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Difference Between Sunni and Salafi

Sunni vs Salafi

Sunni and Salafi are two sects of Islam and Salafi are also known as ahle hadith. During the British rule in the Indian sub continent many major differences emerged in the Muslims which led to the intra-Muslim rivalry. It was in this period that many sects came into view such as deobandi, brailvi and ahle hadith or Salafi. Salafi emerged as a separate sect or maslak in a gradual process in the sub continent of India. The Salafis are a fundamentalist group that seeks to imitate the behavior of early Muslims.

The real difference between Sunni and Salafi is that Sunnis believe Prophet Muhammad is Nur or enlightened soul to guide the Muslims whereas the Salafis believe he is a normal human being like me and you. Sunni and Salafi both have separate mosques and madrasas or schools. The Salafi rely solely upon the Quran and the hadith or Sunah of the prophet narrated by his companions.

The Sunnis believe in the four imams and their school of thought whereas ahle hadith do not believe in taqleed or associationism. The Orthodox Sunnis have rigid beliefs in compliance with the four schools of thoughts of Sunni jurisprudence whereas Salafis follow only when their ruling is supported by Quran and Sunnah.They have aggressive attitude towards the Sunni beliefs and they openly oppose the customs of Sunnis.

Salafi also do not believe in the cults of the saints and emphasize upon the obliteration of bida`h or wrongful innovation in Islam. Many Sunnis kneel before graves or prostrate that is strongly opposed by the Salafis. Sunnis believe in the intercession of the last Prophet and saints whether they are living or dead whereas the Salafi strictly oppose the arbitration and do not believe in the saints.

Many Sunni see the Salafi as a hidden front of the Wahabis. Sunnis emphasize upon the adoration of the Prophet and the saints whereas Salafis fiercely oppose and have antagonistic attitude towards taqlid. Taqlid is a popular custom of Sunnis. Sunnis believe in the mysticism and ‘kalam.’ Sunnis celebrate the birthday of the holy Prophet and saints. They also commemorate Urs or the day of the death of saints. Salafis denounce these practices and despise the kalam or poetry of various saints and scholars in Islam because they believe that these innovations are only spreading misguidance and misleading the Muslims. Salafis place great emphasis on rituals and make religion a part of everyday activity. Many of them are careful to always follow the example of Muhammad and the companions. Much of the Salafi literature focuses on the intricate details of ritual practices and beliefs. Much of their publications teach the ‘correct’ methods of praying as well as rules and regulations related to dress, food or marriage etc to attack rival Muslim including Sunnis and other groups.

1.Salafi emerged as a separate sect and minority in the Indian subcontinent during the British reign and have separate mosques and institutions than that of Sunnis.
2.Sunni are the majority group and almost 90% of Muslim community belongs to Sunni sect.
3.Salafi have fundamentalist beliefs and they condemn Sunni rituals and customs.
4.Sunni believe in the intercession, prostration and arbitration by the saints whereas Salafis call these practices as bida`h or wrongful innovations in Islam.
5.Salafi despise taqleed or associationalism and do not believe in saints or mysticism. They believe that Holy Prophet is just an ordinary human being whereas Sunnis believe that he is Nur sent to Earth in the form of a human being.

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    • Truss me what batil they’ve mixed sunnis and sufis up

    • You not sunni thdn

    • It seems that this article is misleading. It seems that the practices written here is actually a shiaa practices..Sunni doesnt believe in saints, doesnt prostate to their graves and doesnt celebrate the birthday of the Prophet.. Sunni as I know is the follower of the Qur’an and the sunnah. Attributes of sunni is very clear..this article is misleading, so be carefull.. I believe somebody want to confuse muslims as what is the meaning of sunni and shiaism.

      • Yes brother the article is misleading.

      • This article is totally confusing and misleading. I am a sunni Muslim I don’t celebrate prophets birthday and I don’t visit grave yards. Which is no where written in Quran or Sahi Hadith. A true sunni muslim just follow Quran and Sahi Hadith. Practising beyond Quran and Sahi Hadith is called as Bidaah’ (This is nothing related to Sunni, Shia or Salafi. Please re correct your article and publish the article based on true facts.

      • I fully agree with you brothers.This article is very untrue.Sunnis dont prostate in front if graves and we dont celebrate the birthdays of the subgaanallah..

    • Yes you are right!!
      I was shocked when i was reading this article..i am sunni alhamdulilaah.
      And i never celebrated the birthday of the prophet peace be upon him.
      And never visited a grave of a saint…this is an innovation in islam.
      And this article is so wrong!!!!

