SALAF AS-SÂLIHÎN - سلف الصالحين
Literally: Salaf is predecessor. Ancestor.
Literally: Sâlih is good. Serviceable. Valid. Upright. Righteous. Pious.
The first guides of the Ahl al-Sunnah wa’l-Jamâ’ah.
Salaf as-Sâlihîn are the leaders of the Sahâbah, Tâbi’în (the first generation after Sahâbah) and Tabaî’ Tâbiî’n (The second generation of Muslims after the Sahâbah who had lessons and who narrated Hadith from Tâbi’în and followed them.) The most virtuous Muslims that lived for three centuries after the Hijrah. ‘Ulamâ of ‘ilm Al-Kalâm accept this period until the fifth century of Islam.
Just as different merchandise are sought after in the market according to the season. From time to time, different merchandise is in demand. So in the exhibition of the ‘âlam and the market of human social life and civilization of mankind, every age, different merchandise is sought after and in demand; it is displayed in the market of that age; it attracts demands, gazes turn toward it, minds are drawn by it.
For example, at the present time, the demand for merchandise of politics, securing the worldly life and philosophy... And at the age of Salaf as-Sâlihîn and in the market of that time, the most sought-after merchandise was deducing from the Word of Khâliq of the samâwât and the earth, His wishes from mankind and the things with which He will be pleased, and through the nûr of nubuwwah and the Qur'an, obtaining the means to gain eternal happiness in the ‘âlam of the âkhirah, which had been opened to such a degree it could not be closed…
... at this time, due to the domination of European civilization and the hegemony of natural philosophy and the conditions of worldly life becoming heavy, minds and hearts have become scattered, and endeavour and attention divided. Minds have become strangers to the ma’nawî matters.
The Twenty-Seventh Word-The Third
Just as within a body, there is the inclination to expand for growing and flourishing. As for that inclination to expand, — because it is from inside — for the body, it is to become perfect. But if it is an inclination to expand from outside, it is to rip the body's skin and destroy it; it is not expansion. In the same way, if the inclination to expand and the will to make ijtihad are present in those who enter the sphere of Islam through the door of perfect taqwâ and the way of conforming to the dharûriyyah of Islam like the Salaf as-Sâlihîn, it is a perfection and to become perfect. Otherwise, the inclination to expand and the will to make ijtihad arising from those who abandon the dharûriyyah, prefer the life of this world to that of the âkhirah and are soiled with materialist philosophy, it is to destroy the body of Islam and the means of casting off the chain of the Sharî'ah from its neck.
The Twenty-Seventh Word-The Fourth