What or Who is Salaf?
The Permanent Committee (for Research and Verdicts) was asked: “What is Salafiyyah, and what is your opinion concerning it?”
So they replied:
“Salafiyyah is an ascription to the Salaf. The word ‘Salaf’ refers to the Companions of Allaah’s Messenger (ﷺ) and the Imaams of guidance from the first three generations of whom the Messenger of Allaah (ﷺ) testified for as to their superiority when he said: ”
The best of mankind is my generation, then those who come after them, then those who come after them. Then there will come a people who will bear witness before taking an oath, and take an oath before bearing witness. [Reported by Imaam Ahmad in his Musnad, Al-Bukharee and Muslim]
The word Salafiyoon is the plural of Salafee, and it is an ascription to the Salaf. The meaning of the word Salaf has already been mentioned. Furthermore, it also refers to those who follow the methodology of the Salaf, which entails following the Book and the Sunnah, calling the people to them and acting upon them. So as a result of this, they become the adherents of the Sunnah and the unified body (Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah).”
[Al-Lajnat-ud-Daa’imah Lil-Buhooth-il-‘Ilmiyyah (no. 1361) (2/165-166), Translated by Al- Ibaanah Publishing]