A Brief History of the Revival of the Salafi Methodology Throughout the Ages


الحمد لله رب العالمين، وصلى الله وسلم على نبينا محمد وعلى آله وأصحابه أجمعين، أما بعد


Shaikh Muhammad Amaan bin ‘Ali Al-Jaami (rahimahullaah) said:


“From the era of the Abbasids until this day of ours; many of the people have diverged in the principles of the religion – as well as in the issue of worship, since the idolatry of tasawwuf entered into the worship of Allaah, The Most High. Hence other than Allaah was worshiped along with Allaah, and other than Allaah was supplicated to along with Allaah as has preceded.

In the issue of the Names and Attributes (of Allaah) the negation of the Attributes became the initial origin of Tawheed with them, hence negating the Attributes became known as Tawheed and rebellion against the rulers became known as enjoining the good and forbidding the evil.

When the tribulations intensified during the rule of Ma-moon Al-‘Abbaasi and Mu’tasim Billaah and Al-Waathiq Billaah, Allaah destined for this Ummah the Imaam of Ahlus Sunnah wal Jamaa’ah as well as the subduer of innovations – Ahmad bin Hanbal (rahimahullaah) who was harmed and beaten and so tolerated (the burdens) in the path of Allaah and then in order for the continuance of the correct belief which he defended – such that it remained – by the favour of Allaah (firstly); then (secondly) by way of his patience and his anticipation (in the reward). However; the Salafis – as was stated by Al-Maqrizee scattered in the regions of the world after the trial of Imaam Ahmad – such that this methodology was forgotten.

This is how the Muslims split – due to these sects (i.e. the Sufi’s and the Mu’tazilah and the Ash’arees), from the era of the Abbasids until this day of ours. However; Allaah did not leave the Muslims in such a way that they all went astray altogether, rather whenever the Ummah was in need of revival; Allaah sends the one that will revive for it its religion, hence came Ibn Taymiyyah – who was such that the society loved him and the rulers respected him for his bravery and his knowledge, yet he had enemies from the bad scholars – and they had popularity. Those in authority had amiability with them and so they (the scholars) sought from those in authority that they should banish him to Cairo or to Alexandria and imprison him. So those in authority responded to them and carried that out.

The Sunnah of Allaah, The Most High has been on going in that the truth does not manifest or is it aided or is it triumphant except at the hands of two men: a brave sincerely forthright caller who begins with the call to the truth, and a brave strong supporter who embraces that call.

If we refer back to history; we find that when the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) began calling to Allaah, he presented himself to the tribes then said:


((Who will betake me? Who will help me so that I can convey the message of my Lord, and [in return] for him shall be Paradise?))[1]


So Allaah foreordained for him the one that would support him, and from that which is astonishing is that the best of those that supported him and aided him so that he could propagate the Message of his Lord was Aboo Taalib who assisted him. However; he did not believe in his message; even though he knew that his message was the truth, but there prevented him whatever was to prevent him from the reasons which he cited, from them was the fear of vilification or the rebuke of his people.

Hence; the people at the time of Shaikh ul Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah did not benefit from his revival nor from his many writings – which were as though they were a vision from the imagination due to their abundance – as much as they would later come to benefit from in later ages. So when Allaah Intended to revive this religion in the Twelfth Century; He preordained for this (purpose) the reviver: Muhammad bin ‘Abdil-Wahhaab, and the one that would support him; and he was: Imaam Muhammad bin Sa’ood. It is this very assistance which has led us today to benefit from the revival of Imaam Ahmad bin Hanbal and the revival of Imaam Ahmad bin Taymiyyah. As their books and their productivity and their works had been abandoned; rather most of them had been expatriated outside of the Muslim lands, however from the impact of this blessed revival whose effect we feel today; is that those books have been gathered and printed and disseminated amongst the people and in the offices and schools – such that the people have come to know the reality of the Islamic religion which many of the enlightened (educated people) had become ignorant concerning.

That which bears testimony to this is one of the Azhari’s (a scholar of Al-Azhar University in Egypt) – those that specialized in scholastic theology and rhetoric and philosophy, he intended to make a refutation of Shaikh ul Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah. So he gathered his books in order to refute him, and it became such that after three months of studying these books he announced that he did not know the reality of that which the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) came with except after his having studied these books. So he repented to Allaah; and then wrote a doctorate in praise of Ibn Taymiyyah with the title: Ibn Taymiyyah As-Salafi.

I wish to say; that which has made a great many people continue in the ignorance of the reality of that which the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) came with, as well as to disunite in the principles of the religion and in its branches so much so that the knowledge and the scholar and the Jurist are from those that dispute the reality of that which the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) came with – the reason is: a lack of studying the Salafi methodology which has been revived and all praise is for Allaah – in this extensive revival.”[2]



(Taken from the compilation work of the Shaikh’s treatises, the article above is from: Sharh Usool as-Sittah le-Shaikhil Islaam Muhammad bin ‘Abdil-Wahhaab p.460-462 – and may Allaah, The Most High, reward the brother who gave me the book from which this article was taken.)



[1] Reported by Ahmad (22/346 no.14456) and it was authenticated by Shaikh Al-Albaanee in As-Silsilah As-Saheehah (no.63).

[2] In relation to this issue the Shaikh (rahimahullaah) stated elsewhere:

“What befits to be aware of is that if you analyze history you will find the reality in what follows and there is no doubt about it, any da’wah which is established by a rectifier or a reviver, if its establishment is by mere exertion of human thought which seeks to implement rectification and renewal; then it will die – or weaken at the least with the death of the one behind the idea and the founder of the movement. Then; there is a da’wah which does not die with the death of the one responsible for it. Therefore we must come to understand the difference between the da’wah which dies with the death of its founder, and the da’wah which remains and endures after him. Rather it resumes and does not cease, so in clarification of that we say: they are two types of da’wah:

1 – A da’wah started by a thinker after he thought, laid down and made plans and established conditions seeing them as a must for the success of his call. Without looking at whether it is in conformity to the Sunnah or at odds with it!! Such as establishing inner regulations upon which the da’wah is to proceed and abide by. Since he sees that his da’wah serves the Ummah or serves a group from the people who believe in it, then he seeks to persuade the people with his ideology and his rectifications and clarifying its objectives and making publicity for it. So he establishes a party which they then have partisanship for and come in aid of. The continuity or non continuity of this particular da’wah is not exempt after the death of its founder from either of two circumstances:

The first: the one that founded the thought and was at the head of the call died before he had entrusted someone else to continue and direct the call after himself. In this case the da’wah will die at the death of its founder, and this is inevitable. This is an issue that is comprehendible – even by the intellect.

The second: That the founder of the ideology dies, but there is to be found one that would succeed after him and that he is worthy of leadership. As well as working in conjunction with the call. In this case the da’wah will remain for a period of time – which may prolong or curtail. But it fades with time and becomes affected and loses its value and then becomes obscure; and history is the greatest witness over what I have mentioned.

This is because its founding was upon the ideologies of a man and based upon human projection. The thinker and projector has died and come to an end; therefore it is a must that it too ends; and this is unavoidable. There are many examples in the present world of this, so there is no need of their mention.

2- As for the second da’wah; then it is a da’wah which has been undertaken by a reviver who rectifies. Yet the meaning of reviving here differs from its meaning in the first type of da’wah. For the first type of da’wah as we said was founded upon human ideologies. It tries to appeal that it comes with something new. Perhaps it does indeed come with something new – which is accepted or rejected, in any case it is a human endeavour that has no relation to revelation. As for the second da’wah; then its foundation is the Islamic religion – firm and established in action. However its associate finds that the Muslims have boycotted the Islamic teachings – or some of them, this is when he sees that they have boycotted The Book of their Lord and have disregarded the Sunnah of their Prophet. So the Qur’aan is not a reference for them in their beliefs and in their worship and in their dealings and other than it. Whilst the Sunnah is of no particular value to them, so he calls them to return to Islam in order that they understand it as it was understood by their Salaf. He interprets it as the early ones from the Muslims did, as well as implementing its rulings, and believing in its ‘Aqeedah.

This is the meaning of revival in relation to the second type of da’wah. Therefore it is not a human ideology, rather a revival of the Islamic legislation and its beliefs. As well as a rectification of what had been corrupted of the affairs of the religion. This type of da’wah will remain after the death of the reviver.

So the da’wah of lbn ‘Abdil-Wahhaab is of this second kind; as you see – firstly it has not died with the death of its helper. Secondly it did not die with the death of its reviver.

So the Islamic da’wah is present and shall remain by Allaah’s permission for as long as Islam remains which is its foundation. Until Allaah raises The Book of Islam from the earth when Allaah gives permission for the world to come to an end.

For when the Imaam – the reviver passed away; another Imaam who was of aid took it, hence the leadership of the da’wah was granted to trustworthy men. In calling and in supporting and aiding and defending it, ­they are the Aal ash-Shaikh and their students, and the Kings and Ameers of Aal as-Sa’ood. The da’wah continued on its way, opening up lands and opening the hearts of the servants. It does not cease to progress in a beautiful and swift progression. For today it has reached places where it was not thought it could reach; the width of the earth and its breadth. And so its continuation shall resume – by Allaah’s permission and by His granted ability.” (Abridged from Majmu’ Rasaa-il Al-Jaami p.74-76)

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