorant of the Adhkār for the morning and evening. Unfortunately this is not exclusive to the Madkhalī- Salafīs. The question the movement needs to ask itself is: Is Islam about obsessively investigating the errors of others, or is it about becoming a role model for the promotion of good? “Fortunate is the one who is busy with his own defects, rather than those of others” (Musnad al-Bazzar).
4. Many Salafī trends adopt an extremist position regarding Bidʿa and Mubtadʿis.
This has led to them being mocked by other Muslims – even lay-Muslims recognize that it is ultra-literalistic to consider carpets with prayer lines in the mosque a religious heresy!
Another issue is the treatment of a ‘person of deviation’. Salafīs take statements of the Salaf regarding treatment of heretical groups as they would the Qur’an and Sunnah. Yet, the treatment of innovators that some of the Salaf exhibited is something that must be understood in light of the Sacred Texts, and in the context of their times. The rights of Islamic brotherhood, as outlined by our Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam), trump the statement of any one particular scholar, and the treatment of those opposed to the truth varies according to time, place, individual, precise deviation, and context. The religion of Islam does not in and of itself preach guilt by association. The Salaf’s verdicts need to be understood as their Ijtihād, applicable and valid in their circumstances. Modern Salafīs need to understand that 21st century America (or England – and yes, this includes Birmingham as well!) is not 7th century Baghdad, and it is unwise, and un-Islamic, to misapply Fatāwa of the Salaf in preference to the explicit text of the Qur’an and Sunnah urging Islamic brotherhood. It is an unfortunate fact that Salafīs have a reputation of dividing many communities, making blanket Takfīr on specific sects, and dissociating from any who disagree with them.
5. Mistaken priorities. The Prophet Muḥammad (Sallallāhu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) said, “Focus on that which benefits you!” For some Salafīs, success is tantamount to refuting ‘deviants’. They revel in writing lots of refutations against people, warning people from associating with ‘deviants’ and using aggressively harsh language to correct people.
The challenges facing the Ummah are no longer about the misinterpretation of Allah’s Names and Attributes or the validity of celebrating the Mawlid. No doubt, some people, at some level, do need to discuss the reality of the Mawlid, and the Attributes of Allah and other aspects of faith. But these are not the problems of our time, nor do they present major challenges to the faith of our young men and women. These are controversies of a bygone era: the Salafīs and the Ashʿarīs can go on debating such aspects amongst themselves, and I too as a theologian will be glad to participate in such debates, in appropriate forums, in front of appropriate audiences. But the vast majority of our youth couldn’t care less about such abstract non-tangible theoretical discussions. They are struggling to retain faith in their religion, problematising Darwinism and secularism and post-modernism and humanism and liberalism and a thousand other ‘isms’, while Salafīs (and Deobandis, and Ashʿarīs, and Sufīs) still debate in their circles matters that only concern the 0.1 %.
Islam is witnessing unprecedented ideological attacks from radical secularism; these attacks seek to render Islam in particular - and religiosity in general - anathema to modern society. New atheism and scientism are increasingly in vogue amongst public intellectuals. Modern culture reeks of materialism, hedonism, pornography, and sexual exploitation. Extreme ideologies, including radical-feminism, abound. Quite frankly, rare is it to find a Salafī scholar who is even qualified to discuss these issues, much less refute them; and when one does find such a scholar, it is not because of his Salafī training but in spite of such training that he is able to take on such challenges.
Age-old social ills that Islam came to eradicate continue to plague the ‘Muslim world’. Societal problems are rampant, domestic and sexual abuse, violation of worker’s rights, racism, bribery, and so forth are becoming increasing prevalent, yet, almost all of these issues are sidelined. It is inexcusable for jurists to passionately propagate their personal opinions on the prohibition of women driving, or incessantly criticize the celebration of the Mawlid, for instance, all the while sidelining the widespread and endemic mistreatment of foreign labourers, sexual exploitation of female servants, the problems of bribery and Wāsiṭa (having a ‘friend’ in an appropriate place to help you), and other well-known trends in their own societies.
