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A Horse or a Donkey

A Horse or a Donkey
Abu al-Hasan Malik al-Akhdar
22 Rabi’ al-Awwal

“WHEN THE DUST CLEARS,” writes the poet, “you will know whether you are riding a horse or a donkey.” Thus, when a person’s affair becomes clear, we should see him for what he is, not what he isn’t. In his work al-Radd al-Qawīm, al-ʿAllāmah Ḥamūd al-Tuwayjirī – May Allah have mercy upon him – states, “Some say, ‘So and so is Salafī,’ while [this person] opposes that which the Salaf al-Ṣāli, from the Companions, the Tābiʿīn, and those who followed them in goodness, were upon. Such a person does not deserve to be called Salafī, as this title does not suit his condition. Thus, labeling him as such is from falsehood.”[1] How tragic to be sighted—in the full light of day—and cannot tell a horse from a donkey.

Some years ago, we phoned al-ʿAllāmah Rabīʾ b. Hādī al-Madkhalī (حفظه الله) concerning a caller who claimed Salafiyyah, yet propagated izbiyyah. Despite this caller’s bigoted partisanship and hateful attacks against the scholars of the Sunnah in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, his self-ascription to Salafiyyah confounded many of the common folk: “How could he be izbī?” they asked. “He ascribes to nothing but the Sunnah.” Consequently, we asked our Shaykh, “Do we call this person Salafi?” He replied,

No! Do not call a man who opposes the manhaj of the Salaf al-Ṣāli Salafī. Do not call him Salafī until you are certain that he is upon Salafiyyah, being honored by it, calling to it, loving and uniting based upon it, and hating and separating because of it. This is the Salafī. As for the one who claims he is Salafī, yet he defends the people of innovation against Ahl al-Sunnah, he is not Salafī whatsoever; whoever he is, Arab or non-Arab, in the east or in the west. This is because Salafiyyah has special qualities and signs that distinguish its adherents from others, in al-walá wa al-bará, creed, da’wah, and point of view.[2]

So, when the dust clears, and you find a caller belittling Salafiyyah, defaming the companions, maligning the scholars of Sunnah, disparaging the rulers, and defending the people of innovation, do not label such a person Salafī, for this honorific does not suit him.

[1] Ḥamūd al-Tuwayjirī, al-Radd al-Qawīm ʿalá al-Mujrim al-Athīm (Idārah al-Buḥūth al-ʿIlmiyyah, 1403 AH), 185.
[2] Troid.org. “Uncovering the Hidden Ḥizbī.” June 14, 2007. Accessed December 07, 2017.