Citation for Salafi

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"Salafi." In The Oxford Dictionary of Islam. Ed. John L. Esposito. Oxford Islamic Studies Online. Apr 17, 2021. <>.


"Salafi." In The Oxford Dictionary of Islam. , edited by John L. Esposito. Oxford Islamic Studies Online, (accessed Apr 17, 2021).


Name (derived from salaf, “pious ancestors”) given to a reform movement led by Jamal al-Din al-Afghani and Muhammad Abduh at the turn of the twentieth century. Emphasized restoration of Islamic doctrines to pure form, adherence to the Quran and Sunnah, rejection of the authority of later interpretations, and maintenance of the unity of ummah. Prime objectives were to rid the Muslim ummah of the centuries-long mentality of taqlid (unquestioning imitation of precedent) and stagnation and to reform the moral, cultural, and political conditions of Muslims. Essentially intellectual and modernist in nature. Worked to assert the validity of Islam in modern times, prove its compatibility with reason and science, and legitimize the acquisition of Western scientific and technological achievements. Sought reforms of Islamic law, education, and Arabic language. Viewed political reform as an essential requirement for revitalization of the Muslim community. Its influence spread to Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Syria, India, Indonesia, and Egypt in particular. The most influential movements inspired by Salafi were the Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt and Jamaat-i Islami of Pakistan. In the late twentieth century, the term came to refer to traditionalist reformers.

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