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Observations Regarding Shaykh Muhammad Jibaly’s Review of YQ’s Article “On Salafi Islam”


بسم االله الرحمان الرحيم، و صلاة و سلام علي نبينا محمد و علي آله و صحبه اجمعين

I have great respect for Shaykh Muhammad Jibaly and his mission in the field of d’awah which it wouldn’t be extreme to say that it is unmatched by many. I have benefitted from him and his wonderfully moderate ways over the years. I hope and pray that Allah continues to benefit the ummah through him and that he is rewarded with the Mercy of Allah Subhaanahu 

As for the following expressions of which I choose to bring forth here, is centered specifically around his interpretation of Yasir Qadhi’s article titled “On Salafi Islam

As for Yasir Qadhi’s article, I knew from the get go that the following problems would happen from individuals who fundamentally have more of a party oriented perception of orthodox Islam (ahlu-sunnah, salafism, atharism) would fall into one or more of the following

1. Gross misrepresentation thereby causing a fallacy of false analogies. Primary to this is the obfuscation between the concept (salafism) versus the representatives (adherents)
2. Generalizations
3. Ad hominem attacks that tend to demonize a said individual as a means to undermine the substance of what is being said
4. Likening arguments to a condemned group as a means to thereby condemn the substance of the content itself

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As-salaamu ‘alaykum wa rahmat-Ullaah.Having just finished reading Yasir Qadhi’s (YQ) long article on Salafiyyah:http://muslimmatters.org/2014/04/22/…r-yasir-qadhi/I would like to share the following remarks in its regard:

2. I share with YQ many of the critiques and concerns that he included in his article. I cannot deny that I, myself, am guilty of some of the flaws to which he alluded.

3. Despite his disavowal of Salafiyyah, I have no doubt that YQ can never rid himself of many of its beautiful aspects. Calling himself Salafi, Athari, Sunni, or any other name is not as important as what he actually believes and practices.

I completely understand and concur. However, I don’t think his disavowal is with salafiyyah as it is hinting more of a disavowal towards 

• Salafis
• the label

Which is quite an explicit reality our Shaykh, ibn ‘Uthaymeen highlighted

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4. This article clearly reflects that YQ does not have a full and accurate understanding of Salafiyyah, especially as he introduces it as a methodology, then goes on to discuss and analyze those who identify themselves as Salafis and the ideology of Salafi “movements”, while largely ignoring the methodology itself. Had he been exact in his terms, analysis, and understanding, I don’t think he would have titled his article “On Salafi Islam”, for, by definition, Salafi Islam means “the Islam of the salaf”, which is all the Islam that there is (the Salaf being, as YQ knows, the Prophet (S), his companions, and their righteous followers). What is there, then, to contrast “Salafi Islam”? Yet, I do not see this as a major deviation in YQ, simply because I have witnessed over the years misconceptions regarding this blessed Da’wah even from some of its well-known champions.

This is the typical reaction that I would’ve suspected anyone with a party orientated relationship to the dawah would’ve typically concluded on Yasir’s speech.

In response to this, I say that I agree with the precision of terminology Shaykh Jibaly demanded YQ should have adopted in titling his article On Salafi Islam as opposed to something more accurate like Harakaat as-Salafiyeen (Salafi movements). However, this precision, required in the Arabic academic realm is NOT really required within the English realm. The entire subject matter was all about “movements” and various opposing factions of a movement. Everyone SHOULD have understood this context whose primary language is English. The whole article and subject matter was about movements within Salafism.

In light of this, in explaining such movements, it is from academic integrity that you FIRST OUTLINE the principle methodology, which explains WHY YQ initially outlined what the basic precept of Salafiyya is all about. The topic was NOT ABOUT, nor was he required to discuss “salafism 101”. That can be attained virtually anywhere. This explains why YQ “ignored the methodology itself” because the subject matter WAS NOT SUPPOSE TO BE about the methodology. 

Even more disheartening is the fact that in EVERY location that YQ does elucidate salafism, all of it is outlining its pure orthodoxy. Never does he criticize the actual precepts of the fundamentals of salafism as a methodology. 

Ultimately the problem is in hizbiyyah whereby people affected tend to interpret an attack on the said individuals/group as an attack on the said ideological persuasion they follow.

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5. As indicated in point (4), Salafiyyah is NOT what YQ describes as a “movement” or a “group of movements”. Salafiyyah (or Salafi Dawah) is nothing but pure and unadulterated Islam. It is NOT the property of any particular group or sect. It is what every serious Muslim should aspire to learn and implement. As for the reason why modern-day “Salafis” use this particular name, it is explained in depth by various ‘ulamaa, as I present in my book that is still under work, of which I am attaching the relevant parts, and you can also find it at:
https://groups.yahoo.com/group/kitaa…incomplete.pdf

This is all fine and well understood except that the subject matter WAS NOT about salafism, AS A METHODOLOGY. It was about, and was intended to be about, movements which represent the methodology. English being my primary mother tongue, reading the mere title alone already alluded to salafism as a movement in general, NOT specifically about the methodology. 

