Are Salafis Harsh? – Shaykh Albaani

Then it is not correct that we make a blanket statement that the Salafees are harsh. What is correct is that we say, ‘Some of them have harshness.’ Is it clear so far?..

So, we say that some of the Salafees have a manner that is harsh, but is it seen that this characteristic is specific only to the Salafees?


Thus we arrive at the following outcome: it is not permissible…to describe an entire group of people with a general description, applying it to all of them.

Secondly, it is not permissible to generalize this characteristic upon any individual from the Muslims, whether he is Salafee (a person who follows the Quran and Sunnah upon the understanding of the early Muslims – Salaf us-Saalih (pious predecessors)) or khalafee (a person who chooses to follow the later generations of Muslims in understanding the Quran and Sunnah instead of the early generations), except in certain circumstances, as long as we agree that leniency is not legislated at all times.

So we see that the Messenger of Allaah used the type of harshness that if a Salafee today used it the people would strongly reject this from him.

For example: Perhaps you know the story of Abis-Sanaabil, do you remember this story. The Prophet said, “Abus- Sanaabil has lied.” Is this considered harshness or not?(1)

(This was harshness) from whom? This was from the most merciful of the people.

(Allah says,) “If you had been hard-hearted and harsh they would have dispersed from around you.” [Soorah Aali-’Imraan 3:159]

Therefore using leniency as a starting point is not a general rule, as we previously agreed upon.

Rather, it is upon the Muslim to use leniency at the proper time and harshness at the proper time.

Also, for example, there is what appears in the Musnad of Imaam Ahmad (d.241H) when the Prophet gave an exhortation, one of the companions stood up and said, ‘What Allah wills and you will, O messenger of Allah.’ The Messenger of Allah said, “Are you making me an equal to Allah?! Say whatever Allah wills alone.”(2) Is this harshness or not?

Allahu Akbar! This is from the harshest of censures.

(Yet there) is another instance (of harshness from the prophet Mohammed).

The narration. Whoever obeys Allah and His Messenger is guided and whoever disobeys them is misguided, he said, “How miserable a preacher you are.”(3)

Is this harshness or leniency?

What is important…is that there are times to use leniency and there are times to use harshness, because of this concern, which is greater than others, others consider (simply) enjoining the good and forbidding the evil even if it is coupled with leniency – as harshness.

Rather, some of them say these are not the times for it (enjoining the good and forbidding the evil); rather some of them go to the extreme and say that studying tawheed divides the ranks of the Muslims.

Thus what I hope to arrive at is that this matter is relative, meaning that a person is not fanatical and especially when entering into the subsidiary matters, which some of them call trivialities, so they consider a discussion that is coupled with good mannerisms as harshness…

(However) some of them (Salafis) are harsh and even the companions were not free from this. From them were those who were lenient and from them were those who were harsh.

Perhaps you know the story of the Bedouin who began to urinate in the mosque, what did the companions intend to do to him? They intended to beat him, is this leniency or harshness?

(This is) harshness, but what did the messenger say to them? “Leave him.”

So there are very few people who are able to avoid using harshness. But the truth of the matter is that the fundamental principle is that da’wah is based upon wisdom and good exhortation, and wisdom is to use leniency at its proper time and harshness at its proper time.

Therefore, it is not possible for the people, except few, to avoid using harshness, but the truth is that the fundamental principle of dawah is that it be called to with wisdom and good exhortation, and from wisdom is using leniency in its proper place and using harshness in its proper place.

Additionally if we describe the best of the Islaamic groups, which has superiority over the other groups in diligently following the Book and the Sunnah and what the pious predecessors were upon, with harshness unrestrictedly, I do not believe this is from justice whatsoever, but as for it being said that there are those from amongst them (who have harshness) then who can deny this?

As long as the companions had those from amongst them who used harshness out of its place, then those khalafees who came after them from the likes of us, khalafee in the linguistic sense (in this sense meaning those who came after the companions), would have this harshness for all the more reason.

