The Devil’s Deception of the Modern-Day Salafiyyah Sect, by Shaykh Luqman Ahmad

No one committed to this religion rejects the Salaf as-Saalih or the principles on which they agreed. However, the Salafis and their modern-day da’wah do not suite the tastes of all the righteous. Too much of their methodology revolves around character assassination, claims of monopoly on Allah’s guidance, a fanatical obsession with uncovering the faults of the Muslim, and a curious silence regarding atrocities committed against Muslims.


salafi book cover white with beadsThe modern-day Salafiyyah, or Salafiyyism, or the Da’wah Salafiyyah has done much to highlight the Sunna of the prophet (SAWS), and its importance. However, in the process of spreading this “da’wah”, many of its proponents have perhaps unintentionally made casualties out of the very persons for whom the so-called “da’wah Salafiyyah” was intended. The Salafiyyah movement; the puritanical return to the Quran, the Sunna and the way of the early Muslims has prompted many Muslims to embark upon the study of Islam and understanding of the sacred texts. To their credit, the Salafis have contributed to many positive consequences in the United States. In the masaajid, on campuses, in the prisons, on the Internet, and within people’s households,

Salafiyyism has been an effective tool for propagating Islam, especially in the prisons and inner cities of America. It articulates many of the present-day ailments caused by the lack of knowledge of the Quran and the Sunna, although the Salafis are not the only ones to be merited for this awakening. Still,  they have been effective on this front. However, along with the good Salafiyyism has produced, it has rendered much confusion amongst the Muslims in the United States. It has left a trail of disarray, enmity, disunity, and spiritual desolation.

In many instances, Salafiyyism has literally ripped communities and masaajid apart; turning friends into adversaries’ allies into competitors, brothers and sisters into strangers. Perhaps this was not their intention. Certainly it was not the intention of the Prophet (SAWS) that Muslims are reduced to defending themselves from each other while they are incapable of defending themselves from the non-muslimsThe Prophet (SAWS) said: “Do not revert after me into kuffaar, striking the necks of each other” And Allah sub’haanahu wa ta’ala clearly states: “And be not like those who separated and differed after clear explanation has come to them. For them is a grievous chastisement”, 3:105 aali-Imraan.

The modern-day Salafis espouse many points and views, of which many are contradictory or vague. Some of their views and attitudes directed towards Muslims contradict clear religious texts, such as the practice of some of them of refusing to return the salaams given by other Muslims, or the refusal of some of them to allow entry into the masaajid of Allah for women who are not covered in black. For many practicing Muslims, Salafiyyah is a bitter dose of questionable medicine. No one committed to this religion rejects the Salaf as-Saalih or the principles on which they agreed. However, the Salafis and their modern-day da’wah do not suit the tastes of all the righteous. Too much of their methodology revolves around character assassination, claims of monopoly on Allah’s guidance, a fanatical obsession with uncovering the faults of the Muslim, and a curious silence regarding atrocities committed against Muslims.

Granted there is good and bad in most people and in most groups. The Salafis are no exception to that; Many Salafis are god-fearing, practicing Muslims of good conscience, who strive to do good and maintain the integrity of the deen and of the sunna. However, many of the salafiyyism’s adherents exhibit ominous proclivities to the bad and the harmful, not withstanding their ignoring the sacred with respect to the rights, blood and honor of Muslims. Regardless of what the salafis or anyone else espouses, actions speak louder than words. So even if they say, “we are only trying to bring the Muslims together”, their actions tell the real story..

Salafiyyism as presented by its modern-day adherents is not a simple methodology. It is a myriad of ideals, slogans and tendencies which burdens the average Muslim with understanding complex issues of theology, jurisprudence, exegesis, hadith methodology, language etc. It effectively abrogates the simplicity of tawheed and gradual assimilation of the Quran and Sunna, and replaces it with unreasonable demands of immediate perfection, scholarly exactitude and academic finesse on average Muslims and many times, new converts to Islam.

The demands of modern-day hard-line Salafiyyism can be compared to assigning new army recruits to advanced weaponry before they finish basic training. This has produced a cadre of Muslims who now consider themselves the sole inheritors of the “Salaf” the Righteous Predecessors, a notion that has further split the Muslims in the United States as well as places across the globe. This is particularly visible amongst indigenous American Muslim communities, most of whom are African American. The truth of the matter is that any one of us are subject to being deceived. No one is completely safe from Shaitan’s manipulation, and no one is completely safe from Allah’s wrath. Therefore, we seek refuge in Allah from the accursed devil and we humbly ask Allah for His guidance and mercy.

Shaykh Luqman Ahmad

Taken from the new book by Shaykh Luqman Ahmad; ‘The Devil’s Deception of the Modern-Day Salafiyyah Sect’ available now @ imamluqman.com. Get your copy today!