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6. In addition to the above, YQ’s article has many misconceptions and contradictions, and I wish he consulted with me before publishing it. Mainly

What is their to consult about your own opinion. Most shiyookh dont even consult on entire books they plan to publish, how is there to be consultative advice about the advocacy of one’s own opinion. An astonishingly accurate opinion I might add.

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A. He divides Salafiyyah into 7 major groups and mentions the pros and cons of each group, making the reader think that all of their errors are inherent to Salafiyyah. However, as indicated in point (5) no group is truly Salafi except in as much as it abides by wholesome Islam.

Generalization is really running a muck. This may have been what Shaykh Jibaly understood, but most people who read it, were not beguiled into what Shaykh Jibaly charges Yasir here. 

However, what seems more clear to me is that individuals who do have a peculiar madkhali mindset may be the ones responsible for bringing their queries to Shaykh Jibaly after having read this article. I could only envision madkhalis constituting the main body of people who interpreted Yasir’s article through the lense of tahreef (cognitive distortion). 

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B. As a part of the previous point, he often uses (and sometimes magnifies) the Madkhali or Saudi/Hanbali prototypes as representatives of Salafiyyah, attributing their mistakes to the Da’wah as a whole.

Completely unfounded. This is extremely exaggerated and definitely not what was obvious from the content, despite Shaykh Jibaly’s perception of it. Theres nothing more to say here. No one understood this in such fashion as Shaykh Jibaly describes. Well, except for Madkhalis as this is understandable based on the fact, as was explained above, that they are muharifoon (distorters of information), most of it unintentional. 

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C. He claims that Salafiyyah emphasizes theory and abstraction and undermines spirituality. This is disproved by the fact that, through the centuries, the Salafi ‘ulamaa are the true proponents of correct (contrary to Sufi) spirituality. This started by the Prophet (S) and his companions, the taabi’een (Ex., al-Hasan al-Basree), their followers, down to Ibn Taymiyyah and Ibn-ul-Qayyim, and ends in our time by scholars like Abu Ishaaq al-Huwaini (Egypt) and Mashhoor Hassan (Jordan). Shaykh al-Albani’s series of classes from at-Targheeb-wat-Tarheeb and from al-Adab al-Mufrad are obvious examples.

Incorrect. He claims that “Salafis” undermine spirituality, NOT salafism. Since this was a gross exaggeration, this makes the remaining response irrelevant because it’s not what Yasir said, and more importantly, Yasir very darn well knows and concedes to everything above, which further emphasizes that shaykh Jibaly completely misunderstood the point

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D. He claims that Salafis live by opinions of men rather than by the Sacred Texts. While this might be true for some ignorant individuals who claim to be Salafis, it is a great injustice to attribute this to the entire Da’wah that fights against such.

I would say both positions are exaggerated. Yasir over estimates while Shaykh Jibaly underestimates. Secondly, we all know, as a methodology, that the d’awah is anti-shaqsiyyah (personality worship). This reality does not stop madkhalis in surpassing extreme madhaabis to their taqleed or sufis to their shiyookh. As one of my Salafi shaykhs said to me several ago, “they are worse than sufis”. 

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E. His description of what he termed “Salafi burnout” is imprecise, and should have been replaced by “Would-Be-Salafi burnout”. Many ignorant individuals will now conclude that YQ has been afflicted by a Salafi burnout! A true Salafi would never depart from the only da’wah that can give meaning to his soul and being. It is like saying “Muslim burnout” for those who renounce Islam for Christianity or Atheism. A true Muslims never renounces Islam; only those who are engulfed by doubts and misconceptions might, as Allaah (T) describes such: “If a trial afflicts him, he falls upon his face, losing both the worldly and hereafter lives.” [al-Hajj 11]

Apple and Oranges. We are all unified in understanding that “a true salafi” and “salafi burnout” is as oxymoronic as a true Muslim and “Muslim burnout”. The problem here, is that this is theoretics. On the other hand, in reality, there is no such thing as all muslims are exceptional just as there is no such thing as perfect salafi. 

What Yasir was accurately outlining, which was completely derailed by madkhali tahreef, is “the fall out” of what hizbiyyah and extreme ta’assub does to people, even [i]well intentioned[/] and trying to practice individuals. 

This is, of course, outside of the fact, that he himself did not coin this phrase, it was already an applicable phrase used by individuals who have become victim of this fallout. He just so happened to have utilized it in his brief synopsis of salafism AS A MOVEMENT, the context of which was unequivocal. 

To conclude, i myself would have defined it as “hizbi burnout” typically because it is the issues if hizbiyya that lay the ground work for this burnout, and secondly, because those who are affected by this burnout were themselves hizbis.

