What I call "Salafi"

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

They called themselves Salafi. They practiced what they find that in compliant with the practice of the Prophet and if it is otherwise, they called it bidah and keep themselves away.

This is for sure good, to do what they feel in line with the tradition of the Prophet and to abstain from what is not. The Prophet said “And every new invention is bidah, and every bidah is astray and every astray is in the hellfire”. This very verse is the core of their belief, to abstain themselves from what is new in religion.

Bidah is not a hukum. There are five hukum, consist of wajib, mandub (sunat), mubah (permissible), makruh (abominable) and haram. Some added Sah and Batil to make it seven in number.

Bidah is defined as new thing. Every new thing must be measured, whether it is inline with shariah or against the shariah. An-Nawawi classified bidah into Bidah Hasanah (good bidah) and Bidah Qabihah (bad bidah). Every new thing which is incompliance with shariah is bidah hasanah, whereas if it is against the spirit and the principles of shariah, then it is bidah qabihah.

What are examples of bidah hasanah? As-Syafie as an example opined that to utter the niat before takbir is sunat, and this was never been practiced by the Prophet. Other examples are, to recite talqin to the dead, to learn and explain the attributes of Allah, to compile the Quran, to do zikir after prayer in jamaah etc.

The notion that Bidah is classified into bidah hasanah and bidah qabihah is supported by numbers of ulama, even thousands of them. The most outstanding are An-Nawawi, Syeikh Izzuddin Abd Salam, Ibn Qudamah and the writer of kitab Fathul Bari Ibn Hajar Al-Asqalani. These are undisputed outstanding jurists of all time.

Salafi on the other hand, regards all bidah as the same, whether it is good or not, based on the abovementioned hadith. It’s their right to have such view and their view is much respected by others. However, the tolerance goes one way, as they attack and curse those who do not share the same view as them. They call people who utter the niat when praying as doing bidah, they curse Syafie for some of his views. They go and divide people, as can be seen in Malaysia nowadays. I have legal authorities from Quran and sunnah which support the legality of those things which are called bidah by Salafi, but to state it here consumes lots of time and will be an opening for a further attack by Salafi.

In Islam, we are allowed to differ and we should respect other who do not share the same idea as us, as long as the differences have its root in Shariah. I recalled the act of As-Syafie who adored his very teacher, Imam Malik, when he went to Egypt and found that people there are fanatic with Malik. As-Syafie adored Imam Malik very much, as he used to say “I use this Muwatta of Imam Malik as hujjah between me and my Lord”. However, when he found people were doing things which should not be done in praising Malik, he then wrote a book “Critics to Malik”, to indicate that Imam Malik is not perfect as the people think he is.

In another situation, When As-Syafie traveled to Kufah, the place of Abu Hanifah, the founding father of Hanafi School of thought, he prayed Subuh and he omitted the recitation of Qunut, which he found that to be mandub (sunat). The people there asked him “Sir, why didn’t u recite Qunut?”. He then replied “I dare not to differ while Im beside Abu Hanifah” , and at that very time , Abu Hanifah was not even alive, as he died on the date of the birth of Syafie. These stories connote the importance of respecting other opinions.

Salafi is lack of that spirit, the spirit of tolerance in facing differences. They keep cursing others and discredit the honorable jurists who were having different opinion than what they believe.

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