The original name of Jamiah Salafiah was Al-Jamia-tul-Markazih, which came to be known as Markazi Darul-Uloom in Urdu. In India there are several institutions of various groups of Muslims which represent their own schools of thought. It was not evident from the name of Al-Jamia-tul-Markaziah as to which school of thought it was related with. Therefore, its founders renamed it in such a way so that there could be clear indication towards its purpose.
The literal meaning of Salaf is that which has passed, and Salafiah means the followers of Salafi school of thought. They are a special group of the followers of the Prophet, Hazrat Mohammad (P.B.H.), which endeavors to receive Islamic education from its origin and foundation point, and to associate people with that religion which Prophet Mohammad (P.B.H.) has left for humanity, by presenting it in its original form. The followers of Salafiat endeavour to understand Islam in the light of the basic principles of the Quran and the Hadith in a way which is the way of the predecessors of Islam. That is to say, the early companions of the Holy Prophet;’Sahabah’, and later on the Muslim theologians, the Muslim Scholars of Holy Prophet’s traditions: Mohaddiseen and the Muslim jurists Foqhae Ezam took leading part in presenting Islam to the disciples of Prophet Mohammad (P.B.H.) in its original form. These information and contents of knowledge are spread over so many volumes of books written on this topic, and their authors belonged to different continents and states, who had been established in different parts of the world with the expansion and spread of Islam. A wast study and research programme is needed for its investigation. No Islamic education can be obtained in its original form by obeying only some particular Imam or walk in the footsteps of a learned man. That is why, it is wrong to call this group as a sect of Islam. A sect is named after the connection it makes with some personality, such as, Hanafi: the followers of Imam Abu Hanifa (R.A.), Shafai: the followers of Imam Shafai (R.A.), Malki: the followers of Imam Malik (R.A.)and Hambali: the followers of Imam Ahmad Bin Hambal (R.A.).
Some people associate Salafiat with wahabiat and relate it with Imam Mohammad Bin Abdul Wahab Najadi, which is done absolutely on the basis of confusion and party feeling. Though Mohammad Bin Abdul Wahab cherished almost the same view- point and followed the same principle which a Salafi has. But a Salafi is neither the follower of Mohammad Bin Abdul Wahab nor realizes him as his Imam. A Salafi admits that the Islam which Prophet Mohammad (P.B.H.) had left with his companions was the real Islam and true religion, and its followers had proved the superiority of this religion before the world. By and by this religion had its impact on half of the population of the world with full glamour and peace and tranquility, wherever Islam reached, there reached peace, justice and brotherhood. Moreover, the honour and prestige of the people was saved. The inhabitants of those places invited the followers of Islam to release them from the cruelty of cruel rulers.
When the condition of the world became worse, it cast its evil influence also on the followers of Islam; their view-point changed adversely and their thinking and apprehension changed accordingly. The rulers of the time utilized learned men, Ulama, to establish their supremacy. The door of authoritative interpretation of Islamic law was shut, and a special kind of religion was propagated, making the people follow in the footsteps of certain learned men and the Imam, in consequently some of them became Hanafi, some Shafai, some regarded Imam Malik as their Imam, and some thought it comparatively better to follow Imam Ahmad Bin Hambal. Though Islam was one and the same, but its followers were divided into four sects and held their special places in the Holy Haram and the Qibla, so that no quarrel might arise. The followers of every sect offered their Namaz in a different way; everyone declared himself true and the other false. If any suspicion arose in anybody’s mind for anything, he was made silent pronouncing that it was the verdict of his Imam. And to prove the supremacy of their Imam every sect presented false and imaginary excellence in its favour, so that no follower might leave his sect.
The Salafi consider worship of graves as ‘shirk’ (to regard a personality equivalent to God), which is the greatest sin. Man in obedient to God only as His creation. It is the teaching of Islam that if a man stands in need , he should ask it from God alone who is his creator. The prophet of Islam has prohibited to build construction over a grave, and in the same way there is no place of any sort of ‘URS’ (periodical celebration to honour a dead person) in Islam. To express extreme sorrow and celebrate the death anniversary of Imam Hussain (R.A.) in the month of Moharram, Milad of the Prophet and many other customs which are prevalent in the Muslims today were not found in the people of earlier ages of Islam. These things can not be regarded Islamic and so the Salafi don’t acknowledge them.
We acknowledge Jehad (fight against evils), but that Jehad only which established justice and peace in the world, by which the honour and prestige of people was protected, children and women were provided safe and secure position, dishonesty and cruelty came to an end. The same kind of Jehad is required today also.
Today Jehad has been defamed. To kill innocents for no reason, to squander wealth and treasure for nothing, to frighten and terrorise people by bomb blast in a cruel and brutal way, and to regard them as Jehad or to call the doers as Jehadi is absolute craziness and bankruptcy of intelligence. This is such a crime that any punishment prescribed for it is insufficient. Everyone should blame such a heinous crime, and should bring about Jehad against inhuman acts and terrorism.
The Salafi are called as Ahle-Hadees too, because they give first and foremost importance to the Quran and the Hadith, and such people have already been called Ahle-Hadees in the early books of Islamic religion.
The Salafi acknowledge the authoritative interpretation of Islamic law and take decision with thinking and apprehension regarding problems of every day life in the light of the Holy Quran and the examples set for us by the Holy Prophet. We don’t admit narrow-mindedness. The problems we face today have a wide scope; it is better to acknowledge right things than to show haughtiness in accepting them.
We respect all the Imams and pay our regard to them as Imam. They were those men who have served Islam and humanity, their position is very high, their services are great; but mystic knowledge and learning can not be besieged nor any person can claim to do it. So we should always make search for truth and should accept the truth that has been proved, may it be in favour of or against to the saying of any Imam. The truth is with God and the Prophet; this is our view-point, this is our principle and this is our proclamation.
We teach principles, lead people on the right path, make them learned; but it is up to their own conscience whether to accept them or not, as it is their right. We pray to ALLAH to give us strength to realize truth and stick to it.