Any Islam that does not concern itself with the rights of the oppressed and downtrodden is far from the Sunnah of our beloved Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam), whose very last words urged us to fulfil the rights of the weakest members of society.
6. The Salafī treatment of women. By and large, the modern Salafī movement relegates women to a level that might justly be considered inhumane. A simple manifestation of this is the fact that the mere mention of the name of your wife or your best friend’s wife is censurable.  If the name of a woman is considered taboo, what then of her actual role in society? The Muslim community is in need of intelligent, articulate, sisters capable of explaining the reality of this religion in the face of extremist feminist interpretations.
The treatment of women is not just manifested in, say, prohibiting Saudi women from driving (which, unbelievably, most Saudi Salafī clerics still prohibit as a part of the religion to this day). Sadly, some segments of Western Salafism became infamous for serial marriages and divorces, single-mothers were taken advantage of, children were sired and abandoned, and fornication itself became rampant. To be clear, this was in a small strand, within particular demographics of American and British Salafism, and manifested a reality that no cleric would ever justify Islamically. Nonetheless, these symptoms were so common that they could not be ignored, and illustrated an underlying problem about Salafī views on women, and a general lack of proper Tarbiyya.
7. Unquestioning allegiance to a group of ‘senior scholars’ that serve as final arbiters on all matters. For a movement that claims to champion free-thinking and eschew blind-following, it is sad that most Salafīs are sectarian and narrow-minded about following the ‘Kibar’ (senior scholars). The fact that the ‘Kibar’ are all typically of one particular nationality, and government appointed, is rarely brought up in polite conversation. The religion of Islam, and even the Atharī creed, does not have specific human guardians whom Allah has appointed as Divine Representatives of His will on earth. Disagreeing with a group of scholars, no matter how ‘senior’, is not tantamount to disagreeing with Allah and His Messenger.
Our Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) said, “Scholars are the inheritors of the prophets.” I am not, God-forbid, disputing the importance and need of Islamic scholarship itself. Nor am I claiming that minor students of knowledge are allowed to unconditionally trump scholars who are more learned. What is being disputed is limiting scholars to a particular, like-minded, homogenous group of one nationality. Scholars of Islam are plentiful, and are found from all ethnicities, and Salafīs should be broad minded enough to take from each scholar his specialty.
Salafīs would do well to remember that amongst the most vocal critics of Ibn Taymiyya himself during his time were his fellow Ḥanbalites (i.e., the ‘Kibar’ of eighth century Damascus), who could not understand why he would want to change the style of writing and method of teaching they were accustomed to.
8. A severely handicapped understanding of the modern political arena. One wonders how anyone who claims to follow Ibn Taymiyya, and reads first-hand how frequently he challenged the rulers publicly, can then adopt such a quietist servile obsequious attitude towards rulers whose crimes far exceed anything the rulers during Ibn Taymiyya’s times did.
I am not arguing for these scholars to call for civil war, but I am saying that a middle ground needs to be demonstrated, where public violations from the rulers are publicly criticized. Islam demands that scholars keep the rulers in check, not the other way around. As it is, the mainstream position of most Saudi Salafīs is that any criticism of the current rulers is tantamount to a theological deviation. As I write these lines, specific policies enacted by the ruling family of that region towards the Muslim Brotherhood and its supporters, and the silence of the scholars in the face of this blatant injustice, is deafening. As for the stance of a mainstream faction of Egyptian Salafīs, as represented in the Noor Party of Egypt and its support of the Sisi regime, it is too pathetic to even warrant refutation. And the list of such stances goes on and on.
Rashid Rida (d. 1935) was the first scholar to popularize the term ‘Salafī’ to describe a particular movement that he spearheaded. That movement sought to reject the ossification of the Madhabs, and rethink through the standard issues of fiqh and modernity, at times in very liberal ways. A young, budding scholar by the name of al- Albānī read an article by Rida, and then took this term and used it to describe another, completely different movement. Ironically, the movement that Rida spearheaded eventually became Modernist Islam and dropped the ‘Salafī’ label, and the legal methodology that al-Albānī championed – with a very minimal overlap with Rida’s vision of Islam – retained the appellation ‘Salafī’. Eventually, al-Albānī’s label was adopted by the Najdī Da’wah as well, until it spread in all trends of the movement.
