In the Name of Allaah the Most Merciful, the Bestower of Mercy
All the praise is for Allaah, the Lord of all that exists; may prayers and peace be upon the Prophet Muhammad, his family and noble companions. To Proceed:
This is a brief statement regarding the mistranslation of a book title. This mistranslation has become widespread and we now see many of our Salafī brothers and sisters using this mistranslation as logos, class/seminar titles, and more. This is due, in part, to the various social media outlets, which are, in truth a double edged sword. While much good can be spread very quickly, errors and misguidance can spread just as quickly from those who do not have true concern for the الأمانة العلمية (knowledge based trust), and are simply concerned with putting out information hastily without verifying the correctness of that information.
Sometime ago, an excellent book was authored by the noble Shaykh ‘Abdus-Salaam As-Suhaymee. The Arabic title of this book is: كن سلفياً على الجادة This book was translated by a group in the UK who has ties to Al-Halabee, Abū Usaamah Adh-Dhahabee, and others who fight the Salafīs in the UK and other places. However, this is not the subject of this piece. The issue is the mistranslation of the title in English. The translator translated the title as: Be a Serious Salafī. Although this is what is required of every Salafī; that he/she be serious about their Salafiyyah; this is an incorrect translation of the title. The mistake lies in the translation of the word: الجادة which means: Path/way/street. The translator seems to have translated it as: الجَادّ serious/earnest.
The author, within the very same book explains the title, and his intent behind it. This title was taken from a statement by Shaykh Bakr Abū Zayd within his book: Hilyah Taalibil-‘Ilm (The Etiquettes of the Student of Knowledge). The Shaykh Abdus-Salaam says within the book: “Some of the brothers sought from me that I should print these lessons, so I reviewed them and added some additional comments in connection to the topic; and I deemed it appropriate to title it:
كن سلفياً على الجَادّ Be Salafī upon the Path”
Then in a footnote at this point the Shaykh added: “This title is derived from that which the Eminent Shaykh, the Doctor Bakr Abū Zayd, said in his beneficial book: Hilyah Taalibil-‘Ilm pg. 8, wherein he said during his speech concerning the etiquettes of the student of knowledge: ‘Be a Salafī upon the path; upon the way of the Salaf as-Ṣāliḥ; the companions, may Allaah be pleased with them, and those who followed their footsteps in all aspects of the religion; from At-Tawḥīd, acts of worship and the likes; distinguished by adherence to the narrations of Allaah’s Messenger ﷺ and implementing the Sunan upon yourself while abandoning disputing, argumentation, and delving deep into theological rhetoric and that which brings about sins and hinders one from the legislation.’”
All of the endnotes within the Arabic version of the book are from the Shaykh himself (Shaykh Abdus-Salaam As-Suhaymee); but perhaps the translator missed this one.
Shaykh Muhammad ibn Ṣāliḥ Al-‘Uthaymīn, may Allaah have mercy upon him, said in his explanation of Hilyah Taalibil-‘Ilm: “This is from the most important of affairs; that a person be upon the path of the Salaf As-Ṣāliḥ in all of the affairs of the religion; from At-Tawḥīd, worship, social interactions, and other than that.” (Audio posted along with this)
This is a small piece of advice to my brothers and sisters, as it relates to this title, and this phrase which has become widespread; and I ask Allaah to make us all serious Salafīs, who are upon the path; the path of the companions and those who followed them in goodness.
عَنِ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ أَنّ النَّبِيَّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَالَ : لا يَمْنَعَنَّ أَحَدَكُمْ مَخَافَةُ النَّاسِ أَنْ يَتَكَلَّمَ بِالْحَقِّ إِذَا عَلِمَهُ
On the authority of Ibn ‘Abbās, may Allaah be pleased with him, who said: The Prophet ﷺ said: “Let not fear of the people prevent one of you from speaking the truth if he knows it.”1
Written by one in need of Allaah’s Mercy:
Raha ibn Donald Batts
Saturday 14 Dhul-Hijjah, 1434 /October 19, 2013
1 Reported by Aḥmad, Ibn Maajah, At-Tirmidhī, and Ibn Abee Ad-Dunyaa reported it within Al-Amr bil-Ma’roof wan-Nahy ‘Anil-Munkar