    • Ye almost everything is false allahuakbar no one take information this is probably a white person who is taking info from Western scholars who are trying to destroy islam.

    • True akhi…this website is bias..and they describe sunni as shia and suffism.

  2. LOL sunnis aint sufis they dont do or believe in any of the things they are claimed to above , and realistically speaking salafis and sunnis are supposed to be the same thing with essentially the same beliefs. For non-muslims, the term ‘SUNNI’ refers to following the Quran and SUNNAH (teachings and ways of Muhammad saws) whilst the term ‘SALAFI’ generally implies following the Quran and sunnah according to the understanding of the SALAF (The the pious predecessors). These two are synonymous in practice.

    HOWEVER, Salafism as it is called by media today has become a term to refer to a seperate group who follow a methodology WITHIN sunni islam (rather than a seperate sect), It is DEFINETLY NOT like comparing Sunnis and shias. To put it clearer, all salafis are sunnis but not all sunnis are salafi IN THE SENSE that they dont adhere to the what they now call the ‘salafi movement’. Muslims in general usually should follow the ways of the salaf

    “The best people are those of my generation, then those who come after them, then those who come after them. Then, there will come people whose witness will precede their oaths and whose oaths will precede their witness.”

    Source: Sahih Bukhari 6065, Sahih Muslim 2533

    • Ur a salafi in disguise lol….
      Sunnis do celebrate the Blessed birth of the Holy Prophet ( sallahu Aleyhi WASALAM). And we do celebrate the births of the pious saints who carried the Blessed message of Allah from the Holy Prophet to this day and onwards. However we do not prostrate or kneel in front of Mazaars etc or worship saints, that’s misinterpretation and is not allowed in Islam.

      • Sunni don’t celebrate the prophet’s (peace be upon him) birthday, and neither especially do not (NEVER) celebrate the births of any so-called saints. That is a big lie and you know it. It is Sufis who do that. I don’t know where you heard that from but you need to triple-check your sources for your own sake.
        As for the person who commented above you, I don’t know whether they are Sufi or not, but the way you said, “Ur a salafi in disguise lol…” You’re trying to make it seem like he/she is sinister or something. They, Sufi, are Sunni. In fact, not only do they follow the Quran and Sunnah of the blessed prophet s.a.w., they make sure to follow authentic hadiths from their closest sources, which avoids any deviated and unauthentic teachings.
        If you celebrate birthdays of so-called saints, from what sahih hadeeth have you learnt that from, since you claim to be Sunni. Find me the exact quote, source and page. Thank you

        • Correction: “They Salafi, are Sunni.” Sufis are not Sunni. Not even close.

        • When u don’t know anything then try to keep ur mouth shut… I am a Sunni and I celebrate prophet Mohammad’s (pbuh) birthday…. And whoever is telling that for celebration of prophets birthday we need to show from hadith then stop eating biryani stop wearing suit o jeans o shirt,shoes because these things are also not written in any hadith…. Then according to you if u r doin things which are not referred in Hadith then u r doin sins everyday…. So plz do ur prayers in your way and let us do ours… Don’t try to interrupt…. Thank u

          • Let you follow your way and let us follow our subhannallah what planet you from there is one Quran and one sunnah what is coming from the ummah how can you follow your own way the Quran stands the highest point Allahu Akbar without Prophet Muhammad saw how you going to know what is correct follow the Quran and Hadith. Every thing you do in Islam needs to be fact why follow Allah in the way you believe the teachings to be show me anything regarding the Sufi sect with what some of the rituals that the prophet Muhammad saw carried out Hadith clearly means what the prophet did and said I speak to many Muslims that tell me I have learned of my imam Islam is to be learned with HAQQ not with innovation To know your creator does not come from innovation it comes from studying Quran studying din knowledge is power ignorance is looser we need one ummah we need one sunnah Allahu Akbar. Only dua and wanting asking worshiping in any form is to Allah sta. The only thing the dead need from the living is dua. To read Quran to the dead is no benefit at the cemetery because the Quran is given to the living once one is dead and berried then dua dua dua for them to be for given to for Allah sta to for give them for then sins and our Duas have a lot to do with it talking to the dead wanting something from the dead I’ll tell you what this is a sin Quran black and white surah 51 ayah 56 indeed I only created the jinn and man kind to worship me alone not a saint not a grave May Allah guide you on the right track of din and save us from the hell fire please my dear brother din is given by Allah to jibrail then to Prophet MUhammad saw May Allah rest his soul and grant him the highest paradise that Allah has promised as Allah sta does not brake his promises and our prophet is a human and who would know this better you or our prophet I wonder why the din has become mixed views so simple Quran sunnah it’s not hard at all the Christians celebrated jesuses birthday but ISa is a prophet why celebrate the prophets birthday I call that shirk I call that innovation follow the truth not what is given by people’s mind. Allah save us from false hood. Life is only given by Allah and life can only be taken by Allah no one should translate Quran to there own understanding should only be done through the way our prophet Muhammad understood it to be Abu Hanifa imam Malik imam shafi imam hanbali they are all right we are not Allah to judge we only judge.