…(Look at) the narration of ’Aa‘ishah when the Jew sent salutations to the Prophet twisting his tongue saying, ‘Death be upon you,’ so when she heard this twisted salutation she shuddered behind the hijaab (curtain) until she almost tore it in two, as has come in the narration where she responded in anger, “And upon you be death, and the curse of Allaah and His anger. O brothers of the apes and pigs!” As for the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam), he did not exceed beyond his response to him, “And unto you the same.” So when the Jew departed the Prophet censured her saying, “O ’Aa‘ishah, indeed gentleness is not placed into something except that it beautifies it, and it is not removed from something except that it disfigures it.” She replied, “O Messenger of Allah, did you not hear what he said?” He responded, ‘Did you not hear what I said?”(4)

Thus, Aa‘ishah, who was reared from childhood in the house Prophecy and Revelation still was not able to avoid using harshness in place of gentleness.
Thus what can we say about other than them from the Salafees (of this era) – as they were not raised in the house of Prophecy and Revelation.

(Moreover) What is your (or others) opinion of this (When a person said to the companion Umar, ‘Seek Allah’s forgiveness for your brother.’ And he responded, “May Allah not forgive him.”)

No doubt if you heard me (or an other shaykh) use these words you would be the first person to say, ‘The shaykh is too harsh.’

…Also, from what is apparent to me from the reasons of the spread of this accusation against the Salafees (is they) those who speak about the Islamic legislation are the Salafees, so inevitably they will make mistakes in proportion to their speech, while if this harshness was compared to what they have brought from advice with justice, fairness, and leniency, we would find similar to what we have mentioned about some of the Salaf, even in the presence of the messenger of Allaah, but this (use of) harshness does not permit us to attribute those companions who used sternness in certain instances with being harsh people, rather we can only say that perhaps you, or I, or others will sometimes fall into something of harshness.”

Ref: A series of recordings entitled, Silsilatul-Hudaa wan-Noor of al- Albaanee (cassette no. 595)


1. Shaykh Albaani said, “A woman’s husband died while she was pregnant.

So when she gave birth it reached her that the Prophet said that when a pregnant woman’s husband dies, her waiting period is until she delivers her baby, and this is found in the Saheeh of Imaam al- Bukhaaree (d.256H).

So after she gave birth, she anticipated becoming engaged for marriage, so she beautified herself and put on kuhl (antimony).

So when Abus-Sanaabil saw her, he proposed marriage, but she refused, so he said to her, “It is not permissible for you to marry until you have finished the waiting period for mourning – which is four months and ten days.” And from what is apparent, she was a woman who had concern for her Religion, so she dressed in her over-garment and rushed to the Prophet. She mentioned what Abus-Sanaabil said to her, and the Prophet said, “Abus- Sanaabil has lied.”” Ref: A series of recordings entitled, Silsilatul-Hudaa wan-Noor of al- Albaanee (cassette no. 595)

The foundation of this narration is found in the Saheeh (no. 3770) of al-Bukhaaree and Muslim in his Saheeh (no. 56). As for the narration containing the wording, ‘Abus-Sanaabil has lied,’ it is collected by al- Albaanee in Silsilatus-Saheehah (no. 3274) upon the authority of ’Abdullaah Ibn Mas’ood (radiyallaahu ’anhu).

2. Related by Ahmad in his Musnad (1/214, 224, 283, and 347) upon the authority of Ibn ’Abbaas. It was authenticated by al-Albaanee in Silsilatus-Saheehah (no. 139).

3. Related by Muslim in his Saheeh (no. 2007) upon the authority of ’Adiyy Ibn Haatim (radiyallaahu ’anhu) who related that a man gave an exhortation in the presence of the Messenger of Allaah and said, “Whoever obeys Allaah and his Messenger has been guided, and whoever disobeys them has deviated.” The Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, “How miserable a preacher you are. Say, whoever disobeys Allaah and His Messenger.”

4. Related by al-Bukhaaree in his Saheeh (no. 5570) from the hadeeth of ’Aa‘ishah (radiyallaahu ’anhaa).

Posted by Abdul Kareem Ibn Ozzie


About Abdul Kareem Ibn Ozzie

I am a revert trying to spread the sunnah inshallah.
This entry was posted in REFUTATION OF THE MUMAYEEN (THOSE WHO ARE TOO EASY ON AHLU BIDAH) and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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