Otherwise, before this century, the term ‘Salafī’ was not used as a common label and proper noun.  Therefore, the term ‘Salafī’ is a modern term that has attached itself to an age-old school of theology, the Atharī School.
I believe that the Salafī movement is a human movement, like all other movements of Islam. That is because Allah did not reveal the ‘Salafī movement’; rather He revealed the Qur’an, and sent us a Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam). The Salafī movement is as human as the people who are a part of it are which means its mistakes will be the mistakes of humans. This also explains why there is no ‘one’ Salafī movement, but rather a collection of miscellaneous movements that all can be gathered under the rubric of Salafism. I believe that no one movement can claim to be the exact understanding of Islam, and while some no doubt are closer to the truth in some matters than others, every movement is human and fallible. I do not believe any one sect, group or theology has a monopoly of the truth.
The Salafī movement as a whole has some noble ideals that it strives to achieve, but one cannot ignore its many faults as well. Someone might ask, “Is it not possible to divest Salafism of these negatives, retain its positive elements, and redirect it in a better course?” Indeed, that is what many within the movement seek to do, and in all honesty I support such efforts, in Salafism and in all trends in Islam. However, the question becomes: when so many methodological mistakes and negativities are associated with a label and the label itself no longer reflects what it originally aspired to, then why continue to identify oneself with it? This is especially the case when one realizes that this label has no intrinsic religious value and was in fact popularized only very recently in Islamic history.
Because of this, I no longer view myself as being a part of any of these Salafī trends discussed in the earlier section. For those who still wish to identify with the label, I pray that you recognize the faults listed above and work to rectify them. Those who choose to abandon such a label have every right and excuse to do so as well. Islam is broader than any one label.
While after more than two decades of continuous research, I do subscribe to the Atharī creed, and view it to be the safest and most authentic creed, Islam is more than just a bullet-point of beliefs, and my ultimate loyalty will not be to a humanly-derived creed, but to Allah and His Messenger, and then to people of genuine Īmān and Taqwa.
Hence, I feel more of an affinity and brotherhood with a moderate Deobandi Tablighi Maturidi, who might differ with me on some issues of Fiqh and theology and methodology, but whose religiosity and concern for the Ummah I can relate to, than I do with a hard-core Salafī whose only concern is the length of my pants and my lack of quoting from the ‘Kibār’ that he looks up to. Such a moderate Sufī, as well, will see me as a fellow believer in Allah and His Messenger, with trivial differences, whereas the standard hard-line Salafī will have already pigeonholed and classified me based on his pre-conceived perceptions, and his only concern will be to ‘warn against me’. And while I might agree with the hard-core Salafī that Allah has indeed Istawā ‘Alā Al-Arsh (risen over the Throne) in a manner that befits Him, his myopic narrow-mindedness of the problems facing the Ummah, and self-righteous arrogance, and his cultish mentality, will be major turn-offs for me personally, and harmful to the Ummah as a whole. Hence, I do feel more of an affinity with a moderate Sufī who reads more Qur’an than I do and is more conscious of his earnings being Halāl than I am, than I do with a fanatic Salafī from whom no religiosity is seen other than quoting creeds and refuting ‘deviants’. That doesn’t make the Sufī ‘right’ in his theology; it is merely is an indication that Islam, and Islamic allegiances, are broader than some issues.
One Last Point and an Important Disclaimer
Those who have long held grudges against the Salafīs will, understandably, use this article to cast further aspersions against the movement. That, in essence, translates into all other trends in Islam: from the progressives and modernists to the Shīʿites and Sufīs and Ashʿarīs. The fact that someone like myself, who was for a time associated with the movement, is pointing out mistakes that these other groups verbalized will naturally cause them to rejoice. For all of those who wish to exult, realize that my theology is still the same as it was two decades ago, and that your movements are just as human as Salafism.