          • I am totaly agree with you..

          • Brother before celebrating the birth of the Holy Prophet SAW learn something from His blessed life and act according to the life he lead. He never celebrated his birthday and nor did any of the companions so who are you to celebrate it? It is because of these things Islam is deteriorating and people want to make it “Christianised”. And learn to respect people’s opinions or reply respectfully instead of acting like an arrogant man who has been told off!

          • Instead of getting angry and practicing for your stubborn attitude is not good for a true Muslim. If we are doing wrong practice without knowing is not a sin. As per your example stop eating biryani and other eatables which is not written anywhere in Quran and Sahi hadith is not correct. If you read and understand Quran and Sahi hadith it is very clearly mention what is hallal to eat and Haram not to eat. Hallal eatables whatever name you give is hallal are permissible to eat in Islam. Haram whatever name you give is Haram and must avoid which is not advised to eat in Islam.
            Quran and Sahi hadith are the catalogue of human beings and all muslims rights to follow accordingly.
            Did you hear with any one scholar, that our prophet peace be upon celebrated his birth day or advise anyone to celebrate his birthday. If he is not celebrating his own birthday who we are ?
            Only Allah can give you or heal your problems no human beings has such priviledges. Please understand and don’t take this offended.
            Jazak Allah Khair.

          • Firstly,you need to understand what bida’ah means . “Every belief,action or statement newly invented after the death of the prophet with the intention of worship and getting closer to Allah, which has no proof in the Quran,Sunnah or from the actions of the earlier generations. ”

            So things that you invent in relegion is what makes it wrong .. hope u get what i meant 🙂

      • The day of birth and passing away to the afterlife of our beloved Prophet Muhammad( sallal laa hu alaihi wa sallam) is the same. 12th of rabiul awal.How can we then justify celebrating it.It is also a sorrowful day for us.

      • You are truthful and right

    • Asalamualiakum akhi/ukthi,

      I really appreciate your time in revising and correcting this information.

      Sunni Muslims, do not celebrate the birthday of the prophet or prostrate or worship saints, and if they do, it is best to seek knowledge, as to why it is unlawful in Islam.
      Sunni Muslims and Salafi Muslims to me are quite similar in beliefs.

      The ritual of going to a saint’s grave, is very common in some Muslim countries, however, it is against the teachings of Islam.

    • You are right…Thanks for your comment..it will enlighten some people that are misguided by this wrong article…

    • If you believe in hadiths, then you believe in Arab myths(stories that are not substantiated or supported with facts). Allahs’s hadiths in the Quran are facts.
      So in blindly following the traditions, related by Rasulullah’s sahabah chronicled 150-200 yrs after his death, a Muslim can be led astray. Hence there is a need for everyone to seek the truth from the Quran.
      Muhamad pbuh is a rasul (slave) of Allah; no more, no less. This fact can be substantiated by the verse ‘ Say (Oh Muhamad) I have no power to harm you or guide you’ Surah 72 : 21 and 22.
      Rasulullah’s responsibility is only to convey Allah’s words (Kalam) clearly. Surah 24:54 and Surah 29:18.
      To glorify Muhamad pbuh beyond that of a human is wrong.
      As Muslims, we are to glorify only Allah.

  3. This is so false! Sunnis and Salafis, by name, are the same thing, as they adhere to the “sunnah”, the way of the Prophet and the predecessors. These names dont mean anything because we all believe in the same thing, Qur’an and hadeeth, as well as honor the same major scholars. Thats all. There are people who identify as Sunni that are more adherent than those who identify as Salaf. We’re MUSLIMS. Degree of practice, the higher the better, but its a personal choice separate of what youre called.

  4. somebody correct this pathetic idiot…laanat on this person for giving the wrong idea of sunnis. .bloody idiot….people like these are the reason for fitnah. .

    • Astagfirullah

      Anger and curses are not a trait of practicing muslims.

      Let us not forget that we are one ummah.we are brothers and sisters.

      Instead of throwing curses , we can make du’a for them. That would be better and useful. It will unite the ummah instead of dividing it.