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17 thoughts on “The Devil’s Deception of the Modern-Day Salafiyyah Sect, by Shaykh Luqman Ahmad”

  1. Why use the descriptive term “puritanical” when refering to the salafiyyah knowing that they are far from bringing the pure teachings of the Messenger of Allah sal Allahu alayhi wa salam? Their understanding and methodology is to the contrary impure and far from being puritanical. Why use the term that the western media are using to insult Islam? .

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    1. Part of the teachings of the Salafis are indeed pure. When they talk about obedience to Allah and His Messenger, or when they talk about certain branches of knowledge and their importance in Islam, or when they emphasize establishing the salat, that is as pure as it gets. We cannot ever assume that anyone who says laa ilaa’ha illa Allah is all bad, or that there is no good in them. The problem with the Salafis is a little more complex than just saying that their methodology is impiure. Much of that will be explained in detail in my book in sha Allah.

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    2. Puritanical would refer as it rightly does to a ‘literalist’ reading of the nusuus. It is also rightly to be used as a nuanced reference that neo-Salafis a the ‘Puritans/Protestants’ of our contemporary age in the ongoing history of Muslims peoples.

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  2. Mashallah…I have never really considered myself as part of the Salafi’s even though I thought the overall aims of the original movement were certainly noble. I also feel we should be careful with labels, in our masaajid we have too many people classifying one another as Salafi/Sufi/etc even thought majority of people are somewhere in the middle. Subhanallah, people even classify people as kuffar because of some of their actions, even thought they acknowledge that there is One God and Muhammad is his last and final messenger.

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    1. Sub’haanallah, I agree that the original intentions were noble. A few of my associates who were intrumental in the begginings of the salafi movement, have since commented, (some of them publicly) that the message and the actions of many of them got way out of hand. One of the reasons for that in my humble opinion is that many of the shuyookh had no idea how this da’wah salafiyyah was going to impact upon African American Muslims who were already dealing with issues of self hate, division, lack of clear identity, and the post traumatic stress of slavery and racism. They had no idea that many of our people were, and still are, grossly self-destructive and mentality enslaved.

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  3. I have seen a number of African-American and some Somali’s leave another of masajid to embrace the salafi/ wahabi doctrines. I’ve notice how most became extreme in one way or another. I have seen so many families and marriages dissolve into chaos. A lot of the brothers i know, begin to look like bums and they consistantly put down other Muslims as either Shii’te, Sufi, or W.D. Mohammad fan club followers. There is a persistant arrogance among some of them. I know of sisters who were hurt and even put out of their mosque. My question is how is this following the Qu’ran and sunnah? Dont Allah tell us to be humble and respecful? But many of these so called salafi will claim they are the only one’s on the right minhaj, fiqh, akeedah. I have also known some to burn out from all of salafi doctrines.

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    1. Some of the problems you mention among the salafis exists among other groups as well. Among African-American Muslims there really are so many issues like the Imam has said, and rather Salafi, Sunni etc. there are some of the same problems. The divorce rate is sky high, women are treated like cattle instead of like Muslims. To the point many of these brothers treat non-Muslim women better. I was a part of the Imam Jamil’s [H.Rap Brown] community for awhile and I still have a lot of anger and hurt from what my children and I have had to endure. I found that group worse then the salafis.

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      1. Sub’haana Allah sister! I’m sorry to hear about your negative experience, and what you and your children had to endure. It is true that these problems do not just occur in the Salafi community; they are occurring nationwide amongst African American Muslims at alarming rates. We are distressed by all this and to be honest, I can’t say that I have an answer. I do know that the criminal lifestyle, thug/pimp mentality, anti-social behavior, baby momma and baby daddy culture, and the self-hate stranglehold that has taken over many African American Muslims needs to be met head on. There are many imams around the country who are trying to establish communities where there are standards of morality, belief, ethics, and, conduct. However, they need help. If you can find such a thing in the area where you live then I suggest that you become a part of it. I know that the situation is more complicated than that; On some of my blog posts, I try to offer advices that I believe would help alleviate and avoid some of our problems. I wish that I could offer you more. We are going through difficult times as an ummah May Allah have mercy upon us.

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  4. There is nothing wrong with following the minhaj and aqeedah of the salafs. The problem is not the calling, but the callers! These are rough necks, who were themselves gangsters or had gangster mentality, before embracing lslam. What would you expect from a people who have been abused , demonized, dejected and hate themselves already!

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    1. I would expect that they stick to the Quran, and to the authentic sunna of our Prophet (SAWS) and not depend on anything called Salafiyyah to be their salvation when we already have Allahu sub’haanahu wa ta’ala, and what He has revealed. That’s what I would expect, considering our dire circumstances.

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    2. This is not correct. A substantial amount delve into anthropomorphism, which is far from sound aqeedah. So far as “manhaj” goes, that is a broad catch-all term and changes to suit the needs of not only salafism in general, but the splinter groups within salafism.