In other words, I believe that each and every movement of Islam is a human one, with positives and negatives, and while some movements are closer than others to the Prophet’s Sunnah in some areas, no one movement with its human scholars can ever claim to be the representative of our Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam), and officially represent the religion of Allah, on earth. Amongst all the movements, the Salafīs do have some great contributions in the area of creed, but that does not make them the champions of truth in each and every area of Islam. We should take the good from them, and correct their mistakes whenever possible, in a wise and gentle manner. And whoever wishes to reform the movement from within, my prayers and thoughts are with him, but we all have our niche, and I find myself more useful and enthused benefitting the broader Ummah.
As for the disclaimer: I shall always retain respect for a movement that has shaped me immensely, and whose scholars I benefitted from and genuinely admire, even if I disagree with some methodological issues. Therefore, if anyone feels that there is undue harshness at places in this article, I do sincerely apologize for that, for it is not my intention to insult or malign. Perhaps, if harshness is felt, it may be attributed to the fact that I expected better from a movement that claims to follow the Salaf of this Ummah, but that I feel falls far short of that noble goal. It is my earnest desire that the Salafī movement in particular, and in fact all movements of Islam in general, live up to the pure ideals that our religion calls for, and our Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) demonstrated.
In the end, the best speech is the Speech of Allah, and the best guidance is the guidance of His Messenger; and all righteous and sincere Muslims, Salafīs and non-Salafīs, are attempting our best to understand and implement, to the best of our abilities, the best of all Speech, and the best of all guidance.
A note to my detractors: It is un-Islamic to quote one sentence from this article and portray it as representative of my entire opinion. Context is crucial, otherwise even the Qur’an and Sunnah can easily be misunderstood. Feel free to differ, but please link to the entire article, and let educated readers decide my views for themselves as they read the complete article, and see my praise alongside my criticisms of the movement, and the disclaimers in the end.
 Ṣiddīq H. Khan was the inspiration for the Ahl-e-Hadees movement of the Indian subcontinent.
 This can have the rather unfortunate effect of thrusting such lay individuals into the arena of adjudicating religious verdicts (Tarjīḥ) while lacking even the most rudimentary tools necessary to engage in such an endeavour.
 The term ‘Wahhābī’ is a label that is sometimes used by the detractors of the movement. It is considered to be derogatory and is used as a slur, hence it is avoided in this article. Additionally, it is not befitting for Muslims to coin a derogatory term from one of the names of Allah (viz., al-Wahhāb).
 This issue became highly controversial, especially after a refutation was written against al-Albānī by the ‘Ṣaḥwa’ scholar Shaykh Safar al-Hawali, entitled Dhahirat al-Irjāʿ, in which he charged al-Albānī with inclining towards the heretical position of the Murjiʿa (a theological sect of early Islam that excluded actions from the definition of faith). This caused a huge rift in two strands of Salafism in the late 90s: the mainstream Saudi strand and the Jordanian-Albānī strand, headed by Shaykh al-Albānī. This rift has still not fully healed, although it is not as significant as it was a decade ago.
The term Ṣaḥwa comes from a word that denotes ‘activism’, and is used to describe a more politically active strand of Saudi Salafism that emerged after the contentious political events of the early 1990s and the first Gulf War. Ṣaḥwa scholars strongly opposed the War and the intervention of the Americans, thus causing a rift between the mainstream Saudi clerics who wished to follow the ruler’s decision to invite the troops.
The Madkhalīs are at opposite ends of the Saudi Salafī spectrum to the Ṣaḥwa scholars, and derogatorily label this group as ‘Qutbis’, in reference to the political thought of Syed Qutb, and his brother Muhammad Qutb, who was an advisor to Safar al-Ḥawalī (someone who can perhaps be viewed as the ‘founder’ of the Ṣaḥwa).
