The Antagonism of Salafism and Wahhabism

Salafism is the most antagonistic and harmful interpretation of Islam towards others.
Across the globe, Wahhabism, which is an extremist interpretation of Islam, is spreading into Muslim communities and destroying dissent, diversity, and sanity. It is a fascist, oppressive, bigoted, antisemitic, misogynistic interpretation of Islam, and its clerics are all too often apologists for terrorism and other forms of ideologically-driven murder.

I remember attending an event for Rachel Corrie the girl who died trying to prevent Palestinian homes from being bulldozed and I had Salafi friends who were disgusted saying that

She’s a kafir (disbeliever), why are we honoring her? She’s just going to go to the hellfire

This, in a nutshell, is the problem with Salafism.

The problem is that although Muslims differ in their values and interpretations of the Quran and Sunnah, Salafis (Wahhabis) are the most antagonistic against Non Muslims, frequently calling them “kaafir” (a slur that means disbeliever) and emphasizing strongly that

IslamQA says:

The belief in al-wala’ wa’l-bara’ (loyalty and friendship vs. disavowal and enmity) is one of the most important basic principles of Islam.

There are many such reports, which indicates that it is haraam to take the kaafirs as close friends and to love them. This friendship may take many forms, such as approving of their kufr, mixing with them and being friendly towards them, living with them, taking them as close friends, loving them, preferring them to the believers, referring to their laws for judgement and so on. See question no. 2179.

From the above, you will see that loving a kaafir is a serious matter, because it goes against one of the most important principles of Tawheed, which is loving and being loyal towards the believers, and disavowing and rejecting the disbelievers.
Source: IslamQA

According to the Salafi teachings, you must not take Christians and Jews as your friends:

Allaah has forbidden the believers to take the kaafireen (disbelievers) as friends, and He has issued a stern warning against doing that.

Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“O you who believe! Take not the Jews and the Christians as Awliyaa’ (friends, protectors, helpers), they are but Awliyaa’ of each other. And if any amongst you takes them (as Awliyaa’), then surely, he is one of them. Verily, Allaah guides not those people who are the Zaalimoon (polytheists and wrongdoers and unjust)” [al-Maa’idah 5:51]

Shaykh al-Shanqeeti (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:
In this verse Allaah tells us that whoever takes the Jews and Christians as friends is one of them because of his taking them as friends. Elsewhere Allaah states that taking them as friends incurs the wrath of Allaah and His eternal punishment, and that if the one who takes them as friends was a true believer he would not have taken them as friends. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
(Source: IslamQA)
Look at what IslamQA says about fighting disbelievers and taking them as slaves.  This is from an Salafi Islamic site:

Shaykh al-Shanqeeti (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: The reason why a person may be taken as a slave is his being a kaafir and waging war against Allaah and His Messenger. If Allaah enables the Muslims who are striving and sacrificing their lives and their wealth and all that Allaah has given them to make the word of Allaah supreme over the kaafirs, then He allows them to enslave the kuffaar when they capture them, unless the ruler chooses to free them or to ransom them, if that serves the interests of the Muslims.

If a mujaahid takes possession of a female slave or male slave, it is permissible for him to sell them. In either case – whether one acquires a slave through battle or through purchase – it is not permissible for a man to have intercourse with a female slave until she has had a period from which it may be ascertained that she is not pregnant. If she is pregnant then he must wait until she gives birth.(Source: IslamQA)

I remember and you can ask any Salafi, IslamQA is a trusted Islamic site. I used to recommend this site to all my friends when I practised Islam.

They are hard-line not just against non-Muslims, but even Muslims such as sufi. They consider everyone misguided except them

The Saudi Salafis also have destroyed most of the sacred sites in Saudi.
They consider any sort of structure to be blasphemous.

Their teachings have been spread all over the world due to the money that Saudi has.

Now tell me, when you tell people you cant be friends with kuffar, you must have “bara” (disallegiance) to them, what type of effect would this have on the hearts and minds of Muslims?? Do you think this will result in building MORE BONDS and LOVE and RELATIONSHIPS between Muslims and non Muslims? Or will it bring hatred to this world.

My own family member wrote online that apostates should be killed in an islamic state.

His reasoning is that we should trust God and his Messenger, even if we don’t really understand the reasoning.
I asked him to remove it and he ignored my request. Who knows who will read this and agree and one day decide to take it on themselves to join the Islamic state and start executing apostates. The worry is that one day if the Salafis manage to run an Islamic state, i will be executed for speaking out against these things.

I am speaking from the perspective of someone who followed the Salafi way for around 10 years, and I was Muslim around 15 years. Salafism is BAD for humanity! It represents the teachings of Prophet Muhammad in a black and white manner, and with no room for improvement or adaptation, which sucks!

What about terrorism?

I firmly believe as a former Salafi that Salafism is one of the worst and most dangerous forms of Islam in the world today. It is NOT violent extremism, infact Salafis are very strongly against terrorism, but it is really just a stone’s throw away based on the texts and the attitudes. There are so many harmful things in the Islamic corpus that if one decided to follow them directly, you could end up as a terrorist.  At the very least the texts lead you to have enmity towards non-Muslims.  I also think, but am not 100% sure, that a large number of the jihadi terrorists today came from the salafi mindset.

Shaikh Hamza Yusuf acknowledged this here too:

“The terroristic Islamists are a hybrid of an exclusivist takfiri version of the above and the political Islamist ideology that has permeated much of the Arab and South Asian world for the last several decades”
The Plague Within

In this video, Imam Adel Kalbani, an Imam in Makkah says that ISIS has the same beliefs we do, and its based Not the Muslim brotherhood, not Qutbism, Sufism, Asharis but on salafism. And so we don’t criticize the thought, but the way they do it.  Basically it’s the way they do things make us look bad:

Basically what ISIS is doing is not criticized based on their theology, but the WAY they did it ,and because it makes us look bad. Technically they are within the salafi framework he says.   This is the Imam of Makkah that Sheikh Hamza and Yasir Qadhi both refer to


Do you agree that Salafism is worse for the world?

One thought on “The Antagonism of Salafism and Wahhabism

  1. I agree with your comments on Salafism. It is unfortunate that you chose to be Salafi for almost a decade. For your reference there are books such as ‘The Great Theft’ by Khaled Abou el Fadl and ‘Tensions and Transitions in the Musllim World’ by Louay Safi that espouse similar views.

    I was glad to see the quote on your site by Sh. Hamza. I recommend that you follow advocates of traditional Islam like him. You will come to see the pragmatism and beauty in Islam over the rigidity and dogmatism of Salafism. I was also turned off by the latter.

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