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  5. One thing is for sure with the members of this group is that they don’t think for themselves.They are just parrots, you ask them a question and all they is quote what someone said, you point them to the Qur’an, and many of them reject the words form Allah(swt) in Qur’an.You ask them how is this word Salafa use in Qur’an? They can’t answer because many don’t know, just blind followers’!They retreat to the saying “Obey Allah and the Rasul” which we all know is the truth, what they want is for you so follow somebody they look up that has Fool the Hell out of them with this nonsense!

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    1. Well said. They reject following of the four orthodox schools(Madhabs) calling it blind following -Taqlid, yet themselves blindly follow contemporary figures like Albany. A questionable character that was expelled by saudi authorities for crooked fatwas on hijab and Palestinians

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  6. That fact that non-Muslims see us as divided is not the issue; we are indeed divided, and anyone who sees the general Muslim community, locally and worldwide as splintered and at war with itself, is on point. The fact is that we are a very divided and fragmented ummah at this time. Muslims are literally fighting and killing each other at an alarming rate all over the world. The only way to address this is to address the different sects that are active participants in the most heinous type of sectarianism which is the type that sanctions the broad rendering of other Muslims as heretics and which makes the shedding of sacred blood as lawful. The modern salafiyyah sect in my view has shown a higher predilection than others to escalate sectarianism to the level of bloodshed in the name of Allah. People are being gunned down for watching television, or playing soccer, and young girls are poisoned because they go to elementary school, all in the name of salafi puritanism. If it weren’t for the rule of law in the United States, we would probably be seeing the same things here. It is no coincidence that the salafist ideology has the highest percentage of adherence amongst Muslims in US prisons; it appeals to the criminal, anti-social mindset. It’s not a matter of condemning a group; it’s a matter of condemning the actions by a group’s members that are perpetrated in the name of that group.

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  7. Asallam allaik.Thanx for ur contrbution in enlighten the Muslims about the atrocity deception and confusion this Salafis has caused in Islam. They are one sect of problem that muslims are facing in this mordern age of our faith.Though Al munafiqun were also contributed to the major problems that Prophet Muhamd faced in his messengersihp mission.So de cant be eradicated its our right Islamic scoholars to expose dem.
    The Sunni,Shia,Whabiyah and Salafi.Hv congrigate demsev to individual politcal uint.

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  8. Assalam O Alaikum Wa Rahmatullah Wa Barakatuhu,
    I am a Muslim from India and to be clear that nothing to do with any Salafi/Sunni/Soofi issues.

    I am a simple muslims not a scholar so I rely on Imam Abu Haneefah research that is followed in my country so for me getting detail become easy. As far as Aqeedah I know that Islamic Aqeedah is very simple and clear and I Have read Aqeedatut Tahawi for Aqeedah detail and I think that is enough for the question to be asked on the day of judgement for Aqeedah. Insha Allah Allah will not aks from me more detail of Aqeedah than that.

    I got disheartened after reading that Family system in American Muslims is in bad shape. With sentences like they increase in rate of divorce,Bad treatment for wives.
    Actually the Family system of Muslims should be an example for other communities. Specially in west the Moral and Social aspect of Islamic system must be shown practically. But Alas the comments here suggest a reverse picture.

    In my personal observation movements like Tabblighi Jamaat may help these issues in better term. I dont know weather it has good presence in USA or not.

    (I myself was attached with them during university days at Aligarh Muslim University but now is not very strongly attached as I am working with the work of decreasing the Gap/mistrust.groupism between muslim groups.An untouched area of field that is very important in this era of increasing groupism among muslims.)

    But I have seen hundreds of examples in my family and society that those involved with this are very sensible for their family. Although on face value it looks that they leave the family and wife but the true scene is very different if it is looked from close.

    They have a point Ikram e Muslim (Respect for Muslim) that includes all the obligations of mother father wife neighbors.And situation has further improved with the arrival of elders like Maulana Tariq Jameel sb,Maulana Ibraheem sb who stress much on Akhlaqa, Manners, Social etiquette, Right of Wives etc.

    Anyway All above is my personal opinion and observation.Anyone can disagree.

    But if anyone find that Tablighi people in America are not good on these parameter. You are welcome to suggest the weak points in comments mentioning areas of weakness. America is a big country so please mention state and city also.

    Insha Allah I will convey your concerns to the elders of Markaz Nizamuddin Delhi. And from there the feedback will go to working brothers at ground.

    May Allah help us all and give Hidayat to whole mankind.

    Jazakallah o Khair

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    1. I am in Nigeria and agree with what you have said regarding those regarded as Tabligh. They do not segregate themselves as sect. rather strive for self reformation along Imaan, salaat, ilm,zikr, Akhlaq, Ikhlas, and dawat. They sincerely try to unite all muslims under the simple teachings of Islam.

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