The Salafi movement... is an ultra-conservative reform in the first half of the 18th century against a background of European colonialism. -- Wikipedia

I've seen this claim repeatedly, but I'm yet to pinpoint in what ways the Salafi movement is "ultra-conservative" if it is even a correct label. Sure, some people have some extreme views, but it's hard to know how representative that is of the Salafi movement.

Question: What are some illustrative examples of how the Salafi movement is ultra-conservative?

I'm just trying to get a better idea of what precisely is being referred to when the term "ultra-conservative" is being thrown around.

  • <comments deleted> I am keeping this question open because I believe it can still be answered without delving into political debate and arguments about who is "right". I will not hesitate to take action if people insist on using it to push their political agendas rather than honestly attempting to answer the actual question.
    – goldPseudo
    Commented Mar 10, 2017 at 17:25

1 Answer 1


The best example is the shari'a police which for example has more rights than the usual police, as they might even be allowed to punish without presenting people to a court (needs to be checked).

This "officers" (called muttawi' مطوع‎‎ are on the beat and for example check whether people have closed or left their offices and shops when prayer is held in a mosque after the adhan (I'll add some references later).

They had the power to arrest unrelated males and females caught socializing, anyone engaged in homosexual behavior or prostitution; to enforce Islamic dress-codes, and store closures during the prayer time. (Source wikipedia)

Of course their behavior has some kind of "Basis" in the sources of our religion. But one must ask himself if the Prophet() said I would do such and such, but didn'd do it, why shall we do it, are we more righteous than him?

In Iran you'll find a similar shi'a version. In many other Muslim countries such police departements more or less exist -not always independetly from the regular police departement-, but in most of them a punishement can only be applied after a juridical verdict by a court.

Also read in wikipedia.

There are also for layman less detectable claims: like changes of some well known books or ban on them. Like Ihya' 'ulum ad-Dyn of al-Ghazaly, some Kuwaiti scholar pretend that the chapters on sufism have been deleted or changed in the saudi-Version of majmo' al-fatawa (full collection of fatwa) of ibn Taymiyyah, tafsir al-Jalalayn has been replaced by commentaries of salafi scholars when the original commentators have used sufi interpretations. ... One would need to check if this is correct by buying books there and comparing them with copies printed elsewhere.

Scholars including al-Albani and his followers have written many papers showing that the grave of the Prophet () shouldn't be/stay in the mosque and offered weird sollutions for that issue.

Less important might be the ban of Imams from the haram of Mecca because of their non-Salafi doctrine and the replacement with salafi scholars.

  • "some Kuwaiti scholar pretend that the chapters on sufism have been deleted or changed" - I can't make out whether you say that these are credible claims by those scholars or not.
    – G. Bach
    Commented Mar 6, 2017 at 11:36
  • @G.Bach an accusation from a shi'a or sufi against salafis sounds to me more doubtful than if they would praise their enemy. In this case the Kuwaiti scholar ar-Rifa'i -if i remember well- was a sufi.
    – Medi1Saif
    Commented Mar 10, 2017 at 13:51

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