  5. Salafi or alhe hadees are the same bidatee’s and emerges during british time….. They are challenging real Sunni…. Inshort they are spreading Satanism they are same like yazidi, I think they don’t have any difference…… Naam hijack karne se koye salaf saliheen nahi banta… Wahabiyo ko samjhowo koye

  6. idrish

    what they are saying they are Salafi , I think they are not muslim only , because all thing they are doing , which is against islam, Killing innocent people in the name of jihad, is this is a islam , no not at all , is se islam nahi phelta hain , islam talvar ke jor par nahi ,
    balki musalmano ke akhlak ki wajah se puri duniya me faila hain, please don,t kill people in the name of islam and dont spoil the name of islam , agar dum hain to apna amal aur akhlaq is tarah banao ki ye h dekh kar log islam kabool kare, allah ka sukar hain hum tum me se nahi hain , i am sunni and i am proud to be sunni muslim.

  7. To all you Muslims whether you are Sunni or Shia
    You are all stuck in the Middle Ages if it was not for the oil you would still be herding goats.
    The way you treat women has no place in modern society
    The only thing you understand is violence and you wonder why we in the west detest you and your way of life

  8. This is the exact sitaution of current muslims. All needed is just a spark, and then, they will burn themselves. Openly calling themselves the worst they can. Allah ham sab ko ek or nek hone ki salaahat de. Aameen

  9. Allah is the only creator and the only judge Allahu Akbar

  10. With so many muslims fighting with each other on who is right and who is wrong..
    No wonder the nasara is ridiculing and slaughtering our brothers and sisters everywhere.
    Until there is no unity amongst us muslims
    We can forget.Allah’s assistance
    May Allah guide us all..

  11. Listen,. Salafi is considered to be the pure “sunnih”.. due to their practises n belief are truly accordingly to the sunnah of rasulullah, his companion, as well the rest best generations; ..

    Abdullah ibn Mas’ud reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “The best people are those of my generation, then those who come after them, then those who come after them. Then, there will come people whose witness will precede their oaths and whose oaths will precede their witness.”

    Source: Sahih Bukhari 6065, Sahih Muslim 2533

    Including those 4 greatest Imam of fiqh; Hanafi, Malik, Syafi’e n Hanbali… they re Salafis

  12. This article is laughable. Salafi started in India? Sunnis kneel before graves? Sunnis believe Holy Prophet Muhammad SAW is Noor in disguise of a human? Wth? Nothing here is true and have mixed up with other sects than the actual Sunni and Salafi beliefs. Brush up your knowledge before writing random rubbish. This is very dangerous and misguiding people. I am truly disgusted by this.

  13. the person who wrote this article might be a salafi, there is given some wrong and reverse informations(like sunni belive muhammad(sm.) to be noor,rather salafis believe it not the sunnis). please do not try to misguide the people,because most people search islamic things in internet which are mostly written by salafis,if u need to know what sunni majhab says go to a sunni islamic faqih (90% of muslims r sunnis)

  14. All we should know that our beloved prophate said “”” I have left for you two things
    1…. Quran
    Hadith is full of Sunna’ acts so brother let us check our selves , b4 judging the rest…?

  15. Muhammad sm. was no nur. he was just a human like us. don’t get the wrobg meaning of Qur’an

  16. I have found out that Prohate Mohammad S.A.W is not Nur but Allah is NUR check in Allah’s names you will find the name AL NUR.

    • Wow just because the prophet said there would be many groups in Islam it doesn’t mean that we have join any of them, from what i can see, now approaching my 60’s it is better to say just Muslim and be not of any groups, as they all have their faults, as for those who want to celebrate the prophets birthday, i wish them well celebrating an event like that cannot be deemed bad , (it is recorded in hadith that his uncle Abu Lahab was given mercy in the fire due to him being the most happy when the prophet was first born. i think a little more forgiveness between the groups and maybe a little more study of the religion, (not just reciting , and more questions and answered would help) Salamm

    • Our soul belongs to Allah n it has divine reality…u lack knowledge n commenting on Prophet Muhammad PBUH for which we are not even dust of…..have respect my dear

  17. I’m Sunni and I’m wondering what they are talking about..?? Saints?? Huh?

  18. I m salafi bt I thnk the above information is not clearly xplained. .
    there is somehow lack
    nadeem qadir

  19. I am Muslim and upon the Dawah of the Salafi this literature is very misguiding to someone who may be curious about secs of Islam. Myself and my family follow the Quran and the Sunnah. As Muslim proof must be evident. True authentic evidence. (i.e. Sahih al Bukhari) People have modernized what Islam truly is, wearing makeup in hijab, men wearing gold, not fulfilling obligatory affairs, committing adultery, etc. May Allah Subhana Wa Ta’Ala protect you all. From he we came, we shall return.