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F. His reference to “priorities” gives the false impression (usually advocated by Ikhwanis) that Salafis disregard important issues and focus on trivial ones. This, again, is a huge misconception that I refute in the preface to my series of books, “Enter into Islam Completely”.

Im sorry to say, but this is another one of those befuddling apples and oranges conclusions. Ideally, “entering into Islam completely” IS what everyone is required to do. It is thee ideal to live up to. So what then is the problem? The problem is that the generality of people who identify themselves as “salafis”, which is the central theme of Yasir’s article and not salafism, have very little connection with this ideal. Why? Because they do preocupy themselves with trivial and completely insignificant realities that have no connection to the majority of the ummah and its problems. Thee only thing that most of these salafis maintain in focusing on important matters is at-Tawheed. However even on this subject, theres a lack of expansion and pragmatic applications to Tawheed that was widely visible throughout the eras of Islam. 

Worse, is that a lot of salafis, mainly from the body of madkhalis, are thee staple group matching best this description of focusing on useless issues to the exclusion of the most dire of needs that need to be addressed. This is not even an ikhwaani thing, this is a simple matter of fact. It even brought the various shiyookh like Shaykh Abdul-Muhsin al-‘Abbadd and many other to directly address what al-‘Abbadd calls “anarchic behavior” of these madkhalis focusing on the most trivial of affairs. 

Sadly, this is brushed aside with a typical ad hominem charge, that being that it is an “ikhwaani” thing. If the shaytan has outlined a clear cut reality, a matter of fact if you will, then we as salafis accept it. This is one of the many gems from the legacy Shaykh al-Albaani رحيمه الله, outlined for us. 

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G. His reference to the importance of women’s role in da’wah is unbalanced, which led to its being taken overboard by some of his new followers, to the extent that one sister who used to wear niqab in Houston is now giving da’wah on YouTube with her face and neck indecently showing.

This is a noteworthy criticism that I, and many from ahlu-sunnah, accept as being from among those mafassid that may have been garnered by Shaykh Yasir indirectly, wallahul-Alim. 

As for the issue YQ raised on our women in the article, what YQ said was not entirely inaccurate. We are, as an ummah, in dire need of women on an intellectual level to battle through secular humanist philosophies against the kuffar that holds very little weight if we as men perform the task. Which was really the main crux of his speech on women in the article. That is what we are talking about, and not about some sister giving dawah indecently on Youtube that “may” have been affected by Yasir to do as such. 

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H. He should have kept his paper unsentimental, avoiding controversial political views regarding the Saudis and Egyptians, because this will inevitably make some readers classify him as a member of the “Sahwah” or “Ikhwan” groups.

This is completely irrelevant as it pertains to a haqq, a truth and a right, that had to be stated for the record. The truth is not concerned with “people’s perception” of things. This is literally bordering on the lines of incorporating a “political correctness” methodology to explaining fiqhul-waaq’ia. 

Secondly, Yasir HAS ALREADY BEEN CLASSIFIED as siding with the “hizbis” of the Sahwa movement just as this same sahwa movement, has declared Yasir either a misguided mubtadi, OR an outright munafiq/kaafir. So this is asking of Yasir to take into account what
1. Has already transpired
2. About something that Yasir fundamentally does not give two rats about what people perceive or say. 

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In conclusion, I believe that YQ has made a huge mistake by writing this article and voicing other declarations here and there to the same effect. However, I DO NOT disown my brother Abu Ammar (YQ) because of this or other faults that I see him falling into. Rather, I continue to support his da’wah efforts and ask Allaah (T) to guide me and him to what is best for ourselves and our fellow Muslims, and to keep our acts and words sincere to Him and clear of conceit and showoff.Wallaahu a’lam (Allaah knows better).Abu Abdullah Muhammad al-Jibaly

جزاكم الله خيراً 
I believe we all have some observations of YQ that really does show the spotlight of fundamental errors that need to be addressed. 

With that being said, I too have seen several errors in the article itself, mainly centering on treating salafism, as it relates to the existence of it as a group, as a modern phenomenon which has not existed prior to the 1900s, completely deleting historical realities of the past 11 centuries if salafism, in which certain groups use to affiliate themselves with that name. Or how Imaam adh-Dhahabee would specifically utilize this name for many of the members of Ahlu-Sunnah, thus discrediting YQ’s false advocacy that the attribution to salafism by name is a 20th century phenomenon.

Another corruption noted in YQ’s article is the inaccurate depiction of painting Shaykh al-Albaani as a murji by misrepresenting al-Albaani’s position on emaan, falsely attributing the idea that he separates actions from emaan. So quite frankly, I do have my own set of contentions in the article, despite the fact that in general, his outline of the Salafis (the adherents) was spot on. 

I likewise note couple of other errors as well, much more serious that than those noted above. However, with all of this, fundamentally, this article was necessary to expose the big fat elephant in the room that nobody reputable in such a position is willing to address, most likely for politically/socially correct reasons.

I ask Allah that He guide us all to His straight path. Ameen