Hanabli/ Shafi/ Maliki/ and what are Salafis?

>> Sunday, May 8, 2011


1.Is it necessary to count ourselves as Hanafi / Shafi'i / Maliki / Hanbali? If yes please give reason

2.Who are Salafis / Wahabbis and Ahle Hadiths.Please give a detail of their belief

-Troubled Muslim

Dear Troubled Muslim,

You have asked some very good questions.

For starters, let me ask you a question.

What do you think the Prophet sallah Allahoo alyhee wa salam was? Did he call himself Maliki? Or Hanabli? What about Abu Bakr As-Siddique? Or Umar bin Al Khattab?

You see, the best person in the world, the Prophet sallah Allahoo alyhee wa salam didn't call himself Shafi/etc. These four Imams came after the Prophet sallah Allahoo alyhee wa salam and they came to interpret his teachings and the Qu'ran and derive fiqh rulings.

Let's take a look at what the Qu'ran says:

And who is better in speech than one who invites to Allah and does righteousness and says, "Indeed, I am of the Muslims." (41:33)

My reward is only from Allah, and I have been commanded to be of the Muslims. (10: 72)

We have been commanded to be "Muslims"- that is to submit to Allah. So, first and foremost, we should count ourselves as Muslims.


This is especially true since we have been commanded to 'stay united'. We don't want to 'break up into different groups'. Islam encourages us to stay together.

And hold firmly to the rope of Allah all together and do not become divided. And remember the favor of Allah upon you - when you were enemies and He brought your hearts together and you became, by His favor, brothers. And you were on the edge of a pit of the Fire, and He saved you from it. Thus does Allah make clear to you His verses that you may be guided. (3:103)

Unfortunately, today, one of the major reasons why there is so much disunity within the Muslim population is because each person believes their interpretation/madhab's interpretation of something is the only one that is right. That is, many people fail to take into account that there may be more than one valid opinion. However, this is not correct behavior-- we should not 'separate ourselves into groups!

That said, I think the real question here is "Do we have to follow a particular madhab?"

I'll let Islam Q&A answer this =)

It is not obligatory for a Muslim to follow any particular madhhab among these four. People vary in their level of understanding and ability to derive rulings from the evidence. There are some for whom it is permissible to follow (taqleed), and indeed it may be obligatory in their case. There are others who can only follow the shar’i evidence. See more here:


2. Who are Salafis / Wahabbis and Ahle Hadiths

That's another very good question. I can't give information on "Wahabbis and Ahle Hadiths" because I don't know too much about them, but I can provide information regarding the Salafis.

The word 'salaf' literally means 'the ones who came before us'. A true Salafi is a Muslim who follows the Qur'an, the Prophet's (authentic) sunnah, and the example of the Righteous Predecessors. A Salafi sticks to the understanding of the Qur'an and Sunnah based on the understanding of the Salaf or Righteous Predecessors.

The question is: Who are the Righteous Predecessors?

We have three specific groups:

  • The first, the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) 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).


But generally, "Salaf" refers to all those who followed the examples of the Salaf (and came before us).

In the famous hadith, it was said:

Allaah's Messenger Sallah Allhaoo alyhee wa salam gave us an admonition which caused the eyes to shed tears and the hearts to fear, so we said, "O Messenger of Allaah, this is as if it were a farewell sermon, so with what do you counsel us?" So he said: "I have left you upon clear proof , its night is like its day, no one deviates from it except one who is destroyed, and whoever lives long from amongst you will see great controversy. So stick to what you know from my Sunnah and the Sunnah of the orthodox, rightly-guided caliphs - cling to that with your molar teeth...." [Ahmad (4/126), Ibn Maajah (no. 43), al-Haakim (1/96) and others - Hasan

So really, every Muslim should be a 'Salafi' in the sense that they should follow these examples and should refer everything back to the example of Prophet sallah Allahoo alyhee wa salam and his companions.



Unfortunately, though, TODAY, there are some people who call themselves "Salafis" but are not following the example of the righteous predecessors.