 Many outsiders don’t understand the rationale behind this and claim that this is because the Saudi government ‘funds’ them. While funding no doubt played a role, most of the non-Saudi Salafīs who follow this position have not benefited from Saudi oil money. Hence, to be fair to this movement (and with the disclaimer that I find this view religiously untenably and morally repugnant), this view is based on the classical Sunnī doctrine of ‘obeying the legitimate ruler’. This doctrine has been extrapolated to implicate even criticizing a legitimate ruler in public. Additionally, there is an overt sentiment present in most group members that despite all of its flaws, the Saudi monarchy in particular ‘protects Tawḥīd and defends the Sunnah’ and hence all other faults should be overlooked in the face of attacks against it. Hence, critics of the government are taken to be critics of protectors of Tawḥīd.
 This theological position logically results in Takfiri, the next point of contention.
 I delivered an academic paper that expounds on this point in some detail. It is available online here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RZoAzlnpIgk
 Each of these views (and scholars) has nuances and caveats for the positions that they champion. I am well aware of these nuances and have not intentionally left them out; however, this article is not a dissertation and hence is not the place to go into conditions and details and exceptions. The goal here is to present a simplistic overview; interested readers are asked to look into the nuances of each of these views.
 A disclaimer here is necessary: these groups, and their positions, are not completely distinct or isolated; there can be some overlap between these positions and a particular person or scholar can exhibit characteristics from multiple sub-groups.
 The Madkhalī strand of Salafism has waned considerably due to a number of factors: Firstly, their brand of Salafism proved so intolerable and caused such tangible damage to the entire Salafī movement that most other Salafiī clerics not associated with the movement (and even some associated with it) were forced to clarify the extremism inherent in it. Secondly, many who jumped on the Madkhalī bandwagon themselves left either this sub-movement, or Salafism, or even religiosity; this practice became so widespread that a term was coined to describe it: ‘Salafī burnout’. Lastly, Madkhalism was, for a period of time, championed and promoted by the Saudi government (this was during the late 1990s and early 2000s), because of its strong pro-government stance. However, when the detrimental side-effects of the movement increased, the government itself subtly withdrew its promotion of the clerics of Madkhalism, and it eventually only remained alive and active in non-Saudi Western ethnicities, typically converts or non-practicing immigrant Muslims of lower educational backgrounds who found comfort in suddenly having the ‘power’ to challenge more reputable clerics.
 I have not listed other countries here and used Egypt as an example. A similar spectrum of movements can be found in almost all countries, including Western lands, where political stances of Eastern Salafīs become important for their Western counterparts. It is not uncommon to sometimes come across two American converts heatedly arguing over the correct theological stance to take regarding a Saudi political decision, for example.
 I have dealt with the angst of both the Madkhalīs and the Takfīrī Salafīs personally; hence obviously I am not a neutral writer regarding these movements. Nonetheless, I do say to these Salafīs of the latter category: while as a rule you have more intelligence, and more Īmān, than the Madkhalī strand, you lack wisdom in understanding the long-term effect of your actions and support, and you share with the Madkhalīs the quickness and harshness in judging others who happen to disagree with you. Just because a person disagrees with your tactics does not imply that he is siding with an enemy of Islam. Also, it would be wise for you to see the age, collective maturity, experience and wisdom of those in your own ranks. Why is it that one rarely finds older, more mature people in your movement – people in their 40s, 50s and 60s who have dedicated their lives to Islam and whose faith and services cannot be doubted? Do you really believe that a teenager or a young man in his early twenties is more qualified to chart a course forward for the Muslims living in the West than those double or triple in age? Lastly, be careful of reading your prejudices and preconceived notions into other people and clerics, for it is very possible that you criticize in a person a flaw or opinion that does not actually exist and will have to answer to Allah for your false allegations. It is foolish to create enemies of people who are not your enemies, and it will be harmful to you in this world and possibly the next.
 In many says, Salafīs wish to do with Sufism and folk-Islam what the Protestant Reformation aimed to do with Catholicism (with obvious dissimilarities as well of course).
