Shaykh Abu Amr Al Hajūri hafidhahullah was asked regarding the statement of Shaykh Uthaymeen regarding the salafi sect:
We need a clarification from you regarding the speechof Shaykh Al-Uthaymeen in the explaination of The Forty Hadīth of Imām An Nawawi, in the explaination of the Hadith of ‘Irbāḍ where he said:
“and it is obligatory that the maḏhab of the islamic nation should be the maḏhab of as-salafu-ṣāliḥ (pious predecessors) and not bigoted partisanship to those who are called salafiyūn. So there is the way of salaf and there is a party named as salafiyūn and that which is required is following the way of salaf except that the salafi brothers are the closest sect towards the truth but the issue with them is similar to those with other than them: some of the people of these sects declare others as misguided and innovators and fāsiq, and we don’t reject this if they are worthy of it but we reject the treating of these innovations in such a way .. “
Firstly, you should know that the scholar, no matter how much great his leadership and status reaches in Dīn, his statements are accepted and rejected as it has come in the narration: “Everyone’s statement is accepted and rejected except the Messenger of Allaah ﷺ” and the narration is on the authority of ʿIbn ʿAbbās and it is hasan.
Obligation of following the way of salaf
Secondly, as for his statement: “and it is obligatory that the maḏhab of the islamic nation should be the maḏhab of as-salafu-ṣāliḥ“, then yes this is obligatory and it’s evidences are many.
﴿ وَٱلسَّـٰبِقُونَ ٱلۡأَوَّلُونَ مِنَ ٱلۡمُهَـٰجِرِینَ وَٱلۡأَنصَارِ وَٱلَّذِینَ ٱتَّبَعُوهُم بِإِحۡسَـٰنࣲ رَّضِیَ ٱللَّهُ عَنۡهُمۡ وَرَضُوا۟ عَنۡهُ وَأَعَدَّ لَهُمۡ جَنَّـٰتࣲ تَجۡرِی تَحۡتَهَا ٱلۡأَنۡهَـٰرُ خَـٰلِدِینَ فِیهَاۤ أَبَدࣰاۚ ذَ ٰلِكَ ٱلۡفَوۡزُ ٱلۡعَظِیمُ﴾
“And the first to embrace Islam of the Muhajirun (those who migrated from Makkah to Al-Madinah) and the Ansar (the citizens of Al-Madinah who helped and gave aid to the Muhajirun) and also those who followed them exactly (in Faith). Allah is well-pleased with them as they are well-pleased with Him. He has prepared for them Gardens under which rivers flow (Paradise), to dwell therein forever. That is the supreme success.” (At-Tauba 100)
And Allah, The Most High, said :
﴿وَمَن یُشَاقِقِ ٱلرَّسُولَ مِنۢ بَعۡدِ مَا تَبَیَّنَ لَهُ ٱلۡهُدَىٰ وَیَتَّبِعۡ غَیۡرَ سَبِیلِ ٱلۡمُؤۡمِنِینَ نُوَلِّهِۦ مَا تَوَلَّىٰ وَنُصۡلِهِۦ جَهَنَّمَۖ وَسَاۤءَتۡ مَصِیرًا﴾
“And whoever contradicts and opposes the Messenger (Muhammad ﷺ) after the right path has been shown clearly to him, and follows other than the believers’ way. We shall keep him in the path he has chosen, and burn him in Hell – what an evil destination.” (An-Nisa 115)
The Ṣaḥāba (Companions) and those who followed them well (At-Tābiūn) and those who followed them well (Atbaʿ at-Tābiʿīn) are the first and foremost of the believers and they are the salaf. Similarly, you say in each and every Rakʿah of your prayer :
﴿ٱهۡدِنَا ٱلصِّرَٰطَ ٱلۡمُسۡتَقِيمَ صِرَٰطَ ٱلَّذِينَ أَنۡعَمۡتَ عَلَيۡهِمۡ﴾
“Guide us to the Straight Way. The Way of those on whom You have bestowed Your Grace..” (Al-Fātiha 6-7)
And it has come in the hadith of Fatima, “How good a salaf (predecessor) I am for you!” (Bukhari 6286) – this is how the Prophet ﷺ has said.
So, it is obligatory upon the whole nation that they tread the path of salaf and the way of salaf and this madhab is not like the other schools of jurisprudence like the Shafi madhab or the Hanafi madhab or the Hanbali or Maliki madhab. So it is not a school from the schools of jurisprudence but it is the true Islam. As for the people who claim salafiyah and claim to be salafi while not being such in truth, then they are many. Many from the people of sects and the people of bidʿah and the people of jamiyat (charity organisations) and Surūriyah, many misguided sects claim that they are salafi. Rather, in India, some of them are mushrikūn. There are people who have with them clear cut shirk and belief in graves and belief in invoking the people of the graves and belief in awlīyā that they have control in the affairs of the creation and they claim that they are ahlus-sunnah and salafi. So, If claims are not built upon evidences then their people are mere claimants .
﴿قُلۡ هَاتُواْ بُرۡهَٰنَكُمۡ إِن كُنتُمۡ صَٰدِقِينَ﴾
“Say, “Bring forth your proofs, if you are truthful.” (An-Naml 64)
Mere claims are not to be relied upon
Mere claims are not to be relied upon and the real concern is only given to actions. So due to this, whoever claims that he is salafi and he is a sunni then we measure his actions with the way of salaf and we look into that which he does and call towards and he teaches and what does he say. So if these affairs are established on the way of salaf and does not contradict it then yes (they are so). But, if it’s a mere claim and he has a party and a jamiyat with him or something similar to it then it’s just a claim. As for (that which has been mentioned regarding) tabdīʿ (declaring someone innovator) or tafsīq (declaring someone to be fāsiq), if it’s in the case of tabdī of people of innovations and warning against them then this is an obligations from the obligations of dīn in order to clarify their evil and as for the speech of people of bidʿah against the people of truth then it does not harm them.
Shaykh Abu Amr Abdul Kareem Al-Hajoori hafidhahullah
Abu Muhammad Nezam Al Hindi