  20. Salafi’s are Sunnis…like prestine Sunnis. This author is actually talking about Sufis…like the grave worshiping Sufis. He literally wrote about Sufi v. Salafi and replaced SUFI with SUNNI. Very confused author, thinks Salafi movement is limited to the small strand of Ahl Hadith out of India; whereas the entire movement originated in Najd in Arabia and is the predominant Islamic dawaa’ in the Arab world. Super uneducated, boring article. Probably written by a Hindu to steer people away from Tawheed.

  21. *In the name of Allah, the most beneficial, the most merciful*

    *May the peace of Allah be upon our noble prophet Muhammad salallahu alayhi wasalam, his household and his companions.*
    Important resolution on prohibited creeds and actions { Manhaj} as here listed , were made by Ahlu sunnah Wal jamma’an also known as Ahlu salaf
    *_It was established and proven beyond reasonable doubt that it is prohibited on any Muslim with a correct and sound creed to :_

    1. Curse a companion among the companions of the prophet or any of his wives (Rodiyallahu anihum);
    2. Believe that a messenger or prophet is raise by Allah after prophet Muhammad salallahu alayhi wasalam ;
    3. Ignore for whatever reason or condition the congregational prayer ,except for an excusable reasons in sharee’ah (Islamic law), of which Al khalwa(seclusion in a corner of the room, bushes or other places) is not among;
    4. Believe that he must be a member of certain ( Tareeqah) before he engages in tahjud, dhikr,although there are authentic Ahadith of the prophet salallahu alayhi wasalam that stress the significance of supererogatory acts of worship – Quran recitation, dhikr, tahjud, sadaqat,etc. Doing these acts of worship does not necessitate membership of Tareeqah sect;
    5. Seek helps, either for attaining goodness or preventing evil, by calling upon the dead. This is a blatant shirk ( association partners with Allah in worship). It is also prohibited to observe salat or seek prayer round a graves in respect of the virtues according to the place or position of the one in the grave. This is an unambiguous innovation. The sunnah is to pray for the dead based on the authentic dhikr on visitation of the cemetery;
    6. Invoke Allah by innovated or idolatry names such as names of Jinns. This is a clear heresy and atheism with regards to the names of Allah;
    7. Believe in pantheism. This is the belief that person become part of Allah if he attains certain level of righteousness, or the claim that a person sees Allah by his naked eyes while awake, or to believe that the prophet salallahu alayhi wasalam comes him physically, or gives him a mode of worship;
    8. Inscribe or write some incantation on slates and drink, or write on papers and hang it as amulets. Rather, it is recommended for him to read from verses and dhikr of protection recommended by the prophet salallahu alayhi wasalam.
    9. Take Jalabi as a profession or call on people to seek assistance from him through his innovation in matter of religion, sorcery or shrik manners, which include but are not limited to, the use of mus’haf, sub’nah or even sand (Ramlu) or by seeking assistance from or invoking the agents of shaytaan,Jinn;
    10. Declare war against the insignia??? Of Sunnah by calling to shaving of the bread, kneeling during greetings, dragging of the male clothes below the ankle or declaring that the use of the face veil (niqaab) or hijab for women is as a custom of the Arabs;
    11. Claim that there is a fabricated Hadith in any Sahih Al Bukhari and Muslim or even believe that there are several of such weak or fabricated narrations in any of the two;
    12. Protest against our leaders, defame them, declare them unbeliever (kaafir) or participate in any activities which will leads to instability and insecurity. This clearly contradicts the Sunnah of the prophet salallahu alayhi wasalam;
    13. Invoke (Albarkah) blessing from personality of righteous people by touching their body, shoes, cars, graves, etc or their belongings either they are alive or dead;
    14. Believe that any form of ‘salat’ (invocation of blessing) on the prophet is better or preferred over Assalatul Ibrahimiyyah which was recommended by the prophet salallahu alayhi wasalam;
    15. Take dream or hallucination as a source of Sharee’ah legislation in matter of religion. He should rather be contented with Quran, authentic Sunnah, and ( Al-Ijmaa’a);
    16. Prefer any political rule or party politics over the provision of Islamic law;
    17. Ignore the call to correct belief and beneficial admonition or an established manner and methodologies;
    18. Say to his Muslim brothers ‘O Ka byafir’, or for him to believe that all forms of innovation, without expectation lead to ( Kufru) disbelief.

    These shows that there is no difference between Ahlu sunnah and Ahlu salaf rather than Ahlu sunnah is also Ahlu salaf with that aforementioned Creed’s and manner.

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