By the Muhaddith, Shaykh, Allamaa’ Muhammad Nasir uddeen al-Albaani
Translated by Abbas Abu Yahya
Why the ascription of Salafeeyah? Is it a call to Hizbeeyah?
Muhammad Nasir- Deen Al-Albaani (d.1420A.H) -Rahimullaah- was asked:
‘Why the ascription of Salafeeyah? Is it a call to Hizbeeyah, or a sect, or Madhab, or is it a new group in Islaam?’
‘Indeed the word ‘as-Salaf’ is well known in the Arabic language, and in the Sharia’, and what is important to us here is the research from the Sharia’ point of view. It has been authentically reported from the Prophet -sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam- that he said to Sayyidah Fatima –Radi Allaahu anhu– during the illness from which he died:
فاتقي الله واصبري، ونعم السلف أنا لك
‘Fear Allaah and be patient, for indeed I am a blessed Salaf (Predecessor) for you.’
The scholars used this word ‘as-Salaf’ a lot, and it has been used so much more than can be enumerated, it is sufficient for us to use one example, and that is what we need to fight against Bida’:
كل خير في اتباع من سلف** وكل شر في ابتداع من خلف
Every good is in the following of the Salaf * and every evil is in the innovations of the Khalaf
However, there are those who claim to have knowledge who reject this ascription, claiming that it does not have any foundation, so they say: it is not allowed for a Muslim to say I am a Salafi. Its as if they say: it is not allowed for a Muslim to say: I follow the Salaf as-Salih of what they are upon from ‘Aqeedah, worship and manners!
There is no doubt that this type of rejection – if this is what they mean – necessitates being free from the correct Islaam which our Salaf as-Salih were upon, and at the head of them is the Prophet -sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam- as is indicated in the Mutawatirhadeeth which is in Bukhari, Muslim and in other books, from the Prophet -sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam:
خير الناس قرني، ثم الذين يلونهم ، ثم الذين يلونهم
‘The best people are my generation then those who will come after them and then those after them.’
Therefore it is not allowed for the Muslim to free himself from the ascription to the Salaf as-Salih, whereas if a Muslim freed himself from any other ascription, then it would not be possible for anyone from the people of knowledge to ascribe them to Kufr(disbelief) or Fasooq (openly sinning).
And this person who rejects this ascription, don’t you see that he himself ascribes to aMadhab from the Madhahib (plural: Madhab)?! Whether this Madhab was connected to ‘Aqeedah or with Fiqh?
So he is either an Ashari or a Matroodi, or either he is from the Ahl-ul-Hadeeth, orHanafi, or Shafia’i, or Maliki, or Hanbali from those who enter into the title of Ahl-ul-Sunnah wal Jammah. Even though he who ascribes to the Ashari Madhab or to the fourMadhahib then he ascribes to people who are without doubt not infallible, even though there from those scholars who are correct, I wish he had only rejected the likes of these ascriptions to individuals not infallible.
As for the one who ascribes to the Salaf as-Salih, then he ascribes to that which is in general infallible, and indeed the Prophet -sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam- mentioned that from the signs of the Firqat an-Najeeha (the saved sect) that they adhere to that which the Messenger of Allaah –sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam– was upon and what the Companions were upon, so who ever adhered to it is with certainty upon guidance from his Lord.
Without doubt the clear, manifest, distinguished, evident evidence of this title is to say: I am a Muslim upon the Book and the Sunnah and upon the methodology of our Salaf as-Salih, and that is to summarize it by saying:
I am a Salafi.’
[From ‘al-Asaalah’ Magazine No. 9 p. 86-87, & an-Nabthaa al-Waafi fee wajoob al-Intessab ila Salafeeyah p.26-29]
 Collected in Saheeh Muslim
 The transliteration of which is: ‘Kullu khairin fee ittiba’ man Salaf * wa Kullu Sharrin fee Ibtida’ man Khallaf’