Is the word ‘Salafi’ a Modern Contemporary Term?

The Term ‘salafi’ was used by the Prophet (s) himself

‘Aisha reported: We, the wives of Allaah’s Prophet (s) were with him (during his last illness) and none was absent there Fatima, who walked after the style of Allah’s Messenger (s) came there, and when he saw her he welcomed her saying: You are welcome, my daughter. He then made her sit on his right side or on his left side. Then he said something secretly to her and she wept bitterly and when he found her (plunged) in grief he said to her something secretly for the second time and she laughed.

I (‘A’isha) said to her: Allah’s Messenger has singled you amongst the women (of the family) for talking (to you something secretly) and you wept. When Allah’s Messenger (s) recovered from illness, I said to her. What did Allah’s Messenger (S) say to you?

Thereupon she said: I am not going to disclose the secret of Allah’s Messenger (s)

When Allah’s Messenger (s) died, I said to her: I adjure you by the right that I have upon you that you should narrate to me what Allah’s Messenger (s) said to you.

She said: Yes, now I can do that (so listen to it). When he talked to me secretly for the first time he informed me that Gabriel was in the habit of reciting the Qur’an along with him once every year, but this year it had been twice and so he perceived his death quite near, so fear Allah and be patient (and he told me) that he would be a befitting SALAF for me and so I wept as you saw me. And when he saw me in grief he talked to me secretly for the second time and said: Fatima, are you not pleased that you should be at the head of the believing women or the head of this Ummah? I laughed and it was that laughter which you saw.[1]

Narrated ‘Aisha:
 He added, ‘But this year he (referring to Gabriel due to hadith in Sahih Muslim above) reviewed it with me twice, and therefore I think that my time of death has approached. So, be afraid of Allah, and be patient, for I am the best SALAF for you (in the Hereafter).’ “

Fatima added, “So I wept as you (‘Aisha) witnessed. And when the Prophet saw me in this sorrowful state, he confided the second secret to me saying, ‘O Fatima! Will you not be pleased that you will be chief of all the believing women (or chief of the women of this nation i.e. my followers?”[2]

Ibn Taymiyah (rh) said: 

“There is no criticism for the one who proclaims the way (madhab) 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 (madhab) of the SALAF is nothing but the Truth (Haqq).”[3]


Imam Abu Haneefah (rh) said:  


“Stick to the athaar (narrations) and the way of the SALAF and beware of newly invented matters, for all of it is innovation.”[4]


Imam Ad Dhahabee (D.748H) said:


“It is authentically related from ad-Daaraqutnee that he said: There is nothing more despised by me than ‘ilmul-kalaam (innovated speech and theological rhetoric). I say: No person should ever enter into ‘ilmulkalaam, nor argumentation. Rather, he should be SALAFEE (a follower of the Salaf).”[5]

Adh-Dhahabee also said concerning the biography of Muhammad Ibn Muhammad al-Bahraanee, “He was a good SALAFEE with respect to the Religion.”[6]

He also said about Imaam Abul-Abbaas bin Majd al-Maqdisi, “He was reliable and trustworthy, intelligent, SALAFI and pious…”[7]




[1] Sahih Muslim, The Virtues of the Companions (Book 31), CHAPTER: THE MERITS OF FATIMA, DAUGHTER OF ALLAAH’S APOSTLE (SALLALLAAHU ALAYHI WA SALLAM), No. 6004]

[2] Sahih Bukhari, Volume 8, The Book of Asking Permission, No. 5885]

[3] Majmoo al-Fataawaa 4:149

[4] Related by as-Suyootee in Sawnul-Mantaq wal-Kalaam (p.32)]

[5] Siyar 16/457]

[6] Mu’jamush-Shuyookh (2/280)]

[7] Siyar 23/118]



2 thoughts on “Is the word ‘Salafi’ a Modern Contemporary Term?

  1. Salamu aleykum wa Rahmat Ullah wa baraktuhu

    MAY ALLAH SWT bless you for all letters indivually in this article my beloved brother.

    However i must say that we need start focusing on things we have in common.

    Mosque are being burned down, Sisters are attacked on regular basis, This should be our focus point at the moment my beloved Brother, we need to stand togehter and show people why Allah swt has honoured us. For the sake of Allah lets Unite and start clearing out things people wont know what islam really is, when we stick to these issues , where people wont change their views anyway, Nobody likes to be criticsed

    • wa alaykum salam

      thank you for your comment my brother and i agree we must all focus on those things which we have in common. the greatest thing we have in common is Islam. One Quran and one sunnah and one Allah.

      the problem is that the Muslims have differed over this one great common thing we have amongst us all. this differing did not happen in the time of the prophet (s) or the companions (r) the early generations did not differ over the Quran and sunnah and Allah. but today it is quite the opposite the muslims differ over Allah ! not to mention other things.

      I believe the way forward is to fix the muslims beliefs about Allah the Quran and the sunnah.then we can achieve the unity which you were speaking of. without fixing these problems unity will be impossible.

      Allah said : “And hold firm all of you together to the rope of Allah and do not be devised..” – the rope of Allah according to the mufasiren is the Quran, the sunnah and tawheed

      along with this we must be patient with each other and accepet and tolerate differences where that is allowed

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