 This is the view of almost all non-Muslim academics who specialize in Islamic theology, from Ignaz Goldziher to Richard M. Frank, George Makdisi and Joseph van Ess. While it is true that most of these names are dismissive of the Atharī creed because they view it as being overly simplistic, they acknowledge that this trend of proto-Sunnism pre-dates the Kalām trend of Ashʿarism.
Some modern Ashʿarites, despite all evidence to the contrary, continue to paint an incorrect picture of this reality, in which it is alleged that Ibn Taymiyya ‘founded’ a new understanding of Islam. In my own personal library, as I write these lines, I can see around a dozen theological treatises in my bookshelf written before al-Ashʿarī, all of which affirm Allah’s Attributes completely and unconditionally, and refute Kalām. One may disagree with Ibn Taymiyya, but one cannot historically deny that the general creed that Ibn Taymiyya preached pre-dates him by at least five centuries.
 My doctoral dissertation at Yale, which was an analytical study of Ibn Taymiyya’s magnum opus entitled Averting the Conflict Between Reason and Revelation, began with an introductory chapter of around a hundred pages in which I documented the rise of the Asharite school. In it, I clearly demonstrate that the school began as a small, outcast movement, was initially persecuted by other movements, and due to historical reasons (which I delineate there in detail), eventually manage to supplant the dominant Atharī creed and become the official creed of the Seljuqs and later Islamic dynasties. The claim of modern Ashʿarīs that they have always been the dominant understanding of Sunnism is historically untrue.
 It has been my contention that if Allah had not blessed the Atharī creed with someone of the calibre of Ibn Taymiyya as a defence lawyer and public advocate, it would have long dwindled into a miniscule movement. On a personal note, the towering personality and sharp insights of Ibn Taymiyya have had a profound impact on my own thought as well, and I consider him to be one of the greatest, if not the greatest, intellectual minds that our Ummah has ever seen. Sadly, almost all Salafīs suffice in reading Ibn Taymiyya (while they themselves are not qualified to understand some of his own writings, particular those sections that deal with Hellenistic thought and Falsafa), but don’t dare follow Ibn Taymiyya’s footsteps. Had Ibn Taymiyya been alive today, he would not have written the works that he did; rather, he would have paid attention to the intellectual threats the Ummah is currently facing. Ibn Taymiyya wrote in response to the challenges of his day; modern Salafīs are, for the most part, unwilling to venture outside of the territories and ideas that Ibn Taymiyya wrote about seven hundred years ago and face the challenges of our day.
of the seventy-three groups, and explained that it has been misunderstood by many groups. You can find one such lecture here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6fDXifZ5jnY.
 I have spoken about this issue in more detail here.
 The odd and rare Khuṭba here and there on these topics does not mitigate the fact that addressing such issues are not central to the Salafī call, despite the fact that these issues are rampant in those societies.
This is not meant only as a criticism of Saudi clergy: the same goes for all other societies as well.
 This understanding of seemingly attempting to erase the very existence of women clearly has no precedent in the lives of the Salaf: the Companions, men and women, knew each other’s names very well and conversed with one another if there was a need to do so. Again, this is not to deny the very real Islamic etiquette that direct interactions between the opposite genders should be minimal, for a legitimate need, and with proper decorum. But once again, as with theology, Salafīs take a concept that might have some legitimacy and then pervert and distort it to an exaggerated level.
 Yes, it does exist in a handful of descriptions in classical and medieval Islam, but it is undeniable that the term was not in vogue, nor did it have the connotations it does now.
Yasir Qadhi was born in Houston, Texas and completed his primary and secondary education in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. He graduated with a B.Sc. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Houston, after which he was accepted as a student at the Islamic University of Madinah. After completing a diploma in Arabic, he graduated with a B.A. from the College of Hadith and Islamic Sciences. Thereafter, he completed a M.A. in Islamic Theology from the College of Da’wah, after which he returned to America and completed his doctorate, in Religious Studies, from Yale University. Currently he is teaching at Rhodes College, in Memphis, TN.
URL of Part 1: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-ideology/dr-yasir-qadhi/on-salafi-islam--what-exactly-is-‘salafism’?-part-1/d/98981