You are on page 1of 3

Evolution of Salaf term in Islamic Knowledge civilization.

Started from 1st century until 19th century, the term of Salaf has been consistently used to
denote and to refer to the first three generation in Islam which consist the period of Prophet
Muhammad PBUH, the Companion, Tabi'in and Tabi' al- tabi'in. This can be seen in the work
written by previous scholars such as al- Asqallani in which he said:

Whereas the methodology of Muhaddithin, it is an indication of the methodology used


by the Prophet . This opinion belongs to madhab of Salaf al- Salih (the first three
generation of Muslim)1.

Another scholar who support this definition of Salaf term was Ibn al- Athir (1232) in which he
defined Salaf al- Salih as the earliest generation among the Tabiin2. Indirectly, he agreed that
the term of Salaf is referring to the earliest generation which include the Prophet, Companion
and Tabiin. The definition that define Salaf al- Salih as the first three generation continued to
be used widely and consistently until 19th century.

However, in 20th century, the term of Salafi has been used to refer to a new meaning
which is modernist and reformist in way of understanding as well as practising the religion of
Islam. This definition is given by a reformist in Egypt by the name of Rashid Rida and the
usage of this term to refer to the above meaning has been supported by several scholars in that
point of time. Rashid Rida also commented Wahhabi movement as Salafi in creed and Hanbali
in law school or as Salafi Sunni3. This is the first event in which the term Salafi was used
differently from what have been used by many Muslim scholars in Islamic history. Another
author that used term Salafi in new way was al- Qasimi (1936) in which he refers the movement
of Wahhabi as Najdi Salafi Dawah and modern Salafi Nahdah. From the above usage of Salafi
term, it can be inferred that, the author tries to use the term of Salaf by mixing it with Wahhabi
term to denote a movement that focus on religious purification and state- building that can unite
Arab territory4.

1
Al-Asqallani A. (XXXX) Fath al- Bari bi Sharh Sahih al- Bukhahri, Dar al- Marifat, Beyrut, vol. 13, p. 192.
2
Al- Athir A. (XXXXX) al- Nihayah Fi Gharib al- Hadith, Matbaah Khairiyyah, Qaherah, 1232 AH, Vol. 2, p. 190
3
al- Wahhabiyyah wa al- Aqidah al- Diniyyah Li al- Najdiyyin, al- Manar 27 (1926).
4
Al- Qasimi A. (1936) al- Thawrah al- Wahhabiyyah (The Wahhabi Revolution), Matbaah al- Rahmaniyyah,
Kaherah.
At the end of 20th century, this term of Salafi was later continued to be used and popularized
by Shaikh Nasiruddin al- Albani5. The term was used when he was having a dialogue with one
of his students. Where in this dialogue, Sheikh Nasiruddin Albani explain to his student that
Salafi are those who follow Salaf al- Salih in understanding and practising Islam6. Starting
from that moment, the term of Salaf was used widely and more frequently to refer to certain
group of people who claim themselves to be the followers of Salaf al- Salih. This connotation
of this Salafi term was continued to be used until today to define a group of fundamentalists
that claim to follow the way and methodology of the Prophet PBUH and his companion in
understanding and practising religion of Islam. However, the term of Salafi that being used to
refer to certain group of people nowadays, seems to be understood to represent a very rigid and
inflexible way of understanding and practising the teaching of Islam.

This is because, they believe that, the teaching and principle of Qur'an and Sunnah is sufficed
and complete. This mean, there is no need for further explanation and clarification in
understanding both of these sources. Qur'an and Sunnah should be understood as it is without
any interference from human mind or reasoning which sometimes understand both of these
sources differently. Therefore, Qur'an and Sunnah must be understood literally without giving
any room for human interpretation since it can be easily influenced and corrupted by secular
thought and western principle. This statement is supported by Qur'anic verse as follow:

From the above Qur'anic verse, it can be inferred that, what has been uttered, practised and
approved by the Prophet Muhammad PBUH is come from Allah and not from hawa (desire).
The same goes to Qur'an which is the word of God. There is no doubt of their authenticity and
their meaning. However, human reasoning can be easily influenced and corrupted by our hawa
(desire) that came from many doubtful sources. That is the reason why, Qur'an and Sunnah

5
Sheikh Nasiruddin Albani was a scholar of hadith came from Albania who lived in 20th century and died in
1990
6
Salim ibn Ied al- Hilali, (1999), Limaza Ikhtartu al- Manhaj al- Salaf al- Soleh, Dar al- Hadith, Jordan
must be understood literally which is done in order to preserve the originality of the content of
Qur'an and Sunnah.

[15:50, 10/30/2017] +60 13-300 5862: Salam cik nizam. Explanation di atas boleh difahami x drpd
perspektif cik nizam yg bukan mempunyai latar belakang law dan shariah.