As Islam Q&A states:

But some of those who followed the path of Salafiyyah in modern times started to regard as misguided everyone who differed from them, even if that person was correct, and some of them adopted a partisan approach like that of other parties which claimed to belong to the religion of Islam This is something that is to be denounced and cannot be approved of, and it should be said to these people: Look at the way of the righteous early generation (al-salaf al-saalih), what did they used to do? Look at their way and how open hearted they were in the case of differences in which ijtihaad is justified (and differences of opinion are allowed). They even used to differ concerning major issues, matters of belief and practical issues. You will find some of them, for example, denying that the Messenger (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) saw his Lord, whereas others say that he did see Him. You will see some of them saying that what will be weighed on the Day of Resurrection is deeds, whereas others will say that it is the books of deeds that will be weighed. You will also see them differing a great deal with regard to matters of fiqh having to do with marriage, shares of inheritance, buying and selling, and other issues. Yet despite all that they did not regard one another as misguided.

See more here....


That's about all the information I can give you. I hope inshaallah this helps clear things a bit and that the readers provide you with good information/links, as well.

Jazak Allah for visiting us.

Your sister in Islam,

(Images from Easel and Ink)

4 wonderful sprinkely thoughts:

Blue Pearl May 8, 2011 at 1:16 AM  

People have adapted religion so much that it's hard for anyone to say that they actually follow any of the madhabs correctly. For me, I just know I am a sunni muslim - i follow the quran and the sunnah (according to sahih scholars). Allahu'alam

x@hu May 9, 2011 at 9:59 AM  

Um..., I don't presume to know much, but I do have a rudimentary knowledge in the various major divisions in Islam.

Ahle Hadith is another name for the Ahl us-Sunnah wa al-Jamaa'ah. It is basically the Sunni branch of Islam. Literally it means the people of the Sunnah. Sunni Muslims practice the more orthodox version of Islam and are more closer to the Sunnah of the Prophet (sallalaahu alayhi wasallam) than other sects such as the Shi'a and the Sufi and etc....

The Maliki, Hanbali etc... these four divisions are within Sunni Islam and frankly it's quite silly to dispute over them.

See, it's like this. The four madhhabs are not some fundamental rift in Islam. The thing is that each madhhab has a slightly different way of deriving fiqh rulings and various legal principles. But all four of them use the primary sources of the Quran, the Sunnah and the rulings of the Four Rightly Guided Caliphs.

Different people are different, and one may like a ruling by Imam Hanbali over one by Imam Maliki. This does not make one right or the other wrong. It's sort of like having two different approaches to solving one problem. And we can select the one that is more preferable to us. That is what the four great Imams provided us with. Not a means for us to divide over.

Little Auntie has explained the Salafi's quite well and the thing is, the term Wahhabi and Salafi are used quite interchangeably.

Have you heard the name Sheikh ul-Islam? It is an honorary title given to three great scholars, Ahmed ibn Hanbal, Ibn Taymiyyah and Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahhaab. These three were masha Allah the greatest revivers of the Sunnah in our history.

During the time of Sheikh Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahhaab, those who followed his teachings to practice Islam free from shirk and innovations and closer to the way it was practiced by the Salaf were labelled Wahhaabis. That's how the name got stuck. He didn't advocate a radical Islam as some claim, but a purer Islam.

It's quite confusing isn't it, having all these names thrown about? I got all muddled too when I first started reading into them. Frankly, I don't understand why we have to call ourselves anything other than by which Allah subhanahu wa ta'aala called us. Muslims.

Little Auntie,  May 9, 2011 at 6:05 PM  

Sheikh Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahhaab, those who followed his teachings to practice Islam free from shirk and innovations and closer to the way it was practiced by the Salaf were labelled Wahhaabis. That's how the name got stuck. He didn't advocate a radical Islam as some claim, but a purer Islam.
Yes, this is what I had been told as well. Jazakillah for clearing that up :)

I was wondering if Ahl Al Hadith were also Ahl As Sunnah wa'l Jamah :) But I couldn't find info on that, so also Jazakillah khair for that. An excellent reply, Xahu =)

Regarding choosing what we like from the madhabs, I just want to say that I read somewhere we should base our preferences on the better proofs, inshaAllah. Wa'llahu A'alim :)

Jazakillah for a great reply, and hope that Troubled Muslim reads it, inshallah.

Texan, after UAE May 10, 2011 at 6:32 PM  

awesome!!!! mashallah!!!!! mashallah mashallah! TakbarAllah!

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Asalamu aialkum!
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