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What is really al-Salafiyya

Reader comment on item: Palestinians Attack Their Supporters
in response to reader comment: The Salafi "movement"

Submitted by dhimmi no more (United States), Apr 17, 2011 at 09:04

Hi Sara you wrote

>There are many confusing sects of Islam, possibly due to the tribal nature of the Arabs, so that clans of families formed slightly different versions of the religion in order to differentiate themseves. They are affiliated with the Sunni sect. Salafists are a subgroup of extremely devote Islamists who consider themselves pure and unadulterated practiioners of true Islam. They originated in Saudi Arabia and OBL and Al Qaeda are from within the Salafis. The term is used interchangeably with Wahhabists, or supposed followers of one Abd El Wahab, those who think they are living a very pure interpretation of Islam (and they are the ones who are the original Jihadists) Just think of it as very extreme Muslims, and that's not a good thing for free people of the world...

I have to disagree with you. The term al-salafiyya was coined by Shiekh Muhammad Abdo (1849- 1905) in Egypt and he was a reformer who believed that Islam can be reformed and if so then Muslims in Egypt can advance and be part of the changing world of his time. His inspiration was the work by Shiekh el-Tahtawi who spent a few years in Paris, France as a spritual guide to those Egyptians that were sent (bi3that) to France in-order to advance their education at the expense of the Egyptian government (this was started by Muhammad Ali) and Tahtawi wrote his very celebrated book "Takhlis el-ibriz fi talkhis Baris" He tells the readers about the French society and how great is France. He was very impressed by the desire to learn and the clean streets and homes and great food and love for life, the arts, the museums and the great respect for the rights of others and he declared it to be what islam is supposed to be and that Egyptians can change and be like the French with love for education and all.

There is no doubt that Muhammad Abdo was very impressed by Tahtawi's book and Abdo had to provide a way for Muslims in Egypt to achieve what the French have acheived and that the way was via islam and what he called al-salafiyya which is not a technical term but nontheless he meant to say that a salafi (plural el-salafiyeen) are those who are the followers of al-salafiyya which means the ELDERS, also forebears, forefathers or ancestors

So who are those elders? Abdo tells us that they are Muhammad's followers or sahaba and al-khulafa' al-rashuduun (the first four Khulafa' or Abu Bakr, Uthman, Omar and Ali) but he also seems to include those Ulama that wrote the great books of islam in the thrid century of islam the likes of al-Tabari and that the islamic society at that time was what Muslims in Egypt should aspire for and such society would be not unlike what el-Tahtawi found in France

Now Abdo also tells us that the reasons why Islam became so lagging behind, he tells us that there are two reasons (see Hourani):

1. He blames the Shi3a and the Sufis and al-falasiffa (the philosophers) and el-3ilmaneyeen or the seculars and this is why you see and you hear that el-salfiyeen in Egypt are after the Shi3a and their mosques and they are also after the Sufi shrines and they destroy them. The rule of the Copts in Abdo's opinion is that they are fellow citizens but they are not equal to Muslims

2. he also blames the Turks and as you know Turkey occupied Egypt for a very long period of time and Egyptians resented the Turks and their imperialism and Egypt was an economic mess when the French invaded Egypt in 1797 (and just to give you an idea the population of Egypt when the Arabs invaded Egypt in 642CE was about 7-7.5M and the pipulation of Alexnadira was about 500,000) and when the French invaded Egypt the population was only less that 2M. he also had no regard for the Turks and their leadeship of Muslims as he did not regard them as neither Arabs nor speakers of Arabic and therefore less than perfect Muslims that can lead the umma

So in a nut shell salafists are supposed to live like Muslims of the 7th to the 9th century but what does this mean? Abdo never answers and when he was reminded that the time of al-khlalfa' al-rashiduun was time of war and destruction and starvation and that 3 out of four of them (Uthman and Abu Bakr and Ali) were killed by other Muslims he never gives an answer but when Farag Foda (who was a secularist) posed made the same point in the early 1990's he was killed by salafists so now we have the answer

Now we know who they are and what they are after the question is what is going to happen? Well we know that the Copts, liberal women, many secular muslims, the Egyptian Shi3a and the Egyptian Sufis have no like for them and that many are lining up to apply for immigration visas to places like Canada and Australia and the US. We also hear about the destruction of Sufi shrines and Shi3a mosques and Coptic churches and attacks on women who are not wearing al-hijab and attacks of stores that sell alcohol and we also hear about a Copt who had his ear removed because he did rent an apartment to a prostitute

So what is most amazing about al-salafiyya that what started as a reform movement is now an ultra conservative reactionary Islamic movement with many enemies

But again as we are reminded in the history of religions that orthodoxy wins at the end so what started as a refom movement is now a reactionary movement

I hope I helped